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UK Foreign Secretary talks GERD, Sudanese Border in Ethiopia

The Foreign Secretary of the UK Dominic Raab paid a one-day work visit to Ethiopia discussing with President Sahele-Work Zewude and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen on issues pertaining to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the peaceful resolution of the Ethio-Sudanese border issues.

While in Ethiopia, the Secretary Raab also visited Yeka Misrake Tsehai Kindergarten and Primary School along with President Sahele-Work to inspect water supply and science and female club activities supported by the Department for International Development (DfID).

During his visit, Secretary Raab said that he would meet and discuss with Demeke Mekonnen and his discussion agenda focus on the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Ethio-Sudanese border.

Highlighting that all Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are good friends of the UK and he hopes to see the countries resolve the issues surrounding the GERD. He also stressed that the Ethio-Sudanese border issue should find a peaceful resolution.

In addition to this, the Secretary announced three million pounds in funding for the development of the private media which will be managed under the BBC Media Action.

According to a statement The Reporter received from the UK embassy on Friday January 22, 2021, he explained media in Ethiopia will now be supported by £3 million of UK funding which will be managed by a consortium led by BBC Media Action. The consortium will bring together national and local media organizations to help them navigate challenges including how to identify and counter misinformation, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations and on their audiences, and how to more effectively secure funding for their organizations.

The program will bring together national and local media organizations and help them navigate challenges including how to identify and counter misinformation, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations and on their audiences, and how to more effectively secure funding for their organizations.

The Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED) project will strengthen the ability of media organizations in Ethiopia to more effectively navigate a range of pressures while providing the Ethiopian public with accurate, balanced information that enables them to make informed decisions.

“By supporting local reporting in Ethiopia, and making sure journalists have the right skills and resources to gather stories, investigate issues and highlight local and national successes, the UK is helping to support an ethical and professional media,” the Secretary is quoted as saying.

The statement also indicated that the rise of digital media has dramatically changed the way audiences consume and access media, both in Ethiopia and around the world, significantly reducing advertising revenues and increasing economic pressure on the industry. The global economic downtown caused by COVID-19 is creating additional financial pressure.  Ethiopian media organizations are further challenged by a restricted operating environment due to COVID-19, communications blackouts, unrest and violence in parts of the country, and a lack of public trust in reporting.  PRIMED works with local media organizations to overcome those challenges, building the capacity of staff, promoting equality and inclusion, and ensuring the industry can continue to inform, connect and inspire Ethiopians across the country and the world.

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