Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Donald Trump’s team has questions about China in Africa. Here are answers. - The Washington Post

Monkey Cage

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has circulated a list of questions on Africa to the State Department and Pentagon. At the top of the list are two queries about the United States and China and their relative presence on that continent: “How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese?”
Peter Navarro, who will lead Trump’s National Trade Council, provided his own answers in his book “Death by China.” He writes, “[China’s] million-man army is moving relentlessly across Africa … locking down strategic natural resources, locking up emerging markets, and locking out the United States.” Navarro says this is part of China’s strategy to boost its factories back home and undermine the U.S. manufacturing base.
China’s engagement in Africa does affect the United States, but the reality is more nuanced. Our research at the China-Africa Research Initiative rigorously investigates Chinese trade, investments and loans to African countries and offers insights into how China’s interests across Africa will actually affect the incoming Trump administration.
Chinese exports dwarf U.S. exports
Trump proposes imposing a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports to the United States to protect U.S. manufacturers and harm Chinese ones. But the United States is not China’s only export destination.
Between 2004 and 2009, China-Africa trade grew at an annual rate of over 40 percent. In 2009, China surpassed the United States as Africa’s top trade partner. We observe that since then, Chinese exports to Africa have grown steadily, reaching about $103 billion in 2015. In contrast, U.S. exports to Africa the same year amounted to only $27 billion.
Today, Chinese exports to Africa are mostly manufactured products: machinery, electronics, automobiles and textiles. These are absorbed by the continent’s rapidly growing middle class, which has a strong demand for consumer goods. Although definitions differ, the World Bank estimates the middle class makes up 34 percent of Africa’s population, and its consumer spending is expected to reach $2.2 trillion by 2030.
For now, Chinese goods will continue to flow into expanding markets in Africa. This will offset, even if slightly, Trump’s intention to block the global movement of Chinese products through a trade war.
Manufacturing jobs are moving to Africa
On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to bring Chinese manufacturing jobs back to American soil. But with wages rising in China, Chinese industries are upgrading: Knowledge-intensive services and information technology are replacing labor-intensive manufacturing firms. Jobs that once migrated from the United States to China are now offshoring to Africa.
With low-end manufacturing on the way out, what was “Made in China” is now “Made in Africa.” The Huajian Group, one of the largest shoe manufacturers in China, employing 25,000 workers, opened a factory in Ethiopia in 2012; the company will invest $2 billion over five years to build a “shoe city” in Addis Ababa. Supply chains now span the United States, China and Africa: Huajian produces for U.S. brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and, ironically, Ivanka Trump’s eponymous shoe line.
Our research at such firms across Africa reveals Chinese managers increasingly implement technical skills-training programs for their African workers. African workers frequently make up over 80 percent of the factory workforce. Some receive further training in China. This investment in local workers indicates a serious commitment to the longevity of Chinese manufacturing operations in Africa.
‘China model’ vs. ‘U.S. model’ 
Africans rank China second as “a development model” after the United States. So how does the “China model” differ from the “U.S. model” in Africa?
President Obama and Hillary Clinton have suggested that the United States, unlike China, will “stand up for democracy and universal human rights” rather than simply “extract minerals” in Africa. Washington has viewed its own model in Africa as promoting good governance and environmental responsibility.
That could change under Trump. Observers argue that his support for undemocratic regimes threatens human rights around the world. Trump claimed global warming was created by the Chinese to disadvantage U.S. manufacturing, and several of his Cabinet nominees deny climate change and hold special interests in the oil-and-gas industry. In departing from the “U.S. model,” Trump may come to embody the characteristics that Obama and Clinton attributed to the “China model.”
But this isn’t new. China has previously called out the United States for being hypocritical on human rights issues. And research reveals Chinese firms aren’t any more environmentally destructive in Africa than Western ones. Perhaps Trump will reveal that the United States and China are more similar than different in Africa, after all; the dichotomy between the two “models” may dissolve.
As Trump continues to break with U.S. policy set by his predecessors, the effects will reverberate in Africa. When he breached protocol by taking a call from Taiwan’s president and openly questioning the one-China policy, Beijing responded by calling the policy “nonnegotiable.” In fact, Beijing takes the one-China policy seriously, everywhere: Our database reveals the three African countries that recognize Taiwan — Burkina Faso, Sao Tome and Principe, and Swaziland — don’t receive any Chinese loans. Each time Trump acts to change the status quo on U.S.-China relations, African countries are watching what it means for themselves.
Trump’s “America First” outlook largely promotes protectionist, isolationist policies. But matters are more complex in a globalized world. Driven by internal economic upheaval, China has its own agenda for engaging with the rest of the world on trade, manufacturing and other economic affairs, and its relationship with the developing world will only continue to grow. To understand the future effect of Beijing’s policies on the U.S. economy and its workers, Trump would be wise to look at China’s role in Africa.
Janet Eom is the research manager at the China-Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ethiopia: Ethnic nationalism and the Gondar protests - Al Jazeera

An analysis on what the rising ethnic nationalism among the historically powerful Amhara means for the country's future.

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A man from Ethiopia's Amhara, the second largest ethnic group in the country [ K Muller/De Agostini/Getty Images]


Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia - Etenesh* sits alone on a worn cow skin in her mud-walled home in Amba Giorgis, a small Ethiopian market town in the northerly Amhara region. Her husband, a merchant, was arrested early in November, due to his alleged participation in anti-government protests over the last few months.
"He was taken to a military camp," says Etenesh, a mother of two who sells coffee to farmers from her shack. "I know that because he called me twice."
She does not know when, or if, he will come back, but she does know that life without the family's primary breadwinner is tough. "It's just me now, trying to provide for my kids."
Talk of arrests is prevalent in Amba Giorgis, which is part of the North Gondar district experiencing clashes between armed farmers and the military.
On the edge of town, government soldiers man a new checkpoint. They moved into a road construction camp, following the declaration of a sweeping state of emergency on October 8 in response to the unrest among Ethiopia's two largest ethnic groups: the Oromo, who make up around one-third of the population, and the Amhara.
On July 31, residents of Gondar, which is around 700km north of the capital, Addis Ababa, came out to demonstrate amid a long-standing territorial dispute with the neighbouring Tigray region. During Ethiopia's transition from a unitary to a federal state in the early 1990s, some Amhara claim they lost territory to Tigrayans when the country was restructured along ethnolinguistic lines. 
The demonstrations have been used as a platform to voice discontent over alleged government repression of the Amhara as well as to promote a budding ethnic nationalism among them. The Amhara are the second-largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, constituting 27 percent in the country of nearly 100 million people.
The ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is a grouping of four ethnic-based parties, including Oromo, Amhara and Tigray parties. The Tigray People's Liberation Front ( TPLF), is the founder of the EPRDF and is perceived to be the powerhouse  of the coalition, even though Tigrayans represent just six percent of the population.
Pro-TPLF  commentators believe that the Amhara wing of the coalition, the Amhara National Democratic Movement, gave its blessing to the Gondar protest as part of an attempt to reduce TPLF dominance. But events gathered momentum, when the sentiments on display in Gondar reverberated in the following weeks, as thousands of ethnic Amhara hit the streets in towns like Amba Giorgis.
During the protests, slogans reflected a sense of victimisation.
"Being an Amhara is not a crime," read one. "Respect Amharaness," said another.
Properties associated with the ruling coalition were attacked, and the main road leading to the tourist-magnet Simien Mountains was blockaded.
The government's emergency decree, which, among other things, bans most political activity, including watching opposition satellite channels, has seen tens of thousands detained on suspicion of being party to the unrest.
"Some 11,607 individuals have so far been detained in six prisons, of which 347 are female, in connection with the state of emergency declared in the country," official Taddesse Hordofa said in a televised statement on November 12 after the state of emergency was implemented.
The measure has returned a degree of order to Ethiopia. However, underlying issues remain.
Amba Giorgis, in North Gondar, in Amhara region, has seen increased demonstrations and a rise in nationalist identity [William Davison/Al Jazeera] 

Split identity

The Amhara held privileged positions during the imperial era that ended with Emperor Haile Selassie's overthrow in 1974. Some EPRDF's federalists insist that they remain loyal to ideas from that time and are suspicious of the current arrangement.
For hundreds of years, the language and culture of Ethiopia's imperial courts was Amharic and, for many, advancement in career or social status depended on assimilating to it and many ambitious members of other ethnicities adopted Amhara customs.
By the 20th century, the Amhara culture had become the culture of the educated and of urban "elites" who were often ethnically mixed, according to the historian, Takkle Taddese. As a result, the Amhara can be seen as "a supra ethnically conscious ethnic Ethiopian serving as the pot in which all the other ethnic groups are supposed to melt," writes Taddese in his essay, titled: Do the Amharas Exist as a Distinct Ethnic Group?
When the EPRDF came to power in 1991 and ushered in federalism, the Amhara were treated just as any other ethnic group: a collection of people with their own identity and territory - a premise with which proponents of contemporary Amhara nationalism agree.
The Amhara have existed as a distinct community for thousands of years, fulfilling "all the basic markers of an ethnic group: distinct language, distinct culture, collective national memory and experience and so forth", argues Wondwosen Tafesse, an academic based in Norway and a commentator on Amhara issues.
But even with surging ethnic assertiveness, many Amhara are still likely to give precedence to pan-Ethiopian identity, as Amhara nationalism is not an end in itself, according to Wondwosen.
Rather, it is a reaction to "fend off multiple attacks, real and imagined", he says. The expulsion in 2013 of thousands of Amharas by regional officials from Southern People's Regional State and Benishangul-Gumuz , according to a report by The Human Rights Congress of Ethiopia, is raised to support allegations that the government deliberatelytargets ethnic Amharas.
For opposing Amhara elites, who had to grapple with the pre-eminent questions of identity during EPRDF rule, ethnic nationalism was antithetical to pan-Ethiopian nationalism.

An unknown future

Even with a growing sense of ethnic nationalism, pan-Ethiopian nationalism still enjoys wider acceptance among the Amhara elites, argues Chalachew Taddese, a contributor for Wazema, a non-profit radio station founded by exiled Ethiopian journalists based in Europe and the United States. Amhara nationalists, therefore, have to tackle those who see an excessive ethnic focus as compromising the nation's integrity.
Taddese says two factors have contributed to the increase in Amhara identity: "A growing perception of ethnic discrimination" by the government and "persistent anti-Amhara campaigns" by Oromo elites, who portray the group as "a historical coloniser and victimiser of all other ethnic groups".
If Amhara nationalism grows in prominence, the relationship with Oromo nationalism might be decisive for the country's future.
The market town Amba Giorgis, in the North Gondar region, where farmers have been clashing with the military in nearby areas recently [William Davison/Al Jazeera]
During the protests, Oromo and Amhara nationalists displayed signs of solidarity in the face of what they believed to be a common enemy: the TPLF. But, there were always questions   about the camaraderie and whether it was meaningful and sustainable. 
The Oromo rose up in November 2015 amid complaints that they have been politically and economically marginalised under a federal system that promised them autonomy. The protests were a testament to a reinvigorated Oromo nationalism.
Unlike its nascent Amhara equivalent, Oromo nationalism goes back a half-century, with an established ideology, institutions and aspirations.
Any secessionist Oromo tendencies cause alarm among Amharas, who promote their identity within a multinational Ethiopia.
But Oromo nationalism is also predicated upon alleged persecution by Amhara elites during the imperial era. Accordingly, Amhara nationalism, if it solidifies, "will be forced to counteract the narratives of Oromo elites", Chalachew says.
One battleground will be the legacy of Menelik II, a late 19th-century emperor whose military campaigns shaped the boundaries of modern Ethiopia. Oromo nationalists, who want to remove his statue in the heart of Addis Ababa, see him as an Amhara imperialist conqueror.
Amid these immediate and pressing challenges, the rise in Amhara nationalism creates more turbulence in the region, raising questions that no one yet seems able to answer.
A section of the royal castle compound in Gondar. The city's history as a power centre is playing into recent ethnic-related unrest [William Davison/Al Jazeera]
*Names has been changed for privacy purposes.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Monday, January 2, 2017

UK Police Investigating the Murder of Ethiopian Man

Mohammed Abdurezek canva II

The body of Mohammed Abdurezek was found in Gibbs Lane in Siston on Christmas Eve
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The body of a 31-year-old man found in a rural village on the fringes of Bristol could have lain there for several days before it was discovered on Christmas Eve, police believe.
Detectives investigating the murder of Mohammed Abdurezek, who was found with multiple stab wounds in a wooded area in Siston, near Warmley, believe the killers dumped his body after he died.
Police have now launched a fresh appeal in a bid to trace Mohammed's movements in the days leading up to his murder.
Detective Chief Inspector James Riccio, from Avon and Somerset police's Major Crime Investigation Team, said Mohammed is believed to have been in Bristol since the beginning of December.

DCI James Riccio, pictured, says tracing Mohammed's steps before he was killed are key to solving the murder
He had also spent time in the city previously since moving to the UK and has links to Swansea and Newcastle.
Mohammed was found with no ID, mobile phone or personal belongings, but police believe he owned an old Nokia phone.
They are scouring CCTV to trace the vehicle which could have been used to move the body to Siston, asking anybody who has seen a suspicious vehicle to come forward.
Detectives urged anyone who knew or recently saw Mohammed, who also used the nickname Maratu, to come forward in a bid to trace his movements.
He has links to the Easton, Stapleton and St Paul's areas of Bristol, DCI Riccio said.
"We're confident that he didn't die here," he told the Bristol Post at the scene where the body was found.
DCI Riccio said: "Mohammed's body was found on Christmas Eve by local dog walkers, we don't think he died here."
"Perhaps people with local knowledge, or previous knowledge of this location, have used that to deposit the body here.
"We strongly believe people out there in the local community will know why Mohammed was killed and secondly, who did this, and I would urge those people to come forward."
He also urged people who witnessed or heard of any disturbance to report it to police.
Detectives are currently searching private CCTV from homeowners in the area for clues to find his killers.
Gibbs Lane, which is not lit by street lighting, is about 600 yards long with a dozen houses along it.
DCI Riccio added: "If you have seen Mohammed over the last two or three weeks, please come forward, we need to know where he's been living, who his friends are and where he's potentially been working.
"They are key lines of enquiry to try and unpick where he's been and from that, try and understand why someone would stab him."
Mohammed moved to Bristol from Ethiopia about 10 years ago, DCI Riccio said.
Anybody with information should call the Major Crime Investigation Team on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5216 284 767, or use the inquiry name Operation Neptune.

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.