AddisNews.net https://addisnews.net Latest Ethiopian News and Videos Fri, 22 May 2020 07:40:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 https://addisnews.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/addis-news-icon-36x36.png AddisNews.net https://addisnews.net 32 32 Ethiopia defends plan to begin filling Nile dam https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-defends-plan-to-begin-filling-nile-dam/ https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-defends-plan-to-begin-filling-nile-dam/#respond Fri, 22 May 2020 07:40:15 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65375 Ethiopia defends plan to begin filling Nile dam

Addis Ababa (AFP) – Ethiopia sees no reason to delay filling its controversial mega-dam despite warnings from Egypt that such a move could destabilise the region, according to a letter from Ethiopia’s foreign minister to the UN Security Council. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin ...]]>
Ethiopia defends plan to begin filling Nile dam

Addis Ababa (AFP) – Ethiopia sees no reason to delay filling its controversial mega-dam despite warnings from Egypt that such a move could destabilise the region, according to a letter from Ethiopia’s foreign minister to the UN Security Council.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the project in 2011.

Addis Ababa says the dam is crucial for its economy, while Cairo fears it will disrupt the river that provides almost all its water.

Talks earlier this year involving the two governments and Sudan — another downstream country — failed to produce a breakthrough.

In April Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed proposed proceeding with “first stage filling” that would collect 18.4 billion cubic metres of water in the dam’s reservoir over two years.

But both Egypt and Sudan fear the reservoir — which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic metres — will trap their essential water supplies.

Filling and operating the dam “would jeopardize the water security, food security, and indeed, the very existence of over 100 million Egyptians, who are entirely dependent on the Nile River for their livelihood,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a letter to the UN Security Council dated May 1.

“This is a situation that potentially poses a serious threat to peace and security throughout the region,” he said.

In a response dated May 14 and seen Monday by AFP, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew accused Egypt of being obstructionist.

“Ethiopia does not have a legal obligation to seek approval of Egypt to fill the dam,” Gedu said.

“Ethiopia has made extraordinary efforts to accommodate Egypt’s unending demands and unpredictable behavior,” he added.

Egypt wants Ethiopia to endorse a draft agreement emerging from the talks earlier this year facilitated by the US Treasury Department, which stepped in after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi put in a request to his ally US President Donald Trump.

But Ethiopia skipped the most recent round of those talks and denies any deal was agreed.

While Egypt’s letter to the Security Council raises the stakes further, the possibility of armed conflict stemming from the dam dispute is still “very unlikely”, said William Davison of the International Crisis Group, a conflict-prevention organisation.

“We could expect some sort of diplomatic escalation, more aggressive rhetoric. But a negotiated resolution to this is obviously the best way out for everyone, and there still seems to be plenty of possibility of that,” Davison said.

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Ethiopia is entering constitutional limbo https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-is-entering-constitutional-limbo/ https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-is-entering-constitutional-limbo/#respond Tue, 19 May 2020 07:20:38 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65363 Ethiopia is entering constitutional limbo

Economist Even in normal times Ethiopia’s plans to hold national elections in August would have been fraught with uncertainty. Would they be free and fair? Would they help restore peace to a country riven by ethnic violence? Now, with the polls postponed indefinitely by covid-19, Ethiopia is approaching a constitutional crisis. By law Ethiopia’s parliament will ...]]>
Ethiopia is entering constitutional limbo

Economist

Even in normal times Ethiopia’s plans to hold national elections in August would have been fraught with uncertainty. Would they be free and fair? Would they help restore peace to a country riven by ethnic violence? Now, with the polls postponed indefinitely by covid-19, Ethiopia is approaching a constitutional crisis.

By law Ethiopia’s parliament will reach the end of its constitutional five-year term on October 5th. That could leave the country without a legitimate parliament or government. Abiy Ahmed, a young reformer who took office in 2018 promising democracy after massive protests, says that because of the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic his government will stay in charge until elections can be held safely.

The delay has prompted a backlash from opposition leaders. Many of them had suspected long before the outbreak of covid-19 that Abiy’s Prosperity Party would try to rig or postpone the elections: its predecessor suppressed the opposition so thoroughly in 2015 that it won 95% of the vote.

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Sources: Ethiopian Forces in Somalia Shot Down Kenyan Plane https://addisnews.net/sources-ethiopian-forces-in-somalia-shot-down-kenyan-plane/ https://addisnews.net/sources-ethiopian-forces-in-somalia-shot-down-kenyan-plane/#respond Thu, 14 May 2020 07:20:12 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65352 Sources: Ethiopian Forces in Somalia Shot Down Kenyan Plane

By Harun Maruf VOA – An Ethiopian anti-aircraft missile brought down the Kenyan plane that crashed in the Somali town of Bardale last week, killing six people on board, multiple sources have told VOA Somali. Ethiopian forces are stationed in Bardale to help their Somali counterparts retain control of the town, once controlled by militant group al-Shabab. The ...]]>
Sources: Ethiopian Forces in Somalia Shot Down Kenyan Plane

By Harun Maruf

VOA – An Ethiopian anti-aircraft missile brought down the Kenyan plane that crashed in the Somali town of Bardale last week, killing six people on board, multiple sources have told VOA Somali.
 
Ethiopian forces are stationed in Bardale to help their Somali counterparts retain control of the town, once controlled by militant group al-Shabab.
 
The May 4 incident began with the incoming Kenyan plane aborting a landing attempt because an Ethiopian military vehicle mounted with Zu anti-aircraft missiles was on the runway, officials say.  
 
The plane then flew over the military vehicle to make a second attempt to land. The Ethiopian soldier operating the Zu fired several rounds, hitting the plane, according to witnesses and Somali officials.
 
Weydow Ali Hassan is the town’s head of social affairs. Hassan was one of the officials waiting at the airstrip to receive medical supplies the plane was carrying.
 
“There was a technical vehicle mounted with a gun on where the plane was going to land. We thought it was going to collide into it,” Hassan said.
 
After the missiles were fired, the plane burst into flames and crashed on the side of the airstrip, according to Hassan.
 
His account was confirmed by a regional minister and an aviation official who both asked not to be identified for security reasons.
 
A fourth official who was not in Bardale said a donkey on the runway forced the plane to abort the landing and not the Ethiopian military vehicle. Hassan disputed that account.
 
“There was no donkey present there,” he said. “There were Ethiopian soldiers and their vehicles.”
 
Ethiopian military officials acknowledged their soldiers shot down the plane but say their military didn’t know the aircraft was due to arrive. They also say the soldiers feared the plane might “bomb” them.
 
Bardale, a small town about 60 kilometers west of Baidoa, lacks an air traffic control tower. Flight arrivals are conveyed by telephone to Somali officials on the ground.
 
“They were scared; it created fear,” says a source close to the Ethiopian soldiers. The soldier who fired the missile has been in Bardale “about 20 days,” according to the official.
 
A team of investigators from Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia has begun an investigation.  
 
The team will visit the site of the crash near the Bardale airstrip. Their first task is to recover the black box and voice recorder of the E120 aircraft, owned by Kenyan company African Express Airways. The recorders were located the day after the crash, but officials chose not to retrieve them until experts arrived. The area has been sealed off since, according to an official.
 
Somalia suspended both international and local flights due to the coronavirus epidemic but the aircraft, charted by an NGO, had a one-day special permit to deliver the medical supplies to Bardale.
 
Another contentious issue is the status of the soldier who fired on the plane. Multiple sources including an AMISOM source say they were told the person is a “non-AMISOM” soldier.
 
Non-AMISOM soldiers are Ethiopians who operate outside the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia. Ethiopia has nearly 4,000 soldiers serving as part of the AU mission, but non-AMISOM forces are larger. According to a reliable official, 75% of Ethiopian troops in Somalia are non-AMISOM soldiers.  
 
Somali and Ethiopian officials both say non-AMISOM soldiers operate under a “bilateral agreement.” The Somali opposition is questioning the legality of the presence of non-AMISOM Ethiopian forces in the country.  
 
The Somali government said it will await the results of the investigation being conducted.
 
“All the evidence is there [in Bardale]; we prepared ourselves, we saw the witnesses,” says Somali Transport and Aviation Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Salat, who visited the scene last week. “We are waiting experts from Kenya and Ethiopia to join us so that we can do a transparent investigation in order to share with the families of those lost and the company on what happened, how it happened and how to prevent similar incidents.”

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Ethiopia jails former minister for corruption https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-jails-former-minister-for-corruption/ https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-jails-former-minister-for-corruption/#respond Mon, 11 May 2020 07:00:15 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65336 Ethiopia jails former minister for corruption

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – An Ethiopian court on Friday convicted a former cabinet minister on corruption charges and sentenced him to six years in prison. The conviction comes amid a push by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to crack down on corruption in the public sector. Several former senior government officials and executives of state-owned enterprises ...]]>
Ethiopia jails former minister for corruption

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – An Ethiopian court on Friday convicted a former cabinet minister on corruption charges and sentenced him to six years in prison.

The conviction comes amid a push by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to crack down on corruption in the public sector. Several former senior government officials and executives of state-owned enterprises have already been arrested and jailed.

Bereket Simon was minister of communication from 1995 to 2012 under then prime minister Meles Zenawi and was widely considered to be his right-hand man.

Bereket co-founded the Amhara region’s public investment fund, TIRET Corporation, which he led until 2017. TIRET owns companies in the brewing, construction, transport and logistics sectors.

He was arrested last year on suspicion of mismanagement of public funds while he was heading the fund.

Bereket was found guilty on two counts, of corruption and mismanagement of the institution, court spokesman Tazebachew Tassie said.

The court in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara, also convicted Tadesse Kassa, a former TIRET board member, on the same charges.

Lawyers for Bereket and Tadesse could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Why Afeworki traveled to Ethiopia despite Covid-19 scare https://addisnews.net/why-afeworki-travelled-to-ethiopia-despite-covid-19-scare/ https://addisnews.net/why-afeworki-travelled-to-ethiopia-despite-covid-19-scare/#respond Sun, 10 May 2020 20:45:26 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65331

Amidst the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki last week made an unexpected official visit to Ethiopia, becoming the first head of state to travel abroad during these critical days. Accompanied by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Advisor Yemane Ghebreab, the Eritrean president arrived at Addis Ababa’s Bole International ...]]>

Amidst the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki last week made an unexpected official visit to Ethiopia, becoming the first head of state to travel abroad during these critical days.

Accompanied by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Advisor Yemane Ghebreab, the Eritrean president arrived at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport last Sunday and was cordially received by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

At a time when world leaders are choosing to hold virtual meetings, Mr Afeworki’s decision to meet PM Ahmed in person has raised eyebrows.

In addition, his trip to Ethiopia breaks the current internationally held social distancing norms.

The two leaders are said to have held discussions on the global threat of Covid-19 and on the invasion by desert locusts that has posed a big threat to regional food security.

So, why did they choose to meet physically on issues they could discuss on the phone or via video link?

Eritrean political analysts postulate that the reason for the trip was beyond the issues announced publicly.

“It is said that they met to discuss Covid-19 but Eritrea has already refused to even receive medical supplies donated by Chinese [philanthropist] Jack Ma. So how are they expected to discuss this issue? This relationship is unsettling to me,” Eritrean human rights activist Desbele Mehari told the BBC Amharic.

He criticised Mr Afeworki’s trip to Ethiopia as “a historical mistake”.

President Afeworki was recently quoted by local media saying that the coronavirus outbreak “should not deter us from continuing to engage in our other regional focus”.

But his critics say that leaders should rather focus on preventing the spread of the virus.

“This is not a time for leaders to play political games,” said Haile Hagos, another Eritrean political analyst and rights activist who strongly criticised the leaders’ meeting.

During his two-day visit, Mr Afeworki and the Ethiopian prime minister also inaugurated an irrigation project located outside the capital in Oromia regional state.

“I don’t see the urgency to inaugurate projects abroad while there are pressing health issues that need to be dealt with at home” said Mr Hagos.

“While the country is under lockdown, the president’s travel to Ethiopia with the intension to create other political agendas will hold him historically accountable,” he added.

Last month, social media was awash with speculations about the Eritrean leader’s health after he failed to appear in public for several weeks. The trip to Addis Ababa may have been partly intended to disabuse any notions about his health. But ironically, it may have risked it.

“After the latest bout of intensified rumours, President Afeworki may have wanted to make a strong statement that not only was he in good health, but that he still maintains positive relations with Abiy and is still active in regional diplomacy,” William Davison, International Crisis Group (ICG) senior analyst for Ethiopia told the Nation.

President Afeworki’s visit was also meant to discuss the implementation of comprehensive cooperation agreements the two neighbours previously signed.

“There is much to be discussed between the two leaders relating to the normalisation between the two countries, whether on establishing a bilateral trading regime or advancing joint infrastructure projects as well the pandemic and locust outbreak” said William Davison.

“Additionally, there is the refugee issue after Ethiopia stopped automatically granting asylum status to Eritreans and closed a camp in Tigray region.

“While presumably Isaias approves of that, it has further increased tensions between Tigray’s rulers and Ethiopia’s federal government, as the northern Ethiopian region complained it was not consulted,” Mr Davison added.

According to Mr Davison, the two leaders may as well have wanted to discuss the evolution of Sudan’s transition, the latest stalemate between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and developments in Somalia.

The Ethiopia-Eritrean relationship is not yet fully institutionalised and there is a strong likelihood of tête-à-tête encounter between the two leaders that may have fallen short of the international social distancing norms.

By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
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Ethiopia admits shooting down Kenya aid aircraft in Somalia https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-admits-shooting-down-kenya-aid-aircraft-in-somalia/ https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-admits-shooting-down-kenya-aid-aircraft-in-somalia/#respond Sat, 09 May 2020 20:56:21 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65324 Ethiopia admitted shooting down aid Kenyan plane in Somalia

The plane had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus. Ethiopia on Saturday admitted it was behind the shooting down of a privately owned Kenyan plane in Somalia earlier this week, resulting in the deaths of all six people on board. The plane was shot down on ...]]>
Ethiopia admitted shooting down aid Kenyan plane in Somalia

The plane had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus.


Ethiopia admitted shooting down aid Kenyan plane in Somalia
Ethiopia on Saturday admitted it was behind the shooting down of a privately owned Kenyan plane in Somalia earlier this week, resulting in the deaths of all six people on board.

The plane was shot down on Monday by Ethiopian troops protecting a camp in the town of Bardale in southwestern Somalia, the Ethiopian army said in a statement to the African Union (AU).

The aircraft had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus when it went down in Bardale, about 300km (180 miles) northwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

The Ethiopian soldiers mistakenly believed the plane was on a “potential suicide mission” because they had not been informed about the “unusual flight” and the aircraft was flying low, the statement said.

“Because of lack of communication and awareness, the aircraft was shot down,” the military said. “The incident … will require mutual collaborative investigation team from Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to further understand the truth.”

Kenya expressed shock over the incident earlier this week, saying the plane’s mission had been to aid Somalia in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Soldiers from Ethiopia and Kenya are among those deployed to Somalia as part of an AU peacekeeping mission to fight the armed group al-Shabab.

The shooting down of the plane comes amid strained ties between Kenya and Somalia.

Last month, Kenya accused Somali troops of an “unwarranted attack” across its border near Mandera, a northern outpost town, describing the incident as a provocation.

Somalia, meanwhile, has long accused its larger neighbour of meddling in its internal affairs, something Kenya has denied.

 

Source: AlJazeera.com AlJazeera.com

 

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Ethiopia Ends Blanket Protection for Eritrean Refugees https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-ends-blanket-protection-for-eritrean-refugees/ https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-ends-blanket-protection-for-eritrean-refugees/#respond Wed, 06 May 2020 07:40:11 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65315 Ethiopia Ends Blanket Protection for Eritrean Refugees

VOA News ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has stopped granting automatic asylum to Eritreans entering the country.  The United Nations and aid groups say the previously unannounced policy change, which went into place about three months ago, put Eritreans trying to flee the country at the mercy of unscrupulous human smugglers. For years, Ethiopia had an ...]]>
Ethiopia Ends Blanket Protection for Eritrean Refugees

VOA News

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has stopped granting automatic asylum to Eritreans entering the country.  The United Nations and aid groups say the previously unannounced policy change, which went into place about three months ago, put Eritreans trying to flee the country at the mercy of unscrupulous human smugglers.

For years, Ethiopia had an “open-door” policy towards refugees from countries such as South Sudan and Eritrea, earning it widespread acclaim among international donors.

But according to the United Nations and humanitarian aid groups, Ethiopia changed its policy in late January without making an official announcement.  The government no longer offers automatic asylum for Eritreans trying to flee their home country.

The Ethiopian Agency for Refugees and Returnee Affairs told donors and aid groups earlier this month that the previous approach resulted in a “high influx of unaccompanied minors, illegal migrants and others who do not fulfill the criteria laid [out] for refugee status determination under the international instruments,” according to a letter seen by VOA dated April 9.

Activists and aid groups say the new policy limits options for Eritreans trying to avoid forced conscription into Eritrea’s national service program.

Ann Encontre, country representative for the U.N. Refugee Agency in Ethiopia, said that in some cases, Eritreans could be forced into trafficking networks that smuggle Eritreans north through Libya towards Europe.

“The concern is really underage children, minors, who don’t have documentation. Those are the ones who are at risk because they get caught up in trafficking, in smuggling, in these illegal movements towards Europe and elsewhere. All persons who come and who can be heard and their status is determined, and they have legal documentation while they are here, then that really mitigates the risk for them to be caught up in these nefarious activities,” she spoke to VOA via a messaging app. 

Officials at both the Agency for Refugees and Returnee Affairs and the Prime Minister’s office declined to comment.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki struck a deal in 2018 to end the decades-long conflict between the two nations. Since that accord, the two leaders have met on a regular basis to discuss enhancing their bilateral ties.

For Bereket Zemuy, a refugee from Eritrea and spokesperson for the Eritrean Refugees University Graduates and Students Association, anyone who is willing to flee their home in Eritrea is doing so because they feel their lives are at risk.

“Every single Eritrean family is being affected by the dictator system of the country. So whoever is trying to escape and flee their own home country, they are just coming in fear of their own lives, even those unaccompanied minors, even those families, whoever. Those unaccompanied minors, once they get back home they will be considered as traitors.”

Beyond its new refugee policy, Ethiopia also has a plan to shut down the Hitsats Refugee Camp in the Tigray region, which is home to 10,000 Eritrean refugees.

Encontre said closing the Hitsats cap during the coronavirus pandemic was not advisable, saying its residents could inadvertently spread the virus.

Despite Ethiopia having locked down all land borders to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the U.N. has seen around 2,000 asylum seekers enter Ethiopia from South Sudan in recent weeks.

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‘Ethiopia is my home’: Syrian chefs build new lives fuelled by shawarma https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-is-my-home-syrian-chefs-build-new-lives-fuelled-by-shawarma/ https://addisnews.net/ethiopia-is-my-home-syrian-chefs-build-new-lives-fuelled-by-shawarma/#respond Sun, 03 May 2020 07:40:13 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65307 ‘Ethiopia is my home’: Syrian chefs build new lives fuelled by shawarma

When Maetz Lebhar visited Ethiopia for a conference on dairy products in 2015, he did not expect to be calling the country his home within the space of a year. Attracted by the market potential of products from his native Syria, including accessories to make shawarma, the 37 year old returned the following year hoping ...]]>
‘Ethiopia is my home’: Syrian chefs build new lives fuelled by shawarma

When Maetz Lebhar visited Ethiopia for a conference on dairy products in 2015, he did not expect to be calling the country his home within the space of a year.

Attracted by the market potential of products from his native Syria, including accessories to make shawarma, the 37 year old returned the following year hoping to find a local partner to help expand his business, perhaps in the form of opening a restaurant. It wasn’t long before the work trip turned into a permanent visit.

“I lost my extended family in the [Syrian] conflict and all our properties turned to ashes. I made Ethiopia my home as my circumstances changed in the blink of an eye”, he told The National.

“In Addis, I have been welcomed and I have managed to make my living selling the delicacies of my home.”

Mr Lebhar works as a chef in a local restaurant and earns ETB30, 000 a month (USD 950) close to the annual average wage of $985.

Ethiopia currently hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, at over one million refugees, mostly from Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. Now Syrians are joining their ranks, attracted by favourable asylum laws.

So far, more than one million Syrians have been displaced from their homeland by the nine-year conflict. They constitute a third of the world’s refugee population, with their numbers reaching 5.6 million by the end of last year, according to the UN.

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Safaricom Reiterates Pursuing Ethiopia Entry Following Tough Mobile Money Regulations https://addisnews.net/safaricom-reiterates-pursuing-ethiopia-entry-following-tough-mobile-money-regulations/ https://addisnews.net/safaricom-reiterates-pursuing-ethiopia-entry-following-tough-mobile-money-regulations/#respond Fri, 01 May 2020 14:49:03 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65282 Safaricom interim CEO Michael Joseph and Chairman Nicholas Nganga

A couple of weeks ago, Ethiopia announced that it has opened the floor for mobile money for telcos. The development means that new participants, including non-financial organizations that were not allowed to run mobile money services and products, can now take part in the lucrative space. Ethiopia’s plan to liberalize the telco space is part ...]]>
Safaricom interim CEO Michael Joseph and Chairman Nicholas Nganga

Safaricom interim CEO Michael Joseph and Chairman Nicholas Nganga

A couple of weeks ago, Ethiopia announced that it has opened the floor for mobile money for telcos.

The development means that new participants, including non-financial organizations that were not allowed to run mobile money services and products, can now take part in the lucrative space.

Ethiopia’s plan to liberalize the telco space is part of its $10 billion economic boost agenda.

 

Ethio Telecom, the state-owned operator is one of the first carriers that will start serving the mobile money space.

However, Ethio is set to be sold and has since received interests from Safaricom. MTN and Orange SA are also interested in purchasing a stake in the company.

The three companies run robust mobile money solutions in their markets.

However, the announcement limited mobile money services to local organizations, implying that the case of Safaricom’s M-PESA or any other foreign fintech product would not be possible.

However, during the 2019/2020 FY announcement for Safaricom, the outgoing interim CEO Michael Joseph revealed that Safaricom is still pursuing entry leads in Ethiopia.

“Investment into Ethiopia is in the pipeline pending the decision by the Government of Ethiopia,” said the outgoing CEO, Michael Joseph.

This means that the carrier is pushing for negotiations to buy a stake in Ethios, and possibly make the country change its mind about which companies should run mobile money services.

Safaricom has officially welcomed its new CEO Peter Ndegwa, who joined the company on April 1, taking over from Michael Joseph who was called back to the company after the passing of Bob Collymore.

The 2019/2020 announcement is his first official appearance.

 


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Ethiopians Flee Djibouti as Coronavirus Cases Rise https://addisnews.net/ethiopians-flee-djibouti-as-coronavirus-cases-rise/ https://addisnews.net/ethiopians-flee-djibouti-as-coronavirus-cases-rise/#respond Fri, 01 May 2020 14:27:49 +0000 https://addisnews.net/?p=65289 Covid-19 in Africa.

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia is imposing tighter controls at its border with Djibouti after authorities noticed an unusual spike in the number of returning nationals from the Red Sea nation. Officials said they were guarding against importation of the coronavirus from Djibouti, which has seen more than 1077 cases so far, the biggest tally in ...]]>
Covid-19 in Africa.

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia is imposing tighter controls at its border with Djibouti after authorities noticed an unusual spike in the number of returning nationals from the Red Sea nation.

Officials said they were guarding against importation of the coronavirus from Djibouti, which has seen more than 1077 cases so far, the biggest tally in the Horn of Africa.

They also said the returnees tried to enter Ethiopian territory illegally.

In recent days, hundreds of Ethiopians residing in Djibouti have illegally crossed the border, raising concerns among Ethiopian health authorities.

The mass exodus from Djibouti comes after the small nation saw a rapid spike in Covid-19 cases.

Djibouti, by Tuesday, had only two deaths and 477 recoveries. But the rise in infection tally has jolted neighbouring Ethiopia which has 131 confirmed cases so far.

Those numbers are a result of a ban on international flights, tight quarantine conditions and restricted land border entry points.

Late in March, Ethiopia closed land borders with six neighbouring countries, affecting movement and border trade.

ETHIOPIA’S MEASURES

The illegal entry of migrants has become a new challenge for Ethiopia as it further complicates the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

The migrants are entering Ethiopia through three adjacent regions without being screened and in breach to the mandatory two-week quarantine.

As a result, bordering regional states have started to establish quarantine centers at border crossings.

A report by state-affiliated media Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) cited Lemlem Bezabih, Head of the Dire Dawa City Health Office, as saying that the office is working with community members to tackle the challenge.

According to Ms Bezabih, some of the illegal returnees have tested positive for Covid-19 and her office is tracing individuals who had contact with them.

The health official admitted that the illegal entry of migrants from Djibouti has negatively impacted prevention efforts taken so far.

Despite limitations in terms of controlling illegal entry to Ethiopia from Djibouti, regional health workers have intensified containment efforts and surveillance against individuals who had contact with Covid-19 patients.

Last week, Ethiopian authorities said that they had quarantined over 300 illegal migrants and are trying to trace others in a bid to prevent a potential community spread.

REPATRIATION OPTIONS

It is not yet clear if Ethiopia is trying to repatriate citizens stranded in countries hard-hit by the global pandemic.

Reached by phone, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Nebiat Getachew said he couldn’t comment as an outgoing spokesperson.

Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti Abdulaziz Mohammed declined to comment.

As Ethiopians in Djibouti take desperate measures to return home, crossing borders on foot, some residents of Addis Ababa stressed the need for the government to repatriate nationals.

“Ethiopian Airlines is transporting stranded passengers across the world in charter flights while ignoring own citizens including those next door in Djibouti,” said Seyoum Tsadik, owner of a construction company.

“Ethiopian Airlines shouldn’t only focus on its business. It has the responsibility to repatriate citizens during these difficult times.”

Under charter flights, the airline has recently flown Americans and Canadians from Lagos in Nigeria to the US and Canada.

It has also flown peace corps from African countries to the US and cruise ship crews from the US to the Philippines.

“Ethiopian Airlines has to rescue every Ethiopians first,” said Azeb Teka, who lived in Saudi for eight years as domestic worker.

“Ethiopian embassies across the globe should arrange repatriation for citizens in desperate need.”

DJIBOUTI SURGE

According to an Al Jazeera report last week, the jump in coronavirus cases in Djibouti is because of challenges in mass testing and defiance to precautionary measures including lockdowns.

Until Saturday, Djibouti, with a population of less than one million, had conducted about 11,431 Covid-19 tests, about the same number as Ethiopia, which has more than 100 million people.

In just two weeks, Djibouti has recorded a seven-fold increase in cases.

Last Thursday, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said that with 98.6 cases for every 100,000 people, Djibouti has the highest prevalence on the continent.

Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh has warned the public against defying the government’s measures to contain the spread of the virus.

“The confinement has not been respected by everyone and unfortunately many of our compatriots still take this disease lightly,” Mr Guelleh said in a televised address to the nation last week.

“You continue to circulate, not observing minimum distances, not isolating yourselves and spreading the disease. If this behaviour doesn’t change, I will take even tougher measures. This could go as far as a curfew, which would be the only way to stop the spread of this virus.”

Djibouti is a strategic location as it connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and hosts the military bases of several world powers.

Read the original article on Nation.

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