On May 22nd, United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed encouragement at the ongoing political dialogue in Burundi following weeks of tensions and a failed coup attempt in Bujumbura. Secretary-General Ban applauded dialogue participants, including representatives of civil society, political parties, religious organizations, and regional partners for the progress achieved so far, especially on measures to reduce tensions and create conditions for free, fair, inclusive, and peaceful elections. However, Secretary-General Ban also registered concern about the ongoing humanitarian crisis for the 200,000 Burundian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. Secretary-General Ban’s remarks were recorded here. On May 23rd, head of the opposition party Union for Peace and Development (UPD) Zedi Feruzi was shot dead alongside his bodyguard in Burundi. Feruzi’s body was discovered in Bujumbura’s Ngagara district on Saturday evening. It was unclear who was responsible for the killing. Feruzi had been an outspoken critic of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third term in office. In response to Feruzi’s death, activists said they were suspending talks with the government, out of concern his killing was part of a larger attempt to eliminate leaders of the campaign against President Nkurunziza. Many opposition leaders also went into hiding. For details, click here. On May 24th , U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of Burundian opposition politician Zedi Feruzi and his bodyguard and expressed concern the move could further destabilize the country amid continuing political tensions and a growing humanitarian crisis. Secretary-General Ban urged the Burundian authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justices and said the violent incident serves as a reminder of the need for Burundian political leaders to address the current political crisis in a way that puts peace and national reconciliation above partisan interests. Secretary-General Ban’s comments were captured here. On May 25th, the U.N., the European Union (EU), and the African Union (AU) urged the Government of Burundi and the opposition to not let violence derail the U.N.-led dialogue following the assassination of opposition leader Zedi Feruzi. Global leaders urged all participants to remain fully engaged in the dialogue, which was initiated on May 5th. Following Feruzi’s killing, Anshere Nikoyagize, head of the civil society group Ligue ITEKA, said civil society groups and opposition parties would not attend the dialogue. The situation was reported here. On May 25th, the East African Community (EAC) announced via Twitter plans to hold another regional summit to discuss the crisis in Burundi on Sunday, with preliminary talks scheduled for Saturday. A spokesperson for Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said it was too soon to say whether or not President Nkurunziza would participate in the summit. News of the summit broke here. On May 25th, the U.S. Department of State condemned the killing of the leader of Burundi’s UPD opposition party, Zeid Feruzi, and his bodyguard. The State Department also condemned the May 22nd grenade attack in a market that killed several people and wounded many more, noting these attacks undermine the ongoing efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to the current crisis through dialogue. In addition to calling on all parties to renounce the use of violence, the State Department expressed support for the consultative political dialogue facilitated by U.N. Special Envoy Said Djinnit and envoys from the AU, the EAC, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). The State Department also reiterated its call for the Burundian Government to provide the political space needed for a peaceful and credible electoral process. A full statement was published here. On May 25th, a demonstrator was shot dead in Burundi and two others were wounded when police opened fire on a group of roughly 100 protestors in Muyange. The incident marks the first confirmed uprising outside of the capital since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to run for a third term last month. Civil unrest was also reported further south in Matana. To date, at least 30 people have been killed in clashes inside the capital. The spread of the violence in Burundi was noted here. On May 26th, a spokesman for Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza condemned mounting diplomatic pressure over President Nkurunziza’s controversial bid to stand for a third consecutive term, signaling the President would not bow to international criticism. The news broke as security forces cracked down on continuing protests in Bujumbura, with police firing live rounds in addition to teargas to try to disperse crowds. An update on the situation in Burundi was provided here. On May 27th, the U.N. Security Council held a closed session on the situation in Burundi. The Security Council was scheduled to receive a briefing from U.N. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Said Djinnit, who has been leading an effort to try to broker an agreement to end the political violence in the country. The meeting was noticed here. South Sudan On May 22nd, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned the escalation of fighting in South Sudan has resulted in alarming gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and taken a terrible toll on the nation’s civilian populations. Over the past 17 months, the U.N. estimated 119,000 people have sought shelter at U.N. compounds and the number of people in need throughout 2015 will include an anticipated 1.95 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and a projected 293,000 refugees. High Commissioner Zeid also observed increasing reports of killings, rapes, abductions, and the destruction of towns and villages, as well as denied access for humanitarian organizations. The situation was described here. On May 26th, U.N. Special Representative for South Sudan and head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Ellen Margarethe Loj reported on her visit to Bentiu over the weekend along with DirectorGeneral of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) William Lacy Swing. Special Representative Loj noted the U.N. faces a great challenge in ensuring the protection of the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians in the country and expressed concern for reports of grave violations and abuses of human rights perpetrated during the fighting. Additional information on Special Representative Loj and Director-General Lacy’s visit to Bentiu was shared here. On May 26th, the South Sudanese military reported it had regained control of the oil producing town of Malakal after days of fierce fighting with rebel forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar. While the army under the command of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said the entire enemy force was destroyed, it also pledged to track down any rebels that may have fled the area. An update was reported here. On May 28th, it was reported that 40 percent of people in South Sudan require food aid. After violence broke out between government loyalists and rebels eighteen months ago, it became even more challenging for Sudanese to receive proper nourishment. Aid groups have warned the situation could devolve into outright famine if aid cannot reach northern states dealing with violence and displacement. The situation is detailed here. Nigeria On May 22nd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is deeply troubled by Boko Haram’s continuing indiscriminate and horrific attacks against civilians in Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. Secretary-General Ban said he was especially appalled by the continued abduction and use of children in suicide bombings, as well as testimony that many of the girls and women held by Boko Haram were repeatedly raped in captivity and compelled to marry their captors. Secretary-General Ban also expressed frustration with the displacement of some 40,000 civilians in the last three weeks and urged members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin to create a secure environment for their return. His comments were recorded here. On May 23rd, Boko Haram militants killed at least 43 people in Gubio, located in Borno state, Nigeria. This is the latest deadly attack since the beginning of Boko Haram’s insurgency six years ago. Further details and witness statements about the attack were shared here. On May 26th, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) observed northeastern Nigeria has witnesses a sharp increase in suicide attacks involving women and girls this years. According to UNICEF, in 2014, there were 26 incidents of suicide attacks recorded, but during the first five months of 2015, 27 incidents were recorded. As a result, UNICEF called on the incoming Nigerian Government to make the safety and wellbeing of children a political priority. Additional insights from UNICEF were posted here. On May 26th, the Nigerian military said it was analyzing video footage found in captured Boko Haram camps to assess how foreign fighters fit into the group’s dynamics. According to government sources, some video evidence suggests foreign fighters are carrying arms alongside Nigerian Boko Haram fighters, while others are serving as experts and trainers. The video footage was described here. On May 26th , Nigerien Security Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou reported to parliament that since the state of emergency was declared in Diffa after a Boko Haram attack in February, 643 Boko Haram militants have been arrested and charged. Earlier this year, Niger deployed 3,000 soldiers in a coordinated campaign with Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon against Boko Haram. Minister Massaoudou’s statements can be found here. On May 27th, U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura condemned Boko Haram militias in Nigeria for waging war on women’s physical, sexual, and reproductive autonomy and rights by repeatedly raping their female captors and treating them as vessels for producing children for fighters. Special Representative Bangura said that sexual violence has become an integral part of Boko Haram’s strategy of domination and self-perpetuation and reiterated the call for all abducted women and girls to be released from captivity and returned safely to their families. Special Representative Bangura’s comments were captured here. On May 28th , Cameroonian national CRTV radio and TV network announced a fundraising campaign to help Cameroon’s army battle Nigerian Boko Haram fighters has brought in roughly $3.5 million, in addition to tons of food donations. The Cameroonian Government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to ensure transparent management of the funds contributed by Cameroonian citizens. More information can be found here. Libya On May 23rd, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned a spate of suicide bombings committed by Islamist terrorists in what it said was a blatant effort to undermine the country’s ongoing political dialogue. According to reports, militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the recent attacks in the areas of al-Qubba, Sirte, and Misrata. UNSMIL called on all political stakeholders and political actors in Libya to refrain from any actions that could jeopardize the ongoing dialogue or escalate military tensions and provide space for ISIL to derail peace efforts. For details, click here. On May 26th, Libya’s elected parliament, based in Tobruk, halted a session attended by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni after protestors set fire to a car outside. It was unclear exactly what triggered the demonstrations, although Prime Minister Thinni has faced severe criticism for economic hardships, salary delays, and power cuts. The parliament went back into session after Prime Minister Thinni’s departure. The incident was reported here. On May 26th , Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said he had survived an alleged assassination attempt outside of the parliament’s current meeting place. This is the latest incident in a series of violent attacks and disturbances against government entities. Libya is split into the internationally recognized Thinni administration and the rival General National Congress (GNC) based in Tripoli. Prime Minister Thinni’s description of the events can be found here. Ethiopia On May 24th, Ethiopians went to the polls to vote in national elections. A total of 58 parties fielded candidates for the federal parliament and regional assemblies and more than 36 million citizens were registered to vote. This weekend’s polls represent the first national poll since the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party, now led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn. Going into the elections, the ruling party was widely expected to continue to hold power. Details on the elections in Ethiopia can be seen here. On May 24th, reports indicated voting in Ethiopia’s national election was going smoothly, although the opposition had complained of irregularities leading up to the election, including the harassment and intimidation of supporters in rural areas. Western observers were not invited to observe the polls, but the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) deployed some 40,000 observers to monitor 45,795 polling stations. The AU also sent a team of 59 officials. The opening of the polls in Ethiopia was described here. On May 26th, AU observers said Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections were credible, except for a few irregularities, despite the opposition dismissing the vote due to alleged violations. Head of the AU Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba reported the elections were calm, peaceful, and credible, and provided an opportunity for the Ethiopian people to express their choices at the poll. Meanwhile, the opposition has accused the Ethiopian Government of crushing dissent, limited free speech, and intimidating the press. Further observations were articulated here. On May 27th, the U.S. Department of State commended the people of Ethiopia for their civic participation in generally peaceful parliamentary and regional elections on May 24th, acknowledging the NEBE’s organizational efforts and the AU’s role as the only international observer mission on the ground. The State Department also noted the importance of the nine televised party debates and encouraged all candidates, political parties, and their supporters to resolve any outstanding differences peacefully. Meanwhile, the State Department also expressed concern about continued restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties, and independent voices and views. Additional feedback was shared here. On May 27th, election officials revealed that in an early count, Ethiopia’s ruling EPRDF party seemed positioned to win a big majority in parliament. Full results are due next month, but so far the opposition does not appear on track to win a single seat. As early results were made available, the political opposition and human rights groups claim the EPRDF, which has been in power nearly 25 years, rigged the election. Discussion of the EPRDF’s alleged autocratic practices can be found here. Madagascar On May 26th, Madagascar’s parliament voted to dismiss President Hery Rajaonarimampianina for alleged constitutional violations and general incompetence. The decision was backed by 121 of 125 voting lawmakers however some lawmakers refused to take part in the vote, alleging irregularities. The full story is available here. On May 27 th, President of Madagascar Hery Rajaonarimampianina challenged the vote count from the national assembly’s vote to impeach him because of alleged corruption, failure to deliver economic promises, and bringing religion into government affairs. President Rajaonarimampianina is the country’s first democratically elected leader since the 2009 military coup and has been in power since 2013. The impeachment decision will now be sent to the constitutional court. Further details were posted here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On May 26th, 145 Senegalese citizens returned to Dakar after being detained and imprisoned in Tripoli, Libya for attempting to illegally enter Europe. From January to March, nearly 1,200 Senegalese arrived in Italy by sea. Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 migrants from various nations have died this year attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Senegalese migrant statistics and information about the dangers of sea travel to Europe are here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On May 25th, as part of Africa Day celebrations, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the courage and determination it took to make progress towards ending the West African Ebola outbreak. Secretary-General Ban noted the Ebola epidemic claimed at least 11,000 lives and threatened hard-won social, economic, and political achievements in West Africa. To help support intensifying efforts to get to zero and stay at zero cases, Secretary-General Ban announced plans to convene an International Ebola Recovery Conference at U.N. headquarters in July. Secretary-General Ban’s remarks were captured here. On May 26th, the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) concluded its annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Throughout the week, the WHO’s decision-making assembly recognized the agency was slow to respond to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. As a result, the assembly adopted a number of measures intended to ensure the WHO’s ability to respond better to future public health emergencies. Notably, the assembly approved measures pushing the WHO to create an emergency medical troop and stand up a $100 million emergency fund to fight future outbreaks. More information can be found here. On May 26th, WHO Special Representative for Ebola Dr. Bruce Aylward said the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone is expected to take all of 2015 to stamp out and may persist even longer because of dwindling financing. He observed that current case numbers in Guinea and Sierra Leone are similar to where Liberia was in January. Dr. Aylward said the WHO is not approaching the situation in these countries under a best-case scenario, as the rainy season has begun in West Africa, compounding the difficulty in reaching remote areas. His comments were recorded here. On May 26th, The Heritage Foundation hosted an event titled, “The Ebola Response: The Department of Defense’s Medical Research and Development Role in a Global Health Security Crisis.” Speakers included Joint Program Officer for Chemical and Biological Defense Carmen Spencer, Joint Project Manager for Medical Countermeasure Systems Colonel Russell Coleman, Colonel Stephen Thomas of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and Colonel Neal Woolen of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. The event was highlighted here. On May 27th, the WHO updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending on May 24th, a total of 12 confirmed cases of Ebola were reported, including nine from Guinea and three from Sierra Leone. The WHO noted that because the recent cluster of new cases in Guinea is within close proximity to the border with Guinea-Bissau, a response team has been deployed to the border to assess points of entry. Additional data was analyzed here. United States – Africa Relations White House On May 21st, following a meeting with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, President Barack Obama announced Tunisia will be named a major non-NATO ally of the U.S., opening up access to extra military assistance. President Obama noted the decision underscores the hope that Tunisia will become a stable democracy in the long run, despite political instability and insecurity in recent years. President Obama also said that of the countries that experienced the Arab Spring, Tunisia has seen the most important progress in ensuring inclusive governmental processes. Details can be viewed here. On May 21st, Vice President Joe Biden hosted Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi for a meeting at the Naval Observatory. Vice President Biden underscored the importance of ensuring that democracy succeeds in Tunisia. The leaders also discussed the steps required to attract jobs and investment to Tunisia. President Essebsi emphasized the Tunisian Government’s resolve to move forward on key economic reforms, including legislation to update Tunisia’s investment code and strengthen its banking system to the benefit of the Tunisian people. Vice President Biden expressed the U.S. commitment to provide technical expertise, as well as enhanced economic and security assistance to help Tunisia’s leaders ensure that democracy delivers for their people. A readout of the meeting can be seen here. On May 21st, to coincide with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi’s visit to Washington, the White House released a fact sheet on U.S.-Tunisian relations. The fact sheet highlights bilateral efforts to expand Tunisia’s inclusive economic growth, promote democracy, civil society, and consensus building, foster cultural and educational ties, and enhance security capabilities. The fact sheet can be downloaded here. State Department On May 22nd, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa in Amman, Jordan. His participation was noted here. On May 22nd, the State Department released nearly 900 pages of emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account related to the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The newly released emails show that Secretary Clinton was receiving a steady flow of information about the political chaos inside Libya leading up to the attack, but do not present much in the way of new information. Secretary Clinton has expressed a desire to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, but Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has said it would be pointless to have her testify before the record is complete. The full story is available here. On May 23rd, the State Department condemned the ongoing violence in northern Mali, including reports of summary executions of civilians in Tin Hama and other human rights abuses and violations. The State Department called on all parties to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, recommit to applicable ceasefire agreements, and begin implementation of the May 15th Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. The U.S. also reiterated its strong support for the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and called for the investigation of alleged human rights violations to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. A statement was issued here. On May 26th, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman met with Tunisian Minister of Defense Farhat Horchani at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the State Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here. On May 27th, the State Department expressed concern that no one has been held accountable for the August 2014 political unrest and violence between the military and police in Lesotho, as the new coalition government, led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili announced the return of Tlali Kamoli, the leader of a coup attempt last year, as Commander of the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF). The State Department also noted additional troubling developments in Lesotho, including reports of kidnappings and abuse within the LDF, the murder of Thabiso Tsosane, the leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) opposition party, and the failure to provide security for former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. Additional feedback was shared here. On May 28th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the people of Ethiopia on the celebration of their national day. Secretary Kerry said Ethiopia has made great strides to promote economic growth and fight poverty, highlighting that the country is on track to meet most of its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) this year. He also thanked Ethiopia for contributing troops to U.N. and AU peacekeeping missions and for hosting refugees fleeing conflict and seeing peace. In closing, Secretary Kerry reiterated the U.S. commitment to working with Ethiopia to advance basic education, improve health and food security, and promote regional security in Somalia and South Sudan. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were transcribed here. On May 29th, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Abuja, Nigeria, to lead the official U.S. delegation on behalf of President Barack Obama for the inauguration of Nigerian President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari. Secretary Kerry’s travel to Nigeria was announced here. Department of Defense On May 21st, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at the Pentagon to discuss the U.S.-Tunisian defense partnership, Tunisia’s security situation, and counterterrorism assistance. The two leaders discussed the importance of their nation’s growing partnership and Secretary Carter encouraged President Essebsi to continue the Tunisia military’s deeper relationship with the U.S. Their discussion was summarized here. On May 22nd, the 2nd Annual General Mainstreaming Seminar concluded in Arusha, Tanzania. Hosted by U.S. Army Africa and the Tanzanian Peoples Defense Force, the seminar brought together U.S. Army leaders with their counterparts from 17 African militaries to discuss and promote gender-mainstreaming topics. The seminar addressed the integration of women and the female perspective within the military, sexual gender-based violence, and resources for militaries facing gender-mainstreaming challenges. The seminar was outlined here. On May 27th, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work welcomed Tunisian Minister of Defense Farhat Horchani to the Pentagon for a series of meetings with top defense officials as part of his visit to Washington to attend the 30th U.S.-Tunisian Military Commission. The two leaders discussed the importance of the U.S.-Tunisian defense partnership, Tunisia’s security situation, and counterterrorism assistance. Deputy Secretary Work also committed to continuing to grow a military relationship with Tunisia. The meeting was summarized here. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention On May 26th, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that a man returning to the U.S. from Liberia’s death had been caused by Lassa fever, a virus that causes hemorrhagic symptoms, but is very different from Ebola. Between 100,000 and 300,000 Lassa fever cases are reported in West Africa every year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths. While Lassa fever is not as easily transmitted as Ebola, the CDC is working to compile a list of people who may have encountered the patient while he was sick and plans to monitor contacts for 21 days to see if they develop the virus. For more information, click here. Congress On May 21st, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced the Global Anti-Poaching Act. The legislation is intended to help the U.S. and partner countries counter the terrorist organizations, rebel groups, and international criminal syndicates that are profiting from international wildlife trafficking. The bill includes a provision that authorizes the President to provide security assistance to African countries for counter wildlife trafficking efforts. A press release was published here. On May 26th, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Karen Bass (D-CA) joined House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) in introducing the Millennium Compacts for Regional Economic Integration (M-CORE) Act. The bill would provide the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with the authority to develop up to one additional agreement with a partner country to spur regional economic development at the same time with the goal of regionally integrating development projects. The MCC has been especially beneficial to countries in Africa, as 65 percent of the MCC’s portfolio is invested on the continent. For details, click here. North Africa On May 25th , Erik Iskander Goaied said his firm, the Washington African Consulting Group, has a contract with the Libyan Government to locate an estimated $150 billion in currency, gold, diamonds, and other assets in the U.S. believed to be the loot of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. While Goaied said he is hoping to help the Libyan people recover resources that are rightly theirs, by the terms of the contract, he would be entitled to a ten percent finder’s fee. Details can be viewed here. On May 25th, Moroccan King Mohamed VI continued a trip to sub-Saharan Africa, with visits to Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea to promote regional cooperation and present new opportunities. Throughout his trip, King Mohamed VI was expected to focus on promoting trade, the transfer of skills, projects to improve governance, and the development of infrastructure as means for strengthening economic growth. Details were shared here. On May 26th, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $248 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing for the Regional Sahel Pastorialism Support Project. The goal of the project is to boost regional integration, improve access to essential services, and increase the income and strengthen markets for over two million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. Project details can be seen here. On May 26th, an Egyptian court sentenced eight militants to death. They were charged with killing seven soldiers in early 2014, association with a terrorist organization, and illegal weapons possession. Details on the ruling can be found here. On May 26th, Ford Motor Company announced it will buy more than double the amount of parts it buys from North African-based suppliers for its newly expanded vehicle assembly plant in Spain and elsewhere. According to Ford President for the Middle East and North Africa Jim Benintende, the company is already purchasing hundreds of millions of dollars of parts from North Africa. Ford’s plan to increase procurement from North Africa was announced here. On May 27th, U.N. Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo concluded a 12-day visit to Sudan. Special Rapporteur Manjoo called for more open and constructive dialogue among Sudanese stakeholders to address crimes against women. Based on reports and interviews completed during her visit to Sudan, Special Rapporteur Manjoo said women in Sudan frequently encounter physical, psychological, and economic violence. In particular, she also expressed concern for female genital mutilation and early marriages. For more information, click here. On May 27th , Egyptian General Ahmed Ibrahim was killed in a bombing in North Sinai. His is one of the most high-profile police deaths since the beginning of the insurgency of various militant Islamist groups in Egypt. Further description of the attack can be seen here. East Africa On May 23rd, dozens of Al Shabaab fighters attacked two towns in southern Somalia, killing at least 18 people. The fighting occurred in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, in Awdhegle and Mubarak townships, but militants were reportedly driven out after government troops launched a counter attack. The fighting came as gunmen attacked two Somali Members of Parliament (MPs) in Mogadishu, killing Yusuf Mohamed Dirir, while his colleague, Abdallah Boss Ahmed, was able to escape. The latest string of Al Shabaab attacks in Somalia was recounted here. On May 24th , U.N. Special Representative for Somalia and head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Nicholas Kay condemned the deadly attack against two MPs and reiterated support for Somalia’s democratic process. Special Representative Kay labeled the assassination of Yusuf Mohamed Dirir an act of terrorism and wished Abdallah Boss Ahmed a speedy recovery. More generally, Special Representative Kay commended all of Somalia’s MPs for their courage and dedication in the face of continued attacks against them. His comments were recorded here. On May 24th , Yahoo highlighted Djibouti’s $14 billion of investments in infrastructure projects that are intended to help position the country to maximize its location as a crossroads for cargo traffic between Asia and Europe. Djibouti is uniquely positioned to help facilitate trade for landlocked Ethiopia and Kenya, whose ports are currently overstretched. For now, the work in Djibouti is concentrated on the first of six new specialized docking terminals for specific commodities including minerals, livestock, oil, and gas. More information can be found here. On May 26th, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of UNSOM through August 7, 2015. The resolution reaffirmed the Security Council’s respect for Somalia’s sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, and unity, while allowing UNSOM and the AU to review the dynamics of a temporary surge of AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops. The Security Council also reiterated its request for the U.N. and the AU to set out a series of recommendations for the next steps in the military campaign against Al Shabaab. More information can be seen here. On May 26th, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that U.N.-backed containment measures aimed at stemming the deadly cholera outbreak in western Tanzania appear to be working, as the number of reported deaths among both Burundian refugees and locals has tapered off in recent days. The cholera epidemic, spawned by a massive influx of refugees fleeing political unrest in Burundi, has claimed 30 lives this month. A total of 4,408 cases have been reported so far, with the number new cases falling from 915 per day to 100 per day. Progress against cholera was highlighted here. On May 26th , suspected Al Shabaab militants launched two attacks in Kenya’s eastern Garissa region, killing as many as 20 police officers. The first attack occurred when a police vehicle ran over a land mine in Yumbis village, injuring at least three policemen. Later, suspected Al Shabaab militants attacked a convoy of police on their way to assist the wounded officers. At least four vehicles were burned in the second attack. The National Police Service did not provide much additional information, but Al Shabaab quickly claimed responsibility for both incidents. For details, click here. On May 30th, former Tanzanian Prime Minister Edward Lowassa will announce his campaign for the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party’s presidential nomination, according to his spokesman. Lowassa, while seen as divisive to some within the party, is recognized as a strong contender and has already raised substantial funds for his campaign. The Chama Cha Mapinduzi party has ruled Tanzania since independence in 1961 and their nominee is essentially guaranteed the presidency. A description of Lowassa’s political history and Tanzania’s internally divided opposition can be accessed here. West Africa On May 22nd, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the Population and Health Support Project to support the Government of Niger in improving the delivery of reproductive health and nutrition services to women and children in some of Niger’s poorest regions. Financed by a $103 million IDA combined grant and credit, the project will benefit 15 million individuals in the Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillaberi, and Zinder regions, where there are high rates of material and infant mortality and high fertility. The project was detailed here. On May 22nd, at the U.N. Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Forum African born rapper Akon announced that his company, Lighting Africa, will create a solar academy for developing skills and training in Bamako, Mali. The academy will be launched in partnership with African energy company Solektra. The academy will aim to train African engineers and entrepreneurs how to develop solar power while also providing electricity to approximately 600 million Africans. The initiative was announced here. On May 23rd, airlines grounded flights and radio stations cut broadcasts as a months-long fuel shortage worsened in Nigeria. Aero Contractors, one of Nigeria’s largest private airlines, canceled 80 percent of its flights, while other carriers, including Air France and Kenya Airways diverted flights destined for Nigeria for refueling to Senegal and Benin. Vehicles were also grounded and gas stations in Lagos were closed. Some gas station owners expressed fear after receiving threats from strikers claiming they would set fire to any stations selling fuel, while police sought to arrest black marketers selling fuel for more than four times the market price. The situation was described here. On May 25th, MTN, Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone operator warned it may be forced to impose a shutdown of services across Nigeria due to fuel shortages. Over the past several weeks, Nigeria has faced fuel shortages because of a long-running debate over controversial subsidy payments. The Nigerian Ministry of Power has recently reported that electricity production is at an all-time low of 1,327 megawatts (MW). The full story is available here. On May 26th, at least 96 people were reported dead in Benue state, Nigeria, after several villages were attacked by suspected Fulani herdsman over the past few days. According to state police, a mobile police unit was deployed to the area. Hundreds of people are killed in Nigeria each year in clashes between the semi-nomadic, cattle-herding Fulani people against more settled communities that practice a mix of farming rearing, driven by disputes centered around land use. The clashes were reported here. On May 26 th, fuel supplies slowly resumed in Nigeria after fuel marketers called off a strike around claims they were owed around $1 billion from the government. While the situation was improving, long lines remained at petrol stations and interruptions to businesses persisted. The strike came just days ahead of President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration, planned for May 29th. The incoming administration is expected to review the existing fuel subsidy scheme. Developments in Nigeria were noted here. On May 27th, in the prelude of the 50th the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Annual Meetings held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the AfDB signed a $100 million unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) with FirstRand Bank S.A. that will allow the two banks to share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African issuing banks in Africa and confirmed by FirstRand Bank. The agreement is intended to help alleviate inadequacy of affordable trade finance in Africa by supporting trade in vital sectors, including industry, services, agribusiness, and manufacturing. The agreement was outlined here. On May 27th, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reported the forced disappearances of individuals and their families who were involved in the attempted coup in The Gambia in December. Since January, roughly 12 rebels and members of their family have been missing. The Gambian Government does not acknowledge whether or not any of them are being detained. The full story is here. On May 27th, Ghana’s state research institute confirmed the presence of H5N1 bird flu on two farms. A national technical committee has begun to trace the source and work to prevent an outbreak similar to the transnational bird flu outbreak of 2004. So far no human infections have been found. Details are available here. On May 28th, as part of the AfDB’s Annual Meetings held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, panelists at a highlevel event on climate change renewed their call for a strong and universal climate agreement with an increased flow of funds to fulfill Africa’s development aspirations. In particular, the panel called for adequate, predictable, sustainable climate finance resources to address Africa’s challenges in transitioning to low-carbon development, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable urban development. The discussion was highlighted here. On May 28th, as part of its annual meetings, the AfDB hosted a panel on “African Stock Exchanges: The State of Play.” The panel reached consensus that African countries should support the integration of capital markets on the continent and that improving financial literacy and good return prospects will foster increased participation of domestic private investors. The group also agreed a regional exchange will lead to more liquidity by making stocks available to a wider range of investors. The panel was summarized here. On May 28th, the AfDB Annual Meetings featured a session on “Development and Security: Dealing with New Threats.” Speakers included former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi, and AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The speakers proposed that in the face of growing threats to peace and security on the continent, African countries should invest in development in a holistic way to address factors leading to the formation of armed groups, such as underdevelopment, unemployment, exclusion in government, and poverty. Details can be viewed here. Sub-Saharan Africa On May 22nd, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Zambia. The Executive Directors observed that after a period of strong macroeconomic performance, the Zambian economy is facing significant challenges arising from large fiscal deficits, lower copper prices, and policy uncertainties. In addition, the Executive Directors underscored the need for strong efforts to ensure macroeconomic stability and foster inclusive growth, including significant fiscal consolidation to reduce the deficit, stabilize debt, and create conditions for lower interest rates. Additional analysis was shared here. On May 22nd, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $12 million in new IDA financing to support the Health System Support Project in the Central African Republic (CAR). The project, which is expected to reach over one million direct beneficiaries in 2019, including the most vulnerable women and children, aims to improve the quality of maternal and child health services in targeted rural areas and to provide emergency health services to populations affected by the recent socio-political crisis. More information can be accessed here. On May 25th, as part of its Africa Day celebrations, the South African Government held an awards ceremony in Johannesburg to honor African migrants. Speaking at the ceremony, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba highlighted the contributions migrants make to the South African economy. He also called for coexistence and unity amongst African migrants and their host communities, a month after a wave of anti-immigrant attacks in the country. At a separate event, South African President Jacob Zuma praised the formation of the AU and encouraged South African institutions to fly both the AU and South African flags. Africa Day celebrations in South Africa were reported here. On May 26th, South African President Jacob Zuma told parliament the government will release the findings of an inquiry into the August 2012 deaths of 34 striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine before the end of June. The victims’ families, unions, and opposition parties have been calling for the release of the results of the investigation of the massacre, which ignited intense public and media criticism of the police, mining companies, unions, and the African National Congress (ANC). An update on the investigation was provided here. On May 26th , The Guardian highlighted how the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, located in Mtubatuba, South Africa, is making strides in the fight against HIV. For 12 years, the center has carried out household surveillance of 100,000 individuals to understand their lifestyles and environmental conditions and collected data from the district hospital in nearby Hlabisa and 17 associated primary care clinics. The research is intended to support the development of strategies to better prevent HIV and ensure the capacity of local health care institutions to treat the virus. An article on the center can be read here. On May 26th, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said the CAR needs increased funding from donors. Only about 20 percent of the response plan for the country is funded. The CAR has been divided between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian anti-balaka gangs since March 2013. Nearly 10 percent of the country is currently displaced and violence threatens civilians and humanitarian workers. Details on the situation can be found here. On May 26th, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported poachers have killed nearly half of Mozambique’s elephants for their ivory in the past five years. The group estimated there has been a 48 percent decline in elephant numbers from just over 20,000 to around 10,300. Poachers are thought to have entered Mozambique from Tanzania. The Niassa National Reserve area in northern Mozambique accounted for 95 percent of elephant deaths. More information can be found here. On May 27th, South African Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown reported to parliament that this year and next, five of state utility company Eskom’s coal power plants are expected to have a 17 million shortfall of coal. Information on which power stations will be affected was provided here. On May 27th , The Telegraph highlighted new South African travel rules due to go into effect on June 1st . Under the new regulations, anyone arriving in South Africa in the company of a child will have to prove parenthood or guardianship by providing birth certificates for children under the age of 18 to immigration officials. The new policy was designed to counter child-trafficking operations on the continent, but tour operators and airlines are fearful the new regulations will lead to a drop in tourism. The new rules were detailed here. On May 27th, Mozambican police reported that thieves raided a local store room in Maputo holding the country’s largest ever haul of confiscated rhino horn and ivory valued at more than $1 million. Four state officials who were guarding the storage area were arrested on suspicion of aiding the theft and two additional suspects were arrested for producing bull horn replicas to switch with the stolen horns. Rhinos are extinct in Mozambique and it is likely the stolen horns came from South Africa. Details can be viewed here. On May 28th, South African officials dismissed a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indictment that alleges the South African Government paid a $10 million bribe to FIFA officials to host the 2010 World Cup. According to the FBI probe, the South African Government promised to pay $10 million to former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner and his co-conspirators in exchange for winning the right to host the tournament. In response, South African officials noted that accounting firm Ernst & Young gave South Africa a clean audit report at the end of the World Cup. The full story is available here. On May 28th , South Africa state oil company PetroSA announced an investigation into the conduct of three top executives, including CEO Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, Finance Chief Lindiwe MthimunyeBakoro, and Vice President of Upstream Operations Andrew Dippenaar. The firm has suffered major setbacks and financial losses in the past two years. Details of the firm’s troubles and the official statements can be found here. General Africa News On May 24th, in advance of this week’s AfDB meetings and the vote to elect a new AfDB President, Quartz profiled the frontrunners for the position. While the race remains unpredictable, Nigerian Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina, Cape Verdean Finance Minister Cristina Duarte, and Ethiopian Finance Minister Sufian Ahmed appeared the most likely contenders. Additional candidates included Tunisian Finance Minister Jaloul Ayed, former Chadian Finance Minister Kordje Bedoumra, Sierra Leonean Foreign Minister Samura Kamara, former Vice President of the AfDB Thomas Zondo Sakala of Zimbabwe, and Vice President of the Islamic Bank of Development Birama Boubacar Sidibe of Mali. The candidates were profiled here. On May 25th, the AfDB, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) released the latest African Economic Outlook report. The report finds that Africa lost an annual average of $60.3 billion, or roughly four percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in illicit outflows between 2003 and 2012, including tax evasion, money laundering, and bribery by international companies and public officials. During that same period, the report notes the continent received just $42.1 billion in official development aid (ODA) and $43.8 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI). The report’s findings were highlighted here. On May 26th, in honor of Africa Day, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the AU, and the African Ambassadors Group co-hosted an event titled, “Women of Africa: Leadership in Peacebuilding and Development.” Opening remarks were provided by USIP President Nancy Lindborg and Ambassador of Rwanda to the U.S. and Chair of the African Ambassadors Group Methilde Mukantabana. Panel speakers included Ambassador of Mozambique to the U.S. Ameila Matos Sumbana, Kamissa Camara of the National Endowment for Democracy, Jacqueline O’Neill of The Institute for Inclusive Security, Joseph Vess of Promundo-U.S., and Ambassador Princeton Lyman of USIP. Details were posted here. On May 26th, U.K.-based money transfer firm WorldRemit predicted that the amount of money that will be sent to Africa this year, most of it via mobile technology, will reach $33 billion. As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria is projected to capture half of these funds, while Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, which also have large money transit markets, are also expected to benefit. WorldRemit also noted that half of the 261 mobile money service providers across the globe are operating in Africa. Details can be viewed here. On May 27th, nonpartisan pan-African research organization Afrobarometer released a new survey finding a majority of Africans favor presidential term limits. The survey, which targeted 51,600 citizens in 34 African countries, found three-fourths of respondents favored limited a presidential candidate to a maximum of two terms, although the support for term limits varied by country. The survey findings were detailed here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.