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Ethiopian national bank blames contraband
trade for decreased gold supply, revenue

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) said on Monday that contraband trade is hurting the country’s gold supply and revenue from the sector.

NBE Governor Teklewolde Atnafu said the central bank will soon resume an incentive suspended for gold suppliers to combat contraband traders.

The central bank had been buying gold at prices five percent higher than those at the London metal exchange, leading to an annual loss of some 80 million to 100 million Ethiopian Birr (about 3 million to 3.7 million U.S. dollars).

Cognizant of the sector’s significance for the country, particularly in creating employment opportunities, the bank had been buying with the higher rate.

However, due to the incentive’s “unprofitable” nature, the bank suspended the incentive package in 2011.

The central bank said on Monday that in order to reduce the impact of the contraband trade, it will once again make the incentive package effective.

It has also announced that the minimum amount of gold that the bank buys from gold suppliers will be reduced to 50 grams from the previous 150 grams.



Diarrhea outbreak infects 200 people in Ethiopia’s second largest city

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua)-- An Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) disease in Ethiopia’s second largest city Dire Dawa, 446 km east of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa has infected 200 people since September, an Ethiopian official said on Monday.

Speaking to journalists, Muluken Argaw, Dire Dawa city Health Bureau chief, said only 13 of the 200 affected people are currently in hospital, with the rest discharged to home after receiving health treatment.

“Health extension workers have given health advices on how to avoid AWD to 39,000 households and 20,000 students in the city,” he said, adding that the health bureau is also distributing water purification tablets and has established mobile clinics to treat diarrhea patients.

Argaw cited lack of proper waste disposal means, unsanitary toilet uses and failure to properly cook vegetable foods as reasons behind the diarrhea outbreak.

Several major cities in Ethiopia including Addis Ababa, Mekelle and Bahir Dar have recorded AWD outbreaks that infected thousands earlier this year, exacerbated by unsanitary health practices and Ethiopia’s rainy season which stretches from late June until September.

The Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), regional and cities health bureaus have also been combating the diarrhea outbreak by treating unhygienic conditions in factories and agricultural areas.

FMoH is also currently engaged in educational programs on the cause of AWD and ways to prevent and treat it.  


Ethiopia awards medical team for helping terror victims in Somalia

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia on Monday awarded its four-surgeon medical team for their service in helping terror victims in Somalia.

The Ethiopian team spent 10 days in neighboring Somalia to help victims of the worst terror attack in Mogadishu’s history.

At least 358 people were killed and many others wounded in the Oct. 14 attack.

Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu said the team’s humanitarian service “signifies a pan-African solidarity and people-to-people relationship in action.”

In addition to dispatching the medical team, Ethiopia has also provided 8 tons of medical supplies to Somalia.



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