The anti-government protests in Ethiopia are the result of youth unemployment, said Negeri Lencho, Ethiopian information minister. In an interview with the BBC, the former Ethiopian academician expressed that lack of jobs for Ethiopian youth universities produce every year are the cause of the protests.
In his interview with BBC, the Ethiopian offical sought to separate the incidents of last year with the renewed tensions the country is experiencing. “Actually the demonstrations that we witnessed before a year or so and the current one are not one and the same because in the last maybe two decades, Ethiopia invested heavily on education and our youth – the majority now have ample opportunity to get education.
“… and thousands of them graduate every year from our universities, now we have about 40 universities functioning. The government decided to respond to their needs for example by allocating a special budget for the youth employment.”
According to him, the government was undertaking efforts to not just provide jobs but to also empower the young people when they come out of school. “Not simply employment but to start their own businesses, for example entrepreneurship, investing, manufacturing and whatever. The government is working …
“Thousands of the youth who took to the streets before a year are now engaged in production, engaged in manufacturing, engaged in agriculture. That means they are employed but we graduate thousands of students and they still need (jobs).
He expressly rejected talk of the protests being hinged on issues of marginalization and perception of discrimination by people belonging to particular regions.
“There is no basis for discrimination because all the regions are autonomous and the federal government is made up of contributions of the regions,’ he said.