Who or what did we celebrate in 2018 in Africa. Here are 10 people, events and things, which marked the year 2018 (if there are some other you would like to share, please send them in):
1. Abiy Ahmed Ali became prime minister of Ethiopia this year, and brought in a wave of new measures. He is particularly noted for ending decades of border disputes between Eritrea and Ethiopia, bringing in the 2 sisters back together, releasing thousands of political prisoners and for having half of his government made up of women, some in key positions including the ministry of defense.
2. Ethiopia welcomed its first female president in the person of Sahle-Work Zewde. Mrs. Zewde was unanimously elected president by members of the Federal Parliamentary Assembly on 25 October 2018. Sahle-Work’s appointment makes her the first female Ethiopian head of state since Empress Zewditu.
3. Peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Peace at last with the end of the border dispute in June and July of this year, marking the end to decades of tension between the 2 sisters.
4. The release from jail of Simone Gbagbo. The former first lady of Côte d’Ivoire was released on 8 August 2018, after 7 years in prison. We are so grateful; it took us 7 years, but Simone is free at last. Free at Last: Simone Gbagbo Liberated.
5. First person of Somali descent elected in American congress, Ilhan Omar.On November 6, 2018, Omar became the first Somali American elected to the United States Congress, representing Minnesota’s 5th congressional district
6. The Nobel peace was attributed to the Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, for saving women victims of war in the Great Lakes region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist and Pentecostal pastor, who founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been raped by armed rebels. His work was recognized with the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
7. Jean-Pierre Bemba, Congolese politician who had even won the presidential elections, has been released from jail at the International Criminal Court, after almost 10 years at the Hague. Many believe he was released because he was better contender for the presidency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo against Joseph Kabila or anybody chosen by Kabila.
8. The new Secretary General of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) is a lady from Rwanda, Louise Mushikiwabo; she comes after the Haitian-Canadian Michaëlle Jean. Mrs. Mushikiwabo becomes the first African woman to serve as president of the francophonie.
9. Senegal inaugurated its Museum of Black Civilizations (Musée des Civilisations noires (MCN)) in Dakar: Senegal unveils Museum of Black Civilizations, and Sprawling Museum of Black Civilizations Opens in Senegal. Senegal, like many other African countries, would like the restitution of all the looted African arts taken by Europeans and still hosted in European museums.
10. Not sure whether to applaud this or not: Major museums across Europe have agreed to loan important artifacts back to Nigeria for a new museum the country plans to open in 2021 (Europe’s Largest Museums to “Loan” Looted Benin (Nigerian) Artifacts back to Nigeria). How someone can loan you something they stole from you is beyond me! They should just return it!