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Economic Strategic Vision Roadmap for Ethiopia: Part Two 

Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD

What is an economic strategic vision roadmap? I avoided using conventional titles such as growth and development plans. The name of the document has a long title “economic strategic vision roadmap”. It consists of nouns and adjectives whose contents will be discussed in different parts of the forthcoming presentations.

In few words, an economic prosperity roadmap is a visual representation of vision, missions, goals, strategies and policy areas of a self-reliant, all-inclusive, and sustained economic growth and structural transformation. It defines long-term government goals (“what” to achieve), and ties together the strategies needed to reach the goals (the “why” and “how” questions), specifies the missions (who do we do it for) and a timeline for completion (the “when” question). The roadmap is “an extended look at the future”, covering a generation, an average period of 20-25 years.

In this part I will discuss about the overall need for the formulation such a document. Why do we need a new visionary document? What has happened to past development, growth and transformation experiences? There are two fundamental reasons why we need a new visionary document: i) future population growth of the country and ii) versus failure of past development policy and planning experiences.

Population growth projection and need for economic sources: by 2050 Ethiopia’s population is projected to reach 174 million to become the 9th largest country in the world. Are we prepared for that? How is the government going to provide basic needs (food, shelter, health, education, and other infrastructure services) to the additional population? Already we have chronic macroeconomic and political instability, massive outmigration, and chronic poverty (see Part One). Can the economy carry an additional 54 million people? What should be the present when looking at the future.

Second reason for the need of a visionary document is the failure of past and current economic growth and development policy and planning experiences. Ethiopia had Five-Year Development Plan since the late 1950s. By then the total population of the country was 22 million. In the 1970s the country had no national planning (it was revolutionary time). In the 1980s there was Ten Year Perspective Plan covering the period 1984/85-1993/94. By then (late 1980s) the population has doubled to 44 million.

During EPRDF, the country had five-years National Development Plan, Poverty Reduction Programs, Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPI). By 2014 (end of GTPI), the population has doubled to 88 million. The country had Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II) and Ten Years Perspective Development Plan for the period 2015 to the present. During this period the population has increased by 32 million people.

The point is that while the country´s population doubles in size showing an exponential growth, the development planning experience remained at constant rate of growth (linear growth). Initially the population growth was slow, but as the population growth started to double, the rate of change becomes faster and faster. As time progress the needs and demands of the population of the country increased rapidly (exponential), while the outcomes of government economic policies and development plans shows linear change overtime. This rapid increase led to a significant gap between the exponential curve (needs and demands of population) and the linear axis (resource development plan outcomes). The figure below explains the gap between an exponential growth (green line) and constant rate of change (red line).



In other words, the government hodgepodge development plans and patched up economic policies could not catch up with the exponential growth of the population pressure forces. Ethiopia cannot continue under linear thinking of economic development policies and plans. The outcomes, as we have discussed in part one, is instabilities, poverty and outmigration.

To cope up with the population doubling time the hitherto behavior of the policies and strategies have to change. The problem is how to design new strategies and policies taking into account of chronic macroeconomic instability, chronic political instability, chronic poverty, massive outmigration and future needs of economic sources for the projected population growth.

Unfortunately, there are no standard toolkits on how to prepare economic strategic vision roadmap. One needs to review the works of researchers, policy practitioners and long-term government development plans. Depending on their work structure, values, studies, domains, and expertise, every designer or team seems to take a unique approach to road mapping. What emerges from my research studies of these disjointed practices and documents is that economic strategic vision roadmap contains different steps, elements and sets. According to my findings the making of the roadmap includes the following steps and components:

  1. Root cause analysis of economic situation (wants and needs of the national economy, multiple causes of current reality)
    2. Vision (what do we aspire to achieve)
    3. Vision goals and strategies (what and how to accomplish the vision): Where do we want to go? and how are we going to get there?
    4. Mission (outcomes or who do we do it for), maximize welfare
    5. Principles (guiding rules for preparing strategy, enablers, and policy choices)
    6. Enablers (efforts to accelerate the implementation process of the strategies and policies)
    7. Long-term development planning targets (are we getting there?)
  2. Significance of the document

In the forthcoming presentations, we will discuss on each of the steps and components of the document. Stay tuned for the coming parts.


Tsegaye Tegenu (2021), Ethiopia’s Economic Prosperity Vision-Strategy: Challenges of Old and New Recommendations

Reflection on the Ten Year National Economic Plan

Ethiopia’s Economy Needs Strategies and New Policy Design

Economic Growth: Thinking Exponentially

Tsegaye Tegenu (PhD) – Ethiopian Business Review


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