2018 annual forecast

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is a study in diversity. Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, the region is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources. It’s no surprise that it captured the imagination of Europe’s earliest explorers — and that it continues to capture the imagination of current world powers eager to exploit it. And yet despite the region’s diversity, Sub-Saharan African countries have common challenges — transnational terrorism, rapid population growth, endemic poverty and corruption — that prevent them from capitalizing on their economic potential. The coming years will be critical for the region, especially as its political institutions mature in a rapidly globalizing world.

Dec 22, 2017 | 21:01 GMT
Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources.

Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources.

(Radek Borovka/Shutterstock.com)
section Highlights
  • Southern Africa will undergo a sweeping political transformation next year as South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola try to move away from their long-entrenched leadership.
  • Despite his health issues, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari could seek a second term in 2019, though he may have trouble holding his party together in an increasingly competitive political environment.
  • Stubbornly low energy prices will continue to constrain Nigeria's finances, but as other sources of economic pressure ease, the government may have the means to offer some concessions to militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.
  • As the incipient Group of Five (G5) Sahel Force struggles to address persistent terrorist threats, the U.S. military will deploy armed drones over Niger as a new way to combat militancy in the vast, ungoverned lands of southern Libya and the Sahel.
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