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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.


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Gizeshwork Tessema

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Gizeshwork grew up dealing with her own version of ‘the woman’s challenge’. Yet, she identifies them not as such but rather as experiences that may bring forth opportunities.

Gizeshwork founded Gize PLC—a logistics company, about 25 years ago—and is also a contributor to the World Bank’s Doing Business Index as well as member of the United Nations Global Compact—a community of 8,000 CEOs from all over the world that convenes once a year to chart innovative ways for entrepreneurship for a better world.

She is a familiar face in the business scene as well as spearhead of the fundraising committee for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), for which she has taken a keen interest in as it is a project of pride for her and the nation.

Entrepreneurial and making business from solving problems from her start, she is of the firm belief that one should not stay put with accomplishments but rather always push for more success. From a stationary to a travel company and from construction inputs to freight and logistics services, Gizeshwork has made her living and name in Ethiopia’s business sphere as a strong woman that overcomes her problems by providing solutions to her customers and clients—and gaining financially from it. She gave an audience to EBR’s Addisu Deresse on her experiences as a woman, an entrepreneur, and one that assumes roles in global institutions.


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Joost Heij is Country Manager of Tradin Organic, a global supplier of organic ingredients with 13 global offices. Subsidiaries under the company’s Ethiopian operations include Selet Hulling PLC and Sunvado Manufacturing PLC. Joost has more than 25 years of working experience in finance, trade, and management, including 13 years as an entrepreneur.

Globally experienced in Africa, the former Soviet Union, and Asia, he worked at Peja International BV and Africa Juice BV before becoming General Manager of the decades-old Upper Awash Agro-Industry Enterprise. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Groningen and a master’s in international banking and management from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.

Currently, Joost heads Sunvado Organic Avocado Oil, a processor and exporter of premium cooking oil with operations 300 km from Addis Ababa in Yirgalem. Joost talked to EBR’s Addisu Deresse on agricultural exports and the challenges of the sector in general.

 


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If two words could summarize typical challenges of the Ethiopian economic landscape, forex shortage would do it. And if two words could encapsulate expert recommendations to alleviate the long-time challenge—export diversification suffices. Ethiopia is gifted with abundant natural resources of adequate landmass with fertile topsoil and mineral-rich crust.

It is Africa’s water tower and has the continents largest livestock population. Its favorable climate and young population are also assets. Yet, most of its resources are not properly identified, well-managed, and well-exploited in a way that can resolve its forex crunch which has defined its economy for decades. It is with this challenging past and conditions that the last few years have seen revitalized efforts to shake up the sector and add more items to the exportable list, write Selome Getachew and Bamlak Fekadu.


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Women have always shouldered social and economic burdens facing their families. Even though there are encouraging signs of more and more of them going to work and earning for themselves, the challenge of raising children is always present in slowing down any progress made, to the point of pushing women out of economic activities. In recent years in Ethiopia, women seem to have found a way of earning by traveling to Dubai and other places.

This line of business has been providing decent income for women and their kin, all the while contributing to their independence as these women plan, manage, and deliver through shuttle or travel commerce. A new tax directive seems to be existentialist, however. This and, to a lesser extent, the receding pandemic are challenging the ladies’ fight for economic self-sufficiency, writes Eden Teshome.




A few weeks ago, I facilitated a discussion for the members of a forum of women leaders in the public sector. Throughout the day, I helped these women of power explore the gender dimensions of their public roles as well as the ways in which they can foster strategic sisterhood as a means to strengthen the impact of their roles. As our conversation deepened, a few phrases came up repeatedly: strength, sacrifice, and service. I joked with the women that representation by such superwomen should transform Ethiopia in the very near future, but I worried at the narrative that expects so much from women leaders while almost expecting them to fail. One of the women called this the “‘yihew, eyiwat’ or ‘watch her fail’ syndrome.”



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