Wednesday, July 17, 2024

South Sudan-Ethiopia highway financing loan deal tabled in parliament

Ruben Madol Arol, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, presented a financing agreement between South Sudan and Ethiopia to the national parliament on Wednesday.

This agreement, which had been approved by the Council of Ministers, aims to upgrade the Palouch, Mathiang, Maiwut-Pagak highway to a higher standard. It was originally signed by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit in 2023.

Addressing the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, Arol highlighted the significance of the agreement in fostering cooperation between South Sudan and Ethiopia across various sectors, including business and politics. He noted that the agreement enables Ethiopia to provide financial support for the road project, amounting to more than USD 738,000,000 million.

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“This agreement, signed on May 18, 2023, between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of South Sudan, designates South Sudan as the borrower and Ethiopia as the financier,” he explained.

“This agreement will enhance cooperation between the parties in various business and political sectors, as it focuses on connecting the road from South Sudan to Ethiopia,” Arol explained.

According to the Justice Minister, South Sudan, as the loan borrower, will repay the loan over a five-year period following a five-year grace period from the agreement’s date. Ethiopia will receive payment in crude oil.

“In terms of crude oil payment, the borrower will repay the equivalent amount on the due date or in cash. If paid in cash, the borrower must deliver the crude oil price to Ethiopia. The loan repayment will be determined based on the price difference between the Arab Gulf and the delivery date of crude oil. Alternatively, if paid in crude oil, the borrower will deliver the oil,” Arol clarified.

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Minister Arol further revealed that “Services necessary for project execution will be procured from Ethiopian consulting firms, following South Sudan’s Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act of 2018.”

Jemma Nunu Kumba, the Speaker of the August House, referred the financing agreement to the Committees of Road and Bridges, and Finance and Planning, for examination and reporting within 14 days.

(Radio Tamazuj)

China accounts for half of foreign direct investment in Ethiopia

Ethiopia attracted USD three billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first 10 months of the current Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2023/2024, which started July 8, 2023, an official said.

Hanna Arayaselassie, chief commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, said on Tuesday that the commission had planned to attract USD 3.5 billion in FDI in the current fiscal year, which will end on July 7, 2024.

“The figure is a bit short of the FDI inflow target set for the first 10 months of the Fiscal Year 2023/2024, but exceeded that of the same period last year,” state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate quoted Hanna as saying.

According to the chief commissioner, although there have been sizable investments from other parts of the world, China has been the top source of foreign direct investment in Ethiopia, accounting for almost 50 percent of all FDI inflow into the country.

She said that the government has expanded many infrastructure projects, including roads and industrial parks’ development, to attract more FDI into the East African country.

“The industrial parks constitute very important infrastructure facilities, enabling both foreign and domestic investors to start operation quickly,” Hanna added.

In recent years, Ethiopia has built and commissioned a number of industrial parks as part of a broad strategy to make the country a light manufacturing hub in Africa by 2025.

“We have five well-established industrial parks and the government-owned Industrial Parks Development Corporation,” the commissioner said. “The commission is working closely with private industrial park developers to build more industrial parks.”

The Commission has been working to offer one-stop service where investors can get all licenses and permits to operate in the country, Hanna added.

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Deal with Ethiopia will help in defeating the Houthi rebels, Bihi says

The breakaway region of Somaliland insists the deal signed with Ethiopia would significantly help in handling Houthi rebels along the Red Sea, by securing ‘freedom of navigation’ which has been problematic for over a decade.

 Somaliland region is fighting for recognition, over three decades after cutting ties with Somalia, but the deal signed with Ethiopia has been condemned by several international partners who maintain that the move was an infringement of Somalia’s sovereignty.

 Ethiopia is set to get 20 kilometers of the Red Sea for construction of a Naval Base and port in exchange for recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state. The agreement is yet to be actualized according to officials.

 But Muse Bihi Abdi, the leader of the breakaway region, told the Financial Times that the Ethiopia accord would “allow Somaliland to support international efforts to secure freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea”, where vessels have come under repeated assaults from Houthi rebels backed by Iran.

 “Ethiopia will build a naval military base and have commercial ships and in exchange Ethiopia will give us recognition – that’s the basics,” said Bihi.

He defended the deal as an important move that would improve trade ties within the Horn of Africa, even after Somalia termed the deal as ‘illegal’ while demanding that Ethiopia should ‘withdraw’ from the arrangement.

 “The historic memorandum of understanding between Somaliland and Ethiopia will provide us with a clear pathway towards international recognition,”’ he said from Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway nation.

 Ethiopia has sought access to the coast ever since the 1993 split with Eritrea left it landlocked. It views the Somaliland deal as a way to alleviate its dependence on Djibouti for sea access although the US, EU, Arab League, and Egypt – which has a dispute with Ethiopia over a dam on the Blue Nile – have warned the plan could escalate conflict in a region already battered by terrorism and war.

 Senior Ethiopian officials insist that the deal will be actualized soon, with Somaliland periodically confirming that implementation is in the advanced stages. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has remained conspicuously silent on the matter.

 “It’s just a matter of realpolitik and necessity.” Omar Mahmood, a senior analyst for Eastern Africa with Crisis Group, said that, while the deal had created significant “blowback” Ethiopia did not want to completely give it up”.

 China, Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates have also sought access to the Horn of Africa, a poor but strategic region that includes Somalia and Djibouti.

 Somaliland has attracted USD 300 million in investment from Dubai-based DP World into Berbera and its wider economic zone, which represents about 75 percent of Somaliland’s government revenue.

 The aim is to transform the location into a regional trade hub. The UAE controls the airport in Berbera and has been setting up a naval base.

 Hargeisa said international recognition could unlock further investments into its USD 3.4 billion economy based on sea trade, remittances, and camel livestock. Recognition would be an “economic game-changer,” Bihi said.

 Somalia has already reached out to Turkey and Egypt for assistance, with the two countries pledging support for protection of the country’s 3,333 kilometers of coastline. The two countries have also promised to provide warships in the Red Sea following Somalia’s request


ILRI’s street chicken initiative boosts nutrition, empowers youth in Ethiopia

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in collaboration with the Ethiopia Ministry of Labor and Skills (MOLS), has launched an innovative street chicken frying business initiative in the cities of Addis Ababa, Adama, Hawassa and Bahir Dar. This project aims to tackle various challenges simultaneously by promoting the consumption of chicken meat, boosting the local economy, and providing employment opportunities for the youth.

Launched in Adama town of Oromia region 23 January 2024, this program supports nutrition-sensitive interventions in farms and school feeding programs. As part of the project, 45 unemployed youth from the four major cities received comprehensive training in different aspects of the chicken meat frying business. The training included broiler production, business plan preparation, soft skills, and food safety and hygiene.

To help the youth start their businesses, ILRI donated 10 gas and 10 electric stoves to MOLS, valued at USD 43,000. This support is expected to increase the demand and supply of chicken meat in urban areas while creating income opportunities for the youth and improving their entrepreneurial skills. The project also aligns with national goals to enhance food security and reduce poverty in Ethiopia.

This initiative is part of the Tropical Poultry Genetic Solutions (TPGS) program, which is one of ILRI’s efforts to enhance livelihoods and nutrition through the promotion of poultry and poultry products.

Ethiopia faces significant nutritional challenges, particularly among young children, with high rates of wasting, stunting and malnutrition. Addressing these issues requires improving agricultural productivity, ensuring access to diverse and nutritious foods, and strengthening healthcare and social protection systems.

By implementing initiatives like self-employed chicken frying businesses, Ethiopia can make tangible progress in combating malnutrition and creating a healthier future for its population.

‘Initiatives like the street chicken frying business are crucial for addressing multiple challenges in Ethiopia. By empowering youth with skills and resources, we can enhance food security, stimulate local economies, and tackle malnutrition effectively. This program exemplifies how targeted interventions can create sustainable livelihoods and foster economic growth,’ said Tadelle Dessie, the TPGS program leader.


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