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Sudan Tribune
Plural news and views on Sudan
Sudan Tribune
Plural news and views on Sudan
A woman drives a herd of cattle to a river side in Adadle district, Biyolow Kebele in Somali region of Ethiopia, in this undated handout photograph. WFP Handout via Reuters
January 3, 2022 (NAIROBI) – Looking back at the most significant events in 2022, the year has mostly been turbulent for East Africa with a few bright spots however recorded.
Conflict, climate change, drought, grain shortages and inflation were marked as the major events that devastate the African region in 2022.
However, the region has witnessed some positive achievements including peaceful power transitions and peace agreements that offered hope in bringing stability and resolving the many crises that haunted the volatile region.
Climate change, Drought
Climate change induced extreme and deadly weather conditions were amplified in the Horn of Africa.
As a result, millions across the region continue to face the worst in four decades, according to the United Nations.
The worst drought has seen a fifth failed rainy season in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia affecting about 40 million people.
Somalia is the worst drought-affected country in the region.
The climate crisis is hitting Africa “first and hardest”, said Kevin Mugenya, a senior resilience and food security adviser for Africa at Mercy Corps, an international charity.
The continent of 54 countries and 1.3 billion people are facing “a catastrophic global food crisis” that “will worsen if actors do not act quickly” Mugenya told The Associated Press news agency.
Shortages of grain supply
While the East African countries and the continent at large are yet to fully recover from the socio-economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has continued to directly affect many African countries.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict, which posed another significant threat to the global economy, has caused serious disruptions in the supply chain of food grains including wheat to those African countries.
This is because most African countries are heavily reliant on food imports from both Russia and Ukraine.
Unprecedented Inflation
Disruptions in the supply chain of these commodities have caused an unprecedented spike in food prices further posing a threat to the food security of an estimated 473 million population of the East African region.
According to UN figures, sub-Saharan Africa imported 44 per cent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine between 2018 and 2020.
On the political front, peaceful elections in Kenya, and a peace deal that ended a two-year bloody conflict in Ethiopia were the bright spots for the African region.
Ethiopian peace deal
After two years of conflict that claimed over 500 thousand lives, the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a peace agreement on 2 November 2022.
The truce has held so far and the reopening of humanitarian access during the past few weeks has brought some relief to the people of Tigray, who had been under a defacto siege for the last two years.
Per the peace deal reached in Pretoria, the parties agreed to the restoration of law and order, the return of basic services in Tigray, and unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need.
The truce was mediated by the African Union which hailed the parties for halting the conflict which had displaced millions of Ethiopians including tens of thousands to neighbouring Sudan.
Several basic services, including communication and transport, had been cut off in Ethiopia’s northernmost region of Tigray, but the government said this week that most services have been restored, including flights and telephone.
A few days before the end of the year, the AU also sent a monitoring and verification team to oversee the implementation of the peace agreement.
Last Thursday, the AU launched the Monitoring and Verification Mission (AU-MVCM) in Mekelle, Tigray capital facilitated by the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo and AU High-Level Panel Members former President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.
Exit of Eritrean army
After the launch of AU-MVCM, Eritrean forces, that have been fighting against Tigray forces alongside government forces have begun packing to leave the Tigray region.
The decision for Eritrea to leave Tigray was reached early last week after a high-level delegation of the Ethiopian government for the first time paid a visit to Mekele since the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA).
Eritrea, however, was not a party to the peace deal, and its troops’ continued presence in Tigray has been raising questions about the durability of the African Union-brokered fragile peace agreement.
Kenya Elections
Another position event the region witnessed during the past year was Kenya’s peaceful elections.
Kenya’s Supreme Court in September upheld William Ruto’s win in the August 9 presidential election, dismissing nine petitions seeking to nullify the result.
The head of Kenya’s Electoral Commission, Wafula Chebukati, declared Ruto the winner with 50.5% of the vote to 48.8% for his rival, Raila Odinga.
But rival Odinga and others approached the court alleging massive fraud, but the court said Ruto had been properly elected.
That has led to a peaceful power transition in the East African nation.
Terrorism, Armed Conflict
Despite some positive achievements, terrorism and armed conflicts continue to loom especially in Somalia, which also faces the threat of the Al Shabab terrorist group.
The Al Qaeda-affiliated terror group Al Shabab, which has been fighting the government in Somalia for years, continued to wreak havoc in the country.
The group reportedly continue to plant explosives on streets and cars that have killed hundreds and maimed dozens.
Sudan troubled transition
After killing over 100 protesters since October 25, the coup leaders in Sudan said ready to hand over power to a civilian government on July 4, 2022.
Five months after, the signed framework agreement with the pro-democracy and anti-coup forces on December 5. The deal provides to establish a fully civilian government.
However, their former allies from Darfur armed groups and eastern Sudan tribal leaders seek to sabotage the agreement, putting the whole process at risk.
Also, inter-communal violence flared in the western, eastern southern and southern parts of the country.
According to the UNOCHA, some 300,000 people were displaced by conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and Kordofan regions, about 900 people were killed and another 1,100 injured since the beginning of 2022.
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