Monday, December 22, 2014

South Sudan: War in Jonglei

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 22 December 2014 a major report titled "South Sudan: Jonglei--'We Have Always Been at War'."  The ICG concluded that the trajectory of war in Jonglei makes it imperative for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to enhance its political presence in South Sudan, to better engage with armed groups, and to ensure talks in Addis Ababa reflect the diversity of armed interests on the ground. 

IGAD and the South Sudan Peace Process

The Juba-based Sudd Institute published on 7 December 2014 a policy brief titled "Inclusivity: A Challenge to the IGAD-led South Sudanese Peace Process" by Zacharia D. Akol, director of training at the Sudd Institute.

Akol argues that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been unable to convince the belligerent parties in South Sudan to accept the inclusion of the other parties in the talks.  Perceived or real, the appearance of partiality by IGAD, coupled with ostensible conflicting interests, critically overshadows IGAD's good work in terms of its determination to find a lasting peace in South Sudan. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Security Changes in Kenya Prompt Counterterrorism Debate

The Washington-based Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) published on 18 December 2014 a brief article titled "Security Changes in Kenya Prompt Counterterrorism Debate" by Alexander Noyes, research associate at IDA.  The article suggests that President Kenyatta's proposed major changes to Kenya's existing security statutes have encountered a spirited debate.

You can access the article by clicking the Africa Watch article under volume 6, December 18, 2014.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Insecurity Is Destroying Kenya's Economy

Foreign Policy published on 19 December 2014 a commentary titled "Insecurity Is Destroying Kenya's Economy" by Ramah Nyang.  This is a critical analysis of Uhuru Kenyatta's handling of security problems posed by al-Shabaab. 

China Reopens Embassy in Somalia

The Washington-based Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) published on 18 December 2014 a brief article titled "China in Somalia--Reopening Its Embassy and Building Trust" by IDA staff member Ashley Neese Bybee.

You can access this brief article on China's reopening of its embassy in Mogadishu by going to volume 6, 18 December 2014.  

National Dialogue Process in Sudan

Enough published in December 2014 an analysis of the national dialogue process in Sudan titled "Starving War, Feeding Peace, and Setting the Table for National Dialogue in Sudan" by Akshaya Kumar and John Prendergast.   They conclude that the process at the moment is imbalanced, exclusive, and restrictive.  They suggest this could change if the Sudanese government decides to engage meaningfully and demonstrates its commitment by meeting six preconditions laid out by Enough. 

The six preconditions aimed at the National Congress Party (NCP) and the government of Sudan do beg the question:  are there no preconditions for those groups that oppose the NCP and the government?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

China Hosts International Conference on Agriculture in Africa

Pambazuka News published on 18 December 2014 a summary of discussions titled "Agricultural International Cooperation in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development" by Shen Xiaolei, a PhD candidate at Peking University.  The conference took place at Peking University on October 13-14, 2014.

The conference summary is divided into the following six topics:

--Africa's rise and agricultural development.
--Africa's agricultural development and international cooperation.
--African endogeneous agro development.
--Land grab and FDI in agriculture from different countries.
--Opportunities and challenges brought by international stakeholders.
--How to measure impacts: perspectives of inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Following the Weapons in Sudan and South Sudan

The Guardian published on 2 October 2014 an article titled "'Africa's Arms Dump': Following the Trail of Bullets in the Sudans" by Charlton Doki and Adam Mohamed Ahmad.  The authors document the origins of small arms and light weapons that over the years have spread throughout Sudan and South Sudan

South Africa-China Relations

The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) at Stellenbosch University published on 10 December 2014 a commentary titled "South Africa-China Relations: Time to Move from Pledges to Tangible Outcomes" by Yejoo Kim, a research fellow at CCS.

The author noted South Africa's trade deficit with China continues to grow and remains largely based on the export of raw materials to China and import of manufactured goods from China.  She added that while there have been many pledges to change the relationship, which is well cemented, "it is now time to direct this relationship in favour of South Africa."

South Africa Pushes China to Support Regional Integration

The Institute for Security Studies in South Africa published on 18 December 2014 a commentary titled "SA Tries to Change China's Relations with Pretoria and Africa" by Peter Fabricius, foreign editor of Independent Newspapers.

While questioning whether South Africa will benefit equally from its current bilateral relationship with China, Fabricius argues that Jacob Zuma is encouraging China to build fewer national stadiums and more highways and bridges connecting African countries in an effort to enhance African regional integration.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Militant Islam in Somalia and Kenya

The Rift Valley Institute ran on 7 October 2014 a ten minute video interview between Rashid Abdi and Nimo-Ilhan Ali on militant Islam in Somalia and northern Kenya.  It discusses traditional moderate Sufi Islam in Somalia and the rise of Wahhabism and Arab influences in Somalia and Kenya. 

Increasing Numbers of Somalis Migrate to Uganda

The Rift Valley Institute published in August 2014 a briefing paper titled "A Safe Haven for Somalis in Uganda?" by Gianluca Iazzolino.  It reports growing numbers of Somali migrants in Uganda driven in part by pressure on Somali refugees in Kenya and a more favorable legal framework for refugees in Uganda.  Ugandan security forces and Somali community leaders share intelligence to minimize the risk of attacks on Ugandan troops in Somalia and of terrorism in Uganda.  Uganda has emerged as a haven where Somalis can earn money and attend schools, which facilitates physical and social mobility.

Federalism in the History of South Sudanese Political Thought

The Rift Valley Institute published in 2014 a paper titled "Federalism in the History of South Sudanese Political Thought" by Douglas Johnson.  He points out that federalism has a long pedigree in Sudanese political history, signifying different things at different times.  The paper explains how the idea evolved in the colonial era as part of the southern search for political identity.  He discusses attitudes towards federalism and the ways it was presented from before Sudan's independence in 1956, up to South Sudan's independence today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chinese Special Economic Zones and Africa

The World Institute for Development Economics Research published in November 2014 a paper titled "It Worked in China, So Why Not in Africa? The Political Economy Challenge of Special Economic Zones" by Thomas Farole, World Bank, and Lotta Moberg, George Mason University.

The authors conclude there is no blueprint for successful special economic zone policies and the majority of them fall well below expectations.  They argue this is largely due to flaws in the political economy of special economic zone schemes, which prevent replication of best practice in special economic zone development and management. 

John Kerry and Susan Rice on South Sudan

US Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice wrote on oped for the Washington Post titled "South Sudan's Leaders Need to Set Aside Their Dispute" that appeared on 15 December 2014.  Without mentioning names, they place responsibility for ending the violence on "the country's leaders." 

How Chinese Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa

I just ran across an interview Howard French, author of China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa had at the International Peace Institute on 14 October 2014.  The one hour 22 minute interview titled "How Chinese Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa" covers a wide range of economic and social issues and makes useful comparisons with the US approach to Africa. 

How to Save South Sudan

Writing in Foreign Policy on 15 December 2014, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a commentary titled "How to Save South Sudan" that responsibility for preventing any new escalation and ending the tragedy in South Sudan lies squarely with President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Attitudes towards Elections and Democracy in Mogadishu

The Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies published a policy brief in December 2014 titled "Attitudes towards Elections and Democracy in Mogadishu."  It concludes that the overwhelming majority of Mogadishu residents consider democratic elections important and residents intend to vote in future elections.  There is widespread dissatisfaction with the 4.5 power-sharing model, although there is support for representation of minority communities and women.  The security situation is closely tied to attitudes towards elections.  Continuing insecurity will affect the preparations for and holding of elections. 

Somalia: How Successive Governments Plundered Public Resources

Abdirazak Fartaag, director of public financial management in the office of the Somali prime minister between 2009 and 2011, published in November 2014 a detailed account of alleged financial peculations in successive Somali governments.  The book-length analysis is titled Their Own Worst Enemy: How Successive Governments Plundered Somalia's Public Resources and Why the World Looked On

Saturday, December 13, 2014

US Policy in the Horn of Africa

The George Washington University's Institute for Global and International Studies asked me to make remarks in October 2014 on US policy in the Horn of Africa.   The brief remarks constitute a summary and updating of a paper that I delivered in May 2014 in Moscow at the 13th International Conference of Africanists.  The original paper is available in the right-hand column of the blog under "East Africa and the Horn." 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chinese Agricultural Training Courses for African Officials

The Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies China-Africa Research Initiative published in December 2014 a policy brief titled "Chinese Training Courses for African Officials: A 'Win-Win' Engagement?" by Henry Tugendhat, research officer at the UK's Institute of Development Studies.

As part of its growing engagement in Africa, China has become one of the world's largest providers of short-term agricultural training courses.  China's training course model differs from most other traditional donors in that it almost exclusively targets government officials.

Chinese Agricultural Investment in Mozambique

The Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies China-Africa Research Initiative published in November 2014 a policy brief titled "Chinese Agricultural Investment in Mozambique: The Case of the Wanbao Rice Farm" by Sergio Chichava, Institute of Social and Economic Studies in Mozambique. 

Critics see the project as a land grab while supporters argue that the investment is a positive force for agricultural growth and development.  The case demonstrates the many obstacles to successful agricultural investment in Mozambique, which are exacerbated by tension between local civil society organizations, the Mozambican government, and Chinese investors.

India Postpones Summit with Africa

India has postponed, due to the Ebola crisis, the third India-Africa Forum Summit scheduled to take place in New Delhi in December 2014.  The Diplomat published on 11 December 2014 a commentary titled "India's Big African Opportunity" by Tim Steinecke, a doctoral candidate at the University of St. Andrews and visiting fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. 

The author concludes that the success of the next India-Africa Forum Summit as well as the future of India-Africa relations not only depends on India's ability to develop an attractive and sustainable approach to Africa, but also on the willingness of African leaders to look beyond Beijing when partnering with foreign investors.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Violence against Women: the Situation in Ethiopia

Pambazuka News published on 11 December 2014 a commentary titled "Violence against Women: We Must End this Scourge" by Rediet Yibekal, a graduate student at the University of Gothenburg in  Sweden. 

The author acknowledges that violence against women is a global problem but having grown up in Ethiopia focuses on the situation there. 

President Kenyatta and the ICC

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 9 December 2014 commentary titled "THINK AGAIN: How to Beat the ICC - Lessons from the Kenyatta Case" by Simon Allison of ISS.

After the ICC withdrew charges, but did not acquit Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the author concluded that the result was a devastating blow to the credibility of the prosecution and the ICC.  The outcome was reportedly ensured by a sustained campaign of intimidation against witnesses.  Allison argues the most damaging aspect of the collapse of the case is that Kenyatta has demonstrated to others how to beat ICC charges. 

The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, of the case against President Kenyatta issued a statement on 5 December 2014 that tends to support the argument made by Allison.