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[l] at 8/19/22 10:36am
Addis Ababa August 19/2022 /ENA/ The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) can help to save a significant amount of water from evaporation on the Nile River, a Water Resource Management Consultant revealed. According to Fekahmed Negash, several studies, including the joint study by the UK and Egypt in 1925, has concluded that storage of water in Ethiopia and Lake Victoria can save water. The saving of water from storage in Ethiopia is mainly due to the ambient temperature in the Ethiopian Highlands and the low surface to storage ratio offered by the deep gorge in Ethiopia that would expose limited water surface to evaporation, he said. It is known that the High Aswan Dam in Egypt that inundated an area four times as large as that  inundated by the GERD gave the Aswan High Dam the name Large Hot Pan in the Sahara. It evaporates annually between 10-16 billion cubic meters of waters. The combined evaporation from dams in Sudan is estimated at between 5-7 billion cubic meters, the expert elaborated. Hence annual evaporative loss in the two countries is in the magnitude of 15-23 billion cubic meters, depending on various factors that determine evaporation from the dams, including the extent of area inundated, the temperature, wind speed, and air moisture among others. Fekahmed further noted that the four dams, namely GERD, Mandia, Beko Abo and Karadobi, proposed on the main channel of the Abay River can store water that is equivalent to the combined storage of dams in Sudan and Egypt. The water that is lost to evaporation from the four dams on the Abay River is estimated to be only 4-5 billion cubic meters. The difference of 10-18 billion cubic meters is the amount of water saved from evaporation by storing water in the Abay Basin alone, the expert explained. Fekahmed pointed out that additional storage opportunities that can be created by other dams in the Abay, Baro Akobo and Tekeze basins offer further saving. This water saved from evaporation from the dams in Egypt and Sudan is by far higher than the near future water demand of Ethiopia for all purposes, and hence contributes to additional flow in the basin, he expounded. Size-wise the GERD is the fourth-largest dam in Africa after Kariba Dam between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Okosambo Dam of Ghana and the High Aswan Dam of Egypt, neither of which were considered controversial and critical issues of global importance. Fekahmed believes that what makes the filling of the GERD so important is the challenge posed by downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan, claiming concerns due to lack of information that evolved into fear of causing significant impact and eventually leading into unwarranted consideration as a threat to international peace and security. As a headwater of the Nile contributing 86 percent of its water, Ethiopia did not make any significant use of this nature given the bounty that belongs to all citizens of the basin, he underscored. The water expert noted that GERD is a game changer in the sense that it would change the existing unfair and unbalanced utilization of the waters of the Nile. It is a game changer as it will challenge the colonial era treaties that were signed among and between colonial masters and some basin states to the exclusion of the source countries, he said. Furthermore, it sends a clear message to those doubting its existence that it is real and operational. Thus enhancing Ethiopia’s capacity to negotiate with downstream countries by mobilizing the public behind the team. At the same time, he stated that it can also encourage downstream countries to stop their intransigence and frequent shifting of the goalpost so as to come to the negotiation table faithfully for the benefit of all.   By serving as an exemplary to the upstream countries, the GERD can encourage further development and utilization of water resources of the Nile; thereby facilitating the establishment of the long awaited equitable and reasonable utilization in the basin. It is again a game changer as it can minimize the domination of the dialogue among basin countries in favor of the disfavored, he said, adding that it can also enhance the negotiation power of Ethiopia.

[Category: Environment]

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[l] at 8/19/22 10:32am
Addis Ababa August 19/2022 /ENA/ The Government of Ethiopia has invited domestic and international investors to participate in the tendering of 8 state-owned sugar enterprises. Ministry of Finance announced today that the government has initiated a holistic sugar sector reform aimed at increasing private sector participation in the ownership and control of sugar companies. To transform the sugar sector, the Government of Ethiopia is now inviting both international and domestic investors to participate in the tendering of 8 state-owned sugar enterprises. These include Omo Kuraz 1, Omo Kuraz 2, Omo Kuraz 3, Omo Kuraz 5, Arjo Dedessa, Kessem, Tana Beles, and Tendaho (together with the Sugar Enterprises), a press release of the ministry disclosed. The proposed transaction presents an excellent investment opportunity to interested investors to acquire up  to 100 percent of the sugar enterprises, most of which are newly constructed factories with built-in trunk infrastructure, abundant water, land resources, and excellent cane-growing agro-climate conditions, it was learned. The transaction is aimed at improving competitiveness and increasing sugar production to meet domestic demand and will save Ethiopia from spending substantial foreign exchange used in importing sugar, the release added. The improved performance of the sector will in turn increase income and improve the standard of living for the population that relies on sugar cane plantations as the main source of livelihood in sugar-growing regions of Ethiopia.  It further elaborated that the transaction will not only reduce the future reliance on public financing but also enable the sugar enterprises to raise additional capital to support projected expansion and modernization.  Moreover, the transaction will create opportunities for refined and raw sugar exports given the good existing climate for growing cane in Ethiopia, enabling foreign currency inflows into the country. In addition to sugar production, the enterprises engage in the production of ethanol and electricity for internal  use and to supply to the national grid, the press release stated. The sugar sector reform in Ethiopia is intended to sustain rapid and inclusive economic growth by laying the ground for economic transformation that leverages the increasing role of the private sector.

[Category: Economy]

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[l] at 8/19/22 8:47am
Addis Ababa August 19/2022 /ENA/ Investors said that they are keen to engage in the hotel and tourism sector on the artificial lake and islands being created by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The investors told the Ethiopian News Agency that the dam has created a favorable  environment  for the hospitality industry. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced last week the successful filling of the GERD for the third time and early power generation of the second turbine.   According to him, there would be 70 islands on the artificial lake to be created by the dam. He further urged businessmen at home and abroad to invest in hotels and resorts in this beautiful area. Investors approached by ENA said that they would indeed engage in the hotel and tourism sector when the dam is completed. Belayneh  Kende, an Ethiopian investors who is engaged in diverse sectors said apart from the energy to be generated, the dam would help to get huge revenue from the hotel and tourism sector. The investor revealed that he is interested in participating in the sector when the dam is completed. “I would like to congratulate the people of Ethiopia for the successful completion of  the third filling of GERD…. Beyond generating electric power, this mega dam will bring tremendous benefits in fishery development, tourism and other areas,” he underscored.     Reaffirming his commitment and readiness to support the construction of the dam until it is fully completed, the investor urged the public to strengthen their support. Manager of De Leopol Hotel, Girum Behailu stated that the completion of the dam will allow the creation of many islands. Lakes and islands will bring good economic opportunities, especially for hotels and tourism industry, he added. De Leopol Hotel group is desirous in investing in this sector in the future, he added. The “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has already reached a critical phase. This, I think, is a great achievement for Ethiopia and its people,” Girum said. According to him, the economic and social benefits the dam provides are manifold. “I believe that it will bring great opportunity especially for the hotels and tourism sector as there will be  islands and a lake. Therefore, hotel and tourism industry actors will have opportunities to investment.” So, “we should all prepare for this development.”

[Category: Politics]

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[l] at 8/19/22 8:42am
Addis Ababa August 19/2022 /ENA/ Ambassador of Ethiopia to the Benelux countries and the EU institutions, Hirut Zemene has briefed Jean-marc Pisani, Head of Horn of Africa Division at the European External Action Service (EEAS), on the the current situation in Ethiopia. During the meeting, the ambassador briefed the head about the current situation in the country, particularly the governments commitment to end the conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia as well as the steps being taken to address human rights violations that occurred in the context of the conflict. She also explained about Ethiopias continued commitment to complete the GERD project based on international principles that harness regional economic cooperation. According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Hirut finally called for steady engagement between Ethiopia and the European Union in order to revitalize the existing strategic partnership. The Benelux countries located in Europe are Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

[Category: Featured, Politics]

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[l] at 8/19/22 5:41am
Addis Ababa August 19/2022 /ENA/The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) promotes integrated regional development and helps realize the UN Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs), professor of political science at Morgan State University, Getachew Metaferia said. It is to be recalled that Ethiopia has successfully completed third filling of GERD and started electric power generation of the 2nd turbine last week. During the occasion, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called on Sudan and Egypt to continue dialogue on GERD noting that Ethiopia is constructing the hydro dam to generate electric power for its people living in dark. Talked to ENA, professor of political science at Morgan State University, Getachew Metaferia said the GERD is intended to generate electricity which is vital to the country’s development. This also falls within the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. Noting that there is no reason at all that Ethiopians must be condemned to abject poverty, Professor Getachew said to fight poverty and ensure sustainable development, the country has its God-given rights to use its own resources, ensure development and provide quality life for its people as a sovereign state without creating significant harm on downstream countries. Ethiopia, must make good use of its own resources as the Blue Nile springs from Lake Tana, he said, adding that there is no scientific proof that GERD will mortally affect the downstream countries. The downstream countries must also be convinced that they would benefit from GERD, promotes integrated regional development, and help realize the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. To realize this noble goal, Egypt must refrain from politicizing the GERD, Professor Getachew advised.   “I must state that Egypt and all countries must start using climate-smart technologies; especially countries that are in arid and desert areas. Reforestation, utilizing water drip irrigation system, and employing water conservation scheme must be considered by all countries.” According to him, this will help all to fight global warming, preserve, and protect Mother Nature. “We are already being affected by global warming and a stop must be done to this,” the professor elaborated. Currently, the construction of the GERD project has generally reached an average 83.3 percent while the civil construction and electro mechanical works are at 95 and 61 percent respectively.

[Category: Politics]

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[l] at 8/19/22 4:05am
Addis Ababa August 19/2022/ENA/ Precise Consult has announced a program to enhance the supply of solar energy technologies with a view to expanding irrigation development in Ethiopia. The program will be carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands and the Ministry of Water & Energy. The new program will support the initiatives of the two ministries by enhancing solar appliance manufacturers in Ethiopia. The program targets to assemble and manufacture 250,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS) and 25,000 Productive Use Energy (PUE) appliances, the latter with a focus on solar pumps, according to a statement. The program will be implemented in Amhara, Oromia and other regions, it was indicated. Expanding irrigation is an important goal for the Government of Ethiopia. Studies show that upto 7 million hectares of smallholder farms can be irrigated using solar pumps from shallow ground water and surface sources. During the launching ceremony on Thursday, Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands, Aisha Mohammad noted that irrigation development is one of the strategies being implemented to ensure the food security of the country. The Ministry is working to build the capacities of farmers engaged in small scale irrigation activities in addition to the support being provided to large and medium scale irrigations in the country by using renewable energy, she added. According to a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), electrifying irrigation has the potential to create annual value of 1.2 billion USD by 2025. Since almost all solar appliances are currently being imported from overseas, the lack of foreign currency is a major obstacle standing in the way of achieving these worthy government objectives. For instance, to meet the universal electrification target by 2025, 1.4 billion USD is needed in new forex plus USD 1.8 billion in local currency working capital for a total capital of  3 billion USD. According to Precise Consult, local assembly and manufacturing can help increase availability of solar appliances by optimizing the available forex. Studies have shown that doing so can save 20- 25 percent in forex, possibly saving the nation hundreds of millions while expediting access. In the meantime, a growing manufacturing industry can help create jobs, and ensure knowledge transfer to young skilled experts to maintain and fix malfunctioning solar systems in the country. The Solar Appliance Manufacturing program which is funded by Shell foundation will work with key stakeholders to solve the key bottlenecks of the off-grid manufacturing sector. Precise is a mission-driven consulting firm that works on Private Sector Development specializing in the areas of Sustainable Agro-industrial Value-network Innovation, Off-grid Energy Innovation, and Development Policy Innovation, in Ethiopia.

[Category: Technology]

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[l] at 8/19/22 12:54am
Addis Ababa August 19/2022/ENA/ The 34th Eastern Nile Council of Ministers Meeting (ENCOM) is being conducted in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Addressing the participants, Minister of Water and Energy, Habtamu Iteffa, stated that the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) managed to deliver investment programs across member countries ranging from capacity building packages to regional Science – policy dialogue forums despite challenges encountered. He further pointed out the need to give priority for Nile cooperation and commitment from member countries to its realization. ENTRO, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa is the technical arm of ENSAP ( Eastern Nile Subsidiary Action Program), a joint program established among Eastern Nile countries ( Ethiopia, Egypt , Republic of Sudan, and South Sudan).

[Category: Economy, Featured]

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[l] at 8/19/22 12:35am
Ethio-China Cooperation Gaining Momentum By Bereket Sisay It is the hallmark of China-Africa solidarity and cooperation that can serve as a useful reference for international cooperation with Africa. The Chinese approach toward Africa, among many others, involves upholding friendship and equality while maintaining a shared interest under the framework of South-South Cooperation.  And, this surly lay a more solid foundation for building a strong thrust for the rise of developing countries as a whole.   It is in line of this principled approach that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) put into practice and constantly making a great strike in financing and building infrastructure throughout the developing world and thereby to realize mutual development. Ethiopia, as the traditional partner of China, was amongst the first few countries to join and start implementing the initiative while attaching a various benefit to the initiative. Since then, Ethiopia has managed to build huge infrastructures that support the structural transformation of the country and improving the lives of the people at large.   Among others, the Addis-Ababa light railway and the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway which connects Addis Ababa to Djibouti City and Djibouti’s Doraleh Container Terminal and various high-ways connecting many pivotal places, including within the capital city of Addis Ababa and across the country, are funded and constructed by the Belt and Road Initiative.    The Star-Alliance member, Ethiopian Airline’s terminal expansion project that was concluded two years back financed by Export-Import Bank of China. Along with this, there has been large scale development Industrial Parks with the objective of creating Special Economic Zones in different parts of Ethiopia. Chinese companies have also been highly participating in Ethiopia industrial parks especially in the textile and leather industries at large that help the country to swiftly join the global value chain networks. Moreover, around 400 Chinese construction and manufacturing projects are running in Ethiopia. The volume of trade between these two countries has shown a steady progress over the past consecutive years.   Despite the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other equally compelling sorts of negative international phenomenon, China and Ethiopia has sought to strengthen this mutual bilateral development partnership. China is now massively engaged in numerous infrastructural developments across the country while planning to expand its commitment in the years to come as well. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that Ethiopia, as an active participant in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the countrys infrastructure and strengthened its industrial establishments. Ethiopian top officials have repeatedly hailed this development partnership as a critical element in facilitating the relations between the two countries.  During the Ethiopia and China joint investment and trade cooperation that held in Addis Ababa in May, 2022, Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister noted that China has proven to be Ethiopia’s most trusted partner and that its support continues to sustain Ethiopia’s economic growth trajectory. Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of China, Wu Peng, in his latest briefing with journalists from Africa countries, who are currently attending the China Africa Press Center 2022 fellowship under the auspices of the China Public Diplomacy Association CPDA, affirmed China’s unwavering commitment for mutual and a win-win development with Africa. He gave a positive appraisal of what has achieved so far through China’-Africa joint development-partnership while hoping to see a bright prospect in these fields of engagement. During his briefing, he applauded the development cooperation  between Ethiopia and China pledging China’s support to the Ethiopian agriculture sector in the coming years. He said that “Ethiopia could be a breadbasket for Africa” to express its huge potential in the sector as it holds a vast arable lands.  Therefore, China is keen to work with Ethiopia in this area of cooperation under a right policy direction, he said. He further stated that many Chinese investors are currently engaged in agricultural development activities in many parts of Africa and they have huge interests to expand their investment in Ethiopia too.      Ethiopia has been working hard to mechanize the agricultural sector and to realize a food self-sufficient country in the near future. Recently, Ethiopia has been making a great stride in wheat production that would help the nation to export to other countries apart from fulfilling domestic needs. Therefore, Chinese pledge to provide support to Ethiopian agricultural sector comes at a critical time to accelerate the gains and to further develop the sector. This shows that the partnership between Ethiopia and China has been strengthening and evolving over a time. By now, it is clearer that this relationship will get momentum as the new areas of cooperation begin to unfold. In November 2021, during the 8th ministerial conferences of the forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that was held in Dakar, Senegal, President Xi Jinping announced that China will work closely with African countries to implement nine programs in the next three years to come, which are related to medical services and health, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade and investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural and people to people exchange and peace and security. Therefore, Ethiopia, one of these African exerting efforts to salvage this opportunity to further boost its ties along these lines of cooperation based on mutual benefits. These areas of partnership are just becoming another impetus into China-Ethiopia long-lasting cooperation.

[Category: Feature Article]

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[l] at 8/19/22 12:15am
August 19/2022/ENA/ Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen has participated in a virtual meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Coordinators held on Thursday. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the progress of implementation of the outcomes of the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference, which was held in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2021, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.   The meeting was chaired by the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi and Foreign Minister of Senegal, Aissata Tall Sall. As Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke stated, the impact of the China-Africa partnership on global governance, diplomacy, and the economy extends beyond China and Africas borders and benefits the entire global community. He emphasized that the FOCAC action plan should take into account the impact of current global developments. Demeke also emphasized that some of the programs of the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference require immediate attention and action, citing the issue of a common framework for debt treatments as critical to Africas financial access. He stated that without increased trade and FDI, “our efforts to mobilize more finance, create decent jobs, boost exports, build manufacturing capacity, and transfer technology would suffer.” The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister expressed gratitude to China for organizing a conference on peace, security, governance, and development in the Horn of Africa. He further reaffirmed Ethiopias determination to implement the conferences outcomes. Chinas foreign minister, for his part, stated that his country strongly supports African development in accordance with the principles of South-South Cooperation. He stated that China will contribute to the expansion of Africas representation in multilateral forums, including the UN Security Council, while emphasizing the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs and the One China policy.

[Category: Featured, Politics]

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[l] at 8/18/22 10:35am
Addis Ababa August 18/2022/ENA/ A memorandum of understanding (MoU) that enables to raise fund for reconstruction of infrastructures destroyed during the conflict in northern Ethiopia was signed today. Ethiopian Diaspora Service Director-General Mohammed Idris, Education Minister Professor  Birhanu  Nega, and Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse signed the MoU. The MoU aims to raise fund from the Ethiopian Diaspora with the view to rebuilding destroyed  education and health institutions, it was learned. Speaking on the occasion, Mohammed Idris said the diaspora community has been contributing  to national projects, humanitarian aid,  and other assistances in various ways. According to him, over 1.2 billion Birr worth material and cash was collected in the concluded Ethiopian budget year to support victims who were in need of support. Education Minister Professor Birhanu Nega said efforts have been made to rebuild destroyed  schools in the conflict.   The minister stated that fund will be raised not only from the diaspora but also from the local community as well. Some 4,200 schools were destroyed during the conflict, Professor Birhanu noted, adding that about 200 schools will be rebuilt this Ethiopian fiscal year. Health Minister, Dr. Lia Tadesse said that health institutions were among the damaged infrastructures during the conflict and the communities have suffered a lot due to lack of health institutions. She revealed that about 600 million Birr worth fund was collected in cash and kind to rebuild the damaged health institutions.  

[Category: Featured, Social]

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[l] at 8/18/22 10:28am
Addis Ababa August 18/2022/ENA/ Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen stressed the need for dismantling the network of human traffickers and ensuring legal accountability in order to prevent human trafficking in Ethiopia. The National Council set up to prevent and suppress human trafficking, cross-border smuggling and irregular migration held its annual meeting today. Chairman of the National Council and the deputy premier said that the network of brokers has to be dismantled and legal accountability ensured to prevent the increasing human trafficking in the country. According to him, it is necessary to carry out tasks that focus on prevention of irregular migration and alleviating the misery of citizens overseas. It is also vital to make citizens aware of the gravity of the problem by creating a broad social movement and dismantling the chain of illegal traffickers who are the leading actors for the increasing illegal migration, he noted. Stating that dismantling the network of traffickers and setting up legal accountability should be prioritized while explaining to citizens that it is possible to work and prosper in Ethiopia, Demeke suggested that laws that pave way for this should either be issued or revised. Citizen-oriented-diplomacy is also vital to reduce abuses against Ethiopian migrants abroad, Demeke pointed out. Out of the 100,000 citizens living under difficult condition in Saudi Arabia, more than 65,000 citizens were repatriated, it was learned. The repatriated were supported to return to their domicile.

[Category: Featured, Social]

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[l] at 8/18/22 9:17am
Addis Ababa August 18/2022/ENA/ The peace proposal made by the federal government of Ethiopia is another demonstration of its continued commitment to peaceful resolution of the conflict in the northern part of the country, Press Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister said. It is to be recalled that the Main Peace Committee has adopted a peace proposal that would lead to ceasefire and lay foundation for future political dialogue. Press Secretary Bilene Seyoum told foreign media correspondents today that the proposal requests the peace talks to happen in the coming weeks and move towards an agreed ceasefire. It also proposes an in-depth political dialogue that leads towards settlement between the parties. Any other pending issues should be addressed through the National Dialogue, the proposal states.   According to the press secretary, the proposal is another demonstration of the government’s continued commitment to peace and peaceful resolution to the conflict. The proposal puts into perspective the people of Tigray and affected communities in Afar and Amhara regional states as the consequences of the devastation need respite at this moment, she added. The talks must be held without any preconditions because Ethiopians in Tigray region need not continue being prisoners of TPLF’s own political agenda, the peace proposal establishes. Despite all the predicaments, including the continued conscription of youth in the region and accumulation of weaponry through various means, created by the TPLF, the posture of the federal government remains that of peaceful engagement and resolution to the conflict, Bilene noted. Cognizant of the illegal flow of local and foreign currencies being funneled into TPLF’s coffer and the siphoning of humanitarian assistance and fuel reserves towards the combatants, instead of the intended beneficiaries in Tigray region, the government remains ready for peaceful  engagement, the press secretary stressed.   Noting that the agenda for peace has been at the forefront by the Government of Ethiopia before the war broke out, she recalled the gestures that had been made by the government during the war too. The call for peace and peaceful resolution continues at this moment despite the lack of interest for peace by TPLF, she pointed out. TPLF has continued to propagate misleading narrative indicating that the issue of restoration of services “ as if there is only a single on and off button that is centrally located.” The government has, however, made it clear on several occasions to its partners and the public that the security and administration arrangements within Tigray region need to be cleared and put in place to facilitate the technical repair works on the ground to restore the services.   Hence, an operable and enabling environment is essential for such technical works to be undertaken on the ground, she underscored. “And at the moment, with very vocally belligerent and illegally armed group that is operating at its own whim and refusing to accept peace talks, the required enabling and secure environment is lacking for the restoration of services.” If TPLF generally cares for the wellbeing of Ethiopians in the Tigray region, “then they should be publicly asked by various international community actors to accept the peace agenda and sit for talks instead of looking for excuses to avoid this peace talk.”   The press secretary also reaffirmed the government’s readiness for peace talks under the auspices of the African Union led process at any time and at any place.

[Category: Featured, Politics]

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[l] at 8/18/22 9:09am
Addis Ababa August 18/2022/ENA/ Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration said it will focus on solving bottlenecks for the export sector in order to achieve the target set for this Ethiopian fiscal year. The ministry plans to earn 5.4 billion USD from export in the year. Export Trade Executive Director at the ministry, Gemechis Melaku told ENA that contraband and illegal trade are the major bottlenecks observed in the sector. Both legal and illegal traders are believed to participate in the illegal activities. “As a nation, contraband and illegal trading are the major bottleneck hampering the growth of export performance and both legal and illegal traders are participants in these activities,” the director said. He pointed out that though the export performance of the country has been growing, illegal activities in the sector are negatively affecting the export performance of the country. As a result, the ministry will focus on solving the bottlenecks and supporting legal exporters to achieve the target of the year. However, he stated that the bottlenecks in the sector cannot be solved by the ministry alone. The effort would need the engagement and collaboration of stakeholders and regional bodies. Gemechis underlined that illegal trading “needs strong intervention and nationwide collaboration ,including the support of regional governments by taking the issue seriously. In this regard, it is possible to achieve the target and upgrade the export performance of the fiscal year if pertinent stakeholders take their share in fighting illegal exporters.”    According to him, strict follow up and control mechanisms as well as legal enforcement measures on illegal traders around borders and gateways will create impact on export performance of the fiscal year. The director recalled that the aggressive measures that had been taken by the ministry, in collaboration with the pertinent stakeholders like Ethiopian Customs Commission and Federal Police on contrabandists and illegal traders in border areas, brought significant contribution to the export performance of last Ethiopian fiscal year.

[Category: Economy, Featured]

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[l] at 8/18/22 8:57am
Addis Ababa August 18/2022/ENA/ The House of Federation has given green light for 6 zones and 5 woredas that were under the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) to hold a referendum and establish a new region, if supported by the inhabitants. The other zones and a special woreda, namely Hadiya Zone, Hallaba Zone, Kenbata Tenbaro Zone, Gurage Zone, Silte Zone and Yem Special Woreda, would remain in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, it further decided. In its extraordinary meeting held today, the House passed the decision with a majority vote in support of the formation of the new South Ethiopia region and the remaining of the stated zones and special woreda with their former region, the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region. It also instructed the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia to conduct referendum within three months. Following the request of  the 6 zones and 5 special woredas, namely Gedo, Wolaita, Gamo, Gofa, Konso, South Omo zones and Burji, Amaro, Derashe, Basketo, and Alele special woredas, the standing committee discussed the request with all concerned parties starting from the leadership to the kebele level, it was learned.   The Identity, Administrative Border and Peace Development Standing Committee has also been assessing the request in light of constitutional principles and the federal system in order to ensure the fair share of the respective people. The standing committee urged leaderships at all levels and security entities to provide all the necessary supports for the finalization of the referendum peacefully and democratically. House of Federation Speaker Agegnehu Teshager stressed during the meeting that the referendum has to be finalized as quickly as possible so as to fully focus on developmental activities in the areas.

[Category: Featured, Politics]

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[l] at 8/18/22 4:41am
Addis Ababa August 18/2022 /ENA/The International community must cooperate and coordinate efforts to eradicate the danger of al-shabab, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to France said. In an exclusive virtual interview with Ethiopian News Agency, Ambassador Henok Tefera noted that the international community as a whole should recognize the threats al-shabab causes to the Somalia and to the region, he said adding: we must cooperate within the framework of IGAD, AU and the United Nations to eradicate these dangers. “Cooperation and coordination between the different countries must be further strengthened to eliminate the danger, which is a danger for Somalia, for the entire region and beyond,  for the entire international community,” he added. Terrorism is a global and international threat affecting all countries;  al-shabab has carried out terrorist activities in Somalia and in the region  for a long time, the ambassador elaborated. “The fight against terrorism is an international challenge because the danger affects all countries.” Ethiopia has been doing its part in fighting Al Shabab for a long time, the ambassador said, adding  of late, the National Defense Force along the Somali Special Force has caused serious damages on al-Shabab insurgent militants when they attempted to infiltrate into Ethiopian territories through western Ethiopia.  As Al-shaba is international  terrorist organization, the fight against  this terrorist group calls for regional and international cooperation and coordination among countries so as to reverse the repeated danger. Political and technical support from the international community is essential, Ambassador Henock added. It is to be recalled that al-Shabaab tried to carry out an attack in the areas bordering Ethiopia and Somalia by infiltrating some of its forces in 16 vehicles and some of them traveling to Ethiopia on foot during dark time. The Ethiopian Air Force hit selected targets and destroyed the logistics, weapons stockpile and food depots that the terrorist group had planned to use for a long time. The air strike was also able to destroy 24 leaders of the terrorist group including Propaganda Chief, Fu’ad Muhammad Keleif (Shengole), Abdulaziz Abu Musa, Spokesperson of the group, Ubeda Nur Isse, Head of Al-Shabaab’s Bokol Zone and the Ethiopian borders and among many others.

[Category: Featured, Politics]

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[l] at 8/18/22 4:36am
BY SOLOMON DIBABA Over the last four years, Ethiopians of all walks of life have been planting trees under the National Green Legacy initiative that was launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in 2019. The initiative is part of the Climate Resilient Green Economy Policy and Strategy that was launched in 2011. According to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopians planted more than 25 billion trees in four years across the country and have managed to plant 350 million trees in a period of 12 hours breaking the world record that was held by India. Addis Ababa City Administration has vowed to scale up the figure to 4 million. Recognizing that it is among the 20 most vulnerable countries to climate change, Ethiopia decided in 2019 to conduct a massive nationwide tree planting which included indigenous and fruit bearing trees. For Ethiopia, and most African countries, agricultural activities, which provide income for 80 percent of the population, have ironically been subjected to land degradation that has taken a toll on crop production and fanned the hunger cycle. The forest cover has also dwindled at alarming rates and countries have not made considerable efforts to attain the 10 percent forest cover as recommended by the United Nations. The national program of tree planting is the first of its kind in the world, providing with multiple repercussions to global and national advantages. At this point in time when the world, including highly advanced countries of Europe are plagued with drought, extreme heat, forest fire, and flood and soil erosion of the highest magnitude as a result of global warming, which has become a threat to human life and civilization. In this regard, Ethiopia is aggressively working for the restoration of its forest cover, is actively contributing to the reduction of carbon which is released to the atmosphere at the rate of 10 billion tons every year. According to Gravitas (August 15, 2022), Europe is facing the worst drought in 500 years, and it has already been brought under high-level of drought alert. As the result of the current drought, Europe has lost 80 billion Euros while its hydropower supply is reduced by 20 percent. Andria Toreti from EU Joint Commission Research Center disclosed that wild fires in Europe have razed 26,000 hectares of agricultural land. Despite the warnings from scientists for over a decade, many of the global powers still lack the necessary and urgent political commitment to curb this horrendous global situation. The Government of Ethiopia, however, is far more committed not only to promoting the National Green Legacy in Ethiopia but is also trying to replicating the initiative to other African countries. What are the new innovations that the Green Legacy Initiative has brought for Ethiopia? Let us look at some of them. The culture of tree planting has now become a new cultural innovation in the country. This culture is an important innovation that would reconcile human beings and nature in Ethiopia. In his written contribution on Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Initiative, on August 15, 2022, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed noted that “Green legacy established a nationwide green culture.’ He said, Beyond conferences and summits, addressing the climate change challenge requires tangible action. Abiy also pointed out that ‘‘Ethiopia’s investments in renewable energy from hydroelectric, wind, solar and geothermal sources will soon rectify the act of deforestation. The premier continued “There are many ingredients to our success as there are lessons derived from the Green Legacy Initiative within the four-year period since we began. For example, when the massive tree planting program was launched in 2019, there were less than 40,000 nurseries nationwide, with very low production capacity. In the current year 2022, the number of nurseries in Ethiopia surpasses 121,000, with a cumulative capacity of producing 7.6 billion seedlings of various species.” The tree species include fruit varieties, mainly avocado, mango and papaya, aimed at making the Green Legacy Initiative improve access to food and nutrition and enhance export ambitions, he added. Stating what lessons that country has learned from the imitative, Prime Minister Abiy added “A second example is the progressive change introduced by the initiative in improvement of site selection and site preparation, including early pitting, which has facilitated early planting. This year, for instance, around 1.8 million ha. of land has been identified for planting, of which more than 200,000 is geo-referenced. A key catalyst for our success, however, is political will and demonstrable commitment at all levels of leadership.” The promises that advanced western countries made to commit 100 billion USD for climate change mitigation have not been fulfilled so far. However, these countries need to support promising results on climate change adaptation and mitigation that has been vividly demonstrated in Ethiopia. “While much still remains, there is no shred of doubt that the Green Legacy Initiative has delivered results, the most important of which is a ‘green culture’. We have no doubt that this new culture will be a legacy preserved for Ethiopia’s future generations. Many cities throughout the country are now being conscious of the need to nurture green spaces and enhance forest cover in conducive areas. We could not have been able to ignite this consciousness amidst fast paced urbanization without the commitment of millions of citizens for whom service to the nation has been of paramount importance. Beyond the new culture taking shape, the Green Legacy Initiative has thus far directly created more than 767,000 jobs, mostly for women and youth, as part of a green economy taking shape,” the Premier remarked. Given the achievements that Ethiopia has gained over the last four years in its green initiative, what lessons can the global community learn from this? Few things could be enumerated. Unless governments of all countries are united on a common global initiative in curbing the devastating effects of climate change, there could be no meaningful result by remaining indifferent to the looming global disaster just at the corner. Ethiopia’s experience has shown the importance of leadership commitment in public mobilization in planning, funding and executing programs on climate change. Such commitment is urgent, vital and necessary for human survival. Given the huge positive outcomes, green legacy initiative, which is relatively cost effective, brings about significant improvement on climate change and is vital for the development of global economy which is being seriously affected by climate change. Furthermore, the possibility of building a climate resilient green economy through green legacy initiatives on global scale has to be taken as best practice to mitigate climate change. Through planting millions of fruit trees that have a multiple advantages, Ethiopia showed that food security can be attained from the multiple output of green legacy initiatives, Ethiopia once again demonstrated to the world that such initiatives are of critical importance for the protection and conservation of the environment and the resources thereof. Tree planting helps to establish social harmony, friendship and peace among the people of the world at national and global scale. It promotes social integration and unity as demonstrated in Ethiopia. As Prime Minister Abiy noted, “We now know that rapid climate change is manifesting in the rise of global temperatures, frequent extreme natural events, increasing sea levels and many other occurrences. Unfortunately, the African continent has little to do in terms of being a net producer of greenhouse gases, yet experiences its harsh realities. In tandem with other climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, other African countries can take Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Initiative as a best practice.” All told, the Ethiopian National Green Legacy initiative will continue with far more broader dimensions as the country cruises through the road to prosperity.

[Category: Feature Article]

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[l] at 8/17/22 9:53am
Addis Ababa August 17/2022 /ENA/ The diplomatic community based in Addis Ababa was briefed today about the progress of the peace process, the current situation in the northern part of the country, and related issues. It is to be recalled that the Main Peace Committee was established to advance the initiative of the Ethiopian government to peacefully resolve the conflict in the northern part of the country.   The three members of the Main Committee Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, Justice Minister Gedeon Timotewos, and National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Redwan Hussein, briefed the diplomats. The federal government has made several attempts to peacefully resolve the conflict by   declaring unilateral humanitarian truce, lifting of the state of emergency, halting the advance of its troops to the regional capital Mekelle, releasing detainees suspected of being affiliated with the TPLF, and taking other confidence building measures, they noted. On top of these measures, the government has been making serious effort to ensure enduring peace, members of the committee said, adding that it has also expressed its readiness to engage in peace talks without precondition, at any venue, and at any time. The Main Committee emphasized the imperative of alleviating the suffering of citizens in the conflict affected parts of Tigray, Afar and Amhara regional states. Towards that end and in order to ensure a sustained provision of humanitarian aid, to facilitate the resumption of basic services and to resolve the conflict peacefully, the committee underscored that there is a need to conclude a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible. Press Release of the Main Peace Committee The Main Peace Committee established to advance the initiative of the Government to peacefully resolve the conflict in the northern part of the country has extensively discussed its progress to date, the current situation in the northern part of the country and other related issues. It is to be recalled that the Government has made several attempts to peacefully resolve the conflict. For instance, the Government has declared a unilateral humanitarian truce, has lifted the state of emergency, halted the advance of its troops to Mekelle, released detainees suspected of being affiliated with the TPLF and undertaken other confidence building measures as well. It is also known that on top of these measures, the government is endeavoring and making a serious effort to ensure enduring peace. In connection with this, it is to be recalled that the Government has expressed its readiness to engage in peace talks without precondition, at any venue and at any time. The Committee, in its discussion has emphasized the imperative of alleviating the suffering of citizens in the conflict affected parts of the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regional states. Towards that end and in order to ensure a sustained provision of humanitarian aid as well as to facilitate the resumption of basic services and also to resolve the conflict peacefully; the Committee has underscored that there is a need to conclude a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible. To expedite this process, the Committee has deliberated upon and adopted a peace proposal that would lead to the conclusion of a ceasefire and lay the foundation for future political dialogue.  The Committee has decided that the proposal should be communicated to the African Union High Representative as soon as possible. Furthermore, in accordance with the decision of the Committee to provide the international community a briefing, so that it would be possible to conclude a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible with the help of entities that could support the mediation effort of the African Union, such briefing has been provided. Furthermore, the Committee has noted that; to facilitate an expedited resumption of basic services within the enabling environment that would be created once a ceasefire is concluded; all necessary preparations are being undertaken. All effort is being exerted in collaboration with the African Union so that it would be possible to determine the venue and time for talks and to begin peace talks quickly and to conclude a ceasefire agreement shortly.   The Main Peace Committee has urged the appropriate subcommittees and taken note that the federal government already instructed service providing institutions to carry out the necessary activities for the implementation of these decisions. The Committee has commended the support that Ethiopians have shown to the peace effort and calls on the public at large to strengthen and continue this support. The Committee has also called upon the international community to stand with the African Union and play a constructive role towards the success of the peace effort.

[Category: Politics]

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[l] at 8/17/22 9:02am
Addis Ababa August 17/2022 /ENA/The coordinated actions of the government and partners have minimized the degree of damage from drought in some parts of Ethiopia, Agriculture State Minister Fikru Regassa said. He told ENA that drought has affected parts of SNNP, Oromia, and Somali regions over the past two years. No one has died from the worst drought that Ethiopia has faced in many decades, the state minister noted. “It is because of the concerted action of the government and partners that the degree of the damage by the drought is really minimized. It is mitigated very well.” Yet, he revealed that about 1 million livestock have died from the drought. “The impact was really on the livestock aspect where about a million animals died because of this drought; and that affected the country,” Fikru stated. The government has been undertaking many activities, especially the resilient projects funded by the African Development Bank and the World Bank. The projects focused on water development activities in drought-prone areas are the solution for the future. The irrigation activities in the country, including the winter wheat production, are a major shift from rainfall-dependent agriculture and reliable initiatives to combat climate change-induced effects, particularly drought.    Regarding the winter wheat production initiative, the state minister said “we are planning not only to meet the domestic demand. We are going to export it in the future as a source of foreign currency. And this is a big shift in the history of the country.” According to him, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is among the institutions that initiated and coordinated funding for the resilience projects in Ethiopia. The resilient projects are also run in the IGAD sub-region, namely Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. IGAD Environment Protection Program Manager, Eshete Dejene said on his part that IGAD has a climate prediction center that forecasts climate changes and effects on the environment and was informing and engaging relevant actors on the drought in the IGAD region. The manager pointed out that IGAD coordinated funding from partners and engaged with agriculture ministers in the region to respond to the drought-affected people and areas. Activities that help to ensure food security in a sustainable way and coordinated response are critical, he added.   More than 37 million people are facing acute hunger, with approximately seven million children under the age of five acutely malnourished in the region. The UN agency is calling for the raising of 123.7 million USD to respond to rising health needs and prevent a food crisis from turning into a health crisis in one of the worst hunger crises of the last 70 years in the region.

[Category: Economy]

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[l] at 8/17/22 7:01am
Addis Ababa August 17/2022 /ENA/ The steadfast completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is pivotal to realize Ethiopia’s aspiration of becoming a manufacturing hub, Indonesian Ambassador to Ethiopia Al Busyra Basnur said. In an exclusive interview with ENA, the ambassador said that GERD has multifaceted importance for Ethiopia. “I believe that the GERD is very important for not only Ethiopia but also for neighboring countries,” he added. “Talking about the GERD, it will generate 6,000 MW. This puts Ethiopia as a great country, rich of energy and the powerhouse of electricity. With that electricity people in Ethiopia and people in neighboring countries will easily develop and increase their economy by creating home industries,” Ambassador Basnur stated. Many Indonesians viewed Ethiopia as a poor and starving country. But “I always mention to Indonesian friends, especially to the business community: Look, Ethiopia is now totally different as compared with what Ethiopia looked like in 1984.” Moreover, Ethiopia and Ethiopians as well as its neighbors develop their economy, prosper and improve the livelihood of each and every one, he noted. Similarly, Indias Ambassador to Ethiopia Robert Shetkintong said Indian business people are aware of Ethiopia’s aspiration of becoming the manufacturing hub and are heavily investing in various economic areas. “Concerning the GERD, India’s position has been very clear that the three countries, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, have to sit together and ensure that there is an African solution for African problem.” It is to be recalled that Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen pointed out that “despite every kind of human-made pressure, the filling of the GERD reservoir ha become a reality standing as a testament of the spirit of unity and cooperation among Ethiopians.” Ethiopia recently announced the successful completion of the third phase filling of the GERD and its second turbine power generation last week. During the event, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed underscored that “negotiations and genuine discussion over the GERD will bear fruitful results than any other alternative.”

[Category: Featured, Politics]

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[l] at 8/16/22 10:57am
Addis Ababa August 16/2022/ENA/ A workshop aimed at facilitating the reviewing of performance of the Eco-fish programs and activities at national and IGAD levels as well as assess cooperation among IGAD members, southern Africa and the Indian Ocean is underway in Addis Ababa. Opening the IGAD Fisheries Coordination Platform Workshop, Agriculture State Minister Fikru Regassa said Ethiopia is working to utilize its fish resource and cooperating with IGAD. “Ethiopia in its 10-year strategic development plan and agricultural plan has paid significant attention to the fishery and aqua culture development.” According to him, the workshop will review the performance of the Eco-fish programs and activities at the sub-regional IGAD and at national level. Stating that IGAD Secretariat has multilateral projects that are implemented in Ethiopia, the state minister said “we will closely collaborate with IGAD Secretariat regarding fishery development, management processes and expected results of cooperation.” IGAD has started assisting Ethiopia’s fishery sub-sector and it is in the process of supporting its National Blue Economy Strategy.       Representative of IGAD Executive Secretary, Abebe M. Beyene said on his part that the IGAD region is endowed with very diverse inland and marine ecosystems of immense fish resource that needs better attention and coordination to use it. Five IGAD member states, namely Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, are coastal countries with a total of about 7000KM length and about 1.2 million kilometer square exclusive economic zone, he noted.   “The fish productivity in this marine zone is very high. Generally, the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden region is globally known for the uniqueness of its costal and marine bio-diversity,” Abebe elaborated.   Despite the potential resource that could be used to ensure food security and export both in IGAD member states and in Africa, “there is less attention and focus to develop the fisheries sub- sector,” the representative stressed. Fishery activity in the region is often illegal, unreported and unregulated, especially in Somalia, he said, further pointing out that lack of economic zone is also a challenge except in Kenya. EU’s flagship project in East Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region Manager, Madev Balloo, stated that the meeting is aimed at strengthening inter-regional collaboration of the IGAD sub-region to promote sustainable, inclusive and integrated management of fisheries resources. “This is crucial in a bid to promote synergies at a time resources are limited and fishery resources are depleting at an alarming rate.” The EU  thus recommends Indian Ocean Commission, IGAD and all the relevant stakeholders to promote the activities that feature mainly strategic action of the marine work plan. The workshop will stay until  August 18, 2022.

[Category: Economy, Featured]

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[l] at 8/16/22 9:46am
Addis Ababa August 16 2022/ENA/ The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a project of development, cooperation and clean energy, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to France said. In an exclusive virtual interview with Ethiopian News Agency, Ambassador Henok Tefera noted that the dam is a great source of energy which will contribute towards alleviating climate change. According to him, GERD will generate electricity that is essential for the countrys development since energy is essential for all sectors of the economy. The country could also sell electricity to neighboring countries and generate hard currency  thereby strengthening its cooperation with neighboring countries. Above all, the project is vital to extricate people from poverty, provide electricity to millions of Ethiopians who do not have access to electricity. The Ethiopian Diaspora have played a vital role in the growth and stability of the country through direct and indirect financial contribution to support mega-projects across the country, Ambassador Henok elaborated. The diaspora in France as elsewhere is strongly mobilized more than ever for the support of this dam, he pointed out. The Abbay water has now started to flow over the top of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam for the third time. Accordingly, the height of the middle part of this mega-dam has reached 600 meters above sea level and the left and right sides were 611 meters. With its two turbines going operational, GERD generates 375 MW of electricity.

[Category: Economy, Featured]

As of 8/19/22 1:06pm. Last new 8/19/22 10:58am.

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