In the summer of 1959, the French government announced plans for a test of the first French atomic bomb in the Sahara in Reggan, Algeria, to support its military and political powers. Also at the time, Algeria was engaged in a war of independence from France. African leaders and organizations protested almost unanimously against nuclear testing in the Sahara and became concerned with the dangers of nuclear fallout in their country as well as France’s colonialist attitude.
Ghana was the first African country south of the Sahara to gain its independence. The process aimed at African representation had begun as early as the 1920s and under the post-World War II Constitution African parties were allowed to contest elections. But the British tended to favor cooperation with conservative African chiefs and a small intellectual elite, who no longer represented the people as a whole.