Ashenafi EndaleNovember 15, 2020


Microinsurance is insurance that can be accessed by the low-income segment of the population and small businesses. Despite its business potential and instrumental role in averting social and economic risks, the penetration of microinsurance remains very low in Ethiopia, a country with 80Pct of the population engaged in smallholder, rural, and rain fed agriculture, and where crop and livestock failure is frequent. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores why microinsurance could not capitalize on the rising demand and takeoff as a new business front.

Ashenafi EndaleOctober 15, 2020

Departing Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jian

Shortly after arriving on December 4, 2017, Ambassador of the Peoples’ Republic of China to Ethiopia, Tan Jian became a dashing figure in Ethiopia’s development activities. Although his tenure matched a period of turbulence in Ethiopia, Tan Jian has had a successful diplomatic stay. His tenure overlapped with the political transition in Ethiopia and the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, he succeeded in relentlessly pushing for the timely execution of projects, attracting more Chinese investment, and coordinating the fight against the pandemic. He is a popular media figure who reveals the Chinese side of stories, which he argues, are otherwise stereotyped by the West dominated media. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale sat down with him ahead of his end of tenure and departure at the end of September 2020.

Ashenafi EndaleOctober 15, 2020


William Asiko came to the helm of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office just in 2019. The foundation’s Managing Director is, however, not new to Africa’s development issues.

Asiko started his career as an attorney in the external resources department of the government of Kenya. He has worked for The Coca-Cola Company at various positions and in several countries including the USA, Morocco, UK, Kenya, and South Africa. He was also the Executive Director of Grow Africa, which was jointly established by the World Economic Forum, the African Union (AU), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to accelerate private sector investment into African agriculture. Asiko was also the CEO of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), a pan-African development organization.

Asiko earned a law degree from the University of Nairobi in 1987 and an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in the United States in 2005. EBR spoke to the Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office on various issues via zoom from his office based in Nairobi.

Ashenafi EndaleOctober 15, 2020


Ethiopia, which has undergone political turbulence in recent years, has now fired a direct shot at the nation’s lingering macroeconomic imbalances by unveiling a new generation of currency notes on September 14, 2020. In addition to the replacements of the old Birr 10, 50, and 100, a new 200 Birr note was also issued by the government. The five Birr note remains unchanged and will soon be turned into a coin. While the government stress that the introduction of new currency notes is part of the ongoing economic reform in the country, critics argue the move is rather driven by politics and an assertion of power. EBRs Ashenafi Endale explores.

Ashenafi EndaleOctober 15, 2020


Globally, the manufacturing and use of electric vehicles (EVs) is growing as governments increasingly introduce stricter environmental protection directives. However, electric vehicles were not even a topic for discussion in Ethiopia until recently. The trend has shifted quite fast as a number of companies have started to assemble EVs despite the absence of appropriate legal framework to promote and regulate the assembly or manufacturing and use of the vehicles. The situation has left assemblers and users with obstacles. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores.

Ashenafi EndaleOctober 15, 2020


Ethiopia is among developing countries that have achieved fast and sustainable economic growth in the last decade, mostly through massive public led investment. Despite this, the domestic saving rate remains low, relative to the investment rate. As a result, the country is forced to depend on debt to fill the gap. Currently, the gross domestic saving to GDP ratio in Ethiopia is 22.3Pct, with the gross capital formation to GDP ratio at 37Pct. In fact, the gap between saving and investment is now wider than it was 15 years ago. As the government envisions increasing the saving ratio to 30Pct of GDP in the next 10 years, EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores the reasons for the low domestic saving rate and offers solutions.

Ashenafi EndaleOctober 12, 2020


Zamzam bank, the first full fledged interest free bank, became operational on october 12, 2020. The bank has received its operation license from Yinager Dessie (PhD) governor of NBE, at a grand inauguration ceremony at Skylight hotel.

Zamzam, which is established with 11,200 shareholders, has ETB880 million paid up capital and ETB1.8 billion subscribed capital.
Zamzam bank has requested license from the central bank 13 years ago. Nonetheless, the founding members had to wait in vain,despite fulfilling requirements.
close to 20 new banks are currently  in the pipeline, doubling the number of commercial banks in the country soon.
“It is not about competition. it is about cooperation and serving the largely unbanked population in the country,” lamented Melika Bedri, first president of Zamzam, who became the third female bank president in the financial industry.

Ashenafi EndaleOctober 1, 2020


The capital will have 1,500 electric buses under Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a new mass transport routes the city administration is aspiring to build, Abdisa Yadeta, director of Federal Transport Authority, told EBR. The electric buses will be part of the 3,000 new buses the city administration is procuring in a bid to relief the transport shortage in the capital, which is political, economic and diplomatic seat. The EV buses will be linked to a dedicated power grid similar to the light railway.

Ashenafi EndaleSeptember 21, 2020


At least five cement investment projects are in the pipeline, after the revised Investment Proclamation allowed cement investment, which was banned eight years ago, due to market saturation.

New cement projects named Dangite, Sinoma and Berberta requested to invest in billions of  Birr, while Abay and Derba are already building production lines. Derba has got green light for expansion, which increases its production capacity by 2.5-million-ton per year.

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