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Fikru Tsegaye Wordofa is a certified insurance and reinsurance professional with two decades of experience in the industry. Fikru has studied and completed three master’s degrees – business administration, human resources and organizational development, and journalism and communications. He also has two bachelor’s degrees, about a dozen certificates, and several high-level specialized trainings in finance, insurance, business and management. At the moment, he is pursuing a Ph.D.

Fikru is the executive officer of strategy and business development and secretary to the board of directors at the Ethiopian Reinsurance (Ethio-RE). He was an acting chief executive officer (A/CEO) of Ethio-Re between September 2020 to March 2021. He also worked as a business development and corporate affairs manager in Ethio-Re. Before joining Ethio-Re, he served as marketing and strategic management director, head of microinsurance, strategic management team leader, principal researcher, and principal customer care and underwriting and claims section supervisor at the state-owned Ethiopian Insurance Corporation (EIC). 

Fikru writes regularly for several magazines and Journals. He has contributed extensively to the world of insurance and reinsurance, and his publications appeared in various Business, insurance, and reinsurance Journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the Journal of African Insurance Organization (AIO), Organization of Eastern and Southern Africa Insurers (OESAI) and African reinsurance publications. 

Fikru is the recipient of various international and national awards and recognitions, including the 2020 Global “Emerging Professional in Takaful and Retakaful of the Year Award” at the African Interest-Free Banking and Takaful Awards, and the AIO Best Book Author, First Rank Award (2023) for his book entitled Islamic Insurance (Takaful) In Ethiopia. EBR has the privilege of discussing with Fikru the state of the insurance business in Ethiopia and how the worsening political instability, war, drought, accident, and COVID made life more uncertain than before and affected the insurance business in Ethiopia. 


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Melaku Belay, an Ethiopian dancer/choreographer, is the founding director of Fendika Cultural Center. At an early age, he immersed himself in the rich tapestry of regional dances and music. He honed his skills and developed a unique style of performance grounded in Ethiopia’s diverse dance traditions. With his mesmerizing mastery of Eskista, a traditional Ethiopian dance, Melaku has earned nicknames like the “walking earthquake” and the “King of Eskista.” 

In 2016, Melaku founded Fendika Cultural Center to create a premier cultural hub that celebrates artists from various disciplines and cultural backgrounds. Fendika has become a sanctuary for Ethiopian indigenous arts, particularly the Azmari music tradition. Melaku revolutionized the Azmari bet custom by being the first to pay Azmari musicians regular salaries, providing them with much-needed support. Melaku’s work at Fendika has brought global attention to Ethiopia’s indigenous arts. The centre has hosted Azmari performances, curated visual art exhibits, and facilitated monthly poetry readings and scholarly presentations. Melaku also leads two traditional performing groups, Fendika and Ethiocolor, showcasing the immense musical heritage of Ethiopia with creativity and innovation. Despite facing challenges, including the threat of government takeover and lack of support for indigenous art forms, Melaku remains dedicated to his vision. He tirelessly works to keep Fendika alive and thriving, believing in the power of arts to promote peace and healing. Eden Teshome sat down with the world-renowned Ethiopian dancer for an EBR exclusive. 


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A Cost-Benefit Analysis

The recent announcement of Ethiopia’s accession to the BRICS alliance signifies a transformative milestone for the country and the broader African continent. As BRICS expands its ranks, its influence in the global economy also increases and offers more opportunities as an alternative source of development finance. This move is very beneficial to Ethiopia, which has been looking for alternative sources of finance. However, there are concerns that this move will bring as Western countries are wary of the growing influence of China and Russia, two of the major superpowers that are contending against America’s dominance of the current global order. EBR’s Eden Teshome highlights the potential benefits and implications of Ethiopia’s membership in BRICS.


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The Unintended Consequences of AI on Education

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have rapidly transformed how we live and work. This is evident in both developed and developing countries. AI has become an integral part of our daily lives, from self-driving cars to virtual assistants. Even though Ethiopia has yet to reach that stage, more advanced countries are already experiencing such transformative changes. However, the impact of AI tools is only sometimes positive. The emergence of ChatGPT, an AI-powered language model developed by OpenAI, capable of generating human-like text based on context and past conversations, has raised concerns among academic experts and professionals in education due to the possible hazards of ethical issues in schools like cheating and motivating students to put out the least amount of effort. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome assesses AI’s advantages, drawbacks, and limitations in the education sector.  


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Ethiopia’s Economy Takes a Hit

Ethiopia has experienced a decline in its export earnings, posing severe challenges to covering its import bills. Unrest and conflicts have resulted in supply chain disruptions, hindering production and export. Ethiopia heavily relies on agricultural products for export, including coffee, oilseeds, and textiles. Fluctuations in global commodity prices significantly contributed to the country’s declining export earnings. The overall macroeconomic situation, which resulted in an overvalued local currency, has made it challenging to offer Ethiopian commodities at competitive prices in the global market. Limited transportation options, inefficient customs procedures, and inadequate port facilities add to delays and increased costs, making Ethiopian exports less competitive. The government’s decision demanding commercial banks surrender 70Pct of export proceeds further exacerbated the problem. EBR’s Eden Teshome explores. 


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Faith Helping the Addiction Fight

 

Ethiopia’s youth population is increasingly struggling with drug addiction. Many young people are resorting to drugs as a coping mechanism for the difficulties of poverty, unemployment, and social isolation, which worsens the situation. Those who are battling addiction find it challenging to access the necessary care due to the lack of rehabilitation facilities in the country as a whole. The ones that exist are frequently understaffed and underfunded. However, some monasteries and religious sites are attempting to address the issue and aid individuals who are fighting addiction. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome tells the story of those who are fighting their addiction with the help of religion.


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Billboards, radio, television, and press advertisements are still fundamental forms of advertising, particularly in traditional economies with poor access to digital media. Digital advertising is, however, becoming more common in metropolitan areas due to the rising usage of smartphones and internet connectivity. Businesses use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to connect with younger, more technologically adept audiences and customers. Traditional techniques continue to be essential for reaching larger audiences despite this transition towards digital advertising, but some argue that in a few years, digital advertising will dominate the market. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome tells the story of the evolution of advertising practices. 


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The practice of sending older people and those who need special care to specialized centres are rare in Ethiopia. Instead, they remain at home, depending on their loved ones. Caregiving for the elderly and long-term patients usually remains the responsibility of family members. The practice has been tied so closely to African tradition that there is even a saying that “Because you [i.e., the child’s older parents] have taken care of me to grow teeth, I will take care of you till your teeth fall out. As young men and women now would rather spend their day at their schools and jobs than take care of the elderly and sick, this tradition seems to be changing slowly but surely, writes EBR’s Eden Teshome. 


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Almost every part of everyday life involves the Internet. In many parts of the World, internet connections have gone from being a luxury to a necessity. The COVID pandemic has brought into clear view the necessity of being linked to the outside Internet for survival and general sanity. 

Digital transformation has been a significant agenda item for the government, with the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking a personal interest in the matter. The Internet was a necessity to disseminate and access information and follow up business activities such as upkeeping of supply chains and e-commerce, remote banking, or the ability to contact friends and family. Ironically, the Prosperity regime is also suffocating access to the Internet to limit the use of social media, which it accuses of fueling political tensions in the country. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome assesses the paradox of digital aspiration and the limited Internet access on which digital services heavily depend.


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FINTEX, the International Exhibition and Conference on Furniture, Interior, and Construction Finishing Products, Technologies, Machineries, Raw Materials, Accessories, and Services, is set to take place from June 15th to 18th, 2023, at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa. This event, co-hosted by African Trade-Fair Partners and Prana Events, revolves around the theme “PUTTING BUSINESSES IN THE SPOTLIGHT.”




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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