Leading the News
On July 12th, the U.S. State Department published a statement expressing concern that the ongoing violence in Libya could lead to more widespread violence. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki affirmed support for Libya’s democratic transition and called for the seating of the new Council of Representatives as soon as possible. She also stressed the role of Libya’s Constitution Drafting Assembly in building the new country and said its work should continue without interference or violence. The full statement was shared here.
On July 13th, fighting between security forces, the Zintan militia and the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR) resulted in the death of at least five people. The clashes broke out in Benghazi when Zintan forces bombarded militia bases. More information on the fighting is available here.
On July 13th, the United Nations (U.N.) announced that it has temporarily relocated some of its international staff out of Libya after fighting broke out between rival militias seeking control of the country’s main airport. While the U.N. did not report specific figures for the number of staff who were initially relocated, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has approximately 200 national and international staff. If the security situation were to worsen, U.N. officials indicated that all remaining U.N. staff may also be temporarily relocated. The full story is available here.
On July 13th, UNSMIL called for an end to hostilities across the country. Political tensions and violence have increased in the eastern part of the country. UNSMIL reiterated that political objectives cannot be achieved through violence and the safety of civilians is paramount. The statement was posted here.
On July 14th, Libyan officials confirmed the shelling of the Tripoli International Airport by a militia on July 13th. Authorities reported that 90 percent of the planes parked at the airport were destroyed and the control tower was significantly damaged. Additionally, at least 15 people were killed in clashes between armed militias in Tripoli and Benghazi over the weekend. An update on the security situation in Libya was provided here.
On July 14th, the body of Faraj al-Shibil, who was previously questioned by Libyan and U.S. officials over
suspected links to the September 2012 terrorist attack against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, was discovered in Marj. Shibil was last seen in the custody of a local militia earlier in the week. The Libyan Government questioned Shibil in March 2013. It remains unclear what role he might have had in the Benghazi attack. More information can be seen here.
On July 14th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement communicating his concern for the dramatic increase in violence in Tripoli. He asked all parties to refrain from the use of violence to achieve political goals. Secretary-General Ban said violent actions undermine the sacrifices that so many Libyans made during the revolution. The statement can be viewed here.
On July 14th, UNSMIL withdrew its remaining staff members from Libya. Throughout the week, UNSMIL has been relocating its staff because of deteriorating security conditions following the fighting on Sunday and the closure of the Tripoli International Airport. UNSMIL issued a statement clarifying that the evacuation is a temporary security measure and the staff will return as soon as it is safe. The full UNSMIL announcement can be read here.
On July 14th, the Daily Beast profiled rogue Libyan General Khalifa Hiftar, who has vowed to purge Libya of jihadists. In a recent interview, General Hiftar, who has previously served under Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), claimed he has 70,000 soldiers behind him. General Hiftar also reported that his loyalists have destroyed the bases of local militias and are planning to topple the Libyan Government within the next three months. The full article can be read here.
On July 15th, the Libyan Government posted a statement on its website indicating that it is considering requesting international troops to assist in addressing insecurity in the country. In addition, the Libyan Government urged all rival parties to cease hostilities and warned that violators will be charged with crimes against humanity. Officials also pledged to assemble a national committee to supervise the withdrawal of militias from the airport in Tripoli to areas outside the city. An update on the situation in Libya was provided here.
On July 11th-13th, clashes between separatist groups in Northern Mali killed 37 people. The attacks took place in the northern desert area between Gao and Kidal. An army source reported that those killed were from the main Tuareg separatist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), and a group of northern Malian Arabs, the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA). Although MNLA Spokesperson Mohamed Ag Attaye said those killed were from the Malian army and other militias, he blamed government forces for starting the attack. Both sides have a history of underreporting the casualties they sustained. The full story is available here.
On July 13th, France announced it was reorganizing its forces in Mali and surrounding countries into a single regional body focused on battling terrorists in northwest Africa. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France is creating a regional operation to ensure the security of the area and prevent jihadists groups from emerging again. More information on the force restructuring can be read here.
On July 14th, a French Legion soldier was killed in a suicide bombing attack in northern Mali. The French Defense Ministry said the soldier is the ninth to be killed in Mali since France’s 2013 intervention. Details on the incident are available here.
On July 15th, negotiations between the Malian Government and Tuareg rebels began. The negotiations are taking place in Algeria. France, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Algeria are encouraging the end of decades of Tuareg uprisings. More details on the negotiations are available here.
On July 10th-14th, Pakistani youth activist Malala Yousafzai visited Nigeria. During her visit, she appealed for the release of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. She also met with some of the girls’ families and spoke with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon. She said that President Jonathon promised the
safe return of the girls soon. He also guaranteed that following their return, all of the girls would receive scholarships to study at the school of their choice in Nigeria. Details on the meeting and visit can be read here.
On July 11th, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that U.N. agencies and humanitarian partners are continuing to provide assistance to those displaced by violence in Nigeria. By U.N. estimates, 650,000 people have been displaced in Nigeria’s Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno states, in addition to 8,000 Nigerians who have fled to Cameroon since May. In addition to operating humanitarian locations near the border, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) is also providing local health clinical with special nutritional products to help reduce malnutrition among refugees. Information on the U.N. humanitarian response in Nigeria can be seen here.
On July 11th, U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown called on the international community to show support for the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok as the 100th day of their captivity approaches on July 22nd. To commemorate the anniversary, the U.N. is coordinating vigils around the world and collecting signatures on a petition calling for the safe return of the girls that will be shared with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Details were shared here.
On July 12th, Nigerian Intelligence officers announced the uncovering of a terrorist bomb plot on Abuja bus stations. The Police High Command called on all bus station managers to thoroughly search passengers’ bags and vehicles. Although the police did not confirm who the terrorists were, Boko Haram has previously targeted Abuja with three major bomb attacks. Details on the planned attacks can be found here.
On July 13th, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the two explosions at a fuel depot in Lagos, Nigeria, on June 25th. Authorities reported that the explosions were an accident, but many believe that was an attempt to cover up the attack and quell panic. The attack indicates a wider trend of Boko Haram expanding their assaults to the more prosperous south. More information on the incident is available here.
On July 14th, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a discussion on the major security challenges facing Nigeria as its 2015 national elections approach. The event included panel discussions on Security Challenges and the 2015 Elections and Strategies to Prevent and Mitigate Violence. The keynote speech was delivered by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Event details were posted here.
On July 15th, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa Said Djinnit met with education activist Malala Yousafzai during her visit to Nigeria. Also as part of his five-day visit to Nigeria, Special Representative Djinnit held consultations with Nigerian Government officials and the leadership of the National Assembly, as well as heads of defense and security services, to review progress made in efforts to rescue the schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14th. Special Representative Djinnit’s visit to Nigeria was detailed here.
On July 15th, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) hosted an event titled, “Forgotten, but Not Gone: The Continuing Threat of Boko Haram.” As part of the briefing, Virginia Comolli, a research fellow in IISS’s Security and Development Program, discussed the repercussions for other West African countries and the role of non-African partners in dealing with security challenges. More information can be seen here.
On July 15th, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan sought approval from the National Assembly to borrow $1 billion to help the armed forces address the Boko Haram security threat. President Jonathan has faced severe criticism for his inability to combat Boko Haram. In his request, President Jonathan said the money would be used to upgrade the equipment, training, and logistics of the security forces. Details on the request were shared here.
On July 15th, President Jonathan accused the parents of some of the schoolgirls kidnapped in April of playing politics. He claimed that they cancelled their meeting with him because of influence from the #BringBackOurGirls group. Parents have responded saying they did not play politics, but rather the
proposed meeting had been organized in a hurry, so there was not time to consult with all the parents. Information on the accusation was reported here.
On July 15th, Sadiq Ogwuche, the suspected director of the April 14th attack in Nyanya, was extradited to Nigeria from Sudan. The attack resulted in the deaths of 80 people. Ogwuche was arrested in Sudan in May. Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Mike Omeri, said Ogwuche would be prosecuted in accordance with Nigerian laws. Details of the extradition were shared here.
Central African Republic
On July 11th, 59 political parties and three religious chiefs in the Central African Republic (CAR) released a statement threatening to boycott upcoming peace talks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The leaders said the talks should be held in the CAR, as it is a CAR issue. French diplomats said the main priority is peace between the Seleka and anti-Balaka groups, and following a ceasefire, political issues can be addressed in CAR. Details on the statement and upcoming negotiations can be read here.
On July 12th, the Seleka Coalition reinstated former CAR President Michel Djotodia as its leader. International pressure, including U.S. and U.N. sanctions, forced Djotodia to step down from the presidency in April. There are some concerns that he will complicate the peace talks with the anti-Balaka scheduled for late July. Djotodia’s return could also end internal Seleka power struggles and thus ease the ceasefire negotiations. Djotodia said he will return to Bangui once there are guarantees that he will not be arrested. More information on Djotodia and his reinstatement can be seen here.
On July 9th, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir asked rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar to revive peace talks. Peace talks stalled after the two sides met in Addis Ababa in May and agreed to a ceasefire. In his South Sudan Independence Day address, President Kiir asked Riek Machar to return to the talks and resume negotiations. The full story can be seen here.
On July 9th, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator for Africa Linda Etim authored a post for USAID’s Impact Blog on humanitarian needs in South Sudan on its third anniversary of independence, caused primarily by the conflict that erupted in December 2013. Deputy Administrator Etim reflected on her visit to South Sudan in May and reported that thousands of people in South Sudan have been killed or traumatized and more than 1.5 million have been displaced since December. The blog post can be accessed here.
On July 11th, UNHCR appealed for $658 million to respond to the growing South Sudan refugee crisis. UNHCR Spokesperson Melissa Fleming warned partner countries that a refugee exodus into Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda is occurring. In March, UNHCR predicted 340,000 refugees. UNHCR has since changed their estimate to be 715,000 refugees this year. The full story was reported on here.
On July 11th, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on Peter Gadet, a South Sudanese rebel leader. Gadet violated the January ceasefire agreement and killed more than 200 civilians during the assault on Bentiu on April 15th-17th. The EU also announced travel bans and asset freezes on Santino Deng, a commander of the third Infantry Division of the government army, and an unnamed military official on July 10th. More information on the sanctions can be read here.
On July 11th, Save the Children, an international aid group, reported on the worsening of the cholera outbreak in South Sudan. Since May, when the disease was first reported, 2,600 people have been infected. The aid group said that the situation is likely to get worse because of the rainy season and that more medicine and supplies are needed. Details on the situation were reported here.
On July 16th, the U.N. Security Council indicated it is willing to consider taking action against warring parties in South Sudan if steps are not taken to de-escalate the violence. Both the U.S. and the EU have already imposed sanctions on military leaders for the South Sudanese Government, as well as the opposition. New actions against the leaders are being considered in light of reports that both sides are recruiting troops and acquiring weapons. More information was shared here.
On July 13th, militants in the Sinai fired mortar at a military post in Al Arish. A soldier and seven civilians were killed in the attack. The mortar fire hit the military post, a supermarket, and a residential building. Militants in the Sinai have also fired rockets at Israel in support of Palestinian groups. The full story is available here.
On July 14th, Egypt proposed a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The proposal called for a ceasefire beginning at 9:00AM on Tuesday, the opening of Gaza border crossings, and the movement of people and goods once the ground security situation becomes stable. The proposal also stipulated that within 48 hours of the initial ceasefire, talks would be held in Cairo on the conditions of a longer agreement. The Israeli Parliament accepted the ceasefire, but Hamas rejected it and rocket fire has continued. The full story was reported here.
On July 11th, the Brookings Institution hosted a discussion on the 2014 BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit, which was held in Brazil, July 15th-17th. Brookings Foreign Policy Scholars Bruce Jones, Fiona Hill, Kenneth Lieberthal, Harold Trinkunas, Tanvi Madan, and Thomas Wright discussed the implications of the BRICS Summit on U.S. foreign policy. Event details were shared here.
On July 14th, the Associated Press reported on the BRICS countries’ plans to unveil a $100 billion fund rival the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The new fund will be called the New Development Bank and it will launch with equal investments from each of the BRICS nations, although other countries may join later. In addition, the BRICS countries also discussed launching on alternative to the World Bank to help make loans available for infrastructure projects in developing countries. Details were reported here.
On July 16th, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde congratulated BRICS leaders on holding a successful Summit and establishing the Contingent Reserve Agreement. She also noted that IMF officials would be willing to work with the BRICS team dedicated to the project to help reinforce cooperation among all parts of the international safety net intended to preserve financial stability in the world. Director Lagarde’s statement was issued here.
On July 17th, the Washington Post issued a feature piece on the New Development Bank unveiled at the recent BRICS Summit. The piece details the motivations behind the creation of the Bank, as well as its proposed structure. The piece can be accessed here.
United States – Africa Relations
Planning for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On July 14th, National Security Council (NSC) Spokesperson Ned Price said Egypt has now been invited to participate in next month’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, reversing an earlier decision not to let Egypt participate due to its suspension from the African Union (AU) after last year’s military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi’s government. Like Guinea Bissau, who was also previously not invited, Egypt has been allowed back into the AU and both countries have now received invitations. According to reports, Egypt is planning to send a high-level delegation to the Summit. More information can be seen here.
On July 14th, the State Department launched the official website for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which will be held in Washington, DC, August 4th-6th. The website notes that the Summit will be the largest single engagement by any U.S. President with Africa. Approximately 50 African heads of state and government, the Chairperson of the AU, and a range of U.S. and African civil society and business leaders are expected to participate in three days of events. The website was launched here. A schedule of events for the Summit was posted here.
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
On July 14th, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Mike Froman participated in a roundtable
discussion hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition to discuss renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AGOA will expire on September 30, 3015. Ambassador Froman’s participation in the briefing was noted here.
On July 8th-15th, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard was on overseas travel to Ethiopia and South Sudan. While in Ethiopia, Assistant Secretary Richard was scheduled to travel to the Gambella Region in Western Ethiopia to visit South Sudanese refugees with U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach and UNHCR officials. In Addis Ababa, Assistant Secretary Richard met with Ethiopian Government officials. In South Sudan, Assistant Secretary Richard visited Juba to evaluate humanitarian conditions and to meet with internally displaced persons (IDPs), government officials, and NGOs. She then traveled to Maban county with U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Susan Page and UNHCR representatives to assess the needs of refugees from Sudan. Assistant Secretary Richard’s trip to Ethiopia and South Sudan was announced here.
On July 10th, Secretary of State John Kerry urged the U.S. Senate to move quickly to confirm pending ambassadorial nominees. Secretary Kerry noted that 58 State Department nominees were pending before the Senate, including 43 ambassadors. In addition, Secretary Kerry argued the U.S. could have a stronger response to Boko Haram in Nigeria, if the U.S. had ambassadors confirmed to serve in the neighboring countries of Cameroon and Niger, where some of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram could be held captive. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were transcribed here.
On July 10th, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki commented on the ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attacks. A reporter asked for comments on former U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General Carter Ham’s recently released testimony. Spokesperson Psaki clarified that the release of the testimony was a transparency effort and said since the beginning of the investigation it was clear that the second phase of the attack was more sophisticated. A reporter also asked if the State Department was willing to acknowledge that the attacks were not spontaneous. Spokesperson Psaki said that the situation was an opportunistic attack and it did not involve significant preplanning. The full remarks can be seen here.
On July 11th, Secretary of State John Kerry issued remarks in recognition of World Population Day and marking the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Secretary Kerry reflected on his travel to Cairo, Egypt, 20 years ago to participate in the ICPD and reported that he has since seen progress on the goals established for global health, human rights, and development. For example, Secretary Kerry specifically noted the advances in health services for women and girls in the DRC. Secretary Kerry’s remarks on World Population Day can be seen here.
On July 12th, Sao Tome and Principe celebrated the 38th anniversary of their independence. Secretary Kerry issued a statement commending their dedication to democratic values and environmental and security issues. He also said Sao Tome and Principe is a valuable partner in the Gulf of Guinea. The Secretary’s remarks were shared here.
On July 14th, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel met with Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed Tawfik at the Department of State. The meeting was listed here.
On July 14th, Somali Ambassador to the U.S. Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke arrived in Washington. Ambassador Sharmarke is the first Somali Ambassador to the U.S. in over 20 years. His arrival represents the most recent progress in advancing U.S.-Somali relations. The State Department’s welcome statement can be seen here.
On July 15th, Secretary of State John Kerry honored Ambassador Somduth Soborun of Mauritius at a farewell reception hosted at the Department of State. Ambassador Soborun was appointed to the position of career Ambassador to the U.S. in June 2003. He has also served as a Permanent Representative to the U.N. and as High Commissioner to Canada. More information was posted here.
On July 15th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Assistant
Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan co-hosted a Google+ Hangout with young African leaders studying in the U.S. through the Washington Fellowship program. The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The 2015 Washington Fellows are 500 of sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising young leaders ages 25 to 35. More information can be viewed here.
On July 17th, Counselor Tom Shannon met with President of Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Ali Moshiri at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the State Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here.
On July 17th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan met with YALI Washington Fellows from Morgan State University at the Department of State. In addition, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield answered questions from the YALI network via Facebook. Additional information can be found here.
U.S. Agency for International Development
On July 10th, USAID responded to requests from the Government of Senegal. USAID is providing $4 million to assist the most food insecure in Senegal. Of the $4 million, $3 million will be distributed through the WFP and the remaining one million will go to the Center for International Studies and Cooperation in partnership with a local NGO. The press release on the grants can be viewed here.
On July 11th, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission in Kenya Isiah Parnell launched the new Environment and Natural Resource Management (ENRM) office for the USAID mission in Kenya. The office will support climate change, water tower restoration, wildlife management and anti-trafficking measures, and low carbon resilient development. Details on the work of the office are available here.
On July 14th, USAID’s Senior Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Coordinator Todd Larson authored a post for USAID’s Impact Blog on USAID’s LGBT Vision for Action. In the blog post, Coordinator Larson notes that USAID’s LGBT Vision for Action is a world in which the basic and universal human rights of LGBT persons are respected and they are able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence. In addition, Larson reflects on his recent travel to Uganda to meet with LGBT activists in light of Uganda’s enactment of a controversial anti-homosexuality law. The blog post can be accessed here.
On July 15th, USAID Mission Director in Kenya Karen Freeman, Kenyan Economic Secretary for the Ministry of Devolution and Planning Stephen Wainaina, and Director General of the National Council for Population and Development Dr. Josephine Kibaru announced a new evidence-based tool, known as DemDiv. DemDiv informs policymakers of the potential benefit of the demographic dividend and the investments needed to obtain those benefits. More information on DemDiv can be read here.
Department of Defense
On July 10th, AFRICOM announced that is has recently awarded a contract for Joint Training and Exercise Directorate Services (JTEDS) to receive exercise and training program support, readiness, assessments, and doctrine support. Contracting out the support services is anticipated to save AFRICOM approximately $23 million over five years by consolidating four separate contracts. More information was provided here.
On July 14th, African Endeavor 2014 (AE14) kicked off in Garmisch, Germany. The exercise, first held in 2006, is designed to increase the command, control, and communications capacities of Africa nations by encouraging interoperable tactics, training, and procedures, and creating documented standards that support interoperability. Participants include more than 1,700 communication specialists from 32 African and European nations, the U.S., the AU, NATO, and the U.N. AE14 was described here.
Department of Justice
On July 16th, prosecutors in U.S. Federal District Court convicted Tunisian defendant Ahmed Abassi of
seeking to engage in terrorist acts against targets in the U.S. and other countries. While initially charged with two counts of fraud and misuse of visas to facilitate an act of international terrorism, Abassi previously pleaded guilty to lesser charges. As part of his guilty plea, Abassi will be deported to Tunisia after the hearing. The full story is available here.
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
On July 10th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced the delegates who will participate in the Africa Leaders’ Visit to Houston, Texas, on energy issues July 30th – August 1st. The participants will include Ghana’s Minister of Energy Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Mozambique’s Minister of Natural Resources Esperanca Bias, Tanzania’s Minister of Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo, and Secretary General of the East Africa Community Richard Sezibera. The Africa Leaders’ Visit is intended to showcase U.S. technologies and services that played an integral role in the development of the natural gas sector in Texas. The delegation was announced here.
On July 16th, USTDA announced the members of the delegation who will participate in the Africa Leaders Visit: Transport in Chicago, Illinois, from July 30th – August 1st. Participants will include Algeria’s Minister of Transport Amar Tou, Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport Workneh Gebehehu, and Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and South Africa Sindiso Ngwenya. The African Leaders’ Visit: Transport will showcase the U.S. experience, technologies, and services that played an integral role in the development of the transportation sector in Chicago, and is intended to highlight opportunities for partnerships with U.S. companies as the African delegates invest in critical rail and aviation infrastructure. More information can be found here.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
On July 10th, Director of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s (OPIC) Office of Accountability Keith Kozloff detailed how OPIC is helping investors participating in the Power Africa initiative to consult with local communities to ensure positive outcomes for their power generation and transmission projects. In May, Director Kozloff traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to convene a workshop with the Compliance Review and Medication Unit (CRMU) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) focused on successful community engagement around energy and infrastructure projects. More information can be viewed here.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On July 10th, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) posted information on the Poverty Reduction Blog regarding Malawi’s first semi-annual review of its five-year, $350.7 million MCC compact. This particular review, conducted by the Principal Secretary of Malawi’s Ministry of Energy, looked at a set of indicators centered on improving the performance of Malawi’s electricity utility, ESCOM. The blog post can be read here.
On July 17th, the MCC hosted a Twitter chat with ACDI/VOCA to celebrate successful efforts to reduce poverty and end hunger in Burkina Faso. MCC’s five-year, $481 million compact with Burkina Faso, which will close on July 31st, has put family farmers on the path from local growers to regional exporters by investing in agriculture, land tenure, and roads. Details on the event were provided here.
On July 11th, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN), and African Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE) sent a letter to President Barack Obama in response to the escalation of violence targeting civilians in Darfur, as well in in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Senators Menendez, Corker, and Coons called on President Obama to elevate U.S. efforts to strengthen the mandate of the AU – U.N. Assistance Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to ensure the protection of civilians, improve humanitarian access, and seek sustainable political resolutions. The letter can be downloaded here.
On July 15th, with the U.S-Africa Leaders Summit approaching next month, the New York Times reported that the Senate has yet to act on the nominations of 13 ambassadors to African countries. According to State Department officials, without ambassadors in place, the diplomats left in charge of U.S. embassies
in Africa often have trouble meeting with the hose country’s leadership. The full article can be read here.
On July 16th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a business meeting to consider pending treaties, bills, and nominations. The Committee approved the nomination of Marcia Denise Occomy to serve as U.S. Director of the AfDB. Occomy’s nomination is now pending a vote on the Senate floor. More information can be found here.
On July 16th, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing on “The Growing Crisis of Africa’s Orphans.” Witnesses included Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Robert Jackson and Assistant USAID Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg. Additional testimony was provided by Kelly Dempsey of Both Ends Burning, Shimwaayi Muntemba of Zambia Orphans of AIDS, Jovana Jones, the adoptive mother of a Congolese child, and Muluembet Chekol Hunegnaw of Save the Children. A webcast of the hearing can be watched here.
On July 10th, the World Bank issued an update on Egypt’s Sustainable Persistent Organic Pollutants Management Project (POPs), which has been implemented using an $8.1 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project is helping to ensure that POPs are managed and disposed of in a way that does not result in adverse impacts on the environment or public health. The project was described here.
On July 11th, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars hosted an event titled, “In the Mainstream: Religious Extremism in the Middle East and North Africa.” Speakers included Ken Ballen of Terror Free Tomorrow, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and the MIT Center for International Studies, and Mohamad Alsanousi of the Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. Event details were posted here.
On July 9th, the IMF concluded its 2014 Article IV Consultation in Kenya. Mauro Mecagni, the mission leader, issued a statement expressing his confidence in Kenya’s economic growth. He said the economy has continued to grow and Kenya has laid the appropriate ground work to meet their Vision 2030 development targets. Their financial sector has also developed. Despite the positive growth, they are facing challenges due to security issues, low rainfall, and remaining infrastructure gaps. The full statement can be seen here.
On July 10th, armed assailants attacked Panda Nguo village in Lamu County. The attackers stole guns from police reservists and burnt down an elementary school. No casualties have been reported, but over the last month raids of this kind have left approximately 100 people dead. It is not clear who carried out the attack, although previous assaults of this nature were carried out by Al Shabaab. More information on the attack can be found here.
On July 10th, the World Bank approved a $122 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to support Tanzania’s Big Results in Education Now Program, as well as a $15 million credit for the ongoing Science and Technology Higher Education Project. The Big Results in Education Now Program is focused on raising the quality of education in Tanzania’s primary and secondary schools, while the Science and Technology Higher Education Project is aimed at producing more highly-skilled workers to help sustain the country’s economic growth. Additional information on both projects is available here.
On July 10th, the World Bank reported that the African Agricultural Productivity Program (EAAPP), financed by the World Bank and other development partners, is helping to increase agricultural productivity and growth in East Africa. Through the program, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are more effectively utilizing innovations in science to increase food and dairy production, increase the incomes of farmers, and enhance nutrition. Details can be viewed here.
On July 12th, following a briefing with U.N. Special Representative to Somalia and head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Nicholas Kay, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement
condemning last week’s attacks by Al Shabaab in Mogadishu against Somalia’s presidential compound and the Somali Parliament. The Security Council’s reaction to the briefing was noted here.
On July 14th, the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group disclosed to the U.N. Security Council's Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee the findings of a confidential report on Somali compliance with U.N. sanctions. The report accuses President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, former Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam, and U.S. law firm Shulman Rogers of conspiring to divert Somali assets recovered abroad. The findings indicate exploitation of public authority for private interests and a conspiracy to divert the recovery of overseas assets in an irregular manner. More information on the report can be read here.
On July 14th, the U.N. announced the allocation of $1.4 million to vaccinate children in Somalia for measles. The funding will be used to inoculate 520,000 children in southeast Somalia. The vaccination drive will hopefully prevent the spread of the disease to other areas. The aid comes from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)-managed U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund. Details on the funding are available here.
On July 14th, the winner of the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing was announced. Okwiri Oduor of Kenya won the award for her short-story My Father’s Head. The prize is focused on African writers’ short stories published in English. The announcement was shared here.
On July 16th, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a new three-year Policy Support Instrument to help Tanzania cut its large current account deficit and maintain economic growth. The IMF expects Tanzania’s economy to expand by seven percent this year and in the medium term. Inflation, which is currently six percent, should fall towards five percent. Finally, Tanzania is expected to reduce its current account deficit in the medium term. Currently, its account deficit is the largest in the region. The IMF’s announcement of the agreement can be found here.
On July 9th, after receiving a briefing from U.N. Special Representative and Head of the U.N. Office for West Africa (UNOWA) Said Djinnit, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement expressing concern for challenges in the region, including transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. The Security Council cautioned that these issues pose a threat to peace and stability in West Africa and urged multilateral cooperation to address these challenges. The Security Council’s statement can be read here.
On July 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 44 new Ebola cases and 21 more deaths in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. These new statistics bring the total number of Ebola cases in West Africa to 888, including 539 deaths since February. The WHO is continuing work closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to launch and coordinate resources for a new Ebola Solidarity Fund. An update on the Ebola outbreak was issued here.
On July 11th, Brazilian federal police said that approximately 200 Ghanaians who traveled to Brazil on tourist visas to attend the World Cup tournament have now filed applications for asylum in the southern city of Caxias do Sul. The asylum seekers claim that they are Muslims fleeing religious conflict in Ghana, although Ghanaian authorities have said that no such conflict exists. Brazilian officials believe instead that the Ghanaians may be seeking rights to work legally in Brazil. The full story is available here.
On July 11th, Ventures reported on the recent launch of the first online grocery store in Nigeria, Ahia Online. Abuja residents can now do all of their food shopping online and have their groceries delivered within 24 hours of purchase, with a delivery fee required on larger orders. Ahia has seen a growing number of customers, which the company believes is due to a growing consumer interest in e-commerce. An article on online grocery shopping in Nigeria was posted here.
On July 14th, the EU reported it would resume aid to Guinea-Bissau because of their successful presidential elections. The EU suspended aid to the government in July 2011 due to the military mutiny. The EU will support the government development of state functions and basic social services. Details on the decision can be viewed here.
On July 14th, the New York Times reported on the implementation of Depo-Provera, an easy-to-use injectable contraceptive, in Burkina Faso. The new Uniject capsule is so simple to use that backers hope women will be able to inject themselves. The contraceptive lasts for three months and will allow women to use birth control without their husbands’ awareness. Pfizer, the maker, also renamed the contraceptive Sayana Press, as Depo-Provera is fairly well known in poor countries. Burkina Faso’s Health Ministry said it would like to make the contraception available to 25 percent of married women by next year. Sayana Press will also be introduced in Uganda, Senegal, and Niger this year. The New York Times story is available here.
On July 14th, Emmanuel Mutahunga, executive director of the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), reported that export earnings will rise by at least 15 percent in 2014. The gains are expected because of the removal of tariffs on sales to members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Uganda joined COMESA this month. COMESA is Uganda's biggest export market and the Ministry of Trade estimates the removal of tariffs will increase Uganda's shipments to the bloc by approximately 50 percent. Additional information was reported here.
On July 15th, Voice of America reported the kidnapping of two of Bieshair Mohaman’s sons. Mohaman is the traditional ruler of Limani and one of Cameroon’s most influential Muslim spiritual leaders. Cameroon’s state radio announced that the kidnappers were ten heavily armed men who crossed into Cameroon from Nigeria. It is not confirmed who the kidnappers were, but the Boko Haram group is suspected. This is the first reported kidnapping of Cameroonians by Boko Haram. The full report on the kidnappings was shared here.
On July 15th, the U.N. reported that Ivory Coast blocked 400 refugees from returning. The refugees fled to Liberia and were not allowed to return because of fears they could spread Ebola. U.N. officials said the decision violated domestic and international law. More information on the issue can be viewed here.
On July 15th, the WHO provided an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The WHO reported that the number of deaths since February is now at 603, with at least 68 deaths reported in the region over the past week. In addition, the WHO reported 85 new cases between July 8th-12th, highlighting increasing levels of disease transmission. The update was issued here.
On July 15th, the World Bank reported on the recently launched, multi-donor Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Fund, which is intended to help countries in Africa’s Sahel region, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal, move away from expensive emergency aid, steadily reduce poverty, and build long-term food security and climate resilience. The fund was launched with an initial $75 million contribution made by the United Kingdom (U.K.). Details can be seen here.
On July 16th, the World Bank detailed how the Urban Local Government Support Project, financed by a $70 million World Bank credit, will help Mali’s municipalities deliver development programs. In secondary cities, such as Mopti, Sikasso, Kayes, and Segou, the project is seeking to strengthen local institutional capacities and improve governance and the delivery of public services. In more urban areas, such as Bamako, the project will facilitate solutions for existing challenges, such as drainage problems. An article on the project was published here.
On July 16th, French President Francois Hollande departed on his trip to the Ivory Coast, Niger, and Chad. President Hollande’s visit is focused on trade and overseeing French military interventions in Africa. His trip to the Ivory Coast will include French businessmen and a conversation about opportunities for French businesses. In Niger and Chad, President Hollande is expected to discuss security concerns and visit French military bases. Further information can be found here.
On July 6th-13th, the Salaam Kivu-International Film Festival took place in Goma, DRC. Petna Ndaliko has organized the festival for the past three years in an attempt to help people process and transcend the violence without threatening the transitioning powers. The festival includes dance competitions, film, and photo galleries. Details on the festival are available here.
On July 10th, South African authorities postponed Eugene de Kock’s parole decision. He was convicted
in 1994 on numerous charges including murder and kidnapping due to his time as a unit commander. South African law requires victims’ families to be consulted about parole. De Kock’s lawyers disputed the ruling. His lawyer initially sought parole on the ground that no other member of the apartheid-era police force was sentenced. This case threw into relief the difficult issues surrounding the country’s efforts to balance justice and reconciliation. More on the case can be seen here.
On July 10th, the Telegraph reported that new travel rules due to go in effect in South Africa in October, are likely to deter families from vacationing in the country. While the new entry rules are intended to prevent child trafficking, the travel industry is concerned that the additional paperwork requirements for adults traveling with children may have a negative impact on the country’s tourism sector. The full story is available here.
On July 11th, telecommunications company MTN unveiled Africa’s first concentrated solar cooling system for data centers at its head office in Johannesburg, South Africa. In showcasing the new system, MTN South Africa CEO Zunaid Bulbulia said because the company is aware of global warming and its adverse impact on emerging markets like South Africa, MTN is continually looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce its electricity consumption. Bulbulia’s comments were reported here.
On July 11th, the IMF reported on the recently completed Article IV consultation with Botswana. The IMF team found that Botswana’s economy grew faster than expected, with GDP growth of six percent in 2013. While IMF officials noted that Botswana’s mining sector has recovered, the non-mineral sector slowed, due primarily to power supply disruptions. Additional analysis of Botswana’s economy was provided here.
On July 11th, the Top Employers Institute revealed a new report finding that although African companies have been slow to embrace environmentally-friendly corporate practices, the trend is slowly changing. The report concludes that 73 percent of top employers in Africa currently have environmental protection initiatives in place, primarily because African business leaders are beginning to realize that green building designs and energy efficiency result in savings and boosts in employee health and morale. The report also finds that South Africa is leading the way on green buildings on the continent. Highlights from the report were noted here.
On July 13th, Nadine Gordimer, a South African Nobel-Prize winning author passed away. A member of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), Gordimer used her novels to battle against apartheid. Gordimer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. The full story can be found here.
On July 13th, Nadine Gordimer, a South African Nobel-Prize winning author passed away. A member of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), Gordimer used her novels to battle against apartheid. Gordimer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. The full story can be found here.
On July 14th, amid reports that Zambian President Michael Sata is critically ill, the Zambian Government shared a photo of him chairing a cabinet meeting. An Israeli official reported to Reuters on June 26th that President Sata was receiving medical care in the country. He was last seen in public on June 19th. More information on the incident can be read here.
On July 14th, U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura and U.N. Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui applauded DRC President Joseph Kabila’s appointment of a presidential adviser on conflict-related sexual violence and child recruitment in the DRC. According to U.N. officials, the creation of the position, which will be filled by Jeannine Mabunda Lioko Mudiayi, is a demonstration of President Kabila’s commitment to addressing these issues in the DRC. A statement from the U.N. was posted here.
On July 14th, an IMF mission concluded a visit to Luanda, Angola, to conduct discussions for the 2014 Article IV consultation. The mission met with Finance Minister Armando Manuel, Economy Minister Abrahao Gourgel, Commerce Minister Rosa Pacavira, Agriculture Minister Pedro Canga, Social Integration Minister Joao Baptista Kussuma, Construction Minister Waldemar Pires Alexandre, Petroleum Minister Botelho Vasconcelos, and Central Bank Governor Jose Massano. The IMF team noted GDP growth for 2014 is projected to moderate to 3.9% due to a temporary drop in oil production, but is expected to accelerate to 5.9% in 2015 as oil production recovers. More information can be seen here.
On July 14th, Toyota and Ford announced the suspension of production at their South African plants due to the steelworkers strike. Ford closed down one plant and Toyota is suspending all production in the country. Last week, General Motors (GM) was forced to suspend production due to the strike. Mercedes Benz, VW, BMW, and Nissan are all still operating, but indicated they are closely monitoring the situation. The strike has damaged wider investor sentiment in South Africa, and Standard & Poor's cut South Africa's credit rating in June. More information on the strikes can be viewed here.
On July 14th, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) rejected the employers’ offer of a 10 percent increase this year, 9.5 percent in 2015 and 9.0 percent in 2016. NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim responded, noting the union will not accept anything less than a 10 percent annual raise over three years. He also said that the strike could intensify if their demands are not met. Further details on the strike can be found here.
On July 14th, David Jones Ltd shareholders began a crucial meeting to vote on a $2 billion takeover bid from South Africa's Woolworths Holdings Ltd. The takeover, which has already been endorsed by Woolworths’ shareholders and the David Jones board, would propel Woolworths to the status of an aggressive global retail player. Details on the takeover are available here.
On July 15th, an IMF mission concluded a visit to Lilongwe, Malawi, to review recent economic developments, discuss the Government’s policy priorities, and assist with the development of broad parameters to the national budget. While reporting that performance under Malawi’s current Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement has been mixed, the IMF team noted that real GDP growth for 2014 will likely be in the 5-6 percent range and that while inflation remains high, it has been gradually declining in recent months. Additional analysis of Malawi’s economy was provided here.
On July 15th, the DRC launched its first agricultural business park. This initiative has potential to create durable growth and decrease the vulnerability of the mining dependent economy. In 2013, the DRC spent $1.5 billion on food imports. Senior Adviser for Agriculture and Rural Development John Ulimwengu said the objective is to end the DRC’s import dependence. A South African consortium, Africom, will handle the management of the agri-park. More information can be read here.
On July 15th, a spokesperson for South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who has been accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, confirmed that Pistorius had been involved in an argument at a nightclub over the weekend. According to Pistorius’ spokesperson, an argument ensued when businessman Jared Mortimer, who claims Pistorius was drunk, aggressively interrogated him about the murder trial. The incident was reported here.
On July 16th, the World Bank approved a $92.1 million IDA grant to support the fifth phase of the Central African Backbone (CAB) Program in the DRC. The funding will be used to support the construction of missing links in the national fiber optic network in order to connect Kinshasa, Goma, and Lubumbashi. By linking the DRC’s three primary economic hubs, the new network is expected to provide private telecommunications operators the opportunity to offer competitive services on a shared infrastructure network. The financing was announced here.
On July 16th, the World Bank approved a total of $25 million in grants and IDA credit for the Government of Mozambique’s First Programmatic Financial Sector Development Policy Operation (DPO). The DPO will focus on supporting financial stability, financial inclusion, and long term financial markets in Mozambique, helping to increase access to financial services for both households and businesses. More information can be viewed here.
General Africa News
On July 9th, China announced its foreign aid commitments to Africa between 2010 and 2012. More than half of China’s $14 billion of foreign aid was directed to Africa. The Chinese Government also said that unlike other countries their aid does not impose any political conditions. China has previously received negative attention for their support of governments with poor human rights records, like Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Angola. Details on their aid to Africa are available here.
On July 15th, a group of U.K. and Africa-based NGOs released a new report titled, “Honest Accounts: The True Story of Africa’s Billion Dollar Losses.” The report finds that although Africa receives $134 billion each year in loans, foreign investment, and development aid, $192 billion actually ends up leaving the region, leaving a $58 billion shortfall. The full report can be downloaded here.
On July 16th, the National Endowment for Democracy hosted an event titled, “Fostering Democracy, Good Governance, and Human Rights in Africa Through Security Sector Assistance.” Speakers included Christopher Holshek of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Lesley Anne Warner of CAN Corporation, Daniel Hampton of the National Defense University, and Teresa Crawford of Partners for Democratic Change. A recording of the event can be watched here.