Remittances have proven to be a viable way to earn foreign currency. Last fiscal year Ethiopia earned USD3.8 billion this way, which is 27Pct more than export earnings. By some estimates, the country could earn nearly USD21 billion from remittances in five years. This can help fund financing gaps that emerge due to poor export performance, decreased bilateral funding as a result of recessions in developed countries, and meagre foreign direct investment (FDI). Experts note that remittances have the added benefit of exposing more people to formal financial systems. To that end, a number of banks are working to improve their services to bring in more foreign currency. Some people, however, feel that the ambitions of the banks and the government may be premature. EBR’s Fasika Tadesse researched the nuances of the issue to gain greater insight into the potential of remittances as a means of financing Ethiopia’s ever-expanding development.


Rising Lease Costs, Regulations Push Private Banks to Construct Acquire Buildings

Though Ethiopia’s private banking sector is still young, competition within the industry is getting stiffer – with companies vying to increase performance vis-à-vis increased capital regulation. This, in tandem with National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) rules that require annual branch expansion, creates an environment in which financial institutions are scrambling to acquire or construct buildings in prime locations to house their headquarters and ever-growing number of branches. Bank executives say this is good for business, since the cost of rent in major cities is quickly skyrocketing. It also presents the option to lease spare office space and generate revenue. Others, however, think that the rush to buy and develop properties diverts the banks from their primary function as financial institutions, quelling growth in the nascent private banking sector. EBR’s Fasika Tadesse spoke with bank executives and economists to gain insight into the increasing drive for banks to obtain properties and if that is good for the country.


Value addition refers to a process whereby manufacturers make a product more useful or sophisticated for consumers. These goods earn more money in the market – an appealing prospect for developing countries looking to increase revenue and develop their economies. A key factor in assessing value addition is the manufacturing data itself and the formula used to calculate it. In Ethiopia, however, a new metric has been proposed to determine value addition among industries. This has many manufacturers up in arms over the decision. The government, however, thinks it will be useful and ultimately quell corruption in the private sector. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale spoke with key stakeholders to learn more about the issue’s complexity and the on-going debate surrounding it.


High-end restaurants serve foods in fancy, often luxurious dining areas. The ambiance and quality of the food, service and silverware mean that they charge higher prices. As the spending power of Ethiopians increases, so does their desire to eat quality foods. Such restaurants tend to do well even during times of recession. Despite the promising environment for high-end restaurants, managers say they face hurdles, including difficulties importing goods. EBR’s Fasika Tadesse spoke with restaurateurs to learn more about what is likely to be a growing trend in Ethiopia’s service sector.


Ethiopia has made great strides in combating HIV and AIDS over the last decade. According to the World Health Organisation, new HIV infections declined by 90Pct and AIDS-related deaths by 53Pct between 2000 and 2011. Other important figures, like the rate of transmission and number of newly infected individuals, have also decreased substantially since 2000. These achievements, however, have resulted in decreased funding from international donors like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund, which come mainly from the United States. According to some officials, the decreased prevalence of the virus has also contributed to a more lax attitude with regard to HIV among younger people who don’t view the virus as a substantial threat to their livelihoods. These dynamics worry many officials that the country may witness a resurgence of the virus in certain demographics. EBR’s adjunct staff writer Meseret Mamo explores the issue further and offers this report.


For decades, Ethiopia has enjoyed a highly regarded position within athletics, especially in long-distance running. This prominent role, however, may prove to be a liability in the eyes of some anti-doping activists who believe the successes of the country’s athletes warrants heightened scrutiny in doping investigations. Data from the leading anti-doping agency suggests these activists may be right: in 2013 alone, nearly 2,000 sanctions were levied for doping infractions in nearly 90 different sports around the world. What will this mean for Ethiopia’s athletics programme? EBR’s adjunct staff writer, Abiy Wendifraw, spoke with key stakeholders to learn more about what’s being done to address this issue.

The concept of ‘micromanagement’ might not be new to you. Still, it’s a buzzy term in the business world and often it means different things to different people; therefore, it is important to define the term from the outset. Its actual meaning, as defined by academicians, is supervision with too much control on trifling details. In most cases, no matter how minute the project or decision, micromanagers sense it compulsory to be in command of it.

In 2008, the Commission on Growth and Development, which I had the privilege of chairing, produced a report updating our knowledge about sustainable growth patterns. Then, as now, one thing is clear: the policies that underpin multi-decade periods of high growth, structural transformation, rising employment and incomes, and dramatic reductions in poverty are mutually reinforcing. The impact of each is amplified by the others. They are ingredients in recipes that work – and, as with recipes, missing items can substantially undermine the outcome.

Today, great-power competition is a fact: The United States now competes with an increasingly active Russia and a rising China. The Middle East, the South China Sea, and Ukraine are just three theatres where this new reality is playing out.

It’s raining money in Africa! For instance, as the India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 concluded in New Delhi last October, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a concessional credit of USD10 billion for Africa over the next five years. This credit is in addition to the ongoing Indian credit lines for African countries.

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

2Q69+2MM, Jomo Kenyatta St, Addis Ababa

Tsehay Messay Building

Contact Us

+251 961 41 41 41