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

May 23, 2024

Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD

In part one we have discussed about the significance and need for long-term national development of the country. The formulation of this type of plan is very urgent for the following reasons. There is an immediate need for this type of plan. This includes addressing the root causes of social and political conflicts in the country, addressing current deficiencies in the public service sector, chronic poverty, job creation, inflation control, macroeconomic stability, repairing and upgrading existing infrastructure. Without a long-term plan, these issues are likely to persist or worsen.

Long-term national development plan is urgently needed not only to address the immediate needs but also the long-term benefits and potential risks of inaction. The long-term national development plan should focus on solving pressing current issues while also preparing for future challenges and opportunities. The long-term benefits include sustainable economic growth and transformation, promote specialization, business growth, regional development, institutional and political stability.

The attitude of “no long-term plan” or passivity does not help. It only exacerbates existing challenges and can lead to detrimental consequences. Without a long-term plan, issues are often addressed reactively, focusing on short-term fixes rather than addressing underlying root causes and systematic issues. This perpetuates a cycle of temporary solutions and recurring problems. Without a long-term plan, opportunities for economic growth and social progress are missed.

Passivity in addressing regional development can lead to widening gaps between regions, exacerbating ethnic tensions and contributing to instability and conflict. The absence of a long-term vision can erode public trust in government institutions, as citizens perceive a lack of direction and commitment to addressing their needs. In summary, passivity or a lack of long-term planning undermines efforts for sustainable economic growth and social progress. It perpetuates a cycle of short-termism, reactive policymaking, and missed opportunities.

There is, however, a challenge in the formulation of long-term national development plan. Crafting a long-term national development plan involves a comprehensive approach that addresses technical, procedural, and organizational aspects to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability. The technical aspect deals mainly on the type of studies conducted to identify the nature of the problems to be dressed. The procedural aspect includes the establishment of advisory committees, stakeholder engagement, plan formulation (vision, mission, goal, and policy objectives setting) and legislative approval. The organizational aspect refers to the planning authority or agency responsible for coordinating and implementing the development plan at different levels.

In this part I would like to say few words on the technical aspect of long-term national development plan using the example of the Ten-Year Perspective Plan. 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”. These studied are used as a basis to formulate the Ten-Year Perspective Plan. However, they are not available to the public to judge their relevance and contribution to the technical aspect of the planning.

The technical aspect of crafting a long-term national development plan include the following:

— Identification of the problems to be studied. What kind of problems are examined by the 12 preparatory studies? Macro-level, sectoral-level, thematic or cross-cutting issues, institutional and governance problems, policy and operational problems, etc.?

–What is the time and spatial dimensions of the identified problems for the studies? Is it understanding of the evolution of the problem and/or forecasting future trends? Are the identified problems studied at regional and local levels, urban vs. rural areas?

–What are the types of analysis conducted by the studies? Is it a root cause analysis to identify fundamental causes of problems or SWOT analysis to assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Which one of them is more relevant for a long-term planning?

— Data types and sources: Do the studies use quantitative data such as statistical data from national surveys, censuses, economic indicators. And/or qualitative data such as interviews, focus groups, case studies, stakeholder opinions,

–Model building: Do the studies use economic, social or integrated models? If the studies use mathematical models, are they system dynamics models, econometric models, input-output models, or agent-based models. Do the studies combine multiple types of models to understand complex and interrelated issues.

Expertness in the field and methodological rigor are fundamental, but they must be complemented by an in-depth investigation of root causes and an understanding of systemic issues to ensure the studies are truly effective for formulating a long-term development plan. If I am assigned to evaluate the relevance of the 12 preparatory studies for the purpose of formulating a long-term development plan, the technical aspect of my criteria includes the following:

–First, the studies should identify to address the recurrent problems of the country

–Second, they mut investigate root causes that looks into the fundamental reasons behind the recurrent problems

–Third, they must address systemic issues. They have to check for identification and analysis of systemic issues affecting multiple sectors or the entire system.

–Fourth, they must adopt a holistic approach. It is necessary to ensure the studies consider interconnections between different sectors and factors.

–Fifth, they must use systems thinking tools. They have to verify the use of tools and methods that help understand system dynamics and interactions.

–Sixth, depending on the subject of their investigation, they have to propose vision, missions, long term goals and strategies. This should include prioritization of recommendations that offer sustainable and lasting solutions.

–Seventh, there should be a collaboration across disciplines. There should be an interest to look for interdisciplinary approaches that draw on a wide range of expertise.

–Eighth, engage stakeholders. Ensure the studies incorporate diverse stakeholder insights.

By applying these criteria, it is possible to assess whether the studies are comprehensive and insightful enough to serve as a robust foundation for a long-term national development plan. Formulating a long-term national development plan comes with its own set of technical challenges. Overcoming these challenges requires strong political will, capacity-building efforts, stakeholder engagement and consultation, collaboration and knowledge sharing. For these purposes, making the 12 preparatory studies public is essential. Making the preparatory studies public not only fosters inclusive participation, it also enhances the quality and credibility of the analysis, and building trust and confidence.






    • When the mind cannot see the eyes could not also see. The Greek philosophers believe that only through our minds we can see the realities on the ground. This guy does not understand the social and political realities in our country. In a Country where ignorant and brutal people are governing one cannot practice a national development plan. Please do not write such nonsense things again and again.

      • የተከበሩ ዶክተር ፈቃዱ እንወድዎታለን፡፡
        ለመሳይ ከበደና ለውያኔው ዲፖሎማት የጣፍቱንም አነበብኩ ሸጋ ነው፡፡
        ይህ ጸጋዬ ተገኑ የሚባል ሰው እንደ እርስዎ ንጹህ ሰው አይመስልዎት፡፡ የወያኔ ካድሬ ነበር፡፡ በካድሬነቱም የትምህርት እድል ተሰጠው፡፡ ሰውየው ግን የተማረም አይመስል፡፡ ዝም ብሎ ይለቀልቃል፡፡ አሁንም ልቡ ፒ ፒ ጋ ነው፡፡ አላማውም ምሁራንን ማዘናጋት ነው፡፡ እርስዎ ግን የነቁበት ይመስላል፡፡ ብዙ እሚንዘላዘል ግን አለ፡፡

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

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