For long, Ethiopia has been known as a hostile country for journalists with a leading record amongst the global community of nations for jailing and incriminating media professionals. This record finally changed in 2019, a year which passed with zero journalists imprisoned and incriminated. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrated that year’s World Press Freedom Day in Addis Ababa, as recognition for the country improving the state of its media since the coming to power of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and to further encourage the opening up of the space for media freedom.

Dear Readers,

The Ethiopian Business Review (EBR) is a new English business magazine. It will be published every two months by Champion Communications. We just started the magazine at a time Ethiopia is undergoing historic changes.

It is so saddening that Ethiopia lost Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, its present architect at this point of time. Meles lived and served the cause he believed in. That was worthwhile. Through the way, he has done many great things. Although his passing away at the age of 57 is so saddening, Meles has accomplished much that would keep his legacy alive. On behalf of our editorial team and myself, I would like to extend our deep grief. We wish his soul to rest in peace.


Tamrat Layne, 63, was Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, serving from June 1991 to October 1995. He became a member of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (EPRP) while a teen, and later defected with 36 other comrades to form the-then Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM), in 1982.

After ten years of guerilla fighting, his party, which allied with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to form the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in 1989, ousted the Dergue military regime on May 28, 1991. A few years before their victory however, the Oromo members of his party left to form the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO); similarly, fighters from the southern Ethiopian region also left to form several ethnic based parties. Finally, when almost all other non-Amhara members evacuated the EPDM, the party retitled itself as the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) in 1994.


Kebour Ghenna Desta is a household name in the Ethiopian business community. He served as President of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce for four years, from 1997 to 2001; and also as President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. Not only that, Kebour is a multidisciplinary professional known for his active role in media leadership, having established the oldest English business newspaper,  Capital, in 1998. He also founded and still serves as the Executive Director of Initiative Africa (IA), a non-governmental organisation known in recent years for organising the Addis International Film Festival (AIFF), Ethiopia’s annual week-long event showcasing documentary films from around the world.


Primary prevention, screening and appropriate follow-up, treatment and provision of palliative care reduce the burden of breast cancer. Ethiopia is also focusing on these preventive methods to reduce the fatal effects of the disease.

However, poor awareness, inadequate cancer-treatment infrastructure and cancer-management options are challenging the country of estimated 104 million from effectively addressing the issue. EBR’s Hiwot Selalew explored the interventions.


Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the 8th President of the African Development Bank Group. He was elected for the position on May 28, 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Adesina is a distinguished economist and thought leader in agriculture with nearly three decades of experience gained though research, development interventions and policy making. He served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, during which time he implemented bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programmes to expand opportunities for the private sector. He is credited for ending Nigeria’s 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector by developing and implementing an innovative electronic wallet system. He also led financing initiatives to support youth engagement in agriculture as well as small and medium enterprises.
Before assuming his Ministerial position, Adesina was the Vice President (policy and partnerships) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. He also served as Associate Director and Regional Director for the Southern Africa Office at the Rockefeller Foundation, for over a decade until 2008. He had also served as the President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, and a member of the editorial board of several academic journals.
Adesina got a PhD in agricultural economics from Purdue University in 1988, USA, where he won the outstanding thesis award for that year.
EBR’s Amanyehun R. SiSAY caught the President who was attending the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa on July 3rd to discuss about his bold initiative of lighting Africa. The following is an excerpt:


Ambassador Girma Birru Geda on Ethio-US Relations

Girma Birru Geda is a familiar name in Ethiopian politics in general and the private sector in particular. This is because of the long years of distinguished public service he had provided.
Before becoming Ambassador to the United States and nonresident Ambassador of Ethiopia to Mexico and Jamaica, Girma served as Minister of Trade and Industry from 2001 to 2010. He had been a Minister of Economic Development and Cooperation for six years before that.
Ambassador Girma started his career as an economist in the Office of the Council of Ministers in 1982. Since then, he also served, representing Ethiopia, as alternate governor of the World Bank and of the African Development Bank and as a board member of the PTA Bank, currently known as the Trade and Development Bank from 1995 to 2001.
Girma had offered leadership to several public enterprises. He had been a chairman and member of the board of directors of the then Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, Development Bank of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Investment Agency, Ethiopian Roads Authority, and the World Bank-funded Ethiopian Social Rehabilitation Development Fund.
The soft spoken and detail oriented politician holds a master’s degree in Economic Policy and Planning from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands; and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Addis Ababa University.
EBR’s Amanyehun SiSAY visited the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC and has the privilege of conversing with the able diplomat on a broad range of issues including the current state of diplomatic, economic, trade and investment relations between Ethiopia and the United States. They have discussed about the need to productively engage the Ethiopian Diaspora in the development of the country and other issues. The following is an excerpt.


Born on May 05, 1951 and raised in Addis Ababa, Tekeda Alemu (PhD) has been a diplomat for thirty four years. He began his career at the rank of 1st Secretary in 1983. He was promoted within a few years as a counselor and later as acting head of the International Department and then as head of the African Department within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Upon the change of government in 1991, he became deputy minister of foreign affairs, a position he held until October 2001. He then became a state minister until he was finally appointed as Ethiopia’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York in January 2011.
The career diplomat earned a B.A. and M.A. from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in political science and a Ph.D. also in political science from Claremont Graduate School in the United States. He was also assistant professor of political science and international relations at Addis Ababa University in the early 90’s.
Tekeda, the football enthusiast, smiles very much when he is asked to speak about his youth life and participation in football in which he had garnered an acclaim nationally and abroad. He had an illustrious history as a member of the UCLA’s Soccer Team, St. George Football Club and the national football team.
The EBR’s Amanyehun SiSAY visited the Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations in New York recently and discussed with Ambassador Tekeda, known widely as one of the leading architects of the post 2002 Ethiopia’s foreign policy, about the works the mission has been doing since Ethiopia became a non-permanent member of the Security Council in January 2017 and other issues. The following is an excerpt.


50 Years of Distinguished Services in Protecting Ethiopia’s Genetic Wealth

Melaku Worede, (PhD) was born in Addis Ababa in 1936. After obtaining his masters and PhD in Genetics and Breeding from the University of Nebraska in the USA, he returned home and got involved in the planning and establishment of the national Plant Genetic Resources Centre, of which he became director in 1979. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1993.

In 1989, Melaku was bestowed the Right Livelihood Award, an international award conferred to exemplary leaders who offer practical and exemplary solutions to the urgent and pressing challenges facing the world.


‘[Ethiopians] will come together to transform the country’

Finding someone who staunchly promotes Ethiopia’s investment potential more than Zemedeneh is a difficult task. For the Ethiopian-American executive, whose client base ranges from Fortune 500 companies throughout the world to Ethiopian Airlines, it is always better for investors to come with a ‘glass half full’ mentality. He says optimism enhances the chance for success.
A regular guest at high-profile gatherings around the world, Zemedeneh has spoken on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange, Harvard Business School, the Dubai-Africa Summit, the Saudi-East African Business Conference, the Corporate Council on Africa Summit in Washington and numerous investment promotion summits. He has been interviewed about investment and the state of the Ethiopian economy by acclaimed international news organisations such as the BBC, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera and the Financial Times. In January 2015, he was also named among the top 15 ‘CEOs of Africa to Watch’ by the London-based African Business Magazine.
Zemedeneh argues that the government’s investment in infrastructure is an impetus for industrialisation. He says these investments don’t crowd out the private sector; rather, they create opportunities for it to flourish. EBR’s Amanyehun Sisay sat down with the numbers-driven investment consultant to discuss current investment trends in Ethiopia and the challenges and prospects of the country’s economic transformation.

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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