Saturday, June 22, 2024

Malaria surging in Tigray, Amhara, WHO warns

The World Health Organization says a sharp increase in malaria cases in North Ethiopia, where government and rebel forces have been fighting for nearly two years. Cases have increased by 80 percent in Tigray compared to one year ago, said Ilham Abdelhai Nour, the WHO’s head of emergency operations for Ethiopia.

“We need to implement and undertake activities to prevent and treat malaria,” she told a press briefing in Geneva, but the WHO has had no air or road access to Tigray for the last six weeks.

The WHO does have access to the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara. In the latter region, malaria cases have increased by 40 percent in a year.

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Altaf Musani, the WHO’s director of health emergencies interventions, called for sustained access to all parts of Ethiopia.

“When you look at the range of health risks, it’s large, it’s immediate, it’s real,” he said Friday. He reported on an ongoing cholera outbreak in three sub-districts of Ethiopia’s Oromia region and a neighbouring sub-district of Somali region.

A total of 273 confirmed cases have been declared. “In addition to cholera, we’re deeply concerned about the measles situation,” he said, with more than 6,000 confirmed cases reported nationwide so far this year.


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Ethiopian idea wins EatSafe food safety challenge

An idea to improve traditional processing of a staple Ethiopian product has won the top prize in a food safety challenge.

The winner was awarded USD 10,000, and the second and third-place winners received USD 5,000 and 3,000, respectively.

In April, the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Feed The Future Initiative, EatSafe: Evidence and Action Towards Safe, Nutritious Food, launched a call to apply for an innovation challenge. The competition wanted to enable lasting improvements in the safety of nutritious foods in Ethiopia and Nigeria, and more than 750 applications were received.

Ten concepts were chosen as finalists in the EatSafe National Innovation Challenge in both countries; five from Nigeria and five from Ethiopia. The top three from both countries went through to the finals at the Technical University of Denmark Skylab FoodLab (DTU), Lyngby, in October.

The top three finalists from Ethiopia were Helen Weldemichael, Yezichalem Tessema, and Eyoel Legesse Arega.


Kenya’s KCB Bank eyes Ethiopia’s financial market

Kenya’s KCB Bank on Thursday expressed its desire to engage in the Ethiopian financial sector, becoming the latest bank to show such an interest in Africa’s second-most populous country, with an estimated population of 120 million people.

The expression of interest comes after a delegation of senior executives from KCB Bank, including the bank’s CEO, finance officer, and secretary, visited the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) in Addis Ababa, where they held talks with Ethiopian finance officials.

The delegation commended the Ethiopian government’s recent decision to open up the financial sector to foreign investors.

Temesgen Tilahun, Deputy Commissioner of EIC, briefed the delegation about the investment policies, recent economic reforms, and the objective of opening up the financial sector to foreign investors.

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has been working on amending the law and regulatory system in a bid to change the banking policy.

Opening the sector to foreign investment is expected to support banking services in Ethiopia and would take the country’s economic link with the international market to “a higher level,” according to the Office of the Prime Minister.

(The East African)

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Ethiopian Airlines set to introduce flights to Bulawayo

Ethiopian’s flight will stop in Victoria Falls before carrying on to Bulawayo and then direct to Addis Ababa.

Airport authorities are excited to see new foreign airlines landing at Bulawayo Airport (BUQ) after an upgrade to its flying facilities recently, according to Bulawayo24.

Flights will leave Addis Ababa (ADD) at 08:30 AM bound for their usual service to Victoria Falls (VFA), landing at 12:10 PM local time. After an hour on the ground, the flight continues to Bulawayo, touching down at 13:55 local time.

The flights will operate four times weekly, on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. The flight will use one of Ethiopian’s Boeing 737-800s, a workhorse in the continental fleet.

From December 1st onwards, the 737-800 will take over the route for the future. Bulawayo is already served by a few international airlines, but none as big as Ethiopian Airlines.

The African giant’s entry means that passengers flying in and out of Bulawayo can now make a one-stop connection (or two on the way) to the US, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the continent with relative ease.

(The Zimbabwean)

Horn in Brief

Kenya’s towns on 5G Wi-Fi as the country waits for RuralLink

Safaricom, Kenya’s mobile network operator, has launched an upgrade to its existing 4G networks for homes and businesses with fixed wireless access that could feasibly run at 100Mbps. The so-called 5G Wi-Fi covers 35 active 5G sites in Nairobi and a handful of other locations so far. By March 2023, however, it plans to reach 200 sites across the country.

In August, Mobile Europe reported that Nokia had created network slices on a hybrid 4G–5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network, in trial with African mobile operator Safaricom.

The successful trial allowed Safaricom to support new types of enterprise network services, including fast lane internet access and application slicing. The telco can also create secure slices of FWA connections to enterprise locations as well as to private or public application clouds.

Meanwhile, equipment maker Huawei has created a new ‘RuralLink’ kit that aims to help mobile operators Telekom, Airtel and Safaricom send better signals to remote areas.

(Mobile Europe)

Tens of thousands of Sudanese protest on coup anniversary

Tens of thousands of Sudanese protesters on Tuesday marked the first anniversary of a coup that halted the country’s transition towards democracy in the largest demonstrations since mass marches took place in January.

The protesters faced heavy tear gas and stun grenades as they marched towards the presidential palace in Khartoum and in Omdurman across the Nile, Reuters reporters said.

They dispersed before sundown, reaching around one kilometer from the palace, following a similar pattern to the series of anti-coup protests over the past 12 months. Internet services were blocked until after 6 p.m., monitoring group Netblocks said.

The authorities cut off internet access hours before the march commenced, but that did not dissuade people from taking to the streets. Protesters waved Sudanese flags as well as pictures of young people who were killed by security forces.

Outside the capital, Khartoum, protests also took place in other states, including Port Sudan and South Kordofan.

The mass protests also signaled a popular rejection of ongoing US-led talks that aim to broker a new civilian-military partnership between a loose coalition of political parties known as the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and the military coup leaders.


Possibility of an East African political federation no longer an idle dream

Kenya’s President, William Ruto, is openly pushing for the establishment of the East African Federation, endorsing an ambitious political formation that has been elusive and mostly avoided by his predecessors but one that hopes to guarantee a big market for regional goods and services and ensure strategic security.

“The community is becoming even more tightly connected with infrastructure systems crisscrossing the member countries. The possibility of an East African Federation is no longer a wild imagination or an idle dream. It is no longer a matter of if, it is a matter of when,” Ruto said in his Mashujaa Day address on October 20 in Nairobi.

A political federation is the ultimate pillar in the East African Community (EAC) integration process, preceded by the Customs Union, Common Market, and a Monetary Union in that order.

However, each of the pillars has been problematic to implement, leading skeptics to say that the federation may remain a mirage as it also faces the challenge of competing political systems.

Uganda, for example, has no presidential term limit compared to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and DR Congo, yet President Yoweri Museveni is the main proponent of the federation.


Car bomb kills 9 in south Somalia hotel, Al-Shabaab claims responsibility

Nine people were killed and 47 wounded in an attack on a hotel in Kismayo, southern Somalia, claimed by the Al-Shabaab Islamist group, the region’s security minister said.

The port city is the latest to be hit following a recent resurgence of attacks by the Al-Qaeda-linked group, which has mainly targeted the capital Mogadishu and central Somalia.

Sunday’s assault began at 12:45 pm (0945 GMT) when a booby-trapped car rammed the entrance of Hotel Tawakal. It ended around 7:00 pm after the attackers were killed by security forces.

Among the casualties were students leaving a nearby school, Jubaland’s security minister, Yusuf Hussein Osman, told reporters. All four attackers, including the suicide bomber, were killed. “The first one detonated himself and the (remaining) three were killed by the security forces,” he said, confirming an early police statement.

“This is not a government target,” police officer Abdullahi Ismail said. “It is just an ordinary, civilian-frequented hotel.”

(India Today)

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