Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

African view: The year ahead

Ghanian football fan celebrating

In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Ghanaian Elizabeth Ohene wonders what the year ahead has in store for the continent.

This new year, 2010, certainly has a ring to it and as usual, I wonder if it is going to be Africa's year.

There will be smiles on our streets amidst the chaos, there will be kindness and generosity in the most unexpected places

Are we going to be in the news for all the wrong reasons, yet again and are we still going to be cited as the countries with potential that we somehow never realize?

Football will ensure that Africa hits the headlines with a bang right from the beginning of the year with Angola staging the Nations Cup competition.

There will be the usual complaints from the European leagues clubs about having to release their African players to play in the Nations Cup.

The Angolans will be praying the competition brings them better dividends for their public image so they can stop the ludicrously expensive adverts they place on international television telling you how great Angola is.

Three steps forward

And this year, more than ever, the world's coaches will take a close interest in the competition because they will reckon this will be the African rehearsal for the Big One in June.

South Africa will of course take centre stage for the World Cup.

Nigerian Christian pilgrims
The most thriving business on the continent will still be religion

There will be endless stories about crime and I predict the British tabloids will compete to see which one among them comes up with the most lurid story about a football fan being mugged and robbed.

But, believe me, South Africa will stage a memorable World Cup, a good time will be had by all and two African countries will make it to the quarter-final stage of the competition and the Black Stars of Ghana will be in the semi-finals.

Our politics will unfortunately still be three steps forward and two steps back.

'Free and fair'

There will be the usual manoeuvres to get presidents who have served their term and who should properly retire to stay on in office.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
Brother Gaddafi will no doubt wish to remain head of the African Union

The Grim Reaper will intervene in a number of countries as it did in Gabon last year. Those who want to die in office to save their families the cost of funerals will have their wishes granted and we shall have a number of grand state funerals.

All the incumbent governments, except one, that hold elections will be re-elected.

There will be raised eyebrows and the election observers will struggle to find a form of words that mean, "for an African election, they were by and large, free and fair and free from fear."

There will be a lot of manoeuvring in the period towards the African Union summit.

Brother Muammar Gaddafi will try to find supporters for his generous offer to be allowed to remain the chairman until the union is well and truly established and the African Union government is a reality.

One head of state will say loudly what everybody else is thinking but cannot or will not say; and there will be embarrassed laughter all round.

Telecommunications, visas and religion

The Somali pirates will continue to seize ships on the high seas and demand absurdly high ransoms and generally make a nuisance of themselves until one day they will cross the line drawn in the sea and shock and awe will be visited upon them and no sympathy will be forthcoming.

The best market for telecommunications will still be in Africa and the last grandmother in my village will acquire a cellphone and hold it lovingly every minute of the day in the hope her son in Sweden will make that long promised phone call.

boat with alleged Somali pirates is apprehended by a Netherlands warship
There will be no sympathy for the pirates when their time comes

Our young people will still be trying to get visas to the United States of America, the European Union countries and the United Kingdom.

They will be subjected to excruciating humiliation and nothing will stop them.

The most thriving business on the continent will still be religion and there will be even more charlatans prancing around claiming to be prophets of God and we shall go to work when they say we should and sleep at their command.

Sound and rhythm

There will be smiles on our streets amidst the chaos, there will be kindness and generosity in the most unexpected places.

The weather will continue to wreak havoc, there will be droughts and flooding.

I will pray that we do eliminate polio and all children go to and stay in school but something tells me it is a forlorn hope.

The world will throb to the sound and rhythm of Africa and we shall lead the way in fashion and design.

I shall do the commentary on the match between the Black Stars of Ghana and whichever other team as they play in the semi-finals of the world cup.

2010 is Africa's year!

Thanks for your comments. Please read a selection below:

Thank you Ms. Ohene for this write up. It is my hope and prayers that in this New Year, Africa will be able to take three steps forward without any backward. The greatest impediment to Africas' progress is politics of self interest instead of the people first. When is the Nigerian president coming back from Saudi Arabia? Why is it difficult for him to just hand over power to his VP? His actions amounts to taking Nigeria hostage.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

Cmon damilola, we all know Ghana black stars is far ahead in football. please give the credit. It will however be nice to see more African teams in the semis. I believe 2010 is the year for Africa, lets see ourselves as one and stop the pull-him-down syndrome.
charles, ghana

to damilola from lagos: hahaha, that is not going to happen with this year's team...stop wasting your time and just support the black stars!
abena, accra, ghana

Hi Elizabeth - Well you give us such positive thoughts for 2010 - I love South Africa and we have such a bright future ahead of us - Come on everyone get on board, help build us into an even bigger better nation of wonderful people Lorraine - Cape Town
Lorraine Shaw, Cape Town South Africa

You forgot to mention that Mr. Mugabe shall have yet again have another skin peel treatment in one of his back yard heath spar's in his quest to look good as life long president, whilst 'his' people scrap for salt.
Boni, Lusaka, Zambia

I agree with Madame Ohene! Just want to add that I had the pleasure to listen to hear the other night on BBC radio about her time with the Daily Graphic. I would add that every year is Africa's year! We just need to take further steps to solidify gains made. I had the pleasure to work for over 4 years in magnificent Ghana as well. So much was I impressed that with local partners we have started a business there! I conclude by sending my best to all in mother Africa! And... go Black Stars!
Raymond St Ange, Seychelles

you wish. Point of correction Nigeria in the semi-finals of the world cup
damilola, lagos , nigeria

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