MELDUNGEN VOM APRIL 2018

von Redakteur

Zum Monatsende ein ausgewogener aber hoffnungsfroher Beitrag über Premier Abiy Ahmeds ersten Monat im Amt (unsere Hervorhebungen):

27.4.2018        Ethiopia’s new leader, Abiy Ahmed, draws red lines on graft and calls for term limits. OPride

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been in power for 25 days. In that time, he has visited five of Ethiopia’s nine ethnic-based states. Call it charm offensive or a victory lap. In nearly all of his outings, Abiy met with locals, listened to their grievances and responded to at times angry questions from the audience. He also gave a wide-ranging speech in the capital, Addis Ababa to an audience of 25,000 people. He hosted dinner with leaders of opposition parties, including those who were released from prison only a month earlier.

He conferred with business leaders and urged them not only to boost their contributions to the economy but also aid his government’s fight against organized corruption by refusing to pay bribes for services and rights they are entitled to by law. He addressed a high-level African security forum. This week he hosted Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In short, Prime Minister Abiy has given a lot of campaign-style stump speeches. In a way, it seems as though he is campaigning for what is ahead. He is the commander-in-chief but real power remains concentrated in the hands of hardliners in the military-security establishment. It makes sense then that the new leader is seeking popular support to strengthen his hands as he sets out to reform this deeply entrenched system.

That is not all. As laid out in his inaugural speech, national unity and peace are central to all of his speeches. There is a reason for that. Abiy took over a country riven by ethnic and political divisions and tensions. Nearly three decades of dominance by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, hailing from a community making up merely 6 percent of the country’s population, has resulted in growing resentment, which has given way to ethnic discord and an ethnicized nationalist fervor. Abiy is not calling his compatriots to shed their ethnic heritage but to transcend it to forge national unity so as to promote their common good.

Inspiring hope

More than anything else though, the new premier offered the people of Ethiopia hope – something that’s been in short supply under the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which ruled the country with a top-down and iron-fisted approach since 1991. He even defended his speechmaking in Obama-esque “not just words” style, saying words do matter and one cannot govern without ideas and a political vision.

Inevitably for the young leader, who inherited a herculean task of political transformation at only 41, the high stakes public engagement also mean some inevitable gaffes. He has angered ethnic Amharas by comments he made in Tigray; and his own Oromo constituency by comments he made in the Amhara state. On April 24, he gave the nation’s highest civilian medal of honor and a diploma to his predecessor at an emotional honoring at his office.

The unprecedented recognition angered many who felt that Hailemariam Desalegn, who oversaw nearly six years of violent security crackdown and the internal displacement of 1.3 million people, should face justice and be held accountable for his role as well as complicity.

The vocal diaspora, including those who opposed Abiy’s ascent from the beginning, have seized on these comments. He’s been accused of many things, including suggestions that he’s a crowd pleaser, who is willing to say anything to appease an audience; he is inexperienced; he is not Oromo or Oromo nationalist enough; he is superficial; he is just another puppet of the establishment; a breeze of fresh air, inspirational, etcetera.

To be clear, his gaffes in Tigray and Amhara were unwarranted and avoidable. But, justified or not, the avalanche of the ensuing controversy means a lot of important comments have been lost— some in translation, others in the muddied backlash.

First, Prime Minister Abiy has distinguished himself in one very important way: His style. He comes off as intentional, patient, personable and not too wedded to generic party-speak. Most importantly, he listens and is attentive to public opinion, directly clarifying even his gaffes.

When he went to Gondar and Bahir Dar, for example, he faced residents angered by comments he made in Tigray which appeared to downplay the issue of Welkait-Tegede region—a bone of contention between the two northern states. Instead of playing defensive or doubling down, as EPRDF leaders before him did so often, he acknowledged that his comments, as they were released to public by the media, lacked the proper context in which they were uttered. And he gently told the audience—clearly aware of the online backlash—even if he made a grave mistake, per the Ethiopian culture, the people of Gondar and local elders should offer wisdom and advice before resorting to criticism. He allowed himself to be vulnerable—a rarity for an EPRDF leader and for that matter unheard of from previous Ethiopian leaders.

Again, on April 26 in Hawasa, the capital of the vast Southern region noted for its huge diversity of culture represented under one roof, he defended the decision to honor his predecessor, a subject of ongoing rancor. In so doing, he offered his thoughts on an issue that continues to bedevil many African nations: Term limits.

“The main goal of recognizing the former prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was to send a teaching message to those who still consider leaving power a question of life and death that such an honor awaits them should they decide to voluntarily step down,” he told a cheering audience.

“We are hearing that the recognition has upset those whose loved ones were killed during his tenure. Both as a party and as a government we have apologized for what happened. We apologize again. We are ready to do all that is necessary and all that we can to help those who were adversely affected by the conflict.

As a person though, let alone ordering the killings of individuals, Mr. Hailemariam is a kindhearted person who sat and wept with us when people were killed, be it in Oromia or other states.

At a time when so many prefer to die than leave office way past their retirement age, his decision to resign was a great lesson.

Even though this is not yet written into our constitution, from now on, a prime minister should not be in office for more than two terms. We will make sure this is part of the constitution as well.”

At least half a dozen African leaders have evaded term limits since 2012 by amending their country’s constitutions. Such maneuvers have led to episodes of unrest in Senegal, DRC, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda. Currently, 18 African nations don’t have term limits and a third of them “are facing armed conflict,” according to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. The Horn of Africa is notorious for lacking term limits. This is why it is remarkable to hear Africa’s youngest leader calling for constitutional term limits in a parliamentary system, which as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Egypt, Taye Atske-Selassie, pointed out on Twitter is “unique and probably unheard of.”

Ethiopia is due for a national election in two years. Abiy has already pledged to step aside should his party lose at the ballot box in 2020. Granted that much work remains to be done to reform the electoral law, to make the electoral board free from the influence of the incumbent party and to ensure that there is a level playing field for the opposition, Abiy is hitting all the right notes. As with all his other promises, if he follows through, the young premier is poised to transform Ethiopia, which had its first peaceful transfer of power in 2018 in all of its history.

Red lines

In his speeches, Abiy has identified key priority areas. These include addressing mounting public grievances, fighting corruption, and preventing wastage of resources. Toward that end, the new leader has drawn red lines for all public servants. “The public is fed up with graft and maladministration,” he told parliament earlier this month. “This is a red line that…will not be tolerated.” He has also vowed to crackdown on the lucrative black market for foreign currency exchange. This was reinforced by the appointment of a close ally at the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority, one of the most corrupt and inefficient agencies in the country.

He has also called for judicial independence and promised to make the national army accountable to the constitution, not the governing party.

“We will do everything necessary to ensure the justice system – which have been a source of our people’s disillusionment—would work in such a way that their independence and professional capacity are assured,” he told Addis Ababa residents on April 16.

In the same speech, Abiy also hinted at possible plans to amend the country’s repressive laws, saying: “We will work hard to stop discrimination and injustice being perpetrated under the guise of law and order. Legislations that have been the cause of human rights violations and injustice will be assessed and amended based on public input.”

In another stunning comment on April 26, Prime Minister Abiy told Hawasa residents, “there are U.S.-based media owners who speak about, shout, advocate for and worry about Ethiopia’s democratization. I want to make this clear in front of you all: We want these individuals to have their headquarters in Addis Ababa.”

For a country that was only a month earlier talked of as if on the brink of chaos, the growing sense of hope, of a national renewal is a remarkable turnaround. Abiy has his critics, mostly from the vocal diaspora, who question his decision to prioritize public rallies and speeches rather than walling himself in his office and “governing.” The fact is he needs public support to face his nemesis, the entrenched establishing accused of overseeing the organized corruption and violations of human rights. After all, it is protests by the public that brought him to power.

One fact is indisputable: Ethiopia is undergoing a significant transformation. Abiy’s young government has inspired tremendous hope. He faces outsized expectations and near insurmountable challenges to reconcile between EPRDF’s developmental state model and public demands for real, democratic reforms. Transitions seldom follow straight lines. But, so far, beyond his critics singular focus on a few gaffes, Abiy is saying all the right things.

He is expected to wrap up the first phase of his national tour with a stop in Bale in southern Ethiopia in the coming days. By now, he has heard enough public grievances. He should soon turn his attention to cleaning up the bureaucracy and pushing his party to embrace change.

He will need some time and a continued public support and goodwill to deliver on these and other promises.

https://www.opride.com/2018/04/27/ethiopias-new-leader-abiy-ahmed-draws-red-lines-on-graft-and-calls-for-term-limits

 

Development and Humanitarian Issues

22.4.2018        Ethiopia Building Resilient Economy to Suppress Adverse Effect of Climate Change: Deputy PM Demeke. ENA

Ethiopia is taking measures to suppress the adverse effect of climate change and build resiliency at community and national level, and end up emergency drought response, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen said.

The Deputy PM has briefed UN member states in New York yesterday on the current humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and approaches that are underway to end emergency drought response and build resilient economy.

Ethiopia has been registering a double digit economic growth over the last 15 consecutive years and is among the few African countries believed to take the lead in political, economic and social transformation of their respective sub-regions, Demeke stated.

This is a clear indication that Ethiopia is on the right track to achieve the vision of reaching a middle income country by 2025, he elaborated.

“Despite an impressive economic growth over the decade, Ethiopia because of its geographic location and adverse agro-ecology remains vulnerable to a range of natural and human induced hazards, related risks and disasters,” the Deputy PM pointed out.

Demeke added that humanitarian assistance could save the life of drought affected people; however, it could not be sustainable solution as climate change aggravates the situation.

Noting that climate change induced hazards and related disasters are expected to rise in the years to come and in the future, he stated that government and partners have agreed the new way of working in which short-term humanitarian assistance and medium to long-term development oriented programs.

“As a result Ethiopia has been making a paradigm shift from crisis management to disaster risk management, mainly focusing on disaster risk reduction development programs,” Demeke pointed out.

Ethiopia disaster risk management has shown a strong political will to address and tackle the adverse climate change effects, he added.

Recalling that Ethiopia has developed an effective national policy and strategy on disaster risk management in 2013, he said “this strategy aims to reduce and eventually prevent and mitigate disaster risk by building a process of mainstreaming disaster risk management policy.”

According to him, livestock development and large scale commercial farms to create job opportunities are among the development programs that are playing critical role in reducing risks in the lowlands, where recurrent drought occurs.

National Disaster Risk Management Commissioner, Mitiku Kassa said Ethiopia with its development partners have designed the largest Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) in Sub-Saharan Africa to meet the needs of 7.9 million people.

The PSNP aims at preventing household as depletion and building community assets through public works focusing on soil and water conservation, Mitiku added.

These development programs are few examples of existing development interventions implemented throughout drought affected areas to build resiliency, the commissioner said, and stressed “they should be strengthened and supported with multi-year financing from partners and the government.”

UN Resident Coordinator, Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie said Ethiopia is one of the humanitarian assistance recipient countries, where you see the government taking the lion’s share of the contribution.

Noting that 1.6 billion USD is required in which most of it is for relief, the Resident Coordinator said “the largest contributor to the appeal so far is the government with 182 million USD committed.”

“The Ethiopian government has stepped out and made a significant financial contribution. This is unique and it is quite unusual in our humanitarian world,” she4 appreciated.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/economy/item/4612-ethiopia-building-resilient-economy-to-suppress-adverse-effect-of-climate-change-deputy-pm-demeke

13.4.2018        Nearly 8 million people need humanitarian assistance-Commission. Hiwot Aklilu, Waltainfo

The Ethiopian government disclosed today that nearly 8 million people postured to immediate humanitarian assistance from January 2018 to December 2018. The study disclosing the number of people at risk of assistance was commissioned by National Disaster and Risk Management Commission of Ethiopia and concerned international organizations. Commission Commissioner, Mitiku Kassa said that a sum of 1.4 billion USD is required to respond to the people in need. According to him, the government planned 1.4 billion USD to be distributed in a way of fulfilling the food, health, education and shelter of people, among others. However, big chunk of the 1.4 billion USD is required for food expenses. Last year, the country was hit by strange weather condition knowns as El-Nino that struck close to 10 million Ethiopians to acute humanitarian assistance.

http://www.waltainfo.com/news/national/detail?cid=37840&category=3

 

Politics, Justice, Human Rights

19.4.2017        Brief profile of the recently members of Council of Ministers. ENA

  1. Sheferaw Shegute Wolasa, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources. Born in Haroressa of Arsi Zone. Married. Education: BA in accounting, MA in Organizational Leadership. Experience: Served in various government institutions at various levels for 27 years, as Deputy Chief Administrator of SNNPR and later Chief Administrator of the regional state, Minister of Education, Executive Committee member of EPRDF, Head of the Center for the Building of Democratic System at the Office of Prime Minister with rank of Minister and now.
  2. Siraj Fagessa Sherefa, Minister of Transport. Born in Silte Zone. Married. He obtained BSc in forestry, MA in Organizational Management and Security Affairs. He also served as Minister of Pastoral Affairs, EPRDF Executive Committee member, Deputy Chairman of SPDM and later on Minister of Defense.
  3. Hirut Woldemariam, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. Born in Gojam. Married. Education: She studied BA, MA and PhD in Linguistics. She served as a lecturer at Addis Ababa University for many years and also worked as researcher in the Ethiopian Languages Academy.
  4. Ambassador Teshome Toga, Minister of Government Development Enterprises. Born in Wolayita Sodo. Married. Education: BSc in Statistics, MA in International Governance and Development Policy. He served as Ambassador of Ethiopia to Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, France, Belgium and EU; and also as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
  5. Omer Hussien Ouba, Customs and Revenue Authority Director-General with rank of Minister. Born in Arsi. Married. BA in Economics, MA in Business Administration. He served as head of Arsi Zone  Finance and Revenues Bureau, Head of Oromia Finance and Economic Development Bureau, Head of Oromia Urban Development Bureau. EPRDF Executive Committee member, and later on Deputy Chief Administrator of Oromia Regional State.
  6. Ouba Mohammed Hussien, Minister of Communications and Information Technology. Born in Addis Ababa. Married. Her educational background includes LLB in law, MA in Public Administration. Served as member of Somali Regional Council, Head of Justice and Investment bureaus in the region. She also served as Women and Children Affairs State Minister and Commissioner for Women and Children’s Affair in the Office of Human Rights Commission.
  7. Ambachew Mekonnen, Minister of Industry. Born in South Gondar. Married. Education: BA in Economics, MA in Public Policy, Economics, and International Finance and Economic Development, and PhD in Economics. He served as Director of Amhara Public Service Institute, Director of Amhara Rehabilitation and Development, Commerce and Industry Bureau Head with the rank Deputy Regional Administrator, Head of Industry and Urban Development Regional Bureau, and finally Minister of Construction. He is member of EPRDF Executive Commitee.
  8. Motuma Mekassa, Minister of Defense. Born in Gendeberet. Married. Education: BSc and MSc in Statistics. Served as bureaus head in Oromia Regional State, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Head of Oromia Water, Mines and Energy Bureau. He is EPRDF Council member and member of OPDO Central Committee. Minister of Mines, Energy and Natural Resources.
  9. 9. Fozia Amin Aliye, Minister of Culture and Tourisim. Born in West Harerge. Married. Education: LLB in Law, MA in Organizational Leadership and currently working on her PhD in Peace and Security. Worked as Oromia Anti-corruption Commissioner. Head of Women’s Affairs Bureau of Western Harerge, and Secretary-General of Office of the Ombudsman. OPDO Central Committee member.
  10. Ahmed Shede. Government Communications Affairs Office Head with the rank of Minister. Born in Negelle Borena. Married. Holds BA in Economics, MA in Business Administration and International Business, and another degree in Public Participation. Served as Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau Head of Somali Regional State, Civil Service Reform Bureau Head, Somali Region Investment Bureau Head, and later State Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation. He is Central Committee Member of Somali People's Democratic Party. He was Minister of Transport to date.
  11. Jantirar Yigzaw Abay, Minister of Urban Development and Housing. Born in Wollo. Married. Education: BSc in Urban Planning, MSc in Architecture and Urban Designing and Development. He served as North Wollo Zone Deputy Administrator, Head of Urban Works and Development and Deputy Head of Amhara Bureau of Industry and Urban Development, Head of Amhara Road Transport. Head of Amhara Road and Transport Bureau  to date.
  12. Melese Alemu Erboro, Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas . Born in Hadiya. Married. Holds LLB in Law, MA in Development and Good Governance. Served as Administrator of Hadiya Zone. SNNPRS Anti-corruption Commissioner. Deputy Chief Administrator of SNNPR. EPRDF Executive Committee member.
  13. Brehanu Tsegay Abera, Attorney General. Born in Becho. Married. Holds LLB, MA in Change Management Administration and PhD in Law. Served as Head of Oromia Justice Bureau, Deputy Head of Oromia Justice Bureau, Head of Oromia Construction Bureau, State Minister of Justice. He is OPDO Executive Committee member.
  14. Yalem Tsegay Asfaw, Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs. Born in Dogea Tembien Agere Selam. Married. Received BSc in Public Health. Served as Deputy Head of Tigray Health Bureau, Tigray BoLSA Head, and Chief Administrator of Eastern Zone of Tigray.
  15. Melaku Alebel Addis, Minister of Trade. Born in Amhara Gondar. Married. Education: BSc in Plant Science, MA in Business Administration. Served as Deputy Head of Amhara Region Industry and Urban Development Bureau, Deputy Head of Trade and Transport Bureau, Amhara Investment Commissioner.
  16. Amir Aman, Minister of Health. Born in Bahir Dar. Married. Education: first degree in Health Science, MSc in Public Health Care. Served as Planning, Policy and Finance Head at the Ministry of Health, Medical Director at Limu Genet Hospital in Oromia. State Minister of Health to date.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/component/k2/item/4595-brief-profile-of-appointed-reshuffled-cabinet-ministers

 

16.4.2018        PM Abiy Ahmed calls on strengthening political parties to build stronger democracy. Tesfaye Getnet, Capital

The new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, invited leaders of opposition parties, civic organizations, and social activists to dinner at the Presidential Palace. He said work should be done to strengthen political parties and build democracy. Notable opposition leaders like Ledetu Ayalew, Bekele Gerba, Dr. Merarra Gudina, Girma Seifu and Prof. Beyne Petros came to the dinner along with celebrity athletes, Haile Gebreselassie, and Keninessa Bekele.

“For a long time there has not been a strong habit of holding talks and working together for a better democracy in Ethiopia. We have chosen the gun instead of discussions, we have chosen our own way instead of consulting each other. We know through history that division threatens our foreign security. We cannot create a better country unless both government and opposition parties work together for a better democracy.’’

“The truth is plain, that we cannot register sustainable economic growth unless we build a strong political and democratic system in our country, ” he added. As a government we have a bigger motivation than ever before to see strong political parties because we believe that healthy competition is the key to democracy when strong ideas come, it helps us to do a better job,” he said.

The PM urged opposition parties to come with good ideas instead of wasting time on resentment. “Creating a new government by force does not benefit anyone, wise people improve something from what they have and transfer it to the next generation. We don’t have to start from zero, we must continue from where we are and we all have the responsibility to do that which will benefit our country. After two years there will be an election and the government will do its best to carry out a free and fair election. More than ever before this is the right time, when we need strong opposition parties and we urge you to continue your discussions with the ruling party which you have already started, we need you to come up with a new sprit to build a strong nation,’’ he said.

“It is a good thing to be interested in working with us. There is a lot of work to be done. I fear that Dr. Abiy’s own party will challenge his attempts to bring change,” an opposition party member said. Dr. Merera Gudina, leader of the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) appreciated the new PM’s initiative to work closely with opposition parties .

In related news the PM also traveled to Jijiga and Ambo where he promised that the government would work harder to widen the political space. He said: “this has been a tragedy that should never have taken place and we will work to find sustainable solutions within a very short time, we will support those who have been displaced as well,” speaking on previous internal conflicts between regions that left many displaced.

During his speech at Ambo Stadium the PM said: “Ambo should be a tourist attraction not a site of violence and we will work hand in hand with the people to achieve this.” Thousands welcomed the PM in Ambo by wearing t-shirts sporting his picture.

The PM was also in Mekele last Friday. He spoke glowingly about the patriotic Tigryans who devoted their lives to freedom. “Tigray is the symbol of Ethiopia. We had an ancient civilization during the times of Axum, a philosopher like Zereyakob was born here and a hero like Meles Zenawi is the fruit of this region. Like they did it before the Tigrynas should work hard to develop their country, democracy and economy .”

http://capitalethiopia.com/2018/04/16/pm-abiy-ahmed-calls-strengthening-political-parties-build-stronger-democracy/#.WtZFkjPLg1I

 

16.4.2018        TPLF’s giant industrial military Complex METEC director resigns. borkena.com

Brigadier General Kinfe Dagnaw, director of Metals and Engineering Corporation, the regime’s giant industrial-military complex, reportedly resigned from his position. General Kinfe, one of TPLF’s hardliner is said to continue in his role within the army.

Metals and Engineering Corporation is active in investment in a range of areas including in agriculture, metal, automotive, transportation and infrastructure development among others and was in charge of mega projects in the country for nearly two decades. METEC has a reputation in poor project management including failure to achieve deliverable and squandering of public resources. It is also widely criticized for naked corrupt practices. In a report to the Ethiopian parliament last year, the officials admitted unexplained loss of billions of Ethiopian Birr. According to ESAT report, METEC failed to complete numerous government mega projects although it was given extended time to do so. Tana Beles Sugar factory project is one of the projects that METEC failed to complete , and government had to contract it out to a different contractor.

The report added that General Kinfe Dagnaw’s resignation is said to be accepted although he was personally responsible for the loss of billions of Ethiopian Birr.

https://www.borkena.com/2018/04/16/tplfs-giant-industrial-military-complex-metec-director-resigns  

 

12.4.2018        EPRDF Ready to Negotiate with Parties Prefer Peaceful Struggle: PM. ENA

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed affirmed his party’s readiness to negotiate with political parties that prefer peaceful struggle. Abiy  who noted that efforts towards democratic system building could not be fruitful without strong opposition parties, said EPRDF  will play its best to strengthen opposition parties.

The Premier made the remark at a dinner program he held at his office for religious and community leaders, as well as leaders of opposition parties and people drawn from civic societies. During his speech at the event, the Premier acknowledged the contribution that religious leaders, civic societies and opposition parties played in the country to date. Noting that efforts towards building a prosperous Ethiopia need everyone’s contribution, the Premier urged citizens to discharge their responsibilities in this regard.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/politics/item/4559-eprdf-ready-to-negotiate-with-parties-prefer-peaceful-struggle-pm

 

12.4.2018        New PM tours hotbed regions of deadly protests. Engidu Woldie, ESAT News

Fews days after taking office, Ethiopia’s newly elected Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed paid a visit last week to the country’s Somali region in the East where hundreds were killed and over a million displaced in what was being blamed on ethnic clashes between the Somali and Oromo communities.

Yesterday, thousands of residents and hundreds of horsemen in the town of Ambo, 75 miles from the capital, welcomed the Prime Minister and listened to his speech that called for patience and calmness while his government address the grievances of the people. The town of Ambo is the epicenter of the three year deadly protest in the Oromo region where at least a thousand people were killed by security forces of the regime. And the Prime Minister was the first high ranking regime officials to address the people in the town. “This is the first time the most powerful person in Ethiopia visited Ambo. The other leaders didn’t like to visit because they were afraid. He broke that tradition,” Ambo resident Almaz Bulcha told AFP news agency. The Prime Minister, who is known for his oratorical prowess, pleaded to the residents to give time to his administration as it works to meet the demands of the youth movement, locally known as Qeerroo. The Qeerroo is a network of youth in the country’s Oromo region that has been spearheading the protest against economic and political marginalization of the majority by a minority Tigrayan elite that controls all aspects of lives in a stasi like control and military rule imposed by declaring two state of emergencies in a span of two years.

The Prime Minister is also said to have been holding a meeting today with local opposition groups, in line with his promise in his parliamentary inaugural speech a week ago. Vice chair of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Mulatu Gemechu is however sceptical of the approach being adopted by the Prime Minister in addressing the crisis in the country. Gemechu said he is not very optimistic that the Prime Minister could bring about real political changes in the country. Gemechu believes the Prime Minister does not deed to make what he called celebratory tour in the regions. He said, instead, Abiy Ahmed needs to announce a new cabinet and identify the real political issues in the country and work to address them. “People are still being killed under his watch,” Gemechu told ESAT.

https://ethsat.com/2018/04/ethiopia-new-pm-tours-hotbed-regions-of-deadly-protests

 

6.4.2018          Ethiopia closes Maekelawi investigation center. Fana Broadcasting Corporation

Ethiopia today announced the closure of a detention and investigation center, commonly known as Maekelawi, which is located in the capital Addis Ababa. The last detainees in the center have been transferred to another correctional facility. The decision to close the center was made by the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), while concluding its meeting held for 17 days last December.

http://www.fanabc.com/english/index.php/news/item/11758-ethiopia-closes-maekelawi-investigation-center

 

5.4.2018          How political opponents see Dr. Abiy’s call. Girmachew Gashaw, Ethiopian Herald

Political parties and politicians are expressing their readiness to contribute their share for the peace and stability of the country once the new Prime Minister materializes his pledges to widen up the political space more than ever. (…)

Merera Gudina (Ph.D.), prominent opposition politician, found the approach of the new PM encouraging, and that the government needs to prepare political platforms to initiate dialogue with other political parties. Recalling that his party had held political dialogue with the ruling party and there were little agreements, Merera tells The Ethiopian Herald that there need to be willingness on the part of the government to come through on its words. “In our part, we are ready for peaceful struggle (political competition) and to negotiate in truth.” He mentions three points were subject of discussion when his party held talks with OPDO (one of the four national parties that make up EPRDF); to free remaining political prisoners, widen the political space, and allow opposition parties to operate freely. Merera points out that in the absence of those things, national consensus is unthinkable. There are additional issues to add to repertoire; for instance, illegal displacement. “But the main thing here is, the willingness of the party,” he adds.

Former Parliament Member, Girma Seifu, states his happiness when hearing of the initiatives from the mouth of the new Prime Minister, but stresses on the need to materialize them. For this to happen, he says, the ruling party should open dialogue with political parties that really represent the Ethiopian people, and echo the public's voice. Furthermore, he comments that previously, the government did not have the willingness to open dialogue with parties that had not accepted the incumbent’s interests, and the new initiative would go a long way to amend this if it is applied. “In our side, if the political space is open, we are ready to play. But so far, the political landscape was blocked for opposition parties. That should be open.”

Lidetu Ayalew, also former MP and an opposition politician, says that the words of the new PM are more than he expected, and if he can stand by it, it will take Ethiopian politics one step forward. “It is not going to be an easy task. Our political party has been trying to bring forward such initiative, and we are ready to do whatever is expected from us ( to change into reality). “The speech is a good thing, but it would be great if it is changed in to reality.” “The tone of the speech is high. If this so, I hope that he would strive for its practicality. And, we will measure the speech when it will be changed into a reality,” he stresses. It has to be expressed and backed up through improved law, legal frameworks and institutions. “We first introduce this idea recognizing that one should object a certain idea not for the sake of objection, it has to be reasonable - we named it the third option.” Lidetu remarks that after the underwhelming acceptance shown to the idea, many have come to receive it favorably, especially the ruling party. “If the way we look or view one another is not changed, and if we do not discuss our problems by widening the political space, Ethiopian politics will go worse before it gets better,” he adds. “So, we are ready for further negotiation but favorable platform should be created in improving structure, widening social base and make a move within a public.” Furthermore, he stresses on the need of changing on how the ruling party is viewed, seeing it as part of the solution. We have to contribute our share to resolve our problems through negotiation than conflict, and in so doing, we can assist the ongoing national reform, he concludes.

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/news/national-news/item/11443-how-political-opponents-see-dr-abiy-s-call

 

5.4.2018          Let’s give time to the new Premier! Ethiopian Herlad, Editorial-View-Point

Following the swearing in ceremony of the newly elected Prime Minister on Monday, Ethiopians saw a ray of hope for two reasons. The first is for witnessing peaceful transfer of power, which is seldom witnessed in the history of the country. And many observers of Ethiopian politics believe that this would lay the foundation for practicing politics of civility.

The other is, of course, Dr. Abiy's acceptance speech which gives reasons for optimism and expectations. "Before anything else," said the new Prime Minister "I would like to express my highest appreciation to His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, for his exemplary step in voluntarily stepping down and _transferring his power to be part of the solution... . for prioritizing the country's dignity and national interests in a manner that can set precedence for our continent."

Then after, Dr. Abiy almost touched on every burning issue that has been lingering in the minds of all Ethiopians, ranging from youth unemployment, fair distribution of wealth, respect for the rule of law, justice, democracy, corruption, and motherhood.He called on the Diaspora and opposition political parties to work together with the ruling party with the spirit of brotherhood. He talked about reconciliation, and consensus. He apologized for the regrettable loss of lives, both of the youth and security forces, during the unrest in some parts of the country. He called on the Eritrean government to work for sustainable peace on behalf the peoples of the two countries that are closely related in blood. Above all, the new Premier hardly pressed on unity, Ethiopians long held tradition of martyrdom and the spirit of Ethiopianism, which could be highlighted with his saying "When we live, we are Ethiopians, when we die, we become Ethiopia. Ethiopia's belongs to all of us."

In short, the speech was received with enthusiasm by citizens, members of parliament, political analysts and commentators as well as members of the international community. And above anything else, the speech has raised expectations very high. Here, it should be underlined that Dr. Abiy is not a full term Prime Minister. And he came to power in the middle of the five year premiership tenure and hence does not have the comfort of a full term Prime Minister. He only has less than two years to deliver. Then again, considering the immensity of the pressing issues, it is obvious that it will take time to address them all. Hence, what matters the most is understanding the magnitude of the problems surrounding the country and give time to the Premier to solve them step by step, some of them in the short term, and the others in the long term.

Certainly, this does not mean that we should not expect immediate outcomes as it is natural to do so from the perspective of the general public. And there are immediate actions to be taken to bring about immediate outcomes. Most importantly, the Prime Minister's immediate task would be ensuring peace and stability. Then follows the creation of consensus and trust. With this, it is possible to once again mobilize the public to realize the democratization and development aspirations of the country.

But what should be noted here is that as the Prime Minister made some optimistic promises, he has to be given the opportunity to prove his worth. Hence, everybody, starting from his own party to opposition politicians, scholars, all Ethiopian nationals and the Diaspora should stand with and support the Prime Minister to achieve the short and long term national development goals and address the grievances of the public. To do so he needs time and the support of us all!

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/editorial-view-point/item/11439-let-s-give-time-to-the-new-premier

 

5.4.2018          Can Abiy Ahmed Save Ethiopia? Nizar Manek, Foreign Policy

The announcement of a new prime minister has led to widespread celebrations, but reforming the country without alienating the army will not be easy.

In 1990, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was a guerrilla alliance battling the Derg, a Marxist-Leninist military junta that had deposed Emperor Haile Selassie in a 1974 coup. A year later, the EPRDF took power; it has ruled Ethiopia ever since. When the Derg fell, Abiy Ahmed, who was recently elected as the EPRDF’s chairman and sworn in as prime minister on Monday, was just 14 years old. But even then, Abiy, who was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in the Oromo town of Beshasha in southwestern Ethiopia, was becoming politically active.

“In one way, the world is eagerly awaiting our country’s transition, and in another way, they are waiting in fear,” Abiy said in his maiden speech as prime minister. “We have a country in which our fathers have sacrificed their bones and spilled their blood,” and yet the nation has kept its unity. “This is the season in which we learn from our mistakes and compensate our country,” he continued. “I ask forgiveness from those activists and politicians who paid the sacrifice and youths who wanted change but lost their lives.” He even spoke of applying Ethiopia’s constitution in a way that understands “freedom,” especially freedom of expression and the rights to assembly and association — suggesting that he may lift the state of emergency that has led to the detention of more than 1,100 people.

In the capital of Addis Ababa, people in cafes clapped and cheered in front of television screens.

At a town on Ethiopia’s porous southern border with Kenya, where Ethiopia’s military last month announced it had mistakenly killed Oromo civilians, locals celebrated by slaughtering camels, cows, and goats. People in Jimma, the largest city in southwestern Ethiopia, were singing; a student at Jimma University told me, “We have got one of our own!”

More than a third of Ethiopians belong to the Oromo community and about a fifth to the Amhara, while Tigrayans represent 6 percent, according to the latest census. Together, the Oromo and Amhara make up more than half of Ethiopia’s population of 105 million. These demographic realities and the distribution of power among these groups are the defining feature of Ethiopian politics.

Abiy joined the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the EPRDF in 1991, according to his official biography. He decided to join the OPDO after his brother, Kedir, was killed, according to Abiy’s childhood friend Seyfu Imam Abamilki. The same year, the OPDO was part of the advancing EPRDF army seeking to smash Derg forces and take Addis Ababa. At that time, the OPDO was a small organization that the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) established in late 1990; it became part of the EPRDF in January 1991.

As a young man finding his feet, Abiy was one of at most 200 OPDO fighters placed under the overall military command of the EPRDF forces, which in 1991 numbered about 100,000 — 90 percent of them Tigrayans. Abiy, despite his Oromo origins, was quick to adapt, starting as an assistant to the military and learning the Tigrinya language. As a Tigrinya speaker, he could get ahead, given the preponderance of Tigrayan soldiers and officers. And it has continued to serve him well; Tigrayans remain preeminent in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition and control the military, intelligence, and security organs of the state.

In 1993, when Abiy was in his late teens, he became a regular soldier. He enrolled in what would become the new federal army — the Ethiopian National Defense Forces — as part of an OPDO division and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1995, Abiy had to formally leave the OPDO; the EPRDF’s new constitution would be “free of partisanship” and forbade membership in any political organization. The same year, he was deployed as a member of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Kigali in the wake of the Rwandan genocide.

After nearly two decades of military service, Abiy left the army in his early thirties, became a civilian, and re-entered the OPDO; his final military post was as deputy director of the Information Network Security Agency, which provides technical intelligence to support the government on matters of national interest. A few years earlier, he was posted back to his hometown of Beshasha, where he successfully defused communal tensions following an incident between Muslims and Christians, his old friend Seyfu and a government official in the town, Mohammed Abajojam, told me.

In quick succession, Abiy became a member of the EPRDF-controlled parliament, the OPDO central committee, and then the politburos of both the OPDO and EPRDF. He began a rapid ascent through the corridors of power, serving as director of the national science and technology information center and, briefly, as minister of science and technology under former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February, triggering a leadership crisis.

At 41, Abiy is Africa’s youngest leader — and he is pursuing a different path than many others in the region.

“Now more than any other countries of the world, for us, ensuring democracy is about our existence,” Abiy told parliament. “We have to keep in mind that Ethiopia is ours and build a participatory democracy that allows everyone’s voice to be heard and everyone to benefit.”

His last job offers a hint of his policy preferences. As Oromia’s deputy president, Abiy headed the region’s Housing and Urban Development Bureau, where he and other top officials embarked on an ambitious policy of economic revolution, seeking to address the burning issue of mass unemployment and deep-rooted grievances among legions of disaffected youth in Oromia, which has been a hotbed of anti-government protests for nearly three years. “In Oromia, unemployment is more than 80 percent, around 6 million youths are unemployed,” and almost half of Oromia’s population is under 15, Abiy told me in June while working on a program to overhaul employment, supply chains, and revenue sharing in cement mining in Oromia. “Nobody can stop them by gun,” he said. “They’re not an enemy but a power that can help the government in the development process.”

For now, Abiy’s elevation to prime minister has quieted Ethiopia’s most confrontational voices. This could quell violent protests in Oromia, which intensified late last year amid severe clashes between security forces from Ethiopia’s Somali region and Oromo in eastern Ethiopia, triggering serious intraparty conflict within the EPRDF. In his speech, Abiy pledged to crack down on corruption, which, according to Jamil Abdisalam, the mayor of an Oromo town in the east, has been the primary cause of the violence that recently prompted approximately 1 million people to flee their homes. He attributed the disturbances to senior federal and military officials and their business associates who monopolize trade in black market dollars and contraband on the boundary.

All eyes are on Abiy’s next moves and whether he will manage to reorient the political system to give the Oromo the representation they demand and turn a one-party system into something more democratic.

In Ethiopia’s complex and delicate ethnic federation, Abiy will be watched closely by proxies from myriad other ethnic groups and forces for any failings, and they may react negatively should they get the impression that Abiy is unilaterally working for the advantage of the Oromo. After all, the OPDO now controls the office of the prime minister, the post of speaker of parliament, and the presidency — nominally, the three most important positions in the state. Oromos can surely now become the most influential ethnic group.

But Abiy is making conciliatory gestures. “In one country, there will be differences in ideas,” Abiy told parliament. “Difference is not a curse when we listen to each other, and when we agree based on principle, it brings blessings. In argument, solutions will be found.”

To find those solutions, he will need to avoid angering the army and security forces. In Ethiopian politics, “security, intelligence, military are the gods,” said Masresha Taye, an expert observer. “If you know God, will you be afraid of him,” he added. “Abiy and the top OPDO cadres, they know God. They know the intelligence. They know the security. They have been there for 20-plus years. They know who is doing what.”

The Tigrayan-dominated army and intelligence services could find Abiy well qualified because he speaks their language and understands their needs. They also might find him difficult to work with because they know each other so well. That will depend on his agenda. Abiy is likely to reshuffle his cabinet soon. At the moment, Getachew Assefa, the director of the national intelligence and security service and a veteran TPLF official, remains directly attached to the prime minister’s office and holds the rank of minister without portfolio. How these godlike security officials operate may be mysterious for others, but Abiy “has been groomed within that system,” Masresha adds. He knows how to navigate the military bureaucracy.

That knowledge matters because, as prime minister and commander in chief of the armed forces, Abiy is expected to preside over a major military reorganization. Before the previous prime minister resigned, he announced the promotion of three major generals — one Oromo, one Tigrayan, and one Amhara — to newly created deputy posts under Gen. Samora Younes, the army’s Tigrayan chief of staff. With their promotions, it seemed clear that one of them was being positioned to succeed Samora as chief of staff. Abiy will be able to influence the selection of Samora’s successor, but any deal must ultimately be negotiated with the army. The negotiators could make an ethnic calculation to address Oromo or Amhara grievances about not having a large enough presence in the military’s top ranks.

Just as Abiy will not have a completely free hand in determining the military’s leadership, he will also have to build consensus before making other key policy decisions.

It is worth recalling that the eight-day meeting of the EPRDF Council that culminated in Abiy’s selection gave him just 108 votes out of 169 (less of a consensus than his predecessor), and it took six weeks after Hailemariam resigned before the ruling coalition finally made up its mind on a successor. This suggests that there is serious discord among Ethiopia’s leadership. However, the fact that Abiy was not elected in a unanimous vote points to a rare glimmer of democracy within the EPRDF’s Leninist-inspired tradition — and that is a major development in EPRDF culture.

Some of that discord may be easing. Abiy’s deputy prime minister, Demeke Mekonnen, the chairman of the Amhara National Democratic Movement, announced over the weekend that “the growing mistrust” had receded. Demeke withdrew from the leadership race at the 11th hour, with the region’s spokesperson cryptically announcing that the Amhara party “played its own role” in the process of “electing a competent leader.”

Abiy will now be obliged to walk a fine line to satisfy the aspirations of his fellow Oromo, especially pressures from constituencies who say they facilitated his ride to the top. He must also be careful not to alienate others, particularly the military. “If Abiy holds the full power and responsibilities of the premiership and establishes his own cabinet including the heads of intelligence and military and opens the political space for all, it will be a new era for Ethiopia,” Lammi Begna, an Oromo youth activist who has helped spearhead anti-government protests over the last years, told me by phone from Oslo, Norway. “Our demand is for real change, and we want it to be effective very soon.”

Whatever changes Abiy chooses to introduce as prime minister, he will have to negotiate with other factions of the ruling party; in the EPRDF’s politburo, which tends to set government policy, the OPDO holds only nine out of 36 seats. And even in parliament, the OPDO does not have a majority. Abiy’s room for maneuver will therefore depend on cooperation from the EPRDF’s other three parties, especially Oromia’s newfound Amhara allies.

So far, he is sounding the right notes. “I present my offer to Ethiopians that are here and also abroad that we forgive one another and close yesterday’s chapter and start another,” he told lawmakers in his speech to parliament.

In the weeks before Abiy’s selection as leader, even the most seasoned observers were mulling the possibility of a Yugoslav-style fragmentation in Ethiopia. Now, for the first time in years, there is reason for cautious optimism.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/04/04/can-abiy-ahmed-save-ethiopia

 

3.4.2018          New premier vows to rebuild nation's glory. Promises to break deadlock between Ethiopia, Eritrea. Yohanes Jemaneh, Ethiopian Herald

The new Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has vowed  to bring  economic, social and political  transformations by restoring the country's past glory and spurring rgional integration. He also remarked  his selection process to assume the premiership  has showcased  a  peaceful transition of power  in Ethiopia,  which could serve  as  a benchmark  for the continent.  

Having sworn in  as a Prime Minister  yesterday, the  Premier  reiterated  that his government would  do every thing in its capacity  to   bring tangible  changes  on  education, economy, democratic and human rights, youth and women benefciary among others.

In relation to the foreign policy, he vehemently stated that the deadlock between Ethiopia and Eritrean   need to be broken  taking into accounts  the historic and the blood ties of both countries' people and  the ever changing as well as volatile  political situations in the Horn  of Africa.

He also noted  Ethiopia  as  the origin  of Pan-Africanism, the headquarters of  African Union and several international organizations,  will  continue  to  play  its    irreplaceable   role   in

upholding  peace and stability as well as realizing sustainable development in the East Africa particular and the continent in general.

In  his speech, the premier  also expressed  his readiness  to  work with all political parties living inside and outside of the country. Moreover ,he urged the  members of Ethiopian Diaspora community  to extend unreserved support to the ongoing political change and development in the homeland.

Regarding to strengthening the education policy of the country,  Dr. Abiy indicated  the government would work  on  improving  quality of education from elementary to tertiary levels     after evaluating the sector's accomplishment in the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II).

He also pledged to narrow down  the existing wide gap between  import and export trade in the country. “The government will play its due role in stabilizing the current  high cost of living  triggered  by  the political instability, devaluation of Birr and the like.”

New prime minister Dr. Abiy and Ex-Prime minister Hailemariam in the office of Prime Minister.

Likewise, the new prime minister  promised  to improve the beneficiary of youth and women. “The government will exert relentless efforts in bringing meaningful changes in the lives of    youth through ensuring  fairness  and mutual benefits to this end. The youth also need to toil  in  turning the efforts to reality.”

Similarly, the government would put in to action efforts that expedite  the process on  meeting  women's interests in all spheres, he noted.

Aimed at widening the political landscape, the premier said: “As an important part of democratic building endeavor, from now and on  we should perceive the political parties not as opposition, but as competitors.”

On the occasion, he called on all Ethiopians  to  repeat  the success story in  building Grand  Ethiopian Renaissance  Dam (GERD) in other development spheres working in unison than never before.

He also pledged to  actively participate all fellow citizens in the political and economic affairs of the country in a democratic  manner.

“Citizens' right of movement and accumulating wealth need to be respected. I also call on the people  to be active and vibrant participant  in  the realization of the GTP II .”

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/news/national-news/item/11414-new-premier-vows-to-rebuild-nation-s-glory

 Die Rede in voller Länge auf Amharisch: https://www.nazret.com/2018/04/02/ethiopias-prime-minster-abiy-ahmeds-first-speech , http://www.ethioreference.com/archives/10596 , https://www.borkena.com/2018/04/02/abiy-ahmed-speech-after-he-is-sworn-in-as-prime-minister , http://www.aigaforum.com/index.php Mit vorangehenden und abschließenden parlamentarischen Formalien sowie Diskussion of ETV: http://www.tigraionline.com/

 

3.4.2018          Peaceful power transition a step forward towards democracy: President Mulatu. Fana Broadcasting Corporation

President Mulatu Teshome said that the peaceful transition of power is a step forward towards the development of democracy in Ethiopia. The President yesterday hosted a dinner for the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office from the former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, at the National Palace yesterday. The power transition could be a model for others and also builds Ethiopian image, the President said at the event. The President finally congratulated the people of Ethiopia and wished success for the new Prime Minister. More than 1, 500 guests, including Chairperson of African Union Commission, ministers, ambassadors, diplomats, regional chief administrators, and heads of political parties attended the event.

http://www.fanabc.com/english/index.php/news/item/11730-peaceful-power-transition-a-step-forward-towards-democracy-president-mulatu

 

3.4.2018          China, Turkey Vow to Strengthen, Extend Cooperation with Ethiopia's New Leadership, ENA

Ambassadors of China and Turkey vowed to strengthen and continue the multifaceted cooperation with newly elected leadership of Ethiopia. In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Ethiopia, Tian Jian said his country, as a strategic partner was watching the election process closely. “I think this is clear demonstration to this very healthy and robust democracy of Ethiopia after some internal discussions and debates now you have come up with the new Prime Minister Abiy.” Stating that there has been very close cooperation between the parties, government and people of the two countries, Ambassador Jian said “We look forward to work very closely with the new leadership to promote further our bilateral relations.”

“I do believe that with assumption after premiership by Abiy as he has two titles as a Prime Minister and the Chairman of EPRDF, so we are looking forward to further promote how we flourish the comprehensive, strategic partnership between our two great countries.” Noting that his country wants to see the very focus of the new Ethiopian leadership, he pointed “I think that we ready and willing to discuss with our Ethiopians partners, we have many projects here and we want to maximize the benefit of those projects.” According to him, China will engage in Ethiopia focusing in major areas including job creation, promoting export, infrastructure, human resources and industrial park developments. “There are so many areas that I think we will talk with our Ethiopian official in how to prioritize the areas of cooperation and I do believe together we can do a lot.” 

Turkish Ambassador to Ethiopia Fatih Ulusoy said on his part “Turkish investors are interested here in Ethiopia and we will continue our investments without any hesitation.” Speaking of the newly appointed Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ambassador Ulusoy said “We are very happy to see that this democratic power transfer in this country and this is what we have all expected from Ethiopia.”

“Ethiopia is a country with very ancient civilization and it has a very long historic state system and so we are happy to see the peaceful power transfer in this country and we will continue strengthening our ties in economic, infrastructure and investment.” Turkey regards Ethiopia’s unreserved efforts and role of paramount importance bring stability and peace in the region, he added.

The House of People’s Representative (HPR) yesterday has appointed the 42 years old Abiy Ahmed as the new Prime Minster of Ethiopia following the resignation of Hailemariam Dessalegn.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/politics/item/4512-china-turkey-vow-to-strengthen-extend-cooperation-with-ethiopia-s-new-leadership

 

Economics

16.4.2018        Wheat supply dangerously low as procurements stall. Tesfaye Getnet, Capital

The Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) which distributes wheat to Ethiopia’s nine regions and two administrations is running out of stock due to delayed procurement of wheat from abroad. The Enterprise had been distributing 640,000 quintals per month to trade bureaus, universities, and prison administrations and has only 50,000 quintals remaining in its stock which has caused them to delay this month’s distribution.

Currently four million quintals of wheat are under the procurement process but it will take over two months before this reaches EGTE. EGTE, out of concern, has requested one million metric tons of wheat as a loan from the Emergency Food Security Reserve Administration (EFSRA). However they have not gotten a response, so the Agency has made a second request, this time to the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) which did approve an unspecified amount of wheat. Due the shortage EGTE cut the supply of wheat by 50 percent last month. They have also been purchasing wheat from the local market for between 1,000-1,200 birr per quintal.

A source at the Enterprise told Capital that shortages of bread and other products could occur if wheat is not loaned out or procured faster. “Several months ago we cut the supply of wheat by 25 percent but we recovered soon because of the speedy procurement process but now it has slowed down and our stock is almost empty. There is only a small amount reserved for universities, defense and prisoners in jail. We are waiting for NDRMC to save us from our current problem.’’

Under normal circumstances regions and administrations receive the following number of quintals of wheat per month: Oromia (125,305), Amhara (72,550), Tigray (66,417), Addis Ababa (168,000). Somali (21,716), Afar (2,875), Gambella (20,700) Beneshal Gamuz (20,001). EGTE sells the wheat at 550 birr per quintal to the trade bureaus who in turn sells it to the flour factories and then finally to the bakeries.

Last January the government canceled a 2.6 billion birr contract awarded to Pakistan based Shakeel & Company to supply 400,000 metric tons of wheat because they didn’t provide a performance guarantee and subsequently didn’t supply the wheat. Last March, the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service, PPPDS, opened a tender to supply four million quintals of wheat. The tender includes 10 lots, each with 400,000 quintals. Of this amount 500,000 quintals are expected to be supplied this fiscal year and the rest during the next fiscal year. Currently, two million quintals of wheat on its way to the country but is facing delays at port of entry. Those two million quintals were supplied by, Promising International Trading, (800,000 quintals) and Hakan Agro Industry (1.2 million quintals).

http://capitalethiopia.com/2018/04/16/wheat-supply-dangerously-low-procurements-stall/#.WtZEmTPLg1I

 

3.4.2018          FDI Records Another Good Year. Addis fortune

Ethiopia attracted 2.2 billion dollars worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first half of the current fiscal year, according to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC). The performance exceeded that of the same period in the past year by 22pc, Fitsum Arega, commissioner of the Commission said, adding that export-oriented manufacturing industries were the best performing. FDI has been one of the fast-growing areas of the economy. Last year's growth stood at over 27pc, and almost double that amount the year before.

In a bid to attract more investment, the government has invested in industrial parks such as Bole Lemi I and Hawassa, both of which are fully operational. The latest additions have been industrial parks located in Meqelle and Kombolcha. "The recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area would further boost investment," Abebe Abebayehu deputy commissioner of the Commission said.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201804030091.html

 

2.4.2018          Over 100,000 recent graduates in Addis lack jobs. Tesfaye Getnet, Capital

A recent report from the Addis Ababa Labor and Social Affairs indicates that there are over 100,000 unemployed people living in Addis Ababa. This is in spite of the fact that many have graduated from colleges and universities or technical and vocational schools. Sixty thousand of the unemployed are men while 43,148 women are jobless. These figures do not include people who migrate to Addis looking for work. Among the ten sub-cities Ledeta has the highest number of unemployed at 31,673, Kolefe and Yeka come in second and third at 22,342 and 19,782 people respectively. Kirkos has the lowest number at 10,756. The report says 43,148 people told the Bureau they got a job recently of whom 21,117 are women. When the registration occurred around 30,000 people were unaccounted for so it is not known if they obtained employment.

Recent research indicated that there is a mismatch of education and training so that many do not have the skills needed to meet the needs of the labor market. Other problems include an unparalleled population growth and availability of jobs, and the high level of migration from rural to urban areas which increase the number of unemployed people in Addis Ababa. Albeit to a lesser extent recently, recruitment culture has also its own share of the blame. Employers’ tendency of ignoring young graduates and their obsession with five plus years of work experience appears for many young graduates terrifyingly intimidating. According to World Bank’s Africa Development Indicators, 81.4% of youths and 43% of adults in Ethiopia worked in the informal sector of which 12.5% of the youth and 49.6% of the adults were self-employed.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) currently urban youth unemployment in Ethiopia stands at an appalling 40%. Terrifyingly many of these young Ethiopians who are out of the job market are not only unemployed, but also unemployable due mostly to the poor level of education they have received. Last year the government approved 10 billion birr in revolving funds to curb unemployment in Ethiopia but the budget faces criticism due to poor utilization. An estimated half a million recent graduates are unemployed in Ethiopia.

http://capitalethiopia.com/2018/04/02/100000-recent-graduates-addis-lack-jobs/

 

Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources

3.4.2018          Agency improving soil fertility, productivity. Yohanes Jemaneh, Ethiopian Herald

Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) said its soil fertility program has improved productivity and the use of fertilizers that match with various soil types in the country.

Since 2012, the agency has been implementing soil research based map (atlas) to identify soil fertility and to implement suitable fertilizer in four states and one city administration including Amhara, Harari, SNNPs, Tigray and Dire Dawa, ATA Soil Resource Information System Project Leader Tegbaru Belete told The Ethiopian Herald.

By doing so, ATA has enabled the country to boost productivity applying fertilizers including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and boron among others in addition to dap and urea that the country has been solely using for the past consecutive years, he said.

Accordingly, due to the proper implementation of mixed and suitable fertilizers recommended by the agency, the productivity of wheat, barley, teff and maize products respectively increased on average by 29, 33, 21 and 15 quintals per hectare, he noted.

He said that researches, experimenting on more than 80,000 soil samples found out 29 percent acidity and significant amount of salt and recommended to use gypsum and measure the amount of water to protect soil fertility.

As to him, the soil fertility program has been improving through time and the Ethiopian Soil Resource Institute was established by the Council of Ministers to practically monitor and eradicate the sphere bottlenecks.

The institute would help to provide telephone service about the soil status to farmers and to release additional information about agricultural input usage, he stated.

ATA Geo Statistics Expert Hailu Shiferaw also said that country’s soil fertility research status has been advancing through time using state-of-the-art technologies including various tablets and modern database system which help to upgrade wide data collection and archiving information.

Ethiopia is the first country to implement digital soil map in the continent, but it needs to do a lot in-terms of utilizing important fertilizers such as nitrogen phosphate, potassium, boron and zinc, he stressed.

Machine learning system enabled the agency to identify soil types and deficiency of various minerals at kebele and woreda level within a short period of time, he noted.

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/news/national-news/item/11409-agency-improving-soil-fertility-productivity

 

Media, Culture, Religion, Education, Social and Health

17.4.2018        Äthiopien fordert geplünderte Artefakte von Grossbritannien zurück. NZZ

Die zurückgeforderten Objekte im Victoria and Albert Museum in London wurden nach der Schlacht um Magdala in Äthiopien im April 1868 nach Grossbritannien gebracht.

Äthiopien hat von Grossbritannien die Rückgabe von vor 150 Jahren geplünderten Artefakten sowie der Überreste eines Prinzen gefordert. Man habe einen Brief bei den Verantwortlichen in Grossbritannien eingereicht, um die Gegenstände zurückzubekommen, sagte Äthiopiens Minister für Kultur und Tourismus, Hirut Woldemariam. «Wir werden jegliche juristische und diplomatische Mittel nutzen, um ihre Rückgabe zu sichern.»

Die Gegenstände wurden nach der Schlacht um Magdala im April 1868 nach Grossbritannien gebracht. Um Gefangene zu befreien, griffen britische Soldaten die Festung des äthiopischen Kaisers Theodor II an. Nachdem sie diese gestürmt hatten und der Kaiser Selbstmord begangen hatte, nahmen sie etliche wertvolle Gegenstände mit. Ein Sohn des Kaisers, Prinz Alemayehu, wurde auch nach Grossbritannien gebracht, wo er im Alter von 19 Jahren starb.

Einige der Gegenstände sind seit dem 5. April in einer Ausstellung zum 150. Jahrestag der Schlacht im Victoria and Albert Museum in London zu sehen. Berichten zufolge zieht das Museum eine langfristige Leihgabe der Gegenstände an Äthiopien in Erwägung. Dies hat in dem ostafrikanischen Land teilweise für Unmut gesorgt.

Dutzende weitere Artefakte und Dokumente befinden sich in anderen britischen Museen oder in Privatbesitz. Die äthiopische Regierung versucht bereits seit rund zehn Jahren, die Rückgabe der Gegenstände zu sichern. Die Überreste von Prinz Alemayehu sind in der St.-George's-Kapelle auf Schloss Windsor begraben, wo Prinz Harry und US-Schauspielerin Meghan Markle im Mai heiraten wollen.

https://www.nzz.ch/feuilleton/aethiopien-fordert-gepluenderte-artefakte-von-grossbritannien-zurueck-ld.1378077

 

9.4.2018          Local, Federal Tourism Bureaus at loggerheads over historical home lease. Tesfaye Getnet, Capital

Five years ago the Lideta Culture and Tourism Bureau (LCTB) agreed to lease a historical home to St. George Art Gallery for 50 years. After the agreement, Selmawit Alene, who owns St. George Gallery, invested five million birr to renovate the registered historical landmark. However, last year LCTB closed the house, saying that a ‘technical mistake’ was made and the house would be leased to another person.

The 372 sqm, 107 year old, wood and brick, Mussei Boghossian House is located in Golla Park and was built by Armenians during the reign of Menilik II. It has 19 rooms, 31 doors and 22 windows.  Previously it was used as a Keble office and youth center. In response, the federal government stepped in; ordering the Addis Ababa Cultural and Tourism Bureau (AACTB) to allow St. George Art Gallery to use the house. Remedan Ashenafi, State Minister of the Cultural and Tourism Bureau said, “we are aware, based on a report from the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage that Selmawit Alene has done a good job in renovating the house so we are asking AACTB to return the house to Selamawit so she can use it for the art gallery.” However AACTB has not responded. Capital asked AACTB why the house was not returned to St. George Gallery despite the federal government’s order. Dereje Seyoum, Heritage Officer at AACTB said that they are organizing a committee to look into the issue. “We are investigating the case and we are addressing the issue and soon we will announce our decision,’’ he said.

Selmawit says AACTB is bending justice by denying her a place she acquired legally. “I did not conquer the place, they approved my request to renovate the house and create a business there. The letter from the woreda office suspending our lease agreement came after I spent a lot of time and money renovating the place. So my question is why would they allow me to do all this work if they though the house should not be given to a third person.” Selamawit currently has another art gallery near the Sheraton Addis Hotel.

http://capitalethiopia.com/2018/04/09/local-federal-tourism-bureaus-loggerheads-historical-home-lease/#.WtZKTDPLg1J

 

9.4.2018          Construction endangers historical printing facility. Tesfaye Getnet, Capital

The historical, Tesfa Gebreslassie Printing Press, a landmark in Arat Killo, is cracking because of the effects of a nearby construction. Tesfa’s son, Te’ebeb told Capital that the building will be destroyed if things continue like this. “There are new cracks in the building every day, we have asked the government for help but there has not been a response. The problem is the construction which is taking place less than five meters from the house.”

Recently the Addis Ababa Cultural and Tourism Bureau wrote a letter asking those constructing buildings nearby to fix the cracks but this request has fallen on deaf ears. I can assure you the building will be destroyed if the cracking continues like this,” he added. The building was registered as a historical heritage four years ago. In 2010 it, along with several other older homes in Arat Kilo, was scheduled for demolition. However, after much debate the municipality took 5,000sqm from the printing building and left 2,055sqm to Tesfa Gebreslassie to continue the printing business. Tesfa has applied for a title deed many times but has not received one so far. According to regulations on heritage sites any new construction should be at least 200 meters away. However, due to poor supervision, many new buildings are being built in close to the proximity of historical sites. The building, located at Arat killo lies on 2,055sqm in a fenced compound. It is made of stones and mud and has been publishing materials for 100 years.

Tesfa Gebreselassie was born in Bulga, Gojam. He is known for preparing the Ethiopian Alphabet in sequential order and he developed the printing business to publish religious and educational books. He also fought the Italians and was given the title Dejazmach. He died 18 years ago and was buried in Entoto Church. he printer employs 70 people who work on eight machines.

http://capitalethiopia.com/2018/04/09/construction-endangers-historical-printing-facility/#.WtZJYzPLg1I

 

Horn of Africa and Foreign Affairs

6.4.2018          Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan fail to make progress on Renaissance Dame issue. Sudan Tribune

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have failed to agree over the impact of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the water share of downstream countries. "Since the morning we discussed many issues but in the end, we could not reach a consensus," Sudan foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters on Thursday evening at the end of the meeting of a tripartite committee. "Although I can say that the discussion was constructive, comprehensive and important and we could have come out of it with answers to many questions, but this is the case of controversial issues often need patience, and will," he added. The Sudanese top diplomat added that the will and patience where there " but we needed more time to reach consensus".

The tripartite body was formed after a meeting including Presidents Omer al-Bashir, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 29 January. It includes foreign ministers irrigation ministers and head of the security and intelligence agencies of the three countries.

Ghandour said that the irrigation ministers will discuss the outstanding issues in a meeting to be determined at a later date. The foreign ministers and head of security agencies will join them when they make progress on the technical issues. However, he declined to elaborate on the outstanding issues when asked about that.

In March 2015, the three leaders signed in Khartoum a framework cooperation deal on the GERD. They said the “declaration of principles” would pave the way for further diplomatic cooperation on the GERD which has stirred fears of a regional resource conflict. However, the three countries have failed to agree on the findings of the technical report related to the impact of the dam prepared by consultant companies, French firms BRL and Artelia. Also, Cairo proposed to refer the matter to the World Bank, but Addis Ababa refused the Egyptian proposal.

http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article65117

 

3.4.2018          AU lauds AMISOM troops for successfully repulsing Al-Shabaab. Fana Broadcasting Corporation

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Amb Francisco Caetano Madeira, lauded the AU troops in Lower Shabelle region for the gallantry they displayed, during a confrontation with Al-Shabaab yesterday. According to a statement issued by AMISOM, the troops fought off and successfully repulsed the terrorists who had launched simultaneous attacks on Forward Operating Bases in Quoryole, Bulomareer, and Golwein. The militants were dealt a heavy blow, with at least 30 of them put out of action, following intense fighting. Eight vehicles which ferried the terrorists, including two Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices were destroyed and an assortment of weapons recovered.

Unfortunately, AMISOM lost four gallant soldiers in the fighting and six others sustained injuries, the statement added. AMISOM paid tribute to these troops whose courage and sacrifice has frustrated Al-Shabaab’s intent. “We honor our brave soldiers, who are resolute in continuing to neutralize the insurgents in order to restore peace and stability in Somalia,” said Madeira.

http://www.fanabc.com/english/index.php/news/item/11729-au-lauds-amisom-troops-for-successfully-repulsing-al-shabaab

 

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