News / Africa

    Ethiopia Focuses on Entrepreneurs to Maintain Economic Growth

    People work on the assembly line at a shoe factory in Dukem, Ethiopia, April 19, 2012.People work on the assembly line at a shoe factory in Dukem, Ethiopia, April 19, 2012.
    x
    People work on the assembly line at a shoe factory in Dukem, Ethiopia, April 19, 2012.
    People work on the assembly line at a shoe factory in Dukem, Ethiopia, April 19, 2012.
    The Ethiopian government and the United Nations want to train more than 200,000 entrepreneurs in the East African country. Both believe Ethiopia needs a stronger private sector to maintain its fast economic growth.
     
    The Ethiopian government and the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, have launched a three-year program to train the entrepreneurs. The say the businesses established by these new entrepreneurs potentially could create about 1.2 million jobs.
     
    Ethiopia’s minister of urban development and construction, Mekuria Haile, said the mindset of Ethiopians needs to be changed.
     
    “In spite [instead] of looking for jobs and living as employees, to challenge their attitudes to become social and economic entrepreneurs who will create jobs for others. Viable and competitive enterprises that will become the backbone and foundation of the country's industrial growth and transformation,” said Mekuria.

    The focus is both on start-up entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises. The development program is based on four pillars: institutional development, entrepreneurial development training, business development services and partnerships.
     
    UNDP resident representative to Ethiopia, Eugene Owusu, said the four areas deal with the key challenges that entrepreneurs face in Ethiopia.
     
    “More needs to be done to create a more conducive environment to allow business to thrive. The labyrinth of bureaucratic controls, lack of access to credit, a convoluted logistic system, amongst others, all require priority attention,” said Owusu.
     
    Ethiopia is one of the world's fastest growing economies, but still ranks only 174 out of 187 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index. Although human development has improved by 32 percent in the last two decades, almost a third of the country still lives below the poverty line.
     
    Ethiopia has known double-digit economic growth for the last few years and has implemented the ambitious Growth and Transformation Plan to become a middle-income country by 2025. Much of the projected growth is based on the public sector, an approach that is difficult to maintain according to the International Monetary Fund [IMF].

    The goal now, according to Ethiopia's leaders, is to encourage a bigger role for the private sector in the East African country.
     
    Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn pointed out that the new three-year program will not establish new businesses just for the sake of having more entrepreneurs in the country.
     
    “The government will not be in the business of propping up enterprises that are not competitive in the name of creating employment opportunity. That, we believe, is counterproductive,” said Hailemariam.

    Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous nation after Nigeria. Hailemariam said creating jobs for young workers is imperative, as a majority of the nation is under 25 years old.
     
    “As much as our huge population can be a source of strength and growth, it could also be a source of vulnerability and social tension unless we are in a position to offer job opportunities that can absorb this huge chunk of our population,” said Hailemariam.

    The first round of trainees, like marketing entrepreneur Azeb Assefa, ended their training on the day the entrepreneur program was officially launched. She said the training helped her improve her business skills as she learned to work on her improvement areas.
     
    “I have weakness in networking, and I have a weakness in risk-taking and persistence. So the techniques that have been given for us to improve such things helped me,” she said.

    Entrepreneurs graduating from the program, such as Azeb, are expected to train others.
     
    The program will cost $26 million. So far, UNDP has allocated only $6 million. The Ethiopian government and UNDP say they will come up with the rest of the needed money.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Alem
    February 23, 2013 9:58 AM
    Mimi, Ph.D, I see you don't check your facts. You assumed I am "Diaspora pundit" [whatever that means]. Do you really believe money-laundering and corruption in Ethiopia was due to "private sector, and weak tax base?" Why was this problem NOT addressed in two decades when all we have a government run by one party and no oposition? You think multi-billion conglomerate EFFORT [run by the late Prime Minister's wife and friends from Tigray] is private? At least you admitted to the fact that there are "the usual suspects of African dictators and their cronies." But to then say they "DO NOT have as much part in the money laundering scheme as members of the private sector" is simply absurd. You must not understand how dictators run their affairs. If you are serious about all this write on what happened to the tens of millions of aid money collected in the name of the hungry in the early 1980s, to date unaccounted for and in the "private" accounts of EFFORT. The 8.3 billions figure you grudgingly accept is the tip of the iceberg.

    Let us turn to the late PM Meles' response to a young questioner at the World Economic Forum on Africa regarding corruption. It did not take the Prime Minister to point fingers to "greedy foreign corporations as a main driver of corruption." It is always the imperialist, the terrorist, the Diaspora, etc, and NEVER the rulers [this being the case where there is dictatorship and no accountability]. I will quote you from report at the Forum:

    "What is the poison that leaders face when you go to national palaces, and transforms people with vision sometimes into ordinary thieves? Let's start with the total amount of loot in Africa, and what our role as leaders in that loot[ing] is," said Meles. "The vast majority of the loot[ing] is done by properly organized companies through all sorts of accounting gimmicks."

    Meles said African leaders are forced to be facilitators for foreign companies who demand favors in return for their investment that might means jobs for their people.

    "It's a difficult thing to manage because our bargaining cards are very limited," he said. "We need these companies to create jobs, in order for them to come to Africa. The image is very negative, so the risk is artificially spiked. And if the risk is artificially spiked, the return has to be commensurate with the risk. And so it's difficult to attract them without extraordinary returns."

    The Ethiopian leader said that sometimes leaders give in to temptation.

    "Sometimes we facilitate without being paid," he said. "At other times we say, 'Okay, if your family's farm is being looted, why not join in?' I think that is the most insidious form of corruption. It affects everybody, including those whose hands are not in the till." It is unfortunate that a highly educated individual like yourself [with a Ph.D.] refuses to deal with what is so evident to a lay person.
    In Response

    by: Selam B. from: Ethiopia
    February 23, 2013 11:03 PM
    Alem, you quote Meles as saying, "The vast majority of the loot[ing] is done by properly organized companies through all sorts of accounting gimmicks." He's clearly pointing to the UNDP report itself, which you refuse to read and choose to believe report says the opposite, no surprise. C'est fini!

    "Fools," is what the Obama's UN Sec. Susan Rice called Ethiopian opposition groups, and the whole country saw that on live TV. God bless her!

    by: Alem from: Ethiopia
    February 21, 2013 3:56 PM
    Marthe, It was the UN that reported nearly 12 billion dollars of aid money have been transferred to a foreign bank account [UN Financial Integrity Report 2011] and now the same UN wants to throw away tens of millions of dollars? I have a simple question. How could a nation where corruption has been deepening every year for the past two decades develop and equitably distribute resources? [It has not happened yet.] How could a nation develop where it is it a terrorist act to criticize the ruling party [in this case only one party] without a private press? without fair elections? when the state is the sole proprietor of the commanding heights and not subject to rule of law? when the ruling party is sustained with a 3 billion-dollar aid package every single year? I tend to agree with the the minister of urban development and construction who said [sic] "the mindset of Ethiopians needs to be changed." Unless the minister and his party deny being Ethiopians change he glibly referred to should begin with them. Let him and his party first release journalists Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and hundreds more prisoners of conscience before lecturing us on a new mindset.
    In Response

    by: Mimi Ph.D from: Ethiopia
    February 22, 2013 10:23 AM
    Alem, Diaspora pundits like you have never really read the UNDP report you quote, it covered 1990-2008, $8.3 Billion lost...And report faults the private sector, and weak tax base.

    "...Finding of the report that raised eyebrows among panelists was the revelation that the usual suspects of African dictators and their cronies DO NOT have as much part in the money laundering scheme as members of the private sector."

    by: Ras Mitat from: Ethiopia
    February 19, 2013 10:32 PM
    Another useless project to finance all expenses paid lifestyle of foreign NGOs.

    $26 Million over 3 years to give seminars on how to better network and sell yourself...Big joke!

    They could spend the money on a vocational school to train certified mechanics, plumbers, electricians...But solving problems also ends the need for charity, closes their budget, and no more NGO lifestyle!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora