Posts tagged as: austrian

Africa: Kenya’s SGR Tunnel, an Engineering First in the Region

By Allan Olingo

Kenya is set to become the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to have the longest railway tunnel, a 7.14km civil engineering feat on the escarpment between Nairobi and Naivasha.

Engineers from China Road and Bridges Corporation (CRBC), the SGR contractor, are already nine months into the construction of the tunnel, which comprises three sets: a 4.5 kilometre stretch with a buried depth of 108 metres; a 1km one with a buried depth of 46 metres, and another 1.64km stretch.

The engineers at the 4.5km tunnel at Em Bulbul in Kajiado County, south of Nairobi, are using the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM), which involves full-scale excavation.

Initially, it had been thought that the tunnel would be excavated with boring machines but the rock and soil structure couldn’t allow for it.

According to James Karanja, deputy lead consultant project engineer from the China National Abrasives Industry Corporation (CAEC), the tunnel has a clearance width of 6.4 metres and will pass through five fault zones, two of them being active fault zones.

“We are constructing the concrete in 10-metre segments to allow for movement, especially during earthquakes. This ensures that it can withstand such natural forces,” said Mr Karanja.


Its construction will adopt the NATM, which Geoffrey Baraka, a tunnel structural engineer, said that given that the tunnel is a single track tunnel with narrow construction space, provides a tight construction organisation.

“With the NATM, the first step is to do the curved heading excavation and primary support of the tunnel. This excavation is done by drilling holes into the rock face then charging the holes with explosives and then blasting. After this, we do the ventilation before the short firer re-enters,” Mr Baraka said.

Thereafter the soil and rocks are scrapped and then loaded onto trucks and moved out of the tunnel.

Then comes the initial shotcrete manually sprayed on the surface of the tunnel and then ring-I-beams are erected as support to prevent the tunnel from collapsing.

“After that we wield the reinforcement meshes on the hollowed out sections of the tunnel with longitudinal connection steel bars. Then we install the advance small ducts, radial rock bolts and foot anchor bolts, then we inject the grouting,” Mr Baraka said.

The tunnels have also been waterproofed using geotextiles and waterproof sheets on the sidewalls to prevent water from sipping in, but instead to invert and drain out through a duct, which leads out.

Kilian Kimani, the materials engineer at the tunnel, said that these water sheets prevent seepage after the construction, ensuring that the structure remains firm and sound.

“These sheets are placed at an incline on the sidewalls to the water stops, which then goes down the inverted tunnels and is drained out through a dedicated pipe,” he said.

Construction of the tunnel is projected to last 24 of the 42 months projected for all SGR projects and so far they have done one kilometre in the past eight months.

“We have managed to do 350 metres on the entrance at Em Bulbul. We have been slow on this side because it is mainly soil we are dealing with which is more sensitive and difficult to handle. This has seen us do a maximum of two metres a day,” said Mr Karanja.

Step by step

On the exit of the 4.5 kilometre tunnel, the contractor has done 700 metres, with the formation being mostly rock, which they say is easier to blast through and reinforce.

This has seen them do a maximum of four metres daily. With poor air circulation inside the tunnel, they are using an adit to pump in oxygen into the tunnel.

“Inside this tunnel, we have dust and gas caused by drilling, blasting, loading of excavated materials and shotcreting. We also have dangerous fumes from the exhaust gas of the trucks and all the equipment in here. Within the rocks are also poisonous carbon monoxide, carbondioxide which can cause anoxia, if it reduces the density of oxygen to less than 18 per cent. That is why we have to pump in the oxygen from outside through the adit into the tunnel,” Mr Baraka explained.

Safety, security and continence are the major concerns being dealt with at the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR extension. The tunnel will require emergency exits, air ventilation and a 24-hour lighting system and security, especially with the heightened terrorism levels in the country.

These will be installed by the contractor as soon as the tunnel is completed, to provide air ventilation and circulation for the maintenance workers who will be based inside.

“We have already completed the evacuation tunnel, which is right in the middle of the 4.5km main railway tunnel. This will be strictly for use by vehicles to access the tunnel in case of an emergency,” he added.

For lighting, the main tunnel will be connected to electricity from a dedicated line but will also have standby generators as backup in case of emergencies, especially fire.

The tunnel has side walkways, with refuge access in case one needs to take cover as the train approaches, while they are in the tunnel. The refuge access will also house the signal equipment and electronics that will be used by the trains, and rail networks.

“We also have a total of 147 cave-ins (small caves) within the tunnel at 30 metres intervals to allow for these refuge access. They will also be used to hold some air ventilation units to improve the airflow within the tunnel,” Mr Baraka explained.

On the downside, keeping with Chinese cultural traditions said to abhor having women deep underground in such sites, no female workers are allowed inside the tunnel.

High expectations

Currently, Japan has the longest known railway tunnel at 53 kilometres. Seven of the world’s longest railway tunnels are in Asia, with Europe having the other three amongst the top 10.

However, the engineering plans for the section past Naivasha at the Great Rift Valley Lodge are already setting expectations high that something of an engineering feat is in the offing.

Two years ago, engineers had predicted that the SGR contractor would use drilling machines that would bore through the escarpment, bring out the crushed rocks and soil and at the same time cast the concrete shell to support the soil.

By the time the drilling is complete, the casting must have been done and all that is left is building the concrete structure to support the tunnel. This cut and cover method was however abandoned.

Engineers predict that the tunnel project will cost as much as $6 million per kilometre or a total of $42 million to compete with a workforce of more than 100, due to the intensity of the work.

Kenya has one existing tunnel, the 1km stretch at Limuru, which was built in early 1900s by the colonialists using chiselling to make it possible for the line to go through the Rift Valley escarpment.

Best technology

This nevertheless required expertise as the topography of the area is gently hilly, which posed a challenge to the construction of the old railway line.

This made the engineers then to elevate some parts of the railway line and also have a tunnel but most of the railway line in the escarpment meanders along the foot of the hills.

Building a railway tunnel is one of the most demanding engineering jobs, which requires the best technology.

The 50km underground tunnel Euro tunnel that links England with France, is an example of how modern equipment and engineering technologies were used to achieve one of the world’s railway technological feats.

The engineers used tunnel-boring machines to dig, rotating cutters to chip way the soil, which was then carried on a conveyor belt into railroad trucks.

The robotic precision of the engineers also saw hydraulic rams shift the position of the cutter gripper pads holding up the tunnel as it was being excavated, with reinforced concrete supports fitted into the places that had been chipped.

Local NGO Scoops Global Award for Innovation in Environmental Protection

By Athan Tashobya

SaferRwanda, a non-profit organisation focusing on environmental protection through use of household solar systems and efficient cookstoves with reduced emissions, has scooped global award from Energy Globe.

The Energy Globe Award was founded in 1999 by the Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and is regarded as one of the most prestigious environmental awards.

The Energy Globe has recognises the efforts of environmentalists at different levels in Rwanda.

In 2010, the organisation bestowed President Paul Kagame with an honourary award for his efforts in environmental protection and sustainability. It was presented by Neumann himself.

On Monday, SaferRwanda received the award from Energy Globe as the 2017 National winner from Rwanda out of 2000 applicants worldwide.

The Energy Globe recognised SaferRwanda for the innovation to extend the improved cook stove (now popularly known as Save80 stove) that is made of stainless steel and is assembled locally to create employment and income.

As per its specifications, the stove saves 80 per cent of what traditional fire place would need. It has a specified thermal efficiency of 52 per cent and the design ensures preheating of the air and a complete combustion with no visible smoke and only small amount of ash.

In addition, the Save80 efficient cook stove has been distributed in Rwanda to reduce wood biomass consumption and protect the environment.

Christine Muhongerwa, the executive secretary of SaferRwanda, told Saturday Times the award is a recognition of not only the organisation but Rwanda’s efforts in mitigating climate change.

“It’s indeed a great pleasure to win such award as recognition of the efforts invested in environmental protection and promoting green environment.

“Reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere means reducing the effects of climate change,” Muhongerwa said.

Ruth Kavara, a resident of Bumbogo Sector in Gasabo District, said the stove has helped in cutting the cost on cooking fuel.

“The Save80 has helped me cut costs from spending Rwf16,000 on buying two bags of charcoal per month to Rwf2,000 on buying firewood in a month with this stove. It has also helped me to save time I used to spend on cooking,” Kavara said.

Muhongerwa added that, “This award comes to inspire the organisation and everyone working to promote and protect environment in Rwanda to feel more responsible of the credibility we have won as a green nation and this will benefit every single individual not only in Rwanda but in the world as a whole.”


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Gambia: Austrian Journalist Visits Gambia to Promote Tourism

By Njie Baldeh

An Austrian journalist is currently in The Gambia to see the country’s tourism attraction areas to report about it back home as the preparations for the 2017/2018 Gambia tourism season is in high gear.

The journalist, Wolfgang Weitlaner, has been received by the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) as part of their efforts to promote tourism in the country to the world.

In an interview with The Point on Monday at the GTBoard head office, Mr Weitlaner said he had been writing for almost 20 years in Austria and had travelled to over 100 countries where he is needed to do some promotions for tourism.

He said his main focus would be first to write more articles about what people can expect when they come over to The Gambia for holidays.

“I would also like to enhance people to do more than just sitting on the beach to enjoy the sun and the ocean,” he said.

“Holidaymakers should also get to the heritage and the culture of this country and its beautiful people.”

The Austrian journalist said he was very much interested in Banjul as the capital of The Gambia but also the coastline.

“And what I like most here is that the people are interconnected to each other,” he said. “When I go back to my country what I will write most is the biggest sensation of the people and the nature though I do not know more about the River Gambia, I think this is one of the absolute highlights of what I have seen, including the birds and beautiful wildlife.”

Ousman Kebbeh, product manager at the Gambia Tourism Board, said: “We are very fortunate to have the journalist from Austria.”

He said the Austrian has been taken on a conducted tour to visit some parts of The Gambia for him to have adequate and enough information to sell the destination.


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East Africa: EAC to Use Energy As Integration Factor

By Deus Ngowi in Arusha

THE East African Community (EAC) is moving towards getting energy solutions for the regional block as part of the integration factors.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General, (Productive and Social Sectors), Mr Christophe Bazivamo, informed the second executive board meeting of the East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE), that as the EAC integration was business oriented, energy was key to promoting trade in the region.

A communiqué made available by the EAC Secretariat here from Kampala, Uganda where the meeting was taking place had the secretary noting that for some time now the region’s development was troubled by low access rates of energy, where high price of the services and poor cooking solutions were partly to blame for the situation.

“Low energy access rates, expensive electricity and poor cooking solutions have been hampering the region’s development,” Mr Bazivamo was quoted as saying.

He reminded the meeting that the original plan of EAC was to have EACREEE as an EAC institution, but due to financial constraints, other innovative ways were devised and hence College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) was selected to host EACREEE as a Centre of Excellence.

The secretary disclosed that efforts were underway for the EAC through the Inter -University Council of East Africa to ensure effective management of the EAC Centres of Excellence through the harmonisation of management guidelines.

The meeting was attended by members from partner states except South Sudan and was a follow up of the first meeting that was held on June 10, 2016.

Addressing the board members, the Chairman of the Executive Board and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda, Dr Steven Isabalija, hailed the continued support of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) to the EAC in the energy sector, specifically in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

He acknowledged the challenges faced by EACREEE in its early stages of operation and urged collective efforts among stakeholders in addressing the same.

The Principal of CEDAT, Professor Henry Alinaitwe, thanked the EAC Council of Ministers for selecting CEDAT to host EACREE and commended the support of UNIDO and ADA towards the Centre.

Professor Alinaitwe revealed that since its inauguration, CEDAT has been working with several stakeholders to advance the Centre’s activities.

The meeting took note of the progress report and of the challenges experienced by CEDAT in the implementation process, especially in regard to the registration of EACREEE as a legal entity handling programmes that are regional in nature.

The meeting agreed on the need for formulation of a Roadmap/Transitional document on how and when the Centre will graduate from being hosted in CEDAT to be a fullyfledged Centre of EAC.

Against the above observations and to take matters forward, the meeting requested the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with CEDAT to work on the transitional roadmap in line with decisions of the 33rd Meeting of the Council of Ministers.

EAC Halts Creation of New Body

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha — The East African Community (EAC) has declined to establish another institution, citing financial constraints.

Proposals to upgrade the EA Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) into a full-fledged body under the Community hit a wall after the technocrats said it was short of funds for the purpose.

“The original plan of the Community was to have EACREEE as an EAC institution. However, due to financial constraints other innovative ways were devised”, said the deputy secretary general (Productive and Social Sectors) Christophe Bazivamo.

He said instead the College of Engineering,Design, Art and Technology (Cedat) of the Makerere University in Uganda was selected to host the renewable energy facility as one of its centres of excellence.

Mr Bazivamo revealed this last weekend when he was addressed the board meeting of the centre whose creation received support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) and the Austrian Development Agency (Ada).

The principal of Cedat Prof Henry Alinaitwe informed the meeting held in Kampala that efforts were underway to formally register EACREEE as a semi-autonomous legal entity so that it can function smoothly.

However, the meeting concurred that while the regional energy centre would continue to be hosted at the Makerere University, a road map should be drawn to make it a full-fledged body of the EAC.

“Since its inauguration, Cedat has been working with several stakeholders to advance the centre’s activities”, said the Cedat principal Prof Alinaitwe.

Despite failure to register the renewable energy centre as an additional institution under the EAC, the deputy SG emphasized that renewable energy would continue to be among the key priority sectors.

“Low energy access rates, expensive electricity, poor cooking solutions have been hampering the region’s development,” Mr Bazivamo pointed out.

EACREEE was launched in Kampala, Uganda in June last year as a regional think-tank and focal point for sustainable energy activities and issues such as policy, capacity building, awareness creation and investment and business promotion.

The centre was also intended to act as a resource centre for sustainable energy issues while aiming at a creation of an enabling environment for regional renewable anergy and energy efficient markets and investments.

However, the cash-strapped EAC insisted that it was too early to transform the centre into n institution of the EAC due to funding constraints.

EAC currently has eight instititons scattered across the region and three substative organs at its Arusha headquarters; the Secretariat, EA Court of Justice and the East African Legislative Assembly.

The institutions are the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (Cassoa), the EA Health Research Commission, EA Science and Technology Commission and the EA Kiswahili Commission.

Others are the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, the East African Development Bank and the recenty established East African Competition Authority.

Is Nature Punishing Lake Bunyonyi Punishment Island?

Photo: Robert Muhereza/Daily Monitor

Punishment Island locally known as Akampene Island in Lake Bunyonyi is being submerged by water.

By Robert Muhereza

The Punishment Island on Lake Bunyonyi locally known as Akampene that used to be a dumping place for girls that got pregnant before marriage in the Kigezi sub-region could soon be totally submerged in water. Only two dry trees and small grassland are what remains of the island today.

The island is being eaten away by nature although a section of locals in Kabale District believe the spirits of the girls that died there could be the reason for its shrinking.

Keneth Tumusime, a community leader around Lake Bunyonyi, says Akampene is one of the prominent tourist sites on Lake Bunyonyi because of its history.

“Elders have been telling us the island used be relatively big measuring about three-acres in size but now it is approximately a plot of about 100ft. I am worried that in the next few years, the island might be no more,” he says, dispelling the myth that spirits are involved.

Tumusime urges government and conservationists to pile more stones, soil and plant beautiful flowers and trees to conserve the island.

However, Diaz Drakes, an investor on Lake Bunyonyi and a social mobiliser at Sharp Island, reveals that it’s not only Akampene being eaten away, but other historical islands such as the Sharp.

This is where a missionary doctor Len Sharp lived in the early 1920’s as he treated patients of leprosy that were always gathered at the adjacent Bwaama Island. The historical Upside Down Island is also being affected.

“Because of the strong water waves, lake water always hit hard the main land and the island and on return it washes away huge soil particles and stones. The fact remains that if nature dictates, man cannot hesitate.

Even if more soil and stones are heaped on the shrinking islands, they, too, will still be washed away by the strong waves of the lake. We shall always pray to God who created these islands to prevail so that the future generation can also see and appreciate the original beauty of Lake Bunyonyi,” Drakes says.

He adds that it is true that during the rainy season, water levels on Lake Bunyonyi increase and reduce during the dry season and it is then that one can see the gullies on both the main land and the island evidence that the waves are eating away the soils and stones around it.

Diocese of Kigezi owns four islands on Lake Bunyonyi and the bishop, Rt Rev George Bagmuhunda, recently appealed to investors in the tourism industry on Lake Bunyonyi to exercise maximum waste management policies to avoid polluting and destroying the beauty of the area.

While speaking at the launch of Sharp Island Gorilla Lodge on Lake Bunyonyi, Austrian investors Walter Inmann and Robert Judtmann, insisted that whereas nature is at play, residents and investors around the lake must play their role of conserving the lake for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

“Lake Bunyonyi with its 29 Islands and also being the second deepest lake in African adds a lot of beauty to Kigezi sub-region. We must use and preserve this God-given resource sustainably for the future generation to appreciate besides the current needs for money and other economic desires.

People around this Lake must also practice good farming methods to avoid draining the neighbouring wetlands, a trend that might lead to the silting of this beautiful lake,” Bishop Bagamuhunda said.

Kenya: Kenyan Businesses Need to Embrace Open APIs

By Bitange Ndemo

About two weeks ago, I sat down with Mr John Sneh, IBM’s worldwide sales leader for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), for a chat on digital transformation.

He asked me what we in Kenya considered to be digital transformation and I gave him a long-winded answer, which he magnanimously accepted.

It emerged from our conversation that he takes digital transformation to mean the application of technology to our activities, processes and relationships in order to create new models of doing things, and to unleash our utmost potential in our endeavours.

According to insights from the 2015 Global C-Suite Study produced by IBM’s Institute of Business Value, 80 per cent of Chief Officers are experimenting with different business models or thinking of doing so.

Many organisations have ideas and information on how to meet the customers’ increasing demands, but in silos.

Digital transformation, through Open APIs, is making it possible to breathe coherence into these thoughts and to begin building an API economy for inclusiveness. APIs are technologies that allow two or more software programs to communicate with each other.

An application’s APIs outline the ways in which other applications can access its data. For example, M-Pesa’s API can allow Little Cab to access its services and also accept Little Cab’s payments.

Similarly, when you pay for books at Amazon, it is Amazon’s API that enables the communication which fulfils the transaction. APIs are, therefore, the building blocks of digital business.

In the digital economy, businesses can use APIs as digital products. They can use them to pivot or make their products and services extendable, reaching the largest audience.

Open APIs enable organisations to expose their data to third-party digital channels to enhance their competitiveness and customer experience. More often than not, these digital channels create an ecosystem beneficial to both the customer and the other parties in the ecosystem.

The ecosystem is like a chama (savings group), where you have agreed to share one another’s data for a common purpose. A member can make use of a combined piece of information from the common pool to defeat a competitor who does not have similar access and visibility.

In this arrangement, where social networks are utilised efficiently, a start-up could leapfrog others and become as good as the combined strength of its ecosystem. Enterprises need to appreciate the power of ecosystem digital economy to get ahead of the pack.


Uber, the taxi- hailing company as we know it, is actually a technology company that has perfected the art of consuming internal, private and public APIs. For instance, ordering a ride takes locating it in your geography using Google Maps APIs.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, provides access to its “extensive product catalogue, thus enabling digital distribution partners to earn substantial affiliate revenues from customer referrals.”

There is, perhaps, a great lesson in this Walmart model for local retailers who have never attempted to mine the data they hold in silos, yet their current business model is beginning to plateau.

They must seek new ways of doing things to be sustainable and open up their data, in combination with others, to increase their competiveness.

Lufthansa became one of the first airlines to enable Open API so that third-party agents could offer flights directly from their apps.

The German carrier says developers will use the airline’s standardised data, available to developers in a controlled manner, for direct ticket sales in far-flung areas including Kenya, thus effectively creating new agents.

Developers “will now be able to use the interface to integrate direct booking links for offers from Lufthansa, Eurowings and Austrian Airlines into their web and app-based offers. They will be able to increase the appeal of their services by incorporating Lufthansa products and will also receive compensation for the prominent display of Lufthansa products on their websites whenever the API integration generates bookings on”

Kenya Airways can borrow a leaf from Lufthansa to globally enable developers create new products out of their data, and perhaps bundle services to give deals to its customers and improve its competitiveness.


Techies across the world leverage Open APIs and a bit of IBM cognitive computing to create the best travel schedule and experience. Organisations whose assets are not sharable miss out on the opportunities developers create.

IBM’s approach to this digital transformation is a fascinating one. More than a century of existence has led them to glean five guiding principles from its breath and depth of knowledge. In the age of Cloud adoption, creating the rhythm for everything to work together for an organisation or business will take into consideration the following:

(i) hybrid integration to build on what they have today and only change what needs to change,

(ii) develop productivity to give them the speed to innovate, experiment and continuously deliver the things they need

(iii) powerful and accessible data and analytics to get closer to the customer and make smarter decisions in real time

(iv) cognitive solutions to go to the next level of natural human engagement and deeper understanding of dark data and finally,

(v) choice with consistency because how and where they develop and deploy data does matter.

Infrastructure and data that available today will eventually dovetail with capabilities on the cloud to unleash incremental value at scale and agility never experienced before.

APIs will stitch most of these platforms together and provide avenues for reuse of established and repeatable services. These connections alone lend themselves to rapid industrialised deployments, from ideation to launch.

Nowhere has the debate on Open API been raging as in the banking sector. This is because the banking sector has enormous data in silos, which would create gigantic value to both customers and institutions if it were well used. Such data is more likely to create a beneficial ecosystem there than in any other industry.

If they opened up their APIs, banks would take only seconds to approve loans to customers. In sharing the data, they would have a greater understanding of their customer than they do from credit referencing bureaus.


IBM emphasises the need to expose this data on the back of a robust security infrastructure and are on this journey with a number of clients in East Africa. There are opportunities galore in creating a banking, communication, insurance and retail ecosystem to fully understand customer behaviour and serve them better.

This, in my view, would put Kenya in another level of innovativeness, destroy traditional methods of establishing creditworthiness and create an inclusive society.

Banks like Equity, that have an interface with communication and could possibly do the same with insurance and retail, are on the cusp of creating a financial revolution.

Governments too need to create their own ecosystems to interface with those in the private sector and improve on efficiency and service delivery. The silos in Immigration, the National Bureau of Registration, Lands, Registrar of Companies, and other key government agencies could create thousands of jobs if opened up.

Travel agents, researchers and even government itself often want to know how many tourists are visiting the country at any one moment and where they come from, without waiting for annual totals. This data is available but rarely shared to enable better decision-making.

Data that is left in silos is wealth not exploited. Let’s create sharable open data.

The writer is an associate professor at University of Nairobi’s School of Business.Twitter @bantigito

Regional Energy Centre Opens in Uganda

By Elisha Mayallah

Arusha — A new Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) is now operational at the Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) in Kampala, Uganda.

The Centre, according to a press statement, is meant to complement and strengthen the ongoing EAC Partner States’ initiatives in the areas of policy and capacity development, knowledge management and raising awareness as well as investment and business promotion.

The EACREEE was inaugurated by the Minister designate Irene Muloni of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development of Uganda. The Minister reaffirmed the continued support of the Uganda government to the EACREEE and called on Partner States and Development Partners as well as the private sector to give full support to the Centre.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Jesca Eriyo pointed out that the focus of the energy sector is to ensure availability of sufficient, reliable, cost effective and environmentally friendly energy sources in the region across borders; promoting electricity interconnectivity to facilitate the broader EAC objectives of attracting investments and promoting competitiveness and trade.

The Centre will provide the following services to different clients and target groups: To; Develop and implement a coherent regional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE&EE) policy framework for the EAC and facilitate its implementation at national levels; as well as Develop and execute regional programs and projects with other Partners and mobilize funding; create synergies with ongoing programs;

And to Operate as key entry point for the implementation of international funding to mitigate climate change in the Energy sector; and Provide co-funding for demand-driven programs and projects executed by the private and public sector or civil society in the region (e.g. call for proposals and tenders);

Other objectives include to provide a framework for capacity building activities and strengthen networks between research and training institutions as well as organize training of trainers workshops; and Update and provide RE&EE information and data for investors;

The centre will Act as Think Tank, Lobbying Agent and Advisory Platform for RE&EE in East Africa; as well as provide Networking and co-organization of conferences, forums and workshops; and lastly – Facilitate North-South and South-South cooperation for knowledge and technology transfer”.

Philippe Scholtès, the Managing Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), emphasized the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrial development, as well as the role of sustainable energy and private-public partnerships (PPP) in this respect. He said that the global network of regional sustainable Energy Centres assists Development Partners in effective and efficient way.

Günter Engelits, Head of Office, Austrian Development Cooperation (ADA) in Uganda, said the Centre is expected to reduce political, regulatory, institutional, technical, and social barriers in the region, and support the achievement of sustainable energy for all, as well as the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The EACREEE is supported by UNIDO and the Austrian Development Agency, and is part of the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres. The Network currently includes the EACREEE, the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) based in Cape Verde, and the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) in Barbados. The Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) and the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) are expected to be launched by the end of 2016.

First Lady Urges Students to Develop Country

By Rebecca Okwany

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Saturday urged university students to use their knowledge to solve problems affecting the country and the world.

She also advised them to be responsible citizens and give to the less fortunate.

Mrs Kenyatta was speaking during the award of diplomas to 68 International Baccalaureate students at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa.

“I believe the Aga Khan Academy has taught you that the plight of others is important and that the problems around us ultimately affect all of us and that because you have been given so much, you must give that much back to the world,” she said.

The First Lady said many of the graduates might pursue courses at international universities but appealed to them to return home and serve the country.

“My personal request is that you come back and shine here. There are issues that need addressing, people that need loving, communities that need serving, problems that need solving,” she said.

Mrs Kenyatta told the graduates to make wise choices concerning their life by contributing their talents and minds to making discoveries that change lives.

A total of 47 of the graduates won scholarships to study at international universities such as Yale, John Hopkins, Emory, New York, Abu Dhabi, California Berkeley, British Columbia, McGill and Toronto, among others.

Two of them, Sumera Yego and Magdalena Chizi, became the first Kenyans to achieve the gold level President’s Award-Kenya (PA-K, 2015), through an online documentation platform introduced last year.

Aga Khan University Counsellor Khatdija Maghjani said collectively, 68 members of the graduating class received over 280 acceptances to 101 institutions.

Aga Khan Academy’s director Salim Bhatia said the graduates are proof of achievements through the collaboration of stakeholders.


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Ethiopia: Ministry Highlights Ambassadors GERD Visit, Bilateral Ties

By Fanuel Lakew

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the visit of resident ambassadors in Addis to GERD was fruitful as it served as a platform to aware them and witness progress on the construction of the dam.

Briefing journalists on current affairs here yesterday, Ministry Spokesperson Tewolde Mulugeta said that the visit as well enabled the ambassadors get first hand information on the construction of the dam based on mutual benefit and win-win-approach. He quoted the ambassadors as saying: “The Dam is crucial to strengthen regional integration.”

Furthermore, the Spokesperson said that the US-Africa Business Forum which was held here recently was fruitful to explore various business opportunities in Africa and Ethiopia as well. The forum also created an opportunity for Ethiopia to strengthen investment and business-to-business ties with the US as various giant companies and personalities took part in the event.

Moreover, Ethiopia and Australia have agreed to strengthen business and investment ties as Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom held talks with his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kruz here recently. Dr. Tedros called upon Austrian companies to invest in Ethiopia as it is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with conducive investment climate.

The Austrian Foreign Minister on his part appreciated the efforts of Ethiopia in ensuring peace and security in the region and hosting migrants because of its open door policy. Austria pledged seven million Euro to support the effort of assisting El Nino drought victims in Ethiopia. The two countries also agreed to strengthen ties in various areas such as health, agriculture, foreign affairs, energy and the like.

Dr. Tedros also met with Norwegian Justice and Public Security State Secretary Joran Kallmyr and discussed migration, current drought, security and development endeavours. In this regard, the Norwegian government pledged to provide eight million Euro for education and 60 million Euro for green development.

Dr. Tedos for his part appreciated the support of Norway to Ethiopia to reduce the effects of drought and called for strengthening such support as additional resource is needed from the international community.

In addition, Dr. Tedros had fruitful discussions with Cuban, Singaporean, UAE and other delegates on how to strengthen bilateral ties in investment and development issues.

According to Tewolde, various international organization such as Interpol, East African Standby Force, and others would open their offices here in Addis. Thus, this will have an opportunity to Addis to strengthen its role as a hub to international organizations.


Battle of Saints in Addis Ababa

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