Saturday, March 25, 2023

China Importing More Food from Africa

 The North Africa Post published on 23 March 2023 an article titled "China Refocuses on Food and Agriculture in Its Relations with Africa."

China is importing more food products from Africa in response to President Xi Jinping's focus on food security.

View of Somalia's Campaign Against Al-Shabaab

 The International Crisis Group (ICG) posted on 24 March 2023 a 42-minute podcast titled "Somalia's Latest Battles Against Al-Shabaab" with Richard Atwood speaking to Omar Mahmood, ICG's senior analyst for East Africa.

The podcast reports that the Somali National Army's campaign, mostly in central Somalia, has reversed some of al-Shabaab's gains of the past few years, forcing the militants out of several areas, including some important towns.  Al-Shabaab continues to mount resistance in parts of central Somalia and still holds much of southern Somalia.  In recaptured areas, the government must ensure disputes among clans do not flare up again and demonstrate that the Somali government can deliver aid and over time reestablish services like health and education.  The al-Qaeda-linked insurgency has weathered previous offensives only to bounce back.  

Friday, March 24, 2023

Egypt Signs Port Deals with Chinese and European Companies

 Al-Monitor published on 17 March 2023 an article titled "Egypt Signs $1.6 Billion Deals with China, EU Companies to Develop Sea Ports."

The Suez Canal Economic Zone signed an agreement to develop and manage the container terminal in the Sokhna Port in the Red Sea with the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports, the French shipping company CMA CGM, and the Chinese state-owned COSCO Shipping.

The Zone authority signed a second agreement to develop the Dekheila Port near Alexandria on the Mediterranean with Hutchison Ports and Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company.

Upper Nile in South Sudan Prepares for War

 Small Arms Survey published in March 2023 an analysis titled "Upper Nile Prepares to Return to War."

Armed groups are mobilizing for conflict in South Sudan's Upper Nile province.  The commanders of the armed groups in Upper Nile are acting with different degrees of autonomy from their backers in the capital of Juba.  A resurgence of violence will interrupt the distribution of humanitarian supplies and services in Upper Nile and Jonglei provinces.  

Russia Is Primary Source of Major Weapons for Africa

 Military Africa published on 20 March 2022 an article titled "Despite War, Russia Overtakes China as Major Arms Supplier to Sub-Saharan Africa" by Ekene Lionel.

Drawing on data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for the years 2018-2022, the article notes that Russia passed China as the largest supplier of major weapons to Sub-Saharan Africa.  (Russia has led China in arms sales to North Africa for many years.)  

Russia's arms exports to all of Africa increased by 23 percent over the last four years compared to 2011-2015.  In 2020 and early 2021, Russia signed arms contracts with African countries worth over $1.7 billion.  On the other hand, Russia is destroying its weapons stock in Ukraine and will have trouble filling future orders.  

Fate of Islamic State Branch Operation in Puntland, Somalia

 The Royal United Services Institute published on 20 March 2023 an article titled "Out of Africa: Financial Networks of  Islamic State 2.0" by Edmund Fitton-Brown.  

An Islamic State (IS) branch office located in Puntland, Somalia and headed by Bilal al-Sudani coordinated IS affiliates in Mozambique and the DRC and supplied funding to IS in Afghanistan.  In January 2023, US Special Forces killed al-Sudani and nine associates.  It remains to be seen if the operation in Puntland will regenerate.  

Wagner Group Complicates UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa

 The International Peace Institute published on 20 March 2023 a commentary titled "Wagner Group Poses Fundamental Challenges for the Protection of Civilians by UN Peacekeeping Operations" by Dirk Druet, McGill University.

The Wagner Group has raised serious risks for the safety of UN peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic and Mali.  Countries participating in these UN peacekeeping operations need to consider ways to minimize the challenges posed by the Wagner Group.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

China's Concerns Over Indian Ocean Choke Points

 The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs published on 22 March 2023 an analysis titled "China's Economic Security Challenge: Difficulties Overcoming the Malacca Dilemma" by Lucas Myers, Wilson Center's Asia Program.

Ninety percent of China's trade and 80 percent of its oil travels by sea.  During time of war, China fears a possible blockade of the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) through the Indian Ocean choke points of the Suez Canal/Red Sea and Strait of Malacca.  Mitigating this dilemma is an increasingly important element of China's naval strategy.  

Podcast on Russia's Wagner Group in Africa

 The International Crisis Group posted on 23 March 2023 a 38-minute podcast titled "Russia's Wagner in Africa" with Alan Boswell and Julia Steers, Nairobi bureau chief for VICE News.  

This highly informative podcast offers a close look at the different models of Wagner Group activities in Africa and compares them with its support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  In the case of the Central African Republic, Wagner controls the mining sector, customs operations, and keeps the government in power.  It has been much less effective in Mali and in Sudan is engaged primarily in commercial gold mining.

Wagner's overall goals in Africa include selling weapons, earning profits from mining operations, and promoting Russian foreign policy.  By comparison, its operations in the Ukraine are supporting Russia's military operations.  Wagner's recruits for the Ukraine are primarily from Russian prisons.  For Africa, Wagner recruits at the leadership level tend to be former personnel from Russian security services while the recruits are mostly young Russians seeking adventure in Africa.  

UN Experts Call for Investigation of Ethiopian Human Rights Abuses

 The Voice of America published on 22 March 2023 an article titled "Rights Experts: Violations in Ethiopia Must Be Investigated to Ensure Durable Peace" by Lisa Schlein.  

The three-member UN International Committee of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia warned that peace in Tigray Region will not last unless violations committed during the civil war are investigated and perpetrators held to account.  

Interim Government in Ethiopia's Tigray Region

 Reuters published on 23 March 2023 an article titled "Ethiopia Establishes Tigray Interim Administration as Part of Peace Plan."

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed Getachew Reda, spokesman of the Tigray People's Liberation Front, as the head of the interim administration in Ethiopia's Tigray Region.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Africa and China-US Rivalry

 The Conversation published on 20 March 2023 a commentary titled "US-China Tensions: How Africa Can Avoid Being Caught in a New Cold War" by John Stremlau, University of the Witwatersrand.

The essay suggests ways that Africa can avoid becoming entangled in US-China global rivalry, while maintaining productive partnerships with both nations.  

Democratic Republic of Congo Purchases Armed Drones from China

 The Diplomat published on 20 March 2023 an article titled "China Sends Military Drones to DRC Amid Fears of Regional War" by Robert Bociaga, a photojournalist.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation will soon supply nine Caihong 4 (CH-4) attack drones to help Kinshasa fight the Rwanda-backed rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, raising concerns about China's role in the conflict.

China's Government Construction Diplomacy in Ghana

 The Ghanaian Times published on 21 March 2023 an article titled "Construction of $20m Ministry of Foreign Affairs Annex Begins" by Jonathan Donkor.

A Chinese company began construction on a $20 million annex for Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in Accra funded by a grant from the Chinese government.  The building will contain the minister's office area, conference hall, press room, banquet hall, underground parking, gymnasium, clinic, stores, and archives room.  China provided a grant in 2013 for construction of the current ministry building.  

Ethiopian Parliament Removes Terrorist Designation from TPLF

 The Associated Press published on 22 March 2022 an article titled "Ethiopian Lawmakers Remove Tigray Group from Terror List." 

The Ethiopian Parliament voted on 22 March to remove its designation of the Tigray People's Liberation Front as a terrorist organization.

African Arms Imports 2018-2022

 The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published in March 2023 its "Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2022" by Pieter D. Wezeman, Justine Gadon, and Siemon T. Wezeman.  

Between 2018 and 2022, Africa imported only 5 percent of global major weapons.  Imports of major arms by African states fell by 40 percent between 2013-2017 and 2018-2022 due mainly to decreases in arms imports from the two largest African importers: Algeria and Morocco.  States in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accounted for 2 percent of total global imports of major arms in 2018-2022. The three largest importers in SSA were Angola, Nigeria, and Mali.  

The main suppliers to all of Africa in 2018-2022 were Russia, accounting for 40 percent of African imports of major arms, the United States (16 percent), China (10 percent), and France (8 percent).  Russia's share of arms imports to Sub-Saharan Africa was 26 percent while China was second at 18 percent.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Nile River, Basin, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and Climate Change

Nature Climate Change published in January 2023 a study titled "Cooperative Adaptive Management of the Nile River with Climate and Socio-Economic Uncertainties" by ten experts in the United Kingdom. 

This technical study presents a planning framework for adaptive management of the Nile infrastructure system, combining climate projections; hydrological, river system and economy-wide simulators; and artificial intelligence multi-objective design and machine learning algorithms.  It concludes that if Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt compromise cooperatively and adaptively in managing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the national-level economic and resilience benefits are substantial, especially under climate projections with the most extreme streamflow changes.  

Evaluation of US Security Assistance in Somalia

 The Stimson Center published on 20 March 2023 an analysis titled "US Security Assistance to Somalia" by Elias Yousif.  

Between 2010 and 2020, the United States provided more than $500 million in direct security assistance to Somali forces and spent $2.5 billion on security assistance for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  Despite recent Somali government successes on the battlefield, the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab organization has proven to be both adaptable and resilient.  

Sustaining Gains against Al-Shabaab in Somalia

 The International Crisis Group published on 21 March 2023 an analysis titled "Sustaining Gains in Somalia's Offensive against Al-Shabaab."

The analysis discusses gains made by the government of Somalia against al-Shabaab and steps it should take to reestablish a presence in regions that al-Shabaab controlled for a number of years.  

Death Toll for Drought in Somalia

 The Associated Press published on 20 March 2023 an article titled "Report: 43,000 Estimated Dead During Somalia's Drought  Last Year" by Cara Anna.

An estimated 43,000 people died during Somalia's drought in 2022.  As many as 34,000 are forecast to die in the first half of 2023, according to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

WHO and UNICEF published a summary of the report titled "From Insight to Action: Examining Mortality in Somalia."

US Declares War Crimes in Ethiopia, Which Addis Ababa Rejects

 The U.S. State Department issued a statement dated 20 March 2023 titled "War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia" by Antony J. Blinken.

The statement determined that members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Eritrean Defense Forces, Tigray People's Liberation Front forces, and Amhara forces committed war crimes during the conflict in northern Ethiopia.  The United States will partner with Ethiopia as it implements a credible transitional justice process for the benefit of all victims and affected communities.  

The Washington Post published on 21 March 2023 an article titled "U.S. Finds Ethiopian Troops Committed Crimes against Humanity" by Missy Ryan.  

The article says the Biden administration is moving cautiously as it seeks to repair strains with Ethiopia that resulted during the civil war in Ethiopia.  Officials in Ethiopia warned Washington to stay out of its internal affairs.  

The Voice of America published on 21 March 2023 an article titled "Ethiopia Rejects US Accusation of War Crimes as Inflammatory" by Maya Misikir.  

Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs subsequently issued a statement rejecting the US allegation, adding that it "unfairly proportions blame" and is inflammatory and untimely.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Pakistani Analysis of China's Global Security Initiative

 The Pakistani think tank Takshashila Institution published on 27 January 2023 an analysis titled "China's Global Security Initiative: Undermining US Alliances or Quest for a New  Security Architecture?" by Manoj Kewalramani.  

The study details the objectives, scope, and policy implications of the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and concludes that it is fundamentally an attempt to discredit US engagement in the Indo-Pacific, while projecting China as a responsible global power.  It marks an effort towards greater securitization of China's economic engagement in the world.  The GSI is likely to result in greater Chinese military and security diplomacy across the developing world.  Finally, Chinese diplomats and officials have been working to win endorsement for the GSI from as many countries as possible.  

USAFRICOM Commander Expresses Concerns about China in Africa

 Today News Africa published on 17 March 2023 an article titled "China Is America's Greatest Threat in Africa, Top U.S. Commander Michael Langley Tells Senate, Cites Competition with CCP over Continent's Minerals Needed by American Firms" by Simon Ateba.

U.S. AFRICOM commander Michael Langley testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee last week.  He argued that China is trying to change international norms and seeking African support to do so.   China is also interested in additional military bases and access to minerals in Africa.  

Ethiopia Allegedly Sends Troops into Somaliland

 Ethiopia Insight published on 20 March 2023 a commentary titled "Somaliland and Ethiopia Faceoff over Las Anod Jeopardizes Regional Cooperation."

Somaliland accused Ethiopia of sending troops to the disputed area around Los Anod.  Leaders of Ethiopia's neighboring Somali Region have denied the charge.  

Chinese Company Buys Shares in Another Egyptian Port Terminal

 YiCai Global published on 16 March 2023 an article titled "China's Cosco Shipping Ports to Buy 25% of Egypt's Sokhna Terminal to Boost Africa Trade" by Xu Wei.

Cosco Shipping Ports intends to buy a 25 percent stake in a new container terminal in Sokhna, Egypt, to improve trade links between China and Africa.  The terminal in Sokhna, located on the western coast of the Gulf of Suez, will be built by the Egyptian government and operated by firms including Cosco Shipping Ports.