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    (By Fumnanya Agbugah)

    According to a report by Euromonitor, Ethiopia is now one of the largest coffee markets in Africa with a rough estimate of 127,000 tonnes sold in 2015, which is a quarter of the total volume of coffee sold in the Middle East and Africa. The figure is comparable to those of much wealthier countries like South Korea and Russia.

    “Africa is the next frontier” for coffee, says Robério Oliveira Silva, Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization.

    Historically, the beans have been a cash crop in Africa but the consumption across the continent has remained low. In countries such as Kenya and Uganda where it is grown, the consumption has remained low due to the preference for tea which, they say, has traditionally been much cheaper. Even though Ethiopia is the poorest of the world’s major coffee-consuming nations, with GDP per capita of just US$599 in 2015, Ethiopians still drink around 200 cups a year. No other country in that income group drinks as much as that.


    The question then arises: if Ethiopians drink this much coffee on less than US$600 a year, how much would they drink if they weren’t one of the world’s poorest countries?

    “With Ethiopian economic growth steaming ahead (GDP increased by 10.2% in 2015), the question is no longer as speculative as it once was,” said Matthew Barry, Beverage Analyst, Euromonitor International.

    Ethiopia’s coffee culture

    Human consumption of the beans is usually thought to have originated in Ethiopia over a thousand years ago, after a shepherd named Kaldi noticed that his goats became oddly frisky after chewing the berries of a certain plant. Curious, he is then said to have sampled these berries himself, thus beginning a long tradition of coffee consumption in Ethiopia that continues to the present day.

    A large part of Ethiopia’s coffee culture comes from the fact that it is one of the best places to grow the beans on the planet. Ethiopia is fifth in the world in total production, according to statistics from the International Coffee Organization, and many of its Arabica beans are recognized internationally for their high quality. Even so, domestic consumption is unusually high, even for a producer nation. Many exporters have historically discouraged domestic consumption so as to make more crops available for export. Indonesians, for example, drink only 34 cups of coffee a year, even though their country is the third biggest producer worldwide.

    Euromonitor revealed that Ethiopian coffee culture rooted itself firmly before globalization turned the crop into one of the world’s biggest cash crops. The beans is traditionally purchased as green beans that are then roasted at home, but this is beginning to change, and packaged and branded retail coffee is becoming more prevalent, especially in the wealthier urban areas. This branded coffee is dominated by local brands like Great Abyssinia.

    Does domestic consumption pose a threat to the export of coffee in Ethiopia?

    According to Matthew Barry, one major threat looming on the horizon is a government initiative to expand exports in order to increase the country’s supply of foreign currency. This comes at a time when the coffee-loving and increasingly wealthy urban population of the country is looking for higher-quality beans. Barring an unexpected burst in crop yields, the only way the government can meet its goal is if it curbs domestic consumption to free up more beans for export, which would be highly unpopular. Saving high-quality beans for domestic consumption already attracts a fine or even jail time, and more than a few Ethiopians find it unjust that the best beans are being reserved exclusively for foreigners. This problem will not be resolved anytime soon, and tension between exports and domestic demand will be an ongoing issue.

    There is also no shortage of macroeconomic threats that could get in the way of economic growth and an expanded coffee market. The business environment is less than ideal, with burdensome regulations and a government monopoly over many areas of the inefficient transportation sector. Geopolitical issues are also a concern, as the disputed border with Eritrea could erupt into open warfare at any time and trouble could spill over from nearby failed states like Somalia and South Sudan. But, on its current track, Ethiopia is very likely to continue being the growth driver of African coffee consumption.

    SOURCE: https://venturesafrica.com/ethiopia-largest-coffee-market-in-africa/

     BY Fumnanya Agbugah


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  • The consequence of Cancelling of New year concerts costs Millions for Artists,Bands and promoters

    (BY DAWIT ENDESHAW FORTUNE STAFF WRITER) It started as a social media campaign, with a number of posts said to emerge mainly on Facebook, calling for a boycott on a number of concerts to be held by singers for Ethiopian New Year. The campaign rationalised its boycott to the current unrest in some parts of the Amhara and Oromia states, where “many” civilians are said to have been killed and arrested by security forces.So, the Facebook boycott campaigners argue that it is immoral to have a music festival in such a situation. Some singers, who spoke with Fortune on the basis on anonymity, say the campaign has affected them.

    This campaign has in fact forced many performers in and outside the country to cancel their concerts. It has cost promoters, music bands and the individual singers millions. Close to seven concerts in and outside the capital were cancelled – not to mention those in Europe, the US and the Middle East.

    “It is not like everyone who is cancelling their concert believes in the above argument,” said an industry source also affected because of the cancellation of their concert.

    He, whose name is withheld upon request, said that his band, which was to host a major concert in the capital, has lost close to 100,000Br.

    “It doesn’t make any difference whatever rationale they put out,” said the same source. “This is our job.”

    Some of the artists have also decided to cancel their concert so as not to collide with the Diaspora community, as they believe that the push is coming from them.

    Another big concert that is said to have been cancelled is the one at Ghion Hotel. The concert, organised by Eyoha Promotion, was planned to host Beruktawit Getahun aka Betty G, and Abdu Kiar. The promotion company behind the concert has been promoting the concert through a number of outlets, including billboards.

    Abdu Kiar, as a performer, has also suffered from another cancellation of a concert that was planned to be held in Israel, on September 15, 2016.

    Sources close to the organising of the concert told Fortune that the two singers were to be paid between 150,000 to 200,000Br.

    Another singer, who wants to remain anonymous, estimated that the bigger concerts, like the one organised by Eyoha, would briny at least 300,000 Br lose.

    He shared an experience where he himself was forced to cancel a small music show along with other performers.

    “Ours was not that big,” he said. “We lost around 70,000Br due to the cancellation.”

    This loss does not include advance payments for the performers.

    “It all started from threats, insults and bullying made as comments on Facebook,” he explains. “So, we fear that this might erode our reputation as a performer.”

    Eyoha Promotion is also know for its involvement in organising a number of entertainment activities, including exhibitions.

    Another concert that was targeted by the bullying mob on social media was the one organised by Aurora Productions. The concert was supposed to host four internationally acclaimed singers, as well as Lej Michael, a raising Ethiopian musician. Later, Lej Michael withdrew himself from the concert because of the same reason as many of the artists.

    “Most of them fear being singled out from the crowd and fear for their reputation,” Shewit Betew, CEO of Aurora, told Fortune.

    Aurora has been negotiating with the four international artists for the past six months, in order to convince them to come and perform.

    “We invested a million birr into it,” said Shewit. “And it is not fair to lose it in such a way.”

    The impact of the push from social media did not only affect concerts in the New Year, rather it went on to affect events planned for the Mesqel Holiday, to be held in two weeks time, too.

    Some of the organisers that planned for Mesqel are now contemplating cancelling their shows.

    On the other hand, some of the Diaspora-based singers have publicly announced that they have cancelled their concerts given the unrest in the country. Abiy Lakew, Fasil Demoz, Ephrem Tameru, Haile Roots and Johnny Raga are some of those to have cancelled their concerts.

    The impact of social media throughout the unrest over the past few months has been immense. Its impact on the overall information dissemination, for better or worse, has been huge.

    It was also instrumental in sharing information, both authentic and made up.

    Social media also continues to be abused by bullying people, who threaten families and individuals that are believed to have certain affiliations.

    SOURCE: http://addisfortune.net/articles/bullied-crowed-the-nations-singers-shun-new-year-festivities/?platform=hootsuite



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  • PM Hailemariam fires Urban Development and Housing Minister Mekuria Haile.

    Mekuria Haile is member of the executive committee of SEPDM and EPRDF. It has been rumored in the past weeks that SEPDM, Hailemariam's home party, had sacked Mekuria Haile. There was no official statement regarding that.

    Mekuria Haile is the second executive committee member of EPRDF to be sacked in 2016. Two months ago, Zelalem Jemaneh, executive member of OPDO and EPRDF, was sacked and later detained.

    The ruling party has decided to make a series of expulsions and reshuffle in the coming weeks. Source Daniel Birhane.


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