How the Market-oriented Ethiopian Infant Film ‘Industry’ Staggers to Stand on its Feet

How It All Began

We neither eat nor drink it, why would we pay for something we see with our own eyes?” was the question posed by many of the aristocrats of Emperor Menelik II, when asked to pay to watch the first ever film screened in Ethiopia at what later became to be known as “Saitan Bet” – the house of the devil. Others concluded “this is the work of the devil not humans” after watching it.


Established in 2009 with 35 founding national chambers to be the main business advocacy organization in Africa, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), is the most representative business organization in the continent. The Chamber held its annual general assembly meeting in Addis Ababa on November 28 and 29 2013 to discuss about the establishment of a continental free trade area in 2017. In this interview, Amanyehun R. Sisay, executive editor and Mikias Merhatsidk, editor-in-chief of Ethiopian Business Review, discuss, with Seth Adjei Baah, President of Ghana’s National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and President of PACCI, discusses issues about the state of affairs of the chamber, challenges of doing business in Africa, and Labour Mobility in the continent, among others. Excerpt:


Why the Price of Meat Has Become Damn Expensive to the Consumer

On January 6, 2011, on the eve of Ethiopian Christmas, the Ministry of Trade imposed price caps on selected basic commodities including meat. The decision was meant to curb the ever skyrocketing prices of basic food items. High government officials affirmed that the price caps were a retort to price gouging by merchants taking advantage on consumers and vowed to put a stop to this “market disorder.”


Footballers in France will hope for a winning strike of a different kind this December when they protest over a controversial super tax levied by the socialist government. Back in 2012, the now French President, François Hollande campaigned for the election promising to tax top earners with 75Pct income tax. The 75Pct tax rate was initially to be paid by those earning over EUR one million a year. After protests by top French executives and prominent personalities such as Gérard Depardieu, a French actor, film-maker, businessman and vineyard owner, the government changed the law so that it would be payable by the companies offering such salaries. This show cases how far progressive tax rate can go.


What the Government Should Have Done to Safeguard Unprotected Ethiopians in the Middle East

Following the expiry of the seven month period given by the government of Saudi Arabia, for illegal immigrants to be legal or leave the country voluntarily, the public security apparatus of the Islamic kingdom was in full swing. This has led to the arrest and detention of hundreds of thousands of immigrants for eventual deportation. The operation has been violent in some instances.


In a late Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, at Mesale Café, Bar, Restaurant and Lounge, a high-toned place around Bole Medhanealem in Addis Ababa, several people were watching a football game transmitted through the DSTV Super Sport channel. Emotions were high as the game transmitted live was between the defending champions Manchester United, a club that has huge fans in Ethiopia, and one of the strongest English Premier League (EPL) outfits Totenham Hotspur from the White Hart Lane. There were 15 LCD televisions at every corner and a big screen in the main lounge. Every seat including the hallway and the corners and even the inside of the balcony was full. Tables were overflowing with bottles of beers and soft drinks. A considerable number of men were also guzzling high alcoholic content liquors including whiskies.

Living aside the long history of the use of money in Ethiopia that can be traced back more than 2000 years. It is following the demise of the Dergue, that the post-1991 economic policy witnessed a marked departure from the previous Socialist system. This new change in policy brought about a significant change in the functioning of the financial sector. Not only was the financial sector going to serve the private sector, which had hitherto been demonized, but new private financial institutions, also emerged. At the same time the role of the Ethiopia’s central bank, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), was also reformulated.

WASHINGTON, DC – Financial markets and the news media have one thing in common: they tend to oscillate rapidly between hype and gloom. Nowhere is this more apparent than in analyses of emerging economies’ prospects. In the last few months, enthusiasm about these countries’ post-2008 economic resilience and growth potential has given way to bleak forecasts, with economists like Ricardo Hausmann declaring that “the emerging-market party” is coming to an end.

Running a business, in most, is about making a profit, so it makes sense that one of the best measures of a company’s performance is its profit margins. Strong profit margins may mean a company is well-run, stable, and making money. A company with healthy profit margins might indicate it is efficient at allocating capital and controlling costs, so it can deliver more revenue to the bottom line. Decelerating earnings growth and contracting profit margins don’t sound like a good performance of financial firms, and they’re not.

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


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