Archive for June, 2011
By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA (Reuters)
Ethiopia plans to sell power to Sudan, Yemen, Kenya and even Egypt, with whom it is at odds over the Nile’s waters, as it ramps up power production to become a major exporter in the continent, its utility said. It aims to produce 20,000 megawatts (MW) of power within the next 10 years, part of a plan to spend $12 billion over 25 years to raise power generating capability.
Ethiopia is also building a 5,250 MW dam along the Nile, while six other projects are either planned or under construction with an aggregate capacity of over 5,000 MW. “Whenever we are in a position to provide surplus (to Sudan), it could go up to 100 or 200 MW. This is the base of the first purchase agreement, but it depends on our capacity to avail extra power,” Mihret Debebe, chief executive of the
state-run Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. “The market has no limit (on exports to Sudan).” Officials estimate that the hydropower potential of the nation — blessed with cascading rivers flowing through rugged mountains — is around 45,000 MW. Mihret said Ethiopia had already started transmitting 50 MW to Djibouti, while exports to the eastern Sudanese towns of Gadarif and Gallabat were expected in one or two months.
Ethiopia will also provide 5 MW to Kenya’s northern Moyale town next month, while an agreement has been signed to further connect to Yemen through Djibouti’s underwater sea cable, Mihret said. “The
three countries have already signed a memorandum of understanding. Hopefully when the situation (in Yemen) stabilises we will proceed to this action,” he said.
The Horn of Africa nation has also plans to construct a 1,300 km 500 kV transmission interconnector with Kenya to sell electricity to its southern neighbour. Ethiopia secured a multi-million dollar deal with France this month for the scheme. “The feasibility, preliminary design, selection of the best design option — all the background work has been done smoothly and will enter to the development phase (soon),” Mihret said. Another project — a 3,000 km 500 kV line linking Ethiopia with Sudan and Egypt, is also planned. A feasibility study has already been carried out under the auspices of the Nile Basin Initiative, a grouping of nine countries along the river, Mihret said. “When the three countries are ready to start the project and development partners’ financial allocation is in the right place, it will be started,” he said.
“The fact that Ethiopia has expedited the development of generation projects in the basin with such mega scale is definitely making a reality the transmission line project,” Mihret added. The nine countries through which the river passes have for more than a decade been locked in often bitter talks to renegotiate colonial-era treaties that gave Egypt and Sudan the lion’s share of the river’s waters. However,
six of the nine upstream countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi — have signed a new deal stripping Egypt of its veto and agreeing to renegotiate how much water each country is entitled to. Mihret however, said Cairo has never had qualms over importing power. “In terms of power flow they have never opposed. They are the key players,” he said. Mihret said regional projects of such scale would boost the economies of African countries, and added that Ethiopia eyed more projects in the future. “Regional interconnection gives you more confidence in complementary power flow in terms of hydro-thermal links and power balance in the region,” he said.
BY Temechegn Engida
Chemistry, as a central science, deals with many areas of human activity. It touches everyone. As such, I believe that chemistry is one of the cornerstones for sustainable development, not only in Africa but also worldwide. Sustainable development has been conceptualized in different ways, but the most widely used definition, as articulated by the World Commission on Environment & Development, is
“development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Meeting the needs of the future depends on how well we balance social, economic, and environmental objectives when making decisions today. In other words, sustainable development refers to some form of modern technological society, with business taking responsibility for its impact on society and the environment. According to the European Chemical Industry Council, sustainable development involves prudent use of resources, protection of the environment, and economic growth and social progress, with the target being a better quality of life for everyone now and in generations to come.
In this regard, chemistry can play a very positive role. For instance, chemists are well placed to appreciate the scientific issues underlying sustainable development. Chemistry also contributes to sustainable development via economic growth and improved social well-being. Some of the obvious contributions include better pharmaceuticals, high-purity materials for use in the electronics industry, and jobs for a large number of people. However, since human-made chemicals can have enormous negative impacts, there is a need for enlightened management of the chemical sciences to ensure that as the field advances, the effects are beneficial to humanity as a whole. Read the full article here: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/89/8926cover2.html
Temechegn Engida is president of the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry, which he played a key role in establishing in 2006. He is also editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Chemical Education, which he founded. As vice president of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia in the mid-2000s, Engida was instrumental in having the United Nations declare 2011 the International Year of Chemistry. Engida received a B.Sc. degree in chemistry and an M.A. degree in chemical education in 1993 from Addis Ababa University; he received a Ph.D. in chemical education from the University of Münster in 2000. He has lectured at Addis Ababa University.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced details of a $3 million (USD) deal with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) to support the bank in a major program of modernization and business expansion.
Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will provide hardware, software and IT services to support the bank in its rapid business growth and its shift from manual financial processes to real-time financial services. With the new IT infrastructure, the bank plans to increase its number of accounts by 25 percent per year, launch 200 new ATMs per year and open 500 new branches over the next five years. It will also enable the bank to strengthen and extend its relationship with credit card providers such as Visa and Mastercard and roll out new mobile and internet banking services. CBE’s account holders will benefit from reduced waiting times and a greater choice of banking channels and services.
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is Ethiopia’s largest commercial bank with over two million account holders and 372 branches across the country. In recent years it has played a key role in the modernization of Ethiopia’s banking sector and the launch of modern banking services. CBE was the first bank in Ethiopia to introduce ATMs in 2003 and was one of the first banks in the country to offer Visa cards in 2010. “The Ethiopian banking sector is currently going through a major and rapid program of modernization and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is at the center of that work,” said Mr. Bekalu Zeleke, President of CBE. “We have turned to IBM to help underpin our bank’s transformation and provide the foundations for the further roll out of modern banking services for the benefit of our two million account holders across the country.” Previously the bank relied on a mixture of manual processes and IT infrastructure from HP and Sun; however, the system limited the bank’s growth and plans to transform. The new IT infrastructure, which will be operational by August, is based on IBM Power Systems, IBM DS8800 diskstorage system, IBM Tivoli and WebSphere software. IBM is also providing implementation and maintenance services as well as training for the baank’s staff.
As a result, the bank expects to increase the performance of its systems by 50 percent while reducing operating costs by 40 percent and power consumption by 50 percent. “As the African financial services sector continues on a course of rapid transformation, IBM is working with banks to implement smarter systems that allow them to improve services to customers and strengthen their competitive position,” said Tony Mwai, Country General Manager, IBM East Africa. “This is a strategic deal for IBM in Africa and supports our expansion in the fastest growing sectors and markets across the continent.” IBM has recently signed a number of other deals to provide smarter systems to the African financial services sector. For example, IBM is working with the National Microfinance Bank of Tanzania to help transform the bank’s core banking systems. In Nigeria, IBM has signed deals with Union Bank, Intercontinental Bank and Finbank to deploy business analytics and service management software. In Namibia, IBM is working with the First National Bank (FNB) to provide a new core banking system based on IBM mainframe servers and in Senegal and Cameroon IBM has provided mainframe servers to the Ministries of Finance. The deal in the rapidly emerging market of Ethiopia will help to further strengthen IBM’s presence in the East Africa region as part of the company’s expansion across the continent. Today, IBM has a direct presence in more than 20 African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
BY Shafaat Ahmed
DUBAI - The breakaway region of Sudan, to be known from July 9 as the Republic of Southern Sudan (RoSS), is planning an oil pipeline through Ethiopia as one of its option to circumvent the 2005 oil sharing agreement with Khartoum, South Sudan’s oil minister Dr Luol Deng said in Dubai on Tuesday. Producing more than 70 per cent of Sudan’s oil, the South Sudanese administration feels the 2005 agreement, which calls for a 50-50 sharing of oil revenue between the two entities, is unfair and cannot be implemented. However, all the oil refineries, storage facilities and ports lie in the Khartoum
controlled territory, which receives the crude through two pipelines. “Oil sharing has been one of the highly contested issues between us (North and South) and we have had continuous discussion over this. For now we will continue with the current mechanism and use North’s facilities, but in the future as we gain independence and pump more oil these two pipelines would beinsufficient, that is why we are planning to have another one through Ethiopia,” said Dr Deng.
As South Sudan becomes the latest entrant to the list of free countries, the oil rich nation’s top officials are working overtime to drum up support and investment from across the world, particularly for its much-sought after oil industry. Part of Vice-president Riek Machar’s entourage to the UAE, Dr Deng made his comments as he sought investments from UAE to boost his country’s fledgling economy. He
added that though South has more explored oil reserves, the North has greater potential reserves and should seek to explore those “rather than contesting with us over what we have.” Explaining further why they can’t stick to the 2005 oil sharing agreement he said: “Currently Sudan is under sanctions and that impacts oil export, if we continue to stick with them then our revenues would also get affected. We have our priorities and we can’t let that happen, so we request North to explore their reserves. At the same time we have also requested the US to lift sanctions so that together we realise our potential fully.”
Currently, the combined production of Sudan’s oil is at 500,000 barrels per day — third in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Nigeria and Angola — and it is expected to jointly produce with the North one million barrels per day in the next five years. Presently, South Sudan’s only source of income is oil and the administration feels the country has the resources to change that. The landlocked country has millions
of acres of fertile land and importantly enough water to work the land as well. The Vice-President says the country has wildlife greater than those of Kenya and Tanzania — two countries famous for its wildlife tourism. The country is also seeking investment to produce electricity and is currently in talks with UAE authorities in this regard. Courting investors he said that ownership laws in the country are lenient and lands and companies could be owned in totality or through joint venture, depending on the region and area of the country. The UAE would be hosting an investment and trade conference on South Sudan in the month of October
The Census Bureau has looked ahead to 2050 and seen a much changed landscape among the world’s most populous countries. For whatever that honor is worth, the United States will remain the world’s
third most populous country with its current population of 311 million having grown to 423 million. China and India will remain the world’s most populous, but by 2050 India, with over 1.6 billion people, will have displaced China, at 1.3 billion, for the distinction of having the world’s most people. Fourth behind the United States is Nigeria that because of its high birthrate is expected to go from 166 million to 402 million. Given that country’s great social problems and ethnic and religious divisions one can only wonder what effect more than doubling its population will have. Nigeria is followed by Indonesia, with 313 million, and then comes Pakistan, another not terribly stable country bedeviled by religious extremists. If it can’t solve its problems now, they may be infinitely worse when it has 291 million people.
Thanks to a fertility rate of 6 children per woman, Ethiopia will vault from 13th to seventh on the 10 most populous list, tripling its population from 91 million to 278 million. In a land regularly beset by savage famines, this cannot really qualify as good news. Seventh and eighth on the list are Brazil with 261 million and Bangladesh with 250 million. The Philippines, 172 million, leapfrogged Mexico, 148 million, for the final spot in the top 10. Missing from their traditional place on the list because of shrinking populations are Japan and Russia. Both have what the Census calls persistent low fertility rates, Japan has a strong cultural bias against immigration to augment its shrinking numbers, and Russia has a high mortality rate to go with its low fertility rate. The world’s population center of gravity, it seems, is swinging to Asia and South Asia. The list contains one Latin American nation, one African nation and no European nations. If we think migration, legal and illegal, is a problem now, wait until 2050.
Source: US Census Bureau report
Reuters) – The worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa has sparked a severe food crisis and high malnutrition rates, with parts of Kenya and Somalia experiencing pre-famine conditions, the United Nations said on Tuesday. More than 10 million people are now affected in drought-stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda and the situation is deteriorating, it said. “Two consecutive poor rainy seasons have resulted in one of the driest years since 1950/51 in many pastoral zones,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told a media briefing.
“There is no likelihood of improvement (in the situation)until 2012,” she said. Food prices have risen substantially in the region, pushing many moderately poor households over the edge, she said. A U.N. map of food security in the eastern Horn of Africa shows large swathes of central Kenya and Somalia in the “emergency” category, one phase before what the U.N. classifies as catastrophe/famine — the fifth and worst category. Child malnutrition rates in the worst affected areas are more than double the emergency threshold of 15 percent and are expected to rise further, Byrs said. High mortality rates among children are reported, but she had no figures for the toll. Drought and fighting are driving ever greater numbers of Somalis from their homeland, with more than 20,000 arriving in Kenya in just the past two weeks, the U.N. refuge agency UNHCR said on Friday. It voiced alarm at the dramatic rise, noting the average monthly outflow had been about 10,000 so far this year. Almost half the Somali children arriving in refugee camps in Ethiopia are malnourished, and those arriving in Kenya are little better, Byrs said. U.N. humanitarian appeals for Somalia and Kenya, each about $525 million, are barely 50 percent funded, while a $30 million appeal for Djibouti is just 30 percent funded, she said.
BY Kim Bhasin
We’re all familiar with the story about Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack building a computer in a garage, but what about other entrepreneurs like them that started with nothing more than a few thousand dollars and an idea? There are millions of entrepreneurs across the globe that have started profitable enterprises without the help of big investors, but only tiny fraction make it to the top of their industries. Here are four examples of amazing success stories that prove you don’t need millions from investors to make it big:
HP was the original tech startup formed in a garage. Bill Hewlett and David Packard started the company with $538 in 1939 as an electronics maker, getting a boost from its first successful product, an audio oscillator. The company expanded into all sorts of test electronics, and eventually entered the computer business in 1966 with the HP 2100 minicomputer. Now 72 years old, HP has grown into one of the world’s largest information technology companies. It now has more than 300,000 employees and posted revenues of $126 billion in 2010.
Two teachers and a writer got together to start up a Seattle coffee bean seller with their own money in 1971. One of their personal connections was Alfred Peet, the founder of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, whom they bought all their coffee from in their first year. It wasn’t until Howard Schultz joined the company in 1982 when Starbucks coffee shops came to be, though the founders initially hesitated to change the business plan so drastically. After the company went public in 1992, Schultz’s idea grew into the largest chain of coffeehouses in the world. Its 17,000 stores today are spread across 55 countries and can be found on what often seems like every street corner.
Founded by Fred DeLuca with $1,000 of buddy-turned-partner Peter Buck’s money back in 1965, Subway’s original goal was to open 32 stores in its first 10 years. Nine years later, they realized that they were going to come up short, so the pair started franchising. Subway now has more locations worldwide than fast food juggernaut McDonald’s, with more than 34,000 locations in 98 countries, and the company hauled in $15.2 billion in revenue in 2010. It’s still privately held, and is owned by DeLuca and Buck’s company Doctor’s Associates.
Originally a picture-frame maker run out of the house of founders Ruth and Elliot Handler in 1945, the still-tiny Mattel got into the toy business by using leftover wooden scraps from the frames to build dollhouses. Its first toy to make it big was the Uke-A-Doodle musical toy in 1947. Mattel had already grown into a $5 million venture by the mid-1950s, but in 1959 Ruth Handler came up with the Barbie doll, changing the toy industry forever. It’s now the world’s largest toy company based on revenue ($5.9 billion in 2010), and no longer has any toy factories in the U.S.
By Nsenga Burton
The Miami Herald is reporting that international model-actress Liya Kebede has been named the “new face” of L’Oréal. Kebede’s career began when she was in high school in Addis-Adaba, Ethiopia. Scouted by a modeling agency, she left Africa for France at the age of 18, and top-level international designers like Tom Ford, then the artistic director for Gucci, quickly hired her.
Since then, her elegance and her beauty have been seen at Fashion Weeks around the world, and she has been featured on covers of international fashion magazines (Vogue, Flair, I-D), emerging as a key figure in the fashion industry. Kebede has also appeared in several films, including 2006′s The Good Shepherd and Desert Flower in 2009.
In addition to her beauty, Kebede is a goodwill ambassador for the World Health Organization, for maternal, neonatal and infant health care. Her commitment was such that, just a few months later, she established the Liya Kebede Foundation, raising money for the Durame Hospital in Awassa, Ethiopia, with the goal of providing health care material.
In 2007 she created her own clothing line, Lemlem, which aims to support the trade of local artisans in Africa by highlighting their expert craftsmanship and helping to create self-sustaining economies.
“Liya is a very strong, inspiring and courageous woman, with an extremely refined and enchanting beauty. Her generous commitment to the cause of women’s well-being is also remarkable,” says Cyril Chapuy, Global Brand president of L’Oréal Paris.
“It is important for me that I represent a brand that reflects my personality. I’m pleased to play a part in sharing the uniqueness, the charisma and the incredible stories of women of all origins and from all regions of the world,” says Kebede.
Kebede joins Ines de la Fressange, Gwen Stefani, Freida Pinto, Jane Fonda, Aimee Mullins, Jennifer Lopez, Laetitia Casta, Beyoncé and Gerard Butler.
Don’t hate her because she’s beautiful … and smart … and caring … and giving … and loving … and grounded. Can you say “total package”?
Read more at the Miami Herald.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—When Ethiopia’s government imposed price controls in January to combat the spiraling cost of staples like meat, cooking oil and bread, butcher Wabe Habse had a long line of customers, but could barely make a profit. Now, after price controls were dropped earlier this month, Wabe is still not making money. “The meat market has collapsed,” said Wabe, who raised his prices nearly two-fold and saw his customers abandon him. “I am not sure how we are going to survive.” Ethiopia, like many African nations, has seen spiraling food prices this year. Nearby Uganda has seen violent protests over rising costs. Buyers and sellers in Ethiopia’s capital say the government’s attempt to bring down prices by imposing price caps on basics like oil and sugar for five months this year has
caused even more turmoil. When they were in place, the price caps bankrupted businesses that could not afford to sell at cheaper prices.
The government claims the country is a victim of rising international food prices, but the International Monetary Fund says the government is causing inflation by borrowing and printing money to pay for infrastructure projects. One economist called the government’s attempt at price caps “a fool’s errand.” After most of the caps were lifted in early June, prices again soared to levels unaffordable for many here. Already, 3.2 million Ethiopians depend on food aid. Recent government figures put inflation at nearly 35 percent in the last year.
In a rare show of rebellion in a country historically used to authoritarianism, Ethiopian consumers earlier this month started a text-message campaign to boycott meat in an attempt to force prices down. Wabe says the campaign has affected his customer base but that he can’t afford to reduce prices. “There is no profit if I do that,” he said. Taxi driver Abraham Habtamu, who earns about $60 a month in Addis Ababa, said that since the price controls were dropped he can only afford to gaze longingly at the beef that is now selling for about $5 a kilogram ($2.30 a pound), up from the capped price of about $3 a kilogram ($1.40 a pound).
“For me it is untouchable,” said Abraham, who is his family’s main provider.
Prices of cheaper goods such as chickpea flour have also risen. The flour, which formerly cost about 65 cents a kilo (30 cents a pound), is used to make a stew that is generally considered a poor man’s meal. Now it costs $1.60 a kilo (70 cents a pound). Economist Seid Hassan, who was born in Ethiopia but is now a professor in Kentucky, said imposing price caps to fight inflation has been “a fool’s errand.”
“The measure was taken without any careful study about the causes of rampant inflation, and the ruling party took the measures to distract public anger and potential unrest,” said the economics professor, who teaches at Murray State University. If it wants to create a healthy economy, Ethiopia should “minimize its heavy interventions in the ‘free’ market,” he said.
This East African nation’s communist government was overthrown in 1991 by the current administration, which despite promises of adopting free market principles established an economy in which state enterprises dominate key industries. Other sectors are strictly regulated. Ethiopia expects to collect almost $1.3 billion from foreign donors in the next fiscal year on a total budget of less than $7 billion.
The International Monetary Fund last week welcomed the decision to lift most of the price controls and urged the government to further improve the business climate and avoid “overheating” its economy, which has one of the highest growth rates on the continent. Ethiopia pumps huge amounts of money borrowed from foreign donors and provided by its central bank into its economy to support massive infrastructure projects. The IMF said Ethiopia’s inflation was mainly caused by this excessive growth of money supply and the country is not, as the government claims, a victim of rising international food prices. In fact, global food prices have a minimal impact on agricultural economies like Ethiopia’s, economists say.
The government accused private wholesalers of monopolizing the market and creating artificial shortages to increase prices even more. Ethiopia’s last resort, according to its government, was a price ceiling: an emergency measure usually reserved for countries at war or struck by a disaster. The price ceilings felt like “payback time” against business owners, said Betelhem Rehobot, who works at a clothing store. She said the adjusted food prices were a big relief to her at first. But instead of stabilizing the market, the price controls soon created shortages of goods and forced businesses to choose between bankruptcy and the black market because of nonexistent or narrow profit margins. The government has monopolized the sale of sugar, oil and flour, products which still have price ceilings. Betelhem says she doesn’t have time to wait in line for these items at government distribution points. But consumers have fewer choices than ever: many retailers say they now can’t afford to sell oil and sugar because of narrow
profit margins. Because of the rising inflation, even the country’s most important crop, coffee, has become too expensive for many. Abraham, the driver, said his family can no longer honor a basic Ethiopian courtesy by serving it to guests. “I made my mother cry last night when I gave her my salary, which she says it is worthless these days,” he said.
© Copyright 2011 Associated Press.
June 21 (Bloomberg) –Ethiopia expects the World Bank to decide this week whether to provide an additional $60 million of funding for an irrigation project in its Nile Basin, a Water and Energy Ministry official said. The Washington-based lender provided $100 million since 2008 to support the Nile Basin Irrigation and Drainage Project, Hayalsew Yilma, program coordinator at the ministry, said in an interview yesterday in the Addis Ababa, the capital. “We are negotiating with the bank for additional funding,” Hayalsew said. “It’s going to be presented to the bank’s board on June 23.” The project aims to
irrigate 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) of land to help transform subsistence farmers in the area in northwestern Ethiopia into sellers of surplus crops. Studies are being conducted on the potential for an additional 97,000 hectares to be irrigated.
Ethiopia’s five-year growth plan aims to increase the amount of irrigated land fivefold to about 10,000 hectares by mid-2015, Hayalsew said. Bank funding may be forthcoming “as long as the projects do not cause significant harm to downstream countries,” he said. As much as 2.2 million hectares of Ethiopia’s 3.7 million hectares of irrigable land is in the Nile Basin, according to the ministry. Increasing irrigation may boost food security in Africa’s second-most populous nation. About 3 million Ethiopians currently receive emergency assistance and another 7.8 million get food or cash under an aid program to support them, the United Nations said in April. “Countries like Ethiopia are no longer looking at food security, poverty, and climate change separately,” World Bank spokesman Heather Worley said in an e-mailed response to questions on June 17. “Climate-smart agriculture and irrigation practices are key to solving food security issues and increasing crop yields.”
–Editors: Paul Richardson, Karl Maier.