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Sunday, December 18, 2011
Borders are likely to be remade out of a dire need to survive. Countries threatened with extinction because they have run out of water or energy, will have little choice but to attack those that have a lot of it – and secure future supplies through conquest.
By CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO (email the author)
Posted Sunday, December 18 2011 at 00:00
The wider East African region is special – and even notorious – in Africa. In the past 18 years it has produced more new or wanna-be-new nations than all of Africa combined. In 1993 Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed a mutual and happy divorce. The good vibes didn’t last; they became bitter enemies and fought after it happened.
In 1991, after the Siad Barre regime was overthrown, Somalia plunged into chaos. A few years later Puntland hived itself off as a semi-independent nation. Somaliland too jumped ship. Unlike Puntland, which is open to joining a future, peaceful Somalia federation or confederation, Somaliland is determined to be independent.
In February this year, South Sudan voted by nearly 100 per cent to secede from Sudan, and in July formally became Africa’s newest country. That is four major border remakes in less than 20 years. How many new countries have arisen in the rest of Africa as a result of a break-up of existing countries (Saharawi Republic doesn’t count)? ZERO!! Precisely because secessionist and breakaway demons roam the wider East Africa, the feeling is that over the next 20 to 50 years, we shall see more nations breaking up or being swallowed as others grow.
For anyone interested in the future borders of what is sometimes called the Greater Horn of Eastern Africa (GHEA) – comprising Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and DR Congo – two studies are recommended. The first is a popular piece of work “Fluid Borders: Integration, Federation, and Fragmentation”, by the Society for International Development (SID) which was published in its journal Greater Horn of Eastern Africa Outlook (November 2010).
The second was by one of Africa’s leading border experts, Wafula Okumu, who now works with the African Union’s Border Programme. His “Resources and borders disputes in Eastern Africa”, published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Eastern African Studies is a fascinating look at how Africa’s borders were made. Okumu argues that contrary to the dominant view, not all colonial borders were arbitrarily drawn. There was a lot of logic to the madness. Colonial powers, according to Okumu, drew borders on the basis of some cold logic; to secure known mineral wealth, and to control rivers and lakes – one reason why natural features became border makers.
Secondly, he argues, after the British were routed in the Second Anglo-Boer war, they studied the reasons for their defeat and reached the kind of conclusion African generals and politicians wouldn’t – they lost because of the poor quality and lack of detailed maps for the British military. They formed the Colonial Survey Committee to draw up maps of Africa – and the exercise was largely done by the military. “To the military, a map of features could be more important than a detailed and accurate demarcation of a boundary,” he writes. But one of the most eye-popping gems in the articles, is the citation that, “For all of Africa, only 200,000 square miles of territory had been surveyed in detail by 1914, when some 3.8 million square miles remained unexplored by Europeans.”
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EAST AFRICA IN 2050: THE SCENARIOS
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I’ll dwell on two of the many implications that can be drawn from this. First, because the focus of colonial borders was more on dividing up mineral and natural resources, it can be expected that future border conflicts in Africa – as both the GHEA Outlook and Okumu note – will come from disputes over resources. Secondly, because most African borders were based on a military and resource logic, not much social engineering went into them. We can confidently predict, therefore, that a future cultural remake of our borders is inevitable.
There is, for example, talk among Luo revivalist nationalists in northern Uganda, northeast DR Congo, South Sudan (and indeed Kenya) of the re-creation of a greater Lado Republic (in 1912 the Lado Enclave stretched from Sudan to a large part of northern Uganda). This would see bits of northern and northeastern Uganda and South Sudan forming a big Luo nation.
In Rwanda during the war that eventually ended after the 1994 genocide, in which over one million people were killed, at one point there were Tutsi hardline purists in the rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front who were pushing for a “two-state” solution; a Tutsi one in the east, where they would never have to endure torment by the majority Hutu, and a Hutu one in the rest of the country. The idea was eventually discredited. In Kenya, apart from the Somali secessionists in the northeast, in more recent times a secessionist movement has emerged in the Coast. This would be a kind of Swahili-Arab East African Republic that, according to some of its militant advocates, would include Zanzibar Island – which would swim away from mainland Tanzania.
There was a time when Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni was wont to talk about an East and Central African mega state built on the basis of “Bantu commonality”.
One country that must be lucky to still be in one piece is DR Congo. Ten years ago there was a real fear that the vast and rich, but thinly and badly governed country, would be carved up into at least three. One, to the southeast, would be a Rwanda dominion, probably controlled by the Banyamulenge. The other to the east would be run by a Ugandan puppet regime. And the West would be left to the dominant Kinshasa elite.
On the other hand, closer home, Tanzania is thought by some observers to have become “too big” for the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to manage – or that the country can be managed easily, but CCM has become too unimaginative for the task. And that as its hold on power slips in the year to come, Tanzania could be vulnerable. All these and more scenarios could still come true. However, the exact forces that could determine this are likely to play out from what we can foresee today.
We think borders are likely to be remade out of a dire need to survive. Countries threatened with extinction because they have run out of water or energy, will have little choice but to attack those that have a lot of it – and secure future supplies through conquest.
The GHEA Outlook and Okumu did not, for understandable reasons, examine what countries that achieve technological superiority might do to turn it to their advantage. Some GHEA countries might fail as states, while others will succeed as powerful democracies, redistributing power and conferring the ability to redraw borders on the successful ones. Within the next 30 to 50 years, East Africa borders could be very different.
What is the full range of these creative but disruptive forces that might redesign the region, and what might the new borders that will grow out of the process look like? Here are possible scenarios
Our project goal is to make several first ascents in the northern highlands of Ethiopia and create a film of the journey to enter into the Banff Film Festival. The inspiration came from the time David Hunt spent as a Peace Corps volunteer in the small mountain village of Debark perched among the Ethiopian mountains. He was able to climb and hike frequently in the Simien National Park, but what really caught his attention was the seemingly endless expanse of unclimbed spires that could be seen on the long bus ride into town. When I made this same bus trip for myself, I was blown away by the features I saw from the road. They had to be climbed.
We plan on spending one month in Ethiopia. We'll fly into the capital, Addis Ababa and then begin the 826 km bus ride north to our base camp in the village of Debark. The features we intend to climb are REMOTE and likewise, just getting to the base of some of these spires may prove to be the crux of the climb. Our cameras will not just cover the time spent in the vertical world, but will also offer a glimpse into the lives of the people living in the Ethiopian mountains. Upon returning to the states, we will begin editing to have our movie ready for the Banff Film Festival submission deadline in August of 2012. More importantly, once we are back in the homeland we'll get your rewards shipped A.S.A.P.!
By supporting our project, you'll also get your hands on some cultural goodies or your name attached to our project for audiences to see. Check out the sidebar for details. =======================================>
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Friday, December 16, 2011
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA Dec 16 (Reuters) - Ethiopia's suspension in issuing new mining licences to foreign firms keen to tap a fledgling gold and base metals industry is only temporary, its mining minister said on Friday.
More than a hundred firms have been issued licences so far, but the Horn of Africa country put a stay on another 200 applications last month saying it needed time to "sort out" its mining sector.
The country is seeking time to strengthen its ability to regulate, administer and evaluate the companies already in the sector before they start letting new ones in.
"We will eventually (lift the suspension). We have no other intention because we believe that we have created a conducive environment for the private sector and it is the private sector that can be an engine for development with mutual benefit," Sinkenesh Ejigu told Reuters on the sidelines of an African Union mining conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
"It is a good indication for us because many investors are applying but our task is not only giving licences, we also have to administer," she told Reuters on Friday.
She did not say when the suspension would be lifted.
"We will also examine the performance (of existing companies) and what they have done with their licences while sorting out the profiles of new applicants," she said
Ethiopia is part of the so-called Arabian-Nubian Shield, which stretches from Saudi Arabia and Yemen to Sudan and Egypt, and is home to rich gold and base metal deposits, though much of the seam is mined unofficially, by small-scale prospectors.
Though still reliant on commodities such as coffee for revenue, Ethiopia is expected to earn around $500 million from mining exports in the financial year to next July, according to the ministry.
It has targeted doubling that in the next five years.
The only gold miner in production so far is Ethiopian-Saudi Midroc, but London-listed Nyota is set to follow.
Nyota's flagship project is Tulu Kapi, 500 km (310 miles) west of capital Addis Ababa, which has a total inferred resource of 1.2 million ounces of gold.
The number of companies seeking to venture into the Ethiopian market has shown a steady rise in the past few years.
"What I can say is many companies have reached advanced exploration stages. They have to do the development work that will take around two years by itself, and after three years we can say we may reach an advanced production stage," Sinkinesh said. (Editing by Barry Malone)
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 15: The Immigration General Department of the Interior Ministry is currently studying the possibility of suspending the recruitment of domestic workers from Ethiopia, reports Alam-Alyawm daily.
Reliable sources said the option was being considered in light of the increasing number of crimes and violations being committed by Ethiopian nationals. The decision, however, will affect only domestic workers. The recent crime in which an Ethiopian maid brutally murdered a Kuwaiti woman created a very negative impact, said sources, adding many Ethiopian maids were returned back to maid recruitment offices after the incident.
Security sources said Ethiopian citizens were involved in 87 crimes, including murders, suicides and torturing of children, in the last four years.
The ministry is currently carrying out a study aimed at controlling such crimes. A study on the subject was earlier submitted, but it was rejected. After the recent incidents, however, the ministry formed a committee to review the study and make suitable recommendations.
Sources say 90 percent of people polled by the ministry, including senior officials, support the suspension proposal. The ministry is currently thinking of ways to provide other alternatives as it cannot suspend the hiring of Ethiopian maids without providing an alternative.
Director at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Rashed Al-Hajri said here Thursday that the issues related to salaries and recruiting of domestic help would be a matter of coordination amongst state’s institutes.
The coordination amongst ministries would make sure that such manpower would not be manipulated and exploited upon, said the official, adding that such coordination would also ensure the rights of employers.
Any violations on part of employers or employees would be faced with legal procedures that would ensure that justice would be served, said the official who indicated that prevention measures would be discussed amongst ministries to make sure that all involved parties followed the law.
Ann Speak spends some time in the SOS Children's Village in Gode.
" Early morning the children get up and go for the morning prayer on the school compound (above). They then come home, do their chores and bathe. Their SOS mother makes them breakfast, then lines them up to check if they are ready for school. School uniforms are sparkling white, school bags contain all the books and pens needed for the day`s classes and hands and faces are shiny. Passing her inspection, they leave the house around 7:30 for the flag raising ceremony at 7:45.
Meanwhile, back at home, their SOS mother starts preparing their lunch running the house, doing laundry etc. After school is over, the children go to the private school for language tutoring; they engage in sports in town and run errands for the house. Some do work in the family gardens.
Lots of activity goes on around me the closer we get to the supper hour – boys kicking a soccer ball, kids climbing trees, and the squeak of the swings can be heard between the laughter and the squeals. All of a sudden the sounds come to an end and the streets are empty again as they all head home for their meal. It reminds me of long summer days in Canada – as soon as the street lights go on, the kids go home. In the evening, the family eats outside on the veranda and enjoy family time together.
The SOS mother
This mother (left) was born in a small village not far from Gode and was happy to become an SOS mother not long after she arrived. Since she has no family, husband or children of her own, she feels like this is her her family.
At the beginning she had trouble blending the children from different cultures together, but she is very happy now. They have all fallen into a routine and like any mother she is fiercely protective of her children.
She is not bothered by the long term commitment to the SOS Children`s Village. When she has a day off, she misses the children terribly and is happy to get back to the house where she feels needed. I think she is a career woman in her own right. She has control over her household, the budget, the menu, as well as many decisions in the house. She is committed to making a significant contribution to the lives of the children under her care and the community.
The SOS auntie
The SOS auntie is there to assist the mother in any way she sees fit. She takes over for the mother on her one day off per week and fills in when she is sick or has personal business to attend to. The auntie I met was born and raised in Gode. Like most women in the area she has very little education so she had few choices in her life. She too was happy to take on the long term commitment to the children – she is fed clothed, paid and is doing something important for the children.
On her day off the auntie is always happy to get back to the village – she doesn`t know what to do with herself and she misses the kids terribly. At SOS Children she has a purpose.
The evening I visited, they looked like typical children – snuggled up together on the porch mat – the occasional argument broke out but in general they were having fun – being affectionate with each other – the boys were bossing the girls around.
Even though they were shy around a stranger like me, they all came to shake my hand and ask me questions when the opportunity arose."
The SOS School
School plays a big part in the life of a child in the Village, unlike many poor children in town who do not have the privilege of school. For a fee, some children from town attend school on the SOS Village compound. The children from the Village and the community become friends, fostering greater understanding and friendships.
The SOS School is better equipped and it is considered a higher standard of teaching by most including playground stimulating maps and drawings. The SOS School Director collaborates with the school in Gode to provide resources and collaboration on school problems, and on the curriculum . The Gode school H=headteacher also knows that it`s because of SOS Children's assistance to vulnerable families in the area that many town children are able to attend school."
How you can helpYou can make a one-off donation directly to our Emergency Relief Programme in Ethiopia, or take out a child sponsorship to help us to focus on the long-term welfare of children who have no one to care for them as a result of the famine.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 00:19
Djibouti is planning to invest over USD 1.5 billion in the next three years on ports and maritime related business activities, keeping Ethiopia in mind.
The Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority chairman, Aboubaker Omer Hadi, disclosed the intent of his agency last Friday at a reception held with clients and business partners at the Sheraton Addis.
Aboubaker said the major investment is going to be on a new ship repair and dry dock infrastructure that is going to cost 400 million dollars, while the second phase of the Doraleh Container Terminal will be constructed with an outlay of 330 million dollars with a capacity of three million TEU’s.
“The current Doraleh Container Terminal traffic is expected to reach its full capacity of handling 1.2 million TEU’s by the end of 2012 and we need to increase our capacity by constructing another terminal to handle the increasing traffic,” Aboubaker added. Djibouti Port handles over 90 percent of Ethiopia’s rapidly growing import
The 150 million dollar construction of the second phase of the Oil Terminal is also expected to start in 2012 aiming to increase the current capacity by 30 percent.
According to the chairman, the port’s activity of non-containerized traffic in 2011 increased by 60 percent reaching 4.5 million metric tons. In relation to containerized cargo service, traffic doubled to reach 800 thousand TEU compared to last year’s same time activity.
The petroleum traffic to Ethiopia also surged to 2.3 million cubic meters on average in 2010 and 2011. “This is a development supported by additional capacity created following the inauguration of the first phase of Doraleh Container Terminal,” Aboubaker said.
In addition the Djiboutian authorities are also set to expand the Port of Djibouti’s outer jetty berths and increase its depths from 12 to 13.75 meters with a total investment of 88.5 million dollars. This will provide the port with a capacity to accommodate six million tons of cargo a year in its first phase and three million extra tons in its second phase.
The authority also aspires to develop Tadjourah port at a cost of 85 million dollars. The port located 15 Km from Tadjourah and expected to be completed by 2013 will be mainly for bulk commodities like potash, explained Aboubaker.
Construction of the Port of Goubet will also consume an investment of 55 million dollars and is expected to be operational in 2013. It is a port primarily intended for the export of salt and will have the capacity of handling 4.5 million tons of traffic per year.
The authority has also a plan to set up a livestock port inside the existing Djibouti port at a cost of 20 million dollars with a capacity to serve two million heads of livestock annually. It also plans to develop a Free Zone, the Jaban Us, in PK12 at a cost of 30 million dollars, and expects to launch its study in 2012.
The coming three years will now be dedicated to the development of the Ports and Free Zones with a total outlay of 1.5 billion dollars, announced Aboubaker Omar Hadi, the newly appointed head of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority.
Aboubaker, a man in his fifties who previously worked at the Port of Lagos in Nigeria, succeeded Aden Ahmed Doualeh in July 2011. With a rich career in the field of transport and port affairs, particularly with many qualities such as leadership and flexibility, he is considered the right person to take the authority to a higher level. Aboubaker has had a thirty-year career in the port of Djibouti, where he made his debut in the early 80’s.
In his speech Aboubaker noted that his office is in discussion with the ministries of transport and customs authority of South Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti so as to finalize the transit agreement and pave the way for South Sudan cargo to transit through Ethiopia and use the port of Djibouti as its first port. He explained the road has been completed on the Ethiopian side and is well in progress in South Sudan. But, he said, for the short and medium term the options will be the waterways from Malakal to Juba and Wau using multimodal roads and barges.
The Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority is the governing authority that sets the rules, directives and overarching principles for the smooth and efficient running of the current and future ports; as well as free zones, in Djibouti.
As of July 1, 2011 the management contract between DP World and the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority come to an end, and the general cargo has since been handled by the authority. In June 2000, the government of Djibouti and DPWorld signed a 20 year contract to manage the Port of Djibouti facilities which were later extended. During that period of cooperation, the plan to construct a new port emerged in November 2006, and the cooperation evolved into a venture on Doraleh Port also to be managed by DPWorld. The Doraleh Port includes a container and an oil terminal which was a 450 million dollar venture where the government of Djibouti gets two third and DPWorld one third of the revenue from the port.
by Jenny Vaughan
ASHEGODA, December 15, 2011 (AFP) - Villagers in Ethiopia's arid north live as they have for centuries surrounded by cattle and donkeys; only the rows of towering white wind turbines look out of place.
It is not the first place one might expect to find the sleek new structures. The unpaved roads around the site are lined with donkey-drawn carts lugging firewood and bushels of wheat.
"It's a little bit anachronistic to see the turbines in a rural zone where peasants are working like they were centuries ago," says Gerard Damongeot of the French-run Ashegoda wind farm.
But, he says, it is "very, very windy" making it the perfect location for the turbines.
The path towards green power, however, is strewn with obstacles. The land taken up by the turbines was once used by local farmers.
Around 700 growers have lost either some or all of their land, according to the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) site manager Fisseha Gebremichael.
Local government provided compensation to affected farmers, but some say the payment was inadequate. "We are not happy, we had good income from this land," said farmer Abraha Woldu.
He was given $4,000 for his one hectare of land, which he said is not enough to lease another plot.
Like many Ethiopians, Abraha feels ambivalent about the wind farm. He welcomes progress, but is disappointed to have lost his main source of income.
"I am happy to develop my country, but I am not happy about the payment I received," he said.
The Ashegoda wind farm, sub-Saharan Africa's largest, is part of Ethiopia's ambitious strategy to become the region's leading producer of renewable energy.
The country is aiming for a seven-fold increase in renewable energy production in the next five years.
Ethiopia's Prime Minster Meles Zenawi, the African Union's special representative on the environment, pushed this month for countries to commit to green policies at UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa.
As part of Ethiopia's ambitious $150 billion, 20-year green growth strategy, diesel power stations will be replaced by hydro, solar, geothermal and wind energy by 2015.
It is a bold plan. More than half of all Ethiopians do not have access to electricity and critics say the scale of the plans is unfeasible.
And while the majority of power produced at Ashegoda and elsewhere will connect to the national grid, it is even hoped to produce surplus, with some 10 percent sold to neighbouring Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan, as well as to Egypt.
Run by France's Vergnet Groupe, Ashegoda is the first of six planned wind farms in the country.
With 30 of 84 wind towers erected since construction began in 2009, the plant expects the first megawatt of electricity to be produced by the end of December.
Damongeot said the decision to work in Ethiopia was a fairly easy one. Corruption is much less of a problem then elsewhere on the continent, and there is a genuine commitment to renewable energy.
And of course, there is an abundance of wind, the result of a varied terrain and access to Red Sea winds from the east, with the company constructing two more plots of turbines by mid-2012.
But the company does not expect to turn a profit from Ashegoda due to escalating costs. The $282 million plan was financed by a loan from several French banks and the French development agency.
"We've lost a lot of money and we don't expect to make any money," Damongeot said, laughing.
But he maintains it is a good opportunity for the company to establish itself in Ethiopia, where they may expand into hydro projects in the future.
For the EEPCO's Fisseha, renewable energy is a key investment for a developing country like Ethiopia. They can avoid the environmental damage seen in Western countries and boost exports at the same time, he said.
"Ethiopia is developing -- and investing in such a way to be environmentally friendly and not make the mistakes of the developing world," he said. "We are trying, we are trying hard," he added.
Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu is optimistic the effort will pay off in a matter of years.
"You'll find that all Ethiopians will have access to electricity -- you'll find every industry has a good supply of green, renewable energy," he said. "And wind farms everywhere, of course."
About the Bloger
Prof Muse Tegegne
- Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change & Liberation in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva. A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies. He wrote on the problematic of the Horn of Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.