Archive for February, 2012
Exports are expected to be “no less” than 150,000 metric tons in the six months through July 7, the second half of Ethiopia’s fiscal year, Tesfaye Kenea, acting general manager of the association, said in an interview today in the capital, Addis Ababa.
Shipments in the first half totalled about 60,000 tons, 35,000 tons less than the same period a year earlier, Tesfaye said. Exports declined mainly because the crop was delayed for two months by a “lengthy” rainy season and because “the New York price is going down, but the Ethiopian price is not going down proportionally,” Tesfaye said.
Arabica coffee for May delivery has fallen 12 percent so far this year, and traded at $1.9920 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. at 9:43 a.m. in New York. Ethiopian buyers currently pay an average of $1.9883 per pound, according to data from the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.
Ethiopia, Africa’s largest coffee producer, relies on the beans to generate about a third of its foreign-currency earnings. Exports of 196,119 tons brought in $841.7 million last year, according to the country’s Trade Ministry.
Ethiopians give lacklustre welcome to Kwame Nkrumah statue: This is an insult for the founding fathers of OAU
The arrival of Ghanaian great Kwame Nkrumah in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa 40 years after his death has been met with notable local resistance.
Ethiopians are signing a petition demanding that a statue of the pan-Africanist leader which was recently unveiled outside the new African Union headquarters be joined by one of the late emperor Haile Selassie or removed.
As well as the signatures, a group of Ethiopian elders, opposition politicians and scholars have written to the AU Commission voicing their disappointment at its decision to “ignore” the deposed emperor.
The golden statue of Nkrumah was erected to commemorate his founding role in the Organisation of African Unity, the AU’s predecessor.
The late Ethiopian monarch’s supporters have argued that their man, who became internationally famous for his resistance against the Italians under Mussolini, was a longer-standing supporter of African liberation than Ghana’s founding president.
“It is Haile Selassie who is described by African leaders as the father of Africa not Nkrumah,” said Yacob Hailemariam, an opposition politician who has spoken out against the choice of the Ghanaian.
The campaign has, however, infuriated Ethiopia’s current leader Meles Zenawi who said it was “crass” to question Nkrumah’s choice as an African symbol and has repeatedly denounced Selassie, who died in 1975, as a “feudal dictator”.
“It is only Nkrumah who is remembered whenever we talk about pan Africanism,” Mr Meles told local media. “It is a shame not to accept his role.”
The AU confirmed that it had received a letter signed by prominent Ethiopians, many of them living abroad, but declined to comment. The protest letter says that Selassie who ruled Ethiopia for 40 years had “the legal, moral, historical and diplomatic legitimacy to have his statue erected next to Kwame Nkrumah.”
The inauguration of the new headquarters in Addis Ababa was meant to underline Ethiopia and Africa’s burgeoning friendship with China which funded the $200m construction. However, the summit served to remind the outside world of the AU’s reliance on foreign funding and on its propensity for squabbling as Cameroon’s Jean Ping and South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma fought each other to a draw over the leadership of the 54-nation club.
The revelation that the AU relies for two-thirds of its funding on Western donors and that many members had both failed to pay their dues or fulfil their aid promises made during last year’s Horn of Africa famine, dampened the occasion. The empty coffers reminded many observers that the main patron of pan-Africanism in recent years was the deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was killed last year.
The statue row has enabled Ethiopia’s downtrodden opposition to rally support and opposition blogs have started to refer to the AU’s new 100 metre tall marble home as the “sarcophagus of Africa”.
Under Prime Minister Meles, who backtracked on his promise to leave office and ran again at the last election, the country has become increasingly authoritarian, imprisoning opposition leaders, curtailing non-governmental organisations and harassing political opponents.
The two competing African champions might have found the whole row quite strange as they were close supporters of each other’s causes before the emperor was deposed by the Derg coup leaders in 1974.
No observer of present day Ethiopia can fail to be inspired by the high ideal, vigilance, dedication, and far-sightedness of Emperor Haile Selassie I; architect and builder of the nation.
By Prince Ofori-Atta
Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi has forecast that the economy will grow by 11 per cent, although this will be blighted by a high inflation rate expected to average 32 percent.
Presenting his six month report to parliament Wednesday, Zenawi said the country had grown by 11.4 per cent and for the fifth year in a row, Ethiopia’s growth would be above the 10 per cent target set by the government.
However, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been less optimistic of the Horn of Africa country’s growth forecast, projecting that growth would be around 7 per cent.
The IMF warned that the high inflation rate was likely to impact negatively on growth prospects. Meles told legislators that the government was doing its best to bring the current inflation rate to a single digit figure at year end. “The government has totally stopped borrowing money from the national bank, which was among others things aggravating inflation,” he said. Meles said the country’s industry sector, which he expects to be the backbone of the economy, had shown great improvement, registering 12.5 percent growth.
He indicated that the government tax collection potential is on the rise. Even Somalia is collecting more tax than us In the past six months the government was able to collect around US$2 billion from various taxes and non-tax services showing around 40 percent growth compared to previous years. Meles, however, said the country’s tax collection was still below African standards, which stand at 18 percent. “Even Somalia is collecting more tax than us. Now we approach 10 percent of tax collection, which is still low compared to others countries on the continent,” he said.
The prime minister also indicated that during the period under review there was a budget deficit of more than US$400 million, which many say will remain the challenge for the government in curbing rampant inflation. Meles indicated that his government was undertaking studies to invite more foreign investors into the country in various fields. However, the premier did not elaborate to which sectors the government was inviting foreign investors. “We are currently assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the sectors which we are going to let foreign investors in,” said Meles.
Foreign banks, insurance firms and telecommunication companies are barred from operating in Ethiopia. There are 14 banks in the country but experts warn that the country is under banked and there is need for 40 more financial institutions.
Source The Africa Report
“Journalists play a crucial role in promoting accountability of public officials by investigating and informing the public about human rights violations,” said Frank La Rue, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression. “They should not face criminal proceedings for carrying out their legitimate work, let alone be severely punished.”
A week ago, three journalists and two opposition politicians were given prison sentences ranging from 14 years to life imprisonment under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism laws. This followed the sentencing of two Swedish journalists to 11 years in prison in December, a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated.
Another 24 defendants are scheduled to appear in court next month, for various charges under the anti-terrorism law, several of whom may face the death sentence if convicted.
Ben Emmerson, the Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, said that “the anti-terrorism provisions should not be abused and need to be clearly defined in Ethiopian criminal law to ensure that they do not go counter to internationally guaranteed human rights.”
The Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, emphasized that “journalists, bloggers and others advocating for increased respect for human rights should not be subject to pressure for the mere fact that their views are not in alignment with those of the Government.”
She voiced concern at the case of Eskinder Nega, a blogger and human rights defender who may face the death penalty if convicted. Mr. Nega has been advocating for reform on the issue of the right to assemble peacefully in public.
Similarly, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, cautioned against the ongoing campaign of harassment against associations expressing dissenting views, while Gabriela Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, deplored the reported failure to ensure the defendants’ right to a fair trial.
The experts called on the Ethiopian Government to respect the concerned individuals’ fundamental rights, especially their right to a fair trial, and reiterated the need to apply anti-terrorism legislation cautiously and in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations.
UN NEWS CENTER
THE NUMBERS: World unemployment totals, ILO estimates -
2007 171 million
2008 176 million
2009 197.7 million
2010 197.3 million
2011 197.2 million
WHAT THEY MEAN:
Is it correct to say that a thing which goes up must then come down? In the case of unemployment, perhaps yes, but only slowly. America’s case is an example: In January 2008, 7.7 million American men and women were out of work; by January 2009 the total had jumped to 12 million; it then continued to climb to its peak of 15.2-million (or 9.9 percent) by April 2010. Since then the tide of joblessness has receded – to 14.4 million in December 2010 and 13.1 million (or 8.5 percent) as of December 2011. Thus it is taking much longer to retrieve the jobs than it took to lose them.
How does this look in global context? The American circumstances are not, in fact, at all unusual. The ILO’s gloomy Global Employment Trends 2012, released in mid-January, estimates worldwide unemployment at 197.2 million – still more than 27 million above the decade’s low point of 171 million in 2007, and only a shade below the 197.7 million of crisis-stricken 2009. The OECD likewise, as it looks in more detail at its 34 wealthy and middle-income member countries, finds unemployment peaking at 45 million in 2009 and declining only to 44.7 million since. The ILO’s forecast for the coming year is uninspiring:
“The baseline projection shows no change in the global unemployment rate, which would lead to an additional 3 million unemployed around the world, giving a total of 200 million in 2012.”
So: unemployment is beginning to come down from the crisis peaks in the United States, even if less rapidly than one would hope. Abroad, it’s nearly as high as ever.
Data sources – world, rich-country, and United States -