Photograph — The Washington Post

The President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde will be attending the 7th edition of the Africa CEO Forum set to kick off next week in Kigali. Mrs Zewde, who is the first female president of Ethiopia, and the only woman president currently in Africa will be speaking at the forum on the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and Ethiopia’s economic policy in a bid to attract investors.

Ethiopia is currently the fifth largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. These indices have made it one of the most attractive markets in Africa. In the last 15 years, its GDP has increased tenfold with the annual growth rate hovering between 8 to 11 per cent. After decades of seeming economic rigidity, the appointment of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in 2018 has led to more openness in the economy. With many state-owned companies beginning to mull over the idea of selling shares to private investors, the potential for the country’s private sector to grow better has been emboldened.

This growth potential for Ethiopia’s economy was also bolstered by the appointment of Sahle-Work Zewde by the Ethiopian parliament last year. Along with the appointment of 10 women and 10 men on the government cabinet, Ethiopia has shown that its recent development is an inclusive one.

The Ethiopian president will at the Africa CEO Forum announce the main pillars of her country’s economic policy, and her recommendations on how to make the integration of the continent’s economy a new narrative for the growth of the private sector and African businesses. The implementation of the AfCFTA agreement is set to increase intra-regional trade on the continent by $70 billion by 2040, and this fact will not be lost on Ethiopia, who, apart from being the seat of power for the African Union, is also banking on an economic revolution of its own.


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