29 January 2014 Development News Roll


Ambassador Berhane meets the Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Ministry of Canada


State Minister Ambassador Berhane met on Monday (January 27) with Mr. Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Canada.

Their discussions focused on strengthening the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Canada.

Mr. Obhrai said he appreciated the growing relationship between the two countries and was looking for additional ways to expand the relationship. He mentioned Canada’s interest in signing a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement with Ethiopia.

Ambassador Berhane said Ethiopia valued its relations with Canada and appreciated Canada’s role in assisting the peace efforts in the region. He described the political relations between the two countries as excellent but suggested economic ties could be improved.

He pointed out that that Africa was set to become the next growth pole of the world economy and Ethiopia was one of the countries on the continent registering fastest economic growth. He urged Canadian companies to do more business in Ethiopia.

Ambassador Berhane welcomed Canadian interest in a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement but he also requested the Canadian government to sign a more comprehensive business agreement that included avoidance of double taxation as well as trade and tourism agreements.

He asked for an increase in the number of flights for Ethiopian Airlines to Canada, pointing out that it was the only African airline to fly there. He said an increase in flights would provide the opportunity to increase economic ties between the two countries.

Ambassador Berhane also briefed Mr. Obhrai on Ethiopia’s efforts to encourage lasting peace and security in the region, in Somalia, between Sudan and South Sudan and in South Sudan itself.



Dr. Tedros meets the head of General Electric International


Dr. Tedros met Mr. Jeff Immelt, the Chief Executive of General Electric International Inc. on Monday (January 27).

Dr. Tedros detailed the Government`s aims to transform Ethiopia into an economy which has a modern and productive agricultural sector with enhanced technology and an industrial sector with a leading role in the economy. He explained successful combination of leadership, right policies, and focus on human resources development as demonstrated in the Growth and Transformation Plan.

He also noted the investment opportunities available in Ethiopia, in energy, including hydro, wind, solar and geothermal power, in infrastructure, agriculture, education and in manufacturing sectors. He also encouraged GEI to work together with Ethiopian Airlines to reach out across Africa.

General Electric International is a global leader in providing technology and services to power, rail, healthcare and infrastructure sectors, and has the expertise and capacity to facilitate engagement by private sector investors in infrastructure projects across the world.

Mr. Immelt said he appreciated the Government’s commitment and the environment for investment in Ethiopia. He said training services and manufacturing of equipment for maternal care would proceed as scheduled, and he expressed interest in expanding GEC’s activities and investments in Ethiopia.

During his visit, Mr. Immelt also held discussions with Prime Minster Hailemariam and with Dr.  Kesteberhane, Minister of Health. He said an MOU would be signed with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to provide a framework for successful collaboration between the Government, GEC and relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors, to scope and develop viable and sustainable projects in key sectors of the economy.



Dr. Tedros meets UK’s Minister for Africa


Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom held discussion on Tuesday with UK’s minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds.

The two ministers discussed the situation in South Sudan as well as ways to strengthen economic ties between Ethiopia and the UK.

Regarding the situation in South Sudan, Mark Simmonds commends Ethiopia’s role in brokering the peace agreement between parties in South Sudan and pledges UK’s assistance to the full implementation of the two agreements.

He said, the economic ties between the two countries are growing and UK’s business delegation is prepared to visit Ethiopia in a couple of months’ time.

On South Sudan, Dr. Tedros commends UK’s assistance as a member of the Troika.

He said, the agreements signed are a good first step but it needs a continued follow up and understanding of the situation.

In this regard, the international community should help the two parties to honor the signed agreements and in the meantime to create conducive environment for political dialogue.

Regarding Ethiopia’s formal Joining of AMISOM, Dr. Tedros noted that Ethiopian troops would actively pursue Al-Shabaab terrorists and create conducive environment for peacekeeping in their areas of operation.

In the meantime, Ethiopia gives paramount importance to training and building the capacity of the security forces of the Federal Government of Somalia and expects all troop contributing countries to follow the same line of engagement.

This would ultimately strengthen the security sector in Somalia and assist the overall peace building process, he stated.

While appreciating the existing economic relations between the two countries, Dr. Tedros expressed his readiness in any way necessary for the success of the visit of UK’s business delegation to Ethiopia.



Ministry endeavoring to attain GTP in energy sector


The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy said it is exerting maximum efforts to achieve the target set in the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) in the energy sector.
The five-year GTP, which will be concluded by 2015, eyes increasing the electricity generation capacity of the country to 10, 000 MW and its coverage to 75 per cent.
Wide-ranging activities have been carried out during the past three years of the GTP period to generate electricity from various sources and efforts are going on to attain the target within the remaining GTP period.
“The ministry is working day and night to raise nation’s power generation capacity to 10,000MW by 2015 from 2,268 MW now,” Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu told WIC recently.
“The overall energy coverage of the country is also expected to reach 75 per cent by 2015 from the present 54 per cent,” he said.
In order to attain the plan set in the GTP, power projects with 8,500 MW power generation capacity are being executed in various parts of the country, the minister said.
According to him, the country has a plan to produce 8,123MW electricity from water, some 153MW from wind, 300MW from solar and 50MW from garbage which, all of them are under implementation.
In addition to the execution of power projects, the ministry has launched solar systems project, which will be used to power 25,000 homes in rural areas of the country.
Since the launch of the project, 23,000 solar systems have been installed, thus benefiting several households, he said.
Moreover, the country has set a plan to build 14, 000 biogas technology plants within the GTP period, out of which 3,500 biogas are being built every year, he said.
The country has also managed to save 100MW on daily bases through distributing power saving bulbs to households, Alemayhu Added.
Ethiopia has exploitable power potential of 45,000 MW from water; 1.3 million MW from wind, and over 7,000 MW from geothermal energy, it was learnt.



Italferr to support Ethiopian railway projects


ETHIOPIAN Railways Corporation (ERC) has appointed Italferr, the engineering subsidiary of Italian State Railways (FS), to provide consultancy services for maintenance and operations on the new 656km Addis Ababa standard-gauge line and the Addis Ababa light rail network, which are both being built by China Railway Engineering Company (CREC)

The €1.23m contract was signed at the head offices of ERC in Addis Ababa on January 28.

Italferr will begin work next month and is expected to spend around eight months on the two projects, working in conjunction with two other Italian companies, Metropolitana Milanese and Technital.



Ethiopia, Algeria sign cooperation agreements


The Third Ethiopia Algeria Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting was held at the weekend with the respective delegations led by Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Foreign Minister of Ethiopia and Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, Foreign Minister of Algeria.

The Ministerial meeting on Sunday was preceded by a meeting of experts.

Dr. Tedros stressed that Ethiopia attached great importance to its relations with Algeria, a relationship based on mutual determination to promote peace and stability, and to strengthen the institutions of the AU and its development program, NEPAD.

Mr. Lamamra, recalling the signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration in Algiers last June, expressed Algeria’s readiness to exert all efforts to give new impetus to the bilateral relations.

The ministers agreed to hold the Joint Ministerial Commission meetings every two years with follow-up meetings held annually.

Agreements were reached to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the two Foreign Ministries, and cooperate in capacity building, diplomatic and Arab language training.

They reaffirmed their commitment to reinforce coordination; and Algeria welcomed Ethiopia’s decision to open an Embassy in Algiers.

They agreed to work for the reinforcement of the AU’s role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and to renew their commitment to NEPAD. They reaffirmed Africa’s position towards the reform of the United Nations system.

They reiterated their support for the UN efforts to achieve a final settlement of the Western Sahara issue in accordance with international law; and underscored the need to promote win-win cooperation in the Nile basin, on the basis of the principle of mutual benefit for all.

Agreements were signed for Cooperation between Algeria Press Service and the Ethiopian News Agency, on Cultural Cooperation and on Tourism.

Ethiopia will also be providing an update for the 1997 Comprehensive Trade Agreement; Algeria will respond by March.

MoUs were agreed on Mineral and Petroleum Resources and on Youth Affairs, and between the Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Association and the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to cover cooperation in agro-processing, textile, apparel, leather and leather products.

Further MoU’s are under consideration on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, Women and Children Affairs, Labour and Social Affairs, and on Vocational Training.

The two parties agreed to share experiences on Water resources management, Water  treatment, Waste water treatment  and recycling, Water research developments, Dams Construction and Irrigation development as well as relations in sport, and draft cooperation Agreements on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine, and on Animal Health are under consideration.

The Ministers agreed to hold the fourth session of the Ethio-Algeria Joint Ministerial Commission in Algiers at a date to be decided.



Bureau creates jobs for over 173,000 compatriots


The Amhara Regional State Technical and Vocational Enterprises Development Bureau said it has created jobs for more than 173,000 compatriots during the past six months.
Bureau Public Relations Head, Zelalem Niguse, told WIC hat some 92, 478 of the jobs created in the past six months are permanent jobs. The remaining 80, 586 jobs are temporary.
In order to alleviate site problems of the enterprises, some 278 sheds built by the state are being distributed among beneficiaries, he said.
All beneficiaries of the job opportunities have received short term training, according to Zelalem.



Administration set to expand urban agriculture


A plan that enables to expand urban agriculture in Addis Ababa City Administration was prepared, according to Trade and Industry Development Bureau of the Administration.
Bureau Urban Agriculture Process Leader, Alemayehu Taye, told WIC recently that the plan would help expand urban farming in all ten sub-cities of the administration.
The plan, expected to involve 11,000 people drawn from 116 Woredas will be realized over the coming six months, Alemayehu said.
In order to attain the plan, training of trainers (ToT) was given for over 900 health extension workers deploy in the metropolis and other 442   executives, he said.
During the past six months, agricultural inputs and counseling service were also given to over 24,000 people engaged in fruits, vegetable and crop development as well as animal rearing, he added.
With a view to expanding urban agriculture in the city, the Addis Ababa City Cabinet approved urban farming policy and strategy last Ethiopian budget year, it was learnt.



Prime Minister Hailemariam holds talks with the Foreign Minister of Denmark


The Prime Minister met with the Foreign Minister of Denmark, Mr. Holger K. Nielsen on Tuesday (January 28).

Mr. Nielsen is a member of the Folketing for the Socialist People’s Party and before being appoint Minister of Foreign Affairs in December was Minister for Taxation. Discussions focused on bilateral affairs and regional issues.

The Prime Minister explained Ethiopia’s aims to transform Ethiopia into an economy with a modern and productive agricultural sector with enhanced technology and an industrial sector in order to sustain economic development to achieve the goal of reaching a middle-income country. He detailed the investment opportunities available in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and agricultural processing, education, tourism and manufacturing. He underlined the importance of investment for Ethiopia and urged the Danish government to encourage investors.

Mr. Nielsen said he appreciated Ethiopia’s achievements in sustainable growth and said his government was ready to continue its support. He said it would provide special focus on encouraging more Danish investment and especially to help Ethiopia’s declared goal of a green growth strategy to which Denmark also subscribes.

Prime Minister Hailemariam also explained Ethiopia efforts to achieve peace and stability in Somalia and South Sudan. He pointed out that there was real hope that things would continue to improve in Somalia, but there was a need to continue with the fight against Al-Shabaab and it was important that the regional countries together with the international community should prevent any backsliding and that support continue to be given to bolster the Somali national defense forces.

On South Sudan, the Prime Minister said it was important to impress both sides with the need to seriously deal with the issues for the sake of all the people of the country. He said the involvement of neighboring countries was not helpful.



Prime Minister Hailemariam opens the Ethiopia-Finland Business Forum 


An Ethiopia-Finland Business Forum was held on Tuesday (January 28) with the aim to identify and promote new investment, trade and business opportunities between the two countries.

The forum was attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland, Jyrki Katainen, high-level officials, and leading business representatives from both countries.

At the opening session, Prime Minister Hailemariam emphasized that mutual respect and mutual help were the pillars of bilateral relations of the two countries, stressing that all Finnish private and public companies would be welcome to invest in the opportunities that existed in Ethiopia. He noted in particular the possibilities available in areas of trade, investment, agro-processing, green renewable energy, infrastructure, and mining.

Finnish Prime Minister Katainen pointed out that the Forum would offer an opportunity to exchange views to accelerate and expand business and trade relations of the two countries. The representatives of participating companies then met in two sectoral workshops, one on energy and infrastructure, the other covering agriculture, land and forest.

There was agreement that the Forum was an important development for the relationship between the two countries and for the possible partnerships between Finnish and Ethiopian companies to allow a fast-track for business, trade, and investment cooperation.



Amb. Berhane met with Sweden’s State Secretary


State Minister, Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos met with Ms. Tanja Rassmusson, Sweden’s State Secretary for International Cooperation and Development on Tuesday.

The State Secretary emphasized that Sweden was planning to give more focus on trade and investment in its relations with Ethiopia in particular and Africa in general, revisiting its strategy to emphasize trade in addition to development aid.

Noting H & M’s opening of an office following its decision to invest in Ethiopia, Ms. Rassmusson said the number of Swedish companies showing interest in Ethiopia was increasing.

The State Secretary stressed that Sweden wanted to cooperate with Ethiopia on climate change issues in which, she said, Ethiopia had commendable experience.

Ambassador Berhane noted that Ethiopia highly valued its relations with Sweden and fully acknowledged the huge impact Sweden’s development cooperation had on the nation’s overall development, adding “we are committed to build on the commendable relations we have developed over the years”.

Ambassador Berhane pointed out that Ethiopia has put tremendous efforts into building up the necessary legal and physical infrastructure to make investment attractive to foreign investors.

He said that in recent years there had been a surge in foreign direct investment from various parts of the world, and the Government would provide all the necessary support to Swedish companies interested in investing in Ethiopia.

Ambassador Berhane said Ethiopia’s rapid development in the past decade had not been based on extraction of natural resources but was attributable to the implementation of good policies and strategies aiming to unleash the creative potential of the people.

He noted the major efforts undertaken to develop human capital along with construction of large-scale infrastructure projects and developments in telecom, energy and road expansion.

Ambassador Berhane also briefed Ms. Rassmusson on regional matters, noting Ethiopia and IGAD’s efforts to resolve the crisis in South Sudan and the recently signed ceasefire agreement.

He said: “We are working to resolve the problems there with a sense of urgency. The region cannot afford to see South Sudan become a failed state.”

He thanked Sweden for its support of the peace efforts in Sudan and Somalia through the EU and underlined the importance of stepping up support for the peace and security of the region.

He noted the Horn of Africa was strategically located in close proximity to the Middle East and not very far from Asian countries like Pakistan which made its pacification a pressing issue, given the wide range of possible ramifications; and he detailed the growing convergence of conflict prevention and resolution within the region.

Ambassador Berhane also gave details of the negative role that Eritrea was continuing to play in the region.

He emphasized the need to continue to mount pressure on its government to abide by the norms of international relations.

The two sides winded their discussion to continue with dialogue to further deepen the bilateral relations of the two countries.



Chinese firms introducing new forms of energy into Ethiopia


Building on support from foreign aid projects, the companies are remaking the economic and infrastructure landscape in the African nation

After a journey of 80 kilometers on the smooth Addis Ababa-Adama Toll Motorway, 34 white wind turbine towers came into view.

Arrayed along the Great Rift Valley, they were spinning in the wind. It was early December, the dry season in Ethiopia, and the undulating grasslands had turned yellow. In the far distance lay Addis Ababa.

The capital is just one part of Ethiopia where Chinese construction companies are changing the economic and infrastructure landscape of the African country.

The turbines, installed by HydroChina International Engineering Co Ltd, have supplied 200 million kilowatt-hours of electricity to households in Ethiopia in the past 20 months.

Not far away, the second phase of the Adama Wind Farm Project, which will have 102 wind turbine towers, has been launched.

“We expect to triple the installed capacity to 153 megawatts when (the second phase) opens in March,” said Wang Yantao, deputy general manager of HydroChina International, a subsidiary of State-owned HydroChina Corp.

HydroChina is representative of the Chinese infrastructure enterprises that are building roads, bridges and housing in Ethiopia, catering to the country’s construction boom.

They didn’t stride into the promising but remote market alone; instead, they tapped into Ethiopia through Chinese government foreign aid projects.

“We launched the China-Aid Wind Power & Solar Energy Master Plan in 2011. The project took 17 months, and we designated 12 workers to operate the project,” said Wang, who moved to Ethiopia at the beginning of the aid project.

As China’s first technology-based foreign aid project in Ethiopia that involves renewable energy, Wang said the wind farm has become a catalyst for extracting the country’s potential wind and solar power.

Wang’s company has also gained much knowledge in the operation of the project.

The Adama One Wind Farm is the first wind power plant in East Africa. It has already been connected to the country’s main power grid.

The project cost $117 million, with 85 percent covered by loans from the Export-Import Bank of China. The Ethiopian government provided the balance.

“All parts and machinery were imported from China. For the ongoing operations, we’re employing 20 local workers and four Chinese staff,” said Wang.


He said his biggest challenge is developing a group of local employees, since many workers in Ethiopia are “complete strangers” to technology.

The second phase of the project has attracted investment of $245 million.

“It will take at least 20 years for us to recoup the investment,” Wang said.

Ethiopia urgently needs infrastructure. It’s banking on huge government-supported energy and transportation projects to help transform its agrarian economy.

Infrastructure projects required financing equivalent to 19 percent of Ethiopia’s GDP in fiscal 2011-12 (the fiscal year starts on July 8). according to World Bank estimates.

“China’s economic development model is a benchmark for Ethiopia. We hope to get more support from China, both in finance and technology,” said Ahmed Shide, Ethiopian minister of finance and economic development.

Shide said that Chinese infrastructure projects have made “visible and significant” contributions to Ethiopia’s road and rail facilities.

“At the same time, Ethiopia is providing market access to Chinese companies,” said Shide.

As of Dec 31, 2012, the cumulative value of contracts signed by Chinese companies in Ethiopia totaled $18.82 billion, with $9.71 billion of work delivered.

Major sectors covered by these contracts include roads, power, telecommunications and water conservation, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce.

China has completed 24 foreign aid projects in the country, such as the rehabilitation of the Aba Samuel Hydro Electric Power Plant and the construction of the Addis Ababa Municipal Road.

“Foreign aid is becoming a significant path for China’s giant players to contribute to the development of Ethiopia.

“It’s also pushing Chinese infrastructure builders into the ‘going global’ process,” said Xie Xiaoyan, China’s ambassador to Ethiopia.

Xie said that he attends at least one contract signing or groundbreaking ceremony each week.

Historic railway

Back in 1971, China financed and built the 2,000-km Tanzania-Zambia railway, the largest single foreign aid project undertaken by China at the time.

Decades later, the $124 million African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, which was completed at the end of 2011 and handed over in 2012, was another major infrastructure project in China’s foreign aid history.

As a latecomer to the marketplace, contractor China State Construction Energy Ltd is focusing on teaching local workers how to manage and maintain sophisticated projects.

“It is a good way to enter a new market, through the Chinese government’s aid program. I think the Chinese government will emphasize different industries in different periods,” said Liu Chunpeng, director for the technical cooperation group at the AU headquarters.

“Although we have missed the prime period for road construction, we are looking forward to the budding housing market,” said Liu.

China Road and Bridge Corp, which entered Ethiopia relatively early in 1998, has built on its advantages with its core business of roads.

“Foreign aid projects contributed to prime the pump for our market growth,” said Wei Qiangyu, deputy general manager of the company’s Ethiopian office.

In the past 15 years, China Road and Bridge has built more than 2,000 km of roads.

Ethiopia-China Friendship Avenue, located in the center of the capital, was a project for the company in 2004. And China Road and Bridge is now working on the Bole Ring Road RBT Meskel Square Road Project, the first Ethiopian highway (the Addis Ababa-Adama Toll Motorway) and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

China Road and Bridge has big plans, such as developing commercial property or cooperating with local governments to establish integrated planning companies.

Wei said that whether a company can get a foothold in the market depends on whether its aid project can make a profit.

“I think the government should look at the capabilities of a company when it comes to bidding, not just considering the price,” said Wei.





–     28 January 2014 News Items

–     27 January 2014 News Round Up

–     25 January 2014 Development News Briefs

–     23 January 2014 News Roll

–     22 January 2014 News Round Up


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