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Embaixada da Etiópia
Brasília, Brasil
Week

Aug 21,2015

News in Brief

Africa and the African Union

AU Commission chairperson, Dr.Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’ warned  on Wednesday that deadlock in the South Sudan peace process could only spell further disaster for South Sudan and its people, with far reaching  implications for regional security and stability.

Ethiopia

A survey by Pew Research Global covering nine African countries, has found that 84% of respondents from Ethiopia believe the next generation has better prospects than the current one and children growing up today will be better off financially than their parents. Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Senegal are also positive about the future; Kenya and Tanzania less so.

Prime Minister Hailemariam addresses the Closing Ceremony of the National Diaspora Day. In his address, the Prime Minister welcomed the Diaspora, congratulated them for their active engagement in the Diaspora day and addressed issues related to developments taking place in Ethiopia. (See article)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said a Council which avails assistance for Diaspora community is going to be established. He stated that the Council embraces all ministers as members and extends support for Ethiopian Diaspora who expresses interest in national development activities.

Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros, during the Closing Ceremony of the National Diaspora Day, congratulated participants for their active engagement in the celebration of Diaspora day and said the five-day conference and the various related activities of the Diaspora Day had been a great success. (See article)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Djibouti, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, briefed Ethiopian Ambassadors during the Annual Conference of the Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Directors General of Ethiopia at the beginning of this week. (See article)

Following the successful celebration of Diaspora Day in Addis Ababa, over a thousand members of the Diaspora travelled to Bahr Dar for a discussion forum. (See article)

A review of the implementation of GTP I and GTP II was made at the Annual Conference of the Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Directors General of Ethiopia. (See articles)

The Africa-Japan Business and Investment Forum (2015) is scheduled to be held on September 02 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The forum aiming at elevating the ties of the two business networks is expected to help business persons share best practices and opportunities.

The AfBAA (African Business and Aviation Association), which is Africa’s Prominent Business Aviation Conference promoter, announced to conduct its 2015 regional symposium in Addis Ababa from September 24 to 25. The forum is expected to bring together a large number of leading aviation sector corporations and operators in Addis Ababa.

Foreign Minister Dr.Tedros met with the delegation from Ethiopian Diaspora (FAMU Industrial) and Germany investors (CPB group and Agupi Group), who are starting expansion investment in Ethiopia, at his offices yesterday (August 18, 2015). During the meeting, the two sides discussed investment projects, cooperation for new expansion investments and further business and investment opportunities available in the country for foreign direct investors and for Ethiopian Diaspora.

Djibouti

The Djibouti Government formally committed itself to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 40% last weekend as its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution made in advance of the Climate Change Summit in Paris in December. It will invest more than US$3.8bn in collaboration with the international community and develop new "National Strategies" for the green economy, biodiversity and climate change.

Eritrea

The Essel Group Middle East, the Dubai-based subsidiary of the Indian business conglomerate, Essel Group, has acquired the Bada Potash Exploration License in Eritrea previously been issued to a Canadian company. Essel hopes to start exploratory drilling later this year.

Somalia

In a statement on Wednesday, Somalia’s International partners said they were concerned that an impeachment motion against the President, accusing him of exceeding his constitutional powers, would impede progress on Somalia’s peace and state building goals. They also warned any such motion required a very high standard of transparency and integrity.

A total of 138 station commanders from the Somali Police Force have concluded a two week refresher course undertaken jointly by AMISOM and the United Nations. The officers will now be deployed to new districts recently liberated from Al-Shabaab and recruit and mentor thirty-five police officers in each of the recovered areas.

The United Nations, AMISO, IGAD, the EU and the UK congratulated Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe” on his re-election as the President of the Interim Jubaland Administration and commended his commitment to work with the Federal Government. (See article)

The Constitutional Court in Somaliland ruled on Tuesday (August 18) that the decision of the Guurti, the Upper House of Parliament, for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on March 28, 2017, is valid.  After opposition criticisms of the extension, President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo requested the Court to rule on the legality of the decision.

South Sudan

President Salva Kiir refused on Monday (August 17) to sign the Compromise Peace Agreement drawn up by IGAD mediators and said he needed another 15 days further consultation. Chief IGAD mediator, Seyoum Mesfin said “In the next 15 days, the government will come back to Addis Ababa to finalize the peace agreement.” Riek Machar and Pagun Amun, however, did sign the Agreement. (See article)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the signing of the compromise peace agreement by ent Riek Machar and the former detainees, and expressed “his strong hope that President Kiir will sign the agreement by the end of the 15-day deadline.”

Donald Booth, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, described President Kiir's decision as "unexpected." He hoped President Kiir would sign soon adding: “as President Obama said, things will fundamentally change if there is no agreement." U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby warned that Washington would look at ways to "raise the cost of intransigence."

Sudan

A delegation from the African Union Peace and Security Council has arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday on a 3-day visit to assess the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur. At its last meeting in July, the AUPSC expressed concern over the continuation of the armed conflict in Darfur. The delegation is also expected to discuss the exit strategy for the AU-UN hybrid mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

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Prime Minster Hailemariam address the closing session of National Diaspora Day….

The weeklong celebrations and discussions between thousands of members of the Diaspora in Addis Ababa last week concluded on Sunday (August 16). The closing ceremony for the first National Diaspora Day included the presentation of certificates of recognition to members of the Diaspora for their significant contributions to various sectors of development and various cultural music performances as well as speeches by Prime Minister Hailemariam and Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros. Senior government officials, representatives from Diaspora companies operating in Ethiopia, ambassadors, invited guests and conference participants attended the closing ceremony in Millennium Hall.

In a keynote address, Prime Minister Hailemariam welcomed the presence of the Diaspora, congratulated them on their active engagement in Diaspora Day over the past week and addressed issues related to developments taking place in Ethiopia. He also offered his good wishes to all members of the Diaspora for any projects they might start in their country.

The Prime Minister, who recommended sectors for Diaspora investment, said Ethiopia, emerging out of socio-economic and political chaos, was now heading into a period of development and transformation. The Prime Minister linked development in Ethiopia with the return of the Diaspora, saying, “the development that Ethiopia is registering is witnessed simply by the interest you have shown to return to your country.” One of the messages he gave to the Diaspora was that Ethiopia in recent years had been bringing back the pride of its ancient and great history. He stressed his belief in the idea that there is no better honor than working for and developing one’s own country, and quoted US President John F. Kennedy:  “Ask not what your country can do to you, Ask what you can do to your country”. The Prime Minister guaranteed that participants would no longer face any different challenges from those of citizens living in Ethiopia when they engaged in investment. He stressed that everyone should struggle for development and fight, patriotically, for such a good cause. The Prime Minister advised the Diaspora to be engaged in the various productive priority sectors and guaranteed that the Government and the people of Ethiopia would support them in every possible way.

Prime Minister Hailemariam then addressed questions that had been raised by members of the Diaspora during the week-long discussions. On the possibility of engagement in financial sector investment, the Prime Minister Hailemariam announced that following a government study the Diaspora could be engaged in lease financing. On the question of simplifying the issuance of passport processes, the Prime Minister noted the challenges caused by terrorism and fundamentalism, but said the Government was be working to improve the processes without affecting Ethiopians and Ethiopians by birth. Answering the question related to improving the bureaucratic working conditions in some government offices to simplify the efforts of Diaspora members to return home, the Prime Minister said the Government was committed to advancement and transformation and things would continue to improve. Dealing with challenges were part of everyone’s duty and everyone, including the Diaspora, must be prepared to work hard to make things better and be part of the solution.

Referring to the current increase in numbers returning to Ethiopia, the Prime Minister welcomed the development, quoting a Chinese comment: “we don’t care whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches the mouse”.  The Prime Minister assured his listeners that power interruption and the impact on the manufacturing sector would soon disappear, He said “It will not be a problem in the near future, especially since Gilgel Gibe III will be inaugurated after a month.” He added that selling power to neighboring countries was not inappropriate. Power was available and current diplomacy and development was not merely based on the sale of products for money. A lasting mechanism in the relationship with neighbors was based on reciprocity. No one country, the Prime Minister said, can develop alone. It must develop along with neighbors. The Prime Minister also updated the Diaspora on the details of the country’s poverty reduction policies which, he pointed out, were the country’s major concern.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Hailemariam spoke of the new Growth and Transformation Plan, GTP II. This, he said, a continuation of the work and the development started during GTPI and it was aimed to move further towards the target of becoming a middle-income country by 2025. It is within that framework that the new GTP II was designed. He stressed that with regard to the effort to transform the political economy of the country, although agriculture would stay as the backbone for the country’s economy, the GTP II would give more focus to the manufacturing sector than during the GPT I.

….and Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros congratulates participants

Celebration of Ethiopia’s first National Diaspora Day commenced on Wednesday last week (August 12) and, after a series of various activities and discussions, successfully concluded on Sunday (August 16), at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa. The closing ceremonies included remarks by Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who congratulated participants for their active engagement in the celebration of Diaspora day and said the five-day conference and the various related activities of the Diaspora Day had been a great success. It had created a sense of closeness to encourage people to work together for the realization of Ethiopia’s renaissance and it had fulfilled the aim of creating a network between and among members of the Diaspora to encourage their active participation in the development endeavors of their country of origin. The five days of meetings and the way the Diaspora reacted to each other, Dr. Tedros said, was witness to their readiness to be part of Ethiopia’s development and nation building activities. He noted that their deliberations during the Diaspora Day focused on issues of great importance to Ethiopia. Every participant, he said, had sufficiently reflected and grasped the message of the Day: “I feel the governing point of convergence between the government and the Diaspora is that the development and renaissance of Ethiopia is above all individuals and group interests prevail between us” he pointed.

Dr. Tedros added that the Government had a strong conviction that there could be no single way to develop the nation and that was the reason why gatherings of this kind were so important. They allowed the Government to hear and entertain different opposition views from the ‘marketplace of ideas’, views expressed legitimately, peacefully and in a civilized manner. He emphasized that change could come “if we cherish our differences”, quoting the French saying ‘vive la différence’.  People who encourage or instigate different ideas from our own, Dr. Tedros said, do that because they feel responsible and because they do not want to be silent on an issue that has importance for everybody – in this case it was, of course, the matter of nation building

During these days, Dr. Tedros said, members of the Diaspora have come to recognize that they should not wait to invest in Ethiopia until every red tape has been removed. They had realized that they had to face up to difficulties and play their part in improving the situation. He said nation building was full of obstacles and “we all have to face these if we want to see a better country in the future”, adding that “the Diaspora should not be isolated from the process.” A strong nation, he said, means the necessity of a continuous struggle and requires the determination of its entire people. This, he said, is a lesson one could learn from those nations who have done their homework earlier. Examples of effective Diaspora participation from other countries demonstrated that the Diaspora had not been a bystander in the construction of their respective countries. The Indian and Chinese Diaspora were cases in point.  At the same time, Dr. Tedros underlined the importance of the government role in solving problems related to good governance. This, he accepted, must be intensified and he said that the Government had identified many of the problems and guaranteed participants that actions have been and were being taken.

Dr. Tedros quoted Edward Gibbon who once said that Ethiopia “forgetful of the world by whom they were forgotten”, had detached itself from the rest of the world and slept for millennia. However, this had been firmly reversed on the day the country announced that it had launched a new era of growth, which it characterized as the Renaissance of Ethiopia. Since then, Dr. Tedros stressed, Ethiopia had repeatedly and steadily registered double digit growth through an holistic socio-economic transformation which put the country among the top economic performers in Africa and the world. It had become the fourth largest economy in Africa within a matter of a decade or so. Firmly contradicting its poor past image of hunger and famine, he pointed out the country today had become one of the best investment destinations in the world. It was an anchor of peace in the region and an active participant for common good in international fora.

Dr. Tedros said the members of the Diaspora who had come to the Diaspora Day had been able to see these successes for themselves and witness that these impressive achievements were not daydreams but hard fact on the ground. Diaspora members, he said, could proudly go and tell others that their country was on the right lines of development. They now had an obligation, he said, to go and change the minds of those fellows in the Diaspora who had been misinformed about their country. Dr. Tedros stressed that the realization of the second part of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) was the next focus of development and it needed the unreserved effort of all the public and of all the Diaspora. The Diaspora, he said, could participate in this by forming different types organizations based on their areas of interest, to help in a wide variety of ways. One example he quoted was the vision of Diaspora medical personnel from the US to build a hospital. This was now being implemented. He reiterated government’s full support for such activity and encouraged all his listeners to participate in similar initiatives.

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Djibouti Foreign Minister briefs Ethiopian Ambassadors

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Djibouti, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, briefed Ethiopian Ambassadors during the Annual Conference of the Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Directors General of Ethiopia at the beginning of this week. During the meeting, held at the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa, Minister Ali Youssouf gave a presentation covering a number of thematic issues. These included ‘Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa’ and ‘Regional Integration, using the Strategic Partnership between Ethiopia and Djibouti as a Model’. He also answered questions raised by the Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Directors General after his talk.

Minister Ali Youssouf highlighted the daunting challenges facing e the Horn of Africa with reference to the peace and security of the region. The Foreign Minister of Djibouti noted that Horn region had witnessed a number of turbulent years featuring both inter-state wars and intra-state conflicts. He pointed out key ways and means to chart a course for the creation of a tranquil, integrated and prosperous region. Noting that the heads of IGAD Member States had empowered the Intergovernmental Authority on Development as a collective force for the resolution of ongoing and future conflict in the region, he emphasized that the regional framework had made a major breakthrough in providing political solutions to resolved crises in the region. He said the presence of a growing sense of collective responsibility was an acknowledgement of the origins of instability in the region. These included weak institutions and terrorism as well as the activities of the regime in Eritrea. Minister Ali Youssouf said the IGAD states had taken a common stand to create an integrated and stable region. The robust engagement and strong commitment on the part of all would, he said, certainly provide for an optimistic response in the face of these threats. He underlined that this collective commitment would be an enabling factor, not only to resolve conflicts through diplomacy but also to take military measures as necessary to contain the threats posing challenges and risks to the regional security and development agenda as well as to the well being of the peoples of the region.

Djibouti’s Foreign Minister noted that the growing economic links within the framework of IGAD were an imperative for the forging of the long-term regional aims in harmony with the vision and objectives of the African Union. He said weak national institutions, combined with hesitant regional ones, had previously contributed to the incessant instability of the region but now this situation was changing as national and regional institutions had been strengthened and expanded for the betterment of the peoples of the region. At the same time, however, these positive changes were accompanied by increasing instability and crises. This was because they were rooted in poverty is on the increase and he emphasized that the war against poverty needed to be redoubled. It is, he said, in this respect that Djibouti and Ethiopia were joining their efforts for co-development of their joint regional vision.

The Foreign Minister pointed out that the process of economic cooperation was being put on a fast track with the laying down of a solid foundation of massive infrastructure development projects. Infrastructural development is the locomotive for the transformation of the Ethiopian and Djiboutian economies, and it was particularly appropriate that one of the major projects is the railway line between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, set to become operational in October. Other projects include the railway project from Mekele–Weldya/Hara Gebeya to Semera and Tadjourah Port in Djibouti; the proposed fiber-optic interconnection; the cross-border water project between the two countries and the building of a natural gas pipeline from the Ogaden Basin in Ethiopia to Djibouti. Ethiopia is already playing a leading role in the export of clean power to Djibouti and this will be expanded.  These will all help to provide a dynamic impetus to future links and together with other major planned infrastructure projects between the two countries, Minister Ali Youssouf said, point to the entwined destiny of the two peoples and the prospects for eventual full economic integration.

At the same time, he stressed, these massive infrastructure development projects were inextricably linked with the regional integration agenda within the framework of IGAD and the AU. They would transform the face of the region and enable it to become one of the most competitive and robust on the continent. He also emphasized that the success of this sort of regional economic grouping also needed a lead country to expedite development and stabilize the security situation. As Ethiopia was a prospective “Lion of Africa” and had impressive capabilities, it was, he said, fit to shoulder such responsibility. Indeed, he said, the Horn of Africa needed Ethiopia to take such responsibility on board.

Minister Ali Youssouf emphasized that the Ethio-Djibouti economic integration matrix now being developed would provide the two countries with a roadmap to synchronize trade, customs, and investment policies as well as deal with any issues hindering the free movement of people, goods and services. In this respect, he congratulated his listeners for the successful completion of the first phase of the Growth and Transformation Plan. He said that for Ethiopia to deliver double-digit economic growth, despite being a landlocked country, was a tremendous performance.

Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom also spoke, underlining the need to shape the vision and practice of Ethio-Djibouti economic integration as a model for the entire region. In this respect he also noted the progress being registered in fast-tracking the implementation of infrastructure projects for the transformation of the Northern Corridor of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan. He recommended making full use of the Northern Corridor as a model to help speed up the implementation of integration between Ethiopia and Djibouti.

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….. and the Amhara Diaspora holds a Discussion Forum in Bahr Dar

Following the successful celebration of Diaspora Day in Addis Ababa, and of the Oromia Diaspora the previous week, all Amhara members of the Diaspora were invited to take part in a Diaspora forum to be held in Bahr Dar, now a major tourist destination set in beautiful surroundings on the edge of Lake Tana.  As a result over a thousand members of the Diaspora travelled to Bahr Dar, and in order to allow them to see as much of the region’s development as possible, they went by different routes, via Debre Markos and Dejen, Debre Birhan, or Gonder. The intention was that Diaspora members during their field trips should see the developments achieved in different socio-economic spheres in the last two decades and hear about change and development from the people of the region. They therefore visited a number of projects and developments, including historical heritage sights, the Gonder Malt Factory, Debre Birhan’s Dashen Beer factory and the Habesha Beer Factory and floriculture farms as well as looking at natural resource conservation activities, micro and small enterprises, industrial parks and other urban developments.

Following these visits, the Diaspora members met for a discussion forum held in the Nile Hall of the Regional State Council in Bahr Dar. The welcoming ceremony on Tuesday (August 18) was attended by senior Federal and regional government leaders, invited guests and by more than 1000 members of the Amhara Diaspora from around the world. Those present included Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen; former Chairman of the Amhara National Democratic Movement, Ato Addisu Legesse; Adviser to the Prime Minister with the rank of Minister, Ato Bereket Simon; and State Ministers of Foreign Affairs Dewano Kedir and Dr. Yinager Dessie; as well as Ministers, Ambassadors and diplomats.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke welcomed the Diaspora members to Bahr Dar and noted that they had been able to see the tremendous progress being made during their two days of visits and the Diaspora Day celebrations in Addis Ababa last week.  He pointed out that the Amhara Regional State was contributing significantly to the immense overall national development that was taking place. This, he said, should certainly be supported by Diaspora engagement. It would benefit both the members of the Diaspora and the country. The Deputy Prime Minister the aim of the Diaspora Forum was to be able to a “witness the ongoing development endeavors and sustainable peace and security of the Region; and also to look at the different business opportunities that existed in the region [and] furthermore, to strengthen the tie between Ethiopians and their country”. He spoke of the different areas in which the Diaspora could make a real difference: attracting Foreign Direct Investment and image building, education and knowledge transfer and in particular in support of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The Deputy Prime Minister thanked the Diaspora for their commitment, which he said had enabled Ethiopia to extend development in various ways. He also underlined the importance of keeping up the momentum and deepening and widening the engagement of the Diaspora in all socio-economic and democratization processes. Its participation was of critical importance to achieve the necessary results and the country would benefit largely from its involvement in the continuing socio-economic and political transformation of the Region as well as of the country. The Deputy Prime Minister added that the National Regional State was committed to work together with member of the Diaspora; and it had been putting in place multi-dimensional efforts to involve members of the Diaspora across the world in regional and national development processes for several years.

The President of the Amhara Regional State, Ato Gedu Andargachew, warmly welcomed members of the Diaspora community from around the world. He underlined the important role played by the Diaspora in the regions overall development efforts and detailed the results achieved. He said the visits that the Diaspora members had made in their different ways to the meeting, the first time this had been done, allowed them to witness developments on the ground and the sustainable peace and security as well as see the respect that the people of the Amhara region had for the Diaspora. It had also allowed them to see the different business opportunities that existed in the region. He belie3ved, he said, that this had been “an opportunity for you to know the realities about the region on the ground and to positively tell others across the world about the progress taking place in Amhara Regional State and the country”. Regional President Gedu said “seeing is believing” so the members of the Diaspora could now make decisions to invest in the region and come with others to contribute their level best to the country's development and build strong links, This would allow them to help speed up the growth that was now taking place.

Ato Gedu called on the Diaspora to discharge their national responsibility by involving themselves fully in the in the priority areas for development in the Regional State. These included investment, education and technology transfer. He guaranteed that “the Government is committed to work together with the Diaspora and give them the necessary support while they are investing in their Region”   He noted that the Government needed the expertise, knowledge and experience of its citizens across the world, and reminded his listeners that involvement of the Diaspora could speed up the Region's economic growth and benefit their fellows as well as themselves. He reminded the Diaspora of their importance in playing a role to attract foreign direct investment. Indeed, the Diaspora, he said, should be seen as equivalent to a diplomat who is capable of building up the country`s image by telling people about the truth of what they had seen and the reality on the ground.

Following the opening ceremony of the Forum, presentations were made on the overall socio-economic development of the Regional State, its peace and democratization processes, the activities being carried out, and the results achieved. Presenters defined the challenges remaining and outlined the investment opportunities available in the different sectors to the Diaspora. Members of the Diaspora were impressed by the progress being made. They called these efforts inspirational and made it clear they were keen to discharge their national responsibility and engage themselves to participate in these developments. The discussions in Bahr Dar, focusing on what was needed in socio-economic development in the Region and the business opportunities available, continued over Tuesday and Wednesday this week, (August 18-19).

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An enhanced role for Ethiopia’s diplomacy during the GTP I but more to be done…

Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I), covering the period from 2010/11 to 2014-15, marked the start of significant development for Ethiopia’s diplomacy on the world stage. Diplomatic work, backed by careful and nuanced analysis of the national, regional and global situation, and extensive internal progress in development and democratization, offered enhanced diplomatic stature and a growing diplomatic voice for the country at bilateral and multilateral levels. Given the proposed developments for the five years of the plan, Ethiopia’s diplomacy faced daunting challenges in helping lay the foundations for the country’s industrial base and in encouraging elements of the members of the Ethiopian Diaspora to provide capital inflow, technology, knowledge and skills transfer as well as facilitate business, trade and investment.

This diplomatic work was carried out on four strategic fronts: strategic partnership, economic diplomacy, image building and Diaspora affairs; and it was very successful. It earned high scores for turning the country into an attractive place for business, investment and for tourists, developing people-to-people ties to win the hearts of peoples in the region and beyond for its win-win approach, shared benefits and insistence on equality. The practical application of the plan also enabled the country to forge all-rounded comprehensive strategic partnerships with neighboring, African and other major countries to create an enabling environment for strengthening the process of developing a democratic developmental state and building a developmental political economy. These diplomatic successes can be attributed to the people of Ethiopia, mediated and led by the Government’s astute leadership.

Strategic partnership have been carefully planned to create a favorable regional and international environment for Ethiopia’s renaissance, proactively promoting strategic partnerships with other countries to explore opportunities and elevate Ethiopia’s voice in global fora. The results have been impressive, elevating the country’s international diplomatic standing and regional influence in co-development, integration and security. Ethiopia’s strategic partnership agreements with other countries have increased from 18 in 2010/11 to 26 today, all based on such aspects as practical cooperation, mutual benefit, win-win outcomes, mutual learning, collective security and common development. Importantly, Ethiopia’s diplomacy, taking into account the multiplying effect of integration and cooperative foreign and hydro-diplomacy, was also able to incorporate the concepts of a cooperative win-win approach and mutual benefits in the hydro-diplomatic landscape of the Nile Basin. This won Ethiopia trust and understanding from the Eastern Nile Basin countries and its peoples. 

The overall national effort in multilateral diplomacy has seen steady growth in fending off threats and the challenges of development and peace facing humanity. Its multilateralism has been in the lead in providing a voice for the aspirations of Africans in various international forums. It has also played a major role in turning the African Union into an important force for the promotion and transformation of the development and security of the continent for the benefit of its people. As a result, Ethiopia was well placed at various times to deliver support for Africa at the High Level Committee on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, the AU High Level Trade Committee, the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Peace and Security Council of the Union and the Ministerial Committee on the AU Agenda 2063. Ethiopia, in fact, has demonstrated a constructive and responsible role in the AU and in the IGAD region. It has also invested significantly in the African Renaissance, setting the stage for a future of dignity, prosperity and peace. Ethiopia, regarding creation of a stable and tranquil external environment as an urgent precondition for national, regional and global development, has strongly advocated peace and stability. This, coupled with its unparallel peacekeeping participation in both UN and t AU peacekeeping missions, has also helped Ethiopia gain the confidence and trust of neighboring countries and across Africa.

Ethiopia has similarly managed to secure a voice in the African Union, the Group of 77 and the Less Developed Countries. It played a key role in the drafting process for RIO+20 that led to the adoption of the “Future We Want” in Rio in 2012, the launching of the Istanbul Program of Action, and other areas of shared interest. Ethiopia was a lead voice for the least developed and landlocked developing countries. Carrying forward Africa’s partnership with the outside world Ethiopia has made full use of the China-Africa, US-Africa, Japan-Africa, India-Africa, Turkey-Africa, Korea-Africa and EU-Africa cooperation fora, as effective platforms to advance shared interests while also developing Ethiopia’s national interest. This diplomatic work has given the country fresh impetus to become a reliable partner to work with other groups to consult and work on regional and global development issues. The number of visits made by various Heads of States and Government has reflected how the country has been keeping up the momentum of catching the attention and keeping the confidence of development partners. 

In this context, Ethiopia’s significant developments can be linked to the successful conclusion of a myriad of summits and conferences in Addis Ababa. The overall national efforts have placed Addis Ababa at the apex of summit diplomacy and brought Ethiopia into the limelight of international diplomacy. Addis Ababa successfully hosted the Third Conference on Financing for Development earlier this year and produced an outcome document, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The city is moving on from being the supreme symbol of African liberation and the diplomatic center of Africa into a capital for future development cooperation on a global scale. These overall national efforts and the energy demonstrated in summit diplomacy have encouraged the UN to make Addis Ababa the third largest United Nations station after New York and Geneva. It is also the third largest conglomeration of diplomatic personnel in the world

Ethiopia’s efforts to re-brand its image and displaying a true picture to people overseas through the use of public diplomacy tools has also been successful. The strategic plan for public diplomacy, aiming at refining Ethiopia’s international posture, establishing lasting relations with overseas interests and entities as well as placing diplomacy as a force for collective security, equality, common development and multilateralism, has also produced significant benefits for the country’s economic and social development. This new diplomacy, buttressed by the remarkable economic growth, peace and stability, has resulted in the emergence of a new face for Ethiopia. This is slowly but surely replacing the past image of famine and disaster.

The Public Diplomacy team’s visits to Sudan and Egypt dispelled long-held mistrust and promoted understanding and fraternal ties. It displayed Ethiopia’s forward-looking hydro-diplomatic vision for the wellbeing of all the peoples of the Nile Basin through fair and equitable utilization of the waters of the Nile. People-to-people ties within this framework have enabled Africans to work in concert for the enrichment of the “Renaissance Capital of Africa” and effectively deal with the challenges facing development, cooperation and stability. The key tools bringing about this change have included the creation of the Public Diplomacy Delegation, co-operation with think tanks, media institutions and advocacy groups, the production of a weekly newsletter (A Week in the Horn), and the production of Our Diplomacy (????????), broadcast by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.

Economic diplomacy, now placed at the heart of Ethiopia’s foreign policy, provides a sharp focus for the strategic plan. With all diplomatic initiatives and activities supporting economic diplomacy, the result has been significant in continued growth of FDI and trade inflows. Over the last five years, the country, has managed to attract 3,522 foreign direct investment projects with a combined capital of 370 billion Birr. These have involved bringing 3102 companies interested in priority areas of investment for pre-investment visits to Ethiopia.  Of these, 1432 have taken out investment licenses and over 300 have got investment permits to participate in the manufacturing sector. China has become the largest investor in terms of the number of investment projects while Turkey ranks first in terms of capital. International brand names including Hujuan, George Shoes, Diageo, Unilever, General Electrics, Dow Chemicals, have entered the investment landscape.

The upsurge in FDI can also be attributed to the commitment of the government to a number of other factors including support for the private sector, liberalization of the economy, the availability of a reliable natural resource base, good access to markets, the availability of a trained labor force, and a favorable investment climate. Another factor was registered in terms of technology transfers aiming at accelerating the productive capacity of the agriculture sector and laying a solid foundation for the manufacturing sector. This was intended to improve the quality and enhance competitive advantage to strengthen the overall process of ensuring an accelerated economic transformation. However, despite considerable in technology transfer, export performance has not responded as expected. Similarly, the GTP 1 did not achieve all that was expected in terms of getting members of the Ethiopian Diaspora to provide capital inflows, technology, knowledge and skills transfers as well as facilitate of business, trade and investment to their homeland. Indeed, given the disappointing lack of progress in areas of export promotion, trade, FDI and technology transfer during the GTP 1, there is no doubt that a lot needs to be done in the next phase, of the Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II).

….and the Ambassadors conference considers the role of diplomacy in GTP II

All these issues were raised during the Annual Conference of Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Directors General, held last week, with participants deliberating on the thematic areas and strategic pillars for the Ministry’s targets in the second phase of the Growth and Transformation Plan (2016-2020). These thematic areas included issues related to strategic partnership, national image building, business and economic diplomacy and Diaspora engagement.

On strategic partnership, emphasis was placed on the enhancement of sustainable peace, development and economic integration in the Horn of Africa and of making use of the African Union Commission as a workable platform for promoting peace, development and integration. In addition, the Ministry, during GTP II envisages strengthening existing bilateral relations, forging new forms of bilateral relationship on the basis of appropriate situation analysis and building up the country’s diplomatic engagement in multilateral schemes to promote peace and national development and build the process of democratization.

On image building, the Ministry believes that although national efforts at fighting poverty, promoting regional peace and political stability, active involvement in peacekeeping missions, combating terrorism and tackling climate change have all contributed significantly, the process still leaves much to be desired to achieve desired targets. It therefore plans to promote Ethiopia’s image in the international community through a combination of instruments: making use of advocacy groups and Think Tanks on a continued appraisal basis; installing appropriate media monitoring, trend analysis and an organized network of public relations’ apparatus; formulating a public diplomacy and communication strategy; and institutionalizing functional digital diplomatic operations. The Ministry has also underlined the need to set up an independent Public Diplomacy Advisory Council as well as an intra-agency body to provide constant appraisal of the directions and benefits of the process of twinning, mapping the major regional and international events convened in the country and mainstreaming them with the national efforts of image building and branding.

In reference to the business and economic diplomacy sector, the Ministry aims to target investors from countries with emerging economies, China, India and Turkey. In the GTP II it will concentrate on priority investment sectors which are labor intensive, such as the textile and garment industry, as well aim to attract ‘anchor’ investors from the developed world. It will also aim to explore new market destinations for exports, map new sources of development finance both at bilateral and multilateral levels, boost the flow of tourists and organize and facilitate a number of international conferences, trade fairs, exhibitions and other relevant events. It also intends to build up the implementation capacity of the business and economic diplomacy sector and improving its data management system.

On matters of Diaspora engagement, the Ministry while admitting a lot remains to be done, intends to encourage the sense of belongingness for members of the Diaspora community, building on the recent National Diaspora Day and other Diaspora fora in the Oromia and Amhara Regional States.  It will also concentrate on the enhancement of capital inflows and encourage the scaling up of Diaspora participation in overall national development and in both bilateral and multilateral schemes.

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    IGAD still optimistic that the mediation will bring a settlement

    December 15, 2013 was the day that marked the beginning of the senseless and continuing bloodshed in South Sudan after fighting erupted between Dinka elements in the Presidential Guard and Nuer in a shocking involvement of ethnicity in politics. President Salva Kiir immediately announced that there had been an attempt coup but that the situation was manageable. Unfortunately, over the next few days there were reports that at least a thousand people had died in Juba alone. As many feared, once the conflict spread into areas already prone to ethnic conflict, the violence spread rapidly and it became clear the intervention of regional bodies or the international community would be necessary to bring it to an end.

    The Inter Governmental Authority for Development, IGAD, responded to the outbreak of violence rapidly, appointing a trio of mediators: Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia, General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dhaba of Sudan and General Lazarus Sumbeiywo of Kenya. They worked quickly to compel the two sides to meet and the peace talks delivered an agreement for cessation of hostilities. This only held, however, for three days. Fighting rapidly resumed in different parts of the country and the two parties exchanged a series of accusations, accusing each other of instigating the violence in their respective regions. Hundreds, thousands died, and many more were compelled to flee their homes and villages. Another effort by IGAD to get Kiir and Machar to (re)sign the Cessation of Hostilities’ Agreement was successful a few months later, in May 2014, following the first face-to-face meeting between the two principals, facilitated by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government. This, however, did not hold for long either with both sides rapidly breaking their agreements.  

    Despite the disappointments over the failure of the two parties to stick to their commitments, IGAD has stuck to its efforts to bring peace to South Sudan where now tens of thousands have died, several hundred thousand have fled to neighboring countries and a million and a half have been left homeless. After the failure of the February peace talks this year to bring about any agreement, IGAD announced the launch of IGAD-Plus mediation. IGAD Chairman, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam said “IGAD-Plus would enable IGAD to continue to provide leadership to the mediation process through the facilitation of negotiations between the warring parties while the other members of IGAD-Plus could provide unequivocal and solid support.” The IGAD-Plus involved expanding the mediation to include five other African states, one from each region of the continent,  South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Chad, and Rwanda, and incorporating the African Union, the UN, the EU, China and the Troika of the UK, US and Norway. In July IGAD-Plus produced its Proposed Compromise Agreement, which was to be accepted, by the two warring factions, the former political detainees and other political stakeholders by August 17.  The Proposed Compromise Agreement was endorsed by the international community and confirmed during President Obama’s visit to Ethiopia last month when he met with the IGAD Heads of State. President Obama made clear that South Sudan leaders and warring factions would face real and extra pressure if they failed to commit themselves to the proposed Agreement.

    Before the IGAD-Plus deadline on Monday (August 17), significant efforts were made by the IGAD states to try to ensure the process would be finalized and the suffering of the Sudanese people brought to an end. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ugandan President Yuweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta met in Entebbe last week to discuss South Sudan’s crisis to try to help the parties reach agreement before the deadline. They also met again in Addis Ababa on Saturday (August 15) in the same spirit of regional cooperation to encourage agreement to be reached.

    At 5:30 pm on Monday (August 17), the Chief Mediator, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin was able to announce that partial agreement had been reached between the warring parties. Riek Machar, leader of the SPLM-in-Opposition and Pagan Amun, representing the former detainees, both signed the “Negotiated and Revised Version of the Final Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict of the Republic of South Sudan”. President Kiir, however, continued to express “certain reservations” and insisted on holding further consultations with his advisers. He will return to Addis Ababa within 15 days to sign the Agreement.

    There have been immediate reactions to the partial signing of the Agreement in the international community. A spokesperson for the Troika said there would still be challenges on the way but “this agreement should be seen as a point of no return from the commitments these parties made”. He said the Government’s word that it would sign the Agreement would be tested within the fifteen days. A day later, President Museveni’s spokesperson advised the South Sudanese parties “to abandon their habit of putting their personal egos above the National interest.” White House National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, announced that Washington was proposing sanctions “if an agreement is not signed by the government within 15 days and a ceasefire is not implemented promptly by all parties”.

    Equally, of course, merely signing the documents will  not necessarily ensure peace in South Sudan and has been shown by the failure of the previous agreements and the refusal of the warring partiers to abide by their commitment beginning with the January 2014 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. Every failure and every collapse of a ceasefire has been accompanied by fresh killings of civilians and new forms of humanitarian havoc against the South Sudan people. It is now to be expected that IGAD forces and the UN Mission in South Sudan will prioritize the protection of civilians whose lives have been subject to constant violence and killing. For the future, targeting civilians and destruction of humanitarian facilities, as has happened in a number of areas, must be a zero-tolerance issue for IGAD or the international community. International institutes working on Peace, Security and Humanitarian Issues, like the International Crisis Group, have underlined the importance of avoiding parallel and piecemeal talks, and concentrating exclusively on the mainstream IGAD mediation mechanism. Other talks complicate issues and induce parties to reconsider different scenarios even after they have signed agreements. The danger is that such efforts, wittingly or unwittingly, will impact on politically sensitive developments like the “Negotiated and Revised Version of the Final Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict of the Republic of South Sudan”. This provides the best hope for getting the full agreement of all the parties and of the international community and for bringing this senseless conflict in South Sudan to a much-needed end.

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    Somalia’s partners congratulate Ahmed “Madobe” on re-election in Jubaland

    The United Nations, AMISO, IGAD, the EU and the UK have congratulated Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe” on his re-election as the President of the Interim Jubaland Administration. A joint press statement from Somalia’s international partners congratulated Sheikh Ahmed “Madobe” on his election and commended his commitment to work with the committee formed by Federal Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke to address the composition of the IJA Regional Assembly. The statement also encouraged Sheikh Ahmed “Madobe” to take steps “to resolve this issue at the earliest in an inclusive manner.”

    It welcomed Ahmed Madobe’s support for the outcome of the High Level Partnership Forum as well as for United Nations Security Council Resolution 2232 (2015).The partners encouraged him, the Interim Jubaland Administration, the Federal Government of Somalia and other stakeholders to hold a constructive dialogue on the state formation process and the electoral process for 2016.

    They also commended the IJA for its commitment to work in close coordination and collaboration with the Somali National Army and AMISOM to liberate the remaining territories in Jubaland from Al-Shabaab and extend the authority of the state. The statement also promised that the international partners would continue efforts to mobilize resources through existing mechanisms to support the delivery of basic services to the population of Jubaland and build up the capacity of the administration.

    Sheikh Ahmed “Madobe” was re-elected President of the Interim Jubaland Administration on Saturday (August 15), for a further four years by members of the regional parliament, by 68 votes out of 74. Two other candidates, Hilowle Adan Mohamed and Osman Hussein Fayrus, took two votes apiece, and a third, Mohamed Osman Yusuf, received none.  Sheikh Ahmed “Madobe” said after his election that: "God willing, I will eliminate Al-Shabaab from the remaining towns of the region;" he also emphasized that he was prepared to sit down and discuss problems with the federal government and with other clans to solve issues “through peaceful dialogue and reconciliation."

    In June, the regional assembly defied calls from the Federal Parliament that it should be disbanded on grounds it was unrepresentative and dominated by hand-picked members of Madobe's clan, and the Administration suspended cooperation with the Federal Government. Some members of the Federal Parliament this week continued to question the legality of Madobe’s re-election. They dismissed the vote on the grounds that federal MPS had earlier voted against the Jubaland assembly. One Federal MP claimed that what happened in Kismayo was far from being a free and fair election, and said people should not be misled into believing in what he called the “theatrics” of Ahmed “Madobe”.  There have also been other disagreements with the Federal Government over appointments in the Gedo region, one of the three regions that make up the Interim Jubaland Administration and over the 1,300 Jubaland Administration troops due to be integrated into the Somalia National Army.

    After the election, IGAD’s Special Representative and head of AMISOM, Mohamed Abdi Affey issued a warning to any parties “bent on causing mayhem in the Jubaland administration that their actions would not be entertained”.  He made it clear that IGAD would not allow anyone to reverse the gains made by the transition from a transitional administration to an elected one. He said the leadership of the administration would remain elective and stressed that anyone who wanted to lead Jubaland “must be a person elected by the local assembly.”

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