The Next Generation of African Peace Leaders for a Sustainable Culture of Peace Donates 105k Birr to Aid IDP Women Affected by the Conflict in the Tigray Region

In response to the observed consequences of the recent conflict in the Tigray region, 18 fellows from the second cohort of The Next Generation of African Peace Leaders for a Sustainable Culture of Peace, formerly known as the Business of Peace fellowship, contributed a total of 105,000 birr towards aiding 21 internally displaced women in the Tigray region.

The Business for Peace project, which commenced in 2019, aims to involve the private sector in the peacebuilding process actively, fostering sustainable development. The recent donation represents a tangible step toward realizing this goal, demonstrating the program’s fellows’ commitment to positively impacting the communities affected by conflict.

The distribution of funds ensued following an extensive field visit to the Tigray region, providing the fellows with a firsthand encounter with the profound repercussions of the conflict on both individuals and businesses. Sileshi Yilma, a fellow and the current senior manager of marketing and branding at Dashen Bank, reflected on the transformative impact of the field trip, stating, “It helped me immensely to understand the situation on the ground firsthand in comparison to the reports on social and mainstream media.” Ashenafi Dawit, owner and shareholder of Gojo Coffee and a fellow, highlighted the motivating factors behind their philanthropic efforts, expressing, “Our visit to the IDP center and interactions with struggling pregnant women inspired us to extend a helping hand to women in need.” The core focus of this initiative centered on providing immediate relief to women who had been forcibly displaced as a consequence of the conflict.

Representing various areas within Tigray, the 21 beneficiaries received financial assistance as part of an initiative to address the immediate needs arising from the conflict. The money was provided in addition to their income to help give them a head start. The allocation was conducted in a manner consistent with the Business for Peace program’s broader goal of integrating the private sector into peacebuilding efforts to foster sustainable development. Members of the interim cabinet government together with the women and children governmental office oversaw the selection process.

This generous donation signifies more than just financial aid for the 21 women; it stands as a compelling illustration of how business leaders can emerge as catalysts for positive change in times of crisis. Sileshi humbly expressed, “I personally don’t believe that the donation was something to brag about. It was only the first step and similar initiatives will follow in Tigray and other affected areas.” This sentiment reflects a commitment to sustained action and underscores the understanding that this contribution serves as a starting point for broader, ongoing initiatives. Ashenafi affirmed this commitment, stating, “We, the fellows, are currently planning ways to continue our assistance to the IDPs,” emphasizing the collective dedication to making a lasting impact beyond this initial act of philanthropy.

The Business for Peace program continues to exemplify its commitment to integrating the private sector into peacebuilding, making tangible strides toward sustainable development and community resilience in conflict-affected regions like Tigray.


Initiative Africa, National Rehabilitation Commission, and Ethiopia Chamber Pave the Way for Collaborative Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reconciliation Initiatives

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – On November 2, 2023, a meeting was convened in Addis Ababa, bringing together the National Rehabilitation Commission (NRC) and the Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) with Initiative Africa (IA) facilitating the relationship as part of its commitment to bringing the private sector into peacebuilding. This significant gathering marked a substantial step towards fostering collaborative efforts in the realm of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reconciliation (DDR) in Ethiopia.

This development follows a successful workshop organized by IA in collaboration with ECCSA and NRC on August 11, 2023. The primary objective of the workshop was to provide a platform for open discussion, knowledge sharing, and the establishment of cooperative networks between the private sector, government bodies, and business associations. The event underscored the critical role that the private sector can play in the development of an effective DDR program, which is pivotal to sustainable peace-building and socio-economic development in a post-conflict society.

The meeting held on November 2, 2023, built upon the momentum generated during the August workshop. Representatives from the three organizations participated in constructive dialogues, exploring avenues for enhanced collaboration and the integration of resources and expertise to further the DDR initiative in Ethiopia. This cooperative spirit has laid the groundwork for the potential signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to solidify the partnership and objectives.


Aksum Airport reconstruction project set to boost tourism and economy in Aksum

A major initiative aimed at revitalizing tourism and economic growth in the historic city of Aksum is on the horizon. Over the past two years, Initiative Africa has diligently executed its “Business for Peace and Development” project, generously funded by the Embassy of Sweden/Sida. The primary goal of this endeavor has been to foster the active involvement of the business community in the processes of peacebuilding.

As an integral part of this ambitious initiative, an upcoming conference focused on rejuvenating Aksum’s tourism sector is slated to coincide with the Ethiopian New Year. The event, aptly named “From Axum,” is a collaborative effort orchestrated by Initiative Africa, in partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE), the Tigray Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, and the Axum Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association. This conference is poised to serve as a pivotal platform for tourism sector stakeholders, experts, and enthusiasts to convene, deliberate strategies, and exchange knowledge.

A critical outcome of the assessment conducted to invigorate tourism in Aksum was the urgent reconstruction and reopening of Aksum Airport. The Ministry of Tourism has endorsed this recommendation wholeheartedly. Aksum Airport, renowned as Ethiopia’s oldest and historically the second-busiest airport, stands as a vital attraction within the city. However, its operations came to a halt in 2020 due to the conflict in the Tigray region and have remained suspended ever since.

The ramifications of restoring and reopening Aksum Airport extend far beyond the realm of aviation. The local economy is poised to experience a substantial upswing, as the airport’s resurgence promises to amplify connectivity and tourist footfall in the region. Nestled within Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Aksum Airport resides in the proximity of some of the nation’s most venerable historical landmarks, including the ancient city of Aksum itself.
The leadership at Initiative Africa perceives the revival of Aksum Airport as a pivotal turning point that not only impacts Ethiopia’s aviation sector but also casts ripples of transformation across the broader tourism industry. The airport’s reopening is projected to exert a profound influence on the country’s economic trajectory and usher in a new era of expansive tourism opportunities.

As preparations for the conference and subsequent airport reconstruction gain momentum, all eyes are fixed on Aksum, where the convergence of business, tourism, and peace-building efforts holds the promise of a brighter future. The successful realization of these endeavors could mark a historic chapter in Ethiopia’s journey toward sustainable growth and development.



Initiative Africa in collaboration with the Addis Ababa Chamber of Sectoral Association (AACSA) organized a pre-launch consultation to launch the Ethiopia Global Compact Program on August 1, 2023.

The Ethiopia Global Compact is open to all businesses in Ethiopia, regardless of size or sector. By joining the initiative, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to upholding the ten principles of the Global Compact, which cover areas such as human rights, labor standards, environmental sustainability, and anti-corruption.

The pre-launch consultation featured a presentation about the Global Compact Program followed by a discussion on the ten principles of the Global Compact Program and a presentation on sustainable development was also presented. The businesses discussed the purpose of the program, and who can own and lead it in addition about 40 plus businesses registered for membership in the Ethiopia Global Compact Program.

As a way forward The participants also agreed to form a committee that will lead the process of launching the Ethiopia Global Compact Program. The committee will be responsible for developing the program’s implementation plan, as well as for outreach and engagement with businesses.

For more information, please contact us at or call +251-11-662-2640/41



As part of its “Business for Peace” program, Initiative Africa officially introduced a digital resource center where it built a foundation to integrate knowledge, experience, and critical reflection into the national dialogue and thereby strengthen the national dialogue deliberations by launching a resource center for upcoming national dialogue in Ethiopia. This resource center will play a complementary role to support the National Dialogue Commission established by the House of People’s Representatives, and other actors engaged in the National Dialogue in Ethiopia. More specifically, the National Dialogue Resource Center can help us to:

  • Educate the audience about the process, stages, and deliberations of the National Dialogue.
  • Collect, analyze, and avail information regarding the National Dialogue deliberations for any user.
  • Engage the private sector to get engaged through targeted content topics. Boost the quality of information available regarding the national dialogue.
  • Support a variety of activities of the National Dialogue including research, media analysis, study papers, and a quarterly symposium to showcase new research and analysis

On the launching event, HE commissioner Melaku Woldemariam applauded the contributions IA is making to raise awareness about the upcoming National Dialogue.

The event was well-attended by representatives from the private sector, government, and civil society. The speakers and participants all agreed that the National Dialogue Resource Center plays an important role in providing information that will help better understand the Ethiopia National Dialogue.

For more information, please contact us at or
call +251-11-662-2640/41



Initiative in collaboration with Addis Ababa Chamber of Sectoral Associations-AACSA organized a platform to discuss the role of the private sector in the upcoming National Dialogue.

A welcoming speech from the executive director of Initiative Africa Mr. Kebour Ghenna and Mr. Chane Bitew from Addis Ababa Chamber of Sectoral Associations (AACSA) followed by HE Commissioner Melaku Woldemariam delivering an opening remark recognizing the efforts from Initiative Africa in taking the lead to raise awareness about the National Dialogue.

The event featured a panel discussion on the role of the private sector in the upcoming National Dialogue sustainable development led by Mrs. Asma Redi from the Ministry of Peace with panelists Dr. Abdeta Dribssa from Center for Dialogue Research and Cooperation, Mr. Geressu Tufa from Initiative for Change and Mr. Yohannes Woldegebriel from the Private Sector representing Addis Ababa Chamber Sectoral Association.

The discussion focused on how the private sector can contribute to the National Dialogue by sharing its expertise and resources, and by
supporting the implementation of the dialogue’s recommendations.

The event was well-attended by representatives from the private sector, government, and civil society. The speakers and participants all agreed that the private sector has a critical role to play in the National Dialogue and in the development of Ethiopia.

For more information, please contact us at or call +251-11-662-2640/41



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 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 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 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.