A Week in the Horn
- News in Brief
- May 28 and the overthrow of the military dictatorship
- The Economic Report on Africa 2017….
- ….the Country Study for Ethiopia….
- ….and an analysis of entrepreneurship and industrialization in Ethiopia
- G7 Summit considers migration, refugees, food security and Africa
- The Climate Vulnerable Forum sounds alarm on climate finance
- Ethio-German Business Days in Hanover and Stuttgart
- UNHCR says well over 1.8 million South Sudanese have fled the country
- UN Independent Rights’ Expert calls for international community support for Somalia
- World Peacekeeping Day: UN Peacekeeping – past, present and future
News in Brief
Africa and the African Union
The African Development Bank at its annual meeting last week in India said Africa maintained its position as the world’s second-fastest growing economy behind South Asia. Africa recorded an average of 2.2% GDP growth in 2016 compared to the 7.1% posted by South Asia, against a 2% average for developed economies. African economies would average 3.4% growth in 2017 and 4.3% in 2018. East Africa was the best sub-regional performer with an average 5.3% real GDP growth driven by strong performance in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Djibouti. Overall, Foreign Direct Investment increased slightly reaching US $56.5 billion but Official Development Assistance declined by 1.7%. Remittances totaled US $64.6 billion in 2016.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa formally launched the Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2017) in Addis Ababa, at the United Nations Conference Centre this week. Produced by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Entitled ‘Urbanization and Industrialization for Africa’s Transformation’, it focuses on how to accelerate industrialization as a vehicle for Africa’s structural transformation. In its country study of Ethiopia, the report also includes an analysis of entrepreneurship and industrialization. (See articles).
World Peacekeeping Day was observed around the world on May 29, under the theme “Investing in peace around the globe”. It honoured some 100,000 UN peacekeepers from 120 Member States currently serving in over 16 UN missions worldwide. Ethiopia is currently contributing the largest number of any country, deploying over 8,300 troops, police and military experts to different UN missions. UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said: “Every day, peacekeepers help bring peace and stability to war-torn societies around the world…Now, more than ever, it is essential that we continue investing in peace around the world.” (See article)
President Dr Mulatu Teshome, congratulating the people of Ethiopia on the occasion of National Day, marking the overthrow of the Derg military regime on May 28 in 1991, said accelerating the economic transition and increasing the benefit of citizens were the country’s prime current responsibilities. Activities to bring about economic transformation and jobs for the youth were bearing results. He called on all Ethiopians to unite and stand together for peace and improve the political and socio-economic gains already made. Many international leaders including King Salman bin Abdul-aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the President of the UAE and the Emirs of Qatar and Kuwait, congratulated the President on the anniversary. (See article)
Prime Minister Hailemariam, speaking at a celebration at Millennium Hall to mark May 28, described the victory of Ginbot 20 (May 28) as the foundation for the rule of law and the right to development in Ethiopia. The victory provided a roadmap for the renaissance of the country, and it was a day that opened a new era to build democracy and a federal system, to ensure durable peace, bring rapid growth and exercise religious and gender equality. (See article)
Foreign minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ celebration of May 28, said this marked the approval of a democratic system for Ethiopia. It was a commemoration for those who had sacrificed themselves for peace, sustainable economic development and a democratic system. The people had taken control of their rights and freedom on May 28. (See article)
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn attended the G7 Summit in Italy last weekend (May 26-27), participating in the African segment of the Summit along with several other African leaders. Discussions covered the movements of migrants and refugees and implications for security and human rights, as well as Africa’s security, stability and sustainable development and food security, particularly in Somali, South Sudan, Yemen and Nigeria. (See article)
President Dr Mulatu Teshome on Monday (May 29) discussed the process of repatriating Ethiopians living illegally in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Abdullah bin Faleh Al-Arjani. The President detailed the efforts being made to bring undocumented Ethiopians living in Saudi Arabia back home. The Ambassador said the labour agreement signed between Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia a few days earlier allowed workers to enter Saudi Arabia legally.
Foreign Minister, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, briefed Ethiopia’s Public Diplomacy Team on the progress of repatriation of undocumented Ethiopian citizens from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday (May 30). State Minister, Dr Aklilu Hailemichael, also briefed regional state administration leaders on the situation of undocumented Ethiopian citizens in Saudi Arabia on Thursday (June 1). The State Minister called on the regional state officials to be fully engaged to ensure safe repatriation and assist in reintegration of the returnees to their home areas.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this week that the National Task Force was working with Ethiopian Airlines to increase the number of flights from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia in order to [support] the repatriation process of Ethiopians from the Kingdom. The Ministry has sent an additional team of 12 diplomats to Saudi Arabia to facilitate the return of Ethiopian citizens.
The new Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom, was welcomed on arrival at Bole International Airport by State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Hirut Zemene and other senior officials on Saturday (May 27).
Ethiopia’s State Minister of Industry, Dr Mebrahtu Meles, opened the 3rd Ethio-German Business Day on May 30. Co-organized by the Ethiopian Embassy in Germany and the German-African Business Association, it was held over two days in Hanover and Stuttgart. (See article)
Ethiopia, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), participated in the Bonn “inter-sessional” meeting earlier this month, which aimed to move negotiations forward ahead of this year’s COP23, taking place in Bonn in November. The CVF warned that implementation of the Paris agreement depended on an increase in support from the world’s richer nations. It said “2018 needs to trigger enhanced ambition for climate action if the Paris Agreement’s goals are to remain achievable,” (See article)
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate Deputy President William Ruto were formally placed on the ballot for the Jubilee Party for the August General Election on Monday (May 29).
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has now cleared eight candidates to participate in the forthcoming presidential election including Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party, Raila Odinga (Orange Democratic Movement), Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance) and Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change as well as three independent candidates.
On the margins of the G7 Summit in Italy last weekend, President Kenyatta held bilateral talks with French President Macron on cooperation on security and industrialization and with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe on investment in infrastructure and implementation of TICAD projects. He also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (See article)
The new $3.2 billion railway connecting Nairobi with Mombasa carried its first passengers this week. It is the country’s biggest infrastructure project since independence, and is part of the “master plan” to link Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and Ethiopia by Standard Gauge Railway lines. Funded by a 90% loan from China’s Export-Import Bank, the Government expects the railway to boost GDP by 1.5%, allowing it to pay back the loan in about four years.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry) signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week to establish a framework for economic cooperation and strengthen trade ties between Kenya and the Emirates.
Somalia Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi attended the inauguration of Galmudug President Ahmed Du’ale Haaf in Adado on Monday, May 29. President Ahmed Du’ale was elected president on May 3 by Galmudug state MPs following the resignation of former president Abdikarim Hussein Guled in February over health issues.
After talks at the inauguration of President Ahmed Du’ale, the leaders of Galmudug and Puntland States have agreed to work together to ensure lasting peace between them. Puntland President Abdiweli Gaas said: “My administration will work with Galmudug to restore peace in the region as well as [the] whole country;” President Ahmed Du’ale said Galmudug was ready to work closely with Puntland. There have been a number of clashes over administration of Galkayo. Puntland administers the northern part of the town; Galmudug, the southern part.
Prime Minister Hasan Ali Khayre, together with the Ministers of Finance, Defense and Information, met with representatives of Somalia’s international partners including the UN Special Envoy to Somalia, the AU Special Envoy, EU representatives and a number of ambassadors on Sunday (May 28). The Prime Minister noted the government’s progress in drought relief, security, economy, anti-corruption and good governance and its efforts to promote accountability. He urged donors to implement development projects to create jobs.
The Security Council at a meeting on Friday (May 26) authorized AMISOM’s continued deployment until August 31. This will allow consideration of the report of the joint UN/AU assessment mission of AMISOM, due to be finished in mid-July. The report will present options and recommendations to the Security Council for AMISOM’s future.
The United Nations Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia paid an official visit to Somalia this month, holding discussions with a wide range of senior officials and representatives of partners and civil society organizations on human rights and the challenges facing their activities in Somalia. (See article)
Somalia’s Supreme Court has ordered eight seats in the House of the People in Somalia’s Parliament to be re-contested for failure to adhere to the rules of the electoral process. After hearings over the last few months, the Court ruled in favour of appellants who filed complaints. It nullified the results in eight seats, ordering re-elections.
A UAE ship with 1,700 tonnes of food supplies sent by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation of Abu Dhabi to alleviate conditions and assist those affected by drought arrived in Berbera port at the weekend. The donation was part of the ‘For You Somalia’ campaign under the ‘Year of Giving Initiative 2017′ of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Dubai’s port operator DP World has announced plans to spend $442 million on expansion of Berbera port in Somaliland, constructing a 400m quay, a 250,000 sq. mt. extension to the storage area, and providing modern gantry cranes and reach stackers. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chief executive of DP World, said: “This is part of our vision to act as an enabler of trade and to facilitate growth, helping African countries develop the infrastructure that connects them to global markets.” DP World will pay Somaliland US $5m a year and 10% of port revenue.
Somaliland officially opened a Somaliland Representative Office in the United States in Washington last week (May 22). Foreign Minister Dr Saad Ali Shire said the office would serve for liaison with the Somaliland Diaspora and represent Somaliland’s interests in the U.S. Dr Shire was on a visit to the United States where he met officials from the Departments of State and Defence as well as Members of Congress.
The Elders, the group of independent world leaders chaired by former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in a statement on Sunday (May 28), condemned the political paralysis and failure of leadership at all levels in South Sudan in the face of worsening famine and humanitarian disaster. The statement said all parties to the conflict, including the government of South Sudan and armed opposition groups, were directly contributing to famine; South Sudan’s situation was compounded “by the brazen obstruction of humanitarian access to the conflicted-affected areas.”
The new commander for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Rwanda’s Lt. General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, arrived in Juba on Monday (May 29). He will command a force with an authorized strength of 17,000 peacekeepers from 55 different countries. General Kamanzi, a former army chief of staff in the Rwanda Defence Force (2012-2015), was previously Force Commander of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
In its latest humanitarian bulletin for Sudan the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the number of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Sudan since the conflict in South Sudan broke out in December 2013 has now reached over 417,000, with 28,000 arriving in the first two weeks of May. (See article)
Guinean President and Chairperson of African Union (AU) Alpha Conde arrived in Khartoum on Sunday (May 28) on a three-day visit to discuss the security situation on the continent. Foreign Minister Ghandour said President Conde’s visit was at the invitation of President Omer al-Bashir and issues discussed included the situation in South Sudan and Libya, and the role and position of Sudan. The two presidents also discussed bilateral relations as well as economic, political and cultural issues of common concern.
Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, announced on Sunday (May 28) that he had cancelled a planned trip to Cairo on Wednesday (May 31). He said the visit had been for follow-up talks with Egyptian Foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, on issues discussed in April in Khartoum. It would have involved meetings of the joint Sudanese-Egyptian Political Consultation Committee and its agenda had already been agreed. Mr Ghandour said the postponement of the visit was “due to internal issues” and it [will] go ahead later.
May 28 and the overthrow of the military dictatorship
President Dr Mulatu Teshome in his message to the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ of Ethiopia on May 28 underlined that this was the day on which a firm foundation was laid to build a democratic and prosperous country. It was a day that had completely changed Ethiopia’s image and allowed the people of Ethiopia to build constitutionally guaranteed democratic unity. It had enabled the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ of Ethiopia, following their approval of a Constitution which defined their participation, to own sustainable peace, a democratic system that cherished diversity, and a fast-growing economy. He noted that the country’s economic growth, in addition to improving the lives of citizens through creation of jobs, had crafted a context for Ethiopia to be seen as a favourable investment and trade destination by global transboundary companies and investors.
Dr Mulatu urged all Ethiopians to abide by the fundamental principles of democracy and development and advance together so that the nation’s democratization would be deep-rooted and the nation could move effectively along the path of development and prosperity. The government, he said, should accelerate the effort to join the rank of middle income countries by broadly strengthening those areas to help accelerate structural economic transformation. It was the time, he asserted, to create job opportunities for those still living in poverty.
The President also noted that May 28 had both broadened the opportunity for Ethiopia to maintain internal peace and to be a source of peace for others. He underlined that Ethiopia, in addition to helping provide solutions for neighbors, was also contributing to ensure global peace. “This constructive effort will robustly continue,” he said. Certainly, the effect of May 28 had played a significant role in benefiting the people, he said, but destructive acts could still cause great harm to the peace and development of the country. The President said: “We all should stand together against all ill-intended acts in a bid to maintain our peace and development.”
In an interview on the occasion, the President also noted that the country’s internal strength was the basis for the success of Ethiopia’s diplomacy. He said “When a nation is strong internally, its strength would also be reflected in its foreign diplomacy. When it is weak internally, it would be hard to say that there is any diplomacy at all. So, it is our internal strength which is a base for our diplomacy,” he said. Ethiopia had first ensured its own peace and stability and then had been working to achieve success in bringing about peace in neighboring countries, in Somalia, South Sudan and in Abyie. The President said the work in Somalia with AMISOM had greatly contributed to uplifting Ethiopia’s diplomacy. More broadly, Ethiopia’s role in maintaining peace and stability in neighboring countries and continentally, plus the fact it is the seat of the AU and the centre of continental politics and diplomacy, had also played their role in its diplomatic success. This had been underlined this year by Ethiopia’s election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member of the Council, and even more by the choice of former Foreign Minister, Dr Tedros Adhanom as Director-General of the World Health Organization, the first African to hold this post.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn described the victory of Ginbot 20 (May 28) as the foundation for the prevailing rule of law and the right to development in Ethiopia. The Prime Minister, speaking at a celebration at Millennium Hall to mark the defeat of the Derg regime, said the victory was a point when the roadmap for the renaissance of the country was designed. He said it was a day which opened a new era for Ethiopians to build democracy and a federal system to ensure durable peace, bring rapid growth and exercise their religious and gender equality. Even more, it paved the way for the country to conduct democratic elections and put in place a multi-party system. He emphasized that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was doing its level best to bring about good governance, ensure sustainability of ongoing development and to create employment opportunities for the youth. The public should join hands with the government to ensure success for its efforts. The Prime Minister also called on people to fight against rent-seeking, which he described as the main impediment in the efforts to pull the country out of poverty.
The 26th anniversary of May 28, marking the demise of the Derg regime, was celebrated nationwide through various public programs as well as in ministries and in Embassies abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held its own ceremony on Tuesday this week. Foreign minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu said May 28 was a victory day marking the demise of the tyrannical Derg regime and the approval of a democratic system for Ethiopia, providing equal participation of all the people. He said the occasion was also a commemoration of those fighters who sacrificed themselves for peace, sustainable economic development and a democratic system. Dr Workneh said Ethiopia, a country of diverse nations, nationalities, peoples, languages, religions and cultures, had suffered under anti-democratic and anti-development systems for centuries. The people had taken control of their rights and freedom on May 28.
For the last two decades, the Government, in its struggle against anti-democratic and anti-development forces, had been building up economic and social developments as well as democratic structures and good governance as part of the efforts for the country to join the ranks of middle income countries. Poverty and backwardness were the main enemies of the country and the Government was steadily working to reduce poverty by formulating and revising policies and strategies for sustainable economic development. Dr Workneh stressed the country was achieving its goals in providing infrastructure developments, energy supplies, clean water, education and health. Per capita income had risen from US$377 in 2002 to US$795.2 in 2016. He also noted the government was working on the manufacturing sector, emphasizing the development of the industrial parks, which were offering a continental solution for the scarcity of technology, skills and capital.
Regarding Ethiopia’s foreign relations, the Minister noted Ethiopia’s role in the UN Security Council and the excellent relations Ethiopia has with the African Union, the European Union and regional blocks like IGAD, as well as with its international partners, for the common benefit of the region and the continent. He said strengthened bilateral relations provided for economic cooperation, investment, trade and tourism; and Ethiopia’s role in regional peace and security was also vital for its sustainable development.
The Economic Report on Africa 2017….
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa formally launched the Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2017) in Addis Ababa, at the United Nations Conference Centre this week. Entitled ‘Urbanization and Industrialization for Africa’s Transformation’, the report focuses on how the continent can accelerate industrialization as a vehicle for Africa’s structural transformation by harnessing opportunities arising from rapid urbanization. It estimates that by 2035, 50% of Africa’s population will live in urban areas and stresses that with the right policy frameworks anchored in national development planning, Africa can leverage the momentum of urbanization to accelerate industrialization for a more prosperous and equitable future.
Produced by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the report analyzes macroeconomic, finance, trade, social and human development trends and statistics for the continent, as well as providing country profiles looking at recent economic developments and highlighting major policy issues. It says that promoting industrialization is back on Africa’s economic policy agenda, with renewed impetus and vigor and it stresses innovative industrialization strategies should go beyond sectoral approaches that target only manufacturing. It says Africa can industrialize by promoting all economic sectors that have potential for high growth and employment creation. It also emphasizes the importance of promoting “green industrialization” with lower environmental costs, and says innovative peer-learning is critical to the new wave of industrialization in Africa.
The report notes that about half of the countries in Africa already have strategies for industrial development aiming to create labor-intensive industries to enhance job growth. However, most industrialization strategies emphasize the role of large manufacturing companies. This should be expanded to support start-ups and small and medium-sized firms as well as sectors in which African economies have comparative advantage, such as agri-businesses, tradable services and renewable energy. It says Africa has high untapped potential for entrepreneurship and argues: “Entrepreneurs should be lead actors in Africa’s journey into the fourth industrial revolution.” Their dynamism needs to be turned into an engine of industrialization. So strategies should also include high-potential entrepreneurs, and it emphasizes start-ups and small and medium-sized firms with high-potential can complement the growth of large companies in driving industrialization. Governments should improve the skills of workers, enhance the efficiency of business clusters, such as industrial parks and special economic zones, and increase access to finance, providing more affordable credit and more innovative instruments, for small and young firms. It also emphasizes it is important to remove constraints on high-potential entrepreneurs, and for government to ensure full commitment to implementing productivity strategies, provide strong political leadership, efficient government co-ordination and private-sector participation.
In 2016, Africa’s overall economic growth slowed to 2.2% from 3.4% in 2015. The causes included low commodity prices, weak global recovery and adverse weather conditions affecting agriculture production in some regions. Assuming commodity prices recover, the world economy will strengthen and domestic macroeconomic reforms are implemented, the report expects overall growth to reach 3.4% in 2017 and 4.3% in 2018. Abebe Shimeles, Acting Director, Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department, at the African Development Bank says: “Although economic headwinds experienced in the last two years appear to have altered the ‘Africa rising narrative’, we firmly believe the continent remains resilient, with non-resource dependent economies sustaining higher growth for much longer spell. With dynamic private sectors, entrepreneurial spirit and vast resources, Africa has the potential to grow even faster and more inclusively.” Equally, it remained important for African governments to push the job creation agenda more strongly. The report suggests demands for better employment opportunities have been the main reason behind continued public protests. It notes that the size of the workforce likely to increase by 910 million between 2010 and 2050, so creating more and better jobs remains a core challenge for policy-makers.
…the Country Study for Ethiopia….
In its Country Study for Ethiopia the report covers four sections: ‘Recent developments and prospects’; ‘Macro-economic policy’; ‘Economic and political governance’; and ‘Social context and human development’. Under the first of these, the report notes that real GDP grew by 8.0% in 2015/16, down from the 10.4% growth registered in 2014/15. It says growth in 2015/16 was driven by the services and industry sectors, which grew by 8.7% and 20.6% respectively. Trade, hotels, transport and communications led growth in the services sector, which accounts for the largest share of GDP, with public administration and real estate activities assisting. Domestic credit also increased by an estimated 27.1% in 2015/16. The changing rainfall patterns caused by La Niña particularly affected the southern and eastern parts of the country and, the report said, can be expected to reduce agricultural productivity during 2017. The report notes that Ethiopia’s 2011 Climate Resilient and Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy and GTP II are being implemented to increase resilience to climate change. GTP II is placing emphasis on high value-added production to promote export-led industrial development and to reduce reliance on weather dependent agriculture and unprocessed export commodities.
Export revenues decreased by 5% to US$ 2.9 billion in 2015/16. This was in part due to reductions in receipts of coffee (down 7.4%), oil seeds (down 6.4%) and gold (down 8.8%) following falls in prices. Growth in the volume of coffee and oil seeds wasn’t enough to offset the reduction in price. Imports increased by 1.6% during 2015/16 to US$ 16.7 billion with increases in imports of semi-finished products (chemicals, fertilizers and textile materials) and consumer goods, and of food items due to the 2015/16 drought. Private transfers remained a significant foreign exchange earner increasing from US$ 4.9 billion in 2014/15 to US$ 6 billion in 2015/16, with remittances increasing from US$ 3.8 billion (5.1% of GDP) to US$ 4.0 billion (5.8% of GDP). The report claims the deficit on net services exports widened and the current account deficit remained high due to the persistent trade and services account deficits. The balance on the capital account remained high at 8.8% of GDP (US$ 6.2 billion) mainly due to the continued growth in foreign direct investment flows, which reached US$ 3.0 billion (about 4.6% of GDP) in 2015/16. Gross official reserves remained low at 2.7 and 2.6 months of imports in 2014/15 and 2015/16. Indications are that Ethiopia will be the biggest recipient of private equity in eastern Africa this year, thanks to its friendly business environment and favorable industrial policy.
The report says implementation of the CRGE and GTP II can be expected to increase Ethiopia’s resilience to climate change and droughts. |It noted structural reforms to improve export competitiveness and diversification are underway under GTP II and are expected to reduce the external sector vulnerabilities. In addition, investments in transport, energy and water infrastructure, particularly in the industrial zones, could be expected to reduce the costs of doing business, promote export-led industrialization and boost structural transformation and economic growth. Real GDP is projected to increase by 8.1% in 2016/17 and 2017/18. The major downside risks to the economic outlook are identified as the negative impact of weather fluctuations on the rain-dependent agriculture sector and the reduction in prices and global demand for commodities.
Looking at ‘Macro-economic policy’, the report noted the fiscal policy aimed to achieve macroeconomic stability while supporting economic growth, prioritizing public spending on pro-poor and growth enhancing sectors and improving revenue mobilization. Public expenditure policy is a key vehicle for delivering Growth and Transformation Plan II objectives, improving infrastructure to increase productivity, encouraging private sector development and export-led industrial development and contributing to structural transformation. Drought-related food imports helped to mitigate the social impact of the 2015 drought but also ensured macroeconomic stability by reducing food inflation.
The report identified the need to diversify exports as the overall balance of payments deficit in 2015/16 widened to US$830.9 million, compared to US$521.4 million in 2014/15. The six major exports are coffee, accounting for 25.2% of total exports earnings, oilseeds (16.6%), gold (10.1%), khat (9.2%), pulses (8.1%) and flowers (7.9%). These account for over 77.1% of total export earnings. Ethiopia’s imports from and exports to African countries account for 3.9% and 20.8%, respectively. The largest share of this trade is with Eastern Africa countries, most of which are also members of IGAD and COMESA. Nevertheless, Ethiopia’s cross-border trade and logistics’ indicators are among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. It ranked 167 out of 190 countries in the World Bank “2017 Ease of Doing Business” report on trading across borders; and 126 out of 160 on the World Bank “2016 Logistics Performance Index”.
The 2016 World Bank/IMF “Debt Sustainability Analysis” rated Ethiopia’s external debt as “moderate”. While external debt distress is vulnerable to export performance, the risk has been mitigated by the fact that nearly 70% is largely official concessional bilateral and multilateral debt. It is also being used for export-enhancing investment projects such as the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway and industrial parks with projected high returns. To boost domestic resource mobilization, and enhance debt sustainability, the government is developing a regulatory framework for public private partnerships. A new ministry has been created with the mandate to streamline public enterprises and improve their governance, efficiency and fiscal sustainability.
Under ‘Economic and political governance’, the report notes that Ethiopia’s GTP II seeks to position the private sector as a leading engine of transformative and job-intensive growth. Business regulations have been simplified and institutions that support businesses strengthened. A Public Private Dialogue Forum was established in 2010 to facilitate dialogue on constraints to private sector development. Ethiopia’s overall ranking remained stable at 159/190 in the 2017 and 2016 World Bank “Doing Business” reports. Ethiopia has17 commercial banks, 16 of them private, a state-owned development bank, 17 insurance companies and 35 microfinance institutions. The report describes the financial sector as sound. It remains closed to foreign investors and capital markets are non-existent.
Government policies and strategies emphasize the expansion of basic services and poverty reduction. Budget allocations to these sectors have been increasing steadily during GTP I and II. Recent assessments indicate that strong progress has been made particularly with respect to access to basic services; however, the report says more needs to be done to improve their quality and the information management system. There is also a need to strengthen the accountability of institutions. The report notes anti-corruption campaigns have been intensified and government officials, including senior officials, have been prosecuted for corruption-related charges.
The report also underlines Ethiopia’s aims to become a carbon neutral and climate resilient economy by 2025 and that it adopted a Climate Resilient and Green Economy (CRGE) strategy in 2011. This is one of the pillars of the GTP II. A range of legal, policy and institutional frameworks for addressing climate change, environmental protection and the sustainable utilization of natural resources have been developed and are being implemented including, for example, a ten-year forest sector development program. The CRGE strategy is establishing a comprehensive framework to develop the economy in a manner which minimizes susceptibility to climate change and related shocks. Ethiopia was the first developing nation to submit an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution plan to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This builds on the CRGE to elaborate plans to mobilize and utilize climate-related finance to pursue its carbon neutral development. Ethiopia was elected to the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum last year and is using this platform to champion reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The report notes the impact of the protests that disrupted the Oromia and Amhara Regional States in 2016 and the resultant State of Emergency. It says: “The expectation is that these measures will ensure the return to stability and security by providing an opportunity for the government to implement reforms aimed at addressing the political and economic concerns.” It mentions Federal and regional cabinet reshuffles and civil service reforms as well as addressing the current land appropriation system, increasing public participation, promoting improved inter-governmental relations, mediating peace and reconciliation and ensuring inclusive growth.
The final section covers ‘Social context and human development’. This notes that the high growth trajectory, over 10% during the past 13 years, contributed to significant gains in poverty reduction. The government has been pursuing broad-based and pro-poor public expenditure policies with over 70% of the national budget allocated to poverty related sectors. Poverty was reduced from 38.7% in 2005 to 29.6% in 2011 and an estimated 23.4% in 2015. This can be attributed to the implementation of welfare programs such as the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), and other food security programs, as well as urban interventions such as distribution of essential consumables. The PSNP coverage increased to close to 8 million chronically food-insecure individuals; in 2015/16, and up to 10.2 million people were supported with food and non-food aid, in part in response to the drought.
A recent assessment of the Millennium Development Goals indicates that six of the eight MDGs had either been achieved or were on track to being achieved by the end of 2015 with impressive results in health and education. A Social Protection strategy was also developed and approved in 2015. Labour laws and labour-market regulations are broadly appropriate and enforced. The report notes active labour-market programs, as for example, linking micro and small-scale enterprises with public works, such as paving urban roads and building condominium housing projects, are improving in quality and coverage, although it added that more needed to be done. It quoted a recent World Bank study estimating urban unemployment at 17%. The government also considers gender equality and mainstreaming as an integral part of its policies, strategies and programs and this is another pillar of GTP II.
….and an analysis of entrepreneurship and industrialization in Ethiopia
The report notes that the industrial sector’s share of GDP in Ethiopia remains low but has been increasing from10.4% in 2006/07 to 16.7% in 2015/16. It employs 7% of the labour force and generates about 20% of merchandise export values. The major industrial activities in Ethiopia include construction (9.5% of GDP), manufacturing (5.4% of GDP), electricity (1.1% of GDP) and mining (0.8% of GDP) in 2015/16. While manufacturing has increased by an average of 15.9% during the last five years, its average contribution to the real GDP growth rate is still minimal.
Ethiopia adopted its Industrial Development Strategy in 2004. This emphasizes the country’s ambition of achieving agricultural-led industrialization and provides for various approaches towards industrialization including privatization of public enterprises, export promotion incentives, entrepreneurship development, clustering and agro-industrial zones and skills’ development centers. Priority sectors are textiles and apparel, leather and leather products, and agro-processing industries. Other focus areas include construction, cottage industries and small-scale manufacturing enterprises.
The Growth and Transformation Plans (GTP) I (2010/11- 2014/15) and II (2015/16-2019/20) also place emphasis on promoting industrialization. GTP I identified the agricultural sector as a foundation for industrialization and prioritized structural transformation from agriculture to manufacturing. A number of constraints impeding growth including infrastructure bottlenecks, logistics, financial services and lack of land for investment for medium- and large-scale industries, and inadequate business advisory services, access to technology and capital for micro and small enterprises, were identified, and GTP II specifically aims to address these in order to unleash export-led industrialization, particularly in leather and leather products, textile and apparel, and agro-food processing. GTP II also prioritizes improvements in infrastructure, trade and logistics, access to technology and finance, and business advisory/management support.
A major element in this has been the adoption of the Integrated Agro-Industrial Park Development Initiative, which is being implemented by the Industrial Park Development Corporation. This is providing serviced land and other infrastructure to reduce the cost of doing business in the industrial sector. Twelve industrial parks have been identified for development across the country and two of these parks, Hawassa and Addis Ababa, are operational. Feasibility studies have been completed and resource mobilization is underway for Integrated Agro-Industrial Park IAIPs in the Oromia, Amhara, Southern Nations, Nationalities Peoples and Tigray Regional States. The Report notes the approach to promoting industrialization is consistent with the Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development framework. Ethiopia, as one of the three pilot countries under this framework, has developed a Program for Country Partnership in collaboration with other partners, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Similarly, the Micro and Small Enterprises Development Strategy (2011) provides the framework for entrepreneurship development with a focus on improving the business-enabling environment, increasing access to finance and enhancing market linkages. GTP II is providing a number of measures to consolidate its implementation, including strengthening technical vocational education training (TVET) and establishing centers of excellence in 35 universities to support development of entrepreneurial skills. The government is establishing over 2,000 one-stop service centers for business development services as well as providing 9,000 hectares of serviced land and 15,000 production sheds for entrepreneurs during the GTP II period.
There are two agencies focusing on entrepreneurial development: the Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency in the Ministry of Urban Development and the Federal Small and Medium Manufacturing Industry Development Agency under the Ministry of Industry. The government, together with the UNDP, has established the Ethiopian Entrepreneurs Development Centre to enhance institutional capacity to support micro, small and medium enterprises, providing advisory services and promoting partnerships and engagements for enterprise development. Other measures to promote private sector development include the privatization of state-owned enterprises and the creation of a public-private sector dialogue to identify and address private sector bottlenecks. Reforms to ease licensing and registration procedures and investments in industrial parks have been implemented to reduce costs of doing business. The report also notes that increasing access to finance is equally important.
The latest IMF report on the economic outlook for 2017 sees similar progress. Ethiopia’s annual economic output (GDP) reached $72.52 billion last year, up from $64.68 billion in 2015. It is expected to reach $78.3 billion this year. The IMF report shows Ethiopia’s strong performance exceeded projections for last year by about $3 billion. It emphasizes that this growth is largely fuelled by public-led spending on infrastructure and robust domestic demand. On the basis of these figures, Ethiopia is now the largest economy in eastern Africa a little ahead of Kenya with a GDP for 2016 of $68.91 billion, up from $63.62 billion in 2015. It is expected to reach $75 billion this year. Equally, Kenya’s GDP per capita is significantly higher than Ethiopia’s. Ethiopia’s GDP per capita stood at $795.2 last year and is projected to rise to $845.9 in 2017. This compares to Kenya’s $1,516.3 last year and an estimated $1,607.1 this year. To join the ranks of the lower middle-income group, Ethiopia needs to reach a GDP per capita of between $1,045 and $4,125. A low-income economy is categorized as one where the GDP per capita of less than $1,045.
G7 Summit considers migration, refugees, food security and Africa
The leaders of the G7 nations, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, met at the end of last week in Italy, this year’s host nation for the Summit (May 26-27). On the agenda were: foreign policy, including discussion of Syria, Libya, North Korea and Ukraine; terrorism; the global economy; inequalities; gender equality; trade; human mobility; Africa; food security and nutrition; climate and energy; innovation, skills and labour; and health. On the first day of the two-day Summit, the G7 signed the Taormina Statement on the fight against violent terrorism. They also adopted a roadmap on gender equity and agreed an action plan on innovation, skills and labour. The Summit took place against a background of what has been called the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, the more than twenty million people at risk of famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, due to the combination of drought and conflict.
The G7 turned their attention to Africa on the Saturday (May 27), with Italy, the host nation, calling for massive investment in Africa to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean. This is a particularly urgent issue for Italy, which has received hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees in the last few years. This year alone, more than 50,000 migrants have been rescued at sea and brought to Italy while more than 1,400 have drowned or gone missing. 181,000 were saved last year. In fact, over the four days before the Summit, about 10,000 migrants and refugees were rescued off the coast of Libya and at least another 54 died.
Italy chose Taormina in Sicily as the venue for this year’s summit deliberately. Sicily has been the main recipient of the huge numbers of migrants and refugees rescued by Italian naval and coastguard ships as well as by NGOs over the years. Italy had hoped to make Africa the main focus of the meeting and persuade the G7 to open up wider legal channels for migration to try to bring an end to the way migrants and refugees are so often forced into the hands of people smugglers in the Sahara and along the Libyan coast. This was, however, rejected before the Summit started with both the US and the UK insisting that the focus must be on security and watering down language on “freedom of movement.”
In the event, the Summit communiqué did recognize that large-scale movements of migrants and refugees had implications for security and human rights. It said the situation required both an emergency and a long-term approach, and called for coordinated efforts at national and international level. It acknowledged the sovereign rights of states to control their own borders. The leaders agreed to establish partnerships to help countries to address the drivers of migration, emphasizing that states shared the responsibility for managing these flows, protecting refugees and migrants, safeguarding the most vulnerable, enforcing border controls, establishing return schemes and enhancing law enforcement management. All this was essential to reduce irregular or illegal migration and provide for safe, orderly and regular migration. It said properly managed migration could bring economic and social benefits to countries of both origin and destination. However, Aid Agencies felt the Summit failed to respond effectively to the migration issue. An Oxfam adviser on humanitarian crises said: “This is the scandal of this summit: That G7 leaders could come right here in Sicily on the doorstep of the sea where 1,400 people have drowned this year alone and fly home without doing anything about it.” Oxfam executive director for Italy said: “The G7 leaders have been absent without leave on some of the biggest issues of our age. Their focus on insecurity is understandable in the light of recent attacks but this should not be at the expense of tackling famine or the challenges of immigration.” A total of 65.3 million people globally are now living as refugees, with 21.3 million fleeing from crises.
The Summit communiqué also said Africa’s security, stability and sustainable development were high priorities and their goal was to strengthen cooperation and dialogue with African countries and regional organizations to develop African capacity to better prevent, respond to and manage crises and conflicts in reference to Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals. It noted the forthcoming launch of the EU’s External Investment Plan as an important tool to boost investment in Africa, as well as the envisaged G20 Partnership Initiative with Africa and the investment pledges made at TICAD VI. It underlined the importance of continuing efforts to expand reliable access to energy, and said unlocking Africa’s potential required empowering millions of people through innovation, education, promoting gender equality and human capital development. This and improved employment, health services and food security would contribute to building a more resilient society. It said the G7 aimed to work in partnership with the African continent, supporting the African Union Agenda 2063 in order to provide the younger generation in particular with adequate skills, quality infrastructure, financial resources and access to a sustainable, prosperous and safe future, adding that this would help reduce migratory pressures and relieve humanitarian emergencies.
On Food Security, the G7 reaffirmed their collective aim to lift 500 million in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. They expressed deep concern about the “devastating levels of food insecurity” in South Sudan. Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria and strongly supported the UN Security Council’s call for urgent action. They said they are rapidly mobilizing humanitarian assistance and would continue to support political processes addressing the underlying causes of the crises. They also recognized the urgent action needed in Sub-Saharan Africa where more than two-thirds of the world’s Least Developed Countries were located, and said they would raise support for food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture through increased Official Development Assistance, better targeting, backing efforts to attract private investment and encouraging public-private partnerships. They would act in line with African countries’ priorities and the AU’s Agenda 2063, aiming to reach the most neglected areas and most vulnerable people. Ahead of the Summit, Oxfam said the G7 nations should take the lead in fighting the famine with a massive injection of aid, as well as press for immediate ceasefires and inclusive peace processes to quash the conflicts driving the food crisis. It said if each G7 government contributed its fair share to the UN’s appeal for $6.3bn to prevent the crisis from spiralling out of control in all four most affected countries, this would raise almost half of the total required, or $2.9 bn. Only 30% of the UN appeal has so far been funded across Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
In his introductory address, Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, called for a new partnership between G7 nations and Africa. He said: “Today our discussion on Africa will focus on the need for a partnership across all sectors … with innovation and development our core objective.” Italy invited a number of African leaders to join the Summit to discuss Africa’s problems and potential on the second day, May 27: President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia; President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia; Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo of Nigeria; President Alpha Conde of Guinea, Chair of the African Union; and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, also addressed the Summit on Africa, calling for world leaders to invest in young people, with stronger investment in technology and relevant education and capacity building in Africa. He said the international community had a role in helping Africa as it heads for a new wave of industrialization, adding “failing to do so might have dramatic consequences for the well-being of the people of Africa; increase fragility, causing massive displacement and risked boosting unemployment, especially for young people.” The UN Secretary-General said a majority of African countries had improved their competitiveness and business environments, so: “Our shared challenge is to build on these gains and to change the narrative about Africa, from crisis-based narrative to an opportunities-based narrative. We know that the full and true story of Africa is that of a continent with enormous potential for success.” He pointed out that Africa had the fastest growing youth population in the world and needed to be supported with education and training for tomorrow’s jobs. High levels of youth unemployment could undermine development and generate frustration and alienation that could threaten global peace and security. The Secretary-General said gender inequality was costing sub-Saharan Africa US$95 billion a year. He called for moving manufacturing and traditional activities, such as agriculture, higher up the global value chain, as well as investing in infrastructure to link regions, countries and communities. He said smart digital platforms and logistics infrastructure could link urban and rural areas, and better connect the people of Africa to each other and the world. He concluded: “More than just the transfer of technology, we need to maximize the power of innovation for the people of Africa.” Such support and innovation would, he said, help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa’s framework for socio-economic transformation, Agenda 2063.
Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou urged the G7 to take urgent measures to end the crisis in Libya, the point of departure for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees looking for a better life in Europe. He criticized the G7 for not honouring aid promises to fight poverty in West Africa’s poorest regions, pointing out: “Be it Niger, a transit nation, or the countries of origin, it is only through development that we will prevent illegal migration.”
President Kenyatta told Kenyan journalists later: “One of the key things to have come out of this summit and which was emphasised by the Canadians, the French and the Germans was that it is time to start listening to Africa on issues that threaten the world and the development agenda.” He said the G7 leaders were “in agreement that it is time to stop talking down to Africa and start taking the continent positively. This means”, he said, “we will sit, talk and deliberate on issues. Africa is going to step forward to discuss and be part of the solutions to global challenges. We will sit with them and make our contribution not as dependents but as partners with them.” President Kenyatta said: “We are partnering with G7 member states in the fight against terrorism. We share information and train together, which has potential attacks thwarted not only in our countries but also in G7 member starts. We have evidence that our ability to sense out attacks has been acknowledged because terrorism is a global war whose success come from working together.”
The Climate Vulnerable Forum sounds alarm on climate finance
Eighteen months after the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement, the most vulnerable countries are worried by the lack of progress made so far. The Climate Vulnerable Forum of 48 nations, currently chaired by Ethiopia, raised its concern at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, which closed on Thursday (May 18). Together the 48 members of the Forum represent more than a billion people, all of whom are particularly exposed to the effects of climate change. The CVF serves as South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change. Ethiopia assumed the Presidency of the Forum in August 2016.
In its final declaration at Bonn, the CVF warned that the implementation of the historic UN agreement could not be taken for granted and depended on an increase in support from the world’s richer nations. “2018 needs to trigger enhanced ambition for climate action if the Paris Agreement’s goals are to remain achievable,” the Forum’s joint statement said. Debasu Bayleyegn Eyasu, Director-General at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said: “Keeping to the 1.5 degrees goal (agreed at Paris) is quite simply a matter of survival. For all of us, the Paris Agreement is our lifeline.” He noted how seriously Ethiopia was taking the issues of climate change, emphasizing: “we are working now together with various stakeholders in the country to find innovative ways to accelerate our progress towards 100% implementation of the Paris Agreement and domestic renewable energy, as well as minimize any associated risks, and, of course, boost poverty reduction efforts.” Lucile Dufour from Climate Action Network said: “There is a gap between the current trajectory of warming and the objective defined under the Paris Agreement,” To get the deal back on track, countries will have to present new national contributions aimed at closing this gap between theory and reality. The exercise will begin next year and end in 2020.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum declaration said: “We are working now together with our ministers of finance to find innovative ways to accelerate our progress towards the 100% renewable energy vision, as well as to reduce risks and boost poverty reduction efforts.” At COP22 in Marrakesh in November last year, the CVF countries committed to a 100% renewable energy future. The Forum demanded enhanced and joint collaboration of the signatories of the Paris Agreement stating that “2018 needs to trigger enhanced aspiration for climate action if the Paris Agreement’s goals are to remain achievable.” It also called attention to the need for stronger action and how the signatories to the Paris Agreement could be encouraged to implement. The Forum demanded the world’s rich countries keep their financial promises, calling for “quick” allocation of the capital from the Green Climate Fund. It used the opportunity to remind the developed countries of the pledges they had made to support the Global South. In 2015, the rich countries promised to provide an adaptation fund worth $100 billion per year by 2020.
The CVF produced a vision statement at Marrakech which said; “The response to climate change is climate justice and social justice in action. In partnership and with the support of the international community, we aim to survive and thrive in a world where, as soon as possible, and at the latest by 2030 to 2050: the dangers of climate change are kept to an absolute minimum; maximum advantage is taken of the benefits of climate action; for protection from growing dangers even with only 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming that will disadvantage the most vulnerable, maximal resilience is achieved for people, indigenous groups, livelihoods, infrastructure, cultures and ecosystems; in embarking on a new era of the pursuit of development, ending poverty, leaving no person behind, and protecting the environment, not only are all Sustainable Development Goals and the targets and priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction achieved by 2030 but also, where possible, their targets are exceeded or their early achievement is accomplished; and as least developed and low- and middle-income developing countries, we emerge as wealthy nations, achieved through strongest the possible economic growth.” It concluded: “We will monitor and report on the progress of our individual members, and collective, efforts to realize this vision on an annual basis.”
The Bonn meeting in the first half of May was the latest round of UN climate talks. These “inter-sessional” talks take place in Bonn each year, midway between the annual Conference of Parties (COP). They aim to move negotiations forward ahead of the larger meetings at the end of the year. This year’s COP23, which will take place in Bonn in November, will be presided over by Fiji, the first for a ‘small island state’. The topics at Bonn last month included ways to implement the Paris Agreement. This must be finalized at COP24 in 2018. Negotiators have been working to iron out details of a stock-taking exercise in 2018 to measure progress toward the Paris goals, and to move forwards with the issue of adaptation finance.
While the main concern in the Bonn meeting was whether or not President Trump would withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement (which he decided to do on Thursday this week, June 1), discussions on the details of the Paris Agreement went ahead relatively smoothly. The Paris agreement allows for every country to submit individual plans to tackle their greenhouse gas emissions and then to meet regularly to review progress and encourage each other to intensify their efforts. It was intended to be non-binding so countries could tailor climate plans to domestic situation s and adapt them as circumstances required. There are no penalties for falling short of targets. The assumption is that, through peer pressure and diplomacy, policies would strengthen over time.
In fact, the Paris Agreement set out overarching goals and the framework for international climate action, but left many details to be filled out later. These questions include how countries communicate their efforts with regards to mitigation and adaptation, issues of climate finance, transfer of technology and capacity building, how countries are to be held accountable for their commitments, and how collective efforts will be reviewed. The process of working out these details began in earnest at COP22, in Marrakesh last November. They continued in Bonn where the deadline to complete the details of Paris by November 2018 at COP24, at the latest, was reaffirmed. The conclusions at Bonn also set out a series of stepping stones towards COP23, also to be held in Bonn, in November this year. Prior to that meeting a series of roundtable workshops will address various agenda items, including nationally determined contributions, how parties should communicate their adaptation efforts; how parties will transparently report on actions taken; on efforts towards global stocktaking in 2023; on checking collective progress towards the Paris targets; monitoring compliance with the Paris Agreement; and on the Adaptation Fund.
Ethio-German Business Days in Hanover and Stuttgart
Co-organized by Ethiopian Embassy in Germany and the German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein), the 3rd Ethio-German Business Day was held this week over two days (May 30-31) in Hanover and in Stuttgart. The event brought together high-level Ethiopian government officials and senior administrators of the State of Lower Saxony, as well as representatives of over 80 companies and businesses from both countries.
Opening the Forum in Hanover, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Industry, Dr Mebrahtu Meles, said Ethiopia’s political, social and macro-economic stability, its fast economic growth and its attractive investment laws had made it a favored destination for business and investment. He briefed participants on the Government’s commitment to supporting private sector development; its competitive incentive packages and on the simple and transparent investment approval procedures in the country. He noted the country’s targets. Ethiopia, he said, aimed to achieve a middle-income-status and be the leading country in light manufacturing in Africa by 2025. He underlined its “pro-poor, pro-development and pro-investment policies,” and called on German companies to seize the opportunity to participate in the country’s huge investment and business potential.
Ambassador Kuma Demeksa, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Germany, told participants that Ethiopia and Germany’s diplomatic ties dated back to 1905, and ever since then the bilateral relationship had been regularly strengthened by the series of frequent visits of government officials and business delegations from both sides. Underlining that Ethiopia and Germany enjoyed ever-growing economic cooperation, Ambassador Kuma said the 3rd Ethio-German Business Day would certainly enhance trade, financial and commercial links between German companies and their Ethiopian counterparts.
Lutz Hartmann, a Board Member of the German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein) gave a detailed account of his personal experience of investing in Africa at large and Ethiopia in particular. He commended Ethiopia’s one-stop-service, which he said offered a significant incentive for companies seeking to start business in the country. Mr Hartmann, whose company has a farming project in Ethiopia said: “It only takes you one day to set up business in Ethiopia; It took me just a day to open accounts, get tax numbers and set up my company there; which in Europe and elsewhere in the world would have taken me weeks.”
The 3rd Ethio-German Business Day included key presentations in areas of trade and finance, manufacturing, agribusiness and energy as well as government-to-business and business-to-business sessions.
UNHCR says well over 1.8 million South Sudanese have fled the country
In its latest humanitarian bulletin for Sudan published last week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) notes that the number of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Sudan since the conflict broke out in December 2013 has now reached over 417,000. 28,000 of these had arrived in the first two weeks of May. Already this year, nearly 137,000 refugees arrived in Sudan from South Sudan, and that is more than the total number of arrivals during the whole of last year according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.
UNHCR said the latest influx had put additional pressure on service provision in camps and settlement sites, underlining the need to step up efforts to achieve minimum emergency standards as quickly as possible. In the interim, some of the most critical needs were in reception centers, including the provision of health and water, sanitation and hygiene services. UNHCR said contingency plans were also being developed to respond to possible further influxes. Newly arrived refugees said many more people were on their way to Sudan from Upper Nile province, South Sudan.
Two weeks ago, in Geneva, the UNHCR and the World Food Program (WFP) launched a revised Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) for South Sudan. In a joint appeal, they called on donors to step up support for refugees fleeing South Sudan. Humanitarian agencies are seeking US$1.4 billion to provide life-saving aid to South Sudanese refugees in the six neighboring countries until the end of 2017. The Sudan Refugee Response Plan needs US$221.7 million; it is only 14% funded.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said “Bitter conflict and deteriorating humanitarian conditions in South Sudan are driving people from their homes in record numbers.” He said the situation in South Sudan continued to worsen, with a combination of conflict, drought and famine leading to further displacement and a rapid exodus of people fleeing one of the world’s most severe crises. The WFP Executive Director David Beasley said: “The suffering of the South Sudanese people is just unimaginable; they are close to the abyss. Violence is at the root of this crisis. Aid workers often cannot reach the most vulnerable hungry people. Many are dying from hunger and disease; many more have fled their homeland for safety abroad.”
South Sudan has now become the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis, with more than 1.8 million refugees, including one million children, having sought safety in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic. The current rate of people fleeing the country exceeds the humanitarian community’s most pessimistic estimates. The number of people fleeing to Sudan in March surpassed the expected figure for the entire year. Uganda has also been seeing far higher than expected numbers and at this rate is likely to very soon host over one million South Sudanese refugees. David Beasley said the funding situation had forced WFP us to cut food rations for many refugees in Uganda, and that, he said, was unacceptable: “the world must help them now, not later.”
The UNHCR said South Sudan’s neighbors had been outstandingly generous but it was now alarmed by a situation that was now critical. Mr Grandi said: “Countries like Uganda have done all one could expect, but they won’t be able to sustain support for refugees unless the rest of the world steps up.” He stressed that humanitarian agencies were struggling to provide food, water, nutrition support, shelter and health services to refugees. He also emphasized that the communities hosting refugees are among the world’s poorest. He said: “Helping refugees is not just about providing emergency aid. It also means supporting governments and communities in neighboring countries to shore up services and economies in the areas receiving them.” Currently, Uganda hosts some 898,000 refugees from South Sudan; there are 417,000 in Sudan, 28,000 of them arriving in the first two weeks of May, 375,000 in Ethiopia, 97,000 in Kenya, 76,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and 2,200 in Central African Republic (CAR). In all, WFP provides food and cash assistance to more than 1.8 million refugees in the neighboring countries.
The updated UNHCR and WFP Regional Refugee Response Plan does not cover humanitarian needs of around two million people displaced internally in South Sudan.
UN Independent Rights’ Expert calls for international community support for Somalia
The United Nations Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia, Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga paid an official visit to Somalia this month (May 15-25). During his visit, he met and held discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers of the Federal Government of Somalia; the Vice President and Ministers in Puntland; and the Chief Justice, Ministers and senior government officials in Somaliland. He also held discussions with representatives of the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), UN Women, and AMISOM as well as members of civil society, traditional elders and religious leaders on the human rights situation and challenges facing the implementation of their respective mandates and activities in Somalia.
At the end of this, his fourth mission to the Federal Republic of Somali, the UN Independent Expert, called on the international community to support Somalia through its current humanitarian crisis and its on-going state-building process. He said Somalia was experiencing one of its worst humanitarian crises following three years of drought. This had affected more than half the population, creating acute food and water shortages, serious child malnutrition and mortality, and very substantial losses of livestock. Recalling that Somalia was facing this devastating drought without recovering from the impact of the 2011 drought, he called upon the international community to respond fully to the appeal for US$4.4 billion to assist Somalia to deal with what was in fact the biggest humanitarian crisis in history. At the London conference on Somalia earlier this month, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, stressed that the international community in addition to tackling the consequences of this humanitarian crisis should also work hard to address its causes. This meant, she added, that building Somalia’s resilience and helping to develop security and stability was an important aspect.
The UN Independent Expert also called for continuing support for Somalia’s state-building process and improvement of human rights situation in the country. He urged the international community to continue its technical and financial support to Somalia to assist in the reform and establishment of democratic and governance institutions, the police, judiciary and justice system. He particularly emphasized the justice sector should be provided with commensurate resources to those currently being directed towards the security sector.
Regarding violations of people’s rights to freedom of expression and media rights, Mr Bahame expresses his concern over detention without trial, police brutality, and intimidation of journalists and other violations of rights in the country. He called on the authorities to continue their engagement with media owners and professionals in order to review existing media laws and adopt laws that respected freedom of expression and media rights. He further emphasized the important role of traditional elders in Somalia’s justice system where formal judicial institutions remain weak while traditional dispute resolutions remain acceptable. He suggested the Federal Government and other stakeholders should make a comprehensive review of the traditional dispute resolution framework to make sure traditional elders protect the rights of women particularly from rape and other sexual and gender-based violations.
Mr Bahame urged the Federal Government to finalize the integration of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law, and to ratify its additional protocols. He also called on the Federal Government of Somalia and the Government of Somaliland to finalize the adoption of their respective sexual offences Bills. He commended the authorities in Puntland State for the adoption of its Juvenile Justice Law and the sexual offences law, and for the rehabilitation and integration of young persons’ arrested during its campaigns against al-Shabaab.
The Independent Expert also commended the Federal Government for holding the 2016/17 electoral process and for the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected Federal President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. He acknowledged the marked increase in the number of women members of parliament. He said that even if the increasing number of women MPs did not reach the 30%, the development was a significant achievement, taking into account the indirect elections took place at a time when Somalia was still facing serious security challenges and the elections were conducted under a complex, indirect electoral process, heavily influenced by traditional male elders.
Mr Bahame Nyanduga will submit a comprehensive report with recommendations, aimed at assisting the Government to fulfil its human rights’ obligations, at a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.
World Peacekeeping Day: UN Peacekeeping – past, present and future
World Peacekeeping Day, under the theme “Investing in peace around the globe” was observed around the world on May 29. It honored some 100,000 UN peacekeepers from 120 Member States currently serving in over 16 UN missions worldwide. Last week, Secretary-General António Guterres laid a wreath to honor all fallen peacekeepers and presided over a ceremony for the posthumous award of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to 117 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives serving in peacekeeping operations during 2016, among them five Ethiopian personnel. Since the first UN deployment in 1948, more than one million men and women have served under the UN flag with distinction and courage. During that period, over 3,500 of them have lost their lives in the service of peace. In a message for the Day, the UN Secretary-General said: “Every day, peacekeepers help bring peace and stability to war-torn societies around the world…Now, more than ever, it is essential that we continue investing in peace around the world.”
Peacekeeping is one of the most important tools in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. The history of UN peacekeeping dates back 70 years since the blue helmets were first established as an international force deployed to maintain peace and stability. Generally, peacekeeping operations involve military, police and civilian personnel who work in tandem delivering security as well as political and peace-building support. They have a critical role in helping countries get back to their feet by assisting them in establishing the foundations of peace, minimizing the risk of relapsing back into conflict and helping lay down the foundations for recovery and sustainable development. There are three principles guiding United Nations peacekeeping: consent of the conflicting parties, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defense or defense of the mandate.
Peacekeeping operations can be established for a number of different purposes on the basis of various challenges to the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN Security Council, the global body mandated to maintain international peace and security, has therefore adopted a number of resolutions to establish peacekeeping operations in different missions around the world. All UN peacekeeping operations operate under the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
Over the past seven decades, the environment for peacekeepers has evolved significantly in parallel with the geopolitical dynamics of our world. Since the end of the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, United Nations peacekeepers have been sent to many of the world’s most volatile conflict situations. Peacekeeping has changed a great deal, transformed from traditional missions characterized by strict military tasks to multi-dimensional operations involving facilitation of political processes, protection and promotion of human rights and protection of civilians. As a result, while acclimatizing itself to changing global circumstances UNPKOs have evolved significantly. The guiding principles remain important, but there is growing recognition of the dynamism in conflict situations, calling for a degree of pragmatism and flexibility to ensure the success of peacekeeping operations under contemporary realities. Last month, the Secretary-General told the Security Council: “Peace operations are at a crossroads. Our task is to keep them relevant with clear and achievable mandates, and the right strategies and support.” Today, peacekeepers are given complex and multidimensional responsibilities, operating under wider-ranging mandates covering many different issues. These include Security Council resolutions covering women, peace and security (resolution 1325(2000)); children and armed conflict (resolution 1612(2005)), and protection of civilians in armed conflict (resolution 1674(2005)).
Peacekeeping is a partnership between the UN, Member States and regional organizations that support each other. In Somalia, for example, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is run by the African Union, with UN support and UN and European funding and support. Africa currently hosts the most UN peacekeeping operations and during its 25th Ordinary Session, the African Union expressed a commitment to fund 25% of AU peace support operation costs by 2020. This commitment was reaffirmed by the AU Assembly decision adopted at its 27th ordinary session, in Kigali in July 2016. In November 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2320 (2016) expressing the Council’s readiness to consider options in response to the African Union’s proposal to finance 25% of the cost of operations by 2020.
There have been a number of attempts to reform peacekeeping operations. The Secretary General appointed a panel to assess the shortcomings of the then system of UN peace operations in March 2000 and provide possible recommendations. The Brahimi report recommended a renewed political commitment on the part of Member States, significant institutional changes and increased financial support. In October 2014, the Secretary General established a High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations (HIPPO) to make a comprehensive assessment of the state of UN Peace Operations and emerging needs of the future. The findings of the report indicated that there was a clear sense of a widening gap between what was being asked of UN peace operations today and what they are actually able to deliver.
The HIPPO report suggested four essential changes if real progress was to be made and if UN peace operations were to realize their potential for better results on the ground. The first was to accept that politics must drive the design and implementation of peace operations. Secondly, the full spectrum of UN peace operations must be used with greater flexibly to respond to changing needs on the ground. Third, a stronger, more inclusive peace and security partnership was needed for the future; and finally, the UN Secretariat must become more field-focused and UN peace operations must be more people-centered. The report also offered new approaches to ensure that UN peace operations would be able to play a critical role in the international peace and security firmament in the years to come. It called for significant change across four of the most important areas of the work of UN peace operations and of the United Nations. It said conflict prevention and mediation must be brought back to the fore; that protection of civilians must [be] a core obligation of the United Nations, and expectations and capability must converge; clarity was needed on the use of force by UN forces and in UN peace operations and by others in managing armed conflict; and finally, to sustain peace, political vigilance was needed. As a party that has a huge stake in UN Peacekeeping Operations, Ethiopia believes that High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations and its recommendations should be discussed more fully. Implementing the key recommendations of the Peace Operations Review would go a long way towards achieving its objectives.
The new Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, took up his post at the beginning of April. He has underlined the need for political processes to support peacekeeping operations. He said: “We need the support of the Security Council as well to make sure that we get the right kind of support and that these political processes get the right kind of support.” He said this meant political support and support in terms of resources including Member States’ contributions of troops, equipment. He also underlined the importance of having the right kind of deployment, optimized resources and adequate mandates for the situation on the ground. He added: “We have to make sure we continue this ongoing process of modernizing peacekeeping operations.” He said this had to do with training, with making sure that we have more contributions from troop-contributing countries and more contributions ready to deploy. It also had to do with modernizing equipment, resorting to new technologies and increasing gender parity. He underlined the importance of partnership, noting the recent summit with the AU in April. He said there was a lot more to be done with the African Union, sub-regional organizations, and the European Union, to ensure the UN goes hand in hand when trying to find solutions to the many crises with which it is dealing.
Ethiopia has a long and proud history of supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations. Its participation goes back to early 1950s when Ethiopian troops, guided by the principle of collective security, deployed to Korea under the United Nations. Since then, Ethiopia has participated in UN Peacekeeping Operations in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Liberia and is currently participating in Sudan (in Darfur and Abyei), South Sudan, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Haiti under the UN blue helmets. Currently, the country is the number one Troop Contributing Country, deploying 8,342 troops, police and military experts to different missions. Ethiopian peacekeeping forces have frequently demonstrated their capacity to operate with impartiality and high standards of discipline as well as overcome challenging weather conditions, lack of infrastructure, resource inadequacies, and cultural differences.
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