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Published On  Jan 01,  2012
   
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Signed Tales

A book by Bereket Simon, head of Government Communication Affairs with a ministerial portfolio, titled “Tale of Two Elections,” discussing the elections of 2005 and 2010, was inaugurated on Tuesday, December 20, 2011. As Bereket had played a critical role in stirring the election campaign of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the book presents a detailed analysis of the pre and postelection situation of the highly contested election in 2005, in a very intimate and personal manner. It also deals with the overwhelming support that EPRDF received in the national election held in 2010 and issues usually raised on the result. The book is published in Kenya and Ethiopia, with a size of 20,000 and 10,000, respectively, sponsored by Mohammad Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi (Sheik), a business mogul. It is distributed with sole distributorship of Aynalem Book Store and has a cover price of 90 Br. In the picture, Berket provides Demeke Mekonnen, minister of Education (MoE), with his book signed, officially.             

 
RADAR
 
Speaking of Integration

 

The oldest higher education institution of the country, Addis Abeba University (AAU), has been serving the country for the past 62 years. Its graduate programmes, however, have been ongoing since 1978. With a growing population of graduate students, the university has been undertaking much applied research, tailored at solving the developmental problems of the nation. In furthering the integration of its research undertakings, the university has identified 11 thematic areas in which over 200 researchers are involved. Of the thematic areas are education quality, food security, alternative energy, and water resources. The university will be organising a two-day workshop between January 3 and 4, 2011, to officially embark on the research effort. As explained by Masresha Fetene (Prof) (right), vice president for research and dean of the school of graduate studies, and Asfawossen Aserat (PhD), chief academic officer for research, the workshop will see thorough discussions on the research themes.

 
     
 

Landmark flew

It might not be convenient any more to take a walk at the popular spots on Africa Avenue (Bole Road), for it is going to see the reconstruction of the road from Meskel Square to Bole International Airport at a cost of 60 million dollars. The construction of the 4.3km-long 40 metre-wide road was awarded to China Road & Bridge Construction (CRBC) Addis Engineering Plc, while the Chinese Export & Import (EXIM) Bank is providing the financing under a loan agreement with a 20-year repayment period. One of the popular spots on the road was London Café, a structure built to look like an Airplane. Now that the border demarcation for the construction of the road has resumed, London Café has to see its good days end. It needed to be demolished as shown in the picture taken on Sunday, December 25, 2011.

 
     
 
     

Wasted Phone

Addis Abeba is getting too old for public telephones. As exposed in the picture taken near National Theatre, on Ras Abebe Aregay Street, the once adorable equipment has now turned to hosting bird excrements. They no longer serve the metropolitans, as most use their mobile phones for communication. Certainly, this is the direct result of the expanding mobile phone penetration in the country, which reached 10.5 million of the population in 2011. As the lone provider of telecommunication services in the country, the re-established telecom monopoly, Ethio Telecom, earned 9.8 billion Br in the 2010/11 fiscal year.

 
     
 

Co-op Bank of Oromia to Sign with ECX

Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO) will become the 11th bank to sign the Settlement Bank Agreement with the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) on January 3, 2012.

Once it becomes a partner with the ECX, CBO will facilitate warehouse receipt financing services, which will allow clients of the ECX to use products and goods stored at the ECX’s warehouse as collateral to borrow money from the bank.

This is done by providing the receipts that clients were issued by the exchange when storing their goods.

The money transaction between the ECX and its partner banks, which will soon include CBO, amounts to 200 million Br in terms of daily house clearings. It will take advantage of the total transaction of the ECX, which was 18.4 billion Br during the 2010/11 fiscal year.

CBO, which was established in 2005 with 110 million Br in paid-up capital, has 45 branches, while it has a plan to increase this number by adding eight more branches in the current fiscal year. It earned 47.8 million Br profit during the fiscal year that ended July 2010/11.

 
     
 

Muscat becomes ET’s Seventh Arab Destination

Ethiopian has started direct flights to Muscat, the capital city of Oman, located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, on Tuesday, December 27, 2011.

The timing that Ethiopian started its service is just right because it coincides with the Arab League Tourism Ministers’ nomination of Muscat as the Arab Tourist Capital of 2012, for its unique tourist destinations, according to Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

The flight is the seventh destination for the new Star Alliance member in the Middle East, taking its global network of destinations to 63. The new flight will also connect African cities such as Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, Accra, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Entebbe, and Lusaka through ET’s hub in Addis Abeba.

Since it made its first maiden flight to Cairo in 1964, Ethiopian has developed a wide network of destinations spanning four continents. For the new flight to Muscat, the airline has provided a promotional, nontaxable fare of 428 dollars, round trip, until March 31, 2012.

 
     
 
 

Int’l Chamber of Commerce Ranks Ethiopia 74th

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a world business organisation, ranks Ethiopia as the 74th-most open market in the world, with a score of 2.1 on a scale of one to six, out of 75 countries surveyed, according to its Open Market Index (OPI) published for the first time on December 16, 2011. The country also holds the ninth place in Africa, according to the results.

Measuring the impact of government policies on market openness, the index ranked South Africa as the most open market in Africa and 52nd in the world with a score of 3.1.

The index result, which covers 95pc of the world imports of goods and services in 2009, was announced on the occasion of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Ministerial Conference held on Thursday, December 15, 2011, which was attended by close to 3,000 delegates from 153 member countries as well as other countries, such as Ethiopia which is in the process of joining.

Hong Kong was ranked the world's most open market, with a score of 5.4, according to the index.

 
     
 

ET’s Maintenance Div Gains European Cert

Ethiopian Airlines’ Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Division, gained an approval certificate from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on November 21, 2011. The certification authorises the airline to repair airplanes and aircraft components of airlines registered under any European Union (EU) member country.

The certificate, dubbed EASA Part 145, also allows Ethiopian’s maintenance division to issue EASA airworthiness certificates. There are benefits to such accreditation, according to Mesfin Tassew, chief operating officer (COO), of Ethiopian.

There will be more airline customers from Africa, the Middle East, and Europe seeking maintenance of their aircraft, bringing in additional revenue, he explained.

Ethiopian has plans to become the leading aviation group in Africa by 2025. Such a certification, along with its current procurement of new Boeing carriers, is a move towards reaching this goal.

Fleets of airplanes, such as B767s and B757s, are included in the current certification scheme that has provided Ethiopian recognition for line, base airframe, and component maintenance. Aside from helping boost the revenue of the airline, the new certification is believed to enhance the competitiveness of the national carrier, which flies to 63 destinations across the world.

This is not the only approval that Ethiopian’s MRO division has. It also has approval nationally by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as regionally by national CAAs of different countries.

In line with the requirements, the MRO had to undergo the extensive audit of its facilities and processes by the European Agency before it was issued the approval.

The airline, which joined the Star Alliance network recently, has worked for more than a year to get its processes in line for the certification requirements.

     
 

Habesha Cement Seeks 7,000tn of Rebar for Plant

 

Habesha Cement SC is to procure 7,000tn of reinforcement bar for the construction of its cement factory. Varying prices and extensive bidding procedures have, however, affected the procurement process, the company stated in a report presented at an assembly of shareholders held on Sunday, December 25, 2011.

Habesha recently secured a 1.5 billion Br loan from the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) covering 70pc of the estimated 2.1 billion Br required for the construction of its plant, with the remaining 655 million Br coming from its equity contribution.

It has made an advance payment of 7.9 million dollars to a Chinese company for the turnkey project to be erected in Holetta, 40km west of the capital in Oromia Regional State.

The company announced that it has a subscribed capital of 386 million Br and a paid-up capital of 325 million Br, as of December, 2011. With 16,000 shareholders, Habesha has seen one of the largest public equity contributions. Once its plant is complete, it will be joining the industry with a production capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of cement, a year, at full capacity.

The factory has a plan to embark on civil construction, including a road to connect the factory with a main road, supply of electric power, water supply, and recruiting labour, in addition to its other construction work, according to the company.

     
 

Inflation Rate Relaxes Again, Slightly

 

The headline inflation rate, which peaked at 40.6pc in August 2011, has continued its slow decline and stood 39.2pc in November 2011. This figure was 39.8pc in October and 40.1pc in September, according to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA).

The agency attributed the recent decline to the reduction in consumer prices by 0.3pc compared to October. The food inflation also dropped from 51.7pc to 50.3pc in the same period, while inflation for non-food items increased from 23.4pc to 24pc.

The 39.2pc general inflation rate is due to the fact that the general consumer price index (CPI) of 270.2pc, observed in November 2011, was higher than the corresponding 194.1pc observed in November 2010.

The total price index of cereals increased by 64.8pc compared to the same month last year, which significantly contributed to the rise in the indices of food and general consumer prices. But, declines were observed in the prices of maize, sorghum, pulses, spices, vegetables, and fruit.

     
 

WB Changes Its Africa Strategy

 

The World Bank (WB) has introduced a new strategy for Africa titled, “Africa’s future and the WB’s support to it.” This serves to boost African economies in the same manner as those of Asia which took off three decades ago, it stated in a press release.

The three main areas on which the project is focused are competitiveness and employment, vulnerability and resilience, as well as governance and the public sector.

“The strategy is as much a reflection of what we heard from Africa’s people and leaders as it is the thinking of the WB,” according to Shantayanan Devarajan, chief economist for Africa at the bank.

The new strategy reverses the order of importance of the bank’s instruments to support Africa, with the most important aspect becoming partnerships, followed by knowledge and finance, according to the press release.

“We are excited about Africa’s future,” Obiageli Ezekwesili, vice president of the Africa Region for the WB, is quoted as saying in the press release. “We used the opportunity of our new strategy to listen, learn, and define how to better support the continent’s aspirations as it maintains the momentum of economic reforms over the next decade.”

     
 

Weyra Buys 50 Tankers for Fuel Trans.

 

The state owned Weyra Transport SC replaced its old and outdated vehicles and trailers with 50 new ones that have the capacity to handle 45,000 litres of liquid goods each. A ceremony was held on June 21, 2010 for the presentation of the new vehicles.

The vehicles, imported from China, cost the company 75 million Br. Seventy per cent of the financing was covered by a loan from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE). The trailers were assembled by Mesfin Industrial Engineering.

The trucks will be assigned to transport oil for Total and OiLibya.

Weyra’s market share has grown from four per cent to seven per cent because of the new trucks, according to Mesfin Tefera, managing director of the company.

Beyene Gebre Meskel, director of the Privatisation and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA); board members; and other officials were present at the inauguration of the vehicles.  

     
 
 

Memorial Hospital.

 

The designated project includes the establishment of surgical device management and provision of phachoemulsification services. On the job training for local staff will also be part and parcel of the project. The project, which will be implemented through the mutual consultation of KOICA and the hospital, is expected to be completed in one year and benefit more than one thousand people per year.

     
 
 

RCA Collects Half of 5.4b Br Target for Year

 

The Revenue and Customs Authority under the Addis Abeba City Administration’s Economic and Finance Bureau managed to collect exactly half of the 5.4 billion Br it targeted for the whole 2009/10, fiscal year during the last seven months.

The 2.7 billion Br revenue collected from tax and non-tax income, including land lease fees, has shown a 49pc increase from what the authority achieved during the same time last year, according to Belay Tafesse, director general of the authority.

Its business process reengineering (BPR), efficient information gathering (collecting finger prints and cash register machines), and law enforcement contributed to achieving the amount gathered.

“But this is not that much satisfactory, considering the potential,” Belay said, also indicating that the rising number of illegal trades in the city has contributed negatively to the number.

     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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