• MIDROC Seeks Additional Year at Lege Dembi


    MIDROC Gold Mine Plc, one of the 21 subsidiaries of Midroc Ethiopia Technologies Group, has requested the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoMPNG) for an extension of a contract to continue extracting gold in Lege Dembi, Oromia Regional State.

    The Company has requested the extension before the 20-year concession expires in 2018, according to a senior manager at the Company.

    The Ministry is reviewing the request, confirmed Motuma Mekassa, minister of MoMPNG, to Fortune. Since two weeks ago, the case has been pending on the desk of Tewodros Gebregziabher, state minister of MoMPNG, responsible for mineral licensing and administration, according to a source close to the case.

    MIDROC Gold was established in the late 1990s by Sheik Mohammed Al-Amoudi and his wife Sofia Salah Al-Amoudi together contributing 98 percent of the share, and the government owning a two percent share through the then Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED).

    The Company took a 20-year concession with the license name ‘Midroc Lege Dembi Gold Mining’ from the government for 172 million dollars when privatized in 1997, and commenced production in August 1998.

    During the first ten years, MIDROC Gold extracted 34,000kg of gold from the site, earning close to half a billion dollars.

    The largest gold producer in the country, Lega Dembi deposit is located 500km southwest of Addis Abeba in Guji Zone Oromia Regional State.

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  • Ethio-Telecom to Restart Distributing Disappeared 10, 15 Birr Mobile Cards



    (DireTube News, Addis Ababa) — Ethio-Telecom, a state-giant and monopoly provider of all forms of telecommunications of the nation, said it will restart distributing the already disappeared 10 and 15 Birr pre-paid mobile cards.

    Distribution of the 10 and 15 Birr pre-paid mobile air times will soon be launched within three or four days, according to Ethio-Telecom.

    Identifying, engulfing-out and decreasing many market retailers in the large value-chain market is the primary rationale the state giant company has put forward for why the 10 and 15 Birr mobile cards have disappeared from the market.

    “There exists creating artificial inflation among the retailers through hoarding of those cards,” as Ethio-Telecom puts it.

    Not long ago, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) channel reported that five and ten Birr mobile credits have disappeared and that lower income users were feeling the brunt as they could not afford to buy 15 Birr in credit every time.

    Only a couple of days passed when, one after the other, shopkeepers informed that they are out of 15 Birr credits and we all have to buy 25 Birr mobile credit. This was not at all surprising given that more people than was the norm were now forced to buy the same minimum of mobile credit.

    In a bid to resolve that problem, Ethio-Telecom has announced that “140 million air time for each 10 and 15 Birr, which printed abroad, will be disbursed out to the market soon, even within 3 to 4 days”.

    Although the problem was pledged to be solved, critics says that the problem does expose a certain undeniable truth that Ethio Telecom has become too comfortable with its position of exclusivity.

    Ethio Telecom, previously known as the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), is an integrated telecommunications services provider in Ethiopia, providing internet and telephone services.

    Ethio Telecom was managed, on a management contract arrangement from 2010 to 2013 June, by France Télécom, and was required to comply with Ethiopian Government orders.

    The government said it outsourced the management as ETC was not able to meet the demands of the fast-growing country. It also stated that telecommunications services would not be privatized, at least not shortly. It generates a revenue of over 300 million USD for the Ethiopian government and was dubbed a "cash cow" by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.



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  • The Very Young Millionaire


    Imagine being a millionaire by the time you're 18. There are plenty of things you could do with that kind of dosh. You certainly wouldn't feel the need to continue with your education.

    Erik Finman has that feeling, after betting his parents that if he had a seven-figure bank balance by the time he reached adulthood, he wouldn't have to go to University.

    Having arrived at such a healthy bank statement at such a young age, Erik is one of the latest success stories to emerge from the dramatic rise in the value of Bitcoin.

    The school drop-out (he quit when he was 15 years old) invested in the coins that, just seven years ago, were practically not even worth the shit on your shoe.

    Last month, bitcoins celebrated 'Bitcoin Pizza Day' - the day when 10,000 bitcoins were used to buy two pizzas. Today, one bitcoin is worth $2,500 (£1,950).

    Some analysts believe that in ten years, they'll be worth $10,000 per coin (£7856), and considering Finman owns 403 bitcoins, he's on course to make a fortune. Already, his share is worth $1.09m (£860,000).

    He's also invested, although not as much, in other cryptocurrencies such as litecoin and ethereum.


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  • Trump Says He Doesn't Want a 'Poor Person' to be in Charge of U.S. Economy



    Defending his appointment of a billionaire to promote the country’s economic growth, Donald Trump has said that he does not want poor people to hold financial roles in his administration.

    Speaking at a rally in Iowa, the President declared: “Somebody said why you appointed an affluent person to be in charge of the economy? No, it’s true. And Wilbur’s [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross], a wealthy person in charge of commerce. I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’”

    Mr. Ross, an investor, has a net worth of about $2.5bn.
    The president explained that Mr. Ross and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn “had to give up a lot to take these jobs” and that Cohn in particular, a former president of investment bank Goldman Sachs, “went from massive pay days to peanuts”.
    Trump added: “And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”
    “If you insist, I’ll do it. But I like it better this way, right?”
    Mr. Trump has frequently touted himself as a champion of the “forgotten men and women” across the country.
    During his inauguration speech in January, he said, “For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”
    Mr. Trump proceeded to appoint millionaires and billionaires to fill cabinet positions, making his administration the wealthiest in US history.
    Paul Waldman, a senior writer with The American Prospect and a blogger for The Washington Post, wrote his opinion: “What's really behind Trump's 'poor person' comment” on CNN that:-

    He's certainly been true to his word on that, assembling what is probably the wealthiest group of advisers in history, full of billionaires and near-billionaires. But why exactly wouldn't Trump want a poor person advising him?

    When they're (Republicans) in charge -- however differently they may frame it for the base -- the wealthy will be hired, catered to, indulged and pampered, while the poor will be the target of vicious budget cuts and stern lectures about pulling on those bootstraps. It doesn't come from any notion of what makes for effective policies -- it's about values.

    Trump is just a little more willing to say it.

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  • Dangote May Quit Ethiopia over Mining Dispute

    Dangote Cement PLC, controlled by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, said it might shut its operations in Ethiopia if authorities in the central state of Oromia don’t reverse an order to cement makers to hand over control of some parts of their businesses to local young people.

    Oromia state’s East Shewa Zone administration wants the Nigerian company to outsource its pumice, sand and clay mines to youth groups or be responsible for “any problems” that may arise, according to a letter from the authority to Dangote that was seen by Bloomberg and verified with a representative of East Shewa’s administration.

    The regional government sees the transfer of jobs in pumice production as a way to ease youth unemployment and quell unrest, according to the document.

    Any mismanagement of mining infrastructure including buildings and excavators could “lead to total breakdown of our business,” Dangote Executive Director Edwin Devakumar said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, last week.

    The cement maker will write to the federal government this week to ask it to intervene and will consider shutting the plant in Mugher, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Addis Ababa, as a “last option” if this fails, he said. The company listed Ethiopia as one of its three “key” markets, along with Nigeria and South Africa, in a presentation in May.

    But that statement doesn’t hold a drop of water for some region’s official.

    There’s “no intention to displace any investment,” so long as Dangote is “working by the laws and regulations in our region and country,” Tekele Uma, head of Oromia’s transport authority, said by phone. “If anyone’s complaining about Oromia, we’re ready to talk with them. Any investment can come. Any investment can go.”

    Motuma Mekassa, Ethiopia’s minister of mining, petroleum and natural gas, said on the phone he wasn’t aware of an attempt by Dangote to reach his office. An official at the federal ministry said Dangote should make an approach through “appropriate channels,” as opposed to through the media, asking for his name to be withheld, citing the sensitivity of the issue.

    The Ethiopian government is searching for ways to reduce youth unemployment after violent protests by Oromo communities over alleged land dispossession, political marginalization and repression led the government to declare a state of emergency last year.

    Dangote Cement was among several businesses attacked during the unrest. The protests triggered a 20 percent slump in foreign investment to $1.2 billion in the six months through December compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the government.

    Foreign Investment in Ethiopia Slumps after Business Attacks

    The order to outsource mining is “a violation of our rights because the government has given us a mining license,’’ said Devakumar, who was Dangote Cement’s chief executive officer until 2015. “If I don’t have limestone and additives my cement plant is useless.”

    Mr. Lemma Megersa, President of the Oromia region earlier announced that it is committed to taking firm action to tackle the challenges domestic investors encounter at various levels.

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  • Massive Reshuffle Approaches DBE Again

    Six weeks after removing its four long-serving vice presidents, the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) has introduced another major reform at the levels of directorates and branches.

    Two weeks ago, in a letter announced on a notice board of the Bank, all employees, including the current directors and branch managers were told to apply to head directorates and departments as a first step in the implementation of the restructuring. Upon this, any directors or department level managers who failed to pass the screening will be removed from their post, according to the Management of the Bank.

    “Upon approval of the Board of Directors, we have called for applications from all employees who would like to compete for the post of directorship and branch manager and fulfill all the criteria,” said Hailu Misganaw, acting communications director of the Bank.

    Educational background, performance, and experiences were the primary criteria to apply for the post, according to the new structure of the Bank.

    Four and six years of experience is mandatory for masters and bachelor degree holders, respectively.

    “Anyone deemed to fulfill the criteria can be a director or a branch manager,” Hailu said.

    A committee, which is tasked to screen the applicants informed a week ago. The committee is composed of human resources departments and executives of the Bank including the vice presidents (VPs) and the President.

    The restructuring is implemented based on a study done by the new management of the Bank, which is led by Getahun Nana, the president of the Bank. Getahun came to the scene after the removal of the former President of the Bank, Essayas Bahire, who gave up his post after the order of the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

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