Green Legacy for Addressing Water Dispute, Food Insecurity in East Africa

Countries and food security problems in East Africa, National Green Legacy Program Technical Committee said.

Coordinator of the technical committee, Adefris Worku, told ENA that the Green Legacy program, which is a flagship environmental project, has to be adopted by countries in the Horn of Africa region to counter the vulnerability of drought and water shortages.

The region is suffering from climate-induced impacts.

The coordinator particularly stressed the need that downstream countries should support the Green Legacy Initiative which is vital to increase the volume of water to the Nile River basins.

“Our call especially for those downstream countries, you should come and help Ethiopia’s efforts in its massive campaign of planting tree seedlings. The Nile can flow into Egypt or Sudan when the mountains of Ethiopia are covered by greenery…. This should be recognized and supported by resources mobilization as well as expertise assistance[of lower riparian countries].”

The Green Legacy Initiative has been initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to address various environmental challenges through promoting a green culture, it was indicated.

In this regard, the Government of Ethiopia envisions planting 20 billion trees across the country over four years, significantly enhancing the contribution of forestry to agriculture, water and energy.

He pointed out that Ethiopia would like to make that its flagship project would contribute to the East African region to help reduce the vulnerability of climate change.

“Ethiopia is reinforcing this Green Legacy program to reduce the risk of climate change vulnerability, which is getting worse in our region from time to time. Hopefully, this program is indeed instrumental to have a regional meaning as naturally the East African region is highly exposed to drought and climate change.”

Adefris added that the Horn of Africa is the toughest area of the globe where the ever steady conflict, population growth and water shortage exacerbate the situation.

“Therefore, one of the first things we need to address in this region is to restore the affected areas through planting millions of trees,” he urged.

Further, Adefris said one of the benefits of this Green Legacy program is to solve the region’s acute water problem by allowing sufficient rainfall and flow.

“Therefore, the contribution of Green Legacy in the future is to adjust the use of the ecosystem and ensure that there is enough rain and water in the Horn of Africa and beyond. Moreover, when there is water, production increases in the agricultural sector. That will avoid water and other resource utilization disputes,” he stated.

And when the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) members countries combine efforts to green the region, East Africa will become politically stable and food security will be ensured.

As Ethiopia has launched the 2022 Green Legacy Campaign in June last month, which is fourth round, it is expected that more than 5 billion seedlings will planted this rainy season, it was indicated.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Diaspora Urged to Promote Ethiopia’s Unique Place in Islam

Foreign Affairs State Minister, Birtukan Ayano, urged Ethiopian Diaspora to be aware of Ethiopia’s unique place in Islam and promote it to build the image of the country.

Eid-to-Eid Diaspora Consultative meeting that aimed to discuss Ethiopia’s contribution to the development of the Islamic religion was held in Jima City today.

On the occasion, State Minister of Foreign Affairs and Eid-to-Eid Committee Chairperson, Birtukan Ayano urged the Ethiopian Diaspora to be aware of Ethiopia’s unique place in Islam.

Participants underscored the need to understand by the Ethiopians in the Diaspora and promote the country’s religious, historical, and cultural values to the world.

President of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, Sheikh Haji Ibrahim Tufa, Director-General of Public Diplomacy, Ambassador Dina Mufti, Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency, Mohamed Idris and Mayor of Jima City, Najib Abaraya took part in the meeting.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Diaspora Engagement Pathway to Ethiopia’s Development: Ethiopian Diaspora Service

Engagement of the diaspora is one of the pathways of development in Ethiopia, according to the Ethiopian Diaspora Service.

Ethiopian Diaspora Service Deputy Director-General, Mohammed Edris told ENA that the diaspora has been active in defending Ethiopia’s national interest at international stages.

As the Ethiopian Diaspora Service is mandated to harmonize relations between the diaspora and government institutions, we call on the diaspora to engage more in national affairs, he added.

According to him, the knowledge and experiences the diaspora has accumulated over the years is very useful to our country not only for investment and economic development but also for the National Dialogue and internal cohesion.

Citing the growth of remittance to over 4.2 billion USD in the concluded Ethiopian budget year, Mohammed called on the diaspora to contribute more to the economy.

The diaspora is not only an important source of hard currency through remittances but also in investment, he noted.

The Ethiopian Diaspora have launched 1,800 projects with over 96 billion Birr, it was learned. The diaspora is mainly engaged in agriculture, industry and tourism sectors.

The deputy director-general further has called on the diaspora to actively engage in the National Dialogue.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Ethiopia’s Coffee Value Chain Good Demonstration of Performance Last Fiscal Year: Prof Lopes

The approach of valuing commodities is a well-established principle and Ethiopia has succeeded in this regard as its coffee value chain is a good demonstration of such a performance, according to the former Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

The former Executive Secretary and Cape Town University Professor, Carlos Lopes said the country first fought to guarantee coffee origin certification.

According to him, mimicking is excellent examples of similar valuation for other soft commodities.

“It is about having a gourmet experience and an history linked to geography and special cultural conditions, only second it is about buying a food item.”

By partnering with a well-established and world recognizable brand like Starbucks, Ethiopia built origin reputation and that contributes to the identification of the coffee as originally from Ethiopia, the professor noted.

It is the same way Mexico, for instance, claims to be the origin of cocoa.

Second, Professor Lopes pointed out that, Ethiopia regulated the prices by launching a successful national commodity exchange that served to unify production and improve supply chains and to increase the country’s bargaining power with major international commodity traders.

Finally, it invested in credit schemes and an agricultural extension service that has comforted small producers.

He further elaborated that succeeding in economic transformation requires a long learning curve that is based on stable and predictable policy environment, improved institutional eco-system and good logistics.

By managing this complexity with coffee, Ethiopia has been able to replicate in many other agricultural-related value chains, including the excellent performance in the fresh-cut flowers market, the professor explained.

It is to be recalled that Ethiopia obtained 1.4 billion USD from coffee export during the country’s concluded fiscal year. The country has set an unprecedented record in terms of volume and revenue since it started exporting coffee to the world market.

Some 15 years ago this was the equivalent amount for the total Ethiopian exports.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Ethiopia’s Ambassador to America Holds Fruitful Talks with US Senators, Representatives

Ethiopia’s Ambassador to USA, Seleshi Bekele, held a productive conversations with several US Senators and representatives.

According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he met with Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman Chuck Fleishmann, Congresswoman Julia Letlow, Congressman Darrell Issa, Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman Steve Womack, and Congressman Darrell Issa.

In these engagements, the ambassador briefed the law makers about the federal government’s measures on humanitarian assistance for conflict and natural disaster affected areas, peace-building, socio-economic development, democratization process, the recent attempt of Al Shabab terrorist group on Ethiopia and other aspects.

Seleshi also explained Ethiopia’s concern regarding HR 6600 and S3199 bills to the US lawmakers.

If passed, the bills would only have unproductive results on the long-lasting relations of the two countries and the ongoing encouraging developments in Ethiopia, he said.

He also elaborated on how Ethiopia’s suspension from AGOA is hurting ordinary Ethiopians and requested the officials for Ethiopia’s reinstatement.

The officials on their part recognized the positive progress witnessed in the areas of humanitarian access, peace-building efforts and dialogue process.

They also indicated the importance of strengthening historic ties between the two countries, while expressing their commitment to bridge the current gaps.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Action on Monkeypox Accelerates in US as Outbreak Expands

Two of the hardest-hit U.S. regions have raised the alert level over the monkeypox outbreak.

San Francisco declared a public health emergency Thursday. The city accounts for 281 of California’s nearly 800 cases. The declaration gives health officials access to additional resources to deal with the outbreak.

New York, with nearly 1,400 cases statewide, made a similar declaration Thursday.

Worldwide, more than 21,000 cases have been reported in 78 countries, nearly all of them outside West and Central Africa, where the virus is endemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the threat level to its highest ranking last weekend.

The U.S. case count is nearing 5,000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The federal government has not declared an emergency but announced plans Thursday to distribute nearly 800,000 additional doses of monkeypox vaccine.

U.S. health officials said they had already distributed 340,000 doses, but many jurisdictions have reported that they have had to turn away patients because of short supplies.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Who gets monkeypox, and how?

The outbreak has been concentrated among men who have sex with men, though anyone can get monkeypox.

The virus spreads through contact with the rash that infected patients develop. It can also pass through bodily fluids, respiratory droplets after prolonged face-to-face contact or contaminated clothing, bedding or towels.

Men who have sex with men should have fewer sex partners in order to curb the spread, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

“This is an outbreak that can be stopped,” Tedros said. “The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure.”

However, he added, intolerance of homosexuality would not help.

“Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus, and can fuel the outbreak,” Tedros said.

What are the symptoms? Is it fatal?

The disease causes fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash, usually on the face, palms and soles of the feet. About a third of cases also develop a rash on the genitals.

The strain of monkeypox responsible for the global outbreak is rarely fatal but can be extremely painful, according to the CDC. About 10% of cases have been hospitalized “to manage the pain caused by the disease,” Tedros said.

Five deaths have been reported — three in Nigeria and two in the Central African Republic.

What about vaccines and treatments?

About 16 million doses of vaccine are available worldwide, but most will take several months to be packaged and distributed, according to the WHO, which is recommending vaccination only for people at high risk, including people exposed to an infected person, health workers and people with multiple sex partners.

People vaccinated against smallpox likely have some protection against monkeypox, which is a related virus. Smallpox vaccination ended after the disease was declared eradicated in 1980.

Several antiviral medications have been approved.

How unusual is this outbreak?

The current outbreak is the first time this many cases have occurred in such widely dispersed areas outside the endemic countries in West and Central Africa.

Europe accounts for two-thirds of the cases. Nearly one-fifth are in the United States.

WHO’s advisory committee did not agree on the magnitude of the threat at its meeting last Saturday, but Tedros made the decision to declare a “public health emergency of international concern,” the agency’s highest threat assessment.

Source: Voice of America

Egypt Rejects Ethiopia’s Continued Filling Of Nile Dam

Egypt sent a letter yesterday, to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), to object to Ethiopia’s continued filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

“Egypt completely rejects Ethiopia’s continuation of filling the GERD unilaterally, without reaching an agreement with Egypt and Sudan,” said Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, in a letter addressed to the UNSC.

Shoukry noted, while Egypt adhered to the need to reach an agreement on the GERD, that meets the common interests of the three countries, it will not tolerate any prejudice to its rights, water security or any threat to the capabilities of the Egyptian people.

He called on the UNSC to ensure the implementation of its presidential statement, which obligates the three countries to negotiate, in order to reach an agreement on the dam, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that, the country had received a message from the Ethiopian side on Jul 26, that Ethiopia is continuing to fill the reservoir of the dam during the current flood season.

The GERD negotiations, held by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, have been suspended since Apr, 2021, following marathon talks that lasted for years without yielding results.

The deadlock led Sudan to propose changing the negotiation methods, by expanding the African mediation umbrella, to include the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.

Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the dam, while Egypt and Sudan, both downstream Nile Basin countries, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.