This is a reviews on
the prevailing changes in Ethiopia’s policies
during the past two decades.
Prior to this, the country had a floundering
economy as its citizens languished in poverty.
Its involvement in world trade was negligible.
In spite of its rich cultural heritage, Ethiopia
was one of the “least trading nations of the
world”.
But now there changes.
As recorded in this book, these changes were
promptly implemented in the social, economic,
and governance realms.
Transformation in trade came to be referred to
as “liberalisation”.
This consistently affected the exploitation of
resources.
Recently there have been measures to
enhance the position of Ethiopia in the global
market.
To improve efficiency, the government has
delegated the implementation of policies to be
done by the ministries’ statutory bodies.
Woo investors
It has designed incentives to woo foreign
investors.
This has been done “with the view to
benefiting the economy from expanding the
markets and increasing its efficiency.”
Ultimately, this led to lowering of tariffs and
“making Ethiopia one of the most liberal
traders in the world.”
These loosened policies have resulted in an
influx of imports into the economy.
The “import volume is five times the volume of
export.” Such developments have strained the
Ethiopian transport sector.
Commercial road transport is also “inefficient
because most of the fleets for both public and
cargo transport are aged with no replacement
policy.”
Besides, there lack strong support systems in
maintenance, packaging, banks, and
insurance.
Ethiopia, however, has been slow in embracing
technology.
As one of the authors writes: “There is no
modernised company registration system, as a
result of which companies and operators are
subjected to annual licence renewal that
involves long bureaucratic hurdles of clearance
from tax authorities.”
Citing several reasons the Ethiopian
Government has excluded foreign bankers
from the financial sector, the author says the
National Bank of Ethiopia does not have the
capacity to control sophisticated foreign
banks.
There will be compensations
To ensure that investors come in the “capital
repatriation and remittance of dividends and
interests is guaranteed to foreign investors
under the investment proclamation.”
In case the government nationalises a private
firm there are to be compensations.
There are tensions between the public and
private companies.
A prosperous private firm faces opposition,
particularly when considered to be enjoying
support from influential government officials.
And “equity and fairness of the tax system is
often challenged by the business community.”
This is a detailed examination of Ethiopia’s
policies.
In essays and papers that appear as
journalistic pieces, the authors expose the
weaknesses and strengths of the Ethiopian
economy.
A large part of the book delves into the
shortcomings of Ethiopia’s national policies
and strategies.

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