Archive for May, 2011
WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Zambia,Tanzania and Ethiopia next month to discuss trade, development and other issues, a spokesman said Tuesday. Clinton, following a trip to the United Arab Emirates, will visit Zambia’s capital Lusaka on June 10 for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial Forum, Clinton’s deputy spokesman Mark Toner said. “She will showcase this centerpiece of our trade policy with Africa and engage with government, private sector and civil society representatives from 37 different countries,” Toner told reporters. A pact sealed in 2000, AGOA gives exports from the world’s poorest countries of the continent duty-free status on the US market. In Zambia, Clinton will also meet Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who is seeking re-lection this year, and “participate in events to highlight US government initiatives to improve the lives of the Zambian people,” Toner said. Afterward, he said, Clinton will travel to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but gave no precise dates. The chief US diplomat will meet with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. “In Tanzania, she will highlight our successful bilateral engagement, including a host of programs, including Feed the Future,” Toner said. In Ethiopia, Clinton will “focus on regional issues,” visiting the African Union headquarters and meeting with AU Chairman Jean Ping in addition to holding bilateral meetings with Ethiopian officials. She will also meet with representatives of civil society — which usually includes human rights and other society activists — to “draw attention to their innovative and enterprising work,” Toner said.
In August 2009, Clinton made a whirlwind seven-nation trip to Africa, taking in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Cape Verde.
Copyright © 2011 AFP.
By Peter Heinlein
Meskel Square is empty
on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the bloodless coup that brought a band of Marxist Tigrayan rebels to power in Ethiopia. Only a few workers are here setting up the sound system and stage. In a few hours, throngs of government supporters will pour into the square to celebrate the day in 1991 when the 17-year rule of the dreaded Dergue regime came to an end, and pro-Soviet military dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam went into exile in Zimbabwe.
Spokesman Shimeles Kemal says the event will celebrate two decades of achievement under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s leadership. “Within these two decades Ethiopia has scored a number of achievements in terms of realizing the dreams and aspirations of its people,” said Kemal. “The livelihood of the people has been improved a lot in contrast with what happened 20 years back.”
Shimeles acknowledged that 20 years on, Ethiopia remains one of Africa’s poorest countries. He says, despite statistics showing double digit economic growth for seven straight years, there is still a long way to go. “It is not a rosy ground. Building a nation that had been pushed to the brink of disintegration is not a rosy bed, and despite this, the whole majority of the Ethiopian people do have a firm belief that Ethiopia is being led on the right track,” Kemal said.
Not all are satisfied
Not everyone in this nation of 90 million is satisfied with the government, however. A group of taxi drivers waiting for fares in Meskel Square said they would stay away Saturday in protest.
32-year old Zerihun Getiye says most Ethiopians have seen no improvement in their lives since Meles Zenawi came to power.
“I am not satisfied,” said Getiye. “This government is not good for me.”
A: “For some people, life is good. For some people, the majority, not good.”
Social media opposition
Activists using online social network sites are calling for a counter-demonstration Saturday. The so-called “Enough” protest is planned as the beginning of a North African-style popular uprising. But political analysts say the “Enough” protest has little chance against the expected crowd of a million people at the pro-government demonstration. Spokesman Shimeles Kemal describes the “Enough” supporters as mostly exiled Ethiopian dissidents. “These are also some desperate people who claim to have followers here, a local constituency,” said Kemal. “What we know for sure is that such exaggerated claims and calls for insurrection were made by a handful of exiled people, mostly fugitives.” An opposition activist sympathetic to the Beka (“Enough”) campaign, who asked not to be identified, said the movement has wide support. But the activist said tight government control would make it difficult, if not impossible, to organize an effective demonstration.
An opposition group calling itself the Tinsae Ethiopian Patriots Union said this week it had cut power cables in the western part of the country as part of a campaign of “peaceful civil resistance.” The group posted pictures of downed cables on its website, but it is impossible to verify the claim, which government officials say is “preposterous.” Tinsae says it consists of members of the now defunct Coalition for Unity and Democracy. The CUD led protests after the disputed 2005 elections, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 people. Many of its activists were sentenced to long prison terms but later released. Several have since moved abroad.
By Getachew Teklu
Starbucks confirmed Wednesday it will raise the prices for bagged coffee sold at its U.S stores by 17% and 6% at its Canadian locations, effective July 12. Its move comes a day after J.M. Smucker /quotes/comstock/13*!sjm/quotes/nls/sjm SJM +1.22% raised prices for the fourth time in the past year. Smucker, which sells Folgers, Dunkin Donuts and Millstone, is upping those prices by
11%. Since May 2010, Smucker has jacked up prices 34% to try to stay a step ahead of the commodities market.
Starbucks is raising prices for a 16-ounce bag of coffee at its U.S. stores to a range of $11.95 to $14.95. It is the first price increase since September 2009. The last time Starbucks rose prices for bagged coffee at its Canadian locations was in October 2007. The Seattle company last year raised prices for some of its drinks to counter rising costs for milk and unroasted beans. And on March 18, Starbucks upped the price of its bagged coffee sold at supermarkets.
Green Mountain said May 3 it’s raising prices by 10%. That comes after a hike last fall of 10% to 15% on K-Cup portion packs used in the company’s Keurig single-cup coffee brewer. Over the past 12 months, coffee contract prices for Arabica beans are up 99% on the Intercontinental Exchange. The July contract recently traded at $2.65 a pound. That has prompted Maxwell House coffee maker Kraft Foods /quotes/comstock/13*!kft/quotes/nls/kft KFT +0.38% to raise prices three times since August 2010, an increase amounting to 43%. A Kraft spokeswoman said Wednesday they had no immediate plan to raise prices. Last September, Peet’s Coffee & Tea /quotes/comstock/15*!peet/quotes/nls/peet PEET -0.44% raised prices on beans sold in its coffee shops by 8% on average. Peet’s couldn’t be reached to comment on whether they planned another price increase.
T.M. Ward Coffee Co., based in Newark, has raised the prices of its wholesale beans by 50 cents twice this year and may raise them again, said owner Robert Sommer. Ward’s buys green coffee beans primarily from South and Central America, and Africa. The company roasts the beans at a facility in Connecticut and delivers to restaurants, cafe and other clients throughout the region. Production
in Colombia will likely drop 10 percent in the second quarter because of storms that battered farms last year, Luis Munoz, CEO of the Colombian National Coffee Growers Federation, told Bloomberg News yesterday. And political upheaval in Ivory Coast is affecting coffee crops in the African nation. Shipments of cocoa, sugar and coffee have been disrupted during fighting after a disputed presidential election in November, and farmers cannot return to their fields until the turmoil subsides. Other major exporting countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Indonesia, are facing smaller crops this year because of drought, flooding and other inclement weather.
Once shunned by international investors outside of some core commodities, Africa is now high on the radar screens of many funds seeking good returns across the asset classes. But while money may be pouring in, how much is still pouring out? Capital flight has long been a scourge of the continent and one of the key reasons for its gut-wrenching poverty and lack of development. And there is plenty of
evidence that it remains a significant problem, exacerbated by global tax havens and the opaque nature of extractive industries, oil in particular.
A girl selling apples by the roadside outside the Angolan city of
Lubango. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly
Take the case of oil and diamond-rich Angola, which rating agency Fitch on Tuesday upgraded to BB- from B+. We reported last month that $6 billion was spirited out of Angola in 2009, a
staggering sum worth nearly a sixth of its entire annual budget. The calculations, provided to Reuters by Washington-based anti-corruption advocacy group Global Financial Integrity (GFI),
suggested that the bulk of the flow was channelled abroad by a mechanism known as “trade mispricing”. In this case, the way it typically works is that Angolan importers pretend to pay foreigners more for imports than they actually spend. The difference provides cash that can be discreetly put into banks or other assets abroad.
Oil producers seem especially susceptible to this and other kinds of corruption and capital flight. Late last year, GFIestimated that in 2009 $27.5 billion flowed illicitly out of Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and a country with eight times Angola’s 18.5 million population. Lubricating such flows are a network of tax havens whose secretive workings have been brought into the light by author Nicholas Shaxson in his book “Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World” (A subject I blogged on here last month). And global efforts to curtail them, a subject we have written on before, have been largely ineffective. Still, there are promising signs on other fronts, including a U.S. drive to require oil and mining companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Comission to disclose their payments to foreign governments.
Those rules are still being finalised and could yet get watered down. And they might prove futile against things like trade mispricing. But they should still hopefully bring more transparency to the resource sector.Another promising sign is the fact that Africa is no longer just about resources, which was key a theme at the Reuters Africa Investment Summit in March. The expanding middle class on the continent for one is in turn sparking growth in areas such as banking and retail — one reason why U.S. goliath Wal-Mart is so keen to enter the region via its $2.4 billion bid for a majority stake in South African chain Massmart. And a diversified economy is not only more sustainable but may also escape the “resource curse” and the corruption linked to sectors such as oil. Still, these developments do not take away from the fact that there is strong evidence that some countries are losing billions of dollars a year. And things like capital formation and savings and investment will not get off the ground if
the continent continues to lose large sums of money illicitly.
What do you think? Can Africa end capital flight?
By Getachew Teklu
You cannot trust the balance that the ATM gives you. The banking system operates on a system of holds, while money is transferred from your account to other places. Even your debits are not automatically deducted from your checking account. For this reason it is important to keep a running balance of your account at all times. When you make a deposit the bank gives you credit for the deposit, but the check is set to a clearinghouse. The clearinghouse is regional, and if the check is from out-of-state it may need to be sent to another clearinghouse, before the bank actually receives the money for your check. When you deposit a large check from out-of-state the bank may put a hold on it until funds are collected. This protects you from spending the money before you actually get it. If you do this you will have to pay the bank back. Similarly checks do not clear your account the moment that you write them and send them off in the mail. Once the person or company receives your check, they must deposit in their bank and then wait for the money to be transferred from your account. Checks usually take the longest to clear, because it depends on how quickly they company takes the checks to your bank. Debits are not automatically deducted from your account. When you first use your debit card a hold is placed on your account. This hold lasts a few days, and then will drop off. The merchant that accepted your debit card has to send in its transactions in order for the debits to be transferred to them. Although most merchants do this on a daily basis, some small businesses may take longer. When this happens the hold may drop off before the amount is deducted from your account, and your balance would say that you have more than you do. Since you have all of these factors working against you, you should keep a running balance of your account. You cannot simply trust the ATM balance to be the correct one. Similarly just because a debit transaction goes through, it does not mean that you currently have the money to cover the transaction. To keep a running balance you simply record your transactions as you go, then you add and subtract them from your balance in order to get the amount that you really have.
By Siddharth Varadarajan
It has taken 64 years
for an Indian Prime Minister to visit Ethiopia but when Manmohan Singh sat down
with its leadership here on Wednesday, he must have felt India has no better
friend in the whole of Africa. “I am often accused of being too pro-India,” Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi told Dr.Singh when they began their talks at the former
palace of Emperor Haile Selasie. “And my answer is, ‘Guilty as charged!”
Officials present at
the meeting said, Mr. Zenawi welcomed the re-emergence of India as a global
powerhouse and noted how Indian investment in Ethiopia had shot up to $4.7
billion in just four years. Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference
later, the Ethiopian Prime Minister said he hoped to see that figure touch $10
billion by 2015. “We want to see more Indian companies in every field, from
textiles and food processing to IT and agriculture.”
Mr. Zenawi ridiculed
what he said was “ill-informed and even ill-intentioned loose talk” about
Indian farming companies indulging in “land grabbing” in Ethiopia. The country
had 3 million hectares of unutilised land which it intended to lease out to
foreign companies to grow food, he said. Karaturi, the Hyderabad-based
agricultural investor, has already been given a lease of 300,000 ha. in the
Gambela province to produce maize. “Everything is transparent and the deeds can
be seen on the Internet… We want to develop our land to feed ourselves rather
than admire the beauty of fallow fields while we starve,” Mr. Zenawi said in
response to a question about concerns expressed in some quarters about the
leasing programme. It was possible that land-grabbing was going on elsewhere in
Africa but not in Ethiopia, he said, adding, “I want to reassure Indian
companies that they are welcome here. We want them to come and farm what is
While Dr. Singh
expressed the hope that the balance of trade which is currently heavily
weighted in favour of India would gradually equalise as the Ethiopian economy
grew, Mr. Zenawi told reporters the imbalance was not a big issue. “Our
bilateral trade is $660 million, which is peanuts compared to our overall
trade. I am less concerned about the contents of the peanuts than about the
fact that these are peanuts. It is the capacity to trade that we lack and this
is what India is helping Ethiopia to develop through its investments,” Mr.
India, which has sent
thousands of teachers to Ethiopia since the 1950s, has now agreed to provide
specialised training to Ethiopian diplomats and trade negotiators as part of
its capacity building programme. On Tuesday, Dr. Singh announced a $300 million
line of credit to help revive the Ethiopia-Djibouti rail route. With Ethiopia
in a state of ‘no war, no peace,’ with Eritrea, Djibouti remains the only
viable outlet to the sea for this landlocked nation of 85 million people.
Dr. Singh’s final
engagement in Ethiopia will be an address to its parliament on Thursday
morning, following which he travels to Tanzania for a two-day official visit.
Source: The Hindu
By Mark Weisbrot
Now that Dominique
Strauss-Kahn has resigned from his position as managing director of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is worth taking an
objective look at his legacy there. Until his arrest last week on charges of
attempted rape and sexual assault, he was widely praised as
having changed the IMF, increased its influence and moved it away from the
policies that – according to the fund’s critics – had caused so many problems
for developing countries in the past. How much of this is true?
took the helm of the IMF in November of 2007, when the IMF’s influence was at a
low point. Total outstanding loans at that time were just $10bn, down from
$91bn just four years earlier. By the time he left this week, that number had
bounced back to $84bn, with agreed-upon loans three times larger. The IMF’s
total capital had quadrupled, from about $250bn to an unprecedented $1tn.
Clearly, the IMF had resources that it had never had before, mostly as a result
of the financial crisis and world recession of 2008-2009.
details of these changes are important. First, the collapse of the IMF’s influence
in the decade prior to 2007 was one of the most important changes in the
international financial system since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system
of fixed exchange rates in 1971. Prior to the 2000s, the IMF headed up a
powerful creditors’ cartel that was able to tell many developing country
governments what their most important economic policies would be, under the
threat of being denied credit not only from the fund but also from other, then
larger lenders such as the World Bank, regional lenders and sometimes even the
private sector. This made the fund not only the most important avenue of
influence of the US government in low- and middle-income countries – from
Rwanda to Russia – but also the most important promoter of neoliberal economic “reforms”
that transformed the world economy from the mid 1970s onward. These reforms
coincided with a sharp
slowdown of economic growth in the vast majority of low- and middle-income
countries for more than 20 years, with consequently reduced progress on social
indicators such as life expectancy and infant and child mortality.
The IMF’s big
comeback during the world recession did not bring the middle-income countries
that had run away from it back to its orbit. Most of the middle-income
countries of Asia, Russia, as well as Latin America, stayed away, mostly by
piling up sufficient reserves so that they did not have to borrow from the fund,
even during the crisis. As a result, even a low-income country like Bolivia,
for example, was able to renationalise its hydrocarbon industry, increase
social spending and public investment, and lower its retirement age from 65 to
58 – things it could never do while it was living under IMF agreements
continuously for 20 years prior. Most of the IMF’s new influence and lending
would land in Europe, which accounts for about 57% of its current outstanding
By Jayanth Jacob
To avoid comparisons with what China does in Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be unveiling bonanza of a different kind when he co-chairs the Africa-India forum summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, on May 24 and 25.
Four regional centres of excellence, 15 vocational training centres in African countries, two coal institutes in Mozambique, skill training for 20,000 people in different disciplines in next five years are the measures to be put in place as New Delhi pushes ahead with the capacity building agenda for the African continent.
Singh is also likely to announce an additional Line of Credit in the range of $500 million for African nations. This is in addition to the $5.4 billion India has already committed. New Delhi shies away from comparisons with its biggest neighbour China, which has made rapid strides in Africa.
India intends to send out the message that it believes in long-term partnership and “capacity building” and its plans for Africa are not dictated by the benefits it can get from the resource-rich continent.
The four centres of excellence will be in Uganda (East Africa), Ghana (West), Botswana (south), and Burundi (north). Each one of them will be focusing on different subject. For example, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade will be pitching in for Uganda.
These centres will focus on subjects such as foreign trade, information technology, Indian Diamond Institute will be behind the centre in Botswana. The two coal institutes will be based in Mozambique. “These institutes will impart training in mining and other aspects”, said a government official. The programmes aim at training 20,000 people in next five years, that’s 5,000 people a year.
Prime Minister will be in Ethiopia from May 23 to 26 for the summit then will pay a bilateral visit to Tanzania before returning to the country on May 28. Prior to the summit, external affairs minister SM Krishna will attend will attend the foreign ministers’ meeting to be held on on May 23.
President of Equatorial Guinea Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the chairperson of the African Union, will co-Chair the summit along with PM.
1: Don’t Drive Drunk
More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the Ethiopia involve drivers impaired by alcohol and Chat. These accidents led to more than 800 deaths in 2010 alone Most of those deaths could’ve been avoided if the drivers involved simply hadn’t gotten behind the wheel while drunk Alcohol. Causes a number of impairments that lead to car accidents. Even at low blood-alcohol levels, intoxication reduces reaction time and coordination and lowers inhibitions, which can cause drivers to make foolish choices. At higher levels, alcohol causes blurred or double vision and even loss of consciousness. Drunk driving isn’t just a terrible idea — it’s a crime. In the U.S, getting caught behind the wheel with blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will probably earn you a trip to jail but not in Ethiopia. It’s easy to avoid driving drunk. If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive your taxi/cab.
2: Don’t Speed
The old public service campaign so succinctly put it, “Speed kills.” Research has shown that for every mile per hour you drive the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent at higher speeds, the risk increases much more quickly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains the consequences of fast driving quite simply: “Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes in Ethiopia. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2008, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 11,674 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes”
For your average drive across town, driving even 10 mph faster is only going to save you a few minutes — while increasing your crash risk by as much as 50 percent. Even on long trips, the time you’ll save is inconsequential compared to the risks associated with speeding. Take your time and obey posted speed limits.
3: Avoid Distractions
Many states in the U.S. have passed laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving. The reason is the number of deaths attributed to this seemingly harmless activity: 2,600 deaths nationwide every year, by some estimates In fact, those numbers may actually be too low, due to the continued rise cell phone use behind the wheel. If you think that talking and texting while driving isn’t a big deal, consider this: One researcher compared the reaction time of a 20-year-old driver talking on a cell phone to that of a 70-year-old driver. What’s more, working a cell phone behind the wheel can delay reaction times by as much as 20 percent. It isn’t just cell phones that cause distractions, however. Eating, chewing chat, loud music, fiddling with electronic devices or interacting with passengers also diverts a driver’s attention in potentially deadly ways. Perhaps the best advice on driving distractions came from rocker Jim Morrison: “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”
4: Don’t Drive Drowsy
A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech reported that 20 percent of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor if a driver is tired enough to actually fall asleep while driving, the results are predictable. Even on a relatively straight highway, a sleeping driver will eventually drift off the road. Trees, utility poles, ravines and bridge abutments turn this into a deadly scenario — and that doesn’t even take other cars into account. You might think a few yawns are nothing to worry about, but just being a little drowsy is enough to increase your risk of getting in an accident. Responses can range from dozing off for a few seconds at a time to simply “zoning out” and losing all focus on the road. At highway speeds, one or two seconds of inattention can lead to disaster. The solution is simple: Get a better night’s sleep! Make sure you get a solid eight hours of sleep, not just on the night before a long drive, but on a regular basis. Failure to get enough sleep every night builds a sleep deficit that can leave you drowsy and unable to focus. If you’re driving and feel the least bit groggy, take action immediately. Don’t think you’ll get any kind of warning before you fall asleep, or that you can fight it off. People can move from drowsy to sound asleep without warning. If this happens to you, find a rest area where you can catch a few hours of sleep or take a break until you’re feeling more alert.
5: Wear Your Seat Belt
Seat belts save lives. Worn properly, they prevent you from being thrown around the inside of a crashing vehicle or, worse, thrown through the windshield and flung completely out of the vehicle. NHTSA statistics reveal that more than half of all accident fatalities were people who weren’t using seat belts. The numbers are much scarier for young drivers and passengers: Everyone has heard horror stories about people who were killed in bizarre freak accidents in which they’d have lived if only they hadn’t been wearing a seat belt. Even if these stories are true — many of them are exaggerations or urban legends — they’re also anomalies. In the overwhelming majority of car crashes, you have a greater chance of surviving if you’re wearing a seat belt. Even a low-speed crash can send an unbelted person careening into the dashboard or side window, resulting in severe head injuries or broken bones. At higher speeds, the possible fates of the unbelted occupant are gruesome: severe lacerations from being propelled through the windshield; struck by other cars because you landed on the road; slammed into a tree or a house at 50 mph. Sound scary? Then buckle up.
6: Be Extra Careful in Bad Weather
If you’re driving through fog, heavy rain, a road constriction or storm, be extra cautious. Take all of the other tips presented here and make full use of them: Drive below the speed limit if necessary, maintain extra space between you and the car ahead, and be especially careful around curves. If you’re driving through weather conditions you don’t know well, consider delegating driving duties to someone who does, if possible. If the weather worsens, just find a safe place to wait out the storm. If you’re experiencing bad visibility, either from fog or rain, and you end up off the side of the road (intentionally or otherwise), turn off your lights. Drivers who can’t see the road will be looking for other cars to follow along the highway. When they see your lights, they’ll drive toward you and may not realize you’re not moving in time to avoid a collision.
7: Don’t Follow Too Closely
Safe driving guidelines advise drivers to keep a safe distance between themselves and the car ahead. Drivers need enough time to react if that car makes a sudden turn or stop. It can be too difficult to estimate the recommended distances while driving and the exact distance would have to be adjusted for speed, so most experts recommend a “three-second rule.” The three-second rule is simple. Find a stationary object on the side of the road. When the car ahead of you passes it, start counting seconds. At least three seconds should pass before your car passes the same object. Once you have some driving experience and have practiced keeping this minimum distance, you’ll develop an instinct for it and know how close to follow without having to count. However, even experienced drivers should count off the three-second rule now and then to make sure. At night or in inclement weather, double the recommended time to six seconds. In Ethiopia, Taxi drivers drive pumper to pumper until accident happens
8: Watch Out for the Other Guy
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how safely you drive. You could be driving the speed limit and obeying all traffic rules and someone else can crash into you. One good rule of thumb to use is, “Assume everyone else on the road is an idiot.” In other words, be prepared for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, unsignaled turns, swerving, tailgating and every other bad driving behavior imaginable. Chances are, you’ll eventually encounter someone like this — and it pays to be ready when you do. It’s impossible to list all the possible things another driver might do, but there are a few common examples. If you’re pulling out of a driveway into traffic and an oncoming car has its turn signal on, don’t assume it’s actually turning. You might pull out only to find that turn signal has been blinking. If you’re approaching an intersection where you have the right of way, and another approaching car has the stop sign, don’t assume it will actually stop. As you approach, take your foot off the gas and be prepared to break. Of course, being prepared requires awareness, so make sure you check your mirrors and keep an eye on side streets so you’ll know which other cars are around you and how they’re driving. Don’t focus only on the road in front of your car — look ahead so you can see what’s happening 50 to 100 yards (46 to 91 meters) up the road.
9: Practice Defensive Driving
This tip is pretty simple to understand if we just put the proverbial shoe on the other foot. Remember that one time when that jerk came flying down the street out of nowhere, totally cut you off and almost caused a huge accident? Don’t be that jerk. Aggressive driving is hard to quantify, but it definitely increases the risk of accidents. Studies show that young male drivers are more likely to drive aggressively. An aggressive driver does more than just violate the tips in this article — they may intentionally aggravate other drivers, initiate conflict, use rude gestures or language, tailgate or impede other cars, or flash their headlights out of frustration. These behaviors aren’t just annoying, they’re dangerous. Defensive driving incorporates the other tips shown here, such as maintaining a safe distance and not speeding, but remaining calm in the face of frustrating traffic issues is another major part of the concept. Accept small delays, such as staying in line behind a slower car instead of abruptly changing lanes. Yield to other cars, even if you technically have the right of way. Defensive driving is not only safer, it can save you money. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who complete defensive driving courses.
10: Keep Your Vehicle Safe
Regular tune-ups will keep you and your car safe out on the road. This is not a common practice in Ethiopia. Vehicle maintenance isn’t just an important way to extent your car’s life — it’s a major safety issue. Many maintenance issues are addressed by your government mandated vehicle inspections. If your car is unsafe, the inspecting mechanic will let you know what you need to do to fix it. However, there could be a year or more between inspections, so Taxi drivers need to be aware of any potential safety issues and get them repaired before they lead to an accident. One of the most common maintenance problems that can lead to a crash is improper tire pressure. Uneven tire pressure, or pressure that is too high or low, can impact performance or lead to a blowout — especially in high-performance cars. You can buy a cheap pressure gauge at any auto parts store and check the pressure against the recommendation in your owner’s manual. While you’re at it, you might want to rotate your tires to promote even wear and consistent performance. Another key area is the car’s brakes. If you notice some “softness” in the brake pedal, or feel a vibration when the brakes are applied, get them checked out by a professional mechanic. The brakes could be wearing out or you could have a problem with the car’s hydraulic system. Finally, respect pedestrians on the road, and respect the law. Understand what the sign means. Take full responsibility for your action. Participate to save life, not to destroy.
By Peter Heinlein
Egypt’s prime minister says his just-completed visit to Ethiopia has opened a “whole new environment” for settlement of the longstanding dispute over sharing the waters of the Nile River.
As he completed a two-day visit to Uganda and Ethiopia, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf signaled an end to Egypt’s tepid relations with Sub-Saharan Africa that characterized the Mubarak era.
“The new government in Egypt, we declared very clearly that we believe we are Africans, and African-African relations are very important for our future and the future of the continent,” said Sharaf.
Sharaf said his talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had built an atmosphere of cooperation on a range of issues, beginning with the Nile water dispute.
“What we are doing now is to create a whole new environment for discussions and exchanging ideas,” he said.
Egypt has long used two colonial-era treaties as a basis for claiming the vast majority of Nile waters and blocking upstream development. That position has irritated upstream countries, which are on the verge of ratifying a new treaty giving them greater access to the waters for development.
Ethiopia, the source of 85% of the Nile’s flow, recently began construction of a massive hydropower project that will make it an energy exporter.
Sharaf suggested his government sees the Mubarak-era policy as a mistake. “Remember, nobody can prevent a country from applying its development plans and using energy, and using the concept that all should be winners, because you have huge resources, and based on that there will be discussion and an exchange of ideas, and I’m sure the environment has been completely changed.”
Ethiopian officials called Cairo’s new attitude refreshing after years when Egyptian opposition blocked critical financial assistance for Nile development projects.
In a sign of a thaw in bilateral relations, Prime Minister Meles earlier this month agreed to postpone ratification of the new water sharing treaty until Egypt holds fresh elections in the next few months.
Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti called Sharaf’s tone a “promising dawn,” and “quite a different attitude from the old regime.” He added, however, that lasting change would only be possible once Egyptian voters elect a new government.