Monday, July 23, 2012

Ethiopian Economists Association honors three prominent economists

Ethiopian Economists Association (EEA) awarded honorary certificate to three of its members for their contribution to the association and the profession at the 10th annual international conference.  Mekonnen Manyazewal, Minister of Industry, was honored for his contribution and prominent role in the formation of EEA and long-term membership. According to the executive committee of EEA, Mekonnen is known for organizing the first international conference.

After receiving the award Mekonnen said that for the country to transform the support of EEA is undoubtedly necessary, the minister recalled that one of the papers presented at the first conference was his paper on macroeconomic issues of the country.

Wolday Amha (Ph.D.), the former president of the EEA, also received the honor for his contribution to the association being at the frontier as president and vice president for six years each. Alemayehu Tafesse (Ph.D.), president of EEA, said that Wolday was the most important person during his time at the office of the association.

Wolday said that one of the challenging moments for EEA was Birhanu Nega’s (Ph.D.) involvement in politics. According to Wolday, his non-political affiliated association was negatively influenced by Birhanu’s move into politics. 
The other honored figure of EEA is Taye Mengiste (Ph.D). He was recognized as one of the professionals who played a leading role in the 1990s and for his professionalism and teachings in economics. The award was given in his absence though Alemayehu quoted his emails. Taye is now a senior economist at the World Bank.

Meanwhile, EEA gave recognition to 17 members for their uninterrupted membership since its establishment in 1992. It was only last year that EEA started to honor prominent members. The late Eshetu Chole (Ph.D.) to whom many refer as the father of economics in Ethiopia, was the first to be honored at the ninth international conference.
One of the 91 papers presented at the conference was on how to monitor and promote pro-poor growth by Stephan Klasen (Ph.D.), professor of development economics and empirical economic research at the University of Gottingen, Belgium. Among the several issues the professor raised, the missing points of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) is one that the government might need to reconsider.

In the agriculture sector, the issue of new seeds, marketing and other related issues are constraints that need further analysis though missing in the GTP. Rigorous evaluation of effectiveness of progress in areas of extension agents, Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), input packages, fertilizer support are the missing links, according to professor Klasen. He said that the role of khat production is still missing in the plan, as the stimulant is heavily water and land intensive.
“Production of khat is drying away the water resources and the GTP does not say anything about khat but rather increasing the production and expansion of export is most expected,” he said. Khat is one of the cash crops that has generated more than 220 million USD in export to Israel and other European countries.

The three-day conference raised so many issues on Ethiopian economy even if EEA now remains less vocal on top of economic agendas that are mostly debated in many walks of life in Ethiopia.
Source: The Reporter (By Birhanu Fikade)

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