The office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia claims that The National Economic Council is a neutral body 

Ethiopia : National Economic Council EstablishedEthiopia : National Economic Council Established

December 14, 2020

The office of the Prime Minister on Monday announced that a National Economic Council is established. It is claimed that the  council is a “neutral body.” 

According to the office of the government,  it is created with the intention to benefit from the intellectuals and professionals in the effort to ensure the success of the economic reform agenda and continuity of Ethiopia’s economic growth. 

The list containing sixteen people is disclosed, and many of them are Ethiopians in the diaspora — mostly based in the United States.  It is as follows : 

1. Professor Alemayehu Geda

2. Professor Berhanu Abegaz

3.Professor Gebissa Ejeta

4. Professor Melaku Desta

5.Prefessor Seid Hassan

6. Tadele Ferede (Ph.D.) 

7. Professor Tassew Woldehana

8. Alemayehu Seyoum (Ph.D.) 

9. Alula Pankhurst (Ph.D) 

10. Dima Negawo

11. Eleni Gabre Madhin

12. Professor Lemma Woldesenbet

13. Rahel Kassahun (Ph.D)

14. Segenet kelemu

15. Yonad Birru (Ph.D)

16. Hilawi Tadesse (Ato)

Prime Minister ’s office claims that the neutrality of the Economic Council is relevant from the point of view of policy inclusiveness and gets perspectives on issues not included in the policy agenda. Government also hopes to get insight to understand complex security and social problems and examine  policy alternatives. 

Seen from the trajectory that there are at least individuals who were full-time politicians, the assertion about neutrality of the council could be questionable. For example, Dima Negao is among the founders of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and was also a member of Oromo Democratic Forum (ODF) — a party that he co-founded after he left OLF.  It is also unclear if the questions of neutrality seen from Conflict of Interest perspective as there could be people with a business interest in the country. 

The recruitment process involved nominations after the office of the Prime Minister announced the vacancy. A total of 290 candidates were nominated, according to the office of the Prime Minister. 

This is the second advisory council to be established on economic matters. After Prime Minister introduced privatization of Ethiopia’s key national assets, he established in August 2018 an privatization advisory council composed of 21 notable individuals in the country but some of them do not have academic or professional background in the economic field.  

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