Friday, August 18, 2017

Reaction to Kenya's Election

The Atlantic Council published on 14 August 2017 a commentary titled "The Kenyan Elections: Too Soon to Relax" by Bronwyn Bruton, Atlantic Council's Africa Center.

The author noted, perhaps perversely, that the recurrence of post-election violence is a testament to the strength rather than the weakness of Kenya's democracy when compared to wining outcomes in the high ninety percentiles in certain other countries.

African Arguments published on 18 August 2017 a commentary titled "Kenya Voted for Change and Got It . . . at the Local Level" by Hannah Waddilove, University of Warwick.

The author points out that while the incumbent president was reelected, over half of Kenya's incumbent governors and 62 percent of its members in the National Assembly lost their seats.

China, Africa, US Health Care Cooperation

The Lancet published on 19 August 2017 an article titled "China, Africa, and US Academia Join Hands to Advance Global Health" by Liu Peilong, Yemane Berhane, and Wafaie Fawzi.

The article describes tripartite cooperation involving China, Africa and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University for sharing knowledge that could strengthen health care systems in Africa and China.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kenya after the Presidential Election

World Politics Review published on 17 August 2017 a commentary titled "Kenya's Presidential Election Avoided the Worst, but Tensions Still Simmer" by Julian Hattem, journalist based in Uganda.

The author concludes that while the ghost of nationwide unrest failed to materialize after Kenya's presidential election, ethnic divisions and mistrust still haunt Kenya's political system.

Sudan After an End to US Sanctions

The Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Business Federation Centre for African Studies summarized a July 2017 panel discussion titled "Post-sanctions Sudan: A Unique Opportunity for Frontier-market Investors?" by Jaco Maritz.

Once the United States removes sanctions on Sudan, the panelists suggest there will be opportunities for business although challenges will remain.

Saudi-Qatar Dispute Poses Dilemma for Somalia

African Arguments published on 16 August 2017 a commentary titled "'Neutral' Somalia Finds Itself Engulfed in Saudi Arabia-Qatar Dispute" by Mohyadin Ahmed Roble, editor of Radio Ergo.

The dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar poses a problem for Somalia, which has important ties to both countries and faces internal disagreement with its efforts to remain neutral.

Gulf State Conflicts Threaten Horn of Africa

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 11 August 2017 a thoughtful commentary titled "Saudi Arabia-Qatar Rift Rattles the Region" by Berouk Mesfin, ISS consultant.

The author concludes that it is only a slight exaggeration to say that Saudi Arabia's aggressive foreign policy and the resultant diplomatic crisis with Qatar have upset the balance of power among the countries in the Horn of Africa. He adds it is imperative that the countries in the Horn stay out of the zero-sum diplomatic crisis and keep lines open to both Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

China-US Cooperation in Africa

China-US Focus published on 15 May 2017 a commentary titled "'Belt & Road' May Catalyze China-US Cooperation in Africa" by He Wenping, Beijing-based think tank Charhar Institute and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The author suggests that China's focus on infrastructure development in Africa and the Trump administration's emphasis on "America First" and the improvement of domestic infrastructure could result in China-US cooperation on building infrastructure in Africa.

Commentary on China in Djibouti

East Asia Forum published on 14 August 2017 a commentary titled "China Joins the Crowd in Djibouti" by Sam Bateman, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The author concluded that China's military presence in Djibouti will have the effect of bringing the United States and India closer together, united in their efforts to counter China's increased regional presence.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hunger on the Somali Peninsula

The New York Times published on 12 August 2017 a commentary titled "This Is What Hunger Looks Like. Again," by Nuruddin Farah.

The author describes the return of drought, hunger, and famine to the Somali Peninsula. The situation has been exacerbated by the dysfunction of the Somali state and some impacted areas that remain under the control of al-Shabaab.

China's Phaseout of Ivory Trade Apparently on Track

Traffic published in August 2017 a report titled "Revisiting China's Ivory Markets in 2017" by Yuankun Zhao, Ling Xu, Yu Xiao, Jing Guan, and Wilson Lau.

China is scheduled to implement a total ban on the ivory trade at the beginning of 2018. The report concludes that in spite of some continuing implementation challenges, the phase out of the domestic ivory trade appears to be on track.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

China in Africa

The Council on Foreign Relations updated on 12 July 2017 its "China in Africa" by Eleanor Albert. This is a nice summary of current China-Africa relations.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Somaliland: Dubai Company Commits to Berbera Port Investment

CNN ran a story on 1 August 2017 titled "Somaliland Secures Record $442m Foreign Investment Deal" by Chris Giles.

The Dubai-based DP World has agreed to invest $442 million in Somaliland's port of Berbera in the Gulf of Aden. The project will include a new shipyard, quay, and free trade zone. The expectation is that land-locked Ethiopia will take a 19 percent share in the port and use it for some of its exports and imports.

Amnesty Not Ending Al-Shabaab Threat in Somalia

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 4 August 2017 a commentary titled "Al-Shabaab Holds Its Ground Against Somalia's Amnesty Deal" by Omar S. Mahmood, ISS Addis Ababa.

The author concludes that amnesty and dialogue have demonstrated so far that they will do little to bring about the defeat of al-Shabaab's core leadership, which remains committed to a vision of Somalia that doesn't include the federal government of Somalia.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ugandan Refinery: American/Italian Consortium Wins Over Chinese Consortium

The Observer (Kampala, Uganda) published a story on 9 August 2017 titled "$4bn Oil Refinery Deal Takes New Twist as Chinese Protest" by Baker Batte Lule and Alon Mwesigwa.

An American/Italian consortium has apparently won the bid to build a $4 billion oil refinery in Uganda, beating out a consortium of Chinese companies. This is a rare occasion where Western companies have outbid Chinese companies for infrastructure projects in Africa. In a formal complaint to the government of Uganda, the Chinese consortium said the decision is unfair.

Bibliography of China-Africa Relations

This is a 234 page bibliography of China-Africa relations begun in 2006 and most recently updated as of 9 August 2017. It is intended as a research tool for those persons interested in China-Africa relations.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

China's Ties with North Africa

ACT Middle East published in the summer of 2017 a short analysis titled "China's Growing North Africa Footprint" by Florence Eid-Oakden, economist at Arabia Monitor.

The author concluded that the economic ties between North Africa and China have been strengthening in recent years and this trend is set to continue.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Chinese Smartphone Maker Captures African Market

The South China Morning Post published on 1 August 2017 an article titled "How Chinese Smartphone Makers Compete with Samsung and Apple in Overseas Markets" by Meng Jing.

The article reports that Transsion Holdings, a China-based phone maker, has captured more than 40 percent of the mobile phone market in Sub-Saharan African countries by pricing below Samsung and Apple and offering headset features designed specifically for African needs.

China and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway

The Los Angeles Times published on 4 August 2017 an article titled "China Says It Built a Railway in Africa Out of Altruism, But It's More Strategic Than That" by Jonathan Kaiman.

Kaiman notes that U.S. engagement in Africa is at a low ebb. China sees an opportunity to improve transportation in the Horn of Africa and make itself the dominant economic partner on a continent that is about to see an explosion of new cheap labor, cellphone users, and urban consumers.

Botswana-China Relations

The Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University published in August 2017 a paper titled "A Study of Perspectives on How to Enhance Botswana-China Relations," by Frank Youngman, Botswana Open University.

The author concluded that although Botswana's relationship with China has positive dimensions, it also has significant tensions. Economic issues underlie the relationship while development assistance and formal political/diplomatic exchanges constitute important components of the state-to-state ties.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

EU, China, Africa Cooperation on Climate Change

The German Development Institute published in 2017 a briefing paper titled "New Opportunities for EU-China-Africa Trilateral Cooperation on Combatting Climate Change." It looks at ways to speed up the implementation of the Paris Agreement with a focus on expanding cooperation in renewable energy.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Piracy and the Story of the Brillante Virtuoso

Bloomberg Businessweek published on 31 July 2017 a fascinating story titled "The Hijacking of the Brillante Virtuoso" by Kit Chellel and Matthew Campbell.

This is a detailed account of a Greek-owned oil tanker that in July 2011 experienced either a botched hijacking or failed effort to scuttle the ship as part of an insurance scam in the Gulf of Aden at the height of Somali piracy. The ship and its oil cargo, valued at $100 million, was only briefly seized by intruders when an explosion and fire broke out that subsequently sent it to the salvage yard. What actually happened to the ship remains a mystery and insurance claims continue. It may be a case where a suspected Somali piracy attempt was actually something else.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

China and Djibouti's Ports (French and English)

The Oxford Business Group published on 14 July 2017 an article titled "Djibouti Opens Three Ports in Two Months." It underscores the degree of Chinese engagement in Djibouti and Djibouti's effort to become the leading port in the region.

Gulf States Scramble Relationships in the Horn of Africa

The International Crisis Group published on 3 August 2017 an analysis titled "A Dangerous Gulf in the Horn: How the Inter-Arab Crisis Is Fuelling Regional Tensions" by Rashid Abdi.

The author argues that the Gulf crisis and the scramble for military outposts along the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are exacerbating regional tensions that risk triggering a conflict.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gulf Crisis May Reshape the Horn of Africa

World Politics Review published on 1 August 2017 an analysis titled "Old Game, New Stakes: How the Gulf Crisis Could Reshape the Horn of Africa" by Michael Woldemariam, Boston University.

The author concluded that while the Gulf crisis has the potential to usher in an entirely new dynamic in the Arab world's engagement with the Horn of Africa, much uncertainty remains about a core premise: that the Saudi-led camp will actually prevail over Qatar. The architects of the anti-Qatar alliance banked on firm support from Washington and Qatar's quick capitulation. Neither has materialized. All indications are that Doha is preparing for a long war of attrition, and that the Saudi-led power play may have incited a formidable new alliance that marries Qatari wealth to Turkish and Iranian military power. This would be a game changer. A long, extended stalemate in the Gulf would also have ramifications for the Horn of Africa.

Chinese Company Pulls Out of Ugandan Refinery Deal

The Independent (Kampala, Uganda) published on 31 July 2017 a detailed account titled "Chinese Quit Museveni's Refinery Deal" by Haggai Matsiko.

This is a well documented account of a $4 billion refinery project in Uganda won by a Chinese consortium that outbid American and Russian companies, among others. An important part of the consortium, China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC), has pulled out of the deal, which appears to have collapsed. In-fighting and intrigue is cited as the reason why CPECC pulled out.