Daily Archives: May 15, 2014

Africa: #BringBackOurGirls: Addressing the Growing Threat of Boko Haram

#BringBackOurGirls: Addressing the Growing Threat of Boko Haram

Testimony

Robert P. Jackson
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on African Affairs
Washington, DC
May 15, 2014


Chairman Coons, Ranking Member Flake, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to update you about U.S. efforts to address the chilling threat that Boko Haram represents to Nigeria, one of our most important partners in sub-Saharan Africa.

It has now been one month since Boko Haram kidnapped more than two hundred girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. At the time of the kidnapping, these brave girls had returned to their high school in order to complete examinations that would allow them to attend university. By seeking knowledge and opportunity, they represented a challenge to Boko Haram in the heart of its area of operations. As the world now knows, Boko Haram opposes democracy and formal education. It has attempted to crush the kind of faith in the promise of education and prosperity that families in Chibok showed.

Boko Haram, the terrorist organization that kidnapped these girls, has shown it has no regard for human life. It has been killing innocent people in Nigeria for some time, and the attack at Chibok is part of that long, terrible trend. This year alone, Boko Haram has murdered more than 1000 innocent people in vicious attacks on schools, churches, and mosques. Since 2013, it has targeted and systematically kidnapped women – including these girls – seeking to deny them the education and opportunity they deserve. The abductions in Chibok fit into this larger pattern of violence. Throughout northeastern Nigeria, innocent civilians are terrified by gunmen who come in the night to kill young men and teachers and steal away young women.

Boko Haram has also retained its ability to target Abuja, as we saw with two recent bombings at the Nyanya bus depot outside the capital. And we’re concerned by the expansion of the group’s operations beyond Nigeria, including in Cameroon where it has also conducted kidnappings. The group is not just a Nigerian problem; it is a regional security problem.

We join the world, the people of Nigeria, and the parents of these children in expressing our outrage at Boko Haram’s shocking acts and its perverse ideology.

Young people, in Nigeria and across the globe, deserve the chance to pursue their dreams without suffering the predations of violent extremists. What happened in Nigeria resonates around the world, and pleas to free the kidnapped schoolgirls have come from First Lady Michelle Obama, from Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, and other champions of women’s right to an education.

This tragic kidnapping demands that we redouble our efforts to defeat a Foreign Terrorist Organization that has troubled Nigeria for more than a decade. World leaders, including President Obama, have pledged their full support to the government and people of Nigeria as they seek the safe return of these brave girls. We acted swiftly to carry out the President’s pledge. By Monday, May 12, the U.S. Government had deployed an 18-member interagency team to provide military and law enforcement assistance, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support. We have provided commercial imagery and are flying manned and unmanned ISR aircraft over Nigeria to support the search. We are working closely with international partners on the ground, including the U.K. and France, and we are pressing for additional multilateral action, including UN Security Council sanctions on Boko Haram. As the President has directed, we will do everything possible to support the Nigerians in their efforts to find and free these girls. But we won’t stop there. We can and must continue to work closely with Nigeria to prevent Boko Haram from harming any more innocent people.

Given Nigeria’s importance, Boko Haram cannot be allowed to continue its array of bloody tactics: murdering police officers, snatching children, destroying churches, burning schools, attacking mosques, driving people from their homes, and challenging the government’s authority.

Mr. Chairman, A peaceful and stable Nigeria is crucially important to the future of Africa, and we cannot stay on the sidelines if it stumbles. Nigeria has the continent’s largest population and biggest economy. We look to Nigeria as a partner in our quest to help Africans lead lives free of violence and filled with possibility. As an engine of growth, a fountainhead of art and industry, and a political giant, Nigeria is vital to the success of President Obama’s 2012 Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. As we implement that strategy, we are focusing on building a democratic, prosperous, and secure Nigeria.

Since Boko Haram came to the world’s attention with a massive uprising in 2009, we have been working to help Nigeria counter this threat. We provide Nigeria with security cooperation, which goes toward professionalizing the Nigerian military, investigating bomb sites, improving border security, and carrying out responsible counterterrorism operations. As we hear reports of Boko Haram cells in neighboring countries, we have increasingly placed our response to Boko Haram in a regional context. Through our Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, the Global Counterterrorism Forum, and our bilateral relationships with Nigeria’s neighbors, we are encouraging greater information sharing and border security efforts.

At the same time, we have been urging Nigeria to reform its approach to Boko Haram. From our own difficult experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, we know that turning the tide of an insurgency requires more than force. The state must demonstrate to its citizens that it can protect them and offer them opportunity. When soldiers destroy towns, kill civilians, and detain innocent people with impunity, mistrust takes root. When governments neglect the economic development of remote areas, confidence can falter. We share these lessons with our partners in Nigeria, urging them to ensure that security services respect human rights; officials end a culture of impunity; people see the benefits of government; and diverse voices are heard and represented in the capital. We have seen some signs of reform – we were encouraged in March of this year to see National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki announce his “soft approach” to countering violent extremism, though Nigeria needs to follow through on implementing this strategy. We have also worked through our Counterterrorism and Conflict and Stabilization Operations Bureaus to promote narratives of nonviolence in Nigeria, and we are working broadly to protect civilians, prevent atrocities, and ensure respect for human rights.

At the same time, we are providing law enforcement assistance, including by training Nigerian law enforcement officials on basic forensics, hostage negotiations, leadership, and task force development.

To counter the spread of violent extremist ideology, we support programs and initiatives – including job training and education — that create economic alternatives for those vulnerable to being recruited by terrorist organizations.

All of this is part of a coordinated effort to help strengthen Nigeria’s ability to respond responsibly and effectively to these challenges in a way that ensures civilians are protected and human rights are respected.

We have also joined the international effort to isolate Boko Haram. In June 2012, the State Department designated Boko Haram’s top commanders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. In June 2013, the State Department added Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s official leader, to our Rewards for Justice Program and offered up to $7 million for information leading to his location. In November 2013, the State Department designated Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. Last week, our Ambassador met President Jonathan on the margins of the World Economic Forum, and they agreed on the importance of quick action on the UN designation of Boko Haram as a terrorist group. The United Nations Security Council has renewed calls for regional cooperation to address Boko Haram. This week, Nigeria brought this question to the UN Security Council. And as I mentioned, we continue to work with Nigeria and others to press for UN Security Council sanctions on Boko Haram.

The importance of regional and multilateral coordination is clear at a time like this, as Nigeria and its partners seek to prevent Boko Haram from smuggling young women across the border or using neighboring countries as safe havens. I must note, however, that our ability to encourage regional collaboration is made more difficult, at this time, as our highly qualified nominees to be the U.S. Ambassadors to Niger and Cameroon continue to await confirmation by the full Senate.

As we strike a balance between helping empower Nigeria and counseling its government on reform, we engage regularly with Nigeria at all levels of our government. President Obama and Nigerian President Jonathan discussed security issues during their bilateral meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly last September. Most recently, our Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Dr. Sarah Sewall, and U.S. Africa Command Commander General David Rodriguez spent May 12 and 13 in Nigeria. They met senior Nigerian security officials to discuss how to intensify efforts against Boko Haram, reform human rights practices, and pursue a comprehensive approach to Boko Haram. Under Secretary Sewall and General Rodriguez devoted considerable attention to the crisis surrounding the kidnapped women. Under Secretary Sewall called the principal of the young women’s school in Chibok to express U.S. outrage and deep concern about the deplorable kidnapping.

All of these policy tools – our security cooperation, our legal and sanctions actions, and our diplomatic engagement – constitute the framework within which we are working to help Nigeria safely bring back the women kidnapped by Boko Haram. Resolving this crisis is now one of the highest priorities of the U.S. Government. As I mentioned when I began, we deployed an interagency team to advise Nigerian authorities on how to recover safely and assist these young women. Led by a senior diplomat from our Africa Bureau, the team is liaising with counterparts across Nigeria’s Government to offer specialized expertise on military and law enforcement best practices, hostage negotiation, intelligence gathering, strategic communications, and how to mitigate the risks of future kidnappings. At the same time, USAID has mobilized resources to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by Boko Haram violence, including through the provision of psychosocial and medical support and treatment. We are cooperating thoroughly with the U.K., France, and a host of other countries who are also dedicating significant interagency manpower, resources, and time to this effort. Our field team remains in close, coordinated contact with State Department headquarters here in Washington.

Nevertheless, Nigeria’s conflict with Boko Haram will not end when these young women are bought home. Consequently, throughout this crisis, our assistance is framed by our broader and long-term policy goal of helping the Nigerians implement a comprehensive response to defeating Boko Haram that protects civilians, respects human rights, and addresses the underlying causes of the conflict. We are sharing practices and strategies with the government of Nigeria that will bolster its future efforts to defeat this deadly movement.

Nigeria’s importance and the violent attacks committed by Boko Haram are both growing. We cannot ignore either trend. We welcome your interest in these urgent matters, and we look forward to continuing to work with you as we strive to bring these young women home and address the broader threat posed by Boko Haram. I would be pleased to respond to your questions.


Africa: U.S. Deeply Disturbed by Court Ruling in Sudan Apostasy Case

U.S. Deeply Disturbed by Court Ruling in Sudan Apostasy Case

Press Statement

Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC
May 15, 2014


We are deeply disturbed over the sentencing today of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag to death by hanging for apostasy. We are also deeply concerned by the flogging sentence for adultery. We understand that the court sentence can be appealed.

We continue to call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, a right which is enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Interim Constitution as well as international human rights law.

We call on the Sudanese legal authorities to approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people.


South Sudan: Boosting aid effort to respond to alarming humanitarian situation

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 15, 2014 – The humanitarian situation in South Sudan, already dire, is set to deteriorate further with the arrival of the rainy season. To maintain a suitably robust response and bring aid to hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is asking donors for an additional 48 million Swiss francs (approximately 55 million US dollars). With a total budget of 112 million francs (127 million dollars), the ICRC’s operation in South Sudan will be the organization’s second largest, after Syria.

“Almost five months of intense conflict have severely affected vast numbers of people and devastated large areas within the country,” said Eric Marclay, the ICRC’s head of operations for East Africa. “Despite the massive aid effort already under way, the living conditions of displaced people in South Sudan remain alarming. Hundreds of thousands live in makeshift camps, their usual means of earning a living totally disrupted. Many have lost their cattle, and others are unable to resume their farming or fishing activities. They lack shelter, and they have no reliable way of obtaining clean water. It’s urgent that we take further action and ramp up our humanitarian effort.”

Heavy fighting in recent weeks has also had a serious impact on the population. “We are deeply concerned by reports of civilians and medical facilities being deliberately targeted, and by reports of lack of respect for personnel engaged in medical duties,” said Mr Marclay. “That’s why we continue to remind the parties of their obligation to abide by the rules of international humanitarian law. In particular, commanders must enforce discipline and make sure that medical services are shown due respect.”

For displaced people living in temporary settlements or scattered in remote areas, who are already exposed to especially harsh conditions, the rainy season will bring even more hardship. In addition, the rains will complicate the delivery of aid as roads become impassable and aircraft landing strips turn into mud. The ICRC has started using airdrops to bring in large quantities of food, seed and other essential aid.

“Our staff on the ground are assessing needs and making the necessary preparations to take delivery of the aid being dropped at specific locations. Together with South Sudan Red Cross volunteers and the local community, they will see to it that the aid is distributed fairly to those who need it most,” said Franz Rauchenstein, head of the ICRC delegation in South Sudan. The last time the ICRC had to resort to airdrops was in 1997, in northern Afghanistan.

“To respond to this dire situation and bring people the help they need, we are striving to step up our humanitarian activities,” said Mr Marclay. The additional funding will enable the ICRC to provide food for 420,000 people (instead of 60,000, as initially planned), and fishing equipment, seed and tools for more than 540,000 people (an increase from 200,000), and drinking water for 340,000 people (up from 250,000). The ICRC will also keep its four mobile surgical teams operating in the country until the end of the year and expand its hospital support, currently going to a single facility, to two further facilities.

SOURCE: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Foreign direct investment in Sub Saharan Africa on the rise – Report

FDI in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 4.7% in 2013 while it has declined in North Africa

Intra-African investment on the rise

Investors shift from extractive industries to consumer-related sectors

Dramatic improvement in investor perception about the attractiveness of Africa but stubborn perception gap remains between investors already operating on the continent and those who are not

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, May 15, 2014 – Africa’s share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) projects has reached the highest level in a decade, according to Executing Growth, EY’s 2014 Africa Attractiveness Survey (http://www.ey.com/za).

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/ey.jpg

Download the report: http://www.apo-mail.org/140515report.pdf

Download the infographic: http://www.apo-mail.org/140515infog.PDF

Download the presentation: http://www.apo-mail.org/140515pres.pdf

The report combines an analysis of international investment into Africa since 2003, with a 2014 survey of over 500 global business leaders about their views on the potential of the African market. The latest data shows that while there has been a decline in FDI project numbers from 774 in 2012 to 750 in 2013, primarily due to ongoing uncertainty in North Africa, they remain easily in excess of the pre-crisis average of 390 projects per year.

There is a noticeable divide between FDI trends in North Africa versus Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). While FDI projects in North Africa declined by nearly 30%, projects in SSA increased by 4.7%, reversing the decline of 2012. This further widened the gap between the two sub regions, with SSA’s share of FDI projects exceeding 80% for the first time.

While the UK remains the lead investor into the continent, intra-African investment continues to steadily rise. Investors are also looking beyond the more established markets of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya to expand their operations, as well as moving into more consumer-related sectors as Africa’s middle class expands.

Ajen Sita, Chief Executive Officer, EY Africa, comments, “Africa’s share of global FDI projects has grown steadily over the past decade and it is a promising sign that investors are now looking across the continent and to new sectors. Further regional integration and infrastructure development should continue to entice investors to the exciting investment opportunities that Africa can offer.”

New FDI hotspots are emerging

There was significant movement in the list of top 10 countries by FDI projects in 2013. Only South Africa and Nigeria retained their first and third positions from 2012 with 142 projects and 58 projects, respectively. However, FDI projects in both these countries witnessed a slight decline. Countries such as Kenya with 68 projects, Ghana with 58 and Mozambique with 33 all moved up the ranks.

Zambia and Uganda were the new entrants in the top 10 list in 2013 with 25 and 21 projects respectively, an increase of more than 20%. In contrast, North African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia (ranked 8th in 2012) and Egypt slipped on the rankings.

In 2013, both West and East Africa surpassed North Africa for the first time, becoming the second and third most attractive sub regions in Africa after Southern Africa.

UK leads investment into the continent

The UK became the clear leader in 2013 with 104 projects, while the US fell from joint first place to second place with 78 projects, a 20% decline from last year. South Africa, the third largest investor, directed 63 investment projects into the rest of Africa, a 16% decline on last year but a significant increase from pre-crisis levels when it registered on average 12 projects. There was a sharp uptake in FDI projects by Spanish and Japanese companies with increases of 52% and 77%, respectively.

Intra-African investment is gaining momentum. African investors nearly tripled their share of FDI projects over the last decade, from 8% in 2003 to 22.8% in 2013. This growth is fuelled by the need for improved regional value chains and strengthening regional integration. Another driver of growth is the African investors’ understanding of the market and of the potential opportunities and challenges.

Michael Lalor, EY’s Lead Partner Africa Business Center, comments, “External investors supply long-term capital, skills and technology, and intra-African investment creates a virtuous circle that encourages greater foreign investment.”

Significant shift away from extractive industries towards consumer related sectors

The top three sectors – technology, media and telecoms (TMT) with 150 projects, retail and consumer products (RCP) with 131 projects and financial services with 112 projects – accounted for more than 50% of the total projects in 2013. During the year, RCP overtook financial services to become the second most attractive sector in Africa.

FDI projects in the real estate, hospitality and construction sector increased by 63%, making the sector the fifth most attractive, up three positions from 2012. On the other hand, for the first time ever in 2013, mining and metals exited the top ten sectors when measured by FDI project numbers.

When asked about the three sectors that would offer the highest growth potential for Africa in the next two years, investors highlighted the rising importance of agriculture which ranked only marginally behind mining and metals. Increasingly, infrastructure is also perceived as a key growth sector as well as consumer-facing industries including financial services, telecommunications and consumer products.

Michael comments, “Although perceptions indicate that resource driven sectors are expected to remain the industries with the highest potential over the next two years, the actual numbers show that infrastructure and consumer-facing sectors will increase in prominence as the middle class expands and consumer spending on discretionary goods increases.”

Dramatic improvement in perceptions of Africa

Africa’s perceived attractiveness relative to other regions has improved dramatically over the past few years. The overall survey results show that Africa has moved from third last position in 2011, to become the second-most attractive investment destination in the world, behind North America.

Sixty percent of survey respondents said that there had been an improvement in Africa’s investment attractiveness over the past year, up four percentage points from last year’s survey.

Ajen comments, “The good news in this year’s survey is that perceptions about the continent seem to be shifting. For the first time, Africa is seen as the second most attractive investment destination in the world. It has strong fundamentals to encourage investment including steady democracy and macroeconomic growth; an improving business environment; rising consumer class; abundant natural resources and infrastructure development.”

However, there remains a stubborn perception gap between those already operating on the continent and those who are not yet present. For the first time, this year’s survey shows that companies with a presence on the continent perceive Africa to be the most attractive investment destinationin the world. In stark contrast, those with no business presence in Africa still view the continent as the world’s least attractive investment destination.

Seventy-three percent of those who are already established in the region believe Africa’s attractiveness has improved over the past year versus 39% who are not established.

Urban centers

Africa’s cities are now emerging as the hotspots of economic and investment activity on the continent. Nearly 70% of respondents stressed the significance of cities and urban centers in their investment strategy in Africa.

In terms of perception, city attractiveness closely maps country appeal. In SSA, half of the respondents quote Johannesburg as the most attractive city in which to do business, ahead of Cape Town. Nairobi and Lagos are ranked as third and fourth most attractive cities, respectively. In North Africa, Casablanca, Cairo and Tunis are perceived as the top three cities in which to do business.

Investors highlighted that in order to attract greater investments, cities need to focus on the following critical factors: infrastructure (77%), consumer base (73%), local labor cost and productivity (73%) and a skilled workforce (73%).

Looking ahead

Ajen concludes, “Africa’s stronger investment attractiveness is best explained by its own sustained growth rates in the context of slower global growth. Africa’s growth prospects are likely to remain solid, as an urbanizing and rising middle class drives demand for consumer products and improved services.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ernst & Young.

Media contact:

Bijal Tanna

EY Global Media Relations

+44 (0) 20 7951 8837

btanna@uk.ey.com

Fathima Naidoo

EY Africa Media Relations

+2711 772 3151

fathima.naidoo@za.ey.com

Notes to Editors

About EY

EY (http://www.ey.com/za) is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of EY Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. EY Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

Following on from EY’s successful integration in 2008 of 87 countries into one area from across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), the firm has launched its Africa Business Center™ (ABC), which aims to enhance the effective and efficient links between its geographic reach and areas of expertise. The firm enjoys representation in 33 countries across Africa.

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SOURCE: Ernst & Young

ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SOUTH SUDAN, 6 MAY

NEW YORK, May 15, 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Juba from Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, 6 May.

Soon after arrival, the Secretary-General, accompanied by his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde F. Johnson, visited the Tomping Protection of Civilians Site, which is currently home to some 21,000 South Sudanese civilians. He met with the community leaders representing the thousands of civilians who had sought shelter in the United Nations compound to hear of their concerns first hand. He pledged to them the United Nations’ support. He also met with United Nations officials and non-governmental organization representatives who are directly involved in the camp’s operations.

He then met with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, and spoke by phone with former Vice-President Riek Machar.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with the President, the Secretary-General said he was in Juba with a heavy heart, as he remembered the hope he had witnessed three years ago when South Sudan became a country. He commended President Kiir for expressing his intention to meet shortly in Addis Ababa with Mr. Machar. He told journalists that he was urging the leaders and military commanders to fully protect the civilian population. “Those who [commit] crimes against… international humanitarian law (and) human rights laws, they will have to be brought to justice,” he added.

The Secretary-General added that the President had assured him that the United Nations — including the leadership of UNMISS — have his full support.

The Secretary-General also said that he was proud of the courage shown by UNMISS. By opening its gates around the country, he said, the Mission has saved tens of thousands of lives.

After a working lunch with leadership of UNMISS, the Secretary-General met with representatives of civil society, including youth, religious and women’s groups. He listened to their concerns and pledged the United Nations continuing efforts to restore peace to South Sudan. He also held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff based in Juba.

Before leaving the country, the Secretary-General held a press conference, after which he placed a call to former Vice-President Machar. As soon as the call was completed, the Secretary-General returned to the briefing room to tell the press that Mr. Machar had informed him that he, too, would travel to Addis Ababa for meetings with President Kiir on 9 May.

The Secretary-General flew late that afternoon from Juba to Rome, Italy.

SOURCE: UNITED NATIONS