The slowdown of manufacturing in China due to the corona virus (COVID-19) outbreak is disrupting world trade and could result in a USDUS50 billion decrease in exports across global value chains, according to a report published by UNCTAD on March 4, 2020. The most affected is the manufacturing sector, especially producers of precision instruments, machinery, automotive and communication equipments.


When news of a new strain of Coronavirus came out of China almost four months ago, the world seems unimpressed with the potential danger it posed. It has, however, taken the invisible microbe less than three months to literally make the whole world its empire. Its social, economic and political impacts have poured water on other burning issues of the world and left them on the backburner. Especially the world economy has been hard hit by the pandemic. The fates of businesses and potentially billions of employees hangs by the balance. Different sectors of the Ethiopian economy have also faced the wrath of the invisible microbe. EBR’s Samson Berhane and Ashenafi Endale delve into the global, regional and national economic impacts and emergency measures.


Using plastic bags is a common practice in Ethiopia, a country that aspires to build a carbon free economy by 2025. Although Ethiopia declared producing plastic bags of below 0.03mm illegal long ago, the proclamation has not been put into practice. Retailers openly trade bags below the recommended amount throughout Ethiopia. With that precedent in mind, the government has drafted a new law that totally bans plastic bags. While this is expected to be legislated in the next three months, producers complain such a measure would put them in a precarious situation. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores.


The reliance on remittance has scaled up globally from household level to national economies following the massive workforce flow in the contemporary global economy. Ethiopia, a country that just woke up to this reality, has countless reasons to regard remittance as its biggest source of foreign currency. Especially in the last decade, remittance flows increased significantly surpassing export revenue. The annual remittance flow currently stands at USD5.3 billion. However, the annual remittance sent via official channels doesn’t match the huge number of Ethiopians residing abroad. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale investigates the reasons behind.


The transformation of humanitarian organizations into financial institutions in 1997 was the beginning of operation of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) in Ethiopia. From then on, MFIs have showed remarkable progress in number, outreach, coverage and performance. Currently, 40 MFIs operating in the country serve close to 10 million clients nationwide while 15 more are in the making. Breaking the trend in the rest of the world, Ethiopia’s microfinance industry is born and raised in rural parts of the country. However, MFIs are currently conquering urban Ethiopia and providing credit especially for business establishments. Urbanites now make up close to 10Pct of the clientele of MFIs. The four pioneer MFIs, whose capital is way larger than most small and mid sized banks, are planning to mold themselves into conventional banks. On the other hand, the rest are pushing up their credit limits in order to capture the attention of the large segment of the unbanked population. Although most MFIs in Ethiopia have reached maturity and success, they are not immune from problems. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale reports.


Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) is still an emerging concept for the majority of Ethiopians though it has been piloted for many years. However, the scheme is benefiting 22.5 million Ethiopians who are living under extreme poverty excluded from formal insurance schemes. Even in Addis Ababa, where the scheme started two years ago, close to 200,000 people are getting financial protection against the high cost of healthcare services. EBR’s Kiya Ali explores.


There are no options in sight for Addis Ababa’s horizontal expansion now that border disputes with Oromia regional state have become one of the hottest political agenda in the country. This horizontally fixed landmass has, however, been receiving an unprecedented huge influx of rural urban migrants. With most of the city’s farm lands used up for constructing residential areas, residents of Africa’s capital are left to depend on regional states for the supply of agricultural products. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale looks into the problem and the fresh efforts being taken to avert the situation.


In the current dynamic business environment where technology changes quickly and customer demand escalates, staff training plays a crucial role to increase productivity, improve efficiency and meet customer expectations. This is especially true for financial institutions operating in Ethiopia under dynamic and volatile business environment. To facilitate this, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) in 2016 instructed banks and other financial institutions to spend two percent of their expenses, excluding capital expenditure, on human resource development. However, financial institutions failed to live up to expectations initially. In the 2017/18 fiscal year, seven banks failed to invest two percent of their expenditure that totally amounts close to ETB40 million on staff training. Through time, financial institutions began to realize the importance of training and started to give their employees frequent trainings. However, some still have doubts on the quality and efficiency of the training. EBR’s Kiya Ali reports. 


In developing countries like Ethiopia, where the majority of the population is small scale farmers and pastoralists, livestock and crop insurances play a vital role in minimizing the risk of climate shock and drought. However, livestock and crop insurance remains a luxury in Ethiopia. Even though livestock and crop insurance policies were introduced in Ethiopia 20 years ago by the state owned Ethiopian Insurance Corporation, the number of beneficiaries is insignificant. Currently, there are only three insurance companies that provide livestock and crop insurance in the country. The situation is getting worse when it comes to micro insurance since it still remains in pilot testing stage dependent on aid from foreign NGOs. EBR’s Kiya Ali spoke with various stakeholders to shed light on the reasons behind.

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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