The impact of insecurity on the Ethiopian economy has been ongoing since 2013. Following the coming to the helm of a new prime minister, a pandemic and all-out war have continued to challenge the already weak economy. Recently, a new directive by the National Bank of Ethiopia has sent shock waves within exporters’ circles—the nation’s global traders who help ease the forex famine and elevate the hopes of importers. All these challenges are being faced at a time of global supply disruption caused by the Russia-Ukraine war. At such an important moment of unprecedented internal and external challenges, the government’s approach to the matter has a potential to define the economy, and hence, the country’s sustainability, writes Bamlak Fekadu.


The rampant pandemic has hurt businesses worldwide of all sizes and types. As if that is not enough, Ethiopia has been rocked by a series of security challenges imposing unimaginable challenges on business activities across all sectors. In Ethiopia, a wedding is not just a matter for the couple—it calls for a number of small businesses to make the big day happen. From the decorators to the DJs, and from the photographers to event managers, they all play their part on that special day. As Covid restrictions are easing and weddings are finding their return, these businesses seem to be entertaining the reinvigorated atmosphere of social gatherings, writes Bamlak Fekdu.


The apogee of Ethiopia’s livestock reserve is yet to translate into anything more than a disappointing cliché. The leather industry that feeds on the country’s livestock resources is being tied up with old challenges of poor bureaucracy, lack of finance, and market linkage issues. Adding salt to the wound, the Covid pandemic, instability, and recent removal of Ethiopia from the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) are making the industry’s future look rather bleak. Recognizing the industry’s immense potential and resolving its challenges is an assignment for no tomorrow, write EBR’s Lidya Tesfaye and Bamlak Fekadu.


Ethiopians have depended on their religious beliefs and traditional practices to insure themselves against morbidity for long. Even though various life insurance packages have been sold by companies for years now, the idea of insuring health has not been popular among Ethiopians and as a business model for industry actors. The bumby relationship between insurers and hospitals and clinics is another obstacle for the matter. With the introduction of a community-based health insurance scheme a decade ago and a new draft in the making, poor awareness towards being insured seems to be slowly changing, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


Current and past administrations have tried to tap into the potential of Ethiopians living abroad. As much as there always has been the understanding that the diaspora can play a greater role in the Ethiopian economy, politics has always taken over the way in which government looks at this vast community.

The Ethiopian diaspora—vocal in their criticism of local politics—has long been regarded as a threat to government. Hence, they have been alienated from social, political, and economic activities of their home country. For the most part, the nation has not been able to tap into the opportunities of economic potential which the community possesses.

The recent mobilization of the diaspora in the diplomatic arena gives an insight into their economic potential. If mobilized upon the appropriate strategy, they can play a greater role beyond remittance and direct financial support to be investors and champions of investment, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


It wouldn’t be an overstatement to assert that the Covid-19 pandemic hit the global hospitality sector the hardest. It is no different in Ethiopia, a nation that has seen a rise in the flow of tourists for successive years before the pandemic turned things upside down. Now, at a time when the effect of the pandemic appears to be easing a little, good news is still scant for the Ethiopian tourism sector with war on its footsteps, writes Bamlak Befekadu.


Financial Sector Strives to Serve Communities with Special NeedsIt has been one hundred years since Ethiopia witnessed the first bank that served as a whistle to the launching of the Ethiopian financial sector. Now, with 19 banks and USD20 Billion in assets, the banking sector still falls short in serving special needs communities including the visually impaired. Private financial service providers need to go the extra mile and effort in tandem with the regulatory body which needs to create an environment that encourages innovation for a wider scope of inclusiveness in the financial sector, writes Bamlak Fekadu.


The coming of Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to the helm was received with great enthusiasm and hope among the public. The expectation that it carried was that of a stronger private sector, a deviation from the administration of his predecessors. Now after a military engagement with his former bosses, the TPLFites—now designated as terrorists—many are wondering if he could perhaps end up in a similar déjà vu moment like that of his ally to the north, Isaias Afwerki. Will Abiy keep his promise of a strong private sector? Will the current war-economy status totally shatter the glimpse of hope for a vibrant private sector? EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu investigates.


Meat exports in recent years have been sending promising signals to the export sector. Even though this new trend has shown potential to reverse the long-time narrative of how Ethiopia doesn’t take full advantage of its abundance of live animals, it is still being challenged by a competitive local market. As Ethiopians’ love affair with meat is pushing local prices higher and higher, more attention is advised to solve the hurdles of the sector to fully reap the benefits of meat production, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.

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


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