Abdiaziz Hassan,
CEO, Rays Microfinance

Having grown up in eastern Ethiopia’s Somali Region, a group of six men observed potential in the community that raised them. They saw a zeal for trade and an awareness that embraces technological change and other dynamics. In 2014, they would set out to establish Rays Microfinance to tap that potential and turn it into profits. Having been licensed by the National Bank of Ethiopia, Rays was sabotaged by the region’s previous administration and did not make it into the financial sector. With the coming of the new administration, the company launched its services in 2020 and the founders are marching towards their ambitious goal of realizing a totally cashless society in Somali Region and beyond. EBR’s Addisu Deresse sat down with Abdiaziz Hassan, Chief Executive Officer of Rays, to talk about the journey, challenges, and prospects of the institution and the financial sector in general.


Michael Teshome, is Director of the Ethiopian Mediation & Arbitration Center, Attorney and Consultant at Law, as well as Co-author of the book Arbitration in Ethiopia.
Michael specializes in handling business arbitration cases, which is a leading alternative model to settle business disputes. However, Ethiopia was not on the international business arbitration map until this year when it ratified both the international 1958 New York Convention and the local Arbitration and Conciliation Working Procedure Proclamation, in which Michael participated at the drafting level.

Now, arbitration awards rendered in Ethiopia can directly be implemented in the 167 signatory countries, with reciprocity. Michael stresses this has an immense and multidimensional benefit in making Ethiopia business-friendly and Addis Ababa an international arbitration seat.


Ewnetu Taye is Deputy Director of the Logistics Transformation Office (LTO), established to transform and solve lingering sectorial problems which have long hampered Ethiopia’s development. He sees Djibouti still holding the key position going forward even with its numerous military bases which are incomparable to benefits bestowed by economic relations with Ethiopia. Alongside developing sea outlets, liberalizing the sector within Ethiopia is registering heavy developments. EBR sat down with Ewnetu to learn about the current status of the logistics sector in Ethiopia.


Muluneh Lema, is a founding member and General Manager of Mintu Investment Group (MIG) as well as President of the Ethiopian Millers Association. Educated in the US, he took the initiative to turn his family’s legacy of a candy factory and flour wholesaling into a gigantic group of factories. Under the group, companies engaged in the manufacturing, food processing, real estate, import, export, and pharmaceutical sectors, operate. Wakene Food Complex, Mintu Plast, Menoria Real Estate, Mintu Export, and Mintu Pharma are his leading companies. With ETB800 million in annual turnover, the group has doubled its investment capital to ETB1 billion over the last six years. Formed by four brothers, MIG succeeded mainly because the siblings specialized in different sectors.

The plastic factory has especially managed to substitute imports of plastic bottles and caps for water bottlers in Ethiopia. It has also substituted the import of PVCs and other plastic products used as construction and agricultural inputs. Wakene Food Complex, on the other hand, has the lion’s share in Ethiopia’s wheat and flour market.


Solomon Goshu, is Program Officer at International Media Support and Foyo, international media development institutions backed by Denmark and Sweden that provide media capacity building, research and development, coalition building, and management. The program in Ethiopia focuses on media reform, professionalism, and inclusion.
Solomon is also Coordinator of the national committee established three years ago to revise Ethiopian media laws after having been a journalist for ten years, including as a senior editor at The Reporter newspaper. He is a Lecturer at Addis Ababa University School of Law and has undertaken various research on Ethiopian media from a legal and journalistic perspective.


Terje Skjerdal, is Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the Norwegian NLA University College, with decades of engagement with Ethiopian media with a focus on the conduction of research in collaboration with Addis Ababa University. In February 2021, Skjerdal published “Ethnification of the Ethiopian Media,” a research peace alongside Mulatu Alemayehu (PhD).

He argues that although it seems that ethnicity has become the new mainspring, it has always been an undercurrent in the Ethiopian media and journalism landscape. EBR had an audience with him to learn more about recent developments observed in the media sector.


Adugna Debela (PhD) took the role of Director General at the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority three years ago, at a time when the coffee value chain was misplaced and badly affecting quality and export volumes. He immediately managed to implement the vertical marketing strategy which enabled coffee growers and suppliers to export directly. This, and other undertakings in the coffee sphere, enabled it to gather record foreign currency earnings—USD927 million. The price of Ethiopian specialty coffee also grew over the last two years by 35Pct.

Meaningfully exporting processed coffee is the next hurdle to overcome. This is a much tougher task requiring upsetting the global status-quo and engaging multinationals to roast in Ethiopia.
Primarily, Adugna has been a university lecturer especially at Jimma University. He got his doctoral degree in Crop Eco-Physiology at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. He is well published with various research pieces in international journals.


Tamiru Tadesse is Founder and Manager of Halloo Coffee PLC and Tamiru Tadesse PLC. The latter is an enterprise that collects coffee from over 300 small-scale farmers to supply to the former. Born in Bensa, Sidama Region, he studied electrical engineering at Hawassa University and taught at Debre Berhan University for two years before being employed at a coffee exporting company for six years. But after his friend, also from Bensa, won the 2020 Cup of Excellence global coffee competition, Tamiru decided to set up his own company that exports coffee. A year later in 2021, He won the competition with the top price of USD370 per kilogram after stiff competition from his home town’s coffees. His company currently has surplus orders from global buyers and plans of setting up a coffee processing plant instead of exporting raw beans.


Zemedeneh Negatu is currently Chairman of Fairfax Africa Fund, a US-based firm engaged in investment banking and private equity financing in sub-Sahara Africa, including Ethiopia. He is also one of the promoters of the under-establishment Selam Bank which intends to disburse ETB200 billion as mortgage loans to finance 100,000 housing units in its first five years of operations. EBR sat down with Zemedeneh to discuss the endeavors of Selam Bank and the challenges it expects to face.


Vera Songwe is the UN Under-Secretary-General and 9th Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), becoming the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history. Many portray her as a reliable ally and pathfinder as Africa aspires an economic union. Capable and hardworking, she is navigating uncharted territory while trying to mold a strong economy out of Africa’s weak institutions and imperfect politics. She is also going the extra mile in convincing western nations to give pandemic relief.
The Cameroonian holds a PhD in mathematical economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, a master of arts in law and economics, and a diploma of advanced studies in economic science and politics from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She also holds a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Michigan. Prior to ECA, she held a number of senior leadership roles with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank.

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