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No person or thing seems to have been blamed for continuous price hikes in the Ethiopian economy like middlemen. Whether gas or groceries inflation, both current and past administrations have a way of blaming these players for their failed attempts to establish a strong and resilient market structure. Even though various factors may contribute to the failure to sufficiently tackle price increases, middlemen have indeed had their fair contribution to the problem. Over the past few years, electronic commerce platforms have been popping up, helping counterbalance their negative effect. Despite the impact of these attempts being on the smaller end, there is enough evidence worldwide to argue that e-commerce can indeed help in curbing the counterproductive effect of these trade players in the middle. In this article, starting with the story of a recent entrant in the e-commerce business, EBR’s Addisu Deresse analyzes the impact, considerations, and challenges of e-commerce platforms in an economy.


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The Ethiopian manufacturing sector is still far from being an engine of growth and economic transformation despite potential and assurances from various actors to the contrary. It plays a marginal role in employment creation, exports, and output. It is also short of stimulating domestic linkages and is dominated by small firms, resource-based industries, low-value and technology products, and weak inter-sectoral linkages.

Ever since 1945, when strategic planning for industrialization first begun, successive administrations have been unable to oversee the take-off of the nascent manufacturing sector. Notwithstanding micro-level problems, legacy issues including foreign currency shortages, electrical power interruptions, and sectoral linkages still linger. But now, adding salt to the wound is the current administration’s tinkering with tariff privileges for factories. Selome Getachew reviews the issue with input from Bamlak Fekadu.


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Current and past administrations have tried to tap into the potential of Ethiopians living abroad. As much as there always has been the understanding that the diaspora can play a greater role in the Ethiopian economy, politics has always taken over the way in which government looks at this vast community.

The Ethiopian diaspora—vocal in their criticism of local politics—has long been regarded as a threat to government. Hence, they have been alienated from social, political, and economic activities of their home country. For the most part, the nation has not been able to tap into the opportunities of economic potential which the community possesses.

The recent mobilization of the diaspora in the diplomatic arena gives an insight into their economic potential. If mobilized upon the appropriate strategy, they can play a greater role beyond remittance and direct financial support to be investors and champions of investment, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


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Having commenced after the end of World War II, humanitarian aid has been one of the tools used by Western nations to project themselves as the good guy in global interactions. Recently, the West has been slowly moving towards developmental assistance as the criticism against humanitarian aid has been getting tougher. As the diplomatic standoff between Ethiopia and the West worsens, with aid in the middle of the engagement, it is still difficult to pinpoint the role of aid in economic growth. Also at play is the effectiveness of and bad-practice prone implementation by local actors. EBR’s Mariamawit Gezahegn delves into the matter to offer this report.


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The coming of Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to the helm was received with great enthusiasm and hope among the public. The expectation that it carried was that of a stronger private sector, a deviation from the administration of his predecessors. Now after a military engagement with his former bosses, the TPLFites—now designated as terrorists—many are wondering if he could perhaps end up in a similar déjà vu moment like that of his ally to the north, Isaias Afwerki. Will Abiy keep his promise of a strong private sector? Will the current war-economy status totally shatter the glimpse of hope for a vibrant private sector? EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu investigates.


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Ethiopia used to rule all ports on the western side of the Red Sea, until it lost its last one to Eritrea in 1991, joining the pack of landlocked African economies. Over 90Pct of Ethiopia’s international trade—forecasted to almost double from the current 17.1 million tons to 30 million metric tons by 2030—has been utilizing the Port of Djibouti.

However, Ethiopia is currently exploiting additional ports in Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, and Eritrea. Following the opening of the Ethiopian logistics sector to foreign investors, these ports are planned to be linked with dry ports and economic and logistics facilities across Ethiopia. To that end, the Logistics Transformation Office, is currently finalizing the first Ethiopian logistics masterplan, which envisages interconnecting the nation through infrastructure including ports, roads, rail, aviation, pipelines, and transboundary rivers. Ashenafi Endale explores.


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The influence advertisers put on media is growing by the day. Commercial broadcasters, newspapers, and magazines generate the majority of their revenue from advertisements. As this is the case, ad placers usually use their economic power to influence content production in favor of their interests. Striking a balance between the freedom and autonomy of media, on the one hand, and influence from advertisers on the other is one of the biggest challenges private press faces. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores the issue in depth.


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A new hope was dawn when two banks named Goh and Selam recently begun selling shares with the aim to finance specifically housing demand. Ethiopia’s housing gap is an accumulation from generations, with over 400,000 new demand annually matched by less than 100,000 supply, government schemes and private developers teamed up.  Now, Goh and Selam revived the demand of millions of house seekers, promising to deliver hundreds of thousands of houses in few years. Goh will provide loans for the house buyers, while Selam both the developer and buyer.


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At a sensitive time when the economy is suffering from inflation, unemployment, debt distress, poverty, conflict, and COVID-19, the nation prepares for the sixth national election to decide who rules for the next five years to end the transitional government that has been in power since April 2018.
Nonetheless, the political space is largely occupied by parties fanning and prioritizing ethnic quests instead of addressing underlying economic constraints. Ideology-based analysis and principled models for Ethiopia’s vicious economic circle are brands scarcely seen in the political parties’ campaigns. Out of the 47 political parties cleared to participate, 18 are competing for federal Parliament seats. While very few of the national parties have manifestos, even fewer have well-defined politico-economic policies to relieve voters of the ongoing economic strife.


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Over the last two years the number of entrant banks has proliferated, almost equaling the amount of working banks. Nonetheless, a new directive issued by the caretaker National Bank of Ethiopia has shut the door on the further entrance of new banks, whilst also raising the bar on smaller banks and the close to 20 already in the pipeline.
Banks are now expected to raise their minimum paid-up capital to ETB5 billion within five years from the existing ETB500 million mandated in 2011. Although central bank authorities stress the intention is to discourage unbalanced proliferation and nurture few competitive banks, industry leaders and experts claim that this move is the interest of the leading banks. Up to six existing private banks are forecasted to consider merging, while a substantial number of under-formation banks will either abort their efforts or join hands. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale investigates the implications of the new move. 



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