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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ethiopian Prime Minister replaces army chief in major shakeup

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has appointed Seare Mekonen as the chief of staff of Ethiopia National Defense Forces (ENDF), replacing Samora Younous, state media Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation said Thursday.

Local and foreign analysts have been keenly watching Abiy’s moves in the army and intelligence sectors ever since he came to power in April as a test of his grip on power.

At a ceremony held in the national palace in Addis Ababa, Younous formally handed over his army chief position to Mekonen in the presence of Ahmed and Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome.

During the ceremony Younous was honored with Ethiopia’s highest military award for his four-decade service in ENDF.

In a related development, the Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in a press statement announced a decision to restore full ranks to two ex-generals who had been stripped of their title after being accused of a coup plot in 2009.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

European Union welcomes Ethiopia’s decision to lift martial law

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Tuesday said Ethiopia’s decision to lift martial law will help the country create a more inclusive society.

In a press statement, the EU said the reforms in Ethiopia in the past few weeks by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government will create a positive environment where all relevant stakeholders can take part in that process.

“The EU remains ready to assist the Ethiopian government in its reform endeavors in view of the 2020 general election, which includes political dialogue and political reforms meeting the expectations of the Ethiopian people as well as economic reforms to facilitate the work of businesses as well as job creation” said the EU statement.

The Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) on Tuesday approved a bill to lift the six-month martial law that was sanctioned in mid-February.

The HoPR, the Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, decided to lift the emergency rule ahead of its deadline, saying the East African country is currently in a better situation, politically and security-wise.

The martial law had been effective since February 16, which the Ethiopian government previously said was necessary to protect the country’s constitution, the citizens and their property from the dangers that would arise from widespread violent demonstrations that erupted in different parts of the country since 2016.

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Ethiopia receives 29,211 refugees in first 5 months of 2018

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia received 29,211 refugees in the first five months of 2018 ending May 31, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Thursday.

In a press statement sent to Xinhua, the UNHCR said the refugee arrival figures for 2018 has pushed the total number of refugees sheltering in Ethiopia to 920,262, making it the second biggest refugee-hosting country in Africa next to Uganda.

The UNHCR further said in May alone, 4,436 refugees arrived in Ethiopia, out of which 2,157 refugees came from South Sudan and 2,094 refugees came from Eritrea.

Meanwhile, the UNHCR said it has only received 17 percent of the 327.8 million U.S. dollars needed to support the refugees in Ethiopia.

Most refugees in Ethiopia come from strife-torn nations of Somalia and South Sudan and Ethiopia’s northern neighbor Eritrea.

Smaller groups of refugees fleeing war in Sudan and from across the Red Sea from Yemen are also among those the UNHCR has registered as refugees in Ethiopia.

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Ethiopia to partially liberalize key sectors

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Ethiopia’s ruling party, said Tuesday it will partially liberalize key sectors of Ethiopia’s economy.

In a press statement, the EPRDF Executive Committee said decision has been made to expand mixed ownership or outright full privatization of state-owned enterprises such as railway projects, sugar development, industrial parks, hotels and other manufacturing industries, reported state media Radio Fana.

Ethiopia until now has resisted liberalizing key sectors to foreign and local investors, saying it needs to protect its economy from multinational firms and ensure domestic ownership of the economy is kept intact.

The committee said it also decided to allow minority shares in Ethio-Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, electricity generation projects and the Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise.

The statement further said the move to partially liberalize key sectors is intended to increase the constructive role of Ethiopia’s large diaspora population and foreign investors.

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Ethiopian ruling party decision on economy to boost private sector growth: ministe

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Decision by Ethiopia’s ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), to partially liberalize key sectors of the economy is in line with the government’s development strategy, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday.

In a press statement, Ahmed Shide, Minister at Ethiopia Government Communications Affairs Office, said the decision will support more active participation of the private sector while keeping Ethiopia’s fast economic growth.

“The Ethiopia government has been involved in some sectors, including infrastructure and service sectors, where the private sector is reluctant to invest,” he said adding that the decision will allow for a more proactive role of the private sector.

On Tuesday, the EPRDF Executive Committee announced plans to allow mixed or outright full privatization of state owned enterprises such as railway projects, sugar development, industrial parks, hotels and other manufacturing industries.

The Committee also decided to allow minority shares in Ethio-Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, electric power generation projects and the Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise.

Ethiopia until now has resisted liberalizing key sectors to foreign and local investors saying it needs to protect its economy from multinational firms and ensure domestic ownership of the economy is kept intact.

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Corruption an existential threat to Ethiopia: PM

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday warned Ethiopia is facing an existential threat from the proliferation of corrupt activities.

Ahmed made the remarks during the fourth national anti-corruption partnership conference currently being held in Addis Ababa, reported state media Ethiopia News Agency.

“While Ethiopia is yet not considered among the top 10 African countries thought to have extreme levels of corruption, the lack of proactive media role in uncovering corrupt practices and ineffectiveness of government institutions to root out corrupt practices is endangering the country’s political structure,” he said.

Ahmed also noted the impact of corruption on the East African country’s economy, noting the fight against corruption would be his administration’s top priority.

Ahmed, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister on April 2, had previously vowed to ensure good governance and fight corruption in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.

Ahmed’s premiership of the East African country came after recurrent unrests and mass anti-government demonstrations in parts of the country in recent years, particularly in Ethiopia’s largest Oromia regional state where Ahmed has strong support.

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Crocodile kills Ethiopian priest during lakeside baptism

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- A lakeside baptism in Ethiopia ended in tragedy after a crocodile killed a Christian priest initiating the ritual, an Ethiopian official said on Tuesday.

Shimelis Zenebe, Director General of the Abaya National Park in Southern regional state, said the victim was conducting a baptism ceremony for the faithful on Sunday afternoon when he was attacked by the crocodile, local media outlet Sheger radio reported.

He said the lake’s recent decreases in fish population, a staple food of crocodiles, have prompted the normally water-bound reptiles to prey on animals near the lake.

Residents were only able to recover the mangled body of the priest and the crocodile escaped.

Lake Abaya that covers an area of 1,162 square kilometers is known to have a large population of crocodiles.

Ethiopia is a highly religious country, with around two thirds of its 100 million population describing themselves as Christians of various denominations..

             

 

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