‘Transfer to Heavy Industry is Critical to Future Expansion’: Ambassador Estifanos

Most of the existing industrial enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa are mostly small scale. The need to shift to heavy industrial scale is critical now. (Photo: FM Kishida of Japan and FM Osman of Eritrea exchanged ideas and opinions on bilateral #TICAD VI cooperation in Nairobi.)

By Ambassador Estifanos Afeworki,

The significance of the industrial sector to national and regional development is very clear. Industrial enterprises diversify the economic activity of the agrarian-dominated production structure of our African countries that is mostly at a subsistence level.

The share of the industrial sector, including manufacturing, mining and construction, ranges in the average of 40 – 50 percent of the GDP of most of the countries in Africa. Though the labor force deployed in this sector remains low (mostly 1 – 2 percent) compared to agriculture and other sectors, its contribution to economic growth is significantly high.

Most of the industrial enterprises in our countries are limited to food, beverages, tobacco and matches, textiles, leather and shoes, metal and woodwork, printing, nonmetallic minerals and chemicals. The colonial legacy of the concentration of economic activities in few limited centers, either in capital cities or seaports, is observed in many of the countries in Africa.

Hence, the balanced industrial regional development policy, if appropriately implemented and assisted through the TICAD process, is key to social stability and employment creation on the African continent.

Most of the existing industrial enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa are mostly small scale. The need to shift to heavy industrial scale is critical now. Therefore, meeting the demands for efficient infrastructure facilities is a key factor for the successful achievements of the African Development Agenda 2063.

The clarion call of Japan and African cooperation in the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) being the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI), know-how and technology to the industrialization, health and social stability of our countries, it is imperative to express and underline the fundamental mutual interest of collaboration in these key areas with Japan in this important summit being held in Africa for the first time.

Local and Japanese experts from Nippon Mining, currently known as JX Nippon Mining & Metals, revealed major sulphide deposits in the areas of Embaderho, Adi Rassi, Debarwa, Adi Nefas, Weki and other areas in Eritrea in the early seventies. Japanese companies have also made several investments in leather, cotton, housewares, aluminum and other small and medium manufacturing enterprises in Eritrea in the late sixties and early seventies.

Japan started the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) for Africa in the early 1970s. The first yen loan agreement was signed with Ethiopia in May 1973. This period coincides with the beginning of Nippon Mining and the above-mentioned investment activities in Eritrea.

As in the past, location, business, resources and partnerships shall still be the cornerstones of the future Japan-Eritrea relations. Eritrea has an established centralized one-stop licensing center to facilitate the speedy formation of business ventures. FDI into the development and utilization of Eritrea’s rich natural and human resources is welcome. Import substituting businesses and the introduction of new technology to enhance and improve production competitiveness and thereby optimize resource exploitation in our country, including expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises and industries, are encouraged.

Eritrea’s prospects for harnessing its natural resources, especially agriculture and fisheries (marine resources) through the enhanced participation of public and private participation of investment from Japan and other partners are most welcome.

Agriculture, industries, fisheries and marine resources, manufacturing, natural resources, tourism, transportation, infrastructure and other services such as banking and insurance are seen as priorities where Eritrea shall give support to ventures from Japan.

Production of food and the export of cereals, animal products and feed, forest products, fruits, vegetables, flowers, hides and leather production, fisheries, boat construction and maintenance, tourism, telecommunications, infrastructure, conference and convention centers, sea and airports, real estate, hospitals and schools that can meet domestic, regional and international demand offer immense opportunities to Japanese companies in Eritrea.

In our preparation for TICAD VI, the African Diplomatic Corps (ADC) has successfully lobbied and solicited support from the public and private sector of Japan through its collective diplomacy. The ADC has successfully engaged itself with the co-organizers, government leaders of Japan, the African Union-Japan Parliamentary Friendship League, the House of Councilors (ODA Committee), Japan Association of Corporate Executives and the Japan Business Federation. Additionally, relationships were made with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Japan External Trade Organization, the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, Nikkei, the Japan Association of Travel agents, as well as with companies, non-governmental and non-profit organizations, media, academia and the Japanese public.

Hence, we expect a good quality level of activities such as diplomatic, political, economic, and cultural exchange events between Japan and African countries in Nairobi as a result.

To conclude, I sincerely hope that the Nairobi TICAD VI summit will help to make Africa and our countries one of the many economic, social, scientific and cultural destinations of Japan in the world.

69 thoughts on “‘Transfer to Heavy Industry is Critical to Future Expansion’: Ambassador Estifanos

  1. Why Japan decides to shift from official Development Assistance to private sector development to implement TICAD 6? What Eritrea stand to gain from TICAD6 given the under developed private sector in the country?

    Have your say.

    1. I hope the banking system becomes transparent than what it is at the moment. I want to see local banks in every small towns in eritrea cos the people are very cautious in practising the buying or selling nature of the market. having in every towns of banking access will allow them speedy withdraw of cash flow and if they don’t deposit cash money back frequently while this service is available then will be held accountable. the government needs to intesifiy their awareness campaign on about how to use bank accounts and how to pay using check books to give common people the knowledge and confidence. hey and I would like the government to move quickly in to heavey industry investment and then the people can participate in the small manufacturing and trading aspects. otherwise every one living on the pay day of the government is not going to do any good for people, development and government institutions.

    2. You raised an important question TN. The private sector in Eritrea is stagnant and contribute very little in to the economy.

      The influx of private investment in the country in the mid 90s was crippled by lack of regulations and un necessary direct government interferance.

      It is imperative GOE lay the rules and regulations to allow private investment initially driven by citizens, I strongly believe this will kick start the stagnant economy. The other sector that needs a fundamental change is the financial sector, without it, the reform in other economic sectors would not bear fruit.

      GOE must start the reform and implement the rules that lay the foundation to kick start the economy.

      Ambassador Estifanos stressed the importance of developing the manufacturing sector, however this proces is hinged on the reforms disussed above. While the trust by foreign players to invest in Eritrea is getting momentum, it is still in the early stages and only in the resource sector, this momentum must be directed in the areas discussed by the ambassador.

      The main driver behind the success in the resource sector is the robust mining law. This success would only be duplicated in other sectors of the economy with the ratification of robust financial and commercial laws which will ensure the development of strong private sector.

      1. very well analysis berhane. the 90s was buzzing with private investment of Eritrean citizens and the government interference after the financial sapping WAR and due to all sort of things happening in Eritrea at the beginning of 2001 which threatened the existence of the nation may be acceptable. But now i think the government is choosing to deal with foreign investors in big industry like mining which is very easily to control and regulate i believe. now the government needs to drift from their comfort zone, work hard very quickly to create investment opportunities for the citizens. HZBINA EYU HABTNA. or there is the saying of our wise fathers and grand fathers. HRES HARESTAY , NGED NEGADAY . thats what exactly we need to give the citizens as the order of the day.

        1. Sir:
          There is no excuse what-so-ever about banning the Private Economy.
          We should let the Citizen do their business and the only thing the GoE could have done was/is to set basic rules and regulations and just collect taxes.
          You can slice or dice it in any way you want it,it is a crime to let down your own citizens, period.
          Do you know what happened to our Business Community after the PFDJ banned them?
          they went to Addis and became worse victims and lost all what they have earned.
          We knew and have known the evil motive of the PFDJ Economics led by the Kishas,etc—

          1. hope I am not sure which once are the obvious or deliberate reason of PFDJ, I would love to hear what’s really frustrating you .

          2. Sir,
            Why are you shy or afraid to tell the truth as you are debating with a nick name?
            Are you telling me that there is a Private Sector of our economy in Eritrea?
            If so,where is the evidence?
            If not,why not?

          3. I think you are very angry at some thing. I clearly stated my opinion that private sector in eritrea is none existen which is owned by citizens.

          4. He is so angry because he has lost the money invested in ALLANA POTASH in Ethiopia. Google MINING.COM and under ” allana potash sold to Israel chemical for $137 million ” you would find his comment posted for loosing his money. I have never considered him as eritrean. In previous post he always bragged about Ethiopia economy and how many schools, hospitals and industries built in agame land. To me he is another AGAME!

          5. Selam TN:
            Are you that much cheap and down?
            I thought you know by now as who the Eritrean Hope is,not the one you quoted.
            So,are you telling me that you are not angry and rather happy by how the GoE has mishandled our business?
            Come on,man.
            Call a spade, a spade.
            Injustice is injustice no matter how you slice or dice it.
            You could do better.
            The Eritrean Hope has no business with you Alana Potash.
            it has been the Eritrean Hope,who has been proudly boasting about the Culluli Potash and Red Sea Dam among others!
            That is what I am talking about.Mr TN.
            Name calling and character assassination have been your Modus Operandi against those,who show up with a different opinion, the TYPO Modus Operandi of your PFDJ Gang.
            I guess that is why some baptized you/your nick is ” Enda Siwa” web or Enda Siwa Forum.
            For God’s sake,how many dawits,truths,ect–have used those nick names?

          6. TN:
            Either you post my response or remove that false allegation.
            How do you rule out that there are other people with a name called Hope?
            How many dawits,birhanes,etc–do you know?
            Your logic is not only fallacious but defamatory and devoid of common sense.
            That is what I am talking about.
            Defamation and character assassination at its/their best!
            Even if it was me, who said that, what is wrong with that correct and reasonable comment besides being accurate and correct from a concerned business man ?
            That Hope could be a Foreigner/a Western Investor rather than an “Agame”,
            Basically since that person has his own opinion that is different from yours, in the world of TN and its Forumers,that person should be an Agame or anti PFDJ..
            Yirdakum wo Yirhamkum as you have a long way to go.

          7. perhaps he is agame . why would some one invest in potash mining of ethiopia while there is a better option and potentiall in eritrea.? lool

          8. Listen dude:
            It is ok to side and support your government when needed from national Security point of view(ext threat)but it is NOT OK to side with and support the government when it does things against the National Interest of the Nation and its citizens…
            Do not ask me what those issues against the National Interest…

      2. Well said Berhane.
        That has been m ylament since a long time ago that the banning and crippling of the Private Sector of our Economy as well as the Private Education Sector have contributed to our current problems including but not limited to the Youth Exodus.
        We all have known that and the GoE/the PFDJ has known it from the get to go and has even directly banned both Sectors DELIBERATELY for obvious reasons.!
        We have directly challenged the PFDJ officials in Washington DC but only to get a lame answer.
        Let us calla spade a spade and walk the talk.
        We have to challenge the System legitimately as a nation’s Economy cannot grow with out the Private Sector.
        Look what the Bank is doing to the business community.
        How can one make business with only 5000Nacfa per month?
        My own family cannot survive with 5000 nacfa.
        Where are those 80% of Sawa Grads are going to do if only 20 % of High School Grads have an access to College, where 5-10 % of those “lucky” ones are only to drop off or to be kicked out…?
        No Private Sector of the economy, no Private Education, No family values or any chance to have a family,no future,etc—then what?
        This is a serious issue of national Security Interest that needs a serious debate and immediate solution….

        1. Selamat hope

          I agree with some of the assertions but I think you are pooling statistical figures out of your imagination. Have you been back home lately?

          Your 20% is wrong so is your 5-10% who get “kicked” out. As for family value I don’t know what you mean?

          There is no total ban of private businesses in Eritrea…what we are.discussing is establishing a solid ground for strong economic future.

          Let’s focus on what what next rather than being consumed by what could have been.

          1. Selam Berhane:I ma glad that at least you agreed partially.
            The 20 % is indeed true though I missed the 5%(25%);the 5-10 % drop out is TRUE.
            Family Values and Future Life:
            You can blame the TPLFor the CIA or the UN but the prolonged and messy National Service has lead to the disruption of family System, and by default, Family Values, along with lack of Job and enough Education Opportunities, etc–
            -The STD(sexually transmitted Diseases) rate has dramatically increased—and the HIV rate reported by the GoE is not as accurate /good as it is reported
            -Divorce rate in Eritrea has exponentially increased, which used to be a taboo.
            -Teen Pregnancy and single-motherhood have exponentially increased-/sky-rocketed.
            -Teen substance abuse/alcohol abuse sky-rocketed
            -Promiscuous Sexual behavior has become a NORM.
            Do you need more?
            You are entitled to blame the TPLF or the UN,but that is the fact and your argument should be about seeking solutions…not about belittling the facts.
            Now, if you deny those facts and ignore them, then your and that of dawit’s economic data and related arguments are fake and bogus.
            Yes,we might be talking about the past issues but we have to correct the past mistakes so as to have a better today and tomorrow.
            We have a legitimate Right as well as an Obligation to question things and to challenge the our government reasonably and legitimately.
            No more passivity and silence or indifference.
            Who said that our Politicians are perfect and Angels?..
            We are asking for a minimum Policy Modifications so as to come up with better and alternative solutions, which is the least we deserve.
            If we have had a say during the last 20-25 years, we would not be in the situation we are in and to ignore the past mistakes and keep being silent is but destructive.
            make no mistake that I am not ignoring the negative role of our enemies but about our role….
            What do you expect form an enemy?
            Blessing, favoritism, etc..?

          2. African mamba, you’re still posting in this site. You’re not true eritrean, but agame. You suck when it comes investment and to my surprise you try to be expert in this area. I think you have learnt your investment skills from woyane as they were called IQ 63 in this site, that was the reason you lost your allana potash investment. You’re spitting every dirt and misinformation at Eritrea because of loosing investment in Ethiopia and the minority government is collapsing which is more investment loss for you. Sucks to be you, SNAKE!

          3. FYI: Hope=Tesfa–as I am being blocked for using Hope as a nick since an hour ago.
            That is cowardly.
            Cheap cheat?
            A TN Web Editor calling names?
            Enda Siwa,indeed.

    3. It may be true developing heavy industries in Africa as a good idea, however that requires heavy dose of energy. The energy resources in most African countries is minuscule compared to its demand. Take for example Eritrea, the amount of electrical energy available in the country is very minimal. It is hard to run a simple bar to run a coffee machine the whole day. Before we talk about heavy industry our priority at this stage should be development of ample electrical power supply to all regions of the country. Japan could help African countries to develop their energy and water resource, to be followed by light and heavy industrial development. Once the Energy sector develops then Africa can export finished or semi-finished industrial product to the rest of the world instead of being exporter of simply raw natural resources, which was the policies of colonial administrations in Africa. Eritrea could export copper or zinc metal or products than simply shipping copper or zinc ore to be processed in other industrial countries as we do it now. We don’t have a choice because we do not have the electrical energy to process the ore.

      Finally I don’t believe there is a deliberate government policies to stifle private businesses in Eritrea. We just have to look at it from the political history of the nation’s survival strategy. As the political environment improves in our neighborhood the private business sectors will flourish. That could explain why right after independence there was vibrant private investment climate in the country, Therefore Japan could help the region to improve the political climate in the region to develop more private businesses in Eritrea and the rest of Horn of African countries.

      1. yep very true. I personally think the Japanese don’t have political influence to improve the political climate in africa. but one thing is clear the government in eritrea doesn’t not have enough bugget to send every eritrean to work because eritrea is a poor country hence create a conducive climate for the citizens to work for them selves when and where it is possible.

        1. No Japan has a major influence in the world because of its economic power. It is one the largest contributors of UN fund and historically UN policies has been hindrance to Eritrea’s independence and economic developments. Again there is no deliberate government policy to discourage Eritreans from working for themselves except there is a standing policy of national service. Once you are through with your national service obligations you can employ yourself in any endeavor you wish. Unfortunately many are engaged to live the country because they assume they could do better in foreign countries, therefore they spend their money, time and energy looking for opportunities outside the country.

          1. dawit:
            No need to insult the Intelligence as some of us have been there and have done and have seen that.
            Here are the hard core facts :
            -Eritreans do need and never asked for UN Funds to develop and to boom Private Economy.
            -If you are the same hero dawit of the Awate.Com,you know better as an Amichie.
            Eritreans never needed UN Funds or any help for that matter,to develop the Ethiopian Infrastructure including that of the Airlines,Tele,Transportation,Tourism and Hotels Business…
            -Eritreans did not require to boom the economy of South Sudan,Angola,Botswana,Uganda,,etc—
            -No one is against the National Service but about its some technical failures and weaknesses.
            -Plus,National Service cannot and should not hinder Private Economy under any circumstance…
            Do not lie..
            The Private Economy was BANNED in 1990s,not in 1998-2001.

          2. Selamat Hope,

            I tend to agree with mikejones you seem to be angry with something. I did not insult anyone’s intelligence, I simply stated my idea and share it in the TesfaNews forum. It seems you are trying to introduce the Awate.com culture which is insulting anyone with whom you disagreed, You are the one accused me of lying!

            Frankly I did not grasp your arguments to discuss the points you raised, UN Fund or Eritreans doing businesses in Uganda, Angola or Ethiopia. What is the connection of these fragmented ideas have to do with what I wrote above?

            Finally you don’t have to know who I am or where I was born or lived, we are not discussing here personalities. We are discussing ideas.

          3. Hope:
            I have been following this discussion and it would be helpful if you can focus on ideas rather than personalities.
            I personally can not understand your point but just want to say that “Amichies” are not predisposed to a particular opinion just by the fact that their were not born in Eritrea. They are humans and come in different forms and do not generalize.

          4. Selam Nick:
            See my response to dawit.
            Nothing personal or political about amichie or any other IDs.
            We are all Eritreans and I respect ideas and opinions of others and would expect the same from others..
            “Do not treat others the way you do not want to be treated and/or treat others the same way you would like to be treated”
            .Courtesy of Jesus Christ.

          5. Selamat back to you Bro dawit:
            -Yes I am angry for lots of reasons including about your passive and permissive excuses in favor of the GoE’s mistakes and weaknesses..
            -My Point about the UN Funds,etc- was in ref to Eritreans NOT needing/requiring any Fund or help from any entity as you attempted to make excuses about the UN blocking Funds to develop our Private Economic sector.
            -As far as my ref to “amichie ” is concerned, I was not talking about Amichies in general but about dawit specifically enquiring about the “dawit,the amichie of the awate.com” that I know and if that was you or not.
            .Nothing more,Nothing less;and it is unfair to twist things for your convenience ;and FYI,I am a PROUD Amichie.How about that Sir?
            -As far as the culture of the awate.com is concerned,I am one of its victims as well as the sole antagonist of that culture
            As a matter of fact, I have found the Pro-Gov webs like TN and madote to have a worse culture as all the former here will baptize you as an Agame if you express a different opinion.
            Madote mostly deletes my comments ,BTW and I appreciate TN’s Tolerance.
            I am the one ,who advised the TN to ban filthy and vulgar language here and to develop a decent Forum where the Pro Gov and Opposition Camps debate constructively as it is the only decent Pro Gov web that attempts to have a better and constructive debate about our affairs.

          6. trust me dawit there is no enough annual budget that the government can pump into the system that can keep bussy the young citizens. the ratio of the money the government has for the fiscal year to the population of the country it is too small hence people has to look elsewhere where for opportunities or stand around in the mountains . look at Qatar they have so much money but so few population so they have to invest it else where as the money is too much for that small country. and if all of us had stayed in eritrea I am sure the government would have taken different policy to that of youth in indefinite national service as it is impossible for a government to feed and provide mentainance to the whole people of a nation .

      2. Selamat Dawit

        I agree whole heartedly to move into industrialisation requires ample energy supply.

        I strongly stress and I associate the shortgae with the luck of viable economic policy which focuses on driving the economy. I also think that power, not only in Eritrea, all over Africa is managedesigned poorly, even when there is enough capacity this is due to the lack of private players in the areas of infrastructure. If the plants are built by the government then the government could sell not to retailers, I have seen this work like a magic in many western countries.

        While privatisation is not a necessary fix for all our economic problems I believe GOE could design an economic policy that strike the ballance between private and government.

        1. Selamat Berhane
          I believe there is a robust Economic policy that allows both private and government participation with emphasis to social justice in Eritrea. There have been several efforts to encourage local private and Foreign Investment in the country. Even though some may criticize the government national service as ‘Slavery’ but it is laying important infrastructures for economic take off. Roads, Schools, Clinics, Water catchment dams, Soil conservation practices such as building terraces and planting trees etc. are pursued aggressively as part of the economic policy of the nation. Some of these development efforts may not be realized in the immediate short run horizon, but for sure they will improve the economic situation of the country in the long run. Economic development in general is a slow process, unless a country is fortunate to have peace and endowed with vast oil reserves like few countries in the Middle East like Qatar or Saudi Arabia, where you can buy the manpower and capital you need from the rest of the world. We need to look at our economy as half full rather than half empty.

          1. Selamat Dawit

            The economic policy that exists must be enhanced, it has been more Than 15 years since we have seen it. Even if we argue that it is used then it still needs to be upgraded as there is no economic activity to speak of.

            The national service from my point of view should be primarily focused on supporting itself, meaning strength the defence forces capabilities. Then may be assist in infrastructure. We can’t depend on it to push the entire economy. Example, Egyptians do have national service and the army uses this “slave” labour effectively and supply and even export agricultural and other goods. They produce large amount of value added agricultural products, this stabilises the local market and it is working for them. And once you complete your service you are out..people don’t stay because the pay is meager.

            While i agree on the idea that national service lay the foundation for the future, the absence of significant private players is stagnating the economy. Also while Egypt had a long standing structure we could take a leaf or two from thier experience.

          2. SelamBirhane:
            That was my point in a nut shell albeit made “angrily”, which you should understand by now as to why I am angry.
            We are on the same page–minus your diplomatic approach from my end-learning!.

          3. that is the current policy bixay dawit but please answer us the questions below as a discussion if you have deeper knowledge. how will the government continue to create financial power to advance those social justice.?? what happened to the 2012 AWAJ to privatize many sectors?? As a concerned citizen will you explain why those robust economic policy efforts didn’t revitalised the private sector to take of or if they did explain in what way??

        2. sure it might not be a necessary fix or it might be but one thing sure that when people started earning money and supporting themselves then start paying tax then the economy is working. but if every one is surviving of a government then that’s backwardness. if it wasn’t for the money we send from diaspora to our parents I am telling you there would not be economy then no economy leafs to failer of national security. basically the order of the day of the government is don’t do that don’t do this. That’s pity. for example we need to allow the people trade with sudan freely , all the goods come through that border is contraband. why?

          1. Hi Mkejones

            Dawit raised a crucial point, which is the shortage of funds without it nothing happens. There are private sectors functioning really well and this must.be encouraged. What we with is more of it with significant investment and this will be achieved when there is a conducive environment. This environment is created by laying out the rules. That is still pending. we all need to urge the government to do just that.

          2. berhane I am impressed by your responses ! I think the diaspora has the capacity just to do that. people in diaspora has enough professional knowledge, skills and qualifications to deliver a quality advice to add a force to the really good current government policy. I think his excellency minster Yemane Ghebrab needs to intesifiy his efforts with the diasporas to make this happen. His job shouldn’t be just merly telling as what is happening over there but take back some constructive concers and implement if possible.

          3. Selamt dears Berhane and mikejones,

            I believe we are more or less on the same page when it comes to the present economic situation in Eritrea. Our difference may be to what extent is the government policy encourages the private sector involvement in the economy.

            I am in total agreement with Berhane that we need a transparent rules and commercial regulation for the
            country. It is unfortunate the decent trade culture in the country was replaced by the introduction of ‘Air-By-Air’ corrupt trading culture by the Derg regime in Ethiopia including in Eritrea. It is a corrupt system of trading where
            traders and regulators collude to create an artificial shortages by hording traded good to inflate the prices to consumers. Tthe huge profit is shred with government regulators paid as kickback to look the other way to the illegal activities. Unfortunately I believe such corrupt culture is still lingering in Eritrea today even after 25 years of independence of the country. I guess it could be one of the reasons why the government is still involved in the some retail businesses especially for some of essential items.

            On the cross border trade with Sudan, I totally agree with
            both of you it should be encouraged and expanded. It is the one activity that saved the Eritrean economy from collapsing as was predicted by the doomsday economists during and right after the border war with Ethiopia. They were predicting
            the Eritrean economy to collapse in a matter of weeks or months. Remember there was the so called the Sanaa Agreement among Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen to suffocate
            the Eritrean economy. But thanks to the wise and quick decision by Eritrean government to reach a political settlement with Sudan and Yemen that shattered the planed conspiracy of economic blockade. That decision has replaced practically all the trade that existed between Eritrea
            and Ethiopia with Sudan, shattering the myth that existed for decades since 1940s claiming that ‘Eritrean economy could not stand by itself without being an appendage to Ethiopian economy! It is also the activity that made the UN
            economic sanction conspiracy null and void as planned to bring régime change in Eritrea by pseudo nationalists and their foreign recruiters.

            Now what makes a cross border trade a ‘Contraband trade’ or an illegal trade practice? I believe it is a legitimate free trade practice, the difference being that the importers do not pay tariff or tax to the government. I have a very radical concept on taxation than most orthodox economists thinking that I may not be able to discuss it thoroughly in this
            forum. But suffice to say that I believe there should not be any kind of taxation on imports or any petty trading activities in the country. If there is a need for taxation by the government it should be a direct tax on income base of
            the citizens and not an indirect tax on economic activities. All goods should be imported free of tax, but should pass through government inspection so that expired items like food and drugs not to enter the country or prevent illegal drugs or weapons to enter the country for health and national security reasons.

          4. dawit:
            Please nezi shenkolol and kemish adey hanquiluni excuse nighuenni ghidefo.
            Why are you talking about Derghi 25 years later?
            Corruption is universal.
            Talk about the deadly corruption in the PFDJ era.
            Remember the saga of Gen Wuchu vs Gen Philipos “war” and between their proxy business Reps?
            What about the Power and Economic corruption of the other Generals and the Midlevel Officers, who have been involved in Human Trafficking including Organ Harvesting, besides cruising the Youth to the Sudan through their Land cruisers..
            In the world of dawil et al,this is a blessing and kidus tegbar rather than a serious curse and crime against the National Security Interest of Eritrea.
            We do not need 25 years to proclaim basic Trade Rules and Regulations.
            An Inclusive and Revised Constitution could have done the job but it was killed/dead,we were told.
            You seem to have an MSc in Economics but…you are acting like a Second Grader here besides insulting the Intelligence..
            As a certain mikejones stumbled, coordinating and agitating the Diaspora could have done the job…financially and Human Resources wise….rather than running the Nation by Trial and Error and an anarchy-like approach.
            The old styled paranoia and greedy approach and corrupted way of doing business by the PFDJ should be stopped NOW and let the Citizens take over,as Eritreans can do MIRACLES over night as they have succeeded to build the infrastructure of the Giant Ethiopia in particular and that of the whole S East Africa in general.
            We are asking for a simple Policy Modifications so that the Citizens in particular and the Foreign Investors in general can have some chance to do the business.
            Still keeping old and ghetto-like businesses like Selam Hotel by the Government is,what now?
            Indeed,it is beyond corruption…and monopoly.

          5. Want to add another the Sudan Ere border trade situation. I agree with you the trade between people at the borders can not be and should not be banned…I was in Teseney recently and I can tell you can’t stop it but you can try. The main issue for me is that when the trade is significantly higher it needs to be done properly using foreign currency or the two governments need to sign an agreement for exchanging thier respected currency…this will allow bother governments to collect tax…I think this is the heart of the issue. This is the issue that caused millions of Nakfa to be held in the Sudanese side and that is not good for us….again this also come down to rules and regulations.

    1. who thinks tesfanews is qualified enough to influence or give advice to eritrean government on policies that tesfanews thinks will benefit the government and people going forward. raise your hand up . lol

      1. I believe Tesfanews is an Eritrean website that allows Eritreans and others to discuss that concerns them. A good example of that is this topic that we are currently discussing the article written by Eritrean Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador Estifanos Afeworki. But on the question of if Tesfanews qualified to give advice to GOE, I say yes and why not? I think anybody could give advice to GOE if he/she has a good idea that will benefit Eritrea. Good ideas can originate from anyone and not necessarily only from an academic expert with PhDs or MBAs.

  2. Japan takes aid show to Africa, in China’s shadow

    Shingo Ito•August 27, 2016


    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the Tokyo International Conference on African Development conference on August 26, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya

    Nairobi (AFP) – Japan takes its aid and trade show to Africa on Saturday, opening a huge two-day development conference in Kenya, hoping that quality will trump quantity in the battle for influence against cash-rich China.

    It will be the first time that the conference, known as TICAD — the Tokyo International Conference on African Development — has taken place in Africa, with all five previous events hosted in Japan.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — fresh from an appearance as Super Mario at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony — will use the opportunity to meet with dozens of leaders from across Africa, among them Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma.

    Officials say the Japanese premier will use the two-day gathering to unveil aid and investment projects, including those related to healthcare.

    Speaking on the eve of the meeting, Kenyatta said the focus would be on industrialisation, health and stability.

    “We know that most nations which escape the grip of poverty do so by industrialising. Africa still has not lived up to its potential,” he said.

    “Development is not something that will happen to Africa, it is Africans themselves who will win the freedom and prosperity they deserve.”

    Abe pledged that Japan’s “high-quality technology and human resource development” would support industrialisation, including in agriculture.

    “The key to economic growth is industrialisation,” he said.

    – Eclipsed by China –

    Tokyo has a well-established presence in Africa, but its financial importance to the continent has long since been eclipsed by regional rival China.

    The world’s second-largest economy — a resource-hungry giant — recorded total trade with Africa of about $179 billion in 2015, dwarfing Japan’s approximately $24 billion.

    “Japan has a sense of rivalry with China, which has provided large-sized assistance,” said Koichi Sakamoto, professor of regional development studies at Toyo University.

    “Since Japan can’t fight China in terms of amounts of cash, it needs to stress quality,” Sakamoto added.

    This weekend’s meeting is the sixth edition of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD. The forum was first convened in 1993 and, until now, has always been held in Japan.

    The move to Africa this year came at the behest of the host continent, but also reflects a drive to bolster Japanese clout as the modern-day Scramble for Africa gathers momentum.

    The European Union, China, India, South Korea, and Turkey have similar aid ventures to court African leaders as they look for a slice of the continent’s resources and its burgeoning markets.

    But as a relatively early entrant, Tokyo’s role has proved invaluable to Africa.

    As well as diplomats and politicians, TICAD will also gather business executives and other participants from Japan and Africa in what Abe hopes will be a boost to two-way trade.

    But enthusiasm may be dampened by security concerns over some of Africa’s more lawless areas.

    Such danger was driven home in 2013 when a gas plant in Algeria built by a Japanese company was overrun by Islamist gunmen, who killed 40 people, including 10 Japanese.

    There is also the growing threat from radical Islamist groupings, such as the Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists as well as the Shabaab group — which is active in Kenya.



    1. Hummmm bring it on I guess Ambassador Estifanos should get busy to get part of this money particularly on improving fishing related infrastructure to tap into the over 80,000 tonnes of our capacity to fish and boost export.

      1. The fish market alone will be worth it because we’re only exploiting 5%. IF we train 1,000 new professional fishers and equipped them with neccessary resources, we could see a booming fishery market and also integrated into our diet. More DHA content = Higher IQ & Longer Life. Let’s press on!

  3. Dear Berhane I think your question is reasonable but war aftermuthe and the uncertainty of no war no peace is one of the many opstacles and the slaw recovery of the national economy and the unhealthy greedy attitude of merchants and other regional and international poletical hostage had not been given a robust atmosphere to reconsider and readjustment of encouragement for fostering the private sector . Now when we See the recovering of the national economy we have the opportunity to restore the private sector . We will have better chance to market compititions . Now I think we will over come from all odds.

    1. thank you bixay Gere . there is a saying called ኣለም ብተስፋ። and you are on point on that one. But a government is there to crack on mischievous merchants and regulated but not ban every thing. lately for example the government is going around towns and checking banking account books of people with business licences if they have deposited back in the last 6 months. so this is good regulation but in the other hand there is a pity interference to merchants just simply baning goods movement among people. now you said “when we see the economy recovering” explain how that’s going to happen just for discussion and idea sharing. thanks

      1. Thanks all open minded brothers ዓለም ብተስፋ ዲኻ ኢልካያ mikejones optimism is always must come first as the same time i will express my appriciation to all of you for sharing different ideas and proposals. ቀጽልዎ ጽቡቅ ኣስተምህሮ እዩ።

      2. The already investment of mining is on the place and the ongoing explore of mining industries which had been given a revenue to our natianal economy plas a health governmental institutions can be creating the way for econoy recovery. An economic recovery is a period of increasing business activity signaling the end of a recession. Much like a recession, an economic recovery is not always easy to recognize until at least several months after it has begun. Economists use a variety of indicators, including gross domestic product (GDP), inflation, financial markets and unemployment to analyze the state of the economy and determine whether a recovery is in progress.

  4. Very interesting discussion. But why are some of you making it sound that there is absolutely no private business in Eritrea? Are you telling me that the thousand of small business places that are all over are not private?

    There is an absence of “major private enterprises”. Is that why some of you are adamant that there is no private business? Am I misreading some of you? Do you equate “private business” with “major private enterprises”?

    My understanding is that the GOE is working on a Commercial Law to be proclaimed, but in my opinion without a sound Banking System the commercial reforms will be hindered no matter what is written on paper. We are entering a stage of economic reform and legal reforms, but it will take time. The monetary reforms promulgated at the end of 2015 were only the beginning of what we will see over the next decade.

    I prefer reforms to be done slowly and in stages, because the current Eritrean infrastructure cannot handle major reforms all at the same time. So the staged approach of the GOE is the best for the long term. Also the current major “infrastructural” investments being made by the GOE will benefit private businesses in the future.

    The current external and internal political and social dynamics cannot be discounted. it is not just about monetary reforms and “private businesses”. So then lets have a more expansive view of the issues as our future is very brights. Interesting discussion nonetheless.

    1. Dear TGY

      I like your optimistic view of our future. Indeed our futures is very bright. Our economic trajectory is upward and its direction is forward. Like you I like changes to come on stages. I believe GOE so far was emphasizing on Food Security, Education and Healthcare along infrastructure building for the nation which are all collectively prerequisite for a rapid and healthy economic transformation. I also hope the political climate in our neighborhood will improve greatly especially for our neighbors in the south, to find a safe landing from the current crises they found themselves plunged in. I pray they walk away from conflicts within themselves and with their neighbors and work for mutual peace and development for all people in the region. We have plenty of natural resources in our region to lift up everyone from poverty if only we establish peace for all.

      Thank you

    2. Hi TGY

      It is true there are many small private businesses. However, you said

      “My understanding is that the GOE is working on a Commercial Law to be proclaimed, but in my opinion without a sound Banking System the commercial reforms will be hindered no matter what is written on paper. We are entering a stage of economic reform and legal reforms, but it will take time. The monetary reforms promulgated at the end of 2015 were only the beginning of what we will see over the next decade”

      Reform is done in stages, but what we are asking at this time of our history is for the GOE to immediately ratify the commercial and financial legislations, I strongly believe if we going to lay the foundation for the decades to come then we need to start now. Besides GOEs role ahould/will be to regulate the economic activities and adjust the policy as they see it fit. Having to ratify the rules does not mean there will be an influx of large private investment in the country, it will take time for that to happen (even though I don’t mind it). We need few rules and regulations…on commerce, finance, energy, tourism, free trade zone to name few. I personally will not discount what GOE achieved in the ever changing geopolitics of the region, In conjunction we need to spread the mining success into other sectors. I believe it is time.

  5. I don’t want generalize but the private sector to past experience in certain number was incorrect toward the GoE and the People in general, i remember the reason why some construction companies was banned, cause there was a lot of bad habits on the taxation system and other bad habits..so one noble thing is that as much as possible we should not bring from out-side or withing the culture of corruption. The gov. of Eritrea probably is challenged to this sense..PRIVATE HELL’NA YEDLEYO IYU, B NETXA KOYNU KESEREH, KESEREQ YEBELUN, WEY KESESEH..

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