Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ethiopian deals to acquire 84 aircrafts valued $23bn

Ethiopian Airlines Group has finalized agreements to acquire 84 aircraft at the Dubai Airshow, with the deals valued at USD 23 billion at list price. The airline has secured contracts with major aviation companies including Boeing, Airbus, and Rolls-Royce for the purchase of airplanes and engine total care services.

From Boeing, Ethiopian has committed to ordering 11 B787 Dreamliner’s and 20 737 MAX planes, with options for an additional 15 and 21 jets respectively, bringing the total order size with Boeing to 67 aircraft. The airline has also agreed to purchase 11 more Airbus A350-900s, with six further purchase rights.

Ethiopian Airlines has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rolls-Royce for a comprehensive Total Care service agreement covering 22 Trent XWB-84 engines used exclusively by the Airbus A350-900.

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Mesfin Tasew, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, expressed satisfaction with the deals, stating that the selected aircraft models, including the B787-9, 737-8, and A350-900, have proven to offer superior passenger comfort, operational reliability, and reduced costs.

He emphasized that these orders align with the airline’s long-term fleet renewal and expansion strategy.

Mesfin highlighted the significance of the new aircraft in providing a convenient and memorable onboard experience for passengers while being environmentally friendly with a reduced carbon footprint.


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Death toll from floods in Kenya, Somalia & Ethiopia rises to 130

At least 130 people have died in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia following heavy rains that triggered what aid agencies described as flooding seen only once every 100 years.

Authorities in Ethiopia said that country’s death toll from the floods reached 30 following “unrelenting rainfall in the Gambella, Afar and Somali regions.” They reported that children were among the victims who drowned while trying to flee the flood waters.

Somalia National Disaster Management Agency said 51 people have been killed across the country and a half-million displaced since the rains started in October.

Humanitarian group, Save the Children, said the town of Beledweyne in central Somalia was completely submerged, forcing an estimated 250,000 people, out of their homes.

The Kenya Red Cross Society reported that hundreds of houses were swept away at the coast and in northern Kenya, leading to the deaths of more than 50 people and forcing at least 30,000 people out of their homes.

Just a few months ago, parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan experienced the worst drought in 40 years following five failed rainy seasons.

(AP news)

Raxio launches data center in Addis

Pan-African operator Raxio Data Centers has launched a new facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Launched this week, the facility offers capacity for 800 racks, delivering up to three MW of IT power.

Raxio broke ground on the Tier III certified ET1 facility in March 2021, after buying land at the Ethio ICT Park in October 2020.

The 2,000 sqm (21,525 sq ft) facility was originally set to go live in late 2021.

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Bewket Taffere, general manager of Raxio in Ethiopia says the launch of the flagship facility in Addis Ababa represents a major milestone in Raxio’s journey, and for the country.

Established in 2018, Raxio Group is part of the US-based Roha Group investment firm. Last year Raxio broke ground on data centers in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; Maputo, Mozambique, and Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The company also has data center developments in Tanzania, Angola, and a live facility in Uganda.

Robert Mullins, CEO of Raxio Group, said: “The launch of a new facility is always the culmination of a long and, at times arduous, journey – a journey of dedication, hard work, and bringing all our collective expertise at Raxio to bear.

Raxio said this facility is the first of several the company plans to open in the next few months. Data centers in Mozambique, Ivory Coast, and DRC are due to open soon.

Other companies developing in Ethiopia in the same IT park include Wingu.Africa, Red Fox, Sun Data World, and ScutiX. Safaricom and Ethio Telecom have also launched pre-fab facilities in the capital.


Ethiopia, France express commitment to achieve mutual goals

State Minister of Finance Semereta Sewasew and Arthur Bauer, head of Direct Financing at the French Treasury, held discussions to enhance economic cooperation between Ethiopia and France.

The State Minister emphasized that Bauer’s visit to Ethiopia would further strengthen cooperation in various sectors, including the private sector, energy, agriculture, civil aviation, SMEs, and water.

Semereta highlighted Ethiopia’s growth and development plan, which prioritizes private sector investments in agro-processing, textiles, and finance, with a focus on job creation through SME support.

Bauer mentioned that France, in collaboration with the European Union, European Investment Bank, and other Multilateral Development Banks, is exploring avenues to increase grants, concessional loans, and private sector investments in Ethiopia to support the country’s economic reform program.

The Ministry of Finance noted the longstanding historical cooperation between France and Ethiopia, spanning over 125 years. The meeting between Semereta and Bauer marked an important milestone in strengthening relations between the two countries, and both parties expressed their commitment to continued collaboration in pursuit of mutual goals.


Deadly mosquito species now in Kenya

A deadly mosquito species capable of transmitting two malaria parasites has arrived in Kenya from Ethiopia, raising concerns about increased malaria infections, particularly in Northern Kenya, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The mosquito can transmit both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria parasites. Its presence has been detected in Turkana and Marsabit counties, with worries that it could further spread from Lodwar, a major town along a significant transport route.

An. Stephensi is known for breeding in containers used by long-distance truckers and is adaptable to built environments, enabling it to thrive in areas where it was not previously found.

The species has the potential to increase Plasmodium falciparum incidence by 50 percent, as observed in Djibouti. This highly efficient and adaptable malaria vector has been reported to be resistant to many insecticides used in public health, posing challenges for its control.

The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that An. Stephensi’s invasion in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria burden is highest and a significant population resides in urban areas, is particularly worrisome.

The WHO emphasizes the need for policy, strategy, monitoring, and implementation of effective measures to combat the disease and save lives.


Airline funds trapped in Africa reaches $1.78 bn

Around USD 1.78 billion in airline funds is currently trapped in Africa as of November 2023, according to figures by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Kamil Al-Awadi, IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, addressed the 55th African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Annual General Assembly, highlighting the emergence of blocked funds as the second major problem facing the African aviation industry.

The amount of blocked funds in Africa has risen from USD 1.68 billion in September 2023 to approximately USD 1.74 billion in November, accounting for 73.7 percent of the global total of about USD 2.36 billion.

Al-Awadi expressed concern over the alarming numbers and emphasized the devastating impact on connectivity. He called upon governments to prioritize aviation and assured IATA’s support in finding solutions to clear the blocked funds.

Nigeria is currently holding the largest share of blocked funds, followed by Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Although efforts have been made since 2018 to repatriate funds from countries such as Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, the issue persists.

Nigeria, in particular, has faced significant setbacks, with approximately USD 783 million still trapped with the central bank.

The consequences of blocked funds are evident in Nigeria, where both domestic and international airlines have been affected. Four domestic carriers have around USD 55 million trapped with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Emirates suspended its flights to Nigeria in November 2022 due to the failure to repatriate around USD 85 million. Similarly, South African Airways suspended services to Malawi, citing blocked funds, currency shortages, and devaluation as reasons for the suspension. Efforts to restore connections and resume flights remain uncertain.

On a global scale, there has been a sharp increase in blocked airline funds post-pandemic. In December 2022, the total stood at about USD two billion, a USD 400 million increase from April 2022.

In June 2023, about USD 2.27 billion was blocked globally, and the number continues to increase.

(Simple Flying)

Kenya ready to privatize 35 state firms, Ruto says

The Kenyan government is ready to privatize 35 state companies “trapped in government bureaucracy” in a bid to boost productivity following a change of laws, Kenya’s President William Ruto said.

Last month, Ruto’s government signed a revised privatization bill into law that makes it easier to sell state enterprises to private companies. He told a gathering of African stock market officials in Nairobi that the first 35 companies on offer to the private sector have been identified.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), said this month that it had agreed to a USD 938 million loan for Kenya, which also has a two billion euro bond repayment due next year.

The IMF urged Ruto’s government to reform public sector firms, particularly the national electricity supplier—Kenya Power and the national carrier Kenya Airways— which suffered record losses in 2022.

The World Bank said on Monday that it expects to provide the country of 53 million people with USD 12 billion in support over the next three years.

Kenya had accumulated more than USD 66 billion in debt by the end of June — according to Treasury figures — equivalent to around two-thirds of gross domestic product.

(VOA Africa)

East Africa to experience surge in El Nino-related malaria infections, experts warn

Experts have issued warnings that the ongoing heavy El Niño rains and widespread flooding in the Horn of Africa could lead to a new outbreak of malaria infections in the region.

Public health agencies, including the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO), have urged authorities to remain vigilant as extreme weather conditions are expected to persist until early next year. The risk of diseases such as malaria, measles, and meningitis is likely to increase due to displacement, overcrowding, and limited access to vaccinations.

Malaria remains a significant public health concern in East Africa, accounting for a quarter of global malaria cases.

The WHO has highlighted that heavy rainfall and flooding, which contaminate water sources, create ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, further exacerbating the malaria situation. Health experts involved in malaria control have expressed concern that the impending outbreak could reverse the progress made in reducing malaria prevalence.

To address this threat, authorities are calling for a coordinated response. Community awareness campaigns on eliminating mosquito breeding sites, promoting the use of bed nets and insecticides, and establishing early diagnosis and treatment mechanisms are crucial.

Kenya, which has made significant strides in malaria control, has developed a comprehensive contingency plan to effectively respond to health emergencies and outbreaks.

However, efforts should not be limited to individual countries.

Cross-border coordination and innovative strategies targeting specific populations, such as nomads and pastoralists, are necessary to combat malaria effectively.

Overcoming challenges such as emerging mosquito species, drug resistance, parasite mutations, and funding limitations is crucial for successful malaria control in the Horn of Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa.


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