Mulatu Astatke, the “Father of Ethio-Jazz,” is an iconic musician and cultural ambassador whose innovative blend of Ethiopian musical heritage and jazz improvisation has captivated audiences worldwide. While there’s no exact starting date, Mulatu Astatke’s musical interests emerged in the early 1950s and blossomed into active playing in the 1960s. This long career span has allowed Mulatu to leave an indelible mark on the global music scene. His compositions and performances showcase the beauty and complexity of Ethiopian music, fusing traditional scales, rhythms, and instruments with the harmonic structures and improvisational spirit of jazz. Through collaborations with renowned artists and his pioneering album “Mulatu of Ethiopia,” he has brought Ethio-Jazz to the forefront, shaping the cultural narrative and preserving Ethiopia’s artistic legacy. Mulatu’s legacy is one of inspiration, cultural preservation, and global recognition, leaving an enduring impact on the fusion of cultures, creativity, and cross-cultural understanding. In an exclusive interview with EBR’s Eden Teshome, Mulatu, the “Father of Ethio-Jazz,” shares his remarkable musical journey and vision.


Cooperative Bank of Oromia (Coopbank) has taken a significant step forward in enhancing its digital service offerings with the launch of the Cash Recycler Machine (CRM) and the Dx-Valley 2.0 digital innovation incubation center.

The CRM is designed to provide seamless cash withdrawal and deposit services, operating continuously regardless of working hours or power outages. Equipped with its own battery and solar panels, the machine ensures uninterrupted service and improved accessibility compared to traditional ATMs.


In its 35th regular meeting today, Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers discussed and approved several important bills and reform plans.

Firstly, the Council approved a loan agreement with the International Development Association to obtain USD 207.2 million in interest-free funding for the second phase of the country’s urban drinking water and sanitation projects. This loan will be repaid over 38 years with a 6-year grace period.


Jiji, Africa’s leading classified platform, has announced the launch of its premium services in Ethiopia. This milestone marks a step in Jiji’s growth as it aims to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

Jiji’s premium services offer promotional tools and features that enable businesses to advertise their products and services across key categories such as property, vehicles, and more. The packages, which include Basic, VIP, Diamond, and Enterprise options, provide solutions to meet the needs of businesses.


Dashen Bank, one of Ethiopia’s leading financial institutions, has been honored as the Best Bank for Financial Inclusiveness in East Africa at the 2024 Africa Bank 4.0 Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. This award recognizes Dashen Bank’s innovative efforts to expand access to financial services for underserved populations across the region.

“This award is a testament to Dashen Bank’s commitment to ensuring financial inclusion for all,” said Asfaw Alemu, CEO of Dashen Bank. “We are grateful to our valued partners Ethio-Telecom, EagleLion System Technologies, and Ethiopian Airlines, whose collaborative efforts have enabled us to deliver impactful financial solutions to our customers.”


Kacha Digital Financial Services and Dire Microfinance Institution have joined forces to launch a suite of innovative digital savings and lending products, marking a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s microfinance sector.

The launch event, held at the in Dire Dawa, was attended by a distinguished gathering of city officials, microfinance institution CEOs, members of the Ethiopian Microfinance Association, senior bank executives, and experts in digital financial services.


Safaricom, Kenya’s telecommunications giant, is eyeing Ethiopia’s nascent bond market to fuel its ambitious expansion into the country. After securing a landmark USD 850 million license in 2021 to operate in Ethiopia, the first time it has ventured outside its home market, Safaricom has made significant strides.

The company now boasts 4.4 million active mobile subscribers and 4.5 million M-Pesa mobile money users in Ethiopia. Its extensive infrastructure, including 2,806 telecommunication towers and 62,700 active agents, has enabled it to reach a substantial portion of Ethiopia’s population.


Dashen Bank has been honored by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a division of the World Bank Group, for its outstanding global trade finance program. The IFC, during its 8th meeting held in Barcelona, Spain, officially announced Dashen Bank as the recipient of this prestigious accolade.

Furthermore, Dashen Bank has solidified its partnership with the IFC through a newly established agreement, which aims to enhance the bank’s capacity to provide financing to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Ethiopia. The agreement, signed by Dashen Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Asfaw Alemu, in Kigali, Rwanda, is set to serve as a catalyst for supporting women-owned MSMEs and agri-businesses across diverse regions of Ethiopia.


Ethiopia’s Growing Interest-Free Banking Brings Transformative Change

Ethiopia’s financial sector is undergoing a significant transformation, with Islamic banking emerging as a critical driver of inclusion and economic empowerment. This surge responds directly to the substantial Muslim population’s demand for Sharia-compliant financial instruments.

Previously absent, interest-free banking gained a foothold in 2011 through designated windows within conventional banks. Recognising its immense potential, Ethiopia took a bold step in 2020, permitting full-fledged Islamic financial institutions to be established. This regulatory shift opened doors for a broader range of Sharia-compliant products, fostering financial inclusion for unbanked Ethiopians.

The impact extends beyond individual empowerment. Islamic banking principles, built on profit-sharing and risk-sharing mechanisms, encourage entrepreneurship and business growth. Interest-free banks act as catalysts for job creation and economic diversification by financing ventures based on shared success.

EBR’s Eden Teshome’s exploration delves deeper into this compelling story. Her analysis sheds light on the specific financial products offered, the reach of Islamic banking in different regions, and its measurable contribution to Ethiopia’s economic development. Examining success stories of individuals and businesses that have thrived under this evolving system will further illuminate the transformative power of Islamic banking in Ethiopia.


Expos as Catalysts for  Commerce and Cultural Exchange

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, the anticipation for vibrant expos and bazaars celebrating this sacred time grows. These events, held in various countries worldwide, provide a unique platform for commerce, cultural exchange, and community engagement. One such event, the Ethio Ed Expo and Bazaar 2024, organized by 3E Events Pvt. Ltd., brought together manufacturers, traders, visitors, and the community at the Millennium Hall in Ethiopia. With over 100 exhibitors and a bustling crowd of more than 100,000 attendees, the expo created a lively and vibrant atmosphere where commerce and culture intertwined. Exhibitors showcased a wide array of products and services, while educational activities, competitions, and shows engaged and captivated attendees. The event served as a networking and knowledge-sharing hub for members of the business community, invited guests, media bodies, and stakeholders from Ethiopia and beyond. Beyond commerce, these expos also fostered cultural diversity and understanding, featuring cultural displays, performances by esteemed mashaikhs and Quran readers, and exhibitions that showcased the traditions, heritage, and artistic expressions of different countries and communities. These expo’s create lasting connections, promote cultural appreciation, and provide valuable insights into the latest trends and innovations. As we enter the holy month of Ramadan, let us recognize the significance of these expos in celebrating the spirit of Ramadan, where culture, commerce, and community converge, creating an unforgettable experience for all writes EBR’s Eden Teshome.

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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