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The administration of Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D.), has been undertaking wide-ranging legal reforms as part of its pledged economic liberalization and modernization process. Legislation has been devised or amended to regulate exchange rates, interest rates, demonetization, transaction limits, a loan freeze, and capital thresholds, among others, over the past couple of years. Among the reforms was also a revision of the half-a-century-old Commercial Code that many saw as overdue. However, changes to foreclosure laws in the new Code have left banking executives uneasy, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


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Urban financing – the process of allocating financial resources to support urban development projects – includes the mobilization of public and private funds to finance infrastructure, housing, and economic development initiatives in cities. The major source of revenue for almost all cities and towns in Ethiopia has been the state’s coffers. Fiscal centralization and a lack of financial autonomy have been hindering efforts at revenue collection, while corruption, inefficient infrastructure, and a lack of political commitment have made matters more difficult. Although there have been recent improvements, much remains to be desired in the collection of local revenues, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


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The Lucrative Business Taking Workplace Aesthetics to New Heights

Fiberglass has become nearly ubiquitous over the past century as the strong, lightweight material finds use in the manufacture of everything from boats to buildings and pipes. Though a bit late to the scene, businesses in Addis Ababa are catching on to the profitability and demand involved with fiberglass. From importers and processors to schools that teach their students how to fashion versatile material into marketable products, there is a new wave of activity in the fiberglass line of business. In addition to the lucrative profit margins, fiberglass offers fresh aesthetics to homes and offices, writes EBR’s Eden Teshome.


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The new tax regulation on the import of electric vehicles (EVs) in September made them much more attractive to consumers and perhaps traders also. Value-added tax, excise tax, and surtax were completely removed while customs duties were dramatically reduced even to the point of zero duty for completely disassembled vehicles. The tax reform’s goal is to implement a transportation system that protects public health and the environment, properly uses renewable energy sources, reduces forex outlays for fuel, and makes electric vehicles available to the general public at affordable prices. For Ethiopians and industry observers who have been shocked by the continued surge of prices in the car market, the new proclamation may serve beyond its stated goals. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome, looks into the impact of the new proclamation in terms of stabilizing the overall car market.


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The export sector in Ethiopia has been under scrutiny for poor performance for decades. As Ethiopia has not been a manufacturing hub as such, the criticism has been downplayed. Despite the number of investors who are seemingly interested in the export business, the country has also been struggling to export value-added items including its flagship coffee. Looking at the exponentially increasing number of exporters that joined the line of business in the last five years, one may think new entrants are helping the country’s success in global trade. Unfortunately, exporters are increasingly in the business to support their imports. And there are even more controversial activities in the field. Though the number of exporters and Dollars earned has shown significant increases, practices in the export sector are full of malpractice that that are hurting the Ethiopian economy, writes Selome Getachew.


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Ethiopia has historically produced some of the best-reviewed single-origin premium coffee beans and boasts the status as the birthplace of coffee. Ethiopian coffees are well renowned for their complexity—strong, wine-like flavor and a very wild acidity. The cash crop remains the nation’s major export item covering over 30Pct of the country’s total export earnings. Various administrations have attempted to fully tap into the country’s full potential for coffee and other agricultural products. The launching of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) was one such attempt, seeking to secure a larger and fairer share for Ethiopian farmers. Recently, coffee exporters, particularly from the State of Oromia, have walked away from ECX to join the vertical scheme where farmers can export or sell directly to exporters or suppliers. With authorities crediting this move for burgeoning exports, there are more complexities at play, writes Selome Getachew.


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As a result of ongoing inflation, more Addis Ababans seem to be resorting to second-hand stores, which are increasingly crowded with individuals who otherwise may not have thought to visit. Secondhand shopping takes up the customers’ time even if it could appear like a decent escape from the inflation-stricken pricey new garments, since many Thrift. Second hand products market is a huge industry globally generating income for millions and millions in taxes for governments. Faced with brutal inflation, Ethiopians are proud no more to visit second hand shops and to visit them more often. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome gives regional and global perspective on the growing second hand market particularly in the capital.


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Lack of access to capital and credit is one of the biggest barriers facing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), microbusinesses, and new ventures in developing nations even though they are crucial to economic growth and job creation. The paucity of funding required to increase productivity typically undermines such a substantial role. The government of Ethiopia passed the country’s first leasing law in 1998 in response to the need of hastening the growth and development of SMEs by allowing access to financing and providing operational machinery and equipment to businesses. Five capital goods finance companies (CGFCs) were granted licenses by the National Bank of Ethiopia in the early months of 2014. With the further entrance of the first foreign-owned leasing company and the revitalization of an already existing leasing service, lease financing seems to be slowly progressing amidst inter and intra-institutional challenges, writes Eden Teshome.


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The plan of various administrations to make manufacturing the leading engine of the economy has most often ended up being a disappointment. Through the failures were also few sectors that have contributed their fair share to manufacturing and the economy at large. The textile and garment sector is a case in point—where centuries of traditions were industrialized during the mid-1900s under Emperor Haile Selassie. A sector that was launched bounds of hope and support from the government has indeed performed relatively well throughout the years. As of recently, however, a series of security, political, and environmental challenges have been slowing down the supply of cotton and thus, productivity of the entire sector. Positive moves like the commercialization of genetically modified cotton have been countered by the removal of Ethiopia from the American Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


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The timely completion and quality of delivered projects have been a source of pride for the ruling Prosperity Party members. One may not fall far from the truth for assuming that there are not many public appearances of the Prime Minister where he does not mention Entoto Park, Meskel Square, Friendship Park, the National Palace, and other such projects undertaken under his direct watch and without public participation. Of course, these projects have been completed in a timely manner with quality that has contented citizens who at the same time also raise questions of cost to value. However, that does not mean that this tradition has been reciprocated by other public officials and institutions that were given the task of executing projects. Addis Ababa is laden with developments stalled mid-construction and there is still a tradition of starting projects at the beginning of the rainy season knowing full-well the rains will halt work. Rampant corruption and inflation, as well as a struggling economy, pose further challenges to the completion of projects, writes EBR’s Eden Teshome.



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