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  • Al-Amoudi Plans to Double Sales From Ethiopia Coffee

    Horizon Plantations Ethiopia Plc, majority-owned by Saudi billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, plans to almost double annual revenue at coffee projects within three years as part of a $500 million agricultural investment program.

    The company will spend $25 million to train workers, improve roads and replace washing units at the Limmu and Bebeka coffee plantations, which together have over 18,000 hectares (44,479 acres) under coffee, General Operations Director Kemal Mohammed said in a Sept. 17 interview in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

    The development is part of a five-year investment program in al-Amoudi’s agriculture projects, which also include Upper Awash Agro-Industry Enterprise, the country’s largest orange grower with 1,200 hectares of citrus, and the 10,000-hectare Saudi Star Agricultural Development rice farm, he said.

    “We are sure because of the initiatives we have now, because of the inputs and techniques we’re applying, the productivity will increase to the maximum at the end of the five years,” Kemal said about the coffee plantations.

    Ethiopia, Africa’s biggest coffee producer, may see earnings from shipments of Arabica coffee rise 25 percent to about $900 million in 2014-2015 as prices rise because of shortage caused by a drought in Brazil, an exporters’ association said last month. Horizon bought the two coffee farms for 1.6 billion birr ($80 million) last year from the Ethiopian government, which is seeking investment in projects that process agricultural products.
    Coffee Estate

    Bebeka, in southwest Ethiopia, is the world’s biggest unfragmented coffee estate with 10,030 hectares under plantation, according to the company’s website. It was established in 1975 when the former socialist government nationalized land and also produces black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and turmeric.

    Limmu, 350 kilometers (218 miles) southwest of Addis Ababa in the Oromia region, has 8,000 hectares under coffee and produces 5,000 tons a year of the beans.

    Al-Amoudi, born in Ethiopia in 1946 to an Ethiopian mother and Saudi father, is one of the country’s largest foreign investors and operates its biggest cement factory and only large-scale gold mine. He also runs construction and oil operations in Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Morocco and is the 143rd richest person in the world with a net worth of $8.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    Investment in Limmu may help double production to about 1.5 tons a hectare by 2018, Kemal said.

    Bebeka Coffee Estate doubled production to about 1.4 tons of coffee last year, according to Kemal. Around 90 percent of the company’s coffee last year was directly sold to buyers in countries including the U.S., Germany, South Korea and Japan, Kemal said.

    Source: bloomberg

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  • Ethiopia: Boeing Aircraft Turned Into a Restaurant

    Ethiopian Airlines-owned property - a Boeing 737 aircraft - has been sold and turned into a hotel and restaurant business here.

    Guttama Gutta, the owner of the new aircraft hotel, told The Reporter that he invested some 30 million birr for the purchasing, refurbishing and decoration of the aircraft, which is now located in the town of Burayu, some 15 km west of the capital.

    Guttama said that he made the investment in the hope of creating a type of recreational center in Burayu. The construction and installation of the aircraft, and having it ready for catering services, took two years, Guttama said.

    When asked why he wanted to set up an aircraft restaurant in the town, he explained that his intention was to upgrade his previous business and by doing so the aircraft business came up. The engineless aircraft is said to provide both indoor and outdoor service where the Boeing 737 aircraft will host 60 individuals at a time for food and drinks.

    Guttama added that the restaurant will provide services for weddings, birthdays and meetings.

    Source: thereporterethiopia

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  • Ethiopia announces plans to issue Eurobond - VIDEO

    Investors in the Emerging markets have exhibited an unquenchable appetite for the Bonds Market, after the success of Kenya's debut Eurobond, other economies like Tanzania and Ethiopia have announced plans for their respective bonds, Ayalenesh Tafese from Rand Merchant Bank joins CNBC Africa to discuss Ethiopia's Eurobond plans and prospects for investors and the country.

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  • Fastest Growing African Shoe-Brand 'SoleRebels' Launches Flagship Store In Silicon Valley

    Named one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa in 2011 by FORBES, celebrated Ethiopian entrepreneur, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu launched her first US offering at the beginning of this month; a flagship store of her eco-friendly shoe brand, SoleRebels, in Silicon Valley, California. The Ethiopian shoe brand’s first international retail space is located at Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, California, an upscale indoor shopping mall in Silicon Valley.

    The SoleRebels founder & Chief Executive Officer said in a statement, “I am totally vibed to open our first US soleRebels store in Silicon Valley. We have waited a while to open our first US store because we wanted to find the perfect place to open our first US location.” Alemu described her company’s new store location in the Bay Area as “a place that epitomized the creativity, innovation, craziness, disruption and the overall WALK NAKED ethos that soleRebels is all about. Silicon Valley is the epicenter of all these things and so it’s the perfect place to launch our US retail store business and I imagine there are quite a few folks in and around Silicon Valley who can’t wait to be able to ‘walk naked.’”

    Alemu’s innovative SoleRebels line is one of the world’s fastest growing African shoe brands and the new Silicon Valley store location is the company’s latest global retail store rollout. Other SoleRebels store locations include the flagship store in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Barcelona, Spain; Nyon, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria; Kaohsiung City, Pingtung City, TaiChung, Taiwan; Singapore and Japan bringing a total of 18 SoleRebels branded stand alone retail stores that have been opened globally. The company projects 50 stand alone SoleRebels retail stores across the U.S. by 2018 and 500 worldwide by 2022.

    While Alemu did not disclose her company revenues, I followed up with her regarding her projection that estimated revenues from Sole Rebels retail operations would hit the USD $10 million mark by 2016; “​we hope to EXCEED that by end fiscal 2016!” Alemu said. ​She also added that “the US has always been a great market for soleRebels via our webshop and via our retail partners. We are excited about our branded stand-alone stores. SoleRebels fans love to dive into the brand experience and our stand-alone stores allow them to do just that.”

    Founded in 2004 by Alemu in her community of Zenabwork, Ethiopia, SoleRebels is the first and only WFTO Fair Trade-certified footwear company. It is also the fastest growing consumer brand from Africa and the first African consumer brand to ever open stand alone branded retail stores around the globe.

    The Silicon Valley store launch continues the historic push that SoleRebels is making as the very first African consumer brand to ever open its own stand-alone branded retail location in the US.

    Source: FORBES

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  • Boom times for Ethiopia's coffee shops

    As coffee plants originate from the east African nation - where they first grew wild before cultivation started in the country more than 1,000 years ago - it is perhaps unsurprising that Ethiopians take coffee drinking very seriously.

    So much so that Ethiopia has a ceremonial method of making coffee at home that continues to this day.

    The ceremony sees raw beans roasted over hot coals, with each person in attendance being invited to savour the smell of the fumes. The beans are then ground with a wooden pestle and mortar before finally being brewed - twice - in a clay boiling pot called a jebena.

    While the resulting coffee is inevitably delicious, the whole process can take more than an hour. And a growing number of Ethiopians say they no longer have the time.

    And so, as Ethiopia's economy continues to expand strongly, more people - led by young professionals in the capital Addis Ababa - are instead buying pre-roasted beans, or visiting coffee shops to have their favourite drink made for them.

    It means boom times for the country's independent coffee roasters and cafes, who have seen their numbers rise and some are even looking to expand overseas.

    Surviving Communism

    The family-run Tomoca coffee shop, perhaps the best-known in Addis, lures in customers with the smell of freshly roasted coffee drifting from its chimney.

    Located off one of the city's main shopping streets, it has been open since 1953 when it was just one of a handful of firms in Ethiopia roasting coffee.

    While business was slow but steady for Tomoca during its first 20 years, times were tough when Ethiopia was ruled by a Communist dictatorship from 1974 to 1991. For those 17 years just staying in business as a private company was the priority.

    Since 1991 though, the firm has made up for lost time, particularly in the last couple of years, benefiting from a rapidly expanding Ethiopian economy, which grew by 9% in 2012 and 10.4% in 2013.

    Read more at the BBC

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