In modern international diplomatic engagements, when any sovereign state starts behaving rather imprudently, declaring a full-fledged war and invading a particularly disobedient country is always an option, but it has become an increasingly unpopular one. Rather, sanctions have become the preferred big stick, wielded in the face of a disobedient government to get it to fall in line with the accepted code of conduct.
Sanctions are often declared by international bodies, like the United Nations or by a group of countries such as NATO; however, unilateral sanctions can also be declared by a single and often very powerful country like the United States.
The general rule is that for a sanction to be of any use, the country or group of countries imposing it must have some decided advantage over the receiving country. Thus, to some extent, sanctions highlight the inequality among nations.
In theory, sanctions are meant to target the leadership of an oppressive regime, bring them to their knees or at least get them to shape up. However in reality, the effects of sanctions have not been so straightforward. Some despots remain in power; others even seem to thrive despite sanctions. Such punitive tactics have also been criticized for hitting the general population harder than the government or leaders it targets.
In recent times, several African countries have come under sanctions from the international community; a number of them presently remain under varying degrees of restriction. Justified or not, here are 5 African countries currently facing international sanctions.
This list is by no means exhaustive or definitive; typically sanctions come under periodic reviews where the sanctions may be lifted, strengthened or fresh sanctions imposed.