Leading the News
On July 3rd-4th, more than 60 Nigerian girls abducted two weeks ago by Boko Haram escaped. Nigerian Government representatives confirmed the escape in meetings with some of the escapees and their families at the hospital in Lassa. It had been originally reported that 60 girls and 30 boys were kidnapped, but later reports clarified that 71 girls and women and no boys were abducted. More information can be viewed here.
On July 4th, a suicide bomber in Konduga, Nigeria, killed five people. The suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives near a mosque and detonated the explosives when local vigilantes stopped the truck to inspect it. The mosque was full of thousands of worshippers at the time of the attack. Details on the attack can be seen here.
On July 5th, the Nigerian military reported that it killed 53 Boko Haram fighters. The fighters attempted to attack the Damboa base and soldiers repelled the raid with only five reported losses. It should be noted that the military often reports high casualty figures for the fighters and low ones for itself, and it is usually impossible to verify the reports independently. Details are available here.
On July 8th, Reuters reported that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s public relations campaign has failed in Nigeria and abroad. Facing criticism in Nigeria and internationally for the failure to protect citizens from terrorists, President Johnson launched a public relations campaign and hired a U.S. public relations firm. President Jonathan’s recent opinion piece in the Washington Post has led to further criticism of his wasteful spending on a public relations campaign. The full report can be read here.
On July 9th, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan filled all of the vacancies in his cabinet resulting from a cabinet reshuffle last year. Former Governor of Kano state Ibrahim Shakarau was appointed Minister of Education, while Steve Oruh will serve as Minister for the Niger Delta. A former candidate in Ekiti state’s gubernatorial election, Abdebayo Adeyeye was named Minister of State for Works, and Abdul Bulama will serve as Minister of Science and Technology. All four newly appointed ministers are close allies of President Jonathan and may enhance his chances to win another term in next year’s presidential contest. The appointments were announced here.
On July 3rd, Mohamed Mohamud Heyd, a member of the Somali Parliament (MP), and his bodyguard were killed in a drive-by shooting in Mogadishu, Somalia. MP Hyde had been traveling to a parliamentary meeting when the attack occurred. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. MP Heyd is the third lawmaker killed by Al Shabaab this year. Details on the incident are available here.
On July 5th, four people were killed when a car filled with explosives blew up near the Parliament building in Mogadishu, Somalia. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. Captain Mohammed Hussein reported that the car exploded at a checkpoint where Somali troops had stopped it. The dead included soldiers and refugees from a camp near the checkpoint. Al Shabaab did not reveal what the intended target was, but they have increased their attacks on members of parliament in recent weeks. More information on the attack was shared here.
On July 5th, United Nations (U.N.) Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay issued a statement condemning the attack on the Somali Parliament and all of the Al Shabaab attacks during Ramadan. He commended the work of Somali security forces and called on all Somalis to work with authorities to prevent further attacks. Finally, he reiterated the U.N.’s commitment to working with the Somali Government, the African Union (AU) Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and international partners to protect the Somali people. The Secretary-General’s statement can be read here.
On July 8th, Al Shabaab militants attacked Somalia’s presidential compound with a car bomb and gunmen broke through a perimeter wall. To enter the compound and detonate the bomb, the attackers passed through four heavily guarded checkpoints. Following the explosion, Al Shabaab members briefly seized the Prime Minister’s office. The attackers were eventually subdued by AU and Somali Security forces. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was not in the compound at the time of the attack. The Somali Government reported that five Al Shabaab attackers were killed in the incident, while Al Shabaab’s spokesperson said that 14 soldiers were killed. The incident was reported here.
On July 8th, the State Department issued a statement condemning the attack against Villa Somalia, the headquarters and residence of several Somali government officials in Mogadishu. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said incidents such as this demonstrate that insecurity in Mogadishu persists and that the threat of Al Shabaab is real. She said the U.S. will continue to support the efforts of the Somali National Security forces and AMISOM, who helped to stop the attacks against the presidential compound and prevent further harm. The full statement can be seen here.
On July 9th, Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed fired police and intelligence chiefs following the attack on the presidential compound. In addition, he announced the appointment of Khalif Ahmed Ereg, a former intelligence chief, to serve as the new National Security Minister. The full story can be read here.
On July 9th, U.N. Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay condemned the Al Shabaab attack on the Somali presidential palace. Following meetings with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, Special Representative Kay said that political progress in Somalia will only be possible with the unity of the political institutions that are currently under attack. In addition, he pledged continued U.N. support for Somalia as the country strives for peace and stability. Special Representative Kay’s comments can be viewed here.
On July 5th, gunmen killed at least 29 people in raids of the Lamu and Gamba areas of Kenya. Nine people were killed in Lamu county and 20 people were killed in the Gamba area. Al Shabaab took credit for the attacks, but the Kenya Government believes the Mombasa Republic Movement (MRC) was responsible. MRC denied any involvement and said the Government was using them as a scapegoat. Following the attacks, approximately 500 families fled the area. The full story is available here.
On July 7th, thousands of people protested in Nairobi against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s rule. The opposition group, Coalition for Reforms of Democracy, organized the rally. Protestors demanded
national talks on security, economic reforms to address the rising cost of living, and plans to address corruption. Some people also asked for the President’s resignation. Approximately 15,000 security officers met the protestors and some businesses and schools did not open due to fear of riots. The protest was relatively peaceful although some youths threw stones and the police responded with tear gas. More information on the rally can be read here.
On July 7th, armed assailants attacked police camps and nearby homes and businesses in Kenya’s Lamu county. No deaths have been reported. Residents of the area said they saw leaflets bearing the emblem of Al Shabaab. Details of on the attack were shared here.
On July 2nd, federal prosecutors released their motion arguing for Libyan terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khattalah’s detention pending trail. They argued that because of the gravity of his offense and his continued efforts to target American personnel, there would be a significant public security threat if he was released. The prosecutors also argued that given his tendency towards violence and his ability to communicate with similar-minded individuals, his detention is the only means to neutralize the threat. The motion was posted here.
On July 8th, Ahmed Abu Khattalah briefly appeared in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, where U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper indicated that new charges were being prepared against the Ansar al-Sharia leader. This marks Khattalah’s third time in court since his capture on June 15th. He is not due back in court again until September 9th, when Judge Cooper is expected to review the status of pre-trial proceedings, including how evidence is being shared with the defense. Updates on the case can be viewed here.
Central African Republic
On July 3rd, a U.N. assessment of the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) revealed that one in three children suffer malnutrition. This is a rate twice as high as the 15 percent considered critical in most emergency situations. The mortality rate of children suffering from acute malnutrition in May of 2014 was 24 percent. Details on the report are available here.
On July 3rd, the U.N. International Children’s Education Fund discussed their partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to bring urgent supplies to children in the CAR. The agencies have airlifted a cargo plane with over 186 metric tons of emergency supplies for Children in Bangui. They have also already planned a second airlift that is scheduled to arrive in two weeks. Details on the operation can be seen here.
On July 7th, ex-Seleka rebel fighters attacked a church compound in Bambari where thousands of civilians were seeking refuge. A priest at the Cathedral said the attackers believed that anti-Balaka refugees were inside. An ex-Seleka official said the attack was revenge for a clash that resulted in the death of a Muslim civilian. The French forces said that they intervened, but the Catholic Church’s Dembele accused them of not stepping in to prevent the attack. The full story can be read here.
On July 8th, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said that deteriorating conditions in the CAR are creating difficulties for relief workers trying to deliver humanitarian assistance. The security situation has been made worse by drought, especially in the northwestern part of the county. In addition, U.N. air service to the CAR has been limited to one flight per week due to a lack of fuel supplies. An update from WFP was issued here.
On July 9th, the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) condemned the brutal attack on the Saint Joseph Cathedral and the Bishop’s residence in Bambari. MINUSCA reported that as many as 6,000 people may have been sheltering at the church at the time of the attack, and that at least 27 people were killed. MINUSCA’s response to the attack was shared here.
On July 3rd, the U.N. Disasters Emergency Committee reported that member agencies have less than
half the funds needed to prevent South Sudan’s food crisis from getting worse. If more aid is not delivered, South Sudan may face famine by August. The U.N. International Children's Emergency Fund reported in April that almost 250,000 children in South Sudan will suffer severe acute malnutrition this year if further action is not taken. The full story can be viewed here.
On July 3rd, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering at its bases will remain high over the next several months because of the security situation and the growing food crisis. As of December, UNMISS opened its gates to unarmed civilians facing an imminent threat of physical violence. UNMISS did not expect the current scenario to last for such a prolonged time and the bases were not prepared to house so many IDPs. Many of the sites are incredibly congested, worsening the already poor sanitary and health situations. The UNMISS update was posted here.
On July 4th, the U.N. WFP warned that the rains and the ongoing fighting are pushing South Sudan towards a hunger catastrophe. The agency is experiencing serious challenges transporting food to deep field locations due to security concerns. Also, the rains have hampered WFP’s ability to pre-position food prior to the rainy season. Because of the inaccessibility of roads in almost two-thirds of the country, WFP is airlifting food, but special operation requires $17 million and ten aircraft. Thus far, WFP has provided support to 1.2 million people, but faces a funding shortage of $419 million. More information can be seen here.
On July 8th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on the occasion of the third anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. Secretary-General Ban that the conflict that broke out in December 2013 is continuing in contrast to the expectations of the South Sudanese people when they earned their independence. Secretary Ban reminded South Sudanese leaders that the crisis is man-made and it is their responsibility to stop it. Secretary-General Ban’s statement can be read here.
On July 9th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement in recognition of South Sudan’s third independence day. Secretary Kerry said that South Sudan’s promise of a more peaceful and prosperous future is being threatened by the current conflict. He reflected on his visit to South Sudan in May and his message to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar on honoring the cessation of hostilities agreement. In addition, Secretary Kerry encouraged South Sudan to use the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace process to end the conflict and establish a transitional government. Secretary Kerry’s statement on South Sudan’s independence day can be found here.
On July 10th, while visiting South Sudan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard announced nearly $22 million in additional assistance for refugees and IDPs in South Sudan and South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. This new contribution will allow international and non-governmental organizations to provide basic life support, employment training, gender-based violence prevention, and programs for child protection. The new funding brings U.S. humanitarian assistance to South Sudan in FY14 to more than $456 million. Details can be accessed here.
On July 2nd, a criminal court in Cairo, Egypt, convicted Abdullah Morsi, the youngest son of former President Mohamed Morsi, on charges of drug possession and consumption, and sentenced him and a friend to a year in prison. The two were also fined $1,400. Details can be viewed here.
On July 3rd, Al Jazeera reported on the escalation of censorship during the first year of President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi’s Administration. Activists from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Amnesty International, Merit Publishing, the People of Alexandria, and Egyptian Media Production City said censorship has increased significantly since President Sisi took power. Newspaper articles, books, and TV programs from liberal media programs have been cut and journalists are prosecuted. At least 14 journalists are currently being held in prison. The Al Jazeera feature was posted here.
On July 3rd, arrested journalist Peter Greste’s parents shared the details of their prison visit in Egypt. Greste’s parents were allowed to visit him for 45 minutes earlier this week. His parents said Greste
seemed somber and described the day as the most difficult day of their lives. Greste was arrested in in December. More details on their visit are available here.
On July 5th, Mohamed Badie, the spiritual leader of Muslim Brotherhood, was sentenced to life in prison for inciting violence in street protests last year. Judge Hassan Farid said Badie was attempting to achieve terrorist goals. This is Badie’s third sentence. He previously received two death sentences. More information on Badie’s most recent sentencing is available here.
On July 6th, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi told reporters he wished journalists jailed in Egypt were deported rather than tried. He said the sentencing of journalists had a very negative effect. President Sisi did not mention any specific journalists, although his statement came less than two weeks after the sentencing of Al Jazeera journalists, Peter Greste, an Australian citizen, Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen. The full story was shared here.
On July 6th, demonstrators in Egypt blocked roads across the country and taxi drivers in several cosmopolitan areas went on strike in protest to the Egyptian Government’s decision to end energy subsidies, which has resulted in an increase in fuel prices by more than 70 percent. Meanwhile, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb defended the subsidy cuts, which are expected to save $7 billion over the coming year and will generate revenue to be spent on education, health care, pensions, and wage increases. The situation was detailed here.
On July 10th, Egyptian officials opened the Rafah border crossing to Gaza to receive Palestinians that have been wounded by Israeli airstrikes. The crossing has been closed due to deteriorating security in the Sinai and increased activity by Islamist insurgents. Hospitals in north Sinai have been put on standby to receive the wounded Palestinians. The border opening was reported here.
On July 4th, Senegalese President Macky Sall removed Prime Minister Aminata Toure after she failed to win a seat in local elections. Prime Minister Toure held the post since September and was trying to defeat the Socialist mayor, Khalifa Sall, of the capital of Grand Yoff. In general, the ruling Alliance for the Republic party (APR) performed poorly in big cities during the elections because of public discontent with President Sall. Details on the election are available here.
On July 6th, Senegalese President Macky Sall appointed Mohammed Dionne as Prime Minister. Dione previously worked with the Central Bank of West African States and the U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Dione is Senegal’s third prime minister since March 2012. More information on the appointment was posted here.
United States – Africa Relations
Planning for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On July 2nd, USAID provided an update on planning for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which will be hosted by President Barack Obama on August 5th-6th in Washington, DC. The theme of the Summit will be investing in the next generation and events will build on President Obama’s trip to Africa last summer by advancing the focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlighting the U.S. commitment to Africa’s security, democratic development, and the ideas of young people. On August 5th, President Obama will host all African leaders for dinner at the White House and on August 6th, African delegations will participate in government leader sessions at the State Department. In addition, First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush will co-host a program for the spouses of African leaders. More information can be found here.
On July 8th, former Congressman Toby Moffett (D-CT), now at Mayer Brown, LLP, and Aubrey Hruby of the Atlantic Council co-authored an opinion piece for The Huffington Post suggesting ways to ensure the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is a success. The op-ed encourages U.S. Government officials to ensure important audiences for African leaders, focus sessions on making the Power Africa initiative more effective, spend time developing partnerships to address terrorism, and use social media to engage young people in the U.S. and Africa in the discussions. The full article can be accessed here.
On July 9th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield participated in a Live@State briefing to discuss the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI), and other topics with African journalists. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield also delivered the keynote address on U.S.-Africa policy to the Affinity Group Thursday Luncheon Group, and met with representatives from the African Diplomatic Corps to discuss the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield’s schedule was detailed here.
On July 10th, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton reiterated that the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is still set to proceed without Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. When invitations were sent in January, U.S. officials indicated that President Mugabe would not receive an invitation because he is currently a Specially Designated National (SDN). Earlier this year, President Mugabe said he was not bothered by the exclusion. Ambassador Wharton’s comments were noted here.
On July 3rd-5th, Dr. Jill Biden visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While in the DRC, Dr. Biden met with Madame Kabila, President of the Mr. Laurent Desire Kabila Foundation. She also met with Congolese female entrepreneurs and female parliamentarians. Dr. Biden attended a 4th of July reception at the Chief of Mission’s Residence. She also traveled to Bukavu, DRC, and met with students enrolled in USAID Accelerated Learning Programs. She also visited Panzi Hospital to see the response services provided to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Finally, she went to the U.N. International Children’s Education Fund Boys Reintegration Center, where she met with children who were removed from armed groups. Dr. Biden was accompanied by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell. More information on her travels can be found here.
On July 6th-7th, Dr. Jill Biden visited in Sierra Leone, the final stop in her three-country visit to Africa. During her visit, Dr. Biden attended a reception hosted by Second Lady Khadija Sam Sumana. She also discussed women’s empowerment and Sierra Leone’s participation in the Equal Futures Partnership with President Ernest Bai Koroma. Following her meeting with President Koroma, Dr. Biden spoke at St. Joseph’s School about the empowerment of women and girls through education. She also met with U.S. Embassy staff and survivors of human trafficking. More information on Dr. Biden’s trip is available here.
On July 8th, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order (E.O.) to amend E.O. 13413, to take additional steps to ramp up sanctions in light of the continued threat in the DRC. The E.O. expands the sanctions criteria to allow for more U.S. flexibility in targeting persons supporting the conflict in the DRC. A fact sheet on the E.O. was posted here.
On July 8th, President Obama announced his intent to nominate James Peter Zumwalt to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea Bissau. Zumwalt is a career member of the Foreign Service. He has previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and Korea and as an Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire. Zumwalt’s nomination was announced here.
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
On July 3rd, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released country specific reallocations of the FY14 in-quota quantity of the World Trade Organization (WTO) tariff-rate quota for imported raw cane sugar. Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are receiving 1,367, 2,419, and 1,262 metric tons accordingly. The announcement can be viewed here.
On July 2nd, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag’s current situation. While Spokesperson Psaki could not provide the details of Ishag’s location, she confirmed she was still in Sudan and still had documentation that would allow her to travel to the U.S. A transcript of the briefing can be read here.
On July 3rd, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a press statement in recognition of Malawi’s national
day and the 20th anniversary of multiparty democracy in the country. Secretary Kerry said the recent elections in Malawi have served as an example of a peaceful change of government for the entire region. He also commended Malawi for its efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. Secretary Kerry’s full statement was posted here.
On July 3rd, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, warned of a possible terrorist attack in the Entebbe International Airport between 9PM and 11PM last Thursday. Intelligence on the attack came from the Ugandan police. The airport was not closed, but security measures have been enhanced. The Embassy encouraged U.S. citizens to review their travel plans in light of the information and warned there is a continual threat of terrorist attacks in the country, particularly in hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, transportation hubs, religious institutions, government offices, and public transportation. The Embassy’s announcement can be read here.
On July 6th, Comoros celebrated its national day. Secretary Kerry issued congratulatory remarks encouraging Comoros to continue its work towards democratic rule. He also remarked on the U.S. and Comoros’ growing partnership focused on education, cultural exchange, economic growth, and regional security. The Secretary’s comments can be read here.
On July 6th, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration released an FY14 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for proposals for the Safe from the Start Initiative to Strengthen Global Prevention and Response to Gender-based Violence in Acute Refugee Emergencies. The FOA is focused on acute refugee emergencies, including those in South Sudan and the CAR. The FOA was posted here.
On July 7th, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki again discussed the status of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag and her family. She explained the U.S. has provided all of the documents needed for Ishag to enter into the U.S., but she has not yet fulfilled the Sudanese exit requirements. The transcript of the briefing is available here.
On July 8th, Secretary of State John Kerry shared remarks on the occasion of Cabo Verde’s national day. Secretary Kerry reflected on his representation of Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress, which has a large population of Cabo Verdeans, as well as his travel to Cabo Verde in May, where he met with Foreign Minister Jose Brito. In addition, he noted the $66 million U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact with Cabo Verde and Cabo Verde’s efforts to serve as a leader in good governance, human rights, and renewable energy in Africa. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were transcribed 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 U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) officials. In Addis Ababa, Assistant Secretary Richard will meet with Ethiopian Government officials. In South Sudan, Assistant Secretary Richard will visit Juba to evaluate humanitarian conditions and to meet with IDPs, government officials, and NGOs. She will then travel 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 9th, Secretary of State John Kerry participated in an event on Combating Wildlife Trafficking held as part of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Beijing. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry recognized former National Basketball Association (NBA) star and Chinese icon Yao Ming, who has visited Africa a number of times and frequently called on the Chinese Government to increase its efforts to stop illegal wildlife trafficking. At the event, Chinese State Councilor Yang pledged that China will begin to play a more active role in curbing the illegal trade of ivory and the poaching of African elephants. A transcript of the event was shared here.
On July 9th, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Puneet Talwar delivered opening remarks to the Global Peace Operations Initiative Worldwide Conference. Assistant Secretary Talwar discussed the future of peacekeeping, as well as past successes. He specifically mentioned the 2013 contribution of troops by Tanzania, South Africa, and Malawi to a peacekeeping brigade that fought M23 rebels in the DRC. These countries all received Global Peace Operation Initiative training. Assistant Secretary Talwar’s full remarks were shared here.
U.S. Agency for International Development
On July 8th, speaking at an International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) event, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced more than $210 million to fund new efforts to end wildlife trafficking and unveiled USAID’s first-ever Biodiversity Policy. In describing these new initiatives, Administrator Shah discussed Namibia’s efforts to end poaching, which has led to growth in ecotourism. A press release was issued here. USAID’s Biodiversity Policy can be downloaded here.
On July 8th, Daryl Martyris, a Health Development Officer in USAID Uganda’s Office of Health, HIV/AIDS, and Education, authored a post for USAID’s Impact Blog on the need for private financing to help Uganda address its health care challenges, especially due to the limits on public financings as a result of Uganda’s enactment of a controversial anti-homosexuality law. In the blog post, Martyris details how USAID’s Development Credit Authority has helped to build a portfolio of risk-sharing guarantees with local banks to open $10 million in private lending for Uganda’s health sector. The post can be read here.
Department of Defense
On July 3rd, Reuters confirmed the U.S. military presence in Somalia, with approximately 120 troops on the ground. According to U.S. officials, some soldiers work with AU and Somali forces on combatting the Al Shabaab fighters. The officials also revealed they are looking to deepen military involvement with the Somali National Army. They also reported that U.S. contractors support AMISOM through supply support and training, as well as the operation of surveillance drones. The article was posted here.
On July 3rd, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) reported on a class that was recently facilitated by the Joint Theater Forensics Analysis Center (JTFAC) for students at the Arta Interservices Military Academy (AMIA) in Djibouti. The class focused on teaching Djiboutian cadets how to classify, identify, lift, and handle fingerprints. Additional information was provided here.
On July 6th, defense officials from the U.S. and Comoros signed an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) at the Kandani headquarters of the Comoran National Army of Development. The ACSA will make it easier for the militaries to conduct combined exercises, contingency and wartime operations, exigent circumstances, humanitarian and foreign disaster relief, peacekeeping operations, and training requirements. Details on the agreement can be seen here.
On July 8th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) reported on the U.S.-Gabon partner exercise that took place on June 28th. U.S. Marines and sailors trained with their Gabonese counterparts to work on combat tactics to address all types of illicit activities, especially narcotics trafficking. During the exercise, they focused on marksmanship, combat life saver and casualty evacuation, tactical site exploitations, mission planning, basic infantry skills, and patrolling tactics. More information on the training can be read here.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
On July 7th, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Vice President of External Affairs Judith Pryor wrote for OPIC’s Impact Blog about the progress made in the first year of the Power Africa initiative. While noting that the work to improve access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa is just beginning, she noted several OPIC achievements over the past year, including the provision of financing for a major wind farm in Kenya, support for biomass projects through the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Financing Initiative (US-ACEF), and guidance on how to develop a bankable power purchase agreement (PPA). The blog post can be accessed here.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
On July 17th, the MCC will host 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 upcoming event were provided here.
On July 7th, House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) indicated the Committee is starting to get to work. While the Committee is still in the process of staffing up, Congressman Gowdy said members of the Committee are examining subpoenas issues by other congressional committees that have been involved in the investigation of the attack and developing a list of unanswered questions for Obama Administration officials. The Committee may hold a series of closed sessions this month that could include a classified screening of video from the Benghazi compound. Congressman Gowdy also signaled that the Committee may work through the August recess. Comments from Congressman Gowdy were captured here.
On July 7th, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office released a document revealing that House Republicans have proposed a $3.3 million budget for the operations of the House Select Committee on Benghazi through the end of this year. The budget provides roughly $2.2 million for Republicans and $1 million for Democrats on the Committee. The proposed budget was met with some criticism, as it is larger than the budgets of some other standing House committees with larger memberships. For example, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-CA) said it is unfathomable that House Republicans would spend more money re-investigating the Benghazi attacks than is budgeted for the Intelligence Committee. The full story can be seen here.
On July 9th, the House Armed Services Committee released nine declassified transcripts of interviews conducted with Department of Defense (DOD) officials as part of the Committee’s investigation of the September 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya. The transcripts reveal that military commanders believe the perpetrators of a second stack on a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) complex in Benghazi were different from those who first attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission. The newly released transcripts can be accessed here.
On July 10th, House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA), along with Ranking Member Chris Smith (R-NJ), full Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Senate Foreign Relations African Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE) hosted an Africa Policy Breakfast on “Instability in Northern Nigeria and the ongoing threat of Boko Haram.” Event details were posted here.
On July 10th, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing on “Human Rights Vetting: Nigeria and Beyond.” Witnesses included Colonel Peter Aubrey of Strategic Opportunities International and Lauren Ploch Blanchard of the Congressional Research Service (CRS). A webcast of the hearing can be watched here.
On July 2nd, four Tunisian soldiers were killed by a land mine during an operation against Islamist militants. Soldiers have been battling militants from the Ansar al-Sharia group in the Chaambi Mountains in northern Tunisia since April. More information was reported on here.
On July 2nd, Radio Tamazuj reported that the Interior Ministry of South Sudan has issued a ban on foreign taxi drivers. Government officials are impounding foreign drivers’ taxis in Juba and demanding approximately $150 for their release. Because of the ruling, 500 Sudanese drivers have been forced out of work. According to taxi drivers, the ruling has caused a transport crisis in Juba. South Sudan banned foreigners from operating motorbikes last year on the grounds that it would combat kidnappings, pickpockets, and road accidents. More information on the ban can be read here.
On July 2nd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement expressing concern regarding the allegations against the U.N. Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Recent claims accuse UNAMID of inaccurate reporting of facts on the ground, failures to protect civilians, and mismanagement. Over the past two years UNAMID, has undergone several investigations, and the Secretary-General has now instructed the Secretariat to review the reports of all investigations since 2012 to ensure that recommendations have been implemented. The Secretary-General’s statement is available here.
On July 3rd, Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said the Libyan Government has reached a deal with Ibrahim Jathran, the rebel leader controlling two major oil ports. Jathran will hand over the last two oil port terminals and end a blockade that crippled the petroleum industry. With the two terminals, Libya can produce approximately 500,000 more barrels of crude oil a day. Details on the situation are available here.
On July 4th, UNHCR expressed concern for Sudan’s forced return of Eritreans and other asylum seekers. UNHCR said the deportations are an act of repression and a violation of the Sudanese Asylum Act of 2014 and the 1951 Refugee Convention. UNHCR is working to provide support to refugees arrested in Sudan. Details on the briefing can be found here.
On July 2nd, four people were killed in a cargo plane crash in Nairobi. The plane crashed shortly after taking off from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Preliminary investigations found the plane was flying too low after takeoff and may have hit an electrical pole before crashing into a commercial building in the Embakasi area of the city. No one on the ground was harmed. News of the crash was shared here.
On July 2nd, Operations Director for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) John Ging and Emergency Director of the U.N. International Children's Emergency Fund Ted Chaiban reported that urgent action is needed to prevent the crisis in Somalia from worsening. U.N. officials reported that 50,000 children in Somalia are at risk of death within weeks if they do not receive treatment and of the one million people displaced, 875,000 people need urgent life-saving food assistance. Director Ging said failure to act now will not only lead to a humanitarian crisis on par with the 2011 famine, but also undermine the peace and state-building gains of the last two years. The full story can be found here.
On July 5th, Ugandan troops killed 15 ex-Seleka members from the CAR. The police reported that the rebels were mistaken for members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The clash occurred in Kono, Uganda. Ugandan soldiers also died in the attack, but exact figures were not released. More information on the violence is available here.
On July 5th, 17 people were killed by gunmen attacking three police stations and military barracks in western Uganda. The spokesperson for the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, Paddy Ankunda, said that three policeman and five soldiers were killed. The gunmen were from a local militia and were not connected to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group. Details on the attack were reported on here.
On July 7th, military officials said Ugandan troops killed more than 60 insurgents accused of taking part in the attacks on police stations and military barracks. Lieutenant Ninsiima Rwemijuma, a spokesperson for troops in Uganda’s Rwenzori region, said that 80 suspected militants are in custody. The full story can be viewed here.
On July 7th, Human Rights Watch said that Andargachew Tsige, an exiled leader of the banned opposition group Ginbot 7, is at risk of torture following his deportation from Yemen. He was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in two separate Ethiopian trials in 2009 and 2012, but Human Rights Watch said that he should be given a fair trial. Yemeni officials arrested him last month while he was on a flight from Dubai to Eritrea and then deported him to Ethiopia. Details are available here.
On July 7th, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a statement warning that inconsistent rains, trade disruptions, and violence could worsen the food crisis in Somalia. Humanitarian assistance has been decreasing and cereal prices have been rising. Somalia’s rainy season, April through June, saw poor erratic rains. Some 203,000 children under the age of five are experiencing acute malnutrition and require urgent support. The full story can be read here.
On July 9th, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team completed a visit to Nairobi, Kenya, to conduct the 2014 Article IV Consultation discussions. The mission met with Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury Henry Rotich, Government of the Central Bank of Kenya Njuguna Ndungu, and other government officials. While the IMF team observed that the country remains vulnerable to risks such as
weather-related shocks and volatility in capital flows, it also noted that Kenya’s economy continues to grow, due primarily to improvements in the manufacturing sector and increased foreign interest. Additional analysis was provided here.
On July 1st, Nigerian politician Umaru Dikko passed away. While serving in the government, Dikko was discovered drugged in a crate at London Stansted Airport. He had been the Transport Minister, but was ousted and accused of embezzlement in a 1983 coup. He was assumed to be the victim of a kidnap plot by Nigeria’s military government. President Goodluck Jonathan said that Dikko continually helped strengthen democracy in Nigeria. Dikko’s obituary can be read here.
On July 2nd, the Red Cross announced that it had to suspend its operations in southeast Ghana because staff was threatened by armed men. International staff members were removed, and they plan to resume work once their operations are secure. More details on the attack can be found here.
On July 2nd -3rd, West African health ministers discussed the regional response to the Ebola outbreak. Officials from Liberia said that their greatest challenge was denial and fear of the disease and Sierra Leone reported it is struggling with money for drugs, basic protective gear, and staff pay. Health experts report that the top priority should be containing Ebola with vigilant hand washing and hygiene, and isolation of infected patients. All of the ministers concurred that many challenges still remain including financing, communication, cross border collaboration, logistics, case management, infection control, surveillance, contact tracing, community participation and research. The World Health Organization (WHO) will establish a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea to act as a coordinating platform to consolidate technical support to West African countries and assist in resource mobilization. A full report on the meetings can be read here.
On July 3rd, the World Bank announced a financing agreement with Guinea to improve electricity access for homes and businesses. The $50 million for the Power Sector Recovery Project will help improve the technical and commercial performance of the national utility system. This will also help increase the prospects for more private investment. More information on the agreement is available here.
On July 3rd, the IMF completed the third review of Liberia’s economic performance under the three-year agreement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Liberia, allowing for an additional disbursement of $11.4 million. IMF officials noted that Liberia’s economic growth remains strong, with real GDP growth estimated at 8.7% for 2013. In addition, the IMF applauded Liberia’s efforts to implement their economic program and efforts to clean up the federal payroll. Additional analysis of Liberia’s economy was provided here.
On July 3rd, the IMF completed the first review of Burkina Faso’s economic performance under a three-year program supported by the IMF’s ECF arrangement and concluded the 2014 Article IV Consultation, allowing for an additional release of $3.9 million. In completing the reviews, the IMF noted that Burkina Faso has a long track record of strong macroeconomic policy management, supported by IMF programs. The IMF also applauded Burkina Faso’s structural reforms, which have improved agricultural productivity and resilience, increased spending for poverty and food security, and helped to advance progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). More information is available here.
On July 7th, Ghanaian Government officials reported that a U.S. citizen was in quarantine and undergoing tests for Ebola. The identity of the person has not been released, but it has been confirmed that he is a male U.S. citizen who recently traveled to Guinea and Sierra Leone. More information was shared here.
On July 8th, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Malian Government officials will meet with northern Tuareg separatist rebels in Algiers, Algeria, on July 16th. The meeting will represent the first discussions since Tuareg rebels briefly took control of Kidal following clashes with Malian soldiers in May. While rebel groups in northern Mali, including the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the Arab Movement of Azawad (MMA), and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) continue to demand greater autonomy for northern Mali, Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has indicated he is willing to see talks result in a positive outcome. Information on the upcoming meeting can
be found here.
On July 8th, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa and head of the U.N. Office for West Africa (UNOWA) Said Djinnit told the U.N. Security Council that terrorist activities and growing transnational organized crimes are hampering West Africa’s development. In particular, he noted that Boko Haram poses an increasing threat to Nigeria and the region. He called for greater attention to addressing these challenges, especially ahead of 2015 elections in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, and Nigeria. Special Representative Djinnit’s comments were reported here.
On July 8th, the World Bank highlighted a new partnership between Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) on the $7.5 million Niger River Basin Management Project. The project aims to enhance NBA’s capacity for facilitating improved water resources management and development in the Niger Basin and to coordinate regional cooperation for enhanced benefic sharing and reduced social and environmental impacts around the planned Fomi Dam. Information on the partnership was published here.
On July 3rd, African nations agreed to suspend military operations against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels in the DRC to give them more time to disarm. Disarmament may increase the possibility of stability in the DRC. More information on the decision can be viewed here.
On July 3rd, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe called on white farmers to cede their land. The White Farmers Union said that it was regrettable that racial tensions were flaring up again. Critics of President Mugabe said his policy of seizing most of Zimbabwe’s white-owned farms caused the country’s economic collapse from 2000-2009. Currently, there are approximately 100-150 white farmers left in Zimbabwe. The government launched the controversial land reform program 15 years ago. More information about the program and the announcement can be seen here.
On July 3rd, South African police fired rubber bullets to scatter workers who blocked the entrance of Eksom’s Medupi power station. Approximately 220,000 metal and engineering workers from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) went on strike last Tuesday. The strike disrupted construction at two vital Eksom power plants. NUMSA is demanding 12-15 percent wage increases. More information on the strikes is available here.
On July 3rd, General Motors (GM) suspended production at its largest South African assembly plant because of the metal workers strike. GM spokesperson Denise van Huyssteen confirmed the plant shut down because of parts supplier issues. The story was shared here.
On July 3rd, U.N. Special Representative to the DRC and head of the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) Martin Kobler the apologized for the slow reaction of U.N. forces to prevent a massacre in the eastern part of the country. On June 6th and 7th, armed men killed 30 civilians, but the peacekeepers did not intervene. MONUSCO has launched an investigation into its response to the incident. Special Representative Kobler’s remarks can be seen here.
On July 4th, the South African Minister of Labor Mildred Oliphant met with metal industry employers and strikers in an effort to end the labor dispute. A spokesperson for Minister Oliphant said there was optimism that an agreement would be reached soon. The announcement of Minister Oliphant’s visit was posted here.
On July 4th, Toyota confirmed that it was still producing at full capacity, despite the metal workers strike that forced GM to suspend work at its main production facility in South Africa. Details from Toyota can be viewed here.
On July 7th, the World Bank issued the latest Angola Economic Update. The update stated that despite a deceleration in 2013 caused by lower oil revenues Angola’s economy strengthening with real GDP growing by 4.4 percent. Despite the growth, the country is still very vulnerable to external shocks and non-oil GDP needs to expand quickly to bring Angola back to its pre-2009 economic success. Tax
reforms are also needed to reduce the exposure to fluctuations in oil revenues. The Angola Economic Update can be downloaded here.
On July 7th, NUMSA announced that it would resume wage talks with employers on July 9th. Last week, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa offered a ten percent salary increase to the lowest paid workers, but NUMSA rejected the offer and continued to demand a 12 percent raise and a ban on labor brokers. An update on the strike was provided here.
On July 7th, the last witness for the defense in the Oscar Pistorius murder trail testified. The witness was a physician who treated Pistorius, Wayne Derman. The end of testimony leads to a break when the defense and prosecution prepare final arguments as the trial comes to a conclusion. The prosecution asserted that Derman was not objective because of his history with Pistorius. Derman clarified that he was not providing forensic testimony and defended his objectivity. Derman said that Pistorius had an anxious nature connected to his disability. More information on the trial can be read here.
On July 7th, South Africa’s Impala Platinum reported that strikers at the Marula mine would return to work on Tuesday. Workers will apparently press their demands through formal channel. The National Union of Mineworkers said its leaders were told to leave their offices within 48 hours by a workers committee and faced death threats if they did not. Details on the strike are available here.
On July 8th, Mamphela Ramphele, a prominent veteran of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, announced that she was quitting politics. Leaving the African National Congress (ANC), she founded her own party in 2013, but after failures in the elections and party infighting she decided to leave politics. Her decision was noted here.
On July 7th, the World Bank announced that it committed a record-breaking $15.3 billion to projects in sub-Saharan Africa over the course of its most recent fiscal year. In total, the World Bank delivered $10.6 billion in new lending for 160 projects. Many of these projects supported private sector-led economic growth and job creation, emergency response efforts, increased access to energy, improved agricultural activity, and promotion of higher education. A press release was issued here.
On July 8th, the South African Communications Union said it believed that Telkom was going to release 9,000 of its 19,000 employees in the next six months. Telkom dismissed the claims, but confirmed that it plans to cut costs by $93 million annually for the next five years. The Solidarity Union, which represents white workers, said that it would file a court petition to prevent the company from firing employees based on race. More information on the situation was reported here.
On July 8th, the defense in the Oscar Pistorius trial rested their case. Both sides will return to court on August 7th and 8th to make their final arguments. According to court reporters, a verdict could be announced before the end of August. More information on the conclusion of the trial is available here.
On July 9th, the U.N. FAO highlighted a new technique for drying fish in Burundi, which has cut fish waste by half, increased prices, and created hundreds of jobs. FAO has been working with Burundi’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department to develop the new method for drying fish on racks and training local communities to build the racks that are needed by the industry. Details were shared here.
General Africa News
On July 2nd, the New York Times reported on unmanned aerial vehicle usage in Africa. U.N. militaries use drones to collect intelligence on peacekeeping operations and remind armed groups of their presence. Surveillance has been conducted in Mali, Timbuktu, and the CAR, but South Sudan has denied the U.N. request to monitor the area. It is unclear how the information will be shared. The full story can be found here.
On July 5th-7th, Italy’s Mare Nostrum mission rescued 2,600 African migrants from boats in the Mediterranean. The migrants were mainly male, but the group also included children and a pregnant woman. People from Eritrea, the DRC, Sudan and Algeria were among those rescued. UNHCR said that approximately 66,200 immigrants have arrived in Italy thus far this year. Last week, 44 people were found suffocated on an overcrowded fishing boat. More information on the migrants can be seen here.
On July 7th, the U.N. released progress reports for North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa on achievement of the MDGs. The sub-Saharan African report said that steady progress on many MDGs continues, with major gains in education, the fight against malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child mortality. Sub-Saharan Africa still faces major challenges to meeting the 2015 deadline due to conflict and population growth. North Africa is close to achieving universal access to primary education and they have increased access to water and sanitation, but the gender gap in employment has not improved in the past two decades. The report on North Africa was posted here, and the sub-Saharan Africa report can be found here.
On July 7th, the World Bank highlighted Vice President for Africa Makhtar Diop’s participation in the Annual Bank Conference on Africa (ABCA), recently held in Paris, France. The theme of the conference was centered on harnessing Africa’s growth for faster poverty reduction. In total, 47 research papers, including many that were prepared by African scholars, were presented during the event. More information was shared here.
On July 10th, an Ericsson Mobility report on mobile Internet usage in Africa was released, finding that mobile Internet use will increase 20 fold in the next five years, a rate double the anticipated growth in mobile Internet use for the rest of the world. In addition, the report predicts that 3G technology will surpass 2G technology by 2017 and that 2019 will see over 930 million mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa, along with 557 million smartphones in use and 710 million active broadband subscriptions. The report’s findings were highlighted here.