Kenya is set to be replaced as the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa by Angola and Ethiopia, weakening the East African country’s power to tap investors enticed by a population that has more cash to spend.
Faster GDP growth in Angola and Ethiopia will see Kenya relegated to number five in sub-Saharan Africa’s economic rankings, according to projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which show Nigeria as the largest economy on the continent.
Ethiopia is set to replace Kenya in position four as the country’s armed conflict subsides and the ambitious economic reform drive to open up one of Africa’s fastest-growing but most closed economies continues.
The IMF expects the economies of Ethiopia and Angola this year to expand by 13.5 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, on dollar terms.
However, Kenya is projected to record a slower growth of 2.4 percent in the review period as the country grapples with the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, drought, election jitters, and disruption of global supply chains by the Russia-Ukraine war.
Ethiopian launches e-commerce air transport service with MailAmericas
Ethiopian Airlines Group has partnered with MailAmericas (MA), a private postal operator, to develop competitive cross-border e-commerce services within Africa and the Middle East using Addis Ababa as a hub.
According to this partnership, Ethiopian Airlines will offer air transport services for carrying goods across its wide network, while MailAmericas will provide its market expertise and know-how gained in Latin America and Africa, where it has networks in over 40 countries.
Regarding the partnership, Ethiopian Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said, “As the leading air cargo service provider in Africa, we are glad to team up with MailAmericas in launching e-commerce logistics services across Africa and Latin America.”
“So far, we have jointly served more than 20 countries in Africa and Latin America, and we are keen to further expand our reach going forward. The partnership enables us to serve our customers better by leveraging the expertise, bilateral agreements, and private networks of MailAmericas.”
Tomas Miguens, President of MailAmericas, stated, “As one of the largest service providers of cross-border e-commerce into Latin America, we are thrilled to partner up with Ethiopian Airlines Group and expand our horizons into Africa’s territory.”
(Aviation Source News)
1.2 million-year-old obsidian axe factory found in Ethiopia
Forged in magma and capable of producing the sharpest blades on Earth, obsidian is without a doubt one of the most badass materials ever imagined. The jet-black volcanic glass is also extremely delicate and dangerous to work with and was not mastered by humans until the latter part of the Stone Age, or so we thought.
Reporting on the latest findings from the Melka Kunture archaeological site in Ethiopia, a team of researchers has described the discovery of an obsidian hand axe workshop within a layer of sediment dated to 1.2 million years ago. This represents a staggeringly early example of obsidian shaping and, according to the study authors, is the only hand axe factory ever dated to the Early Pleistocene.
“Archaeological sites described as “knapping workshops” are only recorded in the second half of the Middle Pleistocene and only in Europe so far,” write the researchers. Located predominantly in France and the UK, the most notable Stone Age axe workshops were all associated with the creation of flint blades.
During the course of their excavations, the team came across an ancient layer of sediment containing 578 stone tools, all but three of which were sculpted from obsidian.
Ethiopian to inaugurate new Copenhagen service
Ethiopian Airlines is set to launch a new passenger flight to Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 22, 2023. The new flight will be operated five times a week, except on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr Mesfin Tasew said that “With the launch of the flight, Copenhagen will become a crucial gateway for Ethiopian Airlines in northern Europe and southern Scandinavia. Thanks to the wide network of Ethiopian Airlines across Africa, the new flight will enhance the air connectivity between Europe and Africa, thereby facilitating trade, tourism, and diplomatic relations between the two regions.”
Thomas Woldbye, Chief Executive Officer of Copenhagen Airport, said, “It has for a long time been our desire to improve the connection between Copenhagen and Africa.” He added that the direct route will create new opportunities for Danish businesses, especially the pharma industry, thanks to the state-of-the-art facilities and pharma wing of Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services.
Ethiopian first started serving Copenhagen in November 1999, but the flight was suspended about four years later.
(Aviation Source News)
East Africa to set up common central bank
East African nations are finalizing their plans to set up a regional central bank as they edge closer to their goal of a single regional currency.
The East African Community (EAC) Secretary-General, Peter Mathuki, recently revealed that the region’s Council of Ministers will meet this year to work out the details, including the location of the regional bank.
“The EAMI (East African Monetary Institute) will be in place this year, which will allow us to harmonize member states’ fiscal and monetary policies, and then in about three years we will have a common currency in place,” Mathuki told journalists last week.
With a population of 300 million people, the East African Community comprises seven nations, with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) being the latest member to join the bloc. In a bid to ease trade and the movement of people within the region, the seven members have been working towards a common currency for years now. The goal is to have a common currency by 2024, and the regional bank is a key foundation.
Members of the community are among the many central banks exploring a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Uganda unveils first oil drilling rig in East Africa
Uganda officially launched oil drilling activities in the country’s western district of Kikuube.
Speaking at the launch of the Kingfisher oil drilling rig, President Yoweri Museveni said this was a historic occasion because oil was discovered in the area by the British colonialists in the 1920s.
“I congratulate all those who played their parts to make this possible. Shell Oil Company wanted me to sign with them an oil exploration agreement when I had just come into power in 1986, but I refused because I was ignorant about petroleum issues,” he claimed.
He said after launching a study based in Uganda, he came up with the idea of inviting companies to explore oil. He also thanked the Chinese government for supporting Uganda’s oil development. The rig was constructed by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) in Uganda.
Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Ruth Nankabirwa, said: “This is an exciting moment. I thank the president of Uganda and the parliament for their steadfast support of this project.” The oil project will develop a central processing facility with a peak capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day, she stated.
Rwanda courts Tanzania to join East African Single Tourist Visa
Rwanda’s envoy to Tanzania, Charles Karamba (Maj. Gen.) held discussions with Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Pindi Hazara Chana, about the importance of the East Africa Single Tourist Visa program.
With the East African Single Tourist Visa, a tourist can get a visa for one of the East African Community (EAC) countries and then use it to travel to the other EAC countries.
Currently Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda are using the system, while Tanzania and Burundi are yet to join.
Karamba was hosted by Chana at her office in Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital, where they mainly talked about promoting the two countries’ partnership in the field of tourism, according to a statement from the Rwandan embassy in Tanzania.
“The ambassador informed the minister that the main point of his visit was to look together at how Rwanda and Tanzania can partner in the field of tourism; the need to cooperate in facilitating tourist car drivers to cross the borders; as well as expediting the process of addressing the issue of the East African Single Tourist Visa that has persisted for a long time,” the statement read.
(The New Times)
Canadian gov’t avails $4 million for school feeding program to South Sudan
The Canadian government has contributed over USD four million to support the school feeding programs in three states in South Sudan.
The 5.5 million Canadian dollars, which is equivalent to USD 4.1 million, is expected to be implemented by the World Food Program in 79 schools in Bentiu, Unity State; Kuajok, Warrap State; and Rumbek, Lakes State.
Julius Egbeyemi, the Chargé d’affaires at the Canadian Embassy in South Sudan, said the funding is part of his government’s support for improving quality education in the country.
“Canada is very pleased to be able to support WFP in South Sudan and Somalia with 11.2 million, of which half of it, 5.5 million will contribute directly to the school feeding programs in South Sudan”, he said.
“This contribution is well aligned with Canada’s existing contribution of over 40 million in education programing to improve quality education and school attendance especially for girls,” he added.
For her part, the Minister of General Education and Instruction welcomed the support, saying it will help in the retention of children in school.
According to Awut Deng Achuil, data from the 2021 education census indicated many schools under the feeding program had good attendance.