Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Somali Community in Minnesota: Jihadi Issues Persist

The Economist published on 21 May 2016 an article titled "Homegrown Jihad: Minnesota Martyrs." It reports a continuing problem concerning a small number of Somalis living in the state of Minnesota who are attracted to jihad in the Islamic State in Syria.

Air and Water Quality under Pressure in Africa: UNEP Assessment

The United Nations Environment Program released on 19 May 2016 its Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments. It includes a four page summary for Africa and the entire regional report as well as those for other world regions. While Africa has 80 percent of the world's reserve of agricultural land, its environment is under pressure from urbanization and industrialization as well as a growing population. This has resulted in the degradation of air, land, and water quality.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mozambique Looks to China for Financial Help

Deutsche Welle published on 19 May 2016 a story titled "Mozambique Looks to China for Financial Help." Following a sharp drop in commodity prices and a government financial scandal, Mozambique faces a financial and economic crisis. After Western countries refused to bail out Mozambique, President Filipe Nyusi has turned to China for fresh loans.

Is China Exporting Its Concept of Journalism to Africa?

The China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University published a policy brief in May 2016 titled "Media Training for Africa: Is China Exporting Its Journalism?" by Jakup Emil Hansen.

The brief reports the results of a one month field study in Uganda involving interviews with local journalists who attended Chinese training programs for African journalists. The interviews provided insights into the purpose and goals of the training programs, their possible impact on African journalistic practices, and the overall implications on freedom of the press and democracy in Africa.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Kenya Accuses Three of Seeking to Develop Biological Weapon

The Institute for Defense Analyses Africa Watch published on 19 May 2016 an article titled "ISIS and WMD: Growing Hand in Hand in Kenya?" by Ashley Bybee.

The government of Kenya arrested three individuals that it charged were aiming to develop a biological weapon for an extremist organization.

Janjaweed Armed by Sudan to Fight Rebels

Foreign Policy published on 19 May 2016 an article titled "'The Shrapnel Finds Us Wherever We Hide': Sudan's Janjaweed Are Back. Only This Time They're Better Armed" by Tom Rhodes, managing editor of Nuba Reports, and Musa John, freelance journalist.

The authors report that the government of Sudan has armed the infamous Janjaweed from Darfur to fight SPLA-N rebels in the Nuba Mountains.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sudan's Counterterrorism Cooperation with US

The Washington Times published on 17 May 2016 an article titled "'State Sponsor of Terrorism' Sudan Seeks Role as a U.S. Ally in Islamic State Fight" by Carlo Munoz.

Sudan's ambassador to the United States said Sudan, which is still on the U.S. state sponsor of terrorism list, is a close partner of the U.S. on counterterrorism and willing to do more to defeat the Islamic State.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Somaliland: External Assistance and Political Settlement

International Affairs published in its May 2016 edition a study titled "When Less Was More: External Assistance and the Political Settlement in Somaliland" by Sarah G. Phillips.

The study explores the ways in which Somaliland's isolation fostered mutual dependence between powerful political and economic actors for their survival and prosperity. It suggests that a focus on the dynamics of this mutual dependence offers an alternative perspective to that presented in the majority of statebuilding literature.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

One Million Chinese in Africa

SAIS Perspectives published on 12 May 2016 a commentary titled "One Million Chinese in Africa" by Yoon Jung Park, the convener of the Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network.

The author puts in perspective the presence in Africa of the one million or so Chinese laborers and traders and the challenges they pose.

Ethiopians in US Diaspora Return to Ethiopia

The Washington Post published on 14 May 2016 articles titled "A DC Coffee Shop's Country Counterpart in Addis Ababa" and "They Fled Ethiopia Amid War and Privation. An Economic Boom Is Bringing Them Home" by Paul Schemm.

The two stories report on several Ethiopians who lived in the United States and then returned permanently to Ethiopia to make their living and home.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Somalia and Somaliland Restart Dialogue

IRIN News published on 13 May 2016 an article titled "Somalia and Somaliland Restart Dialogue" by Mohamed Amin Jibril. In the article, I emphasize the importance of dialogue for the sake of better mutual understanding.

China Copes with Zimbabwe's Indigenization Law

Brookings published on 26 April 2016 an analysis titled "China's Pains over Zimbabwe's Indigenization Plan" by Yun Sun, Africa Growth Initiative.

Zimbabwe law requires foreign companies with assets of more than $500,000 to sell a 51 percent stake to local Zimbabweans. Chinese investors are the largest source of investment in Zimbabwe and more than 10,000 Chinese nationals live and work in Zimbabwe. Chinese investors are most impacted by the law and many of them are not happy.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Is China Bringing US and India Together in Indian Ocean?

Foreign Policy published on 2 May 2016 a commentary titled "Spooked by Beijing, India Embraces Closer U.S. Ties" by Keith Johnson and Dan De Luce.

The commentary was sparked by the April visit to India by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. It suggests that China's growing naval activity in the Indian Ocean is resulting in closer security cooperation between the United States and India.

Interview on South Sudan

France 24 interviewed me on the situation in South Sudan. The TV clip ran on 2 May 2016 as "South Sudan Has a Crisis of Leadership" by Leela Jacinto.

The African Union's Experience in Somalia: Lessons for the UN

The International Peace Institute published in May 2016 a report titled "The Surge to Stabilize: Lessons for the UN from the AU's Experience in Somalia" by Walter Lotze, Centre for International Peace Operations, and Paul Williams, George Washington University.

The report focuses on AMISOM's move from war-fighting to stabilization, challenges faced by AMISOM in this progression, its strategy for dealing with al-Shabaab, and lessons learned.

Benin-China Diplomatic Interaction

The London School of Economics Global South Unit published in 2016 a paper titled "Passive Agents? Bureaucratic Agency in Africa-China Negotiations: A Case Study of Benin" by Folashade Soule-Kohndou, a lecturer at Sciences Po Paris.

The paper discusses the bureaucratic and diplomatic interaction between Benin and China in connection with the building of infrastructure projects.

Islamic State Trying to Gain Foothold in East Africa

Foreign Policy published on 4 May 2016 an article titled "Foiled Kenya Anthrax Plot Hints at Islamic State's Scramble for Africa" by Ty McCormick. The author suggests that so far the Islamic State has had minimal success competing with al-Qaeda affiliates such as al-Shabaab in East Africa.

Can China Industrialize Africa?

Good Governance Africa published on 1 May 2016 a commentary titled "Balancing Act: China Aims to Stimulate Industrialisation on the Continent, but Will It Pay Off?" by Ross Anthony, interim director of the Centre for Chinese Studies at the University of Stellenbosch.

Anthony notes that the former colonial powers failed to jumpstart African industrialization but added China will encounter formidable barriers in its effort to do so.

Are Members of Chinese Minority Group Joining African Terrorists?

Le Monde published on 2 May 2016 an article titled "Les Ouigours menacent-ils la Chine en Afrique?" by Sebastien Le Belzic, who directs the Chinafrica site.

The article reports that members of the Uyghur minority group in western China have been seen with terrorist groups in Mali and Libya and may be involved with Boko Haram in Nigeria. There have been other reports of small numbers of Uyghurs joining the Islamic State in Syria and Libya, but this is the first report I am aware of that says they may be engaged in Mali and Nigeria. Le Monde suggests they may pose a direct threat to Chinese interests in Africa.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Piracy Declines in Africa

The UN Department of Political Affairs recently reported in an article titled "Piracy on the Decline: Concerted Action Shows Results" that piracy and criminal activity has experienced a steady decline in both the Gulf of Guinea and Gulf of Aden although there are some worrisome links between illegal fishing and piracy.

US and China Approach to Africa

The China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies published in the spring of 2016 an article titled "Extended Ground for U.S.-China Competition? Comparing China's and the U.S.' Engagement in Africa" by David Shinn. It compares the interests, policy, tactics, and institutions of the two countries in Africa, suggests where each country has done especially well, and concludes with areas where China and the US compete and cooperate in Africa. Only an abstract of the article is available online.

Tourism, Illegal Wildlife Trade, Africa, and China

Traffic published on 3 March 2016 an article titled "Tourism Industry in China Says 'No' to Illegal Wildlife Trade." The article comments on the steady increase in Chinese tourism to Africa and the illegal wildlife trade, especially elephant ivory and rhino horn. The Chinese tourist industry has spoken out against the illegal trade, which continues to be a serious problem involving Chinese nationals.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Role of Somali Women in Politics

The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies published in April 2016 a policy brief titled "The Political and Civic Engagement of Somali Women." It emphasizes that Somali women are not passive bystanders and their contributions to society span many areas.

South Sudan: Can It Prevent Failed State Status?

International Business Times published on 28 April 2016 an article titled "South Sudan Begins 'New Chapter' with Rebel Leader as Vice President, But Conflict Persists" by Morgan Winsor.

The article evaluates the future of South Sudan now that Riek Machar has rejoined the new "unity government" as first vice president.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Somali Diaspora Investment Survey

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) commissioned Shuraako (a project of the One Earth Future Foundation) to conduct the Somali Diaspora Investment Survey. They released a summary of their findings on 21 April 2016. The project gathered information about the preferences and behaviors of the Somali diaspora toward existing channels and opportunities for Somali-based investments, and provided policy recommendations to better facilitate investment.