Ethiopia's export earnings tumble 42% of gov't forecast
Ethiopia's export earnings for the fiscal year that just ended in June 2009, is down 42% of projected earnings of $2.6 Billion. The country's Ministry of Trade and Industry said, Ethiopia's export earnings in 2008/09 (July-June) came in at $1.5 billion, well below a planned $2.6 billion due to the global financial crisis.
Coffee export was severely hit, Ethiopia earned $376 million from sales of 134,000 tonnes of coffee, down from $525 million it earned in 2007/08.
Ethiopia is Africa's largest exporter of coffee and the world's fourth largest exporter of sesame seeds.
Despite the power cuts affecting industry and export earnings down 42 percent of government forecast, Ethiopia insists economy to grow 10% this year.
Ethiopia's Export Earnings breakdown
- $376 million from sales of 134,000 tonnes of coffee
- $355 million from exports of 287,334 tonnes of oil seeds
- $139.2 million from exports of 25,000 tonnes of khat
- $91 million from exports of pulses
- $99.43 million sales of 4.72 tonnes of gold,
- $131 million from the export of 1,300 billion flower stems
- $76 million from Live animal and meat products
- $105.3 million from leather exports
Ethiopia clamps down on khat dens
A crackdown has been launched in the Ethiopian capital on unlicensed parlours where boys and young men chew khat, a narcotic green leaf.
Addis Ababa city council has ordered raids on the backrooms where people also smoke shisha pipes and gamble.
Although khat is not banned, officials say boys skip school and steal to fund their pleasures in the parlours.
Other illegal activities such as trading stolen mobile phones are also reported to take place in khat dens.
The mild narcotic - which can cause users to experience excitement, euphoria and loss of appetite - is popular in parts of East Africa, especially Somalia, and Yemen.
During the clampdown in Addis Ababa, where the cheap narcotic has recently become popular with the young jobless, the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt saw shisha pipes being smashed, while playing cards and khat were burned.
Police have been slapping notices on the doors of unlicensed khat parlours, although the leaf is still openly sold on the streets.
The police have no way of stopping people sitting by the side of the road and chewing the drug.
Addis Ababa city council's head of justice and legal affairs Tsegaye HaileMariam made it fairly clear to our correspondent that he wished khat was a banned substance in Ethiopia.
However, exports of the drug bring in large amounts of foreign currency.
Muslims from the eastern Ethiopian city of Harar and the Somali region to the south-east chew the leaf as part of their culture.
In those areas, our correspondent says, the cream of society retires after lunch to rooms elegantly prepared with low couches and cushions to munch khat, drink sweet tea and smoke shisha pipes, while discussing the issues of the day.
She adds MPs, senior officials, security chiefs and university professors have invited her to join them in chewing khat.
But the use of the drug is now spreading to new areas of the country.
Khat -- is it more coffee or cocaine?
The narcotic leaf is a time-honored tradition in Africa but illegal in the U.S., where demand is growing.
By Cynthia Dizikes
Los Angeles Times
January 3, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- In the heart of the Ethiopian community here, a group of friends gathered after work in an office to chew on dried khat leaves before going home to their wives and children. Sweet tea and sodas stood on a circular wooden table between green mounds of the plant, a mild narcotic grown in the Horn of Africa.
As the sky grew darker the conversation became increasingly heated, flipping from religion to jobs to local politics. Suddenly, one of the men paused and turned in his chair. "See, it is the green leaf," he said, explaining the unusually animated discussion as he pinched a few more leaves together and tossed them into his mouth.
More from Los Angeles Times
Ethiopia - Somalia: DC to crack down on Khat
The District is moving to stiffen penalties for a little-known drug that authorities suspect is used by cabdrivers in the city to stay alert and to finance terrorism overseas.
Parts of the khat plant - a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula - when fresh can produce effects similar to those of cocaine. Chewing the leaves is socially acceptable in countries such as Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Read complete article from The Washington Times
Ethiopian Postal Service to launch Khat memorial stamp
By Groum Abate
The state owned Ethiopian Postal Service (EPS) is going to launch three different kinds of Khat Memorial Stamps valued at 0.45, 0.55 and three birr next week on September 9, 2008.
The stamps that features Khat leafs would be put on market all day long on September 9, 2008, from 2:00 am through 6:00 pm local time.
The launching of the stamp would be also marked by a research paper from the Addis Ababa University.
After neglecting the product for years, the Ethiopian government is giving more attention to Khat but no official agricultural policy exists to support Khat production and farmers.
Khat, ranking 4th among Ethiopian export items, is now attracting farmers from all corners of Ethiopia and remains the chief crop in east and west Hararge. Ethiopian Khat is in high demand in Somalia, Djibouti, Yemen and England, with a significant amount also consumed locally.
Khat is widely used in the country, and more than 40 percent of the youth in Addis Ababa frequently use the drug, according to a research conducted by undergraduate students at the Addis Ababa University.
At the international level, the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Dependence-producing Drugs’ Fourteenth Report noted, “The Committee was pleased to note the resolution of the Economic and Social Council with respect to Khat, confirming the view that the abuse of this substance is a regional problem and may best be controlled at that level.” For this reason, Khat was not scheduled under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. In 1980 the World Health Organization classified Khat as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence.
According to some historical documents, the origins of Khat are disputed. Some believe that it is Ethiopian in origin, from where it spread to the hillsides of East Africa and Yemen. Others believe that Khat originated in Yemen before spreading to Ethiopia and nearby countries. Sir Richard Burton in his book entitled ‘First Footsteps in East Africa’ explains that Khat was introduced to the Yemen from Ethiopia in the 15th century. There is also evidence to suggest this may have occurred as early as the 13th century.
From Ethiopia and Yemen the trees spread to Kenya, Somalia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Arabia, the Congo, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. The ancient Egyptians considered the Khat plant a ‘divine food’ which was capable of releasing humanity’s divinity. The Egyptians used the plant for more than its stimulating effects. They used it as a metamorphic process and transcended into ‘apotheosis’, intending to make the user god-like.
Established on March 1894 by Emperor Menilik who assigned Swiss citizen Alfered Ilg as manager for a postal services administration, EPS is currently a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) as an autonomous body under proclamation 240/1966 and is currently under the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC). According to one study, even though historical references show that the postal service is as other services in the modern world, development has been slothful. “The total number of private boxes is not more than 49,000. Prior to 1993 a private box used to serve 1133 people. Now the ratio is 1: 525 people,” the study discloses.
Khat plant 'boosts sperm power' (BBC)
Mental health fears over khat use
Man gets jail time for khat possession
Their khat deemed legal, couple wants it back
Ethiopian post office to sign deal with int’l carriers
Postal Service to Become Corporation
Postal Agency Suspends 124 Employees, Reshuffles Many