Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn briefed diplomats on Thursday on current situations in Ethiopia, particularly on major progresses witnessed during the State of Emergency period and of the reforms being pursued by the government to fulfill the pledges it has made for the public.
Given the appalling actions of the destructive forces on lives of people, hard-won investment projects and infrastructures, the Premier noted, the government was obliged to declare the State of Emergency.
He underscored, since the first day of the authorization of the State of Emergency the country has been able to restore law and order and is now back to normalcy. The recently lifted restrictions on diplomats traveling in the country without permission clearly affirm this fact, noted the Premier. He re-affirmed that regular business can be conducted as usual.
The Premier noted, in the first ten days of the State of Emergency, seventy percent of those who were involved in the violence had willfully given their hands to security forces and pardoned after being given the necessary training which he said would help them integrate with their communities successfully.
Briefing on the key reform programs being carried out by the government, Hailemariam said, there are three major categories: shared and equitable economic growth, expansion of the democratic space and economic restructuring.
Ethiopia has achieved seven of the eight Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and witnessed a double digit growth. However, noted, the premier, significant number of the population, particularly the youth, has not been benefiting from the development as much as it should.
He added, among those who were engaged in the violent activities, the youth accounted for 99 percent; and the youth aged 15 to 30 is fifty percent of the population. Hence, the government is working aggressively more than ever to provide additional job opportunities by allocating fund worth billions of Birr.
Regarding opening up the democratic space, Hailemariam noted the government thoroughly understood the importance of enhancing civic participation, strengthening democratic institutions particularly on pertinent organs like Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, Office of the Federal Auditor General, Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, etc. Touching upon reforming the electoral system, the Premier said, “We felt that the coming parliament should also accommodate those who are not represented.”
Prime Minister Hailemariam also said the economy of the country is performing well even at the times the country witnessed the violence where it has observed an eight percent growth in the previous Ethiopian calendar year. Albeit El-Nino, said the premier, the country has managed to overcome its dreadful effects where the agricultural sector was only affected in a certain controllable way. He stressed, the good news is the country would have a bumper harvest where the pre-harvest estimate showed that agriculture would come to normalcy and even score higher growth: 12 percent.
The Foreign Direct Investment is still one of the best in the continent and the government is working hard that the current situations would not hamper the flow, according to Hailemariam. He called on diplomats to encourage their nationals to continue investing in the country. Hailemariam said, the twelve industrial parks that will be built in the country are expected to create job opportunities for more than 1.2 million people. He underlined that no slowdown was witnessed regarding the ongoing mega projects in the country.