The Ethiopian Ministry of Trade & Regional Integration says it is unhappy with the Biden administration’s decision to revoke duty-free access for the country’s exports. The US ended the agreement on December 23, 2021, revoking Ethiopia’s eligibility for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), citing its disapproval of the war in the Tigray region. This comes following a decision by the US President Joe Biden to end the benefit.
Ethiopia’s trade ministry said, “It was saddened over the decision and asked the Biden administration to reconsider it.” The trade agreement supplies sub-Saharan African nations duty-free access to the US on the condition they meet certain requirements, including eliminating barriers to US trade and making progress toward political pluralism.
In recent years, Ethiopia had one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. As well as supporting the UN’s initiative of peace keeping across Africa. However, because of the civil war that broke out a year ago, some Ethiopian companies are already showing signs of a downturn in their export businesses. The year long war has displaced some estimated 1.7 million people in Tigray Region and another five million in Amhara and Afar regions. The US action also stops Guinea and Mali from receiving the trade benefits as of January 1, 2022. (Africa news)
Ethiopian Diaspora set to open Dialysis center An Ethiopian diaspora from Atlanta, Georgia, is going to open a state-of-the-art dialysis unit at Menelik II Referral Hospital.
It is to be recalled that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD)made a call to the Ethiopian diaspora to come home for the upcoming Ethiopian Christmas and Epiphany holidays.
Among the diaspora who responded to the call, TigistAbebe, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Yeabe Medical Center and Rehabilitation said she has been doing various activities to start dialysis service with an outlay of over 10 million birr in Ethiopia over the past four months.
In an exclusive interview with the ENA, Tigist said some 30 machines have been delivered to the hospital and it is expected to start operation soon. She added that the coming of the diaspora has many advantages, noting that even before the PMs call to come backhome, “some of us were exchanging ideas to come and do something for our country.”
Following the call, the motivation of the diaspora has grown, and they need to contribute to their motherland, following in our footstep, Tigist said. There may be challenges like in any less developed country, Tigist noted, adding, many things are being done by the government and a lot of things are being eased now. (ENA)
Ethiopia and Indonesia to reintroduce Boeing 737MAX
The Ethiopian flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, announced on Monday, December 27, 2021, it is in the final stages of reintroducing the Boeing 737 MAX in to its fleet. The first flight of the aircraft is planned for February 1, 2022. The announcement came on a Facebook post earlier this week.
Similarly, on December 28, 2021 Indonesia lifted its MAX ban, after the Lion Air crash back in 2018. The airline followed the recertification process thoroughly, and it has finally regained confidence on the plane type. Last year, the airline stated it will be the last airline to restart flying the MAX.
On the other side of the Indian Ocean, Indonesia’s transport ministry stated that the lifting of the ban would be effective immediately, and that it follows regulators’ checks of changes made to the aircraft’s systems. The Ministry also asked airlines to inspect their planes before officially re-entering service, adding that government officials would also inspect the planes.
According to ch-aviation, Ethiopian Airlines owns at the moment four Boeing 737 MAX8’s, with 26 more to be delivered over the next years. Lion Air has nine aircraft of the type, with an impressive order for 233 more deliveries to come. (Travel radar)
Ethiopia’s COVID-19 infections top 400,000
The number of COVID-19 infections in Ethiopia surpassed the 400,000 mark on Tuesday even as the country continues its fight against the pandemic. The country’s health ministry reported 1,864 new cases from 6,262 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 400,560.
In the weeks following the discovery of the Omicron variant, the number of infected citizens has significantly increased.
The East African country is only the fourth country in Africa to surpass the 400,000 marker after South Africa, Morocco, and Tunisia. Ethiopia also registered six new deaths, bringing its total number of virus-related fatalities to 6,904. The country has rolled out a nationwide vaccination drive against the virus in efforts to contain further spread. With around 5 million citizens being vaccinated, the country is yet to reach its goal of 20 million by 2022. So far, 10,869,696 doses of vaccine have been administered.
More citizens are expected to get vaccinated after seeing the current rise in infection. The country is gearing up to commence with more vaccinations going forward. (CGTN)
Horn in Brief
Brawl erupts in Kenya Parliament over political parties’ bill
A brawl erupted in Kenya’s Parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers were debating a controversial bill governing political parties ahead of next year’s election. The Speaker suspended the session briefly after the chaotic scenes, which saw at least two rival MPs exchange blows, according to images broadcast on local media. One lawmaker, Bernard Koros, was injured during the fracas, and was seen with blood dripping down his face, while another was expelled from Parliament by the Speaker.
“I cannot accept to be injured in the national house like this Mr. Speaker,” said Koros, a supporter of Deputy President, William Ruto. The fighting broke out after hours of heated debate over the bill, which contains amendments to laws governing political parties and the registration of coalition groupings for elections.
The legislation would allow a coalition of parties to field a candidate in the poll, a departure from the current law which requires a candidate to belong to a party or be independent to vie for a seat. Opponents of the proposal argue that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his erstwhile foe, Raila Odinga will use them to build a formidable coalition ahead of the August 9 vote. (Africanews)
AU Urges Somalia’s feuding leaders to talk
The African Union Commission urged Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and suspended Prime Minister, Hussein Roble to hold talks following fallout between the two. Mohamed on December 27,2021, suspended Roble’s powers and sent troops to his office, accusing his one-time ally of corruption in a land deal with the national army. Roble denies wrongdoing.
AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat appealed for “utmost restraint and calls for continued engagements and dialog between the president and the prime minister in order to find a political solution to this present situation,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday.
The call comes in the wake of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s expression of his nation’s opposition to Mohamed’s actions on Tuesday.
Tensions between Mohamed, who is widely known as Farmajo, and Roble, have been escalating for months. Earlier this year, Farmajo moved to strip the Prime Minister of his powers during a standoff over the President’s handling of the killing of a 24-year-old IkranTahlil, a cyber-security expert at Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency.
Roble accused Farmajo of obstructing the probe into Tahlil’s disappearance in June, and a five-member panel established to seek justice in the case, found no one guilty of her death.(Bloomberg politics)
Kenya turns invasive water hyacinth into cleaner cooking fuel
On the shores of Lake Victoria, Nairobi-based green energy supplier Biogas International, is piloting a project that is converting the invasive water hyacinth plant into cleaner cooking fuel. Workers harvest the plants with their bare hands, and then grind them into a machine to produce a mixture that is then fed to biogas digesters.
“To some people, they see hyacinth as a curse, but I think it is just a matter of enlightening them or sensitizing them on what’s the importance of hyacinth on Lake Victoria. Because to us, we understand that it is really cleaning the water. So, we do not need to look at it as a curse,” says plant supervisor, Daniel Odhiambo.
Through a partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, Biogas International is discouraging the use of wood fuel, instead providing 50 homes in the Kenyan city Kisumu (360 kilometers from Nairobi) with biogas digesters.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, between 70 and 80 percent of the population use wood fuel,” said Biogas International chief executive, Dominic Kahumbu.
“Yet, we’ve got these invasive species all around us. So, when we cut down our trees for charcoal or firewood, we are reducing the carbon sink.”
According to Kahumbu, most of the biogas digesters have been provided to elderly people susceptible to health problems brought on by smoke from wood fuels. (Africanews)
At least 31 killed in Sudan gold mine collapse
At least 31 miners were killed in Sudan on Tuesday when a rudimentary gold mine collapsed.
Khaled Dahwa, the head of the state-run Mineral Resources Company said that the tragic accident occurred near Nuhud, a town about 500 kilometers west of Khartoum. One person survived but eight others are still missing.
Local media reported that several shafts collapsed at the Darsaya mine and that besides the dead at least eight injured people were taken to a local hospital.
The mining company also posted images showing villagers gathering at the site as at least two dredgers worked to find survivors and bodies. Other photographs showed people preparing graves to bury the dead.
Another official at the company said four miners were killed at the same mine in January. “Authorities at the time shut down the mine and installed security but a couple of months ago they left,” he said.
About two million artisanal miners produce around 80 percent of the country’s annual gold production. Artisanal gold mining is a dangerous occupation in Sudan largely due to ramshackle infrastructure.
Sudan has recently slashed subsidies on petrol and diesel. It is also reeling from political turbulence in the wake of a coup led by military chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25, 2021. (Africanews)