Tag Archives: Ethiopia

Escalating conflict could threaten Ethiopia’s economic success story

Ethiopia is teetering on the brink of civil war as fighting intensifies in the north of the country, sparking fears that its economic transformation could be stymied by protracted conflict.

Federal government forces loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are making advances in the semi-autonomous northern Tigray region, which is currently controlled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF led a coalition which ruled Ethiopia for almost three decades prior to Abiy taking office in 2018.

On Friday, Human Rights Watch called on Tigray’s regional authorities and the national government to protect civilians and property amid reports of mounting casualties.

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Abiy, who last year won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve a long-standing border conflict with neighboring Eritrea, tweeted on Sunday that the military campaign in the region to “uphold the rule of law” was “progressing well.”

“By advancing rule of law and holding accountable those that have been looting, destabilizing Ethiopia, we will lay the foundation for lasting peace & harmony,” Abiy said.

Economic implications

The prospect of a bloody and protracted conflict could dent Abiy’s recent push to transform the country’s economy.

Africa’s second-most populous nation has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world so far this century, consistently posting double-digit percentage annual growth in GDP (gross domestic product). However, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the IMF has slashed Ethiopia’s 2020 growth forecast to 1.9% from 6.2% — and this was before the unfolding events in Tigray.

Risk consultancy EXX Africa has highlighted that the government’s Tigrayan offensive and its “perceived authoritarianism” was jeopardizing the country’s relations with key economic partners.

“Growing domestic and international criticism of the government’s crackdown on political opponents, journalists, activists, and business leaders is attracting the attention of some of Ethiopia’s key partners, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is assisting the country in its response to the coronavirus and slowing economy,” EXX Africa Executive Director Robert Besseling said in a report last week.

“Foreign investors seeking to participate in Ethiopia’s privatization and liberalization drive will also be cautious of such human rights abuses and unilateral state actions, such as the suspension of internet service and closure of media networks.”GP 201117 Amhara militia Tigray EthiopiaAmhara militia men, in combat alongside federal and regional forces against the northern region of Tigray, receive training in the outskirts of the village of Addis Zemen, north of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, on November 10, 2020.EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images

In addition, a growing focus from investors on ESG — or environmental, social and corporate governance — could mean additional overseas investment courted by the government remains on the sidelines, as reports of civilian casualties emerge from a region in which outside access and communication is mostly blocked.

“Human rights abuses will deter ESG-conscious investors at a time when Abiy is looking to attract foreign investment to drive his Homegrown Economic Reform agenda which aims to transform Ethiopia from an agrarian to an industrialized economy by 2030,” said Verisk Maplecroft Senior Africa Analyst Ed Hobey-Hamsher in a comment last week.

“The conflict will prove an expensive distraction from government efforts to address systemic poverty and food insecurity, exacerbated this year by the disruption that travel restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19 has had on agricultural production and markets.”

Conflicting narratives

Both sides have sought to assert the moral high ground under international scrutiny since the government began military operations on Nov. 4, in what Abiy said was a response to an attack on a federal military base by the TPLF.

Reuters reported on Monday, citing military and diplomatic sources, that government forces had dropped bombs on the Tigrayan capital Mekelle.

It comes after Amnesty International said last week that “scores, likely hundreds” of civilians had been killed in the western part of Tigray, likely by TPLF personnel following defeat to government forces.

Each side has denied responsibility for various air and ground attacks, and accused the other of trying to destabilize the country.PREMIUM: Ethiopia Eritrea 180718 EUEritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki (second right) is received by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (third right) as he arrives at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa on July 14, 2018.Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

Communications have been interrupted in the region since Nov. 4 as Abiy declared a six-month state of emergency, and access is blocked by road and air, making reports difficult to verify by international agencies. However, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) now estimates that more than 25,000 displaced Ethiopians have arrived in neighboring Sudan.

“Tight restrictions on access for aid agencies and communications mean that millions of people in Tigray affected by the fighting may be at grave risk,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Ceasefire promising?

Abiy has appeared to suggest in tweets that a swift resolution to the conflict could be possible. However, his resistance to ceasefire calls from the UN and various international powers have raised fears of a protracted conflict with a knock-on effect for the region.

“At this stage the prospect of a negotiated settlement or ceasefire does not appear promising, and the reported atrocities being committed in Tigray will only intensify the conflict – so will moves by the federal government to establish a parallel government for Tigray to replace the current TPLF-led administration,” said Louw Nel, political analyst at NKC African Economics.

“Concerns over neighboring Eritrea being drawn into the conflict are not unfounded; however, the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have been projecting an image of solidarity and commitment to the peace agreement concluded in 2018.”

Egypt to withdraw from latest Nile dam talks for consultations

6395874_303Egypt fears the $4bn project could lead to water shortages upstream, while Sudan is concerned about dam’s safety.

05 Aug 2020 GMT+3
Egypt has decided to withdraw from the latest round of tripartite negotiations over Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar dam on the Blue Nile for internal consultations after Addis Ababa proposed a new draft of filling guidelines.
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The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is being built about 15km (nine miles) from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, has become a major sticking point between the three countries.
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Egypt fears the $4bn project could lead to water shortages upstream, while Sudan said it is concerned about the dam’s safety.

The Egyptian water ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, said Ethiopia put forward a draft proposal that lacked regulations on the operation of the dam or any legal obligations.
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Addis Ababa’s draft also lacked a legal mechanism for settling disputes, according to the Egyptian ministry.

“Egypt and Sudan demanded meetings be suspended for internal consultations on the Ethiopian proposal, which contravenes what was agreed upon during the African Union summit,” it said.

The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile river, from which Egypt’s 100 million people get 90 percent of their fresh water.

Ethiopia dam dispute: Concerns in Sudan’s Blue Nile state (2:55)
Sudan’s safety concerns
Meanwhile, Sudan’s irrigation ministry said the latest Ethiopian position presented in talks on Tuesday raised new fears over the track the negotiations had been on.

Khartoum also threatened to withdraw from the talks, saying Ethiopia insisted on linking them to renegotiating a deal on sharing the waters of the Blue Nile.

Sudan’s water and irrigation minister, Yasser Abbas, said he received a letter from his Ethiopian counterpart who proposed “the deal under discussion be limited to filling up the dam and any deal concerning its management be linked to the question of sharing Blue Nile waters”.

Egypt and Sudan invoke a “historic right” over the river guaranteed by treaties concluded in 1929 and 1959.

But Ethiopia uses a treaty signed in 2010 by six riverside countries and boycotted by Egypt and Sudan authorising irrigation projects and dams on the river.

“This new Ethiopian position threatens the negotiations under the aegis of the African Union, and Sudan will not participate in negotiations which include the subject of sharing Blue Nile waters,” Abbas said.

“Sudan will not allow the lives of 20 million citizens who live along the Blue Nile to be tied to an agreement on sharing the water of this river.”

The call came after a meeting of technical and legal committees from the three countries aimed at pushing for a deal on the filling and operation of the GERD.

The meeting was also attended by observers from the United States and the European Union as well as experts from the Africa

Pain or pleasure? When you get ready to marry her, 1st you have to beat her Hamar tribe

maxresdefault (3)Located among the bush covered hills on the eastern side of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia, the Hamar tribe have unique culture and customs, one of them being a cattle-jumping ceremony where the beatings of the women take place.

The ceremony starts with all the female relatives performing a dance, during which they offer themselves as subjects to be whipped by men who have recently been initiated.

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4.-Hamar-AThe beatings go on until their backs turn bloody. During the beatings, women are not allowed to scream. They do not also flee the ceremony but rather beg the men to beat them over and over again.

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The male initiation rite

The women accept these beatings to show their love and support of the initiate, and their scars give them a right to demand his help in time of need.

The man must subsequently leap across 15 cows in order to be allowed to marry and once that is achieved a celebration is held to end the ceremony.

Beatings are not just ceremonial

Women in the Hamar tribe are subject to beatings even after the ceremony at any time the man pleases unless they give birth to at least two children.

The rules of the tribe also say that men do not need to explain why they are beating the women as they can do so as and when they feel is right.

This has created deep scars at the backs of the women which they proudly show off as beautiful.

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Hamar tribe — Depositphotos

In spite of these, women in the Hamar tribe are expected to be strong like the men and are supposed to do all household chores, take care of the children and sow crops as well as keep the cattle.

Hamar men can also marry more than one woman, but the women who are not first wives are treated more like slaves as they do a majority of the work

 

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Shakir Essa

Digital media creator

Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF will demand a referendum on self-determination for Somali region

ONLF will demand a referendum on self-determination for Somali region

Afrika-times According to a news report by Bloomberg published today the Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF will demand a referendum on self-determination for Somali region. Bloomberg quoted ONLF foreign secretary Ahmed Yassin Abdi as saying

We want to achieve self-determination recognized by international law under the current Ethiopian constitution,” Ahmed Yassin Abdi, the ONLF’s foreign secretary, said by phone from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “We want our people to have a right to decide.” He said his group has no preconditions for the talks. The region’s new president expressed support for greater autonomy.

The Somali regional state has been in a great turmoil since the federal government illegally removed the president of the state from power and arrested him. There was no due process for removing the president and other other high state officials. Sure there has been trouble in the region in connection with border issues with other states, but not worst than what happened in the regional state of Amhara when they uprooted thousands of Tigrai origin civilians from their houses and business and many lost their lives killed by armed thugs.

Here is the url for the Bloomberg article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-16/rebels-in-gas-rich-east-ethiopia-to-seek-self-determination-vote