The most common type of armed conflict worldwide at the moment is intra-state warfare – the kind that has been rocking Ethiopia for years. The violent clashes are a terror for innocent civilians, a threat to public infrastructure and private business, and a disaster for the economy. The stench of conflict lingers long after the final bullets are fired, repelling the possibility of rebuilding through investment. Still, it is possible to encourage capital to flow into war-torn places with the right mix of government support, the restitution of the rule of law, as well as collaboration with civil societies and local organizations. In Ethiopia, too often, instability is accompanied by finger-pointing at the private sector, accusing it of collaborating with perpetrators or insufficient support for the administration. In times of conflict, private businesses are expected to raise funds for pro-government forces and not much else. It is high time to recognize the potential the private sector has in building and maintaining peace. EBR’s Lidya Tesfaye showcases an initiative that is attempting to do just that.


According to the United Nations, tourism is one of the world’s most important economic sectors, employing one in every ten people on Earth and providing livelihoods to hundreds of millions more. International tourism saw a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million international arrivals recorded. This means that the sector has recovered almost half (46Pct) of the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019.

Tourism revenue of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) surpassed USD5 billion in the first half of this year, compared to USD3 billion in the same period last year.
In his travel note, Tamirat Astatkie takes us through the wonders of visionary Dubai along with a glance of the livelihoods of Ethiopians in the city.


Startups are heralded for their numerous economic benefits. However, starting a business in Ethiopia—whether small, medium, or big—has always been a nightmare for entrepreneurs and investors. This has been well-evidenced throughout the years in ease of doing business rankings. One sticky point in getting a business off the ground has been the lack of financing. Startups are a driving force in the business community, responsible for the creation of new jobs, development of innovative products and services, and expansion of overall productive economic opportunities. There are now few pieces of evidence which support the view that the current administration has a decent understanding of the role of startups. Through the governmental push and other endeavors, the culture of financing startups is slowly rising. Still, the country could further benefit from better capacitated venture capital and angel investors, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


For any political power aspiring to rule Ethiopia, controlling Addis Ababa is the ultimate accomplishment. Not only does the capital house all essential government organs, but Addis Ababa is mini-Ethiopia. All languages, ethnic groups, and regional states are represented and living in Addis Ababa, making it unique from the ethnic and language-based federalism seen in all other cities bar Dire Dawa to a much lesser extent.


The Middle East is one of the leading consumer markets that relies heavily on imports due to its low agricultural capacity. Ethiopia, in close proximity, has one of the most robust agrarian economies with leading livestock numbers. Nonetheless, only countries that have adopted the halal certification framework are tapping into the Middle East’s consumer market. Ethiopia is mostly absent in this regard. The linking of unapproved animal meat as the cause of COVID-19 has deepened the acceptance of halal certified foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other products even in non-Muslim nations. Religion is leveling up to science.
In a bid to cutout the halal barrier to Ethiopia’s exports to the Middle East and beyond, a new strategy of interlinking gulf countries’ halal accreditation systems with Ethiopia’s is taking root. To this end, Ethiopian slaughterhouses are working towards certification by the new system to export halal-certified food. Halal is expected to boost Ethiopia’s exports and free it from the USD3 billion chokehold of the past decade. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores


Corporate or institutional banking is a segment of the industry where specific deals and attention are provided in a specially designed way. These services include handling the loans as well as accounts of big economic players. Although corporate banking is one of the biggest business segments even in many developing countries, it is still in its infancy in Ethiopia. Almost all existing banks pursue mass marketing approaches and basically collect retail savings and lend to businesses. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale investigates new developments in the banks’ clientship landscape.


Modernizing and transforming agriculture has been a generational effort skewed in the wrong direction. Production and productivity have been government’s mottos for decades, only to remain lip service. Practically, the farmer’s decision-making power has been overruled by the government with the use of extension programs. Government was not brave enough to consider the farmer as a private and for-profit actor due to political reasons.
As a result, the supply of agricultural inputs, consultancy, and technologies have been monopolized by the government and its extensive extension program. From importation to distribution, from improved seeds to fertilizers, from veterinary drugs to technologies, the agricultural input supply market is monopolized by inefficient state-owned enterprises with the partial involvement of local governments.
Affordable agricultural input is particularly critical for Ethiopia, where the land has been ploughed for millennia. Ethiopia’s small-scale dominated agriculture, where farmers’ per capita land area has diminished to just less than a hectare on average, requires intensive input use to achieve productivity. However, this cannot be achieved when the government is running an inefficient agricultural input market business. Over the last few years, the private sector has been highly interested in installing modern agricultural input shops as a viable business. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores the growing potential of private one-stop agricultural input shops in replacing government’s incapacitated role in agriculture.


The first coronavirus disease vaccine injections taking place at Eka Kotebe COVID-19 Hospital on March 13, 2021 in the presence of high-level government officials and other notable Ethiopians. Frontline health workers were first to take the jab.
The first COVID-19 positive case and vaccine were registered in Ethiopia on the same day of March 13 in 2020 and 2021, respectively, whether accidental or planned. The world seemed doomed by the invincible virus since the beginning of 2020. After unprecedented death, chaos, and ultimate test to science, new vaccines were created for the new pandemic.


Ever since Ethiopia became landlocked after losing its access to the Port of Assab three decades ago, international trade has remained the Achilles heel of Ethiopia’s economy. The country’s dependency on imports could not be matched by efficient logistics services. Numerous service providers fight it out on one major route, the Ethio-Djibouti route, though it’s primarily primed for the state-owned carrier.
Coupled with low support provisioned, the closure of the logistics sector to foreign investors has stunted its growth.
Following the partial opening-up of the sector since 2018, a number of global shipping groups and logistics service providers are inking deals with local firms. Though late, the move is highly expected to buffer financial and knowhow transfers, long and eagerly awaited for by local players. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale looks into the trophies that could be won and persisting gaps haunting local logistics operators.


Digital health is the provision of health care services using digitized health recordings and electronic mechanisms. In developed countries, it evolved into an ecosystem where even surgery operations are remotely operated, or blood is delivered by drones at emergency spots.
But recently, physical distancing measurements introduced under COVID-19 increased the demand for digital health services even in developing countries like Ethiopia, where even the concept of digital health is at an early stage.
A number of medical graduates and computer engineers are teaming up to design applications to solve the completely manual health services of Ethiopia. Newly established startup incubation centers are also targeting idea creation, nurturing, and linking digital health innovators with investors. Nevertheless, they can hardly find financers as a startup, nor favorable support and policy environment from government. EBR explores the opportune moments knocking at the door for digital health innovators, and the monumental task ahead in digitizing Ethiopia’s health system.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

2Q69+2MM, Jomo Kenyatta St, Addis Ababa

Tsehay Messay Building

Contact Us

+251 961 41 41 41