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Horn of Africa


Climate Security and Peacebuilding in Somalia

Climate Security and Peacebuilding in Somalia

 Source: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published in June 2022 a study titled “Towards an Integrated Approach to Climate Security and Peacebuilding in Somalia” by Emilie Broek and Christophe M. Hodder.  

The study explores the linkages between climate security and peacebuilding processes in Somalia.  Worsening climatic conditions are challenging livelihoods and altering the physical surroundings and security upon which people depend.  

Labels: al-Shabaabclimate changeconflictdroughtenvironmentfloodinggovernanceIDPsmigrationpeacebuildingsecuritySomaliaUNUNSOM

UK names new envoy for Horn of Africa

UK names new envoy for Horn of Africa 

Source: AFP, Thursday June 23, 2022

Britain has named a new envoy for the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, a strategic region beset by multiple security and humanitarian crises.

Sarah Montgomery, UK Special Envoy for the Red Sea Horn of Africa. Photo courtesy of her official Twitter account @SEMontgomery.

The appointment of diplomat Sarah Montgomery was announced Tuesday just as Beijing’s special envoy to the Horn of Africa was in Ethiopia seeking to play a greater role in the region.

“From a humanitarian crisis enveloping the Horn of Africa to our deepening ties across the Gulf, the UK’s relationship with the Red Sea region is at a critical juncture,” Britain’s Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said in a statement.

advertisementsThe Horn of Africa has a strategic position opposite the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf of Aden.

Montgomery was previously at the British embassy in Washington and also held senior roles in the Gulf, Yemen and Iran section at the UK’s National Security Secretariat, the statement said.

“Her experience on security issues in the Gulf indicates that the Red Sea will be her focus,” Ben Hunter, East Africa analyst at risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft, told AFP.

“Saudi Arabia and the UAE have become major security and economic players in the Horn.”

Three countries in the region, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, are in the grip of a punishing drought, with warnings that Somalia is at risk of famine.

Northern Ethiopia has been engulfed in a war that erupted in November 2020 between government forces and Tigrayan rebels, and the country is also being shaken by several local conflicts of varying intensity.

China’s special envoy Xue Bing, who was appointed to the role in February, said Tuesday after a two-day regional conference in Addis Ababa that Beijing wanted to play a “more important role” in promoting peace and security in the Horn.

The United States earlier this month named veteran diplomat Mike Hammer as its latest envoy for the Horn with the delicate task of building on Ethiopia’s fragile efforts towards peace.

South Sudan fights child marriage where girls sold for cows

South Sudan fights child marriage where girls sold for cows

AP, By DENG MACHO, 22 June 2022

Nyanachiek Madit, 21, who successfully refused when her father told her at age 17 that she would be married off to a man about 50 years old because her family couldn't afford to send her to school, speaks to The Associated Press in Juba, South Sudan on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Some young girls are auctioned off into marriage for cows in South Sudan - a practice that the government and international organizations are fighting to promote better health and educational opportunities. (AP Photo/Deng Machol)

Nyanachiek Madit, 21, who successfully refused when her father told her at age 17 that she would be married off to a man about 50 years old because her family couldn’t afford to send her to school, speaks to The Associated Press in Juba, South Sudan on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Some young girls are auctioned off into marriage for cows in South Sudan – a practice that the government and international organizations are fighting to promote better health and educational opportunities. (AP Photo/Deng Machol)

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Some young girls are still auctioned off into marriage for cows in South Sudan — one of the social challenges that activists had hoped to highlight during Pope Francis’ now-postponed visit.

The price of a daughter, determined in negotiations between her father and would-be husband, is typically 50 to 100 cows, each worth up to $1,000. A girl viewed as beautiful, fertile and of high social rank can bring as many as 200 cows. One girl in a well-publicized case a few years ago was auctioned off for 520 cows, plus cars.

“The younger the girl marries, the more the family gets cattle in return,” said Jackline Nasiwa, executive director of the Center of Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. “They sell their daughters so that they get something to survive.”

Though South Sudanese law limits marriage to those age 18 and over, it’s rarely enforced, particularly in rural areas.ADVERTISEMENT

South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in 2011 brought widespread hope for prosperity and peace for the country’s 12 million people, but little of that has materialized.

The new country quickly plunged into five years of civil war that ended with a fragile peace deal in 2018, but deadly intercommunal violence continues, and most people remain trapped in poverty. Climate shocks like flooding, along with rising food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have deepened widespread hunger.

Somalia: ‘The worst humanitarian crisis we’ve ever seen

Somalia: ‘The worst humanitarian crisis we’ve ever seen’

Source: Guardian, Thursday June 23, 2022
By Lizzy Davies

Children starving to death ‘before our eyes’ say aid workers as G7 leaders warned only ‘massive’ and urgent funding will avert famine

A Somali man disposes of his dead livestock in a country that has seen its worst drought in 40 years. Photograph: Feisal Omar/Reuters

Only a “massive” and immediate scaling-up of funds and humanitarian relief can save Somalia from famine, a UN spokesperson has warned, as aid workers report children starving to death “before our eyes” amid rapidly escalating levels of malnutrition.

In a message to G7 leaders who are meeting from Sunday in Germany, Michael Dunford, the World Food Programme’s (WFP) regional director for east Africa, said governments had to donate urgently and generously if there was to be any hope of avoiding catastrophe in the Horn of Africa country.

“We need money and we need it now,” said Dunford. “Will we able to avert [a famine in Somalia]? Unless there is … a massive scaling-up from right now, it won’t be possible, quite frankly. The only way, at this point, is if there is a massive investment in humanitarian relief, and all the stakeholders, all the partners, come together to try to avert this.”

advertisementsThe Horn of Africa has suffered four consecutive failed rainy seasons and is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, a climate shock exacerbated by ongoing conflict and price rises caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Across the whole of east Africa, 89 million people are now considered “acutely food insecure” by the WFP, a number that has grown by almost 90% in the past year.

“Unfortunately, I do not see [that rate of growth] slowing down. If anything, it seems to be accelerating,” said Dunford.

Last year, the UK and other G7 leaders promised to provide $7bn (£5.7bn) to help countries prevent famine, but appeals for east Africa have not managed to raise enough funds to stave off hunger.

Now those same leaders are being urged to commit to an immediate funding package as Somalia, the worst-affected country, descends into catastrophe. By September, at least 213,000 people in the worst-hit areas are expected to be facing famine, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report.

On a recent visit to the country, Claire Sanford, deputy humanitarian director of Save the Children, said she met mothers who had already buried multiple children in the last year, and whose surviving children were now suffering severe malnutrition. One acutely malnourished three-month-old baby whom Sanford met “never made it through the night, and we heard of a number of stories where that was the case”.

“I can honestly say in my 23 years of responding to humanitarian crisis, this is by far the worst I’ve seen, particularly in terms of the level of impact on children,” she said. “The starvation that my colleagues and I witnessed in Somalia has escalated even faster than we feared.”

In 2011, Somalia experienced a famine that killed more than 250,000 people, mostly children, but Sanford said many of the people she met said the conditions now were even worse.

“We have genuinely failed as an international community that we have allowed the situation to get to the extent it is at the moment. In 2011, we vowed as a community that we would never, ever let this happen again. And yet we have failed in that promise,” she added.

Dunford said inadequate funding had hampered efforts to learn from the 2011 famine. “We are seeing children dying before our eyes, seeing populations that have lost their livelihoods. It’s not that we didn’t learn the lessons of 2011; there was a lot of very good learning from that crisis. It’s just we haven’t been able to implement it to the extent required because of the lack of funding.”

In April, the UN had received only 3% of funds for its $6bn appeal for Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.

Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said the current crisis was partly due to the British government’s “compassion failure” and decision to slash the overseas aid budget by £4.6bn last year.

According to the latest IPC assessment for Somalia, an estimated 1.5 million under-fives face acute malnutrition by the end of the year, including 386,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished. Those numbers are only expected to go up.

President Hassan Sheikh held talks with UAE counterpart for first State visit during second term 

President Hassan Sheikh held talks with UAE counterpart for first State visit during second term 

Source: Hiiraan Online, Thursday June 23, 2022

Abu Dhabi (HOL) – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held talks with the President of the UAE, Mohamed Bin Zayed, in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday during an official state visit to the UAE. 

The President was received at the Qasr Al Shati’ Palace, where the UAE president welcomed the Somali leader’s visit and congratulated him on his election to Somalia’s presidency. 

advertisementsThe two heads of state addressed the prospects of enhancing cooperation between the two nations. The two sides discussed the ongoing efforts to establish peace in Somalia.

According to Villa Somalia, the two sides agreed to improve cooperation on security, trade and development.

“The two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest, including strengthening bilateral ties.” 

These discussions will likely focus on Somalia seeking a more robust partnership in security, the economy, humanitarian crisis and trade.  

From the UAE side, the meeting was attended by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of State; and Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to UAE President; along with Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council and Mohamed Ahmed Al Othman, UAE Ambassador to Somalia.

According to sources, the UAE is poised to reengage with Somalia and is reportedly planning several initiatives, including a $20M donation to drought relief efforts and resuming direct flights to Mogadishu. There are also plans to reopen Sheikh Zayed hospital, which closed in 2018 after a disagreement with Somalia’s previous government led by Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

President Mohamud’s visit marked the first time a Somali president visited the UAE in nearly five years. While officially neutral, former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo strengthened relations with Qatar at the expense of other Gulf nations during the 2017 Gulf Crisis. Qatar enjoyed close ties with Somali President Farmajo, whose chief of staff, intelligence director and national security advisor, Fahad Yasin, previously worked on his successful electoral campaign as a Qatari liaison

Sudan: Talks Resume between Military and Civilian Faction

Sudan: Talks Resume between Military and Civilian Faction

Source:  Al-Monitor published on 16 June 2022 an article titled “US, Saudi Arabia Broker Talks to Break Sudan’s Coup Deadlock” by Marc Espanol. 

Sudan’s military and one civilian faction met on 10 June for talks designed to break the deadlock on transitioning Sudan to civilian government.  The United States and Saudi Arabia brokered the talks, which are ongoing.  The gap remains wide between the two sides (actually three sides as an important civilian faction is boycotting the talks). 

Labels: AUcoup d’etatdemocracyForces for Freedom and ChangeIGADmediationmilitaryMohamed Hamdan DagaloMolly PheeSaudi ArabiaSudanSudanese Professionals AssociationUNUNITAMSUS

Is Al-Shabaab Ready for Dialogue?

Is Al-Shabaab Ready for Dialogue?

 Source: The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 21 June 2022 a commentary titled “Considering Political Engagement with Al-Shabaab in Somalia.”

The International Crisis Group, acknowledging the failure of past efforts, argues that now is the time for Somalia’s new government to look into what room there might be for dialogue with al-Shabaab.

Comment:  While political dialogue is usually a positive step, especially when juxtaposed against long-standing and seemingly endless conflict, the evidence that al-Shabaab is ready for meaningful dialogue with the government of Somalia is exceedingly weak.  Al-Shabaab seems interested in dialogue only if it results in 100 percent control of Somalia (and perhaps surrounding regions) by al-Shabaab.   

Labels: al-Qaedaal-ShabaabAMISOMAUEthiopiaHassan Sheikh MohamudKenyaSomaliaUS

World Refugee Day: Meet the Somali politicians breaking through in the Nordics

World Refugee Day: Meet the Somali politicians breaking through in the Nordics 

Source: euronews,  By David Mac Dougall
Tuesday June 21, 2022

Composite image showing Suldaan Said Ahmed and Marian Hussein   –   Copyright  Euronews

To mark World Refugee Day, Euronews profiles two Somalis and traces their journeys from arrival in the Nordics to their breakthroughs as politicians.

_In the Nordic region, the first Somalis arrived in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Later, as Somalia’s civil war became more intense, new arrivals came.

Now, the first generation of Somali refugees is making their mark in politics, from local council level to the national stage.advertisements‘Many challenges in small cities for immigrants’

Suldaan Said Ahmed is Finland’s first member of parliament with a Somali background. His family came to the Nordic nation as refugees on family unification visas when he was a teenager, to join his brother who was already living there.

At that time Finnish authorities had a policy to place refugees in different parts of the country, rather than concentrating them all in bigger cities, so Suldaan and his family went to live in North Karelia, a region in the northeast of Finland along the Russian border. 

“It was a good time to live in North Karelia, to learn the language, start school and adapt to Finnish culture. But there are also many challenges in small cities especially when you have an immigrant background,” said 29-year-old Suldaan.

“Big cities always have more job opportunities, they are more tolerant. These smaller cities, since they don’t have a big number of immigrants, there is a lot of challenges,” he tells Euronews.

North Karelia’s main city, Joensuu, had earned itself a reputation as a dangerous place for immigrants in the early 1990s with violent attacks by skinheads a particularly nasty problem, prompting a great deal of concern for Suldaan’s mother who wanted to move the family to London.

“We got together and said ‘mum, since childhood we have been moving from place to place, and every time we have to start to adapt to a new language and new culture. But we understand that you feel loneliness as a single mother with no other Somali people and no other African people. So maybe we make a compromise and move to Helsinki where there is a bigger diaspora?'”

Suldaan Said Ahmed attends a Black Live Matter rally in Helsinki, June 2020David Mac Dougall

Suldaan’s political activism started only after the family moved to Helsinki, and he saw the breakthrough of the right-wing True Finns Party in the 2011 election.

This, he decided, was a wake-up call to stand up against racism and xenophobia, and he reached out to the Left Alliance political party asking to become a candidate before the next local council elections.

The first election didn’t go his way, and he didn’t get enough votes for a seat on the Helsinki City Council, but he persevered.

“When I saw that I am not getting elected I was disappointed. But I also decided I am a young man, I just moved here to Helsinki from North Karelia and 91 people decided I am the best person to take care of their interests. I said ‘Suldaan, this is a good start!'”

Fast forward to the next local elections in 2017 and by this time Suldaan had joined the Left Alliance, and already had a leadership position within the party’s management. When the votes were counted, he was elected to the city council with more votes than veteran campaigner Paavo Väyrynen – one of Finland’s most well-known politicians.

At the 2021 Finnish general election, Suldaan wasn’t voted directly to parliament, but within the party list system he replaced another Left Alliance politician to become the first Somali to sit in Finland’s parliament, representing Helsinki.

“Any time I get hate speech or a hateful message, and if I quit, these people win. Always someone who comes first makes a sacrifice and now young people from an immigrant background or different minority background at least they have some people they can call a role model.”

Norwegian MP Marian Hussein holds anti-racist sign, March 2022Marian Hussein

From social worker to politician

In Norway, Marian Hussein wasn’t only the first elected MP with a Somali background, she was the very first person of African descent to take up a seat in parliament in Oslo.

Her family moved from Saudi Arabia, where her father had been a migrant worker, when Marian was 10-years- old, and at first the new home shocked her.

“You come from one of the hottest areas of the world to one of the coldest. We came during winter time with snow, and we were not in the city but in a district close to Lillehammer, where they had the Winter Olympics,” Hussein,36, told Euronews.

One of the most eye-opening things for young Marian was the Norwegian education system, where boys and girls were allowed to attend public school – in their previous home only Saudi nationals had any rights to go to public schools while migrant worker families were banned.

Marian came into politics quite late, after she had already completed her education and been working as a social worker.

“I was engaged in different activities, but I never saw myself being in the political arena,” she said. 

And like Suldaan, it was the election of right-wing politicians into government that made her consider getting more involved in politics at a national level.

“In 2013 in Norway, the Conservative Party took over and they started ruling with the (right-wing) Progress Party, and in that night I joined the Socialist Left Party,” she said.

There was still a great deal of uncertainty for Marian about how involved she should get, especially dealing with the idea that she didn’t know enough about politics, or lacked experience to join a TV debate.

But she had some role models she looked up to, like Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi.

“So I knew about women in politics, but I never thought I would be one!”

“It took me time to understand how much impact that I have, but it’s so important that in the last 20 years there has been a debate on how little integrated refugees are in Norwegian society to participating in debates where people are debating our history and our lives”

“It is so important to be in these discussions and tell them what is working and what is not working and how people live their lives and don’t let people who use fear as a political agenda.”

World Bank earmarks $385m to help Africans in “worst in a century” drought 

World Bank earmarks $385m to help Africans in “worst in a century” drought 

Friday June 17, 2022

The World Bank has approved a $385m finance package to help countries in the Horn of Africa deal with water insecurity.

Three consecutive rainy seasons have failed, and this year’s looks set to follow suit. If it does, the region will face its worst drought in 100 years.

advertisementsMore than 1 million grazing animals have died in Ethiopia’s Somali region alone, millions of children are suffering from malnourishment and, in Somalia, it is estimated that 40% of the population are at risk of starvation.

The funding, thought to be a mix of grants and low- or no-interest loans, will be spent on a groundwater exploitation project, including well-digging and groundwater pumping, carried out with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade and cooperation bloc covering the Horn of Africa, the Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes.

In an IGAD meeting in May, Workneh Gebeyehu, its executive secretary, said some 40 million people were facing high levels of food insecurity, “an increase of 30% from the 29 million that had been recorded at the beginning of April”.

The project will bring together the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Djibouti and South Sudan have expressed interest in joining in later phases.

The aim of the “Horn of Africa Groundwater Resilience Project” is to exploit the region’s “largely untapped groundwater resources”, said the World Bank.

It will assess the state of the region’s aquifers, dig wells and set up small-scale solar farms to pump water for people and livestock. The first phase is expected to have 3.3 million direct beneficiaries, of whom at least half will be women. 

The programme will also construct small-scale irrigation systems with the aim of preventing soil erosion, and will build sand dams in dry riverbeds. These help to retain soil moisture and concentrate water during dry months.

Daher Elmi Housssein, IGAD’s director of agriculture, commented in a press statement: “Groundwater constitutes a natural buffer against climate variability and change, as it is available in times of drought when other surface or subsurface resources are scarce.

“The potential is vast, and we are committed to building inclusive community-level use of this shared resource, along with better information, infrastructure, and institutions to ensure our groundwater is sustainably managed for generations to come.”

Afrik 21 reports that one of the first schemes will take place in the Borena region of Ethiopia, on the border with Kenya. This will help farmers in the lowlands to switch from rain-fed to groundwater-based agriculture. Irrigation systems will also be equipped with pressurised systems that use renewable energy to pump and distribute the water

BREAKING: President Hassan Sheikh nominates Hamza Abdi Barre as PM

BREAKING: President Hassan Sheikh nominates Hamza Abdi Barre as PM 

Source: Hiiraan online, Wednesday June 15, 2022

Mogadishu (HOL) – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has nominated Hamza Abdi Barre as Somalia’s next Prime Minister, according to state-run media.

advertisementsMohamud called on Somalis to support Barre.

“The President wishes the new PM utmost success as he leads the government’s ambitious reform agenda and calls on Somali people to render him their unwavering support.”

Barre’s most recent political appointment was the Chairperson of Jubaland’s Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission from 2019 to 2020.

Barre is also an MP in Somalia’s 11th Parliament. He was elected to HOP203 in late Decemeber 2021.

At the federal level, he worked as a senior advisor to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and has been described by colleagues as a staunch federalist.

The 48-year-old father of eight is a close associate of President Mohamud. He served as the Peace and Development Party Secretary-General from the early to mid-2010s.

The new Prime Minister hails from the Ogaden subclan. He is also reportedly a close political ally of Jubaland regional President Ahmed Mohamed Madobe.

The new Prime Minister holds an MBA in management from the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
 President Mohamud’s nomination must be approved by Somalia’s parliament before it is official.

South Sudan, Peace Deals, and Corruption

South Sudan, Peace Deals, and Corruption

Source:  Just Security published on 13 June 2022 a commentary titled “South Sudan: The Road to a Living Hell, Paved with Peace Deals” by James P. McGovern, Member of Congress, and John Prendergast, senior advisor to the Clooney Foundation for Justice.  

The warring parties in South Sudan have signed numerous peace deals since 2014 to little positive effect.  Corruption has become the hallmark of South Sudan and the relationship between the president and vice president remains volatile and full of mutual suspicion.   

Labels: corruptionEUhuman rightskleptocracypeace talksrefugeesRiek MacharSalva KiirsanctionsSouth SudanUKUSwar crimes

Spanish, French fleets blacklisted from Indian Ocean for illegal fishing

Spanish, French fleets blacklisted from Indian Ocean for illegal fishing

Source: TheEastAfrican, By ANTHONY KITIMO
Wednesday June 15, 2022

A fisherman in Lamu County, Kenya, displays the much sought-after Tuna fish. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Spanish and French vessels found fishing illegally in the Indian Ocean have been blacklisted after a key watchdog found them repeat offenders.

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) says the vessels were found to have been illegally fishing in the exclusive economic zones of Somalia, Mauritius, India and Mozambique; without the respective permission of these countries. A situational report by IOTC, released during the 26th Session in Seychelles says: “Fleets such as these cause irreversible damage to our ocean, threatening marine life and the people who depend on it around the world.

“This was recognised by nations at the IOTC meeting this week, where the several member countries urged the Commission to blacklist the fleet. They catch more yellowfin tuna than any other gear in the Indian Ocean – with 97 percent of the yellowfin tuna caught around dFADs in the Indian Ocean by purse seiners being juveniles,” the statement said.

Kenya and South Africa’s aggressive hunt against drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs), such as trawlers, contributed to the decision. Conservationists are increasingly contesting the use of such fishing techniques as the vessels catch more juvenile fish that could contribute to the dissipation of species.

IOTC, an intergovernmental organisation mandated to guard highly migratory tuna and tuna-like fisheries resources in the Indian Ocean has also been promoting the use of appropriate fishing techniques. The Commission did not name the number of vessels banned but did suggest all those carrying flags from the two countries will no longer be permitted to fish in the zone.

The Indian Ocean is the second-largest tuna fishery in the world.

US Military Support for Somalia

US Military Support for Somalia

 Source: The Conversation published on 29 May 2022 a commentary titled “US Will Soon Redeploy Troops in Somalia: The Mission and Key Goals” by Paul D. Williams, George Washington University.

The US goal in Somalia is to stabilize the country, contain and weaken al-Shabaab, and build an effective set of State institutions.  The recent decision by the Biden administration to return about 450 US soldiers to Somalia is intended to support that goal.  

Labels: al-ShabaabATMISAUBiden administrationDanabgovernanceSNASomaliaUS

110th ILO World of Work conference discusses labour during multiple global crises 

110th ILO World of Work conference discusses labour during multiple global crises 


Source: hiiraan.comMonday June 13, 2022

Geneva (HOL) – The 110th International Labour Conference (ILC) concluded this weekend in Geneva, Switzerland.

The ILC is the highest decision-making body of the International Labour Organization and is held annually to advance the core mandate of the organization.

More than 4,000 delegates representing governments, workers’ and employers’ Organizations from 177 ILO Member States attended the 110th ILC. 

advertisementsThis year’s theme was tackling multiple global crises and promoting human-centred recovery and resilience.

Omar Faruk Osman Nur, the General Secretary of the Federation of Somali Trade Unions, delivered to the delegates in the historic Palais des Nations where he discussed Somalia’s unique set of challenges which have impacted its economic, social and political development. 

“In 2019, the World Bank found that almost 9 out of 10 Somali households were deprived of at least one basic human need – money, electricity, education, water, and sanitation. Children under the age of 14 years represent nearly half of the Somali population, and 73% of these children are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty. Because of decades of devastating conflict, civic institutions remain weak; peace and security remain fragile amid the pervasive threats of terrorism attacks, and media freedom is still some way off track.”

Osman also explained how the COVID pandemic disrupted the labour market. 

“In Somalia, one year into the crisis, employment had contracted by 37%, with medium-size, large, and older firms shedding most of the jobs.”

Over half of the working-age population aged 15–64 (55%) are primarily employed in the informal economy. Only 43% of Somali women are actively engaged in the labour market compared with 67% of men. Osman added that workers have no formal and government-led social protection programme.

Osman revealed the results of a study conducted by FESTU with technical assistance from the ILO that found that most workers were concerned about their employers’ lack of consideration for the health dangers posed by COVD-19. They surveyed 1927 workers, 448 of whom were women.

Omar Faruk Osman Nur, the General Secretary of the Federation of Somali Trade Unions

“FESTU found that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers were reducing working hours and wages with little or no consultation with employees and/or union representatives. COVID–19 also leads to an overrepresentation of women in the informal economy or in precarious jobs, which directly impacts the health and wellbeing of household members.”

Osman said that international labour rights have begun to take form in Somalia through legislation and policy. 

He called on the federal government and member states to adopt and implement Somalia’s Decent Work Country Programme, which emphasizes decent employment, workers’ rights,  social protection and social dialogue. 

 The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder, said the 110th International Labour Conference closes with a “remarkable harvest of achievements.”

The Director-General told delegates that the 110th International Labour Conference had made history with its work on safety and health, apprenticeships, and labour standards, among other areas.

Ryder said the Committee on the Application of Standards was crucial to the UN’s capacity to help those affected by human rights violations.

“During this conference, I have received alarming, even harrowing testimony of the situation of people whose lives, livelihoods and liberty are in the balance, and it is in the Standards Committee that our capacity to come to their assistance resides.”

The 110th ILC was the first Conference since 2019 that delegates were able to attend in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 111th Session of the ILC is scheduled to take place from 5 to 16 June 2023. 

Secret negotiation between Abiy Ahmed’s gov’t and TPLF to take place in Tanzania : report 16 Shares

Source: borkena.comMonday June 13, 2022

PM Abiy (left) and Debretion Gebremichal, TPLF chairman ( right) ( Photo : File)

Weeks after unconfirmed news regarding secret negotiation between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Nigeria, a new report indicates that the talk between the two parties is going to take place in Tanzania.

Le Monde, a French News  source, said, in a report published on Thursday, “behind the scenes” negotiation is organised between the Federal government and TPLF forces. It is planned to take place at the end of June in Arusha, Tanzania.advertisementsThe source cited “several African and western diplomats” to report that the discussion could start by the end of this month.

The negotiation is said to be behind doors and both parties will be represented by a team of five negotiators. The negotiation aims, a negotiated ceasefire.

Humanitarian deliveries and resumption of social services in the Tigray region, including electricity and banking, among other things, constitute agenda items for the talk.

According to Le Monde, TPLF is to renounce claim over Wolkait area of Gondar which is used to call as “Western Tigray.”  Le Monde cited unnamed diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa  to report that  “the Tigrayan leadership gives the impression of gradually abandoning its claims to Wolqayt.”

The TPLF, however, says that the report is “mendacious.”

In a message shared on social media, Getachew Reda, TPLF spokesperson, said  :

“An article by a French newspaper #LeMonde apparently claims, quoting unnamed Addis-based diplomats, that discreet talks will be held b/n Tigray and Ethiopian authorities and the former has “abandoned their claims to Western Tigray”. These are mendacious claims,of course. While we will officially address these claims soon, let me set the record straight on the question: it is the declared intention& position of the government of Tigray to reclaim every square-inch of Tigray’s territory by every possible means available- peaceful or otherwise; and soon!”

Earlier this week, press secretary in the office of the Prime Minister, Billene Seyoum, described reports of unconfirmed clandestine talk between Abiy Ahmed’s government and the TPLF as “disinformation by local media.”

However, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is now serving the African Union as special envoy to the Horn of Africa, said there have been improvements in the indirect talks between the TPLF and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. Mr. Obasanjo said that the talk is now better than what it was six months ago.

When Ethiopia’s Minister for Finance, Ahmed Shede, presented a draft budget for the next fiscal year at the Ethiopian Parliament, he said that one of the assumptions taken into consideration when preparing the budget is that there will be no war in northern Ethiopia. The Tigray region itself will be getting 12 billion Ethiopian  birr from the budget.

Since the TPLF is firmly administering the region, despite the fact that the Ethiopian parliament designated it as a terrorist organization, it will be administering the budget to be released from the Federal government.

State Formation in Somalia

State Formation in Somalia

Source: The Royal United Services Institute published on 10 June 2022 an analysis titled “Ballots, Bullets and Building Blocks: State Formation in Somalia” by Michael Jones. 

The author concluded that the recent election and change of leadership has shifted Somalia from acute to chronic crisis, but in doing so it has at least helped strengthen the normative tissue necessary for reform.  

Labels: al-Shabaabcorruptiondroughtelectionsfederationforeign aidHassan Sheikh MohamudHIPCSomalia

PM Abiy in Djibouti for official work visit

PM Abiy in Djibouti for official work visit 

Source: Ethiopian News Agency, Saturday June 11, 2022

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has arrived in Djibouti for an official work visit.

Premier proceeded to Djibouti after attending the inauguration ceremony of the newly elected president of Somalia, according to Ethiopian Embassy in Djibouti.advertisementsSpeaking at the inauguration ceremony of the newly elected Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu on Thursday, the PM said “I express and reiterate the commitment of the Government of Ethiopia to the people and Government of Somalia at large.”

He stated that the government of Ethiopia is committed to work together with Somalia in a more robust relationship to achieve a better future for the people and to determine mutual destiny together. 

Challenges Facing Somalia

Challenges Facing Somalia

 Source: The US Institute of Peace published on 1 June 2022 an analysis titled “Somalia’s Critical Transition Comes Amid Al-Shabaab and Hunger Challenges” by Susan Stigant.

The author comments on the major challenges facing new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, including security, debt relief, drought, and the al-Shabaab threat.

Labels: al-ShabaabATMISclimate changedebt reliefdroughtfood insecurityHassan Sheikh MohamudIGADsecuritySomaliaUS

Issues Facing the New US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa

Issues Facing the New US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa

 Source: The Middle East Institute published on 6 June 2022 my short note titled “A New US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

It briefly covers the challenges of conflict and the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, the democratic transition in Sudan, the al-Shabaab threat in Somalia, and disagreement over Nile water usage following construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

Labels: al-ShabaabEgyptEritreaEthiopiaGERDHorn of Africahumanitarian crisisMike HammerNile waterSomaliaSudanUS

Talks to end Sudan crisis begin as anti-coup groups boycott

Talks to end Sudan crisis begin as anti-coup groups boycott

Source: AP, By SAMY MAGD, Yyesterday, 08 June 2022

Sudanese men burn tires during a demonstration to commemorate the third anniversary of a deadly crackdown carried out by security forces on protesters during a sit-in outside the army headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, June 3, 2022. Talks aiming at ending Sudan’s ongoing political deadlock began Wednesday, June 8, 2022, the United Nations said, although the country's main pro-democracy alliance is boycotting them over a continued police crackdown on those protesting last October's military coup. (AP Photo/ Marwan Ali)

1 of 5Sudanese men burn tires during a demonstration to commemorate the third anniversary of a deadly crackdown carried out by security forces on protesters during a sit-in outside the army headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, June 3, 2022. Talks aiming at ending Sudan’s ongoing political deadlock began Wednesday, June 8, 2022, the United Nations said, although the country’s main pro-democracy alliance is boycotting them over a continued police crackdown on those protesting last October’s military coup. (AP Photo/ Marwan Ali)

CAIRO (AP) — Talks aiming at ending Sudan’s ongoing political deadlock began Wednesday, the United Nations said, although the country’s main pro-democracy alliance is boycotting them over a continued police crackdown on those protesting last October’s military coup.

The joint peace effort is brokered by the U.N. political mission in Sudan, the African Union, and the eight-nation east African regional group Intergovernmental Authority in Development. The effort aims to bring the generals and an array of political and protest groups to the negotiating table.

The military’s takeover has upended Sudan’s short-lived fragile democratic transition and plunged the East African nation into turmoil. Sudan had been transiting to democracy after nearly three decades of repression and international isolation under Islamist-backed strongman Omar al-Bashir. A popular uprising pushed the military to remove al-Bashir in April 2019.ADVERTISEMENT

Wednesday’s talks began with a technical meeting in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, involving the military and civilians. It came after months of separate discussions with an array of groups, including the military and the pro-democracy movement.

The U.N. envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes, said the process would discuss a “transitional program,” including the appointment of a civilian prime minister and arrangements for drafting a permeant constitution and elections at the end of the transition.POLITICSNew vaccine may be option for troops with religious concerns4th grade Uvalde survivor: ‘I don’t want it to happen again’Capitol attack’s full story: Jan. 6 panel probes US risksBiden lauds democratic unity despite no-shows at summit

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the leader of the coup who also heads the ruling sovereign council, welcomed the talks as a “historic opportunity to complete the transitional phase.”

In a speech to the nation late Tuesday, he urged all factions to take part in the talks, vowing that the military will implement their outcome. “We are fully committed to work with everybody to end the transitional period as soon as possible with fair and transparent elections,” he said.

Ahead of the talks, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee visited Sudan earlier this week and met with military and civilian leaders in Khartoum to support the negotiating process. She urged all parties to join the talks to “achieve a civilian-led path towards democracy for Sudan.”

However, the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change — an alliance of political parties and protest groups — is boycotting the meeting, in a blow to the process.

The alliance says the talks should lead to “a civilian democratic authority” and criticized the participation of pro-military groups and Islamists who had been allied with al-Bashir’s government. It also seeks the the release of coup-related detainees, and the ending of violence against protesters.

Two activists said the U.N., the United States and other Western governments were pressuring the pro-democracy alliance to send representatives to the talks.

Some factions within the alliance favor participation as “the best possible option,” given the international support for the talks, they said, but hard-liners, including the influential Communist Party, reject the entire process and demand immediate handover of power to civilians. The activists spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.ADVERTISEMENT

The talks come as the violent crackdown on anti-coup protests continued in Khartoum. A 5-year-old girl was killed Tuesday, when a police vehicle ran her over while chasing protesters. That brought the total deaths among protesters since October to at least 101, according to a medical group tracking the casualties.

The coup has triggered near-daily street protests, which authorities have met with a deadly crackdown. Hundreds of people, including prominent politicians and activists, have been detained, although many have been released recently as part of trust-building measures.

Under concerted international pressure, Sudan’s military leaders late last month lifted the state of emergency they had declared following the coup.