Transformative!


The undertaking of a number of large mega projects throughout Ethiopia has catalysed the emergence of prominent new towns. One such centre is Gilgel Beles in the Beneshangul Gumuz region. Here, what was little more than a jungle has been transformed into a busy business hub, influenced by its proximity to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, reports TESFALEM WALDYES, SPECIAL TO FORTUNE.


through the roof: Spike in Housing Rental Prices Leaves Residents in a Bind

The house rental demands in Addis Abeba have continued to grow exponentially, pushing many to the outskirts of the City. This has caused serious strain on many families, especially those looking to save for one of the government’s housing schemes. With the population of the City continuing to boom, the situation could become even more dire unless serious measures are taken, reports FASIKA TADESSE. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Sugarcoated!

The transformation of farming communities in Sodere is clear for all to see. An area that has long struggled to provide an environment even capable of subsistence farming has now become a green land of sugar-coated hope. There is, however, a flipside to the story, with some local farmers suggesting that they feel little sense of ownership over their land, nor the crops they grow upon it. There are also concerns from many that expensive inputs and infrastructure development will remove a huge chunk from their expected returns. With harvesting only every two years, some are riddled with anxiety that their efforts will be in vain and even land them in debt. There are, however, those who claim their lives have been transformed and project officials claim that community development, not profit making, is at the heart of the initiative, reports MIKIAS MERHATSIDK, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Mayoral Revelation

The six-month report, Mayor Diriba Kuma’s first since taking office, focused on water supply, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSEs), housing and land management. Some of Addis Abeba’s residents have certainly suffered as a result of shortfalls in water supply, with many others concerned that their concerted efforts to become homeowners are at risk of being futile. Progress in the development of MSEs has been observed, despite numerous complaints regarding the provision of loans and shades. Land management continues to require a complete overhaul, with progress being gradual, but predominantly positive, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE SATFF WRITER

Mayor Diriba Kuma presented a 13-page six-month performance report to the Addis Abeba City Council two weeks ago. The report covered major economic and social sectors, with reference to the city’s Strategic Plan Management (SPM). Water supply, housing development, SMEs and land management featured strongly in his report.


Dairy Distress: Fasting Period Slows Dairy Production

The fasting period of Lent, which lasts for almost two months, has had a major impact on the companies and individuals working in dairy production. Some have seen their production halved, whilst farmers cooperatives and individual sellers also suffer from a reduction in price. Ethiopia, despite having the largest livestock production in Africa, still has an incredibly low average milk consumption per capita, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


BEHIND THE FISHing LINES

Eating fish is not yet embedded within the Ethiopian culture, with only 0.3kg consumed per capita in 2012/13. This is far below even the African average of eight kilogram. The Lent fasting period does, however, see a huge increase in demand for a resource, which is plentiful throughout the country. As the popularity increases and the Ethiopian culture begins to embrace it more, government support may be required to optimise the productivity of the sector, reports YONAS MULATU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Export Paralysis: Major Commodities Lose Traction As Earnings Dwindle

The sustained downturn in the global price of coffee has been having a profound impact on Ethiopia’s revenues from its primary export sector. Exporters blame long supply chains, power cuts and limited land for the poor performance. Although the production of larger quantities are being targeted as a solution, there is also a need to focus away from traditional exports, reports BINYAM ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Manufacturing Malaise

Despite being a key component of Ethiopia’s Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP), the manufacturing sector is showing only a laboured growth. A number of issues have been blamed for the slow progress, including the poor supply and quality of raw materials and the tax laws. The latter has made it difficult for local companies to compete with imports, reports BINYAM ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Redevelopment, For Whom?

There are multiple redevelopment projects taking place across Ethiopia’s burgeoning capital city, Addis Abeba. Despite illustrating progress, such projects also come at the cost of home demolitions and the displacement of numerous individuals. Many of these people are forced to live in sub-standard conditions, as they wait for promises of new homes to materialise. As with much of the development being seen throughout the nation, this leads us to question just who the redevelopments are for, reports YONAS MULATU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Orange shrivel

The shortage of oranges in Addis Abeba has been becoming increasingly evident over the past few months. Now, it is almost impossible to find the fruit. Various reasons, including pests, a lack of technology and prices, have been blamed for the shortage, with many suggesting that appropriate techniques are not used often enough in the sector. The current scarcity is predicted by some to last up until April, reports HIWOT SEYOUM, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Investors Told You Snooze, You Lose

Attracting investment into a variety of sectors is crucial to catalysing Ethiopia’s growth ambitions. Such a drive is being stalled, however, by various issues, which has led to the revocation of a large number of licences. There is a belief, however, that such a move will open up investment opportunities to others, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Agri-Gauge:Grain prices cropped

As is common at this time of year, during the Meher harvest season, the price of numerous crops has been reduced across the country. This has provided respite to many who have been struggling with escalating food prices. Although the news of the increased production of cereal has been celebrated in government offices, the amount of arable land in use is still static, leading some to question the figures, reports BINYAM ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STFF WRITER.


Faltering Flower Fortunes

The flower sector in Ethiopia has grown at lightning pace over the past 10 years. In 2007, it was reported that it had taken Ethiopia five years to achieve what Kenya did in three decades, becoming the second largest exporter in Africa next to its southern neighbour. There are, however, several issues, which are hurting what is an incredibly important part of Ethiopia’s burgeoning economy, reports KALEAB MINDA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER


Favourable Fees for Festive Foods

It is not unusual for food prices to increase during holiday seasons. This is especially true for items like chicken, ox and onions vital for festive dishes. This Christmas, however, looks to favour the consumer, as prices are far lower than they were for the Ethiopian New Year , in September. People are still advised to get their shopping out of the way early, however, in order to avoid a last minute price increase, reports GETACHEW MENGISTE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Government, Private Sector Make Positive Steps at Forum

Previous meetings have witnessed anxious toing-and-froing with no real progression. The meeting held between the government and private sector on Thurday, December 26, was, however, conducted with an air of tranquility. There is now real hope that the forums could begin to catalyse real progress in the process of conducting business in the country, reports BEWKET ABEBE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Quorum Qualms Mare Chamber Assembly

The debate over the quorum size has dragged on for a while now and had been discussed at length before the meeting. There was also a lot of controversy regarding the criteria to be considered for the presidency. Although a decision was made, it came against the backdrop of multiple grumblings, reports BEWKET ABEBE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Miscommunication:Telecoms Expansion Targets Quantity Not Quality

The Ethiopian telecoms monopoly, ethio telecoms, has increasingly become the bane of the lives of so many of the country’s residents. Not only that, but poor speeds and unreliability service present obstacles to anyone trying to conduct business in the country. The government is ploughing large sums of money into the sector, but the target seems to be increasing quantity as opposed to improving quality, reports BEWKET ABEBE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


FACES OF Negotiation

Ethiopia is about to enter into the most crucial phase of trade talks, having reached the stage of submission for its offers in services, which its negotiators declared had been…


Machinery Falls Idle as Road Construction Slows

The road construction sector saw windfalls for engineers, operators and machine renters, when the Universal Rural Roads Access Programme was launched in 2011. Indeed, a total of 417,000 individuals were employed in the sector. Due to issues with the operation of the programme, however, many are now struggling and numerous machines have fallen idle, reports BEWKET ABEBE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Textiles FDI Booming But not Without a Challenge

With many graduates spending months if not years trawling around town in search of job opportunities, the graduate employment offered by Turkish textile factories is most welcome. Bahir Dar University students are the current beneficiaries, with the only course specific to the sector in the country. There are, however, a number of obstacles for the industry to overcome before reaching anywhere near its full potential, reports BEWKET ABEBE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER


Business Bureaucracy Bind

The renewal of business licences always causes chaos, but this year is worse with the addition of numerous other sectors. With so many new processes in place for small businesses, many are worried that they won’t be able to survive, reports BEWKET ABEBE,FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


GLOOMY FATE FOR COFFEE

After the last fiscal year’s poor performance, last week’s Second International Ethiopian Coffee Conference came against the backdrop of low international prices and a wide range of concerns. With Coffee making up 19.5pc of the governments lofty 5.6 billion dollar export revenue target, many improvements are required if one of Ethiopia’s proudest sectors is to thrive, reports BINYAM ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Short-Term Travel Ban, Short-Sighted

The sudden move by the government to ban overseas travel for those looking to work in unskilled positions, has been met by much frustration. Many argue that it is an unconstitutional move and will increase illegal trafficking – the reverse of what they hope to achieve. It has also left many legal overseas employment agencies concerned about their future, report YOSEPH MEKONNEN, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Over 800m Br in Gov’t Revenue Lost by Corruption Defendants: Commission Claims

After a six month long investigation process, the Federal Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission was finally able to start prosecuting the top tax officials, prominent businessmen and freight forwarders it started detaining in May. A long list of charges were read out, but pretrial argument was adjourned until October 29, 2013, as the Commission did not submit evidentiary documents writes ELLENI ARAYA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Rail Construction Causes Chaos

Last year, the city was brought to a standstill by the construction ofBole Road(Africa Avenue), but the chaos caused by the Light Railway Project makes that seem like only a minor in convenience. Again it is businesses that suffer the most, with access to numerous buildings almost completely blocked. Although many business owners suggest that a phase by phase approach would be more sensible, the authorities favour a more rapid solution, reports ELLENI ARAYA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.




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