Ashenafi EndaleJanuary 1, 2020
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1min2050
An Endeavor Far-removed from its Goal

With Ethiopia being at a crossroads, nation-building continues to be a contentious matter amongst politicians and policymakers in Ethiopia. Attempts of successive regimes to build an economically integrated society have borne no fruit. The administration of the Revolutionary Democrats is no different. The constitution adopted 25 years ago demands the formation of a single economic community which is crucial in promoting common rights, freedoms, and interests. The reality is, however, far from the intended goal. Not only that, the main ingredients of state building, providing citizens with basic functions and services, including maintaining internal order, are still unmet. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale probes into the matter.


Samson BerhaneDecember 12, 2019
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1min7110

The banking industry is witnessing its biggest change at a pace not observed for the past two decades. With different reforms undertaken by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led administration, for the first time in a decade, new entrants are on the verge of joining the banking industry. So far, 11 full-fledged Islamic, investment, mortgage, and conventional banks are under establishment. Majority of them are joining with higher paid up capital, a move criticized for being unwise as it’s likely to affect shareholders’ return. EBR’s Samson Berhane spoke with industry insiders, experts, and officials to find out the likely impact of the new players in the banking industry.


Ashenafi EndaleNovember 29, 2019
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1min2690

The importance of patent rights is usually overlooked in Ethiopia. From the inventors to the government officials, the attention given to the issue has not been satisfactory. This is partly because of the weak implementation of the patent law of the country. The fact that the country is also not a signatory in the international intellectual property law is another challenge which is undermining the efforts of the country in its accession in the World Trade Organization. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale investigates.


Ashenafi EndaleOctober 29, 2019
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1min19700

It was in 1995 that Ethiopia adopted federalism. The constitution also gives ultimate power to regions which formed the country. Although regions seem autonomous and independent, they have been losing economic power and have been surviving on subsidies from the central government. This makes Ethiopia’s fiscal federalism to be based on solidarity finance allocation from the center. This confusion is causing friction among regions and the federal government. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores.


Samson BerhaneSeptember 28, 2019
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2min35700
Is it the Right Model for Ethiopia?

When Ethiopia adopted the developmental state as its growth model almost two decades ago, many did not expect the East African nation would reap massive economic gains. However, the country was able to register one of the fastest economic growths in the world for more than a decade. This contributed to the increase in per capita income and significant reduction of poverty.

Many, on the other hand, discredit the achievements because of gross human rights violations, narrowing political space, and a stifling private sector. The development model has also been criticized for making the state a dominant economic actor in the economy by hugely investing in infrastructure development projects. To finance its huge development plans, the government has excessively borrowed from local and foreign sources. This led the national debt to more than USD50 billion as of June 2019. More than half of the loans were acquired from foreign sources.
As the government was pumping huge supply of money in the economy, the situation created a surge in demand amid a huge supply constraint. The supply was poor because equal volume of investment was not made in the productive sector of the economy, agriculture and manufacturing. The result has been a bulge in the trade deficit because of mounting imports while exports remained stagnant or declining in those years. Now, aiming to address these macroeconomic woes, the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been trying to deviate from the past trends of development. EBR’s Samson Berhane investigates.


Ashenafi EndaleAugust 28, 2019
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2min37650
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Eight years ago, when Ethiopia announced its bold decision to build the biggest possible dam on the Nile River, to which it contributes 86Pct of the water volume, with financing from domestic resources, the issue grabbed global headlines. Despite considerable consternation in Egypt and Sudan, the country was able to embark on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will be the largest hydropower plant in Africa, and the seventh globally upon completion.

Seven years later, however, the Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC), the contractor for the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure work on the project, became a focus of controversy amid allegations of delay, corruption, resource wastage and all sorts of mismanagement. The controversies have since put the GERD on the spotlight; and many even doubted the completion of the project. This was further complicated with the untimely death of Simengew Beleke (Eng.), manager of the project who was found dead of a gunshot wound on July 26, 2018, at Meskel Square, Addis Ababa.

Last year, the government cancelled all the contracts awarded to MetEC and signed contracts with five Chinese, French, and German companies to undertake the electro mechanical works. With this, the government seeks to start the project with a fresh schedule and finish the project in 2022, six years after its initially planned year of completion. However, there are still uncertainties over the finalization of the grand project. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale, who visited the game-changing power project, reports.


Samson BerhaneJuly 27, 2019
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1min39720

China’s rapidly rising economic and commercial relations with Africa have received much global attention in recent years. Over the last twenty years, China has climbed from being a relatively small investor in Africa to becoming its largest economic partner. Most importantly, China’s billions of dollars in aid and financing have helped many African countries, including Ethiopia, to pursue their most ambitious infrastructure development projects. However, as debt to the Asian Giant piles up, some experts fear the cost. EBR’s Samson Berhane investigates.


Ashenafi EndaleJune 27, 2019
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1min39140
The Fight to Develop Commercial Farming

Commercial farming, which dates back to the imperial era in Ethiopia, has gone through many ups and downs. Even though the government gave local and foreign commercial producers the green light to start producing around five years ago, many of the companies that leased land and took loans from the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) have left the sector altogether, citing difficulties with developing their land for production. However, this has left DBE unable to recover the billions of birr it disbursed to commercial farmers. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explored the problems facing commercial farming, and the potential in its future.


Ashenafi EndaleMay 23, 2019
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1min63660
The Harsh Reality Facing Firms Accused of Tax Evasion and their Employees

The subject of tax evasion, which refers to illegal practices used to escape from taxation, embraces many dimensions and problems. Global Financial Integrity estimates a sum of USD285 billion economic loss occurs in developing countries a year because of tax evasion. Although the exact figure is hard to find in Ethiopia due to insufficient data and different estimation techniques, tax evasion activities remain one of the major problem in Ethiopia. Even recently, the government announced that 135 companies were implicated in tax evasion activities, totaling around ETB14 billion. However, companies which are accused of involvement in tax evasion, as well as tax experts, stress that the gaps in the tax law is costing businesses unnecessary money, on top of leaving thousands of employees jobless as EBR’s Ashenafi Endale reports.


Ashenafi EndaleApril 23, 2019
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1min94630

All over the world, the wage gap between men and women has become a point of debate. In many countries, men and women are not compensated equally for working in the same positions, to varying degrees in different areas. In Ethiopia, women make around 63 cents for every birr earned by men. There are also issues with being able to access equal employment opportunities, as EBR’s Ashenafi Endale found.



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