Twitter: Amb. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya – 04 January

  • Amb. Monica Juma, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, tweeted about her meeting with HE Osman Saleh, Eritrean Minister of Foreign Affairs, on 4 January.
  • Juma tweeted that her discussions with the Eritrean delegation “[built] upon the outcomes of the meeting between H.E President [Uhuru Kenyatta] & Eritrea President, H.E. Isaias Afwerki held at State House on 15th Dec 2018.”
  • Also attending the meeting was Hon Yamane Gebrehab, special advisor to President Isaias.

Sky News: Young refugees reveal why they took treacherous trail to UK – 04 January

  • In the wake of increased media interest in people crossing the English Channel, Sky News home editor Jason Farrell speaks to young refugees in the UK who arrived as unaccompanied children, to ask: “why would people take the risk leaving the safety of mainland Europe to get to the UK?”
  • He interviews Kemal lbrahim, 18, an Eritrean refugee who left his country at 15 to escape “the troubles”. His three-year journey to the UK took him through Sudan, Libya, and Italy, and he spent a year in Calais before managing to come to the UK. He said: “In France it is difficult for us. In Calais the police were pepper-spraying us. So we wanted to come to the UK.” Sky News also spoke with young refugees from Syria and Sudan who made their way the UK in search of safety and better lives.
  • The article points out that Britain accepts relatively few refugees in comparison with other European countries. In 2017 there were 33,780 asylum claims in the UK, compared to 99,330 in France and 222,560 in Germany.

Mail & Guardian: Continental drifts towards Africa – 04 January

  • South Africa’s Mail & Guardian publishes an analysis by Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at Chatham House, on the changing approaches of global powers to Africa, as 2018 saw new strategies on Africa published by the UK, the US, Russia and the EU.
  • Russia’s “re-entry into Africa” is seen as a key development in geopolitics, and in 2019 the first Russia-Africa summit is expected to build on “Soviet-era partnerships” and forge “new alliances by offering security, arms training and electioneering services in exchange for mining rights and other opportunities”.
  • Vines writes that in Eastern Africa, “[Ethiopia’s] rapprochement with Eritrea is already altering geopolitical calculations in the Horn of Africa and beyond.” Turkey is planning to build a port in Eritrea, while India is on course to open an embassy in the country.
  • According to Vines, how African leaders respond to the renewed interest from global powers will determine whether it will be “divisive and encourage further continental political fragmentation”, or “help to build better national and regional economies”.

Kalkine Media: Mineral Explorer, Danakali Shares Update On The Newly Issued 8,571 Fully Paid Ordinary Shares – 03 January

  • Financial outlet Kalkine Media reports that Danakali has applied to the UK Listing Authority for the admission of the 8,571 new fully paid ordinary Shares to the authority’s list and to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market for listed securities.
  • Danakali Limited is involved in potassium drilling and exploration across Eritrea through its flagship Colluli Potash Project. The project is wholly owned by the Colluli Mining Share Company, a joint venture between Danakali Limited and the Eritrean National Mining Company. As per the announcement on 6 December 2018, the Colluli Mining Share Company will be providing fully underwritten debt finance facilities of USD 200 million to fund the development of the project.
  • Danakali’s stock has witnessed a performance growth of 10.45% but in the last three months the share price plunged by 11.90%.

BBC: Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: The leader promising to heal a nation – 03 January

  • The BBC publishes a feature by Fergal Keane, BBC Africa Editor, on Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the scope of his reforms.
  • Following a visit to Ethiopia, Keane writes that an “extraordinary fusion between the driven energy of an individual and the hope of a nation” can be felt in Ethiopia.
  • Prime Minister Abiy has “ended a 20-year conflict with Eritrea, freed thousands of political prisoners, unfettered the media and appointed women to half the cabinet posts,” writes Keane. He says that “the pace of change has delighted pro-democracy activists and thrown more reactionary elements off balance.”
  • Keane identifies Ethiopia’s fast-growing economy, youth unemployment, preventing regional conflict “without resorting to the repressive methods of the past”, and “maintaining his reformist momentum” as among the challenges of Abiy’s premiership.

Haaretz: Israel Examines Whether Desertion From Eritrean Army Is Grounds for Asylum – 03 January

  • A report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz (republished in full on Raimoq) reveals that Israel is to investigate further whether desertion from the Eritrean army is grounds for claiming asylum.
  • Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has directed staff at the Population and Immigration Authority to re-examine the criteria applied to asylum requests by Eritreans in Israel following a ruling last February by an immigration appeals tribunal in Jerusalem that desertion from the Eritrean army can constitute grounds for asylum in Israel.
  • Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Director General of the Population Authority, said: “With the attorney general’s directive, we are rethinking the criteria. Not everyone who has served in the [Eritrean] army deserves refugee status, but we are developing a ranking of situations. There are those who fled before being drafted and there are those who have suffered torture, and there’s a difference.”
  • In a case brought before the immigration appeals tribunal in February 2018, judge Elad Azar ruled that, contrary to the government’s position, there should be no blanket rejection of asylum requests filed by Eritrean army deserters who claim a fear of persecution by the Eritrean authorities for fleeing the military.

Al-Ahram: Bab Al-Mandeb Strait: Sino-American duel in the Red Sea – 03 January

  • Egyptian daily Al-Ahram publishes an analysis by Hicham Mourad, professor in Political Science at the Egyptian French University, who discusses the race between global powers for influence in the East Africa and Red Sea region, including the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait.
  • It was reported that last year that the US launched a quiet campaign by Christian Church leaders and US diplomats to lobby Eritrea and Ethiopia to meet and resolve their differences, purportedly in the hope of facilitating a greater US military and economic presence in Eritrea. Washington also leveraged its influence on allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both of which have interests in the region, to mediate between Addis Ababa and Asmara. Such steps are interpreted as a response to the actions of China, whose military base in Djibouti and growing investment impacts “the long-standing US dominance in the region”.
  • Russia announced in August its plans to build a “logistics” base on the Red Sea in Eritrea, the exact location of which is yet to be determined. Mourad says that “the project is undoubtedly the result of the determination of Russian President Vladimir Putin to assert the global role of his country and to ensure its place in the race for influence with the US and China.”

Routes: Eritrean Airlines to commence Asmara-Djibouti service in Jan-2019 – 03 January

  • Aviation website Routes reports that Eritrean Airlines is adding a new direct service to Djibouti in the first week of January 2019.
  • Based on schedule listings, non-stop flights linking Asmara and Djibouti on Boeing 737 aircraft will be conducted twice a week, beginning 4 January.

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