Ethio Tribune

Plural News and Analysis on Ethiopia and HOA

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Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopia’

Ethiopia and Kenya secure funds for $1.26bn power line

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 24, 2013

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia and Kenya have secured funds for a $1.26bn power line aimed at improving electricity supply and the project is set for completion in two years’ time, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday.

Addis Ababa is poised to generate more revenue from power exports to its neighbour, beyond the border northern Kenyan town of Moyale which is already receiving a small amount.

Though it has been investing in infrastructure, including expanding power supplies, Kenya has struggled to meet demand and faces constant blackouts.

“Everything is as per schedule. We expect it will be completed on time … after two years,” Alemayehu Tegenu, Ethiopia’s minister of water and energy, told Reuters.

The project — a 1,068km high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 2,000 MW — is co-funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency and the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments.

The electricity will originate from a number of existing and planned power plants in Ethiopia.

Analysts estimate that the hydropower potential of Ethiopia — blessed with cascading rivers flowing through rugged mountains — is around 45,000 MW.

In a bid to become a major power exporter, Ethiopia is also building a 6,000 MW mega dam on the Nile, which is set for completion in four years’ time. Addis Ababa already exports up to 65 MW to Djibouti and about 100 MW to Sudan.


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Ethiopia|4 billion USD Corbetti Geothermal power agreement signed

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 24, 2013

4 billion USD Corbetti Geothermal power agreement signed

The signing ceremony at the Sheraton Addis officially launches the establishment of Corbetti Geothermal Power as an Ethiopian based company for geothermal development and operations. The total cost of the power project is 4 billion USD.

Reykjavik Geothermal, an Icelandic company financed by American shareholders, is the owner of Corbetti and has numerous geothermal concessions in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) agrees to buy the energy generated by the company for the coming 25 + years. The signing ceremony attracts the Deputy Prime Minister for the Finance and Economic Cluster and Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Debretsiyon Gebremichael, Minister of Mines Sinkinesh Ejigu, ambassadors, CEOs and other dignitaries.

After signing the ever largest direct investment in the sector, CEO of EEPCo Mihret Debebe said geothermal power plants offer alternative energy for power hungry growing industries in the country.

What makes seamless geothermal power plants is their round the clock energy provision to industries seeking uninterrupted power supply. Corbetti Geothermal Power is estimated to generate over 1000MW electric power once it completes its two phase construction.

The first phase of construction is expected to generate 500MW within five years and the remaining would come in the next 8 years, according to the agreement signed between the company and Ethiopian government.

Nejib Abba Biya, Principal of Rift Valley Geothermal and co-founder of Allana Potash, is initiator of the project. After signing the agreement, he said “with bold leadership in place it is possible for Ethiopia to achieve the much talked about middle income economy and more.”

He admired the leadership of the government in turning the project earlier assumed to be of 300 MW to 1000+MW plant.

With Reykjavik Geothermal, which is one of the most competent companies in the geothermal energy development, Abba Biya believes such big projects have the power to move Ethiopia forward to help it meet the need for better living standard.

Minister Debretsiyon lauds all those involved for making this big project possible after 18 months of studies and meticulous negotiations. He pledges the government is there to help such investments happen by providing the necessary support.

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

In Switch, Egypt May Join Ethiopia In Nile Dam Project

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 22, 2013

At a news conference Oct. 7, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced that his country welcomes the participation of Egypt and Sudan in the construction of the dam and stressed that his government considers the dam to be jointly owned by Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. Cairo viewed his statement as a positive step toward reaching a consensus on the project, despite its earlier sharp criticism of it.

In a telephone conversation Oct. 17, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib told Al-Monitor: “Egypt doesn’t mind joining the Ethiopian government in building the dam for the service and development of the Ethiopian people. But we must agree on a number of items in a clear way to prevent any damage to Egypt as a result of the dam construction. The Egyptian government always opts for cooperation and participation. … During the coming negotiations with Ethiopia over the dam, we will clarify our position regarding the policy and method of operating the dam, the size of the storage lake attached to it, and how to fill it with water in times of flood and drought.” He stressed, “Egypt will definitely not participate in the construction unless these policies are agreed upon and agreements regarding them are signed.”

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Eritrea|Is the Horn of Africa facing another collapsing state?

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 16, 2013

Just as the Horn of Africa is witnessing the slow restoration of one collapsed state – after more than two decades of anarchic conditions in Somalia – it may be facing the collapse of another.

The small country of Eritrea, only 20 years after gaining independence from Ethiopia, has emerged as one of the largest sources of refugees in Africa – as well as one of the most militarised societies in the world. It is increasingly displaying signs of withering state structures and an unsustainable humanitarian situation.

Although Eritrea is sometimes referred to as the North Korea of Africa, a more appropriate point of comparison may be Somalia and its descent into civil war. The already fragile security conditions in Eritrea’s neighbouring states means that its collapse could have major implications for regional stability.

The Eritrean state has, since a 1998 border war with Ethiopia, been caught in a negative spiral of autocracy and deteriorating conditions. President Isaias Afewerki – the only leader this young nation has known – used the threat posed by Ethiopia as a pretext to eliminate all domestic opposition and indefinitely defer implementing the constitution and holding elections. Meanwhile, Eritrean society has been almost totally militarised. An indefinite, compulsory and universal military conscription policy applies to most of Eritrea’s adult population. Its army is now one of the largest on the continent, and has the highest number of military personnel per capita in the world next to North Korea. In 2011, Afewerki took the additional step of arming a large section of the civilian population believed to be loyal to his party, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice.

Although huge amounts of resources have been devoted to Eritrea’s military, the institution appears to be split by personal and group rivalries, both within the leadership and between the rank-and-file and the leadership. Political power is very much personalised in contemporary Eritrea, and remains largely in the hands of the president and a handful of military generals, who are rivalling and contesting each other over power, influence and control over financial resources.


The increasing number of political and military defections is another symptom of what looks to be Eritrea’s crumbling state apparatus. This includes former Information Minister Ali Abdu, believed to be the president’s right-hand man; tens of thousands of soldiers who have sought political asylum in neighbouring Sudan and Ethiopia; and the very embarrassing case of two military pilots who defected to Saudi Arabia with the president’s private jet, who were also later followed by a third pilot in April 2013, sent by the government to retrieve the plane. Other defectors include members of Eritrea’s Olympics team at the London Games in 2012, 13 players on an Eritrean football team, and artist Michael Adonai.

The growing frustration among army officers manifested itself this January with a revolt led by a colonel and members of his brigade. Their desperate actions – they occupied the Information Ministry and forced the director of the national TV station to read their demands for political reform on air – further demonstrated the emerging cracks within Afewerki’s regime.

Reliable data on the size of Eritrea’s population is hard to come by, but estimates range between 3 and 4 million people. Of these, several hundred thousand have fled over the last decade, and the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Eritrea reported earlier this year that the number of people fleeing every month has now reached 4,000. While the regime is in denial of the deteriorating conditions, Eritreans are voting en masse with their feet. The vast majority of the refugees are young males, and hence a significant portion of Eritrea’s productive workforce have either fled the country or find themselves indefinitely conscripted in the military.

Many of the refugees are trafficked out of the country through Egypt’s Sinai desert, where they can be kidnapped, tortured, and their families in the West extorted for ransom money by regional criminal networks. The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea has identified the involvement of leading figures in the Eritrean military in these criminal networks. The participation of high-level military personnel in these activities – which also include the trafficking of weapons and forced labour – reveals the blatant role illicit economic structures have assumed in Eritrea today. 

A continuation of the country’s current trajectory is unsustainable, and some form of change is inevitable in the near future – the most objective indicator of which is the country’s demographics. Given the absence of institutional mechanisms for managing a leadership change, and the mistrust and insecurities that Afewerki’s divide-and-rule strategies have generated, a collapse of the government could lead to civil war.

Lessons from Somalia

A refugee crisis, high-level military defections, a divided military, ethnic tensions, and a leader displaying irrational behaviour are some of the ways in which Eritrea today resembles Somalia in the years before its collapse in 1991. The case of Somalia also illustrates the difficulty of re-building state institutions once central authority has disintegrated and several armed factions take control.

In the event of state collapse in Eritrea, the security and humanitarian repercussions may in fact outstrip those seen in Somalia. Given the high number of weapons in the country and its near total militarisation, the collapse of state authority and civil war may lead to conflict and deaths on an extraordinary scale. Making this prospect more daunting is the deepening of the country’s ethno-religious divisions in recent years. Nearly every individual in Eritrea’s military and political leadership, for instance, now hails from Afewerki’s Hamasien tribe, and are of Christian background. This has alienated the other ethnic groups and created tensions on a sub-ethnic level as well.

Somalia and Yemen have demonstrated how terrorist groups take advantage of the absence of state authority to recruit members and plan and execute attacks. Groups such as al-Qaeda could find a fertile breeding ground among the politically marginalised and increasingly frustrated Muslim population of Eritrea, which make up somewhere between one-third and one-half of the total population.

Though Eritrea is poor and small, with few natural resources, it has a long coastline along the Red Sea, shares borders with Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia and is close to Saudi Arabia and Yemen – making it important in terms of global trade and security.

The Horn of Africa is one of the most conflict-prone regions in the world, and most of Eritrea’s neighbours happen to be rather fragile sates. Given the symbiotic nature of conflict and state fragility in this region most of these neighbours would be severely destabilised by the collapse of Eritrea’s state apparatus. These states are themselves overburdened by their own internal security challenges, and do not possess the resources and capacity to handle the challenge of another collapsing neighbour. Such a situation would thus require a substantial international engagement.  

While Eritrea’s authoritarian system has so far proven to be surprisingly resilient, if the refugee crisis continues on its current trajectory, the regime is unlikely to survive for much longer. This silent mass exodus will, if not stopped, lead to a humanitarian and security crisis of enormous proportions.


Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Kenenisa killed Zookeeper at Addis Ababa zoo

Posted by Ethio Tribune on September 16, 2013

A lion at a zoo in Ethiopia (16 September 2013) A lion has mauled to death a keeper at a zoo in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, after he forgot to close the door to the inner cage where the animal sleeps, officials say.

The lion, named Kenenisa after the famous Ethiopian athlete Kenenisa Bakele, bit Abera Silsay, 51, in the neck, they said.

The attack is said to have lasted for 15-20 minutes.

The zoo was opened in 1948 for the pet lions of former emperor Haile Selassie.

‘Shots fired’

The BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza reports from Addis Ababa that when he visited the zoo several hours after the Monday morning attack, a shoe belonging to the dead man was still lying on the floor, next to the seven-year-old lion which is still in the zoo.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

He entered cage number 10 where Kenenisa lives and he forgot to close the door”

Musie Kiflom Zoo director general

The zoo was closed to the public.

Officials say about 2,000 people visit it daily.

Guards tried to scare off the lion by firing shots into the air, but to no avail, our reporter says.

Mr Abera was attacked as he was cleaning the lion’s cage.

“He entered cage number 10 where Kenenisa lives and he forgot to close the door [to the lion’s sleeping chamber],” the zoo’s director general Musie Kiflom told AFP news agency.

“Finally, the lion came and he mauled him,” he said.

Mr Musie told journalists that police were called to help, but it was “very difficult to save our colleague”.

Mr Abera died at the scene, he added.

The zoo is home to 15 endangered Abyssinian Lions, which are found in Ethiopia.

The lions are kept in enclosed cages, but officials plan to move the zoo to a larger, grassier enclosure in the next 13 months.

This is the second time a zookeeper has been killed by a lion at the centre in the past 17 years, AFP reports.

The zoo will increase training for keepers after the attack, Mr Musie said.

“We have to update them on how to protect the animals, how to work with the animals, how to keep them, how to clean them,” he said, speaking near the cage where the attack took place, AFP reports.

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From Addis Ababa: A Power[ful] Africa Message

Posted by Ethio Tribune on August 29, 2013

From Addis Ababa: A Power[ful] Africa Message

On the outskirts of Addis Ababa sits the engineering and production facility of one of the world’s most cutting edge high technology firms, the Ethiopian-American firm dVentus Technologies. This firm and its success could be a harbinger of change across the entire African continent.(Don’t hear to what the diaspora extremists say day-in day- out. Ethiopia is moving forward)

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Bashir heads to Ethiopia for commemoration of late PM Zenawi

Posted by Ethio Tribune on August 19, 2013

August 18, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir will fly to Addis Ababa on Monday paid to participate in commemorating the one-year anniversary of the death of late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

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FILE PHOTO – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (h) speaks to the media during a joint news conference with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (Reuters)

Zeanwi, 57, died last year unexpectedly in Brussels where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness.

Sudanese media said that Bashir will also hold talks with Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on developments regarding relations between Khartoum and Juba with respect to the progress on implementing cooperation agreements they signed this year.

Ethiopia has been the main venue of negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan and also played a crucial role in helping bridge differences over the years.(sudan tribune)

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Ethiopia Relief Plane Arrives Khartoum

Posted by Ethio Tribune on August 16, 2013

Khartoum – Ethiopian cargo plane loaded with approximately, 74 tons of relief materials to the rains and floods-affected people in Sudan arrived in Sudan, Tuesday.
The Boeing 777 plane, with the Representative of the Ethiopian Prime Minister on board, was received by representatives of the Humanitarian Aid Commission, the Civil Defense, the police and the representatives of the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum.
The assistance represents rapid response to the Ethiopian government to help the victims of the heavy rains and floods which swept different parts of the country.
(source: Sudan vision)

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Typologies of National-isms in Ethiopia

Posted by Ethio Tribune on August 2, 2013

By Ayele Gelan

(OPride) – Over the last several weeks, a lot has been said on both sides of the “I am Oromo first” and “I am Ethiopian first” divide. But very little about why people choose those positions.

This piece is inspired by Abebe Gelaw’s commentary on Jawar Mohammed’sstatement. In “I am Ethiopian First”, I thought, Abebe presented a sensible and sober contrast to a catalogue of pieces with vulgar and repulsive sentiments from many Ethiopian writers. His call for calm among Amhara activists regarding their sudden Jawar mania as well as his plea for consensus and compromise between the two communities were commendable.

However, Abebe’s characterizations of the typologies of national-isms in Ethiopia were rather troublesome. He writes,

My understanding is that Jawar is an ethno-nationalist. As an ethno-nationalist, he says he is an Oromo first. Unlike him, I am a nationalist. But that is not the major problem. The problem is the way he has chosen to articulate and present his views in question that have been widely perceived as inflammatory and divisive. I firmly and fervently believe that I am an Ethiopian first. I do not wish to allow the ethnic origin of my predecessors and parents to define me as a human being and overshadow my Ethiopian identity. Jawar said Ethiopian identity was imposed on him. On the contrary, I argue that such a position is fundamentally flawed. Nowhere in the world is anyone given choices of national identity.

While Abebe sees no problem in this statement, the notion that “I am a nationalist” and “you are an ethno-nationalist” is central to the simmering tensions between Amharas and Oromos. For starters, there is no such a thing as “I am a nationalist.” One can only be a nationalist in some defined group. As such when Abebe says I am “an Ethiopian nationalist”, it begs the question, but which Ethiopia?

The Euphemism

Oromos and most non-Amhara Ethiopians have a clear understanding of the existence of an Ethiopia with dual identity. The first is mythical Ethiopia, which is sufficiently described in Ethiopian history books. In this ancient Ethiopia with 3000 years of history, everyone speaks Amharic and is an Orthodox Christian. In its heyday, mythical Ethiopia’s geography stretched to the oceans before it was reduced to the current existence in recent centuries.

The second one is what I call the real Ethiopia where two minority groups dominated the majority of people within its borders in literally all spheres of life – politics, economy, culture, language, etc for more than a century. This Ethiopia, created only during a time span of less than a century and a half, is made up of diverse nations with unique historical and cultural backgrounds.


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Posted by Ethio Tribune on July 11, 2013

Ethiopia Continues Dam Construction(VOA)

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia and Egypt have been in a diplomatic dispute for weeks over the construction of what will be Africa’s largest hydro-electric dam – impacting the waters of the Nile River. But with Egypt facing political turmoil at home, attention has also been diverted from this controversial project.

The massive construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam continues despite sometimes angry protests from Egypt.

At issue is – diverting part of the Blue Nile since May.

The recently ousted Egyptian government feared the diversion would impact the Nile River flow – on which it is heavily dependent.

All of this will be a reservoir with 74 billion cubic meters of Nile waters.  Ethiopia said it will gradually fill the reservoir in the coming years, leaving Egypt questioning how the reservoir can be filled without affecting the water flow, especially during periods of drought.

Simegnew Bekele, one of the dam’s project managers, said better water management by both Egypt and Ethiopia will be the key. “The water will flow through these culverts permanently. That culverts will be part of the dam, which will be embedded, which will have gates and during any low flow the water will pass through the culverts because it will be installed at the normal riverbed level. We cannot change the normal riverbed level,” he explained.

Ethiopia is proceeding with construction even as environmental experts and diplomats continue to work out Nile River resource management among affected countries.

The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will make Ethiopia Africa’s biggest power exporter in the next four years – producing 6000 megawatts of hydroelectric power. The dam will be 1708 meters long, 145 meters high and will be equipped with two powerhouses.  Potential buyers of the electricity include Somalia, Uganda and even possibly Egypt.

The dam will be competed in 2017 at a cost of close to $5 billion.

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