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Sunday, March 27, 2016

(Reuters) - An Ethiopian state body that has been involved in leasing tracts of land for commercial farming has suspended the issuance of new licences until it completes a review because of scant progress in developing areas leased so far, an official said.
The Horn of Africa country in 2011 allocated 3.6 million hectares of land, close to the size of Switzerland, for firms seeking to invest in agriculture, mostly around its western Gambela and Benishangul Gumuz regions.
More than 2.43 million hectares has been leased to nearly 5,700 domestic and foreign firms at 20 Ethiopian birr ($0.90) per hectare on average, said Daniel Zenebe, spokesman for the Agriculture Investment and Land Administration Agency.
But investors have only developed 30 percent of the land leased. "There is a need for a review on where it has gone wrong. The suspension is indefinite," he said.
For now, the suspension affects the Agriculture Investment and Land Administration Agency, which has leased 476,000 hectares since it was set up in 2013, he said.
But he added that regional authorities, which were responsible for leasing 1.95 million hectares, were expected to suspend such activity soon.
Addis Ababa said leasing land aimed to introduce modern technology and new farming techniques. But the programme has attracted criticism from rights groups, saying it often hurt the environment or led to forced resettlemment of some locals.

    "The policy's aim is to boost production, foster the transfer of technology, as well as increase foreign currency earnings from exports," Daniel said. "But we clearly have an execution problem."
Read more at Reuters
Bekele Bulado (PhD), photo from HU
Dr. Bekele Bulado former Vice President for Business and Development, HU, was given warm farewell March 19, 2016 following his assignment as CEO for the Ethiopian Trading Businesses Corporation.
At an event held at Haile Resort Hawassa the University President, Vice Presidents, Directors and officers at various capacities attended. Prof. Yosef Mamo, HU President, counted the successful contributions of Dr. Bekele from the days of his leadership as Vice President for Administration and Business Development before his departure for PhD study. Various speakers like Mr. Ayano Beriso, Vice President for Administration & Student Services, Prof. Fikere Dessalegn, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Sheleme Beyene – former Vice President for Academic and Research Affairs and and W/ro Almaz Kebede, Office Assistant at Presidents’ Office and the former Office Assistant of Dr. Bekele, Prof. Etana Debela, Colleague and former Head of School of Veterinary Medicine has mentioned the personal and professional qualities of Dr. Bekele. Among pints mentioned frequently were; Dr. Bekele’s commitment for family, ever-cute dressing, approachability and simplicity, firm stand in decision making process, rich experiences & expertise, wider view that integrate international & national thinking to local /institutional interests.
Dr. Bekele also recounted that he is thankful to God that he started his career at Ethiopian Airlines and worked in Banking Industry, Beverage Industry, Regional Bureaus, Academic Institutions as well as other companies and in all he left with precious memories plus warm farewell and he still remains in touch with his former colleagues as a family member. He also added, he will just move physically from Hawassa otherwise remains in touch with the University and the academic community in research, graduate students advising and any commitment that can be handled in weekends and holidays. Prof. Yosef presented golden necklace which was prepared by the colleagues and Haile Resort also presented a big book which documents the Biography of the great Haile Gebresilasie, signed by himself, and a bottle of Double Black Label Whisky to Dr. Bekele’s ceremony. The waiting staff of the Resort also for the first time in its history prepared a special cake on which HU logo has been beautifully encrypted in honor of this key Officer and customer.
The event was concluded with warm spirits and wishing all the best to Dr. Bekele & family at their new assignment as well as all attendants to ever push forward on the legendary achievements Dr. Bekele and colleagues have laid foundation for.

በዳዊት በቀለ

The Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) has been deliberating an important high level international conference in the Eritrean capital, Asmara for last several days.
Kala Betana Hotesso, chairman of SNLF, Photo from Gadaa.net
PAFD, founded and inaugurated on 23 October, 2015 in Oslo, Norway, is comprised of five armed national liberation movements – Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF), Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM), Gambela People’s Liberation Movement (GPLM), all of whom are engaged in national liberation struggles against the Addis Ababa regime in Ethiopia.
The conference, being convened and participated by all founding members of PAFD, is also attended by various dignitaries, including ambassadors, government representatives and high profile eminent persons. The Ogaden News Agency has confirmed that the primary objective of the meeting is to create a General Council, an Executive Committee, and comprehensive strategy and plan of action for the Alliance.
The leaderships of the founding fronts – Admiral Mohamed O. Osman, chairman of ONLF; Daud Ibsa, chairman of OLF; Betana Hotesso, chairman of SNLF; Abdulwahab Mahdi, chairman of BPLM; and Okello Okidi, chairman of GPLM, all converged at the strategically located Horn of Africa country to lead and preside over the Alliance’s efforts to create an effective, efficient, cohesive and objective framework for the grand movement.