Saturday, July 31, 2021

Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict: Update from Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch published on 30 July 2021 a status report titled "The Latest on the Crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray Region" by  Laetitia Bader and Amy Braunschweiger.  

The authors provide their interpretation of the most recent developments in Tigray Region and Ethiopia generally.  

The Challenges of China-EU Security Cooperation in Africa

 The Asia Europe Journal published in 2021 an article titled "The Challenges of China-European Union Security Cooperation in Africa" by Niall Duggan and Obert Hodzi.

China and the EU share the same goals in Africa--a stable and secure Africa.  The barriers to security cooperation include an EU arms embargo on China, conceptual gaps between the EU and China in human rights and sovereignty, and increasing levels of competition for natural resources.  

Friday, July 30, 2021

Podcast with New York Times Correspondent in Tigray

 The International Crisis Group posted on 30 July 2021 a 34 minute podcast titled "Behind the Front Lines in Ethiopia's Tigray" with New York Times Correspondent Declan Walsh.

Walsh offers an on-the-ground account of the Tigrayan forces, the dramatic turnaround in the conflict, and how the federal government lost ground in the war.  He also discusses his conversations with commanders and soldiers on both sides, while assessing prospects for bringing the conflict to a close.  He concludes that events on the ground are moving fast and point towards an escalation of the conflict.  

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Environment

 Academia Letters published in July 2021 a study titled "Socio-environmental Imperatives for China-Africa Cooperation ahead of FOCAC 2021" by Joshua Maiyo, United States International University.

Since the Johannesburg Action Plan (2016-2018), FOCAC has committed to promoting an integrated green development approach on the continent.  The author argues that progress in tackling critical environmental injustices that threaten biodiversity, environmental sustainability, and livelihoods of local communities has lagged behind commitments, although COVID-19 has contributed to the reduction in progress.

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at Age 21

 The Italian Institute for International Political Studies published on 29 July 2021 a commentary titled "In Line for FOCAC 2021: Africa, China, and the Others" by Lina Benabdallah, Wake Forest University.

Senegal will host the Forum on China Africa Cooperation this year.  At age 21, FOCAC continues to be a useful forum for China-Africa discussion and public opinion of China in Africa remains positive.  At the same time, there is an unequal distribution of Chinese loans and investment in Africa.

A UN Peacekeeping Mission for Ethiopia?

 The National Interest published on 27 July 2021 a commentary titled "How the UN Can Solidify Ethiopia As an African Success Story" by Abigael Ajuma and Michael O'Hanlon, both at the Brookings Institution.

The authors urge the Biden administration to consider  supporting deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia's Tigray Region if and when it could be useful in helping to monitor, and cement in place, some kind of power-sharing accord.   

Wider War Soon in Ethiopia?

 The International Crisis Group published on 30 July 2021 an analysis titled "The Dangerous Expansion of Ethiopia's Tigray War" by Will Davison.  

The author believes a massive recruitment drive by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and military advances by the Tigray Defense Forces into neighboring Afar and Amhara Regions will result in a significantly wider war in Ethiopia.  

Ethiopia: US and UN Push for Humanitarian Access to Tigray

 Aljazeera published on 30 July 2021 an article titled "New Push for Tigray Access as UN, US Aid Officials Visit Ethiopia."

Pressure is growing on Ethiopia to open humanitarian access to Tigray Region in an effort to prevent starvation.  The head of USAID is visiting Ethiopia this weekend to carry that message.  

Agence France-Presse published on 29 July 2021 an article titled "USAID Chief to Visit Ethiopia to Press for Tigray Aid."  The head of USAID will visit Sudan before going to Ethiopia.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Ethiopia Blocks Aid Relief Road into Tigray Region

 The New York Times published on 29 July 2021 an article titled "This Ethiopian Road Is a Lifeline for Millions.  Now It's Blocked" by Declan Walsh.

A 300 mile strip of road through Afar Region is the only way to deliver food to starving Tigrayans in Tigray Region.  International aid workers say the government of Ethiopia has imposed an unofficial blockade on Tigray Region.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Chinese Resource-Backed Infrastructure Financing in Guinea and Ghana

 The China Africa Research Initiative published in July 2021 an analysis titled "Chinese Resource-Backed Infrastructure Financing Investments: Comparing Governance in Guinea and Ghana" by Qianrong Ding, Hayden Hubbard, Emily Larkin, and Dawalola Shonibare.  

The study examines and compares governance issues in Ghana and Guinea and the social and environmental dilemmas linked to them.  The analysis suggests that improving transparency, regulatory enforcement, and feedback mechanisms between local communities, firms, and government can ensure that mining investments through natural resource for infrastrucutre agreements are socially, economically, and environmentally sound.

US Calls for End of Attacks against Eritrean Refugees in Tigray Region

 Reuters published on 28 July 2021 an article titled "US Calls for Halt to Violence against Eritreans in Tigray" by Doyinsola Oladipo.

The State Department expressed deep concern about credible reports of attacks by military forces affiliated with the TPLF and Tigrayan militias against Eritrean refugees in Tigray Region.  

Ethiopia's Future: Ethiopian Professor Takes Issue with Kaplan's Analysis

 Foreign Policy posted on 22 July 2021 an analysis titled "Ethiopia's Problems Stem from Internal Colonialism" by Teferi Mergo, University of Waterloo in Canada.

The author takes issue with a recent commentary by Robert Kaplan (see 10 July below) and argues that the Yugoslavia analogy is much closer to the unfolding reality in Ethiopia.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Labor Issues Likely to Be China's Long-term Nemesis in Africa

 The China-Africa Project posted on 27 July 2021 a commentary titled "Chinese Companies 'Eat Bitter' Management Style Just Doesn't Work in Africa" by Cobus van Staden.  

The author argues that widely discussed Chinese debt traps and concerns about the security of African IT networks due to the use of Chinese communications equipment are not China's greatest challenge in Africa.  Rather, China should be more concerned about African concerns over Chinese companies' ardous working conditions, long hours, low wages, limited promotions, and disrespectful, or downright abusive, treatment by managers.  

China Now Trades More with Sub-Saharan Africa than Both US and European Union

 The Atlantic Council blog posted on 22 July 2021 an analysis titled "China and Sub-Saharan Africa Trade: A Case of Growing Interdependence" by Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou, macroeconomist for the Atlantic Council's GeoEconomics Center.  

China now accounts for 25 percent of merchandise trade with Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) compared to 22 percent for the European Unio and only 6 percent for the US.  Since the beginning of this century, China's merchandise trade with SSA has risen sharply while it has declined modestly with the EU and declined significantly with the US.  The blog posting includes statistics for China's trade with individual countries in SSA since 2000.

Ethiopia: Does Seige of Tigray Constitute War Crime of Starvation?

 Just Security published on 26 July 2021 a legal brief titled "Famine in Tigray, Humanitarian Access, and the War Crime of Starvation" by Tom Dannenbaum, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Although humanitarian accessibility has improved within Tigray Region, entry points into Tigray from outside generally remain blocked and food stocks are rapidly depleting.  The question is whether the siege meets the legal criteria of the largely untested war crime of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.  The author is inclined to think that it does.  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Violence Begets Violence in the Red Sea

 Foreign Policy published on 26 July 2021 an article titled "How the Red Sea Became a Trap" by Nicholas W. Stephenson Smith.

The author argues that the Red Sea's history shows that violence begets more violence.  It began when colonialism planted the seeds of instability that persist to this day.  

Chinese Miners Accused of Exploiting World Heritage Site

 The New Zimbabwe published on 25 July 2021 an article titled "Chinese in Massive Looting of Zimbabwe's Minerals: Chief Chiweshe" by Leopold Munhende.  

A Zimbabwe chief in Mashonaland accused Chinese miners of looting the country's mineral resources and damaging the environment in a World Heritage Site.  

Ethiopian Conflict Expands into Amhara Region

 Reuters published on 25 July 2021 an article titled "Ethiopia's Amhara State Rallies Youth to Fight Tigrayan Forces as War Widens."

Tigrayan Defense Forces captured a town inside Amhara Region, causing Amhara authorities to rally youth against the Tigrayan forces.  

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Will AU Try to End the War In Ethiopia?

 Ethiopia Insight published on 25 July 2021 a commentary titled "The African Union Must Intervene to Stop the War in Ethiopia" by Fasil Hailu, a pen name for a regular Ethiopia Insight columnist.

The author noted that while the US and EU have tried to end the war in Tigray, the AU has, so far, done nothing.  It is time for the AU to step forward and engage actively in an effort to end the conflict.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

China to Resolve Egypt-Ethiopia Nile Dam Dispute?

 Al-Monitor published on 21 July 2021 an article titled "Egypt Hopes China Can Break Deadlock in Nile Dam Dispute" by Amr Emam.

Egypt is urging China to use its significant influence with Ethiopia to take a more accommodating position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Comment:  Good luck with that.  China has declared its neutrality on the issue and Chinese companies are building the transmission lines from the dam.

Relations between Ethiopian State and Private Chinese Firms

 The United Nations University published in July 2021 a working paper titled "The Dynamics of State-Business Relations between the Ethiopian State and Chinese Private Firms: A Case Study of the Eastern Industry Park" by Weiwei Chen.  

The paper argues that institutions led by Chinese government agencies serve only limited purposes and are led by the interests of certain kinds of firms, and that private firms tend to locally improvise and create their own bargaining mechanisms, even when the Chinese state has built official channels for bargaining.  They do not fit a simple "win-win" narrative.

Russia and China Compete/Cooperate in Africa

 In Depth News published on 22 July 2021 an interview with business analyst Lipton Matthews titled "Russia and China: Geopolitical Rivals and Competitors in Africa" by Kester Kenn Klomegah.

Matthews argues that China and Russia are competing with America in Africa for ideological supremacy.  As a result, Western leaders need to understand better how ideas and history impact their policies in Africa.

Tigrayan Forces Move into Afar Region

 Reuters published on 22 July 2021 an article titled "Tigray: Thousands Flee Neighbouring Region as Conflict Spreads."

Tigray Defense Forces have moved into neighboring Afar Region and reportedly seized three districts in an effort to pressure the central government.  

China's Military Base in Djibouti

 Memri published on 16 July 2021 an analysis titled "Beijing's Overseas Military Base in Djibouti" by Tuvia Gering and Heath Sloane.

This is an up-to-date account of China's military base in Djibouti with useful graphics.  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

African Unions Concerned about Illegal Chinese Textile Imports

 The Geneva-based IndustriAll Global Union published on 15 July 2021 a commentary titled "Unions Discuss Revival of the Textile and Garment Sector in Africa."

Illegal imports of tectiles, especially from China, are threatening the revival of the textile and garment sector in Africa.  Cheap Chinese imports have decimated the textile industries in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and other countries.