News in brief
Ambassador Sahlework Zewde elected Ethiopia’s new President
President Dr. Mulatu at the Partnership for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030 Summit
The celebration of the United Nations Day
An open meeting on Silencing the Guns held in New York
Security Council briefed on UNAMID and security improvement in Darfur
The Seventh Ethio-Canada Bilateral Consultation Forum
A seminar considers the recent Beijing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
News in brief
Africa and the African Union
UN Day, celebrated on Wednesday (October 24) around the world and in Addis Ababa, marks the anniversary of the UN Charter; signed on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco; it entered into force on 24 October 1945. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. UN Secretary-General António Guterres underlined the UN’s determination to implement climate action, fight for human rights and the life of peace that everyone deserves to enjoy. (See article)
Heads of state, private sector leaders and other international players are meeting in Geneva this week at UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum 2018 to discuss ways to close the $2.5 trillion gap needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. More than 6,000 participants from 160 countries will consider major new investment-for-development initiatives. The high-level conference comes amid mounting disquiet about declining investment flows and their impact on efforts to meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the international community three years ago.
Ethiopia, along with other African members of the Security Council, Côte D’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, and South Africa as incoming member of the Security Council as well as the African Union organized an Open Arria Formula meeting on ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’ on 19th October 2018. The meeting, which was co-sponsored by other Security Council members, Bolivia, China, France, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Poland and Sweden, was held under the theme “Silencing the Guns in Africa: How Can the UN Support Africa in Creating a Continent Free of Conflict?” (See article)
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report, “Global Warning of 1.5 degrees Celsius”, has underlined the sweeping changes required to control the planet’s warming, to make the modifications to energy, transportation and other systems required to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius. The IPCC was asked at the Paris COP23 meeting to evaluate and report on what would be required to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees. The report is uncompromising. Countries need to take unprecedented action, and it will need a “rapid and far-reaching” transformation. It is still possible but it requires unparalleled efforts.
The Center for Dialogue, Research and Cooperation (CRDC) in collaboration with the Mission of the Republic of China to the African Union organized a seminar on “The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit 2018: a New Blueprint for a Win-win Cooperation and Common Development” in Addis Ababa on Wednesday last week (October 17). Keynote speeches were made by Ambassador Liu Yuxi, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the African Union, and Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, former Ambassador of Ethiopia to China, and others. (See article)
Ambassador Sahlework Zewde was elected President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at a joint session of the House of People’s Representatives and the House of Federation on Thursday this week (October 24), following the resignation of Dr. Mulatu Teshome earlier in the week. (See article)
President Dr. Mulatu Teshome visited Denmark at the end of last week to address the first Partnership for Green Growth (P4G) and the Global Goals 2030 Summit. The P4G was officially launched in September 2017 by Ethiopia, Denmark, Chile, Colombia, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, and Vietnam. The summit was held in Copenhagen under the theme “Global Leadership for a Sustainable Future. During his visit the president also held meetings with Queen Margrethe, and top Danish officials including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. (See article)
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, met and held discussions with the Director General of FAO José Graziano da Silva, in Rome on Wednesday (October 24). Dr. Workneh is attending the Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference which started on Thursday. Hundreds of delegates from 58 countries and international organizations are attending. The conference, opened by Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella, aims to find shared solutions to challenges in the area of peace, freedom, democracy and security, and to identify common paths towards growth. It focused special attention on the positive developments in the Horn of Africa following the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu met the Foreign Minister of Italy, Enzo Moavero Milanesi on Wednesday (October 24) in Rome and discussed on ways of enhancing the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The two ministers have agreed to strengthen the cooperation in a range of areas, including investment, infrastructural development, education, cultural exchange and trade ties. They have also agreed to elevate the partnership in regional, continental and global issues of common interests.
State Minister Mrs. Hirut Zemene received copies of credentials of the newly appointed Tunisian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Kais Kabtani on Friday (October 26). The State Minister noted that the two countries have not exploited their longstanding diplomatic relationship, which she said, began in the 60’s. She underlined the need to focus on strengthening cooperation on trade and investment. And in such score, she added that the launch of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), AU’s Agenda 2063 and Ethiopia’s Visa on Arrival services to African citizens offer tremendous opportunities to strengthen the bilateral cooperation.
State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Afework Kassu met with a Norwegian delegation led by Mr. Jens Frolich Holte, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway on Tuesday (October 23). The two sides discussed ways of further expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Professor Afework, who noted Norway’s cooperation on development issues, detailed the government’s radical reform measures to widen the political space, bring sustainable peace and development as well as advance democratization and called on Norwegian investors to seize the investment opportunities provided by the government’s privatization plans. Mr. Holte, who commended Ethiopia’s moves for gender parity, praised the ongoing reforms and the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, noting the important initiatives Ethiopia was taking to bring lasting peace, security and economic development to the region. The State Secretary reiterated Norway’s commitment to work closely with Ethiopia on bilateral and multilateral platforms. Mr. Holte and Admasu Nebebe, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance signed a grant agreement for 180 million kroner to support Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy on Wednesday.
The Seventh Bilateral Consultative Forum between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Global Affairs Ministry of Canada was held in Ottawa on Thursday and Friday last week (October 18-19). (See article)
State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Afework Kassu emphasized that building a credible electoral system was a top government priority when meeting the UN Electoral Need Assessment Mission to Ethiopia on Wednesday (October 24). The delegation included UNDP Country Director Ms. Louise Chamberlain, UN Principal Elections Head, Mr. Akin Adegbola and UN Political officer for Africa, Mrs. Ljiljana Setk. Professor Afework said establishing a credible electoral system would offer citizens the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights freely. Revamping the electoral system and building the capacity of relevant institutions was part of the government’s principal reform agenda. The delegation reaffirmed the UN committed to extend the necessary support.
UNFPA’s Deputy Executive Director (Programs), Dereje Wordofa, and a team of UNFPA Regional Directors and Country Representatives visited the Gambella regional state which hosts more than 423,000 refugees, 88% women and children. The team visited a UNFPA-supported women-friendly space, part of a project to address sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian settings. It provides education, vocational training and life skills to survivors who receive psycho-social counseling.
An Ethio-Indian Economic Forum, co-organized by Ethiopian Consulate General office in Mumbai and Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) and Jain International Trade Organization(JITO), and bringing together 40 Indian and over 80 Ethiopian companies, opened in Addis Ababa on Wednesday (October 24) . The Director General of Business Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mesfin Gebremariam underlined the need to strengthen bilateral ties in areas of investment, trade and capacity building as well advantages of investment in Ethiopia, including its huge investment in infrastructure and sustained push for industrialization. Noting the development of industrial parks he urged Indian investors to invest in the priority sectors of textiles and garment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, construction and agro-processing. The Secretary of JITO, Satish Hiran, said the Forum was a viable platform to enhance the trade and investment ties.
The Ethiopian Embassy in Seoul held a business seminar at the end of last week (October 19), in cooperation with the Ethiopian Business Council in Gyeonggi Province and the Gyeonggi Small & Medium Company Group (KSC). Mr. Kim Young Ki, Chairman of KSC, expressed the group’s keen interest to invest in Ethiopia and planned to organize a visit of agro-processing and construction companies to Ethiopia. The Embassy also made a business tour to Busan, Ulsan and Daegu this week (October 22-26) to attract more Korean investors to Ethiopia and strengthen trade relations. It had meetings with the Federation of Textile Industries and the Ethio-Korea Business council in Ulsan and Busan.
The embassies of the United Kingdom and United States of America in Addis Ababa this week launched a joint capacity-building project for government communicators and journalists. The “Supporting Communication between Government and Journalists” program was described as part of ongoing efforts to support Ethiopia’s political reform process. The project over the next two months will involve two-day training courses in Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Adama, Mekelle, Gambella, Jigjiga, Dire Dawa, Assosa, Hawassa and Semera. The embassies are partnering with Transparency Ethiopia, in implementation of the program.
Construction of the “Ambouli Friendship Dam” in Djibouti, being built by DSI (State Hydraulic Works of Turkey) has reached 50% according to Turkey’s agriculture and forestry minister, Bekir Pakdemirli. He told the Anadolu Agency last weekend that the dam would further strengthen Turkish-Djiboutian relations. He said the dam would provide drinking and usable water and protect the capital Djibouti from floods. Mr. Pakdemirli said the aim was to complete the dam in 2019, bring it into service, and lift cooperation in the area of water to a higher level. Turkey and Djibouti reached an agreement to build the dam in 2014.
The Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov met President Isaias on Friday (October 19) last week in Asmara. The two sides discussed further development of Russian-Eritrean cooperation in trade, economic and humanitarian fields and on promotion of joint projects in mineral deposits development, finance, education and training. They also confirmed their mutual interest in deepening political dialogue and coordinating foreign policy approaches based on the proximity of views on international problems.
UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Programs, Dereje Wordofa led a delegation to Eritrea last week (October 18-19) to discuss ways to strengthen UNFPA’s partnership with the Eritrean Government within the framework of the UN Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Framework (SPCF), and to address bottlenecks in the operations of UN agencies operating in Eritrea.
Local leaders from Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties on Monday (October 22) unanimously agreed that terrorism can’t be ended with guns and called for amnesty for youth in al Shabaab. At a conference in Mandera on countering terrorism and violent extremism, they called on the central government to extend amnesty to youth who have joined al Shabaab to enable them to come home.
Prime Minister Hassan Khayre called on the leadership of the Somali National Army to streamline its operations and chart a road-map to defeat Al-Shabaab. Visiting the defense headquarters at the beginning of the week, the Prime Minister, who praised the army for their great role of protecting the dignity and sovereignty of the Somali people, said the military must be accountable and directed military chiefs to expedite reforms. He urged the soldiers to remain diligent and committed to their work in defeating Al-Shabaab.
AMISOM senior military officers met in Mogadishu at the end of last week to review security operations ahead of an upcoming Concept of Operations (CONOPs) conference, to be held later this month. The meeting, explored ways of enhancing AMISOM operations during the transition period as it prepares to hand over security responsibility to the Somali security forces. AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. General Owoyesigire said the conference provided the opportunity to argue out ideas and compare thoughts with a view to harmonize positions before the main CONOPs conference. It was, he said, an opportunity to discuss and analyze what is going on in the field. The AU Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Madeira, urged the sector commanders to come up with robust, effective and realistic plans. He underlined that the “only way to transition is to strengthen security and have the capacity of the Somalis elevated to acceptable level, before exiting.”
28 senior police officers finished a ten-day Strategic Planning and Management training on Monday (October 22). Christine Alalo, the Acting AMISOM Police Commissioner said the course, facilitated by the AMISOM’s police component, the UN and local experts, provided the officers with the “skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to professionally carry out their duties in accordance with the expectations of the Somali population, with due diligence and observance of human rights.” It will also improve the interfacing and collaboration between various departments of the Somali Police Force. Participants learnt how to develop a strategic vision and mission for the police force, principles of management, strategic planning and leadership. The closing ceremony was attended by the Federal Minister of Interior, Mr. Mohamed Abukar Islow and deputy Police Chief, Ms. Zakia Hussein.
The three-day Mogadishu Tech Summit (MTS 2018) opened on Tuesday (October 23). It brought together over 600 delegates, including innovators and experts, hackers and investors, journalists and entrepreneurs, to explore business and investment opportunities as well as countless networking events to showcase local tech talents and recognize the Somali innovators and entrepreneurs.
Somalia’s Council of Inter-State Cooperation held a meeting in Garowe this week. The meeting, hosted by Puntland, was attended by the leaders of Jubaland, Southwest, Galmudug and Puntland. At the end of three-days of discussion, they announced they had resolved to form a new political party, Hor-u-socod-Qaran (the National Progressive Party) with Puntland’s Abdiweli Gaas, elected interim chairman, and joint regional forces to liberate areas under the control of Al-Shabaab.
President Salva Kiir met Sudan’s Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed in Juba on Friday last week (October 19) to discuss implementation of the revitalized peace agreement. A statement later said they had discussed ways to expedite the enforcement of the Implementation Matrix at this stage, and “the need to do everything that would reflect the seriousness and political determination of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and other parties to complete the establishment of the mechanisms and committees provided for in the Agreement.”
There has been some concern over delays in the formation of implementation committees and the release of political detainees and prisoners of war. The foreign ministry also said the meeting discussed bilateral relations and the positive impact of the peace agreement on the political, economic and security relations between the two countries.
Tut Gatluak South Sudanese Presidential Adviser and head of the South Sudan National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) arrived in Khartoum for the first meeting of the Committee on Sunday (October 21). The Committee has five members picked by the government, two nominated by the SPLM-IO, and one each from the SSOA, the FDs and the OPP. The NPTC, which will adopt decisions by consensus, is tasked with oversight and coordination of implementation of the activities of the pre-transitional period in collaboration with the government. It will draw up the roadmap for implementing the political tasks of the pre-transitional period and address the security of opposition leaders. It will also submit monthly reports to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), the parties and other stakeholders. The meeting was attended by the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais, and Sudan’s Special Envoy for South Sudan, Jamal al-Sheikh.
IGAD chiefs of staff, meeting in Khartoum on Monday (October 22), discussed the deployment of IGAD forces in South Sudan. The meeting was attended by the chiefs of staff of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, as well the Rwandan army chief of staff. Rwanda is the current African Union chair. The meeting discussed the 4000-strong Regional Protection Force (RPF) which will include troops from Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, and assessed its status and duties in light of the situation in South Sudan. The force will be tasked with protection of the opposition leaders during the 30- month transitional period as well as protection of civilians. The meeting decided to form “a joint working group headed by Sudan, and including representatives from all the countries participating in the Regional Protection Force, to assess the status of the RPF on the ground and report on 19 November 2018 to the next meeting of the chiefs of staff in Ethiopia.
The Security Council heard from the head of the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on Monday (October 22) that security had improved in Darfur and UNAMID was continuing to focus on early warning, preventive measures, capacity-building and efforts to address the root causes of conflicts. However, the political process was still not making the necessary process. (See article)
The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Commission said this week that 2258 fighters in West Darfur State had been integrated into the community. Commissioner Salah al-Tayeb said the total number of the demobilized in West Darfur State had reached 3,700 fighters. The Commission has launched numerous projects to support peace and stability including police stations, schools, farming projects, water supply stations, rural courts, livelihood projects and vocational training centers. Earlier this year, the Commission said a total of 8,000 from the armed groups, the Sudanese army and the Popular Defense forces were reintegrated in 2017.
Ambassador Sahlework Zewde elected Ethiopia’s new President
The House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of Federation, in a joint session held on Thursday (October 25), elected Ambassador Sahlework Zewde as the 4th President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the country’s first female president.
President Sahlework took up her new post following the resignation of Dr. Mulatu Teshome who served for the last five years, and after being sworn in, promised to work hard to make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia. She told members of Parliament that if they thought she was talking too much about women, she had only just begun. There might now be male-female parity in the new cabinet but elsewhere there was still a long way to go. Pledging her honor, the 68-year-old promised to promote peace and make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia. She said, “We have no other option than peace to realize the vision of building a great nation.” She added: “I urge you all, to uphold our peace, in the name of a mother, who is the first to suffer from the absence of peace.” Using the occasion to highlight the plight of mothers and women in Ethiopia, she urged the lawmakers to work towards building a society that rejects oppression of women. “If the reform now launched in the country is led by the equal participation and benefit of men and women, I believe Ethiopia will get out of poverty,” she said.
President Sahlework noted that the reforms now in train were complex and could be expected to face multiple challenges, stressing that the joint efforts and unity of the government and other political parties were required to overcome these. She thanked the former President Mulatu Teshome, who resigned from his post today, for the services he has given for the country during the past years. “We should learn from President Mulatu how to give a chance for the reform,” she said, adding “I hope other leadership at all levels will follow suit.”
President Sahlework is Ethiopia’s first female head of state of the modern era, though the Empress Zewditu was ruler between 1916 and 1930. The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, said on social media that “in a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life”.
President Sahlework, a natural sciences graduate of the University of Montpellier in France, brings a wealth of experience to her position. She has been a career diplomat who most recently held the position of Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. In 2011, Ambassador Sahlework was appointed to the position of Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) by the then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the rank of Under-Secretary-General. She previously served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea, between 1989 and 1993.She was Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) (1993-2002); Ambassador to France and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and accredited to Tunisia and Morocco (2002-2006), and then Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic. She also served as Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and as Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa (2006-2009).
UN Secretary General António Guterres congratulated Ethiopia’s newly elected president. He also hailed the measures the government has taken to increase the involvement of women minsters. He said the newly elected female president is a step forward to Ethiopians to ensure gender equality. The African continent is leading the way in showcasing that women’s engagement and leadership are crucial to lasting peace, he added. The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat also welcomed the election of Sahle-Work Zewde as the new President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia by the Ethiopian parliament. He said, “This election is a landmark in many respects. It is the first time in Ethiopia’s long and proud history that a woman is assuming this elected high office”. UK’s Minister of State for Africa tweeted her congratulations and described her election as “A welcome sign of Ethiopia’s commitment to empowering women as part of the political reform process, following the appointment of a gender balanced cabinet.”
President Dr. Mulatu at the Partnership for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030 Summit
President Dr. Mulatu Teshome addressed the participants of the first Partnership for Green Growth (P4G) and the Global Goals 2030 Summit on Saturday (October 20). The summit was held in Copenhagen, at the end of last week (October 19-20) under the theme “Global Leadership for a Sustainable Future”. P4G was officially launched in September 2017 by Ethiopia, Denmark, Chile, Colombia, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, and Vietnam.
Dr. Mulatu, underlining that Ethiopia was working towards building a zero- carbon and climate resilient middle-income economy by 2025, briefed the Summit on its firm policy of realizing a national development strategy within which environmental protection and the issues of climate change mitigation were a central element. “Green growth, protection of the environment and sustainable development are important components of our strategy’ he stressed, adding
Ethiopia was working diligently to translate its vision of combating the adverse consequences of climate change into action on the basis of four pillars of its green economy strategy. These were: Improving crop and livestock production practices to increase food yields, leading to food security and stable farmer incomes while reducing emissions; protecting and re-establishing forests for their economic and ecosystem services, including operation as carbon stocks; expanding electric power generation from renewable sources of energy five-fold for markets at home and in neighboring countries; and leap-frogging to modern and energy-efficient technologies in transport, industry, and buildings. Ethiopia, he said, had given special focus to increasing resilience to climate change by investing in clean energy from renewable sources and modern and efficient technologies as well as by modernizing livestock and conducting climate smart agriculture. The government had invested on public transport, including a construction of an electrified rail line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, one of the critical steps to pursue the principles of Green Economy.
The President affirmed that Ethiopia welcomed the P4G partnership commitment to reach the ambitious targets set out in the sustainable development goals in the five P4G areas of focus. These are food and agriculture, water, energy, cities and circular economy, the key sectors for climate vulnerable countries like Ethiopia. He said, “As one of the most vulnerable countries, Ethiopia can clearly see that the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, and the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, require that we must transcend any business-as-usual approach. Putting these goals into action through properly directed and mutually supportive implementation strategies is vital”. He emphasized Ethiopia attached great importance to climate change, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. He said: “Our Constitution and the 1997 Environmental Policy provide a broad constitutional and policy basis by recognizing the right to live in a clean and healthy environment and guarantees the peoples of Ethiopia ‘the right to sustainable development.’” He also stressed that Ethiopia foreign policy focused on sustained economic development, prosperity, promotion of democracy and peace as the pillars of the nation’s objectives, and “Guided by this policy and our Growth and Transformation Plans, we have succeeded to achieve double digit economic growth for about the last 15 years.”
President Dr. Mulatu made it clear that the challenges posed by environmental degradation affected every corner of the globe. Nations needed to collaborate to avert the negative effects of climate change which were causing damage on hard-won development gains, and to promote common interests. He stressed the need to change the usual business model and follow low carbon, climate-resilient, sustainable development. He also underlined that such initiatives demanded significant finance and investment, adding that fostering partnerships between governments, institutions and businesses for global green growth were indispensable.
The President also noted, in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of July 2015 which promote enhanced global collaboration and Private Public Partnerships, the importance of involving the private sector had been given a pivotal place in the heart of Ethiopia’s development plans. He said: “The government is making every effort to engage the private sector and non-state actors in renewable energy, agriculture and sustainable industry development,” and emphasized the need for global partnership and cooperation to overcome climate change. He said: “Global partnerships and cooperation should provide adequate support for low-carbon development and the creation of resilient societies and ecosystems that give assurance no one is being left behind”. Ethiopia, he said, would create a carbon neutral economy, reducing emissions by 64 percent by 2030, adding, “We need to take bold actions and our partners need to support those actions”.
The President stressed that international commitments must be translated to a national perspective. He called on countries to revisit their policies across each sector of their economies. “This”, he said, “is where key policy decisions, guided by the internationally shared vision and agenda, get to be reshaped and redesigned”. Increased international political momentum must be translated to national governance. “If Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like us can resolve to create a carbon neutral economy, surely better placed nations can and should do much more.” He underlined that it needed a concerted effort to tackle the challenges and to tap the opportunities, concluding: “There is no time for shrinking responsibility. We owe this to our citizens, businesses, local governments and non-governmental organizations. Let us leave Copenhagen with a promising future for our common security and survival.”
On the sidelines of the summit, President Dr. Mulatu met Queen Margrethe, and other Danish officials including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. His discussions with the Prime Minister covered issues of common interest including strengthening bilateral relation, development cooperation and technical support in the areas of climate change and gender equality. The President urged the Prime Minister to encourage investors from Denmark to invest in Ethiopia to enhance and consolidate the investment and trade ties between the two nations.
President Mulatu met also with the CEOs of Danish big companies like the wind energy company Vestas and Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company. Maersk has indicated its interest to invest in Ethiopia and it plans to send a delegation to Addis Ababa next month. Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, and the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, also signed an agreement expanding the Danish-Ethiopian strategic sector cooperation and partnership on energy. The “Accelerating Wind Power Generation” program which started in 2017 will now run to the end of 2020. Denmark will increase financial support to the program contributing another 7 million DKK to the sustainable development of the Ethiopian energy sector with modern wind energy. The program supports the expansion of wind energy in Ethiopia as an important supplement to the country’s large hydropower reserves, mobilizing the private partner of the Ethiopian energy supply chain, and provides financial support for expansion for further growth and development in the country, using Danish experience it offers a quick and cost-efficient process of large-scale wind power projects.
The celebration of the United Nations Day
The celebration of the United Nations Day was celebrated worldwide this week on Wednesday (October 24). The day, which marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter, was celebrated at the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa in the presence of State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Hirut Zemene, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ethiopia, Aeneas Chapinga Chuma and members of the international community, diplomatic corps and invited guests. The United Nations has brought together the nations of the world to consider and develop the common concerns of humanity such as international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment and providing humanitarian aid in cases of natural and man-made calamities. It serves as a unique platform for exchanging dialogue on all major global concerns.
State Minister Hirut said Ethiopia, as a founding member of the Union Nations and currently the seat for 28 resident UN Agencies including UNECA, has always attached great importance to the work of the organization. Ethiopia, she said, had contributed its part to the ethos of the organization through the deployment of the largest force to UN peace keeping across the globe. As a current non-permanent member of the UNSC, it is playing an important role in global peace and security matters, as well as voicing the particular concerns of Africa.
The State Minister underlined that Ethiopia was keenly following the reforms being undertaken by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, adding: “We also strongly support the agreement reached between the United Nations and the African Union for their partnership agreement to cooperate for the realization of achieving Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063”. The two agendas intersect in their purposes as both advocate for “people centered, integrated and of inclusive growth as well as sustainable development and shared common priorities for Africa’s transformation.” Their joint activities and programs for effective implementation will undoubtedly help deliver the goal of the two agendas. Mrs. Hirut also confirmed Ethiopia’s support for strengthening the joint effort and the reforms undertaken by the UN.
As submitted in the 2017 Voluntary National Reviews on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ethiopia has strongly endorsed the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development with full sense of national ownership. The 2030 Agenda and its SDGs are now aligned with the national development framework, the Second Five Year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II). Mrs. Hirut commended the United Nations for its Development Assistance Framework support to Ethiopia in its efforts to achieve the SDGs. She said: “Let us hold high the spirit of partnership for communities of the world nations, and multilateralism as a viable approach for the good of humanity. “.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ethiopia, Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, speaking on behalf of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Every day, the women and men of the United Nations work to give practical meaning to the Charter; despite the odds and the obstacles, we never give up. Extreme poverty is being reduced but we see inequality growing. Yet we don’t give up because we know by reducing inequality, we increase hope and opportunity and peace around the world.” Climate change, he said, was moving fast and the only path to follow was climate action. He added, “Human rights are being violated in so many places. But we don’t give up because we know respect for human rights and human dignity is a basic condition for peace. Conflicts are multiplying. People are suffering but we don’t give up because we know every man, woman and child deserve a life of peace.” He reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to repair broken trust, heal the planet, leave no one behind and to uphold dignity for one and all.
UN Day in Addis Ababa was also marked by key activities including a UN flag raising ceremony, performances by the Ethiopian police band, and the Youth Dance for Peace, an Ethiopian youth group whose central theme was peace in the minds of African youth.
An open meeting on Silencing the Guns held in New York
Ethiopia, along with other African members of the Security Council, Côte D’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, and South Africa as incoming member of the Security Council as well as the African Union organized an Open Arria Formula meeting on ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’ on 19th October 2018. The meeting, which was co-sponsored by other Security Council members, Bolivia, China, France, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Poland and Sweden, was held under the theme “Silencing the Guns in Africa: How Can the UN Support Africa in Creating a Continent Free of Conflict?”.
Ambassador Fatima Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations and Ms. Bience Gawanas, the Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Africa, briefed the meeting about the African Union Roadmap for ‘Silencing the Guns’ by 2020. They also provided updates on the recently concluded African Union High Level Workshop on ‘Silencing the Guns’ held in Addis Ababa earlier in the month as well as recommendations on the way forward to achieve the objectives of the AU Roadmap.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the exchange of views among members of the Security Council and non-members in exploring challenges and prospects for creating a conflict free Africa. Participants of the meeting underlined the need to strengthen the strategic partnership between the UN and AU in addressing the root causes of conflicts. The international community should continue to look for ways to bolster cooperation with the African Union, other regional organizations, and individual African states to prevent and mitigate humanitarian crises, and where possible, resolve conflicts, and prevent displacement of populations. Strong African leadership and commitments to addressing the underlying causes of violence will facilitate this cooperation.
Discussions also covered ways of enhancing collaboration and coordination in preventive diplomacy, mediation efforts and early warning of conflict, how to garner increased and predictable support to the AU Peace Support Operations, forging an integrated approach through increased synergy between development and security, promoting the role of women and youth and enhancing support to build the capacity of the AU. Participants emphasized the importance of pursuing the principle of African Solutions to African Problems in realizing the goals laid out in the Roadmap.
Nevertheless, they also emphasized that ending wars and silencing guns in Africa was not the sole responsibility of African governments. This was also the responsibility of the international community, in particular of the United Nations. The Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping was another good initiative and regional organizations such as the AU had a central role in tackling the existing challenges to peacekeeping. The importance of increased financial support for AU peacekeeping was also stressed. The role of the AU in peace operations in Africa was essential, but the AU could not do this alone. There were clear indications of the need for increased support for AU peacekeeping. This should include discussions on a different mode of financing between the UN and the AU, translating words into action. Sustainable, predictable and flexible financing would enhance the effectiveness of AU peacekeeping.
Collective efforts to curb illicit trafficking of weapons, corruption, bad governance and weak security and justice institutions, among others, were also emphasized as central areas for cooperation between the UN and the AU as part of efforts to meet the objectives of Silencing the Guns, Agenda 2030 and AU Agenda 2063, and addressing the root causes of conflict in Africa.
At the request of the African Union Peace and Security Council, the African members of the Security Council intend to table a draft resolution on ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’ with a view to mobilizing support from the United Nations towards implementation of the African Union Roadmap on ‘Silencing the Guns’. The draft resolution will be tabled during Equatorial Guinea’s Presidency of the Security Council in February.
Security Council briefed on UNAMID and security improvement in Darfur
Jeremiah Mamabolo, Joint Representative and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), briefed the UN Security Council via video link on the situation in Darfur on Monday this week (October 22). He also presented the latest 90-day report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID operations. Mr. Mamabolo stressed that with the Council’s July adoption of resolution 2429 (2018), UNAMID had embarked in earnest on its reconfiguration and drawdown, while monitoring the impact on security and the protection of civilians. UNAMID was on course to reducing its military component by 3,265 personnel by December 2018 and another 1,420 by June 2019, he said, adding that civilian posts would also be eliminated, while the police component will maintain an overall strength of 2,500 personnel. He said: “So far, we have not witnessed any adverse impact.”
UNAMID’s redefined priorities were the protecting civilians, monitoring and reporting on human rights, facilitating humanitarian assistance, mediating inter-communal conflicts and addressing the root causes of the conflict, as well as mediating to advance the peace process between the Government and non-signatory armed movements. He said it was meeting the benchmarks for the mission’s exit, as proposed by the Secretary-General. The UN country team in Sudan was working to a concept “based on a holistic United Nations system collaboration through joint analysis, planning and delivery with the aim of achieving stabilization to avoid relapse into conflict”. This had been developed in conversations with the Government of Sudan.
Mr. Mamabolo noted the relatively calm security situation in Darfur, though there were places in the Jebel Marra area where armed conflict continued between the Government and rebel forces, as well as low-level inter-communal clashes over land and livestock. He said UNAMID was focusing on efforts to address the root causes of conflict, in collaboration with the Government and the United Nations country team. Humanitarian partners continued to provide aid despite conflict and limited resources. The focus now, he added, must be on “building the capacity of the Government of Sudan to deal squarely with these challenges and to discharge its primary responsibility of protecting civilians and IDPs, providing security, addressing lack of confidence in reporting cases to authorities and lack of adequate law enforcement authorities and inability to provide basic social services.” UNAMID was, he said, continuing capacity-building efforts in the criminal justice field, and discussions are under way to establish an outpost of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Sudan.
In terms of political developments, Mr. Mamabolo noted that implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur remained slow, though as Joint Mediator, he continued to engage with the Government and the non-signatory movements. He said all efforts to bring the Abdul Wahid Nour faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) into the peace process had failed so far. He urged the Council to support stern measures against Mr. Nour.
In the subsequent discussion, Security Council members welcomed the overall calm in Darfur despite continuing clashes and inter-communal violence. There was also concern over the lack of progress in the peace process and calls for greater pressure on recalcitrant movements and more international support to assist the Government’s weapons-collection programs, especially in the Jebel Marra area. Speakers supported the full implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur and for complete adherence to the ceasefire agreement by all parties. Some wanted to see sanctions imposed against movements that refused to return to negotiations. It was suggested that still-active armed groups had no incentive to pursue peace because their illegal activities in neighboring States allowed them to profit from their activities. They should be considered as transnational organized criminal groups and the arms embargo on Sudan should be lifted in order to enable Sudan to protect its borders effectively. Speakers also supported the Secretary-General’s benchmarks for UNAMID’s exit.
Sudan’s representative said that in concert with his country’s security measures, the main benchmark allowing UNAMID’s exit, an overall improvement in the security and humanitarian situation, had nearly been achieved. He pledged the Government’s continued leadership of the peace-building phase in Darfur. To help the Government, he said, Sudan’s partners should fulfill their pledges to support the necessary development and stability efforts. He called upon the Council to take action against Abdul Wahid Nour, and asked neighboring States to prevent the group from threatening the gains already made in Darfur.
The Seventh Ethio-Canada Bilateral Consultation Forum
The Seventh Bilateral Consultative Forum between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Global Affairs Ministry of Canada was held in Ottawa on Thursday and Friday last week (October 18-19). The Ethiopian delegation was led by Mr. Nebiat Getachew, Director General for American Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Canadian delegation by Mr. Marc-André Fredette, Director General for Sub-Saharan Africa in Global Affairs of Canada.
The Ethiopian delegation also held discussions with Mr. Ian Shugart, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada and Ms. Leslie Norton, Assistant Deputy Minister for Sub-Saharan Africa Division, on issues of mutual interest. The two delegations held a productive meeting in what they described as a warm, friendly and brotherly atmosphere. They discussed ways and means to further promote bilateral ties, explored opportunities to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and exchanged views on national, regional and international issues of common interest. Mr. Shugart and Ms. Norton have expressed their appreciation to Ethiopia’s sweeping reforms and have expressed Canada’s readiness to support Ethiopia’s regional peace and development initiatives.
Warmly welcoming the Ethiopian Delegation to the Consultation Forum, Mr. Fredette emphasized the current reform in Ethiopia demonstrated the strong commitment of both the public and the government. He praised the steps taken to widen the political space and to review the anti-terrorism, CSO and media proclamations, as well as economic reforms in terms of partial privatization of major public institutions and the bold initiatives including a gender-balanced cabinet. It showed the government’s seriousness to implement reform. Mr. Fredette underlined Canada’s keenness to support institutionalization of the reforms.
On regional issues, the Canadian side expressed its appreciation of the Ethio-Eritrea peace deal and subsequent developments. It commended Ethiopia’s intervention in Somalia and South Sudan, both for involvement in peace keeping actions but because of the proactive engagement in state building as a means to ensure the sustainability of the process. The delegation said that Canada considered Ethiopia as dependable partner in these respects and stressed it would continue to support AMISOM’s work for realization of peace and security in the region.
Discussions covered ongoing Canadian development assistance to Ethiopia. Both sides noted the importance of strengthening development cooperation by aligning projects with their national strategic plans. Canada expressed its continued support for inclusive governance, the growth of agricultural and extractive industries, food security, women and youth entrepreneurship and reproductive health programs. It underlined its willingness to expand support in climate change, technical and vocational science education, justice and other sectors.
The two sides agreed on the significance of expanding their commercial relationship by building up the capacity of Ethiopia’s export sector to effectively utilize Canada’s General Preferential Tariff and Least Developed Country Tariff programs. They also emphasized the importance of promoting the flow of investment and underlined the potential for investment in areas of infrastructure through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and the need to restart negotiations to sign the Foreign Investment and Protection Agreement (FIPA).
The meeting also stressed the like-mindedness of the two countries in global issues and the need for maintenance of the existing strong cooperation in multilateral fora. It considered how to proceed with the co-hosting of the preparatory meeting of UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference to be held next year.
In conclusion, both sides agreed the Consultation Forum had been fruitful in evaluating the status of their bilateral and multilateral relations as well as in identifying potential areas of future cooperation in political and economic sectors.
A seminar considers the recent Beijing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
The Center for Dialogue, Research and Cooperation (CRDC) in collaboration with the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the African Union organized a seminar on “The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit 2018: a New Blueprint for a Win-win Cooperation and Common Development” in Addis Ababa on Wednesday last week (October 17).Keynote speeches were made by Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, former Ambassador of Ethiopia to China; Ambassador Liu Yuxi, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the African Union; Dr. Nadine Elhakim, Advisor to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Tsegab Kebebew, Director General for Asian Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Robert Lisinge from UNECA.
The FOCAC Summit produced two outcome documents, the Beijing Declaration- “Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future” and the Beijing Action Plan 2018-21. China’s President Xi underlined the modalities of “building a shared future” between China and Africa, including joint responsibility involving increased political and policy dialogue at various levels, win-win cooperation participating in the major opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative, shared happiness with cooperation delivering real benefits to both China and Africa, pursuing cultural prosperity, a focus on common security with China supporting African countries to strengthen their independent capacity for safeguarding stability and peace, and promoting the environment, working to pursue green, low-carbon, sustainable development. He also launched eight major initiatives for the next three years aimed to build an even closer China-African community with a shared future. These covered: industrial promotion. Infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people to people exchange, and peace and security.
FOCAC was established in 2000 by China in collaboration with African countries and has since been the main platform for collective consultation and dialogue on political, economic and socio-cultural cooperation. It has mechanisms for regular consultations, including meetings of African diplomats in China with the Chinese Follow-up Committee and sub-forums on business, youth, health and poverty reduction, and other areas to facilitate the objectives of FOCAC – “equal consultation, enhance understanding between high-level officials, expand consensus and promote cooperation between China and Africa.” This also means “no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths”; “no interference in internal affairs”; “no imposition of China’s will on African countries”; “no attachment of political strings to assistance”; and “no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa”. These are the five ‘no’s’ that President Xi underlined in Beijing.
FOCAC has proved to be a productive and effective mechanism in boosting China-Africa cooperation, operating through the principles of sincerity, practicality, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice, and shared interests. Based on clear time-bound action plans, with projects proposed by African countries based on their needs, and selected through rigorous assessment of economic feasibility, FOCAC’s effectiveness can be attributed to adequate funding. It has become a comprehensive platform that covers industrialization, agricultural modernization, financing, green development, people-to-people exchanges, and security. It is also harmonized with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and African countries’ own development plans, most recently through the Belt and Road Initiative.
China has provided development financing for various infrastructure projects – it has laid more than 5000 kilometers of railway and built over 5000 kilometers of highways in Africa through aid or financing and trained more than 160,000 Africans. In 2016 alone China awarded 10,036 scholarships to students from African countries. It has sent over 20,000 medical workers to the continent since 1963 and some 200 million African people have benefitted from the medical services of Chinese medical teams in Africa. China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for the last nine years and Africa is China’s third largest overseas investment market and second largest overseas project market. Bilateral trade between China and Africa increased from $765 million in 1978 to $170 billion in 2017.
In his opening keynote address, Ambassador Seyoum underlined the timeliness of the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan. These provided for a new type of strategic development based on equality, cooperation and a win-win accord. China/Africa relations were positive, he emphasized, based on a mutually beneficial framework. The Belt and Road Initiative could be integrated with both Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063. The Beijing Action Plan, with $60 billion of financing as well as concessional loans and debt rescheduling, demonstrated the importance of the Africa/China relationship.
Ambassador Yuxi also emphasized that FOCAC provided a new blueprint of unity, cooperation and development; a new type of relationship. China, he stressed, was a colleague, a producer of synergy for development. The summit opened a new era for China Africa cooperation and it had included more than 100 bilateral multilateral meetings and over 130 cooperation agreements. Ambassador Yuxi emphasized consistency with the SDGs, and with Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063, and that the Beijing Declaration and Action Plan would strengthen co-op in industry, trade, investment, energy, agriculture, environmental protection, people to people exchanges, health and more.
Ato Tsegab noted that while Ethiopia and China’s relations from the early 1970s had featured various economic and technical cooperation and trade agreements, it was the establishment of FOCAC in 2000 that had significantly strengthened relations. Since then China had become Ethiopia’s largest trading partner and a key supporter of its infrastructure development and FDI.
And Ethiopia, a credible and reliable partner of China, was fully and vigorously committed to the relationship. It would continue the close consultations it has with China across all areas and sectors.
The focus of FOCAC on infrastructure, industrialization, agricultural modernization, trade and investment, poverty reduction, green development and similar issues all aligned with Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plans. China supports Ethiopia in taking a development path that meets Ethiopia’s own national conditions. It sees Ethiopia as an important cooperation partner. The two countries have upgraded their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation Partnership to allow for deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation and support on issues involving core interests and major concerns. Following an agreement on Production Capacity Cooperation in 2015 to drive forward industrial cooperation, Ethiopia became one of the four African countries selected for China-Africa industrial cooperation demonstration. Public and private Chinese enterprises partnered with the government in the development of the first industrial park in the country, the Eastern Industrial Park, completed in 2012. Today Chinese industrial park developers and enterprises continue to participate in the construction, development and activity in industrial parks.
China has played a critical role in Ethiopia’s infrastructure development, in power generation and transmission cooperation projects, railway infrastructure development, including the Addis-Djibouti railway and the Addis light railway, providing loans for the expansion of Bole International Airport, and other projects include petroleum; mineral and potash exploration, and the building of a gas pipeline. In trade and investment the two countries enjoy robust cooperative relations. By 2017, total Chinese FDI inflow to Ethiopia had reached 23.4 billion birr and had created over 120,000 permanent and temporary jobs. China had also become the second largest destination for Ethiopia’s agricultural export items. Ethiopia sees the massive Belt and Road Initiative as an extension of the FOCAC and a means to intensify mutual efforts in connectivity and infrastructure. With the normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, there will be ample opportunities to extend links further in road, railway, and port infrastructure projects in collaboration with China.
Ato Tsegab also noted that there were some areas of cooperation that countries like Ethiopia had not fully utilized. Tourism, he said, was once such area. Chinese out-bound tourists exceeded 145 million last year and are expected to reach 400 million in 2030. Ethiopia had not done enough to attract Chinese tourists by way of providing adequate facilities and marketing. Ethiopian Airlines wanted to expand its flight destinations in China, and that would deepen people-to-people contacts and tourism relations. He said countries like Ethiopia should focus on managerial and operational skills and capacity building for existing infrastructure to make these more effective and efficient. The construction of infrastructure, per se, was not sufficient; there was also the need for knowledge transfer and focused capacity-building activity.