As Ethiopians enter 2016 on September 12th, the ending year marked pivotal moments of progress for the country. After a difficult previous year, major successes were achieved in the year 2015, including wheat self-sufficiency, the Pretoria peace agreement, revived diplomacy, BRICS membership, and the successful completion of the fourth filling GERD.
For decades, Ethiopia imported millions of quintals of wheat costing millions of dollars annually. According to Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia used to import 17 million quintals of wheat every year, earmarking more than 700 million USD to meet its citizens' basic bread consumption. Thanks to the Prime Minister's Wheat Initiative, this chapter has been closed. The initiative helped the country achieve record harvests this year, exceeding domestic needs. Currently, wheat production has been showing a surplus of 32 million quintal from the country's domestic consumption. As a result of this achievement, the nation has become wheat exporter, shifting from being wheat recipient through its relentless efforts of wheat production. Over 108 million quintals were produced during the main rainy season, with 45 million more expected through irrigation. This bumper crop marks the largest wheat harvest since the initiative began, expanding production into new areas and boosting yields.
Historic Peace Agreement
The Pretoria peace deal between the Ethiopian government and TPLF concluded over two years of conflict by restoring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
By ending divisions, the agreement presented opportunities to rebuild the economy and investor confidence. Renewed stability can attract foreign capital as Ethiopia re-emerges as a promising investment destination. Through the peace agreement, Ethiopia has demonstrated its capability of resolving conflict peacefully. The African Union played a historic role in soliciting and coordinating a viable solution for the conflict after laboring for almost a year to design a permanent agreement that was duly agreed and accepted not only by the signatories but also by all international peace loving countries and global institutions. The Pretoria peace deal has also been described by many as "a Model for Africa," and a clear indication that the continent's principle of solving its own problems is yielding results.
The deal sparked a revival of Ethiopia's global diplomatic standing after strained relations during the conflict. High-level delegations of various countries from across the globe visited Ethiopia to reaffirm support. Alongside political reconciliation, Ethiopia pursued economic diplomacy to attract investment and aid for national rebuilding.
The signing of the peace agreement has demonstrated Ethiopia's irreversible stand for peace in the country and the Horn of Africa, where some influential political figures in Africa have started urging Ethiopia to step up its usual positive role for the cause of Africa both in the sub-region and in the entire continent.
Investment activities have also been greatly stimulating. Invest Ethiopia 2023 International Investment Forum held from April 26 to 28 here in Addis Ababa was a big achievement in this regard. The forum has attracted more than 2 billion USD in FDI for 2023. Ethiopia has now become a major investment destination in Africa primarily because of the comparative advantage the country is providing. This includes, among other things, lucrative investment climate, growing economy, excellent climate and fertile soil, young and trainable labor force, access to global markets, improved economic infrastructure, competitive incentive package and government commitment.
In a milestone for prominence, Ethiopia was welcomed as the newest BRICS member at the bloc's Johannesburg summit. BRICS endorsed Ethiopia's strategic location, large population, and infrastructure vision as credentials worthy of membership. The announcement of 2023 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg to embrace Ethiopia as its member was phenomenal to the country. Ethiopia was warmly welcomed into the steadily expanding bloc, (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). This monumental event signals a coming of age for Africa's second most populous nation on the global stage.
Ethiopia's BRICS membership heralds a new era brimming with potential. BRICS membership signifies growing recognition of Ethiopia's immense economic and political potential. With over 120 million people and massive growth in recent years, Ethiopia offers a strategic gateway between Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hailed this "victory achieved through many struggles," thanking BRICS countries for their staunch support. He underscored how the bloc will empower South-South cooperation and reformed multilateralism. Abiy also articulated Ethiopia's strengths, from its young, dynamic workforce to intensive infrastructure development enhancing regional connectivity.
For Ethiopia, joining BRICS can catalyze technology transfers, market access, and financing for impactful projects. While challenges remain, the prime minister stressed that in an interdependent world, collectivity is essential to solve shared problems. By leveraging its new BRICS membership, Ethiopia is poised to deliver prosperity for its people and assume a leadership role on the global stage. This opportunity can bring vast investment, trade, and financing if reforms are undertaken. Ethiopia's addition cements its position as a rising African power.
Successful Filling of GERD
Prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed announced at the end of this year successful filling of fourth and final round of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD). "There were a lot of challenges. We had been dragged backwards. We had encountered internal challenges and external pressures. We have overcome all these and able to arrive at this stage. However, we have not yet completed climbing the uphill though we have just arrived at the tip of the hill," the premiers said.
The successful completion of filling of GERD is a monumental achievement demonstrating sovereignty and unity. This powerful symbol of self-reliance will double electricity generation capacity and make Ethiopia a major regional exporter.
As there were extensive diplomatic campaigns in this regard, it is a big diplomatic victory for the country to complete the water filling according to plan. The successful completion of filling is also being described as vital instrument to ensuring shared benefit not only for Ethiopia but for the Horn of Africa and riparian countries. The dam has great significance for regional integration too. Even if the dam is being built by Ethiopians internal capacity and in their sovereign territory, the benefit of the dam is beyond the nation. In addition, the dam has huge benefits in protecting for the lower riparian countries from sediment, floods and ensuring sufficient water flow. Despite challenges, its success highlights Ethiopia's determination to drive development. The project rallied citizens to donate funds and labor toward a historic national accomplishment.
Green Legacy Initiative
Ethiopia has been carrying out green legacy initiative with a view to fighting the challenges of climate change and ensures food self-sufficiency. Accordingly, the nation had planted over 25 billion seedlings over the past four years as part of the initiative, surpassing its goal of 20 billion. Ethiopia's Green Legacy Initiative has been an environmental success. During the second round of the initiative which was launched this rainy season, the nation planned to plant 25 billion seedlings from 2023 to 2026. Ethiopians have made another history at the national level by planting more than 566 million saplings in 12 hours during this rainy season. Millions have been participating across the country to restore land, improve soil, reduce erosion, and mitigate climate change through the initiative. Ethiopia's green diplomacy work is also gaining international recognition. As a model for mobilizing the public to address sustainability, it has inspired other nations while creating green jobs. With care in planning, it can continue offering economic and environmental benefits.
In summary, the ending year saw Ethiopia make great strides through peace building, food security, diplomacy, development projects and ecological initiatives. With unity and prudent governance, Ethiopia can fulfill its immense promises.