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The Status of Democratic Developmental State in Ethiopia: Is It Rolling Back or Rolling Forward?

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Jimma University, 2021.
The Democratic Developmental State (DDS) model was attempted during the tenure of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) in Ethiopia. In this paper, an effort has been made hence to explore some economic blessings and political curses incurred, cases for launching and now terminating DDS, and the reform-led changes and continuities in the political economy of Ethiopia. In doing so, the researcher has depended on a qualitative approach and in-depth content analysis of secondary data sources. The finding revealed that the ideological confrontations and lusts for power coupled with the fragile institutional and structural profiles of the EPRDF-led government have precipitated the abortion of the embryonic DDS. Indeed, in the pursuit of DDS, a trade-off between promoting democracy and achieving economic development has remained at a tolerable cost. In consequence, protracted popular grievances against the unequal distribution of benefits have been accompanied by paving the birth of a new leadership submissive to the Neo-Liberal recipes. Now, the state seems as it goes to start from scratch despite some belief that the new leadership appears to regurgitate the footsteps of its predecessor EPRDF rebranding the infamous legacy. It has been found that the reformist part of the government has been facing coordination problems to materialize the political and economic reforms. To this effect, early costs of the beginnings of the reform have been encountered. For that reason, the researcher suggests that the incumbent government should constitutionally and inclusively overcome the state-wide leadership crisis to ensure positive synergy.
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