A few Ethiopians have built multi-million and billion dollar empires in industries as diverse as agriculture, food, construction, energy and distribution and earned multi-million dollar fortunes to boot. Their names don’t ring with the African public, and you’ve probably never heard about them before, but they are very successful — and very wealthy. Meet 5 Ethiopian entrepreneurs, who own businesses with annual revenues of $50 million or more.
Source: Agricultural Commodities
Belayneh Kindie Import And Export (BKIEA), the eponymous company Belayneh founded and runs, is the largest agricultural commodities trading company in Ethiopia. He founded the company in 2005 to primarily export oil seeds and subsequently expanded into other commodities such as sesame seeds and nuts. Its commodities trading business has revenues of a little over $60 million in 2016. The company also has a thriving transportation business that boasts a fleet of more than 100 dry & fuel cargo trucks. BKIEA also owns hotels in Ethiopia and a port handling service company.
Ashenafi is the chairman and co-owner of Ambo Mineral Water, Ethiopia’s bestselling naturally-carbonated bottled mineral water, along with beverage giant SABMiller. He is also the founder and CEO of oil exploration firm SouthWest Energy, one the largest oil and gas acreage holders in East Africa. SouthWest has a leading acreage position in the Jijiga Basin, Ethiopia’s largest proven hydrocarbon-bearing sedimentary basin, covering an area of approximately 350,000 km2 and in the eastern region of Ethiopia bordering Somaliland.
Buzuayehu T. Bizenu
Bizenu is the chairman and controlling shareholder of East African Holding, a leading industrial conglomerate in Ethiopia that operates in a variety of sectors such as manufacturing of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, tea processing, printing and packaging, transport, real estate, cement production and coal mining.
Ato Ketema Kebede
Kebede is the founder of KK PLC, an Ethiopian company that manufactures blankets primarily to export across Africa and North America. The company also owns an acrylic yarn dyeing plant, and is also engaged in the import and distribution of heavy-duty machineries and equipment for mining, construction, road making and quarrying. The company is also one of the largest exporters of Ethiopian coffee, cereals and spices.
Akiko Ambaye, one of Ethiopia’s most prominent female business leaders, is the founder of Orchid Business Group (OBG), an Ethiopian construction company engaged in road construction, the supply of construction materials, rental services of construction machinery and haulage.