The Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA) held its 18th International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy from July 23-24, 2021. The conference was sponsored by UCL Energy Institute University College London, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), World Bank, International Growth Centre (IGC), Economic Commission for Africa, FDRE Policy Studies institute and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT). About 550 participants have applied to attend the conference. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, 450 participants have attended the conference in person and virtually. A total of 33 selected papers were presented by scholars gathered from various parts of the country and abroad. The conference covered four sub-themes: Macro-economy, Energy, Agriculture and Environment, along with two panel discussions on pertinent national agendas of the country. The topic of the first day panel discussion was “Economic Contribution of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)” to downstream countries and its potential as growth model for the Nile Basin. The second panel was on “Current Drivers and Transmission Mechanisms of Inflation in Ethiopia.”
The event also covered the launching of EEA’s new motto, as well as honouring individuals who contributed to the advancement of the economic discipline and partner institutions which have contributed to the success of EEA during critical stages.
Professor Mengistu Ketema, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EEA recognized the presence of our guest of honour, speakers, moderator, panellists and conference participants. Prof. Mengistu also introduced the two-day conference schedule, and invited Dr. Amdissa Teshome, president of EEA to make a welcome remark.
Dr. Amdissa Teshome, President of EEA delivered the welcome remarks, in which he acknowledged the presence of four distinguished guests: H.E. Dr. Nemera Gebeyehu Mamo, Deputy Commissioner of the Planning and Development Commission, who is also the guest of honour; Dr. Argawi Berhe, Director-General of GERD; Ambassador Ibrahim Idris, Director General FDRE Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Dr. Alula Pankhurst, Young Lives Ethiopia Country Director, who also delivered the keynote address at this 18th International Conference.
Following the welcome speech, the Honourable Dr. Nemera Mamo, State Minister of the Planning and Development Commission, made an opening statement. His Excellency started his statement by congratulating all Ethiopians and the participants of the conference for second and final phase of filling the GERD. His Excellency further emphasised the unconditional rights of Ethiopians to develop their reservoirs on a rational, responsible, and sustainable basis. Dr. Nemera has also conveyed his message that Ethiopia has no intention to harm downstream countries and called on conference participants to influence the biased Egyptian argument that has created tensions over the Abay River.
Dr. Nemera accompanied by the invited guests has launched the EEA’s new motto which is: “Professionalism and Economic Thinking for Development”. In addition, Dr. Nemera noted his hopes that the conference would serve as an opportunity for economists to promote and support the implementation of the Home-Grown Economic Reform agenda and the recently developed 10-year National Development Plan. Interestingly, Dr. Nemera concluded his speech by pledging for a full membership of the Ethiopian Economic Association.
On this occasion, Dr. Tadele Ferede, the previous EEA President was honoured for his contribution to the advancement of Economic discipline and his leadership role to EEA. Similarly, USAID Ethiopia, Open Society Initiative for East Africa, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were honoured for their long standing and strategic financial support to EEA.
Upon opening the 18th International Conference, the first panel discussion covered the national and regional economic implications of the GERD, as mentioned above. The panelists were Dr. Tewodros Negash, Dr. Aregawi Berhe and Ambassador Ibrahim Idris. Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum Tafesse from IFPRI and Mr. Dereje Dejene from Soberland International Institute of Development Services were the chairperson and rapporteur of this panel respectively.
The second panel discussion, was held the second day of the conference, on July 24th, and it covered the Current Drivers and Transmission Mechanisms of Inflation in Ethiopia. Senior Economists Dr. Atafu G/Meskel from AAU and Dr. Tewodros Makonnen from International Growth Centre (IGC) as well as Mr. Zewdie Adane from Planning and Development Commission were the panellists. Dr. Tadele Ferede, the former EEA president and Dr. Beyene Tadesse, a private sector consultant were rapporteurs.
In addition to 2 panel discussions, the 2-day conference hosted multiple parallel sessions covering a wide range of topics from dozens of papers under the four subthemes: Macroeconomy, Energy, Agriculture and Environment. We would like to thank our sponsors and partners, as well as all who participated, particularly those who presented their invaluable works to our association.
Director, Partnership and Communication Division