24 August 2914 News Round-Up


Sergey Lavrov to visit Ethiopia


Sergey Lavrov

The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, is scheduled to visit Ethiopia next month, The Reporter has learnt.

According to sources, Lavrov will come to Addis Ababa for a two-day official visit at the end of September. Sources said that the foreign minister will be accompanied by a large Russian business delegation and the purpose of the official visit is to strengthen economic and political ties between Ethiopia and Russia.

Lavrov will meet with the President of the republic, Mulatu Teshome (Ph.D.), Prime Minister Hailemaraim Desalegn, Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom (PhD) and other senior government officials and discuss bilateral issues. Bilateral agreements are expected to be signed. Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Ethiopia will be the second one. He first came to Addis Ababa  in 2006.

Sources said Russian manufacturing, energy and oil and gas companies executives will be part of the large business delegation. “Russian companies have shown keen interest to engage in the manufacturing, energy, oil and gas exploration sectors,” sources said.

Last month a Russian company, GBP Global Resources, signed an oil exploration agreement with the Ministry of Mines. The company plans to prospect for oil and gas in the Afar Regional State.

Russians are not new to the Ethiopian oil exploration sector. During the socialist era, Soviet Petroleum Exploration Expedition (SPEE) was prospecting for oil and gas in the Ogaden basin in the 1980s. Russians were involved in the mining sector too. It was Russian Geological Survey that discovered the Kenticha tantalum deposit in Borena Zone, Oromia Regional State. They also discovered the Legedembi primary gold reserve, which MIDROC Gold is currently mining. Having this rich experience on the Ethiopian oil and mineral exploration sectors more Russian companies now want to come back to Ethiopia.

Russian companies want to develop hydropower projects in Ethiopia. Sources said the Russian delegation will meet the minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Alemayehu Tegenu, to discuss the investment opportunities in the energy sector.

There are more than 30 Russian companies involved in investments in Ethiopia. Russian companies are also interested in the Ethiopian national railway network development. The Ethiopian government anticipates to secure a loan from the Russian government for railway line construction.

Russia is also a major arms supplier to the Ethiopian army. The Ethiopian Air Force and ground forces are equipped with Russian military hardware.

Ethiopia exports agricultural products to Russia. The Ethiopian flower exporters are contemplating to start directly accessing the Russian floriculture market. So far Russians buy Ethiopian flowers from the Netherlands. Ethiopian Airlines is in the process to launch passenger and cargo flights to Moscow.

Efforts to get a comment from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Addis Ababa was not fruitful. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dina Mufti (Amb.) confirmed Lavrov’s visit.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia and Russia have longstanding historical relations going back to the period of the Russian Czar Machilovich, the father of Peter the Great, in the 17th century. It is also recorded that Alexander Pushkin, a renowned Russian writer, was a grandson of Abraham Hannibal, an Ethiopian boy who was presented to Peter the Great by Suleiman the Magnificent. He was baptized in Vilnius, Lithuania, by Peter the Great on his return from defeating the Swedes. Other early contacts between Russia and Ethiopia include the visit of an Ethiopian delegation sent by the Emperor Menelik II to Russia, and visits of several Russians to Ethiopia during Menelik’s reign, at least one of whom was given the title of Dejazmatch for his travels on behalf of the Emperor along Ethiopia’s southern boundaries. These contacts laid the foundation for close relations of the two countries, based on mutual respect and friendship between the two peoples. And it is notable that regardless of the differing political systems that existed at various times, relations between them have continued close and friendly. One demonstration of that friendship has been that Russia has always, and without fail, stood with Ethiopia whenever the sovereignty of Ethiopia was threatened. Russian solidarity with Ethiopia was first illustrated when the Russian Red Cross Society came to Ethiopia in 1896, at the time of the Battle of Adwa when Italy attempted to attack the country. It made an outstanding contribution in the provision of medical supplies at Menelik Hospital and care to the Ethiopian patriots on the battlefield and subsequently. Again, during the fascist invasion of Ethiopia in 1936, Russia was one of those countries which stood in solidarity with Ethiopia. It has done so on every occasion throughout the 20th century whenever Ethiopia faced challenges to its sovereignty and its core national security interests. In short, the bonds that exist between Ethiopia and Russia have stood the test of time and proven their strength time and again.

The most important historical landmarks of Ethio-Russia historical relations visible in Addis Ababa are the large plot of land granted for the construction of a Russian mission after the Battle of Adwa, where the Russian Embassy is still located, and the establishment of the Russian Hospital, now the Balcha Memorial Hospital. Diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Russia were upgraded to Embassy level when both countries opened their respective embassies in Addis Ababa and Moscow in 1956. While relations between Ethiopia and Russia continued throughout the Imperial era, they were much closer during the Marxist, military regime of the Derg when both counties belonged to the same ideological camp. With the change of government in Ethiopia and the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), relations were placed on a different footing, but they remained warm and friendly.

In recent years, there have been increased exchanges of visits of high level officials between the two countries. Major visits have included former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s trip to Moscow in December 2001 and the then Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin in November 2007. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, visited Russia in August and October 2011 respectively.

From the Russian side former Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, came to Ethiopia in September 2002; and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came here in September 2006.



Nigerian Investment in Ethiopia Increasing



Nigerian investment in Ethiopia has been growing from time to time, according to Ali Abdo, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Nigeria.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the ambassador said the desire of Nigerian companies to invest in Ethiopia is increasing.

Ali added that Nigeria has many investors and owners of giant companies.

Following the recent agreement of the two countries to work jointly, wealthy Nigerian investors have turned their eyes towards Ethiopia, he stated.

Ambassador Ali added that the number one billionaire Aliko Dangote has, for instance, invested over 480 million USD in Ethiopia.

Dangote Investment Group, which is one of the huge foreign companies in Ethiopia, has created many permanent and temporary jobs, the ambassador said.

The Dangote Company has, in addition to producing cement, requested permission to invest in other sectors, according to Ali.

Another Nigerian investor who owns Car Gel Production Company has finalized the construction of a gel factory in Bishoftu.

Many other Nigerian investors are undertaking feasibility studies to invest in various sectors, it was learned.

Ethiopia Airlines has also facilitated the flow of Nigerian tourists to Ethiopia and created a good image of the country by flying to four Nigerian cities, Ali pointed out.

The Ethio-Nigerian diplomatic relation is over half a century old.


Addis Ababa to Host African Green Revolution Forum 2014


Addis Ababa is going to host the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2014) which will be held from Tuesday, September 2, 2014 to Thursday, September 4, 2014.

Over 1,000 African and global leaders from African countries along with farmers associations, the private sector, research and development specialists are expected to attend the forum. These delegates will participate in the Forum in order to share the central objective of eradicating food insecurity and scaling up the productivity of Africa’s smallholder farmers.

Key issues that will be raised during the forum include; global commodity markets, the future of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, ecological sustainability and climate change.

In addition to other key themes, the Forum is also expected to report on actions and outcomes of previous AGRFs.



20 Multi-Storey Parking Garages for Addis Ababa


Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is going to be presented with 20 multi-story parking garages for the purpose of addressing the increasing traffic congestion and parking problem the city is facing.

Addis Ababa’s mayor, Dirba Kuma, commented the city’s Integrated Master Plan incorporates a design that puts into consideration a method that resolves the city’s car parking difficulties.

Along with private investors, the Addis Ababa City Administration has finished preparation for the construction of 20 multi-story assembled parking lots.

Diriba commented buildings on roadsides are prompted to avail parking lots for vehicles.



Ahmet Aydeniz Construction desirous to invest in Ethiopia


Ahmet Aydeniz Construction desirous to invest in Ethiopia

Owner of Ahmet Aydeniz Construction Company, a Turkish-based company,  Ahmet AYDENİZ expressed desire to invest in Ethiopia.

After discussing with President Mulatu Teshome, Aydeniz told reporters that his company, finalized one road project in Ethiopia, is searching for future projects.

The company engaged in road construction has finalized construction of a 108km Irba Moda – Wadera road with asphalt level.

According to him, the company has gained some experiences about the opportunities in the country.

“We are working here. This was our first project, of course, there were some difficulties but now we gained experience. We became experienced all subjects and we are going to use these gained experiences in future projects.”

Aydeniz said the company is searching for future projects to be engaged with and utilize the untapped potential of the country.

“Ethiopia has a lot of potentials in every subject. We are construction company also we have food processing factory in Turkey. So these are our interests and we are trying to find out convenient projects here which we can deal with.”

During the occasion, the President said it is Ethiopia’s desire that the company invest here in agro and food processing, agriculture and irrigation; construction of dams, buildings and roads, as well as in tourism and hotels.

The President urged the company, engaged in road construction in Ethiopia, to invest in other areas and utilize the untapped resources, according to a high level official who attended the meeting.


 Ethiopia at centre of emerging economies’ interest: CNBC


Ethiopia at centre of emerging economies' interest: CNBC

Ethiopia which is sub-Saharan Africa’s fifth biggest economy is at the centre of emerging economies’ interest with various delegations of foreign investors from Africa and beyond visiting it for investment opportunities, CNBC Africa reports.

“If you look at it [Ethiopia] from an economic stand point, I think Ethiopia is one of the countries that has become the quint essential embodiment of the Africa rising narrative,” Julians Amboko, research analyst at Stratlink Africa, told CNBC.

The country’s economic growth is principally attributed to intense government projects aimed at achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the country aims at becoming a middle income status by 2025, the report noted.

“Look at the year between 2013 and 2014, the GDP growth was about 10.6 per cent, double digits. Kenya did only 4.8 per cent, Rwanda which has been a very stellar performer did only 7.9 per cent and therefore from that stunt point indeed investors must be looking at how they can tap into this market which is growing so fast,” Amboko said.

The Eastern Africa state’s economic growth is projected at 11 per cent per annum as the country seeks to maintain this rapid growth, the report said.

The country has a grand five-year Growth and Transformation Plan which ran from 2010 and is expected to end by 2015 that foresees sustainable means of economic, social and environmental development.

“Their [Ethiopia’s] grand transformational plan is to really strengthen the manufacturing sector of the country because Ethiopia is quickly emerging as a manufacturing hub in the region especially in regards to agro processing and textiles and therefore the focus on industrial parts is driven mainly by the government’s focus on manufacturing as an engine for growth going forward,” Amboko explained.

According to the report, Ethiopia has witnessed an increased contribution from the sector, particularly focused on increased production in sugar, textiles, leather products and cement.



Ethiopian roasted coffee wins at Great Taste


Ethiopian roasted coffee wins at Great Taste

The world’s largest blind-tasted food awards Great Taste, has just released the stars of 2014 and Union Hand Roasted Coffee is amongst the producers celebrating winning 4 awards with Organic Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe winning the prestigious 3-star award.

“We have won over 30 Great Taste Awards for our coffee and we are thrilled that this year our Organic Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe is one of only 2, 3-star award winners for Filter Coffee. We are dedicated to sourcing high quality, great tasting coffees through our unique Union Direct Trade Model,” said Steven Macatonia, founder, Union Hand Roasted Coffee.

“We are really pleased to be recognized by the Guild of Fine Foods for the quality of our coffee which gives our customers the confidence that they will get a great-tasting cup every time they purchase our coffee,” he added. Organic Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe is a truly delicious coffee.

Sourced from the Konga Co-operative in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia (the birthplace of coffee), the coffee is distinctive with multi-layered complexity and elegance.

Brewed as filter, you will get spun sugar and sweet candy floss with bergamot and jasmine tea with blackberries and fresh autumn fruit on the aftertaste.

Its syrupy sweetness is lasting and complex toffee base notes tie all the flavors together.

Jeremy Torz and Steven Macatonia founded Union Hand-Roasted Coffee in 2001 with a mission to work with farmers who produce high quality coffee and develop equitable trading relationships.

Union is out in the field with producers for nearly 90% of the year, working direct with coffee farmers.

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee sources from the same producers, year-after-year bringing sustainable development to remote, rural communities.

The results of Union Direct Trade are two-fold: For the coffee farmer it provides aspiration to earn more by producing increasingly higher quality coffee, aided by regular practical support from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.

For the coffee enthusiast, it produces a delicious cup, but underscored with ethics.



Roar of 
Africa’s lion economies is unstoppable


MODERN HEADACHES: Sub-Saharan Africa has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround, and a congested street in Lagos brings more benefits than bellyaches

Africa gets bad press. Sub-Saharan Africa gets the worst press of any region of the world, with the possible exception of the Middle East. Recent newsflow from the region has been stereotypically grim: the worst ever outbreak of the Ebola virus, civil war in the new state of South Sudan, Islamist terrorism in Kenya, and child abductions in Nigeria are just some of the bad news stories coming out of Africa.

These stories reinforce the impression shared by perhaps the majority of people in Ireland and the West that the world’s least developed continent is a basket case – condemned forever to poverty, famine, poor governance and disease. This impression is, thankfully, profoundly wrong. One of the best news stories of the 21st century so far has been sub-Saharan Africa’s remarkable turnaround from the relative and often absolute decline of the second half of the 20th century. In almost every aspect – security, democracy, health, education and wealth – things have been getting better in most countries and for most of the one billion plus people who inhabit the continent.

This is not just good for Africans, it is good for us in Ireland. Rapid growth rates create business opportunities for Irish companies. Better economic conditions in Africa reduce the “push” factors that contributes to outward migration of all kinds – resulting in brain drain losses for Africa and increased political focus on immigration in Europe. And the ongoing positive trend offers the prospect that Irish taxpayers’ money spent on official aid (currently standing at more than €600m each year) might one day no longer be necessary. Underpinning all of these improvements has been an economic lift-off. Up until the 1990s, average per capita incomes stagnated or fell in many parts of the continent as a whole, widening the already big gap with all other continents. But things have been very different in most of the continent’s 50-odd countries for well over a decade.

According to the IMF, sub-Saharan Africa has been the second fastest growing region in the world (after Asia) so far this century. With rates of economic expansion well above population growth rates for almost 20 years, standards of living have been rising at a decent clip.And this growth acceleration has been geographically broad-based, with the vast majority of economies posting significant gains in living standards. Included among the fast-growing economies, as it happens, are six of the seven countries Ireland’s official aid programme prioritises – Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia (Malawi is the partial exception, enjoying less growth than the regional average).

Up until the late 1990s, growth in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole lagged far behind the global average and was considerably slower than the advanced economies – economic theory says it should be vice versa, as developing economies are supposed to benefit from “catch-up” growth by adopting the technologies more advanced economies have had to pay to develop. Until the late 1990s Africa made a mockery of that theory, but then things began to change. Growth accelerated in the late 1990s and surged past the developed world and global rates in the early years of this century. It is far from clear whether growth is causing improved political outcomes or vice versa, but regardless of the direction of causality, each passing year suggests that sub-Saharan Africa has broken out of the vicious cycle it had been in during the early decades of independence and – in the case of a majority of countries – has entered something approaching a virtuous cycle. A cornerstone of the change has been the decline of violence. Although conflict and violence remains all too prevalent in many parts of the continent, figures from Uppsala University’s Conflict Data Programme show that conflict fatalities have more than halved since the turn of the century compared to the 1990s.

This reflects greater stability in the continent’s politics over a decade and more. While in the past, news of coups and army takeovers were commonplace, they have been much less frequent, according to Pat Thaker, who heads the Africa team at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Among the biggest challenges in bedding down democracy is having political participants agree to smooth handovers of power. In the decades after European colonisers left, only a handful of leaders who lost elections accepted the result. In March 2000, Senegal’s Abdou Diouf became the fourth one to do so and since then there have been many more across the continent.With political outcomes in many African countries getting better, relations between the continent’s countries are also improving. This, in turn, is allowing more economic integration (usually, it has to be said, from a very low level) and offers the prospect of tapping into the huge existing potential.

This is particularly beneficial to many border regions which were cut off from their hinterlands when new independent states were formed as European countries dismantled their empires. The changing mindset was nicely illustrated in a co-authored article published recently by the leaders of Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. In it they underlined the benefits from sub-regional trade integration in consolidating the gains made over the past decade and a half and ensuring that the developmental momentum is maintained. It is hard to imagine such an article being written 20 years ago. Ultimately, what really matters is whether all of these political and economic changes make people’s lives better. The best news of all from Africa is that they are doing so most emphatically. Almost every available indicator points to that, but perhaps the best overall measure is the UN’s Human Development Index. It aggregates health, education and income indicators to gauge how quality of life is changing across the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the smallest improvements in the index in the 1980s and 1990s of any region of the world, but since 2000, the rate of improvement has jumped – overtaking East Asia (dominated by China) and almost matching South Asia (dominated by India).While absolute levels of development are still the lowest of any region, the evidence to pointing to a broad-based turnaround in Africa is now quite overwhelming.

There is a long way to go, but the extreme pessimism that many people in the rich world have about the continent is thoroughly misplaced. Africa is on the move and in the years and decades to come will be a place of opportunity – for its own people and enterprising outsiders.



Ethiopia Coffee Export Earnings May Rise 25% on World Supply



By William Davison

Ethiopia’s arabica coffee export earnings are forecast to climb 25 percent to about $900 million in 2014-15 because of higher prices after a drought damaged plants in the biggest grower of the bean, Brazil, an industry group said.

Arabica prices on the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange could average $2 a pound if supplies of the crop in the world market are tight, Ethiopian Coffee Exporters’ Association General Manager Alemseged Assefa said in the capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest producer of the crop and the origin of the arabica plant.

“Prices are favorable this year because of the Brazilian coffee drought,” Alemseged said in an interview on Aug. 18. “We presume that price will continue because of the drought.”

Arabica has surged 71 percent in New York since January after a drought hurt plantings in Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of the beans, fueling speculation that consumption may outstrip supply. The Brazilian woes come as plantings in Central America, Mexico and Peru struggle to recover from a crop disease called leaf rust that has cut yields across the region over the past two years.

Arabica coffee for December delivery rose 1.5 percent to $1.89 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. yesterday, tumbling 12 percent from a two-year high in April.

Stable Prices

Ethiopia earned $719 million from sales abroad of the beans in the 12 months through July 7, down 3.7 percent from a year earlier. The volume of exports fell 4.1 percent to 191,000 metric tons. The country may produce about 500,000 tons of the beans this year, with about half of that crop sold outside the nation, Alemseged said.

Consumption within Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-most populous nation, accounts for the rest of sales, with the average home drinking a cup of coffee two or three times a day and coffee ceremonies a traditional way to welcome guests, according to the U.S. agriculture department.

Prices should be in the “stable to high range” of as much as $1.80 a pound this year, said Fekade Mamo, general manager of Mochaland Import and Export, an Addis Ababa-based coffee trader. “This deficit is real,” Fekade said.

An expansion of plantings in coffee-growing areas may help boost the crop, Alemseged said.

Horizon Plantations, a company owned by Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, bought the 10,000-hectare (24,710-acre) Bebeka and 12,114-hectare Limmu coffee farms from the Horn of African government last year.

The exporters’ association wants to bring in new buyers and start making a bigger presence in the world market at its annual conference in Addis Ababa on Nov. 6-7, Alemseged said.

“There’s a great potential, excess supply,” he said. “We aim to increase our share in the global coffee market.”




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