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Ethiopians, before the decade was out, were promised sugar and fertilizer factories and power-generating dams. The most highly anticipated, by virtue of endless advertising bordering on propaganda, was the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).     


Successive editions of plans for growth, dubbed Growth & Transformation Plans (GTPs), were launched 10 years ago, putting an emphasis on public infrastructure financing both to stimulate the economy and provide the foundation for an economy led by the manufacturing sector. Ethiopians, before the decade was out, were promised sugar and fertilizer factories and power-generating dams. The most highly anticipated, by virtue of endless advertising bordering on propaganda, was the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).


The decade instead ended with the Ethiopian government promising not to commence new mega projects until those still undergoing construction, including the GERD, are finalised. Saddled with external debt that has risen to over a third of the GDP and several projects having gone ludicrously over budget, it has become painfully obvious that placing cornerstones is far more complicated than cutting ribbons. And cutting ribbons is always a more pleasant experience when the project is concluded on time, within the targeted budget and delivers all the services it was promised it would.






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