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A Week in the Horn(28/09/2017)

 

News in Brief

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn at the UN General Assembly annual debate

Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministries of the Group of 77 and China

UNMISS head briefs UN Security Council on South Sudan

 "The Third Industrial Development Decade" meeting in New York

IMF staff complete Article IV 2017 visit to Ethiopia…

…and a World Bank blog praises Ethiopia's expanding basic services

An IMF team concludes a staff visit to Somalia

More concerns over Eritrean Diaspora tax collection in Europe

Ethiopian coffee exporters at the World Coffee Conference in Tokyo

News in brief

Africa and the African Union

United Nations General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia) closed the UN's 72nd annual general debate on Monday (September 25). During the previous week a number of additional meetings were held on the sidelines of the Assembly. These included: a meeting of African Heads of State and Government to discuss the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa on Thursday (September 21) (See article); the annual meeting of the Foreign ministers of the G77 and China, addressed by UN Secretary-General Guterres on Friday (September 22) (See article).

IGAD, in partnership with the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI), launched the 2017 HESPI Conference on IGAD Economies with the focus on "Youth Unemployment and Creating Opportunities through Trade & Investment" in Khartoum, on  Sunday (September 24). Sudan's Minister of Finance, Magdi Hassan, underlining that investment and trade were key for job creation and economic growth, said the conference was a demonstration of commitment to the issue of youth employment.

Egypt launched a regional initiative to establish two African anti-narcotics centers at the end of last week's five-day National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Cairo last week. One will cover North African countries, Egypt- Libya- Algeria-Tunisia-Morocco-Sudan-Chad-Niger-Mali-Mauritania-Western Sahara, to counter smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea. The other center is for Egypt-Sudan-South Sudan- Eritrea-Djibouti-Somalia-Kenya-Tanzania-Central Africa. The centers will serve as an international anti-narcotics agency by air and land, and will collect and evaluate information to determine the best operating means for counter-narcotics.

Ethiopia

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn led Ethiopia's delegation to the 72nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York last week, participating in the annual general debate and meeting a number of world leaders and attending dozens of bilateral and multilateral meetings as well as participating in fora on Somalia, South Sudan and other issues of major concern to Ethiopia.  He also chaired the UN Security Council open debate on the Reform of UN Peacekeeping. (See article)

Prime Minister Hailemariam met the members of an International Monetary Fund staff team which visited Addis Ababa, September 13- 26, to carry out 2017 Article IV consultation discussions. In its end-of-mission statement the mission said GDP had increased by 9% in 2016/17 and the economy showed strong resilience despite continued weak global prices for Ethiopia's key exports and re- emergence of drought in parts of the country. (See article)

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, held talks last week with Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, on the sideline of the UN General Assembly. They exchanged views on bilateral and regional issues. Dr Workneh noted Ethiopia wanted to boost trade and investment relations between the two countries and strengthen cooperation on regional issues. Ambassador Yamamoto underlined that Ethiopia was a cornerstone for the strengthening of the relation between Africa and the United States.

Dr Workneh held discussions in New York with Kuwait's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, on bilateral and the current Gulf crisis. Kuwait's Foreign Minister said Ethiopia would remain a strong partner for Kuwait in Africa, and he commended Ethiopia's efforts to find a solution for the Gulf crisis.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians across the country celebrated the Meskel festival on Wednesday (September 27), commemorating the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Elleni (Helena) in the 4th century CE. The previous evening, the ceremony of Demera, the burning of the bonfire, took place in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa in the presence of Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and the Supreme Head of the Indian Orthodox Church, and President Dr. Mulatu Teshome.

World Tourism Day was on Wednesday (September 27), and Ethiopia, which launched its new brand ""Ethiopia, Land of Origins" last year, celebrated with a week-long program from Thursday last week to promote domestic tourism, featuring its UNESCO World Heritage sites, which include the obelisks of Aksum, the castles of Gondar, the historic fortified town of Harar Jugol and the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela as well as the Semien National Park. Activities in Addis Ababa, another growing tourist attraction, included visits to sites, the Demera bonfire celebration,  mass city cleaning, and city greening activities as well as honoring the recently deceased "father of Ethiopia's tourism" Habteselassie Tafesse.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Hirut Zemene bade farewell to the outgoing Italian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Giuseppe Mistretta on Friday (September 29). She thanked the Ambassador for his outstanding efforts to elevate the Ethio-Italian relations during his tenure. Mrs. Hirut also emphasized the need to further promote the long-standing bilateral ties between Ethiopia and Italy as well as strengthen cooperation in regional and multilateral fora.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael, met representatives of various US companies in Addis Ababa this week. The delegation, including the Sahel Group, IT Works, Simonite Composite, Terra Planetary Holdings, National Standard Finance and Sun Works, expressed interest to invest in real estate, IT sector, airplane manufacturing, technology-based agriculture, infrastructure financing and solar technology, and said they were ready to establish investment projects.

Ethiopia launched a fifteen-year National Adaptation Plan (NAP-ETH) to address climate change on Monday (September 25). State Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Kare Chawicha, said the cost would be about US$6 billion annually, to be raised from a combination of public, private, domestic and international sources. The plan identifies 18 adaptation options for implementation at all levels and it will provide the adaptation component to support the mitigation element of the country's Climate Resilient Green Economy. 

An Ethiopian delegation, led by Ayana Zewde, State Minister of Trade, took part in the "World Coffee Conference and Exhibition" organized by the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan (SCAJ2017), held in Tokyo, Japan last week (September 20-22) (See article)

World Bank research suggested Ethiopia's prospects for spatially inclusive growth depended on proper and effective urban planning and increased secondary urbanization. This would facilitate structural transformation and the creation of jobs. (See article)

Members of a Thai business delegation visiting this week expressed their interest to invest in Ethiopia after discussions with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations. They said the two countries should strengthen their trade relations and identify whether there was a market in Ethiopia for Thai products such as automobiles, electronics, and food processing.

One of the UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoys, Mr. Jeremy Lefroy, said last week after a visit to Ethiopia that the Ethiopian government had set up a sustainable framework for business investments in infrastructure and cheap power supply. He said Ethiopia was one of the 50 emerging markets identified by the UK and assigned a trade envoy, under a program that began in 2012. Ethiopia was therefore a country with which the UK wants to do much more trade and investment.

The Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute and the Italian Trade Agency signed a cooperation agreement last weekend for the enhancement of textile industry development in Ethiopia. It provides 200,000 Euros of assistance for technology and equipment for local training. Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Mistretta said the Italian government was committed to support Ethiopia's efforts in realizing goals related to textile industry.

The Oromia Regional State announced amnesty for 6,655 prisoners on Monday (September 25) on the occasion of the Ethiopian New Year. This follows amnesties for nearly 6,000 others granted by the administrations of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, the Amhara and the Tigray Regional States.

Djibouti

Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told the UN General Assembly last week that a reformed UN with increased resources must be at the heart of efforts to confront crises threatening the world. He said: "We must mobilize ourselves anew to give new life to multilateralism and emphasize the central place of the UN." This demanded ambitious reforms and additional resources to provide for the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals as well as management reform, and a reformed ‘architecture' enhance the UN's peace and stability missions.

Eritrea

A report "The 2% Tax for Eritreans in the Diaspora – facts, figures and experiences in seven European countries" – commissioned by the Dutch Government, following a request by the Dutch Parliament, was issued last week. It confirmed the use of emotional pressure, intimidation, fear, punishment, and extortion by Eritrean authorities to extract the controversial 2% tax from members of the Eritrean Diaspora in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. (See article)

The Ministry of Energy and Mines and Colluli Mining Share Company on Sunday (September 24) signed an agreement to engage in potash mining operations in the Bada area of the Southern Red Sea Region. The Eritrean National Mining Company (ENAMCO) and the Australia- based Danakali Mining Company jointly owns the Colluli Mining Share Company. The Minister of Energy and Mines, General Sebhat Ephrem and Minister of Finance, Berhane Habtemariam, representing ENAMCO and Seamus Cornelius, Chairman of Danakali signed the agreement.

A senior delegation of the World Council of Churches is in Eritrea this week on a working visit to met leaders of the Eritrean Churches. The delegation underlined that their main objective was to develop common understanding and work for ensuring peace and harmony among peoples.

Kenya

The Director of Public Prosecutions has ordered police and an anti-corruption agency to investigate the country's election commission for alleged "irregularities and illegalities" in August's annulled presidential poll. He said at the weekend that the investigations into the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission must be completed within 21 days. The Supreme Court annulled President Kenyatta's victory because the Commission did not have all the tally forms when they announced the results and because some forms lacked security features such as watermarks, signatures or serial numbers, calling their authenticity into question. A fresh election has been called for October 26.

Somalia

President Mohamed Abdullahi made a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia this week, his third visit since he became president. He met King Salman Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. Discussions covered bilateral affairs, security, trade and the fight against terrorism. The President described the talks as fruitful. Somalia remains neutral over the Gulf crisis, and last week the Federal government rebuked the regional authorities of Puntland, Galmudug and Southwest states for cutting ties with Qatar. The government underlined that foreign affairs was the prerogative of the Federal government.

Prime Minister Khayre met the US Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in Washington on Monday (September 25). They agreed the importance of maintaining pressure on regional terrorist groups through AMISOM and Somali National Forces, as well as political progress in securing lasting stability. Mr. Shanahan also noted U.S. support for the Somali government as it works through the difficult decisions in implementing the national security architecture agreed in May at the London Somalia Conference.

An International Monetary Fund team made a staff visit to discuss recent developments, the progress under the Staff-Monitored Program and the economic outlook for Somalia, last week between September 18 and 22. (See article)

Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Abdirahman Omar Osman ‘Eng. Yarisow', presented an amended media law to the House of the People on Saturday (September 23). The media law was passed in December 2015, but after requests from media practitioners, the government carried out further consultations with the media and with regional state Ministers of Information. The cabinet passed the amended law in July.

A conference between the Federal Finance Minister and Regional State Finance Ministers was held this week in Garowe to discuss unification of tax revenues and other issues. The ministers agreed to harmonize taxes on cigarettes, khat, and international departures as well as strengthen cooperation.

Turkish Army Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar arrived in Mogadishu to attend the opening ceremony of the Turkish-built military training facility for Somali security forces. He was welcomed by the Somali Commander of Defense, General Ahmed Jimale Gedi, Turkey's Ambassador to Somalia, Ambassador Olgan Baker and other senior officials.

AMISOM received 19 Acmat Bastion armored personnel carriers from the US on Monday (September 25). The vehicles were delivered to AMISOM's Ugandan contingent and its Commander Brigadier General Muhanga Kayanja said they would be instrumental in enhancing combat operations and would greatly boost technical and operational capability. The donation came with spare parts and a maintenance team.

A three-day conference to consider the problems of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and plan mitigating measures opened in Mogadishu on Monday (September 25). Sponsored by the United Nations Mine Assistance Mission it aimed to develop counter IED capability in Somalia. The Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson for Somalia, Ambassador Madeira, said a combination of education, training, good reporting, exchange of information, degrading the network of the terrorists and investment in equipment was required to defeat IEDs.

Puntland authorities seized a boat loaded with weapons from Yemen on Saturday (September 21). The shipment included dozens of anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, AK-47 rifles and boxes of ammunition. The vessel had been tracked from Yemen by European maritime forces patrolling off Somalia. 

South Sudan

First Vice President Taban Deng Gai told the United Nations General Assembly last week that South Sudan would redouble its efforts to improve humanitarian access, but hoped the international community would recalibrate development and humanitarian support. He said peace in the country could only be achieved through "home grown" solutions, adding that the national dialogue initiative was making progress.

David Shearer, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) told the UN Security Council on Monday (September 25)  that the warring factions were showing "little interest" in the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement. (See article)

Sudan

President Omar al-Bashir addressing the opening session of the conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Service in Africa (CISSA) in Khartoum this week underlined that Sudan's national security needed the stability of neighboring countries, especially South Sudan, which he hoped would be stabilized soon. The conference aims to boost efforts to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership to combat terrorism and achieve political stability in Africa and those attending include representatives of intelligence agencies from Saudi Arabia, the US and France.

Sudan said it would step up efforts to normalize relations with the United States after Washington dropped the country from a list of countries facing a US travel ban. President Trump removed Sudan from his revised list just days ahead of the decision whether to permanently lift US sanctions on Sudan. The Foreign Ministry described the decision as "a positive development in the two countries' bilateral relations", adding that the government would make more efforts to remove "all obstacles to a full normalization of relations with the American administration."

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Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn at the UN General Assembly annual debate

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn led Ethiopia's delegation to the 72nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York last week, to participate in the annual general debate. During his visit to United Nations, he met with a number of world leaders and attended dozens of bilateral and multilateral meetings as well as participating in fora on Somalia, South Sudan and other issues of major concern to Ethiopia. The Prime Minister also chaired the UN Security Council open debate on the Reform of UN Peacekeeping as Ethiopia held the UN Security Presidency chair for September.

On his return to Addis Ababa at the beginning of the week, Prime Minister Hailemariam told journalists that the week's deliberations had been a success. He said Ethiopia's suggestions and proposals on major elements of the session's agenda and in parallel meetings had been welcomed, and in many cases endorsed. At the UN Security Council, the proposed draft resolution on reform of peacekeeping had been unanimously accepted. Production of nuclear weapons had been condemned and Ethiopia had expressed its concern about the confrontation in the Korean peninsula and the threat this posed to peace. The Prime Minister also noted that Ethiopia had been able to detail its position on climate change at various fora, underlining the problems it faced from drought caused by climate change and the impact of hurricanes and floods that had affected other countries. He said the EU, China, Canada, Australia and others had expressed their strong support and partnership for implementing the Paris Agreement. Ethiopia, the Prime Minister said, had firmly defined and delivered the African stand on climate change.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that Ethiopia had been a major actor in the fora to discuss resolution of the crisis in South Sudan. Ethiopia as chair of IGAD had been playing an important role there and its ideas to enhance peace and stability were welcomed and accepted by IGAD members. He mentioned that partners had extended their support to the Rapid Deployment Force that would largely be composed of troops from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. Ethiopia, he said, had also participated in meetings to discuss ways to extricate Somalia from the terrorist activities of Al-Shabaab. Referring the extension of the mandate for AMISOM, he said he expected that the necessary financial support would be finalized within a short period. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to hold discussions in Africa to finalize this issue shortly.

Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu also underlined that Ethiopia had been successful in its diplomatic discussions and activities in multinational and bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. He said the Ethiopian delegation had held fruitful discussions with the leaders of other states on continental and global issues, challenges and possible solutions. Dr. Workneh said the discussions held at ministerial and leaders' level under Ethiopia's Security Council presidency in Sep and the decisions taken proved the effectiveness of Ethiopia's diplomacy.

Prime Minister Hailemariam spoke to the General Assembly on Friday last week (September 22) in its annual high-level debate. He congratulated Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák on his election and welcomed the appointment of Antonio Guterres as UN Secretary-General, supporting the Secretary-General's call for a surge in diplomacy for peace to address the many crisis situations in the world today. The Prime Minister highlighted the way geo-political tensions reminiscent of the cold war were increasing; that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were posing real threats to global peace and security; and that climate change, terrorism and violent extremism continued to wreak havoc across different parts of the world. He emphasized that climate change was not a fiction but it was "real and we are witnessing its devastating consequences for humankind and the planet." He said firmly: "It is high time to act, and act urgently and decisively, to combat the adverse impacts of climate change, particularly its disproportionate adverse effect on the most vulnerable countries…Now is not the time to doubt the devastating impacts of climate change while millions of our fellow humans are losing their lives and their hard-won development achievements."

The Prime Minister agreed with Secretary-General Guterres insistence that global problems certainly required global solutions. That, he said, was "why commitment to multilateralism and adherence to principles that underpin it have never been as urgent as they are today". That was what made the United Nations and its convening power all the more indispensable in mobilizing the world in support of the cardinal goal of collective security and prosperity. 

The Prime Minister referred to the major peace and security reviews that had recently been carried out and which, if implemented, would allow the United Nations to respond effectively to any new and emerging peace and security challenges in a comprehensive, systematic and coordinated manner. They also underlined that the primacy of politics should be the hallmark of United Nations' approach to the resolution of conflict. Indeed, he said, there was no way of resolving the many conflict and crisis situations around the world except by political means. This was not only true in South Sudan but also in Syria, Yemen and the Korean peninsula. The Prime Minister called on world leaders to reaffirm their commitment to the letter and spirit of Chapter VI of the UN Charter, for peaceful settlement of disputes to provide for an effective response to global peace and security challenges. Indeed, he went on, "without political will and commitment by conflicting parties to find a political solution through dialogue and negotiation, peace is bound to elude us."  Current global security dynamics required a stronger and effective global-regional partnership in the service of conflict prevention and peace. Without this and support from the principles of complementarity and coherence, no meaningful progress could be achieved.

Prime Minister Hailemariam noted Ethiopia's strong belief in the Secretary-General's aspirations to reform the Organization in three interrelated areas, development, peace and security and management. In this context, he expressed his own and Ethiopia's gratitude to all who had participated in the High Level Open Debate of the Security Council on the Reform of UN Peacekeeping Operations, on Wednesday (September 20). As one of the leading troop-contributing countries, Ethiopia attached great importance to strengthening the role of United Nations peacekeeping to address challenges to international peace and security. It welcomed the unanimous adoption of the draft Security Council resolution reaffirming the central role of United Nations peacekeeping as one of the most effective tools available to the World Body in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.

He emphasized that the inter-linkages between peace, security and development had long been recognized. More peaceful and inclusive societies created an environment conducive to sustainable development. In other words "sustainable peace is both an enabler and an outcome of sustainable development." He said 2015 was a seminal year in this regard, when the General Assembly had made a commitment to the transformative 2030 Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals were further reinforced with the adoption of the Paris Climate Accord. While the SDGs had been endorsed with much optimism at the time, the subsequent global situation had scarcely been conducive even to produce reasonably effective implementation. That was a major disappointment for all who had been hoping to see a renewed global partnership in the spirit of the 2030 agenda.

In the case of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Hailemariam stressed, it had certainly started to register encouraging initial results in implementing the 2030 Agenda. He went on: "We have continued to invest in our people to improve their well-being. To achieve structural transformation and diversify our economy, the government is expanding the manufacturing sector and infrastructural facilities that have continued to attract increasing amount of domestic and foreign investment… to finance our ambitious national projects, we are mobilizing domestic resources while maximizing the positive impacts of foreign assistance". Expressing appreciation of the support from bilateral and multilateral partners, he also emphasized that Ethiopia would continue to implement its national strategy of building a green and resilient economy. Indeed, by implementing integrated pro-poor policies, he said, Ethiopia was reducing poverty, enhancing the quality of life, and sustaining rapid and inclusive economic growth. It was, indeed, projected to be the fastest growing economy in the world this year. This was an additional reason to redouble determination and effort to accelerate full implementation of the program of national development in which the SDGs were integrated.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Hailemariam underlined that implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda in countries like Ethiopia did require an enabling international environment to succeed in the fight against poverty. Ending poverty, achieving prosperity for all and preserving the planet was attainable, he said, but poverty and economies that fail to produce employment opportunities were not fertile ground for nurturing peace. Time, he said, was of the essence, and acceleration was necessary to ensure no one was left behind.

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Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministries of the Group of 77 and China

The Group of 77 holds its Annual Meeting of its Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the beginning of the regular session of the General Assembly. The Group of 77 (G-77) was established on 15 June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries, and although it has now expanded to include 134 countries, the original name has been retained. It is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the UN, and it provides the means for the countries of the South to promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on major international economic issues as well as promote South-South cooperation for development. The Republic of Ecuador is chair of the group for 2017.

This year's meeting on Friday (September 22) was addressed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who commended the example the Group set in its ability to cooperate with each other and promote fairness and sustainable development in multilateralism among its members. He noted its coordination and advocacy had played a key role in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Framework and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The UN Secretary-General underlined the "increasingly complex and challenging challenges, - and unprecedented opportunities" facing the world today. He referred to inconsistent development in social and economic areas intensifying inequality and injustice; unsustainable development and interlinked crises. These were challenging multilateralism but they also offered opportunities to show value, by working together, to improve multilateral institutions and strengthen international customs and traditions. He stressed the commitment to prevention, to prevent conflicts, the worst effects of natural disasters, and other man made threats, adding it was necessary to underline the best means of prevention and of sustaining peace was inclusive and sustainable development. Equally, Mr. Guterres said it was also true that inconsistent development, inequality and injustice, discrimination, contribute to conflict. So there was a double value in commitment to development, the value of development in itself, and the value that development provided the best way to avoid other negative impacts on the international community.

He underlined that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provided a clear road map for action but the central problem of how to finance the Sustainable Development Goals remained. All countries, he said, needed to strengthen their own base for mobilizing resources. In addition, the money that goes out of the African continent, for example, through money laundering, tax evasion and illicit financial flows, is much greater than the inflow of official development aid – and no country alone can solve that problem.  Establishing norms and rules to effectively fight tax evasion, money-laundering and illicit financial flows must be a fundamental priority for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The necessity of developing innovative instruments of financing was also clear, to increase the capacity of States to access capital markets and the private sector. This must not provide any pretext to reduce official development aid or withdraw commitments to the Addis Ababa Plan of Action.  It was necessary to "multiply resources and we cannot multiply resources by reducing one of the shares."  There must be an increase in development aid and multiplication of other resources.

The Secretary-General then turned to the reforms being carried out in the UN, "to make the Organization more cohesive, accountable, nimble and impactful." He said one of the main aims was to reposition sustainable development at the centre of its work, and ensure that the entire United Nations system was ready to support Member States in delivering on the 2030 Agenda. He had put forward 38 ideas in June to reposition the United Nations development system and as the dialogue developed he looked forward to working with the Group of 77. He stressed the importance of much more coordination and accountability to Member States in the way UN country teams worked.  He also underlined the need to make sure that every country had a Government plan, a Government budget strategy, and a Government set of instruments for the implementation of Agenda 2030. The role of the UN was to support the implementation of a Government's strategy, and this must be effectively coordinated. This needed strengthened coordination at the top level of the United Nations development system.

The Secretary-General also emphasized the importance of Member State-led reforms for the Organization.  He said, "We strongly support the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council, and the aligning of the work of these two institutions, also with the 2030 Agenda.  These processes, and their consistency and coherence, will be critical to our effectiveness in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and in responding to new and emerging issues."He urged his listeners to continue to engage to make their voices heard. The G77 and China, he said, were central to the implementation of the sustainable Development Goals and the reassertion of multilateralism. They had led the way on South-South cooperation, and shown how partnerships could be used to mobilize resources and knowledge. The UN had a very important role in supporting Member States to develop methods that allow them to be more effective. At the same time, he said, South-South cooperation should not limit North-South cooperation, and the North's full compliance with the provisions of the Addis Ababa Action Plan. We need, he concluded for all areas "growing in order to be able for such an ambitious objective as the 2030 Agenda to be effectively implemented," and he guaranteed the UN's full support: "We look forward to continuing our strong and vibrant relationship to advance our own common commitments, making development a central area of activity of the United Nations."

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UNMISS head briefs UN Security Council on South Sudan

The UN Security Council had a briefing on South Sudan this week, on Tuesday (September 26). David Shearer, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) told the Council that despite initial progress, implementation of the peace accord in South Sudan had been disrupted, and he urged members to speak in one voice in persuading all parties to lay down their arms and return to negotiations. He also called on Council members to help address the world's fastest-growing humanitarian crisis, with some 7.6 million people needing aid, and so far, only 66% of requested funding having been received.

Mr. Shearer said that the situation in the country, approaching the end of the rainy season, was beset by social, economic and humanitarian challenges.  The economic crisis was fuelling public frustration and undermining the Government's capacity to deliver services to its people. Many civil servants had not been paid for months.  Localized conflicts continued. He was

engaging the Government over unresolved issues with UNMISS and looked forward to reaching out to IGAD to meet with Chiefs of Defense Staff from IGAD Regional Protection Force troop contributors and the Government in Juba. Bolstering UNMISS forces with the Regional Protection Force would enable the Mission to focus on protecting civilians.  He said the space for compromise over the 2015 peace agreement was narrow, and the central conflict resolution strategy must be political mediation through the IGAD High-level Revitalization Forum. He said: "The parties have shown little interest in engaging in serious negotiations on the way forward, despite the various initiatives aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict". The Security Council and the wider region were critical to convince the parties to compromise and find peaceful solutions. He urged the international community to show a unity of purpose to support an implementable peace process that could lead to credible elections if only after a period of transition marked by inclusivity and stability. Political mediation through the High-level Revitalization Forum of IGAD must be the central conflict resolution strategy.

Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, briefing the Council via video from Juba, said his Commission remained focused on its mandate to monitor the implementation of the peace agreement. It was also committed to support IGAD's High-Level Revitalization Forum. This, he said, constituted the best path to restore peace and rebuild governance, though the national dialogue could play a complimentary role.  The Commission's six working committees had conducted a full evaluation of the status of the implementation of the peace agreement and prepared a report due to be finalized in early October. He expected it to be published by 6 October. Once finalized and adopted, it would be presented to IGAD and would be the starting point for discussions as part of the revitalization process

Overall, the Commission believed that since implementation of the peace agreement was seriously disrupted in July 2016, little substantial progress had been made in the implementation of key provisions. Fundamental to the report, he said, was the irrefutable fact that a permanent ceasefire continued to be violated by all parties, with impunity.  The Commission was greatly disappointed that after two years, there were several transitional institutions and mechanisms not yet established and there had not been progress in the Constitution-making process. He said there must be an immediate ceasefire and an end to all forms of violence. There was a fundamental need for the demonstration of political will by the parties to the conflict to undertake the implementation of the agreement.  All obstructions to the delivery of humanitarian aid must be removed.  Mr. Mogae said the Security Council, in collaboration with IGAD, the African Union and international partners should put in place mechanisms to force compliance.  The IGAD Revitalization Forum constituted the best path to restore peace and rebuild governance in South Sudan, while national dialogue could play a complimentary role if it was implemented credibly and inclusively.

Council members underlined that success would require all parties to demonstrate the political will necessary to achieve peace. A lasting settlement to the crisis could only be political and achieved with regional support. Council members urged all sides to the conflict to end the violence and return to talks. Some also stressed the need to alleviate the suffering of the people and hold human rights violators and spoilers of peace to account. Speakers underlined that the national dialogue must be inclusive, and equally the international community must speak with one voice. There was support for IGAD-led efforts on the High-level Revitalization Forum and welcomed for the African Union Peace and Security Council's communiqué last week indicating IGAD's efforts represented a "last chance for the parties to really achieve peace and stability". Council members called on South Sudan and troop contributing countries to facilitate making the regional protection force operationally ready. As the crisis was regional in nature, it was up to IGAD to lead reconciliation efforts.

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"The Third Industrial Development Decade" meeting in New York

African Heads of State and Government along with the United Nations and representatives of international finance institutions and the private sector met to discuss the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa. This key event was held on Thursday (September 21) on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly under the theme: "From political commitment to actions on the ground". The 71st session of the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/70/293 in July last year, proclaimed the period 2016-2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III). The vision for this is to firmly anchor Africa on the path towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

Since 2000 Africa has registered significant economic growth, largely driven by a prolonged commodity boom and development assistance. However, the biggest challenge that many African countries still face is that all members of society do not share the benefits of economic growth. The continent is still marked by substantial poverty, significant levels of food insecurity, hunger and massive unemployment. This is largely attributed to lack of industrial development and there is general agreement that many countries still need to change the structure of their economy, substantially increasing the share of industry, and particularly the manufacturing sector, in national investment, national output, and trade. This is reflected in the African Union's Agenda 2063 and in the economic growth strategies of most African nations. 

This year's General Assembly Session is therefore aiming to outline and endorse the framework and roadmap for the implementation of IDDA III. Opening last week's high-level event on IDDA III, the President of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, underlined the growth witnessed in Africa since the early 2000s: "We all have to acknowledge a simple fact: Africa is growing, and this growth presents great opportunity. It could lead to the eradication of poverty and an improvement in livelihoods". But, for this to happen, he cautioned that African leaders must make sure that this growth was both inclusive and sustainable, adding, "Industrialization has the potential to drive this kind of growth".

Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Li Yong emphasized that it was high time to move the IDDA III agenda steadily forward in order to foster inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Africa. He said the presence of high-level participants from public and private sectors, development financial institutions, the UN system and bilateral and multilateral institutions confirmed Africa's industrialization was of global importance". UNIDO, tasked with leading the implementation of IDDA III, is proposing to implement a new innovative approach to bring about the necessary structural transformation. This is based on a country-owned model known as the Program for Country Partnership (PCP). It is designed to leverage financial and non-financial resources, promote regional integration and mobilize co-operation among Africa's development partners.

UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, noted that 16 African countries were among the world's 30 fastest growing nations. The 10 fastest growing African economies posted GDP growth rates exceeding 5 per cent in 2016. However, she warned: "continued commodity dependence, coupled with fluctuations in commodity prices, makes African economies vulnerable and hampers their ability to create decent jobs and effectively tackle poverty". She therefore urged all partner institutions to use their influence and expertise to promote industrialization and inclusive and sustainable development that would benefit all the nations and peoples of Africa. The African Union's Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga expressed his hope that resources mobilized under the Third Industrial Development Decade would be deployed in a manner to benefit ordinary Africans at the grassroots level through decent employment, and access to high-quality, as well as safe, affordable and home-made, manufactured goods.

African leaders also reiterated the importance of industrialization to eradicate poverty and to ensure that Africa's fast-growing population yielded its demographic dividend. Among those speaking, Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn stressed: "The lack of skills is the major problem in Africa. With an integrated industrial strategy, African states will hopefully mobilize funds, build the capacity of local employment and promote small, medium enterprises with domestic development projects"; the President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, said, "My government is proud to be associated with this event and values the role played by organizations such as UNIDO and other government partners which seek to work closely with Africa to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the continent;" and the Vice-President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, emphasized his government's full support for the initiative and urged development partners to ensure the realization of the goal to industrialize Africa by the year 2030, the same timeframe for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa meeting ended with the adoption of a joint communiqué agreed by participants, UNIDO, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Office of the UN Special Advisor on Africa, acknowledging that implementation of the ambitious goals of the Decade would require substantial mobilization and deployment of a significant amount of resources.

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IMF staff complete Article IV 2017 visit to Ethiopia…

An International Monetary Fund staff team led by Julio Escolano visited Addis Ababa from September 13-26 to carry out 2017 Article IV consultation discussions. The mission held substantive technical and policy discussions with the governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, Teklewold Atnafu, with Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Abraham Tekeste, and with officials of ministries and government agencies, representatives of public enterprises and the private sector, and development partners. It also presented its key findings and recommendations to Prime Minister Hailemariam. On the basis of the preliminary findings of the mission, a report will be produced that will be presented to the IMF Executive Board. The Board is expected to discuss the report in November.

In its end-of-mission statement, Mr. Escolano noted that real gross domestic product was estimated to have increased by 9% in the fiscal year, 2016/17; that the Ethiopian economy showed strong resilience in 2016/17 despite continued weak global prices for Ethiopia's key exports and re- emergence of drought in parts of the country; and government intervention to mitigate the social impact of the drought in collaboration with development partners was both timely and effective. He also noted prudent budget execution led to a lower-than-planned fiscal deficit, estimated at 2.5% of GDP, and determined action by the authorities to contain external imbalances led to a narrowing of the current account deficit. This also restrained debt accumulation. Equally, exports continued to stagnate due to weak global commodity markets and to delays in completion of key related projects.

The IMF team said medium-term growth prospects were favorable. The prospects would be buttressed by strong private investment, the completion of key supporting infrastructure projects, and rising productivity as export-oriented industries began to develop effectively. However, in the short term, the current account deficit would remain high and indebtedness and associated risks increase. Indeed, until the past investments in infrastructure and logistics pay off and exports take off, the country's macroeconomic and financial policies should aim to reduce external imbalances and liabilities.

To achieve this rebalancing, the tight and appropriate budgetary stance announced by the government should be combined with additional restraint in public investment projects, particularly those with a high borrowing component. The IMF team noted that social needs remained large, and it supported the government's determination to protect pro-poor spending programs. Ongoing efforts to strengthen collection of domestic revenue and the governance of public enterprises should be stepped-up to mobilize domestic resources and encourage effective use. In addition, more extensive use of public-private partnerships, private concessions, and privatization proceeds, in line with the authorities' policies, will safeguard public resources while helping private sector development. To complement the restrictive fiscal stance, monetary policy should also be tightened. The staff team welcomed the progress in financial development and inclusion, as evidenced by the significant increase in the number of bank branches and deposits.

Three other suggestions were to carry out reforms to improve the business climate to build up positive investor sentiment towards Ethiopia; provide a more flexible exchange rate to help competitiveness; and expand and improve economic statistics to support government policymaking and enhance investor confidence.

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…and a World Bank blog praises Ethiopia's expanding basic services

The World Bank Board approved the Country Partnership Framework for Ethiopia for the next five years in June. One of the elements in this was a "spatial lens" for development activities. Members of World Bank blog dedicated to shed light on the economic challenges and prosperities facing Africa have just published a three part series - "What Studies in Spatial Development Show in Ethiopia". This presented a number of key findings as well as some broad overarching policy solutions.

Noting Ethiopia's fast-growing economy and the double-digit growth over the past decade which drastically reduced poverty from 55.3 to 33.5% of the population between 2000 and 2011, the authors underlined that the country also has one of the world's lowest rates of inequality, with a Gini coefficient of 0.3, despite its population of about 100 million. Looking at wealth disparity, the study revealed that expansion of basic services in all areas has been achieved, helping to bridge development gaps and make significant progress in terms of poverty reduction, with regions with the highest poverty rates seeing more rapid progress. Equally, geo-mapping exercises pointed to the existence of both inter- and intra-regional disparities in poverty and human welfare indicators. Despite the large infrastructure investment undertaken by the government in the past ten years, accessibility by road to rural areas remained low.  In addition, although urbanization outside Addis Ababa was ongoing and urban poverty had been significantly reduced since 2012, secondary cities haven't grown in keeping with Addis Ababa, the largest urban center of the country.

The study found that the significant increase in GDP witnessed by Ethiopia was primarily due to the growth in agriculture in rural areas and in the service sector. It pointed out that the push for developing the manufacturing sector was relatively recent and this might explain the figures for secondary city growth.  It suggested secondary cities were witnessing growth in the service sector, not in the industrial or manufacturing sectors, and this didn't result in any significant changes in the number or density of light visible at night. The World Bank analyses urbanization on the basis of the pattern of night light visibility over a given period.

 

Given these findings and their visualization of spatial development, the authors suggested some overarching policy solutions. One recommendation was to modernize agricultural inputs, improving access and utilization, increasing the capacity of agricultural extension workers, and strengthening smallholder agriculture and developing related areas. This would be in tandem with the second Growth and Transformation Plan already providing a large role for the manufacturing sector and allowing for the possibility of structural change. Given the continuous effect of connectivity on employment, showing that well-connected rural woredas performed better economically, the authors also highlight the importance of increasing road density to promote spatially inclusive growth. They underline that the national roads network in Ethiopia quadrupled in size from 1997 to 2015. With decentralized services in Ethiopia resulting in stronger citizen engagement and improvements in health and education, this underlined the need to further strengthen institutions that enable markets to function and businesses to flourish.

The authors' conclusions are that Ethiopia's prospects for spatially inclusive growth depend significantly on urban planning and urbanization. This, they say, is a process that facilitates structural transformation and the creation of high productivity jobs. This also underlines that integrated planning is essential to ensure urbanization properly and effectively managed.

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An IMF team concludes a staff visit to Somalia
An International Monetary Fund team made a staff visit to discuss recent developments, the progress under the Staff-Monitored Program and the economic outlook for Somalia, last week between September 18 and 22. The team met with Finance Minister, Abdirahman Beileh; the Governor of the Central Bank, Bashir Issa Ali; the Permanent Secretary at the Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development and other officials as well as representatives of bilateral and multilateral donors. The team welcomed the authorities' continued commitments to policy and reform implementation despite the challenges. It recommended stronger efforts to improve fiscal discipline, raise domestic revenue, and avoid new domestic arrears in order to keep the Staff-Monitored Program on track. It also encouraged the Central Bank of Somalia to keep up the momentum in order to ensure credible currency reform.

In an End-of-Mission press release, the head of the IMF team, Mohamad H. Elhage, said Somalia was marking important milestones on reform and policy implementation, particularly under the Staff-Monitored Program. Since 2015, Somalia has concluded two Article IV consultations with the IMF, and in May last year it entered into a year-long Staff-Monitoring Program to help economic reconstruction and establish a track record of policy and reform implementation. The IMF said that given the "broadly satisfactory performance" of this program, at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia it had approved a new program to cover May 2017 to MP April 2018.
The press statement said that this second Staff-Monitored Program came at an important time. Despite recent advances on reform and policy implementation, the development challenges facing the country remained daunting. The country's economic and social infrastructures were still significantly underdeveloped, its institutions weak, and poverty remained widespread. The drought compounded the situation. It had taken a toll on economic activity in 2017, particularly in remote areas, although sustained international support was helping ease the humanitarian crisis. This was offsetting steady recovery in the service sector, including telecommunication and transportation. The security situation remained fragile and was aggravated by high youth unemployment.

It said the government's fiscal position was weak, partly because of serious shortfalls in fiscal management, a poor tax collection system, and a heavy external debt burden. There was no capacity to repay. It described the Central Bank and the financial sector as nascent. Widespread counterfeiting had diminished confidence in the national currency. Consistent reform implementation under this SMP and subsequent ones will help strengthen institutions and economic policies, paving the way for eventual future debt relief. The result was that growth and inflation for 2017 were projected to remain at 2.4% and 2.9%, respectively. During the first half of this year, the fiscal position weakened. Lower-than-expected domestic revenue and expenditure pressures resulted in a fiscal deficit in June.
The IMF recommended a number of measures to improve fiscal discipline and fiscal performance and ensure credible currency reform in order to keep the Staff-Monitoring Program on track. It said that in order to improve budgetary action, it was important that any increased expenditure should be fully covered by realistic revenue projections or confirmed grants, that the authorities quickly implement all the revenue measures outlined in the budget and any additional fiscal measures necessary to keep the program on track; and that the Federal Government keeps up with its payment obligations.
The IMF also suggested that the government should rapidly implement the revenue measures that had been outlined in the budget, particularly a sales tax for telecommunications and hotels. It said stronger political commitment was required to avoid accumulation of new domestic arrears, and in this context it welcomed the initiative work with the IMF to implement an Arrears Management Plan. In terms of currency reform, the IMF staff welcomed the progress made by the Central Bank of Somalia on implementation under the roadmap for currency reform. The IMF said the authorities and the mission had agreed on a number of follow up measures to be implemented to fully complete the remaining benchmarks for a credible currency reform.

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More concerns over Eritrean Diaspora tax collection in Europe

A new report issued last week has confirmed the use of emotional pressure, intimidation, fear, punishment, and extortion by Eritrean authorities to extract the controversial 2% tax from members of the Eritrean Diaspora in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. The report - "The 2% Tax for Eritreans in the Diaspora – facts, figures and experiences in seven European countries" was commissioned by the Dutch Government, following a request by the Dutch Parliament.  The report was produced by an Amsterdam research organization, DSP-groep, in cooperation with European External Policy Advisors in Brussels and Tilburg University's School of Humanities, Department of Culture Studies.

The main purpose of the report was to investigate the methods of collecting the "Recovery and Rehabilitation Tax", the 2% Diaspora Tax, and related issues concerning integration of Eritreans in the Netherlands as well as six other countries: Italy, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and the UK.  The report used interviews and questionnaires as well as consulting dozens of international experts and looking at the available literature. It notes that Eritrean embassies in the relevant countries refused to respond to queries. The response to a Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs questionnaire addressed to the Eritrean Embassy in the Netherlands was that Eritrea had provided detailed information on the tax many times. The new questions were "a provocation", and were described as typical of the hostility and lack of respect for Eritrea displayed by the Dutch parliament and the Dutch government.

The report was not impressed by the collection methods for the Diaspora tax, and its findings fully confirmed numerous earlier reports of coercion, threats and fear that accompany the collection. It emphasized that the legal status of the tax was unclear as Eritrea had no constitution and lacked a legitimate legislature. It underlined that the levying of the tax appeared arbitrary. It found no clarity over who might be taxable, what income levels attracted payment, how collection was controlled, the aims of the collection or the consequences of non-payment. It also noted that the lack of transparency meant it was impossible to establish whether or not the funds were not being used in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions 1907 and 2023.

UN Security Council resolution 2023 (2011) demanded Eritrea stop the collection of the Diaspora tax and called on UN member states to hold accountable all who were guilty of the use of coercion and other illegal means of collection.  Subsequently, the UN Monitoring Group found that the tax was regularly taking place "under the radar" and through the organisation of cultural events where the tax was being collected through societal and other pressures. It was then being sent as cash to Eritrea via intermediaries.

The report went into detail about those involved in the collection of the tax, including Eritrean embassies and consulates. It identified the local heads of Eritrea's single ruling party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice, as those really in charge in Eritrean embassies and noted they were not usually diplomats. It also concluded that decisions taken locally about who might be taxable and the amounts involved were arbitrary.

Overall, in fact, it says the tax appeared to be in violation of a number of key legal principles including discrimination, favoritism, self-incrimination and punishment by association. The report was also clear that the tax collection amounted to significantly more than this: "The 2% Tax is collected as a critical part of a system of surveillance, with specific references to coercion in view of mental and social pressure, extortion, intimidation, fraud and/or blackmail. The specific organization and modalities relate specifically to the Diaspora, but also involves family members by association

The report made it clear that while payment of the tax was generally enforced through the refusal of services, especially consular services and other methods, the process could vary according to the countries concerned. It concluded the threats and pressure exerted on people were directly proportional to the influence of the Eritrean Government in the Eritrean community in a country. In Belgium or the Netherlands, for example, where the Eritrean Government influence was relatively low, the consequences of not paying the tax normally involved denial of official documentation from the embassy, birth certificates, school diplomas and normal consular services. However, in Germany, Italy or Sweden, where the Eritrean Government had stronger influence on communities, severe extortion was involved and could have serious consequences, varying from social exclusion to blackmail and to serious punishments for individuals or the family back in Eritrea.

The report concluded that forms of coercion, including refusal of consular services, generally accompanied levying of the tax. This provided the Eritrean authorities a means of control over the Eritrean Diaspora in all the countries that were studied. At a minimum, those that did not pay risked social exclusion and isolation. In this context, the report also pointed out that when people were pressured to give up part of their financial means, they could sink below minimum levels of subsistence, affecting their ability to integrate into Dutch society. The Dutch government described it all as "unacceptable" and also noted it added to the integration difficulties of the Eritrean Diaspora in the Netherlands.

The report noted the negative effects on the integration of Eritreans in the Netherlands, and in its covering letter to the Dutch Parliament, which requested the report, the government said the report confirmed earlier analysis that the collection of the Diaspora tax in the Netherlands had been taking place in a non-transparent, and therefore undesirable, manner. The letter pointed out that the government had already taken some measures in response to this. A ministerial decree of October 2016 had prohibited the collection of the tax when this was "accompanied by fraud, coercion, extortion and other criminal offenses". This allowed for the prosecution of people involved in such means of collection. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had called in Eritrean Embassy officials in August 2016 and in April 2017 to issue warnings and spoken on other occasions at senior official level.

The Government said it now planned to distribute the report to the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, to the Commission of the African Union, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Eritrea. It would also raise the issue of collection of the Diaspora tax in connection with European-Eritrean relations. It also noted that where there was firm evidence of intimidation and unlawful coercion, diplomatic measures would not be ruled out. The government would also continue to discourage the participation of high-level Eritrean officials at ‘cultural' or other Diaspora events in the Netherlands.

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Ethiopian coffee exporters at the World Coffee Conference in Tokyo

An Ethiopian delegation, led by Ayana Zewde, State Minister of Trade, took part in the "World Coffee Conference and Exhibition" organized by the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan (SCAJ2017), held in Tokyo, Japan last week (September 20-22). Over twenty Ethiopian coffee exporting companies participated in the event, and the Ministry of Trade and the Ethiopian Embassy in Japan held an Ethiopian Coffee Seminar on the sidelines of the conference. The conference is the largest event of its kind in Asia.

Ambassador Cham Ugala Uriat, Ambassador and Extraordinary Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia welcomed participants who included both Ethiopian and Japanese Coffee Industry partners to the seminar. He noted that Ethiopian coffee was well known to Japanese consumers and demand was been increasing and underlined the advantage of using the market opportunity of the Conference to maximize by production and maintain quality. Although Ethiopia ranked first in Africa in coffee production, and was well known for its high quality green Arabica coffee, its share of exports to the Japanese market had not shown any significant improvement.

Ayana Zewde, State Minister of Trade, noted Ethiopia was implementing substantial developments in cultivation, processing and trading of coffee. These were in line with Ethiopia's aim to become the second largest grower of Arabica coffee by 2025, next to Brazil. He said these changes would mean coffee production would become much more market driven. They were devised as appropriate response to some of the concerns raised in recent years by coffee exporters and foreign partners, as well as the local coffee grower community in Ethiopia. The State Minister also called up on the Japanese business community to seize the opportunity and benefit from the potential advantages extended by Ethiopia.

The State Minister also met with relevant government officials and private company representatives and had a fruitful bilateral discussion on how to expand and strengthen the business ties between the two countries. Ethiopian exporters who participated in the conference and exhibition had a chance to meet and form a market network to strengthen the already existing coffee business links as well as establish new coffee market partnerships to increase the exports of Ethiopian coffee to Japan.