Ethiopia Awaits WB Decision on Funding for Irrigation

Ethiopia is awaiting decision by the World Bank this week for the provision of an additional 60 million dollars of funding for an irrigation project in the Nile Basin, an official of the Ministry of Water and Energy said yesterday.

Ethiopia's request for additional funding will be presented to the World Bank on Thursday, 23 June 2011 according to Hayalsew Yilma, programme coordinator of the Ministry of Water and Energy.

Wold Bank has provided 100 million dollars since 2008 to support the Nile Basin Irrigation and Drainage Project, Hayalsew said.

The 60-million-dollar project is intended for the irrigation of 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) of land to help subsistence farmers in north western Ethiopia become sellers of surplus crops. Studies are being conducted on the potential for an additional 97,000 hectares to be irrigated.

Ethiopia aims to increase the amount of irrigated land fivefold to around 10,000 hectares by mid-2015, Hayalsew said. As long as the projects do not cause significant harm to countries downstream, the Bank may approve the funding, he said. According to the Ministry of Water and Energy, about 2.2 million hectares of Ethiopia's 3.7 million hectares of irrigable land is found in the Nile Basin.

Source: Bloomberg

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WB Advances $75 Mln for Infrastructure Development in South Sudan

Trust fund offers grants to 200 entrepreneurs

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors recommended Tuesday that a 75 million dollar trust fund be established to help provide infrastructure, health care and employment for the people of South Sudan.

The trust fund will improve rural access by supporting a project to provide 1,400 km of feeder roads in areas with high agricultural potential. In addition, the trust fund will help create jobs through grants to 200 entrepreneurs, increasing outreach to women entrepreneurs, and building up a micro-finance client base of 30,000 individuals.

The trust fund will also help extend the development gains generated by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund-Southern Sudan (MDTF-SS), administered by the World Bank over the last six years. The MDTF-SS has funded the rehabilitation of roads, built schools, provided bed nets, increased food production, and trained local government officials in key functions, among other things.

The territory voted in a peaceful referendum in January 2011 to separate from Sudan, and is expected to become independent on July 9 this year. The bank’s board has sent its recommendation to the bank’s governors for their approval.

The 75 million dollars will be provided from IBRD funds, and will be made available to South Sudan in the first few months after independence. South Sudan has applied for membership to the World Bank Group, which is working closely with the IMF to ensure that the joint processes can be completed as quickly as possible. Once the new nation attains membership, it will likely become eligible for IDA resources.

Source: World Bank press release

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Ethiopian Cancels Flights Due to Volcanic Ash

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Ethiopian Airlines has temporarily suspended flights to some cities in northern Ethiopia, Khartoum, and Djibouti because of a volcanic eruption at Dubbi, 350 km north of Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, which brought about ash cloud on the southern border of Eritrea.

Local destinations that were suspended because of the ash cloud include Mekele, Gonder, Axum and Bahir Dar. Other airlines like Lufthansa and Fly Dubai have also cancelled flights to Addis Ababa. The Dubbi volcano started erupting early Monday morning.

The eruption has also curtailed U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's two-day visit to Ethiopia. Clinton arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday but left the same day.
Lufthansa said on its website that it had suspended a flight out of Asmara on Monday and another flight into Addis Ababa. It gave no explanation for the cancellations.

Djibouti announced today that it had closed its airspace and the main airport yesterday due to the ash cloud. Airlines in Djibouti delayed their departures, while arrivals were also postponed. 

U.S. officials said they had been informed that Ethiopia was considering shutting down Addis Ababa's international airport as the ash cloud head toward the capital. The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority however has not confirmed such plans.

Satellite images suggested Sudanese airspace could also be affected.

Source: The Reporter, Reuters, Bloomberg

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ASKY Eyeing Long-haul Routes

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Ethiopian Airlines said last week that Lome-based ASKY Airlines, in which it now holds a 40 percent stake, is planning to launch long range flight sercvices,
Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian CEO, said. "Maybe [ASKY] will get a 767 for these new services "We are very close to" formally announcing the start of long-range ASKY operations. ASKY operates three 737-700s and one Bombardier Q400.

ASKY is planning to expand its routes at a time when it is facing stiff competition on routes between Africa and other world regions and foreign airlines such as SkyTeam and Emirates have overcrowded international routes to and from Africa. "Inner-African routes are still better business," Tewolde said.

Ethiopian and future Star Alliance partners Egyptair and South African Airways are considering establishing a carrier in Central Africa, Tewolde said. The carrier can potentially be based in six countries, he said. He said that with its membership in Star, the alliance would become the dominant player in Africa before SkyTeam and Emirates.

Ethiopian is also poised to expand its network by launching another destination in North America when it launches the Addis Ababa-Toronto Pearson flights in December.

At present, it serves Washington Dulles daily from Addis Ababa using a Boeing 777-200LR. Ethiopian Airlines has postponed the launch of Addis Ababa-Damascus service until further notice because of the unrest in Syria.

Ethiopian is expecting the delivery of two new 777 freighters on lease from GECAS by the end of next year. Tewolde noted that 15 percent of Ethiopian's business comes from cargo. He said that modernization of the airline's passenger fleet was proceeding smoothly. Two of 10 new 737NGs [on order] just arrived. Ethiopian has twelve A350s and ten 787s on order. Ethiopian Airlines expects that the first 787 will be delivered in January next year to bring a total of four 787s into service in 2012.

Ethiopian currently operates eleven 767-300s, with eight of the type slated for retirement by 2016. It also operates four777-200LRs, eight 757-200ERs, five 737-700s, five 737-800s and eight Bombardier Q400s.

Source: ATW News

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Indian Company Awarded Railway Design Project

Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA), an Indian contractor, was awarded a 78 million dollar project to design and survey the Mekelle-Djibouti railway line by the Ethiopian government a month ago.

The plan includes the construction of 34km of light railway lines and 2,395km of national railway lines in two development routes.

OIA is also undertaking the construction of Tendaho Sugar Factory with a 350 million dollar loan from the government of India.

After the agreement was signed, the government of India offered a 300 million-dollar loan to support the Ethio-Djibouti Railway project. The agreement and the offer took place during the India-Africa Summit in Addis Ababa last month.

In the course of the summit, Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, promised to supply more funds for the development of railway lines.

The Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway is part of the government's plan to lay down 5,000km of railway lines along seven economically important routes. And sources say that the government is considering another railway to Kenya.

The plan for expanding railway networks is expected to involve 40 to 50 companies engaged in designing and construction of the network. In addition, it will also involve over 20 manufacturers of spare parts and providers of electro-mechanical services as well as metal engineering.

The Ethiopian Railway Corp (ERC) had awarded contracts for the design, survey, and supervision of four railway tracks to 18 contractors in September last year. It had at first approached category three consultants and above for an expression of for the projects, which were divided into smaller lots.

Neither ERC nor OIA was willing to comment.

Source: Fortune

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