ECX Inaugurates eTRADE Platform, Introduces New Coffee Grading System, and Launches Enhanced SMS/IVR Services
October 09, 2015
(Addis Ababa, 8 October 2015) - Ethiopia Commodity Exchange announced today the inauguration of its revolutionary eTRADE Platform located at its headquarters on Chad Street. The ECX also made public the introduction of a new consolidated coffee grading system for the coming harvest season. Furthermore, the Exchange’s enhanced SMS/IVR market data dissemination platform was launched on the same day.
INAUGURATION OF ITS eTRADE PLATFORM
ECX has revolutionized Ethiopia’s tradition bound agriculture by creating a new marketplace that serves all market actors such as farmers, traders, processors and exporters. Since its establishment in 2008, ECX has become a symbolic Exchange in Africa that has truly empowered smallholder farmers with market price discovery.
Today’s inaugurated eTRADE Platform is revolutionary in that it has the capacity to trade nearly 5000 times more transactions than its current “Open-Out-Cry” or “Pit-Trading” platform capacity. The eTRADE platform was entirely developed by the Exchange over the past two years and it is expected that it will dramatically increase trade efficiency, transparency and accessibility. The project came to fruition in collaboration with the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) and other partners.
The eTRADE Platform saw its soft launch on July 20, 2015 by introducing local washed/unwashed byproduct coffee trades. Thus far, a total trade volume of 2,390 MT has been traded on the platform with a trade value of ETB 120 million (USD 5.7 million). The Exchange has also trained and certified more than 445 ECX trading members and representatives who are now qualified to trade on the platform.
The launch of eTRADE will eventually enable market players to trade electronically from anywhere. However, the first implementation starts at the ECX HQ Trading Center, and gradually rollout to the newly built regional trading centers in Hawassa, Humera, Nekemte and, in the near future, at additional four other regional trading centers across the country. The platform expected to increase efficiency, provide capability to trade other commodities, and enhance ECX’s overall service offerings while building stakeholders capacity.
To mark the event, CEO of ECX, Ato. Ermias Eshetu said “The inauguration of this eTRADE platform sets a new course for Ethiopia and brings with it unparalleled economic and social benefits. The platform inevitably breaks the physical and time barrier of the current Open-Out-Cry trading platform and provides the ECX with vital economies-of-scale to trade a number of additional new commodities.”
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, ICF CEO, William Asiko, said: “ICF is happy to have been able to support this very important initiative. The modernization of ECX will help to improve the business environment for stakeholders involved in the commodities sector and give Ethiopian agricultural products a competitive advantage. But for farmers, this modernization will be life-changing. It will enable farmers to get better pricing for their produce, thereby creating a more equitable distribution of wealth that has far reaching social implications.”
NEW CONSOLIDATED COFFEE GRADING SYSTEM
ECX also announced the implementation of a new consolidated coffee grading system which will be effective in the coming harvest season. The Exchange highlighted that Ethiopia is the center of origin for “Coffee Arabica” and exporting coffee based on specific geographical origins such as Yirgacheffe, Sidama, Harare, Limu, Jimma, and others in which each has its own distinguishing physical and organoleptic character. Accordingly, ECX’s tradable coffee contracts classification was designed to reflect the country’s coffee distinct character and quality profile.
Officials at the Exchange also outlined that the historical trend of coffee quality inspection and grading system in Ethiopia showed a significant transformation from use of simple graduating cylinder to measure the physical quality of coffee to a more advanced and sophisticated ways of qualitative and in-depth organoleptic evaluation to assess the quality of coffee.
There are currently 10 grades within each Export grade coffee contract traded at ECX. A technical committee composed of government and industry coffee experts conducted an extensive study to assess the current coffee contracts’ alignment with current export standards and international best practices. The study also looked at the consistency and efficiency of the overall grading process and protocols.
This effort resulted in the consolidation of the current coffee grades from 10 to 6 thereby, addressing gaps identified in the focus areas of the study. Furthermore, the new grading system better aligns quality with market prices.
The Exchange also disclosed on the day of the eTRADE launch a major revamp to its current Short Message Service (SMS) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) services for market data dissemination via its enhanced SMS-934 and IVR-929 access. The SMS and IVR services were first introduced in late 2011 in two languages (Amharic and English) whereby, users can either subscribe or request market information and receive real-time access to commodity prices traded at ECX.
The enhanced version supports two additional languages (Oromiffa and Tigrigna) making the number of languages to four and introducing new features such as USSD (menu based information services) and enhanced user interfaces.
The SMS service currently processes more than 800,000 transactions/month while the IVR receives over 1million calls/month. The expanded SMS and IVR service usage is expected to significantly grow and reach more rural communities and farm areas.
The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) is a new initiative for Ethiopia and the first of its kind in Africa. The vision of ECX is to revolutionize Ethiopia’s tradition bound agriculture through creating a new marketplace that serves all market actors, from farmers to traders to processors to exporters to consumers. The ECX is a unique partnership of market actors, the Members of the Exchange, and its main promoter, the Government of Ethiopia. ECX represents the future of Ethiopia, bringing integrity, security, and efficiency to the market.
The Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) is a pan-African development organization whose aim is to reduce barriers to doing business in Africa. ICF works with businesses and African governments to create a conducive legal, regulatory and administrative environment for businesses, both big and small, to invest and grow. Based in Tanzania, ICF is a unique partnership between governments, the private sector and development partners. ICF believes that an improved investment climate is critical for job creation, income growth and poverty reduction across the continent.
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