Embaixada da Ethiopia em Brasília - Ethiopia Embassy in Brasilia Localizado em
Shis Qi 07 Conjunto 4 Casa 09, Lago Sul, Brasília.
Telefone: (61) 3248-0361 http://ethiopianembassy.org.br/
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Embaixada da Etiópia
Brasília, Brasil

Sep 11,2015

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    News in Brief

    Africa and the African Union

    As part of its plans to try to reduce the number of refugees heading to Europe, the European Commission is launching a €1.8billion fund to help states deal with migrants before they arrive on European soil. The fund, provided by the 28 EU member states, will focus on northern Africa and Horn of Africa countries like Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

    A  team from the African Union arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, on Monday (September 7) to hold discussions on the proposed African Union Human Rights Memorial to commemorate the Rwandan Genocide at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The Memorial is expected to be launched next Januar at the start of the AU's Human Rights Year.


    Prime Minister Hailemariam made an eight day visit to China (September 1-8) at the head of a high level delegation, including Foreign Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom. The Prime Minister held talks with the President of China Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang as well as other officials. (See article).

    During the Prime Minister’s visit to China five fora on China-Ethiopia Production Capacity Cooperation were held. The first two were held in Diaoyuti and Jiangsu States, and the third in

    Zhejiang Provincial State on Sunday (September 6). The two final fora were held inGuangzhou and Dongguan cities in Guangdong Provincial State on Monday and Tuesday (September 7 and 8). (See article)

    The Ethio-Israel Agrotech Forum took place on Wednesday (September 9) in Addis Ababa, opened by State Minister of Agriculture, Wondirad Mandefro. Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mrs. Belaynesh Zaveda, said the Forum was designed to enhance the development of the agricultural sector in Ethiopia and to strengthen economic and technological ties between the two countries.

    Dr. Fasil Nahum, a Special Advisor to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn with the rank of Minister in Sweden has held meetings in Sweden with Mr. Hans Dahlgren, State Secretary for Foreign and EU Affairs for Sweden at the Office of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Mrs. Annika Söder, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.

    State Minister Dewano Kedir met a delegation of Israeli companies at his office on Thursday (September 10) to discuss possible partnerships and opportunities to work in Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is celebrating the New Year, 2008 on Saturday (September 12). Melkam Addis Amet.  (See article)


    Kenya has launched a three month operation to flush out Al-Shabaab terrorists from the Boni forest area near the Kenya-Somali border. Troops and police have set up camps in Garissa and Lamu Counties from which to clear the area.


    Somali Foreign minister Abdusalam Omer said on Tuesday (September 8) that Somalia needed more support for its national army and new investment to create jobs to help it fight Al-Shabaab terrorists. The Minister said "We need more training, we need more arms and we need more trucks, but equally important we need jobs. We need people to come and invest."

    The government of Japan donated another 56 vehicles to the Somali National Police this week. The Commander of the Somali National Police, Mohamed Sheikh Hassan Hamud, expressed his thanks for the way the Government of Japan has assisted the Somali government.

    The United States Mission to Somalia began work on Tuesday (September 8) but it will remain based at the American Embassy in Nairobi, and no ambassador has yet been appointed. The US formally recognized the Somali government in January 2013; Secretary of State John Kerry visited Mogadishu in May.

    On Wednesday, the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Somalia Caucus in the US Congress, Representatives Keith Ellison and Tom Emmer and 16 members of Congress sent a letter to the White House and Treasury calling on the US Administration to act quickly to resolve the crisis over remittances to Somalia and accelerate development of a framework for remittances which provide more than 25% of Somalia’s GDP.

    South Sudan

    On Thursday, the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly ratified the recently signed IGAD-Plus Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on August 17, and in Juba on August 26. The 212 legislators present unanimously endorsed the peace deal which the two parties signed on August 17 and August 26.

    On Thursday (September 10),  the SPLM-in-Opposition’s National Liberation Council meeting in Pagak ratified the IGAD-Plus compromise peace agreement, and nominated Riek Machar to take the post of the first vice president in the to-be-formed Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU).

    A military spokesperson said on Tuesday (September 8) that the South Sudan army would like international monitors from the United States or the United Nations to observe the August 29 ceasefire. Both sides have accused each other of violations.  The spokesperson said IGAD monitors currently lacked the necessary resources to monitor the ceasefire.


    President Omer Hassan al-Bashir attended the handing over ceremony on Tuesday (September 8) when the out-going minister of defense, Mustafa Osman Obied, handed over to Lt. General Awad Ibn Awf. General Ibn Awf, who was appointed last month, promised to complete the plans for the modernization, development and rebuilding of the Sudan Armed Forces.

    The Minister of Mines, Ahmed Mohamed Sadiq al-Karuri, said on Wednesday (September 9) that Sudan had produced 54 tonnes of gold in the past eight months with 10 tonnes from mining companies and the remainder from traditional mining. It expects gold production for 2015 to reach 80 tonnes and to reach 100 tonnes in 2016.


    Prime Minister Hailemariam’s visit to China….

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn concluded an eight day visit to China on Tuesday (September 8) heading a high-level delegation which included Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Teferra Derebew, Minister of Agriculture; Ahmed Abtew, Minister of Industry; Tolosa Shagi, Minister of Mining; Dr. Arkebe Equbay, Advisor to the Prime Minster with the rank of Minister; high ranking government officials and members of the business community. The delegation arrived in Beijing on Tuesday (September 2) to attend the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Victory against Japanese aggression marking the end of World War II.

    During the visit, Prime Minister Hailemariam held warm and successful talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang covering ways to enhance Ethiopia’s manufacturing sector, infrastructure, and poverty reduction endeavors and signed a series of agreements on various aspects of cooperation to help make Ethiopia a manufacturing powerhouse in Africa. Both President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang commended the commitment of Ethiopia’s leadership to fight poverty and transform the country. They assured the Prime Minister that the strong support of China will continue until the day Ethiopia achieves its vision of becoming a middle income country by 2025, and beyond. Both countries expressed their mutual interest to work together to lift their relationship to a higher level.

    Following China’s fast economic transformation of the last 30 years many labor-intensive first-generation industries are looking for favorable places to relocate. Ethiopia is one of the main targets for Chinese companies because of its strong relationship with China and its relative peace and stability. It also has a government committed to development, macro-economic stability, a low crime rate, cheap land, available labor and low energy costs. During the bilateral talks, both sides reiterated their intention to vigorously implement the Production Capacity Cooperation Framework Agreement signed in May last year. This largely focuses on enhancing Ethiopia’s manufacturing sector through technical and financial support and experience sharing.  Both President Jinping and Premier Keqiang indicated Ethiopia is well-positioned to benefit from Chinese cooperation in such areas as urban planning, human resource development, capacity building, oil and gas exploration and agricultural modernization. Prime Minister Hailemariam underlined Ethiopia’s interest in attracting investment from China. China has agreed to support the Meles Zenawi Leadership Academy and the Train Academywith allocations of US$250 million each.

    Ethiopia and China established diplomatic relations in 1970 but the relationship gathered real momentum after the downfall of the Military Government in Ethiopia in 1991.The bedrock of the Ethio-China relationship, of friendship and cooperation, has been the shared values arising from ancient civilization, freedom, mutual respect, and the common interest and desire for peace and harmonious development. Ethiopia and China have indeed developed a special bond of friendship and brotherhood through decades of cooperation and mutual assistance.

    With the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000 the relationship was transformed into a new strategic partnership. With its great interest in the realization of the objectives of China-Africa Forum, Ethiopia hosted and co-chaired the second Ministerial meeting of the Forum in 2003. The relationship between the two countries has been characterized and further strengthened by close and comprehensive consultation and cooperation for win–win socio-economic development, not only through strong Government-to-Government relations, but also through party-to-party ties and people-to-people contacts. In addition to excellent bilateral relations, the two countries also closely collaborate in the international arena in promoting global peace, harmony, climate change, and other areas of common concern.

    China, indeed, has proven itself to be a real and dependable friend in many areas. It has played a significant role in helping Ethiopia’s fight against poverty, and economic relations between the two countries bear witness to the strength of cooperation between them. Two factors that should be emphasized as contributing to the bonds between Ethiopia and China are the frequent exchange of visits by high level officials and legislators; and the successful signing of agreements on a number of significant bilateral issues. Trade relations have shown significant progress over the last few years following the Government of China’s allocation of quota and tariff free rights to African countries. Exports, mainly in agricultural produce, have shown significant improvement as a result, though the balance of trade remains in favor of the People’s Republic. Chinese investment in Ethiopia is showing significant expansion in both quality and quantity, and it currently stands at over US$ 2.7 billion. Chinese companies have invested in areas as diverse as cement and glass factories, manufacturing mainly in footwear, textiles and pharmaceuticals, and in areas of mining. They have generated substantial job opportunities and Ethiopia has also benefited significantly from the transfer of technology. Overall, the Chinese Government has played a remarkable role in encouraging Chinese investors to come to Ethiopia.

    China and Ethiopia signed Trade Cooperation Agreement in 1996 in order to strengthen their trade relations and this has increased in volume. However, the balance of trade between the two countries remains in favor of China. The main export items of Ethiopia to China are oil seeds, sesame, leather and leather products, natural gum and mining products. The total trade turnover (expressed in terms of value) of the two countries reached nearly US$2.7 billion in 2013, up from US$353 million in 2004. Given current trends and Ethiopia’s fast economic growth trade relations between Ethiopia and China are like to continue promising. The volume of trade between the two countries in recent years has increased with an average growth of 16.7% a year.  At the same time, Ethiopia is looking for Chinese support to bridge the trade gap through efforts to increase value addition to its export products. With regard to investment, the two countries signed an Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement in 1998 and the Government of China has encouraged Chinese investors to invest in African Countries through its “Go Global” policy. During the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit held in Beijing in 2006, the Chinese government announced the establishment of the China-Africa Development Fund and pledged to commit US$5 billion to encourage Chinese investors to invest in Africa. The China-Africa Development Fund (was established in June 2007 and a branch office was opened in Addis Ababa in April 2010 to facilitate the activities of Chinese companies in Ethiopia and Eastern Africa more generally. The level of the Chinese investment has now reached an unprecedented level in Ethiopia and there is great potential to further increase this, particularly in the manufacturing sector. The Huajian Shoe Factory, established 2 years ago and employing more than 4000 Ethiopians is a good example, with plans to increase its production and its employees significantly. The total capital registered by Chinese companies between 1992 and 2014 is Ethiopia has been US$2.76 billion, and much of the Chinese investment in Ethiopia is in the manufacturing sector, in line with the priority areas of Government development plans.

    .…meetings with financial institutions and construction companies….

    During the visit Prime Minister Hailemariam and the delegation signed five agreement packages with Chinese Companies. These included a Technical Cooperation Agreement, the African Regional Cooperation in Aviation, Letter of Guarantee and Buyer Credit Loan Agreement for Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Power Supply Project, Letter of Guarantee and a Special Facility Agreement for the Development of Ethiopian SME's, and Petroleum Pipeline Agreement. The delegation also held meetings with the Governors of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong Provincial States and took part in a number of business fora during their visit as well as holding a series of bilateral discussions with Chinese officials and meeting representatives of selected companies on investment in manufacturing and industrial zone development in Ethiopia.

    In Beijing, the delegation met with members of various financial institutions and construction companies and discussed issues of development finance and on ways for these companies to work in cooperation with the Government on the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) modality.

    One of the meetings was with Mr. Zhang Zongyan, President of China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) which is building the Addis Ababa Light Railway system. The Prime Minister encouraged the company to finalize the last stages of the Light Railway as soon as possible and continue with the second phase as soon as possible. He also said he hoped the company would finish the remaining elements on the Sebeta-Mieso rail link, part of Addis Djibouti railway. This is expected to start operations later this year. Mr. Zongyan confirmed the company would exert its best efforts to make the Addis Light rail operational quickly and successfully complete other projects.

    The delegation also met senior officials from the China Communications Construction Company. It welcomed the performance of the company and urged it to start on work the industrial park development project agreed when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Ethiopia in May last year. Other discussions were held with Mr. Zha Weimin, Vice President of the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (SINOSURE), and the Vice President of the China Poly Group Corporation. Mr. Weimin assured the delegation that SINOSURE will continue its commitment to support companies that are involved in projects in Ethiopia, particularly those involved in the major infrastructural projects. The Prime Minister, who welcomed SINOSURE’s active involvement in Ethiopia's development, urged it to renew its commitment to continue supporting the country during the second phase of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) which begins next year. The Prime Minister also met with Mr. Ji Weimin, President of CGC Overseas Construction Group (CGCOC) and Mr. Liu Zhenya, Chairman of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC). He urged CGOOC to finish the water projects it was constructing in Addis Ababa city as there were a number of other projects due to commence soon in Adama, Mekele, Bahr Dar and Hawassa according to the priorities set out in the agreement. He commended the company’s efficient performance in implementing the power grid projects from the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to Addis Ababa and the Ethiopia-Kenya power line.

    …..and business fora highlight investment opportunities in Ethiopia  
    During their visit, the delegation held five business fora on the theme of “China-Ethiopia Production Capacity Cooperation” in different parts of the country.

    The first of these was organized and facilitated by the China Development Bank in Diaoyuti State on September 4. In his keynote address to the Forum, Prime Minister Hailemariam emphasized that Ethiopia was committed to enhance its production capacity by making the private sector an engine of change. Ethiopia's endeavors to change its economy from an agrarian-based economy to an industrial and urban-based one was paying off, he said, by attracting investment across from various parts of the world. He noted the political commitment of his Government; the macro-economic stability in the country; low crime rate and exercise of zero tolerance for corruption were attributes which made Ethiopia to be a favored investment destination.  He noted that Chinese investment in particular was growing in Ethiopia following Prime Minister LiKeqiang’s visit to Ethiopia last year.

    Mr. Zheng Zhijie, President of the China Development Bank, noted that the Chinese economy had been continuously opening up since 1978 and that many developing countries were benefiting through business and investment cooperation with China. Ethiopia, he said, was a friend to the people of China, and he added that both countries shared similar development pursuits. He noted the growth Ethiopia had registered in the last decade in agriculture and infrastructure development, placing the country as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. He said the China Development Bank would strategically cooperate with Ethiopia in transferring capacity and investing in the development of industrial parks. He also stressed the Bank would encourage Chinese investment to Ethiopia and that it would become a development partner in Ethiopia's modernization by expanding areas of cooperation, promoting investment, and expanding capacity to enhance foreign exchange gains from coffee, clean energy, oil and gas.  Professor Lin Yifu, former Chief Economist at the World Bank and a ‘friend of Ethiopia', also spoke on China-Ethiopia cooperation. He said Ethiopia had been one of the lower level countries on in development when he joined the World Bank in 2008 but when he left the Bank four years later it had become one of the leading ones. He said Ethio-China relations were a significant element in Ethiopia’s ongoing developments and added that China's development would continue to benefit many developing countries to help Africa take a leading role in years to come.

    On the second business forum which was held in Jiangsu on September 5, the Prime Minister commended the vibrant business community of the Provincial State of Jiangsu for their exemplary investment in Ethiopia, particularly in the Eastern Industrial Zone set up in Oromia Regional State. Ethiopia, the Prime Minister said, was now the 4th largest investment destination in Africa and he emphasized that the country was always ready to accommodate more Chinese investments.  He noted Ethiopia continued to emulate China's poverty reduction scheme and open its doors for quality investment in apparels, leather, and construction materials production sector. Speaking at the Forum, Mr. Zhang Lei, Vice Governor of Jiangsu Provincial People's Government, said the longstanding relations between Ethiopia and China were creating a favorable environment for increased cooperation in modernization and industrial development. Ethiopia, he said, was China’s priority destination in production capacity cooperation, adding that the growing development financing program of China had benefited several countries, including Ethiopia. Jiangsu, he said, had wide economic links and was a leading foreign direct investor in quality mid level industries. The Vice Governor added that the provincial state was keen to contribute much ahead in the development of Ethiopia.

    Another conference on the same theme took place in Zhejiang Provincial State on Sunday (September 6). This was third business forum attended by the high-level Ethiopian delegation in China. Opening the forum, Prime Minister Hailemariam said Ethiopia attached great importance to its relations with China and their strong mutual relation was the bedrock for investment flows to Ethiopia.  He said Ethiopia recognized China's contribution to enhancing its manufacturing sector and in the future he hoped to see more relocated, labor-intensive manufacturing industries move to Ethiopia. This year alone some 300 Chinese companies have carried out pre-investment studies.  Zhejiang Provincial State is known for its small and medium scale industries in textile, leather and agro processing, and the Prime Minister said these were exactly the areas on which his Government was focused and in which Ethiopia needed quality investment. He said Ethiopia had particularly favorable conditions for development of these sectors including a large and trainable young population, abundant land and water, cheap electricity and, above all, a favorable policy environment.

    Ethiopian Investment Agency Director-General, Fitsum Arega, also addressed the Forum and answered questions from participants. Later at a dinner in his honor, Prime Minister Hailemariam and the Governor of Zhejiang Province, Li Qiang, discussed a wide range of areas in which the provincial state could work in cooperation with Ethiopia. Governor Qiang showed strong interest in supporting Ethiopia’s agricultural research and town planning and he said he would encourage businesses from the region to participate in industrial park development in Ethiopia. During his visit, the Prime Minister also met with representatives of businesses from the region and members of the Ethiopian Diaspora living in Zhejiang and its vicinity. He discussed current developments in Ethiopia and the opportunities for investment. He encouraged the members of the Diaspora to participate in their country's development by investing or joining in joint ventures with Chinese investors in areas where Ethiopia can best benefit from their knowledge.

    The two final business fora were on the theme of China-Ethiopia Production Capacity Cooperation took place on Monday and Tuesday this week (September 7 and 8) in Guangzhou and Dongguan cities in Guangdong Provincial State. In opening the final meetings, the Prime Minister noted that industrialization in China especially in the Pier River Delta was among the most impressive in the world and had given Dongguan the title of the “world's capital of manufacturing". This “manufacturing powerhouse”, the Prime Minister said, was now playing a role in industrializing other countries like Ethiopia, encouraging and dispatching investors abroad. Ethiopia, he said, was always ready to learn from such success and he pointed out it was open to investment in small and medium scale industry.  Ethiopia, he said, was bidding to develop fast in a sustainable fashion and it needed large investment from China as both countries share same goal of changing the life of the poor. “The sustainable and equitable growth path of China is an inspiration in my country” said the Prime Minister; there would be no stone left unturned until poverty becomes history in Ethiopia. Investors who shared this vision from Guangdong were the best candidates to invest in Ethiopia, he said. Reiterating Ethiopia’s commitment to sustainable growth which, he said, provided a favorable place for manufacturing to flourish, he urged the Huajian Group, one of the leading investors in Ethiopia, to complete the new Eastern Industrial Park as soon as possible. During the fora, the China Development Bank Guangdong Branch, the Huajian Group, the George Shoe Group and SINOSURE made presentations of their policies, experiences and future plans.  

    Ethiopia’s Finance and Economic Development Minister, Sufian Ahmed, briefing participants, said the country had allocated land with long-term guarantees of use for investors interested in constructing industrial parks. He said regulations on the repatriation of profits were very clear. Companies could repatriate without difficulty if they declared profits at the end of the fiscal year. The challenge, as it had been in China when it was opening up her economy 30 years ago, was shortage of foreign exchange. However, said the Minister, that itself was a healthy sign of the economy which showed the growing sectors needed foreign exchange more than ever before. The challenge could in any case be alleviated by attracting more investment to bring foreign exchange and by producing competitive items for the market. 

    Party Secretary Xu Jianhua and Vice Mayor Yang Xiaotang described Dongguan city as a manufacturing miracle and said it had become a booming business and industrial city in the Pearl River Delta region. The Vice Mayor explained that it used to be the agricultural base of the Pearl River Delta region but it had become one of the cities which had seen most rapid economic development since China’s reforms and the opening-up of the economy. He said it had realized annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than 20% over the last 20 years. It had also established close economic and trade relationships with more than 30 countries and regions and was itself one of most favorable Chinese investment destinations. The Party Secretary and Vice Mayor noted that the partnership with Ethiopia was growing. There had been an increase of 58.8% in trade relations last year and this, they believed, would continue increasing in the future. 

    In addition to the business fora, the Prime Minister also held discussions with a number of Chinese companies which were already investing in Ethiopia as well possible new investors. He underlined the readiness of the government to accept investors and to make every effort to resolve any problems they might face. To further enhance business-to-business relation Guangdong Province and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding.


    African Capacity Building Foundation’s Board of Governors meet in Addis Ababa

    The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) held its 24th Board of Government meeting in Addis Ababa from Wednesday to Friday last week (September 2-4).  The theme for the annual meetings is “Developing Capacity to Mobilize Domestic Resources to Finance Africa’s Transformation” and the Board of Governors comprises representatives of ACBF member countries and non-African countries, as well as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program. The Governors are usually Ministers of Finance or Economic Planning, Directors-General or other high level representatives of international development cooperation agencies for non-African countries. The Board of Governors is the highest policy making body of the Foundation which was established in 1991 with the aim of building sustainable human and institutional capacity and to support capacity building initiatives in Africa through investment in capacity building institutions, technical assistance to capacity building projects and to formulate programs to implement and monitor policies at national and regional levels, as well as increase knowledge and learning activities. Since 2011 it has also published an annual flagship report, the Africa Capacity Report which measures the annual progress in capacity development made by African countries. The last meeting was hosted by Senegal in June last year. 

    The meeting took place with the major aim of providing the  Board  of  Governors  with  an  update  on  the  activities  of  the Executive  Board  and  the  Secretariat  over  the  previous  year, and to discuss the findings and recommendations of the  Africa Capacity Report 2015, and to consider Africa’s capacity development priorities. These will be included in the fourth strategic plan of the African Capacity Building Foundation, 2017-2021.

    In the three days of discussions, there were a number of sessions covering Africa’s capacity building for internal resource mobilization. These included high-level forums, sessions on strategic planning and the statuary meeting of the Board of Governors to review the Foundation’s activities. The meeting also highlighted best experiences of African countries and recommendations for further development in capacity building in various countries along with discussions of the annual Africa Capacity Report. The preliminary Report for 2015, which was on the table during the meeting, released a number of findings and recommendations on capacity building development.

    The Report says that despite among significant improvements in revenue collection over the last decade (2006-2015) in Africa, “effective mobilization of domestic resources in African countries faces significant challenges.” Among these, the Report lists high capacity constraints and low tax collection efforts. The Report recommends and encourages African countries to recognize Domestic Resource Mobilization as an effective strategy to finance Africa’s development. It emphasizes the “need to mobilize internal resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2063 of the Continent”, adding that “this does not mean that Africa should not mobilize external resources as well.” It points out that since most donor countries have failed to live up to the longstanding commitment to deliver 0.7% of Gross National Income, African countries should not depend on donor aid alone.

    The Africa Capacity Report 2015 also says that effective and visionary, committed and accountable leadership which sets the right tone at the top is a key element to start successful Domestic Resource Mobilization. Concerning the question of how to go about addressing such issues, the discussion of the Board of Governors indicated that the Report has emphasized that “Governments must be at the forefront in developing necessary capacities. Capacity building initiatives, at least in the short run, should focus on the ways and means to broaden the tax base by, for example, removing unnecessary tax preferences, dealing with transfer pricing abuses and taxing extractive industries fairly and transparently; the conduct of training to develop or improve the skills of staff involved in DRM-related issues”.

    Ethiopia is commended for its capacity development including its achievements in Domestic Resource Mobilization which has the aim of realizing economic development and transformation. Ethiopia has taken Domestic Resource Mobilization as the best option and as the solution to provide for the financial support to construct the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. It determined to build the Dam, one of the biggest global; dams, with the aim of generating 6,000mw, with its own internally mobilized human, financial and expert resources.  It is suggested other African countries could learn lessons from this. The Report encourages African countries to recognize Domestic Resource Mobilization as an effective strategy to finance Africa’s development.

    The meeting of the Board of Governors similarly underlined the need to mobilize internal resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. It added that there is a need for governments in the medium to long term, to build capacity around structural issues, including the development of resource mobilization strategies that target the informal sector and other largely untapped areas including urban property. It also recommends “enhancing fiscal legitimacy through long-term capacity building in domestic resources mobilization.”

    Alemayehu Gujo, Ethiopian State Minister for Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, welcoming the Board of Governors, said that over the years, the African Capacity Building Foundation had helped position capacity building at the center of the debate on Africa’s structural transformation and sustainable development. The State Minister noted that “for so long, we have seen the neglect of the nexus between capacity development and institutional levels,” adding: “This needs to be urgently corrected.” Among the opportunities the Foundation can offer, he said, was high-level expertise in project design and structuring. He called for renewed support for the Foundation and said member countries should take advantage of the assistance the Foundation can offer. This included expertise that “individual governments may not have and capacity needs assessments to help reduce risks in projects, making interventions by governments bankable.” State Minister Alemayehu said ideas, incentives, innovations, institutions, infrastructural assistance and implementation were also to be seen as key focuses for successful Domestic Resource Mobilization in Africa.

    The meeting also stressed that African countries should concentrate on building the capacity of their human resources along with institutions in the effort to realized national development goals and contribute to the success of the continental Agenda 2063.  In his keynote speech, read by a representative, Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission said that the work of the African Capacity Building Foundation in the fields of policy formulation and implementation had laid the ground for decisive economic policy management in many African countries and regional economic communities over the last 24 years. During this period, he said, the African Union had benefited from the Foundation’s institutional support and knowledge. As the AU Commission moves towards the implementation of Agenda 2063, the role of African Capacity Building Foundation in ensuring that the continental vision becomes a reality would be crucial. Mr. Mwencha said: “There exists a strong link between the success of Agenda 2063 and the enhancement of capacity on the continent. All the seven aspirations outlined in Agenda 2063 require substantive investment in capacity building”. He called for renewed support to the Foundation’s work: “As decision-makers in government, you have the power to provide the Foundation with both the financial resources through contributions and the continental support it requires to continue doing the work it has done over the last 24 years.” 

    The Foundation’s Executive Secretary, Professor  Emmanuel Nnadozie called for African countries to continue giving their voices and full political support to the Foundation  in its goal of building capacity on the continent. He said it was crucial for African member countries to continue increasing ownership in the Foundation by meeting their financial commitments and to ensure that the Foundation keeps on tackling capacity challenges on the continent in a sustainable manner. He said Africa had recently recorded good levels of economic growth and the forecast for much of African countries remained very encouraging. Nevertheless, he added, “ it is up to Africa and its leaders to seize and benefit from this window of opportunity. We need to strengthen and retrain the capacities to make this scenario prevail.”

    In his remarks, the Chair of the Executive Board, Professor Callisto Madavho, said that it was important for the Foundation to start its new strategy for the period 2017-2021 on a sound financial basis. The contributions of African member countries are in this regard extremely important. “I want to thank our member countries for their continued financial support,” he said. Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Director of the Capacity Development Division at the Economic Commission for Africa, said that capacity development remained the cross cutting element in all development programs being implemented in Africa. He said that the Economic Commission and the Foundation  were working together “to bring coherence to various programs whose implementation depends on building capacity.”  Marcellin Agaya, Deputy Minister, representing the Gabon’s Minister of Budget and Plan and Chair of the Board of Governors, Christian Magnagna, reiterated the importance of political and financial support for the sustainability of the Foundation. He also called for the government of Sweden and the African Development Bank to meet their financial commitments to the Foundation. The meeting elected Mr. Goodall Gondwe, Finance Minister of Malawi, as Chair of the Board of Governors of the African Capacity Building Foundation to succeed Gabon’s Christian Magnagna. Chad and Sierra Leone were elected Vice-Chairs of the Board. 


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    The Africa Japan Business Forum on “Doing Business in Africa”

    On the third and final day of last week’s Africa- Japan Business Investment Forum, held in Addis Ababa, a panel discussion was conducted under the theme “Doing Business in Africa”. Discussing the opportunities and challenges of investing in Africa, panelists Ms. Junko Ishii, Director General of Industry and Business Development Support at Japan External Trade Organization, Marcus Courage, CEO of Africa Practice, Dr. Tadesse Lencho, Head of Corporate and Tax Practice at DLA Lawyer Africa and Mamo Esmelalem from the International Financial Corporation, looked at specific issues concerning the policies and implementation of investment regimes in many African countries. The discussion considered what reforms might be required, with emphasis on Ethiopia’s investment climate, and the panelists also touched on the role the private sector should play in developing and implementing reforms, again within the context of the Ethiopia’s investment climate.

    Japan External Trade organization (JETRO) is the governmental body tasked with promoting and supporting Japanese businesses overseas, and the first panelist, Ms. Junko Ishii, gave an account of JETRO’s activities in encouraging Japanese investment in Africa. She underlined the special focus accorded to increasing trade and investment between Japan and Africa in the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), an important milestone in Africa-Japan trade and investment relations. Ms. Ishii said that following TICAD V, held in Yokohama in 2013, there had been a surge in JETRO’s activities to encourage Japanese investment in Africa. She noted that this had largely centered on supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and on Medium Enterprises to promote Japanese investment in Africa and emerging markets. She stressed that the low-level investment relationship between Japan and Africa was by and large attributable to lack of information about the business opportunities in Africa, and much of JETRO’s activities were therefore “focused on filling the information gap”. JETRO had been undertaking series of seminars and publications about Africa investment, in Japanese for Japanese businesses and available on line as well as in other outlets. 

    Ms. Ishii explained that JETRO had also been engaged in providing business plans particularly in the agriculture and information technology sectors in a bid to help Japanese businesses join African markets. The Africa Japan Business and Investment Forum was one among such efforts launched following the emphasis given by TICAD V to increase Japan-Africa trade and investment. Ms. Ishii took the opportunity to unveil a plan to host a an even bigger business forum at the TICAD VI  meeting which will be held in Nairobi in 2016 as part of the effort to put trade and investment at the center of Africa-Japan ties. In her recommendations to African countries, she said that they needed to work more on making resources available in the Japanese language through embassies to improve the in-flow of Japanese investment to Africa.

    Marcus Courage, CEO of Africa Practice, a private firm with extensive consultancy experience in African investment, talked about Africa’s current investment opportunities and challenges. He noted that overall in the past five years there had been an impressive upward trend in easing the way to do business in Africa in many globally acclaimed indices. The fact that four out of the five top performers in lists of an improving business climate were African countries, he said, went a long way to show the changes in the African business climate. At the same time, however, he emphasized the importance of ‘soft indicators’. By this he meant the presence of a clear national vision was far important than purely business indicators as far as earning investor confidence was concerned. He said a national vision that had longevity, coherence and transcended political differences gave investors confidence compared to policies that were merely implemented “because of the will of politicians.” Equally important, he said, was the inclusiveness of the process of formulating a national vision and any national plan drawn from such a vision. Drawing up a national vision through public participation and the involvement of different interest groups was bound to ensure ownership of the vision by the general public of a given country.  A national vision that went through such inclusive process gave investors much greater confidence than any policies tied to a few individual at the helm of a government. Mr. Courage cited Ethiopia and Rwanda as countries that fitted into view of states with a clear national vision and a clear path of development. He highlighted the importance of regional integration to realize Africa’s promise of prosperity, emphasizing that “as many African economies are small and fragmented, tapping the full potential of Africa’s market needs driving towards integration in high gear.”

    Dr. Tadesse Lencho, Head of Corporate and Tax Practice at DLA Lawyer Africa explained Ethiopia’s investment regime, focusing tax law. He underlined Ethiopia’s booming economy and its increasing flow of FDI as a testimony to the positive elements in Ethiopia’s investment regime. He encouraged Japanese manufacturers to take advantage of Ethiopia’s tax breaks and the incentives available to foreign investors, which he described as significant by African standards. For example, Ethiopia offered 15 years tax breaks and duty free import of capital goods. By any standards this was a significant easement of business costs, essentially relieving a company of 30% profit taxes for 15 years. It was, he said, one of the biggest tax breaks available in Africa. Discussing Ethio-Japan trade and investment ties and ways to boost this, Dr. Tadesse recommended the importance of signing bilateral agreements for avoidance of double taxation and for investment guarantees. In relation to improving the investment climate, he suggested focusing on the investment regime and legal framework related to tax and investment. In particular, he thought conducting review of tax brackets taking relevant factors in to consideration would be a valuable step. He also recommended speeding up the review of the Commercial Code of Ethiopia to modernize its approach today’s business and investment transactions and challenges.

    Mamo Esmelalem, panelist from the International Financial Corporation (IFC) discussed the African business climate in general and the unprecedented improvements made over the past decade. He detailed the IFC’s support to African countries to improve the regulatory environment and reduce the cost of doing business in Africa. He also highlighted the importance of continuous dialogue between governments and the private sector as a key factor for effectively tackling impediments to business activity.


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    Chatham House considers “Somalia’s Federal Future”

    Chatham House has released a research paper entitled “Somalia’s Federal Future – Layered Agendas, Risks and Opportunities.” It is, in fact, an appropriate moment to look at what is happening in Somalia as there is growing international concern over the slow progress of the planned electoral transition bringing the current Transitional Government to an end in August next year as a central element for implementation of Somalia’s Vision 2016. The UN and other partners have emphasized repeatedly that the current political framework cannot be extended, but it now seems that direct elections will not be possible within the next year as originally planned. There is neither sufficient time nor enough political will in Mogadishu to establish the necessary legislative framework or support for direct elections which require various elements including a voters’ register - also needed for the proposed referendum on the constitution in advance of elections.  The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Nicolas Kay, has recently acknowledged that direct elections are unlikely to be possible, though President Mohamud has given assurances that elections will be held and that the Government will not extend its term of office. The Somali government and partners now need to look for ways to develop an acceptable alternative electoral mechanism.

    The paper, in fact, suggests that external pressure to stick firmly to the ‘Vision 2016’ agenda, in particular the process of  revision and approval by referendum of the provisional constitution, and then direct national elections, risks undermining the progress achieved so far, because the time scale is insufficient and too much has yet to be resolved. Certainly, requirements for fulfilling Vision 2016, in fact, remain difficult not least because of the amount of political negotiation and technical arrangements still needed for any election. It now looks certain that some indirect mechanisms will have to be applied for the change of administration to take place in August 2016. The paper notes the high level of turnover in the executive branch (three prime ministers and three different cabinets in three years), suggesting this reflects tensions within the Somali Federal Government over the influence and agenda of President Mohamud and those influencing his administration, in particular the Damul Jadid, “New Blood” faction of Al-Islah.  The President’s interpretation of his mandate has also proved “a source of tension” with various parliamentary groups and regional MPs. Several parliamentary groups have appeared, including the National Reform Caucus (TTQ); the National Salvation Caucus (KDQ) and the National Interest Caucus (MMQ). In August, one group of over 90 parliamentarians tabled an impeachment motion against the president, accusing him of exceeding his constitutional powers, corruption and nepotism.

    One possible alternative to one person, one vote, could be elections through the federal states now being created. These are in any case a necessary element for the proposed constitutional changes and the creation of a federal Somalia. The paper looks at the problems of creating the federal states and suggests that “fast-tracking” application of the post-2013 interim Jubaland administration process to other parts of southern and central Somalia “risks exacerbating tensions within and between regions, and between regions and Mogadishu.” It says that the precedents set during the “contested process” of establishing the Interim Jubaland Administration in 2012 has important implications for the formation of other member states in the federal structure.

    The paper looks in some detail at the process of establishing a federal framework for governing Somalia, a process which has been underway since the 2002–04 Mbagathi peace conference produced the Transitional Federal Charter, though, of course, the issue of federalism for Somalia goes back far longer, to the 1950s in fact. It is only since the adoption of a provisional constitution in 2012 and the creation of a new parliament and executive that real political discussions have taken place. It underlines the dynamics of competition over the definitions of the federal project and highlights the problems and achievements in implementing a federalist agenda, noting, correctly, that local contexts vary significantly and these differences must be taken into account in state formation across southern and central Somalia. Surprisingly, however, it has little to say about the clan differences which play so large a role in Somali politics. It notes the progress shown by the emergence of three aspiring federal member states but cautions that this is offset by “the realities of Somalia’s war-economy, rent-seeking in politics and the ambivalent influence of external actors”. It also underlines that President Mohamud came to power in 2012 promoting a ‘six-pillar’ policy agenda of which the first three priorities were ‘security, security, security’.

     Puntland is the only functional member state which does not aspire to its own sovereign status, unlike Somaliland which the paper does not consider. It warns, however, that Puntland’s “appetite for participation in the federal project” is uncertain. Its relations with the Government in Mogadishu have not always been easy. Puntland expects existing political realities to be taken into account in interpreting or revising the existing provisional constitution and in state formation. The paper notes the territorial dispute over north Mudug between Puntland and the emerging Galmudug administration, adding that Puntland “has received clear signals that its territorial integrity will be respected,” but adds this is still an issue that needs to be resolved.  It assumes that future debate will occur over revenue-sharing and control over natural resources.

    In this context, the paper raises concern about “respect for minority and smaller clans within the process of member state formation.” It says this will be essential for stability as the process of federal institution-building continues. It says the way the 4.5 power-sharing formula allows larger clans to dominate political processes as well as control land and resources and the benefits of political office and patronage. It encourages grievances of smaller groups, and groups that feel that their interests are not being met or will not be met. This is likely to allow opponents, ‘spoilers’, to resist the process and take action.

    The paper emphasizes the process of the transition remains heavily dependent on external security intervention in the form of AMISOM in order to control the security situation. It also argues that the strong influence of neighboring countries in AMISOM “ultimately compromises the medium- to long-term viability of the political order that is emerging.  Indeed, one central concern of the paper is whether external engagement is sustainable. The author thinks not. He suggests that externally supported operations against Al-Shabaab and concentration on security have promoted a top-down, centrally focused state and an institution-building agenda for the establishment of federal member states. This, he suggests, demonstrates alignment of the interests of the international community and regional agendas in supporting federalism as the only way to rebuild the Somali state. There would therefore be value in having what the paper describes as a “more neutral peacekeeping force” in Somalia, arguing that Kenya and Ethiopia do, of course, have national interests in what happens in Somalia and this impacts on developments in Somalia. It is worth pointing out that a transition to a UN peacekeeping mission is something that Somalia’s neighbors would also like to see. The only thing preventing it is the reluctance of the UN to organize peacekeeping mission. The most recent UN analysis of the prospect concluded the situation was not ready for a UN peacekeeping operation and would be unlikely to be so before the end of 2016.

    It emphasizes Ethiopia’s “long history of intervention and influence in Somalia” though it refers to Kenya’s intervention as something new in its foreign policy. It suggests “A more neutral peacekeeping force” could allow for a settlement to emerge in Jubaland and Southwest Somalia that was a closer reflection of the balance of political power between Somali groups.  This, it argues, would “limit Kenyan and Ethiopian influence in internal Somali politics as federalism continues to develop.”  The paper says the balance between dealing with Al-Shabaab and implementing a federal system is fragile, and argues that “if and when the threat of al-Shabaab is diminished”, the direct security influence of neighboring countries in the near to medium term “is likely to yield diminishing returns to stability.” In fact, of course, with Al-Shabaab out of the way there will be no need for any involvement from neighboring countries.

    All this raises one major problem with this analysis of Somalia: the failure to consider what are the real interests/aims of Somalia’s neighbors (as opposed to what people claim they are) and how these do actually impact on Somali clan politics. Indeed, the paper appears to begin its analysis from the inaccurate and prejudiced position that Ethiopia and its neighbor Somalia still have a problem. This is a perfect example of an outdated mindset. Ethiopia-Somalia relations have changed significantly in the last twenty years.

    It is particularly disturbing to see this paper once again raising the fallacy that Ethiopia’s involvement in Somalia in 2006 is described as the catalyst for the emergence of Harakat Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab was founded as an extremist element for the ICU under the influence of Al Qaeda long before Ethiopia military support for the Somali government and it publicly emerged as a strike force for the ICU under Aden Hashi Aryo well before Ethiopia became involved militarily. Al-Shabaab’s appearance had nothing to do with Ethiopia and everything to do with Islamic extremism. Ethiopia, in fact, subsequently did much to break the strength of Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu. Without this, Al Qaeda would have had little opposition to taking control on Somalia.  Indeed, if Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti had not reached an agreement on Somalia in 2003, Somalia would not have had any transitional Federal Government in 2004, nor would this have relocated to Somalia from Kenya. Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to militarily intervene in Somalia in 2006 was at the request of President Abdullahi Yusuf and in response to the emergence of the Islamic Courts Union and Al-Shabaab. Without it, the present Federal Government of Somalia and the current constitutional process would not have occurred.

    This certainly prevented Somalia collapsing into the same state that has affected Afghanistan or Yemen or Syria.  The neighboring states have, in fact, assisted both the political (state formation) and the necessary military (through AMISOM and individually) processes. Without these there would be no Somali state or politico-military process to discuss. It is therefore disappointing to find that this paper largely ignores these critical aspects of the background to the situation in Somalia and fails to take a realistic look at the role or aims of the neighboring countries. 

    Another major problem is the lack of emphasis on the role of the clan which still remains the central element in Somali politics. The political cleavages that have developed in and around the concept of federalism are the result of interpretations according to clan interests both at the center and in the regions and states. These differences do not arise because the concept is externally driven or because the process is top-down. It is political issues within the Somali leadership that has led to the changes of prime minister, not anything do with influence or impact of Somalia’s neighbors or the international community.

    The paper’s conclusion looks at areas where the author believes the international community might change its approach to mitigate possible tensions in implementing federalism as Somalia moves towards transition in 2016. It stresses the need for flexibility in the finalization and implementation of the constitutional framework. It emphasizes a need for greater consideration of the interests of smaller clans and minorities, pointing out that a ‘winner takes all’ approach to control of resources and political power in Somalia has consistently fostered divisions in loyalties that opposing groups have been able to exploit as Al-Shabaab has proved. The paper claims current political processes and state formation projects do not represent the necessary bottom-up approach. They are no more than “decentralized approaches for managing a larger group of elite interests.” If the international community, therefore, wants to promote inclusivity and a representative system, it must encourage mechanisms to address the needs of smaller groups. That may be true but the idea of “creating space for the democratic will of the population to be expressed” offers little understanding of the current clan approach to Somali politics.



    The 7th Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education

    The 7th Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education is going to be held in Washington DC later this month on September 26. The conference is organized by People to People (P2P), a non-profit international network of organizations with headquarters in the US and an office in Ethiopia. Founded in 1990, P2P works to mobilize the Global Ethiopian Diaspora to play an active role in mitigating the impact of brain drain. It mainly focuses on strengthening health systems through partnerships with Ethiopian Hospitals and Universities.

    A decade ago, Professor David Shinn, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, in a speech delivered to the Ethiopian-North American Health Professional Association (ENAHPA), commented that although the brain drain had a serious negative impact on Ethiopia, it was important to keep the problem in perspective. Other African countries were similarly affected but it had been the environment created by the Derg’s military government and the Red Terror that had been a major turning point for Ethiopia, causing a significant emigration of highly skilled Ethiopians. The good news today is that Ethiopia has a fast growing economy which prioritizes health care and has opened thirteen Medical Schools in the last few years and increased health service delivery to more than 3,000 health stations, 16,000 health posts and 230 referral hospitals across the country.

     Ethiopian medical professionals can find tempting privileges in developed countries but there are also strong compensatory options in collaborating in knowledge-sharing initiatives between Ethiopian-born health professionals around the world and their colleagues in Ethiopia and the Ministry of Health in Addis Ababa. These activities, along with the outstanding health sector efforts inside the country, are helping increasingly to change medical services and health care topology in Ethiopia.

    Last year, the 6th Ethiopian Diaspora Conference had as its theme “Global Health and its Significance in Ethiopia.” Minister of Health, Dr. Keseteberhan Admasu, emphasized the importance of such initiatives and on the significance of giving priority to global health engagement for Ethiopia. Other important ideas such as ‘Global Health and Strengthening Quality Assurance for Health Professionals;’ Education in Ethiopia;’ and the ‘Impact of Global Health Collaborations on Ethiopian Institutions’, were raised in the conference.   This year’s topics, according to the organizers, will focus on ‘Disaster Management and Response,  with a special focus on the Ebola epidemic’; Injury and Trauma in the Ethiopian setting;’ New License Exams and Requirements for medical school graduates and physicians;’ and ‘Diaspora Partnership Projects” as well as presentations on health-related topics relevant to Ethiopia.

    The discussion on ‘Disaster Management and Response’ can be expected to be informed by report from some of those involved in Ethiopia’s efforts in the enhancement of a preparedness and response plan in the wake of the West African Ebola outbreak. Ethiopia deployed 200 volunteer health professionals, including medical doctors, nurses, field epidemiologists, environmental health personnel and public health specialists to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone during the height of the crisis. Another topic which will figure largely is the new license requirements for medical school graduates and physicians as part of the efforts to ensure quality for an equitable health service in the country during the second Growth and Transformation Plan.

    During the first Growth and Transformation Plan, the Ministry of Health originally concentrated on achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4, reducing child mortality; it was so successful that it succeeded in its aim three years ahead of the deadline. Now the concept of ‘Quality and Equity’ for GTP II  will provide the opportunities for the Ethiopian Diaspora around the world to contribute to the sustainment of this and other impressive medical developments. The Diaspora can contribute to the knowledge-sharing and capacity-building initiatives of the P2P. It can also increase the number of Diaspora funded and organized health projects. Ethiopian Investment Agency statistics reveal that the number of these has been increasing but they still lag far behind   the total number of projects in the manufacturing sector. 


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    Ethiopia celebrates the New Year on Saturday, Meskarem 1 (September 12)

    Ethiopia celebrates the first day of the New Year, 2008, on Saturday (September 12) or in the Ethiopian calendar, Meskarem 1. It is the time of spring, with the rains over. The hills are covered with wild flowers, young girls singing “Abeba Ayehosh” in a pentatonic jazz sound, people wishing each other Happy New Year everywhere, honoring the seasonal transition from the heavy rainy season to a season of bright sunshine, children, particularly in the countryside, carrying gifts of bunches of flower, a tradition stemming from the Queen of Sheba's homecoming from Israel after her visit to King Solomon. The flowers add another scent to the sweet smelling Eucalyptus so prevalent in the highlands, an air "so good to breath, so full of joy and so free from fear".


    The Ethiopian calendar is a mix of the Coptic calendar, derived from the calculations of Annianus of Alexandria in around 400 CE (the Incarnation Era) and of another Alexandrian monk Panodorus about the same time  (the Alexandrian Era) with the addition of other elements from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Calendar- "Bahre Hasab".

    The Ethiopian Calendar is 7 or 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar as the result of an alternate calculation in determining the date of the Annunciation of Jesus. It also has an additional thirteenth five or six day month, Pagme. So Saturday is the beginning of the new Ethiopian year, 2008. The common joke for a foreigner is that he/she can be seven or eight years younger as soon as she/he arrives in Ethiopia. In fact, anyone who experiences life in Ethiopia, the  music of more than 80 nationalities, the food, the coffee, the antiquities, history, tolerance and genuine friendship, can feel he is at least seven years younger in what Homer called “the land of the blameless Ethiopians.”.

    Saturday not only marks the end of the year 2007 and the beginning of 2008; it also marks the end of the country’s largely successful Growth and Transformation Plan I (2010/2011-2014/2015). The Growth and Transformation Plan II is now being launched and as the New Year is a symbol of renewed commitment so the Growth and Transformation Plan aims to augment Ethiopia’s growth and development. A New Year is a mark of renewed pledges: to continue to work for a carbon-free green economy, to implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed at the recent Finance for Development Forum, ensure ‘zero tolerance’ for any kind of abuse against women and children, for all the Nations and Nationalities of Ethiopia to remain committed to continue the country’s remarkable economic and developmental progress. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs pledges to continue implementing the GTP II with renewed commitment to promote the national interest and realize Ethiopia’s renaissance.  

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes all its readers: Melkam Addis Amet - Happy New Year.