3 July 2018

Ethiopia: Developmental State Vulnerability to Corruption

As some say if Developmental State Policy (DSP)is not put into effect properly , it is believed to be highly vulnerable to massive corruption practices . Ethiopia has been pursuing such policy over two decades. The policy has enabled the nation to register fast and sustainable economic growth while corruption has been posting a big threat to the nation becoming "the 5th estate" . How vulnerable is DSP to corruption?

For Meles Zenawi Leadership Academy Researcher Mesgna Gebretensae , DSP is by its nature characterized by strong, visionary, capable and committed leadership with strength of being central to the process of accelerated growth and social transformation of a given country.

"These would happen by enabling to form collaboration between officials and citizens and by helping the government to intervene and invest in areas there is market failure and in economic activities that private sector is not able to invest resources. This helps the government to advance sectors such as education, health, housing, social infrastructures and the likes."

In case of Ethiopia,However, he says there are two gap areas that create possibility of corruption to the system. The first one is, in relation to the nature of DSP and administrative system of Ethiopia. While Ethiopia is a federal state and the power is devolved at different level, but DSP necessitates centralization of power and he ,thus, believes : "This by itself creates complications in administrative issue."

"For example among the constraints to FDI, in various states of the country, the bureaucracies are incapable of meeting foreign investors demand . Plus, when some officials are found guilty of corruption, people complicate the issue with ethnic politics saying officials are arrested due to their ethnic background," he notes. .

He also says such thing put the rule of law under question for obvious reasons.

The second one is as of scientifically believed the government intervention in the economy opens a wide door for misuse of state power and embezzlement of public assets by government officials, this plays its role in case of Ethiopia too, he adds.

According to him, "Even though the regime is committed to development, due to aforementioned and other factors, it is not equally committed to fight corruption."

Mesgna says such problems would be solved with leaders' strong feeling and commitment for national growth than one self benefit.

In his recent explanation to the Parliament,Prime Minister DR Abiy Ahmed says the country will gradually cease DSP and make the private sector the major player in the economy.

He also states that public resources are being exposed to extravagance due to less attention of state officials.

Premier furthermore underlines that Ethiopia is aiming to build market led capitalist economy, through encouraging private sector to overtake the economy . " The recent moves to sell minor shares of state-owned giant companies is the extension of this idea."

Mesgna, therefore, agrees with the premier saying developmental paradigm is transitional model either to capitalism or social democracy.

But, he warns the urgency of the following measures that need to be taken until then.

As to him, the nation needs to fight corruption fiercely reconsidering the administrative structures and putting the right man at the right position. There is also a need to ensure rule of law, he says.

Moreover, he says all stakeholders need to work on improving public attitude towards fighting corruption and making corruption shameful act of all.


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