Spy Chief Joins Board of Ethiopia's Key Military Conglomerate

  • Adem’s placement latest shakeup at Metals & Engineering Corp.
  • MeTEC has worked on projects vital to economic development

By Nizar Manek, 13 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s new intelligence chief was appointed to the board of Metals & Engineering Corp., the latest shakeup at the military-industrial conglomerate that’s played a crucial role in projects that have sought to develop Africa’s fastest-growing economy.
Adem Mohammed, named director-general of the National Intelligence and Security Services last week, was appointed to the board of MeTEC by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on May 24, company spokesman Michael Desta said by phone. Adem, who previously commanded the air force, is the only military figure on the eight-person board overseeing a company that has been dominated by army personnel. It’s otherwise led by ruling-party officials.
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Landlocked Ethiopia May Establish Naval Base at Kenyan Port

  • Government may consider facility at port of Lamu near Somalia
  • Ethiopia, Kenya signed accord in May to develop land at site

By Nizar Manek and David Herbling, 8 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia, landlocked since the secession of Eritrea a quarter century ago, may consider building a naval base in neighboring Kenya to strengthen its military capabilities, the head of the state shipping company said.
The facility could form part of a port the Kenyan government is building at Lamu, said Roba Megerssa Akawak, chief executive officer of the state-owned Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise. The 390 billion-shilling ($3.87 billion) harbor near the border with Somalia is part of the so-called Lapsset project, a transport corridor that envisions linking Ethiopia and South Sudan to Kenya.
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Ethiopia Appoints New Army Chief After Peace Vow to Eritrea

By Nizar Manek, 7 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s prime minister appointed a new army chief of staff with a specialist’s background on Eritrea, days after authorities said they’d implement a peace deal with their Horn of Africa neighbor and long-standing foe.
The appointment of Seare Mekonnen marks the first change at the top in 17 years in Ethiopia’s army, which plays a dominant role in the country that has Africa’s biggest population after Nigeria. Ethiopia is a federal state designed to give autonomy to its myriad ethnic groups, and Seare is from the Tigray community, who’ve largely held the top military, security and intelligence ranks since the then-rebel Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front seized power in 1991.
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Africa's ‘Sleeping Giant’ Courts Foreign Investors With Reforms

  • Ethiopian government invites foreign bidders for telecoms
  • Stakes available in airline, shipping company under new leader

By John Bowker, Nizar Manek, and Odwa Mjo, 6 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most-populous country and the continent’s fastest growing economy, is inviting big business to cash in.
For so long a closed shop, the Horn of Africa nation on Tuesday invited foreign investors to buy stakes in state-owned telecoms, shipping, power generation and aviation companies, a rare opportunity to access such a large market. The bonanza will extend to railways, sugar mills and industrial parks, with the top brass of the ruling party embarking on long-awaited market reforms.
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Ethiopia to Open Up Telecoms, Airline to Foreign Investors

  • Government calls for stake sales in state-owned enterprises
  • Wireless operators including MTN, Vodacom likely to bid

By Nizar Manek and John Bowker, 6 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia is opening the state-owned telecommunications company and airline to foreign investors for the first time, a move that indicates new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is more receptive to outside interests in Africa’s second-most populous nation.
Ethiopia will sell minority stakes to foreign and domestic investors in state monopolies such as Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, the continent’s biggest airline, as well as Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise, the state-run Ethiopian News Agency said late Tuesday, citing the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
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Ethiopia to Implement Stalled Eritrea Peace Deal After 18 Years

  • New prime minister has indicated he’ll open political space
  • Parties to meet today after agreement on changing legislation

By Nizar Manek, 5 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia will implement a peace deal signed at the turn of the century with Eritrea after the country’s new prime minister undertook two months ago to normalize relations with its neighboring long-time foe.
The Horn of Africa nation’s highest governing body announced the decision on Eritrea on Tuesday, 18 years after the countries signed a peace accord in the Algerian capital to end a border war that took place from 1998 to 2000 and claimed thousands of casualties. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pledged in April that the country will “resolve problems” with Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993.
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Ethiopian Armyworm Corn Infestation May Intensify, Ministry Says

  • About a quarter of corn-planted land has been infested
  • Pest has spread to all but 10 of Africa’s 54 nations: FAO

By Nizar Manek, 4 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Fall armyworms infested a quarter of irrigated Ethiopian land planted with corn since October and this may intensify if rains stop and temperatures rise, the Agriculture Ministry said.
The Horn of Africa country has shared a strategy with farmers and plant-production experts and is carrying out interventions and field research to fight the pest that infested 87,000 hectares (215,000 acres) of corn, Zebdios Selato, plant healthcare director at Ethiopia’s agriculture ministry, said by phone.
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Landlocked Ethiopia Plans to Build Navy, Prime Minister Says

By Nizar Manek, 2 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Landlocked Ethiopia is planning to build a navy, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said during a briefing of the heads of the country’s National Defense Force.
“Following the efforts made to build capacity of our national defense, we built one of the stronger ground and air forces in Africa,” the ruling party-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported Abiy as saying on Friday. “We should build our naval force capacity in the future.”
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Ethiopia Approves Draft Law to Lift Six-Month State of Emergency

By Nizar Manek, 2 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia approved a draft law to lift the state of emergency that was introduced after former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned following years of protests by government opponents.
The nation’s Council of Ministers approved the law to lift the six-month state of emergency, the ruling party-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported. The law will now be sent to parliament, the House of People’s Representatives, for consideration.
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Ethiopia to Amend Anti-Terror Laws in Political Thaw

  • New prime minister has indicated he’ll open political space
  • Parties to meet today after agreement on changing legislation

By Nizar Manek, 31 May 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s government plans to amend parts of the nation’s anti-terror law as the high court dropped terrorism charges against the heads of two U.S.-based opposition groups.
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and other political parties will meet Wednesday after agreeing to alter unspecified articles of the law, Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported. The chief of staff for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Twitter that a draft amnesty law is being prepared, without giving further details.
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Ethiopia Shakes Up Board at Military-Affiliated Corporation

  • Ex-leader Meles Zenawi’s widow named among seven board members
  • MeTEC has had crucial role in African nation’s planned economy

By Nizar Manek, 31  May 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s prime minister reshuffled the board at a military-industrial conglomerate that’s played a crucial role in projects to develop Africa’s fastest-growing economy.
The changes at Metals & Engineering Corp. include appointing the industry minister as chairman and former premier Meles Zenawi’s widow to the seven-member board. The moves, detailed by company spokesman Michael Desta, come after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed to curb what he called “favoritism” in business toward the security forces.
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Ethiopia Appoints Meles’s Widow to Military Conglomerate’s Board

By Nizar Manek, 31 May 2018
(Bloomberg) --
The widow of Ethiopia’s former prime minister, Meles Zenawi, was appointed to the board of the Horn of Africa country’s military-industrial conglomerate Metals & Engineering Corp.
Azeb Mesfin said she was appointed to MeTEC earlier this month, confirming a May 24 report by the closely-held Addis Fortune newspaper. She was one of five members of the central committee of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, one of the ruling party’s four wings, who was removed in November following an internal evaluation because “they had done things that disqualified them to serve as TPLF central committee members,” according to the party.
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Ethiopia to Reissue International Bid for Tantalum Ventures

By Nizar Manek, 31 May 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia will reissue an international tender to widen bidding for a jointly built manufacturing plant to process tantalum in the restive Oromia region, according to the Public Enterprises Ministry.
* Factory production has been halted but will resume in “near future,” ministry spokesman Wondefrash Assefa says, declining to identify existing bidders interested in developing the plant.
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Ethiopia Lobbies for Release of Billionaire in Saudi Arabia

By Nizar Manek, 20 May 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he’s “sure” Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi will be released and returned to Ethiopia “soon” following discussions with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to state media.
“One of the reasons we went to Saudi Arabia was to ask the Saudi government to release Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi,” the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency reported, citing Abiy.
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Gold fever

Africa Confidential Vol 58 No 8 | 18 May 2018
The ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front's favourite billionaire, the Ethiopian-Saudi Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi, seems to have disappeared from favour in Addis Ababa as surely as he has done from public view. Six months after his detention – and de facto disappearance – in Riyadh in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's crackdown on corruption, the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has suspended the licence of Al Amoudi's gold-mining company Mohammed International Development & Research Organisation Companies (MIDROC) to export gold alloy to Switzerland. The move follows allegations of massive pollution.
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