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  • PM Hailemariam briefs diplomats on current situations in Ethiopia

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn briefed diplomats on Thursday on current situations in Ethiopia, particularly on major progresses witnessed during the State of Emergency period and of the reforms being pursued by the government to fulfill the pledges it has made for the public.
    Given the appalling actions of the destructive forces on lives of people, hard-won investment projects and infrastructures, the Premier noted, the government was obliged to declare the State of Emergency.


    He underscored, since the first day of the authorization of the State of Emergency the country has been able to restore law and order and is now back to normalcy. The recently lifted restrictions on diplomats traveling in the country without permission clearly affirm this fact, noted the Premier. He re-affirmed that regular business can be conducted as usual.


    The Premier noted, in the first ten days of the State of Emergency, seventy percent of those who were involved in the violence had willfully given their hands to security forces and pardoned after being given the necessary training which he said would help them integrate with their communities successfully.


    Briefing on the key reform programs being carried out by the government, Hailemariam said, there are three major categories: shared and equitable economic growth, expansion of the democratic space and economic restructuring.


    Ethiopia has achieved seven of the eight Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and witnessed a double digit growth. However, noted, the premier, significant number of the population, particularly the youth, has not been benefiting from the development as much as it should.


    He added, among those who were engaged in the violent activities, the youth accounted for 99 percent; and the youth aged 15 to 30 is fifty percent of the population. Hence, the government is working aggressively more than ever to provide additional job opportunities by allocating fund worth billions of Birr.
    Regarding opening up the democratic space, Hailemariam noted the government thoroughly understood the importance of enhancing civic participation, strengthening democratic institutions particularly on pertinent organs like Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, Office of the Federal Auditor General, Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, etc. Touching upon reforming the electoral system, the Premier said, “We felt that the coming parliament should also accommodate those who are not represented.”


    Prime Minister Hailemariam also said the economy of the country is performing well even at the times the country witnessed the violence where it has observed an eight percent growth in the previous Ethiopian calendar year. Albeit El-Nino, said the premier, the country has managed to overcome its dreadful effects where the agricultural sector was only affected in a certain controllable way. He stressed, the good news is the country would have a bumper harvest where the pre-harvest estimate showed that agriculture would come to normalcy and even score higher growth: 12 percent.


    The Foreign Direct Investment is still one of the best in the continent and the government is working hard that the current situations would not hamper the flow, according to Hailemariam. He called on diplomats to encourage their nationals to continue investing in the country. Hailemariam said, the twelve industrial parks that will be built in the country are expected to create job opportunities for more than 1.2 million people. He underlined that no slowdown was witnessed regarding the ongoing mega projects in the country.

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  • The Weeknd is helping University of Toronto resurrect a lost Ethiopian language

    University of Toronto launches a course in 2,000-year-old Ge’ez, part of its Ethiopian studies program—aided by a star

    Along with Greek, Hebrew and Arabic, Ethiopia’s Ge’ez is considered one of the world’s oldest Semitic languages—but you’ve probably never heard of it.
    Michael Gervers, a professor in the department of historical and cultural studies at the University of Toronto, believes it’s important to resurrect it. “The entire history of Ethiopia is in this language,” he says. “Everything written up until 1850 was written in Ge’ez, so we have 2,000 years of textual material that people don’t have access to.” It was replaced by Amharic as Ethiopia’s official language.

    In 2015, Gervers started a fund to create an Ethiopian studies program at U of T, setting a goal of $200,000 and donating $50,000 of his own money. The dean’s office matched that donation; and this year, so did Abel Tesfaye—the Toronto-born, Grammy-winning R&B singer professionally known as The Weeknd, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Ethiopia in the 1980s.

    Tesfaye promoted the cause to his more than four million Twitter followers. “Sharing our brilliant and ancient history of Ethiopia. Proud to support the studies in our homie town through @UofT and @bikilaaward,” he wrote.

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  • President Mulatu Teshome has appointed eight ambassadors

    President Mulatu Teshome has appointed eight ambassadors today.

    The newly appointed ambassadors are Redwan Hussien, Zenebu Tadesse, Tolossa Shagi, Tsegaye Berhe, Regassa Kefale, Taye Atskeselassie, Abdulaziz Ahmed, and Girma Temesgen.

    They will serve as plenipotentiaries in the country of their assignments, the President’s Office said.

     

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  • Amb Taye briefs Addis Ababa based Africa Ambassadors on current Affairs

    State Minister Ambassador Taye Atske-selassie on Friday briefed Addis-based African Ambassadors on current situations in the country, particularly on the recent protests in parts of Oromia and Amhara Regional States. The series of unrecognized demonstrations in parts of Oromia and Amhara had legitimate concerns, Ambassador Taye told the diplomats. He said the legitimate concerns of the protestors were lack of good governance, slow and sluggish government response towards public concerns, and a huge number of unemployed youth. There was also a considerable gap in creating public awareness and consensus with regard to the constitutional federal arrangement and a growing demand for more improved facilities which clearly sprang from the government's unreserved effort in creating strong and demanding society whenever there is a lag in the service, Ambassador Taye said. However, these legitimate questions were taken over by anti-peace elements, he noted; the demonstrations were openly marked with violence and an act of lawlessness which amounted to loss of lives. In both cases, demonstrations were funneled through the aid of social media and other media outlets infamous for pouring extremist agenda, the State Minister added. With regard to the ongoing government efforts in responding to the situation, Ambassador Taye noted that the government is conducting series of peace and development conferences in all regions. The ambassadors on their part commended the government for preparing such briefings which had helped them clearly understand the difference between what the media propagate and the reality on the ground. Ambassador Katendea from Uganda said unemployment is a common problem in Africa but which is always subject to manipulations from anti-peace elements if African governments could not be cautious. Asked whether there was a need for a third part to investigate the situation the State Minister stressed, "The government has constitutional obligation and a home-grown mechanism to carry out an independent, impartial and thorough investigation." 

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  • Ethiopian dam study contracts to be signed by Egyptian foreign ministry

    The contracts with two consulting firms to carry out technical studies into the impact of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam will be signed on 5 and 6 September, Egypt's foreign ministry said on Tuesday. In a meeting with reporters, Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia will attend the contract signing in Sudan. The three countries agreed in 2015 that two French firms, Artelia and BRL, would carry out technical studies into the impact of the hydroelectric dam, set to be Africa's largest when completed next year. Negotiations have been ongoing since 2011, when Egypt raised concerns that the dam, located in the Ethiopian highlands on the Blue Nile, could impact its share of Nile water. Since 2015, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, which is also downstream from the project, have been negotiating the terms of the two consultancy firms' contracts and the purview of the technical studies they will prepare. President El-Sisi has adopted a positive tone on the dam and on Ethiopian relations in general, stressing that Egyptians have nothing to fear from the project. Speaking to Egyptian media this week, he said that the negotiations on the technical studies were progressing in a way that is “reassuring to all.” “The Nile water will continue to flow to Egypt and to everyone else,” he said. “Egypt has started a new era in developing its relations with African countries, especially Nile Basin countries.” In his Tuesday statement, Abu Zeid said that Egyptian-Ethiopian relations are witnessing a new phase based on common interests, avoiding any damage to any party, as well as the development of strategic relations between Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopia. A trilateral Declaration of Principles, signed by all three states last year, gives priority to downstream countries for electricity generated by the dam and providing compensation for any damages caused.

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