Ministers of Water Affairs of Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan visit GERD and draft guidelines for consulting firms

Ministers of Water Affairs of Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan have visited the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Project on 17 October 2017.

Hoping to further boost the level of existing transparency and in turn uplift the confidence among the three countries with regard to the Dam, Ethiopia has facilitated the visit.

During the visit minister of water, irrigation and electricity of Ethiopia, Engineer Sileshi Bekele, explained to his counterparts about the major positive impacts the mega-project will have both in Ethiopia as well as the countries of the region upon its completion.

Commending Ethiopia for facilitating the visit, the Minister of Water Affairs of the Sudan noted this important visit signals that the cooperation between the three countries is at an improved stage than any other time.

On the next day, on 18 October 2017, a trilateral ministerial meeting took place during which the pending issues regarding the international Panel of Expert’s (IPoE) two recommended studies was discussed. During the meeting, Water Ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have drafted a guideline that would guide the activities of the two consulting firms that will conduct impact analysis.

“We have drafted the guideline on the pending issues basically on how to forward the implementation of the consultants”, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, of Ethiopia, Seleshi Bekele said.

The two French consultancy firms – BRL and Artelia – were selected to undertake the recommended studies on the possible impacts of the dam.

Seleshi said “In today’s deliberation we had certain issues that were pending and which needed the attention of the Ministers”.

According to him, the guidelines are to be finalized in the near future by reconvening at one particular spot where the date and time to be determined very soon.

The countries selected the firms to undertake the studies following the “Declaration of Principles” signed by leaders of the three countries in 2015 in Khartoum, Sudan.

Built on the Nile, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is expected to start generating hydroelectric power in the current fiscal year. Upon completion, the dam will be Africa’s largest with 6,450 MW installed power generating capacity. It is being built for an estimated cost of 4.7 billion USD, and its total volume amounts 74,000 cubic meters. Built thanks to entirely domestic funds, the dam has been considered as a landmark project signaling Ethiopia’s Renaissance.


Hawassa city looking into possibilities to create a public bike network similar to Antwerp’s red bikes

The delegation in Antwerp on Friday the 13th of October 2017

The Ethiopian city of Hawassa is currently growing at an incredibly fast pace, according to the city’s vice-mayor Tamiru Tafe Hurisso. After three years, the city plans to become East Africa’s Number One City in terms of everyday life comfort, tourism and infrastructure. Durable mobility is one important aspect of this endeavor.

Therefore, the idea to create a public bike network in Hawassa inspired by the Velo-Antwerpen bike system was at the center of the discussions between Mr Tamiru and representatives from the University of Hawassa on the one part and Antwerp city representatives on the other part. While the bike culture was very vivid a few decades ago in Hawassa, it has now largely been replaced by cars and tuk-tuk, and the city administration wants to reverse that.

Several common points between Hawassa and Antwerp will facilitate experience-sharing: about the same population size, same type of topography. Since the purchasing power of the Hawassa population is limited, the idea would be to allow residents to use the network for free. Inclusion of elderly persons in the daily usage of the bike network could also prevent the bikes from being stolen, since the elderly are highly respected in the Ethiopian society. The project would be first tested on a smaller scale on the campus of the Hawassa University.

Antwerp city Counsellor Lin Ploegaert has played an important role in the connection between Hawassa and the director of Velo-Antwerpen, Dimitri Rondeaux. The coming of the delegation was facilitated by Dr. Amanuel Lomencho, who studied at the Tropical Institute in Antwerp.

Original article from the Gazet van Antwerpen (Dutch)

Report: Ethiopia lifts 5.3 million people out of poverty over 5 years

According to an Interim Report on 2015/16 Poverty Analysis Study by the National Plan Commission, Ethiopia has managed to lift about 5.3 million people out of the poverty over the past five years.

The report which was launched on the 10th of October 2017 indicated that the East African nation has made tremendous progress towards eradicating poverty between 2010/11and 2015/16.

It also indicated that the national poverty incidence has declined markedly over the recent years, in which the national headcount poverty rate fell to 23.5 percent in 2015/16 from 29.6 percent in 2010/11.

The number of poor people has also declined to 21.8 million from 25.1 million, while the population has increased from 84 million to 93 million during the reported period.

Deputy Commissioner of Plan Commission, Getachew Adem said both rural and urban areas witnessed a decline in food poverty in the stated period.

In spite of the recent El-Nino driven drought that drastically hit many parts of the country, regional food poverty declined in all regional states except in Harari, which remains almost unchanged.

Wide-ranging and multifaceted pro-poor programs that have been implemented in rural and urban areas like intensification of agriculture, infrastructure development, and food security, among others have contributed in poverty reduction, he said.

Modernizing agriculture and expanding industrial development that could create more job and diversification of exports is critical in poverty reduction, he added.

The efforts that have been exerted in agriculture towards ensuring food security coupled with those in other socio-economic sectors have helped Ethiopia meet most of MDGs, Getachew noted.

According to the report, efforts of the government to create favorable environment for private sector investment, job creations, and distribution of subsidized food items to urban poor also contributed to poverty reduction.

Representative of the Development Assistance Group (DAG), Andrea Ghione said Ethiopia has taken significant steps in ensuring strong economic growth and robust progress in the provision of social services.

He said a report such as the poverty analysis report being launched today stands out among the factors that are helping to drive these advancements.

“The report will be an important anchor for programs that are targeting funding for poverty reduction where it is needed most – to the poorest and the most vulnerable. More importantly it will allow for appropriate policy alignment at all levels,” he indicated.

Furthermore he stated that development partners remain committed to partnering with Ethiopia to build on the achievements of GTP-II.

The report has prepared by the National Plan Commission with the financial and technical support from DAG and the UNDP.

Source: ENA

Ethiopia targets 11 percent economic growth: President Dr. Mulatu Teshome

Ethiopia says it will work exhaustively on key sector to realize an over 11 percent economic growth in the current Ethiopian fiscal year.

While briefing directions of the government for the joint session of the two parliaments, President Mulatu Teshome said manufacturing industry, agriculture and foreign trade are among the key areas.

By working on the key sectors effectively, Mulatu said Ethiopia would realize the 11 percent growth, recalling the 10.9 percent growth registered last year despite the drought.

Enhancing the capacity of manufacturing industries in producing value added products and encouraging import substitution will be among the major activities to realize the goal, Mulatu said.

In this regard, the government will continue efforts in the expansion and development of infrastructures such as industrial parks to encourage more companies to the sector and realize structural transformation.

Activities towards modernizing the agriculture sector as well as helping the youth engage in the sector will also be major priority area, according to the President.

Despite the role that the foreign trade could play in the development of the country, the export sector performed poorly last year.

Noting this fact, the President said boosting the export sector will continue to get special attention.

Despite the 2015 El Niño induced drought that sustained through 2017, Ethiopia has managed to register a 10.9 percent growth last year.

Agriculture has contributed 36.3 percent of the GDP, while industry and service sectors shared 39.9 percent and 25.6 percent respectively.

In addition to the economic growth, last year, Ethiopia has witnessed various activities aimed to ensure god governance and widen political space.

He mentioned the efforts of the government to address problems related to good governance including the in-depth evaluation carried out inside the party, and the negotiation being held among national political parties on different issues.

Saying that these activities brought fruits in addressing public queries, Mulatu affirmed for the continuation of these efforts to ensure good governance.


Czech Republic and Ethiopia to boost development tie

Czech’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Karel Hejč

Czech Republic will further strengthen its support to Ethiopia, Ambassador Karel Hejč said.

Czech’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Karel Hejč said the embassy is working to promote the investment opportunities in Ethiopia so that Czech investors could engage in the country.

According to him, Czech Republic has been supporting Ethiopia as its development partner, particularly in water supply and education, since 2001.

Since 2010, Czech has selected Ethiopia as its sole development partner in Africa and providing three million Euros annually, he said.

Czech Republic recognizes the historic relations with Ethiopia as the two countries are also the founders of the League of Nations, the Ambassador added.

Ambassador Hejč further revealed that Czech Republic will continue increase its assistance to five of its development partner countries, particularly to Ethiopia.

Czech Republic was working in areas of clean water supply, health and education projects at community level in line with the focus areas identified by the government, he pointed out.

Ethiopia and the Czechoslovakia established diplomatic relation in the early 1920s.

EU and IGAD’s informal ministerial meeting on security and stability

The EU and IGAD held an informal ministerial meeting in Brussels on Friday last week (September 29). Those attending included Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and the Foreign Ministers of the IGAD member countries. Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD, was also present. This was the second informal ministerial meeting between the HR/VP and the Foreign Ministers from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. They also met earlier in the year on the margins of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

This informal ministerial meeting focused on the multiple challenges affecting the security, stability and prosperity of the Horn of Africa ranging from prolonged conflicts and transnational crime to undocumented migration and deprived economic development. High on the agenda were the crisis in South Sudan, the problem of Somali refugees in Kenya, the issue of irregular immigration, human trafficking, development projects and cooperation between the EU and IGAD. In a press statement after the meeting, the High Representative and Vice-President reiterated the “EU’s continued engagement and support to the security and stability of the Horn, through close political ties and the EU’s substantial cooperation and security commitments, including through its EUCAP Somalia and ATALANTA missions”.

From left to right: Mr Yusuf-Garaad OMAR, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia; Mr Ibrahim GHANDOUR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sudan; Mr Workneh GEBEYEHU, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia; Ms Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Mr Christos STYLIANIDES, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management. © European Union

Both sides agreed to underpin collaboration on maritime security, transnational crime and border management in full respect of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. They also exchanged views on concrete avenues for cooperation on cross border trade and investment through EU instruments and programs, notably the new EU External Investment Plan, launched a day earlier.

The European Union welcomed the decision of IGAD’s June summit to revitalize the peace process in South Sudan. It commended IGAD’s important initiatives to manage the reconciliation processes in Somalia and South Sudan.  At the same time, the High Representative and Vice-President emphasized the need for closer regional cooperation in the face of common trans-boundary challenges. Both sides agreed on the critical importance of Somalia’s security and state building progress for the stability of the region. Highlighting the need for a fairer burden sharing of the International Community and for a gradual ownership by the region, the European Union reiterated its support for the AMISOM mission in Somalia

In the specific discussions on the humanitarian situation in the Horn, Commissioner Stylianides welcomed the solidarity shown by several countries in the Horn hosting millions of refugees from various places. To ensure an effective and timely assistance and avoid further sufferings, both sides agreed on the importance of providing unrestricted humanitarian access to people in need and for Governments to recognize any occurring crisis without delay. Ms. Mogherini, the High Representative and Vice-President, also commended IGAD for holding its Special Summit on finding Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees, in March 2017, and for the commitment of the IGAD member states to collaborate across the region on the plight of refugees. In a session devoted to the Nairobi Plan of Action, there was general agreement to accelerate support to Somalia to create an environment conducive for returns and for refugees, who are not yet able to return, to integrate into the economic life of their host communities.

Lastly, both sides reaffirmed their readiness to ensure a substantial outcome to the upcoming AU-EU summit to be held in Ivory Coast, November 29-30. All the participants agreed the discussions had been productive and agreed to engage annually in this format. They also decided to set-up an appropriate Steering Group at senior official level. This will be tasked with developing a political framework for joint action and report back to the next Ministerial meeting.

Khartoum Process: 2017, Year of implementation

Ambassador Teshome Toga − Khartoum Process – Thematic Meeting on International Protection and Asylum at the Bundespresseamt, Berlin, 18.05.2017. Copyright: Ronny Hartmann/

Foreword to the first newsletter of the Khartoum Process. By H.E. Teshome Toga, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Benelux and Baltic countries and to the European Union

In December 2016, the chairmanship of the Khartoum Process (KP) was handed over to Ethiopia following that of the UK. As this was more or less a year after the Valletta summit, it accorded the Ethiopian Chairmanship the opportunity to focus on the implementation of the action plans and the 16 priority set out in the Valletta outcome. Given the foundations set by the achievements under the UK chairmanship, our task was to consolidate what was initiated by our predecessors and fill in the gaps that were identified at the time of the handover. We then declared the year 2017, under the Ethiopian chairmanship, to be the ‘Year of Implementation’, with full participation of the Member States and our implementing partners.

This newsletter, the first for the Khartoum Process is therefore dedicated to exactly this theme: implementation. Its goal: to provide the latest information on updates from the field and from those projects which fall under its auspices through its specific regional and thematic focus.

Alongside these operational developments, the newsletter will detail the progress the Khartoum Process made, as its role is to Facilitate Dialogue between Africa and the EU on migration. Impetus was given with its significant contribution to the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) meeting in St Julian, in Malta last February 2016; and now it is my humble view that we are well on track to realise our action plans for 2017. Our successful meeting at Senior Official level in Addis in April this year following St Julian’s, Malta gave us the chance to incorporate the outcomes of the SOM in our plan of action for the KP. This year had a successful thematic meeting in Berlin on international protection in May, where Ethiopia Co-chaired the meeting with its gracious host, Germany. Similarly, another successful thematic meeting was hosted and chaired by U.K. in London in July on human trafficking and smuggling with emphasis on border management. We are looking forward to our next meeting in Khartoum in October later this year, for yet another thematic meeting on root causes of migration, with focus on job creation and remittance. Several follow up activities have been undertaken by the chair and the secretariat, ICMPD in Vienna, particularly the execution of projects financed by EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF).

Having outlined the main tasks that have been undertaken, the question still remains as to how much we have done in terms of curbing the irregular migration and the tragedy related to it. No doubt, we have enormous challenges ahead of us. Migration, refugees and IDPs remain significant challenges and now have caught the attention of the international community and humanity at large. The Khartoum process should aim to remain very active in the global migration and refugee compact. Ethiopia, strongly believes our effort should geared to addressing the push factors. Open the avenue for legal migration could possible discourage those who are determined to illegal route. Our collective effort and resolve in fighting the criminals involved in human trafficking and smuggling must be enhanced. Return and reintegration in the spirit of the Valletta outcome also needs to be taken seriously.

In my capacity as the Chair of the KP, on behalf of my government, I would like to thank the EU, AU and all Member States of the KP for their close collaboration and support. I can assure all partners, Ethiopia will certainly remain a responsible and committed partner even far beyond its chairmanship, which we will be handing over to our successors: our Italian friends and colleagues. I would also take this opportunity to thank the ICMPD for its technical and logistical support provided to the Ethiopian Chairmanship. The European Commission’s financial support is also highly appreciated.

With that, I hope you will, through this special edition of the newsletter, find out more about this year of implementation of the Khartoum Process, its activities and how we aim to move forward.

State Minister Hirut bids farewell to the outgoing Italian Ambassador

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Hirut Zemene and Italian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Giuseppe Mistretta

State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Hirut Zemene bade farewell to the outgoing Italian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Giuseppe Mistretta on Friday the 29th of September 2017.

On the ocassion, the State Minister thanked the Ambassador for his outstanding efforts to elevate the Ethio-Italian relations during his tenure.

Mrs. Hirut also emphasized the need to further promote the long-standing bilateral ties between Ethiopia and Italy as well as strengthen cooperation in regional and multilateral fora.