Women’s Savings Groups in Kourittenga Mobilize 750 Million FCFA to Empower Local Economy

Koupèla, Burkina Faso – Women’s savings groups in the Kourittenga province have successfully mobilized an impressive 750 million FCFA, bolstering the local economy and enhancing social cohesion. The funds were celebrated at a provincial fair held on Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Zaogo, under the sponsorship of the wife of His Majesty Naaba Yemdé le Kourit-Yir-Soaba and led by Moctar Ilboudo, the secretary general of Kourittenga province.

According to Burkina Information Agency, Director of Plan International for the Center-East region, the fair aimed to enhance solidarity among women, facilitating not just savings but also access to credit. Since the introduction of the savings group approach in the province in 2012, a total of 1,358 groups with 24,527 members have been established, reflecting significant community engagement and financial empowerment.

Adèle Tirogo, a local weaver and member of the Teg-Wendé group, shared her personal success story at the fair. She highlighted how her involvement in the savings group enabled her to purchase essential materials for her weaving business and even a door for her house. Her participation has allowed her to expand her business, train others, and support her family’s needs, including education and healthcare.

The secretary general, Moctar Ilboudo, praised the initiative for its role in promoting peace and social cohesion. He noted the groups’ effectiveness in collecting local savings, with more than 700 million CFA francs accumulated annually. Ilboudo encouraged members to engage more deeply to meet broader development challenges and revealed plans to organize these groups into a network that could eventually serve as decentralized financial systems.

The event featured a variety of activities, including a women’s cycle race, a donkey race, traditional dances, and a parade of savings groups, highlighting the vibrant community spirit and the significant role of women in the economic and social fabric of Kourittenga.

Ethiopia and Turkey Aim to Boost Trade Ties and Economic Cooperation

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Discussions to enhance trade relations between Ethiopia and Turkey were held between Gebremeskel Chala, Ethiopia’s Minister of Trade and Regional Integration, and Berk Baran, the Turkish Ambassador to Ethiopia. The talks focused on reducing the trade imbalance and increasing Ethiopian agricultural exports to Turkey.

According to Ethiopian News Agency, the meeting underscored the need to bolster business-to-business connections between the private sectors of both nations. Minister Chala invited Turkish companies to invest in Ethiopia, highlighting opportunities as the country continues to open its economy to foreign stakeholders. He also requested Turkey’s support in areas such as trade enhancement, economic development, technology, and capacity building.

Ambassador Baran recognized the strong commercial and cultural relationships that have historically linked the two countries and noted the high demand for Ethiopian products like coffee and leather goods in Turkey. To further promote economic ties, both officials agreed to establish a joint economic commission. This body will function as a central platform to deliberate on trade and economic issues, facilitating deeper bilateral engagement.

Ethiopia Sees Over 300,000 Citizens Secure Jobs Abroad in Ten Months

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s Minister of Labor and Skills, Muferihat Kamil, announced that approximately 301,000 Ethiopians have secured jobs in foreign countries in a secured and dignified manner over the past ten months of the current fiscal year. This development reflects the government’s focus on ensuring the safety and rights of its citizens abroad.

According to Ethiopian News Agency, Minister Muferihat described the broad reforms implemented in the foreign employment sector as part of the ministry’s ‘Year of Productivity’ initiative. The reforms aimed to uphold the dignity of Ethiopians working overseas, a priority explicitly stated by the government. The ministry, in collaboration with various stakeholders, has employed modern technologies to mitigate challenges faced by workers abroad, including enhancing their psychological preparedness through targeted training programs.

The government has also taken steps to ensure the safety and security of these workers, including the establishment of a system to quickly address any issues they encounter abroad via embassy support. Moreover, discussions are ongoing with Ethio-telecom to facilitate easier communication for these workers through their smartphones, allowing them to forward complaints or seek assistance effectively.

Despite these efforts, issues such as human trafficking persist, driven by misinformation. The Minister emphasized that the only legal expenses potential employees should bear are for health checkups and passport fees; any additional charges are unauthorized. She also highlighted ongoing negotiations to open new foreign employment markets, with agreements being discussed with three additional countries during the fiscal year, aiming to ensure that all processes safeguard the rights and benefits of Ethiopian workers overseas.

Nairobi Securities Exchange CEO Praises Ethiopia’s New Capital Market Ecosystem

Nairobi, Kenya – Frank Mwiti, CEO of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), recently highlighted the significant impact of Ethiopia’s new capital market ecosystem on East Africa’s economic landscape. The establishment of the Ethiopian Securities Exchange is viewed as a crucial step towards enhancing regional economic integration and growth.

According to Ethiopian News Agency, the efforts by Ethiopia to develop a fully-fledged capital market, including the creation of the Ethiopian Securities Exchange, represent a substantial commitment to economic liberalization and an invitation to foreign investment. “We commend the government of Ethiopia for not just setting up the capital market sector. They created the Ethiopian Securities Exchange and the entire ecosystem around that,” Mwiti stated. He further emphasized the potential of Ethiopia’s economic strength to bolster growth throughout the East African region.

The CEO expressed enthusiasm about the opportunities the new market structure in Ethiopia presents for regional economic enhancement, including for Kenya. Mwiti also outlined the NSE’s role in fostering a sustainable East African capital market ecosystem, focusing on capacity building, deepening local markets, and harmonizing policies. Key strategies include increasing the involvement of local actors, enhancing the accessibility and affordability of market participation, and reducing reliance on foreign capital.

Mwiti also stressed the importance of aligning policies and regulations across East African nations to facilitate smoother transactions and attract investments. Additionally, he underscored the need for professional training within the region to support the functioning of securities exchanges.

The NSE, established in 1954 and the largest exchange in East and Central Africa by market capitalization, serves as a model for the Ethiopian Securities Exchange. Mwiti’s remarks underscore the broader vision of a connected and economically robust East Africa, bolstered by collaborative efforts in financial sector development.

Policy Advisor Highlights Need for Private Sector’s Role in Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

ADDIS ABABA – In an effort to accelerate Ethiopia’s digital transformation, Costantinos Berhutesfa, a prominent economist and policy advisor, has underscored the importance of increased private sector participation. His comments come at a time when Ethiopia is actively implementing its ambitious “Digital Ethiopia 2025” strategy.

According to Ethiopian News Agency, Costantinos Berhutesfa emphasized the global shift towards digital economies and the critical role Ethiopia must play in this transformation. He pointed out that collaboration between the government, private sector, and educational institutions, particularly Universities of Science and Technology, is essential for achieving the goals of the Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy. He praised the telecom sector’s recent advancements, notably the expansion of 5G networks, which provide a strong foundation for digitalization efforts.

Costantinos also highlighted the need for reliable energy sources and conducive financial policies that include the establishment of a robust capital market and enhanced incentives for foreign investment. Such measures, he suggested, would enable Ethiopian youth to engage more actively in the economy through innovative and creative projects.

The economist reiterated that realizing a comprehensive digital economy involves integrating effective e-government systems within the governmental framework. This integration is expected to spur advancements across e-commerce, research, and education sectors. Costantinos called for concerted efforts to ensure the successful implementation of the Digital Ethiopia strategy, aiming for a transformative impact on the country’s technological landscape and its younger generation.