Amanyehun R. Sisay

Amanyehun R. Sisay

EBR Staff Writter

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Agriculture is the foundation of Ethiopia’s economy, accounting for nearly half of the country’s GDP, 80Pct employment and export volumes. Yet, the sector has been challenged by periodic drought,  land degradation and low productivity. Even if there are attempts of using modern technologies in recent decades, they could not bring about big impact on agricultural growth. However, since 2011, the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Bureaus have been undertaking national soil fertility mapping, which is an inventory of landscape features, farming systems, general soil properties and soil fertility status for each agricultural woreda in the country. The end result will help to determine what mineral to include in the fertilizer to be used for each woreda. Instead of using Urea and Diamonium Phosphate (DAP), the two widely used fertilizers for decades, the Ministry plans to import seven different raw materials to blend according to specific needs of each woreda. Reports indicate that the new blended fertilizer helped boost production by about 80Pct in some demonstrations.  

In this interview with Tekalign Mamo (Professor), Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and State Minister, Amanyehun R. Sisay talks about the progress of the soil fertility mapping project and other pertinent issues regarding Ethiopian agriculture. 

Meet the Billionaire

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 03:00 Published in Interview

World-class runner Haile Gebreselassie is renowned for his athletic achievements: he’s broken 61 national and 27 world records, has two Olympic gold medals and was even the subject of a Disney film entitled Endurance. He has become a successful businessman; with a billion business enterprise that consists of  coffee plantation, schools, hotels, cinema, mining, automotive industry and real estate. Haile recently announced plans to open a Hyundai assembly plant in Ethiopia. EBR’s Amanyehun Sisay sat down with the runner-turned-entrepreneur to talk about his plans for the plant, other business ventures and his personal life. Next is an excerpt:

When Zemen Bank’s idea of a single-branch business model was announced back in 2006, it seemed quite odd for many. Bankers and business analysts questioned the viability of the model.  However, the Bank registered robust growth year-on-year with a high rate of return on investment. Even though the Bank has been operational for only six years, it ranked 6th among the top private banks in Ethiopia for high-earnings per share, according to a survey by EBR last February. Although the Bank states that it will stick to its founding principles and business model, there are signs that Zemen’s strategy might be changing. The Bank recently opened its second branch in Hawassa and a third in the Bole Business District in Addis Ababa. It is also preparing to expand into other regions. EBR’s Amanyehun R. Sisay spoke with Ermias Eshetu, Zemen’s Vice President for Marketing and Corporate Services, about the company’s changing business model and where the Bank is headed. Next is an excerpt:

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