Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How To Respond to China in Africa

The National Interest posted on 12 November 2018 a commentary titled "How To Respond To China in Africa" by Lyle J. Goldstein, United States Naval War College.

The author argues that it would be a mistake to view China's activities in Africa through a military or security lens primarily. Economics and enhanced business opportunities are behind China's initiatives in Africa. Instead of bemoaning every Chinese initiative in Africa, America should thoroughly demilitarize its approach and double down on fostering markets, education, environmental sustainability and good health. There are also projects where Washington would do well to partner with Beijing.

US Works To Improve Relations with Sudan

Foreign Policy posted on 8 November 2018 an article titled "Trump Administration Gives Sudan a Way To Come in from the Cold" by Robbie Gramer.

Sudan's foreign minister recently visited Washington. The Trump administration offered a scenario whereby Sudan could be removed from the United States' list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Monday, November 12, 2018

China May Sell African Infrastructure Debt To Investors

The East African published on 5 November 2018 an article titled "China Plans To Sell Off Its African Infrastructure Debt To Investors" by Zacharias Abubeker.

As African countries experience increasing difficulties in meeting their loan payments, the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation is looking at buying a diverse basket of China's infrastructure loans next year and repackaging them into securities for sale to investors. The article points out there may be downsides if African countries become mired in additional debt.

Friday, November 9, 2018

China Merchants Group in Djibouti (in French)

Revue Espace Geographique et Societe Marocaine published in November 2018 a study titled "La China Merchants a Djibouti: de la route maritime a la route numerique de la soie" by Thierry Pairault, research director emeritus at CNRS--Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

The study looks at the role of the Chinese company, China Merchants Group, as it tries, at the request of the Djiboutian government, to develop an East African Singapore.

First Eritrean-American Elected to US Congress

The Voice of America posted on 8 November 2018 an article titled "Parents' Journey Inspired US Congress' 1st Eritrean-American" by Salem Solomon.

Eritrean-American Debesai Neguse was elected on 6 November 2018 as a US Congressman in the second district of Colorado. He is the first Eritrean-American to be elected to Congress. He will represent about 720,000 Coloradans in a district that covers about ten counties.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Rehabilitating Former Terrorists in Kenya

The Center for Strategic and International Studies published on 26 October 2018 a commentary titled "Kenya's Struggling Amnesty Experiment: The Policy Challenge of Rehabilitating Former Terrorists" by Richard Downie.


Kenya announced in 2015 an amnesty program for young Kenyans who had gone to neighboring Somalia to train with the terrorist group, al-Shabaab. As many as 1,500 former al-Shabaab members surrendered to Kenyan authorities by February 2016. More than three years later, however, little is heard about the amnesty program. The author identifies several reasons for the apparent failure of the program.

First Somali-American Elected to U.S. Congress

CBS Minnesota posted on 7 November 2018 a story titled "Ilhan Omar, The 1st Somali-American Elected To Congress, Seeks To Make U.S. More Welcoming."

The U.S. Congress will receive in January 2019 the first ever Somali-American, Ilhan Omar, elected to that body. Ilhan Omar will represent the 5th District of Minnesota, which spans Minneapolis and suburbs.

Maritime Crime off the Horn of Africa

The University of Copenhagen Centre for Military Studies published in September 2018 a major study titled "Navigating Changing Currents: A Forward-looking Evaluation of Efforts To Tackle Maritime Crime Off the the Horn of Africa" by Katja Lindskov-Jacobsen and Julie Hoy-Carrasco.

The report notes that pirates in Somalia shifted their focus away from piracy towards more profitable illegal maritime activities such human trafficking and weapons smuggling. The authors argue this new situation calls for interventions aimed at building stability through countering maritime crime that is equally agile and/or comprehensive both in terms of the types of crime being targeted and the geographical scope.

The State of Somali Piracy

The institute for Security Studies published on 7 November 2018 an analysis titled "Ten Years On, Is Somali Piracy Still a Threat?" by Denys Reva.

There have only been two pirate attacks off Somalia since the beginning of 2018 as compared to 160 for all of 2011. The author argues, however, that it is still essential to address the root cause of piracy in Somalia.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Doing Business in Somalia 2019

The World Bank has just published its Doing Business 2019 for Somalia. The evaluation includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

On the overall ranking of ease of doing business, the World Bank evaluated 190 countries, including 54 in Africa. Somalia ranked 190, last on the list. This compares with 159 for Ethiopia.

Doing Business in Sudan 2019

The World Bank has just published its Doing Business 2019 for Sudan. The evaluation includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

On the overall ranking of ease of doing business, the World Bank evaluated 190 countries, including 54 in Africa. Sudan ranked 162. This compares with 120 for Egypt and 185 for South Sudan.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Photo Journalist Account of Child Soldiers in South Sudan

The Pulitzer Center published on 30 October 2018 a photo journalist account titled "Child Soldiers of South Sudan" by Andreea Campeanu.

The article documents a group of child soldiers among 900 released from the armed forces in South Sudan in 2018. About 19,000 child soldiers are still serving in armed forces across South Sudan.

Kenyan Push Back Against Chinese Economic Engagement

Kenya's Business Daily published on 30 October 2018 a commentary titled "Yes, There's Need To Limit Competition by Chinese" by George Wachira.

The author cited three areas where there is growing concern in Kenya about China's economic engagement. Chinese construction contractors are getting most of the infrastructure business and pushing Kenyan companies out of the market. Chinese traders are becoming importers, wholesalers, and retailers of basic consumer merchandise in Kenya. China exports far more to Kenya than it buys from Kenya. Wachira said it is time for Kenya to reassess its economic engagement with China, keeping those aspects with genuine socio-economic value and curtailing areas that are pushing Kenya back.

The United Arab Emirates in the Horn of Africa

The International Crisis Group published on 6 November 2018 an analysis titled "The United Arab Emirates in the Horn of Africa."

The UAE and Saudi Arabia played a useful role in pushing forward the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. But competition among Gulf States is posing serious problems for political stability in the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia, as their differences play out in the Horn of Africa.

Monday, November 5, 2018

China Exports Digital Surveillance to Africa

Quartz Africa posted on 1 November 2018 an article titled "China Is Exporting Its Digital Surveillance Methods to African Governments" by Abdi Latif Dahir.

Based on a global study dated October 2018 by Freedom House titled "Freedom on the Net 2018," the article suggests that China is helping African governments to censor the internet and control the flow of information.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Doing Business in South Sudan

The World Bank has just published its Doing Business 2019 for South Sudan. The evaluation includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

On the overall ranking of ease of doing business, the World Bank evaluated 190 countries, including 54 in Africa. South Sudan ranked 185. This compares with 162 for Sudan and 190 for Somalia.

Doing Business in Kenya 2019

The World Bank has just published its Doing Business 2019 for Kenya. The evaluation includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

On the overall ranking of ease of doing business, the World Bank evaluated 190 countries, including 54 in Africa. Kenya ranked 61 globally and fourth best in Africa. Kenya's global ranking compares with Rwanda at number 29 and Uganda at number 127.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Doing Business in Djibouti 2019

The World Bank has just published its Doing Business 2019 for Djibouti. The evaluation includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

On the overall ranking of ease of doing business, the World Bank evaluated 190 countries, including 54 in Africa. Djibouti ranked 99, second most improved ranking from 2017 to 2018. This compares with 159 for Ethiopia and 29 for Rwanda.

Doing Business in Eritrea 2019

The World Bank has just published its Doing Business 2019 for Eritrea. The evaluation includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

On the overall ranking of ease of doing business, the World Bank evaluated 190 countries, including 54 in Africa. Eritrea ranked 189. This compares with 159 for Ethiopia and 99 for Djibouti.

Doing Business in Ethiopia 2019

The World Bank has just published its Doing Business 2019 for Ethiopia. The evaluation includes starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

On the overall ranking of ease of doing business, the World Bank evaluated 190 countries, including 54 in Africa. Ethiopia ranked 159. This compares with 61 for Kenya and 189 for Eritrea.

Ethiopia May Have 10th Federal State

Ethiopia Insight posted on 3 November 2018 an article titled "Sidama Take Another Step Towards Statehood" by Ermias Tesfaye.

The Council of Southern Nations in Ethiopia has agreed to Sidama Zone's request to become the tenth federal state in the country.

Chinese Manufacturing Operations in Ethiopia (French/English)

Thierry Pairault, CNRS--Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, recently posted a short note in English dated 26 February 2018 titled "China in Ethiopia: About Humanwell." It describes the process followed by a midsize Chinese pharmaceutical company, Humanwell Healthcare Group, to establish a manufacturing plant in Ethiopia and why a much larger Western company, GlaxoSmithKline, chose not to invest there.

The second piece dated 3 November 2018 and in French is titled "Ethiopie: chaussures et parcs industriels." It is a longer account of the Hujian shoe company and Chinese industrial parks in Ethiopia.

Good News and Bad News for Doing Business in Africa

The World Bank has just released its Doing Business 2019. It evaluates 190 countries/economies globally, including 54 in Africa. The evaluation looks at starting a business, labor market regulation, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, trading across borders, paying taxes, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

There is good news and bad news for Africa. Out of the ten most improved countries since 2017, five are in Africa. Djibouti is second most improved, Togo sixth, Kenya seventh, Cote d'Ivoire eighth, and Rwanda tenth. The bad news is that only eight African countries rank above the global midpoint: Mauritius (20), Rwanda (29), Morocco (60), Kenya (61), Tunisia (80), South Africa (82), Botswana (86), and Zambia (87). Forty-six African countries rank below the global mid-point and thirteen of the bottom twenty are in Africa.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Ethiopia: An Imperfect Hegemon

International Affairs published in September 2018 an analysis titled "Regional Power and Contested Hierarchy: Ethiopia, an 'Imperfect Hegemon' in the Horn of Africa" by Sonia Le Gouriellec, Catholic University of Lille.

The article looks at the concept of hegemony in Ethiopia, which sees itself as the regional hegemon while acting differently. The author concludes that Ethiopia is an imperfect hegemon, espousing a foreign policy characterized by a relationship of dominance over and assumption of allegiance from its neighbors, which could paradoxically lead to destabilizing policies.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Ethiopia's Policy on Refugees

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published in October 2018 a study titled "Ethiopia's Refugee Response: Focus on Socio-economic Integration and Self-reliance" by Tsion Tadesse Abebe, ISS.

Ethiopia has more than 900,000 registered refugees and has the second highest number of refugees of any country in Africa. Most of them are from South Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea. The paper looks at ways to improve Ethiopia's response to the handling of refugees.

ISS published on 25 October 2018 a companion policy brief by the same author titled "Promises and Challenges of Ethiopia's Refugee Policy Reform."