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INSIDE THIS ISSUE In Focus North Africa Northeast Africa Horn of Africa ABOUT THE CFC
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11 December 2012
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This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 04—10 December, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Med Basin Team, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.
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In Focus: Tunisia Two Years Later: Rising Unemployment and Regional Inequalities By Samuel Lau Nearly two years after Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation initiated the Arab Spring revolution, Tunisia continues to face formidable social and economic challenges which threaten to stall progress in the country’s on-going democratic transition. In October 2011, during the first free elections since Tunisia achieved independence in 1956, the moderate Islamist Ennahda party won a plurality of seats in the Constituent Assembly, and subsequently formed a coalition government with two runner-up parties, the Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol. During its election campaign, the Ennahda party made promises ranging from embracing civic freedoms to affecting an economic turnaround, but it continues to struggle with many of the problems at the root of the uprising that ousted former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Two of the most pressing challenges are high unemployment and stark regional inequalities. While the government is aware of these issues, its perceived inaction and failure to achieve rapid progress has led to growing unrest and violence, as unemployed youth, deprived inland populations and ultraconservative Salafists feel increasingly marginalised by the new government. Following the revolution, unemployment across the country rose to 19% in 2011, an increase of 6% from the previous year, while the figure rose to as high as 44% for recent university graduates. According to Reuters, official statistics suggest that unemployment rate increases for those Tunisians with higher education. Furthermore, 35% of the unemployed are college graduates. Ennahda promised to create 590,000 new jobs during its election campaign, as well as to reduce the unemployment rate to 8.5% by 2016 from the current 19%. Since taking office, the unemployment rate has only Continued on page 6
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Eray Basar › email@example.com Algeria Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments Abdullah Ghulamallah said Algerians are inviting clerics from Islamist extremist groups in Yemen, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia to spread their ideologies in Algeria under the guise of tourism, reports Al Monitor. Reportedly, the clerics preach in their hosts’ homes since they are “banned by inspectors from holding any meetings in mosques”. Ghulamallah called on police to utilise any means necessary to prevent such meetings, and added that “[i]nspectors ought to focus on the Maliki sect [of Sunni Islam], which must prevail in Algeria and bind Algerians together. France has previously failed to distract us from our religion and our sect, let alone these extremist preachers who do not wish any good for Algeria”. Algerian police arrested four smugglers near the Moroccan border, seizing nineteen tonnes of Cannabis resin on 05 December, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). According to the local counter-narcotics squad, the arrests were made on a farm only a few metres from Moroccan territory. Morocco is a major cannabis producer and exporter. Although the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994, smugglers continue to cross illegally. Algeria has seized about ninety tonnes of cannabis at the Moroccan border since the beginning of the year. The European Union (EU) adopted two cooperation programmes worth EUR 45 million (USD 58.2 million) on 06 December to support Algeria’s reform and modernisation, reports European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The programmes will support the diversification of the economy, particularly the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and modernisation of public administration, which includes institutional twinning with EU states.
Source: The Economist
Egypt After a turbulent week, President Mohammed Morsi cancelled select clauses of his November presidential decree on 09 December, reports Voice of America (VOA). Morsi annulled the substantial powers he had previously granted himself, but still intends to hold the controversial nation-wide referendum on the draft constitution on 15 December. The National Salvation Front (NSF), the main opposition coalition led by Mohamed El Baradei, called on Egyptians to vote “no” in the referendum, and has set conditions that need to be met or else they have threatened to boycott the poll. The NSF has demanded full judicial supervision of the process, as well as that international and local NGOs be allowed to monitor voting. Hundreds of protestors continued to gather around the presidential palace, amid the tanks and barbed wire, which was installed by the military after earlier clashes between protestors and supporters of the president left seven people dead. The Muslim Brotherhood pressed the opposition to support the upcoming referendum. President Morsi ordered the military to ensure security and protect all state institutions during the week preceding the referendum, reports BBC. The military has been tasked to co-ordinate with police on upholding security and has been given the authority to arrest civilians. The State Council has announced its conditional approval to supervise the referendum, as long as the clashes between protestors and police cease, and judges are able to work without threat. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) Navi Pillay has voiced concern over the recent level of violence and deaths of protestors in the country, informs VOA. According to Pillay, the draft constitution weakens fundamental human rights and the resulting violence has occurred due to the exclusion of large segments of Egypt’s society from the drafting process. Libya In the southern town of Sabha, approximately 200 detainees escaped from prison in a mass break on 04 December, reports AFP. A former rebel in the 2011 revolution against Moammar Gaddafi, whose name was not disclosed, said that the “[j]udiciary police, who control the prison, facilitated the escape of the detainees, the majority of them common criminals”. The prisoners reportedly included supporters of the former leader. Suad Ganun, who represents Sabha in the national assembly, confirmed the escape of the prisoners and said that “[m]embers who represent southern cities have been boycotting the assembly’s plenary sessions since Tuesday in protest over deteriorating security in their region”. Ganun accused Libyan authorities of failing to contain insecurity in the region. Libyan weapons, including heavy arms such as mortars, rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and the controversial antiaircraft heat-seeking SA-7 missiles are being sent to Syrian rebels by the United States, reports Business Insider. The covert opera-
11 December 2012
tion, an effort to aid the rebels in their fight against Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, was originally reported by Sunday Times on 09 December. (see 11 December CFC Complex Coverage Review for further details). Morocco Although the Moroccan monarchy implemented constitutional reforms and deferred some of its power over political, economic and security affairs to the elected government, the government’s authority is not sufficient to improve the worsening public finances of the country, reports Reuters. The worsening economy is contributing to increasingly frequent demonstrations. To avoid further public protests, the government has approached the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) demands, such as cutting the large subsidies on staple goods, with reluctance and has sought alternative forms of revenue generation. The economic crisis in Europe, Morocco’s main trade partner, and the increasing trade deficit, which is 10% higher than last year, further deteriorates the situation. While the IMF continues to urge authorities to reform the subsidy system, the Moroccan government will issue USD one billion in government bonds for a ten year term to increase its cash flow in the short-term. The government is also relying on loans from Gulf states to finance its deficit in coming years, while reducing subsidies and maintaining the investors’ confidence in the bond. Tunisia Following the suspension of a week-long general strike by Tunisia’s main labour union, supporters of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda attacked members of the union on 04 December, reports the Associated Press (AP). The members of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) had gathered to commemorate a historic member when the League for Protection of the Revolution attacked the union members, wounding ten people. Fathi Abaza, a union member, said that “[t]hese are militias used by the ruling party as their armed wing”, referring to the league, a group considered to be close to the Ennahda party. Union head Hocine Abbasi said at an interview that “the door to confrontation is now open. They wanted this and no one will stop the (union) from defending the social, economic and even political situation”. In related news, the opposition parties of Tunisia are seeking a vote of no confidence against the current government in the National Constituent Assembly, due to the events of the past week, reports Ahram Online. In order to open the way to the bid for no confidence, the opposition parties will issue a formal note of objection due to the ruling coalition’s failure to address nation’s needs and properly handle the resulting violence. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki voiced concerns about unsecured Libyan weapons and denounced arms trafficking in North Africa in an interview that appeared in The World Today magazine, edited by the think tank Chatham House, reports AFP. Marzouki said that the weapons accumulated by the former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi are now “in the hands not only of Islamists from Libya, but also from Algeria and Tunisia” and added that “[t]he danger now is that all these guys will go to Mali and train and make a holy war like in Afghanistan, and then they will come back to Tunisia. Our main foreign policy challenge for the next three years is to restore order to Mali”. Four gunmen fired upon a guard patrol in Kasserine, Tunisia, close to the Algerian border on 10 December, wounding one guardsman who later died in hospital, reports AP. The attackers came to Tunisia from Algeria and were identified as Islamists by the local media. On 08 December, two Tunisians were arrested near the Algerian border while carrying explosives and automatic weapons.
Source: Invest in Tunisia
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11 December 2012
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Angelia Sanders › email@example.com South Sudan The South Sudanese army (SPLA) opened fire on protesters, killing at least ten, in the Western Bar el Ghazal state capital Wao on 08 and 09 December, reports al Jazeera. According to the report, the demonstrators were angry at officials for moving the seat of local authority outside of the state capital to a nearby smaller settlement of Bagare. UN peacekeepers have been shuttling between demonstrators and the army in efforts to calm both sides. A leading political commentator, Isaiah Ding Abraham Chan Awuol, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in his house on 04 December, reports Sudan Tribune. The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has condemned the assassination. Isaiah Abraham reportedly alerted his relatives and friends that he was being threatened by security personnel who warned him to stop criticising the government and leadership. South Sudan President Salva Kiir ordered security services to conduct a “thorough investigation” into his death. Many government officials have condemned the killing. In other press related news, South Sudan police detained and beat three journalists from the Gurtong website on 07 December for failing to allow police officers to delete photos taken by the journalists, reports Sudan Tribune; Awuol was a contributing writer for the same Gurtong website prior to his assassination South Sudan has dismissed kidnapping charges against an American and an Iraqi due to lack of evidence, reports Bloomberg. The two were detained on 14 October and accused of attempting to kidnap an Indian businessman. The US said that it was “deeply concerned” about the arbitrary detention of people in South Sudan. The head of the disarmament process in Jonglei state, Lt. Gen. Kuol Diem Kuol, stated that the army is planning to “launch aggressive attacks” against a rebel group headed by David Yau Yau, reports Sudan Tribune. South Sudan claims Sudan is backing the rebel group, which Khartoum denies. Members of the East African Community (EAC) have deferred a decision to admit South Sudan into the regional body possibly due to its periodic conflict with Sudan, reports Sudan Tribune. The country sought entry into the fivemember regional entity, following South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, Sudan Nearly 700 Sudanese called for “revolution” on 10 December during the second day of protests in support of four students killed during earlier peaceful tuition protests, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). Official radio reports claim 47 people were detained on 09 December; on day two police responded with tear gas and baton beatings. The protests are the “largest outpouring of Arab Spring -style discontent” since earlier protests in June and July. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the government to immediately investigate the deaths of the four students whose bodies were later found in a canal. The group further stated that some of those arrested on 09 and 10 December included lawyers and high profile opposition party members. The Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) rebel group, the only group to have signed a peace deal with the Sudanese government, accused the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) of launching deadly attacks against the group, reports AFP. These are the first SAF-LJM clashes reported this year, adding to concerns raised by the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) about worsening violence in parts of Darfur. The government claims that the attacks were directed at members of the Revolutionary Front, an alliance of various Sudanese rebel groups. LJM has threatened to withdraw commitment to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) which it signed in July 2011, reports Sudan Tribune. Also in Darfur, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that as of 04 December there were a total of 732 suspected cases of yellow fever, including 165 deaths. The yellow fever epidemic in Darfur is “Africa’s worst in decades” and could now “definitely” be classed as the largest outbreak since at least 1990, reports Radio Dabanga. WHO stated there is no effective treatment for the haemorrhagic fever, and that “fighting and banditry” makes it difficult to gain access to parts of Darfur to provide health service. Central Darfur is reportedly the most affected state and the Minister of Health of Central Darfur, Issa Mohamed Moussa Ahmed, has admitted that there is a shortage of yellow fever vaccination cards since the vaccine campaign began. Sudan’s annual inflation rate rose to 64.5% in November, driven by an increase in prices of food such as meat and sugar, reports Reuters. Prices have dramatically risen in Sudan since South Sudan became independent in 2011, seizing three-quarters of the country’s oil output and thereby decreasing Sudan’s main source of foreign currency which Sudan needs to pay for food and other imports. Sudan and South Sudan Border Issues Sudan and South Sudan failed to meet an African Union (AU) deadline of 05 December to reach an agreement on the contested Abyei region, reports AFP. The region is one of the most contentious outstanding issues between the two countries since South Sudan won its independence. The mediators for the negotiations, the AU High Level Implementation Panel, have yet to set a date for a resumption of talks. 11 December 2012 Page 4
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Horn of Africa
Trista Guertin › firstname.lastname@example.org Kenya A blast outside a mosque in Nairobi on 07 December killed three people and wounded eight others, including a Member of Parliament, reports the Standard. The incident is the latest in a string of bombings in the mainly ethnic Somali neighbourhood of Eastleigh in the capital city during the past month. An earlier blast on 05 December killed one person and wounded seven, reports BBC. In response to the latest bombing incident, youth claiming to want to eradicate terrorists from the area launched protests, which included barricading roads with burning tires. Security officers intervened to disband the group. Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general and current African Union envoy overseeing the Kenyan election, urged Kenyans not to vote for politicians charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), informs BBC. Two candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, are scheduled to go on trial at the ICC in April 2013 for their alleged roles in post-election violence in 2007 which killed 1,200 people. They have formed an alliance to run together for president and vice-president in the March 2013 elections, and have denied any involvement in the 2007 violence. A new report by the World Bank states that resources diverted by corruption in Kenya equate to 250,000 potential new jobs lost in the country each year, reports Daily Nation. The World Bank found that companies pay approximately 12% of the value of their government contracts and 4% of the value of their sales in bribes. The World Bank estimates that at least USD 419 billion and another USD 803 billion is paid each year in bribes, making Kenya one of the most renowned countries in the world for businessrelated corruption. The result is a significant loss of resources that could go towards job creation in a country where only 50,000 out of 800,000 new graduates are able to find employment each year. In related news, the African Development Bank (AfDB) signed two loan agreements with the government of Kenya on 06 December for a total of USD 158 million. The loans will fund the construction of an electricity highway between Ethiopia and Kenya, and enhance engineering programmes at six national universities. Ethiopia Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has confirmed that he would meet directly with Eritrea to resolve the protracted dispute concerning their shared border, reports Sudan Tribune. The two east African countries were at war from 2000 – 2002 which resulted in 70,000 lives lost. If Desalegn meets with President Isaias Afeworki, it will be the first meeting between heads of state from the two countries since the war ended. The non-governmental organisation (NGO) Danish Refugee Council (DRC) reports that the needs of Somali refugees in Ethiopia are substantial and more aid is required as Somalis continue to arrive daily at the Dolo Ado refugee complex. DRC has provided emergency shelter and aid to those fleeing war, drought and famine in Somalia, but the director for DRC in the country, Michael Adams, stated: “We still see immense needs of people struggling to manage everyday life in the Dolo Ado settlements in Ethiopia. Shelter, access to safe drinking water, sanitation and simple ways to support alternative livelihoods for people in Dolo Ado – these are still significant needs and should remain key priorities to aid agencies, governments and international donors.” Dolo Ado is the world’s second largest refugee complex, and the fastest growing settlement for refugees in the region. Somalia A clash between al Shabaab and security forces in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland on 05 December killed or wounded 31 people, informs BBC. The militants attacked a military base and installed a roadside bomb which was detonated as a truck carrying soldiers passed. The Islamic militants recently moved into Puntland after losing their strongholds in the south of the country. The Puntland government stated that security forces were pursuing the militants into the Galagalo mountain range. Al Shabaab has also carried out a number of ambushes in southern Somalia over the past week, including an attack on 04 December on an army base close to the town of Jowhar, which is one of the militants’ last urban strongholds, and on 03 December, a convoy carrying three government ministers was ambushed close to the port city of Merca. Somalia signed the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention on 07 December, making a commitment to destroy all stockpiles of landmines during the next four years, and to demine the country within ten years. Somalia is the 160 th country to sign the convention. The Somali government has additionally agreed to provide support to landmine survivors and refrain from using, producing or transferring anti-personnel mines. The United Nations launched a USD 1.3 billion appeal to fund 369 humanitarian projects in Somalia over the next three years, reports The Guardian. With an estimated 3.8 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will coordinate efforts alongside national and international NGOs, to facilitate Somalia’s transition to becoming a selfsufficient country. 11 December 2012 Page 5
Continued from page 1 declined slightly to 17.6% during 2012 and will likely remain at approximately 18% through 2013, according to the World Bank. The first year following the revolution also saw a trend of self-immolations, mainly by desperate, young men from poor, rural areas. Many others are illegally migrating to Europe, often through dangerous means in search of better economic opportunities most are which are caught by authorities and placed in detention or face deportation. Although it was Tunisia’s youth who spearheaded the revolution, they are perhaps the most disappointed with the results, reports the BBC. Regional disparities across the country, which continue to deprive the interior and peri-urban areas of economic development, are also a major challenge faced by the current government. According to Joulan Abdul Khalek, a consultant at the World Bank, the Ben Ali regime created ”shocking levels” of inequality among regions by focusing all economic development in the capital Tunis and its surrounding suburbs. This region holds only 30% of the country’s population and 10% of its landmass, but garners 65% of total private investment in the country. In contrast, the southern and western parts of Tunisia hold around 57% of the population, but only contribute 18% of value-added in the economy. While unemployment averages around 13% in the capital Tunis, it runs at 28% in central provinces where the revolution began, reports Reuters. On 27 November 2012, the local branch of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) organised a general strike in Siliana, a farming town in Tunisia’s low-income northern interior, to demand jobs, government investment and the resignation of the governor. The strike quickly degenerated into violence between protestors and the police, causing over 300 injuries during 5 days of protests, which were contained by the military. Fearing the clashes could spread to other regions, on 30 November President Moncef Marzouki said in a televised speech that the government has not “met the expectations of the people” and stressed that Tunisia was at a crossroads between “the road to ruin and the road to recovery.” President Marzouki also asked the Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to appoint a new cabinet, one that was smaller and specialised to deal with the unrest, and by 02 December, a deal had been reached with the protestors resulting in the resignation of the regional governor and promises of increased economic development. However, the unrest already appears to be spreading, as similar clashes have been reported in at least two other towns. As more Tunisians become disillusioned with the country’s slow pace of socio-economic reform, Salafist groups have seized the opportunity to increase their influence, rejecting democracy’s legitimacy and arguing that Tunisia needs a strict implementation of Islamic law, reports The Guardian. Some Salafists have advocated the use of violence to advance their goals and consequently, and attacks have escalated in recent months. As a result of these attacks, including the US Embassy attack on 11 September, the government extended the state of emergency that has been in place since January 2011 was extended through January 2013, thereby continuing special intervention powers for security forces. The state of emergency decree bans gatherings of more than three people and authorises security forces to shoot instigators of public disorder. The New York Times (NYT) has described Tunisia’s situation as a ”vicious Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki has warned that if the economy is not fixed there cycle” in which political unrest scares off the investors will be a ‘revolution within the revolution’. Source: The Guardian needed to create jobs. Fearing that Tunisia’s worsening economy could promulgate increasing unrest, the World Bank approved a USD 500 million loan to the government, followed by another USD 500 million from the African Development Bank. The government now has enough financing to cover its 2013 spending, and the World Bank expects economic growth to increase to approximately 3.7% in 2013 and 4.9% in 2014. However, Tunisia will need at least three to five years before it will see a change in employment prospects. Meanwhile, social unrest may be simmering as the frustration of increasing numbers of unemployed youth and deprived inland populations are reluctant to wait three to five more years for change, reports the NYT.
ENGAGE WITH US 11 December 2012
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