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Ethiopia, which is the second-most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa andone of the world’s poorest countries, has a population of 96.5 million. For decades, itsname has been associated to famine. To change its image, the Federal Government ofEthiopia aspires to reach middle income status over the next decade, and it is workinghard to materialize its aspiration. According to The World Bank (2015), Ethiopia’seconomy “has experienced strong and broad based growth over the past decade,averaging 10.8% per year in [from] 2003/04 - 2013/14 compared to the regional averageof 4.8%”.
Continuing and accelerating the progress made in recent years toward the MDGsand addressing the underlying factors of poverty among its population require Ethiopia toendure internal and external challenges. One challenge that Ethiopia needs to tackleinternally is ineffective use of budget by regional governments. One strategy to addressthese types of challenges is decentralization: transferring of responsibilities of the state tolower tires of government (Tegegne, 1998). Decentralization is one of the manifestations of good governance, and when properly applied, it contributes a lot towards regional economic development (see Lee, n.d.). It empowers National/Regional Governments toplan social and economic development. According to The World Bank (2015), allocating budget to regions is not enough; using budget effectively will require Ethiopia to improve governance, to empower local authorities, and to become more accountable to its citizens.
However, materializing such decentralization is not an easy endeavor. “In manyrespects, Ethiopia’s decentralization process faces a unique set of challenges, balancingreform, representation and growth goals within a framework of national reconstruction”(Gulyani et al., 2001). In this Issue (Vol 2. No. 2), Ermias Admasu has presented thestatus of Fiscal decentralization in two woredas of Jimma Zone, its prospects andchallenges (pages 25-43).
To accelerate the progress made in recent years, it is also important to endure external challenges such as terrorism and the ‘curse of bad neighbors’. In this regard, Ethiopia needs to follow good foreign policy: maintaining good relationship with neighboring countries in particular and the world in general. Obviously, the country’sstrategic position for fighting global terrorism and the “curse of natural resource” canevidently affect its development and relationship with neighboring countries especially Egypt. This Issue has presented “The role Ethiopia plays in the regional security complex of the Horn of Africa”, which is critically reviewed by professor Kłosowiczfrom Jagiellonian University, Kraków (pages 85-99).
The pre 1991 Ethiopia’s foreign policy was shaped dominantly by externalfactors. The external factors that significantly influenced the then policy, the reason whyEthiopia abolished slavery, joined the socialist camp and became the member of TheLeague of Nations and UN are critically reviewed by Befekadu Bogale (pages 100-104).
Internal conflicts, for example, conflicts that may happen between or among regional people and the government could accelerate down the progress made in recentyears. To resolve such conflicts, regions issue regional constitutions and other laws. Inaddition to that, however, it is important to explore time tested traditional conflict resolution mechanisms that will help to build an inclusive future by addressing thesuccesses and failures of past efforts (Morrow, 2016). Among these strategies, JigaaInstitution, the surviving Gadaa Court among the Jimma Oromo, takes attention. How isthis institution, which resisted predator ‘monarchial rule and Islamization’ over the area,is being practiced to date? And with what out come? The study of Megersa Regassa andDr. Dejene Gemechu–– ‘Jigaa Institution...’––answers these questions (pages 3-24).
Strong families (marriages) and healthy citizens also contribute to the accelerationof the progress of the country. On the other hand, divorce and HIV/AIDS could slowdown this anticipated growth. ‘The influence of parental divorce on the personality andsocial adjustment of adolescent’ (by Fistum Berhane, pages 44-61) and ‘condomnegotiation strategies undergraduates use’ (by Dr. Tesfaye Gebeyehu and Dr. HailomBantierga, pages 62-84) are interesting manuscripts to be read in this issue. The editorialboard members of the Journal appreciate the authors in this Issue for their scholarly contribution, and they invite you not only to read these articles but also to contribute manuscripts for possible publication.
The board would like to notify the readers that, when preparing this issue for printpublication, it has made a few adjustments on the online publications without affectingthe original content. Bon reading appétit!