Globally, Takaful – a Sharia-adherent insurance scheme – is registering unparalleled development. The product is being offered in the form of either family or general Takaful to cater to the need for protection and cooperation at times of risk. Takaful insurance became effective in Ethiopia on the 15th day of June 2020 with the issuance of the National Bank of Ethiopia’s (NBE) Directive No. STB/1/2020, a Directive to license a takaful operator or a takaful window operator. Conversely, the product is at the early introduction and premature stage, while a massive potential exists. Records in Ethiopia demonstrate that the expanding Muslim population is anticipated to be a driving force for the takaful market. However, the question lies with the availability of innovative and value-adding products apart from simply naming the existing conventional insurance products under the guise of Islamic insurance.

How Interest Free Banking Fosters Transparency, Strengthens the Economy

In Ethiopia, following the legal framework for interest-free banking products established a decade ago, the banking industry has introduced a range of Sharia-compliant saving and investment products under window services. The revised banking proclamation passed in 2019 ushered in a new era of full-fledged interest-free banking services. Currently, we have four full-fledged interest-free banks and more than a dozen conventional banks that provide interest-free banking services under window arrangements.

As a female journalist navigating the challenging terrain of a male-dominated sector, my journey has been marked by numerous obstacles and biases. From battling stereotypes to facing discrimination, I have encountered firsthand the unique challenges women in journalism often confront. The challenges I have gone through as a female journalist and breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry haven’t been easy.

I still vividly remember my entry into the journalism sector as a fresh graduate in Economics, armed with little knowledge about the inner workings of the industry. It didn’t take long for me to realize that deeply ingrained gender stereotypes would become a significant obstacle in my path. From the early stages of my career, I felt underestimated and deemed less capable than my male colleagues.

Embracing Authentic Self as a Woman

“Dear Sister, do not let either those who manipulate you or those who act like a guardian of your right define how you live!”

Shortly after graduating, my best friend tied the knot. Her dream had always been to become a wife and a stay-at-home mom, raising as many children as her health and finances would allow. We, her friends, were rooting for her and wishing her the best in whatever she chose to do. As for the rest of us, one of our friends became successful in business, another gained recognition as a leader in a non-governmental organisation, and I pursued a career in the media.

The Case of Ethiopia and Somaliland

A State under International Law

States are significant subjects of international law and actors in international relations. Under international law, a state is a legal and political entity with some characteristics. What constitutes a state under international law is defined by the Montevideo Convention. The convention outlines a permanent population, defined territory, government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states as the definition of a state. The concept of statehood is a fundamental principle in international law, as it establishes the rights and obligations of states in their interactions with one another. Hence, an entity must meet the above criteria to be recognized as a state.

A Market Neither Logic nor Theory Explains

The most bizarre aspect of the Ethiopian economy is the constant surge in the prices of properties, particularly in Addis Ababa and other major towns. The fast price growth trajectory, which started almost two decades ago, has increased momentum in recent years.

In a properly functioning property market, housing price trends are anchored to some economic fundamentals such as real income and rental value. Defying these economic fundamentals, the price of houses, particularly in the capital, has been soaring to an alarming level, though there is a recent change in the dynamics. Surprisingly, the rent increase is far behind the growth in property value, considerably squeezing the yield (rent/property value). This situation indicates that something serious has gone wrong in the market that calls for policy intervention.

On December 11, 2023, Ethiopia missed a USD33 million interest payment on its December 2024 dollar bond, marking the East African nation’s latest defaulter by emerging-market sovereigns and raising concerns about its once-promising economic future. This significant default, the first for Ethiopia after years of rapid economic growth, sent a shockwave through the international financial community and threatened to hinder the country’s future development prospects.

In a move marked by strategic foresight and geopolitical complexity, Ethiopia recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland, paving the way to realising Ethiopia’s aspiration to secure access to the Red Sea. This significant development requires a nuanced understanding of the current status of de facto states, the geopolitical centres of the world, and the intricate dynamics of the Horn of Africa.

The Intertwined Challenges of Building Strong Institutions, Navigating Political Flux, and Empowering a Thriving Middle Class

Exploring the dynamic relationships and interactions among institutional weakness, political instability, and the state of the middle class in Ethiopia is an exciting exercise. The interplay of these three key elements is currently shaping the Ethiopian society. Understanding their relationship is essential for informed decision-making, effective policy formulation, and promoting sustainable and inclusive development in the country.

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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