Ethiopia’s Nile dam project signals its intention to become an African power

The 4×4 roars off, kicking up a cloud of dust. With one hand on the wheel, the other stifling a yawn, Semegnew Bekele could do this trip with his eyes shut. A construction engineer, he has driven down this track at every hour of the day or night over the past three years. “Ordinary people are building an extraordinary project,” he says. He is referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam (Gerd), in the north-west corner of the country close to the border with Sudan. Four hours away from the town of Assosa more than 8,500 workers and engineers are labouring on a massive project to harness the waters of the Blue Nile.

The countdown has already started for Bekele: he has three years left to complete this concrete colossus. “I don’t feel like a special person,” he says, “just an engineer leading the project.” True enough, the driving force behind the dam is former prime minister Meles Zenawi, who ran the country for more than two decades. He was obsessed with the country’s rebirth. The structure will be built, whatever the cost, he asserted, upon laying the first stone in April 2011. He died the following year. Continue reading

Africa to deploy joint intervention force

When African heads of state and government gathered last week in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, they expected to discuss agriculture and food security. Instead, talks at the 23rd African Union (AU) summit focused on counter-terrorism.

The increasing number of attacks by extremists on the continent is causing great concern to African leaders.

“Silencing the guns by 2020 is the priority so that populations can cultivate the land,” AU Commission head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said at the 2-day event, which wrapped up on Friday (June 27th). Continue reading

African Union says progressing to military force by end-2015

* Delays have forced African states to request French help

* Official says four of five brigades near readiness

* Rise of Islamists present new challenge to AU

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, June 25 (Reuters) – Africa is making progress towards a regional military force by the end of next year, a senior African Union official said on Wednesday, as local leaders urged less reliance on foreign intervention.

Delays in implementing the African Standby Force (ASF) forced African states to request French intervention to tackle crises last year in Mali and Central African Republic. Continue reading

The EU is taking over defence policy by stealth

The European Common Security and Defence Policy is an attempt to protect Continental industrial interests from US competition

The UK government likes to pretend that EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is harmless inter-government cooperation, which has no access to money, or legal sanctions, and is therefore a federalist paper tiger. These draft European Council Conclusions give the lie to that. Any Conservative prime minister should be wholly opposed to what these Conclusions so clearly intend. To sign the UK up to this programme is not just another step towards a Euro-Army, which has always been a dream of the federalist nations like Germany, but another blow to the UK’s already beleaguered defence industries, and another nail in the coffin of Nato, in order that Continental defence industries should not be exposed to US competition. Continue reading

Ethiopia: Ukraine Begins Delivery of 200 Battle Tanks to Ethiopia

This seems to be perfect timing as some of the leadership in Egypt have called for a military strike on Ethiopia over the dam that they’re planning to build, which would restrict flow from the Nile.

Addis Ababa — Ukraine’s state-controlled arms exporter, Ukrspecexport SC, has begun delivering the upgraded T-72 main battle tanks and related parts to the Ethiopian military.

According to local sources gathered by Sudan Tribune, the Ethiopian military has taken delivery of a first group of 16 T-72 Tanks which recently arrived at Djibouti port. Continue reading

China And Japan Currency Swap: Nail In US Dollar’s Coffin

On 25 December 2011, the government of Peoples Republic of China and Japan unveiled plans to promote direct exchange of their currencies. This agreement will allow firms to convert the Chinese and Japanese currencies directly into each other, thus negating the need to buy dollars. This deal between China and Japan followed agreements between China and numerous countries to trade outside the sphere of the US dollar. A few weeks earlier, China also announced a 70 billion Yuan ($11 billion) currency swap agreement with Thailand.

After visiting China, the Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda went on to India and signed another currency swap agreement with the government of India. These currency agreements in Asia came in a year when the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) were seeking to deepen ways to strengthen their firewall to protect their economies from the continued devaluation of the US dollar. In the year of the ‘Eurozone crisis’ when the future of the EURO as a viable currency was fraught with uncertainty, many states were reconsidering holding their reserves in the US dollar.

Continue reading article: China And Japan Currency Swap: Nail In US Dollar’s Coffin (Eurasia Review)