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France to disburse EUR 40 mln to Ethiopia

France announced on Wednesday that it will disburse EUR 40 million budgetary support to Ethiopia in support of the country’s effort in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release the French Embassy in Addis Ababa issued, the money will be paid out through the French Development Agency (AFD).

The statement came after a meeting today between the French Ambassador to Ethiopia, Frederic Bontems and Finance Minister of Ethiopia, Ahmed Shide.

The budgetary support will help Ethiopia to deal with short-term challenges and support its emergency plan as well the current national efforts to achieve the economic transition of the country.

The fund is part of a EUR 85 million agreement signed on June 2019 to shore up Ethiopia for the implementation of its economic reforms.

A first disbursement of 45 million Euros occurred in December 2019. The global remaining amount of 40 million Euros was to be disbursed up to 2021. In the COVID-19 context, France decided to release it immediately. (Press Release)

Security service foils bank robbery, seizes ring leader

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) said it has foiled an attempted bank robbery and in Addis Ababa and apprehended the ring leader.

According to a press release, the NISS foiled an attempt to swindle USD 110 million from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia Finfine branch led by a Nigerian Adeymi Aderemi Abdulrafiu.

Adeymi Aderemi Abdulrafiu, who was the ring leader of the gang with other Ethiopian nationals, was arrested while trying to withdraw more than 60.9 million birr from the bank using bogus claims.

The ring leader and coordinator of the robbery was living for more than a year in Addis Ababa at Bole area hiring Ethiopian information technology experts to achieve the mission.

Noting that six suspects including Adeymi Aderemi Abdulrafiu have been arrested, the statement added that investigation is ongoing while the suspects will be charged in a court of law.

The operation has demonstrated that NISS is pursuing effective leadership to counter any attempt of international frauds, NISS said. (ENA)

Agreement signed to build satellite manufacturing, testing center

The Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute and the Addis Ababa Science and Technology University have signed an agreement to build satellite manufacturing and testing center in Ethiopia.

Abraham Belay (PhD), Minister of Innovation and Technology, said the centre is a flagship project that would help to manufacture, assemble and test satellite.

Recalling the first satellite that Ethiopia had launched with the help of China last year, he said, the center will create an opportunity for the country to run all of its operations by its own.

Hirut Woldemariam (Prof.), Minister of Science and Higher Education, on her part, said that the project will be implemented jointly by the two ministerial offices.

The 50 million euros needed for the construction of the centre will be secured from the European Union (EU), French and Ethiopian Governments.

The center will be built in the premises of the Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. Construction will commence next Ethiopian fiscal year, it was noted. (FBC)

Ethiopia to open 5 more border checkpoints to curb COVID-19

Ethiopia’s Immigration Nationality and Vital Events Agency this week said that five more border checkpoints will be opened within a month’s time.

The new checkpoints will be established in the Afar Regional State, the Somali Regional State and the Amhara Regional States as well as in the Dire Dawa City Administration, Desalegn Terresa, public relations and communication director at the Agencym said in a statement.

The main objectives of the checkpoints are to battle the spread of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from neighboring countries and make the virus control efforts easier, he said.

The opening of the new checkpoints will bring Ethiopia’s total number of checkpoints at border areas to 17, according to the communication director of the Agency.

The establishment of the checkpoints would have a significant role in reducing the virus from spreading by preventing illegal border crossers, Desalegn stated.

Ethiopia has so far reported more than 260 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 108 recoveries and five deaths. (FBC)