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  • Ethiopian dam creates waves

    By years’ end, one of the world’s largest dams will begin filling up, affecting the fate of millions of people as it does so.

    Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the upper reaches of the Blue Nile has been six years in the making, and is a project of staggering proportions. It will create a lake 150 square kilometres in size, produce electricity equal to a third of the UAE’s energy output and has cost 10 billion Ethiopian birr (Dh1.59bn) so far.


    The Grand Renaissance Dam on the upper reaches of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia has been six years in the making. Getty Images

    It will also ensure a steady supply of water. Ethiopia’s fate has been to be remembered as a country of recurring drought, spawning a mini-industry of aid organisations dedicated to feeding its people in time of need.

    "The Renaissance dam which we are constructing by joining hands together is among the list of mega projects in Africa and the world, becoming a source of our national pride," the Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at a torch lighting ceremony in Addis Ababa last month, according to the local media agency Ezeda.

    The torch will be carried around the country for the next 12 months to celebrate the dam’s progress, and to thank the public for their support. According the Ethiopian government, more than 1bn birr has been raised from the sales of lottery tickets, music concerts and bonds – all by ordinary citizens.

    Reviving Ethiopia’s economy has been the prime goal of the government, following the disastrous rule of the Derg, a military junta during the 1980s. It was the Derg’s legacy that resulted in images of starving children coming to represent a once-proud country. This is something the current administration is working to change.

    By 2020 Ethiopia aims to increase its export revenue to US$16 billion, up from the current $3bn. The country has already started attracting manufacturers from China and elsewhere. Political stability, economic certainty and its proximity to the Arabian Gulf make it a choice destination for exporters.

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  • Sudan donates two buses to Addis Ababa University


    January 2, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Sudanese government has donated two buses to the state-owned Addis Ababa University.

    The country’s oldest institution, in a statement, said the donations followed a pledge made by the Sudanese president in July.

    Speaking at the handover occasion in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Jamal el-Sheikh Ahmed, said the donation symbolizes the gift of cooperation and long standing relations between the two neighbouring countries.

    Ahmed said Ethiopia and Sudan have historic and cordial relations based on mutual interest, vowing to work on cultural exchanges between students of Khartoum and Addis Ababa universities.

    The university’s president, Prof. Admasu Tsegaye expressed gratitude for the donation, saying the two buses would ease the transport problems faced during field trips to industries and the business firms.

    He said the university was committed to further bolster cooperation with Khartoum University and other higher institutions within Sudan.

    Each of the two buses, Sudan Tribune has learnt, was valued at up to $50,000.

    President Omer Hassan al-Bashir pledged the donation when he received the "African Dignity Champions award" during the African dignity forum held at Addis Ababa University’s Nelson Mandela hall.

    The Sudanese leader was honoured with the accolade in recognition for his contributions towards adopting principles that reject modern slavery and foreign interventions in African affairs.

    Also recognized at the occasion was Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn for pushing for an African solution to its problems.

    The forum is a partnership between the United Nations University of Peace, Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural organizations, the Addis Ababa University’s Peace and Conflict Studies Institute and the Sudanese Peace and Human Rights Center.

    Source: ST

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  • Ethiopia detains vintage air rally pilots

    News Update: Pilots free to continue vintage aircraft rally after Ethiopia detention

    Addis Ababa - Aviators who were detained in Ethiopia while retracing a historic flight route along the length of Africa in 24 vintage planes and support aircraft are now free to continue their journey, organisers said on Thursday. Read more at theguardian.com

    Ethiopia detains vintage air rally pilots - BBC


    The pilots of at least 20 aircraft taking part in a vintage plane rally have been detained in Ethiopia, officials have told the BBC.

    The Vintage Air Rally planes crossed "illegally" into Ethiopian from Sudan, officials say, and are currently impounded at an airport in Gambela.

    The rally has been suspended while talks take place to try to resolve the situation.

    Earlier, a UK pilot who went missing during the rally was found safe.

    On its Facebook page, Vintage Air Rally said that Maurice Kirk, 72, was with other pilots in Gambela who were all "safe and accounted for".

    The planes, dating from the 1920s and 1930s, took off from the Greek island of Crete on 12 November on a 13,000km (8,000 mile) journey to Cape Town.

    However, the head of Ethiopia's civil aviation authority, Wosenyele Hungnall, told the BBC that the aircraft had crossed illegally into Ethiopian airspace from Sudan.

    He said the pilots had been detained and investigators were travelling to the area.

    It is understood that those detained have had to surrender their mobile phones and other equipment, so details are unclear.

    A rally spokesman told AFP news agency the problem may relate to landing permits, although he believed that all flight paths had been approved beforehand.

    Read more at BBC

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  • Ethiopia's government says GERD construction is half way complete

    Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam is more than half-way complete. A meeting between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in Khartoum earlier in the week selected an international consultant to study the impact that construction of the dam would have on the economies of the three economies. Ethiopia maintains that the dam will supplement electricity production and will not have any negative effect on the neighbouring countries. CCTV's Girum Chala with the update.

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  • Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan sign final contracts on Nile dam studies

    (Reuters) – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia commissioned studies into the environmental and economic impact of a $4 billion dam on the Nile that Addis Ababa aims to make the centerpiece of its bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

    The 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam, situated close to Ethiopia’s border with Sudan and being built by Italy’s largest construction firm Salini Impregilo SpA, is due for completion next year.

    It has become a bone of contention between Ethiopia and Egypt, downstream from the dam and relying almost exclusively on the Nile for agricultural, industrial and domestic water use.

    Addis Ababa has complained Cairo has pressured international donors and lenders to withhold funding for the project, while Egypt has sought assurances the dam will not significantly cut the flow of water to its rapidly growing population.

    Egyptian state news agency MENA said the two countries plus Sudan signed contracts on Tuesday tasking two French firms, BRL and Artelia, with conducting studies into the dam’s impact.

    Gilles Rocquelain, BRL Director General, said the studies would start in late 2016 and take 11 months.

    The leaders of the three countries signed a co-operation deal in Khartoum last year to pave the way for a joint approach to regional water supplies.

    In all, Ethiopia plans to spend some $12 billion on harnessing its rivers for hydro power production in the next two decades.

    Source: Reuters

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