Business, Economics and Jobs

Why hasn't the Arab Spring spread to Africa?


Uganda is one of the few sub-Saharan African countries the people were inspired by the "Arab Spring" to protest against their governments. Here Ugandan demonstrators protested against President Yoweri Museveni in May, 2011. Museveni vowed to stamp out 'disrupting schemes' on May 12 as he was sworn in for a fourth term while masses of opposition supporters welcomed home his rival, Kizza Besigye.


Tony Karumba

Why hasn't the "Arab Spring" spread to Africa?

The revolts of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were in North Africa and they set off chain reactions across the Arab world as far as Syria and Yemen.

But just south of the Sahara desert in the rest of Africa, there have been few signs of revolts against entrenched, dictatorial and unresponsive leaders. There are plenty of out of touch African despots and plenty of disgruntled populations yearning for more democracy and accountable leadership. But sub-Saharan Africa has remained relatively calm with no popular uprisings.

Why is that?

I was asked that on the great PRI program "The World." I responded that some African countries show signs of a revolt, such as Senegal and Uganda,  but most others don't. Some African cities show a thirst for change and others don't. And, most importantly, most African leaders use lots of repressive measures to prevent mass demontrations.

Lisa Mullins asked me penetrating questions. Check out what I have to say.