Status Quo Maintained, Despite Discontent


The gloomy mood that had clouded the northern town of Meqelle following the 12th Congress of the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) had cast a dark shadow on the EPRDF Convention in captivating public’s attention, reports our staff writer, Mikiyas Tesfaye.


The Colourful Convention

The candour of delegates participating in the 10th EPRDF Congress in Mekelle is nothing sort of refreshing and significant, as it signals winds of change. To use the old adage Vox Populi, Vox Dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God), if the Front’s current and future leadership, as servants of the people take the criticism maturely they can immediately take the first steps towards realising the hotly discussed goal of good governance with improved outcomes for GTP II. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, MIKIYAS TESFAYE is among the journalists covering the Congress. His detailed report follows.


Permission to Build, a Complex Waiting Game

Explanations abound but no matter how plausible they are, delay and complexity in the process of obtaining construction permits cannot be explained away. While FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU hears the complaints of architects and the rebuttals of officials, one cannot but wonder at the frustration of construction project owners as they wait, and wait, for their projects to begin.


Cloud of Hope and Fear 

Great uncertainty surrounds rainfall and general weather conditions in certain parts of the country despite reports by various authorities that are meant to reassure the populace about the nation’s preparedness to respond to drought. Anxiety, giving rise to negative images of the past stems from hardship already being encountered by farming communities. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER travelled to some of the affected areas and spoke with people experiencing the impact of rain shortage, who have real cause for concern.


Everything but the Rains

In Ethiopia’s Agriculture-led economy, every single thing depends on rain. With predictions of drought being realised in some of the country’s important agricultural production areas, there are also instances where the information provided does not match experience on the ground. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW, met with farmers and agriculture in Dodotta, Arsi Zone, in Oromia Region, he received first hand information about how farming communities are affected with implications for the entire nation.


The Eagle’s View

Many an account of historic relations between Ethiopia and the USA surfaced last week to observe ties that were broken during the regime of the Derg but have been restored. Looking at how those ties will be strengthened and sustained into the future remains topical, though President Obama has left. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW trailed the visiting President last week and obtained various perspectives on the impact of his brief stay.


Great Trade Expectations Behind the US-Ethiopia Trade Relations

Ethiopia is abuzz with the pending historic visit of US President Barack Obama. This is easily understood in light of a relationship between both countries that is more than a century old. However, unsatisfactory trade relations and limited US investment prevail in spite of initiatives such as the African Growth Opportunity Act. This theme is explored by FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU as he engages private investors and development partners in the conversation about possible outcomes of President Obama’s visit.


Civil Society’s David in Quest for Goliath’s Tax Dollar

Civil society’s push for a UN global body to effectively address tax evasion, could not withstand the might of rich and powerful forces present at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. The latter opted for maintaining the status quo with regard to the role of the OECD in decision-making about global tax standards, while the former produced The Civil Society Declaration reiterating the need for global decision-making on taxes to be more inclusive. FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER, HIDAT ARKEBE, zooms in on this particular issue and shares the position of this seemingly still marginalised sector in a process that cannot be sustainable if not people-centred.


Ministry Allocates Budget for Ongoing Roads Only

While the Ministry of Transport is planning to construct new roads for GTP II, the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development has budgeted only for the completion of ongoing road projects. FORTUNE’s STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW takes the long budget road from parliament to stakeholders involved in providing road infrastructure in order to understand the challenges and the cost of correcting them.


Penalties for Poor Quality in Medical Training Colleges

The quality of Continuing and Higher Education is cause for concern and in terms of penalties and corrective action, those providing training in medical and dental health disciplines have come under close scrutiny, with some barred from admitting new students. FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW spoke with students, administrators and regulators to find out how inadequacies and breaches in the sector are being addressed.


Proposed Amendment to Social Security Scheme Highly Debatable

There are arguments for and against the proposed amendments to existing provision for the administration and payment of social security benefits with private sector employees bracibg themselves to bear the brunt. However, the inclusion of temporary contract workers in the public sector is positive. As FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU talks with various stakeholders he finds out that some of the proposals are not in keeping with the law.


Mass Transportation Mess : The Poor Traffic Management in Addis Abeba

Despite various initiatives taken by the agencies responsible for the provision and management of the public mass transportation system in the city, commuters are still not adequately serviced. FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU, discusses the challenges and solutions with experts, service providers and fellow commuters.


A Precarious Budget

Concern is being expressed about the budget for the new fiscal year expected to finance the first year of GTP II and the sustainable development goals. While it has been accepted by the Council of Ministers, it is yet to be discussed by the Budget & Finance Affairs Standing Committee. However, as macroeconomic experts point out to FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU, the deficit is not properly counted and there is real risk of increased inflation.


Lentil Scarcity Hits Consumer Pockets at 50 Br per Kilo

Lentils are an Ethiopian food staple prepared in a variety of delicious ways. Their scarcity on the market due to late and low rainfall and disease has driven up prices and affected consumption. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER gets at the heart of the lentil production and distribution cycle as he talks with farmers and traders of this highly valued food.


Voting Day Violations

Results of the count in the fifth national election have begun to be released but there is discontent in opposition camps where there are several accounts of mismanagement. Breaches ranged from campaign posters and armed persons in and near polling stations, to questionable treatment of ballot papers. Some of these were witnessed by FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITERS, BROOK ABDU AND DAWIT ENDESHAW, whose observer review follows.


The Campaign Is Over, Ethiopians Vote Today

An election campaign may have its challenges but there is due process to be followed. The NEBE has taken pains to ensure that all comply with the law in the exercise of the franchise to select political leadership for the next five years. While the critics and pundits have had their say, DAWIT ENDESHAW FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, bears witness that today it is the people who exercise their power.


NO RAIN, NO GRASS, NO MILK

Now that consumers want to enjoy their milk in the non-fasting season, they are faced with limited supply and higher prices. SNETSEHAY ASSEFA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER went in search of the milk and managed to purchase her half litre, while hearing recommendations from the market place.


International Schools, Illegal but Allowed

An investigation of international schools in Addis Abeba, unearthed a mixture of curricular provision including local and international content in the various categories of schools within the education system. However, as FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU, discovers, there is no law that authorises the operation of international schools.


THE FOREX QUANDARY

One of Addis Abeba’s black markets for hard currency is also one within reach of the several branches of both public and private banks. People walking by are approached by…


Massive Show of Grief, Outrage

On Wednesday, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW joined throngs of mourners in the massive demonstration called by the government to condemn the atrocious killing of Ethiopians in Libya by the ISIL. What he witnessed was a spilling over of sadness and anger that led to some arrests and left several people injured.


TEXTILE PUZZLE

Despite committing to export 80pc of their total production, local textile manufacturers do not seem to be making good on their promise. Instead, they are focusing on the local market. SNETSEHAY ASSEFA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, finds that the main reason stated is the incapability of contending in the international market.


MARKET BUZZ

The extended 55-day lent comes to an end for Ethiopian Christians with a very early breakfast of red chicken stew eaten at three o’clock in the morning, when people come…


Election Campaign Steaming Up

With less than two months to go before Ethiopians go to the polls, contesting political parties are stepping up their campaigns, using traditional as well as social media, though some are constrained by limited funds. As the spectre of a less than free and fair process raises its head with allegations of censorship and travel restrictions. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW tests the heat of the election campaign waters.


Ethiopian, Egyptian Leaders Flow Smoothly on the Nile

Following the recent signing of a Declaration of Principles governing the way forward, the recent visit of Egypt’s President el-Sisi to Ethiopia is a turning point in relations between the two countries and signals a wind of change regarding historic differences over the use of the waters of the Nile. Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam seems to have gained an unprecedented level of acceptance but as FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW discovers, there are still many nuances to be worked out.


BELG BEHIND SCHEDULE

Delay in the Belg rainfall season attributed to climate change, causes regional anxiety about shortages in crop production and effects on livestock. However, to the contrary, available data indicate no shortfall in production. Price increases are associated with hoarding by middlemen who benefit from the higher prices. The impact of delayed rainfall is more keenly felt in animal husbandry.




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