20 August 2014 News Briefs


Initiative for Mining Transparency Summit Opens in Addis



The Initiative for Mining Transparency in East and West Africa Summit kicked off on Wednesday in Addis Ababa.

Participating countries are expected to present their experiences in mining where discussions will focus on success stories and challenges faced.

The summit will enhance experience sharing among the countries taking part in the gathering, it was indicated.

The summit provides an important portal for sharing mechanisms to tackle problems of corruption and disintegrated production systems.



Impact and Optimism: The Story of One Nuru Ethiopia Farmer During the 2014 Belg Season


Posted on August 20, 2014

Ethiopia Ag August

In 2013, Ermias Gona Waja harvested four bags of maize and one bag of beans from his half-hectare plot in the village of Dubana Bullo. His beans barely sustained him and his family through the hunger season, and his maize brought him no surplus and no profits. He was living hand-to-mouth, unable to even imagine what he would do if an economic shock hit his family. He was living in extreme poverty with no opportunities to escape the cycle of suffering –he had no meaningful choices.

When Ermias joined the Dubana Bullo Grain Marketing Cooperative (founded with seed capital from Nuru), he was skeptical about the new agronomic practices that Nuru Ethiopia was promoting. Throughout his life, he had been told that intercropping maize and beans was a “backwards” and “primitive” behavior that only the poorest farmers engaged in.

“I was really worried about taking a loan from my cooperative and planting using these new methods. The spacing of the maize and beans seemed very close, and the labor it took to plant a half hectare using this method was much higher than during my previous years as a farmer.”

But in June of this year, Ermias began seeing his beans ripening – their deep green leaves turning a pale yellow. He noticed the pods transitioning from green to gray and falling to the earth. After a bean harvesting training, Ermias walked between his rows of maize and pulled his beans out of the ground, putting the pods into sacks and leaving the plant residues on the ground.

“I harvested so many beans this year! It has been amazing. I had two sacks of beans for my house and was able to sell three more at the local market. We are still eating the beans and will still have more during our maize harvest. I even put a sack aside to use as seed next year. I used some of that money to pay back my loan with the cooperative, and some of it to buy new clothes for my son who is now attending primary school.”

Walking through his farm, Ermias drifted his hands through the towering leaves that emanated from the stalks. Each stalk flaunted three dense cobs of maize that were quickly ripening. With a smile on his face Ermias looked up and down his neatly spaced rows that were still soaking in nitrogen from the bean residues.

“I have never in my life had a maize farm like this. When walking through these rows, I don’t see a single thin or stunted stalk. I am very sure that this year I will get more than 10 bags of maize from this half-hectare of land. My only wish now is that I had more land!”

While land scarcity might not be an issue that Nuru Ethiopia can address, the issue of yields, management, and food security is. Ermias walked me over to a small plot of land where he was multiplying orange-fleshed varieties of sweet potatoes. Next to it, he had a 100 square meter plot of the orange-fleshed varieties of sweet potatoes under production.

“We learned from the Field Officer[1] and Community Animator how to plant these new varieties of sweet potatoes. We learned how to multiply vines so that we can get more than 20 new vines from one vine. We also learned that the vitamin A found in these sweet potatoes will solve many of our health problems and keep our immune systems strong. This project has been a great blessing for us and we look forward to transitioning to this new variety from our previous variety of sweet potatoes.”

Looking into the future, Ermias is very optimistic. “Being a Nuru Ethiopia farmer has changed my family’s life. We see a brighter future ahead and we look forward to being healthy, having economic security, and being able to keep our children in school.”

The implications of this narrative are astounding. If Ermias is seeing this profound transformation on his farm, it speaks to the impact Nuru Ethiopia is having with all 488 households we are working with in Boreda. It speaks to the husbands, wives, and children’s engagement with the fight against hunger – the fight against the foundations of extreme poverty. With continued effort, Ermias and other households will overcome poverty within the next few years and see a myriad of opportunities and choices open to them. As Nuru Ethiopia scales to new villages in 2015, we can anticipate the same story being told by more than one thousand households and being materialized in an improved quality of life for thousands of individuals.

[1] Each village has a Nuru Ethiopia Agriculture Field Officer and Community Animator



U.S. admires Ethiopia’s increasing commercial competency


The U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach said her country admired the increasing commercial competency of Ethiopia. 

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the Ambassador said that U.S. companies are inspired to invest in the country and be part of the fastest economy.

“We are very excited Ethiopia presents an excellent market and the largest growing economy in the world and a lot of opportunities here.” she said.

She appreciated Ethiopia’s aspiration about becoming a middle income economy by 2025 saying “It is very admirable. All of the work leads to the MDGs. This is all extremely positive.”

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets that are willing to continue the Trade and Development Act, she added.

There are 470 U.S. companies with an aggregate capital of 1.5 billion USD, operate in Ethiopia since the last two decades in the areas of technology, agriculture, hotel and tourism, health, construction, manufacturing, power and textiles, among others.

These companies benefited over 100,000 employees. A number of other U.S. companies interested to invest various sectors, Haslach said.

The U.S.-based manufacturing giant, General Electric (GE), is planning to establish a medical equipment assembly plant in Ethiopia.

The company is planning to assemble various medical equipments and machines in Addis Ababa and distribute them to African countries. They want to use the extensive cargo flight network of Ethiopian Airlines.

The ambassador also appreciated the Ethiopian Airlines contribution in attracting investors and to the country’s economy. “It is an excellent Airline.”

“The Ethiopians Airlines is the biggest asset and power in Africa to invest not just in Ethiopia but also in the African continent. … I fly with Ethiopian Airlines all the time.”

Ethiopia’s fastest economic growth over the past decade changes the relation with the U.S from aid and donation to economic partnership, according to American Affairs Director General with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Taye Atsikeselassie.

The involvement of giant U.S. companies in the Ethiopian economy is a success to the country because of the fact that their involvement here encourages other to come, he said.

He noted that U.S investment is different from other countries’ investments in its reach knowledge and technology package and it will have an immense role in knowledge and technology transfer in the country and introduce with new way of doing things.

“American investment by enlarge is a high take investment. It is a knowledge based investment. So it transfers knowledge and technology. It is an instrument for job creation. Just like any other investments it opens upslope eyes because they are coming with new technologies with new way of doing things. It has cone of ripple effect. ”

Due to the rigorous works of all stakeholders to attract U.S. investment, the country that has no business with the US a few years ago appears in the map of America’s investment destination, Amb. Taye said.

He stated that the country is handling investors with admirable asset prospects.

“We have good policies; we have the commitment and the willingness to stretch our hands embraced that cuddly capital they are always scarce risks. We are capable of doing or giving some regulatory incentives to companies.”

Public Relation Director with the Investment Agency, Getahun Negash also uttered that the U.S. investment in Ethiopia has been increasing over the past few years.

During the just concluded budget year (2006E.C), US stands second next to China in terms of number of projects (106 licensed projects) next to China.

Ethiopia and the U.S. have been enjoying strong relationship going back to 1903 when the first US ambassador arrived in Addis Ababa to present his credentials to Emperor Minelik II, though the people-to-people relations were much older.

According to ENA, U.S. is the first country that opened Embassy in Ethiopia.



Achievements boost Ethiopia’s trustworthiness at UN: Ambassador


The political and economic achievements of Ethiopia are boosting the country’s trustworthiness at the United Nations, Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Tekeda Alemu said.

The Permanent Representative told ENA that many international organizations are acknowledging Ethiopia for its successes in alleviating poverty.

The achievements made in economic, social and political areas enabled Ethiopia to be considered as a model for developing countries in various forums.

The international media, once engaged in reporting the famine and poverty in Ethiopia have started to report the economic and social developments in the country, he said.

Dr. Tekeda stated that the consecutive economic development also boosts its diplomatic capability this in return increases the international community’s recognition to the country.

The huge projects the country is carrying out to alleviate poverty coupled with the rapid economic growth raises amount of development assistance flow to Ethiopia, he stated.

The Ambassador indicated that most of the UN reports issued about Ethiopia recognize the country’s good performances in various areas. Ethiopia is one of the countries that UN recognizes in their efforts and success in ensuring peace and stability.

Ethiopia has been playing significant role in enhancing trade integration and in ensuring lasting peace in Eastern Africa, he said adding, this makes Ethiopia preferable in the eyes of the UN in peacekeeping missions.

Up on going fully operational, the mega projects would create strong commercial, power and infrastructure ties in the East African region, he said.

Ambassador Tekeda also said Ethiopia is one of the countries that the UN has big faith in achieving the MDGs by the year 2015.



Foreign currency saved by fabricating machinery locally


Foreign currency saved by fabricating machinery locally

Hibret Manufacturing and Machinery Industry (HMMI) at the Ethiopian Metal Engineering Corporation has saved 1.5 billion Birr in foreign exchange by manufacturing several machines locally.

The industry has manufactured more than one thousand light and heavy duty machines in the recently concluded Ethiopian fiscal year, Deputy Head of HMMI, Capt. Mesfin Seyoum, stated.

HMMI has an annual capacity of manufacturing one thousand machinery with digital and manual operating systems.

Capt. Seyoum added beyond addressing local demands, HMMI has finalized preparations to export its internationally recognized brands to Rwanda, Djibouti and Sudan.

The first of its kind in East Africa in fabricating machinery, HMMI is engaged in manufacturing spare parts for vehicles, aircraft, heavy machinery, etc.



Ethiopia seeks to brand, trademark signature coffee


Ethiopia, Africa’s largest coffee grower, is set to continue talks with global buyers in hopes of branding and trademarking its world-renowned coffee and boosting national revenue.

“The objective of the negotiations is to prevent illegal coffee trade, unfair price fixing and profiteering involving Ethiopian coffee brands in the world market,” Teshome Sileshi of Ethiopia’s Intellectual Property Office told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

He said 15 million Ethiopians directly or indirectly involved in coffee production receive less than 10 percent of the retail price from coffee sales while the rest goes to international middle men and distributors.

“So far, 34 countries have recognized and registered brands and trademarks for globally popular and on-demand varieties… grown in south and eastern Ethiopia,” he said.

“Twenty-seven of the stated countries are members of the European Union, while the rest include India, Japan, Canada, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, China and South Africa,” he added.

According to Sileshi, applications have been submitted to Australia and Brazil to brand and trademark Ethiopian coffee products, but, he said, “They haven’t responded yet.”

“The negotiation will continue drawing experiences from two consultant companies: Light Years IP and Arnold & Porter LLP,” Sileshi said.

Coffee is one of Ethiopia’s top-earning export crops.

Africa’s largest coffee producer, Ethiopia generated some $719 million from coffee exports during the 2013/14 financial year.



Gov’t Pledges to Uphold Vision of Meles in Creating Green Economy


Gov't Pledges to Uphold Vision of Meles in Creating Green Economy

The government is working with determination to attain the vision of the former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to make the Ethiopian economy green, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said.

Tree seedlings were planted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at Gulele Botanic Centre in commemoration of the second anniversary of the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the general public and the government have been working day and night to realize the legacy of Meles.

Meles has laid solid foundation that ensures the interest of his country and that of Africa in general at international forums, according to the premier.

The trees seedlings plantation ceremony is a forum where our pledge would be renewed in realizing the green economic development of the Great Leader, he added.

Meles Foundation Board President, Azeb Mesfin, said on her part the late prime minister was a leader who served his country and its people without respite.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, said the trees seedlings planting ceremony has inspired him and he would work without rest to realize the vision of the Great Leader to create a prosperous Ethiopia.

Meles has carried out various activities to extricate the people of Ethiopia from poverty and integrate the region by creating peace and stability in East Africa, he added.

The minister recalled that the diplomatic principle of the late prime minister was outward looking and based on mutual benefit.

Ambassadors and foreign diplomats who took part in planting tree seedlings said Meles has earned international recognition for his country and made Ethiopia the voice of Africa.

Mexico’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Juan Alfredo Miranda Ortiz, said the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has boosted the relationship of Ethiopia with other countries.

“He is a great leader who turned a new chapter in the relationship of Ethiopia and Mexico,” according to Ortiz.

Political Advisor to China’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Qin Jian, on his part said the strong relations Ethiopia has created with Asian countries, and particularly with China, were the efforts of  Meles Zenawi.

Meles is a great leader who made Ethiopia an investment destination and built the image of the country across the globe, he added.

President Mulatu Teshome, ministers, high government officials, ambassadors, diplomats, and religious leaders have attended the tree seedlings plantation ceremony.


Officials eulogize Meles for his Green Devt Strategy


Officials eulogize Meles for his Green Devt Strategy

Meanwhile, high ranking government officials who planted seedlings at the Meles Zenawi Foundation Park said the endeavor to instill Green Development is benefiting the public at large. Following is some of their impressions.

Bereket Simeon, Advisor to the Prime Minister, said “Meles’ legacy is being maintained. The activities of the foundation are also going well. The public have stepped up efforts to maintain the ongoing development endeavors.’

“The tree planting endeavor that is taking place in four major regions covers some one million hectares of land. A remarkable green development is being witnessed. Therefore, through our evaluation we will build on those experiences. The evaluation that is being made in all member parities of EPRDF is based on his green development aspirations,” said Abay Tsehaye, Advisor to the PM.

Amin Abdulkadir, Minister, MoCT, remarked: “Meles’ memorial park is found across the country. That enabled all sections of the society to plant seedlings in their respective areas. This helps achieve the national plan of green development which makes the country exemplary for the rest of the world.”

Hilawe Yoseph Ethiopian Ambassador to Israel for his part said: “I believe that we will remain committed to address our weaknesses and to build on our best achievements”.



World Council Program enhances food security and rural livelihoods in Ethiopia


Subsistence farmers see incomes increase by 129%



MADISON, WI (August 18, 2014) — World Council of Credit Unions recently completed a successful development program in Ethiopia that worked with rural savings and credit cooperatives (RuSACCOs) and farmers to improve food security and livelihoods among farming families. The 2009–2014 program was funded by the monetization of 23,000 tons of wheat through USDA’s Food for Progress program.

World Council worked in three regions of Ethiopia, Tigray, Oromia and Amhara, which span half the country, to assist RuSACCOs with expanding financing for agricultural production and to mobilize savings. The program also provided non-financial services, such as farmer training and infrastructure investments, to improve farmers’ access to markets and increase commercial food production.

The World Council program exceeded its targets, helping 44,645 farmers to produce higher crop yields and increase their incomes. The program provided agricultural training to farmers to help transition them from subsistence farming to commercial food production. Soil and water conservation techniques were introduced to target farmers, and 71.5% of surveyed farmers reported that these techniques helped them to increase crop production. Poor farmers were also supported through the introduction of higher quality agricultural inputs and training on methods such as the proper use of fertilizers and better planting techniques. Farmers were able to introduce higher-value and more nutritious crops thanks to World Council’s support. By diversifying their crops, they were able to reduce risk and saw a significant increase in overall crop production, income and nutritional intake.

The average income for each farmer increased for both primary and secondary crops throughout the term of the project. Primary crop production not only allowed for the diversification of vegetables and grains, but also increased farmers’ incomes by 129%. Secondary crop production also showed a dramatic improvement of 150%; prior to the project, many farmers were not capable of growing secondary crops due to limited rainfall. Thanks to the program, farmers were better able to survive drought conditions in rural Ethiopia, achieve food security and provide for their families.

At the end of the program, both loans and savings per SACCO member had experienced a dramatic increase. On average, savings per member increased by 89%, and loans per member increased by 167%. Through its SACCO strengthening, infrastructure and agricultural training interventions, the World Council program provided support that transformed lives in rural Ethiopia and gave farmers the tools they needed to feed their families.

Learn more about World Council’s work in Ethiopia at www.farmerfinance.woccu.org/ethiopia.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions’ financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at www.woccu.org.



New Enterprise to Manage ECX’s Warehouses


The Ministry of Trade (MoT) is establishing a new enterprise in order to manage the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange’s (ECX) warehouses.

The Ministry has finished the necessary draft directive, which is ready for discussion with the  relevant stakeholders before passing it on to the Council of Ministers, according to Kebede Chane, minister at MoT.

“The initiation to separate the two bodies came from the Ministry,” said Abenet Bekele, chief strategy officer at the ECX.

Abenet Bekele, chief strategy officer at the ECX

The draft directive is prepared by a committee that was organized by the MoT comprising experts from ECX, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), representatives from the regional Trade and Industry Bureaus and Ethiopian Commodity Exchange Authority, (ECXA)according to Kebede.

Kebede Chnae, Minister at MoT

The new enterprise will be responsible for the construction and management of new warehouses, including the existing 60 warehouses at 19 different sites, which the ECX rents from the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) and other private owners.

The ECX has been in business since April 2008 with 100 members, it trades six types of commodities, of which three of them have rules and regulations at the floor including sesame, coffee and white pea beans. The other three commodities traded on the floor are mung beans, wheat and maize. In addition, it manages warehouses in which commodities will be stocked before and after sales until its delivery takes place.

The reason to separate the management of the warehouses, according to Kebede, is because the ECX is expanding and opening branches starting this September in regional towns, including Adama, Hawassa, Jimma, Gonder and Humera.

There were reports that the ECX had been facing challenges in warehouse management, where the quality of the produce traded on the floor would be different upon delivery at the warehouse; some workers at warehouses are accused of removing high grade commodities from their sacks and replacing them with lower grade qualities, with the sacks still displaying the high grade labels. The ECX had to fire some people because of this. The separation will minimize the problems of the ECX related to handling the processes both at the trading floor and warehouses, Kebede says.

The new enterprise will deploy Inventory Warehouse Management System to ensure quality and to reduce wastage during the commodities stay at warehouses.

The committee drafted the regulation based on the experiences of South Africa and Colombia, said Kebede.

The ECX, MoT, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange Authority will discuss the draft regulation in the coming two weeks, says Kebede. This discussion will also decide whether or not the new enterprise will be under the ECX or the MoT.

The warehouse enterprise will also serve other clients than the ECX, with the latter being its main client.

In the last fiscal year ECX has seen increasing its members from 100 to 346 – 33 of which are cooperatives and unions, with 2.7 million small scale farmers under them. The ECX also has 14,725 buying and selling clients with a trade volume of 586,000 tns during the just ended fiscal year  and a revenue of 26.2 billion Br. Trading volumes of commodities at the floor amounted to 391,000tns in 2009/10, 500,000 in 2010/11 and 601,000tns in 2011/12. It declined to 539,000tns in the following year.

Since ECX is the expected main client of the enterprise, the new framework will be the advantage of ECX, says Abinet

ECX announced the launch in September 2014 of a 3.8 million dollar online trading system which enables online trade from Addis Abeba directly with remote online trading centres. The other system to be launched on September is Traceability, 1.3 million dollar project which uses software to trace commodities every step of the way from farm to warehouse.



India Promotes 4.6 Billion Dollar Textile Industry in Ethiopia


Biruk Taye, 28, came to inTexpo, an exhibition of Indian textiles at the Sheraton Addis Hotel, in the Lalibela Ball Room, on Wednesday, August 13, 2014, with the expectation to find new partners, who will work with agents in Ethiopia.

The exhibition is the first of its kind in Ethiopia for the Indian textile industry. It is organised by the Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) and Exposition UK LTD, in association with the Embassy of India and support from the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations (ECCSA).

The opening ceremony took place on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. It was attended by Gashaw Debebe, secretary general of ECCSA, Utpal Aich, first secretary of the Embassy of India, and 20 delegates from participant companies.

The 20 Indian exhibitors filled the hall, occupying the whole ball room, for which they paid 6,000 dollars each.

The organisers of the event worked together with Ethio Ushering & Organizers, an Ethiopian co-organiser; all the 20 participants of the event came from India, according to Sandeep Grover, managing director of Exposition UK.

In the years from 1992 to 2012, a total of 365 Indian firms have taken investment licenses for different projects with a total capital of 43 billion Br in Ethiopia creating a total trade turnover of 1.3 billion dollars between the two countries in 2013 alone, said Gashaw.

There are 140 textile factories in Ethiopia; seven of these are Indian companies, with a capital of 12 billion Br, according to the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI).

Biruk was trying to become an agent for Yogindera Worsted Limited, one of the companies at the exhibition. The Company was displaying different threads, which its representatives were excitedly showing and explaining to Biruk.

Biruk managed to convince the company to give him one acrylic, one polyester and one yarn roll thread, each costing three dollars, which Biruk wanted to show to potential bulk buyers. The Company, based in Ludhiana, Punjab, India, was founded in 1997 with a capital of 52 million Br.

“At least, if I find a firm that can work with me, I can have a two percent  commission for every single item I sell,” said Biruk, holding the three sample threads, as he left the hall to find buyers, which he would have to report back to Yogindera by the afternoon.

Other exhibitors were displaying a varied range of products including shirts, suits, fabrics, yarns and embroidery products.

Kalkidan Hayelom, a fashion designer, came to the Expo to check for materials on display. With designers relying on imported materials, she says the Expo was an opportunity to see if there was anything new.

Currently, India’s synthetic and rayon textile export is nearly 4.6 billion dollars. The Middle East and the Gulf, Asia and the European Union account for 25pc, 23pc and 22pc of the total export, respectively. India’s total synthetic and rayon output  is around 21 million square metres, according to the expo brochure.

The exhibition moved from Sudan where it also had a two-day show from August 10 – 11, 2014, following a three month preparation, according to SRTEPC’s joint director.

“There is  good opportunity in the exhibition. Here they are telling us the prices of their products. A three metre rolled viscose Embroidery is sold for 50 dollars and Silk for 70 dollars. This price is not much different from the price in Dubai that I have been importing, but when the transportation is considered it is much better,” said Said Idris, owner of A.Y.H General Trading.

India’s 2013 export of textile and clothing products was 40 billion dollars, which the country plans to double to 80 billion dollars by 2020. In 2013, it lags far behind China’s 274 billion dollars.

For Biruk, business may have worked out as he says he managed to find buyers for the Indian company’s products, although he declined to name any. Some of the Indian companies, too, such as Balavigna, are even considering the possibility of setting up a plant in Ethiopia, according to First Secretary Aich.



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