Seven Days Update, Vol. 22 No. 54

von Redakteur

Egypt has not  ecognized the legitimacy of Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam or its specifications when both countries signed a declaration of principles document along with Sudan over the $4.2bln project, a high-ranking official in Egypt's irrigation ministry said. The head of Nile Water Resources Division at the ministry, Ahmed Bahaa El-Din, stressed that the principles do not indicate - even implicitly - that Egypt has acknowledged the storage capacity, or any other specifications of the Renaissance Dam (Ahram Online, March 25).

Forty Egyptian companies were given permission to invest in Egypt. President Abdel El-Fattah El-Sisi called on Egyptian businessmen to establish their own national industrial zones in Ethiopia during his visit to the country . During a meeting with Egyptian businessmen in Addis Ababa, the Egyptian president also revealed that he is looking forward to linking both countries with a new highway and sea route to facilitate the transport of products and lower the prices of certain goods. Ethiopia is one of the main exporters of meat to Egypt where it is relatively expensive. No less than 40 Egyptian companies were given the permission to invest and begin projects in Ethiopia. The meeting with Egyptian businessmen in Ethiopia was attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (Ahram Online, March 24).

Several media outlets have reported that the delegation of the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), led by its president Ob. Leenco Lata, had been ordered by the Ethiopian government to leave the country, hours after its arrival in Addis Ababa. The ODF delegation was reported to have landed on March 18, 2015, with the hope of launching a “peaceful political struggle under the current Constitution” in Ethiopia. As of March 21, 2015, upon the order of the Ethiopian government, the ODF delegation, including its leader, has been reported to have left for Europe. Lata is one of the founders of the OLF. He was dismissed from the party in 2013 over differences on the direction of the Oromo struggle. Lata then formed the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) to try and return the struggle to the country. Recently  Lata had indicated that his party has engaged with the Ethiopian government - directly and indirectly - for more than two years. But he decided to return to Ethiopia earlier this week because those talks were not progressing as hoped (Opride, March 23).

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh on March 22 officially launched the cross-border water supply project between Ethiopia and Djibouti, in the country's southern town of Ali-Sabieh. The project involves supply of groundwater from Ethiopia's Hadagalla town to Djibouti's key towns of Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Arta and the capital. Through the project, Djibouti will be freely receiving 100,000 m³ of water daily for the next 20 years. The project whose cost was estimated to be 22m USD that was provided by China Exim Bank, will be implemented by CGCOC, a Chinese company that also won the tender to construct a road linking the two countries. With the launch of this project, the Djiboutian government hope to end the perennial water problem and embark on achieving its long term development programs (Xinhua, March 23).

More than 9,000 smallholder farmers in North-Western Ethiopia will now be supported by the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) following successful verification in accordance with the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) sustainability standard.  With Ethiopia’s joining, CmiA’s sustainable cotton initiative now reaches over 5 million people in Africa.  Christoph Kaut, managing director of AbTF, said  “Our standard is specifically aimed at smallholder farmers in our project countries who only have a small plot of land and who are most in need of support. In order to protect the environment and vital resources, the exploitation of primary forests is forbidden, as is encroachment into established protected areas, the use of genetically modified seeds, and artificial irrigation,” Kaut added (Fibre2fashion, March 28).

The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) of Ethiopia has commissioned a study on off-grid power investment allowing private sector involvement in the production and sale of electricity. The first draft of the inception report submitted to the Ministry by Fechtner GmbH Co. & KG, which is conducting the study, pointed out general problems and show diverse alternatives which can be used in the sector. The study is intended to allow foreign and local companies to invest in renewable energy provision such as solar home systems and institutional solar systems which are being supplied by the government. The report indicated the very limited availability of solar home systems, solar lanterns, institutional solar systems and cook stoves for the project. The study was initiated to benefit the majority of the people living in rural areas which cannot be reached by the national grid. Therefore, the Ministry has recommended including alternative technologies such as mini hydropower and solar water pumps in the study, according to Yisihak Seboka, rural electrification head of MoWIE. Yisihak also noted the study’s chief goal is to decentralize the country’s energy centers and liberalize it. The Norwegian Government financed the study under the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE). The study will be concluded within six months (Fortune, March 24).

The most recent investment topped more than 600m USD in solar power generation. The Ethiopian government, through the Ethiopian Electric Power, signed a memorandum of understanding with a US-based Green Technology Africa (GTA) to develop solar energy plants in the country. The deal will help the Ethiopian Electric Power develop a 300 MW new solar project in Ethiopia - with the aim of helping the country hit its goal of expanding electricity capacity from the current 55% coverage to 75% by the end of 2015. These projects will be active in the Ethiopian cities of Dire Dawa, Kombolcha and Desse in the next six months. The solar energy project underway by the government is aimed at providing electricity to 25,000 houses. A total of 150,000 people are expected to gain access to electricity through this project alone, with a capacity of generating 982 MW of power by the end of 2015 (, March 24).

 reported Ethiopia`s Birhanu Legese won the Berlin half marathon on Sunday as African runners dominated the top ten finishers in the men`s race. Legese came home in a winning time of 59 min 45 sec having held off the challenge of Kenya`s David Kogei, who finished just a second behind (AFP, March 29).