With over 60 companies, Mohammed International Development Research and Organisation Companies (MIDROC), which is owned by Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi, is the biggest private investment conglomerate in Ethiopia. Five of the companies were grouped as ‘MIDROC Technology Group’ under the leadership of Arega Yirdaw (PhD) in 2000. The number of companies in the Group has since increased to 24, employing over 8,000 Ethiopians. Last year, these companies, mainly MIDROC Gold, exported USD300 million, over 10Pct of the total export revenue the country received.
Having lived, worked and been educated in Ethiopia, the UK and the US, Arega says business has to be human centred. At MIDROC, he has established a culture of lifelong learning, which he has done himself, attaining two PhDs, the latest in educational leadership two years ago.


With an annual growth rate of 20 – 25Pct since 2004, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is the fastest growing airline in Africa. In its seven-decade history, it has earned a name for itself as a leading carrier, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success among its continental competitors. This success was made possible while so many of its African peers have vanished and the few existing ones are on the verge of perishing.
Several factors have contributed to ET’s success. Its CEO, Tewelde Gebremariam, who has worked for the company for more than 30 years, says the key has been good corporate governance and leadership. In connection with the company’s 70th anniversary, EBR’s Amanyehun Sisay, spoke with the detail-oriented CEO to learn more about the growth trajectories of Africa’s largest airline and what’s in store for ET.


Kaldi’s Coffee is one of the best-known Ethiopian brands. The company’s reach is impressive, with 30 branches throughout Addis Ababa and in Bishouftu, a town 45km southeast of the capital. In 2017, Kaldi’s will also cross the Red Sea, to serve coffee enthusiasts in Dubai.
Its founder, Tsedey Asrat, 40, a model-turned-entrepreneur, isn’t as well known as the brand she manages because she avoids journalists. This is due, in part, to the controversies that have surrounded her tenure at the helm of the Kaldi’s brand. The controversies began when she opened her first branch in Bole Medhanialem in 2004 because she said she would open 40 branches, considered by many an immodest statement. The resemblance of Kaldi’s logo to that of Starbucks – a giant American coffee chain founded in 1971 that operates more than 23,500 branches worldwide – added to the controversy. Starbucks later approached the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office to ban the use of Kaldi’s logo, a battle she eventually won.


In his position, Tesfachew Taffere is responsible for reducing difficulties that developing nations such as Ethiopia face in international trade and development. His job is vital, since the gap between poor and wealthy nations continues to grow. Tesfachew was in Addis Ababa to launch the 2015 Trade and Development Report for the United Nation Conference on Trade and Department (UNCTAD), which deals with making the international financial architecture work for development. He says that while the ambitious development goals of some countries are impressive, many lack an integrated approach to developing their economies, which ultimately hurts achieving the goals set out in the plans.


Patricia M. Haslach, US Ambassador to Ethiopia

With an annual average of USD800 million in support for education, health, and agriculture, the United States has been a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia. The two countries have also established cooperation in matters of peace and security in the Horn of Africa. However, the same can’t be said when it comes to trade and investment.


Carlos Lopes (PhD) UN Under Secretary-General, Executive Secretary, UN ECA

Carlos Lopes (PhD), UN Under Secretary-General and the eighth Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), is a well-known global thought leader in African development. Assuming his current position at the UNECA in 2012, Lopes previously served as Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training and Research in Geneva and Director of the UN System Staff College in Turin, Italy at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. His active contribution in research concerning development issues, his experience teaching at top-notch universities in Africa, Europe and Latin America, as well as authoring and editing 22 books have prepared him well for research- and development-oriented leadership.


Aliko Dangote, 58, is Africa’s richest man, with an estimated net worth of more than USD20 billion, according to Forbes. He’s the president, founder and chief executive of the Dagnote Group, which focuses on commodity manufacturing. The Nigerian businessman began his career in the 1970s as a trader of sugar, cement and rice before venturing into full-scale manufacturing. As the head of a multinational corporation, Dagnote now has his eyes set on Ethiopia, where he is launching a cement manufacturing plant and aspires to venture into fertilizer and sugar industries. He recently visited the progress of his soon-to-start production cement plant in the Adda Berga Wereda of West Shewa, near the capital Addis. EBR’s Amanyehun Sisay spoke with the world-renowned businessman during his visit about his latest projects and how he hopes to create more jobs for Africans in the future. The following is an excerpt.


Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone, Claim Your Rights Fully!

Meaza Ashenafi, 50, has become a face of the Ethiopian Women’s struggle for equality. A lawyer by training, she accomplished tangible results for the cause of women. In 1995 she founded the Ethiopian Women Lawyer’s Association and led it to magnificence during her eight years of dedicated service. In addition to her accomplishment, for which she was awarded the 2003 Africa Leadership Prize, she mobilized 12 professional and business women in 2008 to establish Ethiopia’s first bank dedicated to financing enterprises initiated or led by women. EBR’s Amanyehun R. Sisay, talked with Meaza about the state of women’s rights in Ethiopia, and her innovative bank.


When Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto arrived in Ethiopia on January 27 on a two-day visit, Jussi Hinkkanen, Vice President for Corporate Relations at Nokia Middle East and Africa was included in the business delegation of 27 executives from the country’s top moguls. Since September 2009 Hinkkanen has been responsible for Nokia’s governmental relations, corporate responsibility and innovation. He graduated with MSc in Industrial Economics and Software Sciences in 1998 from Tampere University of Technology in Finland, where both Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Jyrki Katainen attended their graduate studies.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

2Q69+2MM, Jomo Kenyatta St, Addis Ababa

Tsehay Messay Building

Contact Us

+251 961 41 41 41