Despite the industrial transformation the Ethiopian government is developing as a launch pad for economic growth, the manufacturing industry sector is not doing as well as expected, lagging far behind in terms of competitiveness in the international market. This manifests itself in the reality that foreign currency generation from the manufacturing sector is trending down on pars of planned export targets.


One trend that appears to be growing among Ethiopian musicians is the practice of covering: rerecording old songs by new artists in order to give the song new life. Up-and-coming musicians say that covering old songs is a good way to gain exposure by introducing the artists to new audiences through famous songs. Others, however, feel the practice compromises the integrity of the original song and musician, and thwarts creativity in the music industry. EBR’s Meseret Mamo spoke with industry insiders to get a closer look at the debate and to see if any consensus can be reached on this controversial issue.


The month of July marks the beginning of transfer season for Ethiopian football players. The period is usually marked by the active movement of players from one club to another. However, this year is different, because of a directive, that was adopted by the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) that no longer allows players to receive lump sum payments for transfer deals; instead, they receive their payments in monthly installments. The EFF says this action was taken to ensure players are accountable to their new teams, as some players in the past have taken their money and disappeared. Players, however, say the directive unfairly penalizes players. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale delved deeper into the debate to learn more about the effect the directive has had on Ethiopian football clubs summer transfer.


Are they a magic bullet for fast industrialization?

In an attempt to harness Ethiopia’s manufacturing potential, the government has plans to establish industrial parks for facilitating fast industrialization. These parks offer a number of privileges for the companies that operate on them. The benefits include provision of basic infrastructure, duty free import of machineries and tax holidays. Government officials argue that the parks allow for increased manufacturing capacity. Others, however, say that the companies who occupy these parks, many of which are owned by foreign investors, are doing little to contribute to the development of technical knowledge and capacity among local businesses and employees, which could prove less advantageous to the nation in view of huge investment made to establish them. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale spoke with industry insiders to learn more about the potential and pitfalls surrounding the development of industrial parks in Ethiopia.


Patricia M. Haslach, US Ambassador to Ethiopia

With an annual average of USD800 million in support for education, health, and agriculture, the United States has been a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia. The two countries have also established cooperation in matters of peace and security in the Horn of Africa. However, the same can’t be said when it comes to trade and investment.


Struggle to Penetrate the Burgeoning Liquor Market

Liquor consumption is on the rise in Ethiopia. According to data obtained from the Central Statistical Agency (CSA), imports of hard liquors reached 4.2 million kilograms in 2014 – that figure is way up from 1.6 million kilograms in 2010. In an attempt to capitalise on this growth and seize the buying power of consumers, local liquor manufacturers are becoming common in the country. However, many manufacturers complain that they are facing difficulties in getting the attention of local consumers. Customers, meanwhile, argue that some local liquor brands are often more expensive than imported brands. EBR’s Fasika Tadesse explored the issue further and offers this report.


A city unlocking its tourism potential

Tourism in Bahir Dar is on the rise. This is, in part, due to the natural beauty of the city and its cultural and historical treasures. As a result, the tourist flow and revenue generated has been increasing. In the past five years alone, the number of tourists has risen more than fourfold – from 37,166 in the 2009/10 fiscal year to 149,266 in the 2014/15 fiscal year. The jump has been good for the city, as it collected ETB332.8 million in tourism revenue in the just-ended fiscal year. Five years ago, the sector generated only ETB55.85million. The growing trend both in the number of tourists and revenue also means that businesses are flocking to Bahir Dar, to seize the city’s burgeoning reputation as a site of national sporting events and international conferences. EBR’s Fasika Tadesse visited Bahir Dar to learn more about the ascent of its tourism industry and about the hurdles the city has to overcome before it realises its full potential.


Daily queues to buy edible oil in Addis

If you rely on palm oil for cooking, you may have noticed that it’s increasingly becoming scarce throughout Ethiopia. This shortage has made the government intervene, by lifting a four-year ban on the importation of edible oils for local companies. However, some critics say that this move isn’t enough to change the situation on the ground – and that it won’t be profitable for local companies. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale spoke with experts and people involved in the industry to learn more about what can and should be done to remedy the edible oil shortfall.

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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