Does the Ethiopian Lion Resemble the Asian Tigers?

Start date: 12 February, 2017 End date: 30 March, 2017 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A30157 Institutions: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark Grant recipient: Mathias Munk Schmidt Total grant: 18,000 DKK



Since 2003, Ethiopia has showed remarkable progress in terms of economic growth. In this thesis, I consider the sustainability of this growth by examining if Ethiopia shares Asian developmental state characteristics. As a green agriculture revolution was a common denominator in the Asian tiger economies’ initial development, and farming employs almost 85% of Ethiopians, the agricultural sector is a natural point of departure. I conducted a 7-week field trip to Ethiopia collecting qualitative interviews from key stakeholders in Addis Ababa and farmers from the countryside. This data is integrated into a broader body of qualitative and quantitative sources making up the comprehensive empirical foundation of this thesis. I show that industrial upgrading, cohesion and diversification evident in Asian developmental states are similarly present in agricultural sectors prioritized by the Ethiopian government. Furthermore, I find that climate change in combination with coalitional side payments make up a systemic vulnerability that drives the emergence of developmental state institutions. The findings have wide implications, as global warming will continue to pose a threat that is external to the state’s control. Against intuition, this threat may contribute to the formation of developmental state institutions in African countries and elsewhere.