Eurasia Group 2018 Risks Group: Africa

The Eurasia Group has released its 2018 Top Risks Group which includes Africa. The following is an in-depth analysis for Africa.

Africa
Africa

THE “AFRICA RISING” NARRATIVE REMAINS APPEALING, but this year will face a new challenge. The continent’s core countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia, among others) have recently demonstrated robust investment climates, and they’ve been generally sealed off from the troubles of the “periphery” (Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, etc.). But in 2018, negative spillover from Africa’s unstable periphery will increasingly spoil the continent’s success stories.

The threat lies in security risks: militancy and terrorism. The dangers posed by Al Shabaab in East Africa and Al Qaeda in West Africa are not new, but they’re set to intensify. Despite losing territory in 2017, Al Shabaab is still carrying out successful one-off surprise attacks and will look to more international targets in 2018. The Islamic State is likely to increase activity in West Africa and expand into East Africa as it is pushed from traditional strongholds in the Middle East.

Boko Haram Fighters
Boko Haram Fighters

Countries targeted by militancy and terrorism are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to provide unified support.
Target countries are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to mount a united front of support. Local actors in “core” countries are already suffering from weakened political capacity. Kenya’s government will focus on economic recovery after a prolonged election cycle. Nigeria enters an election season with uncertainty over its current leader’s health. South Africa faces internal political strife. Angola is busy with a fresh leadership transition. Mozambique is still struggling with a years-long debt scandal.

Foreign partners who have helped stabilize weak governments in the past are distracted. In the east, a preoccupied Europe has reduced its salary support for troops of the UN-mandated African Union Mission to Somalia operating in the Al Shabaab hotspot. Across the Sahel, the G5 counterterrorism partnership of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania plans to launch a 5,000-strong force in March 2018. But differences among France, the US, and UN officials will slow the necessary funding, leaving the region at risk, despite an injection of financial support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The growing fragility of Africa’s top performers has several implications. Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia face increased security costs at a time when their governments need to reduce spending. A spike in attacks would also undermine foreign investment perceptions already shaken by the election-related violence in Kenya, a growing social protest movement in Ethiopia, and presidential succession uncertainties in Nigeria and Uganda.

Naira-The-Trent
Nairas

Foreign investors may see their assets directly targeted. Tourist and energy installations will be especially at risk. This will put downward pressure on FDI into the continent, leaving development reliant on limited local capital. And the pressure of security-related refugee flows—on countries in the region and in Europe—will not abate, creating a headache for policymakers on both sides of the Mediterranean.

About EURASIA GROUP: 

According to its website, the Eurasia Group says it connects geopolitics and business to provide valuable strategic and operational insights. Its combination of strategy consulting methodologies, deep industry sector coverage, and best-in-class country expertise is applied to areas including:

Risk-adjusted market assessment, market prioritization, and market entry planning

Political risk assessment and messaging strategy

M&A macro risk due diligence

Enterprise risk management & process design support

Strategic risk identification and monitoring

Source: The Eurasia Group

 

Immigrants From Chad, Libya & Somalia Barred Entry to the US

Washington DC – USA: Nationals of the three African nations of Chad, Somalia and Libya will be facing even more difficulty entering the United States in line with a September Presidential proclamation of Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats. 

Flag of the US
Flag of US

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling issued on Monday, allowed the third version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to go into effect. The Justice Department argued that President Donald Trump had acted under his broad constitutional and statutory authority to control immigration to the country.

The three Muslim-majority African countries are included in nine countries named in the travel ban. Others are Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

Legal challenges to the travel ban continue in the lower courts and the high court told the lower court to move swiftly to determine whether the latest ban was lawful. Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland had blocked portions of the travel ban saying that they were unconstitutional and geared towards religious discrimination.

In a rather perplexing reason for inclusion on the travel ban, the Guardian newspaper reports that one of the countries, Chad, ended up on the list of ban countries because it was unable to provide an updated passport sample requested by the U.S. Government.

President Idris Deby Itno of Chad
President Idris Deby Itno of Chad

The paper quoted Homeland Security officials as saying there were other reasons for the inclusion of Chad but that discussions were underway to resolve the issues.

Chad has been a major ally of the U.S. in the fight against extremists in Nigeria and Niger and parts of central Africa.

In the U.S. Presidential Proclamation on the three African countries, President Trump said in section (a)  Chad:

(i)   The government of Chad is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management.  Chad has shown a clear willingness to improve in these areas.  Nonetheless, Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.  Additionally, several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb.  At this time, additional information sharing to identify those foreign nationals applying for visas or seeking entry into the United States who represent national security and public-safety threats is necessary given the significant terrorism-related risk from this country.

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.

(c)  Libya: 

(i)   The government of Libya is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding on that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management.  Libya, nonetheless, faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.  Libya also has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols.  Further, Libya fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States.  The substantial terrorist presence within Libya’s territory amplifies the risks posed by the entry into the United States of its nationals.

Political Map of Libya
Map of Libya

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.

(h)  Somalia:  

(i)   The Secretary of Homeland Security’s report of September 15, 2017, determined that Somalia satisfies the information-sharing requirements of the baseline described in section 1(c) of this proclamation.  But several other considerations support imposing entry restrictions and limitations on Somalia.  Somalia has significant identity-management deficiencies.  For example, while Somalia issues an electronic passport, the United States and many other countries do not recognize it.  A persistent terrorist threat also emanates from Somalia’s territory.  The United States Government has identified Somalia as a terrorist safe haven.  Somalia stands apart from other countries in the degree to which its government lacks command and control of its territory, which greatly limits the effectiveness of its national capabilities in a variety of respects.  Terrorists use under-governed areas in northern, central, and southern Somalia as safe havens from which to plan, facilitate, and conduct their operations.  Somalia also remains a destination for individuals attempting to join terrorist groups that threaten the national security of the United States.  The State Department’s 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism observed that Somalia has not sufficiently degraded the ability of terrorist groups to plan and mount attacks from its territory.  Further, despite having made significant progress toward formally federating its member states, and its willingness to fight terrorism, Somalia continues to struggle to provide the governance needed to limit terrorists’ freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate.  The government of Somalia’s lack of territorial control also compromises Somalia’s ability, already limited because of poor recordkeeping, to share information about its nationals who pose criminal or terrorist risks.  As a result of these and other factors, Somalia presents special concerns that distinguish it from other countries. 

President Mohamed-Abdullahi-Mohamed of Somalia
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is hereby suspended.  Additionally, visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.

Waivers: 

The U.S. Presidential Proclamation, under the waiver provision says: 

A waiver may be granted only if a foreign national demonstrates to the consular officer’s or CBP official’s satisfaction that:

(A)  denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;

(B)  entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and

(C)  entry would be in the national interest.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

UNHCR: Libyan Transit Points To Deter Risky Migrants Crossings

November 30, 2017 – The United Nations, through its refugee agency says it welcomes the decision by the Libyan authorities to set up a “transit and departure facility” in Tripoli for refugees and migrants in need of international protection – an initiative that offers viable alternatives to their dangerous journeys along the Central Mediterranean route.

UNHCR Roberto Mignone
UNHCR Roberto Mignone

According to Roberto Mignone at the Office the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Libya “We hope that thousands of the most vulnerable refugees currently in Libya will benefit from this forward-looking initiative,”

The UN News Center reports that the initiative, which is supported by the Italian Government, will facilitate the transfer of thousands of vulnerable refugees to third countries.

Mr. Mignone added that the main objective is to speed up the process of securing solutions in third countries, particularly for unaccompanied and separated children and women at risk. These solutions will include resettlement, family reunification, evacuation to UNHCR-run emergency facilities in other countries, or voluntary return.

At the facility, UNHCR staff and partners will provide registration and live-saving assistance such as accommodation, food, medical care and psychosocial support.

Political Map of Libya
Political Map of Libya

Meantime, an urgent evacuation plan has been drawn up at an African Union-European Union summit in Ivory Coast. According to the BBC, the African about 3,800 migrants will be returned to their countries, according to the plan.

Following international condemnation and outcry after the release of a video which purportedly showed African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya, the meeting of European and African leaders in Ivory Coast called for urgent help/

The UN-backed administration in Libya says it supports the agreement. However, with fractured political control, it remains to be seen how the agreement will be implemented.

Migrants from several African countries have been returned home in the last two months with help from the International Organization on Migration (IOM) and include, Gambia, Sierra Leon, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  joined the agreement, but has only limited control over the territory, raising questions about how it will work in practice.

The French President at the European- African Summit  called the slave auctions a “crime against humanity”.

African migrants are making the perilous crossing through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea on their journey to Europe for a better life.

West African Journal and International Wire Services

 

 

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) On Decline In Senegal

http://players.brightcove.net/665003303001/SJg0bzqkZ_default/index.html?videoId=5166644786001

In the West African nation of  Senegal, the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among younger women is trending downwards.

Senegal Map
Senegal Map

According to a report from the English and Wales based Charity 28 Too Many quoting data released in 2015 from the Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Demographique of Senegal and the Senega: Enquette Demographique et de Sante et de Sante 2015, the prevalence of FGM among women between the ages of 15 – 49 is 24.2%.

According to the group End FGM European Network FGM “comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).”

FGM which is carried out by traditional health practitioners and herbalists or community elders in Senegal is done on girls before they reach the age of 10 and around two thirds about 67.6% by the age of 5, according to the data used.

An emergency-room doctor in the U.S. Midwest has been arrested and charged with performing female genital mutilation on girls between the ages of 6 and 8, in the first criminal case brought under a 1996 law that outlawed the practice. Jumana Nagarwala, a 44-year-old doctor at a hospital in Detroit, Michigan, is accused of performing genital mutilation on young girls as far back as 2005, according to a criminal complaint released Thursday. The U.S. Department of Justice said she
Ceremony in Senegal Announcing End to FGM

According to data, 50% of women between the ages of 15 – 49 were “cut, flesh removed.”

In the south of the country, FGM is widely carried out and accounts for 76.9% and about 6.9% in central Senegal.

Citing the prevalence of FGM across the West African nation, the data used notes that among various ethnic groups  “…the highest practicing group include the Mandigue 71.1%, Sonike 60.9%, Poular 50.7% and Diola 47.9%. The lowest prevalences are found among the Wolofs 1.3% and the Serers 1.1% citing low sample sizes. FGM prevalences among Animists is 44.8%, among Muslims 25% and 7.8% among Christians. 14.4% of women and 15.7% of men believe that FGM is a religious requirement.”

The practice of FGM shows a decline in women between the ages of 15-49 now at 24.2% compared to 28.2 in 2005 in Senegal. Data further shows a decline of the practice among younger women.

Legislation was passed in 1999 by the Senegalese Government which specifically sanctioned the practice of FGM.

International Practice of FGM

FGM In Africa
FGM In Africa

The United Nations says that FGM is practiced in various communities in the following African Countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

In some western countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, it is reported that FGM is practiced among diaspora populations from places where the practice is common done.

However, there is an increase  effort to fight and eliminate the practice in Africa and Western countries including the formulation and enforcement of stringent legislation.

In April, 2017, the Voice of America reported that  “An emergency-room doctor in the U.S. Midwest has been arrested and charged with performing female genital mutilation on girls between the ages of 6 and 8, in the first criminal case brought under a 1996 law that outlawed the practice. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, a 44-year-old doctor at a hospital in Detroit, Michigan, is accused of performing genital mutilation on young girls as far back as 2005, according to a criminal complaint released … The U.S. Department of Justice said she “performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims.”

US-DOJ LOGO
US Department of Justice

The US Government says it considers FGM a “…serious human rights abuse, and a form of gender based violence and child abuse…”

Criminal consequences of performing or assisting in FGM  against US law is 5 years in jail and fines or both and may have serious immigration consequences for immigrants who are convicted.

Effects of FGM

Some of the most common problems associated with the practice of FGM include:

  • Severe bleeding, pain and shock which sometimes lead to death
  • Infection, which sometimes lead to death
  • Urination and menstrual obstruction
  • Increased risk of urinary tract infections and HIV
  • Mental health problems, including PTSD
  • Sexual dysfunction, including dyspareunia
  • Complications in pregnancy and childbirth, which sometimes lead to death

Videos courtesy of Al Jazeera

By Emmanuel Abalo 

West African Journal Magazine

Sub-Saharan African “Slave” Migrants Being Repatriated From Libya

Following revelation and an outcry against the purported  “slave auctions” of mostly black African migrants in the North African nation of Libya, several African countries have begun receiving their repatriated nationals.

Migrants
Migrants in Libya

With assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the Government of Sierra Leone  on Wednesday received 164 of its citizens.

The Journal du Cameroun website quotes IOM officials as saying the the returnees which included men, women and children were flown to Freetown in the early hours of Wednesday with the help of the IOM.

According to IOM officials,  the returnees had voluntarily asked to be flown back home after going through  what they described as “difficult experiences”.

IOM
IOM

The European Union (EU) and the Government of Libya provided tickets for the Sierra Leonen returnees while the IOM is providing financial assistance packages to facilitate reintegration in their various communities.

The returnees are being temporarily accommodated  at the National Stadium in the capital Freetown.

Meantime, the Government of Burkina Faso has recalled its Ambassador to Libya over reports of the “auction” of black African migrants in the north African nation.

About 135 Burkinabe migrants were recently repatriated with assistance from the IOM.

Gambian Migrants
Gambia Migrants

In the Gambia, about 1500 returnees who were repatriated from Libya have begun receiving packages from the IOM for resettlement.

As part of its Freedom Project, CNN recently uncovered a ” slave auction market” of black African migrants in Libya in multiple locations in the country.

The Government of National Unity (GNA) of Libya, while announcing an investigation, responded to the report saying, “We affirm again that the practical solution is to address the real reasons that drive people to leave their home countries, treat them and develop final solutions for them.”

The Chairman of the African Union and Guinean Presidnet Alpha Conde has condemned the auction of Africans as slaves.

Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

Ghana: Catholic Bishops Call For Repair of Road

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo
Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo

A call has been issued to the Akufo-Addo government  in Ghana to speed up the rehabilitation of the Eastern Corridor road which is in a deplorable condition.

The Ghana Conference of Catholic Bishops Conference, in a communique released at the end of its annual meeting held in Ho, cited the poor state of the road and the health and development risk posed. “…Lives of motorists, traders and tourists are in danger…” the Bishops said and called for the government to prioritize the project.

On the political crisis in neighboring Togo, the Ghana Catholic Bishops called for an intervention to ensure that all Ghana nationals in Togo and along their common border were safe.

Map of Ghana-Togo-Benin
Map of Ghana-Togo-Benin

Citizens of Ghana were urged to treat Togolese refugees with love and warmth. Several hundred Togolese nationals fled their government crackdown following protests against President Faure Gnassingbe.

Protesters are calling for his resignation and an overhaul of the political system in Togo to end the family grip on power.

However, President Gnassingbe has shown little interest in stepping down.

West African Journal

 

 

 

 

Togolese Refugees In Ghana Returning Home

Reports from Ghana quoting the country’s  Refugee Board say that some Togolese nationals have begun returning home following the recent security crackdown against anti government protesters in Lome. 

Ghana -Togo Map
Ghana-Togo Map

Violent protests against the government of President Faure Gnassingbe forced hundreds of Togolese nationals to cross over into Ghana. A number of people were killed as a result of the protest.

According to the Program Coordinator for the Ghana Refugee Board, Tetteh Paddy, quoted by the Starfmonline website, “about half of the Togolese refugees have returned home although the political crisis in Togo is not over yet.”

Coordinator Tetteh said further that “The last check we sent a team up North to go and do verification and registration and we registered 355 [refugees] which meant that many of them have returned. At some point they were about 600.”

Help has been requested fronm the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and local organizations to care for over 300 Togolese refugees.

West African Journal Magazine