Kamissa Camara was named Mali’s foreign minister in September, joining a 33 member cabinet tasked with restoring peace and rebuilding the economy in President Keita’s second and final term.
35-year Camara previously served as Keita’s foreign policy adviser, a position she was appointed to in July this year.
Camara, who is the first woman to hold the position of foreign affairs minister in Mali’s history is the founder of the Sahel Strategy Forum, a platform that promotes peace, security and development across the Sahel.
Kamissa Camara is an expert in African politics with a concentration on the Sahel/West Africa region. She has been extensively featured in the press and conferences on various issues affecting the Sahel region including governance, conflict, democracy and security.
She is one of 11 women — out of 32 ministers total — in Mali’s new cabinet. Camara says she aims to build political bridges with Africa. “My mantra is to enrich foreign policy with African accents. As an American woman who was born and raised in France by West African parents, I strive to provide analyses that highlight religious and cultural specificities. Politics, democracy, security and good governance is the essence of my work, reflections and publications”, she declares on her website
As the diplomatic advisor to the president, Kamissa Camara has been vocal about the need for strategic partnerships between Mali and other countries, including China.
Speaking about herself, Kamissa Camara revealed that her mission is to help the West make sense of African politics by building intellectual bridges between sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the United States.
Her mantra is to enrich foreign policy with African accents. As an American woman who was born and raised in France by West African parents, she strives to provide analyses that highlight religious and cultural specificities.
On how peace can be achieved in the war-
While she confirms that there’s inter-communal violence, Camara says the situation “cannot be simply described as a terrorist situation … It’s a pastoralist issue between Fulani herders that are against Bozo herders torn It’s a complex security situation that has been exacerbated by terrorist groups, that has been utilised by terrorist groups so now it is being perceived as an ethnic conflict, which is not necessarily the root of it.”
Among other factors, Camara says, “there’s definitely a lack of funding for the joint force to be fully operational. We currently have need of over 400 million euros per year [roughly $458m]. For now it’s our job to make sure that the international community understands that this joint force is the only sustainable solution we currently have in order to curtail the fragile security situation that we have in the Sahel region.
“We are trying to find solutions to our own problems, and this is what the international community has been pushing African countries to do … What we are trying to do is for five Sahel countries that are facing the same security issues, to work together in order to curtail a growing terrorist threat.”
Mali’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is stable at around 6% and there’s been a rise in agricultural productivity. The IMF and World Bank continue to support Mali financially.
“Mali is a very resilient country,” says Camara. “Mali has gone through a lot since 2011. We have … gone through a military coup, an insurgency, but we also have had a lot of successes. We organised two peaceful presidential elections. We have a peace process that is ongoing. We have the DDR [disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme] that just started. We have a full ministry in charge of the peace process. We have a six percent growth rate …”
“Despite the security challenges that we currently have, we’re a country that is ready for investments and, we are ready to take charge of all of the issues that we’re currently having, we’re finding solutions to them,” says Camara, who wants to ensure that “the international community understands that the issues of Mali are not necessarily focused on the security aspect of it, that we have potential. That we have things to offer.”
Oil prices rise to $62
Oil prices rose, reversing earlier losses, as investors latched on to positive supply-side drivers for the market, although concern about the wider economy simmered in the background after data pointed to a slowdown in China.
Brent crude oil futures were up 11 cents at $62.81 a barrel. U.S. crude futures were up 14 cents at $53.94 a barrel.
The oil benchmark for Nigeria’s Budget 2019 is $60 per barrel.
Oil industry experts described the rise in crude prices as good for the local economy.
Analysts said a more robust backdrop for financial markets, together with the prospect of slower crude production growth, were the major drivers behind the rally in oil.
“The stock market performance is one of the reasons why oil keeps marching higher. There also seems to be a general belief that the agreed cut in Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)+ production will be sufficient to balance the market,” PVM Oil Associates said in a note.
Global equities fell after data pointed to a slowdown in Chinese economic growth in 2018 to a 28-year low. The numbers fed concern that the outlook for global growth may be darkening, particularly given U.S.-China trade tensions.
But stocks are still up nearly 8 percent so far this month, which in turn has given oil investors more confidence to bet aggressively on a rise in crude prices.
Theresa May survives no-confidence vote
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday survived a no-confidence vote sparked by the crushing defeat of her Brexit deal just weeks before the UK leaves the European Union.
A stunning 24-hour span saw May on Tuesday dealt the heaviest drubbing by parliament in modern British political history — 432 votes to 202 — over the divorce terms she reached with Brussels.
The opposition Labour Party could try to oust her government again in the hope of triggering snap elections before Britain’s scheduled March 29 Brexit date. And May herself is working on the tightest-possible deadline as Britain prepares to leave the bloc that for half a century defined its economic and political relations with the rest of the world. She has promised to return to parliament on Monday with an alternative Brexit strategy devised through cross-party talks with the opposition.
There is now an assumption among many European diplomats that Brexit will have to be delayed to avoid a potentially catastrophic “no-deal” breakup. May notably refused to rule out the idea when quizzed about it in parliament earlier on Wednesday.
May survived Wednesday thanks to the support of members of her Conservative Party and ruling coalition Northern Irish allies in the Democratic Union Party. But more than a third of the Conservatives and all 10 DUP members of parliament voted against her Brexit arrangements on Tuesday — each for their own reason. May will thus tread carefully as she tries to win over opposition lawmakers — many of whom want to remain in the EU — while also attempting to appease more hardened Brexit-backing coalition partners.
May repeated two key principles — limiting migration and pursuing an independent trade policy — which would rule out Labour hopes of membership of an EU customs union or its single market. But she also hinted at the possibility of delaying Brexit.
Historical defeat: British lawmakers defeats May over Brexit deal
British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin on Tuesday, triggering political upheaval that could lead to a disorderly exit from the EU or even to a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave.
Parliament voted 432-202 against her deal, the worst parliamentary defeat for a government in recent British history. Scores of her own MPs – both Brexiteers and supporters of EU membership – joined forces to vote down the deal.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promptly called a vote of no confidence in May’s government, to be held within 24 hours.
With the clock ticking down to March 29, the date set in law for Brexit, the United Kingdom is now ensnared in the deepest political crisis in half a century as it grapples with how, or even whether, to exit the European project that it joined in 1973.
May’s crushing loss, the first British parliamentary defeat of a treaty since 1864, marks the collapse of her two-year strategy of forging an amicable divorce with close ties to the EU after the March 29 exit.
“It is clear that the House does not support this deal, but tonight’s vote tells us nothing about what it does support,” May told parliament, moments after the result was announced.
“We need to confirm whether this government still enjoys the confidence of this House,” May said.
May said parliament had spoken and the government had listened. The small Northern Irish DUP party, which props up her minority government and had said it would oppose the deal, said it would still back May in the no confidence vote.
The EU said the Brexit deal remained the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal from the EU.
“The Brexit deal is basically dead,” said Anand Menon, professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London.
Ever since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016, the political class has been debating how to leave the European project forged by France and Germany after the devastation of World War Two.
While the country is divided over EU membership, most agree that the world’s fifth largest economy is at a crossroads and that its choices over Brexit will shape the prosperity of future generations.
Before the vote, May had warned pro-Brexit MPs that if her plan was rejected, it was more likely that Britain would not leave the EU at all than that it would leave without a deal.
She has also warned fellow Conservatives not to let the opposition Labour Party seize control of Brexit.
Supporters of EU membership cast Brexit as a gigantic mistake that will undermine the West, smash Britain’s reputation as a stable destination for investment and slowly weaken London’s position as a global capital.
Many opponents of Brexit hope May’s defeat will ultimately lead to another referendum on EU membership, though Brexiteers say that thwarting the will of the 17.4 million who voted for Brexit could radicalise much of the electorate.
Brexit supporters cast leaving as a way to break free from a Union they see as overly bureaucratic and fast falling behind the leading economic powers of the 21st century, the United States and China.
Kenya: Somali Islamists, al Shabaab bombs hotel, attack workers
Gunmen blasted their way into a hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday, sending workers fleeing for their lives as others cowered under their desks from an attack claimed by Somali Islamists al Shabaab.
At least one person was killed and eight wounded, hospital officials said. Police warned the “terror attack” may still be ongoing, with the assailants still inside the upscale 14 Riverside Drive complex.
“The main door of the hotel was blown open and there was a human arm in the street severed from the shoulder,” said Serge Medic, the Swiss owner of a security company who ran to the scene to help civilians when he heard of the attack from his taxi driver.
Medic, who was armed, entered the building with a policeman and two soldiers, he said, but they came under fire and retreated. An unexploded grenade lay in the lobby, he said.
“One man said he saw two armed men with scarves on their head and bandoliers of bullets,” Medic told Reuters, as gunfire echoed in the background, more than two hours after the attack began.
A woman shot in the leg was carried out and three men emerged covered in blood. Some office workers climbed out of windows. Many told Reuters that they had had to leave colleagues behind, still huddled under their desks.
“There’s a grenade in the bathroom,” one officer yelled as police rushed out from one building.
“We heard a loud bang from something that was thrown inside. Then I saw shattered glass,” Geoffrey Otieno, who works at a beauty salon in the complex, told Reuters. “We hid until we were rescued.”
Kenya has often been targeted by al Shabaab, who killed dozens of people in a shopping centre in 2013 and nearly 150 students at a university in 2015.
“We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman.
According to its website, 14 Riverside is home to the local offices of international companies including BASF, Colgate Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Pernod Ricard, Dow Chemical and SAP, as well as the dusitD2 hotel, part of the Thai hotel group Dusit Thani.
The Australia embassy is across the road from the compound. Kenya is an expatriate hub for diplomats, aid workers, businessmen and others operating around east Africa.
“I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives,” a woman working in a bank in the complex said, adding she had heard two explosions.
Kenyan television featured appeals for blood from local hospitals and showed police cordoning off the route to ensure vehicles could move quickly. Red Cross ambulances ferried victims away.
Al Shabaab says its attacks in Kenya are revenge for Kenyan troops stationed inside Somalia which has been riven by civil war since 1991.
The Kenyan troops, concentrated in the south, originally went into Somalia to try to create a buffer zone along the border. They are now part of an African Union peacekeeping force supporting the weak U.N.-backed central government.
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