News in Brief 04 January 2016 (PM)

Saudi Arabia and Iran should resolve their differences through “constructive engagement” following the breakdown of diplomatic relations.

That’s the message relayed to the foreign ministers of both countries, by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday.

Protests in Iran over the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by Saudi Arabia, led the Saudis to demand that Iranian diplomats leave the Kingdom within two days.

Other countries in the region have also broken off diplomatic ties with Iran.

Here’s UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

“The Secretary-General urged both foreign ministers to avoid any action that could further exacerbate the situation between the two countries and in the region as a whole. He stressed the importance of continued, constructive engagement by both countries in the interests of the region and beyond.”

Uruguay assumes presidency of key UN body

Uruguay has assumed the presidency of the key UN body responsible for international security.

The small Latin American country will hold the presidency of the Security Council for the month of January.

This is Uruguay’s first month of its current two-year term as an elected council member. The other new members are Egypt, Japan, Senegal and Ukraine.

Attacks on Sunni mosques in Iraq, condemned by UN envoy

Attacks on three Sunni mosques in the Iraqi province of Babylon, have been condemned as an attempt to “stoke sectarian tensions.”

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, said that the attacks, in the wake of the execution of Sheikh Nimr in Saudi Arabia, would only “serve ultimately the interests” of the terrorist group, ISIL.

He added that political forces in the country, along with media outlets, needed to put national unity first and not over-react.

He urged security forces to prevent any further attempts to incite violence.

Humanitarian need triples in Ethiopia during past 12 months

Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia have tripled since the beginning of 2015, according to latest reports.

The World Food Programme said that the huge increase in humanitarian demand was due to severe drought in some regions, exacerbated by the strongest El Nino effect in decades.

The El Nino weather phenomenon has led to successive harvest failures and widespread livestock deaths.

At least 7.6 million people are expected to need support during 2016.

WFP said that, so far, it has only 5 per cent of the resources it needs for the first six months of the year.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’14″

Source: United Nations

Ethiopia, Neighbors to See Increased Trade Exchanges in GTP2

Addis Ababa January 04/2016Ethiopia is putting more emphasis on increasing trade exchanges with its neighbors which will see improvement in their current trade volume.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has disclosed the plan to enlarge the volume of trade exchanges between Ethiopia and its neighbors.

Accordingly, the country will elevate its current trade exchanges with neighbors Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.

These countries are among Ethiopia’s major five export destinations in Africa with Somalia taking the biggest share at 330 million dollars, according to the ministry.

“The ultimate goal of the country is ensuring mutual benefit, mutual prosperity, and mutual growth among neighboring countries”, said Gebiresilasie Gebiregziabiher, Nile Basin and Neighboring Countries Director-General at the Ministry.

While talking to ENA, Gebiresilasie said Djibouti and Ethiopia are now working towards economic integration with the already expanding infrastructural ties between the two nations.

He referred to the preferential trade agreement signed between Ethiopia and Sudan in 2002 and the Special Statues Agreement with Kenya in 2012 to raise the economic cooperation to a higher level.

Constructing highways that will connect Ethiopia with neighboring Sudan and South Sudan is also part of the drive to increase exchanges with its neighbors, he added.

GTP2 will also call for more focus in the implementation of agreements signed between the countries, the Director-General said.

Yeshak Tekaligne, Bilateral and Regional Trade Relation and Negotiation Director at the Ministry of Trade also confirmed the growing push to improve trade exchanges between Ethiopia and its neighbors.

Yeshak said the government is highly prioritizing increased trade relations with neighboring countries due to the longstanding people to people relation, geographic location and shared borders.

Signing trade agreements with neighboring countries is the primary means of increasing trade volume in accordance with the context in respective countries, he indicated.

The trade volume exchanged between Ethiopia and Sudan has reached 184 million dollars in 2014 from only two million dollars in 2002, according to Yeshak.

He said the Ethio-Kenya total trade volume which was 35 million dollars in 2010 has reached 57 million dollars in 2014.

The country is also confident about the valuable role of its massive infrastructure development projects in accelerating exchanges in trade, the director said.

The Isiolo-Moyale road is also cited as an important infrastructural platform that links Ethiopia to its neighbors.

The road project is part of the Trans-African Highway corridor which was called the missing link from Cape Town to Alexandria.

But the officials emphasized the central role of peace and stability among the neighbors to ensure the harmony and increase exchanges on the respective sides.

It was indicated that South Sudan and Somalia are among the neighbors where peace and stability is still highly needed.

Inflation Stands at 10 Percent: Central Statistics Agency

Addis Ababa January 04/2016 Ethiopia’s inflation was unchanged at 10 percent year-on-year in December, the statistics office said on Monday.According to Reuters, the rate had dropped in November, from 11.8 percent in October, mainly due to a drop in fo…

UNDP Willing to Scale Up Support for Young Entrepreneurs

Addis Ababa January 04/2016 The United Nations Development Program said today that it is willing to support young Ethiopian entrepreneurs for stronger impact in the country’s developmental agenda during the Second Growth and Transformation Plan.

While conferring with President Mulatu Teshome, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident RepresentativeAhunna Eziakonwa-Onochie said UN will give special attention for job creation in the next GTP-2.

“We want to engage in Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) through the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and focus on sustainable economic growth and risk reduction, basic social services, job creation, capacity development and youth,” she said.

The UN will provide direct financial, advisory, technical, organizational, and management support.

According to the resident representative, UN is willing to support the Ethiopian government in order to maintain the developmental agenda, especially in areas of education, water, entrepreneurship, and other priority areas.

Eziakonwa-Onochie, who noted that Ethiopia is a fast-growing country in all areas and all sectors of its economy, added that “our collaboration will provide a strong foundation for the transformation of Ethiopia in the coming few years.”

The UN system in Ethiopia is working in a truly coordinated way to help Ethiopia enhance capacity to develop and implement programs that meet international standards, she pointed out.

We hope to continue with this successful partnership long into the future to promote sustainable development, job creation, and education as well as improved quality of life for all Ethiopians, the resident representative stressed.

In his talks with Eziakonwa-Onochie, President Mulatu indicated that Ethiopia has a very good chance in higher education.

The UN Country Team (UNCT) in Ethiopia is the largest in Africa, and taken as a single entity, one of the major development partners of the country.

No food supply shortage for drought affected people: Commissioner

Addis Ababa, The National Disaster Risk Management Commissioner, Mitiku Kassa, said there is enough supply of food for people in need of food aid due to the El Nino induced drought.

Speaking at FBC’s discussion and debate program /Mogach in Amharic/, he said, despite an increase in number of needy people, the government is giving a rapid response for the problem.

The government purchased more 22,000 metric tons of grains earlier and 50 percent of it arrived at home, he said.

When asked if there is supply shortage, the Commissioner said there is no shortage of food supply. Yesterday alone, 170 vehicles each with 400 quintals lifting capacity arrived in Adama town from port carrying food, he said.

Problems faced in some areas regarding distribution of food are now addressed, Mitiku said.

According to him, each individual is being provided with 15kg of grain, 1.5 kg of pulses and half a liter of cooking oil, he said.

Food supply is going well. Government’s current challenge, above food, is water supply, he said.

However, short-term and long-term plans are being implemented to tackle the problem, he said.

A team led by the Commission recently visited drought hit Somali and Afar Regional States, he said.

The residents told the team that they were able to withstand the drought without the loss of life as a result of the rapid and organized food and water supply by the government, he said.

Pastoralists living in areas where there is underground water are developing animal feed using irrigation, he said, citing the 900 hectares of land being developed in Afar a case in point.

Ethiopia is now in a position to withstand drought as it has implemented disaster risk management system from federal up to kebele levels, he said.

The government is procuring additional 405 metric tons of grain.

Strong follow-up will be held to prevent the impact of the drought on people and animals, he said.

Source – (FBC )

Sudan, South Sudan Committed to Cooperation Agreement

Addis Ababa January 04/2016 Sudan and South Sudan reiterated yesterday their joint commitment to their cooperation agreement, according to Xinhua.The two countries also expressed readiness to find diplomatic solutions for outstanding issues relating to…

ETHIOPIA TO OPEN NEW EMBASSIES TO ADVANCE DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has announced plans to open additional embassies in various countries to enhance the country’s diplomatic relations.

The decision to open new embassies in Indonesia, Morocco and Algeria was announced during the performance appraisal session at the House of People’s Representatives here over the past week by Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom when presenting his ministry’s quarterly report to Foreign Affairs Standing Committee of the House.

‘‘Indonesia is the political centre of Asia. The country plays a decisive role in the political, economic and social aspect of the region. Therefore opening embassies in such countries would increase our country’s prominence,’’said Dr. Tedros.

Opening the embassies will help enhance trade, investment, tourism and exchange of technological innovations, the Minister emphasized.

Dr. Tedros added that over the last three months, based on the rules and policies of the country, 29 bilateral and multilateral agreements had been signed with different countries.

The minister said Ethiopia would strengthen its relations with countries which could contribute to peace, development and democratization.

He expressed appreciation for the feedback from the Standing Committee as good input to the Ministry as it would help advance the diplomatic relations of the country with other countries.

Source: ENA

ETHIOPIAN PM THE 2015 AFRICA’S MAN OF THE YEAR

ADDIS ABABA, The pan-African magazine, AfricaWorld News, has named Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn its 2015 Man of the Year, after looking at nominations across the world.

The magazine says it is remarkable how the Prime Minister has sustained economic progress in Ethiopia after the sudden death of his predecessor in 2012.

“In arriving at this decision, we looked at certain qualities that distinguished him as a global leader and the impact on the people of Ethiopia,” the magazine says, noting the tremendous progresses recorded by Hailemariam’s government.

The country’s reputation as a key diplomatic player is strengthened due to its chairmanship of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), mediating in the peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan on one hand and between the warring parties in South Sudan on the other hand, it points out.

Hailemariam has personally bolstered the peace process in the old and new Sudan since he came to power in 2012, according to the magazine.

It is important to inform that Ethiopia received the South-South Award 2015 for achieving the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty, AfricaWorld News recalls.

The administration of Desalegn has also embarked on bilateral and internal projects which have helped position Ethiopia at the pinnacle of direct foreign investment destination in Africa, the magazine says.

“Prime Minister Hailemariam led Ethiopia to partner Kenya in the ambitious 24.5 billion US dollar Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project which includes a railway, highways, and an oil pipeline which will provide his landlocked country and South Sudan with a new export pathway and reduce Kenya’s dependence on the heavily congested port of Mombasa,” the magazine notes.

The premier has partnered Ethiopia with Djibouti to sign an agreement for a 1.55 billion USD fuel pipeline with developers Mining, Oil and Gas Services and Blackstone Group LP-backed Black Rhino Group, it adds.

Both countries which are in the Horn of Africa signed framework agreements in September 2015 for construction of the 550-kilometre line to transport diesel, gasoline and jet fuel from port access in Djibouti to central Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has experienced near-double-digit economic growth and huge infrastructure investment under his leadership, positioning it among the elite in Africa.

A remarkable achievement is in the rail transport system which currently consists of service between Dire Dawa and Djibouti on the meter-gauge. The Addis Ababa Light Rail is the first in sub-Saharan Africa, is a 17-km line running from the city centre to industrial areas in the south of the city.

“The year 2015 was remarkable for Ethiopia and Prime Minister Hailemariam as a global and African leader of immeasurable value. Hence, AfricaWorld decided to etch his name on our Hall of Fame as 2015 Man of the Year,” it concludes.

Source: ENA