ML Strategies Update David Leiter, [email protected] Georgette Spanjich, [email protected] Madeline Beecher, [email protected] Joseph Sweiss, [email protected] FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @MLStrategies ML Strategies, LLC 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20004 USA 202 434 7300 202 434 7400 fax www.mlstrategies.com NOVEMBER 12, 2015 Africa Update Leading the News Egypt On November 5th, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his belief it was possible there was a bomb on board the Russian passenger jet that went down in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula last week. President Obama’s comments heightened the scrutiny on security measures at the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh, from which the downed flight departed. In the wake of the crash, passengers leaving Sharm el-Sheikh have only been allowed to carry hand luggage, while all checked bags have been transported separately. Developments were reported here. On November 6th, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended all Russian flights to Egypt, pending the outcome of the investigation into last week’s deadly plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula. The decision came at the suggestion of Russian intelligence chief Alexander Bortnikov and is expected to negatively impact Egypt’s tourism industry. The decision was announced here. On November 6th , the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) attempts to evacuate its citizens from Sharm El-Sheikh were disrupted when Egypt slashed the number of flights it would allow to operate from 29 to six. According to Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal, the operation to bring large numbers of British tourists from resorts to the airport and then send them home without luggage created a huge burden. British Prime Minister David Cameron halted all flights between the U.K. and Sharm el-Sheikh in light of concerns that the Russian airliner that crashed last week was a target of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). More information can be found here. On November 6th, as suspicion increased that a Russian airliner that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula last week was brought down by a bomb, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to bolster security at foreign airports. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Director Peter Neffenger said additional screening and airport assessments would be conducted in the region, although they noted there are no direct flights between Sharm El-Sheikh and the U.S. The new security measures were introduced here. On November 8th, investigators in Egypt said they were 90 percent sure the noise heard in the final second of a cockpit recording from the downed Russian jet was an explosion caused by a bomb. While the investigation had yet to make any formal public conclusions about the cause of the crash, leaked analysis from investigators appeared to add to a growing body of evidence that a bomb was behind the incident. Updates were noted here. On November 8th, Russia announced it had flown 11,000 Russian tourists home from Egypt on Saturday alone, with more special return flights planned for Sunday. Tourists returned to Russia as a remembrance services was held in St. Petersburg for the recent jet crash’s 224 victims, most of whom were Russian. For more information, click here. On November 8th, U.S. lawmakers articulated growing consensus that a bomb was the cause of last week’s Russian just crash in the Sinai Peninsula. Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (DCA) pointed to growing evidence that the crash was caused by a bomb, while Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Terrorism and Intelligence Peter King (D-NY) indicated U.S. intelligence officials believe an ISIL affiliate was responsible for the crash. Input from U.S. lawmakers was published here. On November 9th, Egyptian authorities launched their own investigation into whether a bomb might have been placed on the Russian airliner that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula last weekend. Egyptian officials reported the country’s intelligence service was looking into every possible lead of how someone could have been able to place a bomb inside the luggage compartment of the plane. The investigation was launched here. On November 9th, Russian authorities acknowledged for the first time a terrorist attack could have been the cause of the Russian plane crash in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. While Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev admitted it seemed that terrorism was increasingly likely, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry pushed back, saying it was too soon to speculate. While the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has offered foreign assistance to both Russia and Egypt, neither has accepted the offer. The change in Russia’s position was noted here. On November 10th, state-owned media in Egypt refused to accept growing evidence that a bomb was the cause of the October 31st Russian plane crash in the Sinai, and introduced the idea that Egypt is facing a Western conspiracy that seeks to scare off tourists and weaken the Egyptian economy. The media also asserted that Egypt stands with the West on countering terrorism. The media’s response to the ongoing investigation was discussed here. On November 11th , The Wall Street Journal questioned the integrity of the Egyptian-led investigation into the cause of the crash of a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai Peninsula last week, suggestion probe procedures may be comprising evidence. For example, many of the victims’ bodies have been repatriated to Russia, but if it is unclear if autopsies were performed to provide insights into the cause of the crash. The full article can be read here. Burundi On November 6th, noting the murder of Welly Nzitonda, the son of prominent Burundian human rights defender Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for an end to the killings and widespread impunity in Burundi. The U.N. called on Burundian authorities to protect the civilian population, regardless of political affiliation, and criticized public statements made by Burundian officials that appeared to incite violence and hatred of different groups in Burundian society. Feedback from the U.N. can be seen here. On November 7th, the U.S. Department of State expressed concern for the political and security situation in Burundi as it condemned the killing of Welly Nzitonda, the son of human rights activities Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, in Bujumbura. Mbonimpa’s son-in-law was murdered in October and he himself has been jailed and shot in recent months. The State Department noted Nzitonda’s killing is the latest in a cycle of violence between government security forces, armed opposition groups, and criminal gangs. In response, the State Department expressed concern that President Pierre Nkurunziza’s planned security crackdown could inflame the situation and called on all Burundian leaders to renounce violence and commit to a regionally-mediated dialogue with all stakeholders. A statement was issued here. On November 8th -11th, U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello traveled to Burundi to express urgent concerns over the political and security crisis in the country. While in Burundi, Special Envoy Perriello communicated the U.S. Government’s alarm at violence by government and non-government actors inside Burundi, and the recent dangerous rhetoric by the Burundian Government surrounding the expiration of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s five-day ultimatum to turn over illegal arms. Additionally, he reiterated U.S. support for regional efforts to reconvene a dialogue amongst Burundian stakeholders. Special Envoy Perriello will now travel on to Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia for further consultations on the situation in Burundi. His travel was outlined here. On November 9th, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the U.N. Security Council on conditions in Burundi. Under-Secretary-General Feltman reported Burundi is at a critical juncture with an ongoing political crisis accompanied by rising violence. Citing tensions over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s reelection to a controversial third term, Under-Secretary-General Feltman reported bodies are regularly dumped in the streets of Bujumbura, some neighborhoods experience nightly gunshots and explosions, and civilians are increasingly fleeing the bloodshed. The situation was described here. On November 9th, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby noted that Secretary of State John Kerry called African Union (AU) Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in support of the AU’s efforts a resolution to Burundi’s ongoing crisis. Noting Secretary Kerry’s decision to deploy U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello to Burundi, Spokesperson Kirby reiterated the U.S. calls on both government and nongovernment actors in the country to refrain from violence. His comments were transcribed here. On November 9th, the Government of Burundi said efforts to collect arms were proceeding peacefully, despite other regional and global leaders expressing concern the country could slide back into violence. Despite the reassurances of government officials, the update was provided as news broke that attackers in police uniforms had killed nine people in a bar in Bujumbura on Saturday. Developments were noted here. On November 9th, Rwandan President Paul Kagame implored Burundi to avoid a deteriorating security situation that could lead to similar conditions surrounding the 1994 ethnic violence and genocide in Rwanda. Since Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intent to seek a third term, at least 200 people have died and tens of thousands have fled Burundi. In Rwanda, some 800,000 people were massacred before rebel forces ended the genocide. President Kagame’s input was recorded here. On November 10th, France presented the U.N. Security Council with a draft resolution aimed at toughening the international response to the outbreak of violence in Burundi. The draft resolution proposes targeted sanctions against Burundian leaders who incite attacks or hamper efforts to end the crisis related to protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term. In response, Burundian Foreign Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe downplayed the necessity of the resolution, arguing the country was largely calm, with the exception of some parts of Bujumbura. A vote on the resolution could come as soon as Thursday. The situation was discussed here. On November 11th, the U.N. Security Council indicated it is actively developing a plan that could be used to rush peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Burundi if the violence in the country spirals out of control. According to Security Council diplomats, the 20,000-strong peacekeeping force in the DRC is also backed by a rapid reaction brigade comprised of elite troops from South Africa, Malawi, and Tanzania that could also be deployed to Burundi, if necessary. An article on the planning was published here. On November 12th, the U.N., the AU, and the European Union (EU) issued a joint statement expressing concern for the political division and violence in Burundi and pledged to work together to prevent the situation from spiraling into a regional crisis. The international partners also called for an urgent meeting between Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government and the opposition, to be held either in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the AU is based, or in the Ugandan capital of Kampala under the mediation of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. For more information, click here. Nigeria On November 9th, more than 800 West African security officials and analysts gathered in Dakar, Senegal to kick off a two-day conference to develop strategies for a coordinated response to attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram. The conference was held after Senegalese authorities arrested several imams accused of supporting Boko Haram, for the first time suggesting a Boko Haram threat in Senegal. More information can be found here. On November 9th, Chadian authorities declared a state of emergency in the Lake Chad region after a suicide bombing executed by Boko Haram militants from Nigeria killed at least two people. The state of emergency authorizes local authorities to ban the movement of people and vehicles and to search homes and recover arms. Details were shared here. On November 9th, two female suicide bombers suspected of belonging to Boko Haram blew themselves up near a mosque in Cameroon’s Far North province. It was not immediately clear if the explosions caused other fatalities. The suicide bombings were reported here. On November 11th, an estimated 25 people were killed when Boko Haram attacked a village in Niger’s Bosso district. According to reports, Boko Haram fighters ambushed the village killing five civilian. Nigerien soldiers quickly responded, driving the Boko Haram fighters back and killing 20 of them. The scene was described here. Libya On November 5th, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda presented to the U.N. Security Council on the situation in Libya. Prosecutor Bensouda expressed optimism that conflict and political division in the country may soon come to end and praised the ongoing dialogue facilitated by the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). She added the U.N.-supported exercise carries the important promise for Libya’s efforts in the promotion of the rule of law, the protection of civilians, and the ending of impunity for atrocity crimes. Excerpts from the briefing were highlighted here. On November 5th, U.N. Special Representative for Libya and head of UNSMIL Bernardino Leon updated the U.N. Security Council on the status of the political dialogue in Libya. Special Representative Leon warned dangers persist in the country and noted the passing of the timeline by which the U.N. had hoped a final political settlement would be endorsed. In particular, he noted the U.N. has continued to consult with Libyan stakeholders regarding concerns related to the composition of the Presidency Council in the proposed Government of National Accord. Special Representative Leon’s presentation was summarized here. On November 7th, the U.N. Security Council urged all Libyan stakeholders to endorse and sign the recent U.N.- facilitated political deal towards forming a Government of National Accord. The Security Council issued a statement noting the agreement finalized in October offers a real prospect for resolving tensions in the country. Additionally, the body called for an immediate end to violence throughout the country and noted the importance of allowing government institutions to continue to function to the benefit of all Libyans. The Security Council’s position was articulated here. On November 11th, at least 16 people were killed in violent clashed between government forces and ISIL fighters in Benghazi, Libya. According to reports, the violence started when General Khalifa Hiftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces, allied with Libya’s internationally recognized government, launched air strikes against ISIL positions in the area. Details were reported here. Central African Republic On November 10th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of a U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) (MINUSCA) peacekeeper in the town of Batangafo. The blue helmet was killed following an outbreak of violence between armed anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka elements at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Secretary-General Ban condemned the ongoing fighting in the CAR and reiterated his call for all armed groups to immediately lay down their weapons and refrain from violence. His feedback can be seen here. On November 10th, by presidential decree, legislative and presidential elections for the CAR were scheduled for December 27th. The votes will be preceded by a constitutional referendum to be held on December 13th. The dates of the polls were announced here. On November 11th, the U.N. Security Council condemned the attack on a MINUSCA checkpoint that followed the outbreak of violence at the camp for IDPs in Batangafo. Noting that a Cameroonian peacekeeper was killed in the incident, the Security Council noted that that targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes and reminded all parties in the CAR of their obligations under international humanitarian law. The Security Council’s reaction to the incidents in the CAR was detailed here. On November 11th, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed concern about growing insecurity in the CAR following a killing and revenge attack on a camp for IDPs in Batangafo. According to UNHCR, rebel righters entered the camp to reportedly avenge the killing of two young Muslim men in the camp. Additionally, the rebels fired shots and torched huts and community shelters in clashes and panic that left five people dead. Feedback from UNHCR was posted here. West Africa Ebola Outbreak On November 7th, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that Ebola transmission has been stopped in Sierra Leone following the passage of two incubation cycles since the last person confirmed to have the virus tested negative. Sierra Leone now enters a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance intended to ensure early detection of any possible new cases of Ebola in the country. Sierra Leone’s milestone in fighting Ebola was noted here. On November 7th, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim congratulated the government and the people of Sierra Leone on reaching the milestone of being declared Ebola-free. While applauding the country’s efforts to fight Ebola, the World Bank noted it remains mindful of the staggering human and economic costs of the Ebola epidemic, as well as the need for continued vigilance as some cases remain in the region. The World Bank’s full statement can be read here. On November 9th, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby congratulated the people of Sierra Leone on reaching the milestone marked by the WHO’s announcement that the current outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone has ended, after having gone 42 days without any new cases. Spokesperson Kirby praised the Government of Sierra Leone’s sustained response in combatting and containing the disease, as well as the efforts of the international community, donors, and NGOs who assisted in the response. His remarks can be seen here. On November 11th, the WHO updated its statistics on the number of Ebola cases in West Africa. For the week ending November 8th, Guinea, the only country with continued Ebola transmission, reported zero new cases. A total of four cases have been reported from Guinea in the past 21 days, all of whom are members of the same family from Forecariah. Contact monitoring in Guinea continues, especially as there remains a near-term risk of further cases among both registered and untraced contacts. Additional data was analyzed here. African Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean On November 11th, more than 60 leaders from Europe and Africa gathered in Malta to discuss mass migration challenges. President of the European Council Donald Tusk indicated the summit would focus on providing socioeconomic opportunities in Africa that will discourage Africans from migrating to Europe, including addressing visa obstacles, making the most of remittances for development, and fighting smugglers. At the summit, the European Commission was expected to launch a $1.8 billion emergency fund to help control the mass movements. Details were shared here. United States – Africa Relations White House On November 5th, President Barack Obama provided Congress with 60-day advanced notification of his intent to suspend the application of duty-free treatment to all African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)-eligible goods in the agricultural sector for South Africa. President Obama noted South African continues to impose several longstanding barriers to U.S. trade, including barriers affecting certain U.S. agricultural exports, to justify the suspension of AGOA benefits. However, he noted his administration will continue to assess whether South Africa is making continual progress toward the elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment. President Obama’s notification to Congress was published here. On November 11th, President Barack Obama spoke by phone with South African President Jacob Zuma to discuss the upcoming climate change negotiations and the situation in Burundi. President Obama underscored the interest of the U.S. in reaching an ambitious and durable climate agreement in Paris that incentivizes strong action by all countries. He also expressed concern about the situation in Burundi and asked President Zuma to continue to work with other regional actors to call for calm and press for a dialogue to bring about a long-term solution to the crisis. The two also discussed the President’s notification to Congress regarding AGOA. A readout of the meeting was posted here. State Department On November 5th, Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the people of Tanzania on their presidential and parliamentary elections, and said the U.S. looks forward to working with President John Magufuli and his administration to support democratic traditions, promote regional security, and continue to spur economic development. He expressed concern, however, about the announcement by authorities that they intend to nullify Zanzibar’s October 25th presidential election. Secretary Kerry’s full statement can be read here. On November 9th, State Department Counselor Tom Shannon officiated U.S. Ambassador-designate to Guinea Dennis Hankins’ swearing in ceremony, held at the Department of State. The ceremony was noticed here. On November 10th, Secretary of State John Kerry sent best wishes to the people of Angola as they celebrated the 40th anniversary of their independence. Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1993, Secretary Kerry said the U.S. and Angola have worked together productively to promote regional prosperity and stability, encourage trade and investment, improve health and educational opportunities, fight crime, and support human rights and civil society. Secretary Kerry’s full remarks were transcribed here. On November 10th, the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program authorized rewards ranging from $3 million to $6 million for information on the whereabouts of key leaders of Al Shabaab, including Abu Ubaidah, Mahad Karate, Ma’alim Daud, Hassan Afgooye, Maalim Salman, and Ahmed Iman Ali. In announcing the awards, the State Department noted Al Shabaab has killed thousands of civilians, aid workers, and peacekeepers in Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya, and was first designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2008. Details can be seen here. On November 12th, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement William Brownfield was on travel to Tunisia for meetings with Tunisian officials and to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for a State Department-funded police training academy in Tunis. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski was also in Tunis. State Department officials’ travel to Tunisia was listed here. On November 13th -14th, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller will travel to Djibouti to visit Camp Lemonnier and to meet with various counterparts to discuss international security issues and international anti-piracy efforts. Her travel was announced here. U.S. Agency for International Development On November 5th, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Feed the Future initiative announced that developing countries are making substantial progress against global hunger, poverty, and malnutrition. USAID reported the Feed the Future program has contributed to a decrease in stunting rates in Ethiopia, Ghana, and parts of Kenya by between nine and 33 percent in recent years, while areas in Uganda have seen a 16 percent drop in poverty. A press release was issued here. On November 10th, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace announced it will provide nearly $97 million in additional food assistance to assist vulnerable populations in Ethiopia, including those severely affected by the impacts of El Nino. USAID’s contribution includes more than 154,000 tons of emergency food assistance to address food needs of approximately 3.5 million Ethiopians, as well as refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, and Eritrea who have fled conflict in their own countries. Details can be viewed here. On November 12th, USAID’s Impact Blog featured a post on the effectiveness of the Education Crisis Response program in Nigeria. Launched in 2014, the goal of the program is to expand access to quality and protective nonformal education and alternative education opportunities for out-of-school children in three Nigerian states and reduce the burden on local schools already stretched by limited resources. The blog post can be read here. Department of Defense On November 5th, the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul arrived in Praia, Cape Verde for a scheduled stop for fuel and supplies. While in Praia, the shop was visited by U.S. Ambassador to Cape Verde Donald Heflin, as well as several senior Cape Verdean government officials, including Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and National Defense Rui Semedo, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Maria Jesus Miranda, Chief of Staff of the Cape Verdean Armed Forces Major General Alberto Carlos Barbosa Fernandes, and National Director of Cape Verdean Defense Lieutenant Colonel Paulo Lopes. The visit was described here. On November 6th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) highlighted an oil spill response workshop recently co-hosted by AFRICOM’s Environmental Security Program and the Camp Lemonnier environmental office in Djibouti. The workshop brought together more than 30 key stakeholders to address the appropriate procedures for minimizing the impacts of oil spills on maritime safety and security, as well as sensitive areas such as human health, environmental, economic, and cultural sites. For details, click here. Department of the Treasury On November 9th, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew met with Egyptian Finance Minister Hany Dimian and Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr. Secretary Lew and Ministers Dimian and Nasr discussed Egypt’s economic reform program and its efforts to reinforce economic stability, boost growth, and foster job creation in cooperation with the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Secretary Lew encouraged Egypt to implement critical policy measures, drawing on bilateral technical support and the expertise of the international financial institutions to achieve its economic objectives. Secretary Lew also underscored U.S. support for Egypt’s reform agenda, highlighting that boosting private sector investment for small and medium sized businesses will be critical to supporting job creation in Egypt. The meeting was summarized here. U.S. Trade and Development Agency On November 9th -20th, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will host a delegation of senior officials from the Nigerian and Kenyan health care sectors for the Health Care Technologies Reverse Trade Mission (RTM). The RTM is designed to introduce delegates to U.S. health care equipment suppliers and service providers seeking to do business in Nigeria and Kenya. According to USTDA, strong export opportunities for U.S. companies include biotechnology, anti-cancer and cardiovascular drugs, medical equipment, disposable products, advanced medical and surgical equipment, radiology, optical devices, software for hospital management, and internal networks and technology for non-communicable diseases. More information can be found here. Overseas Private Investment Corporation On November 9th, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced its successful achievement of the initial financing and insurance goals pledged to support President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative. When the program launched in June 2013, OPIC pledged to provide $1.5 billion in financing and insurance to private sector energy developers to create new energy solutions across sub-Saharan Africa. In September 2015, OPIC surpassed this milestone with the approval of several new projects and now supports a diverse portfolio of private sector-led development that will create almost 1,500 new megawatts (MW) of on-grid and off-grid power. Details can be accessed here. Millennium Challenge Corporation On November 4th, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Principal Deputy Vice President Kyeh Kim authored a blog post to highlight her recent acceptance of an Investment and Business Leaders award on behalf of MCC for Best Investment Climate of the Year. Issued by Africa Investor, the award recognized the MCC’s engagement in Africa, including the execution of compacts across the continent, the launch of the Investment Outlook series, which provides an overview of investment opportunities in select MCC partner countries, including Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia, and the first-ever Trade and Investment Mission that brought representatives from 10 U.S. companies to Tanzania and Malawi. More information was posted here. On November 6th, the MCC released its FY16 scorecards for all 81 low and lower-middle income countries as defined by the World Bank. The scorecards will be used by the MCC’s Board of Directors to select partner countries to receive grant assistance based on their performance and the overall opportunity to reduce poverty and generate economic growth. The FY16 scorecards, including those for Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Togo, Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Somalia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Niger, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritania, Mali, Madagascar, Lesotho, Liberia, Comoros, Kenya, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, the CAR, the DRC, Benin, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Swaziland, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Cabo Verde, and the Republic of Congo (ROC) can be viewed here. Congress On November 3rd, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) introduced companion Senate and House bills calling for the U.S. Government to label Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. According to the sponsors, the legislation is intended to protect the U.S. against violent jihad carried out by Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in the U.S. and around the world. The bills’ introduction was noted here. On November 5th, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and David Perdue (R-GA) applauded the Obama Administration for its announcement of plans to suspend trade benefits for South Africa under AGOA because South Africa failed to eliminate longstanding barriers to U.S. poultry, pork, and beef imports. The Senators said it is unfortunate this action must be taken, but noted South Africa has repeatedly failed to implement a deal reached this summer and missed a key deadline last month to finalize the trade protocol and health certificate for U.S. poultry. Their feedback was articulated here. On November 6th, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) held his fourth annual Opportunity: Africa Conference in Wilmington, Delaware. The event was designed to connect Delaware business, faith communities, and individuals with top experts on Africa, offer insight on trade opportunities, and discuss other issues including human rights challenges, sustainable development, food security, and global health. Details were posted here. North Africa On November 5th, Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the kidnapping of dozens of Tunisians near Washafana, Libya, a site of recent fighting between rival armed groups. Allegedly, the unidentified gunmen behind the abductions are demanding the release of a Libyan arrested in Tunisian. More information was reported here. On November 8th, Egyptian authorities interrogated and eventually arrested journalist Hossam Bahgat of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights on charges that he published false news and insulted the Egyptian military. Bahgat’s most recent report investigated low-key convictions of 26 military officers accused of plotting a coup. The situation was described here. On November 9th, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that humanitarian conditions are worsening in parts of South Sudan, leaving vulnerable populations food insecure and vulnerable to diseases. As a result, OCHA reported it was working with its partners to ramp up assistance in Unity and Western Equatoria states, including the provision of health services, water, and supplies for sanitation and hygiene. Details were shared here. On November 9th, the Egyptian Interior Ministry announced the death of Sinai Province leader Ashraf Gharabli in a shootout in Cairo after security forces tried to arrest him. Gharabli was behind a number of high profile attack’s carried out by ISIL’s affiliate in the Sinai, including the kidnapping and murder of Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek and the deadly explosion at the Italian consulate in Cairo this past July. For details, click here. On November 10th, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for the immediate release of Egyptian human rights defender Hossam Bahgat, noting Bahgat is a member of the U.N. Development Programme’s (UNDP) Global Society Advisory Council. The U.N. said this is the latest detention in Egypt that is profoundly worrying and underscored the importance of safeguarding freedom of speech and association in the country. The U.N.’s position was articulated here. On November 10th, U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura commended 54 ranking members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLA-IO) for signing explicit undertakings to prevent conflict-related sexual violence. Special Representative Bangura said this is an encouraging step towards the protection of women, children, and men in South Sudan. Her comments were recorded here. On November 10th, after coming under criticism from the U.N. and human rights groups, Egyptian authorities freed investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat. He had been held at Egypt’s military intelligence building since he was brought in for questioning about an article he recently authored on a coup being planned within the army. It was not immediately clear if Bahgat will face any additional charges. His release was announced here. On November 11th, U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye and U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Frost welcomed the release of Egyptian journalist Hossam Bahgat, although they also expressed concern over the difficult environment for journalists and human rights defenders in Egypt. The U.N. experts noted that even after his release, Bahgat’s detention can be viewed as a signal of disrespect for freedom of expression. The U.N.’s views on the situation were discussed here. On November 12th, the Government of South Sudan indicated its openness to meeting with rebel leader Riek Machar at a regional peace conference to be held under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Juba next week. It was not immediately clear if Machar would attend the tentative meeting to discuss the implementation of a peace deal as both sides of the conflict in South Sudan have reportedly violated an agreed upon ceasefire. More information can be found here. East Africa On November 5 th, the U.N. called attention to a training course recently held in Somalia after the launch of a toll free hotline for IDPs to tackle sexual violence by enhancing timely response to abuse cases and offering information on accessible health services. The hotline was launched in October by the Somali Women’s Development Center (SWDC). More information can be found here. On November 5th, following his victory in the October 25th polls, John Magufuli was sworn in as President of Tanzania. During his inauguration, President Magufuli promised to unite the country, create more jobs, and drive economic growth. Highlights from the ceremony were noted here. On November 6th, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed new research seeking to explain how Ethiopia has slowed its population growth. Since the 1990s, Ethiopia has seen a massive cut in its fertility rate, from an average of seven children per women to 4.6 children. This has been attributed to women staying in school longer, the standard of living increasing, and family planning becoming more popular. The data was analyzed here. On November 6th, in the face of ongoing criticism regarding Ethiopia’s detention of members of the media, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn insisted a number of the bloggers and journalists arrested in the past year had links to terrorist organizations. Additionally, Prime Minister Desalegn expressed his belief that free media is important to the democratic process and development. His remarks were captured here. On November 9th, the U.N. Security Council approved a successor operation to the six-year-old U.N. Support Office for the AU Mission to Somalia (UNSOA). The new U.N. Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) will provide support to the AU Mission in Somali (AMISOM), the U.N. Assistance Mission (UNSOM), and the Somali National Army on joint operations. More information can be viewed here. On November 10th, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution renewing for another year its authorization for international naval forces to join fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia. While the Security Council observed the threat from Somali pirates has declined, it stated that piracy remains a grave concern and encouraged U.N. member States and regional organizations to deploy naval vessels, arms, military aircraft, and logistical support for counter-piracy forces. Details can be viewed here. On November 10th , BBC Africa reported hundreds of people in Uganda’s LGBT community have fled to Kenya in an attempt to escape homophobia and persecution in Uganda around the country’s anti-homosexuality law. While the law has been struck down by the courts, many LGBT persons in Uganda reported the environment in the country remains dangerous. However, the situation in Kenya is not much improved, as LGBT persons have reported constant attacks, kidnappings, extortion, and police harassment. The situation was described here. On November 11th, newly inaugurated Tanzanian President John Magufuli paid impromptu visits to a number of government institutions, including the Ministry of Finance. During an unannounced visit to Muhimbili National Hospital, President Magufuli transferred the executive director and dissolved the health board after expressing concern about poor hygienic conditions, the lack of drugs, and the poor quality of medical equipment. President Magufuli’s activities were intended to reinforce his campaign promise to ensure accountability and improve the work ethic among public employees. Details can be seen here. On November 11th, Kenyan security forces destroyed five camps used by suspected Al Shabaab militants in the Boni Forest along the border with Somalia. Kenyan authorities believe the fighters were using the bases to launch strikes in Kenya. Weapons were also collected from the destroyed hideouts and turned over to the government. The operation was detailed here. On November 12th, Kenya’s Journalists for Justice accused Kenyan forces fighting Al Shabaab militants in Somalia of taking cuts from charcoal and sugar smuggling, earning as much as $50 million a year through illegal trade. The Kenyan army and other government sources denied the claims, although the U.N. has also recently suggested that illegal trading continues at the port of Kismayu. The full story is available here. West Africa On November 4th, the World Bank touted the success of its Skills and Technology Development Project in Ghana. The project was launched in 2011 to support opportunities to expand employment, increase skills training, and promote increased adoption of technology. Since its start, the fund has provided more 614 grants to thousands of businesses in various industries to enhance worker skills and create jobs. The project was detailed here. On November 5th, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded a visit to Accra, Ghana to conduct discussions on the second review of Ghana’s financial and economic program supported by the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The IMF team’s meetings with Ghanaian authorities focused on the implementation of the program, the medium-term outlook, and policies needed to restore debt sustainability, macroeconomic stability, and a return to high growth and job creation while protecting the poor. The discussions were summarized here. On November 6th, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a new $10 million International Development Association (IDA) credit for the Government of Liberia in support of the Liberia Youth Opportunities Project (YOP).The project targets 15,000 Liberian youths by providing apprenticeships and public works opportunities. The project also targets extremely poor and Ebola-affected households by supporting the development of a social safety net system. Details were shared here. On November 6th, representatives of 25 African countries meeting in Cotonou, Benin under the auspices of the African Elephant Coalition adopted a declaration demanding a total ban on ivory trade worldwide. Meeting participants stressed that African elephants are facing the worst crisis since 1989, when all populations were listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES), banning international ivory trade. The declaration was highlighted here. On November 6th, Benin’s media regulator suspected the main private newspaper Le Matinal for allegedly insulting President Boni Yayi. According to the high audiovisual and communications authority, the publication broke several sections of its code and ordered the paper to stop publication until after a hearing that has yet to be scheduled. The move was widely criticized by other newspapers and opposition politicians. More information can be found here. On November 9th, at least seven people were killed in Taraba state, Nigeria in violence that erupted after the State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal announced the annulment of the election of People’s Democratic Party opposition candidate Darius Ishaku. The Tribunal argued Ishaku had not won the vote legally and said the lawful winner was Hajia Aisha Alhassan of the ruling All Progressives Party, who is now set to become Nigeria’s first female governor. The full story is available here. On November 9th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari fired the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Ibrahim Lamorde and approved Ibrahim Mustaga Magu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to serve as Acting Chairman of the Commission. The move is widely viewed as part of President Buhari’s platform to eliminate corruption. Details can be accessed here. On November 9th, telecommunications company MTN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sifiso Dabengwa resigned, effective immediately. His departure comes in the wake of a massive fine imposed on MTN by Nigerian communications authorities for the failure to disconnect 5.1 million subscribers. Former MTN Group CEO and nonexecutive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko will serve as acting CEO until Dabengwa is replaced. The full story is available here. On November 9th, 17-year-old Abraham Keita was awarded the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize in recognition of his campaigning to end violence against minors in Liberia. The teenager has lobbied the Liberian parliament to adopt laws to protect children and led marches and demonstrations to highlight the issue. His recognition was reported here. On November 10th, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced plans to expand its school meals program from 735 to 1,605 primary schools across Guinea. Under the program expansion, more than 240,000 children will receive daily hot meals at school during the academic year. WFP assistance in Guinea will ramp up this week as some schools reopen for the first time since the onset of the Ebola crisis. The expansion was announced here. On November 10th, OCHA Director John Ging returned from a three-day visit to Mali. While he observed that Mali has made significant progress since the 2012 military coup, he noted there are still about 136,000 refugees in the region and around 61,000 remain internally displaced. Further, he called attention to some parts of the country where the global acute malnutrition rates continue to be above the emergency threshold. Observations from Director Ging’s visit to Mali were posted here. On November 11th, the World Bank called attention to its support for the Mali Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project (PCDA). The PCDA provides support to farmers and private entrepreneurs to increase and diversify their household incomes and economic opportunities and is intended to help diversify the country’s agricultural sector and promote a movement away from subsistence farming. For more information, click here. On November 11th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari swore in members of his long awaited, 36-member cabinet. President Buhari appointed investment banker Kemi Adeosun to the post of Finance Minister. Additionally, President Buhari selected the head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Emmanuel Ibe Kachiwu to serve as oil minister, while indicating he himself would maintain control of the petroleum ministry. The new cabinet was outlined here. On November 11th, experts from the six member states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission met in Yaounde, Cameroon to draft a plan to address the impacts of climate change on Lake Chad, including the loss of as much of 90 percent of the lake’s water in the past 50 years. The plans will be presented at the Paris climate change summit in December. The meeting was summarized here. Sub-Saharan Africa On November 5th, lawmakers in Burkina Faso offered overwhelming support for setting a two-term limit for president. The interim parliament, known at the National Transitional Council, adopted a constitutional amendment stipulating that under no circumstance may anyone serve more than two, five-year mandates as president. The amendment was approved by 88 of the 89 members of parliament (MPs) present. The vote was reported here. On November 6 th, an IMF mission completed a visiting to Gaborone, Botswana, at the request of authorities, to assist with the implementation of the Enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS) for the publication of macroeconomic data. The IMF team helped redevelop the National Summary Data Page (NSDP) to serve as a one-stop publication for essential data. This makes Botswana the first IMF member country to implement the recommendations of the e-GDDS. A press release was issued here. On November 6th, following the White House’s announcement of its intent to suspend South African AGOA benefits within 60 days, the South African Government issued a statement indicating it is taking steps to finalize a June 2015 agreement to increase imports of U.S. chicken and that it has drafted trade and health protocols that would allow more U.S. beef and poultry imports. The statement was released following a meeting of South African and U.S. veterinarians to finalize technical issues related to animal health. More information can be accessed here. On November 6th, staff for South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa noted he will visit Iran to explore opportunities for cooperation win the energy sector. In particular, Deputy President Ramaphosa’s meetings in Iran will be focused on attracting investment into a refinery Pretoria is planning to build and that could potentially process Iranian crude. His upcoming travel to Iran was announced here. On November 9th, the U.N. Security Council called for the elimination of local and foreign armed groups that continue to operate in the eastern region of the DRC and urged the immediate resumption or joint operations between the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC’s (MONUSCO) Intervention Brigade and the National Army. In particular, the Security Council called for the neutralization of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (FPI), and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For details, click here. On November 9th, Zimbabwean Minister of Environment, Water, and Climate Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri reported the government has adopted a very serious approach to dealing with poachers by deploying the army to national parks to respond to reports of the killing of elephants over the past several months. Since September, at least 62 elephants have been killed by cyanide poisoning since September in Hwange and Kariba. An article on Zimbabwe’s approach to stopping poaching can be read here. On November 10th, online taxi service Uber signed a $14 million deal with South African vehicle finance provider WesBank to rent cars to Uber drivers who cannot afford to buy them and do not qualify for traditional car loans due to a lack of credit history. The partnership was launched here. On November 11th, anti-riot police fired stun grenades to disperse scores of striking parliamentary workers demanding higher pay outside of South Africa’s assembly building in Cape Town. According to witnesses, officers in full body armor carried away demonstrators with the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu). For most of this week, parliament has been shut down in the wake of protests over a bonus payment and state security vetting processes targeting workers and management. More information can be seen here. On November 11th, a South African judge sentenced eight former South African police officers to 15 years in prison for their involvement in the murder of a Mozambican taxi driver in 2013. The driver, Mido Macia, was killed after officers tied him to the back of their police van and drove off. The case was outlined here. On November 11th, Seychelles’ election commission approved six candidates to run in the December 3rd presidential contest, formally opening the campaign period. Incumbent President James Michel will seek a third term in office, which would be his final term under the country’s constitution. While President Michel is expected to fare well in the vote, some analysts believe a runoff election is possible. The presidential race in Seychelles was analyzed here. On November 12th, the families of the 34 victims of South Africa’s 2012 Markiana mines massacre issued Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa a court summons for complicity in their deaths. At the time the strikers were shot dead by police, Deputy President Ramaphosa was a director and shareholder at Lonmin and was involved in email exchanges with authorities in the days leading up to the shootings. He has denied any responsibility for the violence. The full story is available here. General Africa News On November 4th, the AfDB’s Board of Directors approved three loans for separate development projects in Africa. Zambia will receive $45 million to finance its Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP), Niger will receive $28 million to support its Financial Reforms and Food Security Support Program, and Mali will receive $21 million towards its Economic Governance Reform Support Program. The projects were profiled here. On November 10th, the WHO reported a mass vaccination campaign against meningitis in Africa has been overwhelmingly successful. According to the WHO, more than 220 million people in 16 countries across the continent’s meningitis belt have been immunized. While cases have been reduces from the thousands to single digits, the WHO warned meningitis epidemics could return unless a new vaccination program is started. An article on the situation was published here. On November 10th, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported an estimated 11 million children in eastern and southern Africa face hunger, disease, and water shortages as a result of the strongest El Nino weather phenomenon in decades. The food and water shortages caused by drought and flooding have increased children’s vulnerability to fatal diseases, such as malaria, diarrhea, cholera, and dengue fever, and may lead to other negative outcomes, including poor cognitive development and health. UNICEF’s concern was expressed here. On November 10th, Ford Motor Company announced it plans to introduce 30 new vehicles to the Middle and North Africa by the end of the decade. In the near term, Ford is planning to launch eight new vehicles in Africa by the end of 2016, including the GT supercar, Shelby GT350 Mustang, Edge, Explore, Figo, and Ranger. Details were announced here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2015 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.