Derba Cement, one of the subsidiary companies of MIDROC Ethiopia, is to undertake a massive expansion project at its cement plant in Derba at a cost of 300 million dollars.
Haile Assegidie, CEO of Derba Cement, told The Reporter that his company is planning to build a second plant in Derba, near Chancho town, 80 km north-west of Addis Ababa. Haile said the planned second plant will have an installed capacity of producing 25 million quintals of cement annually.
According to Haile, the total cost of the second plant is estimated at 250-300 million dollars. The construction will take 18-24 months. “Once we finalize the negotiations and an sign agreement with the contactor and the financiers it will take us a maximum of 24 months to finalize the construction of the second plant,” Haile told The Reporter.
Derba Cement had built the first cement plant at a cost of 351 million dollars. The first plant has an annual production capacity of 25 million quintals. Haile said the factory is currently producing and selling 20 million tons of cement annually. “We do not produce for six hours everyday because of power interruption. But since Gilgel Gibe III started generation we believe that the problem will be resolved,” Haile said.
Derba Cement is holding talks with the Chinese construction firm—China National Building Materials Company— which had built the first cement plant. The first plant was inaugurated by the late prime minister Meles Zenawi and Sheik Mohammed Hussein Ali Alamoudi, owner and chairman of MIDROC Ethiopia in February 2012. Derba Cement played a major role in stabilizing the sky-rocketing cement price at that time. “Everybody knows the situation in the cement market before we started production,” Haile said.
Back then the Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire, Mohammed Al Amoudi, invested 100 million dollars in the Derba Cement project. The remaining 251 million dollars was secured in the form of loan from the Development Bank of Ethiopia, International Financial Corp (IFC), the World Bank Group investment arm, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank.
Haile said that his company is negotiating with the same financial institutions to secure financing for the construction of the second plant.
At the moment there are 20 cement factories in Ethiopia with a total annual production capacity of 15 million tons. The country’s annual cement consumption stands at nine million tons
Asked how Derba intends to build a second plant while there is an excess production capacity, Haile said his company would be cost efficient if it uses the existing infrastructure like operation line, road and houses. “We have to be cost leaders. If We are cost leaders then we will be price leaders,” Haile said.
With regard to the fierce market competition, Haile said the situation will change in the coming few years. “If we successfully implement the second GTP, the demand for cement will increase and the market situation will change for the better.”
Derba also has a gypsum manufacturing plant with an installed capacity of 2000 quintals per day. Furthermore, it to be remembered that Derba had imported 1000 Volvo trucks at total cost of 200 million dollars.
Ethiopia top investment destination for Turkey in Africa: Amb. Ulusoy
Ambassador Fatih Ulusoy said Ethiopia has so far attracted 2.5 billon US dollars of the total 6 billon US dollars Turkish foreign direct investment in Africa.
The two countries have also strong trade relation and Ethiopia is Turkey’s number four trading partner among African countries, he added.
Flag carries of the two countries, Ethiopian Airlines and Turkish Airways, fly daily to Istanbul and Addis Ababa thus facilitating their trade relations, Ulusoy stated.
The ambassador noted that his government is committed to further consolidate the current economic partnership with Ethiopia and successive dialogues are underway with government of Ethiopia to attract more Turkish investment.
In terms of diplomatic ties, the ambassador said Ethiopia and Turkey have enjoyed a long-lasting relation in that Addis Ababa hosted the oldest Turkish embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The ambassador appreciated the role Ethiopia has been playing to restore peace and stability in Somalia and pledged to work together with Ethiopia to ensure peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and to fight terrorism in the region.
Ulusoy said both Ethiopia and Turkey host a large number of refugees and expressed his government’s desire to cooperate with Ethiopia to improve the condition of the refugees.
Turkish business groups that have invested in Ethiopia have also the desire to support the current drought victims in the country, according to the ambassador.
Ethiopia’s bid to join the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATIA) has come close to be finalized as the Houses of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) on Tuesday reviewed a draft bill that stipulates membership terms for the country when joining the continental insurance organization.
The draft bill, which was submitted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), cited as an Agreement Establishing the African Trade Insurance Agency Ratification Proclamation was said to enable the country’s insurance companies and other institutions benefit from the special insurance services that the agency offers.
ATI is an insurance agency that guarantees trade and investment between member African countries. It now has 40 member states and investments worth 17 billion dollars in Africa.
According to the draft bill, MoFEC will be given the power and the responsibility to implement the agreement in cooperation with the concerned government organs.
While presenting the draft bill, deputy government whip, Amanuel Abrha, told MPs that the government has already signed the loan agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB), in the amount of 7.5 million birr, to finance the minimum financial requirement set by the Agency to acquire membership.
After reviewing, the House referred the bill to the Budget and Finance Standing committee with no major queries from MPs.
Following the MPs endorsement, the Deputy Whip immediately presented one more draft bill which proposed the ratification of the aforementioned loan agreement that the government secured to cover the ATI financial requirement to acquire minimum share.
According to the deputy whip, the loan agreement between MoFEC and the African Development fund was signed in November 2015 and is set to be paid in 30 years at zero interest.
He said that membership in the agency will give the country’s trade sector an insurance access, promotes the trade and creates competitive trade capacity that can enhance local production and export.
While requesting the House’s endorsement, he also underlined that since the loan is interest free with longer period of payment time, it is compatible with the country’s debt management strategy.
The House also referred this bill to the same standing committee for further revision.
Political and trade risks are insurance products beyond the capacity of national insurance companies as they require a huge amount of money.
Once Ethiopia obtains full membership of the ATI it is entitled to receive dividends from the profits of the agency and ATI could collect premiums from companies in the country after selling political and trade products.
According to the ratification document, ATI was established in 2000 after African heads of state got convinced that the institution’s establishment would increase the availability of financial resources for trade, investment and other productive activities and reduce the cost of trade finance in the continent by mitigating associated political, non-commercial and commercial risks.
Initially, it was launched with the financial and technical support of the World Bank and the backing of seven African countries. The African Development Bank recently joined as shareholder and partner by funding countries to join ATI.
Since 2003, it claims that it has supported over $17 billion worth of trade and investments across the continent, secured an investment grade rating of ‘A’ from Standard & Poor’s, and expanded membership with plans to attract even more African member countries and international financial institutions in the near term.
Horticulture generates over $185 mln in 8 months
The plan was to obtain over 269 million US dollars. However, the income surpassed by 17 percent compared to the same period the previous year, Alem Weldegrima, director general of EHDA told ENA.
Flower takes the lion’s share of the export earnings, generating more than 150 million US dollars, followed by vegetables (30 million US dollars) and fruit (3.6 million US Dollars), Alem stated.
According to the director, the agency failed to attain its target due to prices fall at the global market, inadequate land supply and other limitations.
The agency is working jointly with regional states, stakeholders and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so as to expand overseas horticulture market destinations and to boost the income from the sector, he said.
Implementation of Kaizen in Ethiopian companies’ daily work flow has resulted in cost reductions across production line in the manufacturing sector by half-a-billion dollars, equivalent to some two billion birr, it was learnt. Kaizen is a Japanese management philosophy on continued improvement in quality, which is sponsored by the government of Japan.
Getahun Tadesse, director general of the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute (EKI), said that since Kaizen had become a norm in the manufacturing sector, mainly for exporting firms, sugar plants and housing construction it has enabled both private and public enterprises to effectively reduce costs in the past five years.
Hosting delegates from 12 African countries and organizing a Kaizen knowledge sharing seminar here, which was held from March 23 to 25, EKI has demonstrated how far Ethiopia has traveled with the Japanese model. Getahun, while presenting the outcome of his institution boldly said that Ethiopia is keen to become the third country next to Japan and South Korea to follow suit in implementing Kaizen in everyday life.
The director-general said that Kaizen has entered into its second phase in Ethiopia after achieving basic Kaizen. According to Getahun, Ethiopia has customized the philosophy and trained professionals to become experts in the Kaizen systems. Basic Kaizen mostly focuses on changing and suiting the working environment, which in turn enable employees to take part in the decision-making processes.
The second level of Kaizen, according to Getahun, is a bit advanced than the basic one. It concentrates on creating an innovative system, which might include formulation of policy, ensuring quality, production and cost management and the like. Currently, the country is moving towards the second stage of Kaizen implementation where EKI has initiated a Master’s degree program to pursue the advancement. In the coming two years PhD graduates of Kaizen will join the workforce in Ethiopia, Getahun said. He added that 108 MSc and five PhD candidates are expected to graduate in 2017.
In the coming five years Kaizen is expected to expand to the services sector, energy and power generation and distribution, taxes and customs, logistics and transportations, water management and the like, Getahun said.
Go Shimada (PhD), associate professor of international economics at the University of Shizuoka in his interview with The Reporter said that Ethiopia needs to carefully balance the fresh graduates with the vacant posts in Kaizen. The professor said that Africa and Ethiopia in particular need a structural shift in their industry sector for the economy to flourish.
Professor Shimada recalled how it was challenging to introduce Kaizen to the public and private sectors. However, together with Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Professor Shimada said that it was Meles who masterminded and eased the introduction of Kaizen in Ethiopia.
Kazuhiro Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia, said that Ethiopia has become a center of excellence in Africa. He mentioned that it was the US that introduced Kaizen to Japan after the Second World War. “The American management and quality control training method was modified and altered to suit the business environment in Japan. That was indeed Kaizen in a Japanese way,” the ambassador said.
He added that Africa should remodel and improve Japan’s Kaizen to meet the requirements of the continent. He even suggested that countries in Africa could adopt Kaizen and name it “Africkaizen” or “Kaizen in Africa”.
Ethio Telecom bags close to 11 bln birr gross profit
The revenue earned in the reported period has also shown a 33 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Encouraging results were registered in terms of increasing number of subscribers as well as expansion and provision of quality telecom services, Abdurahim Ahmed, Corporate Communication Director at ET told journalists today.
In the first half, Ethio Telecom managed to raise the number of its total clients to 43.6 million, though the plan was 48.5 million, Abdurahim said.
According to the director, the number of cell phone subscribers and internet data users has also reached 42.3 million and 12.4 million, respectively.
By Shaheda Hussen
The Endowment Fund for Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) has contracted a Chinese engineering company— ECE Engineering Corporation—for the construction of the first ever PVC resin (Polyvinyl Chloride) manufacturing plant at cost of five billion birr (USD 250 million at current exchange rates) in Arato locality of Mekelle city, the capital of the Tigray Regional State.
The EPC contract that was signed yesterday at Sheraton Addis came after a long process of bidding starting from 2012. Ever since, the project has retendered a couple of times to finally land a contract with the ECE, which in turn agreed to deliver the project in time frame of 30 months starting from the commencement of the project.
The plant is estimated to have an installed capacity of 60,000 tons of PVC resin per year which varied in quality grading from SG1 to SG8. Apart from that, the chemical manufacturing complex would also have a host of other side production lines that includes Chlorine alkali plant, Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) plant, PVC pant, water treatment plant, waste management plant and few others.
Azeb Mesfin, CEO of EFFORT and widow of the late Prime Minister, predicts that upon completion of the project the value that will be created would boost the overall net worth of the endowment conglomerate greatly.
PVC resin is one critical industrial chemical that is in great demand both domestically and abroad. According to experts, the chemical is strategic for manufacturers especially among plastic manufacturing plants in Ethiopia. Currently, a considerable foreign exchange is devoted to import this product, especially from oil producing countries as since it could also be made from distilled petroleum.
The solid form of PVC is highly employed in the contraction process as liquid pipe while liquid form is also useful for electric cable coating and related production processes.
Azeb said that the idea to establish the plant is that of her husband’s and that she is very happy to see the project coming to fruition. She also indicted that SUR and Mesfin Engineering will both have a role to play in the construction process and successful completion of the project.
The project site is known to be highly endowed with limestone which is key for PVC resin manufacturing plant.
Ethiopia distributing seeds to farmers
According to Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of National Disaster Risk Management Commission, the distribution helps farmers to develop crops using Belg rains.
This would help to significantly reduce the number of people in need of food aid, he said.
The drought which occurred last year in both Meher and Belg growing areas has left 10.2 million people without food.
The government of Ethiopia is the largest financial contributors to the drought so far and also leads in the coordination of a complex inter-sector response.
It has so far committed 766 million US dollars. All the 222,000 tonnes of grain which Ethiopia has purchased to mitigate the effect of the drought have arrived at home.
The country is also importing additional 405,000 tonnes, according to Mitiku.
A total of 1.4 billion US dollars is required to feed the 10.2 million people affected by the drought until the end of 2016.
Humanitarian partners have yesterday launched a 90-day campaign to raise awareness on the urgent need for an additional funding for the drought.
Ethiopia, Venezuela sign agreements
On the Ethiopian side, Ambassador Berhane Gebrekirstos, with the rank on Minister Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and on the Venezuelan side, Prof. Reinaldo Bolivar, a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Africa in the Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs, signed the accords.
During the signing ceremony, Ambassador Berhane Gebrekirstos expressed Ethiopia’s willingness to strengthen bilateral relations with Venezuela based on this agreement signed.
Ambassador also said that Venezuela played a key role for the relations between Latin America and Africa, which is being implemented by the South-South Cooperation Forum.
Ethiopia, as founding member of the African Union, had struggled for the independence of many African countries and now is working in a committed way for the peace and stability of Africa. The country is also committed to Africa and Venezuela, in particular, and to Latin America in general.
The Special Envoy explained the fact that Ethiopia has contributed around 20,000 peace keepers to make sure the Horn of Africa region and Africa have peace and stability.
The Ambassador also indicated the objective of his visit to Venezuela is to deliver the letter from the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
For his part, Prof. Reinaldo Bolivar expressed his delight in the signing of the agreements and he conveyed his best wishes to the Prime Minister, government officials and the people of Ethiopia on behalf of President Nicolas Maduro Moros and Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodríguez.
He also said that Ethiopia is the oldest independent country that is a symbol of freedom because it fought European invaders and stayed independent.
The agreements signed are only the beginning to continue the collaboration in all the possible sectors.
Prof. Reinaldo Bolivar also said the Ethiopian government is doing well in economic developments, infrastructure, telecommunication, and housing for the benefit of the people.
Although the countries are distant geographically, they have similarities in struggling for the benefit of their people and the stand on global climatic change they take on international fora.
Most importantly, their similarities are that they do not import measures or foreign policies but implement those created by themselves.
Also during his visit, Ambassador Berhane Gebrekirstos had discussions with Venezuelan Vice President Aristóbulo Istúriz and Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodríguez on bilateral, multilateral, political and regional issues.
Ethiopia, Sudan to elevate economic cooperation
Sudan’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Badr-Eddin Mahmoud, affirmed his country’s keenness to strengthen economic ties with Ethiopia and to employ the opportunities of coordination in the field of joint ventures and the projects of linkage through roads and railways for the benefit of the two countries.
The minister expressed, during a meeting Sunday at his office with the Ethiopian Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Abdulaziz Mohamed, Sudan’s desire to increase the electricity import from Ethiopia and benefiting from the increase Ethiopia’s electricity production.
The Ethiopian Minister of Finance underlined his country’s concern with development of bilateral relations in the economic and banking fields as well as the exchange of expertise and experience in the field of financial management and tax collection.,
Abdulaziz revealed that his visit to Sudan targeted strengthening and development of cooperation between the finance ministries of the two countries relations besides taking advantage of opportunities of socio-economic similarities for the development of relations in the economic, financial and banking fields.
The meeting discussed ways to increase opportunities for cooperation in the use of ports and strengthening of connectivity through roads, railways and establishment of a free trade zone between the two countries as well as the exchange of experience in the tax, banking i and economic fields.
It was also agreed to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries in the framework of the cooperation protocol between them for the interests of the two countries.
Ethiopia, Russia agree to cement bilateral ties, cooperate on continental, global issues
A high level Ethiopian government delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen is on a working visit to the Russian Federation.
During his visit, Demeke handed over a letter sent to President Vladimir Putin from Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, to the President’s Special Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov.
The delegation discussed with Russian officials on current bilateral ties between the two countries as well as on cooperation on continental and global issues, including peace and security.
The delegation also conferred with Russian Federation’s Minister of Education, the President’s Special Advisor for Science and Education, as well as with heads of various science and technology institutions.
Moreover, the delegation held discussion with Ethiopian and foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin living in Moscow and its environs.
The discussion mainly focused on the outcomes gained from the seven-month implementation of the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) and government’s response to the El Nino induced drought.
The delegation also briefed Ethiopians on measures taken by the government in partnership with the public to calm down the violence occurred in some zones and woredas of Oromia and Kimant community in Amhara as well as on the ongoing good governance campaign.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke and members of the delegation gave answers and explanations for the questions and comments forwarded by the participants.
Agency quits offering land for large scale agricultural investments
The agency made the decision until problems related to overlapping in the granting of land, provision of loans and investors’ capabilities and profiles are addressed, Daniel Zenebe, Public Relations Director at the EAILAA, told FBC yesterday.
According to Daniel, 43 plots of land with various sizes were given overlapping last year. What makes the situation worse is that two investors who were granted a plot of land borrowed money each to develop the land.
The other problem is lack of adequate information on the capability and profile of investors who were offered land and loan.
BHO, an Indian company, which was offered 89 million birr loan, dispread after developing less than 3,000 of the total 27,000 hectares of land it was granted in Gambella regional state.
Moreover, 98, 800 hectares of land was retaken from the Indian Karuturi, because the company managed to develop only 1,200 hectares in the past after receiving 100, 000 hectares of land in the same regional state.
According to Daniel, these are indicators for the unsuccessfulness of the sector.
Hence, the agency quitted providing land for large scale agricultural investment until these problems are solved, he said.
In related development, the Development Bank of Ethiopia also gave up offering loan for large scale agricultural investments until problems in the sector are addressed, Isaias Bahire, the bank’s President said.
During the past five years, the bank offered 6 billion birr loan for investors engaged in the sector, according to Isaias.
Ethiopia earns over $1.7 billion from tourism in 6 months
The income was generated from more than 470,000 foreign tourists, Gezahegn Abate, Public Relations and International Affairs Director at the ministry told EBC yesterday.
Ethiopia targeted to attract 2 million foreign tourists and obtain 6 billion US dollars by the end of the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) period.
Owing to the due attention paid by the government for tourism industry and promotions carried out by Ethiopian embassies and consuls, the number of visitors is increasing from time to time, Gezahegn said.
He further said infrastructural development and expansion of hotels at tourist destinations also played their part for the increasing number of tourist flow to Ethiopia in the first half of the budget year.
According to the Director, more than 200 Ethiopian Diapora are currently engaged in hotel industry.
Foreign tourists stay for 16 days on average in Ethiopia and spend 234 US dollars per day.
ERA awards contract for construction of Nekemte-Bure road with 5.7 billion birr
According to the agreement, the contractors will upgrade the 257km gravel road to asphalt concrete, and manage and repair it after construction.
The contract, which spans a total of 8 years (3 years for upgrading and 5 years for management and rehabilitation) was signed with a Spanish and two Indian contractors.
Director General of Ethiopian Roads Authority, Araya Girmay, and representatives of the contractors signed the contract for the road to be built with the stated amount of budget secured from the World Bank on loan.
Ethiopia hopeful of UNSC non-permanent seat
Ethiopia’s probability of getting a seat at UNSC is high as it was backed by all members of the African Union (AU) and many other European and Asian countries, he told ENA.
Acquiring a seat at UNSC will enable Ethiopia to better acquaint the UN on issues pertaining to the Horn of Africa in particular and the African Continent at large, the Premier said.
Ethiopia is trying to bring about stability in the region as it is of paramount importance for the peaceful development of the country, Hailemariam added.
“Our presence in the UN Security Council is very essential for the Continent and for the Horn of Africa. That’s why Ethiopia is striving to go for the seat,” he said.
Ethiopia’s candidature for a non-permanent membership at the UN Security Council was endorsed at the 26th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit held in Addis Ababa in January 2016.
Ethiopia, a significant contributor of troops to UN peace keeping missions, second in the world, has already began a campaign for a seat at the UNSC.
Regarding good governance, the Premier urged the public to scale up efforts in the ongoing campaign against ill governance.
Taking good governance issues as its own agenda, the public is currently acting in the sense of ownership to tackle the problem and this, allowed the government to register an outcome, he said.
Good governance issues are public agenda and the people are therefore expected to strengthen their participation in depth on the agenda.
Research based evaluation was carried out on the magnitude of bad governance, he recalled, adding the efforts carried out to make good governance issues as a public agenda was successful.
The people need to actively participate in the campaign so as to make the outcomes achieved now sustainable, the Premier stated.
Integrating the public’s ongoing fight against ill governance with government’s commitment to instill good governance is crucial to reliably address the problem, he said.
Solar energy comes slowly out of the shadows in Ethiopia
While this huge dam being built on the Blue Nile is getting all the attention, the country is also embarking on other ambitious electricity projects to catch up with the needs of its nearly 100-million people. Most of them live in rural areas that have little or no access to the national grid.
Bizuneh Tolcha, communications director at the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE), said the country was now focusing on solar energy.
Despite the country’s official tourism brochure boasting of its “13 months of sunshine”, the expansion of solar energy has lagged behind hydro and wind energy until now.
Ethiopia follows a unique calendar system, and so it literally does have 13 months in a year, most of them very sunny.
Under its ambitious Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II) for 2015-2020, it has plans to increase its electricity generation capacity from the current 4, 400 MW to around 17, 300 MW, most of it from wind, geothermal and hydro energy.
Bizuneh said within this plan the Ethiopian government sees the construction of three solar power plants, each generating 100 MW as one of the basic aims.
“We’ve already designated sites in three areas of eastern Ethiopia for the solar project, and have issued a tender bid for construction of 100 MW each solar project on an Independent Power Producer basis” he says.
The winning companies are expected to take responsibility of the projects from design to commissioning and then have to manage them. They will sell the energy to the government at a negotiated price.
The projects could start by the second half of 2016. Government has roughly estimated that each 100 MW solar project would cost $180-million.
While the government is thinking of grander projects, others in the industry favor solar energy for its scalable advantage and it greater accessibility for rural people.
Samson Tsegaye, the country director of Solar Foundation, a company which has been active for the last ten years delivering solar home systems to the four most populous regions of Ethiopia – Southern region, Oromia, Tigray and Amhara – said about 82 percent of rural people live far from the national grid and so need these solar home systems.
While the government allows solar products to enter the country duty free, Solar Foundation is also urging it to encourage financial institutions to lend to firms engaged in assembling and distributing solar products. So far just one local company, Metal and Engineering Corporation, produces solar panels although it hasn’t yet started producing solar accessories like cables.
Samson said there was a lack of qualified, trained technicians and professionals to properly install solar equipment.
His organization distributes a range of solar home systems, from 1 watt generators that can light a lantern, to 100 watt generators that can power a mobile phone, TV or radio.
“We’ve disseminated around 30,000 different solar lighting systems besides other activities like systems for health clinics, lighting for schools, water pumping systems and the like” he says, adding that up to 200,000 people have benefited from it.
He said it’s difficult to produce reliable energy from wind. The cost of hydro power per kilowatt hour is really small whereas the initial investment in solar energy is very high which makes it expensive for the consumer at first. But over the long run it becomes much cheaper, because good solar plants can last for 25 years and maintenance costs are low.
Bizuneh said solar energy won’t get the same official attention as hydro and wind energy. Even so, his ministry has distributed tens of thousands of solar home systems to every region of Ethiopia, especially to women, who traditionally are expected to do household chores that need energy and lighting.
He adds that the government is keen on exploiting the complementarity between solar and hydro power.
“Hydro power works best during the rainy season when reservoirs can be filled to utmost capacity, while solar power is, the opposite, working best during the dry season. So it can act as a plug against power shortage especially in the age of climate change,” said Bizuneh.
However, the government is also looking at other less conventional energy solutions like thermal energy, 420 MW of which it proposes in its GTP II plan. This would include using wood cleared from the vicinity of the GERD dam as fuel.
Wondewossen Tadesse, a farmer and father of six, living in Mesela, a rural area in eastern Ethiopia, says he’s getting good use from the home solar system he bought. It powers his phone radio, mobile phone and solar lantern.
The government hopes to include farmers like Wondewossen in its ambitious plan to increase electricity access from the current 2.3-million households to nearly seven-million by 2020.
Construction of four tunnels underway at Mekele-Woldia-Hara Gebeya railway project
The 216 km railway project is progressing as per scheduled and is now 28 percent complete, according to the Corporation.
Engineer Temesgen Animaw, project manager of Mekelle-Woldia-Hara Gebeya railway line, said the construction of the tunnels is underway for 24 hours in a day.
According to him, the tunnels have a 4.5 meter width and a 7.9 meter height.
Dereje Tefera, Communication Affairs Head at the Ethiopian Railways Corporation, said track laying on the railway line could be started within a few months.
Erection of a factory, which could manufacture 1,000 concrete sleepers per day, has been commenced for the railway project.
More than 2,600 people are currently participating in the project, it was noted.
Cereal production tripled in Ethiopia: The Economist
Cereal production has tripled in Ethiopia between 2000 and 2014, although a severe drought associated with the current El Niño made for a poor harvest last year.
Beginning in the 1960s, governments frequently imposed price controls, reducing what farmers could earn. And in some places, Ethiopia, farmers were subjected to oppressive command-and-control regimes that sapped their will to work.
“We lost two and a half to three decades,” says Ousmane Badiane of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
In Ethiopia, where land is formally owned by the state, farmers’ rights to cultivate it and rent it out have been clarified. That reform, combined with a change to family law, seems to have increased women’s control.
See more at: http://www.economist.com/
Erection of sleepers manufacturing plant for Mekele-Woldia railway project begins
The factory has the capacity to manufacture 1,000 sleepers in a day.
Mekele-Woldia railway project is now 28 percent complete, according to Dereje Tefera, ERC’s Corporate Communication Affairs Head.
The 216km railway line passes through Amhara, Afar and Tigray regional states.
The project is going well and as per scheduled, Dereje said.
Works are also underway to manufacture segmental bridges.
The three years and a half project has so far created jobs for over 2,000 people and the number could raise to 6,000 in the future, it was indicated.
Agricultural Works Corporation established with 2.4 bn birr capital
The corporation was established jointly by five enterprises, namely, Ethiopian Seed, Natural Gum Processing and Marketing, Agricultural Inputs Supply, Agricultural Mechanization Service and Agricultural Equipment and Technical Service enterprises.
The establishment of the Corporation has a significant contribution to modernize the agricultural sector, Kefyalew Berhanu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Corporation said.
Heavy truck assembly plant inaugurated
The plant has the capacity to assembly 1,000 trucks per annum by importing manufactured parts from Germany.
The factory, which is the first of its kind for the country, helps to save foreign exchange, Habtom Hadush, General Manager of Mesfin Industrial Engineering Plc, said at the inaugural ceremony.
Deputy Chief Administrator of Tigray Regional State, Ambassador Dr Adissalem Balema, said Mesfin Industrial Engineering Plc is a pioneer company in establishing various factories in the regional state.
“The factory inaugurated today helps to create knowledge and technology transfer for local compatriots,” he added.
Mesfin Industrial Engineering Plc assembles the trucks in collaboration with German’s MAN Truck & Bus AG Company.
The factory is also undertaking expansion project which would enable it to raise its annual production capacity to 3,000 trucks.
The expansion project will be completed within nine months.
Some 28 people handed up to 21 years rigorous imprisonment for trying to establish Islamic State
They were active to create a terror front in East Africa in partnership with al-Qaeda and Al-Shabab, groups designated as terrorist organizations globaly and by the House of people’s Representatives of Ethiopia, the charges filed against them indicated.
After receiving terror training since 2003, they joined al-Qaeda’s Al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia after three years in 2006.
They fought alongside Al-Shabab in various parts of Somalia as well as have been fighting against African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).
They have been plotting a terrorist attack since 2011 EC under the banner “Harektul Shebabel Mujahdin Fi Bildel” and by creating contact with various individual and terror groups at home and abroad.
The defendants were unable to defend themselves.
Hence, the Federal High Court 19th Criminal Bench sentenced the defendants from four and 10 months up to 21 years in prison.
Ethiopia unveils new tourism brand “Land of Origins”
Ethiopia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Engineer Aisha Mohammed, is in attendance of the tourism trade fair, where she gave a press conference on Ethiopia’s tourism potential and opportunities.
Ethiopia’s traditional coffee was served to participants of the leading travel trade show which attracted 185 countries and 10,000 exhibitors.
The ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) is the world’s largest tourism trade fair.
The companies represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies.
Ethio telecom selects ZTE to deploy 100G backbone in western, southern Ethiopia
The 100G DWDM/OTN infrastructure will raise transmission capacity ten-fold and help Ethio telecom develop 3G, LTE and broadband services, ZTE’s press release reads.
Ethio telecom is an integrated telecommunication service provider in Ethiopia, providing fixed line, mobile and internet services.
With rapid development of 2G, 3G, LTE, fixed line voice and broadband services, Ethio telecom needs to deploy a large-capacity national transmission backbone network to meet high-bandwidth requirements.
The 100G DWDM/OTN transport solution being supplied by ZTE integrates intelligent WASON (WDM automatic switch optical network) and polarization-division multiplexing quadrature phase shift keying (PM-QPSK) modulation, coherent reception and software decision forward error correction (SD-FEC) key technologies.
The press release adds that the new backbone ‘will be built to achieve a large-capacity OTN cross, optical network intelligent scheduling and ultra-long distance transmission’, helping Ethio telecom respond to the development and evolution of future business.
Ethiopia to double coffee export
The Conference, which was opened yesterday under the theme “Nurturing Coffee Culture and Diversity,” attracted over 1,000 international coffee producers, buyers, decision makers, private sector representatives and international agencies.
The highly successful two-day event discussed trends, challenges and proposed solutions for coffee industry and climate change.
Tefera Deribew, Minister of Farming and Natural Resource, on the occasion said Ethiopia would double its coffee export over the coming five years.
Moreover, efforts will be made to boost income of coffee farmers, he stated.
The conference created a good opportunity to promote Ethiopia’s coffee, heritages, history and positive image, he added.
Ethiopian Coffee Exporters’ Association Board President, Hussein Agraw, said the conference allowed actors in the coffee industry to conduct business-to-business talks, create market link and share experiences.
Ethiopia, Brazil sign MoU to promote bilateral trade, investment
The signing of the MoU came following the visit of the Foreign Minister of Brazil to Ethiopia.
In the event, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, noted the historic relationship between Ethiopia and Brazil and hoped that this relationship would strengthen in the future.
Recalling that the two countries had signed agreements on several areas of cooperation, Dr. Tedros emphasized on the need to work towards ensuring their successful implementation, adding that the two countries should cooperate more on areas of trade and investment, particularly in the fields of aircraft and pharmaceutical cooperation, and automobile manufacturing.
He then briefed the delegation on Ethiopia’s efforts in the region and its role as IGAD’s Chair in the process of promoting regional peace and stability.
Expressing the country’s long standing commitment and active role in the UN and African peace keeping operations, Dr. Tedros also related Ethiopia’s bid for a non permanent membership at the UNSC and called for Brazil’s endorsement.
Ambassador Mauro Vieira thanked the Minister for having him and stated both countries have significant roles to play in their respective regions.
Ambassador Vieira noted the two countries should continue working on areas of trade and investment, noting that the Ethio-Brazil business seminar should be seen as the first step towards a higher level of business and investment partnership.
He further commended Ethiopia’s immense role in the peace keeping process and its peace and development efforts in the region.
In a related development, the Ethio-Brazil Business Meeting opened today at Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
The Business Meeting was attended by Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Tedros Adhanom, and his Brazilian counterpart, Ambassador Mauro Viera as well as members of the business community drawn from the two countries.
Dr. Tedros noted that the Ethio-Brazil Meeting offers the opportunity for Brazilian companies to invest in Ethiopia, a country on the rise.
Foreign Minister of Brazil, Ambassador Mauro Viera, pointed out that the two countries should increase their economic ties and continue working on areas of trade and investment.
He emphasized the Ethio-Brazil Business Meeting is the first step towards achieving a higher level of business and investment partnership between the two countries.
Taking note of the fact that Brazil is among the top ten economies in the world and one of the players in the BRICS, Dr. Arkebe Ekubay, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister with a ministerial portfolio, presented some key points on why Brazilian companies should invest in Ethiopia.
He highlighted Ethiopia’s large population size, the country’s focus on infrastructure and energy, the huge work force and Human resource development in the country among others.
Dr. Arkebe also encouraged Brazilian investors to focus on the manufacturing sector, aircraft, vehicles and machinery and leather production industry and livestock sectors.
He assured the investors that the country is both politically and economically stable and emphasized that this is time to boost the economic ties between the two countries.
The Ethio-Brazil Business Meeting also included a couple more presentation sessions from the Department of Trade Promotion and Investments of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Rodrigo de Azerdo Santos and members of the Ethiopian and Brazilian business community.
Ethiopia to implement integrated anti-corruption strategy
The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) is discussing with heads of institutions on ways of implementing the strategy.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, who was present at the discussion, said the strategy is needed to curtail corruption, which is complex in its nature.
The new plan helps to prevent corruption by taking into consideration the nature of the institutions, he added.
Federal Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commissioner, Ali Suliman, said his commission will collaborate with stakeholders for the success of the plan.
According to him, the strategy will enable to reduce the potential for waste of public and government property as well as to identify and bring corrupt individuals to justice.
Ethiopia mulls to guarantee equal benefit of actors in coffee industry
The Conference attracted more than 1,000 international coffee producers, buyers, decision makers, private sector representatives and international agencies.
In his opening remark, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, said Ethiopia is ready to put in place coffee development and marketing system which guarantees equal benefit of actors in the coffee industry.
He said coffee development and marketing system should benefit coffee farmers.
Ethiopia, which is the origin of coffee, is the principal beneficiary from coffee export. Coffee accounts 25 percent of the total export earnings of the country, he said.
More than 4 million farmers are also dependent on coffee production and marketing, the Premier added.
Hence, the country is working to increase its benefit from the sector by establishing institutions and designing strategies which boost coffee productivity, he stated.
Ethiopia and Uganda are the only nations from the 25 coffee exporting African countries, with no decline in coffee productivity; he said, attributing this to the due attention Ethiopia has given to the sector.
According to the Premier, Ethiopia has set a target of becoming the second largest coffee producing country in the world within the coming five to seven years.
Hailemariam expressed his hope that the Conference will discuss on how to solve the many challenges of the coffee industry.
Africa’s vulnerability to climate change and coffee price volatility should end, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr Erastus Mwencha, said.
In a related development, some 53 companies and unions engaged in coffee production and processing staged exhibition at the Conference.
Ethiopia’s sugar project gets $200 million finance from Israel’s bank
The finance will be provided as buyers’ credit, fully guaranteed by the government of Ethiopia, in tranches against milestones in the project, and will be transferred directly to Netafim as payment for exports.
The government sugar company will repay the credit over 9.5 years, and the repayment risk is insured by a consortium of insurance companies that includes Ashra Israel Export Insurance Corp. Ltd. and international insurance companies with high credit ratings.
Netafim is a world leading company in smart irrigation solutions for sustainable agriculture. It has 28 subsidiaries, 17 factories, and some 4,300 employees around the world. It supplies to over 110 countries. The company is managed by Ran Maidan and is controlled by European private equity firm Permira and Kibbutz Hazerim.
In the current project, Netafim will supply an end-to-end solution from engineering design to the supply of infrastructure for drawing and transporting water, advanced irrigation systems, and control systems, and including agronomic and engineering consulting by the company’s experts from Israel and elsewhere.
The sugar cane will be irrigated using advanced subsurface drip irrigation, which has been proven to boost crop yields substantially while saving water and other inputs. The work will start immediately and will be spread over this year and next.
Netafim CEO Ran Maidan said, “This is a large international agricultural project, and a strategic project that strengthens Netafim’s business in Africa in general and in Ethiopia in particular. Netafim was selected to lead the project because of its proven ability to supply advanced end-to-end solutions for large and complex projects, while advising the customers at all stages. Netafim will lead the project together with Baran Group and Global Africa Industries Group, led by Itai Terner. We are sure that this project will be a success, like similar projects that Netafim has carried out in India, South Africa, Brazil, and Peru.”
Gidabo dam to benefit 79,000 farmers
Currently, the project is 79 percent complete, according to Freigzi Mehari, manager of the project.
The dam will enable to develop 13, 425 hectares of land both in Oromia and SNNP regional states when it commences operation next autumn season, he said.
The project promotes mutual economic and social ties apart from benefiting people of the two regional states, he added.
The project helps about 79,000 farmers to gain access to safe drinking water, irrigation and fishing activities, according to the Ethiopian Herald.
Lifan launches new latest models assembled in Ethiopia
Dr Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, who was the guest of honor during the launch of the latest models, called on the company to expand its investment in Ethiopia.
Currently, Lifan has an investment outlay of 6 million US dollars which he insisted should increase in the future.
Dr Tedros went on to suggest three issues which Lifan Motors should capitalize on, while operating in Ethiopia. The Minister urged the company to consider export markets in the region and beyond.
“We advise and encourage you to consider the region and beyond since Ethiopia is strategically located to easily access 3.5 billion people,” Dr. Tedros said.
He added that the company should increase the current 10 percent value addition it has brought to the country into a more significant amount and urged the management of the company to “spread the word” to other companies in China that Ethiopia is an investor-friendly country.
The Minister named top six Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) countries in Ethiopia namely China, Turkey, India, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and the UK.
Mark Qun, Deputy General Manager of Lifan Motors, on his part said his company is considering to export its assembled cars to countries like Egypt. “We are studying Egypt for an immediate export market and will start shipping out soon,” Mark said.
Customized with the Ethiopian market demand, Mark said that the latest introduction of Lifan X-50 and Lifan L-7 are available on the market at a price of 550,000 birr.
On top of that, the company is also set to deliver the first batch of 1,000 units of Lifan 530 for the Addis Ababa Taxi Owners’ Association.
Recently, the company has acquired a 20,000 sq.m. assembly plant which is dedicated to assemble semi-knocked down parts in the Eastern Industry Zone in the town of Dukem, some 37 km to the southeast of the capital.
Ethiopia’s inflation falls to 8.7 pct in February
According to the agency, there was a slight decline in the prices of food components, especially Cereals during February.
Non-food inflation increased in February mainly due to a rise in the prices of khat, clothing and footwear, construction materials, firewood and household goods and furnishings.
Region wise, Addis Ababa City administration showed relatively rapid rise in prices.
Djibouti announces mega gas project
The new 700 km pipeline will transport up to 12 billion m3/y of natural gas from Ethiopia to Djibouti. The liquefaction plant will have capacity to produce up to 10 million t of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year after completion of the project.
The project, which will be funded by Chinese firm POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd, will cost approximately US$4 billion. Construction work is expected to start shortly and will take three years to complete.
Comments from Djibouti’s Minister of Energy
The Djiboutian Minister of Energy, Ali Mahmoud Yacoub, said: “The mega gas project involves three countries – Djibouti, Ethiopia and China – which have agreed to work together in order to make this project successful and operational as soon as possible. The foundation stone laying ceremony follows the signing of the Framework Agreement between Djibouti and POLY-GCL in October 2014, the Protocol Agreement between Djibouti and Ethiopia in February 2015, and the Heads of Agreement between Ethiopia and POLY-GCL in September 2015.
“Djibouti sits at the crossroads of one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, linking Europe, the Far East, the Horn of Africa and the Gulf. It is a natural gateway for Africa, providing sea, air, rail and road links.
“The new pipeline and associated facilities form part of the Government’s plan to develop infrastructure across the country and will lead to closer economic ties with Ethiopia.
“This project reinforces Djibouti’s position as a commercial and regional economic hub and will expand the capacity of its sea ports. It is also a great opportunity to strengthen the regional integration policy. Indeed, both Djibouti and Ethiopia seek to extend this policy to the energy sector.”
Mr. Barton Yu, Chairman and President of POLY-GCL, said: “This is an important energy project for POLY-GCL Petroleum Group in our endeavor to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with the Governments of Djibouti and Ethiopia. It will enhance the well-being of the Djiboutian and Ethiopian peoples, while creating a positive impact on China’s energy security.”
The mega gas project will become the second major joint energy infrastructure project between the Republic of Djibouti and Ethiopia. In September 2015, the two countries signed a US$1.5 billion agreement to construct a 550 km refined petroleum products pipeline linking Djibouti’s ports to the Awash terminal in central Ethiopia. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the petroleum pipeline will be built by Black Rhino Group and Mining Oil & Gas Services.
CBE nets $2.4 bln in six months
However, according to the bank’s President Bekalu Zeleke, the revenue secured during the half year is minimal compared against the five billion US dollars gained same period last year.
The announcement came during the foreign trade and service day ceremony staged to award best performing depositors.
Accordingly, CBE customers with financial deposits ranging from 1-15 million US dollars received certificates based on amount deposited.
The Bank also awarded gold and platinum medals as well as special offers to companies with financial deposits amounting to 15-30 million US dollars, 30-100 million US dollars, and over 100 million US dollars, respectively.
Ayka Addis, Bole Atlantic, Ethiopian Cereals Commercial Organization and Ethiopian Airlines all received platinum level award.
MIDROC and Western Union have also got special offer award.
Currently, CBE boasts of 12 million customers, 1,011 branches and 330 billion birr capital.
Ethiopia raises immunization coverage to 77 per cent
Immunization, the most important public health interventions, is a cost effective means of preventing childhood morbidity, mortality and disability.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Dr. Taye Tolera, State Minister’s Office Head at MoH said: “Political commitments to put the right policies in place have played a key role to meet the goal.”
Particular effort has been made to improve and expand vaccine access across the country, including in remote areas of the country which also contributed to the achievement, he said.
Ethiopia is one of the few countries in Africa that achieved MDG 4 -reducing child mortality rates by two-thirds a head of the schedule.
Ethiopia has successfully introduced new vaccines, including those that prevent Pneumonia and Rotavirus, the world’s leading killers of children under five.
Track laying on Awash-Kombolch-Woldia/Hara Gebeya railway line commences in a month
The railway line being constructed at a cost of 1.7 billion US dollar will connect northern Ethiopia with central region.
The project, launched on October 2014, is now 33 percent complete, Dereje Tefera, communication head at ERC told ENA.
The 390 km Awash Woldia/Hara Gebeya railway project is being executed by Yapi Merkezi, a company based in Turkey.
The railway line will involve the construction of 40km maintenance lines and 18km station lines.
It also includes the construction of 14 tunnels, 65 bridges and 3 three terminal and 6 intermediate stations.
The company is expected to complete the construction of the new line within 3 years and 7 months.
The project has created jobs for 2,800 people.
Ethiopia aspires to have 5,000 km of new railway lines working across the country by the end of the second Growth and Transformation Plan period (GTP-II).