[Junior AJA- Ethiopia Report] Ethiopia Uses Sesame Seeds to Repay Loans on Chinese-built Infrastructure

Below is a round-up of recent news in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Uses Sesame Seeds to Repay Loans on Chinese-built Infrastructure

Economic development in Ethiopia relies heavily on the development of closer economic links between Ethiopia and China. This is because, for Ethiopia, Chinese ties have meant an increase in Chinese manufacturing imports, and access to finance and new infrastructure. Just taking a glance over this year’s news reports, in January, the China Development Bank provided a $25m loan to finance agricultural enterprises; in May, the Export-Import Bank of China agreed to provide $3.3bn to build a railway from Ethiopia to Negad port in Djibouti.

In return, Ethiopia has effectively been using sesame seeds to repay Chinese loans. Foreign currency earned by selling sesame is passed over to the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and used to secure and repay loans provided by China, according to Deborah Bräutigam, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. The relationship is likely to have started in 2005-06 due to a shortage of sesame seeds in China and a favourable tariff policy (set by China) kickstarted the rise in Ethiopian exports, which are regulated largely by the state-owned Ethiopian commodities exchange.

Eastern promise … the Chinese-built African Union building is a visible symbol of Ethiopia-China relations. (Photo: Jacoline Prinsloo/GCIS/EPA)

In less than a decade, Ethiopia has jumped from being a minor producer of sesame (38,000 tonnes in 2002, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) to the largest producer in Africa and fourth largest in the world (320,000 tonnes in 2011, according to the most recent data available). During the same period, China has switched from being a net exporter to a net importer, providing the main destination for Ethiopia’s sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds perhaps rank among the lesser known of China’s growing food imports, lacking the headline-grabbing attention of Brazilian soy beans. Black sesame paste, eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner, is a popular snack among many southern Chinese people. It is made by mixing roast and ground sesame seeds with sesame oil; a sweeter version can be made by adding sugar or honey. Its use as a popular baking ingredient aside, sesame seed can be used as an oil or a high-protein feed for poultry.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/jul/10/ethiopia-sesame-seed-trade-china

Japan continues to Assist Ethiopian Development

In an annual Ethio-Japan bilateral policy meeting held in Addis Ababa, it was revealed that the Japanese government has been assisting Ethiopian development in wide range strategies.

The 11th bilateral meeting between the two friendly countries focuses on strategies that were outlined in the 5th TICAD meeting. The news reminded that the meeting was following the 5th TICAD meeting hosted in Tokyo this year in which the Japanese government announced to offer 32 billion US dollar to be disbursed over the coming five years in sectors such as trade, private sector investment, infrastructure, agriculture, food security, environment protection, education, water and sanitation in the African continent.

Following this, Ethiopia is designing and preparing various development projects to benefit from this 32 USD billion, said Ahmed Shide, state minister of Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. According to the report, currently Japan is offering 100 million dollars of economic assistance to Ethiopia per annum and is also helping it in drawing the industrial development experience of the Far East. Japanese investment in the road sector in Ethiopia is second biggest next to China.

Japanese Ambassador to Addis Ababa said Japan considers Ethiopia as a vital partner in the continent and the assistance intends to achieve food security and industrialization.

Read more: http://www.ertagov.com/news/index.php/component/k2/item/1104-japan-continues-to-assist-ethiopian-development

Russian Helicopter Crashes in Ethiopia

A Russian helicopter en route to South Sudan from Djibouti which was scheduled to land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Capital, to refuel, but crashed in Debrezeyt some 45kms south of Addis Ababa on the 1st of August 2013.

There had been four people, including two pilots on board, who were injured, but no one killed according to civil aviation officials of Ethiopia.

The helicopter had been contracted to join operations as part of the UN’s Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), but World Food Program (WFP) spokeswoman, Stephanie Savariaud told Sudan Tribune that WFP did not consider the helicopter to be flying under a UN mandate as it had not yet reached its contracted area of operation.

“The helicopter was not under the authority of UN humanitarian air transit. It was on a positioning flight,” she said, adding that only the Russian company’s crew members were on board at the time of the incident.

Read more: http://allafrica.com/stories/201308021066.html

By Maadin Sahleselassie

Leave a Reply