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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Recent security challenges affect timing
of Ethiopia major national plans

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Recent security challenges have led the Ethiopian government to postpone the implementation of Ethiopia’s major national socioeconomic and political plan.

The East African country, which recently postponed local elections for a margin of one year period as security related challenges hamper the necessary preparations, has on Monday delayed the fourth National Population and Housing Census for next year.

The latest decision to postpone the National Population and Housing Census by the joint session of the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives and House of Federation on Monday is the second time that the country has postponed the census, which is expected to be held every 10-year.

Even though security challenges are not currently active in Ethiopia, recent inter-ethnic clashes and incessant violent anti-government demonstrations have led to the postponement of the census that was initially scheduled to take place in October 2017, before it was postponed twice including the one on Monday.

Recent border conflicts along Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regional states was previously said to be the major reason behind the postponement of the two national plans, in which figures from the Ethiopian government showed that some 710,662 people have been displaced as a result of the border dispute among nationals of the two regional states.

Incessant mass anti-government demonstrations that rocked the East African country since the second half of 2016 in parts of the country, which in some occasions turned to be violent, have also said to be another security challenge for the postponement of the two national tasks.

According to Yalew Abate, speaker of the Ethiopian House of Federation, challenges attributed to recent unrests in parts of the country have affected the country’s preparation in various ways.

Abate further stressed that the postponement of the census “would help to obtain reliable and quality data regarding Ethiopia’s current states of affairs.”

The decision to extend the fourth National Population and Housing Census was made amid the recent announcement by the Ethiopian Central Statistics Agency (CSA), which undertakes the census, concerning the success of its preparations.

Officials at the CSA recently told Xinhua that Ethiopia will, for the first time, apply a modern population and housing census procedure, which includes the use of mobile tablets for data collection.

The Agency further disclosed that close to 180,000 tablets have been purchased from Chinese technology giants, Huawei and Lenovo, to conduct the census. Effectiveness of the products had been also tested and approved by the agency.

The two companies have provided 90,000 mobile tablets each as per the agreement made between the two Chinese companies and the Ethiopian Public Procurement and Property Disposal Services.

Experts at the CSA also told Xinhua that the use of mobile tablet technologies in the data collection procedure will ease the census process by establishing effective data registration system so as to avoid duplication and double counting.

The postponement of national census followed the Ethiopian House of Peoples and Representatives (HPR), Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, recent decision to postpone local elections for a similar period due to security related challenges that, in some occasions, led citizens to forced displacement.

According to the motion presented to the HPR, despite the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia’s attempt to realize the necessary prerequisites to undertake the election in its scheduled timeline, “security challenges that were consistently observed in different parts of the country have affected preparations to effectively conduct the elections.”

The local elections that were previously scheduled to be held during the 2017-2018 Ethiopian fiscal year has now postponed to the 2018-2019 fiscal year, with majority support from members of the parliament.

The postponed elections are mainly conducted in Ethiopia’s two self-administered municipals and their surroundings that are the capital Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, which are the two largest cities of Ethiopia respectively.

Ethiopia’s second largest city, Dire Dawa, located along the border of Ethiopia’s largest regional states Oromia and Somali were affected by sporadic ethnic disputes over the delineation of the two ethnic groups’ common boundary.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Ethiopia postpones national population census due to security challenge

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The joint session of the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives and House of Federation on Monday postponed the Fourth National Population and Housing Census by a margin of one year period due to unrests.

The National Population and Housing Census, which was scheduled to take place during the current 2017-2018 Ethiopian fiscal year, was postponed to 2018-2019 Ethiopian fiscal year, due to security challenges that affected parts of the Eats African country.

The postponement of national census came weeks after the decision by the Ethiopian House of Peoples and Representatives, Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, to postponed local elections for a similar period due to security related challenges that, in some occasions, led citizens to forced displacement.

Yalew Abate, speaker of the Ethiopian House of Federation, while briefing the joint session on Monday, stressed that challenges attributed to recent unrests in parts of the country have affected the country’s preparation in various ways.

He further stressed that the postponement of the census “would help to obtain reliable and quality data regarding Ethiopia’s current states of affairs.”

The Ethiopian Central Statistics Agency (CSA), which undertakes the census, has recently disclosed that close to 180,000 tablets have been purchased from Chinese technology giants, Huawei and Lenovo, to conduct the census.

The CSA further revealed that the products had been tested and approved by the agency, in which Ethiopia will, for the first time, apply a modern population and housing census procedure, which includes the use of mobile tablets for data collection.

Biratu Yigezu, Director General of CSA, told Xinhua recently that the products were purchased as part of the 3.5 billion Ethiopian birr (128 million U.S. dollars) total budget that was secured for the census.

The two companies have provided 90,000 mobile tablets each as per the agreement made between the two Chinese companies and the Ethiopian Public Procurement and Property Disposal Services.

Experts at the CSA also told Xinhua that the use of mobile tablet technologies in the data collection procedure will ease the census process by establishing effective data registration system so as to avoid duplication and double counting.

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Ethiopian PM’s rounds of talks with citizens assure unity, peace: minister 

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister’s recent rounds of talks with various groups of the Ethiopian society have brought effective mutual understanding and unity among Ethiopians, according to the Ethiopian Minister of Government Communications Affairs Office, Ahmed Shide.

Shide, speaking about Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s first 30 days in office, said Friday that Ahmed’s discussions with Ethiopian communities have assured citizens regarding his new administration’s plan towards the country’s unity and development.

According to Shide, the premier over the past one month has listened to the preoccupations and demands of the public, which in turn created mutual understanding between the government and the public regarding what actions to be done in the near future so as to sustain peace, security and unity in the country.

Prime Minister Ahmed, who was appointed by the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives, Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, has been touring the East African country, urging the various groups of the society for patience to bring about the desired changes.

Ahmed in his first trip outside the capital Addis Ababa went to the conflict-hit Somali regional state, followed by a meeting with residents of Ambo town in Ethiopia’s largest Oromia regional state, a town that has been a hotbed of protests for the past few years.

He had also hosted a dinner reception for the country’s opposition leaders, in which he promised to widen the democratic space as well as to work with opposition figures so as to bring better socioeconomic conditions for Ethiopia - a country that was rocked by incessant unrests and mass anti-government demonstrations since the second half of 2016.

Ahmed had also met with some 25,000 representatives of the Ethiopian community and the diplomatic community in the capital. 

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Sudan’s decision to release Ethiopian prisoners a major success: minister

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Minister of Government Communications Affairs Office, Ahmed Shide, affirmed Friday that Sudan’s decision to release all Ethiopian prisoners is a major success to the Ethiopian government.

According to Shide, Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, ordered the release of all the Ethiopian convicts on Thursday after discussions with the visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.

Noting the large number of Ethiopians currently in prisons across its neighboring country Sudan, Shide indicated that the wellbeing of Ethiopians was one of the top priorities of Ahmed’s discussion with al-Bashir.

The minister, however, did not disclose the exact number of Ethiopian prisoners who are expected to be freed as per al-Bashir’s order.

According to Shide, Sudan’s move to free Ethiopian convicts, which came after bilateral discussions, shows the Ethiopian government’s strong commitment to the wellbeing of its citizens, both inside the country and abroad.

Shide, speaking about Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s first 30 days in office on Friday, also praised Ahmed’s discussions with Ethiopia’s neighboring countries.

According to Shide, Ahmed’s visits to Djibouti followed by Sudan were successful in strengthening Ethiopia’s ties with its neighboring nations.

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China’s top legislator to visit Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia 

BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu will pay an official friendly visit to Ethiopia, Mozambique and Namibia from May 9 to 18.

Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, will make the visit at the invitation of speaker of the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives Muferiat Kamil, speaker of the Ethiopian House of Federation Keria Ibrahim, speaker of the Mozambican parliament Veronica Macamo, and speaker of the Namibian National Assembly Peter Katjavivi.

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Ethiopia to finalize Chinese-contracted industrial park in three months

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government said Monday that the construction of the Chinese-contracted Bahir Day Industrial Park will be completed within three months.

Amhara region officials made this disclosure while briefing members of the Ethiopian House of People’s and Representatives, the Ethiopian parliament’s lower house.

The agreement for the construction of the industrial park, locate in Bahir Dar city, capital of Amhara regional state, was made between China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and the Ethiopian Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) in June 2017.

Construction of the industrial park, which is expected to create job opportunities for some 20,000 locals, has been 37-percent complete.

The IPDC previously disclosed that the 75-hectare industrial park will focus on labor-intensive industries that would export value-added textile and apparel as well as food products.

Members of the lower house have also urged the regional government to conclude the industrial park within its timeframe. The park, being built with over 60 million U.S. dollars, was initially scheduled to be concluded in nine months.

Chinese companies are now major actors in the East African country’s ambition towards becoming manufacturing powerhouse in the African continent.

Built by CCECC, the Hawassa industrial park, located in Ethiopia’s southern city of Hawassa, was completed in a record time of nine months in July 2016.

The flagship industrial park has successfully attracted world-class textile and apparel companies to Ethiopia, including PVH, a company known for marketing diversified portfolio of brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

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More than 50 companies participating in China Trade Week in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- China Trade Week, a Chinese business-to-business (B2B) trade show, which entered its second day on Friday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, has attracted about 50 exhibiting companies from China.

The 3-day event has drawn Chinese companies engaging in construction materials and machinery; electronics; food and beverage; furniture; packaging and plastics; print; daily necessities and animal healthcare among others.

Organized by MIE Events DMCC in partnership with a local firm called Prana Events, the trade show mainly focuses on business-to-business matching for potential partners to discuss future trade relations.

The event is said to be a platform that brings members of the Ethiopian business community and Chinese companies together to discuss and develop the foundations of trading and business relationships.

“We are delighted to provide a trade environment that is conducive to creating stronger ties between Chinese companies and Ethiopian businesses looking to source products and services from China,” said Managing Director of MIE Events DMCC David Wang.

In her opening remarks on Thursday, Liu Yu, Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, said the cooperation between Ethiopia and China go beyond investment and trade, and that China has been providing support to Ethiopia in areas including soft loans, technical assistance, and human resource development.

She said China, which is the second largest importer and consumer in the world, is expecting an import worth more than 10 trillion in the next five years, which she said is a “historic opportunity” for Ethiopian businesses and the rest of the world.

The counselor has also called on government officials, members of business community, exhibitors, and professionals to attend the upcoming China Import Expo in November to explore the Chinese market and share common prosperity with China.

“In the next five years, China is expecting to import over 10 trillion U.S. dollars of goods and services, which will provide a historic opportunity for enterprises across the world to enter the huge Chinese market,” she said.

The Sino-Ethiopia trade volume reached 5.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.

Speaking on the occasion, Tesfakiros Hailu, Director for Trade Diplomacy at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reiterated that China is an important partner globally.

According to Tesfakiros, hundreds of projects in Ethiopia including industrial parks, railways, electric power, express roads, and airport terminal expansion have been contracted by Chinese companies, creating tens of thousands of permanent and temporary jobs for the local people.

The director said Ethiopia’s export to China is increasing from time to time despite a huge gap still in the trade balance, which he said could be address through joint efforts of the two countries.

The trade week features seminars that help provide visitors background information about China and how to effectively trade with China. 

China Trade Week event has been taking place in different countries since the first event took place in the UAE, in 2013, followed by the launch of China Trade Week Kenya in 2015 and Iran in 2016.

In 2017, China Trade Week was added in Morocco, Ethiopia, South Africa and Ghana, and this year, China Trade Week will add Oman in its portfolio and Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2019, according to the organizers.

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Ethiopia and Israel vow to advance “historic ties”

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and Israel have vowed to advance the “historic ties” as a positive imputes to bring about possible socio-economic advantages.

Leaders of the two countries announced their respective commitment to strengthen their longstanding socio-cultural relations during the current visit of Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, to Ethiopia.

The president is accompanied by a 30-member business delegation that envisaged to explore investment and trading opportunities in the East African country.

The two countries late on Thursday signed various agreement that will see them boost partnerships in health, education power and energy sectors.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Rivlin said Israel and Ethiopia “aspire to see a joint future to ensuring common concerns as food security, public health, infrastructure and energy.”

“The agreements inked today will set forth to the ever-growing ties between the two countries in addressing challenges in health, education and energy in particular,” Rivlin said.

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome during his meeting with his Israeli counterpart also said that the bilateral relations, which dated back thousands of years, should further strengthen cooperation in various untapped areas, including science and technology, agriculture, education, and healthcare.

According to Mulatu, trade relation between the two “historically connected” countries has now surpassed 160 million U.S. dollars.

According to Mulatu, Ethiopia and Israel enjoyed unique ties as more than 140,000 Israelis of Ethiopian origin, called Beth Israels, are residing in Israel.

Mulatu also hailed the first visit by a serving Israeli president to Ethiopia, which he said “marks a new chapter” in the relations of the two countries.

Rivlin also pledged the Israeli government’s continued commitment to supporting the remarkable reforms the government of Ethiopia was undertaking to ensure peace and prosperity in the country. 

           

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