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Ethiopian long-distance legend Haile says he lost 28 mln birr ($ 875,000) due to vandalism

Tuesday April 28, 2020

Haile Gebreselassie . Photo from the twitter page of Haile.

Ethiopian long-distance running legend Haile Gebreselassie said his investment in Tepi, Sheka zone was attacked ; lost 28 million birr 

Greatest Ethiopian long-distance runner in history Haile Gebreselassie managed to make himself one of the greatest businessmen in his country.  It is unclear when exactly the incident happened.

Ethnic nationalism born political radicalism has created a fertile condition for pervasive lawlessness. It has turned life to hell to many Ethiopians as well.

A report published this week by the Ethiopian Reporter indicates that Haile Gebreselassie has lost an estimated 28 million birr worth of property due to vandalism.

Apart from hotel and tourism, and manufacturing, he is in the agribusiness industry. And it was one of his agribusiness projects, which he co-owns with his wife – Alem, which got attacked.

 His 1100 hectares of the coffee plantation is located in Tepi town, Sheka Zone, in Southern Ethiopia. The region is within Southern Ethiopia Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR)

What exactly happened?

The Ethiopian Reporter quoted Haile Gebreselassie as saying:  “There is no peace and stability around the Tepi area. The locality is administered by gangsters. When workers march to work armed men fire at them. So we are unable to deploy workers in the coffee farm to pick coffee beans. In the last two years we could not harvest coffee.”

Haile said the estimate of the damage is 28 million billion.  

The coffee plantation project only has created an employment opportunity for as many as 600 citizens. According to the Ethiopian Reporter, it could even go up to 1000 during harvesting season. All of Haile’s investments employ as many as 3000 citizens. He was working to employ 7000 more people had the economy not slowed down due to coronavirus. 

The region is one of the areas affected by the security crisis – especially since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took power.

Haile remarked that the government needs to take action to ensure the rule of law and order, as reported by the Reporter.

Moreover, he said the local community needs to be part of the effort to ensure peace and security. Closure of investment activity could negatively affect the livelihood of the local community, he said.

Haile Gebreselassies’ investment is severely impacted by the Coronavirus situation, as hotels are almost closed and no tourism activity currently.

Marathon motors, his car assembly plant for which he spent 250 million dollars – according to The Reporter -, is not functioning to full capacity either.It can assemble 36 cars per day but it is operating with only 5 percent of its capacity, he told the Reporter.  


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