President Obiang Asks for Greater Investment in Agricultural Sector
Equatorial Guinea’s President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said that Africa should reorient itself to ensure its independence and security of African states through the safe production of its own consumer goods.
“Africa cannot be content to continue with the current dependence on the economies of the developed world. Africa is sailing upstream against a dependency that prevents them from moving toward sustainable development. Africa should rethink its relationship with the developed world to reduce as far as possible the gap that prevents access to development,” said Obiang.
“The development of agriculture can greatly reduce this dependence,” he said. “Africa can ensure food security and significantly reduce hunger in our countries. Africa should heavily invest in agricultural development to transform itself in order to accelerate growth to increase production and productivity,” said Obiang.
According to a press release African Press Organization sent to WIC, President Obiang proposed to the African Union the establishment of a program that focuses on the organization and exploitation of markets to promote trade and food security and to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty. This will also reinforce the fight against climate change and agriculture.
He said that Equatorial Guinea is already investing in its agricultural sector. “As part of our diversification plan, Equatorial Guinea currently focuses on [agricultural] production to achieve these goals. It is imperative to ensure the security and stability of our states, since agriculture is the most vulnerable sector in times of instability, war and terrorism.” said Obiang
“It’s no coincidence that this session focuses on the issue of agriculture and food security in Africa. We cannot talk about the development of Africa if there is no agricultural development to ensure food security and avoid lifelong dependence on imports of consumer products.”
He noted that Africa counts on the support of organizations focused on agriculture and ways to improve the sector, and urged continued support for those organizations.
“The African Union must recognize and financially support the structures of non-governmental organizations, businesses and institutions created in Africa to support agriculture, such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).”
Obiang linked democratic and economic development. “Africa must contribute to a democratic development aimed at achieving economic development of society and the welfare of its citizens. It must be a democracy that seeks conflict reduction, he said.”
Obiang also urged his fellow Africans to prioritize South-South cooperation, a cooperation that respects the principles of equality.
“The last decade has marked considerable advancements of the African states. Many of them aspire to economic emergence in the near future. Nonetheless, the continent continues to be a victim of endemic diseases and insecurity that require a unified solution of the states.”
Obiang said it was a great honor for Equatorial Guinea to host the 23rd African Union Summit at “a moment that is crucial for the world nations as they struggle to find solutions to economic crises, security, hunger and poverty, and climate change that affect the world.” He said, “The participation of the heads of state and numerous guests in this summit shows the interest and commitment that Africa and its partners have to find solutions to current issues.”
A session on agriculture and food security under the slogan “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture, for Shared Prosperity and Improved livelihoods, through Harnessing Opportunities” was held in the afternoon.
Bank Loan Approved for Ethiopia-Djibouti Link Road
The road is part of the fourth Road Sector Development Program, which has been ongoing since July 2010
Downtown Dire Dawa
The Budget & Finance Standing Committee tabled the bill for the loan approval to asphalt the 210km gravel road to the committee on June 2, 2014. The standing committee discussed the bill with three experts from the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED) and one expert from the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) on June 12, 2014.
The road, which will have a 15m wide carriageway in the town section and 1Om carriageway in the rural section, is to be constructed by the CGC Overseas Construction Group LTD (CGCOC) – a Chinese company which has been operating in Ethiopia since 2003. Previous CGC projects include a 22km asphalt road from Chole-Magna in the Arsi Zone of Oromia and the Dodola Junction-Goba and Dera-Gololcha Mechara roads, both in Oromia.
“The company will construct the road because it came with the deal of finance from the Chinese bank,” said Samson Wondimu, communications head at the ERA.
The consultant is yet to be selected.
The road will strengthen the economic linkage between Ethiopia and Djibouti, and will help to transport raw materials and finished products from the industrial zone to be constructed at Dire Dawa. It will also simplify the traffic flow of the route, according to Samson.
Construction will begin in September 2014. The loan, payable in 20 years, has a two percent interest and a seven year grace period.
This road is part of the fourth Road Sector Development Program (RSDP IV), which has rehabilitated, upgraded, constructed and maintained 41,664km of roads since it was implemented in July 2010 up to June 2013, at a cost of 81.8 billion Br, of which 60.6 billion Br was on federal roads. Ethiopia’s road density has increased from 24km in 1997 to 78Km in 2013, with total roads growing from 26,550km to 85,966Km during the same period.
House Ratifies 691 Million USD Loan Agreements
The House of People’s Representative yesterday ratified six loan agreements for a total of 691 million USD credit signed with various international organizations.
The credit accords were signed to finance road projects, to expand basic infrastructures in urban areas and job creation.
The first agreement the parliament ratified was the 380 million USD credit accord signed with the International Development Association to enhance industrial development.
The other agreement ratified by the parliament was the 187 million USD credit secured from the China import- export bank to finance the Dire Dawa-Dewale road at the eastern part of the country.
The 100 million USD loan signed with the Korea Import- Export Bank for construction of the Mojjo-Hawassa Road, is another agreement ratified yesterday.
The parliament has also ratified the 33 million USD loan secured from the OPEC Fund and Arab Bank to finance the second phase of the Arbereket-Gelemso Micheta road project.
Oilseed overtakes coffee as Ethiopia’s top export earner
Export of oilseeds has become the biggest foreign exchange earner for Ethiopia overtaking coffee, the country’s number one export item for decades.
A ten-month performance report obtained from the Ministry of Trade (MoT) reveals that Ethiopia obtained just under 585 million USD from export of oilseeds, knocking coffee off its perch for the first time. In contrast, coffee generated 489.28 million USD during the same period.
The country exported over 404 thousand tons of oilseeds during the first ten months of the budget year, a rise of over 10 per cent compared to the same period last year. The revenue obtained also showed a growth of 52 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The achievement is over 95 per cent of the revenue the ministry projected to obtain during the period.
However, the picture is rather gloomy for coffee. The ministry projected to obtain 822.08 million USD during the first ten months but achieved about 60 per cent of the target.
When compared to the previous budget year, export performance of coffee in the first ten months of this budget year showed a decline of 8.7 per cent and 15 per cent in amount exported and revenue generated, respectively.
The overall export performance saw the country earn 2.6 billion USD during the ten months of the budget year, registering a growth of 4.8 per cent from last year.
Ethiopia: Africa’s Third Largest Recipient of Foreign Direct Investment
The report, released last Tuesday, also indicates the FDI flows to southern Africa almost doubled
Brunno Casella of UNCTAD, (right) with James Wakiaga, economic advisor at UNDP Ethiopia, on launching the UNCTAD World Investment Report on June 24, 2014.
The World Investment Report released on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, revealed that Ethiopia was the third largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa in 2013, with a 240pc increase from the amount in 2012. The country has also registered a significant increase in their Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock – the amount of investment from aboard held within the economy.
The report released last Tuesday, June 24, 2014, by the economic think tank, United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD), stated that the FDI inflow to the country had reached 953 million dollars in 2014, up from the 279 million dollars it was in the previous year.
Its foreign direct investments inward stock also reached close to 6.1 billion dollars in 2013, up from 941 million dollars in 2012.
The net sales value of cross border merger and acquisition (M & A) in the country has also increased by more than double to 366 million dollar in 2013, from 146 million dollars in 2012.
Though the amount of FDI inflow in the form of M & A has increased a considerable amount in the year, the major part of the country’s investment inflow comes from green field projects, according to the report.
The country was a destination for foreign investment projects worth 4.5 billion dollars, which is a dramatic performance increase from the 441 million dollar value of green field investment projects the country hosted in 2012.
On the regional basis in Africa, which increases its share of reception by five percent, the East and the South showed a significant increase as recipients of investments from foreign sources. The flows to Southern Africa almost doubled to 13 billion dollars, mainly due to record high flows to South Africa and Mozambique, while the inflows to Ethiopia and Kenya lifted the regions FDI by 15pc to 6.2 billion dollars, the report finds.
“Ethiopian industrial strategy may attract Asian capital to develop its manufacturing base,” it reads.
Investment in light manufacturing from China, Turkey and India has the major share in the increase of the amount of foreign investment into Ethiopia.
With a continuing significant increase of the inflow this year, the robust economic growth and the growing middle class of Ethiopia, has contributed to the attractiveness of Ethiopia as a preferred destination of cross boarder investors, said Bruno Casella from UNCTAD, who presented the major findings of the report on Tuesday while announcing its official release.
“Ethiopia is closer to FDI than other parts of Africa,” he said.
Two days after the release of the UNCTAD’s report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Mission on the 2014 Article IV Consultation with Ethiopia has also released a statement confirming the findings of the world investment report.
“Strong external loan and higher foreign direct investment allowed for a modest increase in gross international reserves,” says the statement, which also predicts the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the country between eight and 8.5pc for 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The current 1.5 trillion global FDI inflows is projected to rise to 1.6 trillion dollars in 2014, 1.75 trillion in 2015 and 1.85 trillion in 2015, according to the report.
Institute to Equip Market with 100,000 Trained Manpower
The Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETDI) announced it is preparing to supply up to 100,000 trained personnel by the coming year.
According to Bantihun Gesesse, ETDI’s Public Relations and Communication Director, there is an increase in the number of investors that are engaging in the textile industry. He furthered, the figure today stands today at 130 textile factories.
Explaining the need for the trained personnel the communication director said the textile factories need sufficient well trained manpower. To achieve this technical and vocational institutions are supplying the market with manpower for facilities that are in their localities.
Bantihun further noted there are 145 instructors of technical and vocational institutes that were trained as trainer of trainers. In addition to this over 1,360 received a basic tailoring and other types of training.
According to Bantihun, during the past 11 months of the current fiscal year Ethiopia has received total revenue of U.S $ 103 Million from exporting textile and garments. He added this shoes an increase of 10 percent when compared to the same period of last year.
Nation to Establish Parks to Produce Value Added Agricultural Products
The Ministry of Industry announced that it is conducting an assessment to establish integrated agriculture and industry parks to produce value added agricultural products.
The State Minister, Dr. Mebratu Melese told ENA that the parks which will have industries will be established in main growing areas. The assessment is needed to identify areas that are main growers of cash crops and fruits and vegetables.
The industries will be established in areas that are main growers of sugarcane, fruits and vegetables, sesame and coffee, among others.
The parks are expected to be established in the coming budget year, he said, adding, it will be one of the priority areas in the second phase of the growth and transformation plan.
The assessment is being conducted in collaboration with the government of Italy and UNIDO.
Dr. Mebratu said it is important for Ethiopia to export value added agricultural products. Establishing companies which will engage in this area is fundamental in this regard.
Establishing integrated agriculture and industry parks, which include construction of industries, will help the country’s effort to export value added agricultural products. Establishing these is one of the measures taken by the government to promote the area.
The country is losing ‘huge’ amount of foreign currency because of the country’s dependence on only raw output export, he said.
The government is trying to fill this gap by establishing industries in main cash crop producing areas and promote private investment, Mebratu added.
Establishing such kind of industries near farms will help farmers get access to sustainable income source and industries get inputs sustainably.
The industries will also create jobs for local communities and infrastructure will be developed in those areas.
“Establishing the industries will have two benefits, first the farmers will have access to reliable and sustainable market. Second, the industries will produce value added products. More jobs and enterprises will also be established through time.” he said.
Seven Sugar Factories to be Operational Next Year
The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation announced that seven of the 10 sugar factories set to be planted during the five-year growth and transformation plan period will be fully operational at the end of coming fiscal year.
The operationalization of the factories will increase annual sugar production to 1.58 million tons, according Communication Director with the Corporation Zemedkun Zawde.
Tendaho- 1 & 2, Omo-Kuraz-1, Kesem, two of the Tana Beles factories and Arjo- Dedesa are the sugar factories that will commence production in the coming budget year.
The country had set to construct 10 new sugar factories during the GTP period, to be concluded at the end of the coming budget year, and increase production to 2.25 million tons.
But because of various reasons, the country has managed to construct seven factories.
Financial constraints, lack of infrastructure and capacity of constructors are the main reasons for the delay of some projects, Zemedkun said.
Tendaho Sugar factory, which was expected to commence production last December, delayed until now was because of the contractor. The Indian company being build the factory is unable to complete the construction in accordance with the time frame, Zemedkun said.
Indian meat processor to build plant in Ethiopia
An Indian company with interests in food production, marine products, retail and pet foods will start construction of its meat processing and exporting plant in Ethiopia in the beginning of July.
Close to 22,500 Condos Handed Over to Addis Ababa Residents
The city administration handed over on June 29, 2014 the 22,497 condominium houses it built with over four billion birr to residents.
Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen said the government would further consolidate its efforts to alleviate the housing problem that has been rampant for ages.
To realize this, the government has been implementing the urban development strategy it devised, he added.
According to Demeke, Addis Ababa is currently under transformation and the endeavour of the city government to alleviate housing problem through integrated efforts is being successful.
Those who got houses today are living witnesses to this, the deputy prime minister stressed.
Mayor Deriba Kuma on his part said the administration has been striving to gradually alleviate the housing problem by establishing a fair housing development program that benefits all members of the society.
Doing so would not only alleviate housing problem but also enables fair distribution of wealth among citizens, he underscored.
Besides, the program would make the youth change their livelihoods.
Addis Ababa Housing Construction Project Office General Manager Yidnekachew Walelign said over 100,000 condominium units were handed over to 400,000 residents during the past years.
Some 785 contractors and 939 micro and small-scale enterprises took part in the construction of the houses that were inaugurated by the deputy prime minister.
Ethiopia to get center of excellence hospital
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom on Saturday laid the foundation stone for a center of excellence hospital in Addis Ababa for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member-states.
“It is a pacemaker that triggers more investment in medical tourism for other diaspora,” Adhanom said.
“The government is committed to provide the necessary support towards success construction of the hospital,” he added.
The $100 million center is financed by the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the African Development Bank and the Ethio-American Doctors Group (EADG), a U.S. based health and medical corporation.
The construction of the center is expected to complete in three years.
Adhanom termed the launch of the hospital as “special as it is harmonized with Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Medical Tourism Plan.”
“The hospital is also exemplary to other governmental and private medical centers,” he said. “The center of excellence hospital is believed to improve healthcare delivery in Ethiopia.”
EADG President Tesfaye Fanta, for his part, hailed the Ethiopian government support for the construction of the hospital.
“The hospital facilities and its campus of inpatient and outpatient care will be a center of excellence not only for Addis Ababa but also throughout Ethiopia and Africa as well as the nearby Middle East,” EADG President Tesfaye Fanta said.
Prominent personalities, including world athletics champion Haile Gebreselassie took part in Saturday’s ceremony.
EADG was legally incorporated as a C-Corp (for profit) in North Carolina on May 26, 2011, for the purpose of establishing a center of excellence, internationally accredited tertiary hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Earlier in March, IGAD, an eight-country East Africa trade bloc, and the EADG signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a regional cancer center of excellence for the IGAD member countries.
BNH Hospital to Open Permanent Office in Ethiopia
The Bangkok based BNH Hospital is going to open a permanent office in Ethiopia. This is according to the Hospital’s deputy director, Nopparat Panthongwiriyakul (MD), and the statement was made when he, along with other members of the Hospital, was in Addis Ababa for a five days visit to assess the situation in Ethiopia and establish a strong link between the hospital and the community that seeks medical treatment abroad.
The visit was organized by Molla Zegeye and Family Plc, which currently is serving as the link between the Hospital and patients in Ethiopia.
According to Panthongwiriyakul, his Hospital receives some patients from Ethiopia for treatments, in particular spine operations and breast cancer treatment. So, he added, the delegates came to Addis Ababa to inspect the situation in the country for themselves and develop a plan that expands their service as well as find ways on how to cooperate with medical institutions in Ethiopia.
The deputy director further noted during his stay he was able to exchange views with personnels from the Ministry of Health on issues related to transfer of knowledge and experience sharing. In addition to this, the delegates held talks with public and private hospitals on ways they can strengthen their cooperation in facilitating travels to Bangkok.
Commenting on the permanent office that is going to be opened Panthongwiriyakul said, it will be opened in the coming six or 12 months for the purpose of screening patients who requested to get a medical attention abroad. Explaining this he said, patients that can be treated here will stay in the country, if not they will be transferred which saves time as well as money.
Molla Zegeye on his part said the permanent liaison that is going to be established will examine patients before they go anywhere abroad, especially to BNH.
According to The Reporter BNH was formerly dubbed Bangkok Nursing Home Hospital, thus the abbreviation BNH. It was established more than a century ago by the British Ambassador to Thailand, George Grenville.
Government Fails to Secure Loans for Three Railway Projects
The Ethiopian government has failed to secure financing for three major railway projects incorporated in the five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Work on the three projects were supposed to commence in 2013-2014 fiscal year. Presenting a ten-month performance report on Tuesday to the House of Peoples’ Representatives, the Minister of Transport, Workneh Gebeyehu, said that the Ethiopian Railway Corporation was not able to embark on the construction of Awash-Woldiya (Hara Gebeya), Woldiya (Hara Gebya)-Mekelle and Woldiya (Hara Gebya)-Tajura railway projects.
According to Workneh, contact was prepared for the three railway projects and it was planned that financing would be secured and work on the project would commenc in the current year. The minister said the financing could not be secured adding that work on the projects did not commence due to the dearth of financial resource. The minister, however, said that the government had been exerting efforts to secure financing for the stated projects. According to him the government was trying to secure loans from the Turkish government and the Swiss Bank. He expressed his hope that loans would be secured from both parties.
Speaking of the ongoing railway projects, Workneh said there was a mid-level accomplishment. According to him, 40 percent of the Addis Ababa-Meiso-Dewele railway line is completed. He also claims that 71 percent of the Addis Ababa light railway line project is finalized. However, sources close to the project reject the performance repot presented by the minister. These sources said that only 40 percent of the work on the Addis Ababa light railway project was done so far.
Regarding the road construction projects, Workneh said low performance rates were registered. Members of parliament asked the reason for the low performance registered in the road development sector. The minister said poor performance of the contractors and problems related to right of way were the major factors contributing to the low performance.
Ethiopian Planning to Fly to Los Angeles
Ethiopian Airlines’ management team is aiming to start a new flight to the Los Angeles, U.S. The Airlines is planning to make this trek via Ireland’s capital, Dublin and if everything goes to plan the flight will be launch the coming year.
Currently the Airline makes a daily flight between Addis Ababa and Washington. Thus when it starts flying to Los Angeles that will be it’s second destination in the U.S.
According to the CEO of Ethiopian, Tewolde Gebremariam, the management team is planning to commence flying to Los Angeles via Dublin. He furthered, since the flight is going to be long it has been decided there needs to be a stopover and Dublin has been chosen to be the stopover. In addition to this he stated, the Airlines has secured a traffic right from the Ireland Civil Aviation Authority.
Ethiopian’s network rout has been growing and it has reached 80 across five continents. According to The Reporter, Ethiopian has recently added Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Vienna to its routes.
In another news, announcement to the bid of 20 narrow aircraft will be made by Ethiopian.
According to The Reporter the Airlines issued a request for proposal (RFP) in January and invited companies. This was followed by a reply from six different companies; Mitsubishi, Ilyshin, Embraer, Bomardier, Airbus and Boeing.
The proposals the companies presented included regional jets with seats from 80 to 12. Ethiopian on its part could buy up to 20 of these aircrafts for regional routes purpose.
Commenting on the bid process, Tewolde said, the technical committee of the Airlines’ is evaluating the proposals and the result will be announced in the coming month.
According to The Reporter the Mitsubishi presented its MRJ jets while the Russian company, IIyshin, proposed Sukhoi 100 aircraft. On the other hand E-Jets were proposed by Embraer, the Brazilian manufacturer and Bombardier presented C-series aircraft. Airbus and Boeing on their part presented A320NEO and B737 MAX aircraft respectively.
Ethiopian Aviation Academy Graduated 147 Aviation Professionals
Ethiopian Aviation Academy graduated a total of 147 aviation professionals on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Among the graduates 92 of them were aviation maintenance technicians while there were 10 pilots and 20 cabin crews amongst the graduates. The rest 25 were finance professionals.
The graduates were from different countries including Nigeria, Yemen and Libya.
Commenting on the event the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, Tewolde Gebremariam, noted the Academy is the bed rock of his company’s success by enabling it become self sufficient in critical aviation areas. “We have invested over 80 million $ in our Academy over the last 4 years and have upgrade its in-take capacity to over 1,000 students per year,” he furthered.
Ethiopian Aviation Academy is certified by different International as well as local organizations. It is certified by the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority locally and by the he US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency internationally.
The Academy was also awarded some time ago in 2014 as “Airline Training Services Provider of the Year” by the African Airlines Association. The award was presented to the Academy for it’s cost effective and extensive training support to other sisterly African airlines.