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 SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 Africa Update Leading the News Burkina Faso On September 17th, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice condemned the unconstitutional seizure of power by elements of the Presidential Security Regiment in Burkina Faso and called on the responsible parties to immediately release those being detained, order aligned forces to stand down, respect the rights of civilians to peacefully assembly, and put Burkina Faso back on the path to presidential elections in October. Ambassador Rice said the U.S. would continue to work with its partners, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations (U.N.) to bring about a peaceful resolution. She also noted the U.S. would review its assistance to Burkina Faso in light of evolving events. A full statement was posted here. On September 17th, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) expressed concern about recent events in Burkina Faso and called for the immediate release of President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Isaac Zida, and all other officials being held. She said political debate and fair elections are crucial for any country to thrive and condemned attempts to take power by force. Additionally, Congresswoman Bass said the Presidential Security Regiment must end the violence immediately and tend to its primary mission to protect and defense the nation. She also urged all parties to work towards free, fair, and credible elections on October 11th. Congresswoman Bass’ comments can be read here. On September 18th , the military junta in Burkina Faso freed interim President Michel Kafando and two of his ministers from detention, as security forces fired in the air to quell protests. Prime Minister Isaac Zida, who was also detained when the presidential guard stormed a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, remained under house arrest. The decision to free President Kafando appeared to signal possible flexibility by General Gilbert Diendere and the junta ahead of talks on Friday led by Senegalese President Macky Sall, Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). More information can be found here. On September 18th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the release of the Transitional President of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando, who was detained along with several other officials following a coup orchestrated last week. Secretary-General Ban also reiterated his demand for all those being held to be freed immediately. Secretary-General Ban’s feedback was recorded here. On September 18th , Reuters published a story on Burkina Faso's General Gilbert Diendere, the spy-master behind the recent coup. General Diendere was a soldier in his 20s when he played a central role in a 1983 coup that set a group of young officers, including former President Blaise Compaore and Thomas Sankara, on a path to reinvent the poor, landlocked former French colony. Over the past decade, however, General Diendere's extensive regional connections helped President Compaore transform himself from international pariah into regional peacemaker and a key ally in the West's battle against Islamist militants. More information can be found here. On September 20th, Senegalese President Macky Sall announced regional mediators seeking to peacefully roll back a military coup in Burkina Faso had successfully negotiated a draft deal to end the crisis, though they failed to secure the immediate restoration of civilian rule. The draft proposal envisions a scenario that could postpone elections in Burkina Faso to as late as November 22nd. Also under the deal, in exchange for returning power to the civilian transitional authority, General Gilbert Diendere and his presidential guard would receive amnesty for acts committed during the coup. Developments were reported here. On September 21st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned reports of violence against civilians in Burkina Faso and urged the country’s defense and security forces, especially the presidential guard, to exercise restraint and protect the human rights of all citizens. Secretary-General Ban’s comments came as U.N. Special Representative for West Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas engaged with ECOWAS, the AU, and other international partners to work toward a peaceful transition in Burkina Faso. The U.N.’s involvement was detailed here. On September 21st, General Gilbert Diendere issued a communique, apologized for last week’s coup, and confirmed his presidential guard unit would restore power to a civilian transitional government. General Diendere’s communique was issued after the military warned its forces would converge on Ouagadougou and forcibly disarm those who executed the coup. The announcement came as tensions remained high in the capital, with demonstrators arguing the ECOWAS plan was too lenient on the junta. Details can be viewed here. On September 22nd, noting a deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called upon the country’s defense and security forces to avoid an escalation of violence and to respect the physical security and human rights of all Burkinabe citizens. Further, Secretary-General Ban called for a quick resumption of the transition process in Burkina Faso so that presidential and legislative elections could be held in accordance with the country’s constitution. Secretary-General Ban’s views were shared here. On September 22nd, General Gilbert Diendere defied an ultimatum to step down, saying his forces would retaliate if attacked. Leaders of Burkina Faso’s military gave General Diendere a deadline to surrender or face assault, while also ordering anti-coup protestors to return home due to security concerns. At least ten people were killed and more than 100 injured since the coup in clashes between the presidential guard and protestors. Developments in Burkina Faso were outlined here. On September 22nd the head of Burkina Faso’s transitional parliament Moumina Cheriff Sy issued a decree dissolving the elite presidential guard that carried out a coup in the country last week. Since the coup, Sy declared himself Burkina Faso’s interim leader. More information can be found here. On September 22nd, West African leaders gathered at an emergency summit in Abuja, Nigeria called for the swift reinstatement of Burkina Faso’s interim President Michel Kafando. Along with issuing a joint demand, the leaders of a number of West African countries, including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said they would travel to Burkina Faso on Wednesday to try to ensure a peaceful resolution to the political crisis in the country. The involvement of West African leaders was detailed here. On September 23rd, following overnight negotiations between the military and forces loyal to General Gilbert Diendere, Burkina Faso’s interim President Michel Kafando, who was overthrown in a coup last week, reported he was back in power. An agreement was reportedly signed between government soldiers and coup leaders directed the presidential guard to leave the streets of the capital and return to barracks, while loyalists were to withdraw at least 30 miles outside of Ouagadougou. However, early in the day it remained unclear who was actually in power, as General Diendere appeared at the airport to officially welcome foreign leaders arriving to help negotiate an end to the crisis. The situation was described here. On September 23rd , following President Michel Kafando’s early morning announcement that he had returned to power in Burkina Faso, a ceremony was held in Ouagadougou to formally reinstate the leader in the presence of a number of West African leaders who helped mediate an end to the coup. Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere, who did not attend the ceremony, said the coup was a mistake and indicated he would take full responsibility for the waste of time, resources, and human lives. For more information, click here. On September 23rd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the reinstatement of President Michel Kafando and transitional institutions in Burkina Faso. Secretary-General Ban commended the efforts undertaken by ECOWAS leaders and paid tribute to the collaboration between the U.N., the AU, ECOWAS, and other international partners that resulted in the return to constitutional order in the country. He continued to urge restraint in Burkina Faso and reiterated the importance of continuing the transition process with the holding of presidential and legislative elections in accordance with the country’s constitution and transitional charter. Secretary-General Ban’s remarks were captured here. Libya On September 20th, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the military escalation in Benghazi and called for an immediate ceasefire, stressing the need to give the ongoing political dialogue a chance to bring the country's conflict to an end. UNSMIL’s input on recent developments in Libya was shared here. On September 22nd, U.N. Special Representative for Libya and head of UNSMIL Bernardino Leon held a press conference in Skhirat, Morocco to announce the finalization of a proposed peace deal for Libya, adding it is now up to the parties to the Libyan political dialogue to act. Special Representative Leon urged all parties to discuss and name the new unity government immediately after Eid al-Adha and noted if all went according to plan, the Libyan political dialogue could hold its closing session next week during the U.N. General Assembly. The finalization of the agreement was announced here. On September 22nd, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised U.N. Special Representative for Libya and head of UNSMIL Bernardino Leon for his presentation of the final text of the proposed Libya political framework to establish a new Government of National Accord in Libya. He urged all parties to come together quickly after Eid al-Adha to approve the final text and to agree on the names of the leaders of the new government as soon as possible. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were recorded here. On September 22nd, U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner welcomed the U.N.’s completion of the final text of the proposed Libyan political agreement. He noted the agreement came after months of intensive negotiations that were brokered by U.N. Special Representative for Libya and head of UNSMIL Bernardino Leon. Deputy Spokesperson Toner said the U.S. Government believes the final document represents very intense efforts of all Libyan parties to reach an inclusive, durable, and representative political solution and called on the Libyan parties to approve the agreement. His comments were transcribed here. South Sudan On September 22nd, the U.S. Department of State announced more than $80 million in additional humanitarian assistance for conflict-affected people in South Sudan and for South Sudanese refugees in the region, bringing total U.S. assistance since the start of the conflict in December 2013 to more than $1.3 billion. The announcement follows the signing of the peace agreement between the Government of South Sudan and the opposition in late August. The additional funding will allow U.S. partners to address urgent needs and prevent the spread of diseases by funding emergency health services, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education, as well as supporting nutritional needs and counseling for survivors of gender-based violence. The new funding was announced here. On September 23rd , Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and head of the South Sudanese delegation to a recent Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Security workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, General Ruben Malek said Uganda will start withdrawing its troops from South Sudan next week. Ugandan troops first deployed to South Sudan in response to the political conflict that began in December 2013. Under the peace agreement signed last month, all foreign forces within the country are supposed to leave within 45 days. Details can be viewed here. Nigeria On September 18th , the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced the number of attacks by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and neighboring countries has risen, and half a million children have had to flee to safety in the past five months, bringing the total number of displaced children in the region to 1.4 million. UNICEF, together with governments and partners in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, is increasing its operations to assist thousands of children and their families in the region with access to safe water, education, counselling and psychosocial support, as well as vaccinations and treatment for severe acute malnutrition. More information can be found here. On September 18th , upon the conclusion of a five-day visit to Niger, U.N. Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel Toby Lanzer commended the immense generosity of the government and communities in Niger that are hosting those fleeing violence in neighboring Nigeria. While in Niger, Coordinator Lanzer visited the Diffa region, which has been prone to Boko Haram violence, before traveling on to Agadez, a major transit hub for migrants in West Africa. More on Coordinator Lanzer’s visit to Niger was posted here. On September 18th , Reuters highlighted U.S. and foreign intervention in the fight against Boko Haram, particularly in Niger. Since the Diffa Summit, held earlier this month in Niger, regional elements have solidified strategies for collaborating with foreign partners. The Diffa Summit has been widely deemed a success, not just for its mutually suspicious tribes, but for also a small team of fewer than 20 U.S. Special Operations Forces conducting an experiment that is part of U.S. President Barack Obama's new counterterrorism strategy. An article on the new strategies for combating Boko Haram can be read here. On September 20th, three blasts struck a mosque and other nearby buildings in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Initial reports indicated at least eight people were killed and 50 others wounded. The death toll ultimately rose to at least 80 dead and 150 wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosions, but they bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The bombings were detailed here. On September 20th, at least five people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on Mora, Cameroon, thought to be carried out by Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram. The dead included a police officer, two civilians, and the two, female suicide bombers who detonated themselves near the entrance to the town. The bombing was reported here. On September 21st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the multiple bomb attacks at a mosque and nearby areas by suspected Boko Haram militants in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Additionally, Secretary-General Ban expressed concern for the continuation of brutal attacks against civilians, including children, as well as growing displacement of the population. His comments were captured here. On September 21st, an audio message purportedly from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau called the Nigerian army liars for saying troops have regained territory from the militant Islamist group. Nigeria's military said on Friday it had recaptured villages and rescued 90 people in a process that involved the continuous elimination of Boko Haram from Nigerian territory. Details were posted here. On September 22nd, Cameroon’s Ministry of Defense said it had killed 11 Boko Haram militants in clashes near the town of Amchide. There were reportedly two rounds of fighting and no losses on the Cameroonian military side. Cameroon is also contributing troops to an 8,700-strong regional force to fight Boko Haram, along with Nigeria, Chad, Benin, and Niger. A full report can be seen here. On September 23rd, Nigeria’s military announced that troops had rescued 241 women and children during operations against Boko Haram militants in Borno state, near the border with Cameroon. The abduction victims were freed as solders raided Boko Haram camps near Banki, an area the group has used to launch cross-border attacks. Soldiers also reported detaining 43 Boko Haram fighters, including one of the group’s regional leaders. For details, click here. On September 23rd, Nigeria implemented a ban on all cars, public transportation, horses, donkeys, and camels in Borno state to prevent attacks by Boko Haram during Eid al-Adha. The Nigerian military had previously implemented a similar ban following a wave of attacks by Boko Haram using such animals. The ban is scheduled to be lifted on Friday. Details were shared here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On September 17th, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Board of Directors approved new compacts with Liberia and Morocco and a new threshold program with Sierra Leone at its quarterly meeting. The $257 million compact with Liberia and $44.4 million threshold program with Sierra Leone will complement the U.S. Government’s efforts to help those countries recover from the Ebola outbreak. The press release was posted here. On September 17th, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden joined a panel discussion at the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation’s Conference focused on the state of Africa’s health care system, as well as the international response to the Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa. A recording of his presentation can be watched here. On September 17th , ZMapp, Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s experimental drug that was given to the first American treated in the U.S. for Ebola, was granted fast track approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Mapp Biopharmaceutical said the move is an important milestone that will bring the company closer to eventually gaining FDA approval. A press release was issued here. On September 21st, the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) announced a new partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to help advance the company’s Ebola treatment toward tests in people. Under the agreement, BARDA will provide initial funding of about $17 million for the development and manufacturing of the drug, which is thought to spark an effective immune response to Ebola. Another $21 million could be used to fund a Phase 1 clinical study, scheduled to launch in January. The partnership was launched here. On September 23rd, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending September 20th, there were two confirmed cases of Ebola reported, both in Guinea. The WHO noted that Ebola case incidence has remained below ten cases per week since the end of July and over the same period, transmission of the virus has been geographically confined to several small areas in western Guinea and Sierra Leone. Additional data was analyzed here. On September 23rd, the WHO and its humanitarian partners indicated that Phase Three of their Ebola response will continue into 2016. This phase of the response will continue to focus on stopping transmission of Ebola, indicating more cases of the virus are expected in West Africa. While WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan has previously said the Ebola epidemic could be over the by the end of 2015, she continued to caution against a false sense of security, noting setbacks are possible. The continuation of the Ebola response was discussed here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On September 17th, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) authored an op-ed for Roll Call criticizing the lack of effort by the international community to address the challenges faced by African migrants fleeing terrorism, chaos from near failed states, and forced conscription. While Congresswoman Bass claimed the emphasis has largely been on accommodating Syrian refugees, she argued the same moral outcry and international responsibility must also be extended to African refugees. The op-ed was published here. On September 20th, while visiting Berlin, Germany, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the U.S. will take in up to 100,000 refugees a year in 2017, roughly a 40 percent increase in refugees admitted to the U.S. The U.S. cap on refugees will be lifted from 70,000 to 80,000 in 2016 and to 100,000 the following year. While acknowledging that a large number of incoming refugees will be from Syria, Secretary Kerry said many others will come from war zones in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The policy change was described here. On September 21st, eastern European leaders met to stake out their positions ahead of a summit planned to begin in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday on the refugee crisis in the region. The gathering revealed that counties in the European Union (EU) remain divided over proposals that would require EU countries to accept a quota of refugees. EU leaders also discussed the arrival of additional Western refugees in Greece and their movement westward, and a growing number of crimes in Europe linked to refugees. The discussions were summarized here. On September 22nd, the EU voted to approve a controversial plan to spread asylum seekers across the Europe. The strategy will distribute 120,000 migrants across the continent, although it was rejected by a number of Central European countries, including Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. The vote was atypical for the EU, which generally operates by consensus. The vote was detailed here. United States – Africa Relations State Department On September 17th, the State Department welcomed Mozambique’s announcement that it has completed clearance of all known fields of landmines in the country. The State Department noted that since 1993, the U.S. has been proud to partner with the people of Mozambique, investing more than $55 million toward improving the safety and security of local communities through the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction program, which has helped to safely clear landmines and unexploded ordnance, prevent injuries through community outreach and education and provide medical and social services to survivors of accidents involving legacies of past conflicts. A statement in response to the announcement was released here. On September 22nd, Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in Washington, DC. The meeting was included on the State Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here. On September 22nd, the State Department welcomed Angola as the 192nd State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and expressed support for Angola’s efforts to strengthen the global prohibition against chemical weapons. The State Department offered technical experts to assist Angola with its national implementation of the treaty and urged the remaining countries not party to the CWC to join the Convention without further delay. Additional feedback was shared here. On September 22nd, the State Department expressed concern for the September 18th convictions of four young activists and members of the LUCHA group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Authorities charged Tresor Akili, Sylvain Kambere, Gentil Mulume, and Vincent Kasereka with inciting public disobedience for their roles in organizing an April protest against the detention of fellow activities and against President Joseph Kabila’s government. The State Department said such arrests, detentions, and convictions of political activists have a chilling effect on freedom of organization, assembly, and expression and called on the DRC Government to uphold these rights as the country prepares for elections. A press release was issued here. On September 22nd -24th, the U.S. Department of State and the Government of Mozambique, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) hosted a Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Workshop for Lusophone Africa in Maputo. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Todd Haskell, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Douglas Griffiths, and U.S. Deputy Coordinator for Cyber Issues Thomas Dukes provided remarks, along with Mozambican Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications Pedro Augusto Ingles, and other officials from the Government of Mozambique. The workshop addressed a broad range of issues, including combatting cybercrime, mobile phone security, Internet freedom, access, and affordability, and the development of national computer emergency readiness teams (CERTs). The workshop was announced here. On September 23rd, Secretary of State John Kerry extended best wishes to Muslims around the world for a blessed Eid al-Adha. Secretary Kerry said the Eid is a time not only for renewed spirituality, prayer, and reflection, but also for charity and helping those less fortunate, including the adults and children forced to flee violence in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. His comments on the holiday can be read here. On September 24th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the people of Guinea-Bissau on the celebration of their 42nd anniversary of independence. Secretary Kerry said the U.S. supports Guinea-Bissau’s efforts to establish a more fully just, democratic, and prosperous society in which human rights are respected and the rule of law is observed. He added the U.S. will continue to work with Guinea-Bissau to foster an environment of stability and opportunity within which democratic institutions are strengthened and economic growth can take hold and flourish. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were transcribed here. On September 24th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with U.N. Acting Special Representative for the Central African Republic (CAR) and head of the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) Parfait Onanga-Anyanga at the State Department. The meeting was listed here. On September 24th, Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell convened experts, development practitioners, and policymakers for the “Women and Foreign Policy: Ending Early and Forced Marriage” event at the State Department. The program included a panel discussion on how ending early and forced marriage can promote U.S. foreign policy and what development, diplomacy, and research is needed to further global efforts on the issue. The event also featured remarks from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Susan Markam and the screening of scenes from the film Difret, which tells the story of a girl and a woman lawyer who take on the Ethiopian tradition of telefa, or marriage by abduction. The event was outlined here. On September 24th, the State Department issued a five-year progress report on the U.S. commitment to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Among its major accomplishments, the State Department highlighted a January 2013 event that announced up to $74 million in new public and private commitments from partners to bring four million clean stoves to East Africa by 2020 and launch clean cookstove manufacturing facilities in Kenya and Lesotho. Additional achievements were noted here. Department of Defense On September 17th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) reported on a recent gathering of natural resources experts from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and the U.S. gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the Horn of Africa Water Security Workshop. Sponsored by AFRICOM and hosted by Addis Ababa University School of Earth Sciences, participants discussed addressed shared interests in water resource management. The workshop participants engaged in discussions on issues regarding climate change, water, and sustainability strategies. More information was shared here. On September 17th, AFRICOM Senior Diplomat Philip Carter III received the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Medal at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. Before becoming AFRICOM’s senior diplomat and civilian advisor to the commander in November 2013, Carter served as U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire. More information can be found here. On September 21st, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) highlighted a recent training on addressing sexual violence held at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Training Facility in Kampala, Uganda. During three days of training, attendees learned about tools available to assist military justice officials in preventing and prosecuting sexual violence, strategies for prosecuting cases of conflict-related sexual violence, and military justice system procedures. For details, click here. On September 23rd, CJTF-HOA highlighted a recent Medical Civic Action Program outreach event recently held at the Ali Sabieh Medical Clinic in Djibouti. As part of the event, CJTF-HOA service members partnered with Djiboutian medical personnel to deliver specialty health care to more than 400 Djiboutians. Working with Djibouti’s Ministry of Health CJTF-HOA was able to provide Djiboutians access to an obstetrician-gynecologist, pediatrician, dentist, and ophthalmologist. The event was highlighted here. On September 24th, U.S. Air Forces Africa highlighted the recent African Partnership Flight Surgeon General Symposium held at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The four-day conference brought together medical officials from partner countries, including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda, to assess capabilities, needs, and gaps with regards to supporting AU and U.N. peacekeeping efforts. Details can be viewed here. Department of Commerce On September 21st, the U.S. Department of Commerce completed the largest-ever trade mission to sub-Saharan Africa, helping to facilitate introductions for 100 U.S. companies from 25 states to potential buyers in eight African countries. Carried out under the Department of Commerce’s Trade Winds business development program, the trade mission allowed participating U.S. companies to hold 400 business-to-business meetings and more than 900 business-to-government meetings in Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania. The trade mission was discussed here. U.S. Trade and Development Agency On September 23rd, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) signed an agreement with Nador West Med SA to fund a feasibility study that will support the implementation of a hydrocarbon storage, blending, and distribution terminal at the Port of Nadar West Med, Morocco. By providing technical and transaction advisory services, USTDA’s feasibility study will assist with Nadar West Med’s planned private sector concession of the hydrocarbon terminal. The terminal will support Morocco’s energy security goals and is expected to help facilitate trade with neighboring countries and the region. Details were released here. On September 23rd, USTDA awarded a grant to Senegal Minergy Port (SMP), a Senegalese company created to design, finance, and build and operate a new multi-commodity bulk port in Bargny-Sendou. The USTDA grant will finance a feasibility study to provide SMP with a proposed design, terminal layout, and operational plan for the work, and also assess the port’s environmental and social impact, as well as its financial feasibility. The project, which the White House announced during President Barack Obama’s recent trip to sub-Saharan Africa, supports the Administration’s Doing Business in Africa initiative. More information was provided here. Overseas Private Investment Corporation On September 23rd , the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) recognized Arthur Polk, CEO of Belstar Capital Ltd., as a member of the African diaspora helping to promote economic growth in Ghana. Earlier this year, OPIC recognized Belstar with an Impact Award for its work on Ghana’s National Medical Equipment Modernization Project. Polk has spent much of the past two decades in Africa working on projects related to improving Ghana’s health care system and water supply. Polk’s contributions were highlighted here. Millennium Challenge Corporation On September 17th , the MCC’s Board of Directors discussed a proposed $472.8 million compact with Tanzania and expressed support for its strong design and clear goal of strengthening the power sector. The proposed compact aims to increase access to reliable electricity in Tanzania, strengthen utilities and utility management, help Tanzania implement its ambitious plan to reform the energy sector, and catalyze private sector investment. Projects funded under the compact will meet the agency's economic analysis standards. A press release was posted here. On September 21st, the MCC used its blog to highlight its financing of the construction of the Ndioum Bridge as part of its five-year, $540 million compact with Senegal. The construction of the bridge has made it easier for farmers on the Ile de Morphile Island to get their goods to market, for students to reach post-primary schools, and for the sick to access more advanced health centers on the mainland. A blog post on the project can be read here. Congress On September 22nd, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Citizens Untied uncovered roughly a dozen more previously undisclosed State Department emails related to the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Most of these documents have been withheld from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which has been investigating the attacks. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to testify before the Benghazi Committee on October 22nd. More information can be found here. North Africa On September 17th , an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team completed a visit to Cairo, Egypt to review recent economic developments since the Article IV Consultation mission in November 2014 and discuss with the authorities their planned economic policies for the remainder of the fiscal year. The IMF team reported there have been positive economic developments since the mission’s last visit, including the start of the implementation of some of the pledges made at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March. The IMF visit was summarized here. On September 18th, six Mexican tourists who survived an accidental raid by Egyptian security forces who mistook the tourists for Islamist militants returned to Mexico. The victims were transported to Mexico on a presidential plane and were immediately transferred to a hospital, where they were visited by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Their return came as the Mexican Government updated its travel advisory to Egypt, warning Mexican citizens to consider the threat of terrorist attacks or the actions of armed forces. An update was provided here. On September 22nd, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a new report titled, “Look for Another Homeland: Forced Evictions in Egypt’s Rafah.” The report finds that Egyptian authorities demolished at least 3,255 residential, commercial, administrative, and community buildings in the Sinai Peninsula between July 2013 and August 2015, forcibly evicting thousands of people. The Egyptian Government said the structures were destroyed as part of an effort to install a buffer zone and prevent smuggling. The full report can be downloaded here. On September 23rd, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi pardoned 100 prisoners, including Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. The journalists were arrested in December 2013 and sentenced to seven years in prison after being accused of running a terrorist cell, similar to the Muslim Brotherhood. Pardons are typically handed down in advance of the Eid and are thought to be intended to address criticism from the West ahead of President Sisi’s address to the U.N. General Assembly next week. For details, click here. On September 23rd, the Egyptian Government agreed to buy two assault ships from France. The ships, which were originally intended for Russia, can each carry 16 helicopter gunships, 700 troops, and up to 50 armored vehicles. The deal is estimated to cost Egypt roughly $1 billion and to improve Egypt’s defensive posture against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in the region. The ships will be delivered in March. The full story is available here. East Africa On September 10th, the African Development Bank (AfDB) highlighted its financing of the largest wind farm in Africa, to be located in Kenya at Lake Turkana. The Lake Turkana wind power project involves the development and construction of a 300 megawatt (MW) wind farm. The wind farm will be comprised of 365 turbines of a capacity of 850 kilowatts (KW) each. A project snapshot was published here. On September 18 th , Kenyan police raided a ship docked in the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa on suspicion that it carried drugs and firearms. Kenyan soldiers and security personnel cordoned off the entire port for hours before seizing the ship, paralyzing East Africa's biggest port, which serves as the main gateway for imports and exports in the region. Details can be viewed here. On September 18th , Islamist militant group Al Shabaab overran two Somali army bases and killed at least seven soldiers, both the group and the military said, a day after the group retook a southern town. The raids on the bases in the town of Yaqbariweyne in the Lower Shabelle region and the retaking of Janale town after African forces quit are the latest gains in an offensive by the group that has helped them seize several towns this month. The full story is available here. On September 20th, Ethiopia opened sub-Saharan Africa’s first modern tramway system. The $475 million project was financed primarily by the Chinese Export-Important Bank and constructed by the China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC). The tramway has the capacity to carry 60,000 passengers a day across Addis Ababa. An article on the project was published here. On September 21st, an Al Shabaab suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gate of Somalia’s presidential palace in Mogadishu, killing at least four people. The bomber was thought to be targeting foreign officials who were leaving the presidential palace, including two who were victims in the attack. The attack occurred as national and regional leaders were holding meetings focused on preparations for Somalia’s presidential elections scheduled for next year. For details, click here. On September 21st , Uganda's veteran President Yoweri Museveni received formal approval from his party to stand in elections next year, setting him up for a possibly tough confrontation with ally-turned-adversary, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. Additional information on the presidential contest in Uganda can be accessed here. On September 21st, Kenya held prayer vigil to mark the second anniversary of the Al Shabaab attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. A total of 67 people were killed when four gunmen stormed the mall, allegedly in retaliation for Kenya’s sending of troops to fight extremists in Somalia. The anniversary was noted here. On September 21st Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged teachers who have been on strike for about three weeks to return to work, saying their demand for a pay rise of up to 60 percent could not be met. President Kenyatta told the nation the state wage bill already accounted for more than 50 percent of budget spending and hiking teachers' pay by that amount would require raising taxes, borrowing more, or cutting development spending. President Kenyatta’s remarks were captured here. On September 22nd, the Government of Kenya launched a new website aimed at marketing opportunities in the country for investors and tourists. East Africa, Trade, and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said the official online platform was designed to give Kenyans and visitors the full view of the country and to capitalize on U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit, as well as an upcoming visit from Pope Francis. The website can be accessed here. On September 23rd, Kenyan police reported finding weapons on a Norwegian flagged ship last week docked at the port of Mombasa. Firearms and drugs were found inside U.N. vehicles that were being transferred to the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) from Mumbai, India. According to the Norwegian company that owned the ship, the weapons belong to the U.N. vehicles, but were not declared at the time the cargo was loaded. An article on the situation can be read here. On September 24th, Ugandan police warned of a possible attack on mosques in Kampala by Al Shabaab militants and warned the public to be vigilant. According to police, intelligence was acquired indicating that Somali militants were planning attacks in the capital during the Eid al-Adha holiday. In response, security has been heightened throughout the city. The threat was reported here. On September 24th, The Democratic Alliance (TDA), a coalition of the political opposition in Uganda, said opposition parties had failed to rally behind a single candidate for next year’s presidential election. The news is expected to weaken the opposition’s position against incumbent President Yoweri Museveni. Opposition groups are now likely to back two high profile candidates, including three-time presidential challenger Kizza Besigye and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. The situation was described here. West Africa On September 17th, the World Bank touted a project supporting Gabon’s access to basic services in rural areas and capacity. The objective of the $60 million project, expected to last 35 years, is to expand access to water and energy services in targeted rural areas and to establish mechanisms to improve sustainability of service provision. More information can be found here. On September 17th, the AfDB unveiled its landmark initiative to solve Africa's huge energy deficit by 2025 at a High Level Stakeholder Consultative Meeting attended by business and political leaders at its headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The New Deal for Energy in Africa will significantly expand AfDB support towards energy on the continent, while also pushing development partners to scale up their efforts to drive policy and regulatory reforms in the energy sector in order to improve incentives for accelerated investments. The new initiative was launched here. On September 18th, fighting erupted between rival armed groups near Mali's desert border with Algeria, reportedly taking at least 15 lives in a fresh violation of a U.N.-backed peace deal. Militias in the border region signed a longawaited peace accord in June after months of negotiations, but mediators are continue to struggle to make them abide by its terms. More information was provided here. On September 18th , Benin Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou joined a stakeholders meeting in Cote d’Ivoire, on lighting Africa packaged by the AfDB. Prime Minister Zinsou said that Benin has opted for solar energy which is cheaper and easy to deploy across the country to achieve the government’s energy for all program. Details can be seen here. On September 20th, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced it had signed a $1.2 billion, multi-year deal with a consortium of local and foreign lenders to develop 36 oil wells that would also boost domestic power generation. Oil accounts for more than 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchanges earnings. Additionally, Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, exporting roughly two million barrels per day. The deal was noted here. On September 21st, the U.N. Security Council recognized the recent appointment of Carlos Correia as Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau as an important step towards ending the country’s political crisis. The Security Council commended security forces in Guinea-Bissau for not interfering in the political situation in the country and the peaceful environment in the country, while also stressing the importance of forming a new government as soon as possible. The Security Council’s position was articulated here. On September 21st, the IMF’s Executive Board concluded the 2015 Article IV consultation with The Gambia. The Executive Board observed The Gambia has experience large balance of payments and fiscal imbalances, caused by persistent policy slippages in recent years and financial difficulties in public enterprises. Tourism in the country has also been impacted by the Ebola outbreak and delayed rains. As a result, the Executive Board called for strong corrective measures to address growing macroeconomic challenges and bring the authorities’ economic program back on track to achieve the objectives of the program. Further economic data was analyzed here. On September 21st, the World Bank appointed Rachid Benmessaoud of Morocco as the new Country Director for Nigeria and Coordinator for the West Africa Regional Integration Program. Benmessaoud has held various World Bank positions since 1990 and has worked on energy, infrastructure, and municipal finance projects in North Africa, Central Europe, and South Asia. His appointment was noted here. On September 22nd, U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura concluded an official visit to Guinea where her office has been supporting an investigation of a 2009 incident where 156 people were killed and 109 were raped and subjected to other forms of sexual crimes during an opposition demonstration at the national stadium in Conakry. During her visit, Special Representative Bangura met with government officials, U.N. agencies, and civil society groups regarding the investigation. Her trip to Guinea was outlined here. On September 22nd, Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki appeared before the national Code of Conduct Tribunal, where he pleaded not guilty to 13 charges of falsely declaring assets. Last week, the tribunal charged Saraki and issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to appear before the court. The charges are related to land and cash assets. The full story is available here. On September 23rd, a public viewing was held in Accra, Ghana, of video recordings showing alleged acts of bribery involving judges and other judicial officials. Filmed by an investigative journalist, the videos, which were released to authorities earlier this month, show judges accepting bribes through intermediaries. So far, 22 judges have been suspended, while an additional 12 judges are under investigation. Developments were reported here. On September 23rd, Rear Admiral Jose Zamora Induta, the former head of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces, was transferred from house arrest to military prison over his suspected involvement in a plot to assassinate President Jose Mario Vaz. Rear Admiral Induta has not spoken publically about the accusations against him. The foiled assassination plot was announced by former Interior Minister Marcelino Cabral last month. For details, click here. Sub-Saharan Africa On September 17th , the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $40 million credit for a social safety net project in Madagascar. The three-year project will focus on five regions selected jointly by the Malagasy Government, the National Nutrition Office, and the Intervention Fund for Development (FID), based on data related to the poverty level, malnutrition rates, school attendance rates, food security, productive potential, and complementary programs and interventions. The financing was announced here. On September 18th , the World Bank and the Embassy of Switzerland signed a $9 million trust fund agreement to support South Africa’s efforts to improve the performance of its large cities by making them more inclusive, productive, and sustainable. Executed by the World Bank, the trust fund with help provide technical assistance, and evidence based analysis, and strengthen the capacity of the country’s eight metropolitan municipalities through the Cities Support Program (CSP), a South African government urban initiative, coordinated by the National Treasury. A press release was issued here. On September 18th , a military court in the DRC reduced the sentence of one police officer convicted of the 2010 murder of a top human rights activist and his driver, and acquitted another. Three other police officers indicted for murder were also acquitted of what rights groups have called a state crime orchestrated by allies of President Joseph Kabila. More information can be found here. On September 21st, the World Bank highlighted its partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe to decontaminate drinking water and improve water treatment and delivery infrastructure to stop the spread of cholera. In 2008 and 2009, poor water quality led to 100,000 people becoming infected with cholera and 4,300 deaths. The border town of Beitbridge, previously a cholera hot spot, has seen no new cases of cholera since the start of the World Bank’s intervention. The partnership was touted here. On September 21st, a residential property in Cape Town, South Africa owned by the Zimbabwean Government was auctioned for $281,500. The sale was largely viewed as a symbolic victory against the land grab policies of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. An article on the land sale was published here. On September 22nd, the World Bank highlighted its Mining Governance and Growth Support Project underway in Malawi and the recent completion of a survey providing insight into the country’s mineral potential. The World Bank survey identified new areas of potential mineral deposits, which the country should be able to use to grow its mining industry, attract investors, and diversify its economy. The survey findings were discussed here. On September 22nd, South African President Jacob Zuma announced Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi will replace Collins Chabane, who was killed in a car accident in March, as Public Service and Administration Minister. Joseph Zwane, a Member of Parliament (MP) for the African National Congress (ANC) was appointed to serve as the new Mineral Resources Minister. The appointments were announced here. On September 22nd, South African President Jacob Zuma launched an investigation into police chief Riah Phiyega’s role in the 2012 Marikana massacre, during which 34 miners were killed by officers during a strike over pay. A previous inquiry into the killings blamed the mining company, police, and unions for the miners’ deaths. Details can be accessed here. On September 22nd, South African state prosecutors said an appeal hearing related to Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ conviction of culpable homicide has been scheduled for November 3rd. Prosecutors intend to argue that Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp claiming he thought she was an intruder, should have instead been convicted of murder. A murder conviction would result in a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Developments in the case were reported here. On September 22nd, former Mozambican President Joaquin Chissano said armed rangers in South Africa’s Kruger Park have killed nearly 500 mostly young Mozambicans for poaching activities over the past five years. Kruger Park officials could not confirm the exact number of poachers killed, but said a majority of the poachers arrested in the park hail from Mozambique. Details can be viewed here. On September 23rd , an IMF team completed a visit to Antananarivo, Madagascar, where it reached a staff-level agreement with the Malagasy authorities on a reform program that could be supported by the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), coupled with a six-month Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The staff-level agreements are expected to be considered by the IMF’s Executive Board in November. Approval of the RCF arrangement would allow Madagascar to access up to $47.4 million. For more information, click here. On September 23rd, an IMF mission concluded a visit to Moroni, Comoros to review developments during the first half of 2015 and continue discussions on a possible program that could be supported under the IMF’s RCF, as well as an SMP. The IMF staff observed the economic situation in Comoros continues to be difficult, highlighting the crisis in the electricity sector, the slow rollout of a public investment, and delayed payments of wages and salaries. The IMF also outlined a plan for working with the authorities in Comoros to make progress on eliminating arrears and collecting revenue. The mission’s observations were summarized here. On September 23rd, the Republic of Congo’s (ROC) President Denis Sassou Nguesso announced a referendum on changes to the constitution that could allow him to run for a third term in office in next year’s elections. President Nguesso, who has ruled for 31 years, is banned under the current constitution from running again. A commission, which has yet to be appointed, must propose a new draft constitution before a date is selected for the referendum. Details were posted here. On September 23rd, two platoons of South African troops deployed to the DRC in support of MONUSCO were sent home after leaving the base without permission, breaking curfew, and engaging with local sex workers. According to Army spokesman Jaco Theunissen, the first platoon has already been charged. An article on the situation can be read here. On September 23rd, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported a $28 million loss for the fiscal year that ended in March, blaming losses on South Africa’s poor economic performance and television license defaulters. Due to the economic downturn in South Africa, spending on advertising also fell during the last fiscal year. Additional data was analyzed here. On September 23rd, Taste Holdings, Starbucks’ local partner in South Africa, said it sees the potential for more than 200 coffee shops to be built throughout the country in the next five years. The first store, which will be located in Gauteng province, will be launched in 2016. About a dozen Starbucks stores are planned to be operational within the next year. Details can be seen here. On September 24th, DRC Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe announced Ireland’s High Court has ordered the release of a Congolese plane that was recently purchased by the DRC Government for the launch of Congo Airways from the Dublin Airport. The plane was grounded last month after private investors said the Congo owes them $11.5 million to repay assets seized by the government from diamond mines they controlled in the 1990s. The full story is available here. General Africa News On September 28th, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings will host a briefing titled, “Electrify Africa: The Continent’s Energy Poverty and Priorities for the U.S.” Speakers will include former USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Earl Gast, Ben Leo of the Center for Global Development, Bobby Pittman of Kupanda Capital, and Amadou Sy of Brookings. The discussion will be moderated by Nilmini Rubin of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee staff. Event details were posted here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.