Propositions by the Ethiopian Economics Association in focus

The Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) is one of nine autonomous regional states in Ethiopia. Its population of 15 million accommodates an enormous diversity of ethnic groups and languages.

SNNPR is endowed with fertile soil, abundant water resources, natural forests, and a wide variety of mineral resources. Nevertheless, numerous constraints impede an effective utilization of resources. For instance, agricultural productivity does not seem sufficient when contrasted against the speed of population growth. In consequence, food security is one of the most imminent vulnerabilities for local communities. In addition, relatively low educational access and poor infrastructure need to be addressed in order to best foster the economic development of the region.

To discuss a more coherent approach to these challenges, the Ethiopian Economics Association and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung called for the seventh round of annual conference on economic development in the Southern Nations Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR) in Hawassa. As the annual conferences of EEA and its regional chapters seek to act as a bridge between research, policy makers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders, the meeting has grown into an important platform for open dialogue on regional economic development in SNNPR.

On March 25, 2017, the discussions were opened by Demrew Getachew, Head of the EEA Secretariat and Abreham Sintayehu, Representative of the Bureau of Finance and Economic Development (BoFED). Universities, financial consultant agencies and economic development offices all engaged in lively discussions on the way forward.

Among others, a proper financial investment service, a solid value chain production and better marketing strategies were identified as the most urgent factors for a sustainable rural production and development in SNNPR. Even though the focus was on the region’s economic development, the research findings might also be of interest for other regions in Ethiopia.