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African Brothers: Morocco’s Stance on the Republic of Mali

A woman voting at a polling station in Gao, north of Mali, during the run-off presidential elections elections between outgoing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and opposition leader Soumaila Cissé. 12 August 2018. MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

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Unexpected Violent and drastic outbreaks that the Republic of Mali has seen for several decades, but the current unrest of the economic crisis and social constraints brought the state of affairs into a setting of confusion due to the lack of a political vision that would pull Bamako out of instability, which created a space for an internal coup d’état, which was officially realized a few days ago after a rebellion led it Military launched from the capital.

Yet, After the results of the legislative elections in Mali were announced, opposition voices manifested calling for the return of national elections in some regions and rejecting the decisions of the Constitutional Court, particularly the electoral district of the President of the Malian National Assembly. though, the Parliament, which proofed major violations, according to the opposition.

Although these events that followed by the international community have forged a comprehensive concern in the region, the military coup was met with global condemnations that called mainly for the return of military soldiers to their bases and rejecting regime change outside the legal framework. It is a position that the Kingdom of Morocco shares through its adherence to responsible dialogue and respect for the constitutional order, according to what was declared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Accordingly, the current assertion of Moroccan diplomacy indicates the intense efforts that Rabat has led over the past years to enhance the economic and social standard of life in Mali. For sure, it is necessary to point out the great virtue of two African -states Morocco and Mali -under the strategic friendship of which both states relations of comprehensive coordination and strategic partnership have known regionally and continentally. This is characterized by the highest degree of mutual trust by frequent royal visits, on one hand, the highest level of interaction and intimacy consensus on the second.

In light of the regional reality where the Kingdom of Moroccan upholds national stability in Mali reflects the kingdom’s stance since there have existed strong Islamic,  cultural, and historical traditions of friendship and solidarity in support of the African neighbors for peace, freedom and interstate security.

In this regard, Scholars and Experts on African studies as Mohamed Benhamou, a researcher in international relations, noted, “the Kingdom of Morocco has always – and still is – collaborated positively with African issues that would ensure the unity of the African sovereignty particularly Malian soil, given the state of instability for many years ago. He also added, that “what is going on in Mali is unconstitutional move and cannot be accepted, especially since the power took over by the military and resorting to illegal framework is not recognized by African Union states or even international organizations, notably within the African continent.”

Due to this, Morocco’s stance on the resignation of former Malian’s President Ibrahim Keita is rationally unexpected as a good confidant of Mali, Morocco appreciates the efforts of different parties in Mali to accurately undertake the current issue towards dialogue and compromise within the legitimate approach with a view to the long-term and component interests of the nation. The kingdom of Morocco regards the Malian people are suited for maintaining political peace stability and national security development. Behind this soft support is that Kingdom of Morocco denying to any superpowers’ intervention with the interstate affairs of Mali. For instance, Morocco points out that only the Malian people who will govern their political situation and other states will not be set aside to govern the future of Malian’s politics.

Though, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Mali have maintained friendly relations for a long time. Both states have stood the proving of time and ever-changing international landscape. In current years, the strategic cooperation in several domains between the two sides have frequently pushed on and brought substantial outcomes to each other. Rabat highly values its interrelations with West African Mali and stands ready to cooperate with all parties of the Republic of Mali to enhance Morocco-Mali friendship and across-the-board partnership. For example, In the Economic and market trading perspective, the total volume between the two states has reached 850.5 million dirhams in 2016, making Mali the 19th largest African supplier to the Kingdom of Morocco (39.3 million dirhams) and its 10th largest customer (811.2 million dirhams). Moreover, the Moroccans are aware that the stability and development of the Republic of Mali would serve the local people’s benefits and are the shared aspiration of the African and global communities.

As we all know, the kingdom of Morocco has indeed appreciated personal friendship with Ibrahim Keita. Even though it is reported that the Moroccan parties’ leaders and African Studies experts are a little bit displeased about Keita’s misleading of Mali’s economic policy which led to rampant corruption, the Kingdom of Morocco hopes the Republic of Mali to maintain stability and security without any anarchy. After all, Ibrahim Keita stays seen as making a significant contribution to Mali’s national Assembly and Party Rally for Mali (RPM). He is also an active advocate and promoter of the Pan-African movement.

Given this, the Kingdom of Morocco has surely kept his promise to Mali during this crisis and as well as to the African society. Despite its economics looks not solid as expected. Morocco’s policy through Africa is of a long-term strategic approach. Thus, Morocco has maintained on three aspects in terms of crisis management in West Africa mostly and in the Republic of Mali this time. First of all, Rabat calls to all parties of Mali that they should put aside the group’s interest to seek a peaceful and suitable settlement of the proper issue under the legal perspective and in light of Mali’s national stability and social order. Indeed, this is the consent among the social elites and the regular citizens as well throughout the state. Secondly, the Kingdom of Morocco has a large number of investments in the Republic of Mali which has the potentials to be one of the most promising economies and growing countries in Africa. By 2015, Morocco had invested nearly 100 MAD million, more or less than many other FDI sources, into the Republic of Mali. Recently, Moroccan enterprises and financial banking firms in Mali are the most dominant one among Arab or North African firms. Third, The Kingdom of Morocco has normally taken a favorable policy through Mali, and their partnership is mutual and profitable to both countries. Because of this, Morocco quests forwards to unifying the further strategic cooperation with the Republic of Mail in line with the principle of social equality, win-win situation, and shared outcomes no matter who takes power in Mali.

Yes, president Ibrahim Keita is displaced finally. But West Africa‘s growing showing to Morocco has led to big exports to the Kingdom and have enhanced promote economic growth on the continent. The doctrine of the new strategic cooperation has advanced secured Morocco-Mali relations and centralized Morocco’s responsibility to mutual economic incentive policy through the Republic of Mali. It is generally noted that just one week ago before Keita was advised to step-down, by the commander of the Forces Armées Maliennes.

In sum, African diplomacy is a component process based on dialogue, friendship, and compromise. Morocco and the Republic of Mali have shaped their strategic relations in a positive sense due to their long-term perspectives. Thus, their cooperation in West Africa would be more motivated and pragmatic. Yet, Let’s see how the leadership and legacy in Morocco react to their African brother’s needs in Mali taking a new chapter into the national reform and international openness transparency.

Dr. Jamal Ait Laadam, Specialist in North African and Western Sahara Issue, at Jilin University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

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Africa

The Transitioning Democracy of Sudan

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Sudan has been the focus of conflict for much of its six decades as an independent nation. Despite being an anomaly in a region crippled with totalitarian populism and escalating violence, the country hasn’t witnessed much economic or political stability in years. While the civic-military coalition, leading a democratic transition towards elections, has managed to subside the fragments of civil war, growing hostility in the peripheries has begun threatening the modest reforms made in the past two years. The recent coup attempt is a befitting example of the plans that are budding within the echelons of the Sudanese military to drag the country back into the closet. And while the attempt got thwarted, it is not a success to boast. But it is a warning that the transition would not be as smooth a ride as one might have hoped.

The problems today are only a reflection of Sudan’s issues in the past: especially which led to the revolution. The civil unrest began in Sudan back in December 2018. Sudan’s long-serving ruler, Omer al-Bashir, had turned Sudan into an international outcast during his 30-year rule of tyranny and economic isolation. Naturally, Sudan perished as an economic pariah: especially after the independence of South Sudan. With the loss of oil revenues and almost 95% of its exports, Sudan inched on the brink of collapse. In response, Bashir’s regime resorted to impose draconian austerity measures instead of reforming the economy and inviting investment. The cuts in domestic subsidies over fuel and food items led to steep price hikes: eventually sparking protests across the east and spreading like wildfire to the capital, Khartoum.

In April 2019, after months of persistent protests, the army ousted Bashir’s government; established a council of generals, also known as the ‘Transitional Military Council.’ The power-sharing agreement between the civilian and military forces established an interim government for a period of 39 months. Subsequently, the pro-democracy movement nominated Mr. Abdalla Hamdok as the Prime Minister: responsible for orchestrating the general elections at the end of the transitional period. The agreement coalesced the civilian and military powers to expunge rebellious factions from society and establish a stable economy for the successive government. However, the aspirations overlooked ground realities.

Sudan currently stands in the third year of the transitional arrangement that hailed as a victory. However, the regime is now most vulnerable when the defiance is stronger than ever. Despite achieving respite through peace agreements with the rebels in Sudan, the proliferation of arms and artillery never abated. In reality, the armed attacks have spiraled over the past two years after a brief hiatus achieved by the peace accords. The conflict stems from the share of resources between different societal fractions around Darfur, Kordofan, and the Blue Nile. According to UN estimates, the surging violence has displaced more than 410,000 people across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021. The expulsion is six times the rate of displacement recorded last year. According to the retreating UN peacekeeping mission, the authorities have all but failed to calm the rampant banditry and violence: partially manifested by the coup attempt that managed to breach the government’s order.

The regional instability is only half the story. Since the displacement of Bashir’s regime, Sudan has rarely witnessed stability, let alone surplus dividends to celebrate. Despite thawing relations with Israel and joining the IMF program, Sudan has felt little relief in return. The sharp price hikes and gripping unemployment which triggered the coup back in 2019 never receded: galloped instead. Currently, inflation runs rampant above 400%, while the Sudanese Pound has massively devalued under conditions dictated by the IMF. And despite bagging some success in negotiating International debt relief, the Hamdok regime has struggled to invite foreign investment and create jobs: majorly due to endemic conflicts that still run skin-deep in the fabric of the Sudanese society.

While the coup attempt failed, it is still not a sigh of relief for the fragile government. The deep-rooted analysis of the coup attempt reveals a stark reality: the military factions – at least some – are no longer sated in being equal-footed with a civilian regime. Moreover, the perpetrators tried to leverage the widening disquiet within the country by blocking roads and attempting to sabotage state-run media: hoping to gain public support. The population is indeed frustrated by the economic desperation; the failure of the coup attempt means that people have still not given up hope in a democratic government and a free-and-fair election. Nonetheless, it is not the first tranche of the army to rebel, and it certainly won’t be the last. The only way to salvage democracy is to stabilize Sudan’s economy and resolve inter-communal violence before leading the county towards elections. Otherwise, it is apparent that Bashir’s political apparatus is so deeply entrenched in Sudan’s ruling network that even if the transitional government survives multiple coups, an elected government would ultimately wither.

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Africa

Money seized from Equatorial Guinea VP Goes into Vaccine

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As a classic precedence, the Justice Department of the United States has decided that $26.6m (£20m) seized from Equatorial Guinea’s Vice-President Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue be used on purchasing COVID-19 vaccines and other essential medical programmes in Equitorial Guinea, located on the west coast of central Africa.

“Wherever possible, kleptocrats will not be allowed to retain the benefits of corruption,” an official said in a statement, and reported by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Obiang was forced to sell a mansion in Malibu, California, a Ferrari and various Michael Jackson memorabilia as part of a settlement he reached with the US authorities in 2014 after being accused of corruption and money-laundering. He denied the charges.

The agreement stated that $10.3m of the money from the sale would be forfeited to the US and the rest would be distributed to a charity or other organisation for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea, the Justice Department said.

The UN is to receive $19.25m to purchase and administer COVID-19 vaccines to at least 600,000 people in Equatorial Guinea, while a US-based charity is to get $6.35m for other medical programmes in Equatorial Guinea.

Teodorin Nguema has been working in position as Vice-President since 2012, before that he held numerous government positions, including Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Known for his unquestionable lavish lifestyle, he has been the subject of a number of international criminal charges and sanctions for alleged embezzlement and corruption. He has a fleet of branded cars and a number of houses, and two houses alone in South Africa,

Teodorin Nguema has often drawn criticisms in the international media for lavish spending, while majority of the estimated 1.5 million population wallows in abject poverty. Subsistence farming predominates, with shabby infrastructure in the country. Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Africa

African Union’s Inaction on Ethiopia Deplorable – Open Letter

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The crisis in northern Ethiopia has resulted in millions of people in need of emergency assistance and protection. © UNICEF/Christine Nesbitt

A group of African intellectuals says in an open letter that it is appalled and dismayed by the steadily deteriorating situation in Ethiopia. The letter, signed by 58 people, says the African Union’s lack of effective engagement in the crisis is deplorable. The letter calls on regional bloc IGAD and the AU to “proactively take up their mandates with respect to providing mediation for the protagonists to this conflict”.

The letter also asks for “all possible political support” for the AU’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, whose appointment was announced on August 26, 2021. A United Nations Security Council meeting on the same day welcomed the former Nigerian president’s appointment.

Earlier in August 2021, UN  chief Antonio Guterres appealed for a ceasefire, unrestricted aid access and an Ethiopian-led political dialogue. He told the council these steps were essential to preserve Ethiopia’s unity and the stability of the region and to ease the humanitarian crisis. He said that he had been in close contact with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and had received a letter from the leader of the Tigray region in response to his appeal. “The UN is ready to work together with the African Union and other key partners to support such a dialogue,” he said.

August 26, 2021 was only the second time during the conflict that the council held a public meeting to discuss the situation. Britain, Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway and the United States requested the session.

Fighting between the national government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front broke out in November 2020, leaving millions facing emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity, according to the United Nations. Both sides have been accused of atrocities.

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