Photograph — Findall News

Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Canadian Organization and General Electric (GE) Foundation, have announced the launch of the Amhara Region Oxygen center in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

The oxygen center is a public-private partnership between the Ethiopia government and other organizations, in a bid to improve the health sector of the country by providing reliable and constant oxygen to hospitals and health centers across the region.

The public health system in Ethiopia has been a major focus for the government, and this innovation is geared towards its improvement. The newly opened Oxygen center will curb infant mortality in the East African country. A report shows that 11,000 women, 60,000 babies and 30,000 children die every year in Ethiopia due to lack of Oxygen.

GE Foundation’s Executive, DR David Barash stated the importance of this development on the health sector as well as the partnership.

“It is a huge achievement, both in terms of the impact it will make on health outcomes, but also as an example of what diverse partners can achieve when they work together,” he said.

This partnership is coming shortly after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed’s mention of economic reforms. These reforms which include a liberalized banking sector as against the present state ownership has made more foreign investors keep their eyes on Ethiopia’s untapped economy.

The banking sector of Ethiopia has become an attraction to foreign investors who are looking to expand their footprints in Africa’s second most populated country.

Among these companies are ABSA, a South African financial company and more recently, regional financial lender, Equity bank announced its planned expansion into the East African nation.

While Equity’s expansion plan is geared towards becoming a Pan-African bank, ABSA’s prospect is in line with its ambition to double its market share of African banking revenues to 12 percent. Both companies intend to acquire existing financial institutions.

In 2017, financial institutions in Ethiopia faced several challenges, ranging from foreign exchange issues and political crisis. Despite these challenges, Ethiopia’s banking sector has continued to strive and even recorded its highest growth rate in six years, alongside several branch openings that same year.

Abiy Ahmed’s reforms towards driving Ethiopia’s massive growth and development exceeds its banking sector alone. Privatization will be extended to its telecommunications sector, transportation, energy, as well as the aviation sector.

Earlier in February, Ethio Telecom, formerly named Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation, was granted partial access to private investors. The company will be split into two, creating an avenue for potential investors in African Telecom giants like MTN, Vodacom and Orange who are seeking penetration into Ethiopia.

State-owned Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s biggest carrier and now the government is looking towards making it private. In a bid to boost an already booming aviation sector, privatization is likely to promote an increase in foreign exchange which has been on a decline for years. Privatization will happen, but the government still plans to be majority shareholders. In a bid to becoming a major travel hub in Africa, this reform will give Ethiopian Airlines an opportunity to compete with major airlines worldwide.

The economic situation of Ethiopia might have suffered several setbacks, in the midst of average GDP growth of 5.79 in the past three decades. However, Abiy Ahmed, who celebrated a year in office recently, aims at improving the economic condition of Ethiopia’s economy. In his words “Ethiopia will experience a shift from an agrarian society to a modern, competitive, industrial society.”

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