As is customary for the onset of a new year, incumbent presidents address their nations, reflecting on the past year and outlining the agenda for the months ahead. In some countries, significant events are on the horizon, including general elections, the introduction of new constitutions, and the conclusion of transitional periods. Let’s take a closer look at insights from our correspondents.
In Senegal, President Macky Sall took the opportunity during his traditional New Year’s address on Sunday evening to assess his twelve years at the helm of the country. Reminding the nation of his initial election in 2012, Sall, who is not seeking re-election in the upcoming February presidential polls, emphasized the importance of peace in the forthcoming years. He also called for calm elections after a tumultuous 2023 marked by instances of violence.
Meanwhile, in Guinea, the President of the transition, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, expressed condolences once again to the families affected by the fire at Conakry’s main oil depot on the night of December 17-18. Officially claiming 24 lives, with nearly 200 injured and numerous individuals still missing, Doumbouya extended gratitude to friendly nations and partners for their support and solidarity.
Doumbouya also addressed the ongoing transition, slated to conclude by the end of 2024, outlining its objectives, including the submission of a new constitution to a referendum for the Guinean people.
In Chad, the New Year’s message from President of the Transition Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno coincides with the recent promulgation of the new constitution at the end of the week, following a referendum two weeks prior. Deby Itno emphasized that Chad is now entering the era of the Fifth Republic.
Turning to Gabon, President of the Transition Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguéma expressed gratitude to the Gabonese people for their support following what he termed the “liberation coup.” Justifying the coup that brought him to power on August 30, he asserted it put an end to a regime on its last legs, preventing an inevitable descent into chaos. He also highlighted his accomplishments during his initial four months in office.
President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo assured in his New Year’s message, delivered via radio and television, that 2024 would be the “Year of Youth.” The president’s address focused on themes such as economic growth, climate change, and peace. According to World Bank figures, 42% of Congolese youths aged 18 to 35 are affected by unemployment.