Today is a sad day for me. I am very much looking forward to getting back to Amanda and to Brighton, but leaving Ethiopia is hard. I’ve had a great time. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve got to know some wonderful people, including friends and colleagues at the Embassy. I’m pleased with the work that I’ve done on accountabilities and aid, on social accountability, on peace and development, on gender and politics, on public sector capacity building, and on public financial management. Some of it might make a difference. But leaving is hard.
I wish I were leaving in the aftermath of an election that had not only been relatively peaceful but which had also seen Ethiopia continue its path towards the deepened democracy that I think – as well as being important in its own terms – is important for the country’s long-term stability and sustainable progress on poverty reduction. Sadly, I am not. The next few years will be a challenge. Ethiopians will and should be at the forefront of meeting that challenge. But, with responsibilities shared in a global world, outsiders – struggling to know what to do for the best and juggling different priorities – must not turn their backs. Sadly, by flying home tonight, I am.
However, I will keep in touch and will – because accountability is central to politics and power/powerlessness – keep banging on about accountability and development. Much progress is needed, and is possible, both here in Ethiopia, in the UK and globally. And, I am sure that this won’t be my last time in Ethiopia. Thanks to everyone who has made my time here so rewarding and to Amanda who has had to put up with – and has been very supportive of – my decision to disappear for 7 months.