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.
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.
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.
The Arab Africa Summit yesterday has elected Kassa T/Birhane as the president of the Arab-Africa Summit and Abdulwasi Yusuf as secretary general for the second round.
Kassa T/Birhane who is going to serve as the president of the Summit for the coming one year said on the occasion that he will work hard to secure a good economic and social bond between African and the Arab countries.
When the two days summit is concluded yesterday afternoon the summit’s participants have expressed their determination to strengthen their tie and combat terrorism.
Participants of the summit from 22 African and Arab countries are expected to visit the building projects of condominiums and light train projects on today.
AFRICANGLOBE – Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has told a local private newspaper that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will bear the consequences of Ethiopia’s response if their operation in and around Eritrea’s Port of Assab supports the ‘Eritrean regime’s destabilization agenda against Ethiopia.’ He made the remarks after a recent United Nations monitoring group report indicates that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have leased the Port of Assab for 30 years from the Eritrean government in their coalition to fight the Houthis in Yemen.
“They have assured us that they would not be engaged in activities that would endanger the peace and security of Ethiopia. They have said this is only a choice of tactical convenience to their operation in Yemen and that they would evacuate the area as soon as the mission is completed,” Hailemariam told The Reporter newspaper. “We have also stressed that they will bear the consequences of our response if their operation in the area supports the Eritrean regime’s destabilization agenda against Ethiopia. Although we understand their objective, we were not consulted before the countries reached to this agreement.”
The 15 best quips from Anthony Bourdain's tour of Ethiopia.
Traveling from the humming streets of Addis Ababa to rural villages, the latest episode of CNN's series Parts Unknown spans history, culture, and heritage to debunk myths and discover where Ethiopia stands as a country today. According to host Anthony Bourdain, the country is undergoing renewed economic growth "fueled largely by direct foreign investment and a returning Ethiopian diaspora." And appropriate to that theme, New York City chef Marcus Samuelsson and his wife, model Maya Haile, act as Bourdain's guides.
Samuelsson's exploration of his own sense of place plays a major role in the episode. His relationship to Ethiopia is a complex one. Samuelsson was born to a farming family in a rural Ethiopian village in the 1970s and contracted tuberculosis at the age of two. In a last-ditch effort to save her children, Samuelsson's mother walked him and his sister 75 miles to a Swedish hospital in Addis Ababa for treatment. She later died, but Samuelsson and his sister recovered and were adopted by a Swedish couple. Then, at an early age, Samuelsson moved to New York City, where he established himself as an expert chef.
"I always find it such a paradox that I was born into very little food, but yet I've made my whole life about food," he says. "My structure and pragmatism comes from being raised in Sweden. And my sort of vibrancy and warmth to cooking and feel-based food that I love comes definitely from here[Ethiopia]." Samuelsson has since reconnected with his birth father and has forged even more Ethiopian ties through marriage; Maya was born and raised in Ethiopia and has a strong grasp on the language and customs. From skate parks to tej bars and sheep slaughtering ceremonies, the group explores what it means to be a modern Ethiopian.
Here now, the 15 best Bourdain quips from his Ethiopian sojourn:
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.