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March 26th 2019, 6:57 am

Legesse Asfaw, Cohort of Complicated, Painful History

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February 2nd 2019, 12:54 pm

Girma: President, Environmentalist, Dance Lover

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The late Girma WoldeGiorgis might have been Ethiopia’s longest-serving president, with a political and military career that spanned almost eight decades. He was down to earth, loved nature and had a soft spot for music and dancing. Most uniquely, he cared very little for goats and Eucalyptus trees.

Girma wanted to see a greener Ethiopia, evident is his contributions to get the Climate Resilient Green Economy plan off the ground, and he believed that goats and Eucalyptus trees were antithetical to that.

He thought goats favoured eating saplings of trees and shrubs, devouring green life and depriving the earth of its vegetation cover. Eucalyptus trees, in particular, fared badly in his eyes.

“He thought they were selfish, because they didn’t allow other plants to thrive underneath them,” says Solomon, one of his five children.

Girma was replacing all the Eucalyptus trees growing at his house in Tor Hailochwith indigenous trees.

Just as endearing to his family and friends was his cheerful disposition, and he rarely missed an opportunity to dance. A fan of the popular artists Tewodros Kassahun, Tilahun Gessese and Rahel Yohannes, Girma never let his age, size or presidential decorum hold him back from having a good time.

Good times he had, even at a state dinner in Jubilee Palace, where he is rumoured to have joined the dancing, as attested by Constantinos Berhe Tesfa, a longtime friend and co-founder of Lem Ethiopia. Lem is an environmental and economic development association launched by Girma and Constatinos in 1992.

Born in Addis Abeba on December 28, 1924, he was one of few young privileged men to receive a modern education at the nation’s premier public school, Teferi Mekonnen. He was a young teenager during the Italian invasion of 1939 and was 17 by the time liberation arrived in 1941. Girma came of age in the post-Italian occupation era of modernity in Ethiopia with Addis Abeba leading the way with commercial centres, flowing tap water, hot baths, flushing toilets and paved roads.

Girma’s highest political achievement might be his two-term presidency between 2001 and 2013. But his six decades of public service, since his graduation as a cadet from the highly regarded military school, Holeta Genet Military Academy, speaks to the breadth and width of his experience.

After training and studying abroad at Canada’s Air Traffic Control Management and at Sweden’s Air Traffic Management School, he returned home to an assignment as head of Civil Aviation in Eritrea, following the unification of the former Italian colony with Ethiopia in 1952. Four years later, following the annexation of Eritrea into the empire, he was appointed director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.

His experiences crossed over to the economic sectors, where he also worked at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Planning; as a member of the board of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce; and manager of the Import & Export Enterprise.

In the early 1960s, he transitioned to lawmaking, joining the lower house of the imperial government, known as the Chamber of Deputies. He was elected speaker of the house, serving in that position for three years.

But the nation changed following the fateful 1960 coup d’état, the ensuing unrest of the student movement, and peasant revolts that culminated with the 1974 dethronement of the emperor by a military junta.

A fate that befell high imperial government officials and army officers under the military junta, Dergue, did not visit upon Girma. Three years into the rule of the Dergue, he served as the deputy commissioner of a peace programme to settle the intense conflict with the Eritrean liberation forces peacefully.

The programme proved unsuccessful given that a civil war was raging between the army and the rebel forces which lasted until 1991 when a rebel force defeated the Dergueand Eritrea subsequently gained its independence in 1993.

It was one of Girma’s defining moments, however, a position he took despite his past service for the imperial government; and despite his own daughter’s, Genet, involvement with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party, against which the Dergueunleashed the Red Terror campaign.

The period also signaled Girma’s increasing involvement with civil society, working for the Ethiopian Red Cross Society’s Eritrean branch, and helping establish a leprosy treatment centre in Asmera.

“He had a great negotiating skill,” says Constantinos of his work at the Red Cross. “At a time when the Ethiopian army couldn’t get into war-ravaged areas, we were making deliveries.”

He continued his engagements with civil society organizations after the fall of the Dergue, co-founding and serving as a patron of Lem Ethiopia.

The end of the Dergueera also paved the way for the position he is most recognised for, the office of the Ethiopian presidency. It all began in 2000 when he run and won a seat as an independent in the federal parliament, representing a constituency in the Oromia Regional State.

Following the end of Negasso Gidada’s first term as president, Girma was elected in 2001 by his fellow parliamentarians to succeed Negasso.

“It was the proudest and happiest occasion for him,” says Solomon.

Although largely a ceremonial position, the president represents the nation as its head of state. Girma served in that position for 12 years, stepping down in 2013, when he was succeeded by Mulatu Tehsome (PhD). He remains the only president to have served two terms under the current constitution.

Girma has had some health scares while in office. Shortly after his inauguration in 2001, he was hospitalised for a brief period. There were also rumours of his death in 2012 after he sought treatment in Saudi Arabia.

He has sleep apnea syndrome, which is related to him being overweight. His heart was also functioning with the help of a pacemaker for the past 16 years.

He passed away past midnight from pneumonia on December 14, 2018, after having been hospitalised for two weeks at the Nordic Medical Centre. On Tuesday, December 18, 2018, his remains were returned to his home from Hayat Hospital, where it had been kept after his death.

The next day, Wednesday, December 19, 2018, the nation honoured him with a state funeral, and a procession that began at his home in Tor Hailochto the accompaniment of police and military brass bands, and an entourage that included his family, friends, acquaintances, diplomats, public officials and citizens.

His remains were carried to Millennium Hall, where his son Solomon and the current President, Sahleworq Zewde, delivered eulogies. Girma was interned at the Holy Trinity Church with a 21-gun salute.

He is survived by three of his five children. His wife, whom he married in 1948, passed away a year and a half ago, following the death of his two other children, Hirut and Samson. Those were the saddest moments in his life, according to Solomon.

“He was more than an optimist,” Solomon said of his father. “Even under the worst of circumstances, he was a man able to see the underlying silver lining.”

December 22nd 2018, 9:51 pm

Bitcoin Brings Economic Freedom

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The feature story headlined, “Despite Murky Picture, Bitcoin Hatches” [Vol 19, No 966, November 4, 2018]. The goal of the replay is to indicate that Bitcoin is paving the global commercial way of the future and that the local Bitclub-Network is a vehicle.

Bitcoin, as termed by its creator Satoshi Nakamoto, is a combination of two measurement units. “Bit” is a unit of data, and “Coin” is a unit of money. In the fintech sector, Bitcoin is the emergence of dynamic technology into the delicate and vulnerable financial data management system.

Informaton technology and the internet revolutionised the world, catapulting humanity to unprecedented levels. Free access to information positively affected human endeavours in the arts, sciences and sports. Yet valuable information in intellectual property and privacy was simultaneously negatively affected.  This cyber insecurity intensified resistance around the sensitive financial sector.

However, the primary reason that the financial sector is resistant to the value revolution of fintech is because it is the last monopoly protected by law.  Logically, money is a commodity. In a free market, quantity demanded determines the best price offered by a supplier.

In 1913, US regulators granted their Federal Reserve, the central bank of all central banks in the US, exclusive rights to print dollar bills and pump the currency to run the global economy through the monopolised money supply.  Thus, any nation that would not comply suffers financial constraints by the status quo. Ethiopia, for instance, has been forced to devalue its currency multiple times amid shortages of hard currency for medicine.

Satoshi Nakamoto defined Bitcoin as “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

Ending the monopoly by creating an alternative financial system.

Simultaneously, the infinite duplication and devaluation of personal and valuable information was resolved with Bitcoin’s proposition “to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network.” The information would be time-stamped and digitally signed into an ongoing chain by “hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed.”

Simply, Bitcoin is a decentralized electronic ledger where data is digitized, recorded immutably and secured forever.

The instantaneous emergence of value to both the IT and fintech industries is realised by an open source software and economically incentivised “mining” hardware.

In Bitcoin, mining means to digitally record and store data in a decentralized immutable electronic ledger and recover the payment in virtual money, bitcoins. Anyone with a compatible computer, internet and electricity can mine bitcoins. These days the initial investment is upwards of 100 million dollars.

Founded in 2014 by 500 founders, Bitclub-Network (BCN) is a global public mining operation that offers individuals with low investment capital to own a mining computer that participates in a mining pool, reaping the optimum benefits of collaboration.

Public records, such as blockcain.com, verify that BCN has since mined almost 80,000 bitcoins. With almost a million shareholders in over 110 countries and in addition to over 600 million dollars paid in advance, BCN operates equipment worth more than 750 million dollars in Iceland, Norway, Georgia, China and the US state of Montana.

Against all odds, BCN offers people in remote economies, such as Ethiopia, the opportunity to own infrastructure capital at infancy as the globe embraces Bitcoin, an avant-garde decentralized – no central point of failure – financial technology allowing a peer-to-peer, fast, cheap and reliable e-cash payment platform.

Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has empirically executed every transaction at any given time, from all over the world, within a few minutes, for less than a penny, regardless of the amount.

As the natural economic codes of the free market breed massive adoption in global commerce with more economic freedom, mining computers will be highly compensated for serving the decentralised automated payment system. BCN is a vehicle to own a mining computer.

Christian Russom
christianrussom@gmail.com

December 8th 2018, 10:23 am

From Ethiopian to Ethiopia: Gender Equality Takes Prominence

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I  had written to this publication, headlined “Ethiopian’s Conspicuous Flaw” [Vol 18, No. 933, March 17, 2018], highlighting that Ethiopian Airlines has put in place a policy to empower women and include women in different executive positions instead of just all-women-crew flights on March 8.

I gave an example on initiatives such as “Women in Technology” that tech companies in developed countries such as the United States are stirring up to facilitate the awareness and be part of the movement to ensure gender quality through investment and policy.

Lately, much of the news about Ethiopian has been a controversy over a pilot. But one day last week, I woke up to an article in Bloomberg headlined: “Ethiopia Names 50pc Female Cabinet in Government Overhaul.”

Since I had been waiting for a response from Ethiopian on my article, my eyes read “Ethiopian” instead of “Ethiopia” and rushed to read the article only to find that the scope has grown and the initiative was on a country level.

Ethiopia must continue to adhere to inclusivity in all directions. I am hoping this cabinet follows suit and addresses outdated thinking, replacing them with new ways in the respective institutions that they lead.

Getahun Alemu
galemu@yahoo.com

October 20th 2018, 8:21 am

Entoto is Not Barara

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September 29th 2018, 10:41 pm

No Effort Should be Spared towards Creating a Better Ethiopia

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Dear Editor,

The editorial, “No Happily Ever After without Political Settlement” [Vol 19, No.960, September 23, 2018], had a statement I very much agreed with.

“The country is without an informed public, progressive civic societies, centrist parties with a broad base and institutionalised power,” it read.

This has been a fact of life throughout the history of the country. Today, what is most worrying are the ethnocentric forces creating havoc at various locations, displacing tens of thousands whom they consider “aliens” across the country.

This is partly attributed to the feelings of hopelessness among the younger generation due to unemployment, exacerbated by years of economic mismanagement, grand corruption and failure of the education system.

It is unfortunate that even universities have become one of the most feared places where ethnic animosity is witnessed. Arguably, they have now become “ethnic” instead of federal universities, undermining the vision and mission they advocated upon establishment.

When the public loses trust in institutions of higher learning, whom should they turn to?

No less true is that the political elites have loose links with their constituencies and do not seem to have any control over disparate groups who raise diverse issues of political and economic interests. As a result, no group has taken responsibility for any one of the egregious attacks that have taken place here and there.

I suggest that in order to stop groups with hidden agendas from committing crimes, the youth, who are actively engaged in political action under various names, be organised and form associations in their respective localities.

Such schemes would minimise the occurrence of mob actions, which often have an ethnic bent. Likewise, political parties should talk to their constituencies in town hall meetings and make their stances about political issues clear, so that they do not become a cause for violence.

Equally, the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) should strengthen state institutions including the police forces – local and federal. In places like Addis Abeba, the police force should be a mix of diverse ethnic groups that reflect the demographics of the city.

Finally, the active presence of civic societies is vitally important toward having an informed public that would uphold democratic principles and respect the rights of citizens irrespective of their ethnicity, religion and political beliefs. No effort should be spared in supporting the ideals espoused by Prime Minister Abiy and his team toward creating a better Ethiopia.

Yirgalem Bereka,
Addis Abeba 

September 29th 2018, 10:41 pm

Al-Amoudi’s Contributions Merit Recognition

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Dear Editors,

A decade ago in Washington D.C., United States, at a closing ceremony for an Ethiopian soccer tournament at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, the guest of honour, Tilahun Gessesse, emerged on a wheelchair to deliver an emphatic speech.

He concluded by standing upright and expressing his heartfelt gratitude for one man, Mohammed Al-Amoudi. Lyrically, Tilahun thanked him for being a friend in need. The audience stood and cheered as Al Amoudi’s praises were sung.

The next incident of note took place in Peru, South America. While en route to Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, an institution known for its vast research in the field of astrology, a conversation transpired and the subject of that discussion was the same man, Al-Amoudi.

After exchanging pleasantries, I mentioned that I was university bound and of Ethiopian origin and Al-Amoudi’s name was brought up.

A fellow passenger asked if I knew him. I gave an affirmative response and stated that I knew him by name. It was a proud moment for the distinct reason that I encountered a compatriot in the most unlikely of places, far away from Ethiopia. When I asked him a query about Al-Amoudi, he replied with a fervour that an entire community was aware of him.

He enlightened me about another episode as well. He stated that he knew a man named Victor Hugo Carbajal Snr., who was the mayor of a small coastal city, Mala, which was near our current location. He claimed that Carbajal was once working as a limousine driver in the US capital when he met Al-Amoudi.

That meeting was a transformative experience for Carbajal. Al-Amoudi’s kindness led to the driver starting his own independent transportation business. It eventually resulted in Carbajal returning to his home country where he established himself and became the mayor.

Another conversation where the subject matter was Al Amoudi occurred after my journey ended. I boarded a taxi from the airport to the hotel. I began a casual conversation with the taxi driver, who asked where I was from. I informed him that I was from Ethiopia to which he was taken aback.

He tilted his head towards me flabbergasted and enquired if I knew Al-Amoudi. I smiled and told him that I was not acquainted with the billionaire, but I did know of his accomplishments. That is when he claimed that he had heard great things about him.

The philanthropy and benevolence of Al-Amoudi must be brought to the public’s attention. There is an old Ethiopian saying: what is discussed may be forgotten, but the written word will be remembered and inherited by others.

Al-Amoudi’s contributions merit similar acclaim and must be documented as a gift to future generations. Perhaps most importantly, a timely reminder to his wife and children that they must be proud of their husband and father.

Prince Kelemou

princekelemou1978@gmail.com

June 23rd 2018, 8:28 pm

Economic Paradox: Born Out of Monetary Expansion

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Dear Editor,

Public infrastructure and foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in the services and industry sectors, boost production, albeit with a relatively long and short lag period, respectively. The expected boost in the production of consumer goods drives invigorated consumption, both for domestically produced and imported products.

An Op-Ed piece by Eyob Tesfaye (PhD) headlined “Addressing a ‘Five-star’ Economic Problem” [Volume 19, Number 942, May 20, 2018], takes note of this.

It mentions the fast economic growth driven by “massive investments in public infrastructure development, invigorated consumption and a remarkable upsurge in foreign direct investment.” This though does not tally with “stubbornly high inflation, continuous currency depreciation, widening trade deficit, dwindling forex reserve, ballooning external debt and high unemployment.”

The imbalance may have originated from the disparity in trade exchanges of capital goods, which is likely to be the case in a developing country such as Ethiopia.

Imports of capital goods are assumed to be partly financed by the “remarkable upsurge” in FDI which should have mitigated the “dwindling” of forex reserves. And an average annual growth rate of eight per cent, considered high by any measure, should have dampened inflation.

Continuous currency depreciation in the context of a real annual GDP growth rate of eight per cent would predominantly be a result of imprudent monetary expansion. And a “ballooning” external debt would be the result of a disproportionately high new external loan disbursements or a low contribution of foreign debt to building the forex generating capacity (including physical exports) of the economy.

Similarly, high youth unemployment in the face of high overall real economic growth implies relatively high capital intensity of production methods and capital resource leakage through inefficiency, corruption or embezzlement of public funds.

The upshot of high real economic growth in the face of worsening macroeconomic fundamentals would constitute a paradox worth mulling over for quite a while. I suspect false economic statistics, disproportionately high monetary expansion, corruption and embezzlement of public funds, inefficiency, relatively high capital-intensity of production methods, and low productivity of investment (particularly those by the government) as the main culprits.

The task, therefore, becomes identifying the most significant causes, at least two or three, of the apparent economic paradox. I am more inclined to excessive monetary expansion as the single most important reason. It is the abundant availability of paper money which encourages corruption, falsification of economic statistics, incompetence and inefficiency.

The excessive monetary expansion is solely the responsibility of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE). The central bank should wake up and slumber no more.

Eyob’s piece has inspired me to grapple once again with an apparent economic conundrum. It could have been written by the technocrats at the Finance Ministry or the National Planning Commission.

Teklebirhan Gebremichlael

Addis Abeba

June 23rd 2018, 8:28 pm

Obituary: Post-Capitalism Thinker Dies, Age 60

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June 2nd 2018, 11:02 pm

Ethiopia Should Avoid the Prospect of Civil War

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Dear Editors,

I hope civil war is not a possibility in Ethiopia. Hope is not an action, however.

I do not believe that any Ethiopian wants civil war. But certain things happen despite the wishes of the people. As people learn about the death of relatives, they resort to desperate actions.

The Nigerian Civil War developed with many people carrying guns and shooting at each other. When the government started shooting at people that they deemed were criminals, it appeared that shooting is something that anybody can do. It became even more shocking when it took place near marketplaces, – even at relatives.

When the government started enforcing an anti-gun law, more people started carrying guns. Home-made guns became familiar sights. As many realised that the government was killing more people, the war intensified.

Civil war is not common in most European countries because people have learned to negotiate endlessly. We must learn from them.

Bulcha Demeksa
bdemeksa@gmail.com

March 24th 2018, 8:16 pm

Djibouti’s Government Broke No Laws, is Democratic

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A news article by The National headlined “DP World Launches Legal Action over Djibouti Terminal Seizure”, published on your paper, [Volume 18, Number 930, February 25, 2018], reported on DP World’s launching of legal action over the government of Djibouti’s seizure of the Doraleh Container Terminal.

The article, which was sourced from The National, a United Arab Emirates-based news outlet, quotes a statement by DP World, the contents of which we would like to clarify.

In the article, DP World says that Djibouti’s seizure of Doraleh port was an illegal act. We would like to clarify that the contract agreement signed in 2006 gave a 67pc ownership right to Djibouti’s government and 33pc to DP World. Therefore it was within the nation’s sovereign right to terminate the contract and seize the Port.

The statement by the Dubai-based company also asserts that the move by the Djibouti government is “oppressive”. This is untrue. Djibouti is a democratic country and its regional, parliamentary and presidential elections have been conducted freely, fairly and transparently. It has also been certified by observers from regional and international organisations.

Mohamed Idriss Farham
Djiboutian Ambassador to Ethiopia

March 10th 2018, 7:08 pm

Shoa Neither Plans to Process Juices nor Obtains Land for the Plant

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Your feature story headlined, “Supermarkets Beyond the Hype” [Volume 18, Number 923, January 7, 2018] reported on the naming of supermarkets and the spurring controversies in Ethiopia’s retail market.

Shoa Supermarket being the major player in the retail market, the story entertained views from our company. However, it has committed two errors which we would like to see corrected. The person mentioned in the story as Shoa’s Marketing Manager, Kelifa Mekasha, is an employee of Shoa Supermarket at Bole Branch, but working as a supervisor. He was not authorised to provide information to the media on behalf of Shoa Supermarket.

The next erroneous information which came from the person mentioned above stated that Shoa has leased land in Oromia and Southern regional states to develop a farm to process juices. We would like to clarify that Shoa has no plan of opening a juice factory.

Anwar Buser

Deputy General Manager

Shoa Shopping Centre

February 24th 2018, 11:24 pm

We Breached No Law, Rather Started Service After a Call from the Corporation

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In a story headlined “Kuriftu Ceases Catering at Ethio-Djibouti Railway” [Volume 18, Number 927, February 4, 2018] it was reported that Kuriftu Resorts has withdrawn its catering services for passengers of the Ethio- Djibouti Railway (EDR) after a month-long service.

Tilahu Srka, director general of EDR, was quoted in the story saying, “we ordered them to halt the service as they started it without following the proper procurement procedure of the country.”

This is disappointing and we find it imperative to explain our position in regards to how we started the service.

In June 2017, higher officials of the Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) made an oral request for us to start serving without any set preconditions, contract or a bid out of urgency mentioning the train would begin in October 2017.

However, to be on the right track, we submitted a proposal to provide train catering services on June 19, 2017, indicating we were interested and ready to provide such services. It would have given our company a great sense of national pride and would have been the first of its kind in the country.

This being the case, we did not deliver the service in October, as we were not invited to finalise any sort of catering deal. After six months, on December 27, 2017, we received a phone call from Zhao Yue, Commercial Manager of CCECC-CREC Joint Venture, urging us to cater on January 1, 2018, within three days of the official launch.

Even though it was a very short notice, understanding the urgency of the situation, we delivered the service as requested and continued to do the same until January 28, 2018. We ceased operations as soon as we received a letter from Ray Hu, marketing manager of CCECC-CREC JV, to stop catering as of January 29, 2018.

Thus, we would like to clarify that the process Kuriftu Resorts has gone through to provide catering services at Ethio-Djibouti Railway is as explained above and we are ready to serve on the train once a formal catering procedure is announced by the Ethio-Djibouti Railway management.

Tadiwos Getachew, CEO of Boston Partners Plc

February 17th 2018, 10:16 pm

Aviation Giant Comes to Rest

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January 16th 2018, 10:13 am

Egypt in Eritrea, Menace to Border Security

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The African Union (AU) peacekeepers must replace Egyptian troops on the Sudanese-Eritrean and Eritrean-Ethiopian borders. It would be akin to African Union troops helping calm tensions in countries such as Somalia throughout the continent.

If the AU does not have the funds for more troops or  salaries, then they should not wait for foreign agencies such as the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). AU must raise more funds from member nations. African countries, in particular, have the moral imperative to contribute to their own well-being starting from security.

A nation is much like a house. If one fails to secure its gates from neighbours, then one’s possessions and family members face a high risk of incurring harm. The same could happen to the citizens of a country.

History is repeating itself in the region. Way back when the Ottoman Egyptian forces and Sudanese Mahdists came to fight in the 1800s, Ethiopia was losing control of its borders and afterwards lost its leader, Emperor Yohannes IV. The AU may convene to discuss defence, but that is not enough. Egypt has no business or right to enter this region. The Egyptian government has to leave the Horn of Africa to its own devices. The AU, thus, should reflect this.

Otherwise, in the face of inaction, it will open doors for conflict, and allow terrorist groups to gain a foothold in the region.

War and conflict benefit no one. Citizens in the region, especially those on both sides of the Mereb River have suffered too many horrors since the days of European colonisation. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn must utilise AU troops to protect the livelihoods of millions of people in the region. The Horn of Africa is the only home Ethiopians have, just as much as other countries in the region.

Peace is not about which of the most potent forces win but maintaining calm in the face of challenges for the greatest good.

If the two Koreas can sit at the negotiating table for hostility that has lasted seven decades, then why is Ethiopia finding it difficult to find solutions for peace with the nation across the Mereb.

What good is the AU headquarters in Addis Abeba without protecting the country and region it is in?

By Tesfa T.

The Writer can be contacted through tesfa4944@gmail.com.

January 13th 2018, 3:12 pm

Immediate Vacancy for Social Media Curator

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Skills and Responsibility

–         Reframe content for various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat

–         Work on Breaking News and News Alerts

–         Publish content on the website

–         Work on content SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

–         Work on archiving and repurposing old content

–         Brief the Editorial team about audience reaction

–         Engage with the audience and direct loyal customers to subscription

–         Prepare quarterly social audit and weekly newsletters

–         Measure and report analytics and social media performance

–         Collaborate with Digital Media Production specialist to create videos, animations, and interactive infographics

–         Prepare narrations/scripts for weekly video productions

–         Brief and alert the marketing department for monetisation opportunities

 

REQUIRED QUALIFICATION:

Applicants competent in writing and reading in English with a keen interest in journalism and outstanding work ethics, not necessarily college graduate, are welcomed. The candidate must be tech-savvy with a passion for writing and storytelling and the ability to work on digital-first content development strategy with the Editor’s direction.

Closing date: Friday, January 15, 2018.

 

Please submit your applications, attached with relevant testimonials, to:

 

INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA PLC

TEGENE BUILDING, 7TH FLOOR

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December 27th 2017, 2:36 am

Simplicity, Height of Sophistication

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It has indeed become a pleasure for me to buy and read Fortune – the high quality and well-edited weekly with valuable news and analysis, not to mention inexpensive price tag – at every opportunity.

Regrettably, there is an aspect of the paper that at times needlessly makes it reader unfriendly, and that is the preoccupation of some of its columnists and guest writers with the use and overuse of big words.

Proponents of it may try to turn the tables and advise me to work on enriching my vocabulary. Yet, as a regular reader of print as well as online English newspapers, magazines and blogs, such as Newsweek, Time, The Guardian and HuffPost, I rarely find words I am unfamiliar with – at least not as much as is the case with Fortune.

This leads me to the conclusion that the problem perhaps does not lie with me, but rather with those at Fortune who may write to impress, as opposed to communicate and inform. Nonetheless, while unfamiliar words may arguably have been considered a sign of intellectuality or sophistication in the past, that is not the case anymore.

After all, in this era of the thesaurus, pressing the right button on Microsoft Word and choosing “synonyms”, for instance, would easily give a writer a bunch of familiar and unfamiliar words to select from.

On that note, my unsolicited advice to the newspaper’s columnists and guest writers is, to go for simple and familiar words when they develop their columns and articles. After all, as the saying goes, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

One other thing I have been noticing in Fortune is the changing of alphabets in a given word, mainly a “k” to a “q”.  “Mekelle” is spelt as Meqelle, for example, despite the fact that the regional and the city governments as well as the higher learning institution of the city spell it with a “k”.  And, hard as I may try, I cannot see the logic in this.

Perhaps it is an attempt by the weekly newspaper to be different for the sake of being different, or just because the editors  choose to. Or to give the “think positive” adage a chance, maybe this is an effort by Fortune to be an equal opportunity newspaper that gives the presumably oppressed letter “q” equitable access in print media, and without its usual companion “u”, at that.

Providing equal opportunity is, of course, to be commended. However, there is a problem with the case at hand. There is enough spelling confusion already when it comes to names of cities and regions in our country. Take Meqelle, spelt “Mekelle”, “Mek’ele”, “Makalle”; Addis Abeba, as “Addis Ababa”; Baher Dar, as “Bahir Dar”, “Bahirdar”, “Baherdar”; Gonder, as “Gondar”; Oromia, as “Oromiya”, “Oromya”; or Tigrai, as “Tigray”.

There should not be a reason to add to that confusion unless of course there is a point I have missed. Otherwise, for consensus and consistency’s sake, we should at least agree on how to spell names of our cities, towns and regions!

Tesfai Hailu, Meqelle

December 26th 2017, 1:21 am

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT

Addisfortune

REPORTERS

The ideal candidate should handle the pressures of daily deadlines, not be intimidated by workload pressure and stress, and have exceptional writing and reporting skills. Applicants must be well-grounded in news and have the ability to uncover stories about the economic and business sectors. Candidates must be able to write five originally sourced news stories each week, in addition to an unspecified number of shorter, non-reported daily briefs. Experience is preferred but is not a strict requirement. Some travel for coverage may be required.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:  A graduates of law, political science, journalism, economics, finance, or literature from recognised universities.

NEWS EDITOR

He or she must be able to supervise and train reporters, handle the pressure of daily deadlines, and lead by example with truly top-notch writing and reporting skills. Applicants must have the ability to develop excellent sources and produce groundbreaking stories about the business sector, together with the reporters they work with. The work requires the ability to file weekly budgets and give editors advance notices of stories in progress. The ideal candidate will have excellent organisational skills and the ability to meet strict deadlines and to work in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment. Three to five years of experience in writing for newsletters or economic journals or working in a media environment is preferred but not required.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:   A graduate of economics, finance, law, management, journalism, or political science. Preference will be given to candidates who have a business journalism background, ample experience in content and production management, superior content and copy editing skills.

RESEARCH EDITOR

The ideal candidate should handle the pressure of daily deadlines, not to be intimidated by workload pressure and stress, and have exceptional data analysis and interpretational skills. Applicants must have the ability to easily locate and interpret raw data about the economic and business sectors.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:  A graduate of economics, mathematics, or finance from recognised universities.

 

It is absolutely essential that candidates enjoy working on multiple assignments, in a high-energy environment, and have the ability to collaborate with other members of the editorial team.

Closing date: Friday, December 29, 2017.

 

Please submit your applications, attached with relevant testimonials, to:

 

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December 21st 2017, 6:33 am

INVITATION TO BID FOR PARTIAL/ FULL ACQUISITION OF THE ENTERPRISES

Addisfortune

  1. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) currently owns fully or partially

equity of the businesses listed under paragraph 3 here below.

  1.  The FDRE intends to sell full or partial ownership of these Share Companies and businesses to an investor or a group of investors ready and capable of operating and developing the companies through open bid procedure.
  2. The Ministry of Public Enterprises, pursuant to the powers and duties vested in it by Article 6 of Proclamation No. 916/2015, hereby, intends to privatize the following state owned enterprises through competitive bid:-

            Bid Notice No. 001/2017-2018 

  1. Ethiopia Crown Cork and Can manufacturing S.C(75%)————- Addis Ababa
  2. Asela Malt Factory (100%)……………………………………………………………. Asela
  1. The Bid Documents will be available in the Ministry of Public Enterprises, in front of former Imperial Hotel (Currently Amora Building); Ethiopian Construction Design and Supervision works Corporation  Block 3 building, 2nd floor, Room No.204 starting November 22, 2017.
  2. Interested bidders can obtain documents during working hours upon payment of non-refundable Birr 300 (Three Hundred) or the equivalent in U.S. dollars for each set of document.
  3. Bids shall be submitted in wax-sealed envelopes on or before February 12, 2018 at 3:00 P.M
  4. The bids shall be open on February 12, 2018 at 3:15 P.M local time on 2ndFloor-Room-202 (Meeting Hall).
  5. The ministry reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids.
  6. Bids  shall be submitted as follows  :

                                                   

Ministry of Public Enterprises

P.O.Box 11835

Tel 0118 37 69 81 / 011 8 69 37 29

Ethiopian Construction Design and Supervision works Corporation Block 3 building, 2nd floor, Room No.204

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia       

            Bid Notice No. 001/2017-2018 for Sales of …………….

 

                                           Ministry of Public Enterprises

 

November 16th 2017, 2:31 am

Farewell Solomon Deressa: Acclaimed Poet, Writer, Thinker

Addisfortune

Our subscribers to the print edition are entitled to get a bonus in a form of early access to our digital edition.Use the bank detail below or call our office at +251-011-416-3020 to subscribe – only 457.60 Br for 52 editions – and enjoy access to www.addisfortune.net beginning on SUNDAYS as early as 6:00am!

November 11th 2017, 10:10 pm

Injustice to One Is Injustice to All

Addisfortune

Dear editors,

Your newspaper has published multiple news stories on the ongoing legal case between Prosper International Plc and Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction Plc (TACON), the most recent story headlined, “Prosper Loses Once Again at the Federal High Court” [Volume 17, Number 882, March 26, 2017].

The recent story unfortunately have failed to capture the crux of the matter in the case and in its entirety to shine a light on how the judiciary has failed a company of due justice. I am writing this, under the right of replay espoused in the law, in a bid to make the record straight for I believe this legal case, at its core, is about a breach of a legally binding contract. At worst, it is a travesty of justice, and all told a giant firm influencing the legal system to silence the voice of and trample on the rights of law-abiding citizens, who own the aggrieved company.

A legally binding contract was breached, with the complete disregard for the law, by TACON.

After all, who cares for the common man in a country where the wealthy think they can violate the law with impunity, or even believe that they own the law?

This injustice is what the company I established and manage has been battling for the last couple of years. It begins in May 2012, when my company, Prosper, entered into a contract with TACON. It was signed between the two parties for the provision by Prosper of two Wheel Loaders and a Dozer to be used by TACON for the duration of a project that involved land clearing and earth moving works for the construction of the Yayu Fertilizer Plant.

It was stipulated in the contract that the machines would be obligated to be operational for a minimum of eight hours a day, and that payment would be effected for the total hours used. It was further stipulated that if the machines remain idle for no other reason than lack of work order by the client, then the latter would still be obligated to pay for a minimum of eight hours a day. The machines were deployed after TACON advanced a partial payment for the use of each Loader for 400 hours and the Dozer for 500-hour.

TACON used the machines for four months until July 2012 before ceasing to engage the machines, and after using the Dozer for 661 hours (151-hour over and above what it had made a partial payment for). It had also used the Loaders on average for about 215-hour.

Prosper begun to request for the resumption of machinery use and to point out that TACON was contractually obligated to pay for the hours the machines were idle. It responded that it could not give work orders because the Yayu Fertilizer Plant Project owner, Metal & Engineering Corporation (MeTEC), had delayed payment and that there was a design change, compelling it to pause its works.

Prosper continued to engage TACON to find an amicable resolution for the payment it was owed; subsequently, in January 2013, TACON announced that it had sub-contracted its land clearing and earth moving works to Felema Construction Plc, a company owned by the younger brother of Teklebrehan Ambaye, the founder and major shareholder of TACON.

Felema approached Prosper given they were already on site, and a separate contract, independent of the contract with TACON, was signed between Felema and Prosper for the use of one Wheel Loader and one Dozer. Subsequently, a partial payment was made for the utilisation of each machine. The second Wheel Loader remained on site, idle, under the oversight of TACON.

Felema used the machines for the 500-hour it had paid the partial payment for and informed Prosper that it had concluded its works. It demobilized and returned the Dozer to Prosper, but left the Wheel Loader on the site because TACON had put a claim on both Wheel Loaders for the remaining hours for which partial payments were made.

Surprised by this development, Prosper informed TACON that its claims of unused hours are irrational as the reason the machines were idle is for no other reason than its failings to give work orders. Moreover, Prosper once again reminded TACON that it is contractually obligated to pay Prosper for the time the machines were idle.

A major disagreement began to arise.

Several attempts were made by Prosper to engage TACON to resolve this impasse amicably, even involving mediation by respected individuals. Face to face meetings was held with Tekleberhan Ambaye and Seifu Ambaye, the management team of TACON.

For a good eight months, Prosper made every effort to resolve the impasse. It was evident that TACON was externalizing its failure to fulfill the contractual obligations on MeTEC, a third party that had nothing to do with the contract.

With no hope of reaching an amicable solution, Prosper presented TACON with a legal notice in August 2014, seeking payments owed and the release of its machines. It responded with a counter legal notice in September 2014 seeking the return of its advance payment for the Wheel Loaders.

Knowing very well that it had failed to meet its legally binding contractual obligations, TACON started to pursue a strategy of offense with an attempt to knock Prosper off its balance and distract it from pursuing legal means. TACON took the case first to the Lideta High Court, suing Prosper for money owed amounting to 204,460 Br. Prosper contested the suit and filed a counter charge for 6,140.800 Br.

TACON argued in court that the contract it entered with Prosper was for only 500-hour for the Dozer and 400-hour each for the Wheel Loaders. This was a claim made in blatant contradiction to the contract’s stipulation of an indefinite period of use of the machines for the duration of the project, and against the fact that it had made a second payment for the utilization of the Dozer for more than 500-hour.

It also argued that it could not use the machines because they had mechanical failures. Both were bogus arguments. TACON did have no hesitations when using the Dozer for an additional 151-hour above, and beyond the 500-hour cap it was claiming in court. Moreover, at no point had TACON notified Prosper in writing of any mechanical failure whatsoever, which it was obliged to do according to its contract.

Because it could not furnish as evidence any written notice it had given to Prosper, it instead presented to the court a timesheet that logs the operational activities of the machines. The timesheet, however, does not prove the machines had any mechanical failure; to the contrary, they show that TACON was actually using them even during the rainy season.

TACON also argued in court that it was forced to suspend all operations due to torrential rains and that in addition to the alleged mechanical failure, it could not have engaged the machines due to this “force majeure.” It presented as evidence a letter its managers had written in July 2012 to MeTEC that stated suspension of operations as of July 2012. Yet, the time sheet showed that Prosper’s machines were in use until the end of the month.

This material evidence, albeit contradictory, were proof of TACON`s deception at two levels that was ignored by the court: It can hide behind a letter when it helps serve its purpose, in this case, to falsely notify MeTEC that it has suspended operations when not. It also argued it did not have an obligation to write a letter when breaking a legally binding contract, in this case, to continue to use Prosper’s machine and later falsely claim there was a mechanical failure.

With such blatant violations of the law crystal clear even to the eyes of the layman, in a ruling that renowned legal experts have called “a defamation of the sanctity of contract law,” the Lideta High Court, presided by Judge Endeshaw Adane, ruled the case against both parties.

On the one hand, the Judge rejected Prosper’s claim for payment because the hours agreed for advance payment is what governs the contract, and not the indefinite period of use that is stated in the contract. On the other hand, it rejected TACON`s claim of machinery failure on the grounds that it did not notify this incident in writing.

Appalled by such travesty of justice, Prosper appealed its case to the Supreme Court, which did not take too long to agree with the appeal and overrule the lower court. It sent the case back to the Lideta High Court, ruling the case be litigated again, and in particular, the reason behind the non-use of the machines to be appropriately examined.

However, the Supreme Court, instead of using the words “machines,” which would have included both the Wheel Loaders and the Dozer, it used the word “loaders”. The lower court thus excluded the Dozer from the new round of litigation because it can only follow the ruling by the Supreme Court’s to the letter.

Prosper immediately wrote the Lideta High Court for clarification on the issue of inclusion of all machines that were contracted out to TACON, while in parallel appealing to the Supreme Court for clarifications on the language in its ruling. The Supreme Court denied Prosper’s motion but ruled that a request for clarification could come directly from the Lideta High Court.

Judges at the Lideta High Court wrote a letter to the Supreme Court, seeking clarification on whether or not the Dozer should be included. The Supreme Court responded, in what renowned legal experts have described as a very surprising ruling, that there was nothing to clarify, putting Prosper in a legal limbo.

Prosper then took the case to the President of the Federal Supreme Court with a letter written in November 2017. The President strongly suggested that the case should be looked at by the Court of Cassation.

The Court of Cassation examined the matter and decided that there was no legal error in the proceedings of the Supreme Court and that there was nothing that needed further clarification. This effectively puts the case of the Dozer out of the new litigation, denying Prosper its constitutional right to have its full case considered.

Despite this legal limbo, Prosper continued the litigation at the Lideta High Court. TACON continued its deception, this time with blatant witness tampering. It informed the Lideta High Court that it cannot produce its two witnesses that it had initially listed during the first round of litigation, claiming that one had died and the other could not be found. Instead, on the day of witness hearing, it presented a new witness, who during the first round of litigation, was listed as Prosper’s witness.

This witness, a close family of the shareholders of Prosper International Plc, used to be the operator of one of Prosper’s machines but had since the first round of litigation left the company due to disagreements. This witness was now conveniently hired by TACON.

The Presiding Judge at the Lideta High Court ruled the case for TACON solely based on the testimony of this witness, who claimed that the machines had mechanical failures and could not be operated. The Judge never asked for any evidence of a written notification to Prosper that its machines were not working, instead relying on this controversial witness. The Judge should have examined the credibility issue of this witness, yet he chose to accept a witness that had lied to his bench.

Another interesting ruling that has confounded legal experts is the Judge’s decision that TACON cannot seek recovery of its advance payment because it has never notified Prosper in writing. The irony could not be more comical. The Judge somehow found it alright for TACON to break a legally binding contract without informing Prosper in writing of the alleged machinery failure, yet he had an issue with the fact that TACON did not inform Prosper in writing about its advance payment recovery.

A violation of contract law, the bedrock of any society that has transitioned to middle-income country status, sadly has been dismissed by a Judge.

What then is the relevance of entering into contractual agreements if the law cannot enforce it? What is the significance of the court system if it cannot hold to account those who break legally binding contracts? What message does that send to all law-abiding citizens of this country? What message does that send to all those who fought and died for the rule of law? What image does this send to the countless of foreign investors this country is trying hard to attract?

If contracts cannot be protected by those who are expected to enforce the law, if those that break contracts are not held to account by the courts that are supposed to administer justice, then can we really say we have the law to protect us?

The Reverend Martin Luther King aptly said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The injustice meted out on Prosper, with undue influence on the judicial system, is a threat to justice for all.

Yemane Mekonnen

General Manager

Prosper International PLC.

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

Asserions on Forex Provision by the Central Bank Inaccurate, Misleading

Addisfortune

Dear editors,

Strenuous efforts are underway to augment the nation’s economic development ambition, as pronounced in the Second Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP-II), realising the attainment of a middle income earning status by 2025.

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), along with other financial institutions, is striving to address the foreign currency component of the investment projects embraced thereby. Adhering to its lion’s share engagement in nurturing the economy with the provision of adequate foreign exchange, the CBE has implemented strategies and programs to increase earnings from international trade and other transactions which so far proved to be laudable.

Accordingly, a total of 2.2 billion dollars has been collected through export and remittance earnings during the first six months of the budget year, beginning July 2016.

As part of its fundamental duties, the CBE has been handling various foreign currency requisitions thereby promoting trade and investment. Recently, by its overall cash flow, the Bank has supplied foreign currency to the private sector – pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, agricultural inputs, leather and leather products, textile and garments – in the manufacturing sector. Besides, foreign exchange has been availed to petroleum and petroleum products, fertilisers, railway projects as well as import of edible oil, thereby sustaining sound supply.

Though, these being the fact on the ground, articles appearing in the successive issues of your newspaper – April 9, 2017, Vol. 17 No. 884 and April 16, 2017, Vol. 18 No. 885 – have portrayed the circumstances faulty, claiming the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has advanced the foreign currency to the CBE.

The CBE finds these assertions erroneous and would like to reiterate that the National Bank of Ethiopia has not supplied the foreign exchange in such a manner and that such mode of execution has never existed so far. Once again, we would like to state that all foreign currency provisions our Bank extended are secured exclusively from its own export earnings and foreign remittances, from the overall foreign currency cash flow position of the Bank.

Bekalu Zeleke

President, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE)

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

Insurance Guru, Habtemariam Shumgizaw Dies at 87

Addisfortune

An officer working in one of the private insurance companies was suspected of theft. All his colleagues and immediate supervisors were angry at him. Surprisingly, the CEO of the firm preferred to differ. He was neither worried about the damage that the suspect caused to the Company nor how shallow the act was.

The CEO of National Insurance Co. of Ethiopia S.C (NICE), Habtemariam Shumgizaw was highly concerned to know what pushed him to commit the crime than what he did and its effect. Zewdu Astatke, deputy CEO of Business Development at NICE, remembers that sympathy and readiness of Habtemariam to help the man out.

Habtemariam, a pioneer insurance specialist, known for his highly paternalistic style of leadership, passed away from lung cancer on October 25, 2017. Nevertheless, the company he led for 22 years as CEO and three years as a board member is wrapped up with the memory of his decency.

 

The insurance company and its staff remember everything. Their reminiscence begins with Habtemariam’s habit to avoid the elevator of the building. When he walked into the office, he lit up the mood among the workers of the company. He was not a person who yelled at his employees on the phone; rather he preferred to personally and humanely interact with the workforce.

Habtemariam believed in empowering his staff. First, he trusted them, and then they would become slaves of his trust and would go the extra mile not to betray him.

Tewabech Wolde, acting deputy CEO of Corporate Affairs, remembers his organised table, his photographic memory and his error spotting mathematics skills. She has witnessed his extraordinary managerial skills for almost two decades.

Abe Hailesilassie, acting deputy CEO also observed Habtemariam’s vivid understanding of the insurance industry. The documents produced and edited by him were very knowledgeable to him.

“I was very excited when he edited the documents I prepared, and his touches were very enlightening” Abe recalled.

Habtemariam’s educational background goes back to Teferi Mekonnen school (now, Entoto TVET College). He graduated from Haile Selassie I University, later renamed as Addis Abeba University (AAU), majoring in Finance and graduating with distinction. And then, he studied Program Management Development at Harvard University, Graduate School of Business Administration, Boston, US.

After he returned home from the US, he worked for 25 years in the former Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation as a Financial Manager and Manager of the Finance & Supply Department. Then, he served the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), a specialised agency of Organization of African Unity (OAU), as a Director of Finance and Administration in Arusha, Tanzania from September 1982 to April 1995.

Upon his return, he joined the insurance industry as a Deputy Manager in NICE Insurance. Hailu G/Hiwot, one of the co-founders and major shareholders of the company, recalls the irreplaceable role of Habtemariam when they established the first private insurance company with a capital of 3.5 million Br.

After a quarter-century of the graceful journey, the company has managed to acquire 100 million Br authorised capital, 35 branches, more than 260 employees. It has managed to collect a premium of  236.1 million Br in the last fiscal year.

Tesfaye Debela, the current CEO of NICE, underlines the former CEO’s service as a  unique selling point (USP) for the company. Even other insurance company workers prefer to invest in NICE taking Habte’s presence as a guarantee.

He followed the same pattern of customer handling strategy as he did with his coworkers.  He had been trying to address the demand of the customers, whatever it is, without saying the heretic word “No”. He was always curious about the marketing strategy of the company.

“He had been advising the team not to make a promise that cannot be fulfilled. When the customer needs our hands, at this moment in time, we have to be there for him, were his words,” said Zewdu.

His double role as a board member and an executive manager built a bridge between the decision makers and the people on the ground. He was highly known for being open to new ideas, understanding and presenting research and concepts of his colleagues articulately to the board.

One thing worth mentioning is Habtemariam’s attachment to Information Technology (IT). The implementation of standardised IT at NICE is one of his memorials at the company. He was also glued to his laptop until the last days of his life, according to people close to his family.

Habtemariam instilled a culture of hard work in his three sons and daughter and kept them busy with intellectually stimulating activities. His efforts were fruitful and have made all of them successful.

“I remember he was a workaholic and merciless on things related to academics,”  his elder son Tilahun Habtemariam (Captain) told Fortune.

Even though he lost his wife, Elfnesh Tilahun 14 years ago, he preferred to take care of most of his necessities by himself.

The earthly life of the warehouse of positive thinking, Habtemariam, started in  Gubre town,  Gurage zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ Regional State in 1930 and ended in St. Estifanos Church, near Mesqel Square Addis Abeba. His funeral was held in the presence of his relatives, friends and colleagues on October 27, 2017.

He is survived by his four children and eight grandchildren.

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

What Ails the Media Most?

Addisfortune

I am provoked, if not inspired, by your editorial headlined, “What Ails the Media Its Leaders Reluctant to Talk About” [Volume 18, Number 889, May 7, 2017], which narrates about “the ailment of the media” and “the leaders’ reluctance” to discuss about its functions.

The crux of the editorial’s message is the failure of the media leaders to institutionalize and professionalize their respective media organizations, therefore ailing the Ethiopian media landscape. As a side note, it touches upon the “political climate” to be one among many factors, for the current weakened status of the media in Ethiopia. Besides, it boldly asserts that there is “a fear to look into the inside” and “externalizing the problems that ail the industry” by media practitioners.

For the sake of disciplined civil conversation, I will only focus on the most debatable issues though I found each sentence in most paragraphs to be highly controversial.

As a practitioner in the Ethiopian media environment, what inhibits the media most is the lack of political will from the government’s side. As the editorial clearly stipulated but bizarrely downplayed the centrality of its nature, “the EPRDF government had broken its promise of institutionalizing a democratic order” thus disregarding the media as a formidable stakeholder and vital partner for building a democratic society.

From the outset of the transitional period till its consolidation of state power, the EPRDF has been consistent in its approach and attitude towards the media in general and the private press in particular. For anyone interested in understanding EPRDF’s view towards free expression of thought and dissenting voices, we can get ample elaborations from the party’s policy documents or its ideological magazine “Addis Ra’ey”. The adversarial and stiffly hostile posture of the party is out there for anyone to see without much difficulty.

The EPRDF regime is accustomed to using the media as a mouthpiece and a mere tool of top-down communications or propaganda, from the time of its insurgency till the current period of its iron fist rule. Since it firmly believed in having a total monopoly on truth or on what is best for the country, it is adamantly hostile to any criticisms or alternative views whatsoever. It openly claimed its ambition to be hegemonic in its endeavor to ‘modernize’ the country along a ‘developmental state’ model, with little or no regard for differing viewpoints in consequence undermining the indispensible role of the media as a watchdog as well as a buffer for political struggle.

Besides, categorical statements and labels like: – “Anti-peace”, “Anti-development”, “Forces of distraction” (Yetifat Hayloch), “Mercenaries of foreign elements”, “Messengers of Neo-liberals”, “High priests of color revolution” have been widely used by the incumbent as a mechanism of curbing meaningful discussions on important topics.

The Anti-terrorism law and the current state of emergency have not been helpful for the strengthening of freedom of the media in Ethiopia.

The most important factor for the thriving of a strong and sound media is a political will and commitment that creates an enabling environment and a conducive framework for its operation. Here, it should be clear that regulating the media by using the proper media laws and regulations is a necessity. Social responsibility and high ethical standards ought to be the guiding principles for the media. In addition, to all of the above mentioned elements, issues of competence, professionalism and institutionalized undertakings are highly expected from the side of media houses and their respective leaders and practitioners.

But limitations in these spheres must not be confused or conflated with the big elephant in the room. Blaming the victims in unsympathetic manner won’t reveal anything except our partisanship to the powerful. We must be fair in allocating our share of failure.

Had the incumbent been committed enough in its stand in relations to the freedom of expression and the media, we would have reached to better places comparable to our neighbors such as Kenya. Unfortunately, that is not the case and many journalists as well as media houses are paralyzed.

Where would the media find the freedom, the country as a whole is not endowed with? And how can the judiciary that could not safeguard its own autonomy become the media’s ally?

Alas, the incumbent has failed, rather miserably!

Anania Sorri Guta

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

Immediate Vacancy Announcement: IT Support Specialists

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 Job Description:

 

Requirement:

Skills:

Salary:

It is absolutely essential that candidates enjoy working on multiple assignments, in a high-energy environment, and have the ability to collaborate with other staff. Please submit your applications, attached with relevant testimonials, to:

 

INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA PLC

TEGENE BUILDING, 7TH FLOOR

ADJACENT TO GLOBAL HOTEL ON SIERRA LEONE STREET

TEL: 251-(0)11-416-3020; FAX: 251-(0)11-416-3039

EMAIL: jobs@addisfortune.net

PO Box: 259 CODE 1110, ADDIS ABEBA – ETHIOPIA

 

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

Habte-Selassie Taffesse; Thirteen Months of Sunshine Sets Off

Addisfortune

The economic liberalisation during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I was what brought tourism to the fore. The Emperor gave the responsibility of establishing this new industry to the appointee with little experience. However, this did not forbid Habte-Selassie Taffesse from trying to overhaul the system.

Habte-Selassie started by introducing duty-free shops with a capital he secured from his connections. He used the money to invent tourism in Ethiopia, doing more for the Ethiopian Tourism Organisation (ETO) than anyone else. He was a tour guide, driver, marketing agent, photographer, designer and much more.

These efforts did not disappear into the sky. The duty-free shops expanded to successfully grasp the attentions of the world. Newsweek magazine featured it in a full-page article as one of the world’s largest duty-free enterprises. This success story was not the limit for Habte-Selassie. He was restlessly inventing ideas to make the nation a tourist destination, although the hyper-conservative Ethiopian society of the time wrongly believed that advertising sights was akin to showing off. And that it sponsored spies who conspired against their own country.

While trying to promote the nation, he focused on Ethiopia’s unique calendar, which has thirteen months. Even though there is a rainy season, the sun still finds time to shine every single month of the year. This anomaly impressed Habte-Selassie. He coined the term ‘Thirteen months of sunshine’ and used it as a slogan for the country’s tourism industry. Posters, reading “Land of 13 Months of Sunshine”, and photos taken by him, publicised the nation’s untapped sights to the globe.

He had a challenging childhood. World War II was behind little Habte-Selassie’s plight, who was born two decades before the war in 1927, in Addis Abeba. His biological parents gave him to a Russian family when his father was assigned to the countryside, making his first language Russian. A few years later, his adoptive parents gave him to their daughter, who was married to a Greek man.

In fear of an Italian invasion, Habte-Selassie, with his new family, went to Greece. In the capital city of Athens, he began his primary education and studied the Greek language. Even though the family tried to run away, they ended up under fascist rule while German-Italian forces occupied Greece. When the war ended, Habte-Selassie was able to reunite with his biological parents through the International Red Cross.

He came back to Ethiopia and studied Amharic at Teferi Mekonnen School for one year. Because his father, Taffesse Habte-Michael (who was a Fitawrari, or Commander of the Vanguard), was assigned as the Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt, Alexandria became Habte-Selassie’s new home. During his stay there, he added English, Spanish and French to his library of languages, before leaving for the United States, to study Government & International Relations at Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

After getting his B.A. degree, he returned home to fill the scarcity of educated Ethiopians in the workforce at that time. The first job offered to him was in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Polyglottism was the reason behind the appointment.

Nevertheless, after the Emperor learned of the importance of tourism during the inaugural flight of Ethiopian Airlines to Germany, Habte-Selassie was assigned to establish an organisation.

This decision intertwined Habte-Selassie and tourism once and for all. As he once told Fortune, “Every obstacle is to my advantage.” He turned the assignment given to him, with little budget and staff, into a successful organisation.

His creativity and hard work in his post made him vital to many other issues of the nation. He was involved in Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce activities; he was part of the initiation and formation of regional organisations such as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). He represented the nation on the podium of the world in many major cities.

These outstanding deeds did not spare him from being jailed when the military junta took power after Emperor Haile Selassie. Miraculously, he survived the Grand Palace massacre, which took the lives of 60 high-level officials in the imperial circle.

Habte-Selassie spent more than eight years in prison. As exile deprived him of the bond with his biological parents, imprisonment estranged him from his three children. Maybe it is one of the things that brought sorrow to this accomplished and grateful man. His wife, Qestela Mesfin, the daughter of Ras Mesfin Seleshi, divorced him while he was in prison.

He used to serve inmates as a barber and as the head of cell sanitation even though he had to fend off xenophobic prejudice (because of his difficulty in speaking Amharic fluently).

When President Mengistu Haile-Mariam (Col.) set him free, after claiming he did not know why Habte-Selassie was in jail, he was assigned to the job he was born to do – tourism.

At that point, the nation had a shortage of foreign currency. Habte-Selassie’s role was to draw currency from tourist attractions. He suspected his freedom was secured because Fisseha Geda (Major), who became his immediate boss, and worked with him amicably, had demanded his release.

It is complicated to spot when a man who burned the candle at both ends retired. He was rushed and engaged in many projects. He has been serving the nation under the current government on a contract basis.

He was still creative and advising people on how to effectively use business and tourism opportunities. He believed only tourism would eradicate poverty from Ethiopia. He was designing and selling high-quality neckties and scarves in the last chapter of his life. Hosting big coffee carnivals in Ethiopia was one of the plans circulating in his mind. For him, there was no eligible country other than Ethiopia to invite tourists to drink coffee and smell the aroma.

On August 8, 2017, Ethiopia lost this giant because of a stroke. He was thankful for the life he had spent on Earth. He received much recognition for his contribution to the homeland. Most of all, he was named “the Father of Ethiopian Tourism” by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism in February 2011. Even though it was not sufficient, the media coverage he got helped him become acquainted with the new generation. He did not stop lobbying for the untapped potential of tourism in Ethiopia.

The nation has lost a great photographer and tourism dealer. His designs, like ‘The Historic Route’, need a gifted marketing thinker to come up with. The tour package crafted by him will give a chance to visitors to see the sources of the Nile, Lake Tana, Gonder, Lalibela and Axum in a single trip.

The pioneer of tourism in Ethiopia will be buried at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, on Sunday at 11:00 am. Habte-Selassie Taffesse is survived by two sons and a daughter.

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

IMMEDIATE VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT

Addisfortune

Independent News & Media Plc, publishers and distributors of the largest English weekly in Ethiopia, Fortune, would like to fill the following vacant positions as urgently as possible.

COPY EDITOR

We are looking for a successful candidate who is a native English speaker with editing skills who can proofread the entire publication in both soft and hard copies. The candidate is expected to be meticulous in language and editorial skills and have a good manner of communication. The copyeditor checks spelling, grammar, punctuation, content clarity, cross-references, formatting, accuracy, and quality of type. He or she examines page layouts and formats. Applicants are required to have knowledge of editing marks and terms, aptitude for using reference materials, and solid skills in composing headlines. The successful applicant will be required to interact with the editorial and design staff and be inquisitive when working on stories and feature pieces that appear in the newspaper. The job is fulltime, thus requiring the candidate’s full commitment, which involves working long and focused hours. The successful applicant is expected to introduce a marked change in improving adherance to deadlines at our newspaper while working together with a team of reporters and editors. Experience in working as a copyeditor with a periodical publication is advantageous. Computer skills and attention to detail are a must.

 

REPORTERS

We are searching for candidates who are graduates of law, political science, journalism, economics, finance, or literature from recognised universities. The ideal candidate should handle the pressures of daily deadlines, not be intimidated by workload pressure and stress, and have exceptional writing and reporting skills. Applicants must be well-grounded in news and have the ability to uncover stories about the economic and business sectors. Candidates must be able to write five originally sourced news stories each week, in addition to an unspecified number of shorter, non-reported daily briefs. Experience is preferred but is not a strict requirement. Some travel for coverage may be required.

 

PHOTO JOURNALIST

We are interested in hiring a promising photojournalist join our editorial team in our bid to visually tell the story of others in a “record what you see and present what you saw” manner. Applicants should have the desire to be “out and about”, having the technical proficiency to tell a story using electronic cameras and computers. In addition to the understanding of the technology currently used in cameras, lens, other supportive accessories and sufficient literacy of software used, candidates are required to display their commitment to ethical standard, for today’s world is full of image manipulation for purposes of advertising, commercials and enhanced effects in film. Applicants with two years of photographic experience, strong organisational skill, and values for the news industry that photos may be adjusted electronically to make them plain to readers but should not be manipulated to alter their meaning are preferred. Successful candidates are those persistent in getting the stories without being obnoxious.

 

It is absolutely essential that candidates enjoy working on multiple assignments, in a high-energy environment, and have the ability to collaborate with other members of the editorial team.

Please submit your applications, attached with relevant testimonials, to:

 

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November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

Objections To Your Prejudicial and Unbalanced Newspaper Reporting

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November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

The Year of Loss, Grief

Addisfortune

The past year witnessed the loss of prominent Ethiopian visionaries, artists and athletes. They have left a significant impact on the country and its youth as a whole. Their works and contributions have inspired many in the past and will continue to inspire the future generations. The nation has been grieving the loss of artists such as Tesfaye Sahlu, Solomon Lulu and recently, visionaries like Wolday Amha. ABEL WABELLA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, takes a glance at their lives and achievements to commemorate them.

Hailu Shawel
October 11, 2016

A public servant and notable political figure, Hailu Shawel (Eng.) was born in Kebena area of Addis Abeba in 1936. He attended his primary and secondary education at the Menelik II schools. After he graduated from Detroit based Wayne State University, he had served the nation in different responsibilities. He was a chief hydrologist in the Blue Nile Investigation Project and had played a managerial role in Ethiopian Roads Authority, Sugar Corporations and Farms later to be promoted as the Minister for State Farms Development. Shell International and Shawel Consult, the companies he had formed after he quit serving the public, were his involvements in the private sector.

He joined politics under the mentorship of Asrat Woldeyes (Prof.). After his guide was arrested and passed away, he took the leadership of United Amhara People’s Party. After his party changed its party name to All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUO), he was successful in attracting millions to his party from all over the country. The Party became a significant member party when Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) Party, a.k.a Kinjit was formed, and Hailu took the chairmanship. The father of six, Hailu, has passed away on October 6 and was laid to rest on October 11.2016, at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Abeba.

 

 

Tesfaye Dinka
December 6, 2016

 

A Politician, Tesfaye Dinka was born in 1939, in Ambo town of Oromia Regional State. After his elementary education in Ambo, he attended the General Wingate Secondary School. He earned his Master’s degree from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the American University in Beirut.

Tesfaye was one of the most highly educated officials of the military government. He served in different ministerial position including the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. His speech in support of United Nation’s resolution in the first Gulf War put much impression in the eyes of international community. He represented Ethiopian government in London Conference which was planned to end the civil war. But He did not take part in the conference because the government lost control of army units and the Mediator US Assistant Secretary, Assistant Herman J. Cohen urged Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) forces to monitor the capital and establish control.

In his exile, he worked for the World Bank and other agencies. He lived for years in the U.S. and was a Senior Advisor to the Global Coalition for Africa, an organisation dedicated to the economic development of Africa. He wrote a book entitled ‘ETHIOPIA: During the Derg Years’ before he died on December 6, 2016, in Fairfax, Virginia, aged 77, and is survived by his wife, four children, and four grandchildren.

 

 

Teshome Gebremariam
December 21, 2016

A corporate lawyer, Teshome Gebremariam was born in Adama (Nazareth) of Oromia Regional State, in 1930. He was a Graduate of McGill University in Canada, where he received a Master’s degree in Comparative Law; he had worked as the principal legal advisor of the Ethiopian Airlines, and the Executive Assistant to its General Manager. He was the first native Ethiopian Attorney General and Minister of State at the Ministry of Mines & Energy. In collaboration with Ketema Yifru and Kifle Wodajo, they drafted the charter of Organization of African Unity (OAU) at the time of its formation.

He was arrested for nine years under military government, although neither charged nor convicted of any crime. He was the first witness for the prosecution during the trial of members of the Dergue who stood trial in 1996. He testified that he and many others were imprisoned in the cellar of the Grand Palace.

Immediately after his release from jail, he served Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs as a legal consultant, then he established a private law firm. He was a member of international law societies such as the International Barrister’s Association, and the Ethiopian Lawyers’ Association. He had been working with international companies who have an investment in Ethiopia and United nation’s project to support the mining sector in Africa. Teshome passed away during a business trip to Namibia, on his birthday. His wife, a daughter and a granddaughter survive him.

 

Richard Pankhurst
February 16, 2017

 

A Renowned Scholar of Ethiopian Studies, Richard Pankhurst was born in England on December 3, 1927. Pankhurst (PhD) studied at Bancroft’s School in Woodford, then at the London School of Economics, from where he received a doctorate in Economic History. Richard has got his passion for Ethiopia from his mother, Sylvia Pankhurst, a champion of women’s right movement in Britain and campaigned against Italian fascist aggression on Ethiopia by writing several publications.  When his mother moved to Ethiopia, she brought him with his wife.

His time spent writing about and studying Ethiopian culture, politics and history eventually sparked in him a passion for activism. Much of his time until the end of his life was dedicated to campaigning for the return of artefacts looted from Ethiopia during various invasions, or being sold in market stalls to tourists. He was successful in bringing back the obelisk of Axum from Italy but failed to do the same to Ethiopian treasures looted after the battle of Meqdela.

He was the founding director of Ethiopian studies. He was a co-founder of the Journal of Ethiopian Studies and co-edited it for many years. He wrote and edited more than 40 books exclusively on Ethiopian related issue. He died of Parkinson’s disease on February 16, 2017. He was given a state funeral on February 21, 2017, at the Holy Trinity Cathedral church in Addis Ababa, next to his mother. His wife, his two children, and grandchildren survive him.

 

Assefa Chabo
April 23, 2017

A politician and writer, Assefa Chabo was born in Chencha, in the Gamo Gofa Zone of the Southern Nations Nationalities & Peoples’ Regional State. A graduate of Law from Haile Selassie I University, his appearance before the 1972 Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition was one of the milestones in his academic career. With his team members, Goshu Wolde (later Colonel and now living in the US) and Abdul Wasie Yusuf, he won the Best Memorial title, even though they were runners up in the Jessup World Cup Championship.

He was a figure to reckon with in the nation’s two missed opportunities; 1974 and 1991. He has maintaineda brief friendship with the former state leaders Mengistu Hailemariam (Col) and Meles Zenawi. Unfortunately, He had served eight years of imprisonment during Dergue and exiled in the time of transition government after EPRDF came to power.

Even though his book titled “Yetizita Feleg”, literally translated ‘threads of nostalgia’ and his social media visibility introduced him to the new generation his writing talent, as a wordsmith he is unarguably prolific. After two decades of exile life in the US, he died on April 23, 2017. Three children and nine grandchildren survive Assefa.

Jagama Kello
April 7, 2017

A war-hero and Patriot, Jagama Kello was born in the Ginchi area of Shewa, 81km from Addis Abeba. Just before the Second World War had fully surfaced and the Italian fascist forces invaded Ethiopia, Jagama was a fifteen year old boy. His youth did not fool him to trade his liberty for nothing.  He went to the bush with his peers without having guns; the only armed man in the group was Jagama’s elder brother. They became experts in ambushing Italian troops, and their fame became widespread not only among Patriots at that time but also among the invaders. In a single surprise attack, they had managed to kill 72 Italian soldiers and captured 3,000 rifles.

After Italy was defeated, Jagama started his long and successful military career.  He was very loyal to the Emperor, and had played a key role in reversing a coup d’état conspired by Neway brothers. Wounded many times, surviving a helicopter crash and many other wartime patriotic acts were his adventures in Ethiopia-Somalia war. He led the mission to crush Bale rebellion successfully and made stability without much bloodshed. He retired from the military with a rank of Lieutenant General. His wife Aster, his five daughters, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren survive him.

 

Miruts Yifter
December 22, 2016

An Olympic medalist Athlete, Miruts Yifter was born in Adigrat, in the Tigray Regional State of Ethiopia. In the earlier part of his adolescence Miruts worked in different factories and as a carriage driver. His running ability was exposed when he joined Ethiopian Air Force.

He showed off his talented legs to the world in 1971 when he ran in the first United States-Pan Africa Meet, in North Carolina, US. Then, he appeared in Munich 1972 and won a bronze medal in 10,000m long distance race, though he failed to appear in the 5,000m race. He was arrested for months because the authorities at the time took it as a sign of malingering. Fortunately, he had the privilege  to continue his training in prison.

When he was preparing for Montreal Olympics 1976, he learnt that Ethiopia had boycotted the game because of International Olympic Committee’s failure to ban pro-apartheid New Zealand, the Olympic team at that time.

During Moscow Olympics, he won double gold medals in a style the world had never seen before. His tactic of accelerating in the final laps of the race was the reason behind his widely known name, Yifter the Shifter. He was part of the gold-medal-winning team at the 1982 and 1983 International Cross-Country Championships.

Later in the 1990s, He was removed from national team coaching job, fled to Canada and claimed security forces physically abused him.  He engaged in athletic coaching in his exile life. Miruts died at the age of 72 due to respiratory ailments. Miruts had seven children, most of whom live outside Ethiopia.

 

Legesse Wetro
April 27, 2017

Renowned Astrophysicist, Legesse Wetro (PhD) was born in Arsi Negele, in the Oromia Regional State. He started his primary education in Asella. After he studied physics at Bedemariam Elite School at Addis Ababa University (AAU), he taught in Nifas Silk Secondary School for two years. After earning two Masters at AAU and University of Sheffield, England, Legesse did his PhD from the University of California in Astrophysics.

His outstanding academic performance attracted many scientific journals to publish his researches. He was the Founder of Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS) and founding member of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, African Astronomical Society, African and Ethiopian Physical Societies.

One of his notable achievements as an Astrophysicist was solving the problem of geomagnetic field reversals that had been lingering for more than four centuries in the academic circle. After returning home, he taught at Addis Ababa University and started producing a radio program on the nation’s first FM station.  This program has introduced him to the wider public. The lead scientist in theoretical pulsar astrophysics died on April 27, 2017, and his funeral was held at Peter and Paul Church, Addis Ababa. His wife and three children survive him.

 

Negash Gebre-Mariam
July 17, 2017

A Journalist and Author, Negash Gebre-Mariam was born in Wollo, Amhara Regional state. He had grown up in Harar, went to school in Chiro, a.k.a Asebe Teferi.

He started working at a mission school in Jimma. Later, while working for the US Information Service, he got a chance to study journalism at Montana University, in the US. Henceforward, after working in The Ethiopian Herald for a year, he transferred to Addis Zemen. Negash grabbed the credit of coining the Amharic equivalent for the word ‘editorial’ after consulting with well-known Geez scholar, Leke Seyouman Aklilu.

After that he was enrolled in many offices until he was forced to retire at the age of 52. Negash was also happy with decision. General Manager of the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), Acting Head of the state radio and television are some of posts he had assumed.

On his taking away, he wrote the widely known, satirical play ‘Ye Azawintoch Kebeb’ taking his jobless, educated gang circle as an inspiration. Negash enjoyed living with his family in the final chapter of his life. At last, cancer won over the formidable  journalist at the age 90. His wife and his two children survived him.

 

Asseged Tesfaye
June 05, 2017

National team striker, Assged Tesfaye was born in Dire Dawa, in 1970.  He was educated in his hometown. He started his football career in th Dire Dawa City Coca cola team. Henceforth, he played for the nation’s bigger football clubs; Ethiopia Insurance FC, St. George FC Ethiopian, and Ethiopian Coffee FC for 16 years.

He was one of the most successful strikers the country had ever seen. Some of his fans did not blink their eyes refering to him as Ethiopia’s Romario. Even though Ethiopia did not register significant favourable outcomes at his peak time, he got a chance to show his talent to the continent, Africa.  He was the highest goal scorer in the 23rd CECAFA Cup championship; He holds a record of scoring five goals in a single game in CAF Champions League. After he quit playing football in the major tournaments, Asseged focused on youth training and advising the national team’s technical committee. He was laid to rest in Sealite Mihret St. Mary Church on June 05, 2017. His wife and his son survive Assged.

 

Tekalign Mamo (Prof.)
Septemeber 08, 2017

Soil Scientist, Tekalign Mamo (Prof.) was born in Neqemte, Oromia Regional State, 318Km from Addis Abeba, in 1956. First, he attended Haramaya University to study Plant Science. He did his MSc & PhD in Soil Chemistry and Soil Fertility at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

He played a managerial role when Ethiopia rehabilitated more than 15 million hectares of degraded land through a successful community-based participatory watershed development strategy. Professor Tekalign was also responsible for conceiving and recommending a countrywide digital soil fertility survey of agricultural land, the Ethiopian Soil Information System (EthioSIS), which is the most advanced soil fertility mapping on the African continent.

He has published over 75 scientific papers and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals locally and abroad.  He has received several awards for his outstanding contribution to improving soil health and natural resource bases in Ethiopia, benefiting over 11 million smallholder farmers. He went to England to get medical treatment. Unfortunately, he could not make it. His funeral was held at Holy Trinity Cathedral on this Saturday, September 9, 2017. His wife and his two daughters survive him.

 

Tesfaye Sahlu a.k.a Ababa Tesfaye
July 31, 2017

A Singer, actor, choreographer, storyteller, musician, lyricist, children’s book writer and magician, Tesfaye Sahilu was born in Bale in Oromia Regional State in 1924. Tesfaye Sahlu, now better known by the name of his famous TV character Ababa Tesfaye, was educated in Genir Bale, Harer and Kokebe Tsibah School, Addis Abeba.

He had started his professional artistic career employed in City Hall Theatre & Cultural Centre in Addis Abeba as an actor.  He passionately played characters of every kind in plays like “Ha Hu Be Sidist Wor” and “Oedipus.” Since that time he has played in more than 70 theatres, in some, as an actress to cover the scarcity of female artists at that point.

Tesfaye who had served in United Nations forces in the Korean War, a.k.a Kagnew Battalion was a Jack-of-all-trades. He was awarded three golden watches from the last king of the nation. The children’s TV show he had been presenting in the state media, has served as a source of entertainment and moral values for more than a generation. On his retirement, he wrote four children’s books. Ababa Tesfaye died at the age of 96, and his funeral was conducted at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on August 2, 2017.

 

 

Habte-Selassie Taffesse
Aug 08, 2017

The Father of Ethiopian Tourism, Habte-Selassie Taffesse was born in Addis Abeba in 1927. He had grown up with two other families in addition to his biological parents. He began his primary education and studied the Greek language in Greece. After studying English, Spanish and French in Alexandria, egypt he went to Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota and graduated in Government & International Relations.

He served in Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a while, and with a direct order of the Emperor Haile Selassie, he established the Ethiopian Tourism out of the blue with limited resources. He introduced duty-free shops, and the capital he generated from it helped him expand the activities of the tourism commission. He is also the creator of national tourism brand ‘Thirteen months of Sunshine’ which served the nation well in the promotion. The tour package crafted by him gave chance to visitors to see the sources of the Nile, Lake Tana, Gonder, Lalibela and Axum in a single trip. After all these extraordinary contributions to the nation, Habte-Selassie spent more than eight years in prison under the Derg regime.

The pioneer of tourism in Ethiopia was buried at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, on Sunday at 11:00 am. Two sons and a daughter survive Habte-Selassie Taffesse.

 

Solomon Lulu
August 29, 2017

A professional musician, Solomon Lulu began his musical life in school bands and became one of the first three graduates of Yared School of Music (YSM). He did his masters in Bulgaria & Russia. When he returned home from Russia, he worked as a composer, performer, and a teacher. He served YSM in different responsibilities including Director and Dean of the school several times. The symphonies he composed got a wider publicity at home and abroad.

After Ethiopia has passed through radical regime change, Ethiopian athletes were ready to go Barcelona Olympics in 1992. It seemed the national anthem was unfit for the current stature of the country. The transitional government decided to recompose the national a­­­­nthem as soon as possible. This huge responsibility fell on the shoulders of two Ethiopians. While Dereje Melaku wrote, the lyrics, Solomon Lulu composed and arranged the music. Starting from the Olympic medal athletes, more than one generation has grown up chanting this composition. He was buried on August 29, 2017, at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

 

Gebru Mersha (PhD)
February 11, 2017

Defiant Marxist Scholar, Gebru Mersha (PhD) was born in Guraghe Zone, Ezja Wereda, in the Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ Regional State. He had his primary education in Bishoftu and Ambo. He studied Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University (AAU) along with the leaders of Ethiopian student movement.

Gebru was recruited for Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA), formerly known as Highway Authority. Later, when the Cabinet of Endalkachew Mekonnen made some reforms to please the public, it had assigned Gebru as a Governor of Haykochina Butajira District. Then, he fled to Assimba, rural parts of Tigray Regional State and became the commander of the guerrilla fighters of his party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). When the army was dispersed due to several attacks, Gebru exiled to Holland, studied his masters and later completed his PhD at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He returned home and became a lecturer after the regime change.

Gebru has proved that his conviction on Marxism is unshakable in all walks of life. His comrades and students agree to call him an advocate for Women’s right, the staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, a critique of the World Bank, IMF, NGOs, Liberalism and Neoliberalism. Capitalism did not break Gebru, but Alzheimer’s did, on February 11, 2017. His funeral was held on February 12, 2017, at the Entoto Kidane Mihret Church. Two daughters and a grandchild survive Gebru.

 

Yilma Habteyes
April 18, 2017

Renowned detective stories author, Yilma Habteyes, was born in Addis Abeba, in 1938. After attending traditional church school, he went to Lycée Guébré-Mariam School. He studied Laboratory Science. He was able to strengthen his training at home and abroad in Sweden. He started his professional career in Ras Desta Hospital. He then worked at Ethio- Swedish Pediatric Clinic until he retired.

In his five decades of authorship, Yilma has managed to write 16 highly celebrated novels and seven TV dramas. The generation who has grown up consuming his detective stories called him “Ethiopia’s Agatha Christie” by considering his contribution to Ethiopian Literature. Yilma has gone away leaving his stories in the minds of his readers, at the age of 79. The funeral was held on April 19, 2017, at Asko Saint Gabriel Church. A daughter and wife survive Yilma.

 

Wolday Amha (PhD)
September 07, 2017

A renowned economist, Wolday Amha (PhD) was born in Hawzen, Tigray Regional State. He had received M.Sc in Economics Development & Planning from Addis Ababa University and PhD in Agricultural Economics (agricultural marketing) at the Technical University of Berlin.

University Lecturer, Advisor at Ministry of Agriculture, Board of Directors at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), President of Tigray Development Association (TDA) were some of the responsibilities he had accomplished in the past. He has served Ethiopian Economic Association as a President for four years. He was Member of the National Advisory Committee to promote the export of agricultural products in Ethiopia. He was Editor of Microfinance Development Review.

Wolday has published and edited many academic journal articles, books in areas of finance, economics, poverty reduction and agriculture in Ethiopia. Before a car accident took his life, he was serving as an executive director of the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions. The funeral of Wolday was held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church on September 9, 2017. His three children survived Wolday.

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

Assefa Chabo, Controversial Politician, Writer, Dies at 75

Addisfortune

He was a man of letters. Reading he did through tonnes of books, reflected primarily in his writings where he loved quoting the notables. But, no other notable may have a personal connection to the life and tribulations of Assefa Chabo, a renowned politician in his own right, as Douglas MacArthur, an American five-star general during the Second World War.

“Old soldiers never die,” said the General as one of his three most famous statements. “They fade away.”

Assefa passed away on April 23, 2017, in a hospital far away from Chencha, a place he hailed from, and which he penned on so fondly in many of his essays and a book titled “Yetizita Feleg”, literally translated threads of nostalgia. It was a collection of many of his essays written over decades, largely reflecting the context of his and his contemporaries’ journey in life.

He lived his formative and formidable years during the most turbulent and controversial decades of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Assefa had as much of a controversial personality as many of his comrades, friends and foes. However, his talent as a wordsmith is unarguably prolific; despite it being his second language, his mastery of Amharic non-fiction writing is no less than legendary.

But his historical and political arguments are far from certain.

He has many admirers for the originality of his views; his critics may advance in number. Many question his role during the troubling years of the ‘Red Terror’, as the reasons and circumstances for his departure into exile remain little known.

Nonetheless, he had come a long way from his childhood in Chencha, in the Gamo Gofa Zone of the southern regional state, situated more than 450Km south of Addis Ababa. Assefa’s depiction of his birthplace, a plateau up in one of the mountains that spring up in Gamo, is simply captivating. He died having a romantic memory of the place, despite having been detached from it for decades, partly due to incarceration and in part due to exile.

Assefa’s rebellion started early on while attending school at primary level in Chencha. He was fired from an ecclesiastical school where he began studying. With some issues, he went on to Shashemane to finalise his primary education.

Getting a good result in an entry exam for a teacher’s college brought him to Addis Ababa before he joined the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority as a Meteorologist.

But the years he had enrolled to study law at Haile Selassie I University, now Addis Ababa University, was a time of student revolt and regional uprisings against the Imperial regime. Radical student movement leaders – from Tilahun Gizaw to Walelegn Mekonnen – were studying there; their slogan was “Land to the Tiller” and their mantra was “Marxism.”

While at the University, Assefa had campaigned for Mekonnen Bishaw (PhD), in an election to lead a student council, which Tilahun Gizaw had lost.

Assefa’s appearance before the 1972 Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition was one of the milestones in his academic career. With his team members, Goshu Wolde (later Colonel and now living in the US) and Abdul Wasie Yusuf, he won the Best Memorial title even though they were runners up in the Jessup World Cup Championship. Nevertheless, the trio received an imperial gold medal, which gave them significant media coverage.

This popularity and his column in the Amharic state daily Addis Zemen paved the way for his rather turbulent political career. As a politician, Assefa was not in the unknown. He was a figure to reckon with in the nation’s two missed opportunities: 1974 and 1991.

Following the demise of the Imperial regime, by junior officers in the military, the tactical preference of whether to work with the soldiers was one of the main fault lines among the students who grouped themselves along the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (EPRP) and the All Ethiopian Socialist Movement (AESM), a.k.a. Me’eson.

Assefa belonged to neither of them, despite having friends in both camps. His relationship with the leaders of these parties, the foremost ships boarding most voyagers of leftist politicians, was mutually unpleasant. He was instrumental in the formation of another party, the Ethiopian Oppressed People’s Revolutionary Struggle (EOPRS), Ech’at in its Amharic acronym.

Comprising largely of people of southern origin, the leadership was composed of figures such as Baro Tumsa and Lencho Letta, and many others mostly from Oromia and southern parts of the country. Organising this party, Assefa was known to be close to the officers in government, who had grouped themselves under the political banner, Se’ded, chaired by Mengistu Hailemariam (Col.), also head of the Derg.

Little is known on what turned his relationship sour with the officers, and in particular with Mengistu. What is known remains controversial; when the officers in government found out about his involvement in party politics, and Ech’at was deemed a platform for a clandestine formation of a separatist group under the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), he was thrown into jail under the direct order of Mengistu. He came to despise, publicly, of some of the leaders of the OLF.

Assefa hardly got to practice law he was trained for. He was to remain in incarceration in the infamous Ma’ekelawi.

He met his political foes there while under solitary confinement. Fikre Zergaw and Birhanemeskel Reda of the EPRP were kept there before they were executed. He was in fear, but his gods were not eager to close the chapter on him.

Assefa drew a parallel of his time in Ma’ekelawi to Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy.’ It is like going to hell alive, but it was not completely dark. He had a knack for reading inmates like a book.

He stayed there for a little over a decade, with his solitary confinement easing eventually.

His sudden release from jail was followed by a regime change of the Marxist military government, by rebel forces under the leadership of individuals who were student radicals when Assefa was in college. He did not hesitate to be part of a transitional government, although shunned by many of the survivors of the EPRP and AESM. Mostly composed of the ruling EPRDF and the OLF, this government incorporated several other smaller parties, including Assefa’s newly formed Omotic Peoples’ Democratic Front (OPDF).

Assefa’s honeymoon with the new order was to end abruptly. Articles alleging him to have had a hand in the years of the Red Terror began to appear in the Amharic state daily Addis Zemen. No sooner, he had left the country for the United States. While there, Special Attorney, Grima Waqjira, pressed charges against him prompting Assefa to begin life in exile.

Some people do not buy this story. However, a 17-page document surfaced later on on the Internet, implicating the office Assefa was in charge of back in the late 1970s for the murder of student activists.

The document, a statement by the Public Organization Affairs Office of the province Gamo-Gofa, where Assefa was an administrator, conceded to eliminate anti-revolutionaries under custody in the province for, “feeding them is not different from bureaucratic tardiness.”

Despite its wide circulation, the authenticity of this document remains unverified. However, justices of the Supreme Court of the Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ State found Assefa guilty of “genocide and extrajudicial killings” in Gamo-Gofa during the time of the military regime. They sentenced him in absentia along with 48 others to 16 years of rigorous imprisonment.

In exile for over two decades, Assefa lived in more than 11 American states. Although nostalgia might have made his life unbearable and forced him into seclusion, his witty writings and provocative interviews helped him reconnect with his folks at home. His visibility in social media in recent years was viral, and created animated discussions and quarrelsome exchanges, albeit intermittently.

Because he was alive and robust in his media presence, his death was little expected. He passed away in a hospital in Dallas, Texas, perhaps profoundly attached to his birthplace, where he had plans to build a villa in Chencha. He was dreaming to live there, and not to die in a place thousands of miles away.

Assefa is survived by three children and nine grandchildren, while his eldest son died eight years ago.

November 10th 2017, 6:47 am

Richard Pankhurst, Renowned Scholar of Ethiopian Studies, Dies At 90

Addisfortune

Our subscribers to the print edition are entitled to get a bonus in a form of early access to our digital edition.Use the bank detail below or call our office at +251-011-416-3020 to subscribe – only 457.60 Br for 52 editions – and enjoy access to www.addisfortune.net beginning on SUNDAYS as early as 6:00am!

February 26th 2017, 3:04 pm

Richard Pankhurst: A Ruthless Taskmaster

Addisfortune

It was almost 20 years ago when I met Richard Pankhurst at the home of a Canadian diplomat. I was in awe of him and his energetic wife, Rita, the Emperor and Empress of the expatriate community in Ethiopia.

When I later got to know him a lot better as fellow columnists for the Addis Tribune, an English weekly, he on history and me on travel, I found out what a gentle and modest man he was. But there was another side as well – a fierce and relentless fighter for what he considered right. He called me the ‘bold one’ for my travel writings, but I could not hold a candle to his boldness.

Richard came by his bold campaigning genetically no doubt, with his mother and grandmother the champions of women’s rights in Great Britain, and his mother’s tireless efforts for Abyssinia after the Italian invasion in 1935.

He turned his long time association with Ethiopia into being an effective campaigner for the return of the Axum Obelisk, stolen by the Italians and erected in Rome. It seemed a hopeless cause, but Richard’s dogged determination never let up and finally helped to secure the return of the Obelisk to its original home.

Perhaps less well known is Richard’s endless effort to have other Ethiopian treasures returned and to retain historical treasures in Ethiopia when they were targeted by greedy collectors. During one of my frequent trips to London, I used my British Library reading card to take a look at the Kibre Negest kept there, the holy book of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia taken from the country by the British in 1868.

The Curator who interviewed me before looking at the book asked if knew Richard Pankhurst, which I admitted I did. He made me promise not to try to steal the copy and bring it back to Ethiopia, which I wish I had.

Richard wrote dozens of books and countless articles mainly on Ethiopian history, providing an invaluable source for scholars into the future. Much of what he has recorded would have disappeared without him. His commitment to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) is also legendary.

Having been the Director for many years, he subsequently led the Society of Friends of the IES (SFIES). They had a marvelous program on raising funds to buy Ethiopian treasures – mainly icons – which were put on the market in Merkato for sale to foreigners. These were all added to the IES collection and eventually were put on display beautifully at the IES Icon display on the third floor of the museum.

I felt the steely side of Richard when he put the arm on me to join the SOFIES committee, specifically as the chair of the fundraising committee. He also gave us no small assignment – to raise several million dollars for a new museum to replace the tired and crumbling library at the Ras Makonnen Palace. This proved to be a very tough job indeed, but the library is under construction with Richard raising far more of the funds than I ever managed.

It was a very sad day when Richard was buried on February 21, 2017, at the Trinity Church in front of thousands of admirers and friends. He was a colleague, a friend, and a ruthless taskmaster! Never was there a better gentleman and activist.

Richard leaves behind his very accomplished family – the indomitable Rita, his worthy successor as academic Alula, and the strong-willed Helen, a campaigner, and activist in her own right.

There will be a very large gap where Richard used to be; he will leave a giant hole in Ethiopia and in our hats. Personally, I am buoyed by the many happy moments spent with him and family at their joyful home or at ours.

By John Graham

John Graham, a Canadian humanitarian activist, has been working in Ethiopia since 1997. He now serves as a country director for the Save the Children in Ethiopia.

February 26th 2017, 3:04 pm

Cooperative Agencies Distinct from Cooperative Sector

Addisfortune

Dear Editors,

This letter comes as a response to your recent viewpoint published on February 19, 2017 headlined “Change from Farming to Industry Herculean Task” [Volume 14, Number 877]. The viewpoint presented in the article misunderstands the relationship between cooperative agencies and the cooperative sector. The intent of this letter is to clarify the relationship between the cooperative agencies and the cooperative sector.

In the article it was stated that “the cooperative agencies and unions are buyers of agricultural products from each member farmers.”

It does not make clear the existing mandate, ownership boundary and relationship of the cooperative agencies and the cooperative sector.

The cooperative agency is a government body established with a mandate to promote, and register cooperatives as service provider member owned economic institutions, build the cooperative sector service rendering capacity and regulate the sector based on the national cooperative proclamation, directives and International Cooperative Principles (ICP).

The cooperative sector provides the farmers input-output marketing through its own structure, the primary farmers’ cooperatives receive agricultural input from the cooperative unions top farmers to supply to its members and aggregate agricultural output from its members to supply to the cooperative union top farmers and to create economics of scale to bargain in the market.

Therefore, the primary cooperatives and top farmers’ cooperative unions are the ones doing the entire commodity transactions and the agencies are supporting the sector to make them an efficient and cost effective service provider to the economically powerless communities in the market.

The cooperative sector is a private sector which belongs to member shareholders, such as farmers in rural areas or consumers in urban areas. In the cooperative sector, members are owner investors, ultimate decision makers and users of the cooperative services, so the government (Cooperative Agencies) has no stake in ownership and cannot make such transactions.

What makes the cooperative sector different from the profit oriented private businesses is that they are not for profit maximization, but provide fairly priced services and investment dividend to its user members not to outside investors.

We would like to make clear the misunderstanding and create the correct understanding of the Cooperative Sector.

Getachew Mergia: Cooperative Development Expert

February 26th 2017, 3:04 pm

NICE Insurance Needs to be More Friendly

Addisfortune

National Insurance Company of Ethiopia (NICE) is the first private company, established in 1994, to engage itself in General Insurance. It was locally a moment of truth, at a time when few entrepreneurs dared to invest their contributed shares. It was the first stride to officially get out of the controlled economy of the country.

This friendly insurance company has many sympathizers. I am one of them, as a long-time corporate customer.

I am of the opinion that NICE’s board members and top management group have to critically assess why their company is lagging far behind. As a result, they have to reinstate and maintain their renowned customer service. Your newspaper reported that the Deputy CEO has been forced out of his post (Fortune Newspaper, Vol 17, No. 870). He proclaimed to be a broker after obtaining licenses from the National Bank of Ethiopia. The bank very well knows his prominence in the insurance industry.

The vacant post of the deputy CEO should be replaced by a person who has high integrity, quality leadership and proven interpersonal relationship.

We all wish our friendly NICE to remain nice as used to be.

Longtime Customer.

 

February 17th 2017, 9:05 pm

Fortune is Looking for a Reporter

Addisfortune

We are searching for candidates who are graduates of law, political science, journalism, economics, finance, or literature from recognised universities. The ideal candidate should handle the pressures of daily deadlines, not be intimidated by workload pressure and stress, and have exceptional writing and reporting skills. Applicants must be well-grounded in news and have the ability to uncover stories about the economic and business sectors. Candidates must be able to write five originally sourced news stories each week, in addition to an unspecified number of shorter, non-reported daily briefs. Experience is preferred but is not a strict requirement. Some travel for coverage may be required.

February 7th 2017, 10:35 am

Vacancy Opening For a Research Editor

Addisfortune

POSITION:                              RESEARCH EDITOR

SECTION:                               Editorial

REQUIRED CANDIDATE:    One

PLACE OF WORK:                Addis Abeba

COMPENSATION:                 A gross monthly salary of 8,000.00 (Eight Thousand) Birr, and additional benefits to be negotiated.

JOB SUMMERY:                    The ideal candidate should handle the pressure of daily deadlines, not to be intimidated by workload pressure and stress, and have exceptional data analysis and interpretational skills. Applicants must have the ability to easily locate and interpret raw data about the economic and business sectors.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:      A graduate of economics, mathematics, or finance from recognised universities.

 

 

It is absolutely essential that candidates enjoy working on multiple assignments, in a high-energy environment, and have the ability to collaborate with other members of the editorial team. Please submit your applications, attached with relevant testimonials, to:

 

INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA PLC

TEGENE BUILDING, 7TH FLOOR

ADJACENT TO GLOBAL HOTEL ON SIERRA LEONE STREET

TEL: 251-(0)11-416-3020; FAX: 251-(0)11-416-3039

EMAIL: fortune@addisfoprtune.com

PO Box: 259 CODE 1110, ADDIS ABEBA – ETHIOPIA

January 31st 2017, 10:16 am

Vacancy Opening For A Research Editor

Addisfortune

POSITION:                              RESEARCH EDITOR

SECTION:                               Editorial

REQUIRED CANDIDATE:    One

PLACE OF WORK:                Addis Abeba

COMPENSATION:                 A gross monthly salary of 8,000.00 (Eight Thousand) Birr, and additional benefits to be negotiated.

JOB SUMMERY:                    The ideal candidate should handle the pressure of daily deadlines, not to be intimidated by workload pressure and stress, and have exceptional data analysis and interpretational skills. Applicants must have the ability to easily locate and interpret raw data about the economic and business sectors.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:      A graduate of economics, mathematics, or finance from recognised universities.

It is absolutely essential that candidates enjoy working on multiple assignments, in a high-energy environment, and have the ability to collaborate with other members of the editorial team. Please submit your applications, attached with relevant testimonials, to:

 

INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA PLC

TEGENE BUILDING, 7TH FLOOR

ADJACENT TO GLOBAL HOTEL ON SIERRA LEONE STREET

TEL: 251-(0)11-416-3020; FAX: 251-(0)11-416-3039

EMAIL: fortune@addisfoprtune.com

PO Box: 259 CODE 1110, ADDIS ABEBA – ETHIOPIA

January 31st 2017, 10:15 am

Fortune is Looking To Hire a New Copy Editor

Addisfortune

We are looking for a successful candidate who is a native English speaker with editing skills who can proofread the entire publication in both soft and hard copies. The candidate is expected to be meticulous in language and editorial skills and has a good manner of communication. The copyeditor checks spelling, grammar, punctuation, content clarity, cross-references, formatting, accuracy, and quality of type. He or she examines page layouts and formats. Applicants are required to have knowledge of editing marks and terms, aptitude for using reference materials, and solid skills in composing headlines. The successful applicant will be required to interact with the editorial and design staff and be inquisitive when working on stories and feature pieces that appear in the newspaper. The job is full time, thus requiring the candidate’s full commitment, which involves working long and focused hours. The successful applicant is expected to introduce a marked change in improving adherence to deadlines at our newspaper while working together with a team of reporters and editors. Experience in working as a copyeditor with a periodical publication is advantageous. Computer skills and attention to detail are a must.

January 31st 2017, 9:43 am

Private Sector Innovator

Addisfortune

When Asfaw Tefera, a former teacher, diplomat, author, publisher, and entrepreneur opened Imperial Hotel in the 1990s, it was the culmination of an effort that began in the waning years of the Dergue regime, and was part of the turning point of Ethiopia’s economic transition.

The last few years of the Dergue were a turbulent time, socially, politically and economically. The stronghold that the Dergue regime had on the country was starting to fail. In 1990, in a speech to the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Ethiopia, Mengistu Hailemariam, the then President, acknowledged that socialism had failed and that the country would now transition into a mixed economy.

The transition from a command economy to a mixed economy meant that people could now start to own private property, albeit under the watchful eye of the government. There would be no limit on capital investment. Commercial enterprises could build hotels and businesses; individuals could build houses and office to rent or sell. The private sector began to come into its own. It was a turning point for the Ethiopian economy.

It was during this time that Asfaw Tefera, began plans to build Imperial Hotel, a landmark in Addis Abeba to this day. The hotel was completed only after the Dergue regime was overthrown by the TPLF and its allies, but it was a point of pride for Asfaw to be able to set up a business like that in his own country.

Imperial was eventually sold to Access Resorts, which in turn sold the property to the state owned Metal & Engineering Corporation (MeTEC).

His career had taken him all over Africa, in the capacity of a diplomat and a business person. These experiences gave him a lifelong interest in African affairs. However, it was literature that captured his attention. During a stint in the Ethiopian diplomatic corps in Nigeria, which, at the time served the whole of West Africa, Asfaw got a chance to study some printing press techniques, which he brought back to Ethiopia and formed Chamber Printing Press, with a 5000 Br loan. Literature would become one of the significant parts of his life. Asfaw authored over 10 books, in Amharic and English on a wide variety of subjects.

Asfaw Tefera was born in 1928, in western Hararge. He attended the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London on an exchange program, where he studied school administration. This would lead most of his career after he completed his education, as he spent time teaching in primary, and secondary schools, as well as in the teachers’ college.

He died on January 23, 2017 after a prolonged illness. He was 88 years old. He is survived by his wife Tiruwork Mengistu, his five children and five grandchildren.

“He had a strong character,” says his son Tsegaye Asfaw. “His last words to me were ‘I had a full life’. I will always remember that.”

January 28th 2017, 3:12 pm

We Seek Amicable Solution to Our Dispute

Addisfortune

In response to your news story headlined, “Factory Owners Skip Town, Investors Cry Foul” [Volume 17, Number 869, December 25, 2016, we hereby would like to use our right of reply against the news.

The shareholders of ELSE Addis Industrial Development Plc, Seyfettin Kocak and Imam Altinbas, have made total investments of nearly 40 million dollars within the borders of Ethiopia as foreign investors until the day when the original news about them was published.

In the news it was claimed that the two businessmen fled the country without making necessary payments to the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), tax authorities and suppliers.

On the contrary, the two investors heard about the news and the travel ban decision made for them when they were about to travel to Ethiopia for taking part in the Turkish Ethiopian Joint Economic Business Council that was held in Addis Abeba on December 28, 2016.

Contrary to the original news it is also not true that they left the country two weeks ago in a rush.

Quite the opposite, the investors made an official application to the Investment Commission on November 24, 2016, in order to “start negotiations for the settlement of the dispute in an amicable manner” in line with the investment act signed between the two countries.

Contrary to the claims made in the original news, management of ELSE Addis Investment Plc was seized on September 15, 2016, and the two investors have not had any right to manage the facilities after that date.

The main reason for the investment dispute was that the Omo Valley Farm Corp. PlC industrial agriculture project, which was not mentioned in the original news, although it is one of the most important investments in the agriculture industry of the country, could not be financed under the agreement that had been made with the

Bank. This important project was financed by ELSE Addis Industrial Plc.

Because of the loan amounts that were not advanced by the Bank in spite of the loan contract signed, ELSE Addis Industrial Plc has been unable to fulfil its obligations towards the Bank.

While it is not possible to finance the project with the use of the domestic credit sources because of the economic developments experienced by the country, state of emergency conditions eliminate international financing opportunities as well.

In addition, the current process points out the fact that the actual violence directed to foreign investors in the country in the recent period is now continuing in a new dimension.

However, we would like to inform the public that the investors will continue to trust the country and support their hope for an amicable solution in full determination.

On behalf of Seyfettin Kocak

Emre Tikansak (Att. )


 

January 15th 2017, 7:41 am

Call for Balanced and Factual Reporting

Addisfortune

Dear Editors,

This letter comes as a response to your recent story headlined “Nile’s CEO Departs, profit down” [Vol.17 Number 869, Dec. 25, 2016]. The viewpoints presented in the article are grossly biased and misinformed. The very intent of this letter is not only to point meticulousness but also to build partnership where there is a room for better communication.

The headline and the first paragraph read “Nile’s CEO Depart, profit down” and “Nile Insurance’s CEO has stepped down following declining profits for the second year in row.” We were asked if the CEO’s resignation was following the decline in profit and responded that Melaku Sisay left the company on his own accord. On the same subject, you have mentioned that Melaku’s resignation came two weeks after the annual shareholders meeting while it was only after a week.

You have described that Nile has reported a zero income from life funds for the second year in row and the information we provided was not even quoted properly. The reporting looks inattentive for a couple of reasons; first, the life fund for the FY was 56, 410, 154 Br portraying an increase of 21.8pc and it was clearly stated on the annual report we provided your good office. Second, if it was meant for profit from life insurance, it’s a regular undertaking to declare life profit every three years after proper actuarial valuation is done, which in our case is 2016/17. It’s not something peculiar to Nile, it’s an industry practice. However, the article sounds as if Nile fails to perform in the long-term insurance during the reporting period.

It was reported that Nile’s Future HQ building is a 35 storey building, while it is actually 25 and clear information of the same is provided. Regarding the building’s contract price, it’s reported as 17 million Br while it’s 173 million Br.

Salary and benefits policy was mentioned quoting some of our employees. We acknowledge that there were employees who raised salary increment and bonus payment issues for the year ended June 30, 2016 and were addressed by the management on time. However, we don’t believe it should be reported generically as if it’s an issue of policy as the company didn’t violate its policy with that regard.

Our salary was reported to be the lowest in the industry according to our “senior clerk”. We have been asked if the same is true and responded that our company has one of the best competitive salary scales in the industry which can be proved. Nevertheless, we didn’t get your mercy to be quoted back in response to our staff’s strong statement.

You have mentioned that 10 department managers, seven branch managers and eight senior level staff have left the company during the recently ended fiscal year. The fact on the ground is, we had two department managers (out of 14 departments), three branch managers (out of 37 branches) and two senior staffs who had left the company during the budget year in their own accord, which we presume is only natural.

Moreover, we don’t see the relevance of reporting such an insignificant number of staff turnovers unless inspired by something else. During the year 2015/16, we had a staff retention rate of 95 percent which is commendable.

You have reported that we have a share worth of 75 million Birr at Bank of Abyssinia and Ethiopia Reinsurance Corporation, which simply is not true. We have 75 and 25 million birr of shares at BOA and Ethio-Re respectively.

Finally, it’s disappointing that Fortune reported and seemingly quoted the perspective of two staff members without seeking or intentionally disregarding alternative views from our company. Thus, the article does a truly great contempt to Nile by failing to present a balanced outlook.

Going forward, we appreciate if you critically pay attention to your editorials prior going public for such thin-skinned matters which would affect credibility on both sides.

Ermias Teshome: Manager, Marketing and Strategic Planning, Nile Insurance

December 31st 2016, 5:26 pm

Teshome Gebremariam: Titan of an Era, Dies at 86

Addisfortune

It is rare for Mengesha Seyoum (Ras), a nobility from the north and a great grandson of Emperor Yohannes IV, to stand before mourners to read an eulogy, inside the Holy Trinity Church. That was what he did in the afternoon of Wednesday, December 21, 2016, bidding a farewell to Teshome Gebremariam, a prominent corporate lawyer, passed on December 16.

The two have known each other for over 50 years. Upon Teshome’s return to Ethiopia in 1958, graduating from McGill University in Canada, where he received a Master’s degree in Comparative Law, he had worked as the principal legal advisor of the Ethiopian Airlines, and the Executive Assistant to its General Manager.

Mengesha was the Chairman of the Airline’s Board. Teshome’s work as his advisor led the Airline to have a successful transition of its fleet from old fashioned small aircraft, to jets. It was a milestone in the history for the national carrier and a service to a nation from a man whose origin was in Adama (Nazareth) of Oromia Regional State, 100Km east of Addis Abeba.

Born in 1930, three years before the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, Teshome’s early childhood was a peripatetic one. His family travelled from place to place in order to avoid the worst of the Italian atrocities that came with the occupation lasted for five years.

At the end of the occupation in 1938, Emperor Haileselassie returned from exile and took over the ruling of the country from the British-led interim military administration. The Ethiopia he returned to was not the same one he had left. Patriots, Italian loyalists and members of the Emperor’s old regime were in conflict about who should rightfully help rule. However, the Emperor’s time in exile with loyalists had given him a new vision for the future of Ethiopia; a progressive society with a modern governance system. Education was one of the most important areas in his vision, and his contribution acknowledged even by his staunch critics.

Young men would be educated at the few schools in Ethiopia before they were sent overseas to receive advanced studies, and get a sense of what a modern governance system would look like. They would then come back and put that knowledge to use in Ethiopia. Teshome was one of the beneficiaries of the Emperor’s rebuilding scheme.

He was one of the two survivors of that generation of Western-educated intellectuals. His contemporary, Minassie Haile, lives in the United States. The two were among the first graduates from the Haile Selassie I University College, and as such, received diplomas from the Emperor himself.

In 1965, Teshome became the first Ethiopian Attorney General, a post which he held for three years as the first native Ethiopian. His legal expertise was instrumental in the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in the early 1960s, and the drafting of the organization’s charter, alongside Ketema Yifru and Kifle Wodajo .

In 1967, Teshome became the minister of Mines, where he pushed for the passing of a full mining law and instrumental in helping the Ministry to enter agreements with companies that wanted to mine on Ethiopian land.

A decade later, in 1974, the Emperor was deposed by a collection of junior military officers known to the country as Dergue. Teshome was imprisoned along with other members of the Imperial government, and remained in detention up until 1983. He was not prosecuted, nor was he convicted of any crime.

But unlike more than 60 of the Emperor’s nobles, dignitaries and officials, who were murdered in November 1975, Teshome had lived longer to tell the story. He was the first witness for the prosecution during the trial of members of the Dergue who stood trail in 1996. He testified that he and many others were imprisoned in the cellar of the Grand Palace. After his release from prison, he briefly worked in the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs as a legal consultant, before leaving to establish his own law office.

A member of international law societies such as the International Barrister’s Association, and the Ethiopian Lawyers’ Association, Teshome became one of the foremost corporate lawyers in the country, advising and representing national and international companies in their investments in Ethiopia, as well as the United Nations in matters pertaining to the revitalization of the African mining sector.

A lucid storyteller of the Ethiopian political history, Teshome is remembered by those who know him close for his uplifting and lively character.

Many regret that he has departed without leaving behind his autobiography, reflecting the extraordinary time he has lived.

Teshome passed away during a business trip to Namibia, on his birthday. He is survived by his wife, one daughter and one granddaughter.

By MENNA ASRAT, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

 

December 24th 2016, 7:01 pm

Tesfaye Dinka: A Towering Figure in Turbulent Times

Addisfortune

Obituary

 

Tesfaye Dinka, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, passed away on December 6, 2016, in the United States. He was 77.

Tesfaye was best known as the Prime Minister who led the Ethiopian delegation to the London Conference, the US brokered platform which sought to end the civil war in Ethiopia. The conference eventually paved the way for the transfer of power to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation front in Ethiopia, and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in Asmara.

He served as the Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister between 1989 and 1991. After military support from the Soviet bloc for Mengistu Hailemariam’s government dried up, Tesfaye was instrumental in building a relationship with the Bush administration, who sent an envoy to Ethiopia to show good will to the United States. After the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, the United States sought a resolution from the United Nations Security Council to use force against Iraq. Tesfaye was an enthusiastic supporter and voted in favour of the resolution. His comparison of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia at the start of the Second World War left a large impression on the international community.

Then in the early months of 1991, against a backdrop of losses to insurgent forces from both the TPLF and the EPLF across large portions of the country, then-President Mengistu Hailemariam reshuffled his government, in a gesture to his opponents, and replaced several hardline supporters with moderates. Among the new, more moderate members of the government were Tesfaye Gebrekidan (Lieutenant-General) as Vice President and Tesfaye Dinka, who was moved from the foreign ministry to the premiership. Both men were among the advisers who were urging negotiation with the rebels from Tigray and Eritrea.

Tesfaye took on the role of Prime Minister for three months before the Derg was officially toppled in late May 1991. Mengistu Hailemariam had fled the country almost a week earlier, leaving Tesfaye Gebrekidan as head of state. It was in the midst of these events that the London Conference was hosted. Tesfaye Dinka headed the party representing the government of Ethiopia. Also in attendance were Esayas Afwerki, representing the EPLF, the EPRDF under TPLF leader Meles Zenawi, and the OLF under its deputy secretary general, Lencho Letta. Assistant United States Secretary of State Cohen served as a mutually acceptable mediator.

Talks had barely gotten off the ground before reports came in that Lieutenant-General Tesfaye had lost control of remaining armed units and that Addis Ababa was under threat of a total breakdown of law and order. Cohen recommended that EPRDF forces seize control. In spite of Tesfaye Dinka’s vehement protests, he was overruled and subsequently withdrew from the conference, accusing the American representatives of duplicity.

Following the establishment of the new government, Tesfaye moved to London and then eventually to the United States. He worked for the World Bank and other agencies, as well as serving as an advisor to the Global Coalition for Africa.

Tesfaye wrote a book entitled ““Ethiopia during the Derg Years: An Inside Account,” although he died before its publication. The book will be released in the next month, according to Tsehai Publishers.

“As sad as we are with his passing, we are also grateful to him and his family for working with Tsehai Publishers over the past three years to capture his story and leave it for the next generation in his new book. Ato Tesfaye is a very good example of how time is of great importance for historians and publishers alike to document the history of prominent people whose stories are intertwined with Ethiopian history and present day,” read a public statement released by the publisher.

Tesfaye was born in 1939, in Ambo town of Oromia Regional State. After his elementary education in Ambo, he attended the General Wingate Secondary School. He earned his Master’s degree from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the American University in Beirut. He was one of the most highly educated officials of the military government. He is survived by his wife and four children.

 

By MENNA ASRAT

FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

December 17th 2016, 3:59 pm

In Favour for Tariff Reduction, but Not on All Vehicles

Addisfortune

Dear editors,

While reading your editorial headlined, “Normalizing owning a car in Ethiopia” [Volume 17, Number 866, December 4, 2016] I could not help but wonder why finding better mechanisms to make new vehicles ownership affordable to the emerging middle class is such a difficult thing to do. Considering the development of infrastructure, social services and the economy, it would be a smart move to consider and adjust the old tariff system and align it to the development of the country’s economy, which happen to be the new reality.

Secondhand vehicles dominate the market, according to Deloitte Consulting, which has surveyed the automotive market in three African countries, including Ethiopia. Approximately 85pc of vehicles are secondhand imports, which tend to appreciate in value due to high import duties and limited supply of cars, the survey concluded.

The used cars are costing us (as a country) dearly in many ways.

Considering the numerous advantages of new cars, automobiles should not be necessarily considered a privilege or luxury, but a necessity for the new and upcoming middle class. Making the educated, talented and entrepreneurial members of the middle class, who create jobs, afford new vehicles would help to avoid the brain drain. I cannot see how there can be a vibrant economy in the absence of a sizable middle class that can dream owning assets such as vehicles and houses.

Be this as it may, I believe it is not right to advocate for tariff reduction and financing to all brand and type of vehicles. For instance, I would have no problem if the state continues to impose high tariff on bigger engine and high valued cars such as V8. Our country may not need them as much and cannot afford them in large numbers.

In order to be prepared for year 2025, which the country aspires to join the middle-income group of countries, it is time to revise the current tariff regime for new cars to meet the growing demand from a growing middle class.

Sultan Feyissa

feyissas@gmail.com

December 10th 2016, 2:54 pm

More Studies Required Prior Utilization of Biologically Modified Cotton

Addisfortune

Dear Editors,

It is with excitement that we have read your story headlined “D-Day for

Ethiopia’s Textiles Industry” (Volume 17, Number 846, July 17,2016).

We are impressed by the effort you made to incorporate a wide range of views from actors in the cotton and textile sector.

Your report made a reference about the National Cotton Development Strategy Workshop organised on 12 July 2016 by Enterprise Partners (EP) and quotes by one of our team members. While agreeing with many of your assessments, please allow us to make a couple of positive clarifications.

We are a development programme of UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), not “… a local company”.

On the issue of introducing biologically modified cottons in Ethiopia, Tewodros Yilma, one of our team members, was quoted as saying, “Its usage needs a clear implementation mechanism and we don’t have that now. So, bringing this to the table at this context will have a disastrous impact.”

At this point, we would like to make further clarification to the statement and for it to be understood as “…Bringing this [introducing biologically modified cotton] to the table, without a fully functional system in place first could possibly have an undesirable impact.”

Here it has to be noted that neither the expert nor EP is for or against the introduction of biologically modified cottons in principle.

We look forward to your insightful articles.

Dawit Ketema,

Communication Advisor, Enterprise Partners (EP)

November 24th 2016, 10:25 am

Obama in Ethiopia

Addisfortune

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn welcomed President Obama. #ObamainEthiopia pic.twitter.com/Z15czuOrMN

— Addis fortune (@addis_fortune) July 26, 2015

November 24th 2016, 10:25 am

IMMEDIATE VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT (June 25, 2015)

Addisfortune

Independent News & Media Plc, publishers and distributors of the largest English weekly in Ethiopia, Fortune, would like to fill the following vacant positions as urgently as possible.

JOB POSITION: EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

SECTION: Editorial

REQUIRED CANDIDATE: One

PLACE OF WORK: Addis Abeba

COMPENSATION: A gross monthly salary of 30,000.00 (Thirty Thousand) Birr, and additional benefits to be negotiated.

JOB SUMMERY: The successful candidate will be responsible for the whole process of the newspaper and its digital platforms towards content and will work with other editors and other senior editorial managers to identify compelling stories and create editorial packages for both online and print forms. Occasional travel is possible. The candidate will be involved in content development, trafficking, and quality control as well as working with the design team in marrying content to visual concepts and page designs and the digital team in coordinating print and online content.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIOS: Applicants must have a first degree in economics, finance, law, management, journalism, or political science. Preference will be given to candidates who have a business journalism background, ample experience in content and production management, superior content and copyediting skills, and solid managerial skills. A skilled writer and analytical thinker with canny ability to craft groundbreaking cover stories and help coordinate strategic special reports. The right candidate for this high-level and high profile position must have a solid understanding of the business sector.
————————————————————————————-
JOB POSITION: DEPUTY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

SECTION: Editorial

REQUIRED CANDIDATE: One

PLACE OF WORK: Addis Abeba

COMPENSATION: A gross monthly salary of 20,000.00 (Twenty Thousand) Birr, and additional benefits to be negotiated.

JOB SUMMERY: The successful candidate will work closely with the Editor-in-Chief and other senior editorial managers to identify compelling stories and create editorial packages for both online and print forms. Occasional travel is possible. The candidate will be involved in content development, trafficking, and quality control as well as working with the design team in marrying content to visual concepts and page designs and the digital team in coordinating print and online content. Preference will be given to candidates who have ample experience in content and production management, superior content and copyediting skills, and solid managerial skills.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIOS: Applicants must have a first degree in economics, finance, law, management, journalism, or political science.
—————————————————————————————–
JOB POSITION: ASSIGNMENT EDITOR

SECTION: Editorial

REQUIRED CANDIDATE: One

PLACE OF WORK: Addis Abeba

COMPENSATION: A gross monthly salary of 12,000.00 (Twelve thousand) Birr, and additional benefits to be negotiated.

JOB SUMMERY: He or she must be able to supervise and train reporters, handle the pressure of daily deadlines, and lead by example with truly top-notch writing and reporting skills. Applicants must have the ability to develop excellent sources and produce groundbreaking stories about the business sector, together with the reporters they work with. The successful candidate must be a self-starter with the ability to react to and cover breaking news and also identify trends and write features in numerous business arenas. The ideal candidate for this position will possess a working knowledge of both public and business sectors and have the ability to write daily reports and edit, if necessary, weekly news stories for and about the economies of Ethiopia and other countries in the region. The work requires the ability to file weekly story budgets and give editors advance notices of stories in progress. The ideal candidate will have excellent organizational skills and the ability to meet strict deadlines and work in a fast paced entrepreneurial environment. Three to five years of experience in writing for newsletters or economic journals or working in a media environment is preferred but not required.
—————————————————————————————–
POSITION: NEWS EDITOR

SECTION: Editorial

REQUIRED CANDIDATE: One

PLACE OF WORK: Addis Abeba

COMPENSATION: A gross monthly salary of 10,000.00 (TEN Thousand) Birr, and additional benefits to be negotiated.

JOB SUMMERY: He or she must be able to supervise and train reporters, handle the pressure of daily deadlines, and lead by example with truly top-notch writing and reporting skills. Applicants must have the ability to develop excellent sources and produce groundbreaking stories about the business sector, together with the reporters they work with. The work requires the ability to file weekly budgets and give editors advance notices of stories in progress. The ideal candidate will have excellent organisational skills and the ability to meet strict deadlines and to work in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment. Three to five years of experience in writing for newsletters or economic journals or working in a media environment is preferred but not required.
—————————————————————————————–
POSITION: RESEARCH EDITOR

SECTION: Editorial

REQUIRED CANDIDATE: One

PLACE OF WORK: Addis Abeba

COMPENSATION: A gross monthly salary of 8,000.00 (Eight Thousand) Birr, and additional benefits to be negotiated.

JOB SUMMERY: The ideal candidate should handle the pressure of daily deadlines, not to be intimidated by workload pressure and stress, and have exceptional data analysis and interpretational skills. Applicants must have the ability to easily locate and interpret raw data about the economic and business sectors.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: A graduate of economics, mathematics, or finance from recognised universities.
It is absolutely essential that candidates enjoy working on multiple assignments, in a high-energy environment, and have the ability to collaborate with other members of the editorial team. Please submit your applications, attached with relevant testimonials, to:
…………………………………………………………………………………………….
INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA PLC
TEGENE BUILDING, 7TH FLOOR
ADJACENT TO GLOBAL HOTEL ON SIERRA LEONE STREET
TEL: 251-(0)11-416-3020; FAX: 251-(0)11-416-3039
EMAIL: fortune@addisfortune.com
PO Box: 259 CODE 1110, ADDIS ABEBA – ETHIOPIA

November 24th 2016, 10:25 am

THRIVES, STRIVES

Addisfortune

Ethiopian banks and financial institutions are currently reporting their earnings to shareholders. In the midst of increasing expenses and diminished earnings, their profits have shrunk. In the pursuit of much needed profits by banks, microfinance loans – a fixture for Ethiopia’s rural agriculturalists and micro-entrepreneurs – are beginning to be identified as a way to improve the performance of some private banks.

November 8th 2016, 2:43 am

I Pray That Trump Wins

Addisfortune

I would like to respond to your feature entitled: “Clinton-Trump Mud Fight Frazzles Ethiopian-Americans [Volume 17 No. 861].” I saw the social media posts of young Ethiopian American men and women who were saying that they would move back to Ethiopia if Donald trump was elected.

I pray that Trump wins, not for ideological or political reasons, but so that all my Ethiopian brothers and sisters who have pledged to return to our mother land when he is elected. I hope that they return anyway, but the election of Trump seems to be a good occasion to let them know that we are prepared and happy to receive them. Our country has a long and rich history that unfortunately includes the spreading out of our brothers and sisters to all corners of the world. As we all know, there’s no place like home. Our loved ones who were forced to leave the country during and after the horrors of the Dergue regime are still sorely missed. They and their children are always welcome back in their homeland.

Just as the story in the holy Bible about welcoming the prodigal son, Ethiopia will more than welcome you to contribute whatever your abilities are.

We look forward to having you home again, no matter when you decide to come back.

Vartkes Bilemdjian

November 5th 2016, 4:12 pm

My Fury over Internet Shutdown

Addisfortune

Dear editors,

I would like to share my current state of fury hoping the cry of my soul is heard. I also hope to find a compassionate ear among our leaders who should be sensitive to the principles of “causes and consequences” and who would agree with my views.

Shutting down Internet connection can never be an efficient problem solving approach. On the contrary, it has adverse and much more detrimental effect not only on the daily business of each engaged individual but also on the economy of the country. This method is likely to give the impression – wrongly or rightly – as a weakness, thus a negative impact on the image of our leaders and decision makers. Last time, the justifications provided to the public i.e. a preventive measure against irregularities and diversions during the high school entry exam is irrelevant. Ethiopia, like any other country, should be able to put in place a reliable control and accountability mechanisms to prevent possible frauds on exams. A student is also expected to be mature, conscious, and result oriented to focus on studies, especially during trying period of exams. Allocating time and space for relaxation – even face-booking and Twitting – should be tolerated. The students deserve rather to be taught about time management and to be treated like responsible adults.

Retention of information is another source of frustration and an incitation to look for information anywhere else possible thus encouraging the dissemination of rumors, propagandas or other misinformation. Local medias (public and private) would rather gain through timely broadcasting and competitive approaches by being the first to release information verified and supported with evidence. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Either you think – or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you”.

At the same time, failing to hear and to properly address the preoccupations and concerns of the people will result with a tragic socio-political and economic unrest. In this respect, my experiences in West Africa (25 years) and in North Africa (12 years) is still vivid. It takes few seconds to lit fire and much more time to extinguish and to repair damages. In the name of good governance, democratically elected government has the duty to listen and to serve its people for better investment returns and productivity. Good governance is fundamental for meeting transformational targets and for guaranteeing perennial economic development – growth, wealth, peace, and security for our country.

Lastly but not the least, if only every compatriot could be more mindful, circumspect, alert and could seriously observe the principle of “causes and consequences” there will be less irresponsibility’s and tragedies around us. Shame on those who cowardly “hijacked” a thanksgiving event into an opportunity to serve political interests and provoked the loss of so many innocent victims. May their souls rest in peace!

Azagne

A retired international civil servant

October 22nd 2016, 3:50 pm

Obituary: Hailu Shawel(Eng.), A Break From All Walks of Life

Addisfortune

Our subscribers to the print edition are entitled to get a bonus in a form of early access to our digital edition.Use the bank detail below or call our office at +251-011-416-3020 to subscribe – only 457.60 Br for 52 editions – and enjoy access to www.addisfortune.net beginning on SUNDAYS as early as 6:00am!

October 15th 2016, 11:37 pm

We’re Better off with the Steel Manufacturers

Addisfortune

Our subscribers to the print edition are entitled to get a bonus in a form of early access to our digital edition.Use the bank detail below or call our office at +251-011-416-3020 to subscribe – only 457.60 Br for 52 editions – and enjoy access to www.addisfortune.net beginning on SUNDAYS as early as 6:00am!

October 1st 2016, 11:07 pm

Production Rather Than Blame Game

Addisfortune

Our subscribers to the print edition are entitled to get a bonus in a form of early access to our digital edition.Use the bank detail below or call our office at +251-011-416-3020 to subscribe – only 457.60 Br for 52 editions – and enjoy access to www.addisfortune.net beginning on SUNDAYS as early as 6:00am!

October 1st 2016, 11:07 pm

No ‘Loan Abuses’ at Zemen Bank

Addisfortune

This letter comes as a response to your recent story headlined “Zemen Bank Laying Foundations Amidst Turmoil” [Vol.17 Number,851, August 21,2016]. The viewpoints presented in the article are grossly biased and misinformed.

First, the article quotes a few shareholders’ views that some loans were allegedly given without any credit appraisal. This is just simply false. Each and every loan application is subject to a full and proper credit evaluation, involving multiple individuals and approval layers.

Second, the article refers to a figure of 150 million Br worth of loans, as if these were cases involving Board or management improprieties, these were not. The figure quoted, (which can be seen in the Bank’s audited annual report of FY 2013/14, page 27) is actually the total amount of funds that the bank set aside for general loan provisions and for three specific loans that were written off by the Bank over two years. It is common practice for banks to either write-off or provision for the bad loans and for borrowers having trouble making loan repayments. In Zemen Bank’s case, out of the thousands of loans given by the Bank since its establishment eight years ago, it is just three loans that have been written off to date — a number that would not be unusual for many other private banks over a similar time period. And even the few loans that are fully written off continue to be subject to continuous legal follow-up. Assuming that those funds are forever lost is mistaken. For any shareholder or observer to single out just one part of a bank’s expenses, while ignoring a bank’s overall cost-income structure and ultimate profitability, is deliberately misleading: provisions have averaged 1.9pc of outstanding loans over the years and, even counting such provisions, Zemen Bank has regularly registered among the lowest cost-to-income ratios in the industry, allowing it to generate rising profits and high shareholder returns.

Third, the article refers to four court cases mentioned by the shareholders and implies that these are targeting the Bank’s Board or its managers. In fact, the court cases are simply the legal cases that Zemen Bank has brought against the defaulting borrowers. Three of the four loan cases have resulted in judgments in favour of Zemen Bank and the fourth is undergoing a separate outside-of-court bankruptcy procedure, through which the bank will recover funds when assets are disposed.

Fourthly, the granting of clean (non-collateralised) loans is presented as some sign of misconduct, when this is simply not the case. As is known quite well to Zemen Bank’s shareholders, the Bank has from its very start had a business model that was open to providing clean loans to customers. This practice is neither illegal nor a violation of Central Bank policy. Such clean loans (which are only a small share of total loans) involve a slightly higher level of risk than the traditional collateral-based lending, but Zemen Bank’s record clearly shows that such a risk was also compensated by a higher than normal shareholder return.

Finally, it’s disappointing that Fortune reported and anonymously quoted the perspective of a few shareholders without seeking alternative views from the rest of the Bank’s 3,300 shareholders. The vast majority of shareholders are actually very satisfied with Zemen Bank’s overall performance, and are particularly pleased with the successful record of growth, profitability and high shareholder returns registered since the bank’s establishment (including an earnings per share record that has been among the highest in the industry and has averaged 44pc a year over the past five years).

While a few shareholders have in the past rightly and justifiably raised concerns about the rise in bad loans faced in one particular fiscal year, the Bank has worked constructively to address those concerns by making changes (several years ago) to improve its credit systems and to reduce its reliance on clean loans. Thus, the article does a truly great disservice to the Bank by failing to present a balanced perspective of the past credit challenges within the context of the Bank’s very positive overall record for its customers, for its shareholders and for the broader banking industry.y.

Helaway Tadesse

 

September 3rd 2016, 6:19 pm
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