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Ambassador Hirut Zemene Addresses the Joint Committees of Foreign Affairs and Development Committee of the European Parliament

H.E. Ambassador Hirut Zemene addressed the joint committees of Foreign Affairs (AFET) and Development Committee (DEVE) of the European Parliament regarding the current situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, and exchanged views with the members of the joint committees, today on the 26th of January 2021.

Ambassador Hirut briefed the honourable members of the joint committees of the European Parliament on the genesis and reason behind the Law and Order ascertaining Operation in Tigray, and current efforts of providing humanitarian assistance as well as the task of rebuilding damaged infrastructures and the restoration of public service in Tigray. Ambassador Hirut further explained that the government is now focused on the following key priorities: delivering much needed humanitarian assistance, bringing the perpetrators before the law, investigating atrocities, reassuring the community, and the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

The Chair of the Development Committee, Tomas Tobe, recalled that he had visited Ethiopia with members of his committee fifteen months ago, and expressed hope that Ethiopia will be a shining example of success for its region, but it is urgent to address the humanitarian challenges.

The Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, mainly expressed concerns about the current situation in Ethiopia and invited the Ambassador to clarify some of the issues.

Representatives from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the International Partnership Commission (INTPA), and the Commission for Crisis Management also presented their views on the situation in Ethiopia and the region at large.

The Ambassador responded to the questions and opinions raised by the members of the joint committee, among others, on the humanitarian and human rights situation in Tigray, the upcoming national elections in Ethiopia, and the relations between Ethiopia and the Sudan.

The exchange of views session is hoped to bring a balanced view about the current situation in Ethiopia.

The Minister of Finance Has discussed the current situation in Tigray with the European Union Delegation’s Charge De Affair and Head of Cooperation

H.E. Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance briefed Mr. Erik Habers, Charge De Affair and Head of Cooperation of EU Delegation in Addis Ababa on the ongoing humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts in Tigray. The minister addressed concerns raised by the EU delegation regarding access to humanitarian assistance in Tigray region. He elaborated that the ground security situation has improved significantly paving way for more access to the provision of humanitarian assistance such as food, non-food items, and medical supplies to most parts of the region.

The Minister underlined the distribution is being facilitated by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC). He also said the distribution involves various government institutions and is being undertaken in coordination with development partners such UNOCHA and others. He also explained that priority is given to women, children, elderly and disabled persons in the distribution. The minister affirmed that the Government of Ethiopia is working hard to address the humanitarian needs of the region with a sense of urgency.

The meeting was concluded by agreeing to have a continuous engagement with the view of strengthening the multifaceted cooperation between Ethiopia and the EU.

Ministry of Finance – Ethiopia

H.E. Muferihat Kamil, has received the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia

Minister of Peace, H.E. Muferihat Kamil, has received the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia, Dr. Catherine Sozi, to discuss the ongoing humanitarian assistance in Tigray Region.

The Minister has reiterated that road infrastructure; banking and telecom services are being restored in the state. She said the government is giving priority to ensuring the rehabilitation of those affected following the law enforcement process in the northern part of the country. Minister Muferihat also stated her concerns regarding the misinformation being disseminated on the issue.

Dr. Sozi, for her part, said the progress being made in providing vital humanitarian assistance is commendable. She added that she would work through her organization to investigate the misleading information that has been disseminated in connection with the situation.

The two sides have also underlined that they would continue to work together in connection with the humanitarian assistance being provided in the northern part of the country.



Modernizing Transport Sector Important To Register Growth In All Sectors: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen said more attention should be given to modernize the transport sector in order to register growth in all sectors.

Demeke made the call at the transport sector 10-year perspective plan launching workshop opened today at the Sheraton Addis Hotel.

The transport sector should be modernized to make the country’s agricultural economy, tourism and other socio-economic sectors productive, he said.

Demeke stated that stakeholders at all levels need to do their level best to make the 10-year plan a success.

The Government of Ethiopia will do all it can to make Ethiopia a model country in Africa in the coming 10 years, according to him.

Demeke finally urged Ethiopians to stand united to overcome the current challenges in the country.

Ministers, heads of regional states and stakeholders are in attendance of the workshop.


H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti has presented the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing

The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, has presented the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today focusing on major diplomatic activities, the latest developments in Tigray, the Ethio-Sudan border issue, including major activities related to Economic Diplomacy, citizen-centered diplomacy and activities in capacity building. Here is summary of the press briefing:

I. Diplomatic Activities

H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia met UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs, H.E. Dominic Raab on January 22 at his office and had discussions on a wide range of issues. Mr.Demeke’s briefing focused on the ongoing humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts in Tigray and Ethiopia’s commitment to continue to address the effects of climate change. The Secretary of State expressed the commitment of the UK government to continue to support Ethiopia’s development efforts, including girls’ education. [During his stay in Ethiopia, Mr. Dominic Raab, signed agreements, visited a school in Addis Ababa, and Gondar (to observe UK’s support related to humanitarian assistance), met with H.E. President Sahle-Work and H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed].

H.E. Demeke Mekonnen had a telephone conversation on Wednesday with US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr.Tibor Nagy. Their conversation covered, A briefing by Mr.Demeke on the successful rule of law operation in Tigray, the ongoing humanitarian efforts, including the rehabilitation of the infrastructure destroyed by the TPLF junta in the region, the government’s efforts to stabilize Tigray, the situation and treatment of Eritrean refugees, the atrocities committed in Maikadra and other areas, and the efforts to apprehend criminals. Mr.Tibor Nagy, on his part, lauded Ethiopia’s efforts to overcome the situation in the Northern part of the country. He underscored that the United States government applauds Ethiopia’s success as its own achievement.

H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia received at his office today (January 25), the departing ambassador of the state of Israel to Ethiopia, H.E. Raphael Morav. The two sides noted the strong cooperation between the two countries in health, agriculture, capacity building, and technology transfer. Their discussion also included the efforts made by the Ethiopian government to address the needs for humanitarian assistance in Tigray. They also noted that the recent border dispute with Sudan and the ongoing negotiations over the GERD should get peaceful resolutions.

H.E. TayeAtske Selassie, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations met on January 23 with UN SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms.Pramila Patten and briefed her on the situation in Tigray. He underscored Ethiopia’s ZERO tolerance policy on sexual violence and emphasized the need for further engagement on the alleged violations made by her office.

II. Situation in Tigray

• Humanitarian organizations, such as the UNHCR, have been given access to Adi Harush and Mai Aini camps of Eritrean refugees
• The government, through its agencies and in collaboration with humanitarian agencies, has continued providing food and non-food items to people in Tigray
• Reports that claim that 4.5. Million people in Tigray in need of humanitarian assistance are unsubstantiated
• The authority on this matter, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission said 2.5 million people require humanitarian assistance and 1.8. million of them are registered aid recipients way (under various schemes) before the commencement of the law enforcement operation
• the National Disaster Risk Management Commission has continued to distributing all the necessary supplies, food, non-food items and pharmaceuticals to the needy, although infrastructure destroyed by the TPLF clique made the distribution difficult
• As Ethio Telecom has announced, preparations are underway to fully restore telecom services in all parts of Tigray
• The government has allocated all its time, energy and resources to rebuild infrastructures that are irreparably damaged by the TPLF group
• Allegations regarding sexual violence in Tigray will be investigated. But the allegation do not commensurate to Ethiopia’s zero tolerance to sexual violence and the ethical track record of the Ethiopian defence forces serving in various UN peacekeeping missions. We do not have to rule out the possibility that the alleged violence might be committed by opportunistic criminal groups, including thousands of prisoners that the TPLF clique had deliberately released from prisons in Tigray.

III. Ethiopia-Sudan Border Issue

• the leaders of the Sudan are beating war drums and have continued to looting and displacing Ethiopian farmers
• Ethiopia still believes that the issue can be solved amicably through negotiation
• But before the commencement of any negotiation, we demand the Sudanese army to evacuate the area that it has occupied currently by displacing Ethiopian farmers as of November 6 2020, and respect its agreement to keep the status quo

IV. Economic Diplomacy

• State Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs in collaboration with Ethiopian Leather Industries Association, held an online discussion to promote ‘Ethiopian High Land Leather’ to the African market with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency project to promote high-quality Ethiopian products in potential market areas. Our missions in Kampala, Pretoria, Abuja, Accra, & Rabat participated in the meeting. Based on market demand assessments, State Minister H.E. TsionTeklu said, two Ethiopian missions in African countries will be selected in the current fiscal year to create market linkages through trade fairs and other activities through the JICA project.
• H.E. Fitsum Arega Ambassador of Ethiopia to the USA, had an engaging roundtable discussion with about 40 U.S. Business representatives, hosted by the U.S. Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU). He briefed the participants on the investment opportunities available in Ethiopia for U.S. businesses & the enabling environment for the private sector by the ongoing economic reform programs. He highlighted the priority areas of Ethiopia’s 10 Year National Perspective Plan recently adopted by the Council of Ministers.
• H.E. Ambassador Hirut Zemene, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Belgium, Luxembourg, and EU institutions, discussed the pharmaceutical sector investment opportunities in Ethiopia with a group led by Mr. Mohsen Ramez, Managing Director of Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The embassy briefed the company on the wide-ranging opportunities that exist in the pharmaceutical sector in Ethiopia.
• Ethiopian Embassy in Algeria hosted Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Investment Promotion Event, attended by 44 participants. The event showcased Ethiopia’s potential to Algerian companies. Potential Cooperation framework was discussed between regulatory agencies of the two countries.
• Ethiopia is participating in the 38th Khartoum International Trade Exhibition that kicked off on Thursday (January 21). Ethiopian companies engaged in Small and Medium-scale Industries such as textile and garment, leather products, traditional food and agro-processing, construction materials production are promoting their products to visitors. The Exhibition enables, the Embassy in Khartoum to promote Ethiopian trade, investment, and tourism opportunities as well as to conduct its campaign themed under Rising Ethiopia.

V. Citizen-Centred Diplomacy

• State Minister H.E. Ambassador BirtukanAyano announced that Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian descent who are living abroad have contributed 27 million birr so far in supporting the ‘Gebeta le Hager’ Project. The State Minister also appreciated and hoped for the continuance of the remarkable financial and other contributions to the construction of the GERD, the fight against the COVID19 pandemic, and humanitarian assistance to affected people for various reasons.
• The positive Campaign on Ethiopia under the theme Rising Ethiopia has started its second phase successfully ending the first phase that aimed at promoting Ethiopia’s potential in tourism. The second phase will be held under the theme, “Diaspora Business week” from 25th-31st January. It aims to promote Ethiopian Diaspora Business using social media platforms.
• We have repatriated 281 citizens from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

VI. Capacity Building

The Ethiopian Foreign Service Training Institute, via State Minister H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano and H.E. Ambassador Arega Hailu Teffera presented its 6 months performance to the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) Standing Committee for Peace and Foreign Relations. The institute provided 12 diplomatic training to over 800 staff of the Ministry covering a range of topics.

IGAD-EU sign 4.4 Million Euros grant for Boma-Gambella biodiversity conservation

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, and the Head of the European Delegation to Djibouti, Ambassador Aidan O’Hara, on Monday (January 24) signed a 4.4 Million Euros Grant Agreement to support IGAD for a Trans-boundary #SouthSudan-#Ethiopia conservation project of biodiversity in the Boma-Gambella landscape.

The Political and Public Diplomacy Plenipotentiary Minister, Ato Melaku Bedada speaking for the Ambassador of Ethiopia to Djibouti, commended the IGAD-EU for materializing the grant agreement.

He reiterated Ethiopia’s unrelenting commitment to further enhancing the collaborative conservation of biodiversity, landscape, and greenery.

Ato Melaku noted this project will engender a remarkable impact on the biodiversity management and livelihoods of communities residing in Boma-Gambella areas and expressed the government’s readiness and full support for its implementation.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Workneh praised the long-standing friendship between IGAD and the European Union that had ‘grown from strength to strength’.

This project is the latest in a long line of partnerships and shared initiatives between IGAD and the EU to preserve all that is good in our region and also address the challenges that we face, Dr. Workneh said.

Ambassador O’Hara commended IGAD Secretariat for the cross-border approach it is taking to tackling regional challenges.

He also emphasized how important it is to involve local communities in the implementation of the program and wished the implementing partner, The Wildlife Conservation Society, a success.

IGAD will be in charge of the global coordination of this transboundary project while the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) will be the implementing partner.


Gov’t Providing Assistance For Over 2.5m People In Tigray, Benishangul-Gumuz: Commission

The National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) said adequate preparations have been made to assist 2.5 million citizens, including 700,000 more needy people affected by the law enforcement operation in Tigray regional state.

Speaking at a press conference held on January 21, 2021 on the humanitarian response in Tigray, NDRMC Commissioner Mitiku Kassa said the government has been delivering humanitarian assistance, including food and non-food items and medical supplies, to 1.8 million beneficiaries.

In addition to the 1.8 million people who received assistance before the law enforcement operation, a joint needs assessment study has identified about 700,000 more people that need assistance, he said.

“We dispatched teams drawn from federal ministries, partners and NGOs in central, southern and eastern parts of the region to conduct a joint assessment that identifies additional people who need assistance following the law enforcement in the region,” the Commissioner explained.

Accordingly, two of the three teams have come up with figures, while one team is conducting its assessment. So far an estimated 700,000 people are identified as needy. “Based on those figures, we have therefore made preparations to provide support for 2.5 million people,” he disclosed.

The government has provided 311,526 quintals of grain for the regional state from its existing warehouses before the law enforcement operation and from Adama, Kombolcha and Werota warehouses as well as wheat brought through port of Djibouti.

Mitiku further stated that 60,000 quintals of flour and 173,200 quintals of wheat are being transported to Tigray, in addition to the 1.7 million liters of edible oil distributed.

“We do not have supply gap in this regard” as this supply can feed 2.5 million people, he said.

According to him, a four-layered emergency coordination system (regional, zonal, woreda and food distribution point) have been put in place to capture additional needs and distribute the assistance for the beneficiaries immediately.

Moreover, the government is actively working in collaboration with development and humanitarian partners for a quick delivery of supplies to increase the coverage of assistance to identified beneficiaries, Mitiku stated.

The commissioner affirmed that priorities have been given to women, children, the elderly and disabled persons in the distribution of food, non-food items, and medical supplies.

The assistance is also being provided by air transport to those who need special assistance.

Explaining about the current humanitarian situation in Metekel Zone, Benishangul-Gumuz regional state, Mitiku said more than 97,000 people have been displaced in the zone over the last three months.

There were people in need of assistance in the region earlier.Hence the government has been intensifying its efforts to provide assistance for the displaced people, he added.

An emergency coordination center has been set up in Gilgel Beles town to coordinate the relief efforts, it was learned. So far, 51,408 quintals of food and 281,480 clothes have been distributed, according to ENA.


Ethio Telecom To Fully Restore Telecom Services In All Parts Of Tigray

Ethio Telecom announces preparations to fully restore telecom services in all parts of Tigray.

Presenting its 2020/21 first half performance report yesterday, Ethio-telecom Chief Executive Officer Frehiwot Tamru told Journalists that the company has been widely working on restoring telecom services that have been stalled due to devastation of infrastructure by the TPLF Junta.

Now, the repairing of the damaged telecom infrastructure has been completed. “We have resumed telecom service using alternatives as well as conducting necessary maintenance and rehabilitation works on damaged telecom infrastructure.

In some areas of the region including Mekelle, Almata, Maykadra, Shiraro, Humera, Dansha, Turkan, Maytsebri and others, telecom services have already resumed.


H.E. Ambassador Hirut Zemene holds a discussion with the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO)

On the 21st of January 2021, H.E. Ambassador Hirut Zemene discussed about the Private Equity sector investment opportunities in Ethiopia with Mrs. Laetitia Counye, Manager of Private Equity at Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO).

During the discussion, the Ambassador explained the wide opportunities that exist for private equity investment in Ethiopia, the incentive packages available, as well as market access to EBA, AGOA, AFCFTA and the quota-free accesses to China and India markets. The availability of affordable semi-trained labour force and a huge local market with more than 110 million consumers also make Ethiopia more attractive to investment, she said.

H.E. Ambassador Hirut also underscored the importance of BIO’s interest in Small and Micro-Enterprises (SMEs), which would be key to mutually beneficial cooperation. Its engagement with local SME would help to transfer technology and employment, in addition to the capital flow. Her Excellency further stated that the Government of Ethiopia is encouraging private equity investors to come and combine their capital with the potential of local companies. She also pointed out that private equity investment in Small and Medium-sized enterprises in Ethiopia is now very timely.

Mrs Laetitia Counye, on her part, said that Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) is interested in investing in private equity investment in Ethiopia and wants to engage with local partners, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. She also mentioned that BIO has worked in Ethiopia through a fund manage known as Zoscales, on five investments in the country.

Mrs. Laetitia Counye also stated that efforts to privatize, liberalize the economy and train and educate the workforce are promising. The sense of entrepreneurship in Ethiopia is also very interesting, she said.

“Since employment is a major issue in Ethiopia and SMEs are very large employers, we can help in this regard,” She further noted. She has also expressed further interest to venture on a second phase investment in Ethiopia.

The Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO) supports the expansion strong private sector in developing and emerging countries, to enable them meet Sustainable Development Goals. It invests directly and indirectly in SMEs in developing countries and makes a practical contribution to the socio-economic growth of those host countries.