Africa News and Discussions

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caltrek
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Tunisians Stage Protest Over President Saied’s Seizure of Powers
September 18, 2021

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/1 ... -of-powers

Introduction:
(Al Jazeera) Protesters have taken to the streets of Tunisia’s capital, in a rare show of public dissent towards President Kais Saied’s move to seize extra powers.

Thousands of people rallied in the centre of Tunis on Saturday chanting, “shut down the coup” and “we want a return to legitimacy”. Saied supporters held a counter-demonstration chanting, “the people want to dissolve parliament”.

The protest, which was met by a heavy police presence on Habib Bourguiba avenue, was the first major demonstration since Saied declared on July 25 he was sacking the prime minister, suspending parliament and assuming executive authority – moves his opponents branded a coup.

The former constitutional law professor justified his move by citing emergency measures in the constitution that his critics and many legal scholars said did not support his intervention.
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caltrek
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Burundi Suspends Multinational Mining Contracts
by Eddy Claude Nininahazwe
September 17, 2021

https://www.amjamboafrica.com/burundi-s ... contracts/

Introduction:
(Amjambo Africa) In response to criticism that foreign companies are reaping overly large profits in Burundi from the exploitation of natural resources such as nickel, rare earth, gold, and coltan, the government has suspended the mining activities of all foreign companies beginning July 14, 2021. In his speech on the country’s July 1 Independence Day this year, President Evariste Ndayishimiye ordered the suspension.

As far back as 2004, when President Pierre Nkurunziza took office, Burundian nationals were already beginning to question the mining contracts, and over the years, especially during election campaigns, leaders have promised to spur the growth of Burundi’s economy through its own significant natural resources. A 2010 study made clear just how abundant those resources are – there is enough nickel in the ground for 40 years of nonstop mining in just one of Burundi’s 117 communes, Musongati commune in Rutana Province, in the southeastern part of Burundi. In 2015, the late President Nkurunziza promised that Burundi would “say goodbye to poverty, thanks to its natural resources.”

The mining code in Burundi allows foreign companies that invest in mining to own 90% of the shares, leaving just 10% to Burundi. Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd. is one such company. Based in England, Rainbow Rare Earths mines in Gakara Hill, located in rural Bujumbura. The Gakara mining area has enormous reserves of rare earth elements – heavy metals that are essential in the manufacture of high-tech devices such as smartphones and TV screens.

The Tanganyika Mining Company, owned by Russian oligarchs, mines gold deposits in the hills of Cimba, Mageyo, Gakekwa, Gafumbegeti, Mukoma, Rutorero, and Muhungu in Mabayi commune, Cibitoke Province, in western Burundi.

On May 19, 2021, residents of the lands impacted by the Tanganyika Mining Company, tired of what they perceive to be exploitation, gathered in the streets to demand compensation for their land, which had been targeted for mining. The residents, supported by the local administration, barricaded the roads leading to the mining sites. Those barricades have now been removed, however the residents have not dropped their demands.
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erowind
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Hopefully Burundi seizes the mines and pushes all multinationals out of the country entirely
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Ethiopia Expels UN Officials, Accusing Them of 'Meddling' in the Country's Internal Affairs
October 1, 2021

https://www.pri.org/stories/2021-10-01/ ... al-affairs
(PRI)
Ethiopia

Ethiopia has announced that it is expelling several UN officials, accusing them of “meddling" in the country's internal affairs. Global pressure and criticism have been growing on the Ethiopian government over its blockade of the country’s northern Tigray region, which has reduced aid deliveries to 10% of what is needed. The move comes days after the UN’s aid chief warned of a famine in the country. The restrictions will further curtail humanitarian access to the war-torn region of around 6 million people. Thousands of people have died and more than 2 million have been forced to flee their homes because of the 10-month conflict between Ethiopia's federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front.
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Senait Ambaw, left, who said her home had been destroyed by artillery, leaves by foot along a path near the village of Chenna Teklehaymanot, in northern Ethiopia, Sept. 9, 2021.
AP
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caltrek
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UN Says Ethiopia Has No Legal Right to Expel 7 UN Officials
October 1, 2021

https://www.courthousenews.com/un-says- ... officials/

Introduction:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief informed Ethiopia on Friday that it has no legal right to expel seven U.N. officials and warned that severe restrictions on desperately needed aid to the conflict-wracked Tigray region have created a humanitarian and human rights crisis that is “spiraling out of control.”

Tigray is facing a near-blockade by the government on deliveries of food, fuel and other humanitarian supplies, and children are reportedly dying of famine.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at least 5.2 million people in the region need humanitarian assistance including at least 400,000 “living in famine-like conditions.” Child malnutrition levels are now at the same level as they were at the start of the 2011 famine in Somalia, he warned.
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Why Ethiopia Wants to Expel UN Officials
by Ellen Iaones
October 2, 2021


https://www.vox.com/2021/10/2/22705570/ ... -civil-war

Extract:
(Vox) Abiy’s Thursday announcement, which gave the officials just 72 hours to leave the country, is a rare departure from international norms. While it’s not completely unprecedented for a nation to kick UN officials out, it is unusual — and according to the New York Times, Abiy’s decision would be among the largest such expulsions of UN officials in history, outpacing Syria’s removal of three UN officials in 2015.

As of Saturday, however, it’s unclear whether the seven officials have left the country — and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has already pushed back on the move, saying in a statement Friday that the UN is “now engaging with the Government of Ethiopia in the expectation that the concerned UN staff will be allowed to continue their important work.”

US officials have also condemned Abiy’s push to expel UN officials.

“The expulsion is counterproductive to international efforts to keep civilians safe, and deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance to the millions in dire need,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a Thursday statement.

…The Dutch arm of Médecins Sans Frontières — MSF, or Doctors Without Borders — suspended its activities in west and northwest Tigray for three months starting in early September after the Ethiopian Agency for Civil Society Organizations directed them to do so in late July. The Norwegian Refugee Council was issued the same order July 30 and suspended its Ethiopia operations in early August; Ethiopian authorities had accused the groups of backing the Tigrayan political cause, even claiming that aid workers armed members of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF.
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Google Sets Up $50 Million Fund to Invest in African Startups
by Tage Kene-Okafor
October 6, 2021

https://techcrunch.com/2021/10/06/googl ... -startups/

Introduction:
(TechCrunch) Google plans to invest up to $50 million in African early and growth-stage startups via its Africa Investment Fund, ramping up efforts to support more businesses on the continent.

Google made known its plans today in a virtual event where CEO Sundar Pichai announced the tech giant’s intentions to commit $1 billion over the next five years in tech-led initiatives in Africa.

These initiatives range from improved connectivity via Google’s subsea cable Equiano to investments in small businesses and startups.

Until now, Google had fulfilled its obligations in the latter through its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program and the recently launched Black Founders Fund.

In three years, the accelerator program has supported more than 80 startups in seed to Series A stages, providing equity-free mentorship and resources. Google for Startups Accelerator Africa has accepted startups like Twiga, Paystack, and Piggyvest and collectively, these 80+ startups have raised over $100 million in venture capital.
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caltrek
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Ethiopia Is Plunging Into Chaos. It’s Time for a New Dayton Peace Process.
by Alex Rondos and Mark Medish
October 17, 2021

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/1 ... ess-516117

Introduction:
(Politico) Right now, Ethiopia stands on the brink of escalating civil war and state failure. Last week, fighting intensified dramatically, with Ethiopian forces striking hard against rebels from the Tigray province. Millions are starving — and time to avert a descent into chaos is running out.

The plight of places like South Sudan and Afghanistan after years of U.S.-led support should remind everyone of the limits of any outside nation’s influence. But Addis Ababa is not Juba or Kabul. Two years ago, Ethiopia was one of the emerging economic success stories of sub-Saharan Africa. Which means there’s a chance to turn things around. If we act now.

This is the moment to prepare for concerted international action to prevent further drift and to focus diplomacy on a comprehensive settlement for this nation of more than 110 million. Nothing less than a Dayton-style peace process with visible, American- and neighbor-led daily engagement will pull Ethiopia back from the brink.

National security officials in the U.S., Europe and regional neighbors —who already have full inboxes — will need to pay urgent attention. Sanctions certainly provide leverage but may not be enough. Military intervention or occupation is not an option in a country twice the size of Afghanistan and which is already sliding into civil war. This crisis will require diplomacy and mediation on a scale not seen since the 1995 Dayton peace process to end the bloody war in Bosnia.
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Sudan Security Forces Arrest Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Other Ministers
by October 25, 2021

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/ ... est-report

Introduction:
(Al Jazeera) Security forces in Sudan have arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several other members of the country’s civilian leadership, the information ministry said, as a military officer dissolved the transitional government.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, a general who headed the Sovereign Council, a power-sharing ruling body, announced a state of emergency across the country and dissolved the council and the transitional government.

Hamdok was arrested and moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, said the information ministry, still apparently under the control of Hamdok’s supporters.

The arrests on Monday prompted thousands of people to take to the streets in the capital, Khartoum, to demand the release of the political leaders amid reports of clashes and gunfire.

Soldiers were stationed on the streets of Khartoum and restricted civilians’ movements, as protesters opposed to the military takeover carried the national flag and burned tyres across the city.
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Burundi Hands Over Armed Rebels Linked with Rusesabagina to Rwanda
by Eddy-Claude Nininahazwe
October 19, 2021

https://www.amjamboafrica.com/burundi-h ... to-rwanda/

Entire article (excluding photographs):
(Amjambo Africa) Eleven fighters from the National Liberation Front were handed over to Rwanda this Tuesday, October 19 at the Burundi-Rwanda border of Gasenyi-Nemba. The rebels, arrested on Burundi soil, belong to the National Liberation Front “FLN” – a group founded by Hotel Rwanda movie star Paul Rusesabagina, who previously was sentenced by Rwandan courts to 25 years for terrorism. The eleven rebels were handed over to Rwanda, with their weapons.

Colonel Musaba Ernest, head of military intelligence, who represented the Burundian army during the handover, said the gesture proves good relations exist between the two sister countries. This senior Burundian army official announced that Burundi will never give shelter to criminals who want to destabilize Rwanda.

Brigadier General Vincent Nyakarundi, head of military intelligence in Rwanda, acknowledged the handover as a positive gesture, and encouraged the government of Burundi to continue tracking down criminals who try to disrupt the security of Rwanda.

A reciprocal handover happened in July when Rwanda sent 19 rebels of the Red Tabara rebel movement to Burundi after they were caught on Rwandan soil. The United Nations and African Union representatives witnessed the handover of these captured rebels. FLN rebels have claimed responsibility for attacks on Rwandan soil, and Red Tabara has done the same in Burundi. The two groups have said they have bases in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and are believed to shelter in a dense forest that extends along the shared border of Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC.
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