Tuesday , May 30 2023

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's Battle for Socio-Economic Reform in a Separated Ethiopia


smallPrime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April, his approval ratings have risen, making him one of the most popular political communists in Ethiopia. In recent months, Ahmed has embarked on ambitious and revolutionary economic reform plans for the country, which is currently in a state of economic instability. From the preparation of the Ethiopian stock market – a moment of utmost importance to today's largest economy in the world without a stock market – on a recent US tour, Abiy Ahmed has embarked on his ambitious term by introducing dozens of new policies for just a few months. However, his office coincides with the peak of ethnic segregation in Ethiopia, the second most populated country in Africa. National conflicts have led more than a million people away from himMonthly only this year. Ahmet's goals of rebuilding the economy of Ethiopia through ambitious socio-economic policies may worsen the prevailing ethnic differences, thus hampering the future development of Ethiopia.

Ethnic tensions are actually what brought Ahmed to the Office. Over 500 citizens were killed, with more than 1600 prisoners, during and after 2016 anti-democratic protests in the capital of Addis Ababa. Ahmed's predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, resigned under the pressure of these ethnic protests against Oromo, and Abiy Ahmed, Oromo himself, went to the office after the end. Compared to his predecessors, Ahmed seems to be applying far more political changes, seemingly to the best of the country. However, the benefits of these policies have yet to reach the less-favored communities, thus promoting inequality in wealth. For example, the Ethiopian Stock Exchange, a high-risk and high-cost investment that can be a feat for the Ethiopian economy, remains inaccessible to the majority of under-represented ethnic communities and only strengthens the national socio-economic gap that continues to intensify conflict the whole country. The Ethiopian Stock Exchange can expect a similar outcome with the Ethiopian Exchanges of Goods, a similar notion introduced before the start of Ahmed's work "High technology, low impact". Outside the capital, poorer rural populations have fewer resources to invest in the stock and participate in the kind of financial transactions and activities that many of Ahmed's policies are destined to grow. Focusing on industry and economic growth in urban areas, Ahmet effectively promotes the proliferation of rural-urban migration. This migration affects the distribution of Ethiopian labor while young people move to urban areas looking for jobs and higher pay opportunities and in turn create a socio-economic gap based on the urbanization and age distribution of the different regions. Nevertheless, studies show that investment in urban settlements in Africa has long-term benefits and provide a more lasting development path, thus allowing for a structural transformation; urban investment strengthens the long-term development of infrastructure and encourages the long-term development of industry. However, the immediate ethnic crisis continues to accompany the process of urbanization and may remain an obstacle to growth and development. While rural and rural development initiatives remain short-term solutions, Ahmed must prioritize them as a path to alleviating ethnic conflicts before reaching a critical level and thus allow Ethiopia to focus on urbanization in the future. Subsequent socio-economic crises likely to arise from the lack of priority in rural development may overturn Ahmed's benefits by focusing on urban development.

The fact that many of Ahmet's economic projects favor urban areas should not be overlooked. While a recent $ 1.3 billion loan from the World Bank intends to develop a rural safety net and promoting poverty alleviation and food insecurity, much of Ahmed's reform policies seem to focus on the urbanization and development of key urban areas such as the Addis Ababa metropolitan area. These inherent biases in urban development can, in turn, increase economic and political marginalization in rural populations as Ahmed has approved poverty alleviation plans, his plans are not related to the development of infrastructure and industry in areas of ethnic tension . With the central axis of development in urban areas such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and other urban areas that host only 16% of the 105 million Ethiopian citizens, Ahmet will perpetuate existing national issues such as the unequal distribution of wealth and favored residential areas that include economic growth, such as the people of Ahrom.

The Prime Minister's recent policies, many of which are high-risk and high-cost, including the creation of a stockbroker, heavy state investment in the newly semi- Ethiopian Airlinesand the impetus for the high-revival Ethiopian barrier can benefit urban and more political ethnic groups more than rural, less represented groups, boosting national socio-economic divisions and endangering the long-term social and political stability of Ethiopia.

In addition, Ahmed continued to impose sanctions on the government for the seizure of land in the footsteps of its predecessor. This issue is particularly acute in the Tigray region, where recent development projects, some of which have been concluded with Chinese companies and US development teams, led to the displacement of thousands of people from their homeland and deaths 140 people in subsequent protests. The issue of state land seizures also prevails in the Addis Ababa metropolitan area, where the city of four million people is growing at a rate of up to 8 percent per year and represents a hub for industry. While Ahmed's economic development policies can benefit the development of Addis Ababa, expanding the city to neighboring tribes may cause proliferation of government seizures imposed by the government, which in turn fills the foundations for ethnic conflicts: under the leadership of a particular ethnic group, is not a good element for ethnic relations.

In addition, Ahmed has shouted loudly support for the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, a under construction "Big Barrier" in the Blue Nile, which has caused many controversy with the countries down, Sudan and Egypt. Ahmed's interest in the dam can in turn to lead to budgetary issues, and while investment can actually benefit the economy of the nation, if those benefits reach the most disadvantaged ethnic groups, it remains questionable. Ahmed's support for the dam is of further concern, the most important of which can be displaced, as dams are a reservoir. Projections from international rivers estimate that the dam could to displace up to 20,000 people and flood 1,680 square kilometers of arable land, which poses a serious threat to the situation of Benishangul-Gumuz, one of the borders of Ethiopia neighboring Sudan and still largely dependent on agriculture. The local reaction behind the forced relocation and the flood of such a large area of ​​land can also exacerbate ethnic tensions as the central government deals with race and ancestral land. Some, however, argued that economic benefits improved access to electricity and water and profits from surplus energy sales to neighboring countries such as Sudan and Kenya compensate for the loss of land. But regardless of whether profits from the dam will reach people whose land is lost, the benefits themselves may be too much. Moreover, while the dam will increase Ethiopia's network capacity, over half of the Ethiopian population still lacks electricity infrastructure for access to electricity, which demonstrates how the alleged direct benefits may fail to reach out to the most disadvantaged. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will have to re-examine the impact of the scale and the location of the dam, as well as the government's policy of seizure of land and the possibilities of calculating land compensation to resolve the crises caused by the barrier of great rebirth.

Ahmed's support for ethnic federalism in Ethiopia and his policy of segregation furthermore promotes a national culture of ethnic division, rather than encouraging the public from the united Ethiopia. Its meaning ethnic federalism, which defines the eight Ethiopian states by their sovereign ethnic group, has led some to claim it "Ethiopia has overwhelmed the use of ethnicity as a fundamental organizational principle of a federal system of government". National federalist policies can act to portray Ethiopia as a volatile region, though it remains one of the most stable countries and economies of sub-Saharan Africa. A negative global picture of ethnic division and instability places Ethiopia in a position where the potential for critical factors of economic growth, such as foreign direct investment, can be greatly reduced. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed should review the policies of the Ethiopian national federal government in order to achieve an Ethiopia of a unified people and not a state of constant rivalry between the many different ethnic groups.

In summary, Ahmed faces many challenges in his mission for socio-economic reform in Ethiopia. The Prime Minister's recent policies, many of which are high-risk and high-cost, including the creation of a stockbroker, heavy state investment in the newly semi- Ethiopian Airlinesand the impetus for the high-revival Ethiopian barrier can benefit bourgeois and more politically important ethnic groups more than rural, less represented groups, boosting national socio-economic divisions and endangering Ethiopia's long-term social and political stability. In order to ensure the better development of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed may want to focus on revising Ethiopian national federal government policies and diverting more money for social and economic equity projects – for investment in agriculture in rural Ethiopia.

Photo: Flag of Ethiopia

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