Leading the News
On June 26th, Reuters reported that Ahmed Abu Khattalah, the suspected leader of the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was due to arrive in the U.S. over the weekend. Since his capture, Khattalah had been held on the USS New York for questioning. He will be tried in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. An update on the case was provided here.
On June 26th, United Nations (U.N.) officials including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), condemned the assassination of human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis. Bugaighis was killed by hooded assailants when she returned from voting in the Libyan parliamentary elections. The U.N. called on Libyan authorities to investigate the attack and to bring the perpetrators to justice. The U.N.’s reaction to the attack was captured here.
On June 26th, the White House issued a statement on the elections in Libya, which the Office of the White House Press Secretary hailed as a milestone in Libya’s efforts to transition from dictatorship toward full democracy. The White House called on the new Libyan government to focus on building consensus to address the challenges of establishing security, providing effective public services, and ensuring an inclusive political process. The full statement can be read here.
On June 26th, the U.S. State Department issued a formal statement on the June 25th elections for a new Council of Representatives in Libya. In addition to applauding the elections as a step in advancing the country’s democratic transition, the State Department condemned reports of violence and intimidation, as well as the murder of Libyan human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis. The State Department also called on all parties in Libya to reject violence and commit to resolving contention through dialogue and negotiation. The statement was published here.
On June 26th, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf kicked off the daily press briefing with comments on Libya. First, she congratulated the Libyan people on the June 25th parliamentary elections as a step towards advancing a free, prosperous, democratic, and secure Libya. She also condemned the murder of Libyan human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis and recognized her as a courageous woman and Libyan patriot who was an advocate for political prisoners during the Gadhafi
regime, an organizer of demonstrations during the 2011 revolution, and an original member of the transitional national council after the uprising began. Deputy Spokesperson Harf’s comments were transcribed here.
On June 28th, Ahmed Abu Khattalah was brought from a U.S. Navy warship to the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, where he entered a plea of not guilty to a single conspiracy charge. At the conclusion of the hearing, Khattalah was transported to a detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, that has been used to hold other terrorism suspects since the attacks on September 11, 2001. The full story is available here.
On June 29th, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” where he said he believed that U.S. officials were unable to collect any valuable information from recently captured Ahmed Abu Khattalah. Congressman Rogers reported that Khattalah had been compliant with federal authorities, but not cooperative, before being read his Miranda rights. Congressman Rogers’ comments were noted here.
On June 29th, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX) was interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” regarding the prosecution of Libyan terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khattalah. Congressman McCaul said that providing a foreign terrorist with due process rights under the U.S. Constitution is the wrong approach. Instead, he argued that Khattalah’s military intelligence value should have taken precedence, and that he should have been taken to Guantanamo Bay as a war criminal. Congressman McCaul’s comments can be seen here.
On June 30th, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member and a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi Elijah Cummings (D-MD) appeared on MSNBC to discuss the capture and interrogation of Libyan terrorist Ahmed Abu Khattalah. Congressman Cummings expressed support for trying Khattalah in a federal court and said he believes that the intelligence community had enough time to question the suspect. A video clip from the interview can be watched here.
On July 1st, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicated that Ahmed Abu Khattalah had provided interrogators with voluntary statements that corroborated key facts about the September 2012 attacks against American interests in Benghazi, Libya. In addition, federal prosecutors said that because Khattalah has plotted attacks against U.S. and Western interests in recent months and continues to pose a threat to the homeland, he should remain in custody until trial. An update on the case can be viewed here.
On July 2nd, Libyan terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khattalah appeared in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, for a detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. In the coming weeks, prosecutors are expected to collect more evidence that will result in additional charges against Khattalah beyond the single conspiracy charge that has already been filed. More information was posted here.
On June 26th, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan published an op-ed in the Washington Post. In his piece, he explained that he could not reveal the details of the investigation into the April kidnapping of 200 girls in northeastern Nigeria, and he reiterated his government’s commitment to the safe return of the girls. The full text of the op-ed can be seen here.
On June 27th, Reuters reported that the U.S. is decreasing its surveillance flights to help find the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April. The U.S. is decreasing its observation due to increased aerial surveillance from partner countries. The goal of the surveillance is to provide intelligence and information for Nigerian forces. The Reuters story was reported here.
On June 29th, at least 30 people were killed in Nigeria when Boko Haram rebels attacked a series of churches in two villages near Chibok, where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted in April. Witnesses reported that militants attacked the churches with bombs and guns and that the death toll is likely to increase in the days ahead. It was also reported that the Nigerian military was slow to respond to the attack. The incident was reported here.
On June 29th, 11 people were killed in a Boko Haram attack on a brothel. The attack occurred in Bauchi,
Nigeria. Bauchi State Police Spokesman Haruna Mohammed said that a person had been arrested in connection with the attack. More information can be viewed here.
On June 30th, the Nigerian military released a statement announcing it had raided a Boko Haram intelligence unit and arrested cell leader Babuji Ya’ari. Ya’ari has been accused of taking part in the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in April, as well as the killing of the emir of Gwoza in May, but has yet to respond to these allegations. Nigeria’s Ministry of Defense also reported that it had arrested women from the intelligence cell. Details can be found here.
On June 30th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned new Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria, which he said have become a nearly daily occurrence. Secretary-General Ban reiterated the readiness of the U.N. to support Nigeria as it responds to this challenge and encouraged Nigerian authorities to address the terrorism threat in a way that meets Nigeria’s international human rights obligations. Comments from Secretary-General Ban were shared here.
On July 1st, a car bomb exploded in Maiduguri, Nigeria, killing at least 17 people. Crowds tried to attack the firefighters on the scene because of their slow arrival. No one has claimed responsibility for the incident, but it has been speculated that the attack was likely carried out by Boko Haram. More details can be read here.
On July 1st, Reuters published an article on Boko Haram’s financing, especially as the terrorist organization appears to be thriving despite the imposition of sanctions on the group and its leader, Abubakar Shekau. According to the report, U.S. officials believe that Boko Haram is financing its activities through lucrative criminal acts, including kidnappings. Stopping financing to Boko Haram has also proved challenging because the group exists primarily outside of the formal banking system. The full story is available here.
Democratic Republic of Congo
On June 28th, Rwandan militants who identified as members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) turned in their weapons. Their surrender was a part of their offer to disarm the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) if they are allowed to negotiate with the Rwandan Government. The FDLR intended this gesture to show their commitment to the peace process. Many speculate that the ceremony was a delaying tactic intended to prevent the FDLR from being defeated by U.N. peacekeepers. Some of the soldiers are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) because of the crimes that they committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The full story can be seen here.
One June 26th, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf announced that the agency had received confirmation from Sudanese officials that Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag had been released on bail and is no longer being detained at a Sudanese police station. Ishag had recently won an appeal overturning her sentence on apostasy charges. The State Department reported that Ishag and her family are in a safe location and that the U.S. Embassy in Sudan remains engaged in her case. A press note was issued here.
On June 28th, Reuters reported that Sudanese and U.S. official in Khartoum were in negotiations to allow Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag to leave Sudan to travel to the U.S. Ishag and her family have been staying at the U.S. Embassy in Sudan since Ishag’s release, which was granted on the condition that she remains in Sudan. Ishag and her family were detained at the airport in Khartoum last week on questions pertaining to her travel documents. The full story is available here.
On June 30th, a group of U.N. human rights experts urged the Egyptian Government to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and to offer new and fair trials to the 183 people whose death sentences had been concerned. The U.N. experts came together following last week’s upholding of mass death sentences for Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The U.N. has identified numerous problems with the verdict, including lack of precision in the charges, limited access to lawyers, trials held in absentia, and mass sentencing. Feedback from the U.N. was posted here.
Central African Republic
On June 27th, the Central African ex-rebel Seleka coalition and the anti-Balaka set up a joint committee of six members to prepare for peace talks. The conflict-resolution group Pareto will oversee the peace talks. The committee is a second step after an initial meeting earlier in June. Both sides have said that they are optimistic about the prospects for the talks. More information on the talks can be read here.
On June 27th, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the reprisal of attacks in the Central African Republic (CAR), which have left at least 45 people dead and many others wounded, are causing thousands of people to flee from Bambari. UNHCR said that better protection, shelter, water, and sanitation is needed, especially as Christian neighborhoods have already been emptied from previous fighting and displacement sites are packed with people in the height of the rainy season. Insights from UNHCR were posted here.
On June 27th, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) and the U.N. Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) detailed their efforts to re-establish primary public services in the CAR amidst the new outbreak of violence. Approximately $4.6 million has been transferred from the PBF to the Bank of Central African States to fund salaries for approximately 3,417 police officers and soldiers. Meanwhile, the World Bank has pledged to fund the outstanding payroll. An update on security services in the CAR was provided here.
On June 30th, a high-ranking official within the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and former South Sudanese Ambassador to the U.N. and the U.S. Ezekiel Gatkuoth said he was joining the opposition party under the leadership of former Vice President Riek Machar. Gatkuoth was one of 11 SPLM leaders arrested and detained when fighting broke out in South Sudan in December, but Gatkuoth is the only freed detainee who has indicated he will join the opposition. The full story can be viewed here.
On June 30th, the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a consensus resolution condemning human rights violations in South Sudan. South Sudan has violated international law through their actions throughout the outbreak of violence including targeted killings, unlawful recruitment of child soldiers, and sexual violence. The announcement of the resolution is available here.
On July 1st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Special Representative Johnson addressed the situation in South Sudan in a press conference on June 30th. In her remarks, Special Representative Johnson stressed the importance of the peace process. Special Representative Johnson is set to step down form her role on July 8th. Meanwhile, parties in South Sudan have until August 10th to come to an agreement on an interim transitional government. The Special Representative’s remarks were reported on here.
United States – Africa Relations
On June 26th, President Barack Obama nominated John Leslie to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the African Development Foundation (ADF) and upon appointment to be designated as Chairperson. Leslie is currently Chairman of Weber Shandwick and has served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the ADF since 2003 and as its Chairperson since 2009. He was also previously Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Association for UNHCR and participated in a UNHCR mission to Tanzania. His nomination was announced here.
On June 30th – July 7th, Dr. Jill Biden was on foreign travel to Zambia, the DRC, and Sierra Leone with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah and U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell. During their travel, Dr. Biden, Administrator Shah, and Ambassador Russell will highlight how girls’ education and women’s participation in government, the economy, and civil society can accelerate economic development, improve health and education
outcomes, strengthen democratic governance, and foster peace and security. The White House announcement was shared here.
On July 1st, the White House issued a press release announcing Dr. Jill Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell’s arrival in Lusaka, Zambia. While in Zambia, Dr. Biden will meet with Zambia’s Second Lady Dr. Charlotte Harland Scott to discuss the major issues affecting women in the country. She was also scheduled to deliver remarks at Shalom Community School, open a panel discussion on the challenges, successes, and opportunities for the economic empowerment of women, and visit a local health facility. The press release was issued here.
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
On June 27th, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that President Barack Obama has reinstated Madagascar’s eligibility for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) benefits, effective immediately, and withdrew Swaziland’s AGOA eligibility, effective January 1, 2015. AGOA is a preferential trade program established in May 2000 that provides duty-free access to the U.S. market for thousands of products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries. More information can be seen here.
On June 30th, USTR Ambassador Michael Froman met with the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa in Washington, DC. The meeting was listed here.
On July 1st, USTR Ambassador Michael Froman met with South African Ambassador to the U.S. Ebrahim Rasool. The meeting was held in Washington, DC. The discussion was noticed here.
On June 24th-28th Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield was on foreign travel to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to lead the U.S. delegation’s participation in the 23rd African Union (AU) Summit. While in Malabo, the delegation engaged African leaders on a number of issues of mutual concern and updated leaders on preparations for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to be hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington, DC, on August 5th-6th. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield’s travel was noted here.
On June 27th, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement sending best wishes to the people and the Government of Djibouti on their national day. Secretary Kerry said that Djibouti is an anchor of peace and security in the Horn of Africa and that he looks forward to the U.S. and Djibouti working together on energy, workforce development, education, healthcare and security cooperate in the years to come. Secretary Kerry’s full statement can be viewed here.
On June 27th, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan spoke at the pre-departure orientation for outbound Fulbright scholars going to North Africa. Assistant Secretary Ryan’s participation in the event was listed here.
On June 30th, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a statement congratulating the people of the DRC on the celebration of their independence day. Secretary Kerry reflected on his visit to the DRC this spring and reiterated the U.S. commitment to helping the Congolese people achieve a peaceful, just, and prosperous future. In addition, Secretary Kerry commended the DRC’s progress in restoring stability in the eastern part of the country by defeating M23 rebels and pursuing other armed groups in the region. The full statement can be read here.
On June 30th, Secretary of State John Kerry shared a press statement in recognition of Somali independence day. Secretary Kerry said the U.S. is proud to support Somalia as it continues on the path to becoming a stable, federal democracy and a strong international partner. He reiterated that the U.S. remains determined to help rebuild the political, economic, and security institutions that will provide lasting stability and meet the aspirations of the Somali people. Secretary Kerry’s comments on Somalia’s national day were posted here.
On June 30th, Secretary of State John Kerry provided remarks on the 52nd anniversary of Rwanda’s independence. Over the past 20 years, Secretary Kerry said that Rwanda has emerged as a regional
leader, borne by a deep commitment to strengthen economic growth for all Rwandans. Secretary Kerry also commended Rwanda for its efforts to improve and expand health care access throughout the country and to offer universal primary school education to all Rwandan children. Secretary Kerry’s remarks in recognition of Rwandan independence day are available here.
On June 30th, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement in recognition of Burundi’s independence day. Secretary Kerry noted that the U.S. and Burundi share a long history of friendship and cooperation based on a mutual commitment to peace and regional security. He also reiterated that the U.S. remains deeply committed to Burundi’s progress as a peaceful and democratic country. Secretary Kerry’s statement can be accessed here.
On June 30th, the State Department issued a statement congratulating Mauritania on the successful completion of peaceful and orderly presidential elections on June 21st. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said the U.S. looks forward to continuing to work with President-elect Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the Government Mauritania to promote prosperity and regional security. She also noted Mauritania’s Chairmanship of the AU and noted the U.S. will continue to work with Mauritania to plan for an action –oriented U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The full statement was shared here.
On July 1st, Chief of Protocol Peter Selfridge met with Malawian Ambassador to the U.S. Stephen Dick Tennyson Matenje, at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the State Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be found here.
On July 2nd, the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan met with Rachad Bouhlal, the Moroccan Ambassador to the U.S., at the Department of State. The meeting was noticed here.
U.S. Agency for International Development
On June 29th-30th, prior to joining Dr. Jill Biden and Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell on their trip to Zambia, the DRC, and Sierra Leone, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa, to attend the Partnership for Newborn, Maternal, and Child Health (PMNCH) Forum and to launch the first-ever Every Newborn Action Plan in collaboration with the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Administrator Shah’s trip to South Africa was announced here.
On June 30th, USAID issued its quarterly newsletter on the Power Africa initiative. The newsletter includes a letter from Power Africa and Trade Africa Coordinator Andy Herscowitz detailing the progress made during the first year of the Power Africa initiative. In addition, the newsletter highlights recent Power Africa programs, including the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) launch of the first renewable private equity fund in Africa, the ADF’s second round of Off-Grid Energy Challenge awards process, and assistance provided by the Department of Commerce in streamlining power project negotiations in Africa and shortening development cycles. The full Power Africa newsletter can be downloaded here.
Department of Defense
On June 26th, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) reported on a recently completed course on military decision-making hosted by CJTF-HOA and the State Department’s Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) team at the Humanitarian and Peace Support School (HPSS) in Embakasi, Kenya. Participants included partners from the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, and Sierra Leone. An article on the course can be read here.
On June 27th, a delegation from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) visited Cote d’Ivoire to discuss regional military and security cooperation issues. The delegation was led by Ambassador Phillip Carter III, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire from 2010-2013. More information is available here.
On July 1st, AFRICOM profiled Lassana Traore, who joined the U.S. Army in 2012 and is currently serving in his native country of Senegal as part of Western Accord 14. In addition to working in the dining facility, he is also performing translator duties for various African nations throughout Camp Thies.
Traore’s story was detailed here.
On July 2nd, the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team of CJTF-HOA reported on a combat first aid class that U.S. military personnel recently hosted at the WHO country office in Djibouti. U.S. soldiers taught tactical combat casualty care, life savings techniques, and strategies for providing the best trauma care in the field. The training was also attended by representatives of UNHCR, WHO, and UNICEF. Details can be viewed here.
Department of the Treasury
On July 1st, following the U.N. Security Council’s approval of sanctions against the Allied Democratic Forces – National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF), an armed group in the DRC, the Treasury Department took action to impose travel bans and asset freezes against the ADF. Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen condemned ADF’s activities, including continuing violence against civilians. A press release was issued here.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
On June 27th, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Blog featured a post on Tea production at the Sorwathe Tea Plantation in Rwanda. The plantation and processing facility was built in 1978 by one of the first U.S. investors in Rwanda and rebuilt two decades later with the support of OPIC political risk insurance. Today the facility purchases tea leaves from thousands of small farmers around the country. The blog post can be accessed here.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On July 1st, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Dana Hyde visited Cabo Verde and delivered remarks at the Government Palace in Praia City. CEO Hyde noted that shortly after becoming MCC’s new CEO, she decided that her first trip would be to Africa because of the potential for growth and opportunity on the continent. She also recognized Cabo Verde as the first African country to be awarded a second compact with the MCC. CEO Hyde’s remarks were transcribed here.
Government Accountability Office
On June 26th, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report examining the progress of U.S. federal agencies in implementing provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act related to conflict minerals. According to the report, the Department of Commerce has yet to compile a list of all conflict mineral processing facilities worldwide, which was due by January 2013. The report also highlights the progress of other agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), USAID, and the Department of State. The report’s findings were summarized here.
On June 26th, the Senate confirmed Ambassador Robert Beecroft as the next U.S. Ambassador to Egypt. His nomination was approved by a voice vote. Ambassador Beecroft, who is currently the U.S. Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, will be the first U.S. Ambassador to Egypt since Anne Patterson’s departure in August 2013. More information can be found here.
On June 26th, the Enough Project released a report revealing the rebranding of Darfur’s Janjaweed militiamen as the Rapid Support Force (RSF), which is known for terrorizing Sudanese citizens. The report explains the case for the individual criminal responsibility of high-level Sudanese Government officials for the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the RSF. The full report can be read here.
On June 27th, the Atlantic Council and the Project on Middle East Democracy held a briefing on “The Fezzan: Understanding Libya’s Wild West.” Speakers included researcher and consultant Valerie Stocker, Eamonn Gearon of The Siwa Group, and Karin Mezran of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri
Center for the Middle East. Event details were posted here.
On June 30th, a boat filled with North Africans attempting to cross into Europe via Italy was rescued. The boat included almost 1,000 people trying to enter the European Union (EU) illegally. Thirty people died on the trip due to the conditions on the boat. The recent influx of immigrants likely brought on by the situation in Libya has encouraged the anti-immigration movement in Northern Italy. The full story can be seen here.
On July 2nd, Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghouat, also known as Al Haqed, was sentenced to four months in prison and fined $1,200. He was convicted of scalping tickets to a soccer game, public drunkenness, and assaulting a police officer. This is his third sentencing since he rose to prominence during the 2011 Arab Spring movement. His friends and family insist that he did not commit the crimes and activists say that the state arrested him because of his political dissidence. The details are available here.
On June 25th, Issa Timamy, the Governor of Lamu county, Kenya, was arrested in connection to the Mbeketoni attacks that left 65 people dead. Witnesses believe the incident was connected to the Al Shabaab terrorist group, and the group has since claimed credit for the attack. Many people believe that Governor Timamy was arrested because of a rivalry with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Governor Timamy has denied a role in the killings. The incident was described here.
On June 26th, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission completed a visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to conduct meetings related to the 2014 Article IV Consultation. The IMF team observed that the Ethiopian economy continues to growth at a rate of roughly 8.5% and that expanded economic activity has helped to alleviate poverty. In addition, the IMF recommended that authorities take a cautious stance on monetary policy in order to preserve the gains made on inflation and economic growth. Additional analysis was provided here.
On 27th the inaugural meeting of the U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA) concluded in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the summit was “A Life of Dignity for All.” The body discussed illegal wildlife trade, chemical waste, air pollution, and new universal development goals. The UNEA reached sixteen resolutions including resolutions to encourage governments to set air quality standards and implement commitments to enforce the illegal trade in wildlife. A synopsis of the resolutions of the UNEA can be seen here. A summary of the assembly can be read here.
On June 27th, the World Bank Tanzania team announced the winner of a four-week art contest for children, which was used to select the cover art for the upcoming Tanzania Country Economic Memorandum. More than 150 entries were considered, with the prize awarded to a 13-year-old student at Feza Girls Secondary School in Dar es Salaam. The Country Economic Memorandum, due out in August, is expected to show 7% yearly growth over the past decade and to highlight the need for job creation in Tanzania. More information can be found here.
On June 27th, the Executive Board of the IMF completed the second review of Uganda’s economic performance under the program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) approved in June 2013. The IMF found that Uganda’s economic performance has been broadly satisfactory, with robust growth, low inflation, and strong international reserves. However, the IMF also found that domestic financing has expanded beyond the program ceiling and private sector credit growth has remained constrained. Details can be viewed here.
On June 27th, Microsoft launched the pilot of its intellectual property (IP) portal, the Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub, in Kenya. The two-year pilot will offer developers and independent software vendors the skills and tools necessary to develop, protect, and monetize their innovations. Once the pilot has concluded, the hub will be handed over to the local government and Microsoft will focus its efforts on launching similar pilots elsewhere on the continent. The launch of the IP hub was announced here.
On June 28th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was on foreign travel to Nairobi, Kenya. Secretary-General Ban met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss international terrorism and security issues and to address how the U.N. can help to enhance the capacity of Kenyan security forces. In addition, Secretary-general Ban participated in an even focused on ending maternal mortality, attended
the closing ceremony of the inaugural UNEA, and adopted a lion cub in Nairobi National Park as a sign of support for efforts to combat worldwide wildlife trafficking. Secretary-General Ban’s trip to Kenya was detailed here.
On June 29th, two Somali police officers and one soldier were killed by Al Shabaab gunmen in Mogadishu. The group said that the attacks marked the beginning of their increase in violence planned for Ramadan. Leading up to the incident, the Government of Somalia and the AU had increased security to try to reduce violence during Ramadan. More information can be viewed here.
On June 30th, two people were killed when a bomb exploded in a market in Mogadishu, Somalia. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but previous similar attacks have been attributed to terrorist group Al Shabaab. The full story can be read here.
On June 30th, the U.N. Security Council approved sanctions against Ugandan Islamist group, ADF. ADF is suspected of recruiting child soldiers, killing, maiming and sexually abusing women and children, and attacking U.N. peacekeepers in the eastern DRC. Under the sanctions regime, the ADF will be subject to an arms embargo, asset freezes, and travel bans.
On July 1st, China reopened its embassy in Somalia. The reopening is a sign of confidence in the country’s ability to maintain peace and security following a long civil war. The Chinese embassy in Somalia had been closed since 1991. More information on the reopening was reported here.
On June 26th, the World Bank launched its annual Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) report in Dakar, Senegal. The report examined the performance of poor countries and is used to determine the allocation of zero-interest financing and grants for the 39 African countries that are eligible for World Bank support. This year’s report finds that eight African countries had a rise in their overall CPIA scores, while another eight saw their score decline. Rwanda, Cabo Verde, and Kenya topped the score range, with the DRC realizing the biggest gains. The report’s findings were detailed here.
On June 27th, the World Bank announced that U.N. health agency officials, other international partners, and representatives of the Governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will gather in Accra, Ghana, in the coming days to agree on a comprehensive operational response to control the spread of Ebola virus in West Africa. More than 600 cases of the virus have been reported and over 390 deaths. In advance of the meeting, the WHO said that any response to the outbreak must fully respect people’s human rights and not restrict travel from one place to another. Developments related to the Ebola outbreak were reported here.
On June 27th, the WHO said that Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau should prepare for the arrival of the Ebola virus. The virus has already affected Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. This outbreak is the worst recorded since the virus was identified. The WHO will be convening a meeting of health ministers from 11 countries on July 2nd and 3rd. Details can be viewed here.
On June 27th, U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Representative to Mali Lazare Eloudou Assomo said that $11 million is needed to finish the rehabilitation of the Malian mausoleums and libraries so that they can store hundreds of thousands of manuscripts. Thus far, $3 million dollars has been collected. Reconstruction efforts began in March under the supervision of UNESCO, the Imam of Djingareyber, and the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). More information on the restoration efforts can be read here.
On June 27th, the World Bank approved $73.05 million in million International Development Association (IDA) and Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) financing to continue to support the Agriculture Productivity and Food Security (PAPSA) Project in Burkina Faso. Launched in July 2010, the PAPSA project has focused on helping poor farmers increase their crop and livestock production and expanding the volume of food product sold in rural markets. More information can be seen here.
On June 27th, the World Bank announced $63 million to support the Mali Skills Development and Youth Employment Project. The goals of the project are to remove hurdles and promote the potential to create jobs for the increasing number of people entering the workforce, particularly highly vulnerable youth, and
to help address extreme poverty. The World Bank estimates that 70% of Malian youths currently leave school without the sufficient qualifications and skills to enter the workforce. Details were shared here.
On June 27th, the World Bank approved $19.8 million in financing to help support Ghana in its development of domestic oil and gas reserves. The funding will be used to improve public management and regulatory capacity and to enhance transparency in the natural resources sector by strengthening public institutions and supporting the development of indigenous technical and professional skills needed to grow Ghana’s petroleum industry. An article on the project can be read here.
On July 1st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council condemned the improvised explosive device (IED) attack outside of Timbuktu, Mali that killed one Burkinabe U.N. peacekeeper and wounded six other peacekeepers. U.N. officials called on authorities in Mali to investigate the attack and state that the crimes committed against U.N. personnel will not diminish the resolve of the U.N. to carry out its mission in Mali. The U.N.’s reaction to the attack can be viewed here.
On July 2nd, the WHO reported that the current strain of the Ebola virus has caused the largest and deadliest outbreak ever. Updating earlier statistics, the WHO reported that out of 759 total known cases, 467 people have died. Multiple infected patients in Sierra Leone left hospitals despite their sickness. The Government of Sierra Leone has continually reminded the public that it is a crime to shelter someone with Ebola. An update on the outbreak was posted here.
On June 24th, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $50 IDA grant through the Public Financial Management (PFM) for Results Program to help the Government of Mozambique improve the transparency and efficiency of spending on medicine distribution, storage, and availability, as well as the management of school councils, districts, and budgets. The financing will be used to improve the availability of medicines in more than 1,300 health centers nationally and to improve management of 4,348 primary schools. The financing was announced here.
On June 26th, an IMF mission completed a mission to Kigali, Rwanda. While in Rwanda, IMF officials met with Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete, National Bank of Rwanda Governor John Rwangombwa, business representatives, and development partners. Discussions focused on the implementation of previous IMF technical assistance recommendations on tax policy, as well as management of fiscal risks and vulnerabilities. The mission’s visit to Rwanda was summarized here.
On June 26th, the World Bank announced $107 million in financial grants to support the Great Lakes Emergency Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Women’s Health Project. As part of the program, the DRC will receive about $74 million and Burundi and Rwanda will each receive $15 million to provide integrated health and counseling services, legal aid, and economic opportunities to the survivors of SGBV. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) will also receive $3 million to help develop a regional response to SGBV. More information can be viewed here.
On June 27th, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic completed a three-day visit to Burundi to assess the country’s human rights situation. During his visit, Assistant Secretary-General Simonovic met with Burundian Government officials, representatives of the international community, and civil society groups, and visited Bujumbura’s Mpimba prison. At the end of his trip, Assistant Secretary-General Simonovic expressed concern for growing restrictions on freedom of expression and called on authorities to ensure the full protection of human rights ahead of presidential elections next year. Additional observations were highlighted here.
On June 27th, the Steering Committee for the new IMF Africa Training Institute (ATI) was held in Mauritius. The Steering Committee agreed on the rollout of more courses on macroeconomic and financial management, as well as the need for additional funding to help meet the demand for training in sub-Saharan Africa. To help meet these funding needs, Seychelles pledged to make a $50,000 annual contribution. The meeting was summarized here.
On June 30th, the murder trial against Olympian Oscar Pistorius resumed in South Africa, with Judge Thokozile Masipa receiving a psychological report on the defendant. The report finds that Pistorius did
not suffer from a mental illness or defect when he shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius’ defense team continues to suggest that the athlete was suffering from anxiety and accidently killed Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder. Developments in the trial were noted here.
On June 30th, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Tanzania rejected former army chief Augustin Bizimungu’s appeal. He appealed his 30-year sentence imposed in May 2011. He was one of the most senior officers tried in the U.N. tribunal on the Rwandan genocide. Details on the case are available here.
On June 30th, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF Min Zhu concluded a two-day visit to Antananarivo, Madagascar. While in Madagascar, Deputy Managing Director Zhu met with Prime Minister Roger Kolo, Minister of Finance and Budget Jean Razafindravonona, and Acting Governor of the Central Bank Vonimanitra Razafimbelo. He also visited the University of Antanarivo and toured environmental sustainability projects in Akamasoa. Deputy Managing Director Zhu’s visit to Madagascar was detailed here.
On July 1st, Bheki Makhubu, editor of the Nation, and Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer appeared in court in Swaziland. They both face contempt of court charges after writing articles questioning the chief justice's actions over the arrest of Chief Government Vehicle Inspector Bhantshana Gwebu. The court heard submissions from their lawyers. Details on their cases are available here.
On July 1st, the World Bank announced the awarding of a $6 million grant from the Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) fund to support the Zambezi River Basin Development Project along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project will help prepare the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme (HES), which is expected to yield a generation capacity of 1600 MW and to provide enough energy for 1.2 million households. Information on the project was shared here.
General Africa News
On June 26th, The Fund for Peace released its annual Fragile States Index (FSI) for 2014. The study assesses the indicators of risk in countries around the globe and is intended to be used to develop ideas for promoting greater stability worldwide. The five countries with the highest alerts for risk were all in Africa, including South Sudan, Somalia, the CAR, the DRC, and Sudan. The full FSI can be accessed here.
On June 30th, the final African teams standing in the World Cup competition, Nigeria and Algeria, were knocked out of the competition. Nigeria lost to France by 2-0 and Algeria was defeated by Germany by 2-1. Highlights from both teams’ participation in the World Cup were noted here.
On July 1st, AU leaders voted to give themselves immunity from war crimes. Currently two African presidents are facing charges at the ICC. Forty-two African and international rights groups had objected to the amendment, noting that the impunity violates international and domestic laws as well as the constitution of the AU. Some noted that leaders might be more willing to cooperate with court proceedings and abide by court rulings if they are not concerned with their own fates. The full story is available here.
On July 1st, U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin and UNHCR Antonio Guterres issued an urgent appeal for funding as they warned that food shortages are now impacting 800,000 refugees in Africa increasing the risk of malnutrition. WFP has requested an additional $186 million to restore full rations, while UNHCR has requested $39 million to be targeted for nutrition support. Across the continent, approximately 2.4 million refugees in 22 countries are dependent on food assistance from the U.N. More information was shared here.