Ashenafi EndaleMarch 15, 2020
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1min4100

The value of land has risen significantly in rural Ethiopia over the past few years. With the youth population rising alarmingly alongside a very sluggish rural transformation, landlessness has become a chronic problem. According to the central bank, youth aged 18 to 25 years account for more than 40% of the working age population of Ethiopia, and constitute the majority of landless people. On top of being landless, a considerable portion of them are currently unemployed. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale spoke with farmers, researchers, policymakers, and government officials to shed light on the matter.


Ashenafi EndaleFebruary 15, 2020
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1min8620
Another ‘FLawed decision’ just around the corner

Learning from media outlets of new rules, laws or regulations to be enacted the next day without any consultations with the very entities it will govern, is a very common phenomenon in Ethiopia. The new excise tax law is no different. It was after the draft proclamation was approved by the Council of Ministers that businesses affected by the amendment started to voice their concerns. While the government plans to raise tax revenues in congruence with the growth of the economy, businesses are likely to feel the brunt of the bill. Many are complaining that the bill will adversely impact their revenues, while government officials argue the amendment of excise tax rates has shifted the burden of excise tax from producers and importers to end consumers. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale investigates.


Ashenafi EndaleJanuary 1, 2020
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1min13660
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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1min22180

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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1min12270

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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1min27830

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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2min43280
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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2min41630
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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1min43970

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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1min43040
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.



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