French President Emmanuel Macron is heading to Algeria for a three-day official visit aimed at addressing two major challenges: boosting future economic relations while seeking to heal wounds inherited from the colonial era, 60 years after the North African country won its independence from France.

The visit comes less than a year after a monthslong diplomatic crisis between the two countries that stirred up post-colonial tensions and as war in Ukraine has reinforced Algeria’s status as a key partner to provide gas to the European continent.

In recent years, Macron has made unprecedented steps to acknowledge torture and killings by French troops during Algeria’s 1954-62 war of independence, in a bid to appease the two countries’ still rancorous relations. Yet the series of symbolic gestures has fallen short of an apology from France for its actions during the war — a longstanding demand from Algeria.

Macron is to meet Thursday with Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune at the presidential El Mouradia palace.

In a phone call with Tebboune Saturday, he said the trip will help “deepen the bilateral relationship,” according to the Elysée. He expressed France’s support after deadly wildfires in eastern Algeria.

This is the second time Macron has been to Algeria as president. During a brief stop in December 2017, he called for a “partnership between equals.” Months before that, during a trip to Algiers as a presidential candidate, he called colonization a “crime against humanity.”

Macron, who is the first French president born after the end of Algeria’s brutal seven-year war of independence in 1962, has promised a reckoning of colonial-era wrongs. The country was occupied by France for 132 years.

In 2018, Macron recognized the responsibility of the French state in the 1957 death of a dissident in Algeria, Maurice Audin, admitting for the first time the military’s use of systematic torture during the war. He later made a key decision to speed up the declassification of secret documents related to the war, amid other gestures.

Macron will have a second meeting with Tebboune on Friday in the presence of the French army chief and defense and foreign ministers to discuss peace and stability in the region, after France completed the withdrawal of its troops from Mali earlier this month. Paris still maintains troops in the broader Sahel region, with the heart of the operation moved to Niger.

Coordination with Algerian authorities is crucial as the country shares long borders in the Sahara with Mali, Libya and Niger, which are paths used by smugglers and Islamic extremists, the Elysee stressed.

No energy supply or other big trade contract is expected during Macron’s trip, but the focus will be on future economic relations, according to the Elysee.

Algeria’s status as a key gas supplier for Europe has been enhanced amid fears that Russia could cut off the pipelines. The North African country is the EU’s third-largest gas supplier, representing 8.2% of the 27-nation bloc’s imports in 2021.

Algiers has already started increasing its gas supplies to the continent, mostly via two pipelines that connect the country to Italy and Spain. It signed a $4 billion gas deal with U.S. group Occidental Petroleum, Italian company Eni and French giant Total.

Political scientist Mohamed Saidj told the AP he considers this is the most important visit by a French president since 1975, because it comes after last year’s major diplomatic crisis.

Tensions between the two countries escalated following a French decision to slash the number of visas issued to people in North Africa, including Algeria, because governments there were refusing to take back migrants expelled from France.

Relations further worsened after Algeria recalled its ambassador to France citing alleged “irresponsible comments” attributed to Macron about Algeria’s pre-colonial history and post-colonial system of government. In retaliation, Algeria accused Paris of “genocide” during the colonial era.

Both countries agreed to resume cooperation in December.

The visa situation will be discussed during Macron’s trip, the Elysee said. There are several million Algerian nationals or people of Algerian descent in France.

Last year’s tensions spread in the Algerian public opinion a feeling of hostility toward France, echoed by the authorities’ push to replace the French language at school and in public administration by English.

The Elysee said Macron will also raise human rights issues, in a country where activists criticize an unjust system of governance that views dissidents as criminals and doesn’t allow freedom of speech.

Political analyst Hassan Moali stressed that the visit “should be the occasion to clarify all issues and speak the truth. … France indeed is an economic partner, but the history issue remains key in bilateral relations.”

The French president will go Friday to the Christian and Jewish cemetery of Saint-Eugene in Algiers. He will also visit the Great Mosque.

He will then head to Oran, the country’s second largest city, where he will attend Saturday a show of breakdancing, which will become an Olympic sport in 2024 in Paris.

Source: United Nations

UK announces nearly £40 million to provide vital food and water to West Africa

The UK has announced £37.65 million in UK humanitarian funding to help people across the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin area.

  • £37.65 million of urgent UK humanitarian funding will deliver life-saving assistance across Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria and Niger.
  • 20 million are projected to be in need of urgent aid across the region by the end of 2022.
  • The money will help fund two projects for the next year focused on the most vulnerable, including malnourished women and children.

The UK will support around 1 million of the most vulnerable people across the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin with food, water and sanitation.

Growing instability and violent extremism across the region and the war on Ukraine have exacerbated existing issues with food insecurity and malnutrition. As things stand, there will be close to 20 million people across the region in need of humanitarian aid by the end of the year.

And the Sahel faces further vulnerabilities due to climate change and extreme weather shocks, putting unimaginable stress on communities, meaning urgent intervention by the international community is now a necessity.

The UK is providing £37.65 million in urgent humanitarian assistance, focused on these areas where conflict, climate change and extreme hunger is causing the most suffering.

Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford said:

Millions of people across the Sahel and West Africa are unimaginably suffering with hunger and malnutrition.

That’s why the UK will step up with an urgent £38 million of humanitarian funding, reaching those most vulnerable and saving lives across the region.

The number of people facing starvation are at their worst for a decade. Whilst this UK funding is a necessity, it has to be part of a bigger international effort. We’re calling on international partners to enhance our collective support and scale-up intervention to halt this humanitarian catastrophe.

£19.9 million will support The Sahel Humanitarian Assistance and Protection Programme (SHAPP), a programme which has been responding to the most acute needs, including those of displaced and malnourished women and children, and enables safer access for humanitarian aid workers to reach them.

  • The funding ensures delivery partners including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the INGO-run Sahel Regional Fund can continue their heroic, life-saving work in the region. The funding also supports the work of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO).

Their work between 2019-2022 under the Sahel Humanitarian Emergency Response Programme (SHERP) supported 2.7 million people with food assistance, provided treatment to nearly 900,000 severely malnourished children and ensured over 1.5 million mothers could detect malnutrition among their children, enabling early intervention.

In addition, £15 million of emergency humanitarian funding has been made available for North-East Nigeria over the next few months, when food is most scarce and humanitarian needs are highest. Violence, displacement, poverty and climate shocks are just some of the many reasons why 8.4 million people need life-saving humanitarian assistance there. This emergency funding supports the UK’s work alongside the Nigerian government to build security in the face of growing instability in the north of the country.

In North-East Nigeria, the UK is proud to be supporting the work of our delivery partners – the World Food Programme and UNICEF – whose aid workers put themselves at great risk in order to reach those suffering most.

This food assistance funding is part of the UK’s wider commitment to prioritise life-saving humanitarian aid to communities around the world who are most vulnerable due to the ongoing combination of crises.


  • The funding will be used to provide emergency shelter, food assistance, nutrition, water and sanitation for the most vulnerable in geographic hotspots of need
  • The humanitarian assistance will be delivered through implementing partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International NGO Safety Organisation
  • £19.9 million is for 2022 SHAPP activity alone with an additional £1.8 million for multi-year SHAPP activity.

Source: Government of the United Kingdom

WFP scales up support for millions who ‘cannot wait’ for food aid amid Horn of Africa drought

As the threat of famine looms in the Horn of Africa, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Friday that it is scaling up operations to support millions going hungry who “cannot wait” for assistance.

The region is in the grip of a historic drought, brought on by four consecutive failed rains.  The crisis has left some 22 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia struggling to find enough to eat, with numbers expected to rise. 

Livestock are dying, and there are critical shortages of water and food. More than a million people have fled their homes and are now living in crowded camps, where humanitarians are scrambling to meet the overwhelming needs.

No end in sight

WFP chief David Beasley on Thursday wrapped up a visit to Somalia, where the risk of famine is high.  

More than seven million people there, nearly half the population, are acutely food insecure, and 213,000 are already facing famine-like conditions.

Mr. Beasley travelled to the southern city of Baardheere where he met families, including malnourished children and their mothers, who have been forced to leave home and travel long distances to seek humanitarian aid, amid ongoing conflict.

“People here have been waiting years for rain – but they cannot wait any longer for life-saving food assistance. The world needs to act now to protect the most vulnerable communities from the threat of widespread famine in the Horn of Africa,” he said. 

“There is still no end in sight to this drought crisis, so we must get the resources needed to save lives and stop people plunging into catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation”.

Food and cash assistance

WFP said the drought is expected to continue in the coming months as a fifth poor rainy season is forecast later this year.

The agency is doing everything possible to support the most vulnerable people, but urgently requires around $418 million over the next six months to meet the increasing needs.

Meanwhile, WFP is focused on using available funds to increase assistance in the worst-hit areas.  The aim is to target some 8.5 million people across the region, up from 6.3 million at the start of the year.

Staff are providing food and cash assistance to families, in addition to distributing fortified foods to women and children as malnutrition rates spiral. Cash grants and insurance schemes are also helping households to buy food to keep their livestock alive, or to compensate them when they die.

Support for Somalia

Relatedly, $10 million has been allocated from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to ramp up the drought response in Somalia.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths warned on Friday that time is running out for people in the country.

“If we don’t step up in force now, it’ll run out and the malnourished children are likely to die first,” he said. 

“This new funding will help humanitarian agencies get supplies and staff in place as soon as humanly possible to help avert a further catastrophe in Somalia. But it is no solution. We need all hands on deck and all resources mobilized to prevent famine”.

CERF has so far contributed a total of $41 million to the drought response in Somalia this year.

The funding has been used to support food and nutrition interventions, and to deliver healthcare, water and sanitation, protection, shelter, and education to people in need.

Source: United Nations

Direct Aid Kuwait lends a hand to drought-stricken Somalia

Over 6 million inhabitants in Somalia are facing the worst drought in the Horn of Africa, which constitutes ‘half’ of the population! The cumulative effects of 3 consecutive and extremely low rain seasons, as well as severe water shortages have resulted in dire circumstances for people and major displacement from many towns.

“Faduma Hassan Mohamed has never witnessed a time like this… First, the skies above became cloudless, then the air got hot and dry. Then the fertile soil below her feet that used to provide for her family turned into dark brown dust. We were farmers, had a river and we used to water our crops with its water. Now, we have lost all of that,” the mother-of-six told Al Jazeera Network.

Moreover, the country is facing a risk of famine, as there are acute shortages of water and pasture for animal grazing, while deteriorating health conditions of livestock has reduced production and increased their mortality rates.

To address this emergency, DirectAid (DA) has continued its humanitarian response activities in July 2022, running a humanitarian air bridge. The aid operations for Somalia had begun in February of this year. The recent aid activity provided basic food baskets in addition to drinking water to 200,000 IDPs in 32 areas and districts. More than 11,200 food packages containing rice, flour, sugar, oil, and dates were distributed, in addition to 212 drinking water trucks.

DA also provided water for the ailing livestock, thereby attempting to safeguard the agricultural sector on which most Somalis depend for living. Other water aid projects for Somalia are being prepared by DA and will enhance the initial efforts.

Direct Aid Society is a non-governmental organization that delivers relief and development assistance across 30 African countries and Yemen with the aim of eradicating hunger, disease, and poverty through fostering self-reliance, the organization has held a special consultative status in the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Direct Aid (DA) has been present in Somalia since 1986. It has so far sponsoring 3429 orphan, education (14,694 student) in 12 schools and a university called SIMAD, construction (840 facility) community development (189 projects), health care (112,289 patients admitted ), in addition to diverse economic assistance for the most vulnerable, giving priority for children and mothers, seniors and widows.

The amount of funds (DA) has spent on its current aid operations to date amounts to 1.6 million $, while another 3 million $ is allocated until the end of the current year.

Source: Direct Aid

Presidency Deputy Minister Siweya to conduct Gender-Based Violence and Food Parcel Drive

The Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya, will lead a Gender-Based Violence and Food Parcel Donation Drive at Jabulani Old Age Home and Care Givers in Pretoria North, Gauteng Province on 04 August 2022. The drive  is part of commemorating Women’s Month.

South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. The Government of South Africa declared August Women’s Month and 9 August is celebrated annually as Women’s Day. This year’s Women Month will be celebrated under the theme: “Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”.  The concept of Generation Equality is a global campaign and links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030.

During the drive, Deputy Minster Siweya will engage with citizen on dialogue about Gender-Based Violence. Women’s Month allows us to measure how far we have come in transforming society, mainly the transformation of unequal power relations between women and men. While also focusing on and addressing gender oppression, patriarchy, sexism, racism, ageism, structural oppression, and creating a conducive environment which enables women to take control of their lives.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

ADB: diplomatic representations called upon to promote foreign investment

The Burundi Development Agency (ADB) recommends close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to increase foreign direct investment in Burundi.

“The majority of foreign investors are not informed about business opportunities in Burundi”, lamented Didace Ngendakumana, Director General of the ADB, during a workshop on the reflection of synergy between the ADB and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the promotion of foreign investments, this June 7.

He urges Burundi embassies in different countries to identify and bring together investors to boost foreign direct investment. And to call on these diplomatic representations and the diaspora to inform foreigners about the business opportunities available in Burundi. The objective pursued is to double the number of foreign investors in Burundi each year.

Reforms, he continues, have already been implemented in Burundi to encourage foreign direct investment. “Almost all the factors attracting foreign direct investment are currently available in Burundi”.

Among other things, he emphasizes political stability, security, an attractive investment code and the involvement of the country’s high authorities in promoting business.

According to the ADB, the exercise of attracting investors comes up against certain challenges: the insufficiency of the ADB’s budget for promotional kits, a poorly sensitized diaspora, the language barrier as well as investors disguised as commissionaires. Some workshop participants also regret that Burundi is little known abroad.

For Hermenegilde Niyonzima, adviser to the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Burundi is still a virgin country in terms of investment.

“Sectors such as the production industry, mining, tourism, textiles, agro-food, tanning, fishing, information technology are still to be developed”, he underlines.

And to recall one of the missions of the Burundian diplomatic representations: to inform foreign investors about business opportunities and to make them aware of investing in Burundi.

Note that Burundi has about 30 embassies and consulates located in the four corners of the world.

Source: IWACU Burundi