11 May 2019

Ethiopia: CBE Donates Half-a-Billion Birr for Beautifying Sheger Project

The state-owned giant bank, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) has reportedly donated half billion birr to the "Beautifying Sheger" project initiated by PM Abiy to develop river banks in the capital city.

According to a press release issued by CBE on Thursday, the financial support demonstrates the commitment of the bank which has been contributing its part for the economic and social development of the country.

The press release stated that the Board of Directors of the country's largest bank decided to extend assistance for the realization of the 29 billion project that would not only make the city clean and green but also attraction to tourists.

The project is also expected to revive the city's economy and boost urban tourism by converting the polluted and dirty river banks of Addis Ababa into green areas.

As part of mobilizing fund for the project, PM Abiy Ahmed is expected to host a fundraising dinner to help secure around USD 1 billion for the project. (ENA)

Mineral export performance dismal

The mining and minerals export which Ethiopia considers as one of its main foreign currency earners has registered disappointing performance during the past nine months.

The country earned only 39.6 million U.S dollars against the planned 766.9 USD in the stated period, Ministry of Mines and Petroleum revealed on Monday.

Only 8.85 percent of the target was attained by the ministry, according to Geremew Negasa, Planning and Evaluation Director at the ministry.

To correct this huge mismatch, ministry officials said they have embarked upon deep institutional reforms at all level in order to maximize the revenue in foreign currency during the coming budget year.

Speaking to journalists about the dismal performance of the sector, Mines and Petroleum Minister Samuel Urkato pointed out that the major factors that contributed to the low performance were peace and security, illegal mining, corruption, and rent-seeking, among others.

However, the minister pointed out that Ethiopia is in the final stages of reforming the untapped oil and mining potentials. (ENA)

Trust Fund secretariat starts operations

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) Secretariat officially started operations in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

The EDTF is an initiative of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, which was launched in August 2018.

The Secretariat will be responsible for the administration and management, implementation of policies and projects and among others.

The Chairman of the Trust Fund, Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam remarked, "We recently made final selection of the secretariat staff after a rigorous recruitment process conducted jointly by EDTF Advisory Council and UNDP."

He appreciated UNDP for the generous and substantial two-year grant support for the EDTF Secretariat.

All of the money donated to EDTF will be used exclusively to pursue the organization's objectives and to keep it in proper operation with utmost liability and transparency, he stated.

It is to be recalled that the trust fund is established to support improving the lives of disadvantaged Ethiopians by funding critical socio-economic projects in Ethiopia. (ENA)

Avocado soon to be marked as Ethiopia's major export

Avocado is going to be the major export in Ethiopia. A program launched by the Israeli and United States development agencies is set to make avocado the East African country's next major export product.

The joint program by USAID and MASHAV of Israel and the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia has introduced more than 2,000 farmers with an avocado variety (Hass) imported from Israeli. In the last four years, the program has exported Hass from

Ethiopia and find the results encouraging and worth expanding, Deputy coordinator of the project, Wale Getaneh said.

"The reason we focused on avocado over the last four years is that the international market for it is rapidly growing that Ethiopia has suitable weather for growing avocado, Getaneh said to NewBusinessEthiopia.com.

According to him, after familiarizing a few thousands of smallholder farmers with the avocado variety imported from Israel and teaching them how they can grow, the project has been exporting Hass avocado to the Netherlands by collecting from the farmers. (Devdiscourse)

US to host Ethiopia Partnerships Forum

The U.S. Department of State will host the Ethiopia Partnerships Forum (EPF), a U.S.-Ethiopia economic engagement platform to raise awareness of Ethiopia's bold new efforts to transform its economy and create attractive business opportunities, on May 15-16, 2019.

The two-day forum will kick-off in the Loy Henderson Auditorium at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

This joint event aims to accelerate American investment and engagement in Ethiopia and contribute to transformational change of Ethiopia's economic and commercial landscape, according to a statement issued by the Department of State on Thursday.

The first day of the action-oriented forum will feature interactive panels, dynamic keynotes, networking sessions, and announcements of public and private sector business opportunities for post-forum implementation.

The second day of the forum will dive deeper into the topics explored at the Department of State with a series of events hosted at partner locations around Washington, D.C.

Investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists from the United States and Ethiopia will have unparalleled opportunities to bolster their vision for a prosperous, secure, and sustainable future for Ethiopia. (APA)

IGAD endorses extension for South Sudan revitalized agreement

In its 67th Extraordinary Session held on Tuesday, IGAD endorsed the six months extension of the pre-transition period that all South Sudanese parties have agreed during their last week meeting in Addis Ababa.

IGAD has been examining the implementation of Revitalized Peace Agreement for South Sudan accorded among the conflicting parties of the country.

The Extraordinary Session was aimed at taking stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and the challenges encountered in meeting some of the key timelines and benchmarks, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It was recalled that the parties met under the auspices of IGAD to review the status of implementation of the pre-transitional tasks, identify key challenges last week in Addis Ababa.

In his remark, Chairman of IGAD's Council of Ministers, Gedu Andargachew appreciated the commitment of the parties to reach a consensus in extending the pre-transitional period for six months to allow for the full implementation of critical pending tasks. (ENA)

US airstrike kills 13 Somalia ISIS fighters, AFRICOM says

A U.S. airstrike in has killed 13 Islamic State fighters in northern Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said Thursday.

The Wednesday, May 8 airstrike targeted an ISIS encampment in the Golis mountains, the Thursday press release said.

"We are supporting our Somali and AMISOM partners with increased, mature intelligence sharing," said Rear Admiral Heidi Berg, U.S. Africa Command director of intelligence.

"There is a deliberate campaign underway, that is intelligence-driven, that capitalizes on what we learn during each operation and rapidly leveraging that information to drive the next operation, including discovering where terrorists may be training, massing, and preparing to commit atrocities."

AFRICOM said it believed 13 ISIS fighters were killed in the airstrike, and no civilians were killed or injured.

The strike comes less than a month after the command said it carried out an airstrikes that killed Abdulhakim Dhuqub, who it identified as the second-in-command of Islamic State in Somalia.

Africom has carried out 30 airstrikes in Somalia in 2019, compared to 47 in 2018 and 35 in 2017. (AFP)

Sudan military's 'sharia' proposal plot to blackmail opposition

Sudanese Professionals Association, the lead group for protests in the country have rejected the military's move to employ Islamic law as the basis for a new constitution.

Sudan's Transitional Military Council had earlier this week made the proposal amid the country's ongoing political transition. The SPA were not at the said meeting where the proposal was made.

Amged Farid, spokesman for SPA told the Middle East Eye news portal that the move was with a motive to "blackmail" opposition activists.

"The insertion of Islamic and Sharia issues into this situation is an attempt to practice political blackmail," Farid said.

In addition to the efforts to inscribe Islamic law in the constitution, the army also want Arabic explicitly listed as the country's official language.

"We are discussing transitional arrangements, transitional institutions. This is the subject, not Sharia," Khaled Omar Youssef, a protest leader with the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, told reporters.

Bashir who was forced out in a military coup on 11 April is currently in detention and under investigations. (Africanews)

Eritrea keen to host Somalia-Somaliland talks, says deputy PM

Eritrea has joined countries have shown interest in facilitating prospective talks between Somalia's Federal Government and the breakaway region of Somaliland, Garowe Online reported on Thursday.

The country's deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled sees Asmara's role in Somalia-Somaliland talks "important", saying the East African nation is working to bring both sides to negotiating table.

There have been no negotiations following the collapse of the last meeting in Turkey March 2015 and since then any attempts to revive them have not been successful.

Somaliland canceled its participation similar talks in Djibouti last year after a fall-out with the Federal Government of Somalia over the Berbera port deal row with the United Arab Emirates [UAE].

Somaliland which declared unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 has been seeking international recognition, however, their efforts haven't so far proved victorious.

There are many countries, including Sweden, Turkey, Ethiopia, Djibouti and EU members actively jockeying for the opportunity to hold the talks on the unity of the Horn of Africa country. (Garowe Online)

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