Alafarika: Africa’s 2022 Recap and 2023 Forecast

Over the last 12 months, Africa’s attitudinal trajectory in all ramifications has been extremely mixed between volatility and stability. This year has been extremely eventful for Africa, with political upheaval, economic expansion and recession, social challenges, and security issues.

Over the last 12 months, Africa’s attitudinal trajectory in all ramifications has been extremely mixed between volatility and stability. This year has been extremely eventful for Africa, with political upheaval, economic expansion and recession, social challenges, and security issues. In order to address some of Africa’s emerging development and persistent problems, Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy looks back at major events that have shaped the continent in 2022.

The political landscape

In 2022, Africa’s democratic landscape quickly shifted into an ambiguous political practice. With waves of coups, elections, and electoral violence, the continent appeared to have been caught in the struggles of a stable civilian democracy. Developments in five key countries—Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Kenya, and Senegal will provide an important bellwether for where the continent is heading as far as Africa’s political landscape is concerned.

Burkina Faso was rocked by a coup in September 2022, which deposed Interim President Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba and replaced him with Captain Ibrahim Traore due to his alleged inability to deal with the country’s terrorist insurgency. Damiba had earlier come to power in a coup d’état in February, just eight months before.  According to reports, the real deal behind the waves of coups that have invaded the country in 2022 is the inability of the leaders to deal with the insurgency ravaging the country. The coup phenomenon further gained salience following a coup attempt in Guinea-Bissau in February 2022. It was later declared a failed coup by President Umaro Sissoco Embaló a few hours after it was attempted, saying that “it wasn’t just a coup, it was an attempt to kill the president, the prime minister, and all the cabinet, as the army was not involved in it.” Reports revealed that about 11 members of the country’s security forces were killed in the incident, which was described as an “attack against democracy.”

Although ECOWAS, the apex body for all west African countries, reaffirmed its unreserved opposition to any seizure or retention of power by unconstitutional means, it doesn’t change the fact that the changes in the political shape of these countries will attract violence, extremism, and transnational criminality.

Meanwhile, incidents of this nature in 2022’s African democracy were not limited to Burkina Faso’s coup and Guinea’s attempted coup; countries like Angola, Kenya, and Senegal also held memorable elections.

Senegal held their general election on July 31st, 2022, where the incumbent president, Mackey Sall, had a tough tussle with the opposition candidate, even though the latter maintained that they had defeated the former in a poll after they’d been declared winners. The rivalries contributed to pre-election violence, which analysts said positioned the country on a path toward losing its democratic reputation. Observers believe a potential third-term presidential bid by Sall could have raised the turmoil.

Kenya and Angola, on the other hand, held general elections in August 2022. For Kenya, it was an intense election between two political elders, Raila Odinga and William Ruto, a former president and an ex-vice president. But the election saw Ruto emerge with the slightest margin. While Odinga rejected the outcome of the presidential election, he claimed the election results were based on criminal and fraudulent activities, and that his party agents were barred access to several election sites. Odinga responded with a legal challenge, but Kenya’s Supreme Court insisted that Ruto was the valid winner of the election.

Angola’s August 2022 election is only the fifth to be held in the country, and its outcome yet again produced the incumbent President João Lourenco, whose government has been accused of a combination of electoral fraud, judicial bias, and a crackdown on independent media. Just like Kenya’s opposition, Angola’s opposition appealed against the victory of Lourenco, but it wasn’t taken into consideration by Angola’s electoral body, citing that the results were already approved before their appeal. A veteran political analyst says that the victory for the ruling party indicates that “President João Lourenço’s authoritarian rule will continue.”

Economic Outlook: Ascensions and Rescissions

The Economic Outlook in Africa explains how the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war will affect the continent’s economy in 2022. The impacts of COVID-19 were still ongoing when the Russo-Ukrainian War started in February 2022. Both incidents have left a lasting impression on every bit of African treasure. “Every bullet, bomb, and shell that strikes a target in Ukraine strikes our pockets and economies in Africa,” Ghana’s President Nana-Akufo Addo said.

Though many economies in sub-Saharan Africa grew at a record pace before the pandemic; Ethiopia and Rwanda, for example, saw some of the fastest expansions in the world—an average of more than 7.5 percent per year over the past two decades. But in the aftermath of the pandemic, reports emerged that about 22 million jobs were lost and 30 million people in Africa were pushed into extreme poverty. This does in fact constitute a larger part of what pushed many countries into recession.

Ghana, for instance, is grappling with an in-depth economic crisis. It is experiencing serious inflation, which has plunged the country into a full-blown economic recession. According to the World Bank, Ghana’s inflation rose from 13.9% in January to 37.2% in September, diesel and petrol prices jumped by 88.6% and 128.6%, respectively; and water and electricity prices rose by 27.2% and 21.6%, respectively, this year. Food prices are not immune; they have risen by 122%. After many failed attempts to get back on track, the country has gotten bailout support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the 17th time.

For other countries, the analysis notes that growth and recovery remain uneven, as they are happening at varied rates of speed across the region. But mostly the continent’s resource-rich countries—Angola and Nigeria, excluding South Africa—have experienced improved economic performance from the Russia-Ukraine war. Angola and Nigeria’s growth momentum in 2022 was elevated by 2.7 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, largely due to increments in oil prices and good performance in the non-oil sector. The World Bank said South Africa’s exclusion is due to its structural constraints.

Social and Security Issues

One of the regions most impacted by the adverse effects of climate change is Africa, and global efforts to address it continue to fall short. In 2022, countries like Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and neighbouring countries thoroughly experienced the adverse impacts of Africa’s climatic problem as floods gutted major parts of the countries. Floods uprooted over 1.5 million people, destroying settlements and agricultural land.

While flooding occurred as a consequence of above-average rainfall throughout the 2022 rainy season, researchers detected that the flooding in Nigeria was spurred on by the release of the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, part of a river management system designed to work in tandem with a dam in Nigeria that is incomplete.

On the same page, some regions of the continent will look for ways to secure meaningful solutions to their security issues. Africa has long been clear about its insecurity priorities—these regions need a long-lasting solution to restore normalcy.

In 2022, intra-state conflict, banditry, and kidnapping attacks on students and commuters were three of the biggest security threats that occurred in Africa. A 2022 report revealed that at least 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had ongoing armed conflicts. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan are among the states where there have been high-intensity conflicts. Conflicts in these regions have reportedly led to more than 9.6 million people being internally displaced and more than 4.7 million people becoming refugees. Benin, Burundi, Chad, Kenya, Madagascar, and Uganda remain the only six states where low-intensity intranational armed conflicts have taken place in 2022.

What is at stake for Africa in 2023?

In vital political engagements that will have deep influence on Africa’s political stereotype, some of the continent’s big hitters, such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Liberia, and Madagascar, will go to the polls in 2023 with the hope of deciding a better Africa’s future.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has set February 25 to elect the next successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, whose time in power comes to an end after eight years of reign. So the ruling party, APC, is seeking to retain power in the next election. While the party nominated Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos, as their candidate,  Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the country’s former Vice President, won the opposition’s ticket to contest the February 2023 general elections. Sixteen other parties will have candidates on the ballot.

Like Nigeria, Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio will seek a new mandate in June 2023. Also, 44-year-old Nelson Chamisa will contest the 2023 Zimbabwean general elections against 80-year-old incumbent Emerson Mnangagwa, who has ruled the country since deposing long-term President Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup.

Later in the year, Liberia and Madagascar will give a chance to their respective electorates to decide the fate of their countries once again. Liberia’s president, George Weah, will urge voters to give him a second term in office on October 10, but his opposition, the Collaborating Political Parties, also hope to capitalise on Weah’s alleged series of corruption scandals to take over the affairs of Liberia. Madagascar’s election on the other side will see President Andry Rajoelina contesting again for a second term in an election that has been predicted to be highly competitive.

Considering this electioneering season and given the incessant insecurity challenges in Africa, experts say that social unrest could easily be stoked in 2023 by already problematic terrorism, disgruntled losers, as well as public discontent with political institutions, ruling elites, and poor public services. Going by the recently held US-Africa Leaders Summit,  the continent in 2023 will further see more strategical moves among Russia, China, the US, and Europe to increase their influence on Africa.

In the same vein, African economies will continue to experience the consequences arising out of the COVID-19 incident and the Russia-Ukraine war in 2023. An economic intelligence report said a variety of internal and external shocks, including a quickly rising inflation rate, higher borrowing costs, and weaker demand in key export markets, have hampered the economic recovery in 2022. Some of them may dampen economic hopes in the upcoming year.


Writer, journalist, and legal researcher, Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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