Sunday, June 16, 2024

WHO scales up response to contain cholera outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) has responded swiftly to a cholera outbreak in Konso Zone and Alle Special Woreda of Ethiopia’s Southern Nations region by establishing Cholera Treatment Centers (CTCs) in four districts to reduce cholera deaths.

The outbreak started in Oromia in August 2022 and spread to SNNP in March 2023, resulting in over 4,000 cases across 42 districts.

WHO deployed experts and provided training on outbreak management. CTCs with a capacity for 10 or more daily patients have brought relief. A community representative praised WHO for the centers, saying they offer “shelter to our patients and health workers.”

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The outbreak has been triggered by poor sanitation, unpredictable water and food insecurity. Gaps remain including inadequate support compared to needs, subpar case management and risk communication.

WHO coordinates with partners, mobilizes additional resources, vehicles and water treatment chemicals to support the response. The WHO Ethiopia representative says all parties must work together to contain the outbreak. The WHO is grateful for support from USAID/BHA and CERF that has enabled timely aid in areas where it is mostly needed.

(Relief web)

Ethiopian Airlines faces ‘real challenges’ despite COVID success

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The effects of the pandemic are still being felt, with “high inflation” worldwide that “translates into high operating costs, high fuel prices and many countries still recovering from COVID and whose economic growth remains weak” says the Airlines CEO.

Against a backdrop of steep inflation, post-pandemic competitiveness and a changing airline industry, Ethiopian Airlines is pursuing its “Vision 2035” growth strategy.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Mesfin Tasew says the 2022-2023 financial year ending June 30 was very prosperous, with 57 percent more passengers, twice as much cargo, 20 percent higher turnover and nearly 50 percent more revenue than pre-COVID levels. However, the airline still faces challenges.

While inflation is driving up costs and some countries’ economic recoveries remain weak, parts shortages due to the pandemic’s supply chain disruptions have grounded planes at times. Increased competition post-COVID means airlines have ordered many new planes, which will lower ticket prices and require Ethiopian Airlines to reduce costs to stay competitive.

The airline faces legal proceedings over alleged discrimination against passengers from Tigray. It has denied transporting Ethiopian soldiers and equipment to Tigray.

Mesfin says the airline will pursue its Vision 2035 growth plan to quadruple passengers to over 60 million by expanding routes and fleet. While the industry targets net zero emissions by 2050, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) offer the greatest potential but are scarce and expensive.

Still, Mesfin emphasizes Ethiopian Airlines’ intent to develop a sustainability strategy and use SAF where possible. The airline’s profitability, scale and recovery from COVID position it well for future growth, though it must skillfully navigate looming challenges.


Ethiopia, Zimbabwe sign nuclear energy cooperation agreements with Russia

Russia signed agreements with Zimbabwe and Ethiopia on nuclear cooperation. The deals cover creating nuclear infrastructure, safety regulation, producing radioisotopes for industry and agriculture, and training specialists.

Russia and Ethiopia signed a roadmap on potentially building a nuclear power plant and establishing a Nuclear Science and Technology Center. According to Rosatom: “The roadmap defines specific steps that the parties will take in 2023-2025 to explore the possibilities of building a nuclear power plant of large or small capacity, as well as a Nuclear Science and Technology Center in Ethiopia.

The parties plan to work together to develop Ethiopia’s national nuclear infrastructure, organize technical tours and seminars, and meetings of specialized working groups.

Russia also signed a memorandum with Burundi in applying nuclear technology in medicine, agriculture and energy production, and personnel training. (WNN)

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Ethiopian Jews protest newspaper cover after Knesset vote

After Israeli lawmakers cancelled the Supreme Court’s ability to invoke reasonableness clause, front pages of Israeli papers turned black in protest ads reading “A Black Day for Israeli Democracy.”

Many Ethiopian Jews were offended by the use of ‘black’ to describe something negative. Ethiopian activist Zohar Damasa Balau said, “It’s an invalid use.” He said describing negatives as ‘black’ marginalizes Ethiopians. He wants similar language awareness as used by Transport Minister Merav Michaeli.

Knesset lawmaker Pnina Tamano-Shata says “Using ‘black’ negatively creates a negative reality towards black people. Unfortunately, there is little awareness of this issue in Israel.”

Even if unintentional, Eran Halperin a researcher says that when negative associations are attributed to a symbol – in this case a color – that symbol communicates negative sentiments towards a specific group.

In the Western world, black symbolizes darkness and fear which leads to negativity. Halperin says “Our brain makes connections very quickly.”


African Union, IOM partner to empower youth on migration

The Office of the African Union Youth Envoy has partnered with the International Organization for Migration to launch the IOM Africa Youth for Migration Program.

The program will select young African migration ambassadors to promote safe and dignified migration within Africa.

The ambassadors will be at the frontline of raising youth awareness on migration issues and participate in migration advocacy as a priority of the African Union. African Union Youth Envoy, Chido Cleopatra Mpemba called the partnership “a powerful step towards empowering young people to drive positive change in migration.”

Selected IOM Migration Youth Ambassadors will have access to regional and global consultations, speak at high-level events, and contribute to publications on youth and migration in Africa. They will receive letters of commendation from the IOM Special Liaison Office and the African Union Commission in addition to training certificates. (AU)

East Africa eyes digital ID systems to solve its problems

Rwanda has drafted a bill to govern the issuance and use of digital IDs. If enacted, it will give way to a disbursement of USD 40 million from the World Bank to support the initiative, projected to be completed within the next three years.

Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania are also contemplating issuance of digital IDs, but there are yet to be any concrete steps to that effect. Senior government officials have publicly declared the States’ intentions to roll out digital identities.

Josephine Mukesha, director general of Rwanda’s National Identification Agency (NIDA) says digital identities will help the State increase coverage of identification as they will be issued at birth and will include categories that were not covered before like the stateless, migrants and asylum seekers.

“Identity is for identifying the person but also for service provision,” she told The EastAfrican in an interview.

(The East African)

Kenya inaugurates motorcycle assembly plant

Kenya President William Ruto has inaugurated a new electric motorcycle assembly plant, Roam Park in Nairobi. Covering 10,000 square meters, Roam Park has capacity to produce 50,000 electric motorcycles annually.

Roam develops electric vehicles for African markets. Ruto toured the Park inspecting the assembly lines, battery labs and worker safety systems. He said the plant will promote clean energy, create jobs and nurture local automotive talent.

The Park is East Africa’s largest electric motorcycle factory. The facility fulfills Roam’s vision of revolutionizing urban mobility through electric boda bodas and logistics vehicles.

Ruto expressed confidence in Roam Park’s ability to drive innovation and economic resilience. “The plant will contribute to our environmental goals and economic growth.”


Russian Industry, Trade Ministry await construction of industrial zone in Egypt

Russia has completed preparations to build a Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ) in Egypt. Russia expects to start construction by end of 2023.

Deputy Industry Minister Vasily Osmakov said RIZ will give Russian firms access to whole of Africa. Osmakov said RIZ in Egypt and similar zones in East Africa and Algeria are under consideration.

Fertilizers, timber and metal goods form over half of Russian exports to Africa currently. Osmakov said logistics support, subsidies and loans are being tailored to accommodate African markets.

Russia is ready to expand exports through engineering goods for agriculture, construction, automotive and aviation industries.

Osmakov said Russia needs a comprehensive African export strategy. He said: “It is impossible for Russian companies to enter Africa one by one. A comprehensive strategy is needed.”

Products meeting 30 percent localization will get ‘Made in Egypt’ status exempting duties when exported within Africa, Middle East and elsewhere with Egypt trade deals. Up to 100 percent output can be sold locally in Egypt.


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