If two words could summarize typical challenges of the Ethiopian economic landscape, forex shortage would do it. And if two words could encapsulate expert recommendations to alleviate the long-time challenge—export diversification suffices. Ethiopia is gifted with abundant natural resources of adequate landmass with fertile topsoil and mineral-rich crust.

It is Africa’s water tower and has the continents largest livestock population. Its favorable climate and young population are also assets. Yet, most of its resources are not properly identified, well-managed, and well-exploited in a way that can resolve its forex crunch which has defined its economy for decades. It is with this challenging past and conditions that the last few years have seen revitalized efforts to shake up the sector and add more items to the exportable list, write Selome Getachew and Bamlak Fekadu.


Women have always shouldered social and economic burdens facing their families. Even though there are encouraging signs of more and more of them going to work and earning for themselves, the challenge of raising children is always present in slowing down any progress made, to the point of pushing women out of economic activities. In recent years in Ethiopia, women seem to have found a way of earning by traveling to Dubai and other places.

This line of business has been providing decent income for women and their kin, all the while contributing to their independence as these women plan, manage, and deliver through shuttle or travel commerce. A new tax directive seems to be existentialist, however. This and, to a lesser extent, the receding pandemic are challenging the ladies’ fight for economic self-sufficiency, writes Eden Teshome.


Ethiopians have depended on their religious beliefs and traditional practices to insure themselves against morbidity for long. Even though various life insurance packages have been sold by companies for years now, the idea of insuring health has not been popular among Ethiopians and as a business model for industry actors. The bumby relationship between insurers and hospitals and clinics is another obstacle for the matter. With the introduction of a community-based health insurance scheme a decade ago and a new draft in the making, poor awareness towards being insured seems to be slowly changing, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


As much as Ethiopia is commended for the number of universities built and students graduated over the past several years, one cannot say the same about employment opportunities available to these young jobseekers. As the world, and hence Ethiopia, goes more digital with each passing year, online labor markets are presenting themselves as an alternate means of employment. With more and more Ethiopians tapping into jobs over the internet, digital labor markets could ease unemployment and forex burdens, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


It wouldn’t be an overstatement to assert that the Covid-19 pandemic hit the global hospitality sector the hardest. It is no different in Ethiopia, a nation that has seen a rise in the flow of tourists for successive years before the pandemic turned things upside down. Now, at a time when the effect of the pandemic appears to be easing a little, good news is still scant for the Ethiopian tourism sector with war on its footsteps, writes Bamlak Befekadu.


Forex reserve shortages and the further devaluation of the Ethiopian birr against foreign currencies have been the usual inflation-causing suspects in Ethiopia. Additionally, in recent months, container scarcity is resulting in even more price hikes, especially of Chinese imports. Adding to an already strained global business environment faced with unprecedented challenges, China’s latest power cuts and moves to create a climate-change-conscious economy are felt far afield, writes Selome Getachew.


Financial Sector Strives to Serve Communities with Special NeedsIt has been one hundred years since Ethiopia witnessed the first bank that served as a whistle to the launching of the Ethiopian financial sector. Now, with 19 banks and USD20 Billion in assets, the banking sector still falls short in serving special needs communities including the visually impaired. Private financial service providers need to go the extra mile and effort in tandem with the regulatory body which needs to create an environment that encourages innovation for a wider scope of inclusiveness in the financial sector, writes Bamlak Fekadu.


Ever since federal troops left Tigray in June 2021, the battleground of military engagement between the federal government and regional powers in Tigray has shifted. As Wello, particularly North Wello Zone, of Amhara Region has become the new stage for war, tens of thousands of livelihoods have been lost while economic activities in the various towns is nothing but bleak. EBR’s Trualem Asmare delves into war-induced shattered hopes of small and medium businesses.


Meat exports in recent years have been sending promising signals to the export sector. Even though this new trend has shown potential to reverse the long-time narrative of how Ethiopia doesn’t take full advantage of its abundance of live animals, it is still being challenged by a competitive local market. As Ethiopians’ love affair with meat is pushing local prices higher and higher, more attention is advised to solve the hurdles of the sector to fully reap the benefits of meat production, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


Audiences can now access news and events as they happen with the help of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. They are migrating from classical media to the digital sphere and, as a result, the underdeveloped mainstream media of Ethiopia is facing new challenges, competitors, and demands as well as expectations and opportunities. Especially for private press, which has been losing advertisers and failing to broaden its readership and coverage, this is bad news. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores the journey periodicals are taking to embrace social media.

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