On October 29th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a new fact sheet on the Ebola outbreak. The fact sheet highlighted the U.S. delegation led by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Samantha Power that recently visited West Africa, as well as the arrival of a U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) team in Monrovia, Liberia, to support the U.S. Government response on the ground. The latest fact sheet can be accessed here. On October 30th, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced a $100 million increase in the World Bank’s funding to support foreign health workers combating the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The World Bank’s total pledge of $500 million will hasten the deployment of the medical, training, and support personnel needed in all three countries over the coming months. Excerpts from President Kim’s speech can be found here. On October 30th, North Korea’s state-run news media reported that any citizens returning from overseas trips will be quarantined for 20 days. Those returning from Ebola-affected countries will be quarantined separately from travelers arriving from other locations. In addition, officials said that all foreigners permitted to enter the country would be quarantined under medical observation for 21 days. More information can be viewed here. On October 30th, the Wall Street Journal reported on the plans of a consortium of European universities and medical groups to give experimental drugs to West African Ebola patients without assigning some to a placebo group. The entities involved in the trial argued the transmission of the virus has become so vast that it would be unethical to hold back the treatment from any patient. Meanwhile, U.S. officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) objected to the use of experimental drugs without a control group to determine the effectiveness and safety of new therapies. The full story is available here. On October 30th, Maine Governor Paul LePage indicated he was trying to negotiate with nurse Kaci Hickox regarding the quarantine the state was seeking to impose on Hickox following her return from West Africa, where she was treating Ebola patients. Hickox was previously quarantined in a tent in a Newark hospital after registering a fever, but later tested negative for Ebola and was not showing any symptoms. While Hickox sought to defy the quarantine by going on a bike ride with her boyfriend, Governor LePage said he was prepared to exercise the full extent of his authority to protect public health. Developments were reported here. On October 30th, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said health officials are actively monitoring 117 people who have recently returned from Ebola-afflicted countries out of an abundance of caution. These individuals are in regular communication with health officials, as opposed to being relied upon to self-monitor and report potential symptoms of Ebola. Among those being monitored are health workers at Bellevue Hospital Center caring for Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer. More information can be found here. On October 30th, New York officials announced new incentives for health workers to deploy to West Africa in support of Ebola response efforts in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The announcement was part of an effort to counter critics of the state’s mandatory quarantine policy, which some have said would create a disincentive for U.S. health workers to join the Ebola fight. Under the new protections, workers will not suffer any pay cuts or demotions for serving in Africa and will be entitled to income if quarantined upon their return. The incentives were detailed here. On October 30th, National Journal published a guide to policies implemented in the U.S. at the state-level to quarantine individuals who might have been exposed to Ebola. New York, New Jersey, Maine, Georgia, California, and Connecticut have implemented quarantine protocols that are more stringent than the guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Louisiana, Illinois, Florida, and Washington, DC, have implement policies that are more aligned with the CDC guidance. The policies were outlined here. On October 30th, National Nurses United (NNU) announced plans to coordinate a day of action in mid- November to protest what was described as a lack of federally enforced safety precautions against Ebola. As part of the day of action, the union is planning to hold events in at least 13 states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Washington, DC, on November 12th. The day of action was announced here. On October 31st, David Nabarro, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ebola, stressed the need for the global response to Ebola to be sustained until every case is contained and treated. His appeal coincided with the U.N. World Health Organization’s (WHO) release of updated guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers treating Ebola patients. Excerpts from Special Envoy Nabarro’s remarks can be read here. On October 31st, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) said it will permit civilian workers returning from the Ebola zone to voluntarily join military personnel under controlled monitoring regimens or to stay home and monitor themselves. DOD’s policy for civilian workers was outlined in an order issued by Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright. Details can be viewed here. On October 31st, Maine Judge Charles LaVerdiere ruled that nurse Kaci Hickox does not have to abide by a mandatory quarantine policy, but must continue daily monitoring of her health for symptoms of Ebola. In issuing the ruling, Judge LaVerdiere thanked Hickox for her service in West Africa and decried falsehoods about how Ebola is spread. Maine Governor Paul LePage disagreed with the ruling, but indicated his Administration had no plans to appeal. Hickox said she had no plans to put herself in very public settings until her monitoring period expires. The full story is available here. On November 1st, Anthony Banbury, head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), visited Gueckedou, Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak is believed to have started. Special Representative Banbury lauded the city’s adherence to the Ebola response plan, which has led to a significant drop in transmissions and cases in Gueckedou. He also commended the Guinean Government’s creation and adoption of a national plan to defeat Ebola. More on Special Representative Banbury’s visit in Guinea can be found here. On November 1st, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with U.S. service members in Liberia and Senegal taking part in Operation United Assistance. President Obama offered his gratitude to the service members providing logistics support, engineering expertise, construction services, and other elements needed to bring the epidemic under control. The President underscored that the civilian-led, whole of government strategy to tackle Ebola on the frontlines is the most effective way to prevent further spread of the disease and to protect the American people from additional cases at home. He also noted the initial signs of progress in Liberia are a testament to the skill and determination of U.S. service members and their civilian counterparts. The calls were summarized here. On November 1st, New York health officials upgraded the condition of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer from serious but stable, to stable. Dr. Spencer has been undergoing treatment at Bellevue Hospital Center since October 23rd. He has been receiving antiviral and blood-plasma therapies similar to the treatments used to cure other Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital and Nebraska Medical Center. An update on Dr. Spencer’s condition was provided here. On November 1st, National Geographic suggested the Ebola crisis in West Africa is negatively affecting tourism across the entire continent. While many travel providers have marketed the distance of popular safari destinations from the Ebola zone, experts are expecting a drop in tourism figures overall. For example, sub-Saharan Africa recorded a record 33.8 million tourists in 2012, and tourism in Africa grew by six percent in 2013. While a similar growth rate was expected this year, that increase is now no longer expected due to the Ebola outbreak. The full story is available here. On November 2nd, Dr. Godfrey George, medical superintendent of Kambia government hospital in northern Sierra Leone, became the fifth local doctor in the country to die after contracting Ebola. Dr. George’s death was announced by Sierra Leone’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brima Kargbo. Government officials in Sierra Leone expressed concern that Dr. George’s death may inhibit efforts to keep local health workers engaged in the Ebola fight. Dr. George’s death was reported here. On November 2nd, UNMEER leader Anthony Banbury visited Kenema, a former Ebola hotspot in Sierra Leone. Special Representative Banbury praised the successful implementation of the strategy to defeat Ebola, which has led to a significant drop in the Ebola caseload in Kenema. He also stressed the need to expand this strategy to current Ebola hotspots in Sierra Leone. More on Special Representative Banbury’s trip can be found here. On November 2nd, the Wall Street Journal reported on how Ebola cases entering the U.S. has become a teachable moment for electronic medical records (EMRs). In the wake of the controversy surrounding how Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan was first turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian hospital, EMR vendors have been working quickly to add new screening processes and alerts to their systems. The tweaks are intended to prevent additional caregiver communication issues in future Ebola cases. The full story is available here. On November 2nd, Liberian Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernice Dahn acknowledged that many health care facilities in the country have closed due to Ebola-related fears, creating a shortfall in basic health care services for conditions and diseases other than Ebola. However, Dr. Dahn said that 145 of 600 clinics in Liberia have recently completed the first of a two-phase training focused on renewing basic health care. While many of these clinics have reopened, they are still striving to achieve full functionality. Additional comments from Dr. Dahn were captured here. On November 3rd, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan addressed the Regional Committee for Africa in Cotonou, Benin. In her remarks, Dr. Chan attributed the lack of research into cures and vaccines for Ebola to the fact that the disease has historically been confined to poor African nations. Dr. Chan also argued for strengthening long-neglected health systems in Africa. Her remarks were transcribed here. On November 3rd, U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Global Ebola Emergency Coordinator Dr. Peter Salma announced UNICEF will be doubling its staff from 300 to 600 in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In all three countries, children account for one-fifth of all Ebola cases. In addition, 4,000 children have been orphaned from the current epidemic. UNICEF’s staffing increase was announced here. On November 3rd, health officials in North Carolina reported that a patient who was admitted to Duke University Hospital on Sunday night after developing a fever upon returning from Liberia tested negative for Ebola. The patient had no known exposure to Ebola and no other symptoms besides the fever. Officials indicated the patient would remain in isolation during follow up testing. The incident was reported here. On November 3rd, The Boston Globe reported that research focused on running models and combing through data on the Ebola outbreak is starting to identify weak spots in the epidemic, target areas most in need of assistance, and reveal patterns about who is contracting the virus and how it is being transmitted. Some of the most recent studies were highlighted here. On November 4th, head of UNMEER Anthony Banbury visited Monrovia, Liberia, to observe Ebola response efforts. Special Representative Banbury met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, visited Spriggs Payne Airport, and toured a logistics hub run by the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP). Special Representative Banbury reported some progress in containing transmission of Ebola in Liberia and attributed this success to local and national governments, as well as international partners engaging together to construct Ebola treatment units, promote safe burials, and conduct contact identification and tracing. Special Representative Banbury’s visit to Liberia was detailed here. On November 4th, head of UNMEER Anthony Banbury, underscored the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight against the deadly disease. Speaking to reporters on the improvement in some situations, Special Representative Banbury said as long as there is one case of Ebola in any country, it is a threat not only to that country, but also to the region and the world. Additionally, the WHO reported that two Ebola vaccines being tested have shown promising possibilities. For more details, click here. On November 4th, experts said the effects of the Ebola crisis have made it difficult for those suffering from more common illnesses, such as malaria, pneumonia, and typhoid, to be treated. The WHO called the situation an emergency within the emergency. In countries hardest hit by Ebola, clinics have closed or are at operational capacity, making access to healthcare difficult. In a region with already weak health systems, there is the risk of another public health crisis. The former WHO Ebola field coordinator for Guinea, Dr. Franco Pagnoni, warned that a lack of attention on this issue could result in the deaths of tens of thousands. The situation was described here. On November 4th, U.S. President Barack Obama convened his national security and public health teams to discuss Ebola preparedness at home and the whole-of-government approach to contain the epidemic at its source in West Africa. The President’s advisors noted the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) efforts to ensure U.S. hospitals and the broader health system are prepared to identify, isolate, and treat patients. The team also discussed the screening of individuals traveling from the affected West African countries and the monitoring requirements these individuals are subject to upon arrival in the U.S. There was also consensus that, despite initial signs of progress in Liberia, the international community must continue to attack the problem aggressively at its source in West Africa. An overview of the meeting and a list of participants was posted here. On November 4th, the Pentagon announced it will not scale back its response to the Ebola outbreak, despite the rate of new infections in Liberia dropping sharply over the past several weeks. DOD noted Ebola’s historically fluctuating rates and confirmed plans to proceed with the construction of 100-bed facilities. More information on DOD’s response to the Ebola outbreak is available here. On November 4th, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that international airline travel grew more than 5 percent in September. Data released this week indicated that fear of Ebola has not stopped people from flying all over the world. Tony Tyler, IATA chief executive, said the growth is in line with expectations. Read the full story here. On November 4th, Reuters published a story discussing the Ebola clauses being included in contracts by shipping lines and traders. For example, Stena Weco, a shipping line operating in West Africa, acknowledged that charterers must now provide alternative ports if the disease keeps a tanker from entering a designated port risk-free. Other Ebola clauses might include charterers paying medical expenses for crew members and providing protective gear on board vessels. The article can be read here. On November 5th, Ebola Coordinator for the Guinea Health Ministry Aboubakar Sidiki Diakite reported the number of new Ebola cases is declining not just in Liberia, but also in Sierra Leone and Guinea. He speculated the figures are decreasing because there are fewer patients in health care centers. Coordinator Diakite’s comments were noted here. On November 5th, the WHO elected Botswana’s Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti as head of its Africa Office (AFRO). The choice was announced amid criticism of the agency’s initially slow response to the Ebola crisis. For more information, click here. On November 5th, the WHO said it has continued to see a decline in cases of Ebola in Liberia. However, the organization said that cases in Sierra Leone continue to rise and cases remain steady in Guinea. The WHO attributes the decline in Liberia to successful efforts made in fighting the outbreak, but stressed that efforts must continue. Additional data released by the WHO can be found here. On November 5th, the U.N. warned of the deepening socio-economic challenges Ebola poses in West Africa, as the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced a $450 million commercial financing that will enable trade, investment, and employment in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The IFC estimated that the two-year regional financial impact of Ebola could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015. Further information on Ebola’s economic effect is available here. On November 5th, the Obama Administration announced it is seeking $6.18 billion through an emergency funding request to Congress to enhance efforts to address the Ebola crisis. The White House has requested $2.43 billion for HHS, including $1.83 billion for the CDC to prevent, detect, and respond to the Ebola epidemic, $333 million for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) for health worker training, manufacturing of synthetic therapeutics and vaccines, and modeling and genetic sequencing of the Ebola virus, $238 million for the NIH to conduct clinical trials of investigational vaccines and therapies, and $25 million for the FDA to regulate Ebola vaccines and therapeutics. The Administration is also requesting $1.98 billion for USAID to scale up foreign assistance in West Africa, $127 million for the Department of State to support UNMEER operations, and a $1.54 billion contingency fund. The funding request was outlined here. On November 5th, U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter to congressional leadership requesting that Congress consider his Administration’s $6.18 billion emergency appropriations request to implement a comprehensive strategy to contain and end the Ebola outbreak at its source in Africa, enhance domestic preparedness, speed procurement and testing of vaccines and therapeutics, and accelerate global capability to prevent spread of future infectious diseases. President Obama urged expeditious consideration of the proposal. The letter can be downloaded here. On November 5th, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with the USPHS Commissioned Corps who are staffing the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU), the 25-bed hospital constructed by the U.S. military that opens this week. President Obama underscored the indispensability of the MMU’s mission and noted the USPHS officers will help patients while also reassuring other health care workers in the region. In addition, President Obama highlighted that all 71 officers selected to staff the MMU accepted the assignment. He also commended Rear Admiral Scott Giberson, who will head the contingent, for his leadership. The call was summarized here. On November 5th, a 15-member U.S. Navy engineering detail wrapped up surveying work for a series of Ebola treatment centers in Liberia. The group will head to the U.S. instead of their base in Djibouti for mandatory 21-day quarantine. While the group did not have contact with anyone infected by Ebola, DOD has mandated that all service members returning from areas affected by Ebola, under the Operation United Assistance, go into quarantine for a monitoring regimen. An article on the situation can be read here. On November 5th, Dr. Luciana Borio, head of the FDA’s Ebola response, announced federal officials plan to test several experimental drugs at the same time in one large study. While speaking at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference in New Orleans, Dr. Borio and other FDA doctors outlined the plan. Each person in the study will get supportive care and then be assigned to receive one of several drugs, or be assigned to the control group. For more details on the FDA’s announcement, click here. On November 5th, health officials cleared more than 100 people and declared Ohio Ebola free. Fear arose when Dallas nurse, Amber Vinson, flew to the state while infected with the disease. She was one of two nurses that contracted Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, who succumbed to the disease on October 8th. The Ohio Department of Health stated that after 21 days of monitoring, none of the individuals that came into contact with Vinson had shown any symptoms. The full story is available here. On November 5th, scientists from eight major research institutions said they have been unable to get Ebola samples in the last few months. The lack of access to samples further complicates development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics. Researchers say that without a supply of new Ebola samples, mutations in the virus may go unnoticed and make new treatments ineffective. Details were shared here. On November 6th, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation released a statement saying that the number of individuals under active monitoring for Ebola had increased from 117 to 357. The majority of those being monitored have travelled to the city from Ebola-affected countries within the last 21 days. So far, none have shown symptoms. More information can be read here. On November 6th, Facebook announced three initiatives to help in the fight against Ebola. First, the company is instituting a donate feature to raise awareness and funds for International Medical Corps, the International Federal of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Save the Children. Second, Facebook is collaborating with UNICEF to show information on Ebola symptoms and treatment to people in targeted regions on Facebook. And third, Facebook is working with NetHope to provide vital communications capacity to medical and aid workers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Facebook’s new Ebola response initiatives were detailed here. On November 12th, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Government response to the Ebola outbreak. Witnesses will include HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Michael Lumpkin, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Deputy Director for Political-Military Conflict James Lariviere. More information can be found here. Burkina Faso On October 29th, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce (R-CA) issued a statement criticizing the move by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore to stay in power by amending the constitutional provision on term limits. Congressman Royce said he was inspired by the peaceful marches in Ouagadougou to oppose an indefinite presidency and called on President Compaore to drop the power grab and set the right course for Burkina Faso. Congressman Royce’s statement can be read here. On October 30th, President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore declared a state of emergency after protestors stormed parliament and torched other state buildings. At least three protestors were shot dead and scores were wounded by security forces. In response, President Compaore called on the Burkinabe political opposition to cease the protests and indicated that he was willing to discuss a transitional government at the end of which he would hand over power. The situation was described here. On October 30th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an end to the violent protests in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Thousands of protesters were facing off against security forces outside the Presidential palace, threatening the country’s security situation and closing Government buildings and the country’s airport. Further information can be found here. On October 30th, U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan issued a statement expressing the White House’s concern about the deteriorating situation in Burkina Faso resulting from efforts to amend the constitution to enable the incumbent President Blaise Compaore to seek another term after 27 years in office. The White House called on all parties, including Burkinabe security forces, to end the violence and return to a peaceful process to create a future for Burkina Faso that will build on the country’s democratic gains. The White House’s position was articulated here. On October 30th, the U.S. Department of State welcomed the decision made by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore to withdraw a National Assembly bill that would have amended the constitution and allowed him to run for an additional term in office. The State Department also welcomed President Compaore’s decision to form a government of national unity to prepare for the 2015 elections and to transfer power to a democratically elected successor. The statement can be read here. On October 31st, Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore announced his resignation and appointed head of the Burkinabe armed forces General Honore Traore as his successor. There was confusion when another military leader, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, declared himself as ruler. As President Compaore resigned, gunshots were reported near the presidential palace in Ouagadougou and Lieutenant General Zida reportedly ordered curfew measures and the closure of borders. It was believed that President Compaore left the capital for the town of Po near the border with Ghana. President Compaore’s resignation was announced here. On October 31st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted he continued to monitor Burkina Faso’s deteriorating security situation following the resignation of President Blaise Compaore. Secretary- General Ban also announced the arrival of Mohammed Ibn Chambas, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa, in Ouagadougou. More on Secretary-General Ban’s response to the crisis can be found here. On October 31st, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement expressing concern about the unfolding events in Burkina Faso. The State Department expressed regret about the violence and loss of life and called on all parties to avoid further violence. In addition, the State Department called on all parties to follow the constitutionally mandated process for the transfer of power and holding of democratic elections following the resignation of President Blaise Compaore. The statement was issued here. On October 31st, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert recommending that U.S. citizens defer all non-essential travel to Burkina Faso. In light of President Blaise Compaore’s resignation, the State Department warned that the transitional government remains unclear and there have been reported incidents of looting in Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, and other parts of the country. In addition, the State Department said the situation is dynamic and closures or openings of borders and airports are likely to remain unpredictable for some time. The travel alert can be read here. On November 1st, the U.S. Department of State condemned the Burkinabe military’s attempt to impose its will on the people of Burkina Faso and instead called on the military to immediately transfer power to civilian authorities. The State Department urged civilian leadership to be guided by the spirit of the constitution of Burkina Faso and to move immediately towards free and fair presidential elections. The State Department’s feedback was articulated here. On November 3rd, the African Union (AU) threatened Burkina Faso’s military authorities with sanctions if they failed to return power to a civilian government within two weeks. The military took power after President Blaise Compaore stepped down in response to protests sparked by his efforts modify the constitution. Excerpts from the AU’s announcement are available here. On November 3rd, the Washington Post reported that Burkinabe military leader Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida has previously been selected to attend two counterterrorism training programs sponsored by the U.S. Government. In 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Zida attended a 12-day counterterrorism training course at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, as well as a five-day military intelligence course in Botswana financed by the U.S. Government. The full story is available here. On November 4th, the recently appointed ruler of Burkina Faso, and deputy commander of the elite presidential guard, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, pledged to hand power over to a civilian transitional government. Last Friday, Colonel Zida was appointed by the military in a bid to control public chaos in the wake of President Blaise Compaore’s resignation. For additional details, click here. On November 4th, in a press briefing at U.N. headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the joint UN and African diplomatic mission sent to Burkina Faso has returned to the capital city of Ouagadougou. Secretary-General Ban said the mission will continue engaging with all parties to work toward constitutional order achieved through democratic elections. Excerpts from the briefing were highlighted here. On November 4th, French President Francois Hollande indicated that France had helped facilitate the evacuation of ousted President Blaise Compaore from Burkina Faso to Ivory Coast. The evacuation reportedly occurred last Friday. In addition, President Hollande urged the restoration of civilian authority in Burkina Faso and called on leaders to quickly organize elections. A recording of President Hollande’s comments can be watched here. On November 5th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his call for an inclusive dialogue in Burkina Faso and encouraged all parties to reach an agreement for a peaceful, civilian-led transition. Secretary-General Ban’s Special Representative for West Africa Mohammed Ibn Chambas arrived in Burkina Faso on October 31st, as part of a joint AU-U.N. diplomatic mission. More on this mission can be read here. On November 5th, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama convened in Burkina Faso in hopes of helping to facilitate a peaceful political transition in light of President Blaise Compaore’s resignation. President Mahama met with Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, the country’s current military leader, to discuss the civilian-led transition of Burkina Faso. The talks were detailed here. On November 5th, following a meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama said the democratic transition of Burkina Faso’s Government could last up to year. Elections following the resignation of President Blaise Compaore are slated to be held in November 2015. For the full story, click here. Zambia On October 30th, during a second day of mourning following the death of Zambian President Michael Sata, the Zambian Government announced President Sata will be buried on November 11th after lying in state at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka November 1st-9th. President Sata will be buried at Embassy Park Cemetery, which is reserved for heads of state. The funeral plans were detailed here. On November 4th, Zambia’s interim president Guy Scott rescinded his order to dismiss Defense Minister and presidential front-runner, Edgar Lungu, as Secretary-General of the ruling party. While Acting President Scott did not provide details explaining his decision, the move comes after Lungu’s dismissal sparked protests. An analyst from the University of Zambia, Lee Habasonda, said he believes that Acting President Scott may also make a bid for the presidency and wanted to test Lungu’s popularity. The full story can be read here. Libya On October 30th, U.N. Special Representative for Libya Bernardino Leon hosted a meeting of representatives from the AU, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, the United Kingdom (U.K.), and the U.S. in Paris, on the situation in Libya. The special envoys expressed full support for Special Representative Leon’s mediation efforts aimed at encouraging dialogue to promote the normal functioning of the legitimate Council of Representatives, the formation of an inclusive government, and the withdrawal of militia groups from cities and airports throughout Libya. Additionally, the leaders reiterated there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya and called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian assistance. Details on the meeting were provided here. On November 3rd, heavy fighting broke out near the seaport of Benghazi in Libya. The army, with the support of forces loyal to a former General Khalifa Hiftar, deployed tanks and artillery as it attacked Islamist groups. Further information is available here. On November 4th, it was announced that Libya’s House of Representatives is seeking to move to Benghazi. According to Deputy Speaker Emhemed Shoaib, the country’s elected parliament wishes to make the move to Benghazi once the army restores security in the city. The parliament has been operating out of Tobruk since August, when Islamist militants took control of Tripoli. For more information, click here. On November 4th, a port official announced that Libya has closed Benghazi’s commercial port due to violence between the army and Islamist fighters nearby. The facility is a main entry port for imports such as fuel and wheat to eastern Libya. The port closure was announced here. On November 4th, Britain, the U.S., and France proposed that the Islamist extremist group Ansar al- Sharia in Libya be backlisted under the U.N.’s Al Qaeda sanctions regime. If all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council agree, the group will be subject to an arms embargo, global travel ban, and asset freeze beginning on November 19th. More information on Ansar al-Sharia’s activities in Libya is available here. On November 6th, Libya’s supreme court invalidated the country’s internationally recognized parliament operating in Tobruk, calling the body unconstitutional. The declaration came a day after gunmen stormed Libya’s El Shara oilfield, shutting down the country’s biggest production facility and decreasing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members’ oil production by at least 200,000 barrels per day. While militia groups occupying Tripoli and supporting the alternative legislative body that has been formed in the capital city celebrated the decision, lawmakers in Tobruk said the supreme court’s ruling was baseless and will only continue to divide the country. Details can be viewed here. South Sudan On October 30th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned hostilities in South Sudan as a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement. Secretary-General Ban urged an end to political infighting between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, as the ensuing conflict has displaced roughly 1.5 million people since December 2013. Excerpts from Secretary General Ban’s statement can be read here. On October 31st, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) brought 30 civilians to the Protection of Civilians site in the U.N. compound following the resumption of hostilities between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and opposition forces in Bentiu and Rubkona. Civilian casualties from the week’s fighting in these two northern towns include one dead and eight wounded. Further background on the current conflict can be found here. On November 4th, the U.S. delegation to the U.N. informed the Security Council that it will circulate a draft resolution establishing an international sanctions regime for South Sudan. The draft resolution will establish a mechanism to target individuals undermining South Sudan’s political stability and abusing human rights. A voting date for the resolution has yet to be determined. Further information and background on the conflict is available here. On November 5th, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement condemning violent clashes between the SPLA and opposition forces in South Sudan’s Unity and Upper Nile states between October 26th and November 2nd. The Security Council expressed concern that the U.N. base near Bentiu was again within proximity of the hostilities, threatening to magnify an already grave humanitarian crisis. More from the Security Council’s statement can be read here. Central African Republic On October 31st, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) highlighted the humanitarian emergency in the Central African Republic (CAR). Flare-ups in sectarian-themed violence have increased the displacement of citizens and heightened the level of insecurity faced by humanitarian workers on the ground. More information on the conflict and response is available here. United States – Africa Relations Department of State On October 30th, the State Department issued a statement expressing concern for the October 27th sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn to three years in prison for provocation and dissemination of inaccurate information. The statement called on the Ethiopian Government to release all journalists imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Additionally, the State Department said freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental elements of a democratic society, and the promotion and protection of these rights and freedoms are basic responsibilities of democratic governments. The statement was issued here. On October 30th, the State Department issued an updated travel warning for Burundi. Updating the travel warning issued in April 2014, the new travel warning suggests that Somalia-based terrorist organization Al Shabaab has threatened to conduct terror attacks targeting U.S. interests in Burundi. Additionally, the State Department advised U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Burundi due to political violence that has persisted since Burundi’s civil war and the ongoing operation of armed groups in the country. The full warning can be seen here. On November 3rd, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield delivered remarks on next steps in U.S.-Africa relations at the George Washington University’s Elliott School for International Affairs. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield also presented the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Joe C. Baxter Award to Dr. Christiana Thorpe of Sierra Leone, in Washington, DC. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield’s schedule was detailed here. On November 3rd, Ambassador-At-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp was on foreign travel to Dakar, Senegal, for meetings with justice officials, government officials, and civil society to discuss the prosecution of Hissene Habre by the hybrid chambers established by Senegal and the AU. Ambassador Rapp’s travel was noticed here. On November 4th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to take heed of widespread protests following ousted Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore’s efforts to modify the country’s constitution to allow for his indefinite rule. Her remarks were targeted toward President Mugabe’s suspected scheme to pass on power to his wife. Excerpts from Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield’s speech are available here. On November 5th-6th, Ambassador-At-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp traveled to Arusha, Tanzania, to deliver remarks on financial obstacles to national prosecutions of international crimes at the 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutors. A full agenda for the meeting can be viewed here. On November 6th-17th, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli was on travel to Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. While in Africa, Under Secretary Novelli is scheduled to participate in a Wildlife Trafficking Conference and to meet with local government officials. Under Secretary Novelli’s travel was announced here. Department of Defense On November 3rd, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosted an honor cordon to welcome Tunisian Minister of Defense Ghazi Jeribi to the Pentagon. Secretary Hagel kicked off the meeting by congratulating Minister Jeribi for the successful parliamentary elections in Tunisia. Secretary Hagel and Minister Jeribi also discussed the ways in which the U.S. and Tunisia can cooperate in fighting terrorism, given continuing instability in the region. They also discussed the growing regional concern over foreign fighters from North Africa moving to Iraq and Syria, as well as the threat of ISIL and other Al Qaeda splinter groups emerging in Africa. A readout of the meeting was posted here. Department of Treasury On October 30th, U.S. Secretary Jacob Lew and South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene met in Pretoria to discuss the state of the global economy, policies to promote regional growth and investment, and the development of trade and investment linkages between the U.S. and South Africa. Secretary Lew discussed efforts to strengthen the U.S. economy, while Minister Nene noted South Africa’s economic challenges and plans to bolster growth while reigning in the fiscal deficit. The leaders also discussed cooperation to promote the goals of the Power Africa initiatives, as well as the Trade Africa and Doing Business in Africa campaigns. The meeting was summarized here. Millennium Challenge Corporation On November 5th, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MMC) issued a scorecard on Zimbabwe for FY15. The fact sheet explores Zimbabwe’s effectiveness in promoting economic freedom, investing in people, and ruling justly. According to the MCC, Zimbabwe is struggling to control corruption and protect democratic rights. The scorecard can be downloaded here. North Africa On October 30th, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team concluded a visit to Nouakchott, Mauritania, to conduct discussions for the 2014 Article IV consultation. The IMF team observed favorable economic developments in the country, with economic growth expected to reach 6.4 percent in 2014. IMF staff also welcomed the government’s prudent management of macroeconomic policy and their commitment to preserving fiscal sustainability, safeguarding financial stability, and encouraging private sector development. Additional analysis can be accessed here. On November 3rd, the AU-U.N. Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) expressed concern for the Government of Sudan’s alleged intentions to conduct a security search operation in the Kalma camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in South Darfur. UNAMID officials said a security search would increase tensions among the camp’s civilian populations. According to UNAMID, mission personnel have been meeting regularly with IDP leaders in order to explain the measures being taken to reduce the impact such raids might have on civilians. More information can be viewed here. On November 5th, a checkpoint fray in the southern part of Sanaa, Algeria, left an Algerian national dead and a Frenchman wounded. While details of the incident remain unclear, a police source said the two men were stopped by fighters of the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi group. Conflict arose when the Houthi attempted to arrest the two men, who were discovered to be foreigners. For details, click here. On November 5th, Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi appointed a controversial national security officer, Fayza Abul Naga. Two years ago, Naga led the efforts for criminal charges against nonprofit groups operating Egypt, alleging that they were agents for a U.S. conspiracy to destabilize the country. The charges and subsequent events fractured a 35-year-old alliance with the U.S. Additional analysis on the decision was provided here. On November 5th, UNAMID expressed concern over reports of alleged mass rape in the town of Tabit in North Darfur. UNAMID continues to search for evidence or testimony to confirm the allegations, which are circulating in local media. Further information on UNAMID and tensions in Darfur is available here. On November 5th, the U.N. received criticism from the missions of the U.S., France, and Britain. All three expressed disappointment in the U.N. report on crimes against civilians and peacekeepers in Darfur because the organization has yet to hold anyone accountable for the withholding of information on such incidences. Five instances of U.N. officials withholding evidence of Sudanese culpability were found after the U.N. completed an investigation into the matter and released a report last week. More details can be read here. East Africa On October 31st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the iHub/Ushahidi technology incubator in Nairobi, Kenya. There, Secretary-General Ban delivered remarks praising the work of young developers and emphasizing technology’s ability to fuel development, facilitate peace, and secure Africa’s future. More information on the iHub/Ushahidi incubator and excerpts from Secretary-General Ban’s remarks can be found here. On October 31st, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that Somalia is on the brink of another humanitarian crisis as a result of a poor rainy season followed by severe floods. The FAO urged an early response to the impending crisis, citing a delayed reaction to the 2011 famine as a contributing factor to the humanitarian devastation that occurred. Further information on the FAO’s preparedness efforts can be viewed here. On November 2nd, Kenyan soldiers killed six suspected members of a separatist group that attacked the barracks in Mombasa and hacked an officer to death. The same night, officers at a police station in the tourist resort of Malindi fought off a group of armed attackers. Both attacks are suspected to be the work of the Mombasa Republic Council (MRC), an outlawed separatist group in Kenya. More information is available here. On November 2nd, SGP Technologies announced its secure smartphone, the Blackphone, will be available in Africa beginning in December. The phone will first hit markets in Kenya, where SGP Technologies have observed that mobile transactions have become the norm. The company is hoping to reach consumers who are looking for greater security and privacy in their mobile transactions. Details were shared here. On November 3rd, a report was published on the hardships experienced by Ugandans as a result of climate change. Farming, and the livelihood of many, has been severely impacted by an increase in rain. Festus Bagoora, a natural resource management specialist at the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), said that Uganda will likely continue to experience increased rainfall, mudslides, and droughts as the result of climate change. Additional details can be read here. On November 4th, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed concern over the wave of violence occurring in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. UNHCR Spokesperson Adrian Edwards reported that eight refugees have already been killed in a series of disturbances throughout he overcrowded camp and fear is widespread. More information on the events was reported here. On November 5th, the World Bank celebrated the launch of “Djibouti Vision 2035,” the country’s report identifying under-exploited sectors of the economy with the potential to create sustainable growth. The report was generated with input from similar African economies and highlighted transport and logistics, telecommunications, tourism, fisheries, and light industry as promising areas. Further information on the report and the World Bank’s involvement is available here. On November 5th, Sheikh Salim Bakari Mwarangi, a moderate Kenyan Muslim religious leader, was shot and killed by gunmen on a motorbike as he was returning home from evening prayers at a mosque in the Likoni area of Mombasa. Mwarangi was widely known as a peace activist who was supportive of the Kenyan Government’s efforts to eliminate Al Shabaab. Police have launched an investigation into his murder. The incident was described here. On November 6th, Tanzania’s government reported economic growth of 7.1 percent in the first half of 2014, followed by projections of increased growth in 2015 and 2016 based on planned development projects growth in the tourism industry. This announcement was clouded by Tanzania’s widening current account deficit, as well as increasing financial support from China. Tanzania’s efforts to become a middle-income economy are detailed here. West Africa On October 31st, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reaffirmed its efforts to transfer Nigerian refugees from insecure border areas to Minawao Camp, 120 km from the border. These efforts are continuing despite increasingly frequent cross-border attacks perpetrated by Nigerian insurgent groups. Additional information on the border conflict and Minawao Camp can be read here. On November 2nd, two soldiers were killed and four injured in northern Mali after an improvised explosive device blew up at a checkpoint near Almoustrate. The attack was attributed to the Al Qaeda-linked Islamists who have carried out insurgent-style attacks since they were scattered across the Sahara by a French-led offensive last year. A statement from the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is available here. On November 3rd, the Executive Board of the IMF approved emergency financial assistance worth $5.24 million under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) for Guinea-Bissau to enable authorities to meet their urgent balance of payment and fiscal needs. The IMF assistance is intended to restore the country’s macroeconomic stability by addressing budgetary gaps, reducing poverty, and strengthening the capacity of government institutions. Additional analysis was provided here. On November 3rd, a suicide bomber killed at least 29 people in a procession of Shi'ite Muslims marking the ritual of Ashoura in northeast Nigeria's Yobe state, which at the heart of an insurgency by Sunni Muslim Boko Haram rebels. The attack, along with others carried out across Nigeria’s northeast by suspected Boko Haram fighters, calls into question the Nigerian government’s ceasefire arrangement with the group. Further details were shared here. On November 3rd, gunmen in Nigeria’s central Kogi state perpetrated a prison attack that killed one person and freed 144 inmates. According to Nigerian officials, only 26 inmates have been recaptured. There was no comment on whether any escapees were Boko Haram members. More information can be seen here. On November 3rd, Mali’s government cancelled roughly a dozen petroleum exploration agreements in its Taoudeni and Nara basins. The government cited offenses by firms who held the concessions, which were awarded by a previous administration. These blocs will now revert to the state and me be reawarded to other companies. More information on the cancelled contracts and mining in Mali is available here. On November 5th, an IMF mission arrived in Gabon for bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister and several high-ranking Cabinet Members. The meetings focused on the “Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan,” launched in 2010 as an effort to strengthen and diversify Gabon’s economy by 2025. The IMF praised Gabon’s short and medium-term economic projections, while warning of the dangers of loose fiscal policy and weak investment execution capacity. The IMF mission’s full statement is available here. On November 6th, suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants in Nigeria raided a cement factory, seizing a large quantity of dynamite from a quarry. The theft signals Boko Haram’s continued use of explosives as part of its ongoing battle for an Islamic state. It also casts into doubt the ceasefire agreement reached by the Nigerian Government and Boko Haram last month. More on the security threat posed by Boko Haram is available here. On November 6th, the Center for Global Development hosted a briefing titled, “Call Me Educated: Mobile Phone Monitoring of Adult Education in West Africa Raises Test Scores.” As part of the event, panelists discussed trails to explore how mobile phone monitoring systems are improving learning outcomes in adult education programs in Niger. Speakers included Tufts University Assistant Professor Jenny Aker and Georgetown University Associate Professor James Habyarimana. Event details were posted here. Sub-Saharan Africa On October 30th, the Rwandan Government joined the Better Than Cash Alliance, an initiative backed by the U.N. Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The initiative will support Rwanda as it transitions all government payments from cash to electronic transfers and expands the use of electronic transactions in banking and retail. Further information on this initiative and Rwanda’s involvement can be found here. On October 31st, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Director approved two International Development Association (IDA) credits for projects in Rwanda totaling $200 million. One of the $100 million credits will help fund the Public Sector Governance Program, which is intended to boost the government’s statistical capacity to make evidence-based policy decisions and improve its planning and budgeting. Additionally, $100 million will finance the Transformation of Agriculture Sector Program Phase 3, which will focus on raising famers’ income through diversification of crops, efforts to combat land erosion, improved irrigation, and increase private sector investment. Both projects were described here. On November 1st, Martin Kobler, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (MONUSCO), welcomed the Congolese Government’s request for more U.N. peacekeeping troops to assist Congolese forces (FARDC). These troops will provide additional support to the FARDC as they fight against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Uganda-based rebel group. More information on Special Representative Kobler’s response to this request can be accessed here. On November 3rd, the World Bank noted the Government of South Africa, with World Bank support, will convene a Regional Ministerial Meeting on Harmonizing the Response to tuberculosis (TB) in the Mining Sector in March. Additional participants will include representatives from Lesotho, Mozambique, and Swaziland. The goal of the meeting will be to reach consensus on a standardized approach to prevent, diagnose, treat, and address TB among mine workers, which is currently at 10 times the level the WHO classifies as an emergency. More information can be found here. On November 3rd, South African electricity provider Eskom warned that blackouts might continue in the country throughout the week after it partly restored the coal supply at Majuba station, its second biggest plant. Coal deliveries to all units were cut off on November 1st after a silo cracked and collapsed on a conveyor. Earlier this year, Eskom was forced to implement a blackout policy due to increasing demand and aging infrastructure. The full story is available here. On November 4th, MONUSCO said at least one DRC soldier was killed in fighting with the Uganda rebel group believed responsible for two civilian deaths at a national park last weekend. While the army did not comment on the death of the solider, Army Spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli acknowledged the army had been in pursuit of ADF fighters. The violence in the DRC was detailed here. On November 4th, the World Bank issued an economic update on South African entitled, “South Africa Economic Update: Fiscal Policy and Redistribution in South Africa.” The report finds that South Africa effectively lifted 3.6 million people out of poverty and cut its poverty rate by half by implementing tax and social policies designed to help redistribute income from the rich to the poor. While the report applauds South Africa’s progress, it also recognizes that South Africa’s fiscal deficits will make it difficult for the government to do more to alleviate poverty and inequality via fiscal policy. The full report can be downloaded here. On November 4th, the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa announced plans to file for an appeal on the conviction and sentence of Oscar Pistorious. Last month, Pistorius was convicted of the negligent killing of his girlfriend Reeve Steenkamp and sentenced to a five years in jail. Prosecutors are looking for a harsher sentence. Developments in the case were summarized here. On November 5th, two U.N. officials urged vigilance in monitoring the run-up to Burundi’s 2015 elections, while also expressing their confidence that the Government would continue on a path towards peace. Testimony to the U.N. Security Council noted continuing internal and external tensions in Burundi and stressed the Government’s primary responsibility in promoting inclusivity. Further excerpts from this testimony are available here. On November 5th, MONUSCO announced the arrest of over 200 people in relation to recent attacks on civilians around the town of Beni. Those arrested were members of the ADF, a Uganda-based rebel group. The arrests were carried out by DRC and MONUSCO police, who also seized weapons, ammunitions, bombs, radio sets, and other military equipment belonging to the ADF. More information is available here. On November 5th, a team from the IMF concluded its visit to Mozambique to discuss the implementation and efficacy of IMF-supported economic programs. The IMF applauded Mozambique’s economic performance over the past year, while urging authorities to step up implementation of key structural reforms in the public financial management area, financial system and market development. The IMF team’s full statement is available here. On November 6th, the World Bank lauded Rwanda’s efforts to expand electricity access to its population. Efforts by the Rwanda Energy Group’s Rwanda Electrogaz Compact Flourescent Lamp (CFL) Distribution Project increased the percent of Rwanda’s population with access to electricity from 6% to 18% between 2009 and 2012. More on Rwanda’s energy development efforts can be found here. On November 6th, the Center for Global Development hosted an event on “Educating Mothers, Saving Lives: Effects of Maternal Secondary Schooling on Child Mortality in Zimbabwe.” As part of the event, New York University (NYU) Assistant Professor Karen Grepin discussed her research that finds that children of more educated mothers are much more likely to survive in Zimbabwe and that increased education leads to delayed age at marriage, sexual intercourse, and first birth, as well as better economic opportunities for women in the country. Event logistics were shared here. General Africa News On October 30th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the global media to play a greater role in bringing about a quick end to the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Secretary-General Ban highlighted the courage of individual activists fighting against FGM and stated that sustained public pressure was necessary in order to generate concrete results. Excerpts from Secretary General Ban’s speech can be found here. On November 3rd, the World Bank issued a new study on “The Limits and Possibilities of Prepaid Water in Urban Africa: Lessons from the Field.” The study looked at the potential use of prepaid water systems in serving urban poor communities in eight African cites. The majority of Africans interviewed as part of the research seemed to like the prepaid water meters and reported they felt the spent less money on water and felt more in control of their consumption and expenditures. The full report can be downloaded here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2013 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.