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Ethiopia Needs Long-term National Development Plan (Part Ten, Strategic Pillars of Ten-Year Plan)

June 17, 2024

Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD


I find it very difficult to follow the steps used to formulate the Ten Years Development Plan: A Pathway to Prosperity 2021-2030. I have already discussed some of the design problems in parts seven, eight and nine. I have found out that this plan does not follow the correct sequence and structure for formulating a long-term development plan. Typical sequence and structure for long-term development planning includes: vision formulation, goal setting, identification of objectives for the respective goals, developing policy areas, strategy formulation and breaking down the policy areas and strategies into distinct phases for the purpose of implementation and managing the progress.

It is important to understand the typical flow of these concepts and how they are interconnected in the planning process. Each of these components is crucial for the comprehensive and effective design of a long-term national development plan. They ensure that the plan is not only visionary and strategic but also practical and implementable, addressing short-term needs while paving the way for sustainable progress.

It seems that the ten-year development plan starts with broad strategic themes (key strategic pillars) and narrows down to specific, immediate areas of focus (key priority areas). This approach is not aligned well with the stages of long-term planning: vision formulation, goal setting, identification of objectives, etc. As we have discussed in part eight, the ten-year development plan does not break the vision into goals that make the vision a reality. It just jumps to mentioning broad objectives without first establishing clear goals.

In the stage of key strategic pillars and key priority areas, the plan provides a broad framework which it thinks is aligned with the vision of prosperity and then focus on specific, high-impact areas within the strategic pillars that need immediate attention. However, without clear goals, the plan lacks a defined path, making it difficult to determine what the country is aiming to achieve in the long term. Without goals, it is challenging to align key strategic pillars and priority areas. This misalignment can lead to inconsistent and fragmented efforts (see part eight, showcase projects).

I can understand why the plan starts to provide a broad framework and then focus on specific areas within the strategic pillars. In an interview the Minister in Charge of the National Planning and Development Commission (NPDC), stated that 12 preparatory studies were conducted to “identify the current nature and level of Ethiopia’s economy”. As I mentioned these studies are not available to the public, but from the ten key strategic pillars, I can guess that the preparatory studies include the following:

  1. Title: ” Inclusive Growth and Pathways for Ensuring Shared Prosperity and Economic Equality”
  2. Title: “Enhancing National Productivity and Competitiveness in a Global Market”
  3. Title: “Building Technological Capabilities for Thriving Digital Economy”
  4. Title: “Innovative Financing for Sustainable Development “
  5. Title: “Private Sector Growth, Policies and Incentives for Entrepreneurship and Investment”
  6. Title: “Building a Resilient Green Economy”
  7. Title: ” Enhancing Governance and Institutional Capacity for Development”
  8. Title: “Promoting Gender Equality and Social Inclusion”
  9. Title: “Enhancing Civil Services for Equitable and Efficient Governance”
  10. Title: “Strategies for Stability and Prosperity in the Horn of Africa”

Preparatory studies are critical for providing a solid foundation for long-term national planning. They gather and analyze data, assess current conditions, and project future trends. One of their main purposes is to put forward informed and actionable recommendations indispensable in the formulation of a long-term national development plan.

While the exact number of recommendations can vary greatly depending on the depth and breadth of each study, I guess each study can propose 8 to 12 key recommendations. I expect roughly 80 to 120 recommendations in total from these 10 preparatory studies. The sheer volume of recommendations from various detailed studies necessitates a process of identifying key strategic pillars and key priority areas to ensure that the long-term development plan is focused, coherent, and actionable.

However, there is still a question about the approach they used to integrate the multidimensional recommendations into a holistic framework. In the absence of such a framework, the long-term development plan can become a hodgepodge and patched-up document. In practice, what we observe is showcase projects, stakeholder disengagement, inefficiencies, and low impacts. This indicates a critical need for a multidimensional, holistic, and integrative framework to formulate a coherent and effective long-term development plan. More on this will be discussed in parts eleven and twelve.


1 Comment

  1. With a well thought out plan that involves the input of that country’s finest living inside and outside the country, the skies will be the limit for that gem of the colored if such plan goes underway in peace and stability. Peace, peace, peace now!!!

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Ethiopia Needs Long-term National Development Plan (Part Nine, Objectives of Ten-Year Plan)
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Ethiopia Needs Long-term National Development Plan (Part Nine, Objectives of Ten-Year Plan)

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