Tuesday 27 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 05/23/17)
The World Health Organization was electing its new leader Tuesday, with the race narrowed to two finalists who have vowed to shake up the fiercely criticised agency. After one round of voting WHO member states eliminated a former Pakistani health minister, Sania Nishtar, several diplomats with direct knowledge of the closed-door result told AFP. That left former Ethiopian health minister Tedros Adhanom and British doctor and UN veteran David Nabarro as the remaining candidates to succeed Hong Kong-born Margaret Chan as the UN's global health boss. A second round of voting was set to begin shortly. Chan's decade-long tenure which ends on June 30 was notably marred by condemnation of the agency's response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa...
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki denied his country’s deepening relations with Egypt signify plans to disrupt neighboring Ethiopia’s construction of Africa’s biggest hydropower dam. “The claim by the Ethiopian regime that the relation between Eritrea and Egypt is targeting the millennium dam is unfounded,” the Ministry of Information said on its website, citing a May 21 interview with Isaias in the capital, Asmara. Egypt’s government has claimed Ethiopia’s construction of the hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile River contravenes colonial-era treaties that grant it the right to the bulk of the river’s water. Ethiopian officials reject the accords as obsolete and unjust.
(Voice of America 05/23/17)
Ethiopia is battling an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) that has affected more than 32,000 people. At the same time, Ethiopia's former minister of health, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a candidate to lead the World Health Organization. The two facts are linked in that critics of Tedros say he has tried to minimize the outbreak by refusing to classify it as cholera, a label that could harm Ethiopia’s economic growth. The WHO's 194 member states will gather in Geneva for a 10-day assembly starting Monday. One of their first tasks is to choose the organization’s next director-general. Tedros is one of three top contenders for the position, along with candidates from Britain and Pakistan. Lawrence Gostin, director of the...
(The Ethiopian Herald 05/23/17)
Ethiopia and World Bank yesterday signed financial agreement amounting to 190 million USD in the form of loan and grant to finance the implementation of the Health Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for Result Program. The program aimed at improving the delivery and use of a comprehensive package of maternal and child health services. The agreement was signed by Finance and Economic Cooperation Minister Dr. Abraham Tekeste and WB Country Director for Ethiopia Carolyn Turk. On the occasion, Dr. Abraham said the agreement is in line with Ethiopia's Health Sector Development Programs/HSDP/ that have always placed emphasis on improving the delivery and use of a comprehensive package of maternal and child health services. The minister indicated that the agreement has also...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(Xinhuanet 05/19/17)
Ethiopia's state owned air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is to start flights to Chengdu, the capital of China's southwest Sichuan province, on May 22, adding its roster of destinations to the world's most populous nation to five. Chengdu is known to be a tourist hotspot in China with attractions including giant pandas and Sichuan's historic artifacts and culinary tradition. In a statement sent to Xinhua on Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines says it plans to inaugurate the new destination in the presence of China's Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan, ET's CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and Abadula Gemeda speaker of Ethiopian Parliament at a ceremony on Sunday. ET currently has four destinations, being Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province,...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Xinhuanet 05/18/17)
China's Dongfang Electric Corporation will build a 120-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Ethiopia's Somali regional state, an Ethiopian official said Thursday. In a statement sent to Xinhua, Bizuneh Tolcha, Public Relation and Communication Director at the Ethiopia Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE), said the Ethiopian government expects the project to be started by July. "The wind farm project is expected to need 18 months to finish, cost about 257 million dollars to construct with 85 percent of the funding coming from the China's Export-Import Bank and the rest from the Ethiopian government," he said. According to the ministry, pre-construction work is already undergoing at the site of wind farm, which when completed will be the fourth wind farm...
(Addis Fortune 05/18/17)
The deal comes just a month after the bank approved 645 million dollars In the midst of the drought, the World Bank (WB) has approved a quarter of a billion dollars as additional finance for the fourth productive safety net program (PSNP IV) and health care services. This deal comes just a month after the bank approved 645 million dollars to reinvigorate the logistics sector, implementation of water supply and sanitation projects and to attain national quality infrastructure projects. The first loan, approved on May 2, 2017, is to scale up the fourth productive safety net program to the prolonged drought in the country. Launched a decade ago, the PSNP provides regular food or cash transfers to food insecure people...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
A judge in Ethiopia's capital on Tuesday found a former opposition spokesman guilty of encouraging terrorism with a series of anti-government Facebook posts. Yonatan Tesfaye was arrested in December 2015 after writing on the social media platform that the government had used "force against the people instead of using peaceful discussion with the public." While Yonatan's lawyer and defence witnesses argued the former spokesman of the opposition Blue Party was exercising his right to free speech, judge Belayhun Awol ruled the comments "exceeded freedom of
(Addis Standard 05/16/17)
The Federal High court fourth criminal bench has today passed a guilty verdict against Yonatan Tesfaye, former opposition Blue Party public relations head. Yonatan was first arrested in December 2015, barely a month after the first wave of a year-long #Oromoprotests erupted. He was held incommunicado during the pre-trial weeks and was subsequently charged in May 2016 under Ethiopia's infamous anti-terrorism proclamation (ATP). Yonatan has been defending the charges against him since then. The charges of 'encouragement of terrorism', stipulated under article six of the ATP, were largely drawn from his Facebook activism during the protests. According to article six of the ATP, "Whosoever publishes or causes the publication of a statement that is likely to be understood by some...
(Xinhuanet 05/16/17)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it has only been able to meet 20 percent of the funds required to meet the more than 843,000 refugees registered in Ethiopia as of April 30. In a report released on Monday, UNHCR put the amount of funding needed to meet the needs of the refugees at 307.5 million U.S. dollars. UNHCR just received 20 percent of the whole amount. The funding is needed to meet the security, education, health, nutrition and food security, water and sanitation, energy access of the refugees as well as environmental protection of the camps and its surrounding areas. The largest refugee group in Ethiopia are South Sudanese at 357,755 who have fled an internecine...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/16/17)
It was the promise of education in Addis Ababa that led 11- year-old Embet to take the fateful decision to leave home. The young girl from Debat, a small town in Ethiopia's Amhara region, packed up and left for the capital in the company of her older neighbor, who said that her relatives there would welcome her into their home, pay her 200 Ethiopian birr ($8) a month to look after their young children, and send her to school. "I thought I would enjoy Addis," said Embet, tearfully. "The woman told me fancy things about it. I thought everything would be okay." But it wasn't. Despite the promises, Embet was never paid by her neighbor's relatives, and she was never...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(The East African 05/11/17)
A deal between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed in December 2015 whereby the three countries agreed to end tensions over River Nile water faces an unclear future due to ongoing tensions between Egypt and Sudan. The two downstream countries at the end of April agreed to de-escalate tensions and end counter-accusations as well as import bans and deportations had brought relations between the two countries to tipping point. As the two neighbours bicker, Ethiopia continued its quest to bring Nile Basin countries on its side as its Grand Renaissance Dam nearing completion. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was in Rwanda last week and during the two-day state visit signed a co-operation deal with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame on the...

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