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What the US National Security Strategy Says About Global Development

WASHINGTON — The new United States National Security Strategy, released Monday, outlines a U.S.-centric development policy that prioritizes working with countries aligned with U.S. interests, calls for countering China’s influence, views development as a tool for U.S. security and puts private sector activity at the fore.

The strategy puts in writing what U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green has been saying in speeches since he took the position: That “the purpose of U.S. foreign assistance should be to end the need for it,” that U.S. foreign assistance will not promote dependency, and that it will prioritize working with countries, or “aspiring partners” as it puts it, that are aligned with U.S. interests.

“U.S. development assistance must support America’s national interests,” the strategy document says. “The United States will promote a development model that partners with countries that want progress, consistent with their culture, based on free market principles, fair and reciprocal trade, private sector activity, and rule of law,” it reads. “We will emphasize reforms that unlock the economic potential of citizens, such as the promotion of formal property rights, entrepreneurial reforms, and infrastructure improvements — projects that help people earn their livelihood and have the added benefit of helping U.S. businesses.”

The policy states that the U.S. expects other nations to share responsibility, but says that it will remain “a generous nation.”

Here’s a look at what the new strategy says about some key development issues.

A focus on the private sector and economic growth

The U.S. can play a “catalytic role in promoting private sector-led economic growth,” to create future partners in trade and security.

The strategy points to the Marshall Plan and U.S. support in South Korea and Japan as examples of where U.S. aid effectively helped countries build their economies and become key markets for U.S. goods and strategic allies, and suggests using that as a model for effective foreign assistance.

“Some of the greatest triumphs of American statecraft resulted from helping fragile and developing countries become successful societies,” the strategy says.

The U.S. will mobilize public and private resources to maximize returns and outcomes, the policy says, while also reducing the “burden” on government resources.

“American-led investments represent the most sustainable and responsible approach to development and offer a stark contrast to the corrupt, opaque, exploitive, and low-quality deals offered by authoritarian states,” the policy states.

Competing with China

The strategy makes clear that this administration, like the last, sees China as a considerable threat, and that foreign aid will be used in part to counter China’s push for global influence.

“Today, the United States must compete for positive relationships around the world. China and Russia target their investments in the developing world to expand influence and gain competitive advantages against the United States,” the strategy reads. It goes on to say that China is investing billions in infrastructure around the world and that the U.S. “provides an alternative to state-directed investments, which often leave developing countries worse off.”

The policy highlights China’s role in Africa, where it has expanded its economic and military presence to become the continent’s largest trading partner, according to the strategy.

“Some Chinese practices undermine Africa’s long-term development by corrupting elites, dominating extractive industries, and locking countries into unsustainable and opaque debts and commitments,” the strategy says.

The U.S. seeks economic ties for market access and to create lasting relationships around common political and security concerns, and would like to see African nations integrated into the world economy, that can provide for their citizens, and manage security threats.

Development finance

As the administration has already announced, it is committed to modernizing its development finance tools. In this strategy, it says the motivation is “so that U.S. companies have incentives to capitalize on opportunities in developing countries.” Development finance will also be used as a tool to make the U.S. competitive with other countries for global influence, and remove any obstacles for U.S. companies wanting to do business in the developing world.

Ray Washburne, the chief executive officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. development finance institution released a statement alongside the strategy saying that it “rightly recognizes the power of mobilizing private capital in advancing our foreign policy and enhancing American influence” and that the agency looks forward to working with others in government to create a stronger, more modern development finance institution.

What’s the future of U.S. aid and development policy under the Trump administration? Read Devex news and analysis.

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Global Development: What You Need to Know

Global development lacks a clear definition, but it is often linked with human development and international efforts to reduce poverty and inequality and improve health, education and job opportunities around the world.

A variety of data can be used to describe what is also often referred to as international development, including a country’s gross domestic product or its average per-capita income, literacy and maternal survival rates, as well as life expectancy, human rights and political freedoms.

While humanitarian aid and disaster relief are meant to provide short-term fixes to emergencies, international development is meant to be long-term and sustainable.

For years, global development was driven by the United States and other industrialized countries in Europe and beyond. Now, we may be on the verge of a transformative change – the transition to a multipolar world economic order.

That’s what two World Bank economists suggest. By 2025, they predict, six emerging economies — Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Russia — will collectively account for about half of global growth. This shift will have wide-ranging consequences on the international monetary system, North-South relations, and security and stability around the globe.

Already, many developing countries appear to be recovering better from recent global financial and economic turmoil. Foreign investment in Africa has surpassed foreign aid to the continent. People in the Middle East and elsewhere are demanding political reforms to boost the economy and availability of jobs.

As emerging economies grow, so will their private sector companies’ influence on global business, and it may become necessary to rethink global economic governance structures through multilateral channels such as the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and other Bretton Woods institutions. Financial, monetary and trade policy reforms may be needed to ensure sustainable growth.

Meanwhile, the international community is expected to continue pushing the ambitious development agenda outlined in 2000 in the U.N. Millennium Declaration.

Great strides have already been made – in fact, over the past five decades, there has been more progress on global health and poverty reduction than ever before. The number of people living in extreme poverty (meaning, on less than $1.25 per day) fell from 1.8 billion in 1990 to 1.4 billion in 2005, according to the World Bank. Child mortality has decreased and access to clean water increased; the number of new HIV infections has fallen 21 percent since its peak in 1997.

At the same time, achieving universal primary education by 2015 remains elusive, and so do other Millennium Development Goals. And while the majority of people in the developing world are living more prosperous lives now than they did before, many are worse off – people who Oxford University Economics Professor Paul Collier refers to as the “bottom billion.” Freedom and human rights are lacking in many parts of the world, as institutions such as Freedom House and the United Nations point out.

International cooperation and development aid remain catalysts for global development, whether the assistance comes through debt relief, budget support, technical assistance or impact investing. The global development community – multilateral and bilateral donors, foundations, nonprofits, companies, consultants, advocates and entrepreneurs – work at the forefront of this cause: to boost worldwide prosperity and ensure sustainable development.

Source: https://www.devex.com/news/global-development-what-you-need-to-know-74999

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EU Announces €143 Million Support Package for the Crisis in North East Nigeria

The European Commission has announced a support package of €143 million today for the early recovery and reconstruction needs in Borno State in Nigeria which is suffering from a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Nigeria is one of four countries across the globe experiencing or at risk of famine this year, along with Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. The package combines short term EU humanitarian aid with long term development support to help those in the affected area, which has been devastated by the terror campaign of Boko Haram. This reflects the Commission’s strategic approach to resilience, which was presented a week ago.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, made the following announcement today: “Our support package of €143 million will assist approximately 1.3 million internally displaced people and affected communities in and around the Borno State in Nigeria. Our assistance will not only target the immediate needs of the people but, it will also help to restore basic services, stimulate employment and create livelihood opportunities, particularly for women and young people”.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides added: “The European Union is committed to get lifesaving aid to those in need in Nigeria. Emergency aid can help them but to do so aid organisations need safe and full access to do their job. We also need to think about the long term affects and how to help communities recover. I have visited the country several times and seen the suffering caused by the victims of terrorism but also the strength and determination of the local people to rebuild their lives. It is this desire to rebuild a better future that the EU will support.”

This brings total EU support for the crisis in Nigeria’s Borno state to €224.5 million for 2017, following earlier announcements of €81.5 million in humanitarian aid.

In line with its strategic approach to resilience, the European Commission is providing a comprehensive package of humanitarian and development measures for the crisis in Nigeria. EU support will provide immediate humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable populations affected by the ongoing emergency situation, as well as for early recovery and restoration of basic services, such as health, nutrition, education, water access, sanitation and hygiene, solar power, in areas of return or resettlement. Furthermore, it will provide social protection, stimulate employment and livelihood opportunities, with a special focus on women, young people and vulnerable households. By strengthening public administration and financial management systems in the Borno State, it will help improve sustainable public service delivery, crisis management and coordination of related donor activities.

Background

The €143 million announced today consists of development aid of €123 million from the Nigeria 11th European Development Fund National Indicative Programme and €20 million from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. It comes in addition to the previously announced €81.5 million in humanitarian funding.

It is further in addition to €177 million in development assistance from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which was recently allocated to support 17 projects in and around the Lake Chad area.

Borno crisis in Nigeria

Nigeria faces one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history over five million people in need of urgent food assistance. A large proportion of the Borno population has little or no access to clean water, sanitation, shelter, education, primary health care (60% of health infrastructure is either destroyed or damaged), and is food insecure.

There are an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced persons, the majority, living in and around the urban area of Maiduguri, the State Capital of Borno and almost 200,000 refugees from Nigeria in the neighbouring countries around the Lake Chad.

Women cook in pots heated up with firewood at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Dikwa, in Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria, on February 2, 2016.
The National Emergency Management Agency in collaboration with Borno State Emergency Management Agency has set up new IDP camps in Ngala, Marte, Bama and Mafa councils to decongest the growing population of IDP camp set up at Dikwa council of Borno State. Nigeria expects many of the 2.1 million people internally displaced by Boko Haram's insurgency to return home in the coming year, amid claims the Islamists are in disarray and a spent force. / AFP / STRINGER        (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
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Famine Threatens Millions Across Africa and the Middle East

We are on the precipice of another humanitarian crisis. The hunger crisis that is raging in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen is threatening the lives of millions of people. The crisis is urgent, complex and vast. Without swift action, alarming food shortages in Ethiopia, Chad, Kenya, Uganda, and Niger, could also spiral into crisis.

Crop failures brought on by climate change, combined with conflicts that have forced entire villages from their land, have caused the onset of famine in four countries across Africa and the Middle East. An estimated 20 million people – including 1.4 million children – are already suffering from malnutrition, and if the global community fails to act, the ongoing food shortages and widespread poverty in these countries will cause unthinkable suffering and unnecessary deaths.

As a member organization of Consortium 12-12, a Belgian non-profit platform, Doctors of the World is working to distribute food and water, provide medical care, improve hygiene and strengthen the agricultural capabilities of these communities in three of the famine-affected countries: Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen.

Find out more https://doctorsoftheworld.org/2017/03/23/famine-threatens-millions-across-africa-and-the-middle-east/

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Can Better Warnings About Dangerous Crossings Stem the Tide of African Migrants?

AGADEZ, Niger — In the middle of Niger’s sweltering Sahara desert and far from home, Koné Bingoro lies on one of four beds in a cramped room. He’s propped up on one elbow, texting. The 29-year-old’s right leg hangs casually over the metal bed frame, a thin blanket covers his left.

After a failed journey to Libya and a thwarted attempt at passage to Italy in search of work, Bingoro is resting at the International Organization for Migration’s Agadez camp while waiting to go home to Côte d’Ivoire. Almost 300 young men and a handful of women from across West Africa are also staying at the camp, many of them returned from similar attempts. Some will try again; most will go home with IOM’s help.

Bingoro shifts the blanket, revealing a bright white bandage on his lower leg where his left foot should be, an extremity that was amputated due to infection shortly after he arrived in Agadez.

For the young mechanic, this room is the end of a four-month journey in search of a better life — one that went very wrong, and one he might not have embarked upon had he known the danger that awaited him.

This month, IOM is launching the “Aware Migrants” communication campaign to build on their 2016 efforts to formalize the information process for those considering the journey from Agadez to Libya, Algeria or Italy.

IOM is careful to specify that the campaign is not a standalone answer to migration — a problem that will require a “comprehensive” approach — nor is it meant to “dissuade” potential migrants from migrating irregularly across the Sahara desert, through Libya and across the Mediterranean Sea, said Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesperson with the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, during an online press conference last week.

But it is meant to counter the rumors of easy journeys and of the guaranteed prosperity and health services that await in Europe. Eye-opening stories of illegal detention, physical abuse, forced labor, rape, robbery and the perils of desert and sea crossings, meanwhile, are far less often recounted by survivors.

The number of migrants who have made the journey from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe has surged in the past four years. In 2014, an estimated 9,000 Nigerians arrived in Italy. Two years later, the number had jumped to 37,000. Increasing numbers of people are also coming from Eritrea, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Senegal, Mali and Sudan. But deaths in the Mediterranean rise concurrently, from 3,700 estimated deaths in 2015 to more than 5,000 in 2016, according to Di Giacomo.

The number of people who die in the Sahara desert is unknown, but it is thought to be “huge,” Di Giacomo added.

Still, Niger’s centrally located city of Agadez continues to draw migrants from across the continent, having developed a reputation as a way station to buy provisions, identify a smuggler and make last minute plans before driving through the Sahara to Libya. Nigerien authorities estimated that between 120,000 and 150,000 migrants transited Niger in 2016.

Often, migrants plan to go no farther than North Africa. But human rights abuses and poor living conditions in Libya see them putting the last of their savings toward boat passage, often in cheap rubber dinghies, to make the perilous sea crossing to Europe.

In the past year, aid groups working in migration have interviewed thousands of sub-Saharan African migrants with similar stories — of being told the Mediterranean is a shallow river to be crossed, or that the vast, lawless no man’s land that separates Agadez and Libya is nothing but a day’s drive. Other concerns are easily swept away with talk of friends, family or money awaiting them in Europe. Migrants continue to make the journey — and become casualties along the way.

It was hope for a better paying job as a large truck mechanic that propelled Bingoro to leave his home and head for Libya. After four months struggling to survive in the country, he decided Europe was his best option, but smugglers robbed Bingoro of his boat passage savings in Tripoli. Instead, he joined a group making the journey back to Niger and called on friends to loan him money for the trip.

He didn’t make it far before armed bandits attacked his truck in the desert to rob them of what little money they still had. It was an infected gunshot wound that cost Bingoro his foot.

“What happened, happened,” a resolute Bingoro told Devex. “I just want to go home.”

Recalling the life-threatening risks along their journeys is often very distressing, and most migrants wish to forget and move forward with their lives rather than share their experience with peers who are still back home, according to Di Giacomo.

For his part, Bingoro knew of some of the dangers, he said, but since arriving in Agadez he has listened to more news and has talked to others who have had similar experiences. He can’t say for sure whether he would have still made the journey had he known more beforehand.

“It’s my destiny; only God decides,” he said. Now, he’s just happy to be alive.

This is a commonly heard refrain from returned migrants, according to Monica Chiriac, media and communications officer for IOM. When she visits the ghettos, or informal settlements where migrants are staying, in Agadez the conversations often turn “very philosophical,” she said.

But a 60-person ghetto she visited in December had dwindled to about 20 in February: “Migrants themselves have said that people have stopped coming because they are more informed nowadays about the dangers of the route,” Chiriac said, although it’s possible they are finding other, equally dangerous, routes instead.

IOM hopes to encourage story sharing and to reach even more migrants before they depart Agadez with the new campaign, Di Giacomo said. Designed to live mainly on Facebook, where migrants communicate their journey and many smugglers advertise their services, the campaign will collect testimony of migrants arriving in Italy, as well as those coming back to Niger from Libya. IOM would also like to see radio and TV spots and one-on-one awareness sessions at the local level, an activity that Catholic Relief Services plans to get involved with in Agadez.

Still, the communications campaign is just one small way to address a larger problem: “A comprehensive approach is needed to address root causes of migration,” Di Giacomo stressed.

The current situation in Agadez requires a two-pronged approach that looks at the needs of migrants, but also of host communities, according to Petra Suric Jankov, Catholic Relief Services Niger business development specialist.

“If they’re willing to take the risks to advance themselves and their families, just telling migrants it’s a dangerous crossing isn’t enough,” Suric Jankov said. “Even if they are better informed, the next thing they’re going to say is: ‘OK, but what other options do we have to create a better life?’”

The same goes for host communities housing migrants, she said. In Agadez especially, a collapsed tourism industry following the 2007-2009 Tuareg Rebellions combined with an increasing migrant population has inspired former tour operators to jump into the lucrative business of smuggling migrants.

Both communities are in dire need of economic alternatives. CRS has proposed a project, designed in partnership with IOM, in Agadez that would provide skill-building, income-generating activities for both host community members and prospective migrants who might make the ultimate decision to head home rather than across the Mediterranean. Under the project, both communities would be able to receive certification in mobile skills such as hair dressing, leather making or welding.

Host communities would also benefit from greater agricultural development, such as improved irrigation and training in market gardening — activities CRS hopes to begin in the next few months in partnership with Caritas Norway.

It’s a promising project in a region with few development actors, Suric Jankov said, and CRS is currently awaiting an answer on the proposal from the government of Norway.

In the meantime, Bingoro waits for his foot to heal so he can go home.

And IOM will wait to see if pushing improved communications and information sharing to busloads of migrants pouring into Agadez diminishes the number who perish or suffer grave injuries while on the search for a better life.

By Kelli Rogers, Devex

A would-be inmigrants  arrive  at the beach of El Matorral in Spain«s canary  island of Fuerteventura , November 15, 2006.Some 38 would-be inmigrants were intercepted aboard a makeshift boat on their way to reach European soil from Africa , according to authorities.REUTERS/Juan Medina ( Spain )
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Buhari’s Absence Poses Familiar Questions for Nigerians

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly traveled to London on January 19 for a “short leave” and “routine medical check-ups.” His team promised that he would return by February 6. When that day came, however, the 74-year-old leader extended his leave, with his spokespeople vaguely saying that he was awaiting test results. At the time of writing, Buhari remains in the United Kingdom, leaving Nigerians with questions over the country’s fragile economic and security climate.

The Nigerian population is growing increasingly nervous about the president’s condition. There was a palpable sense of relief when Buhari’s voice was heard via speakerphone at a recent prayer service. If the president is already, or becomes, seriously ill, it will have serious implications for Africa’s most populous country. His absence evokes uncomfortable parallels with the extended incapacitation of the late Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua, who died in May 2010 after more than six months of illness. Yar’Adua’s illness and death touched off a complex political crisis whose reverberations were felt for years afterwards. The longer Buhari spends away from home, the more these tensions will grow. At present, however, there are four key differences between Buhari’s and Yar’Adua’s situations.

First, Buhari appears to be healthier than Yar’Adua was. From November 2009—when Yar’Adua left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia—until his death, it was never clear whether Yar’Adua was in a functional capacity. Yar’Adua’s wife and inner circle largely blocked access to the president. A three-minute phone interview Yar’Adua granted to the BBC’s Hausa service in January 2010 did little to allay the concerns about his condition. Even after he returned to Nigeria in February 2010, he was inaccessible even to many senior government personnel.

In contrast to the secrecy surrounding the ailing Yar’Adua, Buhari’s team has sought to broadcast that their man remains in charge. They have circulated photographs of the president in London meeting Nigerian politicians. Buhari is also continuing to conduct some government business, speaking by phone with US President Donald Trump on February 13. If Buhari is having trouble carrying out his duties, he and his team are concealing it well.

Second, Buhari has arranged a clearer transfer of power than Yar’Adua did. In 2009, Yar’Adua did not initially designate his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan, as acting president—that designation took the intervention of the Nigerian Senate, and only in February 2010, after Yar’Adua had been gone two-and-a-half months. Jonathan’s elevation to acting president, moreover, alarmed Yar’Adua’s people, who quickly arranged for the president to be flown home two weeks later. Yar’Adua’s return left the question of presidential authority unanswered until his death.

Buhari, undoubtedly keen to prevent any similar scenario, decided upon his departure to make his vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s acting president. In fact, January marked the third time during his presidency that Buhari had temporarily transferred power to Osinbajo. Buhari communicated his wish to the National Assembly, effectively forestalling any short-term (or, now, medium-term) constitutional crisis. As if to reinforce their boss’s wishes, Buhari’s spokespeople on social media have eagerly publicized Osinbajo’s activities, depicting him as hard at work.

Third, then, Buhari seems to have a better relationship with Osinbajo than Yar’Adua did with Jonathan. In 2007, when Yar’Adua won election as president with Jonathan as his running mate, there was a widespread feeling in Nigeria that the pair had come together through the machinations of another man—outgoing president Olusegun Obasanjo—rather than on their own initiative.

Buhari seems to have exercised more agency in his pick of Osinbajo. It is true that the current vice president is widely seen as the close ally of a powerful southwestern Nigerian politician, Bola Tinubu, whose support was instrumental in Buhari’s own 2015 election, and so one should not assume that Buhari had an unrestricted choice of running mate. But Buhari actively welcomed Osinbajo to his ticket, and the two have projected an image of close cooperation since taking office. Buhari’s willingness to repeatedly make Osinbajo acting president is the ultimate sign of trust.

A fourth, and related, difference between Buhari’s situation and Yar’Adua’s is the trajectory of Nigeria’s national politics. In 2007, Nigeria was firmly under the control of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the key national political question was that of how the presidency would rotate between southern and northern Nigeria. An internal PDP arrangement followed “zoning,” meaning that after eight years of Obasanjo, a southerner, it was the north’s turn to have two four-year presidential terms. Yar’Adua’s death, and Jonathan’s succession (and then his re-election, in his own right, in 2011) upset that zoning arrangement, perhaps permanently.

Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), have sent mixed signals about whether Buhari intends to run again in 2019. There are reports that APC politicians are already jockeying for power in Buhari’s absence and amid mounting speculation about the 2019 presidential ticket, but the rules of presidential zoning appear less set in stone now than they were while Yar’Adua was president. For the moment, Osinbajo appears to enjoy broad goodwill within the APC, including in the north.

Buhari—and Nigeria—are in a much better situation than Yar’Adua was in 2009-2010. But the country’s current working arrangement would experience considerable strain if Buhari’s health deteriorated, or if he died. The issue of north-south zoning is one that the APC, and Nigerian voters generally, would be best off resolving in an orderly and planned manner during the 2019 primaries and general election. Should Buhari fail to return from London, even a well-managed transition would distract politicians’ attention away from urgent challenges such as implementing the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan, defeating the Boko Haram sect in the northeast, and making peace in the oil-producing Niger Delta. The longer Buhari remains out of the country, however, the more likely it is that he is suffering from something serious, and that these obstacles will need to be addressed.

Source: https://theglobalobservatory.org/2017/02/buhari-nigeria-yaradua-boko-haram/

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Trump’s Africa Policy: Unclear and Uncertain

Africa is not likely to emerge as one of US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy priorities. But the continent is almost certain to be affected by the fallout from his hardline foreign policy views, his strong anti-Muslim pronouncements, his vow to eliminate Islamic terrorism, and his “America First” economic policies.  And the prospects are probably bleak for any bold new development initiatives targeted at Africa like those rolled by his predecessors Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Over the past two decades, US Africa policy has enjoyed strong bipartisan congressional support from both Democrats and Republicans working together. But without a strong commitment to Africa in the White House or Executive Branch under Trump, the major programmes that have defined US policy in Africa for the past two decades will probably struggle to sustain the previous funding levels and state support.

Trump has exhibited no interest in Africa. Nor have any of his closest White House advisors. Except for some campaign comments about Libya and Benghazi, the new president has made very few remarks about the continent. And despite his global network of hotel, golf and tourist holdings, he appears to have no investments or business relationships in sub-Saharan Africa.

The one member of Trump’s inner circle that may have an interest in Africa is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He has some experience of Africa because of his many years in the oil industry with ExxonMobil, most of whose successful dealings on the continent were with largely corrupt and authoritarian leaders.

If Tillerson appoints a moderate and experienced Africa expert to run the Africa Bureau – and there are a dozen Republicans who meet that definition – and if he is able to keep policy in the control of the State Department, African issues may not be pushed aside completely. But irrespective of who manages Trump’s Africa policy, there will be a major change from recent previous administrations.

President Obama pushed a strong democratic agenda and launched half a dozen new development programmes including Power Africa, Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative. Before him, Bush’s “compassionate” approach led to the establishment of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), two of America’s most widely-praised programmes on the continent.

But Trump’s world view is more myopic. He believes in “America First” and questions the value of the United Nations, NATO and the European Union. He is strongly opposed to nation-building and large overseas assistance programmes. He looks suspiciously at trade agreements. And he has railed against Muslims and other foreigners, while he has publically praised dictators and tyrants.

Under Trump, any focus on Africa will likely be on military and security issues, not democracy, good governance or human rights.  These policies are likely to find greater favour with Africa’s autocrats than civil society or local business leaders.

What can we expect in the different areas of US engagement?

Security and counterterrorism

We should expect an uptick in military and security cooperation with a number of African nations, especially those facing terrorist threats given Trump’s promise to wage an all-out war on Islamist militancy. The US role in the battle against al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and armed groups in the Sahel region will probably be expanded, and African support for US actions may become a new litmus test for closer relations.

Democracy and governance

We should probably expect a sharp drop off in White House support for democracy and governance programmes. Trump has denounced nation-building abroad and said during his inaugural address that he will “not seek to impose” America’s “way of life on anyone”. His policies will almost certainly result in less spending on the promotion of political reforms, democracy and the conduct of free and fair elections in Africa.

Human rights

The Obama administration routinely spoke out against torture, detention and extrajudicial killings, and pushed for greater gender equality and LGBTI rights. This will not happen under a Trump administration which has praised some authoritarian leaders, asserted the value of torture, and already curbed funding for women’s health programmes. The recent executive order excluding citizens from seven majority Muslim countries, including three in Africa, is an indication that respect for human rights and civil liberties will take a back seat to notions of security.

Business relations

Trump’s “America First” stance will probably lead to the collapse of Obama’s major economic initiatives in Africa. Trade Africa, a regional effort to boost trade among five East African nations; Doing Business in the Africa, designed to encourage American businesses to trade with the continent; and the high-level US-Africa business summits Obama hosted are all in jeopardy. With Trump complaining about American companies moving jobs overseas and touting a new form of economic nationalism, dealing with Africa economically will not be a priority.

Trade

The strongly bipartisan African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been the centrepiece of American trade policy in Africa, but its non-reciprocal concessionary treatment runs counter to Trump’s trade doctrine. Trump’s administration has focused on TPP (the Asia free trade deal) and NAFTA (the North American free trade agreement) so far, but at some point AGOA, which was recently renewed until 2025, will inevitably come to the attention of someone in the White House. Despite bipartisan support, the best hope for AGOA is that it will be allowed to remain in place with declining support until it expires. If there is an effort to reframe it, the US will probably demand African nations open their markets to American goods on a reciprocal basis.

Exchange programmes

One of Obama’s most successful programmes was the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which brings several hundred young African professionals and entrepreneurs to the US for six weeks each summer. Although it has the potential to be as significant to Africa as the Fulbright Programme was to Europe, YALI could be an early casualty. YALI is not covered by any congressional legislation and is not funded beyond 2017. Previous Republican administrations have cut back exchange programmes and YALI has no natural constituency in the Trump administration.

Climate change

Climate change is a major problem for Africa, but many in the Trump administration have denied or downplayed its importance, threatening to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. UN and US studies have shown that Africa will be impacted by climate change more than any other region of the world and that African nations are the least prepared to deal with it. A shift on the global agreement will have damaging ripple effects across the continent.

USAID

Trump has said that rebuilding America’s deteriorating infrastructure would be one of his domestic priorities, and as he sets about this, USAID’s overseas programmes could become an easy target to be cut. Trump has already criticised them as wasteful and corrupt, and his administration might easily align itself with Republicans who fought to reduce development spending and eliminate the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation – two organisations that have supported America’s trade, aid and development projects in Africa and around the world.
Benign neglect

It is possible that Trump’s term in office will surprise us on Africa. Republican administrations have outperformed on this front before. President Bush certainly did, and his two landmark development initiatives – PEPFAR and MCC – remain extremely popular.

But given the absence of any serious White House interest in Africa, Secretary Tillerson may become the key American player on Africa. He could put Africa policy on a solid footing by appointing an experienced Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; supporting key Bush- and Obama-era food, health and power development initiatives; and maintaining the business-focused policies of Obama. He could also throw his support behind USAID, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and EXIM Bank, all of which strengthen US economic and development objectives in Africa.

Congressional leaders could also play an important role by maintaining their strong two-decade-long bipartisan support for Africa and encouraging the administration to prioritise and not to marginalise Africa.

But realistically, perhaps the most the continent can really hope for under Trump is “benign neglect”.

Johnnie Carson was US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2009 to 2012. He is currently a Senior Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace and a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute at Yale University.

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EWER: Jos Situation Review, October to December 2016

The Jos Early Warning/Early Response (EWER) System uses a volunteering monitoring network to gather data and information about violent incidents and situational change in 12 wards of Jos-North LGA, Plateau State, North-Central Nigeria. Local monitors collect the data, which is then transmitted for analysis and entry into the EWER database and incident crowdmap. Click here to request for full report.

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Nigeria in Serious Crisis – UN Report

DATAVILLE RESEARCH – A report just released by the United Nations, UN, on Nigeria’s Common Country Analysis, CCA, has revealed a deeply divided society on the basis of the plurality of ethnic, religious and regional identities that had tended to define the country’s political existence.

The report also painted a gloomy picture, with most of the development and social indices in the country registering at levels unacceptable.

The report, which was read during a consultative meeting on the formulation of the UN Development Assistance Framework IV (UNDAF IV) for the South East geo-political zone in Awka observed that for decades, different segments of Nigeria’s population had, at different times, expressed feelings of marginalization, of being short –changed, dominated, oppressed, threatened, or even targeted for elimination.

The report read in part: “Nigeria, with a population of over 175 million, is the most populous nation in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world. Her population will be approximately 200 million by 2019 and over 400 million by 2050, becoming one of the top five populous countries in the world.

“Nigeria is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world, with over 80 million or 64% of her population living below poverty line. The situation has not changed over the decades, but is increasing. Poverty and hunger have remained high in rural areas, remote communities and among female –headed households and these cut across the six geo-political zones, with prevalence ranging from approximately 46.9 percent in the South West to 74.3 percent in North West and North East.

“In Nigeria, 37% of children under five years old were stunted, 18 percent wasted, 29% underweight and overall, only 10% of children aged 6-23 months are fed appropriately based on recommended infant and young children feeding practices.

“Youth unemployment which is 42% in 2016 is very high, creating poverty, helplessness, despair and easy target for crime and terrorism. Over 10 million children of school age are out of schools with no knowledge and skills.

“Nigeria’s economy is currently in a recession and it is estimated that government revenues have fallen by as much as 33 percent, which has further resulted in the contraction of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by 0.36 percent in the first three months of 2016.

“The vulnerable macroeconomic environment in Nigeria is affecting investors’ confidence in the domestic economy.” When contacted last night to react to the report, federal government officials said they where not aware of it and couldn’t, therefore, react.

“Despite the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to a number of protocols on sustainable and renewable environment, the country had, over the decades, failed to protect the environment, ecosystem and natural resources. Over-exploitation of natural resources and pollution of the environment, desertification are exposing the population to vulnerability and risks caused by climate change, among others.

“Nigeria is well-endowed with forest resources, accounting for 2.5% of GDP. But Nigeria has one of the highest rates of forest loss in the world. Between 1990 and 2000, Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest per year on average deforestation rate of 3.5% per annum.

“Increase in population, human activities like farming, construction and cutting of trees, use of wood and effect of climate change lead to environmental destruction across Nigeria.”

This in turn leads to unpredictable weather, drought and floods. The implication of destruction of the environment includes reduced agricultural productivity, destruction of property and loss of lives.

“Nigeria faces humanitarian and emergency crises of considerable proportions fueled by a combination of factors including climate change, inter-communal conflicts and violence, insurgency, recurring floods, heavy handed tactics of security forces in combating crime and insurgency. The overall consequence is the situation of systematic and chronic internal displacement that has given rise to different humanitarian crises that include the most egregious and dehumanizing human rights abuses.

“Over 80 million Nigerians live in poverty and are affected in one way or the other by the current humanitarian crisis. Available reports indicate that there are over 3.3 million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, which is Africa’s largest, ranking behind Syria and Columbia on a global scale.

“The major challenges Nigeria is currently facing that constrain her economic growth and social development are lack of good governance, general increased insecurity across geo-political zones in North East, Niger Delta and Lake Chad region in particular. The situation is exacerbated by the existence of systematic accountability challenges, limited capacities of independent institutions/ commissions and limited accountability at the federal, states and local government levels.

“Nigeria is a deeply divided society considering the plurality of ethnic, religious and regional identities that define her political existence. Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has struggled to build and sustain national integration. For decades, different segments of Nigeria’s population had, at different times, expressed feelings of marginalization, of being short-changed, dominated, oppressed, threatened, or even targeted for elimination.”

The report recommended that transforming and diversifying Nigeria’s development paths needed a radical and new approach, especially by investing in people and in a strong more dynamic and inclusive productive informal sector. It also called for a design and support of joint programmes to address good governance, peace and security.

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Restoring Livelihoods for Displaced Nigerians

Food vouchers and new skills help counter effects of crisis

August 2016—In northeastern Nigeria, more than 2 million people are internally displaced. Most have fled violence caused by the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency as well as military efforts to dislodge the group.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are among the world’s most vulnerable people. Not only have they lost their homes and, possibly, their loved ones, but they often face food insecurity and a loss of livelihood. To address these challenges, USAID is supporting emergency assistance to IDPs, host communities and Nigerian refugees in neighboring countries—Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

USAID support has brightened the future of IDPs like Esther Sylvanus and her four children. One year ago, Boko Haram killed Sylvanus’s husband in their hometown of Damaturu in Yobe state. Fearing for her children’s lives and her own life, Sylvanus fled to Gombe state, which hosts more than 27,000 IDPs.

Sylvanus soon realized she had no way to support her family. Her children were forced to drop out of school and they struggled to eat two meals a day.

A USAID emergency food assistance program provided Sylvanus’s family with electronic vouchers that are redeemable in local markets for nutritious foods. The vouchers promote the dignity of beneficiaries by allowing them to purchase local foods of their choice while supporting local businesses. Sylvanus also received vouchers for essential household items.

“The voucher thing was all new to me, but I was happy because I bought what I needed for my family, which included mattresses, mats, buckets, children wear [clothes], detergent and toiletries for my household,” explained Sylvanus.

With USAID support, Sylvanus was also able to save enough money to start a business. She began raising catfish to sell and went on to participate in a livelihoods-building program that enabled her to buy a sewing machine and start a second business.

Now, with the success of both the small fishery and sewing business, all four of her children are enrolled in school again. Sylvanus can afford medical costs when needed and is continuing to expand her businesses. Her participation in the USAID-supported programs helped Sylvanus not only to meet the urgent needs of her family, but also to learn new skills that will benefit her and her children in the future.

“I now feel like I have recovered completely because I can provide for my family adequately,” said Sylvanus.

To date in FY 2016, USAID has provided more than $64 million in humanitarian assistance throughout the Lake Chad Basin region and $34 million in northeastern Nigeria alone. This assistance is helping IDPs, host communities and refugees to meet their most urgent needs while helping them to restore their livelihoods, building resilience to the ongoing Boko Haram crisis.

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