According to the World Bank, Turkey’s performance since 2000 has been impressive. Macroeconomic and fiscal stability were at the heart of its performance, enabling increased employment and incomes and making Turkey an upper-middle-income country with around USD9000 per capita. Poverty incidence halved over 2002–12, and extreme poverty fell even faster. During this time, Turkey urbanized dramatically, opened up to foreign trade and finance, harmonized many laws and regulations with European Union (EU) standards, and greatly expanded access to public services.
Ethiopia also achieved notable economic progress in those years. Its double digit growth since 2003 helped the country reduce absolute poverty significantly. It also managed to mobilize a large sum of domestic resource to self finance huge development projects.
Although the two countries are at apparently different levels of development, there are commonalities in their success stories.
EBR’s Tinbete Ermyas visited Istanbul, Turkey’s major economic hub, two times in the past three months and reflects how Ethiopia can learn from Turkey’s way of development.


Ever since coming to Ethiopia, Heineken has been prone to making splashes in the beer market. First, they purchased two national breweries: Bedele and Harar. In 2015, they launched their Walia brand with great success, shaking up the competition through a strategic pricing strategy that helped them increase market share. Now, the company has launched its signature Heineken brand in the local market, which is produced in their state-of-the-art brewery in Kilinto, which cost more than EUR200 million to build and expand.
At the helm of Heineken’s Ethiopia office is Gerrit van Loo, a man with nearly three decades of experience with the company. After studying law and economics in the Netherlands, he enlisted in the Dutch navy before starting his first job as a management trainee at Heineken’s headquarters in Amsterdam. Since then, he’s worked throughout Europe and Africa in marketing and sales before becoming a manager.
Van Loo says Africa is brimming with potential – and Ethiopia is no exception. Since arriving in 2015, he’s accomplished quite a bit – the Klinto expansion, launching the flagship Heineken brand, and helping develop Ethiopia’s agriculture value chain. EBR’s Tinbete Ermyas spoke with van Loo to learn more about their work in Ethiopia, including their environmental protection efforts, developing local talent, and the unique challenges he’s faced working in the local context. The following is an excerpt.

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