On 4 November 2023 Ethiopian Economics Association, Jimma University and FES held a conference in Jimma with a focus on Oromia’s Economic Development. It convened economic experts, regional policymakers, scholars and academia who delved into pressing issues of the country and promising prospects of the region's economic landscape. The conference served as a platform for insightful discussions and actionable recommendations.
The on-going Financial Liberalization in the country stood as a central theme of the conference, with the need for financial inclusion and preventing further economic disparities also given emphasis. The discussion drew comparisons to the experiences of countries like Kenya and Singapore, highlighting the importance of stable macroeconomic conditions, inclusive financial sector policies, and women's empowerment. Various models of financial liberalization were raised by the panelists that could bridge the gender gap and unlock the full potential of Ethiopia's female workforce.
The conference also shed light on Ethiopia's current macroeconomic challenges, including inflation, migration, and the state of its agricultural sector and with the COVID-19 pandemic, rising fuel prices, environmental concerns, and ongoing conflicts as key contributors to the economic crisis. For the population food inflation is posing the most significant challenge. A stable macro economy, improving education among farmers to enhance productivity and their limited involvement in policy formulation, strategies to address migration and effectively managing inflation during the post-war recovery phase were raised as ways forward.