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Africa searches for solutions

01-26-2012 13:17 BJT

Africa experienced a turbulent year in 2011, with fundamental political changes sweeping the continent. From the Arab unrest in the North, to the birth of South Sudan, to the renewed civil war in Cote d’ivoire. But such violence was contrasted by relatively stable democratic elections in Nigeria and DR Congo. As the African Union summit gets underway, the continent’s leaders hope to put together a strategy that will ensure political stability and foster development.

The wave of unrest in the Arab world spread to oil-rich Libya, which was under the control of Col. Muammar Gaddafi for 40 years, before he was pushed from power in August 2011 after a six-month struggle. On Oct. 20, Gaddafi was killed as militia fighters battling his crumbling battalion of loyal fighters wrested control of his hometown of Sirt.

Laurent Gbagbo became the first former head of state to appear before the International Criminal Court in December. The former Cote d’ivoire president was arrested in April, after months of violence claimed 3,000 lives, resulting from Gbagbos refusal to relinquish power after being defeated in the 2010 presidential election by Alassanne Ouattara.

In nearby Guinea, violence hit the capital in November, sparked by the announcement that opposition leader Alpha Conde won a presidential election in the top bauxite exporter. The clashes underscored deep ethnic divisions between Conde’s largely Malinke backers and the Peul, who had supported his rival Cellou Dalien Diallo.

July 9th saw the birth of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan -- after years of struggle with the North. Many hoped to see the end of decades of brutal civil war, which left South Sudan devastated. But 6 months later, deadly ethnic violence intensified in the South’s border states, and so far, more than 1000 are feared dead and 60,000 displaced.

2011 also began concerted African efforts to get rid of the Al-Qaeda linked militant group Al shabaab. The kidnapping of two aid workers from a Northern Kenya Refugee camp and several grenade attacks in the capital Nairobi, sparked an ongoing battle to secure Kenya’s borders, with the help of the African Union peacekeeping mission.

And on the island of Madagascar, political instability and an economic slowdown have become the norm since President Andry Rajoelina overthrew Marc Ravalomanana in 2009. Rajoelina named a new government in November, but the opposition immediately rejected the cabinet as illegal, throwing into question a road map towards an election in May 2012.

With 16 countries still heading to the election polls this year, including Senegal, which has long boasted peace and tranquillity amidst a region of chaos, some analysts say 2012 could prove an even wilder ride than 2011.

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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