A conference on Revitalizing Tourism in Axum

Happening Now!

October 2, 2023. A conference on Revitalizing Tourism in Axum is now being held at Ramhay Hotel in the Axum region. The conference is organized by Initiative Africa and CIPE in partnership with the Tigray Chamber, Axum Chamber, Tigray Tourism Bureau, and the Federal Ministry of Tourism.

The main objective of this conference is to address major issues that have been hindering the Tourism in Axum and revive its economy by strengthening a peaceful environment, restoring the heritage, and reconstruct Axum’s airport.

Axum Conference: Revitalizing Axum’s Tourism

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.

The Role of the Private Sector in the Upcoming National Dialogue

Initiative Africa and AACSA Organize Platform to Discuss Role of Private Sector in National Dialogue and Ethiopia Global Compact

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Initiative Africa and the Addis Ababa Chamber of Sectoral Associations (AACSA) organized a platform on August 1, 2023, to discuss the Role of the Private Sector in the upcoming National Dialogue and the Ethiopia Global Compact.

The event featured a panel discussion on the role of the private sector in the upcoming National Dialogue, led by Mrs. Asma Redi from the Ministry of Peace. Panelists included Dr. Abdeta Dribssa from the Center for Dialogue Research and Cooperation, Mr. Geressu Tufa from Initiative for Change, and Mr. Yohannes Woldegebriel from the Private Sector representing AACSA.

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 also featured the launch of a digital resource center for the National Dialogue. The resource center, which was developed by Initiative Africa, provides information on the dialogue, its goals, and its process. It also includes a collection of resources on a variety of topics related to the dialogue, such as human rights, sustainable development, and good governance.

The Ethiopia Global Compact was also launched at the event. The Ethiopia Global Compact is a new initiative to promote responsible business practices in Ethiopia. The initiative is open to all businesses in Ethiopia, regardless of size or sector. By joining the Ethiopia Global Compact, 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 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.


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

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

Business for Peace Fellowship

The second round of the Business for Peace Fellowship was launched on May 26 in Arba Minch, Ethiopia. The two partners, Initiative Africa (IA) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) expressed their delight in convening business owners who are committed to promoting peacebuilding in their communities. The Business for Peace Fellowship project is aimed at providing training and support to business leaders who want to play an active role in fostering peace in conflict-affected areas. The second round of fellows consists of a diverse group of individuals, including bankers, artists, importers, and exporters, media owners and managers, real estate and manufacturing owners and managers, as well as representatives from railway transport and chambers of commerce.

The two-day courses that were conducted focused on enhancing the participants’ understanding of conflict dynamics, conflict analysis, exploring conflict resolution mechanisms, learning about national dialogues, post-conflict reconstruction and economic recovery, reconciliation, and ways to build peace. The training was designed to provide fellows with practical knowledge and skills that they can use to promote peace in their businesses and communities. The Business for Peace project relies on the generous support of the Swedish government. With their assistance, the project has been able to successfully identify and support a group of exceptional business owners who are passionate about using their businesses as agents for change.

The partners of the Business for Peace Fellowship expressed their gratitude towards all those who have contributed to the project’s success. The collaboration between the IA and ISS has been instrumental in providing the necessary support and guidance to the fellows. The Business for Peace Fellowship is an essential initiative that brings together the worlds of business and peacebuilding. It creates a unique platform for business owners to work towards building peaceful communities and promoting economic growth. The successes witnessed by the first-round participants have already demonstrated that it is possible to have a positive impact on peacebuilding through business.

“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, which 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.

A consultation meeting with the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC)

The Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC) held a consultative meeting on Friday 26 August 2022 at its headquarters with Initiative Africa (IA) and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations on the role of the private sector in National Dialogue.IA presented to the ENDC some of the various activities it has been undertaking to date in collaboration with multiple stakeholders: business for a peace fellowship, national business-peace index, intensive peacebuilding course for business executives, capacity building for women business leaders, awareness-raising dialogues and e-learning packages for regional and national chambers of commerce and sectoral associations on National Dialogue.

IA also presented key information in the online resource center (National Dialogue Resource Center) it has exclusively built for National Dialogue-related matters in Ethiopia. Ready to be officially launched soon, the virtual center is designed to be a go-to hub of National Dialogue-related resources that will be freely accessible to the Commission, would-be dialogue participants, facilitators, the media, the public, researchers, etc. who want to access information, knowledge, and facts, etc. on National Dialogue in various formats and packages.