When Will Ethiopia Invest in Ethiopia?

By Eleni Agiz

Raw materials constitute 1.4% of Ethiopia's imports. Manufactured goods constitute 72.4% of the imports. I'm going to take a dangerous step and suggest that Ethiopia needs to invest more on manufacturing its own goods. Maybe then we wouldn't have one of the greatest debts in the world. We have all of the resources and materials but instead we are importing all manufactured goods from China, India, America, etc. And at the same time we are exporting virtually nothing.

The goods made at home by our own people are not being bought by any other countries; and moreover, the goods made at home are not being bought by our own people. So, our countries goods are devalued and local manufactures do not have enough profit to continue their work. How do we get out of all of the contracts and IMF/World Bank policies that encourage the ethiopian government to buy so many goods manufactured in other countries? How do we get Ethiopia to invest in Ethiopia?

So, according to Ethiopia's government, Ethiopia is investing in the people, free market, farmers, small farms, industry, job opportunities, and infrastructure for long-term development.

But, according to Ethiopia's budget spending, Ethiopia is investing in military, small arms, and kissing America and the UKs butt so that they can give them more weapons and money for more weapons.

Ethiopia spends 295,900,000 US Dollars (on record) on developing its military. Compared to all the countries of the world, Ethiopia is above average in terms of military spending. It has the fifth largest military force in sub-Sahara Africa. 296 millions US dollars.

Now in terms of railway and road (infrastructure) spending, it is surprisingly below average. Ethiopia has merely 681 km of railway - which it shares ownership with Djibouti.

Ethiopia has 33,856 km of roads of which only 4,367 km is paved roads. 29,489 km is unpaved roads! Afghanistan has more roads than Ethiopia. Namibia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Congo have more roads than Ethiopia.

Let's examine the technological infrastructure: Ethiopia has 88 Internet hosts. Out of 233 countries, Ethiopia ranks 192. Cape Verde - a 4 thousand sq km island off the coast of Senegal- has 234 Internet hosts. Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Djibouti, Rwanda have thousands more Internet hosts than Ethiopia. Christmas Island has 2368 Internet hosts for their 135 sq km island (smaller than Washington, DC) - Santa and his elfs are more connected to the world than Ethiopians.

Ethiopia has the capacity to do much. It has the land, natural resources, and human resources to accomplish lots. It has a greater responsibility than most countries to build its infrastructure and economy, because it has a greater population - that is growing at an above average rate (about 4%). In a decade Ethiopia will have one of the greatest populations in the world.

But instead Ethiopia is doing little for itself. In result, outside countries and resources are coming in trying to correct our problems in a careless manner - and they are not careless because they don't care but they are careless because it is not their own nation, so their capacity to care is much smaller than an Ethiopian national. Example: China built a highway - a highway sounds good, it is a road; however, the highway is misplaced and seems to be more of a burden than a positive development. People walk across the highway; cabs stop in the middle of the highway to drop off passengers; cows/goats/donkey travel the highway.

I pose the question again: when will Ethiopia invest in Ethiopia?


Eleni Agiz
Administrative Assistant
Federation of American Scientists (FAS)
Washington, DC 20036


Date Uploaded 1/23/2008
Copyright Africa Economic Analysis 2005