Safaricom Ethiopia and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) have signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a strategic partnership to utilize the potential of the institutions’ capacities and enhance the financial service delivery of the bank to jointly contribute to the country’s digital and financial inclusion agenda.
Under the partnership, the two entities will integrate their systems to provide services to the underserved and unserved segments of the economy. Safaricom Ethiopia will assist CBE with technology, modern telecom infrastructure, and connectivity to facilitate its efforts to reach more customers while providing quality services.
“Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, being a pioneer of the Ethiopian financial industry for the last 80 years, has its own digital platforms like CBE Birr, mobile banking, ATMs, and POS services and has facilitated a significant number of transactions that can be leveraged for financial inclusion,” said Abie Sano, CEO, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.
“As we continue to work towards improved customer experience through digital innovation by enhancing digital payment platforms and availing innovative solutions to our customers, we look forward to our partnership with Safaricom Ethiopia to build our capacity with modern technology and connectivity.”
(African Wireless Communications)
Kenya imports record amount of electricity
The country imported a record 68.48 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in January, fresh data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.
Up to 39.73 million units, or 58.01 percent, were imported from Ethiopia after the two countries inked a power purchase agreement (PPA) to get cheaper hydropower from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Kenya officially started importing 200 megawatts (MW) of cheaper power from Ethiopia in January after a trial run in November, which has helped stabilize the power supply.
A further 28.75 million units were imported from Uganda—the highest since March last year, when Uganda imports hit 31.07 million units—to plug the local hydropower product deficit.
Kenya has a 25-year electricity import deal with Ethiopia that will see Kenya Power take up a maximum of 200 MW from the GERD in the first three years, rising to 400 MW for the remaining period. In the deal, Kenya buys Ethiopian power at USD 6.5 cents per kWh, which is significantly lower than the tariffs charged by independent power producers.
(The East African)
Ethiopian Airlines resumes Addis Ababa-Singapore Boeing 787 Flights
Ethiopian Airlines’ passenger flights have returned to Singapore. It means the Star Alliance carrier serves 17 destinations in Asia (excluding the Middle East) during this northern summer season. It is responsible for providing nearly half (44 percent) of all Africa-Asia flights, very distantly followed by EgyptAir (eight percent).
The first Singapore-bound flight to resume left Africa on March 25th, the last day of the northern winter season. Running four times a week, it operates non-stop to and from Singapore but is tagged with Kuala Lumpur.
Like almost all of Ethiopian Airlines’ Asia-bound flights (and also most to Europe, North America, and the Middle East), Singapore flights leave in the very late evening and arrive back in the early morning to maximize Africa-bound connectivity, with passengers and freight able to reach dozens of cities across the vast continent.
Ethiopian Airlines started flying people to Singapore in December 2013, connecting two Star Alliance hubs. Routing via Bangkok in both directions, it remained until October 2014 and used 767-300ERs.
Israel-Arab-Africa Summit shows path for new diplomatic strategy
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the Ethiopian government’s Institute of Foreign Affairs think tank have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in an example of what JCPA president Dan Diker called “bottom-up diplomacy.” The agreement will lead to broad cooperation between the two institutes on issues of national security, agrotech, and food and water security.
Yechiel M. Leiter, director-general of the JCPA, stressed the importance of the MoU, saying, “National security is not just a matter of tanks, planes, and soldiers. It is the ability to feed the people of one’s sovereign territory.”
Leiter further explained that in his view, “food security should conceptually move from the social and economic realms to the realm of national security.”
The signing came as part of a broader summit led by the JCPA titled “Trusted Regional Partnerships at a Time of Shifting Alliances” that took place in Jerusalem over the past week.
According to a statement from the JCPA, the purpose of the summit was to “discuss the prospects for enlarging and enhancing the Abraham Accords and the potential areas for Gulf-Africa-Israel partnerships in the fields of counterterrorism and national security, food and water security, and environmental concerns.”
Drought threatens water supplies in Kenya’s Kiambu County
Kiambu County in Kenya is facing a major water shortage that is threatening not only people’s livelihoods but also biodiversity. Rivers and wetlands that were once roaring with life are now dry and barren. With the prolonged drought worsening the situation, residents are worried about the long-term implications and the drastic decrease in water supply over the last few years.
Of particular concern is the Manguo swamp, a wetland that is not only a source of water for the community but also a rich harbor for biodiversity, which has, for the first time since the residents can remember, totally dried up.
Kiambu County, located in central Kenya, is the second-most populous county in the country. It is located north of the capital, Nairobi, and is known for its lush greenery and rich fertile lands famous for Irish potatoes, cabbages, pears, and other horticultural crops, which supply a large extent of Nairobi’s food needs.
The Manguo swamp—or what used to be—sits near Limuru town, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Nairobi.
Borouge enters agreement to expand footprint in East Africa
Borouge Plc, a petrochemical company that provides innovative and differentiated polyolefin solutions, has entered into a distribution agreement with Somochem, one of the biggest polyolefin distributors in East Africa.
The agreement builds on Borouge and Somochem’s long-standing partnership and aims to increase Borouge’s footprint and presence in East Africa. The development comes on the heels of Borouge’s significant growth in market share in the region.
Over the past five years, Borouge has grown its East African sales of infrastructure solutions and doubled its sales volume of advanced packaging solutions. The company conducted targeted marketing and sales campaigns in the region, with a strong focus on Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda—the fastest-growing countries in the region by gross domestic product (GDP).
According to the African Development Bank, economic growth in East Africa is projected to reach five percent in 2023 and 5.4 percent in 2024. Market demand has been driven by rapid and substantial infrastructure investment, healthcare improvements, rising living standards, and urbanization.
More than 112 million people in the region do not have access to clean water, according to UNICEF, demonstrating the pressing need for high-quality infrastructure to support the development of the region.
(Emirates News Agency)
South Sudan calls on AU intervention over land theft by Uganda, Kenya
The South Sudan government has accused neighboring Kenya and Uganda of stealing many of its territories and said that it has written to the African Union (AU) asking for intervention over the matter.
In statements responding to lawmakers from Eastern Equatoria State who had raised concerns about the land encroachment by Kenyan troops, Deng Dau, acting minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, said the government has engaged Kenya but is still asking for AU intervention.
“We have engaged the government of Kenya in the issue of Nadapal, and our President sent a delegation that was led by the Minister of Presidential Affairs. Not only that, but we have a committee made up of 18 people, and they have also been meeting,” he said.
“During the African Union delegation led by Hussein Abdel-Bagi, we met the chair of the African Union, Musa Faki, and we raised this matter. We have written a letter to that effect requesting the AU support our bilateral discussion between ourselves and Uganda on the boundaries of our three nations,” he added.
The senior government official further said that the government has identified at least forty-two areas encroached on by Kenya and Uganda.
At least 21 dead in Somalia’s flash floods: UN agency
At least 21 people, including six children, have died in Somalia’s flash flooding over the last week, according to a UN humanitarian agency.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that heavy rains and flash floods have affected nearly 100,000 people in the drought-stricken Bardhere district of the Gedo region in southern Somalia.
The flooded region is near Ethiopia, which has been hit by heavy rains that are causing water levels to rise in the Shabelle and Juba rivers.
Health facilities have been destroyed by the flash flooding, the Somalia National Disaster Management Agency said Wednesday.
Communities living near rivers have been warned they are at risk, the agency’s strategic policy and partnership advisor, Mohamed Moalim, told The Associated Press.
Some 250 affected families in Bardhere district had received food rations that included rice, flour, and oil from the national agency.
Four schools and 200 latrines were destroyed by the flash floods, disrupting learning for some 3,000 children, the UN’s humanitarian agency said. More than 1,000 hectares of farmland have been swamped, and ongoing floods in northern Somalia have also left a trail of destruction.