– NEWS –
African Union summit in Ethiopia: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took up his chairmanship of the 55-member African Union (AU) at its 32nd ordinary session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday. During his tenure, el-Sissi is expected to concentrate on security and financial reform, but with no great plans to strengthen the AU’s multilateral powers. This year’s AU summit discussed resolving outstanding political issues such as the peace-building efforts between the Central African Republic’s Government and armed groups, and the Congo Republic, the displacement of internally displaced persons, as well as addressing the issue of human trafficking, and the institutional reform process of the African Union.
Nigerian presidential election: Nigeria will stage presidential elections on February 16th. There are no reliable forecasts about the outcome of the election so far, the result is uncertain. One thing, however, is clear: The election will be a showdown between incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and opposition leader Atiku Abubakar. Buhari is a former military strongman who first took power in Nigeria in 1983 after a military coup. He launched a war on corruption by jailing political actors without trial and committing widespread human rights abuses. For his political comeback, he assured voters he was a reformed democratic leader. Abubakar was held up by United States Senate subcommittee in 2010 as a prime example of overseas corruption for funneling tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Nigerian oil revenues into foreign shell accounts. Ahead of the presidential election, two Nigerian electoral commission offices housing voting materials were burned down within the space of a week. In a long communique released last weekend, Buhari suggested that corruption and vote-buying were infecting the election process.
Algerian President to seek fifth term: Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on Sunday he would seek a fifth term in a presidential election set for April 18th, the state news agency APS reported on Sunday. The 81-year old Bouteflika has been in office since 1999 but has been seen in public only rarely since suffering a stroke in 2013 that confined him to a wheelchair. Bouteflika remains popular with many Algerians, who credit him with ending the country’s long civil war by offering an amnesty to former Islamist fighters. Bouteflika’s announcement came a day after the ruling FLN party picked him as its official presidential candidate. Several political parties, trade unions and business organizations have already said they would support his re-election bid.
Egyptian parliament plans constitutional amendment for Al-Sisi: An Egyptian parliamentary committee has approved proposed constitutional amendments which would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2034 and boost his control of the judiciary. The approval is the first step needed to move forward with the constitutional changes, which are expected to be finally endorsed by parliament and then move to a referendum within a few months. The motion is near-certain to be overwhelmingly approved by the legislature, which is packed with al-Sissi’s supporters, but the amendments would also need to be put to a national referendum to become law. Sisi supporters say the changes are necessary for the stability of the country and to give the president more time to implement economic development plans. Critics say Sisi has led Egypt deeper into authoritarianism than former president Hosni Mubarak.
Germany gives Morocco 330 million euros in development aid maghreb-post.de
South Africa’s president vows to fight corruption zdf.de
Chad military arrests rebels zdf.de
Germany’s development minister visits Ghana for German-African economic summit bmz.de
– BACKGROUND –
US cuts military aid to Cameroon: The United States has announced that it is cutting some military aid to Cameroon over human rights concerns after growing allegations of abuses by security forces. The country is gripped by fighting between the government and Anglophone separatists. The US decision comes after videos circulated online last year showing Cameroonian security forces shooting and killing civilians, including women with small children strapped to their backs. The Pentagon and State Department said the reduced US support involves armored vehicles, boats, aircraft upkeep and parts, helicopter training and an invitation to a partnership program.
Africa’s women are rising to power: The global shortage of women in politics is a problem in Africa as well. Only five of the more than 50 African countries had a female head of state in their postcolonial history. But there is change on the horizon. In Mali, one third of the current cabinet members are female. Rwanda broke its own world record this year and increased the proportion of women in parliament from 64 to 68 percent. In Ethiopia, 10 out of 20 ministers are women. The country’s parliament took another step towards gender parity by appointing the country’s first female president. Experts attribute these changes primarily to political upheaval in the 1990s. At that time, almost all African countries were hit by a wave of democratization. The generation change in politics created new spaces for young Africans and women. Some heads of state have emphasized that women make their governments more efficient and less vulnerable to corruption – this has been substantiated empirically.
Russia may start producing vehicles in Algeria: Russia is Algeria’s most important and closest international ally. In addition to support in the armaments sector, the North African country now wants economic help from Russia. The two countries have discussed the possibility of starting production of the Russian Lada car in Algeria, Energy Minister and co-chairman of the intergovernmental commission with Algeria, Alexander Novak, announced. Currently, Russian largest car maker Avtovaz exports bodies for Renault Logan cars to an assembly plant in Algeria.
– NUMBER –
Morocco’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.8 percent in 2018 from 10.2 percent in 2017 with services topping job creating sectors, the country’s planning agency said on Tuesday.
– QUOTE –
“Mali’s government is working hard to promote this peace accord. We have already established new regions [as part of decentralization efforts] that have been functioning for about one and a half years. After such a crisis — when armed rebels attacked the government — you need peace and stability.”
Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has spoken out in favor of the peace deal that Mali signed with armed rebel groups in 2015.
– AT LAST –
Music to stop genital mutilation: Millions of girls in Egypt have already been subjected to genital mutilation. In many of the countries where female genital mutilation is performed, it is a deeply entrenched social norm rooted in gender inequality. It has no health benefits and often leads to long-term medical complications. The United Nations has started a program to stop genital mutilation, overpopulation and child marriages, with the support of 23-year old singer Sahar El-Zoghbi. She is currently touring the country and giving free pop concerts, in the hopes of making her contribution to stopping the practice.