Ethiopia inaugurates largest Chinese-built industrial park

July 16th, 2016
Ethiopia inaugurates largest Chinese-built industrial park
Workers go about their work at the Hawassa Industrial Park in Hawassa twon, 275 kilometres south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 13, 2016 (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

Ethiopia inaugurates largest Chinese-built industrial park

ADDIS ABABA, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia on Tuesday inaugurated its largest industrial park so far as it races to meet its development target and create enough job opportunities for the young population.

The 1.3 million square meters industrial park dedicated solely to the textile and apparel sector is located in Hawassa city, 275 kms southeast of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

Haielmariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said that the eco-friendly industrial park will showcase that environmental protection and development can go hand in hand.

Ethiopia inaugurates largest Chinese-built industrial park
A worker is seen at the Hawassa Industrial Park in Hawassa, Ethiopia, July 13, 2016.(Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

"The manufacturing sector's share in Ethiopia's Growth Domestic Product (GDP) for many years stood at only 5 percent, showing the need for economic structural challenge if the country is to meet its economic promise" said the PM.
Yuan Li, Chairman of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), which designed and built the industrial park, said that Hawassa IndustrialPark (HIP) has already attracted 15 major manufacturing firms from China, Indonesia, U.S. and Ethiopia.

"Industrial parks create powerful wing for economic development of a country, our company deem ourselves as a strategic long-term link between China and Ethiopia" said Yuan.

Arkebe Equbay, special advisor to the PM said the park can attract Chinese firms that are moving overseas to open plants.
According to him, Ethiopia with a young labor force of 45 million people has a huge potential in the manufacturing sector.

Ethiopia inaugurates largest Chinese-built industrial park
Local residents walk past the Hawassa Industrial Park in Hawassa twon, 275 kilometres south of Addis Ababa,Ethiopia, July 13, 2016. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

"As annual manufacturing growth currently is 25 percent, in 10 years time, it's projected to increase its GDP share by four fold and it's share in exports to 50 percent," said Equbay.

The Hawassa Industrial Park is expected to employ 60,000 people at full capacity and be able to generate export revenue amounting to 1 billion U.S. dollars.

Ethiopia’s world heritage sites are fueling a tourism boom as Kenya and Tanzania take a hit

July 16th, 2016
Ethiopia’s world heritage sites are fueling a tourism boom as Kenya and Tanzania take a hit

Ethiopia’s world heritage sites are fueling a tourism boom as Kenya and Tanzania take a hit

Source: Quartz

For a landlocked country without any fancy ocean-view beach resorts, Ethiopia’s tourism industry is not doing badly. Named the world’s best tourist destination of the year in 2015, Ethiopia says it post a 20.7% spike in tourism dollars last year hitting a record of $3.4 billion.

Much of the growth of Ethiopia’s tourism has been due to its nine UNESCO world heritage sites, such as the 13th century rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, which continue to be a big draw. Also important, Gezahegn Abate, tourism ministry spokesperson, says, is the Ethiopia’s growing popularity as hosts of international business events and conferences which “had also a direct and positive impact in boosting tourism.”

In total, visitor numbers has increased 12% annually over the last decade with around 2.2 million jobs created as of 2014 according to the African Development Bank. Having welcomed 910,000 visitors in 2015, the country is on track to reach 1 million visitors this year.

Even as Ethiopia’s tourism dollars spiked last year, both its east African neighbors Kenya and Tanzania saw their revenues decline.

For its part, Kenya’s tourism industry has suffered a slump following high profile terror attacks like the devastating raid of Nairobi’s Westgate mall in 2013 and a similar attack on Garissa university last year, both carried out by al-Shabaab. Police also say they have thwarted similar attacks which, while comforting, are a reminder of the threat the country continues to face from terrorists.

Despite its recent success, Ethiopia is not letting up. It has set a target to grow visitor arrivals to 2.5 million by 2020 and earlier this year, it launched a new tourism brand marketing itself as the ‘Land of Origins’ with government officials keen to sell the message of the country’s history and culture to the world.

“People don’t know a lot about Ethiopia,” Solomon Tadesse, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization says. “It is the land on which human beings walked upright for the first time. It is the land that brought a gift to the whole world, the coffee that everybody enjoys every morning. It is the land with the source of the Blue Nile, where civilization started.” Tadasse says the country is working on “simplifying the visa processing for both tourists and potential investors” as they aim to continue to grow the country’s tourist profile but admits there is “a lot of work” to be done “telling the world about the real Ethiopia.”

Regardless of the upbeat outlook on Ethiopia’s tourism potential however, it still contends with serious internal challenges. Earlier this year, while facing its worst drought in 50 years, as many as 18 million people were left in need of food aid.

Ethiopia announces team for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

July 16th, 2016
Ethiopia announces team for Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Almaz Ayana

Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana will seek to become just the second woman in history to win Olympic gold in both the 5000m and 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games next month.

IAAF

The 24-year-old was announced for both events by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and appears to hold a strong chace of emulating the feat first accomplished by countrywoman Tirunesh Dibaba in 2008. Ayana tops the world lists at both distances this year, having run 14:12.59 for 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome and 30:07.00 for 10,000m in Hengelo last month.

Reigning Olympic 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba is slated to compete solely over that distance in Rio, though is also listed as a reserve for the 5,000m. The 30-year-old will be seeking her fourth Olympic gold medal in Rio, though has competed sparingly so far this year. In her only outing over 5000m, Dibaba clocked 14:41.73 at a small meeting in Kortrijk, Belgium last weekend, and in her sole 10,000m race she finished third in the Ethiopian trial race in Hengelo in 30:28.53.

Genzebe Dibaba will narrow her focus and compete over 1500m, the event at which she holds the world record at 3:50.07. The reigning world champion clocked 3:59.83 in her sole outing at that distance in Barcelona last weekend.

Dejen Gebremeskel, the silver medallist over 5000m at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will bid to go one better over the same distance in Rio and will be joined by Muktar Edris and Hagos Gebrhiwet.

Another looking to go one better in Rio will be Sofia Assefa, the 3000m steeplechase silver medallist at the 2012 Games, though the 28-year-old has a best of just 9:18.16 this year.

Former world champion Mohammed Aman is the sole Ethiopian entrant in the men's 800m and will be looking to win his first Olympic medal, having finished sixth in the 800m final four years ago.

The men's marathon team is headed Tesfaye Abera, a winner in both Dubai and Hamburg this year. Lemi Berhanu, a runner-up in Dubai this year, will join him on the team along with Feyisa Lelisa, a winner at the Tokyo Marathon earlier this year.

The women's marathon trio is headed by world champion Mare Dibaba, who will be joined by 2015 London Marathon champion Tigist Tufa and 2016 Dubai Marathon winner Tirfi Tsegaye.

MEN
800m: Mohammed Aman
5000m: Muktar Edris, Dejen Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebrhiwet, (Abadi Hadis)
10,000m: Yigrem Demelash, Abadi Hadis, Tamirat Tola, (Ibrahim Jeilan)
Marathon: Tesfaye Abera, Lemi Berhanu, Feyisa Lelisa, (Lelisa Desisa)
3000m steeplechase: Hailemariyam Amare, Chala Beyo, Tafese Seboka, (Birhan Getahun)

WOMEN
800m: Habitam Alemu, Tigist Assefa, Gudaf Tsegay
1500m: Genzebe Dibaba, Besu Sado, Dawit Seyaum, (Gudaf Tsegay)
5000m: Almaz Ayana, Senbere Teferi, Ababel Yeshaneh, (Tirunesh Dibaba)
10,000m: Almaz Ayana, Gelete Burka, Tirunesh Dibaba, (Netsanet Gudeta)
Marathon: Mare Dibaba, Tirfi Tsegaye, Tigist Tufa, (Aberu Kebede)
3000m steeplechase: Sofia Assefa, Hiwot Ayalew, Etenesh Diro, (Weynshet Ansa)
20km race walk: Yehualeye Beletew, Askale Tiksa

IAAF

Ethiopia announces team for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Source: Athletics Wekly

Almaz Ayana is set to double up and contest both the 5000m and 10,000m in Brazil

Ethiopia has named its team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with Almaz Ayana set to double up and contest both the 5000m and 10,000m.

Tirunesh Dibaba is listed just for the 10,000m, but is named as a reserve for the 5000m, while her younger fellow world record-breaking sister Genzebe is selected for the 1500m. Mohammed Aman is the sole athlete listed for the men’s 800m.

Muktar Edris, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremeskel are named for the men’s 5000m, while the men’s 10,000m selections are Yigrem Demelash, Abadi Hadis and Tamirat Tola.
Ethiopia team for Rio 2016
(reserves in brackets)

MEN
800m: Mohammed Aman
5000m: Muktar Edris, Dejen Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebrhiwet, (Abadi Hadis)
10,000m: Yigrem Demelash, Abadi Hadis, Tamirat Tola, (Ibrahim Jeilan)
Marathon: Tesfaye Abera, Lemi Berhanu, Feyisa Lelisa, (Lelisa Desisa)
3000m steeplechase: Hailemariyam Amare, Chala Beyo, Tafese Seboka, (Birhan Getahun)

WOMEN
800m: Habitam Alemu, Tigist Assefa, Gudaf Tsegay
1500m: Genzebe Dibaba, Besu Sado, Dawit Seyaum, (Gudaf Tsegay)
5000m: Almaz Ayana, Senbere Teferi, Ababel Yeshaneh, (Tirunesh Dibaba)
10,000m: Almaz Ayana, Gelete Burka, Tirunesh Dibaba, (Netsanet Gudeta)
Marathon: Mare Dibaba, Tirfi Tsegaye, Tigist Tufa, (Aberu Kebede)
3000m steeplechase: Sofia Assefa, Hiwot Ayalew, Etenesh Diro, (Weynshet Ansa)
20km race walk: Yehualeye Beletew, Askale Tiksa

Ethiopia: Riots in Gonder claim casualties

July 16th, 2016
Ethiopia: Riots in Gonder claim casualties

Ethiopia: Riots in Gonder claim casualties

Source: DW

At least 10 people have been killed in Gonder northern Ethiopia in clashes as locals with security forces. The government blames Eritrea for the unrest but residents cite disputes over land and ethnicity.

According to several reports, the unrest in Gonder began earlier this week when armed police entered the city to arrest members of the "Wolkayit committee" who had been protesting against the government's decision to merge the Wolkayit community and its land into the neighboring Tigray Regional State. The Ethiopian government spokesperson Getachew Reda on Friday accused the members of kidnapping, murder and being in possesion of arms with an intent of staging terrorist attacks. He also rejected any notion that the clashes was being spearheaded by the Amhara community.

"What happened is that there were individuals suspected of engaging in crime. So to arrest those individuals the Federal Police moved into this area," Negusu Tilahun, Head of Communication Affairs with the Amhara Regional Government told DW.

"As result there was a clash between residents and the police. There was also an exchange of gunfire which resulted in the deaths of federal police officers and civilians as well. Besides that, there were also damages to property. The government and the public are now working together to bring the town back to its normal situation," Tilahun said.

Ethiopian government officials have blamed opposition groups based in Eritrea for the unrest in Gonder. However, residents say ethnic tensions are the real reason behind the skirmishes.

Over the last two decades, the Welkait community has been fighting to become part of Amhara saying it identifies more with the Amharas than Tigrayans.

One local resident who spoke to DW on condition of anonymity said the government should stop labeling civilians as terrorists. "That is a very cheap political propaganda. Every freedom fighter is linked to Eritrea or terrorism," the resident said.

He accused the government media of ommitting to mention that those who were detained were committee members of the Welkait community. "The more the government labels them as terrorists or bandits, rather than responding to the real question, the more things will get worse," he added.

The Welkait region was under Gonder province until it was handed over to Tigray State in 1991 by the current EPRDF government. The Amharas and Tigrayans had previously lived peacefully side by side but analysts blame the ethnic-federalism system which introduced ethnic ownership of lands for triggering the current dispute.

The US has issued a temporary travel advisory on Gonder and warned its citizens and those travelling to the city to be cautious. US citizens have also been advised to avoid large crowds and the ongoing protests.

The clashes also forced Israel to evacuate a group of 23 young Israeli volunteers from Gonder. The city has about 6,000 Ethiopian Jews who are waiting to be flown to Israel. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the Ethiopian Jews were not in any immediate danger.

Ethiopia: Perspectives on the Trilateral Agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam:

July 16th, 2016


Perspectives on the Trilateral Agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam:

Why colonial country based law firms cannot be used for arbitration and drafting rules of engagement for independent states

By Minga Negash, Seid Hassan, Mammo Muchie and Abu Girma Moges

This commentary is our fourth installment on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). It is sparked by the news item which was posted on the pro Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) website- aigaforum.com, on July 9, 2016. Citing Sudan Tribune as its source, aigaforum.com indicated what the Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Ati, is reportedly had said. The statement is related to the arrangement about the legal affairs of GERD. The news item states that “…a U.K. based law firm, Corbett & Co., was selected to manage the legal affairs of the tripartite committee.”

Chambers and Partners, a website that lists law firms in the United Kingdom states that, Corbett & Co. is an entity whose area of practice is predominantly “International Construction Projects/Disputes”. The company’s own website http://corbett.co.uk/ echoes the same information and states that it deals with international arbitration and FIDIC forms of contract. If the news is true, it suggests that Egypt and Ethiopia are in dispute and are looking for outside arbitration, mediation and conciliation. It also suggests that the much publicized Declaration of Principles which was signed in Khartoum in March, 2015, has not been able to resolve the dispute. Unfortunately, this news is bound to introduce another risk for Ethiopia. The emerging risk is the reason why we decided to write this short commentary. We are concerned that the spirit of this news is similar to the spirit of the now defunct Ethio-Eritrean Algiers Agreement. The difference is that, in the case of the Algiers Agreement, the arbitration was done by the Boundary Commission and the pertinent rules were “international laws”, whereas in the case of the GERD, the two parties are going into the arbitration and dispute resolution as mediated by a British law firm, and the implicit pertinent rules are the March, 2015 faulty “declaration of principles” which undermine Ethiopia’s sovereignty.

According to the same cited article, the tripartite countries have agreed to conduct two impact studies: For one, “… the effect of the dam on the water quota of Sudan and Egypt and the second one to examine the dam’s ecological, economic and social impacts of the dam on Sudan and Egypt.” Clearly, none of the two planned studies would be concerned about the impact of the dam on the upstream country-Ethiopia. Secondly, the purported impact studies seem to be geared towards the negative impacts on the downstream countries, ignoring the benefits of the dam. Thirdly, Egypt (and to a lesser extent, Sudan) continue cling on the colonial era Nile water sharing ‘agreement which was drawn by the British in 1929 and amended in 1959. That “agreement” divided the Nile water between Egypt and Sudan, neglecting all the upstream states that were the source of those waters. As we argued in our previous commentaries, Egypt’s position to allot two-thirds of the water is untenable as it ignores the interests and sovereign rights of upstream countries. This “agreement” is so one-sided that it refuses to recognize the right and need of upstream countries to equitably use their own waters to generate power and feed their growing population. In fact, Egyptian demand to keep the colonial era water sharing “agreement” is so geared towards faulting upstream countries, it fails to recognize the main causes of current and future water shortages, including, as articulated in one of our previous commentaries, Egyptian policymakers’ unwillingness to rectify water mispricing which includes the Egyptian government’s monopoly controls of distribution and management of water, waste, and increasing production of water devouring crops of rice and sugar cane.

In our May 7, 2014 commentary entitled as “Misplaced opposition to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” we demonstrated that colonial agreements cannot be the basis for resolving the trans-boundary water sharing disputes, particularly in Africa, and argued that solutions must be sought within the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement. We also demonstrated that most conflicts need to be resolved through negotiation involving upstream and downstream countries rather than through external arbitration. Citing historical evidence, we argued that it is within the realm of Ethiopia’s sovereign right to choose and decide the type of dam it wants to build.

In our March 15, 2015 commentary entitled as “Perspectives on the Declaration of Principles regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” (posted on The Thinker, South Africa Volume quarter 3 , 2015 volume 65 among elsewhere), we outlined our reasons why the Khartoum declaration compromised Ethiopian sovereignty and imposed onerous demands thereby creating obstacles for Ethiopia to complete the dam. We urged the Ethiopian Parliament not to ratify the agreement in the form it was presented then. However, the press statements provided by Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalegn and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tewodros Adhanom were dismissive, and indicated to us that Ethiopian authorities have failed to address the issues we raised in the commentary - the fundamental question of sovereignty over the sources of Blue Nile, in particular, and defining what constitutes “a significant harm” to downstream countries, in general.

Unfortunately, TPLF’s mishandling of Ethiopia’s sovereignty seems to have no end. Its scandalous policy on Eritrea created one of the most densely populated countries in Africa to be completely landlocked. Nor did the TPLF establish a good neighborly relation with Eritrea. That mistake is at the door step of the TPLF’s politburo and its Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The TPLF politburo members individually and collectively have failed to defend the country’s sovereignty. In both cases the failure is a result of a lack of leadership and disastrously wrong draftsmanship of the agreements.

We urge the Ethiopian authorities to urgently review the matter in that a law firm that is based in a former colonial country can never be expected to be independent of the interests of the country in which its primary interest lies. It is a fact that the so-called 1929 Nile River water sharing, which was amended by the 1959 Egyptian-Sudanese “Agreement”- were done without the participation of Ethiopia or other upstream nations. We urge the current rulers of Ethiopia to learn from their past mistakes. We urge them to refrain from using commercial arbitration, in general, and refrain from purchasing services from a colonial country which was the root cause of the problem, in particular. As it stands, we are concerned that the indicated “agreement” would lead to future conflicts. We urge the leaders of the Ethiopian ruling party to use the more equitable Nile water sharing Entebbe Agreement of 2010, which replaced the colonial era that was signed by the six upstream nations, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

We also alert pressure groups and the Ethiopian people to demand accountability from their rulers.