June 08, 2018: Ethiopia recently declared that it would open its state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment, a major policy shift that will loosen the state’s grip on the economy.

The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition, which has held power since 1991, said it had taken the decision because economic reforms were needed to sustain rapid growth and to boost exports.

“While majority stakes will be held by the state, shares in Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Power, and the Maritime Transport and Logistics Corporation will be sold to both domestic and foreign investors,” the EPRDF said in a statement.

The announcement was the first major signal that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April promising a “new political beginning”, would implement real economic reforms.

The coalition said “corporations under government hands – railway, sugar, industry parks, hotels and various manufacturing firms” would also be either partially or fully privatised.