Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has resumed direct flights to Pakistan after a 20-year hiatus.
The flight ET-694, carrying 110 passengers, arrived in Karachi in the early hours of May 9. Ethiopian Airlines will now operate four flights every week between Addis Ababa and Karachi, which is the airline’s 37th destination in Asia.
Mesfin Tasew, the Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, expressed his excitement about the resumption of flights, saying that Karachi’s status as the most populous city in Pakistan makes it a “crucial gateway to Pakistan and the wider South Asia region.” He added that the air service would strengthen diplomatic and economic relations between the two regions and provide “convenient air connectivity to the growing number of Pakistani investors in Africa as well as tourists.”
Ethiopian Airlines had previously served Karachi twice, from 1966 to 1971 and again from June 1993 to July 2004. Currently, the airline operates a fleet of 144 aircraft and serves more than 150 domestic and international destinations across five continents.
On the first flight, Ethiopian officials, diplomats, and a trade delegation arrived, including Ethiopian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Misganu Arega, Innovation and Technology Minister Fozia Amin, and Trade Minister Kassahun Gofe.
Ethiopia topples Uganda, Tanzania for Kenya’s investments abroad
Ethiopia has toppled Tanzania and Uganda as the leading destinations of Kenya’s investment abroad, buoyed by the expansion of local firms in the giant neighboring market.
Fresh data shows that Kenya’s direct investment in Ethiopia hit KSh60.2 billion (USD 440.7 million) in 2021, surpassing Tanzania and Uganda’s KSh51.5 billion (USD 377 million) and KSh56.3 billion (USD 412 million), respectively.
Direct investment abroad, also referred to as “outward direct investment,” is a category of cross-border investment associated with a resident of one economy having control over or a significant degree of influence over the management of an enterprise that is resident in another economy.
The newly released Economic Survey 2023 shows that although Tanzania was the leading destination for Kenya’s investment abroad at the start of 2015, the table has since tilted in favor of Addis Ababa.
(The East African)
Geologist expects earthquakes to hit Egypt, Ethiopia
A professor of geology at Cairo University warned of two more earthquakes—one in Egypt near the High Dam and the other near the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam—after an earthquake struck Ethiopia on Monday.
“A new earthquake occurred on the afternoon of May 8, 2023, at 2:26 p.m. Cairo time, with a magnitude of 4.4 on the Richter scale, at a depth of 9.8 km, only 100 km northeast of the Renaissance Dam. It is considered the closest ever among hundreds of earthquakes during the last hundred years in Ethiopia,” Abbas Sharaki (Prof.) said.
“Today’s earthquake is 420 km from Addis Ababa. Yesterday, at dawn, an earthquake of 4.1 on the Richter scale occurred at a depth of 10 km in eastern Ethiopia, about 650 km east of the Renaissance Dam,” he explained.
While the impact of the current earthquakes may not be significant, Sharaki warned that they might be more significant later on if the strength of the earthquake increases when the water reserve in the lake rises to 74 billion cubic meters.
Sharaki noted that the East African Rift Zone, which divides Ethiopia into two halves, is the region of Africa most exposed to earthquakes and volcanoes.
More than 100 Ethiopians land in Israel
A total of 111 new immigrants (olim) from Ethiopia landed in Tel Aviv on May 9, joining some 95,000 of their countrymen who have immigrated to Israel.
Mark Wilf, chairman of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency, which chartered the immigrants’ flight, joined the new immigrants on the journey, as did a celebrity chef and a Californian comedian, according to the Jewish Agency.
At Ben-Gurion International Airport, Doron Almog (Maj. Gen.), the Jewish Agency’s chairman of the executive who led missions in the 1980s to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, met the new immigrants.
“The arrival of each plane of olim is an historic moment for the Jewish people,” he stated.
Julie Platt, chair of the board of the Jewish Federations of North America, said the new immigrants from Ethiopia had fulfilled “their personal ‘Hatikvah’—the hope that they never let go of for so many years that one day they would reach the Land of Israel.”
On May 16, the Mitrelli Group is scheduled to bring a group from Africa to Israel. The agenda, according to a release, includes “strengthening Israeli-African relations in the areas of innovation, food, agriculture, water, and energy.”
(Jewish News Syndicate)
Kenya to secure another $1 billion loan from World Bank
Kenya is standing in line to secure another KSh136.6 billion (USD one billion) loan from the World Bank as it seeks funds to ease the cash flow crisis and boost its dwindling foreign exchange reserves that have taken a hit from the weakening shilling.
The board of the World Bank Group is scheduled to meet on May 26 to approve the USD one billion loan to Kenya through its Development Policy Operation (DPO) framework.
DPOs are provided in the form of non-earmarked loans, credits, or grants that support the country’s economic and sectoral policies and institutions.
If approved, the Bretton Woods lender will be expected to wire the billions to the exchequer in a month, given that the financing has been budgeted for the financial year 2022–23 ending on June 30.
The World Bank had initially indicated the potential loan to Kenya was USD 750 million (KSh102 billion) before the ticket size was upsized to USD one billion in March 2023, with the program theme changing from the previous “Strengthening Economic Management for Resilient and Inclusive Growth” to “Fiscal Sustainability and Inclusive Green Growth Development Policy Operation.”
(The East African)
Uganda named best investment destination in East Africa
Uganda beat six other nations to emerge as the best investment destination in East Africa during a global investor award ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Uganda, through its investment authority, bagged the gold award for attracting the best investment project in 2022 during the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2023 in Abu Dhabi, a leading platform for investors in the world, where more than 170 countries are taking part in exhibitions and lobbying investments.
Rwanda’s Development Board came in second.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed Uganda’s top ranking as key to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), technology transfer, and promoting the country’s exports and tourism.
Evelyn Anite, state minister for finance in charge of investment and privatization, tweeted, “Congratulations team, we did it for Uganda. This only means more factories and jobs for Uganda and Ugandans.”
Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), one of the agencies representing the country at the meeting, termed the development a “big win.”
Uganda has recently intensified its appeal to international investors, with President Museveni at the forefront of rallying investors from across the world to invest in Uganda’s virgin areas, like the mineral and agricultural sectors.
Congo in discussions with Uganda over use of crude pipeline
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in discussions with neighboring Uganda for possible use of the east African country’s planned crude oil pipeline to export petroleum, Congo’s hydrocarbons ministry said.
Uganda is developing the USD 3.5 billion 1,445-kilometer East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) that will start from oil fields in its Albertine rift basin on its western border with Congo to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean seaport of Tanga.
The pipeline is for transporting Uganda’s crude to international markets when the country starts production in 2025.
Congo’s Ministry of Hydrocarbons said in a Twitter statement that its Minister, Didier Budimbu, met Uganda’s Energy Minister, Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, with discussions involving access to the pipeline.
“Uganda acknowledged the crucial requirement of the DRC to access the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) for the transport of crude oil to be produced from the oil exploration blocks located in the Albertine Graben in the DRC,” the statement read.
Technical teams from both sides will discuss and prepare reports to be presented to the two ministers, who will then brief the countries’ presidents on signing a Memorandum of Understanding, according to the statement.
Measles cases spike in Tanzania
Service and supply chain disruptions, resource diversion to response efforts, and controversies about COVID-19 vaccines have caused major declines in routine coverage in the country, leaving populations vulnerable to preventable diseases like measles.
According to the government, from July 2022 to February 2023, the country faced a sporadic measles outbreak, affecting several districts and leaving thousands of children infected.
Ministry of Health program officer Lotalis Gadau said from June 2022 to May 3, 2023, there were at least 3,923 confirmed cases.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major setback in immunization program performance during 2020–2021.
“Pre-pandemic reports from 2000–2019 showed that the national immunization program made steady gains in achieving and sustaining high levels of vaccination coverage above 95 percent,” she said.
“However, in 2021, the WHO and UNICEF estimates of national immunization coverage (WUENIC) showed that Penta3 coverage in Tanzania fell to 81 percent, a level not seen in more than 20 years. The increase in missed children and dropouts particularly affected measles vaccination coverage,” said Gadau.
She said the health sector will continue to provide vaccination services to children and adolescents to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases. (The Citizen)