BBN Radio Amharic

Monday 27, 2015

Structural Transformation in Ethiopia: Is it a Possibility?

 By Temelkatch

           The overarching objective of economic development in a country like Ethiopia is the structural transformation of the economy.  Students of development have pointed to several critical factors involved in structural transformation.  Among the most important are purposeful leadership and a developmental coalition.  In addition, there must be the creation of transformative institutions, focused industrial policy, investment in research, and enhanced social policy.  Unfortunately, Ethiopia has been found wanting in all of these areas.

          What about purposeful leadership? In the modern period, Ethiopia has had three leaders, Selassie, Mengistu and Melas Zenawi. There have been three systems of rule in the form of a central government: a feudal state ruled in an authoritarian manner by an Emperor, essentially a medieval pre-national formation, a violent Marxist military dictatorship led by Mengistu, and a so-called revolutionary democracy led by a strongman, Melas Zenawi.

          Farseeing and capable democratic leadership is central to creating the developmental state in an African nation like Ethiopia. Ethiopia has never had such leadership. A highly competent technical team will be needed to support the leadership in creating and driving a developmental vision.  The nation as a whole must buy into a developmental ideology which trumps all other commitments, foreign and domestic.   A coalition of forces must be put together with the necessary political will and competence to bring about sweeping change. As presently constituted, and given the political propensities in play, none of this can happen in Ethiopia in 2015.


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