The headline events in 2013 – political upsets in national elections, multibillion-dollar mineral and oil deals, new threats for US and African forces along the Sahelian belt – will concentrate the minds of policymakers and journalists.
But do not forget the longer-term developments in the coming pages: they grab fewer headlines but may prove more transformative.
Three forces for change will gather pace on the continent this year. East Africa will lead the energy revolution, developing its oil and gas resources with Asia's hyper-economies.
What to Watch in 2013
Privatising electricity for growth in Nigeria
Eastern Congo rebels fill void left by Kinshasa
North Africa fights over fundamental principles
Kenya's long walk to free elections
Free schooling in Africa to move up a grade
Zimbabwe parties in disarray
Don't mind the mosquito in 2013
Oil & Gas: Fracking fans
Political pressure and technical innovation will speed up the production and distribution of electrical power, the single most catalytic force for modernisation.
And the rising pace of urbanisation, bringing demand for education and employment, will make African societies among the fastest changing in the world.
These trends mean economic growth will continue its upward trajectory, driven both by internal market imperatives and external powers seeking access to Africa's mineral and agricultural resources.
Implementing effective strategies to ensure that growth benefits the widest range of people without wrecking the continent's unique ecosystems is the core challenge for politicians and civic activists●