ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia
(Xinhua) -- The World Food Programme (WFP)
and Saudi Arabia have joined hands to provide emergency food
assistance to drought-hit Ethiopians.
The two on Friday
held a food aid hand-over ceremony as part of their effort to
address over 127,666 peoples in drought-hit Somali region in
south eastern Ethiopia.
The support from Saudi Arabia, through the King Salman
Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, includes 1,938.8 tonnes of
food items, worth 1 million U.S. dollars.
According to WFP,
103,040 Ethiopians have so far been reached through the joint
emergency food assistance package.
"This particular contribution comes at a critical moment for
Ethiopia. A serious drought has once more struck the country,
placing millions of Ethiopians at considerable risk," said John
Aylieff, WFP Representative and Country Director to Ethiopia.
According to Aylieff, 1.7 million people in the Somali region
are currently facing "extremely difficult circumstances battered
by unfavorable climatic conditions which have threatened their
livelihoods and their existence".
The East African country has faced many climatic challenges
in recent years.
The El Nino-driven drought that struck the country since 2015
was among the worst the country had seen in its history.
HARORES WEREDA, (Xinhua) --
A boy waits for the relief food to be distributed in
Harores Wereda, Southeastern Ethiopia, April 12, 2017. The
World Food Programme
and Saudi Arabia have joined hands to provide emergency
food assistance to drought-hit Ethiopians.
XINHUA PHOTO BY: MICHAEL TEWELDE
This year’s drought, provoked by the Indian Ocean Dipole, has
put more than 5 million Ethiopians in need of emergency
Ethiopia announces 24/7
hour hotline amid fears of diarrhea outbreak
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
Ethiopia has announced a free 24/7 hour emergency
hotline to deal with an outbreak of water borne disease that has
affected parts of its second largest region, the Somali regional
The emergency hotline numbers 952 and 8335 were announced
after Acute Water Diarrhea (AWD) outbreak in the eastern
Ethiopia region killed an unspecified number of people according
to Yifru Berhan, Ethiopian minister of Health during a press
conference he gave on Friday at the ministry’s head office in
"The outbreak came from three directions, one from people
coming from Kenya, another from Somalia and a third one through
travelers coming from the Ethiopian hinterland," said Berhan.
The ministry says it has currently deployed around 500 health
professionals, and together with the Somali region
administration is treating about 260 patients every day.
With around 5.8 million people needing food aid in Ethiopia
due to droughts, a significant number of this in the largely
pastoral Somali region, Berhan says the two factors are
exacerbating the outbreak.
Though the ministry says so far the disease outbreak has been
restricted to one region, it warns if the population does not
take health precautions it can move to other areas including the
capital Addis Ababa.
Last year an outbreak of AWD in Addis Ababa and other regions
in Ethiopia caused a health scare and led to the deaths of
several people before a government supported health campaign
UNDP recognizes Ethiopia’s
human development gains
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
has recognized Ethiopia’s significant gains in human development
and advised the East African country to work on its
Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP
Resident Representative to Ethiopia, said Thursday Ethiopia
still belongs to the low human development category.
"However, the country has made significant gains in human
development, with the human development value increasing by 58.3
percent from 2000 to 2015," said Eziakonwa-Onochie.
Yinager Dessie, Ethiopian National Planning Commissioner,
also asserted that the Ethiopian government, in addition to its
efforts in improving access to basic public services, is
committed to halt major social barriers, including corruption
and gender discrimination.
"The Ethiopian government believes in ensuring sustainable
and inclusive growth through human capital development and
improving the quality of social services," he said.
Latest Human Development Report launched by UNDP on Thursday
also urged the global community to invest in combating epidemics
and violence and ensuring security.
According to the report, impressive progresses were
registered in human development over the past 25 years.
"People now live longer; more children are at school; and
access to basic social services has improved; and overall, there
has been improvement in people’s standard of living," said the
The report, however, noted that the world’s citizens are not
benefiting from equitable and universal access to quality
education, health care, social protection and gender equality.
Out of 188 countries for which the human development index
was presented, 41 countries belong to low human development
category, the majority of which being in sub-Sahara Africa.
U.S. ban on foreign
abortion funds hits family planning work in Ethiopia: NGO
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The United States government
reinstatement of bans on groups that provide abortions is
endangering family planning works being done in Ethiopia,
according to an NGO official.
Adam Zeleke, a Senior official at the Family Guidance
Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) which at 51 years old is
Ethiopia’s oldest family planning organization, says on Thursday
up to 10 percent of their annual funds are affected by the ban.
In January, the administration of new U.S. President Donald
Trump reinstated funding ban for international family planning
charities that provide abortion or actively support the
Originally banned under the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan
in 1984 from Republican Party, it was repealed by President
Barrack Obama of Democratic Party in 2009 highlighting partisan
divisions over abortion in the United States itself.
The volunteer based FGAE, through its 52 service delivery
clinics, gives abortion services provided that the fetus or the
expectant mother life is in danger, for individuals under 18
years of age, for victims of rape and incestuous relationship
and for those who cannot afford to raise a child.
But the ban on abortion-related funds which amount to 20
million plus U.S. dollars annually has affected other gender and
contraceptive services which have been mixed up in the ban,
according to FGAE.
"FGAE gives reproductive health services to more than 500,000
people annually, helping cut the birth rate of Ethiopia’s
ballooning population from 7 children per family in 1992 to 3.2
in 2016," says Zeleke.
FGAE also says contraceptive use in the same period has
jumped from 4 percent to 32 percent of the general population.
With a population nearing 100 million, mostly youth, Ethiopia
is facing the challenge of feeding its population and providing
job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of new job seekers
The U.S. government provides FGAE funds through its own
institution Center for Disease Control (CDC), the International
Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and an NGO Pathfinder
"Although the funding ban amounts to just 10 percent of our
funds, the fact that we the U.S. government was the largest
provider of funds to abortion services will affect our services
greatly," says Zeleke.
Chinese engagement helps
propel development in Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
For a first time visitor to Ethiopia, it
is hard not to miss the construction boom all across the
Indeed many expatriates compare it with China’s own
construction boom of the 1980s and 1990s which eventually saw
the Asian country become the world’s second largest economy and
the largest trading partner to many nations.
One such sector witnessing construction boom are industrial
parks being built mostly by Chinese companies with a view to
boost Ethiopia’s exports in fields such as textile, leather and
Frehiwot Sisay, Office Manager at China Communications
Construction Company (CCCC) is a first hand witness to the
symbiotic relationship between Ethiopia and China.
Sisay, a graduate with civil engineering from South China
University of Technology, says her decision to join CCCC partly
was as a result of the modern buildings and infrastructure she
saw as a student back in China.
"CCCC’s good reputation in Ethiopia in the construction of
roads and bridges also factored in my employment decision," she
says, adding that she believes Ethiopians should learn from the
hard work ethics and development experience of China if the
country is to develop fast.
Sisay was speaking as she was inspecting the construction
progress of Arerti Industrial Park 130 km east of Addis Ababa,
the Ethiopian capital.
The project is one of several flagship projects of CCCC in
Arerti is one of 17 industrial parks the Ethiopian government
has envisaged constructing in its ambitious Growth and
Transformation Plan II (2015-2020) to boost the country’s
fledgling industrial base.
Sisay’s belief is echoed by Abebe Aynete, senior researcher
at the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies (EFRSS), a
local think thank.
He says Ethiopia’s policy of mutual benefit and promoting
peace and stability to have sustainable economic development is
something that echoes China’s lines.
"Both countries approach issues from national interest
instead of ideological inclinations and favor multi-polar
approach in their foreign policy," he says.
While the likes of Sisay are high skilled labor with tertiary
education experience, Chinese firms’ willingness to invest in
low technology and labor intensive industries means the
opportunities are spread out.
Woody Lau, Business Manager at CCCC Arerti Industrial Park
PLC says the completion of the first phase of Arerti would see
about 300 people being employed, and a further expansion of the
labor force is still to be expected in the second phase.
One such beneficiary is Aboret Alemu, a former soldier who
was mentored by a Chinese carpenter with vital skills that has
eventually allowed him to become a site manager at Arerti
"I miss my Chinese mentor, he’s the father of my profession,
but now he’s living in China, a good guy with a good work
culture typical of Chinese people I’ve met who are good hard
workers." He added.
Already the company has made itself a name in Ethiopia by
completing the construction of the country’s first toll road,
the Adddis-Adama toll road which was inaugurated in March 2014.
It’s also involved in an electrified rail project in the
mountainous northern Ethiopia.
With the ever growing presence of Chinese expatriates,
restaurants, projects and even educational institutions in
Ethiopia, critics mainly westerners are accusing it of "creeping
colonization" or "neo-colonialism".
With Ethiopia being the seat of the African Union, the United
Nations Economic Commission of Africa and dozens of other
diplomatic missions, the accusations carry particular weight for
However, this is an accusation Aynete doesn’t buy pointing
out Ethiopia doesn’t fit the natural resource country being
exploited by powerful foreign countries.
"Ethiopia is an independent country that has its own
historical development and external engagement which has refused
even to liberalize to foreign market its banking and telecom
sector," he explains.
"Furthermore as an agricultural economy transitioning to an
industrial one, it needs Chinese investment in infrastructure
which western countries are until recently absent from," Aynete
says, adding that that Beijing’s consensus of no attachment of
political strings has also attracted Ethiopia.
He further believes that China can help in one area where
Ethiopia has been deficient until present times.
"Ethiopia is dependent on rain-fed agriculture vulnerable to
climate change shocks. China with its experience of feeding its
vast population can help meet that gap," says Aynete.
Sisay also dismisses the colonization claim pointing out
cooperation with China brings advantages to both sides.
"China has the money and technological expertise.
"Ethiopia has material and labor resource.
"The more Chinese firms invest, the more Ethiopia develops
hard work and matching experience," Sisay says.
There’s also another reason why Sisay rubbishes the
"Despite I being the only foreigner in the class back in
China some years ago, I had supportive friends who used to play
games, eat together and invite each other for holidays," she
says, adding that as a mark of love, her Chinese friends even
gave her a Chinese name, Xisai.
"Both the Chinese and western governments can pursue good
relation with Ethiopian government as long as the country is
peaceful and stable which is helpful for their national
interest," says Aynete.