21 February 2014 News Round Up


Ethiopian  Planned Second Dam Might Inflame Nile Water Controversy with Egypt


According to the Amharic newspaper Addis Admass source, the Ethiopian government has completed plans for a second major Dam on the Nile river while disputes with Egypt has already grown over the first GERD dam.

An inside government source confirmed to the newspaper that Ethiopia wants to build another dam as well as initiate an irrigation project on the Nile to feed its growing population. Since over 85% of the Nile waters flowing to Egypt originate from Ethiopia, cairo leaders have previously blocked international funding for Ethiopian dam projects since the 1970s. Ethiopia has so far used only 2% of its own Nile water sources while Egypt has dominated the water for decades. But the current Ethiopian ruling party has managed to improve its relations with the West, Sudan and China to its favor. Half a dozen African nations and Sudan have supported the Ethiopian dam. With over 90 million people, Ethiopia has become the second largest country in Africa and its leaders seek to end foreign aid dependency.

The inside government source claimed that executive members of the EPRDF ruling party has been angered by the hostile comments from the Cairo government since January this year, which they see as racism because Ethiopia was never consulted during the construction of Aswan Dam in Egypt. The executive has put pressure on the young Ethiopian PM to take a stronger stance. According to the source, Ethiopian military officials have also detected increased Egyptian agitation for rebel groups in horn of Africa, including on Ogaden rebels and Somalia.

Some leftist members of the Ethiopian ruling party have blamed the United States foreign policy for tilting the balance of power in Africa by continuing to give F-16 jets and billions in military aid to Egypt. They attribute these western policies for emboldening Cairo to bully Nile Basin African countries.



Turkish firm plans ‘major business event’ in Ethiopia next year


“Our company is planning to bring 50 private companies from all business sectors [to Ethiopia],” project director Yusuf Kirdar told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

The Meridyen International Fair Organization, a major Turkish event organizer, is planning to hold a “major business event” in Addis Ababa in 2015.

“Our company is planning to bring 50 private companies from all business sectors [to Ethiopia],” project director Yusuf Kirdar told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

“The trade fair that is being planned is exclusively Turkish,” Kirdar said on the sidelines of the 18th Addis Chamber International Trade Fair (ACITF), which kicked off Thursday.

Kirdar indicated that his company had facilitated the participation of several Turkish firms in last year’s event.

“We’ve brought together 21 companies from various sectors, ranging from manufacturers to exporters, for this trade fair,” he said.

According to Kirdar, Turkish companies were entering the Ethiopian market “in droves.”

“We’re doing good business here,” he asserted.

Headquartered in Sisli, Turkey, the company is currently holding exhibitions in several countries.

At the opening of the ACITF on Thursday, Ethiopian State Minister for Industry Haile Siraj said the annual event was “a platform for companies to share experiences with their foreign counterparts and initiate business linkages and investment through joint-venture arrangements.”

First launched in 1995, this year’s ACITF will include 188 participant companies from 17 countries.



World Bank Supports Road Improvements and Maintenance in Ethiopia


Computer rendering of Addis Ababa – Nazret Expressway Road

WASHINGTON – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved funds to help Ethiopia upgrade the country’s road system, strengthen road maintenance and reduce travel time along inter-regional corridors.

The Road Sector Support Project is supported by a US$320 million IDA credit* as part of the $US385 million total project cost. The government of Ethiopia will contribute $US65 million. The project aligns with Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and supports economic expansion by improving the quality of roads serving areas producing exportable agricultural products. By helping secure access to all-weather roads, the project will also help Ethiopia achieve its goal of halving the proportion of the population living below the poverty line.

“Ethiopia has experienced strong economic growth and has achieved substantial progress on social and human development over the past decade,” said Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. “Upgrading and maintaining the country’s road sector is an important part of our work in Ethiopia. Today’s project will help to enhance trade, create new markets, and provide improved access to education, medical services, and food security to the country’s poor.”

The Government of Ethiopia formulated the first phase of the Road Sector Development Program (RSDP) in 1997. Since then, the size of the road network has increased from 26,550 kilometers to 85,966 km, and the roads operating in good condition has risen from 20 percent to 70 percent. Today’s funds will build on these accomplishments and will be used to upgrade about 258 km of the Nekempte – Bure road, which provides an important link between the Oromia and Amhara regions. The upgraded road will help to reduce travel time and facilitate the marketing of wheat, vegetables and other agriculture crops.

The project also aims to enhance Ethiopia’s road asset management practices by supporting the maintenance of selected roads covering about 200 km; the Government will fund a further 200 km of road under a parallel financing. The funds will also be used to provide technical assistance to strengthen road asset management capacity, and prepare a road asset management strategy.

“Today’s project will benefit women and children by providing them with improved access, access to much needed education and medical facilities, including pre and post-natal care,” said Tesfamichael Nahusenay Mitiku, World Bank Task Team Leader. “Improved road conditions will also reduce the time that women spend transporting products to market, and will bring new opportunities for employment within small-scale, road-side commercial operations.”

At the center of the new operation is the adoption of an Output and Performance Based Road Contracting (OPRC). The road asset management system is expected to reduce the whole-life cost of road infrastructure, provide increased budget certainty for investment and recurrent expenditures, and improve the quality and sustainability of the network for road users.



New grants support further geothermal development in East Africa



                                                 International Digital Editor

New agreements will be signed next month for geothermal development projects in Kenya and Ethiopia, according to the African Union’s infrastructure and energy commissioner.
Commissioner Elham Ibrahim said five grants have already been awarded under the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) for East Africa, which encourages public and private sector support for geothermal development.
Ibrahim was speaking during this month’s ministerial session of the second high level meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) in Addis Ababa.

Geothermal power

GRMF grants amounting to $22M have already been awarded to five projects in Kenya and Ethiopia, according to Out-Law.com.
In 2012, GRMF said it had about $62m available for cost share grants. A ‘developer manual’ provides detailed information about the facility, including how to apply for funding.
Meanwhile, US companies are also being encouraged to enter East Africa’s rapidly-expanding geothermal market. In 2012, the US Agency for International Development and the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) launched the US-East Africa Geothermal Partnership, which is implemented by the US Energy Association.
In October 2013 Reykjavik Geothermal, whose Icelandic geothermal expertise is backed by US investors, signed a deal with Ethiopia to build a 1000 MW geothermal power plant, Africa’s largest, in the volcanically-active Rift Valley. The company said that, when complete, the project will be Ethiopia’s biggest foreign direct investment, run by its first privately-owned utility.



More than 50 Italian companies at the Addis Chamber International Trade Fair


More than 50 Italian companies will be participating to the Addis Chamber International Trade Fair (ACITF), to be held at Addis Ababa Exhibition Center from 20 to 26 February 2014.
According to a press release the Italian Embassy in Addis sent to WIC, the Italian Trade Agency will coordinate Italian companies’ participation to the Fair in an “Italian Pavilion” and the delegation will present their products, technologies and services in many sectors such as machinery, construction, engineering, power and energy generators, water treatment, agroindustry.
The purpose of this business mission, which comes after a number of high-level talks on economic cooperation between Italy and Ethiopia, is to further explore trade and investment opportunities offered in Ethiopia, the release emphasised.
According to the press release, the Italian companies will directly engage with Ethiopian business counterparts: “B-to-B” meetings will be organized during the Fair.
The Italian companies will have the opportunity to meet Ethiopian institutional and business counterparts at a networking event called “Italian Night” that will be organized in the evening of Friday 21 February at Hilton Hotel.
Sisay Gemechu, Ethiopian State Minister of Industry, and Elias Geneti, President of the Addis Chamber of Commerce, have confirmed their presence and will address welcoming messages and presentations on business opportunities in Ethiopia to the Italian companies, it stated.



Nation to nurture over 5 billion seedlings


The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) said that 5.1 billion various seedlings will be nurtured this Ethiopian budget year.

Public Relations Head of MoA, Tarekegn Tsige, told WIC that the seedlings to be distributed for regional state will have a significant contribution towards improving soil fertility.

In a related development, there is a plan to sieve the porous soil found on over 1.4 million hectares of land and develop it, he added.

According to Tarekegn, soil and water conservation works were carried out on 13.7 million hectares of land in the first three years of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period.



Administration to build 50,000 condos


A cornerstone was laid yesterday for 50,000 condominium houses to be built under the 20/80 housing program at Koye-Feche site, Akaki kaliti sub city.

Mayor of Addis Ababa City Administration, Diriba Kuma, laid the cornerstone for the condos to be built on 732 hectares of land, next to Tirunesh Beijing Hospital.

The administration has allocated 5.35 billion birr for the construction of the houses which is expected to create job opportunities for 45,000 unemployed compatriots.

The houses will benefit more than 200, 000 households when completed in 2008 E.C.




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