Freeman: “Most Significant Accomplishment for Ethiopia in Foreign Policy was Joining the BRICS”

Ethiopia’s Evolving International Relations

Below are excerpts from my interview with ETHIOPIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION The Voice of Pan-Africanism. For the entire article by Wegayehu Muluneh, read: Ethiopia’s Evolving International Relations

Excerpted sections follow:

According to Lawrence Freeman, the most significant accomplishment for Ethiopia in foreign policy was joining the BRICS. As of January 1st, 2024, Ethiopia has become one of ten nations that comprise the BRICS, and also one of three nations on the African continent that belonged to the BRICS. Freeman believes this solidifies Ethiopia’s diplomatic position as a leading nation in sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

The analyst underlined that the formation of the BRICS and its growth institutionally over the last decade is extremely important, because the western-dominated political and financial institutions are suffering in terms of their control of the world’s politics and finances. This gives an opportunity for developing nations or emerging nations like Ethiopia to have their own institution and promote their own policies, independent of the dictates of the western geopolitical financial elite.

Lawrence Freeman said Ethiopia’s influence in Africa in general and in East Africa in particular will grow as the BRICS itself continues to become a weightier institution providing an alternative to the western political financial establishment. Whilst, this puts Ethiopia in an important and unique position on the African continent and also globally.

Ethiopia’s economic growth also instantly linked with activities the nation has carried out on its foreign relations. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19 and the onset of the war in northern Ethiopia in November 2020, Ethiopia was one among a few African and world nations with fastest growing economies. This of course was slowed down by the above-mentioned causes, Freeman explained. “However, we should expect that Ethiopia has the potential to become a leader once again in economic growth in Eastern Africa and the African continent.”

Freeman elaborated that the near completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will advance Ethiopia’s economy over the years ahead. The diplomatic activities that Ethiopia has been doing on the global stage while constructing the Dam, Africa’s flagship project, has been significant. The completion of GERD is a game changer to boost Ethiopia’s say and diplomatic bargain in the region and beyond. The GERD with only two turbines operating is already strengthening Ethiopia’s export of clean energy to Sudan, Kenya, and Djibouti. As the GERD reaches its complete potential of 5,150 megawatts, it will not only supply more energy to Ethiopia but also expand export of electricity to neighboring nations in Eastern Africa. Thus, the GERD and Ethiopia have already started causing the most demanded regional economic integration, which will expand and provide a potential model for regional economic integration.

With its electricity potential Ethiopia has the potential to become a major economic powerhouse on the continent. Thus, Ethiopia is expected to emerge as one of the most dynamic economies in the world.

Reflecting on Ethiopia’s audacious step towards regional relations, Freeman commended Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s motivation and courage in 2018 of settling past grievances over land with Eritrea, which won him the Nobel Peace Prize. However, there is no reason for anyone who understands the region, to claim that Ethiopia’s policies towards achieving a port that would give the nation access to the Red Sea, is a cause for war in the Horn of Africa. This is blatantly untrue and those who are participating in this war-mongering event may have ulterior motives for promoting this kind of scenario. War should not be on the table because it is in no country’s interest.

Ethiopia doesn’t need war to access seaports that it can develop to expand its export-import trade. Hailing the recent agreement signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland, Freeman said the agreement will enhance regional integration. The agreement speed up the growth Ethiopia’s landlocked economy by providing access to Red Sea ports, potentially boosting trade and fostering closer economic ties in the Horn region, he added.

For the entire article by Wegayehu Muluneh, read: Ethiopia’s Evolving International Relations

Read my earlier post: BRICS Offers New Potential for Africa & The World: The Human Race Will Benefit

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

Non-Aligned Movement Spreading Across The Globe

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

January 25, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read PD Lawton’s post below:

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

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

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

January 16, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

Interview with Ethiopian News Agency, January 2, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read my earlier posts:

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

Economic Development Can Bring Peace to the Horn of Africa

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

Freeman Keynotes Abebe Bikila Awards: A Historic Figure Needed to Unite Ethiopia

Abebe Bikila running barefoot at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. The Ethiopian native took gold in that race, crossing the finish line in a record time of 2:15:16.

October 8, 2023

On Saturday, September 23, 2023, the much-anticipated 2023 Bikila Award Celebration and Gala Dinner graced the splendid venue of Daniels Spectrum in Toronto.

Distinguished guests and luminaries gathered to make this night an unforgettable experience. Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine, an iconic trailblazer and past member of the Canadian Parliament, captivated everyone with her presence. Renowned author and Africa’s trusted Political-Economic Analyst, Dr. Lawrence Freeman, shared invaluable insights.

The mission of Bikila Award is to foster academic, professional, and business excellence and promote volunteerism among persons of Ethiopian origin, primarily through award and recognition. Bikila Award is created mainly to empower young people to reach their highest potential and to celebrate their achievements.

Bikila Award realizes its mission by undertaking various relevant activities including but not limited to:

  • Honoring students, professionals, businesspersons, and volunteers deserving recognition;
  • Creating awards, scholarships, and bursaries;
  • Organizing events to celebrate and communicate the achievements of community members as well as friends of Ethiopia.

For a recap of the Bikila Award Gala, click: Abebe Bikila Award Gala

The 2023 Bikila Awards MC, Guest Speakers, Award Recipients with the President of Bikila Award. Tessema Mulugeta, President, kneeling in front.

The Bikila Award www.bikilaaward.org was conceived over a decade ago, officially founded in July 2013, and conducted its first Bikila Award celebration in 2014.

This year, the Bikila Award ceremony took on special significance, given the tensions that exist in Ethiopia, today. The accomplishments of Captain Abebe Bikila, who demonstrated unique qualities of courage and determination, are well known to Ethiopians. As a historical personage, he can also function as a unifying figure for all Ethiopians, across all ethnic boundaries. For this reason, we can say unequivocally, that those responsible for this year’s Bikila Award celebration are performing an invaluable service for their homeland, Ethiopia.

Both Abebe Bikila, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, are national treasures that dwell in the hearts and minds of all Ethiopians and can serve to unite the culturally rich great nation of Ethiopia.

I had the honor and privilege of being the keynote speaker to over four hundred guests gathered to celebrate the achievements of Ethiopians.

Lawrence Freeman addressing the Bikila Award Gala Dinner, Toronto, Canada, September 23, 2023

Lawrence Freeman’s Presentation: We Live For the Future

I am honored and happy to be with you tonight.

Captain Abebe Bikila is known for his courage and determination to succeed, as demonstrated in his victory in the Olympic marathon in 1960 in Rome, Italy;  without his shoes. I am a long distance hiker and backpacker on the mountains of the East Coast of the United States, hiking several hundred miles a year. However, I could not do it without a sturdy pair of hiking boots.

Our World Has Indelibly Changed

Over the course of the last month, the world has been transformed. Not instantly, but in potential. This emphatically includes changes for Ethiopia and Africa as well. Africa and the Global South are moving in a new direction that we have not seen for several decades. The call for a New Just Economic World Order, prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s, has been taken up again in a new form.

Let Me Explain.

First, at the 15th Summit of the BRICS, from August 22nd to 24th, it was  decided to add 6 additional nations to become new members in January of 2024. This has transformed political-economic relations among nations on our planet. The BRICS in its embryonic form creates a new potential for development, especially among what we call the Global South or the South-South nations. As a result, the world, implicitly our universe, will never be the same, and there’s no going back to the way it was before.

We witnessed just last week, at the Group of 77 plus China, meeting in Cuba, a continuation of this new direction by the Global South. These multi-polar institutions are committed to cooperating in the mission to develop their nations and provide a better quality of life for their citizens.

There is now an undeniable alternative emerging to the dominance of the Western institutions, with their perverted geopolitical zero-sum doctrine of only winners and losers. The old order no longer unilaterally controls the world with their so called, international rules-based order. Of special importance for Africa, two of the new BRICS members are: Egypt and Ethiopia.

The second major event occurred earlier this month, on the eve of the Ethiopian New Year. It is when the reservoir of water contained by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) reached the level of 42 billion cubic meters of water in its fourth filling. This is a milestone for Ethiopia, for the Horn of Africa, and  for the entire African continent. Over the course of the next two years the reservoir will reach the capacity to hold 74 billion cubic meters of water and 11 additional turbines will be installed. Thus, the GERD in 2025 will have, with 13 operating turbines, an installed capacity to generate 5,150 megawatts of power, yielding an estimated 16,000 MW hours of electricity. This changes everything for the people of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD. Ethiopia’s transformative infrastructure project.

What I have identified are: new potentials for development of Ethiopia and Africa. This means there will be many new possibilities for families to improve the quality of life and raise their standard of living for themselves and their children. With this new injection of power from the GERD, more Ethiopians will have access to electricity. It will also enable manufacturing and agriculture to expand and allow Ethiopia’s economy to begin the path towards industrialization. Ethiopia’s GERD is already exporting electricity to neighboring nations and this will increase when the GERD is completed.

The GERD, like Abebe Bikila is a national unifying symbol for Ethiopia.

New Prospects For Ethiopia With BRICS and GERD

These new potentials will present a new geometry for Ethiopia. A developing, economically expanding nation will require more and more young people to apply themselves in advancing their economy to higher levels of productivity. To increase the productive powers of labor we require new scientific discoveries. New technologies created from these new discoveries will enable society to advance to a higher mode of economic production. This will place a premium on engineering and scientific research. The youth of Ethiopia will become an essential segment of the labor force, driving the development of their nation and securing a prosperous future for a growing population.

As a physical economist I understand that without the material improvement of life for the people of a nation, there will be no peace or stability. That said, the essence of a nation’s policy should be on the development of the minds of its population, especially its youth.

Only human beings are endowed with the potential of creativity. Creative thought is not reproducible by computers or so-called Artificial Intelligence. The human mind alone is capable of discovery, of hypothesizing and testing new physical principles of the universe. That means each mind of each human being is vital for a nation’s future. Each human being is sacred because it possesses a mind-soul. Contrary to the foolishness of pseudo economists, it is the human mind that is the source of all wealth for society.

The GERD for example, a marvelous engineering structure between two mountains, which I visited in December 2022, is a perfect example of humankind’s creative intervention on the physical universe.

Therefore, every nation should have a twofold interconnected policy for its citizens, which is:   

To ensure an improving standard of living for the population, freeing its citizens from the daily insecurities of providing food, income, and housing. With the material necessities of life secured, the nurturing of the creative imagination of each child becomes society’s primary responsibility.

These young woman are the future.

It Is All About The Future

Ethiopia with a 115 million people, and the African continent  with its population of 1.5 billion (and growing), can have a bright future employing all these potentially creative minds in contributing to the betterment of society.

Human beings, unlike all other animals, are uniquely capable of thinking about the future. Animals only exist in the here and now. We human beings are fundamentally different. Although we physically live in the present, we act for the future.

Qualified leaders think one to two generations into the future with a vision for their nation. Mothers and fathers think about what actions they can take in their lifetimes that will contribute to a better future for their children and grandchildren. Competent economists and economic planners focus on investments in technological awakenments today that will result in an increase in the productivity of the society tomorrow.

The world is entering a new epoch. We can create a new paradigm with new multi-polar institutions committed to development. We now have a new potential future in front of us if we have the wisdom and willpower to realize it. Let us have the  same determination to reach our objective for a better humanity, that Abebe Bikila had in winning the 1960 Olympic marathon.

Thank you for listening to me.

For a recap of the Bikila Award Gala, click: Abebe Bikila Award Gala

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.

Instability in Africa Can Be Averted Through Development: China & BRICS Will Contribute

October 4, 2023

My friend, Matt Ehret, has written a new article, How the West destroyed Africa and Eurasia will revive it, that provides useful context to understand the coups that have taken place in the Sahel and West Africa. His analysis parallels some of my writing on this same subject. Read my earlier posts: To Prevent More Coups Like Niger: Eliminate Poverty in Africa; and BRICS Offers New Potential for Africa & The World: The Human Race Will Benefit

Excerpts below from Matt’s article:

“In Africa, injustice looms large, marked by poverty, warfare, and famine. Despite post-WWII political gains, economic independence, a vital component of true freedom as envisioned by Pan African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, and Haile Selassie, remains elusive. 

After decades of restrictive IMF and World Bank loans, poverty, hunger, and conflict persist throughout the continent. While many attribute this to Africa’s governance challenges, in reality, a deliberate imperial agenda has hindered the continent’s development in all political, economic, and security sectors. 

Coups against neo-colonialism

But much has changed in the past few years. The growing clout of Eurasian institutions that fully embrace Global South countries as valuable, integral, and equal members – the BRICS+ and Greater Eurasian Partnership are examples – offer hope that old neo-colonial shackles will be broken and that Africa can enjoy an unfettered renaissance.

The rise of a new global pole to challenge the old unipolar order has had a notable impact across sub-Saharan West Africa which, in recent years, has seen a surge in military coups shifting power away from regimes that had long prioritized the interests of western corporations. 

These coups occurred in Chad (April 2021), Mali (May 2021), Guinea (September 2021), Sudan (October 2021), Burkina Faso (January 2022), Niger (July 2023), and Gabon (August 2023) – all resource-rich countries with abnormally poor living conditions.

In Gabon, over 30 percent of its people live on less than $1 per day, while 60 percent of its regions have no healthcare or clean drinking water despite the abundance of gold, diamonds, manganese, uranium, iron ore, natural gas, and oil – mostly monopolized by French corporations like Eramat, Total and Ariva. 

Despite its abundance of rare earths, copper, uranium, and Gold, 70 percent of Malians still live in abject poverty. Similarly, Sudan, with its riches in oil, fertile soil, and water, has 77 percent of the population living below the poverty line. 

In uranium-rich Niger, which provides over 35 percent of the fuel for France’s nuclear industry (accounting for 70 percent of France’s energy basket), mainly under the control of France’s Orano, only 3 percent of Nigerians have access to electricity. In the “former” French colony of Chad, that number is only a little higher at 9 percent, and a still-unacceptable 20 percent in Burkina Faso. 

While Altanticists desperately seek ways to keep their talons embedded into the African continent and its abundant riches, a much healthier security paradigm has emerged in recent years from Eurasia…”

Sustainable security means economic development

“The fight against the destructive effects of imperialism may seem daunting, especially when viewed solely through the lens of military affairs. But the growing influence of major multipolar institutions offers an important, consensus-based, strength-in-numbers way forward. 

The BRICS+, for instance, has made sure to add new members strategically. Last month, the organization grew from five to 11 members, which today include three geostrategic African nations of Egypt, South Africa, and Ethiopia, and major West Asian energy powerhouses Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE with extensive interests across Africa.

Then there’s China’s Global Security Initiative, unveiled in April 2022, which represents far more than just a non-western security doctrine. It embodies a fundamentally different paradigm, which at its core, places paramount emphasis on economic development as the foundation for long-term strategic peace.

Beijing has not only endorsed the objectives of the African Union’s Africa Agenda 2063 in words, but has done more than any other country in realizing those ambitious goals which call for “unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”…

Over the past decade, China has advanced a policy of rail development, connectivity and building up industrial capacities, training, and skill building across partner nations. During that time, trade with Africa has risen to $282 billion in trade in 2022, marking an 11 percent increase over the previous year—a figure more than four times that of the US, which recorded $63 billion in trade with Africa in 2022. 

During that same 10-year span, Chinese companies have won $700 billion in contracted projects to build energy systems, transportation grids, manufacturing hubs, ports, telecommunication, aerospace, aviation, finance, and a myriad of soft infrastructure. 

Despite the challenges posed by western interventions, China has been able to build 6000 kilometers of rail, 6000 kilometers of roads, 20 ports, 80 large power facilities, 130 hospitals, and 170 schools on the continent.

While some western “democracies” resort to the threat of military intervention, punitive sanctions, or assassinations in post-coup Niger, China assumed the role of peace broker and re-emphasized its commitment to continue all projects in Niger, including the crucial 2,000-kilometer pipeline designed to export crude oil from the Agadem fields to the Port of Seme in Benin. 

This pipeline, currently three-quarters finished, will boost Niger’s oil output by 450 percent upon completion.

In Tanzania, the Chinese government hosted the 25 August China-Africa Vision conference promoting a myriad of economic initiatives, but its highlight was the Tanzania-Burundi-Democratic Republic of Congo railway which will likely become the first of several major trans continental rail lines outlined in the Africa Agenda 2063 Report…”

Read the full article: How the West destroyed Africa and Eurasia will revive it, written by Matt Ehret: matt.ehret@tutamail.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.

“Pan African Visions” Freeman Interview: The Newly Expanded BRICS Has Indelibly Changed The Universe-Ethiopia and Africa

Pan African Visions

The addition of Ethiopia with over 115 million people, and Egypt with over 105 million people strengthens Africa’s hand in BRICS , says Lawrence Freeman.

For almost three decades, Lawrence Freeman, an American Political Economic analyst for Africa has been voicing critically against the west’s approach towards its economic relation with the developing world especially Africa. After creating his website entitled, www.lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com he has been lobbying for economic interventions that liberate Africa from poverty and has been suggesting ways that African policy makers should adopt in order to sustainably address the economic problems of Africa. During his latest interview with The Ethiopian Herald in connection with the BRICS summit in South Africa, he said that he is happy to see one of his dreams, for which he fought for about a generation, has come true. Enjoy reading the detail!

September 26, 2023

The interview below is reprinted from Pan African Visions

Read: BRICS-alliance-challenges-the-old-order

Question: How The BRICS Alliance Challenges The Old Order

Lawrence Freeman: The addition of Ethiopia with over 115 million people, and Egypt with over 105 million people strengthens Africa’s hand in BRICS , says Lawrence Freeman.
For almost three decades, Laurence Freeman, an American Political Economic analyst for Africa has been voicing critically against the west’s approach towards its economic relation with the developing world especially Africa. After creating his website entitled www.laurencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, he has been lobbying for economic interventions that liberate Africa from poverty and has been suggesting ways that African policy makers should adopt in order to sustainably address the economic problems of Africa. During his latest interview with The Ethiopian Herald in connection with the BRICS summit in South Africa, he said that he is happy to see one of his dreams, for which he fought for about a generation, has come true. Enjoy reading the detail!

Question: How do you see the course that BRICS has passed through so far?

Freeman: The BRICS now has already emerged and is now accelerating its institution as an alternative to the western view of the world, and the Western political economic system that gives now called a new rules based international order. And that unipolar Western domination is now ending. And the BRICS is a very strong, emerging alternative. And as you know, an additional six countries have been invited to join the BRICS beginning 1st of January 2024. And of those six countries, Ethiopia is one of those countries, and Egypt is another. And therefore, out of the 11 nations, that will be BRICS members three of them will now be from Africa. So, this is very good news for Ethiopia, for Africa, and for the World Development.

Question: Two more African countries are now invited to join BRICS. How do you see the representation of Africa in the bloc?

Freeman: What is clear now is the addition of Ethiopia, which is over 115 million people, and Egypt, which is over 105 million people. You’ve now two very important countries added to the bloc, the second and third most populous countries of the African nations, and together with the existing member of South Africa.

So this is a very powerful representation, because these countries represent very significant pillars of the African continent.

Now, Ethiopia has been a leading nation in terms of driving economic development, not only in the country of Ethiopia, but really implicitly for the whole continent. Because of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is going to produce 5,150 megawatts within two years. This dam will also lead to a great development in the Horn of Africa, East Africa, and Nile Basin nations.

Egypt has also been expanding its economy. It’s building nuclear power plants. It has built industrial complexes along the Nile River. And so these two additions, plus South Africa, which is the most industrialized nation on the continent, these three represent a very significant force for change and economic development in Africa. And the BRICS now has made it clear that they’re going to build the New Development Bank (NDB), which was set up after the BRICS; the NDB is going to be increasing its lending and 30% of its new lending will be in local currencies. So what we’re seeing is the domination of the dollar and the domination of the rules based order are now being said really weakened.

And we’re already in or approaching to the post unipolar Western dominated world. And BRICS is going to be one of the most central institutions in making those kinds of dynamic changes for world economic development. And of course, for Africa, with the level of poverty that exists on the continent, this could be a game changer.

Question: Do you think there will be a confrontation with other contending blocs now that BRICS is expanding by more than double?

Freeman: There is the danger of the West, taking measures against the BRICS, they have been organizing against the BRICS consistently. In fact, I found it very revealing that even days before the BRICS summit, which was the 22nd 23rd, and today to 24th, the whole western establishment in Western media was talking about how unimportant the BRICS summit was, and how it was much to do about nothing. And of course, they were just expressing their fear. Because if you ask China and other countries, they will tell you that they need oil. But they’re not just taking oil, they are building infrastructure and expanding the markets.

And the West has basically lost a level of its thinking capability, because rather than adjusting itself to these new developments; they’re trying to maintain the old developments. If, these BRICS countries, that are now growing to 11 increase the trade among themselves, if they’re increasing the investment among themselves, if they are building important infrastructure, manufacturing capabilities, and expand their markets, that each one of them can be selling to the other then it is given that the thing is going to be more and more dominated outside of the dollar, it’s going to be conducted in local currencies. So, if the West, my United States, was more intelligent, we would be oriented toward also being part of the changes but the geopolitical mindset have always been on top and is in control, and the hegemony is preventing the west from thinking clearly.

The BRICS is a reality; just like the Belt and Road Initiative is a reality. It’s not going to be put back in the bottle, as we say. And it’s a potential for real growth, and energy for infrastructure and energy for manufacturing development projects.

Development is the most important aspect of Africa’s relationships with the BRICS, says Lawrence Freeman.

It would be beneficial to all the countries involved, and the sooner the West, and the Secretary of State Blinken and President Biden and others wake up to this new reality, the better the world would be. We are facing a dangerous situation in Niger, West Africa, which I know well, is a sign of the same dynamic that you’re having. West African countries are rejecting colonialism; the French control over their economy, and are also rejecting military intervention. The coups are driven by the fact that the country is poor. One has to know the fact that there is only 3% of the Niger population accessing electricity. Less than 50% of the African continent has electricity access. Development is the most important aspect of the relationships with the BRICS. And the West does not or refuses to understand this vivid fact.

Question: How should African countries work in collaboration with BRICS as an alternative source of finance, market?

Freeman: One good thing is, they’re now going to be capable of having access to loans from the BRICS New Development Bank, and the NDB set up in 2015. So now this NDB is going to increase its loan portfolio. And it means that these countries may have an opportunity to get these loans. Now, these loans do not contain the conditionality that the IMF and World Bank attaches with. And the mindset of the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, is the global south has to be developed.

The BRICS has already represented about a third of the GDP worldwide, about 40% of the global population. So, both those figures are going to increase. So, the reality is that the African nations are joining a new dynamic in a world that is going to offer them with the new opportunities. Don’t forget, Africa is suffering; people are dying every day, because of a lack of electricity, and a lack of manufacturing capability. Those two things had been denied to the nation’s economies of Africa, this now gives an opportunity to change. But the West has never wanted to see this kind of economic development, in manufacturing, in particular, and electricity. Those two things are addressed along with a plan for high speed integrated rail, which I’ve also written about it on my website, those things will change or transform the African continent, and this is the way to eliminate poverty.

And if you eliminate poverty, you can eliminate instability. The reason is a lack of security in many countries, especially on the Sahel is because there’s no development, because people live like beasts, forced to live that way without the basic qualities of life. And so if you transform that, you can transform the entire political economic security situation. So, Egypt is all the way up in the north of the continent. It has an effect on the whole Sahel region. Ethiopia is right there in the center of East Africa, is the largest economy in East Africa. This could obviously affect a number of countries, Kenya, Djibouti and Sudan. And then you have South Africa in the very tip in the south. And if we expand the relationships, if we build the high speed railroads, if we expand the electricity, if we build manufacturing centers, we can see a whole different Africa.

Now, the BRICS, can’t do that overnight. But as they expand their lending capability, and also complementary is the Belt and Road Initiative, over a period of time, we can see a significant change in the lives of Africans and that their material standard of living. So now, three of the 11 nations of the BRICS are African nations, because that’s already a very sizable bloc within the BRICS itself. So I’m very optimistic about the potential and I’m very happy and excited for Ethiopia, because Ethiopia, if it gets this kind of new economic relations with the BRICS, then more of the desire and potential of Ethiopian economy can be realized, which is what I’ve been advocating for over 10 years.

Question: What kind of challenge do you expect for the newly invited countries in the course of joining BRICS?

Freeman: They will become official members of BRICS in about four months. And what we need to do for Ethiopia, especially all the countries involved in Africa, is long term low interest. What I mean is 2% to 3% long term interest rates on 15 year loans, government backed loans, or government supported loans for infrastructure. We need to be building an additional 1000 gigawatts of power on the continent. We need to have a high speed rail system that connects every port, every major city, every major industrial center, and every major agricultural center, connects the continent so that we can do the merger of Africa. Failing to have this infrastructure and have this manufacturing capability is the biggest weakness which is observable now. And only 13% to 15% of trade from African countries is among African countries, they’re exporting 85%. The African countries are importing 40 billion and plus dollars’ worth food commodities. The fact is that there is no reason for Africa to become self-sufficient in food. But Africa also needs the infrastructure, and it needs manufacturing.

So there’s a lot of potential, how aggressively would the BRICS proceed, I don’t know. But if they’re going to proceed as aggressively as possible, in effect, Africa can become a different place. All in all, the changes that are going on in West Africa are really part of the same process. The rules based order is no longer, hegemonic. The world is not unipolar. And therefore, that gives us potential for transformational change in Africa.

Question: How do you think developing countries including Africa maintain their ties with the west in the middle of the possible rift that could happen between BRICS and the other blocs?

Freeman: I suggest African countries have to understand this. There is no reason and there’s no benefit to attacking the West, head on. What these countries will be doing is that they will maintain their relations with the West. But they will not be forced to submit to the conditionalities of the West. And they want to drive out the last vestiges of colonialism. So, you have the French controlling 14 countries’ economies in Francophone Africa to a new form of colonialism. We have 1500 French troops in Niger, we have 1200 American troops. We have six bases in just Niger alone, that we’ve helped build. We’ve spent billions and billions of dollars on the so called counterterrorism.

What we now have to do is we have to spend billions and billions of dollars on development. So the African countries will say, we are open to working with everybody.

We will work with the West, we will work with the Global South. But we’re going to only work in ways that build our nations.

Lawrence Freeman backs calls by South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor for African countries to prioritize investment that also boosts local production

You had a very interesting statement from Naledi Pandor, who is the equivalent of foreign minister of South Africa last month when she met with her counterpart from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, [ And she said do not accept any investment that does not include manufacturing in your own country, and I agree with her 110%, then there should not be. The African nations now also have to expand their energy. And that means they should burn and use their natural resources. That means coal; that means oil; that means gas; that means hydro. And it means expanding nuclear energy, with the help of Russia, China and India will help in this regard. And they have to be and they’re not going to accept the dictates of the bank, the Western banking system that says, No, we’re not going to lend you money, unless you stop burning fossil fuels. And the African countries have said clearly, we are going to go ahead and burn our fossil fuel because we need energy to keep our people have a fulfilling life. So I don’t think the Asian countries in general are not going to be confrontational, but they no longer have to submit to the dictates of the rules based order.

Question: What do you think the countries of the West should do to maintain their relations with BRICS and developing countries?

Freeman: This is a very interesting question I’ve been writing and speaking about this. The problem that the West has, take the United States, for example, is that it is dominated by a geo political ideology. And this ideology says that the world is fixed, doesn’t grow. And therefore, the only way for superpowers to exist, they have to be on top, they have to be in control, called the zero sum game, everything has to add up to zero. So if I’m on top, you’re going to be on the bottom. If I am on the bottom, then you’re going to be on top. And this mentality is completely destructive. Now that mentality, that ideology, which is perverse, in my view, is under attack, because the reality of the universe we live in, has changed as you and I have been discussing.

So now, the world as a result of this BRICS summit and the changes in the BRICS configuration is a new factor in reality. It cannot be changed back in the west now, either they have to become aware of that and reflect on your policies and change their policies to pro development policies for these emerging markets, or the West will be left out of it or gets to military confrontation. So , can the West adjust? Can the West, think? Can people like the Secretary of State Blinken and Biden, think and reflect that the policy they’ve been advocating has failed? I don’t know if they’re going to do that. But that’s what they have to do. If they want to remain relevant in the world, and not push the world to military confrontations or impossible nuclear wars we’re seeing with Ukraine and Russia, whether they will actually have the ability to rethink and understand the errors of the ways is a very interesting question are going to see over the next several months, but the reality has changed, and that fact, can no longer be denied as much as the media would like to.

Now the 11 nations in the BRICS are representing larger and larger portions of the world economy in the world’s population, a large percentage of those almost 30% now of African nations, this represents a new reality. This represents a new dynamic. As we speak, the world has already changed. So now we have a new potential. And it is up to leaders of these African nations, and leaders of the BRICS, and leaders of other global south nations, to make these new realities, new potentials come about to realize that and to organize them around a new paradigm of economic order for development. And that is something very exciting. Something I’ve been fighting for 30 years, and I’m very happy to see the progress we’re making. And the reality has now changed as of today.

Thank you very much for your time!

You’re most welcome!

Culled from the September Issue of PAV Magazine and published Courtesy Of ZEKARIAS OLDEMARIAM, THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD SATURDAY 26 AUGUST 2023

Read my earlier post: BRICS Offers New Potential for Africa & The World: The Human Race Will Benefit

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.

Panel of Experts Discuss Significance of Ethiopia’s Historic 4th Filling of the GERD for Africa

Ethiopia completes fourth filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Courtesy of ethiopianmonitor.com)

To hear a panel of experts on the GERD:

Play link twitter.com

After pressing play, the discussion begins in eight minutes with opening remarks of Lawrence Freeman.

Over the course of the last three weeks, two major developments have occurred that potentially will transform the quality of life for Ethiopia, and all the nations we now refer to as, The Global South. I’m referring to two singular events. One, the 4th filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the eve of the Ethiopian New Year. Two, the 15th BRICKS Summit (August 22-24) in Johannesburg South Africa, that added six new nations, which included Egypt and Ethiopia. These two developments occurring over a span of approximately three weeks have now changed Ethiopia, have changed Africa, and have actually changed the world.

As of January 2024, the BRICS will expand from its current five members; Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, to eleven nations by adding; Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Argentina. The world, the physical universe we live in, has changed; and our planet will never go back to the way it was before. The newly expanded BRICS, with its own Development Bank, is in its embryonic stage of becoming an alternative political-economic institution to the so called, rules-based international order. Ethiopia’s GERD is now irreversibly poised within the next two years, to inject 5,150 megawatts of power to the African continent.

On Sunday, September 10th, an extensive detailed examination of the significance of the 4th filling of the  GERD was discussed on Twitter (see link above) by a panel of experts, which included myself.

Briefly. The GERD reservoir now contains 42 billion cubic meters (bcm) of water, just 7 bcm short of the requirement to fill the dam. During the course of the rainy season the water level will increase another 25 bcm to obtain its full capacity of 74 bcm once the walls are raised another 25 meters to reach the height of 645 meters above sea level.

With the addition of eleven more turbines operating at 400 megawatts (MW) each, to the current two turbines operating at 375 MW each, the GERD is projected to generate approximately 16,000 megawatt hours of electricity. This will enable Ethiopia to provide electricity to its population, expand its manufacturing sector, industrialize its economy, and export electricity to neighboring nations in the Horn of Africa. Resulting in a complete transformation of the Ethiopian economy and its society. This dam will have no negative effect on the downstream nations. The GERD is a dam for development of Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, and the entire Nile Basin. The African continent will benefit, and now has a model for other nations to follow.

By listening to  our conversation, you will learn a great deal about the current stage of development of the GERD and its potential for Ethiopia.

Read my earlier posts:

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

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

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

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.

Everything You Are Not Being Told About Africa & Why It Matters

Watch my discussion with Mel K

September 5, 2023

Please watch this excellent interview with Lawrence Freeman conducted last month. You will enjoy it. Topics discussed:

  • What does the coup in Niger reveal about the failure of Western policy for Africa?
  • Why economic development is a human right?
  • Is the Western political and financial oligarchical elite brain dead or can they change in accordance with reality?
  • Why is the West scared of the newly expanded BRICS?
  • Why is China’s policy towards Africa superior to that of the West?
  • Is Africa on the verge of an economic-political breakout?
  • Are Western leaders smart enough to modify their failed policies.
  • Will Africa have too many people? Can there be too much human creativity?

All of this issues and more are discussed in a conversation with Mel K that you wont see anywhere else.

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.

BRICS Offers New Potential for Africa & The World: The Human Race Will Benefit

August 26, 2023

The just concluded BRICS Summit in South Africa, has changed our planet and implicitly the universe. This change cannot be reversed. It is the consequence of adding Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Argentina to the BRICS, beginning in January 2024. This expansion of the BRICS to eleven nations, which already comprised 40% of the world population, and is expected to reach 32.1% of the global GDP this year, larger than that of the G-7 nations, cannot be disregarded. It is a new reality for our civilization. Obviously, as a result of its doubling of participating nations, the BRICS will experience significant growth beginning next year.

The new expanded BRICS definitely ends the control by the West’s “rules-based order.”  There is now an alternative global institution not under the thumb of the so called advanced sector nations and their IMF-World Bank financial system. A new global potential has emerged, one rooted in the commitment by “South -South” nations to fully develop their economies. The BRICS, unlike the geopolitical ideologues of the West, will bring forth a new paradigm of development in political-economic relations among nations.

A new dynamic now exists on our planet which is the culmination of the progression of the BRICS from its initial embryonic form to a universal institution. The BRICS came into existence in 2009 , and its own New Development Bank, five years later. Despite all the naysayers, critics, and those who called this recent BRICS Summit “much ado about nothing.” The BRICS is here to stay and is expanding.

We should all take a moment to celebrate this accomplishment, but not for too long. We have to get back to work, and make sure we realize the full potential of this new factor of change that has altered our universe. To my friends and collaborators, who have labored with me to improve the living conditions of the people of Africa, I anticipate a special joy, knowing that in a few months, three of the eleven BRICS nations will be from the African continent.

“BRICS expansion game changer for Africa” Lawrence Freeman

THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD, ADDIS ABABA, August 26, 2023

The invitation of Ethiopia and Egypt to BRICS membership gives Africa a very powerful representation in the new bloc and could be a game changer for the continent, says American political economy analyst.

“This is very good news for Ethiopia, for Africa, and for World Development”, added Lawrence Freeman, a political analyst of African affairs.

He further explained that he is optimistic and excited over Ethiopia’s membership of the new bloc as this kind of new economic relations with the BRICS would help it obtain more resources to realize more of its desire and potential of economy.

“This is what I’ve been advocating for over 10 years” Freeman noted.

According to him, the BRICS expansion is a new paradigm or dynamics in the world while the changes that are going on in West Africa are also part of the same process, Freeman stressed.

Out of the 11 nations in the BRICS, a bloc that represents larger portions of the world economy and the world’s population, almost 30% are African nations; this represents a new reality or a new dynamic.

The rules based order is no longer, hegemonic and the world is not unipolar, he noted adding “that gives us potential for transformational change in Africa”

The African nations and the whole global south no longer have to bow to the rules based order, according to Freeman.

The BRICS is now accelerating its institution as an alternative to the western view of the world and the Western political economic system that gives a new, rules-based international order.

“And we’re already approaching the post unipolar Western dominated world. And BRICS is going to be one of the most central institutions in making those kinds of dynamic changes for world economic development” Freeman indicated.

Concerning the way African countries can benefit from the expansion of BRICS membership, he said that it is up to leaders of these African nations, and leaders of the BRICS, and leaders of other global south nations, to make these new potentials come about to realize that and to organize themselves around a new paradigm of economic order for development.

And the BRICS now has made it clear that they’re going to launch an expansion of their New Development Bank, the NDB, which is going to be increasing its lending. And 30% of its new lending will be in local currencies. Freeman further noted that African countries are now going to be capable of having access to loans from the do not contain the conditionality that the IMF and World Bank loans do.

“And that is something very exciting. Something I’ve been fighting for 30 years, and I’m very happy to see the progress we’re making. And reality has now changed as of today” Regarding the future ties of BRICS, developing countries with other blocs, Freeman stressed that the changes in the BRICS configuration is a new factor in reality and cannot be changed back.

Therefore he noted, the West now has to become aware of that and reflect on their policies and change their policies to pro development policies for these emerging markets, he reiterated.

 BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM

Read my full interview below

Watch my discussion on the significance of the BRICS Summit


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.

Freeman Interview: “Living Conditions in Africa Today Are Morally, Politically, and Economically Unacceptable”

Listen to my 45 minute radio interview: TNT Interview With Lawrence Freeman July 13, 2022, beginning at 5 minutes 50 seconds

July 16, 2022

I discussed the following subjects concerning Africa:

*Unacceptable living conditions in Africa today

*Fraud of the “green transition” to prevent industrialization

*Importance of China’s infrastructure investment in Africa

*Lack of U.S. development policy for Africa

*Current destabilization of Ethiopia using ethnicity

*Potential of BRICS plus

Listen to 45 minute discussion on TNT Radio Interview With Lawrence Freeman July 13, 2022

Read my earlier posts:

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.