Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

Potential Ports for Expanded Ethiopian Trade

November 4, 2023

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

Excerpts below from Ethiopia needs a reliable seaport and a navy

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

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

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

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

Source: World Bank data

II: The economic case for securing reliable seaport access

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

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

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

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

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

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Lift Grain & Fertilizer Sanctions vs Russia-Grow Food to End Starvation in Africa & the World

Black Sea Grain Initiative Exposed

July 31, 2023

Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Center
During the period of the Initiative, 75% of Ukraine’s grain exports went to Europe, China, and Türkiye, while very poor countries got between 2.5% and 3%.


In this article: Black Sea Grain Initiative Exposed, excerpted below, EIR magazine usefully exposes the false narrative attacking Russia for the food global shortage.

The following concepts should be clear to all those truly concerned about eradicating hunger in Africa and other parts of the world.   
 
First of all, Russia is not causing the world food shortage by ending the Black Sea Grain Initiaive. As indicated by EIR, only a tiny fraction of Ukraine’s wheat has been exported to poor nations whose populations are suffering from severe food insecurity. Second of all, Russia is the leading exporter of wheat and fertilizer components in the world. Sanctions against Russia has harmed all food importing nations. Lifting sanctions against Russia would help to alleviate food shortages immediately. The West never honored their part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement that stipulated that there would be an easing of Russia’s export of wheat and fertilizers.  
 
Most important of all, there is no objective reason for food insecurity among any people of any nation on this planet! This brings us to the heart of the issue regarding food insecurity. Does the West really care about global food deficiencies, or has it become another weapon in the U.S. led proxy war against Russia?
 
Hunger on our planet could have been eliminated decades ago. For over 12,000 years, humankind has known how to grow food. When advances in technology, irrigation, mechanization, and fertilizers have been applied to farming, yields per hectare have massively increased.  I have personally witnessed this in my travels through the agricultural regions  of the United States.
 
For 30 years I have traveled throughout many sub-Saharan African nations, which are endowed with fertile soil, and large amounts of arable, but uncultivated land, creating a huge potential for the expansion of food production. If African nations in particular had been assisted in developing a modern agricultural sector coupled with an expanding manufacturing sector, hunger would cease to exist, and  the African continent would be a net food exporter.
 
The failure by Western nations and financial institutions, over the last six decades, to collaborate in creating vibrant agro-manufacturing economies in Africa, is the cause of food insecurity on the continent today.
 
A new paradigm of global relations, encompassing  a new financial architecture, dedicated to promoting economic development, would create the potential for leading food and fertilizer producing nations to begin the process of doubling world agricultural output. Progress would be visible immediately, and in the near future, no human being would have to suffer from want of food, anywhere on our planet.  

EIR excerpts:

Narrative #1: The outrageous lie that Ukraine was a major provider of grain to poor countries, and Russia was starving people by its special military operation. Fact check: Ukraine has been, since the 1990s, a major source of grain on the commercial market for developed countries, e.g. Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, China and others—for livestock feed and food needs.

These importers account for over 90% of Ukraine’s exports, and this kind of “world sourcing,” was imposed on Ukraine beginning in the 1990s, by the multi-national cartels which came to dominate land use, processing, shipping and export destinations. It was these cartels which Ambassador Polyansky named as having profited from the year-long Black Sea Grain Initiative.

In brief, the breakdown of Ukraine’s exports of 32–33 million metric tons of grain during the period of the Initiative: 32.9 million tons total, of which 40% went to European countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, others), 25% to China; 10% to Türkiye. The very poorest countries got between 2.5% and 3% of the Ukraine grain exports over the period of the Initiative. This is illustrated by an infographic from the Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Center. (Emphasis added)

Narrative #2: Promoted in Fall 2022 to replace the discredited “Ukraine supplies poor countries” version. It states that preventing Ukraine Black Sea food exports raises the prices on the world grain markets, and that is what harms poor, grain-import dependent nations. There is a grain of truth to this, but with a big exception. The West is doing less than nothing to increase grain production where possible, to supply emergency relief, and to put an end to the underlying causes of hunger to begin with.
The relevant figures of global underproduction of food can be seen in the volume of annual output of total grains, listed in order of volume: corn/maize, wheat, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye, etc. With over 8 billion people in the world, at the rough metric of half a ton of grain production per person, we should be producing some 4 billion tons a year (for direct consumption, and indirect consumption through the animal protein chain). But the annual global harvest is actually running at below 3 billion tons. Total grains output for the current and past two years is hovering in the same range: 2.799 billion metric tons in 2021/22, 2.745 bmt in 2022/23, and 2.831 bmt projected for 2023/24).


Read my earlier post:
Africa Threatened With Starvation: No Objective Reason

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 Unequivocally Supports Ethiopia’s National Reconstruction, Industrialization, and Modernization of Agriculture

Wang Yi and Abiy Ahmed meeting in Addis Ababe, Ethiopia on July 21, 2023. (Picture courtesy of CGTN)

July 24, 2023

These statments from China’s leading diplomat, Wang Yi’, in his meeting with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and Deputy PM, Demeke Mekonnen, make abundantly clear, China’s commitment to assist in the economic development of Ethiopia. This is essential to bring peace and stabilty to the Horn of Africa.

On July 21, 2023, Wang Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office, visited Ethiopia on his way to South Africa to attend the meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on Security Affairs, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy met with Wang Yi in Addis Ababa.

Mr. Abiy spoke highly of the great achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics and appreciated China’s determination to follow the development path in line with its own national conditions and its rapid economic and social development, which has set an example for developing countries. Ethiopia will never forget the strong support given by China when it faced difficulties and regards China as a great and reliable friend. Ethiopia is willing to learn from China’s development concepts and experience, and strive to realize self-sufficiency in agriculture and rapid economic growth, and promote green and sustainable development. Ethiopia abides by the one-China principle, supports China’s position in international affairs, actively participates in the construction of the “Belt and Road”, and is willing to work closely with China on mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields to promote greater development of relations between the two countries.

Wang Yi said that Ethiopia is a major African country with significant influence. China and Ethiopia are comprehensive strategic partners with each other, the two countries have common goals and common pursuits, and have carried out fruitful cooperation under the framework of building the “Belt and Road” and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is at the forefront of China-Africa cooperation. China values its traditional friendship with Ethiopia, firmly supports its domestic reconstruction and economic recovery, and is willing to further explore the potential of cooperation with Ethiopia to help it accelerate industrialization, modernize agriculture and explore green and low-carbon development. China encourages strong and reputable enterprises to invest in Ethiopia, and is willing to play an active role in alleviating the debt pressure on Ethiopia. We hope that Ethiopia will actively create a favorable business environment.

Wang Yi said that China’s cooperation with Africa is an important part of South-South cooperation and mutual support and assistance among friends. China has never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries, never attached political conditions and never sought geopolitical self-interest in its cooperation with Africa. China is willing to work with African countries, including Ethiopia, to strengthen cooperation in trade and investment, green development, digital economy, health and sanitation, and continuously create a new situation for China-Africa cooperation.

On July 21, 2023, Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office (CFA) Wang Yi met with Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke in Addis Ababa.

Wang Yi said that China and Ethiopia are good brothers who care for each other’s guts, good friends who watch out for each other, and good partners in common development. China has stood with the people of Ethiopia at the critical moment of safeguarding national peace and stability, and will continue to stand with the people of Ethiopia as it enters a new phase of peace restoration and national reconstruction. China firmly supports Ethiopia in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, supporting Ethiopia’s commitment to national unity and stability, and supporting Ethiopia to play a greater role in regional and international affairs, and is willing to continue to strengthen strategic collaboration with Ethiopia, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, and work together to safeguard the fundamental interests of the two countries and the common interests of developing countries, and to maintain the basic norms of international relations.

Wang Yi said that China has great potential for cooperation with Ethiopia. China is willing to strengthen high-level exchanges with Ethiopia and exchanges at all levels in all sectors, support strong and reputable enterprises to invest in Ethiopia, accelerate the implementation of key cooperation projects, expand the scale of bilateral trade, and help Ethiopia to promote industrialization and modernization of agriculture and improve its capacity for independent development. It is hoped that Ethiopia will take practical and effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese organizations and personnel. China is willing to work with Ethiopia to promote the implementation of the “Horn of Africa Peaceful Development Concept” and support Africans to solve African problems in an African way.

Demeke said Ethiopia has a long history of relations with China and is firmly committed to strengthening cooperation with China at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Ethiopia is grateful to China for its help in maintaining national security and stability, and looks forward to China’s support for the consolidation of peace, reconstruction and economic revitalization of Ethiopia, as well as the global development initiative, global security initiative and global civilization initiative put forward by China, and is willing to strengthen all-round exchanges among the government, political parties and enterprises with China, and deepen the mutually-beneficial cooperation in the field of trade and economic cooperation. Ethiopia firmly opposes the use of human rights as a tool to interfere in the internal affairs of developing countries, actively supports participation in collective cooperation among developing countries, and is willing to work with China to implement the “Horn of Africa Peaceful Development Concept” to promote regional peace and prosperity.

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

Freeman Interview: ‘Fighting the Fight’ for Ethiopia, Africa, Justice, and Economic Development

Lawrence Freeman with Dr. Brook Hailu of nahoo tv, December 22, 2022, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

This hour long interview above provides an excellent overview of my thoughts concerning Ethiopia, Africa, and US-Africa relations. Topics discussed include:

  • Economic development
  • Ethiopia’s agricultural potential
  • Ethiopia as an economic model
  • Ethno-nationalism
  • Importance of capital intensity and infrastructure
  • Credit and the public sector
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • China’s approach to poverty
  • Railroads and electricity
  • My visit to Northern Ethiopia and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
  • Africa, the center of politics and commerce in this century
  • U.S.-Africa Summit

Lawrence Freeman looking over the huge beautiful reservoir and ongoing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam -Dec 19, 2022

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

Celebrate July 4th Time to Adopt Hamilton’s Industrialization Polices for Africa

The Hamilton statue at Paterson National Park, home of his Society for Useful Manufactures

July 3, 2022

Alexander Hamilton, one of the most outstanding of our Founding Fathers, designed the scientific economic principles that built the United States into an industrialized power. He succeeded, with the support of President George Washington, in creating a manufacturing sector for the agrarian based 13 colonies. Hamilton was opposed by Thomas Jefferson, who led a campaign to prevent the industrial development of the young republic. We must succeed today against those who are intent in keeping African nations underdeveloped, economically held back by inefficient agricultural sectors.

My colleague, Nancy Spannaus, creator of the website: americansystemnow.com, discusses the contributions of Alexander Hamilton in her article below. Hamilton’s economic principles should be studied and applied by African nations today to ensure a prosperous future for their expanding population.

Without the industrialization of African nations with robust manufacturing and agricultural sectors, poverty, hunger, and insecurity, will not be eliminated.

Read: Hamilton-fathered-our-economic-independence

Read my earlier posts:

A Hamiltonian Development Policy for Africa Is A Necessity

Alexander Hamilton’s Credit System Is Necessary for Africa’s Development

Nations Must Study Alexander Hamilton’s Principles of Political Economy

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.

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

May 22, 2022

Africa4Nuclear

The post below is provided by my colleague, PD Lawton, creator of the website: africanagenda.net

It is abundantly clear that African nations must become economically sovereign republics, and that is not possible without becoming industrialized economies with advanced agricultural and economic sectors. . For this transformation to occur, massive amounts of additional reliable, powerful energy is required. My estimations is that a minimum of 1,000 gigawatts of additional power is required. Without doubt, this will require the construction of nuclear energy plants across the continent. Listen to Princy Mthombeni, founder Africa4Nuclear

Read my earlier posts on this subject.

Nuclear Energy Challenges Western Colonial Mind-Set: Cheikh Anta Diop & John Kennedy Would Concur

Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

Mozambique is Obligated to Exploit Its Resources For the Development of Its Economy

Nigerian VP: Osinbajo “Climate Justice Must Include Ending Energy Poverty” Especially for Sub-Saharan 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 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.

Why Has Fighting in Ukraine Led to Food Emergencies in Africa?

A Somalian girl carries her sibling along land left dry by persistent drought.
A Somalian girl carries her sibling along land left dry by persistent drought.
Getty Image, News24

Lawrence Freeman

May 17, 2022

In recent months there have been an abundance of reports on how the conflict in Ukraine is exacerbating food scarcity in Africa. The argument is that Ukraine, ordinarily a large exporter of wheat, is not shipping food to the rest of the world. This includes African nations, some of which are large importers of Ukrainian wheat, resulting in shortages of food, and higher prices, contributing to Africa’s food insecurity.

Food Crisis Staggering in Africa

According to Global Report on Food Crisis 2022, eight of the countries facing the most severe food shortages are in Africa, affecting over 81 million Africans. The breakdown is:

DRC 25.9 million people, Afghanistan 22.8 million, Nigeria 19.5 million, Yemen 19 million, Ethiopia between 14-15 million, South Sudan 7.7 million, Somalia 6 million, Sudan 6 million, Pakistan 4.7 million, Haiti 4.5 million, Niger 4.4 million and, lastly, Kenya 3.4 million, as reported by News24

These nations have been given an Integrated Phase Classification 3 (IPC3), which is defined as households that have either:

Food consumption gaps that are reflected by high or above-usual acute malnutrition; OR  Are marginally able to meet minimum food needs but only by depleting essential livelihood assets or through crisis-coping strategies. 

News24 also reports that according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, in 2020, “approximately 323.3 million people in Africa or 29.5% of the population ran out of food or went without eating that year.”

The United Nations-(UN News) reports that “276 million people around the globe were already facing hunger at the beginning of the year. That number could rise by 47 million if the war continues according to the WFP (World Food Pogramme), with the steepest rise in Sub-Saharan Africa.” (emphasis added)

Industrialization to End Hunger

With abundant hect-acres of fertile soil and arable land, coupled with many water systems, African nations should have already achieved food self-sufficiency. Ironically, sadly, most nations are farther away from being able to feed their populations through their own production of food than they were during the 1960 and 1970s.

African nations are undermining their own economies by importing large amounts of food. According to President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, “Africa’s annual food import bill of $35 billion, estimated to rise to $110 billion by 2025, weakens African economies, decimates its agriculture and exports jobs from the continent.”  

In reality, Africa’s huge import bill is hindering nations from developing the capacity to eliminate poverty and hunger. Nations using their precious foreign exchange to buy food that they can grow themselves is more than counter-productive. What is needed to end food insecurity is for Africa nations to build their own robust agricultural and manufacturing sectors. There are oligarchical financial interests, steeped in the colonial mind-set, who do not want Africa nations to develop, to become industrialized. There are others, even well-meaning, who believe that African nations should remain agrarian societies. As an expert in physical economics, I can assure you that this approach will fail, and will only lead to more poverty and death.

President George Washington’s brilliant Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, fortunately won the battle against Thomas Jefferson and the slaved based agrarian South, to create a manufacturing industry in the newly established United states. Africa must do the same

With sixty percent of the world’s arable land that remains uncultivated, it is obvious that Africa can significantly increase food production in the short term. However, this does not obviate the need for rapid expansion of industry, beyond those businesses devoted only to the extraction of resources. Instead of spending tens of billions of dollars for imported wheat and rice that can be grown indigenously, that money should be investmented in infrastructure, and on valued-added production.

David Beasley, the head of the World Food Program, visiting Sanaa, Yemen, September 2018, where the world’s worst hunger crisis continues to unfold. (courtesy WFP/Marco Frattini, September 2018)

Aid is Insufficient

David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday, May 11, that $5 billion is needed to avoid famine and migration due to COVID-19 and the loss of food from Ukraine. He told the Senators, “ If you do not respond now, we will see destabilization, mass starvation, and migration on an unprecedented scale, and at a far greater cost. A massive influx of refugees to Western countries could soon become a reality.”

Morally we are compelled to acquiesce to Beasley’s legitimate request, although it is doubtful that the nations of the advanced sector will actually come up with the money.

How many hundreds of billions of dollars have been expended on providing aid to countries in need? What would be the results if an equivalent amount of money were spent on development. Emergency aid is required to prevent our fellow human beings from perishing. However, emergency aid does not contribute to creating durable economic transformation that would eliminate the conditions that are the cause for food deprivation. Aid does not increase the productive powers of labor; it does not increase the productivity of the economy. While we can do no less than be the Good-Samaritan, what is the tangible long term effect of exclusively delivering aid?

Share of population access to electricity in Africa

Infrastructure Crucial

Deficits in critical categories of hard infrastructure, especially roads, railroads, and electricity, is depriving nations of precisely those elements of physical economy required to increase the production of real wealth. Why don’t the G7 and European donor nations “grant” an equivalent amount of “aid money” for investment in infrastructure and building nascent industries? Disbursing money either through outright endowments or long-term low interest loans for development has the potential to change the dynamics of poverty and hunger plaguing African nations.

For example, consider irrigation. Bringing water to farmland would substantially increase food production. Most African nations irrigate 5% or less of their land. Worse, many nations still depend on backward modes of subsistence farming. What would be required to double or triple irrigation? Primarily, energy to pump the water is essential, but African nations are energy starved. Pipes to transport the water. Advanced machinery would be required to harvest the increased yields. Roads and railroads would be needed to transport the crops to markets.

Given Africa’s untapped agricultural potential, with investments in these basic classifications of infrastructure; hunger could be eliminated.

In October 2020, in response to an earlier food crisis, I delineated the following necessary actions (below) that should have been taken. These measures are still valid today, and should be implemented now, without delay.

Emergency Action Required

  1. We must urgently deliver food to starving people. One single human being dying from starvation is intolerable. Every creative soul that perishes is a loss to the human race.
  2. Nations producing food surpluses must allocate food shipments to feed starving people.
  3. Logistics for delivery will have to done in a military fashion or directly by qualified military personnel supported by governments.
  4. Roads, railways, and bridges constructed for emergency food delivery can serve as an initial platform for expansion to a higher plateau of infrastructure required for economic growth.
  5. Debts must be suspended to enable nations to direct money away from onerous payments of debt service to growing and distributing food.
  6. A new financial architecture-a New Bretton Woods must be established with a facility to issue credit to finance critical categories of infrastructure necessary for economic growth and food production.

Read my earlier posts:

Famine in Africa: More Than Humanitarian Aid Required

COVID-19 Tragedy Compels Revamping Globalization and Food Production 

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.

Nuclear Reactors Are Imperative To Industrialize Africa! Rwanda and Kenya Leading The Way

March 31, 2022

Watch the video interview above. Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Chairman of the Rwanda Atomic Energy Board, presents a compelling argument for the necessity of  African nations to have Small Modular Nuclear Reactors-SMRs. African nations that are pursuing nuclear energy including Ghana, Kenya, Egypt ,and Nigeria.

In his interview, Dr. Zerbo, the former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, emphasizes how Small Modular Reactors are ideal for African nations, because of their size, construction, and ability to easily be adapted to a nations electrical grid. Additionally, the application of SMRs would bring a new modern technology to African nations, which will revolutionize the current mode of production, transform their economies, requiring the training of more scientists, engineers, and skilled workers.

He thoughtfully presents the reality that other renewable forms of energy like solar and wind are not powerful enough, i.e., their heat application (energy flux-density) is insufficient to power an industrialized economy. Also, solar needs sunlight, wind farms need a steady force of wind, and even hydro-electric plants, which are more dependable, require a constant flow of water. Nuclear energy plants once built, can last at least 40-80 years, and have proven completely safe.

Many Westerners and Africans falsely complain that nuclear plants are too dangerous, unaffordable, and not required if solar and wind are available. I can authoritatively say, all these naysayers and skeptics are wrong. In reality, nuclear energy will save lives by eliminating poverty and hunger. More Africans are dying from the lack of high grade electrical power than any other cause. If African nations want robust farming and agricultural industries, manufacturing sectors, and to improve the standard of living of their citizens, then nuclear energy with SMRs is a necessity.

See article below for Kenya’s plans to build nuclear energy plants in their country

Read my earlier post: Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

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.

Solar and Wind Force Poverty on Africa: Africa Needs Reliable Energy-Nuclear-to Power Industrialized Economies

Wind turbines operate at a wind farm near Vredenburg, South Africa, Oct. 6. Photo: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg News

The comments below by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, are very timely as G-20 nations convene in Glasgow for the COP26 Summit. President Museveni is absolutely correct. The Green energy movement proposed by the West will lead to more deaths, increase poverty, and impose more misery, and suffering across the continent of sub-Saharan African (SSA). Under the guise of reducing C02, the “Green Reset” supported by all the global financial instructions, will suppress the growth of agriculture, manufacturing and industry in SSA.  The deficit of energy in SSA is killing Africans today and has retarded economic growth in SSA for decades. Over the last several decades Western nations and intuitions have done nothing to address the huge infrastructure needs in Africa. However, now these same institutions are using the Green ideology to prevent Africa from developing. My estimates are that SSA needs at least 1,000 gigawatts of energy. I support burning as much oil, gas, and coal as necessary in preparation to transitioning into economies powered by nuclear energy. Only in the last ten years as we seen minimally, but important construction of vital infrastructure by China and Belt and Road Initiative. 

OPINION | COMMENTARY-Wall Street Journal

Solar and Wind Force Poverty on Africa
Letting us use reliable energy doesn’t mean a climate disaster.

By Yoweri K. Museveni
Oct. 24, 2021

Africa can’t sacrifice its future prosperity for Western climate goals. The continent should balance its energy mix, not rush straight toward renewables—even though that will likely frustrate some of those gathering at next week’s global climate conference in Glasgow.
My continent’s energy choices will dictate much of the climate’s future. Conservative estimates project that Africa’s population of 1.3 billion will double by 2050. Africans’ energy consumption will likely surpass that of the European Union around the same time.

Knowing this, many developed nations are pushing an accelerated transition to renewables on Africa. The Western aid-industrial complex, composed of nongovernmental organizations and state development agencies, has poured money into wind and solar projects across the continent. This earns them praise in the U.S. and Europe but leaves many Africans with unreliable and expensive electricity that depends on diesel generators or batteries on overcast or still days. Generators and the mining of lithium for batteries are both highly polluting.

This stands to forestall Africa’s attempts to rise out of poverty, which require reliable energy. African manufacturing will struggle to attract investment and therefore to create jobs without consistent energy sources. Agriculture will suffer if the continent can’t use natural gas to create synthetic fertilizer or to power efficient freight transportation.

A better solution is for Africa to move slowly toward a variety of reliable green energy sources. Wildlife-friendly minihydro technologies should be a part of the continent’s energy mix. They allow for 24-hour-a-day energy production and can be installed along minor rivers without the need for backup energy. Coal-fired power stations can be converted to burning biomass, and carbon capture can help in the meantime. Nuclear power is also already being put to good use in South Africa, while Algeria, Ghana and Nigeria operate research reactors with the intent of building full-scale nuclear facilities.

All this will take time, meaning Africa will have to use fossil fuels as it makes the transition. Natural gas is a greener option that will help the continent reduce emissions even as it grows, as developed nations have done themselves.

Saying any of this meets with backlash from developed nations. Instead of reliable renewables or greener fossil fuels, aid money and development investments go to pushing solar and wind, with all their accompanying drawbacks. And many Western nations have put a blanket ban on public funding for a range of fossil-fuel projects abroad, making it difficult for Africa to make the transition to cleaner nonrenewables.

In the coming decades my continent will have a strong influence on global warming. But it doesn’t now. Were sub-Saharan Africa (minus South Africa) to triple its electricity consumption overnight, powering the new usage entirely by gas, it would add only 0.6% to global carbon emissions.

Africans have a right to use reliable, cheap energy, and doing so doesn’t prevent the development of the continent’s renewables. Forcing Africa down one route will hinder our fight against poverty.

Mr. Museveni is president of Uganda.