Liberalization might increase prospects for foreign investment—it nurtures competition and improves efficiency. When trade and investment obstacles are lifted, businesses must engage in a more intense competitive field for market share. Resultantly, consumers will purchase goods and services of superior quality at lower prices. It can also inspire innovation and the improvement and efficiency of production methods of businesses. The ensuing cost savings may then be passed on to customers in the form of lower prices or better quality. A more prosperous firm then leads to increased tax revenue for governments.

Every year, the African Business Top 250 Companies charts the rise of innovative, strategic and resilient African businesses that straddle the continent, make huge profits and invest billions into Africa-wide strategies to seize future opportunities.

Telecommunications firm MTN Group soars from #13 to #4 on this year’s ranking after more than doubling its market capitalization to USD24.5 billion, up from USD11.1 billion in 2021.


Since the inception of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the concepts of economic union and integration have existed without realization due to various factors including the similarity of goods produced, subpar infrastructure, and dissimilar legal systems, to name a few. Relative to other regions, the continent is primarily reserved to small-scale trading. Ethiopia, like many other African nations, enjoys such cross-border trade along its borders with neighboring nations. For many years, such trade has been treated as illegal, and the traders were nothing but contrabandists. Despite the significance of these trade points and the signing of framework agreements among neighboring countries, the severe lack of infrastructure and skills necessary to oversee the trade process has prevented countries from reaping the benefits of developed cross-border trade. Even though there are few improvements on the Ethiopian side in terms of setting up free trade zones and other infrastructure, ongoing security and natural challenges prevent this landlocked country from realizing the full potential of cross-border trade, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


Yonas Admasu
Founder & CEO, Lovegrass Ethiopia

Yonas Admasu was born in 1968 into a rural farming family in northern Ethiopia. He graduated with a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Greenwich in London in 1996, after which he began his first job as an engineer—working on mobile technology at Chase Electronics. Thereafter, he continued his studies and received his master’s degree with distinction in Business and Information Technology in 2001.

As Yonas had always wanted to work in the banking and finance sector, he pursued further trainings in financial risk management and quantitative finance—becoming certified as a Financial Risk Manager (FRM) from the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) in 2004. This paved his career towards working as a Support Analyst at the interest rate derivatives desk of the global banking giant BNP Paribas. He then proceeded to join the world-renowned investment banks JP Morgan and Credit Suisse, ascending to Vice President (VP) of the emerging markets division of the latter in 2013.

After having built a career that many would envy, Yonas decided to return home to start a health-food processing facility in 2015. Although this had always been a dream, his decision was triggered by an encounter that he had with teff products at a supermarket in Britain which were clearly not of Ethiopian origin.


Startups are heralded for their numerous economic benefits. However, starting a business in Ethiopia—whether small, medium, or big—has always been a nightmare for entrepreneurs and investors. This has been well-evidenced throughout the years in ease of doing business rankings. One sticky point in getting a business off the ground has been the lack of financing. Startups are a driving force in the business community, responsible for the creation of new jobs, development of innovative products and services, and expansion of overall productive economic opportunities. There are now few pieces of evidence which support the view that the current administration has a decent understanding of the role of startups. Through the governmental push and other endeavors, the culture of financing startups is slowly rising. Still, the country could further benefit from better capacitated venture capital and angel investors, writes EBR’s Bamlak Fekadu.


Markos Lemma is co-Founder & CEO of iceaddis, one of the early innovation hubs and tech startup incubators established in 2011 in Addis Ababa. He is also Founder of SelamCompany—an education technology venture working on primary education and literacy.
Through the years, Markos has focused on establishing the technology ecosystem and providing business consulting specific to information communications technology (ICT). His businesses support social innovations and startup initiatives of the young. He is doing these impactful works while also working as a program coordinator for a global study on literacy in Ethiopia.

Markos is also an advocate and advisor on entrepreneurship and innovation policy while being a member of the advisory board for the Global Innovation Gathering (GIG). He runs a variety of classes, vibrant tech scenes, and several tech events in East Africa. In this interview with EBR’s Addisu Deresse, Markos discusses the emerging landscape of startups in Ethiopia, looking at the challenges and opportunities ahead.


Ethiopia has historically produced some of the best-reviewed single-origin premium coffee beans and boasts the status as the birthplace of coffee. Ethiopian coffees are well renowned for their complexity—strong, wine-like flavor and a very wild acidity. The cash crop remains the nation’s major export item covering over 30Pct of the country’s total export earnings. Various administrations have attempted to fully tap into the country’s full potential for coffee and other agricultural products. The launching of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) was one such attempt, seeking to secure a larger and fairer share for Ethiopian farmers. Recently, coffee exporters, particularly from the State of Oromia, have walked away from ECX to join the vertical scheme where farmers can export or sell directly to exporters or suppliers. With authorities crediting this move for burgeoning exports, there are more complexities at play, writes Selome Getachew.


As a result of ongoing inflation, more Addis Ababans seem to be resorting to second-hand stores, which are increasingly crowded with individuals who otherwise may not have thought to visit. Secondhand shopping takes up the customers’ time even if it could appear like a decent escape from the inflation-stricken pricey new garments, since many Thrift. Second hand products market is a huge industry globally generating income for millions and millions in taxes for governments. Faced with brutal inflation, Ethiopians are proud no more to visit second hand shops and to visit them more often. In this article, EBR’s Eden Teshome gives regional and global perspective on the growing second hand market particularly in the capital.


As Ethiopia is being rocked by high inflation, the economic nightmare has affected people’s lives in many ways. As such, unaffordable goods and services in the capital are causing a change in lifestyles. A couple years back, buying food from street stands that serve food was frowned upon and was more frequented by daily laborers who work at construction sites or others working on streets—from shoe shiners to fruit vendors. The continuing rise in food prices, however, is driving even those with relatively better earnings to consider street food as an affordable alternative, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.


The increased prevalence of single music tracks has diminished the prevalence of full music albums. However, those Ethiopian artists dedicating themselves to release the longer works are making significant impact. One tradition that seems to be on the rise along with the release of these music albums are the events that accompany them. It has now become common for artists to announce the release of their albums at lavish events. The latest addition to musicians employing expensive release events is Rophan—the young artist that has rocked the nation with his latest album called SIDIST. In this article, EBR’s Trualem Asmare tells the story of these album release events and their implication.

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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