Seven Days Update, Vol. 21 No. 37

von Redakteur

More than Sh90m is illegally earned by human traffickers monthly by smuggling Ethiopian nationals across the Kenya–Ethiopia border with the prospect of sending them by road to South Africa. On average, 30 Ethiopians illegally cross the border daily in a racket that has been going on for the last 15 years. But in many cases, the victims end up being arrest­ed, jailed and deported back to Ethiopia while in worse situations they end up in the jungles of East and Central Africa where they are abandoned after authorities discover the human trafficking racket and the smugglers escape. - According to a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) titled, “In pursuit of the Southern Dreams: Victims of Ne­cessity:” the Ethiopian Embassy in South Africa estimates that approximately 45,000 to 50,000 of their countrymen have made South Africa their home. The report says the numbers are increasing every week due to the influx of new arrivals, primarily from large-scale, successful smuggling operations from Ethiopia. 95% or more of these Ethiopian arrivals enter South Africa through irregular means and regularize their situations rapidly through its asylum policies. This figure pro­vides some indication of the size of the business of smuggling Ethiopians alone (and in one geographical direction) in the last two decades (Standard Digital, Nov. 9).

Ethiopia's year-on-year inflation rate dipped to 5.4% in October from 5.8% a month before, helped by a fall in food prices, official data showed. The Central Statistics Agency said food inflation eased to 2.9% in October from 3.8% a month earli­er, mainly due to a drop in cereal prices. Nonfood inflation inched up to 8.3 percent from 8.1% in September (Reuters, Nov. 6).

President Mulatu Teshome said the Ethiopian economy has been registering a consecutive annual GDP growth of 10.1% during the past four years of the Growth and Transformation Plan period. He said efforts will be made to duplicate the double-digit economic growth and post an 11.4% GDP growth in the current fiscal year. The government’s intervention will continue to strengthen the supply of consumer goods and modernize trade market network by keeping the inflation rate at single digit (State media, Nov. 5).

Making Ethiopia the second larger exporter next to India, oilseeds, spices and pulses export have generated a total of USD 919.9m during the concluded Ethiopian fiscal. The export performance of oilseeds has surpassed coffee where the latter concluded the budget year amassing USD 718m. Coffee was unable to meet the targets set for the ended fiscal year, shying away by over half while USD 1.5 billion was expected from its export. The Ministry of Trade (MoT), Assefa Mulugeta, director general of the newly formed Export Promotion Directorate, said that Ethiopia has become the major player and price setter of sesame in the global market. The fourth producer, next to India, China and the Sudan, Ethiopia in 2013/14 was able to export 674 000 t of oilseeds, pulses and spices out of which sesame alone performed 90% of the export volume, Assefa noted. However, the export of spices in the reported period was below 5%, following the impact of a ginger disease, which was the major exported item in the category. The spice exports amassed USD 19.2m against the targeted USD 26m in the concluded budget year (The Reporter, Nov. 8).

The Ethiopian Government has sold 60% of its shares in the Saygin Dima Textile Factory to its Turkish private sector partner company, Saygin. The Ethiopian Government owned 60% shares of the company while Saygin owned the re­maining 40%. The Turkish company will pay 563m Br over five years for 90% of the value of the Ethiopian Government’s share, according to reports. Saygin has paid 10% as down payment for the Ethiopian Government’s share of 626.36m Br, said Wondafrash Assefa, public relations officer of the Privatization & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPE­SA). Saygin Dima became operational in Jan. 2011 in Sebeta, 24 km southwest of Addis Ababa. The company employs about 600 Ethiopians at its plant, which spins, weaves and dyes natural and synthetic fibers. The production capacity of Saygin Dima is 30 t of yarn, 40,000 m of fiber and 50,000 m of finished fiber daily, but the factory is currently only is oper­ating at 30% of its capacity (Addis Fortune, Nov. 2).

The East African country of Ethiopia will be seeing a pretty substantial solar energy buildout in the next few years, based on the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between Ethiopian Electric Power and Green Technology  Africa.  The deal would see US-based Green Technology Africa (GTA) aid Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) in the develop­ment of 300 MW of new solar projects in Ethiopia - with the aim of helping the country hit its goal of expanding electricity capacity from the current 55% coverage to 75% by the end of 2015. Further details about the deal have yet to be publicly revealed. Though it’s part of the country’s new $600m strong solar energy investment plan (Clean Technica, Nov. 5).