Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saudi Arabia resumes hiring Ethiopian domestic labor

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources has reopened recruitment of domestic labor from Ethiopia and set the maximum cost limit at SR6,900 per worker, exclusive of VAT, the Saudi news agency, SPA, says.

The resumption of recruitment from Ethiopia comes more than three years after the kingdom halted the process.

The decision is the latest in a series of measures pertaining to house labor recruitment with the aim of regulating the employment market in the kingdom.

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The Ministry has obligated all agencies engaged in brokering domestic labor recruitment to adhere to the designated official cost cap.

The move marks a continuation of the Ministry’s efforts to regulate the recruitment market to ensure the quality of the provided services and improve the work environment, SPA added.

The Ministry had earlier announced maximum limits for hiring overseas domestic workers from different countries. They are set at SR9,500 per worker from Uganda, SR10,000 from Thailand, SR10,870 from Kenya, SR13,000 from Bangladesh, SR15,000 from Sri Lanka, SR17,288 from the Philippines, and SR7,500 from Burundi, exclusive of VAT.

The Ministry is keen to revise costs and the provided services in view of economic changes, the SPA noted.

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(Gulf News)

Chinese envoy refutes allegations of “debt trap” in Africa

Xue Bing, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, refuted the groundless cliche that China is creating a “debt trap” in Africa, calling it a narrative trap instead.

Addressing the media in the Ethiopian capital, the special envoy said Africa’s debt burdens should not be blamed on China.

Reports from international institutions and research show that African debt is mainly in bonds held by Western private creditors. Xue said the distorted facts and truth prove that some countries are lying about the African debt issue.

Data from the World Bank last year showed that among a total of USD 696 billion in external debts in 49 African countries with accessible data, three-quarters are held by multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors, the lion’s share of Africa’s debts, while 35 percent are owed to western private lenders, nearly three times the total obligations to China, he said.

While the causes of the debt crisis are multifaceted—the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical conflicts, and excessive institutional lending—Xue said the US Federal Reserve’s rate hikes last year had harmed Africa.

(People Daily Online)

“Ethiopia’s ID System Is Live,” Cardano’s founder says

Charles Hoskinson, the Cardano network founder, fired back at critics from the crypto community who claimed the 2021 national ID deal between the blockchain and the Ethiopian government was dead in the water.

The government, critics say, got tired of waiting for Cardano’s development team, Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), as “they were too slow.” Hoskinson described the claim as slanderous, saying the Ethiopian government currently uses the Cardano ID solution.

Hoskinson agreed that Ethiopia has different ID systems in operation; however, he clarified that the contract was with the Ministry of Education (MoE), which was never intended to be a nation-scale ID system. Instead, it was a credential management system specifically designed for students, rather than a comprehensive identification system for an entire nation.

Hoskinson said that the student ID system could be part of more extensive identification management in the future, although it was not initially designed for that purpose. Since the system is live, it is expected to cover one million students before the end of 2023, he said.

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(Coin Edition)

Ethiopia, US agree to strengthen ties

Ethiopia and the US have agreed to strengthen their relations, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) said after hosting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as both sides seek to mend the diplomatic damage caused by the Tigray war.

Blinken, visiting the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, also met Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen and was due to meet leaders of the Tigrayan forces that battled the federal government in the two-year war in the northern region.

“We have agreed to strengthen the long-standing bilateral relations between our countries with a commitment to partnership,” Abiy said on Twitter after his meeting with Blinken.

Before meeting Abiy and Demeke, Blinken told reporters there was a lot to be done. “Probably the most important thing is to deepen the peace that has taken hold in the north,” he said.

The talks included discussions on the formation of an interim administration in Tigray and a transitional justice policy that would seek accountability and redress for victims of the war, Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministry wrote on Twitter.

(Reuters)

Kenya suspends ban imposed on powder milk imports

Kenya has lifted its recent ban on powder milk imports so that the Dairy Industry (Import and Export) Regulations 2021 can take effect.

On March 6, the Kenya Dairy Board announced an indefinite suspension of milk powder imports, a move seen as protecting processors and farmers from lower prices. The anticipated seasonal rains are expected to significantly boost local milk production, reduce the need for imports, and avoid a glut in the market.

In a statement dated March 14, 2023, Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Permanent Secretary, Harry Kimtai, announced the suspension of the ban on milk powder imports.

“Take note that the importation of products under the East African Community (EAC) protocol refers to goods being imported from outside the East African Community, while goods traded within the EAC are referred to as transfers,” Kimtai said.

Uganda, which sells milk products to Kenya, welcomed the announcement.

“I am delighted to inform the dairy industry in Uganda that the ban on milk products has been suspended,” said Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs.

(The East African)

Kenya Airways revives COO post, picks George Kamal

Kenya Airways (KQ) has revived the chief operating officer (COO) post it scrapped nearly three years ago and appointed George Kamal (Capt.).

KQ has been restructuring to return to profitability and cut reliance on Treasury handouts for operational cash.

Kamal is a former Air Arabia operations director and Iraqi Airways COO.

“He will, therefore, be involved in coordination activities in various departments, including flight operations, technical services, ground services, the integrated operational control center, and supply chain,” KQ managing director Allan Kilavuka said in a memo to staff.

“Please join me in welcoming George to the KQ family and wishing him all the best in this critical assignment.”

Kamal started his aviation career as a first officer and captain at Egypt Air, then moved to Etihad Airways as a captain and type rating instructor.

He has 27 years of experience as a pilot, flying Airbus 300, 330, and 320, and Boeing 777 planes.

Kamal takes over the COO role last held by Jan de Vegt, who exited the airline in 2019, citing a lack of support as the reason for his departure.

(Business Daily)

An oil rush threatens natural splendors across east Africa

Under a dense forest canopy sheltering elephants, rare birds, and colobus monkeys, roaring bulldozers and excavators shatter the idyll, toppling ancient trees and carving roads to reach Uganda’s newest source of riches: oil.

“This is a sanctuary,” said Ben Ntale, a Ugandan tour guide who has been bringing visitors to the Murchison Falls National Park for two decades. “But they are intent on destroying one of our greatest heritages.”

An oil rush is underway in Uganda, a verdant, landlocked country in East Africa that has signed onto a multibillion-dollar joint venture with French and Chinese oil companies, arguing that the revenues will fund schools, roads, and other development.

Drilling has already begun on the shores of Lake Albert, and in the pristine habitat of Murchison Falls National Park, workers are clearing areas to lay pads for oil wells. Land is being acquired and cleared to build a pipeline to carry the oil from the lush west of landlocked Uganda, through forests and game reserves in Tanzania, to a port on the Indian Ocean coast.

Residents in both countries have been displaced from their lands, drawing international criticism and lawsuits.

(The New York Times)

Five killed in al-Shabaab suicide attack in Somalia

At least five people were killed and 11 others wounded, including a regional governor, in a suicide attack in southern Somalia, police said; the bombing was claimed by Al-Shabaab militants.

A vehicle laden with explosives plowed into a guest house that was hosting government officials in Bardera, 450 kilometers (279 miles) west of the capital, Mogadishu, said Hussein Adan, the police commander for the area.

“The explosion destroyed most parts of the building, and five security guards died in the blast,” Adan told AFP.

Eleven people, including the governor, Ahmed Bulle Gared, were injured, he added.

Al-Shabaab, linked to Al-Qaeda, has been waging a bloody jihadist insurgency against the central government in the fragile Horn of Africa nation for about 15 years.

The group claimed responsibility for the attack through their Shahada News Agency, according to the US monitoring group SITE.

Mohamud Saney, who witnessed Tuesday’s attack, said he had “never heard anything as big as the explosion. It shook the earth like an earthquake.”

In recent months, the Somali army and local clan militias have retaken chunks of territory from the militants in an operation backed by US air strikes and an African Union force known as ATMIS.

(The Defense Post)

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