Ethiopia: Planning to Fail

opinion

Planning is something I have noticed to be a very difficult endeavor for many of us Ethiopians. I am sure there are people who are exceptions to this out there, so this statement may not apply to them. Planning for one's self is difficult because of lack of own planning skills and lack of planning skills of others. But the challenge with planning has to do more with the lack of own skills than of others.

I say this because a person who has good planning skills should normally have a good grasp of the realities on the ground, knows how to see things from a different angles and different perspectives, and has a long-term vision. A person with these skills, and especially the one with a good understanding of the realities at hand, has a good chance of not being affected by the poor planning skills of others.

I can give just thousands of examples of just how much some of us lack planning skills. Take for instance the roads of Addis. In the center of Addis, you will witness fly over roads that just hang in the air, without being connected to any other road, just because the people responsible for it did not have the capability of planning for the tall building that will be blocking the fly over road. And millions of much need birr have probably been wasted as a result of this.

I believe it was few weeks ago, I watched on TV a report on the newly inaugurated Reppie waste-to-energy plant reporting about how the plant was facing the risk of serious damage as a result of unwanted materials found in the waste that is being processed. Stones were among the unwanted materials.

Now, I find it a bit funny that the founder of the plant, which is first of its kind in the country and which has cost millions to construct, did not have the grasp of the realities that characterize the Ethiopian society. Many of us are not the kind of people who would make sure that our wastes are separated, and therefore that stones are kept separately during waste disposal. So, in my opinion, the founders of the plant should have planned for an investment of some kind of machine that would first clean the collected waste of all unwanted and plant damaging materials.

I believe it is always safe to plan for the worst situation in this country, because there are simple too many uncertainties hanging out there. Take the revolving fund intended for youth employment for instance. Lured by the advertisement for collateral free access to finance, many young people were made to rent working spaces for months without any sign of the promised fund coming to them. How can these young people make any meaningful planning if the plan for availing the funds is not being respected?

Take also students who enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs offered through the collaboration of public universities and private ones. It is recent news that this collaboration is now not recognized under the law, and therefore that the thousands of students enrolled in the programs will now have to look for their fates in other places. It is simply difficult to plan and invest yourself in the plan when others are given just too much right to tear away your plans.

We need to do something about our planning skills, and especially when others are affected by our plans. I completely agree with those who claim that something that is done without being carefully planned for is something that is planned to fail.

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