May Ethiopia be blessed with pragmatic and optimist leaders who can envision a future that is more democratic, economically strong, inclusive, peaceful, secure, and tolerant of diverse identities and opinions.
In my life time, I should see at least two or three major political parties that can compete against each other positively and are more mature and well organized, backed with a strong grassroots activism, but less dependent on special interest groups such as big businesses and rogue capitalists.
I want to see a vibrant and responsible media that is based on objective journalism, and far from yellow journalistic adventures.
I want to see no sensationalism but reason-based debate and dialogue on serious topics that affect me and other citizens of Ethiopia.
I want to see an active economic and political participation of citizens who clearly understand their rights and responsibilities.
I want to see politicians who are not stuck in the past, who inspire their people to aspire a great leap forward, who can compromise and can cross party lines, and whose main interest is not only joining the parliament or holding the highest office for the sake of power and prestige, but honestly serving the people, working hard for a greater common good, and protecting the country’s interests.
I want to see the end of copycatting foreign ideas without taking Ethiopia’s unique cultural and historical conditions into consideration. I want to see an Ethiopia that produces indigenous solutions for indigenous problems and borrows foreign ideas after seriously studying their present practicality and future impact.
I want to see Ethiopia becoming a middle income country, with far less poverty, less corrupt upper class, more middle class, less external migration, more Diaspora remittance or return to homeland, more investment, etc. I want to see practical economic policies that can lift Ethiopians, the majority who mostly live in rural areas, from abject poverty.
I want to see sensible land policies and usage that won’t bankrupt the already poor farmers, benefiting rich locals or outsiders. In addition, I want to see more mechanized agriculture without damaging the environment beyond repair or without displacing the small-scale farmers unfairly from the arable lands they have relied on for centuries. I also want to see advanced industries, more manufacturing, and a highly revamped tourism sector.
I want to see a regulated but an active private sector that will reduce citizens’ dependence on government for employment and wealth creation.
I want to see improved education and public health policies. Ethiopia is one of the countries with the lowest literacy rate in the world, and that must change since “low levels of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic development of a country in the current rapidly changing, technology-driven world,” as stated in CIA’s Factbook on literacy. The healthcare system is also at a premature stage in both its quantity and quality. There are no enough hospitals and clinics that can accommodate the need of the growing population, and that is without mentioning the lack of healthcare professionals or their migration to industrialized nations for better opportunities. Speaking of healthcare, I want to see national initiatives that deal with mental health and psychotherapy since mental health issues have always been misunderstood and have been barely addressed officially.
I want to see the implementation of environmental policies that will protect the environment from irresponsible and shortsighted business interests and that will help both the rural and city people to live in sanitary conditions. I want to see aggressive tree planting and sustainable waste management projects all over the country.
I want to see better access to clean drinking water, electricity, and roads.
I want to see Addis and other major Ethiopian cities as technology and innovation hubs where high speed internet, advanced banking and telecom services, and better public transportation systems are readily available.
I want to see Ethiopia slowly but steadily gaining competence in all kinds of engineering and science fields, including space science. Why not! It is not going to happen overnight, or even in decades, given how things are right now, but the country will have to move in that direction, no matter how impossible it may seem, and I hope to see a lot more progress than what we have now in this area.
I want to see Ethiopia’s advanced utilization of its abundant renewable energies such as solar and wind powers, in addition to its hydropower.
I want to see more female leaders. Ethiopia can’t move forward while its women, half or more than half of the population, are marginalized, under-educated, and less represented. I strongly believe a society that empowers women has a chance to become powerful. I believe Ethiopian women can lead the nation perhaps even better than what Ethiopian male leaders have achieved so far. Most Ethiopian female intellectuals, the few that I know, are more forward looking, more productive, and less ego-driven. When I think of potential future leaders, women like Eleni Gebremedhin come to mind. Dr. Eleni has a potential to be a great Prime Minister. She has already demonstrated what she can achieve under difficult and truly frustrating circumstances. A woman leader will inspire more women to follow her footsteps. She can undoubtedly change the attitudes of our mostly patriarchal societies that see women as nothing but properties of men, attitudes that often lead to domestic violence and marginalization of women.
I want to see the end of the slavery, exploitation and abuse, of our women in the Middle East. I also want to see the banning of corruption that has commoditized our babies through illegal, multi-million dollar adoption businesses. I want to see the end of both child and women trafficking for sex or other dehumanizing purposes.
I want to see greater freedom for both individuals and groups.
I want to see courts, the military, security, police, election board, parliament, and other civil service agencies becoming more independent institutions that no strongmen or strongwomen can twist or manipulate. I want to see a clear separation of power between the executive, legislative, and judiciary bodies.
I want to see the abolition of unnecessary bureaucracy in local or national government. I want to see a merit-based system that lets qualified persons to make important decisions and to represent Ethiopia both locally and internationally. I want to see governance that is not a victim of nepotism or ethnocentrism.
I want to see more accountable and transparent government that serves the public without abusing its authority.
I want to see an Ethiopia that continues to be the melting pot of diverse cultures, arts, music, sports, and African and global politics.
I want to see an Ethiopia that has positive partnership with its Horn of Africa and EAC neighbors, a partnership strongly based on trade, mutual benefit, and common ground.
I want to see an Ethiopia that continues to play active roles in IGAD, AU, and UN.
I want to see an Ethiopia that remains diplomatically well connected to the rest of Africa, Asia, Middle East, the West, and South and Central America (Sí se puede!).
I basically want to see a better Ethiopia that undertakes a sustainable development and that can soon or later transform itself into economically more self-reliant, democratic African powerhouse.
I want these and more …
No one can stop me from dreaming something that can be realized. If there is a will, there is a way. This may seem a wishful thinking for some, but one must dream first in order to achieve something. This is what I, as a young Ethiopian, more or less want. I want neither backward mentality, nor pessimism, nor dictators that use either ethnicity, or religion, or nationalism as stepping-stone to consolidate power and to subjugate me.
Dream, Horn of Africa!