Ethiopia’s largest export is becoming people

In a recently published book, World Bank economist Dr Aklog Birara explains that Ethiopia’s largest export has become educated citizens. Ethiopia’s highly educated people are leaving the country in staggering numbers, depriving the country the social capital that is required for development.

The estimated annual income of Ethiopians in the Diaspora has reached $20 billion and they remit over a billion dollars in hard currency. The ruling junta in Ethiopia is happy with that since the hard currency is its life blood. Dr Aklog writes:

Officials of the ruling-party find Ethiopia’s largest export defensible. Remittances exceed foreign aid and FDI combined. The government is happy as long as immigrants send money and stay out of the political process. Ironically, the donor community continues to identify institutional and technical capacity constraints as bottlenecks in advancing the national economy. The cadres of people who have left the country are among the most experienced and integrative. The ruling-party has been deliberate in uprooting the country’s integrative and nationally-oriented elites on which the donor community is silent. Instead, it has instituted an educational system that puts a premium on quantity, mediocrity and loyalty.

Dr Aklog’s 512-page book titled Ethiopia’s Endemic Poverty that Globalization Will not Tackle, but Ethiopians can is rich with hard facts and analysis about the current economic, social and political conditions facing Ethiopia. It also offers a wealth of ideas and solutions on how to develop Ethiopia. To obtain a copy of the book, write to [email protected]

FORUM | AMHARIC