Exiled former president of the Oromia region Juneidi Sado has been allowed to return to Ethiopia. On Monday September 3, 2018, Sado landed in Addis Ababa and was received by a large crowd of supporters. The current leader of the region is Lemma Megerssa, who is praised for his efforts to introduce reform and to unite the country. The Economist described him as “the country’s most popular politician.”
A famed Ethiopian opposition group, Patriotic Ginbot 7 (PG7), have officially returned to the country from their base in neighbouring Eritrea. State-run Fana broadcasting corporate reported that the group crossed into Ethiopia via the town of Humera on Saturday September 1, 2018. The return marks an end to PG7’s armed struggle against Addis Ababa in the wake of political reforms launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The government said it had reached an agreement with key opposition parties over disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-rebels
On Wednesday, a tripartite agreement between Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea was signed, aiming to build close political, economic, cultural, security, and social ties. The three governments hereby establish a Joint High-Level Committee to coordinate their efforts in the framework of this Joint Declaration. Ethiopia additionally reopened its embassy in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. Observers note that it is an important agreement that will foster stability in the Horn of Africa.
This week, unrest in Ethiopia’s Somali and Oromia border regions continue. Intercommunal conflict in the Somali and Oromia border regions that escalated on August 4 has led to the internal displacement of more than 141,000 people. Oromia and Somali regions share the longest border within Ethiopia. The inhabitants of Oromia, one of the biggest regions in Ethiopia, tend to be farmers and pastoralists. Somalis are primarily pastoralists. Although they share language, religion and culture, they have fought over resources, land and water over the past 25 years. Apart from a reported 2,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) relocating to Mekelle Town in Tigray region in mid-August, recent information on displacement numbers and potential needs of the displaced is lacking.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is attending the Forum on China-Africa where he hopes to cement relations between Ethiopia and China. During the meeting, China agreed to extend the repayment period of a USD 4 billion loan for a railway to 30 years instead of 10. In his remarks, Abiy highlighted that China has been our steadfast ally in the effort to build an economically advanced and socially inclusive Africa.
Air traffic controllers (ATCs) have been arrested due to strikes. On Monday, state affiliated Fana BC reported that the Federal Police Commission had detained nine individuals on suspicion of attempting to disrupt international flights and coordinating a strike that began last week. News of the arrest of the strike organisers was quickly condemned on social media, as many called on the government to resolve the issues raised by the ATCs rather than resorting to intimidation.
Ethiopia’s investment body has announced a decision to admit foreign investment into the country’s logistics sector, local media portals have reported. The development forms part of the government’s economic reform efforts. Since taking office in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has undertaken a series of reforms trying to open parts of Ethiopia’s economy to a certain amount of private investment.
A landslide triggered by heavy rains in Ethiopia’s rural southwest Tuesday killed at least 12 people, state media reported. Four people were injured in the disaster which occurred in the Isara District of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region. Just over 10% of Ethiopia’s land area is forested. There has been rapid deforestation in the country; nearly 80% of the country’s forests were lost between 1955 and 1979. The annual rate of deforestation was about 1% for the period 1990-2010. Heavy deforestation works as a catalyst for landslides, which are unfortunately common during the rainy season.