Scholars say businesses owned by the ruling EPRDF are creating long-term financial problems for Ethiopia.
<!-- IMAGE -->
A two part panel discussion also analyzes the political and economic fortunes of the last 40 years of Ethiopian governments and stress that the country faces enormous political and financial consequences.
The ties between Ethiopia’s ruling party and some of the nation’s largest enterprises were one of several topics raised in a recent discussions hosted by VOA reporter Alula Kebede.
Corporations owned by ruling political parties “are not state-owned or regional development companies as they operate outside of a given region in search of profits,” said Dr. Minga Negash, a professor of accounting and finance at Metropolitan State College of Denver and University of Pretoria, South Africa.
“They do not operate in a liberal democracy or in social democracies but only in post-conflict environments in the likes of Iran, Eritrea and Zimbabwe and there are no known laws to govern them." Ethiopia is an example of a post-conflict business environment, he emphasized.
Minga and others on the panel also discussed about flaws in the political culture of Ethiopia which limits its effectiveness.
"Ethiopian political leaders including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has been a chairman of his party Tigray People’s Liberation Front for over two decades, needs to give way to a new generation of politics," the panelists suggested.
Other panelists included Neamin Zeleke, known advocate from Washington area; Wassy Tesfa, director of Head Start, a national program of the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services; and Imru Zelleke, retired Ethiopian ambassador to the United States and the chairman of a committee that organized the recent conference in Virginia: Good governance, peace security and sustainable development in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
A paper by Gizaw Legesse; Ethiopia Politics: A Critiqe, analyze three decades of the Ethiopian politics that it says has stagnated and failed to motivate the youth, to inspire the women and the population at large. He says Ethiopia needs a new politics that is centered on the individual and recognize life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as the center of governance.
The conference of scholars, civil society leaders and representatives of Trans Africa Forum and Africa Action was organized by the Ethiopian National Priority Consultative Process and Advocacy for Ethiopia to discuss U.S. policies in the region and efforts that can influence decisions.
Click on the audio links on the side to listen to the two parts panel discussion in Amharic.