Gebeya Inc., a Pan-African SaaS-Enabled Marketplace based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Ethiopia, have teamed up to establish a refugee talent cloud called “Boundless Skills.” This collaboration aims to unlock the potential of the digital economy for both businesses and refugees, contributing to the global workforce landscape.
The partnership, generously supported by the Government of the Netherlands under the PROSPECTS Partnership, will identify and endorse highly skilled refugees and members of their host communities, bridging the gap between professional experience, education credentials, and dignified work opportunities.
The initiative, known as Boundless Skills, seeks to facilitate the recognition of exceptional talent by organizations worldwide, promoting inclusive digital economic development.
Amadou Daffe, CEO of Gebeya, expressed excitement about the partnership, stating that it will redefine the boundaries of the digital workforce and create an inclusive digital economy.
The collaboration between Gebeya and UNHCR will play a significant role in making digital and socioeconomic inclusion a reality, supporting efforts to strengthen the global workforce. By bringing together diverse skills and perspectives, this partnership aims to empower talent and foster a thriving global digital economy.
“We know that the digital economy can potentially bring huge benefits to refugees – and that, if they are included in the workplace, businesses will also benefit,” said Hovig Etyemezian, Director of UNHCR’s Innovation Service.
The “Boundless Skills” talent cloud aligns with the Ethiopian government’s commitment to creating more job opportunities for refugees and host communities, as stated at the Global Refugee Forum in 2019. Four years later, over 129,000 economic opportunities have been created for more than 38,000 refugees and over 90,000 Ethiopian nationals.
With Ethiopia hosting one of the largest refugee and internally displaced populations globally, this initiative promises to revolutionize access to exceptional talent while promoting socio-economic inclusion for refugees.
MSF donates medical supplies in Gambella region
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is partnering with Gambella’s Regional Health Bureau (RHB), Abol’s Health Centre, Gambella Primary Hospital, and Gambella Blood Bank to strengthen healthcare in Ethiopia’s Gambella region, which borders South Sudan.
On December 12, MSF donated maternity items, such as clothing and hygiene supplies, to Abol Health Centre to support mothers giving birth in Abol town. A coffee ceremony was held to commemorate the donation, attended by local authorities, community representatives, and MSF.
Joris van Oss, MSF Project Coordinator in Gambella, expressed appreciation for the cooperation with Abol Health Centre and emphasized the vulnerability of newborns and their mothers, highlighting the significance of the donated items.
The ceremony served as a platform to acknowledge collective efforts and cooperation in improving community health. MSF reaffirmed its commitment to continue collaborating with the health center in the coming year, building upon the support provided since 2019, including regular water supply and occasional medical item donations.
On the same day, MSF also donated life-saving surgical supplies to Gambella Town Primary Hospital. These supplies will be utilized for surgical activities benefiting the entire Gambella region. Since 2014, MSF has been providing primary and secondary healthcare to South Sudanese refugees in Kule camp and individuals from outside the camp who seek treatment at Kule Health Centre.
Furthermore, MSF is in discussions with Gambella Blood Bank to organize blood donation campaigns, addressing the scarcity of blood supplies in the region. This collaboration aims to benefit the entire Gambella region and further enhance the healthcare system’s capacity.
Ethiopia shops for PR firm to popularize Fayda digital ID, speed adoption
The National Identity Program of Ethiopia (NIDP) has published an Expression of Interest (EOI) seeking a public relations firm to drive a national communication strategy for achieving a target of 90 million digital ID enrollments.
The EOI, overseen by the office of the Prime Minister, sets the deadline for contract submissions as December 18.
The selected PR firm will play a vital role in assisting the Ethiopian government in addressing barriers to digital ID acceptance and communicating the social risks associated with the program to citizens. Their mandate will include developing effective mass media, digital, and grassroots communication messages to engage residents across diverse demographic and cultural contexts.
NIDP emphasizes the need for proper sensitization and awareness of the Fayda digital ID, which aims to revolutionize access to government and private sector services. The chosen PR company will be responsible for ensuring inclusive acceptance and usage of the Fayda ID, aligning with the government’s digital strategy goals for 2025.
Applicants for the role should possess a minimum of five years of experience in producing radio and TV advertisements for community-level products and services, as well as prior engagement with government and civil society organizations. The selected firm will handle tasks such as TV and radio ad production, social media ad concepts, ad placement and monitoring, and performance assessment.
The comprehensive public relations campaign will comprise six television advertisements and six radio ads in multiple languages. Since its launch in 2021, NIDP has actively sought collaborations to establish the Fayda ID as the primary identification proof for accessing essential government and private sector services.
World Bank: Developing countries spent record US$443.5b to service public debts in 2022
Developing countries spent a staggering USD 443.5 billion servicing their external public and publicly guaranteed debt in 2022, draining funds from critical sectors like health, education, and climate initiatives, warns the World Bank’s latest International Debt Report.
The surge in global interest rates, the largest in four decades, led to a five percent increase in debt-service payments, which could rise by 10 percent in 2023-2024.
The report highlights the harsh impact on the 75 poorest countries, whose external public debt service payments reached a record USD 88.9 billion in 2022 and are projected to surge 40 percent in the next two years.
Interest payments alone quadrupled since 2012 to USD 23.6 billion.
World Bank Chief Economist Indermit Gill warns that high debt levels and interest rates have pushed many countries to the brink of crisis, with more developing nations at risk.
Gill singles out Ethiopia as a significant concern, as it faces potential default after failing to meet a USD 33 million bond coupon payment. He calls for swift and coordinated action from debtor countries, private and official creditors, and multilateral financial institutions to enhance transparency, develop better debt sustainability tools, and expedite debt restructurings.
With no per capita income growth since 2014 on average, Gill states that one in four developing countries are excluded from international capital markets, and there have been 18 sovereign debt defaults in 10 countries in the past three years, surpassing the total of the past two decades combined.
Private capital has withdrawn from developing nations, favoring higher interest rates in advanced economies.
The World Bank and other multilateral creditors stepped in, providing a record USD 115 billion in new financing for developing countries in 2022.
Ethiopia moves closer to ePassports, digital ID with Toppan agreement
Ethiopia’s Immigration and Citizenship Services (ICS) department has signed an agreement with Toppan Gravity Ethiopia, a joint venture of Ethiopian Investment Holdings (EIH) and the Japanese ID document printing firm Toppan, to initiate security printing in the country.
EIH, according to Ethiopian Monitor, says that the expected outcome of the agreement is a new Ethiopian ePassport with “advanced security features and improved efficiency,” which “signifies a remarkable leap forward in the modernization of Ethiopia’s passport system.”
“With the printing plant in Bole-Lemi industrial park, it sets the stage for transformative impacts on travel and security,” the fund says.
Ethiopia’s push for centralized digital ID through its Fayda National ID Program (NIPD) is also ramping up ahead of a 2025 milestone. As of this month, 3.5 million citizens have registered – a lagging pace, if the government is to meet its goal of 90 million people registered by 2025.
The NIPD plans to download some of the significant cost of the project to citizens, by allowing licensed biometric card manufacturers to charge a fee pre-approved by authorities. The program is presently awaiting the delivery of one million personalized cards from Indian firm Madras Security Printers, which won a tender in August.
As part of its current press, the NIDP has launched a fresh call for tenders for a marketing company to steer its communication strategy and support accelerated public adoption of digital identity. Bids are due by December 18.
Concerns about privacy, security and the uses of personal data linger, particularly in the wake of an armed ethnic conflict in the country’s Tigray region. However, the government says no information pertaining to ethnicity will be used and promises to strengthen storage infrastructure through an increase in partnerships.
US, UK, and EU commemorate 23rd anniversary of Algiers Agreement
Twenty-three years ago today, Ethiopia and Eritrea, with the support of the international community, concluded the Algiers Agreement and committed to demarcate a common border.
With the backing of the international community, the two nations made a commitment to demarcate their common border. In 2018, they further solidified their dedication to respecting the established borders through a historic peace agreement.
On this significant anniversary, the United States has emphasized the utmost importance of upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries. It reiterates its unwavering support for the Algiers Agreement and encourages Ethiopia and Eritrea to collaborate, leveraging the spirit of peace they have forged, to foster a more stable and prosperous region.
Similarly, the United Kingdom renewed its firm backing of the Algiers Agreement and the border defined by the subsequent Boundary Commission. It stated that it remains steadfast in its commitment to collaborate with all countries in the Horn of Africa, striving collectively toward the shared objective of a peaceful and prosperous region.
The European Union (EU), on its part, echoed the sentiments expressed by the US and UK, underlining the critical need for all parties to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity as outlined in these agreements. The EU emphasizes that this respect is vital for ensuring stability throughout the entire region.
As the 23rd anniversary of the Algiers Agreement is commemorated, the international community stands united in its support of Ethiopia and Eritrea’s commitment to peace and stability. It is a reminder of the ongoing efforts to foster cooperation, dialogue, and prosperity in the Horn of Africa.