Africa in 2018 will continue upon its impediment laden road to an identity with a a view to modernization, stability and security. However, in as much as it has been in 2017, in 2000, in 1990 and in prior years, the impact of colonialism, dictatorship, dynasty, tribalism and corruption, will continue to hinder Africa's full potential.
Today's Africa remains very much a product of its colonial masters. Much of its resources are still controlled by the former colonial rulers blocking full benefits to the African people. Yet, the former colonial powers cannot shoulder all the blame for the ills of Africa.
Wide sovereignty that came to Africa in the 1960s and 1970s through revolutions and popular movements offered much hope to the continent, but apartheid in South Africa and the continued control of most wealth in the hands of former colonial masters, quickly doused many dreams that Africa would emerge from the Third World.
Tribal war, dictatorship, dynasty and corruption have come to consume Africa from Central African Republic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Rwanda, to Sudan, to South Sudan, to Togo, to Liberia, to the Ivory Coast and elsewhere. Epidemics, including outbreaks of Ebola, have also plagued Africa.
More than any other thing else, dictatorship and dynasty - the cling to power and control and wealth by African leaders, along with blatant corruption, have and will continue to contribute to African underdevelopment in 2018.
New and developing economic relations between the continent and China appear to offer some measurable hope to progress. Shared African-Chinese ownership on investment seems to offer better returns to Africans than the old relationship involving the former colonial masters. Yet, Africans remain suspect of China's participation in their nation-building as was witnessed earlier this week, when Chinese police officers were commissioned in Zambia, but were quickly removed after a torrent of public outcry.
Below are brief assessments of a few African nations for 2018...
The ruling African National Congress(ANC) - the party of the late great civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, will remove corruption-scandal and legal-troubled President Jacob Zuma in 2018. Newly appointed leader of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, stands to ascend to the presidency. However, the transitional period from Zuma to Ramaphosa might not be easy. Concerns over the prevalence of white dominance over business and industry could prove problematic in 2018.
Corruption, political violence and counterfeit prescription drugs will plague Nigeria in 2018. Its oil wealth remains marred in corruption and the spoils have failed to trickle down to most Nigerians. Political violence with a religious overtone could continue to plague the north of the country. A national health crisis in Nigeria could emerge out of the prevalence of counterfeit prescription drugs in the country. The World Health Organization(WHO) estimates that some 30 percent of prescription drugs across Africa are counterfeit, thus posing a major health crisis.
After a melee on the floor of its Parliament in opposition to a Constitutional change that would allow its President Yoweri Museveni to run for a sixth-term in 2021, Uganda approved the strife-causing measure yesterday. As a result, Uganda is ripe for unrest in 2018.
With the ouster and resignation of long standing dictator President Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 until November 21, 2017, economic progress could begin to flow into the impoverished nation in 2018. As new President Emmerson Mnangagwa vows to bring Zimbabwe in from "the cold", he will face hot dissatisfaction over a number of issues in 2018 including soaring food prices and a high unemployment rate.
Questions will remain over the electoral process that retained the current Kenyan president. Also, extremist actions spilling over from Somalia could cause some problems in 2018.
Somalia and Mali:
Extremism and pirates will continue to wreck havoc upon Somalia in 2018.
Some degree of stability could return to South Sudan in 2018 as tens of thousands of once refugees flock back to their homes from United Nations(UN) camps where they had sought solace from civil strife.
The most alarming thing Ghana will face in 2018 is the presence of mercenaries and private groups that number some 450,000 per the nation's 33,000 police force. Even more alarming for Ghana in 2018 is the end point of some 1.3 million illegal weapons smuggled into the country in 2017.
Perhaps Africa's ripest place for insurrection in 2018 will be Togo, where a dynasty has ruled since 1967. Since August, thousands of Togolese have been protesting against corruption in the streets.
Another dynasty has ruled Gabon for some 50 years and corruption remains prevalent in the country. A French court, investigating corruption in Gabon, has seized 39 properties in France alone connected to the ruling family along with a number of luxury vehicles. Gabon remains ripe for social and political turmoil in 2018.
Yet another African dynasty in Equatorial Guinea creates a heavy atmosphere for political turmoil in 2018. The son of President Theodoro Obiang Nguema, a deputy to his father and next in line to the seat of power in the country, has been convicted in absentia of embezzlement by a French court, which has seized property and vehicles, connected to the ruling family.
Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Constitutional questions challenging the extension of term limits to the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will figure highly in 2018.
Central African Republic:
Repatriations will remain key to security and stability in Central African Republic in 2018.
Human rights issues and political concerns will be hot button topic in Ethiopia in 2018.