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Nile dam row: Ethiopia’s pop stars hit out

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Teddy Afro has posted translations of his lyrics in English, French and Arabic on Facebook to get his message across

Pop stars in Ethiopia have been belting out tunes marking a victory in what is seen as a battle with Egypt over who has rights to the waters of the River Nile.

In June, Ethiopia began filing the mega dam it has been built on the Blue Nile – which could have repercussions for countries downstream.

After this year’s rainy season, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) now has 4.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) in its reservoir, which is enough to test the first two turbines.

Satellite pictures from July showed the dam filling up:

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A large reservoir is beginning to form behind the dam

12 July 2020

Satellite image showing the River Nile from above in northwestern Ethiopia, 12 July

26 June 2020

Satellite image showing the River Nile from above in northwestern Ethiopia, 26 June

Ethiopians have been celebrating online using the hashtag #itsmydam. This has not helped smooth tensions as talks resume between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan about how the dam is to be operated and how much water will be released in future.

Since construction began on the dam nearly a decade ago, negotiations have floundered.

Battle song

Ethiopia’s biggest pop star Teddy Afro has released a song seen as a warning to Egypt that it should learn to share the waters of the River Nile.

Called Demo Le Abbay, meaning “If They Test Us on the Nile” in Amharic, it criticises “Egypt’s shamelessness” – implying that the North African nation can no longer call the tune.

Egypt, which gets 90% of its fresh water from the Nile, has expressed its concerns that the dam could threaten its very existence.

It wants a deal to endorse what it sees as its established rights to 55bcm of water from the Nile a year, but Ethiopia has refused to commit to releasing a specific annual amount from the dam.

More about the mega dam:

Many Ethiopians see Cairo’s position as an attempt to maintain colonial-era agreements, to which Ethiopia was not party, and prevent it from using its own natural resources.

Teddy Afro’s song is a fusion of reggae and a traditional battle song in Amharic, Ethiopia’s most widely spoken language.

But he clearly wants his message to get across to the wider world as he has posted translations of the lyrics in English, French and Arabic on his Facebook page.

Some of them include: “I own the Abbay [Nile] waters” and “I showed graciousness but now patience is running out”.

‘The world can see us’

A less confrontational song, simply called Ethiopia, is by Zerubabbel Molla, a young and upcoming singer-songwriter.

While the dam is not directly referenced in his lyrics, images of its construction are included in the video version of the song released at the end of June.

It is upbeat and has lines such as: “The sky is clear now, so that the whole world can see”, suggesting how the dam will push Ethiopia on to the global stage.

Another, suggesting Ethiopia’s time has come, says: “The horse can only bring you to the battlefield. Victory is from above.”

These allude to what Ethiopia hopes to achieve once the mega dam is fully operational, becoming Africa’s biggest hydroelectric plant

It aims to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity upon completion, providing power to tens of millions of its citizens who are without regular electric connections.

Ethiopia also hopes to meet the electric demands of its economy – one of the fast-growing on the continent.

In several other recently released singles, a sense of accomplishment is an overriding sentiment.

Drumming up donations

For instance Mekdes Abebe and Tadesse Mekete’s Abay – Ye Titbit Qal, meaning “Nile – Word of Prophesy” in Amharic, declares that “a new day has begun” and calls for people to put their hands in their pockets to help finish the construction of the dam.

Many of these songs are now favourites with radio stations in the capital, Addis Ababa – getting regular airtime.

And Teddy Afro’s song has really created a buzz on social media with close to a million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release, despite it not having an official video.

Explore the Nile with 360 video

a 360-degree version of the Damming the Nile VR series from BBC News

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Alastair Leithead and his team travelled in 2018 from the Blue Nile’s source to the sea – through Ethiopia and Sudan into Egypt.

This excitement does seem to have encouraged the public to increase their financial support for the dam’s construction.

According to the government, in less than a month after the filling of the reservoir began, more than 116m birr ($3.2m; £2.4m) was collected from the public – far more than in previous months.

Ethiopia is financing the construction of the $4bn dam through donations and government bonds.

While the government is no doubt happy with these musicians contributing to the national fervour, they are not normally known for their pro-government views.

Musicians have previously helped drum up support for the project – especially in the initial stages.

With Ethiopia aiming to make the dam fully operational in the next three years and with the negotiations grinding on, you can expect more compositions to hit the airwaves extolling Ethiopian pride in its mega dam and looking forward to the country’s renaissance.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Number of people in employment in UK fell unexpectedly in March | Business and Economy News

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The drop in the number of employees on payrolls indicates scarring of the economy after three COVID lockdowns.

The U.K. labor market weakened unexpectedly, with company payrolls falling for the first time in four months and more people dropping out of the workforce.

The number of employees on payrolls fell 56,000 in March, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday. The jobless rate fell to 4.9% in the quarter through February because 80,000 people became economically inactive, indicating they stopped looking for work.

The figures indicate scarring to the economy from three successive coronavirus lockdowns that forced most shops, restaurants and entertainment venues to close. Those segments all suffered big declines in payrolled employment despite Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s effort to protect jobs with furlough payments, leaving overall employment about 800,000 below where it was before the pandemic struck.

“The bigger story is the continued crisis for young people,” said Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies. “Youth long-term unemployment has hit a five-year high this morning, while youth employment is still falling even as it starts to rise for every other age group.”

This month’s figures confound recent surveys suggesting that companies restarted hiring in the weeks before lockdown loosened. The ONS said the number of job vacancies jumped 16% in March alone to 650,000, and that may feed through to higher employment in the coming months. Sectors including hospitality, retail and the arts had big increases.

“The jobs market has been broadly stable in recent months after the major shock of last spring,” said Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS. “With the prospect of businesses reopening, there was a marked rise in job vacancies in March, especially in sectors such as hospitality.”

Unemployment claims rose 10,100 in March after a revised increase of 67,300 the previous month. Basic earnings growth, which has been inflated by lower-paying jobs dropping out of the labor market, was 4.4% in the quarter through February compared with 4.3% in the previous three-month period.

The Treasury and Bank of England expect a rapid recovery from the worst recession in three centuries starting in the middle of the year when most lockdown rules are set to lapse. Shops and restaurants started opening earlier this month.

Employment fell by 73,000 in the quarter thorough February, less than half the decline of 145,000 that had been anticipated by economists. At the end of February, 4.65 million workers were on furlough, down from a peak of 8.8 million at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

The OBR expects the jobless rate to peak at 6.5% in the fourth quarter, or about 2.2 million people. That’s less than previously estimated and significantly below the peak of recessions in previous decades.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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‘Uninformed’ CSOs Frustrating EACOP Project Financing – Oil and Gas Expert

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Denis Kakembo, the Managing Partner and leader of Corporate and Tax Practice at Cristal Advocates, has revealed that the continuous uninformed statements uttered by a section of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are frustrating the financing of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

Cristal Advocates is a corporate and commercial law firm offering full scale legal services with an emphasis on tax, energy, infrastructure and business support.

On Sunday April 11, the Ugandan government led by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, his Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu and two oil companies; Total E&P Uganda Limited (TEPU) and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) signed four different agreements to pave way for the construction of the USD 3.5bn 1,440 kilometer EACOP from Hoima (Uganda) to Tanga Tanzania.

The agreements include; Host Government Agreement, Intergovernmental Agreement, Shareholders’ Agreement, Tariffs and Transport Agreement, Project Framework Agreement and Several Financing Agreements.

TEPU is the majority shareholder in the deal with 72% followed by Uganda with 15%, CNOOC with 8% while Tanzania have 5%. The project is however expected to be funded with borrowing from different banks, which have opted out of the deal.

In a March 18th press release issueed by Inclusive Development International, banks provided statements that they will not support the construction of EACOP, after an open letter endorsed by 263 organizations from around the world was sent to 25 banks considered most likely to be approached for financing.

Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the ACME media training on oil and gas in Kampala on Monday, Kakembo wondered why CSOs have chosen to “just make noise without reading and understanding what’s on ground.”

“The perception people have towards oil and gas sector is old fashioned. Its true in the past oil companies didn’t behave well and this was in so many countries where they operated and people did not benefit so there is that historical bias which is still being held by people to date,” he said.

Adding: “The oil and gas industry has tremendously transformed over the period of time there is a lot of honor for an international law level perspective to ensure that people benefit and protect the environment and there are a lot of instruments that can be used to achieve this but these instruments can only be used when the CSOs understand and appreciate what they are.”

CSOs, he said, sometimes approach these issues on a perspective of an activist mind, “but not from a mindset of an informed person on what is taking place and yet if they understand fully what is taking place, they can serve their people in terms of articulating their concerns.”

“I would urge CSOs to take time, dig in and take more information which is readily available to boost and build their capacities.”

“Whenever there is an economic activity or project taking place, you would expect that people will be affected but there are other ways of mitigating that like; is the process transparent, are people being compensated, these are not very difficult issues, which can be addressed,” he said.

The said EACOP project is expected to kick off in six months’ time which Kakembo noted will be the final kickoff of each and everything including the declaration of Final Investment Decision (FID) by oil companies.

The post ‘Uninformed’ CSOs Frustrating EACOP Project Financing – Oil and Gas Expert first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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IAE issues ‘dire warning’ as CO2 emissions set to soar in 2021 | Climate News

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The IAE predicts that carbon dioxide emissions could rise to 33 billion tonnes in 2021 – the second largest rise in emissions ever.

Global carbon emissions are set to jump by five percent marking the largest single increase in more than a decade as the economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic is “anything but sustainable” for the climate.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published on Tuesday its annual Global Energy Review predicting that carbon dioxide emissions would rise to 33 billion tonnes this year, up 1.5 billion tonnes from 2020 levels.

“This is a dire warning that the economic recovery from the COVID crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

Birol called the Leaders Summit on Climate to be hosted by US President Joe Biden on Thursday and Friday a critical moment for nations to pledge immediate actions before the UN Climate Change Conference set for November in Glasgow.

“Unless governments around the world move rapidly to start cutting emissions, we are likely to face an even worse situation in 2022,” said Birol.

In early March, the IEA’s chief stressed that the level of carbon emissions in December was higher than the same month the previous year as economies started reopening following coronavirus lockdowns, a figure that the IEA’s chief said was a “stark warning” to leaders around the world.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries on Monday to back up their commitments to fight climate change with “concrete immediate action”, including making as their “absolute priority” that no more coal power plants will be built.

Last year, when power use dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 5.8 percent to 31.5 billion tonnes, after peaking in 2019 at 33.4 billion tonnes.

The IEA’s annual review analysed the latest national data from around the world, economic growth trends and new energy projects that are set to come into action.

Global energy demand is set to increase by 4.6 percent in 2021, led by developing economies, pushing it above 2019 levels, the report said.

Demand for all fossil fuels is on course to grow in 2021, with both coal and gas set to rise above 2019 levels.

The expected rise in coal use dwarves that of renewables by almost 60 percent, despite accelerating demand for solar, wind and hydro power. More than 80 percent of the projected growth in coal demand in 2021 is set to come from Asia, led by China.

Coal use in the US and the European Union is also on course to increase but will remain well below pre-crisis levels, the IEA said.

The IEA expects both solar and wind to post their largest annual rises ever, at around 17 percent.

It expects renewables will provide 30 percent of electricity generation worldwide in 2021, their biggest share ever and up from less than 27 percent in 2019.

China is expected to account for almost half of that increase.

While demand for oil is rebounding strongly, the IEA expects it to stay below the pre-pandemic level as the aviation sector struggles to recover owing to a slow and patchy vaccine rollout.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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