New states

There have been two main cases of state succession in Africa since the departure of the European colonial powers: the separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia and of South Sudan from Sudan.

In 1998, a war broke out over a border dispute between the newly – and peacefully – created state of Eritrea, and the former sovereign over that territory, Ethiopia. The war devastated the lives of tens of thousands: not only the soldiers who were killed and injured and their families; but also around 70,000 people who were expelled from the territory of each country to the other. Many people of Eritrean heritage in Ethiopia still face serious problems in establishing Ethiopian nationality.

The 2011 secession of South Sudan from Sudan, following a long civil war for independence, has also resulted in many expulsions from Sudan and left hundreds of thousands at risk of statelessness.  The amendments to the nationality law adopted by Sudan after South Sudan became independent mean that any person with a claim to South Sudanese nationality automatically loses Sudanese nationality, whether or not the person has ever visited South Sudan or has taken any steps to be recognised as South Sudanese.

While the creation of Somaliland (which claims independence from Somalia) may be regarded as a case of state succession, the government of the territory is not recognised by the African Union or United Nations.