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New Year Predictions: Events That Will Rock 2016

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Last year was a tough one for most people. From tough economic times to the wanton loss of lives; and so as we reflect on the events of 2015, we pause to remember those who passed on this year. ‪‎Uganda lost several of stars and leaders; we honor their memories, mourn their passing, and extend our condolences to their families and loved ones.

2015 was also the year when ‪Ugandan art expanded beyond its regional confines. For the second time running Uganda had a big contender for the BET Awards and it was such a huge deal when Eddy Kenzo’s Sitya Loss brought the award home. Hollywood’s latest IT girl Lupita Nyong’o spent time in Uganda shooting  the Queen of Katwe a movie based on Chess champion Phiona Mutesi coming out next year. And probably the biggest news, Uganda was back on top as Africa’s top coffee exporter!

This year is bound to bring more of the same but there are also some potential developments and milestones on the horizon that investors, consumers and news watchers will want to keep an eye on. Here are our predictions for the things that could happen, and get everyone talking, in 2016 …

#BringBackOurGirls #will bounce  back on twittersphere

Come April 2016, it will be two years since the Chibok girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and the hash tag #BringBackOurGirls will be dusted off and renewed to cause action. 

Fight against  terrorism

2016 will have Africa watching its other main terror group. It may prove to be a nervous year in which the African Union must harness what collective power it has to protect its citizens from the biggest madness of the millennium.

Fight to remain in power

Long-term leaders like Yaya Jammeh – who will declare a war on witches one year and declare the Republic of The Gambia an Islamic state in another – shall need to be considered far more carefully as Mr Jammeh marks 22 years in charge of The Gambia – and is likely to seek another five-year term in December.

In elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2016, will Joseph Kabila keep the third-term flag flying? And will Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni make it to his fifth term after February?

Further south, Robert Mugabe will be entering his 36th year in charge of Zimbabwe. His official birth certificate tells us he will be 92 in February 2016. His wife graciously told the nation that he would be willing to captain the ship of state from the comfort of a wheel chair at will the Zanu-PF congress in December vote for him to stay on and impart his wisdom.

The falling South African rand continues to worry the nation and South Africa’s new Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will have his work cut out trying to calm markets and reassure investors. How he fares could decide President Jacob Zuma’s legacy as the politicking begins over succession for 2019.

Creating employment will surely be a priority for the ANC government, even if they’ve been at that task for 22 years.

Over in Dar es Salaam, Tanzanians will be trembling in their boots, worried about a spot visit from their new president. The rest of us can only hope John Magufuli – aka “The Bulldozer” – will continue on his war path against laziness, as it is a godsend for cartoonists and comedians and people may, for a while, politics, some put in a full shift at the government offices.

Every year brings us closer to the extinction of our elephants, our lions and our rhinos as criminal syndicates in cahoots with Asian markets diminish the herds and the prides of the African plains. Will there be a concerted effort to stop poaching in 2016?

Smart technology will be all about car technology

Automotive technology will take up a record 3½ football fields’ worth of space (that’s 200,000 square feet and 25% more than last year) at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. While it may be many years before fully autonomous vehicles can be purchased, recent movement on both the technology and regulation fronts might help make 2016 a standout year for smart-car tech.

Companies will spend millions on cybersecurity

Companies looking to bolster their networks against hackers can spend millions of dollars on the latest defense technology. Cybercriminals can still get in if an employee clicks on a phishing link or infected email attachment. Employee error is the leading cause of data breaches, according to a report released in December by the Association of Corporate Counsel Foundation. Nearly a quarter of people who receive phishing emails open them, and 11% click on attachments, according to a Verizon report.

Commodities

Oil prices will continue their nosedive plunge as Iran starts pumping.  When prices fall into the $20s, though, things start to reverse. The most expensive U.S. and Canadian supply begins to dry up and eventually all the oil in storage and at sea gets sold. There is a sharp reversal and prices end the year north of $50 a barrel. Bitcoin and gold both end the year below where they started it.

Currencies

The dollar rallies as U.S. rates rise and eventually moves to parity against the euro but will close the year   at 1.10, about where it started. The Shilling, on the other hand, remains an unstable currency till long after the elections.

Key events to look out for

February: Elections in Uganda – Museveni standing for 5th term

February: Tokyo Sexwale seeks to become first African Fifa president

November: Elections due in DR Congo – but they might be postponed

August: Will African athletes shine at Rio Olympic?

December: Elections in The Gambia – will Jammeh stand again?

DR Congo president unlikely to give up power

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