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Erdoğan’s Africa tour kicks off as he arrives in Sudan



President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Sudan on Sunday marking the first time a Turkish president visited the country.

Erdoğan was greeted at the Khartoum International Airport by his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir.

Speaking to reporters at Esenboğa Airport in Ankara ahead of his Africa tour, Erdoğan said Turkey aims to further strengthen cooperation with Africa and discuss ongoing regional.

He said that the visit will aim to boost business ties and target the Gülenist Terror Group’s (FETÖ) exploitation of Africa.

Erdoğan noted that many African countries deported FETÖ members following the deadly July 15, 2016 coup attempt and transferred the control of FETÖ schools to Turkey’s Maarif Foundation, adding that he hopes more action will be taken against the group.

“We know very well that they are the volunteering subcontractors of the imperialists,” Erdoğan highlighted, as he expressed Ankara’s wish to increase the transfer of FETÖ-linked schools in Africa to Turkish authorities.

“We are determined not to let these murderers find shelter on the African continent. I think that this visit is also important from this perspective as well,” he said.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Dr. İrfan Neziroğlu, Turkey’s ambassador to Sudan, said the visit will play a “remarkable role” in boosting the political and economic ties between the two countries.

Neziroğlu said the Sudanese government had decided to hand over two FETÖ-linked schools to the Turkish educational foundation, in line with a protocol signed earlier between Khartoum and Ankara, adding the demand for Turkish schools has increased recently.

“There is a very high demand for the Turkish schools. We’ll probably think about opening new schools,” the ambassador said.

Aware of the threat FETÖ poses to Africa, Ankara has been trying to replace FETÖ-run schools in the continent with state-sponsored schools.

The Maarif Education Foundation is a not-for-profit state-funded body that runs schools outside Turkey. It has taken over schools around the world previously run by FETÖ, which was behind last year’s defeated coup in Turkey, including 32 in Africa, according to figures released by Turkey’s National Education Ministry.

Likewise, Enver Arpa, an associate professor from Ankara Social Sciences University’s Eastern and African Studies Institute, said that the this visit will help Sudan.

“Acknowledged as a regional, and even a global actor, President Erdoğan’s visit to Sudan will boost the morale of the country, which has been exhausted from the international pressure,” Arpa said.

Sudan, once a unified country, was divided into two countries in 2011 after the Christian majority south voted in a referendum for secession, as part of the peace agreement signed in 2005, ending a civil war of more than two decades.

In the north, the population mostly consists of Muslims. During the conflict between the two parts, more than 1.5 million people were killed, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced out of their homes.

Arpa said that Sudan independent policies in the continent “angers the imperial powers” in the region, and added that Sudan is able to overcome internal problems if there are no international interventions.

Ahead of Erdoğan’s visit to Chad, the Maarif Education Foundation also signed an agreement with Chadian authorities to transfer the administration of five FETÖ schools and a dormitory.

Regarding the recent crisis regarding the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Erdoğan said that as the term chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he expected President Donald Trump to call him and discuss the matter.

He added that Turkey made its call to the U.S. and continues to do so, and will always seek dialogue to resolve the matter.

The president also noted that he is planning to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation of hundreds of civilians who need immediate humanitarian assistance in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.

After Sudan, Erdoğan will fly to Chad’s capital N’Djamena on Tuesday. On the last day of the three-day visit, the president is scheduled to fly to Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia.

The visit will be dominated by business forums to discuss investment, and Erdoğan is expected to sign cooperation deals in each state. The visit demonstrates Ankara’s desire to strengthen ties with the three countries under its Africa partnership policy, a statement released by the presidency explained.


Crate-digging millennials are seeking out classic East African music



Tucked between butchers and hair braiders in Nairobi’s Kenyatta Market is the Real Vinyl Guru, a shabby stall that has become a mecca for vinyl lovers.

James ‘Jimmy’ Rugami has sold second-hand records from stall 570 since 1989. In the cramped space, hundreds of seven and 12-inch vinyls are tightly packed. Among hit Motown albums is a veritable trove of East African music.

Among them is the Kenyan-based Tanzanian duo Simba Wanyika and the recently re-discovered “Sweet as Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa.” They’re all mementos of a bygone era, when Nairobi’s record presses created a hub for the regions musicians in the 70s and 80s. Many flocked to Nairobi to lay down their tracks and stayed to become part of a vibrant local scene.

Rugami entered that scene in 1986 when he left his life selling clothes in the town of Meru at the foot of Mount Kenya, and became a DJ in Nairobi. When the fast life became too much, he opted to sell music instead of spinning it, obsessively collecting records and tapes, wherever he could find them.

“I used to drive all the way to Dar es Salaam, then take a boat to Zanzibar and buy tapes there,” he recalls. “That’s where people were supplying the best stuff, especially jazz, which in Nairobi was either unavailable or very expensive.”

When the stall became almost exclusively vinyl, people thought he was mad for holding on to an outdated technology, he told the Associated Press. Still, they nicknamed him Mr. Records.

“It is not once or twice I have been labelled insane, very many times,” he said. “Well, I couldn’t stop.”

Rugami’s devotion to vinyl outlasted the cassette, CDs and streaming to welcome crate-digging millennials craving the rich tone of a record. In the few years, his stall has attracted tourists from around the world, and young Nairobians rediscovering their country’s pop roots.

Now the Real Vinyl Guru makes enough money to employ five people and Rugami’s loyalty to the distinctive crackle of a record is paying off.

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DP World says Djibouti incident could hurt Africa investment



DUBAI (Reuters) – Port operator DP World said on Thursday that Djibouti’s decision to seize control of a terminal project could hurt African efforts to attract investment.

The Dubai state-owned port operator is facing twin political challenges in Africa.

Djibouti abruptly ended its contract to run the Doraleh Container Terminal last month and Somalia’s parliament voted this week to ban the company.

DP World has called the Djibouti move illegal and said it had begun proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration, which last year cleared the company of all charges of misconduct over the concession.

“Africa needs infrastructure investments and if countries can change their law [to take assets then this] is going to basically make it more difficult to attract investment,” Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told a news conference in Dubai.
DP World reported 14.9 percent rise in 2017 profit to $1.18 billion profit and said that it would invest $1.4 billion across its global portfolio including in Berbera in Somaliland. [L8N1QX0F2]

It is developing a port in Berbera in partnership with the governments of Somaliland and Ethiopia. It is also developing a greenfield free trade zone in the breakaway region.

Bin Sulayem said he was not concerned by the vote in Somalia’s parliament to ban DP World from the country, which the parliament said nullified their Somaliland contract.

It is unclear how Somalia’s federal government could enforce the ban given Somaliland’s semi-autonomous status.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for about 42 percent of the cargo DP World handled in 2017.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Jason Neely

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African arms imports down



DEFENCE WEB — Over the last decade, African arms imports dropped by 22 per cent, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), but Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria continued to order large quantities of weapons and equipment.

In its Trends in International Arms Transfers 2017 fact sheet released this week, SIPRI said that African arms sales dropped 22% between 2008-12 and 2013-17. Much of the hardware that was supplied went to Algeria (52% of African arms imports), Morocco (12%) and Nigeria (5.1%).

“Major arms play an important role in the military operations by sub-Saharan African states, although, due to lack of resources, procurement typically involves small numbers of mainly relatively low-end weapons,” SIPRI said.

States in sub-Saharan Africa received 32% of total African imports in 2013–17. The top five arms importers in sub-Saharan Africa were Nigeria, Sudan, Angola, Cameroon and Ethiopia. Together, they accounted for 56% of arms imports to the subregion. Nigeria’s arms imports grew by 42 % between 2008–12 and 2013–17, SIPRI noted.

Russian arms exports to Africa fell by 32% compared with 2008–12, but despite the decrease, Russia accounted for 39% of total imports to the region. Algeria received 78% of Russia’s arms transfers to Africa in 2013–17.

China’s arms exports to Africa rose by 55% between 2008–12 and 2013–17, and its share of total African arms imports increased from 8.4% to 17%. “A total of 22 sub-Saharan African countries procured major arms from China in 2013–17, and China accounted for 27% of sub-Saharan African arms imports in that period (compared with 16% in 2008–12). In North Africa, China became an important supplier to Algeria in 2013–17, with deliveries including three frigates and artillery,” SIPRI reported.

The United States accounted for 11% of arms exports to Africa in 2013–17 – the transfers were mainly small batches of weapons and included eight helicopters for Kenya and five for Uganda, which were supplied as US military aid. In 2013–17 Kenya—which is fighting al-Shabab on its own territory and in Somalia— acquired 13 transport helicopters, 2 second-hand combat helicopters, 65 light armoured vehicles and a small number of self-propelled howitzers.

SIPRI lists Egypt’s acquisitions as falling under the Middle East – if these are included in the continent’s statistics they push up Africa’s imports significantly as arms imports by Egypt grew by 215% between 2008–12 and 2013–17.

SIPRI noted that the US has been Egypt’s main arms supplier since the late 1970s, and accounted for 45% of Egypt’s arms imports in 2008–12. “However, between 2013 and 2015 the US halted deliveries of certain arms, in particular combat aircraft, to Egypt. In 2014 Egypt signed major arms deals with France, and deliveries started in 2015. As a result, France accounted for 37 % of Egypt’s arms imports in 2013–17 and overtook the USA to become the main arms supplier to Egypt for that period. This was despite the fact that the USA ended its restrictions in 2015 and increased its overall arms supplies to Egypt by 84% between 2008–12 and 2013–17.”

Globally, SIPRI in its latest report said that the volume of international transfers of major weapons in 2013–17 was 10% higher than in 2008–12, a continuation of the upward trend that began in the early 2000s.

The five largest exporters in 2013–17 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. The United States in 2013-17 had a 34% share of the global market, followed by Russia (22%), France (6.7%), Germany (5.8%) and China (5.7%).

The USA supplied major arms to 98 states in 2013–17. Exports to states in the Middle East accounted for 49 per cent of total US arms exports in that period. “Based on deals signed during the Obama administration, US arms deliveries in 2013–17 reached their highest level since the late 1990s,” said Dr Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. “These deals and further major contracts signed in 2017 will ensure that the USA remains the largest arms exporter in the coming years.”

The five largest importers were India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China. Most states in the Middle East were directly involved in violent conflict in 2013–17 and consequently arms imports by states in the region increased by 103% between 2008–12 and 2013–17, and accounted for 32% of global arms imports in 2013–17.

“Widespread violent conflict in the Middle East and concerns about human rights have led to political debate in Western Europe and North America about restricting arms sales,” said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. “Yet the USA and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98% of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia.”

SIPRI said the flow of arms to the Middle East and Asia and Oceania increased between 2008–12 and 2013–17, while there was a decrease in the flow to the Americas, Africa and Europe.

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