The agricultural sector remains our Achilles heel, nonetheless, we remain convinced that agricultural-based development remains the only source of hope for Ethiopia.” This statement was made by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who described the irony facing Ethiopia’s agricultural sector, in a nutshell, a decade ago. The direction was what the ruling party, Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has been implementing for the last 23 years. The party has been stressing that the development of the country lies in transforming the rural economy in general and agriculture in particular.


When Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto arrived in Ethiopia on January 27 on a two-day visit, Jussi Hinkkanen, Vice President for Corporate Relations at Nokia Middle East and Africa was included in the business delegation of 27 executives from the country’s top moguls. Since September 2009 Hinkkanen has been responsible for Nokia’s governmental relations, corporate responsibility and innovation. He graduated with MSc in Industrial Economics and Software Sciences in 1998 from Tampere University of Technology in Finland, where both Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Jyrki Katainen attended their graduate studies.


The saying; ‘a burnt child dreads the fire’ applies to many people who have given their money to real estate developers in Ethiopia because they have been burned repetitively.
More than a few legally registered real estate developers have sold out the land, they have leased from the government to build homes, illicitly, pillaging millions of birr in profits in a villainous process. Then, several other developers who have made promises and deals to deliver finished houses were not able to finish the job on time. They made their clients wait in vain and incur extra costs. Still today, there are some real estate companies that collected pre-payments over seven years ago and haven’t delivered the houses yet.


For Americans, the beginning of 2014 marked the launch of a new healthcare system popularly known as “Obamacare”. This health insurance coverage is expected to cut the number of uninsured in half, or about 25 million people, in the next 10 years. Under the much publicized scheme, the US government plans to reshape the healthcare system by allowing as many as seven million people to buy insurance and 8.7 million new beneficiaries to enroll in 2014 alone.


Ethiopia Benefits from Remittance Boom Through Formal Channels

Many Ethiopian migrants, who send money for their relatives and families from abroad, previously paid an average of 12 Pct of the remitted amount for the money transferring agents. Sending remittances to Ethiopia, which is one of the top 10 remittance receiving countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, has been costly though the amount varies depending on the remitted amount, the service chosen and the destination. The cost of a money transfer for an average transaction in Ethiopia ranges from as low as around 1 Pct to a maximum of 20 Pct of the amount remitted. The most expensive are the services of global money transferring companies.


AU Summit Leaves Agriculture Behind

When African leaders met to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa last year, their hope was that years of conflicts and poverty would soon be over. A year later, a galaxy of African heads of state joined last month during the 22nd African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa to push forward a great leap towards the pan-African quest for economic growth and unity through “Agenda 2063”, a hopeful blueprint for a socio-economic and political transformation of the continent.

The 85 Richest People on the Planet Own the Wealth of Half the World’s Population

The world’s 85 richest people own the same amount of wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion, Oxfam revealed in a new report released January 20th, before the opening of the 2014 Davos World Economic Forum. These 85 people have USD 1.7 trillion, similar to the wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.


Jafar Shifa owns a book store and it keeps him constantly busy. At Jafar Bookstore located at the back of the Ethiopian National Theater, on Ras Abebe Aregay St. in Addis Ababa, he distributes books for retailers and street book venders and also sells to individual customers. Though he started the business by selling books on the streets a decade ago, now he has one of the biggest book stores in the city and “business is very good” for him. He even struggled to find a few minutes to talk to EBR and requested humbly to be called after 9:00pm, when the hectic business hours ended.


One of the biggest moments in a person’s life is their wedding day and in Ethiopia it is a major cultural event. Newly wedded couples, parents and friends celebrate it with big festivities including much food, drink and dancing. But appearance is becoming much of a concern and it costs too much. Meseret Mamo, EBR’s Associate Editor, writes that the expense of this huge milestone is becoming an issue especially in Addis Ababa.


One hundred twenty years ago, in 1893, Willie Grooves, a West Bromwich Albion inside forward in the then professional English Football League, was sold with a record transfer fee of 100 Pounds Sterling (GBP) for Aston Villa. This transfer was considered controversial. The Football Association labeled the transfer process ‘unfair’ because the player was illegally poached and a huge amount of money was tendered. Nevertheless, Grooves subsequently became the first player to be transferred with ‘that amount’ of money in the history of football and helped Villa win the league championship in 1894. Villa actually ended up being fined for the incident by the Football Association.

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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