Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX)…Africa’s First of Its Kind

Before 2008, in Ethiopia commodity exchange was something that never been heard of. Nobody could imagine a central market where traders could do business in commodity options. But in April of that year, the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange opened its doors and became the first place of its kind on the African continent, where commodity brokers could deal in futures trading.

Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) was a project that was led, and eventually made into becoming a reality, by Dr. Eleni Gebremedhin, a PhD in Economics, who also has an extensive working experience and even more impressive curriculum vitae. Among her achievements are over 15 years of experience in the African agricultural markets and various high-level posts in United Nations and the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington D.C.

Another key player in this project was another Dr. Bahart Kulkarni, also a PhD in Economics. The Indian national first started in the project to bring the Ethiopia commodity exchange market into being by taking on a role of advisor to the Ethiopian government. He then moved on to actually setting up the commodity futures trading and is presently working on research activities and finding ways to implement the same project in other African countries.

Currently the ECX commodity options for coffee, sesame, haricot beans, wheat and maize. The exchange made it possible for all major players in to commodities life cycle to get a fair and by far, a better deal with the help commodity brokers. Everyone from the farmer through the commodity brokers and on to the final consumer of these commodities get their deserved share of the final selling price. This is in contrast to the time when brokers were able to cheat the poor farmers by telling them that the price of their products had dropped drastically in the cities and they had to sell at a very cheap price. The main reason here being of course that the farmer couldn’t afford to transport his

Now with the ECX having electronic displays in public places and across cities all over the country and coupled with mobile phone technology the poor farmers might stand a chance at earning their well deserved incomes. And this would in turn enable to create wealth down in the lowest farmers’ case, as was her intent when Dr. Eleni made her presentation at TedTalks in 2007.


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