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Decade In Review: 2010-2019
Decade In Review: 2010-2019

By - Adedoyin Shittu

Posted - 09-01-2020

The 2010’s was a decade marked by political landscapes in many parts of Africa, especially North Africa where revlutin tagged the Arab Spring took place. The Arab Spring is by no means over. This is most obvious in Libya, Syria and Yemen, where conflict has torn states to pieces, and illegal militias and international armed forces have cast people into chaos and mortal danger.

The continent also experienced rapid changes in technology, big changes in the economic and, and much more. The continent also experienced extreme weather events and it was also punctuated by continuous hottest years on record. While focusing on Africa, there are some events outside Africa that we cannot help but to mention.

These are some of the memorable events that left an impact on the continent.

In Africa

South Africa Host World Cup

South Africa was the first country to host the world cup in the continent. The World Cup held in South Africa. In 2010, South Africa welcomed more than 3 million football fans from around the world to enjoy the planet’s most popular sport being played by the top international teams.

Kampala World Cup Attack
Kampala attacks carried out against crowds watching a screening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final match at two locations in Kampala: The bombings in Uganda in the capital city of Kampala was been traced to the Somali militant group the Shabab, which is linked to Al Qaeda. The pair of bombings killed seventy-six people nd left 71 injured. The Shabab said that the attacks were in retribution for Uganda’s troop presence in Somalia, where Uganda leads the African Union peacekeeping force and provides training grounds for the Somali transitional government’s soldiers.

The Arab Spring of the decade
December 17, 2010: The suicide of a Tunisian street vendor serves as a catalyst for the Arab Spring.On December 17, 2010, Tarek el Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire outside the governor’s office of his town, Sidi Bouzid. Within two months, the ripples of his actions had spread across the Maghreb and Middle East. Similar protests broke out in several other North African and Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.

January 14, 2011, after 23 years of authoritarian rule, Tunisian president Ben Ali flees the country for Saudi Arabia amid protests. January 25 of the same year, similar protests broke out in Egypt. February 11, 2011, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak announces his resignation and handed power of the country over to the military. Anti-government protests in Egypt broke out a month earlier, as part of the larger Arab Spring. When Mubarak resigned, the military took control of the government. Amnesty International said that at least 840 people were killed in the protests that transpired over 18 days. On 8 June, the ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took the oath of office as Egypt’s president after a landslide election victory following the ouster of Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

In Benghazi, Libya, on the 16th of February, thousands of protesters demand that Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi step down. The next day was declared the Day of Rage as the number of demonstrations burgeoned throughout the country.

March 20, 2011: In Egypt, 77.2% of voters approve a referendum on constitutional amendments that lays the groundwork for upcoming legislative and presidential elections and on August 3, 2011: Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is rolled into the courtroom on a hospital bed for the beginning of his trial. Mubarak faces charges of corruption and complicity in the killing of protesters.

South Sudan: A New Country was Born

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 agreement that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war.

Muammar Gaddafi killed in Hometown

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed by rebel troops in Surt, his hometown, bringing an end to his 42-year regime.

First Democratic Election in Tunisia

Millions of Tunisians vote in their first ever free election. The vote is for an assembly to write a constitution and shape a new government. Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party, is the winner with 41% of the vote. More than 90% of registered voters turned out to cast their ballots, officials say.

Nobel Peace Prize

Two women from Liberia and one from Yemen were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Saturday for their efforts to peacefully bring change to their countries. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman received their awards at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

Benghazi Attack

US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans are killed after a mob storms the US mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Algeria Gas Workers Terrorist Attack
Terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda took over 800 people hostage at a gas facility in Algeria. After four days, the Algerian special forces raided the site in an effort to free the hostages. At least 39 foreign hostages were killed, along with an Algerian security guard and 29 militants. A total of 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners were freed, and three of the militants were captured. The militants had said their action was a retaliation for the recent French intervention against Islamist rebels who staged a coup in northern Mali last year.

Westgate Attack

Four masked gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall, an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Sixty-two people were killed and at least 170 were wounded.

Goodbye Mandiba

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s trailblazing first black president, dies at the age of 95.

Deadliest Ebola Attack in History

The World Health Organization reports an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, the start of the largest outbreak of the virus in history. The deadliest outbreak of Ebola, a deadly hemorrhagic fever, started in West Africa and began to spread rapidly, most of the epidemic was contained in three countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Ebola started quietly but soon spread across the porous borders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to become a full-blown epidemic. The deadly virus made global headlines as images of people being left to die in the streets of Monrovia and Freetown horrified people, and the World Health Organization and Medecins Sans Frontieres rallied aid efforts.


Militants with the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram reportedly attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok and kidnapped nearly 300 girls. Many took to Twitter to demand the release of the girls including Michelle Obama and American actress, Angelina Jolie. The online protest marked the beginning of social media protest in Africa.

South Africa Xenophobic Attack

South Africa’s xenophobic attacks Several South Africans attacked foreigners in a xenophobic attack in Durban, South Africa, which extended to some parts of Johannesburg. Several people, both foreign and South African alike, were killed with some of the killings captured on camera. The attacks left 8 people dead and dozens of immigrant-owned shops destroyed.

Yahya Jammeh of Gambia Ceded Power

After days of negotiations and threats of military action Yahya Jammeh ceded power to democratically elected Adama Barrow. After ruling The Gambia for 22 years Yahya Jammeh stepped down on the 21 January 2017 surrounded by cheering supporters and accompanying ceremonial music.

Burkina Faso Coup Plotters
Burkina Faso’s Coup Plotters’ bid to seize power fails Members of Burkina Faso’s elite presidential guard led by General Diendere interrupted a cabinet meeting of Burkina Faso’s transitional government, seized the interim president and prime minister and declared a coup, and the world responded with an outrage.

AU announces single African Passport
African Union announced a new single African passport that permits holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states without a visa. The African passport is still exclusive to heads of state and other diplomats with Chadian leader Idriss Déby and Rwandan president Paul Kagame being the first recipients.

Robert Mugabe Out

Robert Mugabe, the world’s oldest ruler, resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, He ran Zimbabwe for thirty-seven years and planned to rule for longer. His presidency ended only when he decided to shove aside his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in favor of his wife, Grace. The seventy-five year-old Mnangagwa had been Mugabe’s associate for more than half a century.

The launch of AfCFTA
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda. The AfCFTA will bring together all 55 member states of the African Union covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion. In terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

Ethiopia and Eritrea restore Relations

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki agreed in early July to end the longest standing “frozen war” in the Horn of Africa. For nearly two decades, the countries were neither at war, nor at peace. When Prime Minister Abiy took office in April 2018, he immediately signaled his intent for rapprochement with Eritrea. He later announced that Ethiopia would accept the 2002 boundary decisions of the independent commission established by the 2000 peace settlement. Previous Ethiopian governments had rejected that ruling.

Ebola Returns to the Congo
The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu Province.The outbreak have spread to other parts of the country and across the border to Uganda since the announcement.

Sudan Uprising

Sudan experienced a series of political crisis at the end of the decade and this climaxed on 6 April, 2019, when demonstrators occupied the square in front of the military’s headquarters to demand that the army force the president out. Five days later, the military announced that the president had been overthrown. Omar Al-Bashir was overthrown after 30 years in power.

Dozens of people were killed – and some had their bodies thrown into the River Nile – in a crackdown on protesters in the capital, Khartoum on 3 June, 2019.

Boeing 737 Max No More

Governments around the world banned the Boeing 737 Max from their airspaces after two crashes in 5 months killed 346 people.

ECO currency in the ECOWAS
As part of its plans to make Africa a more integrated continent, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have adopted the name ‘ECO’ for a planned single currency to be used in the region. The 15 member group announced at the end of an ECOWAS summit in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Saturday. Originally intended to be launched in 2000, the ECO has been postponed multiple times, and the newest target date is 2020.


#AmINext Movement in SouthAfrica was sparked by Uyinene Mrwetyana’s murder. The 19-year-old student went missing last Saturday, August 24, and many South Africans across the country spent the week expressing concern on social media and supporting the search for her as anxiety grew. South Africa is said to be one of the most violent places in the world for women and girls. The women in the country went to Twitter to share personal stories of the violence and sexual assault they have experienced, and how the country’s pervasive gender-based violence (GBV) has affected their daily life. Using the hashtag #AmINext, women shared their fears for their safety. This was similar to the #MeToo movement in the US.

Electric Car in Rwanda

Rwanda becomes the first African country to introduce Volkswagen electric car.

In North America

Edward Snowden Leak

The Guardian and the Washington Post publish stories based on information leaked to them by government contractor Edward Snowden. Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began releasing a series of classified documents he obtained while working for the U.S. National Security Agency and intelligence consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. The documents revealed a widespread U.S. government telecommunications monitoring program, allegations of spying on world leaders and U.S. citizens. He revealed that dozens of African political and business leaders had their conversations monitored by the British intelligence service between 2009 and 2010.

Donald Trump Is Elected President

Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign that took relentless aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American democracy.

The surprise outcome, defying late polls that showed Hillary Clinton with a modest but persistent edge, threatened convulsions throughout the country and the world.

Donald Trump impeachment

A week before Christmas of 2019, the House voted to impeach Donald Trump, ensuring he became the third US president to suffer the same fate (after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). The impeachment was as a result of an anonymous intelligence letter from an official that expressed concern over President Trump’s 25 July 2019 phone conversation with Ukraine’s president.

The official spoke of an “urgent concern” that Mr Trump had used his office to “solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 election.

Congressional Democrats say the phone call is proof Mr Trump broke the law by seeking foreign help to interfere in US election and as a result the Democrat-held House of Representatives impeached him on two charges – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But to remove Mr Trump, senators from his own Republican Party would now have to turn against him.

The Middle East

The Rise of ISIS

American photojournalist James Foley is beheaded in a video recorded by ISIS, marking the beginning of the terrorist group’s rise to power. The Islamists’ bloody campaign included the high-profile beheadings of several Westerners, filmed by the group and posted online and it has quickly spread to other continent throughout the decade.

The Syrian Civil War

The successful uprisings known as the Arab Spring that toppled Tunisia’s and Egypt’s presidents gave hope to Syrian pro-democracy activists and March 2011, peaceful protests erupted in Syria as well, after 15 boys were detained and tortured for writing graffiti in support of the Arab Spring. One of the boys, a 13-year-old, was killed after having been brutally tortured.

The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded to the protests by killing hundreds of demonstrators and imprisoning many more.

In July 2011, defectors from the military announced the formation of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group aiming to overthrow the government, and Syria began to slide into civil war. Foreign backing and open intervention have also played a large role in Syria’s civil war and since the war began, more than 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, over a million injured, and over 12 million – half the country’s pre war population – have been displaced.

In Europe

Russia and Ukraine War

Ukraine wedged between Russia and Europe was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. The war sparked from a power struggle between factions within Ukraine; one wants to align with the European Union and the other with Russia.

The conflict occurred in eastern Ukraine and it began in April 2014 with low-level fighting between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatist rebels who seized some towns in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine. It escalated to outright-if-undeclared war between Russia and Ukraine.

Paris Climate Agreement

The World Strikes a Deal on Climate Change and they produced the Paris Climate Accord. The Paris Agreement is an environmental accord that was adopted by nearly every nation in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts. The deal aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels.

Britain voted out of the EU

The United Kingdom voted in a public vote – for referendum to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU. Leave won by 52% to 48%. The referendum turnout was very high at 72%, with more than 30 million people voting – 17.4 million people opting for Brexit.

Since then the formal process to leave the EU and the negotiations has kicked off and the deadline has been delayed thrice. The final deadline is 31 January 2020.

France Yellow Vest Protest

France experienced one of the most significant social mobilisations in its recent history, which laid bare the country’s social ills, anti-elite sentiment, growing inequalities and thirst for social justice.

It all started on November 17, 2018 when tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country to protest against rising fuel prices. Dubbed “Les gilets jaunes” (the yellow vests) after the high-visibility jackets they adopted as a symbol of their complaint, blocked roundabouts, burned effigies and clashed with the police.

Julian Assange Arrested at London’s Ecuadorean Embassy by Metropolitan Police officers
Mr Assange is arrested for “failing to surrender to the court” and his asylum was withdrawn from the embassy after his repeated violations of international conventions according to Ecuador’s President, Lenin Moreno.

Mr Assange fled to the UK when the allegation of rape against him in Sweden was made in 2010, which he denies. He is the founder of Wikileaks and wanted in the US for releasing high classified information.

In Asia

The Hong Kong Protest

In March 2019 the government of Hong Kong proposed a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. In response, the people of Hong Kong took to the streets in record-breaking numbers. On one day, 16 June, up to 2 million people marched peacefully in the streets of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong police have responded to the protests with batons, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and water cannons.

Although the Extradition Bill has now been dropped, the movement has evolved into a much wider call for change and protests in Hong Kong continue. What began as peaceful mass marches has exploded into the city’s biggest political crisis in modern times.

Commentary on the Decade
The last decade saw the birth of one of the deadliest terrorist groups known to man from the Middle East and they expanded their influence into Africa at the close of the decade. Africa cannot phantom what is coming in this new decade, but African leaders need to address the problem of insecurity and build a more secure environment for the people.

There was also a rise in the climate awareness as the decade recorded one of the hottest temperatures known to man. There was also a lot of extremes and climate disasters. In the new decade, it is foreseen that the new decade will bring only heightened awareness as world leaders and elites plan to make climate change discussions a priority.

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