Meanwhile, south of the Sahara . . .

*While Kenyan politicians focus on the 2012 presidential race, perhaps as much as half of the population of of Mandera has been displaced by the fighting between al-Shabaab and pro-TFG forces in southern Somalia. Likewise there has been a large influx of Somali refugees and the border has now been “closed” again. Here is a report from IRIN.

*Carlyle Group will launch a $750 fund to invest in Africa, reports the Financial Times.

Carlyle already has a significant presence in north Africa, as well as a dedicated private equity fund for the Middle East and north Africa.

Many parts of Africa are now enjoying better prospects than at any time in recent history due largely to a rush for resources led by the Chinese.

“The majority of Americans don’t pay enough attention to Africa,” one source close to Carlyle said. “It has been China that has been the catalyst for economic activity in Africa.”

Carlyle’s fundraising machine is by far the most powerful of any of the large private equity groups.

*McClatchy’s Planet Washington blog reports that wildlife groups are seeking U.S. Endangered Species Act protection for African lions. Apparently the U.S. is the biggest importer of lion trophies and lion parts. Who knew?

*Ethiopia and Tanzania are two of the countries that are due to receive significant increases in official assistance from the UK as the Tory government refocuses DFID spending from more affluent countries to those most impoverished. The BBC gives details here.

For Kenya, the UK has reintroduced conditionality due to the pervasive corruption problems. This will result in significant cuts this year, delayed or denied funding based on reforms and the possibilities for increases in future years based on progress. This is front page news in Kenya--see the Daily Nation story here.

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