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  • Alternative serving, snack & drink on the streets

     

     

    From the small fried fish that were sold on the streets of ancient Greece to the stir-fried noodles of modern day Bangkok, street food has been part of society for millennia.

    People from all walks of life eat street food and street food vending is found all around the world, but varies greatly between regions and cultures. Nowadays it is become common in Ethiopia, observes Meheret-Selassie Mokonnen.

    Etfruit, The Ethiopian Fruit and Vegetables Marketing Share Company, is probably one of the local companies that most Ethiopians are well-acquainted with. Many had shared the mangos, oranges, bananas and other fruits sold in the small Etfruit containers scattered all over Addis Ababa. 

    With 16 branches across Ethiopia, it was the most prominent fruit and vegetable provider until selling fruits on a wheelbarrow started to become common on the streets of Addis. Even though the street vendors are always getting in trouble with law enforcement officers, they have contributed a lot in terms bringing fruit and vegetable to the doorsteps of urban dwellers. 

    The street fruit and vegetable market extended to French fries, samosa, doughnut, cookies and other snacks over the past decade. With a growing number of people living in cities and the hectic work hours, many started to consume these relatively less expensive fast foods. 

    Eating on the streets hasn’t always been “accepted” in Ethiopian customs; however, the modern way of life seems to have transcended the norm. Consequently, especially at nights, the streets of Addis are being flooded with the fast spreading fast foods. 

    Given most of the vendors lack knowledge of healthy food preparation and the unsanitary streets of Addis, street food has been predestined to being a cause for food-related diseases. Nevertheless, there is a completely different reality regarding street food in other countries. Even in Nairobi, capital of neighboring Kenya, it is common to come across fast foods on the streets, including fried chicken. 

    Buying foods or drinks from the streets is extolled in other parts of the world as it saves time and one can get fresh products. Trying to transform the street food culture in Ethiopia, some private companies have recently started selling snacks and hot drinks with a better service than what people were used to. 

    On one of the busiest streets of Addis, Bole Edna mall area, cars and people walking by line up early in the morning. They wait for the arrival of two cars that have the label Bama Coffee written on them. 

    The founder of Bama coffee, Daniel Tesfaeyesus, and his employees hurriedly cut the fresh home-baked banana cake while serving coffee and macchiato. After a minute or so their customers head to their respective offices with a hot drink in a takeaway cup.  Bama started off by serving coffee and macchiato in meetings and conferences.

    The founder then decided to start selling drinks and snacks on the streets considering the time constraint many have to deal with especially when it comes to sitting down and dining during rush hours. 

    “We want people to know it is possible to get snacks and hot drinks within a short period of time. It takes us around thirty seconds to serve everything,” Daniel explains. He wants to change the perception of people when it comes to getting foods or drinks from the streets to be consumed on the way to work. 

    In this day and age, lots of people work two or three jobs and they prefer anything that is served as quick as possible. In this regards, companies like Bama strive to be the alternative service providers as opposed to cafés and restaurants. 

    “Besides the quick service, foods and drinks on the streets are inexpensive. For example, we sell all our hot drinks and snacks for 12 birr,” Daniel says.

    He is not oblivious to the fact that anything consumed from the streets has been considered unhygienic and unhealthy in the past. Many people have been hospitalized as a result of consuming street food.  “It is up to the service providers to make sure everything is clean. From the type of oil we use, to the place we work, store and serve at, we keep everything to the maximum standard,” he elaborates. 

    Let alone start-up food and drink, vendors on the streets, hotels and restaurants with huge names have been accused of serving contaminated food and operating in hazardous kitchens. In tlight of that, people say that it is up to the government to inspect the street vendors before licensing their companies.  According to Daniel, providing healthy snacks is their priority as they try to keep everything natural. He says they create doughnuts with various flavors and always try to come up with something new.

    They have a delivery service to offices that are in close proximity to their trucks and they have also started a coffee bar at Morning Star Mall.  “We will have a bigger market once the culture of consuming snacks and drinks from the streets becomes more popular in the Ethiopian,” he states, confirming street vendors are responsible in changing people’s mindset by providing clean products. 

    Bama has been in business for nine months now and the founder says they have had a good feedback from consumers so far. He also believes street food is an untapped market and companies providing a hygienic service have a chance of being profitable. 

    Other busy areas such as the road from the National Theater to Leghar and Mercato will be their following target markets. 

    Conversely, he notes, there are complications when it comes to working on the streets of Addis. “We have a license from the Ministry of Trade. But, we constantly clash with law enforcements since there is no clear demarcation to where we can work,” he explains. 

    As Daniel explains, street vending has a licensing section; however, selling on streets from vehicles is ambiguous as they can travel from one place to the other. He believes having a clear administrative laws and a common understanding with law enforcers will smoothen their work environment. 

    According to a research entitled “Hygienic and Sanitary Practices of Street Food Vendors in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia” written by Temesgen Eliku for the Department of Environmental Science, College of Natural and Computational Sciences in Wollega University, the quality of raw materials, food handling and storing activities are major factors that affect the safety of street food. 

    Bearing in mind the increasing number of street vendors, he recommends they should be cautious when it comes to choosing the environment they work around. In his research, he found out that most of them work in the presence of insects, gaseous pollutants from air, dirt particles and domestic animals. 

    “Street foods are at high risk of contamination. They are sometimes stored at unsuitable temperatures and sold from vending sites which include kiosks, make-shift accommodation, and push carts as well as other temporary structures,” he points and highlights food handling, storage and serving should be regulated. 

    He concludes, cities like Addis Ababa that are rapidly growing in size and population and also characterized by “people on the move” make a conducive environment for the street food business, if the vendors provide healthy snacks and drinks. 

    Lewam Haile, 28, has traveled to various African and European countries and one of the exciting things she mentions is finding inexpensive foods on the streets. She says almost everyone purchases hot drinks from the streets every morning. 

    She has bought coffee from Bama a few weeks ago and a snack from a truck located around Bole. “I like buying snacks or drinks from the streets mostly because I believe it is a wonderful idea given Addis is a huge city and needs lots of similar services,” she explains. 

    Like many locals she believes that not all street vendors provide healthy foods and drinks. “Anyone can tell if the vendors are providing clean products or not. However, there are some circumstances that are difficult to tell,” she says. 

    According to Lewam, the city will require more street food, with the influence of a modern way of living. She says the existence of street vendors will familiarize people with the idea of street consumption.

    She also hopes to see trucks that move around town selling ice cream, burgers and other fast foods since it could be a promising business as well.

    Source From - The Reporter of Ethiopia

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  • The captivating Wangfujing Street of Beijing nights

     

     

     

    The capital of China, Beijing, is the most populous capital city in world. Most agree that it is a mega city with more than 3,000 years of history. However, the 21th century Beijing is truly a unique blend of the old and the new.

    Centuries-old sanctuaries and present-day high-rise buildings with its neon lights are part and parcel of the Beijing skyline. Still, the night life is where Beijing shines the brightest, observes Meheret-Selassie Mokonnen. 

    It is almost midnight; nonetheless, China’s capital Beijing is as lively as the daytime – if not more. While visiting one of the most vibrant cities in the world, one cannot help but stay awake to get the best of a pleasant night out. 

    With more than 3,000 years of history, the city has centuries-old sanctuaries and present-day high-rise buildings.  Among several spots that are recommended to be visited during night-time, Wangfujing Street tops the list offering countless activities. 

    From a pedestrian street to dynamic night market, shopping malls to strip clubs, bookstores to fried scorpion-on-a-stick, you name it – Wangfujing has it all.  Wangfujing, literally translated to mean ‘prince's mansion well’, is one of the well-known touristy streets in Beijing. The name was driven from prince’s residences which were built in the area during Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). 

    The street, which is located in Dongcheng district of the capital, has been a commercial center for locals and tourists since the middle of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).  Though Wangfujing is essentially buzzing 24/7, the night life is more captivating. Not only this street, but most of the city’s best moments can be caught after sunset. 

    Wangfujing is one of the traditional downtown areas of Beijing and until the late 1990s it was open to traffic. Nowadays it is a pedestrian street, which helps to thoroughly observe endeavors of the area.  Bartenders of strip clubs in the area are usually overzealous and most of them walk around outside to summon passersby.

    They go on and on about what their club offers as opposed to the others. The clubs are made of a see-through glass and anyone can see the dancers hopping on the stripper poles. Customers choose the best clubs by looking at the dancers from outside of the clubs.  The clubs on this street are more public as opposed to the so called sex pubs which are more underground.

    They are discrete in a sense of ‘what happens in Beijing stays in Beijing’ kind of way. In these private pubs, although most of the waiters don’t speak much English, they try to elaborate their services using Mandarin and little English.  The 810-meter-long walking street fuses traditional stores and modern shopping malls.

    It includes two book stores—Wangfujing bookstore and Foreign Languages bookstore—which are over five decades old. It is pleasing to see many customers going from one shelf to the other in search of books published in China and imported from other countries. 

    The entire street, embroidered with squares, grasslands, flower beds, fountains, ornamental columns and sculptures is often full of people. Not being bothered by vehicles, walking on the street gives some sense of freedom as one walks in the middle of the road.

     

    Source - The Ethiopian Reporter News

     

     

     

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  • Kilinto pharmaceutical industrial park reaches 75/100 completion

     

     

    Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, December 23, 2017 (FBC) – About 75 percent of the Kilinto pharmaceutical industrial park project has been completed, said the Ethiopian Industrial Park Development Corporation (EIPDC).

    The industrial park is under construction on 270 hectares of land at Kilinto, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, by the China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group at a cost of 5.5 billion birr (approximately $203.7 million) loan secured from the World Bank. 

    According to the Corporation, the construction of the park will be completed in the coming three months. 

    Ethiopia import about 80 percent of its medicines from abroad, ENA said.  The construction of the park would help the country to generate foreign currency, besides meeting local demands, the Corporation said. 

    Translated and posted by Amare Asrat

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  • Ethio-China economic, trade and cultural cooperation forum kicks off

     

    Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, December 21, 2017 (FBC) - The Ethio-China Economic, Trade and Cultural Cooperation Forum kicked off yesterday in Hangzhou, China in the presence of State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael, leading a high-level Ethiopian delegation.

    Temesgen Bogale- Deputy Minister of Industry Ministry, Remadan Ashenafi- Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia, Ambassador Berhane Gebrekirstos-Ethiopian Ambassador to China and Ambassador Mulie Tarakegn- Consul General of Ethiopia in Shanghai were also in attendance. 

    On the occasion, Dr. Aklilu noting the long-standing and strong brotherly relations between the two countries and their common aspirations on various areas of cooperation, praised the government and people of China for playing a prominent role in his country’s economic boom. 

    He said that the  Forum is a will further enhance the multifaceted ties between the two countries. 

    The State Minister has also briefed participants of the Forum Ethiopia’s untapped human and natural resources along with the Government’s encouraging investment schemes. 

    He also stressed on the need to promote South-South cooperation and maintain the “excellent collaboration” within the framework of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), the G-77 and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) among others. 

    Chen Xinhua, Vice Mayor of Hangzhou, stressed on the need to further map out fields of cooperation in different arrays.   

    In similar vein,  Mr Chen An , Deputy Director of Department of Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs said Ethiopia and China have strong and longstanding bilateral relations witnessed on various high-level engagements. 

    Ethiopia and China have enjoyed long-standing relations for many years. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have steadily strengthened a relationship based on their common interests. 

    According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia (MoFA), the two countries have also been and are working closely together in regional and international fora. 

    Posted by Amare Asrat

     

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  • Ethiopia repatriates over 14, 000 migrants from Saudi Arabia - United Arabia Emirates

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that about 14,131 undocumented Ethiopians have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia since November 15, 2017.

    In a press conference issued today, Meles Alem, Spokesperson of MoFA, also said the government has identified the areas where Ethiopian migrants are staying in Libya.

    Ethiopian Embassy in Cairo has been gathering information to protect Ethiopian migrants in Tripoli and Bengazi from being victims of slave trade, he noted.

    He said the next step will be to issue travel documents and return them back to their home. African migrants held in Libyan detention centers are estimated at close to 20,000.

    Speaking on the IGAD-led High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) underway in Addis Ababa, the Spokesperson said that South Sudanese parties are expected to reach on agreements to resolve the crisis in that country.

    The international community will take the necessary measures if the meeting ends without agreement, he said.

    Translated and posted by Amare Asrat

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  • Ethiopia, World Bank sign 470 Mln Dollar financing agreement

     

    Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, December 21, 2017 (FBC) – Ethiopia and the World Bank today signed a financing agreement amounting 470 million US dollars.

    The agreement was signed between Dr Abrham Tekeste, Ethiopian Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation and Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. 

    According to the agreement, 300 million US dollars of the total funding will be utilized to support the government of Ethiopia in its continued efforts to improve the provision of quality education nationwide. 

    Over the past decade, Ethiopia has made positive strides in the education sector, and has significantly improved the quality of teaching and learning conditions in 40,000 primary and secondary schools across the country, the bank said. 

    The remaining 170 million US dollars will be used to boost the contribution of the livestock and fisheries sectors to Ethiopia’s economy. 

    The project will be principally implemented in 58 Woredas (districts) in Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, SNNPR, and Tigray regional states with crosscutting activities of the project having a national coverage. 

    Posted by Amare Asrat

     

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  • JT purchase 30/100 of total shares in Ethiopia’s National Tobacco Enterprise

     

     

    Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, December 21, 2017 (FBC) - Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT) announced today that the JT Group has signed a share purchase agreement of 434 million US dollars with the Ethiopian government for approximately 30% of the total shares in National Tobacco Enterprise Share Company (NTE).

    Today’s agreement brings the JT Group’s share ownership to over 70% of the total number of NTE shares, according to a press release issued by the company. 

    “This significant increase in our ownership of NTE shares reaffirms our strong belief in the company and Ethiopia as an increasingly important place to do business in Africa,” said Eddy Pirard, President and CEO of JTI. 

    “By combining our international and newly acquired local expertise, we are confident that we can take NTE to a new level of growth.”  Since acquiring 40% of NTE’s shares last year, the JT Group, as the largest shareholder, has been contributing to NTE’s growth by leveraging its international experience in the tobacco business. 

    “We would like to express our sincere gratitude towards the government for their trust and for their efficient collaboration in finalizing this transaction,” added Mr. Pirard. 

    Posted by Amare Asrat

     

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