What’s the Private Sector’s Role?

The solar energy potential in Ethiopia is massive. By some estimates, the country could produce up to 5.6kWh per day, on par with or exceeding the capacity of countries that are known for their solar energy production, like Germany. If properly harvested, this could help the country develop a robust energy infrastructure and even export to neighbouring countries. Despite this promise, however, a number of roadblocks stand in the way of the country realising its full potential – and many say the private sector is key in bridging the divide. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie delved further into the issue to learn more about harvesting the country’s potential for solar energy.


Given the prominence of the WARYT conglomerate, it may come as a surprise that Legesse Zerihun began the business by chance, having been inspired by the lack of petrol stations in Addis Ababa. Years later, the company is known for its multitude of businesses – ranging from importing goods to manufacturing.
Legesse attributes the proliferation of his company to his decades-long career in business and his mother’s support. The ubiquity – and significance – of the WARYT logo, which stands for ‘Work and Reach Your Target’, is a testament to this drive and commitment to perseverance.
A father of four, Legesse says that his family and marriage have been central to his success – and it’s this familial outlook that drives his compassion and charitable activities, of which there are many.
EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with the seasoned businessman to learn more about his trajectory and his insights into the role the private sector should play in the country’s development.

Ethiopia ranks among the nations that are known for thwarting Internet usage as a mechanism for controlling communication. These interruptions not only quell the ability for denizens to access information, they also cost millions in lost revenue. According to the Brookings Institution, 30 days of Internet interruptions between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 cost the country USD8.5 million in gross domestic product. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with members of the local business community, government workers and consulted research to learn more about the multifarious effects of hampered Internet usage in the country.


The government hopes to attract 2 million tourists per year by the end of the current Growth and Transformation Plan. That’s roughly double the current amount – and research suggests that tour operators may be the key to helping the country reach that goal. However, insiders say that the industry is filled with challenges that prevent operators from achieving their full potential, thereby thwarting the sector’s overall promise. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with key stakeholders and consulted research to learn more about the key role tour operators play in this pivotal sector.


Even though Ethiopia’s economic growth is continuously lauded by international organisations, unemployment rates among young people remain high, reaching as much as 44.9Pct for people aged 20-24. Experts argue that the causes are multifarious and require comprehensive solutions. If not, then the long-term consequences may prove detrimental for the nation’s economic growth and image. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with researchers to learn more about the challenges of youth unemployment and what’s being done to mitigate its potential effects.


Consultancy – the practice of providing advice and insight to businesses and non-governmental organisations – can be a lucrative endeavour. According to Bloomberg News, management consulting firms – a niche within a much larger sector – generated more than USD39 billion in the United States in 2013. This bodes well for Ethiopia, a country in which consulting firms are growing. In the last 25 years alone the government issued more than 2,000 licenses to businesses and individuals to engage in consultancy. The industry’s development, however, hasn’t been without challenges. Industry insiders say corruption and the lack of a proper, fair regulatory environment are roadblocks to the sector’s growth. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with stakeholders and consulted research to learn more about the potential of the sector in Ethiopia.


How Beneficial Will They Be?

Hotel management contracts are arrangements in which an international hotel company (the owner) agrees to give a company operational control over a hotel (the operator) in exchange for a fee. These contracts are often beneficial for developing countries, as the owner often assists in the development of the hotel. Some, however, say they may hamper the work of small, local hotels. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with a number of stakeholders to explore the potential promise and pitfalls of these agreements.


A number of satellite-based television channels have emerged in Ethiopia in recent months, some of which have enjoyed widespread popularity. Experts say this is a positive trend, as these channels increase economic development through advertising and creating new markets. Still, some argue that these networks may have a negative impact on developing countries, especially since many programmes come from foreign countries and don’t take into account the local cultural context. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with key stakeholders to learn more about the driving force behind television network development in Ethiopia and the potential economic and societal changes it may bring about.


The growth of private higher education institutions (HEIs) has been rapid over the last decade – up from 55 in the 2002/03 academic year to 106 in 2014/15. Private HEIs graduated 133,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students last academic year – and often enjoy greater gender parity than government universities. Still, these institutions face a number of logistical and managerial hurdles, not least of which is an imbalanced treatment from the government vis-à-vis assessment and accreditation. While some stakeholders don’t mind the scrutiny, done so in the name of improving education quality, many wonder why there’s a double standard between public and private institutions. EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with key insiders to learn more about the tension present in the relations between private HEIs and regulators.


Tesfaye Muhiye (PhD) serves as the Director General of the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Assurance Agency (HERQA). It’s the entity responsible for ensuring higher education institutions (HEIs) meet certain standards regarding their organisational structure and academic programmes so that they offer quality and relevant education to aid the country’s development. This is an especially important task, given the government’s push to increase access to higher education and the proliferation of private institutions.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

2Q69+2MM, Jomo Kenyatta St, Addis Ababa

Tsehay Messay Building

Contact Us

+251 961 41 41 41