Locust plague devastates crops in the Horn of Africa

Locust plague devastates crops in Horn of Africa JANUARY 17, 2020 / 1:43 PM / UPDATED 5 HOURS AGO Source: Reyters, 17 January 2020 Giulia Paravicini 3 MIN READ JIGJIGA, Ethiopia (Reuters) – Ethiopian farmer Ahmed Ibrahim batted empty water bottles at a swarm of desert locusts the size of his palms that were devouring his field of khat – the mildly narcotic leaf that is his family’s main source of income. A Samburu man attempts to fend-off a swarm of desert locusts flying over a grazing land in Lemasulani village, Samburu County, Kenya January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Njeri Mwangi “We have nothing else to sell at the market. How will I feed my eight children?” he asked helplessly, shouting over the sound of the insects as his children chased them with a yellow headscarf and a stick. The locusts devoured Ibrahim’s small grazing plot as his donkeys brayed anxiously and goats scrambled to eat the remaining foliage. Scenes like this are happening across the Horn of Africa, where swarms of desert locusts have damaged tens of thousands of hectares so far, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. “These infestations represent a major threat to food security in Kenya and across the entire Horn of Africa, which is already reeling from floods and droughts,” said Bukar Tijani, FAO’s Assistant Director General, calling the swarms “vast and unprecedented”. Breeding is continuing on both sides of the Red Sea, in Sudan and Eritrea and in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the FAO said. The swarms spread from Ethiopia and Somalia into eastern and northern Kenya last week, threatening food production and the...

Shabab militants from Somalia may have received help from Kenyans for deadly Manda Bay attack

Shabab militants from Somalia may have received help from Kenyans for deadly Manda Bay attack Source: Military Times, Friday January 17, 2020 By Diana Stancy Correll In this photo taken Aug. 26, 2019 and released by the U.S. Air Force, airmen from the 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron conduct a flag-raising ceremony, signifying the change from tactical to enduring operations, at Camp Simba, Manda Bay, Kenya. (Staff Sgt. Lexie West/U.S. Air Force via AP) U.S. Africa Command officials believe that al-Shabab militants from Somalia crossed the border into Kenya to conduct an attack on U.S. and Kenyan forces earlier this month in Manda Bay — with the assistance of facilitators within Kenya. “We assess that these are al-Shabab coming out of Somalia, but with the support of Kenyan facilitators and potential Kenyan aspirants of al-Shabab,” U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM deputy director of intelligence, told reporters Thursday. “We also assess that after the attack, they’re continuing to make their way back into Somalia as well,” he added. Army Spc. Henry Mayfield Jr. and two U.S. Department of Defense contractors were killed in the attack on Manda Bay, which is currently under investigation. Although the incident coincided with tensions between the U.S. and Iran, the command previously said they believe al-Shabab’s actions were not related. “I can’t say with fact what their motivation was, but I can speculate that it’s tied to a false media campaign and tied to recruiting, and tied to anytime they can attack a U.S. anything, anywhere, they will,” U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, AFRICOM director of operations, told reporters.Hours after Hadfield and Gayler spoke, AFRICOM announced...

Ethiopian Airlines to start building new $5 bln airport this year – CEO

Ethiopian Airlines to start building new $5 bln airport this year – CEO Source: Reuters, Thursday January 16, 2020 Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam attends the Fortune Global Forum in Paris, France November 19, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines will start constructing a new $5 billion airport later this year, its chief executive officer was quoted as saying on Wednesday, as the rapidly-expanding carrier outgrows capacity at its current base in Addis Ababa. The airport, which will cover an area of 35 square km, will be built in Bishoftu, a town 39 km south east of the capital, and have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers a year, the state-run Ethiopian News Agency quoted Tewolde Gebremariam as saying. “Bole Airport is not going to accommodate us; we have a beautiful expansion project. The airport looks very beautiful and very large but with the way that we are growing, in about three or four years we are going to be full,” Tewolde said. Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa has a passenger capacity of about 19 million passengers annually.Tewolde noted that the price tag of the new airport was higher than the $4 billion cost of building the still-to-be-completed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile, with the projected passenger numbers topping those at Dubai’s international airport He did not give details of how the construction would be funded, nor who would build the new airport. The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Tewolde as saying construction will start in the next six months. State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, which competes with large Middle East carriers to connect long-haul...

Somaliland government launches mobile platform for salary payments

Somaliland government launches mobile platform for salary payments Source: Hiiraan Online, Tuesday January 14, 2020   HARGEISA (HOL) – Government employees in Somaliland will now receive their salaries through their mobile phones following the launch of an electronic payment platform Monday. Somaliland vice president Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail (Saylihi) said the launch of the service marked was remarkable step in moving governance online. “To move the government online is also a positive step, and congratulations to the officials of the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance and the human resources agency,” Saylihi said. Following the launch of the E-Shilling platform, employees will now be able to receive their dues in time and there will be more transparency, Central Bank governor Ibrahim Bagdhadi said, a view echoed by Somaliland Labour Organisation chairman Farhan Haybe. “The program provides paid government employees with direct access to individual mobile phone and monthly pay anywhere. E-Shilling promotes good governance and accountability, eliminates ghost workers, reduces employee turnover, and allows state employees to direct acces to banks such as SL Bank, Premier Bank, Salaam Bank and Dahabshiil Bank so that they can borrow money from the fund as the equivalent of their wages deducted in monthly installment,” said Haybe. Central Bank governor Ibrahim Bagdhadi said all employees will now be required to open accounts at the Central Bank which will be linked to their mobile phones through the E-Dahab platform powered by Somtel telecom. Prior to the launch of the service, government employees received salaries in cash form causing delays especially for those in remote...

DP World wins ruling against Djibouti over seized port

DP World wins ruling against Djibouti over seized port Source; AP, Wednesday January 15, 2020 In this 2009 file photo, two employees of DP World supervise uploading the containers at the Jebel Ali port terminal 1 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. DP World says it has won another arbitration ruling against Djibouti over the African country’s seizure of a container terminal managed by the Dubai-based global port operator.  KAMRAN JEBREILI / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — DP World said Tuesday it has won another arbitration ruling against Djibouti over the African country’s seizure of a container terminal managed by the Dubai-based global port operator. The company said a London tribunal ordered Djibouti to restore its rights and benefits under a 2006 concession agreement governing the Doraleh port within two months or pay damages. DP World estimates it has lost $1 billion since Djibouti took over the terminal in February 2018. DP World, which is majority-owned by the Dubai government in the United Arab Emirates, operates nearly 80 marine and inland terminals around the world.Djibouti seized the container terminal after DP World created another corridor for imports to landlocked Ethiopia in Somaliland, endangering Djibouti’s near-monopoly on Ethiopia’s imports. Ethiopia recently became a 19% shareholder in Somaliland’s Berbera port, where DP World holds a 51% stake. Somaliland, a breakaway northern region of Somalia, holds the remaining 30 per cent. The expansion into Somaliland came alongside plans by the United Arab Emirates to build a naval base in Berbera, part of its expanding military presence in the region. Djibouti’s port alone accounts for 95% of Ethiopia’s imports. With a...

Ethiopia sets tentative August date for elections

Ethiopia sets tentative August date for elections Source: Reuters, Wednesday January 15, 2020 Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends a signing ceremony with visiting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 7, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia proposes to hold its national vote on Aug. 16, the electoral board said on Wednesday, the first poll under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who has eased political restrictions and taken steps to open the economy since taking office in 2018.Ethiopia’s 100 million people are seeing unprecedented political change, but Abiy’s reforms have also uncorked ethnic rivalries that have spilled into violence. Plans to hold the vote for parliament and regional councils in May had been postponed as neither authorities nor parties would be ready, electoral board head Birtukan Mideksa told a meeting of political parties and civil society groups. The new Aug. 16 date is tentative, she told Reuters. Results would be due between Aug. 17-26. One opposition political party said Aug. 16 was unsuitable because it is a fasting day for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and falls during the rainy season. “There are concerns that need to be resolved and addressed specifically on the schedule,” Desalegn Chane, president of the opposition National Movement of Amhara, told Reuters. Ethiopia has held regular parliamentary elections since the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power in 1991 but, with one exception, none were competitive.The EPRDF appointed Abiy, 43, in 2018 after three years of anti-government protests. Among the achievements of his first year in office was peace with longtime foe and neighbour Eritrea, for...