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  • Ethiopia: The Country With 100% Renewables That Needs Even More

    (Forbes) — Iceland and Ethiopia have a lot in common. Volcanism, mountains and some of the highest ratios of renewable power in their generation mix.

    Despite being among a handful of countries worldwide that already derive the most of their electricity from renewable resources, Ethiopia’s power sector is vulnerable. It relies very heavily on hydropower but allowing that status quo to persist is risky. Between the political threats, Egypt is very unhappy about further damming of the Nile, and the climate change threat, something needs to change.

    The World Bank agrees it would seem and last week it took action with a $200 million package designed to encourage the development of 1GW of wind and solar projects in the country.

    With 45GW of installed hydropower capacity, a slightly misleading figure as these are of course not 100% efficient nor are they ever all running at the same time. According to 2012 data from the UN, peak demand in the country was less than 1.3GW.

    But that figure is climbing rapidly. Electricity consumption per head of population trebled between 2000 and 2014. As of 2012, only 23% of the country was actually connected to the grid so as that figure rises, demand will be supercharged.

    Expected increased variability in rainfall and greater demand on freshwater resources puts extra strain on reservoirs.

    The World Bank’s Renewable Energy Guarantees Program (REGREP) will help the authorities in Addis Ababa to reform their regulatory framework and gear it up for private investment and ownership. It is hoped the package could draw in $1.5 billion of funds from Independent Power Producers (IPP) who would look to build and potentially operate the new generators.

    “REGREP comes at this critical juncture and signals the Government’s commitment to comprehensive power sector reforms and a private sector-led renewable energy development program that has the potential to be one of the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Rahul Kitchlu, senior energy specialist at the World Bank.

    The private sector is being increasingly welcomed to the power sector in Africa. This week Botswana canceled plans for 100MW solar tender that it hoped to run as a joint venture with a partner. It will now be re-written launched again next month with no government ownership at all.

    “With the support of the World Bank Group, this program will create a platform for much-needed private sector participation in the crucial energy sector by lowering the risks of investing in Ethiopia,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.

    In addition to policy support and regulatory adjustments, the Bank will also use its resources to identify the best possible sites for wind power giving the country a head start in development and planning.

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  • Ethiopia apologises for map that erases Somalia

    (BBC) — “We sincerely regret any confusion and misunderstanding this incident might have caused,” the statement said.

    Somalia had been completely erased from the map, but the self-declared territory of Somaliland – which is not internationally recognised – was shown.

    The neighbours have long been rivals, fighting borders wars in the past.

    But relations between the two countries have improved since Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power last year as he has sought to defuse tensions in the region.

    The map has caused an uproar on social media, with Somalis saying it reveals a wider plan by Ethiopia to annex their country.

    Others hit back, with their own version of a map of Africa, incorporating Ethiopia into Somalia.

    Some have noticed other problems with the map published on the Ethiopian website, for example, it showed that the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo had become one country and it did not show South Sudan, which split from Sudan in 2011.

    There has been no official comment from the Somali government. Former Foreign Minister Yusuf Garaad welcomed the removal of the map, but queried how and why it was drawn in the first place.

    The Ethiopian foreign ministry’s statement said it was unsure how the “unacceptable” map had “crept in on the website”, which is currently offline, but said its technical team was working to ensure its security.


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  • Ex-boss of Ethiopia’s notorious Jail Ogaden arrested

    (BBC) — Hassan Ismail Ibrahim, also known as Hassan Dhere, was arrested in neighbouring Somalia in a town where he had been hiding, following a tip-off.

    Campaigners say inmates were routinely tortured at “Jail Ogaden”, which he ran in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

    Many prisoners were accused of being linked to the separatist group the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

    But that group signed a peace deal with the government in October, following the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister.

    Former prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they saw people dying in their cells after being tortured.

    The authorities closed the prison last year and announced plans to make it into a museum.

    The new president of Ethiopia’s Somali region, Mustafa Omer, told Al Jazeera news in April that he was chasing the people who allowed the torture.

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  • PM Abiy Ahmed’s Message to Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora

    Dear Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora,

    I am writing this letter to you as an eternal reminder that this country is your home and that you will always be a part of Ethiopia. On my various bilateral-centered travels around the world, I have seen the hope that you embrace for your country, and the type of humane society that you hope Ethiopians would live in. You understand ‘Medemer’ and always have sought ways to be unified as one. Your sensitivity to the needs of others and the immediate action you take to help is at the core of Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope. A place of mystical wonders, cultures, rich traditions with a colorful mosaic of people whose faiths are as strong as her people.

    Today, Ethiopia is experiencing a resurrection of hope. Hope that you have fought for from a distance. Hope that you and your parents, near and far, have prayed for. Hope that you held on to even when at times it seemed impossible. You held an enduring love and an unwavering faith in the possibilities of Ethiopia being a great nation. You never lost sight of light that leads to hope. As such, you dressed up and flaunted your Ethiopian identity at your school’s international day celebration; you hosted Ethiopian day and, proactively engaged in policies of your host nations that may concern the betterment of Ethiopia. You proudly held up Ethiopia’s flag wherever you could and defended your country’s glorious history. It is my wish you continue sharing in your various spheres of influence all that makes Ethiopia great.

    It is also my wish that you seize the current prevailing opportunities and good will to contribute to your country when it needs you most. Alongside our greatness, we also shoulder as a country, many challenges and responsibilities that requires our concerted efforts as Ethiopians. As you know the rainy season in Ethiopia is upon us and schools are closed. Similarly, where most of you reside, the summer break is also ahead of you. I hope during the period you will take time to think about your country and the ways in which you can act in its favor. Many of the pleasures and conveniences you enjoy in the respective countries you live in have all been built on solid foundation. The roads you drive on, the playgrounds and parks you play in, the libraries in which you study – those that came before you planted these seeds, watered them and nurtured them until they bloomed.

    As Ethiopian youth and children in the Diaspora, Ethiopia also belongs to you as the next caretaker generation. While my administration and I work tirelessly to build a democratic country, I welcome you to come home during the rainy season and to take part in the new experiences, be a part of the tangible and sustainable developments being made in every corner and direction, teach us to do things differently and better with your immeasurable knowledge, and to simply enjoy the various tourism attractions and destinations Ethiopia, your home country, has to offer.

    While the needs are plenty and the opportunities to contribute even greater, I call upon you to at least engage in the following five things during the Ethiopian rainy season and your respective summer breaks:

    1. Do not lose hope on your country. Focus your energy and drive on the seedlings of hope for they will soon flourish into reality with our collective efforts. Believe that we have the capacity to change; to act and to make history. Let not temporary obstacles be a defining factor.
    2. Be a vehicle for knowledge transfer to Ethiopia. Introduce novel ways of doing things. Collect books, computers, medical equipment and other technologies where you are so that you may change the lives of your brothers and sisters here that need you. Develop digital libraries and enable students in Ethiopia to have free access to resources. Come and volunteer to teach skills and courses in schools here.
    3. More importantly, you must organize yourselves to collect catalogues of books and other print materials in as many languages as possible for the newly announced library that is to be constructed in Addis Ababa as to ensure Ethiopia’s next-generation leaders, doctors, scientist, educators and interest of all fields do not leave Ethiopia to research any topic of interest whether it is for graduate, undergraduate, masters or PhD programs.
    4. Come and volunteer your time in various establishments throughout the country and share your knowledge and skills of modern and innovative service delivery. Ethiopia calls on the diaspora community to serve your home country through various types of volunteer activities such as the #EveryDayWeCleanEthiopia cleaning and cleansing initiative and the four billion tree planting project.
    5. Organize various youth discussion platforms in which you can share ideas on current challenges in the country and opportunities for overcoming them. Present study papers and discuss among yourselves; generate ideas and solutions and share them with us.

    I have paid and continue to pay keen attention to your economic abilities and contributions. We must work together to narrate the story of the present and set in stone the guiding principles for the future. With the rapid changes, Ethiopia’s societal needs are insurmountable and evident. The resources that are at the disposal of the diaspora community are immeasurable. Our collective efforts are paramount in stabilizing the paradigm shift and one of the key ways to do so is through philanthropic endeavors and volunteerism.

    Similarly, I want to remind us all about our the most important sector that the Ethiopian diaspora can make a meaningful contribution in which will have an almost immediate impact – the tourism sector. Ethiopia boasts a total of nine UNESCO Heritage sites with eight of the nine sites being cultural sites with one natural site. While tourism has lagged in the past, Ethiopia has introduced many reforms making tourism one of the key priority sectors for investment. It is no secret; tourism has compounded impact. Tourism contributes to local small and medium scale businesses, generates profits at every level of the sector, creates sustainable jobs. Ethiopia will benefit from the tax revenues generated and income across all regions will increase. Tourism, by far, creates the most direct effect within the sector specially in lodging, restaurants, transportation, museums and retail.

    Here is where the diaspora community support is important for tourism by being the ambassadors of all things Ethiopia, encouraging global destination management agencies to turn their face towards Ethiopia and even, chaperoning groups to visit Ethiopia. It goes without saying that the diaspora holds many of the pertinent keys that will accelerate the growth and sustainable development of this country.

    While Ethiopia was built to be a great nation, I write this letter to affirm that you are needed in strengthening the pillars of Ethiopia as part of the elaborate mosaic of diverse people that comprise it. Greatness is only achieved when Medemer is our collective cause; a strong, unified Ethiopia that is filled with endless possibilities for her children today, tomorrow and generations to come. Welcome home to Ethiopia.

    Abiy Ahmed Ali
    Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

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  • Ethiopian military leaders visited Prime Minister’s office

    May 24,2019

    High ranking commanders of the Ethiopian Defense Force have visited construction projects in the office of the prime minister, seemingly this time with an invitation from the prime minister. It is to be remembered that hundreds of special commandos of the Ethiopian Defense forces showed up at the prime minister’s office in October 2018 – a phenomenon which caused a serious concern back then.

    In today’s visit, it was all smile and the Cheif of staff General Seare Mekonen was among the visitors. After the ceremony, the military commanders had a meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, according to a report by state broadcaster – Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.

    Abiy reportedly briefed the military officers about his project of “beautifying sheger” – for which organized a $173,000 per plate fundraising dinner last Sunday which happened in the 19th-century Banquet Hall Emperor Menelik. And it was in the same hall that Abiy Ahmed met with the military leaders on Friday.

    The project to beautify sheger is expected to be completed, if all goes well, in three years time and it will cost 29 billion Ethiopian birr which is equivalent to $US 1.1 billion.

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