Africa – 12 February 2016

AU Peace and Security Council Calls for Urgent Solution to Western Sahara Conflict

African Union Peace and Security Council called, in its recent report on peace and security in Africa, to find an urgent and just solution to the Western Sahara conflict, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and the international legitimacy.

In its report, the AU Peace and Security Council called on the international community to “assume its full responsibility in the four-decade conflict,” and reiterated its call on the need to set a date for a referendum on the self-determination of Sahrawi people.


At African Union Peace and Security Council, Ban discusses Burundi, South Sudan and counter-terrorism

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today, in an address to the African Union Peace and Security Council, spotlighted three topics high on the regional body’s agenda – counter-terrorism, and the ongoing crises in both South Sudan and Burundi – all of which require urgent attention at the continental-level and from the wider international community.

“Burundi has descended into a deep political crisis in the past nine months. The country now stands perilously close to the brink,” said Mr. Ban, addressing the Council at the start of his three-day visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend the African Union (AU) Summit.

UN News

Ambitious plans to electrify Africa launched in Davos

Ambitious plans to power Africa were inaugurated at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland by the African Development Bank Group on 21 January. The New Deal on Energy for Africa will unite the private sector and local governments on energy capacity building projects to achieve universal energy access in Africa by 2025.

“It is time to take decisive action (…) to light up and power Africa and accelerate the pace of economic transformation, unlock the potential of businesses, and drive much needed industrialisation to create jobs,” said the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina at the launch.

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

AfDB dangles $12bn to develop Africa’s energy sector

Countries in Sub-Sahara Africa need to bolster energy efficiency through investments that should be scaled up to over three percent of their Gross Domestic Product from the paltry 0.4 percent and further slash subsidies on some of their petroleum products to meet demand for the over 650 million population, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has proposed.Under a new plan billed to scale up power in the 54 African states by 2030, the continent needs to boost investment in energy from 0.4 percent of GDP to 3.4 percent and consider scaling down subsidies for among other petroleum products, diesel and kerosene.

This is according to the bank’s plan of action to bolster Africa’s energy potential in which it has dangled about US$12 billion to promote energy efficiency in several countries on the continent in the next five years.

The Southern African Times


Zimbabwe – 12 February 2016

‘Millions flee’ Zimbabwe conflict

More than three million Zimbabweans, double the population of neighbouring Botswana, have fled direct and structural violence in their country, a member of the National Transitional Justice Working Group in Zimbabwe (NTJWG) has said.

Speaking at a Transitional Justice Policy Discussion series meeting in Harare on Wednesday evening, Reverend Ray Motsi, leader of the Memorialisation Thematic Committee of the NTJWG, said the legacy of violence had endured for more than three decades and had become a knee-jerk response to any conflict in Zimbabwe.



Zim must just reform or sink

GLOBAL mining firm, Rio Tinto, this week announced it is seeking growth opportunities in neighbouring Botswana and Namibia when most deep-pocketed investors eyeing the capital-intensive sector are keeping their cards close to their chest, following trending commodity prices with keen interest.

Unfavourable commodity prices are forcing most mining firms to hold back on expansion, but Rio Tinto, widely perceived as a potential investor favourite as it is a low-cost producer, with a stronger balance sheet still has growth plans.

The Independent

Swaziland – 12 February 2016

Swaziland gov’t appeals for more donor assistance

Donor partners have been urged by the Swaziland government to help bring along more organisations to aid Swaziland in dealing with effects of natural disaster, local media report here Thursday.

The appeal was made to delegates, who included the Taiwanese ambassador to Swaziland, United Nations officials as well as government officials gathered at a conference on Effective Development Corporation in Mbabane, the capital, by Economic Planning and Development Minister Prince Hlangusemphi.

The minister acknowledged that the country’s economic growth was not healthy due to the global economic situation as well as reduction in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts.

Star Africa


Swazi Terror Law Court Challenge

A challenge to the legality of Swaziland’s anti-terror and sedition laws is taking place in the kingdom’s High Court.

At stake is the future of the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008 and Sedition and Subversive Activities Act 1938.

Pro-democracy campaigners say both Acts are used to silence dissent in Swaziland where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

Madagascar – 12 February 2016

World Bank says to give $690 mln to Madagascar over next 3 years

The World Bank will boost aid to Madagascar to $230 million annually over the next three years, it said on Tuesday, to help the economy recover from years of stagnation since a 2009 coup.

Donors resumed lending to Madagascar after successful elections in 2013 ended the political crisis and President Henry Rajaonarimampianina took office in January 2014.

“We are aware of the shortcomings in governance and risk generated by the fragility of this country,” Mark Lundell, Madagascar’s World Bank country director, told a news conference. “But we are also aware of the efforts made by the government.”

Mail Online

Western Sahara – 12 February 2016

Time for a Referendum in Western Sahara

Recently, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsberg argued in the Huffington Post that Americans ought to “applaud” Morocco because “it is a challenge identifying a strong dependable, and extraordinarily supportive Arab ally in the chaos [of the region].” He gushed about the “privilege” of working with the Moroccans during his tenure as U.S. ambassador in Rabat, and praised the kingdom as a “worthy, historic, dependable ally.” Perhaps worried that we hadn’t quite got the point, he added that Morocco was a “shining Muslim star hovering above those stormy sands.” Gosh.

This effusive praise laid the groundwork for Ginsberg’s main argument: that the United States should not only allow Morocco to continue its illegal occupation of Western Sahara, but it should help to perpetuate the whole disgraceful enterprise.

Huffington Post


Moroccans Outraged with Air France for Listing Western Sahara as Independent Country

According to a video posted by a Moroccan customer who recently travelled onboard a Paris-Los Angeles flight, the geolocation screen found on the back of the passengers’ seats described Western Sahara as an independent country.

The video posted by the Casablanca-based business owner, Adil Bendabellah, clearly shows how the French flag’s carrier list describes the Moroccan territory as “Republique Arabe Saharawi Démocratique (Saharan Arab Democratic Republic). “On the geo-location map of an Air France flight, the national airline of a friendly country, we found in the southern Moroccan territory the name of SADR? Is this normal?” asks Benabdellah.

Morocco World News

South Sudan – 12 February 2016

South Sudanese president signs NGO Bill into law

South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir has signed into law the non-governmental oganisation (NGOs) Bill into law, despite global pressure to delay it.

The presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny confirmed the Bill’s signing on Thursday.

The law empowers a government appointed registrar to monitor the work of humanitarian organizations and employ at least 80% South Sudanese. Non-citizens will lose their jobs to give way for nationals. A failure to observe the law will attract 3 years in prison or fine of 50,000 South Sudanese Pounds or both.

Sudan Tribune


South Sudan president reappoints rival as part of peace deal

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has reappointed bitter rival Riek Machar as vice-president as part of a peace deal aimed at ending more than two years of war, state television reported.


Sudan – 12 February 2016

Sudan summons U.S. envoy over Darfur sanctions draft resolution

Sudan’s foreign ministry summoned the U.S. charge d’affairs in Khartoum on Wednesday over Washington’s sponsorship of a draft UN Security Council resolution extending sanctions related to the Darfur conflict and adding restrictions on gold mining, Sudan’s main source of income.

A 2005 United Nations Security Council resolution placed a travel ban and asset freeze on those “impeding the peace process” in Darfur and established the UN panel of experts mandated to monitor the arms embargo on Darfur.



Sudan accuses unnamed groups of using Darfur rebels in Libyan conflict

Sudan foreign ministry reiterated claims that Darfur rebel groups are involved in the Libyan conflict and pointed accusing fingers to unnamed groups saying they support them to achieve personal interests and ambitions.

“Sudanese Foreign Ministry condemns in the strongest terms the attacks on the Kufra city by the so-called Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM),” said the ministry’s spokesperson Ali al-Sadiq in a statement released on Thursday.

Sudan Tribune

Somalia – 12 February 2016

Al Shabaab Changes Tack, Plans Attacks Disguised As Peacekeepers

Somalia militants Al Shabaab are planning to attack liberated areas disguised in uniforms stolen from the African peacekeepers.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Francisco Madeira warned Thursday of the sinister plot.

Madeira –an Amisom head–said Al-Shabaab is plotting to strike in communities in the liberated areas that are currently enjoying peace and appealed to the Somalia public to be on the lookout and guard against such manipulations.


Diplomats stress need for trust on trip to Puntland

A group of international diplomats led by new United Nations envoy to Somalia Ambassador Michael Keating has returned to Mogadishu without concrete steps being taken towards the sticky issue of 4.5 quota, Garowe Online reports.

At a joint media briefing with Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali before jetting off at Garowe airport, Keating underlined that they have sensed differences of views regarding newly adopted electoral proposal.

“[Diplomats] came to learn more about our position on Somalia future, consolidation of peace process, 2016 elections and proposal endorsed by international community,” said Puntland President.

Garowe Online

CAR – 12 February 2016

Central African Republic to Go Ahead With Elections Sunday

Central African Republic’s long awaited presidential runoff vote will go forward Sunday alongside a second attempt at credible legislative elections, election authorities said as the two top candidates campaigned outside the capital Wednesday.

The nation recovering from several years of intense communal violence between Muslims and Christians must now choose between two former prime ministers — both Christians. The presidential runoff vote has been delayed several times already, raising concerns about whether Sunday’s polls would go forward.



UN Report Urges Steps to End Impunity for Rights Abuses

As the Central African Republic (CAR) prepares for the second round of presidential elections this weekend, a new United Nations report detailing violations and human rights abuses in the strife-torn nation’s capital late last year has prompted the head of the UN peacekeeping mission there to call for urgent measures in the fight against impunity and to prevent future violations.

The report, which will be released later this month, details grave human rights abuses committed following the eruption of violence in the capital city of Bangui, from 26 September to 20 October 2015. The period was marked by the targeting and killing of civilians, and widespread looting and burning of houses and property, among other human rights violations.


DRC – 12 February 2016

Democratic Republic of Congo Says It May Still Revise Mine Code

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s mines ministry said that it could still revise the country’s mining code, in an apparent retreat from comments made by the department’s minister on Wednesday.

Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu, in an interview in Cape Town, said that the government had decided to maintain the country’s 2002 mining code due to the impact of low copper prices on the sector, abandoning a previous plan to revise the legislation.



Political Crisis Building in Democratic Republic of Congo

A political crisis is growing in Democratic Republic of Congo over the possibility that President Joseph Kabila might seek a third term in office, a senior U.S. official warned on Wednesday.

Tom Perriello, U.S. Special Envoy to Africa’s Great Lakes Region, said if Kabila sought a third term in November elections, even though the constitution bars such a move, it could undermine political and economic gains of the past decade.

Voice of America