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  • "Yifter the Shifter" passes away

    Miruts Yifter, one of the greatest long distance runners of all time, has died at the age of 72 in Toronto, Canada on Thursday, December 22, 2016.

    The Ethiopian was a double gold medallist at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, winning both the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters in the Russian capital. Often referred to as “Yifter the Shifter”, he died from respiratory problems in Toronto.

    He first came to international prominence at the Munich Olympics of 1972 when he won bronze medal in the 10,000 meters race.

    Miruts would have been one of the favorites for gold four years later – in both 5,000 and 10,000 – had his country not been one of 29 nations to boycott the Montreal Games in protest at the IOC's refusal to ban New Zealand.

    Many countries, mainly African countries, were unhappy that New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team had toured apartheid South Africa in 1976.

    Despite this setback, Miruts continued to be a dominant force in athletics, enjoying victories over both his main distances at the World Cup meetings of 1977 and 1979.

    He inspired a generation of African runners, including the great Haile Gebreselassie, who admitted: "Miruts has been everything to me and my athletics career.

    "When I started running, I just wanted to be like him. He is the reason for who I'm now and for what I have achieved.

    "For me, he is the best athlete Ethiopia ever had, after the great Abebe Bikila."

    Miruts is a double Olympic gold medalist, an Ethiopian national icon and one of the finest athletes to grace the running track. The effects of having suffered a collapsed lung, compounded by his old age led to his death.

    Miruts had been hospitalized for nearly a year, but was recently said to have been making progress in his recovery effort. But after having fought admirably, exhibiting the same resistance and endurance that made him a household name in international sports back in the seventies and eighties, Miruts has succumbed to illness.

     

    His numerous accolades, unforgivable punishing running style and longevity, his ability to maintain world class fitness for so long has earned him recognition as one of the greatest athletes to have graced the Olympic track venue.

    In Ethiopia, he was idolized, a hero of the people. His heroics inspired a generation of runners to follow in his footsteps. He contributed the lion’s share to establishing the Ethiopian long distance running dynasty that has made athletes from the country among the most feared competitors in the world. The likes of Haile and Derartu Tulu have previously named Miruts Yifter as their inspiration and guiding light.

    At Coamo Puerto Rico on February 6, 1977, Miruts ran a World Best for the half-marathon of 1:02:57.

    At the Moscow Olympics, part of the mystery surrounding Miruts was the question of his age, which was reported to be between 33 and 42. Miruts refused to give a definitive answer, telling reporters:

    "Men may steal my chickens; men may steal my sheep. But no man can steal my age."

    Due to his abrupt change in speed when executing his kick to the finish, Miruts acquired the nickname “Yifter the Shifter.”

    In more recent years he had been a team coach at major events but moved to Canada, where he spent his last days.

    Miruts is survived by his wife and seven children.

    Source:Ethiopian Reporter

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  • Sustaining the Nile

    The Nile River System is the lynchpin that holds the North-Eastern part of Africa together for many years. But, this relationship has not always been smooth; rather it oscillated between cooperation and hostilities. Nevertheless, recent concerns regarding the Nile are of a different kind. Recent studies indicate quantity and quality of the Nile is decreasing due to climate change and population pressure. While imbalance between the current investments on water, land, and energy, and their sustainability has increased the complexity of the Nile issue even further, writes Solomon Goshu.

    Will the hydro-political landscape in the Nile Basin be affected by investment projects in land for food, biofuel and cash-crops production undertaken mainly in upstream countries, but also Sudan? Will this trend impact effective cooperation and joint management of the River Nile? How may it affect trans-boundary water interaction in the region? What role could there be for regional bodies?

    Read more at: Ethiopian Reporter

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  • Bole International Airport expansion takes shape

    The Addis Ababa Bole International Airport passenger terminal expansion project is 40 percent completed.

    The Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE) launched the expansion project in January 2015. The project includes the expansion of Terminal 1 and 2 and the construction of a new VIP Terminal.  The expansion project aimed at building a new terminal with a floor area of 74,000sqm. The existing terminal has a floor area of 30,000sqm. The new terminal will have three floors—arrival, departure and ground floor. The expansion of Terminal 2 is being undertaken on the left and right side of the existing Terminal 2. On the right side Terminal 2 will be expanded and connected to Terminal 1 (old terminal) where regional and domestic flight passengers are hosted. The VIP saloon is also located in Terminal 1.

    The new modern VIP Terminal will be built on the far right side of Terminal 2 or next to Terminal 1. A bridge and modern car parking is also part of the giant expansion project under way at a cost of 345 million dollars, a loan funneled by the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank of China).

     

    The new terminal is designed by a renowned Singapore architectural firm CGP while the Chinese construction firm, CCCC, is the contractor. ADPI, a French company, is the consultant of the project.

    The existing main terminal, which was inaugurated in 2003, has a designed capacity of handling 6 million passengers per year. Due to the increasing passenger traffic the terminal is now handling 8.5 million passengers and the airport is congested in peak hours. When the expansion project is completed the airport can handle 22 million passengers, yearly.

    Hailu Lemu, chief engineer of the project, told The Reporter that 40 percent of the expansion project is completed as of December 11. Hailu said 98 percent of the concrete work is completed and the steel structure work is being undertaken. “Forty percent of the steel structure work is completed. We will soon launch the curtain wall work and then start the electro mechanical work,” Hailu said.

    Hailu said that various airport specialized equipment like baggage handling system, fire fighting system, boarding bridges and access control system are being manufactured and assembled in the UK and China. “After completing the curtain wall and roofing work we will start the electro mechanical work,” Hailu told The Reporter.

    The terminal will have a large shopping area, café and restaurants, business class lounges, IT center and offices.

    The expansion project is scheduled for completion for January 2018. Tsegaye Gebreab, deputy head of the expansion project office, told The Reporter that the passenger terminal expansion work is being undertaken in accordance with international airport construction standards. “The terminal can withstand earthquakes and fire accidents to a certain degree. The quality of all the construction materials is inspected. For instance, the building blocks are fire rated in China,” Tsegaye said.

    Wondim Teklu, communication director with EAE, told The Reporter that when completed the terminal will be able to comfortably handle the growing passenger traffic for ten years. Wondim believes that the expansion project will make the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport one of the leading airports in Africa. The passenger traffic is growing at a rate of 22 percent on average. The domestic passenger traffic alone is growing by 22 percent, yearly. “This is directly related to the country’s fast economic growth. The expansion project would augment the growth of the national airline,” Wondim said.

    Currently, EAE is undertaking five airport development projects in the regional towns. The enterprise would soon inaugurate Semera, Jinka, Shire, and Robe airport projects.  “The private airlines engaged in general aviation sector can also benefit from the ongoing airport development projects in the country,” Wondim said.

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  • Ethiopia saves 2.6 billion birr form fertilizer purchase

    • Moroccan company to supply 70 percent of the fertilizer demand

    The Ethiopian Agricultural Business Corporation on Thursday announced that it saved 2.6 billion birr from fertilizer purchase for the 2017 harvest year.

    Briefing local reporters in his office CEO of Ethiopian Agricultural Business Corporation, Kefyalew Berhnau, said that the corporation, which was established a year ago amalgamating five state enterprises, has purchased 936,430,000 tons of fertilizer at a cost of 290 million dollars (6.4 billion birr). Compared to last year’s purchase the corporation saved 119 million dollars (2.6 billion birr). Kefyalew said the cost reduction was achieved by making amendments on the procurement procedure, increasing efficiency in procurement, bank procedures (letter of credit process) and bidding process.

    Kefyalew said previously the government used to buy different fertilizers through agents. However, the Ethiopian Agricultural Business Corporation amended the bid document and allowed fertilizer manufacturers to directly participate in the bid. “This has enabled us to get better or lower prices. We also floated the tender early. We hired transporters through open bid that haul the fertilizer from ports to different parts of the country. So, by allowing producers to participate in the bid and increasing our efficiency we managed to save 119 million dollars. The fuel price decline has also contributed to the cost reduction,” Kefyalew said.

    According to Kefylaew farmers would get the fertilizer with lower prices this year. “Farmers would have 250-300 birr discount per quintal of fertilizer. This is a big amount,” he said.

    Kefyalew pointed out the need to cut down the long supply chain in the fertilizer market to secure the products at lower prices.

    Eighty five percent of the Ethiopian 100 million population depend on farming. Last year the Ethiopian government purchased 852,400,000 tons of fertilizer valued at 385 million dollars. The price does not include transportation, bank and insurance costs.

    This year the Ethiopian Agricultural Business Corporation would buy a total of 1.2 million tons of fertilizer at a cost of 400 million dollars (nine billion birr). The fertilizer demand is on average growing at a rate of 20 percent. Out of the total 1.2 million tons of fertilizer required this year 935,430 tons has been already purchased through an open international tender.

    Urea (350,000 tons), NPs (193,000 tons), NPS Boron (338,000 tons) and NPS Zinc and Boron (54,430 tons) were purchased. The remaining amount will also be purchased once the corporation opened letter of credits.

    Kefyalew told The Reporter that the Moroccan fertilizer giant, OCP, would supply 70 percent of the country’s fertilizer demand. The remaining 30 percent is bought from various international fertilizer producers.

    Global leader in the phosphate industry, OCP Group, has partnered with the Ethiopian government aiming to build a 2.5-billion-dollar fertilizer plant in the eastern part of Ethiopia, near Dire Dawa town. Stretched on 100 acres of land, the plant would have an annual production capacity of 2.6 million tons of fertilizer.   

    Kefyalew said that at the moment two vessels are unloading fertilizer at the Port of Djibouti and the third Vessel carrying fertilizer will soon arrive in Djibouti. He said due to the congestion at Djibouti port the government of Ethiopia is looking at alternative ports. “We are looking at Port Berbera of Somaliland and Port Sudan. Particularly Port Sudan is viable to import fertilizer to the northern part of our country,” Kefyalew said.

    As part of this effort a vessel carrying 50,000 tons of fertilizer will arrive at Port Sudan in the coming few days.

    Kefyalew said that the country would continue importing fertilizer until it builds its own fertilizer plants. “The government is looking at various options. One of the options is attracting foreign fertilizer giants who have interest in investing in partnerships or by themselves. There is also an initiative to build fertilizer factories locally by the government,” Kefyalew said.

     The Ethiopian Chemicals Corporation is tasked with building five fertilizer plants. However, Kefyalew said the main contractor, the Ethiopian Metals and Engineering Corporation, did not advance the project as planned.

    Source:Ethiopian Reporter

     

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