22 June 2014 Weekend News Round-Up



Agribusiness: Africa’s Tool to Overcome Unemployment and Poverty


VENTURES AFRICA – While African nation such as Nigeria, Angola, Libya and Egypt have relied heavily on revenue accruing from oil sale, a key hidden treasure greatly untapped by the African populace is agriculture. It is perhaps the oldest and one of the most profitable economic sectors in the world – capable of feeding billions of people around the world, yet Africa has failed to harness the potentials abound on the continent.

The continent is said to hold 60 percent of the world’s arable land, implying that if properly exploited, it could become the world’s food basket. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), agricultural growth is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors like mining and utilities.

Africa has the opportunity to be the world supplier of organically grown crops and the market for agriculture exists with the present burgeoning population. With its vast amount of arable land and favourable weather conditions, Africa, half of whose population is under 25 is expected to help half hunger by the year 2025.

However despite the potentials this industry has to offer, it is still one of the most neglected and the number of young people venturing into agribusiness remains minimal.

Ironically, the African Economic Outlook reported that 40 million young people in Africa are unemployed while about 53 million of 200 million youths between the ages of 15 and 24 are in unstable employment. The report also noted that while 18 million of them are looking for a job, 22 million have already given up.

In considering agriculture as a profession; most youths, especially the educated ones regard agriculture as a dirty and boring job that cannot meet all their material needs. The very few educated agriculturist available have not really been actively involved in the practical aspect of the job – that is going into the field. Most of them are often in the business as researchers or consultants. They have been more of “book agriculturist” than “practicing agriculturist.”

To cap it all, most African countries till now are incapable of feeding themselves and many people continue to die of hunger while many children especially in war-ridden parts of Africa remain staunchly mal-nourished.

Just last week, it was reported that many desperate South Sudan residents who are trying to escape the fighting across the country are resorting to eating grass and roots to survive, because food is in such short supply. In fact one refugee family told U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres that they had been eating roots – which must be boiled for days to remove poisons — because they have no other food.

It is to this end that African youths must venture into the path not often taken -Agriculture.

Not only should they see this as a means to provide them employment, but also as an avenue in helping to end the chains of hunger and poverty that remains prevalent in most of their countries.

More young people in the business of farming can also help to create a local market that could spur the export of agricultural produce to other countries like China who has become a major trader in Africa.

José Graziano da Silva Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) buttressed this during the agency’s 28th Regional Conference for Africa, in Tunis last month saying “Agriculture, rural development and youth can help improve nutritional and economic well-being in the years to come.”

Therefore, Unless the younger generation ventures more into agribusiness, Africa may not be able to meet up with the demand of feeding its growing population and achieving food security by the year 2025 as stipulated in the “Africa’s Renewed Initiative for Stunting Elimination” (ARISE 2025).

Already some African youths are rising up to the challenge and even celebrities from the region are lending their voice to support this cause.

Recently Nigerian Artiste, Dapo Oyebanjo, a.k.a D’banj, through his organisation, ONE.org launched one of the continent’s biggest musical collaborations ever, ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’, to boost investments in agriculture.

However, it is important to note that agripreneurs like other entrepreneurs need opportunity to start a viable business.

Governments could help by investing in dedicated training centers where young people can get training and education to hone their farming skills. They can also help by providing infrastructural facilities (good roads, electricity) for agribusiness expansion, offering affordable credit services, subdising farm inputs and educating young farmers on post harvest management and marketing.

African governments should also adopt better agricultural policies by scaling up public investments in agriculture and honor the MAPUTO 2003 Agreement which mandates them to commit 10 percent of national budgets on effective agriculture investments.

With these in place, financial institutions will have the more confidence to give out loans to help young farmers in building their business and consequently this will boost agribusiness, increase productivity and profits, create more jobs, and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty.



Africa Bamboo center to be established in Ethiopia


Online bookmaker bet365

Sileshi Getahu
                                                                                                                         Sileshi Getahu


– Bamboo resource in Benishangul Gumuz under threat

Ethiopia, home to 67 percent of the overall bamboo and rattan forest in Africa, is to become home to the continent’s first bamboo and rattan research and demonstration center with the aim of promoting the resource, its various value addition options and untapped economic value across Africa.

Categorized under the grass family, the bamboo plant can be processed into 1,500 different types of products and factory ingredients for which there are high demands around the globe at the moment. And so far, the potentials are far from being tapped in Africa; most importantly in East Africa where bamboo is an indigenous plant and the bulk of Africa’s bamboo forest is located. Ethiopia, which is estimated to have one million hectares of bamboo forestation, dominated by lowland and highland bamboo varieties, is the most important in this region.  

Sileshi Getahu, state minister of agriculture, said his ministry is well aware of this potential and is taking steps to lead the sector. An ideal platform, according to Sileshi, has been the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an intergovernmental organization established in 1997 to develop and promote innovative solutions to poverty and environmental sustainability using bamboo and rattan, to which Ethiopia is home, together with 38 other countries. Since China is the world’s leading nation in the utilization of the bamboo plant, INBAR is headquartered there. And for the past two years, Ethiopia has chaired the ministerial council, an intergovernmental body that is leading the INBAR network.

According to the state minister, the proposed center is an outcome of the role Ethiopia has been playing as chair of this council for the past two years. “First and foremost, the idea of setting up a bamboo center in Ethiopia is the outcome of the bilateral talks between the Chinese government and our counterpart. Nevertheless, we have some convincing to do to persuade other African countries that are members of the network to locate the continental bamboo center in Ethiopia,” he told The Reporter.

The center will be fully financed by the Chinese government while being owned and operated by the Minister of Agriculture (MoA) with technical support from INBAR. The center will be tasked with researching and offering training on bamboo starting from nursery stages to the planting and processing of the bamboo plant, according to the state minister. If things go according to plan, the project will break ground in November this year on the occasion of the International Summit on Bamboo that will be held in Addis Ababa, Hans Friederich, director general of INBAR, said.

According to the state minister, two potential sites are chosen to be the center. The first site is located near the capital, in the town of Menagesha, Suba area, while the other is a five hectare plot of land in the Oromia Regional State, near the town of Ambo. Although the design and cost estimation of the center is still in the works, Sileshi said that both sites can be used, one as a demonstration site and the other as the research facility.

Bamboo is a unique plant by nature. Experts say bamboo faces the danger of dying out once it starts flowering while on the other hand, bamboo also takes years, depending on its variety, to mature and be ready for use. Hence, experts say it is very important to harvest the bamboo culms once they reach a certain maturity level not only to put them to use but also to keep the plant alive. Based on the varieties that grow in Ethiopia, Sileshi estimates that harvesting could be done as frequently as yearly.

Nevertheless, the potential application of the bamboo tree is quite vast. Its uses range from construction and furniture making to textile, food, paper and medicine manufacturing, to making musical instruments of various kinds, fuel and much more. Currently, there are two established bamboo-processing plants in Ethiopia, Bamboo Star Agro-Forestry and Adel Industrial Group, whose outputs are largely limited to producing bamboo floorings, ceilings, toothpicks, curtains, tablemats and a few others.

This has huge potential economic implications, according to the state minister. He said the economic gains range from the immediate farmers who would plant bamboo trees to processors, people employed in the processing plants and thousands others in the bamboo-rattan value chain. Hans agrees with this assessment and says that one of the goals of his organization is to promote private sector involvement in the bamboo processing.

“At the moment, the international trade in bamboo that we monitor is worth USD 1.9 billion while the Chinese domestic market for bamboo alone is worth more USD 20 billion,” he told The Reporter. The potential economic advantage of bamboo is truly immense, according to the director, and Ethiopia has not even started to scratch its surface.

Michael Gebru, founder of and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bamboo Star, a bamboo processing plant established with a capital 100 million birr, said that he moved back to Ethiopia after living 24 years abroad to exploit this great potential. His plant, located in the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, depends on the bamboo forestry in the region for the supply of ingredients. Last year, his plant was accredited for bamboo afforestation distributing 1.5 million bamboo seeds to farmers. “We have a nursery site where we can prepare the seeds to give to farmers. This year we are planning to give one million seeds,” he told The Reporter. Farmers and bamboo forestry is a lifeline for Michael’s processor. He sees real opportunity in the export market to the Middle East and Europe. “Thus far, we have produced 120,000 square meters of bamboo flooring and we are seeing that it has great potential for export,” he says.

However, in spite of the afforestation effort, the region’s bamboo forest is under threat, according to Michael. “Illegal trade in cut bamboo culms is proliferating along the region’s border with Sudan, for instance,” he said. Contraband traders are shipping away a great deal of the bamboo resource across the border and whatever is left is being sold in towns for fuel, says Michael. “Bamboo forests are not safe anymore,” he contends, and this could have grieve consequences for bamboo plants like his and potential investors who are looking to invest in the sector.



ENAPHA to Establish a Medical Zone in Addis Ababa


ENAPHAAddis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association (ENAHPA) will establish a medical zone in Addis Ababa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed.

Diaspora Engagement Affairs Directorate-General with the Ministry, Feisel Aliyi, told ENA that the planned medical zone will help Addis Ababa become center of medical tourism.

The Directorate-General said ENAHPA and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have signed agreement that will enable the medical zone to be East Africa’s center of excellence in cancer treatment and peoples of IGAD member states to benefit from the center.

He pointed out that cancer patients from East African countries, including Ethiopia, have been travelling to European countries and Bangkok to get better medical treatment expending huge cost. The establishment of the center will stop the travel and save hard currency, Feisel said, further noting that the centre will also provide advanced medical treatment that is not currently available in the Region.

According to the Director-General, the center will attract the attention of many African countries since it would be using advanced medical technology and highly qualified professionals.

The establishment of the center is exemplary to the Ethiopian Diaspora, and was fully supported by the government as it is in harmony with the Diaspora Policy.

ENAHPA has over 300 Ethiopian health professionals living in North America and Europe.



Import mogul to turn manufacturer


Sabir Argaw


The sister company of AL-SAM Plc, Repi Soap and Detergent SC and Wilmar International Limited (Wilmar), a leading Singapore agribusiness group, have signed a joint investment agreement for the upgrading of an existing manufacturing facility of Repi, and the building of a new integrated manufacturing complex in the Sebeta town of the Oromia Regional State.

Sabir Argaw, Board Chairman of AL-SAM Group, told The Reporter that the project would be finalized within the coming 14 months and that after the completion of the expansion work, Repi Soap and Detergent Factory, presently located in the Kolfe Keranio Sub City of Addis Ababa, would be transferred to a new facility that will be erected in Sebeta town, located in the Special Zone of the Oromia Regional State, on a 100 hectare plot of land.

Based on the agreement, both Repi and Wilmar will have a 50 percent stake in the USD 100 million expansion project. And, according to Sabir, forty percent of the project cost will be covered by initial investment contribution from the two companies (both financial and in kind) while the rest is expected to come from a bank loan.

The new manufacturing complex will include the production of an edible oil refinery, plants for specialty fats, soft oils, soaps, detergents and a packaging plant, as well as a facility for sesame seed processing.

Sabir also said that when the project is finalized and starts producing at its full capacity, it will be able to satisfy local demand for palm oil.

“Currently, Repi Soap and Detergent Share Company produces 21 thousand tons of detergents, and the expansion project is expected to boost its production capacity to 91 thousand tons of detergent annually,” Sabir told The Reporter.

Repi Soap and detergent SC, locally known as Repi Soap Factory, was established in 1974 under the name Bianil Ethiopia SC by foreign investors of Swiss and Greek origin aiming to produce and distribute powder detergent to the East African market.

Less than a year after its formation, however, Repi was nationalized by the government and was managed under the branch of the National Chemical Corporation and was then re-established as a public enterprise in 1992 by the Council of Ministers and was recapitalized by birr 1,525,000.00.

Later, following an invitation by the government to form a Joint Venture Partnership in Repi Soap Factory, LENA Plc clinched the deal to reestablish Repi as Repi Soap and Detergent Share Company in 2007/08.

The joint venture arrangement lasted one year followed by a full takeover of the share company by LENA Plc after buying out the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency of the remaining 49 percent share previously held by the Agency (government). The company currently employs 530 permanent and temporary employees.

Wilmar International Limited, founded in 1991 and headquartered in Singapore, is an agribusiness group. Wilmar is ranked amongst the largest listed companies by market capitalization on the Singapore Stock Exchange with over 450 manufacturing plants and an extensive distribution network covering China, India, Indonesia and some 50 other countries.

The Group is backed by a multinational workforce of about 90,000 people. It already has a presence in 11 countries across Africa; this joint investment agreement with AL-SAM group marks its first operation in Ethiopia.

This makes Sabir the latest import mogul to turn to the manufacturing sector after a much publicized raw between the government and some members of the business community who are in the trade and services sector and are allegedly not showing interest to invest in manufacturing. The rift between the service giving private sector and the government widened after the imposition of the infamous price cap move and public criticism of sector players by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Much recently, Minister of Industry, Ahmed Abitew, also called up members of the private sector to invest in manufacturing after the sector’s export ambitions failed to materialize for the third consecutive year of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).

The Minister’s statement was also reiterated by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn underscoring the fact that the manufacturing sector’s targets are not going to be met without strong involvements from the private sector. But, strong profit incentives in trade and services sector appeared to be major deterrent to date.



IWMI urges Ethiopia to launch effective water management to boost agriculture


Simon Langan (Ph.D.)

Simon Langan (Ph.D.)


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) on Wednesday urged the Ethiopian government to release an effective mechanism of water management during its annual meeting held at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

The meeting identified key constraints and opportunities to improve access to small-scale irrigation technologies.

For five years now, IWMI has been preparing its highly valued programs entitled: “Feed the Future Innovation for Small-Scale Irrigation in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania.”  Hence, the first annual meeting, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (FtFILSSI) was held, bringing together government officials, partners, donors and representatives from academia and research institutions. “This annual meeting will produce setbacks and recommendable outputs in the livestock and irrigation value chains for Ethiopian smallholders,” Simon Langan (Ph.D.), senior researcher and head of office for the Nile Basin and East Africa, said.

Evaluating impacts, trade-offs and synergies of small-scale irrigation technologies and practices, initiating field interventions at selected sites in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, and conducting and analyzing community dialogue were among the key areas that the meeting was involved in towards the roadmap of implementation. “As a team, we can bring about a dynamic change so that all such concerns would become easy to get through,” Sileshi Getahun, state minister of agriculture, said while lauding the effort undertaken by the stakeholders.

The USAID funded project led by Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture/Texas A&M University in partnership with IWMI, ILRI and North Carolina A&T University will further carry out capacity development and trainings for farmers, development agents (DAs) and advisors to support field interventions as well. Participants stressed that East Africa desperately needs to train more water management professionals while they thoroughly outlined that Ethiopia’s agricultural water challenge is less about water scarcity but more about the management of water for effective use.

Ethiopia, is often called the water tower of Africa, due to its massive resources of streams, rivers and ponds along with big bodies of water and intensive rainfall. Nevertheless, its agriculture reveals an ironic fact as it still enormously depends on rainfall. Only 15-20 percent of its agriculture relies on irrigation, according to experts. And this project would intensify the country’s effort in an attempt to scale its water management.

Since 2003 the IWMI has closely worked with the other nine Consultative Groups of the International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to help out Ethiopia’s ineffective water resource management in line with the agendas of the ministry of water and energy and the ministry of agriculture. Its program on livestock and irrigation value chains for Ethiopian smallholders aims to benefit more than 200,000 households and also improves skills of over 5,000 public servants. Moreover, it supported six PhD and 103 M.S. students between 2005 and 2013.



Some $ 2.6 bln revenue collected from export


The Ministry of Trade announced that Ethiopia earned 2.6 billion dollar revenue from export of goods in the past 10 months.
The revenue is mainly collected from export of live animal, fruits and vegetables, coffee, hides and skins, Khat, textile and garments.

According to Amakele, Yimam, Head of the Public Relations Directorate General, the current year’s performance has shown a 4.8 million dollar increase when compared to last Ethiopian fiscal year’s performance.
This year’s 10-month performance meets 64% of the target set for export.

The drop in coffee price and shortage of supply were the factors for low performance in export, Amakele said.



Ethiopia, Canada vow to strengthen relations


A Canadian delegation headed by Philip Baker, director-general of Eastern and Southern Africa at the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Ethiopia this week and discussed bilateral relations and regional issues with its Ethiopian counterpart.

The delegation expressed that Canada wants to maintain supporting the Ethiopian government to meet the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

On Thursday, in an event that discussed the Ethio-Canada Fourth Consultative Meeting, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs updated the Canadian delegation members on the status of the GTP and the MDGs. Ethiopian officials noted that so-far performances were pretty high and vowed to succeed in meeting most of the targets set by both plans. The officials also discussed some gaps of the MDGs that they hoped Canada might fill.

Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie, director-general for American Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commended the Canadian government and people for supporting Ethiopia in all sectors in an effort to lift it from poverty. He told reporters that the development cooperation provided by the Canadian government was “well integrated with the Growth and Transformation Plan.”

Ambassador Taye also expressed that Ethiopia is grateful for the critical and consistent support that the Canadian government handed over to Ethiopia. He also emphasized that the cooperation needs to be upgraded to a sustainable level in terms that could be reflected in transforming the relations to trade and investment.

Canada is Ethiopia’s third largest donor and Ethiopia is the second largest aid receiver of Canada. The bilateral relationship has existed for the last 50 years. Food security and sustainable economic growth are major areas of the cooperation between the two countries.

Amy Baker, Minister Counselor and head of development cooperation, on her part confirmed that Canadian government is content with the development success that is taking place in Ethiopia. After reporting evaluation of the support, she added that the cooperation was very successful and that Canada wants to continue its support in future plans including Post-2015 MDG.  It also promised to deliver any support to Ethiopia in efforts to meet its MDG targets.

“It is very important to see these development plans are going well and on track in Ethiopia. And Canada wants to note that it will continue its support in fulfilling any gaps to meet the targets your government set”, David Usher, Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia, said.

“The relationship is strengthening. As you know Ethiopian Airlines’ flies to Canada three times a week. Many Canadians want to learn more about Ethiopia and Ethiopians want to visit Canada. We hope the business between the two countries will grow very soon. Both governments are working hard to do so.”

The delegation also expressed that some Canadian investors have keen interest in doing business in Ethiopia. Allana Potash is already involved in potash mining in the Danakil area, Afar Region. The Ambassador said many other Canadian companies are also working with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water Irrigation and Energy.



New Market Research Report: Travel and Tourism in Ethiopia to 2018


Fast Market Research recommends “Travel and Tourism in Ethiopia to 2018” from Timetric, now available

Ethiopia’s travel and tourism sector is still in a growth phase, and is largely supported by infrastructure improvements. The number of domestic trips reached 8.1 million, while international trips reached 666,996 in 2013, the main source countries for which were China, the US, Nigeria, Sudan and Belgium. Over the forecast period (2014-2018), the sector is expected to record growth in the volume of inbound and outbound tourists as Ethiopian Airlines establishes new routes, increases flight capacity and launches airfare discounts.

Report Highlights

Ethiopian Airlines is a fundamental growth driver of tourism development in Ethiopia. The airline has taken various initiatives to increase tourist inflows by introducing several new international and domestic routes, and expanded its flight capacity. It also partnered with other airlines to create codeshare agreements, which have had a positive impact on tourist flows. The airline is urging Ethiopian tour operators and journalists to participate in international tourism expos, and in May 2014, Ethiopian Airlines reduced its inbound fares by 40% to encourage tourism.

Full Report Details at

The Ethiopian government is planning to develop the tourism industry and created two new entities -the Tourism Transformation Council and the Ethiopian Tourism Organization – in March 2014 to aid this plan. This Tourism Transformation Council will develop the country’s key tourist destinations and take initiatives to create and implement tourism campaigns. It will also provide instruction to local government bodies to remove political obstructions currently impeding the development of the tourism sector. This is one of the strategies listed under the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), which aims to transform the country into one of the five leading tourist destinations in Africa by 2020.

Ethiopia is currently attempting to attract more tourists from India, and has taken initiatives to promote a tourism campaign: Come, Visit Ethiopia. Ethiopia has opened a cultural center in its embassy in New Delhi, and plans to introduce tourism boards in Mumbai. Ethiopia also participated in SATTE 2013 in January 2013, to attract more Indian tourists to its leisure and Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) segments. Ethiopian Airlines currently operates flights from Delhi and Mumbai, and plans to commence flights from Ahmedabad, Chennai and Bangalore in the future.

In November 2013, Ethiopian Airlines expanded its route to fly four times a week to Niamey, Niger and launched four-times-a-week flights to Kano, Nigeria from May 2014. This new route will allow passengers to make connections to Cairo, Mumbai, Guangzhou, Dubai, Riyadh, Khartoum, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Beirut, Washington, DC, and Toronto. Ethiopian Airlines has also announced that it will commence daily flights to London from July 2014.


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COMESA- Western Australia forms Working Group to Implement MoU




COMESA and the Government of Western Australia have established a joint working group to spearhead the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of mineral and petroleum resources.

The MoU was signed in January this year in Lusaka by Western Australia Premier Mr. Colin Barnnet and COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya.

The Joint Working Group (JWG) was established last month to provide a framework for cooperation covering mineral and petroleum resources, agriculture, vocational training and capacity building that are provided for in the MoU. COMESA representatives are Thierry Mutombo, McClay Kanyangarara, Stanley Mbagathi and Oliver Maponga (UNECA). Dr Tim Griffin, John Shute, Filippo Raggi, Diana Phang, Elliot Samson, and Virginia Simms represent WA.

In the JWG first meeting held recently, COMESA team expressed a preference for training in mining and mineral policy development and taxation and fiscal frameworks to be held by the end of 2014. In this regard COMESA will share with WA, the project documents on four proposed capacity building activities (policy, taxation and fiscal framework, linkages and mineral management) for possible collaborative delivery under the MoU and/or possible assistance with resource mobilization.

The COMESA industrialization policy places the minerals sector at the centre of strengthening linkages and value addition. Pursuant to this, it is developing a project to build the capacity of key players in the minerals sector in its Member States to be named: COMESA Human and Institutional Capacity Development in the Mineral Sector.

The proposed project will be implemented in all Member States of COMESA and will include COMESA-wide interventions as well as harmonized national level activities.

During the MoU signing, it was acknowledged that institutions that support mineral development in Africa are generally weak due to human skills deficiency and financial constraints and therefore inappropriate to effectively facilitate the role of minerals in development.

COMESA will establish national focal points for the implementation of the MoU on behalf of the JWG. Member States will be co-opted on a need basis, such as when activities are to be organised in their country.

It was proposed that Members States participate in the “Africa Down Under Conference” to take place in Perth in September 2014. This will offer them an opportunity to showcase their mineral potential. WA has offered to link COMESA with other potential sources of support for the proposed activities.

Western Australia is the largest State in Australia with one of the highest living standards in the world and a robust economy largely driven by extraction and processing of mineral and petroleum commodities.



Ethiopia, Israel to share intelligence information


Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.) with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Belaynesh Zevadia, Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia is seen in the middle

Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.) with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Belaynesh Zevadia, Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia is seen in the middle


– Agree to work on counter-terrorism 

Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister of Israel, paid a visit to Ethiopia Monday night to discuss and sign agreements on political and economic matters.

The foreign minister stressed the need for having strong counter-terrorism action reinforced in the Middle East and East Africa.

At a press conference held on Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Lieberman was joined by his Ethiopian counterpart, Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.).  Both sides affirmed that they have discussed and agreed to share intelligence information. According to Lieberman, this is because of the escalating terrorism acts in the Middle East and East Africa. He specifically mentioned Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Hamas and Boko Haram for their intensifying terrorism acts and bombings. During the fall of the week, Al-Shabaab bombed Kenya and killed many innocents. Lieberman stated that such bombings and killings should be deterred in cooperative and collaborative work with nations, and Ethiopia has been the keen partner for Israel to lean on in the East African region.

Tedros on his part said that of the various agreements the two nations inked, sharing intelligence information was one of the bold issues on the table to work on together.  He said that apart from working on security concerns, Israeli investors should come in numbers. Tedros added that the economic ties between the two nations is low especially when considering historic relations Ethiopia had established with Israel. Lieberman dates the diplomatic relations to thousand years back to the eras of King Solomon or the eras of the temples. However, Lieberman reacted to the call of Tedros saying that big Israeli companies will come to Ethiopia to invest USD two billion.

Lieberman’s visit was accompanied by some 50 Israeli companies keen to do business in areas of aviation, agro processing, water technology and more. He attended the Ethio-Israel Business Forum. The two figures agreed to set up Jewish cultural museums in the northern part of Ethiopia, where Bete Israel, of Jewish communities, are big in number. Lieberman expressed gratitude for what Ethiopia has done for Jewish brothers here. He mentioned that there are some 100 thousand Ethiopian Jews residing in Israel. Currently, some Ethiopian Jews can be found in the Knesset-Israel senate and some like Ambassador Belaynesh Zevadia (Ethiopian born Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia) have become diplomats.



Structure and performance of Ethiopia’s coffee export sector


We study the structure and performance of the coffee export sector in Ethiopia, Africa’s most important coffee producer, over the period 2003 to 2013. We find an evolving policy environment leading to structural changes in the export sector, including an elimination of vertical integration for most exporters. Ethiopia’s coffee export earn-ings improved dramatically over this period, i.e. a four-fold real increase. This has mostly been due to increases in international market prices. Quality improved only slightly over time, but the quantity exported increased by 50 percent, seemingly explained by increased domestic supplies as well as reduced local consumption. To further improve export performance, investments to increase the quantities produced and to improve quality are needed, including an increase in washing, certification, and traceability, as these characteristics are shown to be associ-ated with significant quality premiums in international markets.

Tamru, Seneshaw
Kuma, Tadesse
Nyarko, Yaw
Published date:
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI)
Series number: 66
PDF file: 
application/pdf icon





Uganda Reserves $8 Billion in Rail Plans for Chinese Bidders


By Fred Ojambo


A train passes by near Kampala. Photographer Michele Sibiloni/AFP/Getty Images


Uganda plans to invite six Chinese companies next month to compete for as much as $8 billion worth of contracts to expand the country’s railway network and help improve trade routes with four bordering nations.

Uganda signed an agreement with the Chinese government giving companies from the Asian nation exclusive rights to lead the project, Ugandan Works Minister John Byabagambi said by phone yesterday from the capital, Kampala. He declined to identify the companies that will participate in the bidding.

“Bidding documents will be ready by July 10 and we are inviting only Chinese companies,” Byabagambi said. “We shall sign engineering, procurement and construction contracts with the winners.”

East African nations are boosting state spending, seeking private investment and borrowing on international markets to build transportation links that will reduce the cost of trade.

Kenya last year started building a railway from the port city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi, that will be extended to the Rwandan capital of Kigali, through Uganda. It will be complete by March 2018 and cost $13 billion, according to Byabagambi. Funding is being sourced from China and Russia.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said in April that his government, along with Rwanda and Burundi’s, are looking for transaction advisers to secure financing for a $4.1 billion cross-border railway project. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi make up the East African Community trading bloc.

Border Routes

The first phase of Uganda’s planned railway construction covers 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), stretching from the country’s border with Kenya to Rwanda and a town near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Byabagambi said. Work on an extension to the northern town of Gulu and onward to South Sudan will take place later, he said.

The new standard gauge railway will help speed up cargo shipments and carry heavier loads than the existing lines in the landlocked nation, said Byabagambi.

Uganda prefers awarding infrastructure-development projects to Chinese companies because they can be repaid with future revenue, including from oil sales, and through cash or “in-kind” payments, Kyetume Kasanga, a spokesman for Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, said last year. Businesses from other parts of the world often require advance payment, he said.

The country aims to produce its first crude from deposits being developed by London-based Tullow Oil Plc (TLW), China’s Cnooc Ltd. (883) and Total SA (FP) based in France, on a commercial basis by 2017.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net Sarah McGregor, Ana Monteiro, Karl Maier



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