26 Sept 2014 News Round-Up


Prime Minister Hailemariam holds talks with President Obama


Prime Minister Hailemariam holds talks with President Obama


Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Barack Obama held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday in New York.

Discussions covered issues related to the cooperative partnership of the two countries in various spheres of common interest and the importance of elevating the existing bilateral ties to a new high in all fronts for the benefit of all.

Prime Minister Hailemariam noted the excellent relations between Ethiopia and the United States.

He emphasized that Ethiopia attached special importance to its relations with the United States.

The Prime Minister, who extended his thanks to the United States for its support to Ethiopia’s development activities, said Ethiopia “is moving, transforming the economy.”

He added that the numerous development programs of the United States in Ethiopia were valuable assets for the country and played a significant role in its current economic growth and in agriculture, the major driving force of the country’s economic growth.

He also welcomed the role of the United States in helping Ethiopia engage the private sector, describing the Power Africa program as “a remarkable and modern kind of approach,” and emphasizing Ethiopia was committed to advance its objectives.

He also noted that the United States’ Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition program coupled with the positive engagement of U.S. investors in agricultural production was instrumental in making strides in the agriculture sector and transforming the livelihoods of Ethiopia’s smallholder farmers.

He indicated that the Ethio-US partnership in peace and security was a key factor for peace and security in the Horn of Africa and in Africa, saying that this should be deepened and expanded.

President Obama extended a warm welcome to Prime Minister Hailemariam and his delegation and said “there’s no better example than what has been happening in Ethiopia – one of the fastest growing economies in the world.”

He noted tremendous progress was a defining element of today’s Ethiopia “that once had great difficulty feeding itself. It is now not only leading the pack in terms of agricultural production in the region, but will soon be an exporter potentially not just of agriculture, but also power because of the development that’s been taking place there.”

He said the United States was very “appreciative” of Ethiopia’s efforts in safeguarding peace and security and resolving conflicts, adding “Ethiopia may be one of the best in the world – one of the largest contributors of peacekeeping; one of the most effective fighting forces when it comes to being placed in some very difficult situations and helping to resolve conflicts.”

He appreciated the role played by Ethiopia in helping the two warring parties find a lasting political solution and resolve the crisis in South Sudan, and commended Ethiopia’s support and cooperation in dislodging Al-Shabaab from Somalia.

President Obama, who noted the strong trade ties between the two countries, also underscored that the United States was ready to initiate a new chapter of strategic dialogue and partnership on various issues, including health, the economy and agriculture.

He affirmed that the United States was committed to continue its constructive engagement with Ethiopia.



MIDROC to build gold extraction plant with $250 million


MIDROC to build gold extraction plant with $250m


MIDROC Gold Plc. announced that it would construct its second gold extraction plant with an outlay of 250 million USD in Benshangul Gumuz Regional State.

The exploration work at Gilay locality in Bulen Woreda in the state took 10 years, it was indicated.

MIDROC Gold Project Director, Abiy Setargachew, said the exploration carried out on 4,000 square kilometers has proved that there is a huge gold deposit in the locality. The deposit could last some 10 years, he said.

Abiy stated that the plan is to divert the 5 to 6MW electric power required for the plant from Gilgel Beles Power Generating Dam.

The company has spent quarter a billion Birr for exploration work and created 250 jobs, he said.

Chief Administrator of Benshangul Gumuz Regional State, Ahmed Nasser, for his part said the plant would have significant economic benefits for the region and the country.

The government and people of the state would continue providing all the necessary support for this project as well as other similar investments, he added.

MIDROC Ethiopia Technology Group has a gold extraction plant at Shakisso, Oromiya Regional State.



UPDATE – KEFI copper bottoms Ethiopia gold project; will apply for mining licence next month



Men at work: The plan is to mine 13mln tonnes of ore to unearth 925,000 ounces of gold over Tulu Kapi’s ten-and-a-half year life at a processed grade of 2.4 grams per tonne.

Men at work: The plan is to mine 13mln tonnes of ore to unearth 925,000 ounces of gold over Tulu Kapi’s ten-and-a-half year life at a processed grade of 2.4 grams per tonne.

KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI) has copper-bottomed the Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia by securing independent verification of its mine plan and will ‘re-activate’ its mining licence application next month.

The respected Snowden Mining Industry Consultants provided the sign-off at a higher than previously slated annual production of 86,000 ounces (2,000 ounces more than previously forecast).

The plan is to mine 13mln tonnes of ore to unearth 925,000 ounces of gold over Tulu Kapi’s ten-and-a-half year life at a processed grade of 2.4 grams per tonne.

KEFI managing director Jeff Rayner said: “We are pleased to report the independent verification of our mine plan, which includes an increased production target that further improves expected project economics.

“This confirms our expectation of reactivating the mining licence application for Tulu Kapi in October.

“Following the recent finalisation of the mineral resource, we now are able to complete other project planning parameters, commencing with the optimised pit design, mining rate and head grade.”

In the coming weeks KEFI said it expect to report further milestones, including independently verified project cost estimates and the ore reserves for the project.

At the same time, it is working on securing project financing.

“As a result, we are confident of advancing to the development stage in the first half of next year.”

The shares rose 9% to 1.55p in early trade, although broker finnCap reckons the stock is worth 5.7p.

Analyst Mark Heyhoe is looking to the next milestones. “The capex, all-in production costs and reserves are currently being independently verified and should be announced in early October,” he said.



State Minister Dewano confers with Turkish Business delegation


State Minister Dewano confers with Turkish Business delegation


State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dewano Kedir, held talks with a Turkish business delegation on Friday.

The State Minister welcomed the delegation and briefed it on the business and investment opportunities available in Ethiopia.

He said the most important areas on which to focus were agriculture, food processing, leather and leather products, textile and agro-processing and related areas.

He expressed the full support of the Government for those who are interested to invest in the country.

Ethiopian Investment Commissioner, Fitsum Arega, detailed the Government’s policies and strategies, and noted the incentives, tax-holidays, regulations and legal frameworks for foreign and domestic investors.

He said there was trainable manpower, abundant land, energy resources and sufficient power production, a stable government and peace and security in Ethiopia.

The delegation’s members appreciated the Government’s commitments and its efforts to transform the country through strong leadership.

They said they had interest in the areas of agriculture, livestock farming, textile, glass production, furniture making, construction industry, fertilizer manufacturing, as well as fabric and garment production.

They said they would be prepared to transfer to Ethiopia their experience, technology and knowledge for their different areas of specialization.



Turkish investment in Ethiopia exceeds $3 billion


Turkish investment in Ethiopia exceeds $3b


Turkish investors with over 3 billion USD capital are engaged in various sectors in Ethiopia, the country’s Ambassador to Ethiopia disclosed.

This makes Turkish businesspersons the leading foreign investors in Ethiopia in terms of capital volume, it was learned.

Ambassador Osman Riza Yavuzalp said in an interview with ENA that most of the investors are engaged in textile and construction sectors.

The ambassador said the railway to be built from Awash to Woldiya by the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi will create more than 10,000 jobs.

Other Turkish companies are also keen to invest in Ethiopia, according to the ambassador.

He said huge human resources of the country, peace and stability, conducive policy and broad market alternatives are the factors that have contributed to the increasing number of investors.

In addition to the sectors they are engaged in, the investors have the desire to invest in power generation, food processing and the manufacturing sector, the priority areas of the government, Ambassador Yavuzalp stated.

He further indicated that the investors who have created over 50,000 jobs for more Ethiopians are also playing significant role in transfer of skill and technology.

The ambassador recalled the vivid role the current Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome played in making Ethiopia the investment destination of Turkish businesspersons.

According to the ambassador, the trade exchange between the two countries has jumped over 400 million USD.

Ethiopia imports machinery, metals, plastic products, drugs and factory products while exporting oilseeds, fruits and vegetables, cereals and textile.

The two countries would work together in climate change, fighting terrorism and other international issues, Ambassador Yavuzalp said.



US agriculture giant Dow AgroSciences to grow Africa footprint



US crop protection products and technology manufacturer Dow AgroSciences is expanding its presence in Africa to tap into the continent’s potential in agriculture. Dow previously operated in a handful of African countries through distributors, but is now hiring local teams and launching in markets it lacked a presence.

Dow AgroSciences produces a wide range of products for crop protection, pest control, vegetation management and crop-enhancing traits. The company has operations globally and made sales of US$7.1bn last year.

Jean Francois Rolland, portfolio manager for Africa at Dow AgroSciences, says the company is making “a very substantial increase of resources” in high growth potential countries such as Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya and Tanzania.

“This is an important market for us because, as opposed to European markets which are mature, the African markets are still developing and there are opportunities for further growth.”

Improving yields, quality

He adds: “We look at Africa as a place where there are lots of crops for which the yields and quality can be improved. Farmers need sophisticated ways to tackle insect control. So we will invest more because we see agriculture as a driver in their economies.”

Dow AgroSciences is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American multinational corporation Dow Chemical Company. In Africa it sells herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides for crops like barley, wheat, rice, cereals, vegetables, beans, rose flowers and pineapples.

“We see the Southern and East Africa regions as very interesting developing markets. The West Africa market is a little bit complex because of political instability in some countries. For instance, Nigeria has a problematic political stability, but it is still a big country and lots of people who all need food. We have no direct presence there yet, but are considering it,” explains Rolland.

“We need to step up food production and one place in the world where there is great potential to do just that is Africa. This is where we can get real growth. We have to use existing farmland and intensify production. And to do so we need better technologies that are sustainable,” says Johan Janse van Rensburg, a marketing specialist at Dow.

A new strategy

Janse van Rensburg explains that Dow’s new strategy in Africa aims at increasing its understanding of farming needs by hiring local teams and handling management within the continent. Previously the East African region was managed from France, but now all English-speaking countries in Africa are managed in Africa.

“Local people have a better understanding of the markets here and some of the conditions needed to make things work, such as providing smaller packaging.”

And Rolland adds the best way for international companies to do business in Africa is having a local presence.

“Without that, you cannot understand the local markets, the needs, the limitations and the potential.”

Some of the challenges Dow has faced in Africa include ensuring its products are affordable and, importantly, they are available in the right packaging.

“Other challenges include foreign currency availability. Payment credit terms are also often a difficult subject. Sometimes farmers and distributors may have the need to buy your products but don’t have the means to pay. So we also have the job of arranging the credit side to make sure that they have access to finances,” says Rolland.



Kuwait to support nation’s development, science and technology



Kuwait has pledged to support ongoing development, science and technology projects in Ethiopia while further upholding the spirit of brotherhood between Arab and Ethiopian peoples.

Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Ethiopia and the Permanent Representative to the African Union Rashed Al-Hajri told journalists yesterday that Kuwait pledged to advance the African-Arab cooperation in all fields and build on what has been accomplished thus far.

The Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received an award by African Union marking in recognition of his great efforts for international humanitarian work, he added.

Ambassador Rashed also said that the initiative issues related to development, investment, food security, trade exchange, and civil society organizations themes allocating 4.5 billion USD for international and 2.5 billion USD for African fund.

Arab and African national and regional financial institutions are encouraged to continue supporting socioeconomic development including achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and beyond, especially financing relevant projects in sectors such as agriculture, education, health, energy, drinking water and other social services, he added.
Recalling the diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Kuwait since 1997, the Ambassador expressed keen interest of Kuwaiti businesspersons to invest in Ethiopia. Embassies of the two countries have contributed to the flourishing bilateral relations.

he two countries share traditional, cultural, historical and cultural relations between values that still prevail and the exchange of visits has resulted in signing of a number of agreements, the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Commission to provide for a follow-up mechanism and for implementation of agreements.

According to Ambassador Rashed, Kuwait government is committed to strengthen cooperation between Africa and the Arab Region on the basis of a strategic partnership that endeavors to maintain justice, international peace and security.



Soap, soap noodle factories to be built


Soap, soap noodle factories to be built


Construction of two soap and soap noodle, an input for soap production, manufacturing factories will be launched soon, the Chemical and Construction Inputs Industry Development Institute said.

The two factories, Repi Wilmar and Allied Chemical, are going to be built in Sebeta and Adama both in Oromia regional state.

The Repi Wilmar factory whose construction is expected to consume 2 billion Birr will produce soap noodle and soap from byproducts of a vegetable oil refinery to be constructed there.

“Soap noodle and soap will be produced from the byproducts of the vegetable oil. The factory creates opportunity to process agricultural products and use them as raw material. This makes the factory unique.” said Anteneh Birhanu, a researcher at the Institute.

Upon going operational in 2009 E.C., the factory will help substitute the soap noodle the country has been importing.

The factory to be built in joint venture by Repi Soap and Detergent Company and Wilmar International, a Singaporean company, will export half of its product to international market.

Repi Soap and Detergent company General-Manager, Birhanu Lema, said the new factory will increase its production capacity to 120,000 tons from the current 20,000 tons per annum.

This will enable the factory to meet the local demand for noodle and export it to Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan and other neighboring countries.

Similarly, the soap factory to be built in Adama town with 36 million Birr by Allied Chemical will produce 7,500 metric tons of soap ingredients.

Upon completion in 2008 E.C., the factory will help substitute 90 percent of soap ingredients the country has been importing.

The two factories are expected to create jobs for more than 2,000 people.



Ethiopia banks on seeds to boost food security


Ethiopia banks on seeds to boost food security


Ethiopia has introduced a program to improve food security that combines scientific knowledge with local know how, as new community-based seed banks and training centers try to help farmers meet their basic needs and increase agricultural output. Joel Flynn reports.

For many Ethiopia is still associated with its deadly famine of the 1980s that killed more than 400,000 people.

But now the country is one of the top performing economies in Africa, and looking to innovation to help it contribute to Africa’s growing status as a food provider.

Research coordinators like Habte Mida are helping train farmers there.

“We give them training how to produce for example this is a hybrid seed and it requires some precaution, so we give trainings to them,” says Habte, who is currently in charge of coordinating National Wheat and Sorghum Research.

“Basically, the things we provide to this private seed companies is training, enhancing their capacity to produce seeds and also initial seeds.”

The country has introduced a programme to improve food security that combines scientific knowledge and local know-how.

New community-based seed bank and training centres are trying to help farmers meet their basic needs and increase overall agricultural output.

Crops like Sorghum are being grown for grain as the whole continent makes a concerted effort to focus on food production.

Nigeria’s minister of agriculture, Akinwumi Adesinia, said the era of importing food in Africa must end.

“65 percent of all the available arable land that will feed 9 billion people in our world by 2015, it is not in Latin America, it is not in Asia, it is not in Europe. It lies right here in Africa,” Dr. Adesina told Reuters.

In Ethiopia’s Oromia State much faith is being put in small scale farming. That’s according to Dr. George Bigirwa, Associate Director of Programme for African Seed System (PASS).

“It is this small seed companies or local seed companies who are interested in producing seed or other varities which the multinationals don’t touch,” Dr. Bigirwa said.

In less than a decade Ethiopia has emerged from a famine-ravaged economy to become the fifth largest in Africa.

There’s hope here that this could just be the seed of a brighter future for the whole continent.



House of Federation signs agreement with Canadian Senate


House of Federation signs agreement with Canadian Senate

Federation House Speaker, Kassa Tekleberhan, has penned bilateral agreement with the Canadian Senate during his visit to Canada.

According to the Office of the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Speaker has conferred with spokesperson of the Canadian Senate, Noel Kinsella, and has agreed to cooperate on education and cultural as well as local and international issues.

Meanwhile, Kassa Teklebrhan met members of the Canadian parliament and talked about the possible cooperation between the legislative councils of the two countries.

Similarly, discussions have been made with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

Kassa also took time to exchange notes with officials of Carlton University in Otawa to boost cooperation with higher education institutions of Ethiopia.



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