ECEA without leader, as ECX leaps ahead with new e-trading system

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The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECEA) is awaiting a new leader, after the regulatory body’s former  head was assigned to another government position. 
A few weeks ago, Ambassador Addisalem Balema (PhD), the first Director General of ECEA, a regulatory body of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange’s (ECX) trading floor, was appointed as Vice President of Tigrai region and Head of the Trade and Industry Bureau.
Despite the absence of a regulatory head, ECX has transformed its already modern trading system with even newer technology. The new e-trading scheme is a major hallmark of progress in the country’s economic history, installed only eight years after ECX’s establishment.
On October 8, the trading facility lunched the new market platform with the presence of Tefera Deribew, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resource Development and Board Chairman of ECX, and Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communication and Information Technology.
The e-trading platform has capacity to handle over 5,000 trades per single commodity traded, every day. On the current trading scheme the average trading capacity is 700 trades, while ECX has 1,000 trades as a maximum.
Ermias Eshetu, CEO of ECX said that the new platform will increase trade efficiency, transparency and accessibility.
Ermias said that for now, the system will be accessible from the trading floor with new trading centers to be opened in the near future. “When fully operational, e-trade will enable traders to trade electronically from anywhere,” he explained at a press conference held on October 8, before the platform’s launch.  
Implemented in collaboration with Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), the e-trade platform has already shown increases in efficiency since it was introduced to local coffee trades in July. Thus far, a total trade volume of 2,390 metric tons of coffee has been traded on the platform with a trade volume of 120 million birr. Currently, 960 electronic representatives are active on the new trading scheme, with 445 of the representatives, nearly half, trained and certified to participate in the new scheme.
The new system’s application will be expanded from local coffee, to include all three products, coffee, sesame and white pea beans, that are traded exclusively on the ECX floor. 
Currently over 400 trading actors and 16,000 clients are active at the trading center. There are 80 computers assigned to electronic trading located on the trading floor of ECX’s Head Quarters, around Mexico Square. Experts have praised ECX efforts to modernize commodity trading, pointing out that the e-trade system responds to an existing demand.