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Ethiopian Airlines signs deal to revive Zambia’s national carrier

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Ethiopian Airlines said on Tuesday it had signed an agreement with the Zambian government to relaunch the southern African country’s national carrier, which was shut down more than two decades ago.

In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said the Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55% and Ethiopian will have 45% stakes in the airline. It did not disclose how much it had paid for the stake.

Ethiopia’s state-owned flag carrier, ranked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the largest airline in Africa by revenue and profit, is in talks with a number of airline companies across the continent to acquire stakes and manage operations.

‘’…in line with our Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy in Africa, we are very happy that the discussions with the Zambian government have been crowned with success. The launching of Zambia Airways will enable the travelling public in Zambia and the Southern African region to enjoy greater connectivity options, thereby facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism, and contributing to the socio-economic growth of the country and the region,’‘ Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement.

State-owned Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994.

Ethiopian Airlines operates and manages Malawi Airlines through a deal signed in 2013.

It also has a deal with ASKY, a West African airline whose shareholders include the ECOWAS regional bloc of countries and a number of banks.

The airline’s revenue rose 10.3 percent to 54.5 billion birr ($2.43 billion) in the 2015/16 fiscal year, while passenger numbers climbed 18 percent to 7.6 million. Net profit was up 70 percent at 6 billion birr.

Ethiopian Airlines wants to increase revenue to $10 billion by 2025 and to expand its fleet to 140 aircraft from less than 90 now, with its sights set on Asia.

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Somalia, Ethiopia to jointly invest in seaports

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Somalia and Ethiopia announced they were jointly investing in four seaports to attract foreign investment to their two countries, the latest move in a tussle for access to ports along one of the world’s most strategic waterways.

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After Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo hosted Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed for a meeting at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, the two leaders issued a joint statement of pledges to cooperate on everything from the development of infrastructure including roads linking the two countries to expanding visa services to promote cultural exchanges. 

The statement did not elaborate on which ports the two countries would develop.

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Ethiopian Government states reason for airline privatisation.

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Ethiopia’s government has explained that privatisation of the national airline and state telecommunications company is being done to ease the shortage of foreign currency.

Ethiopia announced last week plans to open its state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment.



In an exclusive interview with state broadcaster, Fana BC, Dr. Yinager Desie, Commissioner of the Ethiopian National Planning Commission said lower export performance, failure of mega projects to commence production, high demand for imported goods and growing external debt burden have worsened the shortage of foreign currency.

Ethiopia requires more than $13 billion over the coming two years for oil importation, private investment, upgrading of existing projects and for repayment of external debt.

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South African telecommunications firms MTN Group and Vodacom Group have already expressed interest in taking up investment options in Ethiopia’s telecom sector as soon as it opens up.

Desie says the privatised enterprises would generate large amount of foreign currencies to tackle shortage.

The commission will therefore give priority to foreign companies in privatising the enterprises as government’s decision is targeted obtaining foreign currency.

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Uganda approves new coffee law.

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Uganda governing Cabinet has approved a new coffee law, which is expected to streamline mushrooming institutions and players in the sub-sector that contributes sh158b to the economy every month.

According to Col Shaban Bantariza, the deputy government spokesperson, the proposed new law will also repeal the existing legal framework that establishes the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

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“The National Coffee Bill intends to facilitate the development of a competitive, equitable and sustainable Coffee Industry by promoting Coffee research, good Coffee farming practices, domestic consumption of Coffee and adding value to Coffee,” Bantariza said on Tuesday morning.

Bantariza, who was speaking at the Uganda Media Centre, said during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, ministers also proposed the introduction of a coffee auction system, to ease trade in the sub-sector.

“The Bill will also provide for an authority to regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities in the coffee value chain,” he added.

The Government target on coffee production is to export 20 million bags by 2020.

Official figures from UDCA indicate that Uganda currently exports 401,930 bags to the international market annually.

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