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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Country Analysis Brief: Angola

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Angola
Source: Energy Information Administration

Angola is the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, behind Nigeria. The country experienced an oil production boom between 2002 and 2008 as production started at several deepwater fields. In 2007, Angola became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

CFR Backgrounder: Al-Shabab

March 18, 2015 Comments off

Backgrounder: Al-Shabab
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Al-Shabab, or “the Youth,” is an al-Qaeda-linked militant group and U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization fighting for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia. The group, also known as Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen, and its Islamist affiliates once held sway over Mogadishu and major portions of the Somali countryside, but a sustained African Union military campaign in recent years has weakened the group considerably. Still, security analysts warn that the group remains the principal threat in a politically volatile, war-torn state.

Al-Shabab’s terrorist activities have mainly focused on targets within Somalia, but it has also carried out deadly strikes in the region, including coordinated suicide bombings in Uganda’s capital in 2010 and a raid on a Nairobi mall in 2013 (PDF). Washington fears the group, which has successfully recruited members of the Somali diaspora in the United States, may strike on U.S. soil. However, many terrorism experts say al-Shabab’s reach is limited to East Africa.

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Nigeria
Source: Energy Information Administration

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, holds the largest natural gas reserves on the continent, and is among the world’s top five exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Nigeria became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1971, more than a decade after oil production began in the oil-rich Bayelsa State in the 1950s.1 Although Nigeria is the leading oil producer in Africa, production suffers from supply disruptions, which have resulted in unplanned outages as high as 500,000 barrels per day (bbl/d).

START Releases Reports on Boko Haram

March 2, 2015 Comments off

START Releases Reports on Boko Haram
Source: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Two reports related to research on Boko Haram are now available online. These include a qualitative report, by START research director Amy Pate and a statistical analysis of the impact of interventions on Boko Haram activity, by START researcher John Stevenson. The research was supported by a Centers of Excellence Supplemental award from the Office of University Programs at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Strategic Multilayer Assessment office of the Department of Defense.

Boko Haram has been the subject of much international scrutiny in recent months, beginning after the April 2014 kidnapping of over 250 schoolgirls, an event that led to a worldwide cry over social media to “bring back our girls.” In recent weeks, a coalition of Nigerian, Chadian, Nigerien, and Cameroonian troops have made gains against Boko Haram, but it still holds multiple towns in northeast Nigeria.

The reports explore the following research questions:

  • What are Boko Haram’s strengths and potential vulnerabilities?
  • What policies can be employed to counter Boko Haram’s strengths and exploit its weaknesses?
  • What are USAFRICOM options for engaging U.S. government and foreign partners to deploy policies to counter Boko Haram?

Update: Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic — West Africa, February 2015

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Update: Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic — West Africa, February 2015
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

According to the latest World Health Organization update on February 18, 2015 (2), a total of 23,253 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola and 9,380 Ebola-related deaths had been reported as of February 15 from the three West African countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) where Ebola virus transmission has been widespread and intense. Total case counts include all suspected, probable, and confirmed cases, which are defined similarly by each country (3). Because of improvements in surveillance, the number of cases reported in recent weeks might overestimate the number of Ebola cases in some areas because nonconfirmed cases are included in the total case counts. Sierra Leone reported the highest number of laboratory-confirmed cases (8,212), followed by Liberia (3,149) and Guinea (2,727). During the week ending February 14, a daily average of 11 confirmed cases were reported from Sierra Leone, fewer than one from Liberia, and seven from Guinea. The areas with the highest numbers of confirmed cases reported during January 25–February 14 were the Western Area and Port Loko (Sierra Leone) and Forecariah (Guinea) (Figure). Guinea saw an increase in confirmed cases over the past 3 weeks. This might reflect improved surveillance and case reporting because of increased access to previously inaccessible communities.

Women and Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the United States

February 9, 2015 Comments off

Women and Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the United States
Source: Population Reference Bureau

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), involving partial or total removal of the external genitals of girls and women for religious, cultural, or other nonmedical reasons, has devastating immediate and long-term health and social effects, especially related to childbirth. This type of violence against women violates women’s human rights. There are more than 3 million girls, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa, who are at risk of cutting/mutilation each year. In Djibouti, Guinea, and Somalia, nine in 10 girls ages 15 to 19 have been subjected to FGM/C. Some countries in Africa have recently outlawed the practice, including Guinea-Bissau, but progress in eliminating the harmful traditional practice has been slow.1 Although FGM/C is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, global migration patterns have increased the risk of FGM/C among women and girls living in developed countries, including the United States.

Increasingly, policymakers, NGOs, and community leaders are speaking out against this harmful traditional practice. As more information becomes available about the practice, it is clear that FGM/C needs to be unmasked and challenged around the world.

Being a LGBTI person in African countries

January 26, 2015 Comments off

Being a LGBTI person in African countries
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

More than 4 African countries out of 5 of have laws criminalising homosexuality, or even punishing LGBTI rights advocacy. Only in 2014 tougher laws were passed in Nigeria, Gambia and Uganda.

As recent developments in Europe show, having non-discriminative laws doesn’t prevent homophobic feeling; but when this feeling is encouraged or not punished by the authorities, it can favour violence towards LGBTI people, including rapes and killings. Furthermore it leads LGBTI people to live in hiding which increases mental or physical health problems among the population.

On several occasions the European Parliament has reminded the EU of its commitment against all forms of discrimination in all the places it acts.

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