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
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.
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.
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 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.
The textiles sector has consistently been presented as one of Ethiopia’s great potentials, but has too often fallen far below expectations, reports DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. With the opening of the Hawassa Industrial Park – with a number of experienced international textile companies, alongside a handful of local companies – the next few years will reveal if lessons have been learned and progress made. Indeed, it is very much D-Day for a sector that has been a constant disappointment in recent years, with bold claims that this time it will be different. Lofty targets of one billion dollars in annual revenue from each of the new Industrial Parks illustrates clear optimism, while also applying further pressure on the brains behind the initiative.
Reports of a potential Cholera outbreak have been circling Ethiopia’s capital for weeks now. Although there is a will among government Ministries to avoid creating panic, the numbers do now seem to be on the rise. Special Cholera Treatment Centres (CTC) have been established in several areas identified as being vulnerable to the outbreak. Such centres provide specialist treatment and also limit contamination within the main areas of the health centres. With the rainy season still in full flow, there are some concerns that the number of cases could continue to grow, reports DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, who visited one of the CTCs to speak to the families of Cholera sufferers, and who himself had to undergo special chemical treatment to avoid contamination.
Over the past few years the number of companies involved in the bottled water industry has started to balloon. Although this initial growth period coincided with some well documented procedures for checking standards, such processes are not still being conducted intensely enough. This includes the prevalence of uncertified brands on the market, bringing with it concerns over public health, Dawit Endeshaw Fortune Staff Writer reports.
The right institutions have been established with the right mandates but low capacity seems to hinder integrated operations that could best serve the interests of the business competition and consumer health. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER explores the implications of recent soft drink hoaxes on social media and legitimate complaints inadequately treated for all concerned.
Addis Abeba’s constantly changing skyline gives testimony to the rapid growth of commercial buildings, in which rents rise constantly. What contributes to these rents, how businesses that operate in them are affected and the prices patrons shopping in these buildings pay, is what TESFA MOGESSIE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, explores in this piece.
It was not business as usual when Abdulaziz Mohammed, minister of Finance & Economic Cooperation made his maiden budget address at the hearing of the budget bill in Parliament last week. As DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER reports, he was not let off the hook by the Members of the House, who demanded action for accountability issues.
The land rights of urban citizens is a struggle fought in many cities around the world. With rapidly expanding populations and limited legalised land, informal settlements are more often than not the only option of the vast majority. Addis Abeba is no exception, and recent tactics have led to conflict and even fatalities, as the police and authorities battle squatters. In the midst of this despair, however, there is some hope, with many believing that soon their land will become legal. Differentiating between the ‘speculators’ and the ‘survivors’ is, however, crucial reports TESFA MOGESSIE and Nardos YosePh.
Agent Banking is meant to expand the reach of banks, bringing services to people wherever they are, with a focus on rural areas. This relatively new form of banking is getting mixed reviews, with hope for better returns. As NARDOS YOSEPH, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER finds out, some agents are less enthusiastic than their banks, others feel like a branch and users enjoy the convenience.
Tomatoes and onions are staples in the delicious stews that accompany injera other meals throughout the day both during fasting and non-fasting seasons. So when flood waters devasted tomato and onion farms in major production areas, the impact was hard felt both in short supply and consequent spike in price. TESFA MOGESSIE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, talks with farmers, middlemen and consumers to determine the scope and scale of the impact.
Traditional medicine has long been a part of Ethiopian culture, with many endorsing its benefits. Until now, however, there has been no official research or data to evidence the suitability of the substances used. Instead, personal testimonies have been used to register practitioners. Many experts working within modern medicine claim that traditional healers use dangerous plants, with a high risk of infection and even death now however, NARDOS YOSEPH, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER , finds out that steps are being tentatively taken to standardise the sector and officially register suitable medicines.
The collapse of a five-storey unfinished building in the Summit area of Bole district has caused many to question whether sufficient construction standards are being met. Though the contractor is nowhere to be seen, certain sources indicate that the construction process had serious flaws. With the construction industry having grown exponentially over the past few years, it is imperative that standards are cemented, according to many experts. Although various guidelines have been created, there is a lock of implementation capacity and issues of corner-cutting, which results in poor standards. Though this is the first such incidence in Addis Abeba, many fear that it will not be the last, reports SOLIANA ALEMAYEHU, TESFA Mogessie and DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS
In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the number of people wanting to order traditional Ethiopian Defo Dabo bread. This has resulted in an increase in homebased baking businesses across Addis Abeba. With no authorising body to assess standards, trust and word of mouth are key marketing tools, while official bakeries have also begun adopting the traditional cooking methods in line with demand. The holiday season sees a massive spike in demand for the bread, with many small-scale business struggling to cope with the added pressure on their intermittent power supplies, reports Nardos Yoseph, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER
The Age of Information & Communications Technology is impacting advertising globally but Ethiopia is yet to catch up. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER finds that the advertising business is still heavily reliant on print and traditional electronic media and though costly, is growing.
Investment is usually made with a view to achieving profitable returns. However, the high number of non-performing agricultural investment loans, has had the domino effect of a suspension in the disbursement of such loans. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER unearths multiple issues that suggest the need for improved monitoring and investigation of investment activity in this sector. Banks are insisting that projects must prove themselves effective to earn loan financing.
As life style is changing in most urban areas of Ethiopia, and there is less time to prepare staple foods from scratch at home. Ready-to-eat food items are becoming popular, and an emerging group of entrepreneurs is seeing an opportunity in the sector and putting money into it. But the journey they take is far from smooth. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, SOLIANA ALEMAYEHU explores the operations of the emerging businesses, the competitive sphere they work in and the challenges they face.
Living in the city of Addis Abeba means using the streets either as a driver or a pedestrian. This represents danger as numerous risks on the road can and do result in fatality, serious injury and property damage.
The beautiful ‘New Flower’ may have a stench. It comes from uncollected garbage which is being increasingly generated by Addis Abeba’s growing population. As MISAK WORKNEH, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER discovers, a new tariff is not helping either consumers or providers of solid waste disposal services.
Dump trucks are important in the construction industry and Sinotruk is a popular brand because of its price and other features. However, as DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, finds out, profits are declining and modifying the trucks has led to their taking first share in fatal accidents in the city.
The jury is still out on the impact of the recent unrest in Oromia Region. Zooming in on hospitality and tourism, SOLIANA ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER discovers that some hotels experienced damage to property as well as profits. However, the sector seems resilient, despite officially issued information discouraging travel in the affected region.
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