How peaceful is sub-Saharan Africa?

The 2015 Global Peace Index reveals that sub-Saharan states registered some of the sharpest score changes, both positive and negative.

Guinea-Bissau saw the greatest improvement in peace worldwide, and now ranks 120th after holding credible and predominantly peaceful elections. Cote d'Ivoire registered the second largest worldwide improvement following a decline in the number of attacks by former rebels.

Benin also improved by 29 places, thanks largely to the announcement of elections, held in April 2015, and a court ruling against a constitutional change that would have allowed the president to stand for a third term.

However, other sub-Saharan states saw some of the sharpest declines worldwide.  Djibouti’s ranking declined 42 places, reflecting a rising incidence of social unrest, crime and resentment of the government’s authoritarian rule. Geography also plays a role, as Djibouti borders notoriously unstable Somalia, which has served to increase the availability of small arms.

Terrorism affected a number of countries in the region, with the largest increases recorded in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger. Nigeria experienced a 140% increase in deaths to 4,392. Geography is also a factor for Niger, which fell 28 places to 129th. Niger is one of a number of states to be impacted by Boko Haram, the Nigeria-based Islamist terrorist group, which launched several fatal attacks in Niger in early 2015. With porous borders, stretched resources and currently ineffective regional cooperation, Niger will struggle to contain the threat posed by Boko Haram.

South Sudan’s ranking declined by only three places, but this was on top of having had by far the sharpest fall in the 2014 Global Peace Index. It remains embroiled in the civil conflict that broke out in December 2013, despite numerous attempts to broker peace.  

Explore the state of peace on the interactive Global Peace Index map and download the 2015 Global Peace Index Report for a full analysis of the data. 

Related Articles

Global Peace Index 2015 Report

The 2015 Global Peace Index shows that the world is becoming increasingly divided with some countries enjoying unprecedented levels of peace and prosperity while others spiral further into violence and conflict.

Contact us

Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.

General enquiries:
Data request:

Sydney office

PO Box 42, St Leonards,
NSW 1590,
Tel: +61 2 9901 8500

New York office

3 East 54th Street
14th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Tel: +1 (646) 963-2160

Job opportunities and internships are listed on the Institute for Economics and Peace website. See them here.

Contact us