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Africa

Dr Maximilian Martin, exclusive for Addis Standard

 

Ethiopia is part of a new set of high-opportunity countries with exceptional potential for modernization, the “EMICs” (Ethiopia, Myanmar, Iran, and Colombia). All are high-stakes countries with a history of expansion and empire, conflict, a considerable proportion of young and educated job seekers, high potential for growth and turnaround, strong foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade promotion strategies, and broad regional importance.Ethiopia’s success in modernization could have far-reaching positive geostrategic implications and further synergistic effects with development efforts in the Horn of Africa, and impact investors can contribute to make this preferred future happen.

In many ways than few, the Ethiopia of 23 years before look nothing like the Ethiopia of today. Nor should it, under any circumstance, look the same anyway – for better or worse. Fortunately, Ethiopia is a lot better today than it was then; and not without proof. Ethiopia’s absolute command-turned-mixed-economy was a source of pain for its citizens; communist Ethiopia had little space to accommodate its educated youth; and famine was a thing scheduled to strike at a disturbing interval of every few years.Today that Ethiopia has turned the tide upside down and is at a point of no return to that place. That is one reason worth celebrating.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International, an organization providing medical aid to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia since January this year, says the emergency situation of the refugees calls for special mobilizations of South Sudanese refugees.

Describing the situation, Antoine Foucher, MSF’s head of mission in Ethiopia, said since the conflict in South Sudan broke out in December, an average of 1,000 people have been arriving daily in Ethiopia’s Gambella region. However, that average only partially reflects massive inflows of between 10,000 and 15,000 people per day, for example, as occurred after the battle of Nasir in Jonglei state. There are more than 130,000 South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia today. According to an HCR estimate, that number could reach 350,000 by the end of the year.