Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
The year 2016 could be described as the year of protest in Africa’s ‘golden boy’ with respect to economic rise across the continent.
The anti-government protests in Oromo and Amhara regions plus in the capital, Addis Ababa adversely affected the economy and tourism.
The post October 6 protests were marked by destruction of public and private property. Dangote industries for instance were affected by rampaging protesters. The government imposed a 6-month state of emergency to quell the protests.
Economic growth remained at a respectable 8% in 2015/16, which is impressive especially compared to previous drought situations which often resulted in economic contraction.
Amhara and Oromia protests affect businesses
Trucks and machinery belonging to the Dangote group were attacked. Local media reported that other entities including a court building and government vehicles were also torched.
A six-month state of emergency has all but quelled the protests since it was imposed in October amid widespread arrests of persons believed to be behind the chaos even though opposition groups have accused the regime of employing repressive tactics under the Command Post.
Ethio-Djibouti railway launch
Then as part of opening up the country to business, a 750-km railway line linking Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa and Red Sea state of Djibouti was formally inaugurated in October this year.
The Chinese built project was aimed at creating new manufacturing industries, improving transport and further opening up landlocked Ethiopia. The two countries recently announced a joint company to manage the railway line.
Tourism revenue takes nosedive
The tourism industry reported a dip in revenue largely due to the protests. The expected revenue for this year fell as most European countries issued travel alerts amid the curfew. The Horn of Africa country was projected to have lost about $400 million from tourism this year alone.
The BBC referred to the tourism ministry’s disclosure that income from the sector had fallen by more than $7m (£5.5m) over the last quarter alone. A local media portal said the country had planned to generate 3 billion dollars from tourism this year but the current shortfall had forced the government to revise its targets.
Ethiopian named IMF Africa chief
There was some good news at other levels for Ethiopia, a former government economic advisor was named the African Bureau chief of the International Monetary bank (IMF). Ethiopian Abebe Aemro Selassie succeeded Liberian Antoinette Sayeh in the role. His appointment took effect on September 19, 2016.
His appointment was announced in a press release in which IMF boss Christine Lagarde, spoke highly about Abebe’s competence and the level of experience he brings to the department which the IMF values.
Ethiopia gets WB praise for successes despite drought
Earlier this month, the World Bank also praised Ethiopia for successes it chalked in the year despite the biting impact of the drought that has affected countries in the Horn of Africa region and most parts of Southern Africa.
“Economic growth remained at a respectable 8% in 2015/16, which is impressive especially compared to previous drought situations which often resulted in economic contraction,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.
The global financial outfit in its 5th Ethiopia Economic Update stated that ‘‘growth momentum will still remain and since 2016 rains arrived as expected, the recent drought will not likely affect Ethiopia’s medium-term economic growth.
Ethiopian flies highest for fifth straight year
Also, the national carrier was adjudged the best flyer for the fifth consecutive year. Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) according to the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) was the continent’s best airline for the fifth year in a row.
The ‘Airline of the Year Award’ was given during the AFRAA’s 48th Annual General Assembly held earlier this week in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The Ethiopian national airline which is the largest Airline Group on the continent was applauded for its outstanding financial performance, technological leadership and investment in modern fuel, efficient fleet and exemplary cooperation with other African carriers.
Click here to follow our news coverage on Ethiopia in 2016
Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa
Africanews, web journalist
Congo, Pointe Noire