22 november development news briefs

Genel Energy to spend $500 million exploring in Ethiopia and other four countries

ISTANBUL, Nov 22 (Reuters) –  London-listed oil firm Genel Energy is planning to invest $500 million for exploration activities in Ethiopia, Somaliland, Ivory Coast, Malta and Morocco in the next two years, the company’s president said told Reuters on Friday.
“We will spend $250 million of this in 2014,” Mehmet Sepil said on the sidelines of Atlantic Summit in Istanbul, adding that the company currently has around a cash balance of $900 million, which will cover this investment budget.


Africa Oil Announces Fifth Consecutive Major Oil Discovery in Kenya

–  Ethiopian results expected by year’s end

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Nov. 22, 2013) – Africa Oil Corp. (TSX VENTURE:AOI)(OMX:AOI) (“Africa Oil” or the “Company“) is pleased to announce that the Agete-1 exploration well in Block 13T, onshore Northern Kenya, has discovered and sampled moveable oil with an estimated 100 metres of net oil pay in good quality sandstone reservoirs.

The Agete-1 wildcat well is part of a major exploration campaign and has made the fifth consecutive oil discovery in the first of a chain of multiple rift basins across Africa Oil’s acreage in the region. This discovery de-risks several follow-on prospects located to the north and on trend with the Twiga South, Ekales, and Ngamia oil discoveries and adds to the significant resource base already discovered.

The Sakson PR5 rig drilled Agete-1 to a total depth of 1,930 metres. Following completion of logging operations the well will be suspended for future flow testing which will confirm the net pay count. The rig will then move to drill the Ewoi-1 wildcat in the east of this basin, targeting a rift flank prospect similar to the recent Etuko oil discovery. Africa Oil has a 50% interest in the discovery with operator Tullow Oil plc holding the remaining 50% interest.

Elsewhere in Kenya, exploration drilling activities continue to accelerate with the Amosing-1 well in Block 10BB, expected to commence drilling before the end of November with the Weatherford 804 rig. The Etuko-1 well test in Block 10BB is also scheduled to commence this month with the PR Marriott 46 rig which recently arrived in country and the Ekales-1 well test is scheduled to commence in early December with the recently mobilized SMP-5 completion unit. The Africa Oil operated Bahasi-1 well in the Block 9 is currently drilling as planned with results expected by the end of December.

An additional two wells are currently drilling in Ethiopia, the Tutule-1 well in the South Omo block, and the El Kuran-3 well in Block 8, with results also expected before the end of the year.

Keith Hill, President and CEO of Africa Oil commented, “The highly prolific nature of this basin is once again proven by this significant discovery. We would expect to see a high rate of success on all exploration wells in this basin based on results to date. We will have at least 6 rigs full time across Kenya and Ethiopia for the foreseeable future and with our recent fund raising are well placed to not only drill and appraise this basin but to drill basin opening wells in the most prospective new areas in the coming 18 months.”

About Africa Oil

Africa Oil Corp. is a Canadian oil and gas company with assets in Kenya and Ethiopia as well as Puntland (Somalia) through its 45% equity interest in Horn Petroleum Corporation. Africa Oil’s East African holdings are within a world-class exploration play fairway with a total gross land package in this prolific region in excess of 250,000 square kilometers. The East African Rift Basin system is one of the last of the great rift basins to be explored. Five new significant discoveries have been announced in the Northern Kenyan basin in which the Company holds a 50% interest along with operator Tullow Oil plc. The Company is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and on First North at NASDAQ OMX-Stockholm under the symbol “AOI”.


Amb. Berhane Meets U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Berhane Gebre-Christos on Wednesday met with a delegation of US officials led by Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

The Assistant Secretary of State who had just been on a visit to the refugee camps hosting Eritrean refugees in Shire, Tigray Regional State, hailed Ethiopia’s open border policy and its reception of refugees.

She expressed her admiration for Ethiopia’s exemplary work in hosting refugees from neighboring countries. She said she was particularly encouraged by what she had witnessed in Shire and the positive impact of out-of-camp integration activities.

These, she noted, were helping refugees to integrate with the people in the locality. She highlighted the importance of greater coordination among AARA, the UNHCR and NGO’s to deal with the problems of hosting unaccompanied children coming from Eritrea.

She said it was especially difficult to cater to the needs of the children who were coming from Eritrea as young as six years of age.

She highlighted the continued assistance of the US through IOM and its resolve to support Ethiopia’s efforts.

Ambassador Berhane noted that Ethiopia now hosted more than 420,000 refugees from Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan and other countries.

He reaffirmed it would continue its open border policy while also working to address the root causes of the refugee influx.

Ethiopia, he said, will continue to work towards regional peace as it has been doing in Somalia and in Sudan and South Sudan.

This will help address the refugee problem. However, he also underlined the importance of greater involvement from the donor community to address the region’s refugee problem.

In discussing the current problems associated with Ethiopian workers in Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Berhane noted that the government was working to address the problem of illegal migration through a national committee, organized down to grass root levels.

He said that as Ethiopia firmly believed that illegal traffickers are major players “awareness creation is indispensable to cub human trafficking.”

With regard to the problem of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia , he underlined that Ethiopia respected Saudi Arabia’s right to deport illegal migrants but it said it must be done in a manner that respected the rights of the migrants, whether they had documentation or not.

He also emphasized that the measures taken against illegal migrants in Saudi Arabia were taken against citizens of different countries and should not be seen as targeting Ethiopians exclusively.

He explained that Ethiopian government was working to repatriate Ethiopians and rehabilitate and integrate the returnees. It was also working to sign labor agreements with various countries to protect its citizens and had temporarily banned migrants workers from travelling to Saudi Arabia.


Kuwait Pledges Two Billion Dollars to African States At the Afro-Arab Summit

On Tuesday, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah pledged US$1billion in low-interest loans and the same amount in the form of soft loans through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) for investments to African states in cooperation with the World Bank; and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said that Kuwait would coordinate with the World Bank for joint investments in infrastructure projects in accordance with a plan to be announced soon.

He said “we have the desire… to achieve a real partnership with Africa.” The Arab League Secretary General, Nabil al-Arabi, said the “outcome of the summit will achieve a qualitative transformation in the African-Arab economic ties”. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam, the Chairperson of the African Union, co-chair of the Summit, said he was convinced that “now, more than ever before, Africa and the Arab world are poised to take advantage of their respective potentials to give concrete shape to their cooperation.”


Namibia, Ethiopia Sign MoU

Windhoek — The Namibian government on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia whereby both parties agreed on the possibility for Ethiopia to second health professionals, experts and health professionals to Namibia.

In terms of the MoU Ethiopia has committed to continue providing scholarships to a specified number of Namibian students to go and study in that country. The two countries further agreed on a training programme for Namibian health professionals, including doctors, registered nurses, health technicians, pharmacists, paramedics and others. During the signing ceremony the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, once again reiterated that Namibia faces a critical shortage of health professionals and stressed the fact that the ministry finds it difficult to attract and retain health professionals in rural areas.

Kamwi explained that other challenges facing Namibia include a burden of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and diarrhoea, especially among children.

“This is in addition to the emerging non-communicable diseases of lifestyle such as cancer, both prostate, breast and cervical, maternal mortality and malnutrition,” said the health minister. He said government has been gradually shifting resources to the disadvantaged regions, focusing on preventive and basic curative services provided by health centres, clinics, outreach services and community-based health care through the health extension programme. He however stressed that although both the public and private health sectors are providing health services in the country, there is need to strengthen their collaboration.

Early in March Cabinet decided that the health extension programme should be introduced in all regions. Shortly thereafter the Ethiopian ministry of health assisted Namibia to pilot the health extension workers programme in the Kunene Region through which about 40 Namibians were trained. The health extension programme was then rolled out to the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West, Ohangwena, Omusati and Kunene regions where a total of 565 health extension workers are currently undergoing training. The health extension workers act as a bridge between the community and public health care clinics.

They also promote health and educate people on how to prevent diseases in communities, as well as promote immunisation and carry out maternal and child health assessments. Moreover, the Ethiopian Minister of Health, Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu revealed that his country made a significant effort to improve health delivery. Admasu said Ethiopia has already achieved targets on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and also reduced its under-five mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2012, thereby meeting the target set under the Millennium Development Goals.

“Achieving this target three years ahead of time is an indication of the realisation of the ambitious targets of the government’s growth and transformation plan. Ethiopia has also undertaken serious measures to reduce maternal mortality through the provision of skilled birth attendance and family planning services at all levels of the health care system.”

Dr Admasu said through concerted efforts and cooperation with “our bilateral and multilateral partners we shall continue to make a significant effort so that we will achieve all the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those related to health service delivery.” He explained that it is because of such success stories and remarkable achievements of the country in the field of health that Ethiopia was chosen and successfully hosted the 3rd International Conference on Family Planning under the theme – ‘Full Access and Full Choice’ during November 12-15 this year in Addis Ababa.


Some more releases from the folks here http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/ and a tip of the hat to all those there who continue to bring us such a consistent first rate narrative of Ethiopia’s agricultural and economic progress. An invaluable resource of information. Keep up the great work!

Nation earns 264 mln. birr from horticultural products

The Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency said it has secured 264 million birr income from export of horticultural products last budget year.

Discussing with North American flower distributors delegation, Agency Director-General Alem Wolde-Gerima said that the income obtained from flower takes the lion’s share bringing 212 million birr.

He said the balance was secured from export of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The nation has exported the items to countries in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Americas, the Director said. He said that activities are being carried out to expand export destinations of flower and to engage more and more foreign investors in the sector.

Some 90.7 per cent of the total flower export of the country goes to Europe while, the balance is exported to Middle East, Asia and America, according to him.


Zone supplies over 79,000 hides, skin

West Shoa Zone in Oromia State has supplied over 79,000 hides and skin to central market during the first quarter of the current budget year, the zonal animal resource development and health office said.

The Office told ENA that it is working hard to supply over 280,000 hides and skin to the central market during the current budget year.

The Office had supplied over 255,000 hides and skin to the market during the 2005 budget year.


Agency stresses for more transparency in charities, societies operation

The Ethiopian Charities and Societies Agency stressed the need to ensure transparency in operation of charities and societies specifically related to job opportunities and fund raising mechanisms as per the proclamation number 621/2009.

The Agency highlighted charities and societies activities for press members and government public relations experts in how to improve access to information regarding development of the nation here yesterday.

Speaking at the occasion, Ethiopian Broadcast Authority Deputy General Director, Leul Gebru said that the awareness creation programme for press members and public relations experts have paramount importance to strengthen their intimacy and come up with new ideas. It is also vital to sustain social, economic and democratic development of the nation with the participation of the public at large.

He also pointed out that an integrated effort of public relations experts and press members requires to further cement their relationship to access information on various issues on a way that satisfy the need of the public.

Moreover, press members and public relations experts have indispensable role in building the image of the nation. So, they have to play their part in creating awareness about the current development status of the nation for the public in particular and international community in general. As part of this, they have to work on issues that assist to build national consensus, he said.

Works with regard to charities and societies were not implemented as stated on proclamation, among others, in most organizations job opportunities and fund raising mechanism is not carried in accountable way. In this respect, the agency require to give due emphasis in away that sustain developmental activities.

The awareness creation programme was organized by Ethiopian Charities and Societies Agency for two consecutive days.


Improved seeds raise hopes for upturn in coffee yield

With eight million cups of coffee consumed every day worldwide, one would assume that the second most traded commodity in the world that ranks even above gold, sugar and cotton, would provide a stable and flourishing economy for those who farm the produce. Despite being worth over USD140 billion to the companies that export and brand it, Ethiopian farmers are being paid an estimated 0.1% of the trade value per kilo. However, this scenario is relatively improving since a handful of years thanks to the effort by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), Which has laid a fair ground for coffee market, the coffee cooperative associations and Agricultural Research Institutes that are backing the farmers for better productivity and production.

Specifically the research institutes in various coffee growing areas of the country can contribute a lot to boosting quality and strengthen competitiveness by supplying research outcomes that could bring tangible changes in farmers’ plots. Ethiopian farmers cultivate coffee in four different systems, which include forest coffee, semi-forest coffee, garden coffee and plantation coffee. Since its establishment in 1960 E.C., the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (one of the research centres under the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research(EIAR)) , which is located in the main coffee growing areas of the country, has been undertaking various research schemes on coffee. Since 2002, the centre has distributed 11 specialty coffee seeds(seeds with better productivity, taste, better disease resistance capacity), and 26 hybrid coffee seed varieties (totally 37 varieties). Recently this writer had the opportunity to visit plots of coffee farmers who are selected to demonstrate the production of coffee via these newly supplied improved seeds.

According to a press release by the research centre, the first task undertaken in the process of introducing the new coffee seed varieties that are hoped to boost productivity per hectare was to give practice-oriented training to seed producing farmers, agricultural extension workers, investors and other private stakeholders. More than 1200 farmers, five investors, and 269 extension workers have attended the training prepared on specialty coffee varieties. At present, the seed varieties that were supplied to farmers have already grown and are ripening. The specialty coffee seed varieties, planted on plots of farmers in six woredas of Jimma zone are hoped to create a foundation for the commencement of sustainable and effective coffee seed supply system in the coffee producing areas of the country.

Seyoum Etana, Head of Jimma zone Agriculture Office, said the research centre’s effort to introduce better yielding coffee seed varieties has made the farmers in different areas of the zone more beneficiaries. The demand for the new and better seeds is increasing highly that creating adequate seed supply system is becoming mandatory in order to boost productivity in all coffee growing areas, and achieve the goal set for the sector in the Growth and Transformation Plan(GTP), he noted. Seyoum emphasized on the importance of the link between agricultural research institutes and farmers in the effort to increase production and productivity.

Fentahun Mengistu (PhD), Executive director of EIAR, speaking during the visit at one of the demonstration sites in Gera woreda, 68 kilometers from Jima, said the country needs to perform various tasks to ensure the needed level of quality in coffee production and strengthen its competitiveness in the international market. “Technology supply has a pivotal role in the value chain of coffee production,” he noted. Fentahun lauded the research centre for its successful effort in supplying improved specialty and hybrid varieties to coffee seed producers and creating a conducive environment for the crucial task of extending better coffee seed varieties. He noted that specialty coffee had been provided for farmers during the last consecutive years but systemic and sustainable seed supply system should be put in place to create a better access to technologies and research outcomes like this.

“Farmers should be engaged in the multiplication process of these seed varieties. The task should be undertaken on plots of as many farmers as possible. It also requires the participation of the private sector,” he added. The executive director stressed the need to tailor a system to supply the specialty and hybrid seed varieties to all users in coffee producing areas of the country. Although the Ethiopian Seed Enterprise is supplying improved seeds of many crop varieties, coffee doesn’t have such a formal seed supplying body. As a result, it is vital to expand the informal seed system via participation of the users (farmers), Fentahun said. He also urged the visitors to exchange important knowledge and skill and pave the way for working together in the near future in order to ensure better supply and productivity in coffee farming.

Taye Qufa (PhD), Director of Jimma Agricultural Research Centre, on his part stressed the need to fill the ever increasing demand and supply gap for coffee seed varieties. According to him, though the demand from farmers in a single woreda has reached up to 400 quintals, the centre’s production capacity is yet to exceed 150 quintals. The research centre, which is also serving as the centre of excellence with regard to coffee in the country, has due recognition from the Ministry of Science and Technology. Not only in the supply of seeds, but also in productivity of coffee farms, coffee farming in the country is yet to reach the needed level which is competent with other producers in the world. “We are still lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of using scientific methods in the production of coffee. The farmers, investors, and agricultural scientists should work hand in glove to make the necessary paradigm shift.”

The visiting crew had the chance to see the visible difference between the centuries old traditional coffee production and the new specialty and hybrid coffee varieties which have significant difference in the amount of output and growth. The real trying task ahead, of course, for the Ministry of Agriculture, which is responsible for promoting research outcomes from various research centres to the farmers, is to put in place an effective seed supply system that can distribute these vital seeds varieties to the beneficiaries. The Ministry will need to start engaging as many farmers as possible in the shortest possible future to produce the seeds and distribute them to all coffee growing areas of the country.

These seed varieties, which have almost doubled the amount of production per hectare on pilot plots, could hugely change the lives many coffee farmers in the country by boosting the amount of yield and hence income. Farmers who were invited to visit the pilot sites raised their eye- brows witnessing the difference in the outcome between the improved and the traditionally used coffee seeds. The farmers are expected to tell their respective community members and the demand for the improved coffee seeds is expected to grow highly in the coming farming seasons.


Africa’s mobile boom -‘Huge opportunities’

Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile industry has been the fastest growing region in the world for mobile users in the past five years, according to a report published on Monday by the GSMA, the body representing mobile operators worldwide.

The region’s mobile subscriber base has grown by 18 per cent a year over the past five years to 253-million unique users and 502-million connections. GSMA forecasts in their report, “Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2013”, that mobile users in the region will be closer to 346-million within the next five years.

Despite the high figures, there is still ample room for growth. “With unique subscriber penetration rates still less than 33 per cent, this opens up a major opportunities for growth in the next five years,” the GSMA said.

At 65.7 per cent, South Africa has the highest penetration rate, while Niger represents the lower end at 20 per cent.

Economic effect

The mobile industry currently contributes more than 6 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) – higher than any other comparable region globally, according to the report. This contribution is expected to rise from $60-billion in 2012 to $119-billion, or more than 8 per cent of GDP, by 2020.

Last year, the mobile ecosystem directly supported 3.3-million jobs and contributed $21-billion to public funding in the region, including licence fees, the study shows.

By 2020, mobile is set to double its economic effect, employing 6.6-million people in the region and contributing $42-billion to public funding.

Fixed-line penetration rates in many countries in the region are less than 5 per cent. “Mobile has emerged as the main medium for accessing the internet across sub-Saharan Africa. While 2G connections still dominate, 3G and 4G networks are gaining scale and smartphone ownership is on the rise,” the GSMA said.

“Despite the significant impact of the mobile industry in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, even greater opportunities are ahead,” said Tom Phillips, GSMA’s chief regulatory officer. “Beyond further growth for voice services, the region is starting to see an explosion in the uptake of mobile data.”

However, Phillips said, a short-term focus by some countries on generating high spectrum fees and maximising tax revenue risks “constrains the potential of the mobile internet”.

Policy reform

The GSMA has called on countries to develop a more “transparent and enabling policy environment” to help realise the mobile sector’s potential.

“Operators and investors need clarity to fund the substantial investment needed to extend coverage to remote areas and meet the growing demand for higher speed connectivity.”

The report highlights three key areas that it believes most affect the growth of the mobile industry:

Managing spectrum allocation in a way that balances socioeconomic benefits with the costs needed to deploy advanced networks. The association urged regulators to use transparent and predictable processes for granting and renewing spectrum licences, which would allow operators to better plan their investments.

The importance of spectrum harmonisation in the region, including the need to accelerate the analogue to digital television switchover, which would free up spectrum for mobile and help boost economic growth.

“Broader economic analysis predicts that mobile broadband adoption would generate up to $197-billion in additional GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2015 and 2020 and help fuel the creation of 16-million new jobs across a variety of sectors,” the report said.

Taxation, including customs duties on handsets, is very high, retarding the take-up of new mobile services.

“Lowering taxation levels on the mobile sector would benefit consumers, businesses and government by lowering the cost of ownership, encouraging the take-up of new mobile services, improving productivity and boosting GDP and overall tax revenues in the longer term,” the GSMA said.

Transformative effects

Mobile solutions are used to address a range of socio-economic challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the GSMA, there are almost 250 mobile health services in operation across the region. These support patients who may not have access to local healthcare services.

Many people who never had a bank account are now able to be financially active. According to the study, there are more than 100 active mobile money initiatives and 56.9-million registered mobile money users in the region.

Mobile solutions are also playing an increasingly important role in improving agricultural output, which generates around a third of the region’s GDP and employs nearly two-thirds of the labour force.

“The mobile industry has already had a transformative effect on the social and economic life of sub-Saharan Africa, but there is scope for far greater growth and innovation, if the right conditions are established,” said Phillips.

“In addressing key regulatory concerns, policy makers throughout the region have a major opportunity to unlock the potential of a dynamic and interconnected Africa.” ( allafrica.com)


Role of ‘self-suppliers’ in water provision endeavours

Owing to its huge untapped water resources Ethiopia is considered as the “Water Tower” of East Africa. Rain, ground and underground water are abundantly available almost in all parts of the country. However, these sources of waters are not fully exploited yet; people living in some areas still remain without sufficent water. Lack of water management knowledge is also one of the factors exacerbating water problems.

Ethiopia has planned to raise water coverage to 100 per cent by the end of the GTP period. As envisioned in the five year plan, implementation strategies for potable water supply focus on ensuring dependable and sustainable water supply. In this regard, sustainable and feasible technologies would inevitably be vital in a bid to improve the rural and urban water coverage.

Since water is a basic necessity, the sufficiency and quality of its supply directly affects the well being of a given society. In relation to this safe treatment of waste water is also important.

To this effect, currently innovative water projects are underway mainly by state governments. These projects adopt simple technologies that enable them to easily provide potable water supply both at community and household level.

Despite the efforts by state governments and other development partners to increase potable water supply, coverage is not at the desired level yet and as a result a significant proportion of the population live without access to potable water supply. The inability of government to provide universal water coverage has led to proliferation ‘self-suppliers’-households who dig water wells of their own to meet water demand of the household.

Recently, Oromia State Water, Mineral and Energy Bureau has provided training for zonal and woreda level water experts on community and household water supply packages. The training which was held at Batu town aimed at exploiting water resources with simple, cost-effective technologies at household level.

These experts would be delegated to mobilize the community in a bid to increase public participation. According to the stats’s plan to meet its targets in improving water coverage, public participation is expected to account for 50 per cent, the total coverage while the government and development partners 40 and 10 per cent respectively.

Bureau Head, Motuma Mekassa on the occasion said that the government is striving to heave water coverage to 100 per cent at state level which is also similar to what has been targetted at national level. This ambitious plan will not be achieved with the government’s budget alone, but with active participation of the public, said the Head.

“Community and household water supply package is believed to assist our efforts to fully achieve our water provision target by the end of the GTP period. While our water coverage at present is 71.36 per cent, we have planned to raise it by 15 per cent in this budget year and by another 15 per cent in the next year. To do this, public participation at community and household level is critically important,” said Motuma.

According to him, in the current budget year alone, 32,000 water schemes will be carried out targeting to benefit 2 million people. He also noted that out of 25,000 water schemes done last year only 6,000 have been serviceable, while the rest failed to meet the standard due to lack of appropriate technology and relevant training in this regard.

UNICEF WASH Programme Coordinator with Oromia Water, Mineral and Energy Bureau Tibebu Terefe on his part said that the package will largely enable to effectively exploit raw water resource in the state by upgrading and building standard water schemes.

“The package also helps us to better expand water supply to household level which was mainly to community level before using various modern water technologies. In this process, the trained water experts will work on awareness raising, community mobilization and necessary support provision endeavour so that households will get quality water supply from available water sources,” Tibebu said.

Tibebu stressed that the state needs to exploit its immense water potential. Hand dug wells, manual well drilling and other simple schemes hugely help self-supply water utilization at household level.

Over 600 experts from all zones and woredas of the State participated on this demonstration based training in three round session and best practices of some zones mainly on public participation was displayed.


Achieving economic development goals in a sustainable way

Ethiopia aims to achieve carbon-neutral middle-income status before 2025. As set forth in the national Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), this leap will require increasing agricultural productivity, strengthening the industrial base, and fostering export growth. Economically, it means growing fast enough to increase the current gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of around USD 380 to USD 1,000 (the lower threshold of middle-income status), decreasing the share of GDP contributed by agriculture from more than 40% to less than 30%, and migrating from farming and herding to jobs in the services and industry sectors.

Ethiopia has good prospects for growth. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Ethiopia will achieve real GDP growth of more than 8% annually over the next five years. Of the countries with more than 10 million inhabitants, only China and India are expected to grow at a faster pace.

Furthermore, Ethiopia’s recent track record demonstrates that it can achieve double-digit growth rates. Between 2005 and 2010, the real GDP grew by 11% p.a. In the past five years, 40% yield increase in agriculture was achieved. Ethiopia is the world’s tenth-largest producer of livestock, and its major exports are coffee, sesame, leather, fowers, and gold. From 2005 to 2010, it improved its infrastructure, more than doubling electric

power generation capacity, expanding the telecommunication network from 0.5 million users to 25 million, and adding over 11,000 kilometres to the existing road network.

To support growth, Ethiopia is attracting more foreign invest-ment, which is up from around USD 820 million in 2007/08 to more than USD 2 billion in the first half of the 2010/11 fiscal year. Among other factors, this success reflects a comparably good investment climate. The World Bank’s 2011 Doing Business report ranks Ethiopia’s overall business environment as better than that of many other countries. Ethiopia also received higher marks on its business tax rate and enforcement of contracts.

Ethiopia must continue to grow: it is still one of Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. Over 7 million people still face food insecurity, making food security a critical objective for the government. Most people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, and increasing droughts and flooding are causing major rural crises. In particular, droughts in 2003, 2009, and 2011 showed once again how vulnerable the population is: Ethiopia’s

agricultural system is primarily rainfed, but parts of the country are prone to droughts and flooding. While changes in the severity and frequency of drought and flood events are difficult to project, uncertainty about the exact nature of future climate change and its effects must not be interpreted as uncertainty about the need to act now to minimise future environmental damage that could derail economic progress.

Ethiopia wants to avoid the traps of business-as-usual development. Like other developing countries, Ethiopia faces a critical challenge in achieving its development goals: financing. Capital constraints could lead to investments in conventional solutions that require a low initial expenditure but result in high inefficiencies – making them less sustainable than alternatives that cost more at the start but also offer more economic, social, and environmental benefits in the long run. If Ethiopia were to pursue a conventional economic development path – represented in a business-as-usual scenario – greenhouse gas emissions would more than double to 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents (Mt CO2e) in 2030. Conventional economic growth could lead to other challenges as well, such as depleting the very natural resources that Ethiopia’s economic development is based on, locking it into outdated technologies, and forcing it to spend an ever-larger share of GDP on fossil fuel imports. In addition to lower public health due to diseases related to indoor air pollution, further forest degradation and soil erosion would also occur, diminishing food security and destroying sources of drinking water.

It is to avoid such foreseeable problems that the government of Ethiopia has embarked on a path to achieving economic development in a sustainable way.

( Excerpt from the CRGE strategy document)


Nation set to achieve 100 per cent iodized salt coverage by 2015

As the fastest growing economy in the world and a declared middle income country by 2015, Ethiopia needs a physically and mentally astute and educated iodine deficiency-free population. As far back as 1988,Ethiopia was one of the sub-Saharan frontline countries,having achieved almost 80 per cent of iodized salt coverage. How ever,the achievement couldn’t be sustainable following the Ethio-Eritrean war.

Due to the gravity of the situation,the last three years,a sensitization campaign, headed by the Federal Ministry of Health is striving to access iodized salt to household level in order to avoid complications resulting from iodine deficiency. To this effect,the nation marked the third Iodized Salt Day in Semera, Afar State Tuesday with the theme: “ Access to quality iodized salt to all.”

Ministry Maternal and Child Health Directorate Director Dr. Teowdros Bekele on the occasion said: “ It is well known that iodized salt usage in the country is very low. Millions of pregnant women, infants and children are more affected by lack of iodine. We can save more mothers and children by just using a sprinkle of iodine. We are not using our full potential to achieve the MDG 5. If we do so we will achieve MDG 5 quite easily.”

“Three years ago almost all salt produced in the country was not iodized and only 5 per cent of the population has access to iodized salt. Now, we have been able to make over 80 per cent of the salt produced iodized. But rigorous quality control is needed. The standard must be regular and maintained. All parties involved must work together to improve the quality.”

Trade State Minister Ali Siraj also said though the country has a huge salt deposit its contribution to creating employment or supporting the industrial sector nor in export is very minimal due to the fragmented traditional production mechanism.

Ali added: “ Iodized salt is not only about business it is about the society’s health; it is about maternal and child health. Taking into consideration the health potential of iodine, the government is working towards achieving 100 per cent access and usage by the end of the GTP.”

According to Ministry Nutrition Programme Coordinator Birra Mersa, iodized salt production improved since Ethiopia adopted proclamation number 204/2003 making it mandatory for the iodisation of table salt. “ The soon to be officially released country wide survey will reveal the total coverage of iodized salt coverage.”

“In order to eliminate iron deficiency related diseases a person must take 44 – 162 micro grame iodine per day. The recent Cost of Hunger Survey shows that the country loses about 53.3 million USD annually due to iodine deficiency stunting in children.”

According to the 2011 Ethiopian Health and Demographics Survey, 66 million people in the country are unprotected from iodine deficiency and only 15 per cent of households have access to iodized salt making it number one among the sub-Saharan countries insufficient in iodine intake. The World Health Organization (WHO) score card also shows that 13-16 countries including Ethiopia are affected by goiter, mental retardation , miscarriage and related deaths, among others, due to iodine deficiency.

Ethiopia consumes about 350,000 tonnes of salt a year worth over 52 million birr but different salt markets evaluation show that a high distribution of non-iodised salt is in circulation which is very difficult to control.


Job creation, entrepreneurship can reduce poverty, boost sustained growth in Africa: Ban

Accelerating industrialization in Africa requires a focus on job creation and entrepreneurship, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday, stressing that these are key aspects to fully capture the potential of Africa’s dynamic work force and boosting inclusive sustainable development continent wide.

“Africa’s economic dynamism, young population and potential for innovation form the foundation for stronger and competitive industries,”UN News quoted Ban as saying in his message to mark this year’s Africa Industrialization Day. Designated by the General Assembly in 1989, the Day will this year highlight the crucial role of job creation and entrepreneurship in eradicating poverty.

“Although Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies — with growth across a variety of sectors — too many people are still being left behind,” the UN chief said, stressing that the region is affected by widespread unemployment — particularly among youth. Many, especially women, are engaged in vulnerable forms of work with low and unstable pay.

The Secretary-General said that focusing on job creation, entrepreneurship and the promotion of small and medium enterprises can boost inclusive and sustainable industrial development across the continent.

“As we mark this fiftieth anniversary year of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, the United Nations renews our commitment to Africa’s development and the African Union’s efforts to achieve inclusive growth,” said Mr. Ban, urging all Member States to work together to foster job creation and entrepreneurship throughout the continent as critical ways to build a more prosperous and sustainable future for all.

While the Day is commemorated annually on 20 November, the 2013 celebration takes place today at UN Headquarters in New York. The UN specialized agency for promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development, known as UNIDO, the lead agency on the issue of Africa’s industrialization, will jointly host an event with the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, and the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the UN.


Minister says  only 25 per cent  petrol  stations  conform  to   standard

Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said that out of the 630 petrol stations in the country and inspected by the Ministry, only 25 per cent conform to sector standard.

At a consultative meeting with relevant stakeholders here yesterday, Alemayehu said petroleum downstream operations regulatory includes oil transport operation, depots, petrol stations, effective and reliable delivery. Malpractices in the supply chain cause undesirable consequences on beneficiaries and damage the national economy, he added.

Accordingly, petrol adulteration and stealing do not occur in petrol stations alone. Rather, starting from the routes until it is delivered to stations, it could be adulterated or stolen. Though most of the petrol stations in the country receive oil from transports, inspection was conducted to determine their standard. As a result, about 25 per cent were found conforming to the standard.

The Minister said that some improvements have been witnessed following a consultative meeting with oil importing and delivery companies to correct faults last April.

“Petrol adulteration and stealing causes many problems. Currently, the country is engaged in the execution of mega projects. To facilitate the efforts, the provision of quality petrol with the required amount is critical. If not, the projects encounter incalculable economic bankruptcy. Other service sectors which utilize petrol would also face the same problem. More coordination and effort between and among all stakeholders is vital to address the problem. For the same purpose, setting goals, effort is being made to regulate the system and alleviate the problem,” Alemayehu added.

Petroleum Downstream Operations Regulatory Directorate Director Kahisu Tadesse on his part said energy has a significant role in the country’s social, economic and political growth. As Ethiopia is not oil producing county, it meets its fuel demand through importation.

Following that petrol is non-renewable resource, its price is escalating from day-to-day at the global level. Hence, the country is spending a huge amount of capital to import petrol from the international market. This in turn negatively impacts the country’s foreign exchange reserve.

“Consequently, taking the necessary care for this expensive commodity and supplying it safely and soundly in a manner which facilitates the country’s growth and transformation plan is vital. To this effect, the responsibility of stakeholders is immense,” Kahisu said.

NOC Business Development Manager and Oil Companies’ Technique Committee Chairperson Ahmed Sheriff on his part said serious problem prevails in petrol supply and distribution channel. Adulteration and theft is a common problem globally and so is in the country. Kerosene, as it is subsidized by the government to meet public fuel demand, and is cheap in price, illegally mixed with petrol and supplied to the market. As a result, it damages fuel-system and engines affecting vehicles durability, he added. According to Ahmed, to combat this illicit practice equally to setting regulatory system and taking severe measures on defaulters stakeholders are also expected to stick to self-regulation.


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