Christopher Clapham and Greg Mills
Ethiopia is rising. Over the last decade, it has been the fastest growing economy in Africa. The Ethiopian government has driven growth through a range of infrastructural investments – rail and air transport, hydro-electricity and a national fibre optic cable scheme, to name some of the biggest – supported by sound policy. In contrast to its neighbours, Ethiopia remains politically stable, with a functioning and efficient government which has curbed corruption and reduced security threats in the country. Ethiopia’s state-centric approach to development has exposed a number of shortcomings, however. Its (in)ability to create or attract a productive private sector able to translate major infrastructural investments into the basis for a dynamic modern economy could yet blunt its future prospects. Nevertheless, Ethiopia possesses many of the ingredients for sustainable economic success, not least its clear ownership over its own development plans and processes – a key lesson countries in East Africa and elsewhere in the continent should heed.