Graveyard to the Doha Development Round?


The rise of mega regional blocs threatens the relevance of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and this is not good news for poor countries like Ethiopia, argues TAMRAT G. GIORGIS, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. However, the agreement reached for advanced economies to immediately end agricultural subsidies on agriculture – and in two years for developing countries – is “the most significant outcome.”


Cultural Institutions Give Way to Funeral Business

Collectively meeting the costs of funerals is the main rationale for the traditional Ethiopian Iddir. Modern funeral service providers have not replaced Iddirs but are supported by them in urban environments. MISGANAW GETACHEW, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, explores the business side of saying farewell.


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.


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