Africa Ventures Tentatively Into 2022 With Huge Economic and Political Challenges

Africa enters 2022 tentatively, with the prospect of a slight economic recovery from the shocks of Covid-19, but also huge political challenges in trying to correct and repair serious setbacks to peace and democracy.

Arresting a continuing civil war in Ethiopia, battling to keep violent and determined Islamist extremists at bay in the Sahel, Somalia, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Mozambique; resuscitating a strangled democratic transition in Sudan; holding together a fragile peace in Libya; reversing coups in Guinea, Mali and Chad; and trying to introduce democracy to Eswatini are just some of the more pressing items on the continent’s political to-do list next year.

The year will tell whether southern Africa can decisively eliminate the Islamic State-affiliated insurgency in Mozambique’s northernmost Cabo Delgado province – or will get bogged down in an Afghanistan-like endless low-level conflict.

In July the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent its standby military force to try to defeat and expel the jihadists who have terrorised the province since October 2017. South Africa has so far deployed only about 300 special forces in the SADC Mission in Mozambique (Samim), which seems to have left most of the fighting to the 2,500 Rwandan troops…

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