Leading the News
On April 17th, dozens of civilians were killed when a group of roughly 350 armed youths stormed the United Nations (U.N.) base in Bor, South Sudan, and opened fire. Peacekeepers for the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) returned fire and eventually repelled the attackers, but claimed the attack was unprovoked. The U.N. base in Bor is currently providing refugee to 5,000 displaced South Sudanese civilians. The attack was described here.
On April 17th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement strongly condemning the mob of armed civilians who attacked civilians and peacekeepers at the U.N. mission base in Bor. Secretary-General Ban expressed condolences for those killed and wounded in the attack and reminded the perpetrators that any attack on U.N. peacekeepers constitutes a war crime. In addition, Secretary-General Ban called on the South Sudanese Government to take immediate steps to help ensure the safety of all the UNMISS protection sites throughout the country. Comments from Secretary-General Ban on the attack can be seen here.
On April 17th, the U.S. Department of State issued a press statement condemning the attack against the UNMISS compound in Bor, as well as the recent attacks and counter-attacks by anti-government and pro-government forces in Bentiu. Noting that these attacks occurred in violation of the January 23rd cessation of hostilities agreement, the State Department reiterated its call for the Government of South Sudan to end the violence, protect civilians, and maintain law and order. The State Department also called on opposing groups in South Sudan to cooperate with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM). The full statement was issued here.
On April 17th, U.S. Agency for Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg authored a blog post on her recent trip to South Sudan. After visiting the U.N. compound in Juba, which is currently providing shelter to more than 21,000 displaced civilians, Administrator Lindborg expressed concern about malnutrition and the availability of food, water, sanitation, and health assistance. The full piece was posted here.
On April 18th, the U.N. Security Council unveiled a statement expressing outrage at the recent attack against the UNMISS compound in Jonglei state, as well as last week’s attacks in Bentiu and Unity state, which purposefully targeted civilians and U.N. personnel. The Security Council called on the
Government of South Sudan to immediately take steps to ensure the safety of all civilians while underscoring full support for the UNMISS contingents in Bor. The Security Council’s reaction to the recent attacks in South Sudan was noted here.
On April 18th, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Karen Bass (D-CA) joined in condemning the attack launched against the U.N. base in Bor by an armed youth militia. Expressing condolences for the 48 people who were killed, Representative Bass called on South Sudanese Government and opposition forces to immediately end the violence and to honor the cessation of hostilities agreement reached in January. Representative Bass’ full statement can be read here.
On April 20th, South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Mariel Benjamin said that South Sudan has urged Sudan to prevent armed groups, including those militants loyal to former South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar, from using Sudanese territories for coordinating attacks against South Sudanese interests. Minister Benjamin reported that consultations between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir continue, even as Sudan rejects allegations that armed groups, including the Janjaweed and Messeriya, have crossed the border to launch attacks on South Sudanese citizens and oil fields. Comments from Minister Benjamin were transcribed here.
On April 21st, UNMISS issued a strong condemnation of the attacks that occurred on April 15th and 16th when opposition forces captured Bentiu and targeted civilians of specific ethnicities and nationalities at a hospital, a mosque, a church, and a U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) compound. UNMISS also expressed opposition to the use of hate speech on the radio encouraging certain ethnic groups to leave Bentiu and instigating violence against certain communities. More information was shared here.
On April 22nd, rebel leader Riek Machar rejected U.N. accusations that his forces were responsible for the massacre of hundreds of civilians in Bentiu, South Sudan. Machar indicated that he had spoken with the field military commander in Bentiu who also claimed that the U.N. accusations were false. Machar’s comments were noted here.
On April 22nd, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that growing violence in South Sudan is only exacerbating an already alarming malnutrition crisis that is disproportionately impacting children. UNICEF also noted that children were included among the victims of the April 17th attack against the UNMISS compound in Bor and urged that children must not be instruments of the conflict in South Sudan. Feedback from UNICEF was posted here.
On April 22nd, the White House issued a release stating it was horrified by reports that South Sudanese fighters loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar massacred hundreds of innocent civilians last week in Bentiu due to their ethnicity and nationality while hate speech was broadcast on the radio. The White House also said it was appalled by the armed attack last week against the UNMISS compound in Bor. In addition, the statement called on both South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar to make clear that attacks on civilians are unacceptable and that the perpetrators of violence on both sides will be brought to justice. The full statement can be viewed here.
On April 23rd, new clashes erupted in South Sudan between fighters loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Neuer. The new attacks come just two days after U.N. officials reported that ethnically motivated fighting over the past week has left hundreds of civilians dead. Allegedly, opposition forces have received new weapons and ammunition from Sudan and have recruited Arab militias backed by Sudan’s government to help fight. Developments in South Sudan were reported here.
On April 23rd, following a briefing on developments in South Sudan, the U.N. Security Council indicated it is considering sanctions on warring parties in South Sudan. This month’s President of the Security Council, Nigerian Ambassador to the U.N. Joy Ogwu, indicated growing support among Security Council members for sanctions. Both the U.S. and the European Union (EU) have already authorized possible targeted sanctions against individuals committing human rights abuses in South Sudan. The full story is available here.
On April 23rd, The Daily Beast published an article authored by Justine Fleischner of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Co-Founder of the Enough Project John Prendergast,
proposing solutions to the crisis in South Sudan as peace talks are set to resume in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week. The article suggests that the prospects for an immediate ceasefire agreement might be strengthened by the use of sanctions, the deployment of a regional security force, and deeper diplomatic engagement. The full article can be read here.
On April 24th, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir issued a decree announcing the immediate removal of Army Chief General James Hoth Mai. While the decree gave no justification for General Mai’s dismissal, his removal comes as rebel fighters have made significant advances, including seizing control of an oil hub in Bentiu. General Mai’s dismissal was announced here.
On April 20th, Egypt’s presidential elections commission announced that only two candidates have filed paperwork to run in the May 26th and 27th presidential elections. Former Defense Minister and Field Marshal General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, who is largely favored to win the two-way race, collected 188,930 endorsements. Leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi will face off against General Sisi. Sabahi, who placed third in Egypt’s 2012 13-way presidential contest, submitted 31,555 endorsements. The presidential candidates were officially announced here.
On April 21st, the Cairo Criminal Court decided to postpone the trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and 14 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders accused of killing El-Ithadia demonstrators. The hearing has been rescheduled for May 3rd. The trial’s postponement was reported here.
On April 22nd, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Egyptian Minister of Defense Colonel General Sedki Sobhy to inform him that Secretary Kerry will soon certify to Congress that Egypt is sustaining its strategic relationship with the U.S. and meeting its obligations under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, which is required to obligate FY14 U.S. assistance for Egypt. Secretary Hagel told General Sobhy that the U.S. cannot yet certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition. In addition, Secretary Hagel informed General Sobhy of President Barack Obama’s decision to deliver ten Apache helicopters in support of Egypt’s counterterrorism operations in the Sinai. A full readout of the discussion can be seen here.
On April 22nd, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy to inform him that he is certifying to Congress that Egypt is sustaining the strategic relationship with the U.S., including by countering transnational threats, and that Egypt is upholding its obligations under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. While acknowledging that Egypt remains an important strategic partner for the U.S., Secretary Kerry noted he is not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition and urged Egypt to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections and to ease restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and the media. Secretary Kerry’s message to Minister Fahmy was summarized here.
On April 23rd, Egyptian Field Marshal General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi said that U.S. military assistance is needed to help Egypt combat Islamic terrorists in the Sinai and other terrorist groups that are operating training camps along Egypt’s border with Libya. In a meeting with U.S. national security experts held last week in Cairo, Field Marshal Sisi also cautioned that continuing restrictions on U.S. military aid to Egypt could endanger the U.S. homeland, as well as U.S. European and Arab allies. Comments from Field Marshal Sisi can be viewed here.
On April 23rd, retired Egyptian Air Defense Major General Mahmoud Morsi confirmed that the Egyptian military is expected to receive the delivery of ten Apache helicopters from the U.S. within the next two weeks. A request for the foreign military sale (FMS) was first submitted to Congress in May 2009, but has since been delayed by the suspension of U.S. military aid to Egypt. Egypt is expected to use the helicopters for counterterrorism operations in the Sinai. Details can be found here.
On April 23rd, The Brookings Institution held a briefing on “Understanding Tahrir Square: The Prospects for Arab Democracy.” Speakers included Tamara Cofman Wittes and Stephen Grans of The Brookings Institution and Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post. Event logistics were posted here.
On April 24th, the U.S. Department of State issued a breakdown of U.S. aid to Egypt. The Egypt bilateral foreign assistance budget for FY14 is approximately $1.5 billion, including $1.3 billion in foreign military
financing (FMF), $200 million in Economic Support Funds, and over $7 million for other security assistance programs. The State Department indicated the $650 million from FY14 FMF will be the first of the funding to move forward, pending congressional notification and approval. The statement issued by the State Department can be accessed here.
On April 24th, despite the forthcoming shipment of Apache helicopters from the U.S. to Egypt, U.S. Defense Department Spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said that deliveries of additional weapons to Egypt, including General Dynamics M1 Abrams tanks, Lockheed Martin F-16s, and Boeing Harpoon missiles, continue to be suspended. Details are available here.
On April 17th, the first 70 Ugandan troops that were trained to guard the U.N. compound in Mogadishu arrived in Somalia. The recently deployed soldiers will be part of a 400-strong Ugandan force to work under the mandate of the African Union (AU) Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in deterring terrorist attacks. The arrival of the Ugandan forces in Mogadishu was noted here.
On April 18th, clashes broke out between Somali armed forces and police offers in the Middle Shabelle region of Somalia. Witnesses reported that dozens of people were killed in the fighting, including the chief of the Somali police force for the region. The incident was reported here.
On April 21st, U.N. Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay condemned the murder of parliamentarian Isaak Mohamed Rino, which occurred when an improvised explosive device (IED) that was planted in his vehicle exploded in Mogadishu. Another member of parliament, Mohamed Ali, and several civilians were also injured when the IED was detonated. Special Representative Kay called for a thorough investigation of the attack that will bring the perpetrators to justice. Special Representative Kay’s feedback on the incident can be seen here.
On April 22nd, U.N. Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay condemned the killing of Abdiaziz Isaaq Mursal, the second parliamentarian to be murdered in a matter of days in Mogadishu. Mursal was shot by unidentified gunmen. Muhammad Hassan Amar, a media worker for Radio Dalsan, was also killed in the attack. In condemning the violence, Special Representative Kay also expressed concern for increasing attacks in Mogadishu targeting the Federal Parliament of Somalia. Comments from Special Representative Kay were transcribed here.
On April 23rd, in response to reports that the U.N. might be considering decreasing its presence in Somalia in light of an uptick in attacks launched by terrorist group Al Shabaab, U.N. Special Representative to Somalia and head of UNSOM Nicholas Kay reaffirmed that the U.N. has no plans to withdraw from the country. Despite the fact that Al Shabaab has specifically targeted U.N. entities in the past, he called on international partners to boost support for peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts in Somalia. Special Representative Kay’s comments were transcribed here.
On April 18th, the Borno State Commissioner for Education Musa Kuba said that 14 of the students abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, escaped their captors and were found wandering in the bush. As a search party including soldiers, other security personnel, and civilians continued to look for victims of the attack, officials said that 44 of 129 students were accounted for, while 85 students remain missing. An update on the situation in Nigeria was provided here.
On April 18th, Boko Haram issued a 28-minute video claiming responsibility for last week’s bus bombing in Abuja, Nigeria, as well as the kidnappings at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok. In the video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau directly addressed Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and delivered a warning that the terrorist organization is in the capital city. More information was shared here.
On April 21st, as the emergency rule over Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states came to an end, rumors surfaced that Nigeria’s Security Council, scheduled to meet later this week, may decide to respond to the continuing insurgency in the northeastern part of the country by suspending all democratic institutions and imposing full emergency operations. Developments in Nigeria were noted
On April 21st, the Daily Trust reported that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to seek another term in office and will announce his candidacy in the 2015 presidential elections next month. Sources close to President Jonathan have said the announcement has been delayed out of concern that challengers will turn to the courts to contest his eligibility to run. Details can be seen here.
On April 21st, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima visited with the parents of students from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok. Despite conflicting reports on the number of students kidnapped by Boko Haram militants, Asabe Kwambura, the head teacher at the school, said that the parents of 234 girls had reported them missing, but 43 of those students had managed to escape their abductors. Developments in the aftermath of the attack on the school were reported here.
Central African Republic
On April 17th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a radio message to Central Africans calling on all fathers, mothers, and children to end the intensifying inter-communal violence that continues to divide Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic (CAR). In his second radio message this year, Secretary-General Ban noted that Christians and Muslims have always lived together in peace and urged citizens not to give into extremists who are looking to destroy the country. Excerpts from Secretary-General Ban’s radio address were shared here.
On April 22nd, the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs announced the appointment of Ambassador W. Stuart Symington as U.S. Special Representative for the CAR. In this role, Ambassador Symington will help to shape and coordinate U.S. policy towards the CAR to end the violence, address humanitarian needs, and establish legitimate governance. He will also work closely with African, European, and other bilateral partners to address the security, political, economic, social, and assistance issues arising in the CAR. Ambassador Symington has previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda and Djibouti and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Niger. A press release announcing Ambassador Symington’s new position was issued here.
On April 17th, following the close of polls in Algeria’s presidential elections, Ali Benflis, the main opposition leader, said that he would reject the announcement of official results due to fraud in the elections. Benflis’ claim came as supporters of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika celebrated his anticipated reelection to his fourth term in office. Information on the close of the polls in Algeria was reported here.
On April 24th, following the announcement of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s reelection victory in last week’s presidential contest with more than 80% of the vote, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon congratulated the people of Algeria on peaceful elections and encouraged the strengthening of the democratic process in the country. Secretary-General Ban’s statement was issued here.
United States – Africa Relations
On April 21st, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Claire Richard met separately with Special Representative of the U.N Secretary-General for Somalia Nicholas Kay. Both meetings, which were held at the Department of State, were listed here.
On April 22nd, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) Grant Harris met with members of the African Diplomatic Corps at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be viewed here.
On April 23rd, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Mohamed Farid El-Tohamy at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the State Department’s public schedule, which can be accessed here.
On April 23rd, the State Department announced that Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns was on foreign travel to Tripoli, Libya, to meet with senior Libyan officials, including interim Prime Minister Thanaie and General National Congress (GNC) First Deputy President Ezzidine Mohammed Al-Awami, and to hear from civil society and political leaders on Libya’s ongoing transition. Deputy Secretary Burns’ travel was announced here.
On April 23rd, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard delivered the keynote address at CSIS’s briefing on “Ethiopia’s Investments in Family Planning: Lessons for U.S. Policy.” The event focused on Ethiopia’s Health Extension Program and how this model can be adapted for other countries as they work to increase access to family planning health services. Additional speakers included Olusoji Adeyi of the World Bank, Yemeserach Belayneh of The David & Lucille Packard Foundation, USAID Deputy Administrator for Global Health Robert Clay, Jennifer Dyer of Hope Through Healing Hands, Purnima Mane of Pathfinder International, Tom Walsh of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Janet Fleischman of CSIS. Event details were posted here.
On April 23rd, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield addressed the Wildlife Criminology Symposium at the World Bank. Assistant Secretary Brownfield discussed efforts to implement President Barack Obama’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking and the State Department’s support for African partner countries in combating poaching and cross-border wildlife trafficking. More information was shared here.
On April 24th-29th, Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Rick Barton will travel to Nigeria to attend the premiere of “Dawn in the Creeks,” a Nigerian-led television program, funded by the State Department’s Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations, that showcases nonviolent problem-solving in communities throughout the Niger Delta. Assistant Secretary Barton is also scheduled to meet with Nigerian Government officials, as well as the Niger Delta Legacy Board of Directors and local communities in Lagos and the Niger Delta. Assistant Secretary Barton’s travel was detailed here.
Department of Defense
On April 17th, the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion provided additional information on English classes that U.S. armed forces in Djibouti are teaching at the Lycee Hotelier d’Arta, which is providing close to 100 students with skills needed to work in Djibouti’s growing hospitality and restaurant industry. The presence of U.S. forces at the school is considered a broader part of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa’s (CJTF-HOA) mission to foster relationships with the Djiboutian people. More information can be found here.
On April 22nd, in conjunction with Earth Day, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) launched Spring Cleanup week at command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. During the week, AFRICOM service members will participate in projects intended to improve headquarters’ grounds. AFRICOM also participates in year-round recycling programs. Details on AFRICOM’s recognition of Earth Day can be seen here.
On April 25th, in recognition of World Malaria Day, AFRICOM’s Command Surgeon’s Office will host a day of food and entertainment to raise awareness for how malaria affects the world’s population and what AFRICOM is doing to help U.S. partners in Africa to combat the disease. The event was highlighted here.
Department of Energy
On April 17th, in conjunction with Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz’s remarks at the African Energy Ministerial Business Roundtable held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Africa USA launched the online registration portal for the U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial (AEM), which will be held June 2nd-4th in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ministers of Energy from by North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa will participate in the AEM along with a U.S. delegation, led by Secretary Moniz, that also includes financing and development agencies committed to energy. The registration portal can be accessed here.
Department of Commerce
On April 22nd, the Department of Commerce rolled out a blog post detailing the agency’s efforts to connect U.S. businesses to opportunities in Africa’s power sector as part of the Administration’s U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) campaign. This week, the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) hosted the Power Africa B2B Summit to promote the public-private partnership model envisioned by President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. In addition, the blog post noted that Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will lead a trade mission to Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia next month, focused on enhancing how U.S. businesses can help African partners develop and manage their energy resources and build out power generation, transmission, and distribution. The full blog post can be read here.
Department of the Treasury
On April 18th, Reuters reported that an American plane that landed in Tehran, Iran, on Thursday and initially thought to be in violation of international law, had been leased by Ghana-based mining firm Engineers and Planners (E&P), founded by Ibrahim Mahama, the brother of Ghanaian President John Mahama. Due to U.S. sanctions on Iran, the U.S. flagged aircraft would generally be prohibited from flying to Iran without a license. The plane was carrying an all-Ghanaian delegation, which met with Iranian officials and departed to return to Ghana later that day. The U.S. Treasury Department is conducting an investigation to determine if any U.S. sanctions policy was violated. Details can be viewed here.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
On April 18th, in honor of Earth Day, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) published a post on the Feed the Future program in Ethiopia. Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Initiative, which is working with local groups in Ethiopia to improve markets for chickpeas in the country. OPIC participates in Feed the Future by supporting multiple projects aimed at improving agricultural yields and access to clean water. The OPIC blog can be accessed here.
On April 21st, several Democratic Members of Congress, including Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Jim McDermott (D-WA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jim Moran (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Gwen Moore (D-WI) sent a letter to Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Mary Jo White encouraging the SEC to implement the provisions of the conflict minerals rule, held up by courts, that require companies to conduct due diligence to ensure their products do not contain conflict minerals resulting in violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The lawmakers encouraged the SEC to proceed with implementing these components of the rule while any remaining free speech issues are resolved. The letter can be downloaded here.
On April 17th, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that family visit flights between Sahrawi refugees living in Algerian camps and their families in Western Sahara have resumed. The program, which had been suspended for several months, was first created in 2004 to reunite families that have been separated for decades in light of the failure to reach a political solution on the Western Sahara territory. The announcement came as the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting on Western Sahara. The full story is available here.
On April 17th, the World Bank approved an additional loan of $100 million for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Tunisia. The new funding will be used to scale up projects that have shown good results and to add lines of credit for loans to micro entrepreneurs and more long term financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). A press release was issued here.
On April 18th, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki announced his voluntary decision to cut his salary by two-thirds. In taking the pay cut, President Marzouki said that he is seeking to help Tunisia address its current financial and economic crisis. President Marzouki also announced further reductions in the
expenses of the presidency. The pay cut was announced here.
On April 18th, speaking at a ceremony to honor the 58th anniversary of home security forces, Tunisian Interior Minister Lofti Ben Jeddou reported that security in the country has improved significantly in light of new efforts to expand the Army and to deploy security forces at the borders. Minister Ben Jeddou cautioned, however, that additional efforts are needed to tackle the root causes of terrorism. Details can be seen here.
On April 20th, armed militants of the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked the Kanar oil field in West Kordofan, Sudan, and abducted one Sudanese and two Chinese engineers. Diplomats are now appealing for their safety and release. The oil field is operated by the Sudanese Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). The incident was reported here.
On April 23rd, Reuters reported on a U.S.-drafted resolution that would renew the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the disputed Western Sahara, but stops short of asking the U.N. to monitor human rights abuses. While U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and human rights advocacy groups are supportive of U.N. efforts to monitor and report on human rights abuses in the Western Sahara, France, which support’s Morocco’s position, is opposed. The full story is available here.
On April 23rd, The Daily Beast reported that a camp on the Libyan coastline established by U.S. special operations to help train Libyan security forces in counterterrorism operations has not been taken over by Ibrahim Ali Abu Bakr Tantoush, a veteran associate of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Allegedly, the camp is now being used to train Al Qaeda militants. Additional information can be viewed here.
On May 7th, the American Security project will host a conference on “21st Century U.S.-Egypt Strategic Relations.” The conference will address bilateral strategic relations moving forward, counterterrorism and regional security, and the investment climate and entrepreneurship. The keynote addressed will be delivered by Amr Moussa, who previously served as Secretary-General of the Arab League and as Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Event logistics were posted here.
On April 22nd, the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP) hosted a discussion with U.N. Special Representative to Somalia and head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Nicholas Kay. During the event, Special Representative Kay discussed UNSOM’s progress in executing governance and security goals since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s inauguration in 2012. A webcast of the discussion can be watched here.
On April 23rd, Kenyan Oscar winning actress for her role in “12 Years a Slave” Lupita Nyong’o became the first African woman to be featured on the cover of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Person in the World edition. While the magazine does not hit newsstands until this Friday, excerpts from the forthcoming interview with Nyong’o can be read here.
On April 21st, Guinea’s Ministry of Health reported 109 confirmed cases of Ebola virus, including 61 fatalities. Health officials indicated that Ebola has a 90% fatality rate. While the disease was first discovered in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in the DRC and Sudan, there is still no known cure for the virus. More information was reported here.
On April 22nd, speaking at the Agenda for Nigeria Innovation Forum 2014, Microsoft Nigeria’s new General Manager Kabelo Makwane introduced a new 20-year business plan to shape the company’s engagement on the continent in order to improve competitiveness and accelerate economic growth and development in Africa. Included in the plan are initiatives to improve the local economy through job creation, support Nigerian youths, facilitate software donations to NGOS, and to encourage local innovation. Details were provided here.
On April 23rd, U.N. Special Representative to Mali Bert Koenders briefed the U.N. Security Council on developments in the country. While Special Representative Koenders reported that steady progress has been made in advancing Mali’s stability, as evidenced by the establishment of a new National Assembly
and the gradual return of public administration in northern Mali, he cautioned that the security situation remains fragile, as evidenced by increased activity by terrorist groups in Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal. Excerpts from the briefing were highlighted here.
On April 23rd, the World Bank approved $50 million worth of credit support for the Burkina Faso Social Safety Net Project. As part of the project, 40,000 households in Burkina Faso are anticipated to benefit from direct cash transfers, which they will be encouraged to invest in their children’s development and nutrition, as well as their own productivity. The overarching goal of the project is to address poverty, especially as 47% of Burkina Faso’s population currently lives below the poverty line. The project was described here.
On April 16th, the Central Bank of South African fined FirstRand Ltd., NedBank Group Ltd., Barclays Plc, and Standard Bank Group Ltd., the four largest South African lenders, a total of $11.9 million after an investigation found the financial entities did not have the appropriate measures in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Among the deficiencies identified were inabilities to verify customer details, maintain records, and manage and process suspicious transactions. The full story is available here.
On April 17th, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) announced a new partnership with Riders for Health that will focus on expanding and expediting Malawi’s network for transporting laboratory samples that will help people living with HIV to get their test results faster. Given that Malawi has no existing laboratory sample transportation network, the country’s Ministry of Health has endorsed the training of motorcycle couriers to collect and return samples on specific routes. A press release was posted here.
On April 18th, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivered his annual independence day address at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. In his speech, President Mugabe threatened to expel any foreign diplomats who try to promote gay rights in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe also pledged to discipline any local NGOs who attempt to lobby for gay rights in the country. Excerpts of President Mugabe’s speech were transcribed here.
On April 18th, Voice of America ran an article on the efforts of women’s rights organizations in Malawi to intensify their 50/50 campaign intended to promote equal representation as an outcome of the May 20th parliamentary elections. Currently, only 22% of the 193 seats in the Malawian parliament are held by women. Meanwhile, approximately 52% of Malawi’s total population is women. The full article can be read here.
On April 18th, OZY reported that Kigali is becoming an increasingly attractive place for expats as Rwanda marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide that resulted in the killing of 10% of the population. This is due, in part, to the Rwandan Government’s efforts to upgrade infrastructure, improve cleanliness, and ensure safety and security. In addition, Rwanda has adopted business friendly policies, such as offering reduced tax rates for investors in energy and transportation and adjusting labor laws that make it easier for companies operating in Rwanda to hire foreigners. More information can be viewed here.
On April 20th, the South Africa Sunday Times published the findings of a new poll predicting that the African National Congress (ANC) will likely win the May 7th elections with 65.5% of the vote, only slightly lower than the 65.9% of the vote the party won in the 2009 elections. Additionally, the poll forecasted that the Democratic Alliance opposition party will win 23.1% of the vote, up from 16.6% in the last election cycle, and that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), launched last year, will win 4% of the vote. The polling data was published here.
On April 20th, the Detroit News ran a story suggesting that U.S. and European economic sanctions on Zimbabwe may inadvertently be leading Zimbabweans to turn to poaching as a source of income, with between 47,000 and 93,000 elephants in the country vulnerable as targets for wildlife trafficking activities. Just last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expressed concern for elephant poaching in Zimbabwe, and issued regulations blocking the important of elephant trophies taken in Zimbabwe in 2014. Details can be found here.
On April 21st, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed its Article IV consultation with Mauritius. While real GDP growth in 2013 was lower than expected at 3.2% in 2013, which is likely due to declines in construction, sugar production, and tourism, the IMF noted that Mauritius has developed a track record as a reformer with strong institutions and a dynamic private sector. Additional economic analysis was shared here.
On April 22nd, the World Bank approved a $100 million grant to Burundi to help finance the Jiji and Mulembwe hydropower project. The project entails the construction of two hydro stations of combined 48 megawatts (MW) of capacity that will be located on the Jiji tributary of the Mulembwe River. The electricity produced at the hydropower stations is anticipated to replace electricity produced from alternate sources, such as diesel generators, as well as fossil fuels imported from Kenya and Tanzania. The grant was announced here.
On April 23rd, The Guardian reported that Rwandan President Paul Kagame is increasingly suggesting that he might seek to remove term limits from the Rwandan constitution so that he might seek a third term in office. While the political opposition in Rwanda has rejected the idea that President Kagame is considering staying in office, it would not be uncommon for an African leader to seek to alter term limit restrictions. More information can be seen here.
On April 23rd, U.N. Special Representative to the DRC Martin Kobler visited the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), where he offered support from the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) for upcoming provincial and national elections, which are due to take place before 2016. Special Representative Kobler cautioned that the elections must be well funded and planned in order to avoid the violations that were prevalent during the November 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections. Details can be viewed here.
On April 23rd, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) approved a $15 million grant to support the DRC Human Development Systems Strengthening Project, which is intended to focus on increasing the quality of key public services that can advance human development in the country. The World Bank grant will be used to help strengthen the DRC’s capacity for planning and reporting health and education services at the provincial and sub-provincial levels, including by mapping school and health facilities. The project was described here.
On April 23rd, although trial proceedings are on a hiatus for the Easter holiday, South African investigative journalist Jani Allan claimed that South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius was taught to act distressed in the courtroom during the trial for charges that he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius’ defense team has rejected the allegations, with the trial set to resume on May 5th. The accusations were detailed here.
On April 24th, the IMF released its April 2014 Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the IMF, the trend of strong economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa over recent years appears set to continue, with an average growth rate of 5.5% forecasted for 2014. However, the IMF also cautioned that favorable factors that have supported economic growth in the past may be on the decline, as evidenced by tighter global financial conditions and weakening prices for commodities. More information can be seen here.
General Africa News
On April 18th, in advance of its next City Creditworthiness Academy workshop to be held this week in Seoul, South Korea, the Work Bank published an article recapping the first workshop, which focused on African cities and was held in Nairobi, Kenya, last October. Bringing together stakeholders from 18 growing cities in Africa, the workshop unveiled a common theme that African cities frequently struggle to develop local capital markets. The full article can be read here.
On April 22nd, international IT and online security company Kapersky Lab shared the findings of its research on cyber attacks in Africa, indicating that Africa has experienced around 50% year-on-year growth of IT-related security incidents. For example, the study identified at least 3.9 million online threats in South Africa in 2013 and another 3.6 million cyber incidents in Nigeria. Statistics on cyber threats in additional African countries are available here.
On April 22nd, Business Day reported that telecommunications infrastructure company IHS Holding has raised $130 million, which will be used to expand the company’s presence in new and existing markets in Africa. In December, IHS signed agreements with MTN in Zambia and Rwanda to acquire more than 1,200 sites in those countries. IHS may pursue additional opportunities in Nigeria. Details can be found here.
On April 23rd, Portland Communications released a new study analyzing Twitter use on the continent, including the most actively tweeting cities, topics of tweets, and languages used to post on Twitter. The research found that Johannesburg, South Africa, is the most active African city on Twitter, followed by Ekurhuleni, Cairo, Durban, and Alexandria. Topics discussed by Africans on Twitter included brands, football, and politics, and users most frequently tweeted in English, French, and Arabic. The full study can be accessed here.