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ETHIOPIA NEWS

A Week in the Horn 24.04.2020

News in Brief

IGAD Council of Ministers Discusses the Situation in South Sudan…

…and Pending Issues need to be solved for Sustainable Peace in South Sudan, FM Gedu Says

African Leaders Urge Private Sector to Partake in Continental Fight against COVID-19

AU Peace and Security Council Discusses Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in Africa

Africa and the African Union

A 71st extraordinary session of the IGAD Council of Ministers was held on Thursday (April 23) via video link to follow up on the progress of the implementation of the South Sudan peace agreement and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. (See article)

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday (April 22) participated in the virtual meeting of the African Union Extended Bureau of Heads of State convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Chair of the African Union for 2020, to discuss the role of the private sector in the AU-led continental fight against the COVID-19 scourge. The meeting brought together Heads of State and Government of DRC, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and members of the African Business Leaders Coalition. (See article)

Wellcome and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) on Tuesday (April 21) have awarded a grant of EUR 2.26 million to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to support the COVID-19 response by African Union Member States. The grant was awarded as part of the DFID/Wellcome Epidemic Preparedness for Coronavirus grant and it is to support the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak.

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union called on member States to further enhance their cross-border cooperation to deny terrorists and armed groups, criminal networks, and traffickers the opportunity to exploit the current COVID-19 situation to perpetuate their activities. The council related this in a communiqué issued following its virtual meeting held to discuss the impact of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on peace and security in Africa on April 14. (See article)

Ethiopia

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Gedu Andargachew stated that the peace process in South Sudan has reached an important milestone, and partners need to keep the momentum to achieve the desired result. The Minister made this remark in delivering a speech on an IGAD-led video conference held on Thursday (April 23) to consult the progress of the peace process in South Sudan. (See article)

Ethiopia has reported no new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday (April 23), the first time since it began issuing daily data last month. Out of the 965 samples taken over the past 24 hours, none of them have tested positive for the virus, said the Ministry of Health in a statement. The Ministry warned that “zero positive results among 965 tested individuals do not indicate the decline of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.” Ethiopia has so far reported 116 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, with three deaths and 21 recoveries.

Ambassador of China to Ethiopia, Tan Jian, on Thursday (April 23) handed over medical supplies donated by the Chinese Government to African nations. The COVID-19 preventive medical equipment was transported from Beijing to Addis Ababa by Ethiopian Airlines. The equipment distributed to 12 African countries includes infrared thermometers, gloves, masks, gowns, face shields, and coveralls, among others. Speaking at a handover ceremony held at the Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services, ambassador Tan said China will continue to support African countries that stood by its side during testing times.

UNICEF Ethiopia on Thursday (April 23) handed over medical supplies to the Ministry of Health to support Ethiopia’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic. Partially funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the medical equipment for health workers arrived in Ethiopia last week. The medical supplies include masks, surgical gowns, face shields, coveralls, and other medical equipment.

Ethiopian Airlines has completed the flight and delivery of the second round shipments of life-saving medical supplies donated by Jack Ma to all African countries to help them fight COVID-19. In a statement issued on Wednesday (April 22), Ethiopian expressed its complements and appreciation to the Jack Ma Foundation, Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, WFP and the African CDC for giving the airlines the opportunity to serve African brothers and sisters during this unprecedented global health and economic crisis.

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday (April 21) said 12 additional COVID 19 diagnostic laboratories have begun services during the weekend. This brings the total number of Coronavirus testing facilities in Ethiopia to 20. Five more laboratories will also go operational soon, said Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health. She said 11 of the laboratories are currently providing services in different regional towns and cities, while the other nine labs are located in Addis Ababa, including a lab owned by a private hospital.

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday (April 21) has held phone discussions with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The discussion focused on ways to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Dr. Abiy appreciated Japan’s fight against the virus and paid condolences to Japanese people who lost their lives battling with the virus.

The Chinese anti-pandemic medical expert team on Wednesday (April 22) has received a briefing on the situational update of COVID-19 response in Ethiopia. The 12-member team, dispatched by the government of China, arrived in Addis Ababa last Thursday, April 16, 2020. They are among the very first batch of anti-pandemic medical teams that China ever sends to Africa since the outbreak. During their two-week stay in the country, they will share experience and give advice on the prevention and control of COVID-19 with local hospitals and experts.

The National Task Force for Coronavirus (COVID 19) said close to 400 million birr has been raised till last Friday. Adanech Abiebie, Federal Attorney General and Coordinator of the Task Force told the media that the above-stated amount was contributed by 180 institutions to combat the COVID 19 pandemic. Among the fundraisers include 100 public institutions and 80 private organizations, she said.

The Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations said on Monday (April 20) that they will make a third donation of medical equipment to the African Union (AU) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to assist African nations in the fight against COVID-19. The medical supplies include 4.6m masks, 500,000 swabs, and test kits, 300 ventilators, 200,000 clothing sets, 200,000 face shields, 2,000 thermal guns, 100 body temperature scanners, and 500,000 pairs of gloves.

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) announced on Monday (April 20) that it will fly three times a week to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) to pick fresh produce destined for the European Markets. The arrangement is the result of a joint initiative by the Tanzania Horticulture Association (Taha) and the Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (Kadco), which manages the airport and one of the leading carriers in Africa.

Eritrea

Eritrean Ministry of Health on Thursday (April 2) announced that five COVID-19 patients have recovered fully after standard tests at the National Laboratory and were released from the hospital on the same day. This brings the total number of recovered patients to eleven. The total number of confirmed cases in the country to-date is 39.

Djibouti

With Djibouti’s health system under enormous strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, young migrants in the country are using 3D-printers to make face shields, and ease the shortfall inside medical facilities. The shields are being produced in a training space called a ‘fab lab’ (digital fabrication space) funded by IOM, the UN’s migration agency (IOM), which normally teaches digital fabrication skills and computer literacy to vulnerable youth. ‘Fab labs’, which use openly shared software and data, are gaining attention as a way to provide desperately needed equipment, as well as provide marketable skills to young people who do not have access to formal education.

Kenya

Kenya’s Mandera County began a 21-day lockdown on Wednesday (April 22) night at the direction of Interior Minister Fred Mating’i because more citizens are becoming infected with the Coronavirus. Kenya’s latest self-isolation measure bars road travel and flights in and out of the county. Additionally, Matiang’i said Kenya’s National Command Center on the Coronavirus Pandemic is reviewing the enforcement of public health measures in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties. The results are expected by Friday.

Somalia

The presidents of Turkey and Somalia discussed the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in a phone call on Wednesday (April 23). Turkey’s Directorate of Communications said Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo also exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional developments. Farmajo thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s generosity and support of Somalia’s fight against the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on Monday (April 20) it has enhanced its cooperation with Somalia to curb the spread of desert locust in the country. FAO said its collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation will help up local capacities, surveillance, and control operations to combat the desert locust upsurge even as the attention has been shifted to COVID-19. “Despite the current circumstances dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that we keep reinforcing our collaboration and continue the hard work to contain the desert locust upsurge, and to protect lives and livelihoods. Otherwise, we could end up in a serious food crisis by the end of the year,” Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia said in a statement.

South Sudan

South Sudan President has ordered to lower the national flag at half-staff for three days to mark the death of Mansour Khalid, a veteran Sudanese politician and a former member of the historical SPLM who died on late on Wednesday (April 22). Khalid died in Khartoum late on Wednesday night at the age of 89 years old. His death sparked an outpouring of tributes from across the political spectrum in both South Sudan and Sudan. The former foreign minister was one of the few northern Sudanese politicians that joined the SPLM under the leadership of the late John Garang.

The IGAD leading body held a videoconference meeting on Thursday (April 23) chaired by the Sudanese Foreign Minister to discuss the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement signed on 12 September 2018. In his briefing to the meeting, the head of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) Augostino Njoroge pointed to the delay in the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and the Council of States, and the lack of agreement between the parties on appointment of state governors.

South Sudan’s Defence Minister on Thursday (April 22) declined to appear before the lawmakers saying their term has ended and should be replaced by a new transitional parliament in line with the revitalized peace pact. Angeline had been summoned by the Transitional National Legislature Taskforce for COVID-19 to explain the army’s role in the country’s efforts to slow the spread of Coronavirus and prevent continuing cross-border movements from neighboring countries.

South Sudan’s Deputy Interior Minister Mabior Garang de Mabior on Sunday (April 19) fustigated media coverage of the defection of some SPLM/A-IO senior members describing it as “propaganda”. “What is being labeled as, “mass exodus from the SPLM/SPLA (IO)”, by the intellectual mercenaries of the traditional elite, is nothing more than sensationalism and propaganda,” said Mabior who is also the Chairman of the SPLM-IO national committee for information and public relations.

Sudan

The peace agreement to be signed between the Sudanese government and SPLM-N led by Malik Agar will include West Kordofan state, revealed Yasir Arman, the Movement’s chief negotiator. On Tuesday (April 21), the two parties held their second teleconference meeting to discuss issues of peace in the Two Areas particularly the wealth-sharing, security arrangements, and the situation of the West Kordofan in this agreement. The West Kordofan state was abolished and merged into South Kordofan State in 2005 as per the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), but it was re-established in April 2013.

The SPLM-N led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu voiced its support for the Sudanese government’s efforts to replace the military state governors with civilian governors and criticized the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF)’s opposition to the move. However, the alliance of the armed groups said the appointment of governors should be considered as part of the reshaping process of the Sudanese state after the signing of the peace agreement.

Armed groups have demanded to join the ongoing peace negotiations in Juba between the Sudanese government and the armed groups to end Darfur conflict. Recently, the head of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Minni Arko Minnawi welcomed the inclusion of groups not affiliated with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front in the negotiations for peace in Western Sudan. In separate letters addressed to the South Sudanese mediation, two factions of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Mansour Arbab now called “New JEM” and another faction of JEM led by Abdallah Banda requested to join the talks.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok decided, on Saturday (April 18), to postpone the appointment of state governors, which is supposed to be announced on the same day according to a timetable agreed by the transitional government partners. The country’s ruling partners – the Sovereign Council, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), and the government – last week endorsed a plan for carrying out several reforms including a timeframe. Among others, the state governors had to be appointed on April 18.

Sudanese government last week on Saturday (April 18) deplored that several mosques in Khartoum state ignored the risk of Coronavirus and held Friday prayer in spite of a ministerial decision banning it. Sudan has reported 32 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, including the death of five patients. All of the cases are in Khartoum state except one in the Nile River state. In line with the government efforts to contain the respiratory disease, the minister of religious affairs last week on Wednesday imposed a ban and called on worshippers to avoid mosques on Friday.

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IGAD Council of Ministers Discuss the Situation in South Sudan

A 71st extraordinary session of the IGAD Council of Ministers was held on Thursday (April 23) via video link to follow up on the progress of the implementation of the South Sudan peace agreement and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council opened the session listening to a statement delivered by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan, Ambassador Beatrice Khamisa Wani, and reports of IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais (PhD) and Interim Chair of The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Ambassador Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Augostino S.K. Njoroge on the Status of the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

The Council encouraged the implementation of outstanding Pre-Transitional Period tasks; such as responsibility-sharing at the State and Local Government levels, reconstitution of South Sudan’s Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and training and redeployment of necessary Unified Forces.

According to a communiqué issued on the meeting, the council expressed its concern with the impasse among the Parties in agreeing on responsibility-sharing at the State and Local Governments levels. Thus, “the council called on the Parties to immediately resume discussions and consultations and reach on an agreement within fifteen (15) days of the issuance of this Communique” (i.e., on May 08, 2020).  Regarding the reconstitution of the TNLA, the Council “urged the President of the Republic to dissolve the incumbent TNLA before 30th April 2020, and called upon the Parties to reconstitute the TNLA in accordance with the R-ARCSS within ten (10) days of the dissolution of the incumbent TNLA,” the communiqué issued related.

The council also deliberated on some of the challenges and disagreements related to the implementation of the R-ARCSS: Constitutional Amendment, Public Political appointments, Inter and intra-party divisions, and Non-observance of the 35% women representation requirement. Regarding the Constitutional Amendment, the Council “Commended the R-TGoNU for recognizing substantive alterations made to the Constitutional Amendment Bill, as submitted by the NCAC, and passed as Constitutional Amendment Act by the TNLA contravene the provisions of the R-ARCSS and appreciated the commitment made by the RTGoNU during the Council meeting to take remedial measures to rectify the alterations made to the Constitutional Amendment Bill.” In making public political appointments in the future, the Council Urged the President of the Republic to undertake the necessary consultations with concerned officials and organs in accordance with the R-ARCSS or TCSS 2011 (as amended). The Council also encouraged all Parties to ensure that the 35% women representation is respected and adhered to in future nominations to various public offices

The council endorsed the Rome Resolution on Monitoring and Verification of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 2017, between the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) with “a view to creating a conducive environment for an all-inclusive peace process in South Sudan.”

The Council also discussed the Economic impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the R-ARCSS. It echoed the call by the IGAD Heads of State and Government for Debt Cancellation for IGAD Member States to have sufficient resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Desert Locust invasion and appealed to the international community to support the fight against COVID-19 by channeling financial resources IGAD emergency fund for the control and prevention of pandemic diseases.

The meeting was attended by  Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Djibouti;  Gedu Andargachew, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;  Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya;  Ahmed Isse Awad, Minister for Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia;  Ambassador Beatrice Khamisa Wani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan; and  Sam Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda.

Also, in attendance were Workneh Gebeyehu Negewo (PhD), the Executive Secretary of IGAD;  Ambassador Dr. Ismail Wais, the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan;  Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya Special Envoy to South Sudan;  Ambassador Jamal El-Shiekh, Sudan Special Envoy to South Sudan; H.E Ambassador Hamza El-Amin, Sudan Ambassador to Djibouti and Chair of the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors; Abdulaziz Mohammed, Ethiopia Ambassador to Djibouti;  Ambassador John Mwangemi, Kenya Ambassador to Djibouti,  James Morgan, South Sudan Ambassador to Ethiopia;  Teferi Tadesse, Ethiopia Ambassador to South Sudan;  Ambassador Adil Ibrahim Mustafa, Sudan Ambassador to South Sudan;  Betty Bigombe, Senior Advisor to the President of Uganda on South Sudan;  Ambassador Lt. Gen. Augostino Njoroge, Interim Chair of RJMEC; and  Maj. Gen. Teshome Gemechu, Chair of CTSAMVM.

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Pending Issues need to be solved for Sustainable Peace in South Sudan, FM Gedu Says

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Gedu Andargachew stated that the peace process in South Sudan has reached an important milestone, and partners need to keep the momentum to achieve the desired result.

The Minister made this remark in delivering a speech on an IGAD-led video conference held on Thursday (April 23) to consult the progress of the peace process in South Sudan.

In his speech, Gedu appreciated the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity and the appointment of the Council of Ministers.

The Minister underscored the need to finalize pending tasks to create a whole new government across the nation.

He emphasized the need to create consensus on sharing responsibilities on states and local governments not only to carry out proper local administration but also to properly address the COVID-19 pandemic and the desert locust outbreak.

He urged the parties that did not submit their list of nominees for the reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) to do so in order to reconstitute the legislative arm of the government.

Mr. Gedu also expressed his hope that the South Sudan Government would enhance its commitment to financing the transitional security arrangement and post-conflict reconstruction efforts which should also be backed by partners.

Recognizing South Sudan’s long-awaited hope for peace, Minister Gedu urged parties to build trust among themselves and fulfill the aspirations of the public.

The Minister finally called on IGAD and other stakeholders to facilitate the necessary support for the prevention and preparedness against the COVID-19 and post-conflict reconstruction of South Sudan.

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African Leaders Urge Private Sector to Partake in Continental Fight against COVID-19

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday (April 22) participated in the virtual meeting of the African Union Extended Bureau of Heads of State convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Chair of the African Union for 2020, to discuss the role of the private sector in the AU-led continental fight against the COVID-19 scourge.

The meeting brought together Heads of State and Government of DRC, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and members of the African Business Leaders Coalition.

Prime Minister Abiy related on his Tweeter page the commendable commitment of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB_Group), African Export-Import Bank and other private stakeholders to contribute to Africa COVID-19 fund and the Africa Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC).

“Strengthening the Africa Center for Disease Control and enhancing our testing capacity as a continent is key,” Abiy added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated the Bureau’s previous calls to the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan to help them get all available resources in their fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. According to Ramaphosa, “the Bureau agreed on the need for G20 countries to provide a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including deferred payments and the immediate suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external public and private debt to create fiscal space for COVID-19 response measures.”

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, in Tweeting about the teleconference, said: ”The enthusiasm by the African private sector to partner in the Partnership to Accelerate COVID19 Testing Initiative (PACT) was encouraging as we discussed how they could harness their logistics, private laboratories, manufacturing capacity to support the continental strategy.”

The African Union will facilitate a platform for the African private sector to share experiences of how they have been able to adapt in these trying times of the COVID19 pandemic, the Chairperson added.

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AU Peace and Security Council Discusses Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in Africa

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union called on member States to further enhance their cross-border cooperation to deny terrorists and armed groups, criminal networks, and traffickers the opportunity to exploit the current COVID-19 situation to perpetuate their activities.

The council related this in a communiqué issued following its virtual meeting held to discuss the impact of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on peace and security in Africa on April 14.

Given the nature of the virus and its negative impact on AU peace and security activities, the council underscored the urgent need to mobilize and deploy all necessary efforts, within the spirit of international solidarity, in order to effectively mitigate, contain the spread and defeat COVID-19.

Further emphasizing the importance of solidarity among Africans, the Council called on member states to draw lessons learned from the recent successful fight against the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in parts of the Continent.

The Council also reiterated the call for all belligerents to fully embrace and uphold the Global Ceasefire in order to facilitate efforts being deployed against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council welcomed the establishment of the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund in order to mobilize the required financial resources for Africa’s fight against the pandemic.

The Council also appealed to the bilateral and international development partners, to consider debt cancellation and relief to those African countries with fragile economies.

The Council paid special tribute to Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed and Mr. Jack Ma, for their personal efforts and commitment in mobilizing material support for the fight against COVID-19 within the Continent.

The Council also commended the Ethiopian Airlines and the World Food Programme (WFP), for delivering donated medical equipment to all Member States.

The Council affirmed its unflinching support to the relentless efforts being deployed by WHO, particularly its Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in providing timely information, technical guidance, and material assistance towards efforts to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The Peace and Security Council also commended the Africa CDC, member states, and all private sector entities, partner countries, international institutions, and philanthropist organizations for mobilizing resources and taking swift measures to mitigate the impact of the virus.

A Week in the Horn 17.04.2020

News in Brief

UN Chooses Addis Ababa as one of the Departure Points for “Solidarity Flights” against COVID-19

IGAD to establish Regional Ministerial Taskforce in fighting COVID-19

Highlights of the 3rd Video Briefing about Measures taken by Government against COVID-19

Africa and the African Union

The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned the decision of US President Donald Trump to halt its funding of the World Health Organization (WHO). Trump announced on Tuesday (April 14) that the United States will immediately halt all funding for the UN health agency. The Chairperson called the decision “deeply regrettable” and said “today more than ever, the world depends on WHO’s leadership” in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. He said the WHO often helps fill the funding gaps in Africa’s weak healthcare infrastructure, paying for much-needed essentials in the sector.

Noting the multifaceted challenges that the COVID-19 poses on the wellbeing of Africans, the African Union (AU) Labour Migration Advisory Committee (LMAC) calls upon the AUC, RECs, member states, social partners’ organizations, and the international community to strategically consider and implement measures to mitigate businesses collapse, jobs, and income losses. In a statement issued on Tuesday (April 14) the AU further called on African governments in the post-COVID-19 era to carefully look at and renegotiate the different Labour Migration Agreements that they may have signed with the view of ensuring the enjoyment by migrant workers of adequate health and safety, social protection and portability, and other human and labor rights protections.

As part of the efforts to strengthen Africa’s response and preparedness in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Union Commission through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly designed a program to support on-going efforts in Africa. According to a statement issued by the AU on Monday (April 13), the joint program aims to coordinate COVID-19 response to recovery efforts along with the Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Faith-based Organizations (FBOs) to ensure coordinated cooperation and communication and to adopt a holistic approach.

A joint statement issued by the AU, WFP and WHO revealed that the first United Nations “Solidarity Flight” has left for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday (April 14). And from there, the aircraft will transport the vital medical cargo to all countries in Africa, where supplies are desperately needed to contain the spread of COVID-19, the statement added. (See article)

The Chairperson of the African Union, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Mr. Tidjane Thiam and Mr. Trevor Manuel as Special Envoys of the African Union to mobilize international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges African countries will face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a statement issued by the presidency of the Republic of South Africa and chairperson of the African Union on Sunday (April 12), the Special Envoys will be tasked with soliciting rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20, the European Union, and other international financial institutions.

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, on Thursday (April 09) held a video teleconference for the Finance Ministers of the Member States. According to a statement issued by the regional organization, the ministers considered the outlines of the collective IGAD Regional Response Strategy to the COVID-19 pandemic presented to them by the Secretariat and deliberated on the establishment of a Regional Ministerial Taskforce to coordinate the response. (See article)

Ethiopia

A Chinese emergency medical assistance team composed of 12 members arrived in Addis Ababa on Thursday (April 16). Minister of Health Dr. Lia Tadesse and State Minister Ambassador Redwan Hussien welcomed the delegation at Bole International Airport. The Chinese have carried a banner that reads, “Through solidarity, we will prevail.” Together with the Chinese medical team, tons of medical supplies donated by the Chinese government also arrived with a charter plane to assist Ethiopia’s efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The deployment of the Chinese medical team and the donation of medical supplies is symbolic of the longstanding Ethio-China friendship and solidarity. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) on Thursday (April 16) said it has been exerting efforts to manage the impact of Coronavirus through a fundamental shift to cargo services. The pandemic that severely affected the aviation industry has reduced Ethiopian passenger traffic by 30% incurring over $550 million loss in revenue. Ethiopian Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said various airlines around the world have been receiving huge financial stimulants as COVID-19 is sweeping the globe and devastating the aviation industry.

Ethiopia on Thursday (April 16) has registered seven more Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases out of the 401 samples tested on that day. This brought the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 92. All of the seven confirmed cases are Ethiopian nationals, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Prime Minister Office on Wednesday (April 15) presented a video briefing about the government’s actions taken thus far to contain and mitigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The briefing further clarifies the State of Emergency Regulation enacted recently and some of the tasks related to the Ministerial committee and sub-committees that were set up to overseeing the implementation of the State of Emergency. (See article)

The Hawassa industrial park has increased its face mask production capacity to 20,000 pieces per day. Garment and textile industries have moved to produce face masks to contribute their share to the national COVID 19 containment efforts, said Fitsum Ketema, manager of Hawassa Industrial Park on Wednesday (April 15). Accordingly, the park has uplifted its face mask production capacity to 20, 000 per day from 10,000 now, he stated. Fitsum also announced plans to increase daily production to 50,000 pieces.

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday (April 14) met with the COVID-19 Ministerial Committee to discuss development in the fight against the spread of the virus. “Updates from the COVID19 Ministerial Committee indicate good progress,” tweeted the Prime Minister. “I am pleased to hear that within Addis Ababa itself around 1,200 food banks have been set up for extreme eventualities,” he added. “Setting up multiple testing labs in regions is also on-going with the aim of increasing daily testing capacity.”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday (April 14) has provided 15 metric tons of aid to Ethiopia to assist efforts to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19). The assistance would enable medical staff in the country to safely perform their professional duties in combating the virus’ spread. Prime Minister thanked the UAE for supporting Ethiopia’s fight against the virus, which has so far infected 74 people and killed three other people.

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed co-authored an article on ‘FINANCIAL TIMES’ along with 17 African and European leaders of State and Governments calling for cooperation; emphasizing, in particular, Africa’s vulnerabilities that need to be addressed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In related news, the Premier also wrote a piece on ‘Bloomberg’ arguing for debt relief measurements to help Africa survive the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. In line with his call for financial support for Africa from the international community, in his recently published article on ‘FINANCIAL TIMES,’ the Premier reiterated: “Africa needs an immediate emergency fiscal stimulus worth $100 billion in addition to the International Monetary Fund’s already programmed $50 billion of regular support to tackle the crisis.” Noting that the ongoing crisis will not be short-lived, Abiy underscored the need to have additional support to Africa over the next two to three years from the International Community. He argued that without a vast restructuring of debt, all the continent’s recent gains will be wiped out.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on Monday (April 13) has met with heads of law enforcement agencies to discuss the implementation of state of emergency. In his opening remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed the need to adhere to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 guidelines. He said law enforcement bodies have great responsibilities for the implementation of the emergency decree.

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed on Monday (April 13) spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the phone about the COVID-19 response and regional issues. “Food security will be a key challenge for sub-Saharan Africa as the continent grapples with the economic impact of the virus,” tweeted the Premier, adding, “We discussed applying collective leadership to minimize adverse effects.” According to a statement issued by the U.S. State Department, Secretary Pompeo thanked Prime Minister Abiy and the Ethiopian Airlines for their continued support to provide flights to American citizens stranded overseas by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In related news, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed on Saturday (April 11) has held phone talks with Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO at Tesla, on COVID19 mitigation efforts in Africa. Tesla is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, California. The company specializes in manufacturing electric vehicles, giant batteries, solar panels, and solar roof tiles, among others. The Prime Minister tweeted that he had a good discussion with the South African born Musk.

Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Gedu Andargachew on Saturday (April 11) held a video teleconference with Ethiopian heads of missions in Europe. The virtual meeting deliberated upon ways to coordinate the missions’ efforts in gathering support from governments, non-governmental organizations and members of the Ethiopian Diaspora to the fight of the COVID-19 pandemic at home. Gedu briefed the Ambassadors and Heads of missions about some of the key measures the Government is undertaking to curb the spread and minimize the effects of the scourge. The minister also highly appreciated the Embassies and Ethiopians in the Diaspora for their commendable success registered so far in mobilizing resources to fight the pandemic in Ethiopia. Gedu had similar discussions with Ethiopian Heads of Missions in the Middle East and the Americas in the last couple of days.

Eritrea

Eritrean Ministry of Information on Tuesday (April 14) announced that one patient was diagnosed positive for COVID-19 in tests carried out for quarantined individuals on the same day. The patient is a 25-years old male national who returned home prior to the ban on Flights. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to-date to 35. All the patients are receiving the necessary medical treatment.

The desert locust invasion that appeared in Adi-keih sub-zone in the past three days was put under control through a coordinated effort by the Ministry of Agriculture, sub-zonal administration, the public, and other partners without inflicting any damage, the Eritrean Ministry of Information announced on Wednesday (April 15). 

Djibouti

Djibouti has announced 82.5% reductions in port tariffs for Ethiopia’s exports due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Port Djibouti currently accounts for more than 95% of Ethiopia’s imports and exports. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed appreciated the decision and extended gratitude to the President. “Profound gratitude to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti for recognizing a neighbor in need,” he said on Twitter. “With 82.5% reductions in port tariffs for exports at this critical time, the support is testimony to countering the effects of COVID19 through collective leadership,” he added.

 Kenya

To aid in the government’s aggressive track-test-and-isolate policy, Kenya has received nearly 40,000 testing kits as the country’s confirmed cases hit 225 after nine more people tested positive Wednesday. One more person also died, bringing to 10 the total number of fatalities, a 4.6 percent fatality rate. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the ministry had received a consignment from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. Kenyan authorities on Thursday (April 16) said Kenya has received “18,900 swabs and viral transport medium, 18,912 extraction kits, 3,790 medical disposable protective clothing, ventilation machines, and thermometer guns.

Somalia

Somalia has registered a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases after 35 People tested positive for the virus on Tuesday (April 14). “We hereby confirm 35 new cases of the novel Coronavirus, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 60,” the Federal Minister for Health, Dr. Fawzia Abikar Nur, told the media in the capital Mogadishu.

Somalia’s Ministry of Finance has announced tax exemptions on basic commodities in order to ease the cost of living for the vulnerable sectors of the society amid increasing economic hardships exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry announced 100 percent tax exemptions for rice and dates and 50 percent tax exemptions for wheat flour and cooking oil. The tax exemptions took place as of Wednesday (April 15) and are meant to cushion citizens against an increase in prices of consumer goods ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Somalia Prime Minister Hassan Khaire on Wednesday (April 15) ordered Treasury to release $1 million to all the regional states to help them fight the spread of Covid19. He said the move was part of a multi-pronged approach that the Federal Government of Somali had adopted to help fight the menace that has so far claimed two lives and infected 60 others. Mr. Khaire at the same time ordered the regional state governments and the state administration of Benadir to quickly set funds to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Khalif MuminTohow, the State Minister for Justice of Hirshabelle, has died in Mogadishu on Sunday (April 12). Officials from the Hirshabelle State, including its security minister, have confirmed the cause of Tohow’s death as Coronavirus. Tohow was transported to Mogadishu last week from his duty station in Jowhar town, the capital of Hirshabelle State, 90 km north of the Somali capital, following his illness.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) and Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira congratulated the Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF) as they mark 60 years since their establishment, a statement issued by AMISOM on Sunday (April 12) indicated. The SNAF was founded in 1960 under the command of the late General Daud Abdulle Hirsi. They were once among the largest and well-trained forces in Sub-Saharan Africa.

U.S Africa Command on Wednesday (April 15) issued a statement denying accusations that it has killed an innocent civilian during its precision airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on April 10,2020.  The mission said it is aware of two news affiliates alleging an innocent civilian was killed as a result of the command’s precision airstrike and these allegations are based on al-Shabaab propaganda and are false. The terrorist that was killed in the April 10 airstrike was an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six innocent Somalis, the statement added.

South Sudan

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) announced on Tuesday (April 14) that as of 9 April 2020, the total number of civilians seeking safety in six Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites located on UNMISS bases is 190,376. This includes118,385 in Bentiu, 27,928 in Malakal, 29,659 in Juba UN House, 1,921in Bor, and12,483 in the area adjacent to UNMISS in Wau.

Four people were killed by Misseriya gunmen on Monday (April 13) in the village of Mabok, located 17 miles south-east of Abyel town, according to a statement released by Kuol Alor Jok, the head of South Sudan’s Abyei Special Administrative Area. The “attack claimed the lives of four innocent citizens; two children are abducted; many houses were burned, and more than one hundred (100) Goats and citizens’ properties were also looted by the Misseriya.”

Traditional leadership of the NgokDinka and Misseriya failed to strike a deal on peaceful coexistence but reiterated their commitment to peace and security in Abyei. The United Nations’ Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) facilitated two meetings between the NgokDinka and Misseriya traditional leaders at Diffra on 16 March and 9 April to discuss ways to end intercommunal tensions and enable save corridors for their cattle to graze south to Bahr al-Arab or Kiir River basin. “While no written agreement was reached during the 9 April meeting, both sides reiterated their commitment to peace and agreed to meet again, in a wider format, once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted,” said UNISFA in a statement extended to media outlets on Sunday (April 12).

Sudan

A U.S. judge closed the case of the victims of USS Cole bombing against the Government of Sudan on Monday, nearly 20 years after the attack which killed 17 U.S. Navy sailors. On 3 April, the families of the victims and the Sudanese government filed a joint stipulation demanding to close the case as Khartoum paid them a $30 million compensation agreed in February 2020. Robert Doumar Senior US District Judge in Eastern Virginia signed an order close the case on Monday 13 April.

South Sudan’s mediation for peace in Sudan announced Tuesday that the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) resumed its participation in the peace talks and signed the one-month extension agreement. SLM-MM last Friday suspended its participation in the Juba process blaming the mediation for not consulting them and also criticized its allied groups for signing an agreement providing to extend the negotiations for one month until 9 May.

Khartoum, the most populated state in Sudan, will go into full lockdown on next Saturday after the registration of 10 confirmed cases of Coronavirus on Monday. The federal health ministry proposed the measure two weeks ago, fearing the spread of respiratory disease but the prime minister preferred at the time delaying the radical measure. However, the ten new cases announced on Monday (April 13) forced the government to review its position. One of the ten patients came from abroad while the remaining cases are infected by local transmission.

The World Food Programme will provide Sudan with 200,000 imported tones of wheat; the latter will pay in local currency. The deal was signed by Ibrahim al-Badawi Finance Minister and Hameed Nuru WFP Country Director in Sudan on Monday (April 13). According to the finance ministry with this deal, Sudan will save more than $50 million, an important amount of money for the impoverished country which faces an acute shortage of hard currency.

Sudan’s ruling partners agreed on Saturday (April 11) to appoint civilian governors and the legislative parliament before mid-May. The agreement was announced in a short statement read on the first anniversary of the ouster of the former president Omer al-Bashir and his Islamist regime. Also, the statement was read by the cabinet affairs minister Omer Monis in the presence of Siddiq Youssef as representative of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and Yasir al-Atta representing the military component.

The Troika countries have called on the armed groups refusing to negotiate peace in Sudan to reach an agreement with the transitional government paving the way for political stability in the country. Still, there are two groups in Sudan that refuse to hold talks with the government in Khartoum the first is the Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid al-Nur. The second is the SPLM-North of Abdel Aziz al-Hilu which accepted to join the Juba process but refuses to engage in direct talks before to include secularism and self-determination in the agenda of the talks. The United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Norway issued a joint statement on the occasion of on the one-year anniversary of the ouster of Omer al-Bashir and his regime on 11 April 2019. The Troika countries welcomed the progress of the peace negotiations in Juba and urged all the parties to agree on a comprehensive peace agreement.

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UN Chooses Addis Ababa as one of the Departure Points for “Solidarity Flights” against COVID-19

A joint statement issued by the AU, WFP and WHO revealed that the first United Nations “Solidarity Flight” has left for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday (April 14). And from there, the aircraft will transport the vital medical cargo to all countries in Africa, where supplies are desperately needed to contain the spread of COVID-19, the statement added.

According to the statement WHO cargo is being transported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and includes face shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks, medical aprons, and thermometers, as well as ventilators. The cargo also includes a large number of medical supplies donated by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Jack Ma Foundation Initiative to reverse COVID-19 in Africa. The African Union, through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is providing technical support and coordination for the distribution of the supplies, the statement added.

“Commercial flights are grounded and medical cargo is stuck. We can stop this virus in its tracks, but we’ve got to work together,” said David Beasley, WFP’s Executive Director. “Our air bridges need to be fully funded to do this, and we stand ready to transport frontline health and humanitarian workers as well as medical cargo,” he added.

“The Solidarity Flight is part of a larger effort to ship lifesaving medical supplies to 95 countries,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “I would like to thank the African Union, the governments of UAE and Ethiopia, the Jack Ma Foundation and all our partners for their solidarity with African countries at this critical moment in history.”

The crucial WHO cargo includes one million face masks, as well as personal protective equipment, which will be enough to protect health workers while treating more than 30 000 patients across the continent and laboratory supplies to support surveillance and detection.

“The African Union values the efforts of our partners – the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, the Jack Ma Foundation/Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – in supporting the African continental strategy for COVID-19 response. The medical supplies are much needed at this critical time that medical commodities are in short supply worldwide,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission. “The African Union will continue to provide the coordination needed as well as resources to ensure that our Member States are able to meet the need for healthcare services during this pandemic,” he added.

“We have seen time and again our health workers fall victim to infectious diseases as they work in hospitals and sometimes pass away,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “This is unacceptable. This personal protective equipment will help keep them safe. WHO is committed to protecting those on the front-lines of health care.”

According to the statement, WHO’s logistics hub in Dubai, staffed by a team of seven, has been working around the clock to dispatch over 130 shipments of PPE and laboratory supplies to 95 countries across all six WHO regions.

“Thanks to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for its generous support of this operation, WHO’s regional logistics hub in Dubai has played a key role in making sure these supplies are prepared and shipped to where they are most needed. This is by far the largest single shipment of supplies since the start of the pandemic, and will ensure that people living in countries with some of the weakest heaths systems are able to get the test and treated while ensuring that health workers on the frontlines are properly protected,” said Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

The statement further stated that the WFP and WHO extended thanks to the Government of Ethiopia, which helped WFP set up the Addis Ababa Humanitarian Air Hub this week, to help transport protective equipment, medical supplies, and humanitarian workers across Africa for the COVID-19 response, as well as ensuring medical evacuations for humanitarian responders.

According to the statement, a team of 25 WFP aviation and logistics staff is based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, managing the 24-hour operation. They manage warehouse space for dry bulk, temperature-controlled and cold storage cargo and its onward transport by air. WFP also provides dedicated cargo tracking, warehouse management and customer service to countries across Africa in collaboration with the Africa CDC.

“The medical supplies are timely as the continent still has a window of opportunity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Collective and fast actions as exemplified by the Solidarity Flight are therefore critical,” said John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC.

As part of a global appeal to raise a US$2 billion for the COVID-19 response, launched by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on 25 March, WFP is calling for US$350 million to establish vital humanitarian hubs around the world to facilitate the storage and dispatch of essential medical cargo, set up air transport links for cargo and personnel, contract charter vessels for shipping services, and provide passenger air and Medevac services for humanitarian and health workers. This includes such Solidary Flights through Addis Ababa.  Currently, WFP has received only 24% (US$84 million) of the US$350 million it requires to provide these vital common services to the global humanitarian community.

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IGAD to establish Regional Ministerial Taskforce in fighting COVID-19

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, on Thursday (April 09) held a video teleconference for the Finance Ministers of the Member States.

According to a statement issued by the regional organization, the ministers considered the outlines of the collective IGAD Regional Response Strategy to the COVID-19 pandemic presented to them by the Secretariat and deliberated on the establishment of a Regional Ministerial Taskforce to coordinate the response.

They also exchanged on mobilizing support domestically and from the International Community to respond to COVID-19 and minimize impacts on the economies. They looked into costing, budgeting and mobilizing the monetary resources required to underwrite the current needs of the region including debt relief and cancellation as well requesting access to financial assistance for all IGAD member states.

The Minister of Finance of Sudan and chair of the meeting, Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, expressed his will and that of his country to ensure that ‘the COVID-19 will not translate into a recession curve’ for the region and its people. He highlighted that the IGAD region ‘cannot afford to be complacent’ in the face of the current threat. He welcomed the initiative for a regional response in the context of promoting cooperation and ensuring that not only work is done at the country level but also on a regional basis to mitigate the potential fall-out and impact of the COVID-19 on the economies of the region.

‘If we do not act fast to arrest it and minimize its impact, the virus has the potential to mutate into a social and economic catastrophe’, Dr. Workneh said before putting forward a Draft Call for Action for deliberation and adoption.

The European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. JuttaUrpilainen, commended IGAD for holding meetings with Health and Finance Ministers of the member states. Urpilainen announced the setting-up of an EU financial package to include ‘immediate humanitarian assistance’ and ‘support for the strengthening of health systems and support the mitigation of the economic crises.

The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance of Sudan, Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, with in attendance the Ministers of Finance of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and the Minister of Finance of Uganda.

After discussions and deliberations, the Ministers agreed to the attached Call for Action.

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Highlights of the 3rd Video Briefing about Measures taken by Government against COVID-19

The Prime Minister Office on Wednesday (April 15) presented a video briefing about the government’s actions taken thus far to contain and mitigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The briefing further clarifies the State of Emergency Regulation enacted recently and some of the tasks related to the Ministerial committee and sub-committees that were set up to overseeing the implementation of the State of Emergency.

Since the April 8th enactment of the state of emergency Proclamation by the Council of Ministers and the subsequent endorsement of the proclamation by the House of people’s representatives, the detailed regulations have also been issued on April 11th.  In delivering the video message, Billine Seyoum said: “The State of Emergency Proclamation enacted is to counter and control the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impact and through the adoption of the regulation, it stipulates the specific details of which are the suspended rights and which are the measures to be taken. As a result, it prohibits up to 27 activities; it imposes up to 18 duties and it defines the establishment of a ministerial committee and their related powers and responsibilities in overseeing the State of Emergency. These prohibitions and impositions of duties are binding upon all Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians that are residing within the country and this also refers to diplomats.” The Deputy Prime Minister is the one who has been tasked with chairing the Ministerial Committee which, according to the briefing “is mandated to oversee the implementation of the State of Emergency Proclamation as well as the enforcement of the related regulations.”

As the briefing stated, the Ministerial Committee met with members of the federal law enforcement and security apparatus on Monday, April 13th to discuss the details of prohibitions and duties which they are mandated to enforce.  A similar discussion was also held on April 14th virtually with regional law enforcement and security apparatus as well. And as a result, the Ministerial Committee has enforced all regional and federal law enforcement agents to observe and enforce all regulations nation-wide, including through the commensurate use of force.

“It is to be noted that the regulation also indicates miscellaneous provisions which comprise the suspension of the Criminal Procedure Code and the criminal procedural provisions as well for the duration of the State of Emergency period,” the Billene said. “However,” she added, “federal and regional courts are obligated to set up dedicated benches in the interim to handle these cases of State of Emergency violations as they arise.”  It is also important to emphasize once again that the State of Emergency regulation is drawn with the purpose of countering and controlling the spread of COVID-19 and mitigating the humanitarian social economic and political damages that could be caused as a result of the spread of COVID-19 within Ethiopia, she added.

The briefing further stated that based on continuous assessments that would be undertaken on the severity of COVID-19 threats, the Ministerial Committee overseeing the State of Emergency will evaluate whether to further strengthen prohibitions and duties or to lift the duties and prohibitions that have been set already.

According to the briefing, the other COVID-19 prevention ministerial subcommittees have also continued undertaking various prevention and mitigation tasks that they have planned over the past few weeks.  “Part of this includes the identification of the symptomatic through house-to-house visits and also information sharing which has been started in various cities and this is also going to be expanded throughout the country.  However, we need to note here that the identification task of the symptomatic is not to be confused with testing,” the statement added.

The statement also reiterated that the number of laboratories performing testing has increased to a total of 8 nationally and additional sites with fulfilled equipment will be initiated in the coming 1 to 2 weeks. The Ministry of Health is also in its final preparations to increase the daily testing capacity of these sites which is also a critical component of the mitigation strategy that has been put in place. Similarly, contact tracing has also been expanded with more than 800 contacts of current COVID-19 positive patients that have been traced and isolated or quarantined, the statement added.

In describing the other tasks related to the subcommittees that have been set up as part of the ministerial taskforce, Billene said: “The ICT subcommittee has also been addressing disruption in learning communication and service provision that COVID-19 prevention measures have introduced.” She said: “The subcommittee has developed is in the process of developing four particular solutions: Firstly, national call centers have been set up to report or to enable the reporting of COVID-19 suspected cases. With regard to information sharing, a virtual information exchange and meetings platform has also been set up for federal entities to be able to convene online meetings as well as for federal and regional counterparts also to convene online, discuss and plan accordingly.  Secondly, a national digital payments platform is also one of the tasks that the ICT subcommittee has undertaken.  Thirdly, a government services platform at http://www.eservices.gov.et   through which 176 types of services have been identified to be delivered from 34 government institutions has been set up. So far, six institutions are already providing the services online with the remaining to come on board.  And lastly, an education platform for higher education has also been set up while the primary education curriculum is being delivered via radio throughout the country and secondary education curriculum is also being delivered via Television.”

According to the statement, In preparation for extreme eventualities that may arise as a cause of COVID 19 the national resource mobilization subcommittee has also continued its work to set up food banks and is accumulating the required resources.  In Addis Ababa alone around 1,200 food banks have been set up to stockpile the needed food supplies for vulnerable sections of the society, the statement added.

In concluding the briefing, Billene said: “I call upon all, including members of the international community, to strictly adhere to the measures that have been stipulated in the regulations as part of the State of Emergency.

News in Brief

Leaders of IGAD member States Vow to join hands to fight COVID-19

AU Calls for continental Coordinated Response to arrest the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Africa and the African Union

The Heads of State and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Monday (March 30) convened an Extraordinary Summit via Video Conference to deliberate on a regional IGAD strategy to combat the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) in the region. (See article)

President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Arica, in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union, convened a teleconference of the Bureau of the African Union Heads of State and Government, ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit video-teleconference last week on 26 March 2020. President Ramaphosa emphasized that a continental coordinated response was more important than ever before in order to arrest the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic. He noted that the development and spread of the COVID-19 have stretched public health systems beyond limits and caused an enormous global economic, social and humanitarian meltdown. (See article)

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Thursday (April 2) expresses condolences on the passing of former Prime Minister of Somalia, Nur Hassan Hussein “Nur Adde” in London as a result of COVID-19. The deceased was the prime minister of Somalia from November 2007 to February 2009.

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Buulo Fuulay in Somalia on Friday (Mar. 27). The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed two (2) terrorists, while no civilians were injured or killed, a press statement issued by AFRICOM indicates.

Ethiopia

The Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Gedu Andargachew on Thursday (April 2) held a phone conversation with Rasmus Prehn, the Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark about ongoing efforts exerted to ward off the spread of COVID-19. Gedu briefed the Danish Minister about the efforts undertaken by the Ethiopian Government in fighting the spread of COVID 19 so far in addition to the initiative taken to establish a joint front by IGAD member states to alleviate the dangers posed by the virus. Prehn confirmed his country’s commitment to joining hands with Ethiopia in the fight against COVID-19.

Gedu Andargachew, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and Ine Eriksen Soreide, Minister of foreign affairs of Norway held a phone discussion today (April 03) regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Gedu briefed the Norwegian Foreign Minister about Ethiopia’s measures taken to fight the COVID-19. Citing the recent virtual Summit of the IGAD member states convened to deliberate on a regional IGAD strategy to combat the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19), Gedu, underscored the need to take a joint approach to curtail the effects of the virus. Ine Eriksen Soreide thanked Gedu for the condolences he offered on the unfortunate loss of lives in Norway due to the virus. She noted the importance of cooperation at this critical time appreciating IGAD’s initiative and explained how the Nordic countries also are joining forces to fight the pandemic.

Ethiopia on Thursday (April 02) celebrated the 9th year of the start of construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with a panel discussion. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy said any external pressures and challenges from inside couldn’t deter the progress of the project. The dam will start holding 4.9 billion cubic meters of water next rainy season, the Minister said. Engineer Ashebir Balcha, Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) CEO, said the dam is progressing well and could start holding water next July. However, if plans to hold water is not achieved due to a variety of reasons, the country will lose up to €1 billion in just one year, he said.

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed today (April 03) has held phone talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on the challenges of coronavirus (COVID19). “This is key in responding to ensuing economic hurdles that Africa will be confronted with,” the Prime Minister tweeted. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has also held a phone conversation with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday (April 1) on the need for collective leadership to overcome the impact of coronavirus (COVID19) together.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy, confirmed that the Union is preparing for an important aid package for Africa in the health field. Borrell confirmed this pledge during a phone call he made on Monday (March 30) with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, after the IGAD group summit which was devoted to discuss how the African deal with the COVID-19 epidemic. “Our priority remains to help preserve health systems, national budgets, and regional coordination,” Borrell said in a tweet on social networking site (Twitter). The European Union fears that the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in Africa may deepen the continent’s problems, which will negatively affect the Europeans.

The Tulu Moye and Corbetti geothermal projects signed on Wednesday (April 01) new power purchase and implementation agreements with Ethiopia, worth a total of $1.2 billion of investment from both companies to generate 300 megawatts of electricity in Ethiopia using geothermal energy. Power Africa, a U.S. Government initiative, has been assisting the Government of Ethiopia and Ethiopia Electric Power since the start of the negotiation in 2013, providing continued legal, technical, project finance and capacity-building support to bring negotiations to a successful outcome.

Ethiopia and South Korea on Wednesday (April01) have signed two concessional loan agreements amounting to $93 million today. The loan would be used to finance the Addis Ababa Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and land information management system (LIMS). Of the total, $63 million will be channeled for the BRT project.

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday (April 01) said the country will begin filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) reservoir in the upcoming rainy season. He made the remark following the 9th year anniversary of the commencement of the dam. “We will start filling the dam in the next rainy season,” he said. Ethiopians give a special place for the project because it is a symbol of sovereignty and unity, the Prime Minister said, adding,

After conducting a detailed assessment of the impact COVID-19 would have on its operation, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) on Tuesday (March 31) decided to cancel the current electoral calendar and suspend elections operations of the coming national elections planned to be conducted in August 2020.

The Ministry of Health and Ethiopia Public Health Institute on Monday (March 30) unveiled a suite of new digital health tools that are built on top of DHIS2 to enhance surveillance, monitoring, and tracking of coronavirus cases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new systems were developed with support from USAID’s Digital Health Activity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Data Use Partnership, and the youth volunteer group to support the fight against COVID-19 across the country.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Saturday (March 28) held a video conference discussion with all regional chief administrators and mayors of the two administrative cities on COVID19 prevention activities. “All regions report preparedness with efforts underway to raise region-wide awareness on prevention protocols, with challenges experienced in maintaining social distancing particularly by religious institutions,” a statement from the Prime Minister Office indicated.

Eritrea

The Ministry of Health of Eritrea announced on Thursday (April 02) that four quarantined patients were diagnosed positive for COVID-19 during tests carried out on the same day. The announcement indicated that three of the patients are females adding, “All of them had returned home from abroad prior to the ban on Flights.” The total number of confirmed cases in the country to-date has now risen to 22.

Kenya

The death toll in Kenya from coronavirus jumped to 3 on Thursday (April 02) after 2 more people succumbed, the government said. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the total number of confirmed positive cases had also risen to 110 after 29 new confirmations were recorded. Kagwe has warned of a possibility of a further increase in the number of positive cases in the country.

Kenya Bureau of Standard on Thursday (April 03) has banned the importation of secondhand clothes and footwear in the country, a week after Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina predicted the ban. In a public notice, the Bureau’s Managing Director Bernard Njiraini announced that the ban is a safety measure undertaken by the authority to avoid the spread of COVID-19 that has put the world’s activities at a standstill.

Somalia

Somalia has declared three days for the national mourning of ex-Prime Minister Nur Adde, who died in a London hospital after contracting coronavirus (COVID-19). President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo decreed on Wednesday (April 01) for flags to fly at half-mast and allow the public to mourn the former official who served as the first transitional government prime minister.

Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has pardoned 148 prisoners on Thursday (April 02) as the country confirmed the 5th case of Coronavirus since last month. According to the office of the President, Villa Somalia the move is aimed at strengthening efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The Paris Club of creditor nations agreed on Tuesday to restructure Somalia’s debt, including immediately canceling $1.4 billion owed by the country. Three decades of conflict have left Somalia all but cut off from the global financial system and relief from its debt is expected to open the way for new sources of financing for the country. The decision cancels 67% of the debts owed to Paris Club creditors by Somalia. Somali Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh called the decision a big step forward for his country, which is also grappling with the coronavirus outbreak and a recent desert locust swarm.

South Sudan

Lam Akol, the leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) last week on Friday (March 27) said that he is considering the formation of a new political alliance in South Sudan. The announcement comes after the failure of his alliance with the South Sudan Opposition Alliance forces (SSOA) who worked to exclude the NDM from the position of the vice-president and four ministerial portfolios.

The United States has announced $8 million aid for each of Sudan and South Sudan in emergency health assistance, as part of its response to the global pandemic of coronavirus.”In addition to health assistance, humanitarian funding is being provided for South Sudan ($8 million), and Sudan ($8 million),” said the State Department in a statement issued on Friday 27 March. “This assistance will primarily provide health-related support and supplies to bolster water and sanitation activities”.

The revitalized peace implementation oversight body, RJMEC on Saturday (March 25) urged the South Sudanese parties to expedite the appointment of state governors and local governments. The power-sharing process at the level of state governors is stalled over a claim by SPLM-IG of President Kiir to be allocated six of the ten governors, while the other peace parties say it should take only five positions.

Sudan

The Sudanese government decided on Thursday 9April 02) to gradually put the whole country under lockdown saying the spread of the respiratory disease will determine the restrictive measures. Sudanese council of minister held an extra-ordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss the spread of the coronavirus in the country as the health ministry announced the eighth confirmed case of COVID-19.

South Sudan’s mediation announced the resumption of peace talks between the transitional government of Sudan and the armed groups, adding it would be indirect due to the coronavirus pandemic. The negotiations had been postponed for a week following the sudden death on 25 February of Sudan defense minister Jamal Omer who was also the head of the government negotiating team for security arrangements. In a statement released in Juba, the chief mediator Tut Kew Gatluak said it was agreed with the Sudanese to resume discussions on Thursday (April 02).

A Sudanese official said that South Sudan is committed to the financial compensations of the 2012 oil deal between the two countries despite the huge drop in global crude oil prices. Hamid Suleiman, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mining on Wednesday (April 01) told the media that the agreement was not affected by the drop in global oil prices to about $ 30 a barrel.”The agreement is proceeding normally,” he said.

The Sudanese Minister of Health expected the spread of Coronavirus in the country after the detection of seven confirmed cases coming from outside the country so far. “From the seven cases, we fear and expect that the spread of the disease will start inside the country,” said Akram Eltom on (April 02) in a daily press briefing about the respiratory disease.

The Security Council on Monday (March 30) decided to not reduce the current number of troops and police of the African Union-United Nations Mission Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) until 31 May. “(…)UNAMID) shall maintain its current troop and police ceilings until 31 May 2020, and further decides that during this period UNAMID shall maintain all team sites for mandate implementation,” read the decision which was adopted through a written procedure due to the impact of coronavirus.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM-N/A) led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu has extended a unilateral cessation of hostilities for three months. In a statement released on Tuesday (March 31), al-Hilu said they decided the 3-month extension to show their “goodwill towards a peaceful resolution of the Sudanese conflict, and in order to give the ongoing peace talks an opportunity for success.”

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok would visit Egypt and Ethiopia in the upcoming days to urge the resumption of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), his office said on Monday (March 30). Hamdok’s office announced a call with the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday to discuss the stalled talks despite a series of meetings Washington hosted to break the deadlock. “Hamdok informed (Mnuchin) of his intention to visit Cairo and Addis Ababa in the near future to recommend the two parties to resume negotiations on the Renaissance Dam and complete the remaining outstanding issues,” reads a statement released after the telephone call.

*****************

Leaders of IGAD member States Vow to join hands to fight COVID-19

The Heads of State and Government of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) convened via video-conference at the Extraordinary Summit on coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) pandemic on Monday (March 01). The leaders expressed their concern by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which constitutes an unprecedented global health crisis affecting a large part of the world and emphasised the need for coordinated global and regional leadership and approach to respond to health and economic implications of the COVID- 19 pandemic.

In the Summit, the leaders also took note of the increasing levels of coronavirus infections in IGAD member states and the looming threat of a health crisis in the region and expressed their concern by the unsustainable and potentially counterproductive uncoordinated global responses and unconnected country-specific measures to combat the COVID 19 pandemic. They underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive multi-sectoral, multi-agency strategy that addresses the impact of COVID-19 on all sectors especially health and the economy.

Taking all their concerns into account, the leaders have laid out plans to carry out through their own joint efforts and put forward their needs to be supported by the International community. The leaders resolved, among others, to “formulate a comprehensive regional response strategy and task the IGAD secretariat to develop an accompanying implementation plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the IGAD region that also incorporates the protection of populations and special groups that face difficulties accessing the national health systems such as IDPs, refugees, and migrants.” They also decided to establish an IGAD emergency fund for the control and prevention of pandemic diseases and adopt a coordinated approach to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in IGAD member states. They haver also agreed to further capacitate the regional disease surveillance, early warning, and response system of IGAD. The summit also resolved to hold an emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health and Finance in IGAD to analyze needs and costs related to the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The leaders also underscored the need to mobilize medical professionals and support from the IGAD community in the diaspora to join the fight against the pandemic in the region.

On their call for support from the International Community to IGAD, the leaders urged the international community to adopt a globally coordinated and coherent approach to tackle this public health crisis and to sufficiently empower and resource the World Health Organization to co-ordinate global responses to all pandemics including COVID-19 and directly assist governments in the IGAD Member States. They also “Request the International Financial Institutions, bilateral, regional and international partners especially WB, IMF, AfDB, to rapidly implement debt relief and cancellation and provide access to financial assistance, concessionary loans and essential support to the IGAD Member States and the Secretariat to effectively combat the Coronavirus.” They entreated the international community to support the IGAD regional emergency fund for the control of pandemic diseases and the strengthening of health systems in the region. The summit also appealed to the international financial institutions to urgently extend monetary and fiscal support, in addition to exercising flexibility for IGAD Member States to access finances needed to respond to the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Extending their request to international financial institutions, the IGAD member countries leader’s pointed out the need to support the distressed private sector in the IGAD region. The leaders indicated that international financial institutions can give attention, in particular, to build local manufacturing capacity for essential medical equipment and supplies to fight the outbreak of pandemic diseases such as COVID-19.

The summit appreciated the efforts and initiative of the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, chair of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of Government to mobilize support from the international community to combat COVID-19 in the IGAD region. The leaders also appreciated and expressed their support to the efforts of the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed Ali in galvanizing the international community towards formulating a global strategy to tackle the human and economic cost of the coronavirus scourge. They welcomed the intervention of the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia H.E. Abiy Ahmed Ali to mobilize international support for the IGAD region and the generous donation of medical supplies, laboratory testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) from the founder and director of the of the Alibaba Group to African Countries including the IGAD Member States.

The summit also acknowledged the central role and the proactive support of the African Union and its Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) through the capacitation of healthcare providers and emergency response teams, as well as the provision of medical supplies including testing kits. The summit also acknowledged the extraordinary sacrifices made by health care delivery workers across the world and in the IGAD region to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and appreciated the swift action taken by all the IGAD Heads of State and Government to contain and combat the spread of the Coronavirus.

Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of Sudan and the Chair of IGAD, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed President of Somalia, Riek Machar, First Vice President of South Sudan, representing Salva Kiir Mayardit President of South Sudan, and took part in the virtual summit organized by the IGAD Secretariat in Djibouti.

*****************

AU Calls for continental Coordinated Response to arrest the rapid spread of the  COVID-19 Pandemic

President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Arica, in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union, convened a teleconference of the Bureau of the African Union Heads of State and Government, ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit video-teleconference on 26 March 2020. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Director of the Africa Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Dr. John Nkengasong, participated in the teleconference.

In his opening remarks, President Ramaphosa emphasized that a continental coordinated response was more important than ever before in order to arrest the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic. He noted that the development and spread of the COVID-19 have stretched public health systems beyond limits and caused an enormous global economic, social and humanitarian meltdown.

President Ramaphosa underscored the fact that poverty, poor sanitation, an existing disease burden, overstretched health systems, and extreme urban population density mean that the pandemic could explode in an even more catastrophic way than has been seen thus far in Africa. This necessitates the need for urgent action in order to stem the tide. President Ramaphosa emphasized that the AU, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and all health institutions should direct their efforts at stopping the spread of the virus.

The Bureau received a briefing from Dr. John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), who stated that the rapid spread of the COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health disaster. Dr. Nkengasong stated that the coronavirus has been spreading rapidly across the world, affecting 175 countries, with 470 000 confirmed cases and claiming more than 21,000 lives. He noted that 46 African countries have reported a combined total of 2,746 infections, 72 deaths, and 210 recoveries. He warned that the pandemic could explode in poor countries in an even more catastrophic way than has been seen elsewhere thus far.

The Bureau expressed grave concern about the rising local infections, in the context of densely populated human settlements on the African continent. Consequently, the Bureau underscored the importance of coordination across the continent and the necessity to exchange credible and real-time information about the spread of the virus. The Bureau agreed to establish a continental anti-COVID-19 Fund to which member states of the Bureau agreed to immediately contribute US $12, 5 million as seed funding. African Union Member States, the international community and philanthropic entities are urged to contribute to this fund.

The Bureau noted the critical role of the Africa CDC and its under-funding. In this regard Member States of the Bureau agreed to contribute an amount of $4.5 million towards boosting the capacity of the Africa CDC. The Bureau expressed concern about the possible shortages of medicines and vaccines as factories close or countries retain supplies for their own consumption. In this regard, the Bureau underscored the vital importance of coordinating efforts to increase global production and improve the availability of medical products and equipment.

Given the limited health infrastructure in Africa and the reality that most of the pharmaceuticals and medical supplies consumed on the continent are imported, the Bureau called on the international community to encourage open trade corridors, especially for pharmaceuticals and other health supplies. The Bureau urged the G20 to immediately provide African countries with medical equipment, testing kits, protective gear to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Bureau urged G20 countries to provide an effective economic stimulus package that includes relief and deferred payments. In this regard, the Bureau called for the waiver of all interest payments on bilateral and multilateral debt, and the possible extension of the waiver to the medium term, in order to provide immediate fiscal space and liquidity to governments.

The Bureau also urges the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and other regional institutions to use all the instruments available in their arsenal to help mitigate against the scourge and provide relief to vital sectors of African economies and communities.

The Bureau expressed support and appreciation for endeavors of the Committee of African Health Ministers and paid tribute to the courageous efforts of all medical and health care officials on the continent engaged in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau also urges all citizens of Africa to abide by national measures implemented to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Member States of the Bureau of the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government expressed their deepest appreciation to the Chairperson of the Bureau, President Cyril Ramaphosa for his timely convening of the meeting in order to develop a coordinated African response to curb and reverse the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Africa.

The Bureau of the African Union Heads of State and Government is chaired by President Ramaphosa and consists of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of the Republic of Mali, President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The novel coronavirus outbreak engulfing the world is finally afoot in Africa. The health, human and economic toll will be vast for our continent's 1.3 billion inhabitants. The damage will not stop at our shores. The global connections between populations and economies mean that our suffering will reverberate through the rest of the world — and back again.

We must collectively do all we can to minimize its impacts on the continent. We can start by exploring immediate debt relief for all of Africa.

 

Africa needs an immediate emergency fiscal stimulus worth $100 billion in addition to the International Monetary Fund’s already programmed $50 billion of regular support to tackle the crisis. The crisis will not be short-lived: Additional support over the next two to three years is required.

The continent’s debt-service payments to bilateral creditors in 2020 amount to about $14 billion. Africa welcomes all debt-alleviation initiatives coming from multilateral financial institutions, notably the World Bank and IMF. 

An agreement must be sealed quickly within the international finance community, and should cover all lender countries — including creditors who aren’t Paris Club members. There is precedent for these measures: For example, Paris Club creditors granted a full debt rescheduling to Asian countries affected by the December 2004 tsunami in a coordinated manner.

More will be needed, however. Africa's emerging corporate sector is at risk, and we must preserve and protect it. We need to deal with commercial sovereign and corporate debt. The IMF, G20 and the European Union should heed the African finance ministers’ call to create a special-purpose vehicle to help their nations deal with those debt obligations. Saving Africa's corporate sector is of mutual benefit; it saves jobs on both sides and ensures a global recovery.

In Ethiopia, we have made great progress in the last few years, halving the poverty rate in a decade, almost doubling incomes, and restoring peace and stability. This crisis could erase all these hard-earned gains. Our Homegrown Economic Reform Plan, released last year, anticipated a 10% increase in exports and a 32% increase in remittances, all supporting a 40% increase in our reserves, creating a more resilient economy by 2030. Our targets are now in tatters.

Ethiopia’s flagship airline is at risk, too  — it is nearly impossible to meet its obligations operating at 15% capacity. The same holds for the other 10 largest airline companies in Africa.

The international community should take the lead in creating mechanisms by which sovereign issuers suspend contractual market debt service. New approaches are needed that allow for the flexibility and sustainability of African economies. The most urgent requirement is to suspend debt payments with the plurality of creditors.

No country will come out unscathed in this pandemic. However, there are real, life-saving measures that the world can take to help Africa and, in turn, its populations. We are optimistic about our long-term future, and realize we must take action. Now.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Abiy Ahmed at

The owners of an Ethiopian restaurant on International Avenue in southeast Calgary have seen their share of hardship.

War, famine, poverty – families broken apart by strife.

While they’re struggling to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, like many Calgary small businesses, they’re finding ways to give back to Calgarians suffering from a lack of support.

In February 2019, Selam Gutema and Anwar Sultan opened Yegna, an Ethiopian restaurant located in the community of Forest Lawn on 17 Avenue SE.They’re just getting started as business owners, but helping the community isn’t new to them.“Before we opened the restaurant, our motivation was to keep everyone in the community happy,” Gutema said.

Giving back to the community

Since March 23, the restaurant has donated more than 150 meals to families in need after they put the message out on their Facebook page. It received a very positive response.“When cases of coronavirus started to appear in the city, we didn’t have any business, but that’s what we decided to do,” Gutema said.In the years since they arrived in Calgary from Ethiopia, both have helped many families, especially those who are in poverty or may have limited resources.“When this [situation around coronavirus] happened, it was natural for us to respond because we heard that some families were struggling tremendously,” Sultan said, noting that there were seniors and others that were sick and had no support system.

“When we heard about that, we thought we could make a difference and we’re giving back to our community because they have supported us when times were good for our business.”

Sultan said some families have received large meals due to the number of people that live in a single household. Many were in quarantine and they couldn’t go out to get food.

“It was very sad to hear some of them crying over the phone, but it was just natural for us to respond to these kinds of calls,” he said.

Coronavirus has impacted business

Sales at the restaurant have suffered due to restrictions on seating capacity introduced by the provincial government.“We closed for a couple of days after the government announced measures,” Sultan said.“We’re only doing takeout, but it’s not doing very well.”As for their employees, all of them are at home, which leaves Gutema and Sultan as the only people to run the restaurant.“Sometimes, we get one worker to help us prepare food and we have volunteers who come and deliver food to people for us,” Sultan said.Both understand the risks of delivering food at this time, but they’ve taken many precautions at every step.

Paying out of their own pockets to say afloat

With the struggling Alberta economy, Gutema said that the restaurant has been facing tough times for the past few months.“We’ve been having a little bit of trouble and we actually had to finance the restaurant from our own pockets for the past few months because business during the winter wasn’t good,” she said.Both owners had hoped that the upcoming summer season would help turn things around and help them recover, but it may not happen due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.“This not only really hurts us, but everyone who owns a business,” Gutema said.

‘We’ll keep trying for as long as we can’

Months before the coronavirus arrived in the city, Sultan said the restaurant was very busy during the summer and fall.“Business slowed down during the winter, but we still maintained a diverse group of customers and we were hoping that we could revitalize the restaurant in the summer, which would’ve been great,” he said.

Fast forward to today and those plans have changed.“It’s completely dry now,” Sultan said.“We can’t accept any dine-in customers and takeout meals are very slow right now.”He said that the current focus is on making deliveries and donations to those in the community for as long as possible.“We know that we can’t go on for a while because resources are becoming scarce, but we’ll keep trying for as long as we can.”Gutema said that everything from the way food has been prepared to being consumed has been affected by the coronavirus.“We have to keep it as authentic as possible, from how we make our food, how we serve it, to how we eat together – just like in Ethiopia,” she said.“None of that can be happening right now.”

Owners expect the government to eventually shut down all restaurants

As governments across Canada and around the world announce measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, have completely closed to keep their staff and customers safe.Sultan expects to see the restaurant temporarily ordered closed by the government in the near future.“We know that some lounges have completely closed in Calgary. So if the virus continues to affect many people, I think the government may be forced to close restaurants in the best interest of the public, even if it directly affects us,” he said.“Everyone is in the same boat when it comes down to this, but we’re afraid that it’s going to negatively impact greatly and it impacted all of us.”

We’ve ‘seen hardship from time to time’

The current coronavirus pandemic is one of many hardships that both owners have faced throughout their lives.“We grew up and Ethiopia and have seen hardship from time to time,” Sultan said.“I can’t say this is easy at all, but we have seen so many problems from wars, family breakdowns, and poverty on a bigger scale.”Sultan said they are humbled to see the support they’ve received in Canada and they believe that they will get through this.“We need to be thinking and standing up for each other so we’ll be stronger on the other side and we must keep our faith and stay united — that’s the only thing that can help us move forward,” he said.Sultan is grateful to hear that the African continent hasn’t been as greatly affected by the coronavirus while they continue to think about people living in European countries like Italy and Spain, which are dealing with the brunt of the pandemic.

‘Everything has been turned upside down’

Gutema said that the little things we take for granted, like giving hugs or a handshake, are now a big deal these days.

“Nothing is guaranteed in this world. That’s what I’ve learned,” she said.“I will cherish any moment that could happen to myself, Anwar, or the business.”Within the past two weeks, Gutema said everything has been turned upside down.“We’re struggling financially, but we have to be here for each other to provide emotional support, especially at this time,” Gutema said.“But if we get through this, we’re not going to take anything for granted.”

Interview


Notice and event announcement

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
መልካም የኢሬቻ በዓል!
Baga Irreecha Nagaan Geessan/Geenye!

 

 

 

Happy International Coffee Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ለመላው የክርስትና እምነት ተከታይ ኢትዮጵያዊያን እና ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያዊያን እንኳን ለመስቀል በዓል አደረሳችሁ።

 

 

The GERD Virtual FundraisingCampaign for 5 consecutive days

from August 15-19, 2020 by Ethiopians living in #Canada.

Coming together to make history and Leave our Marks.
 
 
 

በከናዳ ለምትገኙ ኢትዮጵያዊያንና ትውልደ-ኢትዮጵያዊን በሙሉ፣
=============================
ሚሲዮናችን “#አሻራዬን_አኖራለሁ!” በሚል መሪ ቃል ለታላቁ የኢትዮጵያ ህዳሴ ግድብ

እ.ኤ.አ ከኦገስት 15-19 ቀን 2020 ዓ.ም ለተከታታይ 5 ቀናት የሚቆይ

Virtual የገቢ ማሰባሰቢያ ፕሮግራም ለማካሄድ እንቅስቃሴ እየተደረገ ይገኛል::

በመሆኑም ገቢ ለማሰባሰብ የሚካሄደውን የonline Zoom ኮንፈረንስ እንድትሳተፉ እና

hidase@ethioembassycanada.org በተከፈተ የአደራ አካውንት በe-tranfer በኩል እንዲሁም

በBank of Montreal አካውንት ቁጥር፡- 0005-1150-308፣

Transit number፡- 00056፣ Bank Code፡- 001

ድጋፍ በማድረግ የበኩላችሁን እንድታደርጉ አገራዊ ጥሪያችንን በትህትና እናቀርባለን!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

በካናዳ፣ በኢትዮጵያ እንዲሁም በአለም ዙሪያ ለምትገኙ የእስልምና እምነት ተከታይ ኢትዮጵያዊያንና

ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያዊያን በሙሉ አንኳን ለ1441 ዓመተ-ሂጅራ የኢድ አል አዳሃ በዓል በሠላም አደረሳችሁ።

 

 

 

እንኳን ደስ አላችሁ ውድ የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች:-

ግድቡ የመጀመሪያ ሙሌት ተጠናቆ ወደ ቀጣይ ምዕራፍ መሻገራችንንን በታላቅ ደስታ በድጋሚ እያበሰርን በቀጣይ

በፍጥነት የሚጠበቁትን ስራዎች በማጠናቀቅ ከዳር ማድረስ ያስፈልጋል፡፡

ለቀሪው ስራ የናንተ ድጋፍ ወሳኝ በመሆኑ በኤምባሲው በተከፈተው የአደራ አካውንት

እንዲሁም በኢትዮጵያም በተከፈቱት የባንኩ ቁጥሮች በመለገስ ድጋፋችሁን፤ አለኝታችሁን እንድትገልጹና

ታሪካዊ የሆነውን አሻራ እንድታኖሩ ጥሪ እናቀርባለን፡፡

የቦንድ ግዢን በሚመለከት በኤምባሲው የማንሸጥ ሲሆን አገር ቤት በህጋዊ ተወካያችሁ በኩል ማስፈጸም ይቻላል፡፡

ኤምባሲውም በሚያስፈልገው መልኩ ለመርዳት ዝግጁነቱን እየገለጸ ወደ ኤምባሲው በመደወል እና

በቀጣይ የምናወጣቸውን መረጃዎች ድህረ- ገጻችንን  እና በፌስ ቡክ ገጻችን 

ስለምንለጥፍ እንዲከታተሉ እናሳውቃለን፡፡

በጋራ እጃችን ተባብረን እንጨርሳለን!
አባይ የኛው ሲሳይ!

 
 

Congratulations Ethiopians!!!
Please use the following Accounts to donate to finalize the construction of #Dam.

We have set up a trust account and email transfer to save you of the hassle.
In addition, accounts were set up in #Ethiopia in different money exchanges,

which we have stated below.

NB. We did not attach information for bond sale as we do not sell at the Embassy.

However, should you would like to buy,

we will provide the important information.

You can call the Embassy or

visit our website and facebook pages for Power of Attorney requirements.
lets make history!
our dam our destiny!
Ethiopian Nile Rights!

Trust Account Set up by the Embassy:-
Bank Account No. 0005-1150-308
Transit No. 00056
Bank Code 001
Bank Name Bank of Montreal(BMO)
Email Transfer :-
Hidase@Ethioembassycanada.org

or

Bank Account Numbers set up in Ethiopia for Dollar and Birr Donations
Dollar Exchange 1000001071077
Birr 1000291929609

 

 

'እንኳን ደስ አለን፤ሐምሌ 12/2012 ዓም ከምሽቱ 4 ሰዓት ላይ የህዳሴ ግድብ የመጀመሪያ አመት ሙሊት ተሳክቷል:

ውሃው የሚያስፈልገውን 4.9ቢ.ኪዩቢክ ሜትር በመያዝ ከግድቡ አናት ላይ ፈሷል ይህም የተሳካው ወደታችኛው

ተፋሰስ የሚሄደው ውሃ ሳይቋረጥ ነው፡፡'

ክቡር የውሃ፣ መስኖ እና ኢነርጂ ሚኒስቴር ኢንጂ. ስለሺ በቀለ Via twitter

እንኳን ደስ አላችሁ! እንኳን ደስ አለን!

 

 

 

 

 

Good News!!!


In response to your requests, we have set up the seamless money transfer platform

to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Trust account.


Please use the email transfer at:- 

Hidase@ethioembassycanada.org

to contribute and Make History.

 

 

በቅዳሜ፣ ጁላይ 18 ቀን 2020 በ10:00 a.m. (በኦታዋ፣ ካናዳ አቆጣጠር) የሚካሄደውን ውይይት

ከታች በተቀመጡት የዙም ማስፈንጠሪያ፣ የዌብናር መለያ እና ማለፊያ ቁጥር ይመልከቱ።

Please see below the Zoom link, Webinar ID and Password to join

the conference held to take place on Jul 18, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: LIVE Conference on the State of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83763340067…
Password: #ItsMyDam#

Or iPhone one-tap :
Canada: +14388097799,,83763340067

#,,,,

0#,,0863765778# or +15873281099,,83763340067

#,,,,

0#,,0863765778#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial

a number based on your current location):
Canada: +1 438 809 7799 or

+1 587 328 1099or +1 647 374 4685 or

+1 647 558 0588 or +1 778 907 2071 or

+1 204 272 7920
US: +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or

+1 346 248 7799 or

+1 669 900 6833 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 253 215 8782
Webinar ID: 837 6334 0067
Password: 0863765778
International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcETnb16q

 

REMINDER!!!

Do not miss out on the Virtual dialogue on the current issues with regard to the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Held to take place on Saturday, July 18th, 2020 @ 10:00 a.m.(Eastern time).

 

We will be joined by H.E Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew and Technical Teams from Ethiopia.

 

ጠቃሚ መረጃ ካናዳ ለምትገኙ ኢትዮጵያዊያን!
መጪው ቅዳሜ እ.ኤ.አ ጁላይ 18 ቀን 2020 ዓ.ም በኦታዋ ሰዓት አቆጣጠር ከ10 am ጀምሮ ታላቁ የኢትዮጵያ ህዳሴ ግድብ በሚመለከት የሚካሄደውን ውይይት እንድትከታተሉ እንጋብዛለን።

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is Her Dam!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Today marks the beginning of the global virtual campaign to support the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

 

We urge all Ethiopians and friends of #Ethiopia to join hands with the Campaign and to be Ambassadors of the #GERD by using the hashtags #ItsMyDam #እኔምለአባይአለሁ across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 

Post about the Dam, share all campaign content, and comment on GERD-related news. Let us spread the good news of the #RenaissanceDam.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

በካናዳ ለምትገኙ ኢትዮጵያውያንና ትዉልደ ኢትዮጵያውያን ኮሚዩኒቲ ማህበራት በሙ:-

በወቅታዊ የታላቁ የኢትዮጵያ ህዳሴ ግድብ ግንባታ ዙሪያ webinar (Zoom Meeting) ለመወያየት ... ለቅዳሜ ጁላይ 4/2020 ጥሪ ማስተላለፋችን ይታወቃል:: ሆኖም ስብሰባዉ ለሌላ ቀን በመተላለፉ ተለዋጭ ቀኑን በቅርብ የምናሳዉቃችሁ መሆኑን ከይቅርታ ጋር እንገልጻለን::

የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ

ኦታዋ

 

I am here for Abay!  I am here for GERD!

I stand for Equitable use of the Nile Waters!

Please join the GERD Worldwide Virtual Campain from July 02-05,2020.

 

 

 

Happy Canada Day!

 

በካናዳ ለምትገኙ ኢትዮጵያውያን እና ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያውያን በሙሉ

-------------------------------------------

የታላቁ የኢትዮጵያ ህዳሴ ግድብ ግንባታን በማስመለከት በኢትዮጵያ ጉዳዩን የሚከታተሉ ከፍተኛ ባለሞያዎች፣ ኤምባሲው እና በካናዳ የሚገኙ ባለሞያዎች(Alliance for GERD in Canada) በመተባበር ግድቡ አሁን ያለበትን ሁኔታ፣ ከግድቡ ሙሌት እና አስተዳደር፣ ወቅታዊ ሁኔታዎች ላይ እንዲሁም ከተሳታፊዎች በሚነሱ ጥያቄዎች ላይ በwebinar(Zoom Meeting) በማድረግ ውይይት ለማድረግ በዝግጅት ላይ እንገኛለን።

የውይይት መድረኩ በቅዳሜ እ.ኤ.አ. ከጁላይ 4/2020 በ10:00 a.m. Ottawa time (Eastern time) ለማድረግ የታቀደ ሲሆን የ Zoom ID እና Password ከስብሰባው በፊት እንደምናሳዉቅ እየገለጽን በዚህ ታሪካዊ መድረክ እንዲገኙ በአክብሮት ተጋበዛችዃል።

 

To all Ethiopians and Ethiopian Origins residing in Canada

--------------------------------------

The Embassy in cooperation with Higher Officials from Ethiopia and a Professional Group (The Alliance for GERD in Canada) Plan to Host a Webinar (Zoom Meeting) on Saturday July 4th 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time.

The discussion among other things would be pertaining to the current status of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Filling and Operation of the dam and would attempt to address the questions and concerns of the Community with regard to the Tripartite Negotiation process. Accordingly, you are cordially invited to take part in this historic forum.

P.S. The Zoom ID and Password will be shared right before the conference.

 

 

 

 

 

የኢ.ፌ.ዲ.ሪ ውሃ ሚኒስትር ክቡር ዶ/ር እንጂ ስለሺ በቀለ በኦታዋ የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ መሪ ከሆኑት ክብርት አምባሳደር ናሲሴ ጫሊ፣ ምክትል ሚሲዮን መሪ አምባሳደር ለገሰ ሀይሌ፣ ከኤምባሲው ሰራተኞች እና በካናዳ ከሚገኙ ኢትዮጵያዉያንና ትዉልደ ኢትዮጵያዉያን Alliance for Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Canada ከተባለ የባለሞያዎች ስብስብ ጋር ዛሬ እ.ኤ.አ በጁን 26/2020 በቪዲዮ ኮንፈረንስ በህዳሴ ግድብ ላይ ውይይት በማድርግ፤ ግድቡ የሚገኝበትን ደረጃ፣ የአገራችንን አቋም እና የመሳሰሉት ላይ ገለጻ በማድረግ ቡድኑ አገር ቤት ካለው አካል ጋር ተቀራርቦ በመስራት በሞያው አገራቸውን እንዲያገለግሉ እና የአገራቸውን ጥቅም ማሰጠበቅ እንደሚገባ አሳስበዋል።

አምባሳደር ናሲሴ ጫሊም ግድቡን በተመለከተ ሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊ ከአገሩ ጎን እንደሚቆም እና በመቀጠልም ዲያስፖራውን እንዲሁም አለም አቀፍ ማህበረሰብን የማንቃት እና የማነሳሳት ስራ እንደሚሰራ አሳውቀዋል፤ ቡድኑ በበኩሉ ከአገሩ ጎን በመቆም የአገራችንን ጥቅም ለማስጠበቅ እንደሚሰራ እና በሞያ፣ በሞራል እንዲሁም በሚያስፈልግ ነገር ሁሉ ለማገልገል ዝግጁ መሆኑን ገልጿል።

 

 

 

 

 

The African day is the Commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, established on May 25, 1963. On this day, many African Countries celebrate the hard-fought achievement of their freedom from European Colonial Powers.

 

On this day the #founding fathers established the OAU with objective among others to abolish slavery and help one other on the fight to end colonialism. A constant reminder of sacrifice, bravery, brotherhood and persistence. Happy African Day!

 

#Ubuntu

# I am because we are

#Africa we want to see

#the future is now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ለካናዳ፣ በኢትዮጵያና በመላው አለም ለምትኖሩ የእስልምና እምነት ተከታዮች በሙሉ እንኳን ለ1441ኛው የኢድ አልፈጥር በዓል በሰላም አደረሳችሁ በማለት ኤምባሲው ምኞቱን ይገልጻል።

The Embassy wishes the happiest 1441st Celebration of Eid Al- Fitr to all Muslims in Canada, Ethiopia and around the World.

 

 

 

 

 
<span style="color: #1c1e2
Embassy Address:

1501-275 Slater Street, Ottawa Ontario
K1P 5H9 Canada 

Tel (613) 565 6637 / Fax (613) 565 9175

 Email: info@embassyofethiopia.net 
     or  info@ethioembassycanada.org  

For consular services

Email: consular@ethioembassycanada.org

Embassy's Address


 Embassy Address:

1501-275 Slater Street, Ottawa Ontario
K1P 5H9 Canada 

Tel (613) 565 6637 / Fax (613) 565 9175

 Email: info@ethioembassycanada.org  

For consular services

Email: consular@ethioembassycanada.org


 

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