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Interview
We need to help them now PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 March 2016 06:27

The Red Cross’ fight to mobilize Ethiopians against drought
The current drought in Ethiopia has been said to be the worst in 50 years leaving over 10 million people in need of aid. It may be the worst, but many also suggest that it is being handled well, at least up to this point. The government has contributed a large sum to the USD 1.4 billion currently needed to address the crisis and support from the international community continues to trickle in. And yet, Ethiopia is not out of the shadows, in fact, things are expected to get worse before they get any better.
The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) is part of the humanitarian response to the drought, and for this organization, getting Ethiopians to help fund relief efforts has been a struggle. Frehiwot Worku, Secretary General of ERCS, says that the response from the public has been underwhelming, ‘One of the problems that make it difficult to mobilize finances is the lack of awareness.’ Capital’s Eskedar Kifle spoke to the Secretary General about the organizations drought related activities and what it will take to mobilize resources and encourage a culture of giving.

Capital: Tell us about some of ERCS’ activities to help drought-affected communities in Ethiopia.


Frehiwot Worku:
The Ethiopian Red Cross is working to provide assistance to around 10 percent children under the age of five, breast feeding mothers as well as pregnant women who have been affected by the drought.
Our main task is providing food supplements. The government is already providing food assistance to communities in drought-affected areas. On top of that, there are communities identified as severely affected and for these communities, while the government works to reach them, we also work to reach at least 10 percent of them.

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Shining through adversity PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 March 2016 08:11

‘I was in an ambulance for the first time in my life…I saw my life passing…I knew in that moment I had to make a massive change…’ says Yene, or better known as Dr Yene Assegid, a renowned Leadership Trainer and Executive Coach. From her time of darkness and adversity comes her new book of hope and strength, ‘Shine’. Yene believes passionately that her book will inspire others to rise from adversity and build themselves up overcoming their challenges.
Despite her wealth of experience and expertise – with clientele ranging from private individuals and corporations toUN and governmental and non-governmental agencies such as UNDP, UNAIDS and GIZ, and MSF, among others – Yene remains humble ‘I have always wanted to support people in reaching their goals,’ she says. And it is in this spirit of frank openness that she spoke to Capital about her third book, ‘Shine’, and the inspiration behind it.

Capital: Tell us a about yourself, how did you come about to being a writer?
Yene Assegid:
It’s not that I intended to be a writer but rather that writing allows me to somehow reflect and meditate – it allows me to focus. When I write, I find silence from all the distractions of life.  Actually, I believe there is a writer in every single person, because story telling is part of being human. Add a comment

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Serbia rekindling ties with Africa PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 09:02


Ethiopia has been one of the major partners of former Yugoslavia now Serbia for many years. The bilateral relation is traditionally good and friendly, based on common historical heritage and the Orthodox religion. Ethiopia closed its embassy in Belgrade in 1992, and its embassy in Rome is accredited for Serbia.
President Tomislav Nikolić is President of Serbia since 31 May 2012. One of the founders of the Serbian Progressive Party, Nikolić led the party until his election as president. During the 26th African Union Summit, he visited Ethiopia and met with different leaders of the continent to exchange views on economic and diplomatic relations. Capital’s Groum Abate talked to President Tomislav Nikolić about his visit and future expectations. Excerpts:
Capital: What is the main purpose of your visit?
President Tomislav Nikolić:
I can tell you that Serbia is continuing the old Yugoslav policy in Africa. We feel close to Africa and we also care about African friends and states. Serbia was absent from the African scene because the previous administration started the European integration process, and somehow, got the idea that we can to forget our old friends. Today, the situation is different. We are continuing the old policies and we want to bring back to life this old friendship that we have with Africa, and we will also pass this tradition of friendship to our successors. We can help each other a lot. If you look the international scene, you can see that African countries and Serbia are often treated the same way by the international community. They look at us with the same eyes. There are many problems we can solve together. Economic and diplomatic relations between Africa and Serbia is very important. It is also our ambition to bring the relation, to at least, to the zenith it reached  with the former Yugoslavia. But, as I said, unfortunately, we neglected Africa and the first repercussion  was some 25 African states voted in favor of Kosovo to join UNESCO. I think that we missed the opportunity to properly explain to our African friends the phenomenon of Kosovo’s separation, and if we did this in time, maybe our African friends would have not voted in favor of Kosovo or might revoked recognition. Add a comment

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Satellite world the partnership to connect Ethiopia PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 07:05

SES is one of the world-leading satellite operators with a fleet of more than 50 geostationary satellites. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators and business and government organisations worldwide. In Ethiopia, SES work with the only telecom service provider in the country, Ethio Telecom and the country’s Broadcasting Agency. Ibrahima Guimba Saidou, General Manager of SES Africa answers questions from the media about the company’s operations in Ethiopia.
Question: Tell us about the services you provide.
Ibrahima Guimba Saidou:
We are headquartered in Luxemburg and we own the largest fleets of satellite in the world with more than 50 satellites. We provide service across the whole spectrum of ICT, so ranging from video or broadcasting, we carry the most TV channels in the world we connect more than 350 million households in the world, which translates into more than 1 billion people watching television through our satellites worldwide.
We also provide broadband internet services - we connect people across the world, from remote areas to major cities, depending on the country. We also provide corporate connectivity in general, it can be connecting branches for banks, connecting government offices, schools, and hospitals and so on. We also have more sophisticated services like providing internet in airplanes and on boats; we hope that Ethiopian Airlines will one day join the service.
We also provide services in the area of defense and security, for border control or other services.
We are different in the way we value partnership, because we don’t believe we can do things by ourselves, we need to have partners to be able to provide a solution. And, it is one of our reasons we deiced to be present in Africa four years ago – based in Johannesburg. Since then, we opened two offices, one in Ghana and one office here in Addis Ababa.
The other thing we do is capacity building, because in most developing countries including all the emerging markets, there is sometimes a gap in skills. We have set up a program called Elevate, which helps us train youngsters though satellite technology in countries where we are present and have a partnership.
Question: In Ethiopia, you are providing your services to Ethio telecom and the Broadcasting Agency, what other areas are you interested in getting involved?
Saidou:
In Ethiopia in particular, it is Ethio telecom that provides services, what we do is give Ethio telecom the various elements or the various capabilities that we have so that they can serve customers. We always deliver services according to local rules, it is not our ambition to try and provide services to a particular sector in Ethiopia because the local law does not allow us to do so.
What we do is have regular meetings with Ethio telecom, we explain to them how the technology is evolving and the new capabilities that we have.
That dialogue and conversation is ongoing. For us the aim is to be able to provide services across the whole spectrum through Ethio telecom and the local rules and regulations. As part of GTP II, there is an ambition to connect remote areas in Ethiopia, and we are in discussions with the telecom about some of the ways they can partially achieve that.
One thing that needs to be clear is that a satellite is not a solution for everything, so within Ethio telecom’s mandate there is a small portion we believe we can help achieve. We do not pretend that we have a solution for all that Ethio telecom needs to deliver.
Question: How different is it for you to work in a country that has a single state owned telecom operator as supposed to in an open market with more than one operator?
Saidou:
There isn’t really any significant difference because at the end of the day, if you have one operator or ten, the aim is to providethe end user with the best service. We have seen countries where there are more than one player, what happened is that at the beginning there was this rush to have new services, and in many cases the prices went down a bit, but after a few years you can see that things stabilize.
So there isn’t really a major difference except that you talk to one company instead of more. What we do in all the markets with single or multiple players is say - this is how we believe we can help you deliver.
I haven’t seen any country that would say; no we don’t want to adopt this new technology or this solution that can help us connect to the most people in a fast and cost effective way. So for us in a nutshell, we adopt our strategy to our local environment whether it is one company we need to deal with or several, it doesn’t matter.
Question: What is your capacity with regards to security, such as incidents of satellite jamming and soon?
Saidou:
Jamming or interference can happen anywhere, we have invested heavily in making sure we provide top quality services to our customers across the world. So when there are challenges with jamming and interference, the experts we have in the company quickly pinpoint where the source of a jam or interference is and we use whatever vehiclesat our disposal to fix it. So it is not affecting our operations that heavily. When it comes to defense and security, there isn’t any particular issue; these are areas where we would maybe talk to a particular body of a given country.
Question: Many people use satellites here in the country as well, and sometimes people can’t find particular television stations because of interferences by a certain body. How do you deal with that?
Saidou:
We work around international laws and regulations, we are not involved in politics, we are technical people, and we provide connectivity. When we have a customer, that customer follows therules and regulations. When you sign up to be on our platform, you agree to behave in a certain way. When you breach that agreement, we have to tell you that you are in breach of your contract. We work with the rules and regulations that have been established not only by us but also international community.
Question: What is your future plan in Ethiopia?
Saidou:
One of the plans is to really see how we can support the delivery of the GTPII, to help Ethio telecom connect the masses - help the operator provide connectivity to the most remote areas in Ethiopia in a cost effective manner and as soon as possible. We also know that Ethiopia has its own ambition to have its own satellite and we have expertise we can offer on that. These are some of the things we are hoping to be able to deliver this year and the years to come.
Question: So should we expect Ethio telecom to start providing quality services anytime soon?
Saidou:
I didn’t know that Ethio telecom was not providing quality services so I cannot comment on that. What I can tell you from our perspectives is that we are going to do whatever we can and that is the bit we can provide to make sure that it is top quality.
Again, I would like to insist that the services we provide here are similar to what we provide anywhere else in the world. Of course it is a process, we will adopt and we will make sure that what we provide is not second class service.

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Ambitious SDGs PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 July 2015 08:53

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UN Population Fund participated in the 3rd Financing for Development Conference held in Addis Ababa from July 13 to 16, 2015. He spoke to Capital on issues such as the role of the youth in the development agenda as well as how to make the SDGs successful.

Capital: What has been UNFPA’s interest in the Financing for Development conference?
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin:
UNFPA has participated in many side events. We have participated in areas of financing for health, education; we have looked at issues that have to do with the rights to make choices especially for women and girls. We are also doing a big side event on human resources for health. Add a comment

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Keeping the faith PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 January 2016 07:57

Hopes are high that rainfall in 2016 will save millions

In Ethiopia 10.1 million people will need food assistance in 2016, 400,000 children are malnourished and 1.8 million children are out of school due the crippling drought. The Government has stated that it is in need of USD 1.2 billion of emergency funds, and so far only a fraction of that amount has been met. There is uncertainty throughout; the international community may not provide the needed funding, or may not do so in time. All hope is in what seems unlikely – that the rains this year will come just in time to avoid catastrophe. The country is in the brink of yet another tragedy, however, there is little action to match the urgency of the current drought. It will be ‘a long year ahead’ for Ethiopia, says John Graham, Country Director for Save the Children Ethiopia, and yet he is adamant that ‘we have to hope that the rains will be good’. Capital’s Eskedar Kifle spoke to John Graham about the drought, its potential for destruction and of what needs to be done to evade crisis.

Capital: The drought has received international media coverage and all are saying the situation is quite bad, is it really as bad as it is portrayed?
John Graham:
I think the situation is very bad in terms of lack of rainfall. I think people would be shocked if they went around and talked to pastoralists and farmers in affected areas who have lost so much. So many of their animals are dead, most have lost all of their crops so I think people would be very shocked if they talked to these people. On the positive side, Ethiopia has had a period of economic growth so is not as vulnerable to this kind of drought, people’s capacity to survive the droughts is improved, we don’t see people heading off to feeding camps and things like that.
Also, because systems are now in place to try and get food to them in their houses, before they start to suffer, the drought is less visible compared to previous droughts, which had huge impacts on human suffering. But, I would invite anyone to go to the affected areas and to talk to the people to find out just how bad the situation is. Add a comment

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POLL 1

1. Do you think the rising temperature in the city has to do with climate change?

(404 votes)

61.9%   (250)
9.4%   (38)
28.7%   (116)
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POLL 2

2. Do you think paid maternity leave should increase to 6 months?

(1271 votes)

55.7%   (708)
36.8%   (468)
7.5%   (95)
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