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A new film set in Djibouti City presents a searing class critique of Somali girlhood.

In the popular imagination, Somali women are viewed as passive, oppressed subjects, the hapless victims of their patriarchal culture and religion. Where they are visible, it is often through the iconography of the veil and female circumcision. Lula Ali Ismaïl’s Dhalinyaro (Youth)—the first full-length feature film by a Djiboutian woman—is a radical departure from this corpus in depicting Somali girlhood in its full depth and complexity. Most importantly, it does this through depicting the mundane events of everyday life in Djibouti City. There are no wars here, or pirates, or terrorists, no young women escaping fathers, husbands, or the blade of a female elder, no white saviors ready for the rescue. What we see in Dhalinyaro is a coming of age story that shows Somali girls as they are.

The film’s storyline revolves around the final qualification examination for Djiboutian secondary students to enter university, the baccalaureate. The three main characters, Deka, Hibo, and Asma, are classmates at the Lycée de Djibouti but hail from markedly different class backgrounds. The Lycée space becomes one where the different segments of Djibouti’s population interact and form friendships, bonding over the shared ritual of studying for the baccalaureate. Yet, it is the question of higher education that renders class divides most explicit. For wealthy Hibo, who arrives at the Lycée each day in a chauffeured private car, there is no question that she will continue her education in Paris. Deka, who is securely middle class, is less certain, but with the funds saved up by her mother over a number of years, the idea of going to France for university is within the realm of the possible. Asma has no such choices available to her; poverty dictates that she must stay in Djibouti, unless she is among the few top students to receive a scholarship to study abroad.

The palpable burden of class difference saturates the film. One shot silently juxtaposes a well-dressed man at a cafe with a young boy on the street as he hands his shoes to the child to polish while drinking coffee. In another shot, women in wide-brimmed sun hats sweep the city streets at dusk to the sounds of ciyaar Soomaali, a traditional Somali folk dance. It is palpable in Asma’s hesitation to attend Hibo’s birthday party at the luxury Djibouti Palace Kempinski, and in the fuul bean stew her family eats at mealtimes, like the poor neighborhood children that come to Deka’s home for bread. When Hibo gets into an altercation with a group of schoolgirls outside of the Lycée, she disparages them as the “stupid Balabois”—residents of the impoverished Balbala suburb. An angered Asma, who tells her that she is “one of them,” accuses Hibo of believing that her wealth gives her more rights. Over the course of the film, Hibo’s character arc moves from a sheltered and careless rich girl to a more understanding and self-sufficient individual, a transformation made possible by honest friendships across difference.

The stunning cinematography with long shots of the sea and glimpses of the Port of Djibouti subtly signals the confluence and contradictions of global wealth and local poverty. This infrastructure of state capitalism—and, at the end of the film, the national radio broadcasting examination results—are the only glimpses of the state or politics in Dhalinyaro. Djibouti is among the most enduring dictatorships in Africa, ruled by an extended family since its independence from France in 1977. Its ruler, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, is famously a patron of the arts and culture, and Lula Ali Ismaïl has described the support she received for the film from both the private sector and a government eager to develop the country’s nascent film industry. While one can wonder about the possible implications of this government hand for artistic freedom, Ismaïl’s decision not to engage formal politics explicitly is another subversive act of representation, given that the region is mired in images of political dysfunction. Ismaïl’s political critique is muted and indirect, but no less searing. It takes the form of a city-wide power outage that forces the “haves” to turn on their private generators and the “have-nots” to light lanterns; it is in the figure of the elderly veteran telling Deka the forgotten stories of Djiboutian soldiers who fought for France during the Second World War; it is, at the metalevel, what the film itself embodies in its very existence, in its very refusal to conform.

What Dhalinyaro foregrounds is female sociality and intimacy as it unravels the complex layers of contemporary Djiboutian life. The film has a decidedly female gaze, decentering maleness to the extent that most of the male characters in the film remain marginal and unnamed. Instead, it is the inner worlds of Somali women that are fleshed out in full, and with the immense care and tenderness of a Somali woman behind the camera. When Hibo has a miscarriage in a bathroom stall at school, it is the conservatively-dressed Asma who immediately removes her abaya to cover her friend’s blood-stained clothing, stating that “girls look out for each other.” They openly discuss sexuality and their relationships, the lively female banter reminiscent of the Somali riwaayad (play) and theater tradition that has pushed the envelope on notions of female morality and modesty in Somali society since the 1960s. Markers of Somali womanhood are interspersed throughout the film: the breezy dirac shiid worn as loungewear at home, the fragrant uunsi smoke used to perfume one’s household, clothing and hair, the huruud face masks made of turmeric to keep one’s skin soft.

At the heart of Dhalinyaro is the tension between visibility and invisibility in the desire for a particular kind of freedom. In an early scene, Deka, Hibo, and Asma quietly talk at their desks as their teacher—played by Lula Ali Ismaïl herself—explains the upcoming deadlines for students seeking to go abroad for university. “Think of the freedom!” Deka whispers to her friends, “no one holding you to account, no one looking at you and saying ‘you’re the daughter of so and so.’” These moments of recognition occur most often in their encounters with men. As the girls sit by the waterfront and jokingly evaluate the appearances of young men passing by, a man pauses and greets Hibo, telling her to say hello to her father for him. “There’s no getting away!” an exasperated Hibo tells her friends. In another scene, the searching glance of a male waiter at a restaurant where Deka is having an intimate dinner with the older married man she is seeing is enough to unsettle her and abruptly end the date. Yet, it is the same surveilling gaze—this time by women—that precipitates the end to the predatory relationship, after Deka’s mother hears about it. The communal nature of the Somali social world, while frustrating any notion of individual anonymity, fosters a sense of interdependence and female solidarity that uplifts the girls in times of need, as their friendship illustrates. Ultimately, Deka chooses this world by staying in Djibouti for university.

Ethnicity is conspicuously absent from the film. Djibouti, while dominated politically, culturally and demographically by Somalis, is a multi-ethnic country comprised of the Somali and Afar, as well as smaller communities of Arabs, Ethiopians and Europeans. That diversity is represented in the casting, with the three lead actresses themselves belonging to Djibouti’s different ethnic groups: one is Afar, one is Somali, and one is Arab Somali. Yet each plays a Somali character, in a Djibouti where only Somali people and culture appear to exist. However, there is some ambiguity to Hibo’s background that is not discernible to the non-Somali speaker and flattened by the limited subtitles. In the scene where Hibo is confronted on the schoolyard, a voice in the background, which does not make it into the subtitles, can be heard saying “the little Arab girl is being attacked!” in Somali. Her father, in other scenes, speaks one or two words of Arabic, albeit words that have entered the Somali lexicon. Asma and Deka’s households are completely immersed in their Somaliness, with illustrative scenes including Asma’s sisters playing jag on the veranda as their mother gives them advice using Somali proverbs, and Deka’s single mother listening to gabay poetry composed by a heartbroken Cilmi Boodhari. Hibo’s family, on the other hand, only speaks Somali at home when talking to their maid; they converse in French exclusively between themselves, listen to European classical music during formal dinners, and go to France for education. There is an unexamined politics of language and ethnicity yearning to be explored.

Dhalinyaro is a remarkable feat, particularly for a first full-length film by a self-taught filmmaker hailing from a country with a film industry still in its infancy. Though initially released in 2018, it has recently seen a surge in popularity when it was made available for free streaming as part of this year’s Cinewax Online African Film Festival, breaking OAFF streaming records. It is a beautiful film—a love letter to Somali girls—that deserves to be seen widely.

Author: Shakir Essa

Ethiopia admits shooting down Kenya aid aircraft in Somalia The plane had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country

Ethiopia admits shooting down Kenya aid aircraft in Somalia The plane had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus.
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09 May 2020 GMT+3 Ethiopia on Saturday admitted it was behind the shooting down of a privately owned Kenyan plane in Somalia earlier this week, resulting in the deaths of all six people on board. The plane was shot down on Monday by Ethiopian troops protecting a camp in the town of Bardale in southwestern Somalia, the Ethiopian army said in a statement to the African Union (AU). More: Six killed as plane carrying coronavirus aid crashes in Somalia Anger in Mogadishu after police kill civilian in COVID-19 curfew Somali state minister dies from coronavirus The aircraft had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus when it went down in Bardale, about 300km (180 miles) northwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. The Ethiopian soldiers mistakenly believed the plane was on a “potential suicide mission” because they had not been informed about the “unusual flight” and the aircraft was flying low, the statement said. “Because of lack of communication and awareness, the aircraft was shot down,” the military said. “The incident … will require mutual collaborative investigation team from Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to further understand the truth.” Kenya expressed shock over the incident earlier this week, saying the plane’s mission had been to aid Somalia in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
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Soldiers from Ethiopia and Kenya are among those deployed to Somalia as part of an AU peacekeeping mission to fight the armed group al-Shabab. The shooting down of the plane comes amid strained ties between Kenya and Somalia. Last month, Kenya accused Somali troops of an “unwarranted attack” across its border near Mandera, a northern outpost town, describing the incident as a provocation. Somalia, meanwhile, has long accused its larger neighbour of meddling in its internal affairs, something Kenya has denied.

What Kenya Stands to Lose and Gain By Withdrawing From Somalia:

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Kenya has started negotiating a withdrawal from Somalia by 2021. The country is set to leave as Ethiopia’s influence continues to rise.

Kenya has achieved a lot since it intervened in 2011. Its intervention was a “game changer”, contributing to a momentum that led to al-Shabaab losing all major Somali cities. But it has fallen short of its goals to subdue al-Shabaab and end terrorism in Kenya. And it will leave a Somalia where its rivals are gaining power and challenging Kenyan national interests.

The intervention

Kenya’s public motive for intervening in 2011 was self-defence. Its defence forces moved into Somalia to stop al-Shabaab attacks and improve the country’s internal security. Since then, al-Shabaab has lost territorial control over all of Somalia’s larger cities. In 2012, Kenya reclaimed Kismayo. In the same year, it convinced Ethiopia to join the fight.

The combined forces of Kenya and Ethiopia were redeployed under the African Union Mission to Somalia. This was crucial in containing al-Shabaab between 2012 and 2016. This combined force weakened the terror group to the point that it is now unable to hold territories within Somali cities.

But this still does not mean that the intervention was successful. Since it began, al-Shabaab has launched three large attacks in Kenya. In 2013, it attacked Westgate Mall in Nairobi. In 2015, it attacked Garissa University in northeastern Kenya. And last year it attacked the Dusit Hotel complex, also in the capital.

By late 2019, al-Shabaab’s infiltration in Kenya’s northeast intensified, and locals are increasingly accommodating their presence.

The situation in the area around the coastal town of Lamu is similar. Al-Shabaab is taking advantage of animosities between the Muslim Bajunis and the Christian elite who settled in the area in the 1970s.

Broadly speaking, Kenya has managed to curtail al-Shabaab activities in trouble spots in Kilifi and Mombasa. The country also managed to return a large number of foreign fighters to Somalia without much blow-back. Yet the intervention of 2011 failed to keep Kenya completely safe.

Nor did it fully vanquish al-Shabaab. The group is still strong, despite having lost much of its territory. It is richer than ever, propelled by its efficient taxing of the Somali business community, tolled checkpoints and investments, including some in the agricultural sector. Its leadership structure remains intact, with many key officers having served more than four years.

Kenya’s dilemmas

Kenya’s withdrawal from Somalia will have its own drawbacks. For one, it will abandon its long-time allies inside Somalia. Thus, it will lose leverage with both Addis Ababa and Mogadishu.

The government of Somalia’s president, known as Farmajo, has increasingly been at odds with Kenya. The two countries are currently in a diplomatic row over their shared maritime border.

Second, Farmajo’s agenda to place his preferred candidates in political office in Somalia’s regional states has challenged Kenya’s allies in Somalia and especially the regional state of Jubaland.

It has become clear that Farmajo is willing to draw Ethiopian forces as well as the Somali National Army into his quest to consolidate power by appointing political allies. This has pitched Ethiopia against Kenya, and created tension. Ethiopian forces have recently intervened in support of the Somali government in Mogadishu, targeting the enemies of the Farmajo government. That government has been increasingly willing to use military force against the opposition (as well as the Somali media, and against the regional state of Jubaland, led by Kenyan ally Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe”.

Kenya leaves a Somalia where neighbouring Ethiopia plays an increasing role, and also works against Kenya’s former allies. Also, there are stronger totalitarian tendencies on the part of the Somali presidency than before.

Its withdrawal will leave Ethiopia with a dominating position in the African Union Mission to Somalia. As Ethiopia’s alliance with Farmajo is strong, this is bad news for the Somali opposition, including allies of Kenya.

By withdrawing, Kenya has also let its allies down. It has shown that it cannot be trusted to stay the course. Yet the withdrawal follows a wider pattern in Kenyan politics, wherein the 2011 intervention was the exception.

@ Afrika-times.com
Original post copied from #Allafrica

Somaliland rejects proposed visit by Ethiopia PM, Somali president

1024x538_1021479Somaliland rejects proposed visit by Ethiopia PM, Somali president
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2 hours ago
Somalia

Somaliland has rejected a planned joint visit by Somali president Mohamed Abdulahi Farmaajo and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

A high-ranking official in Somaliland had confirmed a proposed visit to Hargeisa by Abiy and Farmaajo on the initiative of the PM. Hargeisa is capital of Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia.
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Voice of America journalist and author of “Inside AlShabab,” Harun Maruf posted a tweet that said Somaliland’s chairman of House of Elders Suleiman Mohamoud Aden as saying PM Abiy Ahmed was “pushing for a joint visit to Hargeisa by him and Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.”

It is the first concrete report of an information that started making the rounds on Twitter on Saturday evening when a post to that effect was made by one Khaalid Foodhaadhi.

A meeting between leaders of Somalia and Somaliland in Addis Ababa was brokered by Abiy last week after the 33rd African Union summit.

The Somali presidential spokesman confirmed that the “ice-breaking” meeting had indeed taken place between Farmaajo and Somaliland’s Muse Bihi.

Days later, Farmaajo made a public admission over excesses by the Siad Barre regime in the late eighties against Somaliland. An admission that received largely good comments on social media.

The planned joint visit to Hargeisa has also received positive traction as many people on social media see it as a positive first step towards finding an amicable solution to the longstanding rift between Somalia and Somaliland.
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2 Canadian women freed from Somaliland prison say they endured extreme abuse Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, arrested in January, released in April

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Two Canadian women freed from a prison in Somaliland say they endured extreme abuse “bordering on torture” while they were detained for two months overseas.
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Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, originally from Ottawa, arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. They were arrested by police on Jan. 19 for allegedly drinking alcohol in the Somaliland city of Hargeisa. They were held without trial and released on April 23.
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Consuming alcohol is illegal in Somaliland, a self-declared republic still internationally considered to be part of Somalia. The women disputed the charge, but were detained at the Koodbuur Station Women’s Prison in Hargeisa.
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Canadian women released from jail in Somaliland
“I feel a lot of relief. It’s been really hard,” Abdi told reporters at the airport shortly after their arrival. “I’m super tired and anxious.”
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Maymona Abdi spent more than two months in jail in Somaliland (CBC)
Abdi said she thinks they were released because of media coverage of their plight. She said Canadian consular officials did not help them as much as they needed.

According to their lawyer, Mubarik Mohamoud Abdi, the women signed confessions under duress, hoping to avoid being detained. They were sentenced to 2½ months in jail and 40 lashes. He said the prosecution in the case did not prove before the court that the women drank alcohol.
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‘Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us’
In a prepared statement that she read aloud, Abdi said people have asked them why they went somewhere as dangerous as Somaliland. She said the two felt an obligation to help women facing violence.

“Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us. Where is it safe to be a woman? In reality, it is women on the ground, who look like us, who are sacrificing everything.”

Her family retains property in Somaliland, according to Abdi’s mother Fahima Hassan.
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According to Jason Jeremias, a human rights activist based in New York City, Abdi was working to intervene in the protection of women at extreme risk of gender-based violence, but they did not go as official representatives of a non-governmental organization.

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Karima Watts stands in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. (CBC)
Abdi said she and Watts were subjected to extreme emotional and psychological abuse as well as “physical retaliation” in prison. She said they were denied medical aid, legal counsel and, at times, food and water.

According to international human rights conventions, that denial constitutes torture, she said.

“We burdened our struggle in silence,” she said. “For two months, while we were being detained, the world had no clue where we were and what we were being subjected to.”

Silence enables violence, she added. “We will stand up for each other as women wherever we face violence,” she said.

Jeremias, who is connected to the organization the Price of Silence, spoke up on their behalf, drawing attention to their case, she said.

Don’t give up fight for human rights, she says
Abdi, whose sister is in Toronto, said she plans to go to the hospital to be assessed. She said they also have to decide where they are going to live.

She added she would like Canadians not to give up the fight for human rights and to remember many people around the world are suffering in silence.
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“I want them to know, there’s people out there that go through things but nobody really knows,” she said. “Be aware of it. Open your eyes.”

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Watts, left, and Abdi take a break after Abdi spoke to the media in Toronto. (CBC)
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of I Do! Project in Toronto, said she believes the charge of consuming alcohol was trumped up. The project works with survivors of forced marriage and those at risk of forced marriage.
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Gillett said Abdi, who lived in Vancouver before heading overseas, has done work with the project. She said Abdi contacted her after she had arrived in Somaliland.

“They’ve been through a lot of stress. They’re exhausted as well. They were living in conditions that were deplorable, to say the least,” Gillett said.

“We’re just relieved that they’re home. We’re just looking to getting them to good health, supporting them in any way they can.”

Avoid all travel to Somalia, Ottawa says
In a statement earlier, Hassan had said: “Maymona and Karima were born and grew up in Ottawa, Canada, as best friends. When Karima’s mother died, she became our daughter.”

Canadians are urged to avoid all travel to Somalia, according to the Canadian government in a travel advisory that was last updated on April 25.
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“If you are currently in Somalia despite this advisory, you should leave immediately,” the travel advisory reads.

“The security situation in Somalia is extremely volatile and the threat of domestic terrorism is high, particularly in south-central Somalia and in the capital, Mogadishu.”
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Shirley Gillett
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of the I Do! Project in Toronto, says she believes the charges were trumped up. (CBC)

Reporter: Shakir Essa

Top ten 10 poorest countries in the world

GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of the standard of living of a given country, as it reflects the average wealth of each person residing in a country. It is therefore the standard method used to compare how poor or wealthy countries are in relation to each other. With 2018 coming to a close, we decided to take a look at our forecasts for GDP per capita from 2019 to 2023 for the 127 countries we cover to get an idea of what countries are the poorest currently and which will be making a leap toward becoming wealthier in the coming years. The projections used in this study are Consensus Forecasts based on the individual forecasts of over 1000 world renowned investment banks, economic think tanks and professional economic forecasting firms.

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Click image to view larger version – See the full list below

As one might imagine those closest to the top of the list are mostly emerging markets and least developed countries of which the majority are from Sub-Saharan Africa. Similar to our ranking for the most miserable economies, this is one of those lists where the “winners” aren’t really winners; being as far from the top of the list as possible is a good thing.

Many of the poorest nations in the world are places where issues such as authoritarian regimes, political turmoil, weak financial institutions, inadequate infrastructure and corruption deter foreign investment despite the fact that many of them are immensely rich in natural resources and have a young, growing population. In our list of the top 10, five are landlocked, which means they have no direct access to maritime trade and another one is in the midst of a civil war, which helps to explain why some of them are currently not in the best of shape.

Despite how grim that may sound, these countries stand to benefit the most in the coming years as emerging markets will become vitally important to the global economy. Although per capita GDP will still be the highest in the developed world by 2023, the fastest growth in GDP per capita will indeed come from many of the world’s poorest economies currently. According to our forecasts, the highest per capita growth from 2017–2023 will be in Mongolia with an 89% increase in that time span, followed by Myanmar, Egypt, Serbia and Bangladesh with 83%, 80%, 79%, and 67% growth in per capita GDP, respectively.

With that said, let’s have a look at the poorest countries in the world according to the FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast for 2019 nominal GDP per capita.

1. Democratic Republic of Congo
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 439

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 475

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 551

Although the DRC has abundant natural resources, unfortunately with a projected 2019 GDP per capita of USD 475, the country is in the unenviably position of being the poorest country in the world. There has been severe political unrest in recent years, as calls for President Joseph Kabila, who took power after the assassination of his father in 2001, reached a fever pitch in 2018. Kabila was reelected in 2011 in a controversial election and had since postponed elections several times. Finally in August, Kabila declared that he would not seek re-election and named a successor candidate. The next presidential election has been slated for 23 December and opposition parties selected well-known businessman and veteran legislator, Martin Fayulu, as the unity candidate on 11 November following lengthy talks in Geneva. Fayulu has been one of the fiercest critics of President Joseph Kabila’s tight grip on power. While strong activity in the extractive sectors has supported firm growth, the long-delayed elections have led to a tense business environment and a slowdown in overall activity. Moreover, Katanga Mining (a subsidiary of Glencore) announced a temporary halt to cobalt production at its Kamoto mine, after high levels of uranium were discovered.

Strong demand for key export commodities, including copper and cobalt, is expected to drive growth next year. Moreover, a sharp decline in inflation should buoy domestic demand. Political risks, however, darken the outlook. FocusEconomics analysts have thus far priced-in a peaceful transition of power—which would mark the first since independence in 1960—projecting growth of 3.7% in 2019 and 4.3% in 2020.

2. Mozambique
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 429

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 502

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 648

The second poorest country in the world is Mozambique with a forecasted GDP per capita of USD 502 for 2019. The former Portuguese colony has high hopes of transforming its economy based on prospects of abundant natural gas fields discovered in 2011. The country recently took an important step toward said transformation with the approval of a USD 20 billion Anadarko liquified natural gas plant in early-2018, which envisages exploiting the country’s vast deposits of natural gas.

Economic growth is expected to accelerate this year on the back of higher prices for natural gas. FocusEconomics panelists see growth of 3.5% in 2018 and 4.1% in 2019.

3. Uganda
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 726

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 759

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 959

Uganda finds itself in third place on the list with a 2019 projected GDP per capita of USD 759. Although this represents a large leap from the level of the first two on the list, Uganda is a bit of a strange case. Following the 1986 armed conflict, the ruling political party National Resistance Movement (NRM), enacted a series of structural reforms and investments that led to a period of significant economic growth and poverty reduction all the way up to 2010. In the last five years or so, economic growth has slowed and consequently so has the pace of poverty reduction. There are a variety of factors that have brought on the slowdown, however, it has been attributed mostly to adverse weather, private sector credit constraints, the poor execution of public sector projects and unrest in their neighbor South Sudan, which has flooded the country with refugees fleeing the country and subdued exports. According to the World Bank, if Foreign Direct Investment accelerates, the banking system stabilizes, and budgeted, capital spending is executed without delays, the economy may start to pick up once again, helping to reduce poverty.

Luckily for Uganda, it appears the FDI is indeed improving according to the latest confiremd data, expanding by double digits in 2017, which bodes well for the economy and poverty reduction in the near future. The downside risk to the outlook is the weakness in the financial system, particularly the low level of credit in the private sector and the high cost of small loans. FocusEconomics panelists see growth of 5.9% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020.

4. Tajikistan
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 777

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 861

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1159

Tajikistan is number four on the list of poorest countries with a projected 2019 GDP per capita of USD 861. Tajikistan gained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, however, a civil war broke out shortly after, which lasted five years until 1997. Since then, political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow, reducing poverty rather remarkably. According the World Bank, poverty fell from over 83% to 47% between 2000 and 2009 and fell further from 37% to 30% between 2012 and 2016. Since then, poverty reduction, has regrettably stagnated, however, it is projected to fall from 30% to 25% by 2019 as growth picks up.

The economy, which is highly reliant on remittances, is expected to grow strongly in again 2019. Improving labor market dynamics, and a continued robust inflow of remittances supported by Russia’s ongoing economic recovery, should buoy private consumption. Headwinds to the growth outlook include a less supportive external environment owing to tighter global financial conditions and the escalating tit-for-tat trade war. The economy is seen growing 5.7% in 2019 and 5.4% in 2020.

5. Yemen
2016 GDP per Capita: USD 762

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 913

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1079

Yemen is in the midst of massive civil war that has caused a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, which goes a long way to explaining the country’s place on this list of the poorest countries in the world. Yemen is forecast to have a GDP per capita of USD 913 in 2019. Basic services across the country are on the verge of collapse, as half of the population is currently living in areas directly affected by the conflict and millions of Yemenis have been forcibly displaced.

Yemen is also facing the worst famine in a century, according to the United Nations, with 14 million people at risk of starvation. After peace talks failed to get off the ground in September, fighting only intensified. In recent weeks, the unofficial exchange rate has come under pressure despite a USD 200 million cash injection from Saudi Arabia into Yemen’s Central Bank in October, while Yeminis around the country have protested for better living conditions.

Following three-and-a-half years of civil war, the economy is expected to return to growth for the first time in six years in 2019; albeit thanks in part to a miserably-low base effect. FocusEconomics expects the economy to expand 5.3% in 2019 and 7.6% in 2020.

6. Haiti
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 776

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 923

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 993

Haiti is number six on the list with an expected GDP per capita of USD 923. Haiti is extremely vulnerable to extreme weather and natural disasters with 90% of the country’s population at risk according to the World Bank. These natural disasters batter the country in more ways than one, including the economy. The 2010 earthquake for example did damage equivalent to 32% of the country’s GDP.

Although there is some positive sentiment over Haiti’s political situation, as new president Jovenel Moïse took office in February of last year and the new parliament and cabinet were ratified later in the year, which should allow the country to accelerate reforms and move public programs forward to create a more sustainable development for all Haitians, the country remains the poorest in the Americas. More than 6 million out of 10.4 million Haitians live under the national poverty line of USD 2.41 per day and over 2.5 million live under the national extreme poverty line of USD 1.23 per day according to the latest household survey (ECVMAS 2012). As far as income equality goes, it is also one of the most unequal, with a Gini coefficient of 0.59 as of 2012.

While the economy started 2017 on a solid footing, economic activity has decelerated since, mostly due to the negative impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Furthermore, the U.S. administration’s decision to scrap Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians as of July 2019 threatens all-important remittance inflows, which account for around 34% of the country’s GDP. As a result of this decision, around 60,000 Haitians currently living in the U.S. could be forced to return to Haiti.

Growth should accelerate in 2019, though the country’s prospects remain hampered by rampant corruption and political instability. Growth is projected to come in at 2.7% in 2019 and 2.7% again in 2020.

7. Ethiopia
2016 GDP per Capita: USD 884

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1122

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1508

Back to Africa now with number seven on the list, Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa, which gives it a great strategic jumping off point, as it is close to the Middle East and its markets. Although it is technically landlocked, it’s tiny bordering neighbor, Djibouti acts as its main port. Ethiopia has grown rapidly since the turn of the century, and is currently the fastest growing country in Africa, although extremely poor as evidenced by its projected 2019 GDP per capita of just USD 1122.

Along with Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth came significant reductions in poverty with over 55% of Ethiopians living in extreme poverty in 2000 dropping to 33.5% in 2011, according to the World Bank. To sustain its economic growth and poverty reduction, good governance is needed, however, significant public unrest has taken hold in Ethiopia of late over the country’s authoritarian regime.

In a bid to cool mass unrest and open the way for economic reforms, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn submitted his resignation on 15 February. In October, parliament approved Sahle-Work Zewde to become the country’s first female president—a sign of political openness from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Growth should remain robust in FY 2018, although is likely to slow somewhat as the government restrains public investment growth to limit imports. That said, an improving business environment following market-friendly economic reforms could propel stronger activity in the private sector. FocusEconomics sees the economy growing 8.2% in FY 2018 and 7.6% in FY 2019.

8. Tanzania
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 1037

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1159

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1502

Number eight on the list of poorest economies is Tanzania with an expected USD 1159 GDP per capita for 2019. Tanzania’s economy has been very consistent over the last decade averaging between 6 and 7% growth every year. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate has also steadily declined, however, the absolute number of people living in poverty has not due to the high growth rate of its population over that time.

Economic prospects for Tanzania depend on infrastructure investment, improving the business environment, increasing agricultural productivity, amongst others and growth prospects for next year remain strong. The economy should continue to expand solidly, supported by sustained infrastructure spending and growth within the services sector on the back of growing tourist inflows. FocusEconomics expects GDP to expand 6.5% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 6.4% in 2020.

9. Kyrgyzstan
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 1203

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1266

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1488

Kyrgyzstan is ninth on the list with an expected 2019 GDP per capita of USD 1266. A landlocked, largely mountainous country with just over 6 million inhabitants, the Kyrgyz Republic recently adopted a parliamentary system in 2011. Having experienced considerable political and social instability with weak governance and high corruption since gaining independence in 1991, the country’s current democracy is a far cry from those days. Nonetheless corruption is still pervasive in the public sector, which constrain the country’s economic growth potential.

The Kyrgyz economy is also vulnerable to external shocks due to its overreliance on its massive gold mine, Kumtor, which accounts for about 10% of GDP, as well as remittances, which amount to about 30% of GDP.

Growing gold production in September at the all-important Kumtor mine powered the rebound in economic activity recorded in the January–September period, when GDP increased slightly in annual terms, from the small contraction recorded in January–August. That said, cumulative mining output in January–September was still much lower than in the same period last year, which translated into falling exports. On the other hand, during the same time span, sustained wage increases and rising remittances led to a solid expansion in retail sales while both capital investment and construction increased strongly.

GDP growth is set to accelerate next year, as production at the Kumtor gold mine increases, driving output growth in the industrial sector. Solid consumer spending, fueled by healthy wage growth and higher remittances from Russia, will also underpin the expansion. A possible cooling in economic activity in Russia due to U.S. sanctions, however, cloud the outlook. FocusEconomics projects GDP growth of 4.3% in 2019 and 4.5% in 2020.

10. Uzbekistan
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 1514

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1350

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 2351

Uzbekistan is last on the list of poorest countries according to 2019 GDP per capita, which is forecast to come in at USD 1350. The country’s economic growth was fast between 2004 and 2016, lifting significant portions of the country out of poverty. A country rich in commodities, Uzbekistan was aided by high commodities prices and increased exports of gas, gold and copper, which generated state revenues that financed large increases in investment and wages that bolstered private consumption.

Unfortunately, in the period between 2013 and 2016, commodities prices came crashing down along with the weak performance of Russia and China, key trade partners, adversely affected the economy. Despite the external environment weakening, the government’s countercyclical fiscal and monetary policies allowed growth to slow only slightly, however, poverty reduction has largely stagnated.

In February of 2017, the government began implementing its Strategy of Actions for the Development of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021, which among other things included measures to liberalize its economy. One measure was implemented in September of 2017, which linked the official exchange rate with the curb market rate and established a framework to allow it to flow.

Unfortunately, the economy moderated sharply in 2017 to 5.3% from 2016’s 7.8%, the slowest print since 2003. The moderation partly reflected the impact of the currency devaluation, which had caused inflation to spike and real disposable income to drop. It also underscored the short-lived impact that many market-friendly reforms pushed ahead by the government to attract foreign investment are having on the economy.

The economy grew 5.2% annually in the January–September 2018 period, driven by a strong services sector and solid industrial output. Industrial activity was propped up by soaring mining and quarrying production, largely thanks to a booming natural gas sector. In addition, construction activity expanded robustly in the same period, supported by buoyant demand for real estate amid easing inflationary pressures. On 19 October, authorities began preparatory work on the country’s first nuclear plant, estimated to cost USD 11 billion and largely financed by Russia, in a bid to further strengthen Uzbekistan’s energy sector. The government has also signed multibillion-dollar economic and investment deals with Russia and the U.S. as the country continues its pro-liberal economic policy push.

In 2019, growth should remain solid on the back of sustained government spending, healthy capital investment and a growing inflow of remittances from Russia. FocusEconomics expects the economy to expand 5.1% in 2019, down 0.4 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 5.5% in 2020.

You can see the entire list below of our projections for GDP per capita for 2018 below. If you’d like to get more historical data, Consensus Forecasts, charts, graphs and written analysis from our team of economists, download a free sample report by clicking on the button below the table.

GDP Per Capita 2019-2023
2019 Rank Country GDP per Capita 2019 (projected) GDP per Capita 2017 (actual) 2017 Rank GDP per Capita 2023 (projected) 2023 Rank
1 DRC 475.3217 438.5256 2 551.3249 1
2 Mozambique 501.9192 429.3636 1 647.641 2
3 Uganda 759.0817 725.9486 3 959.4522 3
4 Tajikistan 861.2937 777.0268 5 1158.827 6
5 Yemen 912.5141 – N/A 1079.137 5
6 Haiti 922.7217 775.8355 4 992.7961 4
7 Ethiopia 1122.567 – N/A 1508.321 9
8 Tanzania 1159.105 1037.079 6 1502.31 8
9 Kyrgyzstan 1266.064 1203.071 7 1487.614 7
10 Uzbekistan 1350.473 1513.999 10 2350.817 14
11 Zambia 1479.781 1566.378 13 1858.185 10
12 Pakistan 1495.477 1546.844 12 1869.015 11
13 Myanmar 1533.067 1278.07 8 2337.462 13
14 Cambodia 1627.842 1383.751 9 2194.383 12
15 Bangladesh 1774.44 1521.366 11 2547.109 18
16 CDI 1899.69 1618.134 14 2526.718 17
17 Kenya 1960.507 1691.498 15 2357.122 15
18 Nicaragua 2151.084 2220.543 19 2388.447 16
19 India 2171.269 1979.313 16 – N/A
20 Nigeria 2318.455 1994.661 17 2988.712 19
21 Ghana 2434.003 2061.11 18 3278.356 21
22 Vietnam 2749.925 2354.901 20 3750.412 22
23 Laos 2898.278 2522.904 22 3925.37 24
24 Honduras 2909.249 2773.835 25 3202.053 20
25 Egypt 2924.286 2471.783 21 4439.591 30
26 Ukraine 3033.515 2685.161 23 4237.628 28
27 Angola 3041.152 4388.521 40 4274.436 29
28 Philippines 3306.841 2989.068 26 4560.859 31
29 Moldova 3347.066 2761.133 24 3922.999 23
30 Tunisia 3502.351 3479.192 29 4155.141 26
31 Morocco 3513.398 3159.52 27 4120.344 25
32 Bolivia 3727.982 3388.005 28 4228.401 27
33 Venezuela 3887.217 – N/A – N/A
34 Indonesia 4042.662 3875.781 32 5480.01 37
35 El Salvador 4172.125 3894.715 33 4782.359 32
36 SriLanka 4264.391 4071.251 36 5565.878 38
37 Algeria 4281.844 4036.28 35 5369.218 34
38 Georgia 4322.538 4265.342 39 5765.187 42
39 Armenia 4462.305 3862.116 31 5681.698 41
40 Azerbaijan 4505.525 4148.86 37 5449.05 36
41 Jordan 4554.322 4195.882 38 5436.38 35
42 Kosovo 4669.263 4026.13 34 6298.403 43
43 Mongolia 4694.103 3639.977 30 6886.963 45
44 Guatemala 4769.698 4466.347 41 5613.315 39
45 Belize 4850.095 4825.427 43 5025.607 33
46 Iraq 5081.196 4920.48 44 5672.477 40
47 Jamaica 5455.045 5198.3 45 6603.454 44
48 Albania 5532.769 4644.693 42 7033.495 47
49 Iran 5645.365 5634.898 49 7852.415 51
50 Paraguay 6050.501 5633.191 48 7166.749 48
51 Bosnia 6130.693 5309.657 46 8152.124 53
52 South Africa 6135.719 6281.276 53 7491.503 49
53 Belarus 6169.273 5707.975 50 7616.448 50
54 Ecuador 6210.746 6216.598 52 6919.949 46
55 Macedonia 6270.104 5437.174 47 8274.915 55
56 Colombia 6886.258 6377.405 54 8262.014 54
57 Turkmenistan 7203.68 6642.032 56 8020.402 52
58 Peru 7238.793 6748.979 57 9126.309 56
59 Thailand 7572.41 6590.926 55 9494.643 57
60 Serbia 7772.239 5904.748 51 10597.87 60
61 Turkey 8060.201 10541.78 67 11338.95 62
62 Dominican Republic 8245.759 7472.295 58 9693.61 58
63 Botswana 8403.47 7657.871 59 10499.33 59
64 Montenegro 9127.597 7796.785 60 11935.33 64
65 Brazil 9180.12 9895.964 66 11365.09 63
66 Kazakhstan 9346.117 8585.308 62 12053.76 65
67 Argentina 9519.177 14605.17 75 10853.51 61
68 Bulgaria 10008.19 8300 61 13491.55 68
69 China 10148.53 8805.975 63 14442.21 69
70 Mexico 10357.13 9325.097 64 12732.19 66
71 Russia 10640.84 10957.71 69 13289.46 67
72 Malaysia 11354.87 9814.508 65 14714.68 71
73 Costa Rica 12095.84 11626.27 71 14623.26 70
74 Romania 12811.64 10843.51 68 17476.31 73
75 Lebanon 12895.13 11495.45 70 15658.22 72
76 Croatia 15777.19 13814.83 72 20657.06 76
77 Poland 16460.36 13825.27 73 22526.56 81
78 Panama 16568.68 15198.58 77 20195.35 75
79 Chile 16590.26 15117.77 76 20852.7 77
80 Hungary 16660.19 14349.87 74 22278.07 79
81 Uruguay 16907.26 17104.49 81 22389.87 80
82 Oman 17563.99 17102.49 80 18725.36 74
83 Trinidad 17827.89 16146.82 79 21583.47 78
84 Latvia 18610.53 15571.79 78 24869.22 83
85 Lithuania 20364.45 18513.27 83 28160.73 86
86 Greece 20886.22 18638.56 84 25929.76 84
87 Slovakia 20987.53 17639.72 82 27155.12 85
88 Saudi Arabia 22278.18 21095.4 87 24846.53 82
89 Estonia 24123.96 20275.08 85 32358.3 91
90 Portugal 24205.31 21294.77 88 30030.2 88
91 CzechRepublic 24968.04 20492.96 86 33081.46 92
92 Taiwan 25949.99 24382.5 91 31246.56 89
93 Bahrain 26026.56 24237.5 90 29461.96 87
94 Slovenia 27634.46 23494.68 89 35535.75 94
95 Kuwait 28140.95 27129.24 93 31892.92 90
96 Cyprus 29367.9 26081.87 92 36237.79 95
97 Brunei 30294.58 28276.27 95 34070.92 93
98 Malta 31854.31 27326.09 94 41280.48 99
99 Korea 32660.66 29745.07 97 39784.39 96
100 Spain 32672.64 28393.94 96 40600.76 97
101 PuertoRico 32682.34 31229.57 98 40601.42 98
102 Italy 35580.39 32354.72 99 42000.28 100
103 UAE 38756.57 37728.2 100 43211.3 101
104 NewZealand 40429.89 41536.53 104 47487.16 102
105 Japan 41498.26 38175.17 101 47640.65 103
106 Israel 42520.91 41840.48 105 50825.49 104
107 UnitedKingdom 44617.91 39901.32 103 53548.03 105
108 France 44857.76 39889.51 102 53625.24 106
109 Belgium 48540.49 44112.05 106 58460.56 108
110 Canada 48651.49 45080.67 107 55542.25 107
111 HongKong 50164.08 46064.78 109 59466.59 109
112 Germany 50815.83 45275.83 108 62229.67 110
113 Finland 51647.6 46393.24 110 62589.18 111
114 Austria 53807.81 47860.47 111 64806.86 112
115 Netherlands 55453.01 48485.41 112 67414.58 113
116 Sweden 56305.87 52958.5 113 75053.39 118
117 Australia 57171.87 55680.85 114 67846.35 114
118 Singapore 62004.74 57494.65 116 73585.83 115
119 Denmark 62204.32 57359.54 115 74401.73 117
120 Qatar 64788.74 60693.81 118 77778.58 119
121 USA 65132.9 59792.04 117 73856.17 116
122 Iceland 78031.79 73477.01 120 95854.63 120
123 Ireland 79773.38

: Afrika times: Shakir Essa

Saudi Arabia with UAE and Turkey with Qatar Are Playing a Dangerous Game in the Horn of Africa

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been expanding its role in the Horn of Africa. Along with other Gulf powers, it is broadening its ties to the region. Strategic rivalries, including those within the Gulf Cooperation Council pitting the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Qatar, often motivate Gulf powers’ increasing influence.

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Why does it matter? The influence of, and competition among, Gulf states could reshape Horn geopolitics. Gulf leaders can nudge their African counterparts toward peace; both the UAE and Saudi Arabia helped along the recent Eritrea-Ethiopia rapprochement. But rivalries among Gulf powers can also sow instability, as their spillover into Somalia has done.

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What should be done? The UAE, whose Horn presence is particularly pronounced, should build on its successful Eritrea-Ethiopia diplomacy. It should continue backing Eritrean-Ethiopian peace, encouraging both parties to fulfil their commitments. Abu Dhabi should heal its rift with the Somali government, and thus help calm tensions between Mogadishu and its peripheries.

I.Overview

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged in recent months as an important protagonist in the Horn of Africa. Through political alliances, aid, investment, military base agreements and port contracts, it is expanding its influence in the region. A recent manifestation came in the summer of 2018, when Eritrea and Ethiopia announced – after a flurry of visits to and from Emirati officials – that they had reached an agreement to end their twenty-year war. Emirati and Saudi diplomacy and aid were pivotal to that deal. Elsewhere, however, Gulf countries have played a less constructive role. Competition between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Qatar on the other, spilled into Somalia beginning in late 2017, aggravating friction between Mogadishu and Somali regional leaders. Abu Dhabi’s relations with the Somali government have collapsed. As its influence in the Horn grows, the UAE should build on its Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making by continuing to underwrite and promote that deal, while at the same time looking to reconcile with the Somali government.

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An array of calculations shapes the UAE’s actions in the Horn. The Gulf port cities have a long history of ties with Africa, centred around maritime trade and dating to the era before the Emirates united as a nation-state. From 2011, however, Abu Dhabi began to look at the countries along the Red Sea coast as more than commercial partners. Turmoil in the Middle East, Iran’s growing regional influence, piracy emanating from Somalia and, from 2015, the war in Yemen combined to turn the corridor’s stability into a core strategic interest. The 2017 Gulf crisis, which saw Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, pushed leaders on both sides of the divide to double down on their alliances, including in the Horn. Since then, the UAE has nailed down diplomatic relationships and extended its reach, particularly along the Red Sea.

 In places, Gulf rivalries have been destabilising. 

In places, Gulf rivalries have been destabilising. In Somalia in particular, the UAE, perceiving the Somali government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” as too close to Qatar and keen to protect years of investment, has deepened its relations with the governments of Somalia’s regions, or federal states. Importing the Gulf crisis into Somalia has contributed to tensions between Mogadishu and the federal states that over recent months have threatened to boil over. Elsewhere, however, Abu Dhabi’s peace-making is evident. The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, provided critical diplomatic and financial support to help Eritrea and Ethiopia take the first steps toward a rapprochement that could prove enormously beneficial for wider Horn stability. Both Gulf monarchies also appear to have contributed to an easing of tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt.

The UAE, along with its fellow Gulf monarchies, is investing in the Red Sea and Horn of Africa for the long haul. Ideally, its successful Eritrea-Ethiopia diplomacy would provide the basis for that engagement. To that end, it should consider the following:

  • Keep underwriting Eritrean-Ethiopian peace, including by releasing the aid it has promised and pressing Asmara and Addis Ababa to follow through on the September agreement they signed in Jeddah;
  • Seek to end its debilitating spat with Mogadishu, with the understanding that warmer Abu Dhabi-Mogadishu relations are likely a prerequisite for overcoming divisions between President Farmajo’s government and Somali regional leaders. The UAE could encourage allies in the regions to reconcile with Mogadishu and take steps to facilitate their doing so, for example pledging to inform Farmajo’s government of its activities in the federal states, from training security forces to developing ports.

II.The UAE’s Long Involvement in the Horn

When the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders signed the September agreement, Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s role in brokering it was in full view. The ceremony took place in Jeddah, on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. The two African leaders sat in an opulent room under the gaze of a metres-high portrait of the founding Saudi king, Abdulaziz. The current king, Salman, looked on, flanked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Emirati foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. The traditional regional powerbrokers – Western countries, the UN and the African Union (AU) – were absent.

The Eritrean-Ethiopian rapprochement, as well as a flurry of other Horn of Africa diplomacy, has greatly boosted Gulf states’ visibility as geopolitical actors along the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now central to conversations about the future of a region still suffering strife and instability. With Washington seemingly in retreat, the Gulf countries appear intent on playing a major role. As one Gulf official put it: “If you look at the future of Africa, it’s clear – China is in. The Arab countries are in. The U.S. is not”. The larger questions are what each Gulf country aims to gain and how each intends to use its newly acquired leverage.

 The UAE itself has a long track record of engagement across the Red Sea. 

The UAE itself has a long track record of engagement across the Red Sea. It hosts large diasporas from Horn countries, some of which were integral to its founding in 1971. Arabic-speaking Sudanese civil servants helped build nascent ministries, and members of the diaspora still swap stories about how President Omar al-Bashir was once Khartoum’s military attaché in Abu Dhabi. Dubai, meanwhile, is the banking hub for many Somali businesses.

The Emirates’ history as a trading coast also informs its contemporary economic outreach. The UAE’s model of economic diversification is built around its role as a logistics hub and regional headquarters. It is a model premised on freedom of maritime navigation, including through Bab al-Mandab, the narrow passage from the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, and the Strait of Hormuz. Analysts often describe both bodies of water as chokepoints because they are easily closed to oil tankers and other cargo ships. Having cooperative, even like-minded governments along the Red Sea corridor is a strategic priority. Africa is also a natural theatre for trade and logistical ambitions. It comes as no surprise that one of the Dubai-based logistics giant DP World’s first contracts abroad was in Djibouti, where it began to develop Doraleh port in 2006.

III.The Arab Uprisings and a New Emirati Stance Abroad

The 2011 Arab uprisings vested the Red Sea with strategic importance for the UAE beyond core economic interests and led Abu Dhabi to view that corridor, as well as places as seemingly far-flung as Jordan and Libya, as its “neighbourhood”. Those uprisings transformed the Middle East from a zone of entrenched autocracies into a web of conflicts that political Islamists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the UAE and Saudi Arabia view as enemies, initially seemed to be winning. Abu Dhabi, in particular, views groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which have traction inside the Emirates, as an existential threat. Their ascendancy as far away as North Africa alarmed the Emirates, particularly as conflicts across the Arab world increasingly appeared interlinked, with events in one place shaping those elsewhere.

A growing sense of danger bred a more interventionist foreign policy. The UAE, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, funnelled support to allies in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere. To explain these actions to citizens at home – used to an economically focused UAE – Emirati leaders invoked an argument still oft-repeated in policymaking hallways in Abu Dhabi: you can’t be safe if your neighbourhood is at war.

Egypt’s future took on particular importance after its first democratic election in modern history brought a Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, to the presidency. After Morsi’s ouster in a coup that the UAE and Saudi Arabia lauded and may have actively encouraged, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, together with Kuwait, poured billions into the new government’s coffers. Abu Dhabi also kept a keen eye on the security of the Suez Canal, including when the scale of piracy in the Red Sea, the canal’s southern gateway, jumped in the mid-2010s. Seeing a risk to its oil shipments and cargo containers, the UAE took an active role in counter-piracy initiatives. In Somalia, it trained a marine police force in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and began experimenting with counter-terrorism operations against the Islamist Al Shabaab insurgency. The country became a Petri dish of learning for UAE special forces, which Western defence officials describe as the most capable in the Gulf today.

IV.The Yemen Catalyst

By 2015, the tumult in the Middle East – the Islamic State’s rise, Libya’s collapse, the Syria inferno, instability in post-coup Egypt and fear at what some Gulf leaders saw as Iran’s increasing influence across the region – created a siege mentality in some Gulf monarchies. In that context, Saudi Arabia and its primary partner the UAE led a military intervention in Yemen to roll back Huthi rebels loosely allied with Tehran. The Huthis had ousted the president and taken control of the capital and much of the country in late 2014 and early 2015.

In its anti-Iran drive, Riyadh sought assistance from past allies Sudan and Eritrea, both of which had strengthened ties with Tehran while all three countries were under international sanctions. Beginning in the 1990s, Sudan had built its defence industry with Iranian assistance and know-how; Eritrea had offered use of its port, Assab, to the Iranian navy. In 2014, however, both countries ejected Iranian diplomats. A year later, both agreed to contribute troops and resources for the Yemen war.

At the outset of the Yemen conflict, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were alarmed by Huthi rebels’ gains around Bab al-Mandab, raising the possibility that an Iranian-allied group would control such a chokepoint. They prioritised retaking Yemen’s western and southern coastlines. The UAE took de facto responsibility for operations in Yemen’s south and quickly found itself in need of a naval and air base along the Red Sea. The natural candidate was Djibouti, where DP World had built the port. By then, however, Abu Dhabi’s relationship with Djibouti was souring over allegations of corruption related to DP World’s contract (DP World disputes the allegations). Officials from the two countries had a falling-out in April 2015, when the UAE, with DP World’s infrastructure, sought to use Djibouti as a military launching pad into Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition turned to another port, Eritrea’s Assab. Riyadh signed a security agreement also that April to use Assab, leaving Abu Dhabi to carry out the deal’s terms. By September, the Emirati military was flying fighter-bombers from the Eritrean coastline.

The dispute with Djibouti left the UAE uneasy about its reach along the Red Sea corridor. Abu Dhabi worried that it could not rely on allies in the Horn – even in cases where it felt existential questions were at stake. As UAE-backed Yemeni forces pushed northward along the Red Sea coast, Abu Dhabi sought to expand its strategic depth. DP World and the Emirati military each penned an agreement to develop Berbera port in the self-declared republic of Somaliland. A subsidiary of DP World later signed a contract with local authorities in the Somali federal state of Puntland to develop Bosaso port. The attitude, as one Emirati official put it, became “fill space, before others do”.

V.The Intra-Gulf Crisis

The June 2017 Gulf crisis brought yet more urgency to the scramble along the Red Sea corridor. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with and imposed an embargo on Qatar.

Among the reasons the UAE in particular cited for breaking ties with Qatar was Doha’s alleged betrayal of the Saudi-led coalition efforts in Yemen. The Qataris had sent few personnel to the war theatre, but Abu Dhabi accused them of having revealed the location of a UAE-led operation to al-Qaeda, resulting in Emirati casualties, though they provided no evidence to support that allegation. (Qatar at the time declined to respond to this specific claim, and urged the UAE to provide evidence. ) After they imposed an air and naval blockade on Yemen, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi continued to claim that Doha was working actively against Saudi-led efforts, particularly through the media.

Also at the outset of the Gulf crisis, both sides began a frantic diplomatic push to secure allies, including among countries in Africa. In the Horn, competition was particularly fraught, given this subregion’s strategic value and proximity to Yemen. Djibouti and Eritrea both issued statements of support for the Saudi alliance, prompting Qatar to withdraw 400 observers it had stationed to monitor a border dispute between the two.

In Somalia, Farmajo, who had assumed office only months before the Gulf crisis, reportedly faced intense Saudi and Emirati pressure to cut ties with Doha. Although the president insisted that he wanted to remain neutral, for Abu Dhabi, widespread reports that he had received Qatari funds before his election belied that claim, as did his post-election appointment as chief aide of a former Al Jazeera correspondent with links to Doha. In April 2018, Somali authorities seized from a UAE plane almost $10 million in cash that Abu Dhabi said was intended to fund training of security forces that had long been underway but which Mogadishu alleged would be used to fund its political rivals.

In the aftermath of the spat, Abu Dhabi withdrew some officials from Mogadishu, evacuated a military training camp and shuttered a hospital. The UAE also shored up its alliances with leaders in Somalia’s federal states and the breakaway republic of Somaliland. It stuck to previous port agreements in Berbera and Bosaso, as well as a military base agreement for Berbera, and reportedly is discussing the development of Kismayo, in Jubbaland federal state, over the Somali federal government’s objections. The Gulf powers’ backing of rival factions – notably Emirati support for the governments of Somalia’s federal states and Qatari support for Farmajo – has exacerbated existing tensions between Mogadishu and the regions to the point of near-conflict.

The dust-up in Mogadishu is often described by officials in Abu Dhabi as a “wake-up call” – the most blaring signal that the UAE’s interests were imperilled along the African side of the Red Sea. For Abu Dhabi, the timing was inauspicious as well. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces had been gearing up for an offensive to move toward the Huthi-controlled port of Hodeida – an operation that was to rely heavily on assets parked across the sea in Assab. If past alliances with Djibouti and Somalia could turn on a dime, perhaps other seemingly assured relationships – such as with Eritrea – could do so, too.

VI.The Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal

As the UAE’s relations with the Somali federal government soured, a new prime minister emerged in Ethiopia whose reformist economic views appealed to Abu Dhabi. Both countries had already begun laying the groundwork for closer ties some years ago. In March 2013, the two agreed to form a joint commission to discuss economic, political and other cooperation. In April 2018, the selection by Ethiopia’s ruling coalition of a new and charismatic prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, paired with Abu Dhabi’s desire for a new partner in the Horn, catalysed a quicker alignment. As Abiy spoke of privatisation and development to unleash the potential of the Horn’s most populous country, the UAE saw a strategic and investment opportunity. Among the many constraints on Ethiopia’s growth has been its lack of sea access and consequent reliance on Djibouti as the sole outlet for its exports. The UAE’s newly signed port contracts could help. In March 2018, DP World announced that Addis Ababa would take a 19 per cent stake in the Berbera port’s development.

Now, with an energetic partner and a cornucopia of potential commercial opportunities lying in wait in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, Abu Dhabi launched a series of meetings and mutual delegations in a bid to forge strong ties with Abiy. Abu Dhabi’s and Riyadh’s relationships with Eritrea positioned them well to help facilitate rapprochement between Asmara and Addis Ababa, once leaders in those capitals were ready. Abu Dhabi pledged $3 billion to Ethiopia, an amount that puts the country on par with Egypt as a recipient of UAE assistance. The two Gulf countries assured Eritrea, meanwhile, that they would help lobby for the lifting of international sanctions in the coming months. If sanctions go, Assab – which has been modernised for military sorties but not for container ships – will almost certainly be the next port to go to market for commercial development.

 As seen from the Gulf, the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace deal has both economic and strategic layers. 

As seen from the Gulf, the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace deal has both economic and strategic layers. Amid the UAE’s strategic setbacks in Djibouti and Somalia, the Ethiopia-Eritrea deal in many ways cements Abu Dhabi’s role as a player in Horn politics. In the weeks since the agreement was announced, Ethiopia’s prime minister also has helped spearhead efforts to improve relations with Somalia, which may in turn help smooth the rough patch between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi – though for now little suggests rapprochement will come any time soon.

Both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh also appear to have helped behind the scenes Prime Minister Abiy’s efforts to improve relations with Egypt, another old foe. Abiy visited Cairo in June and publicly reassured Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that Ethiopian development projects – notably the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Egypt fears could severely curtail its supply of Nile water – would not harm Egypt. Sisi has also taken a conciliatory approach, saying he recognises that there is no military solution to the dispute. At the same time, Saudi Arabia has helped start a dialogue between Eritrea and Djibouti over a decade-long border conflict. Though that dialogue is still in its early days, after an initial meeting between the two countries’ leaders in Jeddah in September 2018, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh told Saudi media that relations had “entered the normalisation phase”. In a sense, both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh are creating facts on the ground in the Horn. In the process, they are becoming forces that cannot easily be ignored.

The payoff could be enormous for regional integration, infrastructure development and connectivity across the Red Sea. Just with regard to ports, the Horn remains one of the most underserved areas of the world relative to population, with a single modern multi-use deep-water port at Doraleh, in Djibouti.

Yet because competition with adversaries also drives the push into the Horn, risks are at least as prominent as opportunities. The contrast between the roles played by the Gulf powers in Ethiopia and Somalia is instructive. At one moment, Gulf involvement in the Horn, even if motivated in part by rivalry between two Middle East axes, can move things in the right direction, as it has with Abiy’s push for peace with Eritrea. At another, those same rivalries can destabilise and divide.

VII.Conclusion

The UAE signals repeatedly that its engagement with Africa is here to stay. In 2018, it is opening an additional six embassies on the continent, adding to the more than a dozen already there. As one Emirati official put it: “We need to diversify and strengthen our relationships outside our own region. If we only pay attention to the Middle East and North Africa, we will be bogged down in crisis. We could miss a lot of opportunities around the globe”.

While credit for the Ethiopia-Eritrea deal lies primarily with the leaders of those two countries, clearly Gulf powers, especially the UAE, played an important role in helping push forward the initial steps of a rapprochement that could be significant across the Horn. The deal demonstrated that the UAE and Saudi Arabia can play important peace-making roles. Abu Dhabi and its peers can encourage regional economic integration and help give leaders in the Horn the extra boost, including both political and financial support, they might need to make peace. Such was the story of Eritrea and Ethiopia – two countries that saw domestic interests in making peace but needed the right economic and diplomatic assurances from abroad.

The months ahead will be crucial for the success of that deal. Abiy faces enormous hurdles in his quest to reform the economy and consolidate political support. Eritrea’s reopening to the world will undoubtedly encounter unexpected challenges. For the Jeddah deal to succeed, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi will need to work proactively to keep the parties on track. They can begin by promptly following through on their aid commitments.

 Despite the bright spot of Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making, intra-Gulf competition colours Emirati involvement across the Horn. 

Yet despite the bright spot of Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making, intra-Gulf competition colours Emirati involvement across the Horn. Whether the killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate will lead to some form of rapprochement within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as some reports suggest might happen, remains unclear. But even if so, the Saudi-UAE alliance is still likely to view actors such as Qatar and Turkey as competitors in strategic theatres like the Horn. Moreover, while for now Tehran’s influence is largely limited to the Yemeni side of the Red Sea, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s engagement in the Horn is likely to remain informed by their determination to ensure Iran does not regain a foothold, including by winning back its former allies Sudan and Eritrea.

The damage that external rivalries can inflict on the Horn was made clear in Somalia, where friction among Gulf powers, and in turn between the UAE and Farmajo’s government, has exacerbated pre-existing tension over how power and resources are divvied up between the capital and the regions. Abu Dhabi says that it wants a stable Somalia, but the country is likely to remain volatile unless strong Emirati ties to Somali regional leaders are paired with a reconciled UAE relationship with Mogadishu. Abu Dhabi could pledge to inform Farmajo’s government of its activities in the federal states – whether training security forces or developing ports – and ensure that its investment and aid benefit the country and not only its regions. The UAE also might encourage its allies in the federal states to repair their own ties to Mogadishu.

Abu Dhabi faces a choice in how much its Middle Eastern rivalries shape its Horn engagement. If competition remains a primary driver, results will almost certainly be mixed. In some places the UAE may still help bridge divides, even if partly motivated by shoring up its own influence at the expense of rivals. Elsewhere, however, competition could put Horn governments in a difficult spot, forcing them to choose between the two Gulf axes or exacerbating local conflicts in new ways. Ultimately, zero-sum competition in the Horn risks upsetting both the internal politics of the region’s diverse states and the balance of power among those states. Outside powers may win short-term gains, but over time everyone stands to lose from greater Horn instability.

Ethiopian-led mediation kicked off in Nairobi to resolve over a 62,000 square miles of disputed maritime between Kenya and Somalia

Nairobi — An Ethiopian-led mediation process kicked off in Nairobi Wednesday to resolve the latest diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia over a 62,000 square miles triangle of disputed maritime territory in the Indian Ocean.

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Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi arrived in the country Tuesday night accompanied by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia for talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

There was no official statement from State House or Foreign Affairs Ministry on the arrival of the two leaders or their mission, but sources in the offices confirmed they were in the country over the maritime dispute.

Ahmed and Kenyatta are said to have discussed the matter briefly on the margins of the Kenya-Ethiopia high level trade forum in Addis Ababa last weekend, in a diplomatic strategy employed by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau.

Ahmed’s intervention is the latest in a raft of measures adopted by Nairobi in a bid to amicably resolve the dispute with Somalia.

PS Kamau accused Somalia of unilaterally selling off oil and gas blocks in the disputed maritime territory at a London auction on February 7 while announcing the drastic measures.

Screenshot_2019-03-06-05-01-46-1MFA had termed the move “unparalleled affront on Kenya” vowing that the “illegal grab” will not go unanswered.

“This outrageous and provocative auction deserves and will be met with a unanimous and resounding rejection by all Kenyans as well as all people of goodwill who believe in the maintenance of international law and order and the peaceful and legal resolution of disputes,” Amb Kamau said on February 16, during a news conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Nairobi.

Kenya particularly faulted Mogadishu for engaging in the London auction in total disregard of ongoing mediation processes and a boundary delimitation case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) filed by Somalia on August 28, 2014.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Juma told Capital FM News last Wednesday the ministry had drawn the attention of United Nation and African Union Security Councils to the unfolding maritime border dispute.

Juma said the envoys were briefed to provide clarity on the matter.

“We briefed them on the situation between ourselves and Somalia, provided the facts to both councils and to draw their attention to the situation,” she said of the session she held on February 22 attended by among other foreign envoys Britain’s Nic Hailey and France’s Aline Kuster-Menager.

CS Juma however said Kenya was open to negotiation to find an amicable solution to the maritime dispute that sparked a diplomatic tiff between the two nations.

“We are committed to resolving any disputes in a negotiated manner and we’re hopefully that we’ll find the solution to the problem between ourselves and our brothers next door because our destinies are interlinked,” CS Juma said.

The contested area has four of the 24 oil blocks that have traditionally been under Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone until Somalia’s legal challenge in 2014.

“The massage we’ve received from across the world is encouragement to resolve the matter amicably and therefore this is the process that we would prefer,” she said.

Kenya had challenged the admissibility of Somalia’s case at the ICJ in September 2016 on grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the application.

ICJ however dismissed the objection in February 2017 clearing the way submissions by the two parties.

The court fixed June 18, 2018 as the date by which Somalia was to file its submissions in court with Kenya given until December 18, 2018 to file its rejoinder to Somalia’s written pleadings.

Somalia has anchored its case on Article 15 of the Convention of the Law of Sea adopted in 1982, Kenya saying the disputed area was in fact under its jurisdiction before the convention was enacted.

 
 

 

Mkimimbo Dugo: Nairobi Kenya

©Allafrica

The secret behind the kenya and somalia fight for the ocean boundary

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre’s defiance not to postpone or stop the London meeting where contentious oil blocks were “auctioned” escalated diplomatic friction with Kenya. 1512126images (1) President Uhuru Kenyatta and Khayre met at State House, Nairobi on January 29, where sources said the PM was asked to put the auction on hold. “Kenya, through multiple channels, has sought to find an amicable and peaceful resolution to the maritime boundary,” Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau said in a statement on Saturday. Somalia, nevertheless, auctioned the oil blocks on February 7, the ministry said. The oil blocks are L21, L22, L23 and L24. They were sold to the UK and Norway. Somalia’s embassy in Nairobi yesterday said no oil blocks were auctioned. However, Daily Telegraph’s Adrian Blomfield said, “I’ve spoken to my colleague who was at the Somalia conference. He said there was no auction, but a map was shown of oil and gas blocks the Somali government intends to auction in future, some of which may be in dispute waters claimed by Kenya.” Another source who did not want to be named said although the bid was launched, no auction was done. “The bid process launched by Spectrum Geo in London has nothing to do with the disputed offshore territory. The blocks are all north and are very clearly identified,” he said. The blocks included in the Spectrum Geo bid are from the matrix that covers areas that are the subject of two dimensional ( 2D) seismic surveys in 2014 and 2015 north of the disputed area. The dispute is in the international court. “The only thing sold on February 7 was this data for the benefit of interested oil and gas companies,” the source said. The government of Kenya has demanded that Somalia withdraws an incorrect map that it had issued at the time the supposed auction of oil and gas blocks in Kenyan territory happened. The Somali-Norwegian Prime Minister is spearheading the auction and has had interests in Soma Gas and Oil, where he was executive director for Africa until he resigned in 2017. Soma Gas and Oil is a private oil company that explores natural resources in Somalia. It’s registered in London. In 2013, it signed a contract in Somalia with the government to collect data on onshore and offshore oil. In exchange, the company had the right to apply for up to 12 oil blocks. The UK, Norway, Turkey, Qatar and other players have silently been fighting to gain influence in Somalia’s oil-rich waters, which analysts warned could frustrate the country’s recovery after decades of war. A UN panel of experts in a report in July 2013 cautioned that oil could lead to conflict between rival players. But former Natural Resources minister Abdirizak Mohamed tweeted on Saturday: “This has nothing to do with the Somali bid rounds conference in London. It is rather a pre-emptive strategy to force Somali Government to open negotiations on the maritime dispute with Kenya or influence the outcome of the case before the International Court of Justice.” Kamau denied the move was to coerce Somalia to negotiate. “It is Somalia that took us to the ICJ. The case is still there. In any case, do you take your friend to court? It is better to discuss,” Kamau said. “This is not a matter to be taken lightly. We have a history with Somalia. We do not want any escalation because we’re already suffering from the impact of an unstable neighbour,” ANC Musalia Mudavadi said yesterday. “Let us stand with the government of Kenya.” In its judgement of February 2, 2017, the ICJ decided to adjudicate the maritime dispute after negotiations between Kenya and Somalia failed. Kenya wants the dispute be resolved through negotiations. Lawyers said the maritime boundary is along a parallel of latitude as was decreed in the Presidential Proclamation of 1979. Somalia says the boundary should be at an equidistant line and that Kenya’s oil exploration activities in the disputed area are unlawful. In February 2017, Kenya lost the first round of the case to Somalia in its bid to stop the matter from going to full hearing. The court is yet to give a hearing date. Kenya has huge interest in Somalia with KDF troops still present in the country. Kenya helped in its formation of Jubaland after jointly capturing its capital, Kismayo from al Shabaab militants in 2012.

 
 

 

 U.S. military says it conducted two airstrikes in central Somalia Wednesday 21-11-18 killing a total of 47 al-Shabab militants.

00300116_d45789ca883534392b34a0369e96e14d_arc614x376_w614_us1.png U.S. military says it conducted two airstrikes in central Somalia Wednesday killing a total of 47 al-Shabab militants.

A statement issued by the U.S. Africa Command Tuesday said the first strike killed 37 militants. Africa Command described the attack as a “planned and deliberate action.”

It says a second strike on the same day killed another 10 Shabab militants. The statement said the airstrikes did not kill or injure civilians.

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Locals told VOA Somali that the strikes targeted al-Shabab vehicles and militias.

In October, another U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Harardhere killed at least 60 al-Shabab militants.

According to a count by VOA Somali, the U.S. has carried out about 30 airstrikes against al-Shabab this year, killing more than 200 militants.

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, is trying to overthrow the Somali government and turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.

U.S. airstrikes have killed numerous al-Shabab leaders over the years, including the group’s former emir Ahmed Godane in September 2014.

37 Alshabaab fighters have been killed and more than 47 others wounded in an airstrike on Saturday 11pmEst 25-11-2018

37 Alshabaab fighters have been killed and more than 47 others wounded in an airstrike on Saturday evening.

According to official Somali National News Agency (SONNA) the attack targeted meeting of the militants in Hargeysa Yarey in the middle Juba region of Somalia at 11PM local time on Saturday.

SONNA said top Al Qaida linked group officials including Daahir Gacmay, Abdirahman Takar, Sayid Dheere, Abdullahi Rabbi and among others were in the meeting during the attack.

No confirmation or denial from US Africa command press department on the attack reportedly carried out by its aircraft.

US drone attacks constantly target alshabaab fighters in Somalia.

Drone strike killed group leader Ahmed Godane on September 2014.

Last week group’s convoy was destroyed by suspected US strike in Galmudug region of Somalia.

The number of casualties or scale of damage is still unclear.

The secret diplomatic relation between isreal and somalilan

Israel and Somaliland have much in common.

Israel faces many adversaries that don’t recognize it or its right to self-determination; Somaliland is also unrecognized as a state by most countries.
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Both share a history with Britain. The British defeated the Ottoman Empire, captured Palestine and later established treaties with the Jewish people in Israel. Somaliland tribal leaders granted the British a protectorate in the territory that would became British Somaliland and subsequently gained independence on June 26, 1960. Israel was first of 34 countries, including the United States, to recognize Somaliland.

Somaliland, which joined South Somalia in a union that lasted until 1991, finds itself politically isolated, in the middle of a hostile region threatened by a sinister and pernicious enemy in the form of encroaching religious extremism. With a population of four million, Somaliland faces hard-line opposition from wider Somalia, with population of 10 million. Israel is perceived as enemy to Arab world with an estimated population of 400 million and economic power of $2.5 trillion a year. Somaliland and Israel face significant opposition and near total rejection of the 22 nations of the Arab world who support the positions of Somalia and Palestinian Arabs, respectively.

Despite overwhelming obstacles, both Somaliland and Israel are beating the odds. Israel is one of the most developed nations in the Middle East and the world, with per capita annual income of $42k and thriving and sophisticated industries. Israeli technology and corporations are pioneers of advanced research and development in the world. Although Israel is situated in semi-desert land that has little potential for agriculture, they have reached 90% food security.

Somaliland, unrecognized by most countries and with limited foreign direct investment, has a flourishing private sector economy, highly advanced telecom, digital economy, peace and stability and democratic processes rare in Africa. It is the only Muslim democracy in the horn of Africa and maintains cordial diplomatic relationships with Western powers and African nations.

Somaliland needs investment, technology and know-how. It has an abundance of resources, such as oil and gas, and strategic positioning that add to its geopolitical prowess. As Israel warms up its relationships with the Arab world and Africa, and Somaliland can a potential ally and friend that can fulfill a strategic Israeli goal – a loyal Muslim ally in the Red Sea region.
Somaliland needs a strong partner that has little to lose in maintaining strong support with Hargeisa, our capital. Alleged Russian interest in establishing a military base in Somaliland, albeit a potential positive development, threatens Somaliland’s close relationship with Washington and the EU, thus Israel stands as a key missing piece in Somaliland puzzle.

The government of Israel has shown interest in restoring the de jure recognition it offered to Somaliland in 1960, considering its role in the geopolitics of the Red Sea and the Horn. According to a local source, Golisnews, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has said his government is ready to recognize Somaliland again. Similar sentiment is shown in Somaliland, where influential people, academics, businessmen, civil society organizations and government officials are overwhelmingly in support of a close relationship with Tel Aviv.

The warm attitude toward Israel is not new. M. Haji Ibrahim Egal, the first prime minister of Somaliland, tirelessly solicited Israel’s support, addressing that very issue in a letter to former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Given the status of both states and their struggle for statehood and recognition, it is high time Israel and Somaliland renew their diplomatic relationship and mutual cooperation.

The writer is a liberal student and entrepreneur based in Somaliland.

Updated list of Unrecognized countries of 🌎

400px-Limited_recognition
UN member states which at least one other UN member state does not recognise Non-UN member states and observer states recognised by at least one UN member state Non-UN member states recognised by other non-UN member states only Non-UN member state not recognised by any state

A number of polities have declared independence and sought diplomatic recognition from the international communityas de jure sovereign states, but have not been universally recognised as such. These entities often have de facto control of their territory. A number of such entities have existed in the past.

There are two traditional doctrines that provide indicia of how a de jure sovereign state comes into being. The declarative theorydefines a state as a person in international law if it meets the following criteria:

  1. a defined territory
  2. a permanent population
  3. a government, and
  4. a capacity to enter into relations with other states.

According to the declarative theory, an entity’s statehood is independent of its recognition by other states. By contrast, the constitutive theory defines a state as a person of international law only if it is recognised as such by other states that are already a member of the international community.[1]

Proto-states often reference either or both doctrines in order to legitimise their claims to statehood. There are, for example, entities which meet the declarative criteria (with de facto partial or complete control over their claimed territory, a government and a permanent population), but whose statehood is not recognised by any other states. Non-recognition is often a result of conflicts with other countries that claim those entities as integral parts of their territory. In other cases, two or more partially recognised states may claim the same territorial area, with each of them de facto in control of a portion of it (as have been the cases of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and North and South Korea). Entities that are recognised by only a minority of the world’s states usually reference the declarative doctrine to legitimise their claims.

In many situations, international non-recognition is influenced by the presence of a foreign military force in the territory of the contested entity, making the description of the country’s de facto status problematic. The international community can judge this military presence too intrusive, reducing the entity to a puppet state where effective sovereignty is retained by the foreign power. Historical cases in this sense can be seen in Japanese-led Manchukuo or the German-created Slovak Republic and Independent State of Croatia before and during World War II. In the 1996 case Loizidou v. Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights judged Turkey for having exercised authority in the territory of Northern Cyprus.

There are also entities which do not have control over any territory or do not unequivocally meet the declarative criteria for statehood but have been recognised to exist de jure as sovereign entities by at least one other state. Historically this has happened in the case of the Holy See (1870–1929), EstoniaLatvia and Lithuania (during Soviet annexation), and more recently the State of Palestine at the time of its declaration of independence in 1988. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is currently in this position. See list of governments in exile for unrecognised governments without control over the territory claimed.

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There are 193 United Nations (UN) member states, while both the Holy See and the State of Palestine have observer state status in the United Nations.[2] However, some countries fulfill the declarative criteria, are recognised by the large majority of other states and are members of the United Nations, but are still included in the list here because one or more other states do not recognise their statehood, due to territorial claims or other conflicts.

Some states maintain informal (officially non-diplomatic) relations with states that do not officially recognise them. The Republic of China (Taiwan) is one such state, as it maintains unofficial relations with many other states through its Economic and Cultural Offices, which allow regular consular services. This allows the ROC to have economic relations even with states that do not formally recognise it. A total of 56 states, including Germany,[3] Italy,[4] the United States,[5] and the United Kingdom,[6] maintain some form of unofficial mission in the ROC. Kosovo,[7] the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh),[8]the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,[9]Abkhazia,[10] Transnistria,[10] the Sahrawi Republic,[11] Somaliland,[12] and Palestine[13]also host informal diplomatic missions, and/or maintain special delegations or other informal missions abroad.

Present geopolitical entities by level of recognition

UN member states not recognised by at least one UN member state

Name Declared Status Other claimants Further information References
 South Korea 1948 South Korea, independent since 1948, is not recognised by one UN member, North Korea.  North Koreaclaims to be the sole legitimate government of Korea. Foreign relations, missions (ofto) [14][15]
 Republic of Armenia 1991 Armenia, independent since 1991, is not recognised by one UN member, Pakistan, as Pakistan has a position of supporting Azerbaijansince the Nagorno-Karabakh War. None Foreign relations, missions (ofto) [16][17]
 Republic of Cyprus 1960 The Republic of Cyprus, independent since 1960, is not recognised by one UN member (Turkey) and one UN non-member (Northern Cyprus), due to the ongoing civil dispute over the island.  Northern Cyprusclaims part of the island of Cyprus. Foreign relations, missions (ofto) [18][19][20][21]
 North Korea 1948 North Korea, independent since 1948, is not recognised by three UN members: FranceJapanSouth Korea; and one non-UN member: Taiwan.[22][23][24][original research?][25][26]  South Koreaclaims to be the sole legitimate government of Korea. Foreign relations, missions (ofto) [24][27][28][25][26]
 People’s Republic of China 1949 The People’s Republic of China (PRC), proclaimed in 1949, is the more widely recognised of the two claimant governments of “China”, the other being the Republic of China (ROC, also known as Taiwan). The PRC does not accept diplomatic relations with states that recognise the ROC (16 UN members and the Holy See as of 21 August 2018). Most of these states do not officially recognise the PRC as a state, though some states have established relations with the ROC while stating they do not intend to stop recognising the PRC (Kiribati, Nauru).[29][30] Some states which currently recognise only the PRC have attempted simultaneous recognition and relations with the ROC and the PRC in the past (Liberia, Vanuatu).[31][32][33] According to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, the PRC is the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.[a]  Republic of Chinaclaims to be the sole legitimate government over all of China under the Constitution of the Republic of China.

Foreign relations, missions (ofto)


PRC’s diplomatic relations dates of establishment

[34]
 State of Israel 1948 Israel, founded in 1948, is not recognised by 31 UN members.  Syriaclaims the Golan Heights.
 Lebanonclaims Shebaa Farms.
 Palestineclaims areas controlled by Israel. Subject to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian peace process and broader Arab-Israeli peace process.
Foreign relations, missions (ofto)


International recognition

[35][36][37][38]
[39]

UN observer states not recognised by at least one UN member state

Name Declared Status Other claimants Further information References
 State of Palestine 1988 The Palestinian Liberation Organization(PLO) declaredthe State of Palestine in 1988. At the time the Israeli Armed Forces had control of most of the proclaimed territory.[40] It is recognised by 137 UN member states, the Holy See,[41]and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.[42]Today the PLC (Palestinian Legislative Council) executes the government functions in all Palestinian territories outside of Israeli military-controlled zones. Prior to the Council’s administration, the Palestinian National Authority(PNA) was established in 1994 according to the Oslo Accords and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement.[b]Palestine participates in the United Nations as an observer state,[43] and has membership in the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperationand UNESCO.[44] It was accorded non-member observer state status at the United Nations by United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19.  Israeldoes not recognise the state of Palestine and controls areas claimed by Palestine.[b]Subject to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian peace process+

The extraordinary success story, this story can change your mind

It was no ordinary test for Mubarik Mohamoud. As the first student from the Abaarso School of Science and Technology to be accepted into an American school, Mubarik could create untold opportunities for his schoolmates with a successful transition to Worcester Academy.

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On the other hand, if he stumbled, his peers’ hopes might be dashed.

Jonathan Starr, a former hedge fund manager who started Abaarso eight years ago in the breakaway African republic of Somaliland, chuckles as he recalls his demanding expectations for Mubarik. When he learned that his prize student was worried “the entire future is on his shoulders,” he responded, “Good! He’s been listening.”

Starr, who lives in Westborough with his wife and baby daughter, spent four years in Somaliland building a high school campus out of the unforgiving rubble on the outskirts of the capital city, Hargeisa. He has just published a book, “It Takes a School: The Extraordinary Story of an American School in the World’s No. 1 Failed State,” about his rash decision to bring a rigorous education to the former region of Somalia, and the remarkable group of teachers and students who brought that vision to reality.

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By his early 30s, Starr had amassed significant wealth and achievement as a systems savant for Fidelity Investments and later with his own hedge fund, Cambridge-based Flagg Street Capital. But he still felt a nagging desire to do something meaningful with his life.

While working in finance, he volunteered as a Boys and Girls Club basketball coach. After leading a winning season with an underskilled team from the suburbs, he jumped to another club closer to Boston, where the players were more talented. But they were growing up in dysfunction.

“The kids lived such chaotic lives; we had no shot,” Starr says.

It was a hard-earned lesson: Create a positive, pervasive culture, and success would follow. But how and where?

A movie buff, he was drawn to inspirational classroom films like “Stand and Deliver,” the 1988 story of East Los Angeles math teacher Jaime Escalante. And for some time, he writes in his book, he had harbored an idea “to start a school for really talented kids who have great potential that will otherwise go wasted.’’

He was aware of the challenges of students in Somaliland because he has an aunt who married a man from there. Growing up, he loved playing Somali card games on family vacations with his beloved Uncle Billeh, who worked for the United Nations. In 2008, it all came together.

When Starr first set out to find a location for his project, he had no experience building a school — or even teaching, for that matter. He would become the school’s first headmaster, turning over the reins to his assistant in 2015. What he did have, besides determination, was money: He initially put forth $500,000 and to date he’s funneled nearly twice that into the school.

When he first arrived in Somaliland, almost all of the republic’s schools had been destroyed or run into the ground by the Somali civil war. Covering grades 7-12, Abaarso, named for the town the school is in, now serves 212 students on its walled, multibuilding campus. Acceptance is competitive. The staff has grown to about two dozen teachers who come from various corners of the world. They each wear several hats and earn a nominal salary — about $3,000 for the school year. They do it for one reason, Starr says — pride in a job well done.

And there is much to be proud of. To date, Abaarso has placed more than 80 students in international boarding schools or colleges.

Mubarik graduated from Worcester Academy — Starr’s alma mater — in 2013. This spring, after majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, he’ll graduate from M.I.T. Having specialized in autonomous robotics, he’d like to help engineer driverless cars. It’s an astounding trajectory for a boy who grew up in a world so rural, he mistook the first motor vehicles he saw to be some kind of bizarre domesticated animal.

“I do not feel exceptional,” says Mubarik, “but I do feel lucky.”

For Starr, his belief in the young people of Somaliland was simply a practical matter.

“If you get the kids to see it’s actually worth investing in their future,” he says, “then they’ll do well.”

Because Somaliland is considered an autonomous region of Somalia, the Trump administration’s recent ban on travel from seven mostly Muslim nations — including Somalia — has plunged the Abaarso community into a spiral of uncertainty.

“It definitely makes me nervous,” says Mubarik, speaking on the phone recently during a break in his studies. “But I am hopeful.”

Starr frets that the travel ban could mean Abaarso will have to stop sending its best students to America for college. If he could show Mubarik’s progress to the president and his administration, he says — in fact, the school’s story is scheduled to be featured in an upcoming “60 Minutes” segment — he believes they would recognize the need to make exemptions.

Though he has returned to Massachusetts to start his own family, Starr still spends several weeks each school year at Abaarso. He continues to work full time, and then some, on behalf of the school, planning, fund-raising, and advocating for its students at American colleges and boarding schools.

Besides Mubarik, four other students from Abaarso’s inaugural year are set to graduate from American universities this spring. One of them, an intensely goal-oriented young woman named Nimo Ismail, is completing her studies at Oberlin College.

“She’s known I want her to be the attorney general of Somaliland for so long,” says Starr.

At least two of the graduating seniors plan to return to Abaarso to join the faculty. For Starr, that’s a milestone he’s been eagerly awaiting.

Mubarik may stay in the United States to work toward his master’s degree, or he might go back to help introduce more Somaliland kids to computers. Either way, Starr wants all the students his school sends overseas to become the future of their homeland.

“Here he can be great,” he says. “There, he can be king.”

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Former Oldham Student Set For Somaliland

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Former Oldham Student Set For Somaliland
“I am looking forward to starting my post in Somaliland, as it will be a unique opportunity for me to work inside the government of a developing country”

By admin – September 17, 20180
Former Oldham Student Set For Somaliland
Shazar Tariq

Last week, one of the Oldham Sixth Form College’s notable alumni, Shazar Tariq, joined Economics students to speak about his journey from studying Economics at OSFC to becoming an Economic Advisor in Somaliland.

Shazar studied Economics, Mathematics, and Accountancy at Oldham Sixth Form College (OSFC) between 2008 and 2010, before moving on to study Economics at the University of Manchester through the Manchester Access Programme.

After gaining his undergraduate degree, Shazar studied for an MSc in Oxford, spent time teaching English in Istanbul and worked for a consultancy in London.

Recently, Shazar was successful in gaining a place on an Overseas Development Institute Fellowship Scheme for which thousands applied and 30-40 were selected from around the world.

Each year the scheme selects Economists from all around the world to work as international civil servants in developing countries.

Shazar has been selected as Economics Fellow for Somaliland and will start his post this month providing Economic advice to the Director-General.

Shazar said: “I have returned to OSFC to personally thank my Economics tutors for the support they gave me when I first started discovering Economics.

“The fundamentals of Economics I learned during my A Levels have stayed with me and the quality of education I received at college was incredible.

“I am looking forward to starting my post in Somaliland, as it will be a unique opportunity for me to work inside the government of a developing country – though Somaliland is still yet to be recognized as a country internationally.”