Former Army Chief Leads Northern Brewery Venture in Tigrai

Tigrai Online
May 04 2010

First brewery in Tigrai founders

Tsadkan G. Tinsae, former chief of staff of the Ethiopian Army, is now leading a group of businesspeople in establishing what would be the first brewery to be installed in the northern part of the country, Alamata Wereda, 600km north of Addis Abeba.

Raya Brewery SC, named after a northern town where Tsadkan spent his early school years, was incorporated on April 1, 2010, with a registered capital of 2.3 million Br, raised by 58 founding shareholders.

Tsadkan is one of the most prominent individuals in this group. He is a veteran military commander of the Ethiopian Peopleís Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) forces during the period of the armed struggle and one of them to lead these forces when his movement took over the capital from the military government, 19 years ago this month.

He subsequently played a key role in recreating the military institution following the complete collapse of the nationís defence forces, whose institutional history dates back to Emperor Haileselassie Iís early reign. He was also promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and became the first chief of staff of the army during the first 10 years of the current administration. He rose to national eminence during the Ethiopian war against Eritrea in the late 1990s, where he was credited for his military leadership and strategic intelligence.

Following the interparty crisis that rocked the ruling EPRDF immediately after the war with Eritrea, he left the Defence Forces. Tsadkan retired from the military and joined Elliot School of International Affairs in Washington D.C. from where he obtained his postgraduate degree in International Policy and Practice.

Upon his return, Tsadkan cofounded the Centre for Policy Research and Dialogue (CPRD), a research institution working on areas of peace, stability, good governance, and economic development in the Horn of Africa, together with his long-time comrade, Yemane Kidane, a.k.a. Jamaica, and Medhane Tadesse. He has been running the centre, which consults the World Bankís programmes in Southern Sudan, as the chief executive officer.

Yemane, former chief of staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and also former rebel leader, is one of the founding shareholders. The list also comprises other prominent figures, such as Selome Tadesse, former general manager of the Ethiopian Television and Radio Enterprise but largely known by the public for her role as the government spokesperson during the war with Eritrea. After her departure from government, she has been providing leadership courses in Africa and Asia, hired by the British Council. Eyessuswork Zafu, a known businessman and president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, is another figure onboard Rayaís project.

These individuals formed a group who joined in the effort to establish a brewery in Alamata later, according to sources. They took the project over from a group of Ethiopians who returned from North America, about a year and a half ago, with a business plan to erect a brewery there. One of these men was Michael G. Mariam, who still sits on the board of eight directors, where Tsadkan serves as the chairman and Eyessuswork his deputy. Others included in the list of the board of directors are Sisay Tesfaye, Gizaw Zergaw, and Abeba Tasew.

This group of businesspeople secured a 150,000sqm plot of land from Tigray Regional State.

They have plans to float 250,000 shares to members of the public, targeting to raise 250 million Br. They will officially launch their marketing drive, to be held in the town of Maichew, a small town in southern Tigray, on May 8, 2010, in the scheduled presence of the chief of the regional state, according to company sources.

Raya Brewery will then join the equity market where there are close to 30 sprouting projects competing to raise investment funds from members of the public.

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