Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Ethiopian agricultural products soar in Chinese market through CIIE

Ethiopian coffee has been rapidly gaining traction in the Chinese market in recent years, with sales growing at a staggering rate of 27 percent annually. This rapid growth has been significantly boosted by platforms such as the China International Import Expo and cross-border e-commerce, which serve as effective gateways for overseas brands to enter China and present numerous opportunities for Ethiopian businesses.

One standout success story is the Ethiopian coffee brand Gera, which showcased roasted coffee beans at the third CIIE. During the expo, the brand’s Yirgacheffe and Sidamo coffees were signed up to a prominent cross-border e-commerce platform, immediately available for consumers.

During the fifth CIIE, Ethiopian highland coffee with vibrant orange packaging was drawing eyes. After being showcased in an e-commerce livestream during the expo, 17,000 boxes were sold in just one evening. Online sales of Ethiopian coffee surged 300 percent during the sixth CIIE.

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Traditionally, Ethiopian coffee growers and processors only accounted for less than 10 percent of profits in the export trade, with the majority of profits lying in distribution and sales. Leveraging the CIIE for cross-border e-commerce sales has effectively reduced trade costs, benefiting Ethiopian coffee farmers and allowing Chinese consumers to enjoy premium coffee beans at more affordable prices.

Witnessing the growing popularity of Ethiopian coffee among Chinese consumers, Tefera Derbew Yimam, Ethiopian ambassador to China, expressed great delight. He noted that China has become one of the primary importers of Ethiopian coffee. Ethiopian coffees have received rave reviews at the CIIE over the years, prompting many businesses to showcase their products at the event. “The embassy will continue to facilitate Ethiopian business participation in the expo,” Yimam said.

Coffee trade is just one aspect of the trade relationship between China and Ethiopia. Products like sesame seeds and green beans from Ethiopia have also made their way to supermarkets, stores, and retail markets in China.

At the sixth edition of the expo, Ethiopian sesame trader Duka Engineering & Trading Plc reached a preliminary cooperation agreement with Shandong’s Ruifu Sesame Oil Co Ltd, which would purchase 6,000 metric tons of sesame seeds.

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In October 2023, Ethiopia and China upgraded their bilateral relationship to an all-weather strategic partnership. In a joint statement, China expressed its desire to continue encouraging and supporting Ethiopian exports to China, including agricultural and food products.

With the Chinese market serving as a key driver of Ethiopian exports, Ethiopia’s distinctive offerings are expected to make a splash at this year’s expo, presenting vast business opportunities for its enterprises.

(PR Newswire Asia)

Heifer Ethiopia launches annual Agriculture, Youth and Technology challenge

Heifer Ethiopia launches this year’s Agriculture, Youth and Technology (AYuTe) Ethiopia Challenge, a national edition of Heifer International’s AYuTe Africa Challenge, which aims to transform agriculture by harnessing the innovative potential of youth and emerging technologies.

By recognizing and awarding young innovators, the AYuTe Ethiopia Challenge seeks to drive impactful change and uplift smallholder farmers across the continent, providing them with additional funding, support, and business mentorship to scale their innovations.

Last year, 528 young people participated in the AYuTe Africa Challenge in Ethiopia, coming forward with creative ideas and technology-driven solutions to address key challenges in Ethiopia’s agriculture sector. A total of USD 20,000 was awarded to three winners, alongside technical guidance from business leaders to support the implementation of their ideas.

The three winners from last year competition, will compete again at the Africa (continent) level, and will travel to Rwanda to participate in the inaugural AYuTe NextGen, an event themed “Reimagining Africa’s Agriculture in The Next 50 Years” to be held in Kigali on June 11, 2024.

To participate in the AYuTe Ethiopia Challenge, citizens and residents between the ages of 18 and 30 with creative technology ideas to improve agriculture can apply. Following the application deadline, a panel of experts and experienced judges will shortlist 30 agritech innovations based on the merit of their applications. Then, there will be two rounds of pitching: the first will feature the top 10 applicants, who will participate in an intensive boot camp training program for 10 days.

The second round of pitching marks the final stage of the competition, where the first, second and third place winners will be announced and awarded. The total cash prize of USD 20,000 will be awarded as follows: first place will receive $10,000, second place will receive USD 6,500, and third place will receive USD 3,500.

The competition will be judged by a panel of five distinguished professionals from Addis Ababa, hailing from the technology university (AASTU), Askamar Consulting, representative from Ministry of Agriculture, Entrepreneurship for impact and other outstanding organizations. All judges are trained in international pitch jury practices. 

The application form will stay open from June 4 to June 23, 2024. Details on eligibility and application procedures can be found on:  Heifer International Since 1944, Heifer International has worked with more than 46 million people around the world to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way.

Working with rural communities across Africa for nearly 50 years, Heifer International supports farmers and local food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a living income. It currently operates in 19 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas.

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Boeing crash relatives seek $25 bln fine for ‘deadliest corporate crime in US history’

Boeing should be fined almost USD 25 billion (£19.7bn) and face criminal proceedings over two fatal 737 MAX 8 crashes, according to relatives of some of the 346 victims who argue the company is guilty of the “deadliest corporate crime in US history”.

The plea was revealed in a letter to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), a month after it filed a case accusing the planemaker of breaching its obligations in a 2021 agreement that shielded Boeing from criminal prosecution.

Then, Boeing agreed to pay USD 2.5 billion to resolve the investigation into its conduct, compensate victims’ relatives and overhaul its compliance practices following the crashes of 2018 and 2019.

The terms of that deal – known as a deferred prosecution agreement – were due to expire in January this year but, two days beforehand, a Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft operated by Alaska Airlines suffered a mid-air panel blowout.

The incident has been the subject of multi-agency investigations, including by the DoJ.

Boeing denied last week that it had violated the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement through its production practices ahead of the MAX 9 Alaska Airlines accident.

The MAX 8 fleet was withdrawn from service for 20 months in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 disaster outside Addis Ababa in March 2019. All 157 on board were killed. Six months earlier, a Lion Air 737 MAX 8, carrying 189 passengers and crew, crashed in Indonesia.

Poorly designed flight control software was ultimately blamed for both accidents. Families of the dead are among the parties the DoJ is talking to before making a formal decision on the case by July 7. The relatives want the court in Texas to throw out the deferred prosecution agreement.

Paul Cassel, a lawyer representing 15 families, wrote in a letter to the DoJ: “Because Boeing’s crime is the deadliest corporate crime in US history, a maximum fine of more than USD 24 billion is legally justified and clearly appropriate.

He added that part of the financial penalty could be suspended on condition Boeing makes multiple commitments regarding safety and scrutiny.

The court filing in May also exposes Boeing to a potential fresh criminal prosecution.

News of the fresh DoJ case, which could potentially seek further financial penalties and tougher oversight, poured further fuel on the corporate crisis that has engulfed Boeing this year since the January blowout.

A broad management shake-up will see both the chief executive and chairman go.

Regulatory action against the company has seen production limits placed on its factories, harming not only Boeing’s earnings through the drive for quality but also its customers’ expansion plans.

Ryanair is among those to have complained about a hit to its schedules and bottom line from late deliveries.

Boeing’s share price has lost a third of its value in the year to date.

Chief executive Dave Calhoun, who is due to leave at the end of the year, defended the company’s safety record during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, repeatedly denying assertions that Boeing placed profits over safety. He told relatives of those who had lost loved ones in the MAX crashes, some of whom were in the room, that he was sorry “for the grief that we caused”.

The hearing coincided with the release of a fresh report by a whistleblower that included allegations defective parts may be going into 737 variant aircraft.

Sam Mohawk, a quality assurance investigator at an assembly plant near Seattle, also claimed that Boeing hid evidence after the industry regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, told the company it planned to inspect the plant in June 2023.

“Once Boeing received such a notice, it ordered the majority of the (nonconforming) parts that were being stored outside to be moved to another location,” Mohawk said, according to the report. “Approximately 80 percent of the parts were moved to avoid the watchful eyes of the FAA inspectors.”

The parts were said to include rudders and wing flaps. Boeing has said it is continuing to review his allegations.

(Sky News)

National bank ups gold incentives to fight black market

The National Bank of Ethiopia is revamping its gold buying scheme to combat a decline in official gold supplies. The bank announced significant price hikes for suppliers, hoping to stem the flow of gold into the black market.

Under the new plan, effective June 17th, 2024, suppliers will receive a 72 percent premium above the global market price for deliveries exceeding 30 kilograms. Those bringing in 3.01 to 30 kilograms will get a 67 percent premium, while smaller quantities between 50 grams and 3 kilograms will receive a 60 percent markup.

These changes address longstanding issues in Ethiopia’s gold sector. The National Bank acknowledged that previous incentives were insufficient, leading to gold being smuggled out instead of entering official channels. 

Governor of the National Bank, Mamo Mehretu, specifically noted a recent drop in submissions despite ongoing gold production. This decline in official gold has significantly impacted the country’s foreign exchange earnings, falling short of projections set by the Ministry of Mines.

Ethiopia previously earned over USD 600 million annually from gold, but those figures have dwindled in recent years. The hope is that the new, more attractive incentives will entice suppliers back into the official market, boosting foreign currency earnings for the country.

(2Merkato)

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