Thursday, June 21, 2018

Gulf States Increase Tension in Somalia

The Institute for Security Studies published on 20 June 2018 a commentary titled "Somalia Must Look Inward To Defuse Its Tensions" by Omar S. Mahmood.

Somalia's federal member states have been upset with Mogadishu's foreign policy direction since last year. Somalia's government has sided with Qatar in the Gulf State disputes in opposition to federal member states' interests. While other Horn of Africa countries have been pressured to choose sides in this dispute, Somalia has suffered the worst consequences.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Chinese Contractors in Lesotho Encounter Local Push Back

The Lesotho Times published on 16 June 2018 an article titled "Local Contractors Cry Foul Over Chinese Dominance" by Mohalenyane Phakela.

Local contractors in Lesotho allege there is systematic bias in the awarding of construction tenders to Chinese companies. Basotho contractors have complained officially to the government of Lesotho.

Angola's Debt to China

The Financial Times published on 13 June 2018 an article titled "Angola's Debt Reliance on China May Leave It Short-changed" by Yigal Chazan, who works for a London-based business intelligence consultancy.

China has loaned Angola more than $60 billion since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1983. At the end of 2017, Angola's debt to China amounted to $21.5 billion, about half of Angola's total external debt. Repayment is made by exporting oil to China at a time when Angola's oil production is falling, raising questions about Angola's ability to repay loans on schedule.

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Kenya: A Test for Political Ties with China

Kenya's Daily Nation published on 18 June 2018 an article titled "Sino-Kenya Ties the Perfect Test for China's Foray's into Africa" by Hexron Mogambi, a Kenyan professor.

The Communist Party of China has established relations with 81 African political parties in and out of power. The author concludes that the special relationship between Kenya and China seems like a perfect testing ground for future Chinese alliance-building in other African countries.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Resolving the Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Conflict

African Arguments posted on 18 June 2018 a commentary titled "Resolving the Ethiopia-Eritrea Border: What Actually Needs To Be Done?" by Martin Plaut.

The author argues that the road to resolution of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute requires the immediate support and involvement of the UN and the rest of the international community.

Getting to Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea

African Arguments posted on 18 June 2018 a commentary titled "Ethiopia and Eritrea: Turning the Promise of Peace into the Real Thing" by Abdul Mohammed, chair of the InterAfrica Group, an Ethiopian civil society organization.

The author argues that Ethiopia should drive a peace plan with Eritrea. Ethiopia should put on the table its detailed concerns related to the Algiers Agreement and an agenda for normalizing political and economic relations with Eritrea.

Ethiopia: Reform and Local Conflicts

African Arguments posted on 19 June 2018 a commentary titled "Strains Down South: Ethiopia's National Reforms Rouse Local Tensions" by Wolde Tadesse, Jason Mosley, and Angela Raven-Roberts.

Local conflicts in Ethiopia are being exacerbated by the reform policies of new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The authors urge the government to draw on local, cultural, and historical models in the Ethiopian context to resolve the conflicts peacefully.

Ethiopia, Djibouti, and China: Different Paths?

Ventures Africa posted on 19 June 2018 an article titled "Ethiopia's Faltering Dependence on China: Leading by Example?"

While China slows down its investment in Ethiopia, Djibouti continues to rely heavily on it. Ventures Africa argues that Ethiopia and Djibouti form a cautionary tale to other African countries concerning their levels of dependency on China.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ethiopia's Offer To Settle Border Conflict with Eritrea Encounters Local Opposition

The Ethiopia Observer published on 11 June 2018 an article titled "Irob Protests in Tigray Display Local Obstacles to Implementing Eritrean Peace Deal" by Arefaynie Fantahun.

The author explains that the Irob people who live along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border in the vicinity of Badme and who would be most affected by the transfer of Badme from Ethiopia to Eritrea find the announcement by Ethiopia unwelcome.

Zimbabwe Seeking To Become IT Hub with Help of China

Quartz Africa posted on 15 June 2018 a commentary titled "Zimbabwe Is Trying To Transform Itself into a Teaching Hub with China's Help" by Tawanda Karombo.

Zimbabwe is looking to China to help build capacity and technological knowledge in an effort to create an IT hub underpinned by big data and artificial intelligence.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Russia to Host First Russia-Africa Forum?

The Ghana News Agency posted on 13 June 2018 an article titled "Russia Signals Readiness To Deepen Economic Ties with Africa" by Kester Kenn Klomegah, Moscow Bureau Chief.

Russia may host next year its first high level Russia-African Union Forum, signalling its readiness to deepen economic engagement with Africa.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Resolving the Ethiopia-Eritrea Dispute

African Arguments posted on 13 June 2018 a commentary titled "How Ethiopia and Eritrea Can Forge a New Relationship" by Herman J. Cohen, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Cohen suggests the following four point plan:

--A mutual security guarantee,
--Re-open the border for trade,
--Restore access to Eritrean ports, and
--Remove sanctions against Eritrea.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Al-Shabaab Attack in Somalia Kills American

The New York Times published on 10 June 2018 an article titled "Quick Evacuation in Somalia Firefight Shows Disparity in U.S. Resources in Africa" by Eric Schmitt and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

The article reports on an al-Shabaab attack on a Somali military base in southern Somalia that resulted in the death of one American soldier and the injury of three others.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Is Russia Reengaging in Africa?

How We Make It in Africa posted on 31 May 2018 an article titled "Russia in Africa: A Return to Old Haunts?" by Johan Burger, Nanyang Technological University.

The article highlights the most recent initiatives by Russia to expand its presence and influence in Africa, especially in Sudan, Somaliland, and Egypt.

China's Yuan in Africa

Australia's RN Drive posted on 6 June 2018 a podcast titled "The African Yuan" with Lauren Johnston, a consultant with the World Bank's Beijing office.

Johnston suggests African nations are moving closer to adopting China's yuan as a reserve currency and discusses additional China-Africa economic issues in a ten minute podcast.

China's Yuan To Serve as Reserve Currency in Africa?

Quartz Africa posted on 29 May 2018 an article titled "There Is Growing Momentum to Adopt China's Yuan As a Reserve Currency in Africa" by Abdi Latif Dahir.

African central bank leaders from southern and eastern Africa recently discussed whether to hold the Chinese Yuan as part of their foreign reserves. The discussion underscored China's push to internationalize its currency to promote trade and investment.

The Herald (Zimbabwe) published on 11 June 2018 an article titled "Zim Should Consider Adopting China's Renminbi."

Decline in Investment Flows to Africa

The UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2018 Country Fact Sheet for Africa contains useful information on the state of foreign direct investment (FDI) to/from Africa.

There was a significant drop in Africa, especially in southern Africa, of inward FDI from $53 billion in 2016 to $42 billion in 2017. There was a slight increase in outward FDI from $11 billion in 2016 to $12 billion in 2017.

The UNCTAD report also contains fact sheets for individual countries.

Possible Conflict in Sudan/South Sudan Border Area

Foreign Policy posted on 6 June 2018 a commentary titled "Conflict in Abyei Could Reignite South Sudan's Civil War" by Sam Mednick.

The author concludes that if the United Nations withdraws Ethiopian peacekeepers from the long-contested and oil rich enclave of Abyei, it is likely to spark further fighting in an already unstable region.

China/Nigeria Currency Swap Deal

Ventures published on 8 June 2018 an article titled "How Much Does the Chinese Currency Sale Improve the Nigeria-China Trade Imbalance?" by Feranmi Akeredolu.

The Central Bank of Nigeria and People's Bank of China recently signed a Naira/RMB currency swap agreement. It is not clear if the swap deal will have any significant positive impact on Nigeria's large trade deficit with China.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Challenges Facing Ethiopia's New Government

The Royal United Services Institute posted on 5 June 2018 a commentary titled "Ethiopia's New Leader: So Far So Good, But Mountains Still to Climb" by Ann Fitz-Gerald, Cranfield University.

The author says there is hope that Ethiopia is moving to a better place, but security threats, regional conflicts, and diplomatic challenges face the new government.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Somalia and the Gulf Crisis

The International Crisis Group published on 5 June 2016 a report titled "Somalia and the Gulf Crisis."

It concludes that the bitter rivalries underlying the crisis among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are contributing to Somalia's instability. Al-Shabaab is likely to be the winner in this dispute.

Monday, June 4, 2018

China-Nigeria Water Conservation Cooperation

The Journal of Current Chinese Affairs recently published an academic study titled "Repository Africa in the Evolving 'Chinese Century':The Uneven Sino-Nigerian Water Conservation Partnership" by Adebusuyi Isaac Adeniran, Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.

The study assesses specific outcomes of China's water conservation project in Kano, Nigeria, and argues that it has facilitated technology and skill transfer but might eventually lead to neo-dependency.

China-Namibia Uranium Cooperation

The Journal of Current Chinese Affairs recently published a research article titled "Nuclear (Geo) Political Ecologies: A Hybrid Geography of Chinese Investment in Namibia's Uranium Sector" by Meredith J. Deboom, University of Colorado.

The article explains how the Husub uranium mine has resuscitated Namibia's uranium industry and facilitated the political goals of both Chinese and Namibian leaders.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Zambia and Russia Sign Nuclear Science Contract

The Zambia Daily Mail Limited published a story on 28 May 2018 titled "Zambia-Russia Nuclear Science Deal" by Doris Kasote.

The agreement will result in the establishment of the Centre for Nuclear Sciences and Technology in Zambia. As a result of the project, Zambia hopes to become a regional hub for nuclear technology.

China Turning Namibia into Shipping Hub for Region

XinhuaNet published on 21 May 2018 an article titled "Chinese Projects Firing Up Namibia's Logistics Hub Ambition."

The article provides a status report on the major port facility being constructed at Walvis Bay by the China Harbor Engineering Company. The goal is for the new harbor to serve not only Namibia, but Zimbabwe and Botswana as well.