2018 has been a year of mixed fortunes for Africa and the world. Marked by both achievements and challenges, the year witnessed rising resistance to global multilateralism and growing barriers to international trade even as peaceful transitions of power and the end of wars echoed across different parts of Africa.
And as the continent’s economies plunged in some cases and showed resilience in others, 2018 will go down as one with the most iconic moments in years to come.
Major news on the continent in 2018 kicked off with unprecedented power shifts in South Africa in February, as former President Jacob Zuma resigned and his then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa took office, amidst mounting pressure from the ruling Africa National Congress party.
March witnessed the signing of the Continental Free Trade area in Kigali, an agreement spearheaded by the African Union…that is aimed at creating a common market for all of the AU’s 54 member states. So far 49 countries have signed up to the CFTA, 12 of them have ratified it and at least 10 more ratifications are required by March 2019 for the CFTA to come into force.
In April Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took the oath of office in Ethiopia, ushering a period of radical reforms that have since reshaped diplomacy, peace & security in the horn of Africa region. Prime Minister Abiy together with his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki led the two neighbouring countries in making peace and re-establishing ties after 20 years of conflict.
And in August the continent received news of the death of Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general and one of Africa’s most prominent diplomats.
September saw the most significant diplomatic and political event for China and Africa, as at least 53 African countries attended the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China Africa Co-operation. At the summit Chinese President Xi-Jinping announced an eight-action-plan to succeed the 2015 10-point cooperation mechanism in China-Africa relations.
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis escalated in October, as new President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration faced its greatest challenged yet.
And in November, outgoing African Union Chairperson President Paul Kagame convened an extraordinary summit in Addis Ababa with the AU reforms agenda taking centre stage, ahead of transitions of the chairmanship of the Union in 2019.
- David Owiro, Independent Consultant Economist
- Dr. Francis Mangeni, Director of Trade & Customs COMESA and co-author of Emergent Africa.
- Dr David Monyae, Co-Director, Confucius Institite, University Of Johannesburg
- Victor Gao, International Relations Expert & Director, China National Association Of International Studies
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