Ethio Tribune

Plural News and Analysis on Ethiopia and HOA

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Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

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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Online War Erupts In Kenya After Peaceful Vote

Posted by Ethio Tribune on March 17, 2013

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Tribal lines are being drawn over who won Kenya’s presidential election. But unlike the bloody violence that scarred the country five years ago, this time the only fighting is online.

Machete strikes and bows and arrows are being replaced by bitter Tweets and angry status updates.

The exchange of barbs between supporters of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta — who was named the winner of the March 4 election with 50.07 percent of the vote — and his closest competitor, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has degenerated into expletive-filled fights in social media that have the government worried.

The Ministry of Information and Communications said this week that it has been unable to contain “the ugly messages of hate and negative ethnicity” online. It said many of the messages qualify as hate speech.

Some officials worry that the virtual feuding could trigger real-life fighting.

“The outrage is becoming wider and the tension is palpable. It’s going to erode all our efforts of building national cohesion,” Milly Lwanga, vice chair of the government-funded National Cohesion and Integration Commission, told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The buildup of tension, it’s like a room where gas is leaking slowly and then eventually there will be something small to ignite it and people will wonder where the explosion came from.”

After Kenya’s disputed presidential vote in late 2007, Odinga’s supporters took to the streets. Tribal violence erupted, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 people.

Odinga’s camp said the prime minister will file a petition with the Supreme Court on Friday to overturn the election results. Odinga alleges the election was rigged.

“We are dealing with criminals who should not be in State House but in prison,” Odinga said Thursday of his opponents. But, significantly, he is urging his supporters to stay calm as his case is heard in court.

No major violence has been reported, but the interactions are ugly online. Ethnic allegiances are exposed and ridiculed. Kenyatta’s tribe — the Kikuyus — and Odinga’s tribe — the Luos — clashed violently five years ago.

“Mmm! Kikuyus r thieves by default. There is nowhere on the planet earth, where a kikuyu works without stealing. Its embedded in their DNA. Kill all of them n Kenya will be a pleasant country to live in,” a post on Facebook by one user, Phil Miser, read.

A user named Susan Karanja replied to the tribal taunt from Miser: “We may be thieves but we are also enterprising. No wonder we employ u to use (your) brains in our jobs coz u dont use (yours) to better (your) lives n that’s the way it is. We run u not vice versa so swallow it.


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Kenya’s Election: What Uhuru Kenyatta’s Victory Means for Africa

Posted by Ethio Tribune on March 11, 2013

Uhuru Kenyatta, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, won election Saturday as Kenya’s new President. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries KENYA-VOTECommission announced that Kenya’s richest man — the current Deputy Prime Minister, former Finance Minister and the son of Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta — won 50.07% of the vote, just marginally more than was needed to avoid a second-round runoff. Kenyatta’s running mate William Ruto, a second of the four Kenyans indicted by the ICC, is slated to become Deputy President. Turnout was a high 86%. With the margin of victory so thin, and the count plagued by days of delays and hundreds of thousands of spoiled ballots, Kenyatta’s main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has already said he would fight it in court.

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Ethiopia: A Potentially Golden Block on East Africa’s Tertiary Rift

Posted by Ethio Tribune on March 7, 2013

Get ready for the first-ever exploration in Ethiopia’s Omo region—and it could be VERY BIG. After all, it’s an extension of the massive finds in Kenya.

Ethiopia has the misfortune of being entirely landlocked as a result of the 30-year war with neighboring Eritrea. Still, oil and gas exploration here is advancing must faster. It has less potential—and no offshore prospects—which should make it less attractive than Eritrea, but foreign oil and gas companies favor it nonetheless.

In late February, UK-based Tullow Oil Plc (TLW)—the same company behind the massive discovery in Kenya in early 2012—announced it would finish drilling its first well in western Ethiopia’s South Omo Block by the end of this quarter. The foray into Ethiopia was based on geography. This block is considered an extension of Tullow’s Kenya concessions and it all is part of East Africa’s Tertiary Rift (which includes Uganda). If they find oil in this well it would be the first discovery in Ethiopia. The well (Sabisa) belongs to Tullow, Africa Oil Corp. (AOI) and Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO).

There have already been some gas discoveries in eastern Ethiopia, but the target here is potential oil in the country’s west—as part of the same oil system found in Kenya. What are the chances of striking oil at Sabisa? Well, the explorers say the structure is virtually identical to the structure of the Ngamia well, the site of Tullow’s massive find in Kenya. According to Tullow, Sabisa is targeting some 140 million barrels of oil resources.

The terms would be fairly attractive, with the Ethiopian state taking 10% of any discovery. Tullow and partners plan to build a total of 11 wells in what is labeled the Kenya-Ethiopia Frontier Basin. Three of those wells will be in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia also has an estimated 3.89 billion tons of oil shale (enough to produce about one trillion barrels of oil, roughly) in Tigray State, on the border with Eritrea. It is also believed to have around 100-120 million tons of oil shale in the Delbi.

Ethiopia has also recently build its first drone, which could be used for surveying oil and gas prospects (not to mention the military applications for monitoring the insecure borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan).

Another reason Ethiopia has been favored by foreign investors—aside from its geological connection to Kenyan oil and gas prospects—is its security partnership with the US, both in regards to Somalia and Yemen. And this is something that Eritrea eyes warily…click here to read for more

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Rebel faction in Ethiopia says it wants peace talks

Posted by Ethio Tribune on December 23, 2012

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A faction of a separatist rebel group said on Sunday it was seeking peace talks with the Ethiopian government, a development that could help stabilize a region with potential reserves of oil and gas.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has fought since the mid-1980s for independence for the mainly ethnic Somali province of Ogaden in southeast Ethiopia, bordering lawless Somalia.

Abdinur Abdulaye Farah, the group’s representative in east Africa, said his faction was in the Ethiopian capital hoping to have talks with the government. There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

The initiative pointed to weakened secessionist activity in Ogaden, where rebels have not mounted a major attack since 2007. Several companies, including Chinese firms, are exploring for oil and gas in the area.

“More and more people want peace. There are very few people supporting the rebels now,” Farah told journalists upon arriving at Addis Ababa’s airport.


A separate ONLF faction, which claimed to represent 80 percent of the fighters who menaced energy stakes in the Ogaden a few years back, sealed a deal with the Ethiopian government last year.

Farah said negotiations between the remainder of the ONLF and the government, held in Kenya’s capital Nairobi two months ago, broke down when the rebels declined to accept the constitution and shun their armed struggle. The talks led to a further split, he said.

Other rival wings within the divided ONLF, including one run by former Somali navy chief Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman, were not immediately available for comment.

The Osman group claimed responsibility for a 2007 attack on an oil exploration field owned by a subsidiary of China’s Sinopec Corp that killed 65 Ethiopian soldiers and nine Chinese oil workers, and for many other attacks on military targets over the last few years.

Addis Ababa has acknowledged past skirmishes with the rebels, but claims of battle victories from both sides have been hard to verify. Journalists cannot move in the area without government escorts.

Ethiopian forces waged an offensive against the rebels in late 2007 after the ONLF attack on the Sinopec site. Residents say the rebels have been severely weakened since then, but launch regular hit-and-run attacks including a handful of assassination attempts on regional officials.

The separatist cause originally drew support because of poverty and lack of development. Until a recent upsurge in infrastructure projects, the entire area of 200,000 sq km (77,000 sq miles) had only about 30 km (20 miles) of tarmac road.

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Posted by Ethio Tribune on November 24, 2012

Ethiopia Not Ready for Foreign Banks – PM

President Mwai Kibaki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn make a toast to celebrate the good bilateral relationships between the two countries at a banquett hosted in his honour at a Nairobi hotel last evening. Photo PPSEthiopia is still not ready to open up its market for foreign banks, Prime Minister Ato Hailemariam Desalegn has said throwing into disarray plans by Kenyan lenders to venture into the country.

The Ethiopian leader was ironically speaking at a breakfast hosted by Equity Bank at the Intercontinental hotel in Nairobi just after the bank chief executive James Mwangi sought the Ethiopian leader’s support to venture into the country.

Desalegn was responding to local business community’s inquiries on available opportunities in Ethiopia following the signing of an inter-governmental pact for Special Treatment Agreement for Kenyan traders going to Ethiopia.

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Posted by Ethio Tribune on November 22, 2012

Desalegn aggressively markets Ethiopia

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Taking the helm of one of Africa’s fastest growing non-oil economies after a predecessor as influential and at times controversial as Meles Zenawi, is indisputably a daunting task.

However, Ato Hailemariam Desalegn now the Ethiopian Prime Minister, is showing no signs slowing down the momentum Zenawi started.

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments »

Ethiopia on track to complete first mega-dams by 2015: minister

Posted by Ethio Tribune on November 13, 2012

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s energy minister played down concerns on Monday about how it would finance the first of an array of mega-dams due to revolutionise east African power markets, saying it was on track to have three plants on line by 2015.

The Horn of Africa country has laid out plans to invest more than $12 billion in harnassing the rivers that run through its rugged highlands to generate more than 40,000 MW of hydropower by 2035, making it Africa’s leading power exporter.

Energy chief Alemayehu Tegenu said the plan’s centerpiece – the $4.1 billion-Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region – was on course to be completed on time in 2015.

Two other smaller dams should also come on line by that point, he said, generating a total of more than 8,000 megawatts of power at full capacity.

“Everything is going according to plan. It (the Grand Renaissance) is on good status,” Tegenu told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an energy conference in Addis Ababa.

“So far we have achieved 13 percent of the total construction.”

The dam – Africa’s largest – will generate 6,000 MW at full capacity.

It is just the latest of a series of ambitious infrastructure projects launched by Ethiopia following years of solid economic growth. The government says funding will come from both domestic and foreign sources.

Worried about the state’s ability to raise the billions needed, however, some experts have called on Addis Ababa to sell off state firms and assets they say could rake in a potential $9.6 billion.

Alemayehu said the country has raised more than 5 billion birr for the construction of its Grand Renaissance Dam to date, the vast majority of it from sales of government bonds.

“This dam may not be constructed only by selling bonds, but the (power) utility can finance some part of the financing,” he said.

“The option we have designed is financing by the people of Ethiopia, the utility and the government.”

The other major near-term project the government hopes to complete is the Gilgel Gibe III dam along its southern Omo river, set to generate 1,870 MW from the end of 2013 at a cost of $1.8 billion.

Alemayehu said over 65 percent of construction on that dam had been completed.

Another 254 MW project is being built in the Oromiya region and is due to be ready in two years. Together the three projects will churn out 8,124 MW, compared to Ethiopia’s existing capacity of around 2,167 MW of hydro and wind power.


Egypt fears that the Nile dams will reduce the flow of the river’s waters further downstream and Addis Ababa has long complained that Cairo was pressuring donor countries and international lenders to withhold funding.

An international panel of experts is set to announce its findings on the impact of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile’s flow in May 2013.

Analysts suspect that any shortfall in funding of such projects could draw further Chinese capital to Africa, where Beijing has begun to accumulate natural resources and volumes of trade.

Critics have already slammed China’s willingness to lend money for Gilgel Gibe III’s turbines over concerns the dam would create serious environmental damage.

Addis Ababa is already providing more than 50 MW to Djibouti, while Kenya’s border town of Moyale is importing a small amount.

“We have started exports to Sudan, as well as the border town of Moyale. We will gradually expand to Sololo (in eastern Kenya) and plans for Somaliland are also going well,” Alemayehu said.

Newly-independent South Sudan has also signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a transmission interconnector to import power, he added.

Another project – a 3,000 km 500 kV line linking Ethiopia with Sudan and Egypt, is also in the pipeline, while the construction of a 1,300 km 500 kV transmission interconnector with Kenya will start soon.

“We have secured the finances (for the project linking with Kenya) and the design has been complete. For construction the tender has also been floated,” Alemayehu told Reuters.

“The project is expected to start in less than two months.”

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Kenya PM Urges Eritrea to Back Regional Peace

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 30, 2012

Kibaki made the call after he received a special message sent from Eritrean President delivered by the Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya, Beyene Russom…..Eritrea pulled out of IGAD in 2007 after member states accused the nation of failing to work for regional peace. It was also accused of having ties with destabilising forces in the region…….The isolated state of Eritrea last year officially asked to reactivate its membership to IGAD.

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Sudan agrees to accommodate Egyptian commandos to destroy Abay dam (Wikileaks)

Posted by Ethio Tribune on August 31, 2012

“Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda have reached an agreement with Egypt and pledged cooperation that the water will only be used for electricity generation (not diverted for irrigation), while Egypt pledged more developmental projects. We’ll keep talking and talking to them to make sure all sides abide by the agreement.

Abay dam

The only country that is not cooperating is Ethiopia. We are continuing to talk to them, using the diplomatic approach. Yes, we are discussing military cooperation with Sudan. We have a strategic pact with the Sudanese since in any crisis over the Nile, Sudan gets hit first then us. We can’t afford that. The military cooperation we are discussing is for emergency planning, but I don’t think it will come that yet. There will not be a war. If it comes to a crisis, we will send a jet to bomb the dam and come back in one day, simple as that. Or we can send our special forces in to block/sabotage the dam. But we aren’t going for the military option now. This is just contingency planning. Look back to an operation Egypt did in the mid-late 1970s, I think 1976, when Ethiopia was trying to build a large dam. We blew up the equipment while it was traveling by sea to Ethiopia.”  Egyptian Leader

Click here to read the full text

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 52 Comments »

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