Abiy Ahmed makes his case at World Economic Forum, Ethiopia to host 2020 meeting

Abiy Ahmed, speaking at the 2019 World Economic Forum

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (January 23, 2019)

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, urges global business leaders who met in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum, to invest in his country as the east African country has embarked on bold political and economic reforms.

Ahmed told a gathering of world’s leading business executives that Ethiopia has made significant strides in opening up its political space and changes in the economic sphere, measures that were needed to make the country ready for foreign investment.

“We see democracy and development interlinked and we have acted decisively on this understanding,” the Prime Minister said.

“Ethiopia is undergoing significant institutional reforms to enhance the ease of doing business and increase our global competitiveness. The Private sector should be integral part of our economy. We are committed in opening up the economy,” Ahmed added.

Telecommunications, logistics, energy, aviation, railways, and industrial parks were some of the areas Ethiopia has opened up for foreign investors, according to the Prime Minister.

He told the gathering that Ethiopia’s reform was deeply rooted in the philosophy of “Medemer,” an Amharic word for “coming together” or “synergy,” according to his translation of a word that has become his motto since he ascended to power in April 2018.

“Medemer,” Abiy Ahmed said has three interdependent pillars: a vibrant democracy, economic vitality, and regional integration and openness to the world.

He told the Forum that his government had released all political prisoners, invited exiled armed opposition groups to be part of the political process. Abiy received a round of applause when he mentioned that there is no single journalist in jail in Ethiopia at the moment.

“Ethiopia has embraced a great vision and embarked on bold reforms. Improving the political environment and the business climate is our priority,” the Prime Minister said.

While in Davos, Abiy Ahmed held one-on-one discussions with George Soros, Head of the Open Society Foundation, Bill Gates, co-Chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Jack Ma, Chairman of the Alibaba Group.

Abiy Ahmed also met Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. Dr. Ahmed and Mr. Schwab agreed to hold the 2020 World Economic Forum in Ethiopia.