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Mali: Prime Minister Ousted by Military

11 Dec

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The military junta in Mali, arrested and ousted the countries Prime Minister and his entire government earlier today. The move will be condemned by regional leaders who are already holding emergency talks over the development. Further it will likely serve to hasten the deployment of regional troops that has already been authorized by the regional organizations, ECOWAS an AU. The delay is largely attributed to the UN Security Council that was originally believed to be a supportive partner in the process but has actually delayed intervention already by months. The move by the military junta is also a serious indictment of the UN Secretary General and his special envoy for Mali, Prodi who have recently downplayed the need to act urgently in Mali. France recently called for an urgent resolution authorizing action in Mali. However their ambassador in Bamako had recently softened their proactive stance. Regional troops will soon be in Mali regardless of what the UN Security Council does in New York. Regional leaders will soon have an emergency summit on the matter, after which a concrete decision will be take to move forward. While it believed that the force would not arrive till 2013, it is not possible that forces will arrive before the end of the year.

The military in Mali has been closely watching the development surrounding the intervention force, something that the junta members still serving in the military have resisted. The lack of support shown by the United Nations, including the Secretary General and his special Envoy Prodi, and the United States to the urgent appeals of ECOWAS and the AU likely encouraged them to take this step. Not only did the Secretary General say that military intervention was not a priority he also questioned the comprehensive plan put forth by ECOWAS, ridiculing the only major authority that has kept the military in check in Mali. The United States and its Department of State also sought to undermine ECOWAS by somehow unilaterally appointing Algeria as the “leader” in negotiations in Northern Mali. The lead negotiator, appointed by ECOWAS, is the President of Burkina Faso. He has been effective in gaining concessions from two of the groups operating in Northern Mali. The steps to undermine ECOWAS by the UN and the US will be futile. Algeria will not be the lead negotiator and the Secretary General’s attempts to delay military intervention will also not materialize. The key power in the West African region is ECOWAS, ultimately their agenda as they have prioritized it, will prevail. As this happens all other stakeholders will fall in-line, eventually.

Moving forward, watch closely for ECOWAS decisions as this will indicate the direction of the multilateral mission. For details of the process behind multilateral missions see my book The Power of Interdependence.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D. Managing Director Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy Phone: 212.363.0936 david.kuranga@kaglobal.net https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

US General Says Negotiating with Terrorists is Best Policy

6 Dec

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Directly a result of the improper-planned mission in Libya, half of Mali is under control of Libyan armed extremists and the many foreign fighters that took part in the former Libyan regime. Only part of the NATO alliance that took action in bombing Libya is ready to support action in Mali. Namely, the French Government now led by President Hollande, is taking a very active stance in Mali similar to President Sarkozy in Libya. The key absent parties are the United States and the United Kingdom. The question is, why? Why would the United States, who recently experienced the impact of the North African terror network in Benghazi, be so slow and obstructionist to an intervention in Mali? Especially given that their own troops would not be called to participate. If the US had doubts about the capacity of African troops, then the supportive stance would be to help enhance them with material and financial contributions. Delaying a response only allows for the adversary, the same one responsible for the killings of Americans in Benghazi, to grow stronger, train more cells, generate more revenue from criminal activity, and begin to project throughout the region and the world. United States General Carter Ham noted that the groups occupying Northern Mali, especially AQIM and their affiliates, was growing stronger by the day. Thus he and his colleagues know that delaying makes the task more difficult. He also said that “negotiation is the best way”. In the same speech he noted that AQIM was supplying bombs to Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria as well as financial support and training. Both groups have been officially labeled by the United States government as terrorist organizations. Yet, one of the top Generals said that negotiations with AQIM in Mali was the best way to end the conflict there. Thus he endorsed a policy of negotiating with terrorists.

The hypocrisy of the United States with respect to its response to the crisis in Mali is glaring. Given that it was the US led bombing campaign in Libya that led to fighters based there fleeing into northern Mali with weapons taken out of Libya to do battle in Mali that caused the entire situation in the first place. It is in part the US and its failure in Libya that is responsible for Mali yet they have been delaying, allowing a group that is linked to the killing of officials at their consulate to grow stronger. This is making the work of the African-led efforts resolve it more complex and difficult. It is not clear how far the US has gone to delay intervention. The UN Special Envoy Prodi had talks with key US figures before he was appointed by the UN Secretary General. It is unlikely that they would have approved his nomination had he not supported their now clear agenda to delay intervention and block it by claims of improper planning. The mission in Mali is far better planned, conceived, and organized than the US-led NATO bombing campaign in Libya. Hence why that mission failed to contain the hostile groups or the large supply of weapons that eventually poured into Mali. Given that the US has willing countries to shoulder providing ground support in the form of trained troops that answer to recognized and respected governments, something that was not at all the case in Libya, it is not clear why the US would not also jump on with France and join in to support the effort to clean up their mess. On top of this, a top United States General, Carter Ham, is breaking ranks with decades of US policy and advocating that the best policy is to negotiate with terrorists!

There are a host of questions with respect to the response of the United States in Mali. I for one do not believe that Army General Carter Ham really thinks that the best policy is to negotiate with terrorists. He, like myself is fully aware that even rebels do not negotiate unless there is a credible threat of force. There is clear evidence as that now that the threat of an imminent African-led intervention grows that rebels in Mali are now beginning to concede ground in talks. Even Ansar Dine, an ally of AQIM, recently agreed in principle to respect religious freedom. Ham also knows that negotiating with terrorists serves to encourage them, something that the US has sought to avoid. So why the blatant hypocrisy? What is the US trying to achieve by all this? They too have felt the effect of AQIM leveling attacks on their own officials in the region. Just like France, the US also has every reason to want the threat now posed in northern Mali eliminated. What could the US possibly gain in Africa that would be worth allowing the threat in Mali to grow and strengthen for another year as they have suggested? How could West African instability serve US interests?

There are a few possible answers to this question. One possible outcome of a delay to act decisively in Mali is that regional forces may not be able to fully retake northern Mali with their current resources even with support from France, if they give AQIM a year to build-up as the US, and the UN is now suggesting. Thus they may require substantial resources from the world’s pre-eminent military power. The US has for long been trying to get African countries to agree to host AFRICOM, the US military central command post for Africa which is actually led by General Carter Ham, which today is based in Germany. The fear of sovereignty and a neo-colonial force has led to African leaders resisting US requests to host a large central base. However, since the fiasco in Mali the US has secured the temporary use of bases in Burkina Faso and perhaps other countries in the region. Greater instability in West Africa could go a long way to helping the US military secure its permanent base it has long been seeking. Thus while it is not in the short-term interest of the US to allow AQIM to grow in West Africa, it may indeed support their long-term goal of securing a permanent base for AFRICOM. This would explain the hypocritical stance by US General Ham, in asserting that negotiating with terrorists was the best policy. While he knows that it would not yield any resolution to the crisis, which is why his own government has never engaged in or supported such a strategy, it may indeed serve to enhance the foothold of the US in the region.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Political Risk in Mali and West and North Africa: Update…

4 Dec

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

There is great concern over the security situation in Mali. At present both ECOWAS and the AU have agreed to send up to 5000 troops from African countries to help regain Mali’s territory. The plan enjoys wide support throughout Africa and as it appears even among some parties in Europe who are not keen on seeing an extremist haven involved in criminal activity develop and train equip and spread through North Africa. According to decision-makers that I have spoken to, a lot of the responsibility for what is happening in Mali falls squarely on NATO due to its hastily planned intervention in Libya which was not supported by the AU at the time. Shortly after the NATO led bombing campaign in Libya fighters and weapons caches traveled to Mali to establish a foothold in the North of the country. Had it not been for the failure of the NATO led campaign in Libya to contain post regime fighters from leaving the country with large supplies of weapons the situation in Mali would not be.

Now regional decision-makers are poised to begin to clean-up that mess starting in Mali. They have pledged material resources as well as armed troops to commence the task. It was the view of some African decision-makers that financial support from Western allies responsible for the Libya fiasco, would be forthcoming. Primarily for this reason, they forwarded plans to the UN Security Council to get an international resolution endorsing the steps they had taken and opening up the mission for international support. However, based on the statements made by UN Special Envoy Prodi, and the UN Secretary General himself, ECOWAS and AU decision-makers are now realizing that same UN Security Council that endorsed the intervention in Libya which directly lead to the problem in Mali is not willing to support their efforts to clean things up. The UN Secretary General noted that the UN did not have the resources to support an African-led mission and it was not clear how they intended to finance the operation. The Secretary General and his Envoy have called for more negotiations, even though one of the largest groups occupying northern Mali has never participated in any negotiations and has no intention of doing so. Further its membership appears to be almost entirely foreign, with more and more recruits coming in from territories as far as Pakistan.

African decision-makers in ECOWAS and the AU are sending representatives to the UN to convey the need to act urgently. It was the UN Security Council that requested they provide a clear plan for retaking the territory during the UN General Assembly, something that was never done for Libya. Even after presenting this plan, the prevailing disposition is to wait and allow the groups that refuse to negotiate more time to recruit train and equip fighters making dislodging them that more difficult. However, it is not likely that ECOWAS and AU will entertain more stalling from the international “partners”. Intervention in Mali by a regional force will occur in a matter of weeks. The measure has already been authorized by ECOWAS and the AU. It does not require any UN Security Council approval or authorization and it is fully within the UN Charter for states within the region to act. Indeed, a United States General, said in a statement that groups in Mali were funding and supporting Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, giving that country the full right of self-defense to remove them. In addition the regional arrangements for both ECOWAS and the AU allow for intervention in member states for reasons such as this. Indeed ECOWAS has already intervened in Guinea-Bissau with troops to stabilize that country. The only reason why there has been a delay in Mali was the expectation that countries outside the Africa region would support and take part once the UN Security Council endorsed the ECOWAS and AU authorized mission. The right of regional organizations to intervene in member-states is also part of the UN Charter in Chapter 8 (Article 52) on regional arrangements, thus it is fully within the authority of ECOWAS and the AU to intervene in Mali without any UN Security Council action.

The signaling by the international community that it will not act on Mali will not be accepted by African decision-makers. Regardless of what happens in New York, African troops will be in Mali in a matter of weeks. ECOWAS has already planned on holding a donors conference to raise resources needed to support an intervention, originally it had been planned to hold it after the UN Security Council resolution, but it could be held before even if the UN choses to do nothing. It is not possible to negotiate with parties that do not wish to negotiate. Further armed rebellions are not ended by negotiation unless there is a credible threat of force that would compel a fruitful negotiation, something that has not occurred thus far.

There will be an armed operation in Mali, both the regional countries and Mali itself will be shouldered with the cost of executing it if international partners do not provide support and if they are not effective in raising revenue through their planned donors conference. As this happens, investors in the region should understand that the government in Mali will need resources, thus increase in taxes and fees as happened recently with the Mali gold tax is entirely possible. Further, neighboring countries, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Libya could see instability spill over into their territory. Likely many of the fighters will flee north to Mauritania, Algeria, and Libya, as they will blend in better with those populations than they would if they chose to venture south. While regional forces will work to contain and neutralize them, they are fully aware that many of them will flee the fighting as they are dislodged.

As this happens one country to be very watchful of is Mauritania. The president of that country is still suffering from a gunshot wound he sustained from one of his officers in October. As he spends most of his time in France receiving treatment, it is not clear he will be able to hold on to power. He has refused to support any armed role in the conflict in Mali, however should armed fighters enter into his countries territory his army will undoubtedly be drawn in. Should this happen, his government will have to divert more resources to securing their border with Mali and the tenure of his presidency could be cut short. Investors should be mindful that there are substantial political risks in Mauritania moving forward, just as much as Mali if not more. It is entirely possible that there will be a regime change there and the transitional government may tap mining and energy investors there for more revenue as aid flow may be cut in response to a military take-over.

The best case scenario would be for the NATO alliance; that bares full responsibility of the residual effect of their handy work in Libya, to support the African-led mission in Mali. If this happens it will shorten the length of conflict, and potentially enhance the ability of regional countries to round-up weapons caches and the surge of foreign fighters that moved into Mali. Despite this, the regional body is ready to act and will within weeks. This will eventually lead to stability in Mali, perhaps within a year. There may however be some spill-over into neighboring countries. For the time being, Mauritania appears to be at the most risk, followed by Algeria which may see another authoritarian leader in North Africa fall if instability reignites social unrest there. The other reason why Mauritania is at greater risk than Niger and Burkina Faso is because Mauritania is no longer a member of ECOWAS. Had it been, ECOWAS leaders would have sent envoys there to mediate with the military, opposition, and political stakeholders as soon as the president was shot in October, limiting the possibility that he would be overthrown. The details of the process behind regional diplomacy in Africa is detailed in my book, The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

***For the full report contact me by email.***

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/

http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Spains Borrowing Cost Skyrocket

10 Jul

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

In the absence of a Greek default, intermediate borrowing costs in Spain have reached its highest levels in the history of the Eurozone. In a recent sale of Spanish government bonds, Spain had to pay more than double what it would have paid just a month ago. While the sale of bonds demonstrates that Spain could still raise billions from investors, the cost it had to pay to do so is clearly unsustainable. Most analysts estimate that Spain will recquire over 50 billion USD in additional financing to provide capital to its trouble banks. Spain is expected to formally reach out to the EU for assistance.

What is perhaps most pronounced about the situation in Spain, is the multilateral nature by which decision-makers are seeking to address the issue. The world order has shifted substantially since the end of WWII. The new faultlines of security and economic policy are within multilateral foundations of supranational regional organizations. Most of the major decisions in the coming decade will be made in this way. The fact that so many of the pressing issues are now resolved by regional organizations is another key indication of the power and influence they wield in modern global affairs.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Mali: ECOWAS Strips Former Junta Leader of “Head of State” Status

5 Jul

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The former junta leader that removed the out-going president of Mali before his term was set to expire in just a few weeks is no longer recognized by ECOWAS as a former “Head of State”. The agreement to recognize the junta leader was done in order to pave the way for a quick return to civilian governance. However, shortly after the parliamentary speaker assumed the presidency, military guards aided an attack on him at the presidential palace and refused to prevent protestors from occupying the usually heavily guarded residence. After the incident the regional body promised to investigate and punish all those that were responsible for the attack on the interim-President and parliamentary speaker. As it appears that investigation has led to reversal of the fortunes of the former junta leader. Those who speculated that the military in Mali had any leverage over ECOWAS to prevent the return of constitutional order, or to block a multilateral ECOWAS force from helping to retake the north of the country are mistaken.

The regional body utilizes methods of “sticks” and “carrots” in order to coerce or enties key domestic stakeholders to comply with their decisions. Once this occurs the domestic parties usually do not have many real options at their disposal. They can either benefit from cooperating or can face the consequences of failing to comply. As it appears, the former junta leader in Mali tried to do both. He stepped down and recieved the status as a “former head of state” a position that grants a $9,000 USD monthly salary. After he handed power to the civilian authorities, he then through the military refused to protect the new civilian leader and an help orchestrate an attack on his residence conducted by plain-cloths civilians.

An ECOWAS force on the ground in Mali is imminent. Likely France and potentially a few other western countries will provide further assistance once a UN resolution is passed. Once this happens, military leaders in Mali will have lost most of their bargaining power, if not already. Further rebels to the north who refuse to comply with regional mediators will also come under threat of military action. They are likely to be repelled from key central cities and towns shortly after the mulitalateral intervention. They also retreat to neighboring countries or sparsely populated regions of Mali.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Threat of ECOWAS Military Action Brings Mali Rebels to the Table

20 Jun

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

In armed rebellion negotiation only occurs when the rebels feel as though their security is in jeopardy and that they can perhaps secure themselves through dialogue. Given the ease at which the two major rebel groups in Mali were able to capture the North after the military junta took power in Bamako there is no reason to believe they were at all threatened or that their security was placed in jeopardy by Mali’s military. In fact, the military junta leader in Bamako sought to hold talks with the rebels but was ignored completely.

As the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intervened pledging to boost Mali’s military efforts the rebels have reevaluated their initial decision not to negotiate. Those who believe that ECOWAS military forces are not up to the task of routing the two rebel groups in northern Mali need to take a closer look at the rebels themselves who certainly disagree. If the ECOWAS threat was not significant then both groups would have ignored them the same way they did the military junta leader in Mali. However both groups have not ignored ECOWAS. Instead they have sent delegates to neighboring Burkina Faso to hold negotiations with President Blaise Compaoré, the official ECOWAS mediator in the crisis. Perhaps even more significant, one of the groups have dropped their calls for an independent state a clear sign that they are heeding the ECOWAS stance that the territorial integrity of Mali is non-negotiable.

I was recently contacted by a high-ranking Western diplomat who questioned the capacity of ECOWAS to follow-through on their threat to conduct military operations to restore the territorial integrity of Mali. Anyone with this view has only to look at the response of rebel leaders themselves. First look at the way both rebel groups responded to the military junta in Bamako when they completely ignored the military leader who briefly took over the government. Then look at the way they are now sending entire delegations to the capital of Burkina Faso to negotiate with the ECOWAS mediator after the block pledged to send thousands of troops. Both groups are threatened and they know that if they do not change course their days are numbered. As I said to the Western official who contacted me, it is not advisable to underestimate the capacity of the sophisticated multilateral instruments in place in the African region. When put into action, they are yet to fail to yield positive results. The impact of multilateral action throughout the world is the topic of my new book The Power of Interdependence.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

ANALYSIS: The Power of Interdependence and the Euro Debt Crisis

18 Jun

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The Greek election this past weekend underscores key elements of the emerging global order that differs substantially from the system that was created after WWII. Many in Europe and around the world were closely watching an election this past weekend in a country of just around 10 million. The situation in Greece impacts institutions and people well beyond the borders of this relatively small country. Europe and certainly the entire world has become interdependent and thus highly integrated with each other to the point that nothing really happens in isolation. Given this situation do the Greek people really have a choice as far as policy moving forward? What power an influence do those that are impacted by the situation in Greece hold? How do those that are closely tied with Greece affect their desired policies in the domestic affairs of that country? The answer to all these questions and many others are the focus of my new book, The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Everything from the “Arab Spring” discussed in a previous article, to the Euro Debt crisis I wrote about in a recent piece demonstrates how what happens in one country can impact the entire region and possibly the world. These prominent events demonstrates the condition of interdependence that exists in our world today. The level of interdependence today far exceeds what existed after WWII when the current global system was formed. Since the conditions have changed over the last 60 years, the institutions have also changed and evolved. Today all major regions of the world have at least one regional organization that was established to address interdependence among members of a region. These organizations have become borderless in many areas where visas are no longer required for nationals and goods and services flow freely.

What has not been done in global affairs and international relations is to measure the impact these new interdependent arrangements have on the countries and their people that are party to them. The Power of Interdependence is a comprehensive study that looks into this issue and seeks to provide answers to the pressing questions and issues that are currently in our world today. The Power of Interdependence lays out a formula to measure the impact of interdependance within a region or an international system and thus predict the outcome of events such as the Greek election or the intervention in Mali I discussed in a piece recently. For decision-makers and policy-makers this is very beneficial becuase rather that sitting, biting your nails, and watching the news, you can actually take simple steps to analyze and acurately predict the outcome of a given situation even better than many of the supposed experts and correspondents that dominate mainstream print and televised media.

In a situation such as Greece, it is highly unlikely that decision-makers will be able to deviate from a policy framework that is not supported by the majority of other countries that are also impacted by these decisions especially those within the region. They serve as a constituency that did not necessarily vote in the election, but are still most likely to win every vote and major decision depending on the issue and how closely dependent the countries are to one another in that area. This variable is too often overlooked, which is why so many supposed experts and mainstream media outlets this weekend wasted so much time over-hyping the vote and pandering over the election outcome in Greece, and not the real issues which is the capacity to address the core problems. In any major issue ask yourself, who else outside this country is directly impacted by this? How are they linked to the country in focus? What is the level of interdependence between them? Once you answer these questions, you will know the outcome long before it takes place, and can turn of the ill-informed mainstream media correpondents, pundits, and analysts, and focus on what you need to do to address the real issues that will remain once the actually predictable outcome occurs.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Boko Haram: Mali Connection?

14 Jun

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

According to the President of Niger Mahamdou Issoufou, the rebellion in Mali has direct links to the terrorist organization Boko Haram operating in Nigeria. Like Boko Haram the rebel faction Ansar Dine in Mali is an Islamic fundamentalist group that has links to Al Qaeda in North Africa. Their common ties likely mean that the two groups have members that train together and are likely sharing weapons and other resources. It has also been reported that Boko Haram has fighters in Mali. The link has led to speculation as to whether the impending multilateral intervention in Mali will lead to increased activity in Nigeria and whether militants will cross from one territory to the other.

The link between Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, and Ansar Dine seems more functional than ideological. The groups are working together along the lines of their common interests. However in totality their alliance does not appear to be as cohesive as has been speculated. The agenda of Boko Haram is as political as it is religious and ideological. It appears that they have financial backing from elite elements from the north of Nigeria. Ansar Dine financial backing is largely from Qatar in the Middle East. Aside from the mutual benefit from training and weapons, they do not appear to have any substantive intersecting interests with Ansar Dine. Still since the collapse of the regime in Libya, more weapons and munitions have been floating around the Sahara region than ever before. Military action in Mali will see the weapons move to other territories perhaps even back into Libya where local lords have carved out territories under their control.

One of the likely beneficiaries of the multilateral intervention in Mali may indeed be Boko Haram. If their strategic Al Qaeda ally Ansar Dine is defeated, their weapons and much of their support could come to Northern Nigeria where Boko Haram has come under increasing crackdowns on their hideouts by security forces in Nigeria. Al Qaeda in Algeria may also get a boost of both weapons and fighters after the multilateral intervention in Mali. Mauritania along with Niger are also both likely to have greater security threats along their western and northern fronts respectively pending the multilateral intervention in Mali. All three states have held meetings in Nouakchott, Mauritania and have stepped up patrols along their border with Mali. Along with Nigeria, all three of Mali’s neighbors are under increased security risk that will not go away with the collapse of the rebellion in Mali. Just as the governments of surrounding countries are increasing their vigilance to guard against the threat coming from Mali, investors and firms operating in these countries need to also take steps to guard against the rising political risks they face as a result of these developments.

See my previous article on this topic.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Impending Military Intervention in Mali

13 Jun

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

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After meeting in Abidjan Thursday, June 7, regional West African leaders of ECOWAS and of the AU agreed that if this last round of negotiations with rebel groups in the north of Mali fails, they will take military action. In seeking a broad base of support for the measure particularly from non-member states the AU is seeking the endorsement of the UN Security Council for the impending military intervention. Contrary to the misinformation being propagated by many mainstream media outlets, neither the AU nor ECOWAS require the UN Security Council’s endorsement to conduct a military intervention in their own region. Article 52 in Chapter 8 of the UN Charter makes it clear that regional bodies like the AU and ECOWAS maintain the authority to deal with matters of peace and security in their respective regions including military intervention without referring them to the UN Security Council. The purpose of AU leaders going to the UN is to call on other nations outside the region to support their efforts, indeed many view the problem in Mali as directly linked to the NATO-led campaign in Libya.

Going Forward

Moving forward, it is almost inevitable at this point that there will be a multilateral military intervention in Mali. Negotiations with at least one of the two rebel groups will fail and they will not withdraw from the cities in central Mali until they are forced to. The two major rebel groups in Northern Mali are not united at all. In fact they are seeking to form political authorities to govern the territory without the inclusion of the other. There have also been reports of armed conflict between them. Further the groups do not have strong support from the local population in much of the region especially in central Mali. Once the likely ECOWAS-led multilateral military operations commence the rebels will be repelled and at best will be relegated to sparsely populated desert regions in the far north of Mali. Regional military chiefs have drawn military plans from several months back and have continued to gathered intelligence on both groups and their strategic positions. The territory in Northern Mali is large and expansive, roughly the size of France, it may take over a month for the multi-lateral intervention to secure the bulk of Mali’s territory depending on how much support the mission receives from non-regional states.

What This Means for Investors

The military intervention in Mali should bring some relief to investors in that country and reduce the likelihood that constitutional order will collapse again in the near future. Despite the fact that regional leaders are concerned that Northern Mali will become a hotbed for terrorist groups, retaking the territory will not end that threat. I recently had a brief conversation with a CEO of a mining corporation in Mali, in our discussion I said to him “when your neighbors house is on fire, pour water on yours”. The proverbial fire that began in Tunisia, then spread to Egypt, and Libya, and now to Mali, will not end with the impending military intervention there. The rebel fighters that were driven out of Libya before they fled to Mali will flee the fighting in Mali and go elsewhere. Those that are invested in any of the surrounding countries need to immediately take steps to reduce their exposure to the political and security risks that will come following the military intervention in Mali. The affected countries include, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, Algeria, Nigeria, and Chad. Investors and management of companies that have intermediate and long-term investments in any of these countries require immediate political risk management services if they do not have an internal risk management capacity already within the company. Those that have invested or who are planning should not be concerned as the opportunities in the region remain stronger than ever. However, those that will succeed in the region and receive the highest returns on investment (ROI’s) will be those that manage the political risks best.

For more clarification on the need for political risk management watch the video of my discussion in March, 2012.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

#OccupyNigeria: What Now?

30 May

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Attempts to fully deregulate the subsidized petroleum industry failed in January as a result of mass nationwide protests, with demonstrations, marchers, and strikes under the hash tag #OccupyNigeria, which begun over the hike in the price of fuel and the removal of the state subsidy at the beginning of January 2012. Protesters took issue with the subsidy removal that more than doubled the price of petroleum and caused the cost of basic goods to skyrocket, yet was promoted as a necessary austerity measure for the country. The government produced estimates that 8 billion USD would be saved in the budget by removing the subsidy. All the while high ranking state officials continued their exorbitant expenditures, including the presidency, members of the national assembly, and cabinet. The expenditures were for salaries, allowances, and other budgeted items that were clearly not in the spirit of saving given that the state indicated in needed to save and cut costs. The prevailing view was that the president was out of touch and did not care about the plight of average Nigerians.

To defend the programme the administration released statements that the 8 billion would be used to invest in health care, infrastructure, education, improving the downstream refining capacity to reduce oil imports that would all help ordinary Nigerians. Members of the cabinet came forward to defend the administration and support the programme. The minister of Finance also reiterated the administrations claims that the 8 billion would be used to improve the standard of living for average Nigerians in various programmes but offered no specifics or itemized figures or estimates as to where the money would go. No official provided any detailed account as to precisely where the money saved from ending the subsidy would go. Protesters were not convinced by these vague statements, neither were they moved by the administrations attempts to pacify criticism by announcing a slight reduction in salaries of those in the executive. Strikes and protests continued until the government agreed to restore the subsidy at a higher level of NGN 97 per litre. The standoff undermined the administration and caused many in the cabinet to lose credibility including the President, the information minister, the petroleum minister, and the minister of finance.

Decades of corruption in government and a lack of transparency was a major concern of protestors who used the Occupy name to identify with other protests movements throughout the world. The administration did not understand the distrust that people understandably have for government in Nigeria. The fact that they tried to sell the programme without providing any specific account, even from the ministry of finance, as to where the money was going was a tactic that was rejected by the masses. Going forward the lack of transparency surrounding the subsidy removal is not likely to work in the future. Nigeria is no stranger to nationwide strikes and protests. Long before the Occupy movements all over the world and the mass protests that occurred in Tunisia and Egypt, Nigerians have held nationwide strikes that have brought the country to a standstill and forced the government to back down on removing the oil subsidy. The administration has stated that it intends to phase-out the subsidy and has not given up completely on deregulating petroleum prices. If the administration moves again to completely remove the subsidy on petroleum it is likely that more civil action will take place. Labour remains adamantly against any increases in fuel and the masses, which started the protest without ever being prompted by labour unions appear to be in full support.

Since the protests, an investigation by the legislature has unveiled a 7 billion USD fraud in the subsidy program between 2009-2011, calling the program “fraught with endemic corruption and entrenched inefficiency.” Implicated are bureaucrats in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and ministry of petroleum resources. The still ongoing problems of mismanagement in the NNPC regarding the subsidy program has led to a long awaited probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the NNPC. A number of groups behind the #OccupyNigeria protests have indicated that if those responsible are not brought to book they will once again resume protests. The issue with the subsidy program is the single greatest issue that has undermined the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and many of his key reformers in his cabinet. If it cannot be resolved in the coming months in a way that pacifies the growing outrage over the outright theft by business and government officials associated with the subsidy program, the administration will not be able to regain the credibility it lost in the January #OccupyNigeria protests. What is clear is that if not for the protests, the legislature and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would not have taken the rampant corruption seriously and would not have taken steps to redress it. The threat and perhaps execution of further civic action may indeed be necessary to ensure a higher standard of governance including greater accountability and transparency.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/          http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga