Seven Days Update, Vol. 20 No. 32

von Administrator

Ethiopia’s plan to build Africa’s biggest hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile River must address concerns that there may be flaws in the design of its foundations, a group of international experts said. They also called for further studies on what impact the 6,000 MW, $4.7 bio project may have on the downstream nations of Sudan and Egypt, the International Panel of Experts said in a report verified by Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry. Egypt, which relies on the Nile for almost all of its water, expressed alarm about the dam when Ethiopia in May diverted the Blue Nile as part of the construction process (Bloomberg, Oct. 3).

Ethiopia will not withdraw its troops from Somalia in the wake of the deadly attacks in Kenya, the Prime Minister said. Al Qaeda-linked Shabaab extremists claimed responsibility for the attack in an upscale shopping centre in Nairobi last month that left at least 67 people dead.Hailemariam said Shabaab militants pose a threat to the region and that Ethiopia would support African Union (AU) and Somali troops in the country as long as the threat persists (AFP, Oct. 4).

The Government of Ethiopia and Reykjavik Geothermal (RG) have agreed to build and operate up to 1 GW of geothermal power in two 500 MW phases. RG, a U.S.-Icelandic geothermal development company, notes that it has been working with the Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. and various government ministries for the past two years to finalize the power purchase agreement. RG says the first 500 MW plant will be built inside the Corbetti Caldera. The first 10 MW of power will be online in 2015, with an additional 100 MW in 2016 and the full 500 MW operational by 2018, the company adds (Renew Grid (RG), Oct. 1).

Investment in Ethiopia’s mining sector has reached 16.2 bio birr, the Ministry of Mines (MoI) disclosed. The number of domestic and foreign investors engaged in the mining sector has also shown rapid growth reaching 137, Bacha Fuji, MoI’s public relations and communications director, said. Last budget year, the ministry has issued mining and exploration license to seven companies, Bacha said. The ministry generated 166.43m  birr revenue during the previous budget year, surpassing its target by 166% (WIC, Oct. 4).

The Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) has opened a bid to fully privatize two companies. The bid includes the Ethiopian Mining Development SC and Caustic Soda SC, Wondafrash Assefa, PPESA corporate communications director, told. Both companies have been put up for privatization before but PPESA is now keen to transfer them for full ownership, Wondafrash said. The companies were previously floated in joint venture schemes with the agency (WIC, Oct. 1).

The construction of the first phase of the Tendaho Sugar plant located in Afar regional state is being finalized. Over 80% of the construction work has already been completed. Abraham Berhe, the project's office manager said the project includes the construction of a reservoir which has a capacity to hold 1.86 billion cub.m of water and 14,000 ha has be covered with sugarcane plantation, the manager said. Work is being carried out to develop 23,000 ha of the total 25,000 ha land planned to be developed in the first phase of the project. The construction of the plant has created jobs for 35,000 people, according to Abraham. In its first phase, the plant will produce 13,000 q of sugar per day. When the plant becomes fully operational, it will have capacity to produce 600,000 t of sugar per year (ENA, Sep. 30).

The Ministry of Health said it would immunize over 13 million children under the age of five against polio. In a press conference, maternal and child health director with the ministry, Dr. Tewodros Bekele, said the four-day campaign will start on 3 Oct. 2013 around the country. He said the country plans to immunize under-five children following the polio outbreak in neighboring countries. The director urged parents, government bodies and NGOs, religious institutes and the media to contribute their share for the achievement of the goal. He said various activities being carried out over the past years towards improving child health have enabled the country to minimize child mortality by two-thirds (ENA, Oct. 1).