Ethiopia is one of the few countries that has taken aid and put it to work.
Meles Zenawi came from the People’s Liberation Front, from the north. Deeply involved in Ethiopia, he experienced hardships in his country, such as famine, which allowed him to relate to his people. He saw an ineffective government structure that could do more to help, and he vowed to overturn the feudal system as it existed.
And that he did. GDP has since grown by 10.6% each year (WorldBank). Exports have taken off, as well as the industries of agriculture and manufacturing.
A leader has his impact in many areas. Meles also took it beyond economics to aid. He made it clear to the outside world what the terms of aid in could be; he made it clear to the inside authorities how it would be used.
From both of these approaches, Ethiopians affected by severe poverty have dropped by nearly one half. Keep in mind that that poverty is 60 cents per day, so even attaining $2 per day can significantly change a life. Every penny counts.
A beautiful example of success…and yet we have to continue to safeguard it, never take it for granted. Progress is for today, and must be cherished again tomorrow to keep it. We still have much to learn from developing nations and their political systems. Government-wise, Meles continued to hold onto power and a successful democratic transition was not assured. People who wished to have a voice were silenced. Rather than multiple groups leading, the ruling party controls nearly 100% of seats in Parliament.
My hope is that as leaders grow– and we are all leaders, and all growing — that we are able to serve in more holistic ways. If we serve well in one capacity, we can transfer that principle of good governance and judgment to another area. It’s something I am working on now. Whatever we cherish as good, let’s continue to protect it, maintain it — and expand it — to all the areas of life we touch.
Meles Zenawi Asres (1955 – 2012) was the Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 1995 until his death in 2012. From 1985, he was the chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), and the head of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). He was President of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995 and became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in 1995 following the general elections that year. While his government was credited with reforms such as those that led to a multi-party political system in Ethiopia, introduction of private press in Ethiopia and decreased child mortality rates, his government was also accused of political repression and various human rights abuses, curbing freedom of the press and dissent. Meles was a Co-Chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA.)The Global Coalition for Africa brings together senior African policy makers and their partners to deepen dialogue and build consensus on Africa’s priority development issues.
Bio source: Wikipedia