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  • Nile Politics: Where does Eritrea fit?


    In his recent visit to Egypt, Isaias was received at the airport in Cairo by the president of the council of ministers and by the minister of irrigation. The presence of the irrigation minister is significant since Egypt’s irrigation is synonymous to the Nile. If the visit was expected to be provocative, it achieved more than that. The fact that of all the ministers Egypt would send the irrigation minister to receive Isaias is possibly a calculated gesture given the current frustrated Egyptian agitation against the GERD. The visit must have appeared as a threat to Ethiopia even if it was not intended to be so.

    That incident would implicate Eritrea as a suspect simply because the policy of Isaias Afwerki and his government has always been focused on finding a way to entangle Eritrea in conflicts that has no dividend for the Eritrean people.

    For years, the Eritrean regime has been helplessly cajoling one side or the other to immerse itself in the Yemeni crisis. Finally, with a mediation by Sudan’s AlBashir, who plunged into the Yemeni fray earlier, Isaias attempted to be part of the Saudi led alliance in Yemen in a very humiliating manner and failed. Yet, he never gave up, but continued to cajole the UAE at the expense of Qatar, his only loyal friend in the region.

    Read more at Awate.com

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  • UN: "Two Eritrean Airforce Captains Missing In Italy"


    In  a report is issued on 31 October 2016, the UN Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group (UNSEMG) stated that two Eritrean Airforce captains didn’t report to the Italian Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea after their travel to Italy.

    According to the report, those who are granted visa by the embassy to visit Italy are required to report to the embassy to acknowledge their return.

    Italian authorities confirmed to the UNSEMG that Major General Teklai Habteselassie the chief of the air force, and Major Yonas Tesfai Tedla, a member of the delegation, have left Italy on September 9, 2016. However, as of the same date, the two helicopter pilots in the delegation, Captain Yonas Henok Ghebretensae and Captain Asmerom Amanuel Gebremedhin, “had not presented themselves for obligatory return check procedures at the Embassy of Italy in Asmara” and have not applied for asylum in Italy.

    The report added, “given that they were in possession of Schengen visas, the pilots would have been able to travel to any of the 26 European countries within the Schengen area.”

    The two captains are believed to have absconded in Italy but travelled to other European countries.

    Private sources informed Gedab News that last year, the Eritrean regime hired an unknown number of technicians from Romania and Ukraine to modify the weapon mounts of its helicopters. The sources added, “Major General Teklai was in Italy to meet arms dealers to procure ammunition and rockets for the helicopters.”

    In a similar flight incident, the Associated Press reported two weeks ago the defection of two Eritrean pilots with their fighter jet to neighboring Ethiopia. The Eritrean government media have not reported any of the two incidents.

    Read more at Awate

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  • Nairobi to Addis Ababa Highway finally complete

    The final Kenya – Ethiopia highway stretch under construction between Isiolo and Marsabit is now reportedly also complete, finally linking Mombasa via Nairobi with Addis Ababa by an all tarmac road. The distance from Nairobi to Addis Ababa covers some 1.560 kilometres while from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa this swells to 2.050 kilometres.

    Landlocked Ethiopia, which lost access to the sea when Eritrea gained independence and has since, as a result of hostile relations between the two, had to resort to using the port of Djibouti, has long sought to open up alternate and safer routes to other ports. An electric rail line between Addis Ababa and Djibouti was recently opened, adding a key traffic artery for imports and exports but the road link to the Kenyan capital and to Mombasa nevertheless is thought to be hugely important as a strategic link.

    On the Kenyan side are the two remaining stretches of the new highway, financed at a cost of over half a billion US Dollars by the European Union and the Kenyan government, now complete, linking the Northern Kenyan towns of Isiolo and Marsabit with the border town of Moyale.

    On the Ethiopian side was the tarmac highway already completed for some time, just waiting to be linked to the Kenyan portion before a generation old dream to link the wider Eastern African region with a major highway has now become reality.

    A one stop border post will also be installed, like between the East African Community countries, to make transit of cargo and people easier and facilitate an increase in trade and travel.

    Source: wolfganghthome

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  • Ethiopia's New $4 Billion Railway Project completed


    Construction of a Chinese-funded electric railway, linking Ethiopia’s capital along its main trading route to neighboring Djibouti, has been completed, providing the African nation with much-needed improved rail access to a seaport.

    The $4 billion project, implemented by China Railway Engineering Corp. and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. will be commissioned next month.

    The government is pinning its hopes on the freight and passenger transportation project, which was started three years ago, to boost robust economic growth that has outstripped regional peers in recent years. The line should cut in half the travel time between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, said Ethiopia’s transport minister Workneh Gebeyehu.

    “With an efficient railway, our economy will perform even better,” Mr. Gebeyehu said. “This project allows us to compete effectively with the rest of the world.”

    The landlocked nation close to Africa’s Horn has closely followed China’s economic and political model, while maintaining strategic alliances with the West on security, particularly in Somalia where it is a major contributor of troops fighting al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab. And Chinese infrastructure investment has played an increasing role in Ethiopia and the broader East African region.

    The completion of the project comes months after Ethiopia unveiled a $425 million Chinese-built light railway in Addis Ababa, the first such electrified light transit system in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The Chinese-funded 1,870-megawatt Gibe III hydropower plant is expected to come on stream later this year and nearly double Ethiopia’s power-generating capacity, while in neighboring Kenya, a $3.8 billion China-led project to build a railway from the Port of Mombasa to Nairobi and on to other East African capitals is nearing completion, with commissioning expected before year-end.

    The 700-kilometer (435-mile) Addis Ababa-Djibouti line is double track for 71 miles from the Ethiopian capital to the central coffee-growing hub of Adama, and from there it runs as a single-track line to the port of Djibouti. Ethiopia is Africa’s largest coffee producer, and is projected to produce at least 6.52 million bags in the 2015-16 season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    The rail link is part of Ethiopia’s largely Chinese-funded $28 billion ambitious growth plan to revamp its infrastructure by 2020, an expansion that includes building 5,000 kilometers of railway lines. But with Beijing struggling with slowing growth, China’s “willingness to provide financial assistance to other developing economies may soon wane,” said Jacques Nel, an analyst with NKC Africa Economics.

    Poor infrastructure, from dilapidated roads to aging railway facilities, has for long been singled out as a major hindrance to Ethiopia’s economic growth. Last year, the country was forced to double wheat imports to ease shortages after the most severe El Niño-fueled drought in 50 years decimated crops. But grain deliveries were stuck for several months in Djibouti because of inadequate infrastructure, according to government officials.

    Rapid economic expansion hasn’t been without conflict. Plans to expand the capital into nearby tribal farmlands have triggered mass protests since last year, resulting in the deaths of as many as 500 people, according to rights groups.

    This was brought into focus recently when Ethiopian distance runner Feyisa Lilesa made a symbolic protest at the Olympic marathon in Brazil against his government’s crackdown on Oromos, the country’s largest tribe.

    Driven by cash-crop fueled agriculture and a growing urban population, Ethiopia posted average economic growth of 9.8% a year during the first half of this decade.

    Source: wsj.com

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