Ethiopia successfully conducted a test run of electricity supply to neighboring Kenya, the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) announced.
Tewodros Ayalew, project manager, said that the testing of transferring power to the Ethiopia-Kenya high voltage direct current converter station and transmission line project was successfully completed.
The trial was carried out via the 500 KV cross-border transmission power lines that link the two neighbors. The successful connection between the power grids of the two countries will now enable Nairobi to venture into power trade business with Addis Ababa.
Last month, Kenya signed a 25-year deal with Ethiopia to start importing electricity in a bid to edge out the expensive power from the national grid and ensure buffers to meet peak demand.
Dubbed the Ethiopia-Kenya Transmission Interconnection Line, the 500kV power line and converter station project was built at a cost of USD 334.5 million, of which USD 214.5 million was spent on the construction of the converter station and ground electrode line, whereas USD 120 million was spent on the transmission line.
The project was built by China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company (CET), while the converter station and the ground electrode line works were built by Germany-based Siemens Energy.
Ethiopia seeks IMF loan to fend off hunger for 20 mln people
Ethiopia is seeking International Monetary Fund financing to provide food for its people after the worst drought in four decades and a civil war curbed farm production.
“Ethiopian authorities have indicated an interest in accessing the IMF’s food shock window,” the Fund said in an emailed response to queries, without providing more details. More than 20 million Ethiopians, including people who fled their homes because of conflict in the country’s northern Tigray region, don’t have enough to eat, according to the World Food Programme.
The IMF estimates that at least 123 million people in Africa—12 percent of the region’s population—will be unable to meet their minimum food needs, 28 million more than just two years ago. The impact of severe drought across several countries has been compounded by Russia’s war with Ukraine, which curbed exports of foods such as wheat and inflated prices.
Ethiopia sought an IMF program last year to help it restructure approximately USD 30 billion in foreign debt.
US Embassy partners with MoE to enhance leadership capacity
The US Embassy in Addis Ababa, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, has funded a grant for a Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) program for a consortium of three US universities—Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Ohio State—to enhance the capacity of university leaders from across Ethiopia. Tracey Ann Jacobson (Amb.), Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, and State Minister of Education, Samuel Kifle (PhD), spoke about the important partnership.
Remarking on the importance of our long collaboration in education, Jacobson said, “We are investing in education here because it is the key to unlocking the potential of Ethiopia and it is an important demonstration of the friendship between Ethiopia and the United States.”
The initial round of the LMG program trained 27 higher education administrators from 19 public universities, including nine university presidents, 16 vice presidents, and two high ranking officials from the Ministry of Education.
The second cohort of LMG will select another 25 public university leaders, who will participate in a similar program in the summer of 2023 in Addis Ababa and the United States. The call for applications will be open in December 2022.
Akobo secures $8.5 mln loan for its Ethiopian gold project
The Scandinavian gold exploration company, Akobo Minerals, has secured a USD 8.5 million gold loan facility from the US-based Monetary Metals.
The net proceeds from the loan facility, secured through Akobo’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Abyssinia Resources Development, will ensure Akobo has the financial strength to accelerate the final phase of mine development at its Segele project, in Ethiopia.
Gold production at Segele is on track to start in early 2023.
“This financing agreement with Monetary Metals gives Akobo Minerals exactly what we were looking for—a loan facility that will take us through to the completion of our mine and the start of gold production, while at the same time ensuring a minimal dilution of equity for our shareholders. We can now look forward to mining and production in the New Year with renewed confidence,” Akobo CEO Jørgen Evjen said.
The deal with Monetary Metals, according to Evjen, shows a strong international endorsement to the gold exploration and mining project in Ethiopia. “We have greatly enjoyed working with them through the process, which included taking them on a site visit to Segele to show them our developing mining operation.”
Kenya, South African Airways in talks for a Pan-African Airline
Kenya and South Africa are in consultation to form a pan-African airline to rival established players such as Ethiopian Airlines and Emirates.
President William Ruto and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, said they were engaging on the matter at a high level and that, if successful, Kenya Airways and South African Airways would form a partnership.
“On the matter of South Africa Airways and Kenya Airways, this was a subject of discussion between me and President Ramaphosa and our teams, and we have agreed that the agreement should be progressed forward because it presents an opportunity for both South Africa and Kenya to work together to build a Pan-African airline,” Ruto said during a bilateral meeting with the South African Governemnt.
Like Kenya Airways, South Africa Airways has faced financial headwinds exacerbated by flight bans and airport closures that saw airlines around the globe grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its half-year results, the national carrier posted a 11.5 billion KSH compared to a similar period in 2021, attributed to increased revenues.
Kenya, Tanzania launch postal cross border business partnership
The Postal Corporation of Kenya has launched a cross-border business partnership with the Tanzania Postal Corporation to facilitate ease of doing business and reduce delivery times between the two countries.
The partnership will also offer a platform that will ensure fast and efficient delivery of postal and courier services, with the ability to track and trace from origin to destination between the two countries.
Following the launch of the partnership, the time taken for a postal item to move between Kenya and Tanzania will be drastically reduced.
It will now take a postal item leaving Dodoma, Tanzania, an average of three days to reach Nakuru, Kenya. Previously, this would take up to 7 days or more, depending on the distance.
Other benefits of the partnership include enhanced cooperation in e-commerce opportunities and the identification of emerging opportunities and markets for the two corporations to grow business opportunities and generate revenue.
The state corporations have also agreed to improve postal and courier services between the two countries and bring on board private sector players in the land and aviation sectors to improve the time taken and processes involved in clearing imports and exports.
Petra Diamonds’ Tanzania mine operation suspended for three months
Petra Diamonds Ltd. has suspended operations at its Williamson mine in Tanzania for up to three months after a wall of the tailings dam at the site was breached earlier this week, the company said on Thursday.
Petra Diamonds, which operates three mines in South Africa as well as Tanzania’s biggest diamond mine, said there had been no fatalities as a result of the incident and that three minor injuries had been reported, adding that a probe was underway to establish the cause of the breach.
A total of 13 dwellings have been affected by the breach, with those impacted getting aid and accommodation, Petra added.
The company said it would bring forward a planned maintenance program to minimize the impact of lost production.
Petra owns 75 percent of the Williamson mine, with the rest held by the Tanzanian government. The mine produced 228,070 carats of diamonds in Petra’s financial year to June 30, generating USD 76 million in revenue.
Faults with tailings dams—large embankments built to store mine waste—have caused several environmental disasters and fatalities, the worst of which was a dam collapse that killed 270 people in January 2019 at Brumadinho in Brazil.
Uganda ends school year early to contain growing Ebola outbreak
The Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports has ordered schools across the country to end the school year early in order to prevent the further spread of Ebola among schoolchildren.
Uganda declared an outbreak of Ebola on September 20 of this year, and since then it has reported 135 cases and 53 deaths. Among these cases, 23 children have been infected, and eight have died.
The growing outbreak has prompted Uganda’s Minister of Education and First Lady, Janet Kataha Museveni, to shorten the third and final school term for the year by two weeks, officially ending on November 25.
“Closing schools earlier will reduce areas of concentration where children are in daily close contact with fellow children, teachers, and other staff who could potentially spread the virus,” said Museveni in a statement, according to reports.
The closing of schools was suggested earlier this month by Uganda’s Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, but was initially met with pushback from the Ugandan National Teachers’ Union.
The shortening of the school year comes on the heels of an unprecedented two-year school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly impacted learning for the country’s schoolchildren.