Sustainable Management, Utilization of Biodiversity Crucial for Meeting Africa Goal of Agenda 2063: AU Commissioner

Sustainable management and utilization of biodiversity is a crucial step for Africa in order to realize the seventh goal of Agenda 2063, AU Commissioner Albert Muchanga said.

In his speech at the conclusion of the AU, Caribbean and Pacific High-level Conference on Biodiversity, he pointed out that the conference is vital to the agenda of the continent as it aims to protect its biodiversity and ecosystem, and defines ways and mechanisms to domesticate the global frameworks and resolutions taking into account Africa’s realities.

In this connection, conserving biodiversity for Africa should not be an option but rather a vital necessity, he added.

According to the Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals Commissioner, “the draft African Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is our new vehicle for addressing the triple crisis of biodiversity losses, adverse impacts of climate change and disasters in ecosystem resilience.”

Ministerial Segment Chairperson and Botswana’s Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Minister, Philda Kereng said biodiversity is vital for the cultural heritages of Africans, and it is a cornerstone of the economies.

“Losing biodiversity threatens our existence and civilization and progress and livelihoods. As a continent, this is a risk that we cannot afford. Unless we are all aware, the environment has its own harsh way of responding to abusive actions of humans and other actors.”

Africa is endowed with vast natural wealth and cultural heritage, intricately connected to its ecosystems.

Despite the rich and varied natural endowment, the continent is not immune to the threats posed by the erosion of biodiversity, the impacts of climate change and the emergence of global health crisis, according to the minister.

She further noted that “if we continue on the current trend and continue not to make enough progress with our meetings and our dialogues and our program delivers, we risk losing about 50 percent of the bird and mammal species by 2100 and about 20 to 30 percent of the productivity of our leads, and mainly due to pollution, habitat fragmentation and others.”

As leaders, we have a duty to ensure that we preserve the benefits for future generations. This will involve a multifaceted and multi-stakeholder approach.

Kereng stated that it should also cover transboundary efforts, including at continental sub regional levels as well.

Furthermore, we need to harness the collective strength of our commitment to speak as one. “We always talk about one Africa voice; but here I wish that we can be able to put more attention on to how we can actually effectively build this voice as a process.”

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Plan Minister Calls on Stakeholders to Reinforce Agricultural Successes for Ethiopia’s Prosperity

Plan and Development Minister Fitsum Asefa stressed the need for bringing everyone’s effort on board to sustain the ongoing effective development activities of the agriculture sector and ensure the growth and prosperity of Ethiopia.

Recall Ethiopia has been making extensive investments in the agricultural sector to catalyze the country’s development and prosperity ambition.

As part of the nation’s effort in the sector, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed opened Agriculture and Science exhibition at the Science Museum in Addis Ababa on 7th May 2023 under the theme “from the lab to the field.”

Thus far, various sections of the society, government officials, students, teachers and others have visited the agriculture and science exhibition at the Science Museum.

The exhibition was also visited by high level federal and regional government officials yesterday, including Finance Minister Ahmed Shede, Planning and Development Minister Fitsum Asefa as well as chief and deputy chief administrator of Sidma and Southwest Ethiopia People regions respectively.

Parallel to the Agriculture and Science exhibition, the officials also opened an exhibition that showcases the achievements of Yelemat Tirufat, (bounty of food in basket), a development campaign, which focuses on food crops and vegetables with high nutritional values in Sidama and the Southwest Ethiopia People’s regions. Yelemat Tirufat exhibition showcased fish, honey; various agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables, spices, and animal products.

Minister of Planning and Development, Fitsum Asefa stated that effective activities are being carried out in spheres of Yelemat Tirufat , wheat production and green development programs.

She also said that together with the growing mechanization of cluster farming, we are witnessing that Ethiopia is on the right track for food self-sufficiency.

Ethiopia has been substituting imports of wheat and the commencement of supplying wheat to the international market is a clear indication of its effectiveness, Fitsum pointed out.

Therefore, everyone should be on board to ensure the growth and prosperity of Ethiopia by sustaining the effective development activities being witnessed in the agricultural sector.

Engineer Negash Wagesho, Deputy Chief Administrator of Southwest Ethiopia People’s region said on his part that the agricultural exhibition is a good demonstration that the agricultural sector can be successful if it is supported by knowledge and technology.

Mentioning the vast agricultural resources in the region, especially coffee, sesame, spices, honey and animal products, he stated that if they are properly developed, they will contribute to the nation’s development.

Chief Administrator of Sidama region, Desta Ledamo said that the development works being carried out in the agricultural sector have given great hope for the development of the country and improvement of the living conditions of the citizens.

As Sidama region has enormous potential resources, he noted that development work will be strengthened towards contributing to national economy beyond the region.

More than 50,000 people have visited the agricultural and science exhibition, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Girma Amente.

The minister added that this agricultural fair has achieved great results in strengthening the agricultural sector adding that the interest and motivation of the visitors was more than expected.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Republic of Korea Will Continue To Strengthen Its Development Cooperation With Ethiopia: Ambassador Seokhee

Republic of Korea will continue to strengthen development cooperation with Ethiopia, Ambassador Kang Seokhee told ENA.

According to him, Republic of Korea’s diplomatic relations with Ethiopia is growing.

The cooperation between the countries has in particular been consolidated in various development sectors, he added, stating that efforts are being made to further strengthen the relationship.

Ambassador Seokhee reiterated that his country will enhance its support for the implementation of the agreement.

Republic of Korea is making preparations to restart its development projects in the northern part of the country, he said.

“We will support this peace process. Korea has development projects in the northern part of the country. Because of the conflict these projects have been delayed. We plan to facilitate the delayed development projects soon.”

Republic of Korea government had provided 1.5 million USD for humanitarian aid and 10 million USD worth food aid, he stated.

Ambassador Seokhee disclosed that activities are underway to provide additional humanitarian support and restart work on various development projects that have been disrupted.

“We are considering other contributions to Ethiopia. The first one is to facilitate the ongoing development projects in the northern part of this country, and the other one is providing other assistances to Ethiopia.”

Ambassador further revealed that Republic of Korea plans to provide over 8 million USD food and humanitarian aid to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Ethiopia Receives Over 110,000 Refugees from Sudan, Somalia this Yr Alone: RRS

Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS) disclosed that Ethiopia has received more than 110,000 refugees this year alone from neighboring Sudan and Somalia.

The service added that the construction of new refugee shelters has been started in Matema, Amhara region and Kumruq, Benshangul-Gumuz region, to provide complete services for those refugees.

Ethiopia is one of the largest refugee host countries worldwide, it was indicated.

Moreover, the country has provided protection to refugees and asylum seekers from some 26 countries, predominantly from neighboring countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia and among many others.

This history goes back to thousands of years when Ethiopia has had a well-known history in providing protection and hosting refugees since the seventh century by receiving the followers of the Prophet Muhammad.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Deputy Director General of RRS, Mulualem Desta said that Ethiopia is known for providing protection to refugees who enter its territory.

As home to Africa’s largest refugee population, Ethiopia hosts more than one million refugees who have fled from various countries, the deputy director general indicated.

This year alone, Ethiopia has received more than 110,000 refugees from Somalia and Sudan displaced by conflict, he said, adding the country is providing the necessary humanitarian support in accordance with international principles.

“From Somaliland in the lower Dolo Ado region and following the current conflict in Sudan, we are hosting more than 110,000 refugees who have fled to Ethiopia in order to seek protection. Including the newcomers, it means that we are hosting over one million refugees. As a country, our door is open and we are receiving refugees who come to get protection from Ethiopia.”

According to Mulualem, following the ongoing conflict in Sudan, particular activities are being intensified in coordination with the stakeholders in Metama, Amhara region, Kumruq area, Benshangul-Gumuz region as well as Gambella region.

He explained of the total 30 refugees who have arrived in Metema town, we are hosting 6, 483 foreign refugees who have applied for asylum and protection.

The director further stated that activities have been started to build shelters on 57 hectares of land in Matema to provide complete services to refugees.

Due to the conflict in Somaliland, a new shelter has been built on the 400 hectares of land provided by the Somali region in Boa district of Dolo Zone which has thus far hosted more than 20,000 refugees.

He added that the international community, including the United Nations aid organizations has made good contribution in supporting refugees. However, the assistance is not quite adequate and has not been as expected, he pointed out.

Therefore, he called on international donors to maximize and strengthen their support to the refugees.

He also mentioned that Ethiopia does not only provide protection to refugees but also implements sustainable life improvement projects centered on refugees and host communities by enacting a progressive law.

For instance, he mentioned that in coordination with partners, successful development works have been carried out to ensure sustainable development benefits for refugees in the Somali region of Dolo Ado zone.

The deputy director general finally stated to strengthen such activities in order to alleviate the impact of refugees on the environment and on the receiving communities.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Capricorn Foundation concludes Food Waste Challenge phase two applications

The Capricorn Foundation has announced the successful conclusion of entries for phase two of its Food Waste Challenge (FWC).

In line with its vision to be Connectors of Positive Change, the foundation previously called for innovative solutions that can create or expand self-sufficient social enterprises (businesses) to address the issue of food waste in Namibia and create employment for Namibians when it officially launched the challenge in April 2023.

In a press release on Thursday, Rikus Grobler, the manager of the Capricorn Group’s Innovation and Challenge Project, stated that the FWC was based on an open innovation platform, offering a cash prize of N.dollars 100 000 from the Capricorn Foundation, as well as a branding refresh and marketing package worth N.dollars 50 000 from Synergi Marketing. Business Box Windhoek and the Gondwana Care Trust were also project partners.

The Capricorn Foundation sought ideas that would use social entrepreneurship to radically reduce food waste, while also creating employment opportunities, with the result of new possibilities in addressing the most vulnerable people’s basic need for food security, while positively impacting society to improve the quality of life for many Namibians.

“We are excited to announce that we have received 277 registrations for the challenge and that 152 submissions were formally entered,” Grobler said.

He stated that the majority of the entries came from Namibia and Botswana, and that many were from students and young adults with diverse ideas, some of which focused on technological solutions, using food waste as compost to grow and produce other value-added products and animal feeds, collecting and distributing food, raising food waste awareness, and others on specific communities and areas.

“The Capricorn Foundation verified that they are now busy with round one evaluations conducted by seven internal Capricorn group judges to get to the top five entries or semi-finalists, which will be announced on 07 June 2023,” he said.

The five semi-finalists will then be coached and mentored by Business Box from 08 to 16 June 2023 to prepare and polish their business pitches for the final round titled “The Eagles Den” on 22 June 2023, where they will present their business proposals to the judging panel in a live environment, he said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

De Klerk to appear before South African court on extradition

Namibian lawyer Marén de Klerk, who is implicated in the Fishrot scandal, will appear in the Paarl Magistrate’s Court in South Africa on Friday for an extradition inquiry.

He was arrested on Thursday by South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) and the South African Police Services (SAPS).

On Thursday, Namibian Police Force (NamPol) spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, informed Nampa that De Klerk is wanted by the Namibian government on charges of corruption, fraud, theft, and money laundering. He stands accused of using his trust account to distribute unlawfully obtained funds to various accounts in the Fishrot corruption case involving Namibia’s former fisheries minister, Bernhardt Esau.

“De Klerk was arrested today (Thursday) in Paarl, Western Cape. The arrest was carried out by SAPS and the Hawks, also known as the Priority Crime Investigation. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow in Paarl for the extradition inquiry,” she said.

In 2022, the Paarl Magistrate’s Court issued an arrest warrant for De Klerk, which was followed by the publication of a red notice by Interpol, the international police organisation.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency