Following Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) advise to eat greens as a main dish, there seemed to be public opposition to not only the remarks but to the whole idea. Social media gigs continuously presented the idea as one that came from an administration that failed to sustain food supply to its population despite continued advocacy on public media towards urban farming.


In addition to being Africa’s biggest trading partner, China is building the future of the continent’s urban landscapes almost single-handedly. Between 2007 and 2020, China’s two main overseas development banks invested USD23 billion in infrastructure projects on the continent which is USD8 billion more than what the other top eight lenders combined, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, and US and European development banks, contributed.


Electric vehicles (EVs) are a fairly recent phenomenon around the world, and more so in Ethiopia. As much as the idea seems to be luxurious for African countries, recent developments show that they might not be far off. The automobiles’ environment- and cost-friendly operation seem to be fast-tracking their realization worldwide. Ethiopia is also a nation with some experience in electrifying public and freight transport. With the launch of assemblers and an ever-increasing interest of importers toward such automobiles, we are not far off from EVs becoming commonplace. Yet, even though Ethiopia might benefit by reducing foreign exchange outlays to import fuel, lubricants, and spare parts, the growing prospect of electrified cars could be puzzling in a country where half the population has no access to electricity, writes EBR’s Eden Teshome.


Anwar Soussa CEO, Safaricom Ethiopia

Anwar Soussa is a senior corporate executive who now serves as the founding CEO of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia, a subsidiary of the Nairobi-based telecommunications and financial multinational, Safaricom.

Ethiopia announced the opening of the telecom sector in 2018. This materialized with the establishment of the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) in the same year and subsequent licensing of the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE) in 2021, which has now become Safaricom Ethiopia. This ends the 128 years of monopoly in Africa’s second-most populous country.

The company he leads is a consortium of multinational operators in which Kenya’s Safaricom is the largest with a 55.7Pct share, followed by Japan’s century-old Sumitomo Corporation with 27.2Pct, the CDC Group—currently named British International Investment—owning 10.9Pct, and Vodacom—the South African telecom company—retaining a 6.2Pct stake. GPE paid a USD850 million licensing fee.

Anwar holds an MSc in Business Administration earned from Concordia University, in Montreal. He has spent a significant portion of his career in senior management positions of telecommunications firms on the African continent, alongside stints in Cyprus and Papua New Guinea. Hired as Managing Director of Vodacom DRC and Chairperson of Vodacash in 2017, he is credited with turning the unit into the largest Vodacom operation outside of South Africa—exceeding USD500 million in gross revenue for the first time in 2020.


Lack of essential medication is a common recurrence facing patients. Mortality and morbidity caused by shortages of direly needed drugs during surgery and other critical points of treatment have become features of the medical industry. The common reason for the prevailing situation facing drugs is mostly tied with forex shortages and lack of sufficient local supply. Even though there are reports of sabotage in the industry, there has not been a consolidated effort to replace imported drugs and avoid the drug-induced chaos in the health sector. Recently, however, there are signs that that might be slowly changing. With the government’s high attention to the pharmaceuticals industry, there are new entrants in the sector coming with massive investments. With growing demand and an ever-expanding market for sector players, Ethiopians can benefit from newly revitalized efforts to increase the manufacturing of drugs within the country, writes EBR’s Eden Teshome.


Daniel Waktole President, EPMSMA

Daniel Waktole is President of the Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies Manufacturers Association (EPMSMA). The PhD candidate in pharmacy is also author of Guide to Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Marketing in Ethiopia and co-author of the first international edition of the Book-master Guide for Medical Representatives. In 2020, Daniel founded Kilitich Estro Biotech PLC—a joint venture with an Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer. His academic background, coupled with his preeminent role in the sector—both as a Businessman and President of his sector’s trade association—affords him quite an insight into the sphere. With the firm belief in the potential to make Ethiopia the hub of Africa’s pharmaceutical and medical supplies manufacturing, Daniel shares his outlook on the challenges, prospects, and overall investment climate in his line of business in this interview with EBR’s Addisu Deresse.


One of the success stories in the Ethiopian education sector is increased reachability over the past fifteen years. At one point, the Ministry of Education declared access to education has reached more than 99Pct. As much as public schools have played a significant role here, private investment in education has also played an indispensable role. Missing in the story, of course, is the quality of education—a point of discussion in most high-level dialogues concerning the nation’s social, economic, and political path. As a fairly recent phenomenon, online businesses have joined the sector in an attempt to offer increased access and quality. Even though their impact, both as a business model and educationalist, is yet to be tested, these new academic business models are believed to offer something unique and untried, writes EBR’s Eden Teshome.


The idea of digital currency has been in the making for long. Still, challenges are ever-present in realizing the idea no matter how powerful the digital world has grown throughout the years, especially post-Covid. Recently, however, digital currencies are slowly taking shape to allow transactions across borders and the decentralizing of trading—abolishing the role of middlemen as well as regulations from financial institutions and governments. In similar fashion to the trade of hard currencies in financial markets, digital currencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Tether (USDT), among others, are being traded on online digital currency markets for the end purpose of buying and selling goods and services in the physical world. Ethiopians—though late to the party and with insignificant investment levels and transaction volumes—seem to be slow-walking into this new digital reality. Some are now investing directly in currency trades while many others are mining digital currencies for extra revenue. EBR’s Addisu Deresse overviews and clarifies digital coinage is its transformative power.


Ethiopians have used their lifestyle itself to stay fit: they walk in abundance to and from schools and markets; they spend hours running up the hills and down to the rivers while attending to their livestock on the pastures. That lifestyle seems to be changing in recent decades and years. Now, urban settings are hosting modern gyms which house people exercising with the goal of being fit. These scenes in gyms also bring strong women of various backgrounds. From the fit looking to get fitter and the overweight looking to trim some fat, gyms entertain various individuals with divergent mental and physical stances. Abiy Wendifraw shares an uplifting story of one of these strong women whose life has been changed by just going to the gym.


Eating meat and drinking arekie—one of the hardest local alcohols in Ethiopia—as a means of speeding up digestion, has been tradition for ages. In some parts of the country—like the highlands of Shoa—areqie is also used as a means of survival against the cold weather. Even though this local alcohol has been around for long, its growing consumption among young boys in urban settings that were supposed to be part of the workforce is a rather grim image. Apart from stealing their courage to fight the hardships of life, the new trend of increasing alcoholic beverage consumption in the capital is also causing early health challenges, writes Henok Engida.

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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