News in brief
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed visits South Korea…
… attends the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7)
…and the TICAD 7 Special Conference on Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa
Foreign Minister Gedu holds talks with Japanese Investors
AU Commissioner for Peace and Security: “a unique opportunity for peace in Sudan”
The 8th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa
Africa and the African Union A three-year USAID project to support and advance economic reforms
The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) was held in Yokohama, Japan this week (August 28-30). The conference held under the theme “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation” attended by 50 heads of state and ministers from Africa, was co-hosted by the United Nations, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank and African Union Commission (AUC). (See article)
The Eighth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA VIII) was held in Addis Ababa this week (August 28-30) under the theme; “Stepping Up Climate Action for Resilient Economies in Africa”. The Conference, bringing together Africa’s climate stakeholders, also examined Africa’s Nationally Determined Contributions and define additional actionable climate interventions to alleviate the impacts of climate change on ordinary people. (See article)
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, has announced it is mobilizing a further $55.9 million for emergency humanitarian funding to help people hit by drought in Somalia ($27.9 million); Ethiopia ($22.3 million); Kenya ($3.3 million); and Uganda ($2.2) million to fight famine. It is estimated that 13 million people need emergency food assistance due to drought caused by two consecutive poor rainy seasons. This year’s rainy season in the Horn of Africa was among the three driest on record and comes just a year after the end of the major drought in 2016-2017. The emergency funding makes total European Union humanitarian aid to the region $410 million since 2018.
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed made a two-day official visit to South Korea this week (August 25-27), during which he held talks with President Moon Jae-In, attended an Ethiopian-Korean Business Forum, laid a wreath at the Seoul National Cemetery, and met with officials and business leaders as well as members of the Ethiopian Diaspora in Seoul. The Prime Minister’s delegation included Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew and Minister of Technology and Innovation, Dr. Engineer Getahun. (See article)
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed led the Ethiopian delegation to the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7). The Ethiopian delegation included Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew and the Ministers of Science and Innovation, and of Water, Irrigation and Energy as well as the State Ministers of Finance and Health. (See article)
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held bilateral discussions on Thursday (August 29). Dr. Abiy briefed Prime Minister Abe on Ethiopia’s ongoing political and economic reforms, geared towards making Ethiopia one of the leading economies in Africa. He invited Japanese companies to be part of this initiative and urged them to invest in Ethiopia’s various attractive sectors. He took the opportunity to request Mr. Abe to facilitate work opportunities for Ethiopian skilled youth in Japan. Prime Minister Abe underlined his support for the domestic reforms being undertaken and acknowledged the role of Ethiopia in promoting peace with Eritrea, in South Sudan and the Sudan.
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed congratulated President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for signing a peace agreement last week aimed at easing tensions between their countries. The Prime Minister hoped the pact would pave the way to strengthen regional cooperation and collective development.
The Hessian Peace Prize 2019 has been awarded to Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed. The award, given annually by the German State of Hesse to people who have rendered “outstanding services to international understanding and peace”, and announced on Tuesday (August 27), is given in recognition of Dr. Abiy’s achievements since taking office. It listed these as initiating political and economic reforms, releasing dissidents, firing corrupt officials and sealing a historic reconciliation through the conclusion of a peace treaty with Eritrea. The award ceremony is due to take place on September 23 in Hesse.
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed received the UK Secretary of State for International Development, Alok Sharma on Friday (August 23). Mr. Sharma, who appreciated the government’s reform program, affirmed the continued support of the UK Government to Ethiopia. The previous day, Mr. Sharma visited the Unilever Ethiopia factory in the Dukem Eastern Industrial Park, Oromia regional state.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew participated in the TICAD 7 Ministerial Preparatory Meeting on Tuesday (August 27). The ministerial-level discussion reviewed the contents of the “Yokohama Declaration 2019 and the “Yokohama Plan of Action 2019”, and presented it to the leaders to be adopted at the TICAD 7 Summit. (See article)
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gedu Andargachew, and other members of the Ethiopian delegation to TICAD held talks with Japanese investors on Tuesday this week (August 27). (See article)
A three-year project to support Ethiopia’s economic reform agenda was announced on Friday last week (August 23). The new project called “Advancing Economic Diversification in Ethiopia,” was launched by US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Michael Raynor, in the presence of the Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, Dr. Yinager Dessie. (See article)
The visiting UK Secretary of State for International Development, Alok Sharma and State Minister of Finance, Admasu Nebebe, signed a £120 million grant to Ethiopia on Friday (August 23). About £95 million of the total funding will be used to finance Strengthening Climate Resilient System for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Service (SCRS-WaSH); £25 million will be used to finance phase 4 of the Ethiopian Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), to increase access to safety net and disaster risk management systems, complementary livelihoods services and nutrition support for food insecure households in rural Ethiopia.
On the side-lines of TICAD 7, an Ethio-Japan Business Seminar was held on Friday (August 30). Organized by the Ethiopian Embassy in Japan, it showcased the business and investment climate, progress on industrial parks and integrated agro-industrial parks, export promotion and future prospects. It allowed for extensive business-to-business and government-to-government discussions. Forty representatives of private companies from Ethiopia attended the Seminar, among them Gift Real State, Waryt Mulutila International, Technostyle Plc, Yohannes Abbay Consulting Architects and Engineers and Mullege Plc as well as the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said on Tuesday (August 27) that Armenia planned to open a diplomatic mission in Ethiopia by the end of this year. He told a
a conference of ambassadors and heads of diplomatic departments that Armenia was establishing close cooperation with Ethiopia, “a historical friend’ as a way of opening up a new direction into Africa.
The European Union-funded ‘SWITCH Africa Green’ program has launched its first three-year project in Ethiopia with 99.4 million birr, to support the country’s Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy. The program supports African countries in transition to an inclusive green economy and promotes a shift to Sustainable Consumption and Production practices. It is implemented by the United Nations Environment Program and EU in partnership with 7 African countries, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, and Uganda.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia expressed its deepest condolences over the passing of Ambassador Dr. Kassa Gebrehiwot, who served his country as an Ambassador to the Russian Federation as well as Commissioner of the Ethiopia Human Rights Commission.
President Ismail Omar Guelleh met the Speakers of the Upper and Lower Houses of the Somali parliament visiting Djibouti at his invitation at the weekend. They discussed bilateral relations, cooperation and the security of Somalia. President Guelleh pledged support to the Somali government’s efforts to rebuild the country and restore peace and stability. The Speakers also met the Speaker of the Djibouti parliament, Mohamed Ali Mohamed, to consider ways to increase cooperation between the Somali and Djibouti parliaments.
A delegation of Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab met South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Thursday last week (August 22) and delivered a message from President Isaias focussing on measures for strengthening bilateral ties and mechanisms for regional integration and economic and political relations between South Sudan and Eritrea. President Salva Kiir stressed Eritrea’s long-standing solidarity with South Sudan and welcomed the contents of President Isaias’ message. The two sides agreed on follow-up measures to boost bilateral and regional ties.
An Eritrean delegation of Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab met Lt. General Abdul-Fattah Al-Burhan, Chair of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council on Thursday last week (August 22). The delegation delivered a message from President Isaias, congratulating the people of Sudan on an historic achievement which would contribute to advancing regional cooperation and “cementing bilateral relations in its all political, economic, social and cultural aspects”. General al-Burhan said consolidating ties with Eritrea was a cornerstone of Sudanese foreign policy, and Sudan would closely coordinate with Eritrea to strengthen regional cooperation.
The Eritrean delegation also met Prime Minister Dr. Abdalla Hamdok. The two sides stressed their readiness to benefit from the vast opportunities created by positive changes in Sudan to develop comprehensive bilateral cooperation. The Prime Minister said ending conflict and making peace was a key priority for Sudan and called for support from Eritrea and neighboring countries.
President Kenyatta flagging off Kenya’s first crude oil export, of 200,000 barrels to Malaysia on Monday (August 26), said more resources would be devoted to upgrade infrastructure to improve transport of oil to the port. Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes said plans were underway to have a pipeline between Turkana and Lamu Port. Tullow Oil Kenya B.V and partners Africa Oil and Total estimate that Kenya’s onshore fields in Turkana hold 560 million barrels of oil and expects them to produce up to 100,000 barrels per day from 2022.
President Mohamed Abdullahi left for Yokohama, Japan, to attend the TICAD Conference on Monday (August 26) heading a delegation that included the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Ahmed Isse Awad, the Minister of Finance, Abdirahman Duale Bayle and the Chief of Staff of the Presidency, Nur Dirie Hersi.
Leaders of the International Federation of Journalists met President Mohamed Abdullahi on Friday last week (August 23) to discuss the safety and security of journalists, professionalism and the right to freedom of association. President Abdullahi expressed the total commitment of his government to protect freedom of expression and of association; he encouraged the IFJ to help their Somali colleagues enhance their professional ethics in order to ensure responsible journalism. IFJ President Younes Mjahed, pointing out the horrendous challenges journalists in Somalia and their union, NUSOJ, had to endure for many years, welcomed the unequivocal commitment by the President to turn the page and carry through the State’s obligation of ensuring journalists’ safety.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday (August 28) announced the appointment of Adam Abdelmoula of Sudan as his Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
The UN Security Council on Wednesday (August 28) rejected a Kenya-backed resolution to list Al-Shabaab as a terrorist organization. Instead, it urged the Kenyan Government to implement existing Security Council resolutions targeting al-Shabaab including the ban on the charcoal trade out of Somalia.
President, Salva Kiir on a two-day state visit to Uganda briefed President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday (August 25) on the progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement, and on the formation of the national army. The Minister for the Presidency, Mayiik Ayii Deng and the Director general of External Security, Thomas Duoth, accompanied President Kiir. Their talks focused on regional cooperation and security, and among the items discussed was construction of the Yei-Kaya highway, a major trade route, connecting South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project is being funded by the Ugandan government.
At the end of his visit to Uganda, President Kiir urged Southern Sudanese refugees in Uganda to return home. He said: “Now the guns are almost silent. The forces that are still resistant are not a big threat. I welcome all those that are willing to return home to participate in the transitional government before the national elections that are underway for people to take a decision on who is to lead them.” The UN estimated the number of South Sudan refugees in Uganda had reached over a million in 2017.
Petroleum Minister, Awow Daniel Chuang, said last week that South Sudan was seeking a boost in oil exploration after it discovered new oil well in the Adar oilfield. He said the government would continue its oil search in other parts of the country to increase production levels.
Prime Minister Hamdok agreed with the ruling coalition Forces for Freedom and Change on Wednesday (August 28) to postpone the formation of his transitional cabinet for 48 hours. He expressed some reservations over some nominees and the under-representation of women. The FFC had nominated 63 candidates, 49 for 14 ministerial portfolios and 14 for the four national councils, the Federal and Local Governing Council, Culture and Media Council, Higher Education and Scientific Research Council, Council of Religious Affairs. The military are nominating the Ministers of Defense, and Interior and the head of the General Intelligence Service. The Prime Minister has discretionary power to pick ministers from the nominations.
The African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergiu, and Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, briefed the UN Security Council on Sudan on Monday (August 26) and how recent events might impact the joint African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)UN/AU Mission in Darfur and its plans to complete drawdown by 2020. (See article)
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed visits South Korea…
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed made a two-day official visit to South Korea at the beginning of this week (August 25-27), during which he held talks with President Moon Jae-In, attended an Ethiopian-Korean Business Forum, laid a wreath at the Seoul National Cemetery for Korean veterans, and met with officials and business leaders as well as members of the Ethiopian Diaspora in Seoul. President Moon Jae-In held a state dinner in honour of the Prime Minister at which both leaders spoke of the historic ties that bind the peoples of Ethiopia and Korea. As the Korean Herald stressed: “Ethiopia is a time-honoured friend of South Korea as the sole African country that dispatched ground troops to join the UN forces against the invading North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War.” Of the 3,518 service members of the Kagnew Battalion, 122 were killed and 536 were wounded.
The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew and Minister of Technology and Innovation Dr. Engineer Getahun Mekuria and Dr. Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water,Irrigation and Energy, the first African leader to visit since President Moon came to office, and the first Ethiopian leader to travel to South Korea in eight years. He, himself, first visited South Korea in 20,13 as a member of a parliamentary delegation, and he headed the Association of South Korean and Ethiopian MPs for six years until becoming prime minister last year. The Prime Minister and his delegation commenced their visit by laying a wreath at the Seoul National Cemetery reserved for Korean veterans.
In his meeting with President Moon Jae-In, the two leaders discussed bilateral and other issues of mutual concern, and reached a consensus on elevating Ethio-South Korea relations to a strategic partnership. President Moon Jae-In expressed his appreciation for the sacrifice of Ethiopian soldiers who fought in Korean War; it was, he said, the basis for the current strong bilateral relations between the two countries. He supported the Ethiopian government’s reform efforts and expressed hope that South Korea’s government and businesses would be able to contribute to the country’s development. especially the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, to the democratization process and to measures taken to open up the economy. In addition to Korean grant and loan support, he said his administration was encouraging Korean investors to invest in Ethiopia. President Moon said South Korea was doing its best to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. He emphasized the importance of Ethiopia’s support for the peace process.
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy said Ethiopia firmly supported these aims and President Moon’s efforts toward building a peace regime on the peninsula, and he hoped to see the two Koreas improve their relations. The Prime Minister, who noted that relations between the two countries were forged in blood, also emphasized his wish for their own time-tested relations to develop into a strategic relationship and expanded practical cooperation in various sectors including trade and investment, development cooperation, forestry and the environment. He requested the South Korean government to triple its loans to Ethiopia and asked for South Korea to provide a legal framework for Ethiopian professionals to work in Korea. He also requested the Korean government to increase the number of scholarships for Ethiopian students who wished to study in South Korea.
To facilitate bilateral trade and investment, the leaders agreed on the need for an investment promotion and protection agreement. Dr. Abiy said Ethiopia was “getting lots of inspirations from South Korea’s development model” President Moon-Jae-In asked the Abiy administration to pay more attention to possible problems and other difficulties that South Korean firms faced while operating in Ethiopia. They agreed on the need to expand their traditional friendly ties to “mutually beneficial, substantive” cooperation in such sectors as trade, investment, development cooperation, forestry and environment and decided to launch a Joint Ministerial Committee to deepen their bilateral partnerships. This would seek “concrete ways for cooperation”. Under the agreed MoU, the committee will hold a session every two years with a focus on discussing how to strengthen cooperation in various fields, including politics, business, and consular affairs.
Following their talks, the two leaders presided over the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and a loan agreement. The MoUs covered the provision of a mutual waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic/official service passports, the establishment of a joint ministerial commission, and cooperation relating to standardization, certification, conformity assessment and technical regulations, and environmental cooperation. The loan agreement for $86 million provides for the establishment of a center of excellence for Adama Science and Technology University, and the supply of high-quality equipment to five research centers at the University to promote industrialization and development in science and technology in the country. Foreign Affairs Minister Gedu Andargachew, Minister of Technology and Innovation Dr. Getahun Mekuria, and State Minister of Finance Admasu Nebebe, signed the MoUs on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia.
During his visit, the Prime Minister held a series of meetings to consider development and investment in Ethiopia with South Korean Conglomerates as well as medium sized companies; Samsung electronics, Hyundai Motors, POSCO, LG Electronics, the Youngone corporation, Shin TS, and EKOS. He discussed “ongoing and potential new support” with Mr. EUN Sung-soo, Chairman of Export-Import Bank of Korea. The Bank’s support for currently ongoing projects in Ethiopia exceeds $600 million, and on Monday, South Korea and Ethiopia signed a US$300-million support agreement under the Korea-Ethiopia Economic Development Cooperation Fund that will be implemented during 2019 – 2020. Ethiopia is South Korea’s largest African partner in development cooperation.
The Prime Minister visited the Korea Institute for Science and Technology (KIST) where the delegation was briefed on the contribution of science and technology in building Korea’s economy. KIST collaborates with the Ministry of Science and Education and the Adama Science and Technology University. The Prime Minister expressed interest in collaborating to set up an institute like KIST in Ethiopia. He also met the President of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOIKA), Ms. Lee Mi-kyoung, to discuss further strengthening of support to Ethiopia. He expressed his appreciation of KOIKA’s development work in education, water and agriculture. KOIKA expressed interest to further develop the cooperation with Ethiopia in various areas.
The Prime Minister met the Executive Vice-President of Samsung, Mr. Won-Kyong Kim, and invited the multinational conglomerate to invest in Ethiopia and create a positive impact in the country and the region. Mr. Kim said he respected the economic reform policies currently underway and expressed interest in exploring the capacity for investing. He discussed with Hyundai motors expanding its assembly plant to start full operation and diversify products as there was an abundant labor force in Ethiopia. He explored the possibility of setting up steel works with POSCO to meet the current domestic demand in construction as well as to enable job creation. POSCO agreed to engage in a steel plant project and transfer technology to Ethiopia.
The Prime Minister opened the Ethiopia Korea Business Forum organized by the Ethiopian Embassy to South Korea to encourage Korean investment in Ethiopia, He shared the various activities being undertaken by his administration to create a conducive business environment for investment to thrive, the reforms in policies and laws in order to create favourable business environment and attract more foreign direct investment. Emphasizing the historic relations between the two countries, Dr. Abiy called on South Korean businesses to join in Ethiopia’s journey to prosperity. Yeon-ho Choi, President of the Korea-Africa Foundation, said Ethiopia is South Korea’s preferable country to expand its market share in Africa. Following the Business Forum, the delegation also visited LG Science Park and had a discussion with LG Electronics. During the discussion, the PM requested LG to open new mobile device production line in Ethiopia and to expand the vocational training center in order to provide graduation candidates with the opportunity to receive help building a business model and launching their own company.
South Korean media gave wide-ranging coverage of Dr. Abiy’s visit. The Korean Herald applauds the two countries for launching a Joint Ministerial Committee to deepen bilateral partnership. It noted the Committee would hold a session every two years with a focus on discussing the strengthening of cooperation in various fields, including politics, business, consular affairs, culture, technology, education and science.
Members of the Ethiopian community in Seoul and Korean Friends of Ethiopia warmly welcomed the Prime Minister and his delegation During his visit, the Prime Minister met with members of the Ethiopian community at a dinner reception organized by the Ethiopian Embassy to Korea. He encouraged members of the community to work towards supporting their country in the spirit of medemer.
… attends the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7)
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed attended the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) this week (August 28-30) in Yokohama, Japan, heading a delegation that included Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew and the Ministers of Science and Innovation, and of Water, Irrigation and Energy as well as the State Ministers of Finance and Health. TICAD 7, attended by 50 heads of state and ministers from Africa, was co-hosted by the United Nations, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank and African Union Commission (AUC).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew also participated in the TICAD 7 Ministerial Preparatory Meeting on Tuesday (August 27). At the opening session, Foreign Minister Taro Kono of Japan welcomed participants and called on for their utmost cooperation for the overall success of the meeting. Co-chair, Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt and current Chair of the African Union Executive Council underlined the aim to strengthen partnerships and achieve AU Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the TICAD 7 process and the theme of the conference: “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation”. The ministerial-level discussion reviewed the contents of the “Yokohama Declaration 2019 and the “Yokohama Plan of Action 2019”, and presented it to the leaders to be adopted at the TICAD 7 Summit.
Deliberations at the Heads of State level primarily focused on three pillars: Economy; Society; and Peace and Security. On the first pillar, Economy, the concentration was on the promotion of trade with, and investment in, Africa. Africa is regarded as the biggest frontier for the 21st century, and Japanese companies are paying close attention to the continent. Japan will further boost Africa’s development through quality infrastructure, human resource development and science, technology and innovation, to serve as the basis of growth. TICAD VI, held for the first time in its history in Africa, brought 77 Japanese companies and organizations to the host city of Nairobi. TICAD 7 envisaged being able to offer even more opportunities for African countries and businesses to directly interact with Japanese companies than had occurred at TICAD V and TICAD VI.
The meeting noted that, since the first TICAD summit held in Tokyo in 1993, the TICAD process has proved to be one of the most successful platforms bringing together different partners to support Africa and its development aspirations. It underlined the integration process in Africa had significantly evolved over the last two decades since the establishment of the African Union. The adoption of Agenda 2063 and the launch of African Continental Free Trade Area were important milestones for the endeavors of Africa to achieve long-sought economic and regional integration.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking on the second pillar, Society, underscored that actions were needed to achieve the SDGs. He said: “As the President of the G20, I led the discussions on attaining the SDGs during the G20 Osaka Summit in June. Africa still faces challenges that need to be addressed such as climate change, poverty, refugees, drought, and improving health and medical services including universal health coverage. With human security as an underlying principle, we will hold extensive discussions on how Japan and Africa can work hand-in-hand towards the achievement of the SDGs in Africa”.
On the third pillar, Peace and Security, Japan committed to support the positive momentum led by Africa’s own initiatives through concrete actions to build capacity and realize the ultimate goal for Africa to take ownership of its own peacebuilding efforts.
TICAD is the longest-running forum on African development. More than a quarter century has passed since the first TICAD. It is led by Africa, and the international community works alongside Africa to achieve the future vision that Africa, with its ownership, has drawn for the continent. Prime Minister Abe said: “I am proud of these two key principles of TICAD: African ownership and international partnership. Working together with African states and international partners, I am determined to make TICAD 7 another success.” Prime Minister Abe said that a total of 25.6 billion dollars had been invested by private Japanese companies in Africa over the past three years. He said: “The Japanese government will make an utmost effort, so that the amount of private investment will surpass the current value,” adding “We will do whatever it takes to assist the advancement of Japanese companies into Africa.”
Launching the conference, UN Secretary- General Secretary-General António Guterres said African nations had made ‘significant progress’ in developmental efforts in the last few years. He said: “I see Africa as a dynamic continent of opportunity where winds of hope are blowing ever stronger.” He underlined the role of TICAD 7 in focusing international dialogue in Africa, built on the twin principles of African ownership and international partnership. “Technology and innovation are central to unleashing Africa’s vast potential for the shared vision of leaving no one behind,” he said, and “TICAD 7 may provide tremendous impetus to help Africa harness the power of technology and innovation for its sustainable development.” He stressed the importance bridging communications gaps to and within African countries in the digital era, and said facilitating trade would reduce the cost of doing business, improve the continent’s competitiveness and overall potential. He also underlined the importance of education: “A lack of sufficient investment in education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics can hold back Africa’s growth and deprive its youth of opportunity”. The Secretary General urged collective efforts to address “the growing climate emergency,” noting that while Africa is minimal in its contributions to the scourge, “it is in the first line of suffering its dramatic consequences.” He welcomed what he called “a quantum leap” in strategic cooperation,
between the United Nations, Africa and the African Union with both working in tandem to implement the “complementary and mutually supportive” African Union’s Agenda 2063, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In his address to the Summit, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy touched on three major points: the role of the private sector, regional integration and Ethiopia’s recent reform efforts. He said expanding space for the participation of the private sector was important to ensure sustainability of economic growth, including the ability to address socio-economic and environmental challenges.
He noted that in Ethiopia, “we are removing investment barriers,” adding that the country was opening up its space for the private sector to engage it actively and introduce innovation to the market. He said: “We have taken steps to make space for the private investment in areas such as telecoms, energy, aviation and logistics.” He also highlighted the significance of regional integration for sustainable development, espoused in his medemer (togetherness) philosophy, as a pillar for sustainable peace. He stressed that “we are determined to bring our country firmly into the international market place for ideas, capital, technology and talent.” As the home of the African Union, Ethiopia was committed to be a force for sustainable integration of the African continent through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), he said.
…and the TICAD 7 Special Conference on Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa
Opening the Conference on Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa and the Neighboring Region on Thursday (August 29), Prime Minister Abe emphasized the development of peace building by Africa taking place since the re- establishment of diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea last year. He noted the growing importance of the Horn of Africa as a hub connecting Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, with the “stretch from Asia to Africa a main artery for growth and prosperity”. He said he had called this conference because Africa’s growth and prosperity would be more secure, if this region became truly stable and economic integration progressed.
He said Japan’s assistance policy in this region followed three aspects. The first was human resource development in particular for youth and women to acquire skills and play a major role in economic activities. Japan, he said, would firmly continue assistance and support for this.
Second was peace building by Africa itself. Prime Minister Abe paid tribute to Dr. Abiy’s continued “courageous endeavours for peace” despite fierce opposition. Japan, he said, will continue to support your reforms in the country. He stressed the peace agreement process led by IGAD in South Sudan was entering a crucial stage and called upon the international community to support this African effort towards peace. He also welcomed the agreement in Sudan and expressed Japan’s respect for the mediation efforts by the African Union and Ethiopia.
The third aspect was assistance for strengthening connectivity. He said the fruit of economic growth could be delivered to the whole region through connection from ports to surrounding inland areas. This applied to Ethiopia and Eritrea, which had re- established their diplomatic relations last year. Japan, he said, would continue to vigorously advance its assistance to assist regional development through quality infrastructure. He mentioned Japanese support for construction projects, the Nile river bridge in South Sudan and improvement of the road connecting Djibouti and Ethiopia.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy underscored the need to transform borders into corridors of peace and prosperity in the Horn of Africa. He shared his belief in the region’s progress in peace and stability, and called upon Horn region leaders to invest in intensive job creation efforts. He also highlighted the importance of regional economic integration through regional synergy, as identified in the medemer philosophy, to operate as a pillar for sustainable peace.
Foreign Minister Gedu holds talks with Japanese Investors
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gedu Andargachew, and other members of the Ethiopian delegation, to TICAD held talks with Japanese investors on Tuesday this week (August 27) on the side-lines of the TICAD 7 Conference Also present were Dr. Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water and Energy; Dr. Getahun Mekuria, Minister of Innovation and Technology; Ambassador Kassa Teklebirhan, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Japan, and other senior officials.
The delegation met with the CEOs and senior officers of two famous Japanese companies, Marubeni and Isuzu, and discussed issues of investment and trade. Foreign Minister Gedu, noting the good relations between Ethiopia and Japan, expressed the readiness of the Ethiopian Government to provide necessary support for companies to invest in Ethiopia. The
Marubeni Corporation imports coffee from Ethiopia, and the company has been briefed on available investment opportunities in Ethiopia, particularly the prospects for value-added production of agricultural products. The CEO of the company spoke of Marubeni’s intention to invest in construction and renewable energy fields.
In discussion with the top executives of the Isuzu Company, the Ethiopian delegation strongly encouraged the current initiative of Isuzu to start a joint venture with a local Ethiopian company to construct an automobile assembly plant. The delegation assured the company it would do everything possible to assist.
AU Commissioner for Peace and Security: “a unique opportunity for peace in Sudan”
African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergiu, and Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, briefed the UN Security Council on events in Sudan on Monday (August 26) and how these might impact on the joint African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)UN/AU Mission in Dafur and its plans to complete drawdown by 2020.
Ambassador Chergui said the “current political environment and the changes taking place in Sudan provide a unique opportunity for ending the armed conflicts and achieving comprehensive and lasting peace in Darfur and Sudan as a whole,” adding: “The international community should seize this opportunity to demand a constructive engagement of all concerned actors.” He stressed it was imperative that those parties remaining outside the peace process should be persuaded to join it. At this critical juncture, the international community must come up with a coordinated approach to see how best to support the peace process and ensure inclusivity and a successful outcome.
- Lacroix emphasized that the important developments under way in Sudan since midsummer, including the pledge to end outstanding conflicts and the establishment of a new transitional government, could bring long-term stability to Darfur and other marginalized areas. Speaking by video teleconference from Paris, he said that the security situation in the Darfur remains largely unchanged, and there were ongoing sporadic clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid faction in the Jebel Marra mountains. However, talks were expected to take place between the new Government and various armed groups.
He said discussions on peacebuilding and the future of the Darfur peace process would take place once the new cabinet is established, adding: “This is an opportunity to put a definitive end to the conflict in Darfur,” and called on the groups that have not been part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur to engage. He highlighted the importance of donor support in facilitating transition across the country. At the same time, he emphasized that seeing an end to conflict would, however, require an irreversible transition from peacekeeping to peace-building.
The Security Council welcomed the agreement signed on August 17 by the Transitional Military Council and the Forces of Freedom and Change, and praised the mediation efforts of the African Union and Ethiopia, supported by the United Nations and IGAD. Speakers cautioned that Darfur had yet to attain lasting peace and that UNAMID’s withdrawal must not leave a security vacuum. Reconciliation and sustainable peace would not be possible until the guns fall silent and dialogue took root. They noted that recent political developments in Khartoum demonstrated that Africans were best placed to address the continent’s problems. There were suggestions that UNAMID, which continued to play an important role in protecting civilians, could be succeeded by a special political mission with a strong focus on peace-building and mediation. It should not leave Darfur without a comprehensive peace agreement in place. Its exit should be in concert with a viable peace process that included all parties in order to ensure sustainable peace.
Sudan’s representative underlined that Sudan was now “a country that upholds democracy, justice, rule of law, transparency and liberty.” Given the political realities, he said, peacekeeping was not the right option for Darfur, and he called on Council members to pave the way for UNAMID’s withdrawal by June 2020. He also asked the Council to revisit resolution 1591 (2005), particularly the restrictions imposed on the movement of arms and troops to and within Darfur. The essential need, he said, was to maintain law and order and to prevent a relapse into violence. International assistance was also needed to create suitable conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, and for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed elements as well as required for the rehabilitation of deserted or destroyed services, to mitigate the negative effects of desertification and climate change, and for transitional justice and reparations.
The 8th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa
The Eighth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA VIII) was held in Addis Ababa this week (August 28-30) under the theme; “Stepping Up Climate Action for Resilient Economies in Africa”. The Conference, brought together Africa’s climate stakeholders to examine Africa’s Nationally Determined Contributions and define additional actionable climate interventions to alleviate the impacts of climate change on ordinary people.
The Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA) conference is an annual forum for stakeholders across the continent to engage on climate change issues. It seeks to mainstream climate information into decision making and strengthen capacities focusing on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, food security, energy and transport. It is the flagship event of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) program, a consortium of African development institutions, including the ECA, the African Union and the African Development Bank. And the Conference provides a forum where participants from national and governmental institution, RECs, RBOs and Regional Climate Institutions, civil society organizations, and NGOs, donors, multilateral organizations; the private sector, researchers and representatives of farmers, pastoralists, rural and urban communities, can exchange information and learning on climate change. Its reach and influence have grown steadily since 2011.
Mr. James Murombedzi, Chief of the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) of the Economic Commission for Africa, emphasized the conference would help ensure Africa comes up with a united position to take to the Climate Action Summit being convened next month in New York by United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres. He said: “The conference is important as it will discuss the impacts of climate change on the continent. Just earlier in the year we had Cyclone Idai that killed thousands in Southern Africa and destroyed infrastructure estimated to be worth over a billion dollars. Those are real consequences that are impacting people’s lives on the continent which will be discussed during the meeting. It will help ensure that Africa’s voice is amplified and heard at the summit in New York in September.”
Mr. Guterres has called on world leaders to come to the meeting with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050as called for by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The UN Secretary-General said; “I want to hear about how we are going to stop the increase in emissions by 2020, and dramatically reduce emissions to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.”
A three-year USAID project to support and advance economic reforms
A three-year project to support Ethiopia’s economic reform agenda was announced on Friday last week (August 23). The new project called “Advancing Economic Diversification in Ethiopia,” was launched by announced US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Michael Raynor, in the presence of the Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, Dr. Yinager Dessie. The Governor said the main targets of the project, which is funded by USAID, would be helping to sustain to economic growth, the creation of more jobs, improving the livelihoods of the people and supporting macroeconomic stabilization
US Ambassador Raynor described the project as an “important center-piece in the partnership between Ethiopia and the United States in support of Ethiopia’s ambitious and essential economic reforms.” He said
United States was deeply inspired by the Ethiopian Government’s reform agenda, which had already made massive gains in broadening Ethiopia’s political space and economic opportunities. The economic goals were among the most pressing and consequential, he said, as these were the reforms on which a more prosperous future for all Ethiopians would be built.
Ambassador Raynor said there were many strengths to build on: an exceptionally accomplished team of economic leaders and experts to drive this transformation, under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy; recent economic policies which had resulted in important infrastructure investments; and stunning gains in education at all levels, building an exceptionally strong labour pool. Now, he said, the government was building upon past achievements while addressing its structural challenges, to catalyse private sector-led economic growth in the days ahead.
Ambassador Raynor said Ethiopia’s economic reforms offered the prospect to attract a critical mass of world-class private sector investments, like those from the United States, to bring job creation, strong labour practices, environmental standards, human capital development, and technology transfer. It was a challenging prospect and the U.S. Embassy was deeply honoured by the opportunity to facilitate such a partnership. USAID would, he said, be funding the “Advancing Economic Diversification in Ethiopia,” project, which had been initiated and facilitated by Harvard University’s Center for International Development under the leadership of Professor Dr. Ricardo Haussmann.
Ambassador Raynor said the program would be a sustained, three-year commitment by USAID, Dr. Haussmann and his team, and the Government of Ethiopia, in support of the country’s economic reform agenda. Noting the project “falls squarely within the context of our broader support for Ethiopia’s government, as well as our long-standing investments in the Ethiopian people,” he solemnly pledged ‘the United States’ ongoing and steadfast support for Ethiopia’s reform agenda.”