Eritrea Leader to Revisit Ethiopia as Talks Turn to Rebels

  • Trip comes amid plans for Eritrea-based rebels to return home
  • African neighbors officially ended two-decade conflict in July

By Nizar Manek, 17  August 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will make his second trip to Ethiopia since the Horn of Africa nations declared peace in July, amid signs that Ethiopian rebels previously designated as terrorists will return home unarmed to participate in politics.
Plans for Isaias’ visit were relayed by Nigusu Tilahun, the chief of communications for Ethiopia’s Amhara regional state, who didn’t give a date. The announcement comes after Amhara authorities signed a reconciliation agreement with the rebel Amhara Democratic Forces Movement this week in Eritrea, allowing the group to pursue political activities in Ethiopia after they disarm, Nigusu said in a statement.
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Ethiopia Could Sell Airline Hotel, Airports in Investor Hunt

  • Disposals would be ahead of a potential stake sale in carrier
  • New leader Abiy is opening nation up to foreign investors

By Nizar Manek, 25 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise is emerging as the flag bearer of plans by Africa’s fastest-growing economy to open up to foreign investors after decades as a closed shop.
While new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ruling politburo has said a minority stake in the continent’s largest carrier could be up for grabs, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam now adds that related assets such as airports and a five-star hotel could also be sold off. That would give investors an opportunity to take ownership in businesses that were nationalized in the 1980s under the former Communist Derg regime.
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Ethio Telecom Names Frehiwot as New Chief, Fana Reports

By Samuel Gebre and Nizar Manek, 18 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia Telecommunications Corp. has named Firehiwot Tamiru as the new chief executive officer of the monopoly, Fana Broadcasting Corp. said on Facebook.
He replaces Andualem Admassie, who was “relieved of his duties,” Fana said on Twitter, citing a person it didn’t identify. Thirty other employees will also leave the company, it said.
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Ethiopian Airline Makes First Flight to Eritrea This Century

  • National carrier hasn’t made trip since war two decades ago
  • New daily flights show thaw in relations for once-bitter foes

By Nizar Manek, 18 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s national carrier is making its first regular passenger flight to neighboring Eritrea since a war two decades ago, underlining a surprise rapprochement between the former foes who have vowed to rebuild economic links.
The Ethiopian Airlines Group flight left the capital, Addis Ababa, on Wednesday morning, heading for Eritrea’s main city, Asmara. It’s the first flight in what will be a daily service by Africa’s biggest airline, which Ethiopia’s ruling politburo is opening to foreign investment, part of a wind of change sweeping the fast-growing economy since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April.
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Ethiopia Confirms Airline Plans to Buy 20% of Eritrean Carrier

By Nizar Manek, 17 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia said its state-owned airline will buy a 20 percent stake in a carrier in neighboring Eritrea after flights resume between the now-friendly nations later this week. 
A stake in Eritrean Airlines would be a “logical step,” Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariamsaid in an interview published Monday. The move was confirmed by Ethiopia’s government communications office on its Facebook page Tuesday. 
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Ethiopian Shelves Plane Deals, Maps Out Privatization Plan

  • 100-seater requirement on hold as demand favors bigger jets
  • Hotel, logistics arms ripe for outside investment, CEO says

By Nizar Manek, 16 July 2018
Ethiopian Airlines Group has shelved plans to establish a fleet of smaller jetliners as gains in demand suggest that the routes where they’d be deployed would be better served using larger planes.
Africa’s biggest airline had been looking at Bombardier Inc.’s C Series aircraft -- since taken over by Airbus SE and renamed the A220 -- together with Embraer SA’s E195. An order, which had been mooted as likely at this week’s Farnborough air show, is now off the agenda, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam said in an interview.
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​​Ethiopian, Eritrean Leaders Vow to Safeguard Peace Treaty

By Nizar Manek
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he would take action against those who may seek to block a peace declaration with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, as Ethiopia’s army awaits instructions on troop withdrawals from border areas.
Isaias said both nations would work together to safeguard the newfound peace that’s ended nearly two decades of frosty relations between the neighboring nations, state-run Ethiopian News Agency reported Sunday, citing speeches the night before.
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Eritrea's President to Visit Ethiopia as Relations Rebound

  • Visit will mirror Ethiopian premier’s recent historic trip
  • Once bitter Horn of Africa foes declared end to war this week

By Nizar Manek, 13 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will make an historic visit to Ethiopia on Saturday, days after the once-bitter foes declared peace and agreed to reestablish economic links.
Isaias’s visit will mirror Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s groundbreaking trip to neighboring Eritrea last weekend. The two countries -- at odds since a 1998-2000 border war that claimed as many as 100,000 lives -- sealed a swathe of agreements, restoring diplomatic relations, flights and telecommunications, as well as allowing Ethiopia’s use of Red Sea ports.
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From the edge of war to the bridge of love

Africa Confidential Vol 59 No 14 | 12 July 2018
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has topped off weeks of revolutionary change by triumphantly making peace with Eritrea
The Ethiopian leader's previously inconceivable trip to Asmara on a mission of reconciliation on 8 July has reshaped regional geopolitics and crowned Abiy Ahmed's premiership with a hugely popular prize – peace with Eritrea and normalisation of relations. Nearly two decades of tense stand-off melted away when Abiy flew in to Asmara to a tumultuous welcome and a warm embrace from Eritrea's gruff dictator, Issayas Afewerki. They signed a joint declaration of peace and promised to implement the Algiers peace agreement signed in 2000. That deal ended a blood-drenched border war but never lifted the spectre of another outbreak of fighting and failed to restore normal relations between the former allies.
It was a coup de théâtre typical of Abiy's style. In a speech to Issayas and assembled dignitaries, he said: 'There is no border between Eritrea and Ethiopia because the border has been demolished and replaced with a bridge of love.' It was all 'wine and roses' during a 'fairy-tale visit', said an excited regional diplomat.
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Once Bitter Foes, Ethiopia and Eritrea Promise `Bridge of Love'

  • Horn of African nations resume full diplomatic relations
  • Ethiopian leader made unprecedented trip to Eritrea on Sunday

By Nizar Manek and Samuel Gebre, 9 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia and Eritrea made a declaration of peace and agreed to reestablish economic links after an unprecedented summit between the Horn of Africa nations’ leaders ended decades of enmity.
In an historic visit to neighboring Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sealed a swathe of agreements with President Isaias Afwerki, restoring diplomatic relations, flights and telecommunications, as well as securing Ethiopia’s use of Red Sea ports. Foreign observers described it as a boost for regional stability, and there were signs that United Nations sanctions, imposed on Eritrea in 2009, may be lifted.
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Ethiopia Passes 'Pro-Poor' Budget as It Moves to Open Up Economy

  • Two-thirds of spending will be on poverty reduction programs
  • New premier trying to check unrest, keep up economic momentum

By Nizar Manek, 16 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s parliament passed a 346.9 billion birr ($12.6 billion) budget, about two-thirds of it poverty reduction programs involving health, education and food security, as the Horn of African nation tries to quell unrest while sustaining the momentum of the continent’s fastest-growing economy.
In televised comments, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed described the budget as “pro-poor” and said the government still needs $7.5 billion to finish so-called mega projects, including sugar factories and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As a result, it won’t begin new projects in the 2018-19 fiscal year, he said.
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Ethiopian Prison Abuses Need Probe, Group Tells New Premier

  • Human Rights Watch cites testimony from dozens of ex-prisoners
  • Nation’s new prime minister recently condemned use of torture

By Nizar Manek, 5 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Prisoners in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region have been arbitrarily detained and tortured for years, Human Rights Watch said, as it urged the Horn of Africa nation’s new prime minister to order an investigation.
The allegations of abuse at the prison known as Jail Ogaden, which holds thousands of inmates mainly accused of links to a banned secessionist group, come after premier Abiy Ahmed told parliament in June that the country’s use of torture is unconstitutional. New York-based Human Rights Watch cited interviews with 70 former prisoners conducted between 2011 and this year in its report published Thursday.
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Eritrean, Abu Dhabi Leaders Meet Before Ethiopian Summit

By Nizar Manek, 4 July 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki met the crown prince of Abu Dhabi for talks about regional issues, after Ethiopia announced its new premier, Abiy Ahmed, will meet Isaias “soon.”
Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, who is also deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, received Isaias Tuesday, according to Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel. Abu Dhabi Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed also attended the talks, which focused on “recent international and regional developments and trends of mutual importance,” Yemane said on his Twitter account.
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DP World to Set up Logistics Facility in Ethiopia, ENA Says

  • Facility to help move goods to landlocked African countries
  • Abu Dhabi Fund for Development gave Ethiopia $3b aid package

By Nizar Manek, 30 June 2018
(Bloomberg) --
DP World Ltd. plans to set up a logistics facility in Ethiopia to facilitate the transport of goods to landlocked African countries, the Emirates News Agency reported, citing Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the Dubai state-owned port operator’s chief executive officer.
Business groups in Dubai can benefit from DP World’s presence in different countries, including Rwanda and Egypt, where re-exporting opportunities are abundant, the news agency cited him as saying.
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