Ethiopia – The Horn of Africa

One of the most traded commodities in the world which has been very lucrative came to being after being discovered by a goat herder, imagine the story. Kaldi a goat herder from Ethiopia noticed his goats “dancing” after eating off bright red berries of a certain bush, he took the berries to an Islamic monk in a nearby Sufi monastery who disapproved the berries and threw them into the fire, from which an enticing aroma billowed and Coffee was born. The name coffee came from the region in which the berries were discovered, Kaffa Region in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia is a country in the East Africa, the 2nd Fastest growing economy in the world and the only country in Africa that has never been formally colonised. It is also the second most populous country in Africa (1st is Nigeria) with an estimated population of 109 Million People (2018). A population size that big is characterised by dozens of ethnic groups with competing claims to land, resources and influence, Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed has struggled to contain ethnic clashes. In 2018 close to three million Ethiopians were displaced by conflict, the highest figure recorded worldwide, with Islamist militant groups Al Shabab and ISIS planning attacks on the country recently.

Emperor Haile Selassie, former King of Ethiopia asserted that the people of Africa ought to join together and form a singular race. This prompted the introduction of Pan Africanism. This idea emerged to become what is known as the African Union today, headquartered in the Capital of Ethiopia Addis Abba which is the highest capital city in Africa.

Ethiopia’s economy experienced strong, broad-based growth averaging 10.3% a year from 2006/07 to 2016/17, (AFDB 2017) compared to a regional average of 5.4%. Boarded by six countries, Ethiopia’s location gives it strategic dominance as a jumping off point in the Horn of Africa, close to the Middle East and its markets. Ethiopia’s main challenges are sustaining its positive economic growth and accelerating poverty reduction, which both require significant progress in job creation as well as improved governance. Despite the Economic Growth, only 60% of the population has access to electricity, 65.7% of households have access to potable water, and paved road density is among the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Which means that the Economic Growth has not translated to Human Development or improvement in the quality of life as poverty is still high. The country’s leading exports are coffee, oil seeds, and pulses, and manufacturing accounts for less than 10% of GDP. The estimated GDP of the country was at 83 Billion (2018) and looking to take advantage of its hydro-power by exporting to Kenya and Djibouti. Ethiopia is tackling lack of structural transformation with its five-year Growth and Structural Transformation Plan II.

On the Neil Economic scale, the price of a can of Coke costs 11.17 Br (5.69 R) and the price of a liter of petrol is 21.46 Br (10.93 R). Inflation in the country is expected to be around 19.10% at the end of the third quarter.

Ethiopia’s leadership is moving forward in building trying to stabilise and reduce conflict in the country which can be seen in the era of peace and friendship which was opened when Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a Peace Deal as a bilateral summit that took place on 8–9 July 2018. The country seeks to close its infrastructure gap, pursue regional integration, and to support improvements in agriculture, basic services and the business environment.