VIF News Digest: Africa, Gulf & Middle East (Vol 2 Issue I)

15th December -15th January

Africa a Priority in China's Diplomacy says Chinese Foreign Minister

It's a diplomatic tradition of China in which the Foreign Ministers visits Africa during the new year to show that Africa is always a priority in China's diplomacy. This tradition has been kept for 28 years till now. Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi, recently met the Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali and mentioned that China is always the most reliable partner for Africa. This year the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit is to be held in Beijing and Wang noted that the FOCAC is an important channel for conducting collective dialogue and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa. The Foreign Minister Wang Yi indicated that China is willing to strengthen communication and consultation with African to take this year's Beijing Summit to new heights. Mr. Wang Yi, after his visit to Rwanda would also visit Angola, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.

George Weah, an International Soccer Player is the Newly Elected President of Liberia

Liberia experienced the first peaceful transition of power in 73 years. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stepped down after her completion of two terms, as a former international footballer George Weah became the newly elected President of Liberia. It was his second attempt at the presidency as a candidate as he lost the first attempt to Ellen John Sirleaf in the year 2006. Liberians were praised by the United Nations Security Council for the peaceful conduct of elections. The members of the Security Council apart from the Liberian people and government, also congratulated the political leaders, civil society organizations, and the media for the peaceful conduct. Sirleaf will bow out and George Weah will take over the reign on 22 January, 2018.

Hundreds of Migrants Stranded in Libya Returns to Nigeria

The migrant crisis in Libya once again received international attention revealing that the African migrants were sold as slaves in the capital and elsewhere. They were being sold like goats for a few dollars in Libya. Many of them had traveled illegally through the desert trying to reach Italy via Libya. Before finding themselves in the right place they were picked up and thrown into jail for illegal entry. Furthermore, they fell into the hands of wrong people and were sold into slavery and prostitution. There were more than 200 Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya who have now returned to their homes in Nigeria.

State of Emergency Declared in South Sudan

The South Sudan president issued an order declaring emergency in South Sudan as more than 170 people have died in clashes between two sub-clans in South Sudan. Several houses were burnt to ashes in the violence that erupted over a land dispute in the country. The order affects three northern states, where military chiefs told to mobilise forces with enough equipment for upto three months. At present 342 houses have been burnt and almost 1,800 people been displaced. It is hoped the state of emergency would help curb the violence.

Africans Outraged by Trump's Remark

The US President Donald Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations as "shithole countries”. The 55-nation African Union condemned the remarks accusing the US president of racism and ignorance. Later on, the United Nations demanded an apology by considering the remarks as shocking, shameful and racist. According to the statement, ‘the African Union strongly believes there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current administration’ and that ‘there is a serious need for dialogue between the US administration and African countries”.

Church Once Again attacked in Cairo

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the attack on the Church that took place in Cairo, Egypt. According to the media reports, at least nine people were killed when gunmen opened fire on a Coptic Orthodox Church in the southern Cairo neighborhood of Helwan. Till date, no group claimed responsibility for the attack but it is noted that the Islamic State (IS) has constantly targeted Egypt's Christians, killing more than 100 in a series of deadly bombings and shootings since December 2016.

Ethiopia to remain East Africa's fastest Growing Economy

According to the 2018 World Bank forecast, Ethiopia’s economy will sustain its growth lead for the East African region. In the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) forecast, its economy, however, dropped a step in growth, falling behind Ghana. Out of all the East African countries, although Ethiopia remains the fastest growing economy, but growth is expected to soften as it takes measures to stabilize government debt, the World Bank (WB) mentioned.

Over 12,000 Cameroonians are Taking Refuge in Nigeria

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that at least, 12,100 displaced Cameroonians are taking refuge in Nigeria. According to him, many of the refugees are women, children and the elderly, and they are currently being hosted by locals in Nigerian communities near the border with Cameroon. The UN official who said more refugees were coming into the country every day, warned that the situation could worsen if a solution to the crisis in the region is not quickly found. UNHCR is concerned about the political crisis in Cameroon and mentions that if such a situation continues then the government must adopts extra security measures and more asylum as more seekers will keep coming in mere future.