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Japanese Universities Agree to Expand 13 Technologies on Sustainable Land Mgmt in Amhara Region

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Addis Ababa August 16/2022/ENA/ Two Japanese Universities have reached agreement to expand 13 technologies that have been proven to be effective on sustainable land management in Amhara Regional State.

The technologies were invented in a research conducted over the past five years with a budget of 3 million USD by Bahir Dar University in collaboration with the Japanese Tottori and Shimane Universities.  

The Universities agreed to  exert efforts to scale up and implement the technological solutions  across Amhara Region.   

Speaking at the occasion, Head of the Regional Agriculture Bureau, Dr. Almaz Gizew said region’s ecosystem is vulnerable to soil erosion.  

The research works conducted by the three Universities have brought about a change in integrating soil and water treatment, land fertility, productivity and the benefit of the society, the head said.

President of Bahir Dar University, Dr. Frew Tegegne, pointed out that the research works that Bahir Dar University has been conducting in collaboration with Japanese universities is unique.

The university will play its part in the effort to benefit the society in a sustainable manner by expanding the research findings to all areas of the region, he added.

A researcher at Japan’s Tottori University and coordinator of the project, Professor Niguse Haregewein, explained that the aim of the research is to reduce soil and water pollution, increase soil fertility, enhance productivity and ensure the sustainable benefit of the local community.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Ethiopia Director, Dr. Katsuki Morihara, on his part said his organization has done its part by providing financial support for the project to reach this level.

Since the technologies have been proven effective in trial implementation, they will support the efforts to scale up the technologies in the future, the Director said.

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GERD Vital To Extricate People from Poverty: Ethiopia’s Ambassador to France

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Addis Ababa August 16 2022/ENA/ The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a project of development, cooperation and clean energy, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to France said.

In an exclusive virtual interview with Ethiopian News Agency, Ambassador Henok Tefera noted that the dam is a great source of energy which will contribute towards alleviating climate change.

According to him, GERD will generate electricity that is essential for the country’s development since energy is essential for all sectors of the economy.

The country could also sell electricity to neighboring countries and generate hard currency  thereby strengthening its cooperation with neighboring countries.

Above all, the project is vital to extricate people from poverty, provide electricity to millions of Ethiopians who do not have access to electricity.

The Ethiopian Diaspora have played a vital role in the growth and stability of the country through direct and indirect financial contribution to support mega-projects across the country, Ambassador Henok elaborated.

“The diaspora in France as elsewhere is strongly mobilized more than ever for the support of this dam,” he pointed out.

The Abbay water has now started to flow over the top of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam for the third time.

Accordingly, the height of the middle part of this mega-dam has reached 600 meters above sea level and the left and right sides were 611 meters.

With its two turbines going operational, GERD generates 375 MW of electricity.

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Fisheries Coordination Platform Workshop Underway in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa August 16/2022/ENA/ A workshop aimed at facilitating the reviewing of performance of the Eco-fish programs and activities at national and IGAD levels as well as assess cooperation among IGAD members, southern Africa and the Indian Ocean is underway in Addis Ababa.

Opening the IGAD Fisheries Coordination Platform Workshop, Agriculture State Minister Fikru Regassa said Ethiopia is working to utilize its fish resource and cooperating with IGAD.

“Ethiopia in its 10-year strategic development plan and agricultural plan has paid significant attention to the fishery and aqua culture development.”

According to him, the workshop will review the performance of the Eco-fish programs and activities at the sub-regional IGAD and at national level.

Stating that IGAD Secretariat has multilateral projects that are implemented in Ethiopia, the state minister said “we will closely collaborate with IGAD Secretariat regarding fishery development, management processes and expected results of cooperation.”

IGAD has started assisting Ethiopia’s fishery sub-sector and it is in the process of supporting its National Blue Economy Strategy.      

Representative of IGAD Executive Secretary, Abebe M. Beyene said on his part that the IGAD region is endowed with very diverse inland and marine ecosystems of immense fish resource that needs better attention and coordination to use it.

Five IGAD member states, namely Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, are coastal countries with a total of about 7000KM length and about 1.2 million kilometer square exclusive economic zone, he noted.  

“The fish productivity in this marine zone is very high. Generally, the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden region is globally known for the uniqueness of its costal and marine bio-diversity,” Abebe elaborated.  

Despite the potential resource that could be used to ensure food security and export both in IGAD member states and in Africa, “there is less attention and focus to develop the fisheries sub- sector,” the representative stressed.

Fishery activity in the region is often illegal, unreported and unregulated, especially in Somalia, he said, further pointing out that lack of economic zone is also a challenge except in Kenya.

EU’s flagship project in East Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region Manager, Madev Balloo, stated that the meeting is aimed at strengthening inter-regional collaboration of the IGAD sub-region to promote sustainable, inclusive and integrated management of fisheries resources.

“This is crucial in a bid to promote synergies at a time resources are limited and fishery resources are depleting at an alarming rate.”

The EU  thus recommends Indian Ocean Commission, IGAD and all the relevant stakeholders to promote the activities that feature mainly strategic action of the marine work plan.

The workshop will stay until  August 18, 2022.

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News: Thousands of Tigrayans illegally held in Afar camps begin return to Ab’ala town

3 mins read

Addis Abeba – Thousands of Tigrayans who were forcibly kept in detention camps in Semera, in Afar regional state, began returning to Ab’ala town.

The UNOCHA tweeted a photo with information: “today in Semera, Afar region, the return of thousands of Internally Displaced People (IDP) to Ab’ala town began. The return operation will continue over the next couple of weeks. OCHA is working with partners to ensure safe transition for returnees.”

In June this year, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) documented the detention of around 9, 000 Tigrayans who were held “illegally and unconstitutionally” since December 2021 in Semera and Agatina camps in the town of Semera, Afar Regional state. The Commission has called for the immediate end to the detention. The Tigrayans who spoke with EHRC’s monitoring team said they had been evicted from their homes and were being held without their consent.

They were taken from three districts in the Afar Region bordering Tigray, namely, Ab’ala, Koneba and Berhale, in connection with the civil war. Local authorities said they were held for the purpose of “their own security” and in connection with “suspicion of crimes.”

However, EHRC’s report revealed that there were 8,560 people in the two camps and men and women were separated, forcing members of the same family to live apart. “The extremely limited availability of humanitarian aid and medical services caused epidemic-like diseases in the camps, including loss of lives”, and it is “exacerbated by the fact that they are “not allowed” to receive medical facility except for when a woman is “to give birth,” EHRC said. AS




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Flagship Program Document Handover Held in Addis –

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Addis Ababa August 16, 2022(Walta) The Flagship program document handover program has been held in Addis Ababa today.

During the opening remark, Ayele Gebreamlak, The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Ethiopia program officer said, AGRA in Ethiopia was on building key systems of service delivery to smallholder farmers, supporting the development of evidence-based policies to create an enabling environment, and enhancing the execution capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and affiliate intuitions. These interventions have contributed to catalyzing sustainable and inclusive agriculture transformation by increasing incomes and improving the food security of 1.8 million smallholder farmers.

The Ministry of agriculture requested AGRA to support the development of five flagship programs for Ethiopia. Based on this, AGRA responded to this request by developing the three Flagship programs. These are the National wheat flagship program, the National rice flagship program, and the oilseed and animal feed program.

Hailemariam Desalegn, the former prime minister and AGRA board chairman, said AGRA has played a great role in Africa as well as in Ethiopia to transform agriculture and food security. AGRA has facilitated and coordinated the technical committee and supported the resource mobilization to develop the flagship program in Ethiopia. The government of Ethiopia has implemented this program with a prospective ten years plan. The document is also comprehensive.

Minister of Agriculture,  Oumer Hussein said   I am grateful to all for being with us on these occasions to hand over event three agricultural commodities flagship program due to the financial and technical support of AGRA. AGRA has been our development partner working in the agriculture development sector to help our effort to transform the agriculture system and increase the productivity and income of smallholder farmers.

Lastly, the minister stated that we seek to enhance financial and technical support from our development partners and active participation of the private sectors and AGRA also helps the three agricultural commodities flagship program by materializing.

 

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Bahir Dar University, USAID Ink 7.7 Mil USD Training Program Agreement

1 min read

Addis Ababa August 16/2022/ENA/ The Bahir Dar University signed a training program agreement worth 7.7 million USD with the United States International Development Agency (USAID).

The five year training program agreement aims at producing proficient and competent researchers and research leaders in the field of disaster prevention and nutrition studies.  

USAID Ethiopia Director, Sean Johns said during the signing ceremony that USAID has been providing supports to education programs designed in the field of disaster prevention and reduction of vulnerability over the past ten years.

Today’s training agreement aims at reducing Ethiopia’s disaster vulnerability, he said noting that some 750 Ethiopian researchers are expected to get training in the areas of disaster prevention and nutrition studies as part of the agreement.

The agreement will enable to create competent leadership in the areas by providing continuous capacity building programs in disaster prevention and reduction of vulnerability, the director stated.

Bahir Dar University Information and Strategic Communication Vice President, Dr. Zewdu Imirru said for his part that scholars drawn from 11 universities will participate in the training program.   

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Women in Tech Startup Accelerator Launches in Ethiopia –

2 mins read

Addis Ababa, August 16, 2022 (Walta) – The Ethiopia-based Tech African Women (TAW) programme has launched in a bid to provide support and acceleration to women-owned African tech startups, taking businesses from idea stage to operational.

TAW is spearheaded by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in partnership with Betacube, and invites female-led idea stage startups from Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia to submit their applications to join.

The programme’s objective is to “empower” female founders to leverage their skills in order to build strong tech startups, accelerate project ideas into validated business models, and develop alliances between different African ecosystems.

According to Disrupt Africa, entrants will have access to a pool of tech developers and designers who will work to support and mentor their teams, as well as experts in marketing and finance.

The programme will run from August to December, and will include training bootcamps and pitching competitions, and a a two-month online incubation programme for the best two startups from each country.

It will conclude with a final ceremony to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the ECA Conference Centre where eight finalist startups will be invited to pitch to win the final prize, a 7,000 USD cash grant.

“TAW targets female-led and idea-stage tech startups and offers these startup teams an exclusive opportunity to acquire new entrepreneurial skills, establish partnerships with their African peers, increase regional business visibility, and access funds,” organisers said.

“It supports ideas addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by developing the capacity of female entrepreneurs who desire to understand how to play a role in the continent’s development and want to deep dive into building impact-driven startups.”

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Analysis: Safaricom makes assurance in wake of protest from Oromo activists, bloggers over alleged employment discrimination

15 mins read
Gammadaa Olaanaa, second from left, is a social media influencer and one of the campaigners who met with Safaricom officials today. Picture: Gammadaa Olaanaa Facebook page

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Abeba: Oromo online activists on Facebook and Twitter are protesting against alleged employment discrimination by Safaricom Telecommunications PLC. The protest is mainly centered around an accusations that the company shows discriminatory recruitment processes, depriving job opportunities for individuals of diverse backgrounds including Afaan Oromoo speakers, and alleged absence by the company of Afaan Oromoo language in its expansion works in the Oromia regional state.

Over the past several days, repeated attempts by Addis Standard to reach out to Tewedaj Eshetu, the Public Relations Officer for Safaricom Ethiopia and Ethiojobs, the jobs compnay outsourced to conduct the recruitment for Safaricom, for comments on the matter went unanswered as of the publishing of this news.

However, in a statement the Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia issued today, it moved to reassured its prospective customers that it was “building a company that represents all of Ethiopia.”

“Safaricom Ethiopia met with representatives of a recent social media campaign, yesterday, and listened closely to their concerns. We assured them that we are building a company that represents all of Ethiopia without any biases or prejudice and are available for discussions anytime. We are committed to serving all of Ethiopia in a way that respects all languages and cultures, as part of our vision of transforming lives for a digital future,” the company said.

How it started

Pictures have surfaced online supposedly showing messages of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia on billboards in parts of cities and towns in Oromia region without the use of Afaan Oromoo, the official working language of the Oromia regional state and one of the widely spoken languages in Ethiopia. A video posted on the Facebook page of Gammadaa Olaanaa, a social media influencer and one of the campaigners, showed a short video showing individuals tearing what appears to be Safaricom poster from a shop. Gammadaa is one of the representatives who met with Safaricom officials above.

“People were complaining to me that the Oromos who were evaluated for jobs were not getting job opportunities but I did not pay attention to this as an individual matter.

Abdissa Bacha

Abdissa Bacha is one of the leading members in the social media protest campaigns. “All the people of this country should get equal opportunities. As citizens of a country, we want to participate in activities. When Safaricom enters the country, it is expected to reduce unemployment and create vast job opportunities for all. We have been advertising that this company will give us a choice of service and create job opportunities for all of us.” he said.

“However, since the company came to Ethiopia and opened up its office, we see the opposite”, he remarked. “People were complaining to me that the Oromos who were evaluated for jobs were not getting job opportunities but I did not pay attention to this as an individual matter. Later, as the job opportunities offered and the staffing made the issue clear.” He added, “When we look at the management of the company, it appears that the whole company is dominated by one group,” Abdissa told Addis Standard.

When asked to explain the goal of the online protest campaign, Abdissa said, “one of the objectives is for the organization to start using Afaan Oromo [for its operations and activities] in the Oromia region. Secondly, the employees and representatives of the company should be local people from the areas where the services are provided and who can speak the language. This means that no one should lose opportunities when there are many qualified people,” he said. However, he cautioned that this does not translate into saying the company should hire unqualified people. “The Oromo people should be the beneficiaries of the opportunities created based on their abilities,” he said, adding that the protest campaigners do not intent to make this about individuals but a collective campaign by the Oromo youth, whom he said were “a stratified group that has been fighting for equal opportunity in this country.”

Daniel, an employee who briefly worked with a Safaricom agent, is another campaigner who shared Abdissa’s views, but also adds his own. He claimed he was forced to resign because the company did not provide transparency and comfortable conditions for employees. “They told us about competitive team leaders and appointed people without any competition. Besides, I live in Burayu, and the transportation service of the company does not go there, so when we asked them to change the work schedule to a time frame more convenient for public transportation, they refused, so I was forced to stop working.” Daniel, who wanted to be identified by his first name only, told Addis Standard. He believes this constitutes unfavorable working conditions for those prospective employees who aspire to work for the company from areas surrounding the capital.

An employee of the state giant, Ethio telecom, who spoke to Addis Standard under the condition of anonymity, claims he has applied for a position at Safaricom more than eight times, which he believes he is highly qualified for. However, he “has been rejected while some of his colleagues with less educational qualifications have joined Safaricom.” He believes even though his name is not explicitly an Oromo name there are some indicators such as his birthplace and language that could have hampered his chance of joining the company.

On policy of inclusion

An international Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) certified strategist, counselor, and trainer who is based in Addis Abeba and spoke to Addis Standard on conditions of anonymity highlighted in detail the importance of the policy of inclusion and value for diversity. “Businesses that introduce new products and services into a new market stand a better chance of customers’ and community acceptance if they set a clear statement on the company’s stand about the company’s policy of inclusion and how they value diversity and follow it up with a series of actions. This is a crucial step to take in the initial phase since the company’s success will heavily depend on how well the community welcomes it,” the counselor said in an emailed response.

“Although these factors are crucial for the immediate success of the company, the underlining factors (culture, values and religion) of the area need to be highly considered for its business to be sustainable.”

“Specifically, in the case of Ethiopia, a country with a considerably large asset of a multi-lingual and multi-cultural society, the conscious steps a company takes in incorporating a diverse team starting from high-level positions and trickling down to lower level jobs will make a dynamic statement on the company’s stance and the deepened commitment it has to build an inclusive team that caters to all stakeholders”

Businesses make profit-driven decisions based on what makes the most sense and consider factors such as attracting highly qualified candidates, investing in an area with the most access to enhanced infrastructures, and with readily available facilities to mention a few, according to the counselor. “Although these factors are crucial for the immediate success of the company, the underlining factors (culture, values and religion) of the area need to be highly considered for its business to be sustainable. The community needs to feel a sense of ownership for the success of the company and that will only be achieved by building an inclusive and diverse team from the community to serve the community and cultivate authentic growth within the community.”

During the course of this reporting, Addis Standard has seen that some of the key job vacancies posted on behalf of Safaricom for its its branch office in Semera, Afar regional state, did not include requirement for local language fluency. Responding to a question on such instances the, counselor said: “There needs to be a balance between applying the company culture of a multi-national company doing business in the local economy and understanding the local culture, values, norms and religions. Representing the duality of the task in managing two or more cultures is critical in being accepted as a company that represents and understands the diverse nature of the country. It is important, however, to note that local language fluency may be one of a number of requirements candidates must meet and cannot be held as the only parameter to ensure the provision of service to the local population.”

Not including local language fluency during the recruitment process “presents a huge risk for a company like Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia if it has indeed not done so. This move will certainly affect the success of the company in terms of attracting the right candidate and will face challenges trying to get easily accepted within the local community. One’s culture, values, norms, nuances, and customs are all embedded in his/her language. A person that does not speak the local language will have difficulties bridging the gap between the company operating locally and the local community.”

Appointing a Chief Diversity Officer to lead the company’s efforts from the top; setting up up a diverse interview panel to understand different cultures, languages, experiences and exposures during the interview process, are some of the recommendations the expert suggested. Furthermore, during the recruitment process, blinding out names, gender, and other identifying markers to avoid intended or unintended prejudices and actively participating in activities to lessen unconscious bias among teams as well as encouraging a culture of listening and understanding of different perspectives that can be utilized as input to help grow the company in different dimensions are all critical steps the expert recommended.

Safaricom, a Kenya based telecom giant, won a tender to provide telecom services in Ethiopia back in May 2021. The company, which is part of the Vodafone group, has been under pressure after previously missing out on an April 2022 service launch. In July however, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia said it was preparing to launch its network starting from the city of Dire Dawa in August. The first stage of its phased Ethiopia-wide launching will include 24 other sites by April 2023, according to the company.

It started to employ 1,000 workers in June 2022, with a target of creating job opportunities for 450 graduates over three years through the ’Discover Graduate Management Program.’ The company had announced its commencement of recruitment across Ethiopia in September 2021. AS




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South Sudan Says GERD Won’t Have Negative Impact, Catalyst for Regional Integration –

5 mins read

Addis Ababa, August 16, 2022(Walta) – South Sudan Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs, General Kong Tiptip Gatluak, said that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will not have a negative impact on downstream countries and is instrumental for regional energy integration.

A high-level delegation led by Presidential Advisor, General Kong Tiptip Gatluak, along with senior security and civil officials has visited today the construction site of the renaissance dam.

After the visit, the presidential advisor told ENA saying: “we have seized this opportunity to visit the construction site of GERD and proved the dam has not had any negative impact.”

Gatluak added this dam is going to have its lion’s share of the integration of the East African region through the supply of electricity.

“After witnessing the GERD’s construction site, we found that the dam is a large project and can provide all neighboring countries with electricity we have really seen a very big job.”

In order to accelerate the connectivity of the region with power, the advisor said Ethiopia has already started to sell electricity to Djibouti, Sudan;  and Kenya will follow suit soon.

In this regard, GERD, a hydropower project built on the Abbay River, will have a huge impact, he mentioned.

The advisor finally urged Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan to reinforce the trilateral negotiation on GERD.

Minister of Defense Abraham Belay said on his part that the construction of the Renaissance Dam is a project not only for Ethiopia but also for Africans, especially for neighboring countries.

“The dam we are building is not only for Ethiopia but also for Africa….Rumors about the dam and the reality on the ground are totally different. The countries of the river basin should also understand that this dam ensures mutual benefit. For instance, our Grand Renaissance Dam has two bottom-outlets for the purpose of downstream countries so that they can get water in the entire year.”

Abraham, who is also Chairman of the GERD Board of Directors, pointed out that Ethiopia has started supplying electricity to Sudan and Djibouti. He added it will also start to supply electricity to Kenya soon.

As South Sudan made a request for energy supply from Ethiopia, Abraham pledged: “Ethiopia will provide it.”

Despite the fact that the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is being built through the perseverance of Ethiopians alone, the project benefits the countries in the basin, he underscored.

Ethiopia has also considered the downstream countries in the process of building the dam, he said adding that “we have made two wide bottom outlets in which water flows throughout the year.”

According to the minister, the downstream countries will in the meantime realize that the dam is a common development project for it is so designed from the outset.

He also mentioned that Ethiopia’s enemies from abroad and at home tried to prevent the supply of essential inputs for GERD before the country had successfully attained the third phase of water filling.

Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service, Temeseng Tiruneh said his part Ethiopia has successfully generated power from GERD and completed the third filling in the hardest time of its history.

According to him, tremendous attacks from internal and outside of the country were foiled by the rigorous efforts of the security and intelligence forces of Ethiopia.

“Until this project reached this significant juncture, numerous attacks were tried by bandits sent from abroad. With this, we were able to thwart many evil deeds of destructive forces.

The Director General also stated that the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam has been a testimony for Africans that they can use their resources in their own capacity.

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PM Abiy Ahmed Congratulates President Elect William Ruto of Kenya

1 min read

Addis Ababa August 16/2022/ENA/ Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has congratulated President Elect William Ruto on his election victory to be Kenya’s new president.

Deputy President William Ruto has been declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election on Monday.

Prime Minister Abiy extended a congratulatory message to Ruto on his election as the new president of Kenya.

The premier has also pledged to working with the new president on common bilateral and regional issues.   

“My congratulations William Ruto, on your election as the President of the Republic of Kenya. I wish you best of luck in your endeavors ahead and we look forward to working closely with you on common bilateral and regional interests.” PM Abiy posted on his social media.

On Monday Kenya’s elections chief declared Deputy President William Ruto the winner of a presidential race .

This was the first time Ruto, 55, had run for president. He has served as deputy president for 10 years.

The 77-year-old former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who got 48.8 percent of the vote, was running for president for the fifth time.

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