Advocating transformation

Zemedeneh Negatu

Zemedeneh Negatu is the Managing Partner of Ernst & Young in Ethiopia and Head of Transaction Advisory Services. He has a wide variety of clientèle including prominent investors from Africa and the Middle East.

Here in Ethiopia, he was instrumental behind the acquisition of Meta Brewery by Diageo and Ethiopian Airlines’ development road-map Vision 2025. He has extensive global experience advising clients in financial services, manufacturing, telecoms and airlines. Asrat Seyoum of The Reporter sat down with Zemedeneh for an interview on the performance of the GTP I, the renewed focus on manufacturing in GTP II and the need to establish formal equity markets in Ethiopia. Excerpts: 

The Reporter: What is your independent assessment of the first Growth and Transformation Plan? What has it achieved?

Zemedeneh Negatu: First of all the announcement of GTP 1 was timely. It gave the country a very focused but a very determined view of where it should be over the next five, ten, fifteen years. As a starting point, I think it was a strong determination by Ethiopia to create this environment that says we can grow faster; we can achieve big things than we have done in the past. And it gave it a structured framework. In terms of what it has achieved, by and large it has achieved a lot. Not everything, obviously. But I think that was anticipated, in my view, from the beginning that we probably would not achieve 100 percent. No one in the world achieves 100 percent especially when you look five years down the road. But by and large, if you look at the big infrastructural targets that were set, I think a lot of them are either achieved, on track or will be achieved soon. Because the GTP gave it a framework, we now have some measurement tools to see what we have set five years ago and what we have achieved. Where the GTP target and what was achieved may not have reached equilibrium is probably in manufacturing and exports. I think manufacturing in the next GTP will achieve its goals. Export still needs a lot of work. Export is linked to manufacturing and it’s difficult to grow exports very significantly if you are primarily exporting commodities. We have to add value. If you look at the Asian tigers how they developed, it is in the back of manufacturing and value added exports. We need to keep in mind that that manufacturing also includes agro-processing. Where GTP II, hopefully, will pick up where GTP I left off in terms of achievements, I think very significant achievements will be in manufacturing and export.

Read more at: The Reporter