Ethiopia:Prudent Investment to Sustain Growth

Evidences indicate that among the 100 million population of Ethiopia, the number of the young people is estimated to be more than 30 million. Even though many suggest that this is a threat to the country, the Ethiopian government considers high young population as enormous resource that supports the nation to achieve the intended progress. It is certain that the youth play key roles in the economic, social and political progress of the country since they make themselves familiar with the current circumstances of the world very easily. The well trained youths are the most powerful resource of the nation. It is believed that the power of the youth, if properly directed, contributes a great deal in accelerating the ongoing development.

About a month ago, the World Bank stated that the Ethiopian economy maintains its growth lead in East Africa in 2018. In this regard, the roles of the youth take considerable shares. Fore instance, the roles the youth can play in the national development have become very evident for more than a couple of decades where the nation has been registering a double digit economic growth that created amazement among the international communities. Cognizant to this, the government has been accomplishing significant activities that engage the young people in development. Among these, designing policies and strategies that address their constraints and maximize their benefits and contributions had been a decorous decision.

Actually, a significant number of years elapsed since the government began encouraging young people to start small businesses in order to reduce the rate of youth unemployment and considerable achievements have been registered as a result. And in addition to producing hundreds of thousands of young graduates every year, the government developed strategy to channel most of the skilled labour into different projects that have been springing up across the country in such areas as hydropower, railway lines, roads, housing, water supply and irrigation. Likewise, the rest have been encouraged to organize themselves in groups in order to get finances from the financial institutions and pursue their own businesses. In order to succeed in this endeavor, Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency offers the youth series of trainings in business start-up, leadership and life skills in addition to providing them financial support.

The successful projects, in more than a decade, such as constructing tens of thousands miles of road networks, developing industrial zones, increasing power generation and the like created jobs for hundreds of thousands of young people. In connection to this, last year, the government established a ten billion Birr revolving fund in order to finance small businesses to promote their expansion and growth. This played a considerable role in reducing unemployment. All these and other similar measures are the best indications that the country is on the right course in tackling youth unemployment.

More over, the Second Growth and Transformation Plan recognizes the youth as one of the priorities in the development endeavors. Enhancing their roles in the country's socioeconomic and political development, the government is working to ensure the benefits of the youth. Recently, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front Executive Committee vowed to maximize the participation and benefits of the young people. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stressed that the youth ought to effectively continue taking-part in the development in order to sustain the rapid growth.

The recent experiences of some African countries indicate that when the youth get less political considerations and are marginalized, several challenges are inevitable. For instance, countries saturated with high number of young people are three times more likely to experience civil conflict than countries with a mature age structure. The Ethiopian government is well aware these circumstances. Thus, it has pursued prudent investmrnt in the youth.

In short, recognizing the key role young people play in the political, economic and social spheres, the government has been implementing a number of reforms that address issues related to the youth. This is not only a prudent investment in the future but also fundamental for the successful implementation of the objectives of the second Growth and Transformation Plan and the realization of middle-income society.