Africa Update for October 2015
Leading the News
On September 25th, the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council issued a statement welcoming the reinstatement of President Michel Kafando and the transitional authorities of Burkina Faso following the recent coup. In addition to commending the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) for their efforts to end the crisis and restore order in the country, the Security Council urged all political actors in Burkina Faso to refrain from violence and resume the transition process without delay.
On September 26th, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice congratulated the people of Burkina Faso for their success in defending Burkinabe democracy and reinstating the transitional government. Ambassador Rice also expressed appreciation to the international partners who condemned the coup in Burkina Faso and helped prevent the country’s democratic transition from unraveling, including ECOWAS, the AU, and the U.N. Additionally, Ambassador Rice said the U.S. will continue to stand with the people of Burkina Faso as they prepare for democratic elections.
On September 27th, Burkina Faso froze the assets of the leader of the unsuccessful coup, General Gilbert Diendere, and launched an initiative to disarm the presidential guard that held President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida hostage weeks before the country’s elections. This policy was also taken against the political party of former President Blaise Compaore and three other parties linked to President Compaore.
On September 28th, Burkina Faso’s military said members of the presidential guard behind the recent coup were refusing to be disarmed, despite reaching a peace deal with the army last week. According to reports, members of the presidential guard were requesting guarantees of safety before handing over their weapons. The tensions heightened as hundreds of Burkinabe protestors gathered in Ouagadougou to demand the execution of coup leader General Gilbert Diendere.
On September 28th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urgently called on all national stakeholders in Burkina Faso to act responsibly, exercise restraint, and work in the best interests of the country, in light of the deteriorating situation in the country.
On September 30th, the army of Burkina Faso's interim government retook the barracks of the presidential guard that staged a coup earlier this month. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties. The offensive move on the barracks came as General Gilbert Diendere, whose whereabouts remain unknown, called on his forces to surrender in order to avoid a bloodbath. Additionally, the international airport in the city was reopened.
On September 30th, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. remains deeply concerned about the fragile political and security situation in Burkina Faso. He called on both sides to seek common ground and take responsibility for protecting the human rights of all Burkinabe citizens, including those believed to have been involved in the recent effort to overthrow the transitional government. Spokesperson Kirby also urged the Burkinabe armed forces to continue protecting civilians and exercising restraint as they respond to ongoing events.
Central African Republic
On September 27th, at least four people were killed in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR) in an inter-religious conflict that was supposedly initiated to derail elections. This follows the death of at least 21 people on September 26th when Muslims attacked a Christian neighborhood after the murder of a Muslim man. Since the election of transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza, a Muslim, in the majority Christian country in 2013, thousands of Central Africans have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.
On September 27th, interim U.N. Coordinator Marc Vandenberghe and the humanitarian community in the CAR condemned violence against civilians in Bangui. Coordinator Vandenberghe stated that all parties must respect international humanitarian law and protect the lives of civilians.
On September 28th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council called for an immediate end to the sudden eruption of violence in the CAR, which has led to more than 30 deaths and left over 100 wounded this week.
On September 28th, more than 500 inmates escaped from a prison in Bangui, CAR, as militia fighters in the capital raided and looted the offices of international aid organizations. The escapees included high-level convicts, including militants from both the Muslim ex-Seleka rebellion and Christian anti-balaka fighters.
On September 28th, U.S. State Department Spokesperson John Kirby condemned the continuing violence in Bangui, CAR that began on Friday. He called on those who engaged in violence, or are considering further violence, to lay down their weapons and return home. Further, Spokesperson Kirby called for those guilty of committing or inciting violence, including leaders of anti-Balaka militias and ex-Seleka groups, to be held accountable for their actions. The State Department also reiterated support for the efforts of Central African and international forces to reestablish order and bring perpetrators to justice, as well as for the ongoing transition process in the country.
On September 29th, U.N. officials continued to express concern regarding the situation in the CAR and stressed the need for free movement for aid workers to reach those in need. According to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), although the security situation had calmed some, tensions were still high in Bangui between Muslims and Christians. Additionally, MINUSCA reported it was continuing to conduct patrols around critical areas, seeking to protect civilians.
On September 30th, barricades were lifted in Bangui, CAR as tensions eased following the return of interim President Catherine Samba-Panza to the CAR, after leaving the U.N. General Assembly early to address violence in the country. While stores that had closed their doors in the wake of violent clashes began to reopen, the U.N. warned the violence must be contained to prevent civil war. The most recent tensions have left 36 people dead and forced nearly 30,000 others to flee their homes.
On September 28th, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR) reported an alarming upsurge in arrests, detentions, and killings in Burundi since the beginning of September, and urged the country’s authorities to fight impunity. Since April 2015, OHCHR has registered 134 killings and hundreds of cases of arbitrary arrest and detention. Some of these cases have stayed in pre-trial detention over the maximum duration allowed under international law.
On September 30th, following reports of widespread killing and torture, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza ordered armed opposition forces in the country to relinquish illegal weapons, threatening to punish those who fail to do so within the next month. He also pledged to hold the few security officials behind human rights abuses accountable.
On September 24th, U.S. President Barack Obama delegated authority to Secretary of State John Kerry to direct the drawdown of up to $45 million in defense articles and services, as well as military education and training, to support Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria’s efforts to defeat Boko Haram. This will enable to the State Department to authorize the provision of critical airlift support and other assistance, including to help the Lake Chad Basin countries move troops and equipment to the border region from which Boko Haram continues to launch attacks on civilians. The new assistance will build on training, equipment, and logistical support already provided by the U.S., including military advisors, intelligence sharing, and other programs to counter violent extremism.
On September 25th, Stephen O’Brien, U.N. Under-Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, called attention to the Lake Chad Basin, and stated this area is now an center for violence and terror. Under-Secretary-General O’Brien attributed this to the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
On September 30th, U.N. Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel Toby Lanzer said the humanitarian fallout from the violence inflicted by Boko Haram is the fastest growing crisis in Africa and called for concerted action on humanitarian, security, and development fronts to address the situation. Coordinator Lanzer noted 2.5 million people have been uprooted including 1.4 million children and 1,100 schools have been destroyed. In total, an estimated 5.5 million people in the region are in need of dire humanitarian assistance.
U.N. General Assembly
On September 22nd, African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina committed in a press release to play a critical role in increasing funds for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit in New York from September 25th-27th. This commitment follows President Adesina’s five-point vision, “Light up and Power Africa. Feed Africa. Integrate Africa. Industrialize Africa. Improve Quality of Life for the People of Africa.”
On September 24th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed a presidential dialogue on the African Urban Agenda at U.N. headquarters in New York, speaking to the leaders of several African countries about the importance of urban planning as a tool for development. Secretary-General Ban highlighted that SDG 11 should encourage effective urban planning, which will be important in Africa, as two thirds of the continent’s total population is expected to require urban services by 2063.
On September 25th, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield attended the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Event on the Lake Chad Basin Humanitarian Crisis, at U.N. headquarters in New York.
On September 27th, to coincide with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the White House issued a fact sheet on U.S. Global Development Policy and Agenda 2030. The fact sheet highlights several U.S. initiatives in Africa, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, enhance food security and nutrition, increase access to energy, and mitigate and respond to conflict and disaster.
On September 27th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at U.N. headquarters on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
On September 27th, alongside the U.N. General Assembly, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted an event on “Partnering to End Extreme Poverty and Achieve the Global Goals.” Acting USAID Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt delivered remarks highlighting how USAID will help lead the new approach to financing and development to achieve the SDGs. The event also featured an Innovation Marketplace, where entrepreneurs provided interactive examples of partnerships achieving ground-breaking results to eradicate poverty. Senegalese Minister of Health Awa Marie Coll-Seck also participated in the event.
On September 28th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that a better future for Somalia must remain a collective priority for the international community. Addressing a High-Level Meeting on Somalia, held on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban said the country has made steady progress in building a federal, democratic State.
On September 28th, leading a summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the U.S. will bolster its support for U.N. peacekeeping missions worldwide, by providing more logistical support, including air and sea-lift capabilities, building airfields or base camps, and training peacekeepers to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which is often a challenge for peacekeepers in Mali and other African nations. At the meeting, President Obama rallied more than 50 countries to also expand their contributions to U.N. peacekeeping missions, amounting to 40,000 new soldiers and police officers.
On September 28th, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Ambassador Deborah Birx participated in a panel discussion on “Strengthening Initiatives and Partnerships for the Treatment and Prevention of HIV/AIDS for Adolescents and Youth” hosted by the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS. The discussion was held in New York City in conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly.
On September 28th, African leaders speaking at the U.N. General Assembly noted that their countries were guided by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the last 15 years, and that the post-2015 development agenda and the new goals adopted last week, embody the collective ambition to transform the world by 2030.
On September 28th, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi called on U.N. member states to join with Egypt in executing a proactive strategy to defeat terrorism. President Sisi claimed that counterterrorism efforts to date have only been defensive and reactionary and urged more forward thinking measures to protect countries, such as Egypt and Libya, from extremists.
On September 28th, at the U.N. General Assembly, the Nigerian Government announced it has many issues to contend with, but none as important as defeating the terrorist threat posed by Boko Haram and bringing back the Chibok girls unharmed. President Muhammadu Buhari outlined a number of steps being taken, adding that Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Benin are working together to face the common threat posed by Boko Haram within the regional framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
On September 28, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita addressed the U.N. General Assembly to thank the U.N. for its aid in restoring peace after a civil war emerged in 2012. Since the beginning of the war, the U.N. has maintained the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to promote security in the region.
On September 28th, South African President Jacob Zuma, at the U.N. General Assembly, stressed the importance of restructuring the U.N Security Council to resolve conflicts surrounding Middle East and African nations. Although significant progress has been made by U.N. since the adoption of the World Summit Outcome in 2005, President Zuma argued the structure of the Security Council has not been examined since the founding days of the organization.
On September 28th, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe condemned sanctions against his country imposed by the European Union (EU) and the U.S. and called for reform of U.N. institutions. He also touched on the question of Security Council reform, saying many African nations support restructuring the body.
On September 29th, speaking to a High-Level Meeting on South Sudan timed with the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties in South Sudan to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the peace agreement signed in August, including by immediately halting operations and proceeding with the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity. Secretary-General Ban added South Sudanese parties must also provide unfettered access to those in need of humanitarian assistance.
On September 29th, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma addressed the U.N. General Assembly and reported on their countries’ efforts to recover from the Ebola epidemic. President Sirleaf and President Koroma thanked the U.N. and other international partners for their intervention to support the countries affected by Ebola in West Africa. They also noted that international support has allowed Liberia and Sierra Leone to enhance preparedness to respond to similar outbreaks in the future.
On September 29th, a number of African leaders, including Namibian President Hage Geingobe, King Mswati III of Swaziland, Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Zambian President Edgar Lungu, Gambian Vice President Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid, and Mauritanian Foreign Minister Hamadi Ould Meimou addressed the U.N. General Assembly. The leaders acknowledged the role the U.N. has played in reducing conflicts in Africa and called for continued support from the global community.
On September 29th, Rwandan President Paul Kagame delivered a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, urging U.N. member states to not only commit to the SDGs, but also acknowledge that collaboration will be necessary to achieve the bold development targets. In particular, President Kagame urged the members of the U.N. to work together to confront the international refugee crisis.
On September 30th, another round of African leaders, including Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Gulleh, Vice President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Moroccan Prince Moulay Rachid, and Prime Minister of Benin Lionel Zinsou delivered remarks at the U.N. General Assembly. While commending the international community’s support for the continent, the African leaders all urged U.N. member states to continue to focus on the continent’s challenges, including poverty, terrorism, and weak governance.
On September 30th, Libya’s Acting Head of State, Agila Saleh Essa Gwaider, presented to the U.N. General Assembly on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Gwaider argued that ISIL, as well as the spread of weapons and other armed groups, are keeping Libya from becoming a transparent democracy. He also claimed the U.N. Security Council has hampered Libya’s efforts to fight terrorists by its indecisiveness in approving requests made by the Libyan Government to exempt Libya from an arms embargo.
On September 30th, speaking on behalf of interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, CAR Foreign Minister Samuel Rangba reported to the U.N. General Assembly on the deterioration of the security situation in Bangui and called on the U.N. to step up its support for the CAR, including by strengthening MINUSCA and lifting sanctions that have impacted the training of military and security forces. Minister Rangba also expressed support for the roadmap in the CAR that is focused on economic advancement, institution building, and eventual elections.
On September 30th, in his remarks to the U.N. General Assembly, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama spotlighted the importance Ghana places on gender quality, noting efforts underway to close the gaps between men and women by providing decent education for girls and working to end child marriage. Regarding U.N. reform, President Mahama advocated for greater inclusivity of African nations in the U.N. system.
West Africa Ebola Outbreak
On September 27th, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in an interview that Liberia is still struggling to rebound economically after the Ebola epidemic. President Sirleaf stated that the country needs two years to find its economic footing as the government works to boost access to infrastructure and diversity the economy.
On September 27th, Sierra Leone discharged its last two known Ebola patients from the Mathene Treatment Center in Makeni, and lifted the quarantine restrictions in northern parts of the country. The quarantine had previously confined around 1,500 people to their homes in the Bombali and Kambia districts. In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted Sierra Leone can be declared Ebola-free if no new cases are reported in the 42 days after the last confirmed case has tested negative twice for the virus.
On September 30th, the WHO updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending September 27th, there were four confirmed cases of Ebola, all in Guinea. All four cases reported in Guinea this week had symptom onset in Forecariah and are registered contacts of a ten-year-old girl who sought treatment in Forecariah after traveling from Conakry.
On September 30th, as Sierra Leone again started its 42-day countdown to being declared Ebola-free, the Red Cross began using mobile radios to remind citizens about Ebola prevention. The Red Cross is using an awareness campaign that makes use of skits to continue to educate local communities on methods for containing the spread of the virus.
African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean
On September 27th, Defense News reported a fleet of ten European warships formed to confront smugglers in the Mediterranean will become operational on October 7th. The EU operation is backed by 22 countries and also includes aircraft and a growing staff. Intelligence gathering by the mission over the past several weeks suggests that traffickers have helped 121,725 migrants from Libya and Egypt reach Italy since the start of this year.
On September 27th, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that hundreds of British troops will be deployed to Somalia and South Sudan to train African peacekeeping forces to foster less terrorism and less migration. These troops will join U.N. and AU missions that are currently attempting to alleviate terrorism in Somalia and mass migration from South Sudan.
On September 28th, German President Joachim Gauck stated there are limits to the number of refugees Germany can hold. Germany is currently preparing for 800,000 new refugees this year as the mass migration crisis from the Middle East and Africa to the EU continues to grow.
On September 30th, an Eritrean migrant was killed in the Eurotunnel while attempting to cross the tracks from France into the United Kingdom (U.K.). Last week, another African migrant was killed by a freight train near the Channel Tunnel entrance in Calais. Since late June, 13 migrants, many thought to be African, have died trying to reach the U.K.
United States – Africa Relations
On September 26th, National Security Advisor Susan Rice announced new President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) prevention and treatment targets for 2016 and 2017. The White House pledged to commit resources to ensure that PEPFAR will support 12.9 million people on life-saving antiviral treatments, provide 13 million male circumcisions for HIV prevention, and reduce HIV incident by 40 percent among girls and young women in ten sub-Saharan African countries.
On September 27th, the White House released a fact sheet on Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. As a key achievement in improving women’s health, the White House highlighted that PEPFAR and private sector partners are making significant investments in African countries, including Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to reduce HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women.
On September 24th, State Department Spokesperson John Kirby welcomed a series of pardons in Egypt, including for Sana Seif, Yara Sallam, and Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, as well as others. Spokesperson Kirby said the pardons are a positive step for the freedoms of press and expression, which are essential for a stable, prosperous, and democratic Egypt.
On September 24th, State Department Spokesperson John Kirby noted the second anniversary of the suspension of exit permits for children adopted by foreign nationals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Spokesperson Kirby said several hundred U.S. families have been affected by the exit permit ban and described how the State Department has repeatedly offered to work with DRC officials to address concerns with the process. He argued it is time to allow children who have legally completed adoptions under Congolese law to immediately join their families in the U.S.
On September 28th, the State Department, along with Counter Extremism Project, and Search for Common Ground, hosted the Global Youth Summit against Violent Extremism in New York City. The public-private event brought together more than 100 youth activists and government officials from dozens of countries, including Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria to maintain a sustained, global, grassroots effort to build resilience against extremism. The U.S. Government was represented by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall, and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel.
On September 29th, the State Department welcomed the Sudan Revolutionary Front’s statement on September 15th articulating a commitment to a six-month cessation of hostilities. The statement follows the Government of Sudan’s announcement in August of a unilateral two-month cessation of hostilities. The State Department urged both parties to commit to a six-month cessation of hostilities and to begin working in earnest to turn these announcements into a sustainable end to Sudan’s conflicts.
On September 30th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the people of Botswana on the 49th anniversary of their independence. Secretary Kerry said Botswana is one of the U.S.’s strongest, most reliable, and valuable partners in Africa. He applauded Botswana’s proud tradition of peace and commitment to a democratic future that respects individual freedoms and responsible governance. Secretary Kerry also acknowledged collaboration with Botswana on supporting democracy, human rights, youth empowerment, the fight against HIV/AIDS, conservation, environmental issues, and wildlife trafficking.
On September 30th, the State Department welcomed the decision by the Peace and Security Council of the AU to release the report of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, noting the report as a necessary step in holding those responsible for human suffering during the South Sudanese conflict accountable. The State Department also applauded the Council’s mandate for the AU Commission to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan as provided for by the August peace agreement.
On October 1st, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Nigeria on the celebration of its independence day. Secretary Kerry applauded Nigerians for their largely peaceful election in March and said he was privileged to visit the country leading up to the vote and to attend President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration in Mary. Additionally, Secretary Kerry noted the U.S. has pledged to support Nigeria as it strives to curb corruption, bolster the economy, consolidate democratic governance, and address regional issues, including the threat posed by Boko Haram.
U.S. Agency for International Development
On September 25th, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Chief Strategy Officer Carla Koppell authored a blog post on the importance of data, partnerships, and innovation in providing development assistance. The blog post highlighted how satellite data obtained through new partnerships is helping African leaders make informed decisions. It also calls attention to how USAID’s Global Development Lab has promoted increased crop yields on the continent through the development and distribution of drought-tolerant maize.
On September 28th, the Executive Director of USAID’s Secretariat for Countering Violent Extremism Russell Porter promoted USAID’s efforts to counter violent extremism through development, including programs to address the drivers of violent extremism in Africa. For example, in Uganda, USAID and the Wildlife Conservation Society are advising officials on how to reintegrate Ugandans affected by conflict with the environment.
Department of Defense
On September 28th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) noted that a delegation of women from nine African countries recently visited Fort Lee, where they took part in a roundtable discussion with senior leaders from the installation of the U.S. Army Women’s Museum. The visit was conducted as part of AFRICOM’s Women’s Communications Forum. The delegation also visited the Pentagon and other Department of Defense (DOD) facilities, including the Defense Media Activity and the Defense Information Systems Agency.
On September 29th, The Washington Post reported U.S. forces have begun working with Seleka rebels in the CAR to track down Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) warlord Joseph Kony. U.S. Special Operations forces, which have been engaged in the hunt for Kony for nearly five years, believe they are getting closer to his suspected hideout in the Kafia Kingi area along the border between Sudan and South Sudan.
On September 29th, AFRICOM hosted 16 faculty members from the U.S. Air War College. The Air War College faculty was briefed by select AFRICOM staff about the Command’s mission and programs.
On September 29th, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) highlighted a recent information operations course held in Jinja for the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF). During the multi-week course, U.S. Army personnel taught a variety of skills and technologies that UPDF personnel could use to disseminate messages.
On September 29th, AFRICOM noted that Marines and Coast Guardsmen with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response – Africa recently completed four weeks of training focused on basic infantry tactics and small boat operations with Senegalese forces in Dakar. The exercise was held to exchange sea-to-land tactics, increase interoperability with Senegalese forces, and strengthen the bond between partner nations.
On September 30th, AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez met with Ugandan Chief of Defense Forces Katumba Wamala and other senior officials of the UPDF in Kampala. The leaders discussed the ongoing military relations and cooperation between the U.S. and Uganda. Commander Rodriguez arrived in Kampala after previous stops in Djibouti, Somalia, and Ethiopia for meetings with U.S. forces and foreign military counterparts to discuss regional security issues.
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
On September 25th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a grant to NextGen Solawazi Limited to support the development of a 60 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant in Shinyanga, Tanzania. The grant will support a feasibility study that will evaluate the technical and commercial viability of the power plant, conduct environment and social impact assessments, and provide the necessary analysis for NextGen Solawazi to seek implementation financing. According to USTDA, the project will support Tanzania’s economic growth, especially as only 15 percent of the country’s population currently has access to electricity.
On October 1st, USTDA hosted a webinar on upcoming gas sector opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. USTDA staff presented on the agency’s past and present involvement in the sector, business opportunities within USTDA, market and sector intelligence, and success stories from U.S. industry experts.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
On September 24th, in conjunction with Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) highlighted the role played by faith-based organizations in addressing major social and environmental challenges. In particular, OPIC called attention to its support for the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) work in South Sudan to stem gender-based violence and provide health care and child survival programs to refugees.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On September 26th, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) noted its Board of Directors would vote on a compact with Tanzania if the country scored above the relevant median in the Worldwide Governance Indicators’ latest annual Control of Corruption index. Should the Board approve the compact, signing is expected to occur sometime in 2016. Now that Tanzania has passed the Control of Corruption indicator, the MCC said it will continue to monitor the Government of Tanzania’s efforts to combat corruption. The MCC also said it expects Tanzania’s October 25th general election to be free and fair, and conducted in a manner consistent with the importance the MCC places on democratic rights.
On September 25th, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) issued a statement on the two-year anniversary of the suspension of exit permits for internationally adopted children from the DRC. Congressman Royce said several hundred families are hostage to the flawed a politicized Congolese adoption process and many have suffered great hardship. He added the Committee will continue to use all the resources at its disposal, including legislation, until every adopted child in the DRC is living with their family.
On September 25th, House Select Committee on Benghazi Communications Director Jamal Ware issued a statement in response to the State Department’s planned delivery of new Libya and Benghazi-related documents. Director Ware noted the State Department confirmed it failed to previously disclose all Libya and Benghazi-related messages sent by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but is now indicating it intends to foster a more cooperative relationship with the Committee.
On September 30th, the House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Ridding Central Africa of Joseph Kony: Continuing U.S. Support.” The Subcommittee received testimony from Principal Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs Robert Jackson, Paul Ronan of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, and Sasha Lezhnev of Enough Project.
On September 30th, House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) published her biweekly Africa Update. The most recent newsletter highlights the African migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, as well as the Nuba Mountains Cultural Heritage Festival in Omdurman, Sudan.
On October 1st, Senate Democratic leadership, including Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) calling on him to disband the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The Senators said it is unconscionable that the House of Representatives is using millions of taxpayer dollars to operate the panel purely for political purposes.
On October 1st, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a business meeting to consider a number of pending nominations. Among the nominees considered were Carolyn Patricia Alsup to serve as U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia, David Gilmour to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Togo, Jeffrey Hawkins to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the CAR, Daniel Rubinstein to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia, and Lucy Tamlyn to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Benin.
On October 1st, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a nominations hearing to consider nominees for several ambassadorial posts in Africa. The Committee received testimony from Robert Porter Jackson, who was nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Harry Thomas, Jr., who was nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Julie Furuta-Toy, who was nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, and Dennis Hankins, who was nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Guinea.
On September 27th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned an attack on AU-U.N. Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) peacekeepers in Darfur. Secretary-General Ban called upon Sudanese authorities to investigate the attack, while stating those in Darfur must respect the peacekeeping force. He also anyone who attacks UNAMID will be held accountable.
On September 27th, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi said Middle Eastern countries need to cooperate to defeat a worsening terrorist threat that has led to a ferocious war in Egypt. He said the Egyptian military needs to be augmented to defeat terrorists fighting in the Sinai and Western Dessert. President Sisi also warned that regional security is in its most vulnerable state.
On September 30th, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the sixth review of Tunisia’s economic performance under a 24-month program supported by a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The completion of the review enables the immediate disbursement of roughly $301.6 million. In completing the review, the Board noted Tunisia’s economy has been resilient, despite the country’s prolonged political transition and a difficult international environment.
On October 1st, the Interior Ministry reported that Tunisian troops had seized arms and documents branded with the symbol for ISIL from two cars near the border with Libya. The vehicles, which were rigged as car bombs, were effectively dismantled.
On October 1st, Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay, filed a claim with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to grant him reparations and compensation for physical and psychological abuse suffered while in U.S. custody, and for his failure to get a job since being sent home in December 2013. Ameziane is also seeking to reclaim several thousand dollars allegedly seized by the U.S. upon his capture.
On September 24th, the IMF highlighted the completion of the Article IV consultation with Namibia. The IMF observed Namibia has maintained robust real gross domestic product (GDP) growth since the global financial crisis, although in 2014 it was somewhat weaker at 4.5 percent. However, the IMF said Namibia’s growth outlook is clouded with downside risks and potential policy challenges, such as the rapid growth in housing prices, high unemployment, and income inequality.
On September 25th, the U.N. denied that weapons found last week on a cargo ship seized by Kenyan authorities in Mombasa were being transported illegally. According to the U.N., the weapons were part of a legitimate consignment for the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). Further, the U.N. criticized Kenyan authorities for breaking protocols by inspecting the ship’s cargo in the absence of U.N. personnel.
On September 28th, Somaliland’s Horn Stars band was arrested for allegedly waving Somalia’s flag at a concert. The four members of the band are accused of opposing Somaliland’s independence. While Somaliland declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991, its independence is not internationally recognized.
On September 28th, rights groups stated that homophobic mobs in Kenya have repeatedly attacked LBGT people, but police are not attempting to bring perpetrators to justice. Homosexuality is currently punishable by up to 14 years in jail in Kenya. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported there have been at least six mob violence cases against LGBT minorities since 2008.
On September 28th, the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), in the collaboration with the Uganda Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and the Uganda Chamber of Mines, and Petroleum launched a five-day training program for senior government officials and members of the private sector in Kampala. Participating in the seminar are 30 senior representatives of state ministries and other institutions involved in the negotiation of mining agreements.
On September 29th, Ethiopia and Djibouti signed an agreement for a $1.55 billion fuel pipeline with developers Mining, Oil, and Gas Services and Blackstone Group, backed by Black Rhino Group. The pipeline, which will be constructed by 2018, will transport diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel from port across Djibouti and into central Ethiopia. Currently, fuel is delivered to landlocked Ethiopia by tanker truck.
On September 30th, an IMF mission completed a visit to Tanzania to initiate the third review under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) program approved in July 2014, in conjunction with a visit from the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department focused on conducting a fiscal evaluation. While in Tanzania, IMF officials observed broadly favorable macroeconomic performance, especially in the transportation, electricity generation, communications, and financial services sectors.
On September 23rd, an IMF mission concluded a mission to Cameroon to conduct the IMF’s 2015 Article IV consultation discussions. The mission held meetings with several Cameroonian government officials to discuss recent economic developments and the economic outlook for the country. The IMF team found that despite the deterioration in the global and regional economic and security environment, the country’s economy has demonstrated some resiliency, resulting in a six percent growth rate in 2014.
On September 25th, the WHO announced polio is no longer an endemic in Nigeria. The only two remaining countries where polio is an endemic are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Nigeria has not reported a case of poliovirus since July 2014.
On September 25th, the IMF reported on a recent mission to Chad that reviewed Chad’s financial and economic program supported by the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The mission reported that Chad’s macroeconomic performance is significantly impacted by the deep decline in oil prices, the cost of hosting refugees, and the lack of stability in the region.
On September 25th, a team from the IMF completed a mission to Cote d’Ivoire to review Cote d’Ivoire’s financial and economic program supported by the IMF’s ECF. The mission reported that Cote d’Ivoire’s macroeconomic performance remained strong, as there was low inflation and robust GDP growth. The Executive Board of the IMF will consider a disbursement of $68.45 million for Cote d’Ivoire in December 2015.
On September 26th, Ahmad al-Mahdi al-Faqi, an Islamist extremist suspected of being involved in the demolition of religious buildings in Timbuktu in Mali in 2012, was arrested in the Netherlands and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is the first person to be charged with the war crime of destroying religious or historical monuments. Director-General of the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova stated that this breaks new ground for the protection of culture that is shared across humanity.
On September 28th, an IMF staff mission completed a visit to Niamey, Niger to conduct discussions on the sixth and seventh reviews under a program supported by an ECF approved by the IMF Board in March 2012. The mission observed Niger’s overall macroeconomic performance has been satisfactory, despite security and humanitarian shocks in the country. The mission also reported reaching staff-level agreement with Nigerien authorities on the reviews, which the IMF Board is expected to consider in November.
On September 29th, the IMF concluded a mission in Sao Tome and Principe. The mission aimed to discuss recent economic developments and support the preparation of the 2016 budget.
On September 29th, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved two International Development Association (IDA) credits and grants amounting to $115 million for Cote d’Ivoire. The first program supports the country’s long-term efforts focused on strengthening public administration and facilitating private-sector growth, improved governance and a more conducive business climate to reduce extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. The second program is a funding for the Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence (ACE) Project.
On September 29th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari named himself Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister. According to President Buhari, this step was taken as part of efforts to sanitize Nigeria’s oil industry, which is said to be plagued by corruption, massive fraud, and crude oil theft.
On September 29th, the Lavun Community Radio station in Niger became the first of its kind to grace the airwaves. Supported by the World Bank’s Fadama II and III projects, the country’s only active community radio station was commissioned earlier this month and went live on 95.5 FM.
On September 30th, Liberian authorities imposed a curfew on the town of Ganta after violent protests erupted following a wave of suspected ritual killings. According to local police, at least one person was killed and several others wounded in the demonstrations.
On September 30th, Hilton announced it will open its first hotel in Ethiopia in more than four decades. The hotel, due to open in 2020, will be located in Awassa and will be the first hotel built by an international chain outside of Addis Ababa. Recently, many hoteliers, including Sheraton, Radisson, and Golden Tulip, have sought to expand their presence in Ethiopia.
On October 1st, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he had submitted a cabinet list to parliament for its approval. Criticism has been building that President Buhari, who assumed office on May 29th, has not yet appointed other members to his government. While President Buhari declined to disclose who appeared on the list, it is widely expected that former Lagos state Governor Babatunde Fashola and head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Emmanuel Kachikwu, will serve in the cabinet.
On September 23rd, the AfDB approved two loans totaling $24.55 million for Madagascar to alleviate the country’s food security and fragility problems. The project will be implemented over a six-year period and is estimated to be at $38.72 total. The Mid-West Rural Youth Enterprises Project (PROJERMO) will work to improve food security, provide jobs to young people, and boost the local and regional economy.
On September 23rd, the AfDB approved a $10 million loan to Seychelles to support the Inclusive Private Sector Development and Competitiveness Program – phase II (IPSDCP-II) organized by the country’s government. The goal of this project is to reach inclusive and sustained economic growth through heightened competition in Seychelles’ economy. This program will also attempt to make private sector reforms in Seychelles, such as improving the regulatory climate for business development, and improving access to finance and support services for start-ups.
On September 25th, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) reported more than 2.8 million people will face hunger in Malawi because of the worst food crisis in a decade. Roughly $81 million in relief funding is estimated for an operation in the future, though less than 25 percent of this funding has been raised by the voluntary contributions from governments that fund the WFP.
On September 25th, the World Bank announced a $79 million IDA grant and credit that will benefit 80,000 traders and families in Africa’s Great Lakes Region. The financing will support the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project, which aims to reduce the costs faced by traders in the surrounding borders of the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda.
On September 27th, tens of thousands of people congregated in the Republic of Congo (ROC) to rally against the constitutional changes that would allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his decades-long presidency. Organizers of the rally claimed there were over 300,000 participants in Sunday’s protest.
On September 28th, two female anti-poachers in South Africa called upon the U.N. to protect the national resources of their country. Collet Ngobeni and Felicia Mogakane, original members of the 24-Strong Black Mambas, accepted the U.N. top environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth award.
On September 28th, South African regulators announced an investigation of Volkswagen’s (VW) local business to see if cars sold in South Africa have also rigged carbon emission data. The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) stated that though all VW cars had met the requirements, it could recall cars if VW was found to not be complying with emission standards.
On September 28th, South African-born Trevor Noah hosted his first episode of “The Daily Show” in New York. Noah said he plans to make stylistic changes to the show rather than structural ones. Noah was born to a white Swiss father and a black South African mother whose union was illegal during South Africa’s apartheid system.
On September 29th, former DRC President Jean Pierre Bemba went on trial before the ICC, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of interfering with the administration of justice by coaching and paying defense witnesses to provide false testimony in his trial for war crimes. President Bemba is accused of directing his militia to carry out murders, rape, and pillaging in the CAR from 2002 to 2003.
On September 29th, 23 people were killed in a shootout between Mozambican forces and gunmen in a convoy varying Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of the opposition Renamo party. According to the Government of Mozambique, armed men traveling with the convoy were the first to open fire against a minibus carrying civilians. Meanwhile, Renamo officials claim the attack was an ambush by government forces.
On September 29th, the South African Weather Service forecasted the country is likely to continue to see drought conditions as El Nino’s patterns strengthen. The drier and hotter than normal weather has reduced South Africa’s maize yield by a third. The lack of rainfall has also negatively impacted Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.
On September 29th, African nonprofit African Parks said seven people have recently been killed by elephants and crocodiles during separate incidents in Malawi’s Liwonde National Park. The group suggested the deaths occurred because the reserve is unfenced. As a result, African parks pledged to fence the park’s perimeter over the next year and a half.
On September 29th, Nigerian aluminum beverage can maker GZ Industries and South Africa’s Golden Era Packaging entered into a joint venture set up a 1.2 billion cans per year manufacturing plant in Johannesburg, South Africa. Called Gayatri GZI Beverage Cans, the joint venture is expected commence operations in the second quarter of next year.
On September 30th, an IMF team concluded a visit to Lilongwe, Malawi to conduct discussions for the 2015 Article IV consultations and to discuss progress under the ECF arrangement. During its visit, the IMF team noted the Malawian economy is facing difficult challenges due to weather-related shocks that have caused a looming food crisis and drop in GDP growth.
On September 30th, the AfDB fast-tracked a grant of $16 million to help Zimbabwe clean up some of the poorest slums in Harare. The first phase of the project will focus on removing raw sewage from residential areas and securing the water supply for the two million residents of Zimbabwe’s capital city.
On September 30th, six African nations agreed with donors on a plan to protect the tropical forests of the Congo Basin, the second biggest in the world after the Amazon's, to help ease poverty and combat climate change. The project aims to slow illegal logging and burning of forests that are vital to millions of people and home to endangered animals such as gorillas and bonobos. The partnership is viewed as a preliminary step to the U.N. summit on climate change to be held in Paris in December.
On September 30th, the South African Government announced it will pay compensation to the families of the 34 mineworkers who were killed over a wage dispute in the 2012 Marikana massacre. The details of the payments will be determined by an independent panel, according to President Jacob Zuma.
On September 30th, thousands of South Africans from trade unions, opposition parties, and civil society groups participated in marches against corruption in Pretoria and Cape Town. The protestors demanded that President Jacob Zuma address corruption within the government before local elections next year. More marches are expected next month.
On September 30th, the world’s first drone port was proposed in Rwanda. The project plans to set up cargo drone routes capable of delivering urgent supplies to remote areas. The proposal, by architecture firm Foster + Partners, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and its linked Afrotech company, envisions drones with a three-meter wingspan able to carry deliveries weighing 22 pounds across regions that are otherwise inaccessible.
On September 30th, HRW published a report exposing the human rights violations and negligent treatment of individuals in Kigali, Rwanda’s Gikondo Transit Center. According to HRW, the majority of those detained was poor, homeless, or marginalized people, who were arbitrarily rounded up by the police. Research suggests that as many as several thousand people are likely to have passed through the center and have been subjected to ill-treatment over the past ten years.
General Africa News
On September 23rd, the AfDB agreed upon a soft loan to Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ethiopia for a combined $30 million. Benin and Ethiopia will each receive $7.5 million and Cote d’Ivoire will receive $15 million. This loan is for the purpose of membership subscriptions in the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI). Credit and political risk insurance provided by ATI will encourage and assist foreign direct investment in African trade.
On September 30th, the Board of the AfDB approved combined loans and grants totaling $428.23 million to finance energy, infrastructure, transportation, water, and sanitation projects in eight African countries, including Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire.
On September 30th, Galway coders began spearheading the first Africa Code Week, which will involve thousands of students in 17 African countries. Up to 20,000 young people and trainers are taking part in the event, which is organized by Galway Education Centre, South Africa’s Cape Town Science Centre, and the King Baudouin Foundation, along with Galway-based multinational SAP.
Madeline Beecher and Joseph Sweiss are co-authors of this article.