- The London Conference on Somalia …
- …..the conference communiqué…
- ….the New Partnership for Somalia…
- …and the Security Pact
- The President of Poland makes an official visit to Ethiopia
- The 6th World Hydropower Congress held in Addis Ababa this week
- “Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock” meeting this week in Addis Ababa
- IMF calls for strong and sound policies to restart Africa’s growth
News in brief
Africa and the African Union
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn officially opened the 6th World Hydropower Congress, a biennial multi-stakeholder forum bringing together leaders and specialists with hydropower-related responsibilities from government, industry, finance, United Nations agencies, academia and civil society, in Addis Ababa on Tuesday (May 9). (See article).
The 7th multi-stakeholder partnership meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock opened in Addis Ababa on Monday (May 8) at the Hilton Hotel. The all-week meeting brought together more than 250 livestock specialists from 50 countries to discuss ways to strengthen the role of livestock in supporting livelihoods, producing safe food and protecting the environment.
The International Monetary Fund’s latest Regional Economic Outlook “Restarting the Growth Engine”, which came out this week, urges sub-Saharan countries to implement strong and urgent policy action to boost growth. Overall growth fell to 1.4% last year though the IMF projects a modest recovery to 2.6% this year. It notes some countries will continue to grow at more than 6%, and identifies Ethiopia, recovering from last year’s drought, as the star performer for 2017, expecting it to grow at 7.5 %. (See article)
President Dr. Mulatu Teshome met with visiting Polish President, Andrzej Duda on an official visit to Ethiopia, at the National Palace on Monday (May8). President Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday. The two presidents discussed ways to improve trade and President Duda voiced hope that trade between the two countries would increase. He said he would like Polish business and the Polish state to contribute to the development of Ethiopia. During his visit, President Duda visited a plant operated by the Polish tractor manufacturer Ursus. (See article)
Polish President Andrzej Duda met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn at the weekend. They discussed practical steps to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries in agriculture, infrastructure information technology and education and ways to enhance economic and people-to-people ties.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, Chair of IGAD, attended the Third London Conference on Somalia this week on May 11, heading an Ethiopian delegation including Foreign Minister, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu. (See article)
On the margins of the London conference, Prime Minister Hailemariam met with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and held discussions on the current situation in South Sudan and the progress being made in Somalia, as well as on ways to curb the humanitarian crises caused by the drought and civil war in both countries. Prime Minister Hailemariam also met with UK Prime Minister, Theresa May and discussed bilateral, regional and global matters of common interests.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn arrived in Beijing on Friday (May 12) for an official visit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders are expected to discuss ways to further elevate the already excellent relations between the two countries. Prime Minister Hailemariam will also attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation which begins on Sunday.
Prime Minister Hailemariam on Tuesday (May 9) met the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Teo Chee Hean, who said Singapore was keen to diversify into new areas of economic cooperation with Ethiopia.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen held discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Teo Chee Hean, this week on implementation of agreements signed earlier on education, information technology, industrial development and trade. Mr. Hean expressed the hope that the direct flight by Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa to Singapore starting in June would further cement ties. He said Singapore was keen to boost cooperation in tourism, agro-processing, industry and human resource development. Mr. Hean also met with the Ministers of Industry and Finance and Economic Cooperation as well as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr Arkebe Oqubay.
Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu held talks with Behzad Khakpour, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Ethiopia and Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the African Union on Monday (May 08). On the occasion the two sides discussed on ways that Ethiopia and the Islamic Republic of Iran can step up substantive cooperation in trade, investment and development; enhance strategic bond on comprehensive matters through high-level exchanges; increase cooperation on social affairs and culture.
In a meeting with Gustavo Aishemberg, Representative for UNIDO in Ethiopia and Director of the Regional Office, on Monday (May 8) Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh emphasized the need to foster more strategic relations. He said the government was determined to promote agro-industrial development for poverty reduction and environmental sustainability in Ethiopia. Mr. Aishemberg called for a speedy implementation of the signing of the Basic Cooperation Agreement and Host Country Agreement.
Mrs. Hirut Zemene, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, met the leaving World Food Program Country Director, John Ayliff, and praised his efforts in facilitating cooperation with the government in disaster risk management, rehabilitation of rural lands, afforestation and development of infrastructure. She expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to work closely with Mr. Ayliff’s successor. Mr. Ayliff, who commended the successful response to the 2016 El Niño-induced drought in Ethiopia, called for better and quicker support from the international community for the current drought.
State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Aklilu met Mr. Shunsuke Takei, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on Friday (May 12), discussed the Ethio-Japanese relations and agreed on the importance of strengthening the bilateral cooperation.
State Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael met with the Norwegian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Andreas Gaarder in his office on Thursday (May 11). Discussions focused on ways of dealing with migration. Dr. Aklilu underscored the need for mobilization of resources to deal with pre-immigration and post-immigration activities as well as better reintegration of immigrants.
State Minister, Dr. Aklilu, met with Ms. Maureen Achieng, Chief of Mission of IOM Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union, IGAD and UNECA, on Wednesday (May 10) to explore possibilities of cooperation in light of facilitating the safe repatriation of undocumented Ethiopian citizens from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
State Minister, Dr. Aklilu, received Saudi Arabian ambassador to Ethiopia, Abdullah bin Faleh Al-Arjani on Tuesday (May 9) to discuss the ongoing process of repatriation of undocumented Ethiopian citizens from the Kingdom. Ambassador Al-Arjani said his government would do all it can to ensure the safe repatriation of Ethiopian citizens to their homeland and pledged to cooperate with the Government of Ethiopia.
In a meeting held on Friday (May 12) with Local Media, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Aklilu Hailemikael underscored the significant role the media can play on the Government’s ongoing effort to ensure the safe repatriation of undocumented Ethiopian citizens to their motherland.
State Minister, Dr. Aklilu, on the sidelines of the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa Summit in South Africa last week, held talks with representatives of the Dubai Investment Corporation, the Indian Kaizen and the German-Africa Business Promoters Group on Ethiopia’s trade and investment opportunities and the country’s investment policy.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Advisor to the Prime Minister and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia over the weekend met with Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, and delivered letters relating to bilateral relations between the two countries from Prime Minister Hailemariam to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The 2nd Ethio-Moroccan business forum opened in Rabat, Morocco on Wednesday (May 10). Ms. Melesech Wedajo, State minister for the Ministry of Public Enterprises, said Ethiopia was keen to learn from Morocco especially in agro-processing. The forum brought together government officials, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders from both countries who heard major reason for investing in Ethiopia, including the growing economy, demographic and geographical advantages, rapid urbanization, and opportunities in manufacturing, infrastructure, extraction, agriculture and tourism.
The United Nations World Food Program in a statement on Saturday (May 6) called for the urgent injection of international funding to assist in dealing with the effect of drought in Ethiopia. The statement said: “WFP is less than 20% funded in 2017 and only 1 million of the targeted 4.7 million people in need are receiving WFP food rations in April.” Ethiopia needs an urgent and significant injection of international funding.
More than 150 exhibitors from 22 countries will be participating at Ethiopia’s biggest international multi-sector trade exhibition taking place at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa this week – May 12-14. This is the first Ethiopia International Trade Exhibition (EITE 2017) and will provide a platform for over 3500 trade visitors to interact with companies from China, Germany, UAE, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan Italy and Egypt.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and DuPont announced this week that that the Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), a public-private partnership between USAID, DuPont and the Government of Ethiopia, had helped 250,000 smallholder farmers in 53 districts to adopt new technology and implement better agricultural practices, far surpassing its targets. Participating farmers had achieved an almost 300 % increase, on average, in maize yields, as well as more effectively connecting to markets.
Members of three organizations, Mining Justice Alliance, Freedom United, and Mining Watch Canada, presented petitions with over 180,000 signatures to the Annual General Meeting of Nevsun Resources, the Canadian mining company that is exploiting the Bisha Mine in Eritrea last week. The petitions, “Slaves in a Canadian-owned mine”, and “Help Stop Profits from Slavery in Eritrea”, called for the company’s shareholders to divest from operations in Eritrea because of the widespread use of forced labor. Forty-eight former workers at the Bisha Mine are currently suing Nevsun in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the first time a modern slavery case has been heard in a Canadian court.
President Kenyatta met UK Prime Minister May on Thursday (May 11) to discuss bilateral matters. He also held bilateral talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni while in London. After the London conference, President Kenyatta will head to Beijing, to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
President Kenyatta discussed the need to increase UN funding to help stabilize Somalia on Monday this week (May 8) in a meeting with UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson. President Kenyatta said the UN should do more to support AMISOM and enable it to play a bigger role in supporting the country’s government and neutralize threats by terrorists. In advance of the London Conference on Somalia, the President also emphasized it would be catastrophic for AMISOM to exit Somalia before realizing the extermination of Al-Shabaab: “We can hurry to leave but what happens when an inadequately prepared Somali force is left to its own devices? A vacuum is left and the root of the problem will re-emerge.”
The number of police officers who will man the August 2017 elections has been doubled to 180,000, up from 95,000 in 2013, as the electoral agency and other bodies prepare for the start of official campaigning on May 28. Next week, joint teams drawn from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Police, the Judiciary and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will train 383 national trainers. 47 county election managers are being deployed to coordinate with the police, 105 special prosecutors and 92 special magistrates appointed to resolve election disputes.
The Third London Conference on Somalia was held on Thursday (May 11). Co-chaired by the UK, the UN and the Government of Somalia, it agreed a New Partnership for Somalia with the international community and a new Security Pact. The meeting brought together Heads of State and Government from East Africa and other key partners, along with senior figures from international organizations. (See articles)
President Mohamed Abdullahi met with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on the sidelines of the International conference on Somalia in London on Thursday (May 11). They reviewed relations and discussed ways to bolster them. The Foreign Minister reiterated Qatar’s commitment to supporting the Somali people in countering the challenges they face and their efforts towards building a stable state and achieving sustainable development.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre and EU Ambassador to Somalia Veronique Lorenzo, hosted by the EUNAVFOR aboard the flagship ESPS Galicia on Monday (May 8) discussed ways for the EU to support the government to take full control of its maritime security, to deter piracy, and control illegal fishing. Prime Minister Khayre urged the EU Naval Force to deploy more ships and increase air patrols. He also raised the issue of joint collaboration to devise ways to end illegal fishing in Somali waters by foreign vessels.
The UNHCR said on Monday (May 8) that a total of 62,372 Somali refugees from Dadaab camp had been voluntarily repatriated since the return exercise begun in December 2014. Another 21,213 refugees have registered for voluntary repatriation. Kenya and the UNHCR are collaborating to ensure a smooth and voluntary repatriation of the 245,000 refugees living in Dadaab. The UNHCR says it expects the majority of the remaining refugee population to return to Somalia throughout 2017 and possibly into early 2018.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir relieved General Paul Malong Awan from his position as army Chief of General Staff. A decree issued on Tuesday (May 9) announced the immediate removal of General Malong and his replacement by Lieutenant General James Ajongo Mawut, the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Administration and Finance.
The members of the Troika (the UK, the US and Norway) and the EU on Monday (May 8) issued a joint statement expressing their disappointment with the continuation of fighting. It said they were “deeply troubled” by the ongoing fighting which severely undermined the prospect of any credible national dialogue. It stressed: “there is no military solution to the conflict”. The statement called on President Kiir to implement his commitment to a unilateral ceasefire with immediate effect.
Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to hold a meeting next Sunday (May 14) in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to discuss outstanding issues between the two countries. The meeting will discuss the demilitarized zone, the Zero line and other agreements related to border demarcation and economy.
Defense Minister Awad Ibn Ouf, heading a Sudan delegation to the 13th International Defence Industry Fair in Istanbul, met with Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik on Tuesday (May 9) to discuss ways to promote joint cooperation in various military areas and in defense industries.
The third Sudanese-Italian economic and investment forum was held on Tuesday (May 9) in Rome with the participation of 135 Italian companies. The Chairman of the Italian Federation of Industries said Sudan’s geographic location helped investors to access international and regional markets and an improving political, security and economic situation after the easing of the U.S. economic sanctions underlined the country’s economic potential. A follow-up forum is expected to be held in Khartoum in November.
The London Conference on Somalia ….
Co-chaired by the UK, the Federal Republic of Somalia and the United Nations, the third London Conference on Somalia took place at Lancaster House on Thursday (May 11). The conference was attended by 42 friends and partners of Somalia and the Federal Republic of Somalia’s delegation, led by President Mohamed Abdullahi, included representatives of the Federal Member States. Among those attending were UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; UK Prime Minister Theresa May; the Foreign Ministers of the UK, Holland and Germany; the EU High Representative, Ms. Federica Mogherini; US Defence Secretary, James Mattis; Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union Commission; Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, the Chair of IGAD; President Kenyatta of Kenya, and President Museveni of Uganda; the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Egypt as well as representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the League of Arab State and other countries and organizations.
The Conference focused on the Somali security architecture and delivered increased commitment from the international community on political reform and governance, to help build a more inclusive, federal and democratic state, setting out a clear path towards one-person, one-vote elections in 2020. Another shared priority was supporting Somalia’s economic recovery to help produce an economy that offered Somalis livelihoods, jobs and generates domestic revenue, essential for sustainable development and stability. The Conference agreed a New Partnership Agreement between the international community and Somalia setting out the terms of international support for Somalia’s transition to a more peaceful and prosperous country by 2020, including issues such as elections, constitutional arrangements, economic development and commitments to tackling corruption. This partnership is to be based on the principle of mutual accountability.
In her opening remarks, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, who welcomed participants to London to support President Mohamed to build a more secure, stable and prosperous future for the people of Somalia, said the challenges that faced Somalia affected all. The impact of instability in Somalia was felt across the whole region and the wider world. Over the last five years, progress had been made: “Al-Shabaab has been pushed back, piracy largely contained, and new momentum brought to the political process.” but the troop contributing countries to AMISOM, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi, had suffered great casualties. AMISOM was over-stretched and troop-contributing countries simply could not be expected to carry the burden of Somalia’s security forever.
Today, she said, Somalia has a critical window of opportunity and it was the task of the international community not to tell Somalia what to do, nor to impose its own solutions, but rather to get behind the new President’s efforts and to support the Somali people as they work to build a new future. Deep challenges remained. Somali forces did not yet have the capability to take control of their own security; the political process still had a way to go; the drought has left more than 6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and almost 1 million children acutely malnourished, with 2 million refugees living in camps in neighboring countries and more than a million displaced people within Somalia. The international community must also do more than tackle the consequences of this humanitarian crisis. It must also address its causes, building Somalia’s resilience and helping to develop security and stability.
The Security Pact will improve the co-ordination of international efforts. The integration of Somali regional forces and increased Somali capacity would be crucial in allowing the resumption of offensives. We want, she said, “to see Al-Shabaab degraded as Somali security forces gradually replace AMISOM. To support this, the UK will provide an additional £21 million over the next two years to bolster existing efforts to provide training and mentoring to the Somali national army and support wider capacity building for Somali institutions. She referred to the New Partnership for Somalia committing Somalia to four years of reforms on security and stabilization and a political agreement on resource and power-sharing to lead to a revised federal constitution, and set a clear path to One Person, One Vote elections in 2021. The international community would back this with better targeted support for the jobs and livelihoods to drive economic recovery. Prime Minister May concluded: “The challenges we are talking about today are great, but so too is the opportunity before us. There is much work to do, and today is only a stepping stone on the road to the better future for Somalia. If we work together to deliver this new Security Pact and support the whole of Somalia, there can be a new future for this country.”
In his opening remarks, Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi promised to take steps to nurture democratization, fight terrorism and corruption, ensure stability and unleash the country’s potential towards development. He said: “We believe that the only path to fully recovering Somalia is strengthening our democratic institutions. To that end, I will spare no effort to realizing the promise of my campaign, which was to fight Somalia’s three major enemies: terrorism, corruption and poverty.” He acknowledged that good politics must be inclusive, participatory, vibrant, and operated on a level playing field, and said his government was committed to solidifying the federal system of governance. He said dialogue on sharing of natural and national resources between the Federal Government and the Federal Members States had already begun, and expressed his commitment to engage in in-depth discussions about matters of national importance with other stakeholders. He noted that all heads of federal member states were with him in London and said this spoke “volumes of our collective effort towards a strong and co-operative union.”
President Mohamed, repeating that security remained paramount for his administration, said the new National Security Architecture and the Security Pact gave Somalia the tools needed to strengthen the Somali National Army and introduce an improved policing model. Calling for the necessary support from the international community, he expressed confidence that Somalia together with AMISOM can defeat Al-Shabaab in the next few years. He expressed his special gratitude to AMISOM whose peacekeepers “have been working with us for 10 years, much longer than anyone expected; and during that time, they have sacrificed many soldiers in the quest to help Somalia defeat Al-Shabaab and rebuild our security forces.” The President called on the international community to lift the arms embargo. He said Somali troops had to be better equipped: “For far too long, our security forces and terrorist groups have been fighting using the same type of light weapons, mostly AK47s. The longstanding arms embargo on Somalia severely restricts our ability to procure heavy weapons.” It was time, he said, for Somalia to be able to get access to qualitatively better equipment and weapons than the terrorists. He said a vital element of rebuilding the security apparatus was improved coordination among international partners, and he welcomed the creation of the Comprehensive Assistance to Security Group. This, he said, would end duplication and fragmentation in support for the security support.
Security, he said, could not be improved without addressing its root causes, abject poverty and mass unemployment. This is why the government had identified the ‘priorities of the priorities’ within the National Development Plan. He said Somalia’s partners should align their support with these priorities focused on strategic investments in key sectors, such as agriculture, livestock and fishing. Major investment would also have to be made in infrastructure, renewable energy, clean water and road networks. He said he was delighted that Somalia had now developed a well-defined, milestones-based roadmap to arrears clearance and normalisation of relations with international financial institutions. He noted that one major barrier was the inability of Somalia’s financial institutions to access international counterparts. Money transfer businesses, who send about $2 billion dollars a year to Somalia, struggled to access banks in the UK and the US because of restrictions. The time had come, the President said, to facilitate access for our financial institutions to work with international banks.
The President said the New Partnership for Somalia provided an excellent framework for co-operation and coordination. It put government leadership at the heart of implementation of programs and projects. He said: “I can assure and reassure you all that Somalia will never turn back to its difficult past: it will only go forward towards progress and prosperity. That is the will of its people and the priority of its government. In engaging with us on the vast array of issues for discussion during this conference, please be confident of the sincerity of this promise.”
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said the conference was there to listen to Somalia’s leadership, and to agree on a framework for cooperation. It was a unique chance to build on progress and it came thanks to the courageous and selfless service of the men and women of AMISOM. The Secretary-General said this was a moment to seriously look into ways to fund AMISOM and to give AMISOM the capacity to really create the conditions to allow the Government and the new security institutions of Somalia to be able to assume the responsibility of the security of their own country. He said he himself favored consideration of possible assessed contributions in relation to at least some part of AMISOM activities. He said there was now a firm platform in Somalia to improve security, deepen federalism, resolve residual conflicts and advance reconciliation, and complete the review of the Constitution.
The UN Secretary-General said the most pressing priority was the drought, noting that earlier in the day the conference had presented a revised Humanitarian Response Plan seeking an additional $900 million through the end of the year. He said the international community must better support the Security Pact and Somali security institutions. It was time to overcome the lack of coordination and have a single program for training Somali soldiers and Somali police and a program lead by Somali institutions. The UN would fully support that, he said. The UN Secretary-General welcomed Somalia’s first National Development Plan in 35 years and commended the commitment to create and strengthen the institutions of a true State. He urged partners to support the Plan which could help Somalia achieve economic progress, generate revenue, reduce over-reliance on donor resources, and create conditions for debt relief. He said the Conference aimed to agree on a New Partnership and stressed the United Nations would do everything possible to make it the start of a new chapter of sustainable prosperity and lasting peace for Somalia.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, Chair of IGAD, emphasized the need to consolidate support to accelerate the progress. He called on the Conference to “Empower the federal government of Somalia. Let us speak with one voice. Let us be focused, follow one channel of intervention for regional and international collaborative action. This, I believe, is the only viable option. Otherwise we can be sure that the progress will be so sluggish”. Prime Minister Hailemariam stressed four points vitally important to ensuring lasting peace and sustainable development in Somalia. First was the need to take practical measures to further intensify and better coordinate AMISOM and other forces along with the Somali National Army in their activities against Al-Shabaab. He said: “We, in the region, will continue to shed our blood, pay the immense sacrifices and do whatever is just and necessary to restore the long-sought-after peace and tranquility in Somalia and across the region. There is no greater contribution, no greater solidarity than this.” Equally, it was critical to create a well-functioning Somali National Army that can progressively replace AMISOM. In the meantime, the international community should continue giving political, financial and logistical support to AMISOM and Somalia’s national security architecture to help stabilize Somalia. Secondly, he commended that the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States for the recent agreement for genuine, inclusive political consultations. This would, he said, pave the way for the integration of federal and regional forces into a coherent national security architecture capable of gradually taking on the lead responsibility for security.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the entire IGAD region has been affected by the current drought and migration situation. This had serious political and security implications. The number of refugees from conflict and drought-affected countries would continue to rise unless an intensified response mechanism was put in place. The outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Somalia was also a cause for concern. His fourth was the need to support Somalia’s economic recovery, to encourage and generate the domestic revenue essential to Somalia’s enduring stability and sustainable development. He said: “The Government of Somalia, Federal and State alike, has to demonstrate to its people that it is delivering.”
Kenya’s President Kenyatta said he would not withdraw Kenyan forces from Somalia until his country’s borders were secure and Al-Shabaab crushed. He said: “We can hurry to leave, but what happens when an inadequately prepared Somali force is left to its own devices? A vacuum is left. It is not a Somali problem. It is in essence our problem.” He urged the conference to endorse the call by the troop contributing countries and the African Union for urgent measures to support and strengthen AMISOM, including the upsurge of AMISOM by an additional 4,000 troops to liberate areas still under the control of terrorists.” He said, “The international community should also facilitate the deployment of critical enablers and force multipliers, as well as the provision of predictable and sustainable funding, including from the United Nations assessed contributions.” President Kenyatta also sought support for the implementation of the Somalia National Development Plan to enable the displaced people, including refugees, to go back home and participate in the reconstruction of their country. He said the African Union and IGAD should have a prominent role in tackling the challenges in Somalia, because they had been dealing with the matter over some years and had the continent’s mandate in seeking peace in Somalia.
…..the conference communiqué…..
Following the more inclusive electoral process and the election of a new president, the Conference offered the opportunity to set out an ambitious agenda for Somali-led reforms supported by the international community. It agreed the importance of maintaining momentum towards positive change and reconciliation, reaffirmed support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, and pledged its support for a democratic, stable and prosperous Somalia. It underlined that Somalia had made significant progress in recent years, and that state formation had progressed significantly. Equally, it underlined that many challenges remained: terrorism, the need to address constitutional issues and produce a stable federal settlement reached; security sector reform; the threat of piracy; the need for further progress on democratisation, human rights and rule of law; tackling corruption; poverty reduced and economic recovery advanced as well as need to scale up effort to deal with risk of famine.
The Federal Government of Somalia set out its plans to address these challenges and the international community underlined its commitments to support these, under three main headings: Strengthening National Security and International Security Guarantee; More Inclusive, Stable Politics; and Economic Recovery. The Conference agreed a Security Pact and a strong New Partnership for Somalia, in support of Somalia’s National Development Plan, founded on mutual accountability and with commitments to follow up at a Security Conference in October this year and a High Level Partnership Forum within six months.
The communiqué recognised the close inter-linkage between security, politics and development and the need for strong political will from both the Federal Government of Somalia and the leaders of the Federal Member States to implement reforms together with continued support from the international community. It also recognised the contribution of regional partners including through AMISOM, and the importance of the African Union’s continued engagement. It noted the serious and deteriorating humanitarian situation caused by the ongoing drought, resulting disease outbreaks and the risk of famine. It said that the international community had committed over $600 millionto drought response, adding that “Together, we remain fully mobilised to avert famine in Somalia, and to ensure an effective and coordinated response throughout the duration of the crisis.” It welcomed the revised Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia presented by the UN and said Somalia’s partners were committed to strengthening drought response coordination under the leadership of the government. It called the international community to provide sufficient resources to implement this. It underlined the commitment to work together to support Somalia’s longer-term recovery and resilience-building from this drought, and prevent similar crises in future. It encouraged all parties to implement the Declaration on durable solutions for Somali Refugees adopted in Nairobi on 25 March.
It emphasized that effective security underpins political and economic progress, and is fundamental to preventing recurring humanitarian crises. It said progress in improving Somalia’s security needed to be accelerated. Somalia’s security forces needed to train under a common doctrine; be better equipped, better housed and coordinated, regularly paid and with clear status and responsibilities. It welcomed the agreement for a coherent National Security Architecture and the establishment of the National Security Council and National Security Office. The Conference would stand behind the Security Architecture as set out in the Security Pact, recognising the inclusive federal institutional framework established for a reformed security sector. It agreed that this Somali-led and owned political agreement should be placed at the heart of a comprehensive Security Pact between Somalia and the International Community. The Security Pact sets out the agreed vision of Somali-led security institutions and forces that are affordable, acceptable and accountable. The communiqué stressed, as an integral part of the Security Pact, the vital importance of the rule of law and of security forces complying with international humanitarian and human rights law. Under the Pact, Somali leaders commit to taking the lead on providing security in Somalia, securing recovered areas, main supply routes and security for the 2021 elections, and implementing reforms in line with the National Security Architecture and agreed milestones.
Equally, the international community acknowledged the need to commit additional and more effective support for security reform, including more standardised and better coordinated mentoring, training and capacity building for police and military forces as well as improved public financial management and payroll systems. Commitments from the international community will be made at the October 2017 follow-up conference in partnership with the Comprehensive Approach to Security Executive group whose membership and mandate will be agreed after the London conference. It said partners remained committed to support Somalia’s ongoing efforts to build stronger weapons management and control capacities. The Conference agreed to support counter-terrorism, reconciliation and economic recovery and accelerate efforts to implement the new policing model and access to fair and affordable justice. It also agreed the Federal Government’s Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) programme would need additional assistance.
It welcomed the government’s commitment to revise Somalia’s stabilisation strategy by December 2017 and agreed that security sector development should align with inclusive state authority at local level together with local peace-building and community-led efforts. It welcomed government and state commitment to collaborate on the Wadajir National Framework for Local Governance to support community recovery and grassroots reconciliation. It commended AMISOM’s vital work in enabling security and stability, and recognised the need for sustainable and predictable funding for AMISOM and the provision of necessary force enablers and multipliers to meet its obligations. All partners recognised the need to take collective responsibility for sustainable funding for AMISOM beyond 2018. It supported a transition from AMISOM to Somali security forces, starting in late 2018, with clear target dates linked to security sector reform milestones set out in the Security Pact. It noted that the UN-AU review of AMISOM beginning this month in close cooperation with the Federal Government will set out recommendations for AMISOM’s role based on Somalia’s needs, pending approval of the AU Peace and Security Council and UN Security Council ahead of AMISOM’s mandate renewal in July 2017.
The communiqué called on all parties to ensure compliance with the UN Security Council resolution banning the export of Somali charcoal. It commended the efforts to tackle piracy and recognised the importance of ensuring safe operation of sea lanes, and committed to tackle illegal fishing.
The communiqué emphasized the crucial importance of reaching a settlement on outstanding constitutional issues, including completing the constitutional review process, and developing more inclusive politics. It stressed the review process must be open, transparent and inclusive. It emphasized the importance of high level political guidance and the commitment to establish a high level inter-governmental body to provide this. It welcomed the commitment to one person one vote elections in 2021 and the outline roadmap presented by the Federal Government including the commitment to develop an electoral law setting out the legislative framework by the end of 2018.It also welcomed the commitment of the Federal Government and the States to continue a political dialogue to support the peaceful resolution of disputes. It also underlined the importance of continued dialogue between the Federal Government and Somaliland administration. It said it expected the Somaliland presidential elections in November 2017 would provide the opportunity to reinvigorate and accelerate this.
The communiqué recognized the contribution of the Diaspora and civil society to Somalia and the importance of women’s representation and participation in decision making. It welcomed the increase in the number of women members of Parliament. It highlighted the vital contribution that Somali youth have made and continue to make to Somalia and agreed to further promote youth empowerment. It recognized the vital importance of human rights and the rule of law and said international partners stood ready to assist Somali authorities to uphold Somalia’s human rights obligations, including the establishment of the Human Rights Commission.
The communiqué noted that accelerating Somalia’s economic recovery must be a shared priority for the coming period. It welcomed the endorsement of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the identification of infrastructure as the top economic development priorities. It commended the Economic Recovery Cooperation Agreement between Somalia’s public and private sectors and the commitment of both sides to work together. It underlined the need to work towards addressing regulatory and risk concerns in originating remittances and to meet the supervision, regulatory and identity requirements. This will require collective efforts from government, the private sector and international partners alike. It commended the commitments agreed by the Federal Government of Somalia and International Financial Institutions setting out short and longer term priority economic reform measures. Success in this will reinforce the legitimacy and stability of Somalia’s governance arrangements, attract investment, and help advance Somalia along the path towards the debt relief process. Development partners, it said, were committed to supporting the Federal Government achieve these milestones. The communiqué welcomed the Government’s commitment and the steps taken to fight corruption.
The communiqué concluded: “We recognize that progress in these areas is interdependent and mutually reinforcing.” It therefore endorsed “a New Partnership for Somalia in support of the NDP as the framework through which we will build on the gains made under the New Deal Compact over the last three years and deliver clear and measurable progress on Somalia’s priorities as stipulated in the National Development Plan.” This includes security, the constitutional settlement, inclusive politics, human rights and the rule of law, good governance, measures to tackle corruption, and economic recovery. The Federal Government of Somalia and the international community reaffirm their commitment to work closely together in support of Somalia’s National Development Plan, to bring enduring peace, security and prosperity. It also noted that a performance and milestones-based Mutual Accountability Framework will be developed by December to provide six-monthly reports to the High Level Partnership Forum.
…..the New Partnership for Somalia…
The New Partnership for Somalia (NPS) sets out details of how Somalia and the international community will work together to meet Somalia’s most pressing political, security and economic needs and aspirations, as set out in the National Development Plan(NDP). The partnership is built on a set of partnership principles and enabling actions as agreed between Somalia and the international community, alongside a set of Key Themes setting out the shared values and aspirations essential for fulfilling Somalia’s development and recovery goals. This agreement promotes mutual accountability between Somalia and the international community and links Somali ownership of, and responsibility for, the direction and pace of Somalia’s progress with better alignment, coordination and improved transparency of international aid.
Progress in delivering the NPS will be measured against a Mutual Accountability
Framework using clearly defined benchmarks and milestones drawing together the partnership principles, the enabling actions and key themes along with key indicators from the National Development Plan, the Somali Security Pact, and other roadmaps as well as Somalia’s international commitments and obligations.
This, in effect replaces the Somali Compact adopted in 2013 as a framework for the provision of international support to Somalia. The Compact achieved some important progress in a Somali-led process of peace building and state building and sustainable economic and social development. However, following an independent review of the Compact in 2016, all parties agreed that a reinvigorated partnership was necessary to guide collective efforts through the next phase in support of the Somalia’s National Development Plan (NDP). Now, Somalia’s international partners have committed themselves to aligning their support behind the NDP, which sets out the Government’s priorities for national recovery and development. Partners have committed themselves to use these priorities to guide their planning, coordination, resource mobilization and delivery of development assistance, in full collaboration with the national and regional governments. This commitment is reinforced by agreement on the principle of Mutual Accountability, through which all partners can clearly identify the core commitments made and “call each other to account in delivering them.”
The Partnership Principles are designed to concentrate efforts, effectively and efficiently, reinforce Somali sovereignty and leadership, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of aid flows in supporting Somalia’s recovery. The seven principles are: Development is Somali-owned and Somali led and aid is aligned with government priorities; aid operations are designed and delivered in partnership with government institutions; aid is provided in line with the government budget cycle and channeled through preferred instruments of the government to strengthen government Public Financial Management systems; aid supports institutional capacity development; aid is provided in a coordinated, flexible transparent and predictable manner; aid is provided in a conflict sensitive manner; aid programs addressing humanitarian and development needs must be complimentary frameworks. These are accompanied by a list of joint enabling actions for each principle.
All this underlines the crucial importance of implementation. The rule of law is critical in building a stable state, protecting its citizens, resolving conflict, and preserving political stability. The New Partnership notes the importance to be given to upholding the rights for women, youth, marginalized and vulnerable groups, reinforced by effective policing, impartial courts through a strengthened and reformed judicial process as well as the establishment and functioning of an Independent National Human Rights Commission. It also notes the central necessity of building systems and institutions for sound financial governance and revenue management. This will reinforce the legitimacy and stability of Somalia’s new governance arrangements, bolster the Government’s ability to deliver services, attract investment, and help advance Somalia along the path toward normalization with International Financial Institutions and debt relief. Somalia needs rapid normalization of its financial relations and Development Partners, International Financial Institutions and the Government has produced a clear and comprehensive process including a set of reform commitments.
Similarly, the division of competencies and powers between the FGS and the Federal
Member States and agreements on fiscal federalism, responsibilities for revenue generation, public administration, the delivery of public services, including security, and management over national resources, are all essential aspects of building durable and effective institutions. These vital and sensitive issues will primarily be settled through a political settlement and constitutional review process.
The NPS is designed primarily to guide the partnership between Somalia and the international community but its success will depend not just on the government and its donor partners but also on its accountability to the Somali public and the continued and essential contribution of non-governmental actors and the private sector in supporting and the NDP and building good governance. It is imperative that donors provide predictable, robust and flexible financing for development and that the government meets its political, governance, economic and financial commitments. The government and international partners have adopted the partnership principles for more effective delivery of aid, placing ownership of priorities with the government and promoting more sustainable impact from development efforts. In other words, the Government and Development Partners have begun the process of working together to make quantifiable, tangible progress annually against mutual commitments and benchmarks.
The Partnership Principles require action by both government and donors, and most rely on joint action by both sides. Equally, without the enabling actions, the aspirations of the Partnership Principles are unlikely to be achieved. Progress in achieving these enabling actions will largely be assessed by donor aid flow reports, drawing on existing reporting streams, for example, from the International Monetary Fund Staff Monitored Program reviews, Financial Governance Committee reporting, Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability assessments and periodic reviews of progress against the roadmap, as well as strengthened oversight from the Office of the Prime Minister to monitor and provide guidance.
The NPS and its partnership principles are underpinned by wider thematic issues: the Political Settlement, Security, Rule of Law and Human Rights (including the rights of women and girls), Youth Empowerment, Financial and Economic Management, Growth, Economic Recovery and Resilience, and Inclusion and Regulation. As a basis for measuring and reviewing progress a results framework will be embedded within the NDP. The results will be presented and reviewed twice-yearly at the High Level Partnership Forum. A monitoring framework will be required for the NPS and this again will be reviewed at the twice-yearly meetings of the HLPF.
…..and the Security Pact
Alongside this New Partnership for Somalia, the new Security Pact sets out a comprehensive approach to security reflecting the continued interdependence of politics, security and development. It provides detail of the shared security objectives, aimed at bringing about an orderly and staged handover of security responsibilities from AMISOM to Somali-led security institutions and forces.
The Federal Government has made it very clear that security reform is a priority for the next four years and the conference underlined that the International Community intends to continue to provide sustainable support for this. Somalia’s partners have recognized the agreement reached by the Government and the Federal Member States last month (April 16) on the National Security Architecture, and endorsed by the National Security Council (May 8), the New Policing Model, and the National Strategy and Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (September 2016).
The new Security Pact sets out an agreed vision of Somali-led security institutions and forces that are affordable, acceptable, accountable and have the ability to provide the security and protection the people of Somalia need in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights standards. It recognizes the interdependence of the security, political and development aspects to Somalia’s recovery and it aligned with the principles and shared objectives of the New Partnership for Somalia. Through this Security Pact, Somalia’s leaders commit to take the lead on providing security in Somalia, including securing recovered areas, main supply routes and security for the 2021 elections, and to implement reforms in line with the National Security Architecture and mutually determined milestones. International Partners commit to providing increased, more effective and unified support, including better coordinated mentoring, training and equipping, of police and military forces.
The Security Pact specifically sets out a political agreement between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States on a national security model and architecture for Somali forces. It details a plan for staged Somali security sector reform as part of a comprehensive approach to advance sustainable security. The current focus for milestones is for the next four years, the timeframe of Somalia’s present federal administration. The Pact notes the commitments from international partners to support the security sector milestones, and the conditions on which that support will be based. It also lays down the crucial importance of AMISOM in securing Somalia’s security, with international partners reaffirming their support to AMISOM and agreeing that the transition from AMISOM to Somali security forces from 2018 should be condition-based. Clear target dates linked to the security sector reform milestones are set out in the Pact. Finally, it allows for an implementation and review mechanism to ensure effective, verifiable delivery of the commitments made under the Security Pact, including a schedule of follow-up meetings following the conference.
Under the Pact, Somalia’s political leaders and the Heads of its Security Forces, agree to continue to commit to uphold human rights and international humanitarian law, and strengthen institutions and measures to implement it. The Somali leadership has set target dates within the National Security Architecture Agreement and international partners have committed to work with Somalia to support efforts for full and effective implementation. All parties recognize the importance of an effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program, as well as strengthening arms and ammunition management in reference to UN Security Council requirements. All the partners of the Security Pact agree to fulfill their commitments and implement the Pact to achieve sustainable and verifiable progress in line with the implementation mechanism.
The President of Poland makes an official visit to Ethiopia
Polish President Andrzej Duda arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday (May 7) for a two-day official visit as part of his country’s commitment to strengthen the Ethio-Polish trade and investment ties. The President was accompanied by First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda, and other high-level Polish officials. The President’s trip also aimed to get support from members of the African Union for his country’s bid to take the Eastern Europe non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for 2018-2019.
Ahead of the trip, President Duda revealed that his visit was mainly intended to drum up business in Africa at large and Ethiopia in particular. A top presidential aide said, “Poland and Polish businesses are looking for investment areas in Africa.” He noted that two major Polish investments and a number of large companies were already operating in Ethiopia.
President Duda met with President Dr. Mulatu Teshome on Monday (May 8) at the National Palace. During the meeting the two Heads of State shared views on various issues, including ways to improve trade which currently stands only at US$36 million. They agreed that the two countries needed to boost their trade ties. President Duda voiced his hope that trade between the two countries would increase to a level of hundreds of millions of dollars. Poland is a big market in Europe, as is Ethiopia in Africa. He said, “I would like Polish companies to invest in Ethiopia – to invest literally but also to invest in Ethiopians.” Referring to Polish agricultural products being processed in Ethiopia, he said “I would like Polish goods to appear in Ethiopian stores, but to be produced in Ethiopia.” President Duda said he would like Polish business and the Polish state “to contribute to the development of Ethiopia, while making a profit at the same time.” He hoped Polish brands will become recognizable in Ethiopia.”
President Duda visited a plant operated by Polish tractor manufacturer Ursus in Ethiopia. He noted the Ursus venture in Adama was possible thanks to an agreement concluded in 2013. This had led Poland to agree special credit lines to implement production and cooperation tasks between Poland and Ethiopia. It was part of the GoAfrica business program set up by the Polish government. President Duda said he would like as many Polish entrepreneurs and Polish companies as possible to make use of the program, to become interested in the African market, and he encouraged more companies to invest in Africa. Ursus estimates that the value of contracts at its Ethiopia arm over the last four years have amounted to some US$110 million.
Earlier on Sunday (May 7), the Polish President met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn. The two leaders agreed to take practical steps to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries and discussed ways of enhancing economic and people-to-people ties between Ethiopia and Poland. According to Krzystof Szczerski, Polish Secretary of State, they agreed to improve cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure, information technology and education. They also considered ways of strengthening relations in the political arena with particular reference to peace and security. President Duda emphasized that Poland recognized Ethiopia’s diplomatic importance in Africa, and expressed his county’s desire to use Ethiopia as a gateway to its relations with the rest of Africa.
President Duda also visited the Headquarters of the African Union and speaking at an African Union Forum, said: “We are open to friendly cooperation as partners, offering our extensive experience, among other things in economic transformation. We want to invest in Africa.” He noted that Poland conducted joint business projects and finance development projects through its GoAfrica program, stressing that half of the priority partners in its development cooperation program were African countries. The President also made it clear Poland would like to have African backing for Poland’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2018-2019. Voting takes place next month.
The 6th World Hydropower Congress held in Addis Ababa this week
The 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC), a biennial multi-stakeholder forum bringing together leaders and specialists with hydropower-related responsibilities from government, industry, finance, United Nations agencies, academia and civil society, took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from May 9-11, 2017. The Congress, organized by the International Hydropower Association with the support of the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union Commission and other partners, was the first high-level event of its kind to be held in Africa. The event aimed to build on the previous meeting held in 2015 in Beijing by bringing together leaders and specialists to examine how initiatives of governments, businesses, finances, civil society and academia can advance sustainable development. Hydropower’s role as a global energy source cannot be overstated, with hydro supplying 70% of the world’s renewable energy to more than a billion people in 152 countries.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn officially opened the congress, telling delegates that development was unthinkable in the absence of adequate and affordable energy. Despite huge resource potential, he underlined, Africa’s energy sector was underdeveloped and left a large part of the population on the continent to a life without access to modern energy sources. This seriously compromised economic growth and development. Sufficient electric power supplies at affordable prices were key, he said, to ensuring the sustainable development of Africa. Sharing Ethiopia’s experience in advancing the use of hydropower and renewable energy sources, the Prime Minister said Africa could not achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without universal access to electricity. Ethiopia, he pointed out, had considerable water resources. The untapped hydropower potential in the country amounted to around 45,000 MW. Cognizant of this untapped resource, the country’s Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP2) had outlined projects that would bring the country’s total installed capacity to 17,000 MW by 2020. This figure included new hydropower facilities, alongside with some wind, solar PV, biomass and geothermal projects. The country, he said, was set to become a regional leader in the power supply business, exporting electricity to countries throughout the Eastern Africa Power Pool and beyond. Indeed, hydropower, he said, was crucial to providing reliable and sustainable energy development for the transformation of Africa’s economies. In this context, the Prime Minister also underlined the need for collective efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, emphasizing the need for the world “to pull together” on this front.
The Acting Executive Secretary for Economic Commission for Africa, Abdalla Hamdok said with more than 600 million people in Africa living without access to electricity and households continuing to rely on traditional biomass for cooking, it was important and pertinent for Africa to tap into its vast renewable energy sources. He said: “With clear vision coupled with strong and coherent policy action to promote faster and more inclusive growth, the continent has the potential to take the lead in innovation, technologies and business models that utilise hydropower optimally and efficiently.” However, said Mr. Hamdok, it is equally important for the continent to guard against the negative impact of hydropower development and to pay close attention to climate resilience and social inclusion. He said, “This is mostly linked to growing concerns regarding hydropower sustainability, including the over-reliance on hydropower. That could possibly compromise energy security in many countries, especially in the context of drought.” Mr. Hamdok said it was important to develop an integrated approach to the management of water for irrigation and energy production, adding the ECA and the AU Commission were working closely with key stakeholders on a number of initiatives to promote low carbon energy development as well as innovative financing regimes for clean energy infrastructure projects to support the implementation of both the global Sustainable Development Goals Agenda and the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063.
African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Quartey Thomas Kwesi, focused his speech on hydropower’s role in addressing Africa’s energy challenges and Africa’s regional plans in the energy sector, in particular hydropower plants, under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa. He noted, “Access to modern and sustainable energy services is crucial to achieving sustainable, transformative and inclusive development, ” adding, “the development and expansion of renewable energy provides one of the most effective strategies to simultaneously promote development, sustainable energy access and energy security as well as climate change mitigation at the global, continental and regional levels.”
Among other speakers, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Seleshi Bekele, noted Ethiopia was the ideal host for the congress as hydropower was its major energy source. “Ethiopia aims to transform lives by creating economic and social opportunities through access to energy, enabling industrialization, managing water supply and enhancing agricultural productivity,” he said. The World Bank Group Vice-President for Sustainable Development, Laura Tuck, said that without secure power, development efforts the world over were at risk. She emphasized: “Our mission at the World Bank Group is to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. We can only achieve these goals if our clients have universal access to electricity and to a secure and stable power supply.”
Liu Zhenya, Chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), presented participants with the concept of ‘global energy interconnection’ as “the inevitable way out for clean and low-carbon energy transition”. He said, “It is imperative for us to accelerate the green and low-carbon transition. The key to realizing that is to bring forward a new energy supply system prioritized by clean energy development and power supply with large-scale optimal allocation of the GEI platform.” “Let’s work hand in hand for African energy interconnections with more communication and common consent, and make our due contribution to sustainable development,” he said, adding, “It will also provide a new platform, create opportunities, and inject energy into Africa’s economic takeoff”. Ms. Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All said: “Better Hydro is an important way to meet the goal of sustainable energy agreed by all countries and the ambition of the Paris climate agreement. It offers affordable, cleaner, reliable energy as well as storage which can crowd in more solar and wind development. He said: “The challenge of securing sustainable energy for all by 2030 means we have to move forward with speed and scale. We hope that the World Hydropower Congress will spur rapid progress.” Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, said the congress brought together a diversity of perspectives and examined how initiatives from governments, businesses, finance and civil society could converge to help deliver better hydropower and ultimately better development for all. He said: “Hydropower’s role is a dynamic that calls for an integrated approach, with a strongly connected sector, and a high level of collaboration.” Mr. Taylor stressed that with the right commitments, better hydropower will play an even greater role in delivering modern energy and water services in the world.
“Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock” meeting this week in Addis Ababa
The 7th multi-stakeholder partnership meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock opened in Addis Ababa on Monday (May 8) at the Hilton Hotel. The all-week meeting brought together more than 250 livestock specialists from 50 countries to discuss ways to strengthen the role of livestock in supporting livelihoods, producing safe food and protecting the environment. It focused on demonstrating the positive contribution of livestock to the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the world and fostering the sustainable development of the rapidly growing sector.
Officially opening the meeting, Professor Fekadu Beyene, Ethiopia’s Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, said the meeting would “enable us to share the multiple benefits we’re deriving from sustainable livestock initiatives, including those supported by the Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan (2015) and Growth and Transformation Plan Two (GTP 2)”. The Minister highlighted the government’s steps to efficiently utilize the country’s vast livestock resources and make the sector a driver of transformation of the country’s agriculture-based economy. These measures include providing good-quality farm inputs at affordable prices, boosting small-scale irrigation schemes, minimizing post-harvest losses and controlling and eradicating major livestock and livestock-transmitted human diseases.
The Minister said the success of livestock sector was critical in achieving food security, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability at different levels. “Beyond its impact on rural people, the anticipated transformation of the livestock sector holds huge potential to impact positively on urban populations through reductions in food prices and increases in the supply, as well as growing availability of employment opportunities in livestock-related sectors,” he said. The Minister said Ethiopia was keen to learn from others’ knowledge and experience to enhance its capacity to practice sustainable livestock to reduce poverty and increase food security. He noted the drought resilience initiatives supported by the government and its development partners. These had been of major importance in helping the country better manage the impacts of the severe drought Ethiopia and other countries of the Horn of Africa have been experiencing in recent months. Other measures included boosting livestock production by irrigating pasture lands, creating fodder banks and improving livestock husbandry practices and market access for pastoralists and subsistence farmers.
The head of FAO AGAL, Henning Steinfeld, delivered the keynote presentation on Multiple Benefits from Sustainable Livestock on the first day. He underlined that while the livestock sector was a major driver of environmental change, because of its interface with common property resources, it was also much more than something merely expressed in economic terms and GDP. It provided income and employment, of course, but also a range of less tangible but equally crucial benefits for cultural and social cohesion. Mr. Steinfeld said policy makers around the world should look at the diversity of livestock systems and interactions, keeping in mind that at times there could be clashes between private and public goods. It was important to bear in mind that sustainable livestock systems involved multiple objectives, that these changed over time and that they differed in different locations. The only way to capture the multiple benefits of livestock, he said, was to integrate the tools used. Mr. Steinfeld pointed out that everyone needed to “collaborate with the future”, that is to work to provide future generations, at a minimum with the same level of opportunities enjoyed today.
He looked at the bio-physical and socio-economic dimensions of livestock production as well as the outside pressures such as population growth, urbanization, climate change and resource competition and scarcities. He also underlined the need to increase resource-use efficiency, protect and enhance critical resources, balance human benefits, and build reliance. Mr. Steinfeld noted the importance of developing new governance and institutional models and emphasized the benefits to be gained from integration, connecting up life-cycles, value chains and One Health analyses, to optimize livestock production. The aim should be to shift away from merely maximizing livestock production and productivity to generating and capturing the multiple benefits offered by livestock
Among other speakers, Fritz Schneider, the chair of the Global Agenda, noted that the meeting provided livestock specialists with the tools and knowledge to make inroads in realizing the potential of the sector. “The Global Agenda provides a platform, regionally and locally rooted, to comprehensively address the multiple opportunities the livestock sector presents for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” He noted that participants would discuss the tools to facilitate sustainable livestock sector development. Cases of practical change would be demonstrated and learning tours during the week would show successful local efforts in sustainable sector development. He said: “We recognize that for livestock to be sustainable, the sector worldwide needs to respond to the growing demand, enhance its contribution to food nutrition security and address its potential impacts on human, animal, and environmental health and welfare.”
Dr. Ren Wang, Assistant Director General for the FAO’s Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, said the Global Agenda was “uniquely positioned to promote the livestock sector, which generates widespread benefits for people and the planet”. He noted that agriculture, including livestock, lay at the heart of the 2030 Agenda and both sectors sought to address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development simultaneously. He said the FAO was providing better recognition of the economic, social and environmental benefits of livestock and was committed to ensuring the livestock sector contributed to food security and the elimination of poverty while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint and resource use. He said: “Livestock helps in our fight to end hunger and poverty, as well as to improve food security, and nutrition and health; farmed and herded animals can support peace and gender equity.” He added: “Livestock can also help address environmental issues, from land degradation and biodiversity loss to climate change mitigation.”The FAO is actively involved in and hosts the secretariats of GASL and the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance partnership. It also supports the Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050 and other initiatives developing tools and models, such as the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model, and guidelines to monitor the development of the sector. Dr. Wang said: “This week’s dialogue will help ensure that livestock continue to yield long-term benefits. Our goal is to work toward that for the long-term and ultimately reach a zero-hunger world.”
Jimmy Smith, Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), said the meeting was special for ILRI, one of the founder members of the partnership. “The Global Agenda”, he said, “provides a forum for ILRI to move from theory to practice at the interface of livestock and development.” The meeting was taking place in Ethiopia, “one of ILRI’s ‘homes'”, and involved more ILRI scientists than ever before. It came at an opportune time when the Institute was seeking to ensure its livestock research solutions were utilized effectively. Misrak Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, also emphasized the importance of the discussions on how livestock-based solutions could contribute to sustainable development.
Driven by population and economic growth, particularly in Africa, the demand for livestock products is expected to increase by about 70% in the next two or three decades. Although no longer constrained by weak domestic demand, the livestock sector in Africa still faces many challenges. These require long-term planning, coordination and investment and the development and implementation of roadmaps to provide the capacity to drive sustained economic growth, inclusive social and human development, and an efficient use of natural resources.
The momentum for this has been building up for some years. The UN High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security report followed the African Union’s Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (2015–2035). Since then, Ethiopia has begun to implement a ‘livestock master plan’, which highlights the possibilities for change in the policy environment. It targeted investments in animal health, breeding and feeding, of some US$600 million over a five-year period, to boost incomes and livelihoods of nearly three million smallholder livestock-keeping households. It required the involvement and engagement of all key stakeholders in partnership to ensure no one is left behind. This was a key emphasis in the meeting this week offering participants an occasion to reflect upon the initiatives that have been undertaken; highlight the lessons that might be applied to successful sustainable livestock development; clarify the tools that could be used to assess the sector’s multiple benefits; and identify the areas requiring further work.
This week’s meeting shared and discussed progress made in the development of tools and models to monitor sustainable livestock sector development. It articulated lessons from successful examples of practical change towards sustainable livestock systems. It identified opportunities and challenges to which GASL and its members must respond to ensure multiple benefits from sustainable livestock development. It provided participants with plenary and interactive learning sessions to explore tools to measure and guide sustainable livestock development, with case studies, learning tours and a ‘sharefair’ illustrating practical changes. A policy forum provided the opportunity for ministerial-level deliberations on the role of livestock-based solutions for sustainable development in Africa. There were, of course, multiple opportunities for additional side meetings.
The FAO developed the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock in 2010, recognizing that for livestock to be sustainable, the sector worldwide needed to respond to the growing demand for livestock products and enhance its contribution to food and nutritional security; to provide secure livelihoods and economic opportunities for hundreds of millions of pastoralists and smallholder farmers; to use natural resources efficiently, address climate change and mitigate other environmental impacts; and to enhance human, animal, and environmental health and welfare . The mission of the Global Agenda, in fact, has been and remains enhancement of livestock stakeholders’ commitment and investment in support of the UN Agenda 2030 by facilitating dialogue, generating evidence and supporting the adoption of good practices and policies. It actively needs to continue to engage all actors in the livestock sector worldwide, governments, civil society, private sector, donors, academia, non-governmental organizations and multi-lateral organizations, to foster sustainable development of the rapidly changing livestock sector. Since 2010 the Global Agenda has matured from an initial focus on environmental issues, broadening its interest and involvement into social equity and health issues and now aligning with the sustainable development goals of the Agenda 2030.
IMF calls for strong and sound policies to restart Africa’s growth
The International Monetary Fund is urging sub-Saharan African countries to implement strong and urgent policy action to boost growth. Its latest Regional Economic Outlook “Restarting the Growth Engine”, which came out this week, says that growth in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole fell to 1.4% last year, its lowest level in two decades. It does, however, project a modest recovery to 2.6 for this year. The report acknowledges that a number of countries, especially in East and West Africa, will continue to grow at more than 6%, but on the continental level, with the rest of the continent failing to manage more than 2.6%, this highlights the emergence of a “two-speed Africa”. The fund projects that five economies, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Tanzania and Rwanda will grow at above 6% and several others should manage more than 5%. It identifies Ethiopia, recovering from last year’s drought, as the star performer for 2017, expecting it to grow at 7.5%.
Mr. Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the IMF’s African Department, said the weak outlook overall partly reflected insufficient policy adjustment. He said: “The delay in implementing much-needed adjustment policies is creating uncertainty, holding back investment, and risks generating even deeper difficulties in the future. Adjustment in resource-intensive countries has been delayed. In particular, oil exporters such as Angola, Nigeria. The countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union are still struggling to deal with the budgetary revenue losses and balance of payments pressures, some three years after the fall in oil prices.” In addition, Mr. Abebe said that vulnerabilities were also emerging in many non-resource-intensive countries. While they had generally continued to record high growth rates, they had also maintained raised fiscal deficits for a number of years as their governments addressed social and infrastructure gaps. As a result, fiscal and external buffers were declining and public debt rising.
The IMF, therefore, warned that some economies, including those with higher growth rates, risked debt-financing problems. Mozambique, which is developing large gas fields, had borrowed heavily on the strength of future cash flows and has effectively defaulted. Several other countries, including Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia, had tapped international capital markets or borrowed heavily from China, resulting in a steep rise in debt burdens. Mr. Abebe said he was worried about expansionary fiscal policy in a number of countries, stressing that “With high growth, we shouldn’t see wider deficits. This is a time from a position of strength to do more to grow domestic revenues and arrest debt levels.” He pointed out that the outlook remain shrouded in substantial uncertainties for some countries with possible further appreciation of the U.S. dollar and a tightening of global financing conditions, especially in commodity exporting countries which had mostly ducked urgent reforms, such as cutting costly subsidies or liberalising exchange rates. Delaying reforms, the report underlined, had prolonged the downturn. On top of that, the outlook was further clouded by security issues that had contributed to an increase in food insecurity and even famine in some areas.
The IMF report concluded that the African growth story had lost much of its momentum but, equally, governments were showing “greater recognition of the need to address the big revenue gaps”. Mr. Abebe reiterated that sub-Saharan Africa remains a region with tremendous potential for growth in the medium term, but stressed that “strong and urgent policy action is needed to restart growth where it has faltered and preserve the momentum elsewhere.”
Overall, the report highlighted three priority areas for restarting the growth engine. One was to put renewed focus on macroeconomic stability in order to set the stage for a growth turnaround. For the hardest-hit countries, fiscal consolidation remained urgently needed to halt the decline in international reserves and offset budgetary revenue losses. In addition, greater exchange rate flexibility and the elimination of exchange restrictions would be important to absorb part of the shock. For countries where growth remained strong it was important to address emerging vulnerabilities from a position of strength. Secondly, it emphasized the importance of addressing structural weaknesses to support macroeconomic rebalancing. This was needed to ensure a sustainable fiscal position and help achieve more durable growth by improving tax collection, strengthening financial supervision, and addressing longstanding weaknesses in business activities that impeded economic diversification. The third priority was to strengthen social protection for the most vulnerable. The report noted that an environment of low growth and widening macroeconomic imbalance risked reversing the recent progress made in alleviating poverty. Existing social protections programs, it pointed out, were often fragmented, not well-targeted, and covered no more than a small share of the population. It, therefore, suggested savings from expansive and untargeted schemes such as fuel subsidies could be put towards helping vulnerable groups.