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.

New Face of Markets

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.

Watch Out!

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.

All That Garbage – Disgruntled Collectors Leave City on Edge

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.

Dangerous ‘Red Terror’ Still in Demand

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.

Hospitality Withstands Crisis’ Punch

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.


“The new policy, point system implementation was sprung on us” Kuru Tessema, president of Walta Taxi Drivers Association told Fortune on Thursday, three days after majority of the mini-bus drivers…

Beer Distribution’s Competitive Edge

Beer connoisseurs in Ethiopia can have a field day every day, with the diversity of beer brands competing to cover every nook and cranny. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, sips only water as he explores with brewers, their distribution strategies to bring drinkers their favourite brands.

Red Light on Benzine Gauges, Fuel Prices Down

There is frustration at the pumps, sometimes spilling over into banging and slanging matches needing traffic police intervention. But why is there a shortage when gas prices are down everywhere? DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, joins the gas station lines (on foot) to talk with drivers, distributors and also representatives of the sole supplier to find out what has created the oily mess.

Staggering Food Aid Bleeds Businesses

Transporters are frustrated but distressed beneficiaries hardly want to wait for relief supplies to ameliorate their plight. Despite the multiplicity of authorities involved (or perhaps because of them), the drought relief effort seems marked by delay. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER delves into the logistics of delivering food and fertilizers to vulnerable victims, exploring causes and solutions.


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