News Round-up

Ethiopia Food Aid at Commodity Exchange
The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange has signed an agreement with food aid donors that will make and increasing part of food aid by purchased through the commercial market point. The UN agency World Food Programme (WFP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), enabling it to take part in auctions to purchase local products. WFP is the major player to act when there is need for food aid in Ethiopia.

The agreement would help WFP to “gain a market in which there are much greater number of suppliers, which for a big buyer is a good thing.” The ECX already has been a great success in helping Ethiopian agricultural products reaching the market and safeguarding trade.

SA Tourism Industry Still Down
New statistics from South Africa show that hotels not yet are getting busier after the financial crisis. Fewer tourists are looking for cheaper accommodation in early 2010, compared to 2009. According to the government agency Statistics South Africa, total income for the country’s accommodation industry in February 2010 decreased by 2.8 percent compared with February 2009.

South Africa, as a long-distance destination, has suffered greatly from the financial crisis and its negative influence on the tourism industry. The industry now pins it hopes on the World Cup, expecting good accommodation prices and fully booked hotels. The new statistics nevertheless present a somewhat positive outlook for the industry.

Uganda to become Investment Hub
Kenya’s position as East Africa’s investment hub is set to come under renewed pressure, economists said, citing sustained high level growth in neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania. Exposure to competition from neighbours is hinged on a recent slowdown in the rate of growth and frequent turbulence in its macro-economic environment from inflation and political risk. Uganda’s economy is expected to grow at the rate of 7.4 percent in 2010 and accelerate to 7.9 percent in 2011, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Investors, among other things, consider the rate of economic growth as key to deciding where they put their money – a reality that makes Kenya less attractive and raises Uganda’s profile as an investment destination that guarantees higher returns.