Meldungen von Dezember 2016

von Redakteur

10.12.2016  A Low Rainfall Brings Symptoms of New Drought. Addis Fortune
Drought is continuing to affect close to 9.7 million Ethiopians as the situation is made worse by flooding and outbreaks of disease.
A below average rainfall in the south and south eastern parts of the country were reported. This particularly affected parts of Somali region, Afar, some low land areas of Oromia and the Southern Nation, Nationalities and People’s regions. Moreover, a few areas in southern Tigray and north eastern Amhara were also affected by a poor Meher harvest.
Pre-assessment estimates indicate that there are worrying symptoms of a new drought, as stated in the weekly humanitarian bulletin issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on November 28, 2016. Currently, the Ethiopian government along with humanitarian partners are conducting a Meher assessment in 216 weredas of the nine regional states and the Dire Dawa City administration.
A few weeks ago, humanitarian partners expressed their concerns on the effects of the state of emergency and on the implementation of humanitarian relief efforts, particularly with related to public gatherings. Authorities have assured the humanitarian community that restrictions under the declared state of emergency do not apply to gatherings in humanitarian operations such public gatherings in food distribution points and nutrition screening centres, according to the bulletin.


- Politics, Justice, Human Rights -

31.12.2016  TPLF take measures on 640 members amid the reform. ENA
The Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) disclosed that measures have been taken on 640 leaders following the in-depth evaluations carried out within the organization. Rural political affairs head at the organization; Amanuel Amare told ENA that the measures were taken on the leaders due to their failure to appropriately serve the public. Accordingly, the organization has decided to suspend 22 leaders from their membership, while to take 13 others to law, Amanuel said. The remaining leadership, from the highest to the lowest level, removed from their position.
According to Amanuel, the in-depth reform, the organization has been carried out, will be strengthened through the public evaluation forums, which started on Friday in the region.  Residents in the regional state are discussing on the outcomes of the in-depth evaluation since yesterday. According to Amanuel, the public forums being held across the regional state is expected to give momentum to the in-depth reform program.
As member of the ruling party, EPRDF, TPLF has been engaging in in-depth evaluation and reform with a view to rectify wrongdoings among party members thereby to address public concerns. 

24.12.2016    Reform training enables violence suspects compensate misdeeds-GCAO. Walta Information
The Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) said that the reform training that has been given for the suspects who engaged in recent violence can enable them to compensate misdeeds. The Office in its weekly press statement underscored that the reform training provided to those who have been engaged in violent acts is vital to understand many provisions of the constitution and the country's journey towards renaissance. Participants of the training have regretted and condemned their misdeeds and vowed to 'never again' engage in such violent acts that dislodged them from their productive activities. It was noted that those who are detained for unlawful acts that led to the declaration of the State of Emergency across the country have now denounced violence and vowed to rally others in support of development activities nationwide while those who have been participated in high criminal activities will be asked by the rule of law accordingly.
Some 9,800 detained people are now freed to move to their respective homelands across the nation after attending the reform trainings for about two months. According to the press statement, the government strongly believes that the training enables the detainees to develop confidence in order to participate in the overall growth and development of the country that has been recorded in the past decade as a double digit economic growth. The press statement denounced that the terrorist extremists who are working day and night to disrupt the peace in Ethiopia by exploiting grievances of the public to disintegrate the country were involved in the violence though they could not hit their targets.
Walta reminds that the government has extended its sympathy and readiness to back those who have lost their families and properties during the violence.

23.12.2016   Detainees deplore violence; vow to rally others for dev't.  Walta Information Center
People detained for unlawful acts that led to the declaration of the State of Emergency across the country have now denounced violence and vowed to rally others in support of development activities nationwide. The detainees in their thousands vowed to 'never again' engage in such violent acts that dislodged them from their productive activities. (…)
Some of those released from Alage detention center talked to ENA expressing regret for their illegal actions and vowed to never again participate in similar acts. They promised to share the lessons they acquired from the trainings at the center to other colleagues and the community in general. (…)
"I came to this place because I paid unnecessary attention to the propaganda of shutting down shops in support of the uprising," said Mohammed Abdultier, a shop owner. Now, Mohammed, like his other freed colleagues, says he will never again jump into such unlawful acts without considering the legal consequences. "At the beginning I thought that I will never return alive but the government is highly tolerant as it taught us about our wrongdoings instead of taking legally provided punitive measures," he said. (…) According to Fikru Muda, a young Lecturer at Bule Hora University, false propaganda on social media pushed him to involve in the violence. (…) Tewodros Zawdu, a second year Mechanical Engineering student at Adama Science and Technology University, also indicated that "anti-peace forces were influencing the youth to participate in the violent acts via social media."
Those freed are now pledging to infuse the messages and lessons they gained from the training to the general public, saying "we should counter violent acts with legal means." Senior government officials including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn were present marking the official release of the thousands of detainees from the respective centers across the nation. (ENA)

17.12.2016    Ethiopia to release 9,800 detainees mid next week.  APA news
Ethiopia is set to release 9,800 suspects next Wednesday who were arrested under the nation’s State of Emergency, declared on October 8, 2016, a senior government official said on Saturday.
Ethiopia’s State of Emergency Inquiry Board, a month ago said 11,607 people had been detained following a wave of violence and protest that hit Oromia and Amhara states of the country. The protesters claimed change in government and release of prisoners. Briefing reporter on Saturday, Siraj Fegessa, the country’s Minister of Defense and Secretariat of the Command Post which was established to oversee the implementation of the six-month state of emergency, said 9,800 of the suspects will be freed next Wednesday while 2, 449 other suspects will face justice.
He said 12,500 other suspects were arrested in the second round. “These detainees will be released after receiving training or will face justice.” He added According to Siraj, the Command Post has managed to detain 19 groups of “mobster” and has been hunting for many other suspects who participated in the violence. The Minister indicated that the Command Post has already identified 4, 000 suspects who will join the newly established Senkele training center in west Shoa zone, Oromia Regional State. The remaining detainees will be released after receiving training at centers that were used to train the first round detainees, he added.
About 68 factories and more than 70 vehicles were burnt down by the violence that occurred in the two largest states of the country this year.

16.12.2016    EU parliament writes to Ethiopian president over detained Oromo leader. africanews, Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
The European Parliament (EP) has officially written to the Ethiopian government seeking clarification on the arrest of an opposition leader, Dr. Merera Gudina. The EP President, Martin Schulz, in a letter to President Mulatu Teshome said they were disturbed about the arrest of the Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) leader. The EP also reiterated its call for the charges against Gudina to be made known. ‘‘It appears that Dr Gudina was arrested by Ethiopian authorities upon his return from a short stay in Brussels in early November, during which he also met with Members of the European Parliament,’‘ the letter read.
The letter stated that the Ethiopian ambassador in Brussels had said the Gudina’s detention was connected with contacts he had with individuals Addis Ababa deemed as ‘terrorists.’ It added that it was ‘rather unfortunate that his arrest is linked to meetings he had with the European parliament. ‘‘I would like to remind you, that the European Parliament is a House of democracy, where different voices can be heard, from foreign governments as well as representatives of opposition groups,’‘ the letter added. (…)

14.12.2016    Ethiopia holding Oromo opposition leader, Merera Gudina, in solitary confinement. OPride
Top Oromo opposition leader, Merera Gudina, is being held in solitary confinement – in a dark room with no window – 24 hours a day, his lawyer Wondimu Ibsa said on Wednesday. It was the first time anyone has seen the leader of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) in 15 days.  “Merera came to the visitation area handcuffed,” Wondimu, who visited Merera at the notorious Maekelawi prison today along with another attorney appointed by OFC, told the Voice of America Afaan Oromo program. The only time Merera can leave the room is when the prison guards take him out for bathrooms, the lawyer said. (…)
Ethiopia’s Communication Affairs Minister, Negeri Lencho, says his government has been providing Merera with protection as a prominent member of a legal opposition party. Lencho acknowledged that Merera, who he said is being held for violating the terms of the state of emergency, is very well respected in the country. “He met with terrorist organizations, groups that the Ethiopian parliament designated as terrorists,” Negeri told VOA Amharic, adding the court will decide whether to jail or release Merera once an investigation is completed.
Wondimu said Merera has been interrogated three times so far (without lawyers). And that he thinks authorities are likely to charge him both for terrorism and for breaking the country’s six-month long state of emergency provisions. The later change emanates from Merera being pictured, seated next to Oromo marathoner Feyisa Lilesa and leader of the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 Berhanu Nega at the EU parliament, where they all spoke. Authorities have denied Merera family visitations since his arrest. Merera is diabetic. The family fears that the imprisonment will worsen and complicate his condition. Merera is a veteran politician and former member of parliament who is known for working with non-Oromo opposition groups across ethnic divides. This is why his arrest has angered Ethiopians of various political persuasions, according to Wondimu. Merera is also the Deputy Chairman of the main opposition coalition, Medrek.
“This arrest is yet another example of increasing restrictions on independent voices in Ethiopia,” a U.S. State Department spokesman said on a December 1. “And, frankly, further reinforces our view that Ethiopia’s declared state of emergency is perhaps being used to silence dissent and deny the constitutionally protected rights of Ethiopia’s citizens.” “That’s contrary…to the promises of political reform made by the Ethiopian Government when the state of emergency was announced, so we’re watching it very closely.”
A campaign by U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, identifies Merera’s deputy Bekele Gerba as a political prisoner and calls for his release. This symbolic gesture has been welcomed by Oromos and other Ethiopians. Tom Malinowski, the undersecretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs’ trip this week to Ethiopia provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. government to press Ethiopian authorities to release all political prisoners, including Bekele and Merera. Oromo-Americans are urging Malinowski to visit Merera and other jailed opposition leaders during his trip.

6.12.2016    Oppositions Deliberate On Rights Draft. Ethiopian Herald, Yohanes Jemaneh
The ongoing discussion on the second National Human Rights Action Plan draft continued yesterday aimed at drawing input from opposition parties. Parties cast doubts on the genuineness of the plan as it was drafted by the government without involving the opposition. They also said the plan was supposed to include more human right aspects than democratic ones to guarantee individual rights.
Regarding this, Blue Party Public Relations Officer Solomon Tesema said the plan contradicts with the ideals of the constitution for combining human and democratic rights. According to him the public is demanding to end any violation of individual rights than often capitalizing on achievements and preaching the right to association.
Commending the initiative, All Oromo Democratic Party Chairperson Tesema Wakuma said the move was late for the programme has already been framed solely the government. Fore this reason, he said, the action plan has various problems including compromising majority right mainly the interest of the Oromo.
Wolayita Peoples Democratic Party Chairperson Tekle Borena believed that the action plan ignores the right of those relocated for development. He said the document also disregards issue of natural resource distribution, access to land, lack of justice and various bureaucratic procedures.
House Speaker Abadula Gemeda responded the action plan is drafted based on the constitution and international human rights conventions the nation ratified. As to him, the discussion would play significant role in participating the public.
National Human Rights Action Plan Office Head Yibekal Gizaw also said that the action plan was drafted after consulting various associations at federal and state level and reaching consensus. He said the plan included addressing identified human right bottlenecks, methodologies and implementing bodies. It has also instituted mechanism to enable the public present their grievances. According to him, the plan is a swift method to curb human right abuses organizing National Coordinating Board entrusted with the task of monitoring, evaluating and announcing the implementation.

5.12.2016    EU, US express concern over opposition leader’s arrest. Muluken Yewondwossen, Capital
The European Union (EU) and the United States is raising concerns to Ethiopian authorities about the arrest of prominent opposition political figure Merrara Gudina (PhD). (…) During a mid-day press conference on Friday December 2 the spokesperson of EU’s diplomatic service, European External Action Service (EEAS), said the arrest of the opposition leader was one of the topics raised, according to the Delegation of the EU to Ethiopia. The EESA spokesperson told journalists that what Ethiopia needs now is political dialogue and interaction to start addressing the legitimate grievances of the population. (…) He added that the arrest of Dr Merrara is therefore detrimental to the process of reconciliation and dialogue which the EU is eager to support.
On Thursday, Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson of US State Department said, “We are concerned about this report. We strongly encourage the government to make public any charges it has brought against Dr Merrara.”  “This arrest is yet another example of increasing restrictions on independent voices in Ethiopia and, frankly, further reinforces our view that Ethiopia’s declared state of emergency is perhaps being used to silence dissent and deny the constitutionally protected rights of Ethiopia’s citizens, and that’s contrary, I would say, to the promises of political reform made by the Ethiopian Government when the state of emergency was announced, so we’re watching it very closely,” the State Department Deputy Spokesperson said. (…)
On Friday December 2, in his first press briefing since being appointed Minister of Government Communication Affairs, Negere Lencho (PhD), said that the relationship between Ethiopia and EU and its states is established on a strong basis so the government does not think that the arrest of Dr Merera will have any negative consequences. (…)

1.12.2016    Dr. Merara Gudina arrested for violating State of Emergency. Walta Information Center
The Ethiopian government said that Dr. Merara Gudina is arrested for violating the State of Emergency. Command Post Secretariat told Fana Broadcasting Corporation that Dr. Merara Gudina is arrested for violating Guidance 1 Article 2 of the State of Emergency.
Article 2 of the State of Emergency prohibits communicating with any group identified as a terrorist by the government of Ethiopia. However, Dr. Merara Gudina discussed and released joint press with the leader of Ginbot 7  Dr. Brhanu Nega in Brussles,  Belgium.

1.12.2016    Amnesty and EU concerned over arrest of top opposition figure. africanews
(…) Meanwhile the European Union (EU) has expressed concern over the arrest of Gudina. She confirmed that he spoke at an European Parliament along with runner Felisa Lilesa who became famous after his anti-government gesture at the just ended Olympics. (…) The state-affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate however stated on Thursday that Gudina was arrested because he had flouted the State Of Emergency currently being enforced nationwide. They quoted the Secretariat of the Command Post as saying Gudina violated an article of the law which prohibited any communication with banned terrorist organizations and anti-peace groups. “He is under investigation for violating this article,” the Command Post said. (…)  Rights group Amnesty International have reacted to the latest development in the country, describing the arrest of Merera Gudina, as ‘an outrageous assault on right to freedom of expression.’‘

1.12.2016    Ethiopia's Merera Gudina detained after trip to Europe. BBC News
A prominent opposition leader in Ethiopia has been detained after he returned from Europe. Merera Gudina had violated Ethiopia's state of emergency by having contact with "terrorist" and "anti-peace" groups, state-linked media reported. Mr Merera criticised the state of emergency in an address to the European parliament on 9 November. (…) Mr Merera, who is the leader of the Oromo Federalist Conference, was arrested on Wednesday at the airport in the capital, Addis Ababa, after he flew in from Brussels, reports BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza. Several of his relatives who were with him were also detained, local media report.
European parliament member Ana Maria Gomes, who invited Mr Merera, told the BBC she was "extremely shocked" about the arrests. She said she would push for the European Union take a tougher line against the Ethiopian government. Mr Merera has previously criticised the arrests of hundreds of people from the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, which were at the forefront of anti-government protests.
The meeting at the European parliament was also attended by Ethiopia's Olympic medallist Feyisa Lilesa. He refused to return home after the Rio Games, saying his life would be in danger. (…)
Mr Merera had served seven years in prison for opposing the former regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. He also took part in the overthrow of Ethiopia's last emperor, Haile Selassie.

1.12.2016    Merera Gudina’s arrest signals end of Oromo opposition in Ethiopia.
(…) He is accused of violating Ethiopia’s six-month state of emergency decreed in October. Merera’s crime? Being pictured with Oromo athlete and Olympic hero Feyisa Lilesa and the leader of the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7, Berhanu Nega, during a November 9 hearing at the European Parliament. Among other things, the martial law forbids “communicating” with groups that Ethiopia considers terrorists and anti-peace elements.
Merera, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), the only Oromo opposition in Ethiopia, has been a fixture in Ethiopian politics since the 1960s and a vocal critic of the incumbent regime. He is also the vice-chairman of Ethiopia’s main legal opposition party, the coalition Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (MEDREK). Merera, a former member of parliament, is known for his sharp and witty rebuke of those in power, which he often deployed eloquently while speaking to foreign journalists.
With Merera’s arrest, now almost all of OFC’s senior leadership is in jail. Six of Merera’s colleagues, including Deputy Chairman Bekele Gerba and Assistant General Secretary Dejene Xafa, are on terrorism trial accused of inciting the Oromo protests. The party’s general secretary Bekele Nega has been under virtual house arrest since December 2015. Most of the party’s rank-and-file, as well as district level officers, are also behind bars. (…) Merera’s arrest may herald the end of Oromo legal opposition as we know it. His arrest came on the same day that Ethiopia’s defense minister and secretary of the command post, Siraj Fergessa, held talks with the opposition. (…)
In a letter addressed to Federica Mogherini, the Vice-President of European Commission, European parliament member Ana Maria Gomes, who invited Merera to Brussels, called for “a more stringent approach” from the EU, adding the Ethiopian government “ is not listening” to calls that it “address the grievances of the population, open democratic space and respect the population’s fundamental freedom.” (…)
The tide is turning against the possibility of a nonviolent solution to Ethiopia’s political crisis. In his 2014 book, Ethiopia’s Chaotic Political Journey and My Memoirs, Merera wrote, “a starving society left with nothing to eat will eat its leaders.”

1.12.2016    The new minister, Negeri Lencho said he had no information about Merera Gudina’s arrest, Ana Gomes reacts. Ethiopian Media Forum
(…) Police arrested Merera Gudina and three others from his home in Addis Ababa late Wednesday shortly after his return from Europe, which included a Nov. 9 speech in front of the European Parliament in which he said tens of thousands have been arrested under the state of emergency. “We don’t know his whereabouts,” Beyene Petros, head of the Medrek coalition of opposition parties that includes Gudina’s Oromo Federalist Congress, told The Washington Post. “In terms of political leadership, he has been around and operating above board, peacefully.”
Government spokesman Negeri Lencho said he had no information about the arrest. (…)
MEP Anna Gomez`s letter to EU Foreign Affairs High Representative:

1.12.2016    Gewalt gegen Oromo noch immer nicht aufgeklärt. Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker
Die äthiopische Regierung wolle die Zahl der Opfer bei einem Blutbad während eines Erntedankfestes der Oromo-Volksgruppe und die Umstände ihres Todes offenbar gezielt verheimlichen, kritisierte die Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) genau zwei Monate nach den schrecklichen Ereignissen in Äthiopien.
"Nach der Auswertung von Zeugenaussagen sind wir davon überzeugt, dass viel mehr Menschen getötet wurden als die offiziell eingeräumten 56. Auch nähren die Aussagen von Augenzeugen große Zweifel an der offiziellen Darstellung eines bedauerlichen Unfalls aufgrund einer Massenpanik", erklärte der GfbV-Afrikareferent Ulrich Delius. "Nachdrücklich fordern wir die äthiopische Regierung dazu auf, eine auch von den Vereinten Nationen geforderte Untersuchung der Todesfälle durch unabhängige Menschenrechtsexperten zu ermöglichen." Nach Schätzungen von lokalen Menschenrechtsgruppen und Oromo-Vertretern kamen bei dem traditionellen Irreecha-Fest am 2. Oktober 2016 mindestens 678 Menschen zu Tode, als Sicherheitskräfte massiv gegen rund zwei Millionen Oromo-Pilger vorgingen.
"Hunderte Oromo warten noch immer auf Lebenszeichen ihrer Angehörigen, die seit dem Fest als verschwunden gelten“, sagte Delius. Augenzeugen berichten, dass in den Wochen nach dem Blutbad mehr als 100 Leichen an den Ufern des Hora-Kratersees in Bishoftu angeschwemmt wurden. Dort hatten sich die Pilger versammelt. Viele Menschen sollen zu Tode gekommen sein, als sie auf der Flucht vor der Polizei nach Ausbruch einer Massenpanik in den See stürzten. „Die Angehörigen haben Fragen über Fragen, doch von den Behörden bekommen sie keine Antworten", sagte Delius. "So markiert das Massaker von Bishoftu eine Zäsur in Äthiopien, denn seither traut den Behörden niemand mehr. Der Zorn der Oromo ist grenzenlos. Sie werfen der Regierung, den gewaltsamen Tod so vieler unschuldiger Menschen provoziert zu haben."
Nach Angaben von Augenzeugen soll das Fest lange Zeit friedlich verlaufen sein. Die Lage habe sich erst zugespitzt, als sich von der Regierung ernannte Vertreter auf dem Podium zeigten statt die traditionell das Fest organisierenden Gadaa-Verantwortlichen. Daraufhin stimmten Oromo Sprechchöre an, um Redebeiträge der offiziellen Vertreter zu verhindern. Später warfen die Pilger auch Plastikflaschen und Steine. Die Polizei feuerte mit Tränengas in die Menschenmenge und gab Schüsse ab. So entstand eine Massenpanik unter den Pilgern. Viele Oromo suchten in Gräben Schutz und wurden von den nachdrängenden Massen regelrecht erdrückt. "Alles deutet darauf hin, dass das Blutbad kein bedauerlicher Unfall war, sondern Folge von exzessiver Polizeigewalt", sagte Delius. "Wenn die Verantwortlichen für den Polizei-Einsatz nicht zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden, wird Äthiopien nicht zur Ruhe kommen."

- Economics -

28.12.2016    Ethiopia, Turkey sign 5 cooperation agreements. The deals, which include energy, mining and hydrocarbon fields, will strengthen bilateral ties: Turkish economy minister., Seleshi Tessema

Ethiopia and Turkey signed five cooperation agreements in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday, setting out mechanisms to facilitate more trade between the two countries. (…)  “Both sides agreed to mutual cooperation in the fields of energy, mining and hydrocarbon,” the agreement said.

Turkey will cooperate with relevant Ethiopian institutions to upgrade their skill sets in geothermal and coal field surveys. Turkey also agreed to provide technical support to build the capacity of Ethiopia’s small-and-medium enterprises. Also, “both sides agreed to strengthen the technical and capacity building cooperation between the Ministry of Industry of Ethiopia and the Ministry of Economy of Turkey to strengthen the manufacturing sector’s productivity, competitiveness and export capacity,” the agreement said.

The Ethiopian Broadcast Corporation also signed a cooperation agreement with the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. The two countries also agreed to “enhance their efforts to promote their products in each other’s markets, establish a sustained mechanism for the exchange of trade and investment information, and narrow trade imbalances.” (…)


27.12.2016    Why Foreign Investment Is Still Flowing to Ethiopia. Addis Fortune, Henok Assefa

By all accounts, Ethiopia has had a tough year. (…) Nevertheless, the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) announced that more than half a billion dollars in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) entered the country in the last three months. Even more interestingly, 3.5 billion dollars worth of foreign direct investment from 124 investors was being processed. (… ) McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) recently noted that Ethiopia's "unit labor costs for the manufacture of polo shirts are 0.14 dollar per unit, less than half the level in China and Vietnam. In the case of leather loafers, its unit labor costs are one-third those in Vietnam and one-fifth those of China. As a result, the country has become a competitive global exporter of labor-intensive goods. For example, the value of its footwear exports has increased at an annual rate of 38pc from 2004 to 2014, and the value of apparel exports at 22pc a year over that period". MGI further states, "Ethiopia's success has been based not simply on low labor costs, but also on unit labor costs that are competitive when productivity is taken into account." (…)

The nation has been furiously implementing a strategy to become the world's most competitive country in light manufacturing industries. (…) During the past 20 years, China achieved efficiency in light manufacturing previously unseen in human history. Unable to compete, many countries in Africa, deindustrialized during China's rise. Regardless, Ethiopia still stuck to its strategy and implemented furiously. The result of this single-minded implementation, helped by rising production costs in an increasingly wealthy China, is Ethiopia's emergence as the world's single lowest cost production country for the migrating industries of light manufacturing. (….). It puts Ethiopia in a powerful position to utilize its young population and drive fast growth for decades to come.

Globally, the textile and garment sector is one of the biggest markets with a reported 3.03 trillion U.S. dollars value in exports alone between the years 2011-2015. World trade in leather - one of the most widely traded commodities - is currently growing and is estimated at over 100 billion U.S dollars a year. (…) These two global markets are powerful engines for job creation and a magnificent opportunity to pull millions of people out of poverty through job creation. Of course, they are both currently dominated by China. But rising costs in China means that more than 80 million jobs there are set to migrate to other countries. (…) Given Ethiopia's current cost leadership, the nation is a clear candidate to attract many of these jobs. If the Government's admittedly ambitious targets for the next 10 years are to be met, this industry will create up to two million direct jobs. (…)

The likes of Hujian and Georges Shoe Company, some of the largest shoemakers in the world, are opting to make shoes from their base in Ethiopia. These companies will need millions and millions of square meters of hides and skin and processed leather. (…) In turn, the millions of Ethiopians who earn their living from rearing cattle, growing animal feed, providing services in animal health and reproduction, the whole chain of activities are suddenly linked to a powerful web of forces that link them to magnificent global demand. The many current initiatives in the livestock sector thus must be lead with this end goal in mind. They must be treated with the same national zeal that created global competitiveness of light industry. (…)

Domestic production of cotton will also have far higher positive consequences. Currently, Ethiopia is not globally competitive in the manufacturing of fabrics. A major reason is that most of its factories are operating far below capacity due to a lack of abundant supply of cotton. This makes a focus on cotton even more crucial for Ethiopia to sustain its emerging lead in global competitiveness in the apparel business. Creating an attractive domestic cotton market will lead to further industrial value addition and job creation opportunities up the chain. Investments in ginneries, spinning and textile making are a better ground for apparel making in general. (…)

To gain the full benefits from its breakthrough with FDI, Ethiopia needs to create jobs outside of industrial parks. With about 50pc of citizens under the age of 15, job creation is a matter of urgency. So, the country will need to ensure that FDI is not kept by the walls of the parks. Technical and managerial know how must be ensured to spill over into the rest of its economy. The chain of activity that leads to the final product of our manufacturing industry is to a high degree produced by local SMEs.

But local SMEs face a business environment among the most difficult in the world. Ethiopia is ranked 159 in the World Bank's doing business rankings. Its position in the all-important "starting a business" category is an appalling 179th in the world. It also does poorly in other key metrics such as Getting Credit (170th), and trading across borders (167th).The result is that Ethiopia is creating fewer jobs than it should. It is creating fewer SMEs than it could. Subsequently, large FDI firms coming into the country find it cheaper and faster to import their inputs rather than buy them locally. This is a great missed opportunity. (…) Ethiopia must charge a full court press to improve its ecosystem for small businesses. It can and must be done. Ethiopia must ensure that its budding industrial revolution and the corresponding surge in FDI pulls its entire economy into the modern age. President-elect Donald Trump complains that the U.S. is off shoring too many jobs to China and Mexico. Ethiopia will join the list soon.

17.12.2016    Ethiopia inaugurates Chinese-funded 1870MW hydropower project. Xinhua
Ethiopia on Saturday inaugurated a hydroelectric power plant, dubbed Gibe III Hydropower Project, with a generating capacity of 1870 MW and a total investment of 1.58 billion U.S dollars. Located between Wolaita and Dawero zones of Southern Regional State of Ethiopia, about 450 km south-west of the capital Addis Ababa, Gibe III Hydropower project has been contracted by two international companies namely, Salini Impregilo of Italy for the civil works, and Dong Fang Electric Corp. of China for the electromechanical works.
The project, which raises Ethiopia's power generation capacity to more than 4260 MW, has been carried out with the participation of 7,000 Ethiopian workers and 700 foreigners. A loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has financed 60 percent of the cost, while the balance has been covered by the government of Ethiopia.
Officially inaugurating the project, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hailed the project's contribution to foreign currency earnings, social and environmental development as well as to cooperation among neighboring countries. In addition to power generation, Hailemariam highlighted the project's contribution also to economical and social benefits for the local people. (…)
In his remarks made at the inaugural ceremony, La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, hailed the committed leadership of the Ethiopian government to development projects, which has enabled such landmark achievement. (…) He said that China would continue its cooperation with Ethiopia in different areas.
With different sources, Ethiopia has targeted to boost up its electric power generation to 17,000 MW by the end of the country's second five-year growth and transformation plan (GTP II-2015/16-2019/20).

16.12.2016    Ethiopian capital to introduce modern traffic technology.
The Addis Ababa Road Traffic Management Agency and the German-based company, GAF, on Thursday signed an agreement that enables the latter to conduct study for the introduction of a modern traffic management technology in the city. (…)

14.12.2016    Gibe III hydropower dam to be commissioned next Saturday. Ecofin Agency, Gwladys Johnson
The Gibe III hydropower dam in Ethiopia will be commissioned this Saturday, Dec. 17. The 1870 MW infrastructure which has 10 turbines, generating 187 MW each, was developed by Italian Salini Impregilo. Construction took nine years and produced a 243m-long dam with a reservoir of 15 billion cubic meters. It cost €1.5 billion of which the Ethiopian government provided 40% while remaining 60% came from Exim Bank China.
Azeb Asnake, executive director of Ethiopian Electric Power said the plant would not be at full throttle once online due to the water level in its reservoirs. Truly, the dam currently generates 900 MW, but this output should increase gradually. With Gibe III coming online, Ethiopia’s total production capacity now stands at 4200 MW. Power produced at the dam will help reduce the power deficit induced by the El Nino weather phenomenom.

10.12.2016    Ethiopia to Overtake Kenya as East Africa’s top economy. africa on the rise, Clinton McDubus
Ethiopia’s economy is expected to overtake Kenya’s this year, buoyed by massive government spending on infrastructure that has kept the Horn of Africa nation on the list of the world’s fastest-growing economies in the past 10 years.
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest statistical estimates indicate that Ethiopia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to grow from 61.62 billion US dollars in 2015 to 69.21 billion US dollars this year, narrowly beating Kenya’s output, which is expected to rise from 63.39 billion US dollars to 69.17 billion US dollars over the same period. (…) Kenya’s GDP of 14.1 billion US dollars in 2000 was 71.6 per cent larger than Ethiopia’s 8.23 billion US dollars in the same year but the Horn of Africa nation has closed the economic gap in the last five years of robust growth. (…)
Investment Destination
(…) Ethiopia’s rise as a regional economic powerhouse has mostly been fuelled by mega public-sector investment similar to the Chinese model that has enabled the Asian nation to become the world’s second-largest economy in two decades. Ethiopia’s investment, as a percentage of GDP, rose sharply from 20.2 per cent in 2000 to 39.2 per cent last year and is expected to hit a new high of 39.2 per cent of the domestic output this year. (…)
Public Investments
(…) “Public investments are expected to continue driving growth in the short and medium term with huge investments in infrastructure and the development of industrial parks, prioritised to ease bottlenecks to structural transformation, which will still have to take shape with industry playing a significant role in the economy,” the report says. (…) Besides massive government spending, which stimulates economic growth in the Keynesian fashion, Ethiopia has other factors working in its favour in terms of its ability to attract foreign investment. With a population of nearly 100 million people, Ethiopia offers a large internal market for consumer goods manufacturers and the Addis government has in recent years firmed that up with investor-friendly policies that have attracted manufacturers and established a strong industrial base for the economy.
Ethiopia’s GDP per capita stood at 686.5 US dollars last year and is projected to rise to 758.9 US dollars this year, compared with Kenya’s, which stood at 1,434.3 US dollars in 2015 and is expected to hit 1,521.8 US dollars this year. (…)

9.12.2016    Ethiopia’s Economy Shows Unusual Resilience, Maintains Positive Growth. africa on the rise, Clinton McDubus
The Ethiopian economy has shown unusual resilience in withstanding the last catastrophic drought that hit the country, Footprint to Africa reports.
The World Bank Group’s 5th Economic Update for Ethiopia pegs its 2016/2017 economic growth at eight per cent. “This is impressive especially compared to previous drought situations which often resulted in economic contraction,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan. Despite recently facing the worst drought in fifty years, Ethiopia has remarkably maintained positive growth averaging 10.9 per cent for the last 10 years. The country’s growth momentum will remain and will not be affected by the recent drought since the 2016 rains arrived as expected.
The newly completed Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line is expected to significantly ease trade logistics and related constraints. The government’s increased focus on the new Hawassa and Bole-Lemi Phase II industrial parks; increasing capacity in power generation; and completion of transmission lines to neighbouring Kenya and Sudan are also expected to improve export performance and stimulate medium-term growth.
The Update titled Why so idle? Wages and Employment in a Crowded Labor Market reveals that the country also managed to keep inflation under control, helping to avoid the erosion of the purchasing power of wages for workers of all education levels; keep real wages stable; and ensure positive returns on education in urban labour markets.


- Agriculture and Natural Resources -

21.12.2016    Conference recognizes Ethiopia as mega-diversity country. Walta Information Center
(…) The Minister, Dr Gemedo Dale, briefing journalists yesterday, said that the registration of Ethiopia as one of the mega biodiversity countries of the world by the UN convention on Biodiversity will bring multi dimensional financial and technical supports for the development of the sector in the country. (…) Ethiopia is endowed with 6,500 flora species, 320 endemic faunas and 926 birds species this makes the country to be listed as one of the mega diverse countries in the world, Dr Gemdo stated. Community based seed banks (CSB) that have been established across the country are a pertinent point to get the recognition, he underlined. In addition, the rehabilitation of degraded land with development of bio diversity is vital to address efforts of the country to build up climate resilient green economy, he stated. (…)


- Culture and Education -

15.12.2016    Festival trotz Notstand. Fotografie Zum vierten Mal verwandelt sich Äthiopiens Hauptstadt Addis Abeba ins fotografische Epizentrum Ostafrikas.  Florian Sturm, tageszeitung
(…) Heute beginnt in Addis Abeba eines der bedeutendsten, das Addis Foto Fest (AFF). Sechs Tage lang ist die äthiopische Hauptstadt Schauplatz für Ausstellungen, Diskussionen und Werkbesprechungen. Kopf und Herz hinter dem einzigen internationalen Fotofestival Ostafrikas ist die preisgekrönte äthiopische Künstlerin Aida Muluneh. Sie rief die Biennale 2010 ins Leben: „Unser Hauptanliegen ist es, weltweiten Austausch von Bildern zu fördern, um somit ein besseres Verständnis von Fotografie in und aus Afrika anzustoßen.“
Die Idee zum AFF kam Muluneh 2007 in Malis Hauptstadt Bamako. Während einer Preisverleihung traf sie dort die verschiedensten Fotografen aus ganz Afrika. Alle waren sich einig, dass ihr Kontinent und seine Bewohner außerhalb der eigenen Landesgrenzen fast ausschließlich in Zusammenhang mit der typischen K-Berichterstattung gezeigt werden: Krieg, Krisen, Krankheiten oder Katastrophen. Das AFF sieht Muluneh als Plattform, um diese eindimensionale Sichtweise durch ein authentischeres Bild zu erweitern und obendrein afrikanischen Fotografen den Zugang zum internationalen Markt zu erleichtern. (…) Während des sechstägigen Festivals bekommen die Besucher neben den Ausstellungen täglich verschiedene Events geboten. Auf einer Podiumsdiskussion, der AFF Conference, diskutieren die Teilnehmer Entwicklungen und Trends des Fotomarkts in Afrika, dabei stets die Frage im Hinterkopf: Welche wirtschaftlichen und kreativen Veränderungen geschehen in der Branche weltweit und wie formen sie den afrikanischen Markt? Auf sogenannten Portfolio Reviews beurteilt eine internationale fünfköpfige Jury die Arbeiten von Fotografen. Erstmals kürt das Expertenteam auch einen Sieger aus allen Teilnehmern dieser Werkschau und vergibt den AFF Award.
Ursprünglich standen dem Team rund um Muluneh sechs Ausstellungsorte für das Festival zur Verfügung. „Aufgrund des landesweiten Notstands fehlen uns nun jedoch eine Galerie sowie das Italienische Kulturinstitut“, erklärt die Organisatorin. Übrig geblieben sind die Räumlichkeiten der Luxushotels Marriott und Sheraton sowie die DinQ Gallery und die LeLa Gallery. (…) Nichtsdestotrotz rechnet Muluneh auch in diesem Jahr wieder mit mindestens 5.000 Besuchern – so viel wie bei den jeweils vorangegangenen Events. Tatsächlich gehört die Biennale inzwischen zum Kreis der weltweit etablierten Festivals. 134 Fotografen aus 40 Ländern werden auf dem vierten AFF ausstellen. „Bisher suchten wir Organisatoren die Künstler aus, doch diesmal haben wir einen offenen Aufruf gestartet“, so Muluneh. Mit Erfolg. Es gab Einsendungen aus jedem Kontinent und noch nie waren so viele Künstler dabei. Auch die Anzahl äthiopischer Fotografen (30) bezeichnet Muluneh als starkes Signal. Somit ist das Event nicht nur Augenschmaus für die Besucher, sondern zugleich Möglichkeit zum Netzwerken für die Fotografen untereinander. „Seit dem ersten Festival 2010 ist die Zahl der Fotografen sowohl in Äthiopien als auch im restlichen Afrika merklich gestiegen“, freut sich die Organisatorin. Und das bedeutet letztlich auch: mehr Künstler, die zukünftig für eine vielschichtige, authentische Darstellung ihrer Heimat kämpfen können.!5363523&s=Festival+trotz+Notstand&SuchRahmen=Print/


- Sport -

28.12.2016    Ethiopia to impose lifetime bans on drug cheats. Reuters, Aaron Maasho
Ethiopia, one of five countries the IAAF says is in "critical care" over its drug-testing systems, will impose lifetime bans on drug cheats, the new president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) said on Wednesday. The Horn of Africa country has for many years dominated distance running along with neighboring Kenya, but it had its credibility questioned this year when six of its athletes came under investigation for doping. The EAF subsequently announced that it would carry out tests on up to 200 athletes.
Distance-running great Haile Gebrselassie, who was elected head of the EAF last month amid discontent over mismanagement, told Reuters his administration has adopted a "zero tolerance" approach toward doping. "Our stand is no excuse toward someone who has cheated. As of today, any athlete who has offended will be hit by a life ban," he said.
The move means Ethiopian athletes who fail tests and are subject to a four-year ban from Dec. 28 onwards will no longer be able to represent the country in any competition. The punishment is much stricter than the one currently imposed by the International Olympic Committee whose rules stipulate that athletes caught doping can face four-year bans but after serving it they are eligible to compete in any international event, including the Olympics. Gebrselassie said his aim was to convince the sport's world governing body that Ethiopia was serious in tackling doping and for it to be removed from the list of countries identified by IAAF president Sebastian Coe as in need of "critical care".