Infrastructure Essential for Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Economic Integration

February 5, 2024

Image: courtesy of tanzaniainvest.com

The two articles combined, (see below) by PD Lawton, (africanagenda.net), provide a clear conception of how Africa will increase its economic integration through the expansion of regional railway systems. Massive expansion Infrastructure, such as rail, road, water, and especially electricity, is the only way Africa will realize the goals of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The interview with the Director General of Tanzania Railway Corporation, (watch below) is an exciting overview of Tanzania’s commitment to regional economic growth by investing in new railroads, such as the Central Corridor Tanzania SGR.

At the Durban launch President Ramaphosa spoke of the days of Africa being the raw materials market for the global North were over. It is time for the world to meet Made in Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa officiated the launch of South Africa’s first shipment under the preferential trading agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 31 January 2024 at the Port of Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal. The shipment to Ghana includes refrigerators [1] home appliances and mining equipment.

This is an historic event for the entire continent as it marks the practical realization of the AfCFTA Agreement which was inaugurated on the 1 January 2021.

AfCFTA is expected to increase the size of Africa’s economy to $29 trillion by 2050.

Read President Ramaphosa’s remarks below.

Read below the detailed outline of the phases for construction of the Central Corridor Tanzania SGR

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Int’l Court of Justice Rules Genocide Plausible: Netanyahu & Biden Losing Support

International Court of Justice (Courtesy of Al Jazeera)

January 30, 2024

Israel, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not defeating Hamas, it is exterminating Palestinians. In his full scale assault on Gaza, and to a lesser extent, the West Bank, Netanyahu is failing just as he did prior to the October 7, 2023, massacre by Hamas, when he was unsuccessful in protecting Israel. His war on Hamas will not succeed. Israel has yet to make further progress in freeing the remaining hostages since the weeklong hostage for prisoner exchange last year. Due to the growing political isolation of the U.S. and Israel, there attempts underway, so far unsuccessful, to establish a two month pause in the military campaign by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

On January 26, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), issued the first condemnation and warning to Israel. Although it did not accuse Israel of genocide or call for a cease fire, it validated the legitimacy of the allegations by the government of South Africa. (See text of ICJ’s decision). A full reading of the court’s decision clearly shows that claims of genocide are plausible.

The ruling by the ICJ, in its closing section: VI. CONCLUSION AND MEASURES TO BE ADOPTED, contains the following:

Paragraph 75 reads: The Court concludes on the basis of the above considerations that the conditions required by its Statute for it to indicate provisional measures are met. It is therefore necessary, pending its final decision, for the Court to indicate certain measures in order to protect the rights claimed by South Africa that the Court has found to be plausible-(see paragraph 54 above).

Paragraph 54 reads: In the Court’s view, the facts and circumstances mentioned above are sufficient to conclude that at least some of the rights claimed by South Africa and for which it is seeking protection are plausible. This is the case with respect to the right of the Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide and related prohibited acts identified in Article III, and the right of South Africa to seek Israel’s compliance with the latter’s obligations under the Convention.

The findings by the International Court of Justice, which is an arm of the United Nations, is instructing Israel to take actions to prevent genocide of the Palestinians living in Gaza.  (Read: The ICJ’s Ruling on Genocide Is Actually a Gamechanger)

Public hearings in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel began at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands on January 11, 2024.  (Photo: Selman Aksunger/Anadolu via Getty Images) (Courtesy of commondreams.org)

Genocide in Effect

Genocide is defined as a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group in whole or in part.

The challenge to proving genocide is to demonstrate intent. In the case of Netanyahu’s war against the people of Gaza, we have sufficient evidence to prove genocide in effect.

  • In the 3.5 months, since the Hamas massacre of October 7, 2023, the IDF, has become infamous for killing the greatest number of civilians, mostly women and children, in the shortest period of time. In 3.5 months, Israel has accomplished the following:
  • 26,000 Palestinians (that we know of) have been killed in Gaza. That is more than 1% of the total population of 2.2 million. This does not count the Palestinians also killed by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers on the West Bank.
  • 63,000 Palestinians have been wounded, the majority women and children.
  • According to  ReliefWeb, 10,000 children have had their lives snuffed out.
  • The United Nations reports that every hour, two Palestinian mothers lose their lives. An estimated 6,000 mothers have been killed.

By comparison, in the 23-month long war, Ukraine, with a population of     36.7 million, has suffered the following casualties according to reporting  from the United Nations:

  • 10,242, Ukrainians have lost their lives.
  • 575 Ukrainian children have been killed.
  • 19,300 Ukrainians have been injured, including 1,264 children.

Do the math. The duration of war in Ukraine is more than six times longer than Gaza, and Ukraine’s population is sixteen times bigger. The rate of death of Palestinian children by Israeli troops, under orders from Netanyahu, is unprecedented.

The IDF claims that 9,000 members of Hamas have been killed. Even if we take these figures at face value, almost twice as many innocent Palestinian civilians have been killed in the war in Gaza than Hamas fighters.

Palestinian women walk by buildings destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip, October 16, 2023. © 2023 Hatem Moussa/AP Photo (Courtesy of hrw.org)

As disease, lack of potable water, and hunger spreads to a displaced population, more women and children will perish. It should be clear to anyone who understand the rudiments of demography: the effect will be a reduction in the rate of procreation of the  Palestinian people. Thus, decreasing the number of Palestinians living today and in the future.

Biden’s Self Inflicted Wound

President Biden is losing support from within his own Democratic Party and an increasing number of Americans, who oppose his blanket military and political support for Netanyahu’s war against Palestinians. The relentless bombardment of apartment buildings, houses, refugee camps, United Nations facilities, and hospitals has made Gaza not only the most dangerous place in the world, but a death zone for a desperate and displaced  population. No matter how much Biden’s advisors and press people try to spin it, the Biden administration has the blood of thousands of innocent Palestinians civilians on his hands.

When President Biden rushed to Israel to “bear hug” Netanyahu on October 18, 2023, eleven days after the Hamas attack, and pledged full U.S. support o for Israel’s war, he had already sealed his fate. Recently, President Biden has issued statements of disagreement with Netanyahu’s conduct of the war and his rejection of a Two State Solution, but President Biden gas failed to extricate himself from “the hug.”  

President Biden’s immoral support for Netanyahu’s slaughter of Palestinians has been challenged by large demonstrations across the U.S., threatened walkouts by Congressional aids, and letters of protest against the war from the President’s staff and his presidential election campaign committee for 2024. More than once, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has had to meet with dissident members of the State Department who oppose blanket U.S. support for Israel. Increasing numbers of young voters, a critical section of the voting population that Democrats are counting on to win the 2024 election, oppose U.S. backing for the war.

“The Hug.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with US President Joe Biden (Indiatvnews.com)

Last week more serious cracks appeared, when eighteen U.S. Senators from Biden’s party signed as co-sponsors to legislation to condition aid to Israel on their compliance (or lack of) with international humanitarian law. The New York Times reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) estimates about half of the 51 Democratic and independent senators would vote for such a measure on the floor. Earlier in the week the Senate tabled a motion sponsored by ten Democratic Senators to link aid to human rights abuses by Israel.

This election year, President Biden will need all the support he can get to be reelected, while Democrats will attempt to maintain control of the Senate, and not lose ground in the House of Representatives. In Michigan, a battleground state in this year’s presidential election,

Arab Americans are already distancing themselves from President Biden’s presidential campaign.

President Biden’s full backing to Israel, a nation which Americans witness killing innocent women and children every day, and wiping out entire families, will be a factor in the minds of voters when they go to the polls this November.

Photo/Eskinder DebebeTrucks carrying humanitarian aid wait to cross into Gaza from Egypt through Rafah. (Courtesy of the U.N.)

Netanyahu Was Always No Good

Netanyahu is using the war to remain in power as prime minister. The continued assault on the people of Gaza is his “re-election campaign.” No progress has been made since the earlier prisoner exchange two months ago. However, as the families of the hostages ramp up the pressure, Netanyahu, a conniving politician, is maneuvering to continue his grasp as leader of an increasingly isolated Israel.

If one looks back at Netanyahu’s history, it is clear that he always opposed peace with the Palestinians in Gaza and the West bank. How pathetically foolish it is for President Biden to believe that Netanyahu will be a dependable partner in establishing a Two State Solution. Not only has he recently, and repeatedly stated his opposition to a self-governed Gaza, but his real desire is to rid Gaza of Palestinians by murder or driving them out. Let us acknowledge what honest Jews and non-Jews alike know: Netanyahu will not be a reliable partner for peace with an independent Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has not changed his anti-Palestinian views in twenty years. Two decades ago, Netanyahu bitterly opposed the efforts to create peace with Palestine by Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, a true Israeli statesman. Rabin, a former military professional, and commander of the Six Day War died a warrior for peace after signing the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995. Rabin accused Netanyahu of in effect working with Hamas to prevent the signing of the peace  accords. The assassin of Rabin came from the extremist Jewish right-wing, who’s orbit was supported by Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Netanyahu vehemently opposed the peace accords and did not object when his Likud Party called Rabin a traitor for striving to create peace with Yassir Arafat. Leah Rabin had to force herself to shake Netanyahu’s hand at her husband’s funeral, because of the scurrilous campaign waged by him and the Likud Party against Rabin’s quest for peace.

Is President Biden capable of separating himself from the clutches of Netanyahu? The future of Israel, Palestine, and world peace may depend on it.

Below, watch Naledi Pandor, Minister of South Africa, on the ruling by International Court of Justice.

Read my earlier post: Netanyahu Must Leave Office for the Future Existence of Israel, Palestine, & Good of Humanity

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Non-Aligned Movement Spreading Across The Globe

Bandung 1955, Nehru of India, Nkrumah of Ghana, Nasser of UAR/Egypt, Sukarno of Indonesia and Tito of Yugoslavia

January 25, 2024

Western media and governments, led by the United States are attempting to dismiss the growing dynamic by the “Global South” to chart an alternative path of development free from Western domination. In Washington DC, one can witness the palpable fears of de-dollarization, the rise of China’s leadership in the developing world, the expansion of the BRICS, and the declining dominance of the U.S. hegemon.

Below is a report by EIRNEWS of the recent meetings by the Non-Aligned Movement and the Third South Summit, organized by the G77+China, in Kampala, Uganda.

Representatives of the entire “Global South” have been meeting for over a week in Kampala, Uganda at two back-to-back summits on the central topic of creating a world system which is fair and just, in which their nations participate in making the decisions on how that system functions, so that their peoples, too, can develop.

The 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, held Jan.15-20, was followed Jan. 21-22 by the Third South Summit, organized by the G77+China, the grouping of developing countries founded in 1964 to jointly defend the collective economic interests of its members on major international economic issues at the UN and its relevant institutions. Members in the two groupings strongly overlap but are not synonymous. The NAM, with its historic roots in the 1955 Bandung Conference, today has 120 member nations from Africa, Asia and Central and South America, 20 observer states, and 11 organizations (such as the African Union and the Arab League). While it still keeps its original name, the G77+China now has more than 130 member states.

The theme of the G77 summit was “Leaving No One Behind.” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni “called on leaders in the world to support each other’s prosperity and ensure that no one is left behind.” He asked the central question of the day: “I wonder why global economic actors fail to understand that the prosperity of the entire world population benefits everyone, instead opting for policies that keep the majority in poverty.”

The Kampala Declaration issued at the end of the NAM Summit has a fighting tone. Targeting, for example, evil imperial practices which violate the sovereignty of nations protected under international law and the UN Charter, such as imposing coercive sanctions on nations.

And right from the outset of the Declaration, the right of Palestine and Palestinians to exist is asserted as their fight, as they reaffirmed “the importance of the Question of Palestine to the Non-Aligned Movement.” Expressing grave concern at “immense loss of life and injury, widespread destruction of their homes and massive forced displacement” being imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel, and the violence against the people of the West Bank, they take note of the case against Israel for genocide against Gaza filed before the International Court of Justice by South Africa, “a member of the movement,” themselves “strongly condemn the illegal Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip, the indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians, civilian objects, the forced displacement of the Palestinian population and further call for an immediate and durable humanitarian ceasefire.” 

Read PD Lawton’s post below:

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Live in the Future to Foster Regional Integration With Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa

WATCH Interview with OBN Horn of Africa, January 10, 2024

January 16, 2024

Let us work to make the Horn of Africa and East Africa a model of regional economic integration. This process has already begun, with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam exporting electricity to Sudan, Kenya, and Djibouti. Ethiopia having long term port access to major shipping routes through the Gulf of Eden and the Red Sea, will expand Ethiopia’s economy and has the potential to develop the regional economy of East Africa. There are three primary conceptual obstacles that people have in understanding how to develop this region, which I discuss above in the video interview with OBN, and below in the written interview with ENA.

One, the majority of people do not understand the physical scientific principles to economic development, having been miseducated by our schools and society.

Two, the legacy of colonialism has perverted the thinking process of many Africans, leading to fixed prejudices that prevent one from seeing what is possible.

Three, most people live in the past, or at best in the present. I try to live in the future, where my mind can see the fruitful potential of that which we humans can create but does not yet exist.

Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU Model for Economic Development of Africa: American Analyst

Interview with Ethiopian News Agency, January 2, 2024

Addis Ababa, January 4/2024(ENA)- The current MoU signed by Ethiopia and Somaliland could become a model for economic development of the continent, Political-economic analyst for Africa Lawrence Freeman said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the analyst said that the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Monday could be a “useful example for the rest of the African continent.”

Moreover, the MoU for Partnership and Cooperation inked by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Muse Bihi Abdi includes wide scopes of cooperation in social, economic, political, and military fields.

It is also intended to serve as a framework for the multisectoral partnership between the two sides, and shall pave the way to realize the aspiration of Ethiopia to secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports.

In this respect, Freeman believes the agreement is a breakthrough that could accelerate regional and global trade.

“If you look at it optimistically, the situation in the Horn of Africa could actually become a model for economic development and in the whole African continent. Now, this is what we’re looking for, regional integration, economic-regional linkage into international trade among nations, instead of exporting everything outside the nation. So this could be a useful example for the rest of the continent.”

However, there are political forces within the Horn of Africa and around the world who would like to continue destabilizing the region, the American analyst noted.

He particularly pointed out that there are manipulators and political forces screaming war constantly.

When the prime minister talked about the port in October 2023, dozens of articles were published predicting war. But, there was no indication of war, he stated.

According to Freeman, the historic MoU was signed in a peaceful manner and has the potential to bring other countries to cooperate with Ethiopia in this geopolitically strategic part of the world.

He advised specifically Somalis to refrain from inflammatory statements and resolve the issue calmly.

Given the conflict between Somalia and Somaliland for many years, Somaliland has been conducting its affairs differently in the spheres of currency, economy, governance and others.

The MoU “can offer economic growth to actually both nations because if Somaliland is growing, Somalia is growing too…. Statements like ‘we’re not going to give one inch of our territory’ is the kind of talking that is not helpful. We’re going to have to move forward. We can’t stay the way we are. We need to have a resolution between those two between Somalia and Somaliland.”

Beyond that the problems in the Horn of Africa are very complicated and emanate from a whole bunch of leftover problems from the days of colonialism, he noted.

There is a lot of antagonism and complications that come from colonial history.

“As for the amount of anger and hatred that I see from people against one country versus another, we’re not going to give up. We’re not going to let them know that you’re stuck in the mind of the old colonists picture. My message to people is to move forward,” the analyst underscored.

For Freeman those people who are screaming about war are either fools or they’re being manipulated by other forces in the wrong way.

In general, the American analyst stated that the MoU is very important for Ethiopia to realize the advancement of import-export trade and allow the nation to have greater access to the rest of the world.

Ethiopia also being the largest economy and population, the area can make perfect sense to build a naval capacity it once had when it accessed the Red Sea, he added.

More importantly, Ethiopia is also now going to play a major role as the country has become a new member of the BRICS, the leading institution of the global South, with a new paradigm for development of emerging nations.

That gives Ethiopia a great deal of an opportunity to begin to deal with all the political-economic frailties and create a new level of regional cooperation in the region.

Read my earlier posts:

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

Economic Development Can Bring Peace to the Horn of Africa

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

GERD Talks Must Shift To Higher Level: Developing the Nile Basin

Lawrence Freeman being interviewed by the Ethiopian Herald on Dec 23, 2023 about the 4th round of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

December 27, 2023

The colonial mentality has to give way to the mandate for development –

BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM, THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD

“I didn’t expect that these discussions would lead to anything because you have to change the topic of the discussion” says Laurence Freeman, American Political Economic Analyst for Africa (www.lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com), asked about the outcome of the 4th round of the latest series of tripartite talks on the first filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The negotiation which took place from 17-19 December 2023 in Cairo, Egypt was held to deal on the final rules and regulations for the filling and operation of the dam. Unfortunately, the talks ended up with no deal concluded following which Ethiopia and Egypt issued statements expressing their stance during the negotiations and why they blame the other side for the failure to reach agreement.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia says that Egypt’s efforts to maintain it historical rights based on the colonial period agreements were the impediments to reach agreement. “During these four rounds, Ethiopia endeavored and keenly engaged with the two lower riparian countries to address the major issues of difference and reach an amicable agreement. Egypt, in contrast, maintained colonial era mentality and erected roadblocks against efforts toward convergence.” The statement read.

Freeman on his part argues that the topic of dialogue among the riparian countries, i.e. Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt should not be to maintain historical rights, but to plan future cooperation on how to use the water together. “It should not be how do we guarantee so much water which the Ethiopians can’t do. But how do we proceed on a development program that would advance the standard of living of all the people living in and now basic. If there’s going to be another round of discussion that should be the main topic.”

Here is the detail of the brief interview with Lawrence Freeman on the latest development around the GERD talks. Enjoy reading!

Could you tell me your reflection on the 4th round of GERD dam talks which took place recently in Cairo?

When Prime Minister Abiy was in Egypt in July, he suggested to President El Sisi, that they continue the discussion was another round of talks on the implications of the GERD, which just occurred last week was the fourth round of these talks, which, from what I read in the media, nothing really happened that changed the position of either country. And I didn’t really expect that it would. I think that both countries now have made very clear what their positions are. Ethiopia claiming the right of sovereignty over its river systems and energy production. And I don’t think much is going to change from that. 

And I don’t think there’s anything Egypt is going to do that’s going to change it. And the Egyptians have maintained that they must have so much water guaranteed for them every year, which is impossible for Ethiopia to do. I don’t think anything more is going to happen. Hopefully, there is no political or other escalation in this disagreement.

(Curtesy of researcgate.net)

After the conclusion of the talks with no deal Ethiopia and Egypt are trading blames for failing to reach agreement. How do you see the stance of the two sides in this regard?

I think the Egyptians are motivated by a type of ideology, rather than an understanding of the implications of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the GERD is a dam for producing hydropower for development. I mean, electricity is ready to be exported to Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan. And we should look at the potential of this increase injection of 5150 megawatts as a potential to develop nations in the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Well, now basically, the Egyptians do not want to have I believe in Ethiopia as a major economic competitor or see Ethiopia as a major economic competitor, which is a false way of looking at the potential rather than countries uniting together for economic development. I think Egypt was caught up in trying to suppress economic progress in Ethiopia.

And of course, the Egyptians claim that the historical rights now and they don’t have historical rights, nobody has historical rights. Plus the fact that the dam is on the Blue Nile, not on the White Nile, so there’s no real argument there. I think the Egyptians want a guaranteed amount of water that will flow to the Aswan dam and that cannot be delivered and the Ethiopians would be remiss and wrong in my view if they guaranteed it, because they can’t. But there can be joint collaboration and Egyptians for the moment are rejecting it.

This tripartite talk on GERD has failed after progressing for four rounds starting from August 2023. Do you think it is being influenced by internal and external factors, or Egypt is intentionally changing its stance every time?

I don’t think the Egyptians have changed their stance at all; this has been their policy going back to 2015. I think the Egyptians have to accept the fact that this, as we say, is a fait accompli. This has occurred, the dam is at proximately 41 billion cubic meters of water filled. I think it’ll go up to 47 or so around there. 

And then that’s the level of which we’ll be operating on. Each year, it will go down to that level as it’s filled up to 74 billion cubic meters from the rain. And this will produce electricity, which can be used for the development of the nations of the Nile Basin; the Egyptians have a different view. But it’s not going to happen; it is not going to work. There’s no way of Egypt, challenging a dam for energy development. And it’s already been built. So it can’t be unbuilt. So I don’t really understand all the political motivations for Egypt. 

Except what I said earlier, I think they want to maintain the dominant position and retard Ethiopia’s economic development  potential. I didn’t expect that these discussions would lead to anything because you have to change the topic of the discussion. It should not be how do we guarantee so much water which the Ethiopians can do? But how do we proceed on a development programme that would advance the standard of living of all the people living in and now basic, if there’s going to be another round of discussion that should be the main topic.

Egypt has insisted on safeguarding its interest which is a vestige of colonial period agreements. Do you see any possibility of coming to terms with a negotiated deal where one of the sides is insisting on colonial era agreement?1

Well, if you look at the reality of this of the situation, one is Sudan, only gains from the GERD and I think the Sudanese before the crisis that began several years ago, and I believe even now, they’ve made statements to the effect that they’re not suffering at all from reduction of the flow of the Nile through the country in Khartoum. I don’t think Sudan is part of this at all at this point. I think that they were early on, I think they were pressured by the Egyptians. 

The problem that the Egyptians have and people who support their position is that the water that flows into the White Nile, I mean, 80% of it comes from three rivers in Ethiopia, the largest Blue Nile but then you also have two other rivers that contribute to the White Nile. And the power plant; The hydroelectric power plant is on an Ethiopian soil and Ethiopian rivers I visited myself I also visited Blue Nile falls, I’m very familiar with it. And fact of the matter is there is more potential. A designated site is three mores sites for dams that have been revealed in a survey done many years ago, that could be also hydroelectric dam.

So there’s a potential in the Blue Nile Basin for more power beyond the 5150 megawatts that the GERD is producing. It would be in Egypt interest to let’s discuss this type of potential for the future. The problem is colonial rights. The Egyptians believe that the British gave them control of the Nile. Because in the history, the British controlled Egypt and Sudan under the 1899 agreement, the Anglo Egyptian condominium, and they think that they have this right. No, they don’t have a right to other people’s waters, especially since the headwaters for both the White Nile and the Blue Nile do not originate in Egypt. 

Now, Egypt built the Aswan Dam, which was their right to provide electricity for their population. But they can’t demand that other countries cannot build on the Blue Nile, what is that lead into the white Nile and that’s the problem is you had a colonial agreement in 19, it was 1929 with British and the Egyptians and the Sudanese that’s, that stipulated no blockage of the water could be no blockage of the water was permitted to the white nile. 

Now, Ethiopia wasn’t at that discussion, even though it was an independent country in 1959. If the Sudan and Egypt became independent, they had another water agreement. And this water agreement, we affirmed the 1929 agreement. And again, Ethiopia was not at that discussion. So the Egyptians really don’t have any legitimate basis, despite claiming colonial rights that have given to them by the British Queen. 

They don’t really have any historical basis for telling Ethiopia what to do. And in fact, the British and other Neo colonial powers never wanted Ethiopia to develop this dam. They wanted to use Lake Tana as a giant water tank to feed their agriculture in Sudan and Egypt. So they’ve always been opposed to this. I mean, this goes back 300 years to the present. 

They’ve been opposed to the development of the Blue Nile Basin, they’ve been opposed to electricity and that position cannot stand up to the needs of providing electricity, employment, agricultural development, for not only Ethiopian people, but from the neighboring nations, which the good will provide. So the colonial mentality has to give way to the mandate for development.

Blue Nile Basin has potential for more hydro-electric dams for development of the Nile Basin (Courtesy sierrarios.org)

How do you think could the two sides break the stalemate and strike a deal in the future?

As I said earlier, we have to change the subject. The topic of providing a guaranteed amount of water to the Aswan Dam each year is a dead issue. That cannot happen. It’s over. The dam has been built as only a small amount. More has to be collected in the first phase up to I think 49 billion cubic metres. 

We have to leave that subject and we have to go to a higher plan; we have to go to a different thinking; a different manifold no longer discussing water guarantee to the Aswan Dam, but discussing how do we use the GERD and potentially other developments of more dams in the Blue Nile Basin for the benefit of all of the downstream nations in the Nile basin. This requires a higher level of thinking. It requires a level of thinking where your concern is the future development of all the people. 

Those who are living in the Blue Nile, basically, that’s several 100 million people over I think, 10 countries? How do we get together and improve the standard of living of our people? How do we end poverty? How do we use this energy, which is a potential 5150 megawatts, and more energy potential. 

So we have to stop thinking about my country’s historical right. And the same thing comes up in discussions in the Horn of Africa. We have to get beyond that. And think about what is the benefit for the futures of our people in the next one to two generations, like we have to expand our thinking, improve our thinking, to this level, and get away from this is mine. This is yours. You can’t take mine. This petty, geopolitical mentality is really stupidity. And I and the leaders of African nations on many different fronts have to learn to rise above this and think about the future. What is going to help their people in the future? And how do we work with other nations? Not how do we demonize other nations. That’s what’s discussion has got to be. 

The Ethiopian should be actually promoting this discussion. Go beyond where they’ve been at this point, and actually promote a conference have let’s have a conference in Addis Ababa, on the future development of the Nile basin, and which then we can discuss how to cooperate with each other for the benefit of our people.

Thank you very much for your collaboration!

Read my earlier posts:

GERD: Utilizing the Blue Nile to Create Energy for Development in Ethiopia & The Horn of Africa

Freeman Speaks On The GERD: An Engineering Marvel-A Necessity For The Nile River

New Book on Ethiopia’s GERD: Historical Battle of the Nile-Colonialism vs Development

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Netanyahu Must Leave Office for the Future Existence of Israel, Palestine, & Good of Humanity

(Curtesy of drishtiias.com)

December 24, 2023

This article is my Christmas gift to Jews, Muslims ad Christians suffering around the world today.

The Angels heralded the birth of Jesus Christ, “peace on earth and good will to men” ( Luke 2:14). His birth in Bethlehem, Palestine, over 2,000 years ago, was to bring a new epoch for humankind, imbued with agape- love. Today, Gaza, Palestine, is a “Living Hell.”

Following the brutal killing and kidnapping of innocent Israelis by Hamas on October 7, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched an all-out war against the Palestinians living in Gaza. Thousands of tons of munitions are being dropped on Gaza by the Israeli Defense (IDF) including 2,000 pound “dumb bombs” (unguided), which cause maximum damage on civilian targets. The indiscriminate relentless bombardment of hospitals, refugee camps, schools , churches, apartment buildings, for 11 weeks, except for a 1 week pause,  has created a “Hell on Earth” for Gazans, on the eve of the celebration of the birth of Christ.

Innocent civilians are being herded like animals to southern Gaza, where they are also bombed. According to the United Nations, 576,000 Gazans face extreme hunger-26% of the population. Over 80%-1.8 million of Gaza’s population of 2.2 million people are displaced with nowhere to go. Lack of clean water, food, electricity, and basic health services is turning the Gaza strip into an equivalent of an open-air, concentration camp* without the barbed wire. Over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed and 53,000 wounded by Netanyahu and the IDF, in less than two months-averaging 2,000 deaths per week of combat. The majority have been women and children. Over 8,000 Palestinian children have had their lives snuffed out before they could experience what life is. That number will rise from the continued bombing assaults, scant medical provisions and services, and the lack of conditions on the ground to support human life. Thus, we are rapidly approaching the elimination of 1% of Gaza’s population. Palestinians living in Gaza are undergoing population reduction, and Netanyahu wants to depopulate the Palestinians living in  Gaza; dead or alive.

The mentality of Israel’s war cabinet and military is so crazed, that the IDF ignored a white flag, the international recognized signal for surrender, raised by three Israeli hostages, and opened fire on them. Killing them despite shouts for help in Hebrew by one hostage.

Israel is attempting to protect itself from blame for slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza with the shield of antisemitism. In Washington DC, officials of both parties fall over themselves accusing anyone who criticizes the state of Israel as an antisemite. Yes, antisemitism exists, I have been the victim of it, but Israel is the only nation whose actions cannot be challenged without being clubbed as an antisemite. This protection racket must end.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Netanyahu Must Go

The citizens of Israel made a grave mistake returning Netanyahu to power as prime minister. The Hamas attack on October 7, exposed the complete failure of Netanyahu and his cabinet to protect Israel, despite boasting of their intelligence and military prowess. This includes having in their possession the plans by Hamas for their invasion against Israel for over a year.

Some of my Jewish friends who dislike Netanyahu, Gaza, asked me: how should Israel have responded to the October 7th attack? My answer is clear: recognize that the policy of occupation of Gaza and the West Bank,  by Israel has been an unmitigated failure. And now is the time to rethink the future of Israel and Palestine. The first step is to remove Netanyahu from office. He is not capable of protecting Israel citizens. Secondly, returning to the basic principles of the Oslo Accords of 1993-1995,as a preliminary starting point for a new approach to peace in the region.

Netanyahu is a racist and antisemite against the Arab people. He is not shy about is desire to drive Palestinians out of Gaza and expand Jewish settlements to populate the West Bank. At the beginning of the IDF offensive, Netanyahu wanted to force Egypt to accept Palestinians as part of an “ethnic cleansing” of Gaza. Netanyahu is on record opposing a unified Palestinian state. It is well documented that for many years Netanyahu has facilitated the transfer of funds to Hamas to enable their independence from the Palestine Liberation Organization  (PLO). This was done, as he admits, to weaken the PLO and prevent a unified Palestinian effort for an independent Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has always opposed the creation of an independent Palestinian nation, and to the apparent dismay of the Biden administration, still opposes a Two State solution today.

As well-informed Jews know but may not want to admit: Netanyahu is spitting on the noble philosophical tradition of Jewish history and culture. That includes his rejection of: Philo of Judea, a contemporary of Jesus (20 BCE-50 CE); Moses Maimonides (1138-1204); Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786); and Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995).

Al-Shifa Hospital Complex, Gaza (Courtesy news.sky.com)

Carnage Does Not Beget Peace

For example. Examine the unnecessary murderous assault on the al- Shifa hospital. The largest, best equipped medical facility in Gaza, which in addition to caring for hundreds of patients also provided shelter to crowds of Palestinians seeking refuge from Israeli bombs raining down on them. Thousands of displaced Palestinians and civilians in need of medical care and protection sheltered in and around this complex of buildings.

Netanyahu and the IDF propagandized that underneath al-Shifa was a military hub of Hamas. These unsubstantiated allegations were shamelessly repeated by every U.S. official, and public spokesperson, including President Biden. To this day, weeks after the November 15th assault, Israel has had the opportunity to display proof, yet no evidence has been presented. Requests for more conclusive evidence from both U.S. and Israeli officials have been stonewalled with claims of “classified information.”  All that has been disclosed so far is a network of tunnels under the hospital complex, which exists almost everywhere throughout Gaza.

According to a December 21 article in The Washington Post, all that was revealed by the Israeli government was:

  • The rooms connected to the tunnel network discovered by IDF troops showed no immediate evidence of military use by Hamas.
  • None of the five hospital buildings identified appeared to be connected to the tunnel network.
  • There is no evidence that the tunnels could be accessed from inside hospital wards.

The Post reports that medical facilities are afforded special protection — even in times of war — losing their status only “while they are being used outside their medical function to commit acts harmful to the enemy,” according to Adil Haque, a law professor at Rutgers University.

The IDF siege and attack on al-Shifa resulted in hundreds of deaths.

Palestinians inspect the damage of buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes on Jabalia refugee camp on the outskirts of Gaza City on October 31, 2023 [Abdul Qader Sabbah/AP Photo] (Courtesy Aljazeera.com)

Civilian Punishment Will Fail 

Robert Pape writing in Foreign Affairs magazine (12/6/23), makes several valid observations in his article, Israel’s Failed Bombing Campaign in Gaza: Collective Punishment Won’t Defeat Hamas.

Carpet bombing campaigns are unsuccessful throughout history. They tend to increase the resolve of the population to reist. The disproportionate numbers of Hamas fighters killed compared to the number of Palestinian civilians, will only intensify their belief that Israel wants to eliminate their existence in Gaza.

Pape writes: Israel is almost certainly producing more terrorists than it is killing, since each dead civilian will have family and friends eager to join Hamas to exact revenge. Mass civilian punishment has not convinced Gaza’s residents to stop supporting Hamas. To the contrary, it has only heightened resentment among Palestinian

According to some experts, for every Palestinian murdered, two-five Palestinians will become new recruits for Hamas. The brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers, who watched their families and, especially their children perish, will seethe with hatred of Israel for years, decades, and quite possibly generations. Thus, the current indiscriminate or maybe intentional mass deaths of Palestinians is sowing the seeds for continued armed conflict, not security.

Pape continues: …a vast portion of the more than 500,000 Palestinian men between the ages of 18 and 34 are now ripe recruits for Hamas or other Palestinian groups seeking to target Israel and its civilians…

There is every reason to think that Israel’s renewed military occupation of Gaza—“for an indefinite period,” according to Netanyahu—will lead to a new, perhaps larger wave of suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.

Netanyahu and the IDF murdering innocent civilians by the tens of thousands will not eliminate Hamas or prevent Hamas 2.0 from emerging. They should have learned from history: you cannot defeat an ideology through kinetic warfare.

Children play in a charred car-people queue for bread in front of a bakery partially destroyed by Israeli strike, Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on Nov. 2, 2023 (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP) (english.aawsat.com)

A New Mind-Set Needed

As long as Netanyahu remains in power there will be no Two State solution. There will be no peace and no future security for Israel. That much is clear, but his removal alone will not resolve the conflict.

The only long-term basis for security for these two Semitic cultures is to establish a common aim that is in the long term interest of both Israelis and Palestinians.

How do achieve this?

We start with the fact that we are all human beings and are all more alike than different. The universal principle that bonds us uniquely as the human race is, we are the only species with a mind capable of creative imagination. No other living creature or non-living machine is capable of producing creative thought. This makes every human life sacred and every child precious. Human beings, unlike animals, have the ability to think about and act on the present for the future. All human beings have the same aspirations for their children and grandchildren, to live a better life than their parents.

There is no easy resolution to this long-standing conflict, except to act in a way that would normally be considered impossible. Let us stand on the shoulders of history to obtain security and peace for future generations of Palestinians and Israelis.

In Europe during the first half of the 17th century, eight million people during died in the Thirty Years War, which ended with the famous 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.

 Article 1 of the treaty stipulated: That this Peace and Amity be observ’d and cultivated with such a Sincerity and Zeal, that each Party shall endeavour to procure the Benefit, Honour and Advantage of the other;

Article 2 stipulated: That there shall be on the one side and the other a perpetual Oblivion, Amnesty, or Pardon of all that has been committed since the beginning of these Troubles…

To wit: each belligerent must act for the benefit of the other, and all crimes committed in the past must be forgotten and pardoned. It will be hard for the belligerents to acknowledge and accept these principles, but there is no other path forward, except more suffering, more killing and more bloodshed.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat(courtesy of peacelink.it)

Israel and Palestine should move in the direction of the process of the Oslo Accords (1993-1995) with an emphasis on fulfilling the common aims of both people. This will require a joint economic development program using the talents and resources of both peoples and nations, for the long-term benefits of future generations. Prejudices do not die quickly, but by acting in the interest of the other, they can be diminished over time.

We have just passed the 30th anniversary of the historic handshake in Washington DC on September 13, 1993, between Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman, Yasser Arafat. It was a torturously conflicted handshake for Prime Minister Rabin, who previously viewed Chairman Arafat, as a mortal enemy.

Not surprisingly, then leader of the Likud Party, Benjamin Netanyahu, led the opposition to the extraordinary peace agreement between Arafat and Rabin.

The opposition’s response was shrill; from the start its leaders charged Rabin with endangering the country, and even with perfidy. Benjamin Netanyahu told [Rabin’s ally] Foreign Minister Shimon Perez in a Knesset debate: ‘You are much worse than the British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, because Chamberlain threatened the security and freedom of another nation, while you are threatening the security and freedom of your own nation.’ A newspaper advertisement run by the opposition parties—and approved by Netanyahu, according to daily Ha’aretz newspaper—said ‘The people rise up against the treason of the of the Rabin…We are not prepared to obey the laws of the government. (Horovitz)

Yitzhak Rabin, a soldier of war, who became a warrior for peace (courtesy historica.fandom.com)

Let us emulate the transformation of former Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who was a commander in the Israel’s wars of 1948 and 1967, but lost his life tragically, as a warrior for peace. He was killed in 1995, by a right-wing Jewish fanatic, who opposed Rabin’s commitment to peace with Palestine.

(The author grew up in a liberal Jewish household in New York City, and has dedicated his life to fighting for justice, economic progress, and defense of oppressed people world-wide).

*Concentration Camp: a place where large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities.

Horovitz, David, (1996) Shalom, Friend-The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, Newmarket Press.

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

“Ethiopian Seaport is Win-Win for East African Nations”: Physical Economic Analyst Freeman

November 19, 2023

In my interview above with OBN (11/6/2023), I discuss the importance of understanding the concept of physical economy to competently analyze the future of the Horn of Africa. Sadly, the vast majority of Africans, like Americans, do not chose to look into the future. It is only by knowing what physical economic inputs are necessary to sustain an expanding population 20-40 years into the future that one can determine the best policies of their nation in the present. Claims of “my nation first” or “my ethnicity first,” express a short sighted mentality that is detrimental to the interests of the nations of the region. Full economic integration of the Horn of Africa, driven by investments in infrastructure, is the most reliable path to achieving peace, stability, and economic growth, and avoiding conflict.

Read my comments in the Ethiopian Herald: Why Ethiopia CDjian No Longer Ignore Interests On the Red Sea – allAfrica.com

Read my earlier posts:

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

Economic Development Can Bring Peace to the Horn of Africa

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

Potential Ports for Expanded Ethiopian Trade

November 4, 2023

In his new article, Ethiopia needs a reliable seaport and a navy, Ken Opalo provide a great deal of useful information on the necessity for Ethiopia to have access to a sea port to continue its progress towards of industrializing its economy. It is imperative for all the nations in the Horn and East Africa to understand, it is in their self interest for Ethiopia, East Africa’s largest and fastest growing economy, to have access to a reliable port. A prosperous Ethiopia benefits the African continent.

Excerpts below from Ethiopia needs a reliable seaport and a navy

Ethiopia’s economic case for reliable and cost-effective seaport access is strong. In order to secure its economic future, the country must minimize or completely erase the economic costs associated with being landlocked. Overall, landlocked countries tend to be 20% less developed than they would be if they had access to the sea. This is partially due to cost of trade, with transportation costs being between 50%-262% higher for landlocked countries.Subscribe

Given the significant economic costs associated with being landlocked, it is a no-brainer that for Ethiopia to achieve its ambitious developmentalist agenda — which will necessarily require export-oriented industrialization and improved agricultural productivity — it needs to have more control over trade-related costs and policy (or procure stability on both fronts from its neighbors). According to the Ethiopian government, transportation costs gobble up 16% of the value of international trade (which seems really high). Foreign trade currently amounts to 24% of GDP, and needs to grow by orders of magnitude. With an annual output of US$127b, Ethiopia is already Eastern Africa’s biggest economy (Kenya is second at US$113b) but with lots of low-hanging opportunities for even bigger trade-driven output.

Last year Djibouti cut stay of cargo days from 45 to 8 days. In addition, the port is more expensive relative to neighbors, often lacks storage space, and suffers from untimely availability of empty containers for exports. These factors have are the motivation behind Ethiopia’s aggressive port diversification initiative. As of early last year, Djibouti City’s share of Ethiopian trade cargo had declined from 95% to just under 86%, with the Kenyan border Moyale dry port (0.02%), Somaliland’s Berbera (5%), and Djibouti’s Tadjoura (9.6%) emerging as alternatives. These latter routes, however, lack the infrastructure (roads, petrol stations, service and repair stops, etc) to support bulk haulage logistics.

His careless bluster notwithstanding, Abiy has significant leverage over Djibouti (population 1.1m). Ethiopia is Djibouti’s leading revenue generator, ahead of the naval base leases by China, France, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Japan. Ethiopian trade reportedly generates more than US$1b each year for the Djiboutian economy. Rents from foreign military bases estimated to be at least US$120m per year. The service sector accounts for nearly 80% of Djiboutian GDP (US$3.5b in 2022), much of it related to ports and logistics. Ethiopia accounts for upwards of 85% of all cargo passing through Djibouti.

Source: World Bank data

II: The economic case for securing reliable seaport access

As shown below, over the last decade Ethiopia has quintupled its industrial output and is quickly catching up with its regional neighbors. If these trends are to continue and if Ethiopia is to attract both domestic and foreign investments into its manufacturing sector, the state must guarantee investors that they will be able to access global markets at reasonable prices. The same goes for investments in the agricultural sector, which still has a commanding share of exports. Agriculture accounts for nearly 38% of GDP (including 50% of manufacturing production), 80% of employment, and about 90% of forex earnings.

Ethiopia’s planned rail network (see below) reflects the country’s industrialization agenda (the same goes for the overall transport masterplan, including road infrastructure). The proposed lines are all designed to serve specific industrial parks. Currently the main rail network (red) terminates at Djibouti City (Doraleh Multipurpose Port), with a planned alternative route to the opposite side of the Gulf of Tadjoura (in Tadjoura). While the rail network will certainly serve domestic production and distribution of goods once completed, an equally important objective should be to guarantee high-enough international traffic volumes to pay for its construction and ongoing maintenance.

As revealed by the planned railway network below, Ethiopia’s seaport options are largely limited to Djibouti — which is cause for believing that Abiy’s comments, if he really meant them and was not just carelessly thinking out loud that he is the latter day Ras Alula Abanega, were a negotiating tactic vis-a-vis Djibouti. Given its importance for Ethiopia’s maritime trade, is also likely that Djibouti is Addis Ababa’s first choice for the location of the planned naval base.

Ethiopia’s industrial parks are in Jimma, Hawassa, Adama, Dire Dawa, Bole Lemi, Debre Birhan, Semera, Kombolcha, Bahir Dar, and Mekelle. Source: Wikipedia

Read my earlier post: Economic Development Can Bring Peace to the Horn of Africa

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Economic Development Can Bring Peace to the Horn of Africa

Develop the ports on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to promote regional economic growth in the Horn of Africa. (curtesy of dawn.com.news)

October 31, 2023

Horn Leaders Urged to Consider Ethiopia’s Quest for Access to Red Sea 

Addis Ababa, October 31/2023 (ENA)- Leaders of the Horn of Africa nations have to consider discussing Ethiopia’s quest for having access to sea as it would increase the physical economic growth of the East African region, the American political-economic analyst Lawrence Freeman told ENA.

Prime Minister Abiy has given geographical, historical, economic backgrounds to initiate discussion about Ethiopia’s right to access sea through peaceful means.

The American analyst stated that access to sea not only reinforces the steadily growing import-export trade of the second Africa’s populous nation, but will also ensure development in the region.

For him, Ethiopia’s quest for coastal access to sea outlets “is essentially correct” as it would enable to increase physical economic growth of the people in the Horn of Africa.

“If people understand more about physical economic growth, they would understand that this is not only very reasonable, but it’s correct. If you want to raise the standard of living for 200 million people living in countries in the Horn, then you would benefit from the trade that could be increased in Ethiopia by having a port on the Red Sea.”

In this regard, the analyst urged leaders of the Horn of Africa nations to have discussion to consider Ethiopia’s quest for having access to sea.

Prime Minister Abiy has suggested potential areas like the Ethiopian Airlines, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and other offers for concession, Freeman stated.

This is perfectly reasonable for the growing Ethiopian economy, he noted.

“The Prime Minister is putting these issues on the table now. (He says) let’s discuss how we are going to bring this about. And I think that’s the approach of a statesman and I would agree with it.”

Access to port is critical to accelerate the growth trajectory of the country and contribute to regional physical economic growth.

Lawrence Freeman, a physical economist, interviewed by Ethiopian News Agency-ENA

“If we look at how we increase the physical economic growth of the people in the Horn of Africa, it is going to depend on Ethiopia. Ethiopia is going to be the dominant economic growth center. And this will benefit all the other countries.

“It’s (therefore) natural to work this out. And I believe this is now an important discussion that has been raised by Prime Minister Abiy. This will be worked out over the years ahead,” Freeman noted.

He also stressed the need for discussion about a regional economic approach since there are several ports in the Horn.

Mentioning about distorted media reports that Ethiopia is claiming access to sea using force if necessary, Freeman noted that this is a very divisive policy that has been used in Africa for hundreds of years.

“We need political leaders and statesmen who rise above this and understand that these are political operations. Some are carried out externally or internally. And the purpose is to prevent the development and sovereignty of African nations. I think the leaders of the nations in the region can sit down and discuss how the region will grow economically.”

“If we concentrate on putting forth the long-term economic growth program that benefits all the nations of the region, the leaders would come to agreement.”

We should also be able to counter those media and other internal and external enemies trying to create tensions between the neighboring countries.

There is no objective reason for countries in the Horn of Africa not to work together for common aims.

Discussions should, therefore, be considered among leaders, experts in the area, including economic experts, water experts and transportation specialists on access to the Red Sea, the analyst stated.

Freeman hopes that this can be done through discussion among sovereign leaders of nation states, including presidents and prime ministers, to deal with the problem.

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

African Nations Must Proceed With Needed Industrialization

Image: proposed layout of the industrial park

October 28, 2023

My colleague, PD Lawton, presents a thorough report on the creation of an industrial park in South Africa that will benefit the entire region-(read below). This directed economic development coupled with a comprehensive trans-continental rail transportation network and accessible electricity will transform the African continent. This is the method to end poverty and hunger across Africa.

Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (MMSEZ) is a proposed industrial park in South Africa, designated with tax incentives as a special economic zone (SEZ). It is an initiative of the Limpopo Province provincial government and the flagship project of the SADC Industrialization Strategy in conjunction with  the African Union Agenda 2063. The aim is to promote industrialization through mineral beneficiation and value addition in agriculture and mineral resources. The manufacturing sector will produce processed metals such as steel, petro-chemicals and plastic production (processing of oil) as well as OEM`s (original equipment manufacturing) which is producing component parts for other industry sectors. Petro chemicals are needed to produce fertilizers. In 2022, South Africa imported US$1.51 billion worth of fertilizer. The security of food supply depends on synthetic fertilizer.

This economic hub is vital for a number of critically important reasons. It will serve as a catalyst for economic growth for the entire SADC region .Achieving of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on poverty reduction cannot be achieved without African economies manufacturing on an industrial scale including in that processing of agricultural products and processing of mineral resources which is known as mineral beneficiation.”

The African Free Trade Agreement inaugurated in January 2021,remains theoretical without operational SEZs in every region and connected by modernized high tech integrated infrastructure as epitomized by the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network which has been designed to connect economic corridors across the continent  by high speed electrified railway.

Read the entire article.

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com