Articles on Countries to watch in 2017

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Nigeria faces a number of substantial social, economic political and security challenges. EPA/STR

Nigeria

Known as the “Giant of Africa”, Nigeria is the continent’s most populous state (170 million people) and one of its largest economies. It is home to over 300 ethnic groups and 500 languages. Nigeria faces…
The Philippines grabbed global attention in 2016 when Rodrigo Duterte was elected president by a landslide. EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

Philippines

The Philippines grabbed global attention in May 2016 when Rodrigo Duterte was elected president by a landslide. Often described as “Trump of the East”, Duterte has gained international notoriety for his…
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi. Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Iraq

Iraq is an important country to watch in 2017, as a source of instability in the Middle East since the 2003 invasion. Iraq…
Children sit at a makeshift camp for internally displaced people in Houdhieda, Yemen. Reuters/Abduljabbar Zeyad

Yemen

In Yemen, the civil conflict will likely drag on in a stalemate between the Houthi movement in the north and the Hadi government…
A supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a flag before Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

Turkey

Turkey tops the list of countries to watch in the Middle East. Surprising shifts in domestic and foreign Turkish policy will have an important influence on the web of complex developments in the entire…
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Reuters/Agencja Gazeta

Syria

This year may be a critical turning point for Syria and the five-year civil war, at least for the Assad regime, which is…
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir will likely intensify the Washington charm offensive and continue to stress Saudi Arabia’s indispensability to regional security and terrorism matters. XXSTRINGERXX Xxxxx/Reuters

Saudi Arabia

This year will continue to be a period of great uncertainty in Saudi Arabia. After a deterioration of relations with the United States under President Obama, the kingdom will be focused on strengthening…
Recently, the Sahel has been in the global spotlight due to famines, religious terrorism, anti-state rebellions, and arms, drugs and human trafficking. EPA/KHALED EL FIQI

Sahel region, Africa

The Sahel region of Africa is a 3,860-kilometre arc-like land mass lying to the immediate south of the Sahara Desert and stretching east-west across the breadth of the African continent. A largely semi-arid…
South Sudan President Salva Kiir presides over a state on the brink of war. Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

South Sudan

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a protracted war of independence that started in 1955. One internal struggle in this war was between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army’s (SPLA) leadership…
Nicolás Maduro was elected President in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez. Nicolás Maduro was elected President in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez

Venezuela

Venezuela’s major crises will continue in 2017. These include ongoing economic instability, over-reliance on the price of oil, shortages of food and electricity and increasing inequality. At the core is…
Many Brazilian politicians were involved in corruption scandals, leading to mass protests. AAP/Cris Faga

Brazil

Brazil is the ninth largest economy in the world, yet its real potential has never been realised. Having had a strong period of economic growth from 2003 to shortly after the global financial crisis, the…
Uncertainty about Trump’s capacity to respond rationally to unexpected crises makes the coming year a dangerous one for America and the world. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

United States

The breakdown of established liberal democratic norms has become the theme of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States. For this reason America and the White House are likely to be…
Elections in Uttar Pradesh will be the most keenly watched. EPA/HARISH TYAGI

India

This could be a year of reckoning for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party. Five states, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur are set to go to the polls in…
Thirty young Afghani women performed in an orchestra at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s challenges in 2017 will not be new ones, but those that have lingered from many years of war and violence. They involve armed conflict with the Taliban and related issues of terrorism, attacks…
Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party, addresses his supporters at a campaign rally in Lahore. Reuters/Mohsin Raza

Pakistan

As Pakistan moves closer to an election next year, 2017 will be marked by a political campaign by Imran Khan and other opponents to bring the Nawaz government to a premature end. They will exploit allegations…
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a mass rally and parade in Pyongyang. Reuters/Damir Sagolj

North Korea

In 2017, the Korean Peninsula retains its status as “political hotspot”, due largely to the uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s nuclear intentions. Even in the context of the country’s most recent missile…
President Joko Widodo has taken an unconventional route to national office. Beawiharta Beawiharta/Reuters

Indonesia

Jakarta’s gubernatorial election is by far the most significant political event of the year in Indonesia. Not only is Jakarta Indonesia’s biggest and most important city, the election matters because of…
Le Pen has declared herself to be anti-radical Islam, and has attacked “two totalitarianisms”, namely globalisation and Islamic fundamentalism. Robert Pratta/Reuters

France

In the aftermath of the election of US President Donald Trump and the UK’s Brexit referendum, many observers are keeping a watchful eye on how presidential elections play out in France in late April and…
German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a tough election year. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Germany

When Germany goes to the polls in the second half of 2017, there is a chance that the status quo will prevail. This is a…

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