U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen completed a three-country trip across Africa this week that saw stops in the continent’s west and south. The visit sought to expand economic ties between the United States and Africa, in line with Washington’s much-touted desire to “reset” relations with the continent.
Benin was once regarded as one of West Africa’s “beacons of democracy.” But the authoritarian drift on display during Patrice Talon’s presidency has caused observers to worry about the country’s trajectory. That unease formed the backdrop to recent legislative elections, seen as a test of Benin’s democratic credentials.
Charles Ble Goude, a close associate of Cote d’Ivoire’s former President Laurent Gbagbo, formally announced his return to politics last week. His homecoming and reentry into politics recalls that of Gbagbo, who returned to the country in June 2021, and is sparking intrigue ahead of the 2025 presidential contest.
Forty-six Ivorian soldiers who were detained in Mali since July 2022 returned to Cote d’Ivoire last week after they were pardoned by Mali’s interim military ruler, Col. Assimi Goita. But although resolution of the dispute could present both sides with the opportunity to reset relations, that will likely prove a tall order.
When major energy reserves were discovered off Senegal’s northern coastline in 2015, many hailed it as great news for a country where more than half the population lives below the poverty line. But with the reserves due to come online this year, the situation is more complicated than when celebrations broke out almost eight years ago.
2022 was a year of significant events and developments across Africa, from coups and elections to climate change crises and breakthroughs. The year ahead is likely to see more of the same, even as the tectonic plates in global politics continue to shift, underlining Africa’s growing prominence in international affairs.