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Horn of Africa
Filling of Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile complete, Ethiopia says
Source: Aljazeera 10 September 2023, , The Egyptian foreign ministry condemns the move, calling Ethiopia’s filling of the dam ‘illegal’.
Published On 10 Sep 202310 Sep 2023
Ethiopia has announced that it has filled its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile, which has been the source of a long-running water dispute with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
The announcement on Sunday came just a fortnight after the three countries resumed negotiations, after a lengthy break, on an agreement that takes account of the water needs of all three.
Source: UN, 6 September 2023
Amplified by wildfires and desert dust fanned by climate change, more frequent heatwaves are leading to a sharp drop in air quality and human health, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a new report on Wednesday.
7 September 2023
Source: UN, 7 September, 2023, Transitioning to renewable energy is the key to securing humanity’s survival, as “without renewables, there can be no future”, according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, ahead of the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, marked on 7 September.
Source: African Arguments published on 4 September 2023 a commentary titled “Somalia’s State-building as the Elite’s Perverse Incentive” by Najib Ahmed.
The 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index has again placed Somalia at the bottom of the list. The author charges the Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud government with continuing a long history of corruption and nepotism in Somalia.
Source: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) published on 7 September 2023 a detailed account titled “Sudan Situation Report.”
The report documents the humanitarian requirements for Sudan as a result of the ongoing conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and steps taken by the international community to meet those needs. For the first time since the conflict began in mid-April, humanitarian convoys reached North Darfur and South Darfur.
UNOCHA noted that it has received in 2023 $676 million in funding for Sudan. The United States has provided $380 million of the amount or well over half.
Somalia signs CTBT, “Testament to unwavering commitment to peace, security”
Monday September 11, 2023
The Federal Republic of Somalia signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on 8 September in a signing ceremony in New York, bringing the total number of signatures to 187.
The event was attended by Abukar Dahir Osman, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Somalia to the United Nations, who signed on behalf of his country, and David Nanopoulos, Chief of the Treaty Section of the UN Office of Legal Affairs.
The move comes after the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the East African state, Abshir Omar Jama Huruse made a pledge to sign the Treaty at the high-level opening of the CTBT Science and Technology Conference in Vienna on 19 June 2023. The biennial event brought together over 2,000 researchers, scientists, technologists, academics, members of civil society, and representatives of States Signatories from around the world.
“We understand the signing the CTBT is not just a symbolic gesture but a testament to our unwavering dedication to global peace and security.” Abshir Omar Jama Huruse, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the East African State.
Robert Floyd, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), who travelled to Somalia in February 2023, said by signing this Treaty the country is “adding its voice to the global call for an end to nuclear testing.”
“I am deeply grateful to Somalia for stepping forward and bringing Africa closer to complete adherence to the CTBT. The region’s leadership in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament is highly commendable.” Robert Floyd, CTBTO Executive Secretary.
To date, 50 out of 54 regional States have ratified the CTBT. Africa is also home to 38 of the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS) facilities.
During the visit to Somalia in February, Floyd met with the country’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, and Minister Jama Huruse, who conveyed a strong commitment to the CTBT. He also engaged in discussions with Somalia’s Justice Minister Hassan Moalim, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Khadija Mohamed, and Speaker of Parliament, Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur.
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu sent a message to mark the momentous occasion:
“The full potential of the CTBTO will only be realized through the CTBT’s entry into force.”
Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
Galmudug President, NISA chief visit a recently liberated town in Galgadud region
Source: Hiiraan Online, Monday September 11, 2023
Dhusamareb (HOL) – The President of Galmudug Regional State, Ahmed Abdi Kariye, accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Abdulkadir Mohamed Noor, and the Chief of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Mahad Mohamed Salad, arrived in El-Garas, a small strategic town in the Galgadud region on Monday.
Government forces, supported by local militia, successfully recaptured El-Garas, which is situated 40 km from the historic district of El-bur, without encountering any resistance.
Federal and regional authorities have commended the joint efforts in liberating several areas east of Galgadud. President Ahmed Abdi Kariye emphasized that military operations would continue until the group is eliminated.
However, on Monday, two Galmudug lawmakers and one civilian were killed in a roadside explosion in El-Garas town. MP Mohamed Mohamud Ahmed (Mohamed Yare), a member of the Galmudug Parliament, and Abdullahi Ibrahim Shaaciye, a member of the Dhusamareb Local Council, had arrived in the town to visit the troops who had retaken the town from al-Shabab.
El-Garas is a small town situated on the road between Dhusamareb and El-bur that has remained under al-Shabab’s control for several decades. The recapture of El-Garas by government and local forces marks a significant step toward regaining control of the El-bur district.
Source: The Middle East Institute published on 5 September 2023 an analysis titled “No News on the GERD Negotiations Is Bad News” by Mirette F. Mabrouk.
Following a hiatus of two years, recent talks in Cairo involving Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan on differences concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile ended with no tangible progress. The UAE attempted to broker the most recent agreement by promising $20 billion of investment in all three countries.
Source: Reuters published on 6 September 2023 an article titled “US Targets Deputy Leader of Sudan’s RSF Over Rights Abuses” by Michelle Nichols.
The United States has sanctioned Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, deputy leader of Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and brother of RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, for serious human rights abuses in Sudan. The charges stem from the ongoing atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. The financial sanctions may have minimal impact as the deputy leader likely has few, if any, financial ties to the United States.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the official announcement of the sanctions on 6 September 2023 titled “Treasury Sanctions Sudanese Paramilitary
Ethiopian federal troops accused of killing civilians
Source: BBC, Kalkidan Yibeltal
Thursday September 7, 2023
An Ethiopian opposition group has accused government forces of killing dozens of civilians in the restive Amhara region where fighting between local militias and the army continues to be reported.
In a statement, the Enat party said 29 civilians, including children and the elderly, were killed near their homes by government troops in a small town called Majete.
At least 20 civilians were killed in drone strikes in two other areas in the region, the party added.
The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the claims and there hasn’t been any response to the accusations from the government.
Violence broke out in Amhara after months of simmering tensions over controversial decisions to disband a paramilitary regional force – a move opponents say would leave the region vulnerable to attacks.
In early August local militias entered most of the region’s major cities and briefly controlled an airport.
Urban combat claimed several lives and a large number of prisoners were freed.
Relative normalcy appears to have returned to the cities after government troops pushed the militias out.
Last week, the army’s head Field Martial Berhanu Jula declared armed groups operating in the region were no longer a threat. However, fighting continues to be reported this week in or around several small towns and villages.
An ongoing internet shutdown has made it difficult to get information about the exact magnitude of the fighting.
QBA meeting with Somali PM explores Qatari investments in agricultural, livestock sector
Source: Gulf Times, Thursday September 7, 2023
Somalia’s Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, has called on Qatar to invest in his country’s agricultural, fisheries, and livestock sectors during a meeting with officials of the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) held in Doha Wednesday.
QBA Chairman HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani welcomed Barre and his accompanying delegation in the presence of Somalia’s Minister of Finance Bihi Iman Aji; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Absher Omar Jama; Minister of Internal Security Mohamed Sheikh Ali; and ambassador Ron Saeed Qarsheen, chargé d’affaires of the Somali Embassy to the State of Qatar.
Also attending the meeting were QBA board member Saud al-Mana; QBA members Sheikh Mohamed bin Faisal al-Thani, Ashraf Abu Issa, Ihsan al-Khiyami, and Dr Mohamed Althaf, as well as QBA deputy general manager Sarah Abdallah.
The meeting explored Somalia’s agriculture, commercial, real estate, and industrial sectors, which are open for public or private investment.
Somalia has joined the East African market, which has more than 300mn consumers. This emphasises Somalia’s need to attract Qatari investors to establish projects that can support the country’s development and create job opportunities for its youth.
Barre said both countries have “distinguished and strong relations,” citing Qatar’s contribution to building Somali economic, investment, and development co-operation institutions. The prime minister said he expects these areas will witness “greater co-operation in the future.”
With a population of 14mn, Barre said, Somalia has enormous livestock wealth exceeding 40mn heads of cattle, in addition to more than 8.5mn hectares of fertile land and a huge coastline spanning 3,700km with a large fish wealth – all of which are available for Qatari investments.
Barre also said Somalia imports milk and its products despite the abundance in its livestock sector. He said this underlines the country’s need for food factories, especially in the dairy sector.
Sheikh Faisal said Qatar and Somalia have “strong historical relations,” which are “based on mutual respect, common understanding, and collaboration.”
“The success of any investor in the beginning will open the way for the rest of the investors,” Sheikh Faisal stressed.
Sheikh Faisal also welcomed Barre’s invitation to visit Mogadishu to study investment opportunities in the real estate, insurance, tourism, agriculture, and other economic sectors.
African leaders call for new global taxes to fund climate change action
Source: Reuters, By Duncan Miriri
Thursday September 7, 2023
African leaders on Wednesday proposed new global taxes and reforms to international financial institutions to help fund climate change action in a declaration that will form the basis of their negotiating position at November’s COP28 summit.
The Nairobi Declaration capped the three-day Africa Climate Summit in Kenya, which was dominated by discussions of how to mobilise financing to adapt to increasingly extreme weather, conserve natural resources and develop renewable energy.
Despite suffering from some of the worst impacts of climate change, Africa only receives about 12% of the nearly $300 billion in annual financing it needs to cope, according to researchers.
While organisers emphasised market-based solutions such as carbon credits in the lead-up to the summit, the final declaration was heaviest on demands that major polluters and global financial institutions commit more resources to help poorer nations and make it easier for them to borrow at affordable rates.
It urged world leaders “to rally behind the proposal for a global carbon taxation regime including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation, that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax”.
It said implementing such measures at a global level would ensure large-scale financing for climate-related investments and insulate the issue of tax raises from geopolitical and domestic political pressures.
About two dozen countries impose taxes on carbon, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but the idea of a global carbon tax regime has never gained much traction.
On Tuesday, Kenyan President William Ruto cited proposals in the European Union for a financial transaction tax (FTT) as a potential model.
After the European Commission proposed an FTT in 2011, some conservation groups said the money should finance environmental priorities.
The commission’s proposal never won the unanimous approval required from the European Council to become law, although some member states have enacted their own FTTs.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM
African countries will take the proposals in the Nairobi Declaration to a U.N. climate conference later this month and the COP28 summit which begins in the United Arab Emirates in late November.
Joab Bwire Okanda, a senior advisor at the Christian Aid charity, said the call for a global carbon tax was welcome but that “to make polluters really pay, false solutions like carbon credits that allow polluters a free ride without taking meaningful action need to be consigned to the dustbin”.
Some activists say the credits, which allow polluters to offset emissions by funding green activities, are a pretext for big polluters to keep emitting carbon dioxide.
Ruto said governments, development banks, private investors and philanthropists committed a combined $23 billion in all to green projects over the three days, including hundreds of millions to a major carbon markets initiative.
But African leaders acknowledged that those kinds of investments only scratch the surface of the continent’s financial needs and said more systemic changes were needed.
For example, African countries say they are forced to pay borrowing costs that are five to eight times higher than wealthy countries, leading to recurrent debt crises and preventing them from spending more to respond to climate change.
The declaration called on multilateral development banks to increase concessional lending to poorer countries and for the “better deployment” of the IMF’s special drawing rights mechanism.
Other proposals included measures to help indebted countries avoid default such as instruments that can grant 10-year grace periods and extend sovereign debt tenor.
Some analysts said the summit had not focused enough on how to help Africans adapt to extreme weather.
“Many communities bearing the brunt of increasing floods and droughts, while also at risk of conflict, are disappointed that there wasn’t more emphasis on ensuring that green investments trickle down to them,” said Nazanine Moshiri, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group think-tank.
Additional reporting by Susanna Twidale in London; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Alison Williams and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
Eritrea rejects Amnesty’s Tigray war crimes allegations
Source: BBC, Thursday September 7, 2023
Amnesty International accused Eritrea’s military of continuing war crimes in Tigray despite a peace deal signed last November
Eritrea’s government has denied Amnesty International’s allegations that its soldiers committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region despite a peace deal signed last November.
Eritrean soldiers had backed federal forces in the two-year civil war.
Eritrea’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on 5 September said that Amnesty International’s allegations against the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) “have no substance or merit”.
The ministry added that the report “suffered from its flawed methodology” and was “filled with disgusting lies and distortions that are a futile attempt to disparage the Eritrean people”.
“Amnesty conducted no research. Rather, it chose to use its platform to regurgitate unsubstantiated allegations against Eritrea’s military personnel, taken from third-party sources, faceless, nameless, in continuation of its libellous decade-long campaign against the State of Eritrea,” the statement said.
The ministry also accused the rights group of trying to promote hate and incite a wedge between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Eritrean troops backed Ethiopia’s army in its fight against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) between November 2020 and last year.
Galmudug leaders at loggerheads: President and Vice President clash over anti-al-Shabab operations
Source: Hiiraan Online, Thursday September 7, 2023
Dhusamareb (HOL) – Galmudug Regional State Vice President Ali Dahir Eid has accused the regional President, Ahmed Abdi Kariye QoorQoor, of playing a role in the failure of anti-al-Shabab military operations in Galmudug State.
The accusation came after Vice President Eid suspended Galmudug Interior Minister Abdi Mohamed Diriye Wayel, alleging that he undermined the military operations. However, President Ahmed QoorQoor objected to this decision, stating that the Vice President’s action went against the Galmudug constitution and exceeded the powers granted to the Vice President by the constitution.
In an interview with an online channel on Wednesday night, Vice President Ali Dahir Eid claimed that both the minister and the President were united in sabotaging the efforts of President Hassan Sheikh to eradicate al-Shabab from Galmudug State.
“I assure you that Abdi’s suspension is in effect. President QoorQoor and the minister are aligned in undermining the fight against al-Shabaab and the efforts of President Hassan Sheikh,” said the Galmudug Vice President.
Ali Eid emphasized that the war against al-Shabaab should not be politicized, expressing his inability to tolerate the Minister of Internal Affairs focusing on matters unrelated to the fight against al-Shabaab.
This public conflict between Galmudug leaders is the first of its kind since their election to leadership positions after working together for three and a half years.
President Mohamud has been in Dhusamareb for over a month to oversee operations in the Galgadud region. However, the federal army-led military operation suffered a setback following a deadly al-Shabab attack on two military brigades.
Reports suggest that government troops retreated from El Dheer, Masagaway, Gal’ad, and Budbud in the Galgadud region following a deadly al-Shabab attack on soldiers in the village of Cosweyne last week.
The government has yet to confirm the number of casualties from the attack, but it is believed dozens were killed, with more than 160 injured and an unspecified number missing. A purported al-Shabab video shows a captured soldier.
Mohamud on Tuesday announced that his government arrested some of the officers who left the front lines, without specifying the number of officers in detention. But he said they will be brought to the government’s military court.
Source: The Washington Post published on 31 August 2023 an article titled “U.S. Presses Saudi Arabia on Reported Migrant Massacres” by Missy Ryan, Sarah Dadouch, John Hudson, and Karen DeYoung.
The Biden administration is pressing the government of Saudi Arabia to identify the military units along the Yemen/Saudi border alleged by Human Rights Watch to have killed Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers who were trying to enter the country. The United States has trained the maritime division of the Saudi border guards and the kingdom is the single largest customer for foreign military sales.
Source: The New York Times published on 3 September 2023 an article titled “Netanyahu Calls to Expel Unauthorized Immigrants After Eritreans Clash” by Patrick Kingsley and Abdi Latif Dahir.
Tens of thousands of Eritreans have made their way illegally to Israel seeking asylum. Some support the government in Eritrea while others oppose it. Clashes between these two groups broke out last week in Tel Aviv during an event organized by the Eritrean embassy to celebrate 30 years of independence from Ethiopia. Consequently, Israel called for the deportation of all unauthorized immigrants from the country.
World experiencing era of climate migration, Africa in greatest danger, says IOM head
Source: Shiawaves, , Sunday September 3, 2023
The director general-elect of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) called for urgent solutions to address climate change and human mobility challenges because the world has entered “the era of climate migration.”
Amy Pope said in a statement on Friday that urgent solutions are needed to address climate change and human mobility on continental scale.
“African countries are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, experiencing the dire impacts of the climate crisis including drought, flooding, extreme weather temperatures, rising sea levels,” it said, adding that without a climate action plan, up to 105 million people are feared to become internal migrants by 2023 in Africa alone.
Sudan conflict: Air strike on Khartoum kills at least 20
Source: BBC, Monday September 4, 2023
An army air strike on the Sudanese capital has killed at least 20 people, including two children, activists say.
Many of the victims of the attack, in the Kalakla al-Qubba neighbourhood of south-west Khartoum, have been buried in the rubble, they said.
Artillery and rocket fire have been reported in several areas on Sunday.
The army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been fighting for control of Khartoum since April. Hundreds have been killed.
The country’s health ministry says more than 1,100 people have died across the country, but the real numbers are likely to be much higher.
Many civilians have been caught in the crossfire.
Roughly 2.2 million people have been displaced within Sudan and more than half a million are sheltering in neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations.
The conflict began after army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the RSF head Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo fell out over the future of the country.
Several ceasefires have been announced to allow people to escape the fighting but these have not been observed.
The RSF controls much of Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Bahri.
The army has carried out frequent artillery and air attacks to try and dislodge the paramilitary fighters.
Saturday’s strike is one of the heaviest.
Clashes have spread beyond the capital, including to the western Darfur region which has seen an outbreak of ethnic violence.
Across the country, hundreds have been killed and almost three million people have been forced from their homes.
Africa to find climate solutions not be the victims- Ruto
Source: BBC, Rory Gallimore
Monday September 4, 2023
The Africa Climate Summit will tackle African and global climate change issues
African heads of state are gathering in Kenya for the Africa Climate Summit, where they will discuss the continent’s approach to climate change.
The meeting in Nairobi is the first of its kind in Africa. It aims to come up with a common plan to present to other world leaders at a the COP 28 United Nations climate summit later this year.
Over the next three days, delegates at the summit will consider a new funding model to help governments reduce carbon emissions.
Kenyan President William Ruto said Africa should be part of the solution to global warming, rather than a victim.
“For a very long time we have looked at this as a problem. It is time we flipped and looked at it from the other side,” he told delegates at the opening of the meeting.
“There are opportunities, immense opportunities as well. And that is why we are not here to catalogue grievances and list problems, we are here to scrutinise ideas, assess perspectives, so that we can unlock solutions.”
African countries are among the smallest contributors to climate change, but suffer some of its worst effects.
: Growing influence of Brics in East Africa through arms race
Source: TheEastAfrican: Tuesday September 5, 2023
A Russian tank in a firing exercise field. PHOTO | AFP
Countries. Yet, new details show that arms supply is just as much the bloc’s area of specialisation, to eastern African countries.
The Brics arms race, it turns out, is already playing out in eastern Africa as new data indicates that in 2021 and 2022, Uganda and Rwanda were the biggest importers of Russian arms, while Ethiopia and Tanzania sourced their military firepower from China.
This is according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) arms transfer database.
In its August update — dated just before the August 22-24 Brics Summit in South Africa — Sipri, showed that Russia and China dominate supplies while India is the bloc’s and the world’s biggest arms importer. Sipri often research and maps conflicts, arms control and purchases.
The update studied arms transfers for the period 2008 — 2022, to see whether the trend of trading between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — which until the formal admission of six new members constituted the Brics group — is also reflected in arms trade between themselves.
According to Sipri, the Brics is an important economic bloc and trade between its members is growing. Data shows that Russia has remained the top supplier of arms to India in the last 14 years, while the Asian nation was also the number one export market for Russian arms exports.
“However, Russia’s share fell from 78 percent in 2008-12 to 45 percent in 2018-22, while France, Israel and USA all gained ground,” the think tank explains.
According to Sipri, China receives most of its major arms imports from Russia and was ranked the number two market for Russian arms exports in 2008-2022, but the Asian giant is becoming less reliant on arms imports, including from Russia as its domestic arms industry grows rapidly.
While India was the world’s number one importer of major arms from 2008 – 2022, China ranked third while other Brics members imported much smaller volumes, ranking 36th, 55th and 63rd for Brazil, South Africa and Russia respectively, according to Sipri.
In terms of exports, Russia, ranked number two globally after the US, while China was number five, with India, Brazil and South Africa having relatively small domestic arms industries but keen to increase their exports.
In East Africa, Uganda was ranked Russia’s biggest market in 2022, importing weapons worth $48 million out of a total import bill of $55 million, according to Sipri’s trend indicator values. Its other sources were Czechia ($4 million), Israel ($2 million), China ($1 million) and South Africa ($1 million).
In 2021, Rwanda imported arms worth $46 million from Russia, $10 million from turkey and $2 million from the US.
In 2022, Ethiopia imported weapons valued at $35 million from China, while the previous year, its arms were sourced from Turkey ($5 million) and $6 million worth of weapons from unknown sources.
In 2021, Tanzania imported arms worth $29 million from China and also sourced weapons worth $24 million from France.
Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo sourced their arms from South Africa; Kenya and South Sudan are the only countries from region whose military supplies are not sourced from a Brics member during this period.
In 2009, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed the bloc to counter western dominance in geopolitics, and to promote peace, security, development and cooperation; the inclusion of new members Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is meant to share these goals wider.
Scholars view the Brics emergence as critical to establishing a new world order to bridge the widening gap between the actual role of emerging markets in the global system and their ability to participate in the decision-making process of global institutions