Africa Update for August 27, 2015
On August 25th, a panel of United Nations (U.N.) experts monitoring U.N. sanctions on South Sudan released a report disclosing evidence that South Sudanese soldiers raped children, burned people alive in their homes, and hunted others for days as part of its tactics in the country’s recent civil war. U.N. investigators noted extreme violence against civilians, committed by all parties to the political conflict.
On August 25th, U.N. Special Representative for South Sudan and head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Ellen Margrethe Loj briefed the U.N. Security Council on peace negotiations in the country. She reported that rival parties in South Sudan were anticipated to convene a mini-summit on August 26th, during which the South Sudanese Government was expected to sign the agreement already endorsed by former Vice President Riek Machar. While a final agreement appeared within reach, Special Representative Loj warned the security situation on the ground remains volatile and tense.
On August 25th, South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said South Sudanese President Salva Kiir would sign a peace deal on Wednesday during a visit of regional African heads of state to Juba and issue a list of reservations in an annex to the pact. While Foreign Minister Benjamin declined to elaborate on the reservations, mediation officials and diplomats previously indicated President Kiir’s concerns included proposals for Juba to be a demilitarized zone and a demand he consult his first Vice President Riek Machar on decisions. More information can be accessed here.
On August 26th, as expected, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir signed a peace deal to end a 20-month conflict with the political opposition in the country. In addition to signing the document, President Kiir provided regional leaders with a document listing his concerns. At the signing ceremony, President Kiir reported that rebels had launched a raid in the northern part of the country earlier in the day. Meanwhile, the opposition reported clashes with government forces on Wednesday after their troops were attacked south of Juba.
On August 26th, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice welcomed South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s decision to accept the terms of and sign a regionally-sponsored peace agreement, but noted the U.S. would not recognize any reservations. Ambassador Rice said the signing of the agreement is the necessary first step toward ending the conflict and rebuilding the country. She also pledged the U.S. will support the people of South Sudan as they begin the implementation process and will work with its international partners to sideline those who stand in the way of peace. .
On August 26th, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby welcomed South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s decision to choose peace and sign the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan, along with other leaders who previously signed. While expressing support for the signing of the agreement, Spokesperson Kirby noted the U.S. Government does not recognize any separate reservations made about the agreement and expects all parties to abide by all elements of the final agreement. Spokesperson Kirby also called on all parties to adhere to the permanent ceasefire within 72 hours and begin the process of implementation.
On August 27th, global charities CARE, Oxfam, World Vision, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) issued a joint statement welcoming South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s signing of a peace deal, but cautioned the deal must now be enforced if civilians’ lives are to improve. The aid groups urged diplomats to monitor the peace agreement to ensure the protection of civilians and guarantee their safe access to humanitarian assistance.
On August 25th, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executed four people in Sirte, Libya, including at least one member of an alleged spy for Libya Dawn whose body was put on display. The Libya Dawn armed group supports the non-recognized government in Tripoli, which has flown airstrikes against ISIL positions around Sirte. A video released by ISIL showed gunmen shooting at captives in orange jumpsuits.
On August 26th, U.N. Special Representative for Libya and head of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Leon provided the U.N. Security Council with an update on the U.N.-supported political dialogue on Libya. Special Representative Leon said the process is nearing its last stages and time is running out for leaders on all sides and at all levels to make the final push towards peace. He also called for the international community to move quickly to present a clearly articulated strategy in support of the Libyan State.
On August 27th, U.N. Special Representative for Libya and head of UNSMIL Bernardino Leon said he was optimistic the country’s two parliaments could be ready to agree on forming a unity government by September 10th. Libya’s elected House of Representatives, based in Tobruk, signed a preliminary deal last month, but the parliament based in Tripoli has so far refused to sign it. Special Representative Leon’s comments come ahead of a new road of talks that were scheduled to begin in Morocco on Thursday.
On August 27th, a representative for the Libyan government based in Tripoli announced its delegates would hold off on joining the peace talks due to begin on Thursday as they formed a new team after the resignation of a senior negotiator. Reportedly, a leading negotiator resigned in spite of difference with the head of the Tripoli parliament over the talks. It was not immediately clear how long it might take for the Tripoli government to assemble a new team.
On August 20th, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza was sworn in for a third term, six days ahead of schedule. The government provided no explanation and limited advanced notice of the rescheduling of the inauguration. In his inauguration speech, President Nkurunziza pledged to end months of violence in Burundi and called on those who have fled the country to return. No foreign heads of state were present at the ceremony, although some African countries, as well as China and Russia, sent their ambassadors.
On August 20th, noting the inauguration of Pierre Nkurunziza for his third term as President of Burundi, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged him to pursue a path of inclusivity and reconciliation. Secretary-General Ban also reiterated his call for all Burundian stakeholders to undertake an inclusive and transparent political dialogue under the leadership of East African Community (EAC) Facilitator, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
On August 25th, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza appointed a new government of 20 ministers. Fifteen of the ministers are from the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party, while the other five are from the political opposition. The move contrasts an announcement from President Nkurunziza last week that he would revise the constitution to exclude parties with less than five percent of the vote in the election from participating in the government, as no party other than the CNDD-FDD won more than five percent of the vote in the June election.
On August 22nd, following a two-day meeting held in N’Djamena, Chad, military chiefs from the Lake Chad region finalized the details of the deployment of a joint force to fight Boko Haram. Military leaders from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Benin agreed to accelerate the deployment of the 8,700-strong force, which will have its overall command center in the Chadian capital. Additional command posts will be established in Baga, Nigeria, on the shores of Lake Chad, and in Gambaru, on the border with Cameroon.
On August 23rd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon traveled to Abuja, Nigeria, where he met with State Governors regarding their role in shaping the country’s future by helping to implement the sustainable development agenda. While acknowledging that Nigeria is confronting many challenges, including the rise of extremism and the lack of equal opportunity, Secretary-General Ban also expressed his belief this may also be a time of hope, as demonstrated by the recent peaceful and democratic transition of power in the country.
On August 24th, continuing his visit to Nigeria, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commemorated the 4th anniversary of a terrorist attack in the country that killed 23 U.N. employees in Abuja with a wreath laying ceremony. Secretary-General Ban also met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and discussed a full range of issues, including development, human rights, peace, and security, and the threat posed by Boko Haram. Secretary-General Ban also recognized it has been 500 days since Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls and called for their unconditional release.
On August 25th, a teenage suicide bomber detonated an explosive device strapped to her body in Damaturu, Nigeria, killing six people and wounding 30 others. No one claimed immediate responsibility for the blast, but Boko Haram has been behind a series of similar attacks in the region in recent weeks. The bombing was reported here.
On August 26th, two suspected Boko Haram militants blew themselves up outside of the Chadian Kaiga Ngouboua army base in the Lake Chad region. According to witnesses, the men tried to get into the camp and detonated themselves at the entrance when they were pushed back by a guard. Nobody other than the bombers was killed and a suspected accomplice was arrested.
On August 27th, relatives of the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok by Boko Haram held a youth march and candlelit vigil to mark 500 days since their abductions. Of the 276 girls kidnapped, 57 have since escaped, but 219 remain missing. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claims the girls have all converted to Islam and married off. The full story is available here.
Central African Republic
On August 20th, U.N. Deputy Special Representative and Deputy Head of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) (MINUSCA) Diane Corner condemned all cases of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by its personnel and expressed determination to solve the problem. Deputy Special Representative Corner noted that 13 cases of sexual abuse allegedly involving uniformed MINUSCA personnel have been recorded since the extension of the mission in September 2014. Of those cases, nine involved attacks on minors.
On August 22nd, at least ten people were killed in Bambari, CAR in clashes that began when a mainly Christian militia group beheaded a Muslim youth leading to reprisals from Muslims. The incident is part of a continuing trend of instability caused by religious tensions between Christian anti-balaka gangs and Muslim Seleka rebels.
On August 24th, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative for MINUSCA Aurelien Agbenoci condemned the recent attack on humanitarian workers in Bambari. The violence occurred in the context of renewed intercommunal tensions that caused the death of at least five civilians and the evacuation of eight injured to Bambari health centers. Feedback from MINUSCA was provided here.
West Africa Ebola Outbreak
On August 24th, the Review Committee on the Role of International Health Regulations in the Ebola Outbreak and Response convened in Geneva, Switzerland for a two-day meeting. U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan kicked off the meeting by acknowledging nearly universal agreement that the initial international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was inadequate. However, Dr. Chan opined the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak represents the best chance to transform the world’s response to epidemics and other health emergencies.
On August 24th, Adama Sankoh, Sierra Leone’s last known Ebola patient was discharged from an International Medical Corps treatment facility in Makeni singing and dancing. President Ernest Bai Koroma presented Sankoh with a discharge certificate, marking a celebratory start to the 42-day countdown to the country being declared Ebola free.
On August 25th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) published a Q&A with Denise Rollins, Senior Coordinator of USAID’s Africa Ebola Unit. In this role, Rollins currently serves as USAID’s liaison coordinating with other U.S. Government agencies to help West African countries strengthen their ability to respond to future disasters. Rollins discussed the legacy of Ebola and the recent U.N. International Ebola Recovery Conference.
On August 26th, the WHO updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. In the week ending August 23rd, there were three confirmed cases of Ebola, all of which were reported from Guinea. No new cases were reported from Sierra Leone for the second consecutive week. In addition, the WHO noted overall case incidence has held at three confirmed cases per week for four consecutive weeks.
On August 26th, Chair of the Review Committee on the Role of International Health Regulations in the Ebola Outbreak and Response Didier Houssin said the international panel will review the role of existing international health regulations in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. As part of its process, Chair Houssin noted the panel will study the use of possible sanctions and other mechanisms to ensure better compliance with protocols to improve global health security.
African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean
On August 20th, The New York Times reported on migrants’ journeys through Agadez, Niger, on their way to Libya and on to Europe. It is estimated that more than half of all West African migrants who reach Lampedusa, Italy pass through Niger. According to the International Organization for Migration, as many as 2,000 migrants may be leaving Agadez weekly. Last year, up to 80,000 migrants passed through Agadez. That number is expected to double this year. An article on the situation in Agadez was published here.
On August 22nd, the Italian navy organized the rescue of an estimated 4,400 migrants in the waters off the Libyan coast upon the request of nearly two dozen boats in the region. Italian, Norwegian, and Irish ships participated in the rescue missions. According the Italian coast guard, the migrants were travelling aboard inflatable dinghies and overcrowded boats. The rescue operations were described here.
On August 24th, Sudanese migrant Abdul Haroun appeared in court and pled not guilty to charges related to his attempt to cross from France into Britain via the Channel Tunnel. While most migrants in Calais attempt to hide on lorries or trains bound for Britain, Haroun is the first migrant to make it on foot almost to the tunnel’s exit. The incident is increasing tensions surrounding the African migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, as some call for tougher measures to keep migrants out, while refugee rights campaigners say migrants, such as Haroun, should not be prosecuted at all.
On August 26th, the Italian coast guard found 50 migrants dead in the hold of a boat off the coast of Libya during a rescue operation that saved 430 other people. The coast guard noted it had received emergency calls from ten boats in distress off the coast of Libya on Wednesday alone. Five rescue operations had been concluded and others were ongoing.
United States – Africa Relations
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
On August 25th-27th, U.S. Trade Representative (UTSR) Michael Froman traveled to Libreville, Gabon for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. Ambassador Froman’s participation in the AGOA Forum was noted here. His remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 AGOA Forum can be read here.
On August 20th, State Department Spokesperson John Kirby condemned the bombing attack on the National State Security building in Cairo, Egypt. Spokesperson Kirby acknowledged a group called Islamic State Egypt had claimed responsibility for the attack and reiterated steadfast U.S. support for Egypt in its fight against terrorism.
On August 20th, the State Department commended the Government of Mauritania for hosting the West Africa and the Sahel Regional Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). The summit included over 200 participants and emphasized the importance of a whole-of-society approach to address the underlying causes of violent extremism. Participants highlighted the essential role played by local communities, municipal, and national governments, and non-government stakeholders and reinforced support for a new CVE youth network for the region, which will enable young people to share their experiences, innovations, and good practices in building community resilience to violent extremism and challenging extremist narratives.
On August 21st, the State Department commended the agreement reached between Guinea’s ruling and opposition political parties, which clears the way for Guinea to hold the first round of presidential elections on October 11th. The State Department noted the U.S. Government remains committed to supporting the electoral process and urged the parities to continue dialogue throughout the election period and commit themselves and their supporters to non-violence.
On August 24th, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya announced that beginning on September 22nd, Kenyans traveling to the U.S. will be eligible for five-year visas. Currently, students, temporary visitors, business representatives, and tourists visiting the U.S. are required to renew their visas every year. The extension, which was approved during President Barack Obama’s July visit to Kenya, will require Kenyans to pay an extra $40 over and above existing fees.
On August 24th-27th, the U.S. and Gabon co-hosted the AGOA Forum in Libreville, Gabon. This year’s Forum, themed “AGOA at 15: Charting a Course for a Sustainable U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Partnership,” celebrated the recent reauthorization of AGOA and the important role of women, civil society, and the private sector in promoting trade, expanding inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and generating prosperity. Representatives from the private sector, civil society, and the U.S.-sponsored African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) participated in Forum activities from August 24th-25th, with ministerial plenaries with officials from the U.S. and the 39 African beneficiary countries held August 26th-27th. A trade exhibition also ran throughout the official program.
U.S. Agency for International Development
On August 24th, USAID highlighted its efforts to help provide families fleeing violence in central Darfur with clean water. In particular, USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance has dispersed Rapid Response Funds that have allowed the International Organization for Migration in Sudan and Triangle Generation Humanitaire to restore existing water points, construct new wells, and build emergency latrines and dozens of handwashing stations. More information can be found here.
On August 25th, the U.S. Government announced an additional $6 million grant from USAID to the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide education to children and youth affected by conflict, brining USAID’s total grant to UNICEF for emergency education in South Sudan over two years to $23.5 million. The new funds will enable UNICEF to increase the number of children and youth who will be reached with emergency education services through USAID support to 200,000, including demobilized child soldiers and other out-of-school children in the Pibor area.
On August 26th, USAID released a new report, titled “Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths.” The report documents progress in 24 priority countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ugandan, and Zambia, on improving access to quality and respectful care during delivery, neonatal resuscitation, vaccinations, breastfeeding, diarrhea treatment, hand-washing, and other life-saving interventions. The release of the report coincided with a Call to Action Summit for ending preventable child and maternal deaths hosted by the Government of India, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, USAID, UNICEF, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tata Trusts, and the WHO.
Department of Defense
On August 24th, communicators from more than 35 countries kicked off the weeklong Africa Endeavor 2015 Leader Seminar in Gaborone, Botswana. The seminar, hosted by the Botswana Defense Force and sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is a forum for leaders to improve communications among and between partner nations and regional and international organizations.
On August 26th, AFRICOM detailed the Mali Military Base Design and Operational Energy Workshop that was recently co-hosted by AFRICOM’s Environmental Security Office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Bamako. The workshop was conducted with senior Mali Military leadership to support the development of a template for a standardized, enduring 600-1,000 person military installation.
Department of the Treasury
On August 21st, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Central African Republic (CAR) militia leaders Alfred Yekatom, Habib Soussou, and Oumar Younous for being leaders of groups that threaten the peace, stability, or security of the CAR. OFAC also sanctioned CAR- and Belgium-based diamond companies BADICA and KARDIAM for providing support to the sanctioned individuals through the illicit trade in natural resources.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
On August 27th, in recognition of World Water Week, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) highlighted OPIC projects that are increasing access to water in developing countries. In Algeria, OPIC financing supported construction of a reverse-osmosis water desalination plant that has helped alleviate water shortages by providing water for about 350,000 families in and around Algiers. OPIC political risk insurance is also supporting a major infrastructure project to modernize the water system in Ghana, where a shortage of clean water and poor sanitation is associated with widespread health problems. OPIC also supports multiple projects in sub-Saharan Africa that help farmers purchase micro-irrigation equipment so they can grow more food and earn higher prices by selling in the off season.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On August 21st, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Dana Hyde traveled to Dakar and Saint Louis, Senegal to celebrate the closeout of the country’s five-year, $540 million MCC compact, which will officially end on September 23rd. While in Senegal, CEO Hyde joined Senegalese Prime Minister Mohammed Dionne to inaugurate two MCC-funded projects in the northern part of the country, including the RN2 highway and the Delta irrigation works. CEO Hyde also met with senior Senegalese officials and representatives from the development community, local leaders, and civil society.
On August 26th-27th, MCC CEO Dana Hyde and Principal Deputy Vice President for Compact Operations Kyeh Kim traveled to Libreville, Gabon to participate in the AGOA Forum. CEO Hyde co-chaired a plenary session titled “Promoting Intra-African Trade and Regional Integration through Sustainable Infrastructure Investments” and a workshop on “Lessons Learned under Power Africa for Attracting Power Sector Investment.” Deputy Vice President Kim spoke in a workshop called, “Connecting Africa through Information Communications Technology (ICT): Bridging the Digital Divide.”
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
On August 25th-27th, U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Deputy Director Enoh Ebong participated in the AGOA Forum. Deputy Director Ebong led a panel discussion on investing in innovative solutions to solve infrastructure challenges in Africa and led two other panels on the development of Africa’s energy resources. During a discussion on renewable energy, Deputy Director Ebong announced USTDA’s support for a solar project being developed by Tanzanian company NextGen Solawazi Limited. USTDA’s grant will fund a feasibility study to evaluate the technical and commercial viability of a 60 megawatt (MW) solar facility in Shinyanga.
On August 25th, The Hill reported the House Select Committee on Benghazi will hold private interviews with former State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and former Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan on September 3rd and 4th. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify at a public hearing on October 22nd.
On August 20th, new World Bank Maghreb Country Director Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly completed her first field visit to civil society organization Reseau marocain de l’economie sociale et solitaires (REMESS). REMISS is a national network of Moroccan associations whose goal is to help integrate marginalized groups, such as uneducated women, youth, and immigrants, into the socioeconomic fabric of the country.
On August 21st, the U.N. issued a new report evidencing systemic failure or outright refusal by authorities in Darfur to take human rights violations seriously. The report, based on information provided by the African Union (AU)-U.N. Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), details cases of human rights violations and also reveals widespread impunity.
On August 21st, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Urmila Bhoola applauded the adoption of new anti-slavery legislation in Mauritania. The new law, which replaces the 2007 anti-slavery law, doubles the maximum sentence for slavery crimes and creates special prosecution tribunals for slavery-like practices. Special Rapporteur Bhoola called on the Government of Mauritania to fully implement the legislation.
On August 23rd, Islamist militant gunmen opened fire on a Tunisian customs team near the Algerian border, killing one customs agent and wounding three more. The attack occurred in a remote mountain area near Bouchbka, where Islamist militants belonging to Okba Ibn Nafaa, an Al Qaeda-linked group, have often attacked police.
On August 26th, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the 2015 Article VI discussions with Tunisia and announced a staff-level agreement with Tunisia on the sixth review under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The Executive Board of the IMF is expected to consider the review in late September. IMF staff welcomed Tunisian authorities’ continued commitment to implementing their national economic program following the successful conclusion of their political transition and noted upon the completion of the review, $303.08 million will be made available to Tunisia.
On August 26th, the Algerian Defense Ministry said its armed forces have mounted operations against Islamist militants in the eastern part of the country and killed five fighters within the past few days. The campaign was launched in the eastern coastal regions of Jijel and Skikda. Troops also reported the seizure of weapons.
On August 26th, South Sudanese Transport Minister Kwong Danhier Gatluak traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to sign an agreement to provide training for road engineers and air traffic controllers. Minister Gatluak expressed hope the deal will be part of a new inflow of infrastructure investment needed to help spur development in South Sudan.
On August 27th, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry launched a new English blog, which it said was intended to enhance its communication with the world and address inaccurate reports about the country in foreign media. Launched under the name “Egypt MFA Blog,” Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the website will serve as a forum for officials, diplomats, scholars, academics, writers, and thinkers to exchange opinions.
On August 27th, the Egyptian Trade and Industry Ministry said it will ban rice exports again beginning on September 1st in order to satisfy domestic consumption. Egypt is expected to produce 2.7 million tons of white rice in the 2015-2016 season, but its annual consumption is estimated at 3.6 million tons. Egypt allowed the export of medium rice beginning last October with a tariff payable to the government for every ton exported.
On August 20th, the World Bank highlighted efforts in Kenya to bring electricity to the country’s poorest neighborhoods. Using a community-based approach, Kenya Power has gone from 5,000 households connected under its informal settlements program, to over 150,000 in just one year. The program has received multi-faceted support from the World Bank, which has made new connections affordable to slum dwellers and helped Kenya Power learn from the experience of other countries.
On August 20th, Tanzanian safari guides warned poachers are decimating the elephant population with no government interference. The Selous ecosystem in southern Tanzania was once known as the elephant capital of the world, but last year it was named as Africa’s poaching hot spot. Tour guides also noted that five elephants were killed by Tanzanian poachers in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park the same weekend that Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe, but the incident garnered little attention.
On August 21st, upon concluding an assessment mission in southern regions of Somalia, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the country Peter de Clercq appealed for scaled up assistance in newly opened areas. While Coordinator de Clercq observed that medical and other humanitarian supplies are now reaching areas in the Gedo and Bat regions, he said much work remains to help people rebuild their future.
On August 22nd, at least 21 people were killed in two separate suicide car attacks in Somalia. The first attack occurred at Kismayu University, which is being used as a base for training government troops, as soldiers were lining up for training. The second car exploded in Mogadishu at a busy intersection during the evening commute. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing at Kismayu University, while there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the second attack in Mogadishu.
On August 24th, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP), and UNICEF issued a statement warning the number of Ethiopians who will need food aid by the end of this year has surged by more than 1.5 million, due to failed rains. Ethiopia needs an extra $230 million from donors to secure aid for a total of 4.5 million people who require assistance.
On August 26th, the African Development Bank (AfDB) ClimDev Africa Special Fund (CDSF) highlighted the launch of its first project in Ethiopia on August 3rd to help the country cope with, and build resilience to, climate change by enhancing capacity in climate monitoring, data analysis, interpretation, forecasting, and dissemination for use in national decision making. The project will be implemented over the next three years.
On August 26th, Al Shabaab militants killed at least seven people, including a regional official and local police commander, in an attack on a government convoy between the towns of Garbaharey and Baladhawo, Somalia. Meanwhile, Al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab reported a fierce battle in which 18 people were killed. Both accounts of the violence were posted here.
On August 26th, McKinsey & Company unveiled a new report finding that East African countries, notably Ethiopia and Kenya, could become leading clothing manufacturers if governments, employers, and buyers pull together to improve business conditions. Since 2013, buyers such as H&M, Primark, and Tesco have been increasingly sourcing their clothing from East Africa, helped by the renewal of AGOA. Apparel exports from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda amounted to a combined $337 million in 2013.
On October 26th, the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) provisionally suspended Kenyan runners Koki Manuga and Joyce Zakary after they failed drug tests at last week’s World Championships in Beijing, China. In response, Athletics Kenya (AK) said it had met with the IAAF and the two athletes and planned to cooperate with the investigation.
On August 21st, a court in Senegal sentenced seven men to six months in prison for homosexuality after police discovered condoms and lubricant in the house where the men were arrested. Public health campaigners warned the verdict could harm efforts to promote safe sex. While Senegal is one of about 30 African countries with anti-homosexuality laws, it also prides itself on its successful anti-HIV efforts.
On August 22nd, the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) condemned the use of landmines or explosive ordnance, which severely injured two peacekeepers. A MINUSMA vehicle escorting a logistics convoy hit a mine or an explosive device on the axis Ansong-Menaka. The vehicle was destroyed and the injured peacekeepers were evacuated.
On August 23rd, following the deadline to register as a candidate in the Burkina Faso’s October 11th presidential election, a court reported that 22 candidates had filed to compete in the election. Among the favored candidates is former Prime Minister Roch Marc Kabore, a former Compaore administration official who split away last year to found the opposition People’s Movement for Progress (MPP). Another leading candidate is Zephirin Diabre, a former Finance Minister under Compaore who worked for Areva before founding his Union for Progress and Change (UPC) party. The candidates were profiled here.
On August 24th, the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) announced they will suspend their participation in a committee that monitors the U.N.-sponsored peace deal for Mali signed in June until tensions are reduced with pro-government militias. Fighting flared up earlier this month when the pro-government Platform group took control of the town of Anefis from the CMA, in violation of the peace agreement.
On August 24th, The Africa Report observed that light rains in Cote d’Ivoire over the past week have boosted hopes for healthy cocoa crops this season. Despite the light rainfall, other farmers expressed concern that overcast skies could reduce the size of the overall harvest. Farmers in the region are likely to begin harvesting cocoa in October, with the peak of the season anticipated in December.
On August 24th, the Nigerian Department of State Security (DSS) charged former National Security Adviser Mohammed Sambo Dasuki with unlawful possession of firearms. In July, DSS agents raided three of Dasuki’s properties in Sokoto state and Abuja, uncovering numerous weapons. Dasuki, who was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari shortly after his inauguration, is accused of undermining national security.
On August 24th-28th, the AfDB held a training workshop on the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) in Accra, Ghana. Participants included representatives from 20 of the Bank’s regional member countries (RMCs), pan-African institutions, sub-regional organizations, and U.N. agencies. The goal of the workshop was to improve official statistics through the NSDS framework.
On August 25th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Keon Davidse of the Netherlands as Deputy Special Representative for MINUSMA. He will succeed Arnauld Akodjenou of Benin. Deputy Special Representative Davidse has previously served within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands as Director of Peacebuilding and Stabilization and acted as the Dutch Special Envoy for Sudan.
On August 25th, after 12 hours of debate in the National Assembly, lawmakers in Guinea-Bissau adopted a resolution to express their disagreement with President Jose Mario Vaz’s nomination of Prime Minister Baciro Dja last week. Dja was appointed after Prime Minister Domingos Simoes was fired, angering the ruling party. Approved by 75 of 79 lawmakers present, the resolution will now be presented to President Vaz. If he ignores the resolution, lawmakers have threatened to take the issue to the Supreme Court.
On August 26th, Nazir Nortei Alema, a 25-year-old Muslim from Ghana, traveled to an ISIL training camp, becoming the first known recruit from Ghana to join the militant group. Alema’s family said he initially told his parents he was travelling to Prestea, a mining town in western Ghana. His family later received a text announcing his arrival at an ISIL training ground in an unknown country. An article on the situation can be read here.
On August 27th, the AfDB launched a new report titled, “Economic Empowerment of African Women through Equitable Participation in Agricultural Value Chains.” The report was launched at an event at AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire that gathered high-level participants, including stakeholders from both the private and public sectors of the countries examined in the report, including the cocoa, coffee, cotton, and cassava sectors in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria.
On August 27th, Ibrahim Lamorde, head of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) denied allegations that $5 billion has gone missing at the anti-corruption agency under his watch. Lamorde is under investigation by a Senate committee and has labeled the allegations against him as a smear campaign. An article on the case was published here.
On August 21st, the Meles Zenawi Foundation in partnership with the AfDB and the Government Rwanda held an inaugural symposium in Kigali under the theme, “The African Democratic Developmental State.” The goal of the symposium was to foster rigorous intellectual debate on issues related to development. Keynote speakers included Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Ghanaian Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, and Benin Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou.
On August 21st, the Government of Zimbabwe announced the planned seizure of 23 of the remaining 300 farms owned by white Zimbabweans. The expropriations in Matabeleland North and South provinces were announced despite an admission from President Robert Mugabe’s administration that it had failed to compensate more than 96 percent of white farmers already dispossessed since 2000, regardless of a constitutional obligation to do so.
On August 24th, The Guardian reported the Solar Thermal Research Group at Stellenbosch University in South Africa is testing a new approach for concentrated solar power (CSP). Over the past several months, the team has been working on designing new technology that will be cheap and quick to install. The prototype system is due to be completed in October, with a speedy rollout to follow.
On August 24th, ahead of an appeal hearing in which prosecutors are seeking to overturn a South African court ruling that found Paralympian Oscar Pistorius not guilty of murder, the parents of his dead girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, spoke publically for the first time against the court’s verdict. The court previously found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, arguing the prosecution had failed to show the defendant’s intent to kill. The appeal hearing is due to start in November.
On August 25th, the WFP warned 1.5 million Zimbabweans could go hungry this year after a dramatic fall in maize production. According to the South African Development Community (SADC), Zimbabwe’s staple maize crop is down 53 percent from last year. The drop in production is thought to be linked to droughts, inadequate farming methods, and political and economic instability.
On August 25th, IMF staff completed the 2015 Article IV mission to Angola. The mission met with Vice President Manuel Vicente, Finance Minister Armando Manuel, and Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) Governor José Pedro de Morais Junior, as well as other senior officials of the executive branch. Staff also met with members of the Economic and Finance Commission of the National Assembly, and representatives from the financial sector, the non-financial private sector, and the state-owned oil company Sonangol, religious and non-governmental organizations, and the diplomatic community.
On August 25th, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivered his first State of the Nation address since 2007. In a short speech to parliament, President Mugabe said Zimbabwe was positioning itself for major economic take-off. Critics, including members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said President Mugabe failed to address the monumental challenges facing the country and should have used the speech to announce his retirement. Feedback on the speech can be seen here.
On August 25th, the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa found eight South African police officers guilty of murdering Mido Macia, a Mozambican man who died after being dragged behind a moving police van in February 2013. Macia was taken into police custody after being arrested for parking on the wrong side of the road. After being dragged to prison, he was later found dead in cell due to his injuries. The full story is available here.
On August 25th, unidentified gunmen attacked a police post in the Oudalan province of Burkina Faso, close to the border with Mali. Two police officers were injured in the attack. Islamist militants in Mali’s northern desert continue to launch attacks in the region and are thought to be linked to attacks further south in recent months, including near the Mauritanian and Ivorian borders.
On August 25th, Quinn Swales, a Zimbabwean tourist guide, was killed by a lion in a pride he was tracking with tourists in Hwange National Park, the home of Cecil the lion, who was killed last month. According to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA), Swales was on a walking safari with six foreign tourists when he was attacked by a male lion wearing a GPS collar. ZPWMA said no decision has been made on whether or not to kill the lion responsible for his death.
On August 26th, Burkina Faso’s constitutional council declared more than 40 people aligned with former President Blaise Compaore’s ruling alliance ineligible to run in the October legislative election. On October 11th, voters in Burkina Faso will head to the polls to choose a successor to President Compaore who will take the reins from a transitional government. While the transitional government acted in April to try to modify its code to exclude anyone who supported President Compaore’s bid to stay in office from running, the change was overturned by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
On August 27th, Moody’s forecast that Botswana’s projected 2.6 percent budget deficit for 2015-2016 could turn out to be much wider due to the downturn in the diamond market. Diamonds account for almost 40 percent of Botswana’s budgetary revenue and around 85 percent of exports.
On August 27th, South African media reported the country’s parole board will meet on September 18th to decide if Paralympian Oscar Pistorius can be released early from prison after being sentenced for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius was due to be released and placed under house arrest last Friday after serving just ten months of a five-year sentence, but his release was ultimately blocked by the Justice Ministry, which claimed the appropriate procedures had not been followed.
On August 27th, relatives of South African anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he was responding well to a two-week intravenous antibiotic course and could be discharged from the hospital at the end of next week. Tutu was readmitted to the hospital earlier this week after a hospitalization earlier this month for treatment of a recurring infection unrelated to his treatment for prostate cancer.
General Africa News
On August 26th, two separate surveys identified African cities as the most expensive cities in the world. According to Mercer’s annual Cost of Living survey, Luanda, Angola is the most expensive city for expatriate employees. The study found that despite being recognized as a relatively inexpensive city, the cost of imported goods and safe living conditions come at a steep price in Luanda. Meanwhile, a survey released by ECA International found that Juba, South Sudan was the most expensive city in the world, followed by Luanda.
On August 27th, the AfDB noted its newly established Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF) has approved is first two projects in the past month. First, the ACCF has awarded a $404,000 grant to support the Government of Mali in developing strategic programs for a climate resilient and green economy and strengthen the Malian Agency for Environment and Sustainable Development (AEDD). Second, the ACCF will execute a $420,000 grant to enable up-to-date information on climate change vulnerabilities, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation to be produced for 54 African countries.