Mersha TirunehJuly 15, 202128

Missing out on rain is equivalent to relinquishing the harvesting of crops in Ethiopia’s rain-based agricultural system. As Ethiopia’s chief cultivation season arrives alongside the major rainy season, over 2 million farmers have abandoned their farms to find shelter in safer areas. Ethiopia’s internally displaced population is still out of control three years after the challenge started rising.
But the recent influx of dislodged people in high agricultural corridors including northern Shewa, Wello, western Oromia, Benishangul, and of course, Tigray comes at the crucial time of Ethiopia’s major farming season. As farmers have not prepared the land for the tilling period that ends in June, the upcoming Meher harvest season is forecasted to experience substantial setbacks. The uncultivated lands will result not only in production reductions, but will also place its society in a cyclical fight against poverty. Humanitarian assistance for farmers is stressing the nation’s coffers. Also, as farmers supply 30Pct of their production to markets, the reduction will also contribute to food inflation. EBR’s Mersha Tiruneh assessed the disruption which conflict and farmers’ displacement are pouring onto agriculture and the economy at large.


Ashenafi EndaleJuly 15, 202134

The urban poor in Ethiopia are being hit by the invisible hammer that’s getting larger in size day by day. It is hard to recall a time where inflation was so prevalent and unrelenting. Even salaried workers—most employed by the government—are falling below internationally accepted thresholds of poverty. Former middle-class residents are now slipping into the low-income bracket and are utilizing consumer association shops to access basic commodities at cheaper prices that were previously destined for the poor. Further down, those with low incomes are falling into the ‘poor of the poor’ level, which can only be handled through direct support including the SafetyNet program. The administration is exerting efforts to help with the pain, but the underlying causes are yet to be tackled. Subsidies and direct payments to urbanites can only go so far as the regime’s pockets are getting shallower. EBR takes a close look at the toll inflation is inflicting upon urban residents and possible coping mechanisms both structurally and temporarily.


Ashenafi EndaleJune 15, 2021104

Ethiopia’s sources of finance are thinning, calling into question the sustainability of the large government-financed GDP expansion of the last fifteen years. The recent decision of the US to impose economic sanctions on Ethiopia has only worsened the situation of Ethiopia’s external financial sources, already crippled with high debts.

In a bid to maintain the 10Pct average annual growth, government needs to invest 37Pct of GDP—very difficult to fulfill from only tax and FDIs weakened by conflict and COVID-19. Even the highly expected telecom license sale did not garner expected amounts.

New investments are critical to maintain the pace of growth and fulfill the demands of a fast-growing population and fend off soaring inflation and unemployment. Finalizing the megaprojects of the past decade needs further investment and starting new ones seams dreamy. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale navigates alternative venues left for development financing.


Ashenafi EndaleMay 15, 2021164

Coal is the second-most used source of energy globally. Primarily used for power generation, it is the raw material of choice for 40Pct of electricity production worldwide. With an estimated 430 million metric tons of coal deposits in the country, the Ethiopian government is trying to utilize this resource by encouraging small- and large-scale coal producers and investors. As a result, the country has managed to satisfy 40Pct of its annual demand from the local market. However, the quality of the coal produced is of poorer quality compared with imports from countries like South Africa. Resultantly, manufacturers going local are incurring additional costs. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores.


Ashenafi EndaleMay 15, 2021212

The House of People’s Representatives recently unanimously approved the revised Commercial Code of Ethiopia, replacing the 61-year-old document which was in place since 1960. The revision sought to amend 825 sections of trade-related issues and is expected to serve intact for 30 years as up-to-date technological advancements have been considered, according to the government.
The amendment introduced two new organizational arrangements for a company’s establishment while excluding ordinary partnership. It is now permitted to establish a one-person private limited company as well as a limited liability partnership. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale assesses the new commercial code.


Ashenafi EndaleApril 15, 2021636

Addis Ababans spend two-thirds of their income on housing. Although there is an additional 250,000 units of new housing demand created every year in the city, only one third is supplied, mainly by government programs.
The contribution of private developers to Addis Ababa’s housing supply is limited to less than 5Pct. The property market is dominated by the land allocation policies adopted to fit only a few as well as the lack of finance and construction materials. Land supply is constrained to generate more revenue for the government, rather than as a vehicle to solve sheltering problems. The city administration is currently finalizing revising the land lease directive, expected to increase land lease prices by several fold.
Government is also devising new state-led property development schemes on state landholdings in the capital, despite inefficiency and resource wastage lessons garnered from condominiums.
In a bid to outmaneuver the land supply grip, private developers are exploiting possibilities in partnering with individual landlords, who contribute their land, to jointly develop apartments and villas. This arrangement has also been picked up by the government which is offering its federal landholdings in the capital to partner primarily with foreign developers to build complexes for housing, business, education, health, and leisure. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale navigated newly surfacing housing options.


Ashenafi EndaleApril 15, 2021437

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other teething problems, African countries opened their markets in January 2021 under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The new market, which allows for the duty-free trade of goods and services across borders, is expected to lift up to 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty. It is also expected to boost intra-African trade, promote industrialization, create jobs, and improve the competitiveness of African industries on the global stage. However, the new trade block is encountering problems from its birth. African countries, fearing trading through AfCFTA will immensely cost their economies, are retreating. In fact, more than 20 African nations, including Ethiopia, have not fulfilled necessary requirements to start trading under the agreement. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores.


Ashenafi EndaleMarch 15, 20211140

Ethiopia has vast water resources. However, only a fraction of the potential has been realized thus far. Access to fresh water is still a problem in both rural and urban parts of the country. Given the high population growth rate, Ethiopia should utilize groundwater for both agriculture and household use. However, little has been done to tap the huge groundwater resource in the country. EBR’s Mubarek Jemal reports.


Ashenafi EndaleJanuary 16, 20212079

Ethiopia is endowed with abundant renewable energy resources and has the potential to generate over 60,000 MW of electric power from hydroelectric, wind, solar, and geothermal sources. However, the country only generates 4,500MW, not sufficient to satisfy more than 100 million people. To address the current and future demand forecasted to grow 14Pct annually till 2037, the government recently announced a new plan for the next ten years. The plan envisions increasing the electric generation capacity from renewable sources from the current 4,500MW to 19,000MW by 2030, of which the private sector is expected to generate 9,000MW. However, investors engaged in the energy sector inform that many hinderances limit the involvement of the private sector, and thus meeting the target will be very difficult. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale investigates the issue further.


Elias TegegnDecember 16, 20202519

There are seven privately- and 10 government-owned industrial parks (IPs) operating in Ethiopia. Although the government-owned ones were developed with massive finances, thus far their performance has not been satisfactory. On the other hand, companies operating inside privately-owned IPs are doing well. In fact, an increasing number of foreign investors are requesting to develop their own IPs. The government, recently decided to discontinue developing IPs and is preparing a directive to facilitate this. EBR’s Elias Tegegn explores the issue.

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