19 March 2014 Economic News (UPDATED)


Ethio Telecom’s 4G network to launch on Saturday


Addis Ababa, 19 March 2015 

Officials at the state monopoly Ethio Telecom have announced that the country’s much awaited 4G network is set to be inaugurated on Saturday.

Dire Tube has learnt that the 4G LTE network, constructed by the Chinese ZTE and Huawei companies at a cost of 1.6 billion dollars, will be inaugurated on Saturday morning at the Hilton Hotel.

Ethio Telecom originally announced it will roll out its 4G service for its customers in Addis Ababa beginning from May 2014.

In a press conference it held on August 2014, the company also promised to commence rendering the 4G service for locations outside of Addis Ababa at the start of the current year.

The new network will have 210 dedicated antennas for 4G connections.

The downloading capacity of the 4G network is said to be 150mbit/sec while 3G’s is 42mbit/sec.

The new 4G service will be provided to smart phones with 4G capacities.



President Mulatu held talks with PIA business delegates


President Mulatu held talks with PIA business delegatesAddis Ababa: March 19, 2015  –

FDRE President Mulatu Teshome held talks today with delegates of a business consortium, Private Investors for Africa (PIA), at the National Palace today.

The delegation’s Chairperson Mr. Dominique Bruyneseels led a consortium of 15 businesses that includes multinational corporations such as BASF, Coca Cola, Diageo, EDF, Heineken, LAFARAGE, Standard Bank and Hilton Hotels in meeting the President.

President Mulatu on the occasion noted that the interest of British, German and American companies to invest in Ethiopia is a remarkable achievement in itself. He expressed his appreciation for Heineken’s initiative in getting local farmers involved in its multimillion dollar brewery investment in Ethiopia, where it supports six thousand farmers with the provision of improved seeds and linking them with the supply of barley, and a further plan down the line to expand the factory with an additional 190 million Euros and provide similar services to 20 thousand more local farmers.



Ethiopia says new railway to Djibouti to start in early 2016


Ethiopia's new railway starts in 2016

Wednesday 18 March, 2015

Ethiopia expects to open a new railway line linking the capital Addis Ababa with the Red Sea state of Djibouti in early 2016, a project at the centre of plans to create new manufacturing industries, the head of the state railways said.

The 700-km (450-mile)line is being built at a cost of $4 billion by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC). Ethiopia is seeking to have 5,000 km of new lines working across the country by 2020.

“By October 2015, a considerable portion of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti project will be finished,” Getachew Betru, chief executive of the Ethiopian Railways Corporation, told Reuters, adding trains would run soon after. “We will start early 2016.”

In addition to the Djibouti line, two others are being built across the country which are among a range of big infrastructure investments that also include new roads and dams to produce hydro-electric power.

In a bid to keep the economy expanding at the 8 percent or more it is already achieving, the nation of 96 million people wants to become an African manufacturing hub, offering investors efficient transport, plentiful labour and cheap power.

In the capital, a new $475 million light railway system will be tested in the next few weeks before scheduled services start. It will be the first city metro to operate in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Among the new national railway lines, one will connect the region of Afar, where Ethiopia is encouraging the mining of potash for fertiliser, to Djibouti, the main export point for land-locked Ethiopia. Canada’s Allana Potash Corp is among the firms developing mines in Afar.

Most Ethiopians still depend on subsistence agriculture, but the country is building a textile and garment industry, produces shoes, assembles cars and trucks and other products. It is drawing some investors from China and India, where wages are rising.

For now, logistical difficulties such as poor roads and an old fleet of trucks mean transporting goods from the capital to Djibouti can take days. The new railway line will cut the journey time to about eight hours.

“It is a game-changer for us,” said Getachew. “It will be one of the most vibrant economic corridors in the world.”



 Plenty of Potash, but Some Regions Lack Low Cost Sources for Crop Production



Technical Announcement:
Released: 3/3/2015

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192
Diane Noserale 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4333 Greta Orris 1-click interview
Phone: 520-670-5583

While the earth contains enough potash to meet the increased global demand for crop production  and U.S. supplies are likely secure, some regions lack potash deposits needed for optimal food crop yields.

According to a recent USGS global assessment of potash resources, the costs of importing potash long distances can limit its use and imports are subject to supply disruptions.

“Global scarcity is not the issue with potash – transportation costs are,” said USGS scientist Greta Orris, who led the assessment. “We chose to assess potash because it is used primarily for fertilizer and with the increasing global population, the need for agricultural lands to be increasingly productive will continue,” said Orris.

The U.S. imports more than 80 percent of the potash it uses, mostly from the Elk Point Basin in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Elk Basin is the world’s largest source of potash, having provided at least 20 percent of the world’s potash supply for nearly 40 years.

The U.S. produces potash from deposits in Utah and New Mexico. While production from the Michigan basin recently ceased, a large potash resource exists there.  Production and development of resources in Michigan have been hindered by low potash prices, dated production equipment, and poor transport infrastructure amongst other factors. A significant potash resource in Arizona has also been identified, but resources in other states tend to be relatively small.

This global assessment, which includes a summary report and accompanying database, is the most complete, up-to-date, GIS-based, global compilation of information on known and potential potash resources from evaporite sources. The database includes more than 900 known potash deposits with measured resources. It also outlines 84 tracts throughout the world where undiscovered future resources might be found.

“A significant finding of this assessment is that there appears to be little to no potential to develop potash mines in either China or India, where large populations create the need for highly productive agricultural land, which in turn requires large amounts of appropriate fertilizers,” said Orris. “High import costs have resulted in lower usage of potash fertilizers than commonly seen in the U.S., and the potential for the land to be less productive.”

Potash includes a variety of minerals, ores, or processed products that contain potassium, one of three primary plant nutrients essential for growing food crops and biofuels. Modern agriculture requires large quantities of potassium so crop production is adequate to feed a growing population as arable land acreage becomes more limited. While potassium can be derived from other sources, conventional potash deposits – those formed by evaporation — are the only cost- effective source for large quantities of potassium needed for high-yield agriculture.

The known deposits include location, geology, resource, production and other descriptive information. Potash-bearing basins may host tens of millions to more than 100 billion metric tons of potassium. Examples include Elk Point Basin in Canada, the Pripyat Basin in Belarus, the Solikamsk Basin in western Russia, and the Zechstein Basin in Germany.

The biggest potash producers are Canada, Russia, Belarus, and Israel. In addition to China and India, other areas lacking conventional deposits include much of Africa, Australia, and South America.

For the 84 tracts, the quantities of undiscovered resources are not estimated in this report. Instead, the tracts are classified into six categories that rank their potential to provide potash resources in 25 to 50 years based on known resources in the tract, level of available information, and whether geologic or other deficiencies, such as lack of water, power, or other infrastructure, could prevent or delay development of deposits.

Potash tracts that may have potash deposits in production within the next five years include those in Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo.


More information on global and domestic potash, including demand, production, and uses is available from the USGS.



Istanbul to Host the 2nd Ethio-Turkey Business and Investment Summit

Addis Ababa, 19 March 2015 –


Wafa Marketing and Promotion PLC announced that Istanbul will host the second Ethio-Turkey Business and Investment Summit on 27th April 2015.


In a press release WAFA Marking and Promotion PLC sent to WIC, it has organized the summit in collaboration with Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of FDRE, the Ethiopian Embassy in Turkey and Turkish Ministry of Economy.


Business delegation will be led by High Government representatives of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the press release indicated.


According to Wafa, top business delegates are participating the 2015 summit, which will explore new business opportunities for businesspersons through networking, B2B, B2G, and joint venture forestalled to fuel business growth.


Knowing its immense benefit, a good number of companies from various business sectors have already registered with WAFA and Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce. Registration are still open. Interested company or individual business person can contact WAFA Marketing and Promotion PLC for further information, WIC learnt.



Ethiopia: Fortified wheat to fight malnutrition


By Tinishu Solomon
Photo©ReutersAn Ethiopian company will start producing fortified wheat flours, becoming the first firm to do so in East Africa, to battle malnutrition.
An estimated 40 percent of children under the age of five suffer from stunted growth.
According to the 2014 Mini-Demographic and Health Survey, the majority of these children were poorly fed.


On Wednesday, Partners in Food Solutions and TechnoServe, the ASTCO Food Complex in partnership the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new range of fortified wheat flours to address the crisis.

USAID said the fortified flour with minerals and vitamins will result in improved health for Ethiopians.

“This is an extremely significant development that addresses nutrition challenges in Ethiopia, where under nutrition accounts for 45 percent of all child deaths,” said United States deputy chief of mission Peter Vrooman.

“We expect the new products processed and packaged by ASTCO and other flour millers and processors to set a trend in micronutrient food fortification.”

The public-private partnership, known as the African Alliance for Improved Food Processing (AAIFP), provides customised technical assistance to 20 medium and large-scale wheat processors as well as industry wide training to more than 165 food processors in Ethiopia.

The knowledge and experience is remotely transferred from employees of world-class companies—General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Buhler to increase the quality and competitiveness of Ethiopia’s food processing sector and expand the availability of affordable wheat based nutritious food.

AAIFP in Ethiopia is supported by USAID through the United Stats government’s $250 million Feed the Future Initiative, whose dual objectives are to improve agriculture productivity and the nutritional status of women and children in Ethiopia.



Ethiopia desirous for South Korean support in technology


Ethiopia desirous for South Korean support in technologyAddis Ababa: March 19, 2015 –

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn urged the government of South Korea to support Ethiopia’s industry development.

While discussing with South Korean Government Administration & Home Affairs Minister Chong Jong-sup here, the Premier said his country needs South Korea’s support to make a progress in science and technology.

In this regard, he urged the Korean government to share its best practices to Ethiopia’s science and technology universities in their activities to produce more skilled labor.

Appreciating South Korean academicians who are contributing share at the Addis Ababa and Adama technology universities, he urged for the South Korean government to continue to extend the support.

The Premier also called on South Korean companies to invest in Ethiopia’s textiles, leather and food processing areas, according to a high level government official who attended the meeting.

The South Korean Minister said that his government is committed to support Ethiopian efforts in industrial development, IT and human resource development.

The Korean government has been supporting Ethiopian heroes who fought in the Korean War under the United Nations. The Minister said the Korean government will continue the support to the soldiers and their families.

South Korea has agreed yesterday with five East African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda to work in public governance and in providing better services using ICT.



China’s CIC Shifts Wealth Fund Focus to Emerging Markets


China Investment Corp. executives will offer ‘package deals’ to create investment opportunities

China Investment Corp., a $653 billion sovereign-wealth fund, plans to invest more in emerging markets where there is less competition and a greater need for capital.  
China Investment Corp., a $653 billion sovereign-wealth fund, plans to invest more in emerging markets where there is less competition and a greater need for capital.

BERLIN  —  China’s $653 billion sovereign-wealth fund is looking to invest more in emerging markets, according to an infrastructure investing official at China Investment Corp.

CIC, which has made several high profile investments in the U.S. and Europe in recent years, is targeting emerging countries where there is less competition, more opportunity to tap growth and a greater need for capital, the executive said.

The sovereign-wealth fund, whose past investments include stakes in London’s Heathrow Airport and New York-based private-equity firm Blackstone Group, plans to build new container ports in Kenya and Tanzania, Mi Tao, a director of infrastructure investing at CIC, said. In addition to being stand-alone investments, emerging markets’ ports and logistics create access to further potential investments for the fund such as energy and agriculture projects, Mr. Mi said.

CIC executives specializing in infrastructure, oil, gas and agriculture investing are working together to create “package deals” for countries in emerging markets, Mr. Mi said. The collaborative approach can open up investments that wouldn’t otherwise be possible and reduces the risks associated with infrastructure projects in emerging markets, he said.

“Infrastructure can play a very interesting role which is to integrate resources from across sectors, especially in emerging countries. When you try to tap the natural resources, you often find a lack of infrastructure, that’s the key obstacle that prevents you from achieving that,” Mr. Mi said at the Infrastructure Investor conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

“We can put together a package deal which will help a lot in those emerging countries, to unlock their value, and also create jobs and create growth. At the same time, when you assess those infrastructure assets in a package deal you suddenly find out they make sense. Many risks get mitigated through this strategy.”

CIC was founded in 2007 to invest China’s foreign exchange holdings in assets around the world. Other previous investments include stakes in the U.K.’s Thames Water and London’s Canary Wharf financial district, as well as Morgan Stanley, the New York-based investment bank.

CIC is reconsidering its approach to investing in infrastructure because assets in developed markets have become too expensive, with “inflated pricing” at auctions, Mr. Mi said. The fund will still invest in developed markets, he said.

“You have plenty of capital allocated to developed markets,” Mr. Mi said. “On the other hand there are critical needs in infrastructure in emerging countries which nobody wants to tap.”

The CIC director said he is “quite optimistic” about Africa, particularly South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Djibouti, a small country with a port that provides access to Ethiopia, the continent’s second-most populous country.

“The strong population growth and abundant natural resources and also improving governance and the relationship between China and those countries lays a foundation for us to feel comfortable to put a large amount of capital to develop infrastructure in those regions,” Mr. Mi said.

In 2014, CIC’s chairman said the fund will focus more on investing in global agriculture and food production. “The countries of the world must do more to make sure that their growing populations will have enough food,” Ding Xuedong said, according to CIC’s website. “An unmet need is an investor’s opportunity.”



EDB Issues Over 30 Billion Birr GERD Bond


EDB Issues Over 30 Billion Birr GERD BondAddis Ababa: March 19, 2015  –

The Ethiopian Development Bank (EDB) disclosed that it has readied over 30 billion Birr worth bond for sale for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

A bond week is organized in connection with the 4th anniversary of the laying of the foundation of GERD from March 26-April, 2015.

EDB President, Isayas Bahre said the bank has distributed more than 15 million bonds to be sold in the week all over the country.

The bonds will be available at the Ethiopian Development and Commercial banks, and micro-finance institutions.

Media and Communications Director with GERD Popular Participation Coordination Office, Fekadu Ketema said on his part the bond week would help strengthen the financial support for the dam.

During the week, symposia will also be held, he added. Besides, eight studies on economy and diplomacy will be presented, he added. Other researches on GERD and fishery development, tourism, energy demand of Ethiopia, international laws on water utilization are also to be presented.

A music festival which is expected to attract over 5,000 spectators and raise more than 5.5 million birr will be organized, according to the director.



Ethiopia sets up environmental, forestry research institute


Addis Ababa, 18 March 2015  –

Ethiopia is working to better benefit from its forest resources by undertaking research activities, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry which officially inaugurated the Ethiopian Environmental and Forestry Research Institute here Tuesday.

At the opening ceremony, Minister of Environment and Forestry Belete Tafere said strong institutional work was necessary to benefit from forest resources and the institute would play a pivotal role in sustaining the continued building of the green economy for which the country has gained recognition internationally.

The institute would in particular help to reduce the widespread deforestation and enhance the utilization of forests, the minister added.

The institute’s co-ordinator, Dr. Wubalem Tadesse, said even if research activities had been carried out during the past 39 years on forestry, successes were not registered in the sector.

Organising the sector under the institution would help support the environment and forestry products with modern technology and pass tangible information and knowledge to the public, he added.

A geology researcher with Addis Ababa University, Professor Zerihun Woldu, said the income the country obtained from incense and gum in particular was very low and the research work of the institute was expected to bring about changes in this regard.

The institute will become fully operational within the next three months, it was learned.



‘ALLE’ to open five stores next month


Addis Ababa, March 17 2015  –

‘ALLE’, a state-owned trade enterprise, is to open five additional stores next month.

General Manager of ALLE and Advisor to the Ministry of Trade, Nuredin Mohammed, told WIC today that the stores will be opened in Dessie, Shashemene, Hawassa, Bahir Dar and Jimma towns.

Some three stores will also be opened in Mekelle, Adama and Dire Dawa towns in August, according to Nuredin.

With the three stores already opened in Addis Ababa, the additional stores scheduled to go operational in April and August will increase the number of the enterprise’s cash and carry stores to 11, he said.

In a related development, the enterprise supplied food and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) worth 92 million birr to retailers in the first seven months of this budget year, Nuredin noted.  The plan was to supply food and FMCG worth 118 million birr.

The enterprise supplies the international and local sourced products at a competitive price, he said, adding it also inspects the selling price of the products by retailers.

He further said the enterprise registered 3,115 customers in the reported period. The plan was to register 2,000 customers. The enterprise’s customers are hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and consumers’ associations.

With an initial capital of one billion birr and a paid up capital of 250 million birr, ‘ALLE’ was officially inaugurated on May 27, 2014.


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