Thursday, October 27, 2016

Somalis Living an American Dream in Kansas Glimpse a Nightmare

The New York Times published on 26 October 2016 an article titled "Somalis Living an American Dream in Kansas Glimpse a Nightmare" by Jack Healy.

The account relates the recent threats against the Somali diaspora in Garden City, Kansas by several members of a white militia group located in western Kansas. The article also notes that members of the Garden City community came to the aid of the Somalis.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Understanding China's Evolving Counterterrorism Strategy

The European Council on Foreign Relations published in October 2016 a policy brief titled "Terror Overseas: Understanding China's Evolving Counter-Terror Strategy" by Mathieu Duchatel, deputy director of the Asia and China program at the European Council of Foreign Relations.

This policy brief suggests a militarization trend is emerging in China's counterterrorism strategy overseas, including Africa. This is reflected in a new counterterrorism law and new developments within the People's Liberation Army in terms of doctrine, training, equipment, basing and diplomatic activity. In response to the emergence of new threats, China's approach to international cooperation is also changing.

Is the Coalition Fighting Al-Shabaab Falling Apart?

The War on the Rocks website published on 26 October 2016 a commentary titled "Is the Coalition Fighting Al-Shabaab Falling Apart?" by Joshua Meservey, Heritage Foundation, and Kelsey Lilley, Atlantic Council.

The authors conclude that both AMISOM and Somali forces remain locked in a fierce struggle with al-Shabaab in key areas of Somalia, with small towns and military bases intermittently changing hands. Al-Shabaab remains a dangerous, committed terror organization, and it is in the interests of many countries, including the United States, to defeat it. Yet the most effective military force fighting al-Shabaab is showing cracks that require swift, smart solutions, lest they result in permanent fractures.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

China's Involvement in Cameroon's Hydropower Sector

The China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies published in August 2016 a study titled "Capturing The Rains: A Comparative Study of Chinese Involvement in Cameroon's Hydropower Sector" by Yunnan Chen and David G. Landry.

The paper compares two partially-complete hydropower projects in Cameroon financed and constructed in the last five years: one financed by China Eximbank, the other financed by a multilateral consortium led by the World Bank. The dams are being constructed by two Chinese state owned enterprises: Sinohydro and China Water and Electricity.

Somali Pirates Release Last of Captive Sailors

The Guardian published on 24 October 2016 an article titled "'We Had To Eat Rats,' Say Sailors Held by Somali Pirates for Four Years" by Saeed Kamali Dehghan.

Somali pirates captured the Omani-flagged Naham 3 fishing vessel south of the Seychelles in 2012. After four years in captivity, agreement on a ransom was reached and the crew freed last week. They were the last hostages held by Somali pirates. There has been no successful seizure of ships by Somali pirates since 2014.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Afro Barometer Ranks China in Africa

Afro Barometer published on 24 October 2016 an analysis titled "China's Growing Presence in Africa Wins Largely Positive Popular Reviews" by Mogopodi Lekorwe, Anyway Chingwete, Mina Okuru, and Romaric Samson.

Based on surveys in 36 African countries, the study concluded that the public holds a generally favorable view of economic and assistance activities by China. Africans rank the United States and China number one and two respectively as development models for their countries.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chinese Infrastructure Engagement in Africa

The China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies hosted on 13-14 October 2016 a conference in Washington titled "Orient Express: Chinese Infrastructure Engagement in Africa."

Videos of the panels and presentations are available below:

--Panel 1: Roads, Railroads, and Ports I

--Panel 2: Roads, Railroads, and Ports II

--Keynote Speech: Jamie Monson, Michigan State University and Panel 3: Power

--Panel 3: Power (Continued)

--Panel 4: Financing

--Panel 5: Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility

--Panel 6: Labor and Skills Transfer

Chinese Foreign Direct Investment Flowing to Africa

The South China Morning Post published on 18 October 2016 an article titled "Soaring Costs Force More Chinese Firms to Look Overseas, As Latest Figures Show ODI Surges 53.7pc in Year to Date" by Xie Yu.

The article reports that Chinese firms are increasingly eyeing opportunities outside China with Africa becoming a favored destination rather than locations in Asia. The article reaches this conclusion by drawing primarily on anecdotal accounts of new Chinese investment in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Turkey and Africa after the Failed Coup

The Institute for Defense Analyses published on 20 October 2016 a commentary titled "Turkey and Africa after the Failed Coup" by George F. Ward.

The author concluded that the problem for Turkey in Africa is that Gulenist organizations have been the motors of the Turkish opening toward Africa. Without the support of Gulen, some Turkish businesspeople may be less likely to invest in Africa. In addition, President Erdogan may be too distracted by internal security concerns to invest much time in the relationship with Africa.

The Future of Democracy in Africa

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published in October 2016 a study titled "The Future of Democracy in Africa" by Jakkie Cilliers, ISS.

Cilliers argues that democracy in much of Africa is constrained from delivering on its development potential for three reasons. First, governance capacity is lacking. Second, the quality of electoral democracy is thin. Third, neopatrimonialism undermines electoral democracy in Africa.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Scholarly Articles on Somalia and Somaliland

Four articles on Somalia and Somaliland have appeared recently in academic journals. They are NOT available on-line through open access, but can be accessed through university libraries. The articles are:

--Why Victories in Battle Have Not Yet Finished the War Against Al-Shabaab by Noel Anderson, PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It appears in the August-September 2016 issue of Survival.

--Managing Risk in Ungoverned Space: Local and International Actors in Somalia by Ken Menkhaus, Davidson College. It appears in the Winter-Spring 2016 issue of SAIS Review.

--The Trap of International Intervention: How Somaliland Succeeded When Somalia Failed by Teresa Krug, a multimedia journalist. It appears in the Winter-Spring 2016 issue of SAIS Review.

--Off-road Policing: Communications Technology and Government Authority in Somaliland by Alice Hills, Durham University. It appears in the September 2016 issue of International Affairs.

Projections for African Economies in 2016

This is Africa published on 17 October 2016 an article titled "Star Economies Shine Amid Gloomy Africa Outlook: IMF" by Rachel Woods and James Patterson.

Conflict and low commodity prices in 2016 have slowed growth significantly across much of Africa, yet several countries are projected to have a healthy GDP growth rate according to the International Monetary Fund. Leading the list of strong growth is Cote d'Ivoire followed by Tanzania, Senegal, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. The worst performers are projected to be South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Nigeria, and Chad.

How Significant Are the BRICS?

World Politics Review (WPR) published on 19 October 2016 a commentary titled "The Decline of the BRICS Is Proof of America's Resilience in a Multipolar World" by Judah Grunstein, editor-in-chief of WPR.

The BRICS include China, India, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa. The author writes that the core countries--Russia, China and India--welcome cooperation to advance their broader goals. But there are natural limits to the partnerships, both bilateral and collective, that have always constrained the BRICS' potential to take on anything more than symbolic significance.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Protests in Ethiopia: Criticism for Consideration

African Arguments posted on 7 October 2016 a critique titled "Ethiopia: How Popular Uprising Became the Only Option" by Michael C. Mammo, PhD student at the University of Birmingham.

This is a highly critical but articulate commentary on the factors leading up to the protests in Ethiopia and the manner in which they have been handled by the government of Ethiopia.

China's Belt and Road Initiative: Implications for Security Policy

The Diplomat published on 17 October 2016 an analysis titled "Is the Belt and Road Initiative Globalizing China's National Security Policy?" by Sabine Mokry, research associate at the Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Although the analysis is focused on Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East, it also has implications for Africa. The author concludes that China's One Belt, One Road has important long-term internal effects on the development of China's global security posture. It helps to channel and focus domestic security debates by providing a reference point and creating a context for concrete policy actions.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Huawei in Africa

Asia Times published on 16 October 2016 an article titled "Huawei's Quest for Hearts and Minds in Africa" by Claire van den Heever.

The article notes that Huawei mixes its multimillion dollar investments in training, equipment and facilities with a public relations onslaught.

China in Ghana and Zambia

The latest issue of "Made in China: A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society, and Rights" contains three articles devoted to China and Africa.

The articles are:

--Fighting the Race to the Bottom: Regulating Chinese Investments in Zambian Mines by Mukete Beyongo Dynamic

--There and Back Again: Conceptualising the Chinese Gold Rush in Ghana by Nicholas Loubere and Gordon Crawford

--A Chinese Empire in the Making? Questioning Myths from the Agri-Food Sector in Ghana by Jixia Lu

Sunday, October 16, 2016

US Shadow War in Somalia

The New York Times published on 16 October 2016 an article titled "In Somalia, U.S. Escalates a Shadow War" by Mark Mazzetti, Jeffrey Gettleman, and Eric Schmitt.

The article discusses the growing involvement of US special operations troops in Somalia and suggests the results have been mixed.

Friday, October 14, 2016

China's Experiment in Djibouti

The Diplomat published on 5 October 2016 a commentary titled "China's Experiment in Djibouti" by Francois Dube, a journalist at ChinAfrica Magazine.

The author argued that Beijing's growing presence in Djibouti, especially its military base or logistics support base, is an experiment in terms of how well China can establish a long-term presence that is welcomed by and benefits the Djiboutian people.

Japan Wary of China's Influence in Africa

Reuters published on 13 October 2016 an article titled "Japan To Expand Djibouti Military Base to Counter Chinese Influence" by Nobuhiro Kubo.

The article argues that Japan is expanding its military base in Djibouti as a counterweight to what it sees as growing Chinese influence in the region, including an even larger military facility in Djibouti.

China, US, EU, and Russia Compete and Cooperate in Africa

Modern Diplomacy published on 13 October 2016 questions that Kester Kenn Klomegah, an independent researcher, raised with me and my responses in a piece titled "Tools and Tactics to Engage Africa."

The questions focused on investment in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, Chinese and Russian engagement in Africa, the role of the BRICS in Africa, and the best way for foreign countries to engage in Africa.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sudan's Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons

The Institute for Security Studies published on 11 October 2016 a commentary titled "Think Again: Sudan Is the Exception that Proves the Rule on Chemical Warfare in Africa" by Simon Allison.

The commentary discusses the charge put forward by Amnesty International that Sudan has used chemical weapons in Darfur. It notes the Sudan government's denial of the charge but leaves the impression that chemical weapons were likely used.

What Do Chinese in South Africa Think of the Ivory Trade?

Foreign Policy published on 13 October 2016 an article titled "What Do Chinese in South Africa Think of the Ivory Trade?" by Zander Rounds, Hongxiang Huang, and Ruirui Gu.

The authors surveyed 428 Chinese residents of Johannesburg. The survey found that Chinese are increasingly aware of the harsh realities underpinning the sale of ivory and rhino horn. But they feel removed from complicity and not interested in taking a stand against it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Somalia: Assessing the Campaign Against Al-Shabaab

The Rand Corporation has just published a study titled "Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Somalia: Assessing the Campaign Against Al-Shabaab" by Seth G. Jones, Andrew Liepman, and Nathan Chandler.

The study concluded that a tailored engagement strategy--which involved deploying a small number of U.S. special operations forces to conduct targeted strikes, provide intelligence, and build the capacity of local partner forces to conduct ground operations--was key in degrading al-Shabaab. Nevertheless, progress in Somalia is reversible in the absence of continued and consistent pressure and political, economic, and social reforms.

Will Somalia's Elections Change the War on Al-Shabaab?

The National Interest published on 11 October 2016 an article titled "Will Somalia's Elections Change the War on Al-Shabaab?" by James Barnett, a Boren scholar in Tanzania.

The author concludes that despite their numerous flaws, the elections should at least provide moderate political stability by appeasing Somalia's powerful clan leaders. This, in turn, will allow African Union forces and the Somali National Army to focus on ousting al-Shabaab from its remaining territories.