Friday, May 26, 2017

Somalia and the Limits of U.S. Bombing

The New York Times published on 25 May 2017 an oped titled "Somalia and the Limits of U.S. Bombing" by Jon Temin, Enough Project.

The author warns that increased U.S. military activity in Somalia, if that is the policy of the Trump administration, will have little positive impact (and possibly negative implications) unless it is coupled with a series of other steps.

South Sudan Seeks New Partners

World Politics Review published on 25 May 2017 an interview with Brian Adeba, Enough Project, titled "How South Sudan Is Trying to Mitigate Its Diplomatic Isolation."

Adeba notes that as South Sudan's relations with the United States and other traditional backers remain tense, Salva Kiir is seeking new partnerships with countries such as Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco.

Estimating China's Foreign Aid

Japan's JICA Research Institute published on 26 May 2017 "A Note on Estimating China's Foreign Aid Using New Data: 2015 Preliminary Figures" by Naohiro Kitano.

The note presents estimates of China's foreign aid from 2001 to 2015 as defined by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and makes comparisons with the net ODA flows of major DAC member countries and emerging providers that report to the DAC. In an earlier analysis, China reported that 52 percent of its foreign aid goes to Africa.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Ports in Puntland and Somaliland

African Business published on 24 May 2017 an article titled "Horn of Africa: Ports in Puntland and Somaliland to Compete" by Neil Ford.

The article summarizes plans by UAE-based DP World to develop and operate modern ports in Berbera, Somaliland, and Bosaso, Puntland. The sharp drop in piracy off Somalia has led to the conclusion there will be more ship traffic between the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal, passing through the Red Sea.

Why Africa Matters to US National Security

The Atlantic Council published in May 2017 a report titled "Why Africa Matters to US National Security" by Grant T. Harris, CEO of Harris Africa Partners LLC and senior director for Africa in the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

Harris argues that underinvesting in Africa poses a threat to U.S. national security. First, transnational threats from Africa are persistent and real. Second, economic and political needs inevitably draw the United States to Africa. Three, incidences of conflict, humanitarian crisis, and mass atrocities in Africa put significant pressure on the United States to act, in fulfillment of the nation's historic global leadership role.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Chinese Traders in Senegal

The New York Times published on 23 May 2017 an article titled "Chinese Merchants Thrive in Senegal, Where People 'Needed Stuff'" by Andrew Jacobs.

The arrival of Chinese traders in Senegal has been a mixed blessing. The low-end merchandise they import sustains countless peddlers, many of whom fan out into the countryside and other countries in West Africa. Less pleased are the Senegalese traders who used to travel to China to buy the same goods but have been squeezed out.

Chinese Diplomats Expanding African Language Learning

Theoutline.com posted on 16 May 2017 a piece titled "Why China Is Trying to Learn Africa's Languages" by Michael Erard.

While foreign language learning is dropping at American and British universities, China is giving it more attention, including the learning of more obscure African languages. The Beijing Foreign Studies University is adding 11 new languages, including Tigrinya, Ndebele, and Comorian, to those that it already teaches.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ethiopian Selected as Head of World Health Organization

The New York Times published on 23 May 2017 an article titled "W.H.O. Elects Ethiopia's Tedros as First Director General from Africa" by Donald G. McNeil Jr. and Nick Cumming-Bruce.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia has been elected as the new director general of the World Health Organization. The first African to head the agency, Dr. Tedros was previously minister of foreign affairs and minister of health in Ethiopia.

African Economic Outlook 2017

The African Development Bank, the Development Centre of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the UN Development Programme published on 22 May 2017 "African Economic Outlook 2017: Entrepreneurship and Industrialization."

This annual massive study reports that in 2016, Africa's economic growth slowed to 2.2 percent from 3.4 percent in 2015 due to low commodity prices, weak global recovery and adverse weather conditions, which impacted agricultural production in some regions. Africa's economic growth is expected to rebound to 3.4 percent in 2017 and 4.3 percent in 2018.

Although economic headwinds experienced in the last two years appear to have altered the "Africa rising narrative," the African Development Bank believes the continent remains resilient, with non-resource dependent economies sustaining higher growth for a much longer period. With dynamic private sectors, entrepreneurial spirit and vast resources, Africa has the potential to grow even faster and more inclusively.

Fragile States Index: East Africa and the Horn

The Fund for Peace published on 14 May 2017 its "Fragile States Index" for 2017 that covers 178 countries. Most countries in East Africa and the Horn scored poorly. South Sudan was declared most fragile followed by Somalia. Sudan was number 5, Ethiopia number 15, Eritrea number 19, Kenya number 22, and Uganda number 24. Djibouti did somewhat better at number 41 and Tanzania substantially better at number 65.

Ethiopia and the Fragile States Index

The Fund for Peace released its 2017 Fragile States Index and included a special commentary on Ethiopia dated 14 May 2017 and titled "Golden Era of Growth Fails to Mask Deeper Grievances in Ethiopia" by Hannah Blyth.

Ethiopia's overall Fragile States Index score has been incrementally worsening over the past decade, moving from 95.3 in 2007 to a score of 101.1 in the 2017 index. Ethiopia and Mexico were the most worsened countries over the past year.

Monday, May 22, 2017

South Sudan and the Federalism Debate

The Juba-based Sudd Institute published on 18 May 2017 a policy brief titled "Federalism Debate in South Sudan: Laying the Foundation for Acceptable, Responsive, and Inclusive Governance" by Abraham Awolich.

Some 86 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the current system of government in South Sudan while 83 percent supported the establishment of a federal system of government. They rejected any possibility of returning the country to the former ten states and they were evenly split over the issue of twenty-eight states.

South Sudan and National Unity

The Juba-based Sudd Institute published on 18 May 2017 a study titled "The State of the South Sudanese National Unity" by Abraham Awolich, Nhial Tiitmamer, and Augustino Ting Mayai, all with the Sudd Institute.

The study discusses the state of South Sudan's national unity. Some 75 percent of respondents suggested that South Sudan currently suffers the absence of national unity; this results from prevailing lack of a sense of common purpose, justice, and inclusive and functioning social contract between the state and the people.

The African Link and China's One Belt One Road

The Centre for Chinese Studies published on 15 May 2017 a commentary titled "The African Link in China's OBOR Initiative" by Mandira Bagwandeen, independent researcher.

The author concludes that only African countries strategic to One Belt One Road (OBOR), especially those vital for establishing and securing trade links, will be prioritized by China. Northeast and East African countries imperative to the Maritime Silk Road are likely to benefit the most from OBOR.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

China's One Belt One Road in Africa

The South China Morning Post published on 11 May 2017 an article titled "Can China Score a New Win in Africa with Xi Jinping's 'Belt and Road' Plan?" by Shi Jiangtao.

Africa was a late arrival to Xi Jinping's One Belt One Road initiative. China has increasingly cited its ongoing infrastructure projects and other relationships to underscore the relevance of One Belt One Road in Africa, but some experts question whether China really has a development strategy to implement the initiative.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Famine in South Sudan

The Lancet published on 20 May 2017 an article titled "Famine in South Sudan" that documents the on-going and man-made famine. About 1.9 million South Sudanese are already internally displaced and 1.6 million have fled the country.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Surveillance and State Control in Ethiopia

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published on 18 May 2017 a study titled "Surveillance and State Control in Ethiopia" by Saskia Brechenmacher.

The author argues that the closing of civic space in Ethiopia has the following key features:

--Harsh restrictions on foreign funding for civil society organizations working on a wide range of politically related issues.
--Violent repression of civic mobilization in the name of counterterrorism and anti-extremism.
--Efforts to bring all independent civil society groups--including development and humanitarian actors--in line with the government's national development policy.

Prospects for Violence in Kenya's 2017 Elections

The Institute for Defense Analyses published on 18 May 2017 a commentary titled "Prospects for Violence in Kenya's 2017 Elections" by Alexander Noyes.

The disorderly nature and violence in both major parties' primary contests have led many to worry about renewed violence in the August elections. A recent poll found that 60 percent of Kenyans' single biggest worry for 2017 is election-related violence. While local level violence in Kenya's 2017 elections appears likely, a conflagration on the scale of 2007-2008 may turn out to be less of a risk.

Somalia Needs More Action, Less Lip Service

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 17 May 2017 a commentary titled "Somalia Needs More Action, Less Lip Service" by Meressa K. Dessu and Omar S. Mahmood.

Following the London Conference on Somalia, the authors argue that implementation of decisions also requires international cooperation and buy-in from all partners. They say that countries pursue independent security interests in Somalia, such as the United States' focus on counterterrorism or Kenya's desire for a buffer region along its border, and may not always put their own interests aside in the spirit of increased cooperation.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Islamic Movement in Sudan

The May 2017 issue of Prism includes an article titled "Islam from the Cold: A Muslim Brother's Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Islamic Movement in the Sudan" by Marie Besancon, Portland State University.

Following the death of Hassan al-Turabi, Sayyed Ahmed Abdul Rahman Mohamed Ahmed has emerged as the elder statesman of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan. This article assesses the Muslim Brothers in Sudan as it emerges from the Hassan al-Turabi period.

Uganda and South Sudan's Refugees

World Politics Review published on 16 May 2017 an analysis titled "Will Uganda's Open-Door Refugee Policy Survive South Sudan's Endless War?" by Andrew Green, a foreign correspondent based in Berlin.

Refugees from South Sudan now number about 1.7 million and nearly half of them are in Uganda. But Uganda's open-door policy is being tested by the ongoing flood of arrivals from South Sudan.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Egypt and Sudan's Escalating Border Dispute

Foreign Affairs published on 15 May 2017 an article titled "Egypt and Sudan's Escalating Border Dispute" by Maged Atef.

The author argues that Sudan's position over the disputed Sudan-Egyptian border's Halaib Triangle has improved because of Sudan's improved relations with Saudi Arabia and the United States. The dispute dates back to 1899 and periodically appears as a problem in Egyptian-Sudanese relations.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sub-Saharan Africa Economic Outlook (English and French)

The IMF released in May 2017 its "Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa."

In 2016, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa slowed in about two-thirds of the countries in the region and is estimated to have reached just 1.5 percent. This marked the region's worst performance in more than two decades. A rebound to 2.5 percent in 2017 will be driven by one-off factors in the three largest economies--a recovery in oil production in Nigeria, higher public spending ahead of elections in Angola, and the fading of drought effects in South Africa--combined with improvements in their terms of trade. Nonetheless, the underlying regional momentum remains weak and Sub-Saharan African growth will continue to fall well short of past trends and barely exceed population growth.

The report contains sections on restoring the conditions for strong and sustainable growth, restarting Sub-Saharan Africa's growth engine, and the informal economy in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ethiopia's Economic Growth

The Institute for Security Studies posted a 14 minute video titled "View on Africa: Making Ethiopia's Economic Growth Count."

After recounting Ethiopia's economic success, it suggests challenges that need to be met so that this success does not end in failure.

The Future of the AU Mission in Somalia

The Institute for Security Studies published on 3 May 2017 a commentary titled "Will the AU Coordinate the New 'Save Somalia' Campaign?"

The focus is on the future of the African Union and the AMISOM mission in Somalia. Will AMISOM add troops over the short term before it decides to pull out of Somalia?