Tag Archives: Horn of Africa

EU officials visit to Horn of Africa

Brussels 10.10.2020 Senior European officials have concluded their two-day visit to Ethiopa visit aimed at uplifting the cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) in the situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, inspected 1.5 tons of coronavirus testing kits which were donated to Ethiopia by Germany.

This is an important expression of the European Union role in the fight against pandemic and how we do that with our partners from the African Union,” Borrell said at an airport cargo hall in Addis Ababa, surrounded by thousands of boxes containing the test kits.

Lenarcic stressed that the European Commission wants any future COVID-19 vaccine to be treated as “a global public good” which should be available to all countries irrespective of their purchasing power.

Later on Octobrr 8, Borrell met Moussa Faki, the chairperson of the AU Commission.

“… The European Union, as Africa’s close neighbour and main partner, strongly supports the African Union efforts in silencing the guns on the continent” the head of the EU diplomacy said addressing the webinar on the role of the media in promoting silencing the guns of Africa.

 

“And here, Commissioner [of the African Union for Peace and Security, Smaïl] Chergui, our cooperation aiming at sustainable peace and conflict prevention is at the top of our common agenda. It also fosters inclusive and accountable governance and recognises the role of civil society, the media, and democratic institutions”  Borrell has underlined.

“Allow me to commend the work of journalists, specifically here, in Africa, and all over the world, for their commitment to ensure that all voices calling for peace are being heard. Voices that will eventually silence the guns because they are more powerful. Your work is crucial in providing reliable and credible analysis and acting as a bridge between local communities and policy makers. I can assure you that the European Union will continue to be a strong and reliable partner in the implementation of the African Union master roadmap for silencing the guns”  the EU top diplomat Borrell said during the webinar.

In May this year the EU has provided an additional €105.5 million to countries in the Horn of Africa as the coronavirus pandemic risks worsening the humanitarian situation across the region where many continue to suffer from armed conflict, displacement, and recurrent droughts and floods. Furthermore, a large-scale infestation of locusts threatens food security and livelihoods of many vulnerable people in the region.

Funding from this aid package to humanitarian projects in Djibouti (€500,000), Ethiopia (€42 million), Kenya (€15 million) and Somalia (€48 million).

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

EU top diplomat to visit Horn of Africa

Federica Mogherini will begin her visit to the Horn of Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the African Union Summit is taking place and she will meet several heads of state or government in the margins.

In Ethiopia Mogherini is due to meet President Shale Work Zwede and Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, among other members of the government, to discuss further strengthening the EU-Ethiopia partnership.

The the EU top diplomat will also visit  funded by the bloc projects supporting the International Organisation for Migration together with Director General Antonio Vitorino.

Continuing her visit in the Horn of Africa,  Mogherini will visit Kenya, where she is due to meet President Kenyatta and members of the government. In Kenya, she will also launch a cross border programme, meet with representatives from the UN Habitat and UNEP, youth and civil society groups as well as inaugurating the new EU Delegation offices in Nairobi.

She will conclude her visit by travelling to Djibouti to meet President Ismail Omar Guelleh and other members of government, as well as visiting Member States’ military bases operating the EU ATALANTA maritime security mission.

The EU in the Horn of Africathe EU is working actively to strengthen its partnership with the region which shares many common interests with the European Union, from tackling climate change to boosting investment, to better managing migration and creating opportunities for youth.

The EU is a key partner for the region in many areas, in particular security with the three Common Security and Defence Policy missions: EUNAVFOR Atalanta maritime mission which fights piracy off the Somali coast, EUTM Somalia and EUCAP Somalia. The EU is also a key supporter of Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the regional body in the Horn of Africa.

Image: Benna people, Ethiopia

Somalia expels UN official

Somalia has expelled the top  United Nations official accusing him of interfering with national sovereignty days after he raised concerns about the actions of UN-supported Somali security forces.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, is no longer welcome in Somalia and cannot operate in the country,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Haysom was accused of “violating protocols” and “deliberately interfering” in the internal affairs of the Horn of Africa country.

There was no immediate reaction from the UN mission in Somalia.

The order is issued a few days after Haysom raised concerns about the action of Somalia’s UN-backed security services in recent clashes with demonstrators contesting the arrest of former al-Shabab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow in the southern city of Baidoa last month, leaving 15 people dead and 300 people arrested.

EU programmes for Horn of Africa

The European Commission has adopted eleven new programmes for the Horn of Africa under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

 

“These new EU programmes, worth over €134 million in all, will help to create lasting solutions for refugees and internally displaced people, as well as support vulnerable host communities in a region that hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa – 4.5 million. Our existing programmes have already yielded substantial results, but the Trust Fund’s resources are quickly depleting. If we want to keep delivering, its resources have to be replenished.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said.

Six programmes, worth €65 million, have been approved to support the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This initiative is being piloted by several countries in the region; it helps refugee populations become self-sufficient and supports host communities.

  • In Djibouti, an €8 million programme will help integrate refugees into the country’s social protection systems, which cover health, education and employment rights.
  • In Kenya, a €17.8 million programme will boost asylum management, bolster economic self-reliance among refugees and host communities in Garissa County, and further support the development of the Kalobeyei settlement.
  • A €10 million programme in Sudan will fund educational support for refugee children, most of whom come from South Sudan.
  • A second programme, worth €3 million, will provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In Uganda, an €18 million programme will improve people’s access to reliable information, training and to the justice system, including legal aid, counselling services and mobile courts.
  • In Ethiopia and Uganda, an €8.2 million Urban Displacement Pilot will encourage regional exchanges of experience and expertise to tackle the rising challenge of urban displacement.

Four national programmes have also been approved.

  • A new programme in Ethiopia worth €33.5 million will make households, communities and local authorities better equipped to manage, respond and adapt to disasters like drought and conflict.
  • In Sudan we are working to link humanitarian and development activities closer together to respond better to protracted crises. A €10 million programme will support forcibly displaced people and host communities in West Kordofan, building on the Commission’s existing humanitarian activities.
  • Another €15 million programme will address nutrition and food security issues in Sudan’s Red Sea State.
  • In South Sudan, a €5 million programme will contribute towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in the country.

Last but not least, a new €5 million regional programme will make better use of financial investigation and anti-money laundering tools to disrupt human trafficking and smuggling networks.

Two existing programmes have received additional funds: The Research and Evidence Facility will receive an additional €2.5 million, and an extra €3 million will be channelled into budget support for Somalia.

The total number of programmes adopted since December 2015 for the Horn of Africa region now comes to 69, with an overall value of €1.28 billion.

EU ready to engage in dialogue with Sudan

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini met with El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan. They discussed the latest developments in EU-Sudan relations and in the Horn of Africa.
Federica Mogherini emphasised that the EU is ready to engage in dialogue and cooperation with Sudan in view of further progress on internal political and economic reforms as well as as well as its contribution to peace and security in the region.
The EU is closely following developments with regard to the preparations for 2020 elections. In this regard, Mogherini emphasised the importance of a conducive environment leading to credible elections.

EU saving lives in Horn of Africa

A Humanitarian Crisis Meeting on the alarming levels offood insecurity in the Horn of Africa was held in Brussels on 5 April 2017.

The meeting was co-hosted by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs (EU HR), Mr Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, and Mr Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

The objective of the meeting was to raise awareness and share analysis on the dire humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa. Urgent and coordinated action is needed by the international community to rapidly and effectively scale-up life-saving humanitarian aid. While the United Nations and humanitarian partners have already intensified their life-saving response, more funding and access is needed.

 

With several million people starving and at risk of famine, the Horn of Africa is in dire need of life-saving humanitarian assistance to prevent recurrence of the famine of 2011 in Somalia. Several countries in the area are affected by conflict and displacement, a situation further exacerbated by consecutive severe droughts. The situation is especially dire in Somalia. Millions are also struggling in Ethiopia and Kenya, despite broad and strong support by the Governments. This poses a serious threat to the stability of the region as well as to the security and development gains achieved over the past years.

Humanitarian organisations warn that millions of people could starve if life-saving assistance cannot be providedrapidly. United Nations has described the currentsituation as dramatic and called for urgent action, including funding and humanitarian access.

Humanitarian partners require more than US$5.6 billion in 2017 for Somalia, South Sudan, North-Eastern Nigeria and Yemen. Of this, more than US$4.4 billion is required for immediate assistance to avert an even greater catastrophe.

The EU High Representative (HR), Germany and United Nations reaffirmed their commitment to support the efforts to assist people in need and recognized the extraordinary work done by humanitarian workers often in very difficult circumstances. The EU HR, Germany and United Nations commended the considerable success some governments in the region have achieved in strengthening drought resilience and recognized the efforts of Governments and humanitarian partners in responding to the crisis.

Humanitarian assistance, however, cannot address the structural deficits and root causes underlying the protracted conflicts and food insecurity. Political solutions as well as a parallel scale-up in longer-term action are needed to prevent a recurrence of the situation.

The EU HR, Germany and United Nations called on all partners to increase support for humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa and other crisis areas. The HR/VP, Germany and United Nations stressed that common efforts can only be effective as long as access for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid is granted.

The meeting also served to provide input to the London conference on Somalia on 11 May 2017 and the international meeting “The Berlin Humanitarian Call – jointly against famine” taking place on 12 April 2017 in Berlin.

The meeting was held in the presence of ministerial level representatives from national governments and international organisations, notably several EU Members States, Mr Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management, Norway, Switzerland, ICRC, FAO, WFP and Norwegian Refugee Council.