Ethiopian Embassy News

Ethiopian Embassy News
A Monthly Newsletter of the Ethiopian Embassy, Washington D.C.
Issue 08, April 2015
Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of OPDO
25th Anniversary of OPDO Colorfully Celebrated
in Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado Cities.
25th Anniversary OPDO Colorfully Celebrated in
Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado Cities ..... 1
Ethiopian Somali State president Abdi Muhamed
Umar Welcomed in Minnesota .................................... 3
The 25th Anniversary of the Founding of the Oromo
colorfully celebrated with hundreds of invited guests
and members of the organization present on the
Dr. Tedros meets the President and CEO of the
OPDO’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated at the auditorium
Corporate Council on Africa ...................................... 4
of the Chancery of the Ethiopian Embassy in D.C. in the
Ambassador Girma Birru briefed students from the
presence of Special Envoy and Ambassador Extra-
National Defense University ....................................... 5
Ordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the US
Rock Star Bob Geldof Spearheads U.S. Private-
Girma Birru, and also Central Committee member of the
Equity Push Into Ethiopia ........................................... 5
OPDO /EPRDF / who made a keynote speech pertaining
to the historic event.
Ambassador Girma Birru in his speech entitled "The
struggle of the Oromo people and the role of the
OPDO" presented four sub-topics namely, the place of
the Oromo people in the unified history of Ethiopia,
the past struggle for human and democratic rights in
Ethiopia, the struggle waged by OPDO/EPRDF/ during
Earlier, the event was opened by holding a minute of
Silence in Memory of martyrs. A statement from the
Central Committee was read and representatives of sister
organizations pledge their support for the struggle of the
Oromo people. The occasion was highlighted by Cake
Cutting and Candle Lighting ceremonies.
the last quarter of the century and the upcoming
focus of the OPDO/EPRDF/.
Ato Melaku Bedada reading OPDO's Central Committee
Amb. Girma Birru delivering his keynote speech
The Special Envoy asserted that the Oromo people
have been part and parcel of Ethiopian history facing
the same challenges and opportunities together with
the other nations and nationalities in Ethiopia. He
Representatives of Sister Organizations expressing thier support
cited as an example the Oromo people have been
practicing the "Gedda" system, the rite of passage of
leadership from one generation to the next for
millennia years.
In relation to the struggle waged by OPDO/EPRDF/,
the Ambassador underscored that the struggle which
commenced a quarter of a century ago has paid off
enshrined in the constitution of the Federal state for
the Oromo People.
As to the future focus of the OPDO/EPRDF/,
Ambassador Girma made a solemn pledge that the
OPDO/EPRDF would register yet shining chapters and
redouble its effort until the number one enemy of the
country , poverty is completely eradicated with all its
attending evils. After the historical analysis and
presentation by the Ambassador a lengthy and active
participation by the house
in the form of
question and answer session where the Ambassador
gave pertinent responses.
Discussion with Q&A
Muhamed Umar Welcomed in Minnesota
Ethiopian Diaspora members from the Somali State
residing in and around the state of Minnesota gathered
at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in the Metropolitan city of
Minneapolis, to welcome President Abdi Muhamed Umar
of the Ethiopian Somali Regional National state.
Mr. Abdi Muhamed Umar, told the participants during
the joyous festive occasion reiterating that the present
political environment has enabled the Region to ensure
that it registers untold socio-economic
and political
progress in its history and referred to it as a turning
Pictures from the DC event
point in modern Ethiopian polity.
In a similar development hundreds of members and
supporters of the OPDO have celebrated the event in
Denver, Colorado. It is reported that there currently
are over 3 million members
and supporters of the
He underlined that the achievements so far need to be
reinforced and buttressed with the acceleration of the
current ongoing development initiatives in the region in
particular and the country in general, as exemplified by
the determination to build and realize the speedy
completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Pictures from Denver Event
Participants of the event made a solemn
pledge and
wholeheartedly expressed their utmost readiness to
intensely their support
Dr. Tedros meets the President and CEO of
the Corporate Council on Africa
government to vigorously pursue the development
effort. “Because of the determination of the Somali
people the regional national state has changed for
good. Now, it is our duty to make sure that it never
goes back to those old dark days,” said President Abdi,
further stating that
“this demonstrates that our
destiny rests within our reach since now we are the
masters of our hard fought dignity and equality which
is clearly discernible in the development, peace and
security we have registered throughout the region."
Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom met with Stephen
Hayes, the President and CEO of the US Corporate
Council on Africa on Thursday (March 26) to discuss the
upcoming US-Africa Business Summit. This will be
hosted by Ethiopia in November this year. Mr. Hayes
said the Summit was being held in Addis Ababa because
the country had registered impressive economic growth
investment from many countries, adding “We want to
build on this.” The Summit is expected to attract some
600 US businesspeople and more from Africa and the
rest of the world. Turkey, Japan, Holland and United
participating. Dr. Tedros said the US should replicate its
successful and strong political, social, security and
development partnerships in Africa on the business and
investment front. He suggested this summit would be
an eye-opener for many US businesses. Mr. Hayes
agreed and said the Corporate Council would do its
promised and level best to get a large US business turn out at the
expressed their indefatigable commitment to help the Summit at which a number of senior US decision
Ethiopian Somali state march towards further makers would also be present. Dr. Tedros assured Mr.
development, prosperity and eradicate poverty through Hayes that Ethiopia would use its experience of hosting
of the colorful event
the provision of all resources at their disposal.
summits to persuade as many heads of states and
businesses as possible to be present.
(Source: MFA)
Ambassador Girma Birru briefed students Rock Star Bob Geldof Spearheads U.S. Privatefrom the National Defense University
Equity Push Into Ethiopia
KKR, Blackstone, Paul Tudor Jones help drive investment
as Africa makes historic shift from aid to trade
A generation ago, this African nation was a magnet for
Western charity. Today, some of America’s richest deal
makers are delivering something new: investment.
A number of high-profile investors have recently shown
up here. KKR & Co., the New York-based private-equity
firm, last summer bought control of a rose farm,
Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy, Ambassador
Afriflora, for about $200 million, its first investment in
Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the
Africa. Blackstone Group plans to build a $1.35 billion
US met and briefed students and staff from the
pipeline to bring gasoline to the capital, Addis Ababa.
National Defense University who are planning to go
Hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is backing a $2
on a study tour to Ethiopia.
billion geothermal power project.
During the open discussion held at the Ethiopian
The investors are following in the footsteps of Irish punk
embassy on March 9, 2015, the Ambassador briefed
rock singer turned activist Bob Geldof, whose Live Aid
the students and staff on current political, economic concerts 30 years ago this summer raised about $145
and social developments in Ethiopia as well as the million for the victims of a devastating Ethiopian famine.
Mr. Geldof now chairs 8 Miles LLP, a London-based
Horn of Africa region.
private-equity firm that invests in Ethiopia. 8 Miles raised
The regional role Ethiopia has been playing in
securing peace and security has been paramount. In
a $200 million fund in 2012; Mr. Geldof put in a few
hundred thousand dollars.
this regard Ambassador Girma made references to
international terrorism jointly in our region.
“They don’t have to die in vast numbers before we pay
attention,” Mr. Geldof said in an interview. “The potential
rewards in Africa are far greater than anywhere else.”
Pertaining to the diplomatic ties between the two
countries, the Special envoy noted that it has been
8 Miles, named after the shortest distance between
over a century since Ethiopia and the US have forged
Europe and Africa, made its first investments in Ethiopia
diplomatic relations and that these relations have
in 2013, including state-owned Awash Winery. 8 Miles
to double
company, add
nonalcoholic drinks such as grape juice and increase
exports, said partner Doug Agble. The firm also backed
Ethiopian entrepreneur Eleni Gabre-Madhin in 2013 to
build commodity exchanges across Africa.
The private-equity firms are part of a historic shift: Global
foreign direct investment has overtaken Western aid on
the world’s poorest continent. Private-equity fundraising
for sub-Saharan Africa hit $4 billion last year—more than
triple what it was in 2013. 8 Miles plans to start raising a
larger second fund next year, Mr. Agble said.
In Ethiopia, Western aid in 2013 was $3.83 billion,
still far higher than the value of inbound investment
daughter. Her husband is a fisherman on the lake that
at $953 million. But investors say more investment is
provides water to irrigate the flowers. Other local women
sure to follow.
work carrying heavy loads of wood on their backs or
Colin Coleman, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s top
Africa banker, visited Ethiopia for the first time in
laboring on other farms. Another option is leaving to
work as a maid in the Persian Gulf.
January. At an investment conference, he was
“This is a better opportunity than any other job I could do
clutching a booklet of profiles of people to meet.
locally,” Ms. Kadir said. Still, some human-rights activists
Consumer-goods companies, sovereign-wealth funds
are critical.
and private-equity groups are showing growing
interest in Ethiopia, Mr. Coleman said in an interview.
Ethiopia is “relatively undeveloped and therefore
with significant upside,” he said.
“How do you justify shipping out fancy roses when
people are hungry?” said Anuradha Mittal, executive
director of the Oakland Institute, a California-based
nonprofit that has investigated Ethiopian land rights.
Investors say the potential risks are offset by rapid
“How do you justify using Ethiopia’s land and water
economic growth.Brian Herlihy, chief executive of
resources to satisfy our rose needs? What’s so sweet
Blackstone’s African infrastructure unit, BlackRhino,
about it?”
said that the 550-kilometer (340 miles) pipeline he is
planning in Ethiopia will make money by helping to
supply the country’s energy needs, rather than
sucking resources out of the continent.
A recent report by the International Finance Corp., a
World Bank unit that is considering a €90 million loan to
the farm, listed criticisms including too much overtime, a
lack of formal process for handling workers’ complaints
David Petraeus, the former general who resigned as
and inadequate places to eat or areas for working
Central Intelligence Agency chief in 2012 and who
mothers to breast-feed. The IFC noted that pregnancy
now advises on geopolitical risks at KKR, said that
testing before employment will be discontinued and
Ethiopia has good land and water, improving roads
verification that new hires are aged 18 or older has
and very good air links, as well as stable politics.
KKR director Kayode Akinola said “a key dimension
of the investment” in the rose farm is a social
program that includes permanent contracts for 9,000
workers, pensions, paid maternity leave, a hospital
and a school for about 5,000 children.
Afriflora was founded by Dutch farmers 10 years ago
and grew 730 million flowers in 2013 for export to
Europe, where there is strong demand for low-cost
roses in large supermarkets. KKR plans to add
almost 5,000 workers and 60% more land by 2019.
Flower packer Basha Kadir, 20 years old, said she
works late into the night, often for six days a week,
and hopes to earn $600 a year at the farm. The
average annual income in Ethiopia is just $470,
according to the World Bank.
KKR said the flower industry plays a “major part” in
poverty reduction by providing jobs and that there is
Connect with us:
potential to grow both more flowers and food in the
region. The private-equity firm said Afriflora is
addressing the points raised by the IFC.
Mr. Geldof said investors can help build a stable
Ethiopian economy and prevent the return of famine.
“I never want to see again—ever—what I trawled
through 30 years ago,” he said. “Developing the
economy—not at the cost of exploiting people, not at
the cost of hurting them—developing and producing
what’s there and their skills seems to me to be what’s
required now.”
(Source: Wall Street Journal)
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