CW 41/2020: Détente and Intensification
Press Review 3 October 2020 to 9 October 2020

Sanctions in Mali to be lifted

On Monday the new transitional government of Mali replaced the military junta. Prime Minister and former UN Ambassador Moctar Ouane, appointed by interim President Bah N’Daw, presented his 25-member cabinet, which is to lead the West African state for the next 18 months on the road to democratic elections. With the Ministries of Internal Security, National Reconciliation, Territorial Administration and Defence, no less than four key positions were filled with influential members of the military junta. However, since a large part of the posts are held by sections of the civilian population, including the foreign and justice ministries, ECOWAS decided to lift the economic and financial sanctions against Mali only a day after the transitional government was announced. The ECOWAS heads of state see the change of government as significant progress in the return to constitutional order and have called on the country’s economic partners to resume cooperation. For the first time since 2012, representatives of the armed groups, such as the Tuareg Rebels, also hold important offices. The transitional regime has already complied with ECOWAS‘ demand to temporarily release those arrested during the coup. Among those released on Thursday was former Prime Minister Boubou Cissé. However, the dissolution of the National Council for the Rescue of the People (CNPS), which was founded after the coup, is still pending. One of the new government’s challenges will be to deal with the corruption scandals of its predecessors and bring those responsible to justice as announced.


Mozambique: Between conflict and economic potential

In northern Mozambique, violent clashes between rebel groups and the military are increasing. Most recently, attacks by the Islamist terrorist group Ansar al-Sunna, which has joined the IS, have increased in Cabo Delgado province. This week Amnesty International raised alarming concerns: more than 2,000 people have been killed and more than 300,000 displaced since the conflict began three years ago. The region is also considered to be the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, as the many IDP camps are unable to comply with distance rules or other hygiene measures, and health centers are closed due to the violence. As early as August, the Islamists occupied the strategically important port city of Mocimboa, thus inflicting a bitter defeat on the Mozambican army. The military, however, is also criticized by the population for human rights violations. Last month, soldiers are said to have killed 100 civilians. According to experts, the disputes in Cabo Delgado are primarily based on conflicts over distribution and resources. Neglected by the central government in Maputo, the region is considered one of the poorest in the country. In the meantime, the continent’s largest liquid gas fields have been discovered off its coast. In addition to France, Italy and the USA, China also wants to invest in their production. In March, a trade fair organized by President Felipe Nyusi and Africa Oil&Power is scheduled to take place in southern Maputo to attract international investors to Mozambique as a business location.


In other news

The Ugandan long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei broke the 10,000-meter world record on Wednesday. He undercut the record set by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in 2005 by six seconds at the Turia Stadium in Valencia. With this success, the 24-year-old set his fourth world record in less than a year. Most recently, he set a new record over 5000 meters at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Monaco on 14 August. Bekele had also been the fastest man in the world over this distance. Looking at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which have been postponed to 2021 due to the Corona Pandemic, the latest record of the exceptional runner and training partner of the marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) is also very impressive.

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