ML Strategies Update David Leiter, [email protected] Georgette Spanjich, [email protected] Madeline Beecher, [email protected] Joseph Sweiss, [email protected] 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 NOVEMBER 5, 2015 Africa Update Leading the News Egypt On October 31st, a Russian jet carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all people on board. While the cause of the crash was not immediately known, two of Europe’s largest airlines, Germany’s Lufthansa and Air France-KLM announced they would divert flights from the area after militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for downing the plane. Meanwhile, Egyptian and Russian officials denied claims the plane had been shot down by jihadists. The crash was reported here. On November 2nd, Deputy General Director of Russian airliner Metrojet Alexander Smirnov said Saturday’s plane crash in Egypt was not caused by technical problems or pilot error. He said the only explainable cause of the crash was physical impact on the aircraft. Meanwhile, Alexander Neradko, the head of the Russian aviation agency who is now in Cairo overseeing the crash investigation, said it was premature to comment on the possible cause since not enough data had been obtained to draw any conclusions. Meanwhile, Egyptian experts analyzing the plane’s black box reported the plane had not been struck from the outside and the pilot did not make a distress call before it disappeared from radar. Developments in the investigation were noted here. On November 2nd, U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper said despite ISIL making claims of responsibility for the crash of a Russian airplane in Egypt, the U.S. intelligence community had not yet obtained any direct evidence of terrorist involvement. While DNI Clapper said it is unlikely that ISIL would have the ability to shoot down a passenger jet, he did not entirely rule out the possibility. His comments were captured here. On November 2nd, senior U.S. defense officials reported that an American infrared satellite detected a heat flash at the same time and in the same vicinity over the Sinai where a Russian passenger plane crashed over the weekend. U.S. intelligence analysts indicated this could signal some kind of explosion on the aircraft itself. However, the satellite imagery dispelled speculation the plane could have bene brought down by a surface-to-air missile. For more information, click here. On November 2nd, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo instructed its employees not to travel anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula pending the outcome of the investigation into the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt on October 31st. The Embassy indicated the prohibition on travel to the Sinai would remain in place until a new security measure is issued. A security message was released here. On November 3rd, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi described claims that militants linked to ISIL brought down a Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula as propaganda. President Sisi warned against drawing any premature conclusions regarding the cause of the crash and said the Sinai Peninsula remains under full Egyptian control. President Sisi’s comments can be seen here. On November 3rd, Sinai Province, ISIL’s affiliate in Egypt, released an audio message dismissing doubts that it had downed a Russian jet in the Sinai Peninsula over the weekend. Sinai Province said it had brought down the airliner in response to Russian air strikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land. More information was posted here. On November 3rd, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry claimed there were not enough facts to back assertions made by Russian officials that the jet that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday broke up in mid-air. The fact that no distress call was received and the way the wreckage is scattered led experts to propose a number of potential causes for the crash, including a missile attack, a bomb on board, and structural failure. The theories were discussed here. On November 4th, U.S. and British officials said they had information suggesting the Russian plane that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula may have been brought down by a bomb. A U.S. official said intelligence analysts had intercepted communications within ISIL networks that led them to draw this conclusion. Acknowledging the significant possibility the crash was caused by a bomb, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced Britain was suspending flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh indefinitely. Meanwhile, flights to return British tourists from Sharm el-Sheikh will begin on Friday. Developments were noted here. On November 5th, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi and British Prime Minister David Cameron held a joint press conference after a meeting in London. During the press conference, Prime Minister Cameron said the recent plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula was more likely than not caused by a bomb. He also defended decisions to suspend flights to Sharm el-Sheikh and to evacuate British tourists in the area. Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands have also suspended flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh. Meanwhile, President Sisi said it is safe to travel to Sharm el-Sheikh. Excerpts from the press conference were highlighted here. Nigeria On October 29th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General David Rodriguez said while Boko Haram has lost territory, the group remains a grave threat to the civilian population in Nigeria and neighboring countries, especially because of its ties to ISIL. Additionally, Commander Rodriguez observed Boko Haram has altered its propaganda and refined its use of roadside bombs and suicide bombers. His comments were captured here. On October 30th , United Nations (U.N.) Special Representative for West Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas said a regional task force is set to begin raids on Boko Haram strongholds when the rainy season ends. While Nigerian and Chadian forces have engaged in operations forcing the militant group to cede back large territories in Nigeria, some fighters have regrouped in remote border areas around Lake Chad. The 8,700-strong joint force, comprised of troops from Chad, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon, was supposed to be fully functional in July. An update was issued here. On November 5th, the Nigerien air force bombed a Boko Haram base in the country’s Diffa region. It was not immediately known how many militants were killed by the air strikes. Additionally, security forces were able to arrest more than 20 militants after tracking members of the group following a car bombing near Lake Chad. More information can be found here. South Sudan On October 29th, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) launched a mass mobilization campaign against malnutrition in South Sudan. As part of the effort, 240 trained volunteers will go door-to-door to assess and screen more than a quarter of a million children in Warrap and refer those with malnutrition to health facilities and other nutrition treatment centers. The initiative was launched here. On October 30th, U.N. Special Representative and head of the U.N. Support Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Ellen Margrethe Loj condemned the actions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA/IO) for holding U.N. personnel hostage and refuted allegations from South Sudanese rebels that UNMISS was transporting weapons and fuel for the South Sudanese Government. Special Representative Loj said the cargo carried by the U.N. personnel taken hostage was intended for the UNMISS base in Renk and noted the taking of U.N. personnel as hostages may constitute a war crime. Her response to the incident was posted here. On October 30th, the U.S. Department of State expressed concern for reports that the SPLA/IO forces detained a UNMISS barge traveling on the Nile River to resupply the U.N. base in Upper Nile State. The State Department called on the SPLA/IO to immediately release all support staff and to return the seized equipment, warning that attacks against peacekeepers and other U.N. staff could constitute war crimes. The State Department also expressed concern for reports of fighting between opposition and government forces despite an agreed upon ceasefire and peace agreement. The State Department’s position was articulated here. On November 1st, UNMISS carried out an extraction operation resulting in the release of 13 U.N. contractors detained by the SPLA/IO last week. According to UNMISS, the released contractors were part of the 31 personnel who had been crew on board a barge convoy transporting fuel to the UNMISS base in Renk. An initial group of 18 international peacekeepers and military liaison officers were released on October 29th. UNMISS also noted while convoy equipment, the barge, and three vessels were returned, the fuel cargo, communications equipment, an inflatable boat, and seven of the 16 UNMISS weapons taken were not recovered. An update was provided here. On November 4th, the U.N. experts tasked with monitoring sanctions on South Sudan reported to the U.N. Security Council. The experts expressed concern that warring parties in South Sudan are expanding stockpiles of weapons and ammunition in violation of the peace agreement signed in August. Additionally, the experts reported President Salva Kiir’s decision to create new states continues to fuel tensions in the country. Excerpts from the briefing were highlighted here. Libya On October 30th, diplomats indicated the European Union (EU) is considering imposing targeted sanctions on rival Libyan political leaders thought to be deliberately blocking attempts to broker a peace death. While months-long negotiations facilitated by the U.N. have resulted in a proposed national unity government, hardliners on both sides have resisted the power sharing deal and talks have stalled. The sanctions under consideration include travel bans and asset freezes. Details were released here. On November 2nd, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called on the main political stakeholders in Libya to redouble their efforts to bring the political dialogue process to a successful conclusion by allowing for an agreement to form a Government of National Accord to move forward. UNSMIL noted it has engaged with parties across the political spectrum regarding concerns related to the structuring of the Presidency Council and achieved consensus on the need to expand the Council. UNSMIL’s input on the political dialogue was shared here. On November 3rd, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Ali Al-Za’tari condemned the abduction of two aid workers with the Shaik Tahir Azzawy Charity Organization working in the southern part of the country and called for their immediate and unconditional release. The two men were abducted in June while on their way to deliver humanitarian assistance. Coordinator Al-Za’tari said abductions continue to undermine much-needed humanitarian assistance and constitute war crimes. More information can be found here. Central African Republic On October 30th, less than two months before elections, Central African Republic (CAR) interim President Catherine Samba-Panza announced a cabinet reshuffle, replacing the ministers for defense, public security, and justice. Joseph Bindoumi, head of the Central African League of Human Rights, will replace Marie-Noelle Koyara as Defense Minister, Chrysostome Sambia will serve as Public Security Minister, and Dominique Said Paguindji will become Minister of Justice. The ministers of rural development and youth were also replaced. The cabinet reshuffle was outlined here. On November 2nd , hundreds of people fled their homes in Bangui after armed men from the mainly Muslim PK5 neighborhood slit a person’s throat and set fire to scores of homes. It was not immediately clear who the targets and the attackers were, but violence between Christians and Muslims in the country has been a problem since Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in 2013. At least a dozen people were wounded in the attack. Details can be seen here. On November 2nd, the Vatican said Pope Francis’ visit to the CAR scheduled for November 28th -29th may be canceled if violent clashes continue between Christians and Muslims in the country. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit a mosque in the Muslim PK5 neighborhood in Bangui where at least 11 people have recently been killed in religious violence. The Vatican’s warning was issued here. On November 4th, hundreds of people marched in Bangui, CAR to call for the restoration of the country’s army, which was sidelined when Seleka rebels took power in 2013. The demonstration follows interim President Catherine Samba-Panza’s request to the U.N. to return arms confiscated to the army so that the army can play a more active role in helping to keep the peace. For more information, click here. On November 5th, U.N. Special Representative to the CAR and head of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) Parfait Onanga-Anyanga called on the U.N. Security Council to loosen an arms embargo against the country and prepare for the rehabilitation of the CAR’s military. Special Representative Onanga-Anyanga said rearming the military should be considered part of the process of security reform. Under the weapons embargo, imposed by the U.N. in 2013, soldiers cannot carry weapons and arms sales must be approved by a sanctions committee. Details can be found here. Burundi On November 3rd, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza set a November 7th deadline for Burundians to hand over illegal firearms or risk being dealt with as enemies of the nation. Addressing the nation, President Nkurunziza said those who fail to do so will be taken as criminals and prosecuted according to Burundi’s anti-terrorism law. In the midst of ongoing protests over President Nkurunziza’s controversial third term, he also called on police to restore peace and security across Bujumbura within the next month. Excerpts from President Nkuruniza’s address were transcribed here. On November 5th, African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma expressed concern for continued acts of violence in Burundi and the increase of inflammatory statements that could ramp up tensions. Further, Chairperson Dlamini-Zuma warned if the crisis in Burundi is not resolved it would create conditions for more instability with devastating consequences for the whole region. Her feedback was captured here. Cote d’Ivoire On November 1st, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the designation of a presidential delegation to Cote d’Ivoire to attend the inauguration of President Alassane Ouattara on November 3rd. The delegation was led by State Department Counselor Tom Shannon. Additional participants included U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire Terence McCulley and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield. The delegation was announced here. On November 2nd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the publication of the final results of the presidential election in Cote d’Ivoire by the Constitutional Council and congratulated President Alassane Ouattara on his reelection. Secretary-General Ban also commended the Government of Cote d’Ivoire and the country’s people on the successful conclusion of the electoral process. Secretary-General Ban’s feedback was released here. On November 3rd, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara was sworn in for a second five-year term. During his inauguration ceremony, President Ouattara pledged to pursue policies that lead to more fair distribution of economic growth and to foster political and ethnic reconciliation. All six of President Ouattara’s election rivals attended the inauguration, as did Senegalese President Macky Sall and President Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin. The inauguration was highlighted here. Republic of Congo On October 30th, opposition parties in the Republic of Congo (ROC) held a remembrance ceremony for protestors killed during rallies against President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s constitutional referendum that would allow him to extend his rule. According to the opposition, 17 people died. Meanwhile, the ROC Government reports just four people were killed. For details, click here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On November 3rd, Nigerian Ebola survivor Dr. Ada Igonoh gave birth at a hospital in the U.S. Dr. Igonoh contracted Ebola at First Consultants Medical Center in Lagos after treating Nigeria’s first Ebola patient, a Liberian Finance Ministry official, who died of Ebola last year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Igonoh is the only female medical doctor to have survived the virus. Her baby was also declared Ebola-free. The full story is available here. On November 4th, the WHO updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending November 1st, one new case of Ebola was reported in Guinea. The case is a newborn child of a 25-year-old woman who was confirmed as a case in the prefecture of Forecariah during the previous week. The mother died after giving birth. Additional data was analyzed here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On October 30th, four African migrants drowned and up to 35 were missing after their boat sank in the Mediterranean about 40 miles north of the coast of Morocco. Earlier, 15 people were rescued from the boat after it lost its bottom and sank. One of those rescued reported there had been 54 people in the boat as the search for survivors continued. The incident was detailed here. On November 2nd, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) updated its statistics on the number of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe by sea. A monthly record of 218,394 people arrived in Europe in October, up from 172,842 in September. The number of migrants that reached Europe in October alone is roughly the equivalent of all of the migrants who arrived in 2014. The new data was reported here. United States – Africa Relations State Department On October 25th – November 7th, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann traveled to Kenya and Ethiopia to meet with a broad range of government, private sector, and civil society representatives to discuss issues of mutual concern related to the rights of persons with disabilities, such as implementation of disability rights laws, inclusive education, accessible workplaces, and the ability of disabled persons’ organizations to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. She also participated in U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) events in Nairobi and met with the African Disability Forum in Addis Ababa. More information on Special Advisor Heumann’s visit to Africa can be found here. On October 26th -31st , Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs traveled to Uganda and Ethiopia. In Uganda, Ambassador Jacobs delivered remarks at the National Forum on the State of the Ugandan Child. She also met with government officials, NGOs, and other experts to encourage strengthening child protection systems and to discuss intercountry adoption as an option for children living outside of family care. Ambassador Jacobs then visited Ethiopia, where she met with government officials and NGOs to discuss ways to cooperate and improve the intercountry adoption process and to promote solutions for children needing permanent families. Her travel was detailed here. On October 30th, during his trip to Vienna, Austria to participate in international meetings on Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. The bilateral meeting was noticed here. On November 2nd, the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs hosted the U.S.-Cabo Verde Partnership Dialogue for the first time in seven years. The purpose of the Partnership Dialogue was to reinforce strong bilateral relations between the U.S. and Cabo Verde by advancing political dialogue, discussing issues related to migration, and proposing innovative solutions and opportunities for cooperation. The U.S. delegation to the Partnership Dialogue was led by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Bisa Williams. For more information, click here. On November 2nd, the U.S. Department of State hosted a panel discussion on the U.S. five-year investment partnership with Liberia. Speakers included Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Dana Hyde, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai, Liberian Minister of Finance and Development Planning Amara Konneh, Liberian Ambassador to the U.S. Jeremiah Sulunteh, and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac. The panel discussion was noted here. On November 2nd, the Office of Weapons Removal in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs released the 14th Edition of “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” a report summarizing the accomplishments of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program. The most recent version of the report highlights increased U.S. engagement in Chad and Niger to secure military armaments and munitions inventories to reduce potential risks of illicit proliferation. The report can be downloaded here. On November 5th, State Department Counselor Tom Shannon attended Algeria’s National Day Reception in Washington, DC. His participation was noted here. On November 5th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with Somali Ambassador to the U.S. Ahmed Award at the Department of State. She then attended the University of WisconsinMadison International Affairs Reception in Washington, DC. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield’s schedule was outlined here. U.S. Agency for International Development On October 30th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a new monthly update to highlight the deals and partnerships launched through the Power Africa Initiative. Power Africa recently entered its third year and has led to more than 100 power projects aimed at bringing thousands of megawatts (MW) of cleaner, more reliable electricity to the people and economies of Africa. The October newsletter can be downloaded here. On October 30th – November 4th, a USAID delegation was in Lilongwe, Malawi to participate in the 2015 Global Heal State-of-the-Art (SOTA) Conference. The SOTA Conference contributed to the Agency’s ongoing effort to end preventable maternal and child deaths, create an AIDS free generation, and protect communities from infectious diseases. The delegation included USAID Associate Administrator Eric Postel, Assistant Administrator Ariel PablosMendez, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Wade Warren, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Tim Ziemer, Deputy Assistant Administrator Jennifer Adams, and Deputy Assistant Administrator Linda Etim. Details can be viewed here. On November 2nd -4 th, USAID hosted the 2015 Global Education Summit. The objectives of the Summit were to review lessons learned and to apply those lessons to future programs. Speakers for the event included Acting USAID Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Minister of Education Maker Mwanga Famba, and Somali Minister of Education Khadar Bashir Ali. A full agenda can be downloaded here. On November 3rd, in conjunction with Amsterdam International Water Week, USAID’s Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development initiative launched a new partnership with the Government of South Africa and announced funding for 12 new projects designed to increase water availability and promote efficient use of water in agriculture. The projects receiving USAID support, including those in Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, were profiled here. Department of Defense On October 29th, a delegation of 13 military officers from nine African nations visited AFRICOM headquarters in Garmisch, Germany as part of their participation in the Program on Applied Security Studies. While at AFRICOM, the military officers met with U.S. military personnel and learned about AFRICOM’s history, structure, and missions, and how the Command can provide assistance to their countries. The visit was highlighted here. On October 30th, U.S. Air Forces Africa highlighted the recent annual Regional Synchronization Working Group conference kickoff held at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The event brought together Africa-focused security cooperation leaders from the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of State, USAID, and other personnel to synchronize efforts across the defense, diplomatic, and developmental sectors in AFRICOM. The conference was detailed here. On November 1st , Defense News reported the U.S. and Egyptian governments will soon resume the co-production of M1A1 Abrams tanks, weapons systems, and accessories as part of a formal collaboration between the Egyptian Tank Plan and General Dynamics. The production is partly meant to fulfill a 2011 Egyptian order of 125 M1a1 Abrams tanks from General Dynamics. The delivery of the tanks was put on hold in July 2013 due to the freeze on U.S. military assistance to Egypt following the ousting of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Details can be accessed here. On November 2nd , speaking at the Defense One Summit, U.S. Special Operations Command Africa Commander Brigadier General Donald Bolduc argued he needs more authority from Congress to broaden the U.S. military’s mission in Africa and allow for the training of local forces to help pursue Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Commander Joseph Kony. Commander Bolduc also reported on U.S. special operators’ success in training and equipping African security forces to face the threats posed by Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and ISIL. His comments were summarized here. On November 2nd, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) noted delegates from the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) recently visited Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti to learn best practices and coordinate with CJTF-HOA on timely disaster relief, security, and peacetime operations. The EASF is one of five African standby forces, comprised of multinational and multidisciplinary civilian, police, and military components and designed to respond to emerging crisis and provide peace enforcement and stability operations. For more information, click here. On November 3rd, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response – Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF) highlighted the recent completion of a Tactical Intelligence Support To Maritime Operations Centers for the Ghanaian Navy at Ghana’s Navy Trade Training School. The two-week course on intelligence was the first of four courses planned for this year. As part of the training, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps service members taught 16 Ghanaian sailors and two senior members of Ghana’s Marine Police Unit. The course was described here. On November 4th, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with Zambian President Edgar Lungu during a partnership building visit to Lusaka. Secretary Mabus and President Lungu discussed potential areas of cooperation between the Zambia Defense Force (ZDF) and the U.S. Navy, as well as Zambia’s contributions to the security and stability of the region. An article on the meeting can be read here. On November 4th, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Kathleen Hanson inaugurated a $675,000 extension of a special education vocational training center funded by the AFRICOM Humanitarian Assistance Program in Ariana, Tunisia. The new construction adds several workshops and classrooms to the facility and is expected to improve learning conditions and increase enrollment. More information can be seen here. Office of the U.S. Trade Representative On November 4th, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) participated in the trade policy review of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) in Geneva, Switzerland. USTR noted SACU member countries have made important strides since the last trade policy review and reported continued robust and vibrant trade and investment with each of the SACU countries. Details can be accessed here. Millennium Challenge Corporation On November 2nd , MCC CEO Dana Hyde and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom joined a delegation from the Government of Liberia including Vice President Joseph Bokai and Minister of Finance and Development Planning Amara Konneh for a ceremonial signing of the $257 million MCC Liberia Compact. The new compact highlights U.S. rapid re-engagement with Liberia in its post-Ebola recovery and will focus on hydropower generation, electricity sector reform, and road maintenance sector reform. Details were shared here. Overseas Private Investment Corporation On October 30th, in honor of Women’s Small Business Month, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) featured a blog post on Lillian Alwi, a local entrepreneur who founded the Pine Breeze Academy in Rongai, Kenya. Alwi obtained loans from KWTF, a microfinance institution supported by OPIC, and was able to open the school, which educates more than 500 students from a poor community in the Ngong Hills. For more information, click here. U.S. Trade and Development Agency On November 9th -20th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will host a delegation of senior officials from the Nigerian and Kenyan health care sectors for the Health Care Technologies Reverse Trade Mission (RTM). The RTM is designed to introduce delegates to U.S. health care equipment suppliers and service providers seeking to do business in Nigeria and Kenya. According to USTDA, strong export opportunities for U.S. companies include biotechnology, anti-cancer and cardiovascular drugs, medical equipment, disposable products, advanced medical and surgical equipment, radiology, optical devices, software for hospital management, and internal networks and technology for non-communicable diseases. More information can be found here. Congress On October 31st, House Select Committee on Benghazi Republicans authored a blog post seeking to clarify suggestions that attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya were caused by inflammatory material posted in an online video. The blog post proposes that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton privately said the video had nothing to do with the attack and terrorists were responsible, while publically she continued to refer to the video. The blog post can be read here. On November 3rd, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to consider several nominees to ambassadorial posts in Africa. The Committee heard testimony on the nominations of Deborah Malac to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Lisa Peterson to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Swaziland, and Dean Pittman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique. A webcast of the hearing can be watched here. On November 4th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on U.S. policy in North Africa. Witnesses including Haim Malka of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and William Lawrence of George Washington University. The hearing was noticed here. On November 5th, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a business meeting to mark up several bills. Among the bills considered was the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Enhancement Act. Introduced to by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Africa Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA), the bill directs the President to establish the AGOA website for the collection and dissemination of information and implement policies to facilitate transboundary trade among eligible African countries. The agenda for the business meeting can be seen here. On November 6th, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) will hold his fourth annual Opportunity: Africa Conference in Wilmington, Delaware. The event was designed to connect Delaware business, faith communities, and individuals with top experts on Africa, offer insight on trade opportunities, and discuss other issues including human rights challenges, sustainable development, food security, and global health. Details were posted here. North Africa On October 29 th, the World Bank and the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Education concluded the Mid-Term Review of the Basic Education Recovery Project in collaboration with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The project, funded by a $76.5 million grant from the GPE, reaches communities in 11 Sudanese states, including in the Darfur region, and has increased access to education and learning supplies while also strengthening education planning and teaching. The project was outlined here. On October 30th, following heavy rains and devastating flooding in southwestern Algeria, UNHCR airlifted emergency supplies to 11,000 families living in camps in the Tindouf region. The delivery included blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, plastic sheets, and tents. According to UNHCR, extreme rain and flooding has damaged or destroyed homes, shops, hospitals, schools, and roads in the area, resulting in thousands of refugees. The situation was described here. On October 30th, following a trip to Egypt for a meeting with President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said the company could win an expansion of its $8.8 billion power deal with Egypt. The country is in needed of more capacity to meet electricity demand before the start of summer 2016. As a result, Siemens could win work to add additional 800 MW to the grid by upgrading existing power stations and putting into place decentralized power generation units. More information can be found here. On November 1st, Libya’s internationally recognized government accused Italian authorities of violating the country’s territorial waters after Libyan naval forces spotted three Italian warships of the coast of the town of Deryana. Meanwhile, the Italian Ministry of Defense denied any of its ships had left international waters. An article on the incident can be read here. On November 1st, Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saadi Gaddafi, appeared in a court in Tripoli, Libya to face charges of murdering a football player and other crimes committed before the 2011 revolution. After Gaddafi’s lawyer requested additional time to review the case and access to military prosecutor documents, the judge adjourned proceedings until December 6th. The case was discussed here. On November 3rd, following a violent party meeting held last week in Hammamet, it appeared Tunisia’s ruling Nidaa Tounes party was headed toward a split, with the potential to trigger political instability in the country. Thirty-two of the party’s 86 lawmakers threatened to break away in opposition to efforts by President Beji Caid Essebsi to impose his son Hadhed as its leader, a claim which President Essebsi denies. Losing these seats would give the Islamist Ennahda party the largest majority in the governing collation. The situation was detailed here. On November 4th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on stakeholders in the Western Sahara to take advantage of the efforts of U.N. Envoy Christopher Ross to facilitate negotiations to end the 40-year conflict in the region. Secretary-General Ban added the conflict over the status of the territory must be brought to an end if the people of the region are to achieve their full potential. His comments were captured here. On November 4th , an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team completed a visit to Morocco to conduct discussions on the Article IV consultation, as well as the third review of economic performance under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) arrangement approved in July 2014. The IMF staff observed prudent economic policies and sustained structural reforms have served Morocco well over the last few years, but encouraged authorities to continue efforts to reduce social and regional disparities. Additional observations were noted here. On November 4th, ahead of a trip to London, United Kingdom (U.K.), Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi suggested the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood could once again play a role in public life if it is the will of the Egyptian people. While President Sisi expressed his belief the public is wary of the Muslim Brotherhood, he said it is up to the people to decide what role the group will play. Leading up to a bilateral meeting, British Prime Minister David Cameron has been under pressure to press President Sisi on human rights. The full story is available here. On November 4th, a cargo plane crashed on takeoff near the international airport in Juba, South Sudan. It was not immediately clear how many people were traveling on the plane and casualty numbers ranging from 25 to 41 were reported. It was also not immediately known what caused the crash, although it was suggested it was caused by engine failure. Breaking news on the crash was reported here. On November 4th, a car bomb targeting a policeman’s club in El Arish, Egypt exploded, killing six people and wounding ten others. ISIL’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers since President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi came to power in 2013. Details can be seen here. East Africa On October 29th, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea Mike Smith reported that a very significant number of Eritreans are fleeing a country that is not in a situation of conflict or unrest to seek a life free from fear. Chair Smith observed fear in Eritrea is driven by no elections since 1993, no independent press since 2001, and ongoing restrictions on freedoms of movement, expression, religion, and association. His comments were recorded here. On October 30th, Kenyan police investigating the murders of ten women working as prostitutes this month raised concern there may be a serial killer in the town of Nakuru targeting sex workers. The investigations of the murders continue as campaigners demonstrated to demand that the government legalize prostitution and offer proper protection to vulnerable women. Details can be viewed here. On November 1st, Al Shabaab militants attacked the Sahafi hotel compound in Mogadishu, Somalia. According to witnesses, gunmen used two car bombs to enter the complex before storming the building. Fifteen people were killed in the attack, killing at least one Member of Parliament (MP), as well as the owner of the hotel, General Abdikarim Dhagabadan, who commanded a 2011 operation against Al Shabaab. The attack was detailed here. On November 1st, the U.N. Security Council condemned the attacks carried out against the Sahafi hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia by Al Shabaab. The Security Council expressed condolences to those killed and injured and also paid tribute to the quick response of the Somali National Army. Further, the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and highlighted the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers, and sponsors of terrorism to justice. For more information, click here. On November 2nd, the Sahel Women Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project officially launched in Niamey, Niger. The Project is a partnership and joint response by the U.N. and the World Bank to a request from the Presidents of Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad to create more economic opportunities for women and girls and their families. A press release was issued here. On November 2nd, Al Shabaab claimed to have ambushed a group of military trainees to the southwest of Mogadishu, Somalia, killing 30 of them. While a Somali military officer confirmed the ambush, he indicated that fighting in the area was ongoing and no death toll was immediately available. Details were reported here. On November 2nd -6 th, the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) conducted a training workshop aimed at building the capacity of government officials tasked with negotiating financial agreements in Adama, Ethiopia. The workshop was designed to improve the skills of the Ethiopian Government to negotiate complex transactions and extract the fairest and most beneficial terms possible from financial agreements. The workshop was noticed here. On November 3rd, the process for nominating presidential candidates began in Uganda. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni was nominated by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) while former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was nominated by The Democratic Alliance (TDA) to run as an independent and opposition leader Kizza Besigye was nominated by the Forum for Democratic Change. Official campaigning for the presidential election will begin on November 9th and continue through February 10th. An article on the nominations can be read here. On November 4th, with only three weeks until Pope Francis’ visit to Kenya, local authorities in Kangemi bickered over the poor state of the roads in the area Pope Francis is scheduled to visit. The rainy season has added to concerns about the safety of the roads, especially as the Pope’s appearance at the Kangemi Catholic Parish is expected to draw thousands from the slums of Nairobi. The situation was described here. On November 4 th, security experts expressed concern regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) thumbs up for Kenya to develop a nuclear program. While Kenyan authorities have made clear the country’s current energy mix will not meet the demand for 20,000 MW of electricity by 2030, others have expressed concern that a Kenyan nuclear program may give Al Shabaab an opportunity to obtain the materials needed to develop a nuclear weapon. Further analysis is provided here. On November 4th, mobile company MTN announced Nigerian authorities had renewed its license for another five years, even though the company faces a $5.2 billion fine from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for unregistered SIM cards on its network. The five-year time period is shorter than MTN’s previous license, which was issued in 2001 and is due to expire in February 2016. Details can be seen here. On November 5th, Kenyan MPs investigating spending at the Ministry of Devolution provided an update on a parliamentary committee’s investigation of alleged corruption. According to lawmakers, the ministry used taxpayer money to buy sex toys and uncovered other bizarre spending, such as $85 each ballpoint pens. The findings of the investigation were discussed here. West Africa On October 30th, an IMF mission completed a visit to Monrovia, Liberia to conclude discussions on the fourth review of the government’s economic program supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement approved in November 2012. IMF officials and Liberian authorities reached staff-level understandings on a set of economic policies to allow the completion of the review. Participants also engaged in discussions related to the impact Ebola has had on the Liberian economy. A press release was issued here. On October 30th, Fyodor Biotechnologies Nigeria unveiled a new do-it-yourself urine malaria test (UMT) kit. Marketed by Geneith Pharmaceuticals, the UMT is the first-ever non-blood malaria test kit proven to confirm a malaria diagnosis in patients with fevers within 25 minutes. The technology was described here. On October 31 st, Laolu Akande, a spokesperson for Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Nigeria plans to set up a $25 billion infrastructure fund to invest in the country’s energy and transportation sectors. The fund will be financed by local and international sources, including Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund and other domestic pension funds. Details were reported here. On November 3rd, UNCHR called for more action to address statelessness in West Africa. According to UNHCR, Cote d’Ivoire, the only country that has been able to estimate the scale of statelessness within its borders, estimated 700,000 people are living in limbo, threatening their access to work, health care, and education. Many people in West Africa are left stateless by migration, flawed citizenship law, and religious and ethnic discrimination. The problem was detailed here. On November 3 rd, Amnesty International and the Center for Environment, Human Rights, and Development (CEHRD) accused Shell of making false claims about the extent of its oil spill cleanup operations in Nigeria and urged the company to take more action to help impacted communities. More specifically, the groups accused Shell of failing to implement the recommendations issued in a U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) report in 2011. An article on the accusations was published here. On November 4th, Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai announced plans to run to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the 2017 presidential election. Dismissing suggestions that he may be too old to run, Vice President Boakai said he plans to launch a campaign based on the Sirleaf government’s strong record on peace, infrastructure development, and freedom of the press. His candidacy was announced here. On November 5th, Cameroon’s medical council called on the government to close 1,000 hospitals they say are operating illegally. According to the council, the majority of these hospitals are lacking the necessary manpower and equipment, and as a result, putting millions of patients’ lives at risk. An article on the situation can be read here. Sub-Saharan Africa On October 28th, the Executive Board of the IMF concluded the Article IV consultation with Angola. The Executive Directors commended authorities for the timely policy actions in response to the decline in oil prices. While observing the outlook for growth in Angola is stable, the Executive Directors cautioned that persistent low oil prices and the uncertain global environment continue to pose risks and encouraged Angolan authorities to continue to undertake structural reforms to safeguard macroeconomic stability. Additional analysis was provided here. On October 28th, an IMF staff team completed a visit to Mozambique to complete the fifth review under the threeyear Policy Support Instrument (PSI) approved in June 2013 and under the 2015 Article IV consultation, and to reach understandings on a new program to be supported under the IMF’s Stand-by Credit Facility (SCF). The team met with Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, Economy and Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane, Bank of Mozambique Governor Ernesto Gove, and other sectoral ministers, senior government officials, the private sector, civil society, and development partners. The staff-level agreements reached during the visit will be reviewed by the Executive Board of the IMF in mid-December. More information was posted here. On October 29th , DRC President Joseph Kabila appointed special commissioners to provisionally govern 21 new provinces created in July. Announcing the commissioners on state-run television, President Kabila said the move was a temporary response to an order by a constitutional court last month to take exceptional measures to address political anarchy in the new provinces. Meanwhile, President Kabila’s critics argued the move was really an effort to consolidate power as he seeks to stay in office beyond term limits. The full story is available here. On November 1st, 14 aid workers were kidnapped by unknown assailants while on a nutrition fact finding mission in the town of Katwiguru in the DRC. The aid workers were conducting their mission as part of a partnership with the WFP in the Rutshuru region. Local authorities suspected the perpetrators were affiliated with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).The abductions were reported here. On November 1st , Yahoo News! called attention to the growing problem of gang violence around abandoned mines in South Africa. Companies operating in South Africa have abandoned roughly 6,000 mines across the country in the face of falling profits. Many of these mines have attracted illegal miners and given rise to a culture of armed gangs kidnapping rival minders and forcing them to work underground. The situation was described here. On November 2nd, the DRC Government cleared the way for 72 children to join their adoptive families abroad after more than two years of waiting. Fourteen children are now headed to the U.S., while others are destined for new lives in Italy, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. There are more than 400 other families in the U.S. waiting for their children in the DRC to travel to the U.S., but the DRC Government indicated further international adoptions will remain on hold until a new adoption law is finalized. For more information, click here. On November 2nd, Zimbabwean police arrested three journalists for the Sunday Mail for publishing a story alleging that a police assistant commissioner and rangers in the parks and wildlife department were being investigated for the recent poisoning of at least 60 elephants in separate incidents. The journalists, who are charged with communicating false statements prejudicial to the state, were being held at Harare Central Police Station. Their arrests were discussed here. On November 2nd, South African prices for yellow maize hit their highest levels this year. While yellow maize is used primarily for animal feed, a poor maize harvest could put additional pressures on foot prices and inflation, and potentially trigger rate hikes by the central bank. Poor crop performance has been attributed to El Nino conditions, which are now projected to extend into autumn next year. An article on maize prices can be read here. On November 2nd -4 th, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) hosted the 2015 African Economic Conference (AEC) in Kinshasa, DRC. The theme of the conference was “Addressing Poverty and Inequality in the Post 2015 Development Agenda,” which provided an opportunity for researchers, policymakers, development partners, civil society organizations, and the private sector to analyze the impacts of poverty and inequality on development in Africa. The conference was summarized here. On November 3rd, the South African Department of Agriculture advised cattle, sheep, and goat farmers to reduce the size of their herds in light of ongoing drought conditions. The move is expected to drive down prices for livestock and cap rising meat prices, while also protecting pastures. Details were shared here. On November 3rd, prosecutors made the case before South Africa’s Supreme Court that Paralympian Oscar Pistorius should be convicted of murder and sent back to jail for shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius was freed on parole last month after serving just one year of a five-year sentence for culpable homicide. The five Supreme Court judges did not specify when they would hand down their decision. For more information, click here. On November 4th, an IMF team completed a mission to Kigali, Rwanda to carry out discussions with Rwandan authorities on the fourth review of their economic and financial program supported by the IMF’s Policy Support Instrument (PSI). The IMF team observed Rwanda’s economic performance in 2015 has been stronger than expected, with growth in the first half of the year averaging at 7.3 percent. Additionally, the IMF noted Rwanda’s policy performance was strong and commended authorities for the progress made on structural reforms, including tax policy and administration. The mission was summarized here. On November 4th, South African officials said the country is now facing the worse drought conditions since the 1980s. The government reported some 6,500 rural communities across four provinces are facing water shortages and at least 2.7 million households have been impacted. The full story is available here. On November 4th, a Zimbabwean court granted bail to three Sunday Mail journalists arrested earlier this week for slander after allegedly implicating government officials in the fatal cyanide poisonings of more than 60 elephants by poachers. The journalists were released on $100 bail each and their case was postponed until November 27th . Details were reported here. On November 4th, Brian Molefe, CEO of South African power utility Eskom, said the company does not plan to implement electricity blackouts until April 2016. Additionally, he encouraged the government to continue to proceed with plans to add 9,600 MW of new nuclear power to the grid as the country continues to battle an electricity crisis. Molefe’s remarks were recorded here. On November 15th, Botswana officials requested that UNHCR resettle ten Eritrean soccer players recently granted asylum in another country. The Government of Botswana made clear it was not withdrawing asylum for the Eritreans and made clear it was hoping to help the players seek refuge in a country where the resettlement process is faster. Under Botswanan law, the athletes would be required to stay in a refugee camp for ten years. An article on the case can be read here. On November 5th, the Elton John AIDS Foundation donated $5 million to organizations in sub-Saharan African that are working with LGBT people suffering from AIDS or HIV. Sir Elton John said the stigmatization felt by LGBT people in Africa often makes them more vulnerable to contacting the disease. The U.S. Government is expected match the Foundation’s contribution. Details can be seen here. General Africa News On October 29th, following a recent visit to Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia, Director of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) John Ging called for additional international support to address unique challenges in each country. Additionally, Director Ging reported the situation in the region remains volatile due to worsening conflict and El Nino conditions. His observations were noted here. On October 29th, new research showed that lion populations in Africa are declining everywhere except in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. According to Oxford biologists, West and Central African lion populations have a 67 percent chance of halving in size in just two decades, while East African populations have a 37 percent change. The research was discussed here. On October 30th, Brand Africa 100 published its annual list of the continent’s most desired consumer brands. The list of the top local brands was topped by mobile telecommunications companies MTN and Glo/Globacom. Meanwhile, Apple was the most valuable global brand, followed by other aspirational brands including Samsung, Nike, Adidas, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, and BMW. The list was analyzed here. On November 3rd, the AfDB reported, on average, just one in eight board seats in Africa is held by a women. The AfDB noted Kenya ranks highest in Africa on the proportion of women serving on the boards at 19.8 percent, followed by South Africa at 17.4 percent, and Botswana and Namibia at 16.9 percent. While these figures appear low, Africa actually is the third top region for women’s participation on executive boards, following the U.S. and Europe. Additional data was shared here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.
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