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Ethiopia Needs Long-term National Development Plan (Part One)

May 21, 2024

Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD

Long-term planning refers to the process of setting vision, identifying goals, establishing mission, developing strategies, and making choices on policy areas with a focus on the distant future, typically spanning over two decades. A vision is a broad, overarching statement that defines the long-term desired future state of the country. For instance, my vision for Ethiopia is “Creation of Post-scarcity Economy and Middle-class Society by 2050”. It represents an ambitious and inspiring desire of transitioning to an economy characterized by abundance and a society where the middle class thrives.

Goals are the milestones that mark your progress on the path to your vision. Mission outlines “who do we do it for”. It provides overarching direction and purpose. Strategy is a direction, a path or an approach designed to achieve vision goals. A strategy should be aligned with the overarching vision and mission. Policy areas are essential for operationalizing the vision and missions. For details on these elements of long-term national development plan please see, All-in-one-platform for creating post-scarcity economy of Ethiopia.

A long-term national development plan holds significant importance for a country’s political stability, sustainable growth and transformation. The following are some key aspects of its significance

–Ethiopia has regions with significant economic disparities. A comprehensive development plan can promote balanced economic growth across all regions, reducing economic inequalities that often lead to ethnic tensions and conflicts.

–A long-term national development plan ensures consistency and continuity in policy-making and implementation across different government administrations, reducing the disruptions caused by political changes.

–The creation of middle-class society reduces social and economic inequalities by promoting inclusive growth policies that benefit all segments of society, including marginalized ethnic groups.

–The vision of Creating Post-scarcity Economy and Middle-class Society by 2050 fosters a sense of national identity and unity, helping to bridge ethnic, regional, and social divides. It addresses the root causes of the current conflict in the country.

— A clear long-term plan can attract both domestic and foreign investment by providing a stable and predictable economic environment.

Until now, the Ethiopian governments pursued short-and mid-term development plans based on hodge-podge policies and campaigns. Hodge-podge policies refer to a collection of policies that are often uncoordinated, inconsistent, and lack a unified strategic direction. They are typically reactive, addressing issues in a piecemeal fashion without a comprehensive plan. Campaigns are organized efforts to achieve specific objectives within a defined period.

In Ethiopia, the culture of campaigns started during the rule of the Marxist–Leninist military junta, the Derg. Even if campaigns are useful for raising awareness and engaging the public, they also have several limitations.  They have short-term focus on achieving specific objectives within a limited timeframe. They cannot address complex, long-term issues that require sustained efforts and ongoing engagement beyond the duration of the campaign. Designing and implementing campaigns require significant resources, including financial investments, human capital, and time. This can pose challenges for organizations or initiatives with limited resources, leading to difficulties in sustaining campaign efforts over the long term.

Because of hodge-podge and campaign policies the country remains at the same level of development despite growing needs and demands of the population. These approaches fail to address systemic issues, root causes of the recurrent problems and do not foster sustainable development. It is now time to shift from hodge-podge and campaign policies to a visionary, strategic, integrated, and long-term approach, to better meet the needs and demands of a fast population growth in the country.

Political leaders and policymakers need a “compass” to navigate the complexities of national development effectively. They have to stop their continued attempt to navigate without a clear compass, reacting to immediate crises or focusing on short-term gains.

A long-term national development plan is the compass. It provides a clear direction, guiding policymakers and stakeholders towards a common vision of sustainable development. Just like a compass, a long-term national development plan provides direction: It sets the course for the country’s development trajectory, defining goals and priorities that align with national aspirations and values. Just as a compass helps travelers stay on track, a long-term plan offers guidance on policy decisions, resource allocation, and implementation strategies. Like a compass that adjusts to changing conditions, a long-term plan allows for flexibility and adaptation in response to evolving challenges, opportunities, and feedback. By providing a stable framework for decision-making, a long-term national development plan helps reduce uncertainty and conflicts, fostering confidence among stakeholders, investors, businesses, and citizens.




  1. Excellent and intuitive piece as usual by the dear countryman. It is clean of diatribes and ethnic pejoratives. This is the way to reach larger audience. It shows Obbo Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD is not only well read person but also raised the right way by a proud family. Right on brother, right on!!!

    • I was brought up by my mother Amarech Mergia, who was selfless, caring, compassionate, and unconditional. Her love and kindness know no bounds. Thank you brother Ittu Aba Farda, for giving me this chance to remember my mother, whom I always have in my heart.

      • Dear brother Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD,

        All glory to your dear mom for raising you the right way. Bless her heart! When I hear such commendable achievement, it reinforces my long held conviction that the solution to the problems of the old country is in the hands of our naturally gifted women. Now you just keep chugging along in gracing us with your intuitive articles during such very trying times for our old country.

        Blessings to you and your family!!!

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