Alula’s presentation Wednesday evening on the Economic Policy Analysis Unit (EPAU) think-tank he currently works for, gave insight into the government’s outlook on the construction in the city and the future of Ethiopia. The push for development in Ethiopia has always been undermined by the country’s landlocked nature. Industrial policies, macroeconomics, trade and logistics are all affected due to the country’s location forcing them to use Djibouti as its trade port. By opening up the Ethiopian market to foreign investors and increasing the private sector, there is major concern for the implementation of modern policies instituted by the government. Prior to my arrival, American news reports headlined the country’s development strategies at the cost of democracy, such as relocating people from fertile regions to arid lands where they do not have access to resources that allow them to practice subsistence farming.
Contrary to these news reports, Alula spoke about the incentives the government has created for small farmers to increase their agribusiness to market size exports. The constant decrease of public expenditures and investment in infrastructure has motivated the government to appeal to foreign investors. The country is embracing the “Democratic Developmentalism Model,” a reconfigured version of the East Asian (Chinese) developmental state model, for its future. By focusing on Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI) and transforming the agricultural industry to produce more and develop the agricultural markets for Ethiopia, younger people must be included.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project is an example of one of the many investments the country is making for itself. Although there are negative environmental consequences associated with dam building, without power investment cannot occur. By ensuring the country has a stable source of power, there will be an increase of investments in Ethiopia.