Hidden Dragon, Crouching Lion: How China’s Advance in Africa is Underestimated and Africa’s Potential Underappreciated
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College
The explosive growth of China’s economic interests in Africa—bilateral trade rocketed from $1 billion in 1990 to $150 billion in 2011—may be the most important trend in the continent’s foreign relations since the end of the Cold War. In 2010, China surpassed the United States as Africa’s top trading partner; its quest to build a strategic partnership with Africa on own its terms through tied aid, trade, and development finance is also part of Beijing’s broader aspirations to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower. Africa and other emerging economies have become attractive partners for China not only for natural resources, but as growing markets. Africa’s rapid growth since 2000 has not just occurred because of higher commodity prices, but more importantly due to other factors including improved governance, economic reforms, and an expanding labor force. China’s rapid and successful expansion in Africa is due to multiple factors, including economic diplomacy that is clearly superior to that of the United States. China’s “no strings attached” approach to development, however, risks undoing decades of Western efforts to promote good governance. Consequently, this monograph examines China’s oil diplomacy, equity investments in strategic minerals, and food policy toward Africa. The official U.S. rhetoric is that China’s rise in Africa should not be seen as a zero-sum game, but areas where real U.S.-China cooperation can help Africa remain elusive, mainly because of Beijing’s hyper-mistrust of Washington. The United States could help itself, and Africa, by improving its own economic diplomacy and adequately funding its own soft-power efforts.
Source: Brookings Institution
The Africa Learning Barometer is an interactive feature that analyzes the state of education and learning in sub-Saharan Africa through four indicators: school enrollment, school completion, quality of education and education inequality. The Barometer is a collaboration between the Brookings Center for Universal Education and This Is Africa, a publication of the Financial Times.
Avon’s apparent success in using entrepreneurship to help women escape poverty, as well as its staying power in circumstances where similar efforts have failed, has captured the attention of the international development community. This study, the ﬁrst independent empirical investigation, reports that in South Africa, Avon helps some impoverished women earn a better income and inspires empowerment among them. The authors introduce a new theory, pragmatist feminism, to integrate past work on women’s entrepreneurship and argue that feminist scholars should reexamine the histories of the market democracies for replicable innovations that may have empowered women.
Source: Energy Information Administration
Egypt is the largest oil producer in Africa that is not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the second largest natural gas producer on the continent, following Algeria. Egypt also plays a vital role in international energy markets through the operation of the Suez Canal andSuez-Mediterranean (SUMED) Pipeline, important transit points for oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from African and Persian Gulf states to Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. Fees collected from operation of these two transit points are significant sources of revenue for the Egyptian government.
Agricultural R&D: Investing in Africa’s Future—Analyzing Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute
The promise and challenges inherent in agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa prompted the conference, “Agricultural R&D: Investing in Africa’s Future—Analyzing Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities,” which was convened by the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative—facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)—and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). The goal of the conference was to define a road map for revitalizing agricultural research in the region focusing on four principal themes:
- sustainable financing of agricultural research;
- training the next generation of agricultural scientists;
- effectively evaluating the performance of research institutes and systems; and
- efficient organization of national agricultural research activities supported by regional and international capacities.
Predicting the Impact of the 2011 Conflict in Libya on Population Mental Health: PTSD and Depression Prevalence and Mental Health Service Requirements
Source: PLoS One
Mental disorders are likely to be elevated in the Libyan population during the post-conflict period. We estimated cases of severe PTSD and depression and related health service requirements using modelling from existing epidemiological data and current recommended mental health service targets in low and middle income countries (LMIC’s).
Post-conflict prevalence estimates were derived from models based on a previously conducted systematic review and meta-regression analysis of mental health among populations living in conflict. Political terror ratings and intensity of exposure to traumatic events were used in predictive models. Prevalence of severe cases was applied to chosen populations along with uncertainty ranges. Six populations deemed to be affected by the conflict were chosen for modelling: Misrata (population of 444,812), Benghazi (pop. 674,094), Zintan (pop. 40,000), displaced people within Tripoli/Zlitan (pop. 49,000), displaced people within Misrata (pop. 25,000) and Ras Jdir camps (pop. 3,700). Proposed targets for service coverage, resource utilisation and full-time equivalent staffing for management of severe cases of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are based on a published model for LMIC’s.
Severe PTSD prevalence in populations exposed to a high level of political terror and traumatic events was estimated at 12.4% (95%CI 8.5–16.7) and was 19.8% (95%CI 14.0–26.3) for severe depression. Across all six populations (total population 1,236,600), the conflict could be associated with 123,200 (71,600–182,400) cases of severe PTSD and 228,100 (134,000–344,200) cases of severe depression; 50% of PTSD cases were estimated to co-occur with severe depression. Based upon service coverage targets, approximately 154 full-time equivalent staff would be required to respond to these cases sufficiently which is substantially below the current level of resource estimates for these regions.
This is the first attempt to predict the mental health burden and consequent service response needs of such a conflict, and is crucially timed for Libya.
Egypt — Country Specific Information
Source: U.S. Department of State
On the night of October 9, 2011 demonstrations in downtown Cairo, in the vicinity of Tahrir Square, turned violent and resulted in numerous deaths and hundreds of injuries. A series of elections for the lower and upper houses of parliament isare scheduled to take place from November 2011 through March 2012. Politically-motivated rallies and demonstrations are likely to occur in the period leading to and likely following the elections. In the past nine months, demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, in some instances resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and lead to clashes with security forces or even rival groups.
There have been instances of instability and public disorder in some other areas of Egypt, most notably in the Nile Valley governorates of Assiut and Sohag, located between Cairo and Luxor. These governorates, along with the adjacent governorates of Minya and Qena, have been areas of extremist activity in the past. U.S. Embassy personnel traveling to these areas (apart from Luxor and adjacent tourist destinations) require advance approval. Egyptian authorities also restrict the travel of foreigners to these governorates. U.S. citizens planning to travel in these areas should contact the Embassy prior to travel.
Libya: Rule of Law or Rule of Militias?
Source: Amnesty International
Two sisters aged 27 and 32 were stopped by a militia at a checkpoint in February 2012 and forced at gunpoint to a nearby farm. One was suspended from a door for hours, had boiling water poured over her head, and was beaten and stabbed while being accused of supporting the former government of Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi. The other was also suspended and beaten. The husband of one of them, who was detained at the same time, has disappeared.
This family is among the mounting toll of victims of an increasingly lawless Libya, where the transitional authorities have been unable or unwilling to rein in the hundreds of militias formed during and after the 2011 conflict that ended the rule of Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi. The militias are now threatening the very future of Libya and casting a shadow over landmark national elections scheduled for July 7, 2012. They are killing people, making arbitrary arrests, torturing detainees and forcibly displacing and terrorizing entire communities, often solely for reasons of revenge. They are also recklessly using machineguns, mortars and other weaponry during tribal and territorial battles, killing and maiming bystanders. They act above the law, committing their crimes without fear of punishment.
Country Analysis Brief: Libya
Source: Energy Information Administration
Libya produced an estimated 1.65 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of mostly high-quality light, sweet crude oil prior to the onset of unrest in February 2011. Libyan oil and natural gas exports suffered a near-total disruption in the months of intense fighting to follow, as the minimal and sporadic oil production that did occur was mostly consumed domestically. As a result, in the summer of 2011, the International Energy Agency (IEA) coordinated a release of 60 million barrels of oil from the emergency stocks of its member countries through the “Libya Collective Action” – the first such release since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Libyan oil production began its resurgence in September 2011, following the deposition of Col. Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi’s regime and the gradual consolidation of control over most parts of the country by the Transitional National Council (TNC) and affiliated rebel militias. Crude oil production was estimated to have recovered to at least 1.4 million bbl/d by May 2012, as the impressive pace of the sector’s recovery exceeded the expectations of most industry analysts. Nonetheless, there are significant downside as well as upside risks to the outlook for Libyan oil production due to continued uncertainty about security conditions, state cohesion, political institutions, the return of foreign capital and expertise, contract terms, and industry oversight.
Madagascar’s Political Crisis (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Madagascar, an Indian Ocean island country, ranks among the world’s poorest countries, is the world’s fourth largest island and is extremely biologically diverse, with thousands of unique species of flora and fauna. It has experienced political instability since early 2009, initiated by tensions between the country’s last elected president, Marc Ravalomanana, and an opposition movement led by Andry Rajoelina, then the mayor of the capital city, Antananarivo. Mass protests in early 2009 and eventual military support for the ouster of President Ravalomanana culminated in his forced resignation from office. Rajoelina then seized power and, with other leaders, formed an interim self-declared transitional government, the High Transitional Authority (HAT, after its French acronym). Ravalomanana now lives in exile in South Africa.
Periodic protests by Ravalomanana supporters after the takeover led to violent clashes with security forces. Negotiations between the parties led to the signing of an agreement in 2009 in Maputo, Mozambique to establish an inclusive, transitional government, but Rajoelina subsequently appointed a cabinet seen to be primarily composed of his own supporters. Southern African leaders and Madagascar’s opposition parties rejected the proposed government, and negotiations resumed. Two later agreements also failed to result in a unified transitional process.
The unconstitutional change of power and resulting political impasse have negatively affected economic growth and development efforts and strained Madagascar’s relations with international donors. Foreign governments, including the United States, reacted to Rajoelina’s seizure of power by sanctioning the government in various ways (e.g., through suspension of membership in some multilateral bodies, restrictions on aid, personal sanctions on some individuals, and removal of trade benefits). Aid restrictions have significantly decreased public spending. As a result of the coup d’état, U.S. aid is restricted to selected humanitarian and development programs delivered through non-governmental channels. Madagascar’s Millennium Challenge Account compact, worth an estimated $110 million, was terminated in May 2009. Madagascar is also subject to aid restrictions due to its poor performance in addressing the problem of trafficking in persons.
Until September 2011, when a Southern African Development Community (SADC)-mediated transitional roadmap was signed by most key political movements, international mediation and national efforts to agree upon a transition process had foundered. Notwithstanding continuing political disputes, implementation of the roadmap has gone relatively smoothly. In April, a political amnesty law was enacted, but it remains controversial, as it does not cover former president Ravalomanana due to his conviction for murder in absentia in August 2010, and he has not been permitted to return to Madagascar. An impasse over these issue has long stymied the transition process.
Madagascar faces a host of environmental pressures, however, and illegal logging and endangered wildlife exports have reportedly substantially increased under the HAT. Congress has expressed concern with threats to Madagascar’s unique ecosystem, as well as with the country’s ongoing political and development challenges. The House of Representatives passed legislation in 2009, H.Res. 839, condemning the 2009 coup and the illegal extraction of Madagascar’s natural resources.
Morocco: Current Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
King Mohammed VI retains supreme political power in Morocco, but has taken some liberalizing steps with uncertain effects. In 2011, following popular demonstrations that echoed unrest elsewhere in the region, the king proposed a new constitution that may provide greater independence to the Prime Minister, the legislature, and the judiciary. It was overwhelmingly approved in a public referendum. The moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) is leading the government for the first time after winning a plurality of seats in November 2011 legislative elections. While the party has been legally recognized for two decades, its leaders continue to grapple with their transition from outsider opposition status to the day-to-day responsibilities of running the government amid an economic downturn and responding to vast and divided expectations. The PJD’s campaign promises to crack down on corruption and cronyism may also place it on a collision course with pro-palace elites. Protests have dwindled since their apogee in early 2011, but sporadic demonstrations continue over economic grievances, and some activists continue to call for deeper changes to the political system.
The U.S. government views Morocco as an important ally against terrorism and as a free trade partner. Congress appropriates foreign assistance funding for Morocco for counterterrorism and socioeconomic development, including in support of a five-year, $697.5 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact agreed to in 2007. Congress also reviews and authorizes Moroccan purchases of U.S. defense articles. U.S. officials have expressed support for Morocco’s political reform efforts while reiterating strong support for the monarchy.
Morocco’s approach to countering terrorism involves security measures, economic reforms, education, international cooperation, and control of religious outlets. Morocco experienced devastating terrorist attacks in 2003, and Moroccan nationals have been implicated in attacks and plots overseas. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a regional criminal-terrorist network, has not mounted a successful attack in Morocco. However, individual Moroccans have joined AQIM outside of the country and the group has reportedly attempted to use Moroccan territory as a transit point for regional smuggling operations.
Morocco’s human rights record is uneven. A number of abuses have been documented along with constraints on freedom of expression. At the same time, the 2004 Family Code is a significant initiative that could improve the socioeconomic rights of women if fully implemented. The king has also sought to provide a public record of abuses perpetrated before he ascended the throne in 1999 and to enhance the rights of ethnic Berbers (Amazigh/Imazighen), the original inhabitants of the region. In 2010, questions about religious freedom arose when foreign Christians were expelled for illegal proselytizing, sparking criticism by some Members of Congress.
Morocco’s foreign policy focuses largely on France, Spain, and the United States. The country is currently serving a two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Relations with Algeria are troubled by the unresolved dispute over the Western Sahara, a territory that Morocco largely occupies and views as an integral part of its national territory. Algeria supports the POLISARIO Front in its quest for the region’s self-determination. Relations between Morocco and Israel are strained, though some 600,000 Moroccan Jews are citizens of Israel. Morocco severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 2009, and was invited to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in May 2011. See also CRS Report RS20962, Western Sahara, by Alexis Arieff.
A decade of change for newborn survival, policy and programmes (2000–2010): A multi-country evaluation of prog ress towards scale
Source: Health Policy & Planning
Special issue; open access articles.
The report, "A Decade of Change for Newborn Survival," was published in Health Policy and Planning today.
The world has achieved remarkable progress on reducing child deaths—from 12.4 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010—but that progress isn’t reaching newborn babies at the same pace, the report shows. As a result, more than 40 percent of child deaths now occur in the newborn period, or first month of life. However, the new report finds that globally only 0.1 percent of official development assistance for maternal and child health exclusively targets newborns, and only 6 percent mentions newborns at all—despite 3.1 million newborn babies dying each year.
The report shows political will to reach the poorest families with the most effective interventions for newborn health has had dramatic results in low-income countries such as Bangladesh, Malawi and Nepal. All three are on track to meet the 2015 target of Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing child deaths by two thirds since 1990, and all have reduced newborn deaths at about double the rate of neighboring countries.
African families have the highest risk of newborn deaths and it would take 150 years at current rates of progress to achieve newborn death rates on par with the United States and Europe.
Other report findings include:
- Maternal mortality is declining faster than before, but newborn mortality is declining at half that rate—showing that improved maternity services are not enough to combat threats to newborn survival. Declines in newborn mortality rates are also 30 percent slower than those of children under 5 who survive the newborn period.
- From 2003 to 2008, official development assistance doubled for maternal, newborn and child health in the 68 countries with the most newborn deaths, but only 6 percent of this funding mentioned the word "newborn" and only 0.1 percent included specific newborn care interventions.
- Family planning—i.e., increased access to voluntary contraception—has led to reductions in newborn deaths, which often relate to too short a time between births or the youth of a mother. Prime examples are Nepal and Bangladesh, where the average number of babies per woman has been reduced by 50 percent.
- 10 countries—including India and Ethiopia—account for two-thirds of neonatal deaths.
- While economic growth is often linked to improved newborn survival, some of the world’s poorest countries have achieved tremendous progress in both newborn and child survival. These include Malawi in Africa and Nepal in South Asia, both on track to meet MDG4, and Sri Lanka, which, despite conflict there, provides a dramatic example of halving deaths due to preterm birth.
- The new report includes comprehensive analyses of how Bangladesh, Nepal and Malawi are leaders in reducing newborn deaths, how Uganda has made strides in policy change for newborns, and how in Pakistan national partnerships and champions have kept newborn health on the agenda despite challenges including earthquakes and floods.
- More than 75 percent of newborn deaths could be prevented in 2015 with universal coverage of high-impact interventions like Kangaroo Mother Care (wrapping newborns in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers for warmth and improved breastfeeding), antibiotics for babies with infections, exclusive breastfeeding, and other basic care.
Africa can choose…a sustainable future
Source: World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
The “Africa Ecological Footprint Report : Green Infrastructure for Africa’s Ecological Security” takes stock of the health of Africa’s ecosystems, as well as trends in resources use patterns. It also lays out recommendations on implementing green development pathways for Africa .
The report highlights a steep decline in biodiversity in Africa: 40% in 40 years. This decline reflects a degradation of the natural systems upon which Africa’s current and future prosperity depends.
In addition, rapid population growth and increasing prosperity are changing consumption patterns, with the result that Africa’s ecological footprint—the area needed to generate the resources consumed by a given group or activity – has been growing steadily. Africa’s total ecological footprint is set to double by 2040.
Continuing on a business-as-usual scenario means jeapordizing the natural systems on which lives and economies depend. Yet Africa is in an advantageous position to act. This report showcases successful initiatives across Africa as solutions to be up-scaled in areas such as renewable energy, integrated water resource management, ecotourism, and forest conservation.
The Lord’s Resistance Army: The U.S. Response (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, is a small, dispersed armed group in central Africa that originated 24 years ago in Uganda. Its infliction of widespread human suffering and its potential threat to regional stability have drawn significant congressional attention. Campaigns by U.S.-based advocacy groups, using social media and other methods, have also spurred policymakers’ interest. Despite its Ugandan origins, the LRA currently operates in remote regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan. When the LRA was based in northern Uganda, the United States provided humanitarian relief and other aid for the war-torn region. As the LRA has moved across central Africa, the United States has taken on a more expansive role in countering its impact. Since 2008, the United States has supported regional operations led by the Ugandan military to capture or kill LRA commanders. The United States has also extended humanitarian aid, pursued regional diplomacy, and pushed for “early-warning” systems and multilateral programs to demobilize and reintegrate ex-LRA combatants. Growing U.S. involvement may also be viewed in the context of Uganda’s role as a key regional security partner. The LRA is on the State Department’s “Terrorist Exclusion List,” and Kony is a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”
In May 2010, Congress enacted the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (P.L. 111-172), which required the Obama Administration to submit to Congress a “strategy” to “guide future United States support … for viable multilateral efforts to mitigate and eliminate the threat to civilians and regional stability” posed by the LRA. The Administration’s policy response, submitted in November 2010, emphasizes the protection of civilians, the “removal” of top LRA commanders, the promotion of LRA desertions, and the provision of humanitarian relief. On October 14, 2011, the President reported to Congress, “consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” that he had authorized the deployment of approximately 100 U.S. military personnel to serve as advisors to “regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield.” The Administration has portrayed this decision as consistent with congressional intent as expressed in P.L. 111-172 and subsequent consultations.
The U.S. approach to the LRA raises a number of policy issues, some of which could have implications far beyond central Africa. A key question, for some, is whether the response is commensurate with the level of threat the LRA poses to U.S. interests, and whether the deployment of U.S. military personnel could lead to unintended consequences. More broadly, decisions on this issue could potentially be viewed as a precedent for U.S. responses to similar situations in the future. Other issues for Congress include the timing and rationale for U.S. action; the role and likely duration of U.S. deployments in the region; the benchmarks for success and/or withdrawal of U.S. forces; funding levels for counter-LRA activities and for potential future humanitarian aid and related commitments; and the relative priority of counter-LRA activities compared to other foreign policy and budgetary goals. Other possible policy challenges include regional militaries’ capacity and will to conduct U.S.-supported operations, and these militaries’ relative level of respect for human rights. Congressional oversight may also focus on the appropriateness of the Administration’s LRA policy approach, as outlined in November 2010; the status of its implementation; interagency coordination; and the role of other donors. Related draft legislation includes H.R. 4077, H.R. 895, H.Res. 465, H.Res. 583, S.Res. 402, and S.Res. 412. Provisions relevant to U.S. counter-LRA efforts are also included in P.L. 112-74 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012) and P.L. 112-81 (National Defense Authorization Act of 2012).
Introduction:Arab populations have many similarities and dissimilarities. They share culture, language and religion but they are also subject to economic, political and social differences. The purpose of this study is to understand the causes of the rising trend of diabetes prevalence in order to suggest efficient actions susceptible to reduce the burden of diabetes in the Arab world.Method:We use principal component analysis to illustrate similarities and differences between Arab countries according to four variables: 1) the prevalence of diabetes, 2) impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 3) diabetes related deaths and 4) diabetes related expenditure per person. A linear regression is also used to study the correlation between human development index and diabetes prevalence.Results:Arab countries are mainly classified into three groups according to the diabetes comparative prevalence (high, medium and low) but other differences are seen in terms of diabetes-related mortality and diabetes related expenditure per person. We also investigate the correlation between the human development index (HDI) and diabetes comparative prevalence (R = 0.81).Conclusion:The alarming rising trend of diabetes prevalence in the Arab region constitutes a real challenge for heath decision makers. In order to alleviate the burden of diabetes, preventive strategies are needed, based essentially on sensitization for a more healthy diet with regular exercise but health authorities are also asked to provide populations with heath- care and early diagnosis to avoid the high burden caused by complications of diabetes.
Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
According to the 2012 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General, exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) is associated with the initiation and continuation of smoking among young persons. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires countries to prohibit all forms of TAPS (2); the United States signed the agreement in 2004, but the action has not yet been ratified. Many countries have adopted partial bans covering direct advertising in traditional media channels; however, few countries have adopted comprehensive bans on all types of direct and indirect marketing. To assess progress toward elimination of TAPS and the level of awareness of TAPS among persons aged ≥15 years, CDC used data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) collected in 14 countries during 2008–2010. Awareness of any TAPS ranged from 12.4% in Turkey to 70.4% in the Philippines. In the four countries where awareness of TAPs was ≤15%, three of the countries had comprehensive bans covering all nine channels assessed by GATS, and the fourth country banned seven of the nine channels. In 12 countries, more persons were aware of advertising in stores than advertising via any other channel. Reducing exposure to TAPS is important to prevent initiation of tobacco use by youths and young adults and to help smokers quit.