US to provide more than USD 533 mln in aid

The United States will give more than USD 533 million in humanitarian aid for victims of conflicts and drought in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and the West and Central African countries bordering Lake Chad, Unites States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.

Secretary Tillerson made the announcement at a speech in Virginia before departing for a week-long trip to several African countries. He also said the United States supported the creation of a development finance institution for Africa.

Tillerson contrasted the United States’ work on the African continent, which he said promoted “sustainable growth,” with that of China, which recently pledged USD 124 billion for its Silk Road plan to expand links between Asia, Africa, Europe and other places. Tillerson said China’s investment in Africa “encouraged dependency”.

“Chinese investment does have the potential to address Africa’s infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few, if any, jobs in most countries,” Tillerson said. (Reuters)

New roadmap on how to expand wind energy launched in Ethiopia

The Government of Ethiopia in collaboration with the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has published a new roadmap for the development of wind farms.

The roadmap will enable the mobilization of private investments much needed in the area more realistic.

The roadmap covers range of issues including site selection, grid and bankable data to power sales, financing, procurement policies as well as operation and maintenance.

Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Seleshi Bekele said the Government of Ethiopia is initiating a series of actions towards transforming the power sector regulatory framework to involve private sector.

“The provision of adequate power supply, creation of a more resilient power system through diversification of the generation mix, regional power system integration and power trade as well as scaling up access of electricity to all,” he said.

According to Seleshi, there is a great need for concerted efforts to develop robust institutional, regulatory and legal frameworks, to achieve an attractive business environment. (ENA)

Donors agree measures to prevent famine in Somalia in 2018

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, the United Kingdom (UK) and OCHA convened an event in London on Tuesday to draw urgent attention to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and the need for a swift and substantial response.

The event was co-chaired by ERC Mark Lowcock and the Permanent Secretary for International Development (DFID), Mr. Matthew Rycroft. The event was attended by 31 Member States, UN Agencies, international organizations and non-governmental organizations committed to ensuring support for the humanitarian situation in Somalia for 2018.

Participants applauded the collective Somali and international efforts to massively scale up humanitarian assistance in 2017 in response to the severe drought. As a result, we were successful in averting famine and saving many thousands of lives. However, the job is not yet done.

The country continues to suffer from one of the worst droughts on record, leading to successive failed harvests, mass loss of livestock, appalling and rising rates of malnutrition. (UNOCHA)

WHO says meningitis kills 28 in South Sudan as infections soar

A meningitis outbreak in South Sudan's former Eastern Equatorial state has claimed 28 lives as new infections reach 107, a World Health Organization (WHO) official revealed on Thursday.

Ramadan Otim, the WHO Technical Officer for Emergency, Preparedness and Response said that meningitis outbreak could claim additional lives if mitigation measures are not rolled out urgently in affected regions like Lyire and Imurok payams in Torit county, Imatong state.

"As of Tuesday, we have registered 28 deaths with 107 more suspected cases in Lyire and Imurok Payams in Torit County, giving a case fatality of 26 percent beyond WHO standard for optimal control," Otim said.

He added that more alerts have been received in the last 24 hours and they were being investigated by the response teams and vetted against the standard case definition for meningitis.

"These conditions thus favor the transmission of epidemic meningitis especially in areas located in the African meningitis belt where Torit lies," Otim said. (Xinhua)

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