By Maurice Kande
All too often African leaders and influencers tend to remain progressively behind due to a lack of proper strategic forecasting. In the spirit of sharing the upcoming top trends in 2018, I have gathered a list of future events that will disrupt the upcoming year. Each forecasting contains elements which can be used in Africa’s favor. The following trends will definitely affect Africa’s position in the world (depending on how Africans handle them).
1: The American (or Republican) Tax cut Bill:
Under President Trump, the US Senate passed a new tax bill allowing big businesses to reduce their tax spending. Many leftist politician believe that the new tax bill will increase inequality between rich and poor Americans and to a certain extent the leftist fears are true.
The American tax cut was meant to encourage American multinational companies to return to America. It also means that many American companies operating in Africa might return to their country of origins. In order to save those investments, African leaders need to offer better incentives to American investors as a reason to stay in the continent.
On the positive side, it also means that American private donors will have more money to support humanitarian efforts in Africa. An increase in revenue caused by the tax cut can also become a good reason for African leaders to convince Americans businesses which have never been in Africa to come and invest in the dark continent.
How to position yourself for this trend:
Poach more potential American investors in Africa ( since the tax cut will increase their revenues)
Increase the number of touristic attraction (since even the ordinary American will more money)
Encourage donors to increase their humanitarian efforts.
Africa needs to offer better incentives to American companies operating in the continent in order to prevent them from leaving or downsizing their operations.
African leaders need to speed up on this trend because the effects of the American tax cut will be manifest as from February this year. We might be running out of time already (for those who are still on holiday).
2: Israel, O Israel. The Jerusalem saga: ‘You are either with us or against us’.
In December this year, President Trump (him again) has boldly recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision comes with a great controversy and in order to get the world’s endorsement, the US government needed the backing of many other countries.
Unfortunately for the US; 128 countries condemned the move. In retaliation, The American government has threatened to cut government aid to countries who refused to back them.
Since taking over the White House, President Trump has promised to implement policies that would favor America first. And those threats now constitute a good excuse to push Trump’s agenda towards ‘ an inward America’.
I know that certain skeptics believe that the US government did not really mean to be serious, but watch this: ‘ the US has already made a USD 285 million cut on its contributions to the UN.’
Do we still need to take them lightly?
No. Not at all.
In 2018, expect to see more pressure from the US government to African countries. The deal will go as follow: ‘either you move your embassy to Jerusalem or we cut our government aid’.
Based on my ‘geo-poilitcal’ predictions: ‘only the northern African countries (i.e: Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria) will resist. On the Southern hemisphere, I mostly see South Africa and few SADC countries resisting the threat.’
When it comes to the rest of Africa, there will be only two possibilities:
– Countries with no resources and which lack resilience in the face of the slightest disasters will have to move their embassies to Jerusalem without resistance.
-Countries with resources ( such as minerals and oil) will be able to bargain their position. It’s either they will recognize Jerusalem as Israel capital in exchange of extra US protection from any possible extreme terror Islamic group or they will reject the US threat and invite China to fill the vacuum left by America. But this type of deal is only possible when a country has something to offer in return.
The US recognition of Jerusalem will definitely divide Africa in 2018.
3.The rise of Cryptocurrencies in Africa
2018 is definitely not a year to sleep… The rise of cryptocurrencies has disrupted the financial world from all corners of the earth. A cryptocurrency is a digital asset used as a medium of exchange just like any currency. There are many cryptocurrencies and ‘Bitcoin’ is considered as the most powerful. At the time of my writing, One Bitcoin equals $14.00.
Some countries are already using cryptocurrencies in their markets to purchase and sell goods and services. The downside with cryptocurrency is the volatility risk which may lead to a worldwide financial crash.
On the upside:
Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency. Therefore, even if ‘Bitcoin’ had to crash, another crypto currency may take the lead.
Cryptocurrencies are not regulated. Imagine a currency that is not regulated by neither the US Federal Reserve, neither by the European Bank and neither by the Bank of England.
It automatically means that African countries ,implementing the use of cryptocurrencies in their markets, will reduce the dominant power of the US Dollar on their economy. This could be a great idea for a country such as Zimbabwe which has struggled to adopt a singular monetary currency.
In 2018, I predict that Kenya is more likely to lead the charge in the use of cryptocurrency in Africa.
My prediction relies on the fact that Kenya is the precursor country which brought the technological means of transferring money with tools such as phones (i.e: M-pesa) and secondly Kenya hosts a strong technological creative hub that does not depend on constant funding to function unlike South Africa.
4: A change in behavioral respect towards women
For decades, women kept quiet in the midst of physical and sexual abuse from men. Recently, we have witnessed a number of women standing up for their rights and self-respect.
We are more likely to see a movement of women rising up in Africa and demanding the respect they deserve in various sectors of society.
Gone are the days where women were treated as ‘insignificant objects’ and African men will have to consider them as equals.
When women rise with confidence, they also bring an additional input in the economy. As a result, faster progress gets implemented in nations. African men will have to accept the rise of those women in their circles.
5: Artificial Intelligence
The A.I is coming and it is not a joke. Artificial Intelligence is simply ‘intelligence displayed by machines’. A few numbers of tech research companies have managed to develop machines with the ability to display intelligence similar to human. Please watch this video to get an idea of what an AI machine looks like AI Robot Video.
There are various views opposing the use of AI in technology but maybe if AI remains under full control, then we may put it to good use especially for an African continent in need of positive solutions in Disaster risk management and other political problems.
A good move would be for African governments to find ways of acquiring that technology for good and under ethical control. I strongly think that so much good can be done with AI as long as it remains under full ethical human control.
6: The world economy may reach tipping point, but we don’t know when…
This prediction is solely based on historical cycle. Since 1970’s, the world has been affected by an economic crisis once every ten years.
Those crisis were often preceded by economic booms. Since 2008, we have not yet experienced a global meltdown and we do not really know what will cause it.
One thing for sure,South Africa (one of the economic powerhouse in Africa) is already showing some signs of an upcoming crisis well disguised under presentable infrastructure.
Since we do not know how and when a possible global crisis may occur, it would be wise for DRR experts and African leaders to work on planning protective policies that will protect the continent ahead. Game on 2018!
Maurice Kande is an award winning futurist , political researcher and business adviser. He is with the Higher Capital Institute.
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