Ethiopia’s imports amounted to USD14.1 billion in 2020, 13.9Pct lower than in 2016 and 9.3Pct lower than in 2019 and 2020. Based on average exchange rates for 2020, the Ethiopian Birr has depreciated 60.7Pct against the US dollar since 2016 and by 7Pct between 2019 and 2020. Imports paid in relatively stronger US dollars are thus more expensive for Ethiopian buyers.


As mental illness continues to challenge society, government institutions and private citizens are contributing to possible remedies. Even when daunted by mistaken public awareness and infrastructure shortages, the use of art is lending a hand in the fight against the growing public health challenge, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare, where she finds dedicated individuals tackling the issue with their artistic hands and minds.

The current democratic movement that has engulfed Ethiopia must be supported by economic reforms and democratic system. The two are intimately connected: you can’t have one without the others. Democracy is the best form of government for economic progress. But if the economy is not improving, the flag-bearers of democracy among the populace will make U- Turn. The Ethiopian youth do not “eat democracy”; at the end of the day they need jobs, income, food and housing for themselves and their dependants.


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) invited opposition party leaders when he formed his new cabinet last October. Perhaps looking to freshen up the workings of the Ministry of Education, where many would agree infrastructure is relatively present but implementation and focus on quality have been highly lacking, Abiy installed Berhanu Nega (Prof.), a venerated educator and opposition figure. Such opposition leaders must see the appointment beyond its political implications and realize that the country faces real challenges that require their technocratic attention, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


With 18 years of financial sector experience under his belt, Abay Sime is Director of the Online Banking Department of the Bank of Abyssinia, which has over 6 million customers and 1,078 automated teller machines. The bank’s recent growth shows a doubling of its deposit base from ETB32 billion to 82 billion within the past year. The number of customers has also blossomed to its current 6 million. Yet, wide-ranging inclusion remains difficult owing to a variety of reasons, key of which is financial and digital literacy to which he recommends institutionalizing the matter in the nation’s education curriculum. EBR had an audience with Abay, who also argues that banks are competing for the same pie rather than reaching out to unbanked societies.


Financial Sector Strives to Serve Communities with Special NeedsIt has been one hundred years since Ethiopia witnessed the first bank that served as a whistle to the launching of the Ethiopian financial sector. Now, with 19 banks and USD20 Billion in assets, the banking sector still falls short in serving special needs communities including the visually impaired. Private financial service providers need to go the extra mile and effort in tandem with the regulatory body which needs to create an environment that encourages innovation for a wider scope of inclusiveness in the financial sector, writes Bamlak Fekadu.


Sports agents—legal representatives of sportspeople—facilitate contracts and generally consult players and act as middlemen dealing with club management. Globally common, these actors would like to dab into the growing largess of money circulating in Ethiopian football. Yet, reluctance from both players and club management has made their situation difficult. When properly done, football intermediation could lift all boats in the sector, writes EBR’s Abiy Wendifraw.

The recent coordinated move by the Biden-led US government and its Western allies against the Ethiopian people has proven, once again, how far they will go in their attempts to restore their fading global hegemony.
It is no surprise that Ethiopia, a sovereign nation with a history of independence and resistance to colonial authority, is considered a threat to the status of the Western block.

Ethiopia has always been a strong symbol of African liberation and freedom. Because of this status, the West and other global powers believe that leaving Ethiopia’s power unchecked sets a dangerous precedence for the rest of Africa and black people everywhere.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), launched on January 1, 2021 has been hailed as a “game changer.” By bringing together 55 countries – with a total population of 1.3 billion and a combined GDP of USD3.4 trillion – in a single market, many believe AfCFTA could fuel Africa’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, spur structural transformation, and drive rapid industrialization. The World Bank estimates that trade integration could raise Africa’s income by 7Pct by 2035, lifting 30 million people out of extreme poverty.
Those are lofty expectations. Unfortunately, lowering trade barriers alone will not enable Africa to fulfil them.

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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