Ashenafi EndaleJune 14, 2021


Ambassador Birgitte N. Markussen, is Head of the European Union Delegation to the African Union as of September 2020. She has previously worked as Director at the European External Action Service (EEAS), beginning 2016 and also as Director of the Africa Department at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Her office in Addis Ababa is currently working on a range of packages introduced to strengthen the relationship between the two neighborly continents. With pressing issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and migration, Markussen delves passionately into peace and security, investment and development, and even the future integration of the two continents. She argues a strong Africa is essential for a strong Europe. Addisu Derese, special to EBR, sat down with Ambassador Markussen. Excerpts follow.

Ashenafi EndaleMay 15, 2021


Fikadu Digafe is Chief Economist and Vice Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE). He strides in the most laboring job in the central bank ever since the bank started baptizing itself with reforms ensuing the landslide reshuffle of October 2019. He was previously in charge of external economic analysis and international relations at the bank. For many years, Fikadu has been engaged in the research works of the central bank, including scripting for the quarterly bulletin of the bank, Birritu.

Ashenafi EndaleMay 15, 2021


Mekuanint Alemu is Founder and Board Chair of C&E Brothers Steel Factory, which has been engaged in the production of reinforcement bars for the last ten years and mining exploration over the last three years. He recently established YO Trade and Manufacturing PLC, a sister company and the only large-scale coal producer in Ethiopia. It is currently installing a coal washing plant in Ethiopia allowing it to eliminate coal impurities using water, some chemicals, and mechanical techniques. The plant is expected to start operations after five months. EBR sat down with Mekuanint to learn about his recent ventures.

Ashenafi EndaleApril 15, 2021


Atnafu Gebremeskel (PhD), is an Assistant Professor of economics at Addis Ababa University and an executive member of the Ethiopian Economics Association. In December 2020, he published a study entitled “Inflation Dynamics and Macroeconomic Stability in Ethiopia” in which he identified key sources of inflationary pressure in Ethiopia through the analysis of commodity price changes observed between 1997 and 2020. It became a timely reference and antidote as inflammatory inflation breaks loose since January.
Atnafu argues the actual permanent inflation rate in Ethiopia during the study time was 38.9Pct, driven by expansionary monetary phenomenon, though government has been underreporting inflation at 15Pct annual average. This problem of denial is keeping the solution at bay. Apart from the persistent as well as immediate causes, Atnafu stresses market responds by increasing price, whenever ineffective government is in charge. EBR sat down with the leading expert on Ethiopia’s inflation dynamism, conversing on his findings and its ramifications towards stabilizing current price hikes.

Ashenafi EndaleApril 15, 2021


Lensa Mekonnen is assigned to lead the Land Bank and Development Corporation (LBDC), the latest SOE established just eight months ago. The corporation audited 3,700 hectares of landholdings under federal institutions and enterprises—constituting 5.2Pct of Addis Ababa’s 54,000 hectares.
The corporation has embarked on a state-led property development endeavor and is already attracting world-class developers and financers towards developing housing projects, convention centers, seven-star hotels, tertiary hospitals, and specialized education centers on 30 prime locations identified in Addis Ababa, including the redevelopment of Ghion Hotel. The LBDC will indulge in a minimum 20Pct equity share in the projects, to be developed under a build, operate, and transfer PPP modality. The corporation has also identified government districts where public institutions will be relocated to in a clustered fashion.
Given the land scarcity in Addis Ababa, LBDC’s efforts are a relief for investors with cash looking for prime locations, although Lensa says international developers are given priority. Yet, her agility in availing public holdings to private developers is showing results faster than previous governmental processes towards land provisioning, where land is owned by the public and government and is very scarce as hens teeth in the market.

Ashenafi EndaleMarch 15, 2021


Myriam Said, Digital Advisor to the prime minister, is the leading personality behind Ethiopia’s stride towards the digital economy. She coordinates initiatives implemented to advance digital technology throughout the economy, currently at an early stage of development. Myriam’s promotion to advisor to the prime minister in February 2020 came as a result of her dedicated work when serving for nine months as Director of the National Digital Transformation Program at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. While working as a director, Myriam led a team of experts who developed Digital Ethiopia 2025, an inclusive strategy guiding Ethiopia’s journey from analogue practices where government, business, and social interactions took place in person, to a fully integrated inclusive digital economy and society where exchanges are made faster, cheaper, and more securely through digital technology.

Ashenafi EndaleMarch 15, 2021


Daniel Zemichael, a father of three, is Founder and CEO of Freighters International, one of the biggest private shipping companies in Ethiopia. Established 35 years ago with ETB100,000 in capital, and growing to its current ETB20 million; Freighters International is the exclusive agent for Maersk, a Danish shipping company active in ocean and inland freight transportation. EBR sat down with the logistics guru, to converse on the expected impacts of recent governmental moves to allow foreign companies to own a minority stake in local logistics companies amongst other topics.

Ashenafi EndaleJanuary 16, 2021


One of the young leaders that bolted to the front after PM Abiy’s reformist administration took power in 2018, is Fitsum Assefa (PhD), Minister in Charge of the National Planning and Development Commission (NPDC). She successfully maneuvered in the struggling economy to replace the previous GTP II with the Homegrown Economic Reform program. For the last two years, she led 12 studies preparing the Ten-Year Perspective Plan (TYPP), involving domestic and foreign institutions like the Korea Development Institute. The overambitious TYPP document is almost ready for implementation now.
Prior to her current appointment, she occupied different administrative positions at Hawassa University including Dean of the College of Business and Economics and also chaired the committee charting the university’s five-year strategic plan.

Ashenafi EndaleJanuary 16, 2021


Access to clean energy is key to the advancement of Ethiopia. As such, pursuing renewable energy development is essential to attain energy security and economic sustainability, while helping to mitigate climate change and its devastating impacts. Ethiopia is among few countries in the world with great potential for renewable energy generation. Aware of the country’s potential, the government launched a plan to speed up the development of different renewable energy sources, a decade ago.

Tulu Moye Geothermal Operations (TMGO) project is one of the initiatives launched to develop an optimum level of renewable energy mix in Ethiopia. The project, expected to generate 150MW at a cost of USD800 million, is situated in the main Ethiopian Rift Valley close to the eastern margins of the rift and northwest of Assela town. Established in December 2017, TMGO, was formed by a consortium of western investors—French firm Meridiam and the Icelandic Geothermal company Reykjavik Geothermal. TMGO signed a power purchase agreement and an implementation agreement with the government on December 19, 2017 and restated documentation in March 2020. This makes the company the first private-sector-led power project in Ethiopia.

Ashenafi EndaleJanuary 16, 2021


Liyu Dender, is a Logistics and Supply Chain Manager at Nazret Garment, now owned by Bagir Group, an Israeli company specialized in developing, manufacturing, and marketing tailored garments. The company has the capacity to produce 4,000 trouser suits daily. In 2019, Nazret Garment shipped products worth USD5.4 million. However, branded international retailers have canceled their orders after the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic last year. EBR sat down with Liyu to learn how Nazret Garment is coping with this situation and its future prospects.

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