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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Delivering on Africa’s Promise will be the theme of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2013 which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, 8-10 May, with the participation of more than 1,000 leaders from business, government, civil society and academia.
The meeting, which convenes against a backdrop of significant economic growth and progress in reducing poverty in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, features a programme built around three pillars: Accelerating Economic Diversification; Boosting Strategic Infrastructure; and Unlocking Africa’s Talent.
Led by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and representatives from his government, other leaders that have confirmed their participation are: Benin, President Thomas Yayi Boni; Ethiopia, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn; Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta; Malawi, President Joyce Banda; Nigeria, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; Seychelles, President James Alix Michel; Swaziland, King Mswati III; Tanzania, President Jakaya M. Kikwete; Togo, President Faure Gnassingbé; Uganda, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi; and Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Africa has an historic opportunity to take advantage of recent improvements in governance, as well as its massive youth bulge, to transform its economy and society. The World Economic Forum on Africa presents Africa’s leaders with a platform to build on these encouraging signs and work together to create innovative models, solutions and outcomes to tackle the region’s challenges and harness its great potential,” said Elsie Kanza, Director, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum.
In addition to a two-day public programme, there will also be a number of significant meetings on the fringes of the World Economic Forum on Africa. The Grow Africa Investment Forum, on 8-9 May, will attempt to build on its successes in 2012 by underscoring further commitment from both the public and private sectors. Another meeting is Shape Africa, organized by the Cape Town hub of the Global Shapers Community, a worldwide network of young leaders between the ages of 20 and 30, which takes place in the city on 6-7 May.
The Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum on Africa are Frans van Houten, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Management and the Executive Committee, Royal Philips Electronics, Netherland; Mo Ibrahim, Chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, United Kingdom; Mustafa Vehbi Koç, Chairman of the Board, Koç Holding, Turkey; Frannie Léautier, Executive Secretary, The African Capacity Building Foundation, Zimbabwe; and Arif M. Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, Abraaj Group, United Arab Emirates.
By Getachew Teklu
An Italian fashion and bag designer has launched a series of bags with what has been described as an Ethiopian flare. The move at Milan’s Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti on Thursday night, saw Pinko unveil six Ethiopian versions of its signature cotton Pinko Bag.
More than a hundred women in Addis Ababa, about 65 of whom were recruited and trained especially for the project, produced the eco-friendly, 100 percent cotton Pinko Bag for Ethiopia collection, and the results of their efforts are in the Italian brand’s stores now at 58 euros (about $76) per bag, the company said.
The idea has been praised by women here in Ethiopia, who told Bikyanews.com that they are pleased that “we are a part of the fashion world and the price is not so bad that even we might be able to buy one some time.”
Halle Desa, 33, said she believed the concept of eco-fashion was something that “should really pick up in the future because it can really help to be a global thing for us here in Africa and the West.”
Marina Spadafora, the collection’s creative director, said she drew inspiration from colorful body-painting traditions in southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, and cited photographer Hans Silvester’s work as a resource. “I’ve been working on sustainable fashion for years,” she said, “and finally here was a chance to use Ethopian art.”
Mr. Lamy met with Ethiopia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tedros Adhanom to discuss the accession procedures and requirements for membership, which the country has been working to meet for some time in Addis Ababa and made this pronouncement.
Ethiopia made its initial application to become part of the WTO in 2003, and a Working Party to consider and guide the country’s accession was set up in February of the same year.
Key issues pertaining to Ethiopia joining the WTO have surrounded the opening up of currently state-monopolized sectors, such as the telecommunications and finance sectors, while the country has also been called upon to allow investment by foreign entities.
The current announcement by Lamy indicates that Ethiopia may be nearing completion of all the transformations required by the organization, with the Director General’s visit also intended to provide specific advice in order that the final stages of accession may be swift.
If Ethiopia is able to join the World Trade Body, it will be a major achievement for Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who took over the country after the death of his predecessor and long term leader Meles Zenawi.
Once Ethiopia meets all of the requirements set out for accession, the final decision regarding membership will fall to the member countries of the WTO, who must all sign and ratify an accession agreement granting full membership.
BY Kate Douglas
Ethiopia’s soleRebels footwear company that has received an immense amount of international attention, was recently featured in the December edition of the Chinese Vogue magazine alongside well established brands such as Armani, Chanel, Gucci and Valentino. This comes at a time when soleRebels is positioning itself strategically for expansion across Asia.
The company, which opened its first Taiwan store in Kaohsiung last month, has just unveiled its second store in the city of Taichung. “The city is incredible, a must go tourism destination in Taiwan,” said Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder and CEO of soleRebels. “The crowds in the area where we are located are fantastic. Additionally Taichung is also a footwear epicentre, home to the Asian design centre for the planet’s largest footwear brand (Nike). It’s probably one of the most visited and watched footwear hubs in Asia.”
Alemu said that the response to both stores has been positive and the environmentally friendly soleRebels brand is regarded highly in the market. “[Taiwan] is one of the top 10 footwear markets in the world,” added Alemu. “Plus it is a gateway market into further Asian expansion including China where we plan to open stores in 2013. We feel very strongly that Taiwan is the perfect place for soleRebels to anchor our Asia wide roll-out.”
SoleRebels, which is the world’s first fair trade certified footwear brand, is also opening its third store in Taiwan this week in Pingtung City. “This opening is even more significant as it puts us well on the way to our goal of 30 soleRebels stores in Taiwan by 2015,” she told How we made it in Africa.
In addition, the company is also expected to soon launch stores in Singapore, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. “We feel strongly that there is immense potential for the brand all over Asia and Southeast Asia and so it’s natural for us to be in these markets,” continued Alemu. “In the United States we will roll out quite a few locations in 2013, beginning with our flagship New York City store.”
Having started in 2005 with just five employees, the company is expanding fast and creating jobs both locally and globally. “We are adding thousands of domestic, full-time, creative and well paid jobs over the next 36 months,” she said. “Through our store openings we will also create 600-800 global jobs by 2016.”
The company is planning on building a new factory in Ethiopia, replacing the current facility. “It allows us to continue to grow community employment to new heights as there will be many new jobs created when this facility is operational,” stressed Alemu.
SoleRebels predicts its global retail roll-out to add over US$15-20 million in revenues by 2015, and by 2020 Alemu aims to have over 150 retail stores worldwide. For more info visit: http://www.solerebelsfootwear.co/
THE NUMBERS: World exports, 2011 -
Total: $22.6 trillion
Manufactures: $11.5 trillion
Energy: $3.0 trillion
Business services: $2.2 trillion
Travel/logistics services: $2.0 trillion
Agriculture: $1.7 trillion
Ores & other mining: $0.8 trillion
WHAT THEY MEAN:
Based on the figures above – from the WTO’s trade statistics report for 2011 – trade seems to have recovered from the crisis. The global economy of 2011, as measured by the International Monetary Fund, was $69 trillion. Thus $22.6 trillion in trade implies a ratio of trade to economic output of 32.5 percent. This is just above the pre-crisis share of 32.4 percent, and well above the 23.5 percent of world GDP as of the millennial year 2000.
By way of long-term context, the 20th-century low was about 5 percent during the Depression, and the pre-World War I peak was about 17 percent, though the comparison isn’t perfect since there are more countries now.A quick rundown of the past century’s trade history:
And by way of short-term observation, three countries account for about a quarter of all trade.China, with $2.08 trillion in goods and services exports, just shades the U.S.’ $2.06 trillion to be the world’s largest exporter.Germany is next at $1.73 trillion.By product, China easily leads in manufacturing, with $1.77 trillion in exports; the U.S. was just below $1 trillion.The U.S., however, faces few challengers as a services and agriculture exporter, in both cases managing more exports than the 2nd- and 3rd-ranking countries combined. Japan, France, and the U.K. rank fourth, fifth, and sixth.
The same three countries are the world’s biggest importers.Though the United States is still as the world’s top importer at $2.66 trillion, since the crisis China has been the fastest-growing importer, up by almost $700 billion (i.e. from $1.30 trillion in 2008 to $1.98 billion) while the U.S. import bill for 2011 was, by the WTO’s count, only $100 billion above the 2008 figure.Thus the U.S.’ share of the world’s imports has fallen from 13.2 percent to 11.9 percent; Germany is the third-largest importer at $1.54 trillion. Japan is fourth here too; the United Kingdom and France switch positions.
The WTO’s 2012 trade statistics report: http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/statis_e/its2012_e/its12_toc_e.htm
And the IMF’s economic database for countries, regions, and the world: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2012/02/weodata/index.aspx
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
By Sarah McGregor
(Bloomberg) — Ethiopia’s “highly distorted” monetary policy requires urgent reorganization because it is stunting growth and undermining macroeconomic stability, the International Monetary Fund said.
The Horn of Africa country’s five-year economic-development plan that starts in the fiscal year beginning July 8, 2010, and targets annual growth of 11.2 percent is “very ambitious,” the Washington-based lender said. The IMF projects output for the period will range from 6 percent to 8 percent a year.
“The main concerns stem from heavy financing needs that have not been secured, insufficient prioritization and the limited role envisaged for the private sector,” the IMF said in an e-mailed report today. “High and rising inflation and entrenched negative real interest rates also threaten Ethiopia’s macroeconomic stability.”
The coffee-producing nation’s commodity-dependent economy grew 8 percent last year, versus 10 percent in 2010, the fifth- fastest in sub-Saharan Africa after the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Nigeria, IMF data showed.
Expansion may slow to 6 percent in the fiscal year through July 7, 2012, from an estimated 7.5 percent last year, because of rising inflation, restrictions on private-bank lending and a difficult business environment, the IMF said on May 31. Unrealistic Ethiopia’s goal to reduce inflation to less than 10 percent, from 40.1 percent in September, won’t be easily achievable mainly because the central bank’s monetary policy is unsuitable to tackle rising prices, the IMF said today.
“Single digit-inflation projections in the plan appear unrealistic as long as a loose monetary policy and a heavy dependence of public-sector financing on bank credit continues,” the lender said. The development plan envisions Ethiopia increasing crop production, boosting infrastructure and improving electricity generation to meet its growth goals.
Ethiopia plans to ramp up debt offerings to finance its planned 5,250-megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, after raising 7 billion birr ($407.5 million) in bond auctions in the past six months, Communications Minister Bereket Simon said on Sept. 27. The 80 billion-birr hydropower project to build Africa’s biggest power plant is being funded domestically to demonstrate how Ethiopia’s economy is reviving, Simon said.
By William Davison
Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) — Ethiopia will import 300,000 metric tons of wheat for reserves and to assure food supply amid drought, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said. The milling wheat, a variety used to make bread, has already been bought and will now be shipped, Berhane Hailu, the manager of the state-owned Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise said in an in interview from Addis Ababa.
The prime minister was speaking in Addis Ababa, the capital, at the opening of an African Union fund raising conference for the food crisis in the Horn of Africa in the city. The worst drought in 60 years in the region has left 12.5 million people, including 4.57 million in Ethiopia, in need of assistance, the United Nations says. There is a funding shortage of $1.4 billion for aid, the African Union said yesterday.
By Jayanth Jacob
To avoid comparisons with what China does in Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be unveiling bonanza of a different kind when he co-chairs the Africa-India forum summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, on May 24 and 25.
Four regional centres of excellence, 15 vocational training centres in African countries, two coal institutes in Mozambique, skill training for 20,000 people in different disciplines in next five years are the measures to be put in place as New Delhi pushes ahead with the capacity building agenda for the African continent.
Singh is also likely to announce an additional Line of Credit in the range of $500 million for African nations. This is in addition to the $5.4 billion India has already committed. New Delhi shies away from comparisons with its biggest neighbour China, which has made rapid strides in Africa.
India intends to send out the message that it believes in long-term partnership and “capacity building” and its plans for Africa are not dictated by the benefits it can get from the resource-rich continent.
The four centres of excellence will be in Uganda (East Africa), Ghana (West), Botswana (south), and Burundi (north). Each one of them will be focusing on different subject. For example, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade will be pitching in for Uganda.
These centres will focus on subjects such as foreign trade, information technology, Indian Diamond Institute will be behind the centre in Botswana. The two coal institutes will be based in Mozambique. “These institutes will impart training in mining and other aspects”, said a government official. The programmes aim at training 20,000 people in next five years, that’s 5,000 people a year.
Prime Minister will be in Ethiopia from May 23 to 26 for the summit then will pay a bilateral visit to Tanzania before returning to the country on May 28. Prior to the summit, external affairs minister SM Krishna will attend will attend the foreign ministers’ meeting to be held on on May 23.
President of Equatorial Guinea Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the chairperson of the African Union, will co-Chair the summit along with PM.