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Ethiopia : National Economic Council Established

The office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia claims that The National Economic Council is a neutral body 

December 14, 2020

The office of the Prime Minister on Monday announced that a National Economic Council is established. It is claimed that the  council is a “neutral body.” 

According to the office of the government,  it is created with the intention to benefit from the intellectuals and professionals in the effort to ensure the success of the economic reform agenda and continuity of Ethiopia’s economic growth. 

The list containing sixteen people is disclosed, and many of them are Ethiopians in the diaspora — mostly based in the United States.  It is as follows : 

1. Professor Alemayehu Geda

2. Professor Berhanu Abegaz

3.Professor Gebissa Ejeta

4. Professor Melaku Desta

5.Prefessor Seid Hassan

6. Tadele Ferede (Ph.D.) 

7. Professor Tassew Woldehana

8. Alemayehu Seyoum (Ph.D.) 

9. Alula Pankhurst (Ph.D) 

10. Dima Negawo

11. Eleni Gabre Madhin

12. Professor Lemma Woldesenbet

13. Rahel Kassahun (Ph.D)

14. Segenet kelemu

15. Yonad Birru (Ph.D)

16. Hilawi Tadesse (Ato)

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office claims that the neutrality of the Economic Council is relevant from the point of view of policy inclusiveness and gets perspectives on issues not included in the policy agenda. Government also hopes to get insight to understand complex security and social problems and examine  policy alternatives. 

Seen from the trajectory that there are at least individuals who were full-time politicians, the assertion about neutrality of the council could be questionable. For example, Dima Negao is among the founders of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and was also a member of Oromo Democratic Forum (ODF) — a party that he co-founded after he left OLF.  It is also unclear if the questions of neutrality seen from Conflict of Interest perspective as there could be people with a business interest in the country. 

The recruitment process involved nominations after the office of the Prime Minister announced the vacancy. A total of 290 candidates were nominated, according to the office of the Prime Minister. 

This is the second advisory council to be established on economic matters. After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed introduced privatization of Ethiopia’s key national assets, he established in August 2018 an privatization advisory council composed of 21 notable individuals in the country but some of them do not have academic or professional background in the economic field.  

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  1. It is ok to raise questions about the membership of this and other councils. That is one of the duties of journalism. I also think in such situation you have to start somewhere and with what you think is the best choice for the job. I hope we will hear from this council in the coming weeks and months with their game plans for the economic future of the country. Such councils of high caliber individuals both in intellectual and hands on business expertise could have a huge impact on the industrialization of a nation. It reminds of somewhat similar policy influencing councils in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1970’s and 1980’s. My best plant manager was a high school grad. He was as good as and even better than the ones with engineering degrees. He had learned his trade well on the job.

  2. It is a good step in the right direction.

    Previous governments, particularly the Derg and the TPLF dominated administration chased intellectuals and educated Ethiopians out of the country. It is high time they are invited back.


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