Unlike the case of many other fastest growing African economies, Ethiopia’s exceptional economic growth can be considered the outcome of a development model based on a strong developmental state, driving and dominating the national economy.
Limiting commodities export dependence, the Ethiopian government focuses on public capital investments and productivity growth in key economic sectors, particularly agriculture and manufacturing. This paper argues that despite the federal and decentralized structure of the Ethiopian state, development policies, targets and programs are designed at the centre, authorizing regional and local authorities little room for maneuver, in a centralistic and top-down logic. Furthermore, the active role of the State in enhancing economic growth implies an approach considering development as a quintessential political process, before a socio-economic one. If development measures are conceived as a form of legitimacy by the current Ethiopian leadership, the redistribution of the growing benefits will become a major textbook case in the near future.
*Emanuele Fantini, University of Turin, Department of Culture, Politics and Society