Placing Human Development at the Centre of Ethiopia’s Industrialisation

Dec 12, 2018

Ethiopia’s 2018 National Human Development Report (NHDR) argues that to achieve sustainable outcome, the country’s industrialization needs to have human development as its primary end goal and follow an inclusive and green approach that creates decent jobs, ensures gender parity, and protects the environment.

Published under the theme Industrialization with a Human Face the NHDR was launched by UNDP in the presence of H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewdie as well as the commissioner of the Planning and Development Commission Dr. Fitsum Assefa. National Human Development Reports are published at the country level to provoke policy dialogue around key development issues of the day. NHDRs also complement UNDP’s corporate flagship Human Development Report that has been providing a new lens, through the Human Development Index (HDI), to monitoring and improve understanding of growth beyond measuring national GDPs.  

“This National Human Development Report 2018 picks a timely and very important concern that for this industrialization effort be sustainable and effective it has to account for human development dimensions or needs to have a human face” President Sahle-Work Zewdie noted.

‘The benefits and costs of the industrialization process in Ethiopia must be managed for inclusive growth,” UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Aeneas Chuma said, “to advance human development, uphold basic human rights of all—and as a means to end poverty and expand the choices of Ethiopians. Women’s participation and leadership is a critical outcome of the industrialization process that is people-centred and inclusive.”

 The report comes at a time when Ethiopia reaffirms its commitment to investments in the industrial sector, particularly in light of the country’s ambition of becoming East Africa’s hub of light manufacturing industry.

While the relationship between industrialization and human development, including gender parity, is generally positive, the NHDR points out that that this is not an automatic outcome but requires conscious management in terms of the putting in place the appropriate policy, facilitating access to finance, dismantling gender barriers, and leveraging innovation, particularly through linking innovation labs to industrial parks to enhance service delivery.   

Following decades of strong economic growth, the percentage of people living below poverty in Ethiopia has declined from declined from 44.2 percent in 2000 to 23.5 percent in 2016, however, the inequality has also grown, particularly in urban areas.  

The National Human Development Report also helps showcase disaggregated data for Ethiopia at sub-national level to showing regional trends in human development. 

The report also highlights poor quality of education at secondary level, including quality challenges at TVET level as resulting in weak supply of skilled labour, and a major hinderances to Ethiopia meeting its industrialization goals. A holistic approach to sustainable industrialization also calls for an integrated approach to land management, urbanization (including improvements to access to basic social services in addition to housing) and linkages to the agriculture sector.

While all regions have shown progress, Harari demonstrated the biggest HDI increase relative to its standing in 2012/13, particularly noting the strongest movement in education and income.


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