Wednesday October 30, 2019
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Wednesday October 30, 2019

Ethiopian News Agency

EU Reaffirms Commitment to Support Ethiopia’s Democratization

Sudan News Agency – Khartoum

Foreign Ministry Affirms Importance of Opening Office of Human Rights Commission in Khartoum

Sudan News Agency – Khartoum

Coordination between Kassala Government and FFC Discussed

Sudan News Agency – Khartoum

Al-Burhan Praises Distinguished Relations between Sudan and Chad

Sudan Tribune - Juba

Kenyan special envoy meets Kiir over peace deal implementation

Sudan Tribune - Juba

South Sudan and Egypt ink gas exploration deal

Sudan News Agency – Khartoum

Lt. Gen. Al-Burhan Receives New US Chargé D'affaires

The New Times - Rwanda

Kagame tours Smart City expo in Doha

Ahram Online - Egypt

Egypt, Germany agree on need for solution to Libyan crisis, ahead of planned Berlin summit

Ahram Online – Egypt

Egypt says Washington to host meeting to 'break stalemate' on GERD on 6 November

Seychelles News Agency

Air France returns to Seychelles, connecting Paris direct with the island nation

Libya Observer

Libya, Sudan review activating Quartet Agreement on common border control

ANGOP - Luanda

Angola wants to intensify cooperation with France in education

Ahram Online - Egypt

Finding safety on the Dam

By: Mostafa Ahmady

The writer is a former press and information officer in Ethiopia and an expert on African affairs

Last Tuesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was addressing a session of the House of People’s Representatives, Ethiopia’s lower chamber of parliament.

The session, supposedly a routine one to discuss the internal affairs of Ethiopia and the situation abroad, went against the grain, however. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who seemed hot and bothered, spoke of war as a means to settle the impasse over the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

“If there is a need to go to war, we could get millions readied. If some could fire a missile, others could use bombs,” he said, according to the Associated Press and other world media outlets. Moreover, the reformist leader apparently wanted to raise anxieties among the opposition and the Ethiopian media at large, threatening action against them if they continued to misuse the freedom bestowed upon them. 

Above all, his fiery speech against Jawar Mohamed, the nationalist Oromo leader whose online activities in exile led to Abiy Ahmed’s taking power, put the Ethiopian premier in a cleft stick. His fury at Jawar has also left as many as 67 dead in clashes with the police in his own Oromia state. “Medamer,” the book Ahmed has released recently in which he details his philosophy on a national merging of all ethnicities in one centralised Ethiopia, has been burned by furious Oromo nationalists who seem not to like the idea of a “centralised” Ethiopia, as Ahmed prescribes in his book. Instead, they prefer the status quo or some form of self-governance.  

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in which it said it was “shocked” over Ahmed’s talk of “military options” while negotiations on the GERD were underway, particularly as it came ahead of a scheduled meeting with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in Sochi in Russia on the sidelines of the first Russia-Africa Forum. Egypt has never abandoned the path of negotiations as the only means towards settling the impasse, the statement said.  

Sitting with Egypt’s Al-Sisi, Ethiopia’s prime minister then toned down his comments, however, and took the easy way out. He said his words had been “taken out of context,” putting the blame on the media for reporting them. However, Ahmed knows that the powerful Ethiopian Office for Government Communication Affairs, the body that regulates the work of the local and foreign media in Ethiopia, is zero tolerant when it comes to misreporting Ethiopia by foreign news outlets. Perhaps the Ethiopian premier, who bears the brunt of growing dissatisfaction even among his own ethnicity, was inspired by the late Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi, who almost uttered the same words in 2010. Zenawi was referring to a war over the Nile that Egypt “would never win” because Ethiopia, he said, had never been colonised. 

Egypt will never give up its historical share of the River Nile. This was the powerful and clear-cut message that President Al-Sisi delivered to the Ethiopian prime minister in Sochi. He also delivered another resounding message: that the construction of the Ethiopian Dam will in no way be at the expense of Egypt’s right to the Nile, and that the dam needs to be constructed in a balanced way to realize the best interests of both upstream and downstream nations.

The president also made it clear that the Nile should never have been a bone of contention between the two countries and that cooperation should be the medium when speaking of the river. The two leaders agreed on resuming the work of the Independent Scientific Research Group that combines 15 experts from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia for a final say on the filling and operation of the giant project.

How can one be sure that Ethiopia’s prime minister is strictly on the level? In truth, the situation needs more than pretty words and good wishes. If Ethiopia is not willing to inflict any harm on Egypt’s share of the river, it needs to practice what it preaches and pay due heed to Egypt’s concerns. It needs to seriously reconsider the filling schedule that it has persisted with, of three years versus seven as per Egypt’s request. This is how Ethiopia should get down to business instead of fancy talk about the cultivation of 20 billion trees to increase the volume of rainfall over Ethiopian territory that would solve the problem of water for downstream nations once and for all.

In his talks with President Al-Sisi, Ahmed said his country had no intention of harming the Egyptian people and that Ethiopia was committed to the negotiations in the search for a final and binding solution, being the only means to ending the deadlock. Based on the findings of the Independent Scientific Research Group, Ethiopia will take its decisions in a manner that does not harm the Egyptians and benefits the Ethiopians at the same time, he said.

However, Egypt needs to set a deadline for a viable and binding outcome of the upcoming technical meetings. This is not to take a dim view of the discussions, but rather it is a necessity that should be heeded. Over the course of the negotiations that have spanned over eight years, Egypt has received many sweet words from Ethiopia. But when it has come to the time for action, Ethiopia had never got to the bottom of the problem: Egypt’s limited 55.5 billion cubic metres of water from the Nile does not now suffice to meet the basic needs of the country’s 110 million people.

On the contrary, Ethiopia has seen Egypt’s legitimate requests as an attempt to turn the country into Egypt’s “hydrological colony,” as one of the top Ethiopian negotiators recently put it, a claim which is clearly false. In a nutshell, a win-win deal remains probable only when Addis Ababa stops hanging fire and works in good faith with Egypt towards a binding compromise on the dam.

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The News Times – Rwanda

Rwanda: Africa’s green experiment

By: Gatete Nyiringabo Ruhumuliza

Reading political economy at university in the last decade, one is undoubtedly thrust into a raging debate on green revolution, between developed and developing nations, with the former asking the later to pursue an environment friendly industrialization, and the latter retorting that it is simply a hypocritical demand: ‘You developed on coal, fracking and gasoline; this is our chance to develop, we’ll cross the green bridge when we reach it...’

As a native of a developing country, one is instinctively tempted to side with nations like Indian and China, against - say, Britain, US and Germany.

University sadly shaped us in a binary world; one of finger-pointing and zero-sum-game, a hopeless world… With Rwanda’s aspirational and progressive policies, it seems, there is still a chance.

Could green business make profit other than agriculture? Can green industry be labor-intensive? Donald Trump argued to the negative while pulling his country out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Apparently one has to pollute to create jobs! That has thus far been the only understanding. As a result, green economy had come to be known as an empty shell, a ‘sexy’ tag, chanted by puritans and academics to sound more concerned than the rest of mankind; or a favorite passe-temps for billionaire philanthropists, keen on laundering their names, after making money in fracking, oil and arm deals.

Rwanda has been implementing green policies for over a decade now, starting with the ban of plastic bags, smoking in public and littering aren’t allowed and once a month the population observe a ‘Car Free Day’ where all citizens are called to leave their motor vehicles at home and attend cycling, walking and public gym-tonic, followed by testing and treatment of hepatitis, diabetes and heart conditions offered to all – free of charge.

As for sceptics who claim it is all ostentatious. Today they were proven wrong, once again, with the partnership of two German giants; Volkswagen and Siemens, in powering an eco-friendly car to offer taxi services in the city of Kigali.

Now, it isn’t the first time that a country initiates electric cars - that isn’t the point. But given its economic position, Rwanda is the first of its kind - and indeed the first on the African continent.

When plastic bags were ban over a decade ago, many predicted a financial crisis, yet plastic industries were forced to innovate and find alternative manufactory, and they did.

That experience was then built upon to ban single-use plastic too, then second hand clothing and soon, gas-run motorcycles and ultimately gas-powered cars will be history.

This is an important statement to the rest of the world; a disruption of the ‘Africa narrative’: Africa isn’t what the world thinks it is. Africa fully manufactures high end smart phones and ‘moves’ in electric cars and on electric motorcycles. We aren’t hungry and violent upon each other, we are innovative and advanced!

Although on much smaller scale, and perhaps with little or no global impact materially, the launch of e-golfs in Rwanda today offers a strong ideological stand to all activists of Mother Earth - ‘Pacha Mama’ as they call it in South America.

It is also an indictment to zero-sum-game politics that pursue profit at the cost of our environment. The message here is that, if it can be done in smaller economies, it can be replicated in bigger ones too. You can develop in harmony with the environment; If you doubt it: just Visit Rwanda and see for yourself.

This however requires foresighted and aspirational leadership. Today India and China are at the pick of their developmental cycles, rivalling with the western world, but rivers and air are polluted. On some days, people literally move with masks to breathe in.

Although the two countries lead investment and compliance in green initiatives globally, they are swimming against the tide to reverse the consequences of their polluting industrialization in past decades.

The same can be said about the west. I am convinced if they all had to do it again, they would adopt much different policies - sustainable ones.

Alas! There are no frontiers in the sky. The impact of global warming is felt by all humans and much more in poor countries where coping mechanisms are scant. In other words, Africans pollutes less and suffer more, with droughts, floods and erosion.

There are emerging thesis which argue that global warming is also the cause of most conflicts currently ravaging the planet and Africa in particular. So our continent is understandably more concerned with protecting the planet.

Africa has a population of 1.2 billion people. With twelve million people, Rwanda is only the experiment and the gateway to Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt and DRC, respectively the four most populated countries on the continent, to move in eco-friendly cars - for a fully green mobility in Africa.

I will end with a postulate, which I had the chance to reaffirm this morning, listening to the young lady who heads the Volkswagen assembly plant in Rwanda.

Many colleagues with whom I went to university ask how Rwanda does it. And my answer to them is that, perhaps it is the center leadership roles that our government continuously give to women; human beings who tend to pursue other, healthier life goals than money? As the saying goes, if women could rule the world…