23 July 2015 News Briefs


China Working to Make Ethiopia Industrial Center of Africa: Ambassador La Yifan

China Working to Make Ethiopia Industrial Center of Africa: Ambassador La YifanAddis Ababa: July 23, 2015 –
China is working to make Ethiopia the industrial center of Africa, China’s Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan said.
China will provide the necessary support for the success of Ethiopia’s plan to expand the manufacturing industry during the second Growth and Transformation Plan period, he stated.

In an exclusive interview he had with ENA, Ambassador La Yifan said Chinese companies are moving outside the country to solve the manpower and competitiveness challenges they have been facing.

The companies have recently shown preferences to Africa and the two countries have been working jointly to make businesspersons invest in Ethiopia as the country has the necessary inputs for investment, he elaborated.

According to Yifan, the companies are exerting efforts to particularly make Ethiopia the industrial center of China; and the two countries are working in cooperation for the success of the plan.

The first Growth and Transformation Plan was a period in which Ethiopia laid a cornerstone for transformation from agriculture-led economy to industrial and China will extend support for GTP-2, the ambassador pointed out.

Asia and Oceania Affairs Director with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Genet Teshome said on his part China, which is the major trade and development partner of Ethiopia, has contributed the lion’s share in the economic success the nation has registered.

Even if the friendship of the countries is short, their mutual relations and the diverse areas of cooperation of the countries have boosted their ties, he noted.

The government-to-government and party-to-party relations of the countries have been productive over the past decade, the director stated.

According Genet, over 400 Chinese companies and enterprises are engaged in various activities in Ethiopia and the bilateral trade and investment volume has jumped over five billion USD.

Chinese companies have reportedly created over 200,000 jobs for Ethiopians.



Obama to Talk Economics During Kenya, Ethiopia Visit


FILE - President Barack Obama disembarks Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama disembarks Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

VOA News – Last updated on: July 23, 2015 6:37 AM

President Barack Obama leaves Thursday for a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya, homeland of his father, as he highlights growth in American economic links with sub-Saharan Africa.

Obama arrives in Kenya Friday, where he will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi. Later, he will become the first American president to visit Ethiopia.

Human rights groups have criticized Obama’s trip to Ethiopia because of the country’s handling of political dissent.

Late Wednesday, Obama spoke about trade with Africa at a White House reception marking the signing of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

He said despite Africa’s challenges, Africa is a dynamic place with some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, adding the continent has the potential to be the next center of global economic opportunity.

Obama said the trade law will continue to encourage good governance, as well as labor and human rights in Africa.


Trade agreement

Last month, the president signed a 10-year extension of the country’s main trade authority with Africa – a 15-year effort that boosted U.S.-Africa trade to $73 billion last year, with U.S. exports accounting for slightly more than half of that total.

More than 40 sub-Saharan countries are eligible for trade benefits under the law, through which most imports from Africa enter the United States duty free.

Two of the main beneficiaries are oil exporters Angola and Nigeria.

Even as U.S. trade with Africa has grown rapidly, it trails resource-hungry China, now with $200 billion in annual African trade, and the 28-nation European Union with $140 billion.

Obama has made a concerted effort to increase U.S. ties with Africa. Last August, he staged the inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington.

The U.S. said the Africa trade measure supports an estimated 350,000 jobs.

As the trade extension advanced in Congress, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and National Security Adviser Susan Rice said it has “provided vital economic opportunities,” helping African companies become more competitive and opening the path for more investments in them.



The transparency website WikiLeaks late on Tuesday disclosed a secret plan to annex and divide Somalia between Kenya and Ethiopia.




The transparency website WikiLeaks late on Tuesday disclosed a secret plan to annex and divide Somalia between Kenya and Ethiopia.

“Somalia has become a fertile ground for the interest of a lot of countries,” the cable that originated from the Saudi Embassy in Djibouti outlines. “At the current moment in time, there are a number of countries in Somalia, some of whom have noticeable pull.”

According to the documents leaked by WikiLeaks, Somalia will be split into “four regions”—two that will belong to Ethiopia, two that will belong to Kenya. The division will make both countries extend their territories by roughly 300,000sq km and additional populations of about five million.

Ethiopia and Kenya have mobilized thousands of their troops into Somalia as part of the U.N.-mandated African Union forces AMISOM to support the Somali government in its fight against the armed group, al-Shabab. However, WikiLeaks has it that the two countries pursue a much more ambitious agenda than it is officially stated. It further suggests that Kenya is said to have trained young men from the areas around Kismayo to help them win allies. The document states that Italy stands with Kenya and Ethiopia on this.

According to the cables, the Saudi Ambassador in Djibouti didn’t hide his annoyance regarding what was going on between the Prime Minister Abdi-Weli Muhammed and the regional President Abdul-Rahman Muhammed Faroole and Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, the UN’s man in Somalia. The Ambassador described Augustine as being the merchant of the Somali conflict, who was aiming to institute power-sharing in the incoming government by dissolving the current parliament and calling for a re-election of 225 members who would be chosen (so as) to ensure that AbdiWeli is elected President and Faroole as a Prime Minister, says the undated memo.

Neither Ethiopia nor Kenya have reacted to the Wikileaks cable on the alleged project to swallow Somalia.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on one another, carving much of the country into armed camps ruled by violence and clan law. The government, which includes warlords linked to the violence of the past, was established with the support of the United Nations to help Somalia emerge from anarchy.. but the body wields no real power and it has no military.

WikiLeaks’ memo provides a glimpse at how far Saudi Arabia will go to ensure Somalia adheres to positions in line with the Kingdom. A Somalia delegate is scolded for not voting on a resolution on the humanitarian situation in Syria like Saudi Arabia had wanted. The 61,000 Saudi cables, the first tranche of 500,000 promised by Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, also show the Saudi’s sharp focus on its strategic rival Iran and the revolution in Egypt, and support for allies and clients in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East.



UNCTAD opens first African regional office

UNCTAD opens first African regional officeAddis Ababa, 23, July 2015  –
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Wednesday unveiled its first African regional office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The opening of the regional office formed part of the agency’s strategy to bolster the delivery of technical expertise and advisory services to policymakers in UNCTAD member States.

UNCTAD secretary-general Dr Mukhisa Kituyi would host the inauguration, along with a number of dignitaries, including Ethiopia’s Minister of Trade and Investment Abdurahman Shek Mohammed, African Union (AU) Commission deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha, AU trade commissioner Fatima Haram Acyl and AU economic affairs commissioner Anthony Mothae Maruping.



Ericsson network expansion contract revoked, awarded to Huawei

Ericsson network expansion contract revoked, awarded to HuaweiAddis Ababa: July 21, 2015 –
Ethio Telecom has revoked one of the four telecom expansion circles it awarded to Ericsson seven months after signing a contract. Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, has been awarded the project.

Ericsson was contracted in December 2014 to undertake four of the six expansion circles that were formerly awarded to the other Chinese telecom heavyweight ZTE Corporation approximately two years ago, after Ethio Telecom and ZTE failed to reach an agreement.

Ethio telecom, the country’s sole telecom provider, was reportedly disappointed by Ericsson’s weak performance in the last seven months.

According to the agreement, Ericsson was supposed to complete the project in June 2015.“Still, Ericsson itself is unable to commit to the framework it agreed to,” sources noted.

Ericsson reportedly requires seven more months to finalize the project. The expansion plan, which involved extensive negotiations with ZTE and Huawei Technology Co. Ltd, was expected to be completed by the end of GTP I.

The negotiation process, which took over two years, was the main reason for delays. However, upon signing a USD 1.6 billion deal two years ago, the two companies agreed to meet the GTP I deadline.

Andualem Admassie, CEO of Ethio Telecom, told Capital that Ericsson has not met the deadlines outlined in its contract. “We should not have to wait further for the company to meet its deadlines. Ericsson has to finish as soon as possible,” the CEO said.

Huawei has already been awarded the circle that was taken away from Ericsson. “This circle is in the south south-western region that includes Arba Minch, Welayta Sodo and other nearby towns.

The expansion project in the region will have a total capacity of 6.51 million customers,” Andualem
told Capital.

“Huawei has completed 100 percent of its renovation projects and 95 percent of new network expansion. The remaining five percent are projects in remote areas such as borders and mountains. Those projects require helicopter support,” Andualem said.

Huawei was awarded six expansion circles, including the Addis Ababa project that includes developing 4G internet service. Andualem said that the government will take measures against the European firm unless it expedites its projects.

Ericsson introduced mobile network in the country. It has had a historical presence in the Ethiopian telecom service dating back to the first phone during Emperor Menelik II. ZTE also undertook an expansion project worth more than USD 1.5 billion, which it completed about five years ago.



President Mulatu Urges Ethiopia, Spain to Strengthen Relations


President Mulatu Urges Ethiopia, Spain to Strengthen RelationsAddis Ababa: July 23, 2015 –
President Mulatu Teshome said Ethiopia and Spain should work to strengthen their relationship which is based on mutual benefit.

The president made the remark while holding talks with the departing Spanish Ambassador in Ethiopia, Miguel Fernandez-Palacios today.

He stated on the occasion that the two countries should work in collaboration in trade and investment sectors.

Spanish investors are expected to boost the investment they have started in road construction, textile, leather and leather products, he pointed out.

According to the president, Spain is a strong partner of Ethiopia that has been extending development assistance and aid in education, health, and archeology.

The president also thanked the departing Ambassador for writing a book on the historical relationship of Ethiopia and Spain.

President Mulatu told Ambassador Fernandez-Palacios that Ethiopia would open an embassy in Spain.

Spain opened its embassy in Addis Ababa in 1962.



President Says Nation Eager to Boost Economic Ties with Belgium

President Says Nation Eager to Boost Economic Ties with BelgiumAddis Ababa: July 21, 2015 –
President Mulatu Teshome said Ethiopia wants to consolidate its economic relations with Belgium.

While conferring with the departing Belgian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Hughes Chantry, the president stated that Ethiopia wants to further strengthen its long standing political and diplomatic relations with Belgium in the economic frontier as well.

He noted that Belgian investors should work to consolidate the ties between the countries by seizing upon the wide investment opportunities in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is also interested in further solidifying its existing cooperation with Belgium in education and agriculture sectors.

The president indicated that since the two countries are the seats of AU and EU strengthening their relations should be given due consideration.

The departing Belgian Ambassador, Hughes Chantry stated on his part that his country is ready to expand its political relations with Ethiopia into economic cooperation.

Ambassador Chantry indicated that Belgian investors have invested in civil engineering, textile, floriculture and agro-possessing sectors, among others, in Ethiopia.

He said more than 50 Belgian businesspersons will come to Ethiopia in October to explore the possibility of investing in the country.

Belgium would continue extending assistance to Ethiopia in its endeavors in technical and education spheres, the departing ambassador added.



Ethiopia on course to maintain robust growth, says IMF


Addis Ababa : July 20, 2015 –
Ethiopia is on track for GDP growth of 8.7% this fiscal year the International Monetary Fund said in its latest assessment of the East African nation’s economy.

The multilateral forecast growth to slip slightly to about 8% in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

“Ethiopia’s state-led development model has delivered rapid and broad-based growth over many years,” said Andrea Richter Hume, who led a recent IMF mission to the country.

“It has also reduced poverty significantly, while keeping inequality low,” she added. The IMF says Ethiopia’s outlook remains “highly favorable, reflecting its significant economic potential and productivity-enhancing investments and reforms.”

The IMF did inject a note of caution, pointing out that Ethiopia’s growth has been driven largely by public investment.

In order to generate sustained rapid and inclusive growth, “the private sector will need to play an increasing role,” the organization urged.

The team also recommended Ethiopia increase revenue tax collection, as Ethiopia’s tax-to-GDP ratio remains below the regional average, and that the pace of public investment should remain consistent with macroeconomic stability–and allow for more credit to flow to the private sector.

Stressing the importance of maintaining debt sustainability, the team recommended Ethiopia consider innovative forms of financing, “such as private-public partnerships,” Richter Hume said.

Ethiopia’s progress hasn’t been without difficulties, she noted. Its exports were hit not only by lower worldwide commodities prices, but by the impact of Ebola on travel receipts.

“However, a strong pick-up in foreign direct investment and foreign disbursements to state-owned enterprises allowed gross international reserves to increase modestly,” she said.

Ethiopia has managed to maintain inflation in single digits, though food prices are pushing it toward 10%. For that reason, she said, the IMF team recommended a cautious monetary policy stance, “with particular attention paid to core inflation.”



Berhane “We Give Investors Full Guarantee and Security”


Berhane “We Give Investors Full Guarantee and Security”Addis Ababa : July 20, 2015 –
Ethiopian State Minister, Ambassador Berhane paid a working visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the week.

In Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, Ambassador Berhane conferred with his counterpart, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom, His Excellency Dr. Nizar Bin Oumed Medeni and discussed on bilateral and regional issues.

Ethiopian State Minister Berhane highlighted that there is more reason that dictate the convergence of the interest of both countries. He said what Saudi does good for its own.

State Minister Berhane also held discussions with ‪Jeddah‬ -based investors interested to know about investment potential and opportunities in ‪#‎Ethiopia‬ in hotel, agriculture, medicine and information technology sectors.

Ambassador Berhane briefed them on the untapped potential in the mentioned sectors and opportunities and incentives provided by the Government of Ethiopia for foreign investors.

Ambassador Berhane especially indicated to them that Ethiopia’s law, its bilateral cooperation with the kingdom of Saudi and the fact that Ethiopia is a member of ‪‎MIGA‬ gives investors full guarantee and security and hence are welcome to Ethiopia to see the situation for them.



Iceland Wants Investors to Engage in Geothermal Energy Development in Ethiopia


Iceland Wants Investors to Engage in Geothermal Energy Dev't in EthiopiaAddis Ababa , July 18 , 2015 –
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland said his government will support investors from Iceland to engage in the development of geothermal energy in Ethiopia.

Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson visited the Aluto-Langano Geothermal Power Plant yesterday as well as held discussion with his Ethiopian counterpart, Dr Tedros Adhanom.

Sveinsson on the occasion told ENA that “like my country, Ethiopia has abundant geothermal energy potential.  Hence, my government will support investors from Iceland to exploit this potential.”

Reykjavik Geothermal Ltd (RG), an Icelandic Company, which engaged in the development of geothermal energy in Ethiopia with 4 billion USD, is on processes to generate 1, 000 MW, he said.

With its durable peace and security, Ethiopia is conducive for investment, he said.

Sveinsson further said his country will further strengthen its partnership with Ethiopia for the sustainability of the country’s ongoing leading role in green growth strategy.

The Minister, who came to Ethiopia to attend the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), also pointed out his country’s interest to open Embassy here in Ethiopia.

State Minister of Mines, Dr. Alemu Lema, on his part said the private sector should participate widely to utilize Ethiopia’s minerals resource potential, mainly renewable energy resources.

According to Dr. Alemu, companies from Israel and England are on exploration activities to engage in the development of geothermal energy.



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