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State of Tigray sees the highest food inflation rate amongst all regional governments and city administrations in Ethiopia, reaching as much as 23Pct last fiscal year, according to a new report published by the Central Bank. Annual food inflation rate in the Tigray increased by ten percentage points during last fiscal year from being 13Pct in 2017/18, the report says. This is largely resulted from the rise in prices of basic food items in the Region, including wheat, teff and vegetables.


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Buzuayehu T. Bizenu, a father of six, is a Group Chairperson of East African Holding, a de facto industrial conglomerate with 17 subsidiaries. His company is engaged in the manufacturing of fast moving consumer goods, tea processing, printing and packaging, transport, real estate, cement production, and coal mining. Although Buzuayehu has structured and re-established the company almost 25 years ago, it is his grandfather who founded the business more than a century ago, making him the third generation in a family of entrepreneurs. After his father inherited the business and diversified into milling and agriculture (coffee), his fledgling enterprise was nationalized by the Dergue regime in 1974.

While this was a major setback, the family’s dreams and aspirations were not curtailed as entrepreneurship was deeply engrained in his soul from an early age. Soon after, Buzuayehu was able to pick up after his father, although this was an extremely difficult task under communist rule. He fled to neighbouring countries to establish trading and distribution posts, opening offices in Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. He moved to Ethiopia after EPRDF took power in 1991. Attracted by a favourable private sector and industrial development policy, he quickly transitioned from trading to manufacturing and agribusiness.


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Oromia International Bank (OIB) earned ETB217 million profit from interest free banking services (IFB) in the past fiscal year. While this is the highest amongst all private banks that provide IFB services, it is 22Pct higher than 2017/18 financial year. Being the first private bank to provide IFB service, OIB’s IFB window generated a total income of ETB244 million in 2018/19, a nine percent rise compared to the preceding fiscal year, while its total expense of the same window declined by four percent to ETB27 million.


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The banking industry is witnessing its biggest change at a pace not observed for the past two decades. With different reforms undertaken by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led administration, for the first time in a decade, new entrants are on the verge of joining the banking industry. So far, 11 full-fledged Islamic, investment, mortgage, and conventional banks are under establishment. Majority of them are joining with higher paid up capital, a move criticized for being unwise as it’s likely to affect shareholders’ return. EBR’s Samson Berhane spoke with industry insiders, experts, and officials to find out the likely impact of the new players in the banking industry.


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Born in Gojam, northern part of Ethiopia, Atalay Alem (Prof.), married and a father of two, is among few Ethiopians specialized in the field of psychiatry. Graduating from Addis Ababa University in 1983 in medicine, Atalay first worked as a junior medical officer and later as a medical director at Adigrat District Hospital. A year later, he joined Amanuel Hospital, the only psychiatric hospital in the country where he gained three years of experience in mental healthcare. Soon after, he received training in clinical psychiatry at Victoria University of Manchester, UK.

Nine years later, he attained his Ph D. at Umeå University in Sweden. After returning to Ethiopia, Atalay worked for tof Amanuel Mental Hospital as a psychiatrist for many years and then as a medical director of the Hospital for six years before joining Addis Ababa University as an Assistant Professor in 2000. He also led the establishment of the College of Health Science as a separate and autonomous entity under the auspices of Addis Ababa University a decade ago.


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Situated 1043km away from the capital in the state of Tigray, Aksum is home to some of the most valuable heritages of Ethiopia. The Obelisks, tombs and churches found in the town as well as the welcoming people are its major characteristics. Even though the remnants of the Kingdom of Aksum portrays the long history the town has, its historical significance is not well-promoted to the world. Now, with the deteriorating condition of the obelisks and other heritages of the town, Aksum is at a risk of losing its status given by UNESCO. EBR’s Samson Berhane, who visited the town last month, writes.


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Is it the Right Model for Ethiopia?

When Ethiopia adopted the developmental state as its growth model almost two decades ago, many did not expect the East African nation would reap massive economic gains. However, the country was able to register one of the fastest economic growths in the world for more than a decade. This contributed to the increase in per capita income and significant reduction of poverty.

Many, on the other hand, discredit the achievements because of gross human rights violations, narrowing political space, and a stifling private sector. The development model has also been criticized for making the state a dominant economic actor in the economy by hugely investing in infrastructure development projects. To finance its huge development plans, the government has excessively borrowed from local and foreign sources. This led the national debt to more than USD50 billion as of June 2019. More than half of the loans were acquired from foreign sources.
As the government was pumping huge supply of money in the economy, the situation created a surge in demand amid a huge supply constraint. The supply was poor because equal volume of investment was not made in the productive sector of the economy, agriculture and manufacturing. The result has been a bulge in the trade deficit because of mounting imports while exports remained stagnant or declining in those years. Now, aiming to address these macroeconomic woes, the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been trying to deviate from the past trends of development. EBR’s Samson Berhane investigates.


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Lately, more and more people have been waking up to the fact that YouTube can be considered a serious channel for making a living. Many are seizing the opportunities in the digital media industry, inspired by the growing interest of a large audience to video content. The growth of internet users and smartphone ownership in the country, has also led to a considerable growth in the number of people who use YouTube as a source of news and information. This, in turn, enables many YouTubers with content focused on Ethiopia to earn revenues from views, subscriptions and Advertisments. EBR’s Samson Berhane probes into the matter.


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China’s rapidly rising economic and commercial relations with Africa have received much global attention in recent years. Over the last twenty years, China has climbed from being a relatively small investor in Africa to becoming its largest economic partner. Most importantly, China’s billions of dollars in aid and financing have helped many African countries, including Ethiopia, to pursue their most ambitious infrastructure development projects. However, as debt to the Asian Giant piles up, some experts fear the cost. EBR’s Samson Berhane investigates.




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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