It is a 180 degree paradigm shift. The EPRDF led regime in Ethiopia has for long fought neoliberalism and even harassed or arrested several people for being “neoliberals.” Today, the EPRDF Executive Committee decided in a meeting that it will liberlaise and privatise the so called “untouchable sectors” such as Telecom and airlines.
The report also said that the largest stake in these companies will be under the government’s hand but “the rest of the shares will be offered to domestic and foreign investors.”
AFP reported “The move by newly inaugurated Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed comes amid concerns that foreign exchange shortages will harm the rapid growth of Ethiopia’s economy, large parts of which are off-limits to outside investment.”
Secondly, the major and historic decision made today to implement the Algiers peace agreement signed with Eritrea in December 2000 and “fully accept” the Ethiopian Eritrean Boundary Commission decision. The two countries agreed on a binding decision by the Commission following a two year bloody war between 1998-2000 in which an estimated 70,000 people lost their lives on both sides.
Due to this war and the no peace no war stalemate of the past 20 years, families have been separated, precious youths of both countries have died and the economies of the two countries were destroyed. Additionally, there has been huge anti-Eritrea propaganda by the incumbent regime in Ethiopia and the vice versa. Scores of oppositions from both sides have fled into to the opposite territory.
These are unexpected and shocking decisions. Many Ethiopian activists on social media, while trying to digest the news, are also asking if there is going to be any give and take with Eritrea, compensation to families who lost their loved ones, and the future repercussions of the decision were considered. What about the deep animosity the past two decades?
EPRDF EC is also expected to make similar major decisions on army reform and the Growth and Transformation Plan II.