Monday, September 10, 2018 – Friday, September 14, 2018
Ethiopia became the first country on the continent to have its Chinese debts restructured even as it became apparent that several other countries were waiting for loan concessions to avert distress. On Thursday, Ethiopia announced that China had agreed to restructure some of its loans, including the one for the $4 billion railway linking its capital Addis Ababa with Djibouti. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the loans would be restructured, with a further 20-year extension, which will see its annual repayments come down to an affordable level. China has recently met a wave of negative perceptions on the African continent, with people seeing them as being responsible for crippling debt. Officials cite policy conditionality around international borrowing as a major constraint to attracting private capital, and propose joining the OECD as a solution.
Two passenger planes missed each other in the Kenyan airspace by a minute last week, averting what would have been one of the world’s worst aviation accidents. Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) blame the near-incident on a strike from their Ethiopian colleagues. Nine ATCs in Ethiopia were arrested last week as a result of this strike. The Kenya Air Traffic Controllers’ Association warned that flights going into and out of the Addis Ababa airspace were not safe.
Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday received a special peace and reconciliation award from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, EOTC. Abiy had visited His Holiness Abune Merkorios, the fourth Patriarch of the EOTC who recently returned to the country after years in exile. He presented keys to a refurbished house where the Patriarch was to reside officially.
The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is in a tense mood due to a disagreement over the use of specific flags across the city, state and private news portals have reported. The confrontation is over the hoisting of flags symbolizing the Oromo resistance movements and painting of road pavements, roads, fences and other places with similar colours of red and green with a yellow at the centre by the youth from Oromia and between city dwellers who want to prevent them. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has cautioned against the use of violence where dialogue is possible. He emphasized the right of freedom of expression, and that it includes hoisting a flag as well. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was until recently entangled in an armed struggle with the Ethiopian government, but it renounced that struggle and returned to Ethiopia to continue peaceful political struggle. The flags are being brought in to Addis Abeba with youngsters from Oromia who are taking part in a welcoming ceremony to welcome back members of a faction of OLF.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s president, Isaias Afwerki made a joint visit to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year on Tuesday with their troops on the border, in a further step toward warmer ties between two countries that fought a war two decades ago. Troops on either side of the Ethiopia – Eritrea borders are said to be dismantling borders in a part of the country to allow for movement of persons.
Two major opposition parties in Ethiopia have announced a merger as the country heads into elections slated for the year 2020. The move comes weeks after state-run FBC reported of talks to that effect. OLF until recently was considered a terrorist organization by the government. OFC on the other hand remained a political group in the country during the height of Oromo protests that rocked the country partly contributing to change in leadership of government earlier this year. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has stressed on occasions that the ruling EPRDF coalition was committed to ensuring the Ethiopia goes through free and fair elections in 2020.