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.

D-Day for Ethiopia’s Textiles Industry

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.

Cholera Outbreak Threat in Addis

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.

Public Health Concerns in Booming Bottled Water Sector

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.

Businesses, Consumers Bear Brunt of Hoax Circulated on Goods

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.

Rent Price, Building Numbers Go Symmetrically Up

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.

New Budget Questioned Based on Auditor’s Report

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.

Despair, Hope Over Squatters Housing Rights in Addis Abeba

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: Banks’ New Venture

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.

Tomato, Onion Prices Rise with Flooded Fields

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.

Official Standards Prescribed for Traditional Medicine Industry

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.

Building Collapse Cements Quality Concerns

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

Baking a Living

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

Advertisement Industry Thrives, with Hiccups

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.

Commercial Farms’ Domino Effect on Banks

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.


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