06 May 2014 News Round-Up


Ethiopian Fertiliser Plants Crucial



The Ethiopian industry ministry recently announced intentions to spend $2.8 billion for setting up new fertiliser factories 300 kilometres west of Addis Ababa.

According to the same sources, the plants are expected to come into operation in three years and have the capacity to manufacture 300,000 tons of fertiliser each year.

The Ethiopians are not wasting time to get things moving, because the government believes self-sufficiency in fertiliser is a key to revitalising Ethiopian agriculture.

No one wants to be reminded of those harrowing days in the mid-1980s, when people starved to death.

For those who are wondering what the fuss is all about, fertilisers can make plants grow faster and better. It is fertilisers that have been at the core of many a successful Green Revolution, especially in South East Asia.

There continues to be heated debate surrounding the intensive use, but at this moment it is far less controversial than resorting to an all out mass distribution of those miracle Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs).

By the way, Ethiopia’s national seed bank is the oldest and largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, having been in existence for nearly 40 years.

Against this background, adopting GMOs is a decision that will not be taken lightly. However with a population of just over 80 million people the government is under pressure to set the pace.

According to FAO, rising incomes will create a disproportionally higher demand for food, meaning that over the next three decades food production will need to increase by about 60% across sub-Saharan Africa.

Nearly all of the increase in production will have to come from intensification of agriculture. In other words more yield per unit time and per unit area and that means fertilisers.

As urbanization reduces the rural workforce, agriculture will also need to adopt new forms of mechanization and shift to land use intensification, with all of its connotations.

Those scenarios point to an increase in use efficiencies of all natural resources, particularly water, and to the need for greater – although not proportionally greater – use of mineral fertilizer. The global phosphate fertilizers demand is increasing due to the growing world population and increasing food demand.

Increasing milk and meat consumption in the world has necessitated large feed volume that in turn has increased the demand for maximum forage production. The global demand for phosphate fertilizers is projected to grow by 3.2% annually, from 2013 to 2018.

Last week Addis Ababa hosted a regional agriculture meeting which agreed farmers are at the centre of Africa’s transformation agenda. Therefore it is in the best interests of food security that Ethiopia invests the $2.8 billion in fertiliser projects.



Ethiopia: The WB to Support Improved Local Government Performance in Expanding Key Infrastructure and Services in Booming Cities


WASHINGTON – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$380 million credit to help improve the capacity and performance of local urban governments to expand sustainable urban infrastructure and services in cities across Ethiopia.

As the first phase of the program is nearing completion; the government is now embarking on a second phase, and has requested the World Bank to continue its support.  Through the use of the Program for Results (PforR) instrument, the International Development Association (IDA*) credit for the Second Urban Development Program (ULGDP II) will scale up support to 26 new Urban Local Governments-for a total of 44 ULGs-across nine regional governments.

“Ethiopia is rapidly becoming more urban which means poverty becomes more of a city phenomenon. In 2000, 11 percent of Ethiopia’s poor lived in cities, but this rose to 14 percent in 2010/11,” said Guang Zhe Chen, the World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. “Through efforts to leverage well-functioning and productive urban centers, the operation is expected to maintain a focus on the urban poor and increase access to basic infrastructure services, spur inclusive growth and fuel job creation.”

The ULGDP aims to address institutional and fiscal gaps at the urban local government level by supporting improved performance in the planning, delivery, and sustained provision of urban services and infrastructure by local governments.

The ULGDP II aims to enhance the institutional performance of participating urban local governments in developing and sustaining urban infrastructure and services. “The ULGDP II will consolidate and expand the achievements of the first phase by providing  grants to urban local governments based on their performance across a range of areas including fiduciary management, asset management, revenue generation, management of environmental and social systems, , planning and budgeting practices, execution of planned operations and maintenance, governance, transparency and participation, among others,” said Abebaw Alemayehu, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the program.

The program funds are disbursed on the basis of the performance of the participating local governments and are earmarked for investment in urban infrastructure and services.

The success of the first phase has shown great promise that this program will help the urban population in Ethiopia. As of July 2013, around 2.6 million people have benefited from the infrastructure and services financed under ULGDP. Some 670 kilometers of roads and 588 kilometers of drainage system, 171 latrines and 110 community water points have been constructed, with 29,000 people given access to improved water sources.  As a result of the roads built by program funds, particularly cobblestone, mobility for residents has increased, flooding has diminished, property values and small enterprises have increased.  These changes are transforming city and town centers into lively and welcoming places in which to live and work.



China remains committed to support Ethiopia’s development activities: Premier Li Keqiang


Addis Ababa, 6 May 2014 (WIC) – Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that his country will continue assisting Ethiopia’s massive development activities.
The visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held discussion with Ethiopian President Dr Mulatu Teshome here today.
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ambassador Dina Mufti who attended the discussion told journalists that China will provide financial and technical support to Ethiopia’s effort to reduce poverty and improve the livelihood of its people.
Premier Li also pledged to support the second phase of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) of Ethiopia.
During his state visit to Ethiopia, Li Keqiang approved 3 billion US dollars loan for the Ethio-Djibouti railway project.
He also pledged to provide 475.6 million birr as grant and 475.6 million birr interest free loan to Ethiopia to finance development projects.
Ethiopian President Dr Mulatu Tosheme, who thanked Chinese premier for his promises, said that China is providing what Ethiopia needs to its booming economy.
The president also said his country is ready to expand cooperation with China in the construction of rail, road and other infrastructure.



Ethiopia most successful in Africa at cutting maternal deaths


Addis Ababa, 6 May 2014 (WIC) – Pregnancy-related deaths in Ethiopia have fallen by nearly two-thirds, making it the African country that has most successfully lowered its maternal mortality rate thanks to its lifesaving investment in female health workers and girls’ education, Save the Children said on Tuesday.

Ethiopia’s maternal deaths have fallen from one in 24 women dying due to pregnancy in 2000 to one in 67 today, Save the Children wrote in its annual report State of the World’s Mothers.

Out of 178 countries included in the report, Save the Children ranks Finland as the best place to be a mother or child and Somalia as the worst.

Care For Woman By Women

A decade ago, the Ethiopian government hired 30,000 basic health workers to provide preventive and curative health care services across the country. There is a health post, staffed by two health workers, for every 5,000 people.

All of the health workers are women because it is easier culturally for them to talk to other women about family planning, healthy pregnancies, clean delivery and childcare. The health workers also connect those who need more sophisticated care with larger health centres and hospitals.

As a result, the number of women receiving antenatal care has risen from 27 percent in 2000 to 42 percent in 2011, said Metasebia Gizaw Balcha, Save the Children’s regional health adviser.

“They work with the pregnant woman on birth preparedness,” she told Thomson Reuters Foundation at the Save the Children office in Nairobi. “If it’s a delivery that’s known to have risks, definitely she would plan to have it in a health facility.”

Common risks include becoming pregnant before the age of 16 or after 35, and having less than two years between deliveries, as well as anaemia, sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS, and eclampsia, a complication marked by high blood pressure that can lead to seizures.

Most maternal deaths occur during labor, delivery or soon afterwards.

Key to reducing maternal mortality is for women giving birth to have a doctor, midwife, or nurse present in case they need skilled assistance, such as the use of forceps, administration of drugs or surgery.

In Ethiopia, skilled assistance at delivery has increased from 6 to 10 percent in the last six years, according to government statistics.

Most women still deliver at home, with 57 percent helped by a relative and 28 percent by a traditional birth attendant, but now women are more educated about the risks.

“Traditional birth attendants do not know how to detect complications or conduct clean deliveries,” Gizaw Balcha said. “They usually did not clean the umbilical cord and used to apply some other herbs or even cow dung on it. They used to delay women at home even if there were complications. That will not happen now with health extension workers.”

A woman who becomes pregnant more often also faces greater chances of dying, so improved family planning can improve rates of survival.

Ethiopia’s fertility rate has dropped from 5.5 children per woman in 2000 to 4.8 in 2011, and contraceptive use is up from 8 to 29 percent. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)



‘dVentus’ Technologies launches smart electric meters



‘dVentus’ Technologies, a renewable energy technology company, held a product launch event on Friday May 2nd for its smart electric meters along with a distribution automation system. According to the company, the system is complimentary to the smart grid rollout plan of the Ethiopian government as well as the Ethiopian Electric Utility.
“The smart electric meters will be replacing the current postpaid meters that are installed everywhere,” said dVentus CEO Daniel Gizaw. He also stated that dVentus is working in partnership with the Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC) and Ethiopian Electric Utility.
According to the company’s claims the smart meters should ensure reliable and efficient energy supply, accuracy in billing and tariff management, saving in distribution cost and revenue increases. It is expected to contribute greatly to improving customer service for the Ethiopian Electric Utility.
Back in January 2012, MetEC was in discussions with the then Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) to start replacing the analogue meters that are read manually with digital smart meters that automatically capture information about electricity consumption and transmit the information  back to EEPCo.
MetEC  previously had about 2,000 workers that would replace the existing meters with the new smart ones. Smart Meters are different than pre paid meters as they have real-time sensors, power outage notification capability and power quality monitoring, which utilizes two-way communication between the meter and the central system.



US praises Ethiopian growth


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — United States Secretary of State, John Kerry has praised the rapid economic development underway in Ethiopia. 

He was in Addis Ababa last week to have talks with Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn on several bilateral and regional issues, including the conflict in South Sudan.

“I think it’s fair to say that Ethiopia, in terms of its economy and in other ways, is really on the move, and it is a place that is generating enormous energy. All you have to do is drive through Addis, as I have several times in the last hours, and you see the economic activity, you can see the numbers of cranes and construction that is taking place, and it provides a snapshot of the country’s rapid development. It is no wonder that Ethiopia is one of the eight African economies that is one of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world,” Kerry said during a news conference.

He said the US remains committed to supporting Ethiopia’s growing prosperity.

“We do that because strong commercial ties and this rate of development are critical to having shared prosperity, critical to providing opportunity to the broad population, and they also it helps to provide stability and helps to provide the capacity for Ethiopia to be able to lead in some of the other initiatives that are so critical to stability in the region,” he said.



Sudan reaffirms its support for the GERD


Sudanese president Omer Hassan al Bashir has pledged that his country will extend the necessary support for Ethiopia’s massive hydro-power plant project which Ethiopia is building along the Blue Nile River.
Bashir made the remarks at a symposium of Ethiopian intellectuals held in Ethiopia’s northern city of Bahirdar under the theme “intellectuals on Ethiopia’s imperatives of utilisation of the Nile for development”.
In his keynote speech, the Sudanese leader said his country supports the construction of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Egypt fears could diminish its water share from the Nile River.
Bashir lauded Ethiopia’s contribution to furthering regional integration through energy power.
He pledged to push Sudanese intellectuals to jointly work with their Ethiopian counterparts on the Nile River and Ethiopia’s power plant project.
Sudanese President Omar Bashir participated in the forum along with Ethiopian governmental officials including Kassa Teklebirhan Speaker of the House of Federation and Ambassador Berhane Gebrekirstos State Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The two-day forum concluded on Wednesday after thorough discussions about how to utilise and manage the Nile’s water resources sustainably.
The forum discussed issues related to the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the importance of the Nile River for development purposes.
Participants also debated what role the Ethiopian intellectual community should play to deepen cooperation over the Nile waters and the roles the governments of the riparian states, African inter-states organisations, and the international community should play to foster a cooperative atmosphere for Nile river basin.
In a joint communiqué the Ethiopian intellectuals said they encourage the riparian countries to preserve the path of equitable and reasonable utilisation of the Nile water.
They urged all riparian countries to continuously engage in an inclusive dialogue deepening cooperation and refrain from any act of provocation.
They further said they would continuously discourage any hegemony of power over the use of the Nile’s resources.
The symposium, prepared by a local think tank group, Center for Developmental Studies (CDS) and hosted by Bahir Dar University, brought together the country’s most prominent scholars and prestigious institutions, as well as 32 public universities in Ethiopia.



Khartoum to host Sudan-Ethiopia investment forum


Sudanese capital Khartoum is due to host the Sudanese-Ethiopian Investment Forum this Saturday.

The two-day forum is organized by Sudan’s National Investment Agency in collaboration with the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum.

Higher Council for Investment State Minister Ali Tawer said in statement here Sunday that the forum would provide a strong boost for the progress of economic, social and cultural relations between the two countries.

It also reflected Sudan’s keenness to activate investments between the two countries, he added, noting that the forum’s agenda would focus on achievement in the investment field through a review of various working papers on joint opportunities for trade and investment, banking transactions and the activation of bilateral and regional agreements.

Tawer also revealed that meetings of the Sudanese-Ethiopian Ministerial Committee will be convened between May 24 and 28 in Addis Ababa, where a Sudanese trade and investment exhibition will be held. (Diretube)



Chr. Hansen looks to support camel milk business in Kenya, Ethiopia


An estimated 25-50% of the annual camel milk production in Kenya and Ethiopia is currently wasted because of lack of infrastructure and lack of further processing to preserve the milk, according to Chr. Hansen. Thus, thousands of camel owners in these arid regions could benefit from developments that can help them increase the use-value and prolong the shelf life of their camel milk.

In an attempt to facilitate this, Chr. Hansen has launched a camel forum on LinkedIn. The initiative comes after a CSR project in 2012 by Chr. Hansen and Kenyan company Oleleshwa Enterprises to improve the living conditions of small-scale camel owners.

The project focused on the development of basic knowledge about camel cheese production to enable camel owners to produce their own camel cheese for both sales and own consumption, and ended with the development of several camel cheese recipes, which have been collected in a simple camel cheese manual available for download.

“We now realise that the more knowledge we generate, the more need for further development and information we have and for that reason we have created an external platform where people all around the world can share their knowledge, experiences, and recipes on camel milk products,” said Rolando Saltini, global marketing manager cheese, Chr. Hansen. “Everyone will be able to make suggestions, questions and comments regarding camel milk and camel milk products. It will be an independent platform but with a link to Chr. Hansen.”

Chr. Hansen said that the new open discussion platform will mainly have an educational character, but it can also serve as inspiration for the development of more recipes in the future. For instance, camel cheese is not widely produced on an industrial level and on the long term, this forum may contribute to the camel cheese consolidation on specific markets.

The company has worked together with Marina Zande, an independent food engineer and graduate in the topic of camel chymosin and camel cheese making, on this project. Zande evaluated all platforms currently available and chose Linkedin as the camel platform, as most of the camel society is already present here.

“This project could support the development of a profitable business for camel owners in the arid areas of Africa and Middle East, and it will provide ideas for the development of new products,” said Zande. “We strongly believe that this forum can establish more knowledge on the production of numerous camel milk products on an industrial level.”










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