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Horn of Africa

 

Ex-presidents and MPs briefly barred from leaving Mogadishu for Beletweyne

Ex-presidents and MPs briefly barred from leaving Mogadishu for Beletweyne


Source: Hiiraan Online, Source: Hiiraan ÖSunday November 10, 2019

MOGADISHU (HOL) – Former Presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed were held back from traveling to Beletweyne for a couple of hours in Mogadishu Sunday.

The leaders and MPs allied to the newly formed Forum for National Parties who were scheduled to travel to Beletweyne to deliver humanitarian supplies at about 9am left the airport two hours later.MPs who spoke to the media said the opposition group was barred from travelling since Prime Minister Hassan Khaire was also scheduled to head to the floods ravaged town in central Somalia.

The Prime Minister was in Bardale town in Bay region Saturday where he met with families displaced by the current floods.

Former President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was blocked in September 22 from traveling to Kismayu to attend then inauguration of Jubbaland president Ahmed Madobe.

Relations between the opposition groups and the government has been rocky in recent months amid accusations by the opposition against the federal government of suppressing freedom of expression and movement.

Ethiopia: Moving beyond Ethnic Politics

Ethiopia: Moving beyond Ethnic Politics

Source: Foreign Policy posted on 8 November 2019
Foreign Policy posted on 8 November 2019 a commentary titled “Ethiopia Will Explode If It Doesn’t Move Beyond Ethnic-based Politics” by Addisu Lashitew, Brookings Institution.

The author argues that in order to keep the country together, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed needs to convince various ethnic groups that he and his new party represent all Ethiopians.

US calls for dialogue in resolving political disputes in Somalia

US calls for dialogue in resolving political disputes in Somalia


Source: Hiiraan, Thursday November 7, 2019

MOGADISHU (HOL) – The US has called for dialogue in resolving political disputes in Somalia in apparent reference to the developments in Puntland which saw the state parliament speaker kicked out in a vote Thursday.

A statement from the US embassy in Somalia noted there was need to resolve political difference in a peaceful manner.“The United States calls on the Federal Government of Somalia, all Federal Member States, and citizens of Somalia to work towards political reconciliation, cooperation, and unity through peaceful dialogue,” the statement read in part.

Noting that Somalia had made ‘impressive progress in key area’, the US ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto said he encouraged ‘all actors to come together and remain focused on working with Somalia’s international partners to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to Somalia.’

Though he did not make reference to the developments in Puntland Wednesday and today, the remarks pointed to concerns over what happened in Puntland.

Speaker Abdihakim Dhoobo Daared was ousted out in a vote Thursday by MPs in Puntland state parliament. Majority of the MPs-49 out of 53 voted in favour of the impeachment motion.

Trump ‘to open Ethiopia’s controversial dam’

Trump ‘to open Ethiopia’s controversial dam’


Source: BBC, Saturday November 9, 2019

Water flows through Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia on September 26, 2019. PHOTO | REUTERS 

US President Donald Trump has told ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan that he will “cut the ribbon” at the inauguration of the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam when it is completed, an Ethiopian minister says.

Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s minister for water and irrigation, said Mr Trump made the comments during US-mediated talks aimed at solving a diplomatic row between the three countries over the sharing of the River Nile’s waters.

During the meeting, the three sides agreed to hold further talks in the US, and to reach a final settlement by 15 January.

Speaking to reporters (in Amharic) on Thursday, Mr Sileshi said:”President Trump sat with six people [two from each country] and tried to understand the situation. At the end of the discussion, he said he’d want to cut the ribbon with us on the inauguration.”
“But he stressed that we should avoid differences and work in cooperation. He’s given direction to the treasury secretary to lead discussions for smooth, quick and careful completion of the project.”

A joint statement issued on behalf of the three countries by the US Treasury Department did not mention any plans by the US president to open the dam.

The $4bn dam, the structure of which is expected to be finished next year, is at the heart of Ethiopia’s manufacturing and industrial dreams.

When fully operational, it is expected to be able to generate a massive 6,000 megawatts of electricity.

But Egypt fears the project will allow Ethiopia to control the flow of Africa’s longest river.

Somalia’s hopes of IGAD post dashed as Ethiopian becomes Executive Secretary

Somalia’s hopes of IGAD post dashed as Ethiopian becomes Executive Secretary


Source: Hiiraan Online, Saturday November 9, 2019

MOGADISHU (HOL) – Former Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu ascended to the helm of leadership at the regional bloc IGAD Thursday effectively sealing off hopes of long alienated members top on the list-Somalia.

Ethiopian Prime Minister who is the current chairman of the eight-member bloc appointed Dr. Gebeyehu late last month to take over from Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, a Kenyan who had hitherto been in the post since 2008.Maalim was appointed in June 2008 and later reappointed for another two four year term in 2012.
Somalia is the only member which has never held the position of Executive Secretary since the regional bloc was formed in 1986 and later reformed in 1996.

Both Somali and Djibouti had been eyeing the position of the Executive Secretary and chairman but reports indicated Kenya and Ethiopia which are also major financial contributors to the regional bloc planned to swap the positions.

Ethiopia has held the position of chairman since 2010 when then Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki handed over to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who later bequeathed his successor Desalegn Hailemariam. Current Premier Ahmed Abiy is the holder of the same position.

The ordinary heads of state summit will formally endorse Dr. Gebeyeh’s appointment. The same summit will also decide on who will take over the chairmanship of the regional bloc.

Should the supposed pact between Kenya and Ethiopia prevail, then most likely President Uhuru Kenyatta will become the new chair of the bloc.

There have been calls for reforms in the regional bloc to make it more robust and democratic in its functioning to allow chances for the rest of the members who include Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. Sudan held the position of Executive Secretary between 2000 and 2008.

Preventing Another Collapse in South-Sudan

Preventing Another Collapse in South-Sudan

Source: The International Crisis Group published on 4 November 2019
The International Crisis Group published on 4 November 2019 a paper titled “Deja Vu: Preventing Another Collapse in South Sudan.”

South Sudan is heading toward a crisis as it nears a 12 November deadline to form a government. President Salva Kiir is threatening to leave opposition leader and former vice president Riek Machar, who is demanding a delay to the new government, out of a new cabinet. Even if the two leaders agree to share power, disputes over security arrangements and state boundaries would poison the new administration, potentially leading to its collapse.

Is Kenya Fighting Al-Shabaab Terror with Terror?

Is Kenya Fighting Al-Shabaab Terror with Terror?

Source: The Washington Post published on 3 November 2019
The Washington Post published on 3 November 2019 an article titled “In Kenya’s Battle against Al-Shabaab, Locals Say the Military Is Fighting Terror with Terror” by Max Bearak.

Kenyan Somalis who live in northeastern Kenya near the border with Somalia claim that the Kenyan Defense Forces are using terrorist tactics to defeat the terrorist organization, al-Shabaab.

Architecture for a New Regional Order in the Red Sea

Architecture for a New Regional Order in the Red Sea

Source: Brookings published in November 2019
Brookings published in November 2019 a study titled “Toward a Red Sea Forum: The Gulf, the Horn of Africa, and Architecture for a New Regional Order” by Zach Vertin.

Freedom of navigation is at stake in the Red Sea as is the protection of maritime trade and control of a major strategic chokepoint, Bab el-Mandeb, at the south end. The Red Sea and Gulf of Aden represent the western flank of an emering theater of competition among global powers in the Indian Ocean. This paper surveys the changing Red Sea context and offers the rationale for a trans-regional governance framework.

Horn of Africa countries explore $15 billion joint economic initiative

Horn of Africa countries explore $15 billion joint economic initiative


Source: Hiiraan Online, Tuesday November 5, 2019

MOGADISHU (HOL) – Five Horn Africa countries are exploring a joint economic cooperation with a required capital of $15 billion to spur economic growth and boost trade and human development in the region.

The initiative bringing together Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea was formalized last month in the sidelines of World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC.According to a statement from the African Development Bank, the Horn initiative is based on four priority areas notably improving regional infrastructure connectivity, promoting trade and economic integration; and building resilience. The fourth thematic area is strengthening human capital development.

To jumpstart the initiative, these countries will require $15 billion.

ADB Vice President Khaled Sherif described the region as strategic and with potential.

“The Horn of Africa’s geo-strategic position with regard to the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, has important regional and international significance.

“These can be harnessed to spur integration, resilience and usher in a new era of prosperity, enabling the countries to reap significant dividends from the current peace initiatives.”

Most of the Horn of Africa countries easily outpaced the continent’s average growth rate in 2018. Africa’s gross domestic product expanded by an estimated 3.5% last year, while Ethiopia reached 7.7%, Djibouti 5.6%, Kenya 5.9% and Eritrea 4.2%. Somalia was the exception at 2.9%.

When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole, pay a price’, UN chief

‘When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole, pay a price’, UN chief

Human Rights

© UNESCO

“Without journalists able to do their jobs in safety, we face the prospect of a world of confusion and disinformation”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned in a statement released ahead of the International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists, which falls on 2 November

Climate-related Security Risks and Peacebuilding in Somalia

Climate-related Security Risks and Peacebuilding in Somalia

Source: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published in October 2019
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published in October 2019 a policy paper titled “Climate-related Security Risks and Peacebuilding in Somalia” by Karolina Eklow and Florian Krampe.

The authors conclude that climate-related change in Somalia has reduced livelihood options and caused migration. It has also left significant parts of the population in a vulnerable condition. These climate-related security risks contribute to grievances and increase inequality and fragility, which in turn pose challenges for the implementation of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia’s (UNSOM) mandate. The impacts of climate change have hindered UNSOM in its work to provide peace and security in Somalia and in its efforts to establish functioning governance and judicial systems.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Ethiopia and Egypt: Nile Water Negotiations

Ethiopia and Egypt: Nile Water Negotiations

Source: Ethiopia Insight posted on 29 October 2019
Ethiopia Insight posted on 29 October 2019 a commentary titled “Grand Nile Compromise–A Sysphean Task?” by Mahemud Tekuya, PhD candidate at University of the Pacific.

Ethiopia and Egypt agreed to resume stalled talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam at a meeting on the margins of the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi. The author suggests to find a way forward it may be necessary to abrogate the 1902, 1929, and 1959 Nile water agreements to which Ethiopia was never a signatory.

Peacekeeping Lessons from Somalia

Peacekeeping Lessons from Somalia

Source: The International Peace Institute published on 30 October 2019
The International Peace Institute published on 30 October 2019 a study titled “Lessons for ‘Partnershiip Peacekeeping’ from the African Union Mission in Somalia” by Paul D. Williams, George Washington University.

Deployed to Mogadishu in 2007, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operates through a complicated and extensive system of partnerships. AMISOM remains the longest-standing peace enforcement operation built on such international partnerships. AMISOM’s experience offers lessons for how partnership peacekeeping can work better.

Somalia inks roadmap to end recruitment, use of child soldiers

Somalia inks roadmap to end recruitment, use of child soldiers


Source: XINHUANET, Friday November 1, 2019

MOGADISHU, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) — Somalia has signed a roadmap detailing measures and practical actions to prevent violations against children, release children associated with armed forces, and reintegrate them into communities.

The deal which was witnessed by visiting UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, saw Mogadishu recommit to ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

This comes as the recruitment and use of child soldiers as combatants in armed conflict by terrorist groups such as al-Shabab remains a key concern in Somalia.

“The whole United Nations body and the civil society of good faith will support this plan so that across Somalia in all regions, all law enforcement officials, all members of any armed forces will be the first to protect children from violations,” Gamba said in a statement issued by the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) on Wednesday evening.She said the roadmap is in line with action plans signed by Somalia and the UN in 2012 to protect children from recruitment and use by the army.

“We will support the possibility of vetting, of screening, of capacity building and of ensuring that children that are captured, or that escape, or children that are in any way released, will also receive the rehabilitation and reintegration needs that they deserve,” Gamba added.

According to the UN Report on Children and Armed Conflict, released in June, armed groups forcefully recruited and used in conflict 2,228 boys and 72 girls in 2018 in Somalia.

Hassan Ali Mohamed, minister of defense emphasized the government’s commitment to ending children’s rights violations, including forceful recruitment.

“The government does not accept the recruitment of under 18 years old. Although there are other elements like al-Shabab and Daesh that are using children under 18 years old. We thank the United Nations Security Council, as well as the UN Secretary-General who has assisted us through the Peace Building Fund,” said Mohamed.

Gamba also visited Baidoa where she announced the launch of a 2 million U.S. dollar Peace Building Fund project supporting the prevention of child recruitment and reintegration of children formerly associated with armed forces and groups.

The UK is supporting up to 80,000 people affected by floods in Somalia – Ambassador Fende

The UK is supporting up to 80,000 people affected by floods in Somalia – Ambassador Fende


Source: Hii8raan Online, Friday November 1, 2019

MOGADISHU (HOL) – The UK is reaching out to up to 80,000 people through its existing programme to provide humanitarian supplies to communities affected by floods across Somalia, the UK ambassador Ben Fender has said.

In an exclusive interview with HOL, the UK ambassador said through its network of partners on the ground, it has been able to contribute significantly to alleviate suffering among communities affected by the recent floods which the UN estimates has displaced 182,000 people.“We are doing everything we can to support emergency response. We are currently supporting between 70,000 to 80,000 people with water supply, emergency food and shelter through our existing programme,” ambassador Fender said.

Noting that the UK makes its contributions through the Somali Humanitarian Fund, the UK diplomat noted his country is also committed to long term programmes to address the perennial climate challenges facing Somalia.

As well as responding to the immediate relief efforts, ambassador Fender said, “We must invest in ensuring such problems do not recur.

The UK has a programme of about $75 million over the few years, the Building Resilience in Community (BRiCS) that works with over 200 communities to help make sure they are better equipped to deal with climate shocks as the kind we are seen now.”

The target communities include those in Beletwyene, Bardhere and other affected areas, the UK ambassador said.

Noting that the accelerating impact of climate change plays a significant role in the weather changes witnessed in the country, ambassador Fender said his country is championing for Somalia’s debt relief to enable the country access much needed credit from the World Bank to rebuild infrastructure.

“One of the areas the World Bank wants to look at is the provision of water infrastructure and that will make a while difference in communities in Jubba and Shabelle,” said ambassador Fender.

As of Tuesday, 182,000 people had been displaced countrywide with a majority of these (164,000) in Beletweyne according to the UN humanitarian agency OCHA. The UN body also noted 85% of Beletweyne town had been submerged in water.

Qatar, Somalia ink network agreement

Qatar, Somalia ink network agreement


Source: Gulf Times, Friday November 1, 2019

On the sidelines of the ongoing Qatar IT Conference & Exhibition (Qitcom 2019), HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti witnessed the signing of a preliminary agreement between Qatar and Somalia.

The agreement for the ‘Mutual Inclusion of Each Other’s Territories in the Service Areas of their Satellite Network’ was signed by Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority president Mohamed Ali al-Mannai and Somalia’s Minister of Post, Telecom and Technology Abdi Ashur Hassan.

Afterwards, both ministers discussed how to strengthen co-operation in postal and ICT services, along with addressing a number of other issues of mutual concern. The meeting was attended by Somali ambassador to Qatar, Abdul Razak Fara

Ethiopia to Unveil New Foreign Relations Policy Soon

Ethiopia to Unveil New Foreign Relations Policy Soon


Source: Ezega, Wednesday October 30, 2019

Photo By: MoFA

October 29, 2019 (Ezega.com) — The Ethiopian government will unveil new foreign relations policy soon, substituting the existing policy which has been in place for 24 years ago, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign affairs said.

Briefing journalists on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs, Nebiat Getachew, said the new foreign policy comes after the existing was proved to be outdated and does not consider the current political and economic situations of the world.

When Prime Minister Abiy came to power in April 2018, he promised to transform the country’s foreign policy to enhance the nation’s influence and address unfolding crises in the horn Africa region where many forces have different interests and objectives.The new foreign policy will focus on avoiding conflict, attracting financial support, coordinating on security matters, promoting capacity-building and knowledge exchange, and enhancing Ethiopia’s international profile and reputation.

“The new foreign relations policy, to be officially inaugurated in the following days, was drafted considering the growth of the country’s population (from 60 million 24 years ago and to 100 plus million now), regional, continental and global political and economic values, the spokesperson said

“The emergence of South Sudan as a new state, the end of no-peace no-war relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the change in political situations in neighboring Somalia, among other things, has called for changing the country’s foreign relations policy,” Nebiat added.

Diplomats, and academicians from different universities participated in the preparation of the new foreign policy over the last seven months. the spokesperson said.

Under Abiy, Ethiopia’s approach to regional powers has been going through a significant reboot. After successfully making peace with Eritrea, the prime minister mediated disputes between Eritrea and Djibouti, resolving their disagreements. The premier also played a role in making peace in Sudan and South Sudan.

By drawing on the resources of the region, the new policy aims to create new alliances and opportunities to end the massive waste of human potential in the region, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Turkey offers condolences to Somalia after flood damage

Turkey offers condolences to Somalia after flood damage


Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
Source: AA, Tuesday October 29, 2019

Ankara – Turkey on Tuesday offered condolences to Somalia after heavy flood capsized a boat in Shabelle River city of Beledweyne, killing 15 people on Monday.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and extensive damage caused by the heavy flooding in the city of Beledweyne in Somalia,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.“We share the grief of the friendly and brotherly Somali people, wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives and extend our condolences to their families,” the statement added.

Some 72,000 families became homeless due to the flood caused by heavy rains in the Hiran region for 5 days.

During the rainy season in Somalia, occasional boat disasters occur in the rivers.

Cyclone to hit Somaliland and Puntland by end week-FAO

Cyclone to hit Somaliland and Puntland by end week-FAO


Source: Hiiraan, Tuesday October 29, 2019

MOGADISHU (HOL) – The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned of impending cyclone this week expected to hit parts of Puntland Somaliland.

The UN agency said Tuesday the cyclone named KYARR is expected to affect most parts of Puntland and Somaliland in the next 4 to 5 days.“The storm is expected to affect the coastal areas of Puntland in the next 96 hours and spread inland towards Somaliland and the central areas within 24 hours,” the alert read in part.

The cyclone, the alert indicates with come with strong winds accompanied with light to moderate rains adding it will affect Puntland shipping line this disrupting water transport in the area.

The cyclone’s arrival is likely to add another burden to the Somali government and relief agencies who are struggling to support thousands displaced and affected by floods in southern and central parts of the country.

New Ethiopian-egptian Talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

New Ethiopian-egptian Talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Source: The International Crisis Group published on 23 October 2019
The International Crisis Group published on 23 October 2019 a commentary titled “Calming the Choppy Nile Dam Talks” by William Davison.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will meet on the margins of the Russia-Africa summit 24-25 October in Sochi in an effort to reach an agreement on the fill rate for the reservoir behind Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. This has been a contentious issue for years as it impacts the amount of Nile water that reaches Egypt while the reservoir for the hydropower dam is being filled.