Given the prominence of the WARYT conglomerate, it may come as a surprise that Legesse Zerihun began the business by chance, having been inspired by the lack of petrol stations in Addis Ababa. Years later, the company is known for its multitude of businesses – ranging from importing goods to manufacturing.
Legesse attributes the proliferation of his company to his decades-long career in business and his mother’s support. The ubiquity – and significance – of the WARYT logo, which stands for ‘Work and Reach Your Target’, is a testament to this drive and commitment to perseverance.
A father of four, Legesse says that his family and marriage have been central to his success – and it’s this familial outlook that drives his compassion and charitable activities, of which there are many.
EBR’s Tamirat Astatkie spoke with the seasoned businessman to learn more about his trajectory and his insights into the role the private sector should play in the country’s development.


Anyone who knows Wondwosen Tamrat, 49, testifies to his humble, soft-spoken and articulate demeanour. He credits these traits to his parents, whom he considers his role models, instilling in him the traits of resilience and commitment.
Despite years of hard work, 1998 defined and launched Wondwosen’s career. That year marked the beginning of private higher education institutions (HEIs), allowing for the establishment and expansion of private HEIs in the country, with Unity becoming the first private college and St. Mary’s soon after.


For many, the untimely death of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s long-serving and able prime minister, on August 20, 2012 was considered as a serious threat to the country’s unity. This was because; the premier had been too powerful as he had drawn overwhelming political and military control particularly after 2001. His sudden death after 21 years of firm control was anticipated to create vacuum and power struggle within the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the four parties that constitute it.

Nevertheless 10 months later, his successor Hailemariam Desalegn has managed a peaceful transition and maintains the same economic growth like his antecedent.


The Ethiopian Federal Parliament, in late September, convened a rare emergency session. The agenda items were equally extraordinary because appointing a new Prime Minister was unthinkable as recently as a couple of months ago.

After missing from the public eye for weeks, the death of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, at a Belgian hospital, was announced on August 20. The illness has not been disclosed to date.

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