Meles Zenawi: Ethiopia to Liberalize Telecom and Banking
By William Davison
(Bloomberg) — Ethiopia will liberalize its banking and telecommunications industries once it has the capacity to regulate them, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said.
“As we grow, as we develop, as we become more sophisticated in our regulation, we will liberalize,” he said
at the World Economic Forum on Africa today in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “Our plan is not designed to keep the private sector at bay.”
The state-owned Ethio Telecom monopolizes telecommunications in the Horn of Africa nation, while foreign companies are barred from banking.
On the other hand Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Nations need democracy for stability and not to achieve economic growth. “There is no direct relationship between economic growth and democracy, historically or theoretically”, he said at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis
Ababa. “I don’t believe in bedtime stories, contrived arguments linking economic growth with democracy.”
Democracy is necessary to keep diverse African nations united, he said. It may be the “only option of keeping relationship within nations sane,” said Meles
Ethiopia’s government expects a surge in coffee export revenues in the second half of the year, said Wondirad Mandefro, the state minister for agriculture.
“We had a very good harvest and as a result we also expect an equal increase in the export volume,” Mandefro said today at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. “We expect a very significant increase,” he said, without providing further details.
Arabica shipments in the first half of the year ending July 7 totaled about 60,000 metric tons, 35,000 tons less than in the same period in 2011, the Ethiopian Coffee Exporters’ Association said in February. It forecasted an annual rise of about 7 percent in export volume, with at least 150,000 tons shipped in the second half of the year.
The decline in exports in the first half was due to a fall in prices, said Mandefro. “The buyers are hesitating to buy sothe contracts slowed down, but it’s improving.”
Ethiopia’s crop for the year to September was seen at 8.3 million 60-kilogram (132-pound) bags up from 7.5 million in 2010-11, the London-based International Coffee Organization said in March.