Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Chinese company agrees to co-develop special economic zone

The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) inked an agreement with an Ethiopian developer to co-develop a special economic zone in the East African country.

The project of co-developing 1,000 hectares of land aims to build a logistics, industrial, trade and commercial hub in Africa, said Motuma Temesgen, director general of the Gada Special Economic Zone, the Ethiopian developer, upon signing the agreement.

Temesgen said via collaboration of the two sides, the project will ensure that Ethiopia will be “placed at the new frontier of the fourth IT and industrial revolution.”

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Local officials hope the special economic zone could help transform the Ethiopian economy in a short time. Shimelis Abdisa, president of Oromia Regional State where the zone is located, noted that with the zone, the East African country can transform its economy by attracting world-class investors.

Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Zhao Zhiyuan said the project will further cement the partnership between China and Ethiopia, facilitating the industrialization of the Oromia region in particular and Ethiopia in general.

Guo Chongfeng, general manager of CCECC Ethiopia, said the Chinese construction giant will integrate its resources to help make the special economic zone a reality.


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Israel to review policy on Ethiopian immigration

Israel will re-examine its Ethiopian immigration policies amid increased fighting in the African country. Immigration Minister Ofir Sofer has tasked Harel Kanfo (Brig. Gen.) to review policies and present conclusions.

The move comes after protests by Israel’s Ethiopian community and amid reports Sofer said no further rescue missions were planned for those with alleged Jewish roots in Gondar. Last week Israel airlifted 204 individuals declared Israelis or eligible for immigration.

According to activists, Sofer refused further evacuations while thousands remain endangered by fighting. Ethiopia is home to Falash Mura descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity, not eligible to immigrate under the Law of Return.

Israel extracted the main Beta Israel Jewish community in the 1980s-90s, while Falash Mura relatives stayed behind. Their immigration has been an ongoing issue, with governments promising but limiting intake.

Many in Israel’s new far-right coalition seek to limit non-halachic Jewish immigration. Recent arrivals undergo post-immigration conversion, though eligibility is strictly checked under the Law of Return.

(Times of Israel)

Ethiopia affirms use of Lamu Port, commits to Lapsset

Ethiopia has expressed readiness to using the Port of Lamu in Kenya and developing the Lapsset transport corridor project. Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics Alemu Sime, who led a high-level delegation to Kenya, said the country is ready to utilize Lamu port.

The countries have agreed to jointly develop the Lapsset railway and collaborate on project financing.

Sime visited Lamu and Mombasa ports and inspected road infrastructure along the proposed transport corridor. He said supportive infrastructure needs fast-tracking to fully capitalize on the ports.

A joint Ethiopia-Kenya committee will be formed to address Lapsset implementation challenges and find common solutions.

Ethiopia seeks to diversify its use of East African ports to boost trade. It views Lamu as strategic for southern exports and imports. Kenya has committed to equipping Lamu with three ship-to-shore cranes within 15 months.

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Road infrastructure has also taken shape with the 500-kilometre road from Isiolo to Moyale, as well as the 500-kilometer road from Moyale to Hawasa, completed.

Ethiopia has also upgraded roads and is establishing agro-industrial zones along the corridor. Mining projects are eyeing Lamu for exporting Ethiopian materials.

(The Star)

Marcos says Philippines, Ethiopia should work on air linkages

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said the Philippines and Ethiopia should work to establish air linkages in order to strengthen bilateral relations. Marcos made the remarks while accepting the credentials of new Ethiopian Ambassador Dessie Dukamo.

The President said people-to-people ties are important in foreign diplomacy. He noted the Philippines must seize opportunities presented by Africa’s economic emergence. Marcos and Dessie discussed potential areas of cooperation like trade, technology transfer, and other exchanges.

The Ambassador said Ethiopia could learn from the Philippines’ development trajectory, particularly its efforts in technical and vocational training that have made Filipino workers skilled, dedicated and productive. Dessie praised the contribution of Filipino overseas workers.

He highlighted Ethiopia’s growing economy, noting potential for increased trade and investment as East Africa’s largest economy.

The two countries mark 46 years of diplomatic ties this year. Air connectivity was highlighted as a priority in deepening the bilateral relationship.


UN warns of ‘Grim’ 2023 as aid worker deaths expected to rise

Conflict and insecurity are expected to lead to high death tolls for aid workers in 2023, particularly in South Sudan, Sudan and the Central African Republic. Since January, 62 aid workers have been killed, 34 kidnapped and 84 injured globally, according to provisional UN data.

South Sudan remains the most dangerous place, with 40 attacks and 22 deaths so far this year. Sudan has seen 17 attacks and 19 deaths, surpassing levels during the Darfur conflict. This grim forecast comes as the aid community commemorates World Humanitarian Day on August 19th, also marking 20 years since the deadly Baghdad UN headquarters bombing that killed 22 staff.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said nearly six times more local aid workers are killed each year than in the Baghdad attack.

The UN aims to help 250 million crisis-affected people this year, 10 times the amount in 2003, but dangers to aid workers are rising due to geopolitics, law disregard, attacks and disinformation.

The #NoMatterWhat campaign highlights the commitment to deliver aid despite challenges.

Kenya to borrow KSh 20bln from WB, EU to finance hustler fund

President William Ruto’s government has initiated talks with the World Bank to secure a KSh 20 billion loan to finance the Hustler Fund.

The Fund was launched in December 2022 to provide cheap credit to over 20 million Kenyans. The loan will support small businesses. The government aims to loan KSh 200 billion to entrepreneurs over five years.

Treasury CS Simon Chelugui said KSh 10 billion will be invested in the Fund by June 2024. Talks are also underway with the EU and USAID.

Ruto recently launched the second phase of the Hustler Fund targeting SMEs and chamas. Over 20,000 registered groups applied for the loans. The Fund offers credit at eight percent annual interest, 500 times cheaper than other lenders. It requires no paperwork or collateral.

Kenyans can access loans through a USSD code or M-Pesa app. Ruto said the Fund provides opportunities for those denied loans due to bad credit records.


Somalia to launch new military offensive against terrorists

The Somalia national army has launched mine-clearing operations along transport routes in Mudug and Galgudud regions. This is in preparation for new offensives against al-Shabaab terrorists who have inflicted instability in Somalia for years. According to the Defense Ministry, safety of civilians is the priority of this operation.

Separately, government troops conducted a successful raid on al-Shabaab positions in Mahas district of Hiiraan region. A security official said hundreds of militants have been killed in recent army actions across the country, preventing several planned attacks. However, he did not share exact casualty numbers.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has declared a “total war” on al-Shabaab through ideological, financial and military pressure. He relocated from Mogadishu to Dhusamareb in Galmudug, where fighting is intensifying. Locals see his presence as a morale booster for forces battling the militants.

With backing from local militias, the army has recaptured key areas held by al-Shabaab for over a decade, including the strategic port town of Haradhere.

Analysts call for more international support, saying Somalia has the will to defeat al-Shabaab but requires greater assistance.


BRICS seeks to woo African nations with aid, trade

BRICS leaders will meet in South Africa next week to discuss expanding the bloc’s membership and influence. Russian President Vladimir Putin will be absent due to the Ukraine conflict.

Leaders from Brazil, India, China, and South Africa will discuss admitting new nations from the Global South.

With over 40 nations expressing interest, membership expansion is a key issue amid diverging views. China wants rapid growth while Brazil cautions over dilution. Russia and South Africa support enlargement. Relations with Africa will also be in focus as South Africa hosts.

The bloc seeks to portray an alternative to Western dominance in global affairs.

China says Brics supports reforms to increase developing nation representation. However, the New Development Bank has approved far less financing than the World Bank. Officials downplayed talk of a BRICS currency.

Climate change may be raised but won’t be a priority for the carbon-intensive nations.


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