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Dr Maximilian Martin, Exclusive for Addis Standard

 In the 1860s,an English discoverer named C.T. Beke proposed to construct a 225-mile railroad to open up trade with the southernmost territories ruled by the Pasha of Egypt who nominally reported to the Ottoman Empire. His motivation was to provide ready access to source from the cotton fields of Ethiopia, connecting the coast of the Red Sea with the Upper Nile Valley. Nearly 150 years later, the Ethiopian Government, through its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) that seeks to raise GDP by 11-15 percent per year in the 2010-2015 period, is engaging in massive industrial and infrastructure projects; a 1,500 mile-long standard gauge rail network that will help overcome the landlocked country’s infrastructure limitations and render a national trade logistics strategy viable being among them.

In 2012 Mulu Solomon was elected as the first female president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. Two years later the Chamber’s presidential election was held in May this year, and although almost everyone wanted Mulu to run for the second time, she declined saying she wanted to lead by example in teaching the lesson that the position is not eternal as was the case in the past. Our Editor-in-Chief Tsedale Lemma interviewed Mulu on her achievements, challenges and frustrations as the President of the Chamber, and what she thinks is waiting for her. Excerpts: 

Michael Meyer

By Michael Meyer

NAIROBI – It sounds like the plot of an old Western movie. A posse of desperados gallops into a frontier town, burns the saloon, robs the bank, guns down leading citizens, and disappears into the dead of night before the sheriff gets himself out of bed.

That is what has happened, repeatedly in recent days, in a small Kenyan town named Mpeketoni, just south of the Somali border on the Indian Ocean coast. Last week, a gang of armed men hijacked a mini-fleet of matatus, small group taxis, and roared into the city center, shooting as they went. They set shops and banks ablaze. In neighboring villages, they went door to door, asking for citizens by name. Those who were Muslim and could prove it by reciting the Koran were spared. Others were shot at point-blank range or hacked to death.