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Ethiopia government hosts more than 840,000 refugees: UNHCR

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- A total of 6,186 refugees were registered in the month of June in Ethiopia, pushing the number of refugees registered in the East African nation to 843,374.

The figure was given on Wednesday by the United Nations High commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which said the June refugee arrivals have pushed the number of refugees registered in Ethiopia in the first six months of 2017 to a total of 60,293.

UNHCR gave the figures as it works to highlight the funding gap it is facing to meet the needs of the refugees currently estimated at 307.5 million U.S. dollars. So far 23 percent of the needed 307.5 million U.S. dollars has been donated to UNHCR.

Most refugees in Ethiopia come from the strife- torn nations of Somalia and South Sudan and Ethiopia’s northern neighbor Eritrea.

Smaller groups of refugees fleeing war in Sudan and from across the Red Sea from Yemen are also part of the group the UNHCR has registered as refugees in Ethiopia.

With Ethiopia currently being among the top five refugee hosting nations in the world, it’s also one of five African countries participating in a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).

CRRF is a vehicle for the implementation of pledges made at UN leaders’ summit in September 2016 in New York, where refugees in Ethiopia will be given funds for assisting with education and employment opportunities in Ethiopia.

Western Countries in particular hope that schemes like CRRF will persuade refugees living in Ethiopia and other African nations not to undertake perilous trips to reach their countries and instead stay at their current host countries.

Ethiopia sets up 50 weather forecasting centers to protect farming

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) revealed on Thursday that it has set up 50 weather forecasting centers in remote parts of the country so as to protect the country’s agricultural production.

According to a statement by ATA on Thursday, as the imminent major rainy season approaches, the newly established centers would help farmers in four major crop producing regions of the east African country with access to up-to-date weather information.

The agency further stressed that developing countries, including Ethiopia, are frequently vulnerable to climate change related challenges.

The newly established centers would help farmers to mitigate challenges with their farming activities with a better access to timely information about weather conditions in their respective locality, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency indicated.

The announcement by ATA came amid Ethiopia’s battle with the ongoing drought scenario that hits parts of the east African country affecting 7.8 million Ethiopians in need of emergency food and other humanitarian assistance.

As the imminent rainy season approaches in major crop producing parts of the country, the government of Ethiopia envisages such initiatives would reduce the impact of negative weather conditions.

The Ethiopian Meteorology Agency has recently indicated the prospect of average and above-average rainfall in different parts of the country, suggesting the situation as an advantage to drought affected regions.

The Ethiopian Meteorology Agency also recommended farmers and institutions across the country to take water saving measures so as to combat the long-term impact of future drought threats.

Ethiopia plans to have 15 industrial parks by June 2018

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia has planned to increase the number of its industrial parks to 15 by June 2018 as part of its efforts to boost manufacturing and export.

Speaking exclusively to Xinhua on Thursday, Arkebe Oqubay Board Chairperson of Ethiopian Industrial Park Corporation (EIPC), said Ethiopia’s aim in building more industrial parks is to enable the manufacturing sector to contribute to 20 percent of Ethiopia’s GDP and 50 percent of the export volume by 2025.

Currently Ethiopia has seven operational industrial parks with Mekelle and Kombolcha being the latest additions commissioned earlier this month.

Mekelle and Kombolcha industrial parks were both built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at a cost of 100 million U.S. dollars and 90 million dollars respectively.

"In January 2018 Kilinto Pharmaceutical and Bole Lemi 2 industrial parks will be commissioned, by May Bahir Dar and Jimma industrial parks will be operational, and in June expect Debre Birhan and Arerti industrial parks to start operations" said Oqubay.

The Ethiopian government has already announced that two other industrial parks, Dire Dawa and Adama will be commissioned in September.

The two industrial parks are also being constructed by CCECC at a cost of 190 million and 125 million dollars respectively.

"Industrial parks will initiate fast economic growth and enable structural economic change through a high tech manufacturing industry," said Oqubay.

He further said with Ethiopia planning to sustain 14 years of double-digit growth for a decade in order to create 2 million direct and 4.4 million indirect manufacturing jobs, the bulk of them will come from industry parks.

Ethiopia saves over 2.3 bln USD through import substitution: official

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia has saved over 2.3 billion U.S. dollars by substituting imported products with locally produced commodities in just less-than five years period, according to the Ethiopian Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service (PPPDS).

The statement by Yigezu Daba, General Director of PPPDS, on Wednesday indicated that the east African country has saved over 2.3 billion U.S. dollars as the country substituted products such as vehicles and spare parts, steel products, and building elevators which used to be imported from abroad.

As part of the Ethiopian government’s initiative to strengthen local producers’ share in the country’s economy, Ethiopia through its five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) has embarked on import substitution measures as a major alternative to increase domestic production and reduce foreign currency outflow.

According to Daba, the target was realized by enabling domestic producers and offering them with opportunities to operate in various activities.

The Ethiopian Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service had been importing various products due to limited access to locally produced products as compared with imported products, either in quality of quantity.

Praising Ethiopia’s recent achievements in producing commodities that have started to effectively substitute products that have been imported from abroad, Daba said Ethiopia’s import substitution initiative is warmly welcomed as the east African country is facing foreign currency shortage.

Ethiopia, through its second five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II), aspires to augment its domestic products of various commodities that include cement, sugar, textile, and vehicles and heavy duty trucks that are produced by meeting international standards and quality so as to reduce the size of imported goods.

Despite efforts, however, the Ethiopian government has acknowledged the difficulty in substituting imported commodities as locally produced commodities are expected to meet the international standards and quality to avoid rejection both at the local and international markets.

Ethiopia earns record US 866 million dollars from coffee export

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia has announced a record 866-million-U.S.-dollar earning from coffee export during the just concluded fiscal year.

The announcement by the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Development and Marketing Authority on Wednesday said Ethiopia has secured the revenue from the export of 221,000 tonnes of coffee to the global market.

According to the authority, the country has managed to achieve 92 percent of its targets in coffee export sector during the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

The authority further hailed the performance as "a very great achievement" compared to the previous years as the quantity of coffee product exported grew by 11.5 percent while the income generated from coffee export increased by 20 percent.

Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Belgium, Sudan and South Korea are among the top importers of the Ethiopian coffee, accounting for close to 86 percent of the total coffee exported from Ethiopia, according to the authority.

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s largest producers of Arabica coffee. Coffee production is dubbed as the backbone of the country’s agriculture-led economy.

The East African country also announced 74 million dollars earning from gold exports during the same fiscal year.

The revenue was reduced by half from the previous period, when Ethiopia earned 150 million dollars from gold exports.

The Ethiopian Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas has blamed primarily the contraband gold trading for the decrease in gold exports revenue.



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