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    Ethiopia’s export to China grows amid booming trade, investment ties

    Ethiopia’s export to China registered a steady growth amid booming trade and investment cooperation between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Zhao Zhiyuan said on Thursday.

    In 2021, compared to the previous year, Ethiopia’s exports to China increased by eight percent as new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Chinese companies to Ethiopia grew by 346 percent, the official said.

    Zhiyuan made the remarks during the China-Ethiopia Investment and Trade Cooperation Forum that was co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) and the Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce of China on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

    The value of the newly signed contract projects by Chinese companies in Ethiopia was up by 25 percent in the same period, Zhiyuan said, adding, for consecutive years, China has been Ethiopia’s biggest trading partner, the top source of FDI and the largest project contractor, as the two countries deepen cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative.

    (People’s daily online)

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    Cyber-attacks quadruples in Ethiopia: Intelligence Agency

    Ethiopia has recorded more than 5,000 cyber-attack attempts during the 2021/2022 fiscal year, registering a record high of such attacks, The Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency (INSA) said.

    “A total of 5,586 cyber-attacks were carried out during the last nine months,” INSA said on Saturday while presenting its nine-month performance report to the Ethiopian Parliament.

    The report revealed that the cyber-attack attempts in the last nine months have more than quadrupled when compared to attacks recorded during the same period in the last fiscal year (2020/2021).

    The intelligence agency alleged that most of the cyber-attacks targeting Ethiopia were thwarted before they could cause any significant harm.

    “More than 97 percent of the total cyber-attacks were foiled,” the agency added.

    According to the report, the attacks targeted financial institutions and mega projects, including Ethiopia Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), which downstream countries, particularly Egypt and Sudan, fear will eventually diminish their historic water shares from the Nile River.

    “The failed cyber-attacks include attempts to impede the works of the GERD by targeting 37,000 interlinked computers used by financial institutions,” said Shumete Gizaw, the director-general of INSA.

    (The East African)

    Farm Africa bids to restore rangelands in Central Rift Valley

    Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley’s land is under pressure, with a rapidly growing population coupled with the expansion of agricultural activity, unmanaged grazing, the use of agrochemicals, conflicting land use policies and priorities, and now a devastating drought. From the deforested mountain slopes to the hard-baked valley floor and the shrinking lakes, the land has been exhausted.

    These damages are not irreversible, and Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) is increasingly seen as part of the solution, combining a wide range of interventions that are designed to restore and sustain ecosystem integrity, boost agricultural productivity and sustainable rural development, and increase the resilience of food systems.

    Farm Africa has been developing this approach over a number of years, through their work in the Bale Eco Region of south-western Ethiopia, setting root for land rehabilitating activities.

    They have started developing activities, which are showing improvement. Many of the income-generating activities are focused on women and result in establishing Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA), helping women to invest in goats, poultry, seedling production and high-quality soap manufacturing. Each step towards a diversified set of livelihoods reduces the need to chop down trees.

    (Farm Africa)

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    Ethiopian journalist interrogated for more than a week

    At about 10 AM on May 1, a group of eight armed men in plainclothes stormed Gobeze’s residence in the Ayat Babur Sefer neighborhood of Addis Ababa, and abducted him, according to news reports, a statement by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, and the journalist, who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) by phone.

    Gobeze, an editor and founder of Voice of Amhara, told CPJ that he believed some of the men were members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, saying one of them wore an ENDF badge and another mentioned that they were taking him to Tor Hayloch, where the ENDF has a facility.

    The men held Gobeze for more than a week, blindfolded him, and repeatedly questioned him about his critical reporting and affiliations with opposition political groups, Gobeze said. On the evening of May 9, the men warned Gobeze to stop his critical reporting or they would detain him again, and then released him near his home, the journalist told CPJ.

    Authorities at the Addis Ababa Police Commission and the City Peace and Security Administration Bureau denied knowledge of his detention, according to reports.

    The CPJ emailed Justice Minister, Gedion Timothewos, Federal Police spokesperson Jeylan Abdi, and Billene Seyoum, for comment, but did not receive any replies.

    (Committee to Protect Journalists)

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    HORN IN BRIEF

    IFC expands partnership to support climate-smart projects

    Equity Group and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed a partnership agreement in support of the sustainable development of Africa through supporting micro, small and medium sized businesses (MSMEs) from all sectors of the economy including climate-smart businesses.

    The partnership has seen IFC and its partners including the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), British International Investment (BII) and Symbiotics, Responsibility from Switzerland commit USD 165 million towards Equity’s `Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan’ that will see the Group, through its regional banking subsidiaries, finance at least five million MSMEs and 25 million households, creating 50 million direct and indirect jobs.

    The credit facility of USD 165 million includes USD 50 million from IFC, USD 50 million from British International Investment (BII) and USD 65 million from Symbiotic, Responsibility and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank and a long-time shareholder in Equity through Arise Investments.

    The IFC and the IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund also acquired a 6.71 percent stake in Equity Group, East Africa’s largest banking group. The investment is IFC’s first in Africa that aligns with the corporation’s approach to increase green equity investments in financial institutions.

    (International Finance Corporation)

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    Gun prices soar ahead of Somalia’s Presidential elections

    The price of an AK-47, the standard weapon of Somali militias, soared in gun markets ahead of a fraught ballot this weekend, when lawmakers will select the country’s next President. 

    Parliamentarians from Somalia’s Lower and Upper Houses will decide on May 15 from a list of 39 candidates that includes two former Presidents, an ex-Prime Minister, as well as the second term-seeking incumbent, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as “Farmajo.”

    Tensions are high in the run-up to the vote, especially in Mogadishu; the capital, and the stronghold of the powerful Hawiye clan, who oppose Farmajo.

    Armed clashes broke out in April 2021 when politicians resisted Farmajo’s attempt to extend his first term by two years. The President said it was to allow long-delayed elections to be held, but his critics interpreted it as a “power grab.”

    The fear is that a disputed vote on Sunday could trigger even worse violence. As a result, the price of a standard AK-47 has more than doubled since last year – up by nearly 40 percent in just the last few months, according to research by The New Humanitarian among gun traders.

    Demand is also high for belt-fed PKM machine guns and RPGs, the equipment needed for full-scale fighting, said Mogadishu-based gun merchant, Ali Nur.

    (The new humanitarian)

    Ugandan manufacturers push for return to Rwandan market

    Ugandan exporters and manufacturers are still struggling to return to the Rwandan market, three months after Kigali reopened its common border with Kampala, after nearly three years of closure.

    The persistent trade bottlenecks are a blot on the recent public relations efforts by Muhoozi Kainerugaba (Lt-Gen), the Commander of Uganda’s Land Forces, whose shuttle diplomacy was followed by the announcement of the reopening of the common borders in February.

    The reopening was taken as a sign of a new chapter in the relations between Uganda and Rwanda, as both countries promised to tackle contentious issues through dialogue.

    The open border was expected to return bilateral trade between the two countries, especially in sectors such as food and agriculture, mining, iron and steel-related industries.

    But three months later, trade between the two neighbors is yet to return to its previous volumes. Exporters are reporting an increase in several tariff and non-tariff barriers since the border opened, and manufacturers are grappling with re-establishing supply chains in Kigali.

    Uganda’s Junior Minister of Trade, Harriet Ntabaazi told The East African that the two countries are currently engaged in high-level talks to iron out some of the barriers.

    (The East African)

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    African Union plans military drills of continental security force in 2023

    The African Standby Force (ASF) will conduct military exercises in 2023 to enhance the continent’s capacity to tackle rising terrorism and violent extremism, the African Union (AU) said on Thursday.

    The decision was made during a meeting organized by the AU Political, Peace and Security Commission in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, which was attended by defense ministers, military chiefs and heads of security from various member states.

    However, no specific date for the exercises has been announced.

    The ASF, a multidisciplinary peacekeeping force of the AU with military, police, and civilian contingents, was formed to ensure a “quick reaction capacity that would enable Africans to respond swiftly to a crisis unhampered by any heavy political and instrumental burdens.”

    “We are looking at a new emphasis on maritime security and a joint military exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean and Pacific Ocean,” said Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.

    The decision, he said, was driven by challenges stemming from increasing piracy, terrorism, and trafficking of humans, weapons, and drugs in Africa.

    (Anadolu Agency)

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