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2017 Trends To Watch For In Africa

Story from: Africa.com

natural makeup

Africa is experiencing a number of changes, the African Union has elected a new commissioner and the body is charting a new path in political, medical and other policies.  

Here’s a closer look at trends that will dominate this year.


Elections and the fallout from elections will continue to generate attention. More than twenty African countries are headed to polls in 2017. Some of the hotly contested elections will be in Libya, with no official date set, Libyans are hoping they will bring much needed change. In Rwanda, Paul Kagame won a bid to run for a third term in office after amending the constitution, a move that essentially allows Kagame to retain power till 2034. Swaziland will also be voting this year, it’s Africa’s last absolute monarch and the polls will determine who the local officials will be.  Angola is also set to vote for a new president, incumbent President Eduardo Dos Santos says he will not be contesting.

elections in africa

The Global Impact of President Trump

How Donald Trump’s administration will interact with Africa didn’t receive much attention during his campaign trail. Trump has promised to reduce manufacturing in China and return it to the U.S. This could impact on China’s presence on the continent as the country currently enjoys trading power with many countries in Africa. Trump has also promised to fight Islamic State which has a growing presence in Libya and other countries in the Maghreb, but his strategy on this has not been made clear.

president trump

On – Demand – Economy

Analysts predict little growth and opportunity coming from many governments and believe that entrepreneurship and small business will garner the most in terms of opportunity.  In order to maximise on this trend, African entrepreneurs will need to look to the digital space to make an impact. Africa has become a growing hub in the digital sphere with both internet and mobile sales on the rise. Economic activity created by technological companies to satisfy consumer demands for immediate gratification has been described as on demand economy.

mobile money

Apps, apps and more apps

Mobile apps, web apps and desktop apps have begun to link together, and they can all be accessed on your phone. 2017 is the year programmers and web designers transform the internet to work better for mobile users. Some of the companies who made the most money in 2016 were technology based. Egypt based Yaoota raised more than US$2 million in funding, the largest investment in Egyptian tech startup history. South Africa’s Giraffe, Kenya’s Cladlight and Ghana’s Meqasa are among the start-ups making a name for themselves.

mobile apps

Faux dreadlocks and Goddess braids

In recent years, black African women have slowly been moving back to embracing their natural hair and this trend will continue throughout the year. Protective hairstyles like braids, Bantu knots and cornrows continue to grow in popularity. The latest in that trend is the faux locks, which are a way to test out dreadlocks before getting them permanently. Also on trend is the timeless goddess braids; their versatility means that there will always be a fresh new twist to them.  This year using colour fibre will be a great way to change up the style. Going thicker, then mixing the sizes of the braids will also make for a fresh twist.


Natural makeup is up

When it comes to makeup, less is definitely more. Trends that seem to have fizzled out include matte lip, contour and strobing. Now that contouring is fading out a more natural, fresh look seems to be taking over; highlights and a softer strobe-like accents are the way to go. When it comes to lips, a clear lip gloss will give the face a softer appearance. Wine stained lipsticks are the colour to have this year and slightly untamed brows are back in style.

natural makeup

Women’s fashion

Fashion in the 21 century is about re-cycling, re-using and reinventing. This year’s fashion statements won’t be any different. The first item making a comeback are sweatpants, they have moved from an item used to laze around the house, to one that can be spiced up with the right makeup and heels. According to South African fashion blogger and wardrobe designer, Tshepi Vundla fishnet stockings are also going to make a major comeback. To give them a modern twist though they can be paired with ripped jeans.

sweatpants and heels

Men’s fashion

Stripes and squares will dominate and beach stripes will be a great way to mix up the trend. Now that stripes are back squares won’t be far behind. From shirts to suits they can be incorporated in many different ways. Pink and purple are the colours of the year. Those who favour a more bold approach can get suits tailored in pink or purple, but for those who want a more subtle look.  Male grooming trends are moving towards embracing more sunscreen products in men’s daily skin care regimen.

pink stripe shirt

Online shopping

Online shopping is on the rise and caters for those who don’t enjoy shopping centres and queues. Now more than ever before consumers have the upper hand. They can compare prices online, and even give immediate feedback to suppliers. They are also able to import from overseas.  According to a report by South African based auditing firm KPMG 50 percent of Africans who shopped online last year bought imported goods. Sites like Yaoota have become the premier site for shoppers.

online shopping


Despite the global recession many Africans are still recovering from, more and more of them are looking to travel. Base airfares have given people an opportunity to travel in an affordable way. Airline companies will see an increase in international trips as a result of the cut cost. But they will also see more Africans travelling across the continent. Some of the most popular destinations are Botswana, Morocco and South Africa.

fly to morrocco

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