We start 2016 with our annual forecast of political, economic and security developments over the coming year, to complement our usual look in the rear view mirror. We concur with the view of the American baseball star Yogi Berra, who died in September, that: '…it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’ That said, we think it's important to look both at the emerging context and the political scenarios that could play out across the diverse 55 countries that make up Africa.
This special issue looks forward in Nigeria, Ghana, South
Africa, Kenya, Mozambique and eleven others. It's
another election year
with important votes in Ghana, Uganda,
Zambia, Congo-Kinshasa and South
Africa, and fresh political challenges in many other countries. The
economic backdrop will be the toughest for more than a decade: the
sharp fall in commodity prices, which hits oil exporters hardest,
mainly linked to China's
economic slowdown but already driving finance
ministers to borrow and tax more.
Harsher economic conditions have prompted some governments to revert
authoritarian tactics, reminiscent of the one-party state era. Yet now
these are crashing up against far better organised and technologically
savvy civic activists who are demanding far more accountability from
government. Expect to see some important tests of that power in
countries such as Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria this year.