Relations between Africa and Europe continued to experience considerable challenges, with an October ministerial meeting in Kigali being the first formal meeting since the start of the pandemic. While an EU travel ban introduced in December on South-African states harmed relations, the EU also announced its Global Gateway initiative to ramp up investment in infrastructure with a key focus on Africa. The security partnership between the two regions faced challenges, particularly the EU's military engagement in Mali. Simultaneously, the EU completed key legal frameworks to guide its external action spending in Africa during the full seven-year budget cycle from 2021 to 2027.
Angola covers domestic politics, foreign policy and socioeconomic developments in calendar year 2021. Parliamentary politics were dominated by manoeuvrings ahead of the 2022 elections that included the retroactive invalidation of the major opposition party’s last congress by the constitutional court. The killing of peaceful protesters in Cafunfo, Lunda-Norte, by the police in January set the tone for increased repression of protests, though citizen contestation was nonetheless on the rise. Foreign affairs were slow-going and the economy remained in crisis, both as an effect of the pandemic, with citizens suffering from further aggravation of costs of living.
This contribution explores the socio-political and economic facts and events that took place in the course of 2021. Indeed, the year 2021 was marked by the passing of a number of laws aimed at protecting women in Benin. It has also been marked by the April elections, mass arrests of political opponents, the vaccination campaign against covid 19, jihadist attacks and a series of political, economic and social reforms that have spared no sector. The education sector has received a great deal of attention from the government, which is keen to use education as a lever to transform the economic structure in order to make Benin a regional platform of excellence in knowledge services. In this contribution, the effects of these reforms on the cost of living and the perceptions that Beninese have of them are also examined.
This article considers major events that defined Botswana’s domestic politics, foreign policy and socioeconomic developments in 2021. The article in particular assesses how domestic politics was dominated by Covid-19 as its impact continued to paralyse the country’s socioeconomic development trajectory. Besides Covid-19, the actions of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), corruption and money laundering, and the conflict between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and former president Ian Khama continued to be public issues, and impacted on the country’s governance. Ian Khama left the country citing maltreatment. An active foreign policy was upheld, and economic recovery was projected.
Burkina Faso covers major events in domestic politics, foreign policy, and socio-economic development in 2021. Militant Islamist groups continued to ravage the countryside as violence reached record levels as did the number of internally displaced people. The armed forces remained overstretched and unable to address the rising insecurity. This prompted the government to reshuffle its cabinet and military leadership. French military assistance to the region began to downsize. Despite security concerns and the COVID-19 pandemic, the bi-annual Pan-African film and television festival in Ouagadougou took place after a postponement. After 34 years, the Thomas Sankara assassination trial opened in October.
Burundi covers major events in domestic politics, foreign policy, and socio-economic developments in 2021. In the first year of his presidency, Évariste Ndayishimiye introduced some encouraging measures to improve governance, and made timid concessions with regard to civil liberties. He also showed considerable openness to engaging with regional and international bilateral partners and multinational bodies. This markedly improved Burundi’s diplomatic relations – notably with neighbouring Rwanda – and its standing in the international arena. The repatriation of Burundian refugees further accelerated. Human rights violations and several armed attacks, however, continued to cause concern. Economic growth remained low and poverty levels rampant.
In Cabo Verde the ruling Movimento para a Democracia (MpD) won the legislative elections in April 2021, while former prime minister José Maria Neves (Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde – PAICV) was elected president in October. In July the government reprivatized the ailing national airline by taking over the 51% stake sold to Loftleidir Icelandic in 2019. The construction of a large cruise ship terminal in São Vicente budgeted at € 27m was awarded to a Portuguese-Cabo Verdean consortium. The crucial tourism sector began to recover slowly from the COVID-19 crisis but still lagged far behind pre-pandemic figures.
Cameroon covers domestic politics, foreign policy and socioeconomic developments in 2021. A particular focus is on the armed conflict between the security forces and various separatist groups, that continued to ravage the Anglophone regions of the Northwest and Southwest. The Cameroonian army sustained its heaviest casualties. This war remained at the center of the country's relations with its Western partners, leading the European Parliament to adopt a resolution on the human rights situation in Cameroon that essentially focused on the Anglophone regions. Although the war, the health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the high level of misappropriation of public funds had an impact on its economy, Cameroon experienced renewed growth.
The chapter on Central Africa covers major - mostly negative - trends pertaining to democracy and elections, human rights, armed conflicts, but also socio-economic developments in the sub-region including those linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, major events within sub-regional organisations are covered, though both CEMAC and CEEAC were not particularly active. In 2021 the violent death of Chadian President Idriss Déby under opaque conditions had repercussions throughout the sub-region, constituting the single most important event.
Central African Republic covers major events in domestic politics, foreign policy and socio-economic development in 2021. A major military effort by combined rebel forces failed to topple the government. Most rebel movements thereafter witnessed defections and were on the defensive against the government army, which received military support from Russia and Rwanda. The announcement of the results of presidential and legislative elections held at the end of 2020 (and by-elections in May and July) confirmed the dominance of President Touadéra, but also created new frictions. The government faced the freezing of budgetary aid. The number of refugees grew.