The EEA organized panel discussion on Ethiopian Economy

The Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA) has held panel discussion at the EEA’s 20th International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy from July 21-22, 2023. The topic for the panel discussion was “the Ethiopian Economic Policy Paradigm: Context, Relevance and Implementation”. Honorable MP Dr. Seid Nuru, Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, and Dr. Atnafu G/Meskel were panelists who shared their views on the Ethiopian economic policy paradigm.

In his contribution, Hon. Dr. Seid Nuru, a member of the House of Peoples Representatives of FDRE and former research staff of the EEA, focused on the economic models of Ethiopia and indicated that it is based on different ideologies. He said that the current Ethiopian economic policy paradigm is beyond economic stabilization, and therefore understanding the context of the economy is crucial to design contextualized policy that foster economic development. More specifically, Hon Dr. Seid Nuru identified three key issues: the importance of the private sector, the need to improve production and productivity, and the need to be pragmatic to allow flexibility of some extent rather than strictly following one ideology without context analysis. For effective implementation of policies and strategies, Dr. Seid suggested policy harmonization between regional and federal governments, address the impact of external and exogenous shocks, and fight rent seeking, corruption and nepotism through institutional transformation and capacity building, and ensuring rule of law in the country.

Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, senior research fellow at IFPRI, the 6th President and the current EEA’s advisory board member, on his part highlighted key issues that are necessary while designing a policy: The set of public aspirations; the set of Economic models; the initial condition of the economy; and the contemporary situation of the economic system. Dr. Alemayheu has also identified key issues critical for reforming the economy suggesting the need for a deeper understanding of the Ethiopian economy to design an appropriate policy. These include creative use of what we have, learn and create our own contextualized instruments and policies, understand that here is no one golden word and policy, the need for pragmatic long term development strategy, and finally the need to define the problem, understand how things are operating and design policy based on the context.

Dr. Atnafu G/Meskel, an executive committee member of the EEA and head of the department of Economics at AAU has focused on whether our economic teaching helps the Ethiopian economists and the economy.  Dr. Atnafu has pointed out that the current economic research is ‘dollar-driven’; not focusing on the problem at hand. He also noted that the current Ethiopian economy is being challenged by three key problems: income inequality, inflation, and unemployment. On top of that he argued that the contemporary economic system in Ethiopia is solving short-term problems rather than implementing long term economic policies.

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