10 March 2014 News Briefs

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Indian lines of credit help Ethiopia build sugar and power sectors

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IANS     |     New Delhi      March 10, 2014

Lines of Credit worth more than $1 billion extended by India to Ethiopia have helped the landlocked country build its sugar and power industries and rail network, Ambassador Gennet Zewide said here Monday.

These three sectors together have an employment potential of 50,000 jobs, she added.

“The Ethiopian government has a clear policy to be a middle income country by 2023-25. Every five years, it has its own programme. For 2011-15 we have the programme to transfer our economy from agriculture to that of industry. Hence both electricity and sugar are very important,” Zewide said, addressing the 10th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership.

The EXIM Bank has been extending credit to Ethiopia for about eight years. Till date,  more than $1 billion in Lines of Credit have been provided for the development of three sugar companies in the Horn of Africa country.

“Ethiopia has been net importer of sugar for so many years. We were the third largest importer of sugar. Earlier $200-300 million annually was spent on sugar but after the line of credit came in we are not importing sugar. We are rather selling. By 2015 we are going to be net exporter of sugar. We will export to European Union countries,” Zewide said.

“We will have 2,000 MW of electricity generation as co-generation from sugar and 3 lakh tonnes of ethanol generation,” she added.

Zewide said the rural areas in the country often face difficulties due to unavailability of electricity — especially, the hospital and the education sectors are most hit. “We have a programme of electrifying our village by 2015. We are electrifying 87 towns and villages in the rural area. It means a lot in terms of hospital and education.”

Talking about a rail link between the Ethiopian city of Asaita and the port city of Tadjourah in neighbouring Djibouti, she said: “So far we are negotiating and we are talking… and hopefully, it will be pretty soon finalised to get a line of $600 million and $400 million, totalling $1 billion for the project.”

She said the rail link will drastically bring down the transportation cost of goods and services.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/indian-lines-of-credit-help-ethiopia-build-sugar-and-power-sectors-114031000636_1.html

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Agriculture Ministry expects  9.74 per cent  growth

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The agriculture sector, which has relatively performed less in the past fiscal year, would grow by 9.74 per cent as a result of extensive activities that have been undertaking over the last couples of months said Agriculture Minister Tefera Derbew.

The 6th federal and state agricultural bureaus joint discussion forum was launched here yesterday. Opening the forum, Tefera said that by 2005-06 E.C harvesting season, agriculture sector would show 22.5 million quintal increment in production or 9.74 per cent of growth compared to 2004/05 E.C.

Tefera stated that various irrigation works, watershed development , water and soil conversation activities have significantly been carried out through community mobilization in the main Meher season. Because of the commitments demonstrated by all actors of the sector, viable achievements have been registered that contribute to sector development, added the Minister.

He further indicated that involving the community in watershed and soil conservation activities, 13.7 million hectares of land is conserved and efforts are underway to further incorporate additional 20.345 million hectares of land to conversational activities.

He also noted that much needs to be done to plant over 1.5 million seedlings in various parts of the country. Indicating that the country fails to make use of its livestock resources, the Minister said that efforts should be strengthened with regard to promoting livestock production, forage development, livestock health care and water supply.

State agricultural bureaus have also presented their respective performance report showing that they have made utmost efforts to enhance the benefits of agrarian and semi agrarian communities.

According to the bureaus, they have been working assiduously focusing on change army, community-based agricultural activities, irrigation development works and natural resource conversations.

As to the bureaus, they have been doing a lot on natural resource development conservation and dissemination of irrigation development to realize sustainable production and productivity of agriculture set as main development direction.

The bureaus further indicated that they have mobilized their respective community to organize itself and engage in agricultural activities like watershed development and soil conservation. As a result, viable achievements have been gained which have brought tangible improvement in the levels of farmers.

Officials, experts and other participants drawn from federal and state agricultural bureaus and other institutions would deliberate on performance reports presented by respective bureaus and sector potentials and challenges in the two-day forum.

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/herald/national-news/6237-agriculture-ministry-expects-9-74-per-cent-growth

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Boosting productivity to ensure food security

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Despite shortcomings, Ethiopia has abundant arable land and labour that, with sound policies, could be translated into increased production, incomes, and food security. Agriculture has a high multiplier effect, which means that agricultural investment can generate high economic and social returns and enhance economic diversification as well as social development. One way to ensure this goal is that smallholder farming must be transformed from a largely subsistence-level activity to a market-oriented production system that will improve national and household food security and, ultimately, reduce poverty. Effective reduction of hunger and poverty in Ethiopia can not happen unless Africa achieves a radical transformation of its agriculture.

Ethiopia needs its own green revolution, and to achieve this, more appropriate and supportive policies and strategies must be in place. Asia experienced a green revolution that has enabled it to feed more than three billion people, lowered the price of food for the urban and rural poor, created abundant employment, and spurred the rapid economic growth now being witnessed in the region. The Asian countries managed to put in place policies that led to rapidly rising agricultural productivity. These included support for the development and release of high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat; heavy investment in irrigation and expanded investments in extension, research, and development; and access to credit for farmers, all of which more than doubled yields. Ethiopia needs to draw vital lessons from this and other regions of the world and put them effectively in practice. Experience from other regions is vital but the national strategies should reflect the reality on the ground and target the needs of poor farmers in the rural areas.

The unfortunate reputation of the country as an example of hunger and poverty could be once and for all changed via ensuring productivity on the plots of smallholders. The link between agriculture and industry should be strengthened in such a way that it could help in import substitution and increase market for the farmers. Even within existing cultivated land, doubling of cereal yields on the millions of hectares cultivated by smallholder farmers would turn the country into a major food surplus one, ensure food security and provide adequate amount of inputs to the industry. Given the rising food prices in the global markets, the time has come for Ethiopia to really consider transforming its agriculture and raise productivity.

As the country is attracting the interests of investors from countries in different parts of the world, we should tailor tangible strategies to draw lessons that are helpful to bring the necessary change in our context. For instance, the Israelis, who are well known for their adequate utilization of water resources and increasing productivity in their arid environment, could share effective experiences in their stay investing in the agricultural sector.

Considering the effect of climate change, accelerated efforts are needed to develop and disseminate heat-tolerant and drought resistant varieties and efficient water use crops. Application of science and technology is vital for the modernization of agriculture. Human resource capacity building remains as the highest priority area for science and technology development for the advancement of agricultural productivity in Ethiopia. Our farmers should be supported to adapt with better skills, knowledge and experiences and gradually get free from centuries old traditional way of production that is known for its low yield.

In sum, in a country like Ethiopia where agriculture touches the life of almost all of the population, boosting productivity has a manifold effect in the economic, social and even political development. The goal to the transformation of the country’s economy eventually to industry could be futile if productivity is is not improved. Increased productivity also helps to upgrade the country’s export volume and reach new markets in various corners of the world. Above all, it is significantly vital to change the life and overall well being of the farming population, which still accounts for more than 70 per cent of the country’s population.

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/herald/editorial/6227-boosting-productivity-to-ensure-food-security

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Uhuru heads to Ethiopia on 4-day State visit

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Addis Ababa, 10 March 2014 (WIC) – President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Monday begin a four-day State visit to Ethiopia to boost bilateral relations, as well as economic and commercial links between Kenya and Ethiopia.
During the President’s State visit – his first to an African country and second globally since his inauguration in April 2013 – he will meet Ethiopia’s President Mulatu Teshome and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Thereafter, he will attend an IGAD summit where regional security matters will be discussed. President Kenyatta’s first State visit was to China in August 2013.
The Head of State has made other visits within Africa and beyond, but they have always been official, not State, occasions.
The Kenyan delegation at the bilateral exchange will include Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Ole Lenku, Raychelle Omamo, Prof Judy Wakhungu, Eng Michael Kamau, Davis Chirchir and Amb Amina Mohamed.
The talks will focus on regional peace and security. Kenya has been at the forefront in promoting stability in the region, and is playing a key role in the search for a lasting solution to the South Sudan conflict and the restoration of stability to Somalia.
Energy sharing will feature at the bilateral meeting following Ethiopia’s construction of the Gibe Dam III, which will produce additional hydroelectric power. Kenya expects to benefit from the new capacity, under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement signed in 2012.
Given the anticipated effects of the construction of the dam on Lake Turkana and River Omo downstream, Kenya will also voice its concern regarding the project’s environmental impact.
The Kenyan and Ethiopian delegations are also expected to discuss infrastructure – especially the Lamu Port and South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project. The LAPSSET project, launched in March 2012 is one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030, which the Jubilee Government is determined to see completed within the timeframe set.
Components of the project include the Lamu-South Sudan Ethiopia Road measuring 1,730 kilometres; a 2,240 kilometre oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, and then to Ethiopia; an oil refinery at Lamu to refine oil products for Kenya and Ethiopia; and a thirty-two berth modern port in Lamu which will be triple the size of Mombasa’s facility.
The State visit to Ethiopia will also see President Kenyatta and his host Prime Minister Desalegn attend and address the Kenya-Ethiopia Business Forum.
The Forum, which will bring together Kenyan and Ethiopian private sector leaders and executives, presents an opportunity for the two groups to interact, dialogue and exchange ideas on stepping up economic and commercial links for the benefit of the people of both countries.
In recognition of the important role played by the Diaspora in development, President Kenyatta will meet Kenyans living and working in Ethiopia to listen and respond to their proposals on how the Jubilee Government can improve their stay abroad.
President Kenyatta will conclude his visit to Addis Ababa on Thursday by attending the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit, which will discuss the situation in South Sudan. The President, who is also the Chairman of the East African Community, has often voiced his full support for a speedy resolution to the South Sudan crisis.
“Mine is to assure the people of South Sudan that your brothers and sisters in Kenya stand by you and stand in solidarity with you,” President Kenyatta said in Juba, after holding talks with President Salva Kiir in late February.
The crisis in Africa’s youngest nation has caused death and destruction of property while displacing many, including Kenyans who were working in South Sudan.
IGAD will review the progress in the implementation of previous pacts reached by South Sudan’s warring rivals, one of which is a cessation of hostilities agreement signed after a month-long first round of talks in Addis Ababa in January. A second round of talks wrapped up a few days ago after both sides agreed to a 20-day recess.
Also expected to feature on the agenda of the IGAD summit is the situation in Somalia – especially after the attack on Villa Somalia late last month.

http://www.waltainfo.com/index.php/explore/12593-uhuru-heads-to-ethiopia-on-4-day-state-visit

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Railway Corporation, TVET Agency to work together

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The Ethiopian Railways Corporation and the Addis Ababa Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Agency agreed to work together to produce skilled manpower for the railway industry.

Speaking at a relevant meeting held here Thursday, Corporation CEO Tekola Shimels said the cooperation will help to train professionals for railway construction and maintenance.

It will address shortage of skilled manpower of the country in this area.

Tekola said the Corporation in collaboration with the Agency has prepared plan to boost cooperation between institutions and agencies on producing skilled manpower.

Agency Director-General Zer’u Sumer also said the Agency will identify standard and types of training and prepare training manual.

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/herald/national-news/6235-railway-corporation-tvet-agency-to-work-together

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More Foreign Companies See Mobile Assembling Locally

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The Ethiopian Metal Industry and Development Institute disclosed that the number of mobile assembling plants joining the manufacturing sector is increasing.

As part of the incentive given to the manufacturing sector – the government hopes to lead the economy- the institute reveals that it extends its privileges to mobile phone assembling plants.

Fite Bekele, Corporate Communication Director of the institute told The Reporter that in the country, so far nine mobile companies operate the mobile phone assembly, of which three are owned by local investors and the rest are owned by foreign companies.

The biggest company produces 20,000 phones a day while the smallest one produces 200 a day, Fite said, adding that the sector is still new in the country’s investment sector, which is currently in the process of expansion.

These plants import components and raw material from abroad. Though these plants are engaged in assembling business, they also enjoy the government’s incentive granted to the manufacturing sector upon their request, according to the communication director.

Unlike other manufacturing sectors, most of the mobile phone plants are more of capital incentive instead of labor incentive.

In order to enjoy the government’s privileges, these companies are expected to use at least 0.5 percent of their local inputs in a bid to bring value addition.

In fact, one of the nine companies recently progressed to using 12 percent of value addition. However, the company has not been identified by Fite.

According to the government’s requirement stipulated in the manufacturing sector, no privilege is given to any company whose contribution to value addition is zero percent.

Among the plants that are operating and delivering products in the local market are Smadl, G-Tide, O king, Hidassie, Forme, Tana and TECNO.

http://www.ethiopiainvestor.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4874&Itemid=88

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Authority constructs, upgrades over 9,796 kms of roads

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The Ethiopian Road Authority said it has built, repaired and upgraded over 9,796 kms of roads at a cost of over 12.6 billion birr in the last seven months of this budget year.
Communication Director with the authority, Samson Wondimu, told WIC recently that the target was to construct and upgrade 10,873 km roads, he said.
The achievement shows that the authority managed to achieve 90 percent of its target, he said.
According to Samson, the country allocated 30 billion birr for road projects this budget year.
ERA has set a plan to build 14, 787 kms road, including maintenance, in the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period.

http://www.waltainfo.com/index.php/explore/12596-authority-constructs-upgrades-over-9796-kms-of-roads

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