Urban Safety Net Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Though Addis Abeba is the capital of the country and the seat of major commercial operations, 30pc of the population is under the poverty line, slightly higher than the national average. To combat this, the government has joined with the World Bank to launch a programme that aims to alleviate poverty by engaging the poor in productive income generating activities, writes BERHANE HAILEMARIAM, FORTUNE STAFFWRITER.

Parallel Market Exchange Rate Weakens, Banks Celebrate

The black market for hard currencies operates outside the rules and regulations set by the authorities. While the official exchange rate for one dollar has been set at  27.5 Ethiopian Br, the black market rate had peaked at a historic rate of 36.6 Br. However, the last two weeks have seen a significant decline of 19.4 pc in the black market rates. Subsequently, a slight increase in remittances and forex supplies has been witnessed in the mainstream financial sector, writes BEHAILU AYELE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Entrepreneurship in Ethiopia at Crossroads

Entrepreneurship is taking the risk of doing something and also doing it in a different way than it has been done before.  In Ethiopia, it has been taken as one of the ways to create more jobs and reduce poverty. The government showed its commitment to entrepreneurs by budgeting 21 billion Br on its five-year strategic plan. Yet, many businesses got interrupted before reaching their intended goal, and the government has been criticised for its rigid business starting procedures, unintegrated institutions and for hesitant response to ever-growing entrepreneurship demands. To address such issues, experts and entrepreneurs call for policy and institutional reforms and for the enactment of national entrepreneurship policy, writes BEHAILU AYELE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Quality, Access in Education Diverge

In the past few years, Ethiopian children enjoyed the better accessibility of schools in three to four kilometres radius from their living areas, the ideal primary school coverage overreaching 100pc. This expansion, however, seems not to be serving the purpose in the creation of the future, rather end up being the hallmark of quality thirst. Experts argue that with little attention for basic skills, creative elements and paradoxical curricula, it will become harder to see fruits in days ahead, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Joblessness Gains Momentum as Construction Industry Decelerates

The shortage of forex can be felt more severely than before, and even though the construction sector is seasonal, it has been highly affected. As prices of construction inputs become more expensive or harder to find, daily labourers are feeling the effect as it has been harder for them to find jobs. An expert points to the unexplored iron-ore in the Oromia Regional State as a solution to alleviate the burden of importing the materials needed, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. 

Authority Gets Tough As Revenues Disappoint

The Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority failed 29 billion Br short of its target for tax collection which was 162.1 billion Br, in the first nine months of this fiscal year. Some feel as if the Authority is easing its frustration by putting the burden on taxpayers in orfer to have better performance, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRTIER.

Export Revenue Goes Cold, Disrupts Macroeconomy

Although the import bill has shown a decline last year, this year’s export revenue remains to disappointment with barely half of the target met. As macroeconomic problems continue, international financial institutions advice the government to consider making cuts to government expenditur. If the budgets are not modest a further devautation of the Birr is inevitable, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Railway Unnerves Freighters, Heartens Importers

After months of commercial operations, the Ethio-Djibouti Railways is seen as reducing freighters’ piece of the pie. Although it is not running at full capacity, it is seen as a game changer in the transportation sector of a landlocked nation, reports, YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Smaller Players on the Edge as Price of Condo Shops Escalate

With prices for shops at the bottom of condominiums is at an all-time high, the offers individuals make for them are becoming unattractive compared to banks and companies who offer three times more. The higher offers benefits brokers and real estate companies, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Chicken Fodder Shortage Sends Egg Price Soaring

Consumers in the capital are seeing the price of eggs climb from 3.50 Br to five Birr within the past few months. It happens that a steep increase in the price of fodder, a business dominated by a few within the nation, seems to make the market anticipate a sheer pace of price increase on eggs, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Inflation Misses the Mark, Hurts Consumers

A recent report released by the Central Statistics Agency (CSA) shows that inflation has subsided to 13.7pc in April from its second annual high of 15.2pc. But the decrease is not shown on the prices of items on the ground level, where consumers are seeing their monthly expenses at an incredibly high level, YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Customs Authority Stands on Necks of Insurers for Expired Guarantee Bond

Since the past two months, the insurance industry was on a crackdown. The situation was followed by the sudden move of Customs Authority which claims that it owes them close to one billion Birr for expired customs guarantee bonds. Law enforcement staffs of the Authority are seizing the bank accounts and confiscating the vehicles of insurance companies, giving a headache to the industry which is in its infancy, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Fashion Talent Incubators Amass in Addis

Amongst the fastest growing industries is that of the fashion industry, especially in Addis Abeba. Together with this trend, fashion talent incubators are multiplying in number to offer hopeful designers the basics of the field. The industry’s insiders, on the other hand, point out that just because there has been a change in quantity, quality still remains to be tackled, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Businesses Elevate as the Four-Year Ban Lifts

After parliament recently lifted a four-year ban that imposed on overseas employment, travel agencies and jobseekers are seizing this opportunity. With 41 new travel agencies and agreements for the rights of employees, more and more are looking at job opportunities in the Middle East. Reports BETHLEHEM BAHRAN, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Lower Salaries Put Industrialists in Muddle

For a country accommodating more than a hundred million peoples, providing job opportunity for the youth, which has significant share, was not easy. With implementing different strategies, the nation drew plans to offer a way of living for this workforce with transforming the economy into the industry from Agriculture. This effort hasn’t been without challenges as the industrialists were suffering to stand on their feet and employees fighting for their labour rights. On the other hand, the investors question the commitment of the employees at these parks as HAIMANOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Political Unrest, Inflation Colour Easter Market

Crowded open markets in the city have witnessed a diminished number of consumers, for the current Ethiopian Easter. After close to a two months long fasting season, the residents used to enjoy the festivity with high animal products which they were refrained to use. But the rise in the market led the residents to revise their trends, report HAIMANOT ASHENAFI & SOLOMON YIMER FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS.

Tariff Adjustment Delights Transporters, Distresses Passengers

The current price adjustment made by the Oromia Transport Authority raises the transportation cost up by to 20pc for passengers. This adjustment is not replicated by that of the authorities of other regions. While travellers are complaining, providers of transportation services are satisfied, reports HAIMANOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Heyday of the Local Steady Flower Market

It was back in the early 2000’s that the floriculture Industry was introduced to the Ethiopian land. Rolled by different kinds of promotion and subsidies the industry has become among the major forex sources. But before a few years the industry starts to suffer after the laps of the holidays. Most significantly the unrest pulled the step back. But the past few months carried good news for European market-based growers of the nation. Writes HAIMANOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Fuel Thirsty

A Facebook campaign, “fuel blockade”, which mainly targets Addis Abeba, was called for seven consecutive days starting last Tuesday, March 13, resulting in many drivers rushing to fuel stations across the city to be on the safe side. With fuel truck drivers feeling uncertain about the situation, protection was provided by security forces. The government declares that there is no fuel shortage in the country and it is fear that disturbs people, reports SOLOMON YIMER, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Ethiopia’s venture in jointly developing the Port of Berbera with DP World and Somaliland has raised eyebrows from its neighbours in the east and the south. Leaders, both in Djibouti and Somalia, have shown their displeasure, prompting Ethiopia’s senior diplomats to shuttle to Djibouti, reports Tamrat G. Giorgis, Fortune Staff Writer.

Forex Crunch Hits Medicine Supplies Hard

Though forex crunch has been the major challenge of the nation for the past couple of years, the shortage has become chronic starting last October, subsequent to the announcement of the 15pc Birr devaluation. This had a major effect on the nation’s pharmaceutical and medical equipment supplies. It has become very hard to get vital drugs such as Insulin, and drugs for hypertension in the market, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

State of Emergency Mutes Violence, Business

On the traditional departure time out of their houses, nightlifers were observed for the past few days and most turn to their residence. Since the declaration of the state of emergency, which follows the three days sit-in across the Oromia Regional State, has broken off the violence, however, at the same time sinks down the businesses of bars, caps and musicians reports HAIAMNOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Sesame Market Blossoms in Face of Global Demand

Today, the sesame market in Ethiopia, one of the major exporters of the seeds in the world, is blooming and the reasons are many. Farmers are celebrating better yields through enhanced inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers. Exporters are reaping the benefits of trading outside ECX’s floor and being exempted from credit ceilings set by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) after the devaluation of the Birr by 15pc in October 2017, writes BERHANE HAILEMARIAM, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Photography Profession Clicks with Camera Market Downturn

Even though the history of photography in Ethiopia is not clearly registered, Menelik II was the first in the country to have his picture taken by a Greek photographer. The photography business has been growing since then. Yet, people have still a blurred view of the business. A photographer is considered no more than a person who takes pictures. But there is much more to the profession, writes BERHANE HAILEMARIAM, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Directive Animates Informal Trade, Relegates Formal Market

Long queues, bags turned upside down in search of any taxable item, and other customs ordeals have become history at Bole International Airport. A new directive exempts items brought in for personal use from duties. But only a few rightly use this privilege. Loopholes in the Directive have given way to informal businesses shelving the formal electronics and clothing retailers, writes HAIMANOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


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