Sunday Africa Blog Roundup: Ethiopia and Water, Chad and Sudan, African Business

Anna Kramer on water shortages in Ethiopia:

I visited Ketele Pond on my trip to southern Ethiopia eight months ago. The pond was wide and flat, softened at the edges, a shallow bowl reflecting the pale afternoon sky. It’s nothing impressive to look at, until you realize that it’s the only clean drinking water source for thousands of families in this remote area. Ketele is in fact partly man-made, shored up by local aid groups in an effort to protect the water supply during the dry season.

When we opened the photos attached to the email, one of my Boston colleagues, who was with me on the trip, gasped as though in pain. Ketele’s water had bled out, thick and red-tinged like the rust-colored soil. The pond itself was a puddle: shrunken, diminished.

On the shores of Ketele, I saw dozens of women and girls carrying yellow, 40-gallon plastic jugs. Some laughed as they scooped up water, tying the jugs to the backs of donkeys or to their own backs, getting ready for the hours-long journey back to their home villages. These jugs held their families’ water supply for the day — their only water for drinking, cooking, and a dozen other essential tasks.

I don’t know what those girls and their families are doing now that Ketele is gone.

Jane Smith updates us on relations between Chad and Sudan:

January’s rapprochement between Chad and Sudan was genuine, and may well last. After all, as long term allies (Deby launched his takeover of Chad in 1990 from inside Darfur), it makes perfect sense for them to want to stabilise the situation. Neither of them is capable of fully controlling the desert border regions, as the Darfur conflict and displacements in eastern Chad have attested. After a surprisingly peaceful passing of April’s election, Bashir would be risking much by renewing his support to the Chadian rebels. Likewise, Deby’s message to JEM was unequivocal – after the January agreement he despatched a team to the area around the Oure Cassoni refugee camp near Bahai in the far north east, and told JEM to get out of Chadian territory.

US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration and the Sudan Assessment and Evaluation Commission give a report on how implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is progressing.

Loomnie has a links roundup on Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua’s death.

Roving Bandit on ethnic grievances and civil war.

Matthew Tostevin on African business: “African business leaders are much more optimistic than the global average.”

The Mezze points us to a documentary on Mecca.

Chris Blattman has some useful tips for international air travel.

Texas in Africa on savior vs. empowerment paradigms in international development.

And on a lighter note, click through for a video on skateboarding in Uganda.

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