Amir Aman, an accredited Associated Press video reporter, Thomas Engida, a freelancer journalist, and Tamirat Negera of Terara Network, are some of the names that one can mention to argue that Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) regime may not be so different from its predecessors when it comes to freedom of expression, after all. One can also add the names of 16 journalists and media personnel who have been imprisoned in a new wave of crack down in the capital Addis Ababa and State of Amhara, with some being subsequently released. Some reports claim that journalists like Temesgen Desalegn of Fitih Magazine might have been physically hurt in the hands of the police.

Africa is home to numerous tertiary institutions, particularly universities, a handful of which are even ranked among the best in the world. This shouldn’t come as a surprise on a continent of over 1 billion inhabitants. Also, the oldest university in the world is the University of al-Qarawinyyin, founded in 859 and located in Fez, Morocco.

Having the highest number of universities, unfortunately, does not signal quality and better educated citizens. Also, the fact that a country has the highest number of universities compared to others, does not necessary mean that all the universities in the country are quality universities.


One of those staples found in the majority of households, milk is of the utmost importance—culinary, nutritional, and economic—to vast swathes of Ethiopians. Of course, the nation is blessed with abundant cattle, toping African nations in its numbers. Not the case with productivity and marketing depth, however, as Ethiopia lags behind in both metrics. Milk of the cow and its many derivative products have not garnered enough attention from authorities, both past and present. Perhaps the upcoming proclamation on the matter will change how milk is produced, processed, and availed to markets. Key here is the issue of feed for the cattle that produce the white gold. With fodder prices escalating, productivity is declining—offering a window to adulterers. EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu takes a look at the sector that upholds the livelihoods of so many rural and semi-urban Ethiopians while providing nourishment to millions more.


Addis Alemayehou Chairman, Kazana Group

Born in Addis Ababa, Addis Alemayehou started education at St. Joseph School and would set off for Kenya at the early age of eight. After 10 years in the neighborly nation, the US and Canada became the destination for his tertiary education. Fourteen years later, Addis returned home in 2001 to assess starting a business. He has never looked back since nor has he ever considered living abroad again.

Addis’s first venture was Afro FM—the first English FM radio station in Ethiopia, now fully acquired by Walta Media and Communication Corporate, a state and party affiliated media operator. Thereafter, the marketing and advertising company 251 Communications was launched and is credited to have contributed to the currently flourishing advertisement industry while serving large clients like Emirates Airlines, VISA, Coca-Cola, Heineken, and the World Bank.

Addis recently founded Kazana Group as a holding company that would also invest in startups. A Founding Member of Kana TV, a Board Member of Dangote Ethiopia, and a Senior Advisor to the Albright Stonebridge Group are other features of his curriculum vitae. He has also been highly engaged in helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) export their products to the United States under the American Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In this interview, Addis sat down with EBR’s Addisu Deresse to converse on family, entrepreneur matters, and much more in between.


For the last several decades, industrialization and use of petroleum-powered vehicles has created enormous demand for oil. Countries that produce the ‘black gold’ have lived influencing the global economy and political landscape. Energy has always been the driving factor in economic growth, and hence, global clout. Recently, however, the world has witnessed the growing use of electric vehicles (EVs), with their use projected to rocket in the following decades. As such, cobalt is expected to be the new oil. The mineral used to make EV batteries last longer could have the potential to replace oil in becoming an important factor in deciding energy-induced influence. China is already trying to grab and lead the future by controlling large cobalt-producing regions such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome investigates if Ethiopia is ready to take advantage of this growing global demand for cobalt.


It cannot get much worse for Ethiopians as has been the case over the last few years with numerous corners of the nation hit with conflict and drought as well as pandemic and locust infestation. Further, the cost of living has been hitting citizens hard, especially those in urban areas. With the mercilessly skyrocketing price of goods and services in the capital and other places, dwellers are being forced to live below the line of poverty. Record-hitting inflation figures have not been assuaged with a growth in salary scales as the last governmental remuneration revision took place in 2017. EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu queries if urbanites will ever achieve a decent life living alongside galloping inflation.


Private participation in investment and business activities in the Ethiopian economy has been struggling for decades. Various administrations have done little to nothing when it comes to developing the private sector towards development and alleviating poverty. From communism to state developmentalism to the current administration’s ideology—the private sector seems to be always stuck on the back burner. One recent move by the incumbent is the establishment of the Ethiopian Investment Holdings (EIH). Creating this arm into the Ethiopian economy, the government hopes to counter the sluggish development of private-sector participation in the economy at large. EBR’s Selome Getachew looks into the missions of EIH and expected challenges which it will face to achieve intended results.


The devaluation of the Birr, a ten-fold increase in the minimum capital requirement for banks, the freezing of accounts in the State of Tigray, alterations to forex retention rules, and transaction and cash-holding restrictions—the financial sector is undergoing an eventful few years. Developments in remittance applications and the adoption of a national digital payment strategy are also movements of significant influence in the sector. The management of the National Bank of Ethiopia is also tinkering around locally developed remittance applications—one of the significant sources of forex in the Ethiopian economy—is also experiencing rollercoaster moments. In this article, EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu looks into attempts to better utilize remittance potentials by overcoming challenges.


Not more than 10 oil suppliers were operational in Ethiopia a decade ago. Now that is just history with the number almost quadrupling to 42 in November 2021. Not only this, the ownership structure of these companies has also changed greatly. While oil suppliers established decades ago were largely foreign-owned or big corporates, they are now being replaced by those owned by Ethiopians. But making a profit and staying afloat has not been easy for the majority of them, largely due to the low profit margin set by the government and shortage of forex needed to import lubricants and bitumen, which are more profitable. EBR reprints an updated version of an article published in February 2020, EBR 82.


If anything, most people who have been closely watching Ethiopia’s import-dominated economy would agree on the flood of cars that have been passing through the nation’s dominantly-used Port of Djibouti. The import of automobiles has been continuously increasing throughout the last two decades despite the rise in the cost of living and other socio-political challenges. With the mass import of vehicles in the last several years, one also may notice how it has been following various trends of brands and models. In this article, EBR’s Trualem Asmare investigates what dictates the brands of cars seen on the streets of Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

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