Africa has long been plagued by conflicts and violence, but there are promising signs of a new era of peace across the continent. The past year has seen several positive developments in some of Africa’s most troubled regions, suggesting that peace and stability may finally be within reach.
In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been making sweeping reforms since coming into office in 2018, including releasing political prisoners, lifting censorship, and ending a decades-long conflict with neighboring Eritrea. Ahmed’s efforts have earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and have brought hope to a region that has long been riven by ethnic tensions and violence.
Similarly, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) saw a historic transition of power in 2019, with Felix Tshisekedi winning the presidency in the country’s first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960. Tshisekedi has made efforts to address corruption and improve human rights, and has reached out to neighboring countries to work towards regional stability.
In Sudan, mass protests in 2019 forced longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir from power, and a transitional government has since been established. The government has made progress in areas such as freeing political prisoners and establishing a peace agreement with rebel groups in the conflict-ridden regions of Darfur and South Kordofan.
Another hopeful development is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which launched in January 2021. AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services among the 55 member states of the African Union, potentially unlocking economic growth and reducing conflict caused by competition over resources.
Of course, there are still many challenges to address in Africa’s troubled regions. The ongoing conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, continued instability in several countries, and the threat of terrorism and extremism all pose significant obstacles to lasting peace.
But these promising signs are a welcome departure from the violence and instability that have plagued Africa for so long. With visionary leaders and international support, the continent may finally be on the path towards a more peaceful future.