Jan 16 , 2021
By Senay Lemma ( Regional human capital manager for Eastern Africa at Elsewedy Electric ) , Solomon Girma ( Solomon Girma is a freelance HR consultant. )
It could be argued that the main fighting in Tigray Regional State has ended. But the work of rehabilitating Ethiopia's economic and political circumstances is just starting, writes Senay Lemma (firstname.lastname@example.org), regional human capital manager for Eastern Africa, and Solomon Girma, freelance human capital consultant.
Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) took office in April 2018, his administration has kick-started a series of political and economic policy reforms that hold the promise of improving Ethiopia’s economic and political prospects and political stability. Unfortunately, this was punctuated by the recent armed conflict between the forces of the federal and Tigray regional governments.
The fighting has not ended, but it is clear that the federal government has taken the upper hand in a matter of weeks. Arguably, it is no longer a crisis posing an existential threat to the country, at least not in the short term.
However, the end of active conventional warfare in the region does not mean that it is over. What happened in the north adds to an already complicated political situation that has had communal violence and social strife as a primary feature. But the episode also presents an opportunity for the administration to revisit its promises upon coming to office and building on them.
The obvious starting point is the rehabilitation of the Tigray region. It is crucial to allow civilians to return to everyday life by restoring damaged infrastructure, re-starting essential government services, and winning the hearts of people that have fled to neighbouring countries for repatriation.
But the region is only the most recent place to see political instability. The government must ensure peace and security and end the killing of innocent civilians throughout the country. Localised conflicts that lead to displacement, death and abduction have become part of citizens' everyday experience in many parts of Ethiopia. There is a need to make maximum efforts to restore law and order and bring perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice. This must be implemented in the conflict-stricken region and localities where mass killings are taking place.
Beyond the security threat, there is also a need to heal the political space. This starts by ensuring that the planned 2021 national election is executed in a fair, transparent and competitive manner. Committing to a free election means making it possible for parties with critical views to campaign – it requires security forces to be willing to provide a secure environment for them.
In practical terms, the National Electoral Board should take the necessary precautionary measures to ensure a peaceful completion of the election and speed up the preparation of voting facilities and other logistical operations. The Board’s efforts in this regard, which has proposed June 5, 2020, as polling day, are admirable.
Perhaps, a more critical task to undertake is to initiate a forum for a political settlement, with the view to overhaul Ethiopia’s current Constitution. It is clear that even if there are not that many overlaps on what the outcome should be, nearly everyone wants the Constitution to be amended in some way. This includes the debate over the form of federalism that Ethiopia follows, which many charge for the cleavages within society. Everything needs to be up for debate.
The deliberation should be with the view of averting similar crises in the future. This should be done in an inclusive manner where all relevant stakeholders are represented, including national and regional political figures, community leaders and civil society organisations.
No less in need of attention are economic issues. The government needs to renew its focus on containing the unemployment rate, which has been rising following an economic slowdown in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is crucial to reverse the trend of deteriorating living standards, which have worsened by the day due to the combined effects of roaring inflation.
For this, the government should revise its job creation strategy and drive for its implementation even more vigorously. The strategy should focus on the agricultural sector, which employs over 60pc of the Ethiopian labour force. Achieving agricultural transformation will require developing new labour-intensive economic activities such as agribusiness, light manufacturing, and services with strong forward and backwards linkages with agriculture.
Building on some of the key interventions the government is already attempting could boost agricultural growth. It is improving access to land; facilitating the use of modern inputs, seeds, and technologies, improving access to credit; and strengthening the ability to develop and adapt agricultural technologies.
It is particularly important to focus on developing the skills and capabilities of the youth to increase their productivity, employability, and entrepreneurial skills. Lack of marketable skills makes the youth a liability rather than an economic asset, feeding into the political, social and economic malaise that is suffocating the country. There is a need for multi-pronged, coordinated and ambitious strategies to develop national policies and institutions that focus on developing and utilising the country’s barely tapped human power.
Given the large role of the government as an employer, it is also essential to follow strict, merit-based hiring criteria in the public sector. The appointment of public civil servants needs to be based on an open and competitive job call, and selection should be free from political bias. Without these reforms, government institutions will remain chocked with corruption and bureaucracy and cannot muster the professionalism needed to execute the country’s ambitious national economic and social development policies.
While non-exhaustive, such policy priorities constitute the critical ingredients for Ethiopia’s economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era and its political stabilisation.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 16,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1081]
Fortune News | Nov 21,2020
Commentaries | Apr 03,2021
Viewpoints | May 04,2019
Fortune News | Oct 12,2019
Viewpoints | Dec 04,2020
Viewpoints | Dec 05,2018
Editorial | Apr 09,2023
Commentaries | May 29,2021
Commentaries | Sep 21,2019
Photo Gallery | 69115 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 60970 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 52909 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 52680 Views | Sep 01,2021
Commentaries | May 27,2023
Life Matters | May 27,2023
My Opinion | May 27,2023
Sunday with Eden | May 27,2023
Agenda | May 27,2023
Editorial | May 27,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Recent headlines seem to augur a global debt crisis. The United States is teetering on the precipice of a self-inflicted default. Egypt,...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
May 27 , 2023
Tauted as a somnolent giant, Ethiopia's financial scene now stirs, roused by favourab...
May 20 , 2023
The pungent irony wafting from Pretoria last week was hard to miss. Cyril Ramaphosa,...
May 13 , 2023
In March this year, Kamala Harris, the United States Vice President, visited Ghana, T...
May 6 , 2023
The history of the Ethiopian labour movement dates back to the 1940s, marked by perio...
May 27 , 2023
In a triumph over the trials of the pandemic, a rising tide of construction costs and inflation, Zemen Bank has opened a stunning 32-storey...
May 27 , 2023 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
Meqelle is in an animated bid to reclaim control of the management of companies under the Endowment Fund...
May 29 , 2023
Officials at the Addis Abeba City Administration have recently changed the title transfer fees following...
May 27 , 2023 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
The absence of technological equipment to control the contraband trade near national borders and low-qual...
Or see contact page