Posts tagged as: ethiopia

Fake Insurance Cover Schemes Haunt Sector

By Issa Yussuf

Zanzibar — The Managing Director of National Insurance Corporation (NIC), Sam Kamanga has emphasized to member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to ensure that hitches hampering use of Yellow Card Scheme are removed.

Speaking on the sideline of the 42nd meeting of the COMESA management committee of the Yellow Card Scheme, he said efficiency of the service would be enhanced by computerizing operations of the scheme to curb forgery.

“So far the insurance business has been good and Tanzania has the chance to benefit more in the region because most of the vehicles pass through in the country,” he said.

Mr Kamanga said adding that fake insurance remains a problem and that they have been working with the police to stop the production. He said differences of official languages and legal framework regarding foreign financial operation have delayed the plans to introduce electronic payment, which is expected to end fake yellow cards.

According to the NIC board chairperson Mr Laston Thomas Msongole, the Yellow Card is essentially a Regional third party motor vehicle insurance scheme that provides third party legal liability cover and compensation for medical expenses resulting from road traffic accidents caused by visiting motorists.

He said besides offering third party liability protection to the insured or the driver whilst in a foreign country, the COMESA Yellow Card Scheme also offers emergency medical cover to the driver and passengers of the foreign motor vehicle involved in the traffic accident.

In his speech to open the meeting, the Zanzibar Minister of Finance Dr Khalid Salum Mohamed said asked members to create awareness and that the yellow card must be relevant to travelling motorists, road accident victims, insurance companies and the public in general.

“Accordingly, the general public in our countries and beyond also needs to be aware of the opportunities that are brought by these instruments.”

Ms Immaculate Morro- ‘COMESA Yellow Card Scheme’ Country Coordinator, said the scheme is currently operational in twelve COMESA Member Countries and one non COMESA member Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tanzania

Magufuli Fires 9,932 Civil Servants

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Nigeria: Abuja Airport As a Metaphor

Given the euphoria that has trailed the successful reconstruction of the runway of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, my interest as usual is purely academic, a tall order in a country in which deep reflection about nation building is a luxury. The airport which services the federal capital closed on March 8 with the promise of being reopened on April 19 after a comprehensive overhaul.

There is a general national consensus that for once in recent time we recorded “a remarkable feat”. Well before the reconstruction deadline, new run away was delivered, precisely on Monday, April 17 with resumed flights and operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA. Don’t get me wrong please. We must definitely salute the Hon Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for delivering on promise and for reportedly putting his integrity on the line by vowing to resign if the airport was not reopened.

But lest we forget, this is a run way long over due for a repair almost two decades ago. The received wisdom has it that there is no greater crime than a loss of time. If we could roll out the drums for a belated rehabilitation , it will very well be nice we are also sobered with the knowledge of the huge costs we have so far incurred for the original delay and outright criminal neglect. To dispense with some N5.8 billion earmarked for an airport rehabilitation within a month and few days, must task our cost consciousness in an economy technically in a recession. That is if at all we are cost conscious in the first place. Undoubtedly the opportunity cost of non-repair is as high. But the opportunity cost of the decades long neglect is certainly higher. Sometimes in 2010 we were debating the prospect of building the second runway at the estimated controversial N63.5 billion contract. Almost a decade later, we are celebrating a rehab of an old run way even as we keep a sealed lip on building a new one. Nigeria is often characterized as a mono- economy, relying almost on nothing but oil and gas (accounting for 94 per cent of export earnings and 62 per cent of Government revenue!). Abuja airport is another metaphor for a nation that stands on one leg, sorry, for a nation whose major international airport relies on only (and only one!) rehabilitated run way.

For me the bigger picture of delay, neglect and the recent belated tokenism at a huge cost calls for sobriety rather the recent self praise that we have achieved “a feat”. With feat like this, we can as well say a farewell to ambitious nation building project. Yet Nigeria must learn to be ambitious as a nation. So far with all the official noise, the comprehensive repair of the Abuja terminal is yet to be completed. While we all micro manage Abuja airport, (sorry rehabilitating a runway!) we should not forget that Nigeria parades as many as 26 airports in the country operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). Five of these are called “international airports” namely that of Kaduna, Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu. On arrival at the Murtala international airport, every passenger is ever psychologically prepared that the elevator will ever not function.

While the repair was on, President Buhari launched with fanfare , the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan Job creation and youth empowerment. One cardinal principle of this new commendable road plan for growth and development is to promote public finance aimed at reducing unemployment and under-employment, especially among the youths. Pray how many sustainable jobs are the fall outs of N5.8 billion Abuja airport repairs/ intervention? The ERGP also sets to promote local content. What then is the local content of N5.8 billion Abuja airport repairs? We even ignored the “local content” suggestion by critical stakeholders, in the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), who argued that the rehabilitation could take place with the airport in use. Are we using public intervention in infrastructure development to empower Nigerians and move the economy from recession to recovery or doing business as usual patronizing foreign investors and fueling capital flight and perpetuating underdevelopment? Still on ERGP . This wonderful document is almost romantic about “..placing emphasis on Made-in-Nigeria” as part of the “.. diversification of the economy”. It is therefore mind boggling seeing almost all Nigerians, federal government and the media alike doing generous promotion of Ethiopian Airlines, “the only foreign airline that accepted to use the alternative Kaduna airport during the rehabilitation” having being the first aircraft to have landed at the reopened airport. Haba! Again lest we forget, our national anthem opens with the clarion call “Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey, To serve our fatherland” NOT another country certainly not Ethiopia. Again don’t get me wrong. Ethiopia airlines in a gloablized world is commendably doing very well to corner the huge market share of Nigeria which scandalously kills its own national carrier. But even at that for as long as Abuja repair lasted Ethiopia airlines was not doing charity work but smart business making good money on routes abandoned by other international airlines. Why on earth should we rise in unison with cheap advert for a foreign airline having fun at our idiocy and gross underdevelopment? . Nigeria and Nigerians must certainly return to basics in patriotism and nation building. We sign on to open sky policy without reciprocal flights to any of the countries that have colonized our routes. That is bad enough. But it is a national shame and indeed national disgrace that we now inadvertently promote foreign airlines at the expense of our own.

Many Nigerian compatriots certainly feel diminished that a foreign airline was indulged to land on a runway Nigerians paid for and the first pilot to be so favored to speak to us is nor from Nigeria. Sir Nnamdi Azikiwe who the airport is deservedly named after must be wondering in his grave; what has happened to the promise of independence him and his compatriots fought for.

Nigeria

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East Africa: ITU Leads the World in Marking International Girls in ICT Day

International Girls in ICT Day was celebrated today around the globe at hundreds of events showcasing the technological skills of girls and young women. The day highlights the value of women in the field of information and communications technology (ICT), and seeks to encourage more girls to plan for a career in this expanding field.

According to the International Telecommunication Union Website, this year’s event was a virtual international meetup of girls in Geneva, Vilnius and Beirut through a shared game application and video link. This enabled them to explore ICT together in an interactive format in real-time.

In Geneva, the girls demonstrated new digital skills they learned in activities leading up to Girls in ICT Day and had the opportunity to meet women mentors from the tech sector. In Vilnius, the girls enjoyed a robotics workshop, practical demonstrations of virtual and augmented reality, and witnessed a presentation of winning projects from Lithuania’s biggest annual robotics and technology competition, ROBOTIADA.

“The important value that young women bring to ICTs was showcased today at hundreds of hands-on Girls in ICT Day events organized around the globe,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU hopes that Girls in ICT Day will continue to introduce more girls to ICTs and to the real opportunities that exist for them in this innovative and expanding field.”

Other key events also took place around the world:

In Bangkok, Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and ITU launched a capacity building program aimed at imparting employable digital skills to more than 100 female university students in 2017, with support from CISCO Systems (Thailand), Microsoft (Thailand), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In Brazil, two Girls in ICT Day events were organized by ITU and ANATEL, and attended by a combined 160 young women, encouraging them to pursue university studies in ICT.

In the Caribbean, more than 90 young female coders took part in a regional hackathon event supported by Cotton Tree Consulting and Change Makers Development Ltd. Throughout the day, young women also engaged in hands-on activities, guided by a tech mentor,that used ICT to create, innovate and generate solutions to various challenges. The activities included mobile app-building, animation, robotics, digital video production and digital artworks, and web development.

In Egypt, ITU together with the German Society for International Cooperation, the International Development Research Centre and the Aga Khan & Continuous Education Center organized an event in Aswan in which girls participated in an ICT training camp, a contest, mentoring sessions and a career fair. The event was designed to provide young women in Aswan with practical insight into the ICT sector and ICT skills that can increase their employability. Eight more similar events are planned between now and 2019, with the goal of reaching a total of 450 girls.

In Ethiopia, ITU, UN Women, UNDP, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the Africa Union Commission organized a Girls in ICT Day conference, sponsored by Huawei, Ethiopia PLC, which brought together girls from several African countries to explore and share together their ICT experiences.

In Tanzania, the entire month of March 2017 was used to conduct trainings for girls attending public school in six different zones in Tanzania. As part of the training, teams of girls developed the concept for an innovative mobile application and then competed against other teams at the local, regional and national levels. The national winners then represent their peers at the ITU Girls in ICT Day conference held in Ethiopia.

In Russia, a regional seminar on women and girls in ICT was held. Participants from across the Commonwealth of Independent States region identified plans to ensure year-long action to increase the number of women and girls in ICT.

Since its inception in 2014, over 240,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 7,200 celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day in 160 countries worldwide.

The annual event is supported by a growing number of governments, community organizations, schools and the business community. In addition to the supporters noted above, Alfa Telecom, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, and Kaunas University of Technology supported Girls in ICT Day 2017.

Nigeria: ‘Ethiopian Airlines Flew 11,000 Passengers in and Out of Kaduna’

Photo: The Ethiopian

Ethiopian Airlines.

interviewBy Chris Agabi

Ethiopian Airlines was the only foreign airline that operated the Kaduna route when traffic was diverted to allow for repair work on the Abuja airport runway. In this exclusive interview, Mrs Firiehiwot Mekonnen, Traffic and Sales Manager of the airlines, speaks on the impact of the decision on their business, among other issues. Excerpts:

How was the experience as the first international airline to land on the newly resurfaced runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internal Airport Abuja? Especially that you were complemented with water canon ceremony on your new A350 by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Fire Service Department.

After the rehabilitation, Ethiopia was the first to land. As the pilot tried to explain, it was fantastic. The runway and everything was beyond expectations. The pilot said it was world class. That is how he explained it. I cannot say the technical part but it was good. We were the only international carrier that agreed to fly to Kaduna. So I can say that we actually deserve to land first in Abuja.

As a business, it was a very good thing that we landed first. Beyond that, this is the first time our Airbus A350 is coming to Abuja and it is permanently assigned to Abuja. From now on, we are going to operate with Airbus in Abuja. Again, being the first day that Abuja airport was re-opening and being the first that we brought our Airbus, it was an exciting moment for us.

So why did you decide to dedicate a new Airbus A350 to the Abuja route?

We always want to give the best to our Nigerian customers. We have been here for more than 57 years, giving the best service as a pan-African airline. So we have been here through thick and thin. We have passed through several challenges just like the other airlines but we didn’t suspend our flight. We didn’t reduce our flights; instead we have been increasing our frequencies and our products. You know we are flying to Lagos, Abuja, Enugu and Kano. In all these destinations we also have additional aircraft for cargo. It’s not only passengers that we carry. We always give our best to the Nigerian market which is why we are deploying this Airbus to Abuja route permanently.

On the average, daily, how many passengers do you do on the Abuja route?

In and out we do more than 250 passengers per day. But now since we have a bigger aircraft, with a capacity of 343 seats, we are expecting a lot more passengers.

Talking about ET being the only international airline that agreed to fly to Kaduna, what was it that made you take that decision even when the other foreign carriers refused to go? What was your motivation?

Like I explain earlier, Ethiopian Airline is a pan-African airline. We have to be by the side of the government, the public and everybody. So we know that the public needs our services. We did our own inspection on the Kaduna International Airport before we commenced our operations. We advised on what needed to be on the Kaduna airport and they were provided. So everything was okay and that is why we operated to Kaduna.

How rewarding was the Kaduna experience, business wise?

It was fantastic. It was okay. Everything went well. But at first, the traffic was slow. It didn’t pick up the way we expected but later on, it picked very well.

At the end of the six weeks, how many passengers did you process on the Kaduna route?

We processed 11,568 passengers in and out of Kaduna. Out of this 6,456 were outgoing, and 5,112 were incoming passengers.

How much revenue did that fetch you?

In terms of revenue, I have to check. I can’t give you that right now.

The other day the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, opened a conversation with you on the possibility of retaining the Kaduna route going forward. Can you bring us up on that discussion?

We didn’t go that far. We have started speaking with government but we have to do our own analysis. So once we come up with a decision, you will be the first to know. But so far, we are discussing and trying to see the opportunities.

What new services are you offering Abuja passengers?

It’s a brand new aircraft. You can even smell the plastic. But beyond that, it’s coming with more capacity, more comfort, more leg room, more entertainment and more business class seats. We know that Abuja passengers love to fly business class so we are offering more seats with flat beds and all.

Talking about doing aviation business in Nigeria, what would you say are the challenges you face the most?

Just like all the other airlines, we are facing the challenge of foreign exchange remittance. That is our biggest challenge but I hope things will get better.

Nigerian aviation stakeholders have being advocating for international carriers like Ethiopian Airlines to interline with local carriers. So rather than explore new routes, say Kaduna, why not partner local airlines to feed you in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu?

Interlining could also be an option. We are just starting the discussion and we didn’t put all the options on the table on how to go about it.

You’ve been here for 57 years and counting, how is your corporate social responsibility programme like?

We are always doing CSR in Nigeria. We have been doing it. We have been sponsoring programmes, donating to charity programmes, women empowerment, and donating to schools. Maybe I will invite you to some of our CSR programmes so you see what we do in giving back to the Nigerian society. We have one programme once in every two months. Sometimes we donate tickets so the tickets can be sold and the monies used for charity programmes. We do that not only in Nigeria but in other markets we do businesses in.

I like you to do a comparative analysis between Nigeria and your other destinations in Africa, which is the most lucrative for you?

Ethiopian Airlines is the leading aviation group in Africa. We do cargo, we do aviation academy, we do catering and we do MRO etc. We are covering most of the African countries. Nigeria has population that is the difference between Nigeria and other African destinations. The Nigerian market is big. Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa for Ethiopian Airlines.

How much do you make say annually from Nigeria?

Let me just leave the figures part for now.

What message would you like to pass to your customers in Nigeria?

We have been here for a long time and connecting the Nigerian people to the world with non-stop and seamless service with the best modern aircraft. Now we are coming with the Airbus, I hope they will enjoy our services. We are also having promotional fares so that everybody can taste our aircraft. We are offering the promotional fares both on economy and business class to any destination we fly to in the world.

Rwanda, Ethiopia Expand Areas of Cooperation

By James Karuhanga

Rwanda and Ethiopia agreed on new areas of cooperation at a meeting which concluded in Kigali on Tuesday, an official who attended the two-day session said.

The new areas of partnerships are in fields such as education, tourism and mutual legal assistance, according to Claude Nikobisanzwe, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

Senior officials from Rwanda and Ethiopia began the meeting on Monday as the two countries identify new opportunities and areas to strengthen their bilateral cooperation ties.

“Cooperation between Rwanda and Ethiopia remains strong and significant results have been achieved in the areas of Defense, Aviation and Capacity building among others, which continues to benefit the people of our two countries,” said Nikobisanzwe.

“During the two day meeting new areas of partnerships were agreed notably in: Education, Tourism, Mutual legal assistance and will be signed. A framework to monitor implementation was also put in place.”

The second Rwanda-Ethiopia Joint Permanent Commission (JPC), a two-day session, was a technical level meeting involving experts from both countries.

Last year, the two countries signed an agreement to open their airspace allowing their national carriers to operate without restrictions.

In July 2012, Rwanda and Ethiopia signed three bilateral agreements, including one setting up the JPC to strengthen bilateral cooperation, a general cooperation agreement to shape and expand cooperation in the political, economic, trade and investment, education, health and other fields as well as another strategic partnership on issues of defence and security.

This took place when Foreign affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, and Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, met on the margins of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa.

Under the general cooperation agreement, the parties had reaffirmed their commitment to the objectives and principles of the African Union, and undertook to further strengthen bilateral relations.

They agreed to shape and expand their cooperation in the political, economic, trade and investment, scientific, educational, health technical and other fields on the basis of the principle of sovereign equality of states.

Under the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the countries agreed to cooperate in areas, including diplomacy, defense and security affairs; economic and social affairs like investment and education.

Collaboration in trade and investment was to be undertaken through business reforms and customs cooperation, trade and investment information sharing, among others.

The area of defence and military cooperation includes sharing of peace keeping experiences and building peace support operation capabilities, among others.

Rwanda

Rwanda, Ethiopia Expand Bilateral Ties

Rwanda and Ethiopia agreed on new areas of cooperation at a meeting which concluded in Kigali on Tuesday, an official… Read more »

Rwanda: Tigo Customers to Enjoy Free Facebook Access

By Appolonia Uwanziga

Tigo Rwanda customers will now be able to access Facebook, a social networking site, for free after the firm unveiled a new data service, ‘Facebook Flex’. Yaw Ankoma Agyapong, the Tigo Rwanda chief commercial officer said, ‘Facebook Flex’ allows Tigo customers to access Facebook for free, thanks to a recent deal signed between Tigo and Facebook to increase digital access for the over three million of its customers in Rwanda.

“Tigo believes in Internet For All. With Facebook Flex, more Rwandans will be able to enjoy Facebook because you don’t need to have a smartphone or balance to enjoy the service,” Agyapong said. “No matter where you live, as long as you are a Tigo data customer, you will be able to access your Facebook account.”

How it works

The service is only available to Tigo Rwanda customers, and provides free access to Facebook either through the Facebook app on Android or via facebook.com on all data-capable devices on Tigo. Facebook Flex enables Tigo customers to control their data usage when using Facebook through a button that switches access between free and paid modes.

“We are enabling customers to make those very important connections everyday, all day at no cost,” Agyapong said.

Rwanda

Rwanda, Ethiopia Expand Bilateral Ties

Rwanda and Ethiopia agreed on new areas of cooperation at a meeting which concluded in Kigali on Tuesday, an official… Read more »

Emerusenge On Her Career As a Sign Language Translator

interviewBy Sharon Kantengwa

As a child, Gisele Emerusenge experienced communication challenges with her friend with hearing impairment. This motivated her to learn sign language interpretation to effectively communicate with her friend and, contribute to the wellbeing of the deaf community. The graduate in Business Management Procurement and Logistics also works at Starkey Hearing Foundation as a counsellor and coordinator in aftercare service. She is often times found at conferences and meetings interpreting for the deaf. The 24-year-old had a chat with Women Today’s Sharon Kantengwa about her journey so far.

When did you start your career in sign language interpretation?

I can’t really trace when I started because I have been doing sign language interpretation since childhood. Growing up in a deaf community, with a close friend who had hearing impairment, I had to learn sign language to make it easy for me to communicate with her. The more I got close to her, the more I learned.

Girls your age have many aspirations. What makes you passionate about helping people with hearing loss?

The difficulty my friend had in communicating with her mum and teachers, and my ability to offer help pushed me to realise that there is an intervention that I can give to people with hearing impairment. I was encouraged to get some training because in my community, nobody was willing to learn and help people with hearing impairment. After completing secondary school, I joined Rwanda National Union for the Deaf (RNUD) and I got the basic skills in the language.

Having qualified in the business field, have you thought of venturing into something else?

Since I graduated, I have not had time to do anything else other than sign language interpretation because it is a very demanding job due to the few interpreters we have in this country. I got to work with Starkey because it also deals with people with hearing impairment. I don’t even have time to think about another career. I feel like I belong to my work.

A few months from now, I will be pursuing a Master’s degree in ‘Special needs and Rehabilitation,’ and sign language is part of it. I don’t need to further sign language though because I am fluent in it but I want to stay in that community of helping people with special needs.

Why do you think we have few interpreters in this country?

Having a few of them is one of the reasons I chose to take this career seriously. Many people are not aware of the need for sign language interpretation, and most of the deaf find it odd for someone without hearing loss to communicate with them. Due to the Rwandan history, the disability movement is new and we are only starting to develop it by harmonising the Sign Language dictionary. It’s a new language and people are not aware of it. Even the interpreters we have are not professional because we don’t have a school for it. We need more schools because RNUD only teaches the basics. Interpreters here get better by experience.

What do you find challenging about your work?

People forget that it is just like any other language. Many times, I have encountered situations where people want me to volunteer for sign language interpretation yet they pay other interpreters. Some organisations and individuals do not value sign language yet it’s a language like any other. Most organisations that get to pay us are those that work with disability issues.

What do you like most about your job?

That moment in a meeting when I’m interpreting to the deaf and I see them giving ideas that contribute to society. I feel proud of my services.

Have your parents been supportive of your work?

Right now they are supportive because they see the rewards that come with sign language interpretation. Initially I wanted to pursue a course in sign language but my parents were not so supportive of the idea and having no one to look up to, I gave up on the idea. They became supportive when they saw the value of my work.

In your career, have you seen young people look up to you?

Yes. The first is my sister, a high school graduate who is planning to study sign language interpretation. She knows some basics but wants to specialise in that field. I always encourage her to go for it, even if I didn’t get the opportunity to study sign language. I encourage young girls to go for what they are passionate about.

International Olympic Committee’

Rwanda

Rwanda, Ethiopia Expand Bilateral Ties

Rwanda and Ethiopia agreed on new areas of cooperation at a meeting which concluded in Kigali on Tuesday, an official… Read more »

Rwanda, Ethiopia Expand Bilateral Ties

Photo: Village Urugwiro/The New Times

First Lady Jeannette Kagame, President Paul Kagame, and their hosts Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and First Lady Roman Tesfaye in Addis Ababa (file photo).

By James Karuhanga

Rwanda and Ethiopia agreed on new areas of cooperation at a meeting which concluded in Kigali on Tuesday, an official who attended the two-day session said.

The new areas of partnerships are in the fields of education, tourism and mutual legal assistance, according to Claude Nikobisanzwe, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

Senior officials from Rwanda and Ethiopia began the meeting on Monday as the two countries sought to identify new opportunities and areas to strengthen their bilateral ties.

“Cooperation between Rwanda and Ethiopia remains strong and significant results have been achieved in the areas of defence, aviation and Capacity building among others, which continues to benefit the people of our two countries,” Nikobisanzwe said.

“During the meeting new areas of partnerships were agreed notably in: education, tourism, mutual legal assistance and will be signed. A framework to monitor implementation was also put in place.”

The second Rwanda-Ethiopia Joint Permanent Commission (JPC), meeting was at the technical level involving experts from both countries.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected in the country today for a two-day official visit.

Last year, the two countries signed an agreement to open their airspace allowing their national carriers to operate without restrictions.

In July 2012, Rwanda and Ethiopia signed three bilateral agreements, including one setting up the JPC to strengthen bilateral cooperation, a general cooperation agreement to shape and expand cooperation in the political, economic, trade and investment, education, health and other fields; as well as another strategic partnership on issues of defence and security.

Under the general cooperation agreement, the parties had reaffirmed their commitment to the objectives and principles of the African Union, and undertook to further strengthen bilateral relations.

They agreed to shape and expand their cooperation in the political, economic, trade and investment, scientific, educational, health technical and other fields on the basis of the principle of sovereign equality of states.

Under the strategic partnership agreement, the countries agreed to cooperate in diplomacy, defence, and security affairs, and in economic and social affairs such as investment and education.

Collaboration in trade and investment was to be undertaken through business reforms and customs cooperation, trade and investment information sharing, among others.

Partnership in the area of defence and military cooperation includes sharing of peacekeeping experiences and building peace support operation capabilities, among others.

East Africa

Region in Joint Effort Against Tax Fraud

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Ethiopia: Cement, Concrete Key Ingredients to Construction

analysisBy Alazar Shiferaw

Currently, Ethiopia aims at building and expanding cement industries to actively support its economic and infrastructural development. Thus, the government works to make the nation the hub of the leading cement industries in Africa, which are helpful to achieve sustainable production, and to meet global demands of products.

More importantly, nowadays, the nation has been engaged in various infrastructural developments such as the construction of railway lines and asphalt roads, dams, houses, sugar projects, industrial and agro-industrial parks. Hence, the cement industries have also taken the lion’s share in realizing the nation’s development goals.

Recently, the 2nd East African Cement, Concrete and Energy Summit was held in Addis Ababa. Various research papers were presented during the two days summit focusing on cement, concrete and energy.

Presenting a paper on the theme: ‘Growth Potencial and Challenges of Ready – Mix Concrete Market, in Addis Ababa Scenario,’ Managing Director, Materials Research and Testing Centre, Addis Ababa University Dr. Kasshun Admasu said that ready mix concrete is the top notch of the concrete manufacturing technology for the time being. This attributed to the fully automated and controlled method of input ingredients to ensure the product quality.

Likewise, presenting on ‘Performance Evaluation of Ethiopian Cements: Physical Chemical, Thermodynamic and Mechanical Aspects,’ Associate Professor of Concrete Materials and Structures, Addis Ababa University Dr. Esayas Gebre-Yohannes said that use of high strength concrete is growing in the construction industry in order to increase quality of construction projects. This in turn leads to the application of low water to cement ratio for concrete mix design. One major effect of using low water to cement ratio is the introduction of autogenous shrinkage within concrete structures, specifically during early ages of concrete placement. This effect is mainly dependent on the type and behavior of cement used for concrete work, he added.

CEO, East African Mining Corporation PLC Axumawi Ebuy Teka on his paper entitled: ‘Production and Supply of Municipal Wastes, and Other Biomass as Source of Sustainable Alternative Energy,’ said that energy cost takes the lion’s share of cement production and its share increase to around 60 per cent in Ethiopian cement industries. The thermal energy requirement of Ethiopian cement industries is mainly satisfied by imported South African Bituminous coal using the scarce foreign currency the country generates.

Nowadays, fossil fuels like coal are being substituted by alternative fuels in order to reduce carbon emission, reduce coal and avoid the dependency on imported fossil fuels. But, Ethiopia is endowed with different alternative fuels which can be used in the cement industries, like sesame stalk, cotton stalk, coffee hunk, rice hunk, bamboo tree, he said.

He further said that different types of biomass which can be used as alternative fuels shall be highlighted. However, this generation shall focus on Refuse Derived Fuel from municipal solid wastes which comprise of plastics, paper, clothes, leather, bones among other which are the combustible part of the solid wastes, he said.

President and CEO, Maryland Global University Dr. Dereje Tesema in his presentation entitled: “The role of Policy, Governance and Skill Training in Construction Project Management,” said that globally both public and private sectors, a large number of construction projects and programmes failed to be completed on time, with budget and with poor quality. The 2016 state of project management annual survey of 686 professionals from 317 organizations in UK and Europe revealed that 32 per cent of their projects are never completed on time, 31 per cent never delivered full benefits, 46 per cent never have a track record of success, and 31 per cent never completed on budget, he disclosed.

According to the Ministry of Industry, the Ethiopian cement industry has endured through three major milestones; the beginning of cement production and modernization till 1984, construction boom in 2004 followed by acute shortage and aggressive expansion of the sector in 2012 on wards resulting in inflaming excess capacity.

The first cement factory in Ethiopia was established in 1936 in the city of Dire Dawa. In 1964 and 1965 cement factories in Addis Ababa and Massawa were established respectively with capacity of 70,000 tons each per year. Since then cement sector growth had remained sluggish for decades. In 1984 with establishment of Mugher cement, the industry had revived. Mugher cement’and 3rd line started operation in 1984, 1989/90 and 2011 respectively.

Following the 2004 boom in construction sector, severe shortage of cement is observed. In the period 2003‐08, the government increased its infrastructure spending threefold mainly in road, waterworks, public building and Dams. Since 2004, sustained shortage of cement supply resulted in price hike. In 2007, the government responded to the price hike by allowing the private sector to import cement.

Accordingly, from 2008-2011 due to drastic growth of the construction sector, overall growing economy, as well as frequent power interruption among others; cement supply significantly found short of meeting demand from domestic production sources.

Evidences further indicated that twice as much concrete is used around the world than the total of all other building materials, including wood, steel, plastic and aluminum. Its superior properties on strength, durability, thermal mass, affordability and abundance of raw materials make it the material of choice for most purposes. In particular, concrete is a key component to build durable and energy‐efficient buildings. it is a versatile material with important properties relevant for sustainable construction.

According to the Global Cement Magazine 2014 June issue, increased industrialization caused by economic expansion has a tendency to drive corresponding increases in cement consumption.

Cement demand is primarily derived from housing, infrastructure, commercial construction and industrial segments. Global cement demand has grown at a healthy pace of over 5 per cent on average during the last 5 years on the back of strong demand registered in its end-user segments in the matured market and from government spending in many emerging economies.

Housing accounts for a major portion of total domestic cement demand – approximately 60-65 per cent. Housing activity heavily depends on per capita income; GDP growth, the level of housing inventory deficit, land ownership and government’s policies such as tax incentives and higher budget allocation. The growing middle class along with rising income levels significantly contributed towards the growth in the housing segment.

It further showed that infrastructure development is expected to further propel cement demand, as it is required to sustain a GDP growth rate of many emerging economies. The capital budget allocation towards mega infrastructure development projects have increased over the years, leading to higher demand for cement in many countries.

The commercial construction sector can be divided into retail, office space, hotels and other civil structures such as hospitals, multiplexes and schools amongst others, all of which are witnessing strong growth. This directly translates into healthy cement demand, it said.

Besides, the strong growth in many developed and emerging economies has resulted in operating rates peaking in industries such as steel, aluminum, textiles and petrochemicals. These industries have announced expansion projects to address growing demand, which are at advance stages of implementation, leading to higher intake of cement.

Africa: China Seeks Greater African Engagement in Initiative

By Desta Gebrehwiot

– Belt and Road Initiative imperative for Africa

China keen to see greater engagement of the African continent in the implementation of the ongoing Chinese proposed Belt and Road Initiative expected to promote trade , investment, cooperation and globalized world.

A conference under the theme: “Belt and Road Initiative: African Perspective.” was held yesterday ahead of the upcoming “Belt and Road” International Cooperation Forum to be held soon in Beijing which Ethiopia will take part.

Speaking at the conference co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia and Ethiopian Foreign Relations Studies Strategic Institute, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan said that belt and road initiative is a win win approach that boosts integration, cooperation and development among different countries.’ It is not an imposed initiative rather is being implemented with the will of both parties’.

It has been three years since Chinese president proposed the initiative with a purpose of enhancing infrastructural connectivity, trade ties and people to people relations. And China has already got into discussions with Africa to the successful implementation of the initiative. And Ethiopia has actively been engaged in implementing the development plan, added Ambassador.

The initiative is an engine of the world economic growth of the 21 century. It is a common understating that modern infrastructure and efficient transport network facility is a necessary precondition for economic development , said Berhane Gebrekirstos Special Adviser to Prime Minister.

The initiative also helps to promote regional cooperation, integration and sustainable and rapid economic growth to Africa. African economy remains far behind the rest of the world mainly due to inadequate and obsolete infrastructure . Chinese engagement will be a boon for African ongoing development goals while the continent needs to heavily invest on infrastructure.

The initiative brings new opportunities African countries to unleash their potential. It also open ways for robust economies boosting trade and investment. The initiative is complimentary to the Sino-African cooperation that has so far yielded tangible benefits for the African continent.

Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute Foreign policy Analysis Department Head Melaku Mulualem the initiative has advantages for Africa including Ethiopia to acquire support from the Silk Road Fund, promote infrastructure development in short period of time, technological transfer, job creation and others.

On the other hand, the initiative also increases China’s soft power, bolster bilateral and multilateral relations and obviously its economic growth, added Melaku .

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