An innovative market-driven approach to combating rural poverty in Ethiopia is proving the profitability and sustainability of smallholder farming in climate-affected regions, as outlined in a recent report.
The Strengthening Agricultural Market Systems project, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and implemented by Farm Africa, ORDA, and Mercy Corps, successfully connected smallholder farmers in northern Ethiopia’s Amhara region with buyers and suppliers, resulting in thriving farming businesses.
The project focused on improving market access, agricultural productivity, Sharia-compliant finance, and natural resource conservation.
Over two years, average net profits for select crops increased by over 300 percent due to interventions such as establishing private agro-dealers and farmers’ cooperatives, adopting climate-smart farming practices, and utilizing digital market information systems.
Inclusive financial services were also developed to address cultural and religious barriers to conventional financing. Land degradation was tackled by training unemployed youth to restore fertility through terrace building and planting. The project’s transformative impact has empowered smallholder farmers, significantly improving their profitability and livelihoods.
Ethiopian embassy in London receives looted artefacts
Looted artifacts from the Meqdala war in 1868 were returned to Ethiopia in a ceremony attended by Ethiopian and UK officials.
Among the items returned were the Holly Tabot tablet of ‘Medhane’Alem’, a lock of hair belonging to Prince Alemayehu, three silver cups with bronze plating, and a shield.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by representatives from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, historical heritage scholars, members of the British Parliament, and other invited guests.
During the ceremony, Teferi Meles, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the UK, emphasized the cultural and historical significance of the artifacts, expressing gratitude to The Scheherazade Foundation for their support in facilitating the repatriation.
This momentous event marks a step in reclaiming Ethiopia’s cultural heritage and recognizing the importance of these artifacts to the Ethiopian people.
Contractor for US gov’t charged with spying for Ethiopia, officials say
Abraham Teklu Lemma, a US government contractor originally from Ethiopia, has been arrested on espionage charges. The Justice Department revealed that Lemma, who held a top secret security clearance, allegedly downloaded and printed classified information from his work computer system and provided it to a foreign country.
Court documents indicate that he used encrypted messaging to transmit maps, photographs, and satellite imagery.
The country for which Lemma is accused of spying has not been officially disclosed, but sources have identified Ethiopia as the alleged recipient, according to The New York Times. Lemma had access to classified information through contracting positions with the State and Justice Departments.
Lemma, 50, faces charges including delivering national defense information to aid a foreign government, conspiring to do so, and willful retention of national defense information. He accessed and copied dozens of intelligence reports, storing the information on CDs and DVDs.
During an internal security review, the State Department discovered that Lemma may have improperly removed classified information from its systems. The department pledged to implement recommendations from the review to enhance protection of classified data.
Nigerian inmate dies in Ethiopian prison over alleged poor medication
Uchenna Nwanneneme, a Nigerian inmate at Kaliti prison in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has died from an undisclosed illness.
Nwanneneme was among 300 Nigerian prisoners held at the facility on drug and money laundering charges. Sources revealed that his death on September 21 was caused by poor medical care after he fell ill.
Corruption and inadequate hygiene and health services in the prison were cited as contributing factors.
Nigerian officials were criticized for their lack of concern for citizens imprisoned abroad. The inmates appealed to President Bola Tinubu to help transfer them to serve their sentences in Nigeria, citing frequent illnesses due to malnourishment.
This incident follows the death of Chizoba Eze, another Nigerian prisoner in the same prison. Eze allegedly died from injuries caused by police brutality, and her body was reportedly left unattended in the cell for over 36 hours, preventing other inmates from contacting the Nigerian embassy, according to Sahara Reporters.
Kenya targets China imports in new tax evasion crackdown
Kenya is taking steps to tighten scrutiny on Chinese imports as the government cracks down on entities and individuals undervaluing these products, resulting in substantial tax revenue losses.
President William Ruto’s administration plans to collaborate with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and international agencies to accurately determine the true value of imports from China, particularly in the electronics sector. The government believes that mispricing, especially in mobile phones and computers, has led to billions of shillings in tax leakages.
The Treasury’s Medium-Term Revenue Strategy for 2024/2027 outlines measures to establish frameworks for exchanging information with other tax jurisdictions, focusing on high-risk imports from China and transfer pricing by multinational corporations.
Local manufacturers have raised concerns about the influx of counterfeit and sub-standard products that evade taxes, undermining legitimate businesses.
The government has directed traders to pay taxes per item and clear cargo within 21 days, targeting Chinese imports. Discrepancies between official trade data reported by the KRA and China’s General Administration of Customs have raised questions about the accuracy of taxes collected on Chinese imports.
(The East African)
African leaders take stand for sustainable development
African leaders addressing the UN General Assembly reiterated their commitment to sustainable development and called for a more equitable world. They emphasized the urgent need to rebuild trust and solidarity in the face of complex global changes, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The leaders expressed support for the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs but highlighted the need for accelerated implementation.
Reforming the Security Council to make it more representative and effective was a common demand among the leaders. They stressed the importance of aligning national policies with the 2030 Agenda, strengthening partnerships, and delivering on development finance commitments.
Climate change was a significant concern, with leaders emphasizing the transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency. They also highlighted the impacts of COVID-19, such as increased poverty and inequality, and called for shared prosperity and inclusivity.
The leaders acknowledged the diminished mutual trust among nations and called for UN reform to enhance its credibility. They emphasized the need for greater representation of developing countries in global governance institutions.
The speeches underscored the importance of cooperation, collaboration, unity, resilience, and ambition to address global challenges and achieve sustainable development.
Half of Sudan’s population require relief aid, protection: UN
The United Nations has stated that half of Sudan’s population, equivalent to 24.7 million people, are in need of humanitarian aid and protection. The number of people in need of assistance has significantly increased in the past three years, reaching 73 million in 2023 across Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan.
Humanitarian partners are aiming to reach 51.9 million people with life-saving assistance in 2023, a 19 percent increase compared to the previous year. However, funding remains inadequate to respond adequately to the pressing needs and overstretched resources.
The total requirement for humanitarian response plans in the region amounts to USD 9.7 billion, but only USD 3.2 billion has been received so far. The situation is further exacerbated by the ongoing conflict, which has displaced over 5.25 million people within and outside Sudan since April, with more than one million seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
At least 20.3 million people in the country are acutely food insecure and require food and livelihood assistance. The UN has warned that urgent action is needed from the international community to address the worsening situation in Sudan.
President Tshisekedi calls for withdrawal of Monusco
President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has called for a speedy withdrawal of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco).
The President stated that it is time for the DRC to take control of its own destiny and become the main actor in ensuring its stability. He expressed dissatisfaction with Monusco’s performance, claiming that the mission has not effectively confronted rebellions, armed conflicts, or protected civilian populations.
The Security Council approved a plan for a phased withdrawal in 2020, but the DRC has requested an accelerated process, starting in December of the current year. Tshisekedi argued that it is illusory and counterproductive to rely on the continued presence of Monusco for peace restoration.
The United States has cautioned against a hasty withdrawal, highlighting concerns about the country’s readiness to assume full responsibility for security. The discussions on Monusco’s departure have generated tension and criticism, with some perceiving the peacekeepers as failing to prevent conflict.
The eastern region of the DRC has long been plagued by militia violence, rooted in past regional wars.
(The East African)