Economic Refconstruction and GERD Completion Key Tasks for Ethiopia
Watch my two interviews above.
Following the destructive two year war, Ethiopia needs to become unified with all citizens supporting the future of the Ethiopian nation state as one nation. The thorny issue of transcending ethno-nationalism and ethnic federalism must be undertaken with the expectation that it will be contentious and highly emotional.
However, we can look at two other policies that will help Ethiopia overcome the nation’s current acrimony. One is to launch a massive inclusive economic reconstruction program that will satisfy the economic needs of all its citizens. I estimate a $50 billion price tag to rebuild and expand all features of infrastructure, industry, and agriculture. Secondly, the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will cause a resurgence of the patriotic spirit comparable to that of the victory of Adwa.
The administration of President Joe Biden, has launched what is being called a “charm offensive” with several high level government officials visiting the African continent this year. It is well known in Washington and across Africa that the underlying purpose of the density these visits is to counter China’s influence in Africa primarily, and secondarily that of Russia. However, these well publicized visits to the continent lack real substance. Also, factions of the administration and the State Department are still determined to pursue their agenda of so called human rights, democracy, and good governance, without any concern to reversing the deplorable conditions of life for hundreds of millions of Africans.
If the current U.S. government and U.S. Congress are truly interested in promoting democracy, and human rights, rather than lecturing African nations, they should provide economic assistance to advance development, beyond simply distributing aid. The most effective means to respond to China’s economic influence on the continent is for the U.S. government to issue long term-low interest loans for vital and lifesaving infrastructure. This policy of issuing government backed credit or public sector investment for essential infrastructure is not novel. It was how the U.S. developed our national economy under the leadership of such geniuses as Alexander Hamilton, and Presidents Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt.
For example, compare U.S. leadership for Africa 60 years ago to that of today. Vice President Kamala Harris while she is in Ghana, is enjoying many photo opportunities while offering $100 million to all of West Africa. Six decades earlier, President John Kennedy collaborated with Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah, to construct the Volta Dam energy and aluminum smelting complex. For the U.S. governement to supportively impact Africa, and Ethiopia in particluar, it should reject the dictates of the “human rights mafia” and return to our better days of US-Africa foreign policy.
Read: Americans Stress for Robust Relationship Between US, Ethiopia from Ethiopian News Agency-ENA
Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton