A week in the Horn (10/06/2016)
News in Brief
Africa and the African Union
The "Forum on Chinese Investment for Sustainable Trade and Growth in Africa" was held in Beijing, China, from May 31 – June 1, with the principal aim of exploring business opportunities and deliberating on the needs for catalyzing suitable investment in productive sectors in Africa. It was under the framework of Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA), a joint United Kingdom-China effort to increase exports and sustainable economic growth in Africa. The PIGA pilot countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia. (See article)
The three-day Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit opened in Copenhagen, Denmark on Sunday (June 5). Members of the 3GF are Denmark, Korea, Mexico, China, Kenya, Qatar, and Ethiopia, with Vietnam and Chile joining this year. It brings together governments, businesses, investors and international organizations to act together for the implementation of inclusive green growth. This year's theme was "A Call to Action - Enabling Solutions at Speed and Scale." (See article)
The Second Ministerial Conference of the African Union-Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HOAI) opened on Saturday (June 4) at Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt with a call for more synergies and coordination to address human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in the Horn of Africa. Ministers adopted the Declaration and the Report of the Senior Officials Meeting, held on June 2-3. The conference was attended by from the AU-HOAI Core Countries, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, and the neighboring countries of Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan, as well as partner governments and institutions.
The 30th Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Committee of Ambassadors Meeting convened in Addis Ababa on Monday and Tuesday this week (June 6-7) to endorse IGAD sectoral strategies and implementation plans for 2016 to 2020. (See article)
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn was interviewed this week on Ethiopia's economic development and transformation by Dr. Greg Mill, Director of South Africa's Brenthurst Foundation for the Daily Maverick. (See article)
Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, Minister for Finance and Economic Cluster and Minister of Communication and Information Technology with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister, along with Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Minister of Transport, and Abdi Mohammed, Chief Administrator of the State inaugurated Kebridahar international airport in the Somali Regional State on Saturday (June 4).
State Minister Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie held discussions with Mr. Henry Oryam, Uganda's State Minister of International Cooperation on Thursday (June 9). Discussions covered issues of economic integration, peace and security, and development.
State Minister Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie received credentials of the newly appointed Ambassador of Togolese Republic, Mr. Sebade TOBA on Friday (June10). The two sides agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation.
Belarus has said it wants to diversify and strengthen its relations with Ethiopia. Korchik Dmitry Alexandrovich, Deputy Minister of Industry of the Republic of Belarus, leading a delegation from Belarus' capital Minsk, said it wished to expand political and socio-economic relations with Ethiopia. The delegation concluded an agreement to link Minsk with Adama in industry and manufacturing.
Senior military officials from Ethiopia and Sudan began holding security talks in Addis Ababa on Monday (June 6). Discussions covered ways to combat regional security threats, ensure peace and safeguard their common border with terrorism, extremism, human trafficking, uncontrolled migration, cross-border crime, and illicit trade on the agenda.
The Council of Ministers on Friday last week (June 3) approved a budget of over 274 billion birr for the next Ethiopian fiscal year (2016-2017). This is a 13 % increase over the current year. 68.8 billion is for current expenditure; 105.7 billion for capital expenditure; 87.9 for the regional state subsidies; and 12 billion for sustainable development. The budget has now to be approved by Parliament.
Ethiopian officials on Monday said that over 90 of the children kidnapped by a South Sudan's Murle militia group on April 15 have now been rescued and have returned home safely. Negotiations for the return of the remainder are continuing; the return of the 2,000 looted cattle will be the next step.
Mulugeta Worku, Administrator of Ethiopia's North Gondar Zone and General Mohammed Ahmed Hussein Administrator of Sudan's Basonda State, signed an agreement in Gondar at the end of last week to ensure peace in Ethio-Sudan border areas and cement people-to-people ties. Mr. Mulugeta said this would also help to control human trafficking. They agreed to meet in Sennar State, in September, to review progress.
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Friday last week (June 3) approved a US$300 million International Development Association credit to improve effectiveness of road safety in Ethiopia. It will involve expanding existing traffic signal and control systems in Addis Ababa, improving the conditions for pedestrians, modernizing bus operations, building capacity of urban transport agencies, support best practice driver training and testing, and establish a secure database for driver and vehicle licensing country-wide.
The Swedish firm, H & M, has signed a long-term sourcing agreement for a new textile factory in Ethiopia that promises to provide up to 4,000 new jobs. Established by development financier Swedfund and the DBL Group, a Bangladesh-based exporter of ready-made garments, the Mekelle-sited facility says it aims to provide "decent working conditions, job creation for women, and satisfactory environmental considerations."
Ethiopian Airlines won the African Aviation ‘African Airline of the Year' Award for 2016 in recognition of its financial performance, fleet modernization, route network expansion, in-flight service, overall customer care and its outstanding contribution to aviation development in Africa. The award was presented on May 11 during the 25th Anniversary of the African Aviation Air Finance Africa Conference and Exhibition and African Aviation Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
An apology: Last week, we reported that Mr. Philip Hammond, UK Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, during his one day visit to Ethiopia last week, had met with detained Ginbot 7 leader, Andargachew Tsige. In fact, as a statement from Mr. Hammond made clear: "At my request, a senior Foreign Office official travelling with me, was given access to Mr. Tsige in prison today. Following that visit, I am satisfied that he is not being ill-treated and that he is receiving regular visits from family members in Ethiopia."
Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, the Minister of State for Defense Affairs of Qatar, paid a visit to the Qatari peacekeeping force deployed in the disputed border region between the Republic of Djibouti and the State of Eritrea last week. He praised the performance of the troops and thanked them for their efforts.
Issa Khaireh Robleh, a former adviser to the president of Djibouti, has taken over as the director general of the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), a specialized media organ of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
A damning new report by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI), released on Wednesday this week(June 8), unequivocally states that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea over the past 25 years. It lists crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, persecution, rape, murder and other inhumane acts as all "part of a campaign …to control the Eritrean civilian population since 1991". These crimes are still occurring today, said Mike Smith, chair of the Commission of Inquiry. (See article)
Presidential Adviser, Yemane Gebreab, in a press statement on Wednesday, claimed the report failed to meet "principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity" and "lacked the minimum standards of rigor and professionalism." He alleged it had produced "no solid evidence or firm legal basis to support its extreme and unfounded charges". Eritrea, he said, rejected "the politically motivated and groundless accusations and the destructive recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry."
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), a coalition of opposition parties, held a protest march in Nairobi on Monday (June 6) against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, appointed by President Kenyatta to organize the next Kenya elections in August 2017. CORD is demanding that the IEBC membership should be more inclusive. A court ruling allowed CORD to hold its protest but prohibited them from storming the IEBC offices or forcefully evicting the commissioners from office.
President Mohamud made an official visit to Kenya this week, visiting the Dadaab camp. He said Somalia was ready to receive refugees from the Dadaab camp and assured the refugees that repatriation would be orderly, humane and dignified as per the Tripartite Agreement between Somalia, Kenya and the UNHCR. He said later that refugees had already picked out places where they want to be resettled and the government has put in place infrastructure to accommodate them. (See article)
President Mohamud also held talks with President Kenyatta on Tuesday (June 7) and the communique reaffirmed the cordial relationship between Kenya and Somalia. It said both sides would work "on the orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees back to Somalia as per the Tripartite Agreement." The two sides reaffirmed their firm commitment to work together on areas of mutual interest and the two Presidents rededicated themselves and their Governments to enhance their cordial relations. (See article)
A statement from President Mohamud's office in Mogadishu said on Friday (June 3) that Somalia will select new parliament in August as planned. The President and the regional leaders met last week in Mogadishu to discuss the modalities for the election and will meet again on June 20 in Baidoa to discuss how the parliament will be selected in August. Further procedural details will be discussed at their next meeting in Baidoa on June 20. (See article)
Ethiopian troops and Somali National Forces killed 5 senior Al-Shabaab commanders and over 245 fighters, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense. They repulsed an attack on a military outpost at Halgan, on the road between Belet Weyne and Buulo Burde, 300 kilometers from Mogadishu on early Thursday morning (June 9). Many others were captured and a huge quantity of weapons recovered. AMISOM forces remain in full control of Halgan town.
AMISOM said on Friday (June 3) that it would be meeting this week to review tactics against Al-Shabaab. Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the AU Special Representative for Somalia and head of AMISOM said the agenda would include revising AMISOM's concept of operations and developing plans on " how best to degrade and destroy Al-Shabaab's fighting capacity."
Ambassador Madeira said last week that a new AMISOM Force Commander from Djibouti, General Osman Nur Sugale, had recently been appointed and was due to take up office following agreement by all the AMISOM Troop and Police Contributing Countries.
President Ahmed Silanyo of Somaliland opening Somaliland's 9th High level Aid Coordination Event on Monday (June 6) said Somaliland "was not part of any federal Somali state and will not participate in Somalia's elections. The people of Somaliland chose the path of independence 25 years ago and we will not turn back."
Sudan and South Sudan on Sunday (June 5) signed a series of security agreements, including immediate re-deployment of joint military forces along the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone, and approved a plan to stop supporting and harboring rebels as well as opening the agreed border crossings points. The Joint Political and Security Committee, co-chaired by the Sudan and South Sudan defense ministers, agreed to activate the agreement to operationalize the buffer zone signed last October.
- Prime Minister Hailemariam: “Growth has to be shared to be sustainable”
- Chinese Investment Forum for Sustainable Trade and Economic Growth in Africa
- UN Commission of Inquiry indicts Eritrea for crimes against humanity
- The National Leaders Forum in Somalia discusses the electoral process for August..…
- The Global Green Growth Forum 2016 Summit in Copenhagen
- IGAD Ambassadors endorse strategies and implementation plans for 2016-20
- Preparing for post-El Niño impact in Ethiopia and the Greater Horn of Africa
Dr Workneh receives copies of letters of credence of the newly appointed Italian Ambassador to Ethiopia
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