• African security

    Boko Haram has said it was demanding a ransom of nearly $56 million for the release of the 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped from the Nigerian town of Chibok two years ago. The Islamist militants conveyed their demand in secret contacts with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who, during last year’s presidential campaign, said that if need be, he would negotiate with the militants for the girls’ release.

  • African security

    Khalid al-Barnawi, the leader of Nigeria’s Ansaru jihadist group, a Boko Haram splinter group ideologically aligned with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has been arrested, a Nigerian army spokesman said on Sunday. Al-Barnawi, 47, was born as Usman Umar Abubakar in Biu town in northeast Borno state. He is one of three Nigerians listed by Washington in 2012 as “specially designated global terrorists.

  • African security

    Jihadist literature has, for a while, called for the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction — encouraging the production of ricin, botulinum, and sarin. The surge in terrorist acts and violent extremism on the continent should underscore, for all African states, the urgent need to actively prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors. It also confirms the relevance of UN Security Council resolution 1540

  • Terrorism

    Hassan Ali Dhoore, a senior leader of the Somali al-Shabaab Islamist group, was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Thursday. On 5 March a U.S. air strike killed more than a 100 al-Shabaab fighters in one of the group’s training facilities.

  • Foreign direct investment

    Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 4.7% in 2013 while it has declined in North Africa, and intra-African investment is on the rise. Investors shift from extractive industries to consumer-related sectors. There have been dramatic improvement in investor perception about the attractiveness of Africa for investors, but stubborn perception gap remains between investors already operating on the continent and those who are not.

  • Private sector

    Africa’s private sector will continue to lead the continent towards economic transformation, African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina said at the launch of the fourth Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan. “The ‘Africa rising’ story remains strong,” he told 500 CEOs from 43 African countries.

  • Short takes -- 2

    The specter of high debt is raising its head again in Africa, analysts say, as sub-Saharan nations that borrowed cheaply on global markets are now squeezed by a commodities crash. On 9 February 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Electrify Africa Act after nearly two years of failed attempts to get the bill through both chambers of Congress. As Sub-Saharan Africa strives to break the shackles of poverty, its population of nearly one billion people is hard at work. The ongoing collapse of mineral prices on the international market, growing debt crisis, and dwindling revenue to finance socio-economic development in African countries has refocused attention on how to optimally use the continent’s vast mineral sector

  • Investment treaties

    A new generation of investment treaties must balance investment policy and the development strategies of host countries while ensuring responsible investor behavior. This is why there is a growing view that the traditional model for bilateral investment treaties needs a review. This must focus on developing a new generation foreign investment policy framework. This should, along with promoting foreign investment, also enable recipient countries to regulate foreign direct investment in line with their public policies. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development is a step forward.

  • Liberia’s economy

    Liberia has huge agricultural potentials, including rubber, cocoa, cassava, and rice. About 50 percent of the country’s population lives in extreme poverty, while only two percent of the population has access to electricity. The African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has pledged to support Liberia’s effort to diversify its economy, with a particular emphasis on the agriculture and power sectors.

  • Visas

    The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has welcomed Ghana’s decision to introduce a visa-on-arrival policy for citizens of African Union Member States. The President of Ghana, H. E. John Dramani Mahama, announced the decision in his State of the Nations address to the Ghanaian Parliament on 25 February 2016.

  • Renewable energy

    Sierra Leone has received a $300,000 grant from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) to prepare a far-reaching national Investment Plan (IP) to transform its renewable energy sector. The IP will be developed under the CIF’s Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) in a collaborative approach that includes multiple ministries and stakeholders throughout the country, including private sector, commercial and development banks, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

  • Food security

    With a mobile data collection app and satellite data, scientists will be able to predict whether a certain region is vulnerable to food shortages and malnutrition. The method has now been tested in the Central African Republic.

  • Water security

    Climate change could significantly alter water flows in major river basins in Africa, presenting a new barrier to nascent efforts to better manage water for food production and to resolve potential cross-border water conflicts all over southern Africa.

  • Ebola

    As of 31 January 2016, a total of 28,639 cases and 11,316 deaths have been attributed to Ebola, figures that are assumed to significantly underestimate the actual scope of the 2014 Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever outbreak in West Africa. In the United States, there were also two imported cases and two locally acquired cases reported in September-October 2014. Researchers offer an alternative policy for Ebola entry screening at airports in the United States. “Security measures implemented after 9/11 taught us a lot about what not to do,” one of the researchers say. “We learned that finding the one person who intends to do harm out of several million passengers is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.”

  • Ebola

    On Tuesday the WHO officials met to consider the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, and to decide whether the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and whether the current Temporary Recommendations should be extended, rescinded, or revised. WHOconcluded that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences. Accordingly, the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and the temporary recommendations adopted in response should now be terminated.

  • Resilience

    New data has revealed that 1.4 billion people in South Asia, or 81 percent of the region’s population, are acutely exposed to at least one type of natural hazard and live in areas considered to have insufficient resources to cope with and rebound from an extreme event. Poor governance, weak infrastructure, and high levels of poverty and corruption amplify the economic and humanitarian losses associated with significant natural hazards events – and these factors will exacerbate the consequences of natural disasters especially in Africa, a continent which hosts eight out of the nine countries most vulnerable to natural hazards.

  • Emerging threats

    The year 2015 made history, with shattered temperature records, intense heatwaves, exceptional rainfall, devastating drought, and unusual tropical cyclone activity, according to the World Meteorological Organization. That record-breaking trend has continued in 2016. The global average surface temperature in 2015 broke all previous records by a wide margin, at about 0.76° Celsius above the 1961-1990 average because of a powerful El Niño and human-caused global warming. With 93 percent of excess heat stored in the oceans, ocean heat content down to 2,000 meters also hit a new record.

  • Public health

    Rapid testing for the Zika virus is a critical need in the recent Ebola-affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea because of the recent Zika outbreak on nearby Cape Verde and the similarity in symptoms between Zika and early Ebola, experts say.

  • Food security

    Global warming will increase rainfall in some of the world’s driest areas over land, with not only the wet getting wetter but the dry getting wetter as well — a phenomenon that could lead to more flash flooding.

  • CBRN threats

    From March 7 to 9, Liberian and European Union specialists have gathered to proceed to the identification of needs in order to strengthen the country’s system to deal with threats emanating from Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear agents and materials.