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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nigeria

Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs


Nigeria, the most populous African nation with an estimated 149 million people, is one of the United States government's key strategic partners on the continent. It is Africa's largest producer of oil and is regularly the fifth largest oil exporter to the United States. By some estimates, Nigeria could rank among the world's top five exporters of oil within a few years, although social unrest and corruption in the country's Niger Delta region have posed significant challenges to oil production. 

As Africa's second largest economy, Nigeria's stability and prosperity affect not only those in the market for Nigerian oil, but the entire region. The country has faced intermittent political turmoil and economic crisis since gaining independence in 1960. Political life has been scarred by conflict along both ethnic and geographic lines and misrule has undermined the authority and legitimacy of the state apparatus. After 16 years of military rule, Nigeria made a transition to civilian governance in 1999, when Olusegun Obasanjo, a former general, was elected president. In 2007, Nigerians witnessed the country's first civilian transfer of power with the election of a new president, Umaru Yar'Adua. 

Nigeria continues to face serious social and economic challenges. Although Nigeria's oil and natural gas revenues are estimated at over $50 billion per year, its human development indicators are among the world's lowest, and a majority of the population suffer from extreme poverty. Fluctuations in world oil prices have posed additional problems for the Nigerian government, which relies on the energy sector for over 85% of revenues. Nigeria remains relatively stable, although intercommunal conflicts in parts of the country are common. Thousands have been killed and many more wounded in periodic religious clashes. The attempted terror attack on an American airliner by a Nigerian passenger on December 25, 2009, has heightened concerns regarding airport security in Africa and the possible radicalization of African Muslims. Under former President Obasanjo, Nigeria emerged as a major player in Africa. The government has helped to resolve political disputes in several African countries, and the country ranks 4th among troop contributors to United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world. 

Nigeria's most recent general elections, which the U.S. State Department called "deeply flawed," were held in April 2007. Despite controversy surrounding his election, President Yar'Adua's pledges of reform were welcomed by many Nigerians, but questions regarding his health and the pace of reform increased during his tenure. Yar'Adua was hospitalized in Saudi Arabia in November 2009 for a heart condition and did not return to Nigeria until February 2010. Last seen in public in November, prior to his hospitalization, the President's prolonged absence heightened fears of political instability. His death was announced on May 5. His Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, who had served as acting president since February, was subsequently sworn in as head of state. He has pledged to uphold President Yar'Adua's reform agenda and to prioritize anticorruption efforts, peace and development in the Niger Delta, and electoral reform in preparation for the upcoming 2011 elections. The Obama Administration has expressed support for these initiatives, and in April established a U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, a strategic dialogue to address issues of mutual concern.



Date of Report: June 4, 2010
Number of Pages: 39
Order Number: RL33964
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sexual Violence in African Conflicts


Alexis Arieff
Analyst in African Affairs

Civilians in Africa's conflict zones—particularly women and children, but also men—are often vulnerable to sexual violence, including rape, mutilation, and sexual slavery, carried out by government security forces and non-state actors, including, rebel groups, militias, and criminal organizations. Some abuses appear to be opportunistic, or the product of a larger breakdown in the rule of law and social order that may occur amid conflict. Combatant groups have also deployed sexual violence as a strategic tool to wreak damage on entire communities. While such abuses are by no means limited to Africa, weak justice systems in many African states can mean that victims have little legal redress. In addition to health and psychological consequences, survivors are also often shunned by their families and communities.

Sexual atrocities have been reported in many African conflicts, including in active conflict zones in Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan. Sexual violence was also a salient feature of recently silenced conflicts in Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. The issue has been particularly prevalent in eastern DRC, where security forces, rebel organizations, militias, and other armed groups have inflicted sexual violence upon the civilian population on a massive scale. This report provides a detailed case study of DRC and an index of active U.S. programs there.

Multiple U.S. government agencies and implementing partners contribute to efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence in African conflicts, including the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Justice, and the Department of Defense, among others. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken the lead on the Obama Administration's initiative to address the issue through speeches, official travel, public remarks, writings, and actions at the United Nations. In August 2009, Clinton traveled to Goma, in eastern DRC, where she pledged $17 million to support U.S. government efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in that country. The pledge includes $10 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) for "programs and activities to assist victims of gender-based violence" in DRC provided by the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-32).

The 111th Congress has repeatedly expressed interest in bringing attention to the issue of sexual violence in African conflicts and support for programs to address it through legislation, hearings, and other congressional actions. Potential issues for Congress include the authorization and appropriation of targeted assistance programs; oversight of Administration and multilateral policies; and oversight of coordination between U.S. government agencies and international donors. For further background, see CRS Report RL34438, International Violence Against Women: U.S. Response and Policy Issues, coordinated by Luisa Blanchfield.


Date of Report: June 10, 2010
Number of Pages: 33
Order Number: R40956
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs


In October 2008, the forces of the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP), under the command of General Laurent Nkunda, launched a major offensive against the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces (FARDC) in eastern Congo. Within days, the CNDP captured a number of small towns and Congolese forces retreated in large numbers. 

Eastern Congo has been in a state of chaos for over a decade. The first rebellion to oust the late President Mobutu Sese Seko began in the city of Goma in the mid-1990s. The second rebellion in the late 1990s began also in eastern Congo. The root causes of the current crisis are the presence of over a dozen militia and extremist groups, both foreign and Congolese, in eastern Congo, and the failure to fully implement peace agreements signed by the parties. Over the past 14 years, the former Rwandese armed forces and the Interhamwe militia have been given a safe haven in eastern Congo and have carried out many attacks inside Rwanda and against Congolese civilians. A Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), is also in Congo, despite an agreement reached between the LRA and the Government of Uganda. 

In November 2008, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as his envoy to help broker a peace agreement to end the crisis in eastern Congo. Since his appointment, Obasanjo has met with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, General Nkunda, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and other officials in the region. The parties have agreed to participate in a U.N.-led peace initiative. The crisis in eastern Congo has displaced an estimated 2.1 million Congolese, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Other regions of Congo have also been affected by sporadic violence. 

In late 2008, the governments of Rwanda and Congo agreed on a wide range of issues. The two governments agreed to launch a joint military offensive against the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). They also agreed to restore full diplomatic relations and to activate economic cooperation. In January 2009, Rwanda and Congo launched the joint military operation in eastern Congo. In late February Rwandese forces pulled out of Congo as part of an agreement reached with Congo. 

The United States has been actively engaged in facilitating the Tripartite Plus talks among the four key players in the Great Lakes region: Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, and Uganda. The Tripartite Plus process has led to a number of agreements over the past several years, including the creation of a Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) to address cross-border issues. The United States provided $205.1 million in FY2008 and $111.6 million in FY2009. The DRC received a total of $296.5 million in FY2009 and an estimated $183 million in FY2010. The Obama Administration has requested $213.2 million for FY2011.



Date of Report: June 4, 2010
Number of Pages: 16
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for four decades. More than 2 million people have died in Southern Sudan over the past two decades due to war-related causes and famine, and millions have been displaced from their homes. There were many failed attempts to end the civil war in Southern Sudan. In July 2002, the Sudan government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a peace framework agreement in Kenya. On May 26, 2004, the government of Sudan and the SPLM signed three protocols on Power Sharing, on the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, and on the long disputed Abyei area. The signing of these protocols resolved all outstanding issues between the parties. On June 5, 2004, the parties signed "the Nairobi Declaration on the Final Phase of Peace in the Sudan." On January 9, 2005, the government of Sudan and the SPLM signed the final peace agreement at a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The crisis in Darfur began in February 2003, when two rebel groups emerged to challenge the National Congress Party (NCP) government in Darfur. The crisis in Darfur in western Sudan has led to a major humanitarian disaster, with an estimated 2.7 million people displaced, more than 240,000 people forced into neighboring Chad, and an estimated 450,000 people killed. In July 2004, the House and Senate declared the atrocities in Darfur genocide, and the Bush Administration reached the same conclusion in September 2004. On May 4, 2006, the Government of National Unity and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) after almost two years of negotiations. 

In July 2007, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1769, authorizing the deployment of a robust peacekeeping force to Darfur. The resolution calls for the deployment of 26,000 peacekeeping troops to Darfur. The resolution authorizes the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to take all necessary measures to protect its personnel and humanitarian workers. As of February 2010, UNAMID deployed a total of 21,800 peacekeeping personnel. As of February 2010, 57 peacekeeping personnel have been killed in Darfur. In July 2008, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused President Omar Bashir of Sudan of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and asked ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for President Bashir. On March 4, 2009, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber issued a warrant of arrest for President Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

In late October 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new Sudan policy. The new Sudan policy focuses on three policy priorities: the crisis in Darfur, the implementation of the North- South peace agreement, and counter-terrorism. The new policy links the lifting of sanctions and incentives to verifiable progress on the ground.


Date of Report: May 28, 2010
Number of Pages: 36
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Uganda: Current Conditions and the Crisis in North Uganda

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In February 2006, Ugandans voted in the first multi-party elections in almost 26 years. President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Revolutionary Movement (NRM) parliamentary candidates won a decisive victory over opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and the Forum for Democracy Coalition. Nevertheless, poll results showed a notable decline in support for President Museveni from previous elections. International election observers did not condemn the election results, nor did they fully endorse the electoral process. Critics charged the government with intimidating the opposition during the pre-election period, and Besigye spent much of the campaign period in jail. The election followed a controversial move by the Ugandan parliament in July 2005 to remove the constitutional two-term limit on the presidency. 

In the north, the government of Uganda has long fought the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), an armed rebel group backed by the government of Sudan. Through over 20 years of civil war, the brutal insurgency has created a humanitarian crisis that has displaced over 1.5 million people and resulted in the abduction of over 20,000 children. In 2006-2007, the government of Uganda and the LRA were engaged in an effort to resolve the conflict peacefully. The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) mediated the talks. In August 2006, the government of Uganda and the LRA signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. In February 2008, the parties agreed on a Permanent Ceasefire and amended the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation and Agreement on Comprehensive Solutions. However, the leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, failed to show up for the final signing of the agreement on a number of occasions. Kony and his forces are in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, and Sudan. 

The cessation of hostilities has allowed an estimated 1.4 million people to return to their homes. In June 2007, the parties signed an agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation. In late October, an LRA delegation went to Kampala for the first time and held talks with senior Ugandan officials. In October, Vincent Otti, the Deputy Commander of the LRA, reportedly was killed in Uganda by Joseph Kony, the head of the LRA. Over the past two years, a number of senior LRA commanders have been killed or surrendered to authorities. In December 2009, the Deputy Commander of the LRA, Bok Abudema, was killed by Ugandan forces in Central African Republic. 

In late October 2007, President Museveni visited Washington, DC, and met with President Bush and other senior administration officials. President Museveni also met with several Members of Congress. During his visit, President Museveni discussed a wide range of issues, including U.S.- Uganda relations, the crises in Somalia and Darfur, trade, and HIV/AIDS. Uganda deployed an estimated 2,700 peacekeeping troops to Somalia, shortly after Ethiopian forces invaded Mogadishu and installed the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Ugandan forces have not been a major target of the insurgents at the beginning of the peacekeeping operation. As of December 2009, an estimated 22 members of the Ugandan peacekeeping forces have been killed.


Date of Report: May 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 37
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Liberia’s Post-War Development: Key Issues and U.S. Assistance

Nicolas Cook
Specialist in African Affairs

This report covers developments in Liberia, a small, poor West African country. Liberia held elections in October 2005, with a presidential runoff in November, a key step in a peace-building process following its second civil war in a decade. That war began in 1999, escalated in 2000, and ended in 2003. It pitted the forces of Charles Taylor, elected president in 1997 after Liberia's first civil war (1989-1997), against two armed anti-Taylor rebel groups. The war also destabilized neighboring states, which accepted Liberian refugees and, in some cases, hosted anti-Taylor forces and became targets of the Taylor regime. 

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an economist, won the presidential runoff vote with 59.4% of votes cast and took office in January 2006, becoming the first elected female president of an African country. Her runoff rival, George Weah, a former star soccer player, conceded Sirleaf's win after initially contesting it. Most observers viewed the vote as orderly, free, and fair. It fulfilled a key goal of an August 2003 peace accord that had ended the second civil war and led to an ongoing, U.S.-aided post-war transition process, which is bolstered by the multifaceted peacekeeping and development-focused U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The next election is scheduled for 2011, and President Sirleaf has announced that she will seek reelection. Liberia's security situation is stable but subject to periodic volatility. Progress in governance under the interim government that preceded that of President Sirleaf was mixed; widespread corruption within it was widely reported. Liberia's economy and state structures remain devastated by war but, along with humanitarian conditions, are improving. Liberia has received extensive U.S. post-war reconstruction and security sector reform assistance. In March 2006, former President Taylor was arrested in Nigeria and transferred to the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) to face war crimes charges. He was later transferred to The Hague, the Netherlands, where he is on trial by the SCSL. 

In addition to providing substantial support for Liberia's post-war peace and reconstruction processes, Congress has maintained a continuing interest in the status of Charles Taylor and in ensuring funding for the SCSL. Other legislation proposed in the 109th and 110th Congresses centered on immigration, debt, and tax haven issues, and the commendation of Liberia for successfully holding elections. Liberia-specific legislation introduced or acted upon in the 111th Congress has included H.R. 1105 (Obey); H.R. 3288 (Olver); S. 656 (Reed); H.R. 2258 (Kennedy); H.R. 2410 (Berman); H.R. 2475 (Ros-Lehtinen); S. 1434 (Leahy); and H.R. 2346 (Obey). 
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Date of Report: May 25, 2010
Number of Pages: 80
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kenya: Current Conditions and the Challenges Ahead

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs


Kenya, a nation of about 36.9 million people, has been an important ally of the United States for decades. Kenya moved from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy in 1992. Kenyans voted in record numbers in the country's first multi-party election in almost 26 years. President Daniel arap Moi defeated opposition candidates by a small margin. In 1997, Kenya held its second multiparty elections, at the height of tensions between the opposition and the ruling party. President Moi was re-elected with 40% of the votes cast, while his nearest rival, Mwai Kibaki, won 31%. In the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections, the opposition National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) defeated the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU). In the presidential election, NARC leader Kibaki defeated Uhuru Kenyatta, the leader of KANU. 

On December 27, 2007, millions of Kenyans went to the polls in Kenya's fourth multi-party elections, with the hope of strengthening the institutions of democracy and, most important in the view of many observers, of bringing change. An estimated 14.2 million (82% of the total eligible voters) Kenyans were registered to vote, while 2,547 Parliamentary candidates were qualified to run in 210 constituencies, according to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). Nine candidates competed in the presidential election. The opposition reportedly made significant gains in the parliamentary elections. The ECK, however, hastily declared President Kibaki as the winner of the elections. Kibaki was quickly sworn in as president, while international and domestic election observers declared the elections as rigged and deeply flawed. 

Following the announcement of the election results, violence erupted in many parts of Kenya. More than 1,000 people have been killed and an estimated 350,000 reportedly displaced. In August 2008, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) released a report on the post-election violence. In early February, the opposition and the government began negotiations under the leadership of former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The two parties agreed to work together to end the violence, improve humanitarian conditions, and to write a new constitution within a year. In late February, the government and the opposition reached a powersharing arrangement. On March 18, 2008, the Kenya parliament unanimously approved the Agreement. On April 3, 2008, the parties agreed on a 40-member cabinet. But important reforms agreed to by the parties have yet to be implemented. The initial United States government reaction to the December elections was considered by some international observers as contradictory and seen by some Kenyans as being one-sided in favor of President Kibaki. On December 30, the United States government reportedly congratulated President Kibaki. Senior Bush Administration officials visited Kenya in an effort to resolve the crisis and provided support to Kofi Annan's mediation efforts. The Obama Administration has repeatedly pressed the Government of Kenya to implement reforms agreed to by the parties in 2008. In September 2009, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Johnnie Carson, sent a letter to 15 Kenyan officials warning them that reforms must be implemented. In April 2010, the Kenyan parliament passed a new draft constitution, and in late 2010, Kenyans will vote in a referendum to approve or reject the new constitution.



Date of Report: May 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 16
Order Number: RL34378
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Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs


U.S. aid to Africa reached a peak in 1985, when global competition with the Soviet Union was at a high point. After the Cold War ended, security assistance levels for Africa began to decline. In 1995, at the outset of the 104th Congress, substantial reductions in aid to Africa had been anticipated, as many questioned the importance of Africa to U.S. national security interests in the post-Cold War era. As the debate went forward, however, congressional reports and bills emphasized U.S. humanitarian, economic, and other interests in Africa. Aid levels did fall, but gradually began to increase again in FY1997. U.S. assistance to Africa is reaching new highs due to a significant increase in health care sectors under the Global Health and Child Survival (GHCS) program. U.S. aid to Africa nearly quadrupled from $1.2 billion in FY2006 to $6.7 billion in FY2010. Moreover, the United States is the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to Africa. In FY2009, the United States provided an estimated $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Sudan. 

U.S. assistance reaches Africa through a variety of channels, including USAID-administered Development Assistance (DA) and GHCS programs, food aid programs, and refugee assistance. As of February 2010, the Peace Corps had an estimated 2,620 volunteers and trainers in 29 African countries. The U.S. African Development Foundation (ADF) makes small grants to cooperatives, youth groups, and self-help organizations and operates in 20 countries. The Obama Administration has requested $30 million for ADF for FY2011. U.S. security assistance, though still far below levels seen in the 1980s, has increased in recent years, primarily because of U.S. support for African peacekeeping and counter-terrorism initiatives. The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) is the principal multilateral channel for U.S. aid, but the United States also contributes to the African Development Bank and Fund and to United Nations activities in Africa. 

Total U.S. foreign assistance to Africa for FY2009 was estimated at $6.6 billion. More than half of the FY2009 funding went to health-related programs. Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to receive $6.7 billion in FY2010. The Obama Administration has requested an estimated $7.5 billion for FY2011. 
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Date of Report: May 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 15
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