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Leaders Start Negotiation for Free Trade Area

Ethiopia to be part of the free trade zone

African trade officials met this week in Johannesburg to launch negotiations for a free trade area (FTA) which would embrace more than 26 countries, and about a trillion dollars of economic output.

The proposed deal would unite three existing trade blocs in central, eastern and southern Africa. It is believed that the free trade area will do away with most trade barriers between participating countries. African leaders said that the Free Trade Area (FTA) would be practical within three years.

Two of the blocs, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC), have already been enjoying tariff- and quota-free trade.

In the mean time, the third bloc, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), only has levies on 15 percent of goods and should be removing those by January.

When the negotiations are concluded, the enlarged FTA would include Ethiopia, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Commerce within Africa is limited with not more than 10 percent of the continent's trade being conducted between African countries, while the balance goes overseas.
After its formation is complete, the free trade area will be hopefully open to regions throughout the whole continent, Diouf of the African Agency for Trade and Development said.

Source: Christian Science Monitor, Reuters

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Amibara to Spray Anti-Pesticide on 80,000 ha Farmland in Ethiopia

Company plans to purchase an aircraft

Amibara General Aviation services announced that it was poised to spray anti-pesticide chemicals on 70,000 to 80,000 hectares of farmland for the summer season, Biniam Hirabo, aviation director, said yesterday.

Biniam said that the company would buy one more chemical spray aircraft for 450,000 dollars in addition to the five it bought three years back to reinforce its services.

Amibara General Aviation services, a subsidiary of Amibara Agricultural Development Plc, took over chemical spray service from Ethiopian Airlines a few years back. The company provides the same service to Sudan and is planning to expand it to other countries in East Africa, the director said.

Biniam said that the company was planning to start other services such as fighting wild fire and aerial photography.

Source: Walta Information Centre

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Ethiopian Airlines Resumes Flights to Djibouti

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Ethiopian Airlines said that it started again flights to neighbouring Djibouti which had been temporarily suspended because of ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Eritrea. The ash cloud has cleared. 

Flights to some cities in northern Ethiopia like Mekele, Gonder, Axum and Bahir Dar, and Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, remain suspended, the airlines said today.
The volcanic eruption which caused the temporary suspension of flights to destinations in northern Ethiopia occurred early Monday morning at Dubbi, 350 km north of Asmara, the capital of Eritrea.

Ethiopian Airlines had to cancel flights as reported here due to the volcanic ash.

Source: Bloomberg

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South Ethiopia Earns 71.6 Mln Birr from Tourism

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Culture and Tourism Bureau of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's State said it had collected over 71.6 million birr income from tourism.

Mikias Israel, deputy head of the bureau said yesterday that the 71.6 million birr was obtained from 403,470 local and 72, 537 foreign tourists who visited attraction sites in the region over the last nine months.

Mikias said the amount of the income obtained and the number of tourists who visited the region over the last nine months had increased by 56 percent and 45 percent respectively, in comparison with the same period the previous year.

Expansion of infrastructures such as road, telecommunications, electricity and tourists' facilities as well as extensive promotion made by the bureau contributed to the income and increase in number of tourists, he said.

The region is rich with sites of natural and historical attraction like crocodile ranches, hot springs, caves and waterfalls among others and Mikias said the Bureau was doing its best to exploit these.

Source: Walta Information Centre

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Tourist Facilities to Be Classified Anew

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said Tuesday that it had finalized preparations to apply a new classification for tourist facilities.

Manpower, quality of utensils, interior and exterior scenery, and care for customers' security are among the classifying criteria, Tadelech Dalecho, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, said. And it will be revised at the interval of three years.

Tadelech said that the former classification had to be changed for it was no longer compatible with international standards. She said new classification would be given to hotels from one to five stars level, including deluxe, restaurants, lodges and pensions from 13 June 2011 onwards. Implementation of the new classification will start throughout the country before the current fiscal year ends in collaboration with regional bureaus of tourism, Tadelech said.

She called upon tourist facilities to provide all relevant information to pertinent bodies.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

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