Inadequate infrastructure continues to undermine the competitiveness of African countries in the global arena. Despite being blessed with ample mineral and other natural resources, the continent has the lowest infrastructural development in the world in areas like energy, water, sanitation, transportation, and communications technology.


Before the 1880s, Eritrea was part of Ethiopia. It was the advent of colonial rule that created a historic divide between them. Global developments after the second World War and diplomatic efforts by Emperor Haileselassie helped the reunion of the two countries in 1952 through federation. However, the federation was abolished in 1962 and subsequent internal power struggles ignited the Eritrean liberation movement. In a war that spanned for 30 years, Eritrea finally became an independent state in 1991.

The two countries established formidable relations since then. That close relationship, however, was short lived, because of a bloody two-year war between the two countries brokeout in 1998.


Tamrat Layne, 63, was Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, serving from June 1991 to October 1995. He became a member of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (EPRP) while a teen, and later defected with 36 other comrades to form the-then Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM), in 1982.

After ten years of guerilla fighting, his party, which allied with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to form the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in 1989, ousted the Dergue military regime on May 28, 1991. A few years before their victory however, the Oromo members of his party left to form the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO); similarly, fighters from the southern Ethiopian region also left to form several ethnic based parties. Finally, when almost all other non-Amhara members evacuated the EPDM, the party retitled itself as the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) in 1994.


Nation Continues to lose billions to raw material imports

In recent years, domestic sourcing, a procurement strategy adopted by companies to purchase their inputs, is gaining momentum due to the fact that localisation brings cost-savings across the supply chain, especially in light of climbing costs in traditionally low-cost regions. However, although many multinational and local companies are investing in the country, Ethiopia lags behind in this regard. Even though the lack of raw materials on the local market has forced companies to lean towards imports, the scarcity of foreign currency is putting extra pressure on their survival. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale investigates the difficulty faced by manufacturers due to low level of raw materials sourcing from domestic suppliers in Ethiopia.


If anything has cast a pall over the Ethiopian economy, it is the foreign currency shortage, which reached historic lows just three months ago. This has prompted businesses to look for alternative means to alleviate the problem, such as transacting using diaspora accounts. The accounts are offered to non-residential Ethiopians, as well as Ethiopian-born foreign nationals who have been working and living abroad for more than a year. This has opened a window of opportunity for legal as well as illegible account holders to access foreign currency without waiting for the approval of letters of credit. EBR’s Samson Berhane reports.


Michael Joseph is a pioneer of mobile money in Kenya. He is credited with the remarkable success of the M-PESA mobile payments system that has helped Kenya develop its rural economy. In the ten countries where M-PESA operates, networks of thousands of small shops and businesses allow mobile customers to swap physical cash for electronic credits. The network now has over 30 million active users. EBR’s Samson Berhane sat down with Joseph, who is currently Vodafone Group’s Director of Mobile Money and Board Chairperson of Kenyan Airways, on the sidelines of the launch of Dashen Bank’s new mobile money platform (Amole) one month ago, to discuss his success in deploying one of the world’s most successful mobile money services and his views towards Ethiopia’s banking as well as telecom sectors.


Why Ethiopia imports huge amounts of wheat while endowed with vast suitable land for farming

In recent years, wheat shortages have been getting more and more severe in urban areas like Addis Ababa, putting pressure on local businesses engaged in wheat processing, as well as residents. On the other hand, close to 10 million people who have been struck by drought and displaced by internal political conflicts have to wait for months in order to receive wheat. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores the fundamental reasons behind wheat scarcity in Ethiopia.


Although the government incorporated a pre-primary school program into the Education and Training Policy in 1994, attention is still not being paid to the sector. Instead, the major focus for the government has been scaling-up primary, secondary and tertiary schools. Shortages and high turnover of teachers, a lack of clear direction to develop early education and budgetary shortages have been the major problems keeping pre-primary school programs from expanding as EBR’s Samson Berhane reports.


Lately, Addis Ababa has witnessed a boom in high-end men’s barbershops, which have distinct features such as neat rooms, wider spaces and attractive interior designs. With a unique marketing strategy, this new kind of barber, which usually charges between ETB70 and ETB150, is seemingly popping up in every new building. As it becomes one of the quickest-growing professions in the capital, the new trend is now starting to appeal to more and more of the city’s residents, as Ashenafi Endale reports.


Despite the availability of many lakes and rivers, Ethiopians have yet to embrace the sport of swimming. Many are hard-pressed to name any professional Ethiopian swimming icons. Lack of proper attention given to the activity, shortage of financing as well as the unavailability of swimming facilities is hindering the sport from growing, as EBR adjunct writer Abiy Wendifraw reports.

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