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How Real Is ‘The Ethiopian Rising’ Narrative ?

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A graduate student at University of Passau, Dawit Ayele Hailemariam questions, in his article, the rising narrative of Ethiopia.

Asking the question “is Ethiopia rising?” he said one would get ‘yes’ from the country’s public media outlet, as they are subdued by the incumbent, and ‘no’ from the independent media or social media activists.

The ‘no’ implies that the country is not making any progress and that it is rather engaging in huge infrastructural projects to camouflage and mask the underlying poverty.

The discrepancy from these two groups comes from misunderstanding of what economic growth represents and how it differs from economic development. 

Economic growth is simply an increase in the amount of goods and services produced in a country over a given period of time; it is commonly measured through Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Essentially, any activity that involves the transaction of values, however of no use or even harmful to human life, will have an increasing effect on the GDP. 

But, Economic development refers to the sustained improvement in living conditions, citizen's self-esteem, meeting of basic needs and enabling of a free and just society.

The writer investigates the sources of the growth and analyze whether the growth has been (or will be) translated into sustainable improvement in the well-being of citizens.