"...After climbing a great hill, one finds that there are many more hills to climb"... Nelson Mandela.
Centuries of European colonial dominance over man's birth-continent has allowed for imported differences to confute the inherent commonality of the African people. Add a multitude of languages, tongues, sects, customs and stark variances in tribes, nations and peoples, Africa's 2017 will find that its hills and vast plains are not filled with "the sound of music", but with real challenges that threaten the scaling of the necessary remaining hills to full development.
While some Africans and some members of the diaspora would legitimately blame colonialism for the ills of today's and 2017's Africa, the hard-to-accept truth is that Africa has brought to wrought its own shortcomings.
Tribalism, ignorance, dictatorship and the lack of a stronger cross-continent unity have plagued Africa and these ills will continue in 2017 with the sole variable being the severity of the impacts.
The hills yet to be climbed in Africa remain too numerous. It seems that once a cycle of ills is weathered, more epidemic-like problems spring up. From health to politics to famine and to conflict, Africa perpetually remains under some form of development-stunting event.
From that wretched system of apartheid that was South Africa, to famine in the Horn of Africa, to genocide in Rwanda, to genocide in Sudan, to Ebola in Western Africa, to extremism and terrorism in North Africa, Somalia, Kenya and Nigeria; Africa remains riddled with problems each and every passing year. And the problems of Africa appear to have the unique characteristic of repeating themselves.
In 2017, genocide, famine, war, terrorism, health and political issues will continue to plague Africa as some international organizations and partners attempt to lessen the impact of these debilitating events.
While Tunisia will continue to press forward with its resolve to build a strong democracy, it could become threatened from extremism, which could force it to become isolated from necessary European partnerships and markets. Algeria and Morocco could face a similar fate in 2017.
Recent actions against dissent and against the former legitimate Morsi government will bring reactionary problems to the present Egyptian government in 2017. Extremists could transcend the Sinai to Cairo, to Alexandria and to elsewhere in 2017's Egypt. United States(US) military pounding of the Islamic State(IS) in Libya has dislodged the terrorist group from Libya temporarily allowing for a functioning national government in the North African country. Yet, Libya's troubles are from over and some agitations of its past could resurface in 2017.
Stirring political turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Gambia, in South Sudan, in Ethiopia, in South Africa, in Nigeria, in Central African Republic, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, will fester in 2017.
The political winds blowing especially over Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe epitomize Africa's perpetual struggles. The 22-year-old rule of Yahya Jammeh was ended at the polls on December 01, this year, when he was defeated in a presidential election by Adama Barrow. Jammeh conceded, but on December 09, he changed his mind alleging voter inconsistencies and he has pledged to remain in power.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the mandate of the 15-year rule by President Joseph Kabila has expired, but he remains in power as his electoral department claims that logistic and cash problems are preventing the timely holding of elections. In May, a constitutional court said he could rule until April, 2018, while the opposition, led by Etienne Tshisekedi, has called for peaceful protest. And in Zimbabwe, 92-year-old Robert Mugabe has been given his party's green light to re-run for the presidency in 2018 at 94-years-old, where else but in Africa.
The internal displacement of 1.87 million in South Sudan is an omen of affairs in 2017. Another 1.8 million other displaced people in northeast Nigeria underscore problems gripping Africa in 2017. A famine along with political violence looms in Ethiopia as waters conflicts appear real in the coming year.
Yet, amid all the gloom, a stronger African Union, better education, greater access to clean drinking water and to energy could amount to a brighter future for Africa once tribalism and ignorance have abated.