The Hopefuls


Of the no less than seven ideological blueprints the late Meles Zenawi and his comrades have produced on the affairs of Revolutionary Democracy in Ethiopia, none were able to foresee…


UNBEARABLE

Although his likely departure has been speculated for close to a year, the decision by Hailemariam Desalegn to resign from his role as chairman of the party and the office…


Unrest Glances off Valentines Flower Business

February is among the peak times where the flower market hits high all over the world, as the Valentines day festivity was at the mid of the month. Ethiopian flower suppliers are among the beneficiaries of this market opportunity, which faces a pause last week. The harvesting of flowers was hardly happening in the farms, and the cut flowers were not able to be transported to the capital. Also, the decline in the demand of the local market and the almost non-supply of flowers disappointed retailers who talked with HAIMANOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Local Furniture Struggles to Keep Up with Imported Rivals

Before spending thousands on furniture, deciding upon a specific item when there are more choices than ever the task of choosing the one that ticks all the boxes becomes even more daunting. With the burgeoning retail market for furniture and large options, it finally comes down to choosing between locally produced or imported ones. The mindset of buyers that an imported item is better in quality and appearance has sidelined locally manufactured furniture, writes HAIMANOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Supermarkets, Beyond the Hype

Addis Abeba is home to 3.4 million residents. Its rapid urbanisation and growth in disposable incomes have meant changes in food preferences and eating habits among urban consumers. Hence, the increasing patronage of supermarkets and convenience stores. It is good news as it creates jobs in the area and who would mind the comfort of having a supermarket nearby. But, the naming of these stores as supermarkets and recently hypermarkets is spurring controversies in Ethiopia’s retail market. William Shakespeare once said, “What is in a name?” YIBELTAL GEBREGZIABER, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, tries to answer.


Festival Encapsulates Film Industry’s Ambiguous Future

The Ethiopian film industry may not be as celebrated as Hollywood, but that has not held it back from getting recognition in the world of cinema, with many films screened at international film festivals. One such event to honour Ethiopia’s filmmakers and actors is the Ethiopian International Film Festival (EthioIFF) celebrating its 12th edition since its launch in 2006. The most recognised film was Kedemena Belay, scooping most of the awards. But behind all the glamour there is an ailing industry that suffers from many problems preventing it from flourishing, writes CHRISTIAN TESFAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Giant Christmas Trees Sparkle Up Addis

Unlike most of the world, Ethiopians celebrate Christmas, more commonly known as Genna, on January 7, following 40 days of fasting. Although a Western tradition, the beginning of the festive season is marked with adorning houses with Christmas trees. The city and its residents have welcomed these trees not only into their homes but also in commercial centres and hotels as a nod to the tradition and further as a means to attract customers, writes HAIMANOT ASHENAFI, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Promising in Performance, Big in Aspirations

Esubalew Yitayew (Yeshi), few of an exception among Ethiopians in taking up his mother’s name to honour her, is one of the famous performers currently topping the lists of many Ethiopian music lovers. Winning the hearts of the audience with a single song dubbed ‘Mare Mare’ [literally translated as Honey], released two years ago, the 25-year old singer and songwriter recently released an album ‘Tiritaye’ [my heartbeat], selling 30,000 copies. He began singing when he was a little boy, a grade five student. Esubalew, who has over four million views for his first video on YouTube, sat down with FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, for an impromptu talk.


Quiet Christmas Expo, Fiery Entrance, Rental Fees

Christmas is around the corner and to mark the beginning of the holidays the Exhibition Centre hosted its annual Christmas Expo. Alas, unlike previous years it received a cold opening. It was unable to excite visitors and emptied the Exhibitor’s pockets. Retailers complained of high rental fees while visitors lamented the high prices of products. What should have been an exciting shopping experience ended in disappointment for many, writes YIBELTAL GEBREGZHIABHER, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


New Bus Sheds Proliferate Addis

Public transportation is oft criticised by many residents in the capital. The shortage is one pain, but lack of facilities such as bus shelters has also caused a nuisance for many who queue up under the harsh sun waiting to catch a taxi. The latter will not be a problem anymore as the Transportation Authority is now building bus sheds all over Addis Abeba to provide comfortable waiting spaces for its residents, report YIBELTAL GEBREGZIABHER and BINIAM TESFAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS.


Artists Shine at Art of Ethiopia

For the past 10 years, Art of Ethiopia has served as a platform for talented local artists to showcase their works of art for the public and art lovers. Aside from supporting artists, the Exhibition is also affiliated with the Sheraton Endowment Charity. This year, the 4-day long event kicked off on December 6, 2017, at Sheraton Addis Hotel, with over 430 artworks ranging from paintings and carvings to sculptures put up for the visitors. CHRISTIAN TESFAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, gives a firsthand account.


Praising Record Feat, Lagarde Emphatic Calling for Reforms

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, is to arrive in Addis Abeba today, to start what is a historic visit by the Fund’s most senior official since its founding after the Second World War. She will be talking to Ethiopian authorities, including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, on issues of macroeconomic stability and monetary policy matters. In her exclusive interview with (Addis) Fortune, Lagarde praised Ethiopia’s economic performance of the past few years as “strong” with “positive Prospects”. However, she would like to see Ethiopian authorities exercise restraints in “public spending” while urged them – rather emphatically – to control borrowing from overseas to finance public projects and strengthen export competitiveness.


Violent Dispute Among Workers Leaves Ziway in Panic

Disputes between factory workers are frequent, but a recent incident in Ziway has left the town in a state of shock and insecurity. Things got out of control when one of the individuals involved in the disagreement lost his life, and his family sought revenge. The shockwaves of the violence have spread over the floriculture investments of the town where many workers did not turn up at work for over two weeks and production was ceased. The unrests just add to the ongoing violence in neighbouring towns of the Oromia and SNNP regional states, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Pillows Get Comfy in Informal Market

The key to a good night’s sleep is a pillow and it is not unusual to see vendors carrying pillows on the streets of Addis Abeba these days. This new niche in the informal market comes as a delight for residents as well as for the youth looking for a chance to better their lives. But, being a part of this market comes at a cost; hawkers grapple with the police just to sell their products, while health experts doubt the quality of the products which many fail to consider, reports YIBELTAL GEBREGZIABER, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


From Farmers to Breweries: Bridging Gaps through Local Sourcing

For Ethiopia, a largely agrarian country, a simple development in agriculture comes as a boon. With 20 beer brands and the ever-increasing consumption reaching 10lts per capita, the nation imported over 156,600tns of malt last year to quench this thirst. In a bid to reverse this trend and support smallholder farmers, some breweries are reaching out to local farmers linking them to the commercial supply chains by locally sourcing raw materials. These breweries are paving the way for the “truly Ethiopian beer”, reports BERHANE HAILEMARIAM, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Labours’ Representative Weighs Up New Bill

A new labour bill introduced by the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs (MoLSA) revised 53 articles in the labour proclamation which was last amended in 2008. But the envisioned revisions have not been without their controversies, with the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) deeming 18 of the amendments unfair to employees. CETU, headed by Kassahun Follo, in its general assembly, has warned that they would be forced to call a strike if these specific points remain unaddressed. The Union stresses that labour laws should equally favour the employee and employer, and the bill would not only hurt labourers but also hamper investment. SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE’S EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, sat down with Kassahun to discuss the possible way forward




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