Once lauded as Africa’s rising economic star, Ethiopia faces a persistent challenge: conflict. Over six years, the country has navigated a period of turbulence that has significantly impacted peace and security, posing a formidable obstacle for businesses operating within its borders. This article by EBR’s Samuel Getachew delves into the multifaceted impact of these conflicts, exploring the specific hurdles entrepreneurs face. Through consultations with business leaders and a comparative analysis of other countries’ experiences, the article proposes potential avenues for addressing these issues and fostering a more conducive environment for business growth.


The Al Nejashi Mosque, situated in Ethiopia’s northern town of Negash, holds immense historical and religious importance. Recognized as one of Africa’s earliest mosques and among the oldest globally, it bears the name of King Negash. The mosque is a powerful symbol of compassion and support, a testament to the king’s act of refuge for the early Muslim followers (Sahabah) persecuted by Mecca’s Quraysh tribe. This act led to the establishment of the first Muslim settlement in Negash. The mosque embodies Ethiopia’s warm welcome to these early Muslims and the nation’s deep-rooted historical ties to Islam.

Despite its rich heritage, the Tigray region, where Negash is located, has faced significant challenges in attracting tourists due to the recent devastating civil war and ongoing conflict. Efforts to promote tourism, including the mosque’s restoration by the Turkish government, have been hampered, EBR’s Samuel Getachew, who visited the site to compile this report, highlights.


Women Bear the Brunt of Trauma in Tigray Conflict

The war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region was characterized by extreme brutality and widespread sexual violence, resulting in the victimization of thousands of women and girls. Despite the signing of a peace agreement, the issue of sexual violence remains unaddressed, mainly due to recurring famine and a lack of foreign aid. Survivors face significant challenges in accessing medical care and support, and many suffer in silence due to the stigma and societal taboos surrounding rape. In this article, EBR’s Samuel Getachew discusses the devastating impact of the war and highlights the obstacles survivors face in seeking assistance and addressing the issue.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman is starting a five-day visit to Ethiopia today. As one of Ethiopia’s biggest developmental aid partners, he will focus on the country’s health and economic issues.

During his visit, he will meet with various stakeholders who play prominent roles in areas such as health, agriculture, gender equality, and financial inclusion, among others.


Once a bustling capital, Mekelle now wears the scars of Tigray’s brutal conflict. Its unfinished buildings and neglected shops whisper of lost opportunity, while cheap beer and quiet pubs offer solace from the harsh reality. Young people yearn for a brighter future elsewhere, fleeing to Europe or fearing jobs and famine.

The war’s economic wounds are deep. Infrastructure lies in ruins; businesses are largely looted, and unemployment soars while inflation reaches the rooftop. Hospitals struggle with staff shortages and non-payment, driving skilled doctors away in mass exodus. The spectre of famine is looming while the regional government cries for funds. Tourists, once plentiful, now stay away, deterred by images of hunger and instability in the region.

Indeed, Mekelle grapples with its new reality – hosting internally displaced people with meagre resources.
EBR’s Samuel Getachew visited Mekelle to understand how rough the road to recovery will be. He reports that it will take a concerted effort of international donors, local and federal governments, and citizens for Mekelle to rise again from the ashes and for its people to rebuild a brighter future.


Ethiopia’s reputation as an investment hub has been tarnished by issues such as corruption, lack of foreign exchange, inter-ethnic conflicts, and intermittent violence. Because of these conflicts, agricultural exports particularly sesame, coffee, flowers, fruits, vegetables and others have been severely impacted. Exporters face difficulties in finding markets, dealing with rising costs domestically, and navigating security risks which have heightened the business risks they face. The government’s focus on obtaining foreign currency to service its debts and finance the import of key commodities such as fertilizer and fuel has further strained the business environment. The cancellation of Ethiopia’s membership in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the United States has further affected exports, especially in the garment and apparel industries. Some exporters are considering selling or abandoning their investments, while others are exploring opportunities in the local market as an alternative. Despite these realities, Ethiopia has recently ranked at the top among countries offering vast business prospects in Africa according to the 2023 Africa Risk-Reward Index which was published last September by the Africa Oxford Economics. EBR’s Samuel Getachew dives into the report and discusses the multifaceted challenges local and foreign investors face the prevailing business environment.

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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