Africa Law Update for November 19, 2015
On November 12th, officials at the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) noted while they had offered assistance to both Egyptian and Russian investigators looking into the crash of a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai Peninsula, neither had been invited to formally join the investigations. The NTSB is normally asked to participate in investigations of foreign air accidents and the FBI is often invited to join cases where terrorism is a possible cause. An article on the U.S. offers of assistance was published here.
On November 13th, Rosaviatsia, the Russian aviation agency, banned flights by Egypt’s state owned airline Egypt Air from arriving in Russia as investigations into the crash of a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai Peninsula continued. The policy went into effect on November 14th. The ban was announced here.
On November 17th, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov officially announced the midair explosion of the Russian jet over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31st was the result of a terrorist attack. Russian officials confirmed that a homemade bomb caused the crash after finding traces of explosives on the plane’s wreckage. Their statements mark the first time Russian authorities have publically verified the crash was caused by terrorists. An update was provided here.
On November 17th, Egyptian authorities detained two ground crew workers at Sharm el-Sheikh airport for questioning related to the crash of the Russian airliner last month that killed 224 people. Egyptian Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffar reported 17 people total are being held in conjunction with the investigation, with two of them being suspected of helping whoever planted the bomb on the Russian aircraft, but noted no arrests had been made. Details were shared here.
On November 17th, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released a statement after Russian authorities confirmed a bomb was responsible for downing a Russian airliner over Egypt on October 31st. Congressman Royce said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to ignore the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has reaped disaster. He called on the Obama Administration to push back on Russia’s intervention in Syria and to lay out a broad strategy for fighting ISIL. Congressman Royce’s statement was issued here.
On November 18th, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on measures to improve airline security as a first step towards resuming flights between the two countries. In addition to addressing airport security, the leaders also discussed Russia’s intensified military operations against terrorist groups in the region. Details can be seen here.
On November 18th, investigators looking into the Russian jet crash in the Sinai Peninsula leaked that the bomb that brought down the aircraft had been placed in the aircraft’s main cabin and not in the cargo compartment as had been previously suspected. A local Russian paper reported the bomb was likely placed under a passenger seat by the window at the rear of the cabin near the tail section. For more information, click here.
On November 12th, the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council called on all parties in Burundi to engage in peace talks, warning against any actions that might incite further violence in the country. The Security Council also called on the Government of Burundi to protect human rights and to cooperate with regional African mediators seeking to convene a dialogue to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis that has continued since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intent to run for a controversial third term in office earlier this year. Further, the Security Council indicated it would consider additional measures against Burundians who contribute to the violence and impede the search for peace. For details, click here.
On November 13th, U.N. independent experts welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of a new resolution condemning the ongoing killings and human rights violations in Burundi. U.N. Special Rapporteurs emphasized that actions must now be undertaken to follow up on the text and address the crisis in the country. Additional feedback was shared here.
On November 13th, U.S. President Barack Obama recorded a video message to the people of Burundi. In the video, President Obama spoke directly to Burundians and urged them to put aside the language of hate and division and to build a peaceful and stronger country. The video can be watched here.
On November 13th, Burundian opposition leader Charles Nditijie urged the U.N. to send peacekeepers to Burundi to help curb rising violence in the country. Additionally, Nditijie welcomed the recent push within the U.N. Security Council to ramp up efforts to promote dialogue between the Burundian Government and the opposition. Nditijie’s comments were captured here.
On November 15th, at least four people were killed in Bujumbura in continuing violence surrounding President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term in office. Attackers in the southern part of the capital targeted a police post, killing one police officer and injuring another. Shootings were also reported in Mutakura, where three people were wounded, as gunfire was reported in other parts of the city. Grenades were also launched at homes near Rohero. The scene in Bujumbura was described here.
On November 16th, following rising pressure from the international community to convene a dialogue inclusive of all Burundian stakeholders, the Burundian Government indicated openness to dialogue with all Burundians inside and outside of the country. Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe indicated an interparty dialogue had been launched in Bujumbura on November 13th. Additionally, he urged the ongoing dialogue will be based in the spirit of the Arusha Accord and Burundi’s constitution. Minister Nyamitwe’s comments were recorded here
On November 17th, Deogratias Niyonkuru, Secretary General of ADISCO, a Burundian NGO that organizes farmers to mobilize resources for development, called on the international community to help strengthen Burundian civil society groups to enhance their role in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in the country. Secretary General Niyonkuru argued greater participation by civil society groups is needed because too often peace talks are represented by the extreme views of the government and the opposition without the voices of the people. His comments were transcribed here.
On November 18th, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that escalating violence in Burundi is putting the lives of children in the country at risk. According to UNICEF, since the beginning of the crisis in Burundi in April, child rights violations have multiplied, with children being caught up in violent clashes and raids, schools being hit by grenade blasts, and more than 100 children being arbitrarily detained. UNICEF’s observations on the situation in Burundi were posted here.
On November 17th, an evening bombing carried out by Boko Haram at a truck stop in Yola, Nigeria left 32 people dead and another 80 wounded. The latest explosions break a three-week hiatus in bombings after a string of suicide attacks that culminated in twin explosions at two mosques in northeastern Nigeria on October 23rd. The Nigerian military has recently reported foiling a number of planned suicide bombings, while also targeting and destroying Boko Haram camps. More information can be found here.
On November 17th, following deadly Boko Haram blasts in northeastern Nigeria, Facebook activated is Safety Check feature, which allows users to mark themselves as safe. The feature was intended to be used in the wake of natural disasters, but criticism of the selective use of the service led Facebook to activate the Safety Check feature following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France, as well as after the bombings in Nigeria. The full story is available here.
On November 18th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned this week’s terrorist bomb attack in Yola, Nigeria. Secretary-General Ban said no political or ideological objective justifies the loss of life and terror to which civilians in Nigeria are being subjected. He also reiterated U.N. support for the Nigerian Government in its fight against terrorism. Secretary-General Ban’s response was transcribed here.
On November 18th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the arrest of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, accusing him of embezzling roughly $2 billion in funds earmarked for the fight against Boko Haram. While he is accused of awarding phantom contracts for weapons procurement, Dasuki, who is already on trial for illegally possessing firearms, denied the allegations. The full story is available here.
On November 18th, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in a mobile phone market in Kano, Nigeria. Three people were killed by the blast and eight others were wounded. The attackers were believed to be linked to Boko Haram. The latest bombings in Nigeria were reported here.
On November 12, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Ali Al-Za’tari welcomed the release of two Libyan humanitarian workers affiliated with the Shaik Tahir Azzawy Charity Organization. Mohamed al-Monsef Ali al-Sha’lali and Walid Ramadan Salhub were abducted in June 2015 while delivering humanitarian assistance in southwestern Libya. Coordinator Al-Za’tari also recalled that hostage taking and attacks against civilian personnel involved in humanitarian assistance are war crimes. His feedback was posted here.
On November 13th, the U.S. military conducted an airstrike in Libya against Abu Nabil, also known as Wissan Najm Zayd al Zubaydi, an Iraqi national who was a longtime Al Qaeda operative and the senior ISIL leader in Libya. Noting that Nabil was killed in the attack, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said his death will degrade ISIL’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Libya, including recruiting new ISIL members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the U.S. A press statement was released here.
On November 16th, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) issued a joint report finding that all sides of the conflict in Libya have breached their obligations under international law by committing war crimes, including abductions, torture, and the killing of civilians. The report also expressed concern for ISIL’s control over large parts of Sirte, Harawa, and Nofliya, as well as the group’s attacks on oil fields, check points, and petrol stations. The report’s findings were highlighted here.
Central African Republic
On November 12th, as new accusations of sexual exploitation surfaced against troops of the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) (MINUSCA), U.N. Special Representative to the CAR Parfait Onanga-Anyanga condemned the alleged incidents and announced a fact finding mission surrounding the reports. The latest allegations follow 63 confirmed reports of misconduct by MINUSCA personnel since the mission began operations last year. The situation was described here.
On November 13th, local media in the CAR reported at least 22 people were killed in raids on a number of villages. According to reports, gunmen cut the throats of ten people in the village of Ndassima before carrying out an overnight attack in Mala. Six more people were also killed in the village of Bandambou. While the national radio described the attackers as armed members of the Peul ethnic group, local administrators claimed there were Seleka fighters. More information can be seen here.
On November 13th, authorities in the CAR tried to boost assurances regarding the security situation in the country ahead of Pope Francis’ visit scheduled for November 28th-29th. Minister of Public Security General Chrysotome Sambia indicated authorities were prepared to implement a plan to secure the pope’s visit, while MINUSCA said it would add an extra 750 troops and 140 police in the country for the period leading up to elections in December. The situation was detailed here.
On November 17th, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the CAR Aurelien Agbenoci condemned the repeated and deadly attacks that took place last week at sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Batangafo and Bambari. Coordinator Agbenoci observed last week’s attacks in Batangafo killed ten people and destroyed more than 730 shelters. Meanwhile, in Bambari, the attacks killed three people, wounded 30 others, and have led IDPs to flee protection sites. Coordinator Agbenoci’s observations were summarized here.
On November 17th, South Sudanese rebels accused government soldiers of launching attacks against their positions in Unity state in violation of the peace deal signed by rebel leader Riek Machar and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in August. According to rebel spokesman Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, in the latest attacks, government troops hit eight of their positions in several attacks spanning Sunday and Monday. Government officials did not immediately comment on the accusations. For more information, click here.
West Africa Ebola Outbreak
On November 16th, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the third and fourth reviews of Sierra Leone’s performance under a three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and made arrangements for multiple disbursements. In completing the reviews, the IMF noted now that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free, the country now faces the difficult task of economic recovery. Acknowledging a number of fiscal challenges, the IMF encouraged authorities in Sierra Leone to make strong moves on tax policy and administration. Additional input from the IMF can be viewed here.
On November 16th, the White House issued a new fact sheet on the U.S. commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The fact sheet highlights that as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa reached epidemic levels in September 2014, the White House hosted a high level meeting with 44 countries to announce over 100 commitments to strengthen capabilities under the GHSA. A second meeting was held in South Korea in 2015 and a third meeting is planned for 2016 in the Netherlands. The fact sheet can be downloaded here.
On November 17th, the last known Ebola patient in Guinea, a 21-day-old baby girl, was determined free from Ebola after testing negative for the virus twice at a treatment center run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The baby, who was born the same day her infected mother died from Ebola, will remain at the treatment center for monitoring. If she survives, she will be the first baby born to a mother who has died of Ebola to live beyond just a few days. The case was described here.
On November 18th, the WHO updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending November 15th, no new cases of Ebola were reported. The most recent case from Guinea was reported on October 29th. With the recent release of Guinea’s last known Ebola patient, the country is now maintaining robust surveillance as the countdown beings to Guinea being declared Ebola-free. Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on November 7th. Additional data was analyzed here.
African Migrant Crisis
On November 12th, Senegalese President Macky Sall presented to the Africa-European Union (EU) Summit on the migrant crisis. President Sall argued that ensuring African countries receive fair prices for their natural resources will help to stem migrant flows. Additionally, he argued that African migrants should not be readmitted to their countries of origin when other exceptions are being made by European countries for Syrian refugees. President Sall’s comments were captured here.
On November 15th, at least 15 Sudanese migrants were shot and killed and eight others wounded and arrested trying to cross from Egypt into Israel from the Sinai Peninsula. According to witnesses, Egyptian border police shot the migrants when they ignored warnings not to cross the border fence. This is the latest in a number of instances in which Egyptian and Israeli security services have tried to stop the movement of African migrants, primarily from Sudan, Eritrea, and other parts of East Africa. The full story is available here.
On November 18th, around 20 African migrants were reported missing at sea after their boat sunk off the coast of Western Sahara. Spanish lifeguards rescued 22 African men from the sea on Tuesday in the midst of stormy conditions and recovered the body of an additional migrant. The boat, initially believed to be carrying 40 or so migrants, was destined for Spain’s Canary Islands. An article on the situation was published here.
United States – Africa Relations
On November 12th, President Barack Obama notified Congress of his issuance of an executive order to terminate the national emergency with respect to Liberia and the actions and policies of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Additionally, President Obama noted advancements in Liberia, including presidential elections in 2005 and 2011, the conviction and sentencing of President Taylor, and the diminished ability of those connected to President Taylor to undermine Liberia’s progress make it no longer necessary to continue the asset freeze obligations implemented by an earlier executive order. President Obama’s letter to Congress can be read here. The executive order can be downloaded here.
On November 12th, National Security Council (NSC) Ned Price issued a statement on the progress in Liberia and the lifting of sanctions. Since its emergence from civil war in 2003, Spokesperson Price noted Liberia has committed to democracy and the development of its political, administrative, and economic institutions, leading President Obama to terminate the national emergency declared with respect to Liberia and to lift economic sanctions. Spokesperson Price also encouraged Liberia to remain focused on future milestones, including the transfer of security responsibility from the U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in July 2016 and presidential elections in 2017. The full statement was posted here.
On November 12th-13th, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Dafna Rand traveled to Tunisia. Assistant Secretary Malinowski and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Paige Alexander co-chaired a dialogue with Tunisian government officials and civil society organizations to discuss recommendations on political, economic, and security issues for the second U.S.-Tunisia Strategic Dialogue. At the Dialogue, Assistant Secretary Malinowski and Assistant Administrator Alexander co-chaired the Democracy and Partnerships Working Group. While in Tunis, Assistant Secretary Malinowski and Deputy Assistant Secretary Rand also met with government officials and civil society members to discuss democratization in the country. Their travel was outlined here.
On November 13th, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Tunis, Tunisia to participate in the second U.S.-Tunisia Strategic Dialogue and to meet with a range of government officials and civil society leaders. Secretary Kerry met with the Tunisia National Dialogue Quartet, Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche, and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi. He was accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski, Deputy Chief of Staff Tom Sullivan, and Spokesperson John Kirby. A preview of Secretary Kerry’s visit to Tunisia was transcribed here. Secretary Kerry’s remarks with President Essebsi can be read here. His press availability with Foreign Minister Baccouche was detailed here. A joint statement issued after the strategic dialogue was posted here.
On November 14th-17th, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski traveled to Uganda and Ethiopia. In Uganda, Assistant Secretary Malinowski met with government officials, opposition party leaders, journalists, and civil society leaders to discuss the country’s pre-electoral environment and civil society space ahead of the elections planned for February 2016. In Ethiopia, Assistant Secretary Malinowski met with government officials, human rights activists, think tanks, and journalists and bloggers released from prison in recent months to discuss how to best advance democracy and human rights in the country. For details, click here.
On November 17th, State Department Counselor Tom Shannon and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima, in Washington, DC. The meeting was noticed here.
On November 17th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with Angolan Minister of Justice and Human Rights Rui Mangueira, at the Department of State. The meeting was listed here.
On November 17th, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner noted concern with the Rwandan Senate’s vote to proceed with a constitutional referendum that would allow more terms for President Paul Kagame. Deputy Spokesperson Toner said around the world, and not just in Africa, the U.S. has been consistent in its message that leaders should respect term limits and focus on building strong institutions capable of addressing the needs of their people. He said the State Department expects President Kagame to follow through on the commitments he made previously to foster a new generation of leaders in Rwanda and to step down at the end of his current term in 2017. Deputy Spokesperson Toner’s comments were transcribed here.
On November 18th, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti at the Department of State. The bilateral meeting was noted here.
On November 18th, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli met with Tunisian Union of Industry, Commerce, and Handicraft (UTICA) President Wided Bouchamaoui at the Department of State. Details can be found here.
On November 18th, the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program offered rewards ranging from $3 million to $6 million for information leading to the identification or location of six key leaders of the Somalia-based terrorist organization Al Shabaab. Al Shabaab was declared a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2008. Since 2006, the group has killed thousands of civilians, aid workers, and peacekeepers in Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya. Details were shared here.
On November 18th-22nd, Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein will be in Egypt for meetings with religious leaders and government officials to discuss the importance of protecting religious freedom, human rights, and tolerance. His travel was announced here.
Department of Defense
On November 12th, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James paid her first visit to Djibouti, where she met with airmen and senior leaders stationed at Camp Lemonnier, as well as senior members of the Djiboutian military. Secretary James also visited the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, where she learned about the role the Djiboutian military plays in defense of the country and what the Government of Djibouti and the U.S. Embassy are doing for refugees coming from Somalia and Yemen. Her visit was highlighted here.
On November 12th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General David Rodriguez paid a courtesy visit to Spanish Defense Ministry Pedro Morenes in Madrid. During the meeting, Commander Rodriguez and Minister Morenes analyzed the security situation in North Africa and the Sahel, regions in which Spain has increased both its military and diplomatic efforts. They also discussed growing concerns about instability in Libya and its impact on neighboring countries. The meeting was summarized here.
On November 13th, AFRICOM highlighted Deputy Director General of the European Union (EU) Military Staff (EUMS) Rear Admiral Waldemar Gluszko’s visit to AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Organized by AFRICOM’s Multi-National Cooperation Center, the visit was intended to familiarize Read Admiral Gluszko and his staff with AFRICOM’s mission and engagement with partner nations in Africa. Details were shared here.
On November 17th, commanders, senior enlisted leaders, and staff members from AFRICOM’s subordinate commands participated in the annual AFRICOM Combatant Commanders Conference in Stuttgart, Germany. The Conference brought together leaders from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and special operations components to discuss AFRICOM’s strategy and military partnerships in Africa. More information can be seen here.
On November 17th, AFRICOM reported that U.S. marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response – Africa (SPMAGTF-AF) have been in Uganda this month helping to build the capabilities of the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) at Camp Singo related to mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle maintenance. The vehicles, recently transferred by the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) will allow the UPDF to better support the African Union (AU) Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in combatting Al Shabaab. An article on the mission can be read here.
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
On November 9th-20th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) hosted a delegation of senior officials from the Nigerian and Kenyan health care sectors for the Health Care Technologies Reverse Trade Mission (RTM). The RTM was designed to introduce delegates to U.S. health care equipment suppliers and service providers seeking to do business in Nigeria and Kenya. According to USTDA, strong export opportunities for U.S. companies include biotechnology, anti-cancer and cardiovascular drugs, medical equipment, disposable products, advanced medical and surgical equipment, radiology, optical devices, software for hospital management, and internal networks and technology for non-communicable diseases. More information can be found here.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On November 17th, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Sierra Leone signed a new $44 million partnership agreement at the Sierra Leone State House. MCC Vice President of Policy and Evaluation Beth Tritter joined U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone John Hoover, Chief of Staff to the President of Sierra Leone Saidu Conton Sesay, and Sierra Leone Minister for Finance and Economic Development Kaifala Marah for a signing ceremony. The grant will support policy reforms, build institutional capacity, and improve governance in Sierra Leone’s water and electricity sectors, with a focus on Freetown. Details were released here.
On November 12th, Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi noted the Committee has now spent more than $5 million taxpayer dollars and 79 weeks on its activities, which they characterized as abusive, wasteful, and partisan. Further, Democrats noted the Committee continues to spend an average of $8,000 per day and appears to be planning to continue its work into the 2016 election year. A press release was issued here.
On November 17th, the House Financial Services Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Dodd-Frank Five Years Later: What Have We Learned from Conflict Minerals Reporting?” Witnesses included Jeff Schwartz of the University of Utah, Kimberly Gianapoulos of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Rwandan Minister of Mines Evode Imena, Karen Woody of Indiana University, and Per-Olof Loof of KEMET Electronics Corporation. The hearing was noticed here.
On November 12th, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi met with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson in Cairo. During the meeting, President Sisi welcomed cooperation with Lockheed Martin, which has provided Egypt with a number of F-16 fighter jets. Hewson highlighted the importance of Egypt’s role in supporting stability and security in the Middle East, including by fighting terrorism. The meeting was summarized here.
On November 14th, News 24 profiled the African victims killed in the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Two sisters from Menzel Bourguiba, Tunisia were reportedly killed in one of the restaurants targeted on Friday. Following the attacks, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, who was on a private visit to Paris, held a meeting with French President Francois Hollande. Details were published here.
On November 15th, at least three ISIL militants and a Tunisian soldier were killed in clashes in the Kasserine province near the Algerian border. The violence on Sunday followed an incident late last week in which ISIL fighters beheaded a teenager in Sidi Bouzid province and sent his head to his family after accusing him of being a spy for the military. The recent attacks in Tunisia were reported here.
On November 16th, the Moroccan Interior Ministry announced the arrest of four people thought to belong to a terrorist cell in Beni Mellal linked to ISIL. According to government officials, the cell was planning to carry out attacks using explosives as part of an effort to attract more logistical support from ISIL fighters in Iraq and Syria. An article on the arrests can be read here.
On November 17th, German police detained an Algerian man in a refugee reception center in connection with the November 13th terrorist attacks carried out by ISIL in Paris, France. German authorities reported the man was under investigation on suspicion of having told Syrian refugees at the center in recent days that fear and terror would be spread in the French capital. For details, click here.
On November 12th, a Kenyan court lifted an order to freeze the bank accounts of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Afrika. In June, both groups were removed from a government list of organizations believed to be linked to Somali extremist group Al Shabaab. However, the government had failed to lift the economic sanctions on the organizations once they were cleared. More information can be accessed here.
On November 13th, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) endorsed Uganda’s Investment Plan to transform its energy sector by building on its renewable resources, including wind, solar and geothermal, and expanding the spread of sustainable energy throughout the country. The plan will be implemented under the CIF’s Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SRIP) and is anticipated to promote greater private sector engagement in the development of renewables. A press release was issued here.
On November 15th, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) for meddling in Kenya’s internal affairs. Earlier this year, the ICC withdrew charges against President Kenyatta, who was accused of stoking ethnic violence after the 2007 presidential election. Deputy President William Ruto continues to face charges at the ICC. The full story is available here.
On November 16th, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a new report detailing severe drought conditions in Ethiopia caused by El Nino. Recent weather patterns have worsened food insecurity in parts of the country and resulted in severe emaciation and unusual livestock deaths. In response to the situation, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has allocated $17 million in emergency funding intended to allow the World Food Programme (WFP) to facilitate food assistance for roughly 1.37 million people. More information can be found here.
On November 16th, the World Bank called attention to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Project (WEDP) in Ethiopia. The program is a $50 million International Development Association (IDA) investment lending operation designed to address the key constraints for growth-oriented women entrepreneurs in the country. Last year, WEDP disbursed $22 million in loans to female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, with repayment rates of 99.6 percent. The program was highlighted here.
On November 16th, BBC News reported Kenyan and Ugandan security forces have stepped up patrols in the wake of the terrorist attacks carried out by ISIL in Paris, France. Both countries continue to battle the terrorist threat posed by Somali terrorist group Al Shabaab. In Kenya, more police officers have been stationed outside churches and shopping malls. Meanwhile, Uganda reported a heightened level of alertness and greater collaboration between police and the military. More information was posted here.
On November 16th, at least 11 people were killed in Mogadishu, Somalia after rival Somali security forces opened fire in a conflict over who was in charge. Gunfire commenced as people lined up to receive food cards and at a camp for people have been displaced as a result of violence perpetrated by Al Shabaab. Local authorities noted some arrests had been made and investigations would continue. An article on the incident can be read here.
On November 17th, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic completed a five-day visit to Somalia. While Assistant Secretary-General Simonovic observed the progress Somalia has made in the fight against Al Shabaab, the implementation of the Human Rights Road Map, reforms to the justice and security sectors, and in the State building process, he urged increased support from the international community is needed to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights. For details, click here.
On November 17th, five people were rescued after spending 41 days trapped in a gold mine by a landslide in Tanzania’s Kahama district. A sixth miner’s body was recovered in the rescue operation. The miners reportedly survived by eating roots and using their helmets to collect water that was seeping through the landslide. Their rescue was reported here.
On November 18th, the Executive Board of the IMF completed the fifth review of Uganda’s economic performance under the program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) approved in June 2013. While noting that Uganda’s performance under the PSI has been positive, the IMF also observed a number of challenges, including depreciation of the shilling and rising inflation. As a result, the IMF encouraged Ugandan authorities to reinvigorate the structural reform agenda, including public financial management (PFM) reform, central bank independence, and financial sector enhancements. Additional observations were highlighted here.
On November 18th, the African Development Bank (AfDB) launched its Development Effectiveness Review 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Review will provide Ethiopia with a comprehensive report on the AfDB’s performance in the country and track how the AfDB’s operations have contributed to development results in Ethiopia. Details can be seen here.
On November 18th, Kenyan Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) CEO Halakhe Waqo said the agency has ramped up investigations into alleged looting of public funds. While the EACC’s work has landed two ministers in court, Waqo expressed concern the judiciary may not be doing its part to hand down convictions. He also expressed his belief that convictions will help influence the behavior of public servants and show the government is doing its job to fight corruption. Waqo’s comments were recorded here.
On November 18th, management at the Kenyan port of Mombasa announced plans to build a new, million dollar cruise ship terminal aimed at boosting tourism. While cruise ship tourism in the region has declined in recent years due to piracy, the number of visitors has been on the rise due to enhanced naval patrols and the deployment of armed guards on passenger vessels. More information was posted here.
On November 18th, following a meeting between company executives and union leaders, ArcelorMittal announced it will cut up to 450 jobs in Liberia later this week. Company representatives indicated the cuts are intended to help reduce costs and adjust to the delay of an expansion in production of iron ore caused by the Ebola epidemic. Details can be viewed here.
On November 13th, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Mali Mbaranga Gasarabwe condemned increasing attacks against humanitarian organizations in the country. Her comments follow the detonation of an explosive device at a building housing an NGO in Menaka. According to OCHA, since the start of the year, humanitarian personnel and facilities in Mali have been targeted with violence 30 times. For more information, click here.
On November 13th, the AfDB completed the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 13th African Development Fund (AFD-13) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The ADF is the concessional window of the AfDB and contributed to poverty reduction and economic and social development in low income African Countries. More information can be seen here.
On November 13th, local authorities in northeastern Ghana noted they were considering the implementation of laws that would punish community members who refuse to use the Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets (LLINs) given to them by UNICEF. While the nets were provided to provide residents with extra protection against malaria, local officials have found that rather than sleeping under the nets, farmers are using them to cover their hencoops and crops. The problem was discussed here.
On November 13th-17th, the AfDB, in partnership with the AU Commission (AUC) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) kicked off the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week in Cote d’Ivoire. A series of events was held to ensure coordinated approaches towards infrastructure development on the continent. PIDA currently funds 51 regional projects across Africa in the energy, transportation, communications, and water sectors. Details were posted here.
On November 16th, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina observed a minute of silence at the Residence of France in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire following Friday’s ISIL attacks in Paris. At the event intended to honor the victims of the attacks, President Adesina also paid his respects to French Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire Georges Serre. President Adesina’s participation in events related to the Paris attacks was detailed here.
On November 16th, Malian defense forces announced the arrest of Alaye Bocari, a leading financial backer of the Massina Liberation Front (MLF), a group behind a number of terrorist attacks executed in the country. Bocari was detained in the Mopti region by an army patrol acting on intelligence provided by the local population. Since last month, more than 30 arrests have been made as part of a new operation intended to crack down on terrorist activities. More information as shared here.
On November 17th-18th, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina traveled to Accra, Ghana to attend a High Level Roundtable on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. The meeting, organized by Global Panel, was designed to bring together government representatives and other stakeholders to promote understanding of how agriculture and food systems can work together to improve nutrition. While in Ghana, President Adesina also met with Ghanaian Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Seth Terkper to discuss ways of strengthening AfDB-Ghana cooperation. President Adesina’s visit to Ghana was summarized here.
On November 18th, Senegalese Interior Minister Abdoulaye Daouda announced the country will follow the lead of Chad and Cameroon in banning women from wearing burqas. In announcing the policy shift, Minister Daouda said the move was a matter of national security and designed to prevent terrorists from using the burqa as a disguise. While Senegal has not experienced a terrorist attack recently, authorities registered concern that Boko Haram may be looking to extend its reach in West Africa. An article on the ban was published here.
On November 18th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari requested that the Nigerian senate approve a supplementary budget of $2.1 billion to cover the debt owed to fuel importers under a subsidy scheme. President Buhari argued passage of the supplementary budget will be key to resolving new fuel shortages and closing the debts still owed to importers for the past two years. The situation was described here.
On November 13th, the ICC granted early release to Congolese warlord Germain Katanga, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2014 after being convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes for leading his militia, the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI), in a 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro. Katanga was the second person to be convicted by the ICC and is now the first ICC convict to be freed. An article on his release was published here.
On November 13th, the CIF endorsed Rwanda’s Investment Plan to significantly develop much-needed off-grid electricity access for households, productive uses, schools, health centers, and institutions throughout the country, particularly in rural areas. The plan will be implemented with support from the World Bank and the AfDB. The strategy was discussed here.
On November 13th, in response to protests surrounding a viral video about the challenges and racism faced by black students in South Africa, Stellenbosch University management decided to teach classes in English as opposed to Afrikaans. While the university is two-thirds white, black students argued that they struggled to learn in Afrikaans, one of the main languages spoken by South Africa’s white minority. The full story is available here.
On November 16th, 17 young Angolan activists were charged with rebellion, planning mass action of civil disobedience in Luanda, and producing fake passports. The defendants were detained in June after organizing a reading of Gene Sharp’s “From Dictatorship to Democracy: a Conceptual Framework for Liberation.” Their defense lawyer argued the activists could not be charged because debate and free speech are protected under Angola’s constitution. The case was outlined here.
On November 16th, weather forecasters in South Africa urged the public to take all necessary precautions against severe hail storms expected to hit Gauteng. The warning follows hailstorms in Limpopo over the weekend that left fruit trees and populations decimated. The warning was issued here.
On November 16th, the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa ruled that two children switched at birth will remain with the families who raised them. The parents, however, will be permitted to maintain contact with their biological children under the ruling. The two children were accidentally swapped at a hospital in Gauteng province five years ago. The full story is available here.
On November 16th, local media in Zimbabwe reported that President Robert Mugabe’s Administration will implement new regulations ordering roughly 300,000 beneficiaries of the land reforms launched 15 years ago to pay annual rent and levies. The controversial policies had the result of driving white commercial farmers off the land which was then ceded to landless black farmers. The new rules were detailed here.
On November 17th, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water Leo Heller called on Botswana to look at extreme drought conditions as an opportunity to develop a strategy for providing safe drinking water and sanitation to its people in the long run. Botswana is currently facing one of the worst droughts in its history with a significant part of the population facing a severe water shortage. Details can be accessed here.
On November 17th, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced South African and U.S. officials had signed an agreement to resume imports of 65,000 tons of chick each year. The agreement follows President Barack Obama’s threat to suspend trade benefits for South African farm products under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Minister Davies also indicated remaining issues, including concerns over salmonella bacteria and pork should cuts, will be resolved by the end of the year An update was provided here.
On November 17th, the Rwandan Senate unanimously approved a draft constitution that would allow President Paul Kagame to seek a third term in office. The vote is anticipated to clear the way for a referendum that is widely expected to approve the constitutional change. The new proposal would allow President Kagame, whose current term ends in 2017, to run for another seven-year term, and then two-five years, allowing him to potentially hold power until 2034. The vote was reported here.
On November 17th, Madagascar lawmakers indicated they will undertake new efforts to amend a discriminatory nationality law that stops mothers from passing citizenship on to their children in order to address the issue of statelessness. President of Madagascar’s National Assembly Jean Max Rakotomamonjy said he plans to put a draft bill before the parliament by the end of the year. For more information, click here.
On November 17th, BMW’s South African Unit announced it plans to invest $418 million at its plant in Pretoria, where the new X3 model will be manufactured for both exports and local sales. The X3 is one of the most successful BMW models, representing 28 percent of the company’s global sales. The Pretoria plant is expected to reach production of 70,000 units by the end of the year. Details were shared here.
On November 18th, the World Bank released the second edition of the Malawi Economic Monitor (MEM-2) titled, “Adjusting in Turbulent Times.” The report projects that Malawi’s economic growth rate for 2015 will slow down to 2.8 percent due to a combination of factors including weak fiscal discipline and weather shocks on agricultural production. Additionally, the MEM-2 forecasts inflation will rise to an average of 21.5 percent in 2015, the second highest inflation rate in Africa. The full report can be downloaded here.
On November 18th, South African experts analyzed the country’s recent weather patterns, which have included record-breaking heat waves, unusual spring thunderstorms, and summer drought. According to scientists, the abnormal patterns have been caused by regular climate dynamics, El Nino, and global warming. Additional analysis was provided here.
On November 18th, as part of the AfricaCom mobile industry conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, Facebook announced Free Basic services will be provided with free mobile data for its users on Bharti Airtel Africa in 17 countries on the continent. Free Basics is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative and aims to provide basic websites and other services with the goal of introducing people to the internet and the value it can add to their lives. The new services will be rolled out first in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, and Niger. The program was announced here.
On November 18th, Reuters analyzed DRC Katanga Province Governor Moise Katumbi’s prospects for victory should he decide to enter the race to succeed current President Joseph Kabila next year. Some analysts believe Governor Katumbi’s ownership of Africa’s top soccer club, TP Mazembe, could help boost his profile in a national election. Governor Katumbi’s potential candidacy was discussed here.
General Africa News
On November 10th, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, Guinean President Alpha Conde, Benin’s President Boni Yayi, Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn joined French President Francois Hollande in Paris for a working lunch ahead of next month’s climate negotiations. The African leaders discussed sustainable development and Africa’s interests in mitigating the effects of climate change. More information can be found here.
On November 12th, the World Bank Human Resources team concluded a series of outreach events in Africa as part of a recent recruitment drive to establish relationships with top universities and institutions in Africa for future recruiting efforts and to communicate directly with potential talent interested in working for the Bank. The World Bank team hosted events in Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. Details can be viewed here.
On November 16th, Quartz Africa outlined the challenges facing Africa’s pharmaceutical industry. While the continent’s pharmaceutical sector is one of the fastest growing in the world, growing from $4.7 billion in 2003 to $20.8 billion in 2013, Africa is facing a shortage of specialists to conduct clinical research and develop new medicines. In addition, the industry sees a lack of standardization in regulation. An article on the situation can be read here.
On November 17th, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian invoked the EU’s mutual assistance clause to request military assistance from its partners in Europe for a number of missions in the Middle East and North Africa. Minister Le Drian said France cannot handle its current operations in the Sahel and the CAR while also protecting the homeland. French troops have also been deployed in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. Minister Le Drian’s comments were recorded here.
On November 18th, the AfDB’s Board of Directors approved an unfunded $100 million Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited (SMBCE) to support issuing banks in Africa in expanding their trade finance operations. The Board noted approval of the RPA will help address critical market demand for trade finance on the continent by providing support for trade in vital sectors such as agricultural and manufacturing. A press release was issued here.
Madeline Beecher and Joseph Sweiss are co-authors of this article.