Ethiopia has commendable role in climate diplomacy, green development

Despite being a developing country, Ethiopia has been playing a leading role in climate change negotiations. It has become a country that is engaged in successful climate diplomacy so that the voice of developing countries is heard in various international arenas. Ethiopia is also a model country in implementing a green economy development strategy.

One of the key factors that enabled the country to play a key role in climate negotiations is the fact that it has integrated climate into its domestic development and foreign policies and strategies. This strong commitment has earned the country a voice in international climate negotiations.

Many agree that Ethiopia has been among the proactive countries in the process of ratifying the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Though the adoption of the agreement is historic by itself, it does not mean that the mission is accomplished as the continuing climate change is posing threat on the lives of billions across the world. That is why the country has shifted its diplomatic engagement to keeping the momentum of the agreements so that they are swiftly implemented.

In the recent global Cope 23 climate change negotiation which was held in Bonn Germany, Ethiopia successfully led as a Chair, some 47 climate change vulnerable developing countries that are suffering from the severe consequences despite their insignificant contribution to global warming.

Ethiopia is also a member of the group that represented the African continent in global climate change negotiations. The group holds a firm position that the compensation financial support and other technical support to cope with the impacts of climate change should be improved.

One of the success stories of the climate change negotiations is the fact that developed countries agreed to pay 90 million USD as compensation payment for climate change. They also pledged additional 100 million to developing countries that are severely harmed by the impacts of climate change.

Locally, the government has prepared a National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy to avert the impact of climate change on the country’s economy.

The government has also demonstrated its commitment to the green economic development through its environment friendly projects such as the expansion of renewable energy for industry and transportation (railways operation). This commitment has also been demonstrated by the extensive rural environmental rehabilitation works.

Various awareness creation programs regarding desertification and environmental rehabilitation works such as reforestation and afforestation have been taking place country wide. As a result, the country’s forest coverage has reached 15 percent, which was at an all time low of less than 4 percent almost two decade ago.

Having such strong commitment, developing countries like Ethiopia still need better economic and technological capacity to upgrade their coping mechanisms. Hence, developed nations need to step up their support as per their promises in the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

But Ethiopia should exert maximum effort to mobilize local resources, both the public and private sectors and above all its huge human resource potential to further pursueits ambition to become an advocate of green economic development.

Source: Ethiopian Herald

Industrial parks and the transformation of Ethiopia’s economy

Ethiopia is increasingly being recognized as a major investment destination because of its fast-paced economic progress, its unique location, cheap labor and a huge market potential. The industrial park strategy of the country is expected to give a considerable boost of the development of the economy and transform Ethiopia into a light manufacturing hub. This article was originally published in the 8th issue (October 2017) of The Ethiopian Messenger, the quarterly magazine of the Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels.

Hawassa Industrial Park, inaugurated in 2016

Ethiopia is increasingly being recognized as a major investment destination because of its fast-paced economic progress, its unique location, for the booming business opportunities it provides, the cheap provision of labor and energy, and for its attractive investment incentives. The country is located at the crossroads between Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It has a stable political, economic and regulatory environment. Thanks to its large population, Ethiopia is also potentially one of the largest domestic markets in Africa. By virtue of its membership of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), embracing 19 countries with a population of over 400 million, Ethiopia also enjoys preferential market access to these countries, and it also qualifies for preferential access to European Union market under the EU’s Everything-But-Arms (EBA) initiative and to USA markets under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). Moreover, competitive investment incentive packages including tax holidays are offered to investors.

Ethiopia envisions to become a middle-income country by 2025. The Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II), a policy framework which outlines the development and transformation of Ethiopia’s economy between 2015 and 2020, is oriented at this end. Besides the construction of infrastructure, one of the core strategies of the GTP II is the establishment of industrial parks. The manufacturing sector is expected to grow by 25% per year for the next decade and could secure 30 billion USD from the textiles sector by 2030. The goal is that the manufacturing sector would contribute 20 percent of Ethiopia’s GDP and 50 percent of the export volume by 2025.

The development and construction of industrial parks started in 2014 when the Ethiopian Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) was established. It gained momentum in 2015 with the Industrial Parks proclamation 886/2015. In less than three years, several industrial parks were built, inaugurated and started operations. Bole Lemi I and Hawassa industrial parks were inaugurated in 2016. More recently, on 8 and 9 July 2017, Ethiopia inaugurated two additional parks in Kombolcha and Mekele. Together, these two new sites are expected to create around 40,000 new jobs. About 10 more parks are under construction and are expected to be operational within the next months, and the total number of industrial parks should reach 15 by June 2018. In addition, industrial parks developed by private investors, such as the Huajian Group which developed a shoe cluster industrial park, are being built throughout the country.

Fast pace of industrial Park inaugurations

Hawassa Industrial Park was inaugurated in 2016, in the presence of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and 18 companies from 11 countries. It is the biggest industrial park of its kind in Africa. It will host textile and apparel industries on a total of 140 hectares once fully operational. 10,000 employees are already working on the site today, but this number could soon reach 60,000 workers. The park is fitted with a Zero Liquid Discharge technology facility with a daily processing capacity of 11 million liters of effluent, a system which is also expected to be replicated to other industrial parks across the country, which could accelerate Ethiopia’s pace in developing a green economy. The industries hosted in the park started to export products in March 2017.

The Mekele and Kombolcha industrial parks, inaugurated in the summer of 2017, were both built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at a cost of 100 million U.S. dollars and 90 million dollars respectively. They also host textile and apparel industries. The Kombolcha industrial park will house 13 factory sheds. It is expected to create a total of 10,000 jobs. The Mekele Industrial Park houses 15 factory sheds, about half of which were handed over to high-profile textile manufacturers. The Tigray Small and Medium Manufacturing Industries Development Agency has recruited over 10,000 job seekers from the region, but the total number of jobs provided in the park is expected to reach 20,000 once the facility is fully operational.

Adama and Dire Dawa industrial parks are expected to be inaugurated later this year. Kilinto pharmaceutical and Bole Lemi II agro-processing industrial parks will be commissioned in January 2018. A few months later, Bahir Dar and Jimma industrial parks will become operational, and in June 2017, Debre Birhan and Arerti industrial parks are expected to start operations.

Positive response from the Investors

The investor’s response has been very positive. H&M is already a stakeholder in the Mekele and Bole Lemi industrial parks, while PVH, which owns brands such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, decided to build a factory in the Hawassa Industrial Park. Carvico S.p.A from Italy, Trybus from USA and Pungkook Corporation from Korea built their factories in Kombolcha and Mekele industrial parks. Yang Nang, general manager of the Wuxi Group, said they chose Ethiopia for their next factory because it has a stable political situation and a peaceful society, because it has 100 million people and is the second biggest country in Africa, which is important for textile business, and finally because production and labour costs is very low.

European companies are also attracted by the newly opened park. Ontex, a Belgian company producing diapers successfully opened a 11,000 m2 factory in the Hawassa industrial park in July 2017 to supply the well-known Canbebe diaper brand to the local market. The new 11,000 m2 factory site is equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

All in all, the country’s industrial policy and its goal to become a manufacturing hub in the region will help the country to transform and expand its economy. By attracting FDIs, the industrial parks have already provided thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the local population, supporting the economic dynamism of the regions as a whole were the different industrial parks are located. The new industrial parks have also started to attract sophisticated technology and introduce it to the local manufacturing sector. This technology transfer and experience gains will allow an acceleration of a homegrown industrial activity and allow the transformation of raw products from Ethiopia, which will allow the Ethiopian economy to produce more value.

The new industrial facilities will also help to absorb the huge workforce of Ethiopia. Every year, about 600,000 young graduates enter the job market in Ethiopia, and the development of labor-intensive sectors like textile and light manufacturing will provide them with many professional opportunities. Universities, colleges and technical and vocational schools are expected to adapt to this development and train more competent workforce, generate amply trained human power and feed the growing demand of investors for skilled human power.

European Commission Lauds Ethiopia in Widening Political Space

The European Commission lauded efforts of Ethiopia in widening the political space and deepening democracy. Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, made the remark after hearing the developments in the country during her meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

During their meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire at the sidelines of the fifth African Union – EU Summit, Mogherini and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn discussed on major developments in the Horn African country. The Premier has briefed the Vice-President the activities that geared towards deepening democracy, expanding job opportunities and resolving conflicts.

According to Zadeg Abreha, Head of Media and Deliverology Unit at the Office of the Prime Minister, the discussion was fruitful and would help to boost cooperation between Ethiopia and the Commission. Meanwhile, the Premier has met with the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina in Abidjan.

The President acknowledged Ethiopia’s leading role in the continent and noted the support it has been extending to the Bank. He also appreciated the developmental endeavors of Ethiopia in agriculture, power, and other infrastructure facilities. Adesina has also invited the Premier to attend the annual meeting of the Bank so that it can share its best practices on various areas, and Prime Minister Hailemariam has accepted it, according to Zadeg.

AU-EU Summit 2017 held in Côte d’Ivoire

The fifth African Union – European Union (AU-EU) summit under the theme “Investment in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive growth and sustainable development”, took place from 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The Summit preliminaries began on Sunday (November 26) with the opening of the two day Permanent Representatives Committee and Senior Officials meetings where draft agendas and programs were prepared for endorsement by the meeting of the Ministers. The pre-summit Senior Officials meeting was attended by Ambassadors of the African Union Member States, high officials from the AU Commission and representatives from the European Union Member States.

The Representative of the European Union, Mr Koen Vervaeke, Managing Director, Africa European External Action Service (EEAS) and Mr. Stefano Manservisi, European Commission’s Director General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) both underlined the importance of the summit to the AU and EU Member States and emphasized the expectations that  the Summit would take concrete commitments in the best interest of their respective populations to help face current socio-economic and political challenges.

Addressing the Senior Officials on behalf of the AU Commission, Alex Ratebaye, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Bureau of the AUC Chairperson, underscored the importance of their meeting, stressing it would help shape discussions on the various priority thematic issues during the summit, notably youth development, the fight against terrorism, good governance, and integration.

The Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), Mrs. Sidibe Fatouma Kaba, recalled the historic ties between Africa and Europe which explained why both continents were interested to improve the living conditions of their populations within the context of the AU-EU Strategic Partnership. She noted that, in line with the African Union Theme for 2017, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth,” given that 60% of the African population is under the age of 25, the focus of the 5th AU-EU summit was on matters related to enhancing the opportunities for youth and offering concrete answers to the various initiatives and programs aimed at fostering youth development in both continents.

Among the sideline meetings in Abidjan was a NEPAD meeting which highlighted the need to use a multi-spectrum approach in addressing women and youth economic empowerment. NEPAD underlined the role that the private sectors could play in creating job opportunities to address the demand of youth has also been noted. It also emphasized the importance of Public-Private Producer Partnerships to economically empower women and youth.

The Joint AU-EU Ministerial Meeting opened with Foreign Ministers of African and European nations endorsing the draft agendas produced by the Senior Officials for the meeting of Heads of States. This was also attended by AU Commissioners, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, and other high officials from the AU and the EU.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, Ambassador Dr. Kwesi Quartey, said “The African Union (AU) and its Member States strive to create economic opportunities through regional integration, trade facilitation, and provision of an enabling investment environment.” He noted that the geographic proximity and long historical relationship between Europe and Africa could be of great strategic advantage to the joint AU-EU partnership. The 5th AU-EU Summit‘s theme, he said, reinforced the theme of the African Union for the year of 2017 “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investing in youth. He underlined Africa could achieve the goals it had set and benefit from partnerships such as the one with EU by embracing good governance, the rule of law and democracy. The Chair commended the pledge made by EU to mobilize Foreign Direct Investment worth 40 billion euros and the G20 Com­pact with Africa aimed to promote private investment and investment in infrastructure. Using the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), Ambassador Quartey said, “we will focus on four key priority areas of cooperation: Investing in people, Strengthening resilience, Mobilizing investment and Migration and Mobility”.

Ms. Frederica Mogherini told the meeting that the summit would offer a key opportunity to strengthen political and economic ties between the two continents as well as exchange views on investing in youth for a sustainable future. She said the summit would provide a platform for both parties to take stock of the achievements and challenges regarding the implementation of the priority areas stipulated in the joint strategic partnership. She said the Summit would open a new chapter for the growing ties of the two continents, and emphasized it was a good platform where “we could share and react to global and regional agendas.” The Summit was of high importance, she said, coming at a critical and challenging time when multilateralism and multilateral institutions were facing challenges.

The two-day Heads of State and Government Summit opened on Wednesday (November 29). Among those attending were the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres; Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission;  Chairperson of the African Union, Alpha Conde; and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security. Heads of State and Governments from both Africa and Europe included German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn; French President Emannuel Macron; South African President Jacob Zuma; Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy; Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo as well as other leaders.

Libya, and the situation of migrants, was high on the agenda, and the Summit condemned in strongest terms the alleged crimes perpetrated in Libya. The meeting commended an initiative by the AUC Chairperson along with IOM and the Presidential Council and the Government of National Accord of Libya, and the Summit pledged its full support. Leaders committed themselves to work together with the AU, UN, EU, the Libyan government and countries of origin and transit, to find lasting resolution to the issue of African migrants. The meeting underlined that the issue was closely linked to addressing the root causes of the problem and required a political solution to the persistent crisis in Libya.  The Summit stressed the imperative need for coordinated action involving all the stakeholders concerned, especially the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the League of Arab States.

The United Nations Secretary General, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the President of the European Commission, and the EU High Representative met on the margins of the Summit to discuss concrete steps. They agreed to put in place a joint EU-AU-UN Task Force to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and resettlement of those in need of international protection. This will build on, expand and accelerate the ongoing work done by countries of origin, and the IOM. The work of the Task Force will be closely coordinated with the Libyan authorities and be part of the overall joint work that the African Union and the European Union, and the United Nations, will intensify to dismantle traffickers and criminal networks, and to offer opportunities of development and stability to countries of origin and transit, tackling root causes of migration.

The other strategic priorities of the Summit included: Investing in people, through education, science, technology, and skills development; Strengthening Resilience, Peace, Security, and Governance; Migration and mobility and Mobilizing investments for African structural sustainable transformation. This last priority is seen by many as having the potential to transform Africa in the way that the Marshal Plan rebuilt Europe after the Second World War. This Summit is the third to be held in Africa and the first in sub-Saharan Africa. Participants discussed progress made in the implementation of the 2014-2017 action plan adopted at the previous Brussels Summit and the way forward for defining the Africa-EU Joint Strategy in the light of the new issues facing both continents.

The 5th AU-EU Summit kicks off

The 5th AU-EU Summit for the year of 2017 kicked off on Wednesday (11/29/207) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The summit saw the attendance of Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Chairperson of the African Union, Alpha Conde, and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security. Heads of State and Governments from both Africa and Europe Including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, French President Emmanuel Macron, South African president Jacob Zuma, Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo among others attended the summit. The Summit will continue into its second day tomorrow.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has met with Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni and Polish president, Andrzej Duda at the margins of the Summit. Discussion with his Italian counterpart focused on Bilateral diplomatic and technical cooperation. The Revitalization of South Sudan Peace Process was the main point of discussion where both have concurred to the notion that speaking with undivided, one voice and a collective support to the process as a way forward in bringing lasting peace in South Sudan.

The Prime Minister also has conferred with the High Representative of European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini. The two had a fruitful discussion on South Sudan Revitalization Process progress and both expressed their satisfaction on the level where the peace process has reached with its last pre-forum consultation meeting of IGAD Council of Ministers in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire towards the convening of the High-Level Revitalization Forum.

Dr. Workneh Meets with his Lithuanian and Belgian counterparts

Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu met with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Mr. Lina Linkevicius and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Didier Reynders at the sidelines of the Ministerial meeting of the AU-EU Summit 2017 on Tuesday (11/28/2017).

Discussions with the Lithuanian Minister mainly focused on issues including his visit to Lithuania, Political Consultation and Economic Cooperation Agreement and EU/UN multilateral cooperation. Lithuanian side has shown interest to cooperate in Education and ICT, Life science and financial technology. The two sides have agreed on the opening of office of the Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, Dr. Workneh has also met with Denmark’s Development and Trade Minister at the sidelines of the AU-EU meeting. The two sides discussed issues of Migration, Climate and cooperation under EU framework.

The 5th AU-EU Summit kicks off with the meeting of Foreign Ministers

The Foreign Ministers of member countries of the two continental bodies convened today (November 28) to adopt agendas: draft joint AU-EU declaration on the migrant situation in Libya and draft declaration on investing in youth for accelerated inclusive growth and sustainable development and program of work of the Summit.

Dr Workneh Gebeyehu along with his African and European counterparts has attended the meeting. On the occasion he holds talks with Libyan, Belgian, Rwandan, Croatian and EU Foreign Ministers on multilateral and bilateral matters of common interest.

African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have presided over the Session. Ambassador Kwesi Quartey in his remarks noted that Africa could achieve the goals it sets and benefit from partnerships such as the one with EU by embracing good governance, the rule of law and democracy. The Chair also commended the pledge made by EU to mobilize Foreign Direct Investment worth 40 Billion euro’s and the G20 Com­pact with Africa which intends to promote private investment and investment in infrastructure. Using the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) we will focus on four key priority areas of cooperation: Investing in people, Strengthening resilience, Mobilizing investment and Migration and Mobility, Ambassador Kwesi highlighted.

Federica Mogherinion her part noting the Summit to be a historic one which opens new chapter to the growing ties of the two continents said it is a good platform where “we could share and react to global and regional agendas.” Noting the Summit to have come at critical and challenging time where multilateralism and multilateral institutions were facing challenges Mrs Mogherinion said high importance has been attached to the summit.

Impact Assessment of GERD on Downstream Countries Based on Scientific Research: Minister

The assertion that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has no significant impact on downstream countries is based on scientific research, Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister said on 25 November 2017.

When Ethiopia says that GERD has no significant impact on the downstream countries, this is not unempirical pronouncement but a factual statement based on scientific research, Dr. Sileshi Bekele stressed. Briefing journalists, the Minister said the dam will not have significant negative hydrologic simulation, socio-economic, and environmental impacts on downstream countries. Dr. Sileshi recalled the agreement reached by the tripartite countries to integrate any issues of concern by their respective National Technical Committees and submit them to the consultant. This approach has been practiced as per the agreement during the last three rounds.

However, differences have recently appeared as Ethiopia and Sudan strongly stood by the agreement reached earlier to submit the inception report in an integrated way, while Egypt wanted the inception report to be approved as it is, the Minister explained. According to him, the inception reports are ‘supplementary studies’ and not conclusive; but they are helpful in creating understanding about the dam among the tripartite countries.

Responding to the question whether the construction of the dam would be stopped mainly because of Egypt’s current stand, Dr. Sileshi said “the dam is 63 percent completed and it is being constructed around-the-clock. On our part we are constructing the dam according to the schedule, the quality and the standard that the dam of this size requires”, the Minister added.

He pointed out that the dam will have paramount contribution towards eradicating poverty, maintaining economic growth and regional integration. “We have to take this dam as a real opportunity that provides lots of benefits for the three countries. So these additional studies will really articulate on those kinds of dimensions and indicate if there is any significant harm so as to devise a mitigation strategy. But we have carried out relevant and adequate studies on our side which prove that the dam does not bring any significant impact on downstream countries”, the Minister further stated.

In the water filling strategy, Ethiopia has taken into account the drought scenario, mean flow scenario, and high water flow scenarios, which in turn minimize wastage of water and utilization throughout the year, he said. Besides, Egypt and Sudan will be benefitting from the renewable energy to be generated from the dam and this will serve as a water bank for both countries in any occurrences of drought. Sudan annually pays 50 million USD to clear the sands in its reservoir and irrigation dams, Dr. Sileshi noted, adding that GERD will reduce the possible accumulation of silt in the reservoirs and irrigation dams of both countries. “The study underway may bring additional recommendations. If so we will consider them together after they are authenticated by the three countries”, he stated.

The Minister revealed that Ethiopia has so far provided about 150 documents that are related to hydrological simulation and other things in dealing with the other parties in a transparent manner. Dr. Sileshi underscored that hydropower never consumes water and “Ethiopia is always careful in filling the dam, releasing adequate water to downstream countries and retaining reasonable amount of water.”

Towards a renewed partnership with Africa − Conference on 22 November at the European Parliament in Brussels

The conference had three panels of discussion. Each panellist and participants was focusing on the new approaches to the challenges that Africa is facing and strengthening the partnership between the two continents with special focuses on the youth. The three points of discussion were:

– Peace & Security and democracy, good governance and human rights,
– Attracting investments for sustainable and inclusive development and growth and
-Migration, youth and Human development.

Several African political leaders, representatives from the African Union and UN officials, EU Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani, other MEPs, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, and many other leading figures from the private sector and civil society, including Dr Denis Mukwege, Laureate of the 2014 Sakharov Prize, were attending the conference.

EP President Antonio Tajani said that it is time for new and different approach towards Africa. He said that it should be a people-centred partnership with a special focus on youth and job creation.

The conference focused on the dynamic demographic trend that makes Africa the youngest and most populous continent, and the challenges regarding economic growth and job creation, as well as security, migration, climate change and political participation Africa is facing, and the role EU would play to mitigate it through new partnership approach.