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Embaixada da Etiópia
Brasília, Brasil

May 06,2016

News in Brief

Africa and the African Union

The First Conference on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) took place in Dakar, Senegal this week. This is to be a nine-mile wide band of trees and shrubbery stretching all along the southern border of the Sahara desert and the Sahel, stretching 4,400 miles through 11 countries from Dakar in the west to Djibouti in the east. Eleven nations, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, are participating in the initiative. (See article)

The African Union has welcomed South Sudan's Transitional Government of National Unity sworn into office on Friday (April 29). In a statement on Saturday, AU Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said, "This major step will greatly facilitate the process of tackling the challenges facing the country." South Sudan is now entering the most critical phase in the implementation of the peace agreement and she called "upon all AU member states to provide the necessary support for this demanding endeavor" and on the international community to mobilize the necessary resources for supporting South Sudan.

Experts from Africa's Regional Economic Communities, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and academia were meeting in Nairobi this week (May 2–6) to discuss issues connected to the Continental Free Trade Area, expected to be in place by October 2017. The meeting focused on nine issues that can be feasibly agreed in advance, including trade in goods and services, special agreements on agriculture, fisheries, industrial pillar, common investment area, trade facilitation and customs cooperation, trade remedies and competition policy, and institutional arrangements for implementation.

World Press Freedom Day was celebrated around the world and across Africa on Tuesday this week (May 3) under the theme of "Freedom of Information". This year is the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Windheok Declaration of press freedom principles, adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Namibia in 1991. The declaration calls on governments and citizens to acknowledge free flow of information is a fundamental human right.


President Dr. Mulatu Teshome, speaking at the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Victory Day and the defeat of the Italians in 1941, said that Ethiopia had successfully defended its sovereignty, making it an icon of independence for others. He said the new generation should draw important lessons from the sacrifices of their fathers and grandfathers and vow to sustain the country's independence. (See article)

The Speaker of the House of Peoples' Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Abadula Gemeda, spoke last week at the Global Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, (April 26-27) one of the meetings being held in advance of the G7 2016 Summit to be held in Ise-Shima in Japan, May 26-27. The Conference concentrated on gender equality and women's empowerment; investing in youth; and building active aging societies as well as proposals to introduce Universal Health Coverage.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen met with Donor Assistance Group (DAG) members on Tuesday (May 3) to discuss response to the drought in Ethiopia.

Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom met with Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moibi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana on Wednesday (May 4). Discussions covered possible ways of expanding levels of cooperation between Ethiopia and Botswana and they reached an understanding to sign agreements in livestock development, culture, youth, civil service, and security.

Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros met Ms. Letizia Moratti, an Italian investor and the Chairperson of E4Impact Foundation on Monday (May 02). E4I Foundation is dedicated to the empowerment and development of entrepreneurship among women and youth in Africa and works in line with the United Nations Agenda 2030 and African Union Agenda 2063.

In a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this week, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations to further enhance bilateral political relations. (See article)

The State Minister of the Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) Frehiwot Ayalew, said on International Press Freedom Day, Tuesday (May 3), that ensuring press freedom and its growth played a vital role to enhance development and ensure lasting peace in Ethiopia. She said a democratic system cannot flourish without press freedom. She said the press should fight for its freedom whenever it faces bureaucratic red tape and bureaucrats.

State Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Kare Chawicha, said this week that Ethiopia was due to invest US$150 billion to implement green economy projects over the next two decades with the aim to reduce greenhouse gas emission and advance economic growth as well as create jobs for women and youth. Funding will come from the government, the public, investors, and partners and from carbon trading.

The European Union delegation to Ethiopia is sponsoring the creation of the Ethio-European International Business School and the Ethio-European Business Innovation Centre at the Addis Ababa University.  The Deputy Head of Delegation of European Union to Ethiopia, Terhi Lehtinen, announced the development of the two institutions at the University on Wednesday (May 4). The cost of the project is estimated at 35 million Euros.

This week Ethiopia celebrated World Justice Week for the 6th time from May 3-8 under the theme "Justice Procedure for Ensuring Good Governance" Supreme Court Vice-President Medhin Keros told a press conference that the celebration aimed to ensure good governance by stamping out rent-seeking and corruption as well as exerting a concerted effort for the implementation of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan. Justice bodies should strengthen efforts to ensure the rule of law and safeguard inalienable human rights.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has issued a statement categorically denying a report by the opposition Ethiopia Satellite Television (ESAT) on April 11. This claimed the Ethiopian government had stopped the fundraising campaign by UN agencies. OCHA Ethiopia totally denies this allegation, noting that the Humanitarian Country Team, in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia, had launched a 90-Day Campaign on March 23 to urgently raise funds and in-kind support for drought-affected areas

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) at the end of last week (April 29) issued an urgent call for funding to help farmers sow their fields. Ethiopia's Bureau of Agriculture suggests 1.7 million farming families are seed insecure and need seeds for meher season, starting as early mid-June for some crops, with planting ongoing until August. FAO said the next meher season would be critical to improving families' food security and self-sufficiency in 2016 and called for $10 million to provide seeds.

The Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS) issued a new food security outlook this month. It says with heavy rainfall in April, the prospects for the belg harvest havimproved. Late planting will delay harvests in the Southern Regional State, but it expects national Belg harvests to be average or slightly below average. Additional rainfall during the next few weeks will recharge water sources, improve pasture, and allow land preparation/planting of Meher crops. The emergency will, however, continue as the humanitarian appeal is only half funded and requirements will peak between June and September. 


The Minister of Transportation and Communications, Tesfaselasie Berhane said in an interview that in  25 years of Independence, strategic roads had been built connecting Massawa to Assab; Filfil Solomuna to Afabet; and from Asmara to Tesenai, to Massawa, and to Aqordet and Sawa. Airports at Asmara, Massawa, Assab, Nakfa, Tesenei and Dalak Islands accommodated local and international flights. Massawa and Assab had been renovated to accommodate big ships, cranes and modern docks. Mobile phone services were growing and coverage was almost nationwide. WI-FI infrastructure was already in place and ready for providing Internet service.

The Australia mining group Danakali Ltd formally applied to the Government on Monday (May2) for a mining license for its Colluli Potash Project, which is expected to start production in 2019.  The project is a 50-50 joint venture with state-owned mining firm ENAMCO, and development is expected to be in two phases, each producing about 425,000 tonnes a year.


Eleven giant pyres of elephant tusks were set on fire on Saturday (April 30) as President Uhuru Kenyatta was the first to light the biggest ever ivory bonfire of 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn. The President told a meeting of African Heads of State and conservationists on Friday (April 29) that it was necessary to impose a total ban on trade in ivory to end trafficking and prevent the extinction of elephants in the wild. He said "To lose our elephants would be to lose a key part of the heritage that we hold in trust. Quite simply, we will not allow it."

Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said on Tuesday (May 3) that security agencies the previous week had foiled a planned biological attack using anthrax and arrested three suspects. One of those arrested belonged to an East African terror group network that had links to the ISIL.


The President relieved the 85 year old Chief Justice, Aydid Ilka Hanaf, of his duties on Wednesday (May 4) and appointed Dr. Ibrahim Idle Suleyman, a lawyer from Somaliland, as his replacement with immediate effect. According to the President's Constitutional Adviser, Omar Dhagey, the decision was taken on grounds of complaints of corruption and of age. 

Somalia's parliament ruled out any proposals by the government to delay the forthcoming presidential election for two more months on Sunday (May 1), reiterating that elections would be held in August and September, as opposed to December. The Parliament was responding to a proposal submitted by Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, on Sunday.

Human Rights Watch marked World Press Freedom Day by issuing a report in the dangers facing Somali journalists, 59 of whom have been killed since 1992. The worst year was 2012 when 18 died. Another three were murdered last year. Last month the authorities executed a member of Al-Shabaab convicted of killing five journalists. Journalists, however, still say they are unsafe in Mogadishu due to attacks by the militants and threats from government officials.

The UN Security Council will travel to Somalia this month to show support for elections scheduled in August, Egypt's UN Ambassador, and this month's council president, said. The Council envoys would also travel to Nairobi during the May 17-21 trip and hold meetings in Cairo with the Arab League. The visit to Somalia would support the elections to be held in August.

A group of about 10 British soldiers arrived in Somalia this week to offer medical, engineering and logistical support to AMISOM. They are the first of 70 British troops to be deployed in Somalia as part of UN peacekeeping efforts to counter the extremist group Al-Shabaab. The UK Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon, said on Sunday (May 1) that this reinforced the UK's commitment to targeting terrorism around the world.

The Office of Puntland Human Rights Defender issued its first annual report this week covering the period November 2014-to November 2015.  During the year it received 49 complaints of human rights violations and said it succeeded in resolving at least half.  Remaining complaints, it said, were being handled by the courts and other concerned agencies after reference by the OPHRD.

South Sudan

The newly appointed ministers of the Transitional Government of National Unity were sworn in on Friday (April 29) in compliance with the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, after President Kiir dissolved his cabinet the previous day. (See article)

South Sudan's government said on Wednesday (May 4) that it located more than 100 of the children abducted last month from Ethiopia. It said the children are unharmed. Ethiopia forces, with the approval of the South Sudan government, have been deployed into the area to assist the search, a move backed by South Sudan's government,


The Foreign Ministry insisted on Monday (May 2) Sudan had "sovereign rights" over the border territories of Halayeb and Shalatin. They have been administered by Egypt since shortly after Sudan's independence in 1956, despite Sudan's regular protests; and the area has been under Cairo's full military control since the mid-1990's. The Foreign Ministry called on Egypt to engage in direct negotiations to resolve the issue or resort to international arbitration.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, met with the South Sudan Parliament's Deputy Speaker, Jasmine Samuel and South Sudan delegation on Monday (May 2). He underlined the importance of consolidating relations between Sudan and South Sudan State and of reactivating the agreement on four freedoms signed between the two states. The two sides are holding talks to enhance economic and political cooperation.

Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, in a speech to parliament on Tuesday (May 3), said the Sudan government welcomed the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan and expressed its hope they would work together for peace and stability in the region. He underlined his readiness to work with South Sudan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Alor, to build a model relationship. He said the "security and stability of the South Sudan also meant the security of Sudan."

Saudi Arabia Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, paid a one-day visit to Khartoum on Wednesday (May 4) to discuss collaboration in the Atlantis II project to extract metals from hydro-thermal basins in the Red Sea, expected to earn $US 20 billion eventually. He was taking part in a meeting of the Sudanese-Saudi Standing Committee on Joint Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Red Sea. Mr. Al-Naimi also met with President Omar Al-Bashir who said Sudan was ready to receive Saudi investment in mineral development.