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Horn of Africa
Security Council extends mandate of UN Assistance Mission in Somalia
Source: Xinhua net, Tuesday August 31, 2021
The Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for nine months, till May 31, 2022.
Resolution 2592, which was adopted unanimously by the 15-member council, strongly condemns continued attacks by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab and urges the Somali authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and the United Nations to work closely on strengthening safety and security of the UN and African Union facilities and staff.
It requests UNSOM to maintain and strengthen its presence across Somalia, subject to UN security requirements and as the security situation allows.
The resolution expresses the Security Council’s deep appreciation of UNSOM’s support to the Somali federal government, in particular concerning the development of inclusive politics and preparations for the elections in 2021, the constitutional review process, mediation, prevention and resolution of conflicts, the development of a federated police and justice system, strengthening the rule of law and security-sector reform, and coordinating capacity-building support on anti-corruption issues.
It recalls the need for Somalia and its partners to take a coordinated and cohesive approach toward Somali-led political and security reforms.
The resolution decides that UNSOM should continue to coordinate UN efforts, maximizing joint approaches and joint programming in relevant areas, in full cooperation with the federal government and the federal member states.
It calls on the federal government and the federal member states to organize free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in line with the Sept. 17, 2020, and May 27, 2021, agreements without further delay, and urges the federal government and the federal member states to finalize outstanding preparations to this end.
It calls on the federal government and the federal member states to enhance, as a matter of urgency, broad-based consultations and consensus-building through consultative mechanisms at all levels and with the two houses of parliament on national priorities.
The resolution expresses the Security Council’s concern about all violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those involving sexual and gender-based violence in conflict.
It further calls on all parties to comply with their obligations under international law concerning the protection of civilians and civilian objects, and reiterates the urgent and imperative need to hold accountable all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.
Egypt-Somalia relations: All eyes on Mogadishu
Source: ahramonline, Sunday August 29, 2021
By Dina Ezzat
As part of Egypt’s strategy to engage further with the African states, especially those in the east of the continent and around the Nile Basin, Cairo unrolled the red carpet for Prime Minister of Somalia Mohamed Hussein Roble during a visit to Egypt this week.
Roble was in town for a three-day visit and was received by Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli who held two rounds of talks, one attended by both prime ministers and one also attended by Egypt’s ministers of foreign affairs, education and health and their visiting Somali counterparts.
Roble’s visit is the third by a high-ranking Somali official to Cairo in a year, with previous visits having included one by the Somali foreign minister.
During his visit, Roble was received by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb. Al-Azhar operates a prominent institute in Mogadishu and offers scholarships to Somali students.
“Education has always been one of the most prominent areas of cooperation between our two countries. For decades, Egypt, through the national education system and through Al-Azhar, has provided educational support to Somalia,” Mohamed Nasr, the Egyptian Ambassador in Mogadishu, said.
He added that this support had always been highly appreciated by the Somali people, who thought fondly of Egypt as an education destination.
“Actually many prominent Somali figures received their education in Egyptian schools in Somalia, or by Egyptian teachers, or even went to Egyptian universities,” Nasr said.
Roble himself studied for a few years in Egypt, and one of the things that was agreed during his talks in Cairo was to boost educational cooperation between the two countries, Nasr said.
In the years prior to the outbreak of over a decade-long civil conflict in Somalia in the early 1990s, Egypt had run a school in almost every region of the country. In Mogadishu, it ran a prominent school that carried the name of former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, whose memory is cherished on the continent 50 years after his death.
In the 1990s, Egypt tried to put an end to the devastating civil conflict and hosted several rounds of political dialogue in pursuit of reconciliation. However, with so many political developments around the Middle East, Cairo got a lot more focused on the Arab problems, while Somalia was falling into disrepair.
With the end of the conflict in Somalia, Egypt tried to pick up the pieces of its educational presence in this important country in the Horn of Africa. “Starting in 2015, Egypt has been systematically working on consolidating its relations with Somalia,” Nasr said.
Roble’s visit, he added, was designed to underline the commitment of both sides to working together towards stronger ties. “I think part of what makes our relations so important is that they never overshadowed the many other issues that we are both interested in,” Nasr said.
Roble’s visit comes a few months ahead of the national elections that are scheduled tentatively for October this year in Somalia. The elections, earlier announced by Roble, are meant to spare the country from the possible political crisis that has been in the making since Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo attempted to delay these elections for two years.
The attempt stirred political unrest, and Roble stepped in to offer a political compromise through the elections. He has since been at the head of the process leading to the elections.
Nasr said that Egypt was not planning to get involved in internal Somali affairs. What Egypt was keen on was boosting development in Somalia and aiding in political coordination, he added.
According to Amira Abdel-Halim, lead researcher on the Horn of Africa at the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, “in the final analysis the outcome of these elections is important for Egypt in the sense that anything that influences the stability of Somalia is important for Egypt.”
For Egypt, the Horn of Africa is a national security concern, especially vis-à-vis the Red Sea. It is also close to the Nile Basin.
These have always been two strategic areas of concern for Egypt, Abdel-Halim said, adding that “the Red Sea is a very important region for Egypt, and it has become highly militarised with many foreign countries building military or logistics bases in the countries of the Horn of Africa.”
In addition to Turkey — that has become during the past two decades a key player in this region and other parts of Africa including the equally crucial Sahel and Sahara zone — other foreign countries that have some sort of presence in the Horn of Africa include, Italy, US, France, Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates.
Egypt, government officials say, is not planning to press its interests in the region at the expense of members of the region, but it cannot look the other way when foreign powers, including Arab and non-Arab states, are expanding their presence.
For example, Qatar, for several years a political foe of Egypt and both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who have had alliances with Egypt, acted during the past decade to expand in the region, Abdel-Halim said.
Egypt, she added, “has been legitimately trying to balance this situation to make sure that its strategic interests around the Red Sea and in the Nile Basin are not compromised”. This reach-out, she noted, has been trying to cover all the countries of this region at the highest level possible.
advertisementsShe added that winning Somalia over is crucial both for the security of the Red Sea and also in view of the current conflict with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was also important for Egypt.
Ethiopia has often tried to “undermine Somalia,” she said, adding that this had been “either through military interventions or political maneuvering”.
According to Abdel-Halim, Ethiopia was “largely” to blame for the radicalisation of the Al-Shabab movement in Somalia. “Originally Al-Shabab was stimulated to resist Ethiopia’s military and political presence in Somalia and along the road the movement got radicalised,” she said.
Today, Abdel-Halim argued, helping Somalia stand on its own two feet is crucial to helping it face up to the attempts of foreign countries to intervene in its affairs, “Ethiopia or any other country”.
“Sparing Somalia from the conflicting agendas of other countries is a crucial first step for stability since the country has suffered a lot due to repeated interventions from countries in and out of the region,” she said.
“I think there is an understanding in Somalia, both at the official and public levels, that Egypt is not trying to take control of the political will of Somalis,” Abdel-Halim said. Still, she added, it is also understood and accepted that Egypt has some crucial interests that it would wish Somalia to accommodate, including those related to Red Sea security and the GERD conflict.
According to Nasr, coordination and consultations between the two countries will continue, covering all aspects of bilateral and regional issues.
Somali police boss Abdi Hijaar officiates graduation of female elite forces in Turkey
Source: Sunday August 29, 2021
MOGADISHU (HOL) – Somali police chief Abdi Mohamed Hijaar Saturday officiated a commencement ceremony of 49 female elite forces following their specialized training in Turkey.
The officers drawn from the Harama’ad police unit graduated from a Turkish training academy.advertisements
The police commandant said the group was the last group to have completed the advanced training.
“This training is part of a special operations training. This batch of female officers is the last to complete this training, ”said Hijaar.
Besides the Harama’ad police unit, Turkey also trains the Gorgoor Battalion of the Somali National National Army.
Turkey also operates a military training academy in Mogadishu, which trains army recruits.
The female officers are expected to return home soon.
Source: Xinhua published on 26 August 2021 an article titled “China to Strengthen Ties with Ethiopia, Further Vitalize China-Africa Cooperation: FM.”
China and Ethiopia agreed to increase their strategic partnership in a phone call between Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. They also opposed “Western interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the excuse of human rights.”
Source: Al-Monitor published on 18 August 2021 an article titled “Turkey Views Ties with Ethiopia as Key to Influence in Africa” by Fehim Tastekin.
Ethiopia seeks Turkish support to offset Arab support for Egypt and Sudan on the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the ability to purchase drones from Turkey. Turkey sees Ethiopia as a gateway to Sub-Saharan Africa and an ally in its differences with Egypt.
Ethiopia announces fresh delays to polls
Source: AFP, Friday August 27, 2021
Ethiopian authorities have postponed polls in around a fifth of the country’s constituencies, extending a months-long delay which prevented citizens from voting in a June election due to ethnic violence and logistical problems.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s party won a landslide in the June vote, despite a brutal war in the northern region of Tigray, which was among the areas where elections did not take place.
A second batch of polling in one-fifth of the country’s 547 constituencies was scheduled for September 6, but will now take place on September 30, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced in a statement late Monday.
The decision followed a meeting with politicians, who told NEBE officials that “considering the current situation the country is in, it’s not appropriate to hold elections currently.”
NEBE said voting will take place on September 30 in the Somali, Harari and Southern regions, alongside a separate referendum on proposals to create a new South West region.
But no election date has been set for Tigray, where fighting between Abiy’s forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has killed thousands of people and pushed hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions.
advertisementsEach side has accused the other of preventing aid convoys from reaching those in need as the violence expands to the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.
Abiy’s landslide win in June came as the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner saw his global reputation plummet, as Tigray lurched deeper into a humanitarian crisis.
His Prosperity Party won 410 seats in the federal parliament out of 436 where elections were held, according to results issued by NEBE, while opposition parties and independent candidates won a small number of seats.
The vote was meant to affirm a promised democratic revival in Africa’s second-most populous nation, with Abiy vowing a clean break with repression that tarnished past electoral cycles.
But opposition candidates complained of a tilted playing field in some areas, with two prominent opposition parties in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region, pulling out entirely from the polls, saying their candidates had been arrested and offices vandalised.
NEBE noted that some constituencies experienced “improper arrests,” voter intimidation and “harassment” of observers and journalists, and said it had recorded several killings in the runup to the vote in Oromia, the most populous region
AU names Obasanjo High Representative for Horn of Africa
Source: The EastAfrica, Friday August 27, 2021
By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo named African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa. PHOTO | FILE | NMG
The African Union (AU) has appointed Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo as its high representative for the Horn of Africa’s region.
“This decision is part of the African Union’s drive to promote peace, security, stability and political dialogue all over the Horn of Africa region,” Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, said in a statement on Thursday.advertisements
“Specifically, the High Representative will intensify engagements with all relevant political actors and stakeholders in the region towards entrenching durable peace and stability within the Horn of Africa.”
The Chairperson of the AU Commission highly appreciated Obasanjo for accepting what the AU said was for “this strategic political assignment in the collective interest of the continental bloc.”
“The former Nigerian leader brings with him very rich political experience, and impeccable credentials of keen commitment to the lofty ideals of Pan-Africanism and regional integration and cooperation, as well as a deep knowledge of the current situation in the Horn of Africa,” the statement said.
The new appointment comes as the volatile Horn of Africa region experiences conflict and crises.
An ongoing nine-month old civil war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has spilled over to other regions of the country.
Billene Seyoum, the spokesperson of the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office, on Thursday told reporters that the Tigray conflict, which has spread to Afar and Amhara regions, has led to almost half a million people displaced.
Obasanjo’s appointment also comes as Somalia and its international partners have failed to curtail a new rise of Al-Shabaab terrorist group insurgency.
Born on March 5, 1937, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, South Western Nigeria, Obasanjo served as president of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, from 1999 to 2007.
Mr Obasanjo has also been involved in international mediation efforts in Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa.
In 2008, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed Mr Obasanjo as his Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, where he has played an integral part in mediation efforts in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Source: African Arguments published on 18 August 2021 a commentary titled “Why Somalia’s Grand Strategies Aren’t Working” by Liban Obisye and Liban A. Hussein.
Grand strategies for combatting al-Shabaab are not based on the real capabilities of Somali security forces and available resources. International partners propose grand schemes that are overly ambitious and lack local credibility.
Source: The Royal United Services Institute published on 10 August 2021 an analysis titled “The African Union Intervention Force Will Stay in Somalia, But with Whose Troops?” by Colin Robinson.
It is not realistic to pull all AMISOM troops out of Somalia, leaving the country at the mercy of al-Shabaab. The question is which African troops are prepared to remain.
Source: The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 12 August 2021 an analysis titled “Building on Somaliland’s Successful Elections.”
Although long delayed, Somaliland held successful elections in May and August. The ICG argues, however, that there must be renewed efforts to include under-represented communities going forward.
Source: The Royal United Services Institute published on 10 August 2021 an analysis titled “The African Union Intervention Force Will Stay in Somalia, But with Whose Troops?” by Colin Robinson.
It is not realistic to pull all AMISOM troops out of Somalia, leaving the country at the mercy of al-Shabaab. The question is which African troops are prepared to remain.
Sudan vows to support peace efforts in Somalia
Source: Xinhuanet, Sunday August 22, 2021
KHARTOUM, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) — Sudan on Friday vowed to support the efforts to achieve peace and stability in Somalia in cooperation with all Somali parties and the regional and international partners.
Sudan welcomed the recent agreement reached between the African Union (AU) Commission and the federal government of Somalia to extend the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), said Sudan’s foreign ministry in a statement.
The ministry stressed AMISOM’s important role in pushing the peace efforts in Somalia since its deployment.
The statement further pointed to the importance of supporting the federal government of Somalia to implement the national security strategy, conduct training and build the Somali security capabilities to actively contribute to ensuring sustainable security and stability in Somalia.
On Thursday, the AU announced that it reached a deal with the federal government of Somalia to extend the mandate of AMISOM which was established in 2007.
The AMISOM is set to gradually hand over the security responsibilities to the Somali security forces. Enditem
Sudan’s premier says will keep pushing for peace in Ethiopia
Source: Monday August 16, 2021
Khartoum will press ahead with efforts to ensure stability in Ethiopia, the Sudanese premier said Sunday, as its neighbour grapples with grinding conflict in its northern Tigray region.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Sudan had reached out to all sides as part of a push to end the conflict.
“We will continue to exert all efforts for Ethiopia to become stable, unified and secure,” Hamdok told a press conference in Khartoum.
Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by fighting since last November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to topple the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s then ruling party.
Tens of thousands of Ethiopians have fled to refugee camps in Sudan, to escape a conflict that the UN says has pushed 400,000 people into famine-like conditions.
Last week, Sudan said it recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia for “consultations” after Addis Ababa spurned a push by Khartoum to help resolve the conflict.
Earlier this month, Ethiopia said its trust in some of Sudan’s leaders had been “eroded”, and accused the Sudanese army of launching an “incursion” into Ethiopian territory.
Relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have also soured over the contested border region of Fashaga, a fertile strip long cultivated by Ethiopian farmers, but claimed by Sudan.
The tensions come at a delicate time between the two countries, which along with Egypt have been locked in inconclusive talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River.
Downstream nations Egypt and Sudan both fear the mega-dam threatens waters they depend on.
Ethiopia calls “all capable” citizens to fight in Tigray war
Source: Wednesday August 11, 2021
Ethiopia’s government on Tuesday summoned all capable citizens to war, urging them to join the country’s military to stop resurgent forces from the embattled Tigray region “once and for all.”
The call to arms is an ominous sign that all of Ethiopia’s 110 million people are being drawn into a conflict that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, once declared would be over within weeks.
The deadly fighting has now spread beyond Tigray into neighboring regions, and fracturing in Africa’s second most populous country could destabilize the entire Horn of Africa region.
Tuesday’s announcement effectively ends the unilateral cease-fire the government declared in June as its military retreated from Tigray. It is also almost certain to magnify the toll of a nine-month war that has led to the massacre of thousands, widespread gang rapes and the displacement of entire communities, mostly Tigrayan. Hundreds of thousands of people in Tigray now face famine conditions in the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade.
The prime minister’s summons chilled Tigrayans, even those outside Tigray, with the statement calling on all Ethiopians to be “the eyes and ears of the country in order to track down and expose spies and agents” of the Tigray forces. Witnesses and lawyers have said thousands of Tigrayans already have been detained during the conflict for their identity alone.
“The kind of war he’s calling for is on another level, it’s for a total annihilation of Tigray,” said Teklehaymanot G. Weldemichel, whose family remains trapped in the Tigray region. “‘Once and for all’ means to finish everyone out.”
The expansion of fighting has alarmed some people of other ethnicities, such as the Amhara, who fear that the Tigray forces, now on the offensive, will take revenge.
“We know the (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) is well-armed and the losers would again be the Amhara people,” Demissie Alemayehu, a U.S.-based professor who was born in the Amhara region, said shortly after the prime minister’s call to war. Without addressing Ethiopia’s root problems, including a constitution based on ethnic differences, he said, it will be “very difficult to talk about peace.”
The deputy head of the Amhara regional government, Fenta Mandefro, asserted that hundreds of Amhara residents have already been killed. “More people will be endangered if we continue adhering to a cease-fire ignored by the TPLF,” he said.
The call to join the military is so far not compulsory, but with access to parts of Ethiopia increasingly blocked, it’s difficult to know what kind of pressure is being applied. Spokespeople for Abiy’s office, the military and the Tigray emergency task force did not respond to questions.
Ethiopia’s sharply worded statement came after weeks of mobilization by the federal government, including military recruiting and blood donation drives, as Tigray forces pushed into the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions. On Tuesday, the spokesman for the Tigray forces, Getachew Reda, told The Associated Press that the prime minister “wants to send militia to the war front as cannon fodder” and called it unfortunate that “ill-trained, ill-equipped people” are now being pressed into the fight.
The war began as a political dispute. Tigray leaders dominated Ethiopia’s repressive government for nearly three decades, embittering many across the country by helping to put in place a system of ethnic federalism that led to ethnic tensions. When Abiy came to office in 2018, the Tigray leaders were sidelined.
Fighting began in November and took a stunning turn in June when the Tigray forces, strengthened by new recruits among Tigrayans horrified by the war’s atrocities, retook much of the region.
The Tigray forces now say they want to secure their long-blockaded region of 6 million people, end the fighting and see the prime minister leave office. Despite the resentment of many in Ethiopia, they are hoping for public support as they vow to press to the capital, Addis Ababa, if needed.
“If his government topples, that’s icing on the cake,” spokesman for the Tigray forces told the AP last week.
advertisementsLike Ethiopia’s government, they could use deprivation as means of pressure. Getachew confirmed that the Tigray forces’ aim in the Afar region is to control a crucial supply line to the rest of Ethiopia from neighboring Djibouti, on a major shipping lane. He called it “part of the game,” saying people in Tigray are starving.
“It’s not to spite the other parts of Ethiopia,” he said.
Last week the United Nations and the United States sent high-level officials to press Ethiopia’s government for more access to the Tigray, where telephone, internet and banking services remain cut off. But Ethiopia’s government has been angered by the international pressure over Tigray, especially as the fighting spreads.
Some 300,000 people have now been displaced outside Tigray, and this week the U.N. said it was “extremely alarmed” by reports that more than 200 people had been killed in attacks on displaced people in Afar. Ethiopia’s government blamed the Tigray forces, whose spokesman denied it.
The new statement from the prime minister’s office takes aim at some in the international community, blaming them for the “machinations of foreign hands” in the war, and alleging without evidence that some had been caught “red-handed supporting the (Tigray forces) under the disguise of humanitarian aid.” The government has suspended the operations of Doctors Without Borders and the Norwegian Refugee Committee, accusing them of “disseminating misinformation.”
The rhetoric in the government’s new statement “could well presage renewed restrictions on the humanitarian relief efforts in Tigray, reversing the already modest progress made in recent weeks,” Aly Verjee, a senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace, told the AP.
The statement also “leaves little room for dialogue, and as we have seen, a war of words does little to end the war on the ground,” he said. “When the federal government calls Tigrayan forces terrorists and traitors, it is not likely to encourage restraint on the part of the Tigrayans, who are already militarily ascendant.”
The prime minister last month referred to the Tigray forces as “weeds” and “cancer,” bringing a swift warning from the U.S. about dehumanizing rhetoric. Since then, Ethiopia’s government has repeatedly said it is targeting the Tigray forces alone and the TPLF, which it declared a terrorist group earlier this year.
“The battle is not with Tigray but with the terrorist forces,” its new statement said.
Somalia Rejects Diplomatic Resolution of Maritime Dispute with Kenya
Source: Maritime Executive
Wednesday August 11, 2021
Somalia has rejected pressure for a diplomatic resolution to a longstanding maritime dispute with Kenya, maintaining the matter will be decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Despite a charm offensive by Kenya, Somalia reckons the ICJ must provide the final verdict on the dispute that has been running for close to a decade in which the neighbouring countries both claim ownership of large territories of the Indian Ocean with prospects of vast oil and gas deposits.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Raychelle Omamo made a maiden visit to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, where she held talks with Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and sought to push the agenda of an out-of-court settlement with a deal brokered by the African Union.
However, Somalia stuck to its guns saying that the maritime dispute between both nations will be decided by The Hague-based court whose ruling is eagerly awaited after formal hearings in March this year. Kenya boycotted the hearings after accusing the ICJ of unfairness and unwillingness to delay the proceedings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Somalia has underscored that an existing maritime dispute between both nations will be decided by The Hague-based International Court of Justice, or ICJ, despite several requests by Kenya to reach a settlement out of court,” said a statement from the prime minister’s office.
The two east African neighbors dispute over 38,000 square miles of territory in the Indian Ocean with prospects of vast oil and gas deposits, a matter Somalia wants the ICJ to arbitrate. The dispute has also led to frosty diplomatic relations over accusations and counter-accusations about interference with domestic affairs, territorial integrity, trade and security.
The statement noted that the two ministers “emphasized the importance of taking concrete measures to show respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, which are the cornerstone of the relationship between the two countries.”
Somalia filed the case at the ICJ in 2014 on the basis that Kenya was encroaching on its marine territory and has repeatedly rejected calls to withdraw it and allow for a diplomatic resolution to the dispute.
Both countries are claiming ownership to the territory and have gone ahead to invite international companies to explore for gas and oil.
“The impact on the economy will be unprecedented”: Somalia creates a national payment system as part of its reconstruction after decades of wa
“The impact on the economy will be unprecedented”: Somalia creates a national payment system as part of its reconstruction after decades of war
Source: Market Research Telecast
Wednesday August 11, 2021
Somalia has created a national payment system under the financial industry development plan, after decades of political and economic instability.
The system will connect lenders with a clearing platform and allow real-time money transfers to be processed. Other advantages of the system include the interaction capabilities for debit and credit cards, mobile network operators and ATMs.
Now the country’s 13 credit banks can “be interoperable, be connected to the Central Bank’s clearing and settlement system and transact with each other,” said the Governor of the Central Bank of Somalia, Abdirahman M. Abdullahi, in an interview with Bloomberg.
The system will “facilitate transactions between sellers and their buyers in a more efficient way,” the bank representative said.
“The impact on the economy will be unprecedented. It will boost trade and business,” said Abdullahi, who estimates that the Somali economy could grow 2.9% this year.
Last July, the International Bank of Somalia launched the Visa Card international payment service.
The Central Bank of Somalia has also granted the first mobile phone-based financial services license to Hormuud Telecom and is studying the possibility of printing new Somali shillings banknotes, as they now use mostly US dollars.
Source: IPCC report: ‘Code red’ for human driven global heating, warns UN chief
Unsplash/Marcus KauffmanA wildfire burns in a national park in Oregon, USA. 9 August 2021Climate and Environment
Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible, at least during the present time frame, according to the latest much-anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on Monday.
Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Scientists are also observing changes across the whole of Earth’s climate system; in the atmosphere, in the oceans, ice floes, and on land.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=UN_News_Centre&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1424649118312435714&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fnews.un.org%2Fen%2Fstory%2F2021%2F08%2F1097362&sessionId=5381e9cb42b10278f2a2a6fdf7f5d8a9528a0412&siteScreenName=UN_News_Centre&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px
Many of these changes are unprecedented, and some of the shifts are in motion now, while some – such as continued sea level rise – are already ‘irreversible’ for centuries to millennia, ahead, the report warns.
But there is still time to limit climate change, IPCC experts say. Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, could quickly make air quality better, and in 20 to 30 years global temperatures could stabilize.
‘Code red for humanity’
He noted that the internationally-agreed threshold of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels of global heating was “perilously close. We are at imminent risk of hitting 1.5 degrees in the near term. The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold, is by urgently stepping up our efforts, and persuing the most ambitious path.
“We must act decisively now, to keep 1.5 alive.”
The UN chief in a detailed reaction to the report, said that solutions were clear. “Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all, if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage“, he said.
He added that ahead of the crucial COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November, all nations – especiall the advanced G20 economies – needed to join the net zero emissions coaltion, and reinforce their promises on slowing down and reversing global heating, “with credible, concrete, and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)” that lay out detailed steps.
The report, prepared by 234 scientists from 66 countries, highlights that human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years.
In 2019, atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher than at any time in at least 2 million years, and concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide were higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years.
Global surface temperature has increased faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period over a least the last 2,000 years. For example, temperatures during the most recent decade (2011–2020) exceed those of the most recent multi-century warm period, around 6,500 years ago, the report indicates.
Meanwhile, global mean sea level has risen faster since 1900, than over any preceding century in at least the last 3,000 years.
The document shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming between 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of heating.Unsplash/Roxanne DesgagnésIce sheets in Jökulsárlón, Iceland.
Time is running out
The IPCC scientists warn global warming of 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century. Unless rapid and deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades, achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement “will be beyond reach”.
The assessment is based on improved data on historical warming, as well as progress in scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to human-caused emissions.
“It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair, Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “Yet the new report also reflects major advances in the science of attribution – understanding the role of climate change in intensifying specific weather and climate events”.
The experts reveal that human activities affect all major climate system components, with some responding over decades and others over centuries.
Scientists also point out that evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and their attribution to human influence, has strengthened.
They add that many changes in the climate system become larger in direct relation to increasing global warming.
This includes increases in the frequency and intensity of heat extremes, marine heatwaves, and heavy precipitation; agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions; the proportion of intense tropical cyclones; as well as reductions in Arctic sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.
The report makes clear that while natural drivers will modulate human-caused changes, especially at regional levels and in the near term, they will have little effect on long-term global warming.Unsplash/Maxim TolchinskiyAir pollution from power plants contributes to global warming.
A century of change, everywhere
The IPCC experts project that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions. For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons.
At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes are more likely to reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health.
But it won’t be just about temperature. For example, climate change is intensifying the natural production of water – the water cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions.
It is also affecting rainfall patterns. In high latitudes, precipitation is likely to increase, while it is projected to decrease over large parts of the subtropics. Changes to monsoon rain patterns are expected, which will vary by region, the report warns.
Moreover, coastal areas will see continued sea level rise throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion.
Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.
The report also indicates that further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.
Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels, affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century.UNDP/Michael AtwoodThe aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Barbuda.
Magnified in cities
Experts warn that for cities, some aspects of climate change may be magnified, including heat, flooding from heavy precipitation events and sea level rise in coastal cities.
Furthermore, IPCC scientists caution that low-likelihood outcomes, such as ice sheet collapse or abrupt ocean circulation changes, cannot be ruled out.
Limiting climate change
“Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” highlights IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai.
The report explains that from a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative carbon dioxide emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions.
“Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution”, IPCC scientists underscore.UNICEF/SokhinA 16-year-old child swims in the flooded area of Aberao village in Kiribati. The Pacific island is one of the countries worst affected by sea-level rise.
About the IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.
In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.
Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/1102948201&show_artwork=true
‘Before our very eyes’
Multiple, recent climate disasters including devastating flooding in central China and western Europe have focused public attention as never before, suggested Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“As citizens and as businesses and as governments, we are well aware of the drama,” she said “The drama exists, we have seen it and we heard about it in every news bulletin. And that’s what we need to understand, that the expression of what the science says is exhibited before our very eyes, and of course what this excellent report does is, it projects those scenarios outward, and tells us, if we do not take action, what could be the potential outcomes, or if we do take action, what will be a very good outcome.”
Climate adaption critical
Apart from the urgent need for climate mitigation, “it is essential to pay attention to climate adaptation”, said the WMO chief, Peteri Taalas, “since the negative trend in climate will continue for decades and in some cases for thousands of years.
“One powerful way to adapt is to invest in early warning, climate and water services“, he said.”Only half of the 193 members of WMO have such services in place, which means more human and economic losses. We have also severe gaps in weather and hydrological observing networks in Africa, some parts of Latin America and in Pacific and Caribbean island states, which has a major negative impact on the accuracy of weather forecasts in those areas, but also worldwide.
“The message of the IPCC report is crystal clear: we have to raise the ambition level of mitigation.”♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox – Subscribe here to a topic.
Kenya-Somalia border dispute top agenda in CS Omamo’s Mogadishu visit
Source: theSTAR, Sunday August 8, 2021
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo is expected in Somalia on Sunday to discuss the long-standing maritime border dispute.
Somalia Foreign Affairs ministry officials confirmed to the Star that CS Omamo will be in Mogadishu on Sunday, which is her maiden trip to the country.
There she will meet her counterpart Mohamed Abdirizak, Prime Minister Hussein Roble, and later hold talks with President Mohamed Farmaajo.
“The agenda is the border dispute that is currently at the International Court of Justice. The Honourable minister [CS] will also meet our Foreign minister, the PM and His Excellency the President,” the official said.
Kenya had on July 19, 2021 asked the AU Commission to offer technical assistance regarding border issues with Somalia through a note verbale to the continental commission.
“In this regard, the Commission wishes to communicate that it stands ready to provide technical assistance regarding border matters to all Africa Union Member States through its Africa Union Border Programme (AUBP) upon a joint request.”
“To this effect, the Commission will initiate the process of further consultations between the two parties in the Kenya-Somalia border issues in line with the AU legal instruments,” the note verbale dated July 28 states.
Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau did not respond to inquiries about the visit.
Kenya has been pushing for political negotiations in the dispute against the ICJ route.
In August 2014, Somalia formally asked the ICJ “to determine, on the basis of international law, the complete course of the single maritime boundary dividing all the maritime areas appertaining to Somalia and to Kenya in the Indian Ocean”.
The matter is yet to be concluded following deferments and Kenya’s withdrawal on March this year.
Kenya got alarmed when Somalia displayed contested oil and gas blocks within its territory for auction in London in 2019.
The fight for the ocean resources put Kenya’s interests at risk, with the Somali Parliament pushing for the withdrawal of the Kenya Defence Forces.
Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau then said the auction happened on February 7, 2019 in London. Consequently, Kenya recalled its ambassador over the alleged auctioning of oil and gas blocks and expelled the Somalia envoy.
The two states resumed relations in May of that year after talks on the maritime row. Welcoming back the envoy, PS Kamau said he hoped “for even better days ahead.”
In May this year, Somalia restored diplomatic relations with Kenya after mediation by the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.
In a statement by the Ministry of Information, Somalia said it was resuming the relations “in keeping with the interests of good neighbourliness”.
Mogadishu severed ties with Nairobi again on December 15, 2020, over claims of interference with its domestic politics, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said were unfounded.
In June, Kenya lifted the ban on flights to and from the country after a month, “in the hope that full normalisation of bilateral relations will occur”.
The respective countries have since reopened their embassies in Mogadishu and Nairobi.
Somalia’s Foreign Ministry said the resumption of full diplomatic relations would be “a positive start to the commencement of bilateral discussions between the two nations”.
On June 21, President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that his government will not cede even an inch of its soil to anyone or any state.
In what appeared to be a reference to the Kenya-Somalia border dispute, President Kenyatta said Kenya is ready to defend its territorial integrity as it has defended the peace of other states.
“As a peace-loving country, we are not the kind to be attacked or threatened or even allow an inch of our country to end up in the hands of other people. We are ready to defend ourselves just as we have defended peace in other states,” he said during a security tour in Boni area.
Kenya FM arrives in Mogadishu for talks with Somali leader
Source: Sunday August 8, 2021
MOGADISHU (HOL) – Kenya foreign Minister, Raychelle Omamo has today arrived in Somali capital, Mogadishu barely two months after her country lifted flight ban on Somalia.
Omamo and her delegation who arrived mid-morning at Mogadishu Airport were received by Somali counterpart, Mohamed Abdirisack and other government officials.
She will meet with minister Abdirisack, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, and later hold talks with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
This is Omamo’s maiden trip to the horn of Africa nation ever since she assumed the office.
Last June, Kenya lifted the ban on flights to and from the country after a month, “in the hope that full normalisation of bilateral relations will occur.”
More to follow.
PM Roble responds to Farmaajo, affirms ‘full authority’
Source: Hiiraan Online, Sunday August 8, 2021
MOGADISHU (HOL) – Prime Minister Mohamed Roble has responded to a decree issued by President Mohamed Farmaajo Saturday night calling on his cabinet to ‘proceed with business as usual’.
In what could be seen as a rejection of the decree, PM Roble said in a statement the Provisional Constitution granted the Council of Ministers full authority until a new government comes into being.
“In accordance with Article 97, Clause 1 of the Provisional Constitution, the executive power of the Federal Republic shall be vested in the Council of Ministers, which shall act in accordance with the Constitution, and shall have the highest authority,” the statement read in part.
A decree issued by Farmaajo Saturday evening ordered all government officials not to enter into any agreements both locally and international until a new government is elected.advertisements
The outgoing President argued that the outgoing government does not have authority to conduct business on behalf of the state.
The President’s directive came ahead of a visit to the country by Kenyan foreign minister Raychelle Omamo.
The Kenyan minister met with Roble and handed him an invite from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
There had been reports Kenya was seeking a lift on khat ban by Somalia; a matter which may have necessitated Farmaajo’s move.
But in his response, Roble said his government had authority to enter into agreements.
“The government is also responsible for enforcing the law, maintaining security, protecting the interests of the country and the people of Somalia, and the National Constitution mandates the Federal Government to negotiate foreign aid, trade, treaties or issues. important in relation to international agreements,” Roble said.
The exchanges are likely to widen the rift between the two leaders.