Ethiopian Business Review

It is an Africa-wide fact that the policies of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) such as structural adjustment programs (SAPs) through what is called the “Washington consensus”, which includes privatization across Africa, have been the cause of African stagnation and poverty so far. Apart from liberalization, which includes devaluation and related macroeconomic policies, privatization was one of the key policies that Africans need to undertake in order to get aid from the WB and IMF and through their seal of approval from the Western countries. 

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In early June 2018, the Ethiopian government announced it would allow domestic and foreign investors to take stakes in Ethio Telecom, the state-owned telecoms firm and Ethiopian Airlines, the state-owned carrier. Other state-owned enterprises (SOEs) up for grabs are Ethiopian Power and Maritime Transport and Logistics Corporation. The state would still retain majority stakes in them, however. Regardless, it is a huge change in policy. In a speech to parliament in June, Abiy Ahmed suggested that any sale would be gradual, however; over 10 to 30 years. He was probably being mindful of political sensibilities. A serious plan could not be that long winding certainly.

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“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” wrote Benjamin Franklin. A fervent advocate for public education, and a founder of libraries, schools, and the University of Pennsylvania, Franklin viewed education as the foundation of human progress. If he were alive today, he would be horrified by the state of education in developing countries – and he would most likely be backing the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) proposed by the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, led by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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