Monday, November 24, 2014

Is It Time for a China-Africa Command?

The Independent (Kampala) published on 16 November 2014 an analysis titled "Is It Time for a China-Africa Command?" by Haggai Matsiko.  While the article does not answer the question, it identifies growing Chinese security interests in Africa. 

China in Africa: Trade and Investment

The Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, an independent policy research organization in Lagos, Nigeria, published in 2014 an analysis of China's trade and investment with Africa titled "China in Africa: An Evaluation of Chinese Investment" by Thompson Ayodele and Olusegun Sotola.  The analysis tends to heap praise on China's engagement in Africa while glossing over areas where others have expressed some concern. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Al-Shabaab Attack on Kenyan Civilians

BBC Radio 5 Live "Up All Night" program asked me to comment 22 November 2014 on the al-Shabaab attack on Kenyan civilians traveling on a bus between Mandera and Nairobi.  You can listen to the five minute commentary here.  It begins about seven minutes into the program which aired on 23/11/2014 London time. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Somalia: Lessons from Other Civil Wars

The Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center published on 17 November 2014 a commentary titled "Military Integration after Civil Wars: Any Lessons for Somalia?" by Paul Williams, George Washington University.

Williams draws on information from a new book edited by Roy Licklider titled New Armies from Old: Merging Competing Military Forces after Civil Wars.  The book provides eleven case studies: Sudan, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Rwanda, Philippines, South Africa, DRC, Mozambique, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, and Burundi.  Based on the research in the Licklider book, Williams asks if it has lessons for the situation in Somalia. 

South Sudan: A Failure of Leadership

Pambazuka News published on 18 November 2014 an analysis titled "Situating Transitional Justice in the Context of South Sudan" by Wani Mathias Jumi, secretary general of the South Sudan Law Society.  He argues that the root cause of current problems in South Sudan is failed leadership. 

Rebuilding Somalia Drawing on Indigenous Practices

Pambazuka News published on 18 November 2014 an analysis titled "Somalia: Let's Just Forget the Past?" by Marco Zoppi, a PhD fellow at Roskilde University in Denmark.  He calls for a bottom-up reconciliation process in Somalia based on the indigenous social contract or at least the integration of some of its tenets.  These include measures for dispute settlement.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nile Waters Dispute Heading towards Peaceful Solution?

The Washington-based Institute for Defense Analysis published on 20 November 2014 a brief analysis titled "Nile Waters Dispute Tips toward a Peaceful Solution" by George Ward, editor of Africa Watch.

Ward concludes that Egypt's negotiating stance and public posture on the Nile waters question has moderated since the inauguration of Egyptian President al-Sisi.  Negotiations are no longer about whether there will be an Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, but about the size, environmental and hydrological impact, and fill rate of the structure that will be completed.  

Sudan: South Kordofan Needs Assessment

The Enough Project published on 20 November 2014 a report titled "Life under Siege: South Kordofan Needs Assessment."  The study was conducted in August 2014 by anonymous researchers with access to rebel-held parts of Sudan's South Kordofan state.

Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) have been in armed conflict in Sudan's South Kordofan state for more than three years.  The assessment provides a picture of the humanitarian needs in South Kordofan. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

South Sudan: Political Crisis and Humanitarian Disaster

The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington held on 18 November 2014 a panel discussion dealing with the political crisis and humanitarian disaster in South Sudan.  Panel members included: Sudan Page, former US ambassador to South Sudan and now senior adviser in the Office of the US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Jeremy Konyndyck, director of USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, Melanie Teff, International Rescue Committee, and Casie Copeland, International Crisis Group.  You can view the one hour and 42 minute video of the panel discussion.

Does Somaliland Provide State Building Lessons for Somalia?

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies published in November 2014 a study titled "Thinking beyond Roadmaps in Somalia: Expanding Policy Options for State Building" by Dominik Balthasar, researcher, policy analyst, and international development consultant.

Balthasar concludes that Somaliland's experience provides useful insights for Somalia's state-building endeavor.  He suggests international policymakers and their local partners in Somalia might benefit from taking a close look at Somaliland's state building, which followed an unconventional path compared with approaches in Somalia.  Balthasar encourages Somalis and their international partners to think more flexibly and creatively about the way ahead. 

New Aid Agency for China?

There has been considerable speculation recently in China-Africa circles that China is considering creating a new, independent aid agency along the lines of USAID or the German GTZ.  Today, most Chinese development aid is administered by China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

Sinologist Marina Rudyak translated MOFCOM's draft "Measures for the Administration of Foreign Aid," which states that MOFCOM is the designated body to implement foreign aid on behalf of the Chinese government.  Rudyak recently wrote that it does not look like there will be a new aid agency in the near future.  Instead, MOFCOM and its Department of Foreign Aid will likely get more staff and budget to handle China's aid program, more than half of which now goes to Africa. 


Charcoal Trade Helps Finance Al-Shabaab

Foreign Affairs published on 18 November 2014 a brief report titled "Black Market: How the Charcoal Trade Fuels Al-Shabab" by Tom Keatinge, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.  The article underscores the degree to which the charcoal trade finances the operations of al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Access to the entire article requires a subscription to Foreign Affairs.

China-Tanzania Naval Cooperation

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Tanzanian People's Defence Force recently completed their first ever month long joint naval training exercise in Tanzanian waters.  Defence Web reported on this event in an article dated 19 November 2014 titled "China and Tanzania Conclude Historic Naval Exercise."  China and Tanzania have a long history of military cooperation. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shinn Oped on South Sudanese IDPs and Refugees

The Mark News released on 18 November 2014 my syndicated oped  titled "The Horn of Africa Interconnected in Turmoil."  The oped deals with the IDP and refugee crisis emanating from South Sudan. 

Mechanized Farming and Villagization in Ethiopia

The Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars published in August 2014 an analysis titled "Governing the Horn of Africa's Lowlands: Land Investments and Villagization in Gambella, Ethiopia" by Fana Gebresenbet Erda, a research scholar with the Africa Program of the Wilson Center.

He notes that the Ethiopian government is promoting commercial mechanized farming and villagization.  The government's goal for the villagization program is to provide new skills to farmers and herders so that they can engage in modern settled agriculture, farming, and livestock rearing.  One of the problems encountered with the program has been a lack of prior consultation.  The United States government has begun limiting the funding that can be used for the villagization program. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Massive Displacement in South Sudan

The International Rescue Committee published in November 2014 a report titled "Uprooted by Conflict: South Sudan's Displacement Crisis."  It describes the conditions facing almost 2 million IDPs and refugees and warns that a famine affecting millions could follow. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

UN Security Council Monitoring Group Report on Eritrea

The UN Security Council has released its 116 page Monitoring Group report on Eritrea dated 13 October 2014.

The Monitoring Group found no evidence of Eritrean support to al-Shabaab during the reporting period.  It did not, however, rule out the possibility that Eritrea may have provided some asistance to elements within al-Shabaab without detection.  In any event, Eritrea is a marginal actor in Somalia.

Eritrea continued to violate a UN resolution by importing weapons and ammunition from eastern Sudan on a regular basis and with the knowledge and direction of Eritrean officials affiliated with the President's Office.

The Monitoring Group could not substantiate or confirm allegations made by the government of South Sudan that Eritrea had violated a UN resolution by providing military and logistical support to armed rebel groups in South Sudan.

Eritrean support for regional armed groups continued to be linked primarily to the larger context of Ethiopian-Eritrean rivalry in the Horn of Africa, the unsettled border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the way in which that rivalry shapes Eritrean foreign policy.  There is evidence that Eritrea supports the Ogaden National Liberation Front, the Tigray People's Democratic Movement, and Ginbot Seven. 

It is the assessment of the Monitoring Group that senior Eritrean officials continue to collect millions of dollars per year through unofficial revenues by means of private business arrangements involving PFDJ-run companies domestically and abroad.

UN Security Council Monitoring Group Report on Somalia

The UN Security Council has released its 461 page Somalia Monitoring Group report dated 13 October 2014

The report notes that international investment at the political level and some reform efforts have not altered the underlying dynamics of the government system, which are largely a continuation of earlier transitional arrangements, in terms of both a lack of transparency of and accountability for public resources and clan-based interests dominating security forces and logistics.

Al-Shabaab, even after the death of Ahmed Godane, remains the principal threat to peace and security in Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa.  Al-Shabaab maintains an effective and violent footprint in Mogadishu and demonstrated its operational reach beyond the capital by adopting an apparent economy of effort strategy.

In the Sool region of northeastern Somaliland, forces from Somaliland clashed with Puntland forces and militias loyal to Khatumo, a political organization based in the Dhulbahante clan that is pursuing the creation of a regional state within Somalia and separation from Somaliland.  The region is prone to conflict, given the competing claims by Somaliland, Puntland, and Khatumo over oil-rich territory there and political infighting among the Dhulbahante, who are divided in loyalty between Puntland, Khatumo, and Somaliland.

Somali piracy remains at a low point.  While piracy may be largely contained, however, many of its underlying causes continue to exist and it remains a threat to peace, security, and stability.

Underlying corruption as a system of governance has not yet fundamentally changed and, in some cases, arguably has worsened.

Humanitarian access in many parts of Somalia remained fragile.  Although physical access became possible throughout a larger territory, with the UN and NGOs establishing a presence in new locations, the quality and sustainability of that access degraded in many places owing to a combination of intensified conflict, increased displacement, and deteriorating security, in particular exacerbated by the joint national army and AMISOM offensive against al-Shabaab.

The international trade in Somali charcoal remains largely consistent with the period 2012-2013.  The transnational business architecture for the trade remains in place and continues to adapt to ensure large scale profit.  Upwards of 1 million bags of charcoal have been exported each month from Kismayo, in addition to those exported from al-Shabaab-controlled Barawe and other smaller ports.

The Security Sector and State Building in Somalia

The Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars published in August 2014 an analysis titled "The Hybridization of Security Sector Governance for Peace-Building and State-Building in Somalia" by Daniel Kebede, a PhD candidate at Addis Ababa University. 

The paper argues for the use of hybridized security governance to consolidate peace and state building in Somalia and suggests how neighboring countries and the international community might support Somali efforts to preserve peace.  It proposes that the Somali Federal Government decentralize security sector governance and integrate traditional justice systems and local militia into the governance structure with well articulated roles and a system of accountability.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Root Causes of Somali Piracy

The United Arab Emirates held a conference on 29-30 October 2014 dealing with state recovery.  Degan Ali, executive director of the NGO African Development Solutions, presented a paper titled "Piracy - Community Response to Illegal Fishing."  The paper acknowledges the sharp drop in Somali piracy since 2011 but emphasizes the need to address the root causes of the problem, especially youth unemployment and poverty. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

South Sudan: Responsibility to Prevent Mass Atrocities

The Juba-based Sudd Institute published a paper titled "Emerging Powers and the Responsibility to Prevent Mass Atrocities: Lessons from South Sudan" by Fritz Nganje, University of Johannesburg.  The paper examines the role of emerging powers in the prevention of mass atrocities in the context of South Sudan. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ease of Doing Business in Tanzania

The World Bank has released its 2015 edition on the ease of Doing Business in Tanzania.  The profile looks at the following factors: business environment, construction permits, electricity, property, credit, minority investors, taxes, trade, contracts, insolvency, labor regulations, and ease of doing business ranking. 

The World Bank evaluated 189 economies globally.  Tanzania ranked 131, a drop of one position from last year.  By comparison, Rwanda ranked 46 and Mozambique 127 ahead of Tanzania while Kenya ranked 136 and Uganda 150 behind Tanzania.

Ease of Doing Business in Uganda

The World Bank has released its 2015 edition on the ease of Doing Business in Uganda.  The profile looks at the following factors: business environment, construction permits, electricity, property, credit, minority investors, taxes, trade, contracts, insolvency, labor regulations, and ease of doing business ranking.

The World Bank evaluated 189 economies globally.  Uganda ranked 150, an improvement of two positions over last year.  By comparison, Rwanda ranked 46 and Tanzania 131 ahead of Uganda while Sudan ranked 160 and South Sudan 186 behind Uganda. 

Ease of Doing Business in Kenya

The World Bank has released its 2015 edition on the ease of Doing Business in Kenya.  The profile looks at the following factors: business environment, construction permits, electricity, property, credit, minority investors, taxes, trade, contracts, insolvency, labor regulations, and ease of doing business ranking. 

The World Bank evaluated 189 economies globally.  Kenya ranked 136, an improvement of one position over last year.  By comparison, Tanzania ranked 131 and Ethiopia 132 ahead of Kenya while Uganda ranked 150 and Sudan 160 behind Kenya.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

South Sudan's National Security Service

Pambazuka News published on 6 November 2014 a commentary titled "South Sudan's National Security Service under the Spotlight" by Flora McCrone.  She argues that the proposed law for changing the National Security Service would give it unfettered power to spy on private communications, to search and seize property without a warrant, to arrest and detain innocent people without explanation, and to use use physical force, in other words torture.