Ethiopia’s economy, like most other economies, has taken a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. When the rest of the world’s troubles eased over time, Ethiopia had to fight its own war– literally. In October 2020, a war broke out between federal and allied forces and the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF). The war took a heavy toll on the economy as well as on humanity, claiming more than 600,000 lives. Ethiopia’s attempt to restructure the mounting debt, and access another round of support remained unthinkable, owing primarily to the civil war. Following an agreement between the warring sides in November, 2022, a few doors appear to be opening. The government has been knocking on all those slightly open doors, wasting no time to save the last breath in the dying pulse of the economy. Whether these efforts will come in time or bring about the needed relief remains to be seen and felt, though, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


If Ethiopia is proud of anything, it is not the media. For decades, the Ethiopian media landscape has been nothing but a propaganda machine for the incumbent, whoever that may be. However, the media experience has also seen its high points. One was right before the 2005 national election, when tens of thousands of copies were sold in the capital every week. The other moment could be right after the coming to power of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D.), when the number of publications hit a record high. The latter moment was short lived though. This time, the toughest challenge comes from the price of paper and the migration to digital platforms, threatening livelihoods, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


Although commercial banks have shown significant progress over the years in terms of accessibility, volume of transactions, and technology, they still fall short when it comes to financial inclusion. These financial institutions are accused of focusing only on mobilizing savings and sharing the same pie of the market rather than expanding the scope of their services and financial products. Recently, however, the Ethiopian financial sector is witnessing a vital role being played by Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) particularly in the area of financial inclusion. With a better legal framework, digitalization, and managerial experience, these institutions can play an even bigger role in helping Ethiopia’s development journey, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


Ethiopia is working hard to tackle the many difficulties that its people are experiencing. Conflicts, evictions, and displacements are now common topics in Ethiopian news. These issues pose a significant impact on an already struggling economy. In response to these extraordinary challenges and their consequences, people and organizations are uniting to mobilize resources. Ethiopia has seen a wide range of fundraising strategies, from individuals and groups that collect items for vulnerable communities, to digital platforms that mobilize financial resources from around the world. In this piece, EBR’s Lidya Tesfaye examines the expanding practice of charity fundraising.


The Debate on Self-Sufficiency Before Export

Ethiopia has had one administration after another campaigning for food self-sufficiency. No single administration in the past several decades has been able to achieve it. When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D.) first announced his administration’s plan to export wheat, citizens briefly indulged in the idea that the country had achieved self-sufficiency and was able to put food on the table. To the contrary, the news of wheat exports has been overshadowed by the millions of citizens who are in dire need of food assistance. In this article, EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu explores the paradox of a nation that sells wheat to aid agencies that donate it back to its own citizens.


The video game industry has advanced significantly as a result of the availability of photorealistic graphics, reality simulation, and internet connections with millions of other players in today’s games and gaming platforms. Video game playing is no longer only a kid’s pastime evolving into a way of life for people of all ages. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome tells a story on how gaming is growing both as a business and leisure both in Ethiopia and Africa, at large.


Floors in residences, offices and other such places have seen a series of styles through the years. Until recent times, it was a mixture of cement and sand that would be used to coat most indoor floors in urbanite Ethiopia. Such floors would have been covered by other plastic sheets. For the years that followed, tiles and ceramics have dominated the fashion of coating floors in the capital. Recently, however, the use of epoxy to coat floors and kitchen tables seem to have made an entrance into the business and trend. In this article EBR’s Eden Teshome writes about the material, the trend and the business behind epoxy coatings, and its shifting global market.


Many have referred to the current global digital transformation as the “fourth revolution.” Ethiopia joined this journey and expressed commitment through the “Digital Ethiopia by 2025” strategy launched on June 20, 2020. Digital Ethiopia is an initiative of the Ethiopian Government, to leverage and expand digital opportunities and lead the country towards an innovative, knowledge-based economy.

The country started to witness remarkable changes in the digital landscape after the emergence of COVID-19, which enforced lockdowns, social distancing, and several restrictions that called for rapid digitization on all fronts. In this article, EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu tells the story of how the latest digital revolution is bearing fruit for e-commerce businesses.


The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has ordered a ban on issuing letters of credit for the import of close to 40 selected goods. These include all fuel-consuming automobiles, alcoholic drinks, and cosmetics products, among many others. The decision is seen by few as a proactive move to encourage local manufacturing and exports, while others have taken it as a reactive measure in response to the nation’s dire shortage of forex reserves. Some go as far as claiming the move is an official admission of the beginning of the end for the Ethiopian economy. Regardless of which side is right, the impact of the prohibition on consumers has been rough. Prices for the embargoed commodities are only climbing as importers scramble to find new, and more expensive, ways to ship them into the country. EBR’s Eden Teshome looks into the government’s decision and what it means for the consumer.


The Ethiopian-Chinese partnership has developed substantially over the past three decades. Ethiopia is a central hub for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 150 countries as part of the centerpiece of Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. Over 300,000 Chinese immigrants are thought to be living in Ethiopia, creating a niche market for Chinese food. The phenomenon has led to the thriving Rwanda Market, where dozens of stores cater to their customers with a focus on Chinese ingredients. More and more Chinese restaurants are springing up throughout Addis Ababa as well, offering a new kind of cuisine to an increasingly curious
Due to the nations’ economic cooperation, Over 300,000 Chinese immigrants are thought to be living in Ethiopia, creating a niche market for the consumption of Chinese food and turning the former Rwanda Market into the only urban food market in Addis Ababa that focuses on Chinese items. Due to the close economic ties with China and other Asian nations, in addition to the open-air China market, many restaurants have sprung up throughout Addis Ababa offering a variety of Chinese dishes to fellow Chinese expatriates as well as a growing number of Far East Asian cuisine fans, altering the city’s food landscape, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.

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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