27 November 2013 Development News Briefs

Ethiopia’s new 25 year – $100 billion Energy Strategy

Prominent Ethiopian and foreign experts on Tuesday (November 26) began discussions on a new power strategy to boost electricity production as part of Ethiopia’s plans to become a regional energy exporter. The discussions covered ways to implement Addis Ababa’s 25-year power master plan. According to the Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo), the new power policy will enable Ethiopia to generate 37,000mw of energy by 2037. Under the new plan, Ethiopia will eventually be able to export over 4,000mw of hydro-power to some nine countries in the East African region. Exports could eventually be extended more widely to northern and southern African nations. This 25-year energy strategy will cost Ethiopia US$100 billion and the expectations are that it will be sourced from both local sources and international funds. As part of the plan, Ethiopia will build over 16,000km of high voltage transmission lines in the next 10 years. Ethiopia’s current power production stands at around 2,300mw and exports 60mw of electricity to neighboring Djibouti and around 100mw to Sudan, providing a considerable boost to the country’s income. According to EEPCo, Ethiopia has the potential to produce some 45,000 megawatts of electricity from hydro-power alone.


Ethiopia aims to augment trade with Jamaica 

Ms. Yodit Hylton, Ethiopia’s honorary consul to Jamaica, said on Tuesday (November 26) that Ethiopia intended to increase trade ties with Jamaica using Ethio-Global Trade and Consulting Limited (EGTAC) as an instrument of cooperation between the two countries. She said she would be promoting investment by bringing Jamaican companies to Ethiopia and other African countries. China, Canada and the US are all trade partners of Jamaica and she stressed Africa as a new economic growth pole should intensify its relationship with the Jamaican business community and encourage investors to fill the economic gap. She explained that Jamaican investors could invest in manufacturing and agro-processing industries in Ethiopia as the country provided incentives, cheap labor, and a good investment climate. She said that the distance between the two countries was not an impediment, noting that “Ethiopia Shipping Lines goes all over the world….equipped with the relevant technology to make it possible.”  She said Jamaica could also share technology and successful experience with Ethiopia. Jamaica has had deep-rooted ties with Ethiopia ever since the regime of Haile Selassie, with the Rastafarian Movement providing one of the major links between the two peoples.


Chinese Vice-Premier concludes her visit to Ethiopia

The Chinese High Level Delegation led by Vice-Premier, Liu Yandong, has concluded its three day visit to Ethiopia today. The visit, aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries, brought together officials from different areas to discuss different issues of bilateral interest. During the visit, the Chinese Delegation met with President Mulatu Teshome, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen and other senior officials. The two countries signed a number of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding:  on education, culture, and development cooperation. The two countries have agreed to set up a Chinese Cultural Center in Ethiopia, a joint laboratory for the study of leather technology and to establish a Confucius Institute at Addis Ababa University. The visit underlined the  strong relationship between  Ethiopia and China  and their robust development cooperation. China has been and remains one of Ethiopia’s closest development partners and has provided support for a variety of different development initiatives, with particular emphasis on infrastructure development and expansion. Ethiopia is also an increasingly attractive investment destination for Chinese businesses engaged in manufacturing, technology and construction.


Agreements signed for Ethiopia’s railway project and develop Natural Gas Reserves

Credit Suisse, an international bank in Switzerland, has signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to extend a loan amounting 1.4 billion USD for the construction of a section of the national railway grid. The loan will cover a large part of the finance for the railway being built from Awash to Woldiya. The construction of this section of the railway line was awarded to a Turkish company in July. Credit Suisse also announced its desire to extend loans to European and American companies willing to engage in rail and energy projects in Ethiopia. In related news, the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines and Energy signed an agreement on Saturday with a Chinese company to develop the Kalub and Hilala gas fields in the Somali Regional State. Under the agreement, the Chinese company is expected to develop the gas fields within two years. The Kalub and Hilala gas fields are estimated to contain 116 billion cubic meters of natural gas.


Ethiopia signs 212.4 million Euros development grant with the EU

Ethiopia signed a development grant worth of 212.4 million Euros with the European Union on Monday (November 25) in Addis Ababa to support financing of projects on the areas of road construction, maternal health and drought resilience efforts. The Government is now mid-way in its third generation of development strategy, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). This includes connecting the country’s agricultural rich zones to markets inside and outside the country as a major element in its poverty reduction strategy.  Andris Piebalgs, the EU’s Commissioner for Development, said that increasing effort on expanding road construction was ‘central’ to the development activities and the reduction of poverty, and was particularly important to link rural farmers to markets and essential services. The latest grant would help the country upgrade its transport infrastructure and promote regional integration. Ethiopia has also shown tremendous progress in cutting the rate of maternal mortality and in undertaking projects to eliminate the effects of drought. According to the deal, 49 million Euros will go to expand the road infrastructure; 50 million Euros will be allocated for projects of drought resilience; and 40.4 million Euros will be allotted to improving maternal health. The deal will also have a positive impact in deepening the development partnership between the EU and Ethiopia.


Ethio-Russia joint commission review meeting concluded

A review meeting of the Intergovernmental Ethio-Russia Commission on Economic, Scientific, Technical and Trade Cooperation concluded on Monday (November 25). The meeting, held in Addis Ababa, reviewed implementation progress of the decisions passed by the fourth meeting of the Joint Commission, held in February of this year and started preparations for the fifth Joint Commission meeting to be held in May 2014. The review meeting also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on public health cooperation between the two countries. An agreement for the renovation of Melka Wakena Hydroelectric power plant was also signed between Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation and Inter RAO UES Group, a Russian diversified energy company. The Joint Commission, co-chaired by Ato Alemayehu Tegenu, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy and Mr. Valery Pak, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation and Head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Mineral Resources, also agreed to expedite the finalization of agreements on cooperation on agriculture, air services and tourism and culture.


Ethiopia, Cuba Keen to Deepen All Round Ties

Ethiopia and Cuba have expressed their readiness to deepen all round relations between the two countries. The remark was made during a high level discussion held in Addis Ababa between the two countries with the Cuban delegation led by its foreign minister Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla.

“Our bilateral ties should be a multifaceted one with party to party relations taking the foundation,” Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said during a brief meeting with the Cuban foreign minister at the office of the EPRDF Secretariat.

The call was welcomed by Bruno Rodríguez, who came to Ethiopia to participate in the 26th African, Caribbean, Pacific and European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which kicked off on Monday.

Both countries agreed to diversify the two countries’ relations in areas of health, education and agriculture development also promoting people to people relations.

Appreciating the warm hospitality accorded to him and his delegation, the foreign minister expressed his astonishment with Ethiopia’s development.

“We have witnessed a country that is working for development,” Bruno Rodríguez said. “This is highly commendable and we are ready to learn from Ethiopia’s experience and replicate some back home.”

During his stay in Addis Ababa, Bruno Rodríguez also held discussions with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom and Speaker of House of People’s Representatives Abadula Gemeda.

The three decades old ties between the two countries is described by some as a relation “knitted in blood” after Cuba sent soldiers to help Ethiopia quell an invasion by Somalia in late 1970’s.

Some 163 Cubans died during the war for whose honour a Friendship Park and a monument is put up in Addis Ababa.


EIAR introduces new technologies among farmers

The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) said it has introduced new agricultural technologies among more than 26,000 farmers and semi-pastoralists in the first quarter of this fiscal year.
EIAR Public Relations Directorate Director, Derese Teshome, told WIC the new technologies would help the farmers and semi-pastoralists to effectively use select seed varieties released by the institute.
As part of the efforts to improve agricultural productivity in the country, some 393, 350 quintals of select seed have been distributed among beneficiaries in the first quarter, he said.
A short-term training on ways of using the select seed has been given for 27, 788 farmers ahead of the distribution of the seed, Derese pointed out.
EIAR conduct research that will contribute to increased agricultural productivity and nutrition quality, sustainable food security, economic development, and conservation of the integrity of natural resources and the environment.
The institute has set a plan to conduct 3, 283 researches in various sectors, it was noted.


Authority, Sur Construction sign 1.6 billion birr road upgrading project

The Ethiopian Roads Authority has signed a contract with domestic Sur Construction for the upgrading of the 104-kms long Dashen- Abdrafi Mayikadran road project, in Amhara and Tigray State.

The construction cost, which is 1.6 billion birr will be covered by the government of Ethiopia. The agreement was signed between Taddesse Yemane,of Sur Construction General Manager and Zeid Welde-Gebriel ERA Director General at the Authority’s headquarter.

The company is expected to upgrade the current road to asphalt concrete road. The road will have a width of 10m as it passes through towns and rural areas. The construction of the road is expected to be finalized within the coming three years.

Upon going operational the road will benefit the society in adequate access to the road as it has significant contribution in reducing time and cost of transportation, Samson Wondimu, Authority’s Communication Director told The Ethiopian Herald.

The road construction will include 7 bridge and other structural constructions.


China backs airport expansion

The Republic of China yesterday granted 1.5 billion RMB in soft loan to assist in the expansion of Ethiopia’s airport facilities.

Foreign Ministry Asia & Oceania Affairs Directorate General Genet Teshome told journalists that the loan would further strengthen the existing economic cooperation between the two countries enabling Ethiopia’s airport become competitive globally.

According to Genet ,China has also offered 100 million RMB grant to Ethiopia during talks with Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and Chinese Vice Prime Minister Liu-Yandong to further enhance people-to-people and party-to-party relations as well as social ,education and economic cooperation between the two sisterly countries.

Ethiopia and China have signed a number of agreements and Memorandum of Understandings on economic and technical cooperation, establishment of Chinese Cultural Centre, among others.


25-year Power Expansion Master Plan study tabled for discussion

Map showing the geothermal sites in Ethiopia

• Demand could reach 37,000 MW by 2037

 A two-day workshop on the next 25 years Ethiopian Power System Expansion Master-Plan study, which envisages that power demand could reach 37,000 MW by the end of 2037, kicked off here yesterday.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation with the financial support from the International Development Assistance (IDA) hired Parson Brinkerhoff UK through bidding to undertake the highly required power system master plan update study.

Corporation CEO Mehiret Debebe said the main objective of the study is to develop the least cost transmission and generation expansion plan for the next 25 years.

“The contract has also bestowed huge responsibility to the consultant to capacitate the Corporation with skilled manpower, software resource and also power system database for future updating of the study by own workforce,” he said.

The study began a year ago. The consultant has already submitted the load forecast report which proved with scientific rigour and model that the expectation of high demand could reach over 37,000 MW by the end of the study period, which is 2037.

Currently, the country produces some 2,300 MW while many hydropower, wind and solar energy generation projects are underway.

In the interim report presented at the workshop, the Corporation and the consultant have documented their findings as to how Ethiopia’s power system shall develop in the coming years to meet reliably the anticipated demand with the least cost investment.

According to Mehiret, the final recommendation plan centres on huge hydro power development, which the country is abundantly endowed with, and as energy mix incorporates wind, solar, biomass and geothermal plants.

In addition, not to compromise the system security during poor hydrologic conditions, the consultant has proposed thermal generation operating almost as standby with very low average plant factor for short term. High Efficiency Combined Cycle gas turbines with higher plant factor are also proposed after 2025 when the candidate hydro resources in pipeline with lower cost of generation are exhausted.

“This is an indication to the need for identifying other potential projects for further consideration in the future plan update activities as we believe that Ethiopia has more than 45GW hydro potential,” the CEO said. Though not incorporated in the final plan due to economic and other complex reasons, nuclear power plants were also examined as possible candidates.

“We have to give serious attention to recommendations which are within ten years horizon”, he said. “According to the plan, we need to finalize feasibility studies for Gibe IV, Gibe V, Upper Dabus, Birbir, and Genale Dawa V and others within a very short time.”

He said: “We need to implement with a sense of urgency; more than 15 hydro plants with a total capacity of about 10,000 MW on top of the ones which are currently under construction.”

The plan also indicates that 900 MW wind, 300 MW solar and 1,000 MW geothermal are needed within the 10 years period. Moreover, more than 16,400-kms extra and high voltage transmission lines need to be laid.

The 25 years Expansion Plan requires more than 150 billion USD for its implementation. This is a huge task requiring the coordination of resources from governmental, the private sector and financing institutions and other stakeholders who have common interest from this prospective market, Mehiret said.


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