Two Ethiopian nationals were arrested in Limpopo, South Africa, for allegedly kidnapping their fellow countryman and demanding a ransom for his release.
The 20-year-old man was abducted in the Giyani area on September 9 by his compatriots, who demanded a ransom of R80,000 from his relatives. Local police immediately launched an investigation and formed a joint operation involving the Limpopo Provincial Organized Crime Unit, Giyani Crime Intelligence Unit, and National Special Task Force Unit.
Acting on information, the authorities apprehended the two suspects, aged 20 and 22, in Norwood, Orange Farm.
During the operation, they discovered a room housing eight men, including the kidnapped victim. Two individuals responsible for guarding and feeding the victims were also arrested.
Further investigations revealed that additional Ethiopian nationals, aged 20 to 23, had been kidnapped, but due to their unlawful presence in the country, they could not provide more information. The rescued victims, who had been held for 10 to 15 days, confirmed that no ransom had been paid.
The arrested individuals were charged with kidnapping and were expected to face human trafficking charges in Gauteng after their appearance in the Giyani Magistrate’s Court.
AfDB approves $104 mln funding in Eastern Ethiopia
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a USD 104 million funding package to support an electricity transmission project in eastern Ethiopia.
The project involves constructing 157km of 400kV transmission lines and substations to enhance power distribution across Harar, Jijiga and Fafem. It aims to transform the region’s power infrastructure and address issues like load shedding.
The African Development Fund will provide USD 52 million in grants while the Korea-Africa Energy Investment Framework Agreement will offer a USD 52 million soft loan. In addition to improving electricity access for industries and households, the project seeks to reduce reliance on diesel generators.
The funding will also support agricultural irrigation of 462,174 hectares of land to boost food security and livestock fodder in eastern Ethiopia. It includes an educational component to provide hands-on training to 200 students, 40 percent of whom are girls, on energy sector courses during construction.
Ethiopia rolls out student IDs, integrates biometric data to issue Fayda
Ethiopia has adopted biometric digital ID as the official student ID system across all educational institutions. A government release hailed the move as a critical step in digitizing and modernizing the education sector.
The digital ID system promises robust identity verification for academic platforms as well as improved data protection and streamlined administration of admissions, records, licensing and national exams.
Pilot projects have already registered over 640,000 post-secondary students by migrating their biometric data to the National ID Program’s system for issuing digital Fayda IDs.
Both the Ministry of Education and National ID Program hope the innovative transition will greatly transform the education sector. Ethiopian government bodies have increasingly embraced digital ID of late, introducing it as the standard across various services provided by the Federal Civil Service Commission, Ministry of Health and others. In July, Ethiopia made using Fayda mandatory for all financial institution transactions.
Ethiopian flight suffers smoke in cockpit
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner bound for Addis Ababa from Delhi suffered smoke in the cockpit and cabin shortly after takeoff, forcing the 11-year-old aircraft to return to the Indian airport.
Registered ET-AOR and configured to seat 24 passengers in business class and 246 in economy, the plane had departed Delhi and climbed to 7,000 feet before smoke was observed, prompting the crew to turn back.
Sources say smoke appeared in both the cockpit and cabin, but the origin is unclear. The aircraft remains grounded in Delhi as of writing as maintenance technicians work to determine the smoke’s source and necessary repairs to ensure safety before the next flight.
Ethiopian Airlines operates a fleet of 29 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, consisting of 19 -8 variants and 10 -9s. The incident has grounded the plane indefinitely as the airline awaits repairs and clearance to resume flights.
Olawuyi calls on African countries to accelerate green economy
The Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Damilola Olawuyi (Prof), has urged African nations to accelerate adoption of green economy models.
Olawuyi gave the call at the 2nd African Business and Human Rights Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With less than seven years to attain the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, he stressed the need for countries to establish frameworks promoting green national economies.
This includes green jobs, financing, technology transfers, tourism, transport and procurement to boost low-carbon growth while fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
Olawuyi noted the green economy utilizes environmental protection, conservation and efficiency to drive development. He questioned if Africa is prepared for rising green investment interest from abroad.
While praising early adopters like Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya for their National Action Plans on responsible business, Olawuyi challenged all stakeholders to implement such plans and integrate human rights and environmental considerations across economic sectors. The remarks urged accelerated adoption of green strategies to aid sustainable prosperity and opportunities in Africa.
Africa CDC, France sign MoU to strengthen public health systems in Africa
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost cooperation on public health issues.
The MoU was signed by Africa CDC Director General Dr. Jean Kaseya and French Ambassador to Ethiopia Rémi Maréchaux. It aims to strengthen Africa CDC’s capacity to build robust health systems and improve health security across the continent.
Key areas of collaboration include enhancing Africa CDC’s capacity, supporting development of national public health institutes, improving disease surveillance and emergency response, promoting local production of vaccines and therapeutics, workforce training, and research partnerships.
The MoU builds on France’s existing support for public health in Africa through initiatives like the COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, as well as vaccine donations totaling over 58 million doses and EUR 50 million in credit for vaccine procurement.
The French Development Agency (AFD) has also committed over EUR 500 million to African health programs and provides technical expertise to Africa CDC in areas like infection control and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
East Africa’s largest healthcare exhibition kicks off in Nairobi
Over 5,000 healthcare professionals, government officials and investors from East Africa and globally have gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for the Medic East Africa and Medlab East Africa exhibition and congress.
The three-day exhibition, the largest of its kind in East Africa, aims to showcase the latest innovations in healthcare delivery. Notable first-time exhibitors include Siemens, United Imaging, Mindray, and Snibe.
Informa Markets Exhibition Director Tom Coleman noted the increased international participation will foster relationships to benefit the regional healthcare industry. Countries represented include the UAE, China, Germany, UK, US, Pakistan, and India. Companies exhibiting comprise Al Fahim Healthcare Solutions, Siemens Healthineers and Leader Healthcare from the UAE, Crown Healthcare of Kenya, China’s Snibe, and Mindray.
Alongside the exhibition, a series of accredited conferences are being held to address key challenges and solutions for the sector. A Leaders Summit on the final day will discuss defining Kenya’s dynamic healthcare potential and global innovation.
Kenya set to host regional tourism expo in November
Kenya will host the third edition of the East Africa Regional Tourism Expo alongside the annual Magical Kenya Travel Expo in November.
Announcing the combined expos to be held from November 20-22 at the KICC in Nairobi, Tourism CS Peninah Malonza said it will enhance visibility for Kenya and the region, foster partnerships and investments in tourism.
With the integration of the two events, Malonza stated Kenya is committed to unity within the East African Community and promoting intra-regional tourism.
Over four million jobs in the region depend on the tourism sector which contributes 9.5 percent to East Africa’s GDP. Principal Secretary East Africa Community Abdi Dubat said the expos provide an opportunity to share the region’s heritage globally and advocate for increased intra-Africa travel. John Chirchir of Kenya Tourism Board commented that hosting the two expos profiles Kenya as a top MICE destination, key to growing its global tourism market share.