Ethiopia’s Sea Access Opens Doors to New Opportunities for the Horn

Ethiopia’s landlockedness has hindered its trade due to high transport costs. Reliance on Djibouti for port access has made Ethiopia vulnerable to port fee fluctuations and trade route disruptions. Ethiopia has actively pursued port diversification strategies, signing agreements with Kenya and Somalia to develop new ports, to reduce reliance on Djibouti and lower transportation costs.


Degol Gossaye has been appointed as the General Manager of Raxio Ethiopia, a prominent provider of carrier-neutral data centers across Africa. This announcement comes at a pivotal time for Raxio Ethiopia, following the recent launch of its flagship facility in Addis Ababa in November 2023. Degol will take over from Bewket Taffere, the outgoing GM who played a crucial role in establishing the Raxio Ethiopia brand and overseeing the construction of its Data Centre.


Dashen Bank and the Ethiopian Airlines Group have announced an exciting collaboration that brings a new level of convenience to travelers. The partnership has introduced an innovative service called “Fly Now Pay Later,” which allows customers to book flights without paying the full price upfront. This initiative aims to redefine the travel experience by offering unprecedented flexibility in payment options.

In today’s interconnected world, businesses have increasingly sought opportunities beyond their national boundaries. Expanding into new markets and exploring investment prospects has become a viable option for companies looking to grow and thrive. While venturing into foreign markets can present challenges, several nations stand out as highly conducive environments for businesses and individuals alike. These countries offer welcoming business climates, robust infrastructure, stable economies, and supportive regulatory frameworks. Notably, Africa has emerged as a significant investment hub, with the continent experiencing impressive economic growth. Despite the presence of socioeconomic challenges, many African countries are rapidly evolving to become attractive destinations for business owners.


Kacha Digital Financial Services officially began full operations after an inauguration event held at the Skylight Hotel on the evening of November 19, 2023.

The event celebrated Kacha receiving license number PIL002/2022 from the National Bank of Ethiopia last month. This license allows the firm to provide digital payment and financial services commercially.

For the past eight months, Kacha tested its platforms and solutions on mobile networks in partnership with Ethio Telecom and Safaricom. Accessible via USSD codes, and Android and iOS apps, Kacha’s offerings are designed to expand access through digital channels.

Teshome Beyene, Kacha’s Board Chairperson, spoke at the occasion and stressed the company’s dedication to customer-centric innovation, robust data security, and privacy protection. Teshome stated that “Kacha’s goal is to provide our customers with a seamless and secure digital banking experience.”

In attendance at the Skylight Hotel launch were government ministers, diplomats, and heads of Ethiopia’s largest banks.

During the launching Abraham Tilahun, the CEO of Kacha Digital Financial Services S.C, expressed gratitude to the National Bank of Ethiopia for granting Kacha the license to operate as a private payment instrument issuer. 

Kacha demonstrated the features of its digital banking platform, highlighting usability, functionality, and security for customers.

Memorandums of understanding were also signed with strategic partners from the banking and fintech sectors. These aim to develop Kacha’s service ecosystem.

The inauguration marks the official commencement of Kacha’s full commercial operations. The company can now offer digital payment solutions nationwide following regulatory approval.


Mesirat, a partnership between the Mastercard Foundation, Gebeya Inc., and its Consortium Partners, announces the opening of applications for the Mesirat Entrepreneurship Program. The mission is to organize and transform Ethiopia’s gig economy with a focus on youth employment. The program aims to enable 1,000,000 young people to secure dignified and fulfilling work.  80% of these program participants will be young women, and an additional 10% will be disadvantaged youth. As part of this goal, the Mesirat Entrepreneurship Program is offering free resources and support to 100 select business owners looking to build their businesses quickly, at no cost.


Kacha Digital Financial Service, the pioneering private payment instrument issuer in Ethiopia, has emerged as the winner of the highly anticipated Ethiopian edition of the esteemed Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) for 2023. This global innovation program and competition for start-ups and fintech companies have recognized Kacha as the frontrunner, catapulting them into the spotlight of the financial technology landscape.

Kacha has been awarded a monetary prize of USD 25,000, underscoring its innovative approach to transforming the financial sector in Ethiopia. This substantial reward not only acknowledges their remarkable achievements but also provides a significant boost to their continued growth and development.

With several contenders vying for the top spot, Qena, a formidable participant, secured an impressive second place, earning a well-deserved prize of USD 15,000. Meanwhile, Smile Pay, a noteworthy contender in its own right, clinched third place and received a commendable USD 10,000.

The Visa Everywhere Initiative serves as a global platform that celebrates and encourages groundbreaking ideas and innovative solutions within the fintech realm.

The success of Kacha, along with the achievements of Qena and Smile Pay, highlights the vibrant and burgeoning fintech ecosystem in Ethiopia.

As Ethiopia embraces the digital revolution in the financial sector, Kacha’s victory stands as a testament to the remarkable potential and transformative power of innovative start-ups and fintech companies. With their groundbreaking solutions and unwavering determination, these trailblazers are reshaping the way we perceive and interact with money, propelling Ethiopia into a new era of financial innovation and inclusion.

Ethiopian Airlines remains the top aviation brand in Africa’s Top 10 most admired brands in 2023. The airline flies to 131 international passenger and cargo destinations, including 63 African cities. With this figure, the airline enjoys the status of flying to more destinations on the continent than any other airline in the world. Among the 14 African brands in the Top 100 globally acclaimed brands, South Africa and Nigeria hold the most significant proportion of the African countries of origin.


British International Investment (BII) and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, have jointly committed up to USD 20 million each to Dashen Bank of Ethiopia. The loan aims to support the country’s agricultural sector, which employs 80 Pct of the population, contributes 39 Pct to the GDP, and generates 90 Pct of its foreign currency from exports. The funding will enable Dashen Bank to provide USD-denominated loans, helping farmers increase productivity in areas such as harvesting, logistics, and processing while boosting export earnings. The financial support will also benefit other agricultural enterprises, including cut flower and coffee producers, promoting innovation, business growth, improved quality and safety standards, and value addition.

This collaboration marks the first foreign investment in Ethiopia’s financial services sector under the new intermediation directive for banks issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia in 2021. By providing long-term funding, BII and FMO aim to catalyze the market, build investor confidence, and mobilize more private capital. The partnership will also support Dashen Bank in enhancing governance, risk management, environmental and social practices, as well as gender equality standards.

Asfaw Alemu, CEO of Dashen Bank, expressed his satisfaction with achieving this milestone and highlighted the significance of the funding for supporting export-oriented agribusinesses in Ethiopia. 

Marnix Monsfort, Director of Financial Institutions at FMO, underlined the importance of attracting foreign direct investments and USD funding to create jobs and foster financial inclusion in rural communities.

This investment not only addresses the need for foreign exchange and capital in Ethiopia but also showcases international confidence in the country’s agricultural potential. It sets the stage for future investments, promoting sustainable financing practices and contributing to Ethiopia’s economic growth and development.

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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