Seven Days Update, Vol. 22 No. 56

von Redakteur

Ethiopia’s inflation rate had risen to 8.5% in March from 8.2% in Feb., Central statistics Agency said on April 6, 2015. Food price inflation rose to 10.1% from 9.6%, due to rise in the prices of items like cereals, vegetables and fruits. The inflation rate has also increased on non-food items from 6.8% to 6.9% as prices rose for clothing and chat (Reuters Africa, April 9).

Non-oil trade between Dubai and Ethiopia in 2014 was valued at just over $470m, which is an increase of 6% over the previous year. Over 30 business representatives, led by Shisema Gebresilassie, Head of the Addis Ababa City Government Trade and Industry Development Bureau, and Getachew Regasa, Secretary-General, Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, recently met with representatives of the private sector in Dubai. They were hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) (Businessweek, April 4).

A sugar factory which the government took over from its Pakistani owners will start trial production this month with an initial crushing capacity of 5,000 t of sugar a day. The factory, known as the Arjo Dedessa Sugar Development Project, is located in the rift valley of Dedessa in the Oromia Regional State. It was established in 2009 and was previously owned by Al-Habesha Plc, a Pakistani company. After its 26-year old Manager, Mohsen Haji, was killed in a car accident in Kazanchis on January 19, 2011, the company pulled out, selling the factory to the Sugar Corporation, Investment Promotion Team Leader at the Ethiopian Investment Commission, Aschalew Tadesse, told. When it acquired the company in August 2012, the Sugar Corporation carried out sugar cane cultivation. 90% of the construction of the sugar factory plant was completed by the time the government acquired the factory in August 2012 while the remaining 10% was completed by the government. Located on a 28,000ha plot of land 540 km from Addis Ababa, the factory has the capacity to crush 8,000 t of cane per day. However, the design of the machinery is meant to increase its crushing capacity to 12,000 t per day, Zemedkun said (Fortune, April 7).

Agreements for the Development of the Geothermal Energy in Tendaho area (Afar) were signed on April 7, 2015 by the Ethiopian Government, the French Agency for Development (AFD) and the EuropeanCommission at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. As per the agreements, the total financing amounting to 16.5m € has been jointly provided by the French Agency for Development, through a € 9m soft loan, and by the European Commission, through a € 7.5m grant of the EU Trust fund for infrastructure in Africa. The project aims at identifying a low-carbon geothermal resources and contributing to the development of this energy sub-sector in the country where there is huge potential. The funding will also be dedicated to the development of shallow reservoir, equipment purchase and to strengthen the capacities of Ethiopia Electric Power (EEP) and the Geological Survey of Ethiopia (GSE) (FBC, April 8).

Prof Donald Levine, “Gash Liben, Ethiopian scholar, lover of Ethiopia, founder of the Aikido Ethiopia Project”, died on April 4, aged 83. A prominent social/sociological theorist, in Ethiopian studies he is most famous for his two books Wax and Gold (1965) and Greater Ethiopia (1974). He was given a Doctor of Letters honoris causa in 2004 from Addis Ababa University. In the citation he was praised as Ethiopianist, sociological theorist, educator. The pioneering work, Wax and Gold, has become an Ethiopian classic. The very concept of "Wax and Gold" had taken on a life of its own as a central factor in the understanding of Ethiopia's pre-modern culture and in coming to grips with Ethiopia's reception of modernity. “Greater Ethiopia“ drew attention to the central fact that Ethiopian life was rooted in multicultural identities while demonstrating the bonds that held them together. Professor Levine, an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, first came to Ethiopia in the 1950s to do field work for his PhD. He also taught at the Addis Ababa University College. His final book published last year - Interpreting Ethiopia – was fittingly subtitled “Observations of Five Decades” (WIC, April 7).