Why Is US-Africa Policy So Bad? Decline of American Culture!

The absolute number of Africans living in poverty is increasing. Image courtesy of blogs.worldbank.org

July 19, 2024

I am frequently asked, why is US-Africa policy deficient in addressing the needs of Africans? On the African landmass over four hundred million people live in extreme poverty, making it the poorest continent in the world. Its total population is projected to expand to approximately two and a half billion people in the next quarter of a century. This portends global instability if the standard of living for hundreds of millions of Africans is not radically improved. The refusal of the United States to design policies to assist in the reduction of poverty in Africa may well turn out to be one of the biggest strategic blunders in U.S. foreign policy in the 21st century. To be honest, it is not just Africa, the U.S. is dangerously failing in its foreign policy throughout the globe.

The answer to the question cited above is clear and obvious to me, but I recognize that it may not be easy for others to grasp. It is the decline of American culture that is the cause of the current and impending disasters of U.S. foreign policy. As an American, who has been astutely politically engaged in the affairs of my country for over half a century, I can state with authority and certainty, American society has become decadent.

For conclusive proof, look no further than the June 27th U.S. Presidential debate between the presumptive nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties. Ignore the incompetent chatter from the media and pundits with their superficial analysis, and the “hot button” rhetoric that each candidate spewed out on a fixed number of topics. There were no presentations to the public with idea content. Both candidates failed the debate. What is glaringly absent from both candidates is a vision for America and more importantly, a vision for America’s leadership in a developing multi-polar world.

Throughout this campaign cycle, neither of the candidates, or anyone else in the Congress, has articulated anything resembling President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Grand Design” or President John Kennedy’s “New Frontier” and his initiative for humankind to explore space. Neither candidate has shown himself capable of articulating a new paradigm that would be transformative in improving conditions of life for Americans and all citizens living on our planet.

It is clear that since the deaths of Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy, America has not produced a leader, who is also a statesmen with a true vision for the future of humankind. A reasonable question to ask is, why hasn’t America created such a leader? The answer may be difficult for some to digest. Americans have been dumbed down by our culture for over five decades. The beginning of our demise dates back to the second half of the 1960s, with the introduction of the “rock-sex-drug counterculture” following the assassination of President Kennedy and the decline of his space program.

No new ideas for the future of the human race. Image courtesy of Facebook.com

Citizens As President

The people who lead our nation emerge from citizens who compose our society. A degenerate culture will not generate qualified visionary leaders, much less statesmen. Hence, the U.S. is bereft of leaders capable of responding in this turbulent time of multiple crises.

In the better periods of Athenian culture, there was a belief that each citizen should be actively involved in contributing to the governing of their nation. They were expected to participate through reason and dialogue in determining the best policies for creating a better future for generations born and unborn. Some of our Founding Fathers, who studied Greek history were intent on founding a Republic, free from the domination of Empire, where individual citizens, not an unelected Oligarchy, would determine their future. The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution eloquently articulates the most essential principles to guide our newly created Republic. The creators of our Republic, emulating the best of Greek philosophy and culture, envisioned a population of citizen-leaders. It was intended that our citizens, though representing diverse sections and interests of our country, would nevertheless, through debate and discussion, guided by reason, decide the most propitious strategies for the development of our nation-state. However, for this to be accomplished our Founding Fathers knew the future of our Republic depended on, required, an educated citizenry. is Ideally, each citizen should be capable of strategic thinking, as if they were leading our Republic, as if they were in fact president.

The great Benjamin Franklin, upon leaving a session of the  Constitutional Convention expressed this fundamental concern, in his pithy response to a question about the future of our country: “we have created a Republic, if you can keep it.”  In other words, the only way the nation could survive was if the majority of its citizens were educated and informed, which is not the condition of Americans today.

The present threat to the very existence of the U.S., and the world, is in large part the absence of an educated American citizenry. Exactly as Franklin warned.

Development VS Poverty

For the last sixty years there has been no president with a commitment to partner with African nations to develop their economies. Worse, the very concept of development has all but vanished from our lexicon. Eliminating poverty and ending hunger in Africa is in the strategic interest of the U.S., and any qualified leader would know this, if their brain were functioning. The crisis facing us today, which we must address now, is the increase in poverty as the population of the African continent grows. Poverty is a major contributing cause to conflict, terrorism, alienation, rebellion, and coups. The greatest threat to civilization in this century, only second to nuclear war, is the spread of poverty across Africa.

Economic Development, including the right to electricity is a human right, which all human rights gr organizations and related NGOs fail to understand

Economic development is a fundamental human right. All the categories of hard and soft infrastructure, which are essential components for economic growth, should also be understood as essential human rights. The failure of the various mis-named human right organizations and NGOs to understand this elementary principle is scandalous. The perverted ideology of the “rules-based international order” that would like to impose its flawed constructs of democracy on the rest of the world will never achieve its purported aims. There will be no democracy when mothers are desperately searching for food to feed their children, and fathers are hustling each day to muster enough money for their families to survive. A productive, dignified, well-paying job is a human right. As is electricity,  railroads, healthcare, and a home of adequate size to raise a family.

No one in the U.S. thinks like this. Why not? Because we no longer actually think, not in terms of profound idea-concepts.

As a result of the dumbing down of our citizens we have lost respect for human life; we no longer appreciate why human life is precious. The lack of understanding of the sacredness of human life, significantly contributes to the high rate of violence, murders, and mass shootings in the U.S.

We Are Humans, Not Yahoos

The crucial concept for understanding economic development, and for formulating fruitful foreign and domestic policy is knowing why human beings are noble. Let me briefly elucidate.

We human beings are unique and do not resemble any other animal species, because we are endowed with the spark of creativity. We humans, and only us humans, are born with the potential of creative thought. No animal has a creative imagination nor does any machine, computer, and nor does AI. As demonstrated by Socrates in Plato’s thought-provoking dialogues, the human mind’s ability to hypothesize new thoughts has no similarity with deductive or inductive logic. Human beings discover, hypothesizes new principles of the physical universe, perfecting our knowledge, but never reaching a final state of perfection. Through this constant but always improving process of perfection-knowledge, humankind acts on the universe for the advancement of the human species.

Socrates and Plato in front of the Academy of Athens, Greece. Image courtesy of reddit.com

This is the “secret” to the expansion of the human race over millions of years in harmony with the universe. Technological advancements derived from new human discoveries lead to transformations in society‘s economic mode of production, which creates the wealth necessary for sustaining more people and at a higher standard of living. This is a universal principle embedded in the physical universe, otherwise known as continual progress, resulting from human intervention. The great Ukrainian-Russian scientist, Vladimir Vernadsky, brilliantly discusses how the universe was transformed with emergence of homo sapiens-sapiens. This new “phase-space” of the universe, which incorporates human noetic activity, he called the noosphere. *

Society Got Dumbed Down

Let us now proceed to highlight several markers of the decline of American culture.

After reviewing the material below, it would not be unfair to suggest that America is on the pathway to becoming the new Roman Empire. This is not an academic observation. Our decaying culture directly affects how our foreign policy is conceived and implemented. This poses life and death questions for all nations, since the U.S. is still the dominant power in the world and possesses the largest nuclear arsenal.

At the risk of upsetting some of my friends, I am obligated to examine the most glaring elements contributing to our depraved culture, if we are going to understand the root cause for the tragedy of U.S. policy.

Following our successful American revolution from the most powerful oligarchy on the planet, the British Empire, the framers of our Republic wisely outlawed all forms of nobility or aristocracy. Yet today, in America, the fixation and idolization of Hollywood and sports celebrities has seeped in and corrupted our society. We have produced a new form of royalty. Every day, thousands of words are written, reporting on the latest gossip on the lives and lifestyle of celebrities. Who is breaking up with whom, who is dating whom, what house or car, or yacht they bought or sold, what clothes they wear or do not wear, saturates all media platforms. And what these people say, or who they support has become all important, not due to any superior intelligence, but simply because of who they are, their wealth, and their glitzy lifestyle. It has become almost as obscene as the obsession that British subjects have in their fawning over the extended Royal Family.

The phenomenal rise of spectator sports is also having a debilitating effect on our society. In the growth of children through adolescence, sports have a positive function. Team sports help youth to work together for a common goal, share a camaraderie, as well as learning to accept defeat. Sports in general helps develop hand-eye coordination and contribute to the healthy physical growth of men and women. Physical activity also helps us to be active and slow down the aging process as we live longer productive lives.

Fans erupting at an earlier Superbowl. Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

Not so with spectator sports, where grown men and women, spend hundreds of millions of hours watching others perform, either in front of a television or in person at a stadium. For example, each Sunday, over 21 million people watch football games, sometimes for the entire day. That does not include games played during the work week. Another 18 million attended in person at 256 football games played during the regular season. Close to 124 million watched the last Super Bowl. Almost as pitiful, is the day following a football game, when men, and women, young and old, spend hours zealously discussing the best and worst performances from the day before.

Instead of assuming responsibility for the future of our nation, deliberating on the profound issues confronting civilization, many, if not the majority of our citizens, respond to politics as rowdy spectators in a sports stadium, or worse, the Roman Colosseum.

Legalized gambling has become a key feature of our decadent society and has also expanded in recent years. In 2024, 68 million Americans bet a total of $23 billion on the Super Bowl. Almost a 50% increase from the year before. Americans wagered just short of $120 billion on sports in 2023, more than a 25% increase over what was waged in 2022. This is due to the expansion of organized betting via the internet, which became legal in 2018. In casinos, existing in 44 states, total revenues generated from slot machines, sports betting, and IGaming was more than $66 billion in 2023.

Winning big ambling in America, 2023. Courtesy of linkedin.com

Lotteries, legalized in the 1970s, became popular for people who thought they could win “big” to supplement their inadequate incomes. Essentially taxing themselves for the dream of becoming rich. Today, 45 states and our nation’s capital have lotteries, where over $113 billion is wagered, producing $37 billion in revenues for local governments.

Lotteries in 25 states directly fund K-12 public education. Maryland lotteries have been a source of revenue for public education for decades and are a line item in the state’s budget for anticipated income. Maryland, where I live, helps fund its Pre-K-12 school budget of $9.2 billion, with $622.7 million in revenue from the state’s casinos and $714 million from the lottery.

Funding the education of children, arguably the most vital task of society, depends on gambling! Are we not the modern-day replica of the Roman Empire, and behaving in a manner that will lead us to suffer the same fate?

This brings me to the subject of education.

Crisis in Education

It is hard to think of any other feature of American society that more categorically demonstrates the decline of our culture than the failure to educate our youth. The very existence of our Republic depends on quality public education from early childhood through high school and should include at least two years of community college. Is there a more important task of society than to guarantee that our youth, who will be our leaders of tomorrow, will be mature thinking adults? Our elementary school children, who in one generation, will be, or should be, in positions of leadership, guiding our nation for future generations. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that they will not be prepared.

A report released earlier this year analyzed the reading levels of third graders. It found that only one third of the students had basic reading skills. This is especially worrisome because the operating theory is that from kindergarten through second grade, students learn to read, and from third grade forward, they read to learn. Without rudimentary reading skills, the child’s intellectual growth will be seriously impeded and will suffer from a lack of development of their creative imagination.

A study in 2011 found 91% of children ages 2-17, palyed video games-64 million youth. And that was over a decade ago. Image courtesy of yahoo.com

Educating America’s youth has become more challenging with the rampant watching videos and playing video games, readily available on smart phones and tablets. As a substitute elementary school teacher for four years, I was shocked to learn the excessive number of hours each day that students spent on their devices. i.e., screen time. It often exceeded five hours per day, compared to one hour or less of reading a book. The video culture and an obscene amount of time spent playing games on a screen is rotting out the brains of our youth. I discovered that thoughtful concerned parents not only limited screen time to a fixed number of hours per day/week, and in some cases even refused to allow their child to have a tablet until they graduated middle school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no screentime for children under two years of age, and a limit of one hour per day of high quality programming for children ages two to five years.

According to UNICEF, too much screen time can have negative effects on babies and toddlers including a shorter attention span, lower empathy, reduced ability to control impulses, and hindering their imagination and motivation

The Enemy Within

One cannot ignore the effects on society of the violence prevalent in today’s music, video games, and television. The rise of the video culture, the legalizing of drugs, the de-emphasis of classical music, art, and literature, is producing a population that is far short of the educated citizenry envisioned by the creators of our Republic. One hopes that the extreme severity of our current political-cultural crisis will produce the potential for new leadership committed to a cultural Renaissance. My recent visit to Italy and Greece, renews my faith that such a human inspired miracle is possible.

The author is at the Agora in Athens sanding between statue of Socrates, left (470-399 bce) and a statue of Confucius, right ( 551-479 bce ). Both philosophers, who influenced cultural and politics for humankind for over two millennium into the present.

The extremists of the “rules-based international order” attempt to whip up the population (somewhat successfully) that our way of life is threatened to be overcome by the rise of Russia and China. The truth of the matter is, we are destroying ourselves from within. We are committing acts of menticide against ourselves, especially our youth, willingly, if not out of ignorance.

We are living in unsettling times fraught with the potential of new and dangerous crises. Between now and the end of this year, civilization will be tested. Let us hope that we possess enough wisdom to survive, and eventually flourish in a paradigm based on global economic development.

*Much more can be discussed on this subject.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

Lawrence Freeman: Why The “Rules-Based International Order” Has Failed and Will Always Fail: The Case of Africa

Please watch my one hour fifteen minute presentation in the video above. (May 5). It will be of benefit to you and your nation.

June 5, 2024

This is a strategic presentation that you will not hear from anyone else. It contains epistemological concepts that are necessary for one to understand, if one wants to become a competent strategic thinker. With a grounding in these rudimentary but essential ideas  that I discussed, we are equipped to help Africa realize its potential in becoming an economic giant within the first half of this century.

After discussing some of the dynamics in Africa today, I delved into the main subject, which is poorly understood, even by most of my friends and colleagues. However, absorbing and spreading this knowledge may determine the future existence of the human race.

Only when we understand why the so called rules-based international order must fail, can we dedicate ourselves with new vigor to create a superior paradigm that will portend a better future for humans living today and our progeny.

At the core of the deficiency in the thinking process of the Western elites-the political financial oligarchy, is their failure to understand the unique characteristic of what makes us human. Endowed by the Creator, we humans, and we alone of all species, and unlike all machines, and all computer programs, possess the power of creative mentation. In other words, the mental power to hypothesize, as brilliantly and beautifully elaborated by Plato in his dialogues and by Socrates. With this power, which exists in all human beings as a potential to be developed, there are no limits to the expansion of the human race and the transformation of our physical universe. Thus, people and nations are not fixed. All societies and cultures, if they are human, embody a civilization of creative transformers. All people of all nations share this exclusive common feature, which universally binds us together in our quest for a better shared future.

Those in power in the West, their schools, colleges, institutions, and values, not only fail to understand this fundamental principle of human existence, but actually deploy to suppress it.

Our global society should be organized on these principles of human  creative enhancement, not a fixed set of rules established by the bankrupt Western invention of a so called rules-based international order .

I hope you learn from, and enjoy my presentation in the video above.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

South Africa Led the World in Small Nuclear Reactors: Africa Needs Nuclear Energy Today!

May 30, 2024

Watch this video from africanagenda.net.

Read my earlier posts:

South African Activist Campaigns for Nuclear Energy For Africa: Essential for Industrialization

South Africa: A Leader on the Continent for Nuclear Energy

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation” Nuclear Energy Can Be A Solution To The Continent’s Dearth of Electricity

Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

African Nations Desperately Need Energy for Economic Growth

Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

In the Next Decade, Nuclear Power for Africa Is A Necessity, Not An Option

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

African Leaders Speak Out for Physical Economic Growth at World Bank Forum

Watch Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni’s at the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) summit, April 29 in Nairobi, Kenya

May 22, 2024

African leaders are displaying signs of resistance to simply taking orders from the Western controlled international financial system and their so called rules-based order. Their opposition to the diktats from the  political-financial oligarchy has been demonstrated on two crucial fronts: energy and manufacturing.

Increasingly, African leaders are resisting demands from “developed” nations, whose populations have already 100% access to electricity, that less developed nations can only use so called renewables. The “advanced sector” threatens nations whose populations are literally dying from the lack of electricity, that they will not receive funds for investment in fossil fuel production. In other words, they insist African nations endowed with vast hydrocarbon natural resources should be prevented from utilizing these resources to produce electricity, which is necessary to improve the lives of their people. Under the cover of their duplicitous concern for the environment, the West is willing to have millions of Africans die with their deceitful cries to “save the planet.“ The two-faced nature of the rules-based order and their financial intuitions is demonstrated by their lack of support for major hydro-power projects in Africa. The United States and Europe have not supported the Grand Renaissance Dam (Ethiopia-5,150 MW), the Grand Inga (Democratic Republic of the Congo-40-50,000 MW), of the multination water project, Transaqua.

South African Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe

Read the courageous analysis by South African Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe: South Africa Energy Minister Rejects Western Dictates & Hypocrisy Against Africa’s Use of Energy Resources

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, Tanzanian President, and Samia Suluhu Hassan, speaking at the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) summit (April 29th, Nairobi, Kenya) spoke for the necessity to fund manufacturing and infrastructure in Africa. (See below) It is imperative to end the Wests’ singular focus on extractive industries to loot Africa’s valuable resources. Numerous African leaders are correctly demanding that none of their critical minerals should leave their nations in its raw form. Instead, they insist these minerals must be transformed into products for trade and consumption by a growing indigenous manufacturing sector.

Read the remarks by Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of International relations,  at the Ministerial meeting of the Bi-National Commission of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, last year. South African Minister Pandor Articulates Principles of Development for Africa

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Grace Naledi Pandor

Edited excerpts below from the address by Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, to the International Development Association (IDA) summit April 29 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Borrowing for what? capacity building. Imagine! Seminars, they call you in a hotel, you eat chapati, mandazi, they say that is capacity building…it should be on the ground not just in seminars. So, if you are serious, I need to hear about the low cost funding for manufacturing, not for stories…for manufacturing,” he remarked.

The crisis Africa is in today is because of philosophical, ideological, strategic economic mistakes, which we have been talking about since the 1960s.

Our populations are increasing, but our economies are stunted. The IDA should tell us why they are funding the modern slavery of Africans, and we should address issues like why Africa is producing what it does not consume and consuming what it does not produce. ,The crisis Africa is in today is because of philosophical, ideological, strategic economic mistakes, which we have been talking about since the 1960s.

I was very happy the president of the World Bank talking about prosperity instead of profiteering, his own words. The problem has been the World Bank people and other groups talking of sustainable development. I have seen that those words sustainable development.

I’m not going to be 80 years old I’ve never seen sustainable pregnancy that the woman is pregnant this year the pregnancy continues the next year three years four years. It never happens in life pregnancy develops sustainably. The baby is growing bigger and bigger but at some stage one static growth must be transformed into qualitative change, the pregnancy must become a baby. I would even ask you to change those words in your documents. Africa does not need sustainable; you could call the sustainable under development. Africa needed this social economic transformation. The pregnancy must become a baby, the baby must grow and grow, and become a teenager. The teenager must grow. That is what happens in life. You cannot have quantitative growth and think you are doing anything.

So, if you are serious, I need to hear about the low- cost funding for manufacturing, not for stories … for manufacturing. The main reason why there is no growth is because the growth factors are not funded, they are not even under understood; those who want to help Africa should fund our transport systems, electricity, raw material processing, and import substitution.

Our populations are increasing, but our economies are stunted. The IDA should tell us why they are funding the modern slavery of Africans, and we should address issues like why Africa is producing what it does not consume and consuming what it does not produce.

I banned the export of minerals from Uganda. No export of minerals from Uganda if it is not processed here. You wait until I go away you can steal the minerals but not now. I ban this export of unprocessed minerals. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Muscat, Oman on June 14, 2022. (courtesy of theeastafrican.co.ke)

Museveni was seconded by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan,  who has fought for infrastructure development in her own nation. She said:

Considering the challenges related to present projected debt levels, we strongly believe that IDA should focus more on providing concessional loans such as 50-year credit loans. These facilities will provide more fiscal space for African countries to address competing development needs. (Emphasis added)

She is correct in identifying the need for long-term ,low interest loans to maximize investment in infrastructure and manufacturing. Infrastructure Progress in Tanzania

Watch Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni’s 30 minute speech at the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) summit, April 29 in Nairobi, Kenya

Courtesy of PD Lawton: africanagenda.net/musevenis-aptly-describes-sustainable-development-and-says-fund-the-railways-instead

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

G-7 “Rules-Based Order” Meddling in the Horn of Africa for No Good

Watch Lawrence Freeman’s interview with Addis Assefa, OBN Horn of Africa, April 23, 2024

May 4, 2024

In this interview, I presented the fallacy of thinking by the so called rules-based international order, demonstrated in their G7-Foreign Ministers Statement. The G7 statement fails to articulate any policy promoting economic development for the nations of Africa. Rather, it shamefully,  merely lists the concerns and the condemnations of the G7 for several  African nations.

Major topics discussed included:

  • The involvement of forces outside the region meddling in the affairs of the Horn of Africa for geopolitical control; usurping the authority of  sovereign African nations.
  • The absence of motivation for any nation in the Horn of Africa to initiate military engagement with neighboring nations.  
  • The ongoing process of regional economic integration in the Horn of Africa.
  • The potential for increased physical economic growth in the region resulting from the Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland for port access.
  • The lack of a policy by the G7 rules-based order to promote physical economic growth.
  • The use of “climate change” to prevent African nations from using their sovereign natural resources to produce electricity for the purpose of improving the standard of living for their citizens.

Read my earlier posts:

Anglo-American Elite Continue Threats to Break-up Ethiopia

Stop Foolish Talk of War in the Horn of Africa-Promote Economic Growth Instead

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

Energy Poverty Is Killing Africans-Renewables Are Insufficient

Access to electricity for sub-Saharan nations is abysmal. A leading factor in the prevalence of poverty and hunger. (Courtesy of researchgate.net)

W. Gyude Moore published a useful article on the vital need for African nations to produce more energy: On the question of Africa’s Energy Poverty

However, I extend the implications of his analysis of energy poverty to its full impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans. To wit: energy poverty is the leading cause of preventable deaths in Africa. Western political-financial elites are using their pseudo concern to “save the world” from climate change, to prevent African nations from producing vital energy from their abundant natural resources of hydrocarbons. In effect, attempting to deny nations suffering from a dearth of electricity, the right to develop their own energy sources sufficient to industrialize their economies. Hunger and poverty will not be eliminated on the African continent without nation-wide grids providing abundant and accessible electrical power.

Renewables are not capable of powering an industrialized economy. Their low energy flux density, the concentration of heat-power needed to transform minerals, is inadequate. Intense levels of heat and energy are required to convert ores into working metals. Nuclear power is orders of magnitude superior to other forms of energy in satisfying these requirements. Oil, gas, and hydro are energy sources that can be used in transition to nuclear energy. Yet, African nations are given diktats to not develop their sovereign resources and instead rely on inferior energy sources, displaying their disdain for their sovereignty and the welfare of their citizens. Thus, ensuring that African nations will never be able to become manufacturing based industrialized economies capable of eradicating poverty and hunger. One can make the argument that denying African nations this required energy capacity is a new form of colonialism, to keep them undeveloped. It is the effect, if not the intent.

Excerpts from Moore’s article: In Resolving Africa’s Energy Poverty – ALL Options Remain on the Table

Africa’s energy poverty is now a national security crisis. The region’s large and growing population places relentless pressure on small and dwindling resources, exacerbating the crisis of diminished state capacity. The specter of social and political disruption haunts regional stability, from coastal West Africa to the Great Lakes. Africa’s poverty translates into weak economic resilience and heightened vulnerability to shocks – internal and external. The recent spate of global crises has only worsened the problem. After decades of improvement, the World Bank reports that inequality is rising – that the global poor bore the brunt of the economic scarring of the pandemic, with incomes falling in the poorest countries more than they did in rich countries. “As a result, the income losses of the world’s poorest were twice as high as the world’s richest, and global inequality rose for the first time in decades.” These losses are most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa where “incomes are falling further behind the rest of the world.”  

Nothing aggravates this condition more than the continent’s persistent energy poverty. It is thus a positive sign when at this year’s IMF/World Bank Spring meetings, the World Bank and the African Development bank agreed to invest in providing electricity to 300 million Africans by 2030. But the announcement raises a lot of questions, including Todd Moss’s: “What will the Bank do differently?” If the idea is to double down on renewables alone, this only accentuates the glaring divergence between what Africa needs and the “solution” the Bank is offering. In times of existential crises, no options are left off the table. Unless Africa increases the diversity and complexity of its exports, its poverty will persist…

Moore makes the decisive point below that even when African nations establish policies to process their own resources, to ban the export of raw resources: they don’t have the energy for smelting, transforming the ore..

No Balanced Energy mix, No Industrialization

Africa’s export diversification is inextricably tied to its infrastructure – mainly power – endowment. Namibia, Zimbabwe, the DRC and others have all passed laws banning the export of unprocessed minerals. The legitimate attempts by these governments to ensure that their minerals are extracted and processed “in a way that helps [them] realize the full economic benefits of their resources’, should be applauded.”

But the viability of these bans remains contested, and these efforts are very likely to stall, since insufficient smelting capacity has led to repeated issuance of waivers for similar bans in the DRC.

About 80% of global energy consumption is tied to transport and heating (residential and industrial). This focus here is industrial heating (100 to 2000 C). The absence of adequate power supply to smelt ores in a commercially viable way has condemned the continent’s commodity exporters to ship their raw ore to China or India. South Africa, the continent’s most complex commodity exporting economy exports its chromite ore to China for processing into ferrochrome, which is used to manufacture corrosion, acid and heat-resistant steel.

Or take aluminum – the metal that is produced from bauxite. Guinea has the world’s largest bauxite reserves at over 7 billion metric tons. However, aluminum making is one of the most energy-intensive processes in the world. “Only paper, gasoline, steel, and ethylene manufacturing consume more total energy in the United States than aluminum. Aluminum production is the largest consumer of energy on a per-weight basis and is the largest electric energy consumer of all manufactured products.”[xv] In Guinea and Sierra Leone, converting raw bauxite into intermediate metals will require prodigious amounts of installed and dispatchable power. Renewables have struggled to be cost competitive with burning fossil fuels to smelt ores. Even the most basic levels of beneficiation (removing impurities and improving the grade of the ore) often require electricity endowment that many commodity exporters lack. Unless Africa is able to increase the availability of cost-competitive energy at a scale, adding value to its mineral exports will remain a pipe drain. If the average Ethiopian continues to consume a mere 79.25 kWh per year, Ethiopia will struggle to match Bangladesh (497 kWh per year) in apparel manufacturing. If the average Nigeria consumes only about 150 kwH per year, Nigerian firms will struggle to compete with their Vietnamese counterparts  (2450 KwH per year)

Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be a game changer for East Africa; generating 5,150 megawatts of electricity

Fossil Fuels (Including Coal)  and the Existential Question:

While Europe, China and India pursue increasing coal as an energy source, African nations are intentionally denied lending for development of coal powered plants, even though coal is abundant on the continent.

At this year’s Spring Meetings,  “The Big Shift Global”, a global movement against fossil fuels, protested against the Bank’s financing fossil fuels. Their best intentions notwithstanding, this activism condemns Africa and Africans to indigence, since the countries adding the most fossil fuel capacity do not borrow from the World Bank. This earnest, but misguided, activism simply provides a convenient cover for rich countries’ World Bank executive directors who want to push the bank away from financing natural gas in Africa.

Increasing Africa’s energy per capita consumption is an existential question – from keeping South Sudanese children alive in extreme heat to earning more from African exports. African governments ought to understand that outsourcing existential questions to outsiders whose intentions are, at best, ambivalent is a dereliction of duty to their people.

When coal-powered electricity is rising in prominence in the world’s largest industrial countries, it is unreasonable to expect Africans to “save the world”, by sacrificing their poverty reduction and industrialization goals on the unrealistic “hope” of an all-renewable energy mix. Every form of energy generation must remain on the table. Where viable, nuclear energy ought to be pursued too – whether the partner of choice is China or Russia, especially since Rosatom and the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) have approved a plan for cooperation. China has made progress on small modular reactors; this option and all others must remain on the table...

Both the World Bank and some private capital are hesitant to extend financing for new fossil fuel. Because this is a national security imperative, African governments should be prepared to make hard choices about using domestic resources, making cuts to spending elsewhere to fund these plants.

For economies where coal power plants are viable, governments must make demonstrable efforts – setting aside land, conducting feasibility studies, and mapping the coal value chain for these plants. For countries where the option is natural gas – the same processes should be set in motion.

Read my earlier posts below:

South Africa Energy Minister Rejects Western Dictates & Hypocrisy Against Africa’s Use of Energy Resources

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation” Nuclear Energy Can Be A Solution To The Continent’s Dearth of Electricity

GERD: Utilizing the Blue Nile to Create Energy for Development in Ethiopia & 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 that has hundreds of articles for you to review.

Anglo-American Elite Continue Threats to Break-up Ethiopia

Ethno-nationalism is Ethiopia’s most serious security threat (map courtesy of Wikipedia)

April 16, 2024

The publication of Alex da Waal’s article, Ethiopia Back on the Brink, in Foreign Affairs, on April 8, is a clear indication that the Anglo American Establishment intends to continue the destabilization of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. (Foreign Affairs/ Da Waal)

How Do I Know?

I come to this conclusion as one who comprehends strategic global dynamics, which elevates my thinking above those who live in the world of empiricism. It is elementary for me, who understands the world view of those indoctrinated in the “geopolitical zero-sum” ideology, to know what is intended for Ethiopia.

I know two crucial pieces of evidence.

One, Alex da Waal supported the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in their treasonous endeavor to overthrow the government of Ethiopia. It was a military attempt at regime change in a destructive war that lasted for two years. He was an active supporter in the war to destroy the Ethiopian nation. When Da Waal writes or talks about Ethiopia, his hatred and rage against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, gushes out.

Two, Foreign Affairs is a quarterly publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the most prominent and influential think tank in the United States that has direct impact on all branches of the United States  government.The CFR was founded in 1921, as the American branch of the British Royal Institute for International Affairs, otherwise known as Chatham House, which was created two years earlier. Chatham House was created by Lord Alfred Milner, then acting as Secretary of State for the British Empire’s colonies, through a vast trust funded by the estate of race-patriot Cecil Rhodes.

One should ask him or herself: why would the most prestigious U.S. establishment magazine publish an article on Ethiopia by someone who not only hates the current government of Ethiopia, but actively supported its attempted overthrow.

Da Waal is no ordinary academic. He is an advocate for the geopolitical establishment that believes they have the authority to decide who is an acceptable leader of a nation. That is, one that is acceptable to their rules-based international order, which does not respect the legitimacy of decisions made by the citizens of sovereign African nations.

The intent of the continuous destabilization of Ethiopia in the eighteen months following the negotiated end of the war in November 2022, is to produce a weakened, fractured, or balkanized nation. One can grasp the significance of the type of evidence I am presenting, providing one has not become a victim of ethno-nationalism ideology. Given Ethiopia’s political and economic dominance, along with its sheer size, if these efforts were to succeed, the Horn of Africa would be thrust into decades of war and chaos.

Before I was shunned by the Ethiopian diaspora, I was praised for my insightful assessment that the intent of the TPLF instigated war was regime change. Unfortunately, many of my former allies, who know well of Alex da Waal’s nefarious role in Ethiopia’s destructive war, reject my analysis today. Nor do I have any direct indication that leaders in Ethiopia understand who is waging war against Ethiopia, and why. However, it would serve the best interest of Ethiopia and the continent, for people to heed and understand my analysis.

Ethno-nationalism Weaponized

The Council on Foreign Relations, dominated by their geopolitical outlook that the world is composed of victors and victims, disregards the significance of the concept of a sovereign nation state. Instead, they see countries as mere pawns to be manipulated to accomplish their goal of western hegemony. Poor Alex da Waal is simply a tool whose erroneous academic analysis is used against African nations. He serves the interests of his master, the rules-based international order.

Da Waal shows his contempt for a unified sovereign nation of Ethiopia through his constant support of ethno-nationalism, which remains today, the most serious threat to the existence of the Ethiopian nation. He fails to understand that the most important objective of a “national dialogue” is to affirm the superiority of Ethiopian citizenship over ethno-nationalism. This will also require major alterations in the flawed Ethiopian constitution, rather than perpetuating it . He praises the decades of rule by the TPLF that is responsible for dividing the nation into ethnic conclaves, which he claims was undone by Prime Minister Abiy.

Ethiopia’s failed Constitution, which promotes ethno-nationalism, is in urgent need significant change.

Da Waal writes:     

Under the previous regime, Ethiopia’s various regions have been held together by a federal formula that aimed to maintain the country’s complete complicated ethnic mosaic…this federal system undergirded a quarter century of stability.

This “mosaic” that promoted ethnicity over citizenship of a nation, has made Ethiopia vulnerable to external intervention, and is the root cause of Ethiopia’s recent war and violent conflicts today.

Da Waal consciously refuses to acknowledge that the TPLF initiated the war with an armed attack on the nation’s military defense force in Mekelle, Tigray. He supports the legitimacy for a province to initiate armed conflict against the central government. (An act that President Lincoln did not tolerate). He can barely conceal his enthusiasm for the TPLF’s march to capture Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, in 2021. He praises the existence of ethnic armies and complains that FANO was not given a seat at the peace talks in South Africa. Why should they be there? FANO, nor any ethnic militia does not represent the nation of Ethiopia and is not a substitute for the elected  government.

War Mongering in the Horn of Africa

Da Waal joins the war mongering chorus working overtime to instigate armed conflict in the Horn of Africa. Displaying his ignorance or disdain for physical economic growth, he dismisses Ethiopia’s need for port access to the Red Sea and Gulf of Eden. Da Waal shows no concern for improving the living standards of millions of people residing in the Horn of Africa. Insisting that Prime Minister Abiy is only interested in the prestige of building a navy. Similarly, he exposes his lack of concern for improving the lives of Ethiopians and its neighbors by demeaning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). He complains that it is 95 percent complete, despite opposition from Egypt. What kind of an “Africanist” does not support the injection of 5,150 megawatts of power, generated by the GERD, into a continent dying from lack of electricity? Conspicuously, Da Waal never discusses the critical need for economic development of the region.

In his Foreign Affairs’ essay, Da Waal asserts without any evidence that “the standoff between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu threatens to develop into a larger conflagration. There will be no conflagration unless Da Waal and his ilk deliberately ignite one, intending to set the East African region ablaze.

Da Waal blames the crisis in the Horn of Africa on Prime Minister Abiy’s so called expansionist plans and predicts a future that would lead to the  disintegration of Ethiopia. His scenario includes the Sudanese armed forces threatening the GERD, while the insurgency in Amara escalates. Da Waal has fantasies of an uprising that will threaten Prime Minister Abiy’s control of Addis Ababa, this time succeeding, unlike the TPLF’s earlier failed attempt. He then predicts that: In the coming year, Ethiopians could also face food riots, mass hunger-induced migration, and a broader social and security breakdown. That is quite a prophecy or is it his aspiration for the future of Ethiopia. If any of Da Waal’s evil imagination were to become true, hundreds of millions of Africans living in Eastern Africa and across the continent would suffer unspeakable hardship.

We should judge this ominous prediction by da Waal, to be a desired outcome, or at the very least, a threat to Ethiopia and the existing government of Prime Minister Abiy.

Da Waal’s solution is having the rules-based international order intervene, to tell yet another African nation how to behave. According to him, the United States and its partners should curb Prime Minister Abiy’s authority and maintain the structure of zones of ethno-nationalism. This would ensure that Ethiopia will be permanently fractured, instead of becoming a unified nation-state. Thus, deliberately leaving the second most populace nation in Africa, open to future destabilizations.

Hence, the significance of the publication of this article by an institution such as Foreign Affairs.

Read all my earlier posts on Ethiopia: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com/analysis/Ethiopia/

Soon I will be publishing from lawrencefreeman.substack.com

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

High Speed Railway Network Will Spur Economic Growth on the African Continent

April 3, 2024

My colleague, PD Lawton, creator of the website, africanagenda.net, in her article below, provides an comprehensive and important overview of the progress for transcontinental high speed railroads in Africa. Infrastructure, especially in rail and energy, are the lifeblood for economic progress in Africa. Only with massive investment in hard infrastructure, will African nations be able to achieve economic growth, peace, stability, and the elimination of poverty and hunger. Without expansion of rail lines across the continent and abundant energy, they will not! Without an increase in railway lines, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is mere empty talk, and will not succeed!

Watch the YouTube interview: Unveiling Africa’s Railway Future

Read my earlier posts:

The African Integrated High Speed Rail Network-(AIHSRN) Will Revolutionize Africa’s Economies

Africa Continental Free Trade Area Must Have An Integrated High Speed Rail Network

Shortly, I will be publishing from lawrencefreeman.substack.com

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

South African Minister Pandor Speaks ”Truth to Power” in U.S.

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Grace Naledi Pandor

March 30, 2024

South Africa is under attack by the self-proclaimed international rules-based order, which is another name for the Anglo-American establishment. Naledi Pandor, who is the equivalent of the Foreign Minister for South Africa, in her visit to the United States, is challenging their geopolitical doctrine that erroneously views the world as a zero-sum game composed of only victors and victims.

South Africa is being assaulted in the United States Congress for its right to conduct its sovereign foreign policy with other nations. Congressman John James (R-MI) has spearheaded the passage of legislation H.R. 7256  through the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which alleges that South Africa is a threat to the national security of the U.S.

H.R. 7256  Section 3, sense of the Congress (1)

that the ANC’s foreign policy actions have long ceased to reflect the stated stance of nonalignment, and now directly favor that PRC, the Russian Federation, and Hamas, a known proxy of Iran, and therefore undermines the United States national security and foreign policy interest.

The mis-named U.S.-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act, with bipartisan support has passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and can now advance to a full vote of  to the House of Representatives.

According to this nefarious legislation, South Africa’s alleged “offences” include:

  • Courageously bringing to the United Nations International Court of Justice, the genocidal behavior by the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamim Netanyahu against the Palestinian people of Gaza.
  • Remaining in continuous dialogue with nations of the so called axis of evil; Russia, China, and Iran.
  • For participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • For being a leader of the Global South and Non-Aligned Movement that provides an alternative to the diseased ideology of zero-sum geopolitics. .

In a March 21, press release from his office, Cong James writes: “South African officials have made a miscalculation by aligning themselves with Russia and China. It is in our national security interests for the United States to review our relationships with nations that may not share our values and align themselves with such actors.

This disgraceful piece of legislation, which attacks Minister Pandor personally, reflects the animus towards a nation that does not accept the absolute authority of the “rules-based order.” South Africa is being targeted by the United States, not for any single action it has taken, but because South Africa will not submit to the dictates of the Western political-financial elite.  South Africa, other African nations and those of the Global South will rightly understand this legislation as a full scale violation of South Africa’s sovereignty.

Minister Pandor, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC, March 19, 2024

Speaking Truth to Power

Into this environment, Minister Pandor challenged the precepts of geopolitical thinking in Washington, displaying courage, morality, diplomatic adeptness, all with a quality of grace and dignity, rarely seen in the U.S. Capital.

On March 19, I had the privilege of observing Minister Pandor in her discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and afterwards at an inter-faith dialogue at the South African embassy on ending the war in Gaza.

The event at Carnegie entitled: Are South Africa-U.S. Relations at a Turning Point? A Conversation With Naledi Pandor, was conducted by Dan Baer, Carnegie’s senior vice president for policy research. Baer’s argumentative attitude reflecting the prejudices of Washington, was constantly challenged by Minister Pandor, as can be seen from the partial transcript that follows.

Baer began by asking Min. Pandor to rate American political leadership. She responded, shockingly: I rate it at 6 for executive and below that for the legislature…. I’m not sure the legislators have an understanding of South Africa…. I think they make conclusions about South Africa’s international relations, without necessarily speaking to us. And this is very troubling…. If I were to make a statement about their policy, I would at least speak to us first, and attempt to understand, the cause, if any, might be of an emerging dissonance.

Regarding the United Nations, Min. Pandor said: I think we need to look at the composition and the functioning, and the capacity associated with having a Security Council. I think we should have African presence as permanent members…. I also think East Asia should have a presence. I think India being so big and not being a part of the permanent members is an odd reality….

Continuing on the UN, she said: we don’t need more multilateral bodies to replace the United Nations, but the UN needs to be reformed to be more than a monitoring body…. We need to consider the [UN] capacity for peace enforcement. We have to find a way of protecting innocent people when there’s a conflict.

Minister Pandor participating in an interfaith dialogue (South African Embassy, March 19) with representatives from Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations opposed to Israeli’s war in Gaza.

Baer asserted that: the BRICS invited six new members, four of which are authoritarian regimes.

Pandor stood her ground, responding: Who makes these judgments? This assessment that you’re making…

Baer interrupted her, saying: You would challenge the premise that Iran, for example, is an authoritarian regime?

Min. Pandor: Is it your role to make that judgment?

Baer replied: I don’t think it’s me, uh, saying that. It’s widely regarded by most people….

Min. Pandor: I don’t know if they are an authoritarian regime. I do know that—

Baer interrupted: The minister of South Africa does not know if the regime in Iran is authoritarian?

Min. Pandor: I don’t have that definition in my logbook. I do have a concern about women, and their rights in Iran, and this is something I have discussed with the government of Iran, particularly my colleague, the foreign minister…. And to use our [South Africa’s] earned democratic success to say this actually works … because if we stop talking with everybody, because we define them in a particular way, I think that the models we have adopted would not have any meaning…. We use our post-apartheid progress as a way of exemplifying for others that we think this is a good practice to adopt.

Baer: It’s difficult to make the argument that South Africa’s example is available to people in Iran or China, or in Saudi Arabia….”

Min. Pandor: We’re not a perfect democracy by any means…. We have huge problems of poverty … which derive from our history … which we have not been able to fully address as an emerging democracy. But I do believe that there is a strength in being able to speak with everyone, because if you close off, I don’t think you achieve anything.

International Court of Justice (Courtesy of Al Jazeera)

The discussion was contentious again when Baer criticized South Africa for bringing the charge of Israeli genocide against Palestinians living in Gaza, to the International Court of Justice, and not against Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Baer: What did South Africa intend to accomplish by bringing its case to the ICJ on Gaza? And how does South Africa square that with abstaining on UN resolutions with respect to Russia’s aggression to Ukraine? You compellingly spoke of the need for the UN to respond to the killing of innocent civilians, and certainly that’s happening in Ukraine. How does South Africa see connecting those two positions?

Min. Pandor: On Gaza, and what we hope to accomplish, the first thing is to stop the killing of innocent Palestinians, and what we’ve seen, what each of us watches every day, surely makes us horrified about ourselves, and our inability to stop that. So, we hoped that through the ICJ, through respect for it…as one of the international law institutions that through the provisional measures … would reduce the harm…. We knew that we may not stop the conflict in its entirety, but if we could reduce harm to the civilian population and get humanitarian aid in, we would be happy.

Min. Pandor: Provisional measures have been ignored by Israel, we’re seeing mass starvation now, and famine before our very eyes…. I think as humanity we need to look at ourselves in horror…. Speaking of Israel’s defiance to adhere to any law… there’s license, I can do what I want, and not be stopped…. The minute you allow something like this, then what you’re doing is setting in play a form of practice that will be very difficult to challenge in the future. We went to the ICJ, because we have always been told by those who know democracy better than us, that we must respect human rights, that we should respect UN institutions, that we should practice democracy, that we should end conflict in Africa. And so, we were merely practicing what is preached to us every day….

Min. Pandor: It behooves us to say, how do we find a better way…. It’s made more difficult by the most powerful countries in the world, because the impression that’s created is that it’s the weak who must respect, the weak should implement and the powerful can do what they want.

Min. Pandor: How do the powerful contribute to the greater good? What role is being played to ensure all of us hold up the highest standard? We’re the country that remains talking every week to both [Russia and Ukraine]. That’s saying we’ve got to get you in the same room. We participated in all the working groups, on the peace plan of President Zelenskyy. And we’ve now said, we think there has to be a meeting with Russia….

Talking of South Africa’s aspirations for the continent, Min. Pandor said: So, we do try to be good. But we don’t get it right all the time. … I believe we’re making an effort. And for us, the first prize would be in Africa to silence the guns, focus on development, industrialization, productive capacity, and achieving a livelihood for the majority of Africans, that places us in a different space of development. That is first prize, and first concern for us.

I completely concur with Minister Pandor: development, industrialization, and improving the livelihood of Africans is the first prize!

In the videos below, once can view Minister Pandor’s articulation of South Africa’s policy.

Read my earlier posts:

South African Minister Pandor Articulates Principles of Development for Africa

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

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

Stop Foolish Talk of War in the Horn of Africa-Promote Economic Growth Instead

March 16, 2024 

If Ethiopia is going to have access to a port, then there must be long term agreement, Lawrence Freeman explains why

With around 120 million people, Ethiopia is said to be the most populous land locked country in the world. Since the separation of Eritrea with a declaration of independence in 1991, Ethiopia has been using the Port of Djibouti for about 95 % of its import export trade.

But with the rapid growth of its economy its import export trade has also grown exponentially calling for the increase of the number of ports, upgrading of the capacity of the ports as well as securing its right to access sea outlet.

“If Ethiopia is going to make investments, which they have to do in infrastructure to make the port profitable and efficient, then they need to have a long term lease agreement.” Says Lawrence Freeman, an American political economic analyst for Africa (www.lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com ).

In his brief stay with The Ethiopian Herald, Freeman has reflected his insight about how vital for Ethiopia is having a sea access with a guarantee of long term agreement, the need to access multiple ports to accommodate its rapidly growing economy and respond to the needs of its large population, as well as the benefits other countries of the region can secure from the Ethiopia – Somaliland Port access deal and the role of the regional countries. Enjoy reading!

It has been two months since Ethiopia and Somaliland signed the MoU for a port access. How do you see the progress of the agreement and what has been unfolding around the issue so far?

There appears to still be concern by Somalia about this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). which I haven’t seen the actual complete agreement. There was also a report in the news that in the meeting that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had with the president of Kenya, as a softening of the Prime Minister’s position.

However, much of the discussion is just poorly informed, and not helpful to the Horn of Africa to any of the nations in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia. The problem is the countries are reacting in a less than informed manner. If they understood physical economic growth, they would understand that Ethiopia needs multiple port access for its growing economy, number one. Number two, Ethiopia is the largest economy in East Africa and has great deal of potential for growth. Number three, this will benefit all the countries in the region because they will benefit from the expansion of trade and commerce. Number four, if Ethiopia is going to have access to a port, then they need to have long term agreement. It can’t be a one year two year; we’ll do it when we want. It can’t be capricious. If Ethiopia is going to make investments, which they have to do in infrastructure to make the poor profitable and efficient, then they need to have a long term lease agreement. Otherwise, they will not make the investments; nobody would. And number five, the reactions of many of the countries and leaders in the region represent a legacy of the colonial mentality of who owned what going back many, many years, or decades. And they represent what I would say ignorance in physical economics and are dominated by old grudges, rage and anger, all of which is inappropriate at this time. If you want to see Africa grow, if you want to see the region grow, if you want to see all the nations of the Horn of Africa develop and grow, then it’s ABCs. Very easy for me to see the purpose of having long term access to multiple ports. The argument for an access long term access to port is valid. And we should put aside all his other commentary and focus on what will help improve the lives of Africans living in that region.

How do you think could diplomatic approach help reach consensus among the countries that signed the MoU and others?

Well, the fact of the matter is, if the Somali government was more thoughtful, the eloquent solution would be simply. Say we consider Somaliland part of Somalia, if Somalia government is, is looking to the future, they would say okay, Somaliland is part of Somalia, and therefore we accept the agreement, because it’s an agreement between Ethiopia and land considered part of Somalia. So we will benefit, Somalia, and will benefit our neighbors. That would be the most thoughtful, eloquent solution in Somalia to say ‘we agree that this will be helpful to all our people.’ Now that that eloquent solution is not being pursued by Somalia, and Somalia, has made all kinds of threatening statements, which are really, in my view, kind of silly to think that Somalia is going to go to war with Ethiopia. It is silly, but it also dangerous. And Ethiopia has been defending Somalia with its treasure and blood with troops in Somalia, going back to the early 2006, and they’re still there. So the idea that you would be able to mobiliser a war against Ethiopia, it’s just silly, but dangerous. Then you have other countries coming in, and aligning themselves, for and against Ethiopia for and against the Somalia. This is also dangerous. They should keep their nose out of the Horn of Africa, they should study physical economics, they should listen and understand that this is beneficial to all the nations. Now I don’t know where the MOU stands two months, over two months after it was initially signed, but my advice is, we should go ahead with it. And this will help all of the nations and all of the people in the nations. We have to get away from anger, and historical rage, and historical pettiness and look to the future. What kind of economy are we going to have? What kind of economic growth are we going to have in the Horn of Africa and eastern Africa? That depends on the economy of Ethiopia.

What do you think can leaders of the region including Ethiopia,  Somaliland  and Somalia can do to reach a win win solution?

I think that the leaders of sovereign nations should be able to sit down and discuss calmly, without anger. Without ancient rhetoric, they should sit down and discuss how we can benefit all the people of our nation. Now, I don’t know where the memorandum of understanding is at this point, because of it’s been a long time–it’s been 10 weeks since it was signed. But I would think this pursuit is a viable alternative to Ethiopia having access to this waterway, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean … etc. And , there could be other ports that could be pursued. The main thing, from my standpoint as a physical economist is Ethiopia should have a modern port. And, without a long term agreement, they’re not going to make the investment in a modern board, nobody would. And Somalia should not call this annexing their land. It’s not annexing any part of Somalia. They’re making an agreement. It’s not annexation. Now, I believe, personally, that there outside forces that are manipulating the situation, because there were forces that don’t want to see a strong, independent sovereign Ethiopia. And these outside forces are trying to weaken Ethiopia, just like they did in the war with Northern Ethiopia.

What kind of role do you think Ethiopia would play in the peace and security of the red sea region if it sets up naval force?

Actually, in Ethiopia, he’s also getting, I believe, several, maybe 12 miles of area, of land along the water way. That’s good. Because the whole  Red Sea area is insecure, as we’ve seen with these recent attacks. If you have another Navy, that helps you provide more security. So it’s not a bad thing is a good thing. And I believe, it is manipulated by geopolitical forces, who don’t want to see peace, who don’t want to see prosperity in the Horn of Africa. But a port in a navy military base, could help the situation in the Red Sea, I don’t see it as a negative, it could be a positive.

Many countries from diverse corners of the world show interest in the red sea region. As a result they my show concern on the new development like Ethiopia and Somaliland MoU. But is there any way they can also contribute in settling the issue smoothly?

I think you see some countries trying to help the situation. The visit of the Prime Minister [Abiy Ahmed] to Kenya probably was a positive diplomatic trip, and it may improve the situation. I think it’s reasonable for countries in that region, have discussions with Ethiopia, have discussions with Somalia, and other countries in the Horn of Africa. That’s how problems should be solved. They should be solved by African nations, Sub Saharan African nations involved in that region, who keep care about the future standard of living of their citizens. And among them, there should be discussion. I’m sure there are many private discussions going on among people in the African Union, and IGAD and other platforms for African nations. And that should be going on and they should be the ones to resolve this. There is absolutely no reason for conflict, none zero. And anybody who’s talking about that is being foolish, and also hurting the wrong people by even promoting a discussion of war. This can be resolved by leaders of nations calmly talking among themselves.

Prior to the signing of the MoU between Ethiopia and Somaliland many countries from different corners of the world have come all the way to Somaliland and leased the port there. Why do you think does it cause so much uproar when Somaliland signed similar agreement with Ethiopia?

That gives you a clue as to the fact that somebody wants conflict, because as you pointed out, other countries think the UAE and the international port company have had agreements in Somaliland. So as you pointed out, this is not the first time and therefore, why now, it you get this stupid talk about war. So that’s a clue. That tells me that somebody wants conflict, that somebody doesn’t want good negotiations between Ethiopia and Somalia. Some geopolitical force, doesn’t want Ethiopia to become a dominant growing economic power in East Africa. These are clues to people like me, who understand the way the world operates. And since the beginning of the Prime Minister’s taking the position as prime minister in 2018, there have been one after another attacks on Ethiopia that are trying to prevent Ethiopia from fully developing, and other people who forces who are also using the internal situation Ethiopia, where you have this ethnic nationalism, which is an attack on the nation state, and its attack on Ethiopian citizenship, and that ethnic nationalism is also being supported by outside forces. So I have seen Ethiopia being a victim of many different operations over the last six years now, it’s quite possible that the government could handle this situation better. If I were advising them, I would tell them things to do that could help. But their pursuit of economic growth for their country is right. And it’s to the benefit of all the nations in the region. In fact, implicitly it’s a benefit for the entire continent of Africa.

What do you think would be the way forward the MoU signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland?

I think the best way to handle it is to handle it through private, nonpublic discussions with the leaders of the countries in the region. I mean, you could have a conference. And you could have a conference that discusses economic growth for all the countries of the Horn of Africa, and the importance of development, and present information on how the country would grow with another port, with advanced Infrastructure Transportation to that port. We certainly can reduce the cost of what Ethiopia is paying to Djibouti now, which is a billion and a half dollars. Not Birr, but dollars or other hard currencies. Ethiopia is using up a large a portion of his foreign exchange to maintain operations in Djibouti. And I think there’s a lot of people meddling in. And I would have the leaders of the region meet on their own and discuss from a thoughtful standpoint, from my standpoint, what are the potentials for economic growth, and reason for the necessity of Ethiopia having a port.

Thank you very much

by Zekarias Woldemariam, The Ethiopian Herald

Read my earlier posts:

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

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

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

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