2017 was the beginning of a new era for many African countries. Long-term rulers departed in Zimbabwe, Angola, and the Gambia; internal dissent, economic challenges, and increasing unemployment rates pressured many countries including Ethiopia and Nigeria; and a divided ruling party in South Africa showed an electorate disenchanted with liberation movements
As millions of African voters head to the polls in the next 12 months, here are the elections to watch for, in chronological order:
When: Between February—May 2018
The polls come as Egypt grapples with a sharp economic downturn and a surge in deadly terrorist attacks that continue to put a dent in its image as a favorite tourist destination.
2. Sierra Leone
When: March 7, 2018
This West African nation will hold general elections in early March, with more than a dozen parties fielding candidates in presidential, parliamentary, mayoral and municipal elections.
The 2018 elections come at a crucial moment as Sierra Leone recovers from the devastating impact of Ebola and a tragic mudslide that killed hundreds of people and displaced more last year.
3. South Sudan
When: July 2018
The world’s newest nation is expected to hold general elections amid a brutal civil war that has displaced millions of people both inside and out of the country.
As the government’s term comes to an end in February, president Salva Kiir wants to hold elections. This is proving to be impossible, given that the government lacks the necessary funds and the security to register voters and conduct elections.
When: April to Nov. 2018
Landlocked Mali will hold regional, presidential and national elections in various stages, beginning in April and ending in November.
When: July 31, 2018
With Robert Mugabe out of way, president Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to lead his ZANU-PF party into the presidential polls in late July.
When: Oct. 2018
With 36 years in power, president Paul Biya is one of the longest-serving African leaders still in power. At 84, Biya is expected to run again in the country’s general elections in October.
7. The Democratic Republic of Congo
When: Dec. 23, 2018
More than two years behind schedule, the elections in the mineral-rich DR Congo will be finally be held in late December.
And the government have also resorted to an old tactic: cutting off the internet and SMS communication.
When: TBD 2018
With no exact date in place, Libya’s UN-backed government says it’s pushing ahead with preparations for presidential and legislative elections to take place in 2018.