News Briefs 5 November 2022

Southern Africa Focus


Zimbabwe Open for Business, says President Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President Dr Emerson Mnangagwa has called on investors to realize the massive investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and shun negative perceptions of risk. Zimbabwe, self-sufficient in food production and a major exporter of wheat, tobacco, and corn to the 14-member Southern African Development Community, to other African countries and the wider world before 2000, saw its exports plummet.  Before 2000, farming accounted for 40% of all Zimbabwe’s exports. In 2010 though, it dropped to 2%.

President Mnangagwa spoke on Thursday at a special event on the margins of the Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The event dwelt on the broad range of investment opportunities in Zimbabwe. Several cabinet ministers accompanied the president, namely Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Mcube, Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka and Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza.

“The focus is to persuade global capital assembled in this city to realize that there are opportunities for investment in Zimbabwe,” President Mnangagwa said.

African Development Bank 4 November 2022

Zimbabwe braces for influx of citizens as special permits expire in SA

The Zimbabwean government says most people living and working in South Africa under the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) system do not qualify for critical skills permits, and it is preparing for an influx of returning citizens.

The permits were meant to end on 31 December 2022, but the Department of Home Affairs extended them by a further six months, to give Zimbabweans more time to apply for other visas. By end of October, fewer than 10% of ZEP holders had applied for the available mainstream visas. An estimated 180 000 ZEP holders will be affected by the 30 June 2023 deadline set by South Africa.

“Cabinet would like to inform the public that mass deportations of undocumented Zimbabweans were expected from South Africa following the expiry of Zimbabwe Exemptions Permits, which South Africa had granted them,” Zimbabwean Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists in Harare.

News24 3 November 2022


Eswatini: African Development Bank satisfied with portfolio implementation progress at mid-term of Country Strategy Paper

Meeting on Tuesday, 18 October 2022, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group approved the mid-term report of the implementation of the Bank’s 2020-2024 Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Eswatini and the 2022 country portfolio performance. 

The review assessed the extent to which the objectives and expected outcomes of the Bank’s strategy and captured lessons learned at mid-term of the CSP, while determining the continued relevance of the CSP priority areas for the remaining implementation period. The Bank’s portfolio performance in Eswatini was rated 3 on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being “Very Unsatisfactory” and 4 being “Very Satisfactory”.

Approved by the Bank Group’s Boards of Directors in February 2020, the Eswatini 2020-2024 CSP focuses on two priorities: (i) Scaling-up infrastructure investments to promote economic diversification; and (ii) Strengthening economic governance to improve the investment climate. These align with the Bank’s 10-year strategy and its High 5 operational priorities. The strategy is also aligned with Eswatini’s national development priorities.  The mid-term report was prepared following extensive consultations with the government, private sector, civil society and development partners.

African Development Bank 3 November 2022

Eswatini’s central bank mulls issuance of a digital currency

The kingdom of Eswatini is considering the introduction of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), joining the growing list of African countries exploring the viability of an e-currency.

The Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) said it has appointed German technology group Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to research and explore the possibilities of a digital Lilangeni (the country’s currency) to complement banknotes.

The CBDC project will involve a design concept and other considerations such as governance, accessibility, interoperability, security and programmability of the potential digital currency. The consultants are expected to help the CBE make an informed decision on whether to adopt the e-currency and the best ways to roll it out.

Techcrunch 19 October 2022

Democratic Republic of Congo

UN troops in DRC make ‘strategic withdrawal’ from key army base

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has withdrawn troops from the eastern military base of Rumangabo, ceding ground in the battle against the M23 rebel group.

UN troops have been supporting Congolese forces against the M23, which launched a new offensive in October and seized the town of Kiwanja on Saturday, breaking months of relative calm.

“We have made a strategic and tactical withdrawal from Rumangabo, in consultation with our partners, to better prepare the next steps together,” the UN mission, known as MONUSCO, said in a post on Twitter on Tuesday.

It did not provide further details.

The M23 resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, accusing the DRC government of failing to honour an agreement to integrate its fighters into the army.

Aljazeera 2 November 2022

Protesters in DRC set fire to UN vehicles in Goma

Protesters set fire to UN vehicles in Goma on Tuesday night, protesting against the presence of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).

The blazes started after rumours about the UN allegedly transporting rebels from the M23 group had spread among displaced people and residents in the city.

Earlier on Tuesday, MONUSCO announced a “strategic and tactical withdrawal” from embattled Rumangabo, where the M23 is trying to advance.

The mission posted on Twitter that the decision was taken “in consultation with our partners, to better prepare the next steps together.”

It added that “MONUSCO remains mobilised alongside the FARDC (DRC Armed Forces).”

Africa News 2 November 2022

Central Africa and the Horn


The murder of Somalia’s brave journalists must stop

Somalia can lay claim – through no choice of its own people – to being the most dangerous country for journalists in Africa. Data collected by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the testimonies of local journalists demonstrate that media rights are flagrantly violated on a daily basis. Threats and violent actions intended to terrorise media practitioners are routine. The idea is simple: to silence them.

On November 2, the world celebrates the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, a United Nations-recognised event. There are few other countries where this issue has the same chilling significance as it does in Somalia.

According to data collated by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), 54 journalists have been murdered over the past decade. The most recent victim, TV journalist Mohamed Isse Hassan was killed on October 29 in a car bombing while he and others were covering another explosion in the capital Mogadishu. The twin bombings killed more than 100 people in total.

Aljazeera 2 November 2022

US Treasury targets ISIS weapons trafficking network in Somalia with sanctions

The US Treasury Department on Tuesday took its first action against ISIS-Somalia, sanctioning seven individuals and one entities with ties to the terrorist affiliate.

The latest actions build on recent moves by the State and Treasury departments against al-Shabaab, and several of those sanctioned Tuesday also have ties to that militant group.

Tuesday’s sanctions come just days after a deadly attack in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, where twin car bombs killed at least 100 and injured more than 300. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a call with reporters, a senior Treasury official said that the latest sanctions target ISIS-Somalia, but emphasized that the financial networks are interconnected because their members support other terrorist groups.

CNN 1 November 2022

Central African Republic

Central African Republic special court sentences three for crimes against humanity

In a historic ruling, a UN-backed court in the Central African Republic on Monday convicted three militiamen of crimes against humanity and handed them jail terms ranging from 20 years to life.

Issa Sallet Adoum, Ousman Yaouba and Tahir Mahamat were accused of taking part in an attack by the 3R armed group in May 2019 in which 46 villagers in north-west CAR were massacred. After its first-ever trial, the Special Criminal Court, a tribunal of local and international judges, sentenced Adoum to life and the others to 20 years.

One of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world, CAR plunged into civil war in 2013 largely along sectarian lines.

IOL 1 November 2022

Peacekeepers turn ground-breakers in the Central African Republic

Handling heavy machinery is not one of the first skills that comes to mind when we think of UN peacekeepers, but construction skills are an important component of the blue helmets’ competency toolkit.

Operating an excavator, a bulldozer or a wheel loader did not come naturally to Chief Private Ryan Herdhika, an avid motorcyclist and soldier in the Indonesian Army’s 3rd Combat Engineering Battalion. But he has just passed his heavy engineering equipment test and will next month be deployed to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) as part of the Indonesian peacekeeping force there.

“It will be the first time in my life I will go abroad, and I am proud that my first trip is as a UN peacekeeper, not a tourist,” said Chief Private Herdhika, while getting on a motor grader to practice how to level the ground in a training field in Sentul, at the Indonesian military’s vast peacekeeping centre.

With close to 2,700 soldiers on active duty in seven UN peace missions, Indonesia is the eighth largest contributor to global peacekeeping operations.

UN News 30 October 2022


Resurgence of ethnic clashes in Sudan’s Blue Nile region triggers death and destruction

The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide expressed grave concern on Thursday over a reported resurgence of ethnic clashes in the Blue Nile region of Sudan. 

According to the UN, inter-communal clashes that have flared up several times since July have caused at least 359 fatalities, injured 469 people, displaced more than 97,000, and triggered extensive property damage. 

“The clashes between the ethnic communities are rooted in long standing issues over land ownership and ethnic representation”, Alice Wairimu Nderitu said in a statement. 

Persistent violence

The violence, which kicked off in July, was renewed in September and again last month.

It has spread from the Al Rosires locality to Ad Damazin and then to Wad Al Mahi.  

“There is a risk of further escalation as local sources reported that ethnic groups across the border were being mobilized in support of the violence in the Blue Nile,” she warned.

UN News 3 November 2022

US balks at sanctions on Sudan’s military

The US decision to halt aid, financing and debt relief to Sudan has failed to punish the military government and is instead worsening conditions for citizens who are suffering under the weight of a failing economy, a US analyst says.

Following last year’s coup in Sudan, in which the military seized total control of the military-civilian government, the Biden administration suspended $700m in financial assistance. The Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Sudan’s Central Reserve Police in March, accusing it of using excessive force against peaceful protesters.

But analysts say that the current sanctions regime is failing to target the Sudanese military and more can be done to resolve the post-coup crisis. The Sudanese economy is expected to shrink by -0.3% this year, according to the IMF, putting the 46.6m population under additional pressure.

“The missing ingredient is a very strong international response,” says Cameron Hudson, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former director for African affairs on the White House National Security Council, and previously an intelligence analyst in the Africa Directorate at the CIA.

African Business 3 November 2022

South Sudan

South Sudan: Conflict and climate crisis drives rising hunger

The number of people in South Sudan who are going hungry is at the highest level ever, UN agencies said in their latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, issued on Thursday. 

Hunger and malnutrition are on the rise in areas affected by flood, drought and conflict, and some communities are likely to face starvation unless aid is sustained, and climate adaption measures are scaled up.

Roughly two-thirds of the population, more than 7.7 million people, will not have enough to eat during the lean season next April through July, while 1.4 million children will be malnourished. 

UN News 3 November 2022

S. Sudan’s Kiir reiterates commitment to final status of Abyei

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has reiterated his administration’s commitment to resolve the final status of the disputed region of Abyei.

“Nobody wishes the people of Abyei to continue to live with uncertainty. It is not my personal wish, not even the policy of this government which I lead as the president to continue to see the people of Abyei living unsure of when the status of their area will be determined,” he told the Jieng Council of Elders at a meeting held on Tuesday.

Kiir acknowledged his senior security advisor, Tut Gatluak Manime’s role on Abyei issue.

“Tut Gatluak, my adviser on security affairs and Deng Alor, is one of the leaders of the people of Abyei and someone who is now holding the file of Abyei are the leaders of the committee. They went to Khartoum and they returned and briefed me,” he explained.

Sudan Tribune 2 November 2022

North Africa and the Sahara

Western Sahara

Delegation From ‘Women’s March for Free and Independent Sahara’ Visits the Sahrawi Refugee Camps

A delegation from the Women’s March for a Free and Independent Sahara have started, a few days ago a solidarity visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps.

The visit, which comes in cooperation and coordination with the Sahrawi Ministry of Social Affairs and the Promotion of Women, aims to examine the situation of the Sahrawi people in the refugee camps and learn about the steadfastness of the Sahrawi women, who present the most wonderful images of sacrifice and steadfastness in various fields.

The “Women’s March for Free and Independent Sahara” also seeks through this visit, to express its rejection of the historical deviation of the position of the government of Pedro Sanchez concerning Western Sahara issue, and its determination to mobilize more support and solidarity with the Sahrawi people inside and outside Spain.

All Africa 3 November 2022