Vancouver Ethiopian Blog

Ethiopian life in Vancouver, BC, Canada

VAT Exempted Items in Ethiopia

If you have wondered what things are exempted from payment of VAT (Value Added Tax) in Ethiopia, I have the list for you below.

The list is from the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA).

The following are tax exempt items in Ethiopia:

  1. The Sale or rent of a dwelling house which has been used for at least 2 years,
  2. Financial service,
  3. Local or Foreign currencies and warranty distribution or importation except for cents and medals research services,
  4. The import of Gold for the presentation to the National bank of Ethiopia,
  5. Religious or spiritual related services given by religious institutions,
  6. Educational services given by educational institutions and child care given by kindergartens,
  7. Electricity, kerosene and water supplies (does not include water processed by Factories),
  8. Except for different services or commission fees, goods or services presented by postal service institutions as per the authority given by its establishment proclamation,
  9. Transportation Services,
  10. Permit and license payments,
  11. If 60% of the employees are disabled the goods and services supplied by the institution employing these disabled individuals,
  12. Books,
  13. Food items,
  14. Goods like sealing plastic bags, sewing materials and fertilizers for making Insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria,
  15. Transactions of pickles, wet blues and crust made by leather processing factories,
  16. The import of chemically processed clothes used for the sewing of Insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of Malaria,
  17. Government imported wheat,
  18. Palm oils used for food,
  19. Sale of Milk and bread,
  20. Drugs, medical supplies and equipments,
  21. Agricultural fertilizers, pesticide chemicals, selected seed,
  22. Pension fee Services,
  23. The sale of Airplane tickets by travel agencies,
  24. “Injera”,
  25. Publication and printing of books,
  26. Sale of Processed leather to Shoe factories by leather processing factories,
  27. Manufacturing of Stoves,

Please remember that laws change very frequently in Ethiopia. So, make sure you get the latest list form the government office or website.

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My next blog entry will be on Thursday Oct. 14, 2010.
Mullkam Samint!

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October 7, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopia Devalued Its Currency (The Birr) by 17 Percent Against the US Dollar

Ethiopia has devalued her currency, the Birr.

The Birr (ETB) has been declining in its value for the past several years now. During the communist Ethiopia era (1974 to 1991), the currency was held at a constant exchange rate of $1 USD to 2.10 ETB.

The current government devalued the Birr back in 1993 to about 1 USD = 5 ETB. Since then, the Birr has been falling against the dollar. For example, about 2 years ago, in 2008, the exchange rate was $1 USD to 9.50 ETB. Then, $1 USD was trading at about 13.75 ETB for the past year or so.

Now, in its most recent adjustment on September 1, 2010, the Central Bank of Ethiopia has set the exchange rate at $1 USD to 16.35 ETB (that is about 17% devaluation).

Birr to other currencies converter is found here. You can also find other currency converters here:

Yes, when the Birr is devalued, it is good for those of us living abroad as our money goes further. However, for the vast majority of Ethiopians who are living in the country (now over 80 Million), life will get expensive as Ethiopia is a net importer of goods; from gasoline to machinery, to consumer goods.

I hope that the Central Bank of Ethiopia (http://www.nbe.gov.et and http://nbebank.com) will find the best equilibrium for the exchange rate as a sharply fluctuating rate is not good for any nation.

Below is an article by Bloomberg news regarding the devaluation:

Source: Bloomberg

Ethiopia devalued its currency, the birr, by 17 percent against the dollar, the third such move in the past 14 months, according to the National Bank of Ethiopia.

The exchange rate was quoted at 16.351 per dollar today compared with 13.628 yesterday, according to the website of the Addis Ababa-based central bank. It was trading at 11.381 on July 10 last year.

The devaluation will crimp imports and make it easier to boost foreign currency reserves. Ethiopia needs to raise its reserves to 3 months of import cover from 2.3 months to cushion its economy from external shocks, a June report from the International Monetary Fund said.

There is a “need for a 10 percentage point real exchange rate depreciation” in order to achieve that goal, the IMF said in the report.

Ethiopia’s trade deficit was expected to grow to $7 billion in the fiscal year to July 7 from $6.3 billion the year before, according to IMF figures.

Where is the ETB exchange rate heading? As I mentioned in my previous post, the Birr exchange rate to the dollar is estimated at 22. It is being artificially kept at a higher level.

The above Bloomberg article also suggests that, the the Central Bank of Ethiopia might need to devalue the currency to about 18 ETB to the dollar in the near future. So, those of you residing abroad, wait a while before purchasing a big ticket item in Ethiopia; and those planning to sell in Ethiopia and bring your proceeds abroad might want to sell now before the ETB is devalued again.

Ethiopian Professor Seid Hassan Murray State University Department of Economics and Finance

Photo: Professor Seid Hassan

An Ethiopian professor of Economics, Seid Hassan, has written a detailed analysis of the exchange rate adjustment. You can read the article by clicking here.

My next blog entry will be on Thursday September 23, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do Billionaires Spend Their Money?

I have come across some people, including some Ethiopians, who want to live beyond their means. Some actually keep dreaming to become millionaires. That is a great dream. But, if one plans to become a millionaire, saving and working starts at an early age.

The common trend among all millionaires and billionaires is that they tend to be very frugal with their money – after all that is why they have a lot of it because they save it and invest it.

According to the article below, there are 1,011 Billionaires in the world. One of them is an Ethiopian born Mohammed Al Amoudi.

Al Amoudi has chosen to invest a lot of money in Ethiopia (now over 2 Billion dollars). He is the second employer, after the government, in Ethiopia. Politics aside, I have seen first hand how the investment by Al Amoudi has paid off for so many. Some people have stated businesses by either getting grants from his office or working for one of his companies.

Unofficial website about Al Amoudi is found here.

Check out the following 2 links (videos) to see how the generosity of Al Amoudi has helped a lot of people in Ethiopia:

For those who are foolishly spending their hard earned money with out any financial plan, the following article by Investopedia’s Jean Folger is a must read.

7 Spending Tips From Frugal Billionaires

By Jean Folger, Investopedia
Thursday, September 2, 2010

Carlos Slim Helu (Carlos Slim), a telecom tycoon and billionaire with well-known frugal tendencies, has a net worth of U.S.$60.6 billion according to Forbes. Assuming no changes in his net worth, he could spend $1,150 a minute for the next 100 years before he ran out of money. To put this in perspective, he could spend in 13 minutes what a minimum-wage earner brings home after an entire year of the daily grind.

Granted, the world’s billionaires (all 1,011 of them) are in the debatably enviable position of having, quite literally, more money than they can possibly spend, yet some are still living well below their means, and save money in surprising places. Even non-billionaires (currently 6,864,605,142 of us) can partake in these seven spending tips from frugal billionaires.

Keep your home simple

Billionaires can afford to live in the most exclusive mansions imaginable – and many do, including Bill Gates’ sprawling 66,000-square-foot, $147.5 million mansion in Medina, Wash. – yet frugal billionaires like Warren Buffet choose to keep it simple. Buffet still lives in the five-bedroom house in Omaha that he purchased in 1957 for $31,500. Likewise, Carlos Slim has lived in the same house for more than 40 years.

Use self-powered or public transportation

Thrifty billionaires including John Caudwell, David Cheriton and Chuck Feeney prefer to walk, bike or use public transportation when getting around town. Certainly these wealthy individuals could afford to take a helicopter to their lunch meetings, or ride in chauffeur-driven Bentleys, but they choose to get a little exercise and take advantage of public transportation instead. Good for the bank account and great for the environment.

Buy your clothes off the rack

While some people, regardless of their net value, place a huge emphasis on wearing designer clothes and shoes, some frugal billionaires decide it’s simply not worth the effort, or expense. You can find David Cheriton, the Stanford professor who matched Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to the venture capitalists at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers (resulting in a large reward of Google stock), wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the furniture company Ikea, avoids wearing suits, and John Caudwell, mobile phone mogul, buys his clothes off the rack instead of spending his wealth on designer clothes.

Keep your scissors sharp

The average haircut costs about $45, but people can and do spend up to $800 per cut and style. Multiply that by 8.6 (to account for a cut every six weeks) and it adds up to $7,200 per year, not including tips. These billionaires can certainly afford the most stylish haircuts, buy many cannot be bothered by the time it takes or the high price tag for the posh salons. Billionaires like John Caudwell and David Cheriton opt for cutting their own hair at home.

Drive a regular car

While billionaires like Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation) enjoy spending millions on cars, boats and planes, others remain low key with their vehicles of choice. Jim Walton (of the Wal-Mart clan) drives a 15-year-old pickup truck. Azim Premji, an Indian business tycoon, reportedly drives a Toyota Corolla. And Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea drives a 10-year-old Volvo. The idea is to buy a dependable car, and drive it into the ground. No need for a different car each day of the week for these frugal billionaires.

Skip luxury items

It may surprise some of us, but the world’s wealthiest person, Carlos Slim (the one who could spend more than a thousand dollars a minute and not run out of money for one hundred years) does not own a yacht or a plane.
Many other billionaires have chosen to skip these luxury items. Warren Buffet also avoids these lavish material items, stating “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.”

What we can learn

Some of the world’s billionaires have frugal tendencies. Perhaps this thrifty nature even helped them make some of their money. Regardless, they have chosen to avoid some unnecessary spending (at least on their scale) and the 6,864,605,142 non-billionaires out there can follow suit, eliminating excessive, keep-up-with-the-Jones style spending.  No matter what a person’s income bracket is, most can usually find a way to cut back on frivolous spending, just like a few frugal billionaires.

So, what do you think? Do you spend your money foolishly or do you have a financial plan?

My next blog entry will be on Thursday September 16, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

China’s Solution for Mass and Green Transportation: Build Straddling Buses

There are more than 1.4 billion people in China. The economy is growing, many have become millionaires and even billionaires just in the past 30 years. Along with growth, comes infrastructure and transportation challenges.

In trying to have a green technology that can transport many people in an already existing infrastructure, Chinese developers have come up with a paradoxical, environmentally-sound solution to speed up traffic. How you may ask? Their answer is to build straddling buses.

Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company is developing a 3D Express Coach that will allow smaller cars to drive underneath it – just like a tunnel.

The new bus dubbed, the “Straddling Bus” is a light-rail train system and will stand about 4.5 metres high with two levels. Passengers will board the upper level while smaller vehicles less than 2 metres can drive right through.

Facts about the Straddling Bus:

  • Powered by electricity and solar energy
  • Can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h
  • Can carry 1200-1400 passengers at a time
  • Each bus will cost $500 million yuan (approximately $73 million USD)
  • Construction of the first 115 miles of track will begin in Beijing’s Mentougou district at the end of 2010

The future potential of this technology is very promising. I can see many countries ordering these buses from the Chinese firm. Canadian metro cities could definitely benefit from using these buses.

Ethiopia’s population is growing fast and such buses could be very well utilized in Addis Ababa. I hope that these great buses will be available in my life time in Addis.

For more information, check the following links:

http://www.engadget.com

http://www.chinahush.com

Gallery of Images at Yahoo

My next blog entry will be on Thursday August 12, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Come Out and Celebrate Ethiopian Day on August 28, 2010 in Burnaby, BC

Last weekend (July 25-26), the Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver took place. I wrote about that event in my earlier post.

The Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver is a great example that shows how a small group of people can accomplish myriads of work. We Ethiopians should learn from other minority groups in town on how we can collaborate on a variety of projects and events. We, as a community, have been living in the lower mainland as permanent residents since the mid 1970’s. However, our presence is not felt at any level.

We must work together for the betterment of our community. For instance, the Somali community started coming to Canada and USA in the 1990’s, some 15 years after our community settled in Canada. Ethiopians have been coming for education and trade to the USA since the 1900’s – yes for more than 100 years now, but still the Ethiopian community in the USA is not as strong as it should be. However, the Somali community is way stronger than the Ethiopian community. Even though I don’t endorse all the illegal activities and rude behaviours that the Somalis are famous for, I admire and envy their closeness as a community.

When it comes to the Somalis’ community, we must and need to be like them – however, we must avoid their other negative personalities. I am not generalizing that all Somalis have bad personalities. This is my only experience and I am not painting all Somalis with the same brush.

The vast majority of Ethiopians are very law abiding people. So, if one is a decent citizen, then what makes it so difficult to be united under the community umbrella? I hope to explain this in the future. Also, anyone is welcome to submit an article explaining why we failed as a community so far.

Ethiopian Community in Vancouver BC Organizes the First Annual Summer Festival

The new Ethiopian Community of BC directors have planned a great event this August. It will be “The First Annual Ethiopian Summer Festival” and will be held in Burnaby, BC on August 28, 2010 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

For Google Map, please click here

For Google Street View, please click here

I am really excited that our community leaders have organized this event. It is way overdue. This is the first annual event in 35 plus years! I wish every one a great time and I thank the organizing committee from the bottom of my heart.

I look forward to seeing you all at the event.

My next blog entry will be on Thursday August 05, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

July 29, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopians: Come Out And Celebrate The Caribbean Day Festival In North Vancouver

In my previous post, I wrote about the Surrey Fusion Festival. I attended this fusion event. Again, it was a great event with many nations participating. I was sad, as last year, that Ethiopia was not represented. This year, South Africa and Nigeria were there.

I was also disappointed at the number of Ethiopians who attended. In my count, there were less than 10 Ethiopians. Such events are great and I encourage all to come out and participate.

At this fusion festival event, I met some Sudanese Nubians, who are already working to participate in the 2011 fusion Festival – great to hear that. I am hoping that the Ethiopian community of BC will participate next year.

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July 22, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopia Hopes to Qualify for 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil After Signing a New Coach

The 2010 FIFA Wold Cup has come and gone. What a great feast of soccer it was!

I love soccer very much and was able to watch most of the world cup games. Most of the time, there were 3 or 2 games a day, and usually at odd hours of the day, like 4:30AM, 7:30AM and 11:30AM Pacific. It was very challenging to watch the games live due to the time differences, however, thanks to CBC Video On Demand services, I was able to watch the games at http://www.cbc.ca

Ghana gave Africa its best shot, but thanks to crazy FIFA rules, they were out too early. I believe that FIFA needs to change its rules when it comes to such very decisive games as the world cup. Ghana’s last minute shot that was unfairly blocked by the Uruguay’s defender hand from getting behind the net, was an obvious goal – in my eyes, such cheap plays must not be allowed and instead it should be assumed as a goal. Well, that is history for now, just wanted for Ghana to win and trying to vent here.

God willing, we will be able to see the next world cup in 2014 in Brazil.

Encouraged by great African soccer team performances in South Africa, Ethiopia has made a good step towards improving its soccer standing, or may be perhaps qualify for the 2014 FIFA games in Brazil, by hiring a new coach.

Ethiopia’s New Coach

Yes, Ethiopia has hired a great coach. His name is Iffy Onoura, 42, a Glasgow native, with a UEFA Pro licence, and graduate of Bradford University. He is a no non-sense, high tempered, British, who is always focused on getting the job done.

Photo: Iffy Onoura, the new Ethiopian soccer coach

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July 15, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is Addis Ababa Really One of the Cheapest Cities in the World for Expats?

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, has been ranked as one of the cheapest cities in the world by Mercer’s 2010 Cost of Living Survey.

Mercer’s Top 50 expensive cities are found here.

Addis Ababa is ranked at 208th position out of the 214 cities surveyed. According to the survey, “the cost of housing – often the biggest expense for expats – plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked”. Based on this fact, I expected Addis Ababa to be in the top 20.

Please keep in mind that the survey is for expatriates, not for local people. Typical expats in Addis Ababa include embassy officials, NGO employees and those in other similar positions.

I must say that I do not agree with the report when it comes to Addis Ababa. How can Addis Ababa be one of the cheapest cities in the world? A decent family home, say, 6 bed room house with 2,200 sq. ft with 7,000 sq. ft lot is going for $200,000 to 700,000 USD depending on the location of the property. You can check house for sale and rental prices at Ezega’s website.

The exchange rate for $1 USD is about $13.75 EBR (Ethiopian Birr).

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July 8, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopians: Be Part of the Fusion Festival in Surrey

Happy Canada Day to everyone!

Last year, I attended a great event in Surrey, called “Fusion Festival”. It was a great event as there were many fusions of nations that participated. There were countries from Asia, Europe, Caribbeans and South America. The only African nation that participated was Kenya despite Ethiopians numbering at least ten times the population of Kenyans in the lower mainland.

At that event, each country had its own two tents – one tent was to sell food, cultural items, etc. and the next door tent was basically an information booth about that particular group. Despite the few thousand of us Ethiopians living in the Vancouver area, we did not have a presence at the event. I really felt bad that we Ethiopians in diaspora are still half sleep, perhaps, I should say fully asleep.

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July 1, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Cousin in Ethiopia Fell Victim to a Nigerian Phishing Scam

Recently I received an email, supposedly from my cousin. The subject said, Please Help Me. I never got an email with such subject line from my cousin in the past; so I was very curious to find out what kind of help she needed.

I opened the email as soon as I saw it. The email read as follows:

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May 13, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

San Jose: Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America 2010

The Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) has announced its 27th annual sports and cultural event to take place from June 27 to July 3, 2010. Yes, San Jose, California will be the host this year.

The “S” in ESFNA once stood for “Soccer”, but over the years, that did change to “Sport” so that other sports could be added. However, lately, the event has become more than sports. Therefore, the website’s (http://www.esfna.org) translates ESFNA in Amharic as, “Ethiopian Sports and Cultural Federation in North America”. I agree with the translation and it really makes sense.

Ethiopian_Sports_Soccer_Federation_in_North_America_Tournament

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May 6, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sending Money to Ethiopia

Sending money oversees is way to complicated! But, does it have to be? If you are sending money, for instance, to Europe from Canada or US, then you have many choices:

  • Money Orders – via banks, post office, etc.
  • Cash Transfers – via agents like Western Union, etc.
  • Bank Transfers – via banks in wires, cheques, drafts, etc.

These services are very expensive both to the sender and recipient. The sender pays outrageous service fees and the recipient also gets dinged service fees in addition to lower exchange rates.


Photo: 1985 Ethiopian Gold Coin – showing a value of $400 Birr – worth a lot more at the present!

But, if you are sending money to Ethiopia, your options are limited. Most people in North America send money to Ethiopia using local licensed agencies rather than big corporations. These local agencies are mostly run by other fellow Ethiopians.

The service fees by the corporations are way to high, and also small local agencies give you the best exchange rates.

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April 1, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Installing and Using Amharic Software in Windows 7

Microsoft recently released Windows 7, which included Amharic and many other African languages. I did cover that story in my post, entitled, “Microsoft to Release Windows 7 in Amharic, Ethiopian National Language, and Nine Other African Languages“, which you can read by clicking here.

I have not upgraded to Windows 7 yet, so I don’t have a personal experience to write my own review on how the system works and how good or bad it is.

Because many people have shown a great deal of interest in the Amharic system, I did a little bit of research and have found the following information:

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March 18, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ethiopia – a Role Model Country for Religious Tolerance

This past weekend a major religious clash took place in Nigeria. Hundreds of Christians were killed by Muslims on a broad day light in the city of Jos. BBC has reported all the details here. And The Times On Line has also reported all the details here.

As Africa’s most populous nation and one of the top oil sources, Nigeria has been one of the most stable countries in Africa for many years. This ugly event of murder and chaos has worried not only Nigerians, but also the West. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called this week on Nigeria to find and punish those responsible for the killings of more than 500 Christians in a wave of sectarian slaughter. More reporting on the Nigerian violence is here.

Ethiopia and Religion

Ethiopians of all religions and faith have lived side by side through out the centuries. This was mentioned by Professor Isaac’s letter, which I published here. Yes, it is gratifying to know that Ethiopians were / are able to respect each other’s religion despite what was / is happening in and around Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s Muslims are traditionalists who sincerely follow the Quraan. I have never come across any Muslim who displayed hate, violence or anger towards others while growing up in Ethiopia. My hope and prayer is that, Ethiopia will continue to enjoy religious harmony for centuries to come.

For centuries, “Religion is personal where as Ethiopia is for all” has been the guiding principles of the leaders and the people of Ethiopia. This still holds true today in Ethiopia and hope it will hold true forever. Yes, Religion is a very sensitive issue and should be handled delicately.

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March 11, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Battle of Adwa and the Defeat of Fascist Italy – March 2, 1896

On March 2, 1896, Ethiopia accomplished no other Africans have ever done – Ethiopia was able to defeat Fascist Italy that crossed its boundaries for the purpose of looting and colonization.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, Ethiopia marked the 114th anniversary of the Battle of Adwa Victory. So, I decided to write a post about it. Ethiopia was the first and only country in Africa that defeated European colonial power during the ‘scramble for Africa’ rush.

Ethiopia, under Emperor Menelik II, decimated the invading Italian army at the northern town of Adwa. That victory became a symbol of independence and pride for all black people around the World, specially Africans. The victory was sweeter for African Americans, who were fighting racism in America at the time. The victory of Adwa was a huge event, and still it is in the minds of Ethiopians and Africans.

Because of Ethiopia’s triumph over Italy, many African nations have adopted Ethiopia’s flag (Green, Yellow, Red) in its various combinations.

From The archives of the New York Times on The Battle of Adwa.

Click on the links below to read from the New York Times Archives:

The above two news articles from 1896 are a must read and remind us all that we should never take our freedom for granted; and continue our best to cherish our freedom.

Related Video

Haile Gerima’s Video regarding Adwa is found here.

Thank you very much our forefathers for paying the ultimate sacrifice to save Ethiopia!

My next blog entry will be on Thursday March 11, 2010

Mullkam Samint!

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and Canadian Patriotism

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic games are progressing very well. Canada is currently ranked at fourth place in medial count rankings; behind USA, Germany and Norway.

I am really glad to see that, finally, Canadians have shown their patriotic side. Such out pouring enthusiastic patriotism was never expected in Canada as Canadians are very polite and subdued people, who keep low profile, don`t usually brag, for example, as compared to Americans.

A few days ago, I went to down town and in surrounding suburbs to witness for myself first hand all the patriotic events I saw on TV. Sure enough, I too was carried away with the celebrations. Robson square was crowded, the whole down town was flooded, and is still flooded, with a lot of people as I write this blog.

Chants of “Go Canada Go!”,  impromptu performances of the Canadian National Anthem (O! Canada), visceral screams of “Whoooo!”, “Canada!”, and more have echoed throughout Vancouver, and neighbouring cities.

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February 25, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Khat, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Canadian Home Renovation Tax Credit Explained

The Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) has left many homeowners wondering how this new credit available for tax year 2009 will impact their tax returns.

Here are some quick facts that can help you know what to expect if you have made eligible renovations to your homes and cottages.

The deadline for HRTC has now passed; but it is tax time and you will need to know what to claim. Please keep in mind that your renovations must have been done before February 1, 2010.

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February 18, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopian Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics: Meet Olympian Robel Teklemariam

Ethiopia’s Olympics history is astounding, to say the least. For decades, many Ethiopians have participated in the Olympics around the world and have made us all proud – these were all summer Olympics.

When it comes to the Winter Olympics, however, Ethiopia and many other African nations don’t actively participate due to lack of snow in the continent. For instance, there were a total of 9 African participants in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics from a total of 6 countries:

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February 11, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vancouver Winter 2010 Olympics Games Free Events

Olympics – whether Winter or Summer – is a great event.

Ethiopia has been participating in the summer Olympics for nearly 50 years now. Ethiopia has opened the floodgates for all Africans to participate in the Olympics.

I am very proud of the accomplishments of Ethiopian athletes. In the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, Ethiopia sent 12 athletes, and came home with 8 medals – that is by far the best a country could hope for. However, Canada did send 425 Olympians to Sydney, but came back with nothing. I remember the media hammering the Canadian Olympic Committee by comparing them to Ethiopians. Canada’s low performance in 2000 was improved in 2004 in Athens and again in 2008 in Beijing.

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February 4, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Professor Ephraim Isaac Extends his Greetings, Appeals for Unity of All Ethiopians

The year 2009 is now behind us. What a year it was! We witnessed many dramatic events in the last year around the world, Ethiopia included. Some events were very sad, some very stupid and some needed to happen.

Now, we must accept the year 2010 with great appreciation and positive outlook. The New Year celebration has triggered an Ethiopian Harvard Professor Ephraim Isaac to appeal to all Ethiopians …

He asks, “Why are we stuck on the philosophical values of Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Marx? Why not respect and uphold the teachings of peace and reconciliation of our own wise teachers like, Zar’a Ya’aqob, Kristos Samra, Abba Gedas, and others?

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January 14, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians and Khat, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopian Vancouver Blog: Looking at My 2009 Posts

Since I started writing this blog on September 10, 2009, I have been contacted by many people with good words and encouragements. It feels good when I know that, many people are reading my posts and like what I have written so far.

I have decided to summarize my 2009 posts here in one post. Well, there were 17 posts for 2009 as started in September 2009. In 2010, I plan to write 52 posts at the rate of one a week.

Click on any of the following links to read in more details.

September 2009

Sept 10:  Happy Ethiopian New Year to All

Sept 17:  To Buy a House or Not to Buy – Part 1

Sept 24:  To Buy a House or Not to Buy – Part 2

October 2009

October 1:  To Buy a House or Not to Buy – Part 3

October 8:  Thanksgiving and Ethiopians in Vancouver

October 15:  Ethiopian Community of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada

October 22: Just How Big is the Internet? Let us Print the Entire Internet, Honey!

October 29: H1N1 Vaccination – Is it Good for me?

November 2009

November 5: Remembrance Day in Canada

November 11: The Contribution of Ethiopia and Other African Nations for World Peace During the WWII

November 19: Cool Things You Can Do with the Internet

November 26: Advertisements in North America – Prey Upon Fear – With An Ethiopian Eye

December 2009

December 3: Role Model Ethiopian – Daniel W. Yohannes

December 10: An Ethiopian Blogger’s View: Is Greed Good Or Bad?

December 17: Just How Big is the Internet in China?

December 24: An Ethiopian Blogger’s View: Are all African Presidents/Prime Ministers Corrupt?

December 31: Microsoft to Release Windows 7 in Amharic, Ethiopian National Language, and Nine Other African Languages

I plan to write some interesting topics in 2010.

If you have any topic in mind that you want me to write about, please let me know.

Do you like to suggest a topic and/or contribute an article? If so, please contact me in the form below.

May the New Year Bring Peace, Harmony, Unity, Love and Prosperity and Good Health to us all and to our motherland, Ethiopia and to our fatherland, Canada!

My next blog entry will be on Thursday January 14, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians and Khat, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Contribution of Ethiopia and Other African Nations for World Peace During the WWII

Last week, I published a post regarding Remembrance Day.

This week, I came across an article by BBC regarding the over 1.3 million African troops that helped fight Nazis and Fascists. The article, written by Martin Plaut, BBC Africa analyst, shows Africa’s contribution to World Peace during the Second World War by fighting aggressive invaders with in Africa and even going to Europe fighting the Nazis and the Fascists.

Thanks to Martin Plaut and the BBC for brining this to its readers’ attention. I hope that the West will remember Africa’s forgotten soldiers and patriots, who fought for World Peace side by side with peace loving nations.

Ethiopian General Jagama Kello at 15 years of age during the WWII fighting Fascist Italy

Ethiopian Patriot Jagamo Kello (shown in the middle) left home at just 15 to fight Italian invaders
Photo Circa 1936

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November 11, 2009 Posted by | Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Remembrance Day in Canada

What is Remembrance Day?

Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy DayArmistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day – is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.) The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war; this was possibly done upon the suggestion of Edward George Honey to Wellesley Tudor Pole, who established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.

But, what is the brief history of Remembrance Day in Canada?

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November 5, 2009 Posted by | Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | 2 Comments

Just How Big is the Internet? Let us Print the Entire Internet, Honey!

In addition to my ramblings about Ethiopian related socio-economic and political issues, I plan to write a maximum of one Internet /webmaster related post each month. All tech posts are scheduled to be published on the third Thursday of the month.

Therefore, today, as my first tech post, I just want to start by writing about the size of the Internet.

I launched this blog on September 10, 2009, just in time for the Ethiopian New Year. My first post was entitled, “Happy Ethiopian New Year to All!”. I published a few more posts after that – To Buy a House or Not to Buy (Parts 1), To Buy a House or Not to Buy (Parts 2), To Buy a House or Not to Buy (Parts 3),  Thanksgiving and the Ethiopian Community of British Columbia (ECBC). Now it is time for a technology post, which I am very much interested in.

Before I start talking about how big the Internet is, I just want to say a few words about the history of Internet in the Vancouver area.

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October 22, 2009 Posted by | Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thanksgiving and Ethiopians in Vancouver

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, October 12, 2009 will be Thanksgiving holiday in Canada. I wanted to post an article regarding this holiday as seen with an Ethiopian point of view …

I would like to dedicate this post to the Aboriginal People of North America, with out whom, we all (whether new immigrants or many generation Canadians) would not have been living in Canada.

When the early explorers arrived in North America, the Natives were very generous, helpful, compassionate and hospitable people. The Natives welcomed the explorers by:

  • Giving them the food they needed when they were hungry
  • Pouring the drinks when they were thirsty
  • Guiding them when they were lost, and
  • Clothing them when they were cold

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October 8, 2009 Posted by | Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Ethiopian New Year to All

Happy New Year to All Ethiopians!

Tomorrow, September 11, 2009, will be the Ethiopian New Year (Enqutatash in Amharic) or R’ise Awde Amet (Head Anniversary) in the ancient language of Ethiopia, Geez.

Yes, September 11, 2009 will be the first day of the first month of the year 2002. Ethiopia is about 7 years, 3 months and 20 days behind the official Gregorian Calendar in use in North America, Europe, and most countries around the world. Ethiopia has 13 months in a year; 12 months of 30 days each, with the 13th month having only 5 days (6 days in a leap year, which takes place every 4 years).

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September 10, 2009 Posted by | Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments