Streak disease of banana and plantain caused by banana streak virus (BSV) was first reported in the Ivory Coast in 1974 and occurs in at least 16 countries in Africa. Based on genomic characteristics, BSV has been shown to be a member of genus Badnavirus. Efficient and reliable diagnostic methods for BSV have recently become widely available. This paper summarizes the current knowledge on its causal agent, geographical distribution, symptomatology, transmission, host range, available diagnostic techniques and management options for the disease in Africa. Further research needs are identified in light of the widespread occurrence of BSV in most plantain/banana germplasms and the difficulties in obtaining BSV-free plantlets through tissue culture.