The Department of Economics of the Addis Ababa University (AAU) has a history dating back to 1953 when the University was set up. It is the focal point of the University's activities in research and training in the field and is one of the largest departments both in terms of faculty size and student intake. The Department belongs to the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) and is housed in the FBE campus at SIDIST KILO about a hundred metres away from the main campus. It is home to 38 economists as teaching and research staff of the University of whom over half are on active duty on campus at the moment, the rest being on sabbatical, research or study leaves.
More than 800 students are currently enrolled in the B.A. degree programme. About 300 students of the undergraduate programme study full-time at the moment while more than 500 are registered for extension classes. On average, more than 80 students graduate per year in the programme.
The B.A. course in economics at the AAU has produced about 1050 graduates over the past decade and is by far the largest supplier of trained economists in Ethiopia. A large majority of economists that currently are working as officials or experts in government institutions and within the public sector in the country have passed through the programme.
Since 1979, the Department has also been running a graduate programme at the Masters level. The existing programme is a course leading to an M.Sc. degree in Economics with concentration in one of four areas and replaces an earlier M.Sc. degree in Economic Development and Planning. The new programme was launched in September 1992. So far the new programme has produced 100 graduates of which 18 were from other Anglophone African countries.
At the moment the M.Sc. in Economics has an enrolment figure of 46 students of which 38 specialise in Economic Policy Analysis and the rest in Human Resource Economics. Students in this programme come almost from all Anglophone African countries such as Kenya, the Sudan, Ghana, Swaziland, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Burundi. Currently, out of the total students, 6 are foreigners. The M.Sc. in Economics in AAU is a two-year programme of study involving course work and a year-long thesis project.
The Department of Economics is one of the seven departments of "category-B" status in the collaborative M.A. in Economics (CMAE) for Anglophone Africa in which 21 Universities are participating. The CMAE for Anglophone Africa is a scheme of inter-university collaboration in graduate training in economics including the setting of common standards in curricular content and examination of core courses and the sharing of a Joint Facility for Electives (JFE) for masters programmes in category-B universities in the region. The JFE brings together all students of category-B universities for a three-month period during the summer to take two elective courses. The designation of the AAU as a category-B university in the CMAE. means the M.Sc. in Economics in the university is at the moment one of the seven best graduate programmes in Economics in the region by the standards of the Collaboration. It also means that the Department of Economics at the AAU is eligible for accepting students on C.M.A.E. scholarships in support of staff development schemes of universities in the region not yet designated to be of category-B status.