Author: Ethiopian Business Review



One of the critical problems in Addis Ababa is the lack of efficient public transport. This is despite the fact that government has been deploying various schemes, such as introduction of Higer, Bishoftu, and double-decker buses; and constructing Sub Sahara’s first light railway with billions in investment and subsidies every year. 

These initiatives have been unable to sufficiently ease the transport crisis. While officials stress the government is doing its best to execute projects that expand mass transportation, experts argue that transport sustainability can only be guaranteed through proper planning that takes into account factors like urbanization and changes in land use. EBR offers this report.


Access to financial services contributes immensely to economic growth. This is why nations come up with the right mix of policies to expand financial services. Ethiopia, too, has been reforming its financial sector for the last two decades. However, the sector remains immature, even in comparison to other Sub-Saharan African countries.

To ameliorate the situation, the government has been intensifying its efforts to expand financial services. In 2014, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) made it a requirement for financial institutions to increase their branches by 25Pct annually. This resulted in an unprecedented expansion of financial services. A year before that, the bank introduced a mobile and agent banking policy. As a result, close to 2 million clients are now using mobile banking, while 16,000 agents operate in the country.


Ever since Donald Trump became the President of the United States of America a year ago, the fate of countries that receive large amounts of aid money has been hanging in the balance. The US President’s campaign promise to cut back foreign aid has caused fear, which was exacerbated in the last days of 2017 when the president threatened to withhold aid to countries who voted in favor of the United Nations resolution rejecting the United Sates’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.



Although cotton is one of the oldest cultivated agricultural commodities in Ethiopia, recent trends show that the demand from textile factories is only met partially from local sources. Out of the three million hectare of land suitable for cotton, less than 10Pct is currently cultivated. 

In order to reverse the situation, Ethiopia introduced a new cotton development strategy in October 2017. The strategy, which delineates targets and activities to be carried out in the next 15 years, foresees the growth of cotton production to satisfy local demand and engage in export. One of the institutions responsible for the implementation of the strategy is the Textile Industry Development Institute (TIDI). Yared Mesfin, Deputy Director General of TIDI talks to EBR.



Africa Insurance Company is one of the oldest private insurers established in Ethiopia after the partial liberalization of the financial sector. Established in 1994 with ETB15 million paid up capital, the company has been engaged in all classes of insurance — general and life insurance. 

As the industry is being challenged due to the growing cut throat price based competitions and rising clams, some insurance companies are witnessing a declining profit, Africa Insurance is one of them. EBR had a brief discussion with its managing director, Kiros Jiranie, to learn about the company and the overall development of insurance business in the country. 



As population keeps increasing and fighting poverty becomes a top global agenda, the need to increase agricultural production has become a priority especially in developing countries like Ethiopia. For that, experts advise policy interventions that can help to increase productivity and production. Using improved technologies and increasing farm size have for long been advised to increase output. Ethiopia has been going in the same direction.

Yet, there is one thing that it was not well thought of to improve food security – managing post harvest loss. The intervention — which can be achieved without major cost — can help avoid much of the loss of output which reaches up to 50Pct in some products.  Post harvest loss for major cereal crops, except Teff, is around 24Pct in Ethiopia; the loss for oilseeds is between 15Pct and 25Pct while vegetables and fruits incur the highest loss of about 50Pct. This occurs almost at every stage of the supply chain. EBR explores the issue.


Ethiopia is currently the second populous country in Africa. This can be an exceptional opportunity to strengthen its economy and fight poverty. However, this potential for growth, prosperity and development could be lost if the country is unable to support the job creation and business opportunities to absorb the growing youth population. In fact, improving infrastructure, especially access to electricity, is critical to expand business opportunities and job creation in Ethiopia.


Despite the collapse of global commodity price and political instability that have slowed growth in North Africa, most African countries are still moving forward. In fact, Africa was among the world’s fastest growing continent with more than 5Pct average annual rate of growth over the past decade. In 2016, Africa has also become the second most attractive investment destination in the world, standing next to North America, according to the World Bank.



Rajeev Kumar Sharma is the general manager of Anmol Products Ethiopia, an Indian based company engaged in paper converting business in Ethiopia since 2009. The company was established with ETB 76 Million. The Indian investor also serves as deputy chairman of Indian Business Forum, an institution established in Ethiopia to represent Indian investors in different platforms. EBR sat down with Sharma, who was also part of the Ethiopian business delegate that went to India last year, to learn more about the trade and investment relationship between the two countries, the existing challenges and what both countries are doing to uplift the level of partnership.



Known as one of the pioneer female painters in Ethiopia, Desta Hagos has been an inspiration to many young women with the desire to pursue their dream of becoming artists. She fell in love with painting and drawing at a very young age. At the age of 18 she became the first female visual arts student to graduate from the then Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts and Design. Taught and mentored under the famous Gebre-Kristos Desta, she has over the years earned a name as one of the most distinguished painters in Ethiopian history. She has more than 50 solo and group exhibitions and numerous honors and recognitions. EBR’s Hiwot Selalew talked to Desta about her life and career.

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