In 2010, more than 12 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) were estimated to have diabetes. Over the next 20 years, it is predicted that SSA will have the greatest increase in diabetes prevalence of any region in the world. Thus diabetes is likely to be a major health problem, competing for limited health resources with infectious diseases. In partnership with research centres across SSA, we are assessing approaches to identify people with diabetes and its associated complications in resource-poor settings. We are also examining risk factors for diabetes, both environmental and genetic, across the region.