An Old Challenge Surfaces in the new emerging Industry Zones

Industrial Parks have multifaceted benefits. They attract foreign investors with financial, technological and management capabilities, resources that least developed host countries are usually in short supply. Countries which fast expanded parks, such as Vietnam, achieved tremendous leap in manufacturing, thereby increasing job creation and export revenues.
Ethiopia has long realised these benefits and started building more than a dozen parks. Cheap labour and electricity along with lucrative tax incentives, and quota and tariff free access to the big USA, EU and Chinese markets have attracted investors. The presence of ‘cheap labour’ and highly subsidised electricity has especially contributed to Ethiopia’s leading position in Africa as FDI destination. However, the fact that employees are paid as low as USD35 per month, is hugely contributing to low labour productivity, high staff turnover and poor industrial culture. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale visited the Bole Lemi and Hawasa industrial parks to see the extent of the problem.


In recent years, there has been a giant leap forwards making Ethiopia a hub of light manufacturing industries in Africa by 2025. To this end industrial parks in Addis Ababa and Hawassa, mainly designed for textile and garment manufacturing went operational to boost export revenues. 13 additional parks are currently under construction for same. EBR spoke to Belachew Mekuria (PhD), deputy commissioner for Industrial Parks Division at the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) about the performance of the already operational ones, status of the industry parks under construction, and the challenges companies and employees in the parks experience.


Research and development (R&D) refers to investigative activities conducted to identify and address challenges or improve existing ways of doing things through innovation of new technologies. Public or private organizations engaged in the production of goods and services conduct R&D to improve product quality, productivity, and service delivery.
The budget organizations allocate to R&D is a significant factor to its outcomes. Countries and organizations that have realized this allocate a significant deal of resources to Research. Although Ethiopia is hugely investing in the education sector, it’s one of the countries known for allocating insignificant amount of resources for R&D. Even with a robust economic growth experienced for over 10 years, the country keeps to allocate small budget. EBR has explored the issue to offer this report.


The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is entrusted to facilitate the rapid learning, adaptation and utilization of effective foreign technologies. To achieve this mission, it spearheaded the preparation and adoption of science and technology policies and strategies to support and coordinate national research and development (R&D) agenda.
EBR sat with Afework Kassu (Prof), state minister of the Ministry to learn about what the country is doing to promote R&D. Before assuming his current post, Afework, a young dynamic scientist, was director general of Higher Education Research and Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Education. He had earlier been a vice president for research and community service at the University of Gondar.


Ethiopia depends on its inland water bodies for its fish supply. The growing number of dams has increased its country’s potential of fishing. Though the culture and dietary tradition does not favor fish consumption throughout the year, the rise of population, urban centers and overall growth of the hospitality industry, in recent years, are creating a favorable condition. As a result production of fish ascended to 50,148 metric tonnes last year, up from 17,047 six years ago. The per capita consumption has also reached to 500grams in the year from less than 150 grams a decade ago.
However, with the rise of population whose purchasing power is fast growing and dietary culture changing, a big demand is being created. The ever burgeoning hospitality industry is also creating further demand. As a result, the significant growth of production did not match the supply especially in urban areas like Addis Ababa. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale consulted stakeholders and researches for this report.


A mental illness is a health problem that changes the thinking, emotion or behaviour or a combination of these in an individual. Globally, mental disorders are common, with over a third of patients in many countries reporting sufficient cases. As a result, countries employ multifaceted strategies to treat the illness.
Introducing the first metal health strategy in 2010, Ethiopia embarked on addressing the problem. Unlike the past, where patients receive treatment only in St. Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital, all public hospitals, health centres and some private medical institutions are giving treatments for mental illness as of recently. EBR’s Hiwot Selalew explores this new development.


Eight months after Haile Gebrselassie’s election as president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF), his team is engaged in a demanding task. They are busy at strengthening the capacity of EAF. This includes attracting more sponsors to finance the athletics development projects throughout the country. The EAF was also preparing for a better result in the 2017 London IAAF World Championship. EBR’s Abiy Wendifraw spoke with the president and other stakeholders to learn about their effort to build a strong Federation and improve athletics in Ethiopia.

The Dilemma of conflict and Economic Growth in Ethiopia

Although I have some reservations if indeed the official growth rates of Ethiopia are realistic, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and of course the government has made an important stride and appreciable task in building major infrastructure in power, road, and rail sectors and attracting foreign investment. That has helped the country achieve better economic growth than during the time of the two preceding governments, the Dergue and the Imperial regimes. It has also positively changed the image of the country using economic and pan-African diplomacy until the political violence and crisis erupted in 2016 followed by the declaration of a six-month State of Emergency, which is extended by another four months now.


One-of-a-Kind Talent Show Training Center

Talent shows are recent phenomena in Ethiopia. Even then, most of them are short lived. Yet, one show, Yemaleda Kokeboch, has remained in the business and launched its fourth edition recently. The producer of the show, Medaf Multimedia has further taken an initiative to establish a training centre to train the next generation of artists. EBR’s Hiwot Salelew visited the centre to discuss with its director, students and juries for this report.

Facts and figures show that the insurance density-cum-penetration level in Ethiopia is at the lowest point. While there are scores of factors, both from the supply and demand sides, one possible reason is dearth of research based insurance products and solutions that could meet the needs and socio cultural make up and religious standards of the society. The industry is highly dependent on conventional insurance products such as “motor” which constitutes the largest portfolio.

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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