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Ethiopia’s largest construction expo kicks off

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia’s largest annual exhibition in the construction sector kicked off in Addis Ababa on Friday.

The 8th edition of International Addis Build Construction, Construction Materials and Technologies Expo has brought local and international companies drawn from construction materials and technology equipments providers to contractors, according to the organizers Ladin Fair and Congress Organization Services and Ethel Advertising and Communication.

The four-day expo is attended by around 105 exhibitors from 12 countries including China, Bulgaria, Germany, India, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, the United States and the host nation Ethiopia.

Argaw Asha, acting Executive Director of the Ethiopian Construction Project Management Institute, said the exhibition would play a big role in improving the East African country’s competence in the construction sector.

The event, among other things, is expected to help foster partnership among local and foreign companies in Ethiopia’s construction industry sector, the organizers said.

Haimanot Tesfaye, Managing Director of Ethel Advertising and Communication PLC, also said that the exhibition is aimed at bringing knowledge and technologies of transnational companies to Ethiopia.

Enhancing the capacity of local companies, encouraging new businesses to the sector, and introducing new technologies are also among the objectives of the expo, Tesfaye said. 

Ethiopia, one of the fastest economies in the world registering a 10.9-percent economic growth during the recently concluded Ethiopian 2016-2017 fiscal year, has embarked on large-scale construction projects commissioned for both local and international companies.



Ethiopia plans fundraising mechanisms for mega dam project

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia plans to undertake various fundraising mechanisms, including lotteries, music concerts and arts and photo exhibitions, to raise funds for the construction of a mega hydro dam, which is expected to be Africa’s largest.

The Ethiopia Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the Dam (NCCPPCD) made the announcement during a public consultation forum held on Thursday in Addis Ababa.

NCCPPCD in particular hopes to raise around 55 million U.S. dollars to boost funding for the construction of the hydro project in the 207/18 fiscal year.

Construction of the 6,450 MW dam on the Blue Nile River in western Ethiopia was launched in April 2011 by Ethiopia’s late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and was intended to be seen as a showcase of the East African nation’s renaissance.

Named Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) the hydro project is expected to need 4.7 billion dollars to be completed and is estimated to be able to hold 74,000 cubic meters of water upon full completion. GERD is currently 60 percent complete.

Already, a high voltage electric transmission line built by State Grid of China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co. Ltd (SGCC) at a cost of 1 billion dollars has been inaugurated, waiting for GERD’s total commissioning to be operational. 


Sugar shortage hits Ethiopia as bad weather condition halves production  

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Sugar Corporation revealed on Thursday that the current sugar shortage witnessed in the capital Addis Ababa and other parts of the country is attributed to bad weather conditions that wreaked havoc on the country’s sugar production last year.

Gashaw Aychlum, Corporation’s public relations head, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview, that Ethiopia had an initial plan to produce some 5 million quintals of sugar during the last 2016-2017 Ethiopian fiscal year. However, as bad weather conditions, mainly unprecedented rains, affected the production of some of the country’s sugar plants, the actual production was reduced to 3.5 million quintals.

The shortage forced the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, a government entity established to regulate Ethiopia’s sugar sector, to provide the product only up to the end of August, which resulted to total supply termination for industries in the country and halved sugar supply to the general public.

According to the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation officials, the east African country is currently implementing both short term and long term solutions to solve the ensuing sugar shortage, which includes importing sugar from abroad.

Gashaw, who stressed the ongoing sugar shortage to be solved shortly, revealed that the Ethiopian government has already purchased some 700,000 quintals of sugar from Algeria and Thailand in a bid to meet local sugar demands.

The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation further expressed the country’s aspiration that two sugar factories, which will commence production within the coming months, will permanently solve the ongoing sugar shortage together with the already existing 6 sugar plants.

The corporation further revealed the plan to produce in excess of 7 million quintals of sugar during the just started 2017-2018 Ethiopian fiscal year.

Sugar production sector is amongst of the priority sectors that the Ethiopian government outlined as part of its first and second five-year Growth and Transformation Plans (GTP I and GTP II). Ethiopia is presently implementing its second five-year national plan, GTP II, effective from 2015 to 2020.


Ethiopia treats 617,000 hectares of maize amid armyworm outbreak

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia has treated some 617,056 hectares of maize that would otherwise be ravaged by the fall armyworm, Ethiopia’s agricultural ministry said Thursday.

Tewabe Chane, communication expert at the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, told Xinhua that the fall armyworm, first spotted in Ethiopia in late February, has spread to eight maize harvesting regions of the East African country.

According to Chane, Ethiopia has harvested more than 3 million hectares of maize since March, of which the fall armyworm was spotted in 646,731 hectares.

The ministry said it was able to treat some 617,056 hectares of maize production together with its partners.

Chane, however, asserted that the impact of the pest on the country’s maize production is yet to be calculated in the coming months.

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome said earlier this week that the fall armyworm had an impact in Ethiopia’s agricultural production during the recently concluded Ethiopian 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Ethiopia has applied some 239,821 liters of anti-armyworm chemicals on 253,572 hectares of land. The remaining 363,483 hectares was treated through traditional mechanisms, it was indicated.

Crops such as maize, soya beans, groundnuts, and potatoes are among over 100 crops that are said to be highly vulnerable to the pest.

Fall armyworm, the larva of night-flying moth, is indigenous to the Americas. It was first detected in Africa in 2016 in Nigeria, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin, and Togo.

According to the Ethiopian agricultural ministry, the nature of the insect and its unknown character in the East African country and the region has made the fight against the pest difficult. 


Ethiopian Airlines eyes attracting more Chinese tourists: CEO

ADDIS ABABA  Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia’s national carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is eyeing a bigger share of the Chinese tourists’ market which at more than 120 million is estimated to be the single largest tourist numbers globally.

Speaking exclusively to Xinhua on Saturday, Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of ET, said with the air carrier having a presence in China since 1973, one of the handful foreign airlines pioneers at the time, it has been a witness to the economic transformation of the Asian giant.

“Today, China is the single largest market for Ethiopian Airlines with 5 destinations and 31 total weekly flights,” he said, adding that ET has the largest market share on flights between China and Africa, employing dozens of Chinese nationals as cabin crew members in its flight to China.

Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. It has also announced plans to start flights at an unspecified date to Shenzhen dubbed the “Silicon Valley” of China for its tech-savvy entrepreneurial nature.  

Despite China being a large source of tourists to the world, the East African country received a relatively smaller proportion of Chinese tourists numbering 41,660 in 2015, up from 35,383 in 2012.

Although the number of Chinese tourist to Ethiopia was smaller than that of American and British tourists, the two largest groups of tourists received by Ethiopia, Chinese tourists tend to stay longer and spend more, making it even more urgent to attract them, according to the Ethiopian government.

Ethiopia had earned 3.32 billion U.S. dollars from 886,897 tourists that visited the East African nation during the Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2016/17, that ended July 8th.

The country plans to earn 4.5 billion dollars from 1.2 million tourists during the 2017/18 Fiscal Year, that started July 9th.   

GebreMariam adds that ET’s most recent flight destination Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan province which has 120 million people in total and its proximity to the metropolis of Chongqing city, makes it a lucrative market to attract Chinese tourists and businesspeople.

“We expect China-Africa and China-Ethiopia ties to grow very fast with trade, investment and tourism development, and ET’s China plan is in a way positioning ourselves for the future,” said Gebremariam.

“We have Chinese meals on our flights to China and we have Chinese websites, we’re present on social media network Wechat, and here in Addis we’re building a five-star hotel which, when completed, will have the largest Chinese restaurant in Africa, helping attract even more Chinese tourists,” he added.

The ubiquitous Chinese language signs visitors and passengers see when they enter Addis Ababa Bole International Airport seem to indicate the planning is well underway.

There is also Chinese help desk with Chinese customer service agents serving Chinese customers in their language with the objective of promoting Addis Ababa airport as the most Chinese friendly airport in the region.

However, Ethiopia isn’t just looking at Chinese tourists, but aims to have strategic cooperation with China on the aviation sector as it works to be an African aviation hub, Ahmed Shide, minister of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport, told Xinhua in July.

“We plan to make Addis Ababa a strategic aviation hub between China and Africa,” said Shide, adding that with China working on being an airplane manufacturing center, he expects Ethiopia to be a customer of fully developed Chinese airplanes in the future.

Ethiopian Airlines currently buys most of its airplanes from the U.S. airplane manufacturer Boeing and the European Airplane manufacturer Airbus.



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