December 30, 2011

Nation’s mining activities have a major comparative advantage: President Isaias

Asmara, 29 December 2011- President Isaias Afwerki said that Eritrea’s mining activities have a major comparative advantage both in terms of time and significance as they provide impetus to national economic development programs and their sustainability. The President made the statement in PART III of the interview he conducted with the national media.

Stating that Eritrea is endowed with rich mineral resources, President Isaias nonetheless highlighted the fact that economy does not mean possessing mineral wealth alone. As experience of other countries demonstrate, one should exercise proper handling, and thus refrain from pronouncements of undue hopes as doing so may entail negative consequences, he elaborated. In this regard, President Isaias noted that such wealth needs to be judiciously exploited in the interest of present and future generations. He further underlined that the substantial investment the Government is making towards ensuring sustainable development in all sectors is aimed at achieving this objective.

In addition to outlining the country’s development programs aimed at ensuring the distribution of electricity supply, expansion of alternative sources of energy as well as raising the capacity of power stations, President Isaias said that additional investment is being made to promote land transport system both in reliability and efficiency, besides programs of asphalting a number of roads.

Accordingly, the task of asphalting Asmara-Mensura-Agordat, Agordat-Adibara-Tesenei highway, the Asmara City ring-road, Tesenei-Omahajer, Mendefera-Barentu, Foro-Assab, Massawa-Karora, Keren-Nacfa, Foro-Adi Keih, and Agordat-Zara roads would get underway. To this end, the necessary machineries have been made available, he explained.

Moreover, President Isaias indicated that the development of ports and docks, especially the Massawa and Asab ports, are among the Government’s major programs, and that steps have already been taken jointly with a Chinese company to accomplish the task. Besides, the development and expansion of docks is being given due consideration. He also indicated that there is a scheme to develop the infrastructure and service provision of Asmara and Massawa Airports, as well as constructing and upgrading secondary airports.

Indicating that “ensuring food security is a timely strategy”, the President noted that in the contemporary world there is no economy that could survive on its own in isolation. He further explained that what we produce should not only be confined to meeting local market demands but should also be export oriented. Short of fulfilling these prerequisites, the nation cannot claim to have guaranteed economic development. As regards this task, he gave extensive elaboration on the ongoing development activities in agriculture, fisheries, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables.

Regarding housing, the President elaborated that as development programs are expanding nationwide, the construction of residential houses and service-provision institutions and related facilities should be put in place. He further pointed out that even though the existing national strategy has to be translated into practice, there exists an overall plan to build affordable housing complexes in all the Administrative regions, and that due effort is being made to provide the necessary building materials at fair price.

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