Technology Limits Appeal of Seasonal Company Calendars

As the New Year approaches, thousands of companies begin sending out their annual calendars, greetings cards and diaries. Indeed, for some individuals, it is not uncommon to receive multiple gifts of this ilk each year. Technology is, however, limiting their benefit and some feel that the money it takes to produce such items could be better spent elsewhere, reports LUCY KASSA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Banks Offer Incentives to Compete for Remittance Receipts

Remittances are now counted in the economies of developing countries, with wide recognition that monies transferred informally, surpass sums received through formal channels because of the charges involved in the latter. Commercial banks are now offering competitive services to customers receiving remittances because it is good business for them to do so. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER talks with bankers and their customers about the formal business of receiving remittances.

Universities of Science, Technology to become Centres of Excellence

Creating a Centre of Excellence involves many changes – from preparing the physical institution to ensuring that student intake procedure is legitimate and credible. The two institutions involved are the Addis Abeba University of Science & Technology and the Adama Science & Technology University. In this instance the change necessitated even a shift from the oversight of the Ministry of Education to that of the Ministry of Science & Technology. The mission which could not be accomplished in GTP I, has become a target for GTP II. FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW finds out exactly what is entailed, what has already been done and some of the challenges.

No New Year without Liquor, for Those Who Drink

Some people (not those under 18), would have got up this morning with a hangover, not a pleasant reminder of the holiday cheer but the New Year is a cause for celebration and a time when the liquor market may see demand doubling. As HIDAT ARKEBE, FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER discovers, the demand is not for increased production and butcheries lament decreased sales as the action shifts from the small bar to the home. The boost in sales is created by individual buyers for home consumption, including family holiday parties. It would be useful to obtain hard statistics for movements in the liquor market in recent years.

The Rising Cost of School Supplies

The cost of education is high and when preparation for the new academic year coincides with the expenditure associated with calendar’s New Year, this must be a tough time for many families. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU visits the main market in the city and finds out how the foreign currency shortage and other factors create the increased prices of staple school supplies.

Social Media: An Unlikely Stage for Ethiopian Social Discourse

Considering that the Age of Information and Communications Technologies connects the world in unprecedented ways and that nowhere is too remote for the reach of the cell-phone, increasing internet access is inevitable. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, MIKIYAS TESFAYE explores social media’s impact in Ethiopia (using its new language to do so), and concludes that it is an unlikely stage for social discourse in Ethiopia. However, given the phenomenon of the global village, it is unlikely that social media will retain this status for too long.

Big Business Lights Spread Holiday Cheer

There is a festive feeling in the air with anticipation of renewal that the New Year brings. No doubt the decorative lighting and cultural programmes at the shopping malls around Addis Abeba are contributing to the holiday spirit and to the increased shopping activity that goes with the annual approach of the New Year. HIDAT ARKEBE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER steps into the world of beautifully lit malls and explores with those who make decisions about holiday decorations as well as with shoppers, how the lighting impacts both their mood and their spending.

Huge New Year Exhibition Hard on the Pocket

The Addis Abeba Exhibition Centre, currently the venue for the annual New Year Exhibition and Bazaar is a daily hub of activity. Families and friends can be seen wending their way across the balloon-bedecked Meskel Square (Stadium) entrance and the admission fee of 15 Br is affordable to many. However, once inside, repeat visitors find quantity but miss the traditional quality of uniqueness in the items displayed. As FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, LUCY KASSA talks with patrons and vendors, the former complain about high prices instead of discounts, while the latter give mixed reviews based on their experiences and comparison with past exhibitions. There seems to be consensus though, that the high costs have been passed from organisers to vendors to consumers.

A Choice of Fine Furniture for the New Year

As the New Year approaches, it is traditional to spruce up the home and this often means increased business for furniture makers. Whether high end imported furniture or locally made furniture catering to a range of incomes, the season brings increased demand. Customers, of course, take advantage of holiday discounts on offer. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW was able to witness these trends as he visited furniture-makers in different locations and discussed the holiday market with them and their customers. Clearly new furniture helps to make the New Year special.

Old Relation, New Hope for Investment

Japanese electronics and vehicles are known in Africa and the Kaizen business model has been adopted by some companies on the continent. However, in the wake of the second Africa-Japan Investment Business Forum in Addis Abeba, the much hoped for outcome is the removal of hindrances to the lagging Japanese investment in Ethiopia. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU talks with one Ethiopian businessman who has had a successful joint venture with Japanese partners, and delves into the history of Ethiopia and Japan’s diplomatic and trading relations, with the former seeming to overshadowing the latter.

Holiday Concerts Becoming a Rarity in the City

The entertainment industry is changing in many ways, mainly due to ready access to music availed by modern technology but also due to changing tastes and lower purchasing power. LUCY KASSA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER went in search of concerts and tried to find out why this interest in this once-popular holiday activity has waned. Explanations were provided by the people in the business who are all affected by the forces of concert demand and supply.

The Rapidly Changing Movie Distribution Business

Piracy has become more than a trend in the movie industry; it has become a business in its own right which legal measures alone have not been able to stem. Ethiopian movie makers are not exempt from this phenomenon and some are on the verge of giving up. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, HIDAT ARKEBE finds out how those who own copyright and registered businesses try to protect themselves against the losses.

HELP – Only a Phone Call Away

Information and Communication Technologies are making an impact in Ethiopia as they are worldwide. Call centres are among the new information service providers giving easy access to professional advice in the fields of medicine and law as well as the more traditional telephone directory services. They are even providing intermediary banking services all in collaboration with ethio telecom. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, HIDAT ARKEBE recently delved into this business space and found out more about the telephone services provided, their benefits and challenges.

Ethiopia Awaits Visitors with Open Arms

Ethiopia has begun to win tourism awards and there is consensus about the country’s vast potential as a visitor destination. Yet there is recognition of the need for adequate infrastructure, appropriate institutions and strategies to maximise this potential sustainably. The country’s rich offerings are still not well-known and attractions not sufficiently promoted and managed to entice visitors to stay just a bit longer. This was the thrust of FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, LUCY KASSA’s interactions with some of the players involved in tourism development in the land that boasts 13 months of sunshine.

Great Business Keeping Households Clean

Adding to the variety of soap products on the market, the small scale production of liquid and other soaps seems to be making an impact that cannot be ignored by the manufacturing sector. Several businesses have sprung up around the city and in a recent visit to their factories and retail outlets, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, HIDAT ARKEBE finds out what is required in the business of soap-making and what accounts for the success of these cottage industries.

Homecoming March

As the first National Diaspora Day looms, pertinent questions revolve around the various ways in which Ethiopians living outside of the country contribute to its economic development. While formal remittances are easily counted, it is known that significant sums are sent home to relatives informally. Despite investment incentives, more needs to be done to attract diversified investment and to make it viable for desiring Ethiopians in the Diaspora to return home. These are some of the issues explored by FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, LUCY KASSA as she discusses Diaspora engagement initiatives and plans for the approaching five days of activity from August 12 to 15, 2015.


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