In May 2000, The Economist, the English weekly, came out with “Hopeless Africa” as its cover page story. The article depicts Africa as a messy place. It goes as far as painting corruption, brutality and despotism as part of the culture of African societies. A decade later, the magazine changed its pessimistic outlook and came out with a positive story: “Africa Rising: The Hopeful Continent,” and explained why the future is Africa.

In recent years, Africa has undergone major changes and these positive economic changes are humbling those who thought otherwise.


One of the videos recently posted on the official website of Project Hopeful, an advocacy group for adopting children with HIV/ AIDS based in the USA, shows the testimony of a fourteen year old Ethiopian girl. The girl named Selah Twietmayer narrates her adoption story, how she was saved by the Twietmayers family from an orphanage in Ethiopia, where she lived as an HIV infected orphan.

“I’m not ashamed or afraid to tell the truth,” says Selah, referring to her time living in an orphanage in Addis Abeba, after her parents died and got separated from her two siblings.


Recent economic development in Africa witnessed impressive economic growth on the continent, averaging above five percent per annum over the last five years. This growth is primarily propelled by accelerating natural resources exports. This places much of the future of Africa’s economic rebound in the fate of mineral rich economies. That may be something of a worry for the sustainability of Africa’s recent growth and economic transformation in the continent.


Liyualem Wubante, 20, completed her high school studies at Limat Minch High School in Lideta district in 2011. When she discovered her results were not good enough to get a university education, she applied to Ethiopian Catering and Tourism Training Institute (CTTI) and enrolled after she survived a written and oral entrance exam. She is now a second year student of Food and Beverage Management.

“At first I really regretted that I was going to school here and not in one of the major universities in the nation like my peers. However, I now realize there are huge opportunities in the hotel business and it is easy to get a job,” says Liyualem.


With its ancient and complex history, tradition and ceremonies, Ethiopia has not only left the relics of a distinctive past in the form of tangible monuments, churches and castles, but has also held on tightly to its variety of rich, deep-rooted religious and secular traditions. Not only is preserving Ethiopia’s unique culture vital from a historical perspective, its untapped tourism potential is a powerful tool for economic development. Addis Abeba is comparatively young and it has not yet lived up to its promise of attracting a large number of tourists to visit the country’s historical sites. Conferences have been booming in Addis and have brought a plethora of new hotels to the city and tourism is on the brink of major change. The sheer number of foreigners that come to the capital simply for business and conferences has catapulted in the past several years and the impact can be seen in all the hotels being constructed.


While celebrating the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU (Organization for African Unity/African Union), it is imperative to critically examine the actual efforts exerted by member states in establishing and maintaining the continental body. What has come to pass in the history of the organization truly reflects the extent and level of commitment of African statesmen. Whatever credit is accorded to personalities or governments, or whatever criticisms are directed against these parties, in a way it represents the actual nature of the joint forum Africans have created. In this regard, the process of creating and maintaining the OAU/AU represents the reality on the ground and demonstrates what Africans have managed to accomplish. Here a brief attempt is made to assess Ethiopia’s role in all this.


The Golden Jubilee celebration of an institution like the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and later on the African Union (AU) is special event. For Africans and non-African partners, it has a greater public importance. It offers an occasion for celebration, but also a unique opportunity for critical introspection and collective reflection on the journey of Africa in the past half century. More crucially, such an opportunity needs to be seized to set a clear vision for Africa, craft a common and widely shared mission to realize this vision and mobilize the necessary commitment and resources to implement it.


The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution with AAA rating. The bank comprises three distinct windows: the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund. In this interview, Mikias Merhatsidk, Editor-in-Chief of Ethiopian Business Review, sat down with Mr. Lamin G. Barrow, resident representative of the Bank in Ethiopia to discuss the Bank Group’s role within the general context of Africa’s development and that of Ethiopia in particular. Mr. Barrow holds a graduate degree in Economic Policy from Boston University, USA and has worked in different capacities at the Bank. He took his present post in Ethiopia in October 2009. He now serves as co-chair of the Development Assistance Group (DAG) of donors in Ethiopia. The Resident Representative talks about the Bank’s involvement and focus areas in the country, the USD 900 million the bank earmarked for the Ethiopian private sector and the government’s economic policies, among others, Excerpts:

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

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