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  • Made in Ethiopia: The leather gloves keeping the world warm and stylish

    The steady hum of sewing machines fills the air inside a large glovemaking factory on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the bustling Ethiopian capital. Patches of leather move through an array of working stations as busy laborers work feverishly to meet the company's export quota: 5,000 gloves a day.

    The operation belongs to Pittards, a UK-based company whose trading partnership with Ethiopia dates back to the early 1900s.

    Here, hardy, durable cow hide is made into work gloves. These are ideal for builders and gardeners, and are mainly exported to the U.S.

    And then there are the stylish designs -- created from a different type of animal skin, these are made to keep fingers warm in Tokyo, Paris and Rome.

    "The fashion glove is made of sheep skin which is unique to Ethiopia," explains Tsedenia Mekbib, general manager at Pittards Products Manufacturing. "The durability, the stretch ability and the strength makes it popular for gloving leather specifically. That has been the one strength of Ethiopia and the leather sector."

    Sophisticated designs with decorative touches may be the hallmark of this type of glove, but they must also be practical. Ethiopia's climate makes this animal skin effective at withstanding the winter chill -- an essential selling point.

    Read more at CNN

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  • Boeing delivers 10th B787-8 Dreamliner to Ethiopian Airlines

    The delivery of Ethiopian’s 10th B787-8 Dreamliner, now flying under registration ET-ARF, MSN 34752, which arrived in Addis Ababa on 02nd of October, has brought the overall number of such aircraft on the ET fleet to now 10. The newest plane now carrying Ethiopia’s flag into the world, is configured with 24 business class and 246 economy class seats and powered by two GEnx-1B engines.

    Ethiopian was the African launch customer for Boeing, building on a decades long close partnership, and while affected like all other launch customers by the teething problems the aircraft had in particular with the new technology Lithium Ion batteries, is now able to cash in on the experience by flying planes which save some 20 percent fuel burn compared to older jets on the fleet.

    Intent to remain Africa’ number one airline in terms of fleet, destinations and passengers carried has Ethiopian rolled out a number of new international destinations of late, in Europe and Asia and only last week resumed services, albeit not with the B787 but the smaller B737-800NG, to the Seychelles.

    Notable does Ethiopian of late also hold 5th freedom traffic rights out of Entebbe to Juba / South Sudan, a destination also served nonstop out of Addis Ababa.

    Happy landings to the aircraft, the crews on board and the passengers for ET’s latest acquisition.

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  • Ethiopian Airlines Announce Order for 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s

    CHICAGO, Sept. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines today announced an order for 20 737 MAX 8s. The order, previously unidentified on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website, is worth more than $2.1 billion at list prices and also includes options and purchase rights for a further 15 737 MAX 8s. The order represents the largest single Boeing order by number of airplanes from an African carrier.

    "Today's order underlines our commitment to our 15-year strategic plan, 'Vision 2025', in which Ethiopian will strive to become the leading airline group in Africa carrying 18 million passengers per annum," said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, during a visit to the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa National Forum in Chicago. "The 737 MAX will form a key component of that strategic vision, enhancing our single-aisle fleet and keeping us at the forefront of African aviation."

    The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX will be 14 percent more fuel-efficient than today's most efficient Next-Generation 737s – and 20 percent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they first entered service. The 737 MAX has a total of 2,294 orders from 47 customers worldwide.

    "This historic order for Boeing and our partner Ethiopian once again positions the carrier at the heart of African aerospace innovation with the acquisition of the 737 MAX," said Van Rex Gallard, vice president of Sales for Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, speaking in Chicago. "Throughout the years, Ethiopian has consistently led the way in introducing new airplane types to passengers across Africa. Today's record order signals its commitment to continue that tradition."

    Ethiopian currently serves more than 83 destinations across five continents from its base at Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian flag carrier's partnership with Boeing has existed for more than half a century, with a current fleet of more than 50 Boeing airplanes that includes Next-Generation 737s, 757s, 767s, 777s, 787 Dreamliners and a cargo fleet of 757s, 777 Freighters and MD-11s.


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  • Ethiopian moves into Terminal 2 at London Heathrow

    Ethiopian Airlines, the first carrier to debut the advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner to London Heathrow, has moved to its new UK home at Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal.

    It will join a host of Star Alliance members at the brand new £2.5 billion state-of-the-art terminal formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen in June.

    Ethiopian operates non-stop daily flights to Addis Ababa from London Heathrow with connections to 49 destinations on the African continent and 18 destinations within Ethiopia.

    It currently operates to 83 destinations around the world.

    From the end of October, all of the Star Alliance member airlines will be handled in one place enabling Ethiopian passengers to enjoy quick and smooth connections between member airlines.

    Ethiopian Airlines’ passengers will enjoy Terminal 2’s state of the art technology featuring efficient and speedy ARINC ‘common use’ check in kiosks, supplied by Rockwell Collins, with facilities to print your own baggage tags.

    Passengers will benefit from reduced queuing and therefore more time airside where they can enjoy shopping.

    “We are delighted to be joining fellow Star Alliance members at The Queen’s Terminal,” said Michael Yared, area manager - UK and Ireland, Ethiopian Airlines.

    “The new terminal offers our passengers cutting-edge technology, an efficient and excellent design and some attractive shopping options that will enhance their journey and all-round travel experience.”

    Ethiopian passengers will check-in at Zone D in the new terminal.

    Source: WIC

    Ethiopian moves into Terminal 2 at London Heathrow - Ethiopian Embassy UK VIDEO


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  • Garment-making finds new low-cost home in Ethiopia

    ADDIS ABABA - (Reuters) As basic wages soar in China, low-end manufacturing is starting to shift to cheaper locations around the world, and frontier African nations such as Ethiopia are positioning themselves to reap the benefits.

    With rock-bottom wages, cheap and stable electricity and improving transport infrastructure, the continent’s most populous nation after Nigeria is building a reputation for producing clothes, shoes and other basic goods.

    The sector is still in its infancy in what was for decades a Communist-run economic backwater. Bureaucracy and poor transport links mean business costs aren’t quite as low as they might be.

    But state investment in factory zones and the arrival of firms from Turkey, India, the Gulf and China suggest industrialization is finally taking root in the east African giant, where many still rely on subsistence agriculture.

    “We have to move because of manufacturing’s development in China, due to the high increase in wages and in raw materials,” said Nara Zhou, spokeswoman for Huajian, a Chinese company that makes over 300,000 pairs of boots and sandals a month for retailers such as Guess from a factory near the capital.

    “Ethiopia enjoys stability, the government is eager to industrialize and there is also the low labor cost here – a tenth compared to China,” she added.


    For years, investors gave Ethiopia a wide berth, wary of the heavy role played in the economy by a government that shuns the liberalization seen in other African nations and which has retained its monopoly on telecommunications and bar on foreigners in the financial sector.

    However, in the last few years the commercial logic of factory production has started to outweigh those concerns, and the wider effects are dramatic.

    The government is projecting gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 11 per cent a year, and even though the International Monetary Fund is more sober its 8.5 per cent forecast for this year indicates Ethiopia is one of Africa’s – and the world’s – fastest-growing economies.

    Despite the government’s socialist roots, there is no minimum wage, letting firms such as Huajian pay salaries of $50-$70 a month – still higher than the average per capita income.

    “Almost every young person in this locality now works here,” said Desta, one of 7,500 employees at Ayka Addis Textile and Investment Group, a Turkish-owned factory 20 km (13 miles) west of the capital.

    “We all struggled to make ends meet beforehand. We can now afford proper healthcare or sending a child to school,” Desta, who did not give his surname, added.


    With 90 million people already and annual population growth forecast to exceed 2 per cent until 2030, the government is desperate to attract labor-intensive investment and jobs.

    To this end, it says it has introduced incentives such as tax holidays and subsidized loans to investors with interest rates as low as 8 per cent – below even the 9.75 per cent benchmark rate in South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy.

    Ethiopia is also investing heavily in hydropower to boost the scope of a grid that offers electricity at 5 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour, compared with 24 cents in neighboring Kenya.

    “The availability of power and the cost is cheaper than any other country in the world. We are providing power, land and labour all very cheaply,” said trade and industry minister Tadesse Haile, who wants Ethiopia to export $1.5-billion of textiles a year in five years, from just $100-million now.

    Other east African nations such as Kenya and Uganda are also chasing textiles investment but cannot compete on input costs against Ethiopia, where wages are 60 per cent lower than the regional average, said Jaswinder Bedi, Kenya-based chairman of the 27-nation African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation.

    “Ethiopia is a new player,” Bedi said. “They are growing and they are growing rapidly.”


    Even so, bureaucracy and transport impose a major cost on companies, leaving Ethiopia languishing at 141 in a World Bank global trade logistics index published last year.

    Importing or exporting a container takes on average 44 days, compared to 26 for Rwanda, another landlocked East African nation.

    “Our logistics costs are second to input,” Ayka Addis chief executive Amare Teklemariam told Reuters. “It affects the competitiveness of the company.”

    To this end, the government says it is pouring funds equivalent to two thirds of GDP into new infrastructure every year, expanding the road network to 136,000 km by next year, from just 50,000 km in 2010.

    It also has grand plans to build 5,000 km of railway lines by 2020 from less than 800 km at the moment.

    “Infrastructure development is something Ethiopia is working seriously on,” Tadesse said.

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