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Envisioning Ethiopia scrutinizes the ‘wellbeing’ of Ethiopia’s economy
By Addis Mulugeta
Envisioning Ethiopia, a community of volunteer non-partisan individuals dedicated to broadening public knowledge and understanding of major issues affecting Ethiopia’s future, scrutinized Ethiopia’s economy as per various macro-economic factors at a one day discussion panel held on December 15, 2007 at Africa Hall (UNECA). Organized under the title – “Ethiopia’s Economy: Choices at the Crossroads”, a number of academicians and practitioners attended the session.
The economy of the country is reported to have displayed growth of more than 10%, by real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), over the past three years before its lethargic move in the past especially during the war with Eritrea and the 2003 famine that affected a fourth of the population. On such macro-economic standards as employment and workforce compensation (jobs, employment, income and labor force participation), human development indicators (education, health, poverty levels and livelihoods), banking and finance (interest rates, tax, domestic access to capital and FDI), infrastructure and sector-wise development (construction, agriculture, industry and communication) and unemployment, inflation and real earnings, the discussion posed the varied opinions held by various group of people.
The president of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, Eyesuswork Zafu, gave opening remarks at the event while Ambassador Peter Robleh served as moderator. The panelists included Dr. Haile Kebret from the Ethiopian economists Association (EEA) who presented the current challenges to the Ethiopian Economy, Honorable Mesfin Nemera, Member of Parliament, who saw the socio-political dimensions to economic growth and Ermias Amelga, from the newly founded Access Bank, who focused on economic growth and financial management in Ethiopia.
‘The structural analysis of price drivers in Ethiopia’, an article that was originally prepared in May 2007 as a policy input by Dr. Hashim A. Ahmed from the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), was presented during the session, giving the conclusion that aggregate and per capita food consumption in the country is on the increase influenced by the overall employment intensive economic growth. Crop production has also been reported to have rapidly been commercialized. Two World Bank documents ‘Capturing the demographic bonus in Ethiopia: Gender, development and demographic actions, and ‘Accelerating equitable growth: Country economic memorandum’ have been conversed revealing that the country’s population doubles every 27 years at the current growth rate while a land poor class is emerging and most citizens of the country still live in immense deprivation, respectively.
Most importantly, the country profile that was reproduced by Envisioning Ethiopia from the original producer, the Economist Intelligence Unit, indicated that health services provision, telecommunications coverage, transport infrastructural facilities, press freedom, gas reserves and industrial development remain poor or extremely of lower values while private investment, foreign direct investment, volume of air traffic, hydroelectricity, agriculture, privatization, monetary policy, capital flows and foreign debt show better performances over the former factors.
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