Seven Days Update, Vol. 20 No. 2

von Administrator

Ethiopia has unveiled ist first Human Rights Action Plan, with the goal of ensuring human rights. Activists have long complained about the Ethiopian government's record of quashing political  dissent and freedom of expression. The Ethiopian government presented a draft Human Rights Action Plan to discuss with stakeholders such as the UN, civil societies and development partners. The plan includes nearly 60 recommendations to cover gaps in sectors such as education, health and culture (VOA, March 5).

The Gambellan suspected of killing 29 persons in Gambella last year, Omod Adel, has been shot dead. Omod is a member of the Great Gambella Nilotic Movement which is fighting for the independence of Gambella. Omod was killed by members of the Ethiopian national defense force and by Gambella's rapid deployment forces. Omod, a member of the Agnuak ethnic group, holds an American passport. His aim was to create an independent state for Agnuak and Nuer nationals by taking some land from South Sudan and the rest from Ethiopia. The vice president of Gambella State, Ato Gaat Luwak Tut,said Omod received assistance from the Eritrean  Ethiopia is looking to expand and modernise its tantalite industry to meet growing global demand for the metal with two major projects. The country will increase output volume at its existing  tantalite plant with the installation of new ore concentrating equipment. It also plans to build a new value-added facility, manufacturing products such as tantalum salt, powder, bar, sheets, wire, negate and niobium pentoxide. Both should be operational by 2015, according to Zerihun Desta, general manager of Ethiopian Mineral Development SC (EMDSC), a state-owned company engaged in mineral exploration and development. The new plant will be located 500 km from the Addis Ababa, adjoining the country's largest tantalum mine in Kenticha in the Oromia regional state (, March 7).

Ambitious in the Ethiopian beer market, the Dutch brewing giant, Heineken, is building Ethiopia's biggest brewing plant, with the capacity for 1.5 million hl a year, in Akaki Kaliti District. The project, that rests on a 25 ha plot, is expected to cost 15m §, according to Johan Doyer, general manager of Heineken Ethiopia (Fortune, Feb. 3).

Ethiopia has cancelled 330 foreign investment licenses, claiming the companies had failed to implement planned projects. The Ethiopian Investment Agency said the investors had failed to carry out various projects in different parts of the country after they were awarded licenses worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The foreign investors, including those from India, China, United Arab Emirates and neighbouring Sudan, have been affected by the move, which took effect this March. Ethiopia said most of the affected investors have had their licenses lying dormant for more than three years after the permits were awarded (The Africa Report, March 8).

Russia will set up a network of service and maintenance centers in Ethiopia for the weapons it had previously sold to the East African nation. Addressing participants at a Russian- Ethiopian business forum in Moscow, President Putin's Africa ties point man, Mikhail Margelov, mentioned the close defence co-operation between the two countries, including the sale of military aircraft to Addis Ababa (VOA, March 5).

Successful results have been registered to expand family planning services during the last ten years, the Ministry of Health said. Health State Minister, Dr. Kebede Worku, said family planning service coverage has grown to 29% from 6% ten years ago. Dr. Kebede said contraceptive prevalence rates will reach 65% by 2015 by reaching more women and adolescent girls within the next three years. The President of the African Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology and ESOG, Dr. Yirgu Gebrehiwot, said the ministry, in collaboration with ESOG, has enabled 22,000 women to access life saving surgical procedures. Dr. Yirgu said, however, a lot remains to be done in introducing family planning service among the rural community (ENA, March 6).