Sunday, November 25, 2012

Barriers for Kenyan firms to invest in Ethiopia removed

NAIROBI; KENYA: Ethiopia has reviewed its foreign policy with the Kenya to include trade between the two economies.
Previously, the relationship focused on politics and security leaving out trade — which is a key component in economic development.
Visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday said his government had signed up a special status agreement with Kenya as commitment to ease trade between the two countries.
“Our relationship with Kenya was purely based on politics and security matters at the exclusion of trade, which is a key component of our economies,” Desalegn noted.
“The reforms we are championing will address various bottlenecks to allow private sector easily invest in the two countries and improve on the bi-lateral trade,” he said, while calling on Kenyan government to also re-work its investment policies to encourage Ethiopian investors.
Ethiopia is looking to tap into hospitality, manufacturing, input, metal and engineering sectors to grow its economy, which has been on an upward growth of 11 per cent over the last nine years.
Last year, Kenya’s exports to Ethiopia stood at $56.4 million while imports from Ethiopia were worth $4.3 million. Kenya’s Foreign Minister Prof Sam Ongeri said the agreement is expected to see local institutions venture into Ethiopia.
“The agreement is critical because it facilitates Kenyan investors to access the over 130 million people within the two countries to grow their businesses,” Ongeri said.

“The special status agreement will provide a framework for engagement with bilateral investors particularly in the development of areas such as agri-processing, financial services, distributive trade, science technology and innovation, and the higher education,” Ongeri said.
State banks
However, even as they inked the deal, the Ethiopia Prime Minister let out what will keep some sections of the private sector waiting before planning any expansions in the region’s most populous nation.
Specifically, local banks seeking to expand to other countries in the region might have to wait a little longer before venturing into Ethiopia.
Ethiopia runs several State banks offering affordable credit against no collateral at all – necessarily making the business of lending unattractive to private banks.
According to Desalegn, this position is not about to change. “Africa has lagged behind in development by allowing private sector to dominate its financial services. They often restrict access to credit through unrealistic procedures,” he said.
 “The policy of State banks offering loans at no collateral with borrowers only footing certain percentage of credit makes it difficult for private financial institutional to operate,” he acknowledged.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Security tops agenda as Ethiopia PM visits Kenya Capital News »

Kenya is among the first countries that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has visited since his inauguration two months ago/MIKE KARIUKI
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – The men in black keep their eyes peeled for any suspicious activity.
The safety of not one but two regional leaders lies in their hands.
It has not been the most secure of times in the East Africa region and it is to this that President Kibaki and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn directed their statements Wednesday at State House.
“During our discussions, we also reaffirmed our commitment to work closely in addressing challenges to security and peace in the region and especially in tackling terrorism, piracy, human trafficking and other organised crimes,” President Kibaki said.
Kenya is among the first countries that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has visited since his inauguration two months ago taking over from the late Meles Zenawi who had been in office for 21 years.
Desalegn had served as Zenawi’s Deputy Prime Minister.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister shared President Kibaki’s sentiments saying, “Kenya and Ethiopia can lead the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] region. Joining hands so that we can secure peace and stability in this sub-region which all of you know is a troublesome area.”
Both leaders agreed that the Kenyan led military incursion into Somalia was an important step in securing the region.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel where Somali is now being stabilised by the joint effort of Ethiopia and Kenya along with our brothers from the region,” Desalegn continued.
President Kibaki was also optimistic that the appointment of a Prime Minister and Cabinet in Somalia last month, would bode well for the region.
“We welcomed the election of a new government in Somalia as an important step towards the realisation of peace and stability in the country.”
Prime Minister Desalegn acknowledged Kenya’s role in restoring order to the former Al Shabaab strong hold Somalia.
“We thank the government and people of Kenya for sacrificing their beloved children in Somalia for the peace and stability in that country.”
In the face of increased terror activity in the country; the bombing of a mini-bus in Eastleigh Sunday and the shooting of three soldiers in Garissa Monday, the statesmen’s statements come as no surprise.
President Kibaki also expressed concern over the hostile relations between Sudan and the newly independent South Sudan.
“We exchanged views on the recent conflict between these two countries. We underscored the need for these neighbours to stay the course of the agreements signed following recent negotiations and urge them to resolve all outstanding issues within the timeframe given by the African Union Peace and Security Council.”
The two nations came out of the longest running civil war in 2005 with South Sudan becoming independent of Sudan in July of 2011.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kenya, Ethiopia agree to co-operate on regional security -

Kenya and Ethiopia have agreed to work together to promote peace and security in the Horn of Africa, the Ethiopian government said in a press release Tuesday (November 20th).
The agreement was announced during the technical meeting of the 34th Kenya-Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission held in Nairobi. During the two-day meeting, participants discussed strengthening bilateral ties in politics, socio-economics, security and foreign affairs.
"Kenya and Ethiopia have agreed to accelerate efforts aimed at searching for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, including consolidation of the gains in Somalia," said Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi.
Wondimu Asaminew, director general of the African Directorate of Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Ethiopia attaches great importance to its relations with Kenya.
"A second meeting of senior officials in less than six months underlines the paramount importance of our bilateral co-operation," he said, adding that both nations "are committed to enhancing co-operation on major regional and international issues of interest".
Asaminew said the two countries would work together to promote peace and stability on the continent and strengthen the institutions of the African Union and its development programme, the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seven dead in Nairobi bus attack - Somali Breaking News & Video Community

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — An explosion on a bus in Kenya’s capital killed at least five people and wounded 29 on Sunday, a police official and the Red Cross said.
Nairobi police chief Moses Ombati said there would likely be more casualties after the explosion on a 25-seater public transportation vehicle.
“There are more casualties coming in but what I can confirm is that five people have been killed,” he said, adding that 10 men and three women were among the wounded.
Kenya Red Cross said 29 people had been wounded in the blast.
Ombati could not give further details about the cause of the blast in the Eastleigh suburb of Nairobi that is sometimes referred to as “little Mogadishu,” because of the number of Somali immigrants who live there.
A U.N. Security official at the scene of the explosion said the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device. Ball bearings could be seen, which likely could have wounded bystanders in the busy area, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the press.
Kenya has been hit by a string of grenade attacks that are blamed on sympathizers of al-Shabab, Somalia’s Islamist extremist rebels who are linked to al-Qaida.
Al-Shabab has vowed to carry out attacks on Kenya because it sent troops into Somalia last year to fight the rebels, who are considered a threat to Kenya’s security because they have been blamed for kidnapping foreign tourists and aid workers in Kenya.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kenya Highway System Kenya's President Kibaki opens first superhighway -

Kenya's President Kibaki opens first superhighwayNov 11, 2012
The brand new 8 lane highway, connecting Nairobi with the municipality of Thika, was yesterday formally commissioned by President Mwai Kibaki, under whose leadership the project was launched in 2009.
Highway construction and rehabilitation and major infrastructure projects like the expansion of aviation facilities across Kenya, not just at JKIA where Project Greenfield is now awaiting the ground braking by Kibaki before he leaves office, have become a hallmark of his presidency and something all Kenyans, even his political rivals, have admitted to.
Major plans for new rail links, for the metropolitan area of Nairobi but also opening up links to Ethiopia and South Sudan, are in the making too and while traffic in Nairobi is still a daily nerve wrecker, there is now light on the horizon with the planned construction of the Southern Bypass and a ‘double decker’ across the city’s most congested Uhuru Highway.
Kibaki in his launch address also blasted criminals for looting lamp posts and railings from the newly constructed highway and other major roads around the capital Nairobi and his ‘encouraging’ words to the police yesterday will undoubtedly result in a few ambushes being laid and the criminals engaged in shootouts with predictable results.
Notably it was Chinese construction companies which brought in the project in record time, though not at estimated cost due to the major inflationary pressures over the past 18 months, a lesson however for local construction companies many of which in the past failed to complete projects or ‘ate’ their payments, then either producing shoddy work or not finishing their contracts at all.
A series of other major overland highways, connecting to the Ugandan borders at Malaba and Busia, the Tanzanian borders at Taveta and Namanga and the Ethiopian border are presently also being planned, making road travel across Kenya in the future safer and certainly faster. Watch this space.