Africa and the African Union
The 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa (RC66) Kicked off at the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Friday (August 19). Regional oral health strategy 2016-2025, regional strategy for health security and emergencies, and multi-sectoral action for a life course approach to healthy ageing are among the core thematic agendas in the five-day long conference.
Preparations are underway for the Tenth African Development Forum to be convened in November (November 15-17) by the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union and the African Development Bank in Addis Ababa. The Forum, which will be held under the theme “Migration and Africa’s transformation”, brings together Heads of State and Government, policy makers, development partners, UN agencies, academics, civil society organizations, and the private sector and opinion leaders.
Prime Minister Hailemariam told a meeting of Ethiopia’s ambassadors and diplomats on Friday (August 12) of the importance of explaining the reality in the country to the international community, and the efforts being made to resolve challenges while trying to respect democratic and human rights. He noted the achievements in changing livelihoods and expanding social services but also noted that maladministration, lack of jobs and infrastructure, among others, had created discontent, with rent-seeking tendencies coupled with ethnic and religious extremism contributing to recent chaos in parts of Amhara and Oromia Regional States.
Ethiopia took over as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum at the Forum’s meeting in Manila, Philippines. It is the first African country to take the presidency of the 43-member organization, and will be organizing the Forum’s approach to the UN COP22 meeting in Marrakech in November.
State Minister Ambassador Taye Atske- Selassie briefed Addis-based African Ambassadors on current situations in the country, particularly on the recent protests in parts of Oromia and Amhara Regional States on Friday (August 19).
State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Taye Atseke-selassie conferred with Deputy Minister of Multilateral and Global Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Choi Jong-moon On Wednesday (August 17). The discussions focused on ways of expanding cooperation in the fields of development, science and technology as well as advancing political consultation.
State Minister Ambassador Taye Atske-selassie received copies of letters of credence of the newly appointed Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Asghar Ali Golo on Wednesday (August 17).
State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Regasa Kefale, on Thursday (August 18) received delegates of Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) who are on a three day Trade Mission to Ethiopia.
State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resource, Wondyirad Mandefro, launching preparations at the weekend for the 15th African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition due to be held in Addis Ababa next February, said Ethiopia is working towards becoming the world’s second largest coffee producer during the next decade. The conference is expected to bring together over 2,000 coffee producers, traders and professionals from around the world. Ethiopia hosted the conference twice before in 2007 and 2011.
State Minister of Culture and Tourism Tadelech Dalecho said Ethiopia keen to see the leading involvement of Chinese investors in manufacturing sector replicated in tourism and hospitality. The state minister made the statement at the China-Ethiopia Tourism Industry Cooperation Dialogue held on Wednesday (August 17).
A three-day workshop, organized by the US Embassy in collaboration with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and Education to enhance US-Ethiopia partnership in the agriculture sector through higher education links opened at the Hilton Hotel Addis Ababa this week, on Monday (August 15).
Ethiopian Ambassadors and Consuls General from over 40 overseas posts over the weekend visited Hawassa, capital of the Regional State of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNPR), a major tourist center on Lake Awassa and now an important destination for foreign investors.
City Diplomacy and the role of the Diaspora was the major topic of a conference held in Hawassa, capital of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, at the weekend, during the visit of the Ambassadors and Consuls General to the city.
The Peace and Security Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia in collaboration with the United Nations and the African Union on Monday (August 15) organized a three-day workshop, which aimed at offering capacity building packages to the Ethiopian United Nations Security Council Team (UNSC).
Brigadier-General Haile Tilahun, Head of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), has died aged 62, of natural causes. Brigadier-General Haile was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in January 2015.
The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, on Tuesday this week (August 16) released US$2 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for “severely underfunded aid operations” in Eritrea. This was part of a total of US$50 million for six neglected emergencies in six countries, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo), Rwanda and Yemen ($13 million). The money for Eritrea is “to support humanitarian partners in responding to current needs [due to arid conditions and poor rains. Additionally, gaps in health care, water, sanitation and hygiene services will be addressed.”
The Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Adan Mohamed said on Friday last week (August 12) that Kenya will speed up the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) as part of efforts to attract more investment and increase exports. The SEZs being set up in in Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu are expected to help double the number of current jobs in the manufacturing sector to around a million and add two to three billion U.S. dollars to Kenya’s GDP in the next decade.
Police are looking for an appropriate location in Isiolo County where they can destroy more than 5,000 illegal firearms collected in the last five years. Isiolo County Commissioner George Natembeya, said “The Office of the President in collaboration with Kenya Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons have initiated the program to stem the flow of illegal arms.”
IGAD’s Security Sector Program (ISSP), together with the Sahan Foundation, a Nairobi Think-tank, released a report entitled “Al-Shabaab as a Transnational Security Threat”, on Monday (August 15) in Nairobi. It emphasizes that Al-Shabaab was no longer an exclusively Somali problem, and required a concerted international response.
The Somali Defense Ministry said on Tuesday this week (August 16) that an elite Somali commando unit had carried out operations last week in Saakow, a town in Middle Juba region still controlled by Al-Shabaab. Media reports have claimed that Al-Shabaab’s leader, Abu Ubeida ‘Ahmed Diiriye’, and its spokesman, Abu Mus’aib, may have been killed along with other members of Al-Shabaab’s Shura council
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of African Union Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Madeira congratulated the Federal Government, regional leaders and the people, for agreeing on the 2016 electoral process timetable. He told the media on Wednesday (August 17) that the AU was committed to support the Federal Government and work with the National Security Forces and to provide the necessary technical support. It will provide training to the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team as well as observers for the elections.
A Ugandan military court sitting in Mogadishu has sentenced nine Ugandan soldiers serving in AMISOM, to jail terms after being found guilty of selling running oil to civilians in Mogadishu. The Chairman of the Court Martial, Brigadier General Olum said they had damaged the image of the Ugandan People’s Defense Force as well as that of AMISOM. He warned that the force would not tolerate any incident of misconduct among its officers serving in peacekeeping missions.
President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo of Somaliland carried out a major reshuffle of appointments on Sunday (August 14), among them Interior Minister Mohamed Ali Waran’ade as Ambassador to Ethiopia, and Commerce and Investment Minister Hussein Aden Egge ‘Hussien Deyr’ returning to the presidency as spokesperson. Major General Nuuh Ismail Tani returns as Armed Forces chief of staff; there are fifteen ministerial and deputy ministerial changes as well as other changes.
The second annual Mogadishu Book Fair opened Wednesday (August 17) featuring authors of different genres, stage performances, presentations and book critiques. The festival, which has attracted hundreds of book lovers, will run till Friday. Among presentations will be former BBC Africa correspondent Andrew Harding, who is launching his book, The Mayor of Mogadishu.
The Security Council on Friday (August 12) authorized a 4,000-strong regional protection force within the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to be “responsible for providing a secure environment in and around Juba.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed disappointment that Sudan’s warring parties failed to reach an agreement on a cessation of hostilities in Darfur and the two states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, during the last round of negotiations (August 9-14) in Addis Ababa. He strongly urged all parties to resume negotiations, abide by the roadmap agreement, and refrain from any attempt to escalate conflict. The African Union High-level Implementation Panel, UNAMID and the UN Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan are mediating the talks.