22 July 2014 News Round-Up (UPDATED)


World Bank Urges Ethiopia to Devalue Birr to Boost Exports


By William Davison Jul 22, 2014                                  

Ethiopia’s birr is overvalued and the country would benefit from a devaluation to boost export revenue and accelerate economic growth, the World Bank said.

Reducing the currency’s value by 10 percent in real terms may lead to a 5 percent increase in stalled export earnings and a 2 percent increase in growth, Lars Moller, the bank’s chief economist in Ethiopia, told reporters today in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia last devalued its currency by 17 percent against the dollar in September 2010. Since then, the birr has appreciated in real terms by more than 50 percent, leading to a currency that’s overvalued by 31 percent, Moller said at a presentation of the lender’s third Ethiopia Economic Update.

After growing at a rate of about 20 percent in previous years, annual Ethiopian goods exports have remained steady at about $3 billion for the past two years, primarily because of falling international commodity prices. Foreign earnings from goods may have grown about 8 percent in the fiscal year that ended July 7 from $3.08 billion last year, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said July 18 to reporters. The country uses the Ethiopian calendar.

Although the exact effect of devaluing the currency is uncertain, there would be some benefit to the country, Moller said.

‘Insufficient Depreciation’

“The bottom line is that Ethiopia competes on prices and the real exchange rate is overvalued,” he said.

A decision to adjust the exchange rate would be made on the basis of what its wider impact on the economy would be, State Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide said at the event. The birr is currently at 19.7495 per dollar.

Ethiopia, the world’s most populous landlocked nation, may grow as much as 8.5 percent this year and next, the International Monetary Fund said last month. The nation earns most foreign-exchange from state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, while coffee exports from Africa’s largest producer of the beans are the highest grossing commodity.

To boost exports, the World Bank also recommended focusing on adding value to commodity exports by expanding processing and packaging, building industrial zones, opening access to credit for small- and medium-size enterprises, and improving costly and time-consuming trade logistics.

Ethiopia is investing to tackle infrastructure bottlenecks such as power and transport networks that have been a barrier to growth, which should help the business climate, Ahmed said.

The World Bank estimates Ethiopia could earn $1 billion a year from exporting electricity by 2023 if all of its hydroelectric projects are completed as planned, Moller said.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at wdavison3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net Paul Richardson, Sarah McGregor, Andres R. Martinez



Unleashing the Potential of Ethiopia’s Export Industry




Lars Christian Moller                                                                                 Guang Z. Chen

Lars Christian Moller                                                     Guang Zhe Chen
Lead economist and co-author of the report.         World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, July 22, 2014
Addressing key obstacles in its export sector would help Ethiopia to tap into its significant export potential and further facilitate its economic transformation, according to a new World Bank Group report released today.
In its latest Ethiopia Economic Update, ‘Strengthening Export Performance through Improved Competitiveness,’ the World Bank Group identifies bottlenecks and offers recommendations on how Ethiopia can maximize its earnings from its existing, largely agriculture, export base.
The country also has many economic success stories it can learn from, according to Lars Christian Moller, lead economist and co-author of the update.
It helps flower exports to be located near a regional hub, Moller said, as all flowers are transported via Ethiopian Airlines.
“The growth of horticulture, which is a time-sensitive export product, is closely associated with the rise of Ethiopian Airlines,” he added. “The airline has become the country’s biggest export, earning nearly $2 billion per year.”
Over the past decade, Ethiopia has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies.  While positive external conditions and increased exports contributed to this growth, the country also successfully leveraged agriculture exports to developed countries. To sustain growth, the report recommends Ethiopia build on its agricultural foundation by adding quality and value to its exports.
For example, Ethiopia is among the top producers and exporters of the best Arabica coffee in the world, but it is not taking advantage of the commodity’s full potential in the export market, according to the report. Ethiopia exports mainly raw, unprocessed green coffee beans for around $2 per kilo. However, a kilo of roasted Ethiopian coffee retails for as much as $40 per kilo in international markets.
While upward price trends helped boost Ethiopia’s export growth between 2003 and 2012, the recent drop in prices of key commodities has led to the worst export performance since 2013. It has also exposed underlying vulnerabilities in Ethiopia’s export structure and highlighted the importance of strengthening competitiveness.
More than ‘what’ is being exported, it is the ‘how’ that is hindering potential, the update notes. As such, the update outlines seven areas of policy focus that could help unleash Ethiopia’s export potential:
  • Coffee: If Ethiopia exported more wet-processed green beans instead of sundried, it could earn a significant mark-up. Roasting coffee would also considerably increase its value.
  • Cut Flowers: Using higher quality packaging dramatically increases prices. Further value could be added with better management of the freight and cold chain.
  • Live Animals: Processed meat is more lucrative (while retaining hides and skins for the leather industry). However, more needs to be done to meet international standards.
  • Branding quality products would better enable Ethiopia to earn premium income. Examples include coffee from Yirgachefe, Harar and Sidamo, or Humera sesame seeds.

In addition, the update recommends that the country address key constraints in its export business such as reliable access to electricity, credit and foreign exchange.

Improving trade logistics and trading times: It currently takes 44 days to import/export a container. Ethiopia can significantly improve trading times by extending operating hours and improving border cooperation; reducing the number of trading documents required and enhancing border management procedures including establishing a single window system.

Establishing Industrial Zones: Based on best practices such as those under the World Bank Group-supported Competitiveness and Job Creation Project, Industrial Zones would enable Ethiopia to attract more export oriented foreign direct investment.

Ease of doing business: Reducing start-up capital for enterprises may also have an immediate impact on facilitating greater firm entry into the formal sector.

Improving the competitive environment:  Intensifying local competition and reducing market domination by individual companies could help improve the business environment.

A more competitive real exchange rate: Since Ethiopia’s exports compete mainly on price rather than quality, having a more competitive real exchange rate could lead to substantial increases in exports.  In order to prevent higher inflation associated with a weaker currency, any adjustment to the exchange rate needs to be complemented by other macro policy adjustments.


Obama’s Africa Summit Set to See $900m+ in Deals Announced

US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.Agence France-Presse/Getty Images


US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker confirmed today that deals worth almost $1 billion would be announced at the US-Africa Business Forum in Washington DC early next month.

Ms. Pritzker told WSJ Frontiers that: “There will be announced at the summit at least $900 million in deals. It will be a combination of all different types of structures. But this is new money—and there will be more to come.”

The US-Africa Business Forum, which will be co-hosted by the Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies, will bring together more than 200 U.S. and African businesspeople along with heads of state and other government officials, according to Ms. Pritzker. The aim of the business forum, which takes place alongside President Obama’s US-Africa Leaders Summit, is to “encourage U.S. private sector investment in Africa and vice versa,” she added.

More than 40 African heads of state are expected to gather in Washington for the presidential summit on August 6 to discuss economic development, security and governance.

The Wall Street Journal will be covering the summit and associated events in Washington with live updates on WSJ Frontiers as well as news and analysis at wsj.com/africa.

Write to Dan Keeler at dan.keeler@wsj.com.



Ethiopia: The Bilateral Relation Between Ethiopia and China…



The bilateral relation between Ethiopia and China has never been at the height of its glory as it appears now, gossip observed. Ever since 200 Chinese laborers arrived in the highlands of Ethiopia in January 1868, building the road that led to the well known expeditions by Robert Napier’s (Gen.), against Emperor Tewodros, the Chinese reserve a significant place in building the nation’s physical infrastructure, gossip recalls.

From historical engagement of building roads, power plants and telecom infrastructure to the new undertakings of light railway to Addis Abeba and rail lines connecting the country to the sea, no other country than China has committed to making over five billion dollars available in a form of loans, gossip disclosed. In fact, the Chinese authorities have told members of Ethiopia’s top leadership their desire to see Ethiopia as a growth model for the entire continent, gossip learnt.

Gossip sees little surprise then in the high level visits and exchanges between the two countries. During one recent high profile visit by the Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, Ethiopian authorities have placed their requests to find financing on two major projects: the transmission line for the GERD, estimated to cost a little over one billion dollars, and the construction of railway line extending up north of Weldya, to link Mekelle and potash rich north-eastern part of the country.

Projected to cost 1.6 billion dollars, the idea of building a railway line between Mekelle and farther has first surfaced when the late Meles Zenawi was in office, gossip disclosed. Considering how expensive the project would turn out to be and in the absence of economic rationale that sways, Meles was reportedly reluctant to approve the project at the beginning, only to change his mind later on, claims gossip. Nonetheless, a disclosure of an agreement between the heads of the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) and the Chinese contractor, CCCC, provoked criticism within and outside of the administration, gossip disclosed.

During his visit to Ethiopia in May 2014, Prime Minister Keqiang had instructed his aides to look into the project for possible finance, gossip disclosed. Now Arkebe Oqubay (PhD), the Prime Minister’s point man for infrastructure and industrial affairs, is seen very keen and determined to see the project gets through, despite the grudges over its economic viabilities, gossip reveals.

Disappointingly to the senior EPRDFites though, the financing pledge by the Chinese Premier has not come handy to date, according to gossip. What should be far alarming, and contrary to the EPRDFites’ consolation that the nation’s debt sustainability ratio is in the category of low risk countries, the new leadership in China that is busy in restructuring foreign debts their country is owed has not demonstrated its customary enthusiasm in entering into new commitments, claims gossip.

Such state of affairs may explain the reason behind high level visits by senior EPRDFites, including one by President Mulatu Teshome (PhD), claims gossip. Having thought to have his years studying in the same college as Keqiang, and serving as a special envoy of his country to China, not to mention his fluency in Mandarin, his visits to textile, leather and telecom companies was trusted to lure more Chinese investors, and help him get hearings from Chinese authorities, according to gossip.

Despite little hopes among those who follow the case for the government, whether he succeeded is yet to be seen, claims gossip. In the meantime, though, two veterans EPRDFites, Abay Tsehaye and Bereket Simon, have paid a visit to the dragon nation to reassure Chinese authorities that Ethiopia won’t buckle on its international commitments, gossip disclosed. Theirs too is a result remaining on the suspense, claims gossip.



Meeting the Challenge: Allana Potash Focuses on Ethiopia to Meet Demands of Changing Market


VANCOUVER, B.C., July 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The potash market has seen its share of trials in recent months. Cartel dissolutions, soaring production costs and declining spot prices have created a challenging market. But Toronto-based Allana Potash Corp. (AAA.TO) is one company that has turned those challenges to its advantage.

Since 2009, Allana’s primary focus has been on the acquisition and development of international potash assets. A cornerstone of its activities is the flagship Danakhil Potash Project in the Danakhil region of Ethiopia, which is on track to become the first functioning potash mine in Africa.

“Unlike major projects that have faced cancellations or significant delays due to declining potash prices, Allana has a number of unique advantages, including an extremely low capital expense/operating expense model and a growing number of investment partners,” says Richard Kelertas, senior vice-president, corporate development, for the company. “What we have with Danakhil is a world-class, high-grade potash resource that we can access with cost-effective, proven mining methods.”

This business model has attracted the attention of partners such as IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Liberty Metals and Mining Holding LLC. In January, Allana announced its most significant partnership yet with Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), the fifth-largest potash producer in the world. Under the terms of the agreement, ICL is now a minority shareholder at 16.4%.

“For a large potash producer to work with a junior partner is a major validation of the project for us,” says Farhad Abasov, Allana’s chief executive officer. “While ICL has taken minority positions before, they have never remained as just a minor investor. They add value to the operation and management and usually expand their ownership over time as they become more comfortable with the jurisdiction and the process.”

“They saw a great opportunity with this project,” says Kelertas. “Not only is the economy growing, Ethiopia is the ideal location to cost-effectively service African, Asian and Middle Eastern markets.”

There are three core components included in the ICL deal: financial support, a take-or-pay offtake for 80% of production, and technical cooperation. ICL’s investment stands at $25-million, with the potential to reach $84 million, assuming full exercise of its warrants. Production is planned to reach one million tonnes of muriate of potash (MOP) annually. MOP is the standard grade of potash that is applied to staple crops such as corn, wheat and soy. The project also has the potential to produce sulphate of potash (SOP), which is applied to cash crops such as vegetables and orchards, as well as golf courses.

The take-or-pay offtake is unique for ICL and the industry as a whole. In a traditional offtake agreement, a company will commit to taking a certain amount of production at a discounted price. If the product cannot be sold, the producer is responsible for the inventory storage.

In the take-or-pay agreement, ICL will pay for its percentage of output, whether it has been sold or not. “That almost guarantees a large bulk of cash flow for Allana because 80% of our output will be paid for regardless,” Kelertas explains. “That’s a tremendous advantage no one else in this industry has, and provides major comfort for banks providing debt financing because it shows we will be able to service our debts.”

“Nobody in this sector has done anything like this. But ICL saw a lot of potential and synergies,” Abasov says.

ICL also has invaluable expertise in the infrastructure needed for solar evaporation. This is a commonly used process in which water is utilized to extract and convey potash deposits close to the surface and deposited in solar evaporation ponds. ICL manages one of the world’s largest solar evaporation pond systems near the Dead Sea. In the case of the Danakhil project, water-soluble potash deposits will be flushed with brine from a natural aquifer and the liquid pumped to surface evaporation ponds. There the high temperatures will accelerate the process for more efficient production.

“ICL knows everything there is to know about solution mining, transportation, construction and logistics,” Kelertas says. “Without that we would have had to hire the expertise to bring the project into production.”

In fact, capex costs for the project are estimated to reach only US$642-million, with total opex at $125 per tonne (delivered on ship, including sustaining capex and transportation from the site). This pales in comparison to the multi-billion-dollar projects that have been abandoned or postponed due to declining potash prices in the face of rising production costs.

With Allana’s low capex numbers, Kelertas says it can continue to deliver a high rate of return once the mine is at its full capacity of one million tonnes per year. “The very low cost structure means that we can be profitable even at a US$300 to $350 spot price. Other projects won’t get off the ground unless the price is $500 or higher, so many of them are looking at 2020 or beyond before they might get back on the drawing board.”

Unlike other parts of Africa, Kelertas says, Ethiopia is a geopolitically stable and rapidly growing economy and a mining-friendly jurisdiction. “There’s a tremendous amount of infrastructure money flowing into Africa as we speak, especially on the agricultural side. Analysts and investors, including heavyweights Warren Buffet and KKR, are projecting that agriculture will be one of the biggest investment areas over the next five to 10 years in the continent.”

As a mining-friendly jurisdiction, Ethiopia has been investing billions on its transportation and distribution infrastructure. “Road, rail and port facilities are all being built for us,” says Abasov. “Plus we have all the water supply we need for sustained production.”

The African market will become a thriving market for potash as the continent’s food requirements expand. According to the United Nations, Africa will make up 25% of the world’s population by 2050, versus 15% today, and urban dwellers will quadruple during the same period. At the same time, increased demand on available arable land will drive a need for increased crop productivity and yield, which relies on sustainable potash production for fertilizer applications. Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency reports that 100,000 to 400,000 tonnes of potash will be consumed by Ethiopia, Kenya and other East African nations over the next five years.

“Ultimately Allana’s success will hinge on three principles,” Abasov says. “First the shallow nature of the deposit and the hot climate offer a significant advantage in terms of cost structure. Second, we are able to attract project financing from large global financial institutions with mandates to spur economic development in emerging nations. In terms of general development, over $3-billion of foreign direct investment has been made in the agriculture sector in Ethiopia alone. Third, the Ethiopian government is extremely supportive. In fact, we are one of only a few projects that are fully permitted. In addition, the federal government is taking on many of the construction expenditures relating to infrastructure building that will help ensure the long term success of our project.”

Once production is in full force, Abasov estimates that 30% to 40% of output will be slated for the African market.

“To succeed, we have to make sure we are one of the lowest cost producers on the planet,” Kelertas says. “And we will likely be once we’re up and running at full capacity.”


ICT4Ag in Ethiopia: The Three S’s


“ICT is not the silver bullet. Find what works and do that.” This idea came out of the Tech Salon “What Can We Learn from ICT4Ag in Ethiopia” held last week, where ICT4Ag leaders discussed some of the current initiatives aimed at feeding 92 million people in Ethiopia.


Ethiopia2Participants compared notes about working with farmers versus the private sector or government, and which ICTs have been successful or not. Most participants agreed radio has the greatest resonance with farmers, because 65 percent of Ethiopians own radios compared to 24 percent mobile phone penetration. Some initiatives use a multi-channel approach, that may include radio programming in combination with SMS reminders to do x,y,z, or notifications about prices or weather conditions. Most of the successful ag initiatives are small, and the current challenge in Ethiopia is bringing successful programs to scale.

Lead discussants included Judy Payne of USAID, Adam Abate of Apposit and Eric Couper of Abt Associates. Participants discussed these three S’s as challenges for ICT4Ag in Ethiopia:


Participants working in the public and private sector said the biggest challenge for improving agriculture in Ethiopia is scale. Everyone working in the space is trying to figure out how to increase reach for the current small but successful programs. Organizations are strategizing how to  increase awareness of programs and also convince farmers to adopt best  practices.


Ethiopia has the highest number of extension agents per capita in the world, and the government is the main provider of farming supplies such as seed and fertilizer. One discussant advocated for organizations to address the government’s supply and delivery system rather than doing farmer-facing projects. Unfortunately there are not many incentives in the government system to promote efficiency for deliveries, and farmers suffer because of this. Many problems farmers encounter can be contributed to inefficiencies in the government system, and late deliveries, bad product etc. affect their growing windows. In the future of ag in Ethiopia, farmers need better access to supplies to improve production.


Many of the ag initiatives mentioned such as iCow, Shamba Shape-Up, Farm Radio International and digitalGREEN are funded by donors. Participants discussed how this leads to lack of sustainability for projects. One participant said one opportunity to increase sustainability is to partner more with the Ethiopian government,  because the government controls so much of the supply system. By partnering with the Ethiopian government, organizations can address the systems that often create problems for farmers, i.e. late deliveries, delivery of bad product, etc.

One discussant said the private sector must be involved to create more sustainable ag programs. In Ethiopia, the private sector has been crowded out by the government and funders, and prohibited more entrepreneurial growth.

ICT may not be the silver bullet in Ethiopia. Although after the June Tech Salon discussion it’s evident that there are already many ideas among ICT4Ag leaders to help farmers get better access to supplies and bring successful programs to more farmers.



Addis to Host Transport Infrastructure Forum 



The Economic Commission for Africa will be hosting a regional infrastructure forum from 24 to 26 July 2014, at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa.

The forum is conducted on the theme, “Boosting Market Integration and Intra-African Trade through Effective Management of Regional Transport Infrastructure and Services”.

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the meeting aims to assess the implementation of cross-border transport infrastructure Projects in Africa.

The forum is being held in Ethiopia, a country which records a high level of implementation of transport projects and infrastructure.

The host government will offer participants with the opportunity to travel on a study tour of one of its major transport infrastructure projects. The forum addresses emerging trade issues, particularly around the role of how to manage cross-border transport infrastructure and services in order to strengthening market integration and enhance intra-African trade.

It will also enable different stakeholders to exchange information and experiences on issues surrounding the relationship between trade and transport. Updates will be provided on where Africa stands on the implementation of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and other regional projects. Expected at the meeting are representatives of national project implementation units/Agencies; associations of national road agencies, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the African Union Commission Corridor Management Organizations, transport associations, development partners and international organizations.



Russian GBP Seals Afar Petroleum Exploration Contract with $60 million


–  Positive yield leaves GBP with 30pc, while 70pc share goes to government 

GPB Global Resources, a Russian petroleum company, is going to explore petroleum and natural gas with an estimated capital of 60 million dollars in the Afar basin, eastern part of Ethiopia, following a year-long negotiation with the Ministry of Mines (MoM).

This is according to the petroleum production and sharing agreement signed between the Company and MoM on Thursday, July 17, 2014. The Company acquired the concession right for 30pc, with the remaining 70pc share going to the Ethiopian government, if the exploration yields a positive result.

The agreement was signed by Tolosa Shagi, minister of Mines, and Alexander Ivanov, business development director of the Company, at the Ministry’s premises located on Dessie Street.

GPB Global Resources is a group of companies, engaged in petroleum and mineral resource projects in various parts, including Africa, South America and the Middle East. Since its creation, GPB facilitated Gazprom’s oil and gas projects in Libya, where its daily production exceeds 100,000 barrels of oil.

The Company will start the first stage of exploration on 42,226SqKm area for three years and can renew its exploration license twice for two years, if positive signs found in the area, according to the deal between the two parities. The exploration period will be for seven years in three stages and it will grant 25 years exploitation period, if the Company finds petroleum.

“The Company selected the area by using their satellite and technological equipment without any recommendation from the geological results from the Ministry,” said Tolossa.

The Company will start the exploration very soon after finalising the preparation time, according to Sergey V. Tagashhove, executive director of corporate communication at the GPB.

The Ministry is currently administering 15 petroleum production and sharing agreements with nine companies in Ethiopia, where the presence of gas was first confirmed in 1972 by Tenneco, a US company. Tullow Oil Plc, a British company, and Southwest Petroleum Company Plc, from the US, have already started exploration at the South Omo and Abay basins as well as in Tigray, Gambella and Somaia regions.  But recently Tullow has suffered a string of disappointing exploration results at the Chew Bahir basin in South Omo.

In July 2011, PetroTrans signed a petroleum production sharing agreements with the Ministry after it agreed to invest close to four billion dollars to develop the gas fields, but the deal was terminated by the Ministry exactly a year later.

According to a recent data from the Geological Survey of Ethiopia (GSE), Ethiopia has  reserves of  168 million tonnes of natural oil, 4.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and unspecified amount of petroleum in Kalub, Hilala, Ogaden, Gambella, Mekelle and  Abay basins.

Currently 73 foreign companies, 38 local companies and 40 joint venture companies by local and foreign companies have acquired 207 mineral exploration and 63 exploitation licenses.



Dow Chemical Opens Subsidiary Office in Ethiopia


dow chemicalThe American corporation, Dow Chemical Company, opened a subsidiary office in Ethiopia.
Max Robinson is appointed as the first General Manager of Dow Ethiopia, starting from Monday, July 7, 2014.

Dow operates in about 180 countries all over the world and employs around 53,000 people. Its presence in Africa is marked for over half a century.

The company currently has annual sales of more than U.S $ 57 Billion and presents 6,000 products that are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries. It is an American multinational chemical corporation and manufactures plastics, chemicals and agricultural products.



Jimma University Hospital to Start Producing Oxygen and Vacuum


jimma universityJimma University Specialized Hospital’s (JUSH) oxygen and vacuum producing pant is said to start operation in the coming September.

The plant is part of the Hospital’s 500 Million Birr expansion work which other than the plant includes construction of new buildings and acquisition as well as installation of several equipments.

The plant is supplied and installed by Italian company, Allay Scientific Company. The plant, according to Fekadu Assefa, the Hospital’s CEO, is capable of producing 100 cubic meters in an hour with a purity level of 95 percent.

Fekadu noted, the fund for the expansion project is secured from Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED). He added the oxygen plant will save the Hospital a million Birr and also generate revenue by supplying to the market.

JUSH was first established in 1937, during the Italian occupation for the purpose of giving medical service to Italian soldiers. However, after the withdrawal of Italy was renamed as Ras Desta Damtew Hospital. But this name did not stick around forever, the Dergue dubbed it Jimma Hospital and it latter grew into a University Specialized Hospital.



Bishoftu Finance Fair Organized Successfully


Agri-ProFocus/Agri-Hub Ethiopia organized its sixth and successful agri-business Finance Fair in collaboration with Oromia Seed Enterprise/ISSD in Bishoftu, Oromia on July 15 & 16, 2014.

The organizers and participants of the fair had a pleasure of having the Vice President Oromia National Regional State and Head of the Agriculture Bureau Ato Zelalem Jemaneh as Guest of Honor.

As a unique feature and a reflection of culture of Oromo people, local elders having fresh grass in their hand for a symbol of greenness, prosperity and a better future, made cultural blessings to the opening of the Finance Fair. Subsequently, General Manager of OSE and ISSD Coordinator Ato Kedir Nefo welcomes the participants and invite Ato Zelalem Jemaneh for the opening speech.

Admiring the organization of the fair as well as the paper presentations and discussions to be followed that day, Ato Zelalem mentioned that good results are expected at the end of the event. He also indicated that field visit which the fair comprises will make the event more successful.

The Bishoftu Finance Fair with a motto “Better Future for Farmers’ Access to Financial Services” was attended by more than 350 participants from farmers’ cooperatives, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Parallel to the market place in which over 15 organizations (financial institutions, cooperative unions, capacity builders, and private companies) exhibited their product and services, inspiring and fruitful paper presentations and discussions had taken place on the first day of the event. Over 35 people from different organizations and government offices had a filed visit on the next day to Biftu Primary Cooperative, 50 km from Bishoftu city.


Paper Presentations

Seven papers focusing on bottlenecks and challenges of access to finance were presented at the event. Kebede Dhuga (from APF/AHE) explained the objective of organizing the finance fair, and presented in detail the activities of Agri-Hub Ethiopia in promoting farmer entrepreneurship and in achieving access to finance. Arfasa Kiros (from OSE/ISSD), Dr. Abule Ebro (from LIVES), Awet Teki (from ATA), Belete Wakbeka (from Cooperative Bank of Oromia), and Dr. Tesfaye Kumsa (from Anno Agro-Industry) presented their individual papers in which productive questions and discussions followed from the audience. (All paper presentations will be posted on Agri-Hub Ethiopia website soon.)


Field Visit

Representatives of Financial Institutions, capacity builders, government offices and cooperative unions had a field visit to Biftu Primary Cooperative on July 16, 2014. The Cooperative which is engaged on seed producing sector briefed its current activities, financial situations and success stories through its representatives.





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