ML Strategies Update David Leiter, firstname.lastname@example.org Georgette Spanjich, email@example.com Madeline Beecher, firstname.lastname@example.org Joseph Sweiss, email@example.com FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @MLStrategies ML Strategies, LLC 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20004 USA 202 434 7300 202 434 7400 fax www.mlstrategies.com OCTOBER 29, 2015 Africa Update Leading the News Tanzania On October 25th, voters in Tanzania went to the polls to vote for a candidate to replace outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete, who was unable to run for a third term under the country’s constitution. The presidential contest saw John Magufuli of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party up against former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa who recently defected from the CCM to join the opposition Chadema Party for Democracy and Progress. Magufuli held a marginal lead heading into the polls, but the vote was expected to be close. The presidential election in Tanzania was discussed here. On October 25th, Tanzania’s ruling CCM party candidate John Magufuli looked poised to win the presidential contest as voting concluded across the country. Late in the day, the opposition Chadema party claimed police had raided its vote tallying center in Dar es Salaam and arrested opposition officials. While the opposition expressed concern the elections were not free and fair due to government intimidation, observers reported voting was largely peaceful with turnout so high that it led to delays in many areas. Meanwhile, analysts forecasted a decline in the CCM’s majority in parliament. Observations from the elections were recorded here. On October 26th, Tanzania’s opposition Chadema party said police had detained 40 of its volunteers after presidential and parliamentary elections over the weekend. Additionally, the Civic United Front (CUF) opposition party said police had fired tear gas at a crowd of supporters celebrating the party’s victory in Zanzibar. As of Monday, the ruling CCM party reported its monitoring showed it had retained a parliamentary majority of 176 of 264 seats and their candidate, John Magufuli, was on track to win the presidency. Developments were reported here. On October 27th, aides to Tanzanian presidential candidate John Magufuli began outlining the issues he will act upon once his victory in the weekend presidential contest was confirmed. Magufuli has promised more urgency in decision making, which has been well received by the business community. As an example, aides said Magufuli would be quick to act on finalizing a site for a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. For more information, click here. On October 28th, Tanzanian presidential candidate former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa called for a recount of the presidential vote because of voting irregularities. Lowassa is also leader of the Ukawa opposition coalition. Meanwhile, the National Electoral Commission indicated it would announce the winner on October 29th . Details can be found here. On October 28th, Zanzibar’s election commission nullified the results of the recent presidential election that opposition candidate Maalim Seif Hamad of the CUF claimed to have won due to alleged irregularities and issues with the voting process. Zanzibar is semi-autonomous and elects it local government, including a president, but the Tanzanian Government continues to influence many of its policies. No new date for the election was announced. In response, the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania said the decision has halted an orderly and peaceful election and urged the election commission to recall the nullification. An article on the elections in Zanzibar was published here. On October 29th, John Magufuli of Tanzania’s ruling party was officially declared the winner of the presidential election. The national electoral body dismissed the opposition’s claims of voting irregularities. Tanzania’s government has been ruled by the CCM Party for more than 50 years. The election results were announced here. On October 29th, Tanzanian police arrested several youths in Zanzibar who were blocking roads in protest of the local election commission nullifying the vote. The local police reported calm had been restored, but security forces would continue to patrol the streets to maintain security. Meanwhile, the opposition CUF party claimed the scrapping of the vote was part of the ruling party’s plan to avoid conceding defeat. An update was provided here. Cote d’Ivoire On October 23rd , United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted he was closely following developments in Cote d’Ivoire ahead of the presidential election set to take place over the weekend. SecretaryGeneral Ban welcomed the commitment of national stakeholders to participate in the process in a peaceful and transparent manner and called on all voters to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming election. His input can be seen here. On October 23rd, country representative for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Transition Initiatives in Cote d’Ivoire Mark David Emmert authored a blog post on this weekend’s presidential election in the country. Noting USAID’s execution of a post-conflict reconciliation program in Cote d’Ivoire, Emmert argued the October 25th election represented a new opportunity for citizens to peacefully participate in choosing their next leader and to help ensure greater economic growth. The blog post can be accessed here. On October 26th, election observers in Cote d’Ivoire reported the country’s presidential election was held without any major incidents that would discredit the vote. While the late arrival of materials led to extended voting in some polling stations and there were reported failures of some computers used to verify voter identities, the elections were thought to be free and fair. Additionally, observes reported healthy voter turnout at 60 percent. Observations of the election were detailed here. On October 27th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the successful completion of voting in the first round of presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday. Secretary-General Ban congratulated the Ivorian people and leadership for the peaceful environment in which the elections were held and called on 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. His comments were captured here. On October 28th, Cote d’Ivoire’s election commission officially declared President Alassane Ouattara the winner of the weekend presidential election with nearly 84 percent of the vote. His closest challenger, Pascal Affi N’Guessan won just nine percent of the ballots cast. While several candidates withdrew from the poll saying it was not free and fair, U.S. election observers reported while turnout was low at around 55 percent, the elections were credible. Details were shared here. On October 28th, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, the opposition candidate who finished second in Cote d’Ivoire’s presidential election, conceded defeat to President Alassane Ouattara. N’Guessan leads the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), the party of former President Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to accept President Ouattara’s 2010 win sparked a post-election conflict that killed over 3,000 people. N’Guessan’s comments were transcribed here. On October 29th, the U.S. Department of State congratulated the Ivorian people for a peaceful presidential election, which it noted observers have judged to be credible, transparent, and inclusive. The State Department said the election marks another important step toward overcoming conflicts of the past, with a majority of the citizens on the voting rolls exercising their democratic right to select the next president. Additionally, the State Department congratulated President Alassane Ouattara on his victory. Feedback from the State Department can be seen here. Republic of Congo On October 22nd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about tensions between opposition parties and the Government of the Republic of Congo (ROC) in the lead up to a constitutional referendum planned for October 25th. Secretary-General Ban encouraged all stakeholders to choose the path of dialogue and to peacefully resolve any disputes that might arise. He also called upon authorities in the ROC to safeguard the right to peaceful demonstration. Secretary-General Ban’s position was posted here. On October 23rd, ahead of the constitutional referendum in the ROC, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, a former minister turned opposition leader after being dismissed for opposing constitutional change in August, reported about 50 soldiers loyal to President Denis Sasso Nguesso were patrolling the area around his home in Brazzaville. According to Kolelas, other presidential critics, including Michel Mampouya, leader of the opposition Party of the Safeguarding of Republican Values (PSVR), and Andre Okombi Salissa, a dissident within the ruling Congolese Party of Labor (PCT), were at his home when the soldiers arrived. The full story is available here. On October 23rd, the political opposition in the ROC said it would obey a ban on public demonstrations after at least four people were killed in clashes last week between demonstrators and police forces in Brazzaville and PointeNoire. Opposition leader Mpouele Paul-Maurie announced the cancelation of a protest planned for Friday to demonstrate against a referendum that could allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his three decades in office. Developments were reported here. On October 26th, opposition leader Pascal Tsaty Mabiala of the ROC’s Union for Social Democracy party said Sunday’s constitutional referendum to decide whether President Denis Sassou Nguesso can stand for a third term should be canceled due to low voter turnout. The opposition largely boycotted Sunday’s vote, meaning that President Nguesso was likely to win voters’ support for a third term. In addition to questions about turnout, witnesses also reported logistical problems that led to delayed voting. Mabiala’s comments were recorded here. On October 27th, the official results were released for this weekend’s controversial constitutional referendum in the ROC. According to the results, more than 92 percent of voters approved proposed constitutional changes that would allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to run for a third term. The electoral commission said more than 1.2 million people voted in favor of the change, and nearly 102,000 rejected it. While the opposition said the vote should be annulled due to low voter turnout, the commission reported turnout at 72 percent. The results were announced here. On October 28th, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement saying it was deeply disappointed by the flawed process that culminated in the recent referendum on a new constitution for the ROC. According to the State Department, the credibility of the referendum process was marred by violence, intimidation, and severe restrictions on basic freedoms. The State Department urged all parties in the ROC to come together peacefully to participate in an inclusive political dialogue and stressed the ROC Government needs to respect citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association. The full statement can be read here. On October 28th, the youth-led protest movement against ROC President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s referendum to run for another term committed itself to fighting, even though the referendum passed this week. This referendum allows President Sassou Nguesso to run for another term, though he has been president of Congo for 32 of the last 36 years. The full article can be found here. Egypt On October 27th, Egyptians voted in a runoff election for more than 200 parliamentary seats in which no clear winner emerged in the first round of polls held last week. The first round of voting saw low voter turnout with participation from just a quarter of the electorate. Analysts projected wins for many of the candidates loyal to Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi. The new parliament will consist of 568 elected members. The runoff election was described here. On October 28th, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi extended the state of emergency in northern Sinai as the military continues with counter-insurgency efforts against Islamist militants. This state of emergency was implemented one year ago after 33 security personnel were attack in Sinai. The Egyptian military reported it has killed 535 militants in its two first weeks of the operation. More information was posted here. South Africa On October 23rd, ahead of a meeting planned between South African President Jacob Zuma and university students over the recent protests related to a proposed tuition hike, thousands of student demonstrators tried to pull down a fence surrounding government buildings housing President Zuma’s offices in Pretoria. The students argued with police who had set up fencing ahead of a scheduled address by the President. The incident was reported here. On October 23rd, South African expatriates in London marched in solidarity with students in South Africa protesting university fee hikes. The London march began near Russel Square and proceeded to the South African High Commission on Trafalgar Square, with demonstrators calling for an end to the violence witnesses during the recent protests in South Africa. The demonstration in London was highlighted here. On October 26th, despite South African President Jacob Zuma‘s decision to freeze tuition rates, some South African students continued protesting university fees, in addition to other issues including racism and exams scheduled for later this week. The protests continued as the University of the Witswatersrand (Wits), the University of Cape Town, and the University of Western Cape remained closed due to demonstrations. An update on the situation was provided here. On October 27th, Wits University announced plans to reopen on Wednesday after reaching agreements with students who have been protesting tuition hikes. According to university officials, academic programs and other activities were due to resume and a new schedule of exams that were proposed due to the disruption would be announced. Meanwhile, the University of Johannesburg expressed concern that President Jacob Zuma’s decision to freeze tuition rates for 2016 would create a funding shortfall, and the University of Cape Town argued the government will need to provide resources to address projected funding gaps. The situation was discussed here. On October 27th, Wits University students agreed to return to class on Wednesday after the Student Representative Council (SRC) accepted a new nine-point plan from management after three days of talks with students. Under the plan, university officials committed to restructure the academic program and exam timetable, reexamine the upfront fee payment for 2016, and consider establishing an internal commission to look into outsourcing. Meanwhile, the SRC outlined a new long-term goal of achieving free education. Developments were noted here. On October 28th, South African police in Johannesburg fired stun grenades at student protesters at Wits University. One student was arrested at the protest. This latest demonstration coincides with nationwide protests from free college education in South Africa. Protests originated at the university on October 13th and have continued into a third week, despite concessions on tuition fees. The latest was reported here. Nigeria On October 25th, undercover security forces in Nigeria arrested and charged 45 suspects over an alleged Boko Haram plot to attack Lagos. According to police, about 60 suspects were arrested across the city after intelligence indicated they were planning to attack Dolphin Estate in Ikoyi last month. While some of the suspects were released after preliminary investigations, the majority are to be held in prison pending further investigation. The full story is available here. On October 27th, the U.S. Department of State condemned the indiscriminate attacks at the Jambutu Mosque in Yola, Nigeria and the Central Mosque of Polo Ward in Maiduguri, Nigeria, and other attacks carried out by Boko Haram over the weekend. The State Department said the apparent use of children, and young girls in particular, to commit these attacks is especially horrendous, and it provides yet more examples of the horrific measures Boko Haram is willing to take to terrorize civilians in northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region. Additionally, the State Department reiterated U.S. support for the governments and people of the region in their ongoing struggle to defeat Boko Haram. A full statement on the attacks was published here. On October 28th, the Nigerian army reported the rescue of 338 people, mostly women and children, held by Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest. Among those held captive by Boko Haram were eight men, 138 women, and 192 children. The rescues came as the army raided camps near the villages of Bulajilin and Manawashe. The rescue operation was detailed here. On October 28th, the Nigerian army published photos of the 100 most wanted Boko Haram fighters through photo posters after delivering a paper entitled “Contemporary Warfare, War Reporting, and Dilemma of Military Leadership.” The Nigerian Army is faced with a deadline by President Muhammadu Buhari to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents, and released these photos as a step in doing so. The full report can be found here. On October 28th, suspected Boko Haram militants killed at least 14 people in an overnight attack on the village of Ala in the Diffa region of Niger. Security sources reported the assailants looted the village and also set fire to houses. The ambush came just a day after the Nigerien parliament passed a low extending a 15-day state of emergency for Diffa by three months in a bit to boost security. Details were released here. South Sudan On October 25th, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir arrived in South Africa for talks on the recently achieved peace agreement aimed at ending the civil war in South Sudan. On Sunday, President Kiir met with South African President Jacob Zuma to brief him on the government’s efforts to implement the agreement and violations of the agreement by rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar. The leaders also discussed the withdrawal of Ugandan soldiers from South Sudan. There were also conflicting reports that President Kiir, who appeared ill, received medical treatment in South Africa. His visit was highlighted here. On October 26th, after reports of alleged violations and abuses of human rights committed by both parties to the conflict in South Sudan, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein announced the deployment of a ten-member mission to the country to assess the situation. The mission, who began arriving in Juba last week, will examine violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by actors on both sides of the conflict and provide recommendations for ways to improve the human rights situation in the country while ensuring accountability for human rights violations. Details can be viewed here. On October 28th, an African Union (AU) investigation found evidence of atrocities committed against civilians in South Sudan’s civil war. These atrocities include, rape, mutilation, torture, and forced cannibalism. This report also states that the conflict did not begin after South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar attempted a coup against President Salva Kiir in December 2013. The investigation’s findings were summarized here. On October 28th, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby welcomed the release of the report by the AU Commission of Inquiry on the atrocities committed during the early stages of the conflict in South Sudan, noting the report identifies acts that may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, human rights violations, and violations of international law. He noted the State Department is reviewing those findings, as well as the Commission’s recommendations on institutional reform. Spokesperson Kirby’s comments were transcribed here. Burundi On October 23rd, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern over the rapidly worsening security and human rights situation in Burundi. The U.N. expressed alarm at the recent execution of nine civilians by police forces in the Ngagara neighborhood of Bujumbura. This incident was reportedly triggered by an attack on three police officers by armed youth. OHCHR’s concern for conditions in Burundi was noted here. On October 27th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma discussed the situation in Burundi. During their conversation, Secretary-General Ban welcomed the AU Peace and Security Council’s recent decision to launch an investigation into violations of human rights in Burundi and to implement targeted sanctions against those contributing to the violence in the country and offered U.N. support. The phone call was summarized here. On October 28th, the U.N. Security Council expressed its concerns about the rise of violence and political impasse in Burundi. Additionally, the Security Council voiced concerns about human rights violations, particularly for extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests reported in the country. There are currently more than 200,000 Burundian citizens seeking refuge. Feedback from the Security Council was shared here. On October 28th, the U.S. Department of State welcomed the U.N. Security Council’s presidential statement on Burundi. Like the AU, the State Department said the Security Council statement stressed the urgency of convening an inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue and reemphasized the importance of the mediation efforts led by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on behalf of the East African Community (EAC). Additionally, the State Department reiterated the U.S. stands ready to support the U.N., the AU, the EAC, and Burundian citizens in conducting an inclusive political dialogue. A full reaction to the Security Council statement was posted here. On October 28th, violence related to the disputed third term of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza killed more than a dozen people. At least 198 people have been killed in Burundi since April, and tensions have produced the worst crisis in the country since the end of the civil war in 2005. The ongoing tensions in Burundi were discussed here. Central African Republic On October 22nd, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien completed a visit to the CAR to observe the consequences of the conflict in the country. During his visit, Coordinator O’Brien saw the Saint Sauveur internally displaced person (IDP) site and PK5 neighborhood in Bangui, as well as the Dekoa area where more than 10,000 people were recently displaced. According to the U.N., more than half the CAR’s population is currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Observations from Coordinator O’Brien’s trip to the CAR were reported here. On October 23rd, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien called for the international community to increase its support for the humanitarian response in Cameroon, which is hosting more than 310,000 people fleeing conflicts in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Nigeria. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Cameroon has seen a four-fold increase in the number of displaced people hosted since early 2014. Details were shared here. On October 28th , U.N. Special Representative and head of the U.M. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) Parfait Onanga-Anyanga released a statement condemning the use of violence to resolve differences in the country. He also reaffirmed the commitment of MINUSCA to helping to avoid an escalation of violence. Special Representative Onanga-Anyanga’s concerns were articulated here. On October 28th, the electoral commission in the CAR announced presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on December 13th . The polls were initially scheduled for October 18th, but were postponed, in part, due to violence in Bangui. If necessary, the electoral commission noted a presidential runoff could be held on January 24th. The schedule for elections in the CAR was announced here. On October 29th, four people were killed by mobs in Bangui, CAR, bringing this week’s death toll to 11. Earlier this week, three Muslims were attacked as they left the PK5 area of the capital. According to witnesses, two of them were killed immediately and their bodies chopped into pieces, while a third man escaped only to be stoned to death by a crowd. Observers have expressed concern that escalating violence could threaten the elections recently scheduled for December. The religious tensions were described here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On October 22nd, Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was held in quarantine in a hospital in Newark, New Jersey last year after caring for Ebola patients in West Africa filed a lawsuit against Governor Christ Christie. She claims Governor Christie and members of his administration violated her constitutional rights by holding her against her will without due process. Hickox, who has been working for Doctors Without Borders (DWB) in Sierra Leone, became the first health worker subjected to a state policy imposing a 21-day mandatory quarantine on travelers returning from West Africa after coming into contact with Ebola patients. The lawsuit was filed here. On October 23rd, the Rural Water and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) Trust Fund of the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced a 3 million Euro grant to support the implementation of the National Post Ebola Recovery Strategies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The RWSSI Trust Fund donation responds to the need to build resilience to Ebola in the countries affected by the epidemic through sustainable improvement of water and sanitation for the most vulnerable segments of the population. A press statement was released here. On October 28th, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending October 25th, the WHO reported three new confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea, which also reported three cases the previous week. All three new cases are from the same household in Forecariah and are registered high-risk contacts linked to a case from the same area last week. Sierra Leone reported zero cases for a sixth consecutive week and will be declared Ebola-free on November 7th if no new cases are reported. Additional data was analyzed here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On October 27th, the Libyan Red Crescent reported 40 bodies were found on its coastline near the ports of Zlit and Khoms. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the bodies may be those of the victims of a shipwreck that occurred last week. According to the IOM, at least 3,175 migrants and refugees have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year. Details can be viewed here. On October 28th, more than 1,000 migrants were rescued from overcrowded boats off the Libyan coast by European vessels. The rescue operation produced the highest number of migrants rescued in one day in three weeks. Italian, British, Irish, Slovenian, and German Navy shops took part in the rescue under the auspices of the European Union (EU) border agency Frontex. An article on the rescues was published here. On October 28th, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) hosted an Africa Policy Breakfasted focused on “The African Migrant and Refugee Crisis Across the Mediterranean Sea.” Because nearly a quarter of the estimated 350,000 refugees and migrants who have attempted to cross the Mediterranean originate in refugee-producing nations in sub-Saharan Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan, Congresswoman Bass held this event to discuss the current status of the crisis response with senior representatives from U.S. agencies, international NGOs, and the African diaspora. Event details were shared here. United States – Africa Relations White House On October 28th, President Barack Obama notified Congress of his intent to continue the national emergency with respect to Sudan beyond November 3, 2015. President Obama said the crisis constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Sudan that led to the declaration of the emergency have not been resolved and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the U.S. His message to Congress can be read here. State Department On October 18th -24th, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall was on overseas travel to the DRC. While in the DRC, Under Secretary Sewall met with government officials, the opposition, civil society, youth, and community leaders to discuss bilateral and regional issues, including the need to ensure timely, credible, and peaceful elections, combat sexual and gender-based violence, strengthen rule of law, and the end the suspension of exit visas for internationally adopted children. Shen then traveled to eastern Congo to meet with local government officials, civil society, community leaders, legal aid and health providers, and representatives of the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). Under Secretary Sewall was also scheduled to visit the Vulnerable Children and Youth Training Center to meet with survivors of genderbased violence. More information was posted here. On October 19th -24th, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) Coordinator Macon Phillips traveled to Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town, South Africa. In Johannesburg, Coordinator Phillips visited the Rosa Parks Library in Soweto, where he joined members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network in an online course on the “Fundamentals of Starting and Running a Business.” He also discussed digital media strategy and opportunities with partners to the U.S. Mission in South Africa and met with prominent online journalists and social media influences. Coordinator Phillips then traveled on to Pretoria where he kicked off the YALI TechCamp and launched on online course on climate change. Coordinator Phillips then departed for Cape Town for the grand opening of the American Corner, an in-person public engagement space, and meetings with 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows. His travel was outlined here. On October 23rd, Secretary of State John Kerry sent best wishes to the people of Zambia on their celebration of 51 years of independence. Secretary Kerry said the long partnership between the U.S. and Zambia is grounded in mutual respect and enhances the security and prosperity of both countries. He said the U.S. honors Zambia’s commitment to a democratic future and looks forward to continuing to work with Zambia to promote education, access to quality health care, good governance, and respect for human rights under the rule of law. Secretary Kerry’s full statement can be viewed here. On October 25th – November 7th, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann traveled to Kenya and Ethiopia to meet with a broad range of government, private sector, and civil society representatives to discuss issues of mutual concern related to the rights of persons with disabilities, such as implementation of disability rights laws, inclusive education, accessible workplaces, and the ability of disabled persons’ organizations to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. She also participated in U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) events in Nairobi and met with the African Disability Forum in Addis Ababa. More information on Special Advisor Heumann’s visit to Africa can be found here. On October 26th, the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO) announced the design/build construction award for the new U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger to BL Harbert International. The multibuilding campus will be situation on the existing 10-acre Embassy compound in the Yantala neighborhood and will include an office building, Marine Security Guard Residence, community facilities, and associated support facilities. The award was announced here. On October 26th -31st , Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs traveled to Uganda and Ethiopia. In Uganda, Ambassador Jacobs delivered remarks at the National Forum on the State of the Ugandan Child. She also met with government officials, NGOs, and other experts to encourage strengthening child protection systems and to discuss intercountry adoption as an option for children living outside of family care. Ambassador Jacobs then visited Ethiopia, where she met with government officials and NGOs to discuss ways to cooperate and improve the intercountry adoption process and to promote solutions for children needing permanent families. Her travel was detailed here. On October 29th, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli met with Pepsico Middle East and Africa President Omar Farid at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here. On October 29th, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard delivered opening remarks at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Global Women Institute’s event “Building Bridges Between Women and Girls Internationally and in the U.S.: Preventing and Responding to Violence in the DRC and Beyond.” Her participation was noted here. On October 29th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Yasser Reda at the Department of State. The meeting was listed here. U.S. Agency for International Development On October 28th, USAID announced plans to host the 2015 Global Education Summit November 2nd -4 th. The objectives of the Summit are to review lessons learned and to apply those lessons to future programs. Speakers for the event included Acting USAID Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt, DRC Minister of Education Maker Mwanga Famba, and Somali Minister of Education Khadar Bashir Ali. A full agenda can be downloaded here. On October 29th, USAID announced the delegation that will travel to Lilongwe, Malawi October 30th – November 4th to participate in the Agency’s 2015 Global Heal State-of-the-Art (SOTA) Conference. The SOTA Conference contributes to the Agency’s ongoing effort to end preventable maternal and child deaths, create an AIDS free generation, and protect communities from infectious diseases. The delegation will include USAID Associate Administrator Eric Postel, Assistant Administrator Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Wade Warren, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Tim Ziemer, Deputy Assistant Administrator Jennifer Adams, and Deputy Assistant Administrator Linda Etim. Details can be viewed here. Department of Defense On October 23rd , the National Guard Bureau highlighted the new partnerships between the Djiboutian Armed Forces and the Kentucky National Guard and between the Kenya Defense Forces and the Massachusetts National Guard as part of the State Partnership Program. The goal of the program is to foster enduring relationships, encourage civilian-to-civilian engagements, and foster opportunities for National Guard soldiers and airmen to remain operationally ready through opportunities to exchange best practices. Details can be seen here. On October 26th, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) touted a community worker health course recently held in Obock, Djibouti. Hosted by the U.S. Army Civil Affairs Battalion and USAID, the course served as a refresher on an earlier training held for Djiboutian health workers. The course was intended to help increase the workers’ preventative medical knowledge and train health workers on how to identify certain diseases and illnesses. For more information, click here. On October 27th, CJTF-HOA reported on U.S. Charge d’Affaires to Somalia David Keeuper’s recent visit to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti to learn about CJTF-HOA’s mission and capabilities. After more than 20 years of limited U.S. diplomatic interaction with Somalia, the U.S. diplomatic mission in the country is beginning to build new relationships and increase cooperation between the two nations and with other U.S. forces on the continent. Details were shared here. On October 28th, U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles visited Army training facilities in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany to discuss further security collaboration between U.S. and Rwandan forces. U.S. Army Africa Deputy Commanding General Brigadier General Kenneth Moore accompanied Ambassador Barks-Ruggles to the facilities. The full story is available here. On October 29th, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced the repatriation of Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Mauritania. The Interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force reviewed the case and found Aziz’s transfer was unlikely to result in security issues. Additionally, DOD noted it coordinated with the Government of Mauritania to ensure the transfer took place consistent with the appropriate security and humane treatment measures. A press release was issued here. On October 29th, medical professionals from the U.S, Djiboutian, and French armed services convened at Camp Lemonnier for a Military Tropical Medicine program. This program is the first hosted by CJTF-HOA. The event was intended to educate all armed services on the diseases common to the Horn of Africa. It also allowed the different armed services to compare and contrast different medical practices. More information can be found here. Overseas Private Investment Corporation On October 23rd, in honor of Women’s Small Business Month, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) called attention to its partnership with PAMIGA S.A. Last year, PAMIGA became the first recipient of financing through OPIC’s Portfolio for Impact (PI) program, which OPIC designed to provide financing to smaller impact investing projects that offer significant potential for positive social impact, but may face challenges obtaining financing because they are small or early stage. Many of the beneficiaries of this partnership are women in rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa who struggle to access loans and other financial services. The partnership was highlighted here. Congress On October 23rd, all Democratic Members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi released a statement regarding their participation on the Committee. Following last week’s 11-hour hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Democrats argued there is no remaining doubt that the Committee is a taxpayer-funding fishing expedition to derail Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign. They called on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to shut down the Committee, but said they would continue to participate if the request is denied in order to make sure all the facts are known. The full statement was published here. On October 28th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to consider a number of pending nominations. Among the nominees to appear before the committee was Peter William Bodde, who has been nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Libya. The nomination hearing was noticed here. On October 28th, House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) issued her regular Africa newsletter. The most recently update highlighted the AfDB’s approval of a $30 million loan to fund a development project in Zambia and the deployment of U.S. troops and drones to Cameroon to combat Boko Haram. The newsletter can be downloaded here. On October 29th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) delivered remarks on the Senate floor regarding the delay in confirming President Barack Obama’s nominees to serve as U.S. Ambassadors and at other key State Department and USAID posts. Senator Cardin urged the Senate to quickly take up Gayle Smith’s nomination to serve as USAID Administrator, as well as the nominations of a number of other Foreign Service Officers who have served in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Egypt, South Sudan, and Zambia. His remarks were transcribed here. North Africa On October 22nd, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Ertharin Cousin completed a visit to Mauritania to observe challenges with food insecurity and malnutrition in the country. Director Cousin reported Mauritania has borne the brunt of recurring food crises, chronic malnutrition, and instability spilling over from Mali and warned the WFP’s funding needs are met only by half, with a shortage of $11 million to respond to urgent and immediate needs. Observations from Director Cousin’s visit to Mauritania were profiled here. On October 23rd, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced plans to scale up assistance after flooding damaged the Sahrawi refugee camps in southwest Algeria. In order to fill the 80 percent gap in relief needs, UNHCR will work with the WFP, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other partners to deliver basic food and drinking water and offer shelters to the homeless. Additionally, the U.N. entities were planning to airlift supplies including tents, bedding materials, and cooking tools in the coming days. The situation was described here. On October 23rd, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the terrorist attack that targeted a peaceful demonstration in Benghazi, killing and injuring many civilians. UNSMIL called on all Libyans to reject violence as a means for settling political differences and stressed that the peaceful expression of political views is one of the basic rights in a free society. UNSMIL’s feedback on the attack was articulated here. On October 23rd, the World Bank welcomed Sudan’s decision to join the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Fund, the world’s largest public vehicle for financing the agricultural research advances needed to tackle global development challenges. The World Bank noted agriculture is a key sector in the Sudanese economy and contributes approximately 35 to 40 percent of Sudan’s gross domestic product (GDP). Details can be seen here. On October 26th , The Guardian detailed the four linked solar mega-plants under construction in Ouarzazate, Morocco. When completed, the complex will be the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world, although the first phase of the project will go live next month. The project is part of Morocco’s strategy to obtain nearly half of its electricity from renewables by 2020. For details, click here. On October 27th, the International Criminal Court (ICC) said India should arrest and hand over Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was visiting New Delhi this week. While noting that India is not an ICC signatory, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensounda said India should act according to a U.N. Security Council resolution lifting President Bashir’s diplomatic immunity under international law. More information can be accessed here. On October 27th, at least 12 people were killed when a helicopter crashed west of Tripoli, Libya. Security sources suggested the helicopter may have been hit by gunfire before crashing in the coastal area. It has been carrying cash for a local bank on the way out and was returning with local residents to Tripoli. The crash was reported here. On October 27th, state-owned EgyptAir announced it was in the final stages of launching on overhaul and expansion plan to reverse downward growth trends. The plan includes a network and fleet expansion, which could see EgyptAir placing orders for new aircraft in the first quarter of 2016. The airline currently has a fleet of 66 aircraft and flies to 162 countries. The expansion plan was detailed here. On October 28th, Assistant-Secretary-General for U.N. Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet said actions against the non-signatory armed movements in Darfur, executed by the Sudanese Government, have resulted in over 104,000 new displacements and 69,000 unconfirmed cases. Assistant-Secretary-General Mulet noted this could create an unpredictable security situation in Darfur. His comments were captured here. On October 28th, an Italian court refused the extradition of a man suspected to have provided weapons to the attackers on the Bardo Museum in Tunisia this year because of risk that the man may be executed for the crime. Tunisia has not provided any promise that the man would not receive the death penalty upon return. The case was described here. East Africa On October 20th, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors met to discuss the Inspection Panel investigation of the Kenya Electricity Expansion project. The investigation is examining claims of harm that resulted from the resettlement of four villages. The $330 million International Development Association (IDA) project, approved in May 2010, was designed to increase the capacity, efficiency, and quality of electricity supply, as well as expand electricity access throughout the country. The full story is available here. On October 23rd, by a vote of 14-1, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution to extend the arms embargo on Somalia until November 15, 2016. The Security Council also reaffirmed Somalia’s sovereignty over its natural resources and reiterated concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. Additionally, the Security Council voted to maintain its arms embargo on Eritrea. An article on the Security Council’s activity can be read here. On October 23rd , the World Bank released its Apparel and Textile Industry, Furniture Industry, and Leather Industry reports for Kenya. Collectively, the reports show the performance of all three industries in Kenya is important to employment and economic growth in the country. Additionally, the reports revealed Kenya’s AGOA exports, employment, and investment in the past four years grew by 17 percent, 12 percent, and 21 percent respectively, taking up a third of all apparel exports from sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. Highlights from the reports were noted here. On October 27th, OCHA reported Ethiopia is experiencing its worst drought in 30 years, with levels of acute need across all humanitarian sectors. According to OCHA, the impact of failed spring rains was compounded by the arrival of El Nino weather conditions that weakened summer rains. An OCHA report on the drought conditions in Ethiopia can be downloaded here. On October 28th, the WHO released its 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, which found that Kenya has weak laws for safeguarding vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and motorcyclists. While Kenya has laws targeting motorcyclists, execution has been low compared to those laws targeting other motorists. Further, the country has no laws to protect pedestrians, including children. An article on Kenya’s road safety laws was published here. On October 28th, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto said Kenya will toughen its judiciary to protect private holdings to enhance the business environment. Deputy President Ruto stated the toughening of the judiciary sends a message to investors that the government is dedicated to protecting them. His remarks were recorded here. On October 28th, ten Eritrean footballers’ lawyer reported that Botswana had granted asylum to the athletes after a World Cup qualifying match in October. This has been a pattern for Eritrean footballers. Six players claimed asylum in Angola in 2007, 12 in Kenya in 2009, and 18 in Uganda in 2012. An article on this trend can be read here. West Africa On October 22nd , Cameroonian human rights groups called attention to the inhumane conditions for those detained in the country. According to human rights activists, prisons constructed for 500 detainees are now housing more than 3,000 for multi-year sentences. The Cameroon National Institute of Statistics reports there are about 30,000 people held in the country’s 78 prisons. An article on the overcrowding in Cameroonian prisons was published here. On October 22nd, Jumia, one of Nigeria’s largest online retailers, laid off 300 workers, the equivalent of about 30 percent of its 1,000-strong workforce in Nigeria. The move has raised concerns about the company’s future. Despite having $200 million in funding and a 900 percent sales growth in its Kenya unit last year, Jumia is yet to turn a profit in Nigeria since beginning operations in the country in 2012. The full story is available here. On October 23rd , AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina was named Grand Officer of the National Order of the Lion, one of Senegal’s highest honors. President Adesina received the decoration from Senegalese President Macky Sall, who recognized President Adesina for his commitment to take African agriculture to a higher level that will make it a true engine of Africa’s economic growth. Details can be viewed here. On October 23rd, Nigerian Senate leader Ali Ndume cautioned that Nigerians should not expect an announcement of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet until late December or early January. According to Senator Ndume, the Senate is working to screen three cabinet nominees per day. Because the Nigerian constitution supports a maximum of 21 working days for the screening of ministers, and based on the legislative calendar, Senator Ndume said it could take up to seven weeks for the proposed cabinet to be approved. His comments were recorded here. On October 24th, upon the close of the AfDB’s three-day high-level conference on Africa agricultural transformation, heled in Dakar, Senegal, participants adopted an action plan aimed at transforming African agriculture into viable agri-business. The Finance and Agriculture Ministers and Central Bank Governors who attended the conference agreed to scale up nutrition programs across Africa to end malnutrition and hunger, and also approved a list of organizations to lead initiatives to raise agricultural productivity across the continent. The action plan was summarized here. On October 26th, the U.N. Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) condemned the explosion of a mine or an explosive device in Kidal, which killed three civilians and wounded two peacekeepers. MINUSMA sad such acts are aimed at paralyzing operations on the ground and indiscriminately target the U.N. and innocent civilians. MINUSMA’s reaction to the incident can be seen here. On October 26th, Africa’s largest mobile network MTN confirmed it had been fined $5.2 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers. The announcement of the fine led to a sell-off of MTN shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). More information can be found here. On October 27th, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) started auctioning annual crude grades on live television and vowed to cut contract holders by a third as part of a drive to boost transparency and fight corruption. NNPC officials told the auction the current number of 43 contract holders would be reduced by at least a third so that companies could be guaranteed oil. For details, click here. On October 29th, the World Bank announced it is aiding the city of Dakar, Senegal in evaluating its needs for addressing challenges in tax collection and the management of fiscal resources. The World Bank is aiding officials in Dakar with the help of the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility. The partnership was described here. Sub-Saharan Africa On October 21st, the AfDB’s Board of Directors approved a $90 million loan to help Angola finance a Science and Technology Development Project to contribute to the diversification of the economy through research and development in agro-industry, biotechnology and health, energy, information and communication technologies, nanotechnology, and mechatronics. In addition to building and equipping a world-class science and technology park in Mabubas, the project will also provide 144 scholarships to train researchers and fun 40 research projects. A press release was issued here. On October 22nd, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) criticized China’s decision to award President Robert Mugabe with the Confucius Peace Prize. According to Chinese officials, President Mugabe was chosen for having worked hard to bring political and economic order to the country and to improve the welfare of Zimbabweans. Criticism of President Mugabe’s recognition was outlined here. On October 23rd, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan of $5 million to support Seychelles’ Sustaining Reforms for Inclusive Growth initiative. The program was created to help improve public expenditure and public investment, boost health prevention and promotion, improve the quality of teaching in schools and colleges, and facilitate access to credit. More information can be accessed here. On October 23rd, the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF) approved a $5 million loan to Malawi for a water and sanitation project in the town of Mzimba. The four year project, co-financed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development (OFID) will contribute to socio-economic growth in the area by increasing the capacity of its water supply system to provide clean water and improved sanitation for growing numbers of people and new demands. Details can be seen here. On October 26th, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe rejected the Confucius Peace Prize reportedly because the award is not affiliated with the Chinese Government. Despite President Mugabe’s refusal to accept the award, his spokesperson, George Charamba, welcomed groups in Zimbabwe lauding the honor. Meanwhile, opposition parties continued to criticize the recognition given President Mugabe’s poor record on human rights. President Mugabe’s rejection of the award was noted here. On October 26th, rangers in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park discovered the bodies of 22 more elephants poisoned with cyanide. The recent discovery brings the number of elephants poisoned this month to 62. In early October, national parks reported three incidents in which 40 elephants were killed by cyanide poisoning by suspected poachers. The full story is available here. On October 26th , Reuters reported on a series of proposed gas projects in Mozambique. Gas reserves were only discovered off the coast of Mozambique between 2010 and 2013, triggering new projects that have raised new concerns about resettlement and prostitution in the area. Additionally, last week U.S. energy company Anadarko and Italy’s Eni announced plans to make final investment decisions on a planned LNG terminal by the first quarter of next year. An article on gas projects in Mozambique can be read here. On October 27th, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its October 2015 Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa titled, “Dealing with Gathering Clouds.” The report finds that economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa has weakened, although growth remains stronger than in many other regions, with growth expected at 3.75 percent in 2015 and 4.25 percent in 2016. The IMF attributed the slowdown to the combination of the sharp fall of commodity prices and more difficult financing conditions. The full report can be downloaded here. On October 27th, in response to the WHO’s classification as lamb, beef, and pork as probable carcinogens, South Africans largely said they would rather take the risk than turn their backs on lifestyles grown accustomed to cooking meat on an open fire. On average, South Africans consume 130 pounds of mean per year, which exceeds the global average. Additionally, of those who buy meat, the preference is largely for red meat. Additional analysis was posted here. On October 27th, the South African Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led a March of hundreds of people past the Chamber of Mines, the South African Reserve Bank, and the JSE to call for a fairer distribution of the country’s wealth. The demonstrators demanded that South African institutions ensure the white minority releases wealth into the hands of the black majority. The march, which came on the heels of student protests, was reported here. On October 27th, a fire at a power sub-station near South Africa’s Cape Town International Airport delayed flights and affected some services at the airport operating on backup power supplies. Neighboring residential areas were also without power. The outage comes as state utility Eskom continues to struggle to address power shortages. For more information, click here. On October 28th, leading U.N. food agencies warned that 46 percent of the population from eight regions of Madagascar, or the equivalent of 1.9 million people in the country are food insecure, including 450,000 people who face chronic food insecurity. In response to the situation, the WFP will launch a food-or-cash-for-assets program in November that will continue through the next harvest in February, while the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will continue to distribute improved drought resistance seeds. Details were shared here. On October 28th, an IMF mission to Seychelles concluded its visit and issued a statement praising the macroeconomic outcomes in the country. The report stated the economic growth outlook for 2016 remains position, despite potential economic problems in Europe and China. The Central Bank of Seychelles also improved its reserve coverage in addition to credit within the country expanding to the private sector. The mission’s observations were detailed here. On October 29th, thousands of African soldiers in the African Standby Force (ASF) completed joint training exercises in South Africa, the last exercises before the continental force is fully trained. The ASF will be at full capacity by December. The original AU guidelines stated that each of the continent's five regions will provide 5,000 troops to the force. The conclusion of training was noted here. On October 29th, Rwanda’s lower house of parliament voted to allow President Paul Kagame to extend his presidency beyond a second term and stay on potentially until 2034. The vote was opposed by the U.S. and other donors who are concerned by the changes made to the constitution. An article on the vote was published here. On October 29th, Mozambique’s state-owned oil company gave lucrative fossil fuel exploration rights off its Indian Ocean coast to Exxon Mobil, Eni of Italy, and Sasol of South Africa. The bids were given in Mozambique’s fifth oil and gas round issued by the Institute of National Petroleum (INP). More information can be found here. General Africa News On October 23rd, President of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Oh Joon urged broader efforts to combat illicit financial flows, totaling approximately $50 billion annually, and their impact on development in Africa. President Oh said African countries will need international and regional support, including public-private dialogue, to address this challenge and to achieve the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Excerpts from President Oh’s remarks were highlighted here. On October 23rd, the Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF) approved three projects totaling $1.35 million to enhance the readiness of Cape Verde, Kenya, and Swaziland to mobilize climate finance necessary to achieve national sustainable development goals. A portion of the grant will help Cape Verde develop nationally appropriation mitigation actions in the energy and waste sectors. Additional funding will support Kenya’s prioritization and development of projects to advance low carbon, climate resilient development in the forestry, agro-forestry, and agriculture sectors, and allow Swaziland’s Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs to assess adaptation and mitigation actions. The projects were described here. On October 24th, the 2015 Global Hunger Index was released, highlighted the prevalence of stunting in some African countries. According to the study, about 50 percent of Burundians, Eritreans, Malagasies, and Rwandese will be shorter than they should be due to food insecurity, unsafe water and poor sanitation, malnutrition, and lack of education. The report’s findings were discussed here. On October 28th, the AfDB released a new report titled, “Economic Empowerment of African Women through Equitable Participation in Agricultural Value Chains.” The study identifies opportunities for women in the cocoa, coffee, cotton, and cassava sectors in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria, respectively. The report can be downloaded here. On October 29th, the AfDB Board of Directors approved $284.97 million in funding to support infrastructure in Tunisia, a small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) development project in Kenya, and a youth development and integration in growth sectors program in Togo. Each of the projects was profiled here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.