Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ethiopian inaugurates new Doha office

Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s leading airline, recently inaugurated its new office in Doha. The office was inaugurated by the Ambassador of Nigeria, Yakubu Abdullahi Ahmed, Ambassador of South Africa, Saad Cachalia, Ambassador of Ghana, Mohammed Nurudeen Ismaila, the Deputy Ambassador of Ethiopia, Samuel Lemma, and other dignitaries.

As part of its expansion strategy and given the strategic importance of Qatar to its global operations, Ethiopian Airlines opened its office in Doha over seven years ago. Since then, the airline has emerged as the favorite of many, especially Africans in the diaspora, flying to over 134 international destinations in the five continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and North America.

Ethiopian Airlines has continued to consolidate its position as Africa’s leading airline after the early success of its strategic plan by currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2035.

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Speaking at the opening, Surafel Saketa, Ethiopian Airlines’ Qatar Country Manager, said, “The new corporate office in Qatar is part of the airline’s expansion within the region. The Middle East travel and tourism sector is gaining pace as the relationship between the region, especially Qatar, and Africa continues to grow by leaps and bounds.”

(The Peninsula)

Seven million children in urgent need of nutrition support

UNICEF has called for investment in sustainable, resilient systems across the region to protect children and communities from future crises.

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In their latest statement, UNICEF said more than seven million children under five in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia remain malnourished and in urgent need of nutrition support.

The agency has further warned that more than 1.9 million children are at risk of dying from severe malnutrition.

UNICEF said that while the rains have brought some reprieve, they have also led to floods due to the ground’s inability to absorb large quantities of water.

This has resulted in further displacement, increased risk of disease, livestock loss, and crop damage.

“Over the past three years, communities have been forced to take extreme measures to survive, with millions of children and families leaving their homes out of pure desperation in search of food and water,” Mohamed Fall said.

“This crisis has deprived children of the essentials of childhood: having enough to eat, a home, safe water, and going to school,” he added.

UNICEF estimates that 23 million people are facing high levels of acute food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

(The Star)

Donors pledge $2.4 billion for Horn of Africa aid

Donors at a United Nations event on Wednesday pledged humanitarian aid totaling USD 2.4 billion to provide support for nearly 32 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

According to the Geneva-based UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in the face of five consecutive poor rainy seasons, more than 32 million people need assistance.

OCHA puts the amount needed at USD seven billion for the year.

Money pledged would allow humanitarian agencies to sustain aid pipelines of food, water, health care, nutrition, and protection services, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya said.

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“We welcome the announcements of support for the people of the Horn of Africa, who need our sustained commitment to recover from a crisis of catastrophic proportions,” she said.

“We must persist in pushing for stepped-up investments, especially to bolster the resilience of people already bearing the brunt of climate change.”

An estimated 43,000 people died in 2022 in Somalia, most likely due to the drought, half of whom may have been children under age five, OCHA said.

While recent rain had eased the impacts of the drought, floods had caused widespread damage and affected at least 900,000 people.

(Miami Herald)

Ethiopia to kick off tender for second telco license

Ethiopia is set to launch a tender for a second international telecom license next month as part of plans to expand the sector in the country.

It will provide the country with a third mobile operator, along with state-owned Ethio Telecom and Safaricom Ethiopia, which is a subsidiary of Kenyan operator Safaricom.

“We have planned to launch the tender in June. More details will be released when we approach the launch date,” Balcha Reba, director general of the Ethiopian Communication Authority, told Reuters.

Safaricom only launched its services in the country in October, gaining over a million customers within a month of launching. It’s not known what the current figure for Safaricom sits at, but it is a number that is dwarfed by Ethio, which has over 70 million subscribers.

Although state-owned, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) is also open to attracting investment in Ethiopia and restarted efforts to sell up to 45 percent of the operator last year.

Abiy is attempting to open up the country’s economy and has identified its mobile industry as a key component of this.

(Data Center Dynamics)

Kenya Power to spend KSh10 billion on network expansion

Kenya Power announced plans to tackle rampant power outages using KSh10 billion.

In a statement, the power giant said the money would also facilitate the construction of power lines to boost its distribution capacity.

KPLC Managing Director Joseph Siror said the investment is in line with the company’s strategy to improve the quality and reliability of power supply in the country.

“The country has witnessed unprecedented interest from local and international stakeholders in the last two years looking to invest in and develop Kenya’s e-mobility sector. To adequately support e-mobility and other sectors of the economy, we will sustain investments to strengthen the grid and enhance network stability and flexibility for quality and reliable service,” he stated.

The project is also aimed at helping KPLC address increased cases of power blackouts in the country.

The blackouts are said to have negatively affected the economy.

Siror added that the investment was influenced by the increased demand in the e-mobility and clean cooking sectors.

The company also indicated that its customer base had grown from 2.7 million to nine million in the last 10 years.

He said their main aim is to support electric vehicle charging.

(The Star)

IMF agrees $1 bln loan to cash-strapped Kenya

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it had agreed to a USD one billion (EUR 927 billion) loan for Kenya, an East African country facing liquidity and economic difficulties.

Kenya’s economy is burdened by a debt of USD 70 billion (about EUR 65 billion) and a sharp devaluation of its currency, the shilling, against the dollar.

In an attempt to reduce its debt, the government of President William Ruto has prepared a budget including many new taxes that are expected to raise KSh289 billion (EUR two billion) to supplement the KSh3.6 trillion (EUR 24 billion) budget planned for 2023–24.

This agreement still needs to be validated by the IMF’s executive board, which meets in July. If approved, Kenya will have immediate access to USD 410 million, according to the IMF.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the financial institution said its commitment to Kenya would be increased to a total of USD 3.52 billion (EUR 3.2 billion).

Kenya, the economic powerhouse of East Africa with a population of about 53 million, is facing high inflation (+7.9 percent year-on-year in April) and a historic drought. Growth has plateaued at 4.8 percent in 2022, far from the 7.6 percent achieved in 2021.

(Africa News)

Dar, Djibouti ports beat Mombasa in new World Bank ranking

Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, and Berbera ports have toppled Mombasa in the World Bank’s latest ranking of the most efficient ports, highlighting the competition fears that Kenya has had over Tanzania becoming a preferred route for shippers.

The third edition of the global Container Port Performance Index has ranked the Mombasa port at position 326 in 2022 out of the 348 ports worldwide that were assessed, behind the regional peers in eastern Africa.

Kenya’s main port recorded a steep decline from the 2021 report, where it was placed at position 296 by the World Bank.

The ports are ranked based on their efficiency, measured by the elapsed time between when a ship reaches a port and its departure from the berth having completed its cargo exchange.

The World Bank notes that efficient operation of the port is key to the development of trade in the region, pointing out that there has been a significant improvement in business since 2020, when the marine industry recorded reduced activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Improving port efficiency is essential for unlocking Africa’s growth and development,” said Martin Humphreys, lead transport economist at the World Bank.

(The East African)

Museveni demands Kenya extradite Turkana herders for murder trials

President Yoweri Museveni has demanded that Kenya hand over for trial Turkana herders who allegedly killed five Ugandans in the volatile northeastern Karamoja region in March 2022.

Through an executive order released on Wednesday to end illegal guns making their way into Uganda, the veteran leader gave the Turkana a six-month ultimatum to comply with the directive, short of which he would expel all Turkana and their herds from Ugandan soil.

Those killed in the raid by suspected Turkana cattle rustlers included three geologists from the ministry of energy, one Uganda People’s Defence Forces officer, and one soldier.

“The killers of the geologists must be handed back to us for trial for murder. The guns were handed back to the government of Uganda, but not the killers,” Museveni said in the order, whose tone is likely to test relations between Uganda and President William Ruto’s administration.

Museveni described the Turkana issue as “another destabilizing factor” in his efforts to disarm the Karimojong warriors and secure the region that borders Kenya to the northwest.

(The East African)

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