CW 51/2021: Far-reaching Agreements?
Press Review 17 December 2021 to 23 December 2021

Africa-Turkey Summit in Istanbul

The two day summit between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and representatives from 39 African countries ended in Istanbul on Saturday. Among them were Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairperson of the African Union (AU), and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo representing ECOWAS, as well as 14 further heads of state and another 26 foreign ministers. This year’s meeting is aimed at building a deeper partnership between Turkey and the states of Africa. The aim of the summit was to draw up new guidelines for the Turkish government’s cooperation with the African continent over the next five years. The resulting Turkey-Africa Partnership Joint Action Plan 2021-2026 addresses, among others, peace and security, trade, education, infrastructure development and the promotion of resilient health systems. With regard to Covid-19, the Turkish president promised to distribute 15 million doses of vaccine to African countries in the coming months. This was the third summit of its kind, following those in Istanbul in 2008 and Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in 2014. The next summit is planned for 2026 on the African continent. Turkey’s interest in Africa has grown strongly over the past two decades. For example, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has grown from 12 in 2002 to 43 today. The volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and Africa has also increased from USD 5.4 billion in 2003 to USD 25.3 billion in 2020, according to official plans, this volume is supposed to be raised to USD 50 billion. In view of the recent summits of major international powers with representatives of the African continent, the term The new Scramble for Africa has recently been used. In December alone, for example, the FOCAC 2021 between China and Africa and the Summit for Democracy of the USA, to which 13 African countries were invited, took place.

 

Riots in Eastern Congo

Last Monday, the city of Goma in the North Kivu region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was rocked by violent protests. Youths set up roadblocks and engaged in skirmishes with police, reportedly resulting in at least four deaths. This was triggered by rumours of the presence of Rwandan police forces and the formation of a joint DRC-Rwanda police command centre to combat increasing insecurity in the megacity of Goma and its surroundings. Congolese authorities strongly denied the speculations. Despite the denial, mistrust remains among the population, who fear annexation of parts of eastern Congo by neighbouring Rwanda. Relations between the two countries have been strained over the past 30 years due to mutual accusations of supporting rebel forces and the invasion of eastern Congo by Rwandan troops during the DRC’s years-long civil war. Last week, however, the DRC and Rwanda signed an agreement to fight cross-border crime, which is probably the background to the current rumours. The security situation in the entire North Kivu region has deteriorated over the course of the year. Due to the spread of rebel groups, above all the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a state of siege was declared here in May 2021. Under the resulting martial law, the most important civilian leadership positions have been placed under the control of the military authorities, and civil servants and state employees have been replaced by soldiers. Nevertheless, insecurity is on the rise and with it the discontent of the population. Beyond the agreement with Rwanda, the DRC has also signed an agreement with Uganda to bring the security situation under control. It was signed on 9 December by the Congolese Minister of Defence and his Ugandan counterpart, with the Ugandan army reportedly already deployed in eastern Congo since the end of November.

 

In other news

Last Saturday, the 18-day FIFA Arab Cup 2021 in Qatar came to an end. Algeria beat their opponents Tunisia 2-0 in injury time at the Al-Bayt Stadium. This was the first time Algeria won the FIFA Arab Cup, which has been held at irregular intervals since 1963 and was now being held for the tenth time. In the almost 60 years of the football competition for national teams of the Arab world, Algeria became the fourth African country to win the competition after Tunisia did so in 1963, Egypt in 199the first after a nine year break and at the same time considered a rehearsal for next year’s World Cup in Qatar. For the Algerian national team, it is the second title in a row after winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, which they will try to defend in Cameroon next month.

 

+++ With this press review we say goodbye to the year 2021. We wish you happy holidays and a happy new year. As of 07 January 2022, we will again provide you with news from the African continent as usual. +++

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