Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ethiopia signs gold mining deal with UK firm, 14 April 2015

Ethiopia and the UK-based KEFI Minerals on Monday signed an agreement for the production of gold and silver.

The agreement gives the chance to the British company to produce gold and silver in Ethiopia to the value of $151.6 million.

Production will take place in Tulu Kapi, an area of Oromia regional state.

Ethiopian Minister of Mines Tolossa Shagi and KEFI Chief Executive Officer Harry Anagnostaras-Adams signed the agreement, which will last for 20 years.

"KEFI clinched the contract after nine years of pre and post mining feasibility studies," the Ethiopian minister said after signing the agreement.

"The company fulfilled an international standard that enables it to undertake production of the two minerals in the country," he added.

In the light of the agreement, production will begin after two years.

The British company will, meanwhile, establish the necessary infrastructure at the production site.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ethiopia inflation rises to 8.5 pct in March | Reuters

Mon Apr 6, 2015 1:18pm GMT

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia's year-on-year inflation rose to 8.5 percent in March from 8.2 percent the month before, the statistics office said on Monday.

The Central Statistics Agency said food price inflation increased to 10.1 percent in March, up from 9.6 percent the previous month, owing to a rise in the prices of items such as cereals, vegetables and fruits.
The non-food inflation rate also increased, to 6.9 percent last month from 6.8 percent in February, as prices rose for clothing and khat -- a leafy plant chewed as a stimulant in East Africa.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Arab Contractors Co. raises investments in Ethiopia by $111m - Daily News Egypt

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The company is studying building a new affordable housing project in Addis Ababa, such as residential buildings 7, 9, 12 floors, says the company CEO
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The international road project between Cairo and Cape Town will be built on a length of 170km with a cost of $140m (Photo courtesy of Africa geographic website )

The international road project between Cairo and Cape Town will be built on a length of 170km with a cost of $140m

(Photo courtesy of Africa geographic website )
The Arab Contractors Co. is building two projects in Ethiopia, with investments amounting to more than $111m, according to the company President and CEO Mohsen Salah.
In a press statement Saturday, Salah said the company built construction projects in Ethiopia last year with investments amounting to $30m, and Ethiopian employment in the two projects is approximately 90%.
“The company is studying building a new affordable housing project in Addis Ababa,  such as residential buildings of 7, 9, and 12 floors”, added Salah. “The company is willing to participate in carrying out Ethiopian development projects, which the government intends to put forward during the current stage.”
The two roads are represented in two phases of the international road between Nairobi in Kenya and Addis Ababa the Ethiopian capital. The international road is considered a part of international road project between Cairo and Cape Town in South Africa.
Head of the East and West Africa sector Ibrahim Mabrouk said that the first road is on a length of 94.5 km, and the rate of completion reached 88% with a cost of $ 54.7m. It is expected to be completed by the end of May 2015.
Managing Director of the Ethiopian branch of the Arab Contractors Co, Yasser Bakir said that the second road has a length of 72 km, and the rate of completion reached 35%, with a cost of $56.5m, and will be completed in June 2016.
The Arab Contractors Co. is affiliated to the Egyptian Ministry of Housing and has projects in more than 29 countries. It has major investments in Africa, 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Will Ethiopia's teff be the next 'super grain'? - BBC News

  • 9 hours ago
  • From the sectionBusiness

An Ethiopian farmer using oxen to harvest teff

Under a bright blue sky, a farmer in a sleeveless red jumper is encouraging his five oxen to stamp on piles of dried grass, to help dislodge the seeds.
Nearby, other farm workers are using pitchforks to do the same job, throwing the grass into the air in an ancient process known as winnowing.
This is a harvest scene in rural Ethiopia, which at this time of the year is replicated across the length and breadth of the country.
The seed, or grain, in question is called teff.
Ethiopians have been growing and obsessing about teff for millennia, and it may be set to be become the new "super grain" of choice in Europe and North America, overtaking the likes of quinoa and spelt.

High in protein and calcium, and gluten-free, teff is already growing in popularity on the international stage.
Yet as teff is a staple foodstuff in Ethiopia, particularly when turned into a grey flatbread called injera, the country currently has a long-standing ban on exporting the grain, either in its raw form, or after it has been ground into flour.
Instead, entrepreneurial Ethiopian companies can at present only export injera and other cooked teff products, such as cakes and biscuits.
However, the hope is that if Ethiopia can sufficiently increase its teff harvest, then exports of the grain itself may be able to start in the not too distant future.

Air deliveries

"We started from scratch, and are now introducing our traditional food all over the world," says Hailu Tessema, founder of Mama Fresh, Ethiopia's first large-scale producer of injera.

A man holding teff
Grains of teff are as small as poppy seeds

Six days every week Mama Fresh uses Ethiopian Airlines to fly 3,000 injera flatbreads from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, to Washington DC in the US.
Injera is also flown to Sweden three times a week, Norway twice a week, and Germany three times a month.
"Demand is increasing by about 10% every month," says Mr Tessema, 60, who does not see the ban on exporting teff seeds as a problem.
"It's better to export a value-added product as that creates more jobs."

Teff flour mixed with water and fermented
Teff flour is fermented before being turned into injera

Mama Fresh employs more than 100 people, and plans to take on another 50 this year. It also works with 300 farmers supplying teff.
Mr Tessema started the business in 2003 with 100,000 Ethiopian birr ($5,000; £3,225), operating out of a rickety shack.
The firm's annual revenue now stands at around 17m birr ($836,000; £566,000), and last year the business moved into a new factory.

Injera being made at Mama Fresh
Injera is made by heating it like a pancake
Injera being made at Mama Fresh
After a few minutes the injera is ready

Inside the facility, blue barrels contain teff flour mixed with water, which is left to ferment for four days.
Afterwards, women pour small jug-sized amounts onto heated-clay cookers to sizzle and become injera, ready for packaging and speedy onward flights to eager overseas customers, mainly diaspora Ethiopians.
A tiny grain the size of a poppy seed, teff is ground into a flour which can also be made into loaves of European-style risen bread or pasta.

Hailu Tessema, founder of Mama Fresh
Hailu Tessema's company is exporting around the world

At London-based business, Tobia Teff, they use US-grown teff to make various breads and a porridge.
The company was founded by British-Ethiopian co-owner Sophie Sirak-Kebede, who originally opened an Ethiopian restaurant in the UK capital in 2003.
In 2008, she closed the restaurant to concentrate solely on selling teff.
"People are dreaming of teff nowadays, after thousands of years it has become the trendy thing over here," says the 58-year-old.
Tobia Teff's sales have increased by up to 40% during the last 14 months.
Even the UK's National Health Service has become a customer to cater for gluten-intolerant patients.

Achilles heel

Yet despite praise for teff's nutritional properties, its previously sheltered existence in Ethiopia comes with a drawback.
"Teff does not give much yield," says Zerihun Tadele, an Ethiopian researcher at the Institute of Plant Sciences at the University of Bern, Switzerland. "Very little research and investment has been done on the crop."

Sophie Sirak-Kebede, right
Sophie Sirak-Kebede is leading the promotion of teff in the UK

The average yield per hectare of teff in Ethiopia is 1.4 tonnes, which is less than half as much as the global average of 3.2 tonnes for modern varieties of wheat.
Mr Tadele hopes that through research and improved farming methods teff yields in Ethiopia can be raised to 5 tonnes a hectare.
This improvement will not come soon enough because recent teff harvests have failed to kept pace with Ethiopia's increasing population, driving prices beyond many Ethiopians' pockets, especially outside Addis Ababa.
Ms Sirak-Kebede says this situation creates a dilemma because "teff is Ethiopia's backbone". She adds: "A shortage of teff would be like asking an Ethiopian not to breathe".

Teff being harvested in Ethiopia
Teff has been grown in Ethiopia for millennia

But at the same time, Ms Sirak-Kebede notes that the Ethiopian government should not squander a global opportunity that could benefit the more than six million farmers in the country that grow the seed, while also generating valuable foreign currencies.
The government's Agricultural Transformation Agency is now focused on increasing teff production to at least match domestic demand, after which exporting seeds and flour may become possible.


Teff facts

  • Teff is the seed of a grass native to Ethiopia known as lovegrass
  • It was one of the earliest cultivated plants
  • In Ethiopia teff is most often made into a pancake called injera, which is often used as a plate, with other foods placed on top
  • Gluten free


"The opportunity this presents to the country is significant and the benefit over the long term will far outweigh the risks," says Matthew Davis, a partner at US-based Renew Strategies, an early stage venture capital company investing in Mama Fresh.
"The government would likely proceed cautiously, only giving licences to select exporting companies."
No doubt the Ethiopian government has already looked nervously at the example of quinoa, which has become so popular on the global stage that many people in its native countries, such as Peru and Bolivia, can no longer afford to buy it.
If Ethiopia's teff export ban is ever lifted, Ms Sirak-Kebede says she wants to buy land in Ethiopia to farm the crop for her UK business.
"Being of Ethiopian origin I would prefer to get teff from Ethiopia," Ms Sirak-Kebede says.
"Who better than an Ethiopian farmer when it comes to teff? The quality is incomparable."