Holiday Bazaars Off to Slow Start

While more than the usual Christmas bazaars have been organised this year, some vendors are struggling to recoup their costs and patrons are not spending as expected. SOLIANA ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER visits several bazaars, and hears some of the reasons offered by both sides.

M–Birr for Easy Access to Banking Services

Though M-Birr has not yet significantly impacted the unbanked, particularly in rural areas, SAMRAWIT LEMMA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER finds the combination of microfinance institutions, agent banking and mobile banking technology effective in bringing financial services to people, wherever they are.

There’s Business in Helping Mother Nature

Nutrition is traditionally obtained from food but not all foods contain the full requirements needed to maintain good health. This is where a little boost to nature’s offerings comes in. SAMRAWIT LEMMA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER takes a look at the market for food supplements in Addis Abeba and shares her findings.

Child Vendors’ Survival on the City Streets

Removing children from the streets is a challenge and limited institutional interventions often fail. Yet, there is something pathetic about a seven year old having to fend for himself. He is not alone as SAMRAWIT LEMMA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, finds out in exploring how child street vendors meet their needs.

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Shopping

Christmas in the west is associated with a shopping extravaganza and for Ethiopians who adopt this cultural phenomenon the costs may be more than financial. SAMRAWIT LEMMA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER went out and about talking with retailers and shoppers. The common cry was low sales, which everyone hopes will pick up as Christmas Day draws near. It is also clear that children constitute the Christmas market.

Financing Women in the Missing Middles

Though there may be cracks in the glass ceiling, when it comes to women in business accessing credit, there is still need for the kind of special mechanism that Enat Bank has put in place. SOLIANA ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, explores the terms and conditions of the exciting new initiative.

Self-Made Translators

Translation seems to be a thriving business in Addis. One cannot be a good translator just by knowing a language, say experts, but SAMRAWIT LEMMA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, finds that translators doing the job neither had any language training nor have passed through any form of qualification, handling all kinds of translations, purely through trial and error.

Sesame Supply Rises, Market Falls

While other crops impacted by the current drought are failing, this is not the case with sesame, Ethiopia’s second largest export crop. This year production has improved and so has quality. With a glut on the international market, prices are down, and as SOLIANA ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, finds out, Ethiopia is unable to compete.

How Hotels Earn Their Stars

International tourists, or even Ethiopians who may wish to have the experience of staying in a five-star hotel, now have a choice of five hotels in which to do so. Those with lower budgets and less inclination but who still need a starred hotel experience can make a selection down the line to one star. But how exactly were these stars earned and what exactly can a stay or non-stay hotel user expect for the stars? This is the subject explored by MIKIYAS TESFAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reporting (not from a five-star hotel room), but from engagement with the head of the assessment team and some of those awarded. The report dissects the hotel grading process and hopefully adds to the transparency of the process from which the stars were derived.

The Taxing Business of Raising Revenue

Complexities of taxation are well known and so is the importance of revenue raised through taxes. Compliance with the requirements for paying taxes can be a time-consuming nightmare, but there are middlemen who relieve businesses of the stress and make the payments for a commission. DAWIT ENDESHAW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER and a taxpayer himself, explores what is involved in the payment and collection of taxes, finds out why late payments with penalties are often preferred and how E-tax can ease the procedural burden.

Scandal in the Henhouse

After a mere three months in operation, the National Poultry Training Centre in Debre Zeit that held such promise at its inauguration only five months ago, has been closed for the last two months. As the various parties proffer their conflicting explanations for the closure, SOLIANA ALEMAYEHU, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER talks to everyone but the hens to determine the factors leading to this debacle and whether an urgent solution is in sight to recoup losses incurred.

Ethiopia’s Contribution to Aviation Training in Africa

Aviation training schools seem to be an emerging business in Ethiopia, though one has existed since 1956. In response to rising global demand for pilots and other professionals in the field, Ethiopia is applying international standards in its aviation training programmes. With his feet on the ground, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, MIKIYAS TESFAYE discovers the course content of some training programmes and the cost of becoming a pilot.

Unlicensed Tutors Ignore Regulations, Make a Killing

Most parents want their children to excel academically and those who are able may hire after school tutors. However, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, SAMRAWIT LEMMA explores the pros and cons of the tutoring business and finds unregulated private tutors dominating the market, though not everyone agrees that tutoring is beneficial.

Allocated Plots Idle with Rise in Demand for Urban Lands

Land distribution has historically been fraught with difficulty and this has not changed despite various proclamations and regulations over the years. The Urban Lands Lease Holding Proclamation Number 721/2011, which was adopted to administration and address the increasing demand for urban lands had not worked as efficiently as intended. One result has been lands that have been allocated for investment projects but which have not had start-up activity long past the stipulated time for both beginning and ending related construction. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, LUCY KASSA talks with residents and officials involved and shares some of the perspectives surrounding this economic issue that has social and political ramifications.

Made in Ethiopia Not a Hit on the Road

Buy Local is a an ideal slogan for promoting agricultural and other home grown, homespun products. However, when it comes to cars, most drivers want a vehicle that not only looks good and is affordable but one that can stand the test of time, is roadworthy and for which spare parts can be easily availed. Apparently, these are some of the reasons offered to FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, SAMRAWIT LEMMA, for why locally assembled cars are struggling to compete in the Ethiopian car market. Given the number of investment licences that have been issued, it is obvious that the prospects look good. But the profits are not rolling in as expected and government support is disappointing. A good starting point could be to update the data so that the status of each car assembly company can be clear.

Beyond Charitable Deeds

In spite of the remarkable success Samuel Tafese has achieved and the tremendous wealth his family has amassed over the years, his humble beginnings and poverty-ridden roots has not lost on him. The schools, clinics, underground water development projects, social welfare donations and other charitable activities Sunshine has conducted over the years speak volumes about Samuel and Fetlework’s prime examples of wealthy people giving back to their community. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER MIKIYAS TESFAYE Discovers what is perhaps peculiar to Sunshine is that its founders and shareholders have established a foundation dedicated to furthering humanitarian causes in society, responding to social ailments, going beyond providing short term relief for peoples’ problems.

Rail or Road, Commuters Are Still Waiting

Perhaps expectations were not realistic; and it may be much too soon to assess the impact of the limited light rail transit services on the overwhelming shortage of mass transportation in the city. LUCY KASSA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER talks with users of the new service and providers of the alternatives, and finds the excitement of the LRT’s launch tinged with disappointment.

Textbooks Printed Distributed, Users Still Suffer

Despite the printing of millions of textbooks, distribution and supply are however still falling short, frustrating both schools and parents. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, DAWIT ENDESHAW shares the details but the question remains, just how many textbooks are enough.

The Highest Price of Life on the Road

Prompted by the untimely death of the popular Sebele Teffera, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, LUCY KASSA, digs out the horrific statistics of vehicular accidents and their causes. The support of all road users is needed for effective enforcement of traffic laws and regulations.

How Hotels Earn their Stars

The exercise seemed both thorough and professional with world class expertise and local stakeholder inputs, yet there may have been room for subjectivity in the evaluation process. FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, BROOK ABDU hears claims of unfair rating as he delves into the details of standards and criteria by which hotel are awarded star ratings.

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.


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