If former Minister of Finance Sufian Ahmed had said the foreign exchange shortage is structural and will remain with Ethiopia for decades to come, that is precisely what Eyob Tekaleign (PhD), state minister for Finance, would want to see changed. The foreign exchange crunch should stop defining the Ethiopian economy, Eyob declared early on last week, standing before members of the international community, briefing them on the new economic reform agenda conveniently characterised as “homegrown”. The audience was receptive to the "ambitious" reform the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) rolled out and agreed it is "doable".
"The Reform Agenda is our pro-job, pro-growth, and pro-inclusivity pathway to prosperity," said the Prime Minister. "Join us on this path." In the making for over one and a half years, the tabled reform agenda sees a major departure from the previous dogmatic approach in its aim to rebalance macroeconomic fundamentals and sustain growth. A team of experts from the Ministry of Finance, the macroeconomic team of the Prime Minister, and the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) designed the plan to be implemented in the next three years. In his address to the international community, the Prime Minister praised members of this group as "Ethiopia's finest minds."
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $500 million ($250 million grant and $250 million credit) from the International Development Association (IDA) in continued support of the Government of Ethiopia’s Homegrown Reform Agenda. The Second Ethiopia Growth and Competitiveness Development Policy Operation (DPO) is intended to accelerate Ethiopia’s economic growth and achieve its vision of becoming a lower-middle-income country.
This operation is the second of a series of DPOs and provides both financial and technical support to Ethiopia’s economic reforms. The operation is designed to help Ethiopia revitalize the economy by broadening the role of the private sector and attaining a more sustainable development path. Ethiopia, with support from the operation has:
Since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took power in April 2018, his government has sent an unambiguous message: It needs more private sector investment to drive growth and create jobs.
The government's growth strategy calls for structural reforms designed to strengthen the private sector, boost competition, and increase investment—an approach that is accelerating the end of Ethiopia’s long reliance on state-led economic development.
The ratification of a new investment law at the end of last month by the House of Peoples' Representatives is expected to add momentum to Ethiopia’s reform efforts. The new law, which updates the 2012 Investment Proclamation, consolidates reforms and confirms that few sectors will be restricted for foreign direct investment—the specifics will be defined in an investment regulation in the following months—allowing all other economic sectors to be open to foreign investors. These developments are in line with recommendations from the Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD) for Ethiopia, published by IFC and the World Bank in March 2019.