By Felix Tih
ANKARA (AA) - From the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize to the fast pacing of peace process in South Sudan, coupled with the discovery of rare black leopard and saving of white rhinoceros from the total extinction, the year 2019 has left many positive marks behind in the African continent.
Ethiopian prime minister’s initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea was lauded by the international community, which ended a bloody chapter in the history of two countries. The country also launched its first remote sensing satellite, designed to provide multi-purpose data related to agriculture.
The National Geographic team discovered the presence of a rare black leopard in central Kenya, first time after 100 years in February. Images of the black melanistic cat were captured by American Biologist Nick Pilfold, who was part of the National Geographic team. Also, a group of scientists reported that they successfully harvested two eggs of the last two remaining white rhinos, thus saving the species from extinction. The last male northern white rhino died last year in Kenya leaving behind two infertile females.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, Richard Vigne, the head of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which houses the two rhinos, described the exercise as a historic milestone and a first step towards saving the white rhinos from total extinction.
On the politico-economic front, in November, eight West African countries announced to withdraw their foreign currency reserves from the French Central Bank.
The move was fraught with political ramifications, also coming with the decision to replace the CFA franc -- the euro-linked currency used in 14 West and Central African countries -- with a new common currency, named eco.
While it has been largely hailed in the African continent, experts fear the move, having implications on the French economy, is full of complications.
- Protests and reconciliations
More than 70 Guinean demonstrators were killed by security forces during ongoing protests against a possible constitutional change to allow President Alpha Conde to run for a third or even a fourth term.
The current constitution, adopted only nine years ago, allows the president to run for two terms only.
Attempting reconciliation, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya in September called for a national dialogue to focus on issues faced by the English-speaking populations in the northwest and southwest regions of the Central African country.
He ordered the release of more than 300 separatists and opposition leaders, as well.
Biya also announced granting the special status for Anglophone Regions in the Central African state that had been demanding more powers since August 2016.
A national unity government is expected to take over in South Sudan next year in February after almost year-long negotiations. There were several rounds of talks between the government and opposition leaders in 2019 in the country's capital Juba and Uganda.
Many African countries -- Nigeria, Botswana, Senegal, Namibia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) -- witnessed elections in 2019. The incumbent won the elections in South Africa, Senegal and Nigeria.
- Terrorism and natural disasters
Leaders of Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Mauritania evolved a joint strategy against terrorism, following an attack on a military camp in Inates near the border of Mali, leaving 71 Niger soldiers dead. Daesh/ISIS affiliate group in West Africa claimed responsibility for the attack.
Earlier some 13 French soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Mali.
In Nigeria, four aid workers were killed by the Boko Haram terrorist group in the northeast part of the country. The aid workers were kidnapped by the insurgent group on July 26 in Damasak, near the Lake Chad region in Borno State.
Natural disasters, meanwhile, continued to run havoc on the continent. As many as 2.8 million people were affected and more than 280 died due to unusually heavy rainfall and flooding in Eastern Africa.
A few weeks ago, Rwandan authorities evacuated nearly 6,000 people living in the high-risk zones.
- 2020 Africa year for Turkey
The year 2020 opens up as Africa year for Turkey, which is engaged in several infrastructural projects in the continent, according to Turkey’s trade minister.
Addressing the consultation meeting of African Business Councils under Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board, Ruhsar Pekcan recalled that Turkey has embassies in 42 countries and commercial counselors in 26 countries in the Africa continent.
To boost its presence and trade relations, Turkish officials will visit many countries on the continent in the coming year.