The rampant pandemic has hurt businesses worldwide of all sizes and types. As if that is not enough, Ethiopia has been rocked by a series of security challenges imposing unimaginable challenges on business activities across all sectors. In Ethiopia, a wedding is not just a matter for the couple—it calls for a number of small businesses to make the big day happen. From the decorators to the DJs, and from the photographers to event managers, they all play their part on that special day. As Covid restrictions are easing and weddings are finding their return, these businesses seem to be entertaining the reinvigorated atmosphere of social gatherings, writes Bamlak Fekdu.


Eating meat and drinking arekie—one of the hardest local alcohols in Ethiopia—as a means of speeding up digestion, has been tradition for ages. In some parts of the country—like the highlands of Shoa—areqie is also used as a means of survival against the cold weather. Even though this local alcohol has been around for long, its growing consumption among young boys in urban settings that were supposed to be part of the workforce is a rather grim image. Apart from stealing their courage to fight the hardships of life, the new trend of increasing alcoholic beverage consumption in the capital is also causing early health challenges, writes Henok Engida.


In Ethiopia, the idea of women fighting against physical, psychological, and sexual abuse is far from becoming a mainstream thought. Even though the country has been praised in decreasing maternal death and other key indicators of women’s health, preventing or getting justice during abuse still remains a complication. A series of conflicts in various parts of the country is only pulling the little progress made in preventing the trauma these abuses have been causing. Even beyond the impact of the conflicts, fresh attacks in urban settings are becoming part of the news bulletin, leaving little hope for a better day, writes Trualem Asmare.


Deemed traditional for lack of data support and short of defined dosages, herbal medicine has been relatively shunned in urban settings though all partake to varying degrees. The advent of the pandemic in 2020 has put traditional and herbal remedies to the fore. Supported by policy and governmental recognition, the field is slowly growing as a business and alternative health care, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


In recent years, Ethiopia has seen more and more of its citizens campaigning and securing leading positions in global institutions. From United Nations agencies to tech giants in the United States’ Silicon Valley, more Ethiopians are tiptoeing up the helm of big multinational corporations and organizations. As much as the trend shows both individual and national success, recent developments paint a contradicting picture of Ethiopians as global leaders, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) invited opposition party leaders when he formed his new cabinet last October. Perhaps looking to freshen up the workings of the Ministry of Education, where many would agree infrastructure is relatively present but implementation and focus on quality have been highly lacking, Abiy installed Berhanu Nega (Prof.), a venerated educator and opposition figure. Such opposition leaders must see the appointment beyond its political implications and realize that the country faces real challenges that require their technocratic attention, writes EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


In this digital fast-paced age, an online reference book is looking to take hold. Alphabetic African Timeline, an almost three-decade old journey of information compilation, is now looking to take a spot amongst students, researchers, and the general public as a go-to repository of general African information. Its developer has been working with a handful of government organs to institutionalize the work and looks to the near future where anyone can purchase general African information from the website and other digital platforms. EBR looks into this yearning to enlighten the public.


Although the number of higher education institutions and students has been meteorically rising, the last few years has seen families reluctant from sending their children to campuses outside their area of comfort. Some of those who dared do so waited anxiously for months for the return of their children stranded on campuses engulfed with ethnic politics and war. The minority that can afford private tertiary education are receiving substandard schooling mostly in business fields. Labor market proportions, university-industry linkages, and nation building endeavors are being upended.
Unlike Ethiopia’s political movement of the 1960s, which was spearheaded by politically organized university students, contemporary politics is operated by full-time politicians who recharacterize narrations to fit their alternative reality and use universities and students as pawns in their game. EBR’s Trualem Asmare explores the extent of empty registrars and whether the changing nature of politics and the election can change things and give hope to students.


One of the most highly overlooked, but increasingly concerning, social crisis is the mental illness of Ethiopian migrants. Especially returnees from Gulf nations fall victim to the illness. After enduring aggressive and abusive employers in these oil-rich countries, the illegality and lower educational preparations of the young migrants is taking a toll on their mental health. Ensuing deportation or fleeing, returnees are too embarrassed to return emptyhanded to their families, further adding to their mental woes.
Despite generating close to a billion dollars in remittances, the Ethiopian government is unable to provide adequate treatment for returnees as well as secure their safe and fair employment status. EBR’s Samira Suleiman delves into the ordeal Ethiopian migrants face to win a dinar in a foreign, hostile culture as well as upon their return to unwelcoming hands.


Since the 2005 Ethiopian national election, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have themselves been victims of a brutal government proclamation that suppressed them from advocating for human, election, and even gender rights. The number of active CSOs has halved over the past fifteen years.
Following the amendment of the restrictive proclamation in 2019, the number of CSOs has currently reached 3,200, an increase of 1,400 new and reregistered organizations.
Nonetheless, the role of CSOs remains a drop in the ocean especially when witnessing the increasing number of conflicts, humanitarian crises, and widening gap between the state and society. Further, only 236 CSOs are registered by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to observe the upcoming national election. EBR’s Mariamawit Gezahegn delves into the trajectory CSOs have endured and their persisting challenges.

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Ethiopian Business Review is first class and high quality monthly business magazine.