Seven Days Update, Vol. 22 No. 58

von Redakteur

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has finally allocated the remaining 55% of the 30m Br finance availed for parties campaigning for the May 2015 election, with most parties complaining that they did not know how their shares were computed as they did not know the number of their candidates which the Board has approved. The Board released the money on the basis of 40:35:15:10, meaning that 40% of the money will be divided on the basis of the number of candidates registered by parties; 35% allocated based on the number of seats parties hold in the parliament and 15% based on the number of female candidates Accordingly, the EPRDF and its affiliates got nearly all of the 35pc, which is about 10.5m Br. Only 3m Birr will be equally shared among all running parties, each getting 51,724 Br. In terms of the number of candidates registered, NEBE has given parties 2,066.47 Br per male candidate and 3,543.31 Br per female candidate. In accordance with this rate, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue party gets 2.027m Br, Blue Party 700,000 Br, and the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) 800,000 Br, according to the statement given the representatives of the respective parties (Addis Fortune, April 22).

The African Union (AU) has approved the deployment of a long-term observation mission to monitor Ethiopian parliamentary elections slated for May 24. The nine member mission will be deployed to various regions of Ethiopia where they will stay until June 7, the AU said in a press statement on April 20. Poll monitors have been tasked with observing, collecting and analyzing data in the run-up to the elections, the AU release said. From May 17 to 28, the nine observers will be joined by an additional 50 short-term observers who will observe and report on Election Day activities, the release added (World Bulletin, April 20).

Two of the 10 most censored countries in the world are African, says the Committee to Protect Journalists. Eritrea is the worst in the world, behind even North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Ethiopia is the fourth most censored country.As Ethiopia prepared for its May 2015 elections, the state systematically cracked down on the country's remaining independent publications through the arrests of journalists and intimidation of printing and distribution companies. Filing lawsuits against editors and forcing publishers to cease production have left only a handful of independent publications in a country of more than 90 million people. Ten independent journalists and bloggers were imprisoned in 2014; authorities filed a lawsuit in August accusing six publications of "encouraging terrorism," forcing at least 16 journalists to flee into exile (, April 22).

KEFI Minerals PLC said it has received an independently updated ore reserve for the Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia which confirmed the project has over 1.0 million ounces of gold, as the company turns its a ention to completing the definitive feasibility study. The updated ore reserve shows probable resources of 15.4 million t of ore at 2.12 g of gold per t to produce 1.05 million ounces of gold. This compares with the previous estimate of 12.9 million t of ore at 2.41 g of gold per t for just over 1.0 million t, showing a decline in grade has been offset by increased ore (Alliance News, April 22).

China's leading global telecom equipment and solution provider ZTE, launched its 4G terminal devices in Addis Ababa, in hope of continuing its expansion in African market.  ZTE's latest 4G smart phones, Grand S2 and Blade S6, will be launched in Ethiopia in the coming months. The company's move comes shortly after Ethio Telecom introduced 4G services in the country to satisfy the demand in Ethiopia for high-speed data and voice service within the local purchasing power. Ethiopia's Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Getachew Negash, hailed the introduction of ZTE's state-of-theart technology in Ethiopia as it will benefit the local people and promote technology transfer. He said the government would continue to provide necessary support for ZTE in its activities in Ethiopia (Xinhua, April 23).

Ethiopian Airlines’ first flight to Japan arrived at Narita International Airport, marking the first Africa-Japan regular flight for 1½ years. Direct flights between Africa and Japan came to a halt when EgyptAir withdrew from the route connecting Cairo and Kansai International Airport in October 2013 due to domestic political turmoil. Ethiopian Airlines, which operates the largest service network in Africa, plans three regular flights per week on the Addis Ababa-Narita route using Boeing 787 aircraft. For Narita airport, it was the first direct flight from Africa since July 2013, when EgyptAir ended flights from Cairo (Japan Times, April 22).

The East African Bottling S.C (EABSC) started the construction of Birr 420m plant two weeks ago in Bahir Dar. The plant is being built on 30ha plot of land and is part of a 500m $ investment the company launched in April 2012. EABSC produces and bottles beverages from Fanta Group, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Schwepps, Coke Light and Dasani water. Elmi- Olindo Plc, a local construction company will undertake the construction. Elmi-Olindo has a history of building various beverage plants in addition to East African’s bottling plant in Dire Dawa. . Coca-Cola, in the last two years has invested USD 200m in Ethiopia, according to Herbert Nuwamanya, country sales and marketing manager at EABSC. The new plant in Bahir Dar with a capacity of producing 15 million cases per annum is expected to be inaugurated within 18 months (Addis Fortune, April 21).