Corruption in action
As explained in my book, Ethiopia borrowed its development model from South Korea and Malaysia. These presume that development is managed by highly disciplined, nonpartisan, professional government functionaries.
In Ethiopia, however, government bureaucrats are recruited on meritocracy. They operate in line with their ethnic affiliation and to fulfil the whims of the dominant party.
The second is that public procurement for development projects such as highways, electrification, telecommunications, information technology and housing are not handled through tender processes.
Another major contributory factor is the state’s complicated bureaucracy. Sectors such as land administration, customs and public procurement, have become the pillars of the rent seeking political economy. Businesses are forced to pay bribes to obtain permits and licenses.
The prevalence of political corruption has had a number of consequences. It’s affected the country’s gross domestic product and rewarded unproductive employees in both the private and public sectors.
Its greatest impact, however, has been the fuelling of instability. This has led to a great deal of domestic turmoil. As a result, violent anti-government protests against domestic and foreign investments have erupted in recent months.
This violence has threatened the country’s infrastructure, foreign investment and civilians. The situation has escalated to a point that ordinary law enforcement agencies are unable to properly handle the situation. Instead, the Federal Government declared a six-month-long state of emergency, effective October 10, 2016. This has been extended by another four months.