Careful reading of Ethiopian history shows a close relationship between commodity price and political stability. There is no more important commodity than oil in this nexus. History shows us that oil price has played a significant role in the whole play of the student movement of the 1960s. As the commodity’s price gets into another low cycle, it is better if policymakers give due attention to the political implications of their decisions.

Addis’ Overwhelming Contradictions

Life in Addis is full of contradictions. Residents living in the political and economic capital of Ethiopia, cannot avoid being overwhelmed by issues of varying weights. What takes the priority in one’s mind is defined by the closeness to the issue. A typical week in Addis involves being taken away by national issues such as drought, and preferential issues, such as football. Last week was a typical time to see this trend.

A Celebration Under Disguise

The national broadcaster is celebrating its Golden Jubilee. But its state is not a manifestation of the wider media sphere in the country. The Ethiopian media sphere is identified with direct and indirect suppression: journalists live an uncertain life. Had the press been free, though, the nation and its citizens could have benefited a lot.

Numbers That Mean Nothing

Numbers could mean a lot when they are used in their right place. But they mean nothing in the wrong places. The case with popular economic growth figures in Ethiopia largely goes with the latter. Much as it is overused, the 11pc GDP growth figure, for instance, has lost its meaning. The case gets even worse when one analyses the numbers in the political scene, including the 100pc election victory by EPRDF.

An Irony of History

African leaders are convening in Addis Abeba for their annual summit. As they go about their annual tributes, however, the leaders seem to have forgotten the price paid to realise the African Union. It is puzzling to see leaders convening to strengthen unity failing to pay due tribute to the death of Africans, in Africa, by Africans.

Informal Economy Here to Stay

The informal sector contributes a lot to the economy. Yet, it hardly receives policy attention. Inattention by the media to the informal sector also plays its role in the overall sidelining of the sector. Regardless, the sector is here to stay as it is a natural extension of the real economy.

In Pursuit of Democracy

The Integrated Master Plan between Addis Abeba and Special Zones of Oromia has been a cause for public disappointment and protest. Reports show that about 140 people lost their lives due to the protests. Yet, the Master Plan is just one of the drivers of the protests. Much of the protest has to do with the lack of good governance that seems to have become a typical trait in Ethiopia.

The Future of Banking

Banking is changing fast. It has taken itself out of its traditional fit of branching. Mobile handsets held by millions of Ethiopians have now evolved to be branches in their own right. It however is doubtful whether Ethiopian banks recognise the changed face of their businesses. Many of them are still investing in constructing huge edifices with a budgetary outlays of millions of Birr.

The Drought Factor

Drought is affecting Ethiopia with over 10 million people facing the risk of food insecurity. One important aspect of the drought is water scarcity and media reports have shown that the severity of the problem is growing with each day. Although the problem is worsened by the current drought, water shortage has long been with us. Even Addis Abeba, is not yet self-sufficient when it comes to water supply. And this relates to governance.


The debate over the Integrated Master Plan of Addis Abeba & Special Zones of Oromia has continued. In the aftermath of destructive protest, government has suggested its own way of looking at things but this outlook has its own problems. A major gap within the governmental declaration is that it does not start from recognition of individual rights.


Football is a popular sport in Ethiopia. It is well received by every section of society, regardless of age and gender. Much as its follower base it growing, the success of the national team has remained volatile. Lately, the team is in decline. There seems to be no one taking responsibility for this, however. All those key stakeholders seem to have their ways of making excuses for the decline. And this is leaving the sport to even further deterioration.

Nothing but the Truth

Ethiopia seems to be facing multiple problems. As such, thoughtful policy making is vital to solve the problems in a balanced way. The role of research and fact finding in all this is crucial. The state seem to be using research as a basis for policy making. But, there are still areas such as ongoing protest in Oromia, where fact finding is not being implemented.

Nation Responds by Rail

Ethiopia is expanding its rail transport network. As a landlocked country, the nation could not have a better option. The underlying economic rationale of the rail transport rightly fits the country’s needs. Bulk loads that would have incurred huge cost to transport by other modes of transportation could easily be transported by rail. It is this very benefit of the rail transport system that was witnessed in the latest transportation of emergency food supply from the port of Djibouti.

Evaluating Hunger in Its Right Perspective

The spectre of hunger is never an easy thing to contemplate, particularly by those accountable to the populace. But denial seems to be the watchword while peasants struggle for survival in the midst of conflicting stories both about the impact of the drought and the relief measures. While there are exceptions to the rule, there is serious and partisan imbalance in the distribution of wealth.

Ills of Terror

Terrorist attack has become one element of today’s world. Despite changes in approach and tactics, the damage caused by the scourge is growing with each day. Governments are grappling with the challenge. Tight security has become a defining trait in most capitals. The normalcy of metropolitan life is disturbed by each attack. In it though, the solidarity of Ethiopians with their fellow citizens stands out.

Trust Matters

The issue of good governance has become popular within political circles. A study by the state, presented to high level officials two weeks ago, took the whole agenda one step up. As much as this could help solve the problem, one way or the other, it may also hinder progress. Complacency at the upper tiers could turn into complacency in the lower tiers. But it all depends on the trust factor between the state and the public.


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