von Redakteur

16.4.2017    With Fertility Rate of 5.7, Ethiopia Ranks 6th in the World,

The average woman in Ethiopia has a fertility rate of 5.7, ranking 6th in the world, according to the statistics in That means the average woman in Ethiopia gives birth to between 5 and 6 children in her lifetime. Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world, according to this data, estimated at 7.08 births per woman, followed by Uganda at 6.44, and Mali at 5.84. Most countries scoring high on this index are from Africa. In fact, fully 42 of the top 50 countries with the highest fertility rate countries are from Africa. Whereas this data shows the future man power potential of Africa, it is also an indication of the low socio-economic condition prevailing in these countries, including high level of poverty and low level of education. (...)


12.4.2017        Millions need food aid, Ethiopian report warns, Addis Getachew, Anadolu Agency

Poor rains threatening crop season in East African nation, new research suggests

A new report warned on Wednesday that the number of people in Ethiopia needing food assistance could rise in the coming months. Research from the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission and the UN’s organization for coordination of humanitarian affairs said poor rains had been forecast for the secondary crop season. Ethiopia is one of the countries in East Africa affected by what has been dubbed the worst drought in 48 years.

Some 5.6 million people need relief food assistance across 364 woredas (counties) in Ethiopia’s southern and eastern lowlands. Earlier, Ethiopia appealed for $1 billion for its emergency response efforts. This appeal has remained largely unmet, Disaster Risk Management Commissioner Mitiku Kassa told Anadolu Agency. Almost 4.4 million people will need health interventions amid possible disease outbreaks, the report added.


7.4.2017          Drought in Horn of Africa: More assistance for East Africa. Bundesregierung

East Africa has been hit by the worst drought it has seen for fifty years. Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller has pledged an additional 100 million euros for those facing hunger. At a conference on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel urged the international community to make available more money.

The Somali region in eastern Ethiopia has been particularly hard hit by drought. The nomadic population have practically no more grazing land for their livestock; their livelihoods are acutely threatened. Some 1.7 million people in this region are already dependent on food aid. In Ethiopia 5.6 million people are suffering acute hunger.

Permanent UN crisis fund should be established

"Ethiopia has learned from previous droughts and has taken far-reaching precautions this time," said Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller. He is currently visiting the Somali region, one of the areas suffering worst under the drought. One stop on his trip was a settlement where people who have been forced to flee their homes by the drought are being provided with the bare essentials. Safe drinking water, food and medical care are the priorities. In spite of improved preparations, the scale of this drought is overstretching the capacities not only of Ethiopia but of the region as a whole, said Gerd Müller.

"In South Sudan, Somalia, Niger, Kenya and Cameroon, people are dying of hunger because the international community has reacted too late, because the cash is taking too long to get where it is needed, and because funds are only forthcoming when it is far too late to avert the disaster," criticised Gerd Müller. The Federal Development Minister thus called for a permanent UN crisis fund to be established as swiftly as possible.

Conference brings together international donors

On Wednesday, speaking in Brussels, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel launched an urgent appeal along with European Union and United Nations representatives. The international community, he said, must accept responsibility and provide funds to prevent famine. "Nobody has the excuse that they do not know what the people there are facing," he stated.

In order to mobilise support worldwide, Germany will be working hard at international donor conferences and networking with aid organisations over the coming weeks. There are also plans to increase aid payments from Germany. The German government will be asking the Bundestag to approve more funds, reported Sigmar Gabriel.

This year, the Federal Development Ministry will be providing a total of 300 million euros to fight the consequences of drought in East Africa. To this sum must be added 120 million euros for humanitarian aid from the budget of the Federal Foreign Office. The Federal Foreign Office has earmarked 40 million euros for South Sudan, while another 15 million euros worth of aid is to go to the Horn of Africa.;jsessionid=1DA25F3C424E0075C5F5D148DFDCB343.s4t1


7.4.2017          By managing drought, Ethiopia now serves as a model for its neighbours. Simon Allison, The National

The Horn of Africa is suffering its worst drought in decades, with devastating humanitarian consequences. Two districts in South Sudan are officially in famine. Areas of Somalia and Yemen are on the brink. Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of death, while millions face severe disruption to their lives and livelihoods.

The drought has affected Ethiopia too. In 2015, it experienced its most severe dry spell in 50 years, and there are fears that 2017’s rains will fail too. But in this East African country, once the poster child for poverty in Africa, no one is talking about famine. Unlike Somalia and South Sudan, Ethiopia is doing something right.

"Only last year in Ethiopia, the drought in many places was worse than the terrible drought that we remember in 1985. But because of real economic progress, better preparation and a strong, timely response by the Ethiopian government and international community, suffering was so much lower that it barely hit our screens," said Mark Goldring, the chief executive of development charity Oxfam. (…)

"As we saw in Ethiopia last year, which suffered its worst drought in decades, it did not suffer the worst crisis. We did not see that situation [like the 1980s] in Ethiopia because there was a very robust response to the drought," said Challis McDonough, a spokesperson for the World Food Program in East Africa.

The most significant factor in that response is also perhaps the most obvious: Ethiopia actually planned ahead. In 2005, the government established the productive safety net programme, a distribution network designed to help Ethiopia’s rural poor to withstand exactly these kinds of shocks. It works by identifying households that are chronically food insecure and then providing transfers of either cash or food to help them out. Even in good years, when the rains do come and the crops thrive, many Ethiopians need help from the government – between 7 and 8 million annually – so the programme has already been stress-tested. When needed, the programme was ready to mitigate the worst consequences of the current drought by allowing additional food aid to quickly reach those who needed it, and by providing international humanitarian organisations with an efficient means to distribute international aid.

Other government initiatives included a district-by-district early warning system and the establishment of a national food reserve. The country also put plenty of its own money into combating the drought: $1 billion (Dh3.67m) from international donors was complemented by $735 million from the Ethiopian government, which represents more than 10 per cent of its $61.54 billion GDP.

The international community is united in its praise for the Ethiopian response. (…) whatever one’s opinion of the government, credit where credit is due: Ethiopia’s relative stability – especially compared to its troubled neighbours in Somalia and South Sudan – has allowed the country to plan ahead and implement the policies necessary to prevent a repeat of the 1984 famine.

But now Ethiopia risks becoming a victim of its own success. Although a famine has been averted, at least 5.6 million people still require continuing emergency food assistance. And the fact that Ethiopia is not on the brink of famine might make it harder to raise the foreign funding necessary to maintain that emergency aid.

That funding is getting increasingly scarce: so far, the United Nations has raised just 6 per cent of the $2.1 billion it needs to reach 12 million people with life-saving aid. Ethiopia must now compete for these scarce resources with the likes of South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen – all countries facing far more severe food security issues.


6.4.2017          German funds for the Horn of Africa drought response to increase from 100 million Euro to 300 million Euro. UNICEF

On 03 April 2017, UNICEF, WFP, and UN-OCHA went on a joint one-day field visit with the German Minister for Development Cooperation (BMZ) to Kebri Dahar and Waaf Duug Temporary Resettlement Site in Doolo Zone, Somali Region, Ethiopia. The Minister was accompanied by 16 German journalists, BMZ officials, German Embassy partners, GiZ and KfW. The Somali Regional President and key regional government counterparts have also joined the field visit. The visit was part of the German Minister’s visit to Ethiopia to discuss the Marshall Plan for Africa with Ethiopian Government and AU Officials.

The Minister and his delegation visited the Urban WASH programme (borehole and water trucking) in Kebri Dahar town, as well as UNICEF’s emergency Health, Nutrition and WASH programmes in the Waaf Dhuug Resettlement Site for drought displaced people. More specifically, the Minister was able to see a Mobile Health and Nutrition Team operating with the German funded vehicles, a stabilization centre for severely malnourished children that utilizes German funded Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and a water point. The Minister also visited WFP’s school feeding programme at the Waaf Dhuug primary school and a WFP food distribution.

Waaf Dhuug Temporary Resettlement Site (TRS) hosts 4,500 host community and 3,882 drought displaced people, of which more than 85 per cent are women and children from surrounding grassing areas. The site was established in January 2017 and is one of the 58 Temporary Resettlement Site established by the Somali Regional Government in response to the drought emergency. Majority of the pastoralist community have moved into the TRS due to extensive loss of livestock as a result of the drought. They have left their villages in search of water and health and nutrition services for themselves and their children. Discussing with the Minister, Kadar Kaydsane, 35 years old and a mother of 10  said, “We walked for five hours to get to Waaf Dhuug and we lost all our livestock on the way. We came here to find water and other services provided by the Government.”

The Minister and German development partners recognized the importance of investing in building resilience, for instance through funding water schemes and strengthening Government systems, such as the Health Extension Programme. The Minister further appreciated the German Government’s strong partnership with UNICEF and was impressed by the integrated drought emergency response at the resettlement site, but recognized that the challenges are very complex and the required funding remains significant. As a response to the dire need of the people affected by the drought, the Minister announced that German funds for the Horn of Africa drought response will be increased from 100 million Euro to 300 million Euro.


4.4.2017          Entwicklungsminister Müller bringt Berufsbildungszentrum für den Textilsektor auf den Weg. entwicklungspolitik online

Die boomende Textilbranche Äthiopiens findet bislang kaum qualifizierte Fachkräfte. Hier will die deutsche Entwicklungszusammenarbeit Abhilfe schaffen und ein Berufsbildungszentrum im äthiopischen Mekelle einrichten. Dies kündigte Entwicklungsminister Gerd Müller (CSU) am Dienstag im Rahmen seiner Äthiopienreise an. Ziel ist es, in der wachsenden äthiopischen Textilexport-Industrie von vornherein hohe Sozial- und Umweltstandards zu verankern. Eine entsprechende Ausbildung für die angehenden Fach- und Führungskräfte legt dafür die Grundlage. Das Textilunternehmen H&M und die bangladeschische DBL Group sind Mitglieder des von Müller ins Leben gerufenen Bündnisses für nachhaltige Textilien und bringen ihre Erfahrung aus vielen Jahren Engagement für eine nachhaltigere Textilproduktion in das neue Vorhaben ein. Das BMZ steuert eine Million Euro zur Finanzierung des Berufsbildungszentrums bei, die beiden Unternehmen zusammen eine weitere Million Euro. (…)

Der Textil- und Bekleidungssektor Äthiopiens verfügt über großes Potenzial und ein großes Angebot an Arbeitskräften, steht jedoch auch vor großen Herausforderungen: In den kommenden Jahren werden schätzungsweise 350.000 Fachkräfte benötigt, die Nachfrage übersteigt bereits heute das Angebot. Das Berufsbildungszentrum soll innerhalb von drei Jahren mindestens 20.000 Fachkräfte für die Textil- und Bekleidungsproduktion ausbilden, Beschäftigte weiterbilden und das mittlere Management qualifizieren. Bereits jetzt ist die deutsche Entwicklungszusammenarbeit in der Berufsbildung für einen nachhaltigen Textil- und Bekleidungssektor in Äthiopien aktiv. Unter anderem unterstützt das BMZ die Qualifizierung von Arbeitsinspektoren, die Ausweitung von Umweltmanagement-Systemen für Industrieparks und fördert den Dialog zwischen Management und Beschäftigten.


- Politics, Justice, Human Rights -

30.4.2017        Ethiopia will fight unconstitutional activities held under guise of religion – Minister. africanews, Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

Ethiopia’s Information Minister has stated that the government was committed to fighting political activities that were being held under the pretext of religion. Dr. Negeri Lencho, tasked other stakeholders in the country to thus join hands with the government in the fight against religious extremists who try hard to disrupt the peace of the country and ruin the respect for rights as enshrined in the constitution. He was addressing a group of government officials at the end of a three-day training on ways of tackling religious extremism on April 30, 2017. ‘‘Any action which is against the constitution is unacceptable,’‘ he is quoted to have said. He also pledged that the government was ready to support the efforts of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC) to combat extremism.

“Any action which is against the constitution is unacceptable.“

The country is currently under an extended state-of-emergency that was first imposed in October 2016. The measure was to help quell spreading anti-government protests in the Oromo and Amhara regions of the country. A recent government report said 669 people dies in the protests. Addis Ababa has however rejected an independent probe by the United Nations and the European Union.

In January this year, a federal High Court in the capital Addis Ababa handed down sentences to 20 Muslims. According to the Addis Standard news portal, the convicted persons were found guilty of terrorism-related charges and also inciting violence. They were charged with contravening several articles of the country’s anti-terrorism proclamation and the Penal Code. Their trial has been running since December 2014. Two journalists were among the 20.


27.4.2017        US issues warning after Ethiopia grenade attacks, AP, Ethiopiaobserver

The United States issued a warning Thursday to its citizens about travelling to a popular tourist region in Ethiopia after a string of grenade attacks targeting hotels and homes. The US embassy in Addis Ababa said there had been four grenade blasts this month in Gondar, a city in the north known for its ancient castles. A popular stop on Ethiopia’s tourist circuit, Gondar was also the scene of anti-government protests last year that led to the declaration of a nationwide state of emergency. “The embassy recommends US citizens carefully consider whether travel to Gondar is necessary at this time,” the embassy said in a statement. A spokesman for Ethiopia’s government had no immediate comment.


27.4.2017        Government commits to bolster budding human rights- Premier. Solomon Aynshet, Waltainfo

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said that his government is dedicated to ensure human right issues at national level. The premier during his opening speech at the Launching Ceremony for the Second National Human Rights Action Plan said that growth, development, democracy and human right issues are inseparable and irreplaceable which play a pivotal role to realize Ethiopian renaissance. He noted that high focus is given due human right issues in the deep renewal reform in all levels; the second National Human Rights Action Plan is a concrete exemplary in this regard. All stakeholders in all levels should play their role for the implementation of the action plan by correcting challenges and replicating the successful deeds, he urged.

Humanitarian Coordinator with the United Nations, Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, on her part said that Ethiopia has recorded a wonderful achievement in growth, development and has met the Millennium Development Goals (MDG); the government has to exert more effort to ensure democratic and human rights at large. “Human rights are bedrock for development; besides, it is a litmus test for development of any country to show the extent to which it protects the rights of people”, she added. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie is optimistic that the UN is ready to support the Ethiopian government in the implementation of the plan.

The Second Action Plan is expected to run until 2020, it was noted. Walta has learnt that the Action Plan states a developed, comprehensive and structured mechanism to advance the respect, protection, and fulfillment of human rights guaranteed by the constitution and international human rights instruments.


25.4.2017        Ethiopia’s Eskinder Nega named IPI Press Freedom Hero, International Press Institue

Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who has been imprisoned since 2011 after criticising his country’s abuse of anti-terror laws to silence the press, has been named the International Press Institute (IPI)’s 69th World Press Freedom Hero. (…)

Nega has spent over 2,000 days behind bars since his arrest on Sept. 14, 2011, when Ethiopian authorities accused him of “leading a plan to throw the country into serious political chaos through a series of terrorist acts” and linked him to a banned opposition group. His jailing came shortly after Nega, a persistent critic of Ethiopia’s former long-time ruler and then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, published a column questioning the government’s abuse of anti-terror laws to punish journalistic scrutiny.

Nega’s comments were preceded by a wave of detentions under Ethiopia’s broad 2009 anti-terror law, including those of journalists Woubshet Taye and Reeyot Alemu – the 2013 recipient of the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize – as well as Swedish correspondents Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson.

An Ethiopian court convicted Nega in June 2012 of “participation in a terrorist organization” and “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt of (a) terrorist act”. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison the following month, a decision the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention later said violated international law.

IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said the award was a recognition of Nega’s “unflinching dedication to the free exchange of ideas and information and his determination – at the expense of his freedom and separation from his family – not to remain silent in the face of the Ethiopian government’s cynical attempt to use the fight against terrorism to crush legitimate dissent”.

She continued: “This award sends the message that Eskinder Nega’s bravery in relentlessly scrutinising power despite years of intense retaliation has not been forgotten. We renew our call on Ethiopia to free Eskinder and all journalists jailed for doing their jobs or expressing their opinions, and we urge the international community not to ignore Ethiopia’s continued flouting of its international human rights obligations”.

Nega faced frequent official pressure and harassment due to his writing beginning in the early 1990s. In 2005, he and his wife, journalist Serkalem Fasil, were jailed on treason charges for their coverage of a mass government crackdown on popular protests following disputed parliamentary elections won by Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Fasil would later give birth to a son behind bars. Authorities released the couple in April 2007 but shuttered their publishing company and banned Nega from practicing journalism.

Fasil, who now lives in exile in the United States with their son, said of IPI and IMS’ recognition of her husband that it was “absolutely heart-warming to know that all his sacrifices and valuable contribution to press freedom are not wasted in vain, but continue to shine a spotlight [on his plight] on the global stage”.

She added: ”Although, it remains a bittersweet moment for me (knowing where he is now), it is important to uphold such recognition for the tremendous impact it’s having to those who aspire to follow in his footsteps. … I truly hope it also expedites his release from imprisonment and brings an end to his suffering.”

IPI and its members have previously called for Nega’s release, including during a November 2013 joint mission to Ethiopia with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The Ethiopian government on that occasion denied IPI and WAN-IFRA’s requests to visit Nega and other jailed journalists.

The following year, WAN-IFRA honoured Nega with its Golden Pen of Freedom Award. In 2012, he also received the PEN American Center/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

In early September 2011, commenting on the arrests of Taye and Alemu, and just days before his own detention, Nega wrote to IPI: “Their arrest has more to do with calculated cultivation of fear. Fear is what dictatorships ultimately rely on to survive.”


23.4.2017    Ethiopian Commission Blames Excessive Force for Some Casualties,

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which has been investigating widespread protests and response to them by security forces in Oromia and Amhara regional states, has found regional and federal government security forces responsible for poor performance in responding to the crisis, which resulting in unnecessary killing of protestors, according to the Reporter. The commissioner of EHRC, Adissu Gebregziabher (PhD), said that investigations, conducted in Oromia, Amhara as well as the Gedeo zone, focused on the causes and the scale of violence as well as the security forces’ handling of protestors particularly from July 2016 to early October 2017, when the state of emergency decree was issued. The investigation was carried out in 15 zones and 91 woredas of Oromia, in 5 zones and 55 woredas of the Amhara Regional State as well as in 6 woredas of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, according to the commissioner.

In his report, the commissioner noted that a total of 669 people were killed in all the three regions, including 131 killed by law enforcement through either excessive or unnecessary use of force. The commissioner further said that even though the protests taking part were illegal, security forces should have considered other options of controlling them other than firing on unarmed civilians. According to the report, around 918 people were injured in the three regions, of which 123 injuries were caused by unnecessary and disproportionate use of force.

During the investigation period, the commission had talked to victims and their families, elders, representatives of youth, security forces, individual and group witnesses as well as prisoners. It also read various documents as sources of evidence, he said. According to the investigation’s findings, of the total 669 killed during the violence in the three regional states, 606 were civilians while 63 were members of the security forces.

Apart from causalities and property damages, some 8,450 people were displaced in Gedeo while ethnic-based attacks were also reported in Amhara where ethnic Tigrayan residents were forced to flee from Gondar and other parts of the Amhara region. Similar attacks in Oromia targeted properties and businesses run by Amharas, Tigrayans and those from other ethnic background, the report stated.

In Oromia, the investigation revealed that around 495 people lost their lives (462 civilians and 33 security officers), including 56 pilgrims who were killed in the stampede during Irrecha (Oromo Thanksgiving celebration) on October 2, 2016 in Bishoftu town, located some 47 km south-east of Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, the report noted that in Amhara, a total of 140 people died, of which 110 were civilians, while the remaining 30 were members of the security forces.

Similarly, the report also revealed that some 34 people, including two women, were killed and 78 injured during a two-day violence in six woredas of Gedeo zone. It also said that during violence in Dilla and its environs, 1098 businesses owned by non-Gedeons -- mainly by Amharas, Silties, Oromos, Guraghes, Wolaytas, Gammos, Gujis, Tigrayans, Sidamas and Argobas -- were attacked. Some 8,450 residents were displaced including Gedeons who had refused to take part in the attack on minorities.

Addisu told MPs that serious human rights violations had occurred, and implicated security forces in using unnecessary and disproportionate force in some parts of Oromia and Amhara regions.

The report listed land rights, corruption, unemployment and bad governance as causes for the widespread protest. The report also blamed the Blue Party and the Oromo Federalist Congress, as well as diaspora-based Oromo Media Network and the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) channel for inciting the violence in August and October 2016, when hundreds were reportedly killed. (Reporter)


23.4.2017        Ethiopia to Have New Policy Direction on Eritrea?

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn hinted on Wednesday that Ethiopia may have a new policy direction replacing the existing policy towards Eritrea, according to the Reporter. At a press conference he held on Wednesday with local journalists, Hailemariam said that his government has already finalized drafting the new policy direction regarding Eritrea and that it is expected to be tabled before the Council of Ministers very soon.

According to observers, the policy of containing and isolating Eritrea, which has been adopted by Ethiopia after the end of the war, has been effective in targeting and crippling the Eritrean regime. However, it seems that the Eritrean leader have survived all the measures taken by Ethiopia and the international community, including the tough UN economic sanctions, according to the commentators. PM Hailemariam denounced this saying that his government is always determined to bring peace with Eritrea and beyond in the East Africa. “We have been working tirelessly to bring peace between the two states but nothing has been achieved so far owing to the nature of the Eritrean regime,” Hailemariam told the press on Wednesday.

Thus, his administration is now crafting a brand new policy that centers on creating a sustainable peace, the PM said. “I can’t speak details of the new policy at this press conference, but I can assure you that the center of the new policy will emphasize on creating sustainable peace,” he said. (…)

In a related news, the PM spoke about Ethiopia’s concern owing to the Gulf Countries growing military presence in to the Red Sea area and towards the Horn of Africa (Reporter)


21.4.2017        Gov’t Striving to Improve Engagement of CSOs in Democratization, ENA

The government of Ethiopia said it has attached great importance to enhance the engagement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the overall development of the country. While opening the consultative forum on the role of CSOs in Ethiopia’s democratic system building, Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives, Abadula Gemeda said that the government is working to improve their participation. He added that the beginning of consultations with the CSOs, launched with today’s forum, would help as a springboard to the efforts of the government in building democracy.

The government has announced plan few months ago to work closely with political parties and the civil society organizations. While the consultations with the political parties kicked off earlier, the dialogue with CSOs started with the consultative forum held today in Addis Ababa. (…)

Head of political parties and civic organizations cluster at Center for Democracy, Office of the Prime Minister, Abulaziz Mohammed said that CSOs can contribute lot in the overall development activities. He added that they could play immense role in strengthening democratic system and accelerating ongoing development, however, they need to operate in accordance with the law.


20.4.2017        Ethiopian States of Oromia and Somali Agree to Resolve Boundary Dispute,

Ethiopian Somali and Oromia regional states inked an agreement to resolve problems related to administrative boundary demarcation, according to ENA. The agreement is expected to address challenges facing while adjusting administrative boundary demarcations on border areas between the two states. The agreement, signed by the Presidents of the two states, will enable them finalize demarcations of administrative boundary in all areas bordering the two states. By doing so, the states are expected to avoid clashes between residents living around border areas.

Minister of Federal and Pastoralist Affairs Kassa Teklebirhan who presided over the signing ceremony said the current agreement will enable to end disputes around border areas. The agreement is also instrumental in curbing destructive activities of anti-peace forces who always wanted to create chaos in the border areas between the two states, Kassa noted.

The minister said "despite the delay in signing this agreement, it demonstrates that we can resolve our problems by our own systems.” He urged the higher officials of both states to work hard for the implementation of the agreement. Speaking on the occasion, Lema Megersa, President of Oromia said the agreement is of vital importance to bring an end to clashes in the border areas between the two states. The agreement focused mainly on benefiting communities residing around border areas from development and stability, Abdi Mohamoud, President of Ethiopian Somali state said. (ENA)


10.4.2017    Political Parties Approve Regulation that Governs Negotiations, ENA

The nation-wide political parties 8th round negotiation has approved today a regulation that will govern the negotiation to be held among the 19 political parties, including the ruling party EPRDF. The six parties which proposed a neutral third party mediator in the last round, except Semayawi Party, have agreed to continue the negotiation. The parties have agreed to select three persons from among the parties to lead the negotiation permanently unless they are proven to lack neutrality and for misconduct. The mandates and duties of the three negotiation leaders were also approved. The leader negotiators will have limited rights, it was indicated.

The national political parties have also approved code of conduct for the negotiations. No party is allowed to give information to the mass media separately prior to the exhaustion of an agendum and issuance of a joint press conference or communiqué. The presence of local and international observers during the negotiations has also been agreed upon by the parties. The observers are not allowed to give any comment on agendas and also before the parties finalize the issue under negotiation.

Besides, the parties agreed to continue the negotiations in the House of People’s Representatives (HPR). The parties agreed to meet on April 19, 2017.

Medrek and All Amhara People Organization, who recently announced not to take part in the ongoing political negotiation in the absence of a neutral mediator as well as Semayawie party, did not attend the meeting.


10.4.2017   Werden ethnische Konflikte durch spezielle Polizeieinheiten geschürt? Auszüge aus einem langen Meinungsartikel in Addis Standard

In einem Beitrag des in Äthiopien verbotenen online-Magazins Addis Standard vom 10.4.2017 werden schwere Vorwürfe gegen die EPRDF Regierung erhoben, die sich u.a. auf Recherchen von Human Rights Watch stützen. Die Regierung soll in der Somali Region Spezialeinheiten der Polizei (Liyyu Police) unterhalten, welche de facto als paramilitärische Milizen agieren, um zunächst die regimekritische Bevölkerung innerhalb der Region zu unterdrücken und dann vor allem während des Ausnahmezustands durch massive Übergriffe in die Nachbarregion Oromia den Konflikt zwischen den beiden Volksgruppen zu schüren.

Wir können den Wahrheitsgehalt dieser Vorwürfe nicht überprüfen. Falls jedoch auch nur ein Teil zutrifft, liegen darin erhebliche Gefahren. Lokale Gebietskonflikte können eine große Sprengkraft bekommen, wenn sie von außen geschürt und im nationalen politischen Machtkampf missbraucht werden. Um vor dieser Gefahr zu warnen, ist es gar nicht nötig, die Situation in Süd-Ost Äthiopien mit derjenigen in Darfur zu vergleichen, wie der Autor es tut. Wahrscheinlich ist ein solcher Vergleich der tatsächlichen Lage auch nicht angemessen. Wir geben hier nur Ausschnitte vom Anfang und Ende des langen Artikels von J. Bonsa wieder, worin seine Warnung vor kriegerischen Eskalationen insbesondere zwischen Teilen der Oromo und Somali Bevölkerung im Südosten Äthiopiens zum Ausdruck kommt.

Analysis: History repeating itself in the Horn of Africa: Is the crime in Darfur being replicated in Eastern and Southern Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia? By J. Bonsa (PhD), Special to Addis Standard

Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles

“Liyyu” is an Amharic expression to mean “special”, so Liyyu police denotes a “special police”. (…) The Liyyu police was created in 2008 in the Somali People’s Regional State of the ethnically constituted federal government of Ethiopia. It is important to note that like any other regional state, the Somali Regional State (SRS henceforth) has a regular police force of its own. But why was a special police required only for SRS?

The key point is to recognize that Liyyu police is nothing but only a variant of the usual proxy politics that has riddled Ethiopia’s political affair during the ruling EPRDF era. This special force has no separate existence and no life of its own as such but it is just a proxy militia purposely created to cover up for human right abuses that was being perpetrated by Ethiopia’s National Defense Force (ENDF) but also planned to be intensified in its battles against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).   (...)

The TPLF dominated EPRDF regime in Addis Abeba has long started sowing the seeds of divide and rule strategy coupled with deliberate acts of fomenting conflicts between different communities. The motivation is pretty clear – it is an act of survival, a minority rule can sustain itself only if it turned other ethnic groups against each other. The case of Liyyu Police and its latest invasion of Oromia fits into that scheme.

If not addressed timely and decisively, Liyyu Police’s invasion of Oromia has a potential to turn into a full-blown atrocities that is likely to dwarf what happened in Darfur. Clearly, the tell-tale signs are already in place. (…) In Ethiopia, this situation on the ground is rapidly changing and it requires an urgent response from the international community.

Der vollständige Artikel findet sich hier:


7.4.2017      Human Rights Commission Launches Web Portal, Berihu Shiferaw, Waltainfo

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has inaugurated a Web portal that is aimed at enhancing and promoting the provision of its services. The web portal was launched this morning prior to the presentation of the draft manuals of human right monitoring and investigation for discussion to stakeholders.

During the inauguration, EHRC Commissioner Dr. Addisu Gebre-Egzabier said it would increase the service coverage of the commission. According to him, the Web portal would also enable to receive complaints from customers and forward feedbacks by using the system through

The Web portal can also be used to adapt new system and inform the community about its services in relation to abuse of human rights, the commissioner added. (…) Launching the Web portal, Speaker of House of People’s Representatives Abadula Gemeda said the commission, beyond striving to protect human rights, has been undertaking various activities that would enable it to build institutional capacity. (…)


6.4.2017      A new TV channel funded by the ruling party. Arefayne Fantahun, Ethiopia Observer

The Ethiopian government has launched a new television station with current affairs channel staffed by young journalists. The Ethiopian News Network (ENN), fully funded by the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front is starting slowly, with its offerings available on the Egyptian satellite company Nilesat’s stream, and uploading some of its contents on YouTube page. Dr. Debretsion G. Michael, Minster of the Ministry of Communication And Information, is one of the board members overseeing the new TV channels, Ethiopia Observer has learnt.

The Amharic-language station aims to create a “platform” and allow officials, businessmen and scholars to exchange opinions. Among the recent personalities featured on the station’s talk show are executive director of Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development and one of the founders of the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front, Sebaht Nega, former Minister of Information and now businessman, Bereket Simoen and Information Network Security Agency general manager Tekleberhan Wolde Aregay, Vice president of the Tigray Regional State, Addisalem Balema.

ENN producers say their programming is less dogmatic and more openly critical than Ethiopia Broadcast Corporation (EBC), whose reporting rarely goes beyond repeating communiques from government ministries. The state media are facing increasing competition from more widely available online sources as internet access expands and hugely popular satellite television channels broadcast from the US, such as the Ethiopian Satellite Television, ESAT. Like many of the country’s state outlets, ENN journalists included recent graduates eager to modernize official media that have become irrelevant to most young Ethiopians. But content and editorial decisions remains almost entirely under the control of the ruling party.


2.4.2017      Horrifying Testimony of Torture in TPLF Prison, VOA Interview: Part-1 (23 March 2017) + Part-2 (25 March 2017): Habtamu Ayalew: Former spokesman of Andenet Party (Ethiopia),

VOA Introducer, Alula Kebede: Today’s guest for democracy in action program is Mr. Habtamu Ayalew, former spokesperson of the opposition, Andenet Party (unity party) in Ethiopia. Mr. Habtamu was subjected to two years of imprisonment, waiting for trial after being accused of terrorism by the regime. He says his health crisis is the result of the inhumane treatment, torture and extreme abuse he endured while in prison. Based on his discussions, not only do the harsh and cruel torture techniques on prisoners result in health crisis, but also the deaths of many prisoners. He explains how he and others have suffered in prison under the current TPLF regime.

Ato Habtamu starts his interview by saying you know In Ethiopia under the current regime if you ask or advocate for democratic rights, freedom and equality, your fate is one of the following 1. You End up in prison 2. You get killed or 3. You end up as a refugee in another country. Since I was taken to the central prison (Maekelawi in Amharic) I was subjected to excessive torture that caused me physical and psychological trauma. Extreme physical and mental scar have been inflicted on me by the regime. (...)

The extent and the details of physical and mental torture that Ato Habtamu describes in this extensive interview are quite disturbing. The full length interview can be read here:


3.4.2017   Ethiopia extends emergency as old antagonisms fester. James Jeffrey (freelance journalist in AA),

The Ethiopian government has extended a nationwide state of emergency for four months, hailing it as successful in restoring stability after almost a year of popular protests and crackdowns that cost hundreds of lives. But while parts of Amhara, one of the hotbeds of the recent unrest, may be calm on the surface, IRIN found that major grievances remain unaddressed and discontent appears to be festering: There are even widespread reports that farmers in the northern region are engaged in a new, armed rebellion. (…)

“There’s been no negative effects,” Zadig Abrha, Ethiopia’s state minister for government communication affairs, told IRIN shortly before the measures were extended by four months, on 30 March. “The state of emergency enabled us to focus on repairing the economic situation, compensating investors, and further democratising the nation… [and] allowed us to normalise the situation to how it was before, by enabling us to better coordinate security and increase its effectiveness.”

(…) “Someone will come and say they are with the Command Post and just tell you to go with them – you have no option but to obey,” explained Dawit, who works in the tourism industry in the Amhara city of Gondar. “No one has any insurance of life.” Local people told IRIN that the Command Post also took control of the city’s courts and did away with due process. Everyday life ground to a halt as traders closed shops and businesses in a gesture of passive resistance. (…)

Prominent blogger and Ethiopian political analyst Daniel Berhane said the state of emergency extension might maintain calm in Amhara. It “isn’t just about security,” he said. “There is a political package with it: Since two weeks ago, the government has been conducting meetings across the region at grassroots levels to address people’s economic and administrative grievances, which are what most people are most concerned about.”

Mountain militias

Even as calm has been restored in some areas, a new form of serious opposition to the government has taken shape: Organised militia made up of local Amhara farmers have reportedly been conducting hit-and-run attacks on soldiers in the mountainous countryside. “The topography around here is tough, but they’ve spent their lives on it and know it,” said Henok, a student nurse who took part in the protests. “They’re like snipers with their guns.”

“The government controls the urban but not the rural areas,” he said. “[The farmers] are hiding in the landscape and forests. No one knows how many there are,” he said, adding that he’d seen “dozens of soldiers at Gondar’s hospital with bullet and knife wounds.” Young Gondar men like Henok talk passionately of Colonel Demeke Zewudud, who led Amhara activism for the restoration of [the annexed] Wolkite district until his arrest in 2016, and about Gobe Malke, allegedly a leader of the farmers’ armed struggle until his death in February – reportedly at the hands of a cousin on the government’s payroll.

“The farmers are ready to die,” a priest in Gondar told IRIN on condition of anonymity, stressing that the land is very important to them. “They have never been away from here,” he explained.

Without referring specifically to any organisation of armed farmers, Zadig, the government minister, said the state of emergency had been extended because of “agitators” still at large. “There are still people who took part in the violence that are not in custody, and agitators and masterminds of the violence who need to be brought before the rule of law,” he said. “And there are arms in circulation that need to be controlled, and some armed groups not apprehended.” (…)

“If the government wants a true and real form of stabilisation, then it should allow for a true representative form of governance so all people have the representation they need and deserve,” said Tewodros Tirfe of the Amhara Association of America. In a report presented to a US congressional hearing in early March, Tewodros said some 500 members of the security forces had been killed in the recent clashes in the Amhara region. “Deeper resentment and anger at the government is driving young people to the armed struggle,” he told IRIN.

But Zadig and the government insisted: “The public stood by us.” “They said no to escalating violence. In a country of more than 90 million, if they’d wanted more escalation we couldn’t have stopped them.” (…)


- Economics -

25.4.2017   Konflikte um Afrikas größtes Wasserkraftwerk. Roman Goergen, Technology Review

Mehr als genug Strom für die gesamte Bevölkerung: Ein Nilstaudamm zwanzig Kilometer vor der Grenze zum Sudan soll Äthiopien diesen Traum erfüllen. Aber es gibt Streit. Für das zu Beginn des Jahrzehnts gestartete Projekt wendet der ostafrikanische Staat enorme Mittel auf. Es ist Teil eines größeren Plans für Talsperren und damit verbundenen Hydro-Kraftwerken, in den Äthiopien in den kommenden zwanzig Jahren insgesamt rund zwölf Milliarden US-Dollar investieren will. Das Prunkstück dieser Agenda steht mit dem Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) kurz vor der Vollendung. Die Talsperre in der westäthiopischen Provinz Benishangul-Gumuz wird am Ende eine Höhe von rund 170 Metern haben und den Blauen Nil auf einer Breite von 1800 Metern stauen. Ihr Reservoir hat eine prognostizierte Kapazität von 74 Milliarden Kubikmetern – das entspricht quasi dem gesamten Wasservolumen des Flusses.

Im Juli dieses Jahres soll das Mammutprojekt fertig werden, auch wenn auf vielen Seiten Skepsis herrscht. Der US-Nachrichtendienst Bloomberg zum Beispiel meldet die Fertigstellung erst für das kommende Jahr. Um ihre ehrgeizigen Ziele zu erreichen, erlaubt die äthiopische Regierung allerdings wenig Widerspruch. Oppositionelle Kritiker der gigantischen Bauprojekte landen oft im Gefängnis. Das Wasser der Talsperre soll insgesamt 16 Turbinen mit einer Gesamtkapazität von 6000 MW antreiben – ein Rekord für Afrika. "Es ist zwar fraglich, wie oft man wirklich diese Gesamtkapazität erreichen kann", sagt Kevin Wheeler, Ingenieur für Wasserressourcen an der Oxford University. Aber auch wenn die Stromerzeugung unter dem Plan liegt, wäre sie ein Segen für das Land. Gegenwärtig verfügt nur ein Viertel aller Äthiopier über regelmäßigen Zugang zu Elektrizität. GERD würde die Stromerzeugungskapazität in Äthiopien auf einen Schlag mehr als verdoppeln. "Das Land sieht das Projekt als Schlüsselfaktor, um sich aus seiner Armut zu befreien", sagt Wheeler, der seine Doktorarbeit über GERD geschrieben hat.

Skeptisch begegnen allerdings die Nachbarstaaten dem Staudammprojekt. Vor allem Ägypten fürchtet, Äthiopien könne ihm buchstäblich den Hahn abdrehen. Das Land deckt etwa 87 Prozent seines Bedarfs an Wasser aus dem Nil und pocht daher auf seinem 1959 vertraglich zugesicherten Anspruch auf 55,5 Milliarden Kubikmeter. Seit neue Präsidenten in Addis Abeba und Kairo an die Macht gekommen sind, hat sich der Ton allerdings entschärft. Im März 2015 unterschrieben die Staatsoberhäupter beider Länder gemeinsam mit der sudanesischen Regierung eine Erklärung, welche die Talsperre am Blauen Nil billigt, solange sie "keinen signifikanten Schaden" für die Länder stromabwärts verursache. Ob dies wirklich der Fall ist, sollen zwei französische Gutachterfirmen klären.

Besonders heikel ist das Füllen der Talsperre. Denn dann muss viel mehr Wasser einlaufen als herausfließt. Laut Wheeler wird dies rund sieben Jahre dauern "und sollte mit großer Vorsicht vonstatten gehen". Der Oxford-Wissenschaftler schlägt vor, eine Quote festzulegen, wie viel Wasser die Talsperre jährlich freigeben muss. Aber auch später noch müssten Äthiopien, Ägypten und der Sudan in Sachen GERD eng zusammenarbeiten. (Roman Goergen) / (bsc)


21.4.2017    Chinese Company Building One Billion USD Light Industry City in Ethiopia.

The construction of Ethio-China Light Industry City, expected to producing footwear and apparel in large volumes, is progressing very well, according to ENA. Hua Rong Zhang, Founder and President of Huajian Group, which is building the manufacturing zone, told ENA that the special economic zone is expected to be completed by 2020. The industry zone is expected to consume one billion USD, according to Zhang.

Since its foundation was laid in April 2016 by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the industrial zone has gained great attention and support from governments of both Ethiopia and China. Zhang noted that Ethiopia encourages foreign enterprises and provides good environment for investment adding that it is working with the implementation of proper laws and regulations that create conducive environment for investment.

The park covering a total area of 137.8 hectares in the vicinity of Addis Ababa, has finalized the first and second phases and now entered into its third phase of construction, Zhang noted. According to the President, the manufacturing zone is well in progress as the construction of factories, dormitories, roads, water and electricity facilities are going according to the plan.

Upon completion, the park will be the new focus of Ethiopian light industry and is expected to produce two billion USD in annual export revenue. Zhang said that the park will be the leading demonstration area in Africa for China’s investment in the development of industrial parks in the continent. Established in 1986, Huajian Group headquartering in Dongguan, China, specialized in the production of high and middle-grade women’s leather shoes. (ENA)


18.4.2017        Billiger als Bangladesch - Neuer Textilstandort Äthiopien. RTDeutsch

Wir haben uns daran gewöhnt, dass auf den Etiketten unserer T-Shirts nicht nur «Hergestellt in der Türkei» steht, sondern auch «Made in Bangladesh». Doch die globale Textilindustrie zieht schon weiter. Staaten wie Indien, Bangladesch und Sri Lanka waren lange die Superbillig-Standorte der Textilindustrie. Jetzt dienen sich der Branche neue Niedriglohnländer an: Äthiopien, Haiti, Kambodscha und Myanmar. Oft verdienen Firmen aus den «alten» Textilstaaten dort mit. Die Chinesen und die Türken sind schon in Äthiopien. Auch Textilfirmen aus Indien und Bangladesch, deren Kleidung auch in Deutschland landet, haben in dem ostafrikanischen Land schon die ersten Pflöcke eingeschlagen.

Eine von ihnen ist die indische Firma Jay Jay, die an ihren alten Standorten in Südindien, Sri Lanka und Bangladesch rund 70.000 Arbeiter beschäftigt. In Äthiopien, wo der Monatslohn für angelernte Textilarbeiter bei umgerechnet etwa 50 Euro und damit noch unter dem Niveau von Bangladesch liegt, ist Jay Jay seit zwei Jahren im Geschäft. Die Firma beschäftigt in Äthiopien etwa 1.800 Menschen, Tendenz steigend.

Anna Beatrice Glasmann ist im Auftrag der dpa vor Ort und erzählt, wie es in der Fabrik zugeht. Die Jay-Jay-Fabrikhalle liegt im Industriepark Bole Lemi vor den Toren der Hauptstadt Addis Abeba. In der modernen Halle herrscht ohrenbetäubender Lärm. Maschinen rattern, Vorarbeiter rufen Kommandos. Dann ertönt ein Gong. Die Mittagspause ist vorbei. In der Küche, die auf einer Empore liegt, wird der Boden gewischt. Es riecht nach Gemüse, scharfer Soße und gesäuertem Brot. Das Essen ist für die Zuschneiderinnen und Näherinnen umsonst. Mehr als 300 Frauen stehen hier pro Schicht hinter hohen Tischen.

Acht Stunden pro Tag nähen sie kleine Leibchen und Strampler aus Baumwolle. Der Großteil der Baby-Bekleidung, die in diesem neuen Industriepark vor den Toren von Addis Abeba hergestellt wird, geht in die USA und nach Europa.

Etwa fünf Prozent der Produktion ist für Deutschland bestimmt, zu unseren Kunden gehört auch H&M», erklärt der Fabrikdirektor M. Balasubramaniyam – unaussprechlicher Name für die Arbeiterinnen, die hier schuften.

Äthiopien hat etwa 100 Millionen Einwohner und zählt zu den ärmsten Staaten der Welt. Die Regierung hofft, dass zu den aktuell knapp 50.000 Beschäftigten im Textilsektor in den kommenden vier Jahren weitere 350.000 Arbeiter hinzukommen. Zwar hat das Land keinen Zugang zum Meer. Doch dafür bietet der am chinesischen Modell orientierte Staat im Vergleich zu den meisten seiner Nachbarstaaten am Horn von Afrika ein gewisses Maß an politischer Stabilität.

«Wir schicken unsere Produkte für den Export zum Hafen nach Dschibuti», erklärt der Fabrikdirektor. Zu den Kunden des Unternehmens, das im Jahr 1971 im indischen Bundesstaat Tamil Nadu gegründet wurde, zählt auch H&M. Der schwedische Textilhandelskonzern bezieht auch über andere Zulieferer, wie die bangladeschische DBL Group, Ware aus Äthiopien. Auch der deutsche Textildiscounter Kik hat Produktion in Äthiopien, aber noch in sehr bescheidenem Umfang.

Mit Bangladesch verbindet man in der Branche nicht nur niedrige Löhne, sondern auch brutale Arbeitsbedingungen, Brände und den Einsturz der Rana-Plaza-Textilfabrik im Jahr 2013. Dabei waren damals 1.138 Textilarbeiterinnen ums Leben gekommen. Die Katastrophe war Auslöser für verschiedene Initiativen zum Schutz der Arbeiter im Textilsektor. Eine davon ist das von Bundesentwicklungsminister Gerd Müller (CSU) initiierte 'Textilbündnis für Sozialstandards und Umweltschutz'.

Wir haben in Bangladesch einige üble Lektionen gelernt, die wir nicht wiederholen müssen», sagt H&M-Manager Tobias Fischer.

Er sagt, sein Unternehmen bekenne sich zu den Zielen des deutschen Textilbündnisses, das zum Beispiel gemeinsam die Rahmenbedingungen in Produktionsländern verbessern will. Genauso wichtig sei aus seiner Sicht aber die Qualifizierung von Näherinnen, Managern und Vorabeitern, sagt Fischer.

Yenewark Tesfa (22) hat ein buntes Tuch um ihr Haar geschlungen. An einer Kette um den Hals trägt die schmale Äthiopierin ein silbernes Kreuz. Die Näherin ist froh, bei Jay Jay einen Job gefunden zu haben. Doch sie sagt: Das Geld reicht nicht. Sie träumt von einem eigenen kleinen Geschäft. Bis es - vielleicht - eines Tages so weit ist, wird sie weiter Strampler aus indischer Baumwolle nähen, für kleine Europäer und Amerikaner.  (dpa)


31.3.201          EBOOK: Doing Business in Ethiopia, Mail and Guardian Africa. Elias Meseret

A report from the outward investment and trade mission to Ethiopia, 5-10 March 2017

How Ethiopia overturned its fortunes in the past few years is impressive: it has managed to tune down the stream of images of drought and famine that  each those outside the country and has become home to “Africa’s Lion Economy,” achieving close to 11% growth for more than a decade. Officials in Addis Ababa are keen to showcase the investment opportunities that the country presents, sparing no time during an outward investment and trade mission to Ethiopia, held from March 5 to 10 2017, in telling people about Ethiopian Airlines, the under-construction Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the shiny new Addis Light Rail Transit system. (…)  All these are giving an edge to the country, but local and regional problems persist. (…)

Der Bericht enthält die folgenden Kapitel: Agro-industrial parks set to become Ethiopia’s prime business. South African defense companies eyeing the Ethiopian market. Ethiopia aims to join World’s top textile manufacturing hubs. Ethiopia betting big on hydroelectric power projects.

Download full report:


- Agriculture and Natural Resources -

13.4.2017        Armyworms ravage crops in southern Ethiopia, Reuters

Pest is a food security risk in a region already struggling with worsening drought

Crop-eating caterpillars known as fall armyworms have damaged crops across southern Ethiopia, the latest country to be struck by the pests in a region already struggling with widespread drought and hunger, authorities said on Thursday.

In March, Uganda confirmed that the caterpillars had attacked crops on farms in about 20 districts in the country, while neighbouring Kenya has dispatched a team of scientists and other experts to investigate reports of their appearance. In a statement, Ethiopia's farming ministry said the pests have so far damaged crops in nearly 10,700 hectares of land in the country's Oromiya area and a region known as SNNP, short for Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People. "Thirty-five thousand litres of chemicals have been purchased and distributed to spray affected areas with insecticide," said Zebdios Selato, the body's director for plant healthcare. The attacks could further affect agricultural output in a country where a drought has left 5.6 million people needing food aid. Drought and conflict have put four countries in the region at risk of mass starvation - northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen - according to the U.N. refugee agency .

The caterpillar is native to North and South America, though it has already spread to other parts of Africa including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo.


- Culture and Education -

17.4.2017        The extraordinary life of Ethiopia's 93-year-old singing nun, Kate Molleson, The Guardian

She sang for Haile Selassie then retreated from the world, living barefoot in a hilltop monastery, perfecting her bluesy, freewheeling sound. Kate Molleson on The Honky Tonk Nun, her documentary about Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

(…) “We can’t always choose what life brings,” she said. “But we can choose how to respond.” If anyone is qualified to dish out such wisdom, it’s a woman whose choices were determined by religious self-exile, maverick gender struggles and Ethiopia’s dramatic 20th-century political history – and who became a singular artist in the process.

Most people familiar with Emahoy’s music come across it via her solo piano album released in 2006, as part of the Éthiopiques collection. That series put her poised, bluesy, freewheeling waltzes together with the Ethio-jazz that emerged out of Addis Ababa in the 1960s – and although she smiles fondly at the mention of fellow Éthiopiques musicians such as Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, she insists she’s not a jazz artist. Her training is purely western classical; her inspiration comes from the ancient modal chants of the Orthodox church. It’s a unique fusion and it sounds like nothing else. (…)

Born in 1923, she grew up in one of the country’s most privileged families. She and her sister were the first girls to be sent abroad for their education – she remembers travelling by train, aged six, from the highlands of Addis to the port of Djibouti then onwards by boat to Marseille, en route to a Swiss boarding school. That’s where she first encountered western classical music. She took piano and violin lessons and turned out to be a special talent. In the 1930s, she returned to Addis: portraits from this period show a gorgeous young woman with a wry smile and a bold fashion sense. She went to high-society parties and sang for Haile Selassie. She had a car and raced a horse and trap around the city. She was a feminist: the first woman to work for the Ethiopian civil service, the first to sing in an Ethiopian Orthodox church, the first to work as a translator for the Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem. “Even as a teenager I was always asking, ‘What is the difference between boys and girls?’” she told me. “We are equal!”

That life was brutally disrupted when Benito Mussolini, with an eye on a potential colony, invaded Ethiopia in 1936 and three members of Emahoy’s family were killed. She was evacuated to Europe, but she was unfazed in her determination to become a musician and eventually found her way to Cairo to study with esteemed Polish violinist Alexander Kontorowicz. She practiced for nine hours a day and remembers it as a happy time, but the Egyptian heat got to her and she was sent home to recover in the high-altitude, more temperate climate of the Ethiopian capital. (…) After her time in Cairo, 23-year-old Emahoy set her sights on London and was offered a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. But for reasons that she couldn’t or wouldn’t disclose, she was refused permission to go. Whether it was a bureaucratic glitch or something closer to the lyrics of my Burns song, we will probably never know. The disappointment made her give up the classical piano and turn to God. (…)  After becoming a nun, she spent a decade living barefoot in a hilltop monastery in northern Ethiopia, and when she eventually returned to music, she wrote her own compositions, infusing the classical training of her youth with the pentatonic chants she was singing in church. There’s a stunning timelessness to her music: the ornaments are virtuosic and the chords lilt like a Chopin waltz – almost, but not quite. With Emahoy, nothing is regular. No fixed metre, no pulse that can be set in notation, no strict adherence to any one scale system. Her melodies flit between traditions; they float on their own axis. (…)

Nachhören der Sendung auf BBC Radio 4:  


- Horn of Africa and Foreign Affairs -

23.4.2017        Ethiopia to Have New Policy Direction on Eritrea?

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn hinted on Wednesday that Ethiopia may have a new policy direction replacing the existing policy towards Eritrea, according to the Reporter. At a press conference he held on Wednesday with local journalists, Hailemariam said that his government has already finalized drafting the new policy direction regarding Eritrea and that it is expected to be tabled before the Council of Ministers very soon.

According to observers, the policy of containing and isolating Eritrea, which has been adopted by Ethiopia after the end of the war, has been effective in targeting and crippling the Eritrean regime. However, it seems that the Eritrean leader have survived all the measures taken by Ethiopia and the international community, including the tough UN economic sanctions, according to the commentators. PM Hailemariam denounced this saying that his government is always determined to bring peace with Eritrea and beyond in the East Africa. “We have been working tirelessly to bring peace between the two states but nothing has been achieved so far owing to the nature of the Eritrean regime,” Hailemariam told the press on Wednesday.

Thus, his administration is now crafting a brand new policy that centers on creating a sustainable peace, the PM said. “I can’t speak details of the new policy at this press conference, but I can assure you that the center of the new policy will emphasize on creating sustainable peace,” he said. (…)

In a related news, the PM spoke about Ethiopia’s concern owing to the Gulf Countries growing military presence in to the Red Sea area and towards the Horn of Africa (Reporter)