Ethiopia: Deeds vs. Words

3 min
Stéphane Colliac
Stéphane Colliac Senior Economist for France and Africa

Ethiopia is regularly quoted as a model in Africa in terms of reforms and attractiveness, but the country has perhaps faced the largest number of concerns in the last few years. Among the main messages, reforms and foreign direct investment inflows have failed to nurture a real momentum for now. Reform is not only a word, and on many aspects Ethiopia did not make any improvement. The country is still 159th in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, as it was two years ago. Moreover, manufacturing production such as textiles has failed to translate into significant export growth: the trade deficit is still high and foreign currency remains scarce. Politics and geopolitics are still tail risks in Ethiopia, with a divided society and violence inside the country as well as the potential for tense relationship with neighbors as a result of the Grand Renaissance Dam. With also an election in 2020, GDP growth should lose momentum (+5% next year), increasing again social frustration.