Ethiopian Business Review

The beer market is at a turning point. Its value has grown significantly to reach USD620 million during a time when consumption grew by 16Pct annually. Recently, sustained success and the changing demographics of brewery ownership have led to acquisitions and big transactions involving billions of birr in investments. BGI’s recent announcement of a record ETB4.5 billion deal to takeover Raya, the fastest growing brand in the northern parts of the country is just the latest indicator of intensified acquisition activity in the brewery industry. EBR’s Samson Berhane talked to executives, experts, officials and industry insiders, in order to shed some light on the matter.

Since October 2017, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) made a series of monetary policy adjustments such as devaluating the local currency, increasing the interest rate, and introducing a credit ceiling on commercial banks in an attempt to sustain the economic growth achieved in the last decade. However, the policy alterations have had mixed outcomes. Investors, especially those engaged in the service sector, complain about the lack of available credit, which they say worsened after the NBE made the policy changes. On the other hand, the banking industry continues to perform better despite challenges. EBR’s Samson Berhane investigates the different impacts of the monetary policy implemented in recent months.

Kebour Ghenna Desta is a household name in the Ethiopian business community. He served as President of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce for four years, from 1997 to 2001; and also as President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. Not only that, Kebour is a multidisciplinary professional known for his active role in media leadership, having established the oldest English business newspaper,  Capital, in 1998. He also founded and still serves as the Executive Director of Initiative Africa (IA), a non-governmental organisation known in recent years for organising the Addis International Film Festival (AIFF), Ethiopia’s annual week-long event showcasing documentary films from around the world. 

A regular guest speaker at high profile continental and national business and social gatherings, Kebour is known for popularising the tag word loosely translated as ‘it is possible’, which later became a key note identifier of Haile Gebreselassie, Ethiopia’s most famed athlete-turned-business mogul.

Kebour is also Executive Director of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), a non-profit apex organization of national chambers. The continental body, currently based in Addis Ababa, was established in 2009 to promote public policies that foster continental economic integration, competitiveness, and sustainable growth. 

He has had a front-row seat to the developments and challenges of the private sector for over two decades, and regularly reflects about the sector and overall development endeavours in the country on social and mainstream media platforms. EBR’s Amanyehun R. SiSAY met with the soft spoken and optimistic business leader to discuss the political turmoil that has been plaguing Ethiopia in recent years. The following is an excerpt:

Gross written premium in the insurance industry showed a significant rise in the first half of the current fiscal year. The aggregate premium written by all private insurance firms reached five billion birr during this period. The lion’s share of the premium, accounting for 90Ppct of the total, is collected from general insurance lines of businesses such as Motor Insurance. The remaining comes from life insurance.

Page 2 of 2