There was political unrest, the displacement of hundreds of thousands, high profile assassinations, including the army chief and a regional president, and the crash of Flight 302 near Addis Abeba that took the lives of 157 people. This was 2019.

Thus few expected what followed to be one free of the country's political and economic challenges, but 2020 took eventfulness up quite a notch. It is not always that Ethiopia sees a pandemic and an armed conflict in its northern region to boot. Several people coped with it in their own way, and their professions were a good indicator of how severe the challenges were, whether it was a learning curve, and what they expected in the next year to come.

Those in the entertainment industry – which produces one of the most elastic products – were one of many to fare poorly. Events were unthinkable in the initial months of the pandemic as lockdown measures were put in place. This affected the industry nearly along the entire value chain, from event promoters to musicians.

That was just the tip of the iceberg nonetheless. Schools were closed, and many public and private enterprises temporarily suspended operations. Although the full extent of the economic consequence that was levelled on the country is yet to be fully understood, it was clear that productivity had gone down as the country saw one of its lowest GDP growth rates in years. Just as life returned to normalcy after COVID-19 and lockdowns loosened, an armed conflict erupted in early November. "Recurrent news about deaths has created a pessimistic outlook," said one psychologist.

But the various professionals also found some good things to look forward to. They report exercising and reading more, as well as being forced to innovate, such as the virtual events that appeared on the internet. Like always, they “hope for the best.”

You can read the full story    here    

PUBLISHED ON Jan 02,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1079]

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