Alcohol Control Policies in 46 African Countries: Opportunities for Improvement

Alcohol Alcohol. 2015 Jul;50(4):470-6. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agv036. Epub 2015 Apr 15.


Aims: There is little information on the extent to which African countries are addressing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm, which suggests that evaluations of national alcohol policies are needed in this region. The aim of this article is to examine the strength of a mix of national alcohol control policies in African countries, as well as the relationship between alcohol policy restrictiveness scores and adult alcohol per capita consumption (APC) among drinkers at the national level.

Methods: We examined national alcohol policies of 46 African countries, as of 2012, in four regulatory categories (price, availability, marketing and drink-driving), and analyzed the restrictiveness of national alcohol policies using an adapted Alcohol Policy Index (API). To assess the validity of the policy restrictiveness scores, we conducted correlational analyses between policy restrictiveness scores and APC among drinkers in 40 countries.

Results: Countries attained a mean score of 44.1 of 100 points possible, ranging from 9.1 (Sao Tomé and Principe) to 75.0 (Algeria), with low scores indicating low policy restrictiveness. Policy restrictiveness scores were negatively correlated with and APC among drinkers (rs = -0.353, P = 0.005).

Conclusions: There is great variation in the strength of alcohol control policies in countries throughout the African region. Tools for comparing the restrictiveness of alcohol policies across countries are available and are an important instrument to monitor alcohol policy developments. The negative correlation between policy restrictiveness and alcohol consumption among drinkers suggests the need for stronger alcohol policies as well as increased training and capacity building at the country level.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Commerce
  • Driving Under the Influence / prevention & control
  • Driving Under the Influence / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Marketing