- Mustafa Mohoumed Omer – Deputy President of Somali region
For decades, the Somali region has been one of the most troubled regions of the country. The region suffered because of the ex-president Abdi Iliey who was known for his iron fist administration and tragic human rights abuses. Mustafa used to challenge the former regional administration, which resulted in his exile for years. Abdi Iliey threatened him to be quiet, but he refused and, in 2016 his brother Fayssal got killed.
Mustafa become acting interim president of the Somali Regional State on 22 August 2018, following Ethopian military forced Abdi Ilie to resign after a standoff with the central government.
After he took the office, things started to change in Somali. He did lots of work to undo the damage of his predecessor; disbursed funds to the victims of the August 4, 2018 attack and robbery in Jigjiga. Within one year of Mustafa’s administration Somali region is now one of the safest regions in Ethiopia.
Mustafa, 45, became popular in the central part of the country because of his insights on Ethiopian politics expressed on his speech in a couple of stages and managed to catch the hearts of many. Mustafa Mohamoud Omar is indeed one of the most influential politicians this Ethiopian year.
- Dr.Senait Fisseha
Dr.Senait is the founder of the Center for Reproductive Health Training (CRHT). She is mostly known for her hard work on improving maternal mortality and reproductive injustices in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia.
Dr.Senait, who was born in Ethiopia, Studied at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Medical school just for a quarter before she moved to the US. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Rosary College, and she received Howard Hughes Medical Institute funding to pursue research at the University of Michigan. She is especially interested in the areas of obstetrics and gynecologists; published around 100 articles in the fields of reproductive endocrinology, infertility, and medical ethics.
Dr.Fisseha achieved a lot this year; Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists (RCOG) awarded Dr.Senait a membership recognizing her as “globally-recognized leader in reproductive health & rights and a lifelong gender champion.”
Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed awarded her a medal for “her continued support particularly in the health sector.”
Dr. Senait.”s working hard in organizing the diaspora to make a positive impact on the Ethiopian health sector. Currently, she is serving as exclusive advisor to Tedros Adhanom, the director-general World Health Organization.
- Haile Gebrselassie
Haile Gebrselassie two-times Olympic, four times World Championship gold medalist and successful businessman has now turned his eyes into philanthropy.
He announced later this year the establishment of his Foundation to make material support for schools. He becomes the first person in Ethiopia who established a foundation in his name.
He also managed to build a school with 4mil ETB that accommodates 800 students, within less than four months in a rural area of Wag Himra zone, Amhara region.
- Elias Meseret
Elias Meseret is a Correspondent for The Associated Press for Ethiopia and the African Union (AU). His work to expose fake news on social media and his trustworthy information made him media person of the year.
- Eshetu Melesse
Eshetu Melese is a young stand up comedian who become popular this year with his political comedies. He performed on three stages this year, two of them were in front of university students and academics. He delivered an informed and stylish political comedy which appeals to the young audience and politicians as well. There has been a gap of political comedy in Ethiopia which contributes to the sociopolitical maturity of the community. The young comedian believed to brought more substance to the politics than political activists and elites on TV screens. He raises controversial subjects like ethnic conflicts and political activism, and he came out with humorous and substantial impressions.
Ride is Ethiopian version of UBER founded by IT professional and entrepreneur Samrawit Fikru in 2014. At the start, ride was just SMS based taxi-hailing and booking platform. But in 2017 the company launched its mobile app and call center.
The company faced several challenges this year; but most of all Addis Ababa city transport bureau issued a ban on Ride claiming car rental services specifically on Toyota brand Corolla, Vitz, Yaris, and Executive models vehicles not to operate as rental transportation for an indefinite period of time.
The ambiguous decision of the bureau caused havoc on the booming operation of the company. Despite this challenge and the competition from other operators, Ride kept its status as the number one transport hailing and booking platform in Addis Ababa with over 100,000 installs on its android platform alone.
Ride is not only challenged by government ambiguous decision but also their drivers and customers encountered several confrontational situations with Blue Taxi drivers. At some spots the hustle is becoming normal for Ride drivers and passengers.
- Efoy (እፎይ)
When people think about pizza in Addis Ababa, the first name comes into their mind is ‘Efoy.’ Established in 2007, it is one of the most Authentic and recognizable food brands in Addis Ababa. The unusual taste of their pizza, and the warm chilled place, the catchy local menu and the fair price they offer made Effoy pleasant pizza place in the city.
The new international competitors who joined the market in the past few years, including Pizza Hut and Debonairs pizza has to compete with one of the most recognizable local brand Effoy. The four branches of Effoy with the name written in Amharic as እፎይ. Unlike cafeteria and fast food chains Effoy faces stiff competition in maintaining its legacy by competing against international brands.
- Min Litazez
Min Litazez, (meaning “How may I serve you?”) is an Ethiopian political satire television comedy series, premiered on the state-affiliated TV station Fana TV in 2018. The weekly show pokes fun on the political system and bureaucracy in Ethiopia. Min Litazez focuses on people who work in a cafe called ‘Min Litazez.’ There are five main characters, of which three of those are working as waiters in the cafe, one as a barista and the other as a Manager. The show caused controversy with its humorous criticism on the system and politicians as well. The cafe represents Ethiopia, and Ayalkbet, the star of the show represents the government and sol legislator. The waiters blindly follow his rules, which are not applied to him.
The show kept the attention of many fans, but the critics don’t make the state-affiliated TV station happy so is has stopped its production a few months ago. Prior to stop airing on Fanabc the producer was jailed for 17 days followed by sponsors dropping from the show that ultimately brought the end for the show. The sitcom can be one testimonial why there is still censorship in the country.
A song by Rahel Getu, “Tilobign” released in February 2019, has got more than 10 million hits on YouTube within just six months. Rahel, who is also a member of the women music group “Endegna,” her first solo single Tilobign liked by many. Tilobign has known in every corner of Ethiopia, From children to old ones shared a video singing the song. Tilobign indeed is the most popular song of the year.
- Fikir Yibeltal
The new YouTube star Fikir started her program Kefikirga on Addis Insight YouTube channel seven months ago. Her videos focus on love and relationships, have now more than 2.2 million hits. Her audiences shared her videos more than 29,000 times and like her videos more than 46,000 times which makes her one of the most recognizable youtube personalities in Ethiopia.