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.

Irony of New Forex Law

As the government continues its efforts to squeeze the trade deficit, a new law limiting the forex available to importers is now in effect. Like all the other countermeasures post the devaluation, it has come as a blow to importers. Some claim it would only backfire and fuel the parallel market, while banks seem hopeful, writes SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Uncertainty Prevails Over Rebar Market

It took a day for the price of re-bar to show a spike by more than a third of its value following the devaluation of the Birr by 15pc against a basket of major currencies, coinciding with the rise of scrap metal. Allegations of hoarding by retailers were next to follow, where the Trade Practises & Consumer Protection Agency temporarily shut down 21 businesses. And given that imports of re-bar are complicated with the shortage of hard currency, the market is now suffering from a scarcity of rebar, reports SAMSON BERHANE & YIBELTAL GEBREGZIABHER, FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS.

The Economy at a crossroads

The economy has been expanding for over a decade. Real GDP grew by eight folds since 2008, reaching 827.6 billion Br in last fiscal year. Such an achievement though seems uncanny in an economy characterised by high unemployment rate, massive external debt, widening trade deficit and lack of access to finance, coupled with severe forex shortage. Exacerbating these are shortage of cash and double-digit inflation after devaluation. Nonetheless, analysts, World Bank and the IMF forecast a positive growth prospect, writes FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Christmas Shopping: Consumers’ Boon, Retailers’ Bane

As holidays approach, members of the family become eager handing out wish lists of presents and more importantly traditional Ethiopian delicacies they wish to be prepared by the homemaker. Granted holidays bring joy and happiness, but shopping during such festivals is never easy on the pockets. This year, to the surprise of many, the market was reasonably stable with only slight price increments, despite the high food inflation rate. For consumers it is indeed a reason to rejoice, but retailers have mixed feelings about it, writes SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Surviving Harsh Reality of Displacement

Ethiopia hosts the fifth largest refugee population in the world. For a developing country, recurrent droughts and conflicts put a massive economic strain. But more worrying is the internal displacement of people caused by inter-regional disputes; the nation’s capacity is bursting at the seams. What started as a dispute among few individuals took a turn for the worst forcing people to flee their hometown and seek refuge in camps. SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, delves into the lives of the internally displaced people.

Public Universities in the Grip of Turmoil

Ethiopia’s universities host over half a million students from different regions across the country. And when inter-regional conflicts, like the one along the Oromia and Somali borders, erupt, these universities are not spared from its effect. Of particular concern was the recent outbreak in Adama Science & Technology University where a row between students of different factions intensified and spread like wildfire to other universities in the country. The government’s failure to contain these riots has raised questions whether stability can sustain, writes SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Private Banks Rejoice, Uncertain Future Awaits

This past year, the banking industry has seen itself fettered in the vortex of obstacles from the forex crunch to the political unrests engulfing the country. The crisis, though, did not hold the banks back from breaking the shackles and coming out looking good. They have registered a record high growth rate in six years coupled with accelerated branch expansions. SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, gives an insight into the private banking sector which is gearing up for a fuzzy future with the government’s latest regulations.


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