Relocation Africa Ethiopia Immigration Interview With Lidya Aynalem Eshete

Lynn Mackenzie, our Immigration Lead, recently had the privilege of interviewing Lidya Aynalem Eshete, from Relocate Pro, about Ethiopia’s immigration landscape.

To listen to Lynn and Lidya’s conversation about immigration in the current context, click here to view the recording, or view it below.

Lidya’s bio

Lidya Aynalem Eshete is the Founder and General Manager of Relocate Pro. Before this, she worked in numerous managerial positions, across a variety of companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising Management from Michigan State University in Michigan, USA, and a Masters in General Business Administration from Unity University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Lidya for her insights. We hope you enjoy the recording.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Mauritius and Ethiopia: Success Comes in Many Guises

Ethiopia and Mauritius show there is no single formula for putting a country on the road to progress.

Both Ethiopia and Mauritius are members of the African Union (AU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Apart from these links, it’s difficult to see much similarity between the landlocked Ethiopia which stretches over more than a million square kilometers and the small island nation of Mauritius.

What they have in common is that they have found a way to improve their economies. To do that, both nations’ politics needed to be less fractious. Mauritius has achieved that. Ethiopia shows signs that it is on the way to stability.

The other common denominator is textile manufacturing, although the two countries approached the opportunity from opposite ends. Mauritius chose to focus on the high-end market and has developed the skills and quality-control protocols needed to supply that niche. Ethiopia is building a sector which can handle huge volumes. A Bangladeshi garment manufacturer has set up a factory in Ethiopia which supplies H&M and a Sri Lankan company, Hela Clothing, has produced and shipped its one-millionth garment from its factory in Ethiopia. This is part of a drive by Ethiopia to increase its annual export earnings in clothing from $145-million to $30-billion (CNN).

In terms of a financial market index published by Absa in 2019, the two countries are at opposite ends of the scale. The survey concluded that Mauritius ranked second in Africa (behind South Africa) in a set of indicators including market depth, access to foreign exchange and transparency. Ethiopia placed 20th but – crucially and typically in the current environment – Ethiopia was sure to improve its position in 2020 because it is about to establish a stock exchange.

Reforms in Ethiopia are just beginning, Mauritius has been a work in progress for several decades.


The Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2019 was Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He won the award primarily for unblocking a post-war stalemate between his country and Eritrea and calming other regional conflicts, but he has also made big changes domestically since taking office in 2018.

In the words of the Director of the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation Adekeye Adebajo, Ahmed has been a “reformist new broom unleashing political freedoms, encouraging foreign investment and promoting reconciliation”.

The peace dividend has allowed the construction of a vital rail link to Djibouti and encouraged a number of new investors to visit Ethiopia, mostly notably from Turkey. Chinese companies have long been present in the country, with the previous rulers of Ethiopia having been close to China.

Ethiopian Airways has used the country’s strategic location between Asia and Europe to build Addis Ababa’s position as a freight and passenger hub. So successful has it been that in 2018 it replaced Dubai as the top transit hub for long-haul passengers to Africa.

The country’s population of about 94-million is young (about 50% are younger than 15 and 70% are younger than 30) and the state is focused on education. Science and technology are emphasised and the number of Ethiopians in higher education in 2017 was five times what it was in 2005 (World Bank).

Spending on public infrastructure has focussed on transport, energy and industrial parks. The percentage of public spending is due to come down, but it will be replaced by the private sector as a vigorous privatisation process begins. Manufacturing currently accounts for 10% of GDP so there is huge scope for growth. Other state-owned assets which will become available to private investors are in the following sectors: maritime, aviation, electricity, logistics and railways. Exports in renewable energy are expected to generate up to $1-billion annually.


Although Mauritius ranked second to South Africa in the Absa Financial Market Index, in almost every other index the island country is ranked number one in Africa.

For “Doing Business in Africa: Sub Saharan Africa 2018”, the World Bank places Mauritius 25th in the world, and first in Africa. The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 “Index of Economic Freedom” has exactly the same result. This trend is repeated across a range of measures; a global competitive index rates the country 45th and 1st, the WEF’s enabling trade report gives scores of 39th and 1st.

Where the country’s GDP per capita was around $400 at independence in 1968, it’s now above $10 000. Between 1977 and 2008, the country’s growth rate performed well above the Sub-Saharan average of 2.9%, at 4.6%.

As a colony Mauritius was a sugar-based mono-culture. Sugar accounted for 20% of GDP and 60% of exports. Today sugar cane is still in the export basket but there are also textiles, clothing, processed fish and cut flowers. Services exports such as financial services and tourism are rising, and medical tourism and higher education are seen as a high-value sectors worth investing in.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) expects growth of more than 5% in several sectors including information and communications technology, retail and wholesale, food processing and financial services. In 2016 the Kenyan economy received $50-million of investment from Mauritius-based banks and financial institutions (AfDB).

Mauritian post-independence politics was not always stable, but a parliamentary system and strong institutions have helped the country move forward. Property rights and an independent judiciary are factors that promote foreign investment. Shrewd investment in an Export Processing Zone helped to turn the economy away from a single commodity. Personal and corporate tax rates are a flat 15% and in 2018 property transfers were simplified and other reforms were introduced to encourage entrepreneurs.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize was, last week, awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, one of Africa’s youngest leaders, for his efforts in human rights reforms in the country, and for signing a peace deal with Eritrea following protracted hostility between the east African nations. The award will be bestowed in December this year.

Responding to the announcement, Amnesty International’s secretary-general Kumi Naidoo said: “This award recognizes the critical work Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has done to initiate human rights reforms in Ethiopia after decades of widespread repression.

“Since assuming office in April 2018, it has reformed the security forces, replaced the severely restricting charities and society law, and agreed a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea to end two decades of hostile relations. He also helped broker an agreement between Sudan’s military leaders and the civilian opposition, bringing an end to months of protests.

“However, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s work is far from done. This award should push and motivate him to tackle the outstanding human rights challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made so far. He must urgently ensure that his government addresses the ongoing ethnic tensions that threaten instability and further human rights abuses. He should also ensure that his government revises the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation which continues to be used as a tool of repression, and holds suspected perpetrators of past human rights violations to account.

“Now more than ever Prime Minister Abiy must fully espouse the principles and values of the Nobel Peace Prize to leave a lasting human rights legacy for his country, the wider region, and the world.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Ethiopia Unveils Blueprint to Drive Economic Growth

The government of Ethiopia has unveiled what it describes as a “Homegrown Economic Reform” agenda aimed at unlocking the country’s development potential.

“Several months in the making and spearheaded by some of Ethiopia’s finest minds, our initiative aims to propel Ethiopia into becoming the African icon of prosperity by 2030,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia.

He made the remarks during an event to unveil the Reform Agenda at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa.

The Agenda outlines macroeconomic, structural and sectoral reforms that will pave the way for job creation, poverty reduction, and inclusive growth.

The P.M. said “in just over one year,” his government has taken a series of measures to shift the economic landscape of Ethiopia, such as reforms in investment laws and business climate, which have helped remove regulatory obstacles that hamper investment.

Mr. Ahmed stated that the private sector was crucial for the next chapter of Ethiopia’s growth and development. Consequently, he said, we have “opened up key economic activities to private investments,” adding that these measures will “surely be reflected in Ethiopia’s ease of doing business ranking.”

The P.M. pointed out that to ensure the success of the Agenda, “we are tightening our fiscal belts, strengthening our public sector finances, shedding our debts, and increasing domestic resource mobilization.”

The Agenda prioritizes sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism, and ICT.

Reflecting on the Reform Agenda, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said Ethiopia’s aspiration to grow from 865 to 2219 GDP per capita was “very ambitious” but that it was doable, citing the success stories of China, Laos, and Vietnam.

Ms. Songwe cautioned, however, that Ethiopia currently has a USD 10 billion gap – 6 billion in new investment and 4 billion of debt reduction per year – that must be bridged in order to achieve its reform aspirations.

“If you continue to accumulate debt the way you’re doing now, you will likely fall into debt distress in the next two years and a lot of the structural reforms you’ve put in place will not bring in the private sector because you will not be a credit-worthy country.”

Ms. Songwe said credibility is what the private sector will be looking for in the reform package. She recommended paving the way for IPPs in a reformed energy sector as a quick-win that can demonstrate the country’s credibility.

The event was attended by representatives from the World Bank, IMF, UN Agencies and other development partners. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged all stakeholders to “support us in crafting Ethiopia’s economic miracle.”

He said, “We realize that our interdependence solidifies Ethiopia’s geopolitical importance in becoming Africa’s gateway to the global market.”

The Reform Agenda was presented by Ethiopia’s minister of state for finance, Eyob Tekalign.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

New Air Tanzania and Ethiopian Airlines Routes to South Africa

Air Tanzania

Looking to attract tourists from South African and other business travellers, state-owned Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL) is set to revive its passenger schedule route connecting four major airports in Tanzania with the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, starting June 28.

The four direct flights per week will use ATCL’s recently-acquired Boeing 787- 8 Dreamliner jet, which has the capacity to carry 262 passengers.

This past week, ATCL public affairs spokesman Josephat Kagirwa told The EastAfrican that the four local airports to introduce South African connections are Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar International Airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport in northern Tanzania, and Mwanza International Airport.

Mr Kagirwa said the Dreamliner will be replaced by an Airbus A220-300 on the Johannesburg route from July 16. “We expect to maintain this route as we prepare for long-haul flights to India and China,” he said.

The direct flights to and from Johannesburg will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. South Africa is one of the top profit-making routes for most airlines in the Southern and East African region.

Southern African airports are the main linking points to destinations in Australia and the Pacific Ocean rim that are considered upcoming new tourist markets for Tanzania and other East African states. The Tanzania Tourist Board is working jointly with ATCL to market the destinations. South Africa itself is a source market for about 48,000 tourists annually, mostly adventure and business travellers.

Latest official figures show that about 16,000 tourists from Australia visited Tanzania in 2017, mostly using connections through Johannesburg. In the same year, there were 3,300 visitors from New Zealand and 2,600 from the Pacific Rim (Fiji, Solomon, Samoa and Papua New Guinea).

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has commenced its maiden flight from Lagos to Johannesburg with its code-share partner, Asky.

With that service, Ethiopian Airlines/Asky to South Africa has become the only non-South African airline on the route between Nigeria and South Africa. It flight was welcomed with Water Canon salute and received by staff of Asky and Ethiopian Airlines. The Airport Community also joined in the reception. The flight was operated with an Asky B737-700 commanded by Captain Dawit Muluneh. It left Lagos for Johannesburg by 16: 45 pm on Saturday.

The General Manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria, Mrs. Firihiewot Mekonnen, at the inaugural ceremony said, “Asky is the operating airline, while Ethiopia Airlines is the marketing carrier.”

“Nigeria is one of our biggest markets where we bring the best of our aircraft and we always strive to give our best to Nigerians.

“As part of this motive we found out a lot of Nigerians travel to South Africa so we decided to help improve the connectivity for the passengers.

“We have also availed many promotional fares so we invite Nigerians to use the best deals to Johannesburg,” she said.

The inaugural flight had a 70 per cent load factor. The flights are daily from Lagos to Johannesburg. Some days the flights go through Libreville on other days it will go through Douala.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Captureson [1], [2].