Logos of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
Logos of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
Logos of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank

As the world grows digital every day, in the face of unprecedented levels of lockdown and limited human interactions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting applications like Zoom are coming to the rescue of the global society staying at home. One such Zoom meeting held recently dealt with this global scourge, the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special focus on its impact on the Ethiopian Economy. The meeting, a webinar as it is called these days, was organized by Precise Consult, 251 Communications, Flawless Events and Gazebo International, all local players in the communication and event organizing industry.

This online conference attended by Eyob Tekalign (PhD), State Minister of Finance, Ephrem Lemango (PhD), Commissioner for Federal Jobs Creation Commission, Abebe Aemero Selassie, the International Monitory Fund’s (IMF) Africa Director, and Berhane Demissie, Managing Director of Cepheus Capital, looked into the challenges Ethiopia faces as a result of COVID-19 and the response from both the government and the international community. …

The Novel Corona Virus dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, caused a delay in the delivery of some equipment shipped for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), it was disclosed.
Speaking of the current status of the construction of the GERD as well as the ongoing negotiation regarding the filling and operation of the largest hydroelectric dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile river, Seleshi Bekele (PhD), Minister of Water and Energy, said that the construction of the dam is progressing well and previous problems relating to project management have been resolved, resulting in the quickened construction of the dam. He also added that 71 percent of the construction is completed.
But there are new and emerging challenges to the construction causing a bit if a delay in the course of the construction, Seleshi revealed.
“For instance, related to the Coronavirus outbreak, materials that are being imported have faced delays for two weeks to a month,” he said, adding, “This is a challenge that shook the global economy and we will treat it accordingly.”
The COVID-19, affected more than 98,000 people and caused more than 3300 deaths globally, according to the WHO. Trade across the globe has been affected because of the virus and stock markets suffered the most since the 2008 financial crisis that rocked the globe.
While most African countries including Ethiopia did not report any case of the virus, Egypt became the first country on the continent to report COVID-19 cases followed by Algeria, Senegal, and Nigeria, Tunisia. Egypt remains a high-risk country of contracting and spreading of the virus. The risk assessment also places Ethiopia among countries with moderate risks.
Nonetheless, the efforts to accelerate the construction of the dam have been given due attention and the follow up is strong, he supplemented. Workers are also toiling day and night.
“Last week I met with all the contractors to assess their progress and find ways of resolving the challenges they face. There is a strong follow-up; the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) has dedicated full force for contract management and financial management. The board of the EEP also does full follow up. It is at the center of the government’s attention whereby the Prime Minister himself conducts a day to day follow up for the dams accelerated completion,” Seleshi explained.
Accordingly, the filling of the dam will begin come next rainy season in June, he disclosed, indicating that the dam would hold 4.9 billion cubic meters of water, which he said is a small amount of water.
“At that stage of the construction, we can’t hold more water as the 11 turbines at the upper section of the dam need to be completed to do so. Unless we are cautious and wait for these turbines to be installed and fill beyond that point, it poses a risk as water might spill into the power-house,” he added.
Consequently, the dam would begin testing and commissioning in the dry seasons of February- March 2021 followed by power generation.
“The best part of our dam is that we don’t have to wait for seven years until the dam holds water to the fullest of its capacity [74 billion cubic meters] to generate power. …

New Education Roadmap: Salvation for Ethiopia’s Deficient Education?

A local language teacher writes letters from the Alphabet on the chalk board
A local language teacher writes letters from the Alphabet on the chalk board
A local language teacher writes letters from the Alphabet on the chalk board ©WBG Ethiopia

Although the history of modern education in Ethiopia can be traced back to the 1940s, the concept of formal and organized education is not new to the country on account of widespread church education offered to religious scholars and leaders which spans over many centuries in Ethiopia. Mainly dominated by the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Islamic Madrasas, where privileged Ethiopians used to go to a schooling program, structured in a manner that is comparative to the modern education system, encompassing primary to tertiary education levels. …

Understanding the UNDP: Silent, yet influential development partner

Louise Chamberlain is the departing resident representative for United Nation Development Program (UNDP) in Ethiopia, a position she has held since 2018. She also served as UNDP Ethiopia since 2017. She has witnessed a lot going on in the country during her time in Addis Ababa and she believes the current reforms in Ethiopia are “mind boggling” and “impressive”. As her time in Addis comes to its end, Chamberlain sat down with Brook Abdu of The Reporter to discuss development and reform challenges of Ethiopia: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to privatization of state-owned enterprises and many others. …

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The theme of the 2019 WPFD celebrated in Addis Ababa — Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation

If someone said, a couple of years ago, that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is holding its annual Press Freedom Day celebration in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it would perhaps pass as a joke or fake news among the global journalism fraternity.

This, however, is not without a reason since Ethiopia is known for its track record of being one of the top jailers of journalists in the world and the worst when it comes to freedom of the Press. Now, the country has no journalist behind bars according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. …

The euphoria that engulfed the country one year ago when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) assumed the hot seat at Arat kilo seems to be receding slowly. Another round of protests is visiting the country and they are erupting here and there. In fact, protests are even happening in places that have been relatively peaceful during the three years of protests which resulted in the ongoing reform led by the PM and his team.

New protests resulted in the death of many people, the displacement of others and deployment of the military force to manage the security crisis in the area they are happening. Coupled with a wide range of challenges that the administration of Abiy Ahmed is facing, which includes economic and humanitarian predicaments in the country, have put the administration in a tight situation. …

Ethiopia never seems to catch a break when it comes to land and land-related problems throughout its political and economic history. Land has been the maker and breaker of Ethiopian politics beginning from the time of Emperor Haileselassie I to the toppling of the Derg, from the protests across the country for consecutive three years since 2016 leading to the division within EPRDF to the resignation of PM Hailemariam Dessalegn and the coming to power of Abiy Ahmed (PhD). But, not at once has the nation been devoid of protests and upraises related to land to this point in time. …

የምሥራቅ አፍሪካ ቀጣናዊ ትብብርና ውጥረት ውስጥ ያለችው የኢትዮጵያ ሚና

የአፍሪካ ኅብረት ከተቋቋመበት ጊዜ ቀደም ብለው በነበሩ ዓመታት ከቅኝ ግዛት ነፃ የወጡ የአፍሪካ አገሮች ዋነኛ ትኩረት የነበረው፣ አኅጉራዊ ውህደትን ማምጣት ነበር፡፡ ይሁን እንጂ በወቅቱ ከኢኮኖሚያዊ ውህደትና ከፖለቲካ ውህደት የትኛው ይቅደም በሚለው አታካራ ወደ አንድ መምጣት አቅቷቸው፣ በጎራ በመከፋፈል ወደ ፉክክርና ክርክር ገብተው ነበር፡፡

ሆኖም በወቅቱ የኢትዮጵያ ንጉሠ ነገሥት የነበሩት ቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ ባመጡት አስታራቂ ሐሳብ፣ የአፍሪካ አንድነት ድርጅት የዛሬው የአፍሪካ ኅብረት ሊመሠረት ችሏል፡፡ ነገር ግን የዚህ አኅጉራዊ ድርጅት መቋቋምና ከ50 በላይ የአፍሪካ አገሮችን በአባልነት ማቀፍ ለ56 ዓመታት ቢዘልቅም፣ ይኼ ዓላማ ከግብ አኳያ ጠብ ያለ ነገር አላመጣም፡፡

ይኼ የኅብረት ፕሮጀክት በግዝፈቱ ሊገፋ ባለመቻሉም ቀጣናዊ ውህደት ላይ ወደ ማተኮር የተዞረ ሲሆን፣ ይኼም በሒደት አኅጉራዊ ውህደቱን ዕውን ለማድረግ ያግዛል የሚል እምነት ተጥሎበታል፡፡ በዚህ ተነሳሽነትም የተለያዩ የአፍሪካ አገሮች በቀጣናቸው ኢኮኖሚያዊ ውህደት ላይ በማተኮር፣ የተለያዩ ቀጣናዊ የኢኮኖሚ ማኅበረሰብ መሥርተዋል፡፡ ከእነዚህም መካከል የምዕራብ አፍሪካ አገሮች የኢኮኖሚ ማኅበረሰብ (ኤኮዋስ)፣ የደቡባዊ አፍሪካ አገሮች የልማት ማኅበረሰብ (ሳድክ)፣ የምሥራቅና ደቡባዊ አፍሪካ አገሮች የጋራ ገበያ (ኮሜሳ)፣ የምሥራቅ አፍሪካ የልማት በይነ መንግሥታት ድርጅት (ኢጋድ)፣ የዓረብ ማግርብ ኅብረት፣ የሳህል ሰሃራ አገሮች ማኅበረሰብና የምሥራቅ አፍሪካ ማኅበረሰብ የሚጠቀሱ ሲሆን፣ እነዚህም በትልቁ ለሚታሰበው አኅጉራዊ ውህደት ድምር ውጤት ግብዓት ይሆናሉ ተብለው…

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The issue of national consensus and reconciliation is not a new subject to Ethiopian politics particularly given its history of recurrence since the coming to power of the incumbent Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Many especially in the opposition camp have been pushing for some sort of national reconciliation and the establishment of a government reflecting this national reconciliation and consensus. These voices started to become more prominent especially after the establishment of a transitional government under EPRDF’s stewardship in the early 1990s.

One thing that was clear was that many political groups, especially in the post-transitional period, were feeling increasingly alienated from the political game in Ethiopia. Eventually, quite a few of these group decided to adopt the EPRDF’s old political strategy of waging guerilla struggle and through time become convinced that they have to overthrow the government through an organized armed struggle. In that time, the need to conduct national reconciliation and strive for national consensus was persistently pursued by those political actors who chose peaceful political struggle. Needless to say all these pleas were largely unheeded by the ruling front. Some even say that, Meles Zenawi, the late and longest serving Prime Minister since the formation of the federation, and largely a divisive figure among Ethiopians and the global community alike, could have been a national hero had he been willing to entertain such pleas for reconciliation. …

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በኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ብሔራዊ ዕርቅና መግባባት የመነጋገሪያና የመከራከሪያ አጀንዳ ከሆነ እጅግ በርካታ ዓመታት ተቆጥረዋል፡፡ ይህ ጉዳይ በተለይ ኢሕአዴግ ሥልጣን ከያዘ በኋላ በጦርነትም ይሁን በተለያዩ ምክንያቶች የተጎዱና ቁርሾ ያለባቸውን የኅብረተሰብ ክፍሎች ለማከም ይቻል ዘንድ፣ አገራዊ ዕርቅና መግባባት ያስፈልጋል የሚሉ በርካቶች ነበሩ፣ ዛሬም አሉ፡፡

ይሁንና በዚህ ዓመት የተለየ አቋም እስከሚያንፀባርቅ ድረስ፣ የዚህ ሐሳብ ዋነኛ ተቃዋሚ በመሆንና አስፈላጊ አይደለም በማለት ጠንካራ አቋም ይዞ የቆየው ኢሕአዴግ ነበር፡፡ ይህም አኩራፊው በዝቶ ጦር መዛዡ እንዲበራከትና ጫካ የገባውም ሳይወጣ እንዲቀር ያደረገ ክፍተት ፈጥሯል ተብሎ፣ በርካቶች የሰላ ትችት እንዲሰነዝሩ ምክንያት ሆኗል፡፡ እንዲያውም ሟቹ የኢሕአዴግ ሊቀመንበርና ለረዥም ጊዜ የአገሪቱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር የነበሩት አቶ መለስ ዜናዊ፣ አገራዊ ዕርቅና መግባባት ላይ ሠርተው ቢሆን ኖሮ ዛሬ ከደቡብ አፍሪካ የመጀመርያው ጥቁር ፕሬዚዳንትና የነፃነት አባት ኔልሰን ማንዴላ ያልተናነሰ ክብርና ጀግንነትን ሊጎናፀፉ ይችሉ ነበር በማለት አስታያየታቸውን የሚሰጡ…


Brook Abdu

#Journalist, #Writer, #Editor

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