03 July 2014 Development News Round-Up (UPDATED)


China : Huawei to Deploy Africa s First Smart eLTE Urban Railway Communications System in Ethiopia




Huawei, a leading global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions provider, today announced that it has been selected as the sole provider of Ethiopia s light rail communication system in Addis Ababa, the main administrative capital of the African Union. The integrated telecommunications system will be Africa s first comprehensive commercial eLTE communications infrastructure for urban railways built with innovative eLTE technology, high-performance storage and high-definition video surveillance.

Addis Ababa, as the capital city of Ethiopia and hub for the economy and transportation, has high population density and congested traffic. Commuters using public transportation often rely on minibuses that offer infrequent service, long queues and sparsely located stations. To address this, the Ethiopian government invested US$475 million on the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit project, which is expected to be completed by January 2015 by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Company Limited (CREEC).

The first phase of this project consists of the roll out of a 31 kilometer South-North and East-West railway lines with a control center and 39 stations. Once completed, the entire railway is expected to run at 80 kilometers per hour and will be able to carry 60,000 passengers per hour. Communication plays an important role to ensure effective services and monitoring of operations throughout the entire railway system.

Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) and CREEC has stringent requirements for the implementation of the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit s communications system. This system is required to achieve high end-to-end performance and high levels of reliability and stability. After assessing the project requirements, Huawei designed a high quality full range Mass Transit eLTE Multi-Service Unified Bearer (eLTE-MT) communications solution to facilitate reliable communications with advanced technologies.

The urban mass transit communication solution includes multiple technologies such as fixed network, eLTE wireless network, high definition (HD) video surveillance, IP Telephony and IT. The subsystems facilitate dispatching, multi-service bearing, surveillance, data storage and unified communications to provide Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit with an effective three dimensional communications network infrastructure.

Huawei s wireless network subsystem adopts ultra broadband technology to support wireless dispatching, unified transmission of ticketing traffic and other traffic from services that require high bandwidth. The subsystem also supports a nine-level hierarchical QoS that provides broadband and a real-time, secure and reliable train-to-ground wireless communications platform.



6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Ministerial Meeting held


The 6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Ministerial Meeting was held yesterday (July 2, 2014) in Kigali, Rwanda.
According to MoFA, the Meeting was attended by Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Foreign Minister of Uganda, Sam Kutesa, Barnaba Benjamin Marial, Foreign Minister of South Sudan, Louis Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda, Engineer Michael Kamau, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya , Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) and representative of the government of Burundi and other high level officials.

The meeting deliberated on the performance report of the senior officials meeting based on the directives of the 5th Northern Corridor Summit. Ethiopia participated in the meeting as an observer.
In his remark, Dr. Tedros Adhanom attributed the progress in the Northern Corridor Projects to the strong political will of the leadership of the region.

He as well hailed the vitality of the focus given to human resource development schemes in making it project oriented as vital step to boost overall capacity of the region.
He also noted the importance of infrastructure integration as a key to give further impetus to the positive growth trajectory of the East African Region. In relation to Ethiopia’s efforts within the region, he said, “Ethiopia’s mega infrastructure projects in railways, highways, hydro dams, power interconnection and telecom are contributing in a concrete way to expedite the economic integration of Ethiopia and its neighbors.”
He further noted that the northern corridor projects will complement the Lamu Port South Sudan –Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAAPSSET) between Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan which includes road networks, standard gauge, railway, oil pipeline, oil refinery and airports thereby connecting the wider East African region with a web of infrastructure networks.

The North Corridor Ministerial Meeting approved the formal joining of the Republic of South Sudan while Burundi decided to stay as observer for the coming three months and eventually join the projects.
The projects under the Northern Corridor also rose from 8 to 14 to expedite holistic integration of countries of the Northern Corridor.
The Ministers also deliberated on the importance of diversifying finance sources to move forward with speedy implementation of the projects.


Government To Create Favorable Condition For Manufacturing Sector


Gov't To Create Favorable Condition For Manufacturing Sector

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said a favourable condition wherein local investors could engage in manufacturing would be created by removing the obstacles that hamper them from entering the sector.

Speaking at the Second National Business Conference, the premier said his government will strive to solve the problems local investors face with respect to good governance, finance, land provision, power interruptions and the like.

The government and investors should work jointly as the private sector plays a key role in the economy of the country and determines the growth of the nation, he added.

The PM said the manufacturing sector is largely left to the private investor and the government will invest only in the sectors the private investors could not embark upon.

With respect to taxation, Hailemariam stated that extensive reform works have been undertaken to establish a modern payment system and it is important to create a system in which the investor would pay tax without entering into dispute with the government.

In relation to this, the premier urged investors to meet their national obligation by keeping their accounting books in order.

The other bottleneck that has obstructed the growth of both the government and the investors is rent seeking, he noted, calling on both parties to join hands in the fight to eliminate the scourge.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said auditors hired by the private sector and incompetent civil servants are hindrances to the tax payment system and these should be responsibly checked.

Responding to the complaint of investors about shortage of loan, the premier said government banks would lend 52 percent of the allotted amount of loan to private investors.

However, he added, there is discrepancy of supply and demand of loans as the amount of money collected from the public is low since the saving culture in Ethiopia is weak.

In spite of this, the Ethiopian Development Bank has disbursed 20 billion birr to the private sector in the last Ethiopian fiscal year, according to the prime minister. The government will set aside special loan to investors who engage in manufacturing sector, he further stressed.

President of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Solomon Afework, on his part said lack of technical capability, capital and the red tape in government offices are the factors that discourage the investor from engaging in the manufacturing sector.

He added that support of the government to the private sector is therefore essential to consolidate the industrial sector and make it competitive in export trade.


Mental Health Care Service to be Provided in All Health Institutions


Mental Health Care Service to be Provided in All Health Institutions

A system that enables to provide mental health care service in all health institutions has been established, according to Ministry of Health.

Amanuel Specialized Mental Hospital Manager, Dr. Dawit Assefa, said the provision of mental health care service in all health institutions would relieve the burden of Amanuel Specialized Mental Hospital.

Disease Prevention and Control Director, Dr. Abdissa Kurke on his part said efforts of expanding the service are being made on the basis of the National Mental Health Strategy for 2004-2007.

He said Amanuel Specialized Mental Hospital has been working in collaboration with institutions of higher learning such as Jimma, Hawassa, Haramaya, Mekele and Bahirdar universities and regional health bureaus to expand the coverage of the service.

The universities, according to him, have recruited two experts from each of the 100 health institutions around their respective localities and been providing regular and short-term training.


Leather Institute to Train Labour with First Degree


Leather Institute to Train Labour with First Degree

The Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI) said it has finalized preparation to open a post graduate program in footwear and leather goods production in the coming academic year. The Institute has tabled the curriculum for discussion.

Speaking on the occasion here today, Institute Director General Wondu Legesse said the Institute has been working with Science and Technology Institute under the Addis Ababa University to open the program.

It will enrol 20 people in September 2014 to ease shortage of skilled labour in the sector, he said.

The program will help to produce skilled labour required in the area and add capacity to the country’s leather industry, Wondu said.

The Institute in collaboration with the Science and Technology Institute, the Indian Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) and Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) is training teachers in first, second and third degrees.

The Industry has been training people in technical and vocational college level.

The history of modern leather industry in Ethiopia dates back to the middle of 1920s. It was introduced by Armenians mainly in response to the growing local market demand for leather shoe.

As a result, the first two tanneries were established and vertically linked to two shoe factories: Darmar tannery & shoe factory (the present Awash tannery and Anbessa shoe factory) and Addis Ababa tannery & Asco shoe factory (the present Addis tannery and Tikur Abbay shoe factory).


Ethiopian Tourism Organization launches operation officially


Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO), which has been established to develop the nation’s tourist destinations and promote good images, has officially announced the start of its operations.

The launch of the ETO operation has been inaugurated officially with the presence of Ethiopian Federation House Speaker, Kassa Teklebirhan and World Tourism Organization representatives.

ETO board Chairman, Tewolde Gebremariam said that the organization coordinates tourism development activities in the country to make the nation one of the best tourist destinations.

Ethiopian Culture and Tourism Minister, Amin Abdulkadir, has called upon the private sector and investors to increase their participation on tourism development.

The international partners have also expressed their support to the development of Ethiopia’s tourism industry.

According to ERTA, Ethiopia has 9 UNESCO registered World Heritage Sites.



New grain silo for Africa’s smallholder farmers


A new silo suitable for use by smallholder farmers in Africa has been launched in Nairobi, Kenya

The 6.2 tonnes capacity silo made by Brazilian company, Kepler Weber, is fit for rural farmers and small sized commercial farms, the firm stated.

The silo has been designed using corrugated iron sheets and is solar power operated so that it can be used in rural areas with no electricity connection, Kepler Weber said.

The cylindrical tapering silo dubbed ‘Kikapu silo’ is easily loaded by hoisting grain bags manually using ropes, the Brazilian firm revealed.

The silo is easily assembled for easy handling and erection during times of grain harvesting and conservation.

“It has ventilation for drying the crop. Warm air is sucked upwards using solar power and this lowers the moisture content of the grains from 15 per cent to the recommended 13 per cent,” observed Antonio Carlos de Campos, the foreign trade manager with Kepler Weber, during the unveiling of the silo in Nairobi.

According to Campos, the silo is suitable for farmers in sub-Saharan countries such as Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya.

“Currently, the silo is priced at US$4,500 (Ksh 382,000) and is fit for a group of farmers. Those with five hectares or more will need to purchase two silo for their grain,” explained Campos.



Wire, Cable Production Plant Commence Pilot Production


Wire, Cable Production Plant Commence Pilot Production

The wire and cable production plant under the Ethiopian Power Engineering Industry (EPEI) has started pilot production, the Industry said.

During the trial period, the factory expects to produce 500 tons copper wires per annum, according to EPEI General Manager, Major Asefa Yohannes.

The factory was established in 2012 with 80 million Birr in Modjo town around 80km south west of Addis Ababa by the Metals Engineering Corporation.

The plant established with a bid to produce copper wires for transformers, electronic products and motors of generators.

Up on going fully operational, the factory will produce 2,500 tons copper wires annually thereby substitute the product the country has been importing.

According to the Manager, the factory will help to interconnect plants that produce transformer, cable and motor.

The plant produces wires with a diameter between o.7 to 2.5, in accordance with the local demand, Head of the Plant, Captain Waltanigus Tesfaw said.

The wire and cable production plant was established in September 2012 by the Metals and Engineering Corporation as part of the plan to lead industrialization in the country.


Dangote signals shake-up with new cement plant plans


Mr Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian tycoon behind the Dangote Cement. Photo/FILE

Mr Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian tycoon behind the Dangote Cement. Photo/FILE 


In Summary

  • Dangote is also constructing major cement plants in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia; pointing to a bruising market share battle once production starts.
  • Kenya’s biggest cement maker, Bamburi, has a capacity of 2.25MTA (excluding its 0.9MTA factory in Uganda), making Dangote the biggest producer upon completion.

Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote has doubled the estimated production capacity for his upcoming cement factory in Kenya, pointing to a looming shake up of the market that could see a drop or further stagnation of prices.


Dangote Cement, which already has a license to prospect for limestone in Kitui, says it has revised the upcoming factory’s annual production capacity to three million tonnes from the previous 1.5 million tonnes.

The company owned by the multi-billionaire Nigerian, who is ranked among Africa’s wealthiest businessmen, is also constructing major cement plants in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia; pointing to a bruising market share battle once production starts.

“We are reviewing plans for Kenya with a view to increasing the scale of our proposed factory from 1.5 million tonnes per annum (MTA) to 3MTA,” Dangote says in a trading update report for the first quarter of the year.

Dangote’s upcoming plants in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia will give it a total capacity of 8.5MTA, putting it ahead of Kenya’s Bamburi and Uganda’s Tororo that currently have capacities of 3.1MTA each.

Kenya’s biggest cement maker, Bamburi, has a capacity of 2.25MTA (excluding its 0.9MTA factory in Uganda), making Dangote the biggest producer upon completion.

The cost of building the Kenyan plant was estimated at $400 million (Sh34.8 billion), but the decision to scale up its capacity could see the capital outlay rise substantially.

“We are confident there will be sufficient demand both in Kenya and neighbouring countries,” says the report.

The multinational added that it is in the process of upgrading its prospecting license issued by the Kenyan government in March to a mining license, having found “ample sources of limestone”.

Dangote did not specify where it found the large limestone deposit but the company has been linked with prospecting activities in Kitui, where more cement firms are rushing, attracted by the vast quantities of the raw material.

ARM Cement, for instance, is expected to start construction of its $300 million (Sh26 billion) Kitui factory in October in what will give it an additional capacity of 2.9MTA.

Besides being rich in limestone, Kitui is also attractive due to its proximity to the Mui basin which has large reserves of coal. The coal is tipped to replace the relatively expensive diesel fuel in firing energy-hungry cement factories.

Dangote’s entry into the East African cement market is expected to intensify the raging price wars that saw margins plummet to an all-time low of 22.1 per cent in 2012, according to estimates by Standard Investment Bank (SIB).



Empowering communities saves women’s lives in Tigray, Ethiopia


TIGRAY REGION, Ethiopia – Mitslal Giday has been working as a community mobilizer in the Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia for the past 20 years – and the last two have been some of the most exciting of her career, she says.

Two years ago, Mrs. Mitslal, leader of a volunteer network known as the Women’s Development Group, helped roll out the Maternal Death Surveillance and Response (MDSR) initiative, which undertakes community-level efforts to prevent maternal deaths. The programme is coordinated guided by the Regional Health Bureau, which UNFPA is a member of.

Mrs. Mitslal advises pregnant women in the women’s group to attend at least four antenatal check-ups and to give birth at a health centre, under the care of a skilled birth attendant.

When a woman is in labour, Mrs. Mitslal summons an ambulance, and if one is not available, she arranges for a ‘traditional ambulance’ – the community’s term for a stretcher – to transport the pregnant woman to a health facility.

Mrs. Mitslal works closely with Beruho Gebrezgi, a health extension worker, to promote safe motherhood. Together, they create a list of local pregnant women for the Hewone health post and the nearby health centre, which helps to closely monitor the provision of maternal health services.

Community-level data-gathering

When a woman does, tragically, die at home from a complication of pregnancy or childbirth, Ms. Mitslal and Ms. Beruho meet with her family and write a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding her death.

Health professionals at the Adi Godum Health Centre, which oversees the Hewone health post, are also dispatched to the scene to file a report of their own. The accounts are compared, signed and reported to the District Health Office.

Through this and other data-gathering processes, the MDSR initiative is generating local, real-time information on maternal mortality, improving officials’ understanding of the issue and informing future preventative efforts.

A steering committee at each level evaluates the system. “This has ensured the quality of and authenticity of the data gathered,” said Fisseha Ashebir of the Tigray Health Bureau.

Creating a culturally sensitive environment

Maternal death is on the decline.

In 2011, 217 women died per 100,000 live births in the Tigray Region. By contrast, in the last nine months of the current Ethiopian fiscal year, there were 89 deaths per 100,000 live births. And in some districts of the region, like the Hintalo Wajirat District, no maternal deaths have been registered this fiscal year, according to Tsegaye Tadesse, head of the District Health Office.

Contributing to this progress is the fact that pregnant women are increasingly delivering at health facilities.

To further encourage pregnant women to deliver under skilled care, health centres are providing more culturally sensitive environments. For example, women are allowed to eat porridge with relatives after giving birth, part of a local tradition. At health centres, makeshift kitchens with cooking utensils have become a common sight, and community members are contributing grain and other supplies in support of the initiative.

Skilled attendance at birth has reached 56 per cent – a few points shy of the 62 per cent national target for 2015 set by Ethiopia’s Health Sector Development Programme.

Challenges remain

Although there has been improvement, health facilities continue to require better medical equipment, reliable supplies and skilled professionals.

Maternal deaths continue to be undercounted and misclassified, and data are sometimes not readily available for reference. An attempt to digitize the information was undermined by persistent network problems.

Still, the tireless efforts of people like Mrs. Mitslal have shown that the tide of maternal deaths can be reversed – and that communities are the best place to start.

“The greatest success of the initiative lies in the strong ownership of the matter by the community,” emphasized Mr. Fisseha.



AAU got patent for a new technology of cleaning fluoride from water


Addis Ababa University (AAU) announced the discovery of a new technology to clean water off fluoride using a mineral named Zeolite in a collaboration with Spanish National Research Council.

The university has got patent for the new technology from the Ethiopian intellectual property office.
The ground water reserve in the Ethiopian rift valley has a huge fluoride concentration which is hazardous for bone and teeth health of the area’s residences. Fluoride which is found in the natural environment is damaging for the bone and teeth when its level is high in water.

The technology is expected to solve the problem of fourteen million Ethiopians living in the rift valley area.
Since the technology mainly relies on mineral Zeolite which is readily available in most Ethiopian rocks, the technology is hoped to be cost effective.



Nizhny Novgorod region Governor meets Consul of Ethiopia to Russia


Nizhny Novgorod Governor Valery Shantsev had a meeting with the consul of the Republic of Ethiopia to Russia, Kasahun Dender Melese, on Tuesday, July 1. The parties agreed to cooperate.

“In 2013, the foreign trade turnover between the Nizhny Novgorod region and Ethiopia made up USD 288,000. The entire turnover – 100 percent – falls for exports,” said Valery Shantsev during the talks with the Ethiopian diplomat.

“The turnover is insignificant yet – one needs to expand cooperation. I know that you have an busy program of your visit – a roundtable meeting with representatives of the business sector, the discussion of education issues with rectors of our universities, a visit to the GAZ factory. Following the results of the visit, I am sure there will be opportunities to expand our cooperation,” the head of the Russian region said.

Kasahun Dender Melese said in turn that Ethiopia was planning to establish an honorary representative office in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

Valery Shantsev offered Ethiopia to participate in the international business summit to be held in September this year in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

The African republic in Russia intends to deliver coffee beans and flowers to Russia. At the same time, Nizhny Novgorod business has an opportunity to invest in the Ethiopian agriculture, electro-mechanical technology and railway infrastructure.

On September 10-12, 2014, the Nizhny Novgorod region will host the Third International Business Summit 2014. The summit is organized by the Government of the Nizhny Novgorod region, with the support of the Government of the Russian Federation. As the head of the region Valery Shantsev noted, this year, the forum will focus primarily on discussions of major investment projects, including the construction of a high-speed railroad.



Ethiopia, Russia sign cooperation agreement


Ethiopia and Russia have signed an agreement which would enable them to cooperate in areas of agriculture and energy, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The 5th session of the Joint Commission established for the collaboration of the governments of Ethiopia and Russia in economy, science and technics was held from June 24-28 in Moscow.
According to the Office of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the joint commission evaluated the performance of the 4th meeting and explored new fields of cooperation.
The two countries subsequently signed an agreement that would enable them to further collaborate in areas of trade, economy, science and technique.
The Ethiopian delegation compose of representatives of 15 institutions was led by Alemayehu Teganu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy. During its stay in Moscow, the delegation held talks with Russia’s Deputy Minister of Mine Resources and Ecology, Valery Pak.



Microsoft, Cojengo Develop App For African Livestock Healthcare



VENTURES AFRICA- Cojengo, a technology company based in Scotland has partnered with Microsoft and its 4Afrika initiative to develop a mobile app that will allow Vets and farmers in East Africa diagnose livestock disease and provide suitable drugs for farm animals.

The VetAfrica app, which is designed as a decision support system for proficient farmers, animal health workers and veterinary professionals, gives users diagnostic advice on animal diseases as well as the most effective drugs for the ailment. It also helps farmers to record animal data, thereby addressing the challenges faced by livestock farmers in Africa.

“Working with Microsoft, the company has embraced and tapped into the mobile revolution sweeping Africa,” Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

“Cojengo is a shining example of a new generation of creative Scottish companies with the ambition and skills to create and grow successful businesses,” she added.

The App which has already undergone field testing will help to change the lives of farmers in Africa for the better.

Specifically, the app is now available to farmers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. Adopters of the app will be able to use the health solution through their mobile phones.

Of all the regions in Africa, East African countries, particularly Kenya and Tanzania, have been hailed for their quick adoption of digital and mobile technologies towards improving living standards.



Addis Ababa – Djibouti electric locomotives ordered


A contract for CSR Zhuzhou to supply 35 electric locomotives for the future Addis Ababa – Djibouti standard gauge line was signed on June 19.

According to railwaygazette.com, delivery of the three passenger locomotives and 32 freight locos able to haul trains of up to 4,000 tonnes will begin in October 2015, ahead of the planned opening of the line in 2016.

CSR said the 7•2 MW locomotives would be based on proven technology, drawing on designs developed for South Africa and adapted for local conditions.

These include the 2 000 m altitude difference along the 850 km route, and the desert environment with strong sunlight and daytime temperatures of 50° C contrasting with cold nights.



 Omo Kuraz creates over 21,000 jobs


The Omo Kuraz sugar project has so far created over 21,000 jobs for the local community.
The project is found in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People (SNNP) Regional State. It is a huge project where five sugar factories will be built.

The five sugar factories will have production capacity of 278,000 tons of sugar per annum each when they begin production.
“The project has so far created a total of 21,000 jobs for the local community,” public mobilization, compensation payment and rehabilitation head at the project, Asres Adaro told WIC.

Natives of Bodi, Mursi, Konso and Meanit tribes are among beneficiaries of the job opportunities, he said.
Omo Kuraz sugar development project is expected to create job opportunities for more than 300,000 peoples when the five sugar factories begin production, it was learnt.




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