A Week in the Horn 13.05.2022

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News in Brief

TPLF: Beating War Drums Again

Paving the Roads for Ethiopia’s Re engagement Policy

Priorities for implementing Ethiopia’s national dialogue (Excerpts from Chatham House Africa Programme online Panel) Part 1/2

Ethiopia joins the few in Africa with 5G Mobile Internet Network

Africa and the African Union

The 14th Ordinary Session of the
Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS)
kicked off in Addis Ababa on Monday (May 09). African Ministers of
Defense, Internal Affairs, and Heads of National Institutions in Charge
of Safety and Security, high official representatives from the AU Member
States, as well as from the Regional Economic Communities and Regional
Mechanisms have participated in the four days session. The session
considered the report of the chairperson of the AU Commission which
outlines the commission’s continued effort in the enhancement of the
African Standby Force (ASF) and deployment of peace support operations,
to address conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism as well as broader
peace and security challenges in the continent.

African Union Commission Chairperson
Moussa Faki expressed condolences for the victims of the terrorist
attack in Sinai, Egypt on Monday (May 9). He stated “The African Union
condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Sinai that
resulted in the death of 11 soldiers. Our sincere condolences to the
bereaved families, in full solidarity with President Al Sisi , the
Government and the people of the Arab Republic of Egypt.”

The Republic of Cameroon assumes the
Chairship of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union
(AU) for the month of May 2022. The seventh since the creation of the
Council in 2004, the Cameroon Chairship comes within the frame of the
Extraordinary Summit of the African Union to be held on 28 May 2022,
devoted to Governance and Security challenges in the Continent namely,
Unconstitutional Change of Government, Humanitarian crises and

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will host a
high-level ministerial meeting this Friday (May 13), on the ongoing
drought in the Horn of Africa and the actions urgently needed. The event
will be preceded by a meeting of experts on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya.

The 4th Technical Committee Meeting of the IGAD Security Sector
Program-Development of a Regional Strategy to Prevent, Counter, and
Respond to the Threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) was held in
Djibouti on Tuesday (May 10). Speaking at the meeting the Executive
Secretary, Dr. Workneh says “Overall, IEDs have become an increasingly
serious and significant…threat in our region, especially as they have
become the preferred weapon of choice for insurgent and terrorist
organisations.” Besides the direct devastation of human life, IEDs also
directly affect the economy and livelihoods in the region when they
destroy critical infrastructure such as water, sanitation and energy
networks, roads, markets, schools, hospitals and social places,” he

IGAD’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, discussed on Monday
(May 09) with the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador
David Satterfield, Special Advisor for Africa Strategy, Mr. J
Davermont, the US-Africa Command Department commander, US Ambassadors to
the region, Assistant Administrator of the USAID. Dr. Workneh briefed
later on “we discussed our shared priorities and agreed to deepen
partnerships to advance peace, responding to disasters such as drought
& displacement.”

Similarly, IGAD held discussions with the UK Special Envoy to the
Horn of Africa (May 10). Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu. He said, “The UK has been
a steadfast partner of IGAD with tremendous commitment and support to
our efforts in multilateral diplomacy, climate early warning, food
security and cooperation in the Red Sea arena.”


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali on Saturday (May 07) presided over the
launch event for the ‘Let Ethiopia Produce’ movement. The movement, as
part of the 10-year development plan for the industry sector intends to
address the challenges that producers at all levels confront during the
manufacturing process. During the event, 81 micro, small, medium, and
large scale industrial enterprises were recognized for their outstanding
performance in the sector. Prime Minister Abiy urged industries.

Ethiopia and China held a joint Investment and Trade Cooperation
Forum on Thursday (May 12) in Addis Ababa. The Forum saw the signing
ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on investment promotion
and facilitation between the two countries which will serve as a new
cooperation mechanism for investment. Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s Deputy
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister noted in his keynote address that
China has proven to be Ethiopia’s most trusted economic and political
partner and that its support continues to sustain Ethiopia’s economic
growth trajectory. Aside from the MOU signed between the two
governments, Ethiopian and Chinese partners inked five other cooperation
agreements in the manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceutical, and other

Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister appears on the first of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
Ethiopia television program on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC)
on Thursday (May 12) to discuss crucial topics and the future of
Ethiopia’s foreign policy. The conversation spanned several themes. (See article)

The warmongering and belligerent attitude of the TPLF that may
eclipse the encouraging peace-building measures of the Government of
Ethiopia should be checked before it is too late. (See article)

Ethiopian Coffee export hit a record-breaking 1 billion USD following
multifaceted efforts made by the government and stakeholders to
penetrate the international market. The record-breaking revenue has been
earned from the export of close to 300,000 tonnes of coffee to the
international market. The Agriculture Minister, Oumer Hussein on
Thursday (May 12) congratulated Ethiopians for the great achievements
gained in the coffee export sector. The Minister added that Coffee has
continued to be the major export item of Ethiopia, citing China as the
leading destination for the market.

Chatham House Africa Programme on Wednesday (May 11) hosted an online
discussion inviting experts to discuss challenges and priorities in
shaping an inclusive and effective national dialogue in Ethiopia. (See article)

The 5th East African Financial Summit took place on Wednesday (May
11) in the presence of over 300 finance sectors, stakeholders,
international organizations, technology providers, researchers and other
key actors in East Africa finance sectors. The summit aimed to foster
collaboration, discuss current challenges, develop market strategies,
share knowledge and identify solutions to shape the future of finance in
East Africa and Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian telecommunications corporation, Ethio-telecom, launched
on Tuesday (May 10) a 5G mobile internet service across a selected six
mobile stations in Addis Ababa in a bid to provide advanced network
services and as part of the Ethiopian government’s digital
transformation aspirations. (See article)

A consultation forum was held on Thursday (May 12) in Addis Ababa
with about nine stakeholders who had signed various agreements with
Brazilian institutions representing Ethiopia. The forum aimed to review
the status and implementation of those agreements besides highlighting
the current state of diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Brazil.
The conference was attended by representatives from the Sugar
Corporation, the Investment Commission, the Ministry of Urban
Development and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Innovation and
Technology, and the Institute of Agricultural Research.


Eritrea’s delegation composed of Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh, and
President Adviser Yemane Gebreab met on Monday (May 9, 2022), with the
President of the Military Council, General Mahamet Idris Deby of Chad.
The Delegation delivered a message from President Isaias Afeworki and
stressed Eritrea’s readiness to consolidate bilateral and regional
cooperation. General Mahamet thanked President Isaias for his initiative
and stated that Chad shared Eritrea’s commitment to foster relations.
He briefed the Delegation about developments in Chad & his country’s
determination for an inclusive national dialogue.”


President Mohammed Farmaajo announced a decision to run for the
President’s office again. “…I have decided to run for president again in
response to the Somali people’s call,” he said on Monday (May 9). “I am
committed to continuing on the path of progress and development that we
embarked on. The Somali people deserve a government that represents
them and their needs first and foremost. This is why I am seeking a
second term as President to continue our country’s successful

The Minister of Defence of the United Kingdom, James Heappey visited
key defence partners in East Africa over the week to discuss joint
efforts to promote regional stability and build security in Somalia. Mr.
James Heappey visited Somalia, where the UK is working with allies from
across East Africa to help the Somali state take over responsibility
for security from international forces. The UK provides pre-deployment
training for African Union (AU) troops from partner nations as they
prepare to deploy to support Somali forces in protecting civilians from
Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups under the AU Transition Mission in
Somalia (ATMIS).

South Sudan

President Salva Kiir received Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, the President
of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday (May 8). The two
leaders held a meeting on a wide range of bilateral & multilateral
issues concerning the Republic of South Sudan & DRC.

Kenya Special Envoy to South Sudan Kalonzo Musyoka had a three-day
visit in Juba over the week for engagement on on-going Peace Process and
the unification of the Military. During his visit Musyoka held meetings
with the Country’s President Salva Kiir, Mayardit , First Vice
President Dr. Riek Machar and Fourth Vice President Rebbecca Garang over
the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

The Advance Team mission for preparation of the 3rd LAPSSET (the Lamu
Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport Corridor Project) Ministerial met
in South Sudan on Monday (May 09). The Government of South Sudan
reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of the LAPSSET Corridor
Project as well as the upcoming LAPSSET Ministerial due to be held in
Juba, South Sudan. Ethiopia also reaffirms its commitment to
continuously support the revitalization and operationalization of the
Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project.


That “national dialogue” in Sudan, to be held from May 10 to May 12,
facilitated by the African Union and the IGAD secretariat will be
postponed, reports indicated. According to media reports, further
agreements are necessary.

A U.S. press statement on Tuesday (May 10), reaffirmed the U.S
support for Sudan’s tripartite Political process. Spokesperson, Ned
Price, announced “We strongly support the tripartite political process
of UNITAMS, the African Union, and IGAD Secretariat to restore democracy
in Sudan. The transfer of power to a credible civilian government will
open the door to the resumption of international assistance.”


TPLF: Beating War Drums Again

The warmongering and belligerent attitude of the TPLF that may
eclipse the encouraging peace-building measures of the Government of
Ethiopia should be checked before it is too late. The conflict was not
the choice of the Government of Ethiopia but made inevitable due to the
orchestrated and simultaneously executed “pre-emptive” attacks of the
TPLF forces on the military posts of the Ethiopian National Defense
Forces in the Tigray region. The TPLF launched the attack without any
plausible reason than its erroneous perception of threat from all sides
bordering Tigray. What made the unwarranted attack worse is that it came
after the TPLF had persistently rejected a series of peace overtures
offered to it by the Government of Ethiopia and concerned citizens. The
paranoia and bravado of the group have continued to cost the people of
Ethiopia dearly.

Being cognizant of the concerns of the then interim administration of
Tigray, the federal Government of Ethiopia evacuated its forces from
the region in June 2021 by declaring a Unilateral Humanitarian
Ceasefire. The Government made the decision to allow farmers to till
their land and humanitarian operators engage in their activities without
the presence of military troops. The TPLF sensed that as a weakness of
our forces and chose to expand and escalate the conflict in adjacent
regions. Had the group chosen a different path, the situation of the
people in the Tigray region would have been different today.
Regrettably, the TPLF has failed to learn from its mistakes since it has
started beating war drums recently by recruiting and deploying military
forces in areas bordering the Tigray region.

The Government of Ethiopia does not want to engage in another round
of destructive conflict. It has ceased all offensive military operations
after the military forces pushed the TPLF out of many of the areas it
had occupied in the Amhara and Afar regions. The Government troops did
not enter Tigray pursuing the TPLF militants, despite the urge by
Ethiopians who were appalled by the atrocities of the TPLF in the Amhara
and Afar regional states. The Government intended to give the people of
Tigray the peace they deserved and deny the TPLF a pretext to prolong
the conflict.

The Government of Ethiopia even declared an indefinite Humanitarian
Truce in March 2022 to let humanitarian partners get unimpeded access to
their operation. The result was encouraging, and the international
community acknowledged it. However, the TPLF was not at ease with the
deserved recognition of the efforts of the Ethiopian government. The
group just announced the withdrawal of its forces from occupied areas in
adjacent regions pretending to accept the Humanitarian Truce. The
truth, however, is that the TPLF militants are still in occupation of
areas bordering Tigray and accepted the humanitarian truce just “in
principle”.  At the moment, the TPLF is trumpeting the Tigray siege and
victimhood narrative afresh as a pretext to launch another round of
attacks against all people living in areas adjacent to the Tigray

It was the Ethiopian Government that officially accepted to implement
the recommendations of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR) joint investigation into alleged human rights violations and
abuses in Tigray. The Government set up a ministerial committee
comprising law enforcement bodies to ensure the perpetrators are brought
to justice. Indeed, even members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces were
prosecuted for participating in the human rights abuses in the Tigray
region. Contrary to the Ethiopian Government’s commitment to bring
perpetrators to justice and redress victims, the TPLF categorically
denied the legitimacy and findings of the joint OHCHR-EHRC
investigation.  The group, even out of common human decency, has never
been heard of regretting the inhumane atrocities its troops committed
while occupying the Afar and Amhara region.

The TPLF is beating war drums while the Government of Ethiopia has
been taking critical steps to reconciliation and peace. The Government
has accepted and fully cooperated with the peace initiatives of Olusegun
Obasanjo, High representative of the Chairperson of the African Union
Commission for the Horn of Africa. The Government of Ethiopia allowed
Obasanjo to frequently meet the leaders of the TPLF in Mekelle to give
peace a chance. The Government also paved the way to an all-inclusive
national dialogue in the country. It has lifted the State of Emergency,
set free prominent political figures from prison, including senior
members of the TPLF, and established a National Dialogue Commission to
address the age-long ills of the country. Regrettably, the TPLF and its
sympathizers got obsessed with explaining why the proposed national
dialogue will not work than deliberating how to make it succeed.

If we are to be judged by our actions, the Government of Ethiopia
hopes the international community would see the extra mile the
Government of Ethiopia travelled to end the conflict peacefully and
bring stability to the country. We cordially ask the international
community to name any measurable effort exerted by the TPLF to end human
suffering in Ethiopia, including the Tigray region. The TPLF is still
obsessed with the “Tigray Siege” mentality, failing to take
accountability for its actions that put the lives of many people in
danger and made security in the region more precarious. More than 20
million of our citizens are grappling with drought, while many more are
trying to make ends meet due to the senseless conflict.

The international community needs to seriously look into the danger
posed by the reckless actions of the TPLF on the people of Ethiopia and
the Horn of Africa. Ethiopians deserve peace and are not left with the
patience to stomach the bravado and military adventurism of the
irresponsible group.


Paving the Roads for Ethiopia’s Re-engagement Policy

Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister, appears on the first of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
Ethiopia television program on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC)
on Thursday (May 12) to discuss crucial topics and the future of
Ethiopia’s foreign policy. The conversation spanned several themes. Here
are the excerpts:

Reducing internal vulnerabilities

Ethiopia’s foreign policy is clearly designed to preserve national
interests while also upholding the rights and dignity of its citizens.
We want to shape Ethiopia’s international posture in line with its long
and rich history by advancing our diplomatic engagements and inviting
others to join us in this endeavor. Strong diplomatic efforts, on the
other hand, require strong internal circumstances. Internal peace and
development are considered to be favorable domestic settings. 

Focusing on serious work within the country to restore national unity
and tolerance is key to achieving success in foreign relations and
national security. The difference in our diplomacy is noticeable in both
regional and worldwide arenas if we chart our own course of peace and
development by involving all people and resources. As holders of
Ethiopian passports, our citizens also sense pride and strength. 

The Horn, Africa, and the World: In that order

So while devoting the prime focus to activities at home, we want our
foreign policy geared toward strengthening cooperation and collaboration
and creating Friendship at bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels

Ethiopia’s diplomatic relations with its neighbors will continue to
be our highest priority. As a result, pays close attention to changes
and developments in the region and works to contribute positively.

We use neighboring countries as a springboard to reach the rest of
the continent. Ethiopia has been a key player in the fight for African
independence and against colonialism and apartheid. The progenitor of
the African Union, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), has been
working to find an African solution to Africa’s challenges. This is only
going to get stronger. In the contemporary global setting, we aim to
promote Pan Africanism.

We must also strengthen our bilateral and multilateral contact with
the rest of the world in order to shape Ethiopia’s worldwide standing.

Getting proactive and owning narratives

We learnt vital lessons over the last year and a half as we battled a
misinformation and disinformation campaign. We’ve paid a high price for
correcting purposely spread incorrect information. So, with our
potential and well-equipped citizens, we should shift from a reactive to
a proactive position, claiming the driver seat in telling our own

Individuals from all around the world can now share information and
ideas instantly and collaborate to solve common problems in an era of
unparalleled interconnection. Traditional diplomacy, which is solely
between the institutions of two or more governments, has undergone
considerable changes. International relations have become more reliant
on digital diplomacy.

Except if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign missions
perform a leadership role, every Ethiopian in the world is an
ambassador. As a result, the ministry will concentrate on maximizing the
enormous potential of its citizen diplomats. Taxi drivers, tour
organizers and others could promote Ethiopia while working for their


Priorities for implementing Ethiopia’s national dialogue (Excerpts from Chatham House Africa Programme online Panel) Part 1/2

Chatham House Africa Programme on Wednesday (May 11) hosted an online
discussion inviting experts to discuss challenges and priorities in
shaping an inclusive and effective national dialogue in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is dealing with a number of sensitive national issues,
including continuous violence in several parts of the country, which
highlights the importance of large-scale dialogue and reconciliation
efforts to resolve the country’s deep-rooted social and political
divisions. Ethiopia’s newly constituted National Dialogue Commission,
comprised of 11 commissioners appointed in February 2022, has begun a
four-staged process of dialogue preparations, with the first stage
focusing on stakeholder engagement and local knowledge mobilization.

Panellists discussed how to shape an effective national dialogue in
Ethiopia, including goals for establishing a credible National Dialogue
Commission and the roles and duties of other national, regional, and
local-level players, at this public event.

Speaking on the success so far and the importance of the National
Dialogue Dr. Yonas Adaye, commissioner of Ethiopia’s National Dialogue
Commission, emphasized the cyclical nature of violence and conflict in
Ethiopia, which stifled significant political, social, and economic
change in the country for over a century. This brings the case again,
which makes a critical moment to come together and find out why this has
happened. ‘’So we have this national dialogue at the top beginning
exactly in mid-February 2022,” He said. Explaining what has been done so
far, Dr. Yonas Adaye identified the following:

  1. ‘Knowing each other’ appointed members of the national
    dialogue commission have been working for 67 days now, acquainting each
    other and learning from each other who they are. This is mainly because
    literature and experience show that in some national dialogue processes,
    when those peer heading or leading group do not know each other, they
    come with different baggage and party interests, and this happens to
    block the very primary goal of the national dialogue.
  2. Performing
    Ethiopia’s rituals: Getting blessings from the elders, religious
    leaders, and peace mothers. This is mainly out of the belief that this
    represents the entire society, and getting their blessing has a huge
    legitimacy impact at the same time as a representation factor. This is
    how the group appears in public for the first time. This included most
    of all the elderly blessings in the country, which were broadcast live
    on national TV.
  3. Talking to civil societies to discuss the
    burning issues and make sense of them, because they represent the
    majority of Ethiopians. This was done primarily to see the situation
    from their perspective and to see what it looked like!
  4. Spoke
    with National Electoral Board members and commissioners, including
    Birtukan Midekisa and others to learn how to network, how to reach out
    to the grassroots, and learn from their failures and successes. This
    could help to understand things better because their job required them
    to study or map across Ethiopia, nations, nationalities, language
    groups, and identities. The commission will use such data but at a
    meta-analysis level.
  5. Talking to the media, including digital and print media across the country,
  6. Talking
    to opposition party members and leaders, particularly, Ethiopian
    Political Parties Joint Council, the very office that leads the parties,
    both the ruling and opposition parties. Some of the dialogues are still
    going on!

“This achievement helped to have a clear understanding of the very context, for context is fundamental here,” he added.


Ethiopia joins the few in Africa with 5G Mobile Internet Network

The Ethiopian telecommunications corporation, Ethio-telecom, launched
on Tuesday (May 10) a 5G mobile internet services across a selected six
mobile stations in Addis Ababa in a bid to provide advanced network
services and as part of the Ethiopian government’s digital
transformation aspirations.

Added to the benefit of having a 20 fold speed in connectivity than
the predecessor 4G technology, the fifth generation, 5G, technology
offers a wide range of benefits including boosting the business and
economy sectors, communications, manufacturing, and public sector
advancement as well as improving the lives of the people of a country.

During the launching event, Frehiwot Tamiru, CEO of Ethio-Telecom
underlining the 5G role in digitalizing a country noted, “We are pleased
and honored to launch the world’s advanced fifth-generation network. We
are committed to seeing a digital Ethiopia, which will uplift our
people’s overall living conditions”.

“Ethio-Telecom will expand its pre-commercial trial service across
the capital and regional cities, reaching up to 150 sites over the
coming 12 months”, She added.

Elaborating the wider impact and connectivity advantages of the
technology to our country, the Ethio-telecom chief during the event
stated, “with high speeds, superior reliability, and negligible latency,
5G will impact industries such as critical services requiring real-time
decisions, manufacturing plants, remote healthcare, precision
agriculture, as well as facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT).”

The main cross-cutting technological advantages of the 5G include,
but are not limited to, a greater speed in the transmissions, lower
latency and therefore greater capacity of remote execution, a greater
number of connected devices, and the possibility of implementing virtual
networks providing more adjusted connectivity to concrete needs.

As one of the largest diplomatic hubs, Addis Ababa and the
international community residing in the city will take advantage of the
ultrafast speed of the newly launched technology in their lives and
daily diplomatic engagements. The concerns of tourists concerning
internet connectivity during their stay in Ethiopia will also be
addressed with the advent of the 5G technology.

As the rising Manufacturing hub in the region with dozens of
Industrial parks currently operating in the country, the new network
technology with its communication efficiency will have additional value
by speeding up productivity with its long-distance machinery
connectivity capabilities and industry’s daily operations.

Ethio-telecom also reassured us to work towards 5G full
commercialization depending on the demand and readiness of players in
the eco-system. “This 5G service will provide our customers with
best-in-class solutions, improve their experience and allow our
enterprise customers to boost productivity, enhance operational
efficiency, and introduce new solutions to their customers”, the CEO
also noted.

With this rollout, Ethiopia has become one of the few African
countries that have launched the fifth-generation network. Regarding the
expansion of the trial and the full-fledged service throughout the
country,  Ms. Frehiwot underlined that Ethio-Telecom will expand its
pre-commercial trial service across the capital and regional cities,
reaching up to 150 sites over the coming 12 months.

The Ethiopian Telecom Corporation already has about 25 million data
and Internet users and has more than 60.8 million subscribers currently.

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