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ORF AFRICA WEEKLY REPORT
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Vol. II Issue. 44
Egypt recalls ambassador to Israel
16 November 2012

NORTH

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi recalled the nation's ambassador to Israel after the latest series of air strikes in Gaza which resulted in at least seven casualties. He further requested the Arab League to convene an emergency meeting of foreign ministers.

Mr. Morsi, elected after Mubarak's reign, promised to take a harder line on Israel than his predecessor who was accused of doing little to stop Israeli assaults in Gaza from 2008-2009.
Source(S): Agence France Presse, November 15, 2012.

Sudan, China to increase oil production

Sudan and China have agreed to work towards increasing oil production in Sudan and boosting cooperation in the field of mining after a meeting between delegates from Sudan's Petroleum Ministry and the China National Petroleum Cooperation. The two sides also agreed on the future development of the Khartoum oil refinery.

Chinese companies dominate the oil sector in both Sudan and South Sudan dominate oil sector in both Sudan and South Sudan and Sudan has been one of China's top suppliers of crude oil.
Source(S): Sudan Tribune, November 14, 2012.

WEST

Mali rebel group offers concessions

Ansar Dine, one of the main separatist groups controlling northern Mali, offered important concessions as plans to deploy an internationally backed African military force have been gathering steam.

Ansar Dine is a group of secular separatists, mostly consisting of Malian Tuaregs, took control of the Mali's north following a military coup in April. However, the separatists were quickly sidelined by Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda looking to fill the power vacuum.

The group has also recently sent envoys to Burkina Faso and Algeria in a bid to negotiate an end to the crisis and further political dialogue with the government. This indicates a widening split in the coalition of rebel groups ruling the north.
Source(s): Agence France Presse, November 15, 2012.

Nigeria cancels energy deal with Canadian firm

Nigeria cancelled a 23.6 million USD contract with Manitoba Hydro International, a Canadian firm to overhaul power transmission in the African nation as its award violated due process according to officials.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, but electricity blackouts occur daily. Plans have been laid out to privatise electricity production and distribution allowing for private management of a state-owned national grid, but implementation of these plans have proved challenging.
Source(s): Agence France Presse, November 14, 2012.

SOUTH

Mbeki named 'African of the Year'

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki was honoured as the African of the Year by the Nigerian weekly the Daily Trust. Mr. Mbeki merited the award for his work in resolving and managing conflict in Sudan.

The Daily Trust advisory board chairperson commended Mr. Mbeki for his outstanding leadership of the African Union panel on Sudan, recognising the significant achievement in progress towards attaining a permanent peace.
Source(s): Mail and Guardian, November 09, 2012.

SADC renewable energy potential enormous: Report

A recently released preliminary technical report at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Energy Regulators Association meeting estimated the potential for renewable energy in the SADC region at 37,342 TeraWatt hours.

The major potential lies in the sectors of solar energy and bio-energy, contributing 67 and 31 per cent respectively. However, only a small fraction of this potential has been utilised. Challenges identified were the slow pace of policy development, inadequate regional coordination and cooperation for renewable energy and limited capital for investment in opportunities.
Source(s): New Era, November 15, 2012.

EAST

UN chief welcomes new Somali cabinet

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the swearing in today of the cabinet of ministers put forward by Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon.

The proposed cabinet was endorsed by the parliament on November 13, 2012. The event marked an important milestone in Somalia's transition to stable governance.
Source(s): allafrica.com, November 15, 2012.

Somaliland to drill oil by 2014

The semi-autonomous territory of Somaliland has predicted oil drilling to commence by 2014 as three companies begin exploration activities after signing deals with the de-facto government.

Somaliland would benefit from the inflow of oil investment and the region is rapidly emerging as an exciting oil and gas province after other successful discoveries in East Africa. The region is not recognized internationally as a nation-state, but declared autonomy from Somalia in 1991.
Source(s): IOL, October 30, 2012.

Rwanda sees traffic influx as Uganda closes border with DRC

Overflows of traffic have been reported at the Rwanda-Uganda border following a decision by the Ugandan government to close the Bunagana border post with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Immigration authorities have reported that most vehicles crossing the border were merchandise trucks bound for the DRC. The border closure has seen Ugandan traders lose large amounts of revenue through trade with eastern DRC.

The closure followed a request by DRC president Joseph Kabila to his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni last month, citing the fact that M23 rebels were taking advantage of the open border point at Bunagana to collect revenue from cargo vehicles and other goods.
Source(s): New Times, October 11, 2012.

CENTRAL

113 rebels killed as violence flares in DRC

Around 113 rebels were killed in clashes between the M23 group and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo as violence flared days after the UN and US imposed sanctions on the group's leader.

The US announced sanctions against the group's leader on November 13, 2012, freezing his assets in US jurisdiction. The United Nations also ordered an assets freeze and a travel ban against the 38-year old.
Source(s): Daily Nation, November 16, 2012.

(This report is prepared by Shaantanu Shankar, Research Intern, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi)