14 April 2014 Development News Briefs


Potash Corp bullish on future African potash use potential


Q1 2014 Market Analysis Report  (*.pdf pages 22 -30)



 International Pharmaceutical Giant To Enter the Ethiopian Market


50 million dollar Hikma Cure Pharmaceutical SC awaiting the ratification of its investment license before beginning business in Ethiopia.


MIDROC Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc, a Jordanian company, signed a formal agreement at the Ethiopian Investment Agency (EIA) on Tuesday April 8, 2014, to form HikmaCure Pharmaceutical S.C., pending approval of their agreement and the issue ofan investment license.



The agreement for the establishment of the Company was inked between Hani Qoto, Hikma’s representativeand Abinet G. Meskel representing MIDROC Pharmaceuticals Ltd and was submitted to the agency as part of the application requirements.


“The process to acquire an investment license is now underway and will be finalized by next week,” said an official from MIDROC, who talked to Fortune on the condition of remaining anonymous.


A source at Hikma, who likewise demanded anonymity, agrees with the official at MIDROC but declined to reveal details about the newly formed company, citing that he needs confirmation from the mother company.


Ahmednur Yusuf, Licensing& Registration Director, attended the signing ceremony on Tuesday, according to sources at the two companies, but he stressed that the two companies had not been to the Agency to sign any agreement.


Hikma and MIDROC signed a 50 – 50 joint venture (JV) agreement to establish a local pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Ethiopia back in September 2013.


The two accordingly agreed to invest in HikmaCure, the new venture, in equal proportions. While an initial investment of 50 million dollars was agreed, according to a joint press statement issued in September, the two companies had also agreed that HikmaCure would commence operations in Ethiopia by marketing and distributing close to 50 Hikma products.


The fund will be invested over an extended period of time and will be used to build and fit out a local manufacturing and distribution facility in Ethiopia and to provide working capital support for the operations of HikmaCure, Hikma Group said in its website.


The facility is expected to begin commercial production in 2017, according to Hikma’s website.


Founded in Amman, Jordan in 1978 by Samih Darwazah, Hikma Pharmaceuticals Ltd is listed on the London Stock Market. The Company is engaged in manufacturing and distributing branded pharmaceutical products to the global market.


Ethiopia’s pharmaceutical industry consists of 15 pharmaceutical and medical material production factories and only 5 of these are currently producing important items such as syringes, absorbent cottons and lab equipment.


As such the industry can at present serve only a small portion of the domestic market, with imports covering the rest of demand. In 2012, about 300 million dollars worth of drugs were imported, according to the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA), by 112 importers and wholesalers registered in the country.



Ministry develops soil fertility map of 211 woredas


The Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia (MoA) announced it has developed soil fertility map of 211 woredas during the past three years.
Soil fertility map is part of the plans to enhance agricultural productivity set out by MoA. It prioritizes replenish soil fertility and more cautious use of fertilizers.
The announcement came here at a three-day forum organized by the Africa Soil Information Service (ASIS), which Ethiopia hosted to showcase innovative soil digital mapping system.
Experts and researchers drawn from Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania, including from Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), are in attendance of the experience sharing forum.
“Mapping of soil fertility of 211 woredas has been completed during the past three years,” said Prof. Takalign Mamo, advisor to the Agriculture Minister with the rank of State Minister.
The map will help farmers to judge which crops are best to plant, and when, and to assess exactly what fertilizers they need to apply, Prof. Takalign indicated.
According to Prof. Takalign, some six fertilizers are indentified suitable for the 211 woredas.
The fertilizers have been proven effective in increasing agricultural productivity at an experiment held at 40,000 a pilot project centers, he indicated.
Ethiopia will share its rich experience in soil and water management as well as watershed development to the participants, it was learnt.



Trade Exchange with Indonesia Grows Fivefold


Addis Ababa April,14/2014The annual trade exchange between Ethiopia and Indonesia has jumped from 70 million USD to 350 million within the last three years, the Indonesian Ambassador in Ethiopia said.
Trade Exchange with Indonesia Grows Fivefold
Ambassador Ramil Saud said significant progress in trade and people-to-people relationship was registered during the past three years. The fivefold growth in trade confirms that, he added.

Pea, leather and hide, plants of medicinal value have high demand in Indonesia, while pulp, food items, spice and detergents are imported by Ethiopia.
Indonesian investors are entering the Ethiopian market seizing the favorable investment opportunity in Ethiopia, Ambassador Ramil Saud said.

Furthermore, a joint economic and technical cooperation agreement was signed last year to further boost the cooperation of the two countries, he recalled.

Following the signing of the agreement, several visits were arranged so that businesspersons of the two countries could make use of the market opportunities and exchange experiences, it was indicated.

Since Indonesia, like Ethiopia, is a country with many nationalities and religions, religious leaders drawn from the two countries were made to exchange experiences on conflict resolution, according to the Ambassador.

Currently, efforts are being made to create bondage among institutions of higher learning of the two countries.


Breakthrough in riding the rails in Ethiopia


As dusk falls on Addis Ababa, it is easy to spot the shadows of the giant cranes that are busy laying the rails for Ethiopia’s ambitious light-rail transit system.
The $475 million project, being executed by China Railway Engineering Corp, will soon have Chinese-made trams ferrying passengers across the length and breadth of the Ethiopian capital.
The tramcar order won by China CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles, a division of China CNR Corp, in November, however, is much more than just the supply of 41 trams. It marks a major milestone in the shipping of products with real, embedded technology to Africa, sources say.
“It is a milestone for us as it gives us a breakthrough in the dynamic African market,” says Liu Gang, general manager of the international division at CNR Changchun Railway.
According to Liu, the first batch of trams will be delivered in August for test operations of the light train system, which is scheduled to commence by the end of this year. “It is also our first major order from Africa,” he says.
CNR Changchun is one of the two major tram manufacturers in China along with CSR. Both the companies were part of the erstwhile China National Railway Locomotive & Rolling Stock Industry Corp and created as separate entities in 2000.
The company started exporting trams in 1995 and now has clients spread across Australia, Brazil, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Liu says international trade was not that significant before 2004. “Until then, our overseas business was less than $500 million.”
Last year the company bagged overseas orders worth $900 million and had exported more than 100 trams with an accumulated value of more than $4.5 billion.
“Africa contributed $100 million in the first year of our business on the continent,” Liu says.
Talking about the tramcar order, Liu says, the first big order came from China Railway Engineering Corporation, the main contractor of the Addis Ababa light train project. The project, designed as a cross, with horizontal and vertical railway lines passing through Addis Ababa, is expected to reduce the serious traffic congestion in the city.
“It was an important order for us because it was also the first big order that we got from a Chinese construction company for an overseas project.” The scope of the agreement covers not only the supply of tramcars but also includes maintenance services, he says.
The cooperation between the two Chinese companies goes back to the 1970s, when some of the locomotives built by CNR were used in the Tanzania Zambia Railway project.
At the same time, the Chinese company is also banking on winning more tramcar orders in Africa through direct bidding. The Ethiopian order, however, is a challenging task because it calls for trams that come with a lot of additional built-in features.
“Addis Ababa is located 2,400 meters above seas level so the carriages need to be able to withstand the harsh effects of ultra-violet rays. Moreover, Ethiopia has a long rainy season, which makes it imperative for the carriages to be extremely water and lightning proof,” Liu says.
“We also have to do tests to make sure that these trams operate normally even during the worst flood days.”
Wang Yi from the company’s technology department says the technology used for the Ethiopia train project is different from that in China. “Here they are low-floor trams, which means the floor of the trams is about 0.33 meters above the ground, while the high-floor trams are about 1.1 meters,” Wang says.
“By using low-floor trains, we can eliminate the need for platforms and also ensure that trains can travel side by side with buses. Such an approach will also significantly lower the overall project costs.”
Most of the trams used around the world are low-floor, because they are cheaper and more convenient, Liu says. “The big drawback is that they carry fewer passengers than high-floor tramcars. So for crowded cities with dense populations, they are not suitable.”
After the light train project is finished, CNR will keep 50 Chinese technicians in Addis Ababa to offer training and support services.
The Chinese company is also supplying 30 tramcars that will run on the new Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line. The rail project is expected to connect the Ethiopian capital to its major port and spur economic activity. The existing line, built by the French in 1917, is no longer used and has been abandoned because of wear and tear.
The CRN order includes the supply of 20 hard-seat trams with designed speed of 120 km/h, eight sleeping trams and two dining cars.
The Ethiopian government recently announced that it plans to expand its railway network to 2,600 km, which translates into demand for 130 to 260 trams, the company says.
With an eye on future orders, the company has already teamed up with a local factory in Ethiopia, which used to make military products, to jointly develop trams.
“If there are suitable opportunities, we will consider setting up a unit that is solely funded by CNR,” Liu says.
The company is also using the Ethiopia project as a spring-board to central and northern Africa. “Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania are all major destinations for us,” Liu says.
As a company that is closely related to infrastructure projects, CNR finds potential clients through two ways. It scouts for projects in African countries that are witnessing strong growth and are in need of large-scale infrastructure, such as Egypt and South Africa. It also looks to work as a sub-contractor for projects undertaken by Chinese construction companies in central African countries.
“We have to admit that we did not pay enough attention to Africa earlier,” Liu says, adding that the company was focusing on Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America.
“These regions have big populations, and the local economy is developed enough to trigger more demand for machinery and construction materials. It is also a good opportunity to establish our brand.”
Now, the company has realized that establishing the brand name in Africa is equally important. “The drawbacks we mention, such as lack of technicians and local manufacturers, turn out to be big opportunities for us,” Liu says. In fact, the multinationals have detected the opportunities as well.
“Hyundai Group, Alstom, Siemens AG, and Bombardier Inc have already got some physical presence, but not as deep as in other developed markets,” Liu says. “Only when the market is primitive can we seize the opportunities before our traditional competitors do.” (China Daily)



 Chinese diagnostic center in Ethiopia to introduce advanced technologies


AFEI Diagnosis Center run by a Chinese doctor in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, on Monday expressed commitment to further its endeavor in providing better services to patients by introducing advanced technologies in Ethiopia and Africa.

Speaking at a workshop organized by the Center, Wang Jianhua the owener, noted that his Center is increasing its services with enthusiasm to meet the growing demand from the public.

Attending the workshop, Xie Xiaoyan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, appreciated AFEI’s owner and his team for their contribution to quality services of diagnosis in Ethiopia.

Xie also commended AFEI Diagnosis Center for organizing the workshop which made presentations on basics of diagnosis and also diagnostic technologies aiming at raising awareness among the people and further building partnerships.

Recalling that Chinese medical teams are contributing to medical services in Ethiopia, the Ambassador stated that AFEI Diagnosis Center is a private business to diagnostic services in the country.

AFEI is abbreviated form of accurate, faithful, enthusiastic, and intelligent, and the Center operates in the capital of East African nation with its motto, “A passion for better care,” where it emphasizes on its passion originated from the willing of a better care for Africans.

Established in 2008, and with high-quality human resources and advanced technology, AFEI Diagnosis Center provides diagnostic services including of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Type-B ultrasonic, and X-ray computed tomography (CT).

The Center says it is one of the first professional diagnostic center in East Africa which provide precise medical image data collection and analysis.

The Center now has a multi-functional headquarter based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and a high-level branch in Djibouti.



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