Dec 26 , 2020
By Christian Tesfaye ( Christian Tesfaye (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a researcher and Fortune's Deputy Editor-in-Chief whose interests run amok in the directions of political thought, markets, society and pop culture. )
It seems that it is only acceptable to write about doom and gloom these days, about how misery is everywhere. It is hard to admonish anyone for this. After all, this was objectively a bad year.
The big news was a once in a century global pandemic. There have since been close to 80 million cases across the world, which is nearly the entire population of Germany. At this point, about one in every hundred people in the world has caught the virus. It has killed 1.7 million people across the world as well, nearly the entire population of Bahrain, or 0.02pc of everyone on Earth.
In Ethiopia, there have been over 120,000 cases. This is 0.1pc of the population, and this also may not reflect the true extent of the virus due to awareness and testing capacities. There is some consolation in that the reported deaths have been a tiny fraction of this but not small enough to take mildly.
The year also saw devastating forest fires, social unrest, floods and desert locust swarms. In Ethiopia, we also had our first armed conflict since the Ethiopian defence forces engaged with those of Eritrea’s two decades back. It was an unrelenting year.
There was a tiny blessing of good news nonetheless, and it came in the form of the UN’s Human Development Indicators (HDI) report. It is important to ponder it momentarily, because it focuses on data, while most well-being measures in Ethiopia are considered through a thick frame of politics.
No doubt, numbers are not perfect indicators of our conditions. There is more to well-being than what economists and statisticians can count. There are factors such as dignity, feelings of security and political freedom that are also fundamental to understanding whether society is in the best shape it can be.
Still, they are more valuable than guesstimating the physical, material and emotional well-being of society from whoever was in power during the years of review. This is why indicators such as HDI are critical, and that of Ethiopia’s has an inspiring story to tell.
Ethiopia is still a low-income country. But it is in a far better position than it was at the turn of the century. We now can expect to live about 15 years more on average than we did two decades ago; expected years of schooling have more than doubled; national income per capita tripled; maternal mortality rates were more than halved; and the number of internet users is in the double digits and rising.
In all, Ethiopia has improved in HDI from about 0.3 to close to 0.5. This means that fewer people die of diseases and malnutrition; more people are literate and can put food on the table than was the case two decades ago. This is objectively a good thing. This is the ball we should have our eyes on.
It did not occur by some miracle, especially considering how fast the rate of improvement for Ethiopia has been. Take Kenya, which went from 0.5 to just 0.6 in three decades and even regressed during the 1990s. This means that improvement is not written in stone. Globalisation may be helping most countries come out of poverty faster, but it is by no means a guarantor, and the room for failure is wide.
The major roadblock is and will remain the threat of political instability. We continue to be a country that is not at peace with itself. To an extent, this does not make us unique. Few countries in the world are comfortable with their history and do not have internal contradictions. The problem is when we allow our political challenges to consume the developmental progress we are indeed making.
PUBLISHED ON Dec 26,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1078]
View From Arada | Feb 19,2022
Radar | Nov 09,2019
Sunday with Eden | Jun 29,2019
Advertorials | Apr 10,2023
My Opinion | Feb 11,2023
Commentaries | Jan 18,2020
Films Review | May 18,2019
Viewpoints | May 06,2023
View From Arada | Jan 31,2021
Commentaries | Aug 20,2022
Photo Gallery | 69138 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 60995 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 52923 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 52697 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