23 February 2015 News Round-Up (UPDATED)

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EU increases assistance to Ethiopia to 1 billion Euros

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EU increases assistance to Ethiopia to 1 bln Euros Addis Ababa February 23, 2015 – Considering proper utilization of funds extended to support projects by the Ethiopian government, the European Union has decided to increase amount of financial assistance.

The EU has decided to increase the yearly 200 million Euros support to one billion Euros for the coming five years starting from this year, considering the proper utilization of assistance, Head of EU Delegation to Ethiopia, Chantal Hebberecht told ENA.

According to her, the EU has been monitoring the utilization of funds allocated for specific projects by Ethiopia and it confirmed that the funds have been spent for the intended purposes.

EU has confirmed that the support allocated for projects in natural conservation, agriculture, education and health has been spent properly, she added.

In addition to the proper utilization of funds, the nation’s effort to alleviate poverty is also another reason for EU to increase its support to Ethiopia.

She noted that Ethiopia has been undertaking successful activities regarding poverty alleviation, reducing child and maternal deaths, realize universal access to primary education, and control malaria, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Allocating 70 percent of its budget to education, infrastructure, health institutions and poverty alleviation projects, helped Ethiopia achieve the MDGs, he added.

Germany, France, UK and Italy are among the leading countries in extending development assistance to Ethiopia.

EU, among the biggest development partners of Ethiopia, is also the destination for 30 percent of Ethiopia’s coffee, leather, horticultural and floricultural exports.

UK, Sweden, Germany and Netherlands are among the leading foreign direct investment sources for the country, with more than 300 projects with a combined capital of 60 billon USD.

Twenty of the total 28 members of the EU have embassies in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/politics/item/434-eu-increases-assistance-to-ethiopia-to-1-bln-euros

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Canadian companies discuss business with Ethiopian counterparts

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Canadian companies discuss business with Ethiopian counterparts Addis Ababa February 23, 2015 –

A delegation of Canadian businesspersons led by Senator Don Meredith is discussing with Ethiopian businesspersons about business and investment opportunities and possible partnership.

Canadian companies operating in ICT, real estate, hospitality and tourism, finance and mining are attending the forum.

The Ethio- Canada business forum being held here is part of the ongoing efforts to promote business and investment opportunities in Ethiopia to Canadian companies, said Birtukan Ayano, Ethiopian Ambassador to Canada.

It is expected that the visit will give the companies the opportunity to understand the business and investment opportunities in Ethiopia.

Birtukan said Canada is among the strategic partners of Ethiopia saying “Ethiopia counts Canada as one of its key development partners, a partnership which has resulted in highly successfully poverty alleviation programs.”

Senator Meredit said that they understand that there is a conducive atmosphere for Canadian investors to open businesses in Ethiopia in various areas.

He added that labor, peace and stability, which are important for investment, are attracting Canadian companies towards Ethiopia.

“We looking to invest in ICT, Agriculture, energy, house and infrastructure as well as financing sectors here in Ethiopia,” he said.

Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia, David Usher for his part said that the Embassy has been bringing a group of business persons in the past years to promote business opportunities here in Ethiopia.

“We brought groups of Canadian companies to look and do business in Ethiopia,” the Ambassador said.

Gathering businesspersons of the two countries has importance in creating opportunity for both sides and events such as this one are critical in this regard, he added.

According to Taye Atskeselassie, American Affairs Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the relationship between the two countries is growing.

There is a smooth relationship between the two and Canadian support to Ethiopia has been consistent, the Director added.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/politics/item/433-canadian-companies-discuss-business-with-ethiopian-counterparts

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Ethiopia steams ahead with vision for a modern national rail network

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Addis Ababa, 23 February 2015  –

Ethiopia is in the race to become the first sub-Saharan country after South Africa to lay down an electrified rail network that will link 49 towns and cities.

It has already completed one of sub-Saharan Africa’s first light rail mass transit systems, in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The country-wide scheme is part of a grand experiment in nation building through infrastructure that was launched by the regime of the late Meles Zenawi and is being continued by his Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front party under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

The blueprint for Ethiopia’s modernization is contained in its five-year Growth and Development Plan. The two main elements are an increase in agricultural output to earn export revenue and to prevent a recurrence of the famines of the 1980s, and the construction of modern power and transport systems.

The goals of the infrastructure programme are to increase generating capacity fourfold to 10GW, to construct 16,000km of paved roads and to lay 2,500km of standard gauge electrified rail track – a target that was later increased to about 5,000km.

There is a good deal of interdependence among these aims: for instance, the plan to build an electrified network depends on schemes such as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to supply the necessary power.
In 2010, when the present five-year plan was launched, the stated aim was to increase freight capacity by at least five million tons. The cost of constructing the network was put at about $2.5bn over seven years. Both of the productivity and the cost have since risen dramatically.

Growing ambition

For nearly a century Ethiopia has had only one railway: a 1,000mm narrow-gauge link between Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti that was constructed by the French in the 1920s. Ethiopia is a landlocked country, so this link is the principal route by which goods come and go. However, that line relies on diesel locomotives and partly owing to its poor load bearing capacity it transports only 240,000 tons of freight a year.

In the first decade of the 20th century, the principal aim of the Ethiopian government was simply to rehabilitate this line. Although aid was forthcoming from the European Union, and operators from as far afield as Turkey, South Africa, Italy and Kuwait were hired to build the upgraded line, there was never enough money or enough commitment to make a difference.

The catalyst that allowed the expansion in vision from the upgrading of a single line to the construction of a modern national network was, inevitably, the intervention of Chinese contractors backed by Chinese money.
Back in 2010, when the plan for a national system was laid, the Ethiopian government looked for a foreign company to supply the engineering expertise to build it, holding talks with companies from India, Russia and China.
In the end, only the Chinese persisted, and the initial contract for the Addis Ababa light rail system and a new standard gauge link to Djibouti went to the China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), backed with capital from the Export and Import Bank of China. The work was later shared with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The two projects combined are expected to cost close to $2.8 billion, a sum that will be covered by the Ethiopian government and a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China.

The 780km standard gauge electrified link to Djibouti is now due to be completed in October this year. When it is, the line is expected to haul 11.2 million tons of freight in its first year of operation, rising to 24.9 million tonnes by 2025 – considerably more than the entire national capacity envisaged in 2010.

The Ethiopian government is presently bringing other sections of the network to market. For example, the Turkish contractor Yapi Merkezi was awarded a $1.7bn contract to build the section from the town of Awash to the northern city of Weldiya, with a total length of 389km.

If the country does succeed in becoming a middle income economy with a unified national market, it will be a powerful example to other countries in the region of what infrastructure-led development can achieve.

http://www.waltainfo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17841:ethiopia-steams-ahead-with-vision-for-a-modern-national-rail-network&catid=71:editors-pick&Itemid=396

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Agriculture Investment in Africa: Top Countries to Focus On

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aginvestVENTURES AFRICA –

Africa’s agriculture sector struggles to access financing and attract investment. Microfinance organizations remain active in the space. But private equity firms and banks are still slowly coming around to the potential of the agriculture space.

Fears over sustainability, education and policy justifiably remain: (1) many African countries do not have an extensive track record of sustained success in the agriculture space; (2) a significant amount of workers in the agricultural space do not have more than primary level education; and (3) policy is ever changing as leadership changes through elections. But there is great hope is the changing landscape for African agriculture, as highlighted by a few of Africa’s rapidly emerging economies with great agriculture opportunity.

 

Cote D’Ivoire

It is easy to forget that Cote d’Ivoire was embroiled in a civil war less than five years ago. And that sentiment is the best thing about this emerging market. It is a sign of changing perceptions about the country and the growing tailwinds pushing it forward.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the West African nation’s economy will grow 8% in 2015 after expanding approximately 8.7 percent in 2014. The 2015 projection is lower than the previously stated estimate of 10% from the Ministry of Economics and Finance as investors are already beginning to show tentativeness with investment due to an upcoming election. The fears may be based in some relevant history. But the investment outlook is very positive for the country, especially in the agriculture space.

The unexpected drop in commodity prices and subsequent production is reflected in the results from the oil and mining sectors and their depressed effects on the larger economy. Yet growth expectations in 2014 were achieved through successful investments in infrastructure and very favourable returns in the agriculture space.

Continued growth should be expected in agricultural. A euphemistically described “food basket”, the country is the largest producer of cocoa still with high upside. A few companies are beginning to test the chocolate space with an interest in bringing value back onshore. But the process of making a local chocolate company that can compete globally depends on foreign investment (that is not there yet). Other agricultural products, including coffee, palm oil and cashew nuts, should continue to play a major a role in buoying the agricultural space. Price exposure is an issue but the country’s constantly improving infrastructure base, particularly in transport, and consistently high farming efficiency ensure that small price movements will not burden the country.

 

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is an agricultural hub in its own nature in East Africa. Its GDP growth in 2014 was approximately 10.6% and is expected to rise to nearly 11 percent in 2015. Research suggests that agriculture will growth approximately 7% in 2015 and possibly as high as 9 percent in 2016.

The country is a top-coffee exporter. A lot of the value however is lost the minute the country exports the raw beans. A bump in local production and packaging by emerging local brands still has great upside potential, especially with brands, including Starbucks and Dean & DeLuca, lurking around the country for the next big brand.

The country is also a major producer of oilseeds, grains and spices, which now account for nearly $750 – 800 million in export revenue. Again the lack of local processing and packaging ensure that the food products exit the country as cheap raw products and enter local western markets as more valuable processed goods after being processed in a local environment or in another western country.

The Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), led by former Wall Street banker Khalid Bomba, continues to highlight annual productivity gains as high as 6.5 percent, similar to the message from Ethiopian officials.  The number is more like 3 percent in the past year. Regardless of the exact number, the country is making great leaps for a population that requires a greater rate of production to feed itself let alone take a greater share of the larger global food market.

 

Tanzania

Tanzania, similar to Ethiopia, is a country whose local population could use a boost in agricultural production. According to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), low and middle-income Tanzanians still consume more than 65 percent of their calories from street food. This statistic is an improvement over the last two year but still a disturbing reality of the local market.

Tanzania is the ideal locale in Africa to capture a greater share of the global food market. Refusing to give similar large scale land concessions to foreign investors, such as Saudi Arabia, as has been seen in Ethiopia, the country has strategically supported local farmers and seen strong growth in the commercial farming space. All that said, the country struggles to achieve the annual productivity gains that other countries are seeing with large scale and government-backed training schemes.

Coffee, tea, and oilseeds possess the greatest upside as the story of bringing the value chain onshore remains consistent across all countries on this list. Tanzania however may be better positioned to grow its processing and packaging space as several companies already perform a significant amount of such services internally as well as for other local companies.

 

Honorable Mention (2)

Malawi

Malawi is conundrum for agriculture investors. The country is a very attractive agriculture investment opportunity such that it should be a top three agriculture opportunity. The agriculture sector is expected to grow nearly 6% in 2015 and 2016. It possesses an enabling environment that shows strong production results and is strategically located to access multiple markets, including Mozambique and Zambia. But the politics of the country has not been favorable to business. The currency struggles to find a baseline as investors remain unsure about the country’s leaders to maintain a consistent economic policy over an extended period. The Green Belt Initiative and the National Export Strategy both drafted in 2012 provide a framework for a succession of Malawian leaders to follow. Confronting corruption allegations is also key if the country is to maintain IMF support.

Cameroon

Cameroon is strategically situated among countries that could use its exports: Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, and Nigeria. Agriculture accounts for more than half of the country’s non-oil export revenues and is expected to grow approximately 4 percent in 2015 and 2016. The number could be drastically higher but productivity gains are still hard to come by. Increased investment in training and a push for improving the business environment for commercial farming is a start but the current efforts are only a start.

http://www.ventures-africa.com/2015/02/agriculture-investment-in-africa-top-countries-to-focus-on/

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Keangnam wins Mojo-Hawassa Expressway bid

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The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) awards the first lot of the Mojo-Hawassa Express way project for the South Korean construction firm, Keangnam Enterprises Limited, Capital has learnt from the Ministry of Transport.

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Minister of Transport Workneh Gebeyehu said the Korean company has won the bid for the first lot of the entire 209 kilometers road.

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The project that will be financed with a loan secured from the South Korean government and a state funding is expected to commence in the current fiscal year. However, Keangnam Enterprises and ERA did not sign the official contract so far.

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The project that will be constructed in different phases will connect the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNP) capital of Hawassa to the central part of the country with a comfortable toll road.

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ERA has repeatedly expressed disappointment at the weak performance of the Korean construction firm, Keangnam in the past several years for delaying projects it took from the authority. Samson Wondemu, Public Relations Head of ERA, told Capital that Keangnam will handle the project phase that stretches from Meki to Batu (formerly known as Zeway).

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a USD 126 million credit for the first phase of 56kms Mojo-Meki road section, which is segment one of the entire project. The local government will contribute USD 99.10 million to fund costs, local taxes, resettlement compensation and other expenses. AfDB also provided a USD 2.44 million to help the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) build its capacity.

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According to Samson, a toll road project stretching from Mojo to Meki is on bid.
The 209 kms Mojo-Hawassa Highway project will be implemented in two phases. In phase I, construction of a 93kms new asphalt road will be carried out between the towns of Mojo and Zeway.

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Keangnam Enterprises has been engaged in several road projects in Ethiopia in the past 16 years. The company has constructed the Mojo-Awash Arba, Ambo-Gedo, Azezo-Metemma, Hirna- Kulubi, and Alaba-Humbo projects, while the Jimma-Bonga-Mizan road project is being constructed at the moment. The Chinese government and the World Bank have promised to finance the remaining 116km toll road from Batu to Hawassa, which is the second phase of the Mojo- Hawassa toll road project.

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The Batu-Hawassa project is also divided into two contracts- Zeway-Arisi Negele and Arisi Negele-Hawassa.
This road forms a fragment of the cross country Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa highway project. The Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa road facility is expected to boost local agri-business and regional trade among nations it passes through.
The existing Mojo-Hawassa road, which is dilapidated, forms the road link in the route from Cape Town to Cairo.
Workeneh said the government is in the process of implementing the Adama-Awash toll road, which is a continuation of Addis-Adama toll road in the Addis-Djibouti corridor.

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The Addis-Adama toll road, the first express way for the country, commenced operation in September of last year.  Workneh said that the Adama-Awash project shall be commenced in the coming budget year.  He said the government is approaching financers for the realization of the project.
The Ministry of Transport is also exploring for possibilities to include the Addis-Adama toll way and the Lebu-Akaki-IT Park (Goro) outer ring roads in the toll roads system. The Akaki-IT Park road project, that will connect the express way with the Northern and North eastern parts of the city, will cover 14.5kms, while the 13.6km Akaki-Lebu project will connect the Addis-Adama toll road with the Western and South-western parts of Addis.

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The Addis Ababa – Adama road corridor was constructed with 11.2 billion birr with a loan secured from China’s EXIM Bank. Currently, over 9,000 vehicles use this road every day on average making a daily average earning of 350,000 birr.

http://www.capitalethiopia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4959:keangnam-wins-mojo-hawassa-expressway-bid&catid=35:capital&Itemid=27

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Nation’s Annual Fertilizer Consumption Reaches 1.2 Million Tons

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Nation's Annual Fertilizer Consumption Reaches 1.2 Million TonsAddis Ababa  – Ethiopia’s annual fertilizer consumption has reached 1.2 million tons.

This was disclosed by the Advisor of the Minister of Agriculture with the rank of State Minister, Professor Tekalegn Mamo, at the First East African Fertilizer Conference that wrapped up Friday, Feb. 20.

Event website here  http://www.argusmedia.com/events/argus-events/europe/fert-africa/home

The nation has been carrying out structural transformation in the use of fertilizers during the past few years, he said.

Ethiopia started applying chemical fertilizer to boost its agricultural productivity in the late 1960s. The low fertilizer consumption has since then increased to 1.2 million ton, the advisor explained.

Despite this, there is no current information on the level of fertility of soil in the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with Ethiopian Agriculture and Transformation Agency (EATA) has designed two key national strategies to further increase the amount of fertilizer to be used as agriculture input.

Consolidating consultancy service to increase the culture of fertilizer utilization, and identifying crops that use multi-fertilizer as well as national soil fertility map program are the two key strategies, Professor Tekalegn said.

Ethiopian Agriculture and Transformation Agency (EATA) was established to realize these strategies, he added.

Soil fertility map has been prepared and in some 370 woredas are identified minerals that indicate the level of soil.

The government has also been undertaking integrated activities to protect land degradation during the past 15 years, the advisor noted.

Community-based basin control strategy is the major contributor for the success attained and close to 20 million hectares of land is revived and has become productive, Professor Tekalegn stated.

The national average fertilizer consumption in Ethiopia has reached 50 kg per hectare.

EATA CEO, Khalid Bomba, said on his part the first conference in East Africa would promote the nation’s fertilizer market to fertilizer producers.

International fertilizer producing companies and stakeholders are in attendance of the conference.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/economy/item/427-nation-s-annual-fertilizer-consumption-reaches-1-2-million-tons

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Ethiopian agriculture minister opens Argus FMB Africa Fertilizer Conference

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Addis Ababa Ethiopia’s agriculture state minister, Mitiku Kassa, has opened the sixth Argus FMB Africa Fertilizer conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 18 February.

Boosting agricultural productivity is a key priority of the Ethiopian government and the country is now the second biggest grain producer in sub- Saharan Africa, having doubled output since the early 2000s. Ethiopia is an important consumption centre of fertilizer in its own right.

The Argus FMB Africa Fertilizer conference is the largest fertilizer event in Africa, attracting over 400 delegates from across the fertilizer supply chain in Africa and internationally. Representatives from over 50 different countries attend the conference, which focuses on the steps needed to boost production and consumption of fertilizer in Africa, against a backdrop of wider efforts to increase crop yields throughout the continent. As the second biggest grain producer in Africa, Ethiopia is an important market for fertilizer and has also become a hub for distribution throughout east Africa.

Conference delegates have visited the new bulking blend facility on Tuesday, 17 February, which has been organized by the ATA, Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development, and Yargus Manufacturing.

The state minister has been joined on the speaker panel by ATA chief executive Khalid Bomba and State minister and ministerial adviser on agriculture professor Tekalign Mamo, who outlined initiatives to boost the fertilization of soils in Ethiopia and to increase agricultural productivity. Other keynote speakers at the event include Argus chief operating officer Neil Bradford, and the Executive Vice President of OCP Group of Morocco.

Argus FMB is a leading provider of price assessments, market outlooks, consultancy and conferences for the global fertilizer industry. Argus FMB conferences have provided opportunities to address issues of policy and regulation and uncover emerging trends for the last 30 years. They also provide a platform to meet and do business with leading global producers, traders and distributors.

http://www.waltainfo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17774:ethiopian-agriculture-minister-opens-argus-fmb-africa-fertilizer-conference&catid=52:national-news&Itemid=291

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Tapping spice resources for export market vital: Ministry

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Addis Ababa, 23 February 2015

The Ministry of Industry said exploiting the untapped spices resources for export market is essential for earning foreign currency which supports other economic sectors.

At the opening ceremony of the workshop which reveals the strategic development study on spices industry prepared by the Ministry of Industry in collaboration with the Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Industry State Minister Dr. Mebrahtu Melese said that though Ethiopia has various agro ecological zones which could grow more than 100 species of spices, the utilization of the sub sector is negligible. As a result, the nation has not been able to benefit from the sector as it deserves.

According to Mebrahtu, traditional production system, lack of value chain and market integration, among others, are various constraints to tap the resources. As to him, the strategic study revealed at the workshop could be a vital input to tackle the inherent problems of the sector.

He further said that the government has already employed multidimensional approach to modernize the sub sector gradually and to that end capacity building to the actors in the sector, provision of technology and credit facilities have been provided.

In addition, investors involved in the production, processing and marketing have been provided support to become competent in their endeavors and some of them have been able to take part in experience sharing journey abroad.

Spice Sub Sector Industry Strategy Plan Preparation Team Leader Dr. Atsede Asefa on her part said that the Ethiopian spice industry is hindered constraints faced in the process of production, processing, lack of post harvest handling technologies and value chain.

To combat these problems and make the country competitive at the international market all the stakeholders in the sub sector industry, growers, handlers, brokers, processors and exporters need to participate in promoting the proper practices at each stage of the value chain and thrive for satisfying local and international customer requirements in a coordinated approach to tap the market at optimal level.

According to a recent report, in the country 73.3 million hectares of land is suitable for agriculture out of which 3.7 million hectares of land already enclosed for local and foreign investors for the production of spices with better technology and the necessary inputs, she added.

http://www.waltainfo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17833:tapping-spice-resources-for-export-market-vital-ministry&catid=52:national-news&Itemid=291

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South Boulder Mines looks to publish Colluli Potash PFS in first quarter

 

Monday, February 23, 2015

South Boulder Mines’ has confidence in potential of Colluli PotashSouth Boulder Mines’ has confidence in potential of Colluli Potash
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South Boulder Mines (ASX:STB) has significant project milestones ahead for its Colluli Potash Project in Eritrea with completion of all pre-feasibility study work streams and publication of the PFS economics in the first quarter.

The company also expects to complete a high quality definitive/bankable feasibility study (“DFS”) in third quarter.

Adding to the interest, the DFS work has already presented attractive optimisation opportunities that will enhance the final feasibility case.

“After the key PFS information is published, we intend to make progress on a number of key commercial and corporate fronts that will support the development of Colluli and clearly demonstrate a significant level of major investor, infrastructure developer and end user interest in Colluli,” chairman Seamus Cornelius said.

He added the company will seek shareholder approval at an AGM before 31st May 2015 to change its name to better reflect its activities as an emerging producer of premium potash and agricultural chemicals from the Colluli resource.

Cornelius noted that Colluli will compare favourably with any of the more common emerging muriate of potash projects from any perspective including capital expenditure, operating costs and mine life.

The project has a unique composition of potassium bearing salts in solid form, suitable for the production of both potassium sulphate (SOP) and potash of magnesia (SOPM).

These are premium potassium fertilisers with limited primary production globally due to resource scarcity.

Moreover, the considerable size, shallow depth and consistency of the deposit make Colluli highly amenable to economically viable open cut mining. It is also in close proximity to the Red Sea coast, allowing easy access to end markets.


Recent Activity

Earlier this month, South Boulder completed metallurgical testwork for the project, which eliminated the need for fine grinding from the process plant circuit.

It also identified a number of internal plant configurations and the company kicked off optimisation work to further enhance DFS process design and internal plant configuration.

Potassium recoveries of over 85% have been modelled from optimised PFS flotation tests, and incorporation of solar recovery ponds.

Mini piloting has commenced, with key areas of focus including reducing plant water and infrastructure requirements, minimising reagent consumption, and maximising potassium recovery.

Plant commissioning and ramp-up profiles have been established, and preliminary results of the advanced metallurgical testing indicate potential improvements in plant configuration, equipment requirements and product mix for the DFS.

A technical review team is currently being assembled to conduct a final review of the process plant and solar pond design, underlying assumptions and testwork results before finalising the DFS process flow diagrams.

The company previously noted the PFS is on track for completion in February.

In addition, AMC Consultants is working on a final resource report.

Colluli Potash Project

Colluli is a very large, long life, at surface deposit, that is highly amenable to open cut mining methods and is in close proximity to the coast.

It contains over 1 billion tonnes of potassium bearing salts suitable for the production of potash fertiliser in the Danakil depression, an emerging potash province where over 4 billion tonnes of measured and indicated potassium bearing salts have been identified.

The company continues to work with the equal partner Eritrean National Mining Company (ENAMCO) to develop the Colluli Potash Project.

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Cashed up

South Boulder had $7.5 million in cash as at the end of December 2014 and has raised $2.05 million in January through the placement of 10 million shares at a 6% premium to market.

Milestones ahead

– Completion of all PFS work streams;
– Publication of the PFS economics in Q1; and
– Completion of a high quality DFS in Q3.

http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/companies/news/60846/south-boulder-mines-looks-to-publish-colluli-potash-pfs-in-first-quarter-60846.html

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Dead Sea Works employees call strike

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iclThe workers committee is demanding cancellation of all layoffs at Israel Chemicals and the resumption of talks.

Workers at Israel Chemicals (TASE: ICL: NYSE: unit Dead Sea Works have decided to begin an all-out strike after management did not respond to demands by the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and workers committee to remove the threat of layoffs for hundreds of employees. The strike is also in solidarity with 140 planned layoffs at sister Israel Chemical company Bromine Compounds. Strikes have also begun at Bromine Compounds and the power station in Sedom protesting the hundreds of planned layoffs at Israel Chemicals.

Dead Sea Works workers committee chairman Armand Lankri said, “We are prepared to fight at any price for against the management’s demands. It is due to the hard work and dedication of its employees that Israel Chemicals has succeeded and is profitable, and management’s intention of harming employees and firing them is absurd, aggressive, and above all unnecessary. I call on management to cancel the layoffs and begin talking with us.”

Israel Chemical Israel general manager Avner Maimon said, “Striking the bromine factory in Sedom is an extreme step that sacrifices the 400 employees of Dead Sea Magnesium on the altar of this extremist and violent struggle of the Bromine Compounds workers assisted by chairman of the Dead Sea Works workers committee Armand Lankri. Closing the bromine factory may lead to irreversible damage within 72 hours that will result in closure of the Dead Sea Magnesium plant and to safety and ecological dangers. Thus Dead Sea Works management has urgently turned to the Labor Court to prevent the grave risk of this dangerous step by the chairman of the workers committee of the Dead Sea Works.”

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-dead-sea-works-employees-call-strike-1001011600

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Ethiopia to Showcase Success on Addis Int’l Conference on Financing for Development: MoFED

Ethiopia to Showcase Success on Addis Int'l Conference on Financing for Development: MoFED Addis Ababa: February 21, 2015 – Ethiopia will showcase its success to the world on its experience in financing its rapid and sustainable growth, industrial drive and infrastructural development at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, according to MoFED State Minister.

Speaking at a press conference held here yesterday, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) Dr. Abraham Tekeste said Ethiopia will project its new and positive image by exhibiting its diverse culture, tourism and investment opportunities on the conference that will be held in Addis Ababa from July 13-16, 2015.

He added that Ethiopia will also project its future prosperity and hopes on the conference as the country is close to achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and has achieved one before the deadline.

The country has, for instance, achieved MDG 4: that is reducing child mortality by 2/3rd two years ahead of 2015, he pointed out.

“The world knows that this goal (reducing child mortality by 2/3rd) would be missed by the majority of the countries of the continent (Africa), but we have achieved it,” the state minister elaborated.

The country is in a good position to decrease poverty to 22 percent which was 46 percent at the beginning of the MDGs.

Since Ethiopia is a big country in terms of population, reducing poverty by half means releasing millions and millions of citizens out of poverty. And this achievement is widely recognized globally, Dr. Abraham stated.

see related http://www.fanabc.com/english/index.php/news/item/2281-efforts-underway-to-make-africa-s-voice-heard-at-int-l-conference-on-financing-for-development

The Addis Ababa 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development comes at a very critical time in which the world is due to agree on a new set of global development agenda called Sustainable Development Goal, since this year is the end of the ongoing Millennium Development Goals(MDG).

He stressed that it is critical to agree on how to resource and finance development in the post-2015 period.

According to the state minister, all members of the UN, high-level political representatives including heads of state and government, ministers of finance, foreign Affairs and development cooperation are expected to take part in the conference.

http://www.fanabc.com/english/index.php/news/item/2279-ethiopia-to-showcase-success-on-addis-int-l-conference-on-financing-for-development-mofed

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8th All-African Leather Fair 2015 opens

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Addis Ababa, 21 February 2015 – The Ethiopian Leather Industries Association (ELIA) launched the 8th edition of The All-African Leather Fair yesterday here at the Millennium Hall.

On his opening address, State Minister of Industry Tadesse Haile said that the government has identified the leather industry to be one of the priority sectors due to its potential in employment generation, to generate export earnings, and its strong linkage to the agriculture and other economic sectors.

The country is endowed with unexploited resources and is strategically using its geographical location near to the European and Middle East market offering the best option for businesses, he added.

Tadesse also said that among the stakeholders, local and foreign leather industries are key players in transferring technologies, in creating job opportunities, in exporting competitive leather products and in earning a considerable amount of foreign currency for the country.

He said adding that investment is also a key element for rapid economic growth and creation of a strong and competitive industrial base.

According to Tadesse, Ethiopia is among the top ten countries in the size of livestock population in the world. Livestock is an important source of raw material for the development of the leather industry which has been accorded high priority in our export sector.

Ethiopia ranks second in Africa next to Nigeria. The country has a major economic comparative advantage in terms of availability of low cost electric power, cheap labor and access to major duty free markets.

President of the Association, Yigzaw Assefa said on his part that nearly 200 exhibitors are participating at the 8th All African Leather Fair, of which 49 are overseas. Including 1,500 foreign participants, more than 10,000 visitors are expected in this three-day trade fair. A comprehensive range of products relating to leather industry such as finished leather, footwear, leather garments, leather goods like gloves, wallets, bags, components and accessories to the leather industry will be exhibited.

European Union Delegation Head to Ethiopia Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht said that the leather and leather products industry shows great potential based on the impressive livestock resources at Ethiopia’s disposal. The livestock resource made up of more than 100 million cattle, sheep and goats, represents a potential of some 20 million hides and skins renowned for their quality at international level.

Ambassador Chantal also said that export earnings from leather and leather products almost doubled within a decade and are expected to continue to grow. Among the first Ethiopian export items, the leather sector is the only one exploring semi-processed and manufactured goods and it has expanded on average by 14 per cent over the past 5 years creating jobs for millions of Ethiopians.

Among foreign participants there were Kenya Leather Development Council, and Cihan Import & Export, while on the side of local participants, Anbessa Shoe Share Company, Sheba Leather Industry P.L.C. and Mahlet Lathers.

These participants remarked on their part that the trade fair would help them get substantial knowledge and information by sharing experiences and best practices with national and international industries, visitors as well as other stakeholders helping them benefit from the worldwide network of the leather market.

http://www.waltainfo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17807:8th-all-african-leather-fair-2015-opens&catid=52:national-news&Itemid=291

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COMESA says countries should learn from Ethiopia’s leather industry

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COMESA says countries should learn from Ethiopia’s leather industry Addis Ababa Feb 21, 2015 – The common market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) lauded Ethiopia for giving due attention to the leather industry.

COMESA Leather and leather products institute director Mwinyikione Mwinyihija said Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that has policy frameworks that could boost the leather industry.

He made the remark here yesterday at the opening of the 8th all-Africa leather products trade fair, which gathered over 200 companies from more than 40 countries.

He noted Ethiopia is striving to fully utilize the sector so as to maximize the benefits.

In addition to policy frameworks, cheap labor and conducive investment atmosphere will place Ethiopia ahead of other African countries, the director said.

Appreciating efforts of Ethiopia towards developing the sector and maximizing the benefits of the country, he said, Ethiopia could be a model for African countries.

As the leather industry is growing rapidly, the future of Ethiopia in particular and Africa in general is bright, in this regard, he added.

Ethiopia’s State Minister for Industry Tadese Haile on his part said Ethiopia has created conducive investment environment for companies who want to operate in the country.

The leather industry development institute the country established to support the industry is working to improve capacity of companies and expand market opportunities, he said.

http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/economy/item/430-comesa-says-countries-should-learn-from-ethiopia-s-leather-industry

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Ethio-German Relation Strengthened by People-to-People Ties, Ambassador Joachim

Ethio-German Relation Strengthened by People-to-People Ties, Ambassador Joachim Addis Ababa: February 21, 2015  – The Ethio-Germany relationship is being consolidated by people-to-people ties beyond the diplomatic relations, according to Germany’s Ambassador to Ethiopia.

Ambassador Joachim Schmidt said the political, diplomatic, economic and social cooperation of the two countries has reached high level.

Schmidt indicated that the relation is strengthened by people-to-people ties and is being built on solid foundation.

The relationship of the peoples of the two countries is deep and multifaceted when compared to other countries, he added.

He said high-level official visits of the two governments, the relationship of sister cities and development cooperations have played a significant role in bringing the peoples of the two nations closer.

Germany is the fifth largest destination for Ethiopian export, the ambassador said, adding that the annual trade volume of the two countries has jumped over 200 million Euros.

Schmidt further indicated that of the stated amount 84 million is Ethiopia’s share and the remaining balance that of Germany.

Ethiopia exports agricultural products, including coffee and textiles to German markets, while it imports pharmaceuticals, medicines and machinery, among others, it was learned.

Some 35 German companies are reportedly engaged in Ethiopia’s floricultural, logistics, transport and pharmaceutical sectors.

Ambassador Schmidt explained that the over 50-years Ethio-German development cooperation focuses on the provision of primary education, technical and vocational training, agriculture and biodiversity.

Starting from 2009, Germany has closely supported Ethiopia’s green economy policy and supported the revival of 180,000 hectares of land that benefits over 194,000 farmers, he said.

It was stated that the countries have strong cooperation in preventing drought, fighting climate change and terrorism.

Ambassador Schmidt said Germany has a great admiration for the role Ethiopia has been playing in ensuring peace and stability in Somalia and South Sudan, and particularly in Darfur and Abiye.

He also appreciated Ethiopia’s efforts in hosting and protecting displaced citizens of neighboring countries.

Ethiopia and Germany began diplomatic relations in 1905.

http://www.fanabc.com/english/index.php/news/item/2282-ethio-german-relation-strengthened-by-people-to-people-ties,-ambassador-Joachim

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Ethiopia, Chad Finance Ministers Among Candidates for AfDB Chief

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afdbThree African finance ministers are among eight candidates in the running to replace Donald Kaberuka as president of the African Development Bank.

Ethiopia’s Sufian Ahmed, Chad’s Kordje Bedoumra and Cristina Duarte from Cape Verde have been nominated for the position, the lender said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. The other candidates include Nigerian Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina and Mali’s Birama Boubacar Sidibe, who is vice president of operations for the Islamic Development Bank.

Kaberuka, 63, a former Rwandan finance minister, will end his second five-year term in August. The AfDB’s board of governors will elect the new president on May 28 during the bank’s annual meeting in Abidjan, which is the commercial capital of Ivory Coast where the lender is based.

The other candidates are Jaloul Ayed, a former finance minister in Tunisia, Thomas Sakala, a vice president at the AfDB and Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs Minister Samura Kamara.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-20/ethiopia-chad-finance-ministers-among-candidates-for-afdb-chief

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