Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced many critical situations throughout the years: from civil war to famine. As it stands today the weakest and poorest continent in the world is still quite far from the goal of universal prosperity – not only in terms of economic wealth but also in terms of respect for human rights and the achievement of a high level of social security. Almost a month ago Nelson Mandela died. The example of one of the most inspiring African leaders seems an impossible act to follow by many of his African colleagues. There are still critical situations all over the continent, and in recent years four of these have cause the most concern. Somalia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic and Mali have only recently experienced war and famine. For the first two, the situation is improving. The Somali government is effective on his territory, even if there are many challenges like Islamic terrorism and warlords who have taken control over part of the territory. In Côte d’Ivoire, after last year’s civil war, the new government is working hard to boost the country’s economic performance. The Central African Republic and Mali are still in trouble. In the past months the Central African rebels took control of the capital Bangui with a coup and many clashes between the government backers and the rebels have broken out. Mali has the problem of the northern Tuareg, who are fighting to split the country.The connecting thread of this entire situation is the fact they remain critical and should be a concern for the entire international community because the potential for humanitarian disaster remains acute.