[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
Comoros 0-0 Egypt: The Les Coelacantes hold Egypt at home to maintain group lead (11/18/2019) Comoros Los Coelacantes played Egypt at Malouzini stadium in Comoros, where the hosting side was able to play the visiting Egyptian team to a draw.
Comoros will soon open General Consulate in Morocco’s Laayoune (11/14/2019) Comoros is expanding its diplomatic presence in Morocco by opening a General Consulate in the town of Laayoune. This is after Cote d'Ivoire opened an honorary consulate in the same city. Honorary consuls are usually citizens of the host country, but are responsible for providing consular access to citizens.
Comoros Seeks to become Africa's Most Flowered Nation (11/07/2019) The Comoros Islands are the leading producer of ylang-ylang, a plant that provides oil as a for perfumes. Some perfumes are also made from the flower of the plant itself.
In Djibouti, opposition protests met with force (11/01/2019) Protesters in Djibouti are saying that the government is using scorched-Earth tactics against the opposition. This includes an attack by security forces on the protestors in Randa demanding the release of an activist and opposition party member.
Power shortage hinders Djibouti water supply (11/09/2019) A Chinese construction company named CGC Overseas Construction Ltd blamed electricity supply failures for difficulties in a water supply project between Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Turkey inaugurates largest mosque in Djibouti (11/29/2019) The Speaker of the Turkish parliament went to Djibouti for the inauguration of the country's largest masjid.
Anti-Doping Convention: Mauritania to become 189th State Party (11/17/2019) Mauritania has ratified the International Convention against Doping in Sport, becoming the 189th member state. Only six UNESCO member states have yet to join the agreement. One of them, South Sudan, is covered by this roundup. The anti-doping convention is the only universal regulation banning performance-enhancing drugs in sports.
EU funding supports vulnerable families during lean season in Mauritania (11/07/2019) The World Food Program has provided assistance to over 100,000 people in Mauritania during a recent drought, thanks partly to a grant from the European Union. The aid took the form of monthly cash transfers to needy families in the country.
Mauritania: University Age Cutoff Suspended (11/08/2019) Mauritania has rescinded a rule that prohibits university enrollment by students aged older than twenty-four after protests by students affected by the rule. The National Students Union said the students who were affected were mostly poor.
Mauritanian Refugees On War, Genocide And Exile (11/25/2019) Ohio is home to a significant population of Mauritanian refugees who fled after the end of the conflict at the end of the 1980s when many black Mauritanians faced genocide. Now many of them are being targeted for deportation by ICE, which claims it is neutral with regards to targeting individuals for deportation.
People of Mauritania fully embrace health reform by new health minister (11/15/2019) Mauritanian Health Minister Mohamed Nehirou Hamed has reportedly attracted significant support among the population by promising that there will be increased regulation of pharmacies in urban areas of Mauritania. Currently there is little oversight over the pharmacies and the content of the medications they sell.
UN Rights Agency Welcomes Landmark Rape Conviction in Mauritania (11/19/2019) The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights praised Mauritania after a man was convicted of rape for the first time in the country, which does not have laws prohibiting sexual assault.
WFP Mauritania Country Brief, October 2019 - Mauritania (11/28/2019) The World Food Program is planning to provide cash-based transfers in Tagat, Mauritania during the potential upcoming drought season from March to May 2020.
7 things you should know about the crisis in Somalia (11/11/2019) The drought in Somalia is ongoing, with over 273,000 displaced through October 2009 due to flooding. This is in addition to 300,000 people who have already been displaced.
I am not Idi Amin's son, Somali man says as New Vision deletes "Fake Story" (11/01/2019) A Somali man denied media reports that he was the son of former Ugandan President Idi Amin, who ruled from 1973 to 1979. He says a photographer asked him if he was Idi Amin's son and he was surrounded by photographers and unable to deny the claims at the time.
Kenya and Somalia agree to normalise relations, restore visa on arrival arrangement (11/14/2019) Somalia and Kenya had agreed to restore normal diplomatic relations, including visas on arrival for both country's citizens. The Presidents of Somalia and Kenya are still in disagreement about the maritime boundary which caused the break in relations, but hoped to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
Lessons learnt from peace-keeping in Mogadishu (11/09/2019) The authors examine how the peacekeepers in Somalia as part of the UN Amisom mission were affected by hostile attacks against them.
Tragic Loss of Somali Activist (11/21/2019) Human Rights Watch argues it is currently not possible to tell if Somali activist Almaas Elman was deliberately targeted by security forces or if her death was indeed an accident caused by a stray bullet.
UN envoy warns of barriers as Somalia moves toward 2020 elections (11/21/2019) UN envoy to Somalia James Swan argued that the country has been adversely affected by a lack of cooperation between the federal government and the states. He was optimistic about the 2020 elections but said many challenges remained.
“Stray Bullet” That Killed Activist Almas Elman Linked To Gunfight Between Somalia Army Units (11/23/2019) Almas Elman was killed during a gunfight between two units of the Somali army, according to a report by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). According to AMISOM, a stray bullet seems to have come from the gunfight and killed the activist inadvertently.
Media Advisory: UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock to visit Sudan [EN/AR] - Sudan (11/21/2019) Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs is scheduled to visit Sudan between 22 and 24 November to assess the situation in the country.
Sudan Religious Affairs Minister: New civil state to promote a sense of justice between Muslims and Christians (11/28/2019) Sudan's new Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments has said that the new government aims to "promote a sense of justice between Muslims and Christians". Both Christian and Muslim leaders within Sudan have spoken positively of the minister's new initiatives.
Sudan approves new law 'dismantling' Omar al-Bashir's regime (11/29/2019) Sudan's transitional government approve the law dissolving the party of former president Omar al-Bashir, as well as the confiscation of all its properties. the law, which was a popular demand of protesters, bars members of al-Bashir's party from seeking an elected position for the next 10 years.
Sudan arrests two Islamists over participation in al-Bashir’s coup (11/20/2019) Ibrahim al-Sanusi, a leading Islamist figure and the Secretary-General of the Popular Congress Party Ali al-Haj for participation in the 1989 coup d'etat that brought Omar al-Bashir to power.
Sudanese hope Ethiopian dam ends Blue Nile floods (11/09/2019) Sudanese are hoping that an Ethiopian dam along the Blue Nile will reduce the impact of flooding in their country. A local farmer says the river routinely destroys houses and crops when it floods.
UN humanitarian chief: 'More support for Sudan needed' (11/25/2019) The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator called upon the international community to increase the amount of humanitarian aid being sent to Sudan. The country's deepening economic crisis, on top of preexisting humanitarian issues, has created a crisis within the country.
Why has economic liberalization failed in Sudan? (11/30/2019) Ahmad A. Khalifa writes that the Sudanese government privatized enterprises indiscriminately starting in 1992, but the actors involved were corrupt, and the overall process harmful to the economy. Enterprises were sold to regime allies or foreigners without consideration of their importance to the nation.
‘Racism root of human rights violations in Sudan’ (11/03/2019) Sudanese journalist El Haj Warrag said that racism was responsible for the violence in many areas of Sudan including Darfur. This racism must end or there will likely be a repeat of such atrocities in the future, said Warrag.
‘Unprecedented’ malaria, dengue epidemics in North Darfur (11/22/2019) Darfur in Sudan is home to a significant outbreak of malaria, with over 25,000 cases reported in August and September of 2019.
Sub-Saharan African Countries
Democratic Republic of Congo
Are UN troops failing the Congolese? (11/26/2019) Protesters in the Eastern Congo stormed a UN compound following a recent attack by rebel fighters. Reports say that gunfire followed, resulting in more deaths. the unrest comes as a result of claims that UN troops are failing to protect civilians from rebel forces.
Congo-Kinshasa: EU Approval of First Ebola Vaccine is Game Changer (11/13/2019) The European Commission has given approval for the license of an Ebola vaccine, which is a landmark moment in the battle against the disease. The vaccine has previously been used within Congo, and now licensing can speed up the process of getting vaccines to countries suffering from Ebola outbreaks.
DR Congo: 2 killed in protests against UN peacekeepers (11/27/2019) Two Congolese citizens have been killed during protests against the presence of UN peacekeepers in the country, whom many locals say have been ineffective.
DRC army says it killed top rebel leader as civilian toll rises (11/19/2019) Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has said that they have killed one of the leaders of the separatist Allied Democratic Forces group in the east of the country. The announcement comes after a string of recent attacks that have killed civilians throughout November.
DRC's Ntaganda guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes (11/07/2019) The ICC has convicted ex-rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for crimes against humanity and war crimes which were committed by rebel fighters that he led 20 years ago. Ntaganda is now the fourth person to have been convicted by the ICC.
To Defeat the Ebola Outbreak, Congo Must Also Overcome Popular Mistrust (11/19/2019) Mistrust of government forces, as well as of foreign health workers within the region have led to difficulties in treating the Ebola outbreak within Eastern Congo. The region has suffered from violence and abuse from both separatist and government forces, leading to a suspicion of state institutions, including health workers. Suspicions and mistrust have hampered efforts to treat the outbreak in the region, which is the second-largest outbreak of Ebola in history.
13 French Troops Killed In Helicopter Collision While Pursuing Militants In Mali (11/26/2019) In Mali, thirteen French soldiers were killed when their two helicopters crashed. The soldiers had been pursuing militant groups in the area. 44 French soldiers have been killed since the troops were first deployed to West Africa in 2013.
Central Africa: Sahel Crisis Escalates as World Looks Away (11/20/2019) The World Food Organization has warned that the humanitarian crisis across the Sahel is growing, as violence and hunger has led to large levels of displacement across Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The crisis has been caused by a poor rainy season, leading to the abandonment of farms across the region and growing unrest.
French helicopters involved in Mali crash were not under IS fire, military says (11/29/2019) French military chief of staff denied reports that ISIS-linked fighters were responsible for the crash that killed thirteen French soldiers. He said it was an accidental collision between the two helicopters.
JNIM claims prison break in Mali (11/16/2019) Al-Qaeda ally Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) claimed credit for the escape of militants from a prison in northern Mali.
West Africa: G5 Force Too Small to Curb Militancy in Sahel (11/20/2019) The killing of 24 soldiers by militants in Mali has caused some to question the efficacy of G5 troops stationed in the Sahel. Currently, the G5 has sent regional force which has been dispatched to the region, which some are arguing is insufficient to aid in the defense of border regions.
With Major Attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, the Sahel Keeps Sliding Toward ‘Chaos’ (11/08/2019) Militant groups across the Sahel have led to mounting levels of unrest across the region, as the Malian government has effectively lost control of some border areas to Islamist groups.
Worst Violence in Seven Years Breaks Out in Mali (11/12/2019) Islamic State-affiliated militants attacked the Indelimane base, killing 59. President Keita claimed that Mali might collapse into anarchy if stronger measures are not taken against the group.
South Sudan Health Sector: the untold story (11/21/2019) A doctor from South Sudan writes of the inadequacies of the health care system in the country, as well as corruption within the Ministry of Health.
South Sudan: US to 'Re-evaluate' Relationship With South Sudan (11/14/2019) The US State Department has said that it will re-evaluate its relationship with South Sudan after the failure of the country's leaders to form a unity government by the established deadline. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement saying that the failure "calls into question their suitability to continue to lead the nation".
South Sudan: US to 'Re-evaluate' Relationship With South Sudan (11/10/2019) The US State Department has said that it will re-evaluate its relationship with South Sudan after the failure of the country's leaders to form a unity government by the established deadline. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement saying that the failure "calls into question their suitability to continue to lead the nation".
South Sudan: What's delaying the unity government? (11/12/2019) South Sudan's rival leaders have missed a deadline to form a transitional government, raising concerns over the potential failure of the country's fragile peace process. The two sides agreed to push back the deadline for new administration a hundred days, in order to resolve issues related to security arrangements, governance, and the integration of forces.
Two Years After Mugabe’s Fall, Zimbabwe Returns to the Abyss (11/07/2019) Two years after the coup that removed Robert Mugabe from power, Zimbabwe is in dire straights again.
With Zimbabwe’s Economy Sinking, Mnangagwa Ramps Up Repression (11/22/2019) President Emmerson Mnangagwa has stifled public protests against his government as Zimbabwe's economy has continued to decline. this comes after the government fired more than 200 doctors for participating in a months-long strike over low pay and poor working conditions.
Zimbabwe's food crisis: 'Food security is national security' (11/28/2019) In Zimbabwe, the food security situation poses a potential threat to national security, due to civil unrest and general instability in the country, according to a United Nations envoy. In a report to the UN. The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Halal Elver, said that the food security situation in Zimbabwe could potentially worse than by the end of the year.
Zimbabwe: Stringent Capital Controls Spook Investors - Hollard (11/14/2019) An African insurance group has said that capital controls in Zimbabwe have spooked investors.
Arts and Culture
France Vowed to Return Looted Treasures. But Few Are Heading Back. (11/22/2019) French President Emanuel Macron promised one year ago that France would return artifacts taken from countries in Africa. However, a year later little has happened, with a parliamentary bill on the subject having stalled.
France returns Omar Tall's sword to Senegal (11/18/2019) France has returned the sword of major historical figure Omar Tall to Senegal.
Ostrich eggshell beads reveal cultural evolution in Africa (11/27/2019) Archaeologists believe that the size of ostrich eggshell beads recovered at different sites in Africa is not the only criteria for evaluating the context in which they were made.
The Legacy of Annalena Tonelli, Carrying It On – Djibouti Jones (11/01/2019) Author Rachel Pieh Jones discusses the work of Italian nun and humanitarian Annalena Tonelli in Djibouti to a crowd of people in the country. She is the author of "Stronger than Death" a book about Tonelli's work.
Books on Africa(n) Countries
China's Power in Africa - A New Global Order (11/10/2019) This book analyzes the relationship between China and Africa in a manner that dispenses with traditional binaries between China being a friend or a colonizer in the region.
Politics and Pan-Africanism (11/15/2019) Dawn Nagar writes about the relationship between the African Union and its three power blocs that it views as key to a future united Africa.
Social Media and Politics in Africa (11/01/2019) The authors explore how the growth of social media has influenced politics and society in Africa. For the most part, the authors argue, it has helped to reinforce the existing regimes.
Tales of Hope, Tastes of Bitterness (11/10/2019) Chinese workers working to build a road in Ethiopia are profiled by Miriam Driessen in this book. These workers are faced with a marginal position in Chinese society combined with a lack of support from indigenous Ethiopians.
WtE Best Practices and Perspectives in Africa (11/01/2019) A book chapter by William Stafford examining the environmental and health risks caused by current waste disposal practices in Africa.
China, the US, Russia and Other Countries "In" Africa
AU launches investigations over death of Somali diplomat, peace activist (11/24/2019) The African Union said it is launching a probe into the death of a prominent Somali peace activist, Almaas Ahmed.
EIB plans to halt funding of petroleum projects by 2021 (11/16/2019) The European Investment Bank (EIB) has adopted a carbon emissions policy that effectively prohibits financing for any new fossil fuel projects in Africa after 2021.
ISIS fight shifting to Africa says Mike Pompeo (11/14/2019) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States is shifting its military resources from the Middle East to Africa due to increased ISIS activity within the region.
Orange to build international network in West Africa (11/13/2019) French telecom company Orange has announced plans for a new regional internet backbone in West Africa.
Security Council calls to activate South Sudan’s critical-tasks mechanism (11/22/2019) The UN Security Council expressed disappointment in the continued violence in South Sudan, despite a peace agreement that was supposed to have brought the fighting to an end.
Special Envoy Booth: US-Sudanese relations will improve (11/17/2019) Donald Booth, the US Special Envoy to Sudan, the United States will conduct negotiations with the Sudanese government regarding the country's three-year transition plan. He met with senior Sudanese officials during a visit to Khartoum.
Trump inaccurately disparages Yovanovitch in Somalia, Ukraine (11/15/2019) US President Donald Trump publicly criticized former US Ambassador to Somalia and Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she was testifying during her impeachment hearing, which critics say inaccurately characterized her career.
U.S. is in midst of Sudan’s lifting from terror list: Nagy (11/19/2019) US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy announced that Sudan is to be removed from the state sponsors of terrorism list. He also said the United States supports changing existing legislation that imposes restrictions on aid to Sudan.
US president blames former envoy for crisis in Somalia (11/16/2019) US President Donald Trump criticized former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch for mishandling the situation in Somalia when she was posted there in the early 1990s.
Reports, Studies, Research on Africa(n) Countries
Climate and poverty in Africa South of the Sahara (11/01/2019) A study that examines the effect of climate factors on poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. The results indicate that smallholder farmers are most severely affected by climate-related events.
European Development Banks’ Link to Abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Palm Oil Industry (11/25/2019) Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a new report about development banks and palm oil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The organization concluded the development banks were negligent in ensuring that their funding did not go to corporations guilty of abuses.
South Sudan: Kenya, Uganda to Blame for Stalemate - UN (11/26/2019) A United Nations panel has criticize Kenya and Uganda for contributing to the stalemate in the South Sudanese peace process. The panel reported that Uganda deployed troops in Yei River State last month, in violation of the international arms embargo on South Sudan. The panel has also criticized Kenya and Ethiopia for failing to aid in the peace process.