Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ethiopia to develop nuclear power with Korea’s support

Ethiopia has announced its plans to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, such as electricity generation, medical applications, and agricultural development. The country has signed several agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other countries, such as Russia, China, and Korea, to cooperate on nuclear science and technology.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Ethiopia, Kang Seokhee, has pledged to provide Ethiopia with technical assistance and training in nuclear science and technology. He made this commitment during a recent seminar held at the Korea Embassy in Addis Ababa, which was attended by officials from Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (AASTU), Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU), Ministry of Innovation and Energy (MoIE), and Ministry of Education (MoE).

Ethiopia is carrying out preparatory work for the construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) in the country. The Ethiopian Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuriya Kuma, stated that Ethiopia wants to build low-power nuclear power units in the next ten years. Ethiopia is also developing its human resources and legal framework for the nuclear power program.

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Ethiopia has established a Center of Excellence for Nuclear Science and Technology at the AASTU, which offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in nuclear engineering and related fields. Ethiopia also has a Nuclear Energy Project Office under the MoIE, which is responsible for coordinating and implementing the nuclear power program.

Ethiopia has received support from various countries and organizations for its nuclear power program. For instance, Russia has agreed to build an Ethiopian center for nuclear science and technology according to Russian research reactor. China has offered to share its experience and expertise in nuclear power development. The IAEA has provided Ethiopia with guidance and assessment on the nuclear power infrastructure.

Ethiopia’s nuclear power program is part of its vision to become a middle-income country by 2025 and to achieve sustainable development goals. The country hopes to use nuclear energy to address its energy challenges, such as power shortages, high costs, and environmental impacts. Ethiopia also aims to enhance its scientific and technological capabilities and to diversify its energy sources.

(Ethiopian News)

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Ethiopia fails to attract any bids for third telecom license

Ethiopia failed to attract any bids for a third wireless license, according to people with knowledge of the matter, amid concerns about conflict in parts of the Horn of Africa nation.

The process to sell a permit is likely to be put on hold, said the people who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public yet. Ethiopia sold a license to a group led by Kenya’s Safaricom Plc in 2021, and subsequently rejected MTN Group Ltd.’s $600-million bid for another permit.

Ethiopia’s plan to lure investors is being stymied by concerns about instability in several regions of the most-populated nation in Africa after Nigeria, a year after it emerged from a civil war.

Despite a cease-fire deal between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a United Nations panel last month said the nation faces a high risk of further atrocities because of instability in several regions.

Hinjat Shamil, a senior adviser at the Ministry of Finance who’s overseeing the bidding process, didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

The Safaricom group that included the UK’s Vodafone Group Plc and its African unit Vodacom Group Ltd., has spent USD 1.6 billion to start operations in Ethiopia.

State-run Ethio Telecom, the nation’s biggest telecommunication company, already holds a license.


Death toll from malaria outbreak in Western Oromia ‘significantly higher’ – OPA

Oromia Physicians Association (OPA), a non-profit professional association, has dispatched teams of doctors to provide emergency healthcare services in Western Oromia, where communities are battling an active malaria outbreak.

OPA stated that the situation in the West Wollega and Kellem Wollega zones is much worse than previously reported. Recent reports from health offices in these zones revealed 156,599 and 92,376 confirmed cases of malaria over the past three months, respectively, accounting for over 60 percent of the region’s total.

OPA expressed concern that the reported numbers underestimate the true prevalence and subsequent morbidity of the outbreak due to the lack of functional health facilities in many high-prevalence districts. The Association also highlighted a high mortality rate based on community reports. Additionally, nationwide shortages and security issues have resulted in patients being sent home without treatment or receiving insufficient doses of antimalarial drugs.

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OPA’s emergency response teams arrived in Gunfi and Kobor villages in the Begi district of West Wollega, as well as Gaba Robi and Machara villages in the Hawa Galan district of Kellem Wollega. They brought anti-malaria medicines and other medical supplies, thanks to financial support from various stakeholders, including the diaspora and OPA members.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), since January 2023, a total of 774,519 malaria cases with 180 deaths have been reported in 117 districts and seven major towns in the Oromia region. More than 70 percent of these cases originated from Western Oromia, particularly the West Wollega and Kellem Wollega zones.

(Addis Standard)

PM Abiy intervenes to free detained AfDB staffers

On Thursday, the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) personally intervened to secure the release of two AfDB staffers who had been detained.

The incident occurred on October 31 but was only confirmed by the bank this week. While the identities of the officials were not disclosed, rumors circulated that they had been involved in a public altercation with a senior government official in Ethiopia, resulting in their arrest.

According to the Bank, the two staffers were physically assaulted, detained for several hours, and received no official explanation for their arrest. The bank expressed its satisfaction with Abiy’s immediate action upon learning of the incident.

The Prime Minister ordered the immediate release of the affected staff and promised a swift investigation into the matter.

The bank highlighted that the incident violated the diplomatic privileges afforded to all AfDB staffers seconded to Ethiopia under a bilateral arrangement. These privileges include protection from arrest or prosecution, unless waived by AfDB leadership. Additionally, bank staff working in Ethiopia are permitted to use their service passports for travel, which are recognized by all member states of the AfDB.

The AfDB lodged a formal complaint with Ethiopian authorities, considering the incident a serious diplomatic matter.

The government acknowledged the complaint and assured the Bank of its commitment to thoroughly investigate and bring to justice those responsible for breaking the law. Ethiopian authorities have also pledged to uphold the staffers’ rights, privileges, and diplomatic immunities under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the AfDB’s Host Country Agreement with the Government of Ethiopia.

(The East African)

Over 100 killed and 700,000 displaced by El Niño rains

Flash floods caused by unrelenting rainfall have resulted in over 100 deaths and the displacement of more than 700,000 people across the Horn of Africa, according to Save the Children. The heavy rains have caused devastating flooding in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, with no signs of abating.

 In Kenya, 46 people have perished and approximately 36,000 people have been displaced since the onset of the rainy season less than a month ago. Nairobi’s informal settlements have been particularly hard-hit, with rivers breaching their banks and inundating the area. In Somalia, the town of Beledweyne has been completely submerged, forcing about 250,000 people, or 90% of the population, from their homes.

The floods have claimed the lives of eight children among the reported 32 fatalities in Somalia, while more than 456,000 people have been displaced nationwide. In Ethiopia, heavy rainfall has resulted in flooding, landslides, and displacement in the Gambella, Afar, and Somali regions. At least 33 people, including eight children, have lost their lives in the Ethiopian floods.

Save the Children is calling for urgent national and international intervention to provide emergency supplies such as food, shelter, clean water, and sanitation facilities to the affected communities. The organization emphasizes the vulnerability of children during such crises and highlights the importance of timely and appropriate support to mitigate the long-term impact.

(Save the Children)

World Bank, Ethiopia vow to accelerate WASH initiatives

Ethiopia and the World Bank have pledged to expedite efforts to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in the country, emphasizing the critical role of such services in poverty reduction and climate resilience.

At the Eastern and Southern Africa WASH Leadership Summit on Wednesday, Finance Minister Ahmed Shide together with World Bank Vice President Victoria Kwakwa reviewed ongoing water projects and identified potential areas for collaboration.

The discussions revealed that despite advancements in water management, a significant number of Ethiopians still lack access to essential WASH services. This shortfall hampers poverty alleviation initiatives and is further exacerbated by limited domestic funding and operational inefficiencies, such as water leakages and failures at rural water points.

Both parties committed to achieving universal service access by accelerating the implementation of World Bank-funded initiatives. These initiatives aim to enhance WASH service access and bolster Ethiopia’s climate resilience. To attract additional funding, the need for institutional reforms and innovation was stressed.

Earlier in the week, Kwakwa had called for institutional reforms and a more favorable environment for private sector participation in water supply and sanitation projects. She pointed out the high perceived risks deterring private sector investment in the sector and advocated for a de-risking strategy.

Kwakwa also emphasized the broader implications of inadequate WASH infrastructure on poverty reduction and shared prosperity across Sub-Saharan Africa. She highlighted that underfunding from government budgets and development partners like the World Bank posed significant challenges. If unaddressed, it is projected that 345 million people in the region could lack basic water services by 2030, affecting girl child education and leading to broader human and economic crises.

In response to these challenges, an Ethiopia-specific WASH conference has been agreed upon to further dialogue and develop a comprehensive plan, focusing on sustainable financing, increased private sector engagement, enhanced regulatory frameworks, and achieving universal access to WASH services.


Sudan’s al-Burhan holds talks with Ethiopian PM, AU chief

Sudan’s Sovereign Council Chairman Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan travelled to Ethiopia to discuss the ongoing crisis in his country with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki.

Al-Burhan’s visit to Addis Ababa follows his recent trip to Nairobi, where he met with Kenyan President William Ruto, who is also the Chairman of the IGAD Quartet Committee on the Sudanese crisis. The two leaders agreed to hold a summit of IGAD leaders to address the situation in Sudan.

In a statement after his return from Addis Ababa, Sudan’s Sovereign Council said that Al-Burhan and Abiy discussed the repercussions of the conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, which erupted last April.

“The Chairman of the Sovereign Council briefed the Ethiopian Prime Minister on the efforts made by the Sudanese government to cease fire, end the war and bring peace to Sudan,” the statement said. “He further reiterated the government’s cooperation with all initiatives to find solutions to this crisis that Sudan is going through.”

In a brief statement on Twitter, Abiy said he welcomed al-Burhan’s visit “for discussions on key current issues” without providing further details.

Al-Burhan was accompanied by Darfur Governor Minni Minawi and the head of Sudan’s General Intelligence Service. This marks the second time that Minawi has travelled with al-Burhan to meet with African leaders to discuss the Sudanese crisis, which has recently been marred by violence in Darfur.

During his meeting with Faki, al-Burhan discussed the situation in Sudan and the efforts being made to resolve the crisis, according to the Sovereign Council statement.

The statement added that al-Burhan briefed Faki on the situation in Sudan and emphasized the government’s determination and cooperation with all initiatives proposed to address the issue.

The African Union is working with IGAD to launch an inclusive process to resolve Sudan’s crisis once a durable ceasefire agreement is reached under the Jeddah platform.

Al-Burhan’s visits to Nairobi and Addis Ababa have been met with positive reactions from many Sudanese, who see them as a sign of progress towards ending the war.

 (Sudan Tribune)

Ethiopia’s Oil Billionaire, Al Amoudi’s Net Worth Hits USD8.5 Billion

Ethiopia’s oil magnate, and one of Africa’s richest men, Mohammed Al Amoudi, has experienced a remarkable surge in his net worth, reaching $8.5 billion, marking a 61.9percent increase in just 30 days.

According to data tracked on Bloomberg, Al Amoudi’s net worth started at $5.24 billion in the second week of October and has since seen a substantial rise of $3.25 billion as of November 14, 2023.

Al Amoudi, at 77, commands a portfolio of industrial assets spanning Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia, including Svenska Petroleum Exploration and Preem, Sweden’s largest oil refiner.

The surge in net worth is closely linked to the robust performance of his industrial assets, particularly his stake in Preem, Sweden’s major energy company, with an annual refining capacity exceeding 18 million cubic meters of crude oil.

As a prominent investor in Sweden and the beneficial owner of Preem, Al Amoudi is strategically positioned for success, with plans to divest his interest in Preem.

Earlier in October Sweden’s Preem AB said it would curb the use of crude oil at the bigger of its two refineries from 2024, when it completes the revamp of a production unit.

The company’s investments, which include boosting production of fuels from feedstocks other than crude oil, won’t be affected by owner Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi’s plans to initiate a review of the company that could include a possible sale.


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