Travel consultancy ForwardKeys confirms Addis Ababa airport had increased the number of international transfer passengers to sub-Saharan Africa for five years in a row, and in 2018 had surpassed Dubai.
Ethiopia has overtaken Dubai as a conduit for long-haul passengers to Africa, highlighting the success of the state airline’s expansion drive and the reforms of its new prime minister.
Travel consultancy ForwardKeys said on Wednesday Addis Ababa airport had increased the number of international transfer passengers to sub-Saharan Africa for five years in a row, and in 2018 had surpassed Dubai, one of the world’s busiest airports, as the transfer hub for long-haul travel to the region.
Analysing data from travel booking systems that record 17 million flight bookings a day, ForwardKeys found the number of long-haul transfers to sub-Saharan Africa via Addis Ababa jumped by 85% from 2013 to 2017. Transfers via Dubai over the same period rose by 31%.
So far this year, Addis Ababa’s growth is 18%, versus 3% for Dubai.
Dubai has long been a major global air travel hub because it is the base of Gulf carrier Emirates. Given the lack of an “open skies” deal smoothing flights across Africa, many passengers travelling between one part of the continent and another, or from Asia or Europe to Africa, must often transit through Dubai.
But this is changing.
Ethiopian Airlines, the country’s most successful state company, is accelerating a 15-year strategy it launched in 2010 to win back market share on routes to and from Africa that are dominated by Turkish Airlines and Emirates.
It is also weaving a patchwork of new African routes to rapidly expanding and lucrative Asian markets.
ForwardKeys also attributed the recent jump in bookings via Addis Ababa in part to a positive international response to the broad reforms introduced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April and has upended politics in the Horn of Africa country of around 105 million people.
It cited two changes in particular: a move to allow visitors to apply for visas online, and Abiy’s pledge to open Ethiopia’s largely state-controlled economy to foreign investment.
After Abiy made peace with Eritrea to end a two-decade state of war, Ethiopian resumed flights to its neighbour in July. This month, it relaunched flights to Somalia’s capital after four decades.
And the rise of travel via Addis Ababa looks set to continue. International bookings via Ethiopia are up 40% year-on-year for November to January 2019, ahead of all other destinations in Africa, ForwardKeys said.
Nigeria’s inflation rate is expected to rise to about 11.4 per cent for the rest of this year till mid-2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiel*e, disclosed this while speaking on Nigeria’s outlook and policy thrust for 2019.
He said, “Inflation expectations are rising on the backdrop of anticipated politically related liquidity injections. For the rest of 2018 and towards mid-2019, Nigeria’s rate of inflation is projected to rise slightly to about 11.4 per cent and then moderate thereafter.”
The consumer price index, which measures inflation decreased to 11.26 per cent (year-on-year) in October2018, according to latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics on its ‘CPI and inflation report October 2018’.
The statistics revealed that this was a 0.02 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in September 2018 (11.28 per cent).
While speaking on the exchange rate, he said that although the CBN had so far managed to maintain exchange rate stability, the current capital flow reversals from emerging markets were expected to continue to exert considerable pressure on market rates.
This pressure, he added, could be amplified by the forthcoming elections, especially as the political marketplace heats up.
He said notwithstanding those pressures, the CBN was determined to maintain its stable exchange rate policy stance over the next few months, given the relatively high level of reserves.
“Gross stability is projected in the foreign exchange market given increased oil-related inflows and contained import bill. I would like to make it categorically clear that sustaining a stable exchange rate is of overriding importance to us even as we continue to put measures in place to shore up reserves,” he said.
While speaking on the balance of payments, he said it was expected to remain positive in the short term, and that oil prices continue to recover, adding that it was expected that the current account balance would strengthen even further.
“This will be supported by improved non-oil performance as diversification efforts begin to yield results to reduce undue imports,” he added.
Emefiele also said that the apex bank would explore the possibility of leveraging technology to enhance credit to critical sectors of the economy, especially agriculture and manufacturing.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday laid the foundation stone for huge new parliament to be built with Chinese funds outside the capital Harare.
The imposing circular complex will be built over 32 months by the Shanghai Construction group at Mount Hampden, 18 kilometres north-west of Harare, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported. Officials say the current colonial-era parliamentary building in the city centre is too small to accommodate lawmakers.
Mnangagwa said at the ceremony that China had provided a "grant, not a loan, to build a new parliament", without giving a figure.
"Other facilities like banks, hotels will be built around this place," Mnangagwa said adding that a "modern, smart city" was planned.
Mnangagwa took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe who was ousted by the military in November 2017.
He has vowed to revive Zimbabwe's economy that has been in ruins for nearly two decades.
China has funded and provided loans for many infrastructure projects across Africa in recent years, ranging from roads and power plants to sports stadiums and government institutions.
Critics say China's increasing sway over the continent undermines democracy and sovereignty.