Friday, November 27, 2015

China Expands Presence in Sao Tome and Principe

Eurasia Review published on 24 November 2015 a major analysis titled "Sao Tome E Principe: A Key Piece in Beijing's Chessboard? - Analysis" by Gustavo Placido Dos Santos, a researcher at the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security.

Sao Tome and Principe, which is one of three African countries that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan, signed an agreement in October 2015 with China's state-owned China Harbor Engineering Company to build a $800 million deep-water port.  This project coincides with China's growing interest in oil discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea. 

More on China's Military Facility in Djibouti

DW.COM published on 26 November 2015 a piece titled "China Set to Open First Military Outpost in Africa."  It emphasizes China's intention  to expand its military reach well beyond the South China Sea. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chinese Military Base in Djibouti?

The Hill published on 24 November 2015 an article titled "China's Military Makes Move into Africa" by Kristina Wong.  The article quotes U.S. Army General David Rodriguez, the commander of the U.S. Africa Command, as stating that China is building "a base in Djibouti, so that will be their first military location in Africa."  He added that China has signed a ten-year contract with Djibouti.

So far, there has been no public announcement of this facility although the president of Djibouti said in May 2015 that his government was negotiating with China over a base.  If this is, in fact, a full-fledged military base, it will be China's first base outside China since the establishment of the PRC in 1949.  It is important, however, to see the details of the agreement with Djibouti before describing this facility.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry subsequently announced that China is building a "logistical facility" in Djibouti for the resupply of Chinese Navy ships.  The New York Times reported this new development on 26 November 2015 in an article titled "China to Build Up Military Presence in Djibouti" by Jane Perlez. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Background Materials on Upcoming 6th FOCAC

The Emerging Powers Project assembled on 24 November 2015 twelve background papers relevant to the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in South Africa in December. 

Chinese Arrested for Alleged Cyber-Hacking in Kenya

Quartz Africa published on 20 November 2015 a story titled "The Strange Case of 77 Blue-collar Chinese Migrants that Kenya Is Calling 'Cyber-hackers''' by Lily Kuo.  The government of Kenya has charged 77 Chinese migrants living in Kenya with cyber-hacking.  The government of China has been silent on the matter.  The arrests suggest a growing backlash against Kenya's growing Chinese community.

Can Railways In the Horn of Africa Help Bring Peace to the Region?

The BBC ran a story on 23 November 2015 titled "Can Ethiopia's Railway Bring Peace to Somalia?" by Mary Harper.  The article focuses on the recently opened Chinese-built railway between Djibouti and Addis Ababa and asks if it and other railway projects in the region can contribute to peace in places like Somalia. 

ISIS and al-Qaeda Compete for al-Shabaab

The BBC ran a story on 24 November 2015 titled "Al-Shabab Wants IS to Back Off in East Africa" by Tomi Oladipo.  The story reports on the competition by al-Qaeda and ISIS for the allegiance of al-Shabaab. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

South Sudanese Discuss the Lessons of Historic Peace Agreements

The Rift Valley Institute published in November 2015 a paper titled "We Have Lived Too Long to Be Deceived: South Sudanese Discuss the Lessons of Historic Peace Agreements" by multiple authors. 

The paper offers a variety of points of view on the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, the 1999 Wunlit Conference, and the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Following Mobile Money in Somaliland

The Rift Valley Institute published in November 2015 a study titled "Following Mobile Money in Somaliland" by Gianluca Iazzolino, PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh.  The author maps the landscape of the mobile money transfer system in Somaliland.  He identifies the importance of trust at its foundation and the role that banking, financial institutions, and technology have played in the making of Somaliland.

Somalia Reopens Embassy in Washington

The Voice of America on 19 November 2015 ran a story titled "Somalia's US Embassy Reopens after 24 Years" by Ezra Fessahaye.  Somalia's new ambassador to the US is Ahmed Awad. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Corruption Is Undermining Kenya's Future

The Institute for Defense Analyses Africa Watch published on 19 November 2015 an article titled "Corruption is Undermining Kenya's Future" by George Ward.  Representatives of 11 embassies in Kenya recently released a statement arguing that corruption in Kenya is out of control.

Russia Is Reengaging in Africa

Pambazuka News published on 14 November 2015 a commentary titled "Russia: Attempting a Bridge to Africa" by Kester Kenn Klomegah.  Russia is trying to make up for lost time in Africa but faces growing competition from emerging nations, including the other BRICS.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Anti-terror Restrictions Interrupt Somali Remittances

Bloomberg published on 12 November 2015 an article titled "Crossed Wires Starve Somalia of Cash" by Matt Mossman.  Somali remittances have dropped from 22 to 50 percent because of US anti-terrorist restrictions over concerns about money laundering.  An expert at Australia's Griffith University says there is little evidence to suggest the US restrictions have curbed money laundering.

Sixth FOCAC: What is Africa Seeking from China

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 19 November 2015 a commentary titled "Rebalancing an Unbalanced Relationship" by Peter Fabricius, ISS consultant.  The piece suggests that Africa wants help from China with infrastructure, investment, debt relief, industrialization, market access, science and technology transfer, cultural exchanges, agriculture, and education. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ethiopia Still Bullish on Investment from China

This is Africa published on 6 November 2015 an article titled "Ethiopia Still Bullish on China Industrial Investment" by Adrienne Klasa.  In spite of China's economic slowdown, Ethiopia is confident Chinese manufacturing investors will still put their money in the country. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Security Challenges in Northeast Kenya

The International Crisis Group published on 17 November 2015 a report titled "Kenya's Somali North East: Devolution and Security."

Rampant criminality, inter-clan animosities and small-arms proliferation stretch policing and render highly insecure the refugee camps in northeast Kenya that host more than 350,000 Somali nationals.  Violent clan competition and antipathy between elected county elites and the national administrative  structures have allowed the extremist al-Shabaab movement to expand and operate with relative impunity across much of the northeast. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

China Has an Image Problem in Africa

The London School of Economics blog posted a commentary on 11 November 2015 titled "China Has an Image Problem in Africa" by Mark Esposito, Harvard University Extension School, and Terence Tse, ESCP Europe.

The authors focus on the growing number of Chinese companies in Africa and the inability of African companies to compete.  They also cite some of the other frequently heard criticisms of Chinese engagement in Africa. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Child Soldiers in South Sudan

The Washington Post published on 13 November 2015 a story titled "South Sudan Thought It Solved Its Child Soldier Problem.  It Hasn't" by Kevin Sieff.  The article notes that the government of South Sudan and rebel groups have recruited an estimated 16,000 child soldiers since civil war broke out in December 2013. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

China's Interest in Naval Facility in Djibouti (in Chinese)

The Voice of America Chinese service ran on 13 November 2015 a short interview with me and others (translated from English into Chinese) on China's interest in some kind of naval facility in Djibouti

Turkey-Africa Relations

TesfaNews published on 11 November 2015 an article titled "Turkey in Africa - A Humanitarian Approach" by Turkey's Foreign Minister Feridun H. Sinirlioglu.  The article is a useful summary of Turkey's cooperation with Africa. 

What Can Africa Learn from China?

The South African Institute of International Affairs published in November 2015 a paper titled "Learning by Doing: China-Africa Co-operation and State Learning" by Luke Simon Jordan, who runs a non-profit technology start-up in South Africa.

The paper argues that for Africa to adopt blindly Chinese policies, like the development of special industrial zones, is the equivalent of importing finished goods, rather than developing the skills for production.  It is not the static outcomes of Chinese policies that African countries should study, but the processes and institutions by which China devises, adapts, and evolves those policies. 

Understanding China and South Africa's Illegal Wildlife Trade

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) published in October 2015 a paper titled "Not Beating around the Bush: Understanding China and South Africa's Illegal Wildlife Trade" by Yu-Shan Wu, a researcher at SAIIA.

The illegal wildlife trade is one of the complexities that exists in China-South African relations.  It translates into a lack of common understanding in policy spaces on the intrinsic value of wildlife in South Africa. 

China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation in West Africa

The South African Institute of International Affairs published in November 2015 a study titled "China-Africa Co-operation beyond Extractive Industries: The Case of Chinese Agricultural Assistance in West Africa" by Emanuele Santi and Maxime Weigert, both with the African Development Bank.

The paper offers an overview of the main trends in and obstacles to China-West African engagement in the agricultural sector, and places them in the context of West Africa's emerging needs.  The authors conclude that West Africa could learn a lot from China, which has built a strong domestic agricultural sector in the last two decades and developed it more rapidly than any other sector. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Expose on Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia

The nonpartisan watchdog organization Journalists for Justice, a project of the International Commission of Jurists in Kenya, published in November 2015 a detailed report titled "Black and White: Kenya's Criminal Racket in Somalia."  The devastating study looks at the conduct of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), who are part of the AMISOM operation in Somalia, in two areas: (1) sugar smuggling and financial enabling of al-Shabaab and, (2) human rights violations. 

The findings of the journalists included widespread human rights abuses by the KDF inside Somalia.  They also concluded that rather than taking the fight to al-Shabaab, the KDF is in garrison mode, sitting in bases while senior commanders are engaged in corrupt business practices with the Somali Jubaland administration and al-Shabaab, especially the trade in charcoal and sugar. 

Foreign Policy published on 12 November 2015 comments on the report titled "Report: Kenyan Military 'In Business' with Al-Shabab" by Ty McCormick.  According to McCormick, the report breaks new ground by exposing the extent of the KDF's involvement in the sugar trade and by illuminating the murky supply chain that runs from al-Shabaab territory, through the Kenyan controlled port of Kismayu, past corrupt border guards and into Kenya, greasing palms at every step along the way. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Kenya 2014 Religious Freedom Report

The State Department has released the Kenya 2014 International Religious Freedom Report.  According to the Kenyan government, Kenya is about 82 percent Christian and 11 percent Muslim.  There are also small minorities of Hindus, Sikhs, and Bahais. 

Religious tensions were high in some areas of the country, usually following attacks by the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab.  Some Muslims, especially ethnic Somalis, stated their communities were the target of government-directed extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, and deportation, charges the government denied.  Muslim leaders and human rights organizations stated "Operation Usalama Watch" unfairly targeted Somali and some other Muslim communities.