Vancouver Ethiopian Blog

Ethiopian life in Vancouver, BC, Canada

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

Kenyan-Born Harvard Professor, Calestous Juma Says: “Invest in High Speed Internet” to African Leaders

Kenyan-Born Harvard University Professor, Calestous Juma, says information and communication technologies are the foundations for Africa to meet its developmental needs

In late January 2010, Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa hosted the 14th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) heads of state.

The theme of the summit was “Information and Communication Technologies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Development”.

Kenyan-born Calestous Juma, who is director of Science, Technology and Globalization at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, said although most African countries had been saddled with inadequate information technology, the situation is improving gradually.

“Up to now information has been probably the most costly resource on the continent. But, this is changing very fast. We’ve seen a dramatic impact that mobile phones have had on Africa economic scene as well as political scene. But, with the arrival of fiber optic cable, Africa now has this possibility of accessing high speed internet,” he said.

Photo: Calestous Juma

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June 10, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Ethiopian Role Model Entrepreneur – Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

Old truck tyres never die, they just turn into sandals

What do you do with your old tyre from your car or truck? Chances are you will throw it out in the garbage. No wait! Some one wants it! Yes, a young Ethiopian entrepreneur has made a carrier for herself, and 50 plus of her employees.

Meet an Ethiopian role model – Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – who has combined the Internet’s selling power with nimble business practices more often associated with Asian countries, the idea has been turned into an unlikely international hit. Bethlehem, 30, quit her job as an accountant, to launch Sole Rebels.

Her company, Sole-Rebels, has received an International Fair Trade Certification. This means, she pays her employees decent wages, and follows labour codes. Even her employees have health benefit packages.

Bethlehm’s success has allowed her to expand and construct a solar-powered factory, adjacent to her old factory.

Her suppliers deliver old truck tyres and tubes to her factory; and she has hired women to spin, weave and dye locally-grown cotton, jute and hemp using skills passed down through generations. The results have been astonishing. Sole-Rebels thrived in the global market with no outside support, other than a government line of credit to help meet large orders.

Workers at Bethlehem’s SoleRebels factory — located in the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa — cut, sew and glue to fulfil Internet purchases from customers as far away as Canada and Australia.

Bethlehem_Bethy_Sole_Rebels_Founder_Photo

Photo: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, co-founder of SoleRebels,
eco-friendly footwear company from Ethiopia, is highlighted
in this week’s CNN’s African Voices. (Screen shot from CNN)

Bethlehem has sold many thousands of pairs of handmade flip-flops, boat shoes, loafers and Converse-style trainers to foreign customers.

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June 3, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ethiopia Launches Electric Car

I read a good news this week that an Italian-Chinese business venture is opening a factory in Ethiopia to produce a practical and affordable electric car. Just last month, Rwanda launched its first bio-diesel bus.

Even though there is a power shortage, at the present time, in Ethiopia, especially in the capital city Addis Ababa, it looks like that this venture could be successful.

Ethiopia is only the second African country to launch an electric car, after South Africa.

Carlo Pironti, general manager of Free Style PLC, the company that will be producing the Solaris electric cars, said, ” Ethiopia’s current electricity shortages were not a major obstacle to operating an electric car”. He believes that in the future, “Ethiopia will have lots of power supply”. Free Style PLC has been doing business in Ethiopia for the past 15 years in the areas of renewable energy supplies, including solar and wind power.

For those who have concerns about Ethiopia’s power supply, Mr. Pironti said, “In any case, the car can be recharged by generator and by solar power.”

Photo: Solaris Elettra Electric Car in Addis Ababa

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April 15, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment