South African companies keen to invest in Ethiopia

South African investors and representatives of companies have expressed their readiness to invest in Ethiopia and do business with.

A South African business delegation comprising 22 investors and representatives of companies are currently in Ethiopia to explore investment potentials and opportunities in the country, particularly in manufacturing, agro-processing, energy and construction sectors.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael met with the South African Business Delegation on Monday (March 6, 2017) and briefed them on investment prospects in Ethiopia. 

Dr. Aklilu  underscored that the delegation's current move will promote Ethiopia's aspiration to boost the intra Africa trade and enhance south-south cooperation.

He said, "Ethiopia attracts investors from China and Turkey as well as the US and Europe; nevertheless we would like to also promote south-south economic cooperation between African countries."

Touching upon the huge investment potentials in Ethiopia, the State Minister said, "Ethiopia's geographic location, its active membership in regional and bilateral trade agreements, including various other platforms with the U.S, EU and COMESA region, and the favorable investment policies make it an attractive investment destination."

Ethiopia's young and productive work force which accounts for 60 percent of the population also offers significant comparative advantages to investors, he added.

UK PM Lauds Ethiopia’s Utilization of Funds

United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May lauded Ethiopia’s utilization of funds properly on intended activities.

While discussing with Prime Minister Hailemariam in London on May 13/2017, the UK PM appreciated Ethiopia for properly use funds provided for development, Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu said.

As the leading donor country in Europe, UK closely follows Ethiopia’s utilization of funds.

Acknowledging the government’s commitment May promised to continue strengthened the support it provided to the East African nation, Dr Workneh said.

May also lauded Ethiopia for its efforts being exerted to help improve peace and stability in the region.

According to Dr Workneh, the leaders discussed bilateral and issues related to peace and stability in the region.

China Elevates Ties with Ethiopia to Strategic Level

This move was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the discussions held in Beijing with the visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on May 12/2017.

Considering Ethiopia as a gate to Africa, China has been working to further consolidate the ties with the East African nation.

“They have considered Ethiopia as a gate to Africa. That’s the reason for the elevation of the partnership to a higher level”, PM Hailemariam said. The role that Ethiopia has been playing in ensuring peace and stability in the region is also another factor.

The move by China to elevate the ties with Ethiopia displays the momentum that the relationships between the two countries have reached, Hailemariam added.

The Premier said “this means that the relations between the two countries are in the right position to closely work under any circumstances.”

According to him, Ethiopia is the first country in Africa to enter into strategic partnership with China.

“We are happy that our country has been chosen for this status that shows the possibility of building strong ties; and we are very happy to reach this level”, he stated.

Since Ethiopia is considered to be a gate to Africa, it has become a pilot country and hub to many of the projects envisaged and launched by China.

Ethiopia is a pilot country for the industry production capacity cooperation aimed to move capacity of Chinese manufacturers to Africa, and the Djibouti-Dakar railway system that connects East and West Africa that commenced with the Ethio-Djibouti railway line.

Ethiopia has also been chosen to be a hub for the broadband fiber optics aimed to interconnect the entire continent and become the center of Africa.

Since Ethiopian Airlines is playing important role in connecting China with Africa, China has decided to make Addis Ababa aviation center. More than 80 percent of China’s connections to Africa are being conducted through Ethiopian Airlines.

Apart from bilateral issues, the Belt and Road Forum, an initiative aimed at fostering economic cooperation and prosperity that Beijing will host was also discussed during the meeting with President Xi Jinping.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania are the pilot countries chosen in Africa for the realization of the belt and road initiative and the first two are invited to the forum.

Leaders from 29 countries will discuss the plan for two days in Beijing.

The initiative is an ambitious development plan through which China wants to boost trade and stimulate economic growth across Asia and Africa by building massive amounts of infrastructure connecting it to countries around the world.

The initiative has two main prongs: One is called the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ (the belt) and the other the ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ (the road).

The ‘road’ is not actually a road but rather a sea route linking China’s southern coast to east Africa and the Mediterranean. The ‘belt’ is a series of overland corridors connecting China with Europe, via Central Asia and the Middle East.

Prime Minister Hilemariam has also witnessed the signing of two agreements with China for the Ethiopian Railway Academy and Meles Zenawi Leadership Academy.

ECA Teams-Up with Int'l Hydropower Ass'n to Develop Special hydropower Tool

The Economic Commission for Africa is teaming-up with the International Hydropower Association (IHA) to develop a tool that can quantify the comprehensive benefits of hydropower schemes on the continent, said Soteri Gatera, Chief of Infrastructure and Industrialization in ECA’s Regional Integration and Trade Division.

Addressing a session on benefits of hydropower at the on-going World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa, Soteri said the tool will target investors and policymakers to ensure that the full value of hydropower projects is realized and the risk-reward profile for developers and investors is improved.

According to a press release of ECA, there is no comprehensive methodology, accepted within the hydropower sector, to quantify the non-power related and macroeconomic benefits of hydropower projects. Forecasting the benefits of various energy and infrastructure options will help ensure that opportunities are not missed, Soteri said.

“Once developed, this template or methodology will be will be rolled out within the hydropower sector, and testing it against planned and completed projects in various jurisdictions,” he told delegates to the congress, adding that hydropower was now the energy of choice of Africa with leaders committing at continental level to prioritize hydropower development as a source of renewable energy.

He stated that the recent African Union Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism, held in Lomé, Togo, earlier this month, reaffirmed, in its declaration, the important role of hydro as a source of renewable energy in Africa.

“While acknowledging the role of other energy sources, the meeting affirmed that hydropower is the only renewable energy that has the potential to expand access to electricity to large populations, as well as to rural households,” he noted.

According to him, single and multipurpose hydropower facilities can make substantial contributions at local and regional levels.

In addition to export revenues, they provide other local macro-economic benefits relating to employment, education and recreation and in the process opening up new possibilities for trade, tourism and transport.

The session was used to discuss the methodology that can be used to quantify the benefits of completed and planned hydro projects. Hydropower benefits are often under-reported and companies and project developers struggle to collect, quantify and share information on the benefits of their projects.

“In many policy discourses, the non-power related benefits are often ignored. Yet, these are the benefits that make hydropower more competitive than other type of energy infrastructure, particularly in transforming the economies of many African countries,” Soteri stressed.

Meanwhile, the IHA yesterday launched the G-res, new tool for measuring carbon footprint of reservoirs, it was learned.

The G-res enables decision-makers and stakeholders to better estimate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the introduction of a reservoir into a landscape.

Launched by IHA in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair for Global Environmental Change, this publicly-available, web-based tool can be used to measure net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on existing or planned reservoirs.

First Farm Service Center Opens In Oromia State

The first of the 20 one-stop-shop farm service and input distribution centers planned to be established in four regional states of Ethiopia, Bako Farm Service Center was inaugurated on May 12/2017.

This first center for the country which envisions addressing the needs of farmers in inputs and services will also serve as a platform to disseminate new techniques, technologies and practices, according to a press release of the Embassy of USA in Ethiopia.

As part of Feed the Future initiative the public-private partnership is meant to expand Ethiopian smallholders’ access to supplies.

Access to quality agricultural supplies at affordable prices at the right time of the season is a significant challenge to Ethiopian farmers, the press release noted.

The newly inaugurated Bako Farm Service Center is located in the maize belt area of Ethiopia, in the remotest part of the country where access to agro-supplies has been a critical challenge to smallholder farmers.

The enter owned by Alemitu Hordofa, a female entrepreneur, is a one-stop-shop that provides smallholder farmers with quality farm supplies such as improved seed, chemicals, farm equipment, veterinary drugs and equipment, as well as consultancy services and training, which enable smallholder farmers to sustainably increase productivity and household income, it was pointed out.

The entrepreneur is quoted as saying that “I strongly believe in the impact that my farm service center can have in this community. It will offer the solution for farmers to access good quality goods and services at an affordable price in close proximity”.

The farm service center is expected to impact the lives of more than 10,000 smallholder farmers in Bako and neighboring woredas.

According to the press release, the project will be establishing farm service centers in Ethiopia’s main farming regions: six in Amhara, seven in Oromia, and four in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, and three in Tigray.

Each farm service center will open in collaboration with qualified entrepreneurs who were identified through a competitive process to receive grants up to 50,000 USD to start their business.

Each successful bidder contributes a minimum of 50 percent of the funding necessary to establish their center-designed and operated based on standards and support provided by the project.

Feed the Future, a 3.5 billion USD global hunger and food security initiative, sustains the U.S. Government’s commitment as one of Ethiopia’s largest partners in developing the agriculture sector, which is a fundamental cornerstone of the Ethiopian economy.

Dire Dawa City Jubilant at Reopening of Modernized Ethio-Djibouti Railway

Ethio-Djibouti railway is crucial in boosting investment and creating jobs for Dire Dawa city, the Deputy Mayor Abdella Ahmed said.

The Deputy Mayor, who is also Trade, Industry and Investment Bureau Head, said the city has been intertwined with the railway line for about a century and the livelihoods of the dwellers are dependent on it.

“We can safely say the railway is a lifeline for Dire Dawans”, he added.

The launching of a modern railway is, therefore, a renaissance to the city and the revival of socio-economic benefits to the dwellers, the Deputy Mayor stressed.

According to him, the railway line will motivate investors to engage in the industrial sector as they can easily access Djibouti and Barbara ports and the activities will subsequently create jobs, he noted.

Abdella further said the Dire Dawa Industrial Park under construction is expected to attract local and foreign investors and the opening of the railway line will help the investors to transport their inputs and outputs easily.

Moreover, it will create opportunities to attract tourists and enhance the tourism industry, according to the Deputy Mayor.

The city administration is working hard to solve the problems of access to potable water and road, among others.

For Sultan Ahmed,a resident of Dire Dawa, the launching of the railway service is a rebirth to the city and its dwellers.

The electrified Ethio-Djibouti line replaces the outdated diesel operated system which was opened in 1917.

The freight transit time is accordingly expected to drop from the previous seven days to 12 hours, it was learned.

 

 

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