Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

14 October 2018

The Truth About the U.S. Military in Africa


The role of the U.S. military in Africa isn’t clear to anyone. And that will only hurt American interests. The U.S. military has been expanding its presence and operations in Africa over the past decade. In doing so, it has obscured the nature of its actions through ambiguous language and outright secrecy. It limits the amount of information available about the objectives of its operations, how those operations are carried out, the facilities it uses, and how it partners with governments in the region. At times, this has involved subverting democratic processes in partner countries, an approach that runs counter to years of diplomatic engagement ostensibly designed to strengthen governance institutions. 

26 September 2018

The Future Is in Africa, and China Knows It

Noah Smith

Some Western observers worry that this represents a new form of colonialism. Given the continent’s history with European conquerors and rich countries trying to cheaply exploit its natural resources, that suspicion is understandable. But although China can sometimes be predatory — for example, when uneconomical projects saddle African companies or governments with unpayable debt — the new African investment bears little resemblance to the colonialism of old.

Colonialism, and the pseudo-colonial exploitation that sometimes followed independence, was mostly about extracting natural resources (and sometimes slave labor). Although securing access to natural resources is surely one of China’s goals, its investments in Africa go beyond extractive industries. The sectors receiving the most Chinese money have been business services, wholesale and retail, import and export, construction, transportation, storage and postal services, with mineral products coming in fifth. In Ethiopia, China is pouring money into garment manufacturing — the traditional first step on the road to industrialization.

Ending the Curse in the DRC: A Game of Thrones, Mines and Militias

Erik Grossman

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been in a continuous state of violence since its independence in 1960. For most, the problems of the DRC are multifaceted. These problems include weak democratic traditions and political representation, poor infrastructure, low standards of living, rampant corrupt, and the famed resource curse. Further, few explanations have been as pervasive as the argument that historical tribal enmities are the true scourge in the Congo. Ethnicity and identity however, are often exploited by warlords to increase recruitment and feign legitimacy, rather than a driving factor. This has been rightly referred to by Wendy Isaacs-Martin, an African scholar and professor with the University of South Africa, as "opportunistic associations of convenience”.

19 September 2018

Africa's Reform Conundrum and Zimbabwe's Tragedy

By George B.N. Ayittey

Despite immense mineral wealth, Africa’s economic success stories are few. Outside Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, and Rwanda, economies on the continent have been held back by decades of state interventionism, corruption, petulant government spending, and irresponsible borrowing. National debts have reached unsustainable levels. In 2017, Mozambique defaulted on its euro bond payment, and default risk has been rising on Zambian debt since May. Only a strong regimen of reform can unshackle African economies from the suffocating grip of statism and free them to follow the path to prosperity. Reforms started out haltingly in the early 1990s but subsequently sputtered. In 1994, after spending $25 billion to sponsor Structural Adjustment Programs for economic reform in 29 African countries, the World Bank declared only six as economic success stories – Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Countries soon disappeared from this phantom list, only to be replaced by others, some of whose successes were equally evanescent – Cameroon, Egypt, Uganda, among others.

8 September 2018

Land redistribution in South Africa, Trump’s tweet, and US-Africa policy

Witney Schneidman and Landry Signé
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United States President Donald Trump’s incendiary August 22 tweet, contending that white farmers are being killed on a “large scale” in South Africa and that farms and other lands are being expropriated, has become part of his well-known toolkit for boosting appeal among his political base while sowing racial discord at home and abroad. Appropriately, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hit back at Trump within hours of the tweet, in a clear and forceful message in the Financial Times. The essence of Ramaphosa’s statement is that South Africa is a profoundly unequal society and the distribution of land is at the heart of that inequality, along with education, income, jobs, and skills. As president of South Africa, Ramaphosa has pledged to address this inequality resulting from land dispossession during the colonial and Apartheid eras. In light of the attention on South Africa’s land distribution issue, it is important to present the facts.

7 September 2018

China has spent billions in Africa, but some critics at home question why

By ROBYN DIXON

China has promoted its massive global infrastructure plan, the Belt and Road Initiative, with dancing children singing a propaganda pop song, an animated rap and TV bedtime storieswith tinkly background music on how “it helps everyone.” “We’ll share the goodness now, the Belt and Road is how,” the children sing in a 2017 video about President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy cornerstone. But lately the government’s big spending in Africa and elsewhere faces a growing domestic backlash, from leading academics to everyday Chinese on social media websites. “Why is China, a country with over 100 million people who are still living below the poverty line, playing at being the flashy big-spender?” wrote an influential Tsinghua University law professor, Xu Zhangrun, in a wide-ranging critique of Xi in July. “How can such wanton generosity be allowed?”

All of Africa is now competing for Chinese money. Except for one country.

By Rick Noack

As more than 40 African heads of state arrived at the China-Africa Cooperation summit Monday, one figure stood out: $60 billion. That's how much additional funding Chinese President Xi Jinping promised the continent as the two-day summit got underway. And all of Africa is competing for it — except for one country: Swaziland, an absolute monarchy that has in recent months renamed itself eSwatini. The tiny kingdom was absent from this week's Africa summit and appears to have no plans of attending anytime soon. It's the last African nation that still recognizes Taiwan as an independent country, much to the dismay of the Chinese leadership in Beijing, which considers Taiwan to be a wayward province. 

5 September 2018

In Nigeria, Politics and Militancy Go Hand in Hand


Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, whose political coalition and party have suffered dozens of defections in the National Assembly, will face a significant election test in February, when he hopes to win a second term. The country's main opposition alliance will select a northern presidential candidate to match Buhari; the two sides could split votes in the northwestern areas, making competition elsewhere the deciding factor. Militancy will play a critical role in next year's elections as Nigeria's various stakeholders try to exploit the country's insecurity for political gain. Editor's Note: This assessment is part of a series of analyses supporting Stratfor's upcoming 2018 Fourth-Quarter Forecast. These assessments are designed to provide more context and in-depth analysis on key developments to watch in the coming quarter.

2 September 2018

Land redistribution in South Africa, Trump’s tweet, and US-Africa policy

Witney Schneidman and Landry Signé

Appropriately, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hit back at Trump within hours of the tweet, in a clear and forceful message in the Financial Times. The essence of Ramaphosa’s statement is that South Africa is a profoundly unequal society and the distribution of land is at the heart of that inequality, along with education, income, jobs, and skills. As president of South Africa, Ramaphosa has pledged to address this inequality resulting from land dispossession during the colonial and Apartheid eras. In light of the attention on South Africa’s land distribution issue, it is important to present the facts The inequality of land distribution in South Africa is rooted in the 1913 Natives Land Act that reserved almost 93 percent of the land for the white minority. This act legalized the historical dispossession of the African population. The 1936 Native Trust and Land Act slightly decreased that share to 87 percent, but the vast inequality of land ownership persists today.

31 August 2018

Can China Free Africa from Dependency on the Mighty Dollar?

By Peter Fabricius

Is China, aided and abetted by the other BRICS member countries – Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa – making a bid to dislodge the dollar from its global pedestal and replace it with the yuan? And if so, will it help African countries, in particular, to escape from the iron and often onerous grip of the greenback? One way China is expanding the reach and influence of the yuan is through currency swaps – many with African countries. The latest was with Nigeria, for the equivalent of US$2.4 billion. For Nigeria, the currency swap was a lifeline as its dollar reserves had largely drained away and the naira had plummeted against the dollar after the 2015 drop in oil price.

30 August 2018

China steps up courting of Africa ahead of summit

TETSUSHI TAKAHASHI

BEIJING -- China is expanding its influence campaign in Africa as it prepares to host a summit with leaders from the continent, ready to offer economic assistance as part of its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is scheduled for Sept. 3 and Sept. 4 in Beijing, with leaders from more than 50 African countries expected to attend. The summit is aimed at bringing China and Africa closer and building a shared destiny, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing on Aug. 22. The forum will serve to create a new chapter connecting the Belt and Road initiative with Africa's development, Wang added, revealing plans to announce economic assistance.

28 August 2018

Hope Fades in South Africa


When South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was sworn into office in February, there was hope that he would open a new chapter in South African politics and address some of the country’s structural economic problems. But that hope is beginning to fade. The government is reportedly considering providing a bailout worth 59 billion rand ($4.1 billion) to several South African state-owned enterprises, in addition to another proposed assistance program worth 43 billion rand. Unsurprisingly, this has raised concerns about the government’s financial position. Several SOEs, including the South African National Roads Agency, Eskom (an energy company that provides 90 percent of the country’s power) and South African Airways, have been struggling financially for years. The South African Post Office, which has recently taken over responsibility from the South Africa Social Security Agency for disbursing social security payments to 17 million citizens, may also need government assistance.

27 August 2018

Hope Fades in South Africa

By Xander Snyder 

When South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was sworn into office in February, there was hope that he would open a new chapter in South African politics and address some of the country’s structural economic problems. But that hope is beginning to fade. The government is reportedly considering providing a bailout worth 59 billion rand ($4.1 billion) to several South African state-owned enterprises, in addition to another proposed assistance program worth 43 billion rand. Unsurprisingly, this has raised concerns about the government’s financial position. Several SOEs, including the South African National Roads Agency, Eskom (an energy company that provides 90 percent of the country’s power) and South African Airways, have been struggling financially for years. The South African Post Office, which has recently taken over responsibility from the South Africa Social Security Agency for disbursing social security payments to 17 million citizens, may also need government assistance.

13 August 2018

Water Wars on the Nile

By Daniel Benaim and Michael Wahid Hanna

In Ethiopia, Africa’s largest-ever dam and hydroelectric power plant is inching closer to completion. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River has the potential to transform Ethiopia’s economy and revolutionize the agricultural sector of its northwestern neighbor Sudan. But further downstream in Egypt, where 95 percent of the population live on the Nile’s shores or along its delta, many object to the dam, which they see as a fundamental threat to their way of life. As Ethiopia prepares to operationalize the dam and divert Nile waters to fill its massive reservoir, the international dispute over the river has reached a make-or-break moment. In the coming year, Egypt and Ethiopia will either set their differences aside and forge a cooperative path forward together—an outcome that is technically feasible but politically fraught—or face a diplomatic downward spiral. 

11 August 2018

Somalia Is a Country Without an Army

BY AMANDA SPERBER

MOGADISHU, Somalia—Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed to extend the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mandate in the country until May 2019. The security situation has been getting worse by the day. On Sunday, two car bombs killed at least six people; one detonated in the capital, Mogadishu, and the other in a nearby town. A few days before, a popular young entrepreneur was murdered, sparking protests demanding accountability and better security.AMISOM first deployed to Somalia in 2007 with a six-month authorization to counter al-Shabab, a militant anti-government group. Although initially a marginal peacekeeping force of privately trained Ugandan soldiers, AMISOM has since expanded in size and in scope of mandate, and is now comprised of an estimated 22,000 troops from Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Sierra Leone. Unlike typical peace-support missions, AMISOM has taken the lead role in the counterinsurgency campaign, filling in as a de facto army until the Somali National Army (SNA) is strong enough to counter the jihadi group on its own.

4 August 2018

China in Africa: win-win development, or a new colonialism?

Nick Van Mead 

As their hand-built wooden dhow approaches the shore, Ibrahim Chamume and his fellow fishermen take in the sail and prepare to sell their catch to the small huddle of villagers waiting on the white sand. He has been making a living like this on the Indian Ocean since he was 14. His father was a fisherman, too. Now in his 30s, Ibrahim says earning enough from traditional fishing is tough, but has its compensations. There is the view across the tranquil lagoon to the mangrove swamps; the unspoiled beaches and bays; the lush vegetation and smallholdings growing maize, cassava, cashews and mango. Such scenes must have played out in the tiny Tanzanian village of Mlingotini for centuries.

Cities of the New Silk Road: what is China's Belt and Road project? Show

30 July 2018

China and Africa: the Zimbabwe file

Source Link

The Chinese link with Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF, goes back to 1963—as does, notably, China’s association with new president Emmerson Mnangagwa. For the first decade and a half, the connection was military, with the Chinese providing training and materiel in the fight against white rule. Mnangagwa was part of the first group of guerrillas sent by Robert Mugabe to a military academy in Nanjing. Yet the cynical and tactically agile Mugabe also ensured that independence in 1980 did not bring with it much reward for the Chinese. Speaking privately to a colleague (who happened to be a spy of apartheid South Africa), Mugabe described a celebratory state visit to China and North Korea as ‘a lot of bull’. It had been a necessary obligation, but the offer of aid by these allies was, in his view, just an attempt to establish a fifth column in Zimbabwe—a posse of ‘Marxists who will start a process of undermining’. If the relationship could be described as manipulative during the early years, it was Mugabe pulling the strings.

29 July 2018

With Senegal deals, China’s Belt and Road reaches across Africa


Following a swing through the United Arab Emirates, where he signed more than a dozen deals to strengthen cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Africa tour is already making headlines. On Sunday, Xi began his two-day visit to the West African nation of Senegal with a milestone for his flagship Belt and Road Initiative. The ambitious web of infrastructure and economic development investments, which aims to deepen connectivity between East, Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, now for the first time officially stretches to the Atlantic Ocean on the continent of Africa. “Noting that the two countries should strengthen the alignment of development strategies and policy communication, Xi welcomed Senegal to be the first West African country to sign a Belt and Road cooperation document with China,” Chinese state media reported.

Africa: China's Xi Jinping Strikes Deals With Rwanda During Four-Nation African Tour


Chinese President Xi Jinping has inked more than a dozen deals with Rwanda as his "economic partnership with African countries" continues. The deals include loans and grants worth millions of dollars. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed 15 bilateral agreements with Rwanda on Monday while visiting the East African country, the second stop on a four-nation tour to cement relations with African allies. The agreements, the value of which was not revealed, focused on visa exemptions, strengthening mutual investment in e-commerce, cooperation in civil air transport, law enforcement partnerships and human resource development. They included loans for construction, hospital renovation and the development of Rwanda's new Bugesera airport.

28 July 2018

China in Africa

by Eleanor Albert

China has become Africa’s largest trade partner and has greatly expanded its economic ties to the continent, but its growing activities there have raised questions about its noninterference policy. 

Introduction

Over the past few decades, China’s rapid economic growth and expanding middle class have fueled an unprecedented need for resources. The economic powerhouse has focused on securing the long-term energy supplies needed to sustain its industrialization, searching for secure access to oil supplies and other raw materials around the globe. As part of this effort, China has turned to Africa. Through significant investment in a continent known for political and security risks, China has boosted African oil and mining sectors in exchange for advantageous trade deals. Chinese companies are also diversifying their business pursuits in Africa, in infrastructure, manufacturing, telecommunications, and agricultural sectors. However, China’s activity in Africa has faced criticism from Western and African civil society over its controversial business practices, as well as its failure to promote good governance and human rights. Yet a number of African governments appear to be content with China’s policy. At the same time, Beijing’s complex relationship with the continent has challenged its policy of noninterference in the affairs of African governments.