PM Abiy Launches National Tax Revenue Movement (December 21, 2018)

Addis Ababa December 21/2018 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has launched today the National Tax Revenue Movement that aimed at improving tax collection system of the country.
The movement was launched under the theme of “Delivering on my Responsibility: Demanding my Rights”.
Addressing the launching ceremony, which was held at the African Union hall in Addiss Ababa, PM Abiy said tax revenue is one of the critical foundations of a country’s civilization and development.
Researchers showed that tax revenues are critical to sustainable development as they are providing governments with independent revenue for investing in development, reducing poverty and delivering public services.
Taxation is one of the most important ways in which developing countries like Ethiopia can mobilize their own resources for sustainable development, he said. He stated that expansion of infrastructure will create strong and competent private sector which in turn create plenty of job opportunities for citizens.
So, building strong infrastructure is critical which supported from tax revenue, the Primer underscored.
He urged tax payers to develop an enhanced frame of mind on tax payment responsibility through which they demonstrate their love of country and family. The Prime Minister has also called the public to reprimand such appalling trends of tax evasion and illicit trading to enhance the current low status of tax collection
system. Ethiopia still mobilizes less than 10.7 percent its GDP in tax revenues, which is far
less than even the Sub-Saharan average, he pointed out. During the occasion, renowned dignitaries drawn from various professions were also assigned to serve as tax ‘ambassadors’ using their respective expertise.
Taxation offers an antidote to developing countries’ dependence on external concessional finance and provides the fiscal reliance and sustainability needed to promote growth, it was indicated. The event was organized by the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) aims to highlight the role of a just tax revenue collection system in realizing Ethiopia’s ascendancy to middle income status by 2025. ced frame of mind of tax payment responsibility through which they demonstrate their love of country and family. The Prime Minister has also called the public to reprimand such appalling trends of tax evasion and illicit trading to enhance the current low status of tax collection
system. Ethiopia still mobilizes less than 10.7 percent its GDP in tax revenues, which is far less than even the Sub-Saharan average, he pointed out. During the occasion, renowned dignitaries drawn from various professions were
also assigned to serve as tax ‘ambassadors’ using their respective expertise. Taxation offers an antidote to developing countries’ dependence on external concessional finance and provides the fiscal reliance and sustainability needed to
promote growth, it was indicated. The event was organized by the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority
(ERCA) aims to highlight the role of a just tax revenue collection system in realizing Ethiopia’s ascendancy to middle income status by 2025.

Bolton Outlines a Strategy for Africa That’s Really about Countering China (New York Times) (December 20, 2018)

WASHINGTON (December 13, 2018) — The Trump administration rolled out a new strategy for Africa on Thursday, but it was really all about China. John R. Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, said the United States
would lavish money and greater attention on the African continent, casting it as a crucial battleground in the global economic contest between the United States and China. But Mr. Bolton conceded that the United States had limited resources to compete with the tens of billions of dollars China is pouring into Africa. He also threatened to withdraw American aid for some United Nations peacekeeping missions, which he labeled ineffective, as well as for certain African countries like South Sudan that he said were corrupt or ungrateful. Mr. Bolton’s speech, at the Heritage Foundation, was his latest effort to flesh out what Mr. Trump’s “America First” foreign policy means for particular regions. In Africa, he said, the greatest threat came not from poverty or Islamist extremism but from an expansionist China, as well as Russia. “They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region
to gain a competitive advantage over the United States,” Mr. Bolton said. “China uses bribes, opaque agreements and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands.” Mr. Bolton announced a new program, “Prosper Africa,” to support American investment across Africa. Without attaching a dollar figure, he said the United States would facilitate alternatives to the large, state-directed public works
projects pushed by the Chinese. Those projects, he said, were turning some African countries into economic vassals
of China. Zambia, for example, owes Beijing $6 billion to $10 billion, according to Mr. Bolton, and is at risk of having the Chinese take over its national power company. China built a military base in another indebted African country, Djibouti, a few miles from where the United States has a base for counterterrorism operations.
Earlier this year, Mr. Bolton said the Chinese fired military-grade laser beams at American aircraft, injuring two pilots. Experts welcomed the focus on Africa, which has often been neglected by both Republican and Democratic administrations. But some noted the contradiction between Mr. Bolton’s promise of increased investment and a rollback of American engagement in other areas. “You can’t counter a multifaceted, long-term Chinese play just by increasing investment,” said Grant T. Harris, a former adviser on Africa to President Barack Obama. “Washington needs to understand that China is investing in relationships, not just infrastructure.” Mr. Trump famously asked why the United States should accept African immigrants, belittling their countries with an epithet. The first lady, Melania
Trump, made a four-country tour of the continent in October, which drew more attention for her wardrobe — particularly a colonial-style pith helmet on a safari in Kenya — than for her encounters with Africans.
Mr. Bolton traced his interest in Africa to his first job in government, working at the United States Agency for International Development during the Reagan administration. Yet he made clear that he viewed much of the American aid sent to Africa as wasted or misspent.
“From now on,” he said, “the United States will not tolerate this longstanding pattern of aid without effect.”
South Sudan, where rival leaders recently agreed to end a ruinous civil war, is among those at risk of losing aid. Mr. Bolton said the country was still being led by “the same morally bankrupt leaders” who prolong “horrific violence and immense human suffering.”
In the 2017 fiscal year, foreign assistance to Africa from the State Department and the Agency for International Development amounted to $8.7 billion. From 2014 to 2018, the United States provided some $3.8 billion in humanitarian aid to South Sudan and its neighbors. American businesses invested $50 billion in Africa in
2017, according to the State Department. The flow of money from China to Africa has been substantial, but much of it is not what experts consider aid. From 2000 to 2014, Chinese financing to Africa totaled $121.6 billion, according to an analysis by AidData, a research center based at the of William & Mary in Virginia. About 40 percent of that can be defined as aid, based on the parameters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to Bradley Parks, AidData’s executive director. During the same period, the United States
provided $106.7 billion in aid, according to the group. Most of the Chinese money comes in the form of loans, many of which are for projects being built by Chinese state-owned companies. The contracts typically have strict conditions attached to them; borrowers often have to start repaying the loans within a few years, unlike loans from the World Bank, which can have a grace period of a decade. “The work that they do, the assistance that they provide, seems to be more about China than it is about the countries that are the target, or the recipients of the assistance,” said Mark Green, the administrator of the Agency for International Development.
But the Chinese companies have had great success in winning contracts for projects in Africa. In some cases, this is tied to bribing officials. But in others, Chinese companies have been good at managing relations because, unlike
American companies, they have a strong presence on the ground. “For American businesses to compete effectively in the region, the U.S. government must develop methods to come to the table with a full package,” said Mike Davis, an American businessman in Uganda. “The current approach has not proven effective when you compare it against the competition.” Mr. Trump, driven by a desire to confront China’s growing influence, signed a bill to double the war chest of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which finances American businesses in developing nations. Starting in October, the agency will have $60 billion to dole out in the form of loans, loan insurance and
equity. But the agency’s chief executive, Ray W. Washburne, said projects that the agency finances still “have got to make economic sense,” adding, “The Chinese seem to be doing these loan-to-own programs.”

President Sahle-Work: Digital Transformation is a Pathway to Prosperity for all Africans (December 19, 2018)

President Sahle-Work Zewde has returned to Addis Ababa this morning (December19) after attending the Africa -Europe High-Level Forum in Vienna which took place under the theme: “Taking Cooperation to the Digital Age”.
The forum aimed at broadening cooperation between Africa and the EU , with a focus on digital technology and its importance to economic growth and development. The President addressed the forum with a particular focus on Ethiopia ‘s efforts to expand digital technology, which can be achieved by infusing African economies with technology and by collaborating with Africa’s private sector. She said, “Transformation is a Pathway to Prosperity for all Africans.” President Sahle-Work stressed the need to provide a space for European and African leaders, together with CEOs of major global companies, innovation champions, and stakeholders, to reflect and act on what needs to be done to secure prosperity.
She said, “Competitiveness on both continents is a fertile ground to deepen the relationship in all its aspects with a specific focus on taking our cooperation to the digital age.” President Sahle-Work met with leaders of different countries and representatives of renowned global companies on the sidelines of the forum. The High-Level Forum anticipates promoting innovation and digitalisation as important enablers of our future development, so that everyone can benefit from the ongoing digital transformation.

The EU expresses its readiness to support Ethiopia in its continued reform work (December 18, 2018)

State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Hirut Zemene, welcomed H.E. Christos Stylianides, Humanitarian aid and Crisis Management commission Commissioner of EU ealier today. (December 18).
H.E. Christos Stylianides appreciated the commitment of the government of Ethiopia to undertake a myriad of reform steps including multi-party democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law and gender equality recently. He said the European Union praises the changes, the political and economic reforms in Ethiopia and vows to assist government’s ambitious agenda towards a more democratic and a positive example to the region and beyond. State Minister Hirut thanked the EU for the continued support and commitment to scale up the relationship to a heightened level. She pointed out the strategic engagement with the European Union which includes cooperation in regional peace and security, migration; social and economic development; investment and trade; governance and human rights has depicted EU’s strong commitment to support Ethiopia’s democratic and economic reforms. State Minister Hirut noted the sweeping political and economic reforms in Ethiopia sets itself as a model for the Horn of Africa to become a stable, integrated and peace embracing region. In this regard, Ethiopia welcomes EU’s readiness to support the country in its continued work to ensure deepened EU-Ethiopia cooperation on the strategic engagements, she added. H.E. Christos Stylianides underpinned that the EU stands by Ethiopia to address its key challenges and encourages steps taken toward a greater degree of gender equality, inclusiveness and democratization. The EU-Ethiopia strategic engagement document was signed in June 2016.

UNDP Commends the Ongoing Reforms in Ethiopia (December 18, 2018)

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed met with Mr. Achim Steiner, United Nations Development Programme Administrator and his delegation today (December 18), in which, the latter commended the ongoing reforms in Ethiopia. According to Office of the Prime Minister-Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy appreciated UNDP ’s longstanding technical and financial support to Ethiopia in strengthening democratic governance and capacity development, and accelerating economic growth and poverty reduction, among other areas. The Premier expressed the Government’s commitment to strengthening this partnership. Mr. Steiner on his part commended the significant steps the Government of Ethiopia under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has taken in undertaking
democratic reforms and expressed UNDPs commitment to the continued cooperation.

China keen to Expand Investment in the Development of Industrial Parks in Ethiopia (December 17, 2018)

A Chinese delegation from Luzhou city, Sichuan Province expressed interest to invest in Ethiopia in areas of industrial parks development. Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dewano Kedir received Chinese Standing Committee of Luzhou Municipal People’s Congress, Deputy Director, Mr. Yao Fukang at his office earlier today (December 17) including high ranked officials of the municipal city of Sichuan Pilot Free Trade Zone and Luzhou National HighTech Zone.
On the occasion, Ambassador Dewano took note of the fast and exemplary transformation that China has made over three decades. He expressed that #Ethiopia has registered a double-digit economic growth and is striving to become the manufacturing hub of Africa, adding that more and more Chinese companies are showing an interest in investing in Ethiopia.
Adding Ethiopia’s interest to bolster and upscale experiences in Industrial Parks Ambassador Dewano appreciated the delegation’s keen interest to investment in Ethiopia. Honorable Deputy Director, Yao Fukang expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome accorded to him and his delegation. He said Ethiopia is a favored lucrative investment destination in #Africa and pledged to further strengthen the bilateral trade and investment ties, underscoring Ethiopia’s well-engineered investment policies and promising future. Ambassador Dewano while thanking the Chinese for choosing and considering Ethiopia as its investment/business destination, underpinned Ethio-China relationship will continue to embark on new horizons to strengthen and cement collaboration on investment promotion, trade and industrial parks development. The Deputy Director further expressed the myriad of Chinese companies in Ethiopia and noted #China’s interest to promote the cooperation in the fields of economic
and trade, machinery and equipment manufacturing, import and export, between Luzhou and Ethiopia. Luzhou city is located in the Southeast part of Sichuan Province, China.

Amb. Dewano Receives a South Korean Business Delegation (December 17, 2018)

Permanent Secretary of Economic Diplomacy, Ambassador Dewano Kedir received a South Korean business from Busan city on Monday (December 17). Ambassador Dewano thanked the South Korean business delegation for choosing Ethiopia as its investment/business destination, and underlined that the economic cooperation between Ethiopia and South Korea will continue to embark on new horizons to strengthen and cement collaboration on investment promotion, trade and industrial parks development.
Heads of South Korean companies expressed their readiness to invest in Ethiopia in a range of areas, including Chemical Manufacturing, Construction, Assembling Industry, and pharmaceuticals.

Ethiopia maximizing Citizen Diplomacy (December 14, 2018)

spokesperson, Meles Alem briefed the media regarding the results garnered since Ethiopia began allowing citizens of other African countries to enter the country by issuing visa on arrival. He said, “Ethiopia is taking the dream of free movement in Africa one step further. The number of our African brothers arriving to Ethiopia has increased dramatically and the visa on arrival arrangement is facilitating tourism, economic, regional integration & diplomatic relations.” He further said the decision to relax the visa regime will likely be a boon for the country’s hospitality and conference tourism sectors. The capital- Addis Ababa is one of the world’s largest diplomatic hubs, hosting the seat of the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and dozens of foreign embassies. Meles stressed success has come since Ethiopia started issuing visa online for tourists and other visitors across the world. “This will make travel to Ethiopia easy, simultaneously boosting Ethiopian Airlines international presence steadily in recent years,” he added. The spokesperson further noted Ethiopia is currently undergoing significant political reforms; these political developments, among others; necessitated revisiting the existing nationality law that applies to foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin primarily aiming to reconnect and enable participation in their country’s affairs. He underscored the enhancement of Diaspora participation is playing a significant role in maintaining Ethiopia’s economic growth, conducive investment destination and tourist attraction. It is to be recalled that Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and leaders of regional States have recently made frequent calls to the Ethiopian Diaspora, more than any time before, to create synergy and actively engage in the development of the country.

PM. Dr. Abiy Meets with Addis-Based European Ambassadors (December 14, 2018)

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed met and held discussions with Addis-based
European ambassadors this morning (December 14).
According to Office of the Prime Minister-Ethiopia, the ambassadors welcomed
the progressive steps taken over the past months in Ethiopia under the new
leadership.
The ambassadors particularly commended the opening up of the political and
media spaces, and expressed their admiration regarding the role Ethiopia is
playing to bring stability and integration in the region.
Noting the positive changes taking shape, members of the European Union and
non-EU member countries equally confirmed their sustained partnership with
Ethiopia.

Ethiopia: MCC Recognizes Opportunity for Democratic Reform (December 13, 2018)

In response to Ethiopia being selected for the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s
(MCC) threshold program, which assists countries to become eligible for substantial
MCC financial support, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The MCC’s new focus on Ethiopia is a well-deserved acknowledgement of the
progress Ethiopia has made in opening political space, advancing freedom of
expression and promoting peace in the Horn of Africa region,” said Jon Temin,
director of Africa Programs at Freedom House. “The government of Ethiopia should
take this acknowledgement and the potential support that comes with it as an
opportunity to press ahead with additional essential reforms. In particular, the
government should accelerate adoption of the civil society organizations
proclamation, strengthen the rule of law, and address the root causes of longstanding ethnic unrest. Critically, the government should reaffirm its commitment
to a free and fair election in 2020 by rolling out a comprehensive electoral roadmap
agreed upon by all major political actors.”