A Week in the Horn

15 Jun 2018



Africa and the African Union

Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa were elected last week (June 8) as non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. They will join the Council on January 1, 2019. They will replace Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Netherlands and Sweden, joining the five other non-permanent members whose terms end on December 31, 2018, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland, as well as the five permanent members:  China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Lindiwe Sisulu, International Relations Minister of South Africa, said South Africa, on the Security Council for the third time, would work for closer cooperation between the council and the African Union, and address its efforts toward conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peace-building as well as working to ensure a gender perspective was mainstreamed into all Security Council resolutions.



Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed returned to Addis Ababa on Monday (June 11) after state visits to Uganda and Egypt, and successful and productive meetings on bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. (See articles)

Foreign Minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu visited three Nordic countries, Norway, Finland and Denmark, last week (June 4-8), heading a Ministry of Foreign Affairs delegation. He also attended the African-Nordic Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held under the theme “Common Values-Joint Pathways” on Wednesday and Thursday (June 6-7). (See article)

Dr Workneh bade farewell to the outgoing Ambassador of the Republic of the Sudan to Ethiopia, Jamal Elshaikh Ahmed on Monday (June 11). Dr Workneh thanked Ambassador Elshaikh for his efforts during his tenure, and particularly for strengthening the multifaceted relations between the two brotherly countries, as epitomized by the strong people-to-people relations Ethiopia and the Sudan enjoyed over the years.

The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, made a two-day visit to Ethiopia last week (June 8-9). During his visit, he met and held talks with Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen and with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. (See article)

Speaking at the launch of the E-Visa services for tourists and business travelers to and from Ethiopia, Mrs Fozia Amin, the Minister of Culture and Tourism noted, the inauguration of the E-Visa services would help increase the number of tourists visiting Ethiopia and enhance the revenue generated from the tourism sector as well as the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Currency into the country. The E-Visa service is aimed at making Ethiopian visa services more modernized and accessible to people all over the world.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mrs Hirut Zemene arrived in the Capital of the Republic, Djibouti City on Thursday (June 7) for a working visit. During her stay, the State Minister visited the IGAD premises. The State Minister also visited the recently inaugurated Dorale Port, the Dorale Container Terminal, the old PAID Port, the Pika Dus Dry Port as well as an Ethiopian Cargo carrier ship – “Assosa”. At the end of her visit to Djibouti City, State Minister Hirut had a discussion with the staff of the Ethiopian embassy in Djibouti on current affairs in Ethiopia, the general overview of Ethiopia’s diplomatic engagements as well as the issue of illegal migration.

Ethiopia and China relations are continuing to expand to create one of the strongest and most durable partnerships in Africa, building cooperation that benefit both nations. Their relationship entered a “new stage of comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation” in May 2017 during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Economic ties continue to grow, with hundreds of companies visiting Ethiopia in the last nine months. China is Ethiopia’s biggest trade partner, and trade relations have shown significant progress in recent years.

Ethiopia continues to benefit substantially from Chinese investment. (See article)

The government of Ethiopia, through its Embassy in Djibouti, has been working to ensure the safe repatriation of Ethiopian nationals from Djibouti. The embassy, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has been working to repatriate 228 Ethiopian nationals who, following the war in Yemen, arrived in Djibouti, and another 174 Ethiopians who came to Djibouti en route to Gulf countries, and who have been victims of illegal migration and human-trafficking. Accordingly, 126 Ethiopian nationals were repatriated on Sunday (June 10) and the remaining ones arrived home the following day.

Ethiopian Airlines launched its inaugural flight to Chicago on Sunday (June 10), increasing the number of destinations in the United States to four and to seven in the Americas. At a ceremony at Bole International Airport, attended by US Ambassador Michael Raynor and members of the Diplomatic Corps, CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, said Chicago was the third biggest city in the U.S. and one of the most important global aviation hubs. He noted Ethiopian flights would be the only direct service between Chicago and Africa and it would allow for connections to 58 destinations in Africa.

The International Hydropower Association, in a report issued on Wednesday (June 13) ranked Ethiopia the top hydropower producer in Africa with an installed capacity of 3,822 MW. South Africa was ranked second with 3,595 MW, followed by Egypt with 2,844 MW, then DR Congo and Angola. It said Ethiopia had an array of projects under construction, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which will generate 6,450 MW at full capacity upon completion. It had also signed agreements to build two geothermal power plants, Corbetti and Tulu Moye, to produce a combined 1,000 MW of power upon completion in eight years’ time.



The Russian owned, Swiss-based Eurochem, has agreed to buy the output of Australia’s Dankali Limited. Dankali says Eurochem will take, pay, market and distribute up to 100% (minimum 87%) of its sulphate of potash output. Dankali Limited owns 50% of the Colluli mine with the Eritrean National Mining Corporation holding the other 50%.



A UN Security Council Presidential statement on Thursday (June 7) welcomed progress made to date by the federal Government of Somalia on the security sector, economic and political reforms and underlined the importance of the federal Government of Somalia, the Somali federal Parliament and the federal member states working together. It also expressed concerns over internal and external pressures that risked undermining Somalia’s political unity, and over resourcing for the transition plan. (See article)

Minister for Defense, Hassan Ali Mohamed, on Tuesday (June 12) held talks with the Commander of the European Union Training Mission in Somalia, Brigadier General Pietro Addis. General Addis pledged assistance to the Somali armed forces in the areas of training and defense. The Minister said Somalia appreciates the EU support “to rebuild our military as well as other support to the federal government.”

Minister for Finance, Abdirahman Duale Baileh and officials from the World Bank signed an agreement on Monday (June 11) to support the inclusive governance of the petroleum sector. The Minister said this would be for the benefit of all Somalis.

The Council of Ministers on Sunday (June 10) approved the 2018 elections law, and in a press statement the Minister of Cabinet Affairs Ahmed Saad Omer praised discussions over the draft law, saying it would lead to free and fair elections in 2020.

The National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) of Somalia announced the registration of five new political parties in the country on Monday (June 11). This brings the number of registered political parties to 15. Two days later the NIEC Chairperson, Halima Ismail Ibrahim, subsequently issued a warning that political parties which did not set up offices and work as genuine political parties could lose their accreditation. She said any party without a physical presence or which did not operate as a genuine political party would lose its registration certificate.

Somalia and the UN in collaboration with other international partners have unveiled a joint policing model to strengthen peace and security at national and regional levels. The UN-backed Joint Policing Program supports a two-tier policing structure and sets out the future development of strong national and state-level police services, the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said in a statement. Mohamed Duale, Federal Minister of Internal Security, said it offered the best way to provide an effective policing system in Somalia. He said the program will be introduced in five federal states, the Benadir region to support the implementation of priority police projects, as outlined in the country’s National Security Architecture. Police Force Commissioner, General Bashir Mohamed, said it was essential to have police that are responsible for their actions, based on core universal principles of legality, necessity, professionalism and responsibility.



President Omer al-Bashir has received an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Beijing in September. In a meeting with the President, Chinese Ambassador to Khartoum, Ambassador Li Lianhe gave President Al-Bashir a written letter from President Jinping, and stressed his country’s keenness to promote relations and enhance cooperation. Last April, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said the Chinese President has accepted an invitation extended to him by President Al-Bashir to visit Sudan this year.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, presenting the Special report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the UN Secretary-General on the strategic review of UNAMID, briefed the UN Security Council on Monday (June 11) on the need to link drawdown of UNAMID to increasing peacekeeping and development activities. (See article)




Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed makes a State Visit to Egypt.…

Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed returned to Addis Ababa on Monday (June 11) after two-day state visits to Uganda and Egypt where he held talks with both President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

The two leaders held a joint press conference at the end of Prime Minister Dr Abiy’s visit, and President el-Sisi, describing Egypt’s relations with Ethiopia as “strategic”, promised to maintain cooperation with Ethiopia for the best interests of both nations The President noted: “I would like to reiterate that the relation between Egypt and Ethiopia is a strategic partnership relation, and that Egypt’s strategic policy is to enhance common interests with Ethiopia in all fields.”

Prime Minister Abiy expressed his delighted in making his first official visit to Egypt, “to a great Nation and its great People.” He said: “What I would like to convey to the People of Egypt today is that we Ethiopians are people who discern and value brotherhood and neighborhood as well as the fear of God deep in our heart. We, the People of Ethiopia, never, never, have any intention or interest to harm our brotherly people of Egypt.” He added, “Despite our conviction that we can and have to use and develop the river of Abay [the Nile], utilizing the river to develop our country, we believe, that this should not be at the expense of the interests of Egypt and Sudan.  Hence, I would strongly urge the People and Government of Egypt to put their full trust in this.”

The Prime Minister conveyed a strong message to the media. He said that members of the media had toiled to create animosity over the years. He said, “You have a name, the Fourth Estate. The Fourth Estate doesn’t serve as a government of mayhem but as a bridge between the people and the government.” To the media in Ethiopia as well as in Egypt, Prime Minister Abiy said, “You must work to bring about sustainable peace and development that can ensure a prosperous common journey in the future.” In the past, the Premier added, false propaganda could easily be accepted, whereas today “we have witnessed here that in a country of 29 million educated people this would be unthinkable.” He said that in this age of literacy “what the educated people need is truth, reason and cooperation.”

Prime Minister Abiy underlined that “For the past one hundred years we all have been offering our support to a neighboring country while stabbing another neighboring country in the back. No country has either profited or triumphed from this behavior. The only road for success is cooperation. While our peoples have no job to sustain their lives and are quite impoverished, the precious time we have wasted to harm one another is a total loss.” Maintaining such actions have never helped and will never help the people of Africa and the Middle East, the Prime Minister noted that the two leaders had emphasized the need to understand. He said, “We have agreed that the ties that we would forge hereafter will be based solely on a  spirit of solidarity and on “win-win” principles. He re-affirmed that he and President el-Sisi had agreed to work together  not only the issue of the Nile but in other ways, including industrialization, road and railway connectivity in all areas of development. “To best achieve this dream and open up a new historic chapter of cooperation I call for your strong support”, he said.

The two leaders also affirmed their commitment to set up a joint fund for infrastructure development, including energy. They agreed to cooperate on the Somalia and South Sudan peace processes. President el-Sisi particularly appreciated Ethiopia’s new initiative to end the Ethiopia-Eritrea stalemate. Prime Minister Abiy commended President el-Sisi for the release of 32 Ethiopian prisoners from jail in Egypt. The prisoners returned to Addis Ababa along with the Prime Minister and his delegation.


…following a State Visit to Uganda

In Uganda, Prime Minister Dr Abiy and President Museveni met on Saturday (June 9) to discuss ways to strengthen issues of mutual interest between Ethiopia and Uganda, including trade and political ties. They agreed to concretize cooperation in priority sectors, including energy, trade, agriculture, transport, tourism and culture. They stressed the need to increase the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries by bringing together the respective private sectors to identify opportunities for trade and investment. They also emphasized the need to work on road transport links between North Eastern Uganda to Southern Ethiopia through Northern Kenya. The two leaders also discussed the situation in South Sudan and urged all parties to the conflict to redouble efforts to find a peaceful political solution through dialogue under the IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum. They further agreed on the need to convene an extra-ordinary IGAD Summit to address outstanding issues. In a joint communiqué issued at State House after the bilateral talks between the delegations of the two countries, President Yoweri Museveni congratulated Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali upon his election by the Ethiopian Parliament as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and said this confirmed the confidence the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and the entire population of Ethiopia had in his leadership.

During his visit, Prime Minister Dr Ahmed Abiy was honored by the presentation of the Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa Grand Medal, Uganda’s highest accolade. It was presented by President Yoweri Museveni for Dr Abiy’s “reconciliatory leadership in achieving peace and stability in Ethiopia and for extending an olive branch to Eritrea”, on Uganda’s National Heroes Day. This is celebrated in Uganda every year on June 9 in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in order to restore peace and security to the country. The only other African leader to be given this honor has been Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo. Addressing the crowds gathered for the occasion, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali noted that Ethiopia’s relationship with Uganda was “built on a strong foundation of understanding and mutual respect not to interfere with each others’ internal affairs.”


Foreign Minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu visits three Nordic countries….

Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, Minister of Foreign Affairs visited three Nordic countries, Norway, Finland and Denmark, last week (June 4-8). During his visits the Foreign Minister held extensive bilateral discussions with the President of Finland, the Prime Minister of Denmark and the Foreign Ministers of Norway, Finland and Denmark as well as members of the Parliament Foreign Affairs Standing Committees of each country and their respective business communities. Discussions covered bilateral, regional, and multilateral areas of common interest.

On his first stop in Norway, Dr Workneh conferred with his Norwegian counterpart, Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide. They recalled the discussion they had held in January 2018 in Addis Ababa and the visit of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon to Ethiopia in November last year. They commended the cooperation of their countries in the areas of climate change, development cooperation and regional issues. Dr Workneh briefed Ms Søreide on developments in Ethiopia and on the current reform process covering all sectors and sections of society. The Norwegian Minister said Norway acknowledges the positive progress in Ethiopia and was eager to support the process. On regional issues, Dr Workneh appreciated the support of Norway through the framework of the Troika in the peace process of South Sudan and requested that it continue its support.

During the meeting with members of Parliament, Dr Workneh briefed the Foreign Affairs Standing Committee on the ongoing reform process in Ethiopia and on regional issues in the Horn of Africa. He called on the MPs to support Ethiopia’s reform agenda and its development efforts.

Dr Workneh also met with the CEO of Yara International, Svein Tore Holseter. Yara signed a mining agreement with Ethiopia in November 2017 to invest in potash mining in the Afar Regional State. Mr Holseter recognized and appreciated the efforts made by the Ethiopian government to support the project, providing necessary infrastructure and making the mining agreement possible. The planned Yara Dallol mine will have a production capacity of approximately 600,000 tons per year, equivalent to approximately ten per cent of the global market.

Following the visit to Norway, Dr Workneh moved on to Helsinki, the capital of Finland where he had a courtesy meeting with President Sauli Niinistö and exchanged views on regional and global issues. Dr Workneh extended an invitation from Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed to the President to visit Ethiopia. The President said he had developed an ambition to visit Ethiopia after reading about it as a child and accepted the invitation.

Dr Workneh also held talks with Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini. Discussions covered bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Finland, as well as relations between Ethiopia and the European Union, the African Integration agenda and the situation in the Horn of Africa. Dr Workneh also had a meeting with the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Eduskunta. Following his talks with Finnish government officials, Dr Workneh met with representatives of Finnish companies to encourage further Finnish investment in Ethiopia. Finland operates a flagship project in the education sector in Ethiopia and former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and the CEO of Ethiopia Electricity Power Engineer Azeb Asnake both studied in Finland.

Dr Workneh arrived in Copenhagen, capital of the Kingdom of Denmark, on Wednesday (June 6). There he met with Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen for discussions about ways of further expediting the bilateral, regional and global cooperation between Ethiopia and Denmark.  Prime Minister Rassmussen commended Ethiopia’s recent decision to bring an end to the interregnum that defined Ethio-Eritrean relations for over two decades and paving a path to a comprehensive peace. He also noted the crucial and exemplary role Ethiopia plays in peace and order in general and the Horn of African in particular. The Prime Minister of Denmark congratulated Dr Abiy on his appointment as Prime Minister and extended an invitation for Dr Abiy to participate in the Partnership for Green Growth and Global Goals (P4G) summit which will be convened on October 19 in Copenhagen. The Prime Minister of Denmark has a one billion dollar Danish SDG investment Fund from which Ethiopia will benefit.

Dr Workneh also held talks with Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen on bilateral, regional and global issues. Foreign Minister Samuelsen commended the strides Ethiopia is making in political and economic areas. During his visit to Copenhagen, Dr Workneh paid a visit to UN City in Copenhagen to meet with Ethiopian UN employees. He also discussed private sector development in Ethiopia with Vestas Wind Systems, a company interested to invest in the Assela Wind Farm project in Ethiopia and with the giant Danish company, Mærsk, which expressed interest to invest in energy and infrastructure.


…and attends the 17th Africa-Nordic Foreign Ministers meeting in Copenhagen

The Africa-Nordic Meeting of Foreign Ministers was initiated by the late Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh and has been convened for the last seventeen years. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark Mr Samuelsen invited a number of his African and Nordic colleagues to the meeting in Copenhagen, held June 6 and 7. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Common values – joint pathways”, and ministers discussed subjects related to peace and security, investment and trade and unlocking the potential of the youth. The Forum claims to establish new perspectives for friendship, cooperation and solidarity between Africa and the Nordic countries. The meetings focus primarily on pertinent development issues and it is designed as an opportunity for an open and informal dialogue between African and Nordic countries on a variety of foreign policy and global issues.

The meeting was held under three thematic sessions: advancing peace and security; promoting investment and trade; and harnessing the potential of youth in terms of development and jobs, demographic dividend, mobility and migration. Dr Workneh delivered opening remarks for the second agenda, ‘Promoting investment and trade`. In his speech he welcomed what he described as the innovative platform allowing deliberation on important issues of interest to both Africa and the Nordic region, without the expectations of a formal gathering requiring formal outcomes. Free and open discussion, he said, was a meaningful tool to analyze pressing issues with new perspectives and to come up with innovative solutions, challenging old preconceptions and established ways of doing business.

Dr Workneh noted that Ethiopia’s national security policy and strategy was designed to fight poverty as an existential national security threat. Guided by this policy, Ethiopia had succeeded in achieving fast economic growth for some 15 years. Dr Workneh underlined that investment and trade were integral components of this process. He stressed Ethiopia was giving special focus to investment in industrial manufacturing, with a view to transforming the structure of the economy. This involved attracting Foreign Direct Investment, not just with traditional promotional tools and incentives, but also with construction of Industrial Parks for manufacturing industries with value chain integration.

He said Ethiopia was in the process of building fifteen industrial parks. Seven were operational housing global brand names. The government was providing a one-stop-shop service, adequate power, logistical infrastructures such as roads, telecoms, waste treatment and banking and other services. He noted that ge noted Hetting manufactured products to the global market via land, air and sea transport also required serious attention.

Dr Workneh referred to the nexus between trade and investment which, he said, required institutional partnership between the State, the private sector and local communities. He pointed out that export destination countries could collaborate with export originating countries to support sound environmental policies, encourage local outsourcing franchises, and creating employment without damaging the environment. In order for free trade and investment to work fairly for all people, it needed partnerships at global, continental and local levels. And this, he said, required a balanced approach and good faith and institutional collaboration and partnership at all levels.

Dr Workneh emphasized that Africa had recently embarked on a journey towards establishing a Continental Free Trade Area. This was a huge undertaking that needed the full support of partners in the Nordic region and elsewhere to work to lift the people of Africa out of poverty. He said support could come in the form of institutional capacity building, human resource development, and encouragement of private capital flows to Africa without excessive conditionality. And this sort of partnership would, he said, provide the opportunity for State and Private sector partners to work closely together.


French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affair in Addis Ababa

The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, made a two-day visit to Ethiopia last week (June 8-9). During his visit, he met and held talks with Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen and with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat in Addis Ababa.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen briefed the French Foreign Minister on the decisions taken recently by the Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, and the two sides discussed strengthening bilateral relations between Ethiopia and France. M. Le Drian confirmed that one reason for his visit was to offer support to Ethiopia to resolve the dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia. He reiterated that France would be prepared to provide necessary support for Ethiopia’s efforts to normalize relations with Eritrea. He also took the opportunity to welcome the decision to privatize state-owned enterprises. Ethiopia became France’s third biggest market in sub-Saharan Africa last year.

Prior to arriving in Ethiopia, the French Foreign Minister visited Congo and Chad, and the French Foreign Ministry said his visit was taking place within the framework of France’s regular dialogue with the African Union and African countries committed to peace and security on the continent. The Ministry said the meetings would provide an opportunity to discuss regional security challenges and situations in a number of countries, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sahel, Somalia and South Sudan. They would also allow for discussions on France’s partnerships with Ethiopia, the Republic of Congo, Chad, and the African Union.

  1. Le Drian met with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, at AU Headquarters on Friday (June 8).They discussed various efforts to promote peace and security in Africa by underscoring the growing strength of the G5 Sahel Joint Force and the fight against terrorism. Taking into consideration the part played by France as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, the Chairperson urged the strengthening of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union with regard to African peace support operations. They noted these represented a quick, relevant and effective solution to contemporary threats to peace and security. The Minister underlined France’s commitment to work closely with the African Union to strengthen its operations through sustainable support and funding mechanisms.

The Minister welcomed the outcome of the Kigali Summit and the signing of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area and of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport. He expressed France’s support for these flagship initiatives contributing to the structural transformation of Africa. He also stressed the support of France for structural transformation in Africa. The two sides noted the need to work on the development of the European Union-African Union partnership, as well as the forthcoming negotiations on the future of the relationship between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. The Chairperson of the Commission recalled the adoption, last March, by the African Union of a Common Position on post-Cotonou arrangements.

The two sides also stressed the importance of close consultation between the African Union and France to support strong, balanced and inclusive multilateral responses to common challenges to peace, security and development. They signed a Declaration of Intent establishing a strategic dialogue and cooperation between the African Union Commission and France. The Minister proposed that the first session of the strategic dialogue be held later this year in Paris.


Briefing for the UN Security Council on UNAMID

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, told the Security Council on Monday (June 11) that the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) must change in accordance with the shifting realities on the ground. He also highlighted the need to closely link drawdown of UNAMID to increasing peacekeeping and development activities. He said UNAMID’s peacekeeping activities should be directed to continued conflict in the Jebel Marra where they were most needed. Elsewhere in Darfur, he said, the “UN system should leverage the capabilities of the agencies, funds and programs best suited to tackling the problems that remain there.”

  1. Lacroix was presenting the Special report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the UN Secretary-General on the strategic review of UNAMID. The Security Council is due to renew UNAMID’s mandate by the end of the month, before expiry on June 30.

Their 19-page Report set out two central concepts that would work hand-in-hand over two years. One was a peacekeeping concept, focusing on the most precarious areas where protection of civilians, humanitarian support and mediation efforts were still needed to address local conflict. The area of operations would be reduced to 13 team sites in Jebel Marra. Overall force strength would be reduced from 8,735 to 4,050 military personal and 2,500 to 1,870 police officers by June next year. Second was a transition concept which, in collaboration with the United Nations country team, would aim to bridge the transition from peacekeeping to early recovery and development, with a focus on the rule of law; resilience and livelihoods, including durable solutions for internally displaced persons and host communities; immediate service delivery to internally displaced persons; and human rights.

The Under-Secretary General emphasized this would also require longer-term funding to be in place as well as increased voluntary contributions from donors. Funds from the assessed budget would need to be used during the transition and in close collaboration with the Peace-building Support Office. Also vital would be continued engagement and partnership with the AU as well as the support of the Government of Sudan and of UN Member States. Mr Lacroix said: “We believe that, working together, this new approach can help establish a future of UN and AU support to Darfur that will help to improve the lives of the Darfur people now and in the long-term.”

Mr Lacroix underlined that the security situation in Darfur has remained largely stable, adding that now was the time for the United Nations, in partnership with the African Union, to closely couple the drawdown of UNAMID with the build-up of a peace-building effort to focus on addressing root causes of conflict. The Special Report proposed to draw on the capabilities of the United Nations system, in partnership with the African Union, to tailor the Organization’s work to the reality on the ground. Mr Lacroix noted that efforts to reinvigorate the peace process have continued.

Security Council members supported the Special Report’s proposals, emphasizing that the parties to the conflict must agree on a permanent cessation of hostilities and to their commitment to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. They proposed that the Council should consider appropriate measures to increase pressure on those who were undermining the peace process and stressed Abdul Wahid and his group should not be allowed to hold the peace process hostage.

Sudan’s deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Magdi Ahmed Mofdal, called on the Security Council to consider lifting the arms embargo on Darfur region. He said there was a need to deploy Sudanese troops in the region after the UNAMID withdrawal. Mr Mofdal said the Government would continue all activities to promote sustained peace and stability in Darfur, including the weapons collection campaign. He noted that the question of displaced persons, numbering more than 2 million, was a priority for his Government and this needed substantial human and humanitarian resources as well as international support. He said: “peace has become a tangible fact seen all over Darfur,” and even areas controlled by Abdul Wahid were pushing for reconciliation and sustained peace. He stressed the Doha Document was the only agreed framework for this peace, and Sudan was working to implement its provisions on the ground and, along with Qatar, was studying the means for implementing the remaining elements. It was also cooperating with the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to include non-signatories in the peace process. The international community, he said, should bring pressure to bear on those groups that had not engaged with the political process.

Overall, both the United Nations and the African Union underlined that the two-year plan and the exit of UNAMID were linked to the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, particularly the dispositions related to land ownership, protection of civilians and basic services to civilians in Darfur. Speakers welcomed the positive results achieved by Sudan, the African Union and the United Nations, allowing UNAMID to prepare its exit as the security situation had become more stable.


The UN Security Council’s Presidential statement on Somalia

A UN Security Council Presidential statement on Thursday (June 7) welcomed progress made to date by the federal Government of Somalia on security sector, economic and political reforms and underlined the importance of the federal Government of Somalia, the Somali federal Parliament and the federal member states working together. This, it said, was necessary to make progress on the priorities of power- and resource-sharing, on the constitutional review, fiscal federalism, preparations for one-person, one‑vote elections in 2020/2021, and support for regional security forces and for finalizing the justice and corrections federal model. These all required political agreements to form the basis for legislation in the federal Parliament.

The statement, stressing that the Security Council reaffirmed its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somali, also noted, with concern, that internal and external pressures risked undermining Somalia’s political unity. It emphasized the importance of working to prevent destabilizing effects of regional crises and disputes from spilling over into Somalia, and the need for all stakeholders including Somalia’s international partners to support the federal system and its institutions and to respect Somalia’s peace- and state‑building process.

It expressed serious concern at the ongoing threat posed by al-Shabaab and reaffirmed its support for a comprehensive approach to security in Somalia. It welcomed recent progress developing a conditions‑based transition plan with clear target dates for the progressive transfer of security responsibilities as endorsed by the African Union Peace and Security Council on April 30 and by international partners at the Somalia security high-level meeting in Brussels on May 2. It called for its effective implementation, starting with Phase One, with full participation from all relevant stakeholders.

Resourcing for the transition plan and accelerating the implementation of the national security architecture agreement was critical. The statement called on international partners to coordinate security assistance in line with the existing Comprehensive Approach to Security structures. It paid tribute to AMISOM and looked forward to the recommendations of the fourth African Union‑United Nations joint review of AMISOM on how AMISOM should be configured to support the transition. It also noted the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for African Union‑led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council and welcomed the efforts of the African Union and the United Nations to explore options for AMISOM funding.

The Council’s statement welcomed the commitment shown by the federal Government to the current International Monetary Fund staff‑monitored program and urged Somalia to continue to demonstrate progress to build the fiscal and monetary track record needed to advance the process for debt relief.


An increasing Ethio-Chinese partnership: a win-win relationship for both countries

Ethiopia and China have created one of the strongest and most durable partnerships in Africa, building cooperation that is multifaceted and beneficial for both nations. Ethiopia has an embassy in Beijing and consulates in three major cities, and it has the largest overseas Ethiopian diplomatic representation. The strong political cooperation and understanding between the two nations has been underlined by successive visits of high-level officials, the most recent being the visit to China by the then Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn for The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last year and the visit last month of the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu. The relationship entered a “new stage of comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation” in May 2017 during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Equally, economic ties between Ethiopia and China have been growing every year with increased trade and investment. Ethiopian Airlines has contributed substantially to this and to relations between China and Africa, with its regular flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai. China is Ethiopia’s biggest trade partner and trade relations have shown significant progress over the last few years following the Government of China’s allocation of quota and tariff free rights to African countries.

China has helped provide financing for a series of major projects in Ethiopia, helping to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country. These include the light railway project in Addis Ababa, the Ethio-Djibouti railway, industrial park projects and the inaugural Addis Ababa-Adama highway. The recently inaugurated Addis Djibouti railway line, built with Chinese technology, has substantially reduced the distance to Djibouti ports and eased Ethiopia’s exports. These projects have helped the country be more competitive in terms of attracting investment into the region and into Africa as a whole, and they will help Ethiopia attain its vision of becoming a middle-income country and a light manufacturing hub in Africa by 2025.

A recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report noted that East Africa, the fastest-growing region in Africa, received $7.6 billion in FDI in 2017. Ethiopia absorbed nearly half of this amount, with $3.6 billion and is now the second largest recipient of FDI in Africa. A large amount of this investment was sourced from China as Chinese companies look for competitive wages and environments. One such investment is the Eastern Industrial Park, the first privately owned industry park in Ethiopia. This hosts Chinese companies involved in sectors ranging from leather to car manufacturing. The Park hosts 83 companies of which 56 have already started production. The demand by Chinese investors has pushed the park owners to plan construction of phase two. Another Chinese company, Tecno, a mobile manufacturing company, has been using Ethiopia as a manufacturing base for its expansion in Africa, followed by telecom giants such as Huawei and ZTE.

A recent article by the Financial Times, suggested that China was “scaling back investment in Ethiopia in the face of rising foreign exchange shortages and government debt”. Ironically, this statement came in the same week as the Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sansheng Pharmaceuticals Plc., inaugurated its plant in the Eastern Industrial Park. With a capital outlay of over US$80 million, this was a demonstration of the ever-increasing Chinese investment in strategic sectors in Ethiopia.

Foreign exchange shortages and rising government debt are certainly issues that have challenged the Ethiopian economy in the last decade. They are challenges that many developing economies face, but despite this foreign investment, not only from China but from all over the world, has continued to come to Ethiopia, helping the country become the second largest recipient of FDI in Africa after Egypt. Over the past couple of years, economic challenges have included rising foreign exchange rates, forex shortages as foreign trade failed to grow at the desired level, an increasing burden of foreign debt, and increasing disparity between domestic saving and investment. In a clear recognition of the problems facing the economy and aiming to boost growth, the Government announced last week plans to privatize some major state-owned enterprises, either fully or partially. This will ease the shortage of foreign currency. Additionally, the Government was able recently to lift the State of Emergency, initially implemented to protect citizens and investments. Dr Belachew Mekuria, head of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, said that this would also help the drive to sustain Ethiopia’s global position as preferred investment destination.

In its 2018 World Investment Report in analyzing global trends, UNCTAD noted that “Flows from developing economies fell 6% to $381 billion, mainly because outflows from China declined for the first time in 15 years (down 36% to $125 billion) as a result of restrictive policies in reaction to significant capital outflows during 2015–2016. Outflows from transition economies rose 59% to $40 billion.” However, while, there has been a world-wide trend of contracting investment from Chinese outward investment, FDI and pre-investment visits have expanded in the past fiscal year in Ethiopia. Indeed, the actual figures for Chinese investment in Ethiopia doubled in 2017, in comparison with 2015.

The Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Tan Jian, told Xinhua media last week that recent suggestions downplaying China’s engagement in Ethiopia were contradicted by the reality on the ground. In the last 9 months alone, he said, 307 (29 major anchor and 278 small and medium) Chinese companies had visited Ethiopia. He said the number had been maintained despite recent problems in Ethiopia. Major Chinese firms viewed Ethiopia as an attractive investment destination and an important lynchpin in the growing ties between the African continent and China. The new One Belt One Road initiative was a cornerstone of this relationship. Ethiopia appreciates and welcomes this relationship and the invaluable support that China’s public and private sectors are providing its economy in terms of technology and knowledge transfer, job creation and the strengthening of its infrastructural network. Ethiopia can and does disregard mere speculation that aims to discredit the win-win relationship between the two countries.

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