Africa Media Review for November 30, 2017

Solidarity in Peace and Security: The Nordic-African Partnership
In June 2017, the 16th annual Africa-Nordic Dialogue convened in Abuja, Nigeria. That same month Norway hosted talks between the Government of South Sudan and its opposition, the first time the warring parties had met face-to-face since July 2016. In neighboring Finland, the Burundi government and its opponents were meeting behind the scenes in negotiations spearheaded by former Finnish President and anti-apartheid campaigner Martti Ahtisaari. This confluence of events was not a one-off coincidence, but rather part of a long tradition of Nordic-African solidarity. The Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) have a history of engagement in Africa dating back to the struggles against colonialism and apartheid. Initially, the Nordic countries focused on supporting African liberation movements. This later expanded to address the challenges of governance, development, and human security, with a heavy focus on peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Macron to Propose Military Action against Human Traffickers
French President Emmanuel Macron told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday that he would be proposing military action against human traffickers to combat migrant slave trading. Macron has also called for an “urgent operation” to evacuate victims from Libya. In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 on the sidelines of the 2017 African Union-European Union (AU-EU) summit in Ivory Coast, Macron said he would be having further meetings with EU and AU representatives to propose taking military action against traffickers. “Human trafficking is a criminal offence,” Macron said. “It’s not enough for us just to denounce the problem but we must act collectively in attacking these human trafficking networks, [which] operate from the Sahel all the way to Libya and have connections that enable them to reach all the way across the Mediterranean.”  France 24

Voluntary Evacuation Planned for Migrants in Libya Detention Camps
A plan for a voluntary evacuation of migrants in Libya government-controlled detention camps lies at the heart of an emergency migration plan for Africa. Leaders from the European Union and the African Union arrived for a summit in Ivory Coast on Wednesday vowing to take action following CNN’s shocking video footage of slave auction houses in Libya. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, described the abuse of migrants as “a crime against humanity” and said that the EU and AU would “launch concrete military and policing action on the ground to dismantle those networks”. In an interview with France 24, Macron said he was not advocating sending foreign troops to Libya, adding: “It’s not about declaring war, Libya is a state in political transition … but there’s reinforced police action that needs to be done to dismantle those networks. We’ll do it.” The Guardian

Merkel: End Smuggling and Slavery, Create Legal Migration Chances for Africans
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday stressed the importance of ending smuggling and slavery while creating a legal route for Africans to come to Europe as she faces pressure at home to tackle a migrant influx. Speaking at an EU-Africa summit in Abidjan, Merkel, is seeking to show Germany can take foreign policy action despite still being under a caretaker government two months after an election. The influx of more than a million migrants since mid-2015, many of them fleeing the Middle East and Africa, was largely to blame for the rise of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) in a Sept. 24 election. Reuters

‘Ordeal in the Desert’: Hundreds of Migrants Stranded in Libya Are Returned to Nigeria
More than 200 Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya have been returned to their home country, Nigerian officials said. The 242 migrants landed at Lagos airport on a Libyan Airlines flight at around 9:00 pm local time (3:00pm ET) on Tuesday. Among them were women carrying children and at least one man in a wheelchair. Nigerian authorities say they worked on returning the migrants from Libya in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Some of the 242 men and women who returned had been in Libyan detention camps while others willingly approached the Nigerian embassy in Libya to return home because of hardship there, authorities said. CNN

Rights Groups Appeal to Rwanda to Reject Refugees Sent from Israel
The UN’s refugee agency says it was seriously concerned about Israeli proposals to relocate tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers and refugees to third countries in Africa. If they don’t comply, Israel says they would face imprisonment. For nearly a decade, Israel has struggled to deal with tens of thousands of non-Jewish Africans entering the country, seeking asylum or work. But human rights activists say Israel’s plans violate international and Israeli laws. Asylum seekers Mr Adi Dori Avraham from Israeli refugee rights group Assaf, said the relocation of the refugees from Israel was not an entirely new phenomenon. The East African

Four Soldiers Killed in Cameroon’s Anglophone Region
An overnight attack in Cameroon’s Southwest region has killed four soldiers. The attack took place specifically in the town of Mamfe. “Four soldiers were killed around 02:00 in the Mamfe area,” a government source told the AFP news agency. It brings to eight the number of deaths resulting from the activities of secessionists on the security forces. The government confirmed the death of four soldiers in a similar series of attacks earlier in November. The Anglophone regions – the Southwest along with the Northwest regions are currently under curfew following the first series of attacks. People in the region have long decried marginalization by the French majority. Africa News

U.S. Calls on All Nations to Completely Sever Ties with North Korea
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Wednesday urged all countries to sever economic and diplomatic ties with North Korea, and warned Pyongyang that the regime will be “utterly destroyed” if a standoff over missile tests leads to war. Speaking at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch, Haley said Pyongyang had brought the world closer to war with its latest test of a ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland, its most advanced yet. […] The pressure campaign has had some success. More than 20 countries have expelled North Korean diplomats or downgraded relations. China has curbed its exports of North Korean coal, a chief source of hard currency. But there have been setbacks. As a U.N. panel noted in September, Pyongyang has expanded into new moneymaking ventures in Africa and the Middle East. The Washington Post

Zimbabwean Pastor Found Not Guilty of Subversion
A Zimbabwean court found a pastor not guilty on Wednesday of attempting to subvert the government in a case seen as a barometer of judicial independence under new President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Evan Mawarire was a strident critic of former President Robert Mugabe who resigned last week after 37 years in power week under pressure from the army and ruling ZANU-PF party. Mawarire’s #ThisFlag movement last year organised the biggest protests in a decade against Mugabe over a deteriorating economy, cash shortages and accusations of government corruption. He was arrested in September and faced up to 20 years in jail if convicted. Reuters

UK Financial Support for Zimbabwe Linked to Democratic Progress -Johnson
Britain could take steps to stabilise Zimbabwe’s currency system and extend a bridging loan to help it clear World Bank and African Development Bank arrears, but such support depends on “democratic progress”, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said. “Those are indeed the things that we would try to do to help Zimbabwe forward, but we’ve got to see how the democratic process unfolds,” he said on Wednesday on the sidelines of an African Union-EU summit in Abidjan. Zimbabwe is due to hold elections next year. Reuters

France Will Open Secret Sankara Files, Macron Says
President Emmanuel Macron kicked off his maiden African tour Tuesday by vowing to declassify secret French files on Burkina Faso’s assassinated leader and announcing a billion-euro fund for African businesses. The terror threat has cast a shadow over Macron’s swing through West Africa, with three civilians wounded in an attempted grenade attack on French troops in Ouagadougou, the Burkinabe capital, shortly before his arrival late Monday. The three-day trip aims to boost France’s influence in West Africa, taking Macron from Burkina Faso — bearing the brunt of jihadist attacks in the Sahel — to a European-African summit in Ivory Coast and finally to Ghana, a former British colony. RFI

South Sudan Civil War Worsening – UN Panel
The catastrophic conditions that confronts war-torn South Sudan will likely worsen in coming months in the face of government intransigence and ineffective regional peace-making efforts, United Nations monitors have warned. “Absent a change in the current conflict dynamics, the coming dry season will see further fighting and civilian suffering, as the government continues to pursue military victory over political compromise,” UN investigators said on Monday. The UN panel also accused government forces of impeding humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. This, they said, cut-off food supplies to Bagari in the northwestern Upper Nile state. At least 164 children and elderly people died from hunger and disease in that area between January and September this year, they said. Further, the UN panel said armed forces were using food aid as a weapon of war to target civilians. The East African

Violence against Women in South Sudan Is Occurring at Twice the Global Average Rate
The “shocking scale” of violence against women and girls in South Sudan is double the global average, a new study says. The first comprehensive report on the “magnitude, frequency and brutality” of such violence in South Sudan’s conflict zones was released by the International Rescue Committee and George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute. As the world’s youngest nation approaches its fifth year of civil war, rape has often been used as a weapon by both government and opposition forces. The civil war has killed more than 50,000 people, forced more than two million to flee abroad and plunged parts of the country into famine. Up to 65 percent of women and girls interviewed for the new study said they had experienced sexual or physical violence. The Independent

Togo Opposition Parties Vow to Keep up Pressure on President
Togo’s opposition parties pledged Wednesday to maintain the momentum of anti-government protests, as thousands took to the streets once more ahead of promised talks with the president. The leader of the National Alliance for Change (ANC), Jean-Pierre Fabre, led the crowds in the capital but similar protests were banned on security grounds in the north. “Mobilization will continue, even during talks. We are not going to give up the fight,” Fabre told AFP. A source in Togo’s second-largest city of Sokode — the stronghold of Tikpi Atchadam, the Panafrican National Party leader behind the demonstrations — said the streets were calm. VOA

Buhari Hints at Seeking Re-Election in 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari has given the clearest hint so far that he will seek re election in 2019. He gave the hint in far away Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire where he is attending the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit. He was accompanied on the trip by a leader of the governing APC, Bola Tinubu, and governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi states among others. The president arrived late to an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire Tuesday night and said he had to wait for the two governors to accompany him to the meeting because of their electoral value. “First I want to apologise for keeping you for too long sitting, this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. The Premium Times

Ex-Egypt PM Ahmed Shafiq ‘Blocked from Leaving UAE’
A former Egyptian prime minister says he is not being allowed to leave the United Arab Emirates, the country where he has resided since 2012 after losing the Egyptian elections to Mohamed Morsi. The reason for his travel ban is unknown, Ahmed Shafiq said in an exclusive video statement to Al Jazeera on Wednesday. “I was surprised to know that I am prevented from leaving the UAE for reasons that I don’t understand and I am not willing to understand,” he said. Earlier in the day, Shafiq had announced that he intended to run in the 2018 presidential elections against current President Abdel Fateh el-Sisi. Al Jazeera

Master Stroke: The ‘Warm’ Meeting of Mohammed VI and Jacob Zuma
[…] This meeting, which comes as a surprise for many observers. constitutes a departure from Morocco’s empty chair policies adopted in the past. This policy consisted in shunning every country or organization that is supportive of the Polisario Front, which claims to be the sole representative of the Saharawis and challenges Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara. While Morocco has maintained normal relations with South Africa following the end of the Apartheid in 1994, things changed in September 2004 when South African decided to recognize the Polisario’s self-proclaimed Saharwai Arab Democratic Republic and to establish diplomatic relations with it. Ever since, South Africa has become, along with Algeria, the staunchest supporters of the Polisario and its claims. Morocco World News

Malaria Response at ‘Crossroads,’ Risks Backward Slide – UN
After unprecedented global success in controlling malaria, progress has stalled, the United Nations health agency reported Wednesday, citing an estimated five million more cases in 2016 than in 2015, and around 445,000 deaths. The 2017 World Malaria Report presents a comprehensive state of play in global progress in the fight against malaria. “In recent years, we have made major gains in the fight against malaria,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “We are now at a turning point. Without urgent action, we risk going backwards, and missing the global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond,” he added. The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria calls for reductions of at least 40 per cent in malaria case incidence and mortality rates by the year 2020. Yet, according to the new report, the world is not on track to reach these critical milestones. UN

The True Story of the Fake US Embassy in Ghana
[…] In the past, he said, passports were easier to tamper with. Fraudsters would steal a real passport belonging to a well-travelled person with valid visas and replace the picture with one of a paying client. […] Now that passports contain biometric data, such as fingerprints, it is becoming harder and harder to get away with this kind of crime. “You can’t fake everything 100%,” said Sewornu. Instead, the underground economy has started to focus on faking the documents required for legitimate visa applications, both for short visits and for people who want to emigrate. For the right fee, you can get hold of school certificates that turn you from an unskilled worker to a PhD, or bank records that turn you from a shoeshine boy into a successful entrepreneur. Of course, scammers do still offer fake visas, but most of these are not actually intended to get the bearer past border control in other countries. Instead, they’re meant to make it look – to embassies – like you’ve travelled extensively, and returned to Ghana each time. As if you are the kind of person who has no intention of becoming an illegal immigrant. In 2010, as the number of fake travel documents continued to rise, Ghana’s government founded the Document Fraud Expertise Centre, which verifies documents for embassies, banks and the police. It’s the only one in west Africa, which reflects the sheer scale of Ghana’s shadow visa industry. In 2016, about half the documents submitted to them for testing turned out to have been forged. The Guardian



Photo: Adam Jones