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Private sector event stresses new hope

The government is looking at the private sector as instrument for the continuation of economic growth by public financing projects.
The private sector’s role in the public private partnership was assessed at an event held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel organized by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private arm, and partners.
The discussion, two panels and experience sharing from Lily Begiashvili, former senior official at the government of Georgia and now lead IFC Investment Climate Reform Project in Moldova, focused on the issue of boosting investment and the private sector’s role in the country’s economic growth.
Mamo E. Mihretu, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister, this is the great time for the private sector in Ethiopia. There is the fundamental shift in mind set within the government and there is increased and renewed effort in terms of trying to not only enable the private sector but genuinely consider the private sector the center of the country’s growth, the PM advisor said and added that the government is working besides lip service to change the economy’s drive.
He added that the key issue is sustaining the economic growth and to do that enhancing the private sector not only going the way of public financing projects that the country had been run.
“The platform is really timely and vital to initiate a discussion points about the potential roles of the private sector with the ongoing swift political and economic reforms. I am very optimistic by the current turn of events happening in the country,” Kassahun Mamo, an economist who attended the event said.
The event is called Multi Donor Initiative (MDI) Knowledge management platform. The title is ‘enhancing private sector engagement at times of reform: lessons learnt so far and the way forward’.
He hinted that the government is working to strengthen and engage the private sector. “There is a different mechanism engaging the private sector further than the previous time,” he said. He added that the government is working to establish regular meetings with top officials including the Prime Minister.
Abebe Abebayehu, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), told Capital that the event has crucial role in expanding discussions between the government and the private sector. Abebe, a few years ago who led Public Private Dialogue Forum that was formed to narrow the gap between the government and private sector said that the current event focused on how to solve problems based on discussions. He recalled that the Public Private Dialogue Forum was trying to solve problems based on study and discussions, while the government is expected to expand the private sector.
He explained that the government under the PM office has formed a steering committee to improve business.
“The political reform should be supported by economic reform and expanding employment and that the government is working strongly,” he said.
“However, reforms will not come at an easy cost and without thinking out of the box as long as high looming unemployment and instability exists. Unemployment will be a major challenge which impedes the current reforms,” Kassahun said. “According to my view the role of the Ethiopian private sector on the ongoing nationwide reform should be immense and at the forefront. The private sector should play a role in building peace across the nation,” he added.
“It has to think about its civic duty too at times of reform. In sum the private sector should tap the opportunity to engage in policy formulation like privatization, readiness to openness, reconciliation and security, because businesses are the first victims of any conflict. Business and Peace are highly interlinked,” Kassahun added.
At the event Zafu, who led the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association when the public private forum started, talked about future plans in light of past experiences.


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