On October 8th , The Washington Post provided an update on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) activities in Sirte, Libya. Since taking hold of Sirte earlier this year, ISIL militants have closed banks and schools, outlawed music and smoking, and imposed harsh fines and beatings for violations of minor rules. While the ISIL movement remains fairly localized, it continues to benefit from Libya’s ongoing civil war. Details can be accessed here. On October 9th, members of parliament (MP) from the rival legislative bodies in Libya expressed doubts over the finalized United Nations (U.N.) proposal that would create a national unity government. Both parliaments will ultimately have to vote on whether to accept the deal. MPs of the Libyan General National Congress (GNC) expressed concern that they were not consulted during the development of the agreement, while MPs of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HOR) suggested the proposed government would only continue to divide the country. The stakeholders’ feedback on the finalized U.N. agreement was reported here. On October 9th , U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the proposal of nominees for the Presidency Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord. After months of turmoil and uncertainty, Secretary-General Ban urged Libyan leaders not to squander this opportunity to put the country back on the path to building a state that reflects the spirit and ambitions of the 2011 revolution. Input from Secretary-General Ban was posted here. On October 9th, the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the U.S. reaffirmed their full support for the final text of a framework for a Government of National Accord and the Libyan leaders who will form the government, chosen by Libyan delegates through the negotiations facilitated by U.N. Special Representative for Libya Bernardino Leon and the U.N. mediation team. The leaders called on all Libyans to support the historic settlement and proceed with launching the Government of National Accord without delay. Their feedback can be seen here. On October 9th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on the completion of the Libyan political framework text. He said the finalization of the agreement and announcement of names of the senior leaders for a Government of National Accord is a significant milestone for the Libyan political process. Secretary Kerry urged members of the Libyan HOR and the GNC to immediately endorse the final text and the slate of leaders for the Government of National Accord, which he said will return Libya to a path of peace, stability, and prosperity. Secretary Kerry’s feedback was shared here. On October 13th, unidentified gunmen kidnapped dozens of Tunisians on a U.N. visit in northwestern Libya to demand the release of a local Libyan official arrested in Tunisia earlier this week. An official from Sabratha, a coastal town between Tripoli and the Tunisian border, was arrested, along with another Libyan at Tunis airport on Saturday. More information can be found here. Nigeria On October 10th, at least five Boko Haram suicide bombers targeted the Chadian village of Baga Sola, killing at least 36 people and wounding about 50 others in a targeted series of five explosions. Female suicide bombers first hit a crowded market, followed by a second group of suicide bombers killing people at a nearby refugee camp and the surrounding area. For the past several months, Baga Sola has been home to thousands of Nigerian refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks in their country. The suicide bombings were described here. On October 11th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon denounced the five simultaneous suicide attacks in Baga Sola, Chad that left scores of civilians dead or injured and deplored that three of the suicide bombers were reportedly young girls. Despite the attacks, Secretary-General Ban commended Chad and other countries of the Lake Chad Basin for the collective efforts to fight Boko Haram. Secretary-General Ban’s comments were recorded here. On October 12th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned a new round of Boko Haram attacks that targeted Kangaleri, Cameroon. Since July 2015, the Northern State of Cameroon has witnesses 15 separate suicide attacks and the deaths of scores of civilians at the hands of Boko Haram. The U.N.’s condemnation of the latest attacks was posted here. On October 12th, the U.N. Security Council condemned the terrorist attacks attributed to Boko Haram that were executed over the weekend in Chad and Cameroon, resulting in a large number of deaths and casualties. The Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice. For details, click here. On October 13th, the U.S. Department of State condemned Boko Haram’s weekend attacks in Baga Sola, Chad, and in Cameroon in villages near Fotokol, Mora, and Seradji-Kerawa, as well as attacks last week in Niger and Nigeria. The State Department noted the U.S. continues to support the governments and people of the Lake Chad Basin region in their ongoing struggle to degrade and defeat Boko Haram through a number of security and counterterrorism assistance programs that provide intelligence, advisors, training, equipment, and logistics. A press release was issued here. On October 14th, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that U.S. armed forces have been deployed to Cameroon to help fight Boko Haram. The force, which will ultimately be 300-strong, will conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations in West Africa. According to President Obama, U.S. troops are expected to remain in West Africa until they are no longer needed. The first deployments were announced here. On October 15th, Niger imposed a state of emergency on its Diffa region, which has seen at least 40 people killed in Boko Haram attacks in recent weeks. The 15-day state of emergency was called to allow authorities to enhance security. The state of emergency entails a curfew and other restrictions on the movement of goods and people, similar to the state of emergency implemented in the area in February. The implementation of the new state of emergency was reported here. Guinea On October 8th, Guinean President Alpha Conde said the polls scheduled for October 11th would not be delayed, despite a request from the opposition. President Conde noted the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said they were ready for the elections and so there was no need to delay the vote. The announcement came as clashes between the ruling Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) and the opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) intensified, killing at least one person and wounding dozens more. The tensions were outlined here. On October 9th , Guinean President Alpha Conde's last campaign rally ahead of the October 11th election was cancelled due to security concerns. Just hours ahead of the vote, analysts predicted disputes over election preparations and suggested the eventual results may ignite ethnic violence between supporters of President Conde and his main rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo. Additional analysis was provided here. On October 10th, on the eve of Guinea’s presidential election, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement deploring the recent violence in the country and calling on all national stakeholders to work towards conducting the elections in a peaceful and transparent manner that reflects the will of the people of Guinea. In light of reports of violent unrest and looting in Conakry, Secretary-General Ban encouraged political leaders and their supporters to address disagreements through dialogue and legal means. Details can be viewed here. On October 11th, voters in Guinea went to the polls in the rain to vote in the country’s second democratic presidential election since 1958. The field included seven candidates competing against incumbent President Alpha Conde, who was favored to win a second term in a likely runoff. As the polls opened, some voters complained that voting materials were not ready. While leading opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo had requested a delay of the vote to allow irregularities in the voter role to be addressed, he urged Guineans to head to the polls, despite the postponement being rejected. The opening of the polls in Guinea was noted here. On October 12th, following the weekend polls in Guinea, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continued to encourage all political leaders and national stakeholders to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed on election day and to refrain from any statements that may lead to violence or unrest. Secretary-General Ban’s remarks were captured here. On October 13th , European Union (EU) election observers announced that Guinea’s presidential election was valid, but had severe logistical challenges. The announcement came after opposition supporters called the vote fraudulent and demanded a re-run. They also threatened to protest, something the observers urged against. The election results are anticipated in the coming days. More on the observation of the elections was posted here. South Sudan On October 9th, by a vote of 13-0 with two abstentions, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) through December 15th. The resolution also urged parties in South Sudan to implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan and prioritize the deployment of technical assistance to establish the hybrid court envisioned by the peace deal. It also expressed the Security Council’s intention to consider targeted sanctions against those who jeopardize peace in the country. The resolution was detailed here. On October 12th , Ugandan Defense Chief Katumba Wamala said Ugandan troops would start leaving South Sudan by the end of this week, with all soldiers to be withdrawn by November 1st. An unknown number of Ugandan troops have been in South Sudan supporting the South Sudanese Government in the country’s civil war. The withdrawal comes as head of the Shilluk militia and rebel leader General Johnson Oloni indicated fighting might resume over President Salva Kiir’s recent decree of new states. The situation was described here. Burundi On October 13th, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Burundi appealed to the international community for financial support to confront the humanitarian crisis in the country caused by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a controversial third term. The assistance plan requires more than $32 million to ensure preparedness to support the estimated 500,000 people impacted by the political crisis. The humanitarian response in Burundi was discussed here. On October 13th, at least seven people were killed in shootings and a grenade attack in Bujumbura, Burundi triggered by tensions related to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s reelection for a third term. According to residents of the Ngagara neighborhood, a stronghold of opposition supporters, a television cameraman and his family were among those killed while trying to flee the shootings. Two police officers were thought to be fallen victims in the grenade attack. The unrest in Bujumbura was reported here. Central African Republic On October 12th, the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) (MINUSCA) went on high alert in response to ongoing fragility in Bangui. Over the weekend, MINUSCA and Sangaris forces confirmed the presence of approximately 150 armed ex-Seleka members moving towards the capital. Additionally, MINUSCA revealed its facilities were targeted by unknown assailants twice on Saturday. The situation in the CAR was described here. On October 14th, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) announced that aid workers have reached more than 30,000 newly displaced people in desperate need of food in Bangui, CAR. According to the WFP, nearly 900,000 people are still displaced or have taken refuge in neighboring countries since the start of the conflict in the CAR in 2013. Within the past few days, the WFP estimates 40,000 people have fled their homes in the capital following a new surge in violence. Assistance for people in the CAR was summarized here. On October 15th, France indicated it was working with partners on the U.N. Security council to impose new sanctions on individuals threatening the political transition in the CAR. To date, five individuals in the CAR have been subjected to sanctions, including former President Francois Bozize and Seleka leader Noureddine Adam. The new sanctions are anticipated to impose further asset bans and travel freezes on individuals. Details were shared here. Burkina Faso On October 14th, the interim Government of Burkina Faso announced that presidential and parliamentary elections initially scheduled for October 11th, but delayed following the recent failed coup, will take place on November 29th . The new election date was reached by achieving consensus among the country’s political factions. On election day, voters will cast one ballot to select a member of parliament, and a second ballot to vote for one of 14 candidates for president. More information on the rescheduled elections in Burkina Faso was posted here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On October 8th, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Associate Administrator Eric Postel said he was thrilled USAID’s Ebola Disaster Response Team (DART) has been selected as a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal recipient in the National Security and International Affairs category. He noted DART worked closely with USAID’s Global Health, Africa, Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) bureaus, the USAID Global Development Lab, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. military, the U.S. Public Health Service, and U.S. embassies and USAID officers in affected countries to turn the tide on Ebola. A full statement was posted here. On October 9th , a Scottish nurse who contracted the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone last year but had seemingly made a full recovery was back in hospital in serious condition after suffering a late complication from the disease. The patient, Pauline Cafferkey, was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Details were posted here. On October 14th, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending October 11th, no confirmed cases of Ebola were reported, marking the second consecutive week with zero confirmed cases. However, 150 registered contacts remained under observation in Guinea, and an additional 259 contacts remained untraced. In Sierra Leone, two, high-risk contacts associated with the two most recently active chains of transmission in the country were lost to follow up. Additional data was analyzed here. On October 14th, two new papers published in The New England Journal of Medicine provided further evidence that Ebola con linger in the semen of Ebola survivors for longer than the three months previously suspected. While sexual transmission of Ebola is rare, there have been cases where the semen of some subjects contained fragments of the virus more than nine months after they first experienced symptoms. The research was summarized here. On October 15th , BBC reported Nigerian authorities are making a film to showcase how the country quickly and effectively tackled the Ebola outbreak last year. The movie, called “93 Days,” is being filmed in Lagos and will star U.S. actor Danny Glover and Nigerian actors, including Bimbo Akintola. Clips from the forthcoming film can be watched here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On October 9th, 20 Eritrean migrants left Italy on a flight to Sweden, making them the first refugees to be resettled under the EU’s newly adopted relocation plan. These refugees are only a tiny fraction of the 120,000 refugees who will be redistributed from Italy and Greece to other European countries. Meanwhile, almost 2,000 migrants continue to cross the Mediterranean each day headed to Italy. More information can be found here. On October 15th, German lawmakers were expected to consider a number of proposed measures aimed at tackling the growing refugee crisis as an increasing number of migrants cross the Mediterranean destined for Europe. The tactics under consideration included speeding up asylum and deportation procedures, facilitating the construction of asylum shelters, and lowering cash incentives for economic migrants. Details can be viewed here. United States – Africa Relations White House On October 9th, the White House issued a statement congratulating Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. The White House observed this brave coalition of workers, industry, lawyers, and human rights advocates is an inspiring reminder that lasting peace and security can only be achieved when citizens are empowered to forge their own future and that democracy is both possible and necessary in North Africa and the Middle East. Additional feedback was shared here. State Department On October 8th, the State Department issued a fact sheet highlighting key U.S. outcomes at the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) 30th Session. The fact sheet notes the HRC renewed the Independent Expert on human rights in Sudan to monitor the human rights situation in conflict areas and provide technical assistance. Additionally, the HRC adopted its first Burundi resolution since 2011, requesting that the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) assess and report on the human rights situation in the country. The fact sheet can be downloaded here. On October 9th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet for their selection as winners of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Secretary Kerry observed as assassinations and street protests roiled domestic politics in 2013, the National Dialogue Quartet played an invaluable role in keeping Tunisia’s transition on track. He also reiterated the U.S. remains committed to supporting the Tunisian people and their government as they continue to strengthen and protect their democracy and fulfill their aspirations for a safe, secure, and prosperous future. Secretary Kerry’s congratulatory remarks can be seen here. On October 9th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the Government and people of Uganda on their celebration of 53 years of independence. Secretary Kerry said the U.S. values its longstanding friendship with Uganda and looks forward to continuing cooperation on areas of mutual concern, including economic growth, bilateral trade and investment, stability in East Africa, the fight against malaria and HIV/AIDS, democratic governance, and respect for human rights. Secretary Kerry’s remarks can be read here. On October 12th, Secretary of State John Kerry extended best wishes to the people of Equatorial Guinea on their independence day. He said the U.S. and Equatorial Guinea continue to have strong and fruitful economic ties and are committed to working together to improve health and basic education. Secretary Kerry noted the U.S. looks forward to continued cooperation towards the shared goal of keeping Equatorial Guinea polio-free and to expanding collaboration on maritime security, economic diversification, and good governance. His remarks were posted here. On October 13th , U.S. Ambassador Helen La Lime authored an op-ed on the Gulf of Guinea’s strategic importance regarding maritime security. She explained the Gulf is one of the most dynamic regions in the global energy sector and is of critical importance for the economic development of much of the Atlantic Coast of Africa, and that revenues derived from hydrocarbons provide many African states in the region with a strong financial base to fund development initiatives. Her op-ed was published here. On October 14th, Secretary of State John Kerry submitted the 2014 International Religious Freedom Report to Congress. Now in its 17th year, the congressionally-mandated report comprises almost 200 distinct reports on countries and territories worldwide and reflects the U.S. commitment to the advancement of the right of every person to freedom of religion or belief. This year’s report highlights non-state actors, including terrorist organizations in sub-Saharan Arica, who have their sights set on destroying religious diversity. More information as provided here. On October 14th, Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken delivered remarks on U.S. support for democracy at Freedom House. In his speech, Deputy Secretary Blinken highlighted Tunisia and Nigeria as recent examples where people have affirmed their rights and brought about democratic reform that is proving stronger than the entrenchment of corruption, indignity, or oppression. In particular, he said the Tunisian model of governance has shown citizens across the political spectrum can come together to solve public challenges despite their profound differences. His remarks were transcribed here. Department of Defense On October 9th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General David Rodriguez spoke at the Angola Maritime and Energy Security Conference in Luanda. In his remarks, Commander Rodriguez outlined three keys to maritime security: regional cooperation, national maritime strategies, and industry participation. His full speech was transcribed here. Additional information on the conference can be found here. On October 13th , leaders with the 2 nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, learned about partner nations in Africa during a seminar held before assuming the role of regionally aligned forces under AFRICOM. As part of the Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace program, leaders from the Spartan Brigade briefly examined the cultural and political landscape of their newly assigned area of operations, which consists of 53 nations and more than 1,000 languages. The program was summarized here. Department of Justice On October 7th, the Government Sudan asked the Second Circuit for rehearing of a $315 million judgment for the victims of the bombing of the 2000 USS Cole, arguing the suit was served on the Sudanese Embassy in contravention of international law. According to the Sudanese Government, the opinion puts the U.S. at odds with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which establishes immunity and other special rights for diplomatic missions and agents. The full story is available here. U.S. Trade and Development Agency On October 13th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) kicked off the first phase of its Procurement Assistance Program in Ethiopia under the Agency’s Global Procurement Initiative: Understanding Best Value (GPI). As part of the program, USTDA is providing 50 Ethiopian government officials with access to world class procurement experts and technical specialists in lifecycle cost analysis through a three-day workshop on “Obtaining Value in Public Procurement.” For more information, click here. Congress On October 8th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Electrify Africa Act of 2015, sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). With nearly 600 million Africans without electricity, the legislation will leverage private sector resources through loan guarantees to extend electricity access throughout Africa to help 50 million Africans with first-time access to electricity and to add 20,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the gird by 2020. A press release was issued here. On October 8th, the House Select Committee on Benghazi informed the State Department it intends to further add to the public record by releasing new messages from Secretary Clinton related to Libya and Benghazi. According to Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) the emails show that Sidney Blumenthal, an advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was pursuing business interests in Libya and that Secretary Clinton was promoting them. More information can be viewed here. On October 9th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) issued a statement recognizing the International Day of the Girl on October 11th . Senator Cardin noted that according to Amnesty International, in West Africa, Boko Haram has abducted an estimated two thousand women and children since January 2014. He said every girl deserves respect and the U.S. and other governments must do more to ensure that dignity. Senator Cardin’s full statement was posted here. On October 10th, House Select Committee on Benghazi Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) issued a statement in response to a New York Times report that a Republican investigator was fired in part because he would not go along with plans to target former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Congressman Cummings said the whistleblower charges show from the inside that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) admission that Republicans have been using millions of taxpayer dollars to damage Secretary Clinton’s presidential bid is true. His comments can be read here. On October 10th, Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi noted the three year anniversary of the first congressional hearing held to investigate the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Additionally, following a meeting with representatives from the State Department, Democrats reported the agency has spent more than $14 million responding to the eight congressional investigations of the Benghazi attacks, in addition to the $4.6 million spent by the Committee. For details, click here. On October 14th, Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a statement calling on Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to publicly condemn an offensive attack ad issued by Stop Hillary PAC. The ad uses images of Ambassador Stevens’ grave without his family’s position and, according to Committee Democrats, exploits the death of four Americans to damage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. As a result, they demanded the Committee halt any further action with Stop Hillary PAC. More information can be accessed here. North Africa On October 8th , The Guardian reported South Sudan will export coffee for the first time this month to France with assistance from TechnoServe, a nonprofit that works will smallholder farmers to boost exports. While TechnoServe first entered South Sudan two years ago and began to assist South Sudanese stakeholders in the global coffee market, many foreign workers that had been supporting coffee production in the country pulled out due to the country’s civil war. The full story is available here. On October 9th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applauded the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet on being awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace and congratulated the members of the Quartet, including the Tunisian General Labor Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Layers. U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova also welcomed the attribution and said the award represents hope for all civil society forces engaged in the fight for democracy. Feedback from the U.N. was shared here. On October 10th, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government Egypt signed a loan for $50 million from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF). The deal complements earlier agreements signed to earmark funds for the Sharm El-Sheikh Airport Development Project. The project, with a total cost estimated at $671 million, entails the development of a new terminal building, construction of a new runway and a new control tower, and installation of electrical and navigational equipment. A press release was issued here. On October 12th, the African Union (AU) – U.N. Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) welcomed an order by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEB) that prohibits the recruitment and use of children in its ranks. In the commanding order issued on September 30th, JEM leadership instructed all of the armed movement’s members to adhere to international norms and standards governing the protection of children and observe U.N. Security Council resolutions on children in armed conflict. Details can be accessed here. On October 12th, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, from prison. The men were arrested after the 2011 uprising and sentenced alongside their father to three years in prison for embezzlement. In ordering their release, the Court noted the Mubaraks’ time spent in temporary detention exceed the legal limit. More information can be found here. On October 13th , Reuters published a story hinting at Egypt’s return to an undemocratic past, as President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi has continuously stalled the formation of parliament. Two rounds of parliamentary elections are set to take place October 17th -19th and November 22nd -23rd. Despite the vote being scheduled, critics believe President Sisi has taken the roadmap to democracy in the wrong direction. The full article can be read here. On October 14th, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food Hilal Elver completed an eight-day mission to Morocco. Upon the conclusion of her visit, Special Rapporteur Elver commended Morocco’s achievements in reducing extreme poverty and eliminating hunger through crucial economic and social reforms. She also encouraged Moroccan authorities to boost their focus on those in rural areas and efforts to boost the country’s agricultural sector. Special Rapporteur Elver’s visit to Morocco was summarized here. East Africa On October 8th, the World Bank highlighted the East Africa Transport, Trade, and Development Facilitation Project, which is supported by a $500 million World Bank credit and aims to upgrade the Lockichar – Nadapal/Nakodok part of Eldoret – Nadapal/Nakodok road in northwestern Kenya. The updated route will help facilitate increased trade between Kenya and South Sudan, improve local livelihoods, and increase regional competitiveness. The project will also support other activities, including livestock markets and water and sanitation services for local pastoral communities, and extraction of recently discovered petroleum resources. Details were shared here. On October 8th, a team of scientists recovered the genome from a 4,500 year old human skeleton in Ethiopia, marking the first time a complete assemblage of DNA has been retrieved from an ancient human on the continent. According to researchers, the DNA of the Ethiopian fossil is strikingly different from that of living Africans and suggests that people from the Near East spread into Africa 3,000 years ago. Their findings were summarized here. On October 9th, a study published in the Journal for Science Advances suggested the ongoing effects of climate change could lead to more frequent hot spells and droughts in Somalia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. Further, the research warned that progressively less rain during March, April, and May could exacerbate tensions in geopolitically unstable parts of East Africa. The study’s findings were summarized here. On October 10th, activity at all of Tanzania’s hydroelectric power plants was halted because of a lack of sufficient rainfall. Prior to the shutdown, the country’s hydropower plants supplied 35 percent of electric power. In response to the drought, Tanzanian authorities indicated there would be a quick changeover to natural gas fueled electricity generation. An article on the situation can be read here. On October 12th, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia Peter de Clercq reported that humanitarian partners operating in Somalia have recently ramped up efforts to mitigate the impact of floods and droughts in Somalia driven by El Nino. OCHA has previously warned that heavy rains and flooding and drought in the country could put over 600,000 people at risk of food insecurity. The U.N.’s efforts to respond to extreme weather conditions in Somalia were described here. On October 12th , Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi asked politicians to tone down the ongoing debate on the case facing Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mudavadi attacked politicians claiming to have evidence on who fixed Deputy President Ruto and coached witnesses, saying that they should have come out to testify when former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo came to look for that evidence. Mudavadi’s statement was posted here. On October 12th , Vice News published a story on Ethiopia’s four infamous minsters of the Soviet-backed Derg regime, which ordered mass killings, known as the Ethiopian Red Terror. Many of the Derg's victims were students who supported the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP). VICE News confirmed two of the former Derg officials are still alive and seeking shelter in the Italian Embassy, while the other two died inside its walls. The full story was published here. On October 13th, Tanzania launched a nationwide drive to help parents register their children's births by mobile phone so the government can better plan health, education, and other public services. The country has one of the lowest rates of birth registration in eastern and southern Africa. Some 80 percent of Tanzanians do not have birth certificates, which safeguard basic rights and access to healthcare, education, and justice. Birth registrations also help protect children from exploitation including child labor, child marriage, trafficking, and early recruitment into armed forces.The government’s new initiative was described here. On October 14th, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare briefed the U.N. Security Council on the need to strengthen the U.N. Support Office for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) (UNSOA) to support AU operations with the Somali National Army. In addition to supporting the AU in the fight against Al Shabaab and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Under-Secretary-General Khare also discussed enhancing authorities to permit medical support for the Somali National Police, to secure supply routes, and to address other critical gaps. Excerpts from the briefing were noted here. On October 14th , the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and World Bank launched a report at the KCCA Climate Change Stakeholders’ Dialogue. The report, tiled “Promoting Green Urban Development in African Cities: Urban Environmental Profile of Kampala, Uganda,” summarizes the current quality and trends of the city’s environmental assets, identifies key drivers of the city’s environmental challenges, and makes broad recommendations to guide sustainable urban planning and management. The report can be downloaded here. On October 14th, Kenya’s Java House announced plans to open outlets across the continent within the next five years to capitalize on rising consumer spending. Java currently has 36 coffee houses operating in Kenya and Uganda and plans to open new locations in Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, and Zambia. Java’s expansion plans were outlined here. On October 15th, the World Bank highlighted its Somalia Knowledge for Operations and Political Economy Program (SKOPE), which has been used to initiate a high-frequency survey to help Somali authorities establish statistical baselines to monitor progress in addressing poverty. Using a dynamic questionnaire loaded on a smartphone, the World Bank has been able to conduct interviews with households aimed at identifying the drivers of poverty. Details were shared here. On October 15th, the World Bank issued its 12th Kenya Economic Update (KEU). According to the report, Kenya’s economy is expected to grow at 5.4 percent in 2015, recording an improvement over the 2014 growth rate of 5.3 percent. The growth rate in 2016 is projected at 5.7 percent. The KEU also highlights the progress Kenyan county governments are making in engaging citizens to strengthen public service delivery at the local level. The report’s findings were summarized here. On October 15th, the AfDB approved a $15 million trade finance line of credit for UniBank Ghana to enhance its capacity to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and indigenous firms operating within tradable sectors. The project is intended to help address critical market demand for trade finance and dollar liquidity in Ghana by supporting trade for firms in non-traditional exports, agriculture, construction, and light manufacturing. Details can be seen here. On October 15th, Kizza Besigye, a presidential candidate and leader of Uganda’s opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, was arrested in Kampala as he prepared to travel to the eastern part of the country for a campaign rally. Shortly after Besigye’s arrest, authorities also arrested Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, a lawmaker who has served as a spokesperson for the FDC. Besigye has previously been arrested and accused of planning illegal rallies, but his supporters claim these arrests are just part of President Yoweri Museveni’s efforts to intimidate the opposition ahead of elections planned for early next year. The full story is available here. On October 15th, internet watch group Citizen Lab reported the Kenyan Government was among a group of users believed to be using the off-the-shelf cyberespionage software FinFisher. In Kenya, researchers found a FinFisher server in an address block registered to a user identified as National Security Intelligence, an earlier name for Kenya’s National Intelligence Service. Details can be accessed here. West Africa On October 8th, the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reported about a fifth of the country’s rare desert elephants have been killed this year by ivory poachers. According to MINUSMA, at least 57 of Mali’s 300 elephants died between January and June, primarily in insecure parts of the country. The situation was detailed here. On October 9th , Royal Dutch Shell asked ship owners exporting its Nigerian oil to sign a letter of comfort to guarantee it is not stolen. The company is looking to mitigate any negative impact that the requirement to provide the letter might have. Other companies and trading houses have drafted similar letters to ensure trading continues without disruption. The company’s statements were summarized here. On October 9th -11th, the AfDB hosted an inaugural Innovation Weekend at its headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said the goal of the weekend was to find technology-led solutions from West Africa to better the lives of women and youth. The event saw young entrepreneurs from Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Togo, and Senegal competing to transform their ideas into workable technology solutions to spur Africa’s growth. A press release was issued here. On October 11th , The New York Times highlighted West Africa’s challenges in caring for people with mental illness. In the region, psychiatry is virtually unknown, resulting in makeshift psychiatric camps where prayer is often the only intervention. Further, many West African countries lack a dedicated budget for mental health care, forcing the families of people with mental illness to bear the costs of care. An article on the situation was published here. On October 12th, the World Bank highlighted is West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) and its success in bringing together researchers, farmers, and other stakeholders to grow Ghana’s guinea fowl industry into an engine for job creation in rural parts of the country. WAAPP’s initial investment in 80 Ghanaian farmers has already benefitted more than 50,000 people. With continued World Bank support, it is projected guinea fowl farming could continue to create thousands of jobs and increase export revenue. An overview of WAAPP was provided here. On October 12th , Thomas Naadi Bitlegma of Ghana was recognized with the AfDB Environmental Journalist award. Bitlegma, who works for a Ghanaian television station, was decorated for his piece, “The Toxic Trade,” which examines the problem of electronic waste. His work was selected from entries spanning 39 African countries. Details can be viewed here. On October 12th , Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Planning and Development organized a learning and planning workshop in Grand Bassam on “Sectorial Training of the National Development Plan.” The event was supported by the Africa for Results Initiative of the AfDB. The initiative seeks to accelerate regional integration, establish effective public financial systems, facilitate trade, and improve the business climate on the African. Details on the workshop were posted here. On October 12th, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) issued a new report analyzing how the plunge in oil prices has impacted revenue. According to the report, proceeds from Nigeria’s oil receipts fell by two thirds between September 2014 and July 2015. Nigeria typically relies on crude sales for roughly 70 percent of government revenues. Additional data was analyzed here. On October 13th , World Bank President Kim Jim Yong Kim announced he will visit Ghana on October 16th to participate in high-level talks, launch a report on poverty in Africa, highlight Ghana’s progress toward ending extreme poverty, and commemorate End Poverty Day. President Kim’s visit to Accra will be part of several activities this week focusing on ending extreme poverty by 2030. The trip comes shortly after the release of a World Bank report that projects for the first time that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty around the world will have fallen below 10 percent in 2015, to 9.6 percent. President Kim’s travel was noticed here. On October 13th, following collapsed talks between President of Guinea-Bissau Jose Mario Vaz and newly appointed Prime Minister Carlos Correia, President Vaz appointed a new cabinet. Tensions in Guinea-Bissau have remained high since President Vaz sacked former Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira in August. The new cabinet includes some former ministers, but excludes Pereira, who was included on the previous cabinet list drafted by Prime Minister Prime Minister Correia. An article on the newly announced government can be read here. On October 13th , two rival Tuareg clans in northern Mali ended a decades-old feud that has frustrated efforts to halt a conflict between pro-government militias and separatists. The Ifoghas and Inghad clans have clashed for decades, but their rivalry took on a new dimension when Tuareg separatists led by the Ifoghas group seized the country's north in 2012, with support from Islamist fighters. An accord signed by the two clans' leaders following talks last week pledges to turn the page and promote consultation on issues of shared political and economic interest in the region. Details can be accessed here. On October 13th , Bloomberg reported that government officials in Guinea were getting increasingly impatient with Rio Tinto’s lack of continuing developments on Simandou, the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposit. According to Rio Tinto’s analysts, Simandou could double the size of Guinea’s $6.5 billion economy and turn it into the thirdbiggest iron ore exporter. Eighteen years after the government invited the producer to explore the deposit, Rio Tinto says state reviews, low prices, and the Ebola outbreak have created setbacks. The story was published here. On October 14th, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, head of the NNPC, briefed the Nigerian parliament on the status of the state-owned oil company. Kachikwu told parliament development of Nigeria’s natural gas sector is a priority. He also noted he is in talks with President Muhammadu Buhari regarding fuel subsidies and ways to reduce their cost. Kachikwu’s address to parliament coincided with an announcement from President Buhari that the NNPC would give its exploration joint ventures control over their own budgets as a way to overcome cash shortages. Excerpts from his presentation were highlighted here. On October 15th, the AfDB celebrated Global Handwashing Day, which was created in 2008 to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases. The AfDB recognized handwashing has been a key tool in fighting the spread of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and has also benefitted rural populations in Mali. Global Handwashing Day was acknowledged here. On October 15th , Reuters reported a Ghanaian delegation was in Nigeria for talks with the NNPC regarding a recent gas supply cut threat. Last week, the NNPC said it would cut gas supply by 70 percent to Ghana’s main power generation company due to unpaid debts totaling $181 million. Ghana is currently suffering from power shortages and relies on Nigerian gas for roughly 25 percent of its power needs. An article on the situation can be read here. Sub-Saharan Africa On October 8th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Maram Sidikou of Niger as Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and head of the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). Sidikou currently serves as AU Special Representative for Somalia and head of AMISOM. His appointment was announced here. On October 8th, Angolan rapper Luaty Beirao entered his third week of a hunger strike in protest of his detention without trial since June along with 14 other opposition activists accused of rebellion and seeking to attack Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. If convicted, the defendants could face up to 12 years in jail. While a trial has not been held, Angolan law only allows for pre-trial custody of up to three months for such charges. An updated on the case was provided here. On October 9th, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held a press briefing on economic developments in subSaharan Africa and prospects for the region. Director of the IMF’s Africa Department Antoinette Sayeh said while economic growth remains stronger in sub-Saharan African than in many other regions, economic activity has weakened in recent months. As a result, growth in the region is expected to fall to 3.75 percent in 2015, representing the slowest pace of economic growth seen since 2009. Director Sayeh’s presentation was transcribed here. On October 9th, speaking on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank meeting in Lima Peru, Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the country will clear arrears of $1.86 billion to international creditors, such as the IMF, the World Bank, the AfDB, and other Western lenders, by next April. Zimbabwe started defaulting on its debt in 1999, which has limited its ability to seek additional foreign assistance. The move is expected to help Zimbabwe unlock new funding. The full story is available here. On October 9th , South African President Jacob Zuma said the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was losing membership countrywide before elections next year, citing criticism over a stalling economy and perceptions that the government is soft on corruption. President Zuma said party membership has dropped 20 percent from one million in 2012, as the party grapples with rising job losses in the mining sector, power supply shortages, and corruption. President Zuma’s statements were recorded here. On October 9th , Mozambique's opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama was placed under house arrest as he returned from hiding after a shootout that killed 23 members of his entourage last month. Dhlakama's home outside Beira was raided by security forces on Friday morning. Members of his security detail were arrested and residents in surrounding areas told to vacate the area, while a large military and police presence remained outside the house. Details can be found here. On October 11th , the ANC agreed on a resolution to lead an African-wide walkout from the ICC. The ANC’s decision, at its national general council meeting, comes after the government came under fire in June for ignoring a court order to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited South Africa on AU business. Following Sunday’s passage of the resolution, the government will now start the formal process of withdrawing from the ICC, which could take up to a year. The situation was described here. On October 12th, U.N. representatives in Zimbabwe appealed to humanitarian aid and development partners for $86 million needed to fill a shortfall in assistance for 1.5 million people affected by food security. According to the U.N., the response plan has a gap of $41 million in food assistance, $32 million in agriculture and livelihoods, $5 million in nutrition, $5 million in protection and social safety nets, and $3 million in water, sanitation, and hygiene to assist the most vulnerable populations in Zimbabwe. The respond plan was detailed here. On October 12th, a Zimbabwean cabinet minister announced the government will not charge American dentist Walter Palmer for killing its most prized lion in July because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt. Palmer, a lifelong big-game hunter from Minnesota, touched off a global controversy when he killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside Hwange National Park in Western Zimbabwe. Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said Palmer's hunting papers were in order, so he could not be charged. Details were posted here. On October 12th , The New York Times reported that rebels from the Allied Defense Forces-NALU launched attacks against Congolese forces in Mukoko, DRC. Members of the group also reportedly attacked the army in Tenambo, as fighting continued near the town of Beni. At least seven civilians were killed in the two attacks and another four were injured. The attacks were noted here. On October 13th , South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) accepted a wage offer from coal producers, ending a strike that began over a week ago. The parties have agreed to a full and final settlement. More information was posted here. On October 13th, Dow Chemical Company announced plans to triple its revenue from sub-Saharan Africa in the next five years by investing in local offices. The company sees opportunities in agriculture, where it supplies crop protection chemicals, infrastructure, where it offers water treatment chemicals, as well as in mining and manufacturing. Company sales reached $12.9 billion in the second quarter, as the company opened offices in Kenya, to serve East Africa, and another in Ghana, serving West Africa. Dow is also opening offices in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Angola, among other markets. The expansion plans were outlined here. On October 14th, the South African National Credit Regulator (NCR) asked the National Consumers Tribunal to impose a fine on grocer and furniture retailer Shoprite, refund customers, and have loans written off due to the company’s reckless lending. According to the NCR, Shoprite should not have sold retrenchment and occupational insurance to pensioners and consumers receiving government welfare grants. Details can be viewed here. On October 15th, ten players from the Eritrean football team refused to return home after playing a World Cup qualifying match in Botswana. Despite the intervention of the Eritrean Ambassador in Botswana, the athletes refused to leave the country, claiming they were seeking asylum so they would not be forced to join the Eritrean army. This instance is the latest in a number of mass defections by Eritrean athletes in recent years. For more information, click here. On October 15th , Lungisa Fuzile, Director of South Africa’s National Treasury, expressed concern about Anheuser Busch’s proposed takeover of SABMiller and said officials may attempt to block the move because of the potential implications for tax revenue terms. SABMiller, which was initially founded in South Africa as South African Breweries (SA) in 1895, employs more than 9,400 people in the country at 40 brewing depots. More information can be seen here. On October 15th, South African authorities announced Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole on October 20th, about a year into his five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. On Tuesday, Pistorius will be placed under house arrest, where he will undergo mandatory psychotherapy and be subjected to firearms prohibitions. His release was discussed here. General Africa News On October 9th , AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina announced the AfDB will nearly triple its annual climate financing to reach $5 billion a year by 2020. This will increase the AfDB’s climate financing to 40 percent of its total new investments by 2020. Half of the $5 billion will be dedicated to reducing Africa’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by unlocking Africa’s potential for renewable energy, while the other half will be used to help AfDB clients improve energy efficiency and build sustainable transport systems. A press release was issued here. On October 10th, the U.N., the World Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank announced a joint, two-pronged, initiative to scale up financing in the Middle East and North Africa to help countries hosting significant refugee populations, countries impacted by conflict, and countries with significant investment needs to boost economic recovery. Under the first mechanism, guarantees from donor countries would be leveraged in order to issue special bonds to finance economic recovery and reconstruction projects. In the second mechanism, grants from donor countries would be used to provide concessional finance to middle income countries hosting the bulk of refugees. Details can be accessed here. On October 12th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered remarks to kick off Africa Week 2015 at U.N. headquarters. Secretary-General Ban commended African countries for the establishment of a Free Trade Area and promoted implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on the continent. He also outlined the ways the U.N. has been active in addressing peace and security challenges in Africa. Excerpts from SecretaryGeneral Ban’s remarks were highlighted here. On October 13th, the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Hub launched its Annual Report for 2014-2015, outlining the progress made in helping 44 partner countries create the strategic frameworks necessary to mobilize investment for ensuring access to energy services, improving energy efficiency, and increasing utilization of renewable energy. The Hub provides guidance to African Governments and energy stakeholders, delivers technical assistance, drives networking and communication, and contributes towards finance mobilization. The report can be downloaded here. On October 14th, cybersecurity expert Paul Caiazzo of TruShield Security Solutions warned that cyberattacks on African networks are growing more common. While Africans are generally not perceived as high value targets for cyberattacks, the continent’s massive use of mobile devices to carry out commerce and the lag in the development of regulations and cybersecurity standards has resulted in risky practices and a pool of potential victims unaware of risks, best practices, and countermeasures. The situation was described here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.