BY Fredrick Ngugi, 12:25pm January 03, 2017,

3 Things To Look Out for in Africa in 2017

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (L) and Paul Kagame of Rwanda (R). Photo Credit: Flickr

As the world celebrates the beginning of the new year, many Africans are readying themselves for major changes in 2017, most of which will have a far-reaching impact on the continent’s outlook. Here are a few important things to look out for in Africa in 2017.

Presidential Elections

The year 2017 will be an important year for Kenya and Rwanda as they are expected to hold presidential elections in August.

In Kenya, campaigns are already underway as incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to battle it out with one of Africa’s most vibrant opposition leaders, Raila Odinga. The latter has yet to be officially named as the opposition’s main flag bearer, but many analysts believe it’s only a matter of time.

President Kenyatta will be seeking his second and final term in office, after he and Deputy President, William Ruto, avoided persecution following the ICC’s decision to withdraw charges over their alleged roles in the 2007 post-election violence.

In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, who has been in power for the past 16 years, will be seeking re-election after he amended the constitution to remove presidential term limits.

Before he became president in 2000, Kagame served as the country’s de facto leader following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, which resulted in nearly 1 million deaths.

While some critics have condemned his decision to hold on to power, many Rwandans praise him for stabilizing a country that was once submerged in tribal hate and guerrilla warfare.

Power Transition

As the continent continues to seek new energy in order to fulfill its vision of sustainable future growth, several African countries are expected to usher in new leadership regimes as the current ones leave office.

In Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first democratically elected female president in Africa, is expected to hand over power in October this year when her final term will end. She assumed office in 2006 and is the 24th president of Liberia.


Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf being sworn in as the President of Liberia. Photo Credit: BBC

In Angola, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who is one of the longest-serving presidents in Africa, has announced that he will be retiring this year. This is seen as a chance for Angolans to experience an autonomous exchange of power, which has not happened for nearly 40 years.

President dos Santos has been in power since 1979 following the death of the country’s first president, Agostinho Neto.

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose tenure ended in December last year, is expected to retire this year, although many suspect that he may be planning to extend his reign.

The country is currently submerged in deadly protests as opposition supporters demand for Kabila’s departure from office.

Africa Cup of Nations Tournament

Football fans across Africa are eagerly waiting for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament to kick off in Gabon in less than two weeks.

This year’s tournament is special for the Ugandan team, which is the only East African country competing for the cup.


Ugandan national soccer team Cranes qualify for Africa Cup of Nations finals. Photo Credit: Red Pepper Uganda

The last time Uganda qualified for the finals was in 1978, eventually losing to Ghana. Their neighbors, Kenya and Tanzania, have never appeared in the finals and have never even advanced beyond the group stage.

2017 promises Africans, both at home and abroad, a lot to look forward to in the coming year.

Last Edited by:Charles Gichane Updated: January 3, 2017


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