Expert panel outlines bold vision for economic, technological advancements in Ethiopia

New report denotes plan to make Sub-Saharan nation a pioneer in Africa by 2050

An independent panel of Ethiopian and Ethiopian-origin experts with diverse professional backgrounds and deep expertise across fields as varied as economics, public health, statistics, education, population dynamics, technology, and urban planning released a new report outlining strategies to transform the Ethiopian economy by the year 2050.

The Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP), established in December 2019 during the Ethiopia2050 Grand Challenges and Opportunities Conference held in Addis Ababa, aims to capitalize on opportunities provided by the unprecedented demographic transformation population dynamics to deliver economic prosperity, food security, transportation infrastructure, and gender equity to the Ethiopian people.  The Ethiopia2050 International Steering Committee launched the BRP to write a report summarizing the conference findings.

The BRP, chaired by Dr. Debrework Zewdie, distinguished scholar and visiting professor at the City University of New York, has published its first report and submitted it to the government. Focusing on the projected exponential population growth over the next 30 years, the 11 Ethiopian and Ethiopian-origin BRP members and 45 other experts in their own fields outline what Ethiopia must do to proactively address 10 major challenges and opportunities associated with the expected historical demographic shift.

With population dynamics as the central issue, the report focuses on actions policymakers can take now with broad support from the public. Highlighting issues such as rapid urbanization, the water-food-health-energy nexus, economic growth, transportation and rural development, institutional and civic development, and gender equality the experts advocate for forward-looking solutions, funding mechanisms and a detailed implementation plan. The report complements the government’s Ten Year Plan with the aim of becoming a middle-income country in the near future and a leader in Africa.

Engineer Tesfaye Workineh Co-Chair of the Ethiopia2050 Steering Committee said “when we started the Ethiopia2050 Initiative, our main goal was to create a forum for technical experts to contribute to Ethiopia’s development in their own fields. We could not be happier with this report, which addresses critical issues and offers solutions.”

“It was a privilege to lead a group of like-minded experts whose singular aim is to bring attention to the projected doubling of the population by 2050 and instead capitalize on the opportunity for development by taking action now. While action taken now, as laid out in the report, will ensure Ethiopia’s development to a middle-income country, non-action or delay will create a huge challenge and a lost opportunity,” said Dr. Debrework Zewdie, Chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel. She added, “we hope the report will inform and inspire the initiatives of all stakeholders, including the government of Ethiopia, all political parties, the private sector, as well as non-governmental organizations, and development partners. We consider this document to be a living document that will continue to inspire conversations and help generate ideas thus setting the stage for improving the chances of even newer ideas, strategies and recommendations.”

“The BRP rests upon a collective vision that is part of the broader Ethiopia2050 Initiative and focuses on actions that policymakers can take with broad support from the public. We are deeply grateful to all the experts who gave their time and unconditional support to make this report happen,” added Professor Samuel Kinde, Co-Chair of the Ethiopia2050 Steering Committee and Secretary to the BRP.

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