Ethiopian Business Review

Berihun Mekonnen

Berihun Mekonnen

EBR Staff Writter

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Due to its ancient history, remnants of past civilizations, diverse cultures and natural beauty, Ethiopia has the potential to be a must-see destination for tourists. Yet, despite its abundance of historic and natural attractions, the country has not benefitted from a robust tourism industry. EBR Staff Writer Berihun Mekonnen explores that limitations on tourist site development and service deliveries, poor infrastructure, and weak promotion and marketing are hindering the prospects of making Ethiopia a world-renowned tourist destination.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry was in Addis Ababa earlier this month. During his visit, he met with high-ranking officials including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his counterpart Tedros Adhanom to discuss a number of issues, including Ethiopia’s role as peacemaker in a number of conflicts on the continent, fighting terrorism in the Horn of Africa, and on the effects of U.S. aid that the country receives yearly. The visit marks Secretary Kerry’s second time in Ethiopia within a year, suggesting that ties between the two countries are stronger than ever. Yet, as EBR’s Editor-in-Chief Berihun Mekonnen reports, even though Ethiopia has proven a reliable and strategic ally of the U.S in Africa, when it comes to economic and business ties, the two countries have a weak partnership. The Ethiopian government hopes to strengthen these ties and there are signs that change is coming.

Government Officials and manufacturers have recently held discussions on the market challenges of metals and engineering companies particularly (car assemblies) in Ethiopia. The government blames the society for its impaired attitude about local products while the manufacturers accuse the government of taxing their products twice which contributes to their inability to compete. But the public says if people want to understand the culprit behind their rejection of new, locally assembled cars for much older, used imports one need look no further than the quality of the vehicles, access to maintenance and delivery of spare parts. In fact many people were at first proud of owning a locally made car, however they soon became jaded, writes Berihun Mekonnen, EBR’s editor-in-chief.