Thriving, Striving


Ethiopia’s microfinance institutions play a key role in accessing the nation’s ‘unbankable’ population. By making the provision of loans available to more people, they open up opportunities that would otherwise be closed off to the vast majority – in particular by enabling groups to share the burden of debt. As several MFIs consider transitioning into banks, this ‘missing middle’ must not be forgotten. Fortune Staff Writers DAWIT ENDESHAW & MENNA ASRAT report


Businesses Scrambling to Overcome Mobile Internet Shutdown

Internet is big business in Addis Abeba, but with mobile data networks down and social media sites inaccessible, internet provider businesses are starting to feel the pressure to keep their customers. But they’re not the only ones being hit by the loss of internet connectivity. Ethio Telecom is also losing one of its biggest revenue generators, so it too is having to look at alternate ways to make up the gap reports MENNA ASRAT, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Flower Market Less Rosy in the Face of Unrests

The last year, until the declaration of the state of emergency by the Prime Minister two weeks ago, no less than 20 farms were ransacked, vandalized and burned, particularly in Oromia and Amhara regions, repoprts MENNA ASRAT, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Price Fluctuations Create Market Uncertainty

Businesses and customers alike have reported price instability in wake of the political unrest in parts of the country; a dawn of hope could be on the horizon, however, for the first time since the New Year, report Samson Berhane and Hawaz Merawi. The issue has largely been driven by the difficulty in transporting goods to the capital from crop producing areas, as a direct result of the protests – road blocks, in particular. The market does, however, appear to be taking a positive turn since the announcement of a state of emergency in the country, according to a number of actors in the sector.


Inside the Booming Fashion Industry

The second Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week (ASFW), held at Millennium Hall, is another big opportunity for Ethiopia to welcome a diverse group of industry actors from around the world. Despite a certain degree of growth in the sector over the past decade, there are still sizeable obstacles in enabling Ethiopian designers to access, let alone compete, in the international market. One of the major hurdles the sector must overcome in order to catalyse growth is the lack of integration between the designers and garment factories, with the ultimate aim of mass producing products. On the local level, however, enhanced job creation in the sector is a huge positive. Samson Berhane, Fortune Staff Writer, was part of the fashion week and reports.


Price Decline Bleeds Leather Industry Dry

The recent holiday season has exacerbated issues being felt by the sellers of raw skins and hides in Addis Abeba, according to SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. With the increased supply, and long term depleted demand, many are having to store their products for extensive periods of time in small warehouses. This leads to the concern that many will simply have to be binned. The reason for the depleted demand stems from the global market, where prices have been consistently decreasing alongside demand. This impacts actors throughout the entire supply line – from the buyers of raw hides to the exporters of finished products.


Gov’t Monologue Tasteless for Scholars

Various meetings held in the country’s higher education institutions have largely been characterised by attendees as useless and yet another reminder that the government is only giving lip service to what should be a two way dialogue in light of recent unrest, writes DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. Many were left angered by an agenda that completely ignored the nation’s most pressing issues, with boos, jeers and walk-outs a common theme.


New School year challenges Parent’s Pockets

With the closeness of the Ethiopian New Year’s celebrations and the start of the new school year, parents face a challenging time financially at this time of year. As is the common trend, this year also sees an increase in the cost of basic school necessities, such as uniforms and lunch boxes. To combat this to a certain extent, the Bureau established a dedicated Quality RegulatoryAgency last year, which is tasked, among other things, with making the price of textbooks transparent, limiting school fee increments and ensuring high standards, reports DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


New Year’s Cattle Shortage Threatens Festive Feast

The widespread unrest the nation is currently experiencing in both the Amhara and Oromia regions is threatening the festive feasts of many. Both the purchase and transportation of cattle have been impacted, reports DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. The fear, alongside the shortage of supply, is driving up prices, with many now having to do without.


Buckle Up: Local Car Assemblers Gear Up Towards Emerging Market

The automobile market in Ethiopia has for a long time been dominated by used imported cars. Although this is still the case today, local companies entering the car assembly industry are starting to catalyse a shift in the market. With a low motorisation rate of just six cars per 1,000 inhabitants, there is still huge scope for growth in the industry. With more companies seeking to assemble vehicles with 100pc local parts, the provision of spare parts and warranties on brand new cars may well prove increasingly appealing to many.


Land of Concerns

The Ethiopian tourism industry is at a crossroads. The record revenue experienced in the last fiscal year, which saw it outperform neighbours, Kenya and Tanzania, for the first time, and the launching of a new brand identity, have unfortunately coincided with concerns brought about by sporadic unrest, reports Dawit Endeshaw, Fortune Staff Writer. The issuance of travel warnings to the citizens of several countries, as well as international news coverage of both the protests and current drought, mean that the relevant bodies have their work cut out if they are to maintain the sector’s impressive momentum. “Land of Origins” may be the new slogan for Ethiopian tourism, but “Land of Concerns” could well be closer to the current reality.


Humanitarian Situation Critical Despite Improvements

There are numerous narratives floating around regarding Ethiopia’s current social, political and economic situation. Though, of course, these vary in their optimism, or contrasting pessimism, one clear message is that Ethiopia has tiptoed away from its past image of drought, famine and despair. Though the El Niño has impacted a large number of people across the country, the response, and indeed preparation, has meant that the kind of biblical famine the country experienced in the past will not rear its ugly head again. This is not to say, however, that the current situation is not troubling. National and global efforts must be sustained and forthcoming. Samrawit Tassew, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER explores the past one year journey through prisim of socio-economic frame of the country


The Spinning Supply, Worsening Transport

Escalating price, poor access to services, lack of smooth traffic flow and high rate of accidents are among the issues being faced by the city’s transport sector, which has been involved in huge improvement efforts over recent years. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER explores that there are still large supply gaps and, with the city’s population continuing to grow rapidly, these will only widen unless appropriate action is taken.


As Ethiopia Completes Generation Change, Rio Poses More Questions than Answers

Ethiopia has built a stellar reputation for producing long distance running superstars over the past fifteen years thanks to the multiple medal winning efforts of Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, and Meseret Defar. But, as the country bids farewell to all but one of the golden trio and welcomes a new generation of stars at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Elshadai Negash, Special to Fortune sees the possibility of the country grapplling with new realities as it seeks to continue its dominance in the sport.


Calm on the Surface, Bubbling Tension Underneath

Tension in Gondar city, which began as a clash following a joint operation by the federal police and the anti-terrorism task force against the alleged outlawed local group, Wolqayt Committee, bubbled over in to wider protests, resulting in loss of life, property damage and looting, reports DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. Now, as the dust slowly settles, local businesses are still very much feeling the pinch in the absence of insurance payouts and with a drastic reduction in customer numbers. Indeed, many believe that their business activities are no longer viable in the area. A total lack of communication between the anti-terrorism unit, and federal and local police, enhanced the impact of the initial action. For now, though things remain calm on the surface, there is still ample tension, fear and concern bubbling below the surface.


Land Lease Prices Continue to Balloon in Addis

Land lease prices in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Abeba, continue to get higher and higher over time. This is to be expected, according to many experts, due to the rapid growth of the city’s population and the resulting supply-demand imbalances. The prices vary from place to place, with a number of influencing factors – from land use purpose to the availability of infrastructure. Out of all the influencing elements, however, it is location that continues to play the biggest role, according to DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. Some suggest that making more land available for lease will be a suitable tactic for controlling the price escalation.


Editorial

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Agenda

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Fineline

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Commentary

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View From Arada

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