Africa faces major challenges in 2020

Terrorism, conflict resolution, border closures and immigration among issues expected to continue to dominate continent

Hassan Isılow   | 30.12.2019
Africa faces major challenges in 2020


Africa made great progress in a number of fields in 2019, including holding peaceful elections in many parts of the continent and increased economic growth.

But a number of unresolved challenges including terrorism, conflict resolution, border closures and immigration are among those expected to continue to dominate the continent in 2020.


Barely four days before the end of 2019, a truck filled with explosives blew up at a busy intersection in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 80 people and injuring 149 others.

Saturday’s terror attack, which also claimed the lives of Turkish expats working in Somalia, was the worst in the past two years in the country, which faces attacks by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

The terror outfit, which has carried out several terrorist attacks beyond Somalia in neighboring Kenya and Uganda, has been fighting to topple the UN-backed Somali government for years.

Al-Shabaab wants to introduce a strict version of Islamic law in Somalia, a country with a majority Muslim population.

Incidents of terrorism are also expected to continue causing havoc in northern Nigeria, where the Boko Haram terrorist group mainly operates, and in the Sahel region -- home to many terrorist groups including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Daesh/ISIS.

South Sudan peace talks

Politicians in South Sudan are expected to continue holding talks to form a government of national unity in the first three months of 2020 after parties involved in talks failed to agree on a number of issues before the end of 2019.

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar signed a peace agreement in September 2018 requiring all parties, including rebel groups, to become part of a unity government which was expected to be formed on Nov. 12.

But politicians failed to agree on a number of issues, including the number of states and their boundaries, leading to a deadlock.

South Sudan, which reached a ceasefire recently, has been mired in conflict between the government of President Kiir and rebels led by Machar since December 2013.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced almost 4 million people from their homes, including over a million refugees, who have fled to neighboring countries.

Conflicts in Libya, DRC, CAR

Conflicts are also expected to continue in a number of countries in 2020, including Libya and the Central African Republic (CAR), where various rebel groups have been fighting along religious lines. The Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has many rebel groups operating there, has been volatile and conflicts are expected to continue to dominate the regionç


Ebola viral hemorrhagic fever, which broke out in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Aug. 1, 2018, has so far claimed the lives of 2,231 people as of Sunday out of 3,373 declared cases of the disease.

The disease, which presents signs and symptoms including fever, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea, is expected to remain a challenge in the DRC in 2020 as conflicts pose a danger to health workers and patients.

Armed groups have attacked Ebola health workers and health sites treating Ebola patients, hindering treatment efforts.

According to reports, the current Ebola outbreak in DRC is the second deadliest on record after a 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people.

Destruction due to floods

Recent floods in East Africa killed more than 200 people in the region and displaced at least 3 million others.

Crops and homes were destroyed. Experts fear the region might experience a food shortage in 2020 that could prompt calls for assistance from humanitarian agencies. Countries affected by the floods included Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia.

Poaching of rhinos, other wild animals

Wild animals, especially rhinos, have been a target of poachers in Africa throughout the year and this is expected to continue to be a major challenge in 2020 if governments are to conserve wildlife.

According to the International Rhino Foundation, poachers killed nearly 900 rhinos last year in Africa. While this is a decrease from 3.7 rhinos lost per day in 2015, 2018 still saw 2.4 rhinos killed per day – or one rhino every 10 hours.

The global rhino population has seen a steady decline, dropping from a high of 29,000 in 2017 to 27,300 today. Conservation groups, individuals and governments will need to do more to save wildlife in 2020.

Tensions between Uganda, Rwanda

Ugandan and Rwandan officials failed to reach an agreement this month after accusing each other of attempting to destabilize their countries.

Rwanda claims there are some armed groups operating in Uganda that want to destabilize it.

The former staunch allies have been at loggerheads since March 2019, with their armies massing around their boundaries.

Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda and the issue is expected to remain a challenge for the two countries to address in 2020.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.