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Ethiopia’s state of emergency could destabilise the Horn of Africa

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn sent shock waves through the region when he abruptly tendered his resignation.

Desalegn said that he had made the decision to facilitate efforts towards political reforms which started with the release of political prisoners. But rather than pursue a reform agenda, the Ethiopian government followed his announcement by declaring a state of emergency. This not only jeopardises the regime’s apparent intent to institute democratic reforms, it also pits citizens against the security forces. And it’s already led to more violence, not stability.

The state of emergency is being defied in a number of regions. Citizens have protested in Gondar, which is in the opposition Amhara region, as well as the opposition stronghold of Nekemte which is in Oromia. Much of the Oromia region is also defying the emergency measures.

As a result, the regime has targeted the Oromia region, and its protesting youths who are collectively known as Qeerro in the Oromo language.

Despite the release of thousands of political prisoners and talk of reforms, the political climate remains more uncertain than ever. It’s now feared that any government measures to suppress ensuing chaos could result in more violence, and deaths.

Instability in Ethiopia could have repercussions across the region. Unrest in the country could have a domino effect in what is an already volatile part of the continent. It could also affect regional peace efforts because instability in one corner of the Horn of Africa could spread and destabilise the entire region. This is especially the case because Ethiopia is home to so many cross border communities.

Implications for the region
Ethiopia is influential in the region and across the continent. It is the second most populous country in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It also hosts the African Union’s headquarters in its capital, Addis Ababa.

But its standing has been diminished by the political turmoil of the last few years when two of its largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara both started demanding political and economic equality. The ruling coalition’s responses to these demands has highlighted the fact that it isn’t committed to democratisation.

The risks for the region are significant. Unless the regime acts on political reforms to entrench democracy, equal distribution of resources and freedom of the press, Ethiopia – with more than 100 million citizens – could emerge as the largest politically unstable nation in an already volatile region.

An unstable Ethiopia could also affect peace efforts in neighbouring countries. For example, it’s role as a long standing mediator in the South Sudanese peace talks could suffer a setback.

And its army is also the only peacekeeping force in Abiye, an oil rich region that has been at the centre of the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan since 2011.

In addition, Ethiopia is second only to Bangladesh in the number of its troops involved in international peacekeeping. Across its South Eastern borders, it also maintains thousands of troops inside Somalia.

And although its role in Somalia has drawn criticism Ethiopia remains a critical ally to the US’s counter terrorism strategy in the region. Instability could also create a power vacuum that could affect the US-led anti-terror strategy.

Ultimately, an internal crisis in Ethiopia will affect the power balance with its arch rival Eritrea. After the Ethiopia-Eritrea war which ended in 2000, the two countries have remained engaged in a proxy war by supporting each others’ political opposition groups.

Cross-border communities
Most African states share cross-border societies. The Horn of Africa is no different. The Oromo for instance are a majority ethnic group in Ethiopia and also a minority in Kenya. The Nuer are South Sudan’s second largest ethnic group and also a minority in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region.

There are also Somalis in Ethiopia. They m

Genel Energy may drill OIL in Somaliland

Genel Energy may drill OIL in Somaliland ,
Meanwhile, miner prepares $4bn mining venture in Zimbabwe and South Africa’s Naspers plans to sell $10.6bn worth of shares in Tencent

 

A drilling rig in the Miran block in Iraqi Kurdistan co-owned by Genel Energy and Heritage Oil. Genel may start drilling in Somaliland next year, it said. Sebastian Meye/Corbis
Kurdistan-focused Genel Energy might start drilling in Somaliland next year, chief executive Murat Ozgul said on Thursday, as the group reported 2017 results broadly in line with expectations.

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“For the long term, I really like [our] Somaliland exploration assets. It’s giving me a sense of Kurdistan 15 years ago,” Mr Ozgul said. “In 2019 we may be [starting] the drilling activities,” Reuters reported.

Chief financial officer Esa Ikaheimonen said Genel will focus spending money from its $162 million cash pile on its existing assets in Kurdistan but added: “You might see us finding opportunities … somewhere outside Kurdistan.”

The news comes as Karo Resources, a company linked to mining entrepreneur Loucas Pouroulis, said it will spend $4.2 billion on a Zimbabwean platinum project in the first big investment since President Robert Mugabe’s ousting in November, according to Bloomberg.

The deal is the largest to date in Zimbabwe’s mining industry, Mines Minister Winston Chitando said. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared the “country open for business” as he seeks to revive the economy and attract investment.

“It is not business as usual anymore,” the president said on Thursday. “Things have to change.

Karo’s platinum project will start up in 2020 and produce 1.4 million ounces a year of platinum-group metals at full output, potentially making it the country’s top producer by 2023, Chitando said. Zimbabwe has the second-biggest reserves of the metals after South Africa.

The project will also include a 600 megawatt power plant and coal-mining operations to feed it.

Mr Pouroulis has a long history in southern African mining. He set up South African platinum-mining ventures Lefkochrysos, which means “white gold” in Greek, and Eland Platinum. Eland was sold to Xstrata in 2007 for the equivalent of $1.1bn. His son Phoevos met Mnangagwa in the president’s office in January.

Meanwhile South Africa’s Naspers plans to sell $10.6bn worth of shares in Tencent, equivalent to 2 per cent of the technology giant’s issued stock, to fund investments in other parts of its business.

 

The sale of 190 million shares will cut the stake held by Naspers to 31.2 per cent, the Cape Town-based company said on Thursday. It’s the first time Naspers has reduced its holdings in Tencent since investing in the company in 2011.

“The funds will be used to reinforce Naspers’ balance sheet and will be invested over time to accelerate the growth of our classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally and to pursue other exciting growth opportunities when they arise,” Naspers said.

Naspers chief executive Bob Van Dijk has been trying to reduce the gap between its stake in Tencent and the value of Africa’s largest company.

Naspers gained 1.7 per cent by 11:04am in Johannesburg, while Tencent declined 5 per cent in Hong Kong.

10 important thing you need to know about the agreement between UAE and somaliland

Here are ten important things you need to know about the agreement.

The Government of the Republic of Somaliland has leased an undisclosed amount of land to the UAE in the northern part of Berbera city – close to the shores of the Gulf of Aden. The UAE will build their own port for the military base. All military equipment to arrive through the their port will be exempt from taxes.
The UAE’s military will have full access to Berbera International Airport.
The lease agreement between both countries is valid for 25 years – and will come into full effect when both governments officially sign the agreement. After 25 years, the military base and all investments made by the UAE will be taken over by the Government of the Republic of Somaliland.
The military base can not be used by any other country except the UAE and can not be sub-leased by either the Government of the Republic of Somaliland or the Government of the United Arab Emirates. The agreement also states that the military base can not be used for any other purpose outside of the agreement.
The UAE will implement the following projects in Somaliland: a modern highway between Berbera and the border town of Wajaale, a modern renovation of Berbera International Airport for civillian and cargo flights, and numerous social development projects (Education, Health, Energy & Water) for the citizens of Somaliland.
The UAE will provide job opportunities for Somaliland’s citizens during the 25-year stay. The UAE will also ease travel barriers for Somaliland’s citizens.
The UAE will provide full cooperation with the Republic Somaliland on matters relating to Somaliland’s national security. This includes: cooperation on protecting Somaliland’s waters from illegal activities at sea (piracy, waste dumping etc).
The UAE pledges to the respect the rights and independence of Somaliland’s citizens and promises to not conduct any activities that will put Somaliland’s national security at risk. The UAE also will also be fully responsible for preserving and protecting the current equipment and construction of Berbera International Airport.
The Government of the Republic of Somaliland is not responsible for any natural disaster that might affect the implementation and/or activities of the military base. In the event of a natural disaster, both governments will jointly provide necessary relief efforts.
In the event of a dispute, both governments will be given 30 days to resolve the dispute. If the dispute is not resolved within 30 days, the dispute will be arbitrated by the London Court International Arbitration (LCIA). Both Governments also have the absolute right seek a dissolution agreement. If one side does not want to dissolve the agreement, the case will be heard by the London Court of International Arbitration.