Woldia-Hara Gebeya-Mekele Railway Project commences
Various dignitaries including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President of Somalia and other high ranking Federal and Regional officials are taking part in the event.
The Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) and China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) signed a deal last year, worth 1.5 billion USD to conduct the project. The railway is 260 km long and will connect Mekele with Woldia and Hara Gebya.
The route is particularly important in transporting goods and people to the new port of Tadurah in Djibouti which is under construction. It is also expected to play a major role through its access to currently under development potash mines in that part of Ethiopia.
CCCC has successfully accomplished more than 20 projects all over Ethiopia since 1998. It is believed that the company will mobilize all the necessary resources to guarantee the timely completion of the project despite the challenges the difficult terrain may pose.
Ethiopian Electric Power Completes 2.1 Billion Birr Project
EEP External Public Relations Director, Miskir Negash, stated that the construction of the 674kms Melkawakena-Ramo-Gode-Harar Fike transmission line is finalized.
The transmission line has the capacity to carry 230 and 132 KWs.
The transmission line will ensure power delivery to places in Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, and Somali regional states as well as Harari town and environs, according to Miskir.
Alongside the transmission lines, the construction of new power distribution stations and expansion have also been completed.
Accordingly, new distributions stations were completed in Raytu and Gode, while the station at Melkawakena was upgraded.
Similarly, distribution stations were built in Shakiso and Finoteselam towns, it was learned.
The total work reportedly cost 2.1 billion birr and 82.5 percent of the amount was obtained from the Egyptian Elsewedy company.The remaining sum was covered by the government of Ethiopia.
The project, which commenced in 2009, was fully executed by Ethiopians.
AORA Solar’s Ethiopia Pilot Project Takes Step Forward
Members of the team pose in front of the Tulip. From Left to right: Yenehiwot Mesfin (AORA Project Services Consultant), Tafesse Asrat Abera (Adama Science and Technology University), Getahun Moges Kifle(Director General, Ethiopian Energy Authority), Zev Rosenzweig (President and CEO, AORA Solar), Miheret Debebe (Senior Adviser to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy), Gosaye Mengistie Abayneh (Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy), J. Barry Kulick (Senior Vice President – Africa, AORA Solar) Rob Sinclair (AORA Consultant, Nottawasaga Institute), Mintesnot Gizaw Terefe (Addis Ababa Science and Technology University).
Washington DC – AORA Solar has announced the visit of a delegation comprised of officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, the Ethiopian Energy Authority as well as academics from Ethiopian universities. The visit provided Ethiopian officials the opportunity to learn more about the technology and the added value the innovation can bring to both Ethiopia’s academic institutions and to rural locations where AORA’s Tulip system is well-suited to operate.
“This project is about more than electricity – it is about solar energy collaboration,” said Mintesnot Gizaw Terefe, Associate Dean and Lecturer for the school of Energy Resource and Environmental Engineering at Addis Ababa University of Science and Technology.
“Universities in developing countries have a mandate to serve local communities through researching and adapting technologies to address local problems. The Tulip is one such promising technology capable of doing so.”
The visit comes on the heels of a partnership announcement between AORA Solar and the Ethiopian Government to pilot two AORA solar-hybrid systems at Addis Ababa University of Science and Technology and Adama Science and Technology University.
Tafesse Asrat Abera, an AISE Expert in Power Electronics and Off-Grid Photo Voltaic Systems at Adama Science and Technology University noted, “The Tulip encompasses a multi-disciplinary approach and therefore allows for numerous opportunities for student engagement. This involvement of the university in project development adds another dimension – process learning.”
“Collaboration with local institutions is exactly what we are aiming for in making the Tulip accessible to developing nations,” said Zev Rosenzweig, CEO of AORA Solar.
“This activity complements our goal of creating opportunities for sustainable development.”
The delegation was afforded an opportunity to view the solar receiver and turbine at the top of the AORA Tulip tower, the heliostats on the ground, and the sophisticated control system. As a result of the visit, the Ethiopians will now have a sharper understanding of how this innovative technology functions, and they will be in a better position to prepare for project implementation, including a feasibility study that is scheduled to begin in a few weeks.
The initiative compliments AORA’s partnership with Arizona State University where installation of a Tulip is now underway. Discussions have started on possibilities of linking renewable energy research between the universities.
Government Financial Enterprises hit 6.28 billion Birr profit
Compared to last year’s same period, 11.74 per cent increment has been registered.
The Agency added that the three banks have generated over 3.09 billion USD contributing a lot for the foreign currency reserve of the country showing a 3.15 per cent increment.
During the stated period, the four financial enterprises have loaned 19.12 billion Birr to clients. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Development Bank of Ethiopia have given 15.30 and 3.13 billion Birr loans respectively during the six months of the reported period.
In a press conference aimed at presenting the Agency’s six months performance report held at the Agency Head Office yesterday, Agency Director General Dr. Sintayehu Wolde-Michael said that the four financial institutions have registered 312.23 billion Birr total asset. Compared to last year’s similar period, the assets have shown 22.15 per cent increments.
Dr. Sintayehu said the enterprises capital including the reserve has increased to 18.32 billion Birr. It performed 88.7 per cent of its plan. Compared to last year’s similar period, it has shown 13.86 per cent increment.
The Director General further said that the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has registered 5.44 billion Birr profit in the last six months of the 2007 EC. Compared to other banks, it accounts 84.35 per cent of three financial enterprises total asset. Its deposit has also reached 260.47 billion Birr. Currently the bank has opened 909 branches all over the country.
Dr. Sintayehu said that the Development Bank of Ethiopia has made 599.42 million Birr profit during over the last six month.
Construction and Business Bank has also earned 21.29 million Birr profit. It has accomplished 23.47 per cent of its plan. Presently, its branches have reached 116 in the country.
The Ethiopian Insurance Corporation has also collected 215.86 million Birr in the last six month of 2007 E.C, he said.
Sudan keen to enhance cooperation with Ethiopia: President al-Bashir
Addis Ababa, 19 February 2015 – President Omer Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan reiterated on Wednesday (February 18) that Sudan was keen to lift existing bilateral relations, and most importantly its economic ties with Ethiopia, to a higher level.
Speaking at the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Mekelle, capital of Tigray Regional State, President Omer al-Bashir said “Our keenness to participate in this anniversary, as in any other events in Ethiopia, is confirmation of the particular relationship between Ethiopia and Sudan.”
The President emphasized that Sudan was ready to enhance and diversify relations within the framework of the shared strategic vision of the two friendly countries.
He said the Sudan was ready to turn the shared borders of Ethiopia and Sudan into an epicenter for comprehensive economic integration.
Both countries are engaged in numerous joint projects aimed to provide cross-border links with roads and railways as well as creating a free zone area along the border to facilitate movement of people and commodities and boost trade.
The celebrations were attended by Ethiopia’s President Dr. Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as well as President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, Prime Minister Kamil Abdelkadir Mohamed of Djibouti, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda, and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Also present were representatives of the European Union, US, China and South Korea.
PM Lays Cornerstone for Bangladeshi Factory to be Built with 200 Million USD
Mekele February 19, 2015 – The government would give special attention to industrial parks that have been constructed in the country as they have immense contribution to industrial development, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said.
The PM laid a cornerstone today at Quiha, Tigray, for a garments and textile factory to be built with an outlay of 200 million USD by the Bangladeshi Dulal Brothers Company.
Industrial parks have been built in all states because they play huge role for the integrated effort of the government to transform the economy from agriculture-led to an industrial one, Hailemariam stated.
The premier appreciated Dulal Brothers Company for seizing the favorable investment environment in the country and pledged that federal and regional governments would provide all the necessary support for the company.
Dulal Brothers Managing Director, Abdul Jabbar, said on his part the company would contribute to Ethiopia’s agro-processing and manufacturing sector development.
Upon its completion after a year, the factory would create jobs for 5000 people, Jabbar added.
Dulal Brothers operates in 20 countries, it was learned.
New Mobile Money Service Launched in Ethiopia
VENTURES AFRICA – A threefold partnership between Lion International Bank, Somali Micro Finance and Ethiopia-based BelCash Technology Solution PLC has birthed the official pilot of the HelloCash mobile money services in Ethiopia.
The mobile money platform will provide financial services to all Ethiopians, enabling existing and potential customers of Lion International Bank and Somali Micro Finance to execute key financial transactions spanning deposits, withdrawals, money transfers and payments. The pilot deployment of the service is underway in three selected parts of the country with locations that contain a desired mix of agent outlets and branches.
A unique competitive advantage for the HelloCash mobile money services, which differentiates it from most other mobile money services, is its deliberate design that accommodates interoperability and shared infrastructure features. Indeed, the system is designed so that multiple banks and other Monetary Financial Institutions (MFI) can be interconnected and offer the mobile money service to their respective customers. This way, the partnering financial institutions are able to share each other’s agents and branch networks in order to serve each other’s customers in a cost effective manner.
This arrangements creates a win-win scenario for all stakeholders involved as customers of any partnering bank will be able to approach any agent or branch in order to conduct financial transactions regardless of which particular bank the customers belongs too, this translates into added convenience for the customer. Also, the sharing of agent networks allows partnering banks to optimize their investment as well as increase nation-wide service coverage.
With this unique configuration, the partnering financial institutions believe they will establish a formidable network of upwards of 20,000 agents across the length and breadth of Ethiopia within the next 3 years. The ripple effect will cascade all over the country and start a sure trend that will end in a higher financial inclusion index especially at the grassroots.
Mobile Money continues to spread across Africa as an alternative to traditional banking which is usually impeded by gaps in infrastructure and financial inclusion. The Harvard Business Review reports; “While U.S. consumers are just being introduced to Apple Pay, mobile money services like MPesa and MTN Money have been flourishing in African markets. More people have mobile money accounts than bank accounts in at least nine African countries, up from four in 2012. And the continent as a whole leads the world in the adoption of financial services on the mobile platform.”
soleRebels also dubbed as the Nike of Africa is the first African brand of shoes to be acknowledged internationally. This year the leather company launched the Republic of Leather luxury footwear line.
Although soleRebels shoes are widely acknowledged throughout Africa, they are mainly made and manufactured in Ethiopia. The unmistakable handicraft and passion of creative artisans from the African country is clearly spelt out in each pair of shoes. soleRebels is world renowned as it’s the first African footwear brand to be recognized by the World Fair Trade Federation (WFTO) as a Fair Trade certified footwear company.
soleRebels is the brain child of Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu who started the company in 2005. The fresh college graduate formed the company after realizing that her home country Ethiopia had many charity brands but none of their own.
The company not only provides fashionable footwear, it has also provided employment to several Ethiopians and educated the community as a whole. The quality leather that is used for the shoes is carefully selected in Ethiopia and crafted by this team. The brand employs the use of e-commerce to ensure that it spreads not only in its home country but also worldwide.
The Republic of Leather aims to deliver the best quality luxury leather shoes for both men and women which will be delivered to the consumer after only 21 days once you’ve ordered.
The proprietor of soleRebels and Republic of Leather, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has been able to employ over 600 creative Ethiopian artisans who make approximately 70,000 pairs of shoes daily. The brand has exported to over 45 countries. For her efforts Bethlehem has been recognized by many establishments which include The African Business Awards which named her Outstanding African Business Woman in 2011, last year the UN named her as a Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship, CNN also named her as a top 12 female entrepreneur in 2014, in 2013 The Guardian readers chose her as one of Africa’s Top Women Achievers among many others.
First Modern Denim Factory in East Africa Begins Trial Production in Ethiopia
Kanoria African Textiles Spinning Manager, Dina Karen, said the factory built in Bishoftu has started trial production.
The manager said the factory is the first of its kind in East Africa in terms of using modern technologies and producing fashionable jeans.
The factory fully owned by Indians is being built with over 43 million USD, the manager said, adding that the construction of the factory that began a year ago has started its trail production with 70 workers. It plans to increase the workers to 350 on going operational.
The favorable investment atmosphere in Ethiopia and the wide market have encouraged the owners to invest in the country, Karen stated, adding that expansion would be carried out next.
Senior Industrial Engineer and Representative of the Ethiopian Textile Development Institute that supporte the factory, Teklay Gebre-Egziabher said the factory will have huge contribution in boosting the foreign currency of the country and popularizing its national brand.
The factory has the capacity to produce 12 million meters of denim annually, he added.
Another factory that produces inputs for this one will be built soon around the capital city, and the produces will be mainly exported, according to Teklay.
There are more than 130 big and medium textile factories in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia generated a total of $114 million from flower exports during the first six months of its fiscal year, says the Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA).
From the total revenue, $90 million was secured from the export of 289 million flower cuttings and over 20,000 tons of roses and summer flowers in the fiscal year, beginning July 2014.
EHDA also said close to 77,000 tons of vegetables, fruits and herbs were exported in the same period, generating $23 million.
The first half of the current budget year performance has registered a 7.2 per cent increase as compared to the same period last year.
Total revenue from horticulture exports in the 2013 and 2014 fiscal year was $106.15 million.
As in previous years, the Netherlands is the top export destination for Ethiopian flowers, accounting for 80 per cent of the country’s total flower exports.
Other markets include Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France, Italy, Japan and the US.
According to the agency, countries such as UAE, Somalia, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were the major importers of Ethiopian fruits and vegetables.
Flower plantations cover up to 13,000 hectares, while horticulture farming is on the rise.
This has created a significant export and earnings growth, the agency said.
The country, the fifth leading flower exporter in the world, earned over $245 million from horticultural exports in the last fiscal year ending July 7, 2014 – which exceeded revenue generated in the previous budget year by more than 6 per cent and earned $230.5 million.
Alecto to look for new partner in Ethiopia as Centamin withdraws
February 18 2015 –
As a result, Centamin’s rights in the Wayu Boda and Aysid Metekel licences will revert to Alecto, which will now assume ongoing commitments at the two tenements.
Alecto added it was still confident of the prospectivity of the licences and would look for a new partner.
Results from Centamin’s 2014 drilling programme, which included 25 diamond drills holes at Wayu Boda, and the analysis of surface work carried out during the year will be handed to Alecto when complete.
Alecto’s flagship project is Kossanto in Mali, with the Ethiopian licences at a much earlier stage of exploration.
It is also owns the Kerboulé Project in northern Burkina Faso.
Ethiopian to launch Manila services
Ethiopian Airlines will open up new service to Manila at the end of June. It will fly a one-stop route via Bangkok, Thailand using Boeing 787-8s, and follows the airline’s other new Asian route from Addis Ababa to Tokyo in April.
Ethiopian plans 3X-weekly flights, on the back of a recently signed Philippines-Ethiopia ASA agreement.
The Philippines Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said the new routes are part of a drive to open new connections between the Philippines and the Middle East/Africa, and that the service will offer new transit options for Filipinos traveling to both regions.
“These flights offer opportunities for the enhancement of our air connectivity and the development of our aviation network, especially [in] the emerging markets and growth areas in Africa,” said Philippines Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla.
National target to improve crop production attainable
Addis Ababa February 19, 2015 – The Ministry of Agriculture said the target set regarding improving crop production will be attained. The nation targets to harvest 267 million quintals yield this year.
Ethiopia has been working to improve crop production productivity thereby ensure food security, State Minister of Agriculture, Wondirad Mandefro told ENA.
Improving the agriculture sector, which contributes about 47 percent of the country’s GDP is among the priority agendas of the government in the first five-year growth and transformation plan period. The sector helps the country to register fast economic growth over the past decade.
Increasing knowledge of small holder farmers about modern agricultural technologies and provision of professional supervision by extension workers have been carrying out during the past four years to improve production and productivity, he added.
Producing and disseminating modern agricultural technologies, improve utilization by farmers of inputs such as select seed and fertilizers as well as row cultivation are among the activities the government has been engaged.
Because of these efforts production of major food crops has been growing every year. Production of major food crops increased between 2010/11 and 2013/14 by over 48 million quintals.
Since this is the last year for the five-year growth and transformation plan period, the nation is expected to achieve the target set regarding production of major food crops, harvesting 267 million quintals yield.
Pre-harvest assessments indicate that the nation could harvest more than the target, 268 million quintals output, a one million quintals surplus, if it is successful.
Utilization of modern technologies has also helped to increase amount of major food crops harvested per hectare. Farmers are now harvesting 21 quintals output per hectare from 17 quintals in 2010.
Increasing utilization of improved technologies such as fertilizers, select seed, farming tools and water combined with the effort of agricultural extension workers helped to attain the target, he said.
Some years ago, there was a resistance from farmers to try new technologies, but because of concerted activities most of the farmers are desperate to utilize modern agricultural technologies, he said.
Utilization of improved seed and fertilizers as well as row cultivation were among the activities which were not accepted by the farmers.
Grouping farmers in teams consisting five members enables agriculture extension workers supervise the farmers on utilization of technologies, he said.
These groups and supervision of extension workers helped to change attitude of farmers regarding agricultural technologies, Wendirad said.
He expressed believe that productivity will be further improved in the years ahead, since the efforts being exerted towards it will continue strengthened.
The arrival of the meher harvest improves food security in Ethiopia
In SNNPR, admissions of severely malnourished children (SAM) to Therapeutic Feeding Programs (TFP) decreased by 12.6 per cent from 4,091 admissions in November to 3,660 admissions in December (over 93 per cent reporting in both months). TFP admissions in SNNPR have been gradually declining since October 2014. The December 2014 admissions were 25 per cent lower than the admissions during the same time in 2013, and were the lowest when compared to admission rates in the past four years.
Similarly, the admission rates of SAM cases to TFP sites decreased by 28.3 per cent in Oromia, from 13,386 admissions in November to 9,601 admissions in December 2014 (over 87 per cent reporting in both months). However, the December 2014 caseload was 28.5 per cent higher compared to the same time the previous year and the highest compared to the admissions in the past four years.
However in Amhara, TFP admissions in December were 9.7 higher than November admissions, but 15.3 per cent lower when compared to the same time in 2013. The nutritional situation is particularly concerning in woredas that received poor kiremt rains in North Gonder and Waghimra zones. As per the request of the Amhara regional early warning bureau, DRMFSS’ Emergency Nutrition Coordination Unit’s (ENCU) is mobilizing partners to strengthen emergency nutrition responses in both zones, and the situation is being closely monitored. The December number of people admitted to TFP sites was inconclusive in Afar, Somali and Tigray regions due to low reporting rates.
The Regional Emergency Nutrition Coordination Units (RENCU) and nutrition partners finalized 21 bi-annual nutrition surveys in Afar, Amhara, Oromia, SNNP, Somali and Tigray regions. ENCU conducted quality assurance and cleared 18 of the 21 surveys. The GAM prevalence ranged from 4.9 in Halaba special woreda of SNNPR to 11.7 in Sekota Zuria woreda of Amhara region. The SAM prevalence was below 1 per cent in 15 of the 18 surveyed areas. The crude and under-5 mortality rates were below the national and sphere standard emergency thresholds.
Government Drafts a Directive for Salt Production, Trade
Directive likely to be stiffly resisted by traditional land holders in Afar
The draft was initiated by three major reasons according to Ali Siraj, state minister for the Ministry of Trade (MoT). The first one is the shortage that the country faced by the sudden disappearance of salt in the market in 2010.
“This kind of incident should not repeat itself in the future,” Ali stated.
The second reason, he said, was that salt was used by every household every day. Thirdly, excess production and shortage had to be managed by effectively using the resources that the country has.
“The directive defines both the price and market chain of the salt produced in the country depending on the production cost and the transportation cost,” Ali told Fortune.
The country consumes 300,000ql of table salt and 30,000ql to 40,000ql for industrial consumption per month especially for the leather industry.
The country also spends up to 10 million dollars a year for the importation of chemicals, such as chlorine, which could have been extracted from the salt extracted domestically, but which is not happening because of poor technology, Ali says.
It was in 2003 that the country adopted a proclamation that made iodization of salt mandatory for table salts through proclamation number 204/2003. Since then, all salt sold in the country’s market is iodized.
The draft will be further discussed by a committee organized from Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and the Ministry of Industry according to Amakel Yimam, Public relations and communication affairs office head at MoT.
According to the Ministry of Mines website, prior to the independence of Eritrea, about 200,000tns of salt was obtained from the Red Sea for human consumption.
The directive will maintain the prices that have been set in 2012 by the Ministry of Trade. Accordingly, the price at the production site 160 Br, and then sold to wholesalers for 200Br to 300 Br.
“The price does not require to be adjusted frequently as the product does not have direct relationship to the international market unless there is an increase in the price of fuel, which is used in the extraction process for water pumps and generators,” Ali said.
But the salt trading in the country is said to be problematic starting from acquiring land for the production to the delivery of the salt to the local markets. The majority of the Ethiopian salt comes from Afar region, where two of the production sites are located- Dobi and Afdera. The other place is Somalia where only an insignificant amount is extracted.
The Ministry has made a study in the previous year and decided to prepare the directive in order to have solutions for those problems observed. But an anonymous official in the Ministry does not have hope in the effectiveness of the directive.
“The directive is being prepared only for formality; it will never see the light of day as the administration in Afar are warning the government to pull its hands off the salt trading system,” he said.
A salt trader at Afdera says that production is much higher than the demand, but it could not be exported because it is not feasible.