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Embaixada da Etiópia
Brasília, Brasil
Week

Jul 24,2015

News in Brief

African Union/IGAD

IGAD’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) and the Global Peace Foundation (GPF), together with the Government of Zanzibar, the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Easter and Southern Africa (COMESA) convened a business leader’s roundtable on “Addressing the nexus between Business and Peace,” on Wednesday (July 22) in Zanzibar.

Ethiopia

President Barack Obama will visit Ethiopia next week. President Barak Obama will be the first for a sitting president to visit Ethiopia. The President’s speech before the African Union will also be the first time for a sitting American president addressing the body. The President is scheduled to visit Kenya this week end, where he will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Wednesday (July 22) opened its first African regional office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The opening of the office aims to boost the delivery of technical expertise and advisory services to policymakers in UNCTAD member States.

Ethiopia’s Defense Minister, SirajFegessa, and Uganda’s Defense Minister, CrispusKiyonga signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen defense ties on Tuesday this week (July 21) at Uganda’s Mbuya Army Headquarters in Kampala. The two ministers discussed the situation in South Sudan and Somalia as well as terrorism in the region and agreed on the importance of safeguarding peace and security and promoting common values in the region and in Africa.

Ethiopia is projected to be the third largest economy in the Sub-Saharan Africa by 2017, says Ernst and Young’s (EY) study titled “Investing in Ethiopia”. The study said “In 2014, the star performer in Africa in terms of FDI was Ethiopia … Ethiopia accounted for one in five FDI jobs in Africa - this is the kind of FDI we need in Africa.” According to the Study, the ten prominent reasons to invest in Ethiopia are growing economy, demographic and geographical advantages, rapid urbanization, and opportunities in the manufacturing, infrastructure, extraction, agriculture and tourism sectors.

Ethiopia seeks to strengthen its economic ties with Belgium, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome said while discussing with the departing Belgian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Hughes Chantry on July 20. President Mulatu noted the wide investment opportunities in Ethiopia and calls for Belgian investors to involve more. Hughes Chantry expressed Belgium’s intention to bolster its political relations with Ethiopia into economic cooperation.

Ethiopia and the European Union (EU) signed two financial agreements on July 17, worth of 190 million Euros to support Ethiopia’s road sector and safety net programs. Ethiopian Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Sufian Ahmed and European Union Commissioner in Charge of International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica has signed the financial agreements.

Eritrea

Eritrean refugees in Germany exposed that Eritrean translators deliberately mistranslate the testimonies of refugees as well as intimidate them into hiding human rights abuses during their hearings. The United Nations report published in June said in Eritrea, "information collected on people's activities, their supposed intentions and even conjectured thoughts is used to rule through fear in a country where individuals are routinely arbitrarily arrested and detained, tortured, disappeared or extra-judicially executed."

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Monday (July 20) in an answer to a question tabled in Parliament a week earlier has given an assurance that aid to Eritrea under the European Union budget will have to take into account the country’s human rights record.

Somalia

The new Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG), Mr. Peter de Clercq of the Netherlands, arrived in Mogadishu on Tuesday (July 21). He will also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in Somalia.

AMISOM and Somali National Army forces took over the key Al-Shabaab stronghold of Bardhere in Gedo region on Wednesday (July 22) after taking over a number of other towns and viillages. Bardhere was one of the last remaining towns held by Al-Shabaab and was a center for Al-Shabaab activities in Kenya as well as an important financial resource. Dinsoor has also been captured from Al-Shabaab today (July25) by Ethiopian troops with AMISOM and Somali National Army.

Somali Federal Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke; Puntland President, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali; and the head of the Jubaland Interim Administration, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam "Madobe" signed a joint communiqué on Sunday (July 19) in Garowe, Puntland's state capital.

Sudan

The 7th meeting of the tripartite technical committee on the GERD has commenced in Khartoum on Wednesday with the participation of water resources ministers in Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia

South Sudan

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien is visiting South Sudan this week (July. 22-25) to see first-hand the devastating humanitarian effects of the conflict. A statement from the UN on Tuesday said nearly 70% of the population, 7.9 million out of 11.6 million, are expected to face food insecurity this rainy season, and the lives of over 250,000were at risk from rapidly worsening malnutrition.

Kenya

US President Barak Obama arrives Kenya on Friday (July 25).  The President will participate in the annual gathering of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and government officials, of which he is co-chair, and meet with government officials. National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Wednesday (July 23) said “This is an opportunity not only to support that Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which is something the president is deeply committed to.”

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The Prime Minister closes the Third International Conference on Financing for Development….

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) held in Addis Ababa last week (July 13-16), concluded on Thursday, with the endorsement of the outcome document, the draft Addis Ababa Action Agenda that will guide international efforts on sustainable development for the next decade and a half. The Agenda endorses the effort to end poverty and hunger and achieve sustainable development through the framework of promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment and promoting social inclusion. The Addis Ababa Action Agendaalso provides a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda leaders are expected to adopt in September when the United Nations will host a summit to adopt the transformative post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are replacing the Millennium Development Goals. The world will pledge to promote an equitable global economic system under which no country or person is left behind. In this context, the Financing for Development outcome document recognizes the importance of domestic resource mobilization and makes concrete steps towards scaling it up, including the Addis Tax Initiative.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President of the Conference, closing the Conference on Thursday called the occasion “historic” as world leaders agreed to work for the betterment of humanity and showed their determination to ensure no one was left behind in achieving the goals of Sustainable Development. The Prime Minister said the commitment to a global social compact, with all enjoying access to health, education, social protection, and other basic rights, marked a crucial step forward. However, he pointed out, there was much more to be done to resource this commitment and make it a reality around the world. Equally it was necessary to be equally resolute with respect to ensuring effective implementation and take action to follow things up.

The Prime Minister said the outcome document produced by the 5,000 participants who included Heads of Stateand Financial and Foreign Ministers, from more than 190 countries,was significant in its overarching message that everyone has something essential to contribute. He underlined the importance of domestic resource mobilization, and emphasized the necessary concrete steps including the Addis Tax Initiative to scale this up.He said “We have recognized that official development assistance and other forms of international public finance remain essential as does the 0.7% target, and the need for least developed countries to receive a larger share of aid flows.” Referring to the role of the private sector, the Prime Minister noted that this had a vital role inproviding the drivers fordevelopment. The conference as well as the other side forums had provided a platform for catalysing many valuable conversations to that end. He also reflected on the importance of other forms of financing, ranging from South-South cooperation to innovative flows, and from climate finance to philanthropy.

The Prime Minister noted that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognised that the only development worth having is sustainable development. This, as he pointed out, had been an area under-addressed in the Monterrey Consensus. The Prime Minister said: “Our objectives and experience in Ethiopia reflect the importance we attach to all three of these principles,” adding that the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ was right at the heart of the Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan. The country was, he said,  “not only making rapid progress on growth and poverty reduction, including the operation of one of the largest social protection systems in the developing world, but also doing so while keeping inequality levels very low.”

Ethiopia welcomed the outcome document, the Prime Minister said, underlining that the principle that everyone hadsomething vital to contribute was reflected in Ethiopia’s valued partnerships with other countries, both North and South, in the rapid increase in foreign direct investment, in its successful Eurobond issue, and in the increase in its own tax revenues. He noted that the principle that the only development worth having is sustainable de elopement was also reflected in the country’s intention to become a middle income country by 2025 with zero net increases in greenhouse gas emissions. He said: “We bear minimal historical responsibility for climate change, and our per capita emissions are tiny compared to those of many other countries: yet this has not hindered us from playing an important and a leading role globally in addressing the challenges of climate change.”

The Prime Minister said the Conference had extended far beyond the formal negotiations to encourage further global progress towards sustainable development. He commended the commitments unveiled by governments and others. He praised international financial institutions, including the IMF for its commitment at the conference to extend US$400 billion for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He expressed appreciation for the new Global Financing Facility to end maternal and child mortality by 2030, with US$12 billion already aligned to four countries, including Ethiopia, which were front-runners in progress in this area.

Prime Minister Hailemariam hailed the G7’s commitment to lift 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, together with an increase of up to 400 million in the number of people with access to climate insurance, commitments announced in the run-up to the Addis Ababa Conference. He also acknowledged the new public-private commitments to share space-data to serve disaster-preparedness and other development needs, the commitment to sustainable energy, and to an expanded network of Solar Sister Entrepreneurs and the expansion of Tax Inspectors without Borders.

The Prime Minister called up on all actors to realize and understand what they agreed on in Addis Ababa so that all sustainable development goals and targets agreed would actually be achieved. He urged the need to build a robust monitoring and follow-up system and ensure all promises and commitments were realised in the future. In concluding,he recognised the vibrant discussions that hadbeen taking place all over Addis Ababa during the Conference, with some 200-side events taking place as well as extensive networking and connections being carried out. He specifically mentioned the International Business Forum that brought together a wide range of business leaders, underlining the indisputable role of the private sector in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Civil Society Forum both of which voiced important matters that were addressed during the conference.

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…The Addis Ababa Action Agenda - path to a Prosperous and Sustainable Future

Following the negotiations under the leadership of the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, H.E. Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, an Outcome Document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, was adopted by the 193 UN Member States at the conclusion of the Summit on the Financing for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals in Addis Ababa, on Thursday (July 16).

Building on the outcomes of the previous conferences: the 2002 Monterrey Consensus and the 2008 Doha Declaration on Financing for Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda addressed all possible sources of finance, and covered cooperation on a range of issues including technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building. After formulating a series of practical measures that could sustain the redirection of international financing towards supporting global sustainable development for the next fifteen years, the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda comes ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New Yorkin September. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, defined as a Landmark Agreement, in terms of providing a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda has presented an ambitious financing framework that has recognized the need for public and private resource mobilization to meet the challenge of sustainable financing.

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, Heads of State and Government, senior ministers, representatives of international organizations and other key stakeholders hailed the outcome of the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa as the first milestone in the course of realizing a sustainable global agenda. The Secretary-General called the agreement a “milestone in forging an enhanced global partnership,” noting that the Addis conference was the first of three milestone meetings this year. He said: “Member States have now passed this first hurdle. Now we must work ever harder for a successful summit on sustainable development in September in New York and for a meaningful agreement on climate change in December in Paris.” The UN Secretary-General also noted “The results here in Addis Ababa give us the foundation of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development that will leave no one behind.” With the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is obviously significant step for building a world of prosperity and dignity for all, the Secretary General also stressed that the agreement would revitalize the global partnership for development.

Similarly, General Assembly President, Sam Kutessa, taking note of the agreed concrete deliverables, policies and actions to support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, noted, “The Addis Ababa Action Agenda testifies to our collective resolve to build a better future for all in a more equal and sustainable world.” He said the international community had now “embarked on a momentous journey in a common pursuit to eradicate poverty, improve livelihoods for all and protect our planet.” Mr. Kutessa called on all delegations to fully implement the Action Agenda: “With this successful outcome, we have a strong basis to build upon and continue our path towards the historic Summits in New York in September and Paris in December. I count on your continued commitment to ensure an ambitious outcome for the post-2015 development agenda,” he added.

Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the Conference noted that the Action Agenda featured a comprehensive set of policy actions with a package of over 100 concrete measures and some concrete deliverables. He said:  “this historic agreement marks a turning point in international cooperation that will result in the necessary investments for the new and transformative sustainable development agenda that will improve the lives of people everywhere.”

The Outcome Document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, comprises decisions and agreements in three key domains: a global framework for financing development post-2015; action areas; and data, monitoring and follow-up elements.

In regard to setting the global framework for financing development Post-2015, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda was agreed by Heads of State and Government and High Representatives affirming a strong political commitment to address the challenge of financing and creating an enabling environment in the spirit of global partnership and solidarity. Mindful of the fact that the United Nations will host a summit to adopt an ambitious and transformative post-2015 development agenda in September 2015, the Outcome Document provides for the agreement of all actors and stakeholders to establish a holistic and forward-looking framework and commits them to concrete actions to deliver on the promise of such a global agenda. Accordingly, a consensus was reached on the realization of a "threefold” task: the follow-up of the commitments made in both the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration; a further intensification of the framework to finance sustainable development and the means of implementation for the universal Post-2015 development agenda; and finally to make certain that the actions agreed are implemented and reviewed in an appropriate, timely and transparent manner.

According to the Outcome Document, despite significant economic and social progress in many countries, developing countries in particular still “face considerable challenges; and some have fallen further behind.”  The Document therefore stressed the importance of addressing the diverse needs and challenges faced by countries in special situations. These include African countries, Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, as well as specific challenges facing middle-income countries. In response to these challenges, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda makes it clear that solutions can be found through strengthening public policies, regulatory frameworks and finance at all levels, unlocking the transformative potential of people and the private sector, and incentivizing changes in financing as well as defining consumption and production patterns to support sustainable development. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda also emphasized the critical need for achieving gender equality and investing in children and youth to ensure “inclusive, equitable and sustainable development for present and future generations.” Furthermore, the Outcome Document revealed that agreement had been reached on the necessity of delivering social protection and essential public services for all, scaling up efforts to end hunger and malnutrition, establishing a new forum to bridge the infrastructure gap, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, generating full and productive employment and decent work for all and promoting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, protecting the global ecosystem for all and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in its second key domain, stipulated seven Action Areas, under which strong commitments were laid down in terms of encouraging transparency and international cooperation and dialogue to provide for financing for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Action Areas include domestic public resources, domestic and international private business and finance, international development cooperation, international trade as an engine for development, debt and sustainability, addressing systemic issues and science, technology and capacity-building.

For the third and last key domain, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda dealt with Data Monitoring and Follow-Up. The Document emphasized on the need for greater transparency in the provision of “timely, comprehensive and forward-looking information” so that the entire process could help governments make informed decisions and enable all stakeholders to track progress and understand trade-offs. This would help creates mutual accountability. In this regard, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda framed a global platform for governments to commit themselves for a dedicated and strengthened follow-up process through the instrumentality of existing institutional arrangements. This should include an annual Economic and Social Council forum on a financing for development follow-up process on the basis of universal, intergovernmental participation. The Outcome Document also noted that an International Follow-up Conference would be held in 2019 dedicated to the maximization of all elements of such international cooperation.

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…. A successful conference for the international community, and for Ethiopia

The Third Financing for Development Conference, concluded last week in Addis Ababa with a historic agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, has given new momentum to the international cooperative partnership to end poverty and combat climate change. Equally important, the Conference can be expected to provide a proper foundation for implementing the global Sustainable Development Agenda that world leaders will adopt this September in New York. It has produced a groundbreaking agreement to revitalize the global partnership in order to finance the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Conference also comes at a time when Ethiopia, striking a balance between stability, development and environment, and in association with other countries, has put its development, security and environment on a sustainable footing within the parameters of the Ethiopian Renaissance and of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Ethiopia, with its vision of joining the list of Middle Income Countries and of becoming a Carbon Neutral Middle Income Manufacturing Hub by 2025,

For Ethiopia and other countries and international organizations the Addis Ababa Action Agenda underlines the point that ensuring sustainable development hinges on the effectiveness of a given country to mobilize finance. Finance, in fact, will determine the effectiveness of the new sustainable development goals to collectively find common solutions to the critical challenges facing humanity, including poverty, hunger, inequality, and climate change. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, comprising over 100 measures, supports the practical implementation of the sustainable development goals. It takes into account all sources of financing and lays down the basis for promising global cooperation across a whole spectrum of issues ranging from science, technology and trade to capacity building and innovation.

The outcome of the conference fits firmly within Ethiopia’s own political and financial agenda and vision to expand and expedite the war on poverty and tackle the expanding threat of climate change. Ethiopia deeply values the importance of registering sustainable economic growth through enhanced global partnerships as well as practical regional integration. It has consistently pursued effective ways and mechanisms and mutually agreed frameworks to deal with these common and emerging challenges, including, most importantly, poverty and climate change. To address these, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda commits countries to work hand in hand to produce new initiatives to help deal with climate change; assist the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; develop infrastructure and technology; provide for increased foreign aid; expanded social protection and health measures; improved effectiveness of taxation; and a package of measures for the poorest countries.

On climate change, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda urges developed countries to live up to their commitment to a common goal of raising US$100 billion per year by 2020 from various sources to address the needs of developing countries. The agreement also commits developed countries to discontinue inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. This key enabling commitment will provide the opportunity for a multiplier effect on Ethiopia’s commitment to a resilient green economy. Ethiopia has carefully crafted green economic and environmental strategies, covering its untapped energy potential, and its political commitment. It is a leading proponent for securing a low-carbon future for Africa and indeed more widely. Indeed, Ethiopia, switching away from a conventional development approach, has already charted a future as a “green economy front-runner”, and, underlining its belief in a sustainable model of growth, has already begun to transform these strategies into action. For this finance, as well as technology and ingenuity, is needed. To address this hurdle, Ethiopia’s green economy strategy recognizes the imperative of improved cooperative partnerships with domestic and international development partners along with other sources of domestic resource mobilization. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, emphasizing the need for harmony between energy and development is surely supportive of Ethiopia’s national vision for the provision of sustainable economic, social and environmental development with no or little negative social and environmental impact.

Ethiopia’s commitment to avoid a high-carbon development pathway is not limited to domestic energy infrastructure development. Indeed the region, and even Africa and the Middle East also stand to gain from Ethiopia’s development of low-carbon energy. The country has taken a lead in turning words into action with the start of green power exports in addition to meeting domestic energy demands. It already exports power to Sudan and Djibouti; and the electricity transmission line from Ethiopia to Kenya is set to be complete by 2018. In addition to this practical demonstration of regional cooperation in green energy infrastructure development, Ethiopia has won the trust and confidence of other countries in helping Africa take its rightful place in climate talks. Recognizing Africa’s energy problems necessitate improved global cooperation, it is committed to take a leading role in using its expertise in climate diplomacy, completing preparations to represent Africa’s interests in the upcoming summits on Sustainable Development Goals in New York and COP 21 climate talks in Paris.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda allows for countries to set up a Technology Facilitation Mechanism at the Sustainable Development Summit in September to enhance cooperation among various stakeholders. Technology is another vital element necessary to supplement Ethiopia’s transition to a low-carbon future and the creation of a manufacturing hub in Africa. International cooperation adds fresh impetus to the strengthening of the process of economic transformation through the expansion of a national engineering and manufacturing capacity to foster productivity and enhance quality and competitive advantage. It can also help the country achieve economic transformation and ensure accelerated and sustained human development and technology capacity building. This will certainly complement the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan 2 (GTP) aims of building a manufacturing base.

On micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, the agreement commits countries to promote affordable and stable access to credit for smaller enterprises; and to develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the International Labor Organization Global Jobs Pact by 2020. Ethiopia, believing that the linchpin of building an extensive manufacturing base, is development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, produced remarkable progress in terms of creating jobs, over two million in the third year of the first GTP. The international stress on development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is in agreement with this approach. The GTP, which welcomes the engagement of the private sector in medium and large-scale enterprises, also strongly supports the expansion and development of these enterprises to provide for generation of employment, building the skills of the youth and reducing rural-urban poverty.

On infrastructure, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda commits countries to establish a Global Infrastructure Forum to identify and address infrastructure gaps, highlight opportunities for investment and cooperation, and work to ensure that projects are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Similarly, infrastructure is at the heart of Ethiopia’s GTP2 to provide the foundation for an industrial base. Infrastructure improvement is regarded as the key to create an enabling environment for more trade and Foreign Direct Investment inflows. The strategic pillars of the GTP2 demand the improvement of the quality of infrastructure to expand markets for domestic manufacturing and improve the competitive advantage of an export-led economy. Together with the industrial sector and construction, transport is classified as the third major strategic group in the national green growth matrix. This demonstrates Ethiopia’s commitment to decrease transport costs and improve its trade balance through a reduced import of fossil fuels and the introduction of modern and energy efficient technologies. The seriousness of this approach is underlined by the massive infrastructure developments that are transcending the country’s boundaries. It is a policy deliberately intended to contribute to regional integration and bring prosperity to the Horn of Africa. Prime Minister Hailemariam has clearly pointed out that Ethiopia is “not only investing huge sums in roads, rail, electric power transmission and related infrastructures domestically, but also regionally in partnership with our neighbors to more effectively integrate our economies and create expanded markets that will attract more domestic and foreign investment.” He has also stressed “We are confident that other neighboring countries will join us in this win-win endeavor.” This commitment in infrastructure development projects, supported by concrete action, has pushed Ethiopia to the level of third highest public investment rate in the world according to the World Bank. It is, indeed, deeply involved in construction of roads and railways, and in massive energy investment.

With its success in meeting most of the Millennium Development Goals and its commitments to infrastructure and energy, and to an industrial and agricultural transformation, and well aware of the AU Agenda 2063 and of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Government has already started the process of developing a democratic developmental state with the support of domestic and international public and private financing. Implementing the groundbreaking Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreement will not be easy. It requires real and decisive action on the part of the developed world to live up to their commitments and promised initiatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  The rewards, however, will be great: “A world free of poverty in all its forms, a world that lives within its natural ‘safe operating space’ and a world in which inequality is kept within reasonable limits and eventually eliminated.”

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European People’s Party delegation praises Ethiopia’s peace and stability

A delegation of members of the European People’s Party, the largest party in the European Parliament, was in Addis Ababa this week and they met with State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos on Wednesday this week (July 23). The delegation emphasized that there were “fascinating Developments “going on in Ethiopia and they found the country’s efforts for peace and stability efforts “outstanding”.

Discussions with the State Minister covered a wide range of subjects, including Ethiopia-European Union relations, development in Ethiopia, and the role of Ethiopia in the region and future areas of cooperation. Ambassador Berhane, who gave a detailed briefing of economic and political developments in Ethiopia, emphasized that the “Ethiopia and European Union relationships are excellent”. They closely cooperated, he said, in various areas including economic development as well as in peace and security. Ambassador Berhane emphasized Ethiopia’s strong interest in further strengthening its relations with the governments and peoples of the European Union countries.  He also briefed the delegation on the contribution of the European Union to Ethiopia’s development, on Ethiopia’s Federal system, its economic development, its peace and security and its role in the region, as well as the process and results of the recently concluded national elections and the activities and organization of political parties in the country.

In response to a question from Mr. Esteban Gonzalez Pons, the Vice-Chairman of the EPP’s Legal and Home Affairs Bureau, on the implication of the strategic location of Ethiopia and its efforts to ensure regional peace and stability, Ambassador Berhane explained Ethiopia’s geographic location was highly strategic – near to the Middle East, across the Red Sea from Yemen, and situated close to both the Great Lakes and North Africa. The entire northeast Africa/Horn of Africa region was also highly volatile and in the frontline for terrorism. Ethiopia, said Ambassador Berhane, had been and remained deeply involved in tackling terrorism and terrorist groups, active in Somalia and Yemen, as well as targeting Ethiopia. Ethiopia has therefore been in the forefront in involvement in peace-keeping and peace maintenance operations and activities in the Horn of Africa region, he noted. Ethiopia was the fourth largest contributor of United Nations peacekeeping efforts and was currently involved in peace-keeping in Darfur, South Sudan, Abyei and Somalia. In this connection the State Minister welcomed the collaboration of the EU with Ethiopia in peace and security issues.

Ambassador Berhane provided the delegation with details of the rapid developments taking place in Ethiopia and the way the face of the country was continuing to change for the better. One reason for this was the support of the EU, which had been vital in providing a catalyst for socio-economic developments in Ethiopia. He had no doubt that relations between Ethiopia and governments and peoples of the EU countries would continue to be strengthened further.

Concerning the federal structure of Ethiopia, Ambassador Berhane emphasized the fact that this was changing the country, and Africa, for the better. He also briefed the EEP members on the expanding business opportunities in Ethiopia and the growing, and most welcome increase in foreign direct investment. He said the investment inflow from European countries was steadily increasing now that Ethiopia had clearly set out its priority investment areas. He also pointed out that the private sector and civil society were playing major roles in the country’s on-going development. Ambassador Berhane noted that two major economic sectors remained regulated, telecom and the financial sector where the banking sector had a major role. These two areas had a pivotal role in development of other infrastructural areas and were central to the Growth and Transformation Plan. They would remain central to the country’s development.

Manfred Weber, the Chair of the European People’s Party delegation took the opportunity to congratulated Ethiopia for the developments going on in the country, and he noted that its efforts in maintaining regional stability were vital to minimizing the impact of such regional challenges as illegal migration. He added that Ethiopia had been outstanding in its contribution to both regional and global peacekeeping efforts.

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The World Bank underlines Ethiopia’s potential for “light manufacturing”

The World Bank has produced a substantial study of “Light Manufacturing in Africa”, sub-titled “Targeted Policies to Enhance private Investment and Create Jobs.” It’s an impressive four-volume study comparing the potential and opportunities for three African countries - Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia - with two Asian states - China and Vietnam where light industries continue to employ vast numbers of unskilled workers.

In almost every country the transformation from traditional agriculture toward a modern economy began with light manufacturing, because of the ability to bring a large pool of less-skilled workers from agriculture into new occupations that significantly increased productivity without excessive capital requirements. So for Ethiopia, and many other nations of Sub-Saharan Africa, the report says the light manufacturing sector offers an attractive choice for making best use of its abundant labor and natural resources to create better-paying jobs fairly rapidly. This study is based on different surveys covering factories, show rooms, the private sectors, bankers, Government officials and a quantitative survey covering some 1400 enterprises. A comparative value chain and feasibility analysis was based on interviews with around 300 formal medium enterprises and the Kaizen study covered about 550 SMEs in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Vietnam.

The study focuses on five light manufacturing industries that it defines as basic, simple, and labor intensive: agribusiness, leather goods, wood processing and wood products, simple metal products, and apparel. These, it argues, provide an important source for growth and productive employment in economies with a less-skilled labor force, offering a comparative advantage in labor-intensive sectors and an attractive choice for making best use of abundant labor and natural resources to create better-paying jobs.

Overall, the report argues that the rapid cost escalation now facing China’s export-oriented light manufacturing sector has created opportunities that could jump-start Sub-Saharan Africa’s structural transformation in the near future. Sub-Saharan Africa is well endowed with inexpensive, low-skilled labor, a key ingredient in the initial industrialization of a long list of Asian economies. The report shows that “feasible, low-cost, sharply focused policy initiatives aimed at enhancing private investment could launch Sub-Saharan Africa on a path to becoming competitive in light manufacturing.” It says policies that encourage foreign direct investment can speed industrial development and export expansion. The impact of isolated successes can be multiplied. One demonstration of this was Ethiopia’s floriculture industry where a single firm started to sell cut flowers in EU markets, and this led to the creation of an industry that now employs 50,000 workers.

The report looks specifically at the potential and opportunities for Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia arguing policy makers need to identify the constraints for the specific sub-sectors and then design effective policies to remove them. It identifies five main constraints that impede the competitiveness of light manufacturing in all three countries and have an impact across different subsectors. The first of these is import tariffs, price controls and exports bans on agricultural products, barriers to the import and distribution of high-yield seeds, difficulties to obtaining access to land and finance for commercial farming, livestock, and forestry, and disease control in the livestock sector. Lack of access to industrial land can cripple efforts by both smaller and larger firms to take advantage of market opportunities and attain a competitive operational scale. Access to finance is an important constraint across all light manufacturing sectors, especially for small and medium enterprises; poor trade logistics penalize firms that rely on imported inputs and doubly hit exporters, adding on average 10% to production costs and causing delays. Weak entrepreneurial and worker skills are also a continuing constraint on improving productivity. In efforts to resolve these, it suggests policy interventions should begin with pilot case studies and be continually updated; and that government intervention to overcome constraints and information failures should be small, short-lived, and quickly scaled-back as success attracts an increasing flow of private resources.

In its case study on Ethiopia the report says the country navigated the global economic crisis in 2008–09 better than many other developing countries, and suffering only modest and temporary declines in exports, remittances, and foreign investments. It has the potential to become globally competitive in large segments of light manufacturing, in particular in clothing and garment production, leather products, and agribusinesses and, if successful, could create millions of productive jobs.  It sees there’s been growth in export earnings, together with a slow-down in imports, allowing a buildup of foreign exchange. Overall inflation has dropped to single digits, and growth has remained strong (at least 8–9% since 2009.) The Government, the report notes, is committed to achieving continued growth within a stable macroeconomic framework, in the context of the new five-year development plan whose strategic pillars are rapid economic growth through investment in agriculture and infrastructure, promotion of industrialization, enhancement of social development, and strengthening of governance and the role of youth and women.

The report incidentally suggests that although several aspects of Ethiopia’s political environment, governance, and institutions make it a special case, sufficient common factors exist to make it a good exemplar for a fairly large group of African countries.

The report notes that Ethiopia is endowed with a large number of natural resources that can provide valuable inputs for light manufacturing industries that serve both domestic and export markets. Among these are a large cattle population whose skins and hides can be processed into leather and its products; forests whose wood can be used in the furniture industry; cotton that can be used in the garments industry; and agricultural land and lakes that can provide inputs for agro-processing industries. Ethiopia has abundant labor whose low costs offer it a comparative advantage in less-skilled labor-intensive sectors such as light manufacturing.

In its study of the apparel sector, it concludes Ethiopia has the potential to become globally competitive because it has a large underemployed workforce and a significant labor cost advantage; trainable workers; access to a state-of-the-art container port with a favorable geographic position in Djibouti; potential to develop a competitive cotton or textile industry due to good climatic and soil conditions; cheap hydro-energy; ability to save on transportation costs and delivery times; and duty-free access to the European Union and U.S. markets under AGOA. Some constraints need to be addressed: poor trade logistics which weaken the wage advantages and affect ability to enter higher-value time-sensitive markets, lack of local input industries, unpredictable delivery times, difficulties over access to industrial land and weak skills that prevent domestic firms plugging into the global supply chain. Removal of these difficulties would provide the basis for massive development.

It says the leather subsector has even greater potential for production, exports, and employment: “Facilitating the import of quality processed leather in the short term while facilitating the development of a competitive leather supply chain would position Ethiopia to become one of the leading global centers for producing quality leather goods.” It says modest, targeted reforms could enable Ethiopia’s large animal herds to produce vast amounts of some of the best leather in the world. Developing this needs improved disease control and expanded veterinary services, and better processing quality. The immediate constraint is limited access to high-quality processed leather. Vietnam created 600,000 productive jobs in the leather products sector by implementing similar policies.

Competitiveness in wood products could be achieved by providing technical training to entrepreneurs and workers, giving easier access to industrial land and finance, and facilitating development of sustainable plantations to take advantage of the country’s unique bamboo resources. Ethiopia has the largest bamboo forests in Africa.As with wood products, production of metal products is constrained by poor skills and high input and import costs, but proven reserves of iron ore and cheap hydropower allow for a competitive steel industry to be developed as well as a domestic industry.

The report says the Government should reform agricultural input and output markets, enable the use of land and cattle as collateral, and facilitate access to rural land for investors through a transparent and inclusive process benefiting local communities in order to unleash the potential of agribusiness. The success of coffee and floriculture shows the potential for both domestic and export markets. It notes Vietnam created 450,000 direct jobs in agribusiness; Ethiopia, it says, has the potential to do the same with its varied soil and climate, increased yields and development of unused arable land.

In all these areas, the main constraints are seen as poor trade logistics, poor access to industrial land, lack of finance and of skills, and also the fact that input costs can be too high in relation to production costs. To remedy these problems, the report suggests a number of policy interventions to produce a short-term impact. These could include permitting unlimited duty-free imports of leather and fabrics, reducing the cost of financing trade, and liberalizing domestic markets. Other suggestions include removing import tariffs on additional light manufacturing inputs, further development of industrial parks, improving customs procedures, reducing transport costs, developing collateral markets and deploying targeted technical training programs. Once all this is under way, the report suggests the Government should identify and encourage prospective lead investors for emerging opportunities in light manufacturing industries and invite leading investors to participate. More generally the report also calls for encouraging foreign direct investment from leading foreign investors in these areas of high export potential, adding that this requires convincing evidence that the necessary developments are taking place.

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UN still considers peace-keeping in Somalia too high-risk

The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, told the Security Council on Thursday last week that a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Somalia would be a “high-risk undertaking.” Mr. Mulet said the progress made by the continuing sacrifices of AMISOM troops and the Somali National Army deserved “our collective tribute” for their heroism. The ‘surge’ of AMISOM numbers and the logistical support package for the Somali National Army had produced commendable results. “However,” he added, “in the face of these advances, Al-Shabaab continued to adapt, launching asymmetric attacks and blocking access to some of the newly recovered areas.” He also warned that Al-Shabaab had expanded its presence in Puntland and become a more significant threat within the sub-region.

The Assistant Secretary-General underlined the importance of the extension of State authority throughout Somali territory and said the international community should engage in Somalia in accordance with the new federal map. He said the recommended strategy was designed to create an enabling environment for the political process to unfold in Mogadishu and the regions during the next critical 18 months. This should be guided by three linked objectives: enabling the political process at all levels; reinitiating offensive operations against Al-Shabaab strongholds as soon as possible; and enabling consolidation efforts. These, he added, required strong commitments from all partners, including the Somali Federal Government, the African Union, troop-contributing countries and the United Nations.

Mr. Mulet said the ‘surge’ in AMISOM numbers should be maintained until the end of 2016, as recommended by the Secretary-General, as should the improvement in AMISOM’s efficiency and effectiveness. He welcomed the African Union Peace and Security Council’s decision to reconfigure AMISOM within the authorized ceiling. He said that the proposed security strategy would only succeed if Somali security institutions were supported and able to progressively assume greater responsibility for their own security. He went on to say that it was important to devise “an enhanced and more coherent architecture for international partners to deliver capacity-building support to the national army and the country’s defense sector.”

Mr. Mulet noted that the adoption of the “Guulwade” (Victory) Plan for the development of the Somali National Army in April was an important step forward, and shifting efforts towards establishing and capacitating the police force was equally critical. Development of effective, and accountable, military forces, particularly in the regions, should also be accelerated. In this context, he recommended extending the non-lethal support package to 3,000 Puntland forces on an exceptional basis until the end of 2016, though this, he said, should, depend upon the completion of their integration into the National Army, as well as their formal inclusion in the “Guulwade” Plan.

The “Guulwade” Plan developed by Somalia’s Ministry of Defense with UNSOM assistance and endorsed by a meeting of the Working Group on Peace-building and State-building in Mogadishu in April, outlined the Somali national army’s needs for arms and equipment for improved joint operations, consistent with AMISOM’s operational concepts. It provided the framework for the first phase of the military and police’s longer-term development; and a related element involved the strategic plan for Regional Militia Integration, established on 26 March, outlining the proposed integration of regional forces into federal security structures. Under the Plan a total of 10,900 national army troops, comprising units from the regions, should receive support from international partners for participation in joint operations with AMISOM and capacity building as part of development of the army.

UNSOM assisted the Federal Government in its first steps towards establishing a comprehensive weapons and ammunition management system, in accordance with international standards and sanctions obligations. Construction of armories and facilities for the safe storage of weapons and explosives has been taking place, together with efforts to develop personnel capacity in record-keeping and physical management of weapons. A total of 13,829 Somali national army and 5,134 Somali police force personnel were now biometrically registered in the human resources system. The payment of 9,495 army stipends, funded by the United States, began in April 2015.

During the discussion at the Security Council, Awale Ali Kullane (Somali Charge d’Affaires in Washington) said Somalia had achieved significant progress in the two years since the Council had reviewed the previous benchmarking report.  He pointed out a new milestone had been reached the previous week with the election of a President for the Galmuduug Interim Regional Assembly, and with parliamentary confirmation of the members of the National Independent Electoral Commission and the Boundaries and Federation Commission.  This could not have been done, he said, without the military gains of 2013 and 2014, which had opened political space.  Military efforts, however, were still needed. While Al-Shabaab no longer controlled vast areas of the country, it was still capable of mounting attacks against the Somali National Army and AMISOM, Mr. Kullane said. He said support must be directed at maintaining AMISOM troop levels and improving efficiency in order to degrade Al-Shabaab’s capacity.

Equally, and more importantly, long-term national stabilization and withdrawal of international troops would only be could be possible with the building of a strong security sector.  He said the Somali Government welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a gradual handover of responsibilities to Somali security institutions. He acknowledged that this might take some time but, he said, it should be the guiding light of international efforts.  He also emphasized that Somalia needed international support to build up the capacity of its institutions, provide employment to youth, develop infrastructure and progressively tackle the roots of the violence.

In an earlier resolution in October last year, (2182 of 2014), the Security Council had extended the mandate of  AMISOM to November 30, 2015, and requested the Secretary-General and African Union to review jointly the impact of the temporary surge authorized in resolution 2124 (2013) which has provided for an increase in AMISOM’s strength for a period of 18 to 24 months. This was seen as part of an overall exit strategy for AMISOM, after which a decrease in AMISOM’s force strength will be considered. It had also requested the Secretary-General to set out recommendations on the next steps in the military campaign by the end of May this year. The Council had requested the Secretary-General to continuously review benchmarks for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation in close consultation with the AU; and further requested a joint AU-UN report to assess the impact of the surge in AMISOM uniformed personnel by the end of May.

The joint UN/AU assessment mission was conducted in Somalia from 14-25 April. It was followed by consultations with AMISOM’s troop contributing countries regarding the report’s recommendations. The assessment mission had concluded that conditions for a UN peacekeeping mission would not be suitable until the end of 2016 at the earliest. Following AMISOM’s troop surge, the report recommended a “structured, targeted reconfiguration” of AMISOM to respond to evolving conflict dynamics, resuming offensive operations against Al-Shabaab under an enhanced chain of command and with better use of assets such as helicopters and greater use of “enablers” consolidating and stabilizing recovered areas through better policing, and establishing a joint AMISOM/UNSOM civilian presence; and securing supply routes to facilitate the delivery of public services and humanitarian assistance.

In a briefing to the Security Council last month, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Somalia and head of UNSOM, Nicholas Kay called for the renewal of the joint Somali and African Union offensive against Al-Shabaab as an urgent priority. He also mentioned the “Guulwade Plan that he referred to as providing “a sound framework” but added “business as usual will not be enough to support it.” It needed “a robust architecture for the delivery of international support to the SNA”. Mr. Kay said the UN was consulting all partners on the options.

In fact, at the end of last week AMISOM and the Somali National Army launched a new military offensive against Al-Shabaab in Bay and Gedo regions. Codenamed ‘Operation Juba Corridor’ this is aimed to drive Al-Shabaab out of rural areas along the Juba River and take back the towns still held by Al-Shabaab such as Bardera, Jilib and Dinsoor. AMISOM Deputy Force Commander Operations and Plans, Major General Mohammedesha Zeyinu, said it would the intent is to eliminate Al Shabaab from the few rural areas it still occupied. The AMISOM and Somali National Army troops started operations in Qansax Dheere and Fafadun on Friday (July 17). The overall aim is to ensure that all the remaining areas in Somalia will be liberated and peace restored. It is also intended to clear the main supply routes to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to the population and ensure full control by the Federal Government of Somalia.

AMISOM and Somali National Army forces took over the key Al-Shabaab stronghold of Bardhere in Gedo region on Wednesday (July 22) after taking over a number of other towns and viillages. Bardhere was one of the last remaining towns held by Al-Shabaab and was a center for Al-Shabaab activities in Kenya as well as an important financial resource. Dinsoor has also been captured from Al-Shabaab today (July25) by Ethiopian troops with AMISOM and Somali National Army.

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