Leading the News
U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On August 5th, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the World Bank Group committed $5 billion in new technical and financial support for energy projects in the six, phase I countries of President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. In announcing the new funding, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the new financial commitment was urgently needed to generate more electricity in Africa, where 600 million people lake access to electricity despite the continent’s wealth of hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar resources. The funding was announced here.
On August 6th, the U.S. Department of Commerce ran a blog post highlighting the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which was held last week as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Co-hosted by the Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Forum focused on trade and investment opportunities in Africa. During the event, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker noted several efforts at the Department of Commerce to help more American companies explore opportunities in fast-growing markets in Africa, including through the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) campaign. The blog post can be accessed here. A recoding of Secretary Pritzker’s opening remarks delivered at the Forum can be watched here.
On August 6th, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) hosted a high-speed networking event for American and Africa business leaders, along with representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), to provide feedback on proposed projects. More information was shared here.
On August 7th, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom and Counselor to President Barack Obama John Podesta hosted a roundtable meeting with African leaders on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goal of the Post-2015 Development
Agenda is to promote prosperity, enhance sustainability, and eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Participants included representatives of the African Union’s (AU) High-Level Committee on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Algeria, Benin, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, and Uganda, as well as U.S. Government representatives from the National Security Council (NSC), the State Department, and USAID. Information on the roundtable was reported here.
On August 7th, the State Department issued a press release detailing Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement of plans to commit an additional $10 million for the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance initiative (U.S.-ACEF) as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The program’s goal is to help Africans transition away from traditional sources of energy that contribute to climate change. U.S.-ACEF launched two years ago as a partnership between the Department of State, OPIC, and USTDA to provide early-stage development support for clean energy investments in sub-Saharan Africa. The press release was issued here.
On August 7th, following the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the State Department issued a media note regarding the signing of a Framework for Cooperation on Training for Civilian Security Services with the visiting delegation from Morocco. The goal of the framework is to develop mutual expertise in crisis management, border security, and terrorism investigations, to strengthen regional counterterrorism capabilities, and to deny space to terrorists and terrorist networks. The first joint training is scheduled for September 2014. More information can be found here.
On August 8th, USTDA issued a press release highlighting its work in Africa and its participation in last week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. As Vice President Job Biden noted in his remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, USTDA has funded over 100 infrastructure development activities, which are estimated to have generated over $1 billion in U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa since 2009. During the Summit, USTDA signed a grant agreement for a U.S.-ACEF project with Amahoro Energy, a Rwandan company formed to electrify the Shyira Hospital in the country’s Northern Province and to provide reliable energy to the local population. In addition, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, USTDA launched the 20x20 initiative to support 20 reverse trade missions and trade missions with Africa by 2020. The agency also reaffirmed its commitment to placing a USTDA representative in West Africa for the first time later this year. Additional USTDA initiatives in Africa were highlighted here.
On August 11th, the State Department released a transcript of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tom Kelly’s remarks delivered at last week’s Media Roundtable on Africa Security Issues, which was held as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. He discussed U.S. efforts to provide security assistance to help African partners build more capable and professional militaries, to strengthen international peacekeeping capacity, and to destroy conventional arms and ammunition in Africa. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelly’s remarks can be read here.
On April 13th, the U.S. Department of Commerce published a blog post detailing the findings of the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) “Report on U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment” unveiled during last week’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum. The report finds that sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world and that U.S. exports to the region are at record levels. In addition, the report notes that small and medium-sized businesses are finding success in sub-Saharan Africa and that most export growth to the region is originating from Texas, Louisiana, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Georgia. The full report can be downloaded here.
On August 13th, OPIC published a blog post identifying highlights from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. During last week’s Summit, OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield delivered the keynote address at the Corporate Council on Africa’s Power Africa Luncheon, which drew over 500 attendees and featured Energy Ministers from Kenya, Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire. In addition, during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, Secretary of State John Kerry applauded OPIC’s work on supporting power projects in Africa through the U.S.-ACEF initiative. OPIC also signaled its support for the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in northern Kenya, held bilateral meetings with Africa delegations from Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Lesotho, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Rwanda, Liberia, and Mali, and hosted a networking event to promote OPIC’s finance and political risk insurance products. Additional highlights were identified here.
West Africa Ebola Outbreak
On August 7th, Canadian drug company Tekmira Pharmaceuticals said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) modified a hold recently placed on the drug TMK-Ebola, which could clear the way for use of the drug by patients impacted by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The company has a $140 million contract with the U.S. Government focused on the drug’s development, but the FDA had halted testing of the drug on humans last month due to safety concerns. Developments were reported here.
On August 7th, Director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci announced the Obama Administration is developing an interagency working group to consider setting policy for the use of experimental drugs in treating patients affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The group will be led by Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Dr. Nicole Lurie. The working group will include scientists and other officials from NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new working group was described here.
On August 7th, at the recommendation of the U.S. Embassy in Liberia, the State Department ordered the departure of all eligible family members not employed by the post from Monrovia. The Embassy made the call out of an abundance of caution, following the determination by the Department’s Medical Office that there is a lack of options for routine health care series at major medical facilities due to the Ebola outbreak. In addition, the State Department reiterated its commitment to supporting Liberia and the regional and international efforts to strengthen the capacity of Liberia’s health care system to respond to the Ebola outbreak. Additional information is available here.
On August 8th, the United Nations (U.N.) World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa an international public health emergency. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said the current outbreak is the largest, most severe and complex outbreak in the nearly four decade history of the Ebola disease. Dr. Chan’s comments were captured here.
On August 8th, USAID issued a press release detailing the more than $12 million in additional funding recently announced to help curb the West Africa Ebola outbreak. Since the outbreak was first reported in March 2014, USAID has pledged $14.55 million for response efforts. In addition to the announced deployment of a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to the region, USAID has also committed $7.45 million for personnel support and another $5 million for CDC technical assistance efforts. The press release can be seen here.
On August 9th, Guinea closed its borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone to try to halt the spread of Ebola. Government officials reported that the decision was made to prevent infected people from crossing into Guinea, where at least 367 people have died of Ebola since March. Guinean Minister for International Cooperation Moustapha Koutoub Sano reported that the decision was made in consultation with government officials from Liberia and Sierra Leone. The border closures were announced here.
On August 9th, the New York Times reported on speculation among health researchers that the Ebola outbreak began with a two-year-old boy who died from the disease in Guinea in early December. At the time, no one knew that the boy was suffering from his Ebola, and after his death, his sister and his grandmother experienced similar symptoms and also passed away. The disease was then spread by mourners who attended the funerals and carried the disease to other villages. The full story is available here.
On August 10th, the WHO announced that the number of patients infected by Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria had risen to 1,825. Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” WHO Assistant Director General of Health Security Dr. Keiji Fukuda reported that approximately 900 people had died of Ebola and the death toll is expected to increase. Excerpts from the interview were highlighted here.
On August 11th, the WHO convened a meeting of ethicists and scientists to discuss the use of experimental medicines in addressing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The meeting comes as two American health workers infected with the virus continue to make progress after receiving experimental treatments known as ZMapp. The experts discussed developing a framework regarding experimental medicines, endorsed the recommendation made by the Emergency Committee of International exports
for the current Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and continued to oppose general travel bans, while recommending restrictions regarding Ebola-affected travelers. Details on the meeting were reported here.
On August 11th, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the manufacturer of the experimental Ebola drug, ZMapp, said that the available supply of ZMapp is exhausted after the company provided the drug at no cost to Liberia to treat local doctors who had been infected with Ebola while treating patients. The announcement came as Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued a press release noting that a request for the drugs to treat Liberian doctors was approved on Friday and that Liberia was anticipating additional doses of the treatment to arrive later in the week. The full story can be found here.
On August 11th, in response to the debate over the use of experimental treatments to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the American Action Forum published a blog post calling for greater consideration of state-level right to try laws. While there are still risks to using experimental drugs, the blog post argues that laws such as the ones passed in Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, and Colorado are based on the belief that the right to try such treatments to preserve one’s life is fundamental and that all other political concerns are unimportant. The full blog post can be read here.
On August 12th, following the close of a WHO meeting on the use of experimental medicines to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the WHO issued a statement concluding that the use of experimental drugs to treat individuals suffering from Ebola in West Africa is ethical given the scope and complexity of the outbreak. The WHO also called for additional analysis to inform the appropriate procedures for collecting data, prioritizing the use of experimental treatments, and ensuring fair distribution of drug supplies. The statement was posted here.
On August 13th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a U.N. system-wide coordination meeting on the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. The meeting came as the WHO issued an update noting that between August 10th and 11th, 128 new cases of Ebola and 56 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The latest cases bring the total number of cases to 1,975 and the total number of deaths caused by Ebola virus to 1,069. More information was shared here.
On August 13th, the WHO classified Kenya as a high-risk country for the spread of the deadly Ebola virus to East Africa. The WHO issued its warning, noting that Kenya is a major transport hub that attracts many flights from West Africa, where the Ebola outbreak is currently centered. The WHO’s warning to Kenya was noted here.
On August 13th, the CDC announced that it now has more than 50 disease detectives and other experts on the ground in West Africa battling the Ebola outbreak. Within less than two weeks, the CDC has deployed 14 people to Guinea, 18 in Liberia, 16 in Sierra Leone, and seven in Nigeria, and noted that more than 60 CDC personnel are expected to remain in these four countries continuously. The CDC’s efforts in West Africa were further detailed here.
On August 13th, the New York Times reported on the death of Dr. Modupeh Cole, the second leading doctor in Sierra Leone to fall victim to the Ebola virus. Dr. Cole was infected with Ebola while treating a patient at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown. Health officials in Sierra Leone called the loss of Dr. Cole significant, especially following the earlier death of Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, the virologist who had been leading the fight against Sierra Leone and also succumbed to the disease. More information was reported here.
On August 14th, Nigeria confirmed its 11th case of Ebola after a doctor who treated Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian man who brought Ebola to Lagos, fell ill. In addition, the Nigerian Health Ministry reported that a staff member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who died earlier this week was the third person in Nigeria to die from Ebola. Other Nigerians who have been infected and are receiving treatment are reportedly showing signs of recovery. An update on the Ebola situation in Nigeria was provided here.
On August 8th, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reiterated its
message to armed groups in Libya, encouraging them to immediately end all violations of international law and to engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve their differences. OHCHR expressed deep concern for the deterioration of living conditions in Benghazi and Tripoli, including diminishing supplies of food, fuel, and electricity. In addition, OHCHR reported that frequent indiscriminate shelling of heavily populated areas has led to deaths and injuries. Feedback from OHCHR can be seen here.
On August 12th, the new Libyan parliament voted in favor of having the new Libyan president directly elected by the Libyan people. No date has been set for presidential elections, but lawmakers said they plan to set a date for the vote once the security situation throughout the country has been fully assessed. The full story is available here.
On August 12th, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the ongoing violence in Libya, despite repeated international calls for an immediate ceasefire and the start of political dialogue. UNSMIL expressed deep concern for the growing number of civilian casualties and widespread displacement, shortage of medical supplies, and a downturn in Libya’s economic activity. UNSMIL also denounced attacks against police and army positions and the use of military aircraft in combat. Feedback from UNSMIL was shared here.
On August 12th, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf began her daily press briefing by condemning the assassination of Tripoli’s Police Chief Colonel Mohammed Sweissi. She expressed concern for the ongoing violence in Libya and said that Colonel Sweissi’s murder and other senseless acts of violence against other officials, activists, and citizens threaten to undermine the aspirations of the Libyan people. Deputy Spokesperson Harf also reiterated the need for dialogue to help build a free, prosperous, and democratic Libya. Her comments were transcribed here.
On August 13th, meeting in Tobruk due to fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi, the Libyan parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the U.N. Security Council to intervene in Libya to assist in efforts to protect civilians. In addition, the parliament adopted a measure calling for the disbanding of militia brigades throughout the country and the integration of militia fighters into the Libyan army. Information on the activities in the Libyan parliament was reported here.
On August 13th, the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the U.S. issued a joint statement condemning the ongoing fighting and violence in and around Tripoli, Benghazi, and across Libya. International leaders expressed particular concern regarding the increasing number of attacks against the civilian population and civilian targets that may amount to breaches of international humanitarian law. The statement reiterated calls for an immediate ceasefire and for all parties involved in the conflict to immediately begin peaceful dialogue. The full joint statement was issued here.
On August 8th, the U.N. Security Council issued a Presidential Statement urging South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his political rival Riek Machar to engage in peace talks, perhaps with consultation for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU), and to form a transitional government, which the leaders had previously agreed to launch by August 10th. The Security Council also expressed concern about the security situation and the looming humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. The Presidential Statement can be viewed here.
On August 11th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a press statement expressing concern that rival parties in South Sudan had failed to meet the 60-day timeline to form a transitional government of national unity. Secretary Kerry said this is an example of South Sudanese leaders letting their people down by allowing suffering and war to persist. As a result, more than one million people have been displaced by conflict and South Sudan is at risk of famine. Additionally, Secretary Kerry called on the IGAD and the AU to immediately take action to bring peace to South Sudan. Secretary Kerry’s full statement can be read here.
On August 12th, the U.N. provided additional information on the U.N. Security Council’s visit to South Sudan. While in South Sudan, members of the Security Council met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his political rival, former Vice President Riek Machar. Members of the U.N. Security Council reiterated that the U.N. remains ready to impose sanctions against anyone who undermines the
ongoing peace talks to stop the conflict, which began in mid-December and has displaced more than 1.5 million people and left more than 7 million at risk of hunger and disease. The Security Council’s trip to South Sudan was further detailed here.
On August 12th, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice issued a statement on humanitarian aid to South Sudan. She announced the U.S. will provide approximately $180 million to South Sudan, which is now facing the worst food insecurity in the world. The new assistance includes funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, as well as funds that will allow USAID to provide aid to those most in need. In addition, National Security Advisor Rice reiterated the U.S. Government’s call for South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to immediately end the conflict in South Sudan and to prevent further suffering. National Security Advisor Rice’s statement was posted here.
On August 12th, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power visited South Sudan as part of a U.N. Security Council delegation to assess humanitarian conditions as the conflict between South Sudanese Government forces and forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar continues. Ambassador Power warned that the U.N. Security Council could impose sanctions on South Sudanese leaders if human rights violations continue. She also urged government representatives and rebels to take peace talks seriously. Ambassador Power’s visit to South Sudan was summarized here.
On August 13th, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf provided an overview of the U.N. Security Council’s visit to South Sudan this week. She said the Security Council has warned South Sudanese leaders that politically and ethnically motivated violence puts the country at risk of famine and criticized leaders for their failure to meet their previously agreed-upon commitments. Deputy Spokesperson Harf also said that both the U.N. and the U.S. Government are considering additional sanctions to target individuals who are impeding the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan. Deputy Spokesperson Harf’s comments were transcribed here.
Central African Republic
On August 8th, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that recent fighting in Batangafo, Central African Republic (CAR) has caused more people to flee the area and an inter-agency assistance mission will deploy to Batangafo next week to assess the situation on the ground. The most recent clashes between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka elements have left roughly 20,000 people displaced. The violence is also hindering access for humanitarian actors. An update on the situation in the CAR is available here.
United States – Africa Relations
Office of Management and Budget
On August 11th, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule that would lift a ban on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to seek training in nuclear science. The ban was enacted following a rise in Libyan terror activities in the late 1980s. The rule must now be signed by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. The rule can be accessed here.
On August 6th, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin delivered remarks at the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Showcase. In his remarks, Assistant Secretary Rivkin highlighted the successes of AWEP – Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE). Assistant Secretary Rivkin’s remarks were transcribed here.
On August 7th, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement marking the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed over 200 people and wounded thousands more. Secretary Kerry said the anniversary is a reminder of the ongoing terrorist threat in Africa and around the world, as well as an opportunity to reaffirm the
commitment to partner with allies to confront it. Secretary Kerry’s full statement was posted here.
On August 7th, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks congratulating Cote d’Ivoire on the celebration of its national day. Secretary Kerry said the U.S. and Cote d’Ivoire have been partners for more than half a century and bilateral bonds have grown stronger as the U.S. and Cote d’Ivoire continue to work together to promote democracy and prosperity in West Africa. Secretary Kerry’s full remarks can be read here.
On August 7th, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom met with the head of Sierra Leone’s delegation to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Dr. Samura Kamara. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom also met with Malawian President Arthur Peter Mautharika and with the delegation visiting from Madagascar. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom’s meetings were noticed here.
On August 7th, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin and Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Agapito Mba Mokuy signed an Open Skies air services agreement liberalizing the bilateral aviation relationship. The agreement creates opportunities for strengthening the economic partnership between the U.S. and Equatorial Guinea through closer links in transport and trade by eliminating restrictions on how often carriers fly, the kind of aircraft they use, and the prices they charge. More information can be viewed here.
On August 7th, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin met with HSBC Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Simon Williams, at the Department of State. The meeting was listed on the Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here.
On August 7th, U.S. Ambassador-At-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism Tina Kaidanow and Moroccan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mbaraka Bouaida signed a Framework for Cooperation on Training for Civilian Security Services at the Moroccan Embassy, in Washington, DC. The signing ceremony was noted here.
On August 7th, the State Department issued a press release on the signing of a bilateral agreement with Somalia providing $1.9 million to support Somali-led efforts in broad, national security sector reform through support to police development initiatives. Last week’s signing ceremony was attended by U.S. Special Representative for Somalia James McAnulty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcements Todd Robinson, and Somali Finance Minister Hussein Abdi Halane. The main focus of the new agreement will be to provide support to the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of the Somali National Police Force, to build technical capacity to investigate complex crimes, effectively prepare cases for prosecutions, and provide on the job mentoring to mid-to-senior members of CID to ensure sustainability. The press release was posted here.
On August 9th, the U.S. hosted West African partners from Benin, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Togo at the Department of State for a forum on transnational organized crime. During the meeting, U.S. and West African partners affirmed a shared commitment to cooperatively addressing transnational organized crime in West Africa, with the U.S. offering to continue to provide technical assistance to build effective and accountable government institutions and an active civil society that can play a role in combatting drug trafficking, corruption, and money laundering. The forum was described here.
On August 9th, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf issued a press statement expressing concern for the threatening remarks made by Swaziland Prime Minister Sibusio Barnabas Dlamini toward Swazi labor and civil society leaders who participated in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The State Department believes such remarks have a chilling effect on labor and civil rights in Swaziland. Deputy Spokesperson Harf called upon the Government of Swaziland to renounce the Prime Minister’s remarks and to ensure respect for constitutional rights. The press statement can be seen here.
On August 11th, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf noted that the State Department was aware that representatives from Human Rights Watch were denied entry into Egypt. She said it is critical for civil society organizations, Egyptian and international, to be able to work freely in Egypt. Deputy Spokesperson Harf added that the U.S. Government was disappointed that these individuals were not allowed to do so and U.S. officials continue to have serious concerns regarding freedoms for
civil society in Egypt. Deputy Spokesperson Harf’s comments were transcribed here.
U.S. Agency for International Development
On August 13th, USAID’s Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Susan Markham authored a post for USAID’s Impact Blog on the importance of ensuring girls in Africa access to education. Senior Coordinator Markham reflected on her visit to Zambia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last month with Dr. Jill Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and Ambassador At-Large for Global Women’s issues, where she observed firsthand many of the obstacles in allowing girls to attend school. The full blog post can be read here.
Department of Defense
On August 6th, the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) hosted a basic health care class at Grand Douda Health Clinic in Djibouti. The class covered a number of topics, including hand washing, the symptoms of common diseases in the area, such as tuberculosis, malaria, and pneumonia, and healthy eating. The course also taught participants how to care for heat casualties and perform the Heimlich maneuver. Details were provided here.
On August 8th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) staff members and their families participated in the fourth annual AFRICOM Olympics. Volunteers from each AFRICOM directorate worked together to organize the event, which was planned to provide staff members from AFRICOM, Special Operation Command-Africa (SOCAF), and Marine Forces Africa (MARFORAF) with opportunities to build camaraderie while enjoying social activities. MARFORAF beat out teams from nine other directors in 21 different events. The AFRICOM Olympics were detailed here.
On August 11th, U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California, welcomed a group of ten senior military officers from various African nations as part of an ongoing military-to-military (M2M) familiarization program sponsored by AFRICOM. The weeklong program was designed to extend the participants’ knowledge of the U.S. military through hands-on exchanges with Marines in a training environment. Participants hailed from Kenya, Tunisia, Madagascar, the Republic of Congo (ROC), Ethiopia, Botswana, Gabon, and Comoros. The full story is available here.
On August 12th, members of the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco visited AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The visit was intended to strengthen the relationship between U.S. and Moroccan forces and to increase operational capabilities. During the visit, Moroccan military personnel visited AFRICOM’s joint operations center and command center. More information was shared here.
Department of Commerce
On August 8th, the Department of Commerce announced that global aerospace, government, and defense contractor AAR has finalized a five-year deal with Kenya Airways to provide power-by-the-hour component support for its fleet of 737NG aircraft, while AAR places inventory on site in Nairobi and offers additional support from the company’s location in Brussels. As part of the DBIA campaign, Department of Commerce staff in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya provided commercial advocacy in support of the arrangement. More information can be viewed here.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On August 7th, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Dana Hyde delivered remarks at the Corporate Council on Africa Luncheon honoring Ghanaian President John Mahama. CEO Hyde reflected on the events held last week as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and highlighted the signing of a $498 million MCC compact with Ghana focused on the energy sector. Her remarks were transcribed here.
On August 11th, the MCC shared a summary of the results of the Rural Water Supply Activity included as part of the MCC’s five-year, $506.9 million compact with Mozambique. Of the total compact, $12.9 million was allocated for the construction and reconstruction of 600 improved water points in rural communities and the mobilization of water committees to maintain water point infrastructure and provide
community-based training in improved sanitation and hygiene practices. The program was reviewed here.
On August 11th, members of the House Judiciary Committee, including Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), issued a statement on the OMB’s approval of a DHS rule that would lift a longstanding prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. Congressman Goodlatte, Gowdy, and Chaffetz argued that while the Administration justified the lift on the ban by claiming that the U.S. relationship with Libya has improved, the terror threat posed by Libya continues. Their statement can be read here.
On August 7th, the World Bank issued its Quarterly Economic Brief for the Middle East & North Africa region. The report finds that Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya are trapped in a “poor policy – poor growth cycle” that is preventing their economies from achieving a sustainable growth path. The report details that growth continues to be week because North African economies cannot generate enough jobs, fiscal deficits remain high, and public debts are growing at a faster pace. The full report can be downloaded here.
On August 7th, AU-U.N. Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas briefed the U.N. Security Council on developments in the Darfur region of Sudan. Special Representative Chambas reported that the national dialogue proposed by Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir represents an opportunity to resolve the crisis in Sudan. He also encouraged the U.N. Security Council to play a more proactive role in supporting the national dialogue. Excerpts from the briefing were highlighted here.
On August 10th, USA Today reported that Egypt is operating a secret prison called Al Azouly where political opponents have been interrogated and tortured since the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by now Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi. The prison, which is reportedly located inside the headquarters of the Second Field Army Command outside of Cairo, is suspected to hold many Egyptians who have mysteriously disappeared from their homes, universities, and places of business. The full article can be read here.
On August 11th, AU-U.N. Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas said that intercommunal violence in Darfur continues to threaten stability in the region, despite the recent decline in fighting between government forces and armed movements. Special Representative Chambas stressed that criminal acts and violence have made it difficult for peacekeepers to carry out their mission, and is also making displaced persons increasingly vulnerable and putting humanitarian personnel at risk. Special Representative Chambas’ comments were recorded here.
On August 12th, during Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi’s official visit to Russia, Egypt and Russia finalized bilateral agreements on agriculture and arms sales. President Sisi agreed to increase agricultural exports to Russia by 30 percent, while Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to deliver Russian military equipment, including 24 fighter jets, anti-tank missile systems, and attack helicopters to Egypt. The deals were detailed here.
On August 12th, Human Rights Watch released a new report on “The Rab’a Massacre and Mass Killings of Protestors in Egypt.” The report documents the way the Egyptian police and army responded to the crowds of demonstrators opposed to the military’s July 3rd ouster of Mohamed Morsi and concludes that the systemic and widespread killing of at least 1,150 demonstrators by Egyptian security forces amounts to crimes against humanity. The full report can be accessed here.
On August 13th, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak spoke publicly for the first time since he was ousted from power more than three years ago during an appearance in court related to charges that he was complicit in the killing of anti-government protestors. Appearing on a hospital bed in court, President Mubarak claimed he was not forced from power, but relinquished power voluntarily. He also argued that
he would never order the killing of demonstrators and said that protestors were seeking to drive a wedge between the Egyptian people and the armed forces. Highlights from President Mubarak’s appearance in court were noted here.
On August 13th, the Sudanese Health Ministry announced that 77 people were killed and 227 others injured by heavy rain and flooding throughout the country. In total, 51 localities in 15 states have been affected by heavy rain and flooding, and the impacts are thought to have affected as many as 36,256 households, with the worst devastation in the Khartoum, Kassala, River Nile, North Darfur, and White Nile areas. In response to the flooding, the Health Ministry is carrying out environmental sanitation campaigns. More information can be found here.
On August 8th, U.N. independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia Bahame Tom Nyanduga warned that the food shortage in Somalia is worsening and encouraged the international community to act quickly to avoid a repeat of the 2011 famine. The Somali Government has already declared drought in seven regions and warns that as many as 250,000 people could be vulnerable to famine. More information can be viewed here.
On August 11th, Venture Burn profiled the WinSenga app, a low-cost smartphone-based tool developed in Uganda to help midwives in low-resource settings to effectively and accurately monitor the health of an unborn child during antenatal care and labor. The app was first conceptualized as part of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition, which tasked student developers with envisioning new applications for innovative technology. The app was officially launched in 2013 and is now the flagship product of East African startup company Cipher 256 Co. More information was reported here.
On August 13th, members of the U.N. Security Council arrived in Mogadishu, Somalia, led by Security Council President U.K. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant and Nigerian Ambassador Usman Sakri to review progress in the country and to demonstrate the international commitment to sustainable peace in Somalia. Security Council members met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, among other government officials, senior representatives for the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and members of Somalia’s civil society. An overview of the Security Council’s visit to Somalia was provided here.
On August 13th, Eritrean opposition group, Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), pledged to carry out attacks as part of an effort to topple the ruling regime in the country. Following a three-day conference, the group agreed to remove President Isaias Afwerki, who has ruled for 23 years, from power, after accusing him of being a dictator and intensifying an ethnic cleansing strategy against Afar minorities. The full story is available here.
On August 6th, the World Bank Group signed agreements with the Tobene Independent Power Project in Senegal. The agreements will finance a 96 megawatt power plant that will provide power to more than one and a half million residents in Senegal. Details can be found here.
On August 8th, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Min Zhu noted that IMF Management has received a formal request from Ghanaian authorities to initiate discussions on an economic program that could be supported by the IMF. Deputy Managing Director Zhu said the IMF stands ready to help Ghana face its economic challenges and plans to send a team to Ghana in early September to initiate discussions on a program. A statement from Deputy Managing Director Zhu was posted here.
On August 10th, French forces dropped four or five bombs in the Esssakane region of Mali where Al Qaeda militants have recently been active. Many ethnic Tuareg separatists also reside in northern Mali. The military operation was part of newly announced French efforts to stop the emergence of militant groups in Africa’s Sahel region. More information was shared here.
On August 10th, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, a Nigerian youth leader of the Niger Delta Peoples
Volunteer Force (NDPVF) denied allegations that he planned the recent bombings in Kaduna, Nigeria, to assassinate former President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of next year’s elections. Dokubo-Asari retaliated that these accusations, as well as past accusations of his financing of Boko Haram, were orchestrated by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to undermine his support for President Goodluck Jonathan. The full story is available here.
On August 12th, OHCHR expressed concern regarding The Gambia’s postponement of a planned visit by U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Mendez and U.N. Independent Expert on summary, extrajudicial, and arbitrary executions Christof Heyns. The visit was scheduled for August 12th-18th. According to a letter issued by the Government of Gambia, the visit was canceled due to an unexpected commitment. U.N. officials are seeking additional information. The U.N.’s reaction to the decision was posted here.
On August 12th, the Society for International Development hosted an event on “The Future of Africa, In Review.” This discussion, which featured former Ghanaian Health Minister Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, former Ghanaian Deputy Ambassador to the U.S. and Brazil Daniel Yaw Adjei, and U.S. State Department Academic Exchange Officer Elizabeth Latham, sought to summarize the highlights of the U.S.-Africa Summit and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Summit. Event details can be seen here.
On August 13th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Maria do Valle Ribeiro of Ireland as his Deputy Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau. She will also serve as U.N. Resident Coordinator and U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in the country. Special Representative Ribeiro has more than 25 years of development and humanitarian experience and has previously held positions with the U.N. and international NGOs operating in Africa. Her appointment was announced here.
On August 14th, a French Army Spokesperson said that French Special Forces captured three suspected Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) members during an operation conducted near Timbuktu on Sunday. The suspects, who are now being questioned, are thought to be non-Malian nationals, possibly from Somalia, Chad, and Tunisia. Their capture was announced here.
On August 6th, U.N. Special Representative for Burundi Parfait Onanga-Anyanga briefed the U.N. Security Council on the efforts underway in Burundi to ensure an inclusive political climate ahead of the upcoming 2015 elections. Of particular concern, Special Representative Onanga-Anyanga called attention to the lack of political dialogue in Burundi on issues of national concern, as well as the persistence of a number of laws restricting freedom of expression and assembly. Highlights from the briefing were noted here.
On August 7th, Mary Robinson appeared before the U.N. Security Council for the last time as Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region to provide an update on the situation in the DRC. Special Envoy Robinson noted that the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region offers solutions to cycles of conflict in the region, but it will take time to achieve full implementation. U.N. Special Representative to the DRC Martin Kobler also appeared before the Security Council and reported on the progress that has been made in dispelling various armed groups in the country. An article on the briefing can be read here.
On August 8th, the defense for the Oscar Pistorius murder trial concluded its arguments before the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Lawyers for Pistorius said that his killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was a mistake that warrants a charge less than murder. Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa will reconvene the trial on September 11th, when she is expected to deliver her ruling. The closing arguments in the case were detailed here.
On August 11th, the New York Times reported on the success of the four-year old, $130 million, U.S. Government Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which has sought to strengthen medical education programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Through MEPI, 13 African academic institutions in 12 countries have received grants that have been used to increase student enrollment, develop research
capacity, and broaden curriculums. Details were shared here.
On August 12th, Chief Veterinarian for South Africa’s Kruger National Park Markus Hofmeyr announced plans to deport as many as 500 rhinos to Zambia and Botswana as part of an effort to protect the animals from poachers. Kruger National Park has seen 403 rhino deaths this year due to poaching. The relocation of the rhinos is expected to cost as much as $1,500 per rhino. More information can be viewed here.
On August 12th, in response to the conflict in Gaza, former South African President Thabo Mbeki called on South Africans to boycott Israeli goods to show solidarity with the Palestinians. President Mbeki called for action, saying that about 2,000 people, mostly Palestinians, have been killed in Gaza since July. While South Africa has traditionally supported Palestine, President Mbeki cautioned that it will be important for South Africa to continue to engage with Israel to find a solution to the continuing violence. President Mbeki’s comments were recorded here.
On August 12th, the World Bank reported on the successes of the Rwanda Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI), which was launched as a pilot project in 2012 to boost job skills and incomes among disadvantaged women and girls. While the project is still in its pilot stage, more than 2,000 women and girls will have completed training programs by September. Many participants have also already been successful in landing competitive jobs and internships with local industries. More information is available here.
On August 13th, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) Vincent Ncongwane said union members planned to protest Minister of Labor and Social Security Winnie Magagula’s appearance before Swaziland’s parliament on Thursday. The union is demonstrating in response to the U.S. decision to make Swaziland ineligible for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) benefits because of the country’s poor human rights record. By the union’s calculations, the policy change will result in the loss of 17,000 jobs in Swaziland. More information can be seen here.
On August 13th, the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa announced the death of Africa’s last polar bear. Zookeepers reported that the bear had to be put down due to liver and heart failure. The Zoo further reported that it does not have plans to replace the polar bear because of climactic considerations. Details can be seen here.
General Africa News
On August 8th, the World Bank Group and the African Union Commission (AUC) signed a $25 million International Development Association (IDA) grant for the Support for Capacity Development of the AUC and other AU Organs Project. The agreement was signed by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and AUC Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The project will focus on internal staffing and management systems and supporting external partnerships and programs to strengthen regional economic development initiatives in regional trade, energy, infrastructure, governance, and natural resource management. A press release was issued here.
On August 11th, The Guardian reported on recent research that finds involving women in peacekeeping efforts can increase the probability that violence will end by 24 percent. Statistics provided by U.N. women reveal that only about 4 percent of current participants in peace processes are women. The research finds that women are more likely to develop comprehensive peace pans that holistically address societal needs, while men focus more narrowly on satisfying the opposing parties in conflict. Of particular interests, the article highlights how women can be an effective part of the peace process in South Sudan. The full article can be read here.
On August 12th, the Spanish Coast Guard rescued 681 illegal African immigrants from 70 inflatable boats off the coast of Spain. On Monday, 300 additional migrants were found on rafts in the area. Since August 11th, 980 immigrants have been transferred to the port of Tarifa in Spain. More information can be found here.
On August 13th, the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) issued a new report titled “Keeping Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa (KTAA) – Targeted Fiscal Stimulus Actions Making a Difference.” The report
details the implications of climate change and provides examples of adaptation projects related to forest ecosystem management, aquatics, and agriculture. The report finds that adapting to climate change will promote the livelihood of 65 percent of Africans, while failing to do so could reverse decades of development progress on the continent. The report’s findings were summarized here.
On August 13th, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released its “Generation 2030 Africa” report. The new report estimates that by the end of this century, 40 percent of the world’s population will be African, up from 15 percent currently. While the continent’s current population totals roughly 1.2 billion, UNICEF projects the population will grow to more than 4 billion by 2100. The full report can be downloaded here.
On August 13th, the most recent European Media and Marketing survey (EMS) found that more than 80 percent of Africa’s most affluent individuals would be willing to pay more for premium and well-known brands. The survey also found that about 3.4 million of highest earners in Africa follow global trends and embrace digital media. Additional findings from the survey were noted here.
On August 13th, Think Africa Press suggested that Africa might be able to drastically improve its health care infrastructure by modifying the current features of its health care systems, as opposed to building more hospitals and training more clinicians. For example, the article recommends that Africa should take greater advantage of online medical programs and telehealth technologies. The article was published here.
On August 13th, the Society for International Development hosted a panel discussion entitled “A New Strategy for Civil Society Development for Africa” to examine new approaches to civil society capacity building and how they should influence development strategies in how to engage and support civil society organizations. Participants included Lars Benson of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Jeremy Meadows, a Senior Democracy Specialist for USAID, Natalie Ross of the Aga Khan Foundation, and Richard O’Sullivan of the Society for International Development. More information can be found here.
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