The Prospects of Development in Eritrea

Articles - General

An environment of social harmony, political stability and peace are the foundational basis of economic prosperity.

The social harmony and political stability of Eritrea have played an important role in strengthening its national unity, supporting the nation in times of adversity. Societal harmony has been cultivated by the government as a highly desirable asset of nation building. Besides social harmony, the government has also been successful in instilling a sense of nationalism on the diverse population of the country. Citizenship based national identity has been an essential component of the government’s determination to create a collective historical memory and a nation of citizens. The leadership in Eritrea created what Benedict Anderson calls an ‘imagined community’ through the creation of a common national identity which is essential for the realization of national development.

Many define national development narrowly in terms of economic growth. But the better approach is to define it in terms of all attempts to improve the living standard of citizens. National development is supposed to mean improvement in the material and spiritual wellbeing of all sections of the population in a sustainable way that does not imperil the future. To be complete it must also include the elimination or, at least, reduction of poverty and inequality. More importantly, it must create an atmosphere of security that gives safety to citizens. The development strategy of Eritrea has been designed to achieve not only economic growth but also equitable distribution of wealth and the provision of health care, education, and other essential services that improve individual and collective life of the people. National development, therefore, can be defined as a social, economic, cultural and political advancement of a country. The development plan of the government of Eritrea which attempts to keep a balance between individual and collective wellbeing is likely to lead the country to a safe destination.

Eritrea’s agricultural potential, strategic location, access to education and availability of skilled manpower and youthful population and its stability give the country an additional leverage in its efforts to achieve the development aspirations of the nation.

Although strategies for national development are important, the beauty of any development plan lies in its faithful implementation. Many development plans that ended up in failure in Africa are often attributed to lack of implementation and lack of committed leadership. In the Eritrean context the greatest problem hindering the country from implementing its development policy has been external hostility. But now in the new era of peace and cooperation, Eritrea’s hardworking people and their committed leadership make development an attainable national project. The commitment of the people and the leadership in Eritrea is the first requirement of development. In addition to that Eritrea has built an efficient organizational capacity which can help to mobilize its people inside and outside of the country.

The agricultural potential of Eritrea, its water dams and irrigation infrastructure are instrumental in the development of the country. In the foreseeable future, agriculture could become the mainstay of the Eritrean national economy by providing employment and considerable amount of national income. Productive agriculture can fund industrialization and gainfully employ a number of people. It can also help save hard currency through import substitution. Eritrea is responding to the initial developmental challenge in agriculture by laying down the supporting infrastructure that helps to maximize yields.

Human resource development is another readily available capital to the Eritrean national development. Development depends largely on human knowledge and skills. Making education accessible at all levels has helped Eritrea to produce educated and trained citizens with relevant and adequate knowledge and skills that meet to the country’s needs. The provision of education for all and the rise in the number of girls’ enrollment at all levels ensures the participation of all citizens in the socio-economic development of the country. The empowerment of women in Eritrea would facilitate and ensure the realization of sustainable socio-economic development and welfare of the country.

The attitude of the people is another advantage in Eritrea. Eritreans are motivated and determined people. The resilient and optimistic behavior toward development has been seen during the struggle for liberation and reconstruction of the country after independence. The general population of Eritrea is known for its ability to learn from experience and its confidence in its own position. There is a strong belief among the people that things and ideas can work in Eritrea. Self-reliance and self-confidence are among the greatest social capital of the country. A confident and enthusiastic people are the basic force behind the development efforts of Eritrea. The people-centered notion of development pursued by the government rests on this attitude of the people.

In conclusion, Eritrea has made great progress to realize its vision to become a country of peace, security and prosperity. Now with all the necessary preconditions for development at hand, it will perform miracles in peaceful nation-building process.