23 October 2014 News Briefs


Tripartite Free Trade Area within Sight



COMESA is in the final stages of preparations for the Tripartite Summit, which is scheduled to take place on 19 – 20 December 2014. The summit is expected to launch the COMESA -EAC- SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) thus heralding the culmination of intense negotiations that have been going on for the last six years.

The negotiations on the technical frameworks for the establishment of a mega free trade area will bring together the 26 Member States in one market.

The launch of a regional free trade area has remained a moving target since 2011 when the Summit adopted the tripartite agreement. According to the road map approved by the Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government in June 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Tripartite FTA should have been launched in June 2014. However, this deadline was missed owing to several factors key among them lack of funding after Trademark Southern Africa, which had been financially supporting these negotiations, closed down.

The other major sticking points that have slowed down the implementation of the TFTA were lack of agreements on substantive issues. These include negotiations on the rules of origin, trade remedies and dispute settlement, customs co-operation, documentation procedures and transit instruments.

In June this year COMESA assumed the chairmanship of the tripartite and with it came new energy to deliver the TFTA before the year ends. A flurry of meetings have since taken place between the Three Technical Working Groups with the objective of finalizing the outstanding work before the launch of Tripartite FTA Agreement on trade in goods.

The launch of the tripartite in December will no doubt bring tremendous benefits for the 600 million people in the tripartite region, through the removal of inconsistencies and costs in regional integration brought about by overlapping memberships especially in the area of trade policy and trade facilitation.



Leading African Infrastructure firm Black Rhino to meet with international stakeholders at Powering Africa: Ethiopia 2014


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 23, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Founder and CEO of Black Rhino Brian Herlihy will attend and speak at the 3rd annual investment meeting Powering Africa: Ethiopia, taking place from 20-21st November in Addis Ababa (http://www.poweringafrica-ethiopia.com).

Black Rhino is comprised of finance and development experts including Managing Director Mimi Alemayehou, previously the Vice President of OPIC. Following the company’s recent merger with global asset management firm Blackstone, which looks at long-term investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Blackstone-Black Rhino partnership is setting out to undertake transformational projects in Africa’s power and infrastructure sectors necessary to maintain significant economic growth.

Brian Herlihy and his team will shed light on their investment prospects in power generation projects and best practice on procurement delivery in the region. Herlihy will also speak about the company’s current involvement in Djibouti.

Black Rhino are amongst the industry leaders joining global players such as USAID, Reykjavic Geothermal, OPIC, Development Bank of Southern Africa and Goldwind International Holdings alongside H.E. Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water Irrigation & Energy, H.E. Dawano Kedir, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopian Utility, investors and financiers bringing capacity building in the region’s renewable energy sector.

The Powering Africa: Ethiopia meeting is the annual platform for European financiers and developers to connect with Ethiopia’s government and energy ministries to build capacity in the region’s renewable energy sector.

The meeting welcomes the participation of international stakeholders looking to harness the vast renewable energy resources and advance power generation in Ethiopia.



Multinationals Keen On Ethiopia’s Textile Industry



VENTURES AFRICA – Multinational textile companies are increasingly pitching their tent in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation. This week, BDL Group, a Bangladeshi company announced a $30 million (765 Million Birr) investment, which will go into the construction of a textile and garment factory in Mekele City, Ethiopia.

The factory will be built on 68 hectares of land received from the Mekele City Administration and will employ at least 3,000 locals.

According to reports, construction will commence by December and production will be delayed till the last quarter of 2015.

BDH’s investment comes barely a month after Chinese textile company, Jiangsu Lianfa Textile Co. Ltd revealed its plan to build a $500 million textile factory in the East African country after making similar pre-investment assessments in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Jiangsu Lianfa Textile Co. is a leading textile company with extensive operations in various countries in where it sells woven fabric, apparel and textile. Its plant, which will be situated in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, is expected to create at least 20,000 jobs when operational, inside sources have revealed.

Mekele believes that the growing influx of investment in Ethiopia’s textile business will enhance the country’s efforts to improve local companies engaged in the manufacturing sector.

While The Economist projects an annual growth of 7 to 8 percent through 2016 for the country, Ethiopia’s Government Growth and Transformation plan places growth rates of at least 11.2 percent per annum during a decade long period it set to achieve a middle-income status.

One of the important sectors it hopes will play a primary role in achieving this status is the manufacturing industry, for which textile is grouped into.

According to Thomas Ballweg, a procurement and technical consultant at GermanFashion; Ethiopia offers a number of advantages that could make it play a major role in the textile/fashion business.

“On the one hand are the lower costs – much lower than in China – with 80 million people living there. And, it’s near the sea – and quick to get to Europe via the Suez Canal,” Ballweg said in a media report.

Ethiopian textiles are mostly exported to China, Italy, Germany, Turkey, China, Italy and the US. Last year, Ethiopia made $111.45 million from exporting textile.



Textile Machinery Manufacturers from Germany Visited Ethiopia


70 Textile machinery and accessory manufacturers from German paid visit to Ethiopia for four days.

The event was organized by SBS Systems for Business Solutions and Agathon Consulting. The initiation to organize the event was, on the other hand, done by a textile machinery association, VDMA German Engineering Federation.

Among the 70 German companies that came to Ethiopia some are; Groz-Becket KG, Fong’s Europr GMBH, Interspare GMBH, Jakob Muller AG and zHeusch GMBH & co KG.

Ethiopia’s textile export during 2014 reached U.S. $ 120 Million and the plan is to get this figure to U.S. $ 500 Million by 2016.

According to Fortune, the participants were machinery and accessory producers for spinning, knitting, weaving, hosiery, braiding, dyeing and sewing.



Ethiopia to host eLearning Africa 2015

Ethiopia to host eLearning Africa 2015

Ethiopia will host this year’s eLearning Africa which is also the tenth anniversary edition and which will be held under the patronage of the Ethiopian government.

The conference, which is the largest international event in Africa on ICT for education, training and development, will be held in Addis Ababa from May 20th – 22nd, under the patronage of the Ethiopian Government.

Speaking of Ethiopia’s decision to host the event, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Dr Debretsion Gebremichael said, “My government is pleased to host eLearning Africa as this is a conference returning to Ethiopia, where my government joined arms with ICWE in conceiving and launching the first eLearning Africa platform on African soil.”

“ eLearning Africa 2015 will create an opportunity to reflect on the 10 year  journey traversed by eLearning Africa since its first conference in Addis Ababa. Furthermore, Ethiopia, as the seat of the African Union, welcomes conferences that bring together African policy makers and experts once more back to their home,” he added.

Rebecca Stromeyer CEO of ICWE GmbH and Founder of eLearning Africa said: “During its ten-year history, the conference has led to an explosion of new ideas, new projects, new agreements and new partnerships. It has brought the leading experts on learning, development and technology to take part in our discussions and it has shown the world the ambition and wisdom of Africa.  It has created a new understanding of what Africans can achieve and a belief that, working together, sharing our knowledge, making the most of the great opportunity that education and technology offer us, we will change the world.

I am delighted to be able to tell you that, after 10 years ‘on the road’ around Africa – in Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, Senegal, Benin, Namibia and Uganda, we are returning to Ethiopia.”

Ms Stromeyer also launched an international ‘Call for Proposals’ for the conference, which offers an opportunity to anyone working in education, development and technology to showcase their outstanding projects and sustainable initiatives. eLearning Africa invites potential speakers from across the Continent and the world to submit their ideas, innovations and research, under the main theme of “EnrichingTomorrow”.

eLearning Africa 2015 is expected to address topics including innovative funding strategies, citizen empowerment, ICT4E in critical industries and open knowledge, as well as to highlight the very best of African innovation.



Could This Ethiopian Grain Be the New Quinoa?


– Tiny teff packs a nutritional punch and thrives in dry climates.

October 23, 2014

Josh Scherer is an editorial intern at TakePart. He has written for Epicurious and Thrillist and once ate at three Guy Fieri restaurants in one night. He is a fifth-year, zero-time all-American at UCLA.

It’s drought resistant, easy to both harvest and cook, and easier to spell than freekeh and quinoa. Meet teff, the diminutive ancient grain that’s been feeding Ethiopia for 5,000 years—and might soon be coming to a store near you.

Before the first teff was sown on U.S. soil, it was already known for helping to drag Ethiopia out of the 1983 famine, which ravaged the war-torn nation for three years.

Subsistence farming became a necessity for rural families in the wake of the crisis, which would kill an estimated 400,000 people. Teff’s high nutrient density—it contains 26 grams of protein per cup—and high yields made it a staple crop during scarce times.

“There was nothing to eat. There was not any food even to see,” one farmer recalls in this Perennial Plate video, which shows the family harvesting teff, separating the tiny grain from the dry chaff. “To prevent it from happening again, we must work hard and take care.”

Some American farmers are taking note of the ancient grain’s resilience and believe it can be a useful tool in mitigating the effects of drought on livestock.

At New Mexico State University’s Agriculture Experimental Station, cows and horses are fed a rotating diet of alfalfa and teff, cutting the facility’s water usage by 25 percent, according to a press release from the school.

It is also being grown as a consumer crop by The Teff Company in Idaho’s Snake River Valley. The long summers, intense heat spells, and basaltic soil mimic the climate and geology of East Africa, says owner and teff evangelist Wayne Carlson.

The Ethiopian government prohibits the export of any raw teff product, so the demand for its domestic cultivation is on the rise. That means that any teff boom wouldn’t come with the attendant problems of quinoa’s popularity, as it won’t be shipped from a poor nation half a world away either.

Source (with video) here  http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/10/23/teff-farming


Health partners applaud Ethiopia’s MDGs achievement


Ethiopia’s health development partners commended the country’s progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Growth and Transformation Plan targets at the closing of the 16th Annual Review Meeting (ARM) of the Health Sector Development Program in Dire Dawa Sunday.

“The achievements are due to sustained national leadership and commitment, country ownership and the will to implement proven interventions at national scale in the context of partnership for change,” said Dr. Pierre M’Pele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia and co-chair of the Health, Population and Nutrition (HPN) partners’ group.

According to WHO press release, acknowledging the commitment of the women leaders of the Health Extension Program and the Health Development Army, Dr. M’Pele-Kilebou expressed the health development partners will to continue working together with the Federal Ministry of Health to bring Ethiopia across the MDG and GTP finish line to a transformed health service where everyone has access to the high quality health care they need and deserve.

On the final day of the ARM, the Federal Ministry of Health honored ten outstanding woreda (district) health offices, ten health centres and four regional health bureaus for their contributions and achievements in 2013/14.

Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister of Health, encouraged all stakeholders to continue working in the spirit of partnership and healthy competition to maintain the good progress achieved so far.

The Minister of Health and the Regional Health Bureau Heads also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the core plan and areas of focus, which will serve as a roadmap to achieve the joint targets of the upcoming year 2014/15.

According to the Ethiopian Herald, the next Annual Review Meeting of the Health Sector Development Program will be held in Oromia State in 2015.



Ethiopia: Asian Paints’ Subsidiary Bought 51 % of Kadisco Paints


Asian Paints is acquired a 51 percent share in the Ethiopian Kadisco Paints via its Singapore-based subsidiary Berger International.

Berger is said to have concluded a share purchase contract on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, and other definitive agreements along with other documents for the acquisition of the 51 percent share.

Kadisco is a paint manufacturer in Ethiopia engaged in the manufacture and sell of different decorative paints, industrial paints, automotive paints, other coatings and adhesives.

It was back in Monday, April 14, 2014, Asian Paints Limited (International), signed an agreement with Kadisco and Adhesive Industry Share Company, to acquire 51 percent of Kadisco’s share directly or indirectly through Asian’s subsidiaries.



UN Secretary-General, World Bank Group President To Visit Ethiopia



VENTURES AFRICA – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Ethiopia on Monday, October 27 2014 accompanied by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim for a 2-day official visit as part of a partnership between the two organizations aimed at supporting economic development, peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

Mr. Ban and Dr. Kim will hold joint meetings with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and heads of bilateral agencies, as well as Ambassadors representing countries in the Horn of Africa to discuss how the two organizations can promote inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the region.

The visit is also projected to advance regional cooperation and integration in the region.



Ethiopia set to earn $ 714m from minerals export


Ethiopia plans to secure 714 million US dollars from mineral export this Ethiopian fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Mines (MoM).

Public Relations Head at MoM, Bacha Faji, told WIC that the revenue will be obtained through the export of gold, opal, tantalum, marble and gemstones, among others.

There is a plan to earn 456 million birr revenue from the export of 10,500 kg of gold, 1,260 kg of opal, 10,000 kg of gemstones and 30 tones of tantalum produced by artisanal miners, Bacha said.

Export of 5,351 kg of gold, 42, 132 cubic meter marbles and 208 tons of tantalum through companies is expected to generate 258 million US dollars, he said.

Ethiopia earned 515 million of US dollars from the export of minerals last Ethiopian fiscal year, according to Bacha.



Ethiopia’s Mining Industry Worth $5 billion




VENTURES AFRICA – Evolving reports on Ethiopia’s economic opportunities suggest that the country could be sitting on a $5 billion mining sector, the full value of which can be realized by tapping into geothermal sources.

Already, according to Mines Minister Tolosa Shagi, Ethiopia had already realized more than $2.3 billion from the exports of gold, tantalum, opal, marble and other minerals over the past four years, and returns should double with more investment in the sector.

In 2013, the Ethiopian government collaborating with the World Bank commissioned a report titled “Strategic Assessment of the Ethiopian Mineral Sector,” results from which, also validated by private companies and geological surveys, states clearly that the East African country had a wide range of possibilities for the exploitation of mineral deposits.

“Exploratory activities conducted to date in limited parts of the country indicate that Ethiopia is endowed with a favourable geological environment that hosts a wide range of mineral and geo-energy potential. More than 130 companies are working in solid minerals operations and oil and gas activities in Ethiopia. However, there is still a need to develop adequate transport and accountability systems to ensure that the development and management of resources is conducted effectively,” Mr Shagi opined.

A number of deals have been struck to help the country unearth more of its resources. Earlier in the year, the African Union and private developer Reykjavik Geothermal Limited provided some $8 million to support the drilling of two wells at the Corbetti Geothermal Power Project. Also, last year, Norway agreed to a $13 million deal with Ethiopia to help the carbon neutrality programme; this was facilitated through the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund.

Ethiopia’s economy, according to the World Bank, has experienced strong and broad based growth estimated at 10.9 percent over the past decade compared to the regional average of 5.3 percent. Expansion of the services and agricultural sectors account for most of this growth, while manufacturing sector performance was relatively modest. Fully harnessing the potentials of the mining sector, therefore, makes economic sense in a broader context of boosting the country’s GDP and diversifying its economy.



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