Monday, October 2, 2023
PoliticsMacroeconomic guardians

Macroeconomic guardians

Back when Neway Gebreab, octogenarian, took the reins as chief economic advisor to the Prime Minister, Ethiopia was just coming out of a 17-year-long civil war which saw a young guerilla leader—Meles Zenawi—who was in his mid thirties ascend to the top echelons of the political power in Ethiopia. Under the advisory of the veteran economist, both Ethiopia’s economy and the young leader have come a long way. Ethiopia’s war-torn economy with per capita income of 90 dollars, which is frequently beleaguered by extreme poverty, drought and famine, as well has come far under the stewardship of Neway. This week, as he finally bows out to his retirement after quarter of a century in services, the economy he helped revive is one of fastest growing in the world with Per Capital GDP of USD 740, extreme poverty slashed by more than half, and on its way to realize its transformation into industry-led economy and may be if thing go as planned a middle income country. Although all these are part of Neway’s legacy as an economic guardian, there are also plenty for regret as Ethiopia has missed so many opportunities to move away from rain-fed agriculture and nurture a thriving manufacturing and service sector. The media shy Neway has now passed the baton to another veteran economist, Mekonen Manyazewal. Pictured above from left are Neway Gebreab, Teklewold Atnafu, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, and Sufian Ahmed, former Minister of Finance and Economic Development and current Macroeconomic Sector Coordinator at the Office of the Prime Minister, during Neway’s farewell reception, which was held at Hilton Addis on Thursday.                 

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