MELDUNGEN von MAI 2017
25.5.2017 Hunger to hit emergency levels in Ethiopia despite rains. Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Nairobi
Hunger is likely to reach emergency levels in Ethiopia and the number in need of food aid will rise beyond the current 7.7 million, experts said, as drought has decimated livestock, rains have been erratic and aid is in short supply. Prolonged drought, followed by floods, has pushed millions across East Africa into crisis, with 7 million in neighboring Somalia also needing aid, the United Nations said as it grapples with the highest global hunger levels in decades.
"Despite enhanced rainfall at the end of April into early May over many areas of Ethiopia, food security outcomes are still expected to deteriorate," the U.S.-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) said on Wednesday.
Herders in southeastern Ethiopia will be worst hit over the next three months, it said, with hunger reaching the fourth "emergency" level on a five-phase scale, where the fifth level is famine. "The current marginal improvements in pasture and water are likely to be depleted by early June, which will mean rangeland resources will rapidly decline, and subsequently livestock body conditions," it said, with the next rains due in October.
The number of Ethiopians who need food aid surged to 7.7 million from 5.6 million between January and April. This number is expected to increase in the second half of the year, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said this week.
16.5.2017 Ethiopia - Situation report May 2017, FAO
- Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia are increasing primarily in southern and southeastern pastoral areas due to the failure of the 2016 deyr/hagaya (October to December) rains and below-average and erratic 2017 gu/genna (March to May) rains.
- Drought is heavily impacting the livelihoods of livestock-dependent communities, with extremely limited pasture and water causing abnormal migrations, widespread livestock deaths, enhanced morbidity rates and extreme emaciation.
- Food insecurity has surged since the beginning of the year. As of May, 7.8 million Ethiopians are in need of emergency food aid, a 39 percent increase since mid-January. Malnutrition rates are also increasing and extreme coping mechanisms are observed.
- Maize and sorghum production is threatened by the spread of a new pest. Presence of the fall armyworm has been reported in three regions, raising concerns over the rapid geographic spread of the infestation and potential for significant crop damage.
- FAO urgently requires USD 8.4 million to address the needs of drought-affected pastoralists in southern and southeastern Ethiopia. Funding needs are likely to increase once the upcoming post-belg/gu/genna assessment has been conducted.
13.5.2017 WB Finances Pilot Project. Birhanu Fikade, The Reporter
- 92,000 hectares of forest lost in a year
The World Bank Group (WB) last week granted a USD 18 million for a newly introduced forest protection pilot program dubbed Oromia Forest Landscape Program (OFLP) in the Oromia Regional State, and aims to replicate its success across the country in ten years’ time.
Launching the program in Chillimo village some 85 km northeast of Addis Ababa, Stephen Danyo, natural resources management specialist with the World Bank Ethiopia country office, told The Reporter that the community is taking a participatory approach to manage the forest in order to secure livelihoods, jobs, and to conserve water which is also used by downstream communities as well. For that reason, the new forest protection program, which has received a USD 18 million grant for the first five years, has kick-started in Chillimo as the village is recognized as one of the spots having tress recognized to be “old, indigenous and originally rich”. But at the same time the forest is facing continued deforestation threats. According to Stephen, there is not much forest coverage left in the country. (…)
- Politics, Justice, Human Rights -
27.5.2017 Only 10 of 62 Political Parties Comply with Proclamation: Nat'l Electoral Board of Ethiopia. ENA
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said only 10 out of the 62 political parties in the country are operating in line with the Political Parties Registration Proclamation Number 573/2000. The board disclosed this while presenting its nine month performance report to the House of People’s Representatives (HPR).
NEBE Chairperson, Professor Merga Beqana, said there are 22 national and 40 regional parties registered in the country. The board, as per its mandate, has been monitoring these parties whether they were carrying out their activities in compliance with the electoral law, he added. The monitoring conducted on this basis has revealed that only 10 parties are operating by meeting the legal requirements stipulated in the revised political parties registration proclamation number 573/2000, the Chairperson stated.
According to him, the remaining 17 national and 35 regional political parties partially fulfill the law. Of these, four national and regional political parties have not held general assembly in accordance with their statues, elected and notified the board their new leaders and appointed competent external auditor. HPR Legal Affairs Standing Committee Chairperson Petors Woldesenbet said the effort underway to consolidate political parties in the country by monitoring and supporting them is good.
25.5.2017 Ethiopian politician jailed for 6.5 years for 'encouraging terrorism' via Facebook. Ismail Akwei, africanews
A federal high court in Ethiopia has sentenced politician Yonatan Tesfaye to six years and six months in prison for planning, preparing and encouraging terrorism via his Facebook page in 2015. The former spokesperson for the Blue party was found guilty of the charges earlier this month after his arrest in December 2015 for igniting the Oromo protests that resulted in the death of thousands of people. The sentence follows an appeal by his lawyer Shibiru Belete Birru for a minimum sentence as the charges carried up to 20 years prison sentence, local media Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported Thursday.
After his arrest, Tesfaye was held incommunicado during the pre-trial period until May 2016 when he was charged with terrorism under the country’s anti-terrorism law. He has maintained his innocence throughout the trial based on the 2009 law that prescribes jail terms for anyone who publishes information that could induce readers to commit acts of terrorism.
Yonatan Tesfaye’s sentencing follows the conviction of journalist Getachew Shiferaw who was also arrested in late December 2015 and charged in May 2016 with involvement in the operations of the outlawed anti-government group Ginbot 7. That charge was dismissed but he was found guilty on Wednesday of public provocation to commit “crimes against the external security and defensive power” of the state. He will be sentenced Friday.
Ethiopia has been accused of regularly using security concerns as an excuse to stifle anti-government statements and clamp down on media freedoms.
22.5.2017 House Endorses Oromia-Somali Administrative Border Demarcation Agreement.
The House of Federation has endorsed the administrative border demarcation agreement made by Oromia and Somali regional states. The agreement was concluded between the two regional states on May 19, 2017 to implement the 2005 referendum results in the remaining kebeles and villages. Both regional states have agreed to publicize the administrative demarcations in less than three months, according to the agreement.
The overall objective of the agreement is to bring lasting solutions in the seven bordering zones of the two regional states and ensure peace and stability in the surrounding areas and the country at large. Persons displaced due to conflicts that occurred in the past will be resettled to their previous places of residence, the agreement added. Members of the House appreciated the agreement and commended it as a good experience to post-conflict resolution.
20.5.2017 Ethiopia slams EU call to free opposition politicians. Addis Getachew Tadesse, Anadolu Agency
Ethiopia rejected Friday a European Parliament resolution calling for the release of "all arbitrarily detained persons" including prominent opposition politician Merera Gudina. Although Thursday's resolution commended Ethiopia's role in regional stability, it opposed the detention of opposition political figures and handling of human rights in the country.
"Though this resolution underlines the role of Ethiopia in stabilizing the region and the improvement of the economic situation of the population, it lacks some understanding of the situation in the country on topics such as the state of emergency, the human rights and the arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Gudina was arrested on November 30, 2016 on the claim that while in Europe he met with the leaders of an Ethiopian organization dubbed by the government as a "terrorist" group. The statement said Gudina "exceeded the rights of political opposition by allegedly meeting with the leader of an Ethiopian armed group at the European Parliament". By meeting with the leader of Ginbot 7 between Nov. 7 and 9, 2016, the opposition politician "…deliberately violated the state of emergency" that was imposed on October 9, 2016 for six months and later extended by four months, it added.
The Foreign Ministry also responded to criticism of Ethiopia’s handling of human rights. "It can only be hoped that the European Parliament will find ways to positively support the Ethiopian Parliament and other Ethiopian government institutions," it said. (…)
5.5.2017 UN HR Commissioner denied access to Oromia, Amhara regions. Yemane Nagish, The Reporter
Met and discussed with detained opposition official
Zeid bin Ra’ad Al Hussein, a Jordanian prince and the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who paid an official visit to Ethiopia this week, expressed his concern over the misuse of legislations in Ethiopia to suppress human rights and basic freedoms. He noted that his team was not commissioned to assess the human rights situation in Oromia and Amhara regional states. During his official visit, the commissioner discussed issues related to human rights in the country with government officials, opposition leaders and civic society representatives. On Thursday afternoon, during a press briefing he gave at the UNECA, Al Hussein said that his team was unable to access and investigate concerns related to human rights in Oromia and Amhara regions where there were widespread accusations of arrests and rights violations starting from the end of 2015. He expressed his concern that his staff, as a team, was not commissioned to go to the mentioned locals and confirm or disprove the facts indicated in the recent report released by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. However, he appreciated the report of the commission that was presented before the parliament a month ago. Accordingly, he urged the PM to stick to the implementation of recommendations of the report and hold accountable the security forces, which were alleged to have used excessive force during the protest.
Over the past few days that he spent in Ethiopia, the commissioner said that he discussed issues of human rights with all stakeholders including Abadula Gemeda, speaker of the House of People’s Representatives, Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD), minister of Foreign Affairs, Getachew Ambaye, Federal the Attorney General, and other higher officials including the minister of Government Communication. He also discussed issues of the same concern with Addisu Gebregziabher (PhD), Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, opposition leaders, civics society representatives and other personalities. “I carefully listened to many voices,” he said. “I held vibrant dialogue with the opposition and the ruling party as well.”
He also said that he held extensive discussion with detainees in Klinto correctional facility, among whom he said he has met a top opposition leader. As a result of the discussion he held with the government officials, the commissioner said that he signed a memorandum of intent to strengthen the Commission’s regional office opened in Addis Ababa, so that his office will be able to closely work with the region including Ethiopia.
He also said that he was highly impressed with the improvements Ethiopia has made in the area of education, health, infrastructure and reducing poverty. Furthermore, he appreciated the government for the due attention it has given to the human rights of citizens and its intent to improve conditions. “However, as in much countries, the central challenge lies with translating the commitment in to action,” he emphasized. He noted that some commitments made by the country to improve human right situations in Ethiopia still remains in deficiency. He stated that the unrest in Oromia and Amhara reflects the frustration and dissatisfaction of the people with local the administration. “I believe the incident renews the need for policy adjustments,” he said. “A failure to ensure fundamental freedoms and Rule of law always bears high cost downstream. They led to tension and violence”.
The Commissioner also expressed concern over some of the Ethiopian legislations which he dubbed to be contradictory to the universal HR conventions and those ensured within the Ethiopian constitution itself. He listed the Charities and Societies law, anti -terrorism and mass media law in this regard. “I’m also concerned about the excessive meaning given to terrorism and its misuse to attack journalists and activists”.
Questions related to concerns over independence of Human Rights Commission and the implementations of the National Human Rights Action Plan were also raised to the Commissioner. A question was also forwarded to him if his office is aware of the attack against Ethnic Tigrians in the Amhara region and particularly in Gondar, which was cited under commission report and less investigated. The commissioner said he and his staff may privately know the incidents happened here and there during the apprising. However, he said that there is a need for the government to reconsider to allow access to these and other areas and independently investigate the situation. He also urged the Ethiopian government renewing his request to get access to the areas mentioned above. Till then, he said his office will study and review the Report released by HRC and follow up the progress to implement the recommendations.
4.5.2017 Äthiopien: UN-Experte fordert Untersuchung nach tödlichen Unruhen. UN-Menschenrechtskommissar
Zeid Raad al-Hussein will die jüngsten Unruhen in Äthiopien mit fast 700 Toten unabhängig vor Ort untersuchen. Südtirol Online
Bislang hat die Regierung internationale Experten nicht in das betroffene Gebiet gelassen. Deshalb forderte Al-Hussein am Donnerstag in Addis Abeba, den Mitarbeitern der Vereinten Nationen müsse Zugang gewährt werden.Angesichts der „extrem hohen Zahl“ von 26.000 Festnahmen im Rahmen der Oppositionsproteste in der Region Oromia sei es „unwahrscheinlich“, dass alles nach Recht und Gesetz verlaufen sei, erklärte er.
Die äthiopische Menschenrechtskommission, die nicht unabhängig von der Regierung ist, hatte im April von mindestens 669 Toten bei der Unterdrückung der Proteste seit Anfang vergangenen Jahres gesprochen. Amnesty International hatte zuvor von 800 Toten gesprochen.
Äthiopien hat wegen der anhaltenden Demonstrationen in der Region rund um die Hauptstadt Addis Abeba den Ausnahmezustand verhängt.Die Proteste wurden ursprünglich von Plänen zur Erweiterung der Hauptstadt zu Lasten der Region Oromia ausgelöst, entwickelten sich aber rasch zu einem Ventil einer größeren Unzufriedenheit mit der Regierung. Äthiopiens Regierungspartei kontrolliert alle Sitze im Parlament, es herrscht keine Meinungsfreiheit. (apa/dpa)
25.5.2017 Ethiopia Top Recipient of Private Equity in Eastern Africa. ENA
Ethiopia is the biggest recipient of private equity in eastern Africa, thanks to its friendly business environment and favorable industrial policy, Business Daily newspaper reported quoting a UN report. Ethiopia has promoted the development of industrial parks focusing on textiles, leather, agro-processing and pharmaceuticals, as part of its Vision 2025 that seeks to make the country a light manufacturing hub in Africa. The 16th edition of the African Economic Outlook Report released early this week said the development blueprint has made Ethiopia a magnet for manufacturing and service industries. It sets the projected private equity inflows into Ethiopia this year at 4.4 billion USD compared to Kenya’s 1.3 billion USD.
“For example, the Hawassa Industrial Park, inaugurated in July 2016, was designed and built by a Chinese corporation and includes 35 manufacturing facilities and one fabric mill, equipped with new and innovative technologies powered by green energy,” the report stated. The report is prepared by a consortium of three teams from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). “The park has already attracted 15 major manufacturing firms from China, Ethiopia, Indonesia and the United States.” The park aims to employ 60,000 people at full capacity and generate export revenue of 1 billion USD per year. The report cites another 9 industrial parks that are under construction or in the pipeline, namely Dire Dawa, Mekelle, Adama and Kombolcha parks that are due to be completed during the 2016/17 fiscal year.
3.5.2017 Addis Received Modern Navigation System. 2merkato.com
In Ethiopia, getting from one place to another is primarily based on personal knowledge of a location and known landmark names. If unfamiliar with the area, it takes several steps and time to inquire about your destination wasting valuable time. Though there is merit in knowledge, time efficiency can be significantly improved using current navigation technologies to make a better use of one’s time. That is where the E-Adrasha navigation platform comes in, the first of its kind navigation system in Ethiopia.
E-Adrasha’s navigation system is designed for use by businesses, the public, as well as government entities with the aim of reducing travel/transit time. The system provides two types of services: a navigation system and location information. The navigation system provides directions with real-time driving navigation routes, with traffic updates and travel time making your travel time more efficient. The location information provides specific points of interest such as businesses, hotels, and tourists attractions. (…) E-Adrasha works through inputting your search query directly from our homepage to the locations or type of establishment. Your results will display as a combination of address listings, and a full-screen map display with all the points indicated by relevant category markers. For custom directions, you can also directly go to the map from the manually drop your start and end points on the map providing you with turn by turn directions. (…) E-Adrasha is planning to add more areas to their routing abilities and add more functions to give its users better user experience. Eadrasha.com
- Health, Culture, Education and Media -
23.5.2017 Erstmals führt ein Afrikaner die WHO. Berit Uhlmann, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Am Ende wurde es ein wenig unappetitlich. Kurz bevor die Weltgesundheitsorganisation WHO ihren neuen Generaldirektor wählte, stritten zwei Kandidatenlager darüber, ob "wässriger Durchfall" eine adäquate Bezeichnung für "Cholera" ist. Dahinter stand der Vorwurf, der Kandidat Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus habe als Gesundheitsminister in Äthiopien gefährliche Cholera-Ausbrüche verschleiert, indem er in den Meldungen an die WHO lediglich von Durchfallerkrankungen sprach. Unterstützung bekam der Äthiopier vom ehemaligen Leiter der US-Seuchenschutzbehörde CDC, Tom Frieden. Er befand, dass solch unspezifische Meldungen weit verbreitet seien, da nicht immer Laboranalysen zur Verfügung stünden, um die genaue Ursache einer Erkrankung bestimmen zu können. Der Vorwurf war gleichwohl unangenehm: Die WHO steckt in einer Vertrauenskrise; ein Direktor über dem der Verdacht der Intransparenz schwebt, verkompliziert die Lage.
Trotzdem stimmte die Mehrheit der 194 Mitgliedstaaten für den 52-jährigen Äthiopier, der sich selbst Dr. Tedros nennt. Das klingt ein wenig nach Landarzt, tatsächlich aber ist Dr. Tedros Biologe mit einem Master in Immunologie und einer Promotion in "Community Health", die er an der Universität Nottingham ablegte, bevor er in die Politik seines Heimatlandes ging.
Dort war er zuletzt Außenminister, davor - von 2005 bis 2012 - Gesundheitsminister. In diesem Amt erlangte er internationale Anerkennung, als er das Gesundheitssystem des Staates massiv ausbaute. Er schuf 3500 neue medizinische Zentren und stockte das Personal um das Siebenfache auf. Zusätzlich ließ er 40 000 Helferinnen ausbilden, die in ländlichen Regionen Basisversorgung und Beratung anbieten. Er engagierte sich zugleich in den internationalen Programmen zur Eindämmung von Infektionskrankheiten wie Aids und Malaria. Bill Clinton lobte ihn als "einen der fähigsten Politiker, mit denen ich je gearbeitet habe".
Kritiker dagegen führen nicht nur die Cholera-Geschichte an, sondern verweisen auch darauf, dass Tedros als Außenminister die Tabakindustrie zu mehr Investitionen in seinem Land ermutigt haben soll. Human Rights Watch wirft der äthiopischen Regierung, der Tedros angehörte, vor, Tausende Menschen vertrieben und Hunderte Oppositionelle getötet zu haben. Einen Tag vor der Wahl protestierten Exil-Äthiopier in Genf gegen den Politiker. Sie nannten ihn einen "Agenten eines Unterdrückerregimes".
Dass das alles am Ende nicht ins Gewicht fiel, ist wohl dem Fakt zu verdanken, dass ein ganzer Kontinent massiv für Dr. Tedros warb. Afrika hat noch nie einen WHO-Generaldirektor gestellt, die Wahl des Äthiopiers bedeutet eine Aufwertung des Erdteils und könnte die Hilfe für dessen arme Regionen verbessern.
Allerdings hat es der Afrikaner nicht nur mit den Krisen seiner Heimat zu tun. Vor ihm liegt die Aufgabe, die unterfinanzierte und bürokratische WHO einer Generalüberholung zu unterziehen. Tatsächlich hatte der Vater von fünf Kindern im Vorfeld der Wahl gesagt, ein "business as usual" könne sich die Organisation nicht mehr leisten. Eines seiner wichtigsten Vorhaben sei daher, die WHO "in eine effektivere, transparente und zuverlässige Agentur zu verwandeln". Dafür hat er zunächst fünf Jahre Zeit. Dann steht die nächste Wahlperiode an.
18.5.2017 Journalist resigns over Teddy Afro controversy, publishes resignation letter on Facebook. Arefayne Fantahun, Ethiopia Observer
An Ethiopian journalist working for the state-owned station with four years’ service has published his resignation letter on social media saying he had to quit due to the channel’s decision not to air the interview that he held with the hugely popular singer, Teddy Afro. (…) His interview with Teddy Afro was going to be a big deal but the station abruptly cancelled it, for reasons that weren’t exactly clear. (…) The station’s decision to drop the interview is seen part of ongoing efforts of the government owned news channel to sideline the singer perceived as critical to the regime. (…)
14.5.2017 Everybody is Hailing Billboard-Topping Musician Teddy Afro, Except Ethiopian State Media. Endalk, GobalVoices
Ethiopian pop singer Tewodros Kassahun, better known as Teddy Afro, was all set to be the subject of a highly-promoted interview with Ethiopian state broadcaster EBC, before authorities suddenly pulled the plug. Teddy Afro’s interview was scheduled to broadcast on Sunday, May 14, with the artist expected to discuss the success of his latest album,'Ethiopia’, which is currently sitting at the top of Billboard’s “World Music Chart”. But Getu Temesegen, a veteran government journalist confirmed on his Facebook page on May 12 that the interview would not be aired.
Ethiopian authorities are regular culprits of political censorship, targeting journalists and artists alike. Teddy's songs are often critical of the Ethiopian state. Before Temeegesen's Facebook post, the state broadcaster had quietly removed a short video containing a promotional excerpt from the interview with Teddy Afro from its Facebook page. Just hours later, Dawit Kebede, another pro-government journalist wrote on Twitter that the interview is back on, but the broadcaster has refused to confirm or deny that statement.
‘Ethiopia’ stormed to number one on Billboard's World Music albums chart following record-breaking sales both internationally and domestically. Since Teddy released the title song on his YouTube Channel on April 16, the song has racked up over three million views. ‘Ethiopia’ is Teddy's fifth album. All his previous albums were bestsellers in Ethiopia but his Billboard achievement is unprecedented for any artist from the country.
Following the success of his album, Teddy Afro gave interviews to different international media including Associated Press (the story was published in several major newspapers) and Voice Of America's Amharic service. He is also scheduled to appear on BBC Africa. It was perhaps this surge in international interest that put Ethiopian state television under pressure to interview Teddy, despite state-affiliated media broadly ignoring his achievement up until that point. However, as fans waited in curiosity for the broadcast, the censorship machine did what it does best, and spoiled the party.
13.5.2017 Ethiopia’s star singer Teddy Afro makes plea for openness. Elias Meseret, AP
Teddy Afro, Ethiopia’s superstar singer, is topping the Billboard world albums chart with “Ethiopia,” which less than two weeks after its release has sold nearly 600,000 copies, a feat no other artist here has achieved. Known for the political statements he makes in his music, an infectious mix of reggae and Ethiopian pop, the 40-year-old Tewodros Kassahun told The Associated Press that raising political issues should not be a sin. Open debate “should be encouraged,” he said. “No one can be outside the influence of politics and political decisions.” (…)
In “Ethiopia,” the songs highlight the diversity of the country’s 100 million people while encouraging national unity. Pointing to Ethiopia’s formative role in launching the African Union continental body in 1963, Teddy said his country should find more cohesiveness at home. “A country that tried to bring Africans together is now unable to have a unified force and voice,” he said. “The tendency nowadays here in Ethiopia is to mobilize in ethnic lines, not ideas.” In his new album, Teddy sings mainly in Amharic but incorporates other local languages, which has been well-received by Ethiopians as a call for national unity.
At the same time, some of his songs have been interpreted as carrying political messages against Ethiopia’s ruling elites, leading some fans to say his outspokenness has made him a target. In 2008, the singer was sentenced to two years in prison for a hit-and-run manslaughter but was released after 18 months in jail. He said he was never inside the car, and his fans suggested it was a politically motivated harassment by the ruling party. Hundreds of Ethiopians protested outside the court during his trial in the capital, Addis Ababa. Authorities also have frequently cancelled his concerts without explanation. “We have sustained a lot of damages. This is not right,” he said.
Asked if he has any political ambitions, the singer said: “Let me continue doing what I’m doing now and we will see what the future holds for other things.”
The Reporter brachte ein ausführliches Interview mit dem Künstler in der Ausgabe vom 13.5.2017: Teddy Afro: At the Top of his Game, http://www.thereporterethiopia.com/content/teddy-afro-top-his-game
Ein 15 minütiges Interview auf Amharisch wurde von Ethio Newsflash geführt: http://ecadforum.com/2017/05/14/ethiopia-teddy-afros-latest-interview-ethio-newsflash/
8.5.2017 Ethiopia’s addiction to Kana TV. James Jeffrey, African Business
Kana TV has taken Addis Ababa by storm. Wherever you go it seems there is a TV screen nearby on which South American or Korean soap stars in the throes of the latest diabolic crisis are proclaiming in impassioned Amharic. Even for non-Amharic speakers, it’s hard not to be drawn in.
Broadcast exclusively in the lingua franca of Ethiopia, Kana TV marks a breakthrough in a country where until recently the main alternatives to the drab state-owned terrestrial channels were foreign satellite broadcasters. This new free-to-air, private satellite TV channel, bringing international standard programming to Ethiopia’s estimated 4m TV households has seized a 40–50% prime time market share.
Kana translates as something between taste and flavour – the “proverbial special sauce,” according to cofounder Elias Schulze. “It’s a crazy operation,” Schulze says. “At the beginning it took up to 50 man hours to dub one hour and we had to produce 200 man hours of content every day.” So far Kana has dubbed 1,200 hours of content since launching in April 2016, and has recently rented a 1,000-metre-square warehouse for original productions (previously, filming had to be done in places such as the front room of Schulze’s home). Kana is also a truly Ethiopian endeavour – Schulze points out he is the only foreigner in the building – though it is powered by international partners Moby Group. The latter started out in Afghanistan, where it has established Tolo TV as the number one network.
“This is a totally underserved sector in Ethiopia,” Schulze says. “We want it to expand with more companies, as that keeps everyone, including us, moving forward. We’re not after a large slice of the pie, rather a nice slice of a large pie.”
From a half dozen individuals working from cafés and borrowed offices for the first six months formulating the business plan and strategic direction, Kana TV has grown to occupy four floors of a tower block in the centre of Addis Ababa. It has around 180 mostly young Ethiopian staff – the median age is 25, with 50% female – including a dubbing team of about 100.
A multi-phased and highly coordinated operation is required to produce all those hours of content: research and analysis to select which shows to secure, then negotiations and purchase, followed by translation, syncing, casting, acting, audio editing, video editing, quality control and then scheduling. Finally, everything is sent via internet to the playout station at Tolo TV in Kabul, Afghanistan, from where it is uplinked to satellite. “It seems to be working well as some people say it doesn’t even look like the actors are dubbed,” says head of dubbing Girma Adame. Before Kana TV, Arab-origin satellite TV dominated Ethiopian viewing habits. “Parents were finding their children knew Arabic better than Amharic,” Schulze says.
Another problem, he adds, was those channels’ advertising airtime wasn’t benefiting Ethiopia, neither in terms of ad revenue nor exposure for businesses. Currently, about 50% of Kana’s advertising revenue comes from small and medium-sized enterprises, including toy stores, health clinics, restaurants, malls, and many more (the other 50% comes from established large brands such as Coke or Unilever and local conglomerates).
“Here you pay between $400 and $500 for a 30-second spot that reaches about 3 to 5m people – there’s nowhere else in the world that can offer that,” says Zamzam Ibrahim, Kana’s commercial director. “The cost per thousand viewers is between 10 and 20 cents, while the industry average is somewhere between $2.5 to $10* depending on the market, so there’s a large and keen market out there. And a lot of room for growth.”
Schulze says he can’t reveal the amount of investment it took to make all this possible, but it was in the double digit millions of dollars, representing one of the largest, if not the largest, private investment in the Ethiopian entertainment sector. (…)
“TV here used to be so boring, all the channels showed mainly news,” says Hamelmal Worku, a Kana employee in her 20s but also a member of Addis Ababa’s television-watching public. “But Kana is pure entertainment, and people really like it.” Certainly, when sitting in a restaurant, opposite a row of Ethiopians, all eyes glued to a Kana TV drama, one is reminded of television’s power. “Our content is curated to entertain, engage and inspire modern-day Ethiopians,” says cofounder and head of strategy Nazrawi Ghebreselasie, adding how the company is “platform agnostic”, hence its focus on digital platforms such as the Kana TV app that enables audiences to have full access to all Kana content.
Despite the great market share, already there appears some viewer fatigue. One taxi driver says he won’t let his family watch Kana TV otherwise they’ll never talk to each other when he returns from work. Conservative commentators decry Kana’s foreign soap operas for corrupting Ethiopian culture. Furthermore, at a time of political volatility, some question why Kana hasn’t dealt with Ethiopia’s state of emergency, especially when it has a discussion panel show, #Mindin. “As we grew the credibility of the show and audience recruitment, the aim is to gradually address hard topics,” says Hailu Teklehaimanot, in charge of the discussion panel. “When the state of emergency happened, we didn’t have any news in our programming grid. We are now expanding our content to offer news five days a week, and will be prepared to undertake significant stories such as the state of emergency.”
Kana is also introducing new family content, sports and more original production through the new warehouse studios. “Through our continued investment in training new talent, we are carving new television personalities that will transcend their skills and inspire future expansion projects,” Nazrawi says.
Whatever the merits and pitfalls, Kana’s emergence highlights how Ethiopia’s television landscape is arguably changing for the better, with the government finally realising that squeezing private media was a mistake, leaving the media field open to social-media propagandists during times of unrest. Meanwhile, Kana and its backers think its model can be taken elsewhere in Africa.
7.5.2017 Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation Criticized for Failing Its Responsibilities. Ezega.com
Members of Ethiopian Parliament criticized the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corportation for failing to live up to its responsibilities as a public media, according to the Reporter. The members of parliament said the corporation is influenced by public officials and does not always serve the interests of the Ethiopian people. The corporation was also criticized for tedius programming and increasing reliance on advertisements, according to the report.
The corporation General Manager, Seyoum Mekonnen, acknowledged some of the problems the corporation is facing, and even cited examples of interference from some public officials. As an example, he disclosed recent calls from officials of the Ethiopian Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), an organization affiliated with the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense, who mistakenly thought a report on transportation shortage involved their buses. He also disclosed that the corporation does not have a strong auditor general.
Some parliament members said they would like to see some serious changes to the corporation, even to the extent of disbanding the corporation and creating a new one in its place.
- Horn of Africa and Foreign Affairs -
12.5.2017 Internationale Somalia-Konferenz: Kaputtes Land wird zusammengeklebt. Domic Johnson, tageszeitung
Das Treffen endet mit ambitionierten Reformabkommen. 2021 sollen die erste freie und allgemeine Wahl abgehalten werden.
Mit einer „Neuen Partnerschaft für Somalia“ und einem „Sicherheitspakt“ ist am Donnerstagabend die internationale Londoner Somalia-Konferenz zu Ende gegangen. Es bestehe jetzt die Chance auf „eine ambitionierte Agenda für somalisch geführte Reformen, unterstützt von der internationalen Gemeinschaft“, heißt es in der Abschlusserklärung des hochrangigen Gipfeltreffens. Es gehe darum, in Somalia „die Dynamik in Richtung auf positiven Wandel und Versöhnung“ voranzutreiben.
Ziel ist, 2021 die ersten freien und allgemeinen Wahlen abhalten zu können und bis dahin die verschiedenen faktisch selbständigen Bestandteile Somalias in einem föderalen Bundesstaat zusammenzuführen. Als erster Schritt sieht die Konferenz die Bemühungen, die bewaffneten Streitkräfte der verschiedenen Gebiete und Machtzentren in einer nationalen Armee (SNA) zu verschmelzen. Dies war in Somalia prinzipiell Mitte April vereinbart worden; in London wurde dies konkretisiert.
Ab 1. Juni werden gemäß des neuen „Sicherheitspakts“ die existierenden regionalen Armeen Somalias innerhalb von drei Monaten in die existierende Regierungsarmee eingegliedert oder aber innerhalb eines Jahres demobilisiert. Ab 2018, wenn die bestehende afrikanische Eingreiftruppe Amisom mit dem Abzug aus Somalia beginnt, soll diese neue somalische Armee dann stufenweise in die Lage versetzt werden, gegen die islamistischen Shabaab-Milizen zu kämpfen; bis dahin ist Amisom für diesen Krieg zuständig. Die Umsetzung dieser Sicherheitssektorreform soll auf einem weiteren internationalen Somalia-Gipfel im Oktober evaluiert werden.
Die Konferenz stellte sich nicht hinter die Forderung der somalischen Regierung nach einer sofortigen Aufhebung des UN-Waffenembargos gegen Somalia. Laut Abschlusserklärung verpflichten sich Somalias Partner lediglich, das Land im Aufbau „stärkerer Kapazitäten zum Management und zur Kontrolle von Rüstungsbeständen“ zu unterstützen. Dies sei eine Bedingung dafür, irgendwann in der Zukunft das Embargo aufheben zu können.