Ethiopian Business Review

Ethiopia has lost many ancient cultural heritages and treasures to plundering and looting, and it is common to find ancient Ethiopian artefacts in various western museums. Although there have been initiatives to facilitate the return of these stolen heritages in the past, the outcomes have not been pleasing. 

Recently, Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum said the quickest way for Ethiopia to get back its artefacts from the V&A would be through a long term loan, referring to items stolen from Mekdela by British forces in 1868. The displayed treasures include a gold crown, a gold chalice and a royal wedding costume, among others. Ethiopia launched a formal restitution claim to have the treasures returned in 2007. 

Government officials and scholars have voiced their apprehension, echoing that the return of historical treasures should not be up for discussion.  Yonas Desta, Director General of Ethiopian Heritage Authority has been one of the most outspoken figures in the negotiations emphasizing that any treasure is only meaningful to the owner, not to the looter.

Yonas has been actively participating in heritage conservation and management since 2010, when, during his time as a director at the then-Ministry of Trade and Industry, he conducted a study about heritage management in Ethiopia. Former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, offered him a chance to lead the then-Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH). EBR’s Samson Berhane sat down with him to discuss his firm position towards the country’s lost treasures, heritage management and their contribution to the economy.

Friday, 06 July 2018 18:47
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Tassew Woldehanna (Prof) has over three decades of experience in academic, research and consultancy services in the areas of child welfare, poverty and food security in Ethiopia and elsewhere. The 56 year old researcher has been involved in the national Poverty Analysis Report; a controversial study criticized for neglecting the facts on the ground.

Tassew’s academic life started at the Ambo Institute of Agriculture, where he graduated with a diploma in agronomy in 1983. He received an MSc in Agricultural and Environmental Economics and Policy as well as a PhD in Economics from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

His career has taken him to many places, including spending time as a researcher at the Ethiopian Development Research Institute and at the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, and the Department of Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University, USA. 

He joined Addis Ababa University (AAU) in 2000 as an assistant professor of economics. He also served in various leadership positions at the university including as college dean; and vice president for research until he assumed the post of president in February 2018. 

The process that led to Tassew’s ascent to one of the top jobs in Ethiopian higher education was unique. 

The Ministry of Education, for the first time, invited applicants to fill the post of AAU’s president through a competitive recruitment process. Accordingly, 22 applicants, including Fikre Desalegn (Prof.), brother of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgen and president of the Ethiopian Civil Service University; and Masresha Fetene (Prof), who Tassew replaced as research vice president in the University, competed to replace Admasu Tsegaye (Prof.), who was assigned as Ambassador of Ethiopia to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. 

Tassew was finally selected by the Ministry from among three finalists, including Jeilu Oumer (PhD), AAU’s serving academic vice president; and Bekele Gutema (PhD), Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the College of Social Sciences. 

EBR’s Samson Berhane sat down with Tassew, on the sidelines of the seventh Tana Forum held in Bahir Dar last month, to get his take on the current economic and political situation in the country, and his work at AAU.

Sunday, 03 June 2018 16:43
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Ever since the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia introduced prize linked saving promotion mechanism seven years ago, many commercial banks have followed suit by launching similar promotional schemes. This includes the almost ten year old Bunna International Bank, which started offering prizes, ranging from smart phones to a tractor worth more than a million birr, to its remittance customers. EBR’s Samson Berhane sat down with Tadesse Chinkel, president of the Bank, to discuss the results achieved from such promotional tool so far and the way forward.

Sunday, 03 June 2018 13:56
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