Ethiopia: Amid conflict and Covid-19 crisis, businesses fights for growth

While the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia persists, with women and girls being taken advantage of by both Ethiopian troops and the rebels according to Amnesty International report, established businesses and SMEs despite the atrocities and the Covid-19 crisis continue to fight for economic development.

What will become of the people of Ethiopia after the crisis?

Mastercard Foundation partnering with others is answering that question, providing a solution to an ongoing problem with an obvious disastrous outcome.

The FDRE Jobs Creation Commission of Ethiopia and First Consult collaborated with Mastercard Foundation to create a $24.8 million facility last year, called Mastercard Foundation Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) Resilience Facility.

So far into the month of August, it has supported over 10,000 businesses and saved more than 50,000 jobs. About 2000 of the businesses are informal and have benefited from several grants. 

Women control 80% of the informal businesses and as a result are responsible for saving 4,440 jobs collectively.

“…It is deeply encouraging and hopeful to see the ways in which our partners’ support has protected jobs, as well as enabled innovation and resilience,” said Samuel Yalew Adela, Country Head, Ethiopia, at the Mastercard Foundation.

The Mastercard Foundation MSE Resilience Facility automatically strengthens the initial creation of Young Africa Works designed to provide opportunities for 30 million young Africans especially young women to access dignified and fulfilling work including the empowerment of 10 million young Ethiopians for over a decade.


“I produce concrete flower pots and used to sell them with plants from my home.

This support helped me to rent a place where I can produce, store raw materials, and display my products. I also used the funds to buy raw materials.

I now have the potential to grow and expand my business.” – Senait Girma, a loan recipient.

“This facility gave us an opportunity to expand our customer base in the MSE market.  

I believe this experience will inform our future product development and our go-to-market approach in the segment.” – Ephrem Bogale, Director of Personal & SME Banking Directorate at Awash Bank.

“This facility has created clarity around easier access to finance for MSEs. Access to finance from banks has always been extremely challenging.

This shift in access is due to the provision of relaxed collateral requirements, a lower interest rate and an extended repayment period.

The facility has attracted many SMEs who were previously unbanked and never channeled their transactions through us.”

-Dereje Bekele, Senior Manager of MSME Banking at Dashen Bank.

By Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.

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