• 2015 was a year dotted with violent encounters ranging from terrorist attacks, tribal clashes, and politically motivated violence.

    In contrast, in the same year, Africa received much media highlight following major activities that took place. These include the beatification of Sr Irene “Nyaatha” Stefani in May, US President Obama’s visit during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in July, the maiden visit to Africa by Pope Francis in November, and the World Trade Organization’s Tenth Ministerial Conference, held in Nairobi in December.

    With a backdrop of all these events in the past year, 2016 will be dedicated to implementing some of the strategies proposed in the 2015 conventions. Some of the major issues that will be tackled are related to the environment and terrorism.  

    Here is a sneak peek into what I think is going to happen in 2016.

    More effort to keep global warming under 2.0 ºC

    The Paris Climate Agreement 2015 pact has received major criticism for failing to come up with a binding deal that will lead the world to curbing global warming once and for all.

    While speaking at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Ambassador Richard Sezibera noted that Africa was ready to support the motions suggested at the event which also served as the 11th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP11) that took place in Paris, France.

    “EAC is ready and committed towards supporting implementation of the Paris Agreement by supporting EAC Partner States through the process of ratification of the agreement to pave way for its early entry into force in 2020”, said Dr Sezibera.

    According to the agreement, the world should reduce the use of fossil fuels and bring down carbon dioxide emissions to keep global warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius.

    In 2016, there will be discussions around how to implement the climate deal incorporating African initiatives such as Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (ACSA), the African Adaptation and Loss and Damage Initiative, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) which are all aimed at increasing climate awareness as well as help farmers adapt to changing climates for better yields, translating to better economic stands. Further, these initiatives are also envisioned to aid the vulnerable continent to make the right decisions towards re-claiming the environment from impacts of global warming.

    Dubbed “Fostering African Resilience and Capacity to Adapt”, a symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February, 21-23, 2016. The convention will bring key climate stakeholders and climate researchers from world over to showcase experiences from field projects, research, and best practice in climate change adaptation in African countries, which may be useful in other countries in the continent.

    Already, effects of global warming are being felt in Africa with many countries experiencing effects of El Niño.

    More presidents will seek additional terms in power

    At the time when the Africa needs to be politically stable to fight other ills such as terrorism, Africans are busy fighting against the “third-term fever” that has infected some leaders in the continent.

    Since the controversial third term sought after by Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunzisa, the country has sunk into political turmoil leaving hundreds of people dead, thousands injured and many more seeking refuge away from the war-torn country.

    Unfortunately, Nkurinzisa is not the last of his kind seeking to stay put in leadership against the set mandate.

    In 2016, there will be heated debates which might turn into violence in other countries including Uganda where President Yoweri Museveni will seek his fifth term come February 18. Speaking after being cleared by Uganda’s Electoral Commission, President Museveni asserted: “We have so far gone through three stages of development including liberation, recovery and foundation. What remains now is take off.”

    What is more, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame expressed his support and admiration for the Ugandan leader. "I know Ugandans will choose a person who will ensure stability and continue with development projects. If you want my preference, I have worked with President Museveni well and I wish him success," Mr kagame said during the national dialogue at Kigali Convention Centre last year.

    In the latest development, Kagame announced in a televised New Year’s Day address to the nation that he will be seeking a third term saying: “You requested me to lead the country again after 2017. Given the importance and consideration you attach to this; I can only accept.” Following constitutional changes approved by Rwandans, the political leader might remain in office until 2034 if he wins the 2017 elections.

    Will Joseph Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo seek another term in November? We can only wait and see what happens in Zimbabwe, The Gambia and other African countries as they go through political revolutions.

    Terrorism activities will continue to derail development

    Terrorism has taken a different twist as African countries fight with terrorists wearing different hats in various regions.

    In Nigeria for example, Boko Haram has caused deaths and mayhem in the oil-producing country of West Africa.

    In East Africa, al-Shabab which has broken into two affiliated groups; IS and al-Qaeda are terrorizing citizens.

    April 2016 will mark two years since the Boko Haram kidnapped the Chibok girls. Nigeria is optimistic that President Muhammadu Buhari will bring back the girls this year.

    Recent terrorist attacks in Kenya and Somalia have left a trail of deaths, scores of others injured and managed to keep people living in terror in their every wake.

    In 2016 terrorism will continue to take different shapes in Africa and governments will be forced to harness resources and power to win in the fight against it.  

    Despite the many challenges that seem to derail Africa’s development, Africans are optimistic of a much better year for the continent and its people.

    The Continent looks forward to some interesting events scheduled to happen in the year such as the bidding by Tokyo Sexwale, Anti-apartheid and South African businessman, to become the First African FIFA president.

    Africans are hopeful about the long distance events at Rio. Kenyans and Ethiopians are known for their talents in the long distance race and the world can only wait to see the exemplary performances put forward by men and women from Africa.

    All in all, it will be an interesting year for Africa and Africans!


    Image Credit – Ann Garrison