One of the biggest challenges for any government is job creation. So at the beginning of the year when Nick Thompson, our Managing Director of Effective Governance, asked what our partner Presidents saw as their most important challenges, it was not surprising that the most common answer was “jobs”.Since January, over 1.8 million more young Africans have joined the job market. The scale of this challenge is huge, and nowhere is this clearer than in Ethiopia.
With 94 million people, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa. In recent years, incredible progress has been made in addressing the country’s development challenges. Far fewer Ethiopians live in poverty today, almost all children are in school and many now have access to basic healthcare. But every year roughly 600,000 more Ethiopians join the job market, which means the economy needs to produce a great number of jobs, if they are to meet demand and ensure continued poverty reduction and improved livelihoods.
That’s why we are launching a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to support the Government of Ethiopia to create two million jobs by 2018, and change the lives of people and their families. We will do this by supporting effective government in Ethiopia, to help ensure the industrial parks are fit for purpose and that attractive conditions are created for investors. This includes training the staff of the Ethiopian Investment Commission and working to ensure the factories have a reliable source of power.
Progress is already being made. At Bole Lemi industrial park outside the capital, the clatter of sewing machines greets you on arrival.
Hundreds of people, many of them women, are now employed by the textile businesses that have set up here. Their jobs mean a chance at a better future for them and their families. Plans are in place for at least five other industrial parks to be created across Ethiopia to improve the lives of people all over the country.
Creating Jobs, Changing Lives: Ending Poverty in Ethiopia through Effective Government is our Clinton Global Initiative commitment. Tony Blair met with supporters in New York this week to discuss this expansion of our work. And we are inviting multilateral and bilateral agencies, individual philanthropists and foundations to support this work.