Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) affects people worldwide and poses major public health and socio-economic challenges. The disorder was previously thought to be rare or undocumented in rural Africa, but over the past few decades it has emerged as an important non-communicable disease (NCD) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). After the introduction of standardised diagnostic criteria, King and Rewers showed in 1993, that diabetes in adults was a global disorder and that populations of developing countries, minority groups and disadvantaged communities in industrialised nations faced the greatest risk. Subsequently, several reports on global estimates and projections confirmed the diabetes epidemic and indicated that the numbers of people with diabetes and prevalence of both diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) will rise. The increases are expected to be largest in developing regions of the world because of population ageing and urbanisation.