AUTHOR’S PERSONAL STORY
Like many Ethiopians, the famine of the 1980s had a profound effect on me. Thank- fully, my family and I were unaffected physically by this tragic period. Nonetheless, it was difficult for me to reconcile the rich history and culture of the country that I knew, with the images broadcast across our TV screen every evening. Though I did not come from a farming background, I have always hoped to one day find the opportunity to work on the issues that have seemingly trapped the country of my birth in a vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment.
Through a circuitous journey, from investment banking in New York and London to technology and education start-ups in the US and Africa, I now find myself working in a government organization in Ethiopia’s agriculture sector, which employs over 80 percent of the population. What I’ve discovered through this role is that what holds back progress is often not a lack of knowledge regarding what needs to be done; rather, it is that we fail to make the long-term investments in the systems and institutions necessary to actually get things done.
Khalid Bomba is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency