In 2022, the world continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the worst of the virus seemingly put behind it. While new infections and deaths continue to occur, vaccination rates have been very high such that the world has been enabled to live with the virus without having to go through economically crushing lockdowns.

However, whatever hopes of a smooth economic recovery globally were torpedoed by rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine as Russia’s President Putin sought to cripple Ukraine’s ambitions to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). This culminated in the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, a war still raging. The war has pitched the West against Russia, and the West has gone all in, giving Ukraine as much military aid it can while slapping Moscow with the heaviest sanction regime ever seen.

The ripple effect of that war has come to define most of 2022: from the prices of crude oil and grains spikes to gas shortages in Europe, especially as it enters a potentially harsh winter. The war has also caused a flood of refugees from Ukraine into Europe and forced European countries to confront their energy dependence on Moscow. As the year ends, the war grinds on, much to the chagrin of Moscow, which had planned for a swift victory and has had to endure embarrassing setbacks on the battlefields lately.

The world also continued to suffer from the effects of climate change with record rainfall which caused flooding in numerous countries such as Pakistan and Nigeria. This is also as the annual climate summit, the Conference of Parties (COP27), finally reached an agreement to set up a fund for poorer countries that are disproportionately suffering the effects of climate change despite being the least polluters.

In Africa, the erosion of democracy continued in many countries such as Burkina Faso which saw two successful coups. Chad and Mali, announced transition programmes that could well see the current junta leaders transmute from military to civilian rule, and Sudan continues to see protests crushed by the current military regime. Meanwhile, the civil war in Ethiopia had a ceasefire agreement that was violated, before finally reaching a peace deal on the second anniversary of the war’s start.

As Nigeria approaches the 2023 elections, governance effectively stopped, and 2022 has been filled with pre-election activities as candidates vied for their party’s tickets. Primaries in this election season have been less rancorous compared to previous elections, largely due to a new Electoral Act, which was finally signed into law by President Buhari early in the year. This election will, however, take place under a cloud of worsening economic conditions and heightening insecurity, with attacks such as that in March on the Kaduna-Abuja train being a seminal moment.

At the end of every year, SBM makes projections of what we think will take place in Nigeria during the coming year. While the prophecy business is not an exact science, and our record thus far has been good, our 2022 predictions were our worst-ever performance. This year, we got 20 correct, nine partially correct, and nine wrong. How will 2023 play out? We will wait to see.

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