We set out to evaluate the variation in prevalence of drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and its determinants across sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries--excluding South Africa--among new and previously treated TB patients. A search of PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane and bibliographies of DR-TB studies yielded 726 studies published between 2003 and 2013, of which 27 articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Studies reported drug susceptibility testing results for a total of 13,465 new and 1,776 previously treated TB patients. The pooled estimate of any DR-TB prevalence among the new cases was 12.6%, while for MDR-TB this was 1.5%. Among previously treated patients, these were 27.2% and 10.3%, respectively. DR-TB (any and MDR-TB) did not vary significantly with respect to study characteristics. The reported prevalence of DR-TB in SSA is low compared to WHO estimates. MDR-TB in this region does not seem to be driven by the high HIV prevalence rates.