Thursday, February 18, 2010

The 2010 Outlook: The Year of Africa?

It is quite amazing how time flies, we are already in mid-February of 2010 and so much has already happened throughout the world. The devastation in Haiti has been the most covered story in the news, President Barack Obama’s attempt to reassert his authority within Washington and the country has been the topic of choice in the United States, on a broader geostrategic note China has flexed its muscles diplomatically and economically against a weakened US, and Iran is slowly but surely reaching the breakpoint of becoming a nuclear power. A lot is going on in the greater realm of international politics, but many pundits have simply overlooked Africa…no real surprise there. 2010 is the year of the tiger for the Chinese, I believe 2010 is the year of Africa. There is no doubt that this year, Africa will be under a large microscope and whatever happens this year will have direct political and economic consequences for the new decade. If we start on the right path this year, we may have a promising decade.

For better or for worse, everything will be measured on how well South Africa hosts the World Cup set to begin in June. Africa will have a “good” year if the World Cup is a success and perhaps if an African team makes it to the quarter or semi finals. Pretty superficial measurements if you ask me but that’s how it’s going to be. If anything goes wrong in South Africa, we will hear loud and clear that Africa is not ready to host such extravagant events and if South Africa cant do it, no one in Africa can. We will see, I do hope everything goes well and all the banter leading up to the event is just trash talk, just like we saw during the lead up to the Chinese Olympics.

On a more personal level, 2010 is Tanzania’s election year. Now, unfortunately, elections and African countries are not viewed in a great light. A history of violence, ethnic strife, and constant rigging has plagued elections in Africa throughout even for the more peaceful country of Tanzania. Despite this, I believe Tanzania is at a crossroads right now especially politically. There have been attempts for political reconciliation between the mainland and Zanzibar, perhaps one of the thorniest issues of our parents generation and more than unlikely our generation. President Jakaya Kikwete has made promises of making a more solidified union and he is widely expected to win the elections in December despite some diminishing support and divisions within his own political party. The question is what will happen in Zanzibar and that is what my posts will try to focus.

We live in an increasingly changing world that requires new ideas and visions to keep up with the changing dynamics of the international system. The only way we can keep up is if governments and politicians invest in the youth, but it is not a one-way street. The youth need to invest highly in politics because at the end of the day, it wont be our parents’ Tanzania but our Tanzania. We have been lucky so far to have a relatively stable country and growing economy, now is not the time to disengage. A dormant political youth is a recipe for economic, political and social stagnation.

It is extremely difficult for me to shy away from politics but I also want to focus on the youth and their role in the election season as well as the political landscape of Tanzania. The youth of Tanzania has so much promise and I believe the political elites have recognized that, they just have to act on it. I will do my best to capture the feeling of the youth but I will have to show discrepancy from the beginning as I am writing this post from New York instead of Dar es Salaam, which puts me in a limited position. Despite that I do hope to start a dialogue, which I believe is the main mantra for Vijana FM. VIjana FM has attempted to revamp the role of the youth in Tanzania and this is only the beginning.

The UN has coined 2010 as the International Year of Youth, I have NO CLUE how they come up with these yearly labels. Who decides all this? Anyway, if this is the international year of youth then I hope it resonates back home.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Kweli AK! Unakumbuka reaction ya media wakati wa ACoN, baada ya basi la wachezaji wa Togo kushambuliwa na manduli? Tuombee mambo yaende vizuri na labda kombe libaki Afrika (dah, nikikumbuka defences za timu tunazozitegemea, natamani nifute nilichoandika).

    Kuhusu chaguzi Bongo..sijui nianzie wapi! Kwa kifupi sio kila mtu ana uchungu na Taifa na wananchi wake.

  3. this is interesting, especially this line and i'll quote "A dormant political youth is a recipe for economic, political and social stagnation". Well, youth have been pushed aside socially and politically by "greed old men" who want to stay in key position until the day they die, I despise them. All am saying is, that line that i quoted makes very good point and it challenges the youth, but youths across Africa have been marginalized and continued to be treated life "taifa la kesho" and not today, so if our time has not yet come, that only implies that, our opinions don't count today may be tomorrow, only if today ever dies so we can get to tomorrow. We have too many McCains in the political system in Tanzania. But hey am still hopeful since Rome was not built in one day....