Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ethiopia Revokes PetroTrans Accord Over Lack of Investment

By William Davison

July 30 (Bloomberg)
 -- Ethiopia’s government revoked PetroTrans Co. of China’s production-sharing agreement because of a lack of investment, Mines Minister Sinknesh Ejigu said. “They did not fulfill their obligations,” she said in a phone interview today from the capital, Addis Ababa. “We want to realize the project on the ground, not on paper.”
The agreement for work in the eastern Somali region of Ethiopia was signed in July 2011, Sinknesh said. The government was expecting investment of as much as $5 billion by PetroTrans over the course of the project, she said.
No oil has been found in Ethiopia, which relies on exports of coffee and other agricultural commodities to generate most of its foreign-exchange earnings. The Somalia-bordering region, where PetroTrans operated the Calub and Hilala fields, has 4 trillion cubic feet (113 billion cubic meters) of natural gas, according to SouthWest Energy, an Addis Ababa-based company.
SouthWest, which is registered in Hong Kong, said it may strike oil next year in the three blocks it’s exploring.
PetroTrans, which took over blocks sold by Petronas Nasional Bhd of Malaysia in October 2010, said in an e-mail it will comment later today.
The government gave PetroTrans adequate notice of its decision, Sinknesh

Sunday, July 29, 2012

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ethiopia: The damages of politicized ethnicity By Mubarak Keder - Web Search Results

By Mubarak Keder
Ethnic diversity has been understood, by some as one of the causes for slow economic development, poor governance and political instability in most African countries. Ethnic diversity by itself, however, does not result in political and economic problems of a country, rather it is the politicization of ethnicity that will entail these problems. Taking this into account, after getting their independence, many African countries work to diffuse the significance of ethnicity in the political sphere. For this reason, banning ethnic parties and any other identity based parties in general become a common practice in many sub-saharan countries around the 1990’s.
On the contrary to this understanding by most African countries, when TPLF (Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front) took power in 1991, in Ethiopia, it championed the idea of ethnic based politics. Instead of transforming the organization to form a national based political party, they encouraged the formation of ethnic based political parties by forming a coalition of their own ethnically disintegrated political parties.
As any ethnic based party in a highly multi ethnic country TPLF encountered a major setback at the early stage to rule the country, that was: the constituent of TPLF was not large enough to make up a majority and establish a government on its own. It overcome this problem , effectively, in a way it would be able to form a coalition with other ethnic groups while maintaining the ethnic groups disunited politically to prevent cross-ethnic unified opposition. To this effect, it formed a mere satellite parties in Amhara, Oromia and Southern region to form EPRDF(Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front).
Keeping ethnic groups separated is a technique to keep opposition from unifying, adopted from the colonial rule as, example of Kenya, pointed out by Anke Weber, “the creation of closed and cut off ethnic units enabled the British colonialists to effectively rule the Kenyan population without having to fear a united resistance.”
Unfortunately, politicizing ethnicity did not stop at establishing a government. The country’s federal system is, wholly, defined by ethnic line rather than regional territories. The ethnic federalism structuring of the country’s political system is manifested on the House of Federation, which rather than regional basis as a constituent uses ethnicity to allocate seats in the house. As a result , the multi ethnic federal territories of Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa have no representation in the House of Federation. This division of ethnicities become even more apparent by the “right for secession” clause included in the constitution , which fed into ethno nationalism.
As Alem Habtu (Ethnic Federalism in Ethiopia: background, present conditions and future prospects) well put it, “the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia starts with the words: ‘we the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia’. This phrase indicates that all ethnic groups as collectives rather than individual citizens are, in principle, the authors of the constitution. Thus Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism is federalism based on ethnic communities as the constituent units and foundations of the federal state.” He further noted, “Ethnicity has been emphasized at the risk of undermining the concept of citizenship. For example, Addis Ababa is a federal city, official identification requires ethnic identification, although the latter is irrelevant in a federal city.”
One of the main problems that come with politicizing ethnicity is that: when opposition groups react to structural inequality towards their ethnic groups - each of them perceive marginalizing , specially to their group - they come out as organization which stand for the that single ethnicity than the national interest.
Generally speaking, political parties adjust their variables in a way it would optimize vote. In a political system where the ethnic parameter is inconsequential, parties will have to work on competing policy proposals for the country in order to appeal to voters. Therefore, in such cases voters base their decision on the policy that appeal to them and ultimately the party with better policy plan will get the most vote. Contrarily, where politicization of ethnicity is predominant, appealing to the general public using alternative policy and strategies, is not crucial on optimizing vote. Instead, the parties simply count on votes from their respective ethnic groups. Due to this reason, ethnic based political parties are , for the most part, ineffective in putting forward competing policy proposals for the country. This in combination have a far reaching effect on the country’s development and political progress as the parties’ and consequently, the system’s failure to provide the best among various policy proposals is going to be directly projected on the countries wide ranging policies and their implementation.
When we look at the Ethiopian opposition in light of politicization of ethnicity, they are characterized as fragmented: large in number and small in size. They are, with a few exception, following the trend of organizing along ethnic line ; one of the main reason for this being the cultural and structural inequalities various ethnic groups faced since the imperial regimes.
Despite their justification to organize in this pattern, ethnic parties and politicization of ethnicity are viewed as backward and impediment for a country’s development in a wide spectrum. Moreover, it is a treat to go forward as a unified country. So, it is the responsibility of the oppositions to put an end to this trend and make the change to being politically progressive if they are going to get rid of the current tyrant rule and lead the country as a just, unified one nation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

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Ethiopia: Scores Injured As Police, Muslims Clash in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa — Over 100 people including eight policemen were injured after clashes broke out during the weekend between police and Muslim protesters in Addis Ababa, where African leaders are gathered for African Union (AU) assembly.
The clashes took place after police attempt to break off what it said was an "illegal preparations for assembly" by a group of "radical Muslims" who wish to make Ethiopia into an Islamic state.
A police official on Sunday told Sudan Tribune that the group has no legal right to conduct or to call for public gatherings.
"The extremist group have been making several campaigns and calls for demos at different mosques of the city on the pretext of religion" the police official said.
According to Federal Police, the group had called for demonstrations on Sunday to deliberately disrupt the ongoing AU summit.
During the past two months, the capital, Addis Ababa, has been a scene of Muslim protests which accuse the government of interference in religious affairs. An allegation Addis Ababa denies.
Today protesters took control of the great Mosque of Anwar before security forces arrived to restore order.
Police took custody of dozens of people, eyewitness told Sudan Tribune. Police rejected reports that there had been fatalities.
Following the incident the Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) in a statement accused the Ethiopian government of intensifying its crack-down on the Muslim community.
"The Ethiopian government must be held accountable for its atrocities against Ethiopian Muslims" the group said by further calling on the international community to immediately intervene over the situation.
Ethiopian Muslims are estimated to make up some 40 per cent of the country's 81 million dominantly-Christian population.
Religious violence is not common in Ethiopia, which normally prides itself on being a symbol of religious tolerance.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

World Bank Approves New Power Transmission Line between Ethiopia and Kenya to Boost Electricity and Economic Growth | eGov monitor | The Information Daily

ource: The World Bank
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 - 12:35

Washington, July 12, 2012 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved the Eastern Electricity Highway Project, which will connect Ethiopia’s electrical grid with Kenya’s, create power- sharing between the two countries, reduce energy costs, promote sustainable and renewable power generation, better protect the region’s environment, and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation between the countries of East Africa. The new project marks the first phase of a regional East Africa power integration program which is likely to cost  US$1.3 billion at completion, eventually  benefiting 212 million people living in five countries with a combined GDP of US$107 billion.

Together with the Governments of Ethiopia and Kenya, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the French Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the project will finance a cross-border power line, to be built according to strong social and environmental safeguards that will allow Ethiopia to sell its surplus power to Kenya and reduce the need for polluting thermal power in Kenya.  The exported electricity will originate from the large number of existing and future power plants in Ethiopia.  When required, the flow of electricity can be reversed and Kenya would thus use the same interconnection facilities to sell electricity to Ethiopia.  

The World Bank financing to both governments−US$243 million for Ethiopia and US$441 million to Kenya−will come from the International Development Association,* the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries.

“This landmark transformational project will change the fundamentals of the power sector in East Africa. It will expand access and lower the cost of electricity supply to homes and businesses across Kenya and help to reduce thermal power emissions in Kenya, a clear benefit to the region’s environment,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region.  “Currently, only one in three Africans has access to electricity in their communities so boosting power sharing between countries is an essential step toward addressing Africa’s needs.” 

Ethiopia will benefit through the sale of energy to Kenya, which faces severe power shortages, and is among the five African countries considered likely to achieve middle-income status in the next decade provided it can grow at six percent annually, significantly expand its electricity supply and improve its transport links. Both countries will benefit from additional jobs created by construction and installation activities.

“The Eastern Electricity Highway Project will make a significant contribution to help meet the development needs of the people of Ethiopia, Kenya and the sub-region” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development, Africa Region. “Once built, this power line will be a symbol of Africa’s determination to solve its energy crisis through cooperation in energy trade. It will be a landmark in achieving more growth and less poverty in the region.”  

Benefits of Regional Power Trade

With the continent now among the world’s fastest growing developing regions, Africa is becoming a new pole of growth in the world economy. However, high infrastructure costs, particularly in smaller African countries, are restricting the pace of Africa’s ability to sustain its high growth rates. The project takes a regional approach to infrastructure development to lower cost of power supply by giving Kenya access to more efficient power technologies and Ethiopia’s larger scale of production.

Today’s approval of the East Africa electricity highway project is anchored in a World Bank regional strategy for Africa which promotes greater investment in the continent’s dire lack of key infrastructure as a key step to creating significantly more economic growth and less poverty, with a special emphasis on lowering the cost of supply to create jobs and stimulate the investment capacity of the private sector.

“The Eastern Electricity Highway Project is a unique opportunity to unlock East Africa’s vast energy potential, including hydropower, while safeguarding the environment,” said Paivi Koljonen, a Lead Energy Specialist in the Bank’s Africa Region and Team Leader for the new power sharing project. “We look forward to the project coming on stream so that the idea of power sharing becomes a reality, and helps to create better development prospects for communities in all East African countries.”

In 2011, World Bank helped to provide electricity to an additional 1.4 million people in African countries; construct and repair some 6,640 kilometers of roads; and improved water supplies for more than 8 million people

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

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Ethiopia: Where is Meles Zenawi? · Global Voices

Meles Zenawi at the World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, May 2010. Photo courtesy of World Economic Forum (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Written by

Rumors about the health of Ethiopia’s Prime Minster Meles Zenawi have dominated the Ethiopian social media sphere for weeks raising questions about the future of Ethiopia without him.
Zenawi has not been seen around since G20 meeting which was hosted in Mexico in June. He has not even attended the 21st Ordinary Session of the African Union which is being hosted in Addis Ababa until 16 July 2012.
Netizens have been sharing their thoughts regarding his health and disappearance on Twitter and Facebook. Social media users have been wondering why the story about his health and whereabouts is overlooked by the mainstream media.
Janice Winter tweeted:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jubbaland Conference: Ethiopia’s web of obstruction to Somalia’s Statehood | Qaranimo Online

Jubbaland State Conference held in Nairobi Kenya on June 28-30, 2012 is part of the overall web of obstruction strategy unfailingly pursued by Ethiopia to  prevent any chance for the rebirth of Somali State accountable to its people in the foreseeable future. The strategy is operationalized through multiple fronts, e.g., the misuse of UN Secuirty Council rule- “the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)[1] decides to actively remain seized of the matter of Somalia”, which means Somalia remains under IGAD’s jurisdiction, execution of counter-productive  reconciliation initiatives, military occupation, creation of multiple armed factions, imposition of clan-based federalism for establishing local dependent clienteles, promotion of unscrupulous personalities for leadership and marginalization of responsible leaders, hyping up of international threats emanating from Somalia by conducting biased diplomatic campaigns.
The immediate reasons behind this ad hoc conference could be three. First, Ethiopia strives to make the overwhelmingly rejected sub-clan-based federalism as fait accompli after the United Nations declared unseen Draft Constitution as a Provisional Federal Constitution (PFC) on June 22, 2012. The expected voting of the Traditional Leaders (TLs) and the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) on the PFC is inconsequential. Second, Ethiopia wants to strengthen its grips on Somalia’s political dispensation and to thwart all efforts for Somali Unity spearheaded by few international actors. Parenthetically, with regard to Somali Unity, the extraordinary message of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Somalia’s National Day July 1 to the people of Somalia raises a glimmer of hope.[2] Third, Ethiopia wants to deepen clan antagonisms among Somalis as a source for long term political destabilization.
Somali groups, IGAD/AU/UN, and Puntland Government issued separate communiqués highlighting certain aspects of the outcome of the conference. The reading of below reported IGAD/AU/UN communiqué[3]  is important because it reveals specific information.
Jubbaland State is becoming a reality with this foundation now being adhered to by the International Community, Regional States, and the main groups involved. The Communiqué from the conference prepared and hosted by IGAD and the AU with support from the UN was signed by the 5 important groups representing the State.
  1. 1.       TFG represented by the Deputy Minister Dr. Abdi Ali Hassan (Marehan/Uurmidig)
  2. 2.      Gedo Defense Forces represented by Gen Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail “Fartag” (Marehan/Reer Ugaas Sharmarke)
  3. 3.      Azania represented by Prof Mohamed Abdi Mohamed “Ghandi” (Ogaden/Talomoge)
  4. 4.      Ras Kambooni represented by Macalim Mohamed Ibrahim (Ogaden/Mohamed Suber)
  5. 5.      Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamee represented by Sheikh Mohamed Yusuf Mohamud “Aw Libaax” (Marehan/Celi)
The foundations agreed to is thus:
v  Jubbaland State is to be a regional federal state under the Federal Constitution of Somalia
v  Jubbaland State is to be formed by the merger of Gedo, Lower Jubba, and Middle Jubba Regions.
v  Jubbaland State representation will be based on current state and district partition
v  Jubbaland state will have three branches of state government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial
v  Jubbaland State will united differing militias as unitary state security.
v  Jubbaland State will be democratic and respects the rights of minorities.
v  Jubbaland state will be based on Sharia law.
The groups will now have subsequent meetings and interactions to work out the attainment of this plan.
Three observations are in order. (a) In accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) or Provisional Federal Constitution (PFC), the merger of regions and districts is subject to popular referendum certified by legitimate National Government and it is  not the prerogative of five individuals representing factions. (b) The participation of TFG is immaterial because the Roadmap suspended the TFC, dismantled the internationally recognized TFG and empowered clan entities -Puntland, Galmudug and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama (Mogadishu Faction). (c) The creation of Jubbaland State under the PFC and under Sharia Law will breed political turmoil and defeat  the formation of Somali State.
The communiqué (agreement)[4] of Somali participants states that Jubbaland State will live in peace with its neighbor countries and with other regions of Somalia. Also, it requires that the Jubbaland State should be established before the ending of the transitional federal period scheduled on August 20, 212 and that the process for establishing the Jubbaland State must be in conformity with the stabilization plan of IGAD and TFG, titled “Draft IGAD Strategy on managing the territories liberated areas in Somalia.” The plan allows IGAD to manage the territory,  people and politics  of the three regions with a strategy and tactics based on clan allegiance to its desired outcome.
With no explanation, representative of Harti group did not sign the final Communiqué.  In a radio interview, a spokesman of the conference said that a Harti group led  by Gen. Mohamed Warsame Darwish, former Chief of the Somali National Security Service (NSS) during President Abdullahi Yusuf’s government participated the conference. The Puntland Government welcomed the establishment of Jubbaland State with mix feelings-suspicion and support.[5]
It is not clear how the five groups planned to address the complications the agreement generates within various communities in the regions. Influential leaders from the five groups have already voiced their objection to the agreement. The Wagosha Community (Somali Bantu) expressed their strongest objection against the Jubbaland State.[6] The history and sub clan composition of the  Jubbaland population is different from the close kinship existing in Puntland State although all Somali communities (clans) proudly share territory, religion, language, citizenship, solidarity, and common aspirations.
As part of their tradition and culture, Somalis do not consider and classify certain groups or individuals as “minorities” It is my personal view that Somalis are aware of clan distinctions, injustices and economic disparity but they generally disapprove minority status classification.  Under the impracticable Federalism, there will be indefinite kinds of minorities in each village, district, and region of Somalia.
In parallel to IGAD’s mismanagement of Somalia, the international community is less concerned about what works and is best for the Somali people. The international community is delighted to spend resources and efforts on initiatives or experiments of their preference with the liberty to blame the Somalis for failures and for not grasping the “golden opportunities” offered to them. Jubbaland State is another spurious enterprise undertaken to abuse and confuse the exhausted people of Somalia. Will the Somali Elite be able to regain audacity, wisdom, stamina and sense of duty needed to challenge the current debilitating approach and steer Somalia to the right direction for the common good? Time will tell.
Mr. Mohamud M Uluso

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ethiopia to Build New International Airport |

Ethiopia is to build a new international airport between Meki and Modjo roads to address the growth of air traffic at BoleInternational Airport, Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian Airport Enterprise is conducting a study to build a new international airport said Colonel Wossenyeleh Hunegnaw, Director of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.
Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa currently services more than 150 flights daily with Ethiopian Airlines accounting for more than 60 departures a day while the numbers of international carriers operating in out of the airport have also increased to 13 contributing to the need to build a new airport explained the source.
The expansion project launched at Bole Airport was intended to handle air traffic growth until 2017 but the airport reached the projected numbers in 2010 leading to the airport enterprise to consider the need for a new airport. 
The enterprise initially was scouting a location 30 kilometers outside of the capital city near Dukem before deciding on conducting a study on the current location according to a senior official with the EAE.  
A team of experts are in the process of undertaking a feasibility study according to sources.
EAE has notified the Ethiopian Roads Authority of the plans to build a new airport to undertake the development of a new road network between the airport and Addis Ababa. The roads authority is expected to submit the plan for approval in the coming year according to a source.
Source: The Reporter