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  • Ethiopian government plans to privatize part of national road network

    Ethiopia plans to privatize part of its road network through public-private partnerships. The finance minister says the government will look to corporates to help fund its ambitious infrastructure development projects. Ethiopia plans to double its road network by 2020. Currently, the country has over 113,000 kilometres of paved roads. Parliament has approved a $13.9 billion budget, most of which will be allocated to infrastructure development. The planned privatization of the road network is the latest step Ethiopia is taking to open up and modernize the economy. Earlier this year, the country offered foreign firms stakes in the government-operated Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise.

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  • Ethiopian exile on terror charges in UK


    An Ethiopian political dissident who campaigns against his government from the UK has appeared in court in London charged with nine terrorism offences.

    Tadesse Kersmo is accused of attending a training camp in Eritrea, and possessing information useful to terrorism, including texts on sniper training and urban guerrilla warfare.

    Mr Kersmo works for Ethiopian opposition group Ginbot 7, which is banned in Ethiopia but not in the UK.

    He was arrested after arriving at Heathrow Airport in January.

    Appearing briefly at Westminster Magistrates Court, Mr Kersmo indicated he would plead not guilty to all the charges at his trial.

    The case is the first terrorism charge in the UK in relation to a member of the opposition group which operates openly across Europe and the US.

    Judge Emma Arbuthnot bailed Mr Kersmo subject to certain conditions, including a security of $32,000 (£25,000)

    Mr Kersmo, who is also a management lecturer, was given political asylum in the UK after fleeing Ethiopia in 2009. He later became a British citizen.

    Mr Kersmo has appeared from time to time in the media to argue for democratic changes in Ethiopia and has spoken before of being detained and beaten by government agents.

    Three years ago, he and his supporters lobbied the UK's National Crime Agency to investigate whether the Ethiopian government had used novel surveillance techniques to install spying software on his computer.

    He will next appear in the Central Criminal Court, commonly referred to as The Old Bailey, on 20 July.

    Source: BBC

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  • Can jobs in Ethiopia keep Eritrean refugees out of Europe?


    Many thousands of Eritreans have fled the country for Europe in search for a better life. A multinational initiative is now trying to stem the flow of migrants to Europe by training refugees and giving them jobs in neighbouring Ethiopia.

    "I was not sure we would make it across. I am so relieved we are here," says 19-year-old Salama - not his real name.

    Together with his friend Abiro, they have been walking for two days from Eritrea, without any food or water. At one point, they claim to have been shot at by government soldiers who are stationed along the heavily militarised border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

    "The reason for fleeing from our country is because the Eritrean government keeps on forcing us to join the national service and we are wanted in our homeland.

    "We walked through the bushes hiding not to be seen by the Eritrean soldiers and we were able to escape," says Salama, the more talkative of the two.

    Recent weeks have seen hundreds of Eritreans arrive at refugee camps and reception centres along Ethiopia's northern border.

    Many of those who reach Ethiopia intend to move on to Sudan and then Libya, hoping to eventually get to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea but some end up settling in Ethiopia.

    It's a risky journey that involves thousands of dollars and an intricate network of smugglers.

    More than 2,000 people have died so far this year trying to make the crossing.

    "I am not sure where we will go from here. It's our first time out of Eritrea. Maybe we can settle here and get jobs," says Abiro, speaking in his mother tongue Kunama.

    Read more at BBC

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  • Thousands of Ethiopians are still stuck in Saudi Arabia

    Thousands of Ethiopians are still stuck in Saudi Arabia after a 90-day amnesty for undocumented migrants expired on Tuesday without all of them leaving , the Ethiopian government has said.

    Communications Minister Negeri Lencho told the BBC that the government has asked for the amnesty to be extended.

    He said more than 45,000 citizens had so far returned but there were many more waiting to go back home.

    Ethiopians have been employed in Saudi Arabia in building and domestic work.

    Mr Negeri said that the government was expecting "a positive response" from the Saudi authorities for its request to extend the amnesty.

    Mr Negeri says that there was a slow uptake during the amnesty period because some people were sceptical the Saudi authorities would take action during the just ended period of Ramadan.

    Minister Negeri added that a taskforce and money has been set aside to receive and resettle the Ethiopian returnees.

    Source: BBC

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