Michael Joseph is a pioneer of mobile money in Kenya. He is credited with the remarkable success of the M-PESA mobile payments system that has helped Kenya develop its rural economy. In the ten countries where M-PESA operates, networks of thousands of small shops and businesses allow mobile customers to swap physical cash for electronic credits. The network now has over 30 million active users.  EBR’s Samson Berhane sat down with Joseph, who is currently Vodafone Group’s Director of Mobile Money and Board Chairperson  of Kenyan Airways, on the sidelines of the launch of Dashen Bank’s new mobile money platform (Amole) one month ago, to discuss his success in deploying one of the world’s most successful mobile money services and his views towards Ethiopia’s banking as well as telecom sectors.

Thursday, 16 August 2018 07:43
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Tamrat Layne, 63, was Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, serving from June 1991 to October 1995. He became a member of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (EPRP) while a teen, and later defected with 36 other comrades to form the-then Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM), in 1982. 

After ten years of guerilla fighting, his party, which allied with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to form the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in 1989, ousted the Dergue military regime on May 28, 1991. A few years before their victory however, the Oromo members of his party left to form the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO); similarly, fighters from the southern Ethiopian region also left to form several ethnic based parties. Finally, when almost all other non-Amhara members evacuated the EPDM, the party retitled itself as the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) in 1994.

With the adoption of a new constitution in the same year and subsequent change of the form of government from presidential to parliamentary, executive power was vested in the Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, President of the Transitional Government and chairman of TPLF & EPRDF, while Tamrat became deputy prime minister and minister for defense. He stayed in that post for less than two years, before being sacked and dismissed from his party and government posts in 1996. Four years later, he was convicted by the Federal Supreme Court on corruption charges and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was accused of involvement in an alleged 16 million-dollar deal with a firm to ship Ethiopian textile products and exports of 1,000 tons of state-owned coffee through a bogus firm. He claimed that all the accusations were baseless and untrue. 

After serving 12 years in prison, Tamrat was released in 2008 and has since been living a deeply religious life in Colorado, in the United States. He also operates two orphanage centres in Addis Ababa and Sekota, a small town in the state of Amhara. He travels around the world to make speeches, and offer trainings to government officials, business leaders, and nonprofit organizations in Europe, Asia, and Africa on leadership and management. 

Tamrat sees the recent developments in the country positively. While he believes the changes brought about by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration are encouraging in widening the political space, he still seems worried about the factions within the ruling coalition, which he believes may put the country in jeopardy. He cautions that the changes that have been achieved because of the popular movement should be institutionalized. EBR’s Amanyehun R. SiSAY sat down with him to learn his views about the current political situation in the country. Excerpt:

Thursday, 16 August 2018 07:43
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Jemal Mohammed is the general manager of Blue Matrix Consultancy, and has been working in the field of drainage and sewerage management for the past 20 years. His company has been involved with many projects, like setting up the drainage master plan for Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) town in addition to the preparing sewerage master plans for Dire Dawa, Jimma, Gondar, Adigrat and Hawassa. Blue Matrix is known for designing sanitary landfills for Dila and Bishoftu towns. Four months ago, the company submitted a proposal to participate in the tender floated by the Addis Ababa City Roads Authority for the design of a drainage master plan for the capital. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale sat with Jemal to discuss how to resolve the drainage related problems in Addis Ababa, especially during the rainy season.

Friday, 10 August 2018 18:00
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