PrintPrint CiteCite
Style: MLAAPAChicago Close


The Sub-Saharan Security Tracker

Mapping Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is made up of forty-eight countries and is home to approximately one billion people. It does not include Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Continuing political violence in sub-Saharan Africa causes untold misery, and hampers political, economic, and social development. Mapping political violence is a valuable tool for identifying current and future trends.

The Sub-Saharan Security Tracker (SST) uses over three million data points to map the state of political violence, specifically deaths caused by such violence, in the region, including geographic distribution, trends over time, and actors involved.

The SST draws on data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) Project, which documents violent events across Africa by surveying open sources, such as the media, reports from nongovernmental organizations, and publicly available material from governments and international organizations.

For more information on ACLED methodology or to see the user guide and code book, visit


Understanding the SST

The data used in this interactive begins June 1, 2011. The SST is updated monthly.

The ACLED data has limitations. The quality of reporting across sub-Saharan Africa varies, as do incident accounts. Political manipulation may affect media accounts. Such limitations make the SST figures indicative rather than definitive.

*The SST cites only the ACLED incident type “Violence Against Civilians.” For additional ACLED-designated event types, visit the ACLED website. The SST aggregates deaths associated with all other ACLED event types to form the incident category “Incidents Between Armed Actors.”


John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, is the editor of the Sub-Saharan Security Tracker. Allen Grane and Asch Harwood are the designers.

More on This Topic