Ato Ermyas returned to Ethiopia in 1996, after 8 years of undergraduate and graduate academic training and 12 years of successful investment banking experience in the United States. He worked for top international firms such as Kidder Peabody & Co, Inc. (1987-1991 as Vice president Corporate Finance covering Investment Banking in New York and then Los Angeles), and Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust ( 1984 -1987: Vice President Corporate Finance). He also served on the Board of Pacific Thrift & Loan, a mid-size bank in Western USA, and was Managing Director of Amray Capital Advisers in Orange Country, California (1992-1996).
After returning to Ethiopia in 1996, Ato Ermyas purchased a large edible oil company from the Ethiopian Privatization Agency and partnered in establishing Lovely Biscuits (a dry biscuit manufacturing company). In addition, he co-found East Africa Investment Securities (a non-bank financial service and consulting company) and was the founder lead member the initiative to establish the Addis Ababa stock exchange. He is best know for the pioneer bottled water company, Highland Spring Mineral Water, which is the leading bottled water company in Ethiopia with over 700 employees. Ato Ermyas has moved out of operational management but remains Executive Director without operating responsibility of Ethiopian Ventures Ltd., which operates Highland Spring’s Mineral Water, Royal Crown Cola soft drinks and a plastic products manufacturing operation. Since 2006, he has focused on the financial services sector and has established Access Capital Service S.C., Zemen Bank S.C., Access Real Estate S.C. and Access Leasing S.C. (Under formation). The combined number of personnel employed by Ato Ermyas' companies is in excess of 1,600 full time employees.
His academic qualification include a MBA in Finance form Boston University, Graduate School of Management (1984), a MA in International Economics from Boston University, Graduate School of Economics (1982) and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Amherst College (1980).
Tom’s experience includes institution-building, corporate finance and capital markets development in southern Africa, before moving to Ethiopia in 2004. He was General Manager of the Namibian Stock Exchange for five years of strong growth in listings and turnover (from US$23,000 per annum in 1993 to US$307 million in 1999). He was a founder member of the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges and an international speaker on capital market development. Since 2000, as Manager: Corporate Finance in NIB Namibia (Pty.) Ltd., Tom has led black empowerment and capital-raising transactions, and has been involved in deals worth together over N$1 billion. As a consultant, Tom advised businesses and empowerment groups, including global fair trade company People Tree over 7 years as it expanded from its Japan base into UK market and raised ₤1 million in funding in 2007.
Before 1994 Tom was a full-time journalist and wrote and broadcast for BBC Africa Service, Reuters, Financial Times Business Information, 'Africa Economic Digest', 'African Business' and 'Financial Mail', and researched for the Economist Intelligence Unit. Full-time journalism posts include 'Investor's Chronicle' (UK), Journalist covering development in Africa and Middle East for Christian Aid (UK), and Business Reporter on 'The Namibian' newspaper. He currently writes a blog www.africancapitalmarketsnews.com.
Qualifications include: Master in Business Leadership (equivalent to MBA, University of South Africa, cum laude); Master of Arts (Balliol College, Oxford University, in Classics); stock-broking (SA Institute of Stockbrokers/ University of Witwatersrand, South Africa). His UNISA master's thesis was on economics ("Stock Exchanges and Economic Development").
Tesfaye has a wide experience in the field of accounting and has worked in a number of companies prior to joining Access Capital. He started off his career in December 2001 as a grade two clerk accountant in Blue Nile Furniture Company. Since then, he has worked his way as a junior and then senior accountant levels for private businesses such as Tropical Farma Trading, AL-Impex Import & Export (Global Trade Networks) and Gift Trading P.L.C. As a senior accountant his expertise include preparing interim and year-end financial statements, cost accumulation sheet and asset budget preparation, scheduling year-end stock count and preparing bank and stock reconciliation reports.
Tesfaye earned his Diploma in Accounting from Unity University in 2001 and currently finalizing his BA Degree at St. Mary University College. He has earned a number of training certificates including diploma in Peachtree Accounting and certificate for customer service training (Excellence through Service) from Erkata P.L.C. Tesfaye has been with Access Capital Finance since June 2009.
Mesfin heads the Finance Department, including both the head office accounts and those of the group companies. He is drawing on over 19 years experience in accounting in Ethiopia, including in leading manufacturing companies
He started as an Accountant with the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (1992-1995) before moving to Dire Dawa Food Complex Factory (1995-1007). He was promoted to Head of General Accounts Section at Meher Fiber Products Factory (1007-1999) and then had three success promotions at Natural Gum Processing and Marketing Enterprise (1999-2001), ending as Finance Manager. From there he moved to be Head of General Accounts Section at Summit Beverages, a soft-drink manufacturer (2001-2005) and then to Finance Manager at Summit Agro Industries (2005-2009). He joined Access Capital as Finance Manager – Investee Companies in February 2009 and was promoted in May. His experience includes a wide range of industries, including processing industries, and he has worked in posts ranging from accountant, analyst to finance manager. His achievements include setting up systems, managing and developing employees, and sorting out backlogs of up to a decade in accounting system
He has a BA degree in Accounting from Addis Ababa University and has the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) international accounting qualification.
Azeb Alfred returned to Ethiopia after several decades in the US, in order to become Special Assistant to the CEO and Special Projects Coordinator. In the US, she had gained extensive managerial experience through a long and successful career in the hospitality industry.
She worked her way up to General Manager in the hospitality division of Carrollton Enterprises, a large and established developer in the Washington Metropolitan area. She worked at Carrollton Enterprises between 1979 and 1995 and built a reputation as manager who has a knack for troubleshooting and fixing failing operations. On one case, she was assigned to a business entity that was losing money at the rate of $170, 000 per month prior to her arrival in 1993 and by 1994 it was generating $100,000 plus profit. She received a formal commendation for the “dramatic operational, product and service improvements”.
Azeb has also headed, with equal success, the Student Program at the University of Maryland between 2004 and 2008. She won numerous awards for her exceptional performance, including “Nominee of Outstanding Supervisor of the Year” in 2008 and a Certificate of Service citing her “faithful” five years of service.
Azeb has also owned and operated Calverton Party Time, a party goods supply and services company from 1996 to 2000. She also served as a work-study mentor at the Charles Herbert Flowers High School and received a Certificate of Appreciation (2008) for “outstanding service as Work-study Mentor”.
While in the US she earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science with a minor in African-American Studies from Howard University and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Technology Management from Maryland University College.
Ziad brings years of hands-on manufacturing and distribution experience in the beverages industry to the companies into which Access Capital invests. He started his working career in insurance with Elka pour l' Assurance et la Reassurance in Lebanon and gained a license in reinsurance contracts. He expanded his interests and ended up as Purchase Manager for the group, which includes restaurants, construction, farms, etc. and as a Member of the Board. He moved into making and selling bottled water, and in 1996 he joined a small company Monacool s.a.r.l, which expanded fast. Four years later he moved to Sannine, a bigger company, which also expanded several times under his leadership. He also acted as consultant on the establishment of a water factory in Iran. In 2006 he joined Nestlé Water as Consultant to the GM for the Middle East and worked on projects in several countries, especially Jordan.
His degree is Business Administration at the Université Libanaise Tripoli (ULT) and he is fluent in Arabic, French and English. In his spare time in Lebanon he has run election campaigns as organizer (1996 and 2000) and consultant (2005).
Yonas has both communications and financial markets experience, including 26 years’ experience in the USA. From 1992-1999 he was Asset Manager (Vice President) for Descartes Financial Corp, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in real-estate. He worked as Research Associate and later Vice President (1985-1991) in the High-Yield Bond (“Junk Bond”) department of Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc. in Beverly Hills, where he monitored transactions for compliance with securities laws, reviewed trades, settlements and fund transfers, interpreted bond covenants and provisions, and created and maintained a database for Sinking Fund and Convertible Bonds. He worked as Legal Researcher at the United Nations, New York (1979-1985) and as a Financial Aid Officer, later Administrator, at Seattle Opportunities Industrialization centre, a vocational community college.
Prior to joining Access Capital in 2006, he was producing reports and documents for UN agencies in Ethiopia and writing a column called “My Perspective” in Fortune newspaper. Previously he was Editor-in-Chief of Capital newspaper, where he also produced his own column. Other work experience since returning to Ethiopia includes one year as General Manager of Express International Group, General Services Agent for British Airways, and Executive Assistant to CEO of Wegagen Bank. Yonas’s educational background includes a Masters Degree in Comparative Jurisprudence (Howard University, Washington D.C) with internship at the United Nations and a Bachelor of Law Degree (Haile Selassie University, Addis Ababa).
Dejene has a wide range of work experience in Ethiopia, particularly as General Manager of Ethio-Drilling Enterprise, a water and other drilling company, which gave him practical experience of working with entrepreneurs, NGOs, businesspeople and local governments in the country. He brings a wide range of mining and other experiences from over 25 years of working in Ethiopia, and this also includes starting and running businesses such as Cinema Express, a drive-in cinema, and Ethio-Express International, an import and export company. He has worked as an agricultural expert (he headed a research project on the problems of quelea birds) and during his brief exile in USA he worked as an expert on a fruit fly project for California Department of Agriculture). His educational qualifications include an advanced diploma in agriculture from Jimma College of Agriculture and in-service training in various fields both in Ethiopia and at Santa Clara Valley University College in USA.
Melaku has experience in different positions over 6 years at Bank of Abyssinia, promoted to Branch Accountant. He also has two years’ experience working as an freelance accountant for a range of Ethiopian private business clients, and so has good working knowledge of the local business environment.
His qualifications are a BA degree in Management from Unity University College, Addis Ababa, and a Diploma in Accounting from Addis Ababa Commercial College. He is studying for ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) international accounting qualification.
Samson Wolle's main strengths and background are in macroeconomic policy analysis, sector and industry research, and program design & evaluation. He has worked with government and non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia in different professional capacities. He gained multi-disciplinary expereience in assisting as well as taking a lead role in several consultancy assignments focused on formulation of integrated development programs, strategic planning and mentoring excersises, enterprise development, marketing information systems design, participatory livelihood analysis, and feasibilty studies for a number of private projects. Samson has taken part in a number of high-value nationwide donor financed projects including the Micro & Small Enterprise Development Program (EU-MoTI), Woreda Integrated Development Study (World Bank-ERA), the first Ethiopian Participatory Poverty Assessment (World Bank-MOFED), and NEPAD Infrastructure Framework Study. He has also worked as an economic anlayst in the Business Develoment Department of Awash International Bank. He is currently an active member of the Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA).
Samson's educational background includes an MSc in Economic Policy Analysis and BA in Economics (with Distinction) both from Addis Ababa University. He has been with Access Capital Research since November 2009.
The following research has recently been released by Access Capital: (Research documents are downloadable PDF files)