Secretary Tillerson will be taking his first official visit to Africa starting March 7, meeting with leaders in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad, and Nigeria.
The State Department announced that the Secretary will be addressing issues of counter-terrorism, peace and security, good governance, and trade and investment.
The countries Secretary Tillerson is scheduled to visit, and the key issues to be addressed, reflect clear continuity in U.S. policy priorities in sub-Saharan Africa since the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Here is my advice to the Secretary for each of his planned meetings. Read More
It is not surprising that after three years in office – three years of famine, violence, and serious political and social instability – Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has resigned, effective with the swearing-in of his replacement within a few weeks. The regime has also announced a six-month “state of emergency,” under which political and press freedoms are severely curtailed.
What do these developments mean for the Ethiopian people? Read More
Since seizing the government by force of arms in 1991, the TPLF-controlled Ethiopian regime has maintained monopolies over economic and political power ever since, and has therefore dominated all other nationalities and ethnic groups. It is this refusal to share political power and wealth on the part of the TPLF that is causing the violent demonstrations of dissent within the Oromo and Amhara states. Government efforts to divert attention to cross border violence between Oromo and Somali states cannot hide its responsibility for the instability brought on by its refusal to grant the Ethiopian people the self-determination granted by their constitution. Read More
(From International Policy Digest)
Last week marked the 25th anniversary, or “Silver Jubilee,” since the East Africa nation Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in a conflict that lasted three decades. Ambassador Cohen worked closely with leaders of both nations and in 1991 brokered a peace accord that was to establish a framework for future mutual progress. International Policy Digest interviewed Amb. Cohen to learn his thoughts and insights on Eritrea’s recent history and path forward. Read More
There are some intriguing new developments in the Red Sea region.
Eritrea has joined the “Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism.” What is so interesting about that? Well, the list of countries in that coalition are all good friends of the United States. American arms exporters make lots of dinars selling to those friends.
So what does all this have to do with Eritrea? Well, can one say that the friend of my friend should also be my friend? Unfortunately, Eritrea and the US still do not call themselves friends. So, what is going on? Read More
For many African nations, the year 2016 is presenting some difficult challenges. For the second time since 1960, the commodity exports that bring in most of Africa’s revenue have suffered severe world price declines.
Between 1960 and 1980, high world prices for African commodity exports, especially crude oil, minerals such as copper, iron ore, manganese, and cobalt, brought African governments considerable revenue. Unfortunately, that revenue was not used to finance economic diversity, especially in agro-industry, manufacturing, transportation and intra-African trade. As a result, when world commodity prices dropped heavily between 1975 and 1980, many African countries found themselves heavily in debt and unable to service those debts. Too much of the earlier wealth was squandered on the financing of white elephants, the disastrous nationalization of private companies, and sadly, extensive corruption. Read More
Hey, all you Abyssinians out there. While you are wasting time squabbling with each other and not talking to each other, the governments of the Arabian Peninsula are eating your lunch.
Have you noticed that warships from the United Arab Emirates are operating out of the port of Asab 24/7? Their interest is in Yemen, not in Eritrea or Ethiopia. There are reports that Saudi Arabia has taken a 50-year lease on Asab. If that is true, the next step will be Sharia Law in the Horn of Africa big time.
I think it is time for Abyssinians to take back control of the west bank of the Red Sea before it is too late.
One way to accomplish this is for Eritrea and Ethiopia to finally end the war of 1998-2000 and normalize relations. It can be done as a win-win. Read More
The political leaders of the Ethiopian Government have a policy of killing all opponents who take to the streets to demonstrate against them. Other opponents who do not demonstrate but make public statements instead, are sent to jail for long periods.
I fail to understand why the Ethiopian regime feels it necessary to exercise such extreme control to the point of committing murder periodically against their own citizens. The government is receiving good marks from the international community for its investments in infrastructure and agriculture. If it could relax and loosen up its controls, it could become popular. Read More
According to press reports, Ethiopia is currently going through a very severe drought, and is in dire need of international food assistance to make up for failed crops.
Ethiopia has a history of famine situations due to drought. During every drought year, the international community has been supportive with shipments of food relief. Since the year 2002, Ethiopia has been coping nicely with dry weather. The construction of new roads has allowed the movement of food crops from wet regions to dry regions, thereby making it unnecessary to call for international aid. In view of the improved transportation situation, the fact that food aid is needed in the year 2015 indicates that the drought situation must be truly severe. In short, the entire country must be having a rain deficit and not just certain regions as in the past. Read More
Only three years old, the independent nation of South Sudan is in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian disaster. Hundreds of thousands of people have become internal refugees. Thousands of others have perished in ethnic cleansing attacks against innocent men, women and children living their normal lives in their villages. There are new reports of several thousand-child soldiers who may be fighting in the ranks of ethnic militias.
The international community, especially the United States, is taking the problem very seriously. Peace talks between the South Sudanese Government, and the main rebel group led by former Vice President Riak Machar, have been going on in Ethiopia for several months under the auspices of the African Union. US diplomats have been doing a full court press trying to bring about a cease-fire and reconciliation. Secretary Kerry has personally gone to the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba to persuade the warring parties to reach at least a temporary agreement. Despite several cease-fire agreements over the past few months, nothing has changed on the ground in South Sudan, and innocent civilians continue to die in vain. Read More