Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Deep drilling specialist raises funds for power station projects

An onshore deep drilling specialist based in Chesterfield has received a seven-figure loan to help finance its work on two green power stations in Ethiopia. The Marriott Drilling Group raised the funding from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

The projects at Tulu Moye and Hawassa will run off geothermal energy harnessed by drilling deep into the volcanic rocks below.

Marriott has already invested in two new rigs that are currently being shipped to Ethiopia. The funding will provide working capital to support the ongoing operations, which will last for four years and require up to 160 technical staff between the two sites at any one time.

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David Jones, financial controller at Marriott Group, said: “The projects at Tulu Moye and Hawassa will be critical in rolling out renewable energy to meet Ethiopia’s growing power needs and we are delighted to be playing our part.”

Andy Tyas of Mercia added: “Growing interest in geothermal power is opening up new opportunities for the Marriott Group. It is great to be able to support its work on these projects, which will enable it to continue to build its international reputation while supporting sustainable development in Ethiopia.” (insider)


AGRA supports government in designing approaches to boost agriculture

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AGRA has provided three documents to officials from the Government of Ethiopia that support the government in investment prioritization and implementation of three flagship programs.

The documents have been designed in accordance with the governments’ policies to reduce the import of commodities by enhancing local production.

The three documents titled – the National Wheat Flagship program (NWFP), the National Rice Flagship Program (NRFP), and the Oil Seeds and Animal Feed Production Flagship Program (OSAP) will support investment and implementation of the country’s vision leading towards food sovereignty and security.

“The knowledge documents we are handing over today are instrumental to Ethiopia’s agricultural development and were requested by the Ministry of Agriculture. AGRA as a demand-driven institution could not be an initiator, rather a supporter” said H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and current AGRA Board Chair.

Oumer Hussein, the Minister of Agriculture in Ethiopia, said “The production of these knowledge products, emerging from national and international experiences would enhance our rice development program, and help achieving our aspired goal of reducing imported rice and improving food security.” (


In Ethiopia, girls fetch water instead of going to school

In Ethiopia and across the Horn of Africa, families have grown increasingly desperate to survive as drought conditions take hold. Water scarcity is not only a burden on girls; it destroys livelihoods, fueling food insecurity, and displaces families, disrupting schooling for both boys and girls.

According to UNICEF, from April through June, 2022, the number of children in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia at risk of dropping out of school tripled from 1.1 million to an estimated 3.3 million children due to drought in the Horn of Africa — the worst climate-related crisis in 40 years.

For girls who are out of school, there is often an increased risk of being forced into early marriage. Child marriage, or marriage before age 18, is a human rights violation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“It is too much to carry,” Zufan, a ten-year-old says as she straps the yellow water jug to her back and pushes forward to begin the long walk back to her house. “In the future, I would like to go to school, like some of my friends.”

UNICEF is working with partners to deliver lifesaving assistance and blunt the drought’s many impacts. By working to improve access to safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene as part of a broader humanitarian action plan, it can help ease the water burden on girls like Zufan and help get them back to learning. (Forbes)


Ethiopian Cargo launches domestic air cargo service to Dire Dawa and Jigjiga

Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services has announced a new domestic cargo service to Dire Dawa and Jigjiga that will operate three times a week from August 30.

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The African air cargo network operator did not confirm what aircraft would be used on the route, however, according to its website; its fleet includes B777-200F and B737-800SF aircraft.

In March, Ethiopian Airlines partnered with International Djibouti Industrial Park Operation (IDIPO) and Air Djibouti as it looks to develop sea-air operations between China and Africa.

Addis Ababa-hubbed Ethiopian operates in major trade lanes between Africa and Europe and the Middle East and Asia, serving more than 70 global freighter destinations.

Currently, Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services operates a warehouse with annual capacity of over 250,000 tons, equipped with modern cooling facilities. The company is currently building a new transshipment terminal that is anticipated to have a capacity of 1.2 million tons per year. (aircargonews)



Kenya’s Ruto says no time to waste after election as rival prepares court challenge

Kenya’s president-elect William Ruto said on Wednesday there was no time to waste in tackling an economic crisis, as defeated rival Raila Odinga prepared a legal challenge to overturn his loss in Aug. 9’s election.

Odinga has said he will contest the decision in court, calling it a “travesty”

Ruto was declared president-elect on Monday by Kenya’s election commission chairman after a closely fought race to lead East Africa’s richest country, but four of the seven election commissioners have challenged the results.

“I really want us to know that the expectations of the people of Kenya are huge. We don’t have the luxury of wasting time,” Ruto, currently deputy president, said after meeting elected officials from his alliance at his official residence.

The 55-year-old did not directly address Odinga’s plan to challenge his victory, but said: “If there will be court processes, we will engage because we adhere to the rule of law.” (Reuters)


Emirates to suspend Nigeria flights over blocked funds

Emirates airline will suspend all flights to Nigeria from September 1. The airline said it took the “difficult decision” in order to limit further losses, citing circumstances “beyond our control,” in a statement on Thursday August 18.

Emirates announced in July that it has USD 85 million “awaiting repatriation from Nigeria,” a figure it said was rising by more than USD 10 million every month.

“Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution,” the airline said adding that “Regrettably there has been no progress.”

Other international airlines operating in Nigeria also have revenues trapped in the country which the International Air Transport Association said in June amounted to USD 450 million.

“Emirates are not alone in this issue. All the foreign airlines are in similar predicaments,” said Sindy Foster, a Lagos-based aviation expert, who added that the issue of trapped revenues is “a recurring problem.”

In July, Emirates informed Nigerian authorities it would reduce its flight operations to the West African nation after trying unsuccessfully “to stem the losses by proposing to pay for fuel in Nigeria in nairas (which continues to weaken against the dollar).” (africanews)


Millions in East Africa face starvation due to drought

The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that millions of people in East Africa face the threat of starvation.

Speaking at a media briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that drought, climate change, rising prices and an ongoing civil war in northern Ethiopia are all contributing to worsening food insecurity.

Over 50 million people in East Africa will face acute food insecurity this year, a study from late July by the World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization found.

Roughly seven million children are suffering from malnourishment and, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, hundreds of thousands are leaving their homes in search of food or livelihoods. Affected countries include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. 

“The current food security situation across the Horn of Africa is dire after four consecutive rainy seasons have failed, a climatic event not seen in at least 40 years, or since the beginning of the satellite era,” Chimimba David Phiri of the Food and Agriculture Organization said in the report.

The Horn of Africa has two rainy seasons per year, but the last four have been unusually dry. In some regions of Somalia, it has not rained in two years, according to Reuters. The drought has had a devastating effect on crop yields and on livestock populations. (yahoonews)


Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative commences implementation in Lesotho

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has commenced the in-country implementation of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in Lesotho to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccination.

The initiative and the Ministry of Health of Lesotho have planned a target to strengthen 22 COVID-19 vaccination centers and vaccinating more than 270,000 within 12 months in the selected sites.

Semano Sekatle called on the Africa CDC and the Implementing Partners to work together in order to achieve the collectively desired objectives. He concluded by declaring the launching of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods program Implementation in Lesotho.

“Africa CDC is honored today to launch the country implementation of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, to support the Government of Lesotho in vaccinating its population. COVID-19 vaccines remain a critical tool in reducing transmission and ultimately returning the economies of Africa to normal,” Dr. Lul Pout Riek, Coordinator of the Africa CDC Southern Africa Regional Coordinating Centre said.

The initiative is a USD 1.5 billion partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and launched in June 2021 to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for at least 65 million people and support the delivery to millions across the continent.  A total of USD 807,067 of the fund has been provided to kick start the first year of implementation in Lesotho.

The ultimate goal of Africa CDC through the program is to accelerate 70 percent vaccine coverage of the African population by the end of 2022. (Africa CDC)


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