Seven Days Update, Vol. 22 No. 57

von Redakteur

In one of the most horrifying anti-immigrant mob attacks that’s currently rocking South Africa, two young Ethiopian brothers are said to have been locked inside their small shop in a shipping container and set on fire in a township near Durban. Tesema Marcus, 22, died that night at a hospital, while his brother, Alex, 24, remains in a serious condition. It began after the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, told his followers last month that foreigners in South Africa should pack up and leave. President Jacob Zuma’s eldest son, Edward, had also chimed in that foreigners were “taking over the country” (The Los Angeles Times, April 10).

The Kenyan police were holding more than 114 Ethiopian immigrants who have been arrested in the past two days in Nairobi and in Samburu of northwest Kenya, officials confirmed. Police said more than 40 Ethiopian aliens were arrested in Nairobi on Tuesday night in an ongoing security operation to flush out terror suspects across the country. Nairobi's Starehe Divisional Police Commander, Bernard Nyakwaka, said the immigrants were arrested in the capital's Kiamaiko and Eastleigh area without traveling documents (Xinhua, April 15).

The global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, Survival International, says it has received reports that an Ethiopian tribe, the Kwegu, is facing severe hunger. Their plight is blamed on the destruction of surrounding forests and the drying up of the river on which their livelihoods depend. The Kwegus live along the banks of the Omo River in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley. The tribe, which includes about 1,000 people, hunt, fish and grow crops along the river banks. Survival International reports that the massive Gibe III Dam and large-scale irrigation taking place in the region is robbing the Kwegu of their water and fish supplies (VOA, April 15).

French BRL Group will be the main consultancy firm to carry out technical studies needed to determine the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD,) and Dutch Deltares will serve as an assistant, sources at the Ministry of Irrigation told. The two firms are tasked with submitting a joint action plan before May 4, as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are scheduled to sign their contracts with BRL and Deltares in the same month. The selection process was based on experience, with no-less than 20 years, a strong experience of the firm’s experts, a presentation of the studies it would conduct and the mathematical models it would apply, and its “neutrality and evenhandedness” (Youm, April 15).

Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's largest and most profitable airline, has been ranked as the 6th most dependable airline in the world. With a fleet size of 76 aircraft and more than 100 destinations, 81 of them internationally, Ethiopia's flag carrier has an on-time record of 71% and is ranked as the 6th most dependable airline in the world. Ethiopian flies to more destinations in Africa than any other airline in the world and it is Africa's dominant airline in Asia, flying to 21 cities in Asia, including the Middle East and Gulf (CBS news, April 12).

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will lend up to €90m to support Afriflora Group, a leading large-scale rose grower and distributor based in Ethiopia that employs more than 9,000 workers, more than 80% of the women. The funding will support Afriflora’s plan to expand production by 60%, install water recycling systems, and increase employment by more than 50%. Afriflora is founded and run by the Barnhoorn family, according to the press statement from IFC.The floriculture industry plays a major part in economic growth and poverty reduction. Afriflora cultivates, produces, and sells sustainably-grown roses and has built a strong reputation for its fair-trade approach and contributions to the local Ethiopian community where it operates (New Business Ethiopia, April 16).

Ethiopia expects Chinese firm POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd to begin drilling for natural gas in development blocks in the southeast by June or July, the mines minister said. Foreign firms have acquired licenses to explore in more than 40 blocks throughout Ethiopia in the past four years, mostly in the southeast region near Somalia. The Mines Ministry says the Calub and Hilala fields in the southeast Ogaden Basin have deposits of 4.7 trillion cu feet of gas and 13.6 million barrels of associated liquids. The deposits were discovered in the 1970s but have not yet been exploited (Reuters, April 16).

London-listed miner KEFI Minerals signed a deal with the Ethiopian government  to mine for gold and silver in the west of the Horn of Africa country. KEFI took over exploration rights for the Tulu Kapi project in the Oromia region from Australia's Nyota Minerals Ltd. Under the 20-year agreement, KEFI plans to mine for both gold and silver over an area of 7 km². The company said it aimed to produce 28.6 t of gold over 11 years. "Production will be in 2017, and 2016 will be the year of construction," KEFI Chairman Harry Anagnostaras-Adams said. Gold is Ethiopia's second-largest export revenue generator after coffee and earned an average of $450m to $500m a year for the past five years. Mines Minister Tolesa Shagi said he expected the firm to deliver revenues of $1.6bln to the state over 11 years. Tulu Kapi will be Ethiopia's second mine after Lege Dembi, which is in the Adola gold belt about 300 km southeast of Addis Ababa. The mine is run by Midroc (Reuters, April 13).  KEFI said it will now focus on applying for ancillary licenses and authorization for things such as power and transportation (Alliance News, April 13).

A credit facility agreement amounting to 50m € was signed on 16 April 2015, between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the French Development Agency. The credit facility agreement was signed to provide 50m € to finance the implementation of a project and financial and technical support for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) B2 pilot corridor, which is one component of the Addis Ababa City Administration (AACA) long term public transportation network combining a short term light railway transit (LRT), Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), regular bus lines and, in the long term, subway.

Around 10,000 tourists from Oman are this year expected to visit Ethiopia, one of the most ancient countries in the world, which is becoming an increasingly popular destination in Africa, said a senior Ethiopian official. Ethiopia, a treasure trove of historical, cultural and natural riches located in the Horn of Africa, is home to the highest number of Unesco World Heritage sites in Africa, along with Morocco, and receives thousands of foreign tourists every year. Now, with the ever-increasing ties between Oman and Ethiopia, the northeast African country has its sights set on attracting more tourists from the Sultanate (The Times of Oman, April 13).

Ethiopian plant species commonly used to treat parasitic infections cheaply in both humans and livestock have managed to prevent hatching in eggs of sheep parasites. According to a study by Kettama Tolossa of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), many farmers in Ethiopia cannot afford common medicines such as anthelmintics, so they must rely on their indigenous knowledge to treat themselves and their animals. The study aimed to validate the use of these plants as medicine, find new medicinal plants, and standardize any plant extracts to aid their development into new drugs. To do this, the plants were collected and identified before extracts was made used different solvent types (Sheep Site, April 16).