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The revamping of Meskel Square, turning an abandoned area into Friendship Square, decorating the corridors of main roads, and a new project to be undertaken along the city’s railway have all been done by the current administration to lift the face of the capital. A city that was once insulted by the late Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi for being too dirty to host the African Union, has been on a series of facelifting activities in the last couple of years. Beyond aesthetics, the projects also serve individuals, small businesses, and the city administration as a source of income. While these project sites are attracting more and more photoshoots offering beautiful backdrops to seize important moments in citizens’ lives, many fear they have classed out the majority of the city’s residents, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


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Concert business in Addis Ababa has been booming and getting the attention of music lovers as well as local and international performers. All was joyful before the bad news of a global pandemic kicked in. As has been the case for many other businesses in the hospitality sector, concerts and live events were banned from the public scene. Conflicts in the northern part of the country also meant that international and regional performers would not bet on visiting Ethiopia. Even when restrictions eased, it was not easy for these businesses to have showtimes. Slowly, but surely, the African capital is hearing the sound of musicians from live concerts again, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


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Pottery—the art of molding clay soil into various shapes of products—is bringing business to women at a center in Addis Ababa’s Gulele district. In the center, pottery is giving both livelihoods and life to the more than 300 women involved, though not as modernized as one would have liked. As much as the practice is giving a good look to people’s living rooms as well as giving high service in Ethiopian kitchens and homes, the craft still struggles to improve the society’s bad impression of it as a profession, writes Trualem Asmare.


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Ethiopian artists have long presented their works for insufficient compensation. The same is true for artists worldwide, to varying degrees. The idea of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is now offering alternatives for artists to generate the income they deserve by ensuring the intactness of their artworks’ copyrights. Even though NFTs are a very recent phenomenon, some Ethiopians are slowly introducing themselves to this parallel digital reality. As much as this new world of NFTs offers an immense opportunity, legal, structural, and ethical challenges still remain to be addressed, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


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Despite the fact that women have achieved greater equality in recent decades with regard to increased employment opportunities, the realm of music performance still remains overwhelmingly dominated by men. This trend isn’t exclusive to Ethiopia: countries in the West also feature predominately male orchestras and bands that perform at prestigious musical venues. EBR’s adjunct writer Meseret Mamo spoke with musicians and explored the issue further to parse through the different explanations behind why women are underrepresented as instrumentalists. This article is a rerun from EBR 38.


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Ethiopians have always had traditional ways of looking good for both the face and body. Culturally recognized hairstyles, eye coloring sticks, hand softening traditional creams have been around for long. Modern makeup is growing more and more, however. The last few years have seen a change where makeup studios are becoming widespread. So much so that even makeup trainers and schools are popping up in Addis Ababa. Such is the growth as both a business and personal practice, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


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As much as artists have been vocal about the power of performing arts in communicating messages that could change society in many ways, the endeavor has failed to reach epic heights expected from a culturally-rich nation like Ethiopia. From censorship to competition from the growing cinema business, theater’s voyage has been full of hurdles. Now, the art form is dealing with the pandemic and national security challenges. EBR’s Trualem Asmare explores.


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As mental illness continues to challenge society, government institutions and private citizens are contributing to possible remedies. Even when daunted by mistaken public awareness and infrastructure shortages, the use of art is lending a hand in the fight against the growing public health challenge, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare, where she finds dedicated individuals tackling the issue with their artistic hands and minds.


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Visual and performing arts are augmented by fashion design in Ethiopia, especially after Kassmasse’s Negen Letizita music video and Betty G’s 2019 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony performance where Ethiopian fashion and visual art designers elevated their professions. Such opportunities provide fashion and set designers exposure to catapult their themselves, but not without sacrifice.

The industry, though seeing advancements, still has its low points. EBR’s Samuel Habtab looks at both up-and-coming as well as established industry players to the assess the confluence of fashion design, culture, and the visual art industry.


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Pursuing one’s artistic call is a luxury even for healthy people with decent jobs, let alone for those with disabilities. That is why all great art communities flourish when civilizations peak and citizens have secured their basic needs. When these basic needs are fulfilled, human beings tend to pursue higher values in life.
However, there are people with disabilities defying this fact. Not only are they pursuing art, but they are also using it to heal others. EBR’s Lidya Yohannes has explored the growing power of art on healing people with disabilities and their successes in the face of challenges and obstacles.




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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