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Ethiopia's BRICS Membership: A Strategic Lever for Economic and Geopolitical Advancement

Reflection on the economic implications of Ethiopia’s entry into BRICS - Dawit
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Recently, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) hosted a Breakfast Meeting to explore the implications of Ethiopia's potential BRICS membership. The event was themed "Ethiopia’s BRICS-Membership: Prospects for Economy and Geopolitics" and featured a critical review by Dawit Ayele Haylemariam, Managing Partner at Growth Capital Analytics. This blog post delves into the key takeaways and strategic recommendations from the event.

Why BRICS Attracts Ethiopia

Ethiopia's interest in joining BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) is fueled by several economic factors. These include the potential for increased foreign investment, trade opportunities, and technology transfer. BRICS nations have shown a growing interest in Africa, and Ethiopia aims to capitalize on this trend to accelerate its national development goals and align with the broader African economic agenda.

Economic Benefits for Ethiopia

BRICS membership offers Ethiopia a platform for diversifying its economic partnerships. It opens doors for foreign direct investment (FDI), trade agreements, access to development financing and technology exchange, which are crucial for Ethiopia's long-term economic stability and growth.

Implications for International Engagement

Ethiopia's BRICS membership could reshape its financial and economic engagement with traditional international partners and financial institutions. While this presents an opportunity for diversification, it also necessitates a balanced approach to maintain cordial relations with Western nations.

Key Recommendations

Clear and Focused Strategic Objectives and Policy Framework
  • Align BRICS Engagement with National Goals: Ethiopia should establish clear, long-term strategic objectives that align its BRICS engagement with its national development goals and the broader African economic landscape.

  • Economic Policy Framework: A robust economic policy should be implemented to support foreign investment, trade, and technology transfer.

Effective Communication and Western Partnerships

  • Public Endorsement: A well-executed communication plan is essential for gaining public support for Ethiopia's global economic strategy.

  • Western Partnerships: Transparent communication and diplomacy should be employed to maintain cooperative relationships with Western nations. Ensure continued social development investments in partnership with western partners.

Capacity Building and Skills Development

  • Skilled Labor Force: Focus should be on capacity building and skills development to meet the demands of a diversified economy.

  • Technical Assistance: Collaboration with BRICS nations for technical assistance, knowledge transfer, and educational exchanges is crucial.

Regional Integration and Infrastructure Development

  • AfCFTA Participation: Ethiopia should actively engage in regional and continental integration efforts like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

  • Infrastructure Development: Prioritizing infrastructure will enhance connectivity, logistics, and trade facilitation.


Ethiopia stands to gain significantly from BRICS membership, but this requires a tactical approach given its relatively smaller economic size within the alliance. By focusing on strategic objectives, effective communication, capacity building, and regional integration, Ethiopia can maximize the benefits of this membership while maintaining a balanced international engagement portfolio.

For a more in-depth analysis, the full presentation is available here in PDF download.

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