Addis Ababa — The capital of Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, Mekelle, has banned smoking in public areas, making it the first Ethiopian city to implement a tobacco control proclamation bill passed by parliament last year.
Ethiopian lawmakers last year unanimously passed a law prohibiting smoking in public as part of national efforts to discourage the practice and curb tobacco-related illnesses.
The ban, which has been welcomed by the wider public, also intends to help reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
The new law restricts smoking in public areas, including bars and restaurants and will also be banned in open-air spaces, including sports venues, schools, hospitals, health centres, and other areas where cultural and religious events take place.
The law requires all public and private institutions to post a "No Smoking" sign within full view of patrons and also forbids media from advertising or promoting of tobacco products.
According to sources in Mekelle, individuals caught violating the regulations will be fined $50, while bar owners who fail to enforce the new laws will face a $150 fine.
Approached by Sudan Tribune, residents in Addis Ababa commended the move taken by the city and called on authorities in the capital and elsewhere to follow Mekelle's lead and introduce similar restrictions.
Young Ethiopians usually start smoking while still in high school due to peer pressure among friends, although the prevalence significantly increasing among students at colleges and universities.
"Most students begin smoking cigarettes and chewing Chat a few months after joining college and I sometimes feel like the colleges are turning into addiction-teaching institutions," said Kifle lemma, a third-year student at Addis Ababa university.
Another student, who is himself a smoker, said he believes the new law will push him and other smokers to cut their daily consumption of tobacco, while also helping curb passive smoking and discourage those intending to take up the habit.
With a population of some 94 million, Ethiopia, which is Africa's second most populous nation, is considered to have one of the lowest smoking rates globally.
However, the country still sees tobacco as a growing public health concern.
Recent figures show that the Horn of Africa's nation has an estimated 2.5 million smokers.
According to a 2012 study by the World Lung Foundation, the number of cigarettes smoked per adult per year in Ethiopia is only 62 cigarettes, well down on those in heavy smoking countries such as Serbia, which consumes more than 2,800.
According to the Ethiopian News Agency, Ethiopia is building a rocket launching station in Tigrai state. In addition to the launching station two underground stations to help with testing and other preparations are being built at the same time.
The station will be able to launch rockets up to 30 kilometers in to space. The manager of the project Engineer Mulualem HialeMariam stated there are sixty engineers working 24 hours to complete the project successfully. Testing of the system of the rocket will be finalized in the underground stations at the end of July.
The project is called Alpha Meles named after the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Mekelle Institute of Technology, Mesfin Industrial Engineering, Mesebo Cement factory, local private companies and the Metals, Engineering Corporation and private companies are involved on designing and manufacturing of different parts of the station.
Last year Ethiopia officially announced it has established a apace program in order to launch it's own satellites to space. The Entoto Observatory and Research Center was established by 32 public universities in 2013. There are other observatories and research centers in other parts of Ethiopia related to space and space studies. Ethiopia is building a rocket launching station in Tigrai state similar to the above photo.
In Addis Ababa, Ban hails new UN facility as symbol of shared ‘strong desire for peace’
ADDIS ABABA, Oct 29 (NNN-ENA) -- The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has become the third largest UN duty station after New York and Geneva in terms of building portfolio, with the inauguration of a new office facility for the regional organization at the ECA compound in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Tuesday.
The facility will house the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representation to the AU Commission and ECA.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new building, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn noted that the continent, which was struggling against colonialism and apartheid during the establishment of the ECA in 1958, was now witnessing development.
Today, Africa has liberated itself from colonialism and embarked upon an era of development, stability and good governance, he noted. "It is for this reason that I am hopeful that this building would herald the consolidation and realization' of this new chapter- an era of African Renaissance," he said. "Africa is now in a new beginning, as is witnessed in the good performance of many African economies."
However, despite the progress, Africa still faced major challenges related to its institutional weakness, he added, citing the Ebola crisis as an example.
He said effective support from the international community would help Africa attain development. "I am of the view that with a more effective international partnership for development, Africa has a great possibility in attaining its renaissance."
In his keynote speech, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the opening of the new facility would help to bring the UN staff together thereby harmonizing UN operations. "Most of all, it means the United Nations is better placed to deliver better results," he added. “With the completion of the new facility, we take an important step towards a future of dignity, prosperity and peace."
Noting that the ECA compound had a rich history, the Secretary-General said Africa Hall, a gift from Ethiopia upon the establishment of the ECA in 1958, had seen memorable events, including the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union (AU), more than half a century ago.
"Thanks to this new facility, we have been able to cater for growing demand for office space and increase the number of staff working in the compound to more than1, 000." said ECA Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes.
Established as one of the UN's five regional commissions, the ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international co-operation for Africa's development.
Over 200 Eritrean refugees are crossing the heavily fortified and dangerous border into neighbouring Ethiopia daily, the United Nations said in a report noting a "spike" in those fleeing.
Tens of thousands of people have fled the Horn of Africa country, escaping open-ended conscription and the iron-grip rule of President Issaias Afewerki, with many continuing northwards to brave the often harrowing journey towards Europe.
"The number of daily refugee arrivals spiked since the first week of September," the October report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) read.
"At present, more than 200 Eritreans cross the Ethiopian border each day."
Over 3,500 Eritreans have fled into northern Ethiopia in the past two months, taking the total to over 104,000 Eritrean refugees in the country.
No reason was given for the rise in numbers, but reports by rights groups say people are struggling under Asmara's repressive government.
Thousands have also fled into Sudan, although the UN in July reported that Khartoum has forced some to return.
Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in 1991, and the countries went to war in 1998-2000. They remain bitter enemies, with their troops still eyeing each other along the fortified frontier.
The two are at odds over the flashpoint town of Badme, awarded to Eritrea by a UN-backed boundary commission but still controlled by Ethiopia. Eritrea, with a coastline on the Red Sea, has a population of about five million people.
Local media reported that BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have been selected to manage the bond sales.
World Bulletin/News Desk
Ethiopia is planning to build two more hydro-electric dams over the southern Omo River on border with Kenya for generating electricity, an Ethiopian spokesman said Saturday.
"Gilgel Gibe IV and V hydro-electric dams will be part of Ethiopia's next big projects during the next five-year national plan," Bizuneh Tolcha, spokesman for the Water Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the two dams will have the capacity to generate 2,050 megawatts of electricity.
"Some 1450 megawatts of the total electric power will be produced by Gilgel Gibe IV while Gilgel Gibe V will generate the remaining," he said.
Tolcha said that the cost of the two dams will be announced "when the assessment is completed".
Ethiopia has begun to sell bonds in the capital market as to generate funds for its mega-projects.
Local media reported Friday that BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have been selected to manage the bond sales.
Ethiopia built the Gilgel Gibe I on the Omo River in 2004. The dam has an electric output of 184 megawatts.
Gilgel Gibe II was inaugurated in 2010 and 80 percent of the construction has been finalized.
Kenyan activists have been lobbying against the construction of Gilgel Gibe dams on the ground that it will significantly impact the lives of communities around Lake Turkana – a claim denied by Ethiopian government.
Ethiopia has the potential to produce more than 45,000 megawatts of electricity from hydro-power.
“There are other hydro-electric projects being considered," Tolcha said.
Ethiopia is planning to build a number of dams for electricity generation, including a controversial hydroelectric dam on the Nile's upper reaches, which has strained relations with Egypt.
Ethiopia says it needs the dam to generate badly-needed energy. Egypt, for its part, fears the dam will reduce its traditional share of the Nile River – its main source of water.
Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.
Ethiopian authorities also commenced the construction of the Geba dam in September of this year in western Ethiopia at a cost of $583 million.
GUBA, Ethiopia — There is a remote stretch of land in Ethiopia’s forested northwest where the dust never settles. All week, day and night, thousands of workers pulverize rocks and lay concrete along a major tributary of the Nile River. It is the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the continent’s biggest hydropower plant and one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever in Africa.
Ethiopia is a poor country, often known best for its past famines, but officials say the dam will be paid for without foreign assistance — a point of national pride. Computer-generated images of the finished structure are framed in government offices, splashed across city billboards and broadcast in repeated specials on the state-owned television channel.
“We lean on the generousness of the rest of the world,” said Zadig Abrha, deputy director of the dam’s public mobilization office. “So there is a conviction on the part of the public to change this, to regain our lost greatness, to divorce ourselves from the status quo of poverty. And the first thing that we need to do is make use of our natural resources, like water.”
Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has poured its resources into a slew of megaprojects in recent years, including dams, factories, roads and railways across the country.
But its strong, state-driven approach has been criticized for displacing rural communities, elbowing out private investors and muzzling political dissent. The Renaissance Dam, its biggest project, has met with resistance even outside Ethiopia’s borders, setting off a heated diplomatic battle with Egypt that, at one point, led to threats of war.
In Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, constant power shortages stifle economic growth. The hydropower plant is expected to bring the country’s electricity generation to more than triple its current capacity. Aside from a $1 billion loan from China for a transmission line, the government projects a $4.02 billion cost for the dam, with more than $1.3 billion already spent.
Near the border with Sudan, the dam is inching skyward as workers apply layer after layer of concrete that will eventually create a reservoir covering nearly 650 square miles. About 8,500 workers live at the project site, served by several cafeterias, a market, a barbershop and spotty Wi-Fi access. Giant floodlights keep construction going around the clock, and employees often work the whole week through.
From the very beginning, this relentless drive has put Ethiopia at odds with Egypt. The Renaissance Dam is on the Blue Nile, a tributary that contributes most of the water flowing into the Nile River, heightening concerns that it could threaten Egypt’s most vital natural resource. Fears of armed conflict surfaced during the brief tenure of Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, who said last year that “Egyptian blood” would substitute for every drop of lost water.
But under Egypt’s current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the icy relationship between the two countries has begun to thaw. Ethiopia’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, and Mr. Sisi had a cordial first meeting in June, and water ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan met for renewed discussions in late August. Egypt’s new foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, set a diplomatic tone during a visit last month to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, declaring “a new phase of our relationship based on mutual understanding, mutual respect and a recognition that the Nile binds us.”
Ethiopia’s biggest obstacle to finishing the dam is not geopolitics — it is money. The project is overseen by Ethiopian Electric Power, a state-owned utility that is helping finance the project with its own revenue and loans from state-owned banks. Though the government may raise more money by selling bonds on global markets in the coming years, the current tactic of borrowing from state banks is draining available credit. That could squeeze private enterprise in a country that already has the world’s sixth-lowest rate of private investment as a percentage of G.D.P., said Lars C. Moller, the World Bank’s lead economist in Ethiopia.
“For every dollar of credit and every dollar of foreign exchange the project gets, there’s less for the rest of the economy, including the private sector,” he said.
“But in the long term, the investment is likely to pay off well,” Mr. Moller added, noting that Ethiopia’s plan to sell excess energy to neighboring counties could bring in about $1 billion in annual export revenue starting in 2021, four years after the dam is scheduled to be completed.
Ethiopia’s state finance minister, Abraham Tekeste, said it was a price worth paying. “We know that we are sacrificing in the short term, but this is for a long-term objective,” he said. “We don’t see any contradiction.”
More than $357 million spent so far has come from Ethiopians, both domestically and abroad, who have been encouraged to donate money or purchase bonds, according to Mr. Zadig.
Workers on the government payroll, some of whom make as little as $32.68 per month, have been pushed to buy bonds worth a full month’s salary every year through a system that deducts straight from their paychecks.
A new skyscraper has recently risen in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Built with Chinese money, the shining new home of the African Union, an EU-style body representing 54 African countries, is a symbol of the country’s rapid economic change.
The World Bank reports that this country of 94 million people, although still one of the world’s poorer nations, has seen sustained growth over the past decade, averaging more than 10 per cent a year, in contrast to the regional average of 5.3 per cent.
The effects are easy to see. All around Addis the streets are in chaos as a light-rail system is installed. It is on target to begin transporting passengers next year. China is paying for this too. The nature of “Chinese” funding to Africa is complex, sometimes involving direct financing from Beijing, in other cases involving private funding from companies based in China. The light-rail project is backed by China’s Exim Bank.
Cranes swing into action each morning, erecting new hotels and office blocks to add to the long list of international chains that have opened or expanded here: Hilton, Intercontinental, Radisson Blu, Sheraton and Monarch are all doing strong business alongside African counterparts.
And, according to some, there aren’t enough of them. The Awash International Bank projects that unsatisfied demand for hotel beds in Ethiopia in 2015 will run to 1.3 million – a demand fuelled by an increase in tourism, business travel and the work of the African Union.
Outside the city, major rail links are under construction, including one by a Turkish company, Yapi Merkezi, worth a reported €1.3 billion: the 389km Awash-Woldiya project will connect lines from Mekelle to Hara Gebeya and then Addis to Djibouti.
Ethiopia is funding its own development too. The Blue Nile rises in Ethiopia before flowing on to Egypt and Sudan. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will harness the waterway as the largest hydroelectrical plant on the continent when complete. Cairo is unhappy, fearing that the damming of the Nile will have major impact on Egypt.
Looking to borrow some money? We've found you the best person to go to in each state.
The interactive map below from the real estate blog Movoto shows the net worth of the richest resident in each U.S. state. Darker shades of blue reflect those at the richest end of the wealth spectrum, while darker shades of red reflect those at the lower end. As you can see in the map, there's a wide gulf between the fortunes of America's richest.
Washington resident and Microsoft founder Bill Gates' $80 billion net worth makes him the richest person in the country (and the world). The least rich individual on the map is Robert Gillam, founder of McKinley Capital, an Alaska-based institutional investment firm. But don't feel too bad for him -- he's worth a cool $700 million.
Heirs to the Walmart empire dominate three states: Arkansas (Jim Walton, worth $35.7 billion), Texas (Alice Walton, worth $35.3 billion) and Wyoming (Christy Walton, worth $37.9 billion).
An Ethiopian opposition leader, who was sentenced to death while in exile for plotting a coup, has been extradited from Yemen to Ethiopia, his group says.
Andargachew Tsege, who is also a British national, is secretary-general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement.
The Ethiopian government allegedly requested his extradition after he was arrested in Yemen last month.
European MEP Ana Gomes told the BBC the UK needed to use its political leverage to ensure his release.
The Ethiopian government has not commented on the alleged extradition.
US-based Ginbot 7 spokesman Ephrem Madebo told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that Mr Andargachew had been on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was detained during a stopover at Sanaa airport.
Mr Ephrem said that he had spoken to Mr Andargachew's family who had been contacted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday.
British officials told the family that the Yemeni ambassador to the UK had informed them that Mr Andargachew had been handed over to Ethiopia, Mr Ephrem said.
In a statement the UK Foreign Office said it was aware that Mr Andargachew had been missing in Yemen since 24 June.
"Since then UK officials have pressed the Yemeni authorities at senior levels to establish his whereabouts, including meeting with the Yemeni ambassador in London this week," a Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.
"We are aware of reports that he may now be in Ethiopia and we are urgently seeking confirmation from the relevant authorities given our deep concerns about the case. We are continuing to provide consular assistance to his family."
Ms Gomes, who led the European Union observer mission to Ethiopia during the 2005 elections, said she had written to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague about the case.
"If the British government is not complicit with this kidnapping and this rendition of Mr Andargachew Tsigue to the Ethiopian regime - [which] will obviously torture him, accuse him of all sorts of things and eventually kill him - then the British government has to get immediately the release of Mr Andargachew," she told BBC Focus on Africa.
"If there is a country that is extremely influential in Ethiopia, it is Britain - it's a major donor and it's a major political backer of the regime in Ethiopia."
Mr Ephrem said that the UK government should have intervened in the case earlier.
"The UK government looks like a collaborator because the UK government never acted," he said, adding that it was ridiculous to consider Mr Andergachew a terrorist.
"To the Ethiopian government even bloggers are terrorists [and] journalists are terrorists," he said.
Ginbot 7 (15 May) was named after the date of the 2005 elections, which were marred by protests over alleged fraud that led to the deaths of about 200 people.
In 2009, the year before the last elections, Mr Andergachew was among a group of Ginbot 7 leaders sentenced to death in absentia for planning to assassinate government officials; they denied the charges.