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Ethiopia, France tackling global challenges: Amb Bontems

Ethiopia and France have been sharing a common vision of the world and tackling global challenges, France’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and African Union said.

In exclusive interview with ENA, Ambassador Frédéric Bontems said the two countries are working closely to address global challenges.

“Ethiopia, for example, has been very instrumental in the success of COP 21 (the Paris Climate Conference) negotiations and the agreement. In security too, our two states have taken responsibility in Sahel and the Horn of Africa”, he elaborated.

According to him, the countries are also cooperating in the UN Security Council where France is a permanent member and Ethiopia a non-permanent member for the year 2017-2018. “We are working together to try to solve international crisis,” he said.

Ambassador Bontems further pointed out that the new president of France has always shown a particular interest in Africa, which he perceives as a continent of future.

President Emmanuel Macron had, before being elected, expressed desire for strong partnership between France, Europe, Mediterranean and Africa, the Ambassador noted.

“In some fields of mutual interest such as climate change, trade, security, I am sure we are going to work very well together, taking at the same time into account such challenges as democracy, good governance, and respect for the law”, he stated.

Regarding investment, Ambassador Bontems said that France is working very closely with EU to promote increased investment of Europe in the development of the African continent.

He revealed that the development assistance of EU and its member states to Africa is around 1 billion Euros this year.

With respect to trade relations between the countries, the Ambassador said “French companies have a growing interest in Ethiopia. In 2014 we had 28 French companies active in the country, today the number has doubled with roughly 50 French businesses established in Ethiopia”.

Ambassador Bontems however insists that the countries can even go further. “When we speak of business climate, we have to have a conducive regulatory environment to reinforce the attractiveness of Ethiopia. And I think there is still improvement to be made in this respect” he added.

The Ambassador admits that the trade balance is now in favor of France. But he adds that “the real challenge here for Ethiopia is to develop its export by developing the industrial sector in order to address the French and Ethiopian market.”

Ethiopia and France established their diplomatic relations in 1897. The relation was naturally marked by the construction of the famous railway between Djibouti and Addis Ababa.

Source: ENA

President and Premier congratulate the new Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom

President Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn have congratulated Dr Tedros Adhanom who was elected as the new head of World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday (May 23), becoming the first African to lead the Geneva-based United Nations agency.

President Mulatu congratulated all nations and nationalities of Ethiopia and added that this historic election epitomizes the outstanding changes Ethiopians have accomplished over the years on social and economic issues holding hands together.

Prime Minister Hailemariam passed congratulatory words to Ethiopians at home and abroad as well as friends of Ethiopia. Premier noted Dr Tedros’s election is a proof of Ethiopia’s notable recognition by the global community.

Noting Dr. Tedros’s achievement as part of Ethiopia’s success story in the diplomatic arena, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Dr Workneh Gebeyehu dubbed the election of Dr. Tedros as an African victory.

Dr. Tedros was able garner an outstanding support on the basis of his firm position to shake up an agency seen as needing major reform.

26th anniversary celebration of Ginbot 20

በቤኔሉክስ ሀገራት ለምትገኙ ኢትዮጵያዊያንና ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያዊያን በሙሉ!

በብራሰልስ የሚገኘው የኢፊዲሪ ኤምባሲ እ.ኤ.አ. ጁን 10 ቀን 2017 ከቀኑ 14:00 እስከ 20:00 ስዓት 26ኛውን የግንቦት 20 በዓል በቤኔሉክስ ሀገራት ከሚገኙ ኢትዮጵያዊያንና ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ጋር በጋራ በመሆን ʺየህዝቦች እኩልነትና ፍትሃዊ ተጠቃሚነትን ያረጋገጠ ፌዴራላዊ ስርዓት እየገነባች ያለች ሀገር – ኢትዮጵያʺ በሚል መሪ ቃል በዓሉን በደማቅ ሁኔታ ለማክበር ዝግጅቱን አጠናቋል፡፡ በበዓሉ ሀገራችን ባለፉት 26 ዓመታት በተከተለችው የፌደራሊዝም ስርዓት የተገኙ ለውጦችና ውጤቶች አስመልክቶ ውይይት ይካሄዳል፡፡ እንዲሁም በበዓሉ የሀገራችን የብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ህዝቦች ባህላዊ ጨዋታዎች ይቀርባሉ፡፡

ስለሆኑም እርስዎ ከቤተሰብዎ ጋር በመሆን ከዚህ በታች በተገለፀው የስብሰባ አድራሻ፣ ቀንና ስዓት በመገኘት፣ የበዓሉ ተሳታፊ እንዲሆኑ ኤምባሲው በአክብሮት ይጋብዛል፡፡

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Press Release: Ethiopia believes its ties with the European Union ought to be based on the principles of mutual interest and equality

Ethiopia and the European Union have already jointly embarked working on the “strategic engagement” signed on July last year aimed at transforming the longstanding relations to a much comprehensive, reinforced and structured tie. The strategic engagement focuses on six sectoral dialogues ranging from issues of countering terrorism and violent radicalization to good governance and human rights. This year a consultative forum on good governance and democracy was held successfully.

Meanwhile, at this critical juncture the European Parliament, the legislative body of the Union on May 18, 2017 made forethoughts on Ethiopia, praising the longstanding generosity the country has extended towards refugees from troubled neighboring countries, the unrelenting role it was playing on fighting terrorism and bringing tranquility in Somalia, the commitment the country was showing in ensuring long lasting peace in South Sudan, etc.

While Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, was in Addis on March 2017, the Government of Ethiopia has made an enormous effort to make the discussion between the official and opposition political parties possible.

However, the press release that was, to a significant extent, flawed by bogus information which called for the immediate release on bail and dropping of all charges against Dr. Merera Gudina was not fair and appropriate. The press release wouldn’t do more than undermining the constitutional system of the country.

The release of the press during this crucial time where the Government of Ethiopia was aggressively working towards bringing about the necessary changes that were apparently required to fill the already identified gaps between the public and government institutions wouldn’t do-good to the mounting spirit of cooperation between Ethiopia and the European Union. Such remarks made on suspects who are in jail and whose cases are being taken care by the law of the land lack an obvious understanding of the judicial system and procedure of the country.

Albeit the press release that will have a lesser significance on the enduring growth of the country, Ethiopia will continue to do its level best towards ensuring an upward spiral and mutually beneficial relationship with the European Union built on the principles of equality and measured remarks based on realities on the ground.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The EP Resolution on Ethiopia lacks understanding on important issues

Press Release

On the 18th of May 2017, the European Parliament issued a resolution condemning Ethiopia for not respecting its own Constitution and human rights. Though this resolution underlines the role of Ethiopia in stabilizing the region and the improvement of the economic situation of the population, it lacks some understanding of the situation in the country on topics such as the state of emergency, the human rights and the arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina.

  • On the arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina: The resolution of the European Parliament ignores the fact that Dr. Merera Gudina exceeded the rights of political opposition by allegedly meeting with the leader of an armed group at the European Parliament. The directive issued to implement the state of emergency, under Article 2, clearly stipulates that, among other things, meeting with individuals or organizations proscribed by the Ethiopian Parliament as terrorists is prohibited. Dr. Merera Gudina knows very well that Ginbot-7 was designated as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian Parliament due to its numerous terrorist actions in different parts of the country. By meeting and discussing with the leader of this organization in Brussels from 7-9 November 2016, Dr. Merera Gudina deliberately violated the state of emergency. As a leader of a political party, he is particularly supposed to respect and protect the laws and to know that anyone who breaches the law will be held accountable, and the European Parliament should also acknowledge this.
  • On the state of emergency: The state of emergency was not decided for political motives, but to preserve the stability of the country. It is to be recalled that Ethiopia has seen unprecedented violent protests and unrest during the last year. Considering the fact that the existing normal law enforcement mechanisms were insufficient to contain the problem, the Council of Ministers of Ethiopia, declared a state of Emergency on 9 October 2016. This was approved by the Ethiopian Parliament in conformity with the provisions of the Ethiopian Constitution. In the meantime, several restrictions imposed by the state of emergency were lifted, which should be seen as a positive signal, including as control on mobile data network and social media, curfew on movements around major infrastructural facilities, arrest of suspects and conducting searches without search warrants, restriction and control of messages broadcasted on different medias.
  • On the investigations into the protests: While the resolution of the European Parliament is calling an international investigation into the protests, it has to be noted that Ethiopia is endowed with its own investigation mechanisms. On the 18th of April 2017, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) presented the results of the investigation it carried out following the violence in some parts of Amhara, Oromia and SNNP regional states in 2016 to the House of Peoples Representatives. The EHRC said a total of 669 people were killed in the unrests, 495 people (465 civilians, 33 security personnel) in Oromia, 140 people (110 civilians and 30 security personnel) in Amhara and 34 people in the SSNP regional states. While the Commission said that in most cases, measures taken by security officers were legal and proportionate, it also indicated that security officers used unnecessary force in several cases. Finally, it has to be noted that close to 90% (20,000 individuals) of the people who were detained in connection with the violent demonstrations have been released following a briefing on the constitutional rights and obligations of citizens.
  • On the human rights in Ethiopia: Ethiopia has developed its own framework to improve the respect of human rights in Ethiopia. It can only be hoped that the European Parliament will find ways to positively support the Ethiopian Parliament and other Ethiopian government institutions in the implementation of the this framework, not by criticizing, but through a constructive support. The second National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP II) was approved by the House of People’s representatives and it will develop a comprehensive and structured mechanism to advance the respect, protection, and fulfilment of human and democratic rights, which are explicitly guaranteed by the country’s Constitution. The NHRAP II deals with civil, political economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the rights of vulnerable groups. It raises issues like the right to life, the right to personal security, the prohibition against inhuman treatment, the rights of persons arrested, persons held in custody and convicted prisoners, the rights of persons accused, the right of access to justice, the freedom of thought, opinion, expression, and of association among others.
  • On the political space: The resolution fails to mention that a dialogue between ruling and opposition political parties was initiated in January 2017. After meeting several times, the 17 political parties, including the ruling coalition EPRDF, have ratified a common regulation in April to give a sustainable framework to the dialogue, and selected three negotiators to chair the dialogue. It is also planned to reform the electoral law  to introduce an part of proportionality into the majority rule. It is saddening that the European Parliament did not support this initiative until now.

Despite these elements, it is to be hoped that the European Parliament will be willing assist the broad and deep reform programs in Ethiopia and support implementation of the rule of law. Only a constructive approach can support the country on its path to democratization and development.

Ethiopia is located in a turbulent neighborhood and surrounded by several conflicts. Its destabilization would be detrimental not only to the Horn of Africa, but also to Europe. Ethiopia is doing its level best to stabilize the region by contributing peacekeeping forces, hosting over 800,000 refugees and fighting terrorism and radicalization.

UNHCR struggling to meet needed funds for refugees in Ethiopia

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it has only been able to meet 20% of the funds required to meet the needs of more than 843,000 refugees registered in Ethiopia as of April 30.

In a report released on Monday, the UNHCR put the amount of funding needed to meet the needs of the refugees at US$307.5 million. It said that the UNHCR had received only 20% of the funds required.

The funds are needed to meet the security, education, health, nutrition and food security, water and sanitation, energy access of the refugees as well as environmental protection of the camps and their surrounding areas.

The largest refugee group in Ethiopia is from the South Sudan – numbering 357,755 most of whom have fled the fighting there since December 2013. The second largest group of refugees, about 249,000,  is from Somalia fleeing war and famine; while another 169,655 are from Eritrea. There are also smaller groups from Sudan and from across the Red Sea from Yemen.

Dr. Tedros at the WHO: Ethiopian expertise going global

This article was originally published in the 6th issue (April 2017) of The Ethiopian Messenger, the quarterly magazine of the Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels.

Several challenges will have to be faced by the next Director-General of the World Health Organization, including new global health threats, but also to reform and give a new impetus to the organization. Dr. Tedros precisely combines the balance of technical and political competences that can help the WHO to move forward.

The next Director-General of the World Health Organization will be chosen in May 2017 following a final selection among the three remaining candidates. One European, one African, and one South Asian are competing to succeed to Dr. Margaret Chan, whose second term as WHO Director- General ends on the 30th of June 2017. Ethiopia’s nominee, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, distinguishes himself from his contenders in several respects. Leveraging from a rich professional experience, the sole African candidate of the selection holds a PhD in Community Health and benefits from a dual professional path both as health expert and seasoned diplomat. During his tenure as one of the longest serving Health ministers in Africa, he overcame some of the country’s greatest health challenges and saw dramatic gains in indicators such as child and maternal health. Now, Dr. Tedros seeks to make his efforts global by using his unique background and expertise to become the first African Director-General of the World Health Organization and contribute to its revival.

Lifelong commitment to Health

Dr. Tedros’s personal and professional paths reflect his lifelong dedication to improving healthcare. As a young man, Dr. Tedros saw the impact of disease outbreaks and poor health care first-hand, in particular the suffering and deaths caused by malaria in his community. He later unsurprisingly chose to study the effects of malaria as his PhD dissertation’s topic. In 2001, while he was the head of the Tigray Regional Health Bureau, Dr. Tedros was credited with making a 22.3 percent reduction in AIDS prevalence in the region and a 68.5 percent reduction in meningitis cases. After being appointed Minister of Health in 2005, he implemented an ambitious health reform agenda. During the 2005-2008 period alone, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health built 4,000 health centres, trained and deployed more than 30,000 health extension workers and developed a new cadre of hospital management professionals. These impressive results also helped Ethiopia to achieve almost all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): maternal mortality was reduced by 71 percent, HIV mortality was reduced by 90 percent and under-five mortality decreased by two-third.

During his time as Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Tedros took part in several global health initiatives and made a profound impact in the global health architecture by leading, as a board chair, many global institutions such as UNAIDS, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Roll Back Malaria. In 2009, after assuming leadership of the Global fund, a partnership organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics, he notoriously turned the then- criticized institution into an up and running one. During his two-year term, Dr Tedros guided the Global Fund to address significant challenges and to make important decisions that have led to the development of a comprehensive reform agenda and a more efficient and effective Global Fund.

A Global Vision for challenges ahead

In previous decades, the World Health Organization has played a crucial role in achieving major milestones in combatting HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and reducing maternal, child and infant mortality. Scientific, technological and social progress over the last century have made the lives of millions of people longer and healthier. However, the world is now facing daunting challenges and unprecedented health threats. Unhealthy lifestyles are leading to rising obesity, while globalization has made the transmission of infectious disease pathogens easier. Climate and environmental factors are likely to increase the frequency of deadly phenomena such as the 2003 heat wave that claimed the lives of 70.000 persons. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year and the direct damage costs to health is estimated to be between two and four billion dollars a year by 2030.

The World Health Organisation, which essentially operates as an international organization, with the World Health Assembly, WHO’s supreme decision-making body, at its center, will also inevitably be affected by the rapidly evolving world architecture. Recent events such as the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and the arrival of a new administration in the United States have shaken up old alliances and generated uncertainties for the future. Therefore, WHO’s incoming Director-General will need to balance scientific priorities with the politics of members states and donors, and should not only possess experience in the health sector, but also political knowledge and diplomatic skills.

Dr. Tedros precisely possesses the balance of technical and political competence that can help the WHO to move forward. His experience at the Ministry of Health and of Ethiopia’s representation in global health initiatives afford him valuable insights that he brings to bear on challenges facing the WHO. Throughout his career, Dr. Tedros has also pursued creative new fund-raising schemes to make the institutions he led sustainable, a crucial ability since financing is often cited as one of WHO’s greatest challenges. He is already known for being a coalition builder with a collaborative, context-specific, and solutions-oriented approach to global health and international relations. As Director-General, Dr. Tedros’ vision, collaborative approach and proven effectiveness will certainly help WHO better protect the health of all people.

Africa’s Turn

For the past months, the word in international circles was that it was Africa’s turn, as an African has never led the WHO – or any important UN body for that matter. Indeed, things are looking promising for Dr. Tedros. Ethiopia’s candidate has first won the endorsement of the African Union’s Executive Council and is the only prospective candidate from the continent. Dr. Tedros was shortlisted as the front runner out of six candidates through two rounds of secret voting, collecting most votes during both rounds during the 140th meeting of the Executive board in January 2017.

A winning of the African candidate would have substantial symbolic and practical consequences. First, this would not only be an acknowledgment of Dr. Tedros’ innovative efforts, but of the current change sweeping the African continent. Overall, the continent achieved average real annual GDP growth of 5.4 percent between 2000 and 2010. African countries are at the forefront when it comes to peacekeeping and diplomatic negotiations in war-torn regions.

Moreover, Africa is the continent most afflicted by potential international public health concerns, but recent cases such the WHO’s management of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was perceived as inept and showed the WHO’s vulnerabilities when it comes to early detection and rapid response in Africa. For its part, Dr. Tedros, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, played a pivotal leadership role in the Africa Union’s response to the Ebola epidemic by facilitating greater country ownership and urging countries to adhere to the WHO guidelines. As an experienced reformer acquainted with the intricacies of global diplomacy and coming from exemplary high-performing country, there is no doubt that Dr. Tedros will deliver in boosting the surveillance system and the communication between countries, while seeking input and consultation about how the organization can be reformed.

IMF Economic Outlook: Ethiopia expected to be star performer on the continent

Source: https://www.ft.com/content/8f5a61a6-34be-11e7-99bd-13beb0903fa3

Several sub-Saharan African economies will grow at more than 6 per cent this year but the rest of the continent will drag growth back to 2.5 per cent, highlighting the emergence of a “two-speed Africa”.

In its annual economic outlook for the continent, the International Monetary Fund warned that the modest rebound, from a dismal 1.5 per cent last year — Africa’s worst performance in two decades — is driven largely by one-off factors in the continent’s largest economies.

These include a pick-up of oil production in Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer and its biggest economy measured in purchasing power parity terms, as well as slightly stronger oil prices, which helps Angola, the second-largest oil producer.

Even so, Nigeria and Angola are projected to grow in 2017 at only 0.8 and 1.3 per cent respectively. South Africa, the continent’s other big economy, is also forecast to grow at just 0.8 per cent.

The fund projects that six economies — Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia — will grow at above 6 per cent. Several others should grow at above 5 per cent. Ethiopia, which is recovering from last year’s drought and is a potentially large market with 100m people, is expected to be the continent’s star performer in 2017, growing at 7.5 per cent.

Read the full article: https://www.ft.com/content/8f5a61a6-34be-11e7-99bd-13beb0903fa3

State Minister Dr Aklilu Hailemichael holds talks with the Netherlands Ambassador to Ethiopia

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Akililu Hailemichael held talks with the Netherlands Ambassador to Ethiopia H.E Bengt Van Loosdrecht where the two discussed on migration and bilateral issues.

Reiterating the existence of more than 800000 refugees​ in Ethiopia ​the two parties agreed to work on shared responsibilities ​related to migration.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Akililu Hailemichael and Netherlands Ambassador to Ethiopia H.E Bengt Van Loosdrecht