One among the many programs Initiative Africa (IA) has been implementing under the Business for Peace Project which is supported by the Embassy of Sweden (SIDA), the Business for Peace Fellowship is designed to introduce business owners, business advisors, business aspirants, entrepreneurs and start-up owners, etc., to the various peacebuilding approaches and the analytical tools needed to understand, analyze and resolve conflicts. Offered in three cohorts, the Fellowship is deemed to be instrumental in allowing the business community to have a say in and foster local ownership of peacebuilding activities. It will also allow business owners to critically engage in peacebuilding processes with a clear understanding of the cycle of conflict and interventions designed at each state.

As part of this effort, IA organized a field trip to Mekele City, Tigray Region, Ethiopia from July 20th to 21st, 2023 for its current Business for Peace Fellows. The opening event was officially commemorated with a welcoming speech from Tigray Region Interim President H.E Mr. Getachew Reda at Axum Hotel, Mekele City under the theme “The role of the private sector in Post-Conflict Reconstruction”. This field trip facilitated the participation of the 22 (Twenty-Two) Business for Peace fellows who represent different sectors represented including banking, real estate, import-export, media houses, and representatives from Addis Ababa and Ethiopia chambers of commerce. The primary objective of the Mekele City Trip is to expose the private business sector to the current situation in Tigray and encourage their active involvement in the reconstruction process. In light of that the Economy and the Business Sector in Post Conflict Tigray were discussed by the Head of Tigray Regional State Interim-government Industry Bureau, Dr. Gebrehiwot and a reflection from the Tigray Regional State Chamber of Commerce President was presented on post-conflict reconstruction in Tigray regional state and the Role of the Private Sector.

Sharing the experience from the local civil society organization, a representative from the HAQI foundation discussed ‘Managing the trauma and psychological impact of the war’.

The Trip to Wiq`roo and IDP camps in Mekele; a first-hand experience of the effect of the war is believed to develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in post-conflict Tigray. This understanding will enable them to make informed decisions regarding potential investments and initiatives aimed at supporting the region’s recovery.

Through engaging with regional leaders, witnessing the impact of the war firsthand, and gaining insights from Tigray officials, participants will be empowered to play a significant role in the region’s recovery. IA and the Tigray Chamber of Commerce will work together to ensure the successful execution of the program, leveraging their expertise and networks to facilitate meaningful engagements between the private sector and Tigray’s leaders.


For more information, please contact us at info@initiativeafrica.net or call +251-11-662-2640/41



Ethiopian Private Sector and National Rehabilitation and Reintegration process

Initiative Africa’s Executive Director, Kebour Ghenna, Meets with Commissioner Teshome Toga to Promote Private Sector Engagement in the upcoming National Rehabilitation and Reintegration process. Initiative Africa (IA), a local organization dedicated to promoting peace and sustainable development in Ethiopia is delighted to announce a pivotal meeting between IA’s Executive Director, Kebour Ghenna, and Commissioner Teshome Toga, who headed the newly established the National Rehabilitation Commission of Ethiopia (NRCE).

Addressing the prevailing peace challenges in Ethiopia, Commissioner Toga wholeheartedly endorsed the Business for Peace initiative, acknowledging its timeliness and calling for robust support and active engagement from all stakeholders. “The Ethiopian private sector is an important actor in the work of the commission,” said Teshome Toga, Commissioner of the NRC. “The private sector needs to actively engage in peacebuilding and post-conflict construction work without a push from the government. The Business for Peace initiative is timely and needs to be supported and engaged as peace is an important issue for Ethiopia now.”

Building on this shared vision, IA and NRCE have jointly agreed to hold a high-level discussion forum by the end of this month. This forum will focus on exploring the private sector’s role in implementing the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) and, specifically, its contribution to the ongoing Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) process. The platform will bring together regional chambers, associations, and prominent business owners in Ethiopia, creating an opportunity for open dialogue, knowledge sharing, and collaborative action. Kebour Ghenna, Executive Director of Initiative Africa, said that the forum is an important opportunity to bring together the private sector and government to discuss how they can work together to build peace in Ethiopia. “We believe that the private sector has a critical role to play in peacebuilding,” said Kebour. “This forum is an opportunity for us to share our ideas and to work together to develop a plan for how the private sector can be more effectively engaged in peacebuilding efforts.

NRCE has been actively engaging with various stakeholders, including the international community, to mobilize funds and garner support. Operating independently, NRCE also collaborates with the Ministry of Peace (MoP) and a council of advisors, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and Skills, and the Ministry of Defense. This collaborative approach ensures a holistic and multifaceted response to the challenges of peacebuilding and national rehabilitation.

Underpinning these efforts, the Business for Peace project stands as a cornerstone initiative focused on mobilizing the business sector for sustainable peacebuilding. Supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), this three-year project aims to harness the transformative power of private enterprises in shaping peace, stability, and prosperity in Ethiopia.

Both IA and NRCE are committed to fostering a resilient and inclusive peacebuilding landscape in Ethiopia by actively engaging the private sector. This partnership signifies a significant milestone in strengthening the role of businesses in post-conflict development, reconstruction, and sustainable peace.

For further information, please contact us at this email addressinfo@initiativeafrica.net or call +251-11-662-2640/41

Creating Awareness on the National Dialogue

Exploring the Contribution of Businesses to sustainable peace in Ethiopia: A case study of the Role of Business in promoting social cohesion, economic development, and political stability in Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Initiative Africa (IA) jointly commissioned an extensive study aimed at exploring the vital role played by businesses in fostering sustainable peace in Ethiopia. This groundbreaking research delves into the multifaceted contributions of businesses in promoting social cohesion, driving economic development, and establishing political stability throughout the past decade.

To kick-start this crucial investigation, a half-day methodology workshop was conducted. The workshop served as a platform for engaging discussions, brainstorming sessions, and knowledge exchange to capture the diverse ways in which businesses have actively participated in peace-building efforts. This research seeks to magnify their impact and uncover hidden narratives of success, highlighting both the challenges faced and the solutions implemented by businesses across various sectors.

The pioneering study also aims to provide valuable insights into how Ethiopian businesses have cumulatively contributed to social cohesion, economic development, and political stability. By showcasing these success stories and best practices, ISS and IA endeavor to inspire other companies and stakeholders to prioritize sustainable peace-building strategies within their operations.

The findings of this comprehensive research will be unveiled during a high-profile event scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa later this year. Business leaders, policymakers, diplomats, academics, and civil society representatives will gather to discuss the implications of the research, fostering cross-sector collaboration to further advance peace-building efforts.

The team at ISS and IA express their gratitude to all the participants, sponsors, and collaborators involved in this research endeavor.

For further information and press inquiries, please contact us with this email address info@initiativeafrica.net or call +251-11-662-2640/41


Linking Peacebuilding and ESG

The Business for Peace Fellowship is designed to introduce business owners, business advisors, business aspirants, entrepreneurs and start-up owners, etc., to the various peacebuilding approaches and the analytical tools needed to understand, analyze and resolve conflicts. Offered in three cohorts, the Fellowship is deemed to be instrumental in allowing the business community to have a say in and foster local ownership of peacebuilding activities. It will also allow business owners to critically engage in peacebuilding processes with a clear understanding of the cycle of conflict and interventions designed at each state. The program’s contents are designed in various pedagogical formats. It follows hybrid modes of content delivery e-learning, in-person practicum, field visits and action learning for a duration of three months. Each month consists of a two-day in-person workshop with an intensive list of seminars. Besides, the program involves two field visits: one local and another international.

As the Team Leader of the Membership Development and Relations Department at Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Helina recognizes the significance of sustainable business practices that not only generate profits but also contribute to environmental and social good. Her participation in the Business for Peace Fellowship Program exposed her to the concept of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG). ESG is a multifaceted framework that considers how businesses can address environmental and social issues through corporate governance while creating long-term value for stakeholders.

The Business for Peace Fellowship Program offers participants a platform to familiarize themselves with various peacebuilding approaches and analytical tools in addition to exploring concepts like ESG. The program provides an opportunity to build capacity and foster collaboration among participants to analyze and resolve conflicts in their respective sectors.

Helina recognized that ESG was an integral part of an organization’s strategy that considers how generating value from all stakeholders is important. Following her participation in the program, she took the initiative to partner with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop guidelines for Ethiopian manufacturing and agricultural firms on ESG issues. This partnership aimed to reduce risks associated with manufacturing and agriculture while improving overall firm sustainability.

Helina’s integration effort demonstrates how Initiative Africa’s Business for Peace Fellowship program encourages impactful collaborations between local organizations and international institutions, resulting in sustainable solutions that benefit stakeholders at all levels. Through this program, Helina was able to leverage ESG principles to promote peacebuilding and drive sustainable change in her organization and sector.


Navigating the Controversy: Understanding the Complexities of ESG Investing

Navigating the Controversy: Understanding the Complexities of ESG Investing

In a recent article shared by The Washington Free Beacon, it was discussed how tobacco companies are “crushing” ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) ratings by investing in and supporting various social causes and initiatives. While tobacco companies are often seen as “sin stocks,” with negative reputations due to the health risks associated with their products, they are still able to score well on ESG ratings by focusing on these other factors.
According to the article, some tobacco companies have been investing in renewable energy and other sustainability initiatives, while others have been supporting education and public health programs. This not only helps to improve their standing on ESG ratings but also allows them to present a more positive image to the public.
However, the article also notes that some investors and analysts are skeptical of these efforts, arguing that they may be little more than “greenwashing” – a tactic used by companies to present an environmentally friendly image without actually making significant changes to their operations.
So what’s the relevance of ESG? ESG is increasingly seen as an important metric for evaluating companies’ overall sustainability and ethical impact. By considering factors beyond just financial performance, ESG ratings provide a more comprehensive view of a company’s operations and its potential risks and opportunities.
However, as this article illustrates, ESG can also be a bit of a double-edged sword. Companies that are able to score high on ESG ratings may appear more socially responsible, but if those ratings are based on superficial or misleading metrics, they may not be truly living up to those standards.
Overall, while ESG has its flaws and limitations, it remains an important tool for investors and others who are looking to promote sustainable and responsible business practices. As companies continue to seek ways to improve their ESG ratings, it will be important for investors and analysts to remain vigilant in their evaluation of these efforts to ensure that they are meaningful and sincere.

“Business for Peace: Nation Building for Positive Peace.”

Initiative Africa (IA) believes that business plays a crucial role in fostering peace and nation-building. In collaboration with the Addis Ababa Chamber of Sectoral Association (AACSA), IA organized a thought-provoking panel discussion under the theme “Business for Peace: Nation Building for Positive Peace.”

This enlightening event was made possible through the generous support of the Swedish Embassy, who provided a grant through the Business for Peace project. At IA, we recognize the importance of creating platforms that bring together key stakeholders to foster dialogue, share ideas, and create sustainable solutions for peacebuilding.

During the panel discussion, esteemed experts and leaders from various sectors came together to discuss and explore innovative ways in which businesses can contribute to building positive peace in our nation. Through engaging conversations and insightful presentations, the panel delved into the role of entrepreneurship, economic development, and corporate social responsibility in advancing peace and stability.

With a focus on practical strategies and real-life examples, this event aimed to inspire and empower individuals and organizations alike to embrace their role as agents of change. By harnessing the power of business, we can drive social impact, promote inclusivity, and contribute to a more peaceful society.

IA remains committed to promoting peaceful coexistence through our diverse range of initiatives. From empowering youth and women to fostering dialogue between communities, we strive to create an enabling environment where everyone can thrive.