08 May 2014 News Briefs


African Leaders Commit to Increased Investment in Agriculture


Cairo, 8 May 2014 – Five African leaders reaffirmed their commitment to transforming the agricultural sector across the continent at the 2014 Grow Africa Investment Forum, taking place in Abuja, Nigeria, in the lead-up to the World Economic Forum on Africa, which started today.

According to a News release World Economic Forum sent to WIC, building on recent successes of the Grow Africa partnership – a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency and the World Economic Forum – the leaders agreed that increased private sector investment in agriculture is key to delivering economic opportunity and food security within their countries.
“There are huge opportunities in agriculture. This will create jobs and achieve food security,” said Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of Nigeria. “The key is not just producing enough food for local consumption, but also creating jobs along the value chain,” he added.
“For years, Africa’s agriculture was marked by low productivity, low production,” noted Jakaya M. Kikwete, President of Tanzania. Thanks to an agriculture transformation based on a blueprint started at the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2010 in Dar es Salaam, he said his country is seeing dividends. As a result, “hunger can be overcome, and increased income reduces poverty.”
In 2013, Grow Africa partners doubled their commitments for agriculture and food security to $7.2 billion. Of this, $970 million is already invested, which has led to the creation of 33,000 new jobs and assistance to 2.6 million smallholder farmers throughout the continent.
“We have made some progress on the ground,” said Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. He said this is largely due to investments in land management, seed quality, technology, water management and other factors, including the important role of smallholder farmers.
As an African-owned and country-led platform, Grow Africa works to catalyse increased and inclusive investment and multistakeholder partnership in the agriculture sector, in line with African countries’ Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) plans.
Grow Africa is currently operating in nine Partner Countries in Africa: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania. At the meeting, Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, announced that his country will join the partnership as the 10th member.
One priority area that was identified for future action was the issue of gender parity. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson, African Union, said: “We are not seeing women emerging as entrepreneurs with increased income: how can you increase production if you do not involve the 50% of women who are our farmers?”
Also at the Grow Africa Investment Forum, Grow Africa and IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, signed a cooperation agreement to implement projects on the ground with the aim of doubling the incomes of at least 25,000 smallholder families by leveraging more.



China to Finance Construction of Five Sugar Factories


China to Finance Construction of Five Sugar Factories

Addis Ababa May 07/2014 – The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation said the Chinese government has agreed to finance construction of five sugar companies worth over 2.5 billion USD.

The factories will be constructed in Afar, Tigray and South Ethiopia Peoples’ states, said Corporation Director-General, Shiferaw Jarso.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday discussed with officials of various government agencies about the support they need to get from the China and areas of cooperation.

After the discussion, the Director told ENA that one of the agencies that request financial support from China is the Sugar Corporation and they agreed to provide fund.

The National Museum is another agency that request for Chinese assistance. The agency asked to cooperate in building cultural centers and museums.

The Chinese Premier said his country will extend support not only for infrastructure development and other economic sectors but also trainings and building institutional capacities in Ethiopia.

China has planned to share best practices in culture promotion with Ethiopia and other African countries.

Promoting culture is one of the priority areas China has given for the coming six years to cooperate with Africa, said the Premier.


Unlocking the CVTFS in the Djibouti Corridor


COMESA Secretariat is in the process of fast- tracking the implementation of the Virtual Trade Facilitation System (CVTFS) in the Djibouti Corridor. During a mission to Djibouti and Ethiopia last week, Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya expressed concern that the CVTFS pilot test was not going as initially agreed since COMESA had provided the project with the necessary support to both Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Mr Ngwenya held discussions with the Djibouti Minister of Budget, Mr Bodeh Ahmed Robleh; the Secretary General, Ministry of Budget, Mr Simon Mibrahtu; Mr Ali Doud, the CVTFS Djibouti Country Coordinator; and Mr Tesfaye Berhanu, the CVTFS Ethiopia Country Coordinator. The aim of the discussion was to identify and unlock the barriers that have hampered implementation of the trade facilitation system.

Among the issues identified by Djibouti were the improperly working roaming facilities between the country and Ethiopia. In addition, some of the devices provided to Djibouti by COMESA did not have sufficient facilities between the country and Ethiopia. In addition, some of the devices provided to Djibouti by COMESA did not have sufficient signals. It was agreed that Telecom Companies in both countries address the issue to enable roaming services to work.

Mr Ngwenya pledged to dispatch a team of technicians to sort out the device problems and re-activate the vehicle tracking units in the first two weeks of May 2014.

The Minister and the PS of Budget of the Republic Djibouti expressed their commitment to materialize CVTFS in co-operation with COMESA and the Ethiopian counterpart. Among the key actions to be taken was the provision of a list of Djibouti transport associations to participate in the pilot test and allow vehicles entry into the port with COMESA CVTFS tracking units.

Both country coordinators briefed the meeting that the preparatory activities including the training of customs officers and those of transport companies has been finalized except some issues remain to be sorted out.

The CVFTS is an information communication technology-based system, which seeks to reduce delays and bureaucracy in the trade chain. The system allows all customs in the various COMESA Member States to track the movements of the goods through different corridors. It also enables traders to locate their goods and trucks while in transit.



Chinese companies to build industrial zone in Dire Dawa


The Ministry of Industry and four Chinese companies signed on Tuesday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build an industrial zone in Dire Dawa.

The industrial zone would be the biggest ever zone in Africa, according to China’s Ambassador in Ethiopia Xie Xiaoyan.

The companies that signed the agreement to engage in building various industries are China Railway Group Limited, China Communication Construction Company, China Civil Engineering Construction Company, and CCG Overseas Construction.

On the occasion, Ethiopian Ambassador to China Seyoum Mesifn said the agreement shows the landmark achievements of the two countries cooperation and the special attention given to industrial transformation.

The ambassador appreciated the Chinese commitment to engage in various industrial zones in Ethiopia.

The Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Xie Xiaoyan on his part said the agreement is a reflection of the two nation’s commitment for development and this is the first economic tie in Africa and many more steps to follow.

After the signing of the memorandum, MoI State Minister Sisay Gemechu said the agreement is based on an earlier agreement reached by the two prime ministers following their discussion in the capital.



Support for Special Economic Zones and industrialization


Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn , summing up the three day visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and his wife, Cheng Hong, described the visit as highly successful.

He said that as Ethiopia strove to transform its economy from agriculture to industry , the support of China which had world-best experience in economic zones construction was vital and China, he said, had agreed to support Ethiopia in its efforts to industrialize.

The Prime Minister told members of the press that among the agreements made between the two sides was one to establish a China-Africa Railway Academy in Addis Ababa.

Prime Minister Hailemariam also noted that a number of programs identified as areas for cooperation between the two countries were accepted by the Chinese Premier.

There were agreements on aviation, connecting cities with fast rail transport systems and infrastructure development in general.

Prime Minister Hailemariam underlined the importance of special economic zones to ensure industrialization, and noted that four Chinese companies have signed agreements with the Ministry of Industry to develop an industrial park.

The Prime Minister also added that agreements were reached to cooperate in tourism, culture and people-to-people relations.

He also said that as human development was the key to growth, the two sides had agreed to cooperate in academic issues.



Nation Secures 2 bln USD Revenue from Sesame Export


Nation Secures 2 bln USD Revenue from Sesame Export

Hawassa May 07/2014Nearly two billion USD revenue was secured from export of sesame during the first three years of the five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period, the Ministry of Trade said.

The nation has exported more than 1.373 million tons of sesame and obtained the stated sum, said Belay Mamo oil seeds marketing head with the Ministry.

From the total export and revenue of the country’s oil seeds, sesame constitutes 34 percent and 90 percent respectively.

According to him, production and revenue have increased annually by 20.5 percent and 20 percent respectively.

China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Yemen, Japan, Sudan and Egypt are the main destinations for the product. Ethiopia exports 62 percent of the total sesame product to China.

Modernization of the trading system, construction of warehouses, extensive promotion activities as well as demand and price increase contributed for the revenue increase, Belay said.


Chinese eye surgeons restore sight to hundreds of patients


More than four and a half million people in Ethiopia suffer from blindness or poor vision. For many, it’s a problem that can be fixed. Yet the country has long been lacking proper treatment facilities. Now a new programme, led by Chinese eye surgeons, is helping transform hundreds of lives.

Intricate surgery, but this team are experts in their field…and when they’re finished here, it means this woman will have a new lease on life, her sight restored after so long spent in darkness. They’re just one of hundreds set to benefit from a programme known as the journey of brightness.

China has been sending medical teams to provide vital health services in Ethiopia for more than four decades.
This venture is something new, a team of top eye surgeons trying to make a difference to hundreds of lives through an intensive 2-week session of surgeries.

The team is from Peking Union Medical college hospital, and the surgeons are working at the Alert Referral hospital in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

“The patient situation is more complicated that the one in Chin because they come to hospital too late . and its not just about the cataract but they have other infections as well .but still we can do the operations . we’ve brought some advanced equipment which will help,” said Dr. Fangtian Dong, Chinese team leader.

Ethiopia has made huge progress in recent years in developing its health services, particularly for children.
But cataracts – the clouding of the lens inside the eye – remain a curse many live with.

Too few local doctors are qualified to perform the relatively simple surgery and for many rural folk, treatment is simply not accessible. So even this small team can make a big difference.

“They have brought high tech to make services simple , increase quality . previously to introduce lenses with guess work without calculating power of the eye,” said Dr. Solomon Bussa, Alert hospital.

And it’s not just people in Ethiopia who are benefiting. The journey of brightness has been rolled out to six other African countries.

Full story with video here  http://english.cntv.cn/2014/05/07/VIDE1399419005546929.shtml


Chinese Car Company to Launch New Multi-Million Dollar Plant



Yemeni Company Seeks Majority Stake in Ethiopia’s Sole Tobacco Producer


The PPESA may be unwilling to sell, as Sheba Investment have not been actively involved in the business

The Public Enterprises Board will decide on whether or not to accept Sheba Investment Plc’s request to buy an additional 48pc share in the National Tobacco Enterprise S.C. Friday by May 9, 2014.

The Yemeni company already has a 22pc share in the lone tobacco maker, which it acquired in 1999. The tobacco company had been producing with the one machine it acquired when established in 1941 for over 60 years, until it acquired new machinery in 2003 for 150 million Br, attaining a production capacity of six billion sticks a year in the Nyala, Gisilla, Elleni, Delight and Nyala Premium brands.

The year has not been good for the Privatisation & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA). It set out to sell 20 enterprises during the year, but has managed to sell only three over the past nine months, including the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Manufacturing S.C. Hamaressa Edible Oil S.C. and Bekelcha Transport S.C .- although the buyers have missed the deadline set to make payments.

The Agency has, over the years, used different approaches, including full sale, partial sale or joint venture, as well as the lease of the factory facilities. The Bahir Dar Textile Factory had been leased to a Chinese company, but the Agency was not happy with the way that company handled it.

Sheba approached the Agency proposing to boost its shares following the Agency’s interest in selling out a more modest 27pc share – although the Agency declined to officially confirm the figure, saying it was confidential.

Sheba’s proposal has been referred to the Agency’s board, according to Wondafrash Assefa, public relations head at the Agency. However, Sheba is not likely to get a decision in its favour, as the Agency feels that it is not actively taking part in the ongoing business of the Tobacco Enterprise, according to an official.

The PPESA wants to use aggressive promotion to sell the enterprises still in state ownership, claiming in its six month report, in February 2014, that the reasons it was not able to sell as much as it would like were poor promotion and the lack of interest from investors to engage in the manufacturing sector.



Ethiopian, ICBC Financial Leasing Co. Ltd sign MoU


During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s state visit to Ethiopia, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Ethiopian Airlines and ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “ICBC Leasing”).

According to the MOU, ICBC Leasing will provide Ethiopian Airlines financial support for its fleet expansion plan, including but not limited to B737 and B787 aircraft in the form of finance lease, sale and lease back, commercial loans or operating lease from ICBC Leasing’s Boeing order.
The MOU is one of the largest financial cooperation in the aviation industry between the two countries, which is an important step of China’s financial industry to go international.

“We are delighted to work with Ethiopian Airlines-the top leading operator in the Africa, and to support its fleet expansion.” said Chief Executive Officer of ICBC Leasing, Mr. Cong Lin, “The MOU marks a significant milestone between China’s Lessors and African airlines, which will promote deep financial cooperation between China and Africa.”

“We are pleased to have ICBC Leasing, a leading global leasing company, as a strategic partner.” said Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam.

“The cooperation with ICBC Leasing and its parent company ICBC Bank, the largest commercial bank in the world, will support our Vision 2025 fast, profitable and sustainable growth strategy. We look forward to a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership with ICBC.”

Ethiopian Airlines, the flag carrier of Ethiopia, was founded on 21 December 1945 and commenced operations on 8 April 1946. It is the most profitable and fastest growing global Pan-African carrier currently serving 80 international destinations across 5 continents with over 200 daily flights, and using the latest technology aircraft such as B777s and B787s.

ICBC Leasing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), with a registered capital of 11 billion Yuan, was founded in November 2007. It is the largest and the most innovative Lessor in China.

With domestic and foreign assets of 200 billion Yuan as of the end of March 2014, it manages more than 380 aircraft, of which 168 aircraft were delivered to more than 50 domestic and foreign world-class airlines.

According to a press release issued by Ethiopia, ICBC Leasing is not only the top aviation leasing company in China, but also one of the leading Lessors in international aviation leasing market.




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