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‘Complex challenges faced by the nation today can only be elevated if associations like the Ethiopian Economic Association rigorously contribute to the economic growth through research, publications and by bringing national and international actors together.’ These were the words of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, his Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn on July 20, 2017 as he opened the ‘15th International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy’ organized by the Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA), the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and other multiple stakeholders and partners of EEA.

The conference was held at the EEA headquarters in C.M.C (Addis Ababa) where the auditorium was filled with close to a thousand participants composed of government higher officials, policy makers, public servants, academia and civil society community members. Many economists presented their research papers on thematic areas covering agriculture, food security, industrialization, sustainable development, climate change, structural transformation and demographic dividend.

The event was accompanied by the celebration of the 25th year silver anniversary of the EEA during which the association’s quarter of a century journey was exhibited through photos and speeches. Getnet Alemu (PhD), director of the Institute for Development Policy Research at Addis Ababa University and Belay Kassa (Prof), former president of Haromaya University, were honored for their long-time service as board members of the Association and professional contributions to the country as economists.

The premier said that the rapid economic growth being registered in the country is accelerating Ethiopia’s target of becoming a lower middle-income country. Accordingly, professional associations are expected to contribute to the country by generating new ideas, designing draft policies and conducting researches and capacity building.

Dr. Assefa Admassie, executive director of the EEA, spoke of how the EEA strives to become the premier economic association in Africa. President of the EEA, Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum, for his part, said that the association has been conducting research which could be used as inputs for policies since its inception 25 years ago.

Set up in the early 1990s, the organization is one of the longest standing partners of the FES and the two organizations continue to collaborate on advancing the discipline and contributions the development of the Ethiopian economy. Both organizations were humbled by the presence of the prime minister and his promise to fully support the cause.