[This monthly media roundup addresses significant, non-comprehensive news and updates from/on Sub-Saharan African countries, including additional themes on major powers’ intervention and activities in the continent, recent publications and studies, and other relevant material. Should you have any comments or submissions, please email us at SSAR@Jadaliyya.com.]
Arab League Countries in Africa
African Friendlies wrap: Comoros stun Guinea, Tunisia and Cameroon draw (10/12/2019) Comoros achieved stunning successes in African friendly football matches. Comoros defeated Guinea and Tunisia, and drew with Cameroon.
India extends $20m Line of Credit to Comoros for defence, maritime cooperation (10/11/2019) Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu visited Comoros. Naidu announced a twenty-million-dollar line of credit to Comoros for defense and renewable energy projects.
Workshop On Capitalizing the Opportunities of the AfCFTA in the Union of the Comoros, From 18 to 19 October 2019 (10/14/2019) The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was scheduled to hold a workshop in Moroni on the economic issues affecting Comoros as a smaller island developing nation.
An archaeologist returns to Djibouti to survey 13th- to 19th- century sites (10/29/2019) Archaeologist Madeline Gunter Basset will be conducting studies of pastoralist sites in southeastern Djibouti.
China’s great game in the Middle East (10/21/2019) China is expanding its presence in Djibouti. The author discusses how European countries should address the expanded Chinese role in the region.
Djibouti supports Egyptian int’l stands, foreign policies (10/29/2019) Mohamed Ali Hamad—speaker of the Djiboutian parliament—visited Egypt, where he announced Djibouti's support for Egyptian foreign policy stances.
Ethiopian migrants decision-making is focus of new research in Djibouti (10/25/2019) The International Organisation for Migration is conducting a study of migrants in Djibouti, examining their motivations. They found many of the migrants hope to reach Saudi Arabia or other countries but lack a definite plan to do so.
Saudi Arabia bans livestock imports from Sudan and Djibouti over RVF fears (10/29/2019) Saudi Arabia has decided to prohibit imports of cattle from Sudan and Djibouti because of a recent outbreak of Rift Valley fever.
The East African (10/26/2019) Djibouti and Kenya have recently been battling over many different issues, including a UN Security Council seat, which Djibouti sought despite Kenya having secured African Union endorsement.
The significance of Djibouti’s UNSC bid goes far beyond a geo-political game (10/16/2019) Djibouti deserves a UN security council seat due to peacekeeping efforts at least as much as Kenya, according to the former CEO of the American Institute in Dijibouti.
Africa sets common currency goal by 2025 (10/23/2019) Mauritanian Acting Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yahtani spoke at the IMF-World Bank annual meeting about a common currency for Africa. He and other African finance ministers set 2025 as the target date for the launch of the new currency.
An oasis of PV (10/07/2019) Mauritania is experimenting with photovoltaic (solar) power in remote desert areas for irrigation. The solar power reduces the energy consumed by existing pumps.
First Look at Netflix 'Living Undocumented' Clip (10/25/2019) Netflix is featuring members of the Mauritanian refugee community in its upcoming series entitled "Living Undocumented." Mauritanian refugees have been targeted by ICE for deportation over the last several years.
Mauritania rights observatory denounces police repression of students (10/29/2019) Mauritania's human rights observatory criticized police for repressing students in Mauritania and called for inquiries to be held into torture allegations.
Mauritania: Take Key Steps for Women’s Rights (10/15/2019) Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote a letter to new Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani urging him to prioritize women's rights in his administration.
Reasons behind Mauritania’s smooth power transfer (10/15/2019) This article describes the reasons why the recent handover of power from former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to current President Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ghazouani went much more smoothly than previous transitions of power in Mauritania.
Van Oord’s Largest Hopper Dredger Busy in Mauritania (10/25/2019) NNDCVan Oord is working on a dredging project off the coast of Mauritania. The project will expand the access channel for an ore export facility located in Nouadhibou.
Vladimir Putin is resetting Russia’s Africa agenda to counter the US and China (10/22/2019) Russia is attempting to increase its sphere of influence in Africa. Methods used include economic cooperation and educational and cultural centers.
3 More dead, Hundreds displaced as heaviest rainfall in 30 years hits Somalia – Radio Dalsan FM 91.5 MHz (10/29/2019) Recent rainstorms in Somalia have been the most serious in over thirty years.
Conflict and drought displace 300,000 in Somalia so far this year (10/20/2019) Conflict and drought conditions in Somalia have displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
Germany targets vocational training and infrstructure with $73 million aid (10/09/2019) Germany has pledged seventy-three million dollars in aid to Somalia to assist with vocational education and infrastructure within the country.
How Climate Change Is Pushing This Desert State to Fish (10/27/2019) Danish shipping entrepreneur Per Gullestrup created the charity Fair Fishing to support development of an alternative to piracy in Somaliland. Climate change has caused this organization and others like it to see a surge of interest from local residents seeking to source fish from local waters.
Kenya and Somalia’s maritime dispute: One winner, two losers? (10/30/2019) Kenya and Somalia are preparing to take their maritime boundary dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a move that could prove costly for the two nations' relations longer term.
Maritime Dispute as a Diversionary Tactic from Internal Revolt in Somalia. (10/20/2019) Victor Ndia argues the regime in Mogadishu is pushing a hard line in the maritime boundary dispute between Somalia and Kenya to distract from internal problems in Somalia.
Ugandan Dictator Iddi Amin’s Somali Sons (10/29/2019) One of the sons of former Ugandan President Idi Amin is living in Somalia, and is serving in the Somali army.
Analyst: ‘Two potential military coups threaten Sudan’ (10/26/2019) A prominent Sudanese journalist El Haj Warrag said there is the risk from military takeover by two groups. The first is Islamists, and the second would be those connected with the previous regime.
Minister: ‘Financial support inadequate for Sudan's poor’ (10/20/2019) The Sudanese minister of labour questioned the existing microfinance schemes in Sudan, saying that they are inadequate to address the needs of the country's poor.
Sudan: Turbulent transformation from tyranny (10/30/2019) A discussion of the events in Sudan following the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir's regime.
Ghana must stop backroom dealings to fix power crisis (10/31/2019) A leading Ghanaian think tank criticizes the privatization process of Ghana’s electrical system, including the value of the terminated deal and the government’s contracting process.
Ghana Warns of Unaffordable Debt Buildup Over Excess Power (10/31/2019) Ghana’s Finance Minister warned that the country could accumulate more than 12.5 billion dollars in losses if the government fails to reach agreements with private energy producers and gas suppliers.
U.S. Takes Ghana Aid Money Off the Table as Power Deal Collapses (10/23/2019) The United States cut 190 million dollars in funding for Ghana’s energy sector after Ghana canceled a contract with a private company to run the country’s power network over invalid payment guarantees.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
DR Congo launches large-scale operation against rebels (10/31/2019) The Congolese government has launched an offensive against rebel militias in the eastern highlands as efforts to combat an Ebola outbreak in the region continue.
In eastern Congo, a local conflict flares as regional tensions rise (10/28/2019) Over two hundred thousand have been displaced in recent months by fighting in the South Kivu highlands in the east of the country, as militias have burned villages, stolen cattle, and killed members of a minority group of Rwandan origin.
Plague update for Ituri Province, DRC (10/15/2019) UN officials report a total of thirty-one cases of the plague since the start of the year, with nine fatalities. If plague infects the lungs of a victim (pneumonic plague), it can spread human to human without rats or fleas.
Russian Railways, DR Congo to Discuss Possible $500m Rail Deal (10/26/2019) The Congolese government has signed a deal with a Russian state-owned railway company to revamp the country’s rail system in a deal valued at five hundred million dollars, following a failed World Bank program to revive Congolese rail that was ended last year.
W.H.O. Continues Emergency Status for Ebola Outbreak in Congo (10/18/2019) The World Health Organization has extended the declaration of a public health emergency for an additional three months in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to an outbreak of Ebola, though new confirmed cases have fallen to 15 a week, down from 130 a week in April.
Ethiopia says 78 killed in protests against treatment of activist (10/31/2019) A spokesperson for Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has said that at least 78 were killed and 409 have been arrested as a result of unrest caused by protests in Addis Ababa and in Oromia after a Jawar Mohammed, a prominent activist and founder of the Oromia Media Network, claimed that security forces were planning an attack against him.
NDERITU: Nobel is fine but Abiy needs goodwill to unite Ethiopia (10/19/2019) In response to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his democratic reforms and efforts at making peace with Eritrea, the author questions if Abiy will be able to unify the country and build ties between the government and the ethnically-based administrative regions.
PM Abiy Ahmed warns Ethiopia ethnic violence could worsen (10/26/2019) Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has warned that ethnic violence in Ethiopia could worsen while vowing to bring to justice those responsible for violence that left many dead in the wake of protests. The Oromia police chief has claimed that most of those killed were slain in clashes between civilian groups rather than at the hands of security forces.
Prominent activist won't rule out election challenge to Ethiopia PM (10/25/2019) Jawar Mohammed, prominent activist and founder of the Oromia Media Network, has not ruled out challenging his former ally Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after days of protests. Jawar’s ability to organize protests was a key factor in Abiy’s rise last year, but the prime minister now faces difficulty in retaining the support of his Ormo base.
Tensions rise between Ethiopia and Egypt over use of river Nile (10/20/2019) A dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt over plans to build a dam on the Ethiopian part of the Blue Nile has led to growing tensions between the two countries, as the filling of the reservoir, expected to begin in June could threaten Egypt’s water supply as well as their own Aswan Dam.
Mali president on the ropes as jihadist revolt mounts (10/23/2019) Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is facing increased public discontent due to the military's setbacks fighting against a revolt by Islamic extremists. The extremists now operate in Burkina Faso in addition to Mali.
UN Food depot in Mali vandalized (10/13/2019) A United Nations food depot has been vandalized in Mali, where it was being used to distribute food to the population.
Mozambique goes to polls as gas billions begin to flow (10/10/2019) Mozambique’s upcoming elections come as the country has discovered large natural gas reserves off its northern coast, and as outside investors have committed to billion dollar contracts that could bring a flood of wealth, but also the prospect of unrest and fears of increasing corruption after decades of single-party rule.
Mozambique Opposition Rejects Election Results (10/19/2019) Opposition groups in Mozambique have accused the government of breaching peace deals by intimidating voters and using violence as early results showed the incumbent Frelimo party headed for a major victory, and have called for the annulment of the prior week’s election.
Nyusi wins Mozambique presidential poll in landslide (10/27/2019) Final tallies for the Mozambique presidential election have the incumbent President Filipe Nyusi winning with seventy-three percent of the total vote, leading to a rejection of the results by opposition parties and the potential for renewed violence after a peace deal signed last August ended hostilities.
Will Mozambique’s Peace Deal Survive Contested Elections? (10/29/2019) The peace deal signed in August between Mozambique’s government and opposition forces is at threat of falling apart following this month’s election. The peace deal formally ended a renewed period of violence that began in 2013 and ended with a ceasefire the following year, but violence against the opposition in the recent election as well as allegations of fraud led to the opposition’s rejection of the results.
Nigeria: Supreme Court's Ruling On Atiku Vs Buhari, Resonance From Nigeria's Past (10/31/2019) The Supreme Court of Nigeria’s dismissal of an appeal by the People’s Democratic Party contesting the 2019 presidential election marks an end to legal contests against President Buhari’s All Progressive’s Congress, as well as another case of opposition loses in Nigeria’s highest court.
Nigeria: World Bank Approves $3 Billion Loan For Nigeria's Power Sector (10/21/2019) The World Bank approved Nigeria’s request for a three-billion-dollar loan for the expansion of the country’s power sector, focusing primarily on power transmission and distribution. The government of Nigeria has also earmarked over 1.6 billion dollars to ensure a constant power supply across the country.
Police free nearly 150 from school in northern Nigeria (10/19/2019) Nigerian security forces have freed around 150 students from a religious school in the north of the country that had subjected them to abuse, the fourth such operation in the past month, bringing the total of released students to over a thousand. The raids may put more pressure on Nigeria’s president to take action against loosely regulated Islamic schools across the north of the country.
Uproar As Nigerian Army Insists On 'Operation Identify Yourself' (10/31/2019) Members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed a unanimous motion urging President Muhammadu Buhari to halt an operation by Nigeria’s military to undertake systematic identity checks throughout the country of suspected “foreign criminal elements,” a move which MPs have claimed is an undeclared state of emergency tacitly approved by the president, which according to Nigeria’s constitution can only be made through an act of parliament.
Africa: South Africa's Future Is In Africa, With Africa - Ramaphosa Says After Buhari Visit (10/7/2019) South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, emphasized South Africa’s commitment to African unity during a meeting with Nigeria’s President Buhari, following recent xenophobic attacks against Niferian nationals within South Africa. Ramaphosa also emphasized the need for South Africa to embrace the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which would create an open market across the continent.
DA IN CRISIS | Maimane set to be axed as parliamentary leader after slamming the party (10/24/2019) Mmusi Maimane, the leader of South Africa’s largest opposition party, has resigned following remarks condemning his own party. This crisis comes after criticisms of the election of former DA leader Helen Zille was elected to a leadership position within the party, who Maime has said is someone “who believed race was irrelevant in discussions of poverty and inequality in the country.”
South Africa: Desperate Times As SA Unemployment Rate Hits 11-Year High (10/30/2019) In spite of economic growth under President Cyril Ramaphosa's administration, unemployment in South Africa reached an eleven-year high at 29.1 percent, and expanded unemployment, which includes those who have stopped seeking work, remains at 38.5 percent.
Editor’s take: Why nobody is talking about Ebola in Tanzania (10/11/2019) In spite of the World Health Organization rebuking the Tanzanian government for a lack of transparency and ignoring requests by the WHO to hand over samples from patients suspected of infection, discussion of potential Ebola cases in Tanzania remains stifled, largely in part due to the crackdown on critical journalism by John Magufuli’s government.
Magufuli is Bulldozing Human Rights in Tanzania (10/31/2019) Amnesty International has criticized the government of Tanzanian president John Magufuli for political repression, even as he campaigned in 2015 on a reform and anti-corruption agenda, accusing his government of jailing journalists, eroding the rights of opposition politicians and members of civil society, and banning opposition political rallies in 2016, among other violations.
Tanzania gives Chinese firm conditions for Bagamoyo port (10/21/2019) Tanzania’s government has issued an ultimatum to Chinese investors in the ten-billion-dollar Bagamoyo port project, issuing five demands of the investor and threatening to abandon the project if the government’s demands are not met; including a reduction on the lease to thirty-three years from ninety-nine, allowing the government to develop other ports, and to subject the investor to standard rates, regulation, and taxes.
Tanzania Takes Another Swipe at Chinese Investment (10/25/2019) Under president John Magufuli, Tanzania has become increasingly heavy-handed in dealing with foreign investors, including arresting Chinese nationals overseeing the construction of infrastructure for slow progress and other heavy-handed negotiation tactics.
Kenya banks on Lamu Port to gain regional shipping hub status (10/27/2019) Kenya’s Lamu Port, which is set to open in November, positions the country to upset the balance of the East African coast, as competition with Djibouti’s main port and the stalled Tanzanian port could propel Kenya forward as a shipping hub.
Kenya launches the second phase of its billion-dollar Chinese railway project (10/16/2019) Following the completion of the first phase of Kenya’s largest infrastructure program post-independence in 2017, the second expansion of the rail system launched earlier in October. The project is being built by a Chinese construction company, and also financed by a Chinese bank.
Kenya Pollution: President Kenyatta vows plastic ban by 2020 (10/29/2019) Following a ban on plastic carrier bags in 2017, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has now vowed to ban single-use plastics altogether by June of 2020.
Zimbabwe: Shock As 50 Firms Cling to Half of Zim's $19 Billion Bank Balances (10/30/2019) The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has said that only fifty companies control more than half of the country’s nineteen billion dollars in bank balances across the country, stoking fears of economic manipulation and other illegal financial activities. The central bank has said it will monitor the flow of money from these accounts more closely.
Zimbabwe to cut power to mines, others over $77m in unpaid bills (10/24/2019) With Zimbabwe facing a crisis of drought and economic sanctions, the state-owned electricity distributor has announced that it will cut power to mines, farms, and other industries over unpaid bills as the country struggles with daily power cuts in an attempt to manage the crisis.
CEPO: STATUS OF THE R-ARCSS IMPLEMENTATION (10/20/2019) A survey by CEPO on the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan.
Machar not granted asylum to live in Ethiopia: SPLM-IO (10/31/2019) Sudanese armed opposition leader Riek Machar has said that he has not been given asylum by any country, contrary to claims made by the SPLM-IO's spokesman that he had been given refuge in Addis Ababa.
South Sudan pays $3m arrears owed to EAC bloc (10/19/2019) The East African Community has been paid three million dollars by Sudan, leaving a twenty-four-million-dollar remaining balance.
China, the US, Russia and Other Countries "In" Africa
Africa: Russia Rejects 'Latecomer' Tag in Africa As It Seeks Role in Big Four (10/20/2019) Russia’s new Russia-Africa Summit represents a Russian re-entry into the region, and shows a recognition of Africa’s growing role in world affairs as well as opportunities for Russia to expand its economic and political influence following the example of China.
At the First Russia-Africa Summit, Putin Tells African Leaders: Let’s Make a Deal (10/25/2019) Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted forty-three African heads of state in Sochi this October for the first-ever Russia-African Summit, with Russia seeking to cement itself as a global power by landing two nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa and to expand Russia’s access to African resources. For African nations, the summit represents a chance to cooperate with Russia in development and investment opportunities.
Hong Kong, Africa and the One China policy (10/07/2019) Most countries in Africa decline to recognize Taiwan, and decline to criticize Chinese policy in Hong Kong, arguing it would represent a violation of Chinese sovereignty.
Outrage as 30 wild baby elephants ‘flown from Zimbabwe to China for lifetime in captivity’ (10/25/2019) China caused outrage in Zimbabwe after acquiring thirty baby elephants from the wild for Chinese zoos.
The US-China trade rivalry is underway in Africa, and Washington is playing catch-up (10/09/2019) China’s growing economic presence in Africa, where it has financed and built ports, rail systems, roads, and other infrastructure to facilitate trade and integration across Africa, and has quickly become the continent’s largest trading partner, and the total value of Chinese investment and construction in Africa since 2005 is approaching two trillion dollars. From the perspective of Washington policymakers, China’s rise to dominance within the region represents a shock to an area where the United States and Europe have not faced genuine competition for political and economic influence in decades.
Do Africa’s emerging nations know the secret of China’s economic miracle? (10/13/2019) With the official celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing at the beginning of the month, many African leaders look to China’s staggering development as a model for their own growth, and seek to strengthen relationships with China through economic programs like the Belt and Road Initiative and other sources of Chinese investments, as well as through emulating China’s model of state capitalism.
How Africa is breaking China’s neo-colonial shackles (10/30/2019) With the spark of interest in African affairs caused by China’s massive investments in the continent, other nations such as Russia, Japan, India, and Turkey have a growing interest in investing into the region, while the European Union has also began to ramp up investment after falling behind China in recent years. The growing attention of other wealthy nations on Africa’s growth has pushed China to adapt to the competition, and presents an opportunity for African nations to harness these external interests to gain further control over their own development.
Reports, Studies, Research on Africa(n) Countries
Africa: States frustrate continental rights bodies’ efforts to uphold human rights (10/29/2019) Amnesty International has released a report criticizing African continental human rights bodies for failing to protect human rights defenders or uphold human rights on the continent. Comoros was one of the examples of these violations.
Russia-linked influence operations in Africa (10/29/2019) Stanford University and Facebook have identified Russian influence networks on social media in several countries in Africa. Affected countries include the DRC, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and others outside of the Sub-Saharan African region.
Safeguarding Sudan’s Revolution (10/21/2019) The International Crisis Group reports on developments in Sudan since President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military, and the military and civilian opposition have struggled to reach an agreement.
Books on Africa(n) Countries
Medieval Africa: lost kingdoms (6/27/2019) A summary of several scholarly works on precolonial African States.
Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc. CEO praises Ayuk’s New Book with a call for greater dialogue and solutions to protect African energy and natural resources infrastructure (10/21/2019) African Energy Attorney NJ Ayuk published a new book discussing best practices in African natural resource production.
Ethiopia's Abiy: new prize, new book, same old crisis (10/31/2019) Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is facing protesters at home who are burning copies of his book entitled Medemer or strength through diversity.
South Africa: Onkgopotse Tiro - Revolutionary Who Paid a Heavy Price for Shaking Apartheid to Its Core (10/18/2019) Journalist Gaongalelwe Tiro wrote a biography of his uncle Onkgopotse Tiro, who was a major figure in student uprisings during the 1970s that weakened the apartheid regime.
Arts and Culture
AFN ex-secretary, Akawu, arrested over ‘missing’ $130, 000 IAAF money | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News (10/29/2019) The former head of the Nigerian Athletics Federation was arrested after 130,000 dollars was discovered missing from the organization's accounts.
Zanzibar zooms in on the future of visual arts in Africa (10/30/2019) In the historic Stone Town in Zanzibar, artists from the island, mainland Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and other countries met for the first Visual Arts Festival Zanzibar, connecting artists from across Africa and the world in an attempt to “widen creative discourses” in Zanzibar.
Contemporary Art From Africa Is Seizing Global Attention. Here’s Your Guide to Six Emergent Art Markets Making It Happen (10/2/2019) Growing urbanization across Africa has led to the beginnings of a true “African art market,” as collectors have begun to pay closer attention to artists in Accra, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, and Marrakech.
Africa's top shots: 18-24 October 2019 (10/25/2019) The BBC collects a selection of the top photos from Africa during the week, including sporting events, elections in Botswana, protests in Guinea, and more.