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Africa in April 2023

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April 3, 2023

  1. Cairo Supports a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Syrian Crisis (Al-Nahar Al-Arabi). Egypt expressed its support for a comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian crisis during a meeting between the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, and his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Al-Miqdad, who is visiting Cairo for the first time in 12 years. In this regard, Shoukry reiterated “Egypt’s full support for efforts to reach a comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian crisis as soon as possible,” stressing “Cairo’s support for the relevant efforts of the UN Special Envoy to Syria and the importance of completing the procedures related to achieving national consensus among the Syrian brothers, and building confidence,” as well as the continuation of the meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.
  2. Al-Sisi Visited Saudi Arabia and Met with Crown Prince Bin Salman (The New Arab). Egyptian diplomatic sources said the meeting between Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman would address regional issues, particularly Syria’s return to the Arab League during the upcoming Arab summit in the Kingdom and the implications of the recent Saudi-Iranian agreement.
  3. What Are the Repercussions of Raising the Interest Rate by 2 Percent on the Egyptian Economy? (Sky News Arabia Business). On Thursday evening, the central bank raised key interest rates by 200 basis points. The overnight lending rate was 19.25 percent, and the overnight deposit interest was 18.25 percent. Two hundred basis points also raised the credit and discount rate to 18.75 percent. The Central Bank of Egypt said that “the recent developments in inflation showed a widespread rise in consumer prices.”

April 4, 2023

  1. Egypt Recovers Former President Sadat’s Passport Before It Can Be Sold at Auction (Sky News Arabia). The late February announcement by the American “Heritage” auction hall of the sale of Sadat’s diplomatic passport sparked widespread controversy inside Egypt regarding how he left the country, and at that time his family demanded an investigation and prosecution of those responsible. The Director of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, Dr. Ahmed Zayed, revealed the details of the recovery of Sadat’s passport and received it for display in his museum, coinciding with the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of the Tenth of Ramadan.

5 April 2023

  1. Egpyt’s Debt Crisis Has No Clear Exit. Worse is to Come (Middle East Eye). Egypt is going through one of the most dramatic debt crises in history. As a direct consequence of the current government’s debt-fuelled, militarized capitalism model, the pound has been devalued three times in the past year, losing half of its value by January, as core inflation reached a record high above 40 percent.

12 April 2023

  1. Egypt Denies Allegations of Supplying Russia with 40,000 Missiles, Citing US Leaks as False (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The Washington Post recently published a report… based on what was described as “one of the leaked secret American documents.” It claimed that “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had ordered the production of 40,000 missiles to be covertly sent to Russia, in addition to plans to provide Moscow with artillery shells and gunpowder to aid in its war against Ukraine.
  2. IMF Lowers Growth Forecast for Egyptian Economy (Sky News Arabia). The International Monetary Fund has decreased its growth projection for the Egyptian economy in the current and next fiscal years by 0.3%, with the growth rate now estimated to be 3.7% in the current fiscal year and 5% in the next fiscal year.

17 April 2023

Sudan’s recent catastrophic power struggle has escalated to unprecedented levels, causing the country’s collapse, according to the Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, David Shinn.

During a public event with various political parties, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Army, suggested that all parties, including himself, step aside. Many observers interpreted this as an implicit refusal to place the army command under civilian control during the transitional period, fueling skepticism about Al-Burhan’s intentions to relinquish power.

A lingering dispute over the subordination of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to the Sovereignty Council was meant to be resolved at a meeting on Sunday between Al-Burhan and his deputy, Hamdan Dagalo (also known as Hemedti), who controls the RSF. The army called for Hemedti’s RSF to merge with the regular forces under a single command, which would direct the movements and deployment of troops within 24 months. Hemedti accused unnamed military officials of plotting to remain in power, while the RSF demanded that its officers receive equal privileges to their army counterparts.

On Saturday morning, the RSF attacked the Republican Palace in Khartoum. By mid-afternoon, they claimed to have seized control of the Khartoum and Marawi airports, the palace, a guest house, and various locations in nine Sudanese states. However, the General Command Armed Forces soon denied these claims.

Arabic media reported the first sightings of military planes flying over Khartoum in the early afternoon, with the army asserting control over all bases and airports. A Saudi civilian aircraft was hit during the airport clashes. Chad closed its land borders with Sudan, while Ethiopia called for restraint. The Sudanese army declared that it would not engage in negotiation or dialogue until the RSF was disbanded, branding it a rebel militia. Despite international and Arab efforts to broker peace between Al-Burhan and Hamedti, heavy clashes continued overnight.

By Monday morning, the death toll had exceeded 100, with over 600 injured. By the early evening, the toll rose further, with at least 83 additional people killed. An RSF political advisor claimed to Arabic media that the RSF controlled over 90% of Khartoum and had taken over radio and television stations, which Reuters confirmed during Sunday’s skirmishes. The Sudanese army announced that it had regained control of the Marawi airport and resumed official television broadcasts, asserting that they had previously been hacked.

The RSF claimed the day’s clashes involved the downing of three fighter jets, the destruction of over 200 tanks, and the arrest of the army’s director of the Institute of Intelligence. Another civilian plane, this time Egyptian, was destroyed on the second day of fighting (Sudan, moment by moment report, Al Jazeera).

Recent satellite images revealed the extent of the damage to Khartoum International Airport, with two planes on fire and flames engulfing the burning aircraft. Other photos showed damage to the General Command of the Sudanese Armed Forces building, the Security Service Presidency, and the Ministry of Defense, as well as smoke rising from other structures in Khartoum.

Due to significant contradictions between the narratives of the army and the RSF, the outcome and the reality of the security situation in Sudan remain unclear. Several Arab experts specializing in Sudanese affairs have described the situation as a zero-sum game and proposed three possible scenarios for the country. The first scenario envisions the army leveraging its superior power to eliminate RSF leaders within days. The second scenario involves the RSF achieving a surprise victory by neutralizing the army leadership. The most likely scenario, however, sees Hemedti, the RSF leader, withdrawing his forces from Khartoum to a region that allows him greater freedom of movement. 

The Sudanese people remain neutral in this conflict but have called upon the army leaders to transfer power to civilians, stating that this is the only decision they will accept.

18 April 2023

  1. Sisi: Prepared to Mediate in Sudan and Ensure Security of Our Forces (Sky News Arabia). During a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces meeting on Monday evening, Sisi mentioned that he had informed his South Sudanese counterpart, Silva Kiir, of Cairo and Juba’s willingness to serve as mediators for their counterparts in Sudan, facilitating a ceasefire and negotiations. He emphasized that the Egyptian forces were present per a joint training protocol with Sudan rather than to support one party against another.
  2. U.S. Diplomatic Mission Vehicle Targeted in Khartoum (Al Arabiya). Sources from the U.S. Embassy in Sudan informed Al-Arabiya on Monday evening that the Rapid Support Forces targeted an armored vehicle from the diplomatic mission. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries…Earlier on Monday, the White House announced that U.S. officials have communicated with Sudan’s military leaders, urging them to cease hostilities without delay.
  3. Al-Burhan Offers Pardon to Disarming Rapid Support Forces Members (Al Hadath). Sudanese Army Spokesperson Nabil Abdullah stated that his country is facing an attempted coup to seize power, urging the Rapid Support Forces to lay down their arms…The UN envoy to Sudan reported that the death toll has risen to 185, including both civilians and military personnel, with over 1,800 individuals injured since the conflict’s onset.

April 19, 2023

  1. Egyptian Students in Sudan Send Distress Calls to Return them to Egypt (Al Mayadeen). On Tuesday, local media reported that more than ten thousand Egyptians live across Sudan, at least half of whom are students studying in several Sudanese universities…[S]ome of these students spoke to the media and launched distress calls to secure their return to Egypt as soon as possible. Ambassador Amr Abbas, Assistant Minister of Immigration for Egyptians Abroad Affairs, said that contact was never interrupted with students and Egyptians in Sudan, pointing out that there are 5,000 students in Sudan out of 10,000 Egyptians who are there.
  2. Gunfire Sounds during ‘Armistice’ on 4th Day of Sudan Battles (Al-Monitor). After international mediation, RSF commander Daglo, commonly known as Hemedti, said he would support a 24-hour armistice the army denied any knowledge of before later blaming the RSF for breaking it.
  3. 16 Hospitals Out of Service in Khartoum (Sky News). A Sky News Arabia correspondent said that Al-Zaytouna Hospital, in the center of Khartoum, in the Al-Souk Al-Arabi area, was bombed, as patients were evacuated, and a patient died in the intensive care room due to the lack of electricity. 
  4. Egyptian Students in Sudan Send Distress Calls to Return them to Egypt (Al Mayadeen). On Tuesday, local media reported that more than ten thousand Egyptians live across Sudan, at least half of whom are students studying in several Sudanese universities…[S]ome of these students spoke to the media and launched distress calls to secure their return to Egypt as soon as possible. Ambassador Amr Abbas, Assistant Minister of Immigration for Egyptians Abroad Affairs, said that contact was never interrupted with students and Egyptians in Sudan, pointing out that there are 5,000 students in Sudan out of 10,000 Egyptians who are there. 

April 20, 2023

  1. After Joining Forces to Seize Power, Sudan’s Army Chief and Deputy are Now Battling (Times Of Israel). Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, under whom Sudan has moved to cement ties with US and Israel, is locked in conflict with paramilitary chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo for control of the country. With experts pointing to internal pressures on Burhan to nip Dagalo’s ambitions in the bud, the army chief sought to use the political process to curtail the RSF’s autonomy. However, it proved too little too late when the two generals turned on each other, with an all-out conflict erupting on Saturday.

April 21, 2023

  1. After Mediating Return of Egyptian Soldiers, Can UAE End Sudan Conflict? (Al Khaleej Online). Sudan’s military and political situation is currently marked by uncertainty, and there are indications that the conflict may escalate into a proxy war in the region. Reports suggest that the Emirati military has supported the Rapid Support Forces. In addition, The Wall Street Journal reported on April 19, 2023, that Egypt had dispatched warplanes and pilots to assist the Sudanese army. Retired Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, an ally of Abu Dhabi, reportedly sent ammunition to the Rapid Support Forces.
  2. Egypt: Egyptian Soldiers in Sudan Safely Reached the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum (Al Hadath). The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the success of its efforts, in coordination and cooperation with the sister country of the United Arab Emirates, to secure the safety of the remaining Egyptian soldiers in the Republic of Sudan with the Rapid Support Forces and hand them over to the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum.
  3. RSF Agrees to a 72-Hour Truce..and No Eid Prayer in Khartoum (Sky News Arabia). Clashes renewed in Sudan during the last hours of Thursday, while several mosques in the capital, Khartoum, announced the cancellation of Eid prayers after the return of fighting. The Rapid Support Forces announced their agreement to a 72-hour truce, starting from Friday morning.
  4. Sudan’s Confrontations Continue for a Seventh Day… Rapid Support Forces Say Khartoum is waking up to a sweeping attack by the army (Al Jazeera). The Rapid Support Command said on Friday that the neighborhoods of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, are waking up on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr to the impact of aircraft bombs and heavy artillery in a sweeping attack by the army. In contrast, the Armed Forces Command said it is carrying out a ground combing operation in the entire state of Khartoum after what it described as “the success of a decisive aerial operation that targeted militia presence points in Khartoum at dawn today.”
  5. Pentagon is sending Reinforcements in Anticipation of the Possible Evacuation of The US Embassy in Khartoum (Al Arabiya). A Pentagon statement announced, “We are deploying additional forces to the region to secure US embassy personnel and facilitate their potential evacuation from Sudan if necessary.” The statement did not disclose the number of reinforcements or their deployment location. However, a high-ranking US official later informed AFP that the extra US military personnel would be stationed in Djibouti.
  6. Sudan Conflict Rages; Intense Efforts to Broker Eid Truce Underway (Al Hadath). The army added, in a statement posted on its Facebook page, that the head of the Sovereignty Council had received calls from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, as well as the Qatari foreign minister and director of Egyptian intelligence.
  7. After Mediating Return of Egyptian Soldiers, Can UAE End Sudan Conflict? (Al Khaleej Online). Sudan’s military and political situation is currently marked by uncertainty, and there are indications that the conflict may escalate into a proxy war in the region. Reports suggest that the Emirati military has supported the Rapid Support Forces. In addition, The Wall Street Journal reported on April 19, 2023, that Egypt had dispatched warplanes and pilots to assist the Sudanese army. Retired Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, an ally of Abu Dhabi, reportedly sent ammunition to the Rapid Support Forces.
  8. Egypt: Egyptian Soldiers in Sudan Safely Reached the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum (Al Hadath). The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the success of its efforts, in coordination and cooperation with the sister country of the United Arab Emirates, to secure the safety of the remaining Egyptian soldiers in the Republic of Sudan with the Rapid Support Forces and hand them over to the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum.

April 24, 2023

  1. S Evacuates Diplomats, Shuts Embassy in Violence-Torn Sudan (Times of Israel). A second US official confirmed that US troops safely left Sudanese airspace after airlifting American embassy personnel out of Khartoum’s capital. President Joe Biden ordered American troops to evacuate embassy personnel after receiving a recommendation from his national security team earlier Saturday with no end to the fighting.
  2. Saudi Arabia Evacuates over 150 Foreign Nationals from Sudan (Arab News). Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry announced the “safe arrival” of 91 citizens, along with nationals from Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, and Burkina Faso.
  3. Borrell Announces Evacuation of European Union Mission from Sudan (Al Sharq Al Awsat). However, Borrell highlighted that the Union’s ambassador continues his work in Sudan, emphasizing that the Union “is committed to working to stop the fighting in Sudan and to assist all besieged civilians.”… Despite repeated calls for calm, with the most recent coming from Pope Francis on Sunday, the sounds of gunfire and explosions echoed throughout Khartoum and its surroundings on Sunday.
  4. Sudanese Health Ministry:  30 Hospitals Out of Service; Injured Count Rises to 1,929 (Al Arabiya). The Sudanese Health Ministry reported that the Rapid Support Forces members attacked three hospitals in Khartoum… This occurred despite both parties announcing yesterday, Friday, that they agreed to a truce during the days of Eid al-Fitr, following a week of bloody clashes that left hundreds dead.
  5. Sudanese Police Source:  Former Regime Figures Moved to Safe Location After Prison Break (Al Jazeera). A Sudanese police source told Al-Jazeera that [figures from] the former regime were kept in a safe place, after they were deported from Kober Prison (north of Khartoum), which witnessed a mass escape of inmates on Sunday. Earlier, a source in the Sudanese Ministry of Interior informed Al Jazeera that the number of escaped inmates is estimated to be in the hundreds, including prisoners sentenced to death, and noted that political prisoners were not among the group that fled.

April 25, 2023

  1. Cairo Confirms Killing of One of Its Officials in Sudan (Al Arabiya). Amid ongoing clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the death of the assistant Egyptian administrative attaché at its embassy in Khartoum.
  2. US-Sponsored Three-Day Truce in Effect Throughout Sudan (Al Hadath). Despite the truce not being fully adhered to, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced an agreement between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, which included a ceasefire between them, commencing at midnight local time in Khartoum.
  3. Cairo Confirms Killing of One of Its Officials in Sudan (Al Arabiya). Amid ongoing clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the death of the assistant Egyptian administrative attaché at its embassy in Khartoum.

April 26, 2023

  1. Russia Eyes New Market Opportunities for Its Companies Through Egypt’s Gateway (Al Arabiya). Russian trade representative in Egypt, Alexei Tivanyan, stated that the Egyptian market is the largest in Africa and the most receptive to importing new products. This offers a unique opportunity for Russian companies to market and promote goods in the markets of African and Middle Eastern countries.
  2. The World Health Organization Warns of a “Significant Biological Threat” in Sudan (Sky News Arabia). “One of the warring parties is occupying a public health laboratory, which poses a very high biological risk,” said the representative of the World Health Organization in Sudan. He pointed out that this facility contains samples that cause measles, cholera, and polio.
  3. 3.7 Million Internal Displaced by Sudan Conflict; Thousands Expected to Flee Abroad (Al Arabiya). UNHCR officials stated at a press conference in Geneva that they are preparing for the departure of 270,000 people across Sudan’s borders. This initial estimate includes Sudanese refugees crossing into South Sudan and Chad and returning those displaced from South Sudan to their homes. 
  4. Sudan Faces Devastating Losses if War Continues (SNA Business). Moody’s confirmed that if the conflict turns into a long-term civil war, it will destroy social and physical infrastructure, resulting in permanent economic consequences. This will affect the asset quality of regional banks financing Sudan, increase the percentage of non-performing loans, and impact liquidity rates in the country’s banks.
  5. Former Regime Leader Al Bashir is at the Khartoum Military Hospital (Al Arabiya). The leaders of the former regime leave Kober prison. Al-Arabiya sources: Nafie Ali Nafie, Ali Othman Taha, Awad Al-Jaz, and Ibrahim Al-Senussi are among the leaders of the #Bashir regime that left Kober prison.

April 27, 2023

  1. Russia “Authorizes” Wagner Group’s Intervention in Sudan (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Lavrov stated in a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York that Sudan has the “right” to benefit from the security services of the “Wagner” group, which the West accuses of recruiting mercenaries worldwide.
  2. Washington Clarifies Stance on Sending Military Forces to Sudan (Sky News Arabia). US State Department spokesman Samuel Warburg revealed, in exclusive statements to “Sky News Arabia,” Washington’s stance on the conflict and its efforts to evacuate its citizens from Khartoum, emphasizing that it has no intention to send any forces there.
    “There is no greater priority for the United States than ensuring the security and safety of its citizens in Sudan,” Warburg said.
  3. Sudanese Army: No Negotiations with “Rebels”; Al-Burhan Approves African Initiative to Extend Ceasefire (Al Hadath). The Sudanese army stated that “the current battle is to force the rapid support militia to retreat and defeat them in Khartoum, emphasizing that the commander of the Sudanese army, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, will not travel to another country now to meet the rebel leader. Furthermore, the General Command of the Sudanese Army announced that Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan has agreed to an initiative proposed by the “IGAD” organization to extend the truce in Sudan for an additional 72 hours.
  4. Sudanese Health: 512 Dead and 4,000 Wounded in Fighting until Yesterday (Al Arabiya). The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that 61% of health facilities in Khartoum are closed, with only 16% operating as usual. He added that more deaths are expected in Sudan due to disease outbreaks amid the current situation in the country.

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