Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ending South Sudan's Civil War

The International Crisis Group issued a statement on 25 February 2020 titled "A Major Step Toward Ending South Sudan's Civil War."

The International Crisis Group argues that it is now up to African regional leaders to maintain pressure on Salva Kiir and Riek Machar and other conflict parties to keep the fragile peace deal on track.

Secretary Pompeo's Trip to Africa

The Center for Strategic and International Studies posted on 24 February 2020 an analysis titled "Secretary Pompeo's 'Do No Harm' Trip to Sub-Saharan Africa" by Judd Devermont.

Pompeo's remarks throughout the trip suggested a nuanced message by the Trump administration concerning the engagement of China in Africa. Instead of overtly criticizing Beijing, Pompeo simply alluded to Chinese practices in Africa that have been the subject of U.S. criticism.

What the Coronavirus Means for Africa

The African Center for Strategic Studies published on 4 February 2020 an analysis titled "What the Coronavirus Means for Africa" by Shannon Smith.

Given its fragile public health systems and close ties to China, Africa is vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus, highlighting the continent's centrality to global health security. The economic consequences of the outbreak may be more significant for Africa than the epidemiological impact.

Russian Disinformation Campaigns Target Africa

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies published on 18 February 2020 an analysis titled "Russian Disinformation Campaigns Target Africa: An Interview with Dr. Shelby Grossman."

Russia's Wagner Group has been involved in a long-term disinformation and influence campaign using Facebook aimed at promoting Russian interests. The campaign targeted Cameroon, the CAR, Cote d'Ivoire, DRC, Libya, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Sudan.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Coronavirus May Have Major Impact on African Economies

Bloomberg Business published on 23 February 2020 an article titled "Even without a Case, Africa May Be a Big Victim of Coronavirus" by Alonso Soto.

Sub-Saharan Africa may be the region hardest hit outside Asia by the spread of the coronavirus. The Overseas Development Institute projects that a slowdown in China's economy and a 5 percent drop in oil prices over one year could mean $4 billion in lost export revenue for Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria, Angola, DRC and Zambia are most at risk because of falling commodity prices. Still, Africa could bounce back quickly once the coronavirus outbreak is brought under control.

Ethiopia: Understanding Medemer

The U.S. Institute of Peace conducted a podcast of almost two hours on 13 February 2020 titled "A Changing Ethiopia: Understanding Medemer." The panelists were Fitsum Arega Gebrekidan, Ethiopian ambassador to the U.S., Lencho Bati and Mamo Mihretu, both in the prime minister's office in Addis Ababa, and Etana Dinka, Oberlin College. USIP's Aly Verjee moderated the session.

The panelists covered a wide range of issues but focused on medemer, an Amharic concept which means coming together or national mobilization.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Oromo Nationalism or Pan-Ethiopianism?

Ethiopia Insight published on 23 February 2020 a commentary titled "Oromo Nationalism in the Era of Prosperity Party" by Nagessa Dube, a lawyer in Minneapolis.

The author describes the conflicting views among Ethiopia's Oromo between a preference for Oromo nationalism or support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's pan-Ethiopian Prosperity Party.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Reducing AFRICOM Funding Is Not the Answer

World Politics Review published on 21 February 2020 a commentary titled "Cutting U.S. Funding for AFRICOM Is a Losing Proposition" by Candace Rondeaux, Center on the Future of War.

The author argues that rather than cut funding for AFRICOM as proposed by the Trump administration, the U.S. should double down on policies and tools that help America's African partners promote real security sector reform and more robust anti-corruption measures that boost the power of civilian agencies embedded in AFRICOM.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Chinese Architecture Is Changing Africa

Archinect published on 18 February 2020 a feature story titled "Sino-African Architecture: A Look at the Rise of Chinese-built Projects Across the African Continent" by Hannah Wood, an architect based in Tanzania.

The author looks at the architecture of six major Chinese construction projects in Africa: African Union convention center in Ethiopia, parliament buildings in Zimbabwe and Congo-Brazzaville, international airport in Zambia, a housing project in Kenya, and the Dar es Salaam University library in Tanzania.

Turkey Reaches Out to African Maghreb

The South African Institute of International Affairs published on 3 February 2020 an analysis titled "Turkey and the Shifting Geopolitical Sands of North and East Africa" by Elias Eliades.

As Turkey gets increasingly mired in Syria it is expanding its influence in the African Maghreb. It signed two agreements with the Libyan government in Tripoli and President Erdogan made visits this year to Tunisia and Algeria.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

China's Security Strategy in Africa

Paul Nantulya, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University, testified before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission on 20 February 2020. He reviewed China-Africa security cooperation and concluded that Africa plays an increasingly important role in China's security strategy.

China's International Loans on Decline

The South China Morning Post published on 20 February 2020 an article titled "Chinese Lenders Turn Off the Taps on International Energy Projects as 'Debt Trap Diplomacy' Criticisms Mount" by Jevans Nyabiage.

The article concludes that concern is growing both in China and abroad about the sustainability of its lending practices.

Sudan Is Making Progress

World Politics Review published on 20 February 2020 a commentary titled "Can Sudan's Transitional Government Persuade the Skeptics?" by Frida Ghitis.

The author concluded that Sudan's new government is making a strong case that it is deeply committed to progress and profound transformation.

China Is Constant in US Africa Policy

Quartz Africa published on 19 February 2020 an article titled "Amid Mixed Messages and Inconsistency China Is the Only Constant of Trump's US-Africa Policy" by Yomi Kazeem and Yinka Adegoke.

The authors argue that the Trump administration policy towards Africa is inconsistent except for the fact that it is trying to counter the influence of China.

Ethiopian Politics: Federalist or National Political Parties?

Ethiopia Insight published on 20 February 2020 a commentary titled "We Need to Come Together--But Not Inside Prosperity Party's Straitjacket" by Mister Sew, a pseudonym.

The author argues that Abiy Ahmed's national Prosperity Party is not the answer. The presence of strong federalist parties is not only desirable but essential.

Sudanese Scams Threaten Transition to Democracy

The Sentry published in February 2020 a study titled "Loan Wolves: Debt Scams Threaten Sudan's Democratic Transition and Fragile Economy."

This report documents how, between 2012 and 2018, a company established by the adopted son of former President Omar al-Bashir and a business partner secured multiple contracts to import fertilizer, refined petroleum products and other essential consumer commodities at inflated prices.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

China's Resource-backed Loans

The Center for Advanced China Research published on 18 February 2020 an analysis titled "The Rise and Fall of the Resource-backed Loan" by Scott Wingo, PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.

The article looks at the positives and negatives of China's loans, especially to Africa, that are repaid by sending natural resources to China. Resource-backed loans have played a smaller role in Chinese policy since the commodity slump that began in 2014.

US Secretary of State Trying to Make Up Lost Time in Africa

The New York Times published on 18 February 2020 an article titled "On Tour, Pompeo Courts Africa, to Counter China" by Abdi Latif Dahir.

On his first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo partners with American companies in hopes their investment will counter China's growing presence in Africa. Good luck with that policy.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Ethiopia: A New Political Philosophy

Ethiopia Insight published on 16 February 2020 a commentary titled "Medemer in a Land of Extremes" by Daniel Behailu, Hawassa University.

This piece explains Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's political philosophy of medemer, which cherishes unity and tolerance while taking into account all of Ethiopia's differences.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Eritrean Leader Criticizes Ethiopian Ethnic Federalism

Ethiopia Insight published on 12 February 2020 a commentary titled "Game Over for Ethnic Federalism: Isaias" by Getachew Gebrekiros Temare, human rights activist.

This article contains translated excerpts of a 7 February 2020 interview with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Eritrean state television. Isaias is highly critical of Ethiopia's ethnic federalism and continues to see Ethiopia as Eritrea's main threat.

US Secretary of State Trip to Africa Aimed at Catching Up with China

The Interpreter published on 12 February 2020 a commentary titled "In Africa, the US Plays Catch-up with China" by Cornelia Tremann.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will soon visit Senegal, Ethiopia, and Angola. The author views the trip as a way to compete with China in Africa, adding that the U.S. is one or two steps behind China.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Most Vulnerable African Countries to Impact of Coronavirus

Overseas Development Institute published in February 2020 a report titled "Economic Vulnerabilities to Health Pandemics: Which Countries Are Most Vulnerable to the Impact of Coronavirus" by Sherillyn Raga and Dirk Willem te Velde.

This is an extensive global study on the economic impact of China's coronavirus. The most exposed African countries include Angola, DRC, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, and Zambia.

Coronavirus Hitting African Economies

CNBC published a story on 10 February 2020 titled "The Coronavirus Fallout is 'Battering' African Economies, Capital Economics Says" by Elliot Smith.

Port closures in China are causing oil importers to cancel purchases and forcing sellers to look elsewhere. African oil exporters such as Angola have been forced to re-sell oil at a discount. African commodity prices have also been affected.

US Unhappy with China's Plan to Build Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Ventures Africa posted on 10 February 2020 an article titled "The US and China Fight over Rights to Build the Headquarter for the Africa CDC" by Damilola Ekpo.

The United States has been the principal financial backer of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention and assumed it would build the $80 million headquarters in Ethiopia. China reportedly stepped in and said it wanted to build the structure. An unnamed US administration official said China stepped in and offered to construct the headquarters so that it could steal scientific data as it allegedly did after it built the African Union conference center in Addis Ababa.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Ethiopian Airlines Continues China Flights

The Washington Post published on 9 February 2020 an article titled "'In Good and Bad Times': Africa's Biggest Airline, Ethiopian, Sticks by China's Side" by Max Bearak and Danielle Paquette.

Although most African airlines have temporarily stopped flights to and from China because of the coronavirus, Ethiopian Airlines is continuing them. The article explains why.