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    Company to supply USD 150 mln loan to farmers

    News-in-Brief

    Ethio-Lease in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Agriculture Transformation Agency (ATA) is planning to supply agricultural technologies and equipment to farms in the form of loan worth USD 150 million in the next three years.

     Ethio-Lease Chairman, Girma Waqe recently said that as per the permit given to foreign companies to come and invest in Ethiopia, Ethio-Lease, MoA, and ATA signed an agreement to provide tractors, generators, and combiners to farmers.

    Though agriculture is the backbone of Ethiopia’s economy, the sector’s growth has been constrained by the inaccessibility of modern agricultural equipment that require a huge amount of capital, said Girma adding, that is why the agreement has been signed.

    The Chairman added that Ethio-Lease provides agricultural equipment in the form of loan without collateral. “Instead, our demand is for the farmers to care for the machineries, boost production and pay their debt later. This makes it easy both for farmers and the company to expand the service.” (The Ethiopian Herald)

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    Chinese medical team arrives in Addis Ababa

    A Chinese anti-epidemic medical expert team on Thursday arrived in Addis Ababa to share experience and support Ethiopia’s effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.

    Officials from Ethiopia and China announced that the 12 medical experts will engage in the fight against the spread of coronavirus for two weeks.

    The experts specialize in various areas, including general surgery, epidemiology, respiratory, infectious diseases, critical care, clinical laboratory and integration of traditional Chinese and Western medicine.

    The team also carries urgently needed medical supplies including protective equipment, and traditional Chinese medicine that has been tested effective by clinical practices.

    The medical experts are among the first batch of anti-pandemic medical teams that China has sent to Africa since the outbreak.

    They are selected by the provincial Health Commission of Sichuan Province and the Tianjin Muncipal Health Commission, it was indicated.

    During its stay in Addis Ababa, the team is expected to give guidance and technical advice on epidemic prevention with medical and health institutions. (ENA)

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    Bureau launches educational FM radio to continue teaching during COVID-19

    Addis Ababa Education Bureau on Tuesday started to broadcast formal education program on FM 94.7 Radio in an effort to continue schooling amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.

    Abebe Cherinet, Head of Communication with the Bureau, said that the Bureau is providing formal education for students through various mass media and other alternatives to sustain the formal education program that was interrupted due to closure of schools as part of the preventive measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    As to him, beyond the FM program, the Bureau is also working to transmit education program through the help of Telegram and television networks, mentioning that starting from today, the Bureau will start to transmit education on Afri Health Television Network.

    He underscored that distributing education in this techniques has a double advantage. On one part as it is helpful to speed up education process, and on the other hand it assists the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 given that this setup enables students to follow their education from the comforts of their homes. (The Ethiopian Herald)

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    Board urges the public to cooperate with law enforcement organs to contain Covid-19.

    The state of emergency Inquiry Board has urged for law enforcement organs and the public, while exercising its power and responsibilities provided under the Constitution.

    The Board – which was established by the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) the previous week – discussed on Wednesday a detailed action plan that Counter and Control the Spread of COVID-19 and Mitigate Its Impact.

    During the discussion, Chairperson of the Board, Woldesenbet, emphasized his request to the people to cooperate with the government and follow the instructions and advisories issued by the government in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

    “The ignorance of people may cause further spread of the virus,” he said. He also called on the public to be held accountable, if they do not comply with the rules.

    In addition to monitoring and controlling the implementation of the State of Emergency, the Board is also observing the presence of quarantine and isolation of individuals in the state, where they are suspected of being infected. (HPR/Statement)

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    Ethiopia against Trump’s decision to suspend WHO funding

    The Ethiopian government is categorically against the decision made by US President Donald Trump to suspend the funding of the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopian Ambassador to Moscow, Alemayehu Tegenu Aargau told TASS on Thursday.

    “We are categorically against that decision. That decision is not supported by the Ethiopian government,” he said.

    Since May 2017, the WHO has been led by former Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    On April 14, Trump announced that Washington had halted funding of the WHO. He declared that the United States was suspending its WHO membership dues and accused the organization of wrong recommendations, which allegedly resulted in a 20-fold increase in COVID-19 cases worldwide.

    In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the WHO about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia. (TASS)

    Horn in Brief

    Ethiopia moves to close Eritrean refugee camp despite virus fears

    Ethiopia plans to shutter a camp for Eritrean refugees and resettle thousands of its inhabitants in other camps that the UN considers already full, an official said, despite concerns this could make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

    Hitsats camp is one of four in the northern Tigray region that together house nearly 100,000 people from Eritrea, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, out of more than 170,000 Eritrean refugees nationwide.

    In early March, Ethiopian officials informed UNHCR they intended to close Hitsats as part of a consolidation scheme, but it was delayed after Ethiopia confirmed its first COVID-19 cases in mid-March.

    Yet preparations for the closure have continued, and Eyob Awoke, deputy director general of Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, told AFP this week that relocations could begin by the end of April.

    “We are ready to start. But we cannot start with a big number. We can start with a small number,” Eyob said. “We can even start before the end of this month.” (AFP)

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    US denies killing civilian in Somalia

    The US military on Wednesday denied killing a Somali civilian in a strike last week against Al-Shabaab militants, providing rare details of its operations against the jihadist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

    US Africa Command disputed reports from two news outlets that said an innocent civilian was killed in the precision airstrike near the southern town of Jamaame on Friday.

    “These allegations are based on al-Shabaab propaganda and are false,” Africom said.

    “The terrorist that was killed in the Apr 10 air strike was an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six innocent Somalis.”

    To support its claim, Africom – which has been accused by Amnesty International of concealing the number of civilian victims in its almost daily drone strikes – gave details of the incident.

    “Immediately prior to the air strike, this al-Shabaab terrorist displayed the murdered bodies of Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in a village,” the statement said.

    “Once isolated in a remote and secluded area, the terrorist was killed by an air strike.” (AFP)

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    Sudan police teargas Bashir supporters: witnesses

    Sudanese police fired teargas Thursday at backers of ousted president Omar al-Bashir who demonstrated outside the army command’s headquarters in Khartoum, demanding the fall of the transitional government, witnesses said.

    The protesters – who lambasted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s recent austerity policies and higher food prices – rallied in defiance of a ban on large gatherings to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

    “Dozens arrived in front of the Armed Forces’ General Command from the east, carrying signs calling for the downfall of the Hamdok government,” an eyewitness told AFP.

    “Some (signs) read ‘No, no to the government of hunger’.”

    The brief and small-scale protest was quickly dispersed by police, with army soldiers also posted at the site.

    The demonstration comes a year after autocrat Bashir was removed from power following large-scale protests. The popular uprising led to the formation of a transitional political authority, comprised of military and civilian figures.

    The demonstrations went on for months before the army deposed the longtime ruler on April 11, 2019. (AFP)

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    EAC presidents’ summit on Covid-19 postponed up on a request from South Sudan

    The 18th Extraordinary Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State due to be held on Wednesday, has been postponed upon a request from South Sudan.

    EAC chairman President Paul Kagame of Rwanda had called the meeting to deliberate on the regional response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    However, EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko, on Wednesday said the summit, expected be held via a video conference, had been postponed to a later date at the request of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

    “The 18th Extraordinary Summit had been called by chairperson, Paul Kagame, specifically to exchange on the regional response against Covid-19, including its fiscal, economic and social consequences on the Community,” Mfumukeko said in the statement.

    Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister and chairman of the EAC Council of Ministers, Vincent Biruta, said a new date would be set for the extraordinary summit.

    The forum has been postponed before. South Sudan sought the deferment of the summit slated for February 29 as it was engaged in finalizing the formation a transitional government of national unity. (The East African)

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