Zenawi eyes end of food aid within five years.
Zenawi says the agricultural output upon which the country’s economy overwhelmingly relies will be doubled by 2015 by encouraging investment and large-scale farming. Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest coffee exporter and the world’s fourth largest exporter of sesame.
“I think that this is a very ambitious plan but at the very least the base-case scenario is doable,” Meles said. “The high-case scenario is not unimaginable.”
The Ethiopian government predicts growth of about 10 percent for 2010/2011. The International Monetary Fund says the economy will grow by 7 percent.
Ethiopia’s economic climate is watched by foreign investors interested in commodity exports and its potential oil and gas reserves.
The country is one of Africa’s largest potential markets — with a population of about 80 million — and most of its people have no telephones or bank accounts.
Meles, who was returned to power for five more years in a disputed May election victory, has ruled out privatising the banking and telecommunications sectors despite pressure from Western donors to do so.
The former rebel told Reuters in an interview on election day that improving Ethiopia’s energy supply and expanding its industries would be his priorities for the next five years, after which he would retire.
The plan, called “Growth and Transformation,” also predicts a huge expansion of infrastructure, with the country’s power production set to increase from 2,000MW to 10,000MW and the construction of 2,395 km of railway lines.
Ethiopia plans to spend $12 billion over 25 years on realising its ambition of become a power exporter on a continent where shortages are common and cost industry dear.