Addis Ababa July 1, 2017 Ethiopia has become the 42nd country in the world to have validated the elimination of Maternal and Neonatal tetanus, according to a joint press release sent to ENA.
“Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination in Ethiopia is hereby validated!” That was the conclusion of the joint mission from UNICEF and WHO Friday at its debriefing sessions with Ethiopian Ministry of Health, representatives of WHO and UNICEF to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia began accelerated Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) efforts in 1999.
In 2011, all the regions in the country except the Somali Region were validated for MNTE. The 2011 validation mission made recommendations that would see the Somali Region progress to MNTE over time.
The recommendations were implemented especially corrective vaccination campaigns against tetanus in 2016.
The administrative, as well as post-campaign survey data, revealed more than 85 percent coverage in each of the nine zones of the Ethiopian Somali Region.
The Joint validation mission reviewed these and other related and concluded that maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination had been achieved in the Somali Region and, by extension, in the whole of Ethiopia.
Receiving the good news of the validation, State Minister of Health, Dr. Kebede Worku exclaimed that “The country had worked hard on improving Maternal and Child Health services delivery with tangible results including the record attainment of MDG 4 three years ahead of the target year of 2015”.
He said that the ministry of health will continue to sustain this gain by integrating maternal and child health care services with other public health priorities.
WHO Representative, Dr. Akpaka A. Kalu, congratulated the country and said that “WHO is grateful for this remarkable result."
He added that WHO will continue to support the Ministry to sustain this achievement by prioritizing risk areas for public health interventions that need more support and interventions through specifically targeted strategies with active community involvement to achieve the desired results.
Addis Ababa July 01/2017 Africa continues to make great strides in its quest for financial independence and sustainability to reaffirm the continent’s renaissance and stop over-reliance on development partners, African Union Deputy Chairperson, Kwesi Quartey said.
During a press conference he gave Saturday, Quartey said the momentum in the implementation of the 0.2 percent levy to finance the Union’s budget continues to gain traction.
Ten member states including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Chad, Ghana and Republic of Congo, among others are at various stage of implementing the decision on financing of the Union.
“2017 is a transition year to allow all our member states to put in place appropriate instruments, for the full implementation of the decision and we are optimistic that from 2018 on, all our 55 states will oversee the full, consistent and timely implementation of this decision” he said.
He said “our continent remains vulnerable to internal and external shocks, which call us to build resilience financial regime that is able to effectively respond to such uncertainties”.
Quartey noted that a well-functioning financial regime is essential to foster long term economic growth.
The Heads of state and government adopted a decision in Kigali last year to finance 100 percent of the operational budget of the Union.
The decision is also seeks to finance 75 percent of the program budget where the flagship programs are covered such as CFTA and other key projects.
Also 25 percent of the contributions will go to finance the peace fund to cover operational activities such as mediation and preventive diplomacy, institutional capacity and peace support operations.
Addis Ababa July 01/2017 Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Workeneh Gebeyehu discussed with his Burundian counterpart Alain Nyamitwe on issues bilateral cooperation between the two nations.
The ministers discussed on ways of further strengthening bilateral relations in various sector.
After the discussion, Burundi’s Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation Alain Nyamitwe said that Ethiopia and Burundi have the same goals and development aspirations that need their cooperation.
The Minister said his country needs to work with Ethiopia on issues that could benefit the people of the two nations.
It is also his country’s desire to cooperate with Ethiopia in the areas of air service and work closely on the Nile Basin Initiative.
According to a high level official who attended the meeting, the discussion was focused on ways of further consolidating ties.
Implementation of agreement on air service, signed previously between the two countries was also on the agenda.
They have discussed on means of establishing joint commission meetings.
The two countries are cooperating in agriculture, investment and trade, in which they have agreed for timely evaluation of the level of cooperation.
Addis Ababa July 01/2017 Following the 30-day extension given by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, efforts have been continued on repatriating Ethiopians from the Gulf country, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to a statement the Ministry sent to ENA, 983 Ethiopians have returned home Saturday.
Some 290 of the returnees have repatriated in collaboration with Saudi Arabian Airlines as per the agreement reached with the airline.
According to the Ministry, efforts will be intensified to repatriate many Ethiopians in collaboration with the Airline in the coming two days.
It was recalled that the initial grace period which was 90 days, starting on 29 March 2017, has extended by 30 days.
Addis Ababa July 01/2017 The Executive Council of the African Union has elected two new commissioners for Economic Affairs; and Human Resources, Science and Technology portfolios which failed to get adequate votes during the 28th summit.
Madagascar’s Victor Harison elected as the new commissioner for Economic Affairs. Harison was competed with Yacin Elmi BOUH of Djibouti; Newaye Christos Gebre-ab of Ethiopia and Marthe Chantal Ndjepang MBAJON of Cameroon.
Cameroon’s Sarah Anyang Agbor won the election for the portfolio of commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology defeating Uganda's Dr. John Patrick KABAYO.
In January, the African Union Assembly elected the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson, and six Commissioners were elected by the Executive Council out of eight portfolios.
The election of commissioners for both posts was postponed to the 29th AU Summit as the candidates during the summit failed to get adequate votes.
Addis Ababa July 01/2017 The African continent is facing an unprecedented invasion from fall armyworm, which is rapidly spreading among many countries, the African Union Commission said.
During the press conference she gave Saturday at the sidelines of the AU Summit, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko said currently the pest has reportedly spread to 25 countries.
In those countries, it has attacked crops on 1.5 million hectares of land, affecting the economy and food security of countries.
AU is very concerned about the damage caused by the pest and the impact it would have on the affected countries, she noted.
In this regard, the African Union Commission is working in partnership with FAO to develop an intervention program to support member states.
She urged countries affected by the pest to use local means to control the spread of the fall armyworm.
The fall armyworm is a migratory pest known to cause massive destruction on maize and other crops under warm and humid conditions in the Americas.
Ethiopia is among the countries affected by the pest, which was first detected in Africa in early 2016 in Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin and Togo.
Addis Ababa July 01/2017 Ethiopia targets to balance its trade exchange with neighboring Kenya and Sudan by exporting value added agricultural products and quality industrial goods, according to Ministry of Trade.
Head of Public Relations and Communication Affairs Office at the Ministry, Wondimu Filate told ENA that recently, the trade balance between Ethiopia and the two countries has been in favor of the neighbors especially in 2016.
Alongside the import/export, total trade volume has also varied especially with Sudan, Wondimu underscored.
For instance trade volume with Sudan dropped to 145 million USD in 2015 from 356.8 million USD in 2010. Ethiopia exports agricultural products to Sudan while imports mainly oil products.
“Activities are being underway to penetrate into the markets of the two nations by exporting quality industrial products alongside value added agricultural products to boost the country`s foreign currency”, he said.
Expansion of agro-processing and industrial parks will play a fundamental role in this regard by enabling the country produce value added export oriented items, Wondimu added.
In addition to local infrastructural development, the country has also been working to create regional integration with extensive cross boundary infrastructural network including power, road and railway.
The expansion of these infrastructural networks with all neighboring countries and beyond is expected to improve the intra-regional trade.
According to recent reports, Ethiopia plans to earn 290 million USD annually from energy export by 2019, when the Ethio-Kenya electricity transmission and distributions line is completed.
Ethiopia earns about 80 million USD of revenue annually by selling about 100 MW of energy to Sudan and 80 MW of energy to Djibouti.
Trading raw agricultural products, contraband trade and instability were mentioned among the major challenges that tested the growth of trade between countries the region, it was stated.
“Ethiopia has been playing its leading role particularly on settling peace and stability in the volatile region, Horn of Africa in particular and Africa in general with prioritizing peace to boost all forms of relations”, Wondimu underlined.
Ethiopia has enjoyed a positive trade balance with the other two neighboring countries Djibouti and Somalia, according to the ministry.
Addis Ababa July 1, 2017 Ethiopia’s first international ICT Expo has enabled local innovators and companies to showcase products and innovations, as well as share best practices with global companies.
Participants of the expo, who ENA has talked, said the expo creates opportunity to display innovations to visitors estimated at 300,000 from around the world.
The first international ICT Expo is being held in Addis Ababa under the theme: “Digital Ethiopia”.
Gebeya.com is one of the companies that have been engaged on producing talented IT software developers in Africa with its IT training academy in Ethiopia since September 2016.
The academy was introduced in to the market by two African innovators named Amadou Daffe and Hiruy Amanuel.
Merkeb Mengistu, Marketing Manager of Gebeya.com said that the company has exhibited many innovative products in the expo.
She noted that such kind of expo enable companies like Gebeya.com to find sponsors and partners that would help them penetrate into the global market.
Merkeb said SAEW, an application to monitor patients’ health status, is one of the new innovations that the company displays in the expo. The sensor to be worn on the patient’s wrists, monitors the patient’s health status and sends messages to the nurse or to the caretaker when there is an emergency.
According to her, the application will be applied in hospitals in the capital Addis Ababa in the coming three months.
Addistag Systems PLC, a company that has interest on developing various mobile and computer software and applications is another company participating in the expo.
Since its establishment in 2016 the company has developed a mobile application for United Bank to show places where branch offices and ATM machines of the bank are for customers, Yafet Birehanu, co-founder of the company said.
According to him, the company is displaying its latest mobile application “Selam Taxi” in this Expo. The app, to be installed on mobile phones, provides users with exact location of places and provides information about taxis that can offer services.
The application provides users’ information about places where they want to go and identifies what kind of taxi can provide them transport service, including plate numbers and the price.
The application that could be installed on taxis can also provide information to drivers and passengers the kilometer they have travelled and the price to be charged.
Many visitors have shown interest in the application, Yafet said
Since his company is new to the ICT market, Yafet belives that such kind of expo would have great impact by creating vast opportunities.
There are more than 25 innovative startup companies that have exhibiting their innovations like Gebeya and Addistag Systems PLC in the expo that consists exhibition and conference.
Over 300 guests from 45 countries across the world have been attending the international expo that Ethiopia has hosting for the first time.
Addis Ababa July 1, 2017 Foreign Ministers of Ethiopia and Angola have discussed on bilateral and regional issues that would enable them enhance cooperation.
In their discussion held at the margins of the AU Summit, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu and his Angolan counterpart Georges Rebelo Chicoti exchanged views on bilateral as well as peace and security issues.
They have also discussed on the planned visit of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn to Angola after the upcoming election to be held next month in that country.
After the discussion, Angola’s Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Chicoti said that Ethiopia is playing important role in peace building efforts in South Sudan and Somalia as well as in the entire region.
He said “we really congratulate Ethiopia on the role it plays to influence peace because only peace can help development of the African continent.”
Noting age long bilateral and diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Minister said that he wishes to see an Ethiopian embassy in Angola.
Addis Ababa July 1, 2017 African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said empowering women and youth needs critical attention for any progress in the continent.
Speaking on the opening of the 31st Executive Council meeting of AU, the Chairperson said the timely theme of the 29th Ordinary Summit “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth” shows that the huge expectation of the youth need to be addressed.
Tackling human trafficking is among the problems that need priority in the efforts to empower the youth, said the chairperson.
He said “we must act here through immediate measure while accelerating the long term and medium term policies to fight poverty, exclusion and marginalization which are the root causes of this tragedy for human condition.”
In addition the Chairperson emphasizes the need to prioritize peace and security to create better future for the youth.
He said “the new form of violence shows the vanity of traditional motto of promoting peace. New approach is for necessity.”
“No violent crisis in Africa will be solved by arms. Dialogue, reconciliation and search for consensual solution is only the part of peace,” chairperson added.
Acting Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok agreed on the need to invest on the youth.
The continent needs to focus on investments that would create employment opportunities for the youth in line with the Addis Ababa Plan of Action.
Dr. Abdalla Hamdok also urged the need to manage migration to empower the youth.
He said “migration has the potential of bringing significant contribution to economic growth and human development in Africa but only if it is tackled in a holistic manner and mainstreamed appropriately in development planning and strategies.”
Here are an estimated 7.5 million West African migrants within West Africa compared to 1.2 million in North America and Europe combined, he said quoting IOM.
He said “getting the fundamental rights is the first step to harness Africa’s demographic dividend and must be supported by targeted policy actions that foster investment in the youth.”