Is it the Right Model for Ethiopia?

When Ethiopia adopted the developmental state as its growth model almost two decades ago, many did not expect the East African nation would reap massive economic gains. However, the country was able to register one of the fastest economic growths in the world for more than a decade. This contributed to the increase in per capita income and significant reduction of poverty.

Many, on the other hand, discredit the achievements because of gross human rights violations, narrowing political space, and a stifling private sector. The development model has also been criticized for making the state a dominant economic actor in the economy by hugely investing in infrastructure development projects. To finance its huge development plans, the government has excessively borrowed from local and foreign sources. This led the national debt to more than USD50 billion as of June 2019. More than half of the loans were acquired from foreign sources.

As the government was pumping huge supply of money in the economy, the situation created a surge in demand amid a huge supply constraint. The supply was poor because equal volume of investment was not made in the productive sector of the economy, agriculture and manufacturing. The result has been a bulge in the trade deficit because of mounting imports while exports remained stagnant or declining in those years. Now, aiming to address these macroeconomic woes, the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been trying to deviate from the past trends of development. EBR’s Samson Berhane investigates.

Sunday, 15 September 2019 00:00
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Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Eight years ago, when Ethiopia announced its bold decision to build the biggest possible dam on the Nile River, to which it contributes 86Pct of the water volume, with financing from domestic resources, the issue grabbed global headlines. Despite considerable consternation in Egypt and Sudan, the country was able to embark on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will be the largest hydropower plant in Africa, and the seventh globally upon completion.

Seven years later, however, the Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC), the contractor for the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure work on the project, became a focus of controversy amid allegations of delay, corruption, resource wastage and all sorts of mismanagement. The controversies have since put the GERD on the spotlight; and many even doubted the completion of the project. This was further complicated with the untimely death of Simengew Beleke (Eng.), manager of the project who was found dead of a gunshot wound on July 26, 2018, at Meskel Square, Addis Ababa.

Last year, the government cancelled all the contracts awarded to MetEC and signed contracts with five Chinese, French, and German companies to undertake the electro mechanical works. With this, the government seeks to start the project with a fresh schedule and finish the project in 2022, six years after its initially planned year of completion. However, there are still uncertainties over the finalization of the grand project. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale, who visited the game-changing power project, reports.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 00:00
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China’s rapidly rising economic and commercial relations with Africa have received much global attention in recent years. Over the last twenty years, China has climbed from being a relatively small investor in Africa to becoming its largest economic partner. Most importantly, China’s billions of dollars in aid and financing have helped many African countries, including Ethiopia, to pursue their most ambitious infrastructure development projects. However, as debt to the Asian Giant piles up, some experts fear the cost. EBR’s Samson Berhane investigates.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 00:00
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