CONNECTIVITY AT A CROSSROADS


The Universal Rural Roads Access Programme (URRAP), under Ethiopia’s Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP), is lagging far behind targets in many regions across the country. Indeed, the Somali and Afar regions are yet to begin implementing the project, with just one year of the programme remaining. The objectives of the URRAP were to benefit all kebeles with standard and affordable all-weather roads, providing year round access. It was hoped that this would improve the market integration of rural communities and enhance opportunity in the provision of social services, as well as providing local job opportunities. The implementation of the programme has, however, stumbled, with the initial labour-intensive approach proving inefficient and unsustainable reports ABDI TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


GOVERNING WITH REFLECTION

A forum was held in order discuss how to improve the delivery of service to the public and reflect on the work of government institutions. Despite being assured government projects would bring better days, an opposition MP was not convinced by the discussions reports, FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Employment Crunch

In the following years, Ethiopia will have its highest number of graduates ever leave universities around the country. However, there is a severe shortage of employment opportunities for these graduates to fill. As a result many are left with jobs like cobblestone paving, far from their field of study and dream job. Reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Employment Crunch

In the following years, Ethiopia will have its highest number of graduates ever leave universities around the country. However, there is a severe shortage of employment opportunities for these graduates to fill. As a result many are left with jobs like cobblestone paving, far from their field of study and dream job. Reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


The Power Conundrum

The age and capacity of current transformers and substations are being blamed for the unreliable supply of electricity in the country. On top of the annoyance they cause to countless households, power cuts also have a huge impact on business. Costs that come from breaks in production, damage to machinery and the requirement to pay employees overtime is hugely cutting into profits. With two major dam projects currently under construction, such businesses live in hope that one day soon the situation will improve, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Available, But Non-Drivable

The growing economy of Ethiopia has been complemented with a ripening car sales business. But, as in any other sector in Ethiopia, selling cars is also full of challenges. One latest challenge related to temporary plates, however, is slowing putting the brakes on what was once a hopeful sector. The understanding about the rationale and benefit of the new approach of providing temporary plates vary between authorities and importers, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Receptive yet unyielding

The administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is to review a policy of the central bank, which domestic investors in the manufacturing sector argue discriminate them against their foreign counterparts…


TO BAN OR NOT TO BAN

Khat, the stimulant leaf, has become a premier export commodity for Ethiopian with annual earnings exceeding 250 million dollars. Close to two million farming households establish their livelihood on the crop. Although the crop has such an important economic benefit, the government has no policy to support its production. The latest ban by foreign governments, considering the crop as a drug, is worsening the case for exporters, traders and farmers relying on the crop, reports ABDI TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Face the Business

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn faced a barrage of considered questioning at the public private consultative forum, held at Millennium Hall on Africa Avenue, last week. Despite a confident and somewhat proficient display, during which he took on all questions himself, many in the private sector still felt he was dismissive if not deluded over many of their concerns. The issue of accessing finance was revealed as the second most prominent problem facing businesspeople, according to a survey commissioned by the Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Association (ECCSA), with some heard mockingly calling the national bank the Development Bank of Turkey. Yet, the considered and well researched approach of Solomon Afeworq, chairman of the national chamber, illustrated progress in the representation of the private sector, during a positive response from Hailemariam, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Going Gets Tough

The ongoing road and rail construction in Addis Abeba is causing chaos, with the seasonal rains adding to the problem. Both people travelling by foot and vehicles are struggling to pass areas where rain has left huge puddles and construction causes severe obstacles. The Addis Abeba City Roads Authority (AACRA) is, however, optimistic, claiming that the majority of road construction projects are 80pc complete, reports FASIKA TADESSE FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


A Less Wining Nation

A new drink is highlighting the undersupply of locally produced wine in the country. ‘Ande be Ande’ is a mixture of wine, beer and Sprite, or some other soft drink, and is increasingly popular throughout the bars of Addis Abeba. Just four establishments are currently working in the sector in Ethiopia, and issues such as old machinery and unreliable energy supply are causing the production to fall far short of its potential, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Bold Budget

The budget for the coming fiscal year has been announced at a record level. This is despite falling short of the GTP’s proposed level. Optimism reigns, with a projected economic growth of 11.4pc – far higher than the 7.4pc level calculated by the IMF and the AfDB. Both parties agree, however, with the minimal inflationary risk. The high anticipated agricultural yields also contribute to the positive projections. The budget has now been passed onto Parliament for deliberation, and will be approved before July 7, 2014, reports ABDI TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Consultation Forum Addresses Business Sector Hurdles

The issue of poor access to finance was top of the agenda when the Ethiopian Public Private Consultation Forum (EPPCF) presented their study, last week. There were nine major challenges listed, along with recommendations as to how the sector could shift to improve performance. The governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), presidents of Banks, experts, manufacturers and representatives of the business sector were all present to discuss the proposals. Although all parties were able to agree on certain aspects of the study, there was room for disagreement in some areas also, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Two Wheeling in a Tidy Profit

Motorcycles are becoming increasingly common as a transportation method in Ethiopia, with the highest number in Addis Abeba and the south. They are useful both for gridlocked urban areas and hard to reach rural locations. This demand is ensuring that numerous two-wheeler entrepreneurs are able to pick up a pretty profit. All may change soon, however, with the authorities suggesting that they want to limit the increase of such vehicles on the roads in favour of other transport systems, such as the light railway, reports MIKIAS MERHATSIDK, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


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