Top 5 Elections To Watch In Africa And Predictions For 2017

Kurt Davis Jr.
Written by Kurt Davis Jr.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Photo: BBC

Rwanda

 

This election in August 2017 will have all the intrigue but lack the surprise. President Paul Kagame will win. He has critics and admirers with drastically different views on how he is allowed to run, why he will win, how he will win, and whether he deserves to win. Writing good stuff about Kagame will earn you some annoyed response emails. I can attest to this. But the reality for voters is he has many positives and, as a media- and generally message-savvy politician, he ensures those positives are the first and most consistent discussion points about him and Rwanda.

Rwanda has seen amazing economic development, poverty reduction, youth employment growth, and general technological and economic transformation under Kagame. Those are positives most leaders would die to have associated with their name. At the same time, Kagame is also accused of silencing opposition (and in a few instances, accused of assassination). This election will not be about Kagame. It will be about whether the opposition has a genuine, well-thought voice and strategy and whether Kagame engages that opposition in creating a stronger Rwanda.

Who will win? Kagame, Kagame, Kagame…but the people win if Kagame and the opposition can generate more debate — a sign of a maturing democracy.

Kurt Davis Jr. is an investment banker focusing on the natural resources and energy sectors, with private equity experience in emerging economies. He earned a law degree in tax and commercial law at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and a master’s of business administration in finance, entrepreneurship and operations from the University of Chicago. He can be reached at kurt.davis.jr@gmail.com.