Time to Rethink Corona virus can bring opportunity for Ethiopia

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By Dawit Tadesse

As a good citizen and professional I have been thinking how our country Ethiopia could be out of poverty. I have been thinking about so many economic, finance and development models to solve these problems such as poverty, backwardness etc….
Many have said and done to eliminate poverty in Ethiopia. But one of the big causes of our problem has been our government and the political system. So many years have passed since we were poor because of the serious problem that emanates from political and government structure. As a result, we have turned out to be a beggar nation.
Therefore, it is evident that the economy is still weak. It cannot absorb a big shock. Ethiopia is ranked 30th among 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is just below the regional average and well below the world average. The country is one of the poorest, with a per capita income of $790. Income inequality and unemployment are one of the biggest problems in this country.
Accumulated researches, speculations and observations have been indicating that the source of all this problem is not our people or nature rather it is our political and government structure. It has been shown that most of our politician are semi elite- without strong educational background and income. Most of them once they have acquired power and resources, they have been utilizing them for personal needs in the name of ethnic politics. Due to this the Ethiopian people have been strangled in extreme poverty for centuries.
The current global, novel virus could make our economy down to its knees and prolong our people economic pain to the worst. From the start our economy is starting to get affected very seriously by this virus. However, it can be pointed out here that crisis moments also present opportunity to rethink about our country and its economic problem and to take out our people from a grave poverty and poorness.
As it can be seen from the long travelled bumpy, miserable life road, the three most serious problems of this country are economy, economy, and economy. So to solve these epidemic economic problems, the best way forward is to gear direction toward economic development first and foremost instead of bringing conflict by ethnic politics. How?
This being our country’s situation, you may be surprised and consider me like mad man when you read what follows here is what I am thinking and suggesting to do to free our country from impoverishment. Let us forget the coming election for the time being.
Frist, our country must be led by a committee, like China Central committee, at least for the next 10 to 15 years. This is because we have a tradition as a nation to work by being organized in a committee. If we have to think in detail as to how this committee will organize it can be suggested that this committee must be organized by having members of politicians, elders, elites, business people and religious leaders and artists. So, politician who are working for the better of the society but not for their want will be a part of this committee with limited power and tasks. In this regard, everyone will represented with equal power so there will not be power struggle. Everyone will have equal say and vote. The only objective of this committee is to plan, restructure and manage the economy of the country. In the meantime, the committee will be responsible for operating the environment underpinning entrepreneurship and innovation, promoting the effective use of our endemic knowledge, securing the functioning of the labour market and workers’ employability, as well as for regional development. The committee will have technical advisory who will prepare the country’s master or marshal economic plan by fully considering the situation on the ground. This committee will be reelected every 4 years. Second, the country’s ethnical regional structure must be restructured as economy regions. We can reorganized all the regions into four economic regions. Then we have to stop talking about that ethnic region or this ethnic region rather we will talk about economy regions. We can call these economy regions north, south, west and east economy regions.
Globally, successful economies are organized on economy regional basis. This should be true to Ethiopia too. Regional economies offer the best environment for idea experimentation in terms of economic development. Whether you are talking about talent development strategies, major infrastructure projects, quality of place investments, or other initiatives, communities in a region can come together to establish priorities and successfully implement initiatives.
In this regard, the committee will organize the regions by taking into consideration their economic comparative advantages and proximity. This arrangement will help create strong economic network, supply chain and fast labor mobility that support each other.
Besides, this committee will be organized into four subcommittee to lead each four economy regions. The committee will call for the national and regional people council which will organize. Each four regional economy committee will have its own clear economic objectives and technical advisories that know the economy potentials of each economy regions.
In general, the main aim of these committees will be to boost inter- regional economic development and in turn boost the national economy.
As to my personal reflection, I believe this form of structure or other similar form is the only way to break the chain of poverty and poorness this country. Once the availability of bread and clean water for our people is secured, ethnic and other political issues can come to the foreground. Let us measure our performance by the reduction of income inequality, unemployment, corruption and improvement of education, health and infrastructure. To put the details of my idea in this short article is very difficult. But at least I just proposed the general framework of my idea for further discussion.
Presently, Corona is not only challenging our economy muscle but also urging us to shift our focus from all other areas and focus on it. Thus, let’s not fail to consider what has come as a blessing in disguise.
After this our politics must be our economy and our economy will be our politics .No more no less! I pray all the political leaders of this country would open their eyes to see the bright side of the opportunity.