Thursday, July 31, 2014

Eritrea Does Well in Combating HIV/AIDS

Pambazuka News published on 31 July 2014 a brief analysis titled "Eritrea's Continued Progress in Combating HIV/AIDS" by FikreJesus Amahazion.  Drawing on 2013 statistics provided by UNAIDS, the author notes that Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily impacted region in the world.  Eritrea has done a particularly good job in keeping the HIV prevalence rate below 1 percent.  Ethiopia has also done well with a prevalence rate just over 1 percent.  The worst performer in the East African region is Uganda, which years ago was singled out for having one of the best programs to combat HIV/AIDS. 

South Sudan Crisis: Is There Hope for a Durable Solution?

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Nairobi published on 28 July 2014 commentary titled "South Sudan Crisis: Is There Hope for a Durable Solution?" by Sebastian Gatimu, ISS Nairobi.  He concluded that the peace process now taking place in Addis Ababa could end as a quick fix political solution without solving the underlying and deeply entrenched basic problems. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Are China's NGOs Entering Africa?

The MqVU blog (operated by anthropologists at Macquarie University in Australia and the Free University in Amsterdam) carried a piece on 30 June 2014 titled "Are China's NGOs Entering Africa?" by Hu Jianlong, investigative reporter for Southern Weekly in China.  This is one of the few accounts I have seen on the activities of Chinese NGOs in Africa.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Africa in the Wider World

The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington published in July 2014 a series of essays titled "Africa in the Wider World" edited by Richard Downie. 

The document contains short essays on the following topics:

--Africa Diverging: The Struggle to Keep Pace with a Fast-Evolving Continent by Richard Downie;
--African Security: Time for Change in Doctrine? by William M. Bellamy;
--The Unfinished Health Agenda in Africa by J. Stephen Morrison and Talia Dubovi;
--Linking Trade and Development in Africa by Daniel F. Runde and Conor M. Savoy;
--China and Africa: Is the Honeymoon Over? by Jennifer Cooke;
--India's Africa Story by Richard M. Rossow;
--The Three Faces of African Energy by Sarah O. Laidislaw;
--Europe and Africa: Where Demographics and Insecurity Collide by Heather A. Conley and Jean-Francois Pactet;
--State Building Challenges in Africa by Robert D. Lamb;
--Africa and the Americas: Historic Ties, Future Opportunities by Carl Meacham;
--The Maghreb Looks South by Haim Malka;
--Banking on Africa's Youth by Nicole Goldin; and
--Africa Opening or Closing? by Sarah Mendelson.

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Scramble for Africa

Aljazeera's Empire program recently ran a 47 minute segment titled "New Scramble for Africa" with moderator Marwan Bishara.  The program sought to obtain the African response to growing foreign engagement with Africa.  It asked the question whether Africans are taking matters into their own hands or is this another scramble for Africa. 

The program was generally critical of Chinese economic interaction with Africa, the US role in countering terrorism, and French efforts to restore stability.  The program suffers, however, because the only original coverage in Africa came from Kenya and much of the commentary originated in Paris, Washington, and London. 

Slow Rolling the South Sudan Peace Process

The Institute for Security Analysis (ISS) published on 23 July 2014 an analysis titled "Playing for Time in the South Sudan Peace Process" by Kasaija Phillip Apuuli, ISS in Addis Ababa.  The author argues that both the government of South Sudan and the SPLM in Opposition seem to be making every effort to scuttle the peace process, hoping that they can gain an advantage. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Somaliland and Kurdistan: Are There Parallels?

The Kurdistan Tribune published on 25 July 2014 commentary titled "Kurdistan Independence: Gleam of Hope for Somaliland" by Mohamed Abdilahi Duale, a political analyst in Somaliland.  The author makes the argument that Iraqi Kurdistan and Somaliland share many important underlying factors. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

South Sudan: Documenting Manufacturer of Small Arms Ammunition

The Small Arms Survey released on 24 July 2014 a brief report on small arms ammunition titled "Small Arms Ammunition Documented at Bentiu Mosque, May 2014" that it attributed to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO).  Manufacturer markings correspond with manufacturers in China, Czechosolovakia (before the breakup), Russia, Sudan, and the Soviet Union (before the breakup). 

The Small Arms Survey was not able to explain how the ammunition reached the SPLM-IO because of the constant circulation of ammunition between opposing and allied forces in South Sudan and Sudan and because many forces have previously shared the same ammunition providers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

East Africa Rising

Robert D. Kaplan, chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm, published a commentary on 24 July 2014 titled "East Africa Rising."  He concluded, too enthusiastically in my opinion, that economic change is so vibrant from Mozambique to Ethiopia that the region may be in the process of becoming a critical nodal point of the dynamic Indian Ocean world. 

Africa, China and the US

The American Interest published on 24 July 2014 commentary titled "It's Not Just about Competition with China" by Dane Erickson, a lecturer at the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado. 

The August Africa Summit in Washington has led to much commentary that the event is a response to China's increased engagement in Africa.  Erickson rightly points out that this is not the case.  While there is normal commercial competition in Africa between China and the United States, the two countries also have many common interests.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

China's Challenge in Africa: Avoid Blame of Neo-Colonialism

Yale Global Online Magazine published on 9 July 2014 commentary titled "China's Challenge in Africa: Avoid Blame of Neo-Colonialism" by Gregory Chin, associate professor of political science at York University in Canada.  The author focuses on what China needs to do to improve south-south cooperation.

Debate on Federalism in South Sudan

Sudan specialist Douglas H. Johnson delivered a lecture on 5 July 2014 at the University of Juba on federalism and South Sudanese political thought.  The Rift Valley Institute published a summary titled "A Debate on Federalism at Juba University" of the standing-room only event.

Newspapers published in Juba that reported the event were confiscated by government security forces. 

Seeking Peace in Ethiopia's Ogaden

The Rift Valley Institute in Nairobi recently published a lengthy study titled "Talking Peace in the Ogaden: The Search for an End to Conflict in the Somali Regional State in Ethiopia" by Tobias Hagmann, a professor at Roskilde University in Denmark. 

The author explains that the conflicting parties were preparing for a third round of talks early in 2014 when two Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) representatives were forcibly relocated from Nairobi to Ethiopia.  It is not clear that the talks will resume, but the author suggests the ONLF has been diminished militarily and politically over the past five years and is under pressure from its constituency to chart an alternative course.  The author questions the sincerity of Ethiopia in seeking a negotiated peace. 

Lake Turkana and the Omo River: Environmental Concerns

The Rift Valley Institute in Kenya published on 3 July 2014 a brief report titled "Lake Turkana and Development Projects on the Lower Omo River" by Sean Avery.  It discusses environmental concerns for Kenya's Lake Turkana following the implementation of development projects on the Lower Omo River in Ethiopia. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

South Sudan's Third Birthday

London-based Chatham House published on 9 July 2014 an analysis titled "No Peace in Sight on South Sudan's Third Birthday" by Dame Rosalind Marsden, associate fellow at Chatham House.  She suggested that both the SPLM and rebels led by Riak Machar are treating the peace process as a zero sum game.  A key priority for the international community is to increase pressure on both parties to the conflict to engage seriously.

Chinese Investment in Ethiopia

Bloomberg published on 22 July 2014 a long article titled "Ethiopia Becomes China's China in Global Search for Cheap Labor" by Kevin Hamlin, Ilya Gridneff and William Davison.  It discusses the challenges and opportunities of Chinese investment in Ethiopia. 

South Sudan: HIV/AIDS Is a Threat to National Security

The Juba-based Sudd Institute published on 22 July 2014 a policy brief titled "HIV/AIDS: A Threat to National Security in South Sudan" by Awak Deng Bior, a deputy administrator at the Sudd Institute.  The author suggests there is an increasing HIV/AIDS incidence in South Sudan as a result of years of war.  The country also lacks efficient HIV/AIDS testing and monitoring systems that could help track the spread of the virus. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

UN Monitoring Group Alleges Conspiracy to Divert Somali Assets

Reuters published on 15 July 2014 a story titled "Exclusive: U.N. Monitors Allege 'Conspiracy' to Divert Somali Assets" by Louis Charbonneau and Drazen Jorgic.  It is based on a 37 page confidential document prepared by the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group, an 8-person committee established by the United Nations.

The document says the UN Monitoring Group has obtained information that "reflects exploitation of public authority for private interests and indicates at the minimum a conspiracy to divert the recovery of overseas assets in an irregular manner."  The document implicates a U.S.-based law firm, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a former foreign minister, and two other individuals.

All those accused of involvement in the plan to divert assets have denied any wrongdoing. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ethiopia: Teddy Afro's "Tikur Sew"

The Africa Collective published on 8 June 2014 commentary titled "Teddy Afro's 'Tikur Sew'--Ethnic Politics and Historical Narrative" by Rachael Hill, a PhD candidate at Stanford University.  It is an analysis of Ethiopian singer Teddy Afro's 2012 album Tikur Sew (Black Man).  The title track is a tribute to late 19th and early 20th century Emperor Menilik II and the Ethiopian victory over the Italians at Adwa.

Civil Society and the South Sudan Crisis

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 14 July 2014 a commentary titled "Civil Society and the South Sudan Crisis" by Jerome Tubiana, ICG's senior analyst for Sudan.  The analysis draws heavily on the author's experience with the crisis in Darfur and concludes that civil society representatives must provide substantive input to the mediation's outputs--from the basic framework agreement to a new constitution.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

China: Handling Criticism and Its Impact on Africa

The Oxford University China Africa Network published on 27 May 2014 an opinion piece titled "China: Quashing Criticism at Home and Abroad" by Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.  It is critical of the way that China suppresses criticism in China and alleged support by Chinese companies for controlling information in countries such as Ethiopia and Zambia. 

African Development and the China Model

The Oxford University China-Africa Network (OUCAN) has just published a summary of a June 2014 conference on "African Development, The China Model and the Poltics of Industrialization," which it held jointly with Fudan University.

The key conclusions were that China still lacks the confidence or political will to promote actively or export a "China model."  Western and Chinese approaches to the global political economy are not as great as is often alleged.  In Africa and elsewhere, China is increasingly seen not as a radically unique partner or threat, but as a normal great power.  Chinese involvement in the mediation of conflict in South Sudan is raising questions about its cardinal principle of upholding sovereignty. 

Rocky Road Ahead for China-Africa Relationship?

This is Africa published on 16 July 2014 a brief analysis titled "Rocky Road Ahead for China-Africa Relationship?" by Kai Xue, a corporate lawyer in Beijing.  The author notes that China-Africa trade grew from a less than anticipated $198.5 billion in 2012 to $210.2 billion in 2013.  While lower prices for African minerals accounted for much of this lower growth, instability in areas where China has invested also raises new questions.  Kai Xue concludes that China and Africa are entering a "less energetic phase of growth due mainly to low mineral prices."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

South Sudan: Francis Deng Tries to Put on Best Face

Foreign Policy published on 14 July 2014 an article titled "Responsibility to Protect the Bad Guys" by Colum Lynch.  It is an analysis of efforts by Francis Deng, South Sudan's permanent representative to the United Nations, to put the best face on developments in South Sudan. 

China's Priorities in Africa

Chatham House in London just released a summary of a 13 June 2014 discussion with Zhong Jianhua, China's special representative for African Affairs, titled "China's Priorities in Africa: Enhancing Engagements."

Ambassador Zhong explains that he spends much of his time on South Sudan but also is engaged with Somalia, DRC, CAR, and Mali.  He frankly acknowledges that Chinese companies operating in Africa are sometimes uninformed about the political situation while others try to hide problems from the local Chinese embassy.