Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 Fragile States Index: East Africa and Horn Score Poorly

The Fund for Peace has just released its 2016 Fragile States Index. East Africa and the Horn of Africa again scored poorly. Six of the ten most fragile states are in Africa and three (Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan) are in the top five. But the rest of the region did not do a lot better. Eritrea was number 18, Kenya was number 20, and Ethiopia was number 24. Djibouti did somewhat better at number 39 and Tanzania did considerably better at number 62.

Somalia's Al-Shabaab Down, but Not Out

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 27 June 2016 a commentary titled "Somalia's Al-Shabaab Down but Far from Out" by Cedric Barnes and Zakaria Yusuf, both with ICG.

The authors conclude that in spite or recent setbacks, al-Shabaab can still hit hard against the Somali Federal Government and its allies, including the African Union Mission in Somalia.

China and Djibouti Expand Ties

News Ghana reprinted on 24 June 2016 an analysis by the Oxford Business Group titled "Djibouti and China to Build Global Trade Routes."

You can access the original report published on 16 June 2016 by the Oxford Business Group titled "Djibouti Partners with China to Develop Local Infrastructure and Global Trade Routes" in English and French.

The report suggests that Djibouti is a key link in China's One Belt One Road project.

China Needs to Step Up Efforts to Curb Illegal Logging in Africa

Greenpeace posted on 24 June 2016 a commentary titled "Loud Alarm Bells for Growth in Environmental Crime, Who Is Listening?" by Hilde Stroot. While the European Union, Australia, and the United States have introduced legislation to tackle the issue of illegal timber exports, which heavily impacts tropical Africa, China has so far only introduced voluntary measures.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ethiopia's University of Gondar Makes Advances in Gynecology

The University of Gondar in Ethiopia published a brief news item titled "Laparoscopic Surgery: Revolutionizing Gynecologic Medical Services at UOG's Teaching Hospital." It reports on the world class diagnosis and treatment laparoscopy technology that was recently introduced at the hospital. This is an important addition for a country that has one of the highest rates of mother and child mortality in connection with birth.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Expanding India-Africa Ties

World Politics Review published on 23 June 2016 an interview titled "How India Uses Tech Assistance to Expand Ties with Africa" with Amanda Lucey, Institute for Security Studies in South Africa.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee recently completed a visit to Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, and Namibia. The author notes that unlike China, India's development cooperation in Africa has focused less on infrastructure and more on technical assistance.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Is China Building Africa?

The European Financial Review published on 22 June 2016 an article titled "Is China Building Africa?" by Zhengli Huang, an architect and urbanist, and Xiangming Chen, dean and director of the Center for Urban and Global Studies at Trinity College in Connecticut.

The authors argue that Chinese state-owned enterprises are generally misconceived as political allies with the central government, while their corporative nature with a profit orientation and financial constraints are largely overlooked. China is building the majority of infrastructure projects in Africa, but the financing of these projects often comes from sources other than Chinese banks and companies.

Kenya's 2017 Elections and Possible Violence

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 17 June 2016 a commentary titled "Signs of Violence Ahead of Kenya's 2017 Elections" by Peter Aling'o and Hawa Noor, both at ISS.

The authors argue that despite efforts to strengthen electoral processes, perceptions remain that Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) may not be able to guarantee free and fair elections next year. The IEBC's integrity, credibility, independence and public stature have been seriously eroded.

India-Africa Partnership for Food Security

The Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an Indian think tank, published on 23 June 2016 a study titled "India-Africa Partnership for Food Security: Issues, Initiatives and Policy Directions" by Malancha Chakrabarty and Vidisha Mishra, both at ORF.

The paper argues that there is a strong rationale for India-Africa collaboration on food security. India provides low-cost technology solutions, builds capacity, and offers improved seeds and agricultural machinery. The paper argues that India's interest in African agriculture is not driven by its domestic food security concerns. On the contrary, Africa is a huge market for India's growing food and agricultural sector.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

China's Military Facility in Djibouti as Seen by India

The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, an autonomous and non-partisan think tank in New Delhi, published on 22 February 2016 a study titled "Port of Djibouti: China's First Permanent Naval Base in the Indian Ocean" by Mandip Singh.

The author concludes that the acquisition of the base in Djibouti, whether for replenishment of its anti-piracy fleet operating in the Gulf of Aden or for the deployment of its air and naval assets to conduct non-combatant evacuation operations, represents a strategic shift in its foreign policy. He adds that as China aspires to become a global power and challenges the existing world order, permanent bases overseas hosting warships and long range strategic aircraft lend muscle to China's diplomacy.

Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Incident Leads to Excessive Speculation

Foreign Policy published on 20 June 2016 a commentary titled "Africa's Hottest Frozen Border Boils Over" by Michela Wrong, who has written frequently about the Horn of Africa.

Whenever there is a significant security incident along the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, analysts tend to emphasize that it may signal the return to all out conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. We have seen these predictions ever since the end of the Ethiopian-Eritrean war in 2000. While the most recent incident does underscore the advisability of normalizing Ethiopian-Eritrean relations, it does not portend the outbreak of more serious conflict. It is not in the interest of either Ethiopia or Eritrea to resume conflict, which would be strongly opposed by the international community no matter who was responsible for starting the conflict.

Monday, June 20, 2016

How Will China's Changing Economy Impact Africa?

The World Bank posted on 17 June 2016 a brief commentary titled "How Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa is Linked to China's Transformation" by Csilla Lakatos, Maryla Maliszewska, Delfin Sia Go, Israel Osorio Rodarte, and Erin Scronce. They argue that China's shift towards innovation and growth driven by consumption will likely contribute to African GDP growth and have a positive impact on poverty levels.

The complete World Bank report published in May 2016 is titled "China's Slowdown and Rebalancing: Potential Growth and Poverty Impacts on Sub-Saharan Africa."

The West and China's Security Role in Africa

World Politics Review published on 20 June 2016 a commentary titled "Should the West be Worried about China's Growing Security Role in Africa?" by Richard Gowan, associate fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

The author concludes that while China may be a rising player in UN operations in Africa, its overall military presence still lags far behind that of Western powers. In addition, all the talk of outside actors obscures the fact that African powers are quite capable of setting the security agenda on their own continent.

Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda Interested in Cooperation?

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published a commentary on 20 June 2016 titled "From Conflict to Cooperation? Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda" by Casie Copeland, ICG senior analyst for South Sudan, and Magnus Taylor, ICG analyst in the Horn of Africa Group.

The authors suggest a new understanding between Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda could bring a welcome change to the Horn's complex balance of alliances and animosities.

China Holds More than Half of Kenya's External Debt

Quartz Africa published on 15 June 2016 an article titled "China Now Owns More Than Half of Kenya's External Debt" by Lily Kuo. China is now Kenya's largest creditor, accounting for 57 percent of the country's total external debt of $4.51 billion.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Growth in Africa-Malaysia Ties

The Diplomat published on 30 May 2016 an analysis titled "Malaysia - Africa's Silent Partner" by Tim Steinecke, a consultant on Asia-Africa relations. The author highlights the increasing engagement of Malaysia in Africa, especially its diversified investment.

Friday, June 17, 2016

East African Community Trade a Success

The London-based International Growth Centre published in April 2016 a study titled "Regional Trade Agreements and the Pacification of Eastern Africa" by Thierry Mayer and Mathias Thoenig.

The paper quantifies the economic and security gains to be expected from the deepening/extension of the East African Community (EAC) agreement, a regional trading club that includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. The study reports significant gains in trade since the resurrection of the EAC in 2000.

China in East African Pipeline Wars

The China-Africa Reporting Project posted on 17 June 2016 "China in East African Pipeline Wars" by Bob Wekesa, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Wekesa discusses the geopolitical battle in East Africa over cross-border infrastructure for the transportation of oil. He focuses on the interests of China and other external players.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

China Ventures Deeper into North Africa and Middle East Maelstrom

The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), an autonomous school within the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, published on 18 March 2016 a study titled "China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom" by James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at RSIS.

The study argues that China realizes it can no longer remain aloof to the multiple conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. Increasingly, China will become a player in competitive cooperation with the United States in the region.

Islamic State Tries to Enter Somalia

The Terrorism Monitor published on 29 April 2016 an article titled "Jahba East Africa: Islamic State Alters the Dynamic of Somalia's Conflict" by Sunguta West, an independent journalist based in Nairobi.

A group calling itself Jahba East Africa, which is aligned with the Islamic State, is trying to challenge al-Shabaab in Somalia. The author argues this development will complicate the conflict both for the African Union forces in the country and the much stronger al-Shabaab terrorist organization.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

China's Security Shift in Africa

The European Council on Foreign Relations published in June 2016 a policy brief titled "Into Africa: China's Global Security Shift" by Mathieu Duchatel, Richard Gowan, and Manuel Lafont Rapnouil.

The report concludes that China's new security presence in Africa is a direct result of its increasingly global stance, both in economics and security. China aims to establish itself as a great power that contributes to global security and to protect its interests abroad.

A Wake-up Call for Eritrea and Ethiopia

The International Crisis Group published on 15 June 2016 a commentary titled "A Wake-up Call for Eritrea and Ethiopia" by Cedric Barnes. It argues that the no peace, no war situation prevailing along the Ethiopian-Eritrean border is unsustainable and it is time to find a new diplomatic track toward resolving it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

China Faces Terrorism in Africa

The OCP Policy Center, a Moroccan think tank, published on 16 March 2016 a study titled "China Faced with the Proliferation of the Terrorist Phenomenon in Africa" by Abdelhak Bassou.

The study summarizes the terrorist threat in Africa, the impact it has had on China, and what China is likely to do to counter the threat.

Study of Dangerous Speech in Ethiopian Social Media

Tadias Magazine published on 6 June 2015 an "Interview with Researchers of 'Mechachal' Study on Online Debate in Ethiopia." The study is the first of its kind to map the frequency of hate and dangerous speech found in social media in Ethiopia and the diaspora.

You can also access the entire report.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Very Unhappy Birthday for Somaliland

The National Interest published on 6 June 2016 a commentary titled "A Very Unhappy Birthday for Somaliland" by Maximilien von Berg, researcher and consultant. This is a highly sympathetic account of Somaliland that calls for more understanding and support.