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Al-Shabab negotiations eyed as path to end fighting in Somalia

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Source: Wednesday September 23, 2020, Washington, Katherine Zimmerman, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute

Unprecedented diplomacy gave the Trump administration a path out of Afghanistan, and questions have been raised about whether a similar playbook could work for the seemingly endless U.S. military mission in Somalia.

Most analysts and military insiders say the U.S. air campaign against the al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab, which has expanded steadily throughout President Trump’s nearly four years in office, can contain the group but not fully defeat it.
With al-Shabab estimated to control as much as 25% of Somali territory, and with a central government in Mogadishu ill-equipped to handle the resilient terrorist group on its own, debate is growing in foreign policy circles about whether the U.S. should shift its focus to negotiations rather than a war with no end date and murky metrics for progress.

The question has grown more urgent with serious setbacks in recent years for al Qaeda and the Islamic State group. Al-Shabab’s ability to hold its own in the field is proving an inspiration to jihadi movements in Africa and around the world.

The State Department stresses that “reconciliation” among all stakeholders in Somalia is key to peace in the historically dysfunctional country. Officials in the administration have routinely conceded that military action alone isn’t the answer.

The administration’s approach, officials said, encourages cooperation between the federal government in Mogadishu and the country’s five member states, which wield considerable power and influence outside the capital.

It’s unclear whether the administration has seriously considered putting its own diplomatic weight behind negotiations with al-Shabab in the same way it did with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A U.S.-led deal there has led to a major drawdown of American forces and brought the Taliban and the Afghan government together for a face-to-face dialogue last week in Qatar.

Foreign policy analysts are clearly divided about whether such a tack could work in Somalia. Some argue that talking to al-Shabab would amount to negotiating with terrorists and that the group wants to target Americans abroad.

“Al-Shabab’s leadership sees itself as playing an active role in the global jihad by pursuing those attack capabilities, unlike the Taliban. That is one key difference,” said Katherine Zimmerman, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who studies terrorist groups in Africa.

BREAKING: All MPs present endorse Mohamed Roble as new PM

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Source: Hiiiraan Online, Wednesday September 23, 2020

MOGADISHU (HOL) – Mohamed Hussein Roble has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the Lower House as the next prime minister.

Roble got the votes of all the 215 MPs present in the House in a show of confidence by the lawmakers following his appointment last week by President Mohamed Farmaajo.
Prior to the vote which concluded shortly, President Farmaajo appealed to the MPs to give Roble the job in what now ends about two months with no substantive government.

Former deputy prime minister Mahdi Guleid has been on acting capacity as prime minister since his boss Hassan Khaire was removed in a no-confidence motion in late July.

The new Prime Minister will now go ahead to appoint a council of ministers which will also require parliamentary approval.

Somaliland’s Berbera Airport being spruced to match the best in Africa

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Source: EABW, Tuesday September 22, 2020
By Godfrey Ivudria


Berbera Airport – FILE

Work at the Berbera International Airport in Somaliland is almost complete with new infrastructure being put in place to make it one of the most modern aviation facilities in the continent, Dritan Gjonbalaj, the airport Director General Berbera has said.

Gjonbajaj said there has been serious investment in infrastructure and equipment to ensure that the airport, the second in the country after the Egal International Airport in Somaliland capital Hargeisa meets international requirements.

Perfectly located on the coast, very close to the brand new Berbera Seaport built by Dubai Ports (DP) World, and a four lane highway to the capital Hargeisa taking shape, Berbera Airport has a huge potential for both people and cargo traffic.Ads By Berbera airport was initially built by the Soviet Union in the 1970s, with a 4km runway, one of the longest in Africa. It was rented by Nasa during the 1980s as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle until 1991, when the government of former President of Somalia Siad Barre collapsed.

But with Somaliland government’s vision to turn Berbera city into an economic hub, there grew a need to rebuild the airport to serve the needs of both local and international investors and tourists at the same time.

“We are enthusiastic to put up a great team of young, well educated, trained and dedicated Somalilanders, to work hand in hand with their experienced expats as proud BBO staff,” said the Director General.

“Our dedicated team is putting the finishing touches to the few remaining works before we undergo the necessary certification audits by the national aviation authorities of Somaliland.” He added.

“As part of our commitment to building and maintaining a robust, reliable and trusted safety management system, we will also undergo a comprehensive audit by an independent international team of top notch aviation experts to confirm our compliance with standards of the relevant Annexes to the Chicago Convention on all aspects of aviation safety and security.”

The expected opening of the airport will add to the growing status of Berbera which has already been boosted by the expansion of the Port, the building of the road linking the town to the Ethiopian border and the planned construction of the multi-million Berbera Economic Free Zone.
 
Somaliland declared its separation from Somalia in 1991, but it is yet to be recognized by the international community despite maintaining trade relations and political contacts with a number of countries including Kenya, UK, Belgium, Turkey, Djibouti, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates

UNICEF warns of rise in gender violence in Somalia, calls for legal measures

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Source: Hiiraan Online, Tuesday September 22, 2020

NAIROBI (HOL) –  Cases of gender violence in Somalia rose by 25 per cent in Somalia between January and June this year, the children’s agency UNICEF has said warning the increase was further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Somalia marks five year since the ratifiction of the Convention on Rights of Children (CRC), UNICEF said it was disturbing to see an increase in gender based violence with little or no legal recourse.

“While there has been an expansion in services to support victims of abuse, sexual violations against children continue at an alarming rate and there is little or no opportunity to seek justice,” UNICEF said in a statement Monday.
Ads By noted the increase had ‘been compounded by the COVID-19 outbreak and demonstrates the need for protection policies to be put in place at the Government level.’

The statement comes in the wake of rising cases of rape and sodomy reported in Mogadishu and Baidoa.

A five year old baby was raped in Mogadishu’s Kaaran district this past week barely a week after two cases of rape and sodomy in the city.

“By signing the CRC, Somalia made a commitment to not only treat children with dignity but put in place legislation that protects them from harm,” UNICEF country reprsentative Werner Schultink said, adding, “It is critical that acts of sexual violence and harmful practices are criminalized, and perpetrators are brought to justice.”

According to Government data Somalia has a 99 per cent prevalence rate of FGM – the highest in the world.

Political Assassinations Dog Ethiopia

Political Assassinations Dog Ethiopia

 Source: Foreign Policy published on 20 September 2020

Foreign Policy published on 20 September 2020 an article titled “Political Violence Could Derail Ethiopia’s Democratic Transition” by Tom Gardner and Lule Estifanos, both based in Addis Ababa.

The authors cite the on-going assassinations or attempted assassinations in Ethiopia affecting persons of different political persuasion, adding they could prevent a democratic political transition.  0 commentsLabels: Abiy AhmedassassinationsconspiracyEPRDFGERDOLFpolitical transitionProsperity Party

Abu Dhabi meeting could lead to Israeli-Sudanese normalisation: Report

Abu Dhabi meeting could lead to Israeli-Sudanese normalisation: Report Source: Middle Eye,

21 September 2020

Sudan delegation will also request Washington remove Khartoum from its state sponsors of terror list

Sudan’s ruling council said its head, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, pictured, and Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari would be in the delegation (AFP)By MEE and agenciesPublished date: 20 September 2020 21:07 UTC | Last update: 2 hours 48 mins ago151Shares

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US, Emirati and Sudanese officials will hold a decisive meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday on a possible normalisation agreement between Sudan and Israel, Sudanese sources have told Axios.

According to the US news website, Sudanese sources have said the government of Sudan would ask for economic aid in return for such a deal.

The request will include more than $3bn in humanitarian assistance and direct budgetary aid in order to deal with an economic crisis and fallout from devastating floods, as well as a commitment by the US and the UAE to providing Sudan with economic aid over the next three years, Axios said.

Sudan’s ruling council had said on Sunday that its officials would discuss the removal of their country from a US list of state sponsors of terror with officials from Washington during the visit.Sudan’s government tells Pompeo it is ‘not mandated’ to normalise ties with IsraelRead More »

Sudan’s transitional government, in charge since the toppling of Omar al-Bashir last year, has been pushing to get off the US list, which hinders its ability to access foreign loans to tackle Sudan’s economic crisis.

In August, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the issue of Sudan establishing ties with Israel during a visit to Khartoum.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had told Pompeo that he had no mandate to do so.

The UAE, a key partner of the US, and Bahrain have normalised ties with Israel in deals brokered by Washington, the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to break a longstanding taboo. US President Donald Trump has said he expects other Arab countries to follow suit.

Ties with Israel are a sensitive issue in Sudan, which was among the strongest foes of Israel under Bashir.

Sudanese authorities under pressure

On Sunday, the ruling council had said its head, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, and Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari would be in the delegation that had flown to Abu Dhabi that day, where they would first meet UAE officials to discuss regional issues.

Afterwards, Abdubari would meet US officials present in the UAE to discuss the “removal of [the] name of Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism, support of the transitional period and writing off American debts on Sudan”.

Sudanese authorities are under pressure to fix the economic crisis, which has worsened since Bashir’s downfall. Inflation hit almost 170 percent last month, the currency has been in freefall and the government has declared an economic state of emergency.

In February, Burhan met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda, a meeting condemned by Sudanese protesters. He afterwards cast doubt on any rapid normalisation of relations, though Israeli aircraft soon began overflying Sudan.

Burhan represents the military faction of the government. The civilian faction and Hamdok have had reservations about normalisation for a long time over concerns about how it would be received domestically.

However, Sudanese sources told Axios that in recent days Hamdok was convinced that normalisation would serve Sudan’s interests and gave Burhan permission to move forward if Khartoum’s requests for economic aid are met.

Somalias nya premiärminister från Sverige

Somalias nya premiärminister från Sverige

Source: Dagens Nyheter, PUBLICERAD 2020-09-18

Kungliga tekniska högskolan i Stockholm, där Somalias nye premiärminister studerat.
Kungliga tekniska högskolan i Stockholm, där Somalias nye premiärminister studerat. Foto: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed har utsett Mohamed Hussein Roble till Somalias nya premiärminister.

Roble har studerat på Kungliga tekniska högskolan i Stockholm och har svenskt medborgarskap.Ossi CarpTextDela på FacebookDela på TwitterTipsa om artikel Kommentera14Läs senare

Sedan Hassan Ali Khaire avsattes i somras har Somalia varit utan en formell premiärminister, men nu står det klart att svensksomaliern Mohamed Hussein Roble blir landets regeringschef. En stridsfråga har varit de allmänna val som är planerade till februari, men som statschefen vill skjuta fram.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Mohamed Hussein Roble kom till Sverige tidigt 1992, alldeles i början av inbördeskriget i Somalia. Knappt fem år senare blev han svensk medborgare. Studierna i Sverige omfattar bland annat en magisterexamen i miljöteknik från år 2000 på Kungliga tekniska högskolan.

Därefter flyttade han runt på olika adresser i Stockholms västra delar tills han i slutet av 2004 försvann ur Skatteverkets rullor och sedan sommaren 2007 är han avregistrerad där med motiveringen ”utan känd hemvist”.

Senare ska han ha haft en doktorandtjänst vid University of Birmingham och därpå en anställning på FN-kopplade utbildningsorganet ITCILO i Turin.

En utmaning för Roble blir att uppfylla folkets krav på ökad säkerhet. Klaner, terrorgrupper och andra utomparlamentariska grupperingar har under lång tid varit viktiga maktfaktorer i landet som är hårt ansatt av problem som korruption och torka.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Somalia är mycket beroende av bistånd, där Sverige är en viktig partner med bland annat 600 miljoner kronor årligen.

DN har sökt Mohamed Hussein Roble.

Exclusive: Suspected arms dealers moved millions in Somali money transfers, report says

Exclusive: Suspected arms dealers moved millions in Somali money transfers, report sayslinkedin sharing button

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Katharine Houreld
Friday September 18, 2020
Somali Puntland forces receive weapons seized in a boat on the shores of the Gulf of Aden in the city of Bosasso, Puntland region, Somalia September 23, 2017.
Somali Puntland forces receive weapons seized in a boat on the shores of the Gulf of Aden in the city of Bosasso, Puntland region, Somalia September 23, 2017.


NAIROBI (Reuters) – Somali money transfer companies moved more than $3.7 million in cash between suspected weapons traffickers in recent years, including to a Yemeni under U.S. sanctions for alleged militant links, according to a report seen by Reuters.

The findings by a Geneva-based research group, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, could further complicate attempts by Somali transfer companies to retain access to international banking services.

Though they provide a lifeline to millions in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation, few banks will do business with them because of the risk of falling foul of international transparency and anti-money laundering regulations.

Asked about the report, the Central Bank of Somalia, which regulates money transfer firms, said it was unaware of the transfers but would investigate and was in general making progress in countering terrorism financing.

Contacted by Reuters, the four companies said they adhered to global “know your customer” norms, although some conceeded it was difficult since Somalia had no national identity card. The firms also said they used specialist third-party databases of internationally-sanctioned individuals.

The Global Initiative analysed nearly six years of transaction records from the city of Bossasso, matching them with mobile phone records provided by security sources and database searches.

The report identified 176 transactions from the last six years that it said appeared to be linked to suspected weapons dealers in Somalia and Yemen. Nearly two-thirds were over the $10,000 threshold that should trigger an automatic report to regulatory authorities.They include two transfers totalling nearly $40,000 to numbers linked to Sayf Abdulrab Salem al-Hayashi after the U.S. Treasury sanctioned him in 2017 for allegedly providing weapons and financial support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State in Yemen, the report said.

Al Hayashi could not be reached for comment.

Somalia-based Amal Express and Iftin Express handled the transactions, which used different combinations of his name and nickname, the report said.

Amal Express said a transfer slip shown in the report and allegedly linked to al Hayashi was a forgery. Iftin Express said the transaction slip was a fake and added that it reported all transactions over $10,000 to Somali authorities.

MULTIPLE IDENTITIES

The report did not find any instances where the other two companies, Dahabshiil and Taaj, made transfers to any sanctioned individuals. But it noted instances where individuals were able to make transfers with them using multiple names and numbers, a violation of Somali law.

One man used 24 names between the four companies, the report said.

All four companies said they did not allow customers to use multiple identities or phone numbers. Dahabshiil also said it has stopped doing transfers between Somalia and Yemen.

The companies did not say whether the six men named in the report are in their databases.

Apart from al Hayashi – the only one under U.S. sanctions – three others whose names appear in the suspect transactions were identified as suspected arms dealers in public reports by the United Nations panel of experts on Somalia.

Two were flagged – one as a proxy for al Hayashi, and one as an arms trafficker – in a confidential annex to a 2018 report by the same panel.

Few Somalis have bank accounts. Money transfer companies – often known as hawalas – are vital to economic activity and delivering humanitarian aid.

Cutting companies off from banking is not the answer, said the report’s author, Jay Bahadur, former head of the U.N. panel of experts. “Excluding companies from international banking services will punish families that rely on them and drive financial flows underground,” he said.

IDENTITY CARD

But he said companies must ensure their agents follow anti-money laundering laws and Somali authorities must improve enforcement.

“Financial regulatory bodies in Somalia are understaffed, under-resourced, and aren’t trusted by domestic financial institutions,” he told Reuters. “They receive limited reporting data and aren’t able to take much action with what they do receive.”

Abdirahman M. Abdullahi, governor of Somalia’s central bank, said cooperation was improving. Somalia is working with the World Bank on developing a national identity card, he told Reuters.

He said arrests have been made for breaking anti-money laundering and terrorism financing law, citing the case of a trader convicted in August of running an unregistered bank.

The Financial Reporting Center, a Somali government watchdog, did not respond to requests for comment.


(This story corrects to show specialist third parties maintain databases, not firms themselves)

Additional reporting by Abdiqani Hassan in Bossasso and Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Jon Boyle

UN and partners promote sport as a tool to prevent violent extremism

UN and partners promote sport as a tool to prevent violent extremismlinkedin sharing button

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Source: UN, Saturday September 19, 2020
South Sudan Under-23 A and B football teams battled it out in a fierce competition for supremacy while also sharing messages of peace and unity with fans during a match in the capital, Juba, in 2019 (file photo).UNMISS/Flickr
South Sudan Under-23 A and B football teams battled it out in a fierce competition for supremacy while also sharing messages of peace and unity with fans during a match in the capital, Juba, in 2019 (file photo).UNMISS/Flickr


New York: Ambassadors, senior UN officials, representatives of global sports organizations, and managers of some of the world’s top athletes met virtually on Friday to underline the role that sport can play in combating violent extremism and radicalization.

Sport is synonymous with values such as tolerance, respect and team work, and aligns with the UN’s founding goal of creating a better world for all, the head of the Organization’s Office of Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, told participants.

This explains why terrorist groups seek to hijack sporting events, with incidents such as the March 2009 attack against Sri Lanka’s cricket team, and the Boston Marathon bombing in the United States some four years later, serving as stark reminders.

A ‘critical shelter’ for youth  “In today’s particularly volatile world, sport is a critical shelter for young and vulnerable people.  Sport helps children and teenagers across the globe to build the psychological and emotional strength to be better, more tolerant and respectful citizens. Sport equips them with the right tools to resist terrorist propaganda,” said Mr. Voronkov.  

Lessons for life  

Suad Galow from Somalia spoke of the lessons she learned playing basketball, helping her to thrive both on and off the court.

“Basketball became part of my life and it taught me valuable lifetime skills such as teamwork, discipline, and leadership”, said Ms. Galow, President of the Somali Woman Foundation, and Chairperson of both the national Olympic Committee and Basketball Federation.

“Basketball gave me a huge opportunity to travel, to diversify, and to meet new people from Africa to the Middle East and beyond.”

Fans also benefit from sport without breaking a sweat, according to Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

“The power of sport rests in its ability to break down the walls between people whether they are players or spectators regardless of their faith, race or culture”, he noted.

Sports and COVID-19 recovery

Friday’s online event was held in the framework of a UN initiative, launched in February, that aims to safeguard major sporting events worldwide from terrorism-related threats. It will be followed by a technical-level expert meeting, to be held next week.

Future developments include a guide for policymakers, and a global campaign featuring renowned athletes and youth which the organizers believe will garner “significant exposure” during upcoming major sports events such as the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo and the World Cup in Qatar the following year.

Qatar’s Ambassador to the UN, Alya Al-Thani, said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that support must be given to sports and physical activity now more than ever.

“Sport must be included in recovery plans post COVID-19 and in national strategies for sustainable development. Sport is key to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on health and well-being and in building back better,” she said, as her nation continues gearing up to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament.

The power to be better – Spurs coach

For the head coach of the Tottenham Hotspur football club, José Mourinho, sports have the power to transform us for the better.  They also teach us that “incredible things” can be achieved by working together.

“Sport makes it clear that in this world, the languages you speak, the colour of your skin, your societal and economic background, your gender identity, sexual orientation, are totally irrelevant”, he said.

“What matters in sport is who you are, how motivated you are, how hard you are willing to work to become a better version of yourself.”

Somalia’s Education System Struggles to Attract Girls

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By Mohammed Yusuf
Source: VOA, Sunday September 20, 2020
Somali females wash their hands during coronavirus awareness training conducted by local paramedics and doctors in Mogadishu, March 19, 2020. Classes in the country were shut in March to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Somali females wash their hands during coronavirus awareness training conducted by local paramedics and doctors in Mogadishu, March 19, 2020. Classes in the country were shut in March to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus.


NAIROBI – Fifteen-year-old Nasra Aidarus is happy to be back in class after a four-month school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic that hit Somalia.

The seventh-grader at Daynile Primary and Secondary School was just settling into her new school when classes were canceled in March to limit the coronavirus spread. Her family came back to Somalia in 2018 after living in Yemen as refugees for years.
She was worried she might never fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor.Ads By GoogleShe said her greatest fear was not being able to complete her education and being married off at a young age because of the school closure.

Aidarus is one of 390 students who went back to the school in the Daynile District in mid-August, but more have yet to report for fear contracting the coronavirus.

Daud Jiran, Mercy Corps Somalia’s country director, said the coronavirus pandemic has taken away years of gains in drawing children, mostly girls, into classrooms.

“When the schools were going on, girls had a safe space,” Jiran said. “We understand from the little assessment that we do that girls are being depended on more by their families. So the burden of social support to their families has become more. Girls dropping out of school have increased.

“We also see when teenage girls stay home long, we see the issue of early marriage increasing now because society feels they need support.”

Aid agencies say Somalia has one of the world’s largest populations of children out of school — 2 million out 5 million of school age.

Years of disruption

The country’s educational system has been affected by decades of conflict, displacement and, most recently, the coronavirus.

Daynile Deputy Headteacher Mahad Dahir Hassan says the school is reaching out to the children’s families, trying to assure them that the school is doing everything possible to minimize the virus’ spread by keeping students apart. Some students have heeded the call and have reported to the school, he said, but others have not. School officials, he said, sometimes even go to the youths’ homes to try to persuade them to return to classes.

More classrooms were created to allow greater spacing in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, which has resulted in teachers working at least two shifts a day.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has just inaugurated the national curriculum for secondary schools, ending three decades of multiple nonstandardized educational systems in Somalia.

Somalia’s first female mechanic is changing stereotypes one vehicle at a time

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Source: Face AfricaSunday September 20, 2020
Nasra pictured fixing a car with her colleague. Photo: Nasra Haji Hussein/ Twitter
Nasra pictured fixing a car with her colleague. Photo: Nasra Haji Hussein/ Twitter


Society has put some constraints on individuals with regard to what men or women can do and that has prevented a lot of people from attaining their set goals in life for fear of being judged or ridiculed. Others also defied societal norms and restrictions to be the ‘firsts’ in their fields like Nasra Haji Hussein, an ambitious young lady who defied the odds to become Somalia’s first female car mechanic.

Hussein did not care that she would have to get her hands dirty wearing her hijab and fixing cars because she needed to make ends meet and there were no ready jobs for graduates at the time. Her family was depending on her and when she saw an opportunity to earn a decent living working as a mechanic, she grabbed it.Ads By omewhere in 2015, a 16-year-old Hussein went job hunting in Mogadishu. It took about ten days to make that trip to the capital to live with a relative. Many young individuals in developing countries always migrate to the capital where many feel their dreams will certainly come true. Meanwhile, just a short while into their stay, reality hits home as it did for Hussein.

Hungry for that opportunity that will alter the cause of her life, she spent many months job hunting not knowing her ‘breakthrough’ was not so far from her new home at the mechanic’s service garage.

She took a chance on herself to venture into a male-dominated profession by seeking an opportunity to be an apprentice at the mechanics and things went in her favor.

Photo: Nasra Haji Hussein/ Twitter
Photo: Nasra Haji Hussein/ Twitter


Although the Hiran native did not leave her parents home about 300 kilometers from Somalia’s capital with the intention of being a mechanic, she still went for it and was met with taunts and discouraging words from society.

Hussein did not let that hold her back and even though customers were hesitant to trust her with their vehicles, she was able to slowly build a customer base and got a steady stream of income in a country where the rate of unemployment is high.

Somali youth are struggling to find their feet in a country riddled with economic and security challenges even as the country rebuilds itself. Getting a decent education and then a job after is a herculean task for so many Somali youths.

Hussein the mechanic has a new skill to the extent that she can fix different types of cars which is an added advantage regardless of the mockery and confinements that came with venturing into the new field of work.

“I repair different types of cars, luxury cars, bulletproof cars and pickups. Sometimes I service trucks when they are brought to the garage,” Hussein said.

Looking for a faster way to get a message across to the youth? Then social media is your answer. That is exactly what Hussein did; she shared her experience with others on social media and encouraged them to grab whatever opportunity comes their way. Her family’s support also made her feel at ease and continue to thrive in her newfound profession.

“When I came to the city I wasn’t encouraged, no one offered me a job, so I decided to become a mechanic to help my family. When I got paid and sent money to my parents, my father asked me where I got the money from, and I told him that I am a mechanic. He encouraged me to work harder,” she wrote.

Hussein did not let gender stereotypes keep her unemployed which would have only stifled her newly acquired skill, prevented her from fending for herself and her family as well. She saw the silver lining in her predicament and went for it like we should all do at a point in time of our lives

Kenyan cargo plane crash-lands at Aden Adde Airport

Kenyan cargo plane crash-lands at Aden Adde Airport155Sharesfacebook sharing button Sharetwitter sharing button Tweetlinkedin sharing button Share

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Source: Hiiraan Online, Saturday September 19, 2020

MOGADISHU (HOL) – A Kenyan-registered cargo aircraft crashed in Mogadishu airport on Saturday morning, there were no reported casualties.

According to an eyewitness, the aircraft, operated by Silverstone Air Service took off from Mogadishu airport headed to Beledweyne before circling back for an emergency landing. The issue is believed to have been with the aircraft’s landing gear.

Pictures from the scene show the plane on the ground just inside the airport area.
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The aircraft veered off and crashed into a concrete barrier during the landing attempt.

One of the two pilots has been evacuated with serious injuries. The other pilot is still believed to be in the aircraft. There are reports that he may have sustained injuries to his lower body.

Somalia’s civil aviation authority is investigating the accident.

The crash is the fourth involving Kenyan airlines in accidents in Somalia this year.

More to follow.

Ethiopian government unveils new currency notes

Ethiopian government unveils new currency notes107Sharesfacebook sharing button Sharetwitter sharing button Tweetlinkedin sharing button Share

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Source: CGTN, Monday September 14, 2020

Ethiopians have a three-month window within which they will be able to exchange old currency notes for new ones from the banks after the government demonetized its currency.

Ethiopia on Monday unveiled new Birr notes for 10, 50 and 100 denominations, in addition to introducing a new Birr 200 note.

According to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the new notes will “curb financing of illegal activities, corruption and contraband.”

Ahmed added that enhanced security features on the new notes will also cease counterfeit production.

Ahmed said this was a necessary action to take to prop up the economy which, like several others, has also been battered by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Introducing the changes in our currency notes was deemed necessary to salvage the country’s fractured economy,” Ahmed said.

Local banks were instructed to immediately begin issuing new notes, which are also touted to have greater longevity than the old ones. About 3.7 billion birrs ($101.2 million) was spent to print the new currency, according to Ahmed.

The new and old notes will remain in circulation for three months but the notes of 10, 50 and 100 denominations will stand canceled thereafter.

Ahmed also spoke about the steps the government had taken to stabilize the economy since it came to power in 2018.

“We inherited a situation where the country had not enough money to make payments for the civil servants.”

He said that the government had also lowered Ethiopia’s sovereign debt from 35 percent to 25 percent of its GDP.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Calls for African Internal Cohesion

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Calls for African Internal Cohesion

Source: Project Syndicate published on 9 September 2020

 Project Syndicate published on 9 September 2020 a commentary titled “Africa’s Peace and Prosperity Begin at Home” by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed opens with the statement that “Africans must take responsibility for our continent’s affairs.”  It is very hard to disagree with the statement.  He adds that “Africa’s ability to become a strong geopolitical force hinges on its own internal cohesion and economic integration.”  Another truism, but is it not also time to apply these goals to Ethiopia?0 commentsLabels: Abiy AhmedAFCFTAAfricaAUeconomic integrationEthiopiaforeign policyUnity

President Farmaajo selects Mohamed Hussein Roble as next PM

President Farmaajo selects Mohamed Hussein Roble as next PM209Sharesfacebook sharing button Sharetwitter sharing button Tweetlinkedin sharing button Share

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Thursday September 17, 2020


Mohamed Hussein Robleh has been appointed as Somalia’s Prime Minister by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo. SUPPLED/ VILLA SOMALIA

Mogadishu (HOL) – President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has appointed a former technical consultant as Somalia’s new prime minister just hours after Somali leaders have reached a deal on a revised election model.

Roble will replace Hassan Ali Khaire, who was pushed out during an abrupt and controversial vote of no confidence on July 25th.

Farmaajo has appointed Mohamed Hussein Robleh as the next Prime Minister.

Roble was last employed as a technical consultant at the International Labor Organization (ILO).Ads By ww.hiiraan.com&dtd=119Villa Somalia confirmed the announcement in a statement released to the press on Thursday afternoon. In the statement, it says that Roble was hired based on his knowledge, experience and ability in developing state-building plans.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has instructed Prime Minister Roble to immediately form a capable government that will lead the country to elections and make significant efforts to consolidate security gains, rebuild the Armed Forces and develop. Infrastructure, decentralization of essential services, camera warfare against al-Shabaab and corruption.

The appointment comes hours after the conclusion of a crucial election conference in Mogadishu. Ostensibly, pushing President Farmaajo to hire a PM – a position that was vacant for nearly two months – was part of an electoral agreement reached by Somali leaders in Mogadishu.

Civil society group decries delays in electoral deal, urge Farmaajo, FMS leaders to break stalemate

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Thursday September 17, 2020

MOGADISHU (HOL) – A civil society coalition in Somalia has expressed concern over failure by the country’s leaders to reach a timely agreement on the model of upcoming elections noting that was fast running out.

Somali Civil Society Coalition said Thursday in a statement following a meeting in Mogadishu that the delay by President Mohamed Farmaajo and the Federal Member State leaders to reach a deal was ‘concerning’.

“The Somali Civil Society Coalition is concerned over the inability to resolve differences in order to save time and how they failed to reach agreement in order to hold the 2020/21 election,” the statement read in part.
The meeting which brought together elders, youth, women and civil society leaders urged the FGS and FMS leader to resolve their differences and reach a consensus on the electoral stalemate but warned they will take up the matter should the leaders fail to agree.

“If they FGS and FMS leaders fail to reach an agreement, we urge a national conference convening women, youth, elders and religious leaders and professionals to resolve the stalemate be held,” the coalition said.

They also called on the country’s leaders to adopt consider power transfer mechanisms used in previous years adding the leaders should ‘respect and hold elections on time’.

The FGS and FMS leaders meeting in Mogadishu are yet to reach a consensus on the electoral model.

The Horn: Peace and Conflict in Africa, Then and Now

By International Crisis Group

·         JIHAD IN MODERN CONFLICT

·         FROM EARLY WARNING TO EARLY ACTION

·         HORN OF AFRICA

S2 Episode 1: Peace and Conflict in Africa, Then and Now

To mark the first episode of season two of The Horn, Alan talks with Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director Comfort Ero about how the politics of conflict and peacemaking have changed — and not changed — across the African continent during the decade that she has led the organisation’s work on Africa.

She highlights that although headlines may be dominated by topics such as “jihadist threat” and “violent extremism”, the key causes of conflict remain the same, including corruption, instrumentalisation of ethnicity and marginalisation of certain communities. 

They discuss power struggles in the Horn of Africa as America’s primacy wanes, the African Union’s more assertive role in peace and security, and how African leaders should manage their relationships with China to strengthen conflict resolution on the continent, not repressive authoritarian regimes. They also explore the benefits and risks of talking about African solutions to African problems, and the need to take into account the crucial national interests that can drive a state 

EU and Germany join efforts to support the African Union’s response to coronavirus

EU and Germany join efforts to support the African Union’s response to coronavirus

The EU continues to work with Member States to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on all fronts. Today, 500.000 additional coronavirus testing kits have been provided to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The test kits were delivered by an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight and are part of a €10 million immediate support package to the African Union (AU) by the German Government in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In total, almost 1.4 million tests for the extraction and the detection of the virus will be made available to African Union countries.

“Through the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, the European Commission continues to work hand in hand with Member States to support vulnerable countries amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It is in our common interest to tackle the pandemic worldwide. We are committed to ensuring effective delivery of essential medical equipment to the countries that need it the most. This specific consignment will be able to reach a large number of countries as it will support the African Union continental response,” said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

Mr. Gerd Müller, Minister of Development Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Germany, said on the occasion: “We will either beat the coronavirus together worldwide – or not at all. This is why we support the African Union through the German Epidemic Preparedness Team in a cooperation with the EU. Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention coordinate the procurement of life-saving testing equipment for AU member states. They also play an important role in educating African health workers. With our support to the partnership to accelerate coronavirus testing, we make sure that testing is made widely available. We stand by our friends in Africa in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Partnership is key to winning the battle against COVID-19 locally and globally because no country can manage the pandemic alone. That is why as a continental body, Africa CDC is working with several partners and exploring all markets to unlock the supply chain system for diagnostics and medical supplies for African Union Member States, and we are delighted to see the Government of Germany and the European Union coming out strongly to support our initiatives,” said
Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.

The kits delivery is part of the larger Team Europe support to the African continental response to the coronavirus. In June, Team Europe provided €10 million to facilitate the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for the coronavirus outbreak, supporting in-country health care workers, rapid responders for surveillance, laboratory and case management and the strengthening of the Africa Continental Taskforce for Coronavirus.

Background:

The test kits have been sourced by the German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG). The SEEG was initiated in 2015 by BMZ in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Health in response to the West African Ebola crisis. The SEEG brings together the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Charité, the Robert Koch Institute and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. In addition to providing testing materials, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the SEEG will team up for External Quality Assessments in the designated African reference laboratories, using the provided test kits for benchmarking and accreditation of quality and effectiveness of testing in Africa.

The total Team Europe global response package stands at €36.5 billion, combining resources from the EU, its Member States, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This support focuses on addressing the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian needs; on strengthening partner countries’ health, nutrition, water and sanitation systems and their research, preparedness and response capacities; as well as on supporting them in alleviating the social and economic consequences of the crisis. At least €6.8 billion is supporting countries in Africa. Additionally, a considerable part of the overall Team Europe guarantees of €2.9 billion will also benefit Africa.

Factsheets: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge

For further inquiries, please contact:

European Commission: Balazs Ujvari – Tel: +32 229 54578;
Daniel Puglisi – Tel: +32 229 69140

German Embassy Addis Ababa: Catrin Stibbe: pol-4@addi.diplo.de

Coronavirus Global Response: Commission joins the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)

Coronavirus Global Response: Commission joins the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)

Today, the European Commission has confirmed its interest to participate in the COVAX Facility for equitable access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines everywhere, for everyone who needs them. As part of a Team Europe effort, the Commission is today also announcing a contribution of €400 million in guarantees to support COVAX and its objectives in the context of the Coronavirus Global Response.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “Global collaboration is the only way to overcome a global pandemic. Under the Coronavirus Global Response and the Global Goal Unite campaign, we have seen the world come together as one. Almost €16 billion have been pledged so far and the most talented researchers and organisations are pooling their efforts to deliver vaccines, tests and treatments, which will be our universal, common good. Today, the Commission is announcing a €400 million contribution to COVAX for working together in purchasing future vaccines to the benefit of low and middle income countries. I’m confident this will bring us closer to our goal: beating this virus, together.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “It is only by working together globally, in solidarity, that we can defeat the coronavirus. We need an inclusive international approach and as we are showing today, Team Europe – European Commission and EU Member States – is committed to ensuring the success of the COVAX Facility and facilitating access to a vaccine in an equitable manner for all people across the world.” 

Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International partnerships, said: “Only by securing equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine across the world will we end the pandemic and ensure a sustainable recovery; working with our partner countries is crucial so that we can build back better and healthier.

The COVAX Facility, co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

As part of a EU joint engagement (Commission, Member States and European financial institutions, notably EIB) to mobilise resources for the Coronavirus Global Response, the Commission intends to mobilise up to €400 million in guarantees to support COVAX and its underlying objectives as part of a Team Europe effort. The detailed terms and conditions for the EU’s participation and contribution will be worked out in the coming days and weeks. Team Europe is ready to put its expertise and resources at work within COVAX to accelerate and scale-up development and manufacturing of a global supply of vaccines for citizens across the world, in poor and rich countries.

The EU’s participation in COVAX will be complementary to the ongoing EU negotiations with vaccine companies that aim at scaling up manufacturing capacity of vaccine producers, contributing to global efforts.

Background:

The European Commission is committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world and not only at home. No one will be safe until everyone is safe. This is why it immediately responded to the WHO’s call for action and has raised almost €16 billion since 4 May 2020 under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action for universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery.

As a milestone under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action for universal access to affordable coronavirus vaccination, treatment and testing, The Global Goal: Unite for our Future campaign was launched by NGO Global Citizen on 28 May under the patronage of President Ursula von der Leyen.

On 4 May, the Commission also proposed a cooperation framework to align global efforts and accelerate progress in developing coronavirus vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and strengthening health systems: the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator.

Three partnerships, based on the three priorities of the Coronavirus Global Response, are at its core. They gather industry, research, foundations, regulators and international organisations to work together on all steps needed to deliver new tools and solutions, from research to manufacturing and deployment.

COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access for all countries across the world to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

Co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, COVAX was launched at the end of April 2020 at an event co-hosted by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, the President of France, the President of the European Commission, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since then, the EU has been actively engaged with Gavi, CEPI and other participant countries in the setting up of COVAX governance and financial tools. The final terms of the EU’s participation following today’s expression of interest still need to be defined.

The COVAX Facility aims to purchase 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, by negotiating with a diversified portfolio of vaccine suppliers covering different scientific technologies, time delivery and prices. The COVAX Facility is an insurance mechanism which will reduce risk for manufacturers, concerned about investing without assured demand, and for countries, concerned about failing to secure access to a viable vaccine.