Africa Update for August 13, 2015
Leading the News
On August 6th, United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza to resume the political dialogue that was suspended last month and reiterated his strong condemnation of the recent killing of General Adoplphe Nshimirimana and the attempted assassination of human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa. During a phone call, Secretary-General Ban expressed his deep concern over the impact of these events on security in Burundi. The call was summarized here.
On August 6th, upon returning from a visit to Burundi, U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello expressed grave concern about the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the country. Special Envoy Perriello said there is a need for both the government and its opponents to be committed to negotiations in a bid to resolve the crisis, especially as Burundians continue to feel a high level of tension and anxiety due to the ongoing violence. Special Envoy Perriello’s comments were captured here.
On August 7th, following last week’s assassination attempt on Burundian human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst said the attempted killing of such a highly respected activist sends a chilling message to all members of civil society and also to the entire population. He called on Burundian authorities to make clear that such heinous acts will not be tolerated and do their utmost to protect human rights defenders from future attacks. Special Rapporteur Forst’s comments were recorded here.
On August 12th, U.N. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Said Djinnit joined African Union (AU) Special Envoy Ibrahim Fall, U.S. Special Envoy Thomas Perriello, European Union (EU) Senior Coordinator Koen Vervaeke, and Belgian Special Envoy Frank De Coninick in condemning the wave of recent attacks in Burundi and calling on the Government of Burundi to immediately seize the opportunity for dialogue. The leaders warned the Burundian Government cannot afford to continue down a road marred by instability, division, extreme economic decline, and humanitarian crisis, and called for an immediate end to violence, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the resumption of an inclusive political dialogue. Additional feedback from the Special Envoys was shared here.
On August 6th, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Chad Thomas Gurtner reported further population displacement in the Lake Chad region due to fear of attacks by Boko Haram and appeals by the Government of Chad for civilians to leave areas where ongoing military operations are being undertaken against the group. Over the past few weeks, more than 40,000 people are estimated to have left their homes without any of their belongings. Because of the persisting Boko Haram threat, the Chadian Government is considering relocating some additional 20,000 people to the mainland. Details were shared here.
On August 9th, suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed four people in an ambush on the Damboa-Biu road near Nwajurko, Nigeria. The militants attacked a car carrying six people, shooting four dead and leaving two injured. Boko Haram has carried out several attacks on the Damboa-Biu road over the past two years. The most recent attack was reported here.
On August 11th, a bomb attack on a market in Sabon Gari, Nigeria killed 47 people and wounded 52 others. The attack occurred midday when the market was crowded. While no group claimed immediate responsibility for the bombing, the attack carried the hallmarks of Boko Haram. The bombing was noted here.
On August 11th, the U.S. Department of State condemned the recent terrorist attack targeting a crowded market in the town of Sabon Gari, Nigeria that killed at least 40 people and injured dozens more. The State Department recognized that while no individual or group had yet claimed responsibility for the attack, it took place in an area where hundreds of people have been killed in recent weeks by suspected members of Boko Haram. The State Department also noted the U.S. continues to provide a range of counterterrorism assistance to help Nigeria and its regional partners and commended the ongoing efforts of the Nigerian military, as well as the security and defense forces of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon for the gains they have made in the fight against Boko Haram. A statement on the attack was released here.
On August 12th, in his speech marking the 55th anniversary of Chad’s independence from France, Chadian President Idriss Deby said efforts to combat Nigerian Boko Haram jihadists have succeeded and will conclude by the end of the year. While acknowledging there are small groups of Boko Haram members scattered throughout eastern Nigeria and along the border with Cameroon, President Deby anticipated these groups could be taken out by a short war with the launch of a regional task force. President Deby’s comments were captured here.
On August 12th, at least six people were killed during a raid by Boko Haram militants outside Maiduguri, Nigeria when the fighters entered Bale Mamman village to rustle livestock. Fighting continued over three hours and four women were abducted. Separately, a senior Cameroonian military source said Boko Haram had killed a soldier from Cameroon in a cross-border incursion from Nigeria. Both incidents were detailed here.
On August 7th, suspected Islamist militants attacked a hotel in Sevare, Mali, killing at least five people and exchanging fire with troops encircling the building. Malian officials also said three Russian pilots were believed to have been kidnapped during the attack, although those reports were denied by the Russian Embassy in Mali. The attack was detailed here.
On August 7th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) condemned Friday’s attack on the town of Sevare in the Mopti region. During the attack, unidentified armed men launched an attack on a Malian military site. The attackers were pushed back by the Malian Armed forces, but then took refuge in a hotel in the town. At least one U.N. contractor was killed in the incident, while a number of soldiers from the Malian Armed Forces were also killed and wounded. More information can be found here.
On August 8th, U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Spokesperson Ned Price condemned the recent terrorist attack on tourists at a hotel in Sevare, Mali that killed several Malian and foreign citizens. Spokesperson Price recognized the victims came from different nations and faiths, highlighting the common cause that the U.S. and its partners must continue to make in the global effort to confront and defeat terrorists who have no regard for human life and diversity. In addition, the NSC vowed the U.S. will continue to support its partners in Mali as they combat terrorists. A statement on the attack was issued here.
On August 9th, gunmen killed ten civilians in an attack on the village of Gaberi in northern Mali. The attack follows a siege by suspected Islamist in Sevare with a death toll that has risen to 12 people. According to the Malian army, it was too soon to know if the attack in Gaberi was linked to the siege in Sevare. More information was reported here.
On August 10th, Islamist militant group al-Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for the siege on the hotel in Sevare, Mali, as the death toll climbed to 17. The dead included nine civilians, including five MINUSMA personnel, four Malian soldiers, and four militants. Al-Mourabitoun is linked to Al Qaeda and has been behind several attacks against Western interests in the Sahel region. The group’s claim regarding the attack was noted here.
On August 6th, in advance of the resumption of the U.N.-facilitated Libyan political dialogue in Geneva, Switzerland, on August 10th, U.N. Special Representative and head of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Leon urged parties to redouble their efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the country. During the previous round of talks, a number of Libyan leaders initialed a political agreement that would allow the country to complete the transition that started in 2011. While acknowledging that some parties continue to have reservations, Special Representative Leon said it is important for all parties to continue working on jointly addressing and resolving these concerns within the framework of the dialogue process. Special Representative Leon’s remarks were transcribed here.
On August 9th, a car bomb exploded in Derna, Libya, killing at least seven people and wounding 19 others. It was not immediately clear whether the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for the car bombing. Over the weekend, ISIL militants attempted to retake Derna, a city they controlled until June when they were expelled by rival Islamist groups backed by local residents. More information can be found here.
On August 11th, U.N. Special Representative for Libya Bernardino Leon reported that Libya’s disparate factions were starting to coalesce around U.N.-backed proposals on a comprehensive settlement and unity government, and expressed optimism the parties could wrap up the Libyan political dialogue with an agreement by the end of August. The latest round of talks is focused on the annexes to a proposal presented by the U.N. in mid-June and the vision for the unity government. Developments in the discussions were described here.
On August 12th, internationally recognized Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said in a television interview that he will resign on Sunday, although a spokesperson later clarified his resignation is not yet official. Prime Minister Thinni, who has been based in the eastern city of Tobruk since his government fled Tripoli last year, has been criticized for allowing the rival administration in Tripoli to take control of government institutions. An article on Prime Minister Thinni’s resignation was published here.
On August 13th, as the U.N. brought together rival factions in Libya for peace talks, helicopters loyal to the internationally recognized Libyan government based in Tobruk bombed ISIL positions in Sirte. Pictures posted on social media also showed eastern government forces, backed by armed residents, firing artillery barrages at ISIL positions on the outskirts of Derna, where ISIL fighters launched an offensive this week. Clashes were also reported between ISIL and a Salafist group near Sirte. The fighting in Libya was discussed here.
On August 7th, rival factions in South Sudan resumed peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the goal of reaching a political agreement by an August 17th deadline. Earlier rounds of talks have failed to break the political deadlock between supporters of President Salva Kiir and former Vice President and opposition leader Riek Machar. Last month, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) presented a compromise proposal outlining a 30-month interim government that would allow both men to hold power and proposing an election two months later in which both men would be eligible to run. The resumption of the talks was noted here.
On August 7th, mediators in South Sudan’s peace talks urged representatives for the South Sudanese Government to let Lam Akol, a prominent opposition figure who has been critical of President Salva Kiir, to join negotiations. Police in Juba reportedly blocked Akol from boarding a plane bound for Ethiopia, where talks were due to resume under the auspices of the IGAD. Despite receiving an invitation from the IGAD, government officials claimed Akol was not invited to participate in the talks. The full story is available here.
On August 13th, South Sudanese rebel General Peter Gatdet, who said he was dismissed as a rebel commander along with other generals in July, said he has ended his allegiance to former rebel leader Riek Machar after asking him not to join in a transitional government with President Salva Kiir. Speaking on behalf of other generals who had been dismissed, General Gatdet said the generals would reject any peace agreement that includes President Kiir and Riek Machar in leadership of the transition government of national unity. The full story is available here.
Central African Republic
On August 9th, the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) (MINUSCA) launched an investigation into an incident on Saturday in which a Rwandan peacekeeper shot dead four of his colleagues and wounded eight others before he also died. The incident is the first of its kind since MINUSCA was established in April 2014. The investigation was launched following an expression of sorrow and condolences from the U.N. The investigation was reported here.
On August 11th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed consternation regarding a number of potential allegations concerning the conduct of U.N. peacekeepers deployed to the CAR. The allegations, made public by human rights group Amnesty International, allege misconduct by MINUSCA peacekeepers, including the raping of a 12-year-old girl and the killing of a boy and his father during a MINUSCA operation. Secretary-General Ban said every allegation will be taken extremely seriously and investigated thoroughly. The full story is available here.
On August 11th, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced the U.N.’s Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) in the CAR has released $13.2 million to help support local aid agencies in delivering clean water, education, health care, livelihoods support, nutrition, protection, and shelter to people displaced by violence, returnees, refugees, and vulnerable host communities. While thanking donors for their contributions, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the CAR Aurelien Agbenonci said the funds represent just three percent of the $415 million still needed to reach all people in need in the CAR this year. For details, click here.
On August 11th, the CAR’s Kwa Na Kwa political party said former CAR President Francois Bozize will return from exile to run in October’s presidential election. President Bozize was forced from power in March 2013 by Seleka rebels and fled to Cameroon. His return would be complicated because the new government in the CAR issued an international arrest warrant in 2013, accusing President Bozize of crimes against humanity and incitement to genocide. President Bozize’s former Prime Minister Faustin Archange Touadera has also announced his candidacy in the October 18th election. The situation as discussed here.
On August 12th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accepted the resignation of Special Representative for the CAR and head of MINUSCA Babacar Gaye following reports of sexual exploitation committed by U.N. peacekeepers in the country. Additionally, Secretary-General Ban scheduled a special session of the U.N. Security Council on the matter and pledged the U.N.’s commitment to bringing any and all perpetrators of such abuse to justice. An update was provided here.
On August 12th, ISIL’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, published a photograph showing the beheaded body of Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek. The group said it had killed the hostage due to his country’s participation in the war against ISIL. If the authenticity of the photo is confirmed, this will be the first known beheading of a Western hostage held by Sinai Province. More information was posted here.
On August 12th, U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner acknowledged a photo showing the murder of Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek by ISIL terrorists in Egypt. While noting that the Government of Croatia was still working to confirm the authenticity of the photo, the U.S. condemned the violence and brutality that ISIL continues to carry out across the region. Deputy Spokesperson Toner said the U.S. stands with Croatia, Egypt, and all other friends and partners in the fight against terrorism. His comments can be read here.
On August 13th, ISIL released an audio broadcast announcing its Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, had killed Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek. The announcement came a day after Sinai Province circulated a picture of the beheaded hostage on Twitter. Despite the claims of both ISIL and Sinai Province, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said security forces still had no confirmation of the beheading. An update was provided here.
West Africa Ebola Outbreak
On August 12th, the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending August 9th there were three confirmed cases of Ebola, including two in Guinea and one in Sierra Leone. Case incidence has been below ten confirmed cases per week for three consecutive weeks, but the WHO warned there remains a significant risk of further transmission and an increase in case incidence in the near and medium term. Additional data was analyzed here.
On August 12th, Geoff Wiffin, U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Sierra Leone, said U.N.-supported measures implemented in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have helped keep classrooms free from Ebola infections. Across all three countries, there have been no reported cases of a student or a teacher being infected at school since strict hygiene protocols were introduced when classes resumed at the beginning of the year. More information can be seen here.
On August 13th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a webinar titled, “Partnering for a More Resilient West Africa,” to discuss the role of partnerships in accelerating Ebola recovery efforts in communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. Presenters included USAID Mission Director to Liberian John Mark Winfield, and ArcelorMittal General Manager for Corporate Responsibility and Chair of the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group EBSMG) Dr. Alan Knight, among others. The webinar was moderated by U.S. Global Development Lab Ebola Senior Coordinator Sarah Glass. Details were posted here.
African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean
On August 7th, following a meeting of EU ministers to discuss the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece’s infrastructure cannot handle the thousands of migrants landing on its shores and requested assistance from the EU. Greece has been on the front line of a wave of migrants seeking a better future in Europe, while also continuing to face a debt crisis. Prime Minister Tsipras’ remarks were captured here.
On August 10th, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the EU is unable to take in millions of migrants from Africa seeking a better life. Foreign Secretary Hammond warned a surge in migrants from Africa is threatening the EU’s standard of living and social infrastructure. His comments come as the United Kingdom (U.K.) has seen a spike in migrant attempts to reach the country via the Channel Tunnel from France. Foreign Secretary Hammond’s comments were transcribed here.
On August 12th, up to 50 migrants went missing after a large rubber dinghy sank in the Mediterranean Sea. Once the sinking raft was spotted by a helicopter, an Italian navy ship was deployed rescued 52 migrants. Meanwhile, Italian rescuers reported saving more than 1,500 additional migrants in the area from seven other vessels. The latest on the situation in the Mediterranean was discussed here.
United States – Africa Relations
On August 11th, Google reported that President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Kenya topped the top searches terms on Google in July. The top searched term was “Obama in Kenya.” Other top trending searches were related President Obama’s half-sister, Auma Obama, and the President’s official state car, known as “The Beast.” An article on Google searches pertaining to President Obama’s visit to Kenya can be read here.
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
On August 7th, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) held a public hearing to gather information on South Africa’s eligibility for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) preference program. While USTR has said South Africa is a vital part of regional integration and development in Africa, and argued that removing South Africa from AGOA could substantially diminish the significance of AGOA, U.S. poultry producers continue to make clear their frustration over tensions related to poultry tariffs that have persisted over the last 15 years. The hearing was noticed here.
Government Accountability Office
On August 5th, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported the U.S. faces a long road in transitioning its economic relationship from one based on one-way preferential trade programs to truly reciprocal free trade agreements in Africa. While the recent renewal of AGOA has spurred some optimism for deeper economic engagement in the region, the GAO suggested that negotiations and the implementation of reciprocal trade agreements may take many years to finalize. Details were shared here.
On August 6th-7th, Special Envoy and Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications Rashad Hussain traveled to Abuja, Nigeria for meetings with government leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, regarding efforts to counter violent extremism. Special Envoy Hussain also met with civil society, community, and religious leaders, including the Sultan of Sokoto, and held meetings with Nigerian partners to examine ways to combat extremist activities and promote peaceful relations among all communities. His travel was announced here.
On August 7th, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin met with U.S. Ambassador to Algeria Joan Polaschik, at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the State Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here.
On August 10th, the State Department announced five U.S. college graduates who were selected to participate in the 2015-2015 Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship to explore the power of music to influence culture and engage audiences overseas on topics of global importance. Among the 2015-2016 Fulbright-mtvU Fellows is Lena Weissbrot, an alumna of Florida State University who will examine hip hop music in South Africa as a form of activism among feminist artists. More information can be found here.
On August 10th, State Department Spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that U.S. officials from the public affairs and political sections of the U.S. Embassy in Kampala participated in pride events held last week in Uganda. Additionally, in response to reports that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has threatened his nephew with imprisonment or execution for posting a Facebook post in support of gay rights, Spokesperson Kirby reiterated the State Department’s concern for continued reports of human rights abuses in the Gambia and its position that LGBTI rights are human rights. Spokesperson Kirby’s comments were transcribed here.
On August 11th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the people of Chad on their commemoration of 55 years of independence. Secretary Kerry applauded Chad’s leadership in the fight against Boko Haram and recognized the great sacrifices made by the Chadian people to protect their borders and fight violent extremism. In addition to the struggle against violent extremism, Secretary Kerry also said the U.S. looks forward to working with Chad on economic development, the protection of refugees, support for human rights, environmental conservation, and regional stability. Secretary Kerry’s comments were posted here.
On August 12th, Counselor Tom Shannon met with former Malian President and newly appointed AU High-Level Representative for South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konare at the Department of State. The meeting was listed here.
On August 13th, Counselor Tom Shannon met with U.S. Ambassador to Algeria Joan Polaschik at the Department of State. Their meeting was noticed here.
U.S. Agency for International Development
On August 10th, USAID Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz published the latest Power Africa Quarterly Update. The Quarterly Update highlights President Barack Obama’s encounters with Power Africa partners and staff during his visit to the Power Africa Innovation Fair, held during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi, Kenya. The full Quarterly Update can be downloaded here.
On August 12th, in conjunction with International Youth Day, USAID highlighted its programs around the world to promote youth civic engagement. USAID is currently working to enhance youth participation in political processes and other critical issues, including countering violence, promoting peacebuilding, and supporting inclusive, transparent, and accountable governance in places, such as Kenya, while also supporting programs such as the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) to generate support for youth participation. Details can be accessed here.
Department of Defense
On August 3rd-14th, the U.S. Army, in partnership with the Zambian Defense Force, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and other partner nations, conducted Southern Accord 2015 in Zambia. The exercise brings together more than 850 military members of the U.S. and the SADC to increase capabilities to support regional peace operations, combat terrorism in the region, and address transnational threats. Southern Accord 2015 was outlined here.
On August 10th, U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa reported that Marines of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response – Africa recently completed a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel mission (TRAP), locating and extracting a simulated downed plane aboard Naval Station Rota in Spain. The Marines flew approximately 60 miles from Moron Air Base to Naval Station Rota to accomplish the TRAP mission, which was planned as a part of routine training. Details were posted here.
Department of Justice
On August 7th, the Rwanda Development Board, Tourism and Conservation, hired Rubenstein Public Relations to act as a foreign agent. As part of the engagement, Rubenstein will actively disseminate press released to U.S. domestic and international media regarding the Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony, an annual event aimed at protecting mountain gorillas and their habitat. Information reported to the Department of Justice (DOJ) can be seen here.
On August 10th, Omni Advisors filed with the DOJ to act as a foreign agent on behalf of Sudan. According to Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings, Omni Advisors will support Sudan in seeking debt relief from its creditors, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the Governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, France, and the U.S., and commercial lenders. The FARA filings can be downloaded here.
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
On August 9th-20th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will host a delegation of senior officials from sub-Saharan Africa’s agribusiness sector in the U.S. for the Agribusiness Reverse Trade Mission (RTM). The visit is designed to introduce delegates to U.S. companies that provide equipment and services for large scale agribusiness projects and to showcase state-of-the-art U.S. agribusiness technologies and facilities. Details can be viewed here.
On August 18th, USTDA will host a business briefing in Fargo, North Dakota, to introduce delegates on the sub-Saharan Africa RTM to a variety of U.S. companies in the industry. The RTM delegation includes key decision-makers from leading agribusinesses and government entities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Botswana, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Angola, South Africa, and Zambia. The business briefing will provide an opportunity for delegates to discuss upcoming agribusiness projects in sub-Saharan African with interested U.S. firms and agencies in attendance. More information was shared here.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
On August 7th, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) highlighted a photo of a man in Tanzania sewing at night with the aid of a solar light, a winner of the Power Africa photo contest. The light, made available by d.Light, an African Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) grant recipient, is empowering rural families in Tanzania by extending their productive day beyond nightfall and providing additional income generating opportunities. The photo can be seen here.
On August 12th, OPIC recognized International Youth Day by sharing a photo of a member of the Kenyan youth group Mariaini Bunge pitching in on prep for a local community greenhouse. The project, part of a USAID youth program, is supporting opportunities for community and civic engagement for young people in Kenya. OPIC noted this year’s International Youth Day emphasizes the critical need to promote civic engagement and participation of youth in politics and public life so that young people can be empowered and bring a full contribution to society and development. The photo can be accessed here.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On August 11th, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) published a blog post on International Youth Day. The MCC noted in Africa alone, where MCC invests the most, more than 700 million people are under the age of 30, representing almost 70 percent of the population. To address the youth bulge, MCC also highlighted that in developing its second compact with Morocco, it is exploring investments in vocational training centers and secondary schools to help trainees get jobs, promote training and placement of women in non-traditional jobs, and reach the most disadvantaged groups, including unemployed urban populations. The blog post can be read here.
On August 10th, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a briefing on the “U.S. Strategy to Stop Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).” Witnesses included Paul Ronan of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, Sasha Lezhnev of The Enough Project, and Lisa Dougan of Invisible Children. The panel was moderated by Sarah Margon of Human Rights Watch (HRW). The briefing was noticed here.
On August 11th, House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) issued a statement after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned over the personal home server she used to conduct U.S. foreign policy and several thumb drives containing emails. Congressman Gowdy raised concern about the possible exposure of classified materials due to Secretary Clinton’s use of personal email. A full statement was posted here.
On August 9th, The New York Times highlighted efforts underway in Tunisia to tighten security in light of growing concern of attacks from extremist militants. Last week, President Beji Caid Essebsi extended a state of emergency implemented after the June attack on tourists along the beach in Sousse for two months, warning another attack could cause the state to collapse. Tunisian security forces have also increasingly conducted raids and announced arrests and successful operations against insurgents. The full article can be read here.
On August 9th, Reuters reported that deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who has been in detention two years, is to undergo a medical examination at his request after he complained about prison food. According to state media, President Morsi argued the food was unhealthy, given that he suffers from diabetes. Prison officials have allegedly denied President Morsi’s requests to receive food from outside the prison. Details were posted here.
On August 10th, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedoms of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai called upon the Mauritanian Parliament to reject a draft law on civil society associations that, without public consultations, was approved last month by the Council of Ministers. Special Rapporteur Kiai warned that, if adopted, the law would provide strict punishments for vaguely worded provisions and would limit the scope of an association to the field of development work. Additional feedback on the draft law can be seen here.
On August 10th, three police officers were wounded when a bomb exploded under a traffic sentry post near a Cairo court, the latest in a series of attacks to hit the Egyptian capital. Bomb disposal experts defused a second device they found inside a black bag while searching the area after the blast. The militant group Ajnad Misr claimed responsibility for the bombing on Twitter. For more information, click here.
On August 10th, an Egyptian police officer was killed when two militants fired on security forces in the Badr Souks area of Suez. Security forces responded and killed one armed man, while the other managed to flee. In a separate incident, another police officer and a police recruit were killed after a roadside bomb targeted their vehicle in El-Arish in the Sinai. Both attacks were described here.
On August 6th, the Ugandan Supreme Court banned the practice of refunding bride price, normally livestock given by the groom to his bride’s family, when the marriage ends in divorce. The Supreme Court ruled that the practice undermines the dignity of women, especially as studies show that many Ugandan women stay in abusive marriages because quitting means their families will be obligated to make a refund of the bride price. However, the Court upheld the practice of the initial bride price. The full story is available here.
On August 7th, the World Bank highlighted Kenya’s plans to use geothermal resources in East Africa’s Rift Valley to double geothermal power generation. Currently, only 16 percent of Kenyans have access to electricity. However, the Olkaria geothermal plant, developed with $300 million in World Bank financing, delivers about 13 percent of Kenya’s electricity. The goal is to raise that proportion close to 30 percent by 2020. For details, click here.
On August 10th, in addressing Uganda’s parliament, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta challenge East African states to facilitate the free movement of people and encourage business in the region to promote quick economic transformation. In addition to announcing plans to expand the port of Mombasa, President Kenyatta also encouraged East African countries to work together to establish a strong security framework capable of stopping division and violence instigated by religion. Excerpts from President Kenyatta’s address were highlighted here.
On August 11th, the World Bank highlighted the Ethiopian Government’s Health Extension Program (HEP), which was designed to train health workers to promote positive health practices in rural areas with the goal of ending exposure to communicable diseases caused by improper sanitation and hygiene practices. As part of this initiative, the World Bank is administering the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a five-year, multi-donor partnership aimed at scaling up the capacity of government workers, improving sanitation and hygiene services, and increasing access by the poor. The project was promoted here.
On August 12th, speaking at the 4th National Biosafety Conference at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Deputy President William Ruto announced Kenya’s ban on importing and eating genetically modified food will be lifted within the next two months. Additionally, President Ruto said Kenya will soon begin to cultivate genetically modified maize and cotton in order to keep the country from falling behind on biotechnology. Deputy President Ruto’s comments were recorded here.
On August 12th, Ugandan Tourism Minister Maria Mutagamba launched the Ten-Year National Rhino Strategy, kicking off a meeting of local, regional, and international industry experts in Kampala. The strategy is focused on helping local governments create and develop national parks, wildlife reserves, and recreation areas, providing direction for rhino conservation and management, and seeking technical, financial, and material support geared toward rhino conservation in the country. The strategy was summarized here.
On August 7th, a team from the IMF completed a visit to Lome, Togo to conduct the 2015 Article IV consultation. The mission met with Minister of State, Finance, Planning, and Development Adji Oteth Ayassor, Minister of Planning Kossi Assimaidou, BCEAO National Director Kossi Tenou, as well as representatives of the private sector, civil society, and development partners. The IMF team found Togo’s output has been expanding, with output growth averaging at 5.4 percent in 2013-2014, and the growth outlook remains positive over the medium term. Additional analysis was shared here.
On August 7th, speaking at the 80th anniversary celebration of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama promised the government is determined to ensure the country does not go for another IMF bailout due to election year expenditure overruns. In his remarks, President Mahama blamed the fiscal imbalances following Ghana’s last electoral cycle on excessive demands on the government by labor unions. Excerpts from his remarks were highlighted here.
On August 7th, during a speech at the National Defense College in Abuja, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tasked the Ministry of Defense with ramping up domestic production of weapons for the country’s armed forces in an effort to end Nigeria’s dependence on imported arms. President Buhari called for an overhaul of the Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which was created in 1964 to drive weapons production. President Buhari’s speech was discussed here.
On August 7th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were compelled to appear before a Federal High Court in Lagos for failing to keep their promise to Nigerians during the campaign to publically declare their assets. The suit was initiated by lawyer and rights activist, Kabir Akingbolu, who is accusing President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo of violating the Code of Conduct for public officers under the fifth schedule of the 1999 Constitution. President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo declared their assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), but many have demanded the information be published. The full story is available here.
On August 8th, Ghanaian doctors began an indefinite strike after saying the government has failed to give them any condition of service despite repeated promises from the administration. Dr. Justice Yankson, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), said doctors have withdrawn emergency services in government hospitals across the country after the government failed to produce a formal document containing their conditions of service. Meanwhile, critics suggested the government has requested more time to produce the document and accused GMA leadership of using the strike to make the government unpopular ahead of next year’s election. For more information, click here.
On August 10th, African Development Bank (AfDB) President Donald Kaberuka made his last official trip to Nigeria as he prepares to hand over leadership of the AfDB to Akinwumi Adesina in September. In a meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, President Kaberuka expressed his assurance that the AfDB will continue to support economic projects in Nigeria, while President Buhari said his administration would welcome more support from the AfDB for projects in versatile sectors, such as agriculture. President Kaberuka also held a brief meeting with the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness Sanusi II, and AfDB President-elect Adesina. His visit to Nigeria was outlined here.
On August 10th, as part of a broad effort to clamp down on corruption, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari asked ministries to use only approved government bank accounts to make payments. Under the new system, all receipts due to the government or any of its agencies must be paid into accounts maintained by the central bank, unless specific permission has been granted not to do so. Details can be viewed here.
On August 11th, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern over the reported release of detainees in Mali suspected of involvement in, or formally charges with serious abuses, including war crimes, terrorist acts, and gross human rights violations. OHCHR emphasized the critical importance of the fight against impunity and the need to investigate and prosecute all gross violations of human rights to ensure accountability. OHCHR’s feedback was posted here.
On August 11th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a committee to advise him on the best ways to tackle corruption and reform Nigeria’s legal system. The seven-member Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, primarily comprised of academics, has been tasked with advising President Buhari on the prosecution of corruption and the implementation of reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system. President Buhari ran on a campaign promise to end endemic corruption in Nigeria. The committee was announced here.
On August 11th, Malian Defense Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said three Malian soldiers were killed after their patrol vehicle hit a landmine in a forest near the town of Diafarabe. The soldiers had been on their way to investigate reports of the presence of armed men in a nearby village. Three other soldiers were wounded. The incident was detailed here.
On August 11th, the National Hospital in Abuja, Nigeria live-tweeted an operation to repair a hole in the heart of an eight-year-old girl. According to hospital spokesperson Dr. Tayo Haastrup, it was done to demonstrate Nigeria’s medical expertise to the rest of the world. Tweets detailing the procedure were posted here.
On August 12th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Farid Zarif of Afghanistan as his Special Representative for Liberia and head of the U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Zarif currently serves as Special Representative and head of the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and previously served U.N. political, humanitarian, and peacekeeping operations in Eritrea, Liberia, South Africa, and Sudan. His appointment was noted here.
On August 12th, Guinea-Bissau’s President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed the government following a rift with Prime Minister Domingos Pereira over a number of issues, including the use of aid money and the return to Guinea-Bissau of a former army chief of staff. Speaking on television, President Vaz said a simple cabinet reshuffle would not be sufficient to solve the problem and ensure the proper functioning of government institutions. The move has raised concerns about Guinea-Bissau’s political future, especially as the country has experiences five coups since 1980. The full story is available here.
On August 12th, following a briefing from U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun on tensions between the President and the Prime Minister in Guinea-Bissau, the U.N. Security Council called on all Guinea-Bissau’s political leadership to resume dialogue in order to work together in the governance of the country as it emerges from previous periods of instability. The Security Council warned political tensions threaten to undermine the progress made in Guinea-Bissau since the restoration of constitutional order following elections in 2014. For details, click here.
On August 12th, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama said Ghana’s economy needs to expand by more than eight percent a year to create jobs for its growing population. Ghana has seen slowed economic growth in the past two years due to fiscal crisis and weaker prices for its commodity exports. Economic growth for 2015 is projected at just 3.9 percent. President Mahama’s comments were recorded here.
On August 12th, two gunmen wearing turbans attacked a bus station in Bamako, Mali, seriously wounding a police officer and another person. Following the shooting, security forces cordoned off the area and searched cars on a nearby road. The incident was described here.
On August 12th, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) appointed Japanese company Mitsui & Co Limited to help develop infrastructure for its natural gas production. Mitsui is expected to provide GNPC with guidance on how to best construct a second plant to process raw natural gas from the Tano basin. More information can be viewed here.
On August 12th, The Guardian highlighted an Uber-like SMS service that has reduced the cost of emptying pit latrines by nearly half in Dakar, Senegal. The text service has a database of 65,000 customers who can send a text whenever their pits need to be emptied, which initiates a bidding war amongst pit emptiers in the vicinity. While the text service is increasing efficiency in the market, new waste management technologies are also being deployed in the area to help turn fecal matter into electricity and fertilizer. Details were shared here.
On August 13th, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) reported a helicopter carrying 12 people crashed in a lagoon in Lagos on Wednesday, killing at least four people. The helicopter was operated by offshore energy transportation specialists Bristow Group and crashed after departing an oil rig. A rescue operation is ongoing. The crash was reported here.
On August 6th, South African President Jacob Zuma defended the decision to let Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir evade an arrest warrant and leave the country in June. President Zuma argued President Bashir had diplomatic immunity as a guest of the AU. Despite the international outcry, due to accusations that President Bashir masterminded genocide during Sudan’s Darfur conflict, President Zuma reaffirmed that President Bashir would have been detained if he had visited South Africa as an individual and not as a guest of the AU. President Zuma’s comments were recorded here.
On August 7th, South Africa and Namibia criticized the decision by a number of international airlines to ban the transport of animals killed in trophy hunting. South Africa’s Environment Ministry said the decision to enforce a blanket ban fails to distinguish between the trade in and transportation of legally acquired wildlife specimens, and the illegal exploitation and trade in wildlife specimens. Meanwhile, Namibian Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta warned the ban by airlines on trophy transportation will hurt the country’s economy and conservation efforts that rely on revenue from hunters. An article on South Africa and Namibia’s rejection of the ban was published here.
On August 7th, the EU lifted a four-year ban on the import of fresh ostrich meat from South Africa following an outbreak of H5N2 avian flu in 2011. The flu outbreak is estimated to have put an $80 million strain on the industry, which has recovered slightly with the export of processed or pre-heated meat. South African Minister of Economic Development in the Western Cape provincial government Alan Winde said resuming exports to the EU will help increase the number of jobs in the industry. The lifting of the ban was announced here.
On August 7th, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killing at least three people. The quake hit 24 miles north of Bukavu, not far from the border with Rwanda. While sources indicated the death toll could rise, there was no evidence of widespread destruction in the town. For more information, click here.
On August 7th, global law firm DLA Piper announced it will sever ties with South African firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH). According to DLA Piper, the decision was made due to ten years of unsuccessful efforts to integrate the South African affiliate into the firm’s international structure. CDH has roughly 200 lawyers practicing in its Johannesburg and Cape Town offices. The split was announced here.
On August 9th, while addressing thousands of women at a national Women’s Day celebration, South African President Jacob Zuma released the government’s first report on the status of women in the country. President Zuma said South Africa has made great strides to include women in the country’s development, but said there’s still a lot of room for improvement. He called for women to be supported in all sectors of the economy and also raised concerns over the level of unemployment in the country. President Zuma’s comments were captured here.
On August 9th, Zimbabwe lifted the countrywide ban that was imposed on lion, leopard, and elephant hunting on August 2nd, following the killing of Cecil the lion outside of Hwange National Park. According to the Zimbabwe Hunters and Guides Association, the suspension on trophy hunting was lifted, although with some exceptions. Reportedly, the ban is still in place at specific farms and for collared iconic animals. An update on the ban was provided here.
On August 10th, a U.K. court dropped an extradition case against Rwanda’s intelligence chief, General Karenzi Karake, allowing him to return to Rwandan. The U.K. arrested General Karake in June, acting on a Spanish arrest warrant that alleged the general was involved in war crimes in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The court ruled that U.K. courts are not permitted to hear about alleged offenses committed outside of the country by non-British nationals. The ruling was detailed here.
On August 11th, Republic of Congo (ROC) President Denis Sassou Nguesso replaced two ministers who last month expressed opposition to constitutional changes that would allow President Nguesso to seek a third term. No official reason was announced for the dismissal of Civil Service Minister Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas and Trade Minister Claudine Munari. Gilbert Mokoki, previously Deputy Transport Minister, was named Civil Service Minister and Euloge Landry Kolelas was appointed Trade Minister. The full story is available here.
On August 11th, speculation was high that the Moise Katumbi, Governor of the DRC’s Katanga province, is planning to run in the 2016 presidential election. Governor Katumbi has reportedly been courting disaffected parties in President Joseph Kabila’s coalition and also receiving support from U.S. lobbyists who support an orderly vote in November 2016. While President Kabila is term limited, he has not ruled out seeking to run for another term in office. An article on the situation was published here.
On August 11th, Angolan Minister of Agriculture Afonso Pedro Canga said Angola will destroy 11 million eggs imported illegally into the country. While Minister Canga did not identify where they eggs had been imported from, he said they arrived at the port in Luanda without an official health certificate. The move is viewed as part of the Angolan Government’s effort to increase consumption of domestically produced food and drink. Details can be viewed here.
On August 12th, OCHA reported a measles outbreak in the DRC’s Katanga province has killed 315 people and infected at least 20,000, making it the worst outbreak of the disease in the region since 2011. According to OCHA, hundreds more deaths have likely not been documented due to difficulties accessing remote areas. OCHA delivered an appeal for more than $2.4 million to organize vaccination drives and treat those already infected in Katanga province. Data on the outbreak was analyzed here.
On August 12th, while delivering a report on the government’s implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP), South African President Jacob Zuma said the country’s electricity crisis is shaving one percentage point off economic growth annually and preventing the country from achieving its employment and development targets. The electricity crisis has led state utility Eskom to implement daily blackouts in order to address maintenance backlogs. President Zuma’s report was summarized here.
On August 12th, South African President Jacob Zuma said his administration will review new visa regulations that require visitors to provide biometric data when applying visas, as well as rules that require parents to carry unabridged birth certificates for their children when visiting the country. Since their implementation, the new regulations have drawn criticism for hurting tourism and investment. President Zuma’s comments were captured here.
On August 12th, Zambian President Edgar Lungu appointed Richwell Siamunene, a businessman and member of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), to serve as Defense Minister. President Lungu came to power in January following the death of President Michael Sata and had retained the Defense Minister post until now. Since assuming the presidency, President Lungu has appointed a number of opposition leaders to ministerial and deputy ministerial posts. Siamunene’s appointment was announced here.
On August 12th, the families of 37 of the South African miners killed during the 2012 Marikana massacre filed civil claims against the minister of police. The families are seeking compensation for the loss of financial support, emotional shock, and medical expenses for psychological and psychiatric treatment following the security incident that resulted in 34 strikers being gunned down by police. The full story is available here.
General Africa News
On August 12th, the U.N. observed the one year mark since the last case of wild polio was confirmed in Africa. While the WHO applauded the progress Africa has made in the fight against polio, WHO officials cautioned the job remains to be finished through strengthened immunization campaigns and surveillance measures. According to the U.N., African leadership has been instrumental in pushing towards wider eradication of polio across the continent. The milestone was recognized here.