Berhanu obtained his degree in anthropology at the Australian National University, with his doctoral thesis examining the life strategies of small business-owners in urbanisation.
His research interests include urbanisation, migration, mobility and pastoralism, as well as post-socialist development and cross-cultural encounters. Currently, Berhanu is researching the trans-continental business network of African expatriates in China, examining the interaction of issues of religion, business, and mobility.
Berhanu’s second project focuses on the settling of pastoralists and social change in the Afar region of Ethiopia and Djibouti. His third project examines the urbanisation of the city of Addis Ababa, its rapid urban renewal, and the establishment of industrial parks and emerging labour relations.