A Week in the Horn 14.10.2022

News in Brief

President Sahle-work Zewde addresses the joint session of the two parliaments

Preparations for the 10th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa well underway

On the visit of President William Ruto to Ethiopia

Ethiopia hosts the Joint Khartoum-Rabat Process Thematic Meeting on Climate Change and Migration

Africa and the African Union

The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) is holding a high-level multi-stakeholder dialogue on civil society organization engagement with the African Union (AU) on the European Union (EU) Support Programme on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The overall objective of the meeting is to facilitate a high-level multi-level dialogue with AU member states, CSOs, and peace and security experts, in order to enhance civil society’s contributions to conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict reconstruction and development.

Ethiopia

Addressing the second joint session of the House of People’s Representative and House of the Federation, President Sahle-Work Zewde reaffirmed on Monday (October 10) the commitment of the Government of Ethiopia to resolve the conflict in the north through peaceful mechanisms. According to the President, conflict and internal displacement are among the major challenges the country is facing, and the Government has taken a wide range of measures to address these challenges. (See article)

Demeke Mekonen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, met with US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mike Hammer, in his office on Friday (October 14). During the discussion, Demeke reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the northern part of the country. Mike Hammer stated that the US would continue to strengthen its support for the AU-led peace talks. The two sides concurred on the need to further bolster bilateral ties between Ethiopia and the US.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen met with his Rwandan counterpart, Vincent Biruta, on Wednesday (October 12) at his office. During their discussion, Demeke reiterated the longstanding relations between the two countries. He noted the need to scale up ties between Ethiopia and Rwanda through various engagements. The relationship between the two nations, according to the Rwandan foreign minister, is demonstrated through a solid partnership that goes beyond formal friendships. He stated that Rwanda wants to see a united and strong Ethiopia and underlined the possibilities for closer cooperation between the two nations. Concluding their discussion, the two sides agreed to hold a joint ministerial meeting soon.

From the 5th to the 7th of October, Addis Ababa hosted the first Joint Khartoum-Rabat Process Thematic Meeting on Climate Change and Migration. The meeting brought together 138 participants from 34 countries in Africa and Europe and relevant international institutions, including the African Union, the European Union, and the International Organization for Migration. (See article)

Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide, along with Yinager Dessie, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, participated in the G7 Meeting of Ministers of Finance during the World Bank and IMF annual meetings over the week. The meeting discussed opportunities for advancing effective implementation of the Common Framework for debt treatment and enhancing the economic cooperation of important global partners with Africa.

A press briefing on the upcoming 10th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa was held on Friday (October 07) in Addis Ababa. The 10th edition of the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa will take place on October 14–16, 2022 in Bahir Dar in a hybrid format under the theme, “Managing Security Threats: Building Resilience for the Africa We Want.” This is the flagship annual event to engage in transparent yet deep reflections to find solutions to the continent’s myriad peace and security challenges. (See article)

The Ethiopian Government released on Friday (October 07) terms that should be avoided in the context of the upcoming peace talks between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the rebel group in the Tigray Region. According to the statement, the use of terms such as “Tigray Administration,” “Tigray State,” “Tigray Government,” “Tigray Regional Government,” and “Tigray External Service” jeopardizes Ethiopia’s sovereignty. “These expressions are unacceptable since, in accordance with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s Constitution, there is no legitimately elected entity in the Tigray region.”

Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) announced on Monday (October 10) that Ethiopia has earned more than US$13 million from exporting electricity to neighboring Sudan and Djibouti. According to Menilik Getahun, the head of sales and customer management office under the marketing and business development department of EEP, the amount generated was out of the planned US$18.5 million by supplying more than 349.56 million kilowatt hours of electricity to Sudan and Djibouti in the two months of the current Ethiopian fiscal year.

Kenya

President William Ruto, since his election and inauguration to the presidency, made his first foreign official visit on a bilateral basis to Ethiopia on Thursday (October 06). (See article)

The office of Kenya’s President, William Ruto, said the President on Friday (October 07) received Ambassador Mike Hammer, the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, and reassured the envoy of “Kenya’s continued support for peace in the region.” Ambassador Hammer “affirmed US efforts in supporting peace and security,particularly in Ethiopia and the DRC,” according to State House Kenya. He also “thanked Kenya for her continued pivotal role in anchoring stability in the region.”

Somalia

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Federal Republic of Somalia have pledged to work together on security, economic development, and capacity building. The two countries expressed their commitment to cooperation during a meeting on Thursday (October 14) between the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen, and the Prime Minister of Somalia, Hamza Abdi Barre. Hamza Abdi Barre arrived in Ethiopia on Thursday to take part in the 10th Tana High Security Forum that will be held from October 14-16 in Bahir Dar city.

The President of Somalia, Hassan S. Mohamud, made an official visit to Kampala on Saturday (October 08) to join the government and people of Uganda ahead of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of its independence. During the visit, the President also held talks with his Ugandan counterpart, Kaguta Museveni.

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has opened Joint Operations Centres (JOCs) across its areas of responsibility on Monday (October 10) to enhance coordination and planning with Somali Security Forces (SSF) during operations against Al-Shabaab. A formal inauguration of the JOCs was held on Saturday at the ATMIS Force Headquarters by officials from ATMIS, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), and the Somali National Army (SNA).

Djibouti

Ethiopia condemned “the barbaric and cowardly attack” on the 06th of October on the Tadjourah Regiment of the Djibouti army at Garabistan. In a statement released via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia conveyed “its deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the bereaved, injured, and missing, as well as to the people and Government of the Republic of Djibouti.” It also said the Federal Government stands in solidarity with the Government and people of Djibouti “at this difficult moment and expresses its full readiness to closely work together with the Government of the Republic of Djibouti in tackling the scourge of terrorism in the region.” Djibouti’s Ministry of Defense said seven soldiers were killed in the armed attack on Saturday, October 06, which also injured four soldiers; six others are reported missing.

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, condemned on Monday (October 10) the attack by armed groups on the Tadjourah Regiment of the Djibouti army at Garabistan. IGAD denounced the attack in the “strongest terms possible” and called it “criminal and cowardly”. Djibouti’s Ministry of Defense said seven soldiers were killed in the armed attack on Saturday, October 06, which also injured four soldiers; six others are reported missing.

The cities of Dire Dawa and Djibouti signed over the week Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on revitalization and cooperation to foster and promote culture, tourism, the flow of trade and investment, and infrastructural capacity building ties between the peoples of the two cities. Following the inking ceremony, the mayor of Dire Dawa city and his delegation, as well as the FDRE Ambassador to Djibouti, Berhanu Tsegaye, presented 62,000 seedlings to the mayor of Djibouti city, representatives from the Djibouti Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries resources, and respectable guests.

South Sudan

President Salva Kiir Mayardit held talks with the visiting Foreign Affairs Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, in Juba on Monday (October 10).  The visit by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat and the highest-ranking official to ever visit South Sudan since its independence further signifies Saudi Arabia’s recognition and commitment towards building stronger diplomatic engagement with South Sudan.

On Sunday (October 09), President Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan, held bilateral talks with his Ugandan counterpart, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, in Kampala. The two leaders further discussed matters regarding peace and security in South Sudan as well as fostering bilateral cooperation for the mutual interest of the two countries’ peoples.

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Force Commander appreciated on Friday (October 07), Ethiopian peacekeepers’ unwavering support for peace in South Sudan. The Force Commander of the mission, Lt. Gen. Mohan Subramanian, cherished the Ethiopian peacekeeping troops’ endurance and determination in achieving their mission in a very challenging condition.

Ethiopia’s youth delegation in South Sudan, together with senior government officials from both sides, planted about 500 seedlings in Juba on Thursday (October 14) under the theme of the Plant African Fraternity event. A panel discussion was also held on the bilateral relationships between the two countries in the presence of Ethiopian community members in South Sudan and representatives of South Sudan’s youth.

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President Sahle-work Zewde addresses the joint session of the two parliaments

Last week, on October 10, 2022, the House of People’s Representatives and the House of Federation began their joint session for the sixth term and second year. In a speech, President Sahle-Work Zewde outlined the major initiatives of the Government for this year as well as the activities completed during the previous Ethiopian fiscal year.

During the 2021/22 fiscal year, the president discussed the progress made and the difficulties encountered compared to the previous year in the fields of politics, the economy, and social development. The following are the speech’s key highlights.

Political and Security Issues

President Sahle-Work Zewde reiterated the government of Ethiopia’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the northern part of the country. The federal government has taken a variety of steps to address the country’s major challenges, which include conflict and internal displacement. According to the President, to resolve the conflict in the north, the Government of Ethiopia has shown readiness to negotiate with the TPLF group without any precondition.

The Ethiopian Government remains dedicated to an amicable settlement of the Northern conflict under AU leadership. “But if the other side is unwilling to consider peaceful alternatives, the government will take corrective actions,” she said.

The Ethiopian Government has also created an environment that is favorable for the upcoming national dialogue, and the commission charged with overseeing it has assumed that duty. In order to make the National Dialogue successful, President Sahle-Work also emphasized the critical importance of all stakeholders’ and citizens’ active participation.

Socio-Economic Issues

President Sahle-Work Zewde also spoke about the socioeconomic situation of the nation and noted that despite difficulties related to conflict, drought, flooding, and global economic instability, Ethiopia has made encouraging socioeconomic progress.

Results from the macroeconomic sector suggest that the government has put in place effective policies that have helped the country withstand the effects of global economic instability. She indicated that the export trade, to which the mining and agricultural sectors have contributed a greater portion, has yielded encouraging results for the country.

According to the President, the service sector has grown by 32 percent, while the agricultural sector has grown by 43 percent. Ethiopia has been making significant investments in the wheat production sector as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure food security and self-sufficiency.

The country succeeded in creating more than 2.3 million permanent jobs for citizens, and these outcomes were achieved in spite of difficulties brought on by conflict, flooding, and drought in different regions of the nation.

President Sahle-Work Zewde underscored that Ethiopia will continue to be a popular investment destination in the years to come while claiming that the country has made remarkable progress in the area of attracting foreign direct investment.

The start of electric power production from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is one of the ground-breaking accomplishments recorded during the last fiscal year. Ethiopia will keep stepping up its efforts to promote green development in order to combat food insecurity and lessen the effects of climate change.

The President stated that the Government will make every effort to put into place efficient strategies to combat inflation and the associated cost of living. In order to combat inflation and related socio-economic issues, the government will provide subsidies to low-income members of the community. She also stated initiatives to address problems with bad administration in order to better serve the needs of the general public.

Diplomacy

Based on the current state of international diplomacy, Ethiopia is forging strong regional cooperation and will continue to cooperate with friendly nations, according to President Sahle-Work Zewde.

With regard to infrastructure, trade, culture, language, natural resources, geography, and religion, Ethiopia has strong ties to its neighbors, and the country is actively using these ties and values to develop and advance.

In the recently ended Ethiopian fiscal year, Ethiopia made a lot of efforts to benefit the region based on shared interests and maintain peace in the area.

President Sahle-work stated in regards to the Abbay (Blue Nile) River that anyone who desires the river’s ongoing benefits must work to maintain its sustainability. She continued, “Ethiopia, which is well aware of this fact, is currently working on expanding its green legacy program into various neighboring countries.”

The president also mentioned that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will offer Egypt and Sudan access to energy at a reasonable price. The dam will maintain the river’s ecosystem while generating a consistent and managed flow of water to the countries downstream all year long.

She added that Ethiopia supplies electricity to Djibouti and that efforts are being made to do the same for Kenya, Sudan, and South Sudan.

President Sahle-Work stated that Ethiopia is forging strong regional cooperation and diplomatic commitment to maintain its promising developmental achievements in the region with a view to helping neighboring countries as well. He did this by citing all the positive steps taken by the country.

Sahle-work noted that Ethiopia will keep cooperating with friendly nations, taking into account the current diplomatic circumstances worldwide.

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Preparations for the 10th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa well underway

The 10th edition of the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa will take place on October 14–16, 2022 in Bahir Dar in a hybrid format under the theme, “Managing Security Threats: Building Resilience for the Africa We Want.” This is the flagship annual event to engage in transparent yet deep reflections to find solutions to the continent’s myriad peace and security challenges.

This year’s forum marks a decade of travel with the 10th anniversary. It’s been lately mentioned that it coincides with a critical moment in Africa and the world as the COVID-19 pandemic exposed fragilities and divisions; the continued rise of climate change and drought; and the non-stop threat of terrorism and extremism, to mention but a few continental challenges. While old collective continental peace and security sector homework remain, new ones are producing tensions and threats in a way that is revealing apparent fractures in state-society cooperation. The emergence of such challenges makes this year’s forum even more vital.

Thus, this year’s Tana Forum, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), the secretariat of the Forum announced, is invariably about how best to respond resolutely to emerging socio-economic, political, and governance challenges or manage such threats in a way that does not lose sight of the continent’s most valuable resource: its citizens. How arts, culture, and heritage, as well as resilience in nutrition and food security, the AU themes for 2021 and 2022, respectively, can be harnessed to promote enduring peace considering the continent’s myriad challenges needs to be interrogated. By shifting focus away from states and institutions to citizens who, ultimately, have the legitimacy and influence to make change happen, the course of a better future becomes clearly defined and attainable.

A press briefing regarding the finalization of the preparation of the 10th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa was held on Friday (October 07) in Addis Ababa. Speakers include former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn; Ambassador Fisseha Shawul, Director General of the Africa Directorate General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Fana Gebresenbet, Interim Director of IPSS; Ms. Birtukan Sisay, Head of Government Office in the ANRS; and moderated by Ms. Lettie Tembo, Interim Director of APSP and Head of Tana Forum, among others.

Former Prime Minister Hailemariam stated that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Tana Forum, maintaining the whole idea of our founding fathers’ in terms of cooperating to deal with the security issues of Africa. He added that it has been a unique platform for open and transparent deliberations of like-minded security stakeholders.

The forum coincides with a critical moment in Africa with the advent of the COVID pandemic and rising challenges like climate change,  Hailemariam noted. Moreover, the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine has exacerbated complications with the increase in prices of delivery of fertilizer and fuel, he added.

The Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions of the continent, among other areas, have been the new epicenters of terrorism and extremism. The aim of the Forum, Hailemariam elaborated, includes proposing solutions to the overarching security challenges of the continent to harness enduring peace and build resilience by placing citizens at the center and the state playing a role only when that’s necessary.

On his part, Ambassador Fisseha stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made all the necessary arrangements and invited all the dignitaries to make the upcoming Forum a success.

More than 300 participants have already been invited, including Heads of State and Government, who will be notified soon, and high-level dignitaries will be attending, Ambassador Fisseha added. Furthermore, he stated, presenters and attendees have confirmed and incorporated presentations, thematic discussions, and various sessions into the yearly African Security Forum.

Regarding the theme of the year, the secretariat released a concept that elaborates, among other things, issues including building resilience, which has gained new currency in light of new fragilities imposed by the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and state measures to curb it. “Measures towards building resilience must be deliberate in placing citizens at the centre, recognizing their agency in the process of reimagining governance and peacebuilding.” “Building resilience is not a one-off event but a process that takes time and resources. The state may only play a role that is necessary and desirable in building resilience if the deeply fractured social contract with citizens is repaired, and the international community may contribute to building citizens’ resilience but must do it in a manner that is cognizant of their priorities. “

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On the visit of President William Ruto to Ethiopia

President William Ruto, since his election and inauguration to the presidency, has made his first foreign official visit on a bilateral basis to Ethiopia. It is also to be recalled that upon his election as the fifth president of Kenya, it was Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed who first congratulated him. At the same time, it is to be recalled that the Ethiopian Prime Minister was among the leaders who attended the inauguration ceremony of President William Ruto on September 13, 2022.

It is following all these positive takeoffs by the president of Kenya that William Ruto paid a one-day official visit to Ethiopia on October 6, 2022. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and President William Ruto jointly launched the operation of Safaricom in Ethiopia. Safaricom not only got a mobile operating license, but after negotiations, it was granted a mobile banking license in the financial sector as well. This was a positive step in promoting economic and financial relations between the two countries.

The two leaders also agreed on infrastructure development, including the LAPSSET project, as well as enhancing the Moyale one-stop border post service between the two countries. Furthermore, they held extensive discussions on bilateral as well as regional and international matters of mutual interest. In this regard, they agreed to fight and root out anti-peace elements that operate in the region. They reaffirmed their commitment to fight the Al-Shabab terrorist organization, against which both Ethiopia and Kenya have deployed troops operating under ATMIS in Somalia.

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Ethiopia hosts the Joint Khartoum-Rabat Process Thematic Meeting on Climate Change and Migration

From the 5th to the 7th of October, the Hyatt Regency in Addis Ababa hosted the first Joint Khartoum-Rabat Process Thematic Meeting on Climate Change and Migration. The meeting brought together 138 participants from 34 countries in Africa and Europe and relevant international institutions, including the African Union, the European Union, and the International Organization for Migration.

The thematic meeting was aimed at addressing impacts and adaptation strategies for human mobility in the context of climate change. It brought together academicians, practitioners, analysts, and policymakers from the two processes and was pivotal in exploring the climate-migration nexus.

Ethiopia shared its policy-praxis in relation to the thematic topic. Accordingly, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, in his opening remarks, highlighted the concrete steps that Ethiopia is taking to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the implementation of sustainable economic development and mitigate mobility resulting from climate change.

The State Minister also underscored Ethiopia’s venture in designing a climate-resilient green economy strategy, the launching of the Green Legacy initiative, and the development of renewable energy sources, as well as agricultural reforms from which practical lessons can be drawn. He further informed us that these actions are integral parts of the green policy actions Ethiopia is taking to strengthen resilience in livelihoods and mitigate environmental and climate change impacts, thereby reducing migration and mobility trends. The European Union’s commitment to support these efforts stood high in the reminding call by the State Minister.

He reminded participants that the Khartoum and Rabat Processes are intended to provide a platform for consultation, coordination, and political cooperation along migration routes between Africa and Europe, and he challenged them to foster common understanding on climate change-induced migration and propose actionable adaptation strategies that member countries can design and implement collaboratively.

The current chair (2022) of the Khartoum Process, South Sudan, through its First Deputy Speaker of the National Legislature, The Right Honourable Mary Ayen Majok, underscored the need for coordinated action and cooperation to deal with the root causes of migration.

Emphasizing on the importance of adopting a more coherent and coordinated climate-migration nexus policy among countries on the migration routes, Germany, on its part, outlined that installing trust and multilateralism, and setting energy transition goals should be among policy steps. Germany will take over the chairmanship of the Khartoum Process by 2023.

The thematic meeting deliberated on issues of displacement, adaptation and resilience building, urban planning, and a whole-of-society approach to climate mobility in parallel workshops. The results of these discussions have been articulated into a summary of findings and recommendations to be presented at the upcoming COP-27 next month. The meeting stressed the need to incorporate the impacts of climate change into the migration debate and to invest in mitigation and adaptation schemes to deal with the root cause of migration and mobility. Delegations have emphasized the need for additional studies on different aspects of climate-induced mobility as well as its overall social impacts in the Horn of Africa and countries covered by the two processes. 

In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma encouraged further collaboration along the migration routes in properly articulating common positions and the need for actionable implementation proposals with proper funding. The call to advance from rhetoric to actions and projects was vowed by almost all participants.

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