JOHANNESBURG — Why South Africa’s government doesn’t take a leaf out of Ethiopia’s book is anybody’s guess. For decades, Ethiopia was stereotyped as a failed state and poverty-stricken. There’s no doubt that the country still has problems today, but there are some big reforms happening in Ethiopia that are starting to unlock some serious economic growth. This year, Ethiopia will be the fastest growing economy in Africa, notching up an 8.5% expansion, according to the IMF. It’s no surprise that the country is on such a fantastic trajectory when you look at the sensible policy and market decisions that are being made there. It’s actually simple to spark growth – you just need to make your country investor friendly. Will the ANC ever come to this realisation? – Gareth van Zyl
By Samuel Gebre
(Bloomberg) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed named Ahmed Shide his finance minister in a series of sweeping changes to the Horn of Africa nation’s government that include cutting the number of ministries by almost a third.
Lawmakers approved the appointments during a session in the capital, Addis Ababa, that was broadcast on national television. Abiy appointed Aisha Mohammed as defense minister, making her one of 10 women in his cabinet, and retained Workneh Gebeyehu as foreign affairs minister.
“The new cabinet is expected to reform their respective ministries, remove the walls of bureaucracy, bring innovation and technology to provide services efficiently,” Abiy told lawmakers. They also backed reducing government ministries to 20 from 28.
Abiy has enacted far-reaching political and economic reforms since coming to power in Africa’s second-most populous nation in April. He’s pledged to open up the telecommunications, shipping, power and aviation industries, moved to reduce the role of the military and made a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea, a long-time foe.
Reducing the number of ministries “is a move we would only expect from a confident administration,” Jared Jeffery, an analyst at Paarl, South Africa-based NKC African Economics, said in an emailed response to questions. “The fact that the prime minister and EPRDF are able to do this is a sign of unity,” he said, referring to the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
Shide previous served as Ethiopia’s information minister, while Mohammed was formerly construction minister.