On October 1st, authorities in Burkina Faso said General Gilbert Diendere, the leader behind a recent coup attempt in the country, was in the custody of security forces. According to reports, General Diendere surrendered in Ouagadougou. His detention comes as calls increased for General Diendere to face justice for destabilizing the country. The full story is available here. On October 5th , United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with transitional President of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando to express sympathy for the deaths and injuries resulting from the attempted coup that took place on September 16th. Additionally, Secretary-General Ban urged all national stakeholders to act responsibility and reaffirmed U.N. support for the organization of upcoming elections. A readout of the meeting was provided here. On October 6th , a court in Burkina Faso charged General Gilbert Diendere and former Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole with crimes including threatening state security and murder for their leadership roles in planning and executing last month’s failed coup. General Diendre was handed over to Burkinabe authorities last week after seeking refuge at the Vatican Embassy. The charges against both men were outlined here. On October 7th, Burkina Faso’s Finance Minister Jean Gustave Sanon said last month’s failed coup cost the country’s economy more than $50 million in lost revenue. Due to the coup, banks and businesses in Burkina Faso closed for ten days and many people were unable to travel to work. The loss of tax revenue was estimated at $18.9 million and the loss of customs receipts was estimated at $16.67 million. Additional data was shared here. Central African Republic On October 1st, following a spate of recent violence, transitional authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) announced the elections scheduled for October 18th will be delayed. While a new date for the elections has yet to be announced, officials indicated they expect the vote will take place by the end of the year. The news broke as the U.N. indicated at least 42 deaths had been confirmed in Bangui in the past week, and more than 40,000 people have been displaced from the capital. The delay of the elections was reported here. On October 2nd, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien expressed alarm for the recent upsurge of violence in the CAR and attacks on humanitarian facilities. Under-Secretary-General O’Brien noted ongoing violence perpetrated by armed groups is preventing humanitarian organizations from reaching the more than 42,000 civilians who have fled their homes in Bangui. He called on all those engaged in violence to end the hostilities and immediately allow the resumption of humanitarian assistance. Under-Secretary-General O’Brien’s comments were captured here. On October 5th, CAR Minister of Public Safety Dominique Said Panguindji reported that 61 people were killed in clashes in Bangui last month and more than 300 others were injured. Earlier estimates put the number of fatalities at about 40. Additionally, Minister Panguindji stepped up accusations that the clashes were part of an attempted coup seeking to overthrow transitional authorities in the country. Developments in the CAR were shared here. On October 6th, despite the temporary relocation of 200 personnel due to worsening security conditions and the recent looting of international aid offices in the CAR, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the country Aurelien Agbenoci said the U.N. will work to continue to deliver aid to those in need of assistance. Following the recent violence in the CAR, the U.N. now estimates there are over 417,000 displaced people in the country and more than half the population is in need of humanitarian relief. The situation was described here. On October 7th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of a peacekeeper from the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA). On Wednesday, a MINUSCA convoy traveling from Damara to Ngerengou came under fire by unknown attackers. Secretary-General Ban called for the perpetrators of the attack to be swiftly brought to justice. His response was posted here. On October 8th, global aid organizations reported conditions in the CAR are making it nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian relief to those in need of assistance. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the main roads in Bangui are unsecured and domestic flights have been suspended, cutting off supplies of medicine, fuel, and food. An article on the conditions in Bangui can be read here. Burundi On October 2nd, former colonial ruler Belgium announced a halt on some aid to Burundi to express its opposition to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s disputed third term. The news from Belgium came as the European Union (EU) also announced travel bans and asset freezes on four officials close to President Nkurunziza believed to have used excessive force in responding to protests leading up to the election. An article on the situation can be read here. On October 4th, authorities in Bujumbura, Burundi reported at least eight people were killed in shootings in the capital overnight as explosions continued throughout the city in a wave of attacks related to the country’s recent and controversial presidential election. According to residents, the police and the youth wing of the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), known as the Imbonerakure, were behind the attacks. Meanwhile, local police disputed the accusations. Details were shared here. On October 7th, Burundi expelled Desire Nyaruhirira, a senior advisor at the Rwandan Embassy who has served in Burundi for several years. Burundian officials accused Nyaruhirira of working to destabilize the country. His ousting follows the Burundian Government’s claims last week that Rwanda had been training rebels in Burundi. The move is viewed as a further decline in relations between Burundi and Rwanda, especially as Rwandan President Paul Kagame has publically criticized Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term. The situation was discussed here. Nigeria On October 2nd, Nigerian authorities reported five children were behind a series of bombings that occurred on Thursday during evening prayers at a mosque in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Fifteen people, including the bombers, were killed and 35 others were injured. Maiduguri was previously a stronghold for extremist group Boko Haram. The bombings were described here. On October 4th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombings that took place in Abuja, Nigeria on October 2nd, as well as the multiple suicide bombings that occurred in Maiduguri on October 1st. Noting the attacks were carried out by suspected Boko Haram elements, Secretary-General Ban said the continuing violence perpetrated by the group is an affront to international law, humanity, and religious faith. His response can be seen here. On October 4th, militants claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for Friday’s suicide bombings near Abuja, Nigeria on Twitter. The post was signed by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a name that Boko Haram has used since pledging allegiance to ISIL earlier this year. More information can be found here. On October 6th, suspected Boko Haram militants killed 11 soldiers in an attack across Nigeria’s border with Chad. According to the Chadian military, 17 attackers also died in clashes along the border. Chad is a leading contributor to the 8,700-strong regional force fighting Boko Haram in West Africa. The latest fighting was reported here. On October 7th , a spate of clashes and suicide bombings killed at least 40 people in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram fighters attacked a military camp in Yobe state, resulting in clashes with troops that left at least 100 militants dead. Seven troops were also killed and nine others were injured. Separately, two women suicide bombers attacked mosques in Damaturu during morning prayers. These bombings occurred as two male suicide bombers attacked a settlement of Fulani herders in Yobe state, and as two other male suicide bombers blew themselves up inside a mosque in Gubio in Borno state. All of the attacks were profiled here. On October 7th, Boko Haram released a new video recommitting its allegiance to ISIL. In the video, which was posted on YouTube, an unidentified man claiming to be a member of Boko Haram said the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, continues to lead the group. The Nigerian Army has repeatedly claimed to have killed Shekau, who has not appeared in any recent Boko Haram videos. The release of the new video was noted here. South Sudan On October 5th, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced its rapid response operation in South Sudan has delivered livelihood assistance to 60,000 food insecure households in previously inaccessible areas of northern Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states. The recent deliveries of livelihood kits add to the 430,000 crop, vegetable, and fishing kits the FAO distributed earlier this year to support an estimated 2.3 million people facing food insecurity. An update from the FAO was provided here. On October 5th, South Sudanese rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar opposed President Salva Kiir’s recent decree establishing 28 new states, saying the move violates a recently signed peace agreement. While President Kiir has said his decision was guided by South Sudan’s transitional constitution with the intent of decentralizing power, the opposition noted the peace agreement outlines a vision for ten states and claimed President Kiir’s decision was purely political and based on tribal considerations. Both positions were articulated here. On October 6th, the Governments of Norway, the United Kingdom (U.K.), and the U.S. released a joint statement expressing concern about South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s October 2nd announcement that he plans to replace South Sudan’s ten states with 28 new states. The members of the Troika said this announcement contradicts the Government of South Sudan’s commitment to implement the peace agreement signed on August 26th. Additionally, the leaders urged President Kiir to defer action on this matter until the Transitional Government of National Unity is formed and a national constitutional dialogue can take place. Additional feedback was posted here. On October 7th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Director of Policy Planning David McKean met with South Sudanese Vice President James Wani Igga, opposition leader Riek Machar, and Pagan Amum Okiech, representing signatories to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, at the Department of State. A readout of the meeting can be accessed here. U.N. General Assembly On October 1st, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry participated in the High-Level Ministerial on Libya at the U.N. held on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly. Secretary Kerry applauded U.N. Special Representative for Libya and head of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Leon and Libyan leaders for the progress made in negotiating a political framework for a new Government of National Accord. He urged Libyans to implement the agreement and to establish a society with effective and accountable political, economic, and security institutions. Secretary Kerry’s comments were transcribed here. On October 1st, while in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour at the Palace Hotel. Their meeting was noticed here. On October 1st, U.S, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall attended the High-Level Meeting on the CAR held on the sideline of the U.N. General Assembly. Under Secretary Sewall expressed concern for the recent and alarming outbreak of violence in Bangui, attacks against MINUSCA, and the escape of more than 500 inmates, including members of the anti-balaka and Seleka militias. As a result, she called on the international community to redouble its support for the transitional government in the CAR. Under Secretary Sewall’s remarks were transcribed here. On October 1st, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) submitted remarks for the congressional record regarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted at the U.N. General Assembly meeting. Senator Cardin discussed the progress made under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), noting a 20 percent increase in primary school enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa and a nearly 50 percent decrease in the number of out-of-school children of primary school age. Additionally, he said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will help incorporate good governance and strong anti-corruption measures into the political frameworks of resource rich African countries. Senator Cardin’s remarks can be read here. On October 1st, Burundian Vice President Joseph Butore addressed the U.N. General Assembly. Vice President Butore said the recent elections followed the 2005 constitution and were a great success, despite some protests in Bujumbura. He said the political dialogue process that opened in Burundi following the elections has been inclusive, sincere, and open to all. Highlights from Vice President Butore’s speech can be seen here. On October 1st, South Sudanese Vice President James Wani Igga delivered remarks to the U.N. General Assembly. Vice President Igga applauded the recent signing of a peace agreement between the South Sudanese Government and rebel leadership, as well as the declaration of a permanent ceasefire in the country. Additionally, he noted the South Sudanese Government is seeking to investigate reports of human rights abuses within security institutions. Details can be accessed here. On October 1st, Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke presented to the U.N. General Assembly and thanked the international community for its involvement in his country. Prime Minister Sharmarke said Somalia’s proposed grand development plan is focused on building a better future. He also described the government’s effort’s to ensure a free and fair election. Excerpts from his remarks were highlighted here. On October 1st, President of Madagascar Hery Rajaonarimampianina spoke at the U.N. General Assembly, where he focused his remarks on climate change. Noting the country has often suffered from the social and economic effects of climate change, President Rajaonarimampianina highlighted Madagascar’s recent commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 14 percent and to increase absorption capacity by more than 30 percent by 2030. His presentation was summarized here. On October 2nd, during a high-level meeting convened on Libya on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged participants in the Libyan political dialogue to urgently conclude the process and sign the agreement that will result in the formation of a Government of National Accord. Secretary-General Ban reiterated only a Government of National Accord can unite Libyans and position them to address challenges in rebuilding the country. His position was articulated here. On October 2nd, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ahmad Ghandour spoke to the U.N. General Assembly, where he rejected the unilateral economic sanctions that continue to hinder the country’s development. Despite the impact of sanctions, Minister Ghandour said Sudan will work to ensure the new SDGs complement the country’s process of peace, stability, and growth. He also noted Sudan will continue to act as a partner in international efforts to combat terrorism. Themes from Minister Ghandour’s presentation were noted here. On October 2nd, U.N. officials applauded Somalia’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and called on the U.S., now the only country that has not ratified the treaty, to do so. Somalia deposited its instrument of ratification at U.N. Headquarters during the annual treaty event held in conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly, formalizing the ratification process started earlier this year. The full story is available here. On October 3rd, Eritrean Minister of Foreign Affairs Osman Mohammed Saleh delivered a speech to the U.N. General Assembly. He reported that Eritrea is making progress in building a nation based on citizenship, inclusivity, and respect for human rights. He also advocated for reforms that will transform the U.N. into a more agile, democratic, and equitable multilateral organization. More information can be viewed here. On October 3rd, Permanent Representative of Cote d’Ivoire to the U.N. Claude Stanislas Bouah-Kamon addressed the U.N. General Assembly. Representative Bouah-Kamon thanked the U.N. for its support, noting the U.N. Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNCOI) has helped restore stability in the country after former President Laurent Gabagbo refused to concede defeat in the 2010 elections. He also identified key challenges for the U.N. to focus on in Africa, including poverty, terrorism, epidemics, food security, and climate change. For details, click here. On October 3rd, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Guinean Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois Lounceny Fall touted the October 11th elections in Guinea as a democratic milestone. Minister Fall thanked the U.N. for helping to ease the political tensions in Guinea and said successful elections will allow the country to move forward on its economic and social development goals. Parts of Minister Fall’s speech were transcribed here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On October 6th, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine released new research finding that material and newborn deaths in Sierra Leone have been on the rise since the onset of the Ebola crisis. Deaths of women during or just after childbirth rose by almost a third and those of newborns by a quarter between May 2014 and April 2014. The increase in deaths is attributed to fears of becoming infected with Ebola and mistrust of health workers that has deterred women from giving birth in health facilities. The research was summarized here. On October 7th, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. The week ending October 4th was the first complete epidemiological week with no confirmed cases of Ebola since March 2014. Additionally, the WHO reported all contacts have now completed follow up in Sierra Leone, while over 500 contacts remain under follow up in Guinea. Additional data was analyzed here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On October 4th, Spanish officials reported a total of 188 migrants from North and sub-Saharan Africa were rescued overnight from seven makeshift vessels seeking to reach southern Spain. According to the International Organization for Migration, 2,819 migrants have crossed to Spain from North Africa between January and the end of September. The rescues were reported here. On October 5th, Irish defense forces reported the rescue of 242 people from wooden crafts near Tripoli, Libya, by a naval vessel in its first operation since being deployed to assist the international effort to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean. The rescues were detailed here. On October 6th, the International Organization for Migration reported nearly 100 migrants were thought to have died off the coast of Libya since Sunday. The figures are based on sightings of 95 bodies in two separate locations off the Libyan coast. More information was shared here. On October 7th, the EU launched Operation Sophia, a new mission designed to intercept boats in the Mediterranean that are smuggling migrants. To date, the EU’s efforts to respond to the migrant crisis have focused on surveillance and rescue operations. The new operation authorizes European naval vessels to board, search, seize, and divert vessels suspected of smuggling people. The mission was launched here. United States – Africa Relations State Department On September 29th, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall delivered remarks at the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) meeting on the Role of the Private Sector in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in New York City. Under Secretary Sewall said GCERF is a critical partner in supporting community-driven initiatives to address the dynamics that lead to extremism and build more inclusive and resilient communities. She also noted this December the GCERF will approve its first round of grants to local communities in Nigeria and Mali. Her remarks were transcribed here. On October 1st, the State Department welcomed the announcement by Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda that Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, an alleged member of Ansar al-Dine (AAD), has been surrendered to the court by Nigerian authorities. The State Department said this is an important step toward holding accountable those responsible for serious crimes in Mali and noted these are the first charges at the ICC relating to intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings and monuments. Additional feedback can be seen here. On October 2nd, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the people of Guinea on 57 years of independence. Secretary Kerry said the U.S. values its partnership with Guinea and recognizes the progress Guinea has made, especially in the fight against Ebola. He said the upcoming national elections are an opportunity to further strengthen Guinea’s commitment to an inclusive and peaceful democracy and said the U.S. remains committed to working with Guinea to support economic development, strengthen democratic institutions, and reinforce the joint effort to counter the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Secretary Kerry’s statement was released here. On October 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the people of Lesotho on the 49th anniversary of their independence. Secretary Kerry said the U.S. and Lesotho have forged a friendship based on shared values and mutual respect, and noted the U.S. remains committed to working with Lesotho to strengthen democratic institutions, promote sustainable development, help civil society flourish, and intensify the fight against HIV/AIDS. He also called on all parties to remain focused on creating opportunities and building trust in transparent and accountable government institutions. Secretary Kerry’s comments were captured here. On October 6th, State Department Counselor Tom Shannon met with Algerian Ambassador to the U.S. Madjid Bouguerra at the Department of State. The meeting was noticed here. On October 6th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield delivered remarks at the Global Business Forum in Washington, DC. She also met with Mauritanian Ambassador to the U.S. Sooroojdev Phokeer at the Department of State. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield’s schedule was outlined here. On October 6th, the State Department noted concern with the decision by Republic of Congo (ROC) President Denis Sassou Nguesso to hold a referendum on a new constitution that would overcome existing term limits and permit him to run again for president after the end of his term in 2016. The State Department reiterated that regular, peaceful, democratic leadership transitions provide a dynamic and healthy mechanism for citizens to hold political leaders accountable for their governance and foster long-term stability. Additional feedback on the referendum was shared here. On October 7th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Special Representative and Head Mongi Hamdi, at the Department of State. The meeting was listed here. U.S. Agency for International Development On October 1st, in conjunction with International Coffee Day, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a $1.8 million partnership with Michigan State University to help the African Great Lakes region maintain its position in the international coffee market. This partnership also launches the Feed the Future African Great Lakes Region Coffee Support Program that will help coffee farmers in Rwanda support their families. USAID’s support for Africa’s coffee sector was announced here. On October 2nd, Acting USAID Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt issued a statement on Patrick Awuah’s recognition as the 2015 MacArthur Fellow. As the founder and President of Ghana’s Ashesi University, one of Africa’s top institutions of higher learning, Administrator Lenhardt said Awuah is helping to empower the next generation of Ghanaian leaders. Ashesi University is a longstanding partner to USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program and Awuah also serves on USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. Administrator Lenhardt’s statement can be read here. On October 2nd, USAID’s FrontLines magazine highlighted the Agency’s efforts to help people around the world cope with the impacts of climate change. USAID noted it is working to build resilience villages in southern Africa, where people talk about the real world effects of climate change in their neighborhoods and develop adaptable, common sense solutions. Details can be viewed here. On October 6th, Chris Thomas, a communications advisor in USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, saluted the recently announce Nobel laureates whose discoveries help fight malaria, river blindness, and elephantiasis. Thomas noted that parasitic worms have previously left whole communities in Africa blind from disease. USAID is now distributing drugs to treat river blindness and elephantiasis to more than 25 million people. Thomas also noted the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has used scientific discoveries to prevent more than six million deaths among children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. For more information, click here. Department of Defense On October 1st, during an official signing ceremony held in Nairobi, the Massachusetts National Guard became the U.S. partner for Kenya as part of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) State Partnership Program. Under the partnership, the Massachusetts National Guard will conduct mutually beneficial engagements in support of defense security cooperation goals and work to strengthen Kenya’s domestic response capabilities. The partnership was outlined here. On October 2nd, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General David Rodriguez and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Amanda Dory finished a weeklong trip to Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. In each country, Commander Rodriguez and Deputy Assistant Secretary Dory met with military officials to discuss how AFRICOM and DOD can continue to help partner national strengthen their military capabilities. Their trip was summarized here. On October 5th, AFRICOM noted that leaders from NATO’s Operations division recently visited AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, to meet with staff from AFRICOM’s Multinational Cooperation Center (MNCC) regarding potential opportunities for partnering. Following a series of meetings, NATO and AFRICOM agreed crisis management may be one arena for cooperation. More information can be found here. On October 6th, Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa noted a recent training session conducted between Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response – Africa, and Gabon’s Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN) on combatting wildlife trafficking. As part of the exercise, U.S. Marines trained with ANPN park rangers in infantry tactics to help build the nation’s capacity to counter trafficking of ivory and other animal products. The training was highlighted here. Overseas Private Investment Corporation On October 6th , the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced plans to hold an Expanding Horizons workshop for small businesses in Boston, Massachusetts on October 14th. In announcing the workshop, which is designed to educate small businesses about the opportunities of expanding into developing markets and the support OPIC can offer in the form of loans, financing, and political risk insurance, OPIC noted that Root Capital, based in Cambridge, has successfully used OPIC financing to empower rural farmers in Africa by providing funds for seeds, fertilizer, and farming equipment, in addition to training to help connect local producers with global markets. Details can be seen here. U.S. Trade and Development Agency On October 6th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) issued the latest edition of its newsletter. The newsletter highlights USTDA’s recent announcement of a grant to NextGen Solawazi Limited to support the development of a 60 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant in Tanzania, funding for a feasibility study to support the implementation of a hydrocarbon storage, blending, and distribution terminal in Morocco, and a grant for Senegal Minergy Port (SMP) to design, finance, build, and operate a new multi-commodity bulk port in Senegal. The newsletter can be downloaded here. Congress On October 5th, House Select Committee on Benghazi Communications Director Jamal Ware issued a statement in response to Committee Democrats’ announced intent to release the transcript from the Committee’s interview with former State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills. He said the Committee has not released any transcripts because of the need to gather all facts before drawing conclusions from witness interviews. Director Ware also accused Democrats of defending former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton without regard of the integrity of the Committee’s investigation. His statement can be read here. On October 6th, Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi released a new video and fact sheet rebutting claims made by Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) that the Committee is not focused on damaging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s bid for president. The video and the fact sheet can be accessed here. On October 7th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced legislation to establish a comprehensive U.S. Government policy to encourage the efforts of countries in sub-Saharan Africa to develop an appropriate mix of power solutions, including renewable energy, for more broadly distributed electricity access in order to support poverty reduction, promote development outcomes, and drive economic growth. Details can be seen here. On October 7th , the House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee held a hearing on “Food Security and Nutrition Programs in Africa.” Witnesses included former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, Carolyn Woo of Catholic Relief Services, David Hong of One Acre Fund, and Roger Thurow of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. A webcast of the hearing can be watched here. North Africa On October 1st, the World Bank highlighted how its 2014 credit facility has made $100 million more available to entrepreneurs operating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Tunisia. A loan issued by the World Bank has supported the launch of a flower farm in the southern part of the country. The flower farm has created jobs in Nekrif, one of the most impoverished regions of Tunisia, especially for young women. The project was highlighted here. On October 4th, the World Bank made a deal with Egypt to support the $550 million Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Program for Results. The project aims to improve sanitation services for more than 800,000 poor Egyptians in the Nile Delta, where there is a need for increased accessed to water, waste disposal, and health services. The project was described here. On October 6th, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) called for a joint vaccination operational plan in Sudan, noting thousands of the children in the country remain inaccessible. UNICEF first launched a vaccination campaign against meningitis in Sudan in January 2015. However, UNICEF expressed concern that access for humanitarian aid has still not been granted to children in areas of the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile, and the Jebel Mara of North Darfur. For more information, click here. On October 8th, Ridha Chareffedine, a lawmaker for Tunisia’s main secular Nidaa Tounes party, escaped an assassination attempt while on his way to Sousse. Chareffedine said his vehicle came under automatic rifle fire from unidentified gunmen in a passing vehicle. Following the incident, the Interior Ministry closed routes out of Sousse. More information can be found here. On October 8th , Reuters reported that plans to move forward on a $35 billion housing deal between Egypt and Abu Dhabi contractor Arabtec have stalled. The project, announced in March 2014, envisioned the construction of one million homes in Egypt by 2020, in addition to other infrastructure projects to help promote economic stability and rebuild from the 2011 uprising. Allegedly the project has been put on pause due to disagreements over the contract and financing challenges. An article on the situation can be read here. East Africa On September 30th, the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Board of Directors approved two loans totaling $141.71 million to finance the second phase of the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System Project in Tanzania. The project is expected to improve urban mobility and accessibility, strengthen competitiveness, and boost tourism in the capital. Details can be viewed here. On October 2nd, speaking at the closing ceremony of the African Legal Support Facility’s (ALSF) Mineral Wealth Conference held in Kampala, Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said capacity building is essential to equipping government officials with the skills needed to negotiate favorable mining agreements. He said enhanced legal knowledge will help African governments maximize the benefits related to the extraction of natural resources. Prime Minister Rugunda’s comments were recorded here. On October 5th, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed a visit to Kampala, Uganda to conduct the fifth review of Uganda’s economic program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). IMF staff observed that despite global and regional economic challenges and election-related uncertainties, Uganda’s recent economic performance has been mostly favorable, reaching a 5 percent economic growth rate in the most recent fiscal year. Additional economic analysis was provided here. On October 6th , Reuters reported that Tanzania Breweries Limited is tapping biomass energy to produce more sustainable beer while cutting its fuels costs. Tanzania Breweries has started using husks that are considered a waste product by local farmers to fuel boilers instead of oil. As a result, the brewery has halved carbon emissions and saved $400,000 a year in oil purchases. The full story is available here. On October 7th, Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for an ambush carried out in Mogadishu on Wednesday that killed Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s nephew, Liban Osman, and a civilian lawyer. Gunmen opened fire on Osman’s vehicle as it was traveling through the Wadajir neighborhood. Osman worked as a doctor at the presidential palace. The attack was reported here. On October 7th, Al Shabaab militants warned that British soldiers deployed to Somalia in support of the African Union (AU) force in the country will be welcomed with bullets. Last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron said up to 70 troops would be sent to support the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), without specifying a date. The British troops are expected to provide medical, logistical, engineering, and other non-combat support to AU troops in Somalia. Details can be viewed here. On October 8th, experts raised concerns that Somalia’s inability to pay and feed its soldiers may undermine the gains the Somali Government has made to edge out Al Shabaab. The nonpayment of salaries, which has stretched as long as six months for some troops, has strained relations between Somalia and its international partners, not to mention that Somali soldiers have started to defect, erect checkpoints to extract bribes, and lost incentive to fight. An article on the issue was published here. On October 8th, Kenyan police were investigating whether or not students may have been behind a fire that burnt down sections of the Maseno University administration to block student union elections scheduled for October 14th . Over the past several days, students have been mobilizing their peers to riot over a decision to bar one of the candidates from the election. The tensions on campus were described here. West Africa On September 30th, the AfDB approved a $120 million corporate loan to support Ghana Airports Company Limited’s (GACL) capital investment program. The program includes the construction of a new terminal at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra, and rehabilitation of additional airports, including Kumasi, Tamale, Ho, and Wa. The loan is the first private sector investment the AfDB has financed in Ghana’s transportation sector. For details, click here. On September 30th, the AfDB approved a financial package for the Gambia River Basin Development Organization (OMVG) to improve electricity access and provide renewable, clean, and affordable energy in The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal. The OMVG Energy Project will address power supply constraints by developing the Sambangalou hydroelectric dam, as well as an interconnection network for the evacuation of energy. The financing was announced here. On October 1st, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson noted the progress that has been made toward building stability in Mali and continued to urge all parties to adhere to the June 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. Further, Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson called on all Malian parties to renounce actions that violate the ceasefire and pushed the government to carry out the institutional reforms envisioned by the agreement. His feedback was recorded here. On October 2nd, Guinean opposition leader, Sidya Toure, leader of the Union of Republican Forces party and the third place finisher in the 2010 elections, called for the vote scheduled for October 11th to be delayed until later this month. Toure, speaking on behalf of the seven presidential candidates running against incumbent President Alpha Conde, said a delay was needed to address irregularities in the voting process and concerns with the voter rolls. The situation was discussed here. On October 4th, the Nigerian Government confirmed the arrest of former Petroleum Minister Diezani AlisonMadueke, in London, over allegations of corruption and money laundering. Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari Garba Shehu indicated Nigerian investigative agencies are working closed with British law enforcement agencies. More information can be found here. On October 5th, Guinean authorities reported dozens of people were injured in clashes between supporters of the ruling Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party and the rival Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) party in Nzerekore, timed with a visit by President Alpha Conde. Calm was ultimately restored following a series of arrests and the imposition of a curfew. President Conde is favored to win the presidential election to be held on October 11th. An article on the tensions in Guinea ahead of the elections was published here. On October 5th, President of Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara indicated his administration would move to expel tens of thousands of cocoa farmers from national parks throughout the country. According to Ivorian officials, about 60 percent of Cote d’Ivoire’s parks and reserves have been devastated by agriculture. The full story is available here. On October 5th, the Government of Ghana suspended seven of 12 high court judges in response to a documentary aired last month that showed judges accepting bribe money through intermediaries. Those suspended included Chief Justice Georgina Wood. Ghana’s Judicial Council previously suspended 22 junior judges who also appeared in the video and are facing bribery allegations. An article on the most recent suspensions can be read here. On October 6th, U.N. Special Representative for Mali and head of MINUSMA Mongi Hamdi briefed the U.N. Security Council on the situation in the country. Special Representative Hamdi noted there are many obstacles towards achieving peace and implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, signed in June by the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA). Despite violations of the ceasefire and other challenges, Special Representative Hamdi expressed his belief the peace process in Mali is back on track. His comments were transcribed here. On October 6th, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina held takes with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara at the Presidential Palace in Cote d’Ivoire. President Ouattara thanked President Adesina for the AfDB’s support for his priority agenda items, including industrial processing and value addition for agricultural exports, universal access to energy, and regional integration. President Adesina reaffirmed the AfDB’s commitment to strengthening its cooperation with Cote d’Ivoire, with a solid pipeline of projects under consideration. The meeting was summarized here. On October 6th, the Nigerian Senate unveiled the cabinet proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari. The list of nominees was sent to the Senate last week, and the body is expected to begin considering nominees on October 13th. All of the nominees were listed here. On October 7th, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Juan Mendez completed a four-day visit to Ghana to follow up a mission to the country completed in November 2013. Upon the conclusion of his visit, Special Rapporteur Mendez welcomed the steps taken by the Government of Ghana to fight torture and other ill treatment in the country, but also expressed concern that instances of torture and ill treatment continue to occur with some frequency during the apprehension, arrest, and interrogation stages by police and intelligence services. His observations were posted here. On October 7th, President of Guinea-Bissau Jose Mario Vaz rejected the cabinet proposed by his new Prime Minister Carlos Correia, arguing the list of 34 cabinet nominees was too large and comprised largely of officials from former Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira’s government. Prime Minister Correia was appointed in early September following President Vaz’s decision to dismiss his predecessor. Details can be seen here. On October 7th, former Ivorian Foreign Minister turned opposition candidate Amara Essy suspended his candidacy in the presidential contest scheduled for October 25th . Essy, a member of the National Coalition for Change (CNC), said the electoral process was undemocratic and dominated by incumbent President Alassane Ouattara, who is heavily favored to win. Essy and other opposition leaders have requested a dialogue with the government to discuss their concerns with the election, including poll security, the restructuring of the elections commission, and state media coverage of the candidates. Details can be viewed here. Sub-Saharan Africa On September 30th, the IMF completed the second review under the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) with Zimbabwe. While the IMF acknowledged Zimbabwe’s economic and financial conditions remain difficult, they noted Zimbabwean authorities continue to see the SMP as a crucial tool in building a strong track record toward normalizing their relationship with creditors, mobilizing development partners’ support, and supporting macroeconomic policies. More information can be found here. On September 30th, former Acting President of Zambia Guy Scott said Zambia’s overuse of the reservoir connected to the Kariba Dam between Zambia and Zimbabwe has depleted water levels. While the current administration in Zambia blames the power crisis in the country on drought, President Scott argued the electricity shortage is the result of reduced hydropower production. His comments were captured here. On October 2nd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart for sentencing President and Vice President of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) Ignace Murwanashyka and Straton Musoni to 13 and eight years in prison, respectively, for holding a leadership role in a foreign terrorist organization and for aiding in the commission of war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Secretary-General Ban also reiterated the importance of neutralizing the FDLR and other armed groups in the eastern DRC to bring stability to Africa’s Great Lakes region. His feedback was posted here. On October 2nd, delegations from Rwanda, 11 major host countries in Africa, the AU, and the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) met in Geneva, Switzerland, where they agreed on a timetable to assist refugees who left Rwanda between 1959 and 1998. The timetable aims to help former refugees who wish to return to Rwanda to do so by December 2016 and also outlined other efforts to help integrate other refugees into their host communities by the end of 2017. Details were shared here. On October 2nd, the Southern African Tourism Services Association said South Africa’s new visa rules will cost the tourism industry $540 million in annual revenue. The new regulations require visitors to provide biometric data when applying for visas and require parents to carry unabridged birth certificates for their children. Tourism is currently the third largest contributor to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).More information can be found here. On October 5th, South Africa asked the ICC for more time to respond to inquiries related to why Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was permitted to evade an arrest warrant by leaving the country in June. While South Africa is an ICC signatory and obliged to implement warrants issued by the court, South African officials have argued that President Bashir enjoyed diplomatic immunity as a guest of the AU. The situation was described here. On October 5th, Omphi Aphane, Deputy Director General of South Africa’s Energy Ministry, announced the government plans to build a solar park in the Northern Cape Province to produce an additional 1,500 MW to help address the country’s power crisis. The bidding process for the project could begin late this year. The South African Government has previously announced a series of other renewable energy projects aimed at adding another 1,000 MW of power to the grid. For more information, click here. On October 5th, Facebook and French satellite operator Eutelsat signed a multiyear agreement with Israeli satellite operator Spacecom to deliver free Internet to sub-Saharan Africa using an AMOS-6 satellite. Part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, the partnership is expected to expand Internet.org’s presence in sub-Saharan Africa beyond its current spread in Ghana, Zambia, Senegal, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, and Tanzania. The deal was announced here. On October 5th, Volkswagen’s (VW) South African unit released a statement announcing all its vehicles sold in the country are compliant with current environmental laws. The statement comes in response to an announcement last week from the South African regulator that VW’s local cars would be investigated following the revelation that VW rigged carbon emissions data for its vehicles in the U.S. Details can be accessed here. On October 6th, Lesotho’s former Prime Minister Tom Thabane appeared before a Southern African Development Community (SADC) commission to present his recollection of the coup allegedly staged against him in August 2014, which triggered a political crisis in the country. The commission has been tasked with identifying the root causes of political and security instability in the country. Current Deputy President of Lesotho Cyril Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili attended the meeting. Details were posted here. On October 6th, the Government of the ROC announced plans to hold a referendum this month on a change to the country’s constitution that could allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to maintain power. The 2002 constitution currently limits a president’s rule to two terms and also excludes candidates over the age of 70. While President Sassou Nguesso has not officially declared his candidacy, he is widely expected to seek a third term in the June 2016 presidential election. The situation was discussed here. On October 6th, Zimbabwean Minister of Youth Development, Indigenization, and Economic Empowerment Patrick Zhuwawo, who is also the nephew of President Robert Mugabe, advocated for enacting a 10 percent empowerment levy on foreign-owned companies in 2016 to raise revenue for black empowerment programs in Zimbabwe. Minister Zhuwawo said the levy could be raised to 12.5 percent in 2017. His comments were captured here. On October 6th, at the conclusion of the second Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development, held in Cape Town, South Africa, health ministers from China and Africa adopted a declaration of cooperation to increase access to facilities, medication, health workers, and medical training in Africa. As part of the agreement, the Chinese have offered to help construct 100 new hospitals on the continent. More information can be found here. On October 6th, a lawyer for South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who is serving a sentence for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, indicated his client may appeal a parole review board’s decision to delay Pistorius’ release from prison. The athlete was due to be released into house arrest in August after serving ten months off a five-year prison sentence. However, on Monday, the board upheld an earlier decision that determined Pistorius must serve at least a sixth of his sentence before parole is considered. Developments were reported here. On October 7th, U.N. Special Representative for the DRC and head of the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) Martin Kobler briefed the U.N. Security Council on political tensions in the country. Noting it remains unclear whether preparations for the November 2016 presidential and legislative elections will remain orderly or erupt in violence, Special Representative Kobler called on the Government of the DRC to immediately address questions related to the electoral calendar and budget, and to update the voter registry. Excerpts from the briefing were highlighted here. On October 7th, Zimbabwean Energy Minister Samuel Undenge told parliament the government plans to ask large mining companies operating in Zimbabwe, including Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings, and Sinosteel Corporation, to cut their power consumption by up to 25 percent. Zimbabwe continues to face a power crisis that has been worsened by routine maintenance at the country’s two largest power plants and resulting in power cuts. The full story is available here. On October 7th, 37 defendants stood trial in Madagascar related to their involvement in the lynching of two Europeans and a local man two years ago. If convicted on charges of murder and kidnapping, those who were involved in the mob that perpetrated the attacks could face life in prison. The case was outlined here. On October 8th, Rwanda’s Supreme Court ruled that President Paul Kagame may run for a third, seven-year term, rejecting the opposition’s efforts to block a constitutional referendum. The proposed changes to the constitution that would permit President Kagame to run again are widely expected to be approved, especially given the administration’s popularity and control over state media. Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Green Party, which brought the case to the Supreme Court, said it would continue to work to protect constitutional term limits. The Supreme Court ruling was announced here. General Africa News On October 1st, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said mining, oil, and gas exploration poses a threat to 61 percent of Africa’s U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved Natural World Heritage Sites and nearly one third of sites worldwide. According to WWF, extraction activities affect 25 of Africa’s 41 World Heritage Sites. Details can be accessed here. On October 2nd, the Central and South African Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACs), in collaboration with the Africa Training Institute, wrapped up an interregional seminar. The event, held in Mauritius, brought together senior officials and experts in tax and customs from Burundi, Cameroon, the CAR, Chad, Comoros, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritius, the DRC, and the ROC. The seminar was highlighted here. On October 2nd, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016 was released, including 14 African institutions among the top 800 ranked universities worldwide. In total, six universities in South Africa were featured on the list, with three of them making the top 400. Other universities from Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Morocco also made the list. The full rankings can be downloaded here. On October 5 th, the World Bank issued its latest “Africa Pulse,” the twice yearly analysis of economic trends on the continent. According to the latest statistics, sub-Saharan African countries are continuing to grow, although at a slower rate due to a more challenging economic environment. The World Bank found that growth will slow in 2015 to 3.7 percent from 4.6 percent in 2014, reaching the lowest growth rate since 2009. The full report can be viewed here. On October 5th, the 2015 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), which rates 54 African countries on criteria including security, human rights, economic stability, free elections, corruption, infrastructure, poverty, health, and education was released. Mauritius held on to the top spot, followed by Cape Verde, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia, but the overall index has improved just 0.2 basis points over four years and half of the top ten countries have declined. The survey’s findings were discussed here. On October 7th, the World Alzheimer Report for 2015 was released, projecting a sharp increase in the number of cases of dementia in Africa in the coming decades. According to clinical experts, the rise in dementia in Africa will likely be attributed to the continent’s aging population with longer life expectancy, and an increase in noncommunicable diseases and the effects of the HIV pandemic. The research was analyzed here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.