(Updated) 09 March 2014 News Round Up


Unilever Plans Manufacturing Plant in Ethiopia as Growth Surges


By William Davison   March 09, 2014

Unilever (UNA), the world’s second-biggest consumer-products maker, plans to open a manufacturing plant in Ethiopia during the next year in a bid to emulate its expansion into Vietnam, a company official said.

The London- and Rotterdam-based company is renting premises for a plant in the Chinese-built Eastern Industry Zone in Dukem, 19 miles southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa, Dougie Brew, head of corporate affairs in Africa, said in a phone interview on March 4. Unilever, which already imports Knorr stock cubes and Omo detergent into Ethiopia, may initially make fabric-cleaning soaps before moving into food, he said from London.

“The plans are ambitious for Ethiopia because we see it as a growing market,” Brew said. “We’ve taken a long-term investment decision in Ethiopia because of the demography, broad-based growth and opportunity to create a genuinely inclusive and sustainable business model from scratch.”

Ethiopia’s economy is projected to expand 8 percent in the 12 months to July 7 after growing an average of 9.3 percent for the past four years, according to an October report by the International Monetary Fund. The country’s estimated population last year of 93.9 million people, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest, is increasing at 2.9 percent a year, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM:US), the owner of the KFC fast-food chain, said on March 6 it’s considering entering Ethiopia as it expands across the continent.

Vietnam Success

Unilever invested $130 million in Vietnam as the business grew annually at more than 10 percent for 14 years after opening in 1995, a 2009 report by a think-tank at the Southeast Asian nation’s Planning and Investment Ministry said. The company is looking at a “similar scale” operations in Ethiopia, Brew said.

Ethiopia’s economy, at $41.6 billion, is almost four times smaller than Vietnam’s, according to World Bank data.

The company plans to build a “comprehensive consumer-goods manufacturing business” in Ethiopia, which will source from Ethiopian suppliers, Brew said. “Retail is still a restricted sector so a lot of our work will be developing local Ethiopian companies that will act as distributors.”

The case study by Vietnam’s Central Institute for Economic Management praised Unilever Vietnam Co. for sourcing 60 percent of raw materials and all of its packaging domestically by 2007. The company created 1,200 jobs directly and 8,000 indirectly in the country, according to the report posted on Unilever’s website.

The company whose brands include Lynx deodorant, Vaseline and Lipton Tea, will focus on sales in Ethiopia and later neighbors including South Sudan and Somalia once security improves.

“In businesses like ours it always makes sense to manufacture close to the consumer,” he said.

Violence erupted in South Sudan on Dec. 15 and clashes are continuing even after a Jan. 23 cease-fire, while Somali government forces have been battling Islamist militants for at least the past eight years.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at  wdavison3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at  pmrichardson@bloomberg.net Alastair Reed



Ethiopian women struggle against inequality


Saturday, March 08, 2014

ADDIS ABABA – Facing inequality, poverty and domestic violence, Ethiopian women are aspiring for a better future, as millions around the world as marking the International Women`s Day.

“I support my family. I pay school fees for my sisters and brothers. I am also married,” Elzabeth Beyene, 21, a street mechanic, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

Beyene has been working in fixing cars for 12 years to support her family.

“Clients do not discriminate against me, but life is an everyday battle,” she said.

Women make up around 49.5 percent of Ethiopia`s 90 million population.

Ethiopian women face numerous physical hardships such as carrying loads over long distances, grinding grain manually and working in the homestead.

Women in the Horn of African country also complain of fewer opportunities in employment and education than men.

According to government estimates, less than 35 percent of women have joined the workforce and that about 58 percent of the working women are in the informal sector.

“We have opened our eyes and began struggle to maintain gender equality,” Misrak Sinishaw, Coordination Head of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs with the Ethiopian Government Communication Affairs Office, told AA.

In an effort to improve the status of women in the Horn of African country, the Ethiopian government has raised the marriage age from 15 to 18 years old.

The government has also granted women the right to share property in a household. It also banned the marriage of girls under 18 and slapped abductors of girls with jail sentences up to 20 years.

“Gender equality at work and in the entire society should not be a talk of March 8. We have a long way to go,” said Etaferahu Abebe, a female social worker at a local non-governmental organization.

“The male world in Ethiopia still thinks that they are naturally created to rule over us,” she said.



BDO enters Ethiopia


The world’s fifth largest auditing and accounting firm, BDO, opens its office in Addis Ababa in partnership with a local consultant firm by the name of Next Consult P.L.C., established in 2005.


The firm mainly engages in the areas of agriculture and fishery, banking and financial and governments and international financial institutions (donors.)

Sandeep Khapre CEO of BDO for East Africa told The Reporter that the company’s priority in Ethiopia was to bring in more investors and bring equity into the market in various fields of investments that the company engages in.

For the realization of this project, our partnership with Next Consult will help us a lot since the company is well established in Ethiopia Khapre. Furthermore, our partnership will help the country because we will share our expertise while Next will deal with the local stuff

He also further explained that the two will work together to help the larges markets. We know that foreign banking is not allowed but we are aiming at strengthening the local banks so that they can be competitive in the coming years and be efficient if foreign banks are to enter the country, Khapre said.

BDO International’s headquarters is located in Belgium, Brussels and the company has 44,000 professional workers across the globe, it is also functioning in 110 countries through its 1000 offices. The company has registered revenue of 6.5 billion dollars.

This makes BDO International the fifth major international consultancy firm to open offices in Ethiopia after Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Grant Thornton and McKinsey and Co.

The company has already established offices in some African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius.

As of 2013, BDO has Member Firms in 138 countries, employed 55,000 workers in 1,204 offices throughout the world.



Global Commission launches research in Ethiopia


The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate has launched research for its New Climate Economy (NCE) project in Ethiopia. 


The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and its flagship project, the New Climate Economy, have been set up to help governments, businesses and society make better-informed decisions on crucial issues.

The project is a new international initiative analysis that communicates the economic benefits and costs of acting on climate change. Speakers including Ethiopia’s Minister of Environment and Forest, Belete Tafere discussed the work of the Commission at a high-level event in Addis Ababa.

The project aims to contribute to the global debate about economic policy, and to inform government, business and investment decisions.

Ethiopia faces significant risks due to climate change, particularly for agricultural production, but has taken a lead in addressing these risks through the Climate Resilient Green Economy initiative.

The study, for the first time in Ethiopian reality, in regards to climate change and its impacts, is expected to give policymakers an idea of what the financial costs and benefits of cutting carbon emissions could be.

Minister of Environment and Forest, Belete Tafere said “climate change continues being the biggest threat to our world, it is also the most critical challenge we already are facing while we strive to speed up the development activity. Hence, we can not abandon it (climate change) from our efforts to ensure our development goal,” he told The Reporter, adding that development by alone could not be sustainable.

He further indicated that NEC project to Ethiopia has been formed with the technical duties such as carrying out research on benefits, challenges and the need of technical inputs to deliver to policy makers.

According to the minister, the project provides real facts prevailing on ground based on professional findings.

“We believe that this project will provides us supporting ideas for our policy’s key development strategies. Since we have our own limitations and gaps, this also helps us analyze how much we have gone so far to achieve the protection of our environment locally,” said the minister.

Research for the New Climate Economy project in Ethiopia will include a specific focus on the Climate Resilient Green Economy initiative. In addition it will focus on key sectors of the economy including agriculture, energy, water and forestry as well as investigating the challenge of financing development across these sectors that is resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Jeremy Oppenheim, programme director for the project, emphasized the importance of this research in Ethiopia: “Ethiopia is a leader in both recognizing the risks of climate change and taking action to create climate resilient economic growth.”

He further indicated that his organization, along with the Ethiopian Development Research Institute and the Global Green Growth Institute, “is conducting research in Ethiopia to understand and share the Ethiopian experience around the world,” he said.

“We will also provide insights to Ethiopia from other countries facing the twin challenges of creating economic growth and dealing with climate risk, including China, India and Brazil,” he added.

The British Ambassador to Addis Ababa, Gregory Dorey, on his part, told reporters they need to change the energy system for the next twenty-five years. However he personally believed that before dealing with the issue of changing the energy system “the deepest challenge for me is a mind set”.

“Our deepest challenge in climate change is senses of long run problem. We need to help policy makers to be better at making decisions that will build the right and long term decisions for their economy,” Ambassador Dorey added.

Praveen Wignarajah head of the Global Green Growth Institute Ethiopia stated “the Ethiopian Government has demonstrated tremendous leadership through its efforts to build a climate resilient green economy. The New Climate Economy project is an excellent opportunity to share these experiences on a global stage.”

The NEC project will publish a final report drawing on insight from multiple countries including Ethiopia, as well as studies of different global drivers of economic growth, in September 2014, ahead of the United Nations climate summit.

The Global Commission will then take its findings and recommendations directly to heads of government, finance and economic ministers, business leaders and investors throughout the world.

It is chaired by former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón and comprises of former heads of government and finance ministers, and leaders in the fields of economics and business.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate was commissioned by seven countries – Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as an independent initiative to report to the international community.



Stratex relinquishes gold exploration due to low potential


-Ashanti pulls out from JV

The British mining company that has been prospecting for gold in the Tigrai and Afar regional states, Stratex International Plc, has relinquished three gold exploration projects.  


In a statement sent to The Reporter on Thursday, Stratex said that though it has discovered gold deposits in different localities in the Afar and Tigrai regional states, three license areas have been relinquished due to technical reasons. Stratex relinquished the Tendaho, Berhale and Tigrai license areas.

Stratex CEO, Bob Foster, commented, “some projects, including the Tendaho project (Megenta,) have now been relinquished where our ongoing exploration has indicated that the discovery potential is low. Relinquishing such projects is an absolutely critical part of our exploration strategy and ensures that we manage and direct our financial resources to best effect.”

According to Stratex, the results of the latest drill campaign on the Tendaho (Megenta) prospect confirmed earlier observations of gold-rich but very narrow veins and zones of silicification but no robust continuous wide mineralized systems were intersected. “Relatively deep drilling was undertaken in the hope of intersecting stronger mineralized zones in more competent basement rocks beneath the young basalts and sediments of the Rift Valley but this did not prove successful. Consequently, the license has now been relinquished,” the statement said.

According to the company, vein-type gold mineralization was identified in Berahale but subsequent more-detailed mapping and sampling failed to reveal anything of real significance and the license has been relinquished.

Stratex said exploration of the Tigray license lead to the discovery of high-grade gold veins in the Mariam Hill area. However, the company said more detailed mapping indicated that the veins were of limited width and although flat lying, were sufficiently widely spaced apart to mean that they could not be a viable mining target. Consequently this license has also been relinquished.

The Afar Project comprises of the Tendaho license in Ethiopia and the multiple licenses in Djibouti that include the Pandora prospect. Exploration of these licenses was funded by the Thani-Ashanti Alliance and managed by Stratex. The Thani-Ashanti Alliance was a joint venture between Dubai-based Thani Emirates Resources Holdings Ltd and Anglo Gold Ashanti (“AGA.”) However, AGA has reduced its exploration activities worldwide and as a result, has withdrawn from the joint venture. Stratex said it is now working closely with Thani as the sole partner to take this project forward and also consider other opportunities in the region.

Despite the ups and downs encountered in the exploration projects, the company remains positive about the potential for a discovery of gold in the northern part of the Ethiopian Rift Valley.

The company is awaiting awards of two new licenses in the Rift Valley covering areas where remote sensing studies have indicated good potential for further discoveries.

Gold has become Ethiopia’s major foreign currency earner next to coffee. The country earns more than 600 million dollars from mineral exports; gold contributes to 90 percent of the earning. To date, MIDROC Gold is the only company engaged in large-scale mining. MIDROC annually exports four tons of gold, mainly to Switzerland.

Recently, the Ministry of Mines granted a large-scale gold mining license to Ezana Mining, a local mining company. National Mining Company, one of the subsidiary companies of MIDROC Ethiopia, has also discovered a large primary gold deposit in the Tigrai and Oromia Regional States. An Egyptian company, ASCOM Mining, discovered gold in the Benishangul Regional State. A British mining company, Nyota Minerals, discovered a high quality gold ore in the Wellega Zone, Tulu Kapi locality.

Artisanal miners are also playing a major role in gold export. More than one million people are engaged in artisanal mining. Last year artisanal miners sold 8.3 million tons of placer gold valued at 420 million dollars to the National Bank of Ethiopia.



Starbucks Celebrates Ethiopia Espresso Coffee


VENTURES AFRICA – From January to March 2014 customers will be able to drink Starbucks Ethiopia Origin Espresso, with its velvety notes of dark chocolate and sweet citrus. To celebrate Starbucks with the Ethiopian Embassy, hosted an event at one of their flagship stores in London’s Covent Garden, to honour the birthplace of coffee and everything Ethiopian.

Ethiopian coffee

Kris Engskov, President Starbucks EMEA said “it was fantastic to welcome members of the Ethiopian Embassy to the St Martins Lane store to celebrate Starbucks Origin Espresso Ethiopia with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Ethiopia is the birthplace of Arabica coffee and we are proud to have sourced exceptional coffee from this country since Starbucks was founded in 1971. Our coffee experts chose this coffee for its defining flavour characteristics of dark chocolate and citrus that really distinguish its origin.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ambassador, Trade and Investment Counsellor, Hirut Zemene, said “Ethiopia is one of the top producers in the world, where close to 15 million farmers and stakeholders depend on the coffee sub-sector.” She thanked the Starbucks team for promoting Ethiopian coffee through a dedicated evening. “We hope to work together in similar promotion endeavours in the future,” she added.

(l-r) Kris Engskov, President of Starbucks EMEA, Simon Redfern, Starbucks’ Director of Corporate Affairs, Mrs Hirut Zemene, Minister Counsellor – Trade and Investment and Mr Mulugeta Asseratte Kassa, Economic and Business Affairs Officer   ©Starbucks/Jason Alden

(l-r) Kris Engskov, President of Starbucks EMEA, Simon Redfern, Starbucks’ Director of Corporate Affairs, Mrs Hirut Zemene, Minister Counsellor – Trade and Investment and Mr Mulugeta Asseratte Kassa, Economic and Business Affairs Officer ©Starbucks/Jason Alden

At a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, coffee was served with popcorn, bread and kolo (roast barley) to invited guests including the media.

Guests took part in a ‘cupping’ and ‘aroma lab’/ food pairing demonstration, led by Starbucks’ coffee ambassadors, which compared coffees from all over the world including Ethiopia, Kenya, South America and Asia. Guests came away with an enhanced understanding of the methods used to produce and roast coffee, and how in different regions, these processes impact taste profile.

The birthplace of coffee, the Kaffa Region in Ethiopia – which gave its name to coffee – grows only Arabica beans. Shared coffee remains central to Ethiopian culture and heritage.



Ethiopia welcomes Israel offer to mediate Ethio-Egypt dam row


Turkish Press – Anadolu Agency

ADDIS ABABA – Israeli Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir has voiced Israel`s readiness to assist Egypt and Ethiopia reach agreement over the latter`s construction of a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the Nile River.

According to Ethiopia`s state-run news agency, Shamir made the remarks at a Thursday meeting in Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.

The agency did not specify how Israel intends to assist both countries in ironing out their differences over the dam.

Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt soured last year over construction of Ethiopia`s Grand Renaissance Dam on the upper reaches of the Nile – Egypt`s main source of water.

The controversial project raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world`s most populous country, which fears a reduction of its traditional share of Nile water.

Water distribution among Nile Basin states has long been based on a colonial-era agreement granting Egypt and Sudan the lion`s share of the river`s water.

Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase electricity thus generated.


Ethiopia`s Foreign Ministry, for one, welcomed Israel`s offer.

“Any country like Israel may raise such idea and Ethiopia appreciates this,” Jemal Beker, director of Middle East affairs at the ministry, told Anadolu Agency.

He said Ethiopia was ready to negotiate a “win-win solution” with Egypt based on the framework of a tripartite dialogue initiative that also includes Sudan and an international panel of experts.

“There`s a technical negotiation underway,” Beker said. “It has no political nature.”

“Egypt withdrew from the tripartite negotiation,” said the diplomat. “But Ethiopia believes Egypt will be back and negotiations will continue.”

The state news agency quoted the dam`s chief engineer, Simegnew Bekele, as saying that a full one third of the project had been completed.

Bekele added that the project`s total workforce would be raised from 7500 to 13,000 in the months ahead.



Israeli companies hold a business-to-business seminar


Sixty Israeli companies in the sectors of agriculture, crop production, animal husbandry, green house, poultry, dairy and others conducted a business-to-business meeting here in Addis Ababa on March 7.  


These companies arrived in Ethiopia led by the Israeli Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Yair Shamir.

During the seminar, Yair Shamir stated, “we are here to share our experience.”

Shamir added that this business-to-business seminar would not only serve to further enhance the bilateral relationship between Ethiopia and Israel in the diplomatic aspect, but also be a great opportunity to build the capacity of Ethiopian counterparts in the fields of technology transfer and innovation.

Tefera Derbew, minister of Agriculture, on his part explains the countries potential in the agriculture sector, which encompasses horticulture and vegetable, fruits and herbs.

He also explains the potential the country possesses in the area of livestock, poultry and other agricultural sectors.

In this regard, he invites more Israeli companies to comes and invest in Ethiopia.

The business delegation that consists of various Israeli companies that play leading roles in agricultural research and development, aquaculture, agro industry, irrigation, fisheries, agro chemicals and large scale agriculture project integrators, which have contributed considerably to the increase of the Israelis yield.

The minister also met Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.) and discussed bilateral issues and plans to visit a flower farm owned by an Israeli. Currently there are more than 50 Israeli companies investing in various investment activities in Ethiopia.



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