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Drought Continues to Plague the Horn of Africa

Incessant drought trends in the Horn of Africa are worse than they were in the last 40 years of famine which killed thousands of people and caused an increase in food crisis due to consecutive years of low rainfall. The Horn of Africa region have been faced with climatic shock, low rainfall, and in most cases floods, especially those associated with El Nino and La Nina events. While EL Nino is associated with a warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific, La Nina is associated with a sustained cooling of these same events. However, these events contribute to the record-low rainfall in parts of the Horn of Africa and contributing to food crisis and inflation in these regions. In addition to this effect, the situation is aggravated by uncertainty with grain supplies from the Black Sea. Most third world countries depend on fertilizers and grain from Russia and Ukraine, respectively. For example, Somalia depends on Ukrainian grain, and according to UN reports, 90% of its grain comes from Ukraine. The Ukraine conflict disrupted logistics chains, grain and fertilizers sent as part of the "grain deal" didn’t end up in African countries. What this means for third world countries most especially countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya severely hit by drought would bear the brunt of the global food crisis since they are heavily dependent on Russian fertilizers and Ukrainian grains. Given the joint alert by the Meteorological agencies, the March-May 2023 drought would be more devastating for communities. Tracing back to history, the Horn of Africa has been faced with drought for 40 years, however, the current drought started with the poor performance of the October-December 2020 rains and has deepened subsequently. The drought between March till May would be below normal and unlikely to be above normal. For instance, In Somalia, 1.3 million persons have been internally displaced and 80% were women and children. It has also been proven that the incessant drought is manmade which changed the climate, says a study by the World Weather Attribution group of scientists. Hence, it is misleading to assume or categorically consider rain failure as the consequence of drought faced in these regions. For instance, in 2011-2012 Somalia battled with famine and this was because of conflict. And a region faced with food insecurity, inflation, restricted mobility, and political instability directly or indirectly contributes to drought challenges. Marginalized and underdeveloped regions are more affected as well as regions where indicators are beyond the emergency threshold. Again, Among the people largely affected by the intensifying droughts are the nomadic pastoralists leaving them vulnerable to hasher lands with little or no support from the government. Thousands and millions of people in the Horn of Africa are facing acute hunger for numerous factors ranging from droughts, conflict, and instability within and globally. According to Joyce Kimutai a climate scientist who works with WWA to tease out climate change with the Kenya Meteorological Department, found that 1.2 degrees Celsius (2,2 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler world, which is a combination of low rainfall and evapotranspiration would not have caused drought at all and the drought was exceptional because of climate change. Furthermore, these regions have faced a slow response from traditional donors because of the ongoing military operation. However, as of April 2023, it was reported that drought left about 4.35 million people in the Horn of Africa in need of humanitarian aid, and Somalia is estimated to have lost 43,000 people. For this same reason, the UNHCR refugee agency appealed for US$ 137 million as of February 23, 2023, to provide aid to 3.3 million refugees and internally displaced persons who fled in search of safety. According to the Data published by the UNHCR, over 17 million people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia and Somalia because of drought since last year and more than 180,000 refugees from Somalia and South Sudan crossed into drought-affected regions of Kenya and Ethiopia. The UNHCR reported its plans to provide basic relief materials, cash assistance, and health facilities. It will also work towards strengthening border monitoring and facilitating refugee registration and documentation in collaboration with local authorities. alongside UNHCR, WHO is countering the consequences of malnutrition and assisting affected populations prepare for outbreaks of diseases like cholera, measles, and malaria and providing health services and treatments for chronic infections like HIV, tuberculosis, and mental health services. These drought cases have left women and children vulnerable to child abuse or forced child labor, gender-based violence and have contributed to health challenges. As of 2022, plans were made to assist these regions but however, humanitarian response plans have been underfunded. at the same time last year only 20 percent of food security has been funded till date, in Kenya about 34 percent of the required $139 million for October 2021-March 2022 were met and funding requirements increased to $189 million in April-October 2022. The assistance provided to these regions is limited and for that reason calls for immediate actions to mitigate this crisis. The international emergency response to these crises has regularly been criticized, the late response to droughts, and as a result, the humanitarian community has tried to improve its response capacity, investing in various early warning systems and financial mechanisms for quick release of funds. In addition, weather forecasts in the region have a significant impact on the region in showing how resources should be distributed. Governments on the other hand are unwilling to allocate resources based on forecasts and this to an extent contributes to the deterioration of the already worsened situation in the region. It is not surprising that these regions are consistently hit by droughts and floods in most cases. Without quick measures or humanitarian response to remedy the situation, the region would continually face the same situation.

Mali Raises Russian Flag ousting UN Peacekeepers

Citizens of Mali on Friday 28th April gathered in Mali’s capital Bamako, waving Russian flags in a protest against the inability of UN’s peace keeping mission MINUSMA to resolve the lingering crisis in Mali since its intervention in 2013. The protesters who decried the deplorable situation of the security of lives and property in Mali insisted that UN peacekeepers’ decade-long presence in Mali is no longer required. It could be recalled that the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by Scarcity Council Resolution 2100 of 25 April, 2013 to support the political process through the creation of favourable conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the citizens in an attempt to stabilize Mali while preparing the state for free all-inclusive peaceful elections. However, the crisis in Mali has continued to grow since after the first coup in 2020. The nation ruled by military junta since then through the help of Russian paramilitary mercenaries has battled armed terrorist groups believed to be associated with the Al-Qaeda and Islamic state organization. The crisis in Mali has its origin from long-existing structural conditions like weak state institutions; observable ineffective governance, poor social cohesion, a strong feeling of Marginalization and negligence of some communities in the Northern part of Mali by the central government, a growing effects of environmental degradation as well as most recent factors of power abase, deteriorating capacity as well as most recent factors of power abase, deteriorating capacity of the national army; increase of internal strife, social instability, high levels of corruption and nepotism. This brought about active terrorist groups like ISIS and JNIM – an AQ-affiliated umbrella group that formed when the Sahara branch of AQIM, al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine and the Macina liberation front merged. The jihadists of the al-Qaeda affiliated group for the support for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, JNIM in Arabic) continued to claim responsibility for different terror attacks in Malian capital Bamako and many other parts since then. The growing insurgency spread to neighbouring countries like Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad. These countries formed the G5 Sahel – a joint military force which had Mali’s military as part of it until the stat withdrew its membership in May, 2022. The G5 Sahel whose military aspect is coordinated by the respective countries’ Chiefs of Staff had its operations largely finance by the European Union with the purpose of strengthening the bond between economic development and security and jointly battling the threat of jihadist organizations operating in the area. From the beginning, with the growing concerns of insecurity among neighbouring states it is worthy of note that the international community did not turn blind eyes / deaf ears to the crisis in Mali. While the crisis was heating up around 2012 and 2013, Reuters reported in January 12, 2013 that the prime Minsters of Libya, Algeria and Tunisia agreed to enhance security along their common borders in an attempt to fight the flow of arms and drugs and organised crime in the politically turbulent regions. Before then, the former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi played a leading role in bringing an end to a Tuarey rebellion in Mali and Niger in October 2009, allegedly distributing millions of dollars to the insurgents. However, after the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, in October 2011, Thomas Fessy, BBC News West Africa Correspondent wrote in 2012 that the coup in Mali may have had its roots in the fall of Muammar Gaddafi as hundreds of Malian combatants who had fought to defend the late Libyan leader fled back to Mali with weapons and formed the most powerful Tuareg-led rebel group in the known as Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA). The French military intervened in the Mali crisis following an official request by the Malian interim government for French military assistance using operation “Serval” between 11 January, 2013 – 15 July, 2014. The aim of the operation was to oust Islamic militants from the north of Mali. The operation was replaced by “Operation Barkhane”, launched on 1 August, 2014 to fight Islamic fighters in the Sahel. However, these French troop faced a lot of challenges during the 9 years stay in Mali. Many of the soldiers were killed by terrorists. By 17th February, 2022, the BBC news reported that France refused to negotiate a peace deal with Islamist groups; got angered by the decision of the Mali Junta to invite mercenaries from the Russian company Wagner to help in the fight against the jihadist groups. As a result, the French troops involved in the “Operation Barkhane” were withdrawn within six months. The international communities and governments of neighbouring countries became worried that France’s withdrawal from Mali could further destabilize the region; the report says. After the exit of the French troops, Wagner private military company – a Russian paramilitary organization who arrived in Mali in December 2021. The center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in a commentary section, published in February 2, 2022, expressed that Mali’s international partners including United States and numerous European countries condemned the arrival of the Wagner Group in Mali. The commentary said the Malian Junta’s turn to Russia and the Wager Group is intended to shore up its domestic political position rather than to meaningfully address insecurity in the country. With all these factors and events playing out, one would ask, what is the future of Mali? Are there hopes of any successful transition into Civilian rule come February, 2024? The next very pertinent question should be: what is the implications of the protests against United Nations Peacekeepers in Mali? By raising Russian flag during the protest on Friday signifying acceptance of Russia and the Wagner group, what does the future hold for the Malians?

“Power Tussle” as Sudan Military Clashes with the RSF

Political strife and constant clashes over who heads the military welding more control in Sudan have continued to derail the course of transition into civilian rule thereby crushing the hopes of the common citizens who wish to experience a fresh breath of Democracy and freedom from military dominance. On the 15th of April, civil strife broke out in Sudan between the Sudan Army Forces (SAF) led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary group called RSF (Rapid Support Forces) led by Hemedti originally known Hamdan Dagalo in Khartoum and one of the major and immediate causes is the failed attempt to incorporate the Rapid Support forces into the Sudanese army which led the RSF to deploy its forces into the capital without the permission of the army. On the other hand, the Sudanese army was demanding the dissolution of the RSF, and its members integrated into the regular military ranks. As of 17 April, UN reports showed that more than 180 people have been killed, 1,800 injured and UN facilities had been looted and damaged. Sudan in general since independence has had more conflict than any other African region since independence. The transition was to mark the beginning of civilian rule in Sudan which the military refused to carry out. The recent outbreak was a time bomb waiting to explode. It has been brewing since the transition that followed Omar al Bashir’s toppling from his 30-year-old government in 2019. This coup was masterminded by the army and paramilitary and both parties’ intentions were to collaborate to seize power. The power-sharing agreement signed by both entities recognized the RSF as a regular entity affiliated with the armed forces but placed under the direct supervision of a civilian head of state and the agreement as well required the integration of RSF into the army, but the exact time of integration wasn’t negotiated and since then the agreement deepened the distrust between Hemedti and Burhan. The events leading to the signing of the agreements on 17 July 2021 were met with confrontation and tensions between the civilian opposition and the military council over the transitional agreement over who welds power however, this led to violent clashes on 3 June 2021, which led to the death of up to 120 protesters in Khartoum. The killings were met with international leaders condemning the act and AU suspending Sudan’s membership. Hence, the architect of the civil strife can be traced to Bashir’s regime, rather than rebuild the military, he decided to arm local paramilitary groups headed by Hemedti which led to the proliferation of groups such as the RSF which started in Darfur and spread across Sudan. The reason for his actions was because of his fallout with Hassan al-Turabi, Sudan’s leading Islamist over the military failed to stop the assault on Khartoum by the Darfuri rebel Justice and Equality Movement in 2008. Solidifying their stance in the country, Sudan’s parliament passed an Act putting the paramilitaries directly under the office of the president in 2017. Not until 2019, did Bashir’s ruinous policies, corruption, extravagant spending on the defense sector, and too many foreign debts, shortage of supplies like food and medicines drive the country into an economic crisis led to protests that forced Bashir out of power which marked the victory for the Sudanese and at the same time a new beginning of civil strife towards successful transition into the civilian rule. Considering the politics at play, one can describe the fallout of both groups as a “clash of interest”. Since the overthrow of Bashir’s autocratic rule and the signing of the constitutional declaration agreement between the military and the Freedom and Change (FFC) which is an umbrella representing the civilians and armed opposition groups, transferred most powers to the civilian administration. Despite the agreement, Burhan breached the agreement because eventually most significant positions were controlled by the military. According to Alan Boswell a project director at Horn of Africa Nairobi’s report on International Crisis Group, the transitional period was met with army officers seizing power and was bent on preserving and consolidating power and protecting its economic interest, this was evident in the dissolution of the civilian cabinet which was paving way for reforms. These single actions disrupted the transition that was supposed to make way for elections in 2023. It remains unclear what will become of Sudan during this period and of course after the crisis given its economic turmoil, political instability, hunger, and division amongst faction groups. On Friday, one week after the crisis that engulfed Sudan erupted, Sudan’s top military general army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan declared the military’s commitment to a civilian-led government. This pledge was welcomed by mixed feelings from many Sudanese who believe the pledge came from the same person who joined forces with the current rivals to seize power 18 months ago. However, with the growing tension in Sudan coupled with civilians' divided interests, one can argue that the transition to civil rule in the nation may not be in sight. The Sudanese Armed Forces, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo must come together to resolve and implement the agreement signed in December 2022 thereby stepping away from Sudan's political affairs for a successful transition into civilian government. On the other hand, f the crisis continues, the country would be depriving itself of international funding and support thereby worsening the economic condition of the state, as well as increasing the level of political instability that has hitherto ravaged the nation.

African Passion

War in Sudan as a continuation of Western and U.S. policy to oust Russia from the position of a leading geopolitical player on the world stage. While the attention of the world is riveted on the special military operation in Ukraine, reports have come in about the military conflict in Sudan, a country, until recently one of the largest in Africa with the richest gold and oil reserves. A real civil war has broken out there with the use of aircraft, artillery and tanks, with military and civilian casualties. And it seems far away from us, but in fact we propose to consider these events as one of the links in the chain of serious international events. To begin with, let us try to figure out the intricacies of politics in this African country. For 30 years Sudan was ruled by President Omar al-Bashir, under whom a civil war broke out in a part of the country populated predominantly by black people, while the majority of the population is Arab. This war resulted in the creation of a separate state, South Sudan, which broke away from the main Sudan. But political life in the country did not stabilize there. In 2018, protests began against the government of Omar al-Bashir, and the army overthrew him, declaring a state of emergency and promising that power would pass to elected representatives of the people after the armed forces had taken the country out of crisis. But history knows very few examples, especially in Africa, of the military voluntarily handing over power to civilians. As they say, we didn't shed blood for that... And in the end two generals seized power: Abdel-Fatah-al Burhan, who was said to have Sufi roots and to have led the regular army, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, a camel dealer before serving in the army and now leader of the Janjaweed militia (a name like in the 1001 Night tales, "Men on horseback"), also known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Some analysts consider it a special forces unit, others are inclined to believe that it is a militia unit. Incidentally, Dagalo was a deputy of al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's Transitional Council. The emergence of the RSF itself is interesting. During the war in Darfur, a region of Sudan rich in minerals, the black tribes living there rebelled, believing that the Arabs were oppressing them by monopolizing resources. That's when the authorities formed units from the Arab population to fight the black inhabitants. Over time they strengthened, it is written that their numbers reached as many as 100,000. And in 2013, President Al-Bashir reorganized the Janjaweed into the RSF (Rapid Support Forces), something similar to Iran's IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps). In other words, two parallel armies appeared in the country, two forces that were to enter into an armed conflict sooner or later. They are led by two generals who were not at all eager to hand over power, but rather were looking for an excuse to become the sole ruler of the country. What triggered the armed clash between them? Al Burhan decided to subordinate the RSF to the army, and the RSF responded by redeploying to Khartoum and other cities. The army perceived this as an attempt to attack its positions. General Al Burhan demanded a dissolution of the RSF. And full-scale combat operations began, using sophisticated weapons. The army's attempt to "wrest" from the RSF the airfield, through which it was selling gold to supplement its budget, also played an important role. As a result, the army began to use artillery, tanks and aircraft against the RSF, which the latter did not have. So the first thing they did was to seize the largest airfield in Khartoum and burn all the planes standing there, regardless of whether they were military or civilian. The situation is aggravated by the fact that behind each of the generals there are foreign political forces. The Emirates and Saudi Arabia support General Dagalo, while Egypt sides with Al Burhan, who sees Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi as a role model and has even concluded a treaty with Cairo to establish an air force base on Sudanese territory. In addition, China has tightly entered Sudan, attracted by its oil and gold, and is actively building its infrastructure on its territory. And what is Russia's position in this country, which is called the "Gateway to Africa"? Admittedly, in recent years Russia has developed a very successful and thoughtful policy towards Africa, which clearly strains the U.S. and the European Union. France is especially enraged, which is being driven out of the places of its traditional influence in Africa by the local governments, giving more and more preference to Russia. And the fact that Russia has no colonial history in the Black Continent is important. We must admit that Russia is successfully beginning to integrate with Africa. Russia has normal political relations with both generals. One of them was on a visit to Moscow, the other - Dagalo - made a statement in support of Russia and its participation in the special military operation. Having no colonial past that Africans cannot forget, Russia is successfully establishing trade and economic relations with Sudan. Russia is actively involved in gold mining in this country; gold mining companies Siberian for Mining and Rosgeologiya are actively developing deposits. Russia is also ready to help in the development of oil fields; major projects in aviation, telecommunications, agriculture and other sectors are planned. One of the most important issues of Russian-Sudanese relations is the construction of a Russian base - a logistics point on the Red Sea. Back in 2020, an agreement was signed, which should have been ratified after the transfer of power to the civilian government. But it seems that, in line with recent events, this will not happen soon. According to the agreement, the sea base will be valid for 25 years, then an extension for another 10 years is possible, if neither party is opposed. Up to 4 ships and 300 servicemen may be deployed at a time. In exchange, Russia pledged to supply arms and military equipment. On February 8, 2023, during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Khartoum, negotiations were held again, and Sudan reaffirmed its interest in establishing a base in the Port of Sudan, which caused fierce displeasure of the United States and the European Union. Is this not the reason for the conflict that has erupted in Sudan? How might the confrontation between the two generals end, and how might this affect the continuation of negotiations about the Russian base and its investments? I am sure that neither of the generals will be able to win a convincing victory, and after a while they will be forced to sit down at the negotiating table. With each other. It is possible that for each of Sudan's military leaders the issue of the Russian sea base is just a bargaining chip in the game with the West and the United States. African politics is a complex and peculiar thing.

Is China’s Economic Policy in Africa Setting the Stage for Global Order?

China-Africa relationship continues to grow Surpassing the US and becoming the largest trading partner in Africa. China’s Presence has been felt in Africa for decades and majorly becoming an economic partner of sub-Saharan African Countries with its economic activities resulting in an overall increase in trade, foreign direct investment, and aid in Africa. Its foreign direct investment peaked at an all time high from $490 million in 2003 to $43.4 billion in 2020 making China the Africa’s largest investor ahead of the United States. This makes economic analysts wonder if China is setting the pace for a new economic order. Just like the West, China is strategic about its activities and policies for instance in rolling out aid, trade, investment stock, investment growth, and infrastructural financing in airports, dams, roads, etc., as these are the major economic connections between Africa and the world at large. Since the past decade, Chinese loans and contractors reshaped much of the continent’s infrastructure and this has been matched by investments in mines and manufacturing plants, shopping centers, and corner stores. Their activities in Africa made many believe that China is becoming Africa’s most economic partner for instance; According to Afrobarometer, a polling firm on “The pan African Research Network” as of 2017 discovers that 63% of people in 36 African countries consider China to be a positive influence and others fret that it is the “new colonial master.” Its expansion contributed to a shift in public policy from a narrow focus on trade and investment relations to a broad range of development issues, pledging concessional loans to Africa to address a range of issues like climate change, food security, attain Millennium Development Goals, and overcome the epidemic diseases. Its impact is felt in resource-rich economies that benefit from China’s demand for raw materials. “The Economist” special reports on China in Africa, China’s financial assistance shrunk in 2016 diverting focus to trade and investment. Furthermore, one of China’s key initiatives in Africa is The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an infrastructure that intends to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa through a network of ports, trains, motorways, and other infrastructure. Many African countries have joined the initiative to benefit from these investments. However, the European Union and the United States also play a role in African economies creating competition amongst these traditional African donors. The EU and the US economic relationship has been said to be unequal with Africa’s demand to be treated as partners. Their policies since time immemorial focused on trade and investments as well as aid. Not until recent times has the US been strategically pivoting into African in a bid to strengthen its ties given competitions in the continent. In comparison to China, India and the US, Russia is considered a minor player on the continent. Russia supports minor states mostly states that have been internationally shunned like Angola and this, however, gives Russia a significant influence. Currently, Russia has been navigating towards increasing its influence in the continent following global isolation. Most of its investments in Africa focus on trade in resources and promoting nuclear power technology as Alrosa, Gazprom, Lukoil, Rostec and Rosatom which are large Russian companies are situated in African countries. Russia-Africa ties have faced a decline for decades until it gained its major entry and expansion for Russian business and economic strategy given the October 2019 Russia-Africa Summit. Russia’s role during the colonial period was an advantage over other actors in the “new scramble for Africa”. Unlike its counterparts that position themselves economically while indirectly coaxing Africans to live by Western standards of public administration in return for loans. Russia’s presence is felt given its military assistance to African governments to maintain stability and political stance for instance following the events in Libya, the Central African Republic and Mali. Recently, Russia exports about 30% of Russian agricultural exports to Africa and about $14 billion per Russian arms sales to Africa to counter growing instability in Africa. It is imperative to say that China’s influence in Africa cannot be compared to its competitors. Its ties to Africa are drifting towards political, military, and security with the establishment of a military base in Djibouti and gradually spreading into other parts of Africa. One notable thing about China in Africa is the fact that transparency is not one of the characteristics of the Chinese system. It doesn’t produce reports on how its aid is distributed or the actual figures pumped into Africa as financial assistance. Unlike the EU, US, and Russia, China’s policies primarily focus on achieving growth and increasing its reach across the globe. It’s also driven by the state with government intervention in the economy. Nevertheless, its policies have faced criticism for lack of environmental and social standards leading to issues of exploitation and pollution for instance citizens in Ghana were of the opinion that China’s activities affects its environment.

German ambassador expelled from Chad

African heads of state have become more independent and do not like the West telling them how to live. Admittedly, I had a very vague idea about this country. Mostly through lines from Gumilev's poem: "So listen to me: far away, on the shores of Lake Chad / There roams an exquisite giraffe." However, on April 7, the media space (at least in Germany) was blown up by the news that the government of this glorious country in Central Africa had demanded the German ambassador, Jan Christian Gordon Kricke, to leave the country within 48 hours. I note that he was apparently not an undercover German intelligence officer, who is often expelled so swiftly, but a career diplomat. Before Chad, he had worked in Niger, Angola and the Philippines. The German Embassy reported that it had learned about the Chadian authorities' decision from the local media. No official notification was sent to the diplomatic mission. According to leaks from the government, Kricke paid the price for his "impolite attitude" and "disregard of diplomatic practice." He "interfered too actively" in the internal affairs of the host country and made "contradictory remarks." It is alleged that the ambassador was repeatedly warned of the possible consequences of his actions. "The reasons for the Chadian government to declare our ambassador persona non grata are completely incomprehensible to us. We are in contact with the Chadian government on this matter," the German Foreign Ministry said. Personally, I am offended for the FRG. How the credibility of this G7 power must have fallen on the international scene if the representatives of the "country of giraffes" (forgive me, Chadians!) dared to kick the German ambassador in the pants. There is reason to ponder what caused the official N'Djamena (as the capital of this state is called) to act so harshly. But first, a little history. Chadian President Idriss Déby, who had ruled the country for more than 30 years, died on April 20, 2021. This happened in a few hours after the Independent Electoral Commission announced the preliminary results of the regular elections. According to its data, 68-year-old Déby won for the sixth time, receiving 79.32% of the vote. On the same day, the President went to the war zone in the north of the country against the group Front For Change and Concord in Chad (FACT). However, the rebel groups attacked the government troops. Déby was wounded and later died in hospital. After that, the military dissolved the parliament and the government and created a transitional military council headed by the son of the murdered, General Mahamat Idris Deby Itno. He promised to hold democratic elections in the country within a year and a half. However, in October 2022 the junta proclaimed him interim president and his rule was extended for two more years. Opposition protests against the usurpation of power were brutally crushed. Members of several diplomatic missions accredited in the country sharply criticized the violence. Germany and several other EU countries have expressed concern about the delayed return to democracy. Surprisingly, German diplomats, even those of the old school, began to copy the brash and aggressive manner of their boss, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. By all appearances, Ambassador Kricke was one of those who most zealously mentored the Chadian establishment on the right path. But the time when Chad was a French colony passed long ago. And now it is not the civilians who are in power there, but the military, who do not like to be lectured. Let Germany continue to lose its sovereignty and influence for the sake of its overseas patron! The Chadian military junta at the end of March this year announced the nationalization of all assets of the American oil and gas company Exxon Mobile. It's a complicated story there, too. The Yankees felt that it was getting hotter and hotter in the middle of Africa. Not in the sense of climate, of course. So they decided to sell assets in Chad and Cameroon to their British "brothers", Savannah Energy. But the Chadian leadership blocked the deal, and then even went to expropriation. Earlier, Democrat Robert Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, initiated a draft resolution condemning "a government coup in Chad in April 2021." This is the "reply" that came to Capitol Hill. "Gone are the days when petty officials working in embassies came to give lessons and instructions to African heads of state. As for Bob Menendez's resolution, it is not the initiative of a senator who does not even know where Chad is on a map, but of a lobby that directs him and tells him what to do with our country," said Chad's interim president. Whether there is a junta or not, but Russian diplomats do not pester the Chadians with moral teachings, so things are going better for them. The Russian ambassador Vladimir Sokolenko said that the head of state, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, gratefully accepted the Russian president's invitation to participate in the second Russia-Africa summit, which will be held in St. Petersburg in July this year. There is a significant reason for the development of business cooperation: the share of the Soviet and Russian military equipment in the Chadian army is about 80%. The arsenal needs to be replenished, and the existing stockpiles should be modernized and repaired in time

Kamala Harris Visits Africa: A Move to Strengthen US-African Economic Ties

The US vice president kicked off a historic trip to Africa on Sunday 26th March 2023, to strengthen economic ties with African countries. Kamala Harris during her weeklong trip visited Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. She said that the United States is committed towards increasing investments in Africa. In general, America has been working with Africa for decades. It has well established programs like the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which grants preferential access to US markets for African products. The US has played a significant role in promoting economic integration and regional trade. Nevertheless, after reaching an all-time high in 2008, U.S. trade with AGOA participants has decreased to almost its pre-AGOA level. In addition, other programs established in Africa include the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Power Africa initiative and foreign aid with billions of dollars in aid each year to support a variety of development projects, such as health, education, and poverty reduction. Until recently, the primary method of the United States employed to further its objectives in Africa is the distribution of assistance. In the wake of the United States absence which intensified during Former President Donald Trump’s administration, ignoring Africa, never visiting the continent and disparaging some African nations in a 2018 meeting as expletive countries therefore creating a gap for other nations in strengthening trade ties in Africa, particularly China. However, Harris’s visit to Africa is majorly aimed at countering China and Russia’s influence in Africa. And, consequently, the growth of investments from these countries and their influence. Harris during her visit pledged $100 billion dollars to four African states to address security, governance, and development issues in the region. Though it is a welcomed development, According to estimates by the African Development Bank, Africa needs at least $100 billion per annum to plug its infrastructure finance deficit and another $50 billion to invest in climate adaptation. The US support is commendable but however unlikely to radically change the continent. It is not new that China has invested heavily into the continent for over a decade, dishing out loans, building infrastructure and even resource developments while Russia on the other hand deployed troops from the Wagner group to aid the government in several African countries. According to the Council of Foreign Relations, “China-Africa trade has soared since 2000, with China surpassing the United States as the largest single trade partner in 2009” with Chinese trade reaching over $250 billion dollars in 2021. On the other hand, the EU in 2019 launched the “African Continental Free Trade Agreement” which aimed at reaching every country in the continent. Some Analysts, however, stated that it could only be possible to reach a continent to continent free trade agreement if only the EU would remedy its asymmetrical trade relationships with African partners. The recent competition between U.S and other nations in Africa has been described as “Scramble for Africa” says Professor Bopkin an economist and professor in finance, a senior lecturer from the University of Ghana, referring back to the 19th century era when African continents were subdivided amongst European Nations leading to the exploitation of African Countries and Colonialism. Basically, the US channels most of its investments in Trade. During the last US-Africa summit in December 2022, the United States mapped out $55 billion to Africa over the next three years, with about $20 billion going into health programs, $15 billion for trade and investment, $1.1 billion for climate adaptation and energy transmission and $358 million for women initiatives. In 2021, the United States involved in a two-way trade and investment deal across Africa worth 83.6 billion in 2021. Majority of the initiatives are intertwined with broader US goals and values in Africa. The US trend towards economic integration in Africa isn’t just about Africa’s interest but an avenue which presents opportunities for the U.S and its firms as well. These initiatives and agreements are largely tied to US values and interest in Africa and future trade pacts are most unlikely to deviate from the previous ones even though the US strives to counteract European, Russian and Chinese influence in Africa. No doubt, the US has contributed to the growth and development of Africa but the U.S at the same time have to start treating Africa not as a subject of geopolitics but as a geopolitical player.

Nigeria elections 2023: incidences of violence, killings, voter suppression across the country

Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, comprising the presidential, National Assembly, Gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections greeted the citizens and the international community with an unprecedented level of electoral malpractices, incidences of violence, voter suppression, intimidations and varying degrees of physical attacks on voters and electoral officers across the nation.  Everyone conversant with Nigeria’s political history will agree to the postulations of some political analysts who argue that electoral violence and political unrest are not new to Nigerians. Under both military and civilian rule, the country has conducted ten elections that have witness cases of violence from 1979 till date. These analysts argue that Nigeria’s general elections such as the 1983,1993, 2011 and 2019 general elections were mostly characterized by widespread of electoral violence, ranging from physical attacks on voters, voter suppression, and intimidation to carting away of ballot boxes which in turn resulted in disruption of voting process. It is worthy of note that one of the outstanding characteristics of democratic states is periodic elections organized by the state for the purpose of electing leaders that will govern the people. In same societies where “Vox Populi” really represents “Vox Dei”, elections give the citizens the power to determine who represents their interests in the various levels of government. However, in the case of Nigeria’s elections some political analysts, argue that the mandate/choice of the people is usually trampled upon by the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INECS), working under the influence of political parties from the buildup of every election to the polls. Close watchers of political developments in Nigeria, both local and international observers have described the 2023 general elections as having fallen below what could be a standard for free and credible election. Citizens decried cases of widespread electoral violence in some states situated in mostly the southern region and part of Northern region such states as Lagos, Kogi, Borno, Kano, Imo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Ogun, Edo, Delta, and Rivers where there were observable cases of electoral violence to the extent of holding electoral officers hostage. On the 22nd of February 2023, the armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a non-governmental organization specializing in disaggregated conflict data collection, analysis and crisis mapping, published a long monitored impact and dynamics of political violence in Nigeria through the Nigeria Election violence tracker - an interactive resource created in partnership with the Nigeria based centre for Democracy and development (CCD) According to the report, political violence in the build up to the 2023 election is largely in line with the levels observed before the 2019 elections. By Saturday, the 25th February 2023, being the date of Nigeria’s presidential and national assembly elections, Channels Television reported cases where political thugs and armed bandits were seen disrupting voting process in the southern part of Nigeria. According to the report by Channel’s Television, the Lagos state Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, described the situation in Lagos as “an admixture of very peaceful conduct in most parts of the state but we also recorded isolated instances of thuggery”. Idowu confirmed the arrest of some of the thugs who carried out the attacks in those areas. “We were able to stabilize the situation and rescue the INEC Officials” he said. Away from Lagos State, Daily Post Newspaper reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) threatened to cancel the election results of crisis – ridden arrears during the presidential and national assembly elections in Kogi state. The report stated that Dr. Hale Longpet, Kogi Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja sounded the warning, while reacting to the crisis that erupted in some areas such as Anyigba and Dekina in Kogi East, Mopa in the Kogi West and some parts of Kogi central. He noted that the polls in the affected areas were inconclusive. The guardian newspaper in a story published on the 27th of February 2023, on electoral violence in Rivers State, the Niger Delta Region of southern Nigeria where voters protested alleged manipulation of result, noted that a statement signed by the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Julius Abure, which was made available to the Guardian newspaper in Port Harcourt, observed cases of violence in places like Obio/Akpor, Khana, Eleme, Obigbo, Rumukoro and other areas. The statement also accused the River State Governor- Nyesom Wike, of deploying soldiers and police to intimidate, harass and snatch ballot papers in polling units in his compound in Worji, where it was alleged that the Labour Party was leading the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and all progressives Congress (APC) with over 323 votes. There were also, reported cases of sporadic shootings and vandalism of commercial vehicles in some parts of the state. Different reports continued to flow around other states such as Imo, Kano, Borno, Nasarawa, Edo and Delta State. In the early hours of Wednesday, March 1, 2023, the electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Tinibu, the candidate of Nigeria’s ruling Party, (APC), as the winner of Saturday’s controversial Presidential election. The declaration generated mixed reactions both in Nigeria and abroad. Some of those reactions came as verbal expressions of dissatisfaction by the citizens with the outcome of the election as well as congratulatory messages to the president-elect. The vanguard, Nigerian Newspaper on March 5, 2023, under the entertainment news section published mixed reactions of some Nigerian entertainers to Tinibu’s victory. The reports of electoral violence, continued during the state governorship and houses of assembly elections across Nigeria three weeks after the presidential elections, with tension growing in Nasarawa, Kaduna, Lagos, Enugu, Abia, Kano, Taraba, and Adamawa states. Voters in these states protested, recurring electoral malpractices, voter suppression and intimidations as well as alleged manipulation of results by INEC to favour perceived interests of some political candidates and their parties. The Cable News Nigeria in a news report on March 20, 2023, described the violence unleashed on voters in some areas dominated by Igbo’s in Lagos during the governorship elections as “a well-planned scheme at voter suppression designed to achieve victory for governing APC.” There were reports of massive thuggery by hooligans attacking and assaulting voters, destroying voting materials and generally disrupting voting process. At the time of filing that report, Cable News observed that neither the Lagos State governor Sanwo Olu nor the president-elect, Ahmed Bola Tinibu had issued any statement to condemn the attacks. Cable News alleged that their silence may have fueled speculations that the state governor and the president-elect were privy to the plans. Reacting to the violent attacks on Igbo voters resident in Lagos State Tinibu’s Spokesman, Bayo Onunuga in a tweet on Saturday night 19th March 2023 hinted what could be described as a warning to the Igbos not to interfere in Lagos Politics. The tweet read: “Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics. Let there be no repeat in 2027.” The tweet went further to say that “Lagos is like Anambra, Imo, any Nigerian state. It is not No Man’s Land, not Federal Capital Territory. It is Yoruba Land. Mind your business.” The Tweet has so far attracted numerous criticisms from well meaning Nigerians.     The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) on Saturday, March 18, 2023 reported cases of electoral violence and inducement of voters by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Party agents in some polling units around Sabon Gari local government area of Kaduna state. The report stated that the ICIR had earlier reported how party agents offered money to voters in Bauchi, and Adamawa States. The same thing was observed in some other states like Nasarawa, Kano Enugu, Imo and Abia state where the ruling parties in those states continued to deploy every possible strategy to remain in power. While the dusts raised by the declaration of election results from the presidential elections, national assembly, gubernatorial elections to that of the state houses of assembly elections have continued to grow tension in all the states in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has seen several petitions from the opposition parties, while the candidates that lost the election in different states and at different levels have headed to the courts challenging the election outcomes

So who are these people and where did they come from?

The situation in Tunisia is paradoxical. A country from which thousands of people migrate to Europe is itself struggling with migrants. "Do not go outside before March 6 until things calm down. This horror existed before, and now it's scary in general. All of you heard the president's speech. Now our past problems are nothing compared to our present ones," this is from the message of Christian Kwongang, chairman of the Sub-Saharan African Black (that's what they have written) Student Association in Tunisia. The notorious speech made by Tunisian President Kais Saied on February 21 was not Churchill's Fulton speech, but it was just as frightening and perplexing. It specifically said that against the Tunisian state "as a result of a criminal conspiracy, hordes of migrants are coming, whose task is to change the demographics of Tunisia." All this will be done by migrants from the South Sahara. In principle, even without this speech, there was no special friendship between Tunisians and blacks - well, let's call them that, as long as they call themselves that. It was all in plain sight, observed, stated, recorded in protocols and called by the European or UN clerks as "latent xenophobia". And no more than that. And then the real riots began. After the president formally called things as he saw them, everything happened. People picked up knives - that's how it works over there - and started kicking out the newcomers. The LGBTQ community and other letters in the north of the capital were the first to suffer at once. There they had a night of long knives and the guys and girls had to run away and hide in the UN office. And they got it, of course. There is always no one to stand up for them. Later, a couple more community dormitories were hit, right in the center of the city. The arrests of migrants, even those with legal status in Tunisia, took place. Representatives of all kinds of associations published proclamations, which of course can be understood, but they are naturally the same: "Without any logic, without any evidence, the president in his speech told Tunisians that migrants from Africa threaten them directly. This is a lie," says Gayada Thabet of the Tunisian Minority Support Association. "There are only 21,000 of us migrants from all of Sub-Saharan Africa for your 12 million population. That's 0.2 percent. There are students among them. And illegals, of course." It's hard for them, anyway, but it's worth figuring out who Kais Saied is. He's a lawyer by training. Not a military man, that's a good thing. He was elected in 2019. Three years later, he dissolved the country's parliament and initiated a referendum on a new constitution, which significantly limited the rights of the People's Assembly. As a result, in December 2022, during the parliamentary elections, the number of abstentions was 92 percent. Abstentions! Louis Martinez, dean of the Institut de Sciences Politiques de Paris, believes: "At one time Saied went into a kind of political-populist, even authoritarian spiral, and the backbone of his party responded to it. He was elected because he was going against the elite, the supporters of a politicized, political Islam, and at the same time his beacon was Muammar Gaddafi, the classic authoritarian leader. He believes that Tunisia needs a strong leader who will stand up to corrupt deputies and politicians."  When Tunisia's revolutionaries toppled the Ben Ali regime in 2011 and democratic changes began, not everyone appreciated them and not all profited. Tunisian farmers, for example, contrary to expectations, were not allowed to enter the European market - they had enough of their own. Tourism has failed - because of terrorism, Europeans will not go. The country's debt is 80 percent of GDP. There is no international partner support. But suddenly the World Bank decided to help in the amount of $2 billion. This is a loan that the country is supposed to get through the IMF system. It is supposed to. "The World Bank has suspended its support program for the Tunisian economy until further decisions are made. Projects that are in the decision-making process are ongoing. The partnership with Tunisia has been suspended until the country's position on African migrants is clarified. We are suspending the work of our office in Tunisia," said World Bank President David Malpass. When the jokes ended and the knives came out, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea sent planes to Tunisia to pick up their citizens. The president of Guinea-Bissau, acting president of the Economic Community of West Africa, rushed to Tunisia: "We are all Africans, you, me... It doesn't matter what color you and we have. We are brothers." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Senegal has set up a crisis unit. "All our citizens who are affected by any kind of repression can go there." Senegal and Tunisia are almost sister countries. The father of the Tunisian nation, Habib Bourguiba, after a series of declarations of African countries finally free, has become the best friend of Senegal, and there is even an avenue named after him in Dakar. "Saied is a trickster, he's playing the migration card," says Brahim Oumansour, head of the department of Maghreb at the Institute of International Relations in Paris. - He's just pulling an old migration story out of the coffers. Tunisia has always been a transshipment point for migrants from Black Africa through North Africa to Europe. But his country is quite bad now, and he just makes a fuss with his declarations in order to improve his affairs.

Macron goes to Africa to save France's reputation

The French leadership concluded that it is urgent to go to Africa and save the situation. More precisely, it was necessary the day before yesterday. Now the presence - political and economic - of Russia and China is becoming quite evident. And that means the loss of France's traditional spheres of influence. The President of the Republic decided not only to follow the route Gabon - Angola - Congo - Democratic Republic of Congo, but also announced that from now on African high-level tours will take place every six months. "What is happening on the African continent must simply be humbly accepted," Macron said at a press conference before the tour. - This is an unprecedented historical situation, with staggering challenges concerning security, climate, and demography. That implies "a new approach to Africa."  This approach primarily involves the dynamic development of relations with countries throughout the continent. It would seem convenient to return to cooperation with former French colonies, but this is not the case. We should note that one of Macron's stops is Angola, which was not a French colony, but very much a Portuguese one. And the DRC was Belgian. The geographical expansion of interests is also due to the fact that, according to Chrysoula Zaharopoulou, French Secretary of State for Development and Francophonie, "today African countries freely choose their partners, and the anti-French sentiment in former colonies only complicates our situation." Moreover, during his first tour, in 2017, Macron still insisted on a kind of "soft power" with which France was present in Africa. The result was exactly the opposite. Anti-French demonstrations took place in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Senegal, and as a result, the French contingent withdrew from Mali and Burkina Faso. At a press conference, the president called to abandon the proverbial pré carré principle. This is an invention of the ingenious military engineer of the 17th century de Vauban. He imagined a certain geometric figure, most often a square, surrounded by two fortification moats. Everything inside is ours. Everything outside is not worth noticing. Now, according to the logic of the French authorities, everything is ours. For this purpose, France developed a new economic program, for some reason called in English style "Choose Africa 2," with a budget of 3 billion euros. Its essence is to promote as much as possible the spread of French investment in African startups, which are multiplying at a staggering rate and you can not have enough time. But the loss of positions began even before Macron. In 20 years, the market share of French companies in Africa has fallen from 10.6 to 4.4 percent. By comparison, the share of Chinese companies rose from 3.8 to about 18 percent. France will invest in African agriculture, automobiles, rail transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and a new energy structure called the "energy transition." In addition, France intends to promote the development of public administration, education, and health care. The very important dossier of this tour is military. It has been decided that France will leave in Africa only bases of dual command, jointly with local militaries, similar to the Franco-German ones. For this purpose, a "tangible", in Macron's words, reduction of the French contingent will begin in the coming months and, of course, it will require serious training of African military specialists and supplies of modern weapons and technical equipment. Now the French have three thousand troops left on the African continent out of five and a half thousand. Most of them are stationed in Niger and Chad, and they are transferred to Guinea, so as to be less of a nuisance to the rampant jihadist groups. "The Russian bear has awakened the Gallic rooster," believes Antoine Glaser, an expert on Africa. He is the author of the book "Macron's African Trap," which describes how Russia, in particular the Wagner PMC, has taken significant positions in Africa. "At the beginning of his second mandate," he writes, "Macron finally realized that he had to cooperate with countries he had bypassed or ignored before, and now, to truly protect France's interests, he has to move on to Realpolitik." On his first trip to the continent, Macron first visited Cameroon, which is strategically located between the Atlantic and Chad, and had a French contingent there. Three months earlier, Cameroon had signed a military cooperation agreement with Russia, and this greatly undermined the French position in the country. During his entire visit, the French president referred to Russia as "one of the last colonial powers." Incidentally, three of the four countries on the African tour - Gabon, Congo and Angola - abstained during the recent UN vote on the resolution concerning the situation in Ukraine. Speaking to ambassadors of the Republic last fall, Macron urged diplomats to "respond instantly to anti-French propaganda outbursts on social media and fight back against the Russian, Chinese and Turkish narratives. Another dossier of Macron's African visit is the return of cultural treasures that have ended up in France and which the countries of the continent have been demanding for a long time. It is announced that the French Ministry of Culture will soon begin to work out the criteria by which it will be decided what to transfer and whether the Paris Branly Museum, the main repository of African history and art that Chirac has been collecting for so long, will not be emptied.

The USA remembered about Africa

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Washington suddenly called an African summit. The last Africa-USA summit was organized by President Obama. But he just knew a lot about the question. It was already in 2014. Trump did not hide his indifference to the Black continent, but Biden seized on the idea of reviving ties with African countries and even decided to make this direction one of the central ones for American diplomacy.  "This decade will be decisive," says Judd Devermont, executive director for African Affairs of the US National Security Council, "we will see how the structure of the world order will change in the coming years. And the Biden administration believes that Africa will play one of the decisive roles here." Everyone was invited to the summit in Washington. Well, of course, except for Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan. The President of the Congo arrived, whose rebels from the March 23 Movement are mowing down hundreds of people, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who has just signed a rather shaky agreement with the troubled Tigray state, and even the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Mbasogo, a man who has not held on to power at all since 1979 – this is a record among living heads of state. And what if people vote? In the last election, he collected 94.9 percent of the vote. The states, of course, grumbled, called the elections a simulacrum, but they were invited to the summit. Molly Fee, an employee of the African Department of the State Department, believes that if those with whom relations are not very good were invited, it means that the president has an understanding that "it is finally necessary, as a result of a serious discussion, to bring to mind the legislative act AGOA "Development of Africa", adopted in the United States in 2000. It should stimulate trade, give Africans expanded opportunities for development, and in exchange, by 2025, generally lead to the removal of customs barriers." Last summer, the United States unveiled a new concept of regional policy called "Africa". Its task is to fundamentally reconsider the meaning of the US presence on the continent, namely in Sub-Sugar, "black" Africa and to resist the growing influence of China and Russia there. China, the world's first investor in developing (and not so) countries and in Africa, is present everywhere, especially where something lies in the bowels. In recent years, Russia has strengthened its presence – both military and political – by strengthening ties primarily with those countries that in early March decided not to cast their votes to the UN in support of a resolution condemning Russia. When Washington realized that "we are losing them," a whole Blinken was sent to the continent this summer, who concluded that it was really worth establishing "real partnerships" with Africa, otherwise in some countries they already go there with Russian tricolors. After that, the American establishment began reshuffling and appointments, which in diplomacy are commonly called "signals". Namely, the signals of a change of tone in relation to Africa. Biden called many experts on the continent to the front line. Samantha Powers headed the Agency for International Development, the highest US body dealing, in addition to the State Department, with relations with other countries. Dana Banks, a diplomat who worked in South Africa, joined the National Security Council. And most importantly, Linda Thomas-Greenfield became the US representative to the UN. She worked at U.S. embassies in many African countries, was Ambassador to Liberia and under Obama became Undersecretary of State for African Affairs. Then Trump sent her backstage, and her talents came in handy under Biden. The American president decided to play on the protection of fundamental values: fair governance, democracy, protection of human rights, "especially women and girls, representatives of sexual minorities, disabled people, all kinds of non-traditional ethnic and religious communities." Not all African leaders were happy to respond to such initiatives, especially with regard to representatives of sexual minorities. But Biden does not insist, keeps his distance and demonstrates that he does not interfere in the interpretation of folk traditions. The main idea of the American president, which was voiced at this summit, is the admission of Africa – represented by the African Union – to the "twenty" and granting it a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. As for the G20, in the coming weeks, the United States will begin negotiations with India, which will become the chairman of the organization in 2023. "We need the voices of African countries in all international discussions, be it the global economy, democracy, governance, climate, health or security," says Judd Devermont, "For this it is necessary that representatives of Africa occupy permanent chairs in all international organizations and conferences." And then the question arises: how much will Africa itself pull all this, where are its interests here? Political scientist Serigne Bamba Gaye, professor at the Laval Institute in Quebec, believes that "the historical reference points of Africans, especially from sub-Saharan countries, are different from Western ones. For the West, everything depends on the outcome of the Second World War, and for Africans – on the end of the Cold War. Many countries received support from the USSR, which helped them to free themselves from Western influence. And these relations with the post-Soviet space are still preserved. Today, in no case should they accept the tough position of one side or the other." But now it is generally difficult to understand how Africa can act from a single position in the same "twenty" or in the UN. Contradictions between countries have arisen even in approaches to combating the pandemic. And the development of a common position, for example, on Ukraine will easily lead to a situation in which countries will officially stand on different sides of the conflict.

Generals of Eternal Career

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The juntas of the countries of West Africa, it seems, are not going to leave Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso have suffered four coups in less than the last two years. The Community of West African States, ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African Countries), is scared, and for good reason, by the prospect that the example may be contagious. The organization is trying by all means to push the generals who have been sitting in their chairs to transfer power to democratic governments, without excluding coercive measures. As a rule, the military, coming to power, announced that they were here for a short time. Literally bring order to the country. Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya has been in charge of Guinea since September 2021. This amazing character was appointed by former President Conde as the commander of the Special Forces troops. To do this, he was called from abroad and given the rank of lieutenant colonel. And before that, he did not serve in the Guinean army at all, but history knows similar examples. Doumbouya received his education in France, in the Foreign Legion, then appeared in Israel, then in Senegal and Gabon. He is married to a Frenchwoman, the father of three children, for which he is called an "atypical military man." As usual in the region, he also overthrew the president of the country, Alpha Conde, who appointed him. First of all, he promised to return civil power to Guinea. To begin with, political figures and representatives of the country's civil society were invited to the conversation. A "Transitional Charter" was drawn up, the program of which includes the development of a new Constitution and the holding of "free, democratic and transparent elections." At the same time, none of the participants in the transition process – neither military nor civilian – has the right to stand for future elections at any level. No renegotiation is allowed. And then the previous president introduced an amendment that allowed him to run for a third term, which caused unrest in the country. The text mentions human rights countless times and promises that at least a third of women will be in all government bodies. And no "witch hunt". But until this reign of democracy has arrived, Colonel Dumbuya heads the National Reconciliation and Development Committee. He is also at the head of the National Council of the Transitional Period, this is the legislative body. He also appoints a civilian prime minister.  At the same time, the Charter does not say anything about, in fact, the duration of the transition period. It "will be determined as a result of an agreement between the living forces of the nation and the National Reconciliation and Development Committee," the text says. Then there was a clarification – the figure "three years" sounded semi-officially. But ECOWAS considered that it was probably a long time, but 24 months would be quite enough. And in this case, Guinea will be able to avoid such tough sanctions as were imposed against Mali, for example. Nothing is yet known about the current leader's further political ambitions. The Guineans themselves do not exactly support him, but rather hope that the promises will come true. The West expresses the same cautious wishes. But where this transition period will lead the country is not very clear. Oswald Panado, a political scientist and expert in the field of international relations, writes on the pages of the Young Africa magazine published in Paris: "The promises of the military, who are not prepared for the leadership of the state, are always broken on the rocks of harsh political realities." The situation in Burkina Faso is very similar. The local junta overthrew the acting president as a result of popular unrest, that is, at the request of the workers. Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who became the head of state, was specific: the transition period will last three years, the constitutional order will be restored in 2025. As long as I'm in power. The Transitional Charter, as in the case of Guinea, was worked out with the participation of parties, trade unions, representatives of civil society, youth, women and victims of jihadists. But how to conduct democratic elections? The peculiarity of this power is that even according to official statistics, 40 percent of its territory is not controlled by the state. Since 2015, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups have been operating in Burkina Faso*. The result is thousands of dead and almost 2 million refugees. By the way, the January coup itself was a protest against the inaction of the authorities, hence the "requests of the workers." But ECOWAS did not take into account these seemingly just popular demands. Burkina Faso's participation in the organization was suspended because the military came to power, and they, according to ECOWAS, are not always in a hurry to transfer power. Nevertheless, the organization agreed with the Charter's provision, which states that the Prime Minister will necessarily be a civilian, the transitional Government will consist of 25 ministers and neither the head of the Cabinet nor these ministers will be able to nominate their candidates for future authorities. After signing the Charter, negotiations between ECOWAS and the Burkinis began, and as a result, it was possible to reduce the transition period to two years, so theoretically it remains to wait until 2024. In Mali, one coup was not enough. No promises of change were believed here. The signed Settlement Agreement of 2021, exhausted by the political struggle and the lack of any guarantees for the security of the people, is at the stage of its last breath. The new government was supposed to weaken the role of the military in the leadership of the country. But it lasted only a few hours. The events unfolded like in a movie. The former prime minister managed to tell Agence France-Presse by phone: "I can confirm that Goita's people came to me to take me to his residence." At this point, the conversation was interrupted by short beeps, the prime minister is still in the camp, and Goita became vice-president for the transition period. And yet, recently, ECOWAS has managed to achieve some progress in negotiations with Bamako. Presidential elections will be held in 2024, that is, the initially announced five-year transition period is no longer relevant. It remains to convince the Malians that the head of state cannot be a military man. There are still disagreements here. Two characters who are considered "moderate" have been appointed to the new government, and to two key posts – the Ministries of Defense and Security. In other words, "fewer than others who participated in the 2020 coup." All this allowed ECOWAS to ease the financial and economic sanctions imposed against Mali. However, the military still make up the majority in the leadership at all levels. Mali is turning into a center of jihadism in West Africa, especially since the French have announced the end of their operation "Barkhan" and the withdrawal of their units. Even after the appearance of weak signs of at least some movement, Emmanuel Macron still prefers to keep his distance and refrain from comments. * Organizations banned in the Russian Federation