Archive for March, 2010
ThinkGlobal Inc. has awarded the 2010 Exporter of the Year Award to American companies in 11 business categories.
ThinkGlobal is a print and online publishing company in Northampton, Mass., that publishes Commercial News USA, the official export promotion magazine of the U.S. Department of Commerce, along with other publications and websites. Commercial News USA is a catalog-style magazine that reaches more than a quarter million readers in 176 countries worldwide.
The companies, their hometowns, and the category in which they won are as follows:
Agri-Mark Whey Proteins in Onalaska, Wisconsin Agri-Mark is a farmer-owned cooperative that markets fresh milk and whey proteins for its Northeast dairy farm families, including its own Cabot and McCadam branded dairy products. Agri-Mark was the winner in the Agriculture category. Read Press Release
Bradley Corporation in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin is a leading manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures and washroom accessories and serves a diverse customer base ranging from small local facilities to international corporations such as: WalMart, General Motors, U.S. Postal Service, W.W. Grainger, and AMC Theaters Corp. Bradley Corp. was the winner in the Building Products category. Read Press Release
Canidae Corp. in Chula Vista, California is a leading producer of nutritionally dense pet foods, including the All CANIDAE® and FELIDAE® dog and cat food brands, which are known for the high quality of their ingredients, including grains, vegetables, and fruits. Canidae was the winner in the Consumer Goods category. Read Press Release
Dartware Inc. in West Lebanon, New Hampshire is a privately held software development firm that creates and markets network management solutions that provide visual feedback on network performance and easy access to underlying reports and statistics necessary for problem diagnosis and correction. Dartware was the winner in the Information Technology/Telecommunications category. Read Press Release
DeRoyal in Powell, Tennessee manufactures healthcare products that support surgical and acute care, orthopedics and patient care, and wound care. DeRoyal was the winner in the Medical Supplies category. Read Press Release
Hipotronics, Inc. in Brewster, New York – part of Hubbell, Inc., an NYSE listed, diversified manufacturer of electrical products – is a leading full-line manufacturer of high-voltage test equipment and measurement instrumentation. Hipotronics was the winner in the Electrical/Electronics category. Read Press Release
Miner Elastomer Products Corp. (MEPC) in Geneva, Illinois – a division of Miner Enterprises – manufactures shock absorbing material under the TecsPak® brand that has broad application in manufacturing processes and consumer products. Miner Elastomer Products Corp. was the winner in the Industrial Equipment category. Read Press Release
Nordic Naturals Inc., Watsonville, California, manufactures more than 150 omega-3 fish oil products. Distributing to over 20 countries on 6 continents, Nordic Naturals offers a variety of flavors, concentrations, and delivery forms, for adults, children, and pets. Nordic Naturals was the winner in the Health and Beauty category. Read Press Release
Purafil, Inc. in Doraville, Georgia is a leading manufacturer of gas-phase air filtration systems designed to eliminate corrosive, hazardous, odorous, and toxic gases. Purafil was the winner in the Environmental category. Read Press Release
Techno-Sciences, Inc. in Beltsville, Maryland is an employee-owned high-technology company with four divisions that focus on search and rescue, defense systems, systems engineering, and aerospace engineering. Techno-Sciences was the winner in the Safety and Security category.
Western Export Services, Inc. in Denver, Colorado is a full-service export management company specializing in food products. Western Export Services was the winner in the Hotel/Restaurant Equipment category. Read Press Release
Winners were chosen based on the total number of documented export deals completed in 2009, the total percentage increase in sales in 2009 compared to 2008, exports as percentage of total sales, the company’s commitment to exporting, the company’s commitment to customer service, and the company’s innovation and originality in marketing products or services. To be eligible for the award, a company must currently be exporting from the United States.
“In today’s expanding global economy, exporting has become more and more important to expand sales opportunities,” said Greg Sandler, president of ThinkGlobal Inc. and publisher of Commercial News USA. “These companies have shown a great commitment to international sales which, in turn, has created a stronger bottom line. Each of these companies, their officers, and personnel are to be congratulated.”
ThinkGlobal Incorporated and the U.S. Government do not endorse any product or service, nor any company receiving an Exporter of the Year award, and assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the data provided by each individual company in applying for the award. All companies must attest to their good standing with the federal government when submitting a nomination form for the award
Two versions of the Solaris Elettra will be manufactured in Addis Ababa, costing around $12,000 and $15,000.
The cars will be sold in Ethiopia and exported to Africa and Europe.
But some doubt if Africa, where electric power supplies, low levels of personal wealth and poor infrastructure are common, is ready for electric cars.
Carlo Pironti, general manager of Freestyle PLC, the company producing the Solaris, told the BBC’s Uduak Amimo in Addis Ababa that Ethiopia’s electricity shortages were not a major obstacle to operating an electric car.
“Ethiopia in future will have lots of power supply,” he said.
“In any case, the car can be recharged by generator and by solar power.”
Taxes on cars in Ethiopia can be more than 100% and many Ethiopians with low incomes will struggle to afford an electric car. To overcome this problem, Mr. Pironti says his company will develop a credit system for less affluent customers.
Six Solaris Elettras will be produced every week for the next three months, rising to 30 per week when Freestyle’s factory in Addis Ababa is fully operational, he says.
Mr. Pironti says he wants to take the Solaris “from a green country to a green world,” referring to the company’s plans to export the car from Ethiopia to Africa and beyond.
But Wayne Batty, senior writer at South Africa’s Topcar magazine, believes only a small percentage of Africa has the necessary infrastructure to support an electric car.
Mr. Batty told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programmed that electric cars are fine for short trips of 40 to 50 km (25 to 31 miles), but African countries lack the recharging points for longer journeys.
Ethiopia’s electric car comes after Rwanda launched its first bio-diesel bus last week.
It is currently building a huge hydro-electric dam on the Omo River and hopes to become a major exporter of energy when that is completed.
LONDON – British intelligence agents have reopened their investigation into the mysterious crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet last February after a terror suspect taken into custody in Saudi Arabia confessed it was bombed, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The information came after the mass arrest of more than 100 al-Qaida terror suspects in the Middle East.
The Boeing 737-8 plunged into the Mediterranean shortly after takeoff from Lebanon, killing all 92 passengers on board. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri blamed pilot error.
But one of the al-Qaida operatives held in a high-security prison in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, has told his British-trained interrogators that the aircraft was destroyed by an al-Qaida suicide bomber trained in a Yemeni training camp.
Yemen is the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden’s family. The operative said the Beirut bomber trained in the same Yemeni camp as Christmas Day underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
By Pete Browne
The Gibe III Hydroelectric dam project in Ethiopia is at the center of a dispute between environmental groups and developers.
Responding to complaints about the Gibe III hydroelectric dam project in Ethiopia, Salini Costruttori, the Italian hydropower developer behind the project, issued a statement late last week arguing that the project’s critics are opposed to Africa’s development.
“The campaign against the construction of the Gibe plant in Ethiopia is merely another initiative without a technical and scientific basis,” the company said.
“We are dealing with an irresponsible campaign, based on critical statements founded on blatant factual errors and mainly due to elementary arithmetic and technical mistakes,” the statement continued. “These statements have already been assessed and denied by authoritative international organizations, such as the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank.”
As we noted last week, a coalition of environmental and human rights groups has mounted a campaign to pressure financiers to cease financing for the project, which is already under way. It is slated to become Africa’s second largest hydroelectric dam.
The sides disagree over the accuracy of documents relating to the potential environmental impacts of the Gibe III project — you can see closeup footage of the project under way in the video above — on the Omo River, which flows from the south of Ethiopia into Lake Turkana in Kenya.
After complaints from Friends of Lake Turkana, one of the groups in the coalition, the African Development Bank agreed to undertake a hydrological assessment of the lake.
The report has twice been delayed, said Terri Hathaway, a spokeswoman for one International Rivers, another of the coalition member, in an e-mail message.
”The European Investment Bank has also put out a bid for an environmental impact assessment on Lake Turkana for Gibe III,” Ms. Hathaway added, “so clearly, the issue has not already been properly studied by project developers.”
Two previous environmental impact assessments conducted for the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation – an initial 2006 study and an additional analysis of the downstream effects in 2008 – have been challenged by the Africa Resources Working Group, a collective of academics from Europe, the United States, and East Africa with experience in large hydro-dam and river basin development.
The working group asserted in 2009 that earlier environmental assessments were based on “faulty premises” and that they were “compromised by pervasive omissions, distortions and obfuscation.”
But Salini argued in its statement that the Gibe III project is the “fruit of the work of hundreds of engineers of worldwide renown in the sector and that thousands of technicians and workers of different nationalities are involved in the project, which has been submitted for approval by authoritative Ethiopian and international organizations.”
The company also said it would “continue to defend its image from further unmotivated and defamatory attacks, which are causing serious damage not only to the company and the dignity of its technicians and workers, but also, especially, to the development of the Horn of Africa.”
Source: New york times (Blog)
From The Economist print edition
THE United States, the richest and most powerful nation on earth, is also the most generous donor to one of the poorest, Ethiopia. America says it gives $1 billion in aid every year to Africa’s second-most-populous country, which also happens to host the African Union’s headquarters.
Yet Barack Obama’s administration has barely stirred itself to protest against recent attempts by Ethiopia to jam programmes in Amharic, the country’s main language, beamed by the Voice of America, a respected state-funded broadcaster. Ethiopia’s prime minister, Meles Zenawi, brazenly says he will continue to jam the signal for as long as it incites what he calls hatred. He has compared the Amharic service to the hate speech spewing from Radio Mille Collines, which helped provoke Rwanda’s genocide in 1994. The State Department called the comment inflammatory but seems loth to make Mr Zenawi suffer for it.
One reason is that the Pentagon needs Ethiopia and its bare-knuckle intelligence service to help keep al-Qaeda fighters in neighbouring Somalia at bay. Many of Washington’s aid people argue that, though Mr Zenawi is no saint, he still offers the best chance of keeping Ethiopia together; even now, as one of the world’s least developed countries, it cannot feed itself.
Human-rights campaigners think the limpness of America and European Union countries, especially Britain, in the face of Mr Zenawi gives him a free rein to abuse his own people. This week’s report by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based lobby, claims that, after 20 years in power, Mr Zenawi’s ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front has “total control of local and district administrations to monitor and intimidate individuals at a household level.” With a general election due on May 23rd, opposition supporters, says the report, are often castigated as subversives by the government, denied the right to assembly, and harassed. The press has been “stifled”. Newspapers avoid writing about opposition parties or people the government says have terrorist links.
Furthermore, says Ben Rawlence, who wrote the report, “Meles is using aid to build a single-party state.” Foreign governments, he says, have colluded in eroding civil liberties and democracy by letting their aid be manipulated by Mr Zenawi. Because of his party’s stranglehold at village level, its members can decide on entitlements such as places for children in school and the distribution of food handouts. Peasants who back the opposition get less. Farmers complain they are denied fertiliser for the same reason.
The Ethiopian government has denounced the report as outrageous and ridiculous. Mr Zenawi says that groups such as Human Rights Watch interpret human rights too narrowly. The only way to guarantee Ethiopia a free future, he argues, is to keep it stable while it continues to develop. His political calculations are straightforward. He reckons, for instance, that reporting by the Voice of America does more harm inside the country than outside criticism of his censorship.
In any case, Mr Zenawi has signed up for a code of electoral conduct and invited foreign election observers in. He still has time to win over critics before the election, for instance by freeing an imprisoned opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa, as a goodwill gesture.
Aid-giving governments, for their part, are unlikely to change their minds. Even after hundreds of protesters were shot dead by the police after the last elections in 2005, aid to Ethiopia was only repackaged in different forms, not suspended. Besides, foreign politicians have promised their own voters that they will dish out large amounts of aid and argue that at least Ethiopia is less corrupt than many other African countries. Mr Zenawi understands this well—and exploits it.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Paul Mathieu visited Addis Ababa March 12-24 to conduct discussions on the 2010 Article IV consultation and the first review under the program supported by the Exogenous Shocks Facility. The mission met with His Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Sufian Ahmed, and Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia Teklewold Atnafu, as well representatives of the private sector, labor unions, and civil society.
Press Release No. 10/108
“Good progress was made in the first half of 2009/10 in macroeconomic stabilization. Macroeconomic conditions continued to improve while broad-based growth momentum has been maintained. Overall, inflation decelerated sharply to 7.1% at end-2009 following very high inflation in 2008 and early 2009. But non-food inflation remains close to 20% and has been rising in recent months.
“The economic outlook remains generally favorable with continued strong growth expected. Ongoing efforts to lower inflation and rebuild foreign reserves will require a tight rein on money growth and achieving interest rates that are positive in real terms. Ethiopia’s public external debt has risen in recent years on large physical infrastructure investments, but remains within the moderate risk range. Going forward the authorities are encouraged to reinforce financial sector supervision, promote private sector development and financial deepening, and improve the national account statistics.”
“With regard to the program, strong external assistance (including from IMF financing) and weak import growth helped international reserves recover to 2.2 months of imports cover. Fiscal performance in 2009/10 has been commendable with higher revenues and lower domestic financing than targeted. All quantitative targets at end-December 2009 were met with margins. On the structural side, progress is being made to raise tax revenue, monitor borrowing by the public enterprises, and manage monetary liquidity by the National Bank.”
“We expect to finalize a Letter of Intent that summarizes the agreement, with a view to allowing the IMF Executive Board to consider the completion of the first review in May, allowing the disbursement of SDR 40.1 million (about US$61.3 million). The second program review, expected to be completed in October, will focus on progress in liquidity management, implementation of the tax reform, and improvements to the national income statistics.”
The 14-month arrangement under the High Access Component of the Exogenous Shocks Facility was approved August 26, 2009 for SDR 153.8 million (about US$235 million).
China’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund may finance China Mining United Fund’s plan to develop a potash project in Ethiopia that is also being eyed by mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd., a senior official familiar with the situation said Thursday.
China Investment Corp. is studying whether to take a stake in the potash project being jointly developed by China Mining United Fund and Canada’s Allana Potash Corp., or finance part of the project’s construction costs, the person familiar with the situation said.
According to China Mining’s Web site, the potash project is one of the largest in the world, with projected output of about 200 million metric tons.
CIC’s possible involvement in the pursuit of potash, used in fertilizers, highlights China’s growing demand for the mineral, as it seeks to boost its agricultural output.
However, China’s appetite is facing serious challenges from global mining companies, which have been moving fast to tap into Africa’s rich potash resources as crop prices rise.
The person didn’t say what stage CIC was at in the decision, but said the project is very important for China, which imports around 80% of its potash needs.
“Without support from CIC, from the government, how can we come up with so much money for such a big project?” the person said, adding the project’s value keeps appreciating, raising concerns about a possible bid from BHP Billiton.
A spokesman for CIC wasn’t immediately available for comment.
BHP Billiton spokesman Ruben Yogarajah Thursday declined to comment on any interest in Allana Potash’s Ethiopian mining project. He said BHP has exploration licenses in Ethiopia, but he declined to provide more details, saying the work there is at a “very early stage.”
Allana Potash signed a strategic agreement in November with an affiliate of China Mining United Fund, China Mineral United Management Ltd., to place shares worth 2 million Canadian dollars ($1.96 million) to the fund. The proceeds of the initial investment will be used to finance exploration and development of the potash project in Danakil Depression in northeastern Ethiopia.
Under the agreement, China Mineral would acquire 20% of the total potash production of the project and finance 35% of its construction costs, estimated at around $280 million, Allana said on its Web site in November. It said the Chinese mining fund is closely linked to one of the largest fertilizer companies in China, but didn’t name the company.
China Mining United Fund, which was set up in May last year, is one of China’s first private investment funds focused on mining-related investments.
Beneath the lion gaze
Addis Ababa, September 12, 1974: a date few Americans remember, but for Ethiopians it was the first day of a new year and the last day of Emperor Haile Selassie’s long reign. As the public discontent intensified, Selassie-blamed for decades of famine and coraption-is abandoned by his servants and cabinet members.
While the emperor quietly reflects upon his final moments in power, the struggle for new Ethiopia arrives swiftly and without mercy. Hundreds of protesters take to the streets, demanding foods and people’s government for all. Focusing on the lives of three determined members of one family, Mengiste’s gripping debut novel looks closely at the ties that bind family and country, and the sacrifices made in pursuit of justice and a life of dignity. An important work of literature, it is both timely and unforgettable. Illustrating the lengths each member is willing to go, the loyalties they must betray, and the hardships they must endure to ensure their country’s freedom from oppression, beneath the lion’s gaze is a dramatic and tragic story that is ultimately inspirational.
“An extraordinary novel that tells stories that nobody can want to hear, in such a way that we cannot stop listening.” - Bookforum
Ethiopia is becoming a major centre for Indian investment in Africa as companies seek new ventures in mining, textiles, leather, education and the hospitality industry in one of the world’s most ancient nations.
Indian Ambassador Bhagwant Bishnoi said the volume of Indian investments in Ethiopia was expected to grow by $1 billion every year. Indian investment in Ethiopia was about $400 million some five years ago. Now it has reached almost $5 billion.
‘We have committed Indian investment of $4.4 billion and, yes, we will take it to $5 billion this year and try to take it to $6 billion in the next year,’ Bishnoi told IANS in an interview. ‘Indian investors have always had confidence in this country, but the confidence has gone up even more recently,’ he remarked.
Bishnoi attributed the large flow of investment to political stability, sound macro-economic policies and good governance in the east African country that was once a metaphor for famines and natural devastation. With increasing private sector investments, economic relations between the two countries have moved forward in recent years. About 500 Indian companies have secured licenses to invest in different areas. These investments cover sectors such as agriculture and floriculture, engineering, plastics, consultancy and ICT, water management, cotton and textile, leather, education, hotel and restaurant services.
Around Kombolcha Amhara Regional State, Spentex is setting up a spinning factory to produce around $700 million worth of yarn every year. But ‘the trade relationship between the two countries has shown a mixed picture’, the envoy told IANS. India is an important source of imports for the Ethiopian market, accounting for up to $250 million worth of goods and services each year. That figure is growing 10 percent every year.
Exports from India consist mainly of primary and semi-finished iron and steel products, drugs and pharmaceuticals, machinery and instruments, manufactured metal, food items, plastic and linoleum products, paper and paper products, rubber manufactured items, yarns and textiles, machine tools, glassware, cosmetics and electronic goods.
However, Indian imports from Ethiopia, though increasing, are below expectation. ‘Ethiopia’s exports to India are extremely small,’ Bishnoi said, adding, ‘it is something like $20 million or so per year’. Major Indian imports are raw hides and skins, pulses, raw cotton, spices and leather. Bishnoi said Ethiopia should take processed leather seriously as it has a huge demand in India.
India is sending a team of 16 specialists from the Indian Central Leather Research Institute to help the sector grow. The ambassador said Ethiopian exporters should take advantage of the duty-free tariff preferential scheme India announced for all least developed countries in 2008.
By Getachew Teklu
Do you know what it means?
A short-term debt obligation backed by the U.S government with maturity of less than one year. T-bills are sold in denominations of $1,000 up to a maximum purchase of $5 million and commonly have maturity of one month (four weeks), three months (13 weeks) or six months (26 weeks).
T-bills are issued through a competitive bidding process at a discount from par, which means that rather than paying fixed interest payments like conventional bonds, the appreciation of the bond provides the return to the holder.
The smallest face value for a T-Bill is $1,000 US Dollars (USD). The T-Bill is sold at a discount, which is determined by the Bureau of Public Debt, but the Treasury pays the full face value when it is redeemed. For example, an investor might purchase a 90-day T-Bill for $900 USD, and earn a $100 USD return on the investment when the T-Bill is redeemed. Unlike many other securities, a T-Bill does not bear interest, but the return on a T-Bill is highly predictable and very stable, barring complete financial collapse of the United States Treasury.
Investors may choose to include T-Bills in their profiles because they are highly stable investments with a pre-set time to maturity and a dependable return. Unlike more risky investments, a T-Bill is unlikely to return a substantial sum, but when they are traded on large volume, they can represent a substantial return. Investors can potentially purchase millions of dollars worth of T-Bills, assuming that they possess the available capital. They are also extremely liquid assets making them a versatile and useful addition to a diverse investment portfolio.
While private investors can and do purchase T-Bills, banks and other financial institutions are capable of purchasing them on a much larger scale, and thus make up the bulk of the trade in T-Bills on the day of the initial offering. Once purchased from the Treasury, a T-Bill can be sold or traded before it matures and is ready to be redeemed, and many individuals purchase T-Bills on the secondary market, from banks and institutions which purchased the bills from the Treasury. As compared with other Treasury securities, the T-Bill matures much more quickly, creating a rapid turnover investment, as opposed to the Treasury note, which matures in two to 10 years, or Treasury Bonds, which take 10-30 years to mature.
T-bill are backed by the full taxing power of the US government and therefore the risk of default is essentially zero. However they are subject to interest rate risk. As interest rates rise the value of the portfolio will go down and as interest rates fall the value of the portfolio goes up. If you hold the portfolio to maturity you eliminate the interest rate risk.