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US Needs to Support Sudan’s Democratic Revolution

US Needs to Support Sudan’s Democratic Revolution

Source: War on the Rocks posted on 5 August 2020
War on the Rocks posted on 5 August 2020 a commentary titled “U.S. Inaction Is Handicapping Sudan’s Revolution” by Zach Vertin, Brookings Institution, and Jon Temin, Freedom House.

Sudan’s democratic revolution has stalled.  Washington is doing little to help Sudan’s new leaders seize the moment.  Its inaction is threatening to undermine their once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Somalia-Somaliland Talks

Somalia-Somaliland Talks

Source: The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 6 August 2020
The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 6 August 2020 a brief titled “Somalia-Somaliland: A Halting Embrace of Dialogue.”

The ICG urges that Somalia and Somaliland continue the dialogue initiated in June by the United States and the European Union.

Nile Water Issues Roil Political Situation in Horn of Africa

Nile Water Issues Roil Political Situation in Horn of Africa

Source: Foreign Affairs published on 10 August 2020

Foreign Affairs published on 10 August 2020 a commentary titled “Toxic Water Politics Threaten Democracy and Regional Stability” by Michael Woldemariam.

Ethiopia has begun filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.  Egypt continues to regard the dam as a threat to its national interests.  Sudan is caught in the middle of the dispute.  Negotiations have failed to resolve critical outstanding issues.  Toxic Nile politics are complicating the fragile democratic transitions in Ethiopia and Sudan.  International relations in the Horn of Africa remain unstable and Ethiopia’s and Egypt’s efforts to outflank each other diplomatically add to an already explosive mix.

Miraa traders face bleak future as Somalia continue to lock them out

Miraa traders face bleak future as Somalia continue to lock them out
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Source: Daily Nation, Kenya, Tuesday August 11, 2020
A pickup van transporting miraa. File | Nation Media Group
A pickup van transporting miraa. File | Nation Media Group


Miraa farmers and sellers are staring at a bleak future in the key Somalia market if the Kenyan government does not move with speed to resolve a trade impasse with its neighbour.

The hope of resumption of the trade in the biggest market crashed after Somalia exempted miraa from cargo allowed into the country after international flights resumed on August 3.

Their hope was further dimmed after a delegation of traders and transporters dispatched to engage the Somali government last failed to unlock the impasse after officials demanded government-to-government talks.

The trade in Somalia is also facing headwinds from anti-miraa crusaders who have taken advantage of the suspension induced by Covid-19 to intensify their campaign for a permanent ban.Goods from Somalia

Traders who spoke to the Nation said their delegation was informed that the continued suspension of miraa was due to Kenya’s stance on goods from Somalia, coupled by Kenya Airways’ failure to resume flights to Mogadishu.

According to Maua town miraa traders’ chairman Mohamed Qureshi, their delegation met government ministers and were upbeat they would resume business this week.

“However, President Mohamed Farmaajo rejected our request to lift the suspension of miraa trade. We are aware that the decision is not because of Covid-19 but due to Kenya’s recent hard stance on imports from Somalia.”

“Recently, a lot of rice, sugar and fish from Somalia has been destroyed by Kenyan officials,” Mr Qureshi said.

Alternative businesses

He said traders who have been relying on the Somalia market are now considering venturing into alternative businesses to earn a living.

“Since miraa was suspended in Somalia four months ago, some traders in Maua town are relying on well-wishers to survive. The situation is dire. The government should do something before we lose the only surviving market,” he pleaded.

Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) Chairman Kimathi Munjuri accused the government of ignoring their pleas to intervene in Somalia, leading to loss of livelihoods.

He confirmed that their last-ditch effort of sending a delegation of traders to Somalia has not borne fruit.

Talks with Somalia

“We reached out to the government way back in April to initiate talks with Somalia about the resumption of miraa trade. We were told that due to the inter-ministerial nature of the issue, it would be discussed in the Cabinet and a way forward given. We are shocked that nothing was done until Somalia extended the suspension of miraa business,” Mr Munjuri stated.

He said there was hope for resumption of trade this week after the Finance ministry released guidelines for miraa traders but the President rejected the proposal on Friday.

Nyambene Miraa Sacco Chairman Moses Lichoro said farmers will soon take to the streets to protest over the government’s silence.

“Farmers who grow the varieties meant for the Somalia market have lost millions of shillings in the last four months. We will be holding demonstrations until the government listens to us,” Mr Lichoro said.

Anti-miraa crusaders

The Covid-19 pandemic has become a blessing in disguise for anti-miraa campaigners who are now hoping the suspension is not lifted.

“Before Covid-19 came, there were attempts by the government in Somalia to start rehabilitating khat chewers and help traders venture into alternative businesses to prepare ground for a ban,” Mr Qureshi said.

Traders have been using road and the sea to deliver about two trucks of miraa which has turned out to be expensive.

A trader said it costs about Sh1.5 million to deliver miraa cargo by boat to Mogadishu, a journey that takes 11 days.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance in Somalia, miraa was the third largest local revenue earner for the country in 2019 at USD16.6 million (Sh1.79 billion) in import tax.

By May this year, the country had earned USD4.82 million (Sh521 million) from miraa imports.

Gun battle in Mogadishu prison kills 11

Gun battle in Mogadishu prison kills 11


Source: AA, Tuesday August 11, 2020

Security forces among casualties, officials say


MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 11 people, including security forces and Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab fighters, were killed, while several others wounded in a gun battle inside the central prison in the capital Mogadishu on Monday, officials told Anadolu Agency.

The fighting between security forces and al-Shabaab militants began after al-Shabaab inmates secretly received weapons.

Security forces killed six al-Shabaab inmates who were involved in the incident, Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo, the Somali government spokesman told Anadolu Agency over the phone.”The fighting inside the central prison in Mogadishu this evening claimed at least 11 lives — including security forces and six al-Shabaab militants already convicted of different crimes — and wounded several other people,” Oronjo said.

The situation is currently under control and security forces eliminated all fighters involved in the incident, he noted.

Oronjo added that they did not know how al-Shabaab inmates had received the weapons, but that investigations into the matter were underway.

Dr Hawa Abdi, human rights champion, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, ‘Somali hero,’ passes away at 73

Dr Hawa Abdi, human rights champion, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, ‘Somali hero,’ passes away at 73

Source: hiiraan Online, Wednesday August 5, 2020


Photo/( /Grand Central Publishing)

Mogadishu (HOL) – Dr Hawa Abdi Dhiblawe, prominent human rights activist, founder and chairperson of the Dr Hawa Abdi Foundation and one of Somalia’s first female obstetricians has passed away in Mogadishu. She was 73.

She died Tuesday morning, but the circumstances surrounding her death remain unestablished at the moment.

Dr Abdi affectionately referred to as the Mother Theresa of Somalia, was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Her work is credited for saving the lives of thousands during some of Somalia’s darkest moments. She cared for the wounded, the sick – often for free – at a hospital, she established on her family’s land in 1983. What began as a humble one-room operation would eventually care for close to 90,000 people during Somalia’s catastrophic drought in 2011.

While caring for her patients, Dr Abdi famously faced down nearly 750 militants from Hizbul Islam who laid siege to her compound in 2011. She heroically told them at the time, “I’m not leaving my hospital. If I die, I will die with my people and my dignity.’ She yelled at the young gunmen, “You are young, and you are a man, but what have you done for your society?”. The militants were met with fierce resistance from the locals who gathered around the hospital demanding to see Dr Hawa and mounting international pressure. After a week, the second-in-command came to Dr Hawa with a signed apology letter written in both Somali and English.

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When the civil war broke out in 1991, Dr Abdi’s grandmother implored her to stay behind and use her skills to assist the most vulnerable. She witnessed firsthand the devastation that occurred in Somalia early after the collapse of the government.”During those dark days of 1992, starvation set in, and I sold my family’s gold to buy enough food to sustain the vulnerable children and give the gravediggers enough strength to work. Even when we were burying 50 people per day, I was still able to provide free land, security, and medical treatment. We clung to one another, and we survived, but the fighting continued. Now, again, we see famine—not caused by drought alone, but by the conflict that continues to ravage Somalia,” she said in an interview.

Dr Hawa Abdi was born in Mogadishu in 1947 and attended local elementary, intermediate and secondary academies.

In 1964 she travelled to the Kiev to study gynaecological medicine with the help of a Soviet scholarship. In 1971, she began her medical career as one of Somalia’s first female gynaecologists working in Mogadishu’s most prominent hospital. She quickly recognized the lack of resources for a hospital birth outside the capital. She decided in 1983 to open her clinic known as the Rural Health Development Organisation (RHDO) in the outskirts of Mogadishu. She focused primarily on the treatment of women from non-urban areas.

Dr Hawa told the New York Times that her dream to become a doctor began when she was 12 after her mother died during childbirth.

She was also an author; her moving memoir,  Keeping Hope Alive: How One Somali Woman Changed 90,000 lives was published in 2013 and was well-reviewed.

Her unwavering commitment to the downtrodden has earned her recognition worldwide. She and her daughters whom Glamour Magazine named Women of the Year in 2010 and described as ‘Saints of Somalia’ have been running the clinic and Dr Hawa Abdi Foundation. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. In that same year, she was honoured with the BET’s Social Humanitarian Award, Women of Impact Award from the WITW Foundation, and the John Jay Medal for Justice. In 2014, she received the Medal from Want award from the Roosevelt Foundation. She was awarded the 2013 Vital Voices’ Women of the Year Award. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Pilosio Building Peace Award. Most recently, she was honoured by Harvard University with an honorary Doctors of Law degree in May 2017.


A Family Affair: From left: Dr. Amina Mohamed, Dr. Hawa Abdi and Dr. Deqo Mohamed, photographed during a business trip to Geneva, Switzerland, on September 18, 2010. Hair and makeup: Mitzi for Visage Management

Hiiraan Online recognized Dr Hawa for her selfless campaign to treat disenfranchised women and bolster access to medical services in Somalia with our ‘Person of the Year’ award in 2007.

“Everyone in the Dr Hawa Abdi hospital is a Somali—no clan affiliation is allowed here. If someone brings such affiliation, he or she will be expelled from here,” she told Hiiraan Online at the time.

Dr Hawa Abdi is survived by her two daughters, Dr Deqo Mohamed and Dr Amina Mohamed, who followed in their mother’s footsteps and worked alongside Dr Hawa at their hospital.

Dr Hawa’s legacy will live on through their work and the Hawa Abdi Village, a sprawling complex that includes the 400-bed hospital, a primary school, a women’s education centre. The village also holds agriculture programs that can provide preventative defence against famine – a scourge that Dr Abdi has fought most of her career valiantly.

Sudan: Is Darfur Back to Its Bad Old Ways?

Sudan: Is Darfur Back to Its Bad Old Ways?

Source: The New York Times published on 30 July 2020
The New York Times published on 30 July 2020 an article titled “The Dictator Who Waged War on Darfur Is Gone, but the Killing Goes On” by Declan Walsh.

The author reports that heavily armed gangs in Darfur continue to massacre, plunder and rape in scorch-earth tactics that recall the worst days of former President Omar al-Bashir, who is now in prison.

Somalia’s Agriculture and Livestock Sectors:A Baseline Study And A Human Capital Development Strategy

Heritage Institute for Policy Studies

Source: The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies, Mogadishu

HIPS Bulletin

The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit policy research and analysis institute based in Mogadishu, Somalia.


Latest Policy Brief:

Expanded Participation Model: Alternative for Somalia’s 2020 One-Person One-Vote Plan

Download the full policy brief here


  

Somalia’s Agriculture and Livestock Sectors:A Baseline Study And A Human Capital Development Strategy

As Somalia transitions from more than three decades of conflict to partial stability in many parts of the country, there is an opportunity for sustainable development. The national stocks of natural resources (fertile soil, livestock, fisheries, minerals, oil and gas) hold opportunities not only to improve living standards and food security for the population of nearly 16 million, but also to provide a platform for advancing human
capacity in trades, skills and technologies.

However, decades of conflict, recurrent droughts and floods that have internally displaced millions, coupled with weak governance have undermined Somalia’s human capital and state effectiveness. This has
compromised delivery of basic social services such as healthcare and education, impeded legitimate revenue collection efforts and allowed corruption and illegal taxation throughout the country. As a result, the private sector and economic growth have been severely underdeveloped. In the absence of strong coordination and effective investment in capacity development, any current gains or hopes for future reform initiatives
are in danger of reversal. Pervasive human capacity gaps present a threat to ownership, scaling up and the sustainability of efforts and results

Download the full report here


 

Chinese ambassador to Somalia in Somaliland over Taiwan row

Chinese ambassador to Somalia in Somaliland over Taiwan row

Source: hiiraan Online, 2nd August 2020
Sunday August 2, 2020

HARGEISA (HOL) – Chinese ambassador to Somalia Qin Jian Sunday held talks with senior officials in Somaliland government amid diplomatic row over the Muse Bihi’s dalliance with Taiwan.

Sources privy to the talks have indicated the ambassador’s mission to the breakaway region was solely on the new diplomatic relations between Somaliland and Taiwan which have caused jitters in Beijing.

Somaliland and Taiwan, both seeking statehood announced last month diplomatic ties that saw both open offices in each other’s territories.

Both China and Somalia have dismissed the arrangement even as the US signaled support for the new ties amid fallout between Beijing and Washington.

The visit by the ambassador to Somaliland adds to increasing international interest in the breakaway region which has seen Egypt and Ethiopia send emissaries to Hargeisa within the last one month.There are reports Egypt is seeking to build a military base in Somaliland to counter Ethiopia’s influence on the region.

Both Cairo and Addis Ababa are currently at loggerheads over the filling of the GERD dam which Ethiopia said will go ahead despite failure to strike a deal with Egypt.

AMISOM to relocate training base to Ethiopia- report

AMISOM to relocate training base to Ethiopia- report


Source: Hiiraan Online, Friday July 31, 2020

African Union troops based in Somalia are reportedly relocating their training base in the near future to Ethiopia.

According to the influential Africa Intelligence, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will be leaving Mogadishu for Jigjiga in Ethiopia.

The media outlet reports that the US Department of State has contracted Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), a US based military logistics contractor at the cost of $13.6 million to relocate AMISOM’s training infrastructure and reset them in Jigjiga which is located about 60km from the border with Somaliland.

AMISOM has been headquartered in Mogadishu since it began its mission in 2007. Besides fighting the militant group Al-Shabaab in collaboration with local forces, the continental force is also tasked with training Somali Security Forces.

It is not clear what informed the decision to move the AU forces main base from Mogadishu where it provides pivotal security support to Federal Government institution including the Mogadishu Airport.

The UN Security Council cut by 1,000 AMISOM Forces in March and subsequently extended its mandate for another year.

AMISOM has in the last year toned down military operations in Somalia as Somali National Army and US trained Danab squad lead major operations which have resulted in the capture of key towns in Lower Shabelle and Middle Jubba.

Sudan and the US State Sponsors of Terrorism List

Sudan and the US State Sponsors of Terrorism List

Source: The Foreign Policy Research Institute published on 23 July 2020
The Foreign Policy Research Institute published on 23 July 2020 a commentary titled “Can Sudan Escape Its History as a Transit Hub for Violent Extremist Organizations?” by Peter Chalk, Valens Global, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Valens Global, and Colin P. Clarke, Foreign Policy Research Institute.

The State Department placed Sudan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 and it has not been removed in spite of the fact annual State Department reports on terrorism have stated that Sudan has cooperated with the U.S. government over the last fifteen years to reign in terrorism.  The most recent State Department Sudan country report on terrorism notes that “despite the absence of high-profile terrorist attacks, ISIS facilitation networks appear to be active within Sudan.” The authors correctly note there are other legal obstacles that are making it difficult to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

But there is no indication that the government of Sudan is aiding and abetting possible ISIS facilitation networks in Sudan and these networks exist in at least a dozen countries that are NOT on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Somalia appoints new oil and gas regulator ahead of round launch

Somalia appoints new oil and gas regulator ahead of round launch

UpStream Online
Friday July 31, 2020
By Barry Morgan in  Paris

Somalia has finally appointed a board and chairman to guide the new Somali Petroleum Authority, the challenge is now to attract suitors into the troubled Horn of Africa


Newly appointed director of the Somali Petroleum Authority (SPA), Ibrahim Ali Hussein


The Somali Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources has approved board selections for the fledgling Somali Petroleum Authority (SPA), appointing Ibrahim Ali Hussein as the regulator’s first chairman and chief executive officer ahead of the launch next week of a delayed licensing exercise.The move follows ratification in February of a revised Petroleum Law, providing for a body to regulate oil and gas activity according to “principles of equality, openness, accountability, transparency and non-discrimination in the interests of all the Somali people”.

Having served since 2014 as senior economic advisor to the ministry, Ali Hussein has been a key player in pushing through the enabling legislation, organising the six-block offshore licensing exercise and over-seeing the maritime boundary dispute with Kenya.

Under the Petroleum Ownership Management & Revenue Sharing Agreement with the country’s component states, mineral and natural resources are vested in the Somali people and future oil and gas revenues must be shared between the federal government, the six constituent member states and their local communities.“Inauguration of the Somali Petroleum Authority represents a first critical milestones for implementation of the Petroleum Law (just) when the country is commencing exploration activities,” said Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister, Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed.

The SPA’s first objective will be to “ensure the fiscal and regulatory regime is internationally competitive to attract investment and we are encouraged by the level of interest already expressed in our first forthcoming licensing round, said Ali Hussein.(Copyright)

Somaliland Recognition Quest Boosted By Ethiopia And Egypts Scramble For Hargeisa

Somaliland Recognition Quest Boosted By Ethiopia And Egypts Scramble For Hargeisa


Source: EABFriday July 31, 2020

The scramble for Somaliland has gone a notch higher with Ethiopia set to send a full ambassador to Hargeisa.

This comes after reports emerged that Egypt had heightened its plans to build a military base in the Somaliland.

The scramble seems to have heightened the already strained relations between Ethiopia and Egypt occasioned by the Nile River row pitting the two countries.

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Early in the week, Ethiopia warned Egypt to refrain from establishing any military base in Somaliland that would pose a security threat to the East African region.This reaction came days after an Egyptian delegation met Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi in Hargeisa where the two sides discussed Cairo’s proposal to set up a military facility in the self declared state.

“As a sovereign country, Egypt has a legitimate right to create relationships with any county in the region,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Ambassador Dina Mufti, said.

However, he added that Egypt’s relationships should not be established at the expense of another country.

“If Egypt’s intent to have a presence in the region would be a threat to a third country, that won’t be appropriate,” he said.

“In this case, we need to have concrete instances of what’s happening…we hope it won’t be at the expense of Ethiopia or any other neighbouring countries because if so, it will be unlawful, against humanity and international peace and security.”

Its not yet known if Somaliland has accepted Egypt’s proposal, but the two have reportedly reached an agreement on exchange of high level representation offices in Hargeisa and Cairo.”

An Ethiopian delegation led by Finance minister Ahmed Shide went to Hargeisa days after the Egyptian delegation had paid visit.

But Amb Mufti rejects speculation that Ethiopia’s visit was due to concerns over Egypt’s plan.

“These are routine schedules aimed to discuss bilateral relations between the countries and it has nothing to do with the Egyptian delegation’s visit to Somaliland.”

In the face of the dispute, Somaliland seem to be the biggest gainer as it strengthens its course for international recognition which it has been pushing for over three decades.

Recognition from Ethiopia and Egypt who are among the biggest economies in the continent and plans by Kenya to set up an consul in Hargeisa will give Somaliland a strong position to argue their case in the African Union.

 

Half of violence against African migrants is by law enforcers, U.N. says

Half of violence against African migrants is by law enforcers, U.N. says


Source: Reuters, Thursday July 30, 2020
Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency shelter center in Tajoura near Tripoli, Libya April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo
Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency shelter center in Tajoura near Tripoli, Libya April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo


GENEVA (Reuters) – Nearly half of all the violence visited on African migrants during their journey to the Mediterranean coast is perpetrated by law enforcers, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Wednesday.

According to a report by UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council’s Mixed Migration Centre (MMC), thousands of refugees and migrants suffer extreme abuse including torture and sexual or gender-based violence, and in some cases death.

The report is based on nearly 16,000 interviews with refugees and migrants.

“In 47% of the cases, the victims reported the perpetrators of violence are law enforcement authorities, whereas in the past, we believe that it was mainly smugglers and traffickers,” Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean, told a news conference in Geneva.

“States have a responsibility that they need to discharge in that respect.”

UNHCR reported that 1,750 people had died in 2018 and 2019 trying to reach the sea, but Cochetel said the true numbers were likely to be higher.

“That is just the visible tip of the iceberg. There are many families looking for their loved ones along the routes, and there is no answer to give them,” he said.

In recent months, hundreds of migrants have been stopped at sea and sent back to Libya despite the risk of violence there.

On Monday, Libyan authorities shot dead three Sudanese migrants trying to avoid detention as they disembarked from a failed attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

War-ravaged Libya is a major transit point for migrants seeking to reach Europe and now hosts an estimated 654,000 of them, often living in cramped conditions with little access to healthcare

Ethiopia reads mischief in Egypt plan for Somaliland military base

Ethiopia reads mischief in Egypt plan for Somaliland military base

Source: Hiiraan Online, Thursday July 30, 2020

Ethiopia on Monday warned Egypt against establishing any military base that would pose a security threat to the East African region.

The reaction comes days after an Egyptian delegation met Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi in Hargeisa where the two sides discussed Cairo’s proposal to set up a military facility in the self-declared Somalia state.

“As a sovereign country, Egypt has a legitimate right to create relationships with any country in the region,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dina Mufti, told The EastAfrican.

However, he added that Egypt’s relationships should not be established at the expense of another country.

“If Egypt’s intent to have a presence in the region would be a threat to a third country, that won’t be appropriate,” he said.

“In this case, we need to have concrete instances of what’s happening…we hope it won’t be at the expense of Ethiopia or any other neighbouring countries because if so, it will be unlawful, against humanity and international peace and security.”
Ethiopia has a good relationship with most of its neighbours including Somaliland.

It’s not yet known if Somaliland has accepted Egypt’s proposal, but the two have reportedly reached an agreement “on the exchange of high-level representation offices in Hargeisa and Cairo.”

An Ethiopian team led by Finance minister Ahmed Shide went to Hargeisa days after the Egyptian delegation had paid a visit.

But Mr Dina has rejected speculation that Ethiopia’s visit was due to concerns over Egypt’s plan.

“These are routine schedules aimed to discuss bilateral relations between the countries and it has nothing to do with the Egyptian delegation’s visit to Somaliland.”

Nile dam

Meanwhile, tripartite talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to reach a final agreement over the Grand Renaissance Dam and its use of the Nile River for filling.

Some observers say Egypt’s interest in gaining a foothold in Eastern Africa has piqued after Ethiopia said it will stick to its plan to fill the mega dam.

Earlier last month, South Sudan rubbished reports that it has agreed to Egypt’s request to build a military base in Pagak, a town bordering Ethiopia.

Last week, Addis Ababa announced that the first phase of filling of the dam was complete, with the government hinting that it will start generating electricity in a few months.

Downstream countries, mainly Egypt, have repeatedly warned Ethiopia against filling the dam before a final deal is reached.

Stick to Dhusamareb talks without fail, international community tells Somali leaders

Stick to Dhusamareb talks without fail, international community tells Somali leaders


Source: Hiiraan Online, Tuesday July 28, 2020

 

Mogadishu (HOL) – The UN and other international partners in Somalia have called on the the country’s leadership to remain focused on the ongoing electoral talks despite the removal of the country’s prime minister from office.

A joint statement undersigned by over ten embassies and international organizations based in the country called for commitments from the Federal Government and Federal Member States to ensure the talks go on uninterrupted.

“The international partners expect the Federal and State leaders to honour the agreements reached on 22 July in Dhusamareb and the timelines for follow-up meetings bringing together the Federal Government, Federal Member States, the Federal Parliament leadership, political parties and civil society representatives,” the statement read in part.

They also warned against unilateral decisions noting it would lack legitimacy and not unworkable.

The statement noted the FGS and FMS should move in fast and fill the positions for the technical committee formed mid this month to work out an electoral formula which shall be deliberated when the Dhusamareb talks resume mid next month.

The FGS and FMS leaders meeting in Dhusamareb mid this month agreed to form a technical committee to be composed of two members from each FMS and the Federal Government.

Prime Minister Hassan Khaire was removed from office last week in a no confidence vote which had since been condemned by the US and the European Union.

Sudan calls for ‘decisive talks’ on Ethiopia dam

Sudan calls for ‘decisive talks’ on Ethiopia dam


Source: Arab News, Monday July 27, 2020
This handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies on July 21, 2020 shows a view of northwestern Ethiopia that focuses on the status of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River on July 11, 2020. (Handout/Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies/AFP)
This handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies on July 21, 2020 shows a view of northwestern Ethiopia that focuses on the status of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River on July 11, 2020. (Handout/Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies/AFP)


CAIRO: Sudan wants a decisive round of negotiations on the Renaissance Dam with Egypt and Ethiopia, provided the latter adheres to a timetable and agenda to address disagreements, Sudanese Minister of Water and Irrigation Yasser Abbas said on Sunday.

The minister added that Addis Ababa must also negotiate without raising issues beyond the scope of the dam and future projects.

Abbas said an African Union (AU) statement on the Renaissance Dam meetings is in line with Sudan’s proposals on the need to reach a fair and binding agreement on filling and operating the dam and other future projects.

The AU confirmed it is preparing for a new round of talks on the dam. It has invited Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to work on reaching an agreement.

Egypt, which relies on the Nile for 95 percent of its fresh water, fears the dam will significantly reduce the river’s flow, especially during its filling through periods of drought or in dry years. Ethiopia has said the project is key to its energy development.Sudan, as a downstream country, also fears the dam will affect its water supply.

Ahmed Hafez, spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the AU summit on the dam last Tuesday highlighted the need to reach an agreement that will include a mechanism to settle disputes.

The Khartoum State Water Authority announced a sudden rise in the level of the Nile, which led to a decrease in the production of clean water, especially in marine water purification stations. It suggests that work is underway to raise water platforms in the stations.

Anwar Al-Sadat Al-Haj Muhammad, the authority’s director-general, said turbidity in the water increased from 3,000 to 14,000 units, reducing the production of clean water in all stations in the state. The North Khartoum and East Khartoum neighborhoods were most affected.

“The historic achievement of the first stage of filling the Renaissance Dam is a testament to the end of the unfair use of the Nile,” the Ethiopian News Agency reported Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen as saying.

In a speech to a meeting to coordinate public participation in construction of the dam, Mekonnen said the completion of the first stage of filling the dam puts an end to the unfair use of the Nile, which has “continued for a long time.” He referred to the 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan that, 60 years after its application, “resulted in Ethiopia suffering.”

During the presentation of the report, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Seleshi Bekele said Ethiopia uses less than 10 percent of the 15,000 gigawatt hours the dam is capable of producing from Nile water.

He added that electricity generation from water will be ready in February and April 2021, through two turbines. A further 11 new turbines will be also be installed.

Gamal Hilal, former adviser to the White House, told the Egyptian press that the US has not abandoned mediation in the dam dispute, with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin playing a mediating role.

Hilal said Mnuchin’s biggest concern other than the coronavirus pandemic is the process to steady the US economy on behalf of US President Donald Trump and Congress.

“These matters are Mnuchin’s responsibility,” Hilal said.

“All his efforts are focused on saving the economy and negotiating to approve new deals. It is difficult for anyone to imagine that Mnuchin will leave his president and economy, and focus on the Renaissance Dam.”

Hilal said the US position will be neutral, but if Egyptian diplomacy succeeds in making the US ministry of foreign affairs and the treasury make statements in favor of Egypt, then it will be a good step, even if Mnuchin has no time to enter negotiations himself.

“I do not separate the risks of the dam and the risks of the Turkish presence in Libya, because both are an existential threat to Egypt and neither is more important than the other,” Hilal added.

 

$25 Million AfDB grant for Somalia will bolster budget for COVID-19 responses

$25 Million AfDB grant for Somalia will bolster budget for COVID-19 responses


Source: EABW, Monday July 27, 2020

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 24 July 2020—The African Development Bank today approved grants worth  $25.1 million to Somalia to bolster the national budget for government efforts to mitigate national and regional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding, comprised a $10.04 million  grant from Pillar 1 of the Bank’s Transition Support Facility and a $15.06 million grant from the Regional Operations Envelope, comes under the umbrella of the Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility.

“It is the first time the Bank is leveraging the Regional Operation Envelope resources for a Budget Support Operation. This approach was pertinent to ensure that Somalia has adequate resources to contain the spread of the disease in its territory and limit cross-border impacts that pose serious risks for health, social and economic development for the Horn of Africa sub-region,” said Acting Bank Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo.

The Somali government will use the financing to carry out three interlinked responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that will enhance the health system; safeguard livelihoods and social protection; and support labour force productivity and economic activity.

Health-sector interventions include increasing the country’s ICU capacity, boosting infection prevention and control measures, and widening the provision of personal protective equipment. Social protection measures include provision of nutrition-linked cash transfers and compensation for those engaged in livestock markets, as well as programs to offer temporary tax and customs duty relief, and 50% relief on staple food, including cooking oil and flour.Among initiatives aiming to support the workforce and economy are establishment of a financing facility to support micro, small and medium enterprises; the introduction of permanent tax and customs increases on tobacco, beauty products, and plastic bags; and advancement of certification procedures for job-creating local production of COVID-19 supplies.

Somalia recorded its first COVID-19 case on 18 March and reacted by suspending non-essential business and social activities, closing off air and sea connections except for goods, and introducing partial curfews and lockdowns.

The crisis has placed the country’s recent socioeconomic progress in jeopardy and increased its susceptibility to political instability and climate-induced shocks. The Horn of Africa region has also experienced swarms of locusts over the past year that have increased food insecurity.

Under a worst-case scenario, Somalia’s real GDP is forecast to contract by 5.4% in 2020 and inflation to hit 6.3% as imports decrease.

The Bank’s grant funding aligns with Somalia’s development objectives and COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. The intervention also aligns with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy, and its Eastern Africa Regional Integration Strategy and broader efforts to combat fragility and build resilience in Africa.

Somali President appoints caretaker Prime Minister after Ali Khaire’s ouster

Somali President appoints caretaker Prime Minister after Ali Khaire’s ouster


Source: CGTN, Sunday July 26, 2020

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has appointed Mahdi Mohamed Gulaid as the Caretaker Prime Minister following the removal of Hassan Ali Khaire from the position earlier on Saturday.

Before his appointment to the position, Gulaid served as Deputy Prime Minister.

“Effective from today and as per the Provisional Constitution, His Excellency Mahdi Mohamed Gulaid will serve in the new capacity until the nomination of a permanent Prime Minister who will continue stay the course of rebuilding Somalia in line with the government’s vision and the expectations of the Somali people,” Somalia’s presidency said in a statement.

The country’s parliament ousted Khaire in a no-confidence vote on Saturday, the speaker of the house said, due to criticism of his efforts to tighten security in the country.

The no-confidence vote garnered 170-8 votes

President Farmajo later confirmed the development, saying he had “accepted the decision.”

“President Farmajo will immediately appoint a Prime Minister who will form a government that will take the country out of this transitional period and strengthen social services in the country,” he said.

Khaire served as Prime Minister since February 2017.

U.S. “concerned” over irregularities of no-confidence vote and the future of Somalia’s polls

U.S. “concerned” over irregularities of no-confidence vote and the future of Somalia’s polls


Source: Hiiraan Online, Saturday July 25, 2020

Mogadishu (HOL) – The U.S. Embassy in Somalia has said that they “regret” the actions of President Farmajo and Somalia’s lawmakers to withdraw their support for Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.

In a statement released on Saturday, the embassy said that they are concerned that the PM’s ouster will further complicate the current delicate political balance in the country.

“The U.S. Embassy regrets the actions of the President and Lower House of Parliament to withdraw confidence in Prime Minister Ali Hassan Khayre and his government, which heightened political tensions and undermined the ongoing process of dialogue and negotiation between the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States, and other key stakeholders.”

The statement also warned individual actors to not seek power on their own at the expense of cooperation.

“This irregular process is a setback for the reform agenda Somalia has pursued with the support of the United States. Somalia’s stability, security, and prosperity can only be built through cooperation, coordination, and compromise among Somalia’s leaders; if any individual or institution seeks to dominate the others, it undermines the stability of the entire nation.”The U.S. Embassy reiterated it’s support for a politically negotiated solution to end the electoral crisis in the country.

“Developing a workable, broadly acceptable election model is key to preserving Somalia’s security and stability, and the United States calls on all stakeholders to act cooperatively and seek compromise to mitigate the risk of a constitutional crisis.  The United States urges the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States, Parliament, and other parties to continue to work together to implement the agreement reached in Dhusamareb.”

The U.S. warned it would take measures against “spoilers” to the political process.

“The U.S. Embassy calls on all Somali leaders, institutions, and stakeholders to pursue the best interests of their country rather than pursuing their individual interests, to work together constructively to build broad consensus.  We will take measures against spoilers who seek to undermine Somalia’s progress towards stability, peace, inclusive governance, and prosperity.  We do not want Somalia to go in the wrong direction.  The United States remains a strong and devoted partner to the Somali people and those leaders who continue to but the best interests of Somali people first.”