Kenyan President Ruto Decries Disrespect for Africa & Challenges Dollar Dominance

June 18, 2023

The post below is from africanagenda.net, reporting on a punchy fifteen minute speech by Kenyan President, William Ruto, to the African Union Parliament on the disrespectful manner African leaders are treated by the developed sector. (See video). Below that, is a two minute clip of President Ruto discussing the need to conduct trade outside of the dollar denominations.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Jeffrey Sachs Agrees With Me: Financing Infrastructure Essential for Africa’s Development

Watch this video of Economist Jeffrey Sachs addrressing the African Union (coutersy of africanagenda.net)

Jeffrey Sachs and I agree 100% on the absolute necessity to provide long term-low interest financing for infrastructure in Africa. The global financial system, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the so called international rules based order, do not understand the importance of building infrastructure in Africa, or they don’t care, or they want Africa to remain underdeveloped.

I, like Professor Sachs, understand, that the only way forward for African nations is; development: massive investment in physical and human capital. Democracy and good governance are empty constructs, cynically meaningless words, without economic development. If one genuinely desires democracy, than you must have abundant electricity! Without real, physical economic growth, which is not possible without financing trillions of dollars of infrastructure, African nations will not realize their potential in this century.

This requires a new paradigm based on development, which I have been advocating for decades.

Excerpts from Prof. Sachs, speaking before the African Union, on February 17, 2023, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

And that is that African governments should take on a lot more debt and use it to keep the kids in school, to build the electricity, to build the rail, to build the transport systems because it can`t wait. And if you do it right the growth will be rapid, so what looks like a lot of debt today , 25 years from now won`t be very much debt at all.

But the problem with my analysis obviously is that I believe that Africa needs financing on 30 year borrowing , not on 5 year Euro Bonds, which is nonsense! Because development is a 30 year process

But you have lots of sources of capital and by the way, the cost of a thirty year loan , AAA is 3%. Imagine if Africa could finance its development at 3%. 30 year borrowing. Believe me , the issues would be finished! Because you would be on your way, this would be the biggest construction site in the whole world history, roads, power, housing, new factories.

Now the problem is that Africa right now borrows at 13% on 5 years. This Euro Bond stuff is useless, worse that useless! I wouldn`t take any borrowing with less than 20 year maturing, anything. Because you cannot run development on a year by year basis. And that is what Prof Oromo was just showing, all these [up and down/high and low] swings are just finance swings. Commodity prices are high, finance is easy, you borrow, commodity prices come down, finance is tough, then austerity. All that Africa is suffering is finance swings. (All emphasis original)

Read the full transcript below provided by PD Lawton, created of the blog: africanagenda.net

Read my earlier posts:

My Thoughts: Poverty & Ethnicity Kill Democracy in Africa

Alexander Hamilton’s Credit System Is Necessary for Africa’s 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. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

China Fully Engaged in Africa for 2023-The Future is Trade Not Debt

By Lawrence Freeman

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed with Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, in Addis Ababa (Courtesy of VOA)

For the thirty-third consecutive year, the first foreign trip by China’s Foreign Minister was to Africa. China’s new Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, the former Ambassador to the United States, traveled to Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin, and Egypt, from January 9 to 16, 2023. In addition to visiting these five African nations he was also invited to meet with African leaders at the African Union and the League of Arab States Headquarters. The stated purpose of the trip was: To deepen the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership and boost friendly cooperation between China and Africa.

Friendship Remains Strong

Starting in the year 2000, China organized the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which meets every three years, alternating between China and Africa. These conferences provide a unique opportunity for African leaders and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to discuss future economic, cultural, and political collaboration. Contrary to continued efforts by the U.S. to malign Africa-China cooperation, China and Africa have remained steadfast in their shared common interest; the development of their people.


Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, and Qin Gang at ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Africa CDC. (Courtesy of African Union-au.int)

One of the highlights of Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s visit to Ethiopia, was to inaugurate the new Headquarters of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). The new Africa CDC, located outside of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, was built by China and given as a gift to Africa.

This is a critically important contribution to Africa, a continent of one and a half billion people, which was given a very low priority for vaccinating against COVID 19, and continuously suffers from a weak healthcare system.

Foreign Minister Qin met with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen. He was the first foreign government official to visit Ethiopia following the signing of the peace agreement of November 2, 2022, that ended a two year long war in northern Ethiopia. He expressed China’s support for “Africans in solving African problems in African ways.” This attitude differs dramatically from the U.S. and Europe, who undermined the government of Ethiopia during the war. Foreign Minister Qin pledged to assist Ethiopia in its reconstruction efforts, which are formidable following the terrible damage that the country suffered in fighting to maintain its sovereignty. Additionally, he announced that China will forgive thirty million dollars in Ethiopian debt.

In December 2022, the U.S. convened its first U.S.-Africa Summit in eight years. The unspoken “secret topic” and motivation for the three-day conference was, how to counter China’s growing influence on the African continent.  

There are yet to be any “deliverables” from the U.S.-Africa Summit. While the Biden administration seems to be more focused on exporting the “infrastructure of democracy,” China is building and financing more hard infrastructure projects in Africa than the rest of Western nations combined. These projects impact the daily material needs of the African people, which is essential to eliminate poverty on the continent.

China-Africa Trade Not Debt

China’s trade with Africa during 2022 expanded to its largest single year total of $282 billion. China exported $164.5 billion to Africa and imported $117.5 billion over that twelve-month time, which represented an increase of 11% over 2021. From January to November of 2022, U.S. exports to Africa, were $28.5 billion and imports of $38.9 billion for a total trade of $67.3 billion, almost no increase over 2021. Thus, U.S. trade with Africa was approximately one-fourth that of China for 2022. If the U.S. intends to counter or challenge China in Africa, it will have to do a lot more than “exporting democracy.”

As you can see from the chart below the myth spun by Western officials and the media that China is primarily responsbile for Africa’s debt, is simply not ture. This intentionally false allegation has been refuted again and again, but Western governments continue to propagandize Africa nations that China is using a ‘debt-trap’ diplomacy to seize their resources. Chinese ‘Debt Trap” is a Myth-Biden Would be Wise Not to Continue Trump’s Attacks on China in Africa,

The total outstanding debt for sub-Saharan African nations to foreign entities totals: 454.4 billion USD. China is not even close to being the largest debt holder. China owns 79 billion USD of sub-Saharan Africa’s debt, less than one firth-17%. The debt held by bondholders, the World Bank, and the IMF, equals 286.9 billion USD,-63% of the total foreign debt of sub-Saharan Africa,

Courtesy of Reuters Graphics

Investing in Manufacturing

Contrary to Western propaganda, which accuses China of stealing Africa’s resources, China is actually expanding Africa’s manufacturing sector. This is a vital contribution since African nations suffer from an anemic production capability to add value their natural resources. A good example is the investment by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (DISCO), a Chinese steel manufacturer, who intends to invest in building a lithium battery manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe. chinese firm to manufacture lithium batteries in zim. The Zimbabwean government has wisely banned the export of raw lithium. Having its own manufacturing plant, will create jobs and improve the standard of living of Zimbabweans, since mining and export of valuable minerals does not lead to economic growth for the population.

This kind of investment in local manufacturing along with China’s Belt and Road strategy of building infrastructure throughout Africa, is exactly what is needed to assist African nations in creating strong sovereign economies.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

For Peace Agreement to Become Durable Peace for Ethiopia: Reconstruction and Development Are Imperative

Watch my interview above from November 8, 2022, on ETV.

The Peace Agreement to end Ethiopia’s two year old war, signed on November 2nd, shepherded by the Africa Union has led to a cessation of hostilities and silencing of the guns. This is an essential first step. However, it is not sufficient. Now that the agreement has been signed, the highest priority is to turn an agreement on paper into a durable peace that will bring stability to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. From my experience, the best way to achieve durable peace, is to identify a national mission that will necessitate for all parties in the conflict to collaborate for the betterment of Ethiopia. I suggest the government of Ethiopia emulate the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt, (1933 to 1945), by initiating  a full mobilization to not only reconstruct Northern Ethiopia, but also expand the growth of the entire Ethiopian economy. Put Ethiopian  youth and unemployed to work rebuilding the areas hit hardest by the war, and at the same time modernizing-upgrading the nation’s economic mode of production.

For example. Ethiopia can eliminate hunger and become a net food exporter by doubling and tripling irrigation. This requires more infrastructure, plentiful energy, mechanization, and new scientifically driven agricultural practices.

If the West, in particular the United States, truly cares about the future of Ethiopia and the welfare of all the people in the surrounding region, then the U.S. government should issue bullions of dollars in long term, low interest credits to aid in the development of Ethiopia. Ending sanctions and issuing credits for development would be the most helpful contribution the U.S. could make to the present and future stability of Ethiopia.

The only way to achieve lasting peace is by unifying the people of Ethiopia through a shared common mission, one that is committed to improving the standard of living of all Ethiopians, regardless of ethnicity or geography.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

U.S. Sanctions Must End Now to Support Massive Reconstruction of Ethiopia: No More Coercion!

Watch my interview above for my latest analysis from Sunday November 6, on implications of Ethiopian Pease Agreement. Here I discuss that the challenge now is to move beyond a cessation of hostilities to creating a durable peace throughout the entire nation. What is most important, is to proceed without delay for the reconstruction of Northern Ethiopia. Ethiopia should emulate U.S. President, Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 policy in rebuilding the United States from the ashes of the Great Depression. Ethiopia should have a mobilization to rebuild and expand its economy, fully employing its youth in this national task. If the U.S. is thinking clearly, and acting morally, it will not only drop all sanctions against Ethiopia, but immediately readmit Ethiopia to AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) . However, it should do more. The U.S. and the West should ensure peace for Ethiopia and stability to the Horn of Africa by extending long term, low interest credit to support Ethiopia’s task of national reconstruction. It is time for Ethiopia to leave the past behind, and define a national mission for the future that will unify the nation: a transformational economic development plan to eliminate poverty.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

African Nations Must Have High-Speed Rail Network to Survive and Develop

January 10, 2022

I fully endorse the call by the African Railway Roundtable for the Europe Union to support the African Integrated High-Speed Rail Network. Whether Europe’s Global Gateway Strategy will actually fund this critically important infrastructure project is not clear.

The massive infrastructure deficit existing in all African nations is the greatest impediment to the elimination of poverty. Next to energy, rail transportation is the most vital category of infrastructure necessary for African nations to survive and develop in the 21st century. That U.S. and Europe have not understood this concept of physical economy for the last 50 years demonstrates a major failure in Western policy. That so called human right groups and NGOs have not made this–energy and rail infrastructure–their highest priority in their advocacy is another sign of the ignorance of what is required for African nations to provide for the welfare of their people.

Let Europe and the U.S. join China’s Belt and Road Initiative in bringing vitally required infrastructure to Africa.

Read my earlier posts:

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

The Africa Integrated High-Speed Rail Network is Feasible and Will Create A Prosperous Future for All African Nations

Link to Europe World Global Gateway

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 the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Amb Fitsum Arega Explains Why Ethiopian Dam is A Matter of Life and Death for Ethiopia

The Op Ed below by Ethiopia’s envoy to the United States, Ambassador Fitsum Arega, is an excellent presentation on the importance of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, for the future of Ethiopia and Africa.

“Therefore, for Ethiopia, building the GERD is not a matter of choice, but an economic and developmental necessity and the way out of poverty for a nation of 112 million people.”

Reprinted from BlackPressUSA,, July 14, 2021

OP-ED: The Untold Story of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In 2011, Ethiopia announced to build a hydroelectric dam on its Abbay River, known to outsiders as the Blue Nile or Nile River. The dam was named the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) because it was designed to bring about the economic and renewal of Ethiopia, a nation mentioned in Genesis 2:13 as the Land in which the River Ghion (or Nile) flows. The GERD will be the largest hydropower dam in Africa and when completed it is expected to generate more than 5,000 MW installed power generation capacity and will have more than two times the capacity of Hoover Dam.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has now reached 81 percent completion that includes 98.5 percent of civil, 55 percent of electromechanical, and 55.3 percent of the hydroelectric structure works.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has now reached 81 percent completion that includes 98.5 percent of civil, 55 percent of electromechanical, and 55.3 percent of the hydroelectric structure works.

By Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S., Special to the NNPA NewswireFitsum Arega is the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States.

Fitsum Arega is the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States.

There is a great story unfolding in Africa. It is a story that literally throws light on what has been called, “The Dark Continent.”

In 2011, Ethiopia announced to build a hydroelectric dam on its Abbay River, known to outsiders as the Blue Nile or Nile River.

The dam was named the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) because it was designed to bring about the economic and renewal of Ethiopia, a nation mentioned in Genesis 2:13 as the Land in which the River Ghion (or Nile) flows.

The GERD will be the largest hydropower dam in Africa and when completed it is expected to generate more than 5,000 MW installed power generation capacity and will have more than two times the capacity of Hoover Dam.

The total capacity of the reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters to be filled over several years. It will cost nearly $5 billion to complete the dam.

The GERD has now reached 81 percent completion that includes 98.5 percent of civil, 55 percent of electromechanical, and 55.3 percent of the hydroelectric structure works.

As seen on the photo, the two water tunnels have been completed and started operating in April this year.

Out of the 13 turbines the first two will be completed and are expected to generate 750 MW in September 2021. The dam is expected to be completed within two years.

The GERD is completely financed by the contributions of the Ethiopian people without any foreign aid or loans. It is being built with the blood, sweat and tears of the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopia generates 85 percent of the Nile River flow, but colonial-era and postcolonial agreements on the Nile, to which Ethiopia was not a party, have given Egypt the disproportionate amount of water while giving Sudan a lesser amount. These agreements gave zero water allocation to Ethiopia. Egypt today wants to keep the old colonial arrangement in place in one form or another.

According to a 2018 World Bank report, “About 70 percent of the population in Ethiopia live without electricity.”

The purpose of the GERD is to provide access to electricity to more than 60 million Ethiopians and provide affordable electricity to the service, industrial and agricultural sectors.

It also aligns with Ethiopia’s green development ambitions as it represents a sustainable socio-economic project replacing fossil fuels reducing CO2 emissions.

Therefore, for Ethiopia, building the GERD is not a matter of choice, but an economic and developmental necessity and the way out of poverty for a nation of 112 million people.

The GERD will also provide many benefits to the entire Horn of Africa region and beyond. It will provide affordable and renewable energy to Sudan, Egypt and other countries in the region.

It will also significantly help in regulating the supply of water to Egypt and Sudan during dry and wet seasons and provide regional water storage capacity with less evaporation and prevent flooding to Sudan and Egypt, all these at no cost to both countries.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.

Hardly a day goes by without complaints from Egypt and Sudan about the harm that could result from construction of the GERD. They claim they will get less water because of the dam.

That is far from the truth because the GERD releases the water downstream once the water is used to spin the turbines that produce electricity. GERD is not an irrigation or water consuming project.

Ethiopia has been open and transparent in its construction of the GERD. Ethiopia has invited both Egypt and Sudan in good faith to participate in the International Panel of Experts (IPOE) to discuss the design, work together on technical issues and resolve any issues of concern in the spirit of African brotherhood.

Unfortunately, Egypt has tried to pressure Ethiopia by coordinating action with the Arab League, which has issued various statement of solidarity with Egypt and against Ethiopia.

Egypt has also tried to use the Trump administration to pressure Ethiopia. In September 2020, the Trump administration “paused” U.S. aid to Ethiopia because Ethiopia would not agree to a deal on the GERD drafted by Egypt and the U.S.

Egypt has also taken the issue before the U.N. Security Council to pressure Ethiopia. Just last week, the Security Council considered the matter and determined that the African Union is the best forum to deal with the issues.

Ethiopia’s position on GERD negotiations is guided by a simple principle. “African solutions to African problems.”

While the Arab League and the U.S. could play a role in encouraging the three countries to resolve their differences diplomatically, the fact remains that the three African countries must use their own resources at the African Union to deal with their problems.

Ethiopia’s principle of African solutions to African problems is based on the belief that Africans are fully capable of taking care of their own problems without interference. Indeed, after nearly seven decades of independence, Africa has the leadership and resources to deal with its own problems.

Ethiopia is acutely aware of the fact that Africa’s post-colonial experience and more recent trends in foreign interference in African affairs has not been positive.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan signed their joint Declaration of Principles (DOP) in 2015. The DOP is based on 10 basic principles which require the three countries to work cooperatively and in good faith to negotiate and resolve differences on the GERD.

They agreed to work cooperatively among themselves, without external interference, to ensure regional integration, prevent significant harm from construction of the dam, share data on the dam’s performance, increase dam safety and commit to peaceful resolution of disputes.

Egypt has given lip service to African Union involvement in resolution of GERD disputes.

Egypt’s reliance on the Arab League and efforts to use the U.S. to pressure Ethiopia, reflect either lack of confidence in the AU or a determination that external pressure can even override AU efforts and give Egypt greater negotiating advantage. This may account for Egypt’s lack of serious commitment and unwillingness to negotiate within the AU framework.

To date, no significant harm has been caused to Egypt or Sudan as a result of the ongoing construction of the GERD.

The first filling of the dam in July 2020 went uneventfully. The current filling which is ongoing since early July 2021 has presented no issues as well. Egypt has issued a public statement to that effect.

Ethiopia believes the GERD will bring many benefits to the Horn region and beyond. A comprehensive agreement on the GERD between the two countries is possible today if Egypt and Sudan genuinely commit to the AU-led negotiations. The negotiations could be expedited and bear fruit if Egypt and Sudan undertake the following:

  • Fully and wholeheartedly commit the negotiations taking place under the sponsorship of the African Union.
  • Apply the 2015 Declaration of Principles in guiding the negotiations.
  • Refrain from engaging in propaganda and disinformation wars during the AU-led negotiations.
  • Depoliticize the GERD, exert maximum political will and focus on resolving technical issues.

A negotiated, mutually beneficial and equitable solution is the only way to achieve long-term interests in the region.

Ethiopia is committed to continue to push for a constructive negotiation to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that ensures the legitimate interests of the three countries.

Ethiopia believes the only way to resolve the differences regarding the filling and operation of GERD is through dialogue and by resorting to technically informed consultations.

The Nile is bountiful for all countries to share and use wisely. We must all think in terms of regional and collective benefits.

Paraphrasing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are part of “an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We must work together in good faith and good will for the betterment of our people.

Fitsum Arega is the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States.

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 the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Successful Ethiopian Election Proves Critics Wrong

Successful Ethiopian Election Proves Critics Wrong

Lawrence Freeman

July 7, 2021

On June 21, the Ethiopian people voted in peaceful fortitude to advance their nation towards democracy. Voting in their 6th General Election, the Ethiopian people exhibited with their hands and feet how important it was to choose their leadership, despite the many challenges the nation faces. The Ethiopian people exposed the patently false predictions of violence and chaos, by the Western media and governments. Nothing but political propaganda in an attempt to tarnish the election as illegitimate. However, most revealing of their intent, the same news outlets that falsely portrayed the Ethiopian election prior to its occurrence, have thus far refused to publicize its actual success. Ethiopians with calm determination, voted for unity, peace, and development as they stood in lines for hours in such large numbers that polling stations stayed opened hours longer then scheduled.

Voting on election day (courtesy nebe.org.net)

Africans Give Elections A ‘Thumbs Up’

The African Union Election Observer Mission-AUEOM, headed up by H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, had a total of 65 election observers, who covered five regions, visiting many dozens of polling stations.

The June 23rd African Union preliminary statement reads:

“The Mission concludes that despite some operational, logistical, security, political and COVID-19 related challenges, overall, the pre-election and Election Day processes were conducted in an orderly , peaceful, and credible manner. There was nothing in the Mission’s estimation, that distracted from the credible conduct of the elections. The Mission, therefore, commends all Ethiopians for the demonstrated commitment to the democratic development of the country.” (emphasis added)

One day earlier, on June 22, the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) Election Observation Mission (EOM), which consisted of a total of 28 observers drawn from eight East African nations released their preliminary report with similar conclusions to that of the AU. The EASFEOM were able to observe the voting process in eight regions of Ethiopia on election day.

There were no election observers from the West except a handful of Americans, who were unable to issue any report due to their small numbers and inability to observe a credible sampling of polling stations. Thus, the only two observer missions, both from African institutions, recognized the Ethiopian General Elections as legitimate. Instead, of  the U.S. and other Western nations congratulating Ethiopia, they have been conspicuously silent.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (behind microphones) addressing the press on June 23, 2021 (courtesy of L. Freeman)

Media Caught Speechless

At a packed press conference in the Skylight Hotel, Chief Obasanjo released the findings of the AUEOM to representatives from the media. The journalists present were virtually silent during the question- and-answer period. 

This author asked the first question to Chief Obasanjo, which put the scores of press attending on the defensive.  I asked, if the success of the Ethiopian election had proven all the predictions by the West and their propaganda outlets of a “violent, chaotic, and illegitimate” election were shown wrong. He answered in a parable. He said: If a person comes to Africa intending to see a ghetto, and that is what is in his mind, even if you show  him a palace, he will insist he sees a ghetto. My question, and Chief Obasanjo’s answer, effectively muted the press. The only other two questions came from a South African newspaper and the London Times. Shortly after a second question from this author,  the press conference ended. The silence from the reporters attending was deafening, and ironically amusing as well.

Election Board Prevails

Chief Obasanjo and AUEOM emphasized the accomplishments of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) in conducting an orderly election free of any type of harassment or intimidation. This environment allowed each voter to choose their member of parliament without interference. Ethiopians expressed their pleasure to be able to vote freely in what is now praised as Ethiopia’s most open election.

Quoting from the official statement released by the AUEOM:

“It is noteworthy that the June 2021 general elections took place within the context of reforms that opened the political and civic space which enhanced the enjoyment of more basic rights and freedoms in comparison to the 2015 elections. Among the many positive political developments, the most prominent were the institutional strengthening of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), the release of political prisoners and the return of exiled political activists.”

The report continues:

“Based on the overall assessment of the constitutional and legal framework for the June 2021 general elections, the AUEOM notes that it was largely adequate and meets regional and international standards for the conduct of democratic elections.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is BM-NEBE.jpg
Birtukan Mideksa, Chairperson of National Election Board of Ethiopia NEBE (courtesy aa.com.tr)

NEBE is recognized with overcoming many election challenges in this diverse nation of a 110 million people immersed in ethnic conflicts.   Yet in this historic election, 47 political parties were on the ballot, including opposition parties, with 9,300 candidates vying for 745-seat federal parliament positions and regional councils. There was a noticeable increase in participation by civil society in the election process prior to and on election day.

Much of the credit is given to Birtukan Mideksa, who was recruited to return to Ethiopia from the U.S. as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reform movement, and she was immediately elected  her position as Chairperson of the NEBE in November 2018. Her history as a lawyer, a judge, an opposition party leader, who was twice detained in jail by the Ethiopian government, gave her the qualifications and authority to make NEBE independent, and free from government control.

“The AUEOM notes NEBE enjoys the trust and confidence of stakeholders. This is mainly due to the transparent and consultative process constituting NEBE as well as the positive perception of the Chairperson, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa, a former Judge and political detainee.”

At the press conference, Chief Obasanjo rejected any notion that the June 21 election was illegitimate due to the absence of voting in a  minority of the nation’s 550 voting districts. There will be a second election in September for citizens of those regions unable to vote, excluding Tigray.

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 the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Ethiopia Election: A Vote for Peace, Unity, and Prosperity

Lawrence Freeman speaking with Dr. Birhanu Lenjiso of Prime Media

Below is a 30 minute interview with on the Ethiopian national elections conducted on June 21, 2021. It was conducted in the studio of Prime Media on the June 23rd, in Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian people proved all the critics, pundits, Western media, and Western governments, especially the United States and Great Britain wrong in their predictions of violence and chaos for Ethiopia’s national elections. The Ethiopian people surprised even some government supporters with their orderly, calm, and peaceful manner in electing Prime Minister Ably Ahmed and the Prosperity Party.

Hours after my interview, former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo, at a press conference in Addis Ababa, representing the African Union declared that the election was conducted in a “peaceful, orderly and credible manner.” Obasanjo echoed the observations made by the East African Standby Force in a press conference on Tuesday following the election. Both ESAF and AU has observers monitoring the election process.

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 the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

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

Map of main corridors of a proposed African Integrated High Speed Rail Network

May 18, 2021

Watch the video below, an comprehensive discussion with Rowland Ataguba, Managing Director of Bethlehem Rail Infrastructure on the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network (AIHSRN). He is a driving force to have AIHSRN up and running in Africa by 2033. For Africa to realize the potential of the newly inaugurated, Africa Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA, there must be an integrated rail network connecting the major capitals, cities, ports, and regions of Africa. Such an integrated network of freight and passenger transportation is necessary to reverse the dismal amount of trade among African nations, estimated at 15%. With the population of the African continent projected to have almost 2.5 billion people by 2050, the AIHSRN proposal is essential and cannot wait until 2063 as planned by the African Union (AU).

The African Integrated High Speed Railway Network will deliver  connectivity across the huge continent via 6 main East-West and 3 North-South corridors, using standard gauge tracks with electric locomotives running at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour. These rail lines will become corridors of economic expansion for manufacturing and agriculture.

As the history of the development of great nations, such as the United States, Russia, and China demonstrate; railroads build nations,  traverse continents, link oceans, and create a spine for manufacturing centers. Properly understood, infrastructure is much more than a simple collection of projects. Economic progress is determined by the relative level of the scientific-technological design embodied in the integrated infrastructure platform which undergirds the manufacturing and agricultural sectors of an economy. An individual infrastructure project, such as a railroad, may not yield an immediate profit itself. However, as physical economists like myself know, viable infrastructure projects contribute to increasing the productivity of the labor force, thus enabling the economy as a whole to generate a profit. Massive investments in infrastructure, such as AIHSRN, are essential to industrialize Arica, which is necessary to eliminate hunger and poverty across the continent.

Mr. Ataguba proposes that the entire network be completed in the next 12-13 years. The only way that AIHSRN can be FAST TRACKED is through centralizing the project. He says that too much valuable time has been lost in connecting the railway network, which is indispensable for improving the standard of living of the average African. He emphasizes  that this rail network needs to affect the economy today, not tomorrow! Mr. Ataguba understands that for African nations to develop, this quality of infrastructure is urgently required.

AIHSRN will revolutionize African economies in providing standardized, fast, efficient, and safe transport at a far cheaper cost than road.

Once completed, freight and passenger transport across Africa will be transformed. For the first time in history, it will be possible to travel and send freight on a modern railway from: Dakar in Senegal to Djibouti or Pointe Noire; Congo Brazzaville to Dar Es Salaam; Tanzania to Walvis Bay; Namibia to Maputo Mozambique. Traversing the continent from east to west. Likewise, it will be possible to travel the entire length of the African land mass from Cape Town, South Africa along the Indian Ocean to Alexandria in Egypt or from Cape Town to Tripoli in Libya along the Atlantic coast.

For those passionately concerned about securing a prosperous future for Africa; watch this video.

 

Please view my earlier post from January 2021. The Africa Integrated High-Speed Rail Network is Feasible and Will Create A Prosperous Future for All African Nations

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 the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton