Friday, July 31, 2015

Toward Religion-Attentive Foreign Policy

The University of Leeds in cooperation with the British Council and other organizations published in July 2015 a summary of workshop discussions titled "Toward Religion-Attentive Foreign Policy" edited by Judd Birdsall, Jane Lindsay and Emma Tomalin.  It considers the role of religion in foreign policy.  One of the case studies dealt with the Horn of Africa. 

President Obama's Remarks at African Union Headquarters

President Obama addressed the people of Africa on 28 July 2015 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  His speech, in my view, was the most important one he has ever made on the subject of Africa.  You can listen to and watch the delivery here by going to the tab under 28 July 2015.

You can read the text of the remarks as delivered here.


The Institute for Strategic Studies published on 29 July 2015 a good analysis of the speech titled "Think Again: Why Obama's AU Speech Matters" by Simon Allison.

The Washington Post published on 28 July 2015 an analysis titled "Despite Economic Gains, Obama's Work in Africa Is Unfinished" by Juliet Eilperin and Kevin Sieff.  It also comments on the speech at the African Union.


Is Kenya's Anti-terrorist Crackdown Exacerbating Extremism?

Afro Barometer published on 2 July 2015 a survey titled "Is Kenya's Anti-terrorist Crackdown Exacerbating Drivers of Violent Extremism?" by Stephen Buchanan-Clarke and Rorisang Lekalake.

The survey data show that Kenyans disapprove of their government's handling of terrorism and that the Somali Kenyan community is even more critical than citizens from other ethnic communities.  Somali Kenyans feel marginalized by the state and express problematic levels of social intolerance, factors that indicate the presence of political and social conditions associated with higher levels of violent extremism.  Like most Kenyans, a majority of Somali Kenyans see the police as corrupt and untrustworthy.

China Radio International Program on President Obama's Trip to Africa

China Radio International hosted on 31 July 2015 a 54 minute program devoted mostly to President Obama's recent visit to Kenya and Ethiopia.  The four persons on the program were Liu Guijin, former Chinese ambassador to South Africa and China's special representative for African affairs, Ronald Mutie, Kenyan journalist based in Beijing, Timothy Kitui, lecturer at Kenya Methodist University, and myself.  The conversation covered both US-Africa and China-Africa relations. 

Chinese Community in Africa

Good Governance Africa published on 31 July 2015 a story titled "Soap Sellers and Bridge Builders" by Richard Poplak.  It discusses the different Chinese communities, who now number more than 1 million persons, living and working in Africa.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

South Sudan: How to End the Misery

The visit by President Obama to Kenya and Ethiopia, especially the meeting in Addis Ababa with regional leaders on South Sudan, has resulted in numerous opinion pieces in the American media on ways to solve the crisis in South Sudan. 

One of the most recent is an editorial in the 29 July 2015 Washington Post titled "It's Time to Act to Stop South Sudan's Unraveling."

Earlier, Akshaya Kumar and John Prendergast with the Enough project laid out a detailed list of suggestions for dealing with South Sudan titled "Creating a Cost for Those Destroying South Sudan." 

Andrew Natsios, former US envoy for Sudan, wrote on 28 July 2015 an oped in The New York Times titled "A New Approach for South Sudan."

President Obama's Triumphant Visit to Kenya

Yale Global Online published on 28 July 2015 an analysis titled "Obama's Triumphant Return to Kenya as President" by John Githongo, former permanent secretary for Ethics and Governance in Kenya.  This is a particularly insightful look at US-Kenya relations.

Vision 2030: Transforming Kenya into a Middle-income Country

Innovations for Successful Societies at Princeton University published in July 2015 an analysis titled "Planning Transformation in a Divided Nation: Creating Kenya Vision 2030, 2005-2009" by Maya Gainer.  Vision 2030 is an ambitious strategy to transform Kenya into a middle-income country with a high quality of life by 2030.  By 2015, after seven years of development, more than  100 projects were underway and the document stood firm as the road map for Kenya's future development.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

China-Africa Infrastructure Financing

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington hosted on 29 July 2015 a conference sponsored by the Embassy of Japan on the infrastructure gap in Asia.  CSIS asked me to address the issue of "China-Africa Infrastructure Financing" in an effort to shed light on China's global infrastructure practices. 

China and the United States: The Battle for Influence in Africa and Latin America

The Pacific Council hosted on 9 July 2015 a half hour discussion titled "The Battle for Influence in Africa and Latin America" with ambassador Princeton Lyman, US Institute of Peace, and myself.  The focus of the discussion was the role of China and the United States in Africa and Latin America.  Most of the session focused on Africa. 

Corruption and Conflict in South Sudan

The Enough Project published in July 2015 a report titled "The Nexus of Corruption and Conflict in South Sudan."  The report maps out the corruption and the conflict-financing system in South Sudan and describes the likely channeling of illicit money flows.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New US Airstrike Policy in Somalia?

Foreign Policy published on 24 July 2015 an article titled "Is There a New U.S. Airstrike Policy in East Africa? by Paul McLeary.  He suggests that U.S. drone strikes in Somalia have gone from focused high-value al-Shabaab targets to helping to defend AMISOM troops on the ground.

South Sudan and the IGAD Peace Process

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 27 July 2015 an analysis titled "South Sudan Keeping Faith with the IGAD Peace Process."  The ICG concluded that the international community needs to support an IGAD-led realistic, regionally-centered strategy to end the war, underpinned by coordinated threats and inducements.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Somali Diaspora in Seattle and Politics in Somalia

The Seattle Times published on 27 July 2015 an article titled "Seattle-area Somalis Seek to Shape Politics Back Home" by Nina Shapiro.  The article provides a good analysis of Somali politics playing out in an important American city. 

The Somali community in Washington State is thought to be the third largest in the United States after Minnesota and Ohio.  The latest US census puts the number of Somalis in Washington State at 13,000.  Somali community leaders believe the actual number is closer to 30,000.

Official Chinese Media Thin-skinned on Obama Visit to Africa

The Associated Press published on 27 July 2015 an article titled "Chinese State Media Snipe at Obama's Africa Trip" by Christopher Boldeen.  One of the apparent themes in China's state media suggests that the trip to Africa by President Obama is a response to China's growing relations with Africa.  In fact, this is probably about number 15 on the list of reasons why Obama is visiting Africa.  The Obama visit is not about US-China competition in Africa but about improving US relations with Africa for many reasons. 

Rethinking Engagement in Fragile States

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies published in July 2015 a study entitled "Rethinking Engagement in Fragile States" by Jennifer Cooke and Richard Downie.  It looks at four states in particular--Somalia, South Sudan, Mali, and Myanmar--and makes recommendations for external engagement with these states.

Ethiopia, China and the United States

Bloomberg News published on 27 July 2015 an article titled "In Ethiopia, a Quiet Rivalry for Influence Pits US against China" by William Davison.

China-Africa Relations

The China Monitor at Stellenbosch University has just published a special edition titled FOCAC VI: African Initiatives toward a Sustainable Chinese Relationship.

It contains the following contributions:

FOCAC: The Evolving China-Africa Security Relationship by David Shinn
Shaping China-Africa Co-operation on Post-2015 Agenda by Zhang Chun
FOCAC VI: The Chinese Dream Meets African Realities? by Ian Taylor
Placing FOCAC in Its South-South Co-operation Narrative by Sven Grimm
FOCAC VI: African Initiatives toward a Sustainable Chinese Relationship by Liu Haifang
Policy Meets Practice: Chinese Environmental Protection in Africa in the Wake of FOCAC VI by May Tan-Mullins
Regimes of Truth, Localisation of Chinese Enterprises, and African Agency by Barry Sautman and Yan Hairong

Sunday, July 26, 2015

US Relations with Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published on 23 July 2015 an analysis titled "President Obama's Engagement with Africa: Managing Complex Relationships" by Richard Downie, deputy director of the Africa Program at CSIS.  Downie analyzes the US relationship with Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia.  President Obama met with President Buhari of Nigeria in Washington and visited Kenya and Ethiopia in July.

Al-Shabaab Demonstrates Resiliency

Foreign Policy published on 24 July 2015 an analysis titled "Al-Shabab's Resilient Insurgency" by Ty McCormick.  The author argues that African Union troops in Somalia are having their worst year since 2011. 

Justification for Obama Visit to Ethiopia

The Hill published on 24 July 2015 a commentary titled "Seven Reasons Why Obama Should Visit Ethiopia" by Rediet Wegayehu, a Tom Lantos-Humanity in Action fellow in Washington.

US and China's Policy towards Kenya

The New York Times published on 24 July 2015 an article titled "Obama to Push U.S. Trade in Kenya as China's Role Grows" by Marc Santora.  The article compares the approach towards Kenya by the United States and China.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Public Opinion on African Economies

The Pew Research Center published on 23 July 2015 an analysis of public opinion titled "Global Publics: Economic Conditions Are Bad."  It concluded that the most optimistic economic prospects for the next generation are the Vietnamese (91%), Chinese (88%), Nigerians (84%), and Ethiopians (84%).  Among "emerging African countries" the economy is perceived as doing best in South Africa and Nigeria.  Among "developing African countries" the economy is perceived as doing best in Ethiopia (89%), Senegal (60%), Tanzania (48%), Kenya (47%), Burkina Faso (44%), and Uganda (44%).


Sudan: A Country Study

The Library of Congress has just published online Sudan: A Country Study, which offers a solid study of Sudan before the separation of South Sudan. Go list of countries and select Sudan.

The book is edited by LaVerle Berry and contains the following chapters:

1.  Historical Setting by Tom Ofcansky
2.  The Society and Its Environment by Peter Bechtold
3.  The Economy by Virginia Delancey
4.  Government and Politics by David Shinn
5.  National Security by Tom Ofcansky


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Africa: The Good, the Bad and the Future

The Rotary Club in Yakima, Washington asked me to address the membership on 23 July 2015.  My remarks covered "Africa: The Good, the Bad and the Future."

The Yakima Herald Republic covered the remarks in a story on 23 July 2015 titled "Former U.S. Ambassador to Africa Speaks to Yakima Rotarians" by Rafael Guerrero.