Ethiopian Business Review

Africa has become the next frontier for European and Asian car manufacturers. Adding to Ethiopia’s collection of foreign auto companies, Volkswagen signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ethiopian Investment Commission in the beginning of 2019. This makes Ethiopia the third country in sub-Saharan Africa to sign an MoU with Volkswagen, following Ghana and Nigeria, which both signed MoUs with Volkswagen in August 2018. Volkswagen already has a manufacturing plant in South Africa, which has been active since 1951.

According to the MoU signed between Ethiopia and the company, Volkswagen will focus on four key pillars: the establishment of a vehicle assembly facility, localization of automotive components, introduction of mobility concepts such as app-based car sharing and ride hailing as well as the opening of a training center. Thomas Schaefer, Head of Volkswagen Sub-Saharan Africa Region, who signed the MoU, detailed his company’s intentions in Ethiopia in an email interview with EBR’s Ashenafi Endale.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 06:00
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When Anna Getaneh made headlines in late 1980s, the modelling industry in Ethiopia was almost non-existent.  Born in Sweden as the second child of an Ethiopian career diplomat father and a fashion designer mother, Anna is one of the few Ethiopians who have become successful on the global modelling stage.
She briefly lived in Ethiopia at the age of four, but it was only after she earned a bachelor ‘s degree in business and marketing that Anna realized her potential in modelling. Subsequently, she pursued it as a part time job. Soon, she met with an agent who persuaded her to work as a model in Italy and then London. After that, modelling became her full time job.

Besides modelling, Anna is also involved in humanitarian work.  After she met with workers from Pharmacists Without Borders, a French organization, Anna went to a camp in Moyale, on the Ethio-Kenyan border, an area which houses many refugees from Somalia. She stayed there for a week helping with the feeding program. This inspired her to establish the Ethiopian Children’s Fund, which is registered in New York. Soon after, she came back to Ethiopia, visiting places around Addis Ababa, and opened a school with a feeding program clinic in Aleletu, a woreda in the state of Oromia.

To fund her organization and promote fashion in Ethiopia as well as Africa, Anna, a mother of three, established African Mosaique, a company registered five years ago. A year and a half ago, she built a new factory on 9,000 meter squares of land, at a cost of ETB15 million. The model and designer now produces an average of 500 pieces of clothing a month.

Anna, who stresses that fashion is not all about big brands and red carpets, says that the fashion industry can be source of growth for the Ethiopian economy. However, she also has concerns over the rise in consumption of used clothing imported from abroad. Anna thinks that the government gradually must ban used clothes and should create awareness of local clothes amongst the public. EBR’s Samson Berhane sat down with Anna to learn about her journey from international model to successful designer.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 03:00
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Bineta Diop is the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security to the African Union (AU). The first woman to hold the position of special envoy, Diop is also the founder of Femmes Africa Solidarite (FAS), a non-governmental organisation that promotes women’s rights and interests in Africa. As the daughter of a feminist mother, she managed to complete school in her home country of Senegal, at a time and place where not many women were able to. She studied business in Paris, where she accompanied her husband, a career diplomat, over various countries and events, including to Ethiopia for three years during Emperor Haile Selassie. Having joined the International Commission of Jurists, human rights NGO in Geneva in 1981, she then started FAS in 1996. Diop was also involved in in the development of the African Charter on Human and People’s rights (also known as the Banjul Charter), as well as the Protocol to African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women In Africa (the Maputo Protocol), alongside a group of African lawyers. In her position as Special Envoy, she was instrumental in the development of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda for the AU, and the subsequent Continental Results Framework. She sat down with EBR’s Menna Asrat on the sidelines of the recent African Union Summit, to discuss the developments in the position of women on the continent in light of International Women’s Day 2019. Diop stressed that the AU will continue working on the grassroots level by putting federations of women’s groups, which she calls them ‘the army without guns’ together all over Africa to amplify women voices.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 23:40
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