Ethiopian Business Review

Amanyehun R. Sisay

Amanyehun R. Sisay

EBR Staff Writter

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Ethiopia, Eritrea Should Reunite

Thursday, 16 August 2018 07:43 Published in Interview

Tamrat Layne, 63, was Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, serving from June 1991 to October 1995. He became a member of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (EPRP) while a teen, and later defected with 36 other comrades to form the-then Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM), in 1982. 

After ten years of guerilla fighting, his party, which allied with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to form the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in 1989, ousted the Dergue military regime on May 28, 1991. A few years before their victory however, the Oromo members of his party left to form the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO); similarly, fighters from the southern Ethiopian region also left to form several ethnic based parties. Finally, when almost all other non-Amhara members evacuated the EPDM, the party retitled itself as the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) in 1994.

With the adoption of a new constitution in the same year and subsequent change of the form of government from presidential to parliamentary, executive power was vested in the Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, President of the Transitional Government and chairman of TPLF & EPRDF, while Tamrat became deputy prime minister and minister for defense. He stayed in that post for less than two years, before being sacked and dismissed from his party and government posts in 1996. Four years later, he was convicted by the Federal Supreme Court on corruption charges and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was accused of involvement in an alleged 16 million-dollar deal with a firm to ship Ethiopian textile products and exports of 1,000 tons of state-owned coffee through a bogus firm. He claimed that all the accusations were baseless and untrue. 

After serving 12 years in prison, Tamrat was released in 2008 and has since been living a deeply religious life in Colorado, in the United States. He also operates two orphanage centres in Addis Ababa and Sekota, a small town in the state of Amhara. He travels around the world to make speeches, and offer trainings to government officials, business leaders, and nonprofit organizations in Europe, Asia, and Africa on leadership and management. 

Tamrat sees the recent developments in the country positively. While he believes the changes brought about by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration are encouraging in widening the political space, he still seems worried about the factions within the ruling coalition, which he believes may put the country in jeopardy. He cautions that the changes that have been achieved because of the popular movement should be institutionalized. EBR’s Amanyehun R. SiSAY sat down with him to learn his views about the current political situation in the country. Excerpt:

Kebour Ghenna Desta is a household name in the Ethiopian business community. He served as President of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce for four years, from 1997 to 2001; and also as President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. Not only that, Kebour is a multidisciplinary professional known for his active role in media leadership, having established the oldest English business newspaper,  Capital, in 1998. He also founded and still serves as the Executive Director of Initiative Africa (IA), a non-governmental organisation known in recent years for organising the Addis International Film Festival (AIFF), Ethiopia’s annual week-long event showcasing documentary films from around the world. 

A regular guest speaker at high profile continental and national business and social gatherings, Kebour is known for popularising the tag word loosely translated as ‘it is possible’, which later became a key note identifier of Haile Gebreselassie, Ethiopia’s most famed athlete-turned-business mogul.

Kebour is also Executive Director of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), a non-profit apex organization of national chambers. The continental body, currently based in Addis Ababa, was established in 2009 to promote public policies that foster continental economic integration, competitiveness, and sustainable growth. 

He has had a front-row seat to the developments and challenges of the private sector for over two decades, and regularly reflects about the sector and overall development endeavours in the country on social and mainstream media platforms. EBR’s Amanyehun R. SiSAY met with the soft spoken and optimistic business leader to discuss the political turmoil that has been plaguing Ethiopia in recent years. The following is an excerpt:

breast cancer the importance of early diagnosis

Friday, 01 December 2017 09:00 Published in Society

Primary prevention, screening and appropriate follow-up, treatment and provision of palliative care reduce the burden of breast cancer. Ethiopia is also focusing on these preventive methods to reduce the fatal effects of the disease.

However, poor awareness, inadequate cancer-treatment infrastructure and cancer-management options are challenging the country of estimated 104 million from effectively addressing the issue. EBR’s Hiwot Selalew explored the interventions.