Over the last decade, Ethiopia has been perhaps the fastest growing economy in Africa. The government has driven growth through a range of infrastructural investments – rail and air transport, hydro-electricity, a national fibre optic cable scheme, to name some of the biggest – supported by sound policy. Ethiopia’s record is all the more impressive for the virtual absence of oil or minerals in its growth story.
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.
This Discussion Paper by Christopher Clapham and Greg Mills is based on extensive interviews, mostly anonymous, conducted in Ethiopia in April 2015, including with the prime minister, various ministers, government advisers, academics, and foreign embassy personnel. The Paper highlights key lessons other African countries can draw from Ethiopia – once a byword for mass suffering but today one of the continent’s economic powerhouses.DOWNLOAD PAPER