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Talking of Egypt's water security


erl422683f2_online                 By Henok Tadele / Article


Pro-Egypt media claim how Egypt would go thirsty if Ethiopia sips a single drop of water from the Nile River. They claim the former has no other fresh water sources.

For many of us in sub-Saharan, Africa too, Egypt seems an arid desert that can’t do without the River Nile. However, last year’s in-depth research on Africa’s underground water reserve uncovered that Egypt is 4.3 times richer than a seemingly wet Ethiopia.

Detailed research by the British Geological Survey and University College of London (UCL), entitled ‘Quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa’, has uncovered Egypt is the fourth richest country in Africa in underground water reserves, following Libya, Algeria and Sudan respectively.

In fact the study suggested that excluding Sudan and DRC, Egypt is almost twice as rich as all the Nile Basin countries put together, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

Groundwater storage volumes in North African aquifers, including that of Egypt’s, can be as high as 75 × 106 cu.m.sq.km. (equivalent to 75 m water depth).

The amount of Egypt’s ground water storage is estimated to be 55,200 cu.km. while Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda combined have only 27,558 cu.km of underground water.

According to the research funded by British organization, the Department for International Development (DFID), Ethiopia’s rank in underground water reserves is far behind Egypt, as it is the 13th richest in Africa with 12,700 cu.km.


Estimated Groundwater Storage for Nile Riparian Countries

Country

Groundwater storage  (km3)

Best estimate Range

Sudan         

63200

37100–151000

Egypt          

55200

36000–130000

Congo, DRC          

38300

18600–103000

Ethiopia

12700

4340–39300

Kenya         

8840

4090–23300

Tanzania

5250

2040–17900

Uganda

339

73–1270

Eritrea

333

94–1120

Rwanda

49

6–198

Burundi     

47

8–183

The range is calculated by recalculating storage using the full ranges of effective porosity and thickness for each aquifer, rather than the best estimate.

Egypt’s groundwater aquifers include: the Nile Aquifer, the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, the Moghra Aquifer – between the west of the Nile Delta and the Qattara Depression – and coastal aquifers on the north-western coast.

The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System alone is known to contain 150,000 billion cu.m. of freshwater, which is equivalent to 3,000 times the annual flow of the Nile.

Even though Egypt has massive underground water reserves, enough for many generations to come, some 97 percent of their water supply comes from the Nile River. That shows how minimal Egypt’s effort is to develop its massive underground water.

If Egypt would have developed its ground water reserve and already added to its water source mix, it would have cheap water from its own territory at least for the next two decades, until further advances in seawater desalination makes desalination even cheaper.

Instead, Egypt has built several small-scale desalination plants over the Red Sea and the Mediterranean cost, and has plans to build many more until 2037. Desalination plants are at least 10 times more expensive than developing underground water reserves.

Even though advances in science and technology have brought the cost of seawater desalination down to less than USD 0.50 per cubic meter, from USD four around three decades ago, it is still considered expensive.

However, over the next few decades, additional advances in science and technology, especially in nanotechnology, graphite membrane and energy production from desalinated waste water (a technology that enables the generation of power from the water released back to the sea), is expected to bring down the cost of seawater desalination even further.

Rather than developing its huge underground water resources, Egypt has preferred to build the biggest army in Africa and the Middle East, with a staggering USD five billion annual budget, that is to scare off less powerful and economically weaker upper Nile riparian states, hoping to deter them from developing any projects on the Nile.

For politicians of Egypt, a huge military is considered a robust insurance policy to secure the country’s water future. This is not feasible from an economic point of view and is a political disaster in the making, as it only fuels hatred toward Egypt in upper riparian countries. It is morally absurd too, as countries like Ethiopia, which contributes 86 percent of the water flow of the Nile River water, is totally denied the right to sip from it.

Whenever development projects are planned or launched by any upper riparian country, Egypt immediately starts to cry foul and threaten a military action. From Anwar Sadat to the now ousted president Mohamed Morsi, they all threatened military action against anyone who contemplates sipping from the Nile waters.

The deposed President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi also made a bellicose rhetoric at a televised gathering.
“We will never allow Egypt’s water security to be infringed; all options are open for us to deal with this. If a single drop of Nile water is lost, our blood will be the alternative.”  Mursi claimed.

However, as Egypt dives into economic recession and descends into unabated political chaos, upper Nile riparian countries, like Ethiopia, are getting stronger by the day both economically and militarily.

As Ethiopia rushes to join the middle-income countries list, in the next decade public finance on infrastructure is expected to rise sharply. Ethiopia’s public finance on infrastructure is already Africa’s number one, accounting for more than 10 percent of its annual budget.
For many Ethiopians, who from the very beginning fiercely condemned their exclusion from the 1959 Nile Agreement masterminded by Egypt, the building of any dam on the Nile is considered as justice served.

Perhaps, Ethiopia’s decision to single-handedly finance and build the USD 4.7 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will be the continent’s biggest hydroelectric power plant with capacity to store more than 74 billion cubic meters of Nile water, is the most publicly supported project in the country’s history. Millions of Ethiopians have pledged one month’s salary to finance the mega dam construction, even allowing for the time when inflation hit the 43 percentage mark.

Ethiopia’s ambition to be the continent’s biggest green energy exporter means several mega dams are in the pipeline, which in the short term might decrease Egypt’s water supply but it will increase in the long term.

Economic expansion in upper Nile riparian countries means the demand for water and energy will increase, for domestic, agriculture, industry and tourism as well.

Such developments would make it increasingly difficult for Egypt to maintain the status quo on the Nile water. Though a bitter pill to swallow, Egypt has to diversify its water source and quickly develop its aquifers.

What holds back Egypt to develop its massive ground water reserve?

One may question why Egypt failed to develop its massive underground water reserves.
Well, one reason might be its leaders’ obsession on less important Middle East political issues, rather than the pressing issues of survival, which is water.

The other reason might be is it’s over reliance on military strength. Egypt considers itself as the Arab world’s super power, with the assumption that it would deter by force any water project by upper Nile riparian countries.

Underestimating the poverty-stricken countries of upper Nile riparian countries’ ability to finance mega dam projects on their own could be another reason.

Egypt’s geo-political strength and its power to influence western institution are also to be blamed.  Historically Egypt’s ability to influence financial institutions has enabled it to block much needed international loans to Ethiopia and other upper Nile riparian countries intended for dam building.

Why those tricks won’t work anymore?

Well, any military option needs to hold a moral ground. Egypt’s self-centered approach of being the sole beneficiary of Nile water, while more than 250 million people in upper riparian countries get thirsty, lacks moral ground. This Egyptian approach would make garnering international support almost very difficult.

Even if Egypt wins the war against all upper riparian countries other than Ethiopia, it would bring little results, as they only contribute 14 percent of the Nile water. The cost benefit ratio will be too high to shoulder for Egypt.

Military approach with Ethiopia, the country that contributes almost 86 percent of the Nile water is extremely difficult and unlikely brings any results. That is because stopping the construction of the GERD without a total invasion of Ethiopia is almost impossible. As the former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said, over the last 3,000 years no foreign invader has succeeded in doing so , including several Egyptian attempts.

By virtue of being landlocked, Ethiopia and Uganda, two of the most active countries in building dams on the Nile, are protected, as it is almost impossible to bypass the walls of neighboring countries unless they willingly harbor Egypt. No country in East Africa can afford animosity with mighty Ethiopia, including Eritrea.

Geo-political influence won’t do much either as Egypt’s ability to lock the gates of western financial institutions against Ethiopia will no longer bear fruit. Double-digit economic growth has enabled Ethiopia to self finance the GERD from its coffers. The strong economic performance in the country will undoubtedly enables self-financing mega dams easier
.
That only means Egyptian influence to keep western financial institutions away from financing dams over Nile, in Ethiopia, only prevented them from doing business with the world’s third fastest growing economy, dubbed by many as Africa’s emerging lion. That has already made them lose billions of dollars in revenue. But who cares about western finance anyway? The emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICS), and their hunger to do business in Africa enables getting finance a lot easier. Unlike the West, the East doesn’t mix business with politics. That in itself surprisingly makes western finance less attractive for emerging Africa.

Most of the Nile basin countries are currently among the top ten growing economies in the world, including Tanzania and Rwanda. On top of economic growth, the discovery of oil in Uganda and Kenya will be expected to make them economically powerful and very important.
In a bid to power its economy Uganda is also getting serious about building dams on the Nile, as it needs several megawatts of clean energy to sustain its economic development. Just recently it announced the 600 MW Karuma hydroelectric power plants, financed by none other than China.

Long live to capitalism, western financial institutions cannot afford to miss the golden opportunity to do business with Nile basin countries, while others are enjoying the benefits. So why would the west let a Egypt stand in its way?

The coming of the BRICS not only make financial loans easier, but also bring unexpected blessings, as traditional actors like the US announce its ‘Power Africa’ initiative, in fear of competition from the new actors. The recent announcement by the US President Barack Obama of his seven billion ‘Power Africa’ initiative is one example.

Nile basin countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya are expected to be the main beneficiaries from the power Africa initiative.

The way forward to Egypt

In light of all the above developments, Egypt cannot maintain the status quo on Nile water quota. It can’t afford to sit idle either. Rather than building a new glittering capital city it needs to fast develop its massive underground water resources.In that regard they have a lot to learn from neighboring Libya. Being number one in African underground water reserves, Libya has gone a long way to develop its fresh water aquifers.

No matter how crazy and maverick the western media called him, the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was serious on the issue of his country’s water security. His ambition to answer the country’s water problem has resulted the construction of the Great Man-Made River that provided fresh water for all Libyans and enabled his country to be self sufficient in food production.

The artificial river sucks water from deep underground, with an 8,000 mile network of pipes ferrying water from four major underground aquifers in southern Libya to the northern cities. It is believed to be the largest irrigation project in the world, as the government intends to develop 160,000 hectares of farmland.

Even though some western media slammed the project as the pipe dream of a mad dog, it enabled Libya to get more than six million cubic meters of water a day. As a result, the Libyan Desert has started to bloom and the country’s agriculture is taking off.

Gaddafi may not have been cost conscious when he developed the country’s aquifers, but with better planning and cost awareness Egypt can do it by avoiding Gaddafi’s mistakes.

No matter how lunatic he used to seem, the late Gaddafi’s water war was waged on nature not on his neighbors. Egypt’s water war should follow Gaddafi’s lesson.


d 1

By Henok Tadele /opinion

What would someone lose, if he goes to fight with a neighbor who doesn't want him to drink but die of thrust? By fighting or not he will die anyway!

Egypt’s bellicose rhetoric against Ethiopia's right to use the Nile River is considered the same story for us Ethiopians, as the former's stance to cling on to the 1959 Nile Agreement, which excludes Ethiopia, the country that contributes 86 percent of Nile water, is nothing less than a denial of right to live.


Certainly, the draconian deal between the two downstream countries, which allocates the Sudan and Egypt 18.5 and 55.5 billion cubic meters of water respectively and left 10 billion cubic meters of water for evaporation but none for Ethiopia, is purely an act of the worst enemy.

Rubbing salt in to our wound, Egypt time and again warned us and other riparian countries to refrain from drinking a single drop of water from the Nile or else will face the might of its army.

The 1959 deal, which doesn't even consider Ethiopians as people worthy of drinking water from the Nile, has created a deep feeling of betrayal and animosity in the hearts of generations of Ethiopians towards Egypt, the deals mastermind.

Perhaps, Mengistu Hailemariam’s insane idea of making Egypt pay for every single drop of Nile water indicates the deep sense of vindictiveness that Egypt sow in the hearts of Ethiopians against itself.

If Mengistu had a peaceful decade, he would have clogged millions of Egyptian throat single handedly in response to the 1959 deal.

But thanks for Meles Zenawi and the Nile Basin Initiative (NBE), now the idea of equitable share and mutual cooperation is very much in to the hearts of Ethiopians and other riparian countries.

However, as usual some war mongers in Egyptian politics are beating war dram against Ethiopia, which is purely an act of a bullying neighbor. Some Egyptian opposition figures even pushed for bombing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt’s pooliticians has to know if an eye for an eye leads the world blind a dam for a dam would definitely leads Egypt thirsty!

However, playing Russian roulette won’t do any good for both of us.  Zero-sum game won’t lead anywhere. As a country, that experienced more than its share of war over many centuries, we in Ethiopia understands all the evils of war.

To sum up in a single sentence what we have learned over many centuries ‘War kills thousands of people, yet hunger kills millions of them!’

During World War II the worst atomic war in human history has killed nearly 250,000 Japanese, but the 1984 famine in Ethiopia killed over a million and half people in a single year. My point is if forced, war with Egypt would be a lesser evil, since no war with Egypt will not cost a million lives!

Going to war with Ethiopia, Egypt will gain nothing except it further deepens animosity in Ethiopia against itself. The result will be detrimental to Egypt as the defeat of ideas like equitable share and cooperation will go south.

Any war with Egypt will trigger a Mengistu like ‘No nonsense, an eye for an eye’ attitude towards itself in the heart of our politicians and voters, that would only back fire to Egypt. If Ethiopians do not have the right to drink Nile water, why does Egyptians have the right to quench their thrust?

War with Ethiopia will also weakens Egypt before the eyes of its perceived enemy, Israel, as the former has to move a significant amount of its army to east Africa, which left Egypt’s main land less guarded. That in turn gives Israel a much needed break from unfriendly Mursi and his Brotherhood party.

Engaging in internationally unsupported war will also make Egypt’s influence over the Middle East to weaken as contenders like Saudi and Kuwait may easily climb to the Arab leadership.

Besides, the track record of Egyptians to win war is very much inferior vis-a vis the Ethiopians. Over the last 3,000 years, Ethiopia has never lost a war to any outside aggressor, including several Egyptian trials of invasions, while Egypt has lost almost every one of the foreign aggression against it. To name the few Romans, Persians, Macedonians, Ottomans, British, and the list go on. Why would Egypt risk adding yet another defeat to its collection, when its youth are laboring to bring back its former glory?

Egypt’s economy is already in turmoil; war with far away Ethiopia is going to drug it even further to a much deeper recession.

Any Egyptian aggression towards Ethiopia will radicalize other riparian countries and may stand together in the fight against Egypt. The ultimately encourage them to build lots of dams unilaterally, which will only drag Egypt in to further panic.

Hence, the idea of cooperation and equitable utilization of the Nile water is the only way forward.

If Ethiopia and Egypt strength ties and mutual cooperation it will only lead Egypt to gain more water from upstream dams in Ethiopian high lands as high lands are an ideal place to store water with less evaporation.

For us Ethiopians increased ties and mutual cooperation with Egypt on issues of Nile will unlock the doors of financial institutions as it is luck of cooperation in this region kept them from giving loans for infrastructure including mega dams over the Nile.

Mutual ties with Egypt will also helps to further bolster relationship with Middle Eastern countries, which have billions of petro-dollar reserves to offer for loan.

In light of all this developments Egyptian politicians should come to sanity and get things straight with Ethiopia in spirit of brotherhood and good neighborliness. Bullying the awakening lion won’t get u anywhere!

Why the future is bright for Ethiopia?

addiphoto:from internet.
as the Ethiopian economy is booming over the last decade dilapidated
townships are fast leaving place for the modern high rise building thus transforming the city beyond recognition



By Henok Tadele


As the massive construction boom is taking place in Addis it literally turned to be one- huge construction site. Every single day the construction is transforming the city beyond recognition. Powered by the double digit economic growth, the country is experiencing since a decade ago, Addis is fully engaged in several face lifting projects. From skyscrapers to 8 lane express ways, from cheap condominium housing to Africa’s tallest building and to the light rail systems designed to ease traffic congestion, Addis is indeed boosting an urban renewal of a very large proportion.

Behind all the boom and bloom in the city is off course the world’s 3rd fastest growing non oil economy. Once the poster child of famine and hunger, Ethiopia now turned out to be the 4th biggest economy in Sub Saharan Africa. According to the World Bank(WB), since 2004, Ethiopia has experienced strong and generally broad-based real economic growth of around 10.6 percent on average between then and 2011.

Ethiopia’s growth was induced through a mix of factors including agricultural modernization, the development of new export sectors, strong global commodity demand, and government-led development investments.

According to the WB, the county’s growth over the last nine years was far beyond the growth rates recorded in aggregate terms for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which on average only reached 5.2 percent, less than half of Ethiopia's average real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate during that period.

Inspired by the South East Asian countries like Korea and China, the Developmental State approach the country is pursuing brought tremendous changes in almost all sector. Be it in infrastructure, health, education agriculture or even environment.

Today Africa’s flagship and often biggest infrastructural projects are mostly found in Ethiopia. Among them are the self funded Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which would have the capacity of 6,000 MW upon completion, the Gibe III Hydropower Station, which is the world’s tallest RCC Dam, Aisha Wind Power Generation plant, with 1,000 MW capacity it would be Africa’s biggest ever wind farm project upon completion and off course the much expected electrified rail way line of some 8,000 KM, of which the construction of some 5,000 KM is well underway.  Currently many big infrastructural projects are well underway in Ethiopia.

The other thing were this county's future is so much more brighter is environment resiliency , as the country boosts the launching of the worlds first ever Climate Change Resilient Economy that would definitely position the country in tomorrows green world. According to the Ethiopia's plan it would join the middle income countries club by 2020, with zero emission. Endowed with over 45,000 MW hydro-power capacity, which is Africa’s second next to DRC, meeting that target with zero emission may not be that difficult. The research recently disclosed by Hydro China Corporation indicates that Ethiopia have the potential to generate over 1.3 million MW of wind power. Harnessing this untapped resource not only helps the country to meet the target but also position it in the global green energy map. Currently as part of the energy mix program three big wind power plants are well underway.
                                                                               
END of part one

By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) The visiting Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Essam Abdel-Aziz Sharaf said Egypt will now consider Ethiopia as a major player on the issues of Nile River.

Speaking at the occasion of signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the chambers of commerce of the two countries here on Friday, he said "even if there is a problem we want you to stick with us and we will work very hard to do it."

Dr. Sharaf said the two countries represent two old civilizations in the continent connected by the River Nile ,which he said is a divine asset and added that "We try to utilize the gift given to us by God."

The Premier said even though Ethiopia and Egypt are connected with Nile trade ties between the two countries is the tiny fraction of their overall trade exchange.

Egypt is here to open a new page and a whole new environment for cooperation, Dr. Sharaf said.

‘‘…Ethiopia said we need political will, believe me we have the will now very strongly, in a friendly and mutual benefit bases...’’ he added.

‘‘…we discussed with Prime Minister Meles that we have to base our cooperation on integrated, comprehensive cooperation plan not just solving problem…" Dr. Sharaf said, adding, "So we started today a whole new page of cooperation based on mutual benefits and there is a win- win situation."

Dr. Sharaf said Egypt is going to start immediately to let the technical committee to work.

He also invited Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to visit Egypt.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn on his part said the peoples of Egypt and Ethiopia have opened a new chapter in history.

"This is what we all believed should happen and we will continue writing on this page," he said.

He said the two countries agreed to have a comprehensive and integrated plan to be followed as a road map to implement this cooperation in good spirit and mutual trust, benefit and respect.

Hailemariam said the agreement will be the base and foundation for future cooperation.

According to him, the comprehensive plan should also include businesses and investment in both countries. Investment and business is very important for joining the two countries much more closer.

The business community in Ethiopia and Egypt will have a great role to play in consolidating the new cooperation.
‘‘…we also agree that there is mistrust because of wrong perception from both sides. So we have to clear out all those perceptions by open discussions and transparent ways of doing things…’’, he said.

"We agreed that we will have a joint ministerial committee coming together immediately and working together to clarify all those issues for strengthening our future cooperation," Hailemariam added.

He also said both countries should come to their former civilization and to their previous position as pioneers of civilization in the continent.

By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) Africa and United States of America needs to work together on areas of counter terrorism and illicit airborne related activities, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affair Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said.

Speaking at the Africa Air Chiefs Conference held here on Tuesday, Hailemariam said the cooperation between the two parties is increasingly becoming important since Africa particularity, eastern part borders with the major sea lanes where important maritime commercial traffic takes place, is attracting the attention of international terrorists and pirates.

He said some of the illicit activities include hostage taking of oil tankers and cargo ships, others include shipment of weapons using aircraft destined to Somalia, which has actually been under UN arms embargo.

According to Hailemariam, since there are states which violate the UN imposed arms embargo on Somalia, considering more practical regional instruments, within the framework of international law is important.

He said if Africa and US work together such violators of international law would be held accountable.

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Norton Schwartz on his part said U.S. security interests in Africa are best served by building long term partnerships with African nations regional organizations, and the African Union.

‘ an Africa that can generate and sustain broad-based economic development will contribute to global growth, which is a long standing American interest.’ He said quoting General Carter Ham as saying.

According to a press statement from American embassy, some 30 African air force air chiefs or their deputies, the leadership and representatives from U.S. Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA), officials from U.S. Africa Command, and representatives from civilian agencies and regional organizations that deal with aviation issues are among the participants.

By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) Oromia State has become the biggest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ethiopia in the last eight months, the Ethiopian Investment Agency said.

Oromia ranks first in term of attracting FDI flow receiving 12.25 billion Birr of the 36.64 billion Birr total investment the country gets in the first eight months of this Ethiopian fiscal year, the agency told ENA over the weekend.

According to Corporate Communication Director of the Ministry, Getahun Negash, Addis Ababa City was  the 2nd prime destination of FDI taking 8.48 billion Birr of the stated sum followed by South Ethiopia Peoples’ State, whose share stood at 4.3 billion Birr.

Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz states were the 4th and 5th largest recipients of FDI amounting to 3.56 billion Birr and 2.99 billion Birr respectively.

The director said Diredawa City Administration, Amhara, Somali, Tigray and Afar stood 6th to 10th places receiving the balance.

Foreign investment in the country has increased in the first eight months of this year to 36.64 billion Birr from 30.48 billion Birr last year same period.

The director attributed the success to the government’s increasing effort, luring incentives, development of infrastructures, and cheap labor, among others.

Oromia and Addis Ababa were also the first and second largest recipients of FDI in the first eight months last year grabbing together 13.2 billion Birr of the over 30 billion Birr total investment flow, according to available data.

China, India, Turkey, Israel Sudan and Saudi Arabia were reported to be as the major investor countries in Ethiopia.

Out of the 37 billion Birr foreign investment projects licensed Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Israeli, Sudanese, Saudi Arabian, American and Pakistani investors lead respectively in terms of capital.

Chinese are expected to invest 4.5 billion while Indian, Turkish and Israeli investors are expected to invest 2.5 billion, 1.9 billion and 1.8 billion Birr respectively. With 1.2 billion Birr investment capital Sudan is number one investor in Ethiopia among African countries.

In terms of job creation, the Chinese investors are expected to create 5,847 new jobs while the Indians, Sudanese, Saudi Arabia and Turkish investors are expected to create 5,200 jobs, 2931 jobs, 2,100 jobs and 2044 jobs respectively.

By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) The Ethiopian Investment Agency has licensed 1082 investment projects with an aggregate capital of 107 billion Birr over the last eight months, its Corporate Communication Director said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA on Tuesday, the Director, Getahun Negash said of the total, 763 projects with the cumulative capital of 37 billion Birr are owned by foreign investors.

Out of the 37 billion Birr foreign investment projects licensed Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Israeli, Sudanese, Saudi Arabian, American and Pakistani investors lead respectively in terms of capital.

Chinese are expected to invest 4.5 billion while Indian, Turkish and Israeli investors are expected to invest 2.5 billion, 1.9 billion and 1.8 billion Birr respectively. With 1.2 billion Birr investment capital Sudan is number one investor in Ethiopia among African countries.

In terms of job creation, the Chinese investors are expected to create 5,847 new jobs while the Indians, Sudanese, Saudi Arabia and Turkish investors are expected to create 5,200 jobs, 2931 jobs, 2,100 jobs and 2044 jobs respectively.

Local investment including public investment accounted for 70 billion of the 107 billion Birr of the total investment in which the country got during the period in reference (between July 2010 and February 2010)

Of the 70 billion Birr domestic investment the county received, private investment constituted two billion Birr while public investment worth 68 billion Birr.

The investment received during the reported period was greater than the envisaged plan (65.4 billion) by 41.6 billion Birr and than that of last year’s same period by 74.4 million Birr

Getahun said the investment projects licensed during the reported period will create a total of 71,000 new jobs.

Concerning the share of each areas of the economy, manufacturing has dominated the investment in terms of project numbers accounting for 241 of the 1082 projects licensed during the period in the reference.

Agriculture and real state stood 2nd and 3rd consisting 205 and 132 investment projects respectively followed by hotel and restaurant, and construction accounting for 45 and 43 projects respectively.

The director attributed the success to the government’s increasing effort, luring incentives, development of infrastructures, and cheap labor, among others.

Oromia and Addis Ababa were also the first and second largest recipients of FDI in the first eight months last year grabbing together 13.2 billion Birr of the over 30 billion Birr total investment flow, according to available data.

China, India, Turkey, Israel Sudan and Saudi Arabia were reported to be as the major investor countries in Ethiopia.

Out of the 37 billion Birr foreign investment projects licensed Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Israeli, Sudanese, Saudi Arabian, American and Pakistani investors lead respectively in terms of capital.

Chinese are expected to invest 4.5 billion while Indian, Turkish and Israeli investors are expected to invest 2.5 billion, 1.9 billion and 1.8 billion Birr respectively. With 1.2 billion Birr investment capital Sudan is number one investor in Ethiopia among African countries.

In terms of job creation, the Chinese investors are expected to create 5,847 new jobs while the Indians, Sudanese, Saudi Arabia and Turkish investors are expected to create 5,200 jobs, 2931 jobs, 2,100 jobs and 2044 jobs respectively.

By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Ethiopia will never stop its program to construct hydro power dams because of lack of external support.

The premier made the remark while opening the international Conference on Hydropower for Sustainable Development 2011 here on Thursday.

On the occasion, Meles said there are some who are hydropower extremists that oppose hydropower development in poor countries because according to them such projects inevitably impact the environment negatively.

‘‘ …these extremists who are based and financed from Europe and North America done virtually nothing to stop their countries from building all the dams they can build, however they are trying to stop projects in poor countries such as in Ethiopia…’’ Meles said. 

‘‘…If I am a believer in conspiracy theories I would conclude that these people want Africa to remain as it currently is with all its misery and poverty so that they can come and visit nature in its pristine state in the winter every so often…’’ he added. 

He said Ethiopia is very grateful to all development partners for their support of the country's hydropower projects so far and hopes this will continue in the future since the country's savings are inadequate. 

If the partners are deterred from doing so because of the noisy campaign of environmental extremists and some politicians with old fashioned ideas, they will in effect be condemning millions of Africans to poverty, Meles said. 

"We are convinced of ... the role of our hydropower projects in eliminating poverty in our country that we will use every ounce of our strength, every dime of money that we can save to complete our program." He said. 

According to Meles, the government has decided to exploit Ethiopia's abundant resources to generate electricity from renewable sources not only to relieve the acute shortage of electric power in the country but also to export to the neighboring countries. 

Ethiopia has set an ambitious plan to build up to 8000MW of additional capacity from hydropower over the next five years. 

Meles said downstream countries benefits from the dams in Ethiopia, as the dams prevent flooding and siltation in lower riparian countries as well as generate clean energy that would be used by downstream countries. 

UN-ECA Secretary-General, Abduolie Janneh on his part said consisting 14 percent of the world population, Africa's electric power share accounts for only 3 percent. 

He said the continent has developed only 7 percent of its hydroelectric power potential so far. 

AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim said AUC is committed to support and promote the exploitation and development of the vast hydroelectric potential of the major river basins in Africa, through the construction of hydropower plants and interconnection of high voltage power transmission networks between 2010 and 2020. 

She called on development partners to support “Hydropower 2020” Initiative through removing all the constraints hindering the development of major hydropower projects in the continent. 

AUC had officially launched the “Hydropower 2020” Initiative on the sideline of the 12th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the AU held in Addis Ababa in February 2009.  

Scholars, professionals and representatives of pertinent organizations drawn from various countries are taking part in the two-day conference.

 

By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Ethiopia will never stop its program to construct hydro power dams because of lack of external support.

The premier made the remark while opening the international Conference on Hydropower for Sustainable Development 2011 here on Thursday.

On the occasion, Meles said there are some who are hydropower extremists that oppose hydropower development in poor countries because according to them such projects inevitably impact the environment negatively.

‘‘ …these extremists who are based and financed from Europe and North America done virtually nothing to stop their countries from building all the dams they can build, however they are trying to stop projects in poor countries such as in Ethiopia…’’ Meles said.

‘‘…If I am a believer in conspiracy theories I would conclude that these people want Africa to remain as it currently is with all its misery and poverty so that they can come and visit nature in its pristine state in the winter every so often…’’ he added.

He said Ethiopia is very grateful to all development partners for their support of the country's hydropower projects so far and hopes this will continue in the future since the country's savings are inadequate.

If the partners are deterred from doing so because of the noisy campaign of environmental extremists and some politicians with old fashioned ideas, they will in effect be condemning millions of Africans to poverty, Meles said.

"We are convinced of ... the role of our hydropower projects in eliminating poverty in our country that we will use every ounce of our strength, every dime of money that we can save to complete our program." He said.

According to Meles, the government has decided to exploit Ethiopia's abundant resources to generate electricity from renewable sources not only to relieve the acute shortage of electric power in the country but also to export to the neighboring countries.

Ethiopia has set an ambitious plan to build up to 8000MW of additional capacity from hydropower over the next five years.

Meles said downstream countries benefits from the dams in Ethiopia, as the dams prevent flooding and siltation in lower riparian countries as well as generate clean energy that would be used by downstream countries.

UN-ECA Secretary-General, Abduolie Janneh on his part said consisting 14 percent of the world population, Africa's electric power share accounts for only 3 percent.

He said the continent has developed only 7 percent of its hydroelectric power potential so far.

AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim said AUC is committed to support and promote the exploitation and development of the vast hydroelectric potential of the major river basins in Africa, through the construction of hydropower plants and interconnection of high voltage power transmission networks between 2010 and 2020.

She called on development partners to support “Hydropower 2020” Initiative through removing all the constraints hindering the development of major hydropower projects in the continent.

AUC had officially launched the “Hydropower 2020” Initiative on the sideline of the 12th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the AU held in Addis Ababa in February 2009.

Scholars, professionals and representatives of pertinent organizations drawn from various countries are taking part in the two-day conference.

(Addis Ababa) A survey conducted by Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA), on Employee satisfaction with graduates from 2005 – 2008 revealed that most employers are satisfied with new college graduates. 

At a panel discussion held at the British Council here on Wednesday on Higher Education, Employability and Entrepreneurship HERQA Director, Dr Tesfaye Teshome said the agency has undertaken the survey to know if employers think graduates are fit enough to their purpose. 

The employers include 263 government institutions, public and private colleges, NGO’s that are largely based in Addis Ababa City, Bahir Dar, Hawassa and Mekelle towns. 

Some 635 graduates from both governmental and private colleges, who graduated in ten different fields were included in the survey. 

The fields include agriculture, accounting, computer science, law, management, medical science, engineering, natural science, among others, were used as sample for the study. 

According to the survey, 89 percent of public institutions, 96 percent of private companies and 88 percent of NGO’s are satisfied with the graduates. 

Dr. Tesfaye said in fields like Law and Natural Science the satisfaction rate reached 100 percent and 96 percent respectively. 

Concerning the feelings of the graduates, Dr. Tesfaye said 15 percent of the graduates are very satisfied with the educational quality they received in colleges while 69 percent were satisfied. 

Speaking on his part, the Higher Education Strategy Center Director, Professor Zenabu Gebremariam said the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) gives special emphasis to quality of higher education. 

He said GTP puts many other strategies to meet goals including the Millennium Development Goals in education sector. 

According to him, in a bid to achieve the goals the government has incorporated Higher Education Reform that enables universities to generate graduates, who can solve problems in their fields of study and overall social needs. 

Focusing on focuses on Science and technology, creating university- industry linkage, internship and practical attachment are also given special emphasis, Zenabu said. 

He said universities would also start to conduct graduate tracer studies and employer satisfaction researches. 

Speaking at the occasion Open University Vice Chancellor, Martin Bean said the digital age gives an opportunity to every county in the world to minimize the cost of education and also creates a wider access. 

He said countries like Ethiopia, which has a vast landmass, can intensively use digital technology to extend educational opportunities to the public. 


By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) A study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) revealed that Africa’s rapid growth in industrial technological acquisition gives rise to the hope that "the Continent may be joining other developing regions in building a sound industrial base, likely to support production of value-added goods and services as well as high-tech products."

According to the study entitled "A technological resurgence? Africa in the global flow of technology" in the not-too-distant future, the recent rise in industrial technology acquisition may diversify African exports from coffee, cocoa, copper, tea, diamonds and petroleum.

It said Africa and Asia are enjoying tremendous increase in royalties and licensing fees between 1990 and 2008.

While royalties and licensing fees rose six times globally, sub-Saharan Africa’s royalty and licensing fee payments went up 10 times- second only to East Asia and the Pacific (57 times).

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries saw a rise of 6 times and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) witnessed a 5-fold increase between 1990 and 2008.

At the continental level, royalties and licensing fees payments for Cameroon, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland and Tunisia increased rapidly between 1990 and 2007, the study shows.

However, Africa paints a mixed picture in growth of intellectual property rights while Asia is clearly becoming a leading player.

The number of patent applications has grown only marginally in Africa and LAC but rapidly in Asia.

African trends in patent applications vary widely. In general, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia receive a large share of patent applications recorded in Africa.

In terms of resident trademarks, Africa recorded about a 2-fold growth which was faster than the growth recorded by the OECD (1.6-fold) and LAC (1.5-fold) but was lower than Asia (8-fold) between 1990 and 2007. South Africa accounts for almost half of the total non-resident trademarks of SSA.

As a way forward, the study recommends the need to prioritize technology development and transfer through four core areas: promotion of university-industry- government partnership.

According to Undersecretary-General and ECA’s Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh, the trends associated with technology transfer as assessed in the study provide evidence of the factors driving the impressive economic growth rates recorded in African countries over the last decade.

"The findings reveal an impressive turnaround from the slow growth in Africa’s share of the number of patents, peer-reviewed scientific publications and, technology exports and imports which grew very slowly in the 1980s to 1990s, he says."

"The research provides evidence of a rapid growth rate Africa’s industrial technology acquisition," he adds.

Janneh points out that the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), one of the main channels of technology transfer, into Africa soared over 800% between 2000 and 2008.

"Some of the investment has gone into the production of drugs, steel, automobiles and electronics, among others - areas that require the use of technology owned by others," he says.

The Study is the first ever comprehensive research that tracks flows of investment and knowledge mainly by developing regions and developed country groupings and specifically looks at technology transfer trends in areas such as royalties and licensing fees, capital goods, business, professional and technical services, research and development (R&D); as well as intellectual property rights.


By Henok Tadele

(Addis Ababa) Ethiopia has envisaged to cut drastically maternal and infant mortality rate in the next five years, the Ministry of Health said.

In an exclusive interview with addisnews.livejournal.com on Saturday, Ministry's Policy, Planning and Finance Director, Roman Tesfaye said the ministry has planned to reduce maternal mortality rate to 276 per 100,000 by 2014 from existing 590.

According to Roman, the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rate is part of the fourth Health Sector Development Program (HSDP IV).

According to WHO estimate, maternal mortality rate in Ethiopia currently stands at 470 per 100,000 mothers, she said.

Roman said though maternal mortality rate in Ethiopia is lower than the Sub- Saharan average it is showing  a great improvement over the last five years.

In 2005 maternal mortality rate was stood at 870 per 100,000 but now reduced to 470 per 100,000, she added. 

Conserning under five child child mortality rate, Ethiopia stood at 101 per 1,000 while that of Sub Saharan average is 144 per 1,000. 

Ethiopia will reduce child mortality rate to 68 at the end of 2014, according to HSDP IV.

Roman said Ethiopia is undertaking various activities geared to achieve the plan in this sector.

The country will train 3,000 health professionals in the next five years and several medical doctors.

An average of 1,000 medical doctors will also be graduated every year as of this year which will enable to increase the number of physicians by 5-fold.

Roman said the number of health stations would increase to 3,200 from the current 2,600.

The health stations would also be equipped with all necessary equipments to enable them curb maternal and child death.

The above mentioned measures will enable to achieve the desired goals in this sector, Roman said.

By Henok Tadele Haile

Saudi Arabia has become Ethiopia’s number one partner in terms of investment followed by India, the Ethiopian Investment Authority (EIA) said. 

In an exclusive interview with addisnews.livejournal.com on Friday, EIA Director General, Abi Woldemeskel said Saudi Arabia stood first in terms of investment injecting 50 billion Birr over the last five years followed by India investing 39.5 billion Birr. 

He said Chinese, Sudanese and Turkish Investors are the third, fourth and fifth investors in terms of capital. 

Chinese, Sudanese and Turkish’s investment constitutes 17.8 Billion, 17.7 Billion and 12.4 Billion Birr respectively, he said. 

The investment projects are mainly in manufacturing, construction, education, agriculture, hotel and restaurant, among others. 

However, China outranks the rest of the countries in terms of the number of investment projects, which are also of labor intensive, Abi said. 

The Chinese have 1065 investment projects in Ethiopia followed by Sudanese with 701 projects. 

Top investors Saudi Arabia and India are third, forth with 416 and 358 investment projects respectively. The Turks are distant fifth with 214 investment projects. 

Abi said all investment projects by foreign and Ethiopian investors have created more than 1.73 million over the last five years. 

The director attributed the ever increasing Foreign Direct Investment to the country is the conducive investment atmosphere and efficient service delivery. 

He also attributed the success for the Strategic and general investment promotion works undertaken by Ethiopian embassies abroad and by the Authority.



By Henok Tadele Haile

(Addis Ababa) Some 31 American Peace Corps volunteers have sworn in here on Friday to serve on conservation and natural resource management issues in Ethiopia for 27 months.

Speaking at the occasion held here at the US Embassy compound, President Girma Woldegiorgis expressed delight to welcome the first group of Environmental Peace Corps Volunteers to Ethiopia.

‘‘ we see this collaboration as a long term partnership in which the Peace Corps will continue to expand its activities, both in the numbers of volunteers serving in Ethiopia and the sectors in which they serve’’ the President said.

Environmental volunteers will work in Amhara, Oromia and South Ethiopia peoples' State under the auspices of the Ethiopian Wildlife and Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The volunteers are expected to help develop alternative livelihoods for communities living in the buffer zone of ecologically important areas.

President Girma said the volunteers will provide education on environmental issues and raise awareness of communities with a special focus on the youth and help to improve national park operations as well as strengthen the ecotourism industry.

He urged the volunteers to involve local counterparts as part of their legacy and to get fully engaged with locals and be mindful of building local capacity.

U. S Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald E. Booth on his part said Ethiopia is one of the very first countries to invite Peace Corps to establish a program just one year after it was founded in 1961.

The ambassador said since 1962 a total of 3,500 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Ethiopia in different fields such as agriculture, basic education, tourism, health, economic development and teaching English.

‘‘…given Ethiopia’s leading role in Climate Change initiatives, these new volunteers will be working in a very auspicious environment...’’ Ambassador Booth said.

The volunteers who came from 18 American States are ranging in age from 21 to over 60 years old. Some 12 of them have MA Degrees while the remaining 19 are BA degrees holders.

Fifty years ago, on the steps of the University of Michigan Student Union, a Senator who later became President John F. Kennedy, challenged young Americans to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries, an idea that inspired the creation of the Peace Corps.

Since then more than 200,000 Volunteers have worked in 135 countries in a 27- month commitment.

 


(Addis Ababa) The Peace and Security Council of African Union has received briefing on the situation of Sudan and the activities of the AU High level Implementation of Panel (AUHIP) at its 250th meeting held in Tripoli, Libya. 

In a press statement African Union (AU) sent addisnews.livejournal on Tuesday, it said Council welcomed the commitment of the Sudanese Parties, and encouraged them to pursue their efforts towards the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). 

The Council assured the Sudanese Parties of Africa’s full solidarity and support, and called on the international community to facilitate and support the Sudanese Parties in their efforts, including by deferring the process initiated by the International Criminal Court, as well as by removing the sanctions against the Sudan. 

It expressed its full support to the AUHIP, and encouraged it to pursue and intensify its efforts in accordance with the decision adopted by the 207th meeting of the Peace and Security Council held in Abuja on 29 October 2009. 

The Council welcomed the communiqué of the IGAD 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, on 23 November 2010, and commended IGAD for its commitment to peace and security in the Sudan. 

The Council expressed AU’s confidence in the leadership of President Omar Hassan al Bashir and First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit to lead the Sudan into a new era of peace, regardless of the outcome of the referendum on self determination scheduled for January 2011. 

The 250th meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the AU was held at the level of Heads of State and Government.


Ping calls for more FDI in Africa

By Henok Tadele Haile  

(Addis Ababa )African Union (AU) Chairperson Dr. Jean Ping calls for more foreign direct investment (FDI) to the continent. 

Ping made the call at the opening of the 3rd Africa-European Union Summit opened on Monday in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. 

More than 80 Heads of State and Government and Leaders of Delegations, as well as the leadership of both the African Union and the European Union Commissions, and prominent international personalities are participating in the summit. 

According to the press release AU sent ENA on Monday, Ping said Europe seems to have finally understood that its fate is inextricably linked with that of Africa, since both continents are separated only by the 14 kilometer-long Straits of Gibraltar.  

While acknowledging the progress made in the AU-EU partnership since the 2nd Africa-EU Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in 2007, the Ping noted with regret the low levels of FDI in Africa. 

“Despite the fact that Africa has taken all the measures requested by the Washington Consensus for the creation of an environment propitious to FDI, why is it that Africa, with the exception of South Africa, still attracts less than 2% of global direct foreign investments, less than Singapore?” Ping questioned.  

While reminding his audience that for Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting poverty in half by 2015, the continent must ensure strong, equitable and sustainable economic growth, which is also necessary for job creation.  

Two years after the world economic crisis, unemployment remains endemic in the continent and the situation has shown no signs of improvement despite indications of a return to global economic growth and a rise in Africa’s average Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he observed. 

Dr. Ping further reminded his audience that at a time when globalization requires coordinated political responses to major international problems, within the framework of multilateral diplomacy, Europe and Africa must together, as strategic partners, meet their enormous common challenges and expectations, including the desired Summit outcome of a mechanism to manage economic growth for the mutual benefit of the more than 1.5 billion people of both continents. 

Over the last decade, since the maiden Africa-EU Summit in Cairo, Egypt in 2000, Africa has multifariously demonstrated its political will to take the initiative in defining its political agenda and has done everything in its power to take its destiny into its own hands, Ping pointed out. 

“The African Union, which is emerging on the international scene as a viable continental institution for integration, capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st Century, is the realization of the vision of African leaders.  

The conditions now seem in place for Africa to, at last, translate into reality its great economic potential, notably by consolidating the return to AU economic growth on the continent, following the recent global crisis.  

The latest results of the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index published last month, confirm that in general, Africa has improved its performance in the areas of economic development, human development and good governance,” the Chairperson noted with optimism. 

Africa is more than ever determined to contribute to the consolidation and concretization of its strategic partnership with Europe, he said.


(Addis Ababa) United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said it will support Ethiopia’s Science, Technology and Innovation indicator (STI) Scheme. 

Speaking at the national workshop on STI Indicators held here on Tuesday, UNESCO’s Officer in charge, Dr. Alexandros Makarigakis said UNESCO is very pleased to see that Ethiopia has embarked on the scheme to address the luck of STI indicators. 

She said UNESCO is currently assisting 20 African countries. 

According to her, UNESCO have been supporting the national efforts for drafting the new national science and technology policy (S&T) in Ethiopia by raising awareness on sciences, promote sustainable development and would happily continue to support Ethiopia. 

‘‘… the use of indicators is of primary importance; as it is often quoted in Management training ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” she said. 

Science and Technology State Minister, Mahamouda Ahmed Gaas on his part said STI indicators are important assessment tools in measuring the impact of policies and projects designed and implemented in the sector of Science, Technology and Innovation. 

He said there is an increasing awareness in the importance of statistics in general and STI indicators in particular for the socio- economic development of our country. 

The minister said building the country’s capacity for STI data collection and processing according to international standards and in making use of STI indicators, in planning and assessment is of paramount importance. 

The Ministry so far has tried to collect, analyze, and to some extent use Research and Development indicators compiled in 2005 and 2006, he said. It also has tried to collect and analyses innovation indicators in 2008, he added. 


By Henok Tadele Haile

(Addis Ababa)Brazil welcomes Ethiopia’s Interest to open its embassy in Brazil, the Brazilian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mrs. Isabel Cristina De Azevedo Heyvart said.

In an exclusive interview she gave to addisnews.livejournal.com on Saturday, Heyvart said Brazil opened its embassy in Addis Ababa since 2005.

She said when Ethiopia’s embassy in Brazil open’s, it will be very important for the complementarities between the two embassies to improve the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

She said the opening of Ethiopian embassy in Brazil will undoubtedly create concrete results in diplomatic, economic and social aspects.

Heyvart said Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s announcement to open embassy in Brazil shows Ethiopia’s recognition to the growing importance of emerging Brazil.

Brazil too considers Ethiopia as a very important partner in the international arena, she said.

‘‘…We not only see Ethiopia as extremely important ally in field of international climate negotiations but also in international finance as well …’she said.

Brazil see Ethiopia’s role in the G 20 as extremely important in the financial aspect since Ethiopia is representing the African region as it is the Chair of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) in the G 20, Heyvart said.

Ethiopia constructive role to bring peace, security and development in the horn of Africa and the world stage is also what Brazil perceives in a positive light.

‘‘…Brazil with more than 1.5 Trillion US Dollar GDP is already one of the biggest economies in the world and the recent discovery of huge offshore oil reserves make it even more attractive…’’ , she said.

She said there are many possibilities of technical cooperation between Brazil and Ethiopia especially in the field of bio-fuel and investment.

She said concerning bio-fuel Brazil have a very rich experience and considered as a row model in the world in the field.

Brazil as part of its energy and import substitution policy do not import oil for its cars but use locally produce ethanol that she said reduce the burden of the country’s import.

In the fields of sugar and ethanol there is a huge interest of cooperation in Ethiopia both in government and private sectors. She said Brazil is willing to share its experience to Ethiopia.

In terms of investment the robust economic growth in Ethiopia consequently over the years coupled with the recent devaluation of the Birr more flexibility and can helps foreign direct investment flow from Brazil, but both countries need to work hard she said.

Agriculture and poverty alleviation is also promising area of cooperation, Heyvert said.

By Henok Tadele Haile

(Addis Ababa)Ethiopia has a plan to increase the amount of foreign currency it gets from tourism to more than 1.6 Billion USD over the next five years from nearly 948 million USD over the last five years, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said.  

In exclusive interview with Addis News website here on Tuesday, Public and International Relations Director with the Ministry, Zinabu Tunu said the ministry has a plan to increase the revenue from the sector by 25 percent at the end 2014 from the current 16.4 percent. 

According to Zenabu, more than 3.2 million tourists are estimated to visit the country over the next five years.  

The estimation on the foreign tourists was calculated in consideration to the growth rate that witnessed over the past five years, he said. The number of tourists visiting the country is expected to nearly double over the next five years, according to him. 

Nearly 1.8 million visitors have visited the country over the last five years. The highest number of tourists came from USA, Europe and Asia. 

‘‘…but since Addis Ababa is the seat of African Union Headquarter and other inter-governmental organizations, conference tourism is attracting many people to Addis from Africa and all over the world…’’ Zinabu said. 

‘‘…in 2005 more than 193,000 foreign tourists have visited the country but the number reached more than 330,500 in 2009.’’ he said.  

The sharp increase in the number of tourists is the result of government’s priority for the sector, he said.  

According to the new plan, the number of tourists that visits the country forecasted to reach more than 785,000 per year in 2014. That is almost half of the number of tourists visited the country over the last five years, he added.  

Zenabu said ‘‘…over the next five years the ministry will surely do its assignments to meet the stated target…’ 

He said the ministry designed a tourism development policy to enhance the share of tourism for the national development. 

The aim of the policy is to make Ethiopia a competitive tourist destination in the continent. 

Among the activities that the ministry will undertake are promotion of the countries tourist attractions and capacity building for hotel service providers and tour operators, which are the motors of tourism. 

Zenabu said the ministry will also maximize efforts to increase the average number of days a tourist stays in the country. 

‘‘… currently the average days that foreign tourist stay here is only five but at the end of 2014, we plan to increase the days to nine, Zenabu said. 

According to him, the growing number of tourists over the past years is increasingly attracting investors to engage in hotel businesses along with the conducive business atmosphere the government has created for the sector.  

‘‘…the number of standard hotels in the country that have 1 up to 5 star levels have reached 327 last year from just 51 twenty years ago , the hotels now have more than 16,200 beds…’’ Zinabu said. 

According to him, the hotels have created nearly 18,400 new jobs so far. 

‘‘…Some 112 new hotels are under construction, upon completion the hotels will add nearly 4,500 hotel rooms…’’ he added.  

The number of lodges and motels are also increasing, Zenabu said.  

The growth of hotel facilities will enhance the countries ability to accommodate even more tourists.
The huge infrastructural projects that the government is undertaking like that of high ways combined with the private sectors increasing investment on hotels, lodges and motels will be catalysts’ for the sector , he indicated.
  

By Henok Tadele Haile 

(Addis Ababa) Africa is showing a positive sign of improvement across all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a report on MDG said. 

 

The Africa MDG Report that ECA/UNDP/AUC jointly released here on Monday indicated that the rate of improvement varies across goals, countries and within countries.  
 

The report said poverty has fallen on the continent but not at the desired pace to achieve the halving poverty by the deadline of 2015. 
 

Key areas of progress include the reduction in the number of under-nourished people on the continent.

According to the report, Ghana, for example, has already met this target and a number of countries along the Atlantic coast of the continent are also on track to meet it.  
 

The report said the continent is also well positioned, as shown in past reports, to meet the universal primary education and gender equality and empowerment goals. 
 

The HIV prevalence rate has been stabilized at a continental aggregate of 5 percent. Cumulatively, the number of adults and children newly infected with HIV decreased by 17.4 percent between 2001 and 2008. 
 

The report indicates that aggressive HIV/AIDS prevention programs combined with increased access to treatment and behavior change appear to be the main drivers of this improvement. 
 

The report said household ownership of mosquito net surpassed 60 percent in Equatorial Guinea, the lowlands of Ethiopia, Gabon, Mali, Sao Tome Principe, Senegal and the Zanzibar region of Tanzania. 
 

Under –Five mortality rates has declined by a mere 21 percent from 168 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 132 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008. 
 

The proportion of rural households with improved access to drinking water sources has increased from 54 to 65 percent between 1990- 2006, although urban – rural divide in access to an improved water source continues to pose a policy challenge. 
 

Yet access to improved sanitation is still low for a number of countries the report indicated.

 

By Henok Tadele Haile

(Addis Ababa) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Africa suffers most from lack of progress from climate change negotiation.  

Meles made the remark here on Monday at the meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) which discusses ways of sharpening African common position on climate change for the 16th conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico in November 2010.

Meles, who is also the Coordinator of CAHOSCC, said Africa has every reason to fight for the successful outcome in the Cancun Climate Conference.
 

Meles said the common position will allow African countries to speak with one voice and maximize their impact in pursuit of fair deal on climate change.  

He said the meeting will also come up with thorough analysis of the state of play and possibilities of making progress in the Cancun conference. 

‘‘In addition we have to streamline our negotiations structure with a view to overcome the tendency of some of the delegations of our countries to ignore the common African position and strike a discordant note," Meles added.  

He said the out come of this meeting would let African countries guided by the common positions and support the work of their common negotiation terms to insure African interest.  

African Union Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping on his part said AU appreciates the role of CAHOSCC in continually strategizing for it to effectively champion Africa’s legitimate climate change concerns and interests at Conference of Parties and other relevant fora.  

He commends the efforts of Prime Minister Meles whom he said has spared no effort in championing the interest of Africa on climate change issues at various fora.  

Ping said this meeting is held under the decision taken by the AU Summit held in Uganda, Kampala last June.  

He said the summit has endorsed the recommendations of CAHOSCC to streamline single negotiation structure at the ministerial and experts levels with a view to ensuring effective coordination of the negotiations on climate change towards the 16th and 17th conference of the Parties to be held in Mexico and in South Africa in 2010 and 2011, respectively. 

He said the 7th African Development Forum that was held last month here in Addis Ababa has underscored that climate change could severely undermine progress towards sustainable development.  

Ping said the conference has underscored the fact that climate change provides an opportunity to pursue a sustainable development path given respective leadership and good governance at all levels, Ping said.  

''Africa must continue to position itself and reaffirm its priorities to safeguard the livelihoods of its peoples and to attain the Millennium Development Goals'', Ping added.  

He said it is important to re-emphasize the necessity for Africa to focus on its key sectors including energy water agriculture in the post 2012 new international funding architecture for climate change. 

Ping said Africa can harness its renewable sources of energy including water wind and solar among others to achieve its green development goals. There is a huge opportunity for Africa to harness its water resources not only for developing its hydropower sector but also to boost agricultural productivity. 

CAHOSCC is composed of Heads of State and Government of Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda.
 


By Henok Tadele Haile  

(Addis Ababa) Dr. Koert Ritmeijer was awarded the 2010 Eijkman Medal, for the Kala Azar Research he undertook in Ethiopia and Sudan.  

Eijkman Medal is the most prestigious award granted in the Netherlands in the field of tropical medicine.  

Dr. Ritmeijer is awarded for the groundbreaking research on kala azar that helped advance the diagnosis and treatment of the neglected disease.  

In a press conference he gave here on Thursday, the Kala Azar Specialist , Dr. Ritmeijer said fifteen years ago, the only way to diagnose the disease was in hospitals and the treatment was a painful injection every day for 30 days, which caused severe side effects’’.  

He said Kala Azar is a parasitic disease that affects tens of thousands of people in Ethiopia. Worldwide, Kala Azar is responsible for more than 50,000 deaths per year, he added.  

Dr. Ritmeijer said as a result of the research he has undertaken with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the disease can now simply be identified in a health post and cured with a far shorter period. 

Dr. Ritmeijer said MSF has treated tens of thousands of patients since the opening of its first Kala Azar program in 1997 in Humera, Western Tigray. These days it is also treating Kala Azar patients co-infected with HIV.  

MSF, which is international medical aid organization, also awarded the 2010 Eijkman Medal for the research on Kala Azar.  

Kala Azar is the second largest parasitic killer in the world after malaria, causing an estimated half million cases worldwide each year. 

It spreads by the bite of infected sand flies, which transfer a parasite that attacks the internal organs. Without proper treatment it can cause death within months. 

It is seen primarily in Sudan, Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh and Brazil.


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