Africa is very beautiful continent, containing vast number of people, culture, tribe and beliefs. As the New Year begins, we will assess three events, happenings or occurrences we all should look out for in the year 2016. Although, there are strong inputs on this piece, from Nick Branson and Jamie Hitchen, both of African Research Institute.
Economic Opportunities: Some African economies, who are known to rely heavily on oil and other commodity exports – including Nigeria, Angola and Zambia –, will continue to suffer due to low or declining prices of crude oil globally. But this setback also provides an opportunity to focus on diversifying their economies.
In Nigeria, there is much talk of revitalizing agriculture even as a new government has taken over. In East Africa, efforts are being made to reduce economic inefficiencies and improve productivity: progress in regional telecom reform, for example, demonstrates much from which the rest of the continent can learn.
How countries open up different streams of income for their economy is a major point to watch out for as the year progresses.
Insecurity in Nigeria: Many Nigerians voted for Muhammadu Buhari because of his campaign commitments to tackle corruption and defeat Boko Haram. Despite an announcement that the government has “technically won the war” against the Boko Haram insurgency, a lot of Nigerians have expressed dissatisfaction at the announcement, claiming that the government is operating in deceit.
The renegotiation of the Niger Delta amnesty and recent agitation by Biafran separatists illustrate the security challenges facing Buhari’s government and how the Nigerian government tackles this security issues by Boko Haram and others that have been resurfacing ever since he took power is one that calls for attention as the year progresses.
Urban Transport: In September 2015, Addis Ababa opened the first part of a new 17km light rail system funded in part by Chinese investment. A similar venture that forms part of the urban plan in Lagos has been beset by delays.
However, Governor Ambode of Lagos State has promised that the first line will be operational by December 2016. Dar es Salaam’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system failed to open as planned in October 2015 but is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016. New urban transport networks will need to be affordable for the everyday commuter if they are to successfully reduce congestion and improve the productivity of cities.