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Economy & Business Ethiopia featured Multimedia News Sugar Projects

Ethiopia: Tendaho Sugar to be inaugurated, Indians blamed for delay

Shiferaw Jarso, director general of Ethiopia’s Sugar Corporation, under a ministerial portfolio lamented the performance of the Indian companies involved in the construction of Tendaho Sugar Factory that is due to be inaugurated in two weeks, far behind its schedule. Minister Sheferaw Jarso

The Ethiopian government signed an Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contract with an Indian company Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA) for the construction of the Tendaho Sugar Factory and the expansion of Fincha and Wonji Sugar factories on January 10, 2007. The project was enabled by a loan of 640 million dollars from Exim Bank of India; of which 400 million dollars was for the construction of the factory while the remaining was to be used for the expansion of the Fincha and Wonji sugar factories.

“We fell in their hands due to our need for finance”, Shiferaw said with an obvious frustration, adding that “this is the result of poverty.”

His made the remark at a press conference with local journalists who visited the 10 sugar factories under construction.

Answering questions as to why the Tendaho project delayed, Shiferaw gave an extended account of the whole process in which he handed the biggest share of the blame to the Indian companies involved.
[The quotes here is a translation as the original comment was made in Amharic]

We had no capital to finance the project by ourselves at the time. Hence we searched for foreign finance and the Ex-Im bank of India agreed to provide it. However the government of India has demanded for an Engineering Procurement Contract (E.P.C) as a precondition for releasing the loan. We did that since we had to get the loan. There is a lot that can be said about the Indian [financing] system but cannot be said in official venue. Any way the company was chosen thanks to the precondition and started selecting its own vendors instead of those we chose already. Secondly, there was disagreement and an extended legal battle between the companies. The main problem is their desire to get the export incentive given for Indian companies with overseas contracts. Their internal conflict was a reason for more delay.

In an E.P.C contract, the contractor delivers a final output completing the tasks. There is no role for us. But we were forced to intervene between them, mediating payment quarrels and supervision. They say they received the materials and hide it from us when we go to check due to their own problem. We could have cancelled the contract based on the agreement but to cancel the contract at that stage is a problem. It’s their fund hence it will only delay the project more. There is no gain for the nation from that. The government has considered that option at one point. There was a consensus on canceling and on our ability to finance it ourselves but was dropped after consideration of the relationship between our nations.

They are very difficult, in my experience. We can’t say all Indian companies are difficult but we found a lot of problems from our E.P.C. Anyhow we now finishing. Therefore, the answer to your question is Yes it will be completed at the end of this month (June 8). …Most of it is completed. I was there last week. There can be a 2-3 day delay in testing but it will definitely be completed up to Ginbot 30 (June 8). That’s our estimate. I talked a lot about Tendaho because it is a frequent question.

I hope it will be completed, i think it will. We will see what happens together. If my word fails…better to see it together.

He, however, admitted there was a lack of capacity with the government to manage these “difficult” companies even though that was “not their duty” in the framework of an Engineering Procurement Contract (E.P.C), in which the contractor is responsible for the project up to delivery. We are also responsible for the year and half delay caused due to flooding at the beginning of the project, he said.

Replying to a question about the Indian contractor failing to pay the wage of Ethiopian employees:

“They (Indians) are difficult on issues of payment. We had to fight and even make them pay on the spot. We fell in their hands due to our need for finance; this is the result of poverty. We would have done it ourselves If we had the money at the time” [Translation mine]

The first phase of the project is now complete and expected to be operational in two weeks, according to the corporation. The factory will be able to produce 619,000 tons of sugar and 63,000 cubic meter of Ethanol per year at full capacity after completion of the second phase making it the biggest in the continent.

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You can listen to the audio recording (Amharic) below.

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Categories
Benishangul-Gumuz Economy & Business Ethiopia featured News

Beles sugar project: A visit to Meles Zenawi village, Resettled farmers

In western Ethiopia, about 576 km from Addis Ababa, lay a mega sugar project expected to double Ethiopia’s current sugar production.

Water extracted from Beles River, a tributary of the Blue Nile, will supply to the 75,000 ha sugar plantations, extended from Awi Zone and South Gojjam Zones of Amahara Regional State to parts of Benishangul Gumuz Regional State. It takes a 56 kms drive – just to finish one side of the plantation field.

Beles sugar project comprises three sugar factories – each with annual production capacity of 242,000 tons of sugar and 20,827 m3 Ethanol, when completed.

The entire plantation gets water supply from Beles River channeled via an 8 meters high and 21 meters wide diversion weir built over the river. The construction of the diversion weir and irrigation canals is completed. Sugarcane planting, with water being delivered through sprinklers, pumps and tunnels, is underway.

The project staffs are camped in Awi Zone, Jawi Woreda “Meles Village”, named after the late Prime Minister, where I spent two nights. Upon inquiry I learned they started living in the village the day after the passing of Meles Zenawi. They found it fitting to name the site of a mega project after the leader that set Ethiopia on a developmental path.

About 1525 households have been displaced to make way for the plantation field and were paid a compensation of 72 million birr, according to the chiefs of the project. The farmers confirmed to me they received a saving account where they withdraw at will. I observed a resettlement village with school and health facilities and a newly constructed ten kilometers road that connects the village to the main road. However, some of the resettled were not yet provided a farm land.

The re-settled farmers were provided lands in three areas that were said to be either uninhabited or taken from investors. Of which, in two areas the farmers received their plot.

It was in the third area that a group faced problems. The group of farmers who went to the third area, which was said to be uninhabited, faced hostile reaction. The semi-pastoral locals chased the farmers and escorting officials with arrows and characterized the situation as an indication that the government did not recognize of their existence.

My inquiry led me to conclude the mistake arose from the lack of coordination between officials of the two regions. This is one of those issues that require extra-caution in execution. Even though it was a minor conflict and there was no causality, it leaves a bad taste in future relationship of the communities and stained the otherwise satisfactory resettlement process.

Two of the three factories of Beles sugar project are scheduled to start production in about six months. The fact that it is being built by local contractors is its notable feature.

With three other sugar mega projects, named Kessem, Tendaho and Kuraz I, that are to be completed in 2007, the corporation can claim success in attaining “70 percent of the high case scenario” set under the Growth and Transformation Plan, according to Shiferaw Jarso, Director General of Ethiopia’s Sugar Corporation.

The GTP target for the sugar sector is set at building 10 new sugar factories and a 2.25 million tons of sugar production putting the nation in a club with Brazil and India.

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Africa - General Articles featured History

Review: Ethiopia and the Origin of Civilization

Ethiopia and the Origin of Civilization
By John G. Jackson (1939)

Reviewed by Fetsum Berhane

When I came across this essay I expected the writing to be a contemporary historical account from an Afrocentric perspective. I was taken aback when I found out the author, John G. Jackson, is European and the essay to be dated 1939. Jackson starts the essay by quoting Count Volney:

“Those piles of ruins which you see in that narrow valley watered by the Nile, are the remains of opulent cities, the pride of the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia. … There a people, now forgotten, discovered while others were yet barbarians, the elements of the arts and sciences. A race of men now rejected from society for their sable skin and frizzled hair, founded on the study of the laws of nature, those civil and religious systems which still govern the universe.”

Ethiopia and the Origin of Civilization is a brief but captivating essay that debunks the established Eurocentric historical narrative that relegates the central role of “The Black Man” in human civilization.

“Most history texts, especially the ones on ancient history, start off by telling us that there are either three, four or five races of man, but that of those races only one has been responsible for civilization, culture, progress and all other good things. The one race is of course the white race, and particularly that branch of said race known as the Nordic or Aryan.”

The reason for this, Jackson says, is obvious. The writers are as a rule Nordic or so consider themselves. Apart from prejudice, confusion among historians and anthropologists concerning the proper classification of races plays a role. In discussing the subject of race classification the author reaches the conclusion that the races of man are three in number; (1) the Negroid, or Ethiopian or black race; (2) the Mongoloid, or Mongolian or yellow race; and (3) the Caucasoid or European or white race.

In discussing the main subject matter, the author cites Prof. Seignobos’ note that the first civilized inhabitants of the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates valleys were a dark-skinned people with short hair and prominent lips; and that they are referred to by some scholars as Cushites (Ethiopians), and as Hamites by others. This ancient civilization of the Cushites, was not confined to the Near East and traces of it have been found all over the world. Mr. Wells alludes to this early civilization in his Outline of History, and dates its beginnings as far back as 15,000 years B.C.

In ancient times the name Ethiopia was not confined to represent the east African country but extended over vast domains in both Africa and Asia. Sir E. A. Wallis Budge concurs with this in his book “History of Ethiopia”:

“It seems certain that classical historians and geographers called the whole region from India to Egypt, both countries inclusive, by the name of Ethiopia, and in consequence they regarded all the dark-skinned and black peoples who inhabited it as Ethiopians. Mention is made of Eastern and Western Ethiopians and it is probable that the Easterners were Asiatics and the Westerners Africans.”  In addition Budge notes that, “Homer and Herodotus call all the peoples of the Sudan, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine and Western Asia and India Ethiopians.”

In support his argument the author quotes another classical historian Strabo:

“I assert that the ancient Greeks, in the same  way as they classed all the northern nations with which they were familiar as Scythians,  etc., so, I affirm, they designated as Ethiopia the whole of the southern countries toward  the ocean.” (Strabo)

The author rebuts the idea that the ancient Egyptians originally came from Asia. According to Jackson, the only reason it was adopted despite lack of evidence was because it was fashionable to believe that no African people was capable of developing a great civilization.

Geoffrey Parsons refers to Egyptian civilization as “genuinely African in its origin and development.” Herodotus came to the same conclusion over 2,000 years ago, but he is not taken seriously by the majority of modern historians, except where his facts agree with certain theories of said historians.

The essay gives a detailed elaboration of the early nations and inhabitants of “Ethiopia” which stretched along the shores of the Southern Ocean from Abyssinia to India, from South Africa to West Africa and south coasts of both Asia and Africa.
What makes this a good read is that it presents a version of history that is marginalized by the dominant Eurocentric narrative. The author uses historical records, anthropology, archaeological discoveries, linguistic studies and evidences of comparative religion to support of his argument.

Ethiopia and the Origin of Civilization is well written and researched essay. The author has the ability to present complex issues in a compelling and outlined manner.
For a subject of this scope, the essay is extremely brief, a fact he recognizes as “an essay addressed mainly to readers who have little time for the study of history”. This essay is rich in citations and is indeed a reference guide for someone who intends to delve into an in depth study of history.

You can download the essay here.

For those who would like to read more on this, I recommend these related books.

Graham Hancock, Fingerprints Of the Gods
Harold Marcus, A History of Ethiopia
Count Volney, The Ruins
Drusilla Houston, Wonderful Ethiopians

Categories
Agriculture Dam Economy & Business Ethiopia featured News Tigrai

Special report| Ethiopian Sugar Corporation’s “May Day Dam”

[HornAffairs staff Fetsum Berhane visited the project sites of Ethiopian Sugar Corporation this month. This is the first of his series of reports on the mega projects]

The construction of the May Day dam, a massive dam being built for irrigation of the Welkait sugar plantation, in Tigrai region, is now 30% complete.

A visit to the site by HornAffairs confirmed the completion of “the coffer dam”, which is part of the main dam that serves as a barrier between the main dam and the river.

May Day irrigation dam is being built on Zarema River, which joins Mereb River, a tributary of Blue Nile River. Zarema River is one of the four rivers that border the “Waldeba monastery’’ which is considered a holy land and believed to be a land designated not “to be tilled” by God.

The dam was named May Day to commemorate the area that served as a cadre and military training ground for TPLF, one of the member parties of the ruling coalition, exactly 23 years ago.

Ethiopia, Tigrai - Wolkait Sugar Project, May Day Dam (under construction)
Wolkait Sugar Project, May Day Dam (under construction)

The construction of the dam on the river met a strong opposition from one of the two main Monks’ associations and other influential religious groupings.

(Horn affairs will present you the background and the current status of the Waldeba controversy in our upcoming series on sugar mega projects of the nation.)

The May Day dam is the main part of the Welkayt sugar mill project, which is one of the 5 mega projects of the government in its bid to become one of the top ten sugar exporters in the world.

The Welkayt sugar project is expected to produce 484,000 tons of sugar per year, almost equal to the current national consumption of 500,000 tons.

The dam is designed to be 147 meters high – which is about the height of Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – and 860 meters long with a water storage capacity of 3.5 billon m3.

The reservoir of the dam will cover about 9,000 hectares (ha) of land and is expected to irrigate 50,000 ha sugarcane plantation using only 25-30% of its water stock leaving enough water stock for year round fishing and transportation activities.

The construction of the dam was started in November 2012, but was delayed for a year due to design problems faced by the Federal Water Works Enterprise according to the project manager Ato Amenay Mesfin. Subsequently, a revised design was prepared by an Italian firm and the construction resumed with a local contractor, Sur Construction, in January 2014.

Diversion of the river, removal of loose soil and construction of the coffer dam were completed just five months before the arrival of the summer flood. The completion of this phase made possible the construction of the main dam without risk of damage. The dam is expected to be fully completed in the next three years, with filling of the reservoir planned to be conducted simultaneously.
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Categories
Aid and Loan Articles Ethiopia featured

Review: Ethiopia, aid and conditionality

The author, Axel Borchgrevink, is a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. He holds a doctoral degree in social anthropology from the University of Oslo. In addition to the Horn of Africa, his work has been involved with Central America and the Philippines. Issues of aid, development, conflict, civil society and indigenous peoples are among his thematic interests.

This study examines the relations between Ethiopia and its donors since 1990, with a focus on how donors have attempted to influence Ethiopian policies. The study tries to answer why none of the very different policies donors have applied towards Ethiopia failed to have much impact in terms of influencing Ethiopian policies.

The study is structured in three main sections. The first section is a brief review of the literature on aid conditionality. The second section describes the relationship between Ethiopia and its donors in the past 20 years with a focus on attempts by donors at influencing Ethiopian policies and Ethiopian responses to these attempts. This section delimits four different periods: the early EPRDF years (1990-1998); the war years (1998-2000); the post-war years (2000-2005); and after the 2005 elections (2005- 2007). The final section focuses on the factors that have limited donor influence and lessons learned about power relations between donor and recipient.

Conditionality can be generally defined as “the promise or increase of aid in the case of compliance by a recipient with conditions set by a donor, or its withdrawal or reduction in the case of non-compliance” (Frerks, 2006). Stokke classifies conditionality into economic conditionality – typified by the structural adjustment conditions imposed by the IMF and the World Bank since the early 1980s) and political conditionality – promotion of the institutions of liberal democracy.

Further classifications mentioned are “peace conditionality” – with aims of implementation of peace accords, “peace enforcement conditionality” – where aid is subservient to the security interests of the donor country. And “post-conditionality”, refers to situations where donors are able to impose their will not through explicit and visible conditionality, but rather through the exercise of ideological hegemony over key institutions in aid- dependent recipient countries (When recipient country elites and bureaucrats – for instance in the Ministries of Finance and of Public Administration – are ideologically aligned with international donors).

According to Borchgrevink, the literature is fairly unanimous in assessing the effectiveness of conditionality: in general, it does not work very well. The author provides us with multiple references that claim conditionality to bring negative impacts and/or backlash. The author however claims “This does not mean that conditionality has no impact at all” and gives us an example:

“Obviously, the structural adjustment programmes imposed by donors on a number of recipient countries did have effects, sometimes quite far-reaching ones, for instance in terms of reducing the number of state employees, liberalizing the economy, and dismantling capacity for delivering basic services.”

One may wonder why the author chose an example that shows the negative impact of conditionality since it doesn’t help his case. Then however, the author tries to qualify it as “according to the studies – the outcomes in terms of economic development and poverty reduction have mostly not been the intended ones, at least in part because reform programs were carried out halfheartedly, partially, or only temporarily.” This is a long discredited argument in defense of the multilaterals’ (IMF & WB) and their damaging neo-liberal policy impositions. Prof. J. Stiglitz, who was part of the IMF leadership at the time, emphasizes the source of the negative impacts rests solely on the policy prescriptions of the multilaterals. The choice of these studies than the revealing insider account of Stiglitz, which the author used as a reference, may tell the neo-liberal ideological orientation of the author.

The four periods delimited by the study show different types of aid conditionality at work. the initial years (1992-1997) witnessed the coordinated application of economic conditionality by multilaterals (IMF and WB); the war years (1998-2000) saw uncoordinated application of peace conditionality; the post-war years (2000-2005) were a period of higher aid levels and can be considered as a ‘peace enforcement’ conditionality; and unified threats of the use of political conditionality marked the fourth period (after the 2005 elections – 2007). The current (post 2007) ‘engagement policy’ is an attempt at establishing a relation of post-conditionality, which is likely to fail if they not already. The common denominator in this story, says the author, donors have been relatively powerless to influence Ethiopian policies.
In his assessment of the factors that have limited donor influence Borchgrevink concludes “The Ethiopian regime is independent-minded, proud, and unwilling to bow to the whims and wishes of donors and the international community in general…The EPRDF has learnt self-reliance during a long guerrilla struggle, has a strong commitment to its own development model with a basis in Marxism-Leninism, and a perhaps healthy distrust of the reliability of donors”. He provides the reader with plenty of “strategies” the government effective applies to minimize donor influence. When these strategies have not been sufficient, Borchgrevink tells us, the Ethiopian government has been willing to take a tough stance and tell donors that they’d rather forego aid than accept interference.

The conclusion “donors have had limited influence over Ethiopia not simply because of the obstinate character of the EPRDF regime, but primarily because donors have been incapable of applying consistent and coherent policies” is a U-turn from both the literature and empirical results found from the study. He earlier stated:

“Whether conditionality has been applied – as when aid levels were halved between 1992 and 1997 – or not applied – for lack of donor coordination during the war or for strategic reasons after the 2005 election – the outcome has consistently been that the Ethiopian regime has been able to stick to its own policies, without making significant concessions.

After 1992 aid dropped off every year until 1997, by which time it had been cut in half. The World Bank was not alone in pressing for privatization and liberalization of the financial sector reforms. Even greater pressure was applied by the IMF, which cut off its lending to Ethiopia in this period still; Ethiopia did not bow to the economic conditionality of its multilateral donors. The regime that had been a model reformer in its first years – when reforms corresponded to its own programme – preferred very significant aid cuts to implementing reforms considered to go against that programme. And Ethiopia has maintained its position.”

It is only fair to assume this contradiction stems from lack of alternative recommendation (ruling out military intervention) or the author’s ideological predisposition towards the imposition of policies in donor recipient countries. The study is comprehensive in light of such complicated undertaking with multitude variables that are difficult to measure.
What makes this study important is that it shows the inability aid conditionality to impose certain “reforms” to a nation in general and in the case of Ethiopia in particular. The failure of donor influence to bring about “reforms”, even though applied using different techniques for two decades, can only prove the independent-mindedness of Ethiopians and their government hence, the reforms needed can only be brought by the people of Ethiopia. The only way to success for the opposition lies in admitting this hard truth, abandoning their hope in donor influence and trying to convince Ethiopians on reform agendas.

You can download the study here

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Africa - General Articles Economy & Business featured Somalia

Book Review: Neoliberal Imperialism and Pan-African Resistance

Title: Neoliberal, Imperialism and Pan-African Resistance
Author: Niels S. C. Hahn
Length: 36 pages:
Published on the  Journal of World-Systems Research, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, in 2008.
Reviewed by: Fetsum Berhane

The author, Dr Niels Stephan Cato Hahn has worked with foreign aid programmes in Tanzania, and got many years of experience from war zones, in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia/Ogaden, Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan/Darfur, where he coordinated humanitarian programmes for Médecins Sans Frontiers.

Based on his practical experience, Niels has developed a special interest in Western military intervention strategies and how modern war propaganda shapes journalism and academia. His main research is focused on Liberia and the West African region.

The study focuses on the Pan-African resistance to the imposition of neo-liberalism by the western imperial powers and begins it’s narrative by describing neo-liberalism in a fashion which clearly shows the author is not a fan of the ideology and his intention to make that clear. The author defines neo-liberalism as:

“The grand political and economic project of our time that since the early 1980s has had a tremendous effect on most people around the world. It penetrates private homes through the dominant media, shapes working environments in form of fierce competition and anti-labor legislation, increases the gap between rich and poor and determines the architectural design of public and private spaces in form of gated communities and increased surveillance systems.”

The author traces the roots of the neo-liberalism agenda to the Davos World Economic forum meetings that were the launch pads of the policy known as “The Washington Consensus”, which was the result of convergence of policies of western financial and monetary institutions. The author names the U.S. treasury and European Central bank as the architects’ o this “Consensus” in addition to the usual suspects, the WB, IMF and the WTO showing the bigger picture of neo-liberalism as part of a western hegemonic project, “which concentrates power and wealth in local and trans-national elite groups around the world by transferring state owned assets to private people and Trans-National Corporations”.

The author aims “to analyze from a historical perspective, the neoliberal project in order to understand the ideology and powers behind it” which it says remain obscure and largely unknown outside the academic environment and the business community.

The main argument of the study is that this trans-atlantic agenda which dominated developing countries for the past three decades “has more to do with Western economic and political interests, than with a real intention to reduce poverty and ensure a sustainable development.”

The study is organized into three chapters that illustrate the historical context of neoliberalism, “the international development agenda” and “neoliberal imperialism and resistance in practice”. With ten diverse topics, the author tries to show every angle and tactics of neo-liberalism under interesting topics such as new institutions and democracy, new imperialism, coercive imposition of neoliberal practice… and an empirical analysis of Liberia’s struggle in “Liberia-challenging US imperialism”.

I leave you with notable extracts, a recommendation to read the study and a off-course a download link at the bottom.

On the fact that neo-liberalism is a neocolonial project, the author cites Nkrumah’s solution for a successful Pan-African resistance.

Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah (1965), who was overthrown in a coup in 1966, endorsed by the US (US State Dep. 2006), stated that neo-colonialism is the worst form of imperialism, because those who exercise it have little or no responsibility. In extreme cases the imperial powers will intervene directly with their own military, but most commonly neo-colonialism is exercised through economic and monetary means, establishing control over foreign exchange through the imposition of a banking system controlled by the imperial power (Nkrumah 1965).

For Nkrumah, African Unity was considered to be the first requisite for destroying neo-colonialism (Nkrumah 1973), a goal also reflected in the charter of the Organization of African Unity, which states that the OAU members are:
“Determined to safeguard and consolidate the hard-won independence as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity…and to fight against neo-colonialism in all its forms (Charter of OAU 1963: Preamble).”

In giving an illustrative account of imposition of neoliberalism the author takes us to Ivory Coast and Liberia

The depiction of African conflicts as being rooted in local barbarianism, greed, ethnicity and religion are being promoted by influential scholars such as Kaplan (1994) and Huntington (1993) and may in the West, depoliticize the conflicts and displace the notions of imperialism, neo-colonialism and proxy wars.

In 2003 the Government of Ivory Coast started to take control of the water, electricity, telecoms, marine and air transport, and established closer ties to China. This threatened French interests and ownership, and France deployed military troops in Abidjan in 2003. French control of the economic capital was resisted by pan-African pro-government movements who took the streets in anti-French demonstrations.

Liberia has for more than a century been ruled by a small elite of Americo-Liberians with close ties to the US. In 1972 the President Tolbert challenged US long term hegemony in Liberia by establishing diplomatic relations with the USSR,… supporting the independence war in Rhodesia and denying US to use Liberia for a military rapid deployment unit. Subsequently, Tolbert and 13 ministers were murdered in a military coup in 1980 lead by Samuel Doe and supported covertly by US.

The US officially supported the Doe regime but half a decade later the relationship between President Doe and the US declines. In 1985 Charles Taylor ‘escaped’ from a maximum security prison in Boston, and at the end of 1989 Taylor’s NPFL invaded Liberia, in close coordination with the US embassy in Monrovia.

Liberia is as an attractive area for oil exploration.. The U.S. corporation Halliburton was denied off shore oil drilling concessions by President Taylor, who publicly stated that “Liberia is not for sale” because the contract was not favorable for Liberia. The tensions between the government of Liberia and the US were reflected in a statement from the US ambassador: “Taylor has to go”.

Taylor broke with the US in the early 1990s. …the relationship between the US and the government of Liberia deteriorated further, and after early 1999 the US indirectly supported the rebel group LURD by supplying arms and military training to Guinea, which hosted the rebels.

In debunking the neo-liberal myth “state is inefficient and corrupt and private corporations are efficient and less corrupt”

The decades of state-led development provided the fastest economic growth in modern history from 1960 to 1980. In these decades the state protected infant industries and local markets through regulations, subsidies and import/export tariffs, and redistributed resources through taxes.

…Without substantial historical evidence, the mantra-like claim of neoliberalism is continually repeated: that the state is inefficient and corrupt and that private corporations are efficient and less corrupt . Neoliberal policies range from fiscal austerity, privatization and liberalization to decentralization, deregulation and anti-labor legislation, and are naturalized through the mantra of globalization as ‘the only game in town”, known as the “Washington Consensus”.

The author postulates neoliberal policy impositions as deliberately “Kicking the ladder” on weak states

Insisting that weaker states adopt policies that are opposite to those, which according to historical evidence lead to industrial development, does not make sense at all. The only explanation, as Chang (2003) argues, is that the strong states are deliberately ‘kicking away the ladder’ or as List puts it:

“it is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others the means of climbing up after him.”

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Categories
Articles Ethiopia featured History

True unity requires acknowledging historical injustice

( Fetsum Berhane)

While the rest of the world was bracing for the festivities of Christmas and the coming New Year, Ethiopians spent the past month engaged in a heated debate about a personality that has been dead long ago, 100 years to be precise.

The drama begins when the far-right Semayawi Party announced its plans to commemorate a controversial King, Menelik II, who is loathed by the majority of Ethiopia’s 80+ ethnic groups for his brutal unification campaign. Many found it distasteful but were not surprised due to the party’s track record and the fact that its advisor is Tadios Tantu, a person who wrote more than 150 opinion pieces defending Hitler and advocating for a repeat of the Holocaust to solve Ethiopia’s problems.

And then Teddy Afro, a top musical celebrity who a few years earlier served two years for a hit-and-run felony entered the scene. He gave an interview for ‘Enqu’ magazine’s special edition fully dedicated to the king in which he described Menelik’s unification campaign as a “holy war”. Teddy’s musical career was already controversial due to the political tinges of his songs and selective glorifying of past emperors from the Shoan elite that reigned for a century before its fall in 1991. The singer earned contempt among Tigreans after his unflattering characterization of their bloody struggle for equality that cost them more than hundred thousand lives. Still the blow-back to the singer was insignificant until his recent characterization of Menelik’s campaign as “holy war” in his interview that went far as comparing him with Christ. That struck a nerve among many especially the Oromo community who suffered the most during the reign of the king.

Adding flair to the whole drama, Bedele Beer, a local brand of Heiniken, announced a musical tour of Oromia cities with the singer dubbed “Journey of Love”, in an remarkable feat of hypocrisy. That was welcomed by people as it provided an opportunity to express their dismay giving birth to the “Boycott Bedele” campaign on facebook and twitter even attracting the attention of the Dutch media. The campaign crossed partisan borders and brought the cooperation of pundits and people from different ethnic groups, especially Oromo and Tigrean, in an unprecedented show of collective outrage. And it culminated in the cancelation of the tour making it the first bipartisan successful social media campaign in Ethiopia.

Don’t be misguided Ethiopians do not enjoy dwelling on the past amidst their relentless struggle to create an African economic miracle but this is what happens when a nation fails to confront its ugly past and get past it for so long.

In his eulogy at Nelson Mandela’s memorial President Obama said, “Reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past” mirroring one of famous quotes of Mandela, “we forgive but not forgotten”. It appears that increasingly historical matters have become subjects of considerable political significance in today’s world. The necessity of history is widely understood in terms of remembering and thus avoiding repetition of past mistakes: “Never forget. Never Again,” remains the pledge of Holocaust survivors who now face historical revisionists claiming that Hitler’s Final Solution never happened.

However, the world often experiences celebrities making offensive speech and insensitive commemoration of infamous historical figures by states and political parties. In West Germany, the president of parliament was forced to resign after commenting, on the eve of 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, “Wasn’t he (Hitler) chosen by Providence, a Fuhrer such as is given to a people only once in a thousand years?” In the U.S., controversy overshadowed the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage to “the New World”. And recently, footballer Nicolas Anelka celebrated his goal by displaying the anti-Semitic ‘quenelle’ salute (an ‘inverted Nazi salute’), a perfect example of insensitive celebrity making offensive public speech.

History won’t rift us apart, willed oblivion does

Here at home, some Ethiopians at the far right of the political spectrum display insensitivity and are engaged in deliberate suppression of memory framing the injustice as a historical accident, an outlying event, so atypical as not to be worth mentioning, with no implications for the present one.

Many Ethiopians however, choose oblivion for a different reason. Whenever a discussion about our darker history arise, many object to the agenda fearing it results in weakening our unity or it’s relevance. The deficit of historical thinking, the high dosage of ultra nationalist propaganda of past regimes and the hush-hush culture that allows discussing our glorious past have all served to make the search for a shared communicable past contentious. This view point assumes we can erase our dark history by not discussing it and build unity based only on the glorious part of history, however non-inclusive it can be. This view is compatible with our hush-hush culture giving it adherence even among the new elite. A considerable mass amnesia is required if we are to disregard past generations’ injustices and vendettas without discourse.

But why should an injustice that occurred long ago, by people now dead against people, who are also dead, be relevant today?

At the core of many conflicts in the world lies some kind of historical grievance. Some of these claims are dubious but many are not. Sociological studies show that violence, fear and hatred during a war result in construction of myths and stereotypes to explain one’s own or some other group’s behavior – and in so doing justify whatever horrid atrocities committed. After the war, the societal and cultural fabric is inundated with these beliefs. And time alone fails to undo these beliefs, they linger for generations. They can be seen in how history is described, how the language is used, in education, the media, arts etc. In order to live in harmony, these beliefs must be examined and transformed. The changing of stereotyped beliefs is a vital step in the process of reconciliation. Inquiring history, both the good and the bad, helps us understand the nature of various kinds of inequalities that persist today and maybe also what we can do about them.

Prof. Neumann, a German historian who made a research on the issue refutes the desire to rinse a society’s memory, to dismiss an unpleasant past as merely a ‘black armband view of history’. He calls them ‘ghosts’, the leftovers of past injustices haunting present-day societies, sometimes with devastating effects on descendants of both victims and perpetrators. According to his research, these ghosts become really important when it concerns instances of historical injustice that have not been resolved. And he says, “Irrespective of whether we were personally responsible for particular injustices, we need to take responsibility for how we remember the past. And maybe that means trying to identify means whereby we can live with these ghosts rather than trying to pretend they don’t exist, or that it’s not worth the trouble to remember difficult and bothersome pasts.”

In his book ‘Superseding historical injustice’ Jeremy Waldron puts it eloquently as “To neglect the historical record is to do violence to this identity and thus to the community that it sustains. And since communities help generate a deeper sense of identity for the individuals they comprise, neglecting or expunging the historical record is a way of undermining and insulting individuals as well.” Hence, dealing with the nature of historical injustice is often an essential feature of political life.

If someone feels they haven’t particularly benefited from being a member of a nation, or they (or their ancestors) were coercively assimilated into it, there may be strong reasons not to value his membership into that nation and to reject being part of it. All Ethiopians, especially those of privileged ethnic background who believe that they should not feel responsible for the injustice of their forebears should consider giving acknowledgement to historical injustices since one cannot claim inheritance of only the pleasant parts of history and that unpleasant legacy and stands in a way of building a harmonious society.

History matters and it would be morally callous to simply dismiss every historical injustice as superseded by the passage of time. Off-course not all historic injustices matter because not all of them feature in our shared history and collective memory in the same way. And collective memory can be manipulated to terrible effects, as we have witnessed. However, that doesn’t mean the best strategy is simply to ignore claims of historical injustice since historical injustices matter for the determination of justice in the present.

National reconciliation is not a quick fix

The actions we can take to undo past injustices can be in the form of acknowledgment or official commemorations meant to show shared pain and a reminder so as to prevent recurrence of past errors. Historical injustice is a heavy burden on a society with no expiration date if it has not received due recognition and condemnation. Acknowledgment of it and refrain from glorification (if not condemnation) of loathed historical figures contribute to an ideal of democratic inclusion, which means to treat each other equally and respectfully.

The historical injustice against many ethnicities in Ethiopia has remained in the psych of our nation–and with that we are entering the 21st century. We do not want to be slaves to the past–however freedom resides in the nation’s recognition of its past. So we should take historical injustice seriously as recognition of it will serve advance peace and harmony.

We should understand that reconciliation is not an act of forgetting historical injustice rather a societal process that implicates mutual acknowledgment of past suffering and the altering of negative attitudes and behavior into productive relationships toward societal harmony and off course, true unity.

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*The author Fetsum Berhane is a blogger on this blog.

Categories
Ethiopia featured Multimedia News

Tedros ‘depressed’ by Saudi abuse of Ethiopians[full text]

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom (PhD) made an emotional speech about the suffering of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia during the 3rd International Conference on Family Planning Conference held in Addis Ababa last week.

Here is Dr. Tedros’s speech transcribed by blogger Fetsum Berhane.

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As you know, from Saudi Arabia, you know, although it is not deporting just Ethiopians only, we know, it is deporting other citizens also which they call illegal. And from Ethiopia’s side, three were killed during the crackdown and not only that, thousands are in camps. We are trying to make it as smooth as possible because Saudi Arabia says they are “illegals”, we don’t mind, they have home to come.

And we have already started the operation and our command post is working well. We have already received thousands, we are expecting tens of thousands and I would like to assure you that we are ready to receive our fellow citizens home.

I had the last 10 days, because in family planning, as we have been saying, we care for girls and women. I had calls straight from the camps, from women who are crying for help. There is nothing moving than that.

I am so sad and really depressed. That’s why I was going to come here and actually ask Dr. kesete excuse because it is almost around the clock crisis management since this issue started. But in the name of global solidarity, even if we are going to deport illegals, we can do it smoothly because this is not a war situation. It is, maybe accepted, when nations are at war, to deport like this, in a very rapid fashion, then people may understand, but not in a peace time situation.

We could have arranged it together to make a smooth transfer because as i said earlier, we are ready to have our citizens. So i am sorry to start with this, it is something that has been bugging me for some time now.

Off course we have been working a lot on long term and short term solutions for long time in Ethiopia now, because there are structural problems that we need to address, to solve the problem once and for all. And you know Ethiopia is making progress and growing in double digits, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we know we can make it, and we know we can eliminate poverty. We are in the right direction but still we believe in global solidarity. But we never expected that this would happen.

For those who don’t know, i will share you one thing. When Prophet Mohammed was being chased immediately after he started Islam, a great religion, he sent his followers, the Shaba’s, to Ethiopia. He sent his followers, the Shaba’s, to Ethiopia. According to history from the muslin community, they were the first refugees who came to Ethiopia who were sheltered and who lived here peacefully until the end of their life. Their cemetery still actually can be found in northern Ethiopia, in Tigrai. You can find it there; i have visited it myself because we consider that as our treasure and the emperor then received them well. and not only that, when the authorities at the time came to chase those who has asked refuge in Ethiopia, the followers of Prophet Mohammed, our emperor refused to give away those refugees who asked refuge in Ethiopia.

I think, for global solidarity, that was the gesture that was done more than a millennium and half ago, 1400 something i think. So that should be remembered. There is always a time when you need help, and when you can support. You need help one day, you may support another day. We were on the supporters end yesterday, maybe we are on the receiving end today, and that is actually the reality in our world. That is why we need to join hands, in order to make this world a better place. We don’t have excuses. Helping each other is not, is not, is not something that is really difficult.

So, sorry i will stop here, but i am glad to share what i feel, to share with you my disappointment, to share with you how the last 10 days have been the most tragic in my life, which we never expected, a complete surprise. But i am still hopeful because i still believe people can come back to their senses and go for global solidarity.

Then, in order not to disrespect you, my former colleagues and current colleagues, despite my sadness, i came to be with you. But it is a lesson for us, it is a big lesson, but we are hopeful that we will have a better world, and together we can do it.

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You may watch the video here:

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZTLoacM70Y]

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Categories
Addis Ababa Africa - General Aid and Loan Al-Shabaab Cabinet Members Economy & Business Election EPRDF Leadership Ethiopia featured Meles Zenawi News Post Meles 2012 Security Somalia Uganda

Timeline: PM Hailemariam Desalegne's first 100 days

Ethiopia’s newly elected Prime Minister made 100 days in office on Dec. 28, 2013.

Here is a round up of his public activities.

Note that except the dates & headlines in bold, the rest are are taken from  from news reports of ENA, ERTA, MFA, and other news agencies. (Compiled by Guesh, Melly and Fetsum) 

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December 26 - Hailemariam travelled to Khartoum and Juba - capitals of Sudan and South Sudan

December 26 – Hailemariam travelled to Khartoum and Juba – capitals of Sudan and South Sudan

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is visiting Sudan and South Sudan as part of the efforts to coordinate and facilitate face-to-face discussions between the presidents of the two countries. The aim is to encourage the leaders of the two countries to complete consultations on unresolved outstanding issues including the status of Abyei and the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreement particularly on the details of the 14 miles Temporary Security Zone Arrangement. The Premier arrived in Khartoum Wednesday (December 26) and would be travelling to South Sudan on Thursday (December 27).

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other senior Sudanese government received him on arrival at Khartoum International Airport. Khartoum’s presidential press secretary, Emad Sayed Ahmed, said Prime Minister Hailemariam’s visit “comes in the context of the Ethiopian endeavor to push ahead the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan”.

His travel to the two countries follows an understanding reached last week in Addis Ababa by the two negotiating sides for the two countries. Accordingly, the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) is scheduled to meet on January 13, 2013 to discuss on issues proposed by the discussion held in Addis Ababa last week. There is a broad consensus among partners that facilitating a direct discussion between the presidents of the two countries would pave a way for greater optimism in the outcomes of the upcoming JPSM discussion.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and African Union High-Level Implementation Panel Chairperson, Thabo Mbeki have taken the lead initiative to facilitate the face-to-face discussion between the two leaders.

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December 18 - Hailemariam conferred with Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide

December 18 – Hailemariam conferred with Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide

Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn held discussion on Monday with Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide. During the discussion, Hailemariam said Norway has doubled its cooperation with Ethiopia before a year.

Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide for his part said Ethio-Norway development cooperation would grow in triple in the next two years.

Similarly, Prime Minster Haileamriam held talks same day with Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe.

On the occasion, Hailemariam said Ethiopia is capable of implementing development projects that center the public.

Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe for his part said Ethiopia has succeeded in reducing HIV infection by 90 percent over the past years.

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December 14 - Hailemariam welcomed the new AU Commission Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma

December 14 – Hailemariam welcomed the new AU Commission Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to hasten the integration of African economy. The premier welcomed AU Commission Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma at the national palace on Wednesday.

The chairperson said: “Ethiopia was like home away from home.” She said in the next 4 years the African Union would work to efficiently exploit human resource, in which the continent is rich in, and asked all Africans to join hands. She added, Africa is now known for its rising development, which is a good opportunity for fast tracking future development of the continent.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn responded Ethiopia as usual plays its role to get the continent’s development done as it remains a collective effort for the continent.

On the occasion Addis Ababa City Mayor Kuma Demeksa handed over symbolic keys of the city to Dr. Dlamini Zuma.

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December 14 - Hailemariam Desalegn met ambassadors of EU member countries

December 14 – Hailemariam Desalegn met ambassadors of EU member countries

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met ambassadors of EU member countries to see ways of strengthening cooperation in Socio-economic, good governance and regional as well as international affairs.

The ambassadors reiterate EU’s commitment to strengthen bilateral ties. They say EU is eager to provide technical assistance to further spur the development.

PM Hailemariam told the ambassadors that Ethiopia values its relations with EU as their contributions to the changes going on in Ethiopia are influential.

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December - 5 Hailemariam met the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

December – 5 Hailemariam met the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Tuesday held discussions with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in Doha, Qatar.

Hailemariam is in Qatar attending the Doha Climate Change Conference. The two leaders discussed ways of further strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.

Following the resumption of relations between Ethiopia and Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, made a two-day visit to Ethiopia last month.

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December 5 - Hailemariam addressed the Doha Climate Forum

December 5 – Hailemariam addressed the Doha Climate Forum

Africa’s demand on Doha Climate Forum is implementation of previous agreements, Prime Minister Hialemariam Desalegn says. Hailemariam said Africa’s interest is to see extension of the Kyoto Protocol as well as realization of pledged funds. Qatar is the second Arab state and the first from the Gulf to host the UN climate talks. The Forum has been proceeding for a week and the leaders meeting was kicked off on Monday.

Hailemariam who is participating in the Forum speaks Africa’s expectation from the Doha Climate Forum. “We are not expecting new decisions from Doha. We are going to push especially on powerful countries to implement previous decisions. The climate financing fund has been established but it has no enough funds. So, we want them to effect the pledge they have made and find ways of making Africa beneficiary from it. The other issue to be raised is about the Kyoto Protocol. We are asking for its extension”, he said.

The Kyoto Protocol which was adopted in 1977 and entered into force in 2005 binds most developing nations to cut emissions by at least 5.2 percent for the period from 2008 to 2012. Experts say the Protocol is critical in reaching a long term cooperative action by 2015.There have been continued negotiations over extension of the Kyoto Protocol though there has not been major breakthrough. The conference of parties (Cop) meeting held in Durban last year decided to establish a Green Climate Fund to provide finance to developing nations. The Doha talks would now focus on looking for climate financing of $100 billion in 2020. The second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol is set to begin on January 1, 2013 and end on 31December 2017 or 31 December 2020.

 

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Hailemarian voting during the appointement of additional Deputy Prime Ministers

November 29 – Hailemariam appointed two more Deputy PMs and Ministers

The House of Peoples’ Representatives here on Thursday approved the appointment of two deputy prime ministers and also foreign affairs, trade and health ministers. Accordingly, the House appointed Muktar Kedir as good governance reform sector coordinator with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister and also Minister of Civil Service. Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, who is also Minister of Communication and Information Technology is named as coordinator of finance and economic sector with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister. The appointment for the first time enabled Ethiopia to have three Deputy Prime Ministers including Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Demeke Mekonnen. The House has also approved the appointment of Dr. Tedros Adhanom as Foreign Affairs Minister. Kebede Chane and Dr. Keseteberhan Admasu are also named as Ministers of Trade and Health respectively. Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said that the appointment was made taking into consideration educational background, competence and work experience of the appointees. Hailemariam said it will also enable the country to boost its growth and further put into practice the succession plan. The House also referred three draft bills to pertinent standing committees for further scrutiny.

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PM Hailemariam with a delegation led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia

November 28 – PM Hailemariam met a Somalia delegation led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to support the ongoing efforts to maintain peace and also reconstruction of different institutions in Somalia. Hailemariam here Wednesday discussed with a delegation led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia on bilateral issues. The Premier said at a joint press conference that the current situation in Somalia is hopeful towards stability since the new elections were held. Hailemariam said formation of the parliament and cabinet in Somalia indicate that the situation is getting improved. He said Ethiopia is willing to provide the necessary assistance to Somalia in its efforts to reconstruct institutions beyond helping it to maintain peace and security. Ethiopia will also send agricultural experts to Somalia to support the agriculture sector as the situation is getting improved in that country. Hailemariam said Ethiopia will provide support to Somalia in civil service reform, training professionals and reconstruct institutions. He also expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to further strengthen overall assistance to Somalia to maintain sustainable peace and stability. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on his part lauded Ethiopia’s support to Somalia since the 1990s. The President also appreciated Ethiopia’s role in building peace and stability in Somalia since the downfall of the Siad Barre administration. He said Ethiopia exerted maximum efforts towards stability of Somalia and maintain peace in the Horn and East Africa region. The President also commended Ethiopia on behalf of his government for the support being provided to Somalis living here. He said efforts are underway to reconstruct towns freed from al-Shabaab and re-establish socio-economic activities. The President said that his government will strengthen activities in building federal system in Somalia. The president said that his government gives prime attention to ensuring peace and stability in Somalia. Ethiopia’s contribution in building the defense force and also in the fight against al-Shabaab is indispensable.

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Hailemariam met a Brazilian delegation led by frm. Pres. Lula da Silva

November 21 – Hailemariam met a Brazilian delegation led by frm. Pres. Lula da Silva

(November 21/2012) Former President of Brazil Lula da Silva called on Ethiopia to provide support towards success of the international conference on African Food Security to be held here in March 2013. Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn here Wednesday held talks with a 12-member delegation led by Lula da Silva. Lula da Silva on the occasion said that Ethiopia is one of the countries, which are registering rapid economic growth in the efforts to ensure food security in Africa and said that the country is considered as model in this regard. FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva told journalists after the discussion that leaders of Ethiopia and Brazil have agreed for Brazilian companies to invest in Ethiopia in the agriculture, energy and mines sectors. Ethiopia and Brazil have good diplomatic relation and the delegation discussed with PM Hailemariam to further boost existing relation between the two countries. PM Hailemariam on his part expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to provide support towards success of the conference. The Premier said the conference will be a forum for Brazil to share its experiences , according to the Director-General for the Americas with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie.

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November 19 - Hailemariam met Indian investors

November 19 – Hailemariam met Indian investors

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said Ethiopia will provide the necessary support to Indian investors. While discussing with Indian business delegation here Monday, Hailemariam said activities will be carried out to boost trade ties with India from the current 4.5 billion USD to 10 billion USD at the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan period. Hailemariam said efforts will be exerted to further enhance existing favorable situation to expand investment in Ethiopia. Trade ties will be enhanced in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, hotel, construction materials and IT, among others, he said. Delegation Head, President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) , R V Kanoria on his part expressed desire of Indian investors to engage in the industry sector in Ethiopia.

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November 19 - Hailemariam met Foreign Minister of Palestine Dr. Riyad Al Malki

November 19 – Hailemariam met Foreign Minister of Palestine Dr. Riyad Al Malki

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn expressed Ethiopia’s desire to find peaceful solution to the conflict between Palestine and Israel. While holding talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine Dr. Riyad Al Malki here Monday, Hailemariam said Ethiopia supports ongoing efforts to bring about peace between Palestine and Israel. He said Ethiopia supports Palestine’s demand for self-determination. The Palestinian Minister told journalists after the discussion that Palestine urges the international community to impose seize fire between Palestine and Israel.

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November 18 - Hailemariam awards public, private employees for contribution to the Renaisance Dam

November 18 – Hailemariam awards public, private employees for contribution to the Renaisance Dam

The Government of Ethiopia on Saturday awarded certificate and trophy to public and private employees to recognize their contribution to the success of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the occasion said it is important to give recognition to the efforts of the public and private employees for the construction of the Dam. The Government has been investing on huge projects with a view to expand infrastructure in the country, he said, adding, the construction of the Dam is one of these huge projects being undertaken by the Government. He said the construction of the Dam will realize the dream of Ethiopians to the equal utilization of the Nile. More than 27 government institutes, regional administrations and pensioners receive the certificate from PM Hailemariam and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen.

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November 18 - Hailemariam confers with Turkish, Iranian Foreign Ministers

November 18 – Hailemariam confers with Turkish, Iranian Foreign Ministers

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn here on Friday conferred with Turkish and Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministers on bilateral issues. Accordingly, the Premiers first held talks with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu on bilateral issues. After the discussion the Minister told journalists that the bilateral cooperation between the two countries is getting momentum, particularly in trade and investment. Currently, 330 Turkish companies with a combined capital of more than 1.8 billion US dollars are engaged in Ethiopia, he said. According to the Minister, the two parties discussed on ways of creating free trade zone and issuance of free visa between the two countries. During the discussion PM Hailemariam said the bilateral cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened. He said now it is difficult to reply to the request made by Turkey to create free trade zone, as Ethiopia is on the process to accede to WTO. The other request from Turkey, which is issuance of free visa with a view to facilitate trade relation between the two countries he said needs some study, according to a high level official who attend the meeting. Similarly, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn here on Friday conferred with Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ali Akbar Saleh on bilateral issues and Horn of Africa. The Minister during the discussion said that his country is keen to boost the bilateral relation with Ethiopia. The two parties agreed that the 6th meeting of the Ethio-Iran Joint Ministerial Commission to be held in Tehran. The Minister came to Ethiopia to extend his government’s condolence over death of late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

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November 15 - Hailemariam conferred with Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General

November 15 – Hailemariam conferred with Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn here on Wednesday conferred with Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Africa, Maged Abdelaziz on MDGs, post 2015 agendas as well as peace and security issues. The Premier on the occasion said Ethiopia is working hard to boost its economy. He said that the country is contributing to maintain peace and stability in Africa, according to a high level official, who attended the meeting. After the discussion, the Special Advisor told journalists that the UN will continue to support Ethiopia and Africa, particularly in the economic and political sectors. He lauded Ethiopia’s role in building peace in Africa and affirmed UN’s commitment to support efforts of the country towards peace building.

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November 15 - Hailemariam held talks with a Senior Advisor to Sudanese President

November 15 – Hailemariam held talks with a Senior Advisor to Sudanese President

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn here on Wednesday held talks with Dr. Nafe’ Ali Nafe’, Senior Advisor to Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir on various issues. The discussion was mainly on issues that need to be settled between Sudan and South Sudan, in particular on the future of Abyei, Kordofan and Blue Nile State. The Premier on the occasion said that he will continue discussion with the Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir Mayardit respectively to find solution to the issue, according to a higher level official, who attend the meeting.

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November 13 - Hailemariam met with Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukia Amano

November 13 – Hailemariam met with Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn expressed Ethiopia’s commitment to make use of nuclear only for peaceful purposes. The Premier here Tuesday held talks with Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukia Amano on ways to work in collaboration in tse tse fly eradication, control of cancer and water management. Hailemariam on the occasion confirmed Ethiopia’s readiness to work in collaboration with the Agency towards the same purpose. The premier called on the agency to further strengthen support to eradicate tse tse fly making use of integrated technology. He also urged the agency to further strengthen cooperation in water management , ground water development and in the ongoing efforts of the country to prevent cancer, according to Science and Technology Minister Dessie Dalke, who attended the discussion. The director, who visited Kaliti Tsetse Rearing and Irradiation project Centre, on his part said cooperation of the public is significant towards success of such a big project. Amano lauded commitment of the Ethiopian government to eradicate tse tse fly. He said the Agency will further strengthen the necessary technical support to the ongoing efforts to eradicate tse tse fly and control cancer in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has carried out successful activities to eradicate tse tse fly and control cancer and this is exemplary to other African countries, the director said. The Agency is providing support to the project since 1997.

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Hailemariam at the 3rd nationwide award ceremony for top researchers, students and innovators

November 13 – Hailemariam awarded top researchers, students and innovators

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said the government will give prime attention to establishment of centers enabling to promote job creation in technical and vocational education training institutes and also universities. Speaking at the 3rd nationwide award ceremony for top researchers, students and innovators here Tuesday, Hailemariam said the government has given due attention to job creation as it is a factor to decide the future of the country. The Premier said the award enables to increase interest among students to study science and mathematics. He said it also helps instructors to give attention to science and mathematics. Science and Technology Minister Dessie Dalke on his part said a national science and technology council is set up to monitor the country’s science, technology and innovation policy and strategy. The Minister said members of the council headed by higher level government executives are drawn from higher learning institutions, prominent figures and representatives of manufacturing and service providing institutions, among others. He said this shows prime attention given by the government towards development of science and technology. More than 200 students and instructors, researchers and innovators, among others, received awards on the occasion. Some 39 of them are females.

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November 12 - Hailemariam met with United Kingdom's parliament delegation

November 12 – Hailemariam met with United Kingdom’s parliament delegation

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said existing development cooperation between Ethiopia and the UK will further be strengthened in all sectors. While discussing with a UK parliament delegation here Monday, Hailemariam said Ethiopia and the UK are working closely on issues related to peace and security. The Premier said Ethiopia is one of the leading beneficiaries from the existing development cooperation with UK, which helps the country to achieve its Growth and Transformation Plan. In particular business companies of the UK are engaged in different activities in Ethiopia, he said, adding, the two countries will further enhance existing cooperation in the development and security sectors. Ethio-UK Friendship Committee Chair Laurence Robertson also said the development cooperation of the UK is being implemented properly in Ethiopia. He said the discussion with the Premier was on ways to further continue the existing ongong development cooperation between the two countries. The nine-member delegation is here for a four-day working visit. The delegation also includes members from the UK business firms, according to a higher level official of the foreign affairs ministry.

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November 8 - Hailemariam met with President of the Forum Federations Rupak Chattopadhyay

November 8 – Hailemariam met with President of the Forum Federations Rupak Chattopadhyay

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said Ethiopia will further continue support to the Forum of Federation. While discussing with President of the Federation Rupak Chattopadhyay here Wednesday Hailemariam said the country will further strengthen building ongoing federal system, which enables to ensure equality of the people. He said Ethiopia will share its best experiences with neghbouring countries in building such system. Hailemariam also expressed readiness of the country to further continue cooperation with the forum , according to head of the office of the House of Federation, Habtamu Nini. Rupak Chattopadhyay on his part told journalists that the forum is keen to work in collaboration with Ethiopia. The president said Ethiopia is exemplary not only for Africa but also for the world in its activities to build a federal democratic system, which helped it to register rapid economic growth. The discussion with the Premier was successful, he said. The 5th international conference on federalism was held here two years ago. Members of the forum include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico and Switzerland.

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November 7 - Hailemariam met U.S Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman

November 7 – Hailemariam met U.S Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn here on Wednesday held talks with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman on bilateral issues. The Premier on the occasion said Ethiopia is keen to further strengthen the existing cooperation with the U.S., in particular in the areas of economy, security, human rights and democracy. He said Ethiopia has gained significant support from the US in such areas. Hailemariam also expressed hope that the Under Secretary’s visit will further boost the cooperation and the development assistance the US provides to Ethiopia, according to a high level official, who attended the meeting. Under Secretary Sherman on her part said the discussion with the Prime Minister was successful. She affirmed that the existing bilateral cooperation between the two countries will continue strengthened.

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November 6 - Hailemariam convened EPRDF Executive Committee

November 6 – Hailemariam convened EPRDF Executive Committee

Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) concludes its regular meeting after discussing various issues. The committee put directions on the preparations of the 9th EPRDF congress to be conducted this Ethiopian year. It also assigned a committee in charge of organizing the congress. EPRDF Secretariat said in a statement that the committee also discussed the upcoming local and Addis Ababa City Council elections and put directions on the activities to be done to make the elections free, fair, and democratic. It said members of the committee exchanged views on the activities to be carried out to help EPRDF win the elections through genuine competition. The meeting also evaluated the moves made to prepare regional states for the successful accomplishment of plans set for this fiscal year, according to the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.

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November 5 - Hailemariam met Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani

November 5 – Hailemariam met Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani

Ethiopia and Qatar signed four agreements that would them enhance their cooperation in various fields here on Monday at the National Palace. After the bilateral discussion held between the two countries high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Dessalegn and Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani,they signed the agreements. The two countries have signed the in the areas of bilateral cooperation, labor, civil aviation, investment, trade, private sector cooperation and agricultural and food security. Briefing journalists, PM Haile-Mariam said Ethiopia and Qatar have agreed to further enhance their cooperation. He said Ethiopia seeks to work closely with Qatar in the area of investment, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure and other sectors. The premier said the two countries have agreed to work closely to ensure peace and stability in the horn of Africa. The Qatari Foreign Affairs and Premier on his part said his country is ready to further consolidate its cooperation with Ethiopia. He said the two countries have agree to their embassies in respective capitals to further enhance the revive cooperation. The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Dina Mufti on his part said the agreements between the two countries would help revamp their tie that has been stranded for the last three years. Separate discussions were held by ministers of agriculture, finance and transport as to how further enhance cooperation in the sectors, Similarly, the Qatari delegation had held discussion with President Girma Woldegiorgis here on Monday at the National Palace. The Premier Haile-Mariam hosted a dinner banquet at the presidential palace in honor of Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, and members of the delegation on Sunday . The banquet was attended by a number of ministers, senior government officials and Arab ambassadors to Ethiopia. The Qatari delegation has arrived here on Sunday for an official working visit to Ethiopia.

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November 2 - Haile-Mariam met UN Special Envoy for Sahel Region Professor Romano Prodi

November 2 – HaileMariam met UN Special Envoy for Sahel Region Professor Romano Prodi

Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Dessalegn said Ethiopia will support UN efforts to ensure peace and stability in Sahel region. While discussing with UN Special Envoy for Sahel Region Professor Romano Prodi here on Friday the premier said Ethiopia is ready to support any peace initiative to resolve the crisis in Sahel region. The problems in Sahel region is a pressing issue of Africa, he said adding Ethiopia will extend support to AU and ECOWAS peace efforts for the same cause. The premier reaffirmed that Ethiopia will continue playing its role in bringing peace and stability in the continent with UN and AU organizations. After the discussion with the premier, Professor Prodi told journalists that he had fruitful discussion with the premier as to how further Ethiopia could play its significant role in ensuring peace and stability in Africa. He expressed hope that Ethiopia would seize its recognition in the continent to resolve the crisis in West Africa region. Professor Prodi said UN Security Council and European Union have agreed to resolve the crisis in Sahel region in peaceful means.

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November 2 - HaileMariam met IDEA's Secretary General, Vidar Helgesen

November 2 – HaileMariam met IDEA’s Secretary General, Vidar Helgesen

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn Thursday held talks with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) Secretary General, Vidar Helgesen on electoral and democratization issues. On the occasion, the Premier said Ethiopia is keen to work in collaboration with IDEA on electoral issues and on ways to strengthening the democratic system in the country. He said the electoral code of conduct that IDEA prepared during the 2002 EC national and local elections has gained credibility among all parties. The Premier called on the Institute to propose new ideas on electoral and democratization issues in the future. The Secretary General on his part expressed hope that the new administration will follow the footsteps of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He said the new leadership should work hard to strengthen the ongoing activities towards building democracy in the country. The Secretary General has arrived here to attend the three-day conference held on Youth and Democratization in Africa under the theme Lessons Learned and Comparative Experiences.

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October 25 - Hailemariam met EU's Special Representative to the Horn of Africa Alexander Rondos

October 25 – Hailemariam met EU’s Special Representative to the Horn of Africa Alexander Rondos

Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Dessalegn held discussion with the European Union Special Representative to the Horn of Africa Alexander Rondos on the current situation in Somalia on Thursday. The two sides have conferred as to how further enhance the current auspicious security development in that country. The officials have also discussed on the effective implementation of the cooperative peace agreement signed by the two Sudans in Addis Ababa last September. On the occasion, PM Haile-Mariam told the representative that there is ample investment opportunities where European investors can be engaged. He reaffirmed government commitment to extend all the necessary support for interested European investors. The two parties have also discussed as to how the EU will back Ethiopia’s’ efforts in connecting the East African region by power and road infrastructures, according to an official from the ministry of foreign affairs.

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October 24 - Hailemariam conferred with Ethiopian Investors

October 24 – Hailemariam conferred with Ethiopian Investors

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the government will provide the necessary support to investors engaged in the industry sector in a bid to realize the Growth and Transformation Plan and thereby enable the country join the middle economies. The Prime Minister made the remark here on Wednesday while discussing the existing challenges in the sector with Ethiopian investors. The government as always is committed to support the sector and solve the various challenges related to tax and customs, he said. The PM said that the government is aware of the existing problems in the sector related with transportation, logistic and power supply, land as well as port service. Hailemariam affirmed that the government will work to solve these problems step by step. According to him, government is also aware of the illegal activities of some investors engaged in the sector who try to get illegal wealth. Hailemariam on the occasion promised to meet twice a year with the investors with a view to discuss and solve the problems existed in the sector.

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October 13 - Hailemariam addressed the 8th African Development Forum (ADF VIII)

October 13 – Hailemariam addressed the 8th African Development Forum (ADF VIII)

Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Dessalegn said Africa should design anew ways about how to manage and harness the natural resource in order to promote development. The 8th African Development Forum (ADF VIII) is underway here on Tuesday under the theme Governing and Harnessing Natural Resource for African Development. Addressing the Forum the premier said African can and ought to do much in effectively using the resource to meet the challenges including population, climate change and the legitimate demands of its citizens for economic empowerment He said Africa continues exploiting its natural resource in the same way as colonial-era administrations rapaciously extracted resources to prop up their home economies. Hence, he said Africa should focus to add value to its exported natural resources that brings lower earning and unable to back the growth of other sectors of the economy. The Premier said Ethiopia has been taking steps to ensure that natural resources are placed front and center in the development programs. He said Ethiopia has consistently placed a premium on food security and enhancing and modernizing agriculture. Haile-mariam said nation has launched Climate Resilient Green Economic Initiative to ensure that economic development has minimal adverse impact on the environment. He mentioned a case in point that the mining sector has generated revenues more than 500 million US dollars which is still far below the sector’s potential. Haile-mariam praised Botswana for its achievements in turning out its natural resource development for the benefits of its people. He said “Today Botswana is middle income country. For Botswana diamonds turned out not to be a curse, but a blessing.” UN-ECA executive secretary Carlos Lopez on his part said Africa has along way to go in order to harness the full potential of its natural resources and speed up social and economic progress. He said government, private sector, civil society organization and ordinary citizens, stakeholders and workers are responsible to focus on long term development options in the sector. He expressed gratitude for partners who have been very supportive in the effort to establish an African Minerals Development Center. AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Dlamini Zuma on her part said “ we were colonized because of our natural resources ,our current status in the global economy is defined by our natural resource and our future will be determined by the manner in which we utilize our natural resource.” She said the Forum should address the challenges that Africa faces currently with respect to the utilization and management of its natural resources. Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae on his part said, government officials, development partners, UN agencies, NGOs, scholars, civic associations, private sectors and prominent personalities are taking part in the three-day forum. The ADF is a biennial event of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). It was created in 1999 and is a multi-stakeholder platform for debating, discussing and initiating concrete strategies for Africa’s development. It is convened in collaboration with the AUC , the African Development Bank (AfDB), and other partners.

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October 19 - Hailemariam met the presidents of IFRC and ICRC

October 19 – Hailemariam met the presidents of IFRC and ICRC

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn held talks on Friday with the presidents of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Tadateru Konoé and Peter Maurer respectively. While discussing with Ethiopia presidents of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) International Red Cross Society he Hailemariam said Ethiopia seeks to further enhance its relations with the two entities. The Premier told IFRC President Tadateru Konoé that his federation should work closely with Ethiopian Red Cross Society He expressed gratitude for the federation for its support during conflicts and food shortage in the Horn of Africa. IFRC President Tadateru Konoé on his part said the Federation would continue cooperation with Ethiopia. Hailemariam said the Federation is undertaking various activities in Ethiopia. The two sides have also discussed on the situation in Somali and the two Sudans according an official from the ministry of foreign affairs. After the discussion the ICRC President Peter Maurer told journalists that he held constructive discussion with PM Hailemariam. He reaffirmed that ICRC would continue cooperation with the Ethiopian government.

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October 19 - Hailemariam addressed the 2nd annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa

October 19 – Hailemariam addressed the 2nd annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn calls for African common position in the upcoming Doha Climate Change conference as it has been negotiating on the issues over the past years. The premier made the call at the 2nd annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa here on Friday under the theme Advancing Knowledge, Policy and Practice in Climate Change and Development at UN ECA Convention Center. Hailemariam said Ethiopia is ready to share its green economy development experience to sister African countries. Addressing the Conference Premier Dessalegn said African should advance its concerns on climate change with one voice in the upcoming Doha, Katar Climate Change Conference. He said African should seize the conference to advance the cause of Africa at international forums as the late PM Meles Zenawi had done s so. The fund for African green economy development is not closed and should get its compensation for the devastated effect of climate change it faces, he said. He noted that Africa should negotiate on climate change based on substantiated scientific researches. PM Hailemariam said the African Climate Change Policy Center established by the Economic Commission for Africa should capacitate negotiators, countries and institutions in policy and analytical researches. He said focus need to be given for adaptation and mitigation and the conference would facilitate for the upcoming conference in Doha. The premier said Ethiopia would extend all the necessary support in campaigning for Africa in the conference. Ethiopia is willing to share its Climate- Resilient Green Economy and results kindled by the late PM Meles for sister African countries, he said and added, all rounded efforts is underway to attain the carbon free economy by the year 2025. As part of the efforts, he said government is running huge projects on renewable energy resources including water, wind and geothermal. The premier said similarly African nations should be politically committed and solicit social mobilization for the same cause. UN-ECA Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes on his part said Africa is being affected in various ways including increasing of temperature, more frequent and sever incidents of drought and floods, retreat in glaciers and rising sea level. He said sectors like health, energy, water, sanitation will impacted by climate change and require appropriate policy responses. He said the theme of the conference is appropriate as knowledge which is informed by practice to design policies that will promote development in the face of climate change. He said member states and regional institution need to scale up investment in climate change data information and service, chart out clear policy and development that are climate resilient and low carbon intensity. The executive secretary said Africa position in the climate change negotiations continues to be well prepared so as to obtain access to more finance, appropriate technology and capacity development needs. The two-day conference would deliberate on research papers and is expected to adopt African common position on climate change in the upcoming Doha Conference.

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October 18 - Hailemariam conferred with Executive Secretary of ECA, Dr. Carlos Lopes

October 18 – Hailemariam conferred with Executive Secretary of ECA, Dr. Carlos Lopes

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn here on Thursday held talks with the newly appointed Executive Secretary of ECA, Dr. Carlos Lopes in connection with his appointment. The PM on the occasion said Ethiopia will continue to support the activities of the ECA. Dr. Lopes on his part said ECA will further strengthen its efforts for the realization of institutional transformation in the continent. He reiterated ECA’s readiness to support Ethiopia’s ongoing development activities with a view to contribute to the successive economic growth of the country. He said ECA will work to share best practices of the successive economic development registered in Ethiopia to other African countries. Dr. Lopes takes office following the retirement in August 2012 of Abdoulie Janneh who took office as UN Under-Secretary and Executive Secretary of ECA in 2006. Dr Lopes has been serving as Director of the UN System Staff College (UNSSC) at the level of Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) since 2007.

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October 16 - Hailemariam addressed questions by Members of the Parliament

October 16 – Hailemariam addressed questions by Members of the Parliament 

Prime Minister Hailemarima Dessalegn said various measures taken by the government have enabled to reduce the inflation from 40 to 19 percent. The House of People’s Representatives approved on Tuesday the motion of thanks to President Girma Woldegiorgis’s speech made at the opening of the joint session of the House of People’s Representative and House of Federation earlier last week. Expressing government’s stand to the Premier said regulating the finance circulation, enhancing agricultural productivity and modernizing the trade system are the major measures taken to reduce the inflation. He said government has covered the budget deficit by selling treasury bills and limited the gap to 1.2 percent. The Premier said a study that aimed at addressing problems related to wholesale and inflationary problems would be implemented in this budget year. As to the improvement of agricultural productivity last year more than 2.2 million quintals of select seed and fertilizers were distributed among farmers, he said and adding efforts would further be enhanced in this fiscal year. Haile-Mariam said government would continue supplying wheat, edible oil and sugar to low income families with fair prices. He said job creation is the priority concern of the government and efforts would be exerted to create jobs to women and the youth in this budget year. Against to the rumor of shortage of foreign currency, the premier said currently there is no shortage of currency rather the reserve by the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in 2004 E.C. has surpassed the previous year by 12.5 percent. As to the effort to promote the culture of saving, government has aspired to increase saving to 15 from 6 percent of the GDP, he said and adding the saving has reached nine percent. Expanding micro-finance institutions and banks to the district level has enabled to enhance saving by 35 percent, he said and adding government will take various measures to foster the culture of saving thereby financing ongoing huge development projects. Haile-mariam said the construction of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam is well in progress as per the schedule and 11.4 percent of the project has been completed. He said government has signed agreements with China, Japan and South Korean governments for the construction of railway projects. Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway project has already been launched last June. To address the problem with telecom quality service installation of wave transmission equipments on tall buildings in the metropolis and fiber optic on poles will be carried out, he said. The premier said the public should protect the damage in power transmission lines that causes power interruption. He said government would continue in implementing various packages to ensure education quality that has resulted in commendable achievements over the past years. Despite relentless efforts of the government to ensure democracy and good governance, there are still public grievances in some public offices, he said and noted much more effort should be exerted by all actors including political parties and the public. He said EPRDF would take the lead to address public grievances and urged members of the Front to play their role in mobilizing the public towards this endeavor. The Premier said the government would work closely with the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to make the upcoming local election fair and democratic.

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October 15 - Hailemariam met African Union Chairperson and Beninese President, Bony Yayu

October 15 – Hailemariam met African Union Chairperson and Beninese President, Bony Yayu

      Addis Ababa October 15/2012 Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Dessalegn said the relation between Ethiopia and Benin will further be strengthened. While discussing with the current African Union Chairperson (AUC) and Beninese President, Bony Yayu here on Monday, PM Haile-Mariam said the late PM Meles Zenawi has carried out commendable tasks to help prevail peace and stability in Africa. He said Ethiopia is proud of the late PM Meles who has played significant role to advance the agendas of Africa. PM Haile-Mariam said he is interested to realize peace and development in Africa and will materialize these objectives by closely following the footsteps of the late PM Meles. According to him, the launching of Ethiopian Airlines flight to Benin will help further intensify people to people relation between the two countries. The president on his part said he is confident that the ties of the two countries will enjoy amicable relation as kindled by PM Meles. His invitation extended to PM Haile-Mariam to pay a visit to his country with a view to strengthening the relation of Ethiopia and Benin has been accepted, he said.

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October 8 - Hailemariam went to Uganda

October 8 – Hailemariam went to Uganda

A delegation led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on Monday left for Uganda to attend on the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Independence of that country to be held on Tuesday. The delegation left for Kampala as per the invitation of President Yuweri Musevini. Uganda gets its independence from the British colonial rule in 1962.

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October 6 - Hailemariam discussed with UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker

October 6 – Hailemariam discussed with UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker

UK companies expressed their readiness to transfer technology to Ethiopia in its effort to build green economy development. Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn held discussion with UK delegation led by UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker here on Friday. On the occasion, Minister Barker said his country would closely work with the Ethiopian government in its plan to build carbon free economy by the year 2025. He said UK companies have reputable experience in developing renewable energy resource including wind, geothermal and solar sources. Ethiopia has immense renewable energy resources and is the leading country in Eastern Africa to launch green economic development, he said. PM Hailemariam on the occasion said UK companies have ample opportunities to take part in the country’s green economy development endeavor. He said government is ready to facilitate ways for the UK companies to participate in the sector. While here, the delegation held discussions with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Federal Environmental Protection Authority.

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October 04 - Hailemariam met Germany's parliamentary delegation head, Dagmar Wehrl

October 04 – Hailemariam met Germany’s parliamentary delegation head, Dagmar Wehrl

Germany will continue to support Ethiopia’s efforts in renewable energy development, education and realization of MDGs, German Parliamentary delegation said. After discussing with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn here on Thursday delegation head, Dagmar Wehrl said Germany will also support Ethiopia’s good governance and democracy building activities. She said it is Germany’s wish that Ethiopia will strengthen its peace building activities in the Horn of Africa. PM Hailemariam on his part asked Germany to strengthen the support to the renewable energy and green economy development activities of Ethiopia. The delegation is here to visit the development projects being undertaken with the support of German Government from 2 to 6 October 2012.

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October 04 - PM Hailemariam met Russian President Special Representative, Mikhail V. Margelov

October 04 – PM Hailemariam met Russian President Special Representative, Mikhail V. Margelov

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn here on Thursday held talks with Special Representative of the President of Russian Federation on Cooperation with African Countries, Mikhail V. Margelov. The PM on the occasion said Ethiopia is keen to further strengthen the existing bilateral relation with Russian Federation. He said it is Ethiopia’s desire that the cooperation with Russia will be mainly on trade, investment, railway construction, human resource development and mining among others. Hailemariam said the two countries have similar stand on the peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, especially in Mali and Congo, according to a high level official who attend the meeting. The Special Representative on his part said currently his country is working to strengthen the relation with African countries. He said the first Russia-Africa Forum was held in Ethiopia with the support of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Mr. Margelov said the discussion with the Prime Minister was mainly about the 2nd Russia-Africa Forum which will be held in South Africa. According to him, the two parties agreed to hold special Russia-Ethiopia forum during this forum in South Africa in March this year. He said the Forum is expected to attract a number of Russian investors to Ethiopia. Mr. Margelov urged Ethiopia to strengthen its role in building peace and stability in East and the whole Africa.

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hailemariam-dessalegn-speaks-at-the-united-nations-general

September 29 – Hailemarim addressed the UN assembly

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addressed the 67th UN General Assembly yesterday (September 28) at the UN headquarters in New York .Prime Minister Hailemariam started his maiden speech telling the tragedy the nation under went in the untimely and sudden death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.  He said “The passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is a huge loss for Ethiopia and undoubtedly for Africa as well”. He praised the late premier’s dynamic regional and continental leadership battle to help Africa has the sole authority on its own destiny saying “he was a man of prodigious intellect and was uncompromising in his insistence that Ethiopians and Africans should own and protect their development strategies and their approach to governance and democratization “. He went on to add that “The late Ethiopian prime minister and the party he led have facilitated the emergence of a new Ethiopia which has rekindled the hope of Ethiopians in the future and strengthened their confidence to overcome adversaries”.  He thanked all those who stood with Ethiopians in that time of grief.” He saluted them saying “we cherish our friendship. He in particular noted that in those trying times “Ethiopians proved their mettle and what they are made of when unexpectedly they were told the tragedy the nation faced.”  He added “It is honor and blessing to be a leader of a people who are generous and paying tribute to those like Prime Minister Meles who served them selflessly, a people who had the maturity and wisdom to see and even lucidly articulate who did what for the nation and for the people of Ethiopia”.

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September 28 – Hailemariam addressed the UN mini-summit on Somalia

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who is attending the UN General Assembly this week also addressed the Somalia Mini-Summit. Hailing the political and military developments in Somalia, the Prime Minister said that recent developments on the political and security fronts in Somalia had created an unprecedented opportunity for stabilizing the country. The results had “demonstrated how much focused and coordinated national, sub-regional, continental and global efforts could bring the desired result”. Speaking on the positive military developments he added: “we are encouraged to note that the multi-pronged military operations by AMISOM and TFG forces as well as Ethiopian defense forces have no doubt decisively weakened Al-Shabaab. This has resulted not only in the forced withdrawal of Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu but also the liberation of a number of areas in central and southern parts of Somalia.” Prime Minister Hailemariam hailed the resolve of the international community as shown by the emerging growing consensus on Somalia, as demonstrated in the London and Istanbul conferences, as well as the International Contact Group Meeting in Rome. “These had all converged to assist the people of Somalia to seize the unique opportunity to usher in a new era of peace and stability in Somalia.” Ato Hailemariam welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2036 (2012), which significantly expanded the size of AMISOM and the support provided to the mission. He further called on the international community to continue to support Somalia while still giving due consideration to Somali ownership of the process. He concluded by emphasizing: “We in Ethiopia will continue, in the spirit of our late Prime Minister, to do the best we can, along with our friends within IGAD and the AU, as well as with the UN and partners, to assist Somalia to proceed with success along this promising trajectory”.

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September 21 – Hailemariam takes oath as Prime Minister

Hailemariam Desalegn, previously Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on Friday (September 21st). An extraordinary session of the House of People’s Representative approved the nomination of Ato Hailemariam by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which had elected him as chairperson of the party last Saturday. The EPRDF, which controls a majority of the seats in parliament, had chosen Ato Hailemariam as its prime ministerial candidate. Taking the oath of office, Prime Minister Hailemariam said:”With the decision of the EPRDF and the parliament, I am very happy to take the responsibility of being prime minister.” Ato Hailemariam vowed to continue in the footsteps of the late Premier. “He brought peace, democracy and development to the country,” he said. “Meles considered himself as a son of the people,” he added, promising to continue “Meles’s legacy without any change.”  Education Minister, Ato Demeke Mekonnen, elected last week as deputy chairperson of the EPRDF, was elected Deputy Prime Minister, taking over the post from Ato Hailemariam. “I will serve the country and faithfully serve the Prime Minister,” Ato Demeke said as he took the oath. He promised his support to Ato Hailemariam, praising his “leadership with the late prime minister” and his “significant role in the EPRDF regarding democracy, and the development of the country.”

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Please check the archives for more on the issues raised above.

* This interview is part of the “Post-Meles 2012″ Special Edition of this blog.

Categories
Africa - General Ethiopia featured Meles Zenawi Somalia Uganda

Reactions to Meles Zenawi's passing around the globe

Meles Zenawi, the intellectual leader of Ethiopia, criticized more than his fair share alive was celebrated after his death. One can only say “better late than never”. Here I compiled the reactions of various personalities to the untimely death of the great leader.

1. Tony Blair, Former British Prime Minister

Tony blair“It is with great sadness that I learned of Meles Zenawi’s death. He was a hugely significant figure in Ethiopia’s history, in particular helping guide his country from extreme poverty to an era of economic growth and development. My deepest condolences go to his family and the people of Ethiopia.”

2. David Cameron, British Prime Minister

cameroon“Prime Minister Meles was an inspirational spokesman for Africa on global issues and provided leadership and vision on Somalia and Sudan. His personal contribution to Ethiopia’s development, in particular by lifting millions of Ethiopians out of poverty, has set an example for the region. Our thoughts are with his family and with the nation of Ethiopia. He will be greatly missed.”

3. Gordon Brown, the UK’s former prime minister

Meles+Zenawi+PM+Gordon+Brown+Hosts+First+Climate+SMLj3lRPFGTl“Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, made more progress in education, health and economic development under his leadership than at any time in its history, and it is a tragedy for the Ethiopian people that they have lost a committed leader and a champion of children at such a young age,” he said. “When I last saw him earlier this year we held meetings about how we would ensure every child would be in school in Ethiopia by 2015. His passion was in abolishing poverty and our hope is that he will inspire a new generation of men and women who will champion the cause of eradicating poverty.”

4. Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao of China

jintao and giabao”Meles was an outstanding leader of Ethiopia and a renowned African statesman who was dedicated to the great cause of national development and Africa’s revival.”

“Meles was an old friend of the Chinese people and paid high attention to advancing ties with China….We will never forget the great contributions that he made to the establishment and development of the China-Ethiopia cooperation. Meles’ death was not only a great loss to the Ethiopian people, but also to the Chinese people as he had always adhered to friendly policies with China and actively promoted bilateral cooperation in all areas, Wen said, adding the Chinese people felt regret and sadness at losing such an old friend. ”

5. Barack Obama, U.S. president

WMeles “deserves recognition for his lifelong contribution to Ethiopia’s development, particularly his unyielding commitment to Ethiopia’s poor,” Obama said in a statement.

“I met with Prime Minister Meles at the G-8 Summit in May and recall my personal admiration for his desire to lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty through his drive for food security,” Obama said. “I am also grateful for Prime Minister Meles’s service for peace and security in Africa, his contributions to the African Union, and his voice for Africa on the world stage.”

6. Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission president

borosso“Prime Minister Meles was a respected African leader. He demonstrated his strong personal commitment over many years to improving the lives of not just his own but all African peoples, through his work on African unity, climate change, development and in promoting peace and stability, particularly in the Horn of Africa.”

7. Barnaba Benjamin, South Sudanese Info Minister

“It’s a very, very sad day for the people of the Republic of South Sudan and the people of the East African region as a whole. This has been a tremendous nationalist leader, a president who had always let peace come to his neighbours.

We in South Sudan in particular, consider Ethiopia and especially Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a strategic ally that (who) always never let a friend down. Indeed we greatly mourn him and we extend our extensive condolences to the people of Ethiopia.”

8. Jacob Zuma, South African President

meles w zuma (south afr)”It is an absolute tragedy for Africa and the people of Ethiopia to mourn such an exceptional leader who contributed as an active role-player in various continental and global initiatives. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had been a strong leader, not only for his country but on the African continent, acting as mediator on numerous talks, particularly in the Horn of Africa region. ”

9. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia

220px-Ellen_Johnson-Sirleaf,_April_2010”Meles Zenawi was an economic transformer; he was a strong intellectual leader for the continent. In our regional meetings he stood out because of his intellect and his ability to respond and to lead dialogue on matters relating to African development. He will be missed in all of our meetings and all of our endeavour.

I don’t have fears [over the transition] because I believe there are many other leaders in Ethiopia who will get the support of regional leaders to make the transformation that is necessary, moving towards an open society.”

10. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti

PPresident Guelleh said in his message that he was deeply sorrowed to learn the death of “Djibouti’s great brother”.

“In this difficult time, the Government and People of Djibouti express their solidarity to the people of Ethiopia. Meles’ determination to bring his country among the top economic powers in the continent has started yielding fruit. As a role model for courage and conviction, Meles will be remembered for his brave fight against terrorism and violence in the region. Africa has lost one of its best men.”

11. Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda

yoweri”The death of Prime Minister Meles was not only a tragic loss to the people of Ethiopia but to the entire continent of Africa. “The late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will always be remembered for his historic struggle for the unity of the great people of Ethiopia and his contribution towards the economic transformation of his country. As for Africa, we have been robbed of a great Pan- Africanist and a reliable partner in the struggle to bring peace and stability as well as the economic emancipation of the continent.”

12. Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya

kibaki“On behalf of the Government and the People of Kenya, I convey our deepest sympathies to the family of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the Government and People of Ethiopia following this devastating loss,” adding that “the late Prime Minister is a pragmatic and visionary leader who helped stabilize his country and placed it on the economic growth path. Meles’ leadership and negotiation skills would “forever be missed across the region and Africa.”

13. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

netanehuBibi called Meles “a true friend” of Israel and “presented his condolences to the Ethiopian people”, his office said.

“Zenawi was loved in his country. He was also a true friend of Israel. During his mandate Ethiopia became one of Israel’s closest friends,” he said.

14. Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania

kikwete“Tanzania has received with profound shock and sadness news of the death of His Excellency Meles Zenawi. He said Ethiopia had lost a dedicated, revolutionary and visionary leader, while Africa has lost a reliable spokesperson, adding that the late Meles would be remembered for the steadfastness in defending the interests of Africa and its peoples. ”

15. Asuman Kiyingi, state minister for regional cooperation

”Uganda was shocked and saddened by the death of Meles, said, adding it was a big loss for the whole of Africa. He has been so instrumental in finding solutions to African problem.,”

16. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s independence leader

kaunda“He’s a young man who has contributed a lot to the development of Ethiopia, ever since he took over there has been some stability there, development in the economic field, there’s been development in the social field.

I knew him as a quiet man – smiling most of the time – and allowing you to feel at home in his presence.”

17. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria

obasanjo“He has shown his sterner stuff that he is made of in fighting for his country’s emancipation from the rudderless, despotic military dictatorship to bringing his country up in development terms as one of the beacons of Africa. I have seen his performance at the African Union (AU), and it is because of his brilliance that leaders of Africa and I decided to hand over the AU NEPAD programme to him.

His death robs Africa of a committed, forthright, visionary and fearless leader. I condole with his family, the people, the government and his successor.”

18. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, President of Puntland

He said that he was saddened by the death of Meles and sent condolences to the family of Meles and the people of Ethiopia.

19. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

kagame“Meles Zenawi did not court greatness. He led a humble and simple but very meaningful life.

He was an unassuming person – but his sharp intellect and tremendous courage to face any kind of challenge made him a formidable presence. He had the capacity to grasp and cut through complex issues and move forward. It is these qualities that he used to lead the charge in the transformation of his country and that of our continent – restoring the dignity of Ethiopians and Africans as a whole.”

20. Jonathan Goodluck, President of Nigeria

goodluck“My dear friend, Meles, I will miss you greatly as a most worthy friend and colleague with whom I shared dreams of greater peace, political stability, good governance, progress and unity in our countries and all Africa. My country, Nigeria, will miss you as a great friend of our nation and all of Africa will miss you as a truly selfless, forthright and extremely dynamic leader. As you go to your eternal rest, our prayer is that the fires of patriotism and national inspiration which you have ignited amongst your people and the youth of Africa will burn forever to the glory of Ethiopia and Mother Africa.”

21. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya

“Meles Zenawi was a great leader, an intellectual, someone who was very dedicated to pan-Africanism. One will remember him for the great effort he put in to transforming the Ethiopian economy. One fears for the stability of Ethiopia upon his death because you know that the Ethiopian state is fairly fragile and there is a lot of ethnic violence… I don’t know that [Ethiopian politicians] are sufficiently prepared for a succession: this is my fear, that there may be a falling out within the ruling movement.”

22. Ambassador Biniam Berhe, Political attaché, at the office of Eritrean Permanent Mission to the African Union in Addis Ababa  

Biniam has arrived to view the coffin of the Prime Minister with various African diplomats at Meles’ official residence of the national palace where his body was lying. Upon assuming power in 1991, Meles boldly confronted the Eritrean question and in the teeth of fierce opposition within his own party, he decided to organize a referendum to give the people of Eritrea the opportunity to decide between remaining in Ethiopia and secession. The referendum took place in 1993, and the new State of Eritrea was established. 

23. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and Manager og Gates and Malinda foundation tweeted   

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was a visionary leader who brought real benefits to Ethiopia’s poor. Our thoughts are with his family.

24. Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

clinton“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

I admired the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to transforming Ethiopia’s economy and to expanding education and health services. He was an important and influential voice in Africa, and we especially valued his role in promoting peace and security in the region. I am confident that Ethiopia will peacefully navigate the political transition according to its constitution”

25. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde

“Among his many achievements, Prime Minister Meles was instrumental in raising economic growth and reducing poverty in Ethiopia. Prime Minister Meles was also a powerful spokesman for Africa on the international scene.

26. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

S“Prime Minister Zenawi will be remembered for his exceptional leadership and advocacy on African issues within and outside the continent, as well as for overseeing his country’s economic growth and development.…the Secretary-General will remember, in particular, Prime Minister Zenawi for his active commitment to working with the United Nations on numerous global peace and development challenges,”

27. Barry Malone, a journalist, shared his encounter with Meles

“I once asked Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died on Aug. 20 from an unspecified illness at age 57, whether he was a dictator. He grinned and then, stopping, just looked at me.

More… Nervously, I did what a journalist should never do, and filled the silence.

“A lot of people call you that,” I said.

He told me he didn’t care much what foreigners thought and that the people who described him that way were rarely his countrymen. “If Ethiopians thought that I was what you say, I would not sleep at night,” he said. “But I don’t believe they do.”

28. AU honors meles Zenawi

AUThe Commission in a press statement said that it will remember the late Prime Minister for his exceptional contribution to the advancement of the objectives of the AU and the promotion of Africa’s interests in Global fora.

The Premier has also overseen the dramatic transformation of his country, which is today one of the top economic performers on the continent.In so doing, he has played an important role in pioneering a new era of hope and growth in Africa, driven as he was by the vision of Ethiopia and Africa’s renaissance.

The death of Prime Minister Meles has robbed Africa of one of its greatest sons, it said.

http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/news-update/59794-au-honours-zenawi.html

29. Professor Akbar Noman

Watch his interview with ETV’s Tefera Gedamu here  (Link – video)

30. Kayef Halek, Yemen – Ethiopian Friendship Association

” We express our sincere condolence and deepest sympathy & feel great sadness the passing away of his Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who had relentlessly served his nation with integrity and loyalty to emancipate Ethiopia and its peoples from poverty and backwardness and showed us the hope of transformation. He was extraordinary conversationalist in local & international stages in every topic and he had been ambitious to see Ethiopia developed & progressed in his time. He had been an excellent political & economical leader that Ethiopia has seen in its history.”

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Amb. Susan Rice and the Ethiopian diaspora

riceThe most controversial Statement of the year was delivered by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations who also headed the presidential deligation of United States.

“Like so many others, i will miss him deeply” said Susan Rice

I suspect we all feel it deeply unfair to lose such a talented and vital leader so soon, when he still had so much more to give. Meles was disarmingly regular, unpretentious, and direct. He was selfless, tireless and totally dedicated to his work and family.

True, he never belied any lack of confidence in his judgments. He was tough, unsentimental and sometimes unyielding. And, of course, he had little patience for fools, or “idiots,” as he liked to call them.

“Prime Minister Meles leaves behind an indelible legacy of major contributions to Ethiopia, Africa, and the world. His loss will be greatly felt in so many places in so many ways. The Prime Minister’s decades-long commitment to Ethiopia’s development and his tireless efforts to liberate his proud people from famine, poverty, and disease stand as testament to his leadership and vision. Equally valuable have been his myriad contributions to the promotion of peace and security across Africa”.

This eulogy earned her trashing from the extreme right wingers of Ethiopian diaspora. Well, Susan did it again at a memorial event held at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York.

“His passions were undisguised, and his criticisms unvarnished. He could negotiate even the smallest issue to death, but his raucous laugh could leaven any difficult discussion. Meles was a self-taught scholar and a voracious learner. He probably often figured he was the smartest person in the room, and most of the time Meles was right – at least about that.

In truth, on any number of issues, Meles and I differed and sometimes argued strenuously, whether on human rights, democracy or our respective foreign policies. But, Meles was respectful of his partners, disarming in his dedication, and thoroughly committed to his work on behalf of Ethiopia.

Above all, Meles believed in Ethiopia and the potential of its people. So too does the United States of America. As I said in Addis, “…while Meles’ loss is profound, Ethiopia’s greatness is undiminished.

Our admiration for your accomplishments is enduring. Your moving outpouring of grief and dramatic displays of national unity in the face of this tragedy have inspired us all. Your talents and strengths are those of a remarkable people, far larger and deeper than any single remarkable man. Ethiopia’s future can and must be brighter. And, I am confident it will be.”

shinnHer fellow diplomat and former U.S. ambassador  to Ethiopia David Shinn came to Rice’s defence.

“I was saddened by some of the vituperative and just plain disrespectful remarks (usually by anonymous individuals) that subsequently appeared on Ethiopian websites in response to the remarks of Ambassador Rice. While I was not invited to make remarks, I have no doubt that whatever I might have said would also have been harshly criticized by these same individuals.” ( see here )

And, he then earned some trashing for himself that made him say this…

“I seemed to have touched off a firestorm with this posting. …This will be my last comment on this issue. I just want to end where I began. This was a memorial service. What is important for Ethiopians now is to look forward, to help make Ethiopia a better place. I hope some of the harshest critics can find their way to support organizations like the Ethiopian-North American Health Professionals Association and People to People and less time fulminating.”

Lets hope they heed his advice.

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Please check the archives for more on the issues raised above.

* This article is part of the “Post-Meles 2012″ Special Edition of this blog.