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

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, built on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile River will be completed in 2025 with an installed capacity to generate 5,150 megawatts of electricity. This will not only provide increased access of electricity to the Ethiopian population, but supply much needed energy to the nations of the Horn of Africa as well.

On December 19, 2022, I was given a VIP tour of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, known as the GERD. It was an exciting and joyful experience for me to examine this massive infrastructure project constructed by an emerging sub-Saharan African nation. It is proof that humankind is capable, nay obliged, to intervene upon the physical universe for the betterment of the human race i.e., progress for our civilization. The GERD, when completed, will generate from its thirteen turbines a total of 5,150 megawatts (MW) of electricity for Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. The GERD is a dam for development. Already, with just 750 MW being produced from two of the GERD’s functioning turbines, Ethiopia is already exporting electricity to Djibouti, Kenya, and Sudan. Additionally, Ethiopia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Sudan to sell electricity.

Upon completion, the GERD will be the largest hydro-electric dam on the African continent and the seventh largest in the world. For this accomplishment, the Ethiopian people and their leadership should be praised for initiating such a grand endeavor over a decade ago, that is today contributing to the transformation of the African continent.  

The GERD left, author being briefed the Deputy Project Manager

A Source of Pride

The GERD is located at the Guba district in the Benishangul-Gumuz regional state of Ethiopia, 20 kilometers (km) (13 miles) upstream from the Sudan border, a driving distance of 729 km (453 miles) from Addis Ababa. Construction began in 2011 to capture the hydro-energy potential of the Blue Nile, a winding river of 1,450 km (910 miles) flowing down from Lake Tana, nestled in Ethiopia’s dense range of mountains. The Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in Sudan under the bridge connecting Khartoum and Omdurman, provides over 80% of the volume of Nile waters that flow north through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Ethiopians, refer to the Blue Nile, which contains 70% of the country’s river systems, as Abay River. “’Abay’ is derived from the Ge’ez word for ‘great’ to imply that it is ‘the river of rivers’.”* 

The Ethiopian people self-financed the $5 billion cost of the GERD. No international loans were issued by Western financial institutions. Nor did China provide any financial assistance, contrary to those maligning China’s relationship with Ethiopia and with Africa. As a result, the GERD is sovereignly owned by the Ethiopian people. It is a well-deserved source of pride and national identity, much like the victory of Menelik II against the invading Italian army at Adwa, on March 1, 1896. Recognizing this accomplishment, I have suggested that upon completion of the GERD, Ethiopia should establish a new holiday that will be called, “GERD Day.”

The author standing in front of a painting of the completed GERD pointing to the Amharic words that mean “Our Pride.”

Humans Create Wealth

Standing at the top of the dam’s wall, the GERD, erected between two mountains, with its vast reservoir, is resplendent in its beauty. However, it is more than simple splendor. The GERD is a potent demonstration of the power of human creativity, and humankind’s harmony with the physical universe. All infrastructure is the product of human intervention. We human beings alter the physical universe by creating improvements. This noetic-creative process of the mind is actually transforming our planet, and implicitly the universe, for the advancement of humankind . It is the lack of infrastructure that is killing  Africa and harming my United States as well.

The modern form of Lake Tana is estimated to be 5 million years old. Therefore, it is reasonable to estimate, that the Blue Nile, which emanates from Lake Tana’s waterfalls, is millions of years old as well. Thus, the Blue Nile has flowed into the White Nile, unexploited for millennium, before creative Ethiopians willfully decided to make this “lazy river” do some work i.e., produce energy for the progress of civilization.

The GERD situated between two mountains over the Blue Nile River

Given the staggering paucity of energy in sub-Saharan Africa, this injection of  5,150 MW is essential to preserve human life, which depends on energy for all its productive activity. The GERD will significantly improve Ethiopians access to electricity, which is currently estimated at 50%. Energy from the GERD will contribute to powering the industrialization of Ethiopia and will also benefit the greater Horn of Africa.

It is all but impossible for any visitor to the GERD not to marvel at this engineering achievement, but for me, it has additional significance. As a physical economist, I understand the vital role that infrastructure performs in a successful economy. Unlike simple financial transactions, services, and even tourism, all of which macro economists include in computing the GDP of an economy, hard infrastructure is unique. It  inserts value by enhancing the productive process, which results in the  creation of additional wealth for society. Infrastructure, a physical input, increases productivity, enabling  the economy to expand (produce more tangible wealth) at a faster rate during the ensuing production cycle. All economies function on and within a given integrated infrastructure platform. A more technologically advanced platform creates more wealth and profitability for the entire economy/society. An economy without energy, a density of paved roads, and railroads per area, is doomed to create misery and death for its population.

Thus, the GERD, a human intrusion into nature, not only produces desperately needed energy, but raises Ethiopia’s infrastructure platform to a more advanced level that will permeate the entire productive process of the economy.

The author examining the control panel above, and in front one of the operating turbines below.

A Scientific-Engineering Wonder

The height of the dam is 145 meters and is 645 meters above sea level. Its length is 1,780 meters. The reservoir surface area is 1,874 km squared, and will hold 74 billion cubic meters of water. When the water level in the reservoir reaches a height of 640 meters above sea level, it will start flowing into the power generation structure of the dam. There will be 13 independent waterways supplying water to the turbines below through installed pipes, 8.5 meters wide. This directed water flow will rotate the turbines, producing a maximum of 400 MW of electricity per turbine. The water from the reservoir will descend by gravity 123 meters from the head (where the water enters) to the turbines below, at a flow rate of 330 cubic meters per second. These two parameters determine the potential electrical power that can be generated through rotating the turbines 125 times per minute across a magnetic field. U.S. based General Electric (GE) is supplying 5 of the 13 turbines. Presently there are two GE made turbines producing 375 MW each, which has added 500 MW of electricity to Ethiopia’s national grid. This has enabled Ethiopia to export 275 MW of electricity to its neighbors; 75 MW to Djibouti, 100 MW to Sudan, and 100 MW to Kenya. Both these turbines went into operation in 2022. The additional 11 turbines will produce 400 MW each, yielding a total output of 5,150 MW, with average annual energy production about 16,692 gigawatt hours, generated from the GERD.

Building new pipes above to carry water to new turbines being built below

The GERD Is For Africa

The GERD will insert over 5,000 MW of renewable electricity into an  African sub-continent starved for power. With its already existing sources of energy, the GERD will make Ethiopia second to South Africa in generation of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. While this amount of additional electricity is desperately needed, my calculations are that to transform African nations into modern industrialized economies, a minimum of 1,000 gigawatts of power has to be added to national grids. It would be wise for more African nations to emulate Ethiopia’s bold visionary initiative. This is the pathway for poverty and hunger to be finally eliminated on the continent.

There is no danger to downstream nations from the GERD. Ethiopia has extended the time it will take to fill the GERD’s reservoir beyond the original plan of 3 to 4 years, in order to mitigate any substantial reduction in the flow of the Nile River. Annual fillings will continue until achieving completion. Ethiopia is making every effort to maintain the flow of the Blue Nile while this huge reservoir is being filled yearly during the June and July months of the rainy season. After 3 fillings (2020-2022), the reservoir now holds 22 billion cubic meters of water. Sudanese officials report no noticeable decrease in the water levels of the Nile traveling through their nation.

The author being interviewed by Ethiopian News Agency

The GERD will regulate the flow of the Nile, preventing both deadly flooding in Sudan, and the dwindling of the Nile during drier seasons. The GERD will have three spillways with a discharge capacity of 19,000 cubic meters per second to prevent flooding of the Nile. At the higher altitude of the GERD’s reservoir, evaporation, which can account for 10% of the Nile’s total volume of 84 billion cubic meters, will be reduced. Due to the size and depth of the GERD’s reservoir, there will also be a reduction in the transfer of sediments from the Blue Nile.

The drainage area of the Nile Basin includes 11 African nations whose total population is over 400 million and growing, with Egypt and Ethiopia accounting for over half of the people. A long term development plan that provides for the well-being of the people residing in the nations of the Nile Basin, should be established. However, we must be cognizant that the waters of the Nile River are not sufficient to provide for the expanding population of the region. Other alternatives must be sought.

For future generations of the Nile Basin nations to prosper, we should create the equivalent of a second Nile River through nuclear powered desalination. Nuclear power plants can be built along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts. This would deliver millions of tons of fresh water and provide thousands of megawatts of electricity to the Nile Basin nations. Application of nuclear energy, would also crucially upgrade the infrastructure platform of a large section of the African continent by introducing advanced nuclear technologies. Many pessimists will complain that this is impractical and will never happen. In response to these naysayers, I say: let us aspire to the same audacious optimism of Ethiopia when they conceived of creating the GERD where only mountains and the Blue Nile existed.    

*Wikipedia

Schematic diagram of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

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 the Sake of Humanity-Let Us Bring Into Existence a New Paradigm of Development in 2023

Lawrence Freeman with a grain seller at the Alamata market in Amhara, Ethiopia on December 17, 2022

December 31, 2023 My New Year Message

It is well past the time that civilization should establish a higher scientific-cultural existence based on reason and love of humankind. It is unacceptable for large sections of humanity to live in abject poverty, threatened by starvation. The physical universe and the planet upon which we live is organized on a creative principle that coheres with human willful creativity. If we apply the full potential of our creativity, there is no limit to growth of the human population, both qualitatively and quantitively. The foreign policy of every nation should be precisely the same: the material enrichment of its citizens and the nurturing of the creative process of every child born. Thus, all nations and all peoples have the same shared common interest, motivating all nations to work together for the prosperity and peace of their citizens and future generations.

Ten Principles of a New International Security and Development Architecture

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president of the Schiller Institute, presented the following summary comments on a new paradigm of security and development, which I share in large part. Reprinted with editing from EIR magazine.

The new paradigm which will be characteristic of the new epoch, and towards which the new global security and development architecture must be directed, therefore, must eliminate the concept of oligarchism for good, and proceed to organize the political order in such a way, that the true character of humanity as the creative species can be realized.

These ideas are meant to be food for thought and a dialogue among all people concerned to find a basis for a world order guaranteeing the durable existence of the human species.

First: The new International Security and Development Architecture must be a partnership of perfectly sovereign nation states, which is based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the UN Charter.

Second: The absolute priority must be to alleviate poverty in every nation on the planet, which is easily possible, if the existing technologies are being used for the benefit of the common good.

Third: The life expectancy of all people living must be prolonged to the fullest potential by creating modern health systems in every country on the planet. This is also the only way how the present and future potential pandemics can be overcome or be prevented.

Fourth: Since mankind is the only creative species known so far in the universe, and given the fact that human creativity is the only source of wealth through the potentially limitless discovery of new universal principles, one of the main aims of the new International Security and Development Architecture must be providing access to universal education for every child and adult person living. The true nature of man is to become a beautiful soul, as Friedrich Schiller discusses this, and the only person who can fulfill that condition is the genius.

Fifth: The international financial system must be reorganized, so that it can provide productive credits to accomplish these aims. A reference point can be the original Bretton Woods system, as Franklin D. Roosevelt intended it, but was never implemented due to his untimely death…The primary aim of such a new credit system must be to increase dramatically the living standard of especially the nations of the Global South and of the poor in the Global North.

Touring the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a grand infrastructure project that will generate energy for the Horn of Africa, December19, 2022

Sixth: The new economic order must be focused on creating the conditions for modern industries and agriculture, starting with the infrastructural development of all continents to eventually be connected by tunnels and bridges to become a World Land-Bridge.

Seventh: The new global security architecture must eliminate the concept of geopolitics by ending the division of the world into blocs. The security concerns of every sovereign nation must be taken into account. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction must be immediately banned. Through international cooperation, the means must be developed to make nuclear weapons technologically obsolete, as it was originally intended by the proposal which became known as the SDI.

Eighth: In former times, one civilization at one corner of the world could go under, and the rest of the world would only find out years later, due to the length of distances and the time needed for travel. Now, for the first time, because of nuclear weapons, pandemics, the internet, and other global effects, mankind is sitting in one boat.

Ninth: In order to overcome the conflicts arising out of quarreling opinions, which is how empires have maintained control over the underlings, the economic, social and political order has to be brought into cohesion with the lawfulness of the physical universe. In European philosophy this was discussed as the being in character with natural law, in Indian philosophy as cosmology, and in other cultures appropriate notions can be found. Modern sciences like space science, biophysics or thermonuclear fusion science will increase the knowledge of mankind about this lawfulness continuously. A similar cohesion can be found in the great works of classical art in different cultures.

Tenth: The basic assumption for the new paradigm is, that man is fundamentally good and capable to infinitely perfect the creativity of his mind and the beauty of his soul, and being the most advanced geological force in the universe, which proves that the lawfulness of the mind and that of the physical universe are in correspondence and cohesion, and that all evil is the result of a lack of development, and therefore can be overcome.

A new world economic order is emerging, involving the vast majority of the countries of the Global South. The European nations and the U.S. must not fight this effort, but by joining hands with the developing countries, cooperate to shape the next epoch of the development of the human species to become a renaissance of the highest and most noble expressions of creativity!

Read my earlier post: The West Votes against Development at United Nations

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is 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

My Thoughts: Poverty & Ethnicity Kill Democracy in Africa

Lawrence Freeman in Addis Abebe-December 2021

An African friend of mine recently asked me to express my views on democracy in Africa to her organization. “Watch Democracy Grow.” Contrary to the incessant babbling by Western officials, NGOs and advocacy groups, you can read below a summary of my thoughts on what constitutes real democracy and how to create the conditions conducive for growing democracy in Africa.

I will focus my presentation on the relationship of elections to the deeper principles of fostering a true democracy. Many Westerners, European and American institutions and governments falsely assert that elections are the sign of a functioning democracy. This narrow understanding or interpretation of democracy is insufficient. It contributes to the poor conditions of life throughout most of Africa today, and actually undermines the creation of sustainable a Democratic Republic on the continent.

A Thinking Citizenry

A republic is not a democracy, and for good reason. A majority,  consisting of uninformed opinion, should not rule unfettered over a nation. That is why in a functioning Democratic Republic, we prefer the wisest people to govern. But how do we choose the most knowledgeable representatives? Yes, we do it physically at the polling booth in periodic and orderly elections. However, the act of voting itself does not guarantee viability of a nation, much less a thoughtful policy. The only guarantee that the voters are electing or even nominating the most intelligent guardians of their society is; an educated citizenry.

A true democracy requires all its citizens to think and discuss the most appropriate policies for their nation to adopt in order to secure a future for their children and grandchildren. In other words, the citizen should accept the responsibility for shaping the future of their nation, as if they were running for office themselves. Individuals seeking public office, who purport to have the qualifications to decide policy for their nation, are distilled from the population at large. Therefore, to ensure the selection of qualified leaders similarly requires an informed and thoughtful citizenry. A continuously advancing society, both materially and spiritually, existing within an educated science oriented culture, is the underlying platform for a viable Democratic Republic.

Like the individual seeking a leadership position in government, the citizen should have a vision for their nation that extends two generations into the future. Every citizen should believe that his or her participation is vital in shaping the policies that will determine the wellbeing of their progeny for generations to come. As eloquently articulated in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, elected government exists to “… promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

The fundamental unalterable principle that is the foundation of economics, national and foreign policy, and democracy, is the knowledge that each human being is sacred. It is necessary to acknowledge what it means when one states, that human beings are in the image of the Creator. Every member of the human race is born with the potential for creative thought that is in harmony with the creative principle embedded in the design of our lawfully ordered universe.

Does a mother searching for food for her child have the leisure time to study the best policies for the future of her nation? UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Poverty Kills Democracy

Every human being is precious. Degradation or any preventable death, of a member of the human race is a violation of this natural law. Every human being has the right to live a dignified, meaningful, productive existence that affords a better-quality of life for future generations.

Thus, if we truly desire to increase the involvement of civil society in elections and in shaping the future of their nation, we must end poverty and hunger. There is no bigger threat to democracy than allowing substantial portions of a nation’s population to suffer in abject poverty and hunger, with death looming. The gross failure of groups advocating democracy and human rights, is their refusal to comprehend that development is a fundamental human right.

The dearth of electrical power in Africa is appalling and criminal. Producing less than 100,000 megawatts of electricity for a billion or more people in sub-Saharan Africa guarantees that Africans will not have the minimal standard of living necessary for democratic institutions to thrive. Over 600 million Africans have no access to grid electricity and 900 million Africans cook without electricity or gas. Without energy no nation can survive. Yet this shameful state of affairs has existed unaddressed for decades.

Some may object that I have brought extraneous concerns into the discussion of building democratic institutions. I can assure you that I have not. The ability to have access to energy, to feed one’s family, for parents to have a productive job, and for youth to look forward to a hopeful future, are absolutely germane. In fact, these concerns are at the heart of sustaining a democratic government.

If a majority of a nation’s people are hungry, not employed, living in substandard conditions, simply trying to survive, democracy is a mirage.

To reiterate: a true democracy requires a discussion and exchange of ideas among the citizens on what are the best policies for the future of their nation. All citizens and their elected representatives should have a vision for their nation. Society should select those candidates that have the qualifications to implement that vision. Do parents anxiously trying to find food to feed their children have the mental luxury to discuss with their friends and neighbors the most pressing issues facing their nation? Do citizens have the leisure time for such a discussion, and hours of relaxation to read and study the issues of the day? Does adequate housing exist with separate rooms for the children, and electricity to light rooms for long hours of study? Are there enough adequately supplied libraries for parents and children to learn history, philosophy, and science?

Without a prospering economy that offers a sufficient material quality of life, simply lining up at voting stations every four years is insufficient. The questions I have addressed above, are essential to sustaining

democratic institutions.

Africa lacks abundant and accessible electricity. Without electrical power there will be no development, poverty will persist, people will die, and democracy will fail to flourish. (Map courtesy of visualcapitalist.com)

No Democracy With Ethnicity

Ethnic nationalism does not permit democracy. I can assert this with authority, having examined, up close, for thirty years, African nations, whose societies are ethnically divided. Ethnicity is antithetical to a Democratic Republic. Human beings are not determined by their bloodline or their geographic location. The very existence of ethnicity is anti-human. It attempts to falsely differentiate people, rejecting the  universal quality of the human species; its unique potential for creativity. Every child born in any location on this planet has the same innate potential for creative thought. Only we human beings have been gifted with a creative imagination. It is this quality of the mind that uniquely characterizes a single universal human race.

A true Democratic Republic recognizes the contributions of all of its people equally and provides for the general welfare of all its citizens, regardless of ethnicity. Ethnic nationalism in Africa, which has existed for decades, in some cases for centuries, as a legacy of colonialism, tears apart the fabric of society and undermines the sovereignty of a nation. Ethnic nationalism contributes to weakening the central government, making it easy prey for foreign instigated destabilizations and attempts at regime change. The self-governance of a nation by its citizens, to create a better future for its people, cannot co-exist with ethnic nationalism. This type of ethnicity prevents democratic systems from taking root and flourishing.

Conclusion

To help build democratic institutions throughout Africa, we need to go beyond simply encouraging nations to have free and fair elections every four years. A viable Democratic Republic is much more than having its citizens show up at the polls every four-five years. Many advocates have not understood that democracy is not possible without development. Nations deprived of economic growth will not be able to provide its citizens with the basic material essentials of life, a prerequisite for a thoughtful deliberative process of governing. It should also be understood that an economically deprived population is desperate and can be easily manipulated against its own government, and its own interest. Economic destitution and the loss of hope for a better life, are the combustible fuel for violence and dictatorships. Conversely, a divided nation can be united when its leaders articulate a visionary program for economic growth that serves the interests of all its citizens,

It is high time we learn this indispensable lesson: democracy cannot succeed without development.

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

COP 27 “Climate Change” Will Reduce Economic Growth in African Nations-Causing Increased Death Rates

In my interview above with Rogue News- roguenews.com, I explain why COP 27 demands for African nations not to exploit their own natural resources, is beyond hypocritical; it is evil. African nations should have the right to utilize every bit of their fossil fuels to generate energy while providing a transition to a nuclear energy platform. African nations must have abundant and accessible energy to power industrialized economies. Failure is not an option, if we are to prevent unnecessary deaths from hunger, poverty, and disease.

Read my earlier post: “Climate Change” A Weapon to Prevent Industrialization of African Economies: Expect Push-Back at COP 27 in Egypt

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

“Climate Change” A Weapon to Prevent Industrialization of African Economies: Expect Push-Back at COP 27 in Egypt

November 6, 2022

Part I:  Energy for Development

Western nations and their institutions are attempting to dictate that  African nations do not exploit their own valuable energy resources of oil, gas, and coal. They are hysterically disseminating an unfounded fear that development of Africa’s energy will lead to catastrophic consequences for civilization. However, more African leaders are speaking out on the necessity and sovereign obligation for African nations to consume their natural resources to develop their economies.

Mo Ibrahim has added his voice to other African leaders who object to denying African nations the right to utilize their natural hydro-carbon resources for the benefit of their people. Sub-Saharan Africa is resource rich and energy poor, which is the leading cause of poverty and hunger for hundreds of millions of Africans. Unless and until and African nations install a density of energy to power the creation of industrialized economies, their people will continue to suffer.

In a recent interview in The Guardian, entitled, Billionaire Mo Ibrahim Attacks Hypocrisy Over Africa Gas, the philanthropist and Sudanese businessman, bluntly criticized the obscene and unfair policy to prevent African nations from exploiting their gas reserves.    

We have 600 million people without electricity. How can we even think of development if people don’t have power?…Development is a major issue for us, and power is essential.

“Nine hundred million people in Africa suffer from unclean cooking – mainly women. What about the pollution effect of that? It’s a serious problem, a health disaster, and an environmental disaster. That’s why we need gas.

Mo Ibrahim courtesy of mo.ibrahim.foundation

Contrasting the dictates from the U.S. and EU, for Africans increasingly rely on so called renewables, Mr. Ibrahim appropriately objected: “If [renewable energy] is valid, why don’t those guys jump immediately and stop using gas? They’re not doing that – they’re building [LNG infrastructure], they’re actually even reopening coalmines. So, you’re giving me advice which you’re not following yourself.”

The hypocrisy of the West is blatantly obvious. Europe is in overdrive to obtain fossil fuels in Africa now that energy flows from Russia are in jeopardy. Last month, reporters from the New York Times wrote, “European leaders have been converging on Africa’s capital cities, eager to find alternatives to Russian natural gas.” NYT-Europe turns to Africa for natural gas.

What the West is demanding of African nations goes beyond hypocrisy; it is immoral and wicked.

Every competent leader, as well as any honest economist, knows from the history of the development of modern society, that abundant, and accessible forms of power have been essential for nations to progress. That is why all advanced sector nations have exploited fossil fuels in the past and continue to depend on them in the present, even as they demand that African nations do not.

It is scientifically known, that forcing African nations to rely on wind and solar as primary sources of energy will guarantee that these nations will not develop, will not become industrialized, will not be able to feed their populations. Resulting in endless poverty. Hence, is this not a new, modern form of imperialism?

African Leaders Speak Out

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe

  • Speaking in December 2021, South African Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, said:   

Africa deserves an equal chance to develop its economies on the strength of her natural resources. 

Several countries on the African continent have announced their oil and gas finds which present massive opportunities for economic growth, industrialization, and job creation. As these developments unfold, we have noted with interest, the pushback, and objections from environmental lobby groups against the development of these resources.

I cannot help but ask myself, are these objections meant to ensure the status quo remains in Africa, in general, and South Africa, in particular? That is, the status quo with regards to energy poverty, high unemployment, high debt to GDP ratio at country level and economies that are not growing and, in some cases, jobless economic growth. Could it be possible that this is an extreme pure love for the environment or an unrelenting campaign to ensure that Africa and South Africa do not see the investment inflows they need?

He concluded:

“South Africa deserves the opportunity to capitalize on its natural resources including oil and gas, as these resources have been proven to be game changers elsewhere. We consider the objections to these developments as apartheid and colonialism of a special type, masqueraded as a great interest for environmental protection.” Nigerian VP: Osinbajo “Climate Justice Must Include Ending Energy Poverty” Especially for Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Speaking in October of this year, Minister Mantashe got to the heart of the matter:  

I see the protests outside this venue that said, ‘fossil fuels a killer’, but I can tell you that hunger kills faster”.

We have seen the increase of coal purchasing from us to EU growing eightfold, 780%. As they take our coal, they at the same time tell us to move out of it quickly. That is a contradiction that Africa must look at.

“Africa must determine its pathway from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions. It must take into account our developmental needs & must not be dictated to by anybody else who is at a different level of development.” South Africa Energy Minister Rejects Western Dictates & Hypocrisy Against Africa’s Use of Energy Resources

  • Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice-President, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in August 2021:

But limiting the development of fossil fuel projects and, in particular, natural gas projects would have a profoundly negative impact on Africa. Natural gas doesn’t make sense in every African market. But in many, it is a crucial tool for lifting people out of poverty. It is used not only for power but for industry and fertilizer and for cleaner cooking. Liquified petroleum gas is already replacing huge amounts of hazardous charcoal and kerosene that were most widely used for cooking, saving millions of lives that were previously lost to indoor air pollution. The role of gas as a transition fuel for developing countries, especially in Africa, cannot be overemphasized.

“Yet Africa’s progress could be undone by the rich world’s efforts to curb investments in all fossil fuels.Nigerian VP: Osinbajo “Climate Justice Must Include Ending Energy Poverty” Especially for Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari wrote in Newsweek magazine, (10/31/21):

It is an inconvenient truth, but energy solutions proposed by those most eager to address the climate crisis are fuel for the instability of which they warn. No more clearly can this be seen than in Africa.

“For today’s 1.3 billion Africans, access to low-cost and reliable energy is the highest of all possible concerns. Estimated to rise to 2.5 billion by 2050—by 2100 Nigeria alone is projected to have the second largest population on the planet—this “great doubling” (for Nigeria, quadrupling) has the right to more dependable electricity than their forebears.

Without extra and stable power, we cannot build the factories that will transform Africa from a low-job, extractives-led economy to a high employment middle-income continent. Children cannot learn for longer and better by battery light any more than by candlelight. No more than the Africa of today, the Africa of tomorrow cannot advance using energy production that intermittently delivers.President Buhari of Nigeria, Demands More and Reliable Energy for Africa from COP26

Part II: Climate Change Is Complex

Hysterical claims that human generated carbon dioxide (CO2), will destroy civilization, is simply not true. Civilization is not facing a cataclysmic future from “Anthropogenic Global Warming.” Destruction of civilization by nuclear war is a far more likely possibility if we do not pull back from the brink of confrontation with Russia.

Even the term “climate change” is a misnomer and completely misleading. Our planet, since its creation, estimated to be over four billion years old, has undergone constant climate change, driven by geological, solar, astronomical, and galactic forces.

One cannot determine the causes for climate change in days, months, or even years. Serious thinkers seek to understand changes in climate by examining data from hundreds, thousands, and millions of years ago.

Our Solar System not only rotates around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy every 230 million years, but also bobs above and below the elliptic plane of the Milky Way every 60 million years. Both of these long cycle movements affect weather. The intensity and density of the 11-year cycle of Sunspots also affects our climate.

Over millions of years, there have been huge temperature swings. Our planet has experienced many ice ages followed by warming periods. The Sahara Desert only came into existence a few million years ago, as the African tectonic plate crashed into what is today known as Europe. However, even the Sahara, which is the largest, driest, hottest desert in the world is constantly undergoing change from wet to dry. This is the result of a 22,500-25,000-year cycle caused by the wobble of the earth due to its tilted axis, as it rotates around the Sun. This wobble causes dramatic changes in temperature and rainfall.

C02 Is Not Our Enemy

The theory, if you can call it that, falsely predicts that civilization will die from rising temperatures as a result of industrial societies producing too much CO2. It is based on the simplistic assumption that if you pump CO2 into a sealed container, it will heat up. This heat-death scenario for the human race relies on the erroneous theory that our universe is entropic. In fact, our universe is not marching towards ultimate heat-death. Our biosphere is a developing organism, which does not function as a closed system, but exists in a growing living universe.

Anthropogenic contributions to CO2 emissions are minuscule and have no impact on our climate. Examine the facts from In Defense of co2 and Astro Climatology listed below.

Today, large amounts of carbon dioxide are regularly generated by biotic and abiotic activity from living animals, decaying biomass as well as volcanos which constantly emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases. A surprisingly small portion of that naturally occurring CO2 is caused by human economic activity.

Taking the entire composition of greenhouse gases together, water vapor makes up 95% of the bulk, carbon dioxide makes up 3.6%, nitrous oxide (0.9%), methane (0.3%), and aerosols about 0.07%.

Of the sum total of the 3.6% carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, approximately 0.9% is caused by human activity. To restate this statistic: Human CO2 makes up less than 1% of the 3.6% of the total greenhouse gases influencing our climate. (Emphasis added)

Causation between CO2 and rising temperatures has not been proven. During the ice ages,  thousands of years ago, CO2 levels were magnitudes higher. More recently, from 1000-1350 A.D., during the age of the Vikings, global mean temperatures were also elevated. This was followed by the Little Ice Age that lasted from (1450-1850). Both these periods of history existed before human industrialized activity, which is falsely claimed to be the cause of global warming.

Dr. Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and former Chairman of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, has written: Another interesting observation, which is regularly overlooked, is that there are clear indications that atmospheric temperature increase precedes CO2 concentration, and not the other way around…if even a shallow depth of the oceans warms by a small amount, huge amounts of CO2 would be expected to be released. So, CO2 atmospheric concentration lagging behind temperature change strikes one as extremely logical.” Climate Change ebb and flow of the tide

Dr Kemm’s point is corroborated by scientific data. If one looks a temperatures and levels of C02 going back hundreds of thousands of years, one observes that rising temperatures proceeded higher concentrations of CO2.

The Promethean Principle

It is scientifically known that any short term drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels as an energy source will lead to more poverty, and an increase in the death rate. So-called renewables are a poor substitute for 24×7 abundant reliable energy. More dangerously for civilization is the neo-Malthusian ideology of the extreme environmentalists. This anti-scientific belief asserts that humankind’s existence is in a fundamental antagonistic relationship to the physical universe, and to the environment. The followers of this dogma have a not so hidden prejudice against the human race, who they see as malignant disrupters of so called pristine nature. They believe that humankind is inherently evil, thus it must have its behavior modified.

Like Thomas Malthus, they falsely claim that we live in a fixed universe, with fixed resources, and therefore the human race must be controlled and curtailed. Sadly, a substantial portion of the world’s population has imbibed their anti-scientific propaganda. To wit: that too many people will use up the planet’s resources, thus we must limit population growth. To this end they intend to use the hysteria of climate change to prevent African nations from ever becoming industrialized. This same ideology will contribute to the deindustrialization of the West, serving the same goal; population reduction and decreasing people’s standard of living.

Prometheus binging fire (light, energy) from Mount Olympus to human beings (courtesy of containerjournal.com)

Enter Prometheus and his successful battle for the soul and mind of humankind against Zeus, the tyrant of the all-powerful Gods of Olympus. According to the Greek myth, Prometheus accepted to be tortured for centuries for his crime of giving fire-energy to the human species. Prometheus brought light, science, and knowledge to the “mud-people,” as Zeus referred to them. In so doing, Prometheus fashioned the human race uniquely endowed with the power of creative imagination, the power to discover the embedded principles of our physical universe. Millions of years of history, provide unmistakable evidence that we humans are not mere care takers or stewards of the universe. Rather, humankind  are transmitters of change. We lawfully transform the universe for the perpetuation of our species.

Recent images from NASA’s Webb telescope reveal a highly structured and living universe. Our universe is governed by a creative principle, which corresponds to humankind’s potential of willful creativity. As the great philosopher Gottfried Leibniz understood and eloquently wrote, humankind lives in an “pre-established harmony” with the universe. Humans are not outsiders intruding on a predetermined ecosystem. Quite the opposite. The Promethean human race was created to uniquely intervene through the power of reason to advance the universe to a higher manifold of existence.

Africa’s Energy Future

Governments are obligated to act with speed and determination to produce as much energy as possible from every resources available to address the massive energy deficit that is killing Africans throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Immediately, nuclear fission energy should proliferate across the African continent to power industrialized economies. A fission energy centered economic platform will prepare the transition to a fusion powered economy. Nuclear fusion energy, which replicates the power of the Sun here on earth, will generate energy at magnitudes greater than what we produce from fossil fuels and fission.

Some may object to my optimism that Africa will be powered by fission and fusion energy in the future. Better to be proud Prometheans, than accept today’s diktats from the would be “Gods of Olympus” to remain economically underdeveloped, plagued with hunger, poverty, and death.

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

TPLF Must Be Disarmed In Ethiopia Now! “A House Divided Cannot Stand” Abraham Lincoln

September 15, 2022

Please watch my timely interviews from last week that provide crucial analysis of Ethiopia’s current dynamic.

One of America’s greatest leader and a hero of mine, Abraham Lincoln, famously said in a 1858 speech while campaigning for the U.S. Senate in Illinois: “A house divided cannot stand.” A everyone knows he was referring to the division in the United Sates between the North and Southern states over the right to maintain slaves as property. After four years of a bloody Civil War (1861-1865), in which upwards of 750,000 Americans died, President Lincoln secured the Union against the separatist southern rebels. Ethiopia will not survive as a nation providing for the welfare of its people, with armed ethnic groups claiming the right to defend their so called ethno-nation against the elected government. 

In Ethiopia today, we are not dealing with a nation separated by slavery, but one divided by so called ethno-nationalism. It should be understood that all Ethiopians are citizens of the Republic of Ethiopia, which is not an amalgam of ethnic groups, but a nation-state, with a common mission for all its people. It is anti-Ethiopian and anti-human to define human beings by hereditary blood lines and geography. It is a degradation of the human species, which is exclusively defined by it unique power of creative mentation.

The on again-off again a military campaign against the the nation of Ethiopia is meant to destabilize and  weaken the central government, to prevent it from it stated mission; eliminating poverty. Therefore, the TPLF should not be allowed to maintain its military as if Tigray was an actual nation. Tigray is not a nation-state; Ethiopia is!  All honest members of the international community, especially those espousing support for democracy, must insist on the disarmament of the TPLF and then reintegration. To do otherwise, is in effect, providing support for maintaining the TPLF as a manipulatable and deployable military force against the Republic of Ethiopia.

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.

Blinken Implores for West’s “Rules Based Order”-South Africa & Rwanda Push Back

Review of Biden’s US-Africa Strategy

What Is True Democracy?

August 29, 2022

Minister Naledi Pandor, Secretary Blinken, President Cyril Ramaphosa (Courtesy thehindu.com)

  1. Blinken’s Flawed Trip to Africa

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s six day visit to three sub-Saharan African nations, despite assertions to the contrary, was an attempt to strengthen U.S. geopolitical interests on the continent. Blinken traveled to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda from August 7-12, in an effort to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa. This is obvious to all serious analysts of U.S.-Africa strategy. His trip was proceeded a week earlier by U.S. ambassador to the United Nation, Linda Thomas Greenfield, who visited Uganda, Cape Verde, and Ghana. The U.S. is desperately trying to regain its authority to use African nations as pawns in its geopolitical war against its self-declared China, and Russia.

China’s positive impact on African nations is ever-present. China has invested  and built more vitally necessary hard infrastructure projects in Africa than the entire Group of Seven combined. As a result, it has become the most favored nation among African youth. The U.S. has admitted that it cannot compete with China economically in Africa, even as it attempts to feebly counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The lack of support for President Biden’s war against Russia was a harsh wake up call. U.S. administration officials were stunned at the March 2  U.N. General Assembly vote, when almost half-48% of the African nations refused to condemn Russia for invading Ukraine. Of the 54 African nations, 17 abstained, 8 did not vote, and Eritrea voted against the resolution. The same sentiment was repeated in April at the U.N. when only 10 African nations supported the removal of Russia from the Human Rights Council.

Secretary Blinken’s trip to Africa occurred two weeks after Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov’s African tour of Egypt, Uganda, Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.

A major purpose for Secretary Blinken’s second visit to the sub-continent within ten months was to release the new U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, though there is little new substance in this strategy. It reiterates the Biden administration’s intention to “weaponize democracy” against China and Russia.

Blinken’s International Order Challenged

In his opening remarks at a joint-press-availability on August 8, with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, Secretary Blinken defensively stated that the U.S. does not view the African continent as “the latest playing field in the competition between great powers.” However, the content of his trip displayed otherwise.

The “international order,” which Secretary Blinken embodied on his three nation tour was rebuked often. In response to Blinken’s denunciation of Russia’s aggression, Minister Pandor raised the unfair and unequal treatment of the Palestinians,

“Just as much as the people of Ukraine deserve their territory and freedom, the people of Palestine deserve their territory and freedom. And we should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine.

We’ve not seen an even-handed approach in the utilization of the prescripts of international law, and we encourage that the world should have greater attention to ensuring that we are equal to everybody else.”

In response to a question from the Washington Post concerning U.S. efforts to get African nations to choose between China and Russia, and the West, Minister Pandor used what is considered strong diplomatic language against bullying sovereign nations,

“So indeed, it is important that all of us accept our ability to hold different opinions. We are, after all, sovereign nations that are regarded as equal in terms of the United Nations Charter…And one thing I definitely dislike is being told ‘either you choose this or else.’  When a minster speaks to me like that…some have, I definitely will not be bullied in that way, nor would I expect any other African country worth its salt to agree to be treated. (Emphasis added)

So, this fear [about Russia]that we exist under some push is…a really unfounded belief in the relationship that we have with either country. And we’ve been quite clear in saying we really advocate peace [between Russia and Ukraine] because we knew what would happen. We knew there’d be destruction, there’d be death, there’d be desolation. And that’s what we’re all seeing. And what we’ve always asked is: where is this [war] going to end? Let us make every effort to get peace.” (Emphasis added)

Pandor Advocates US-China Cooperation

In her closing remarks Minister Pandor identified interference by external forces and the looting of Africa’s resources as contributing to the instability of African nations. She concluded by calling for cooperation between the U.S. and China to achieve economic growth,

“But to come in and seek to teach a country that we know how democracy functions and we’ve come to tell you, you do it, it’ll work for you – I think it leads to defeat, so we need to think in different ways.

“I also think that…one of the experiences we should draw lessons from is the reality that there has been a lot of external interference in Africa. And a lot of that external interference has fueled conflict in many African countries, has fueled instability and supported opposition groups against liberation fighters and so on…This is a reality.

“It’s a world phenomenon which results from Africa’s rich mineral wealth that has made it a significant target of external players that don’t always have the interests of Africa at heart.

“We can’t be made party to conflict between China and the United States of America, and I may say it does cause instability for all of us because it affects the global economic system. We really hope that the United States and China will arrive a point of rapprochement where all of us can look to economic development and growth for all our countries because that’s extremely important for all of us. They’ve got to find a way of working together to allow us to grow.” (Emphasis added.)

I fully support and would highlight Minister Pandor’s perspective. If the U.S. and China adopted the shared mission to collaborate with African nations in achieving elevated rates of real economic growth; poverty and hunger could be eliminated on the continent, along with instability.

Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Biruta (Courtesy of allfrica.com)

Rwanda Defends Its Sovereignty

Secretary Blinken’s last stopover was Rwanda, where, after meeting with President Kagame, he spoke at a joint-press-availability with Rwandan Foreign Minister, Vincent Biruta. During their exchange, Minister Biruta defended Rwanda’s sovereignty regarding the trial of Paul Rusesabagina.

When asked about the incarceration of Mr. Rusesabagina, Minister Biruta insisted that he was tried and convicted  for crimes committed against Rwandan citizens. He was arrested “lawfully under both Rwandan and international laws. Therefore, Rwanda will continue to abide by our rules, and the decisions that were made by our judiciary. And we request our partners to respect Rwanda’s sovereignty, Rwanda’s laws, and its institutions.”

Secretary Blinken then responded with two veiled threats. First, he threatened to use the Khashoggi Ban to impose visa restrictions on individuals and their families whom the US has deemed to have participated in persecution against dissidents.

“We established what is called the Khashoggi Ban to make clear that any country that engages in repressive actions against those who criticize it, if those persons are in the United States, they face consequences for those actions.”

Second, Secretary Blinken slyly indicated that how Rwanda deals with this issue could affect future relations with Rwanda.

I’ve shared all of this with President Kagame today [concerns about Rusesabagina]. It’s not for me to characterize his response, but these are concerns that I shared. And I did that, again, in the context of making clear our desire for an even stronger, even more productive relationship between the United States and Rwanda, building on what Rwanda has done so successfully, building on what we’ve already done together. But these are issues that we care deeply about, our Congress cares deeply about, the American people care deeply about.”

Minister Biruta was unperturbed by Secretary Blinken’s comments.

  1. U.S. Strategy Not Addressing Africa’s Interests

Acknowledging the global role of Africa for the remainder of this century, President Biden issued a new U.S. Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa.. The document fact sheet US Strategy Toward sub Saharan Africa identifies the geopolitical reasoning that compelled U.S. to respond to the growing influence of China and Russia. To wit: the continent has almost one third of the planet’s reserves of critical minerals; an advantageous location for international trade, contiguous to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and the Gulf of Eden; a regional voting bloc of 28% of the nations that comprise the United Nations; and the fastest growing population in the world.

Contrary to claims by the U.S. that its new policy is to promote democracy in Africa, the geopolitical intent of this administration’s policy for Africa is revealed in the document’s second page under the title, Strategic Environment. Here the U.S. nakedly exposes its strategy to use the African continent as another arena for its war against China and Russia. It states:

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC), by contrast, sees the region as an important arena to challenge the rules-based international order, advance its own narrow commercial and geopolitical interests, undermine transparency and openness, and weaken U.S. relations with African peoples and governments. Russia views the region as a permissive environment for parastatals and private military companies, often fomenting instability for strategic and financial benefit. Russia uses its security and economic ties, as well as disinformation, to undercut Africans’ principled opposition (sic) to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine and related human rights abuses.”

President Biden’s Africa strategy was released during Secretary Blinken’s stay in South Africa and consist of four main objectives.

George Soros, founder of the infamous Open Society Foundation. (Courtesy of opindia.com)

Its first listed objective, Foster Openness and Open Societies, wastes no time in maligning Russia and China, attempting to recruit African nations to U.S. geopolitical doctrine. It states: “Open Societies are generally more inclined to work in common cause with the United Statesand counter harmful activities by the People’s Republic of China and Russia.” (Emphasis added.)Coincidentally or not, Open Society is the name of George Soros’ infamous global organization, which has been identified in numerous regime-change movements throughout the world, including in Russia and China.

Secretary Blinken’s trip was an attempt to cajole African nations to create so called open societies, respect Western rule of law, and follow the Western democracy model. This is recognized as a weak effort to counter the impact of Russia and China, especially China’s commitment to expansion of hard infrastructure across the African continent.

Principles, Not A Rules Based Order

President Biden and Secretary Blinken insist that African nations and the rest of the world must behave according to their rules-based international order and their notion of democracy. If nations fail to comply, they will be punished, by war, sanctions, or threats of both.

Who’s ruled-based order is it anyway? Who has determined these rules? The mantra of the rules-based order is an extension of the West’s adherence to their dangerous and destructive geopolitical doctrine. A doctrine that reduces national interest to vying for power in a zero-sum competition in an unchanging, non-developing world. However, nations and people are not fixed objects to be moved around according to the whims of the most powerful, like pieces on a chessboard. Nations and people are not to be regimented to perform according to a set of rules of dos and don’ts that is contrary to the real principles of freedom and democracy.

To understand the living sovereign nation-state and its relationship to other nations, we must first answer the question, what makes human beings, human?

Human beings unlike any other living species we know, are endowed with a creative imagination, the power to discover, and hypothesize the principles governing the physical universe. Economic progress is the result of scientific discoveries and their realization through modern technologies that transform modes of economic production from lower to higher forms of productivity.

All human beings are born with this same potential for creative thought bequeathed by the Creator. Human creativity is a principle coherent with the universe’s own living, non-linear growth process. Human beings seek to enrich their lives by contributing to the progress of civilization. Thus, all members of humankind are identical in their potential for creative thought, and similarly, the true interest of each nation is also identical. Nations exist to protect and foster this creative power in each of its citizens.

Understanding these profound and provable elemental concepts of human nature is the foundation for creating a lawful, just, and harmonious world order. One that is premised on the self-interest of each nation promoting the development of each member of its population.

True Democracy

The Biden administration is obsessed with the word democracy, labeling this or that nation and this or that activity, democratic or undemocratic. Shamefully, neither President Biden nor Secretary Blinken have an actual understanding of how a democracy should function. If they did, they would have made economic development the focus of all four objectives of their U.S.-Africa Strategy. By economic development, I contend that it is only  those policies that lead to an increased standard of living for an expanding number of people. (As understood by Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich List, Henry Carey, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and echoed by Kwame Nkrumah, among others.)

Democracy is an empty construct unless it emphatically includes the right and responsibility of the population to debate and discuss what are the most appropriate ideas to guide the future of their nation. I was reminded during a recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts that prior to the American Revolution, there were Town Hall gatherings of thousands of residents to discuss their freedom from British rule.

Democracy cannot be denigrated to simply encompassing elections good governance. True democracy requires an educated citizenry with a material standard of living and leisure time to think and reflect on the best policy for their nation, which will affect their children and grandchildren. Does the public have the opportunity to deliberate on the best direction for their nation for the next one to two generations? What policies will lead to an improved standard of living for future generations, deserves to be fully debated by thoughtful citizens. Intelligent discussion of ideas, a process unique to human beings, is primary in a true democracy. Otherwise, what is one voting for, or about?

Poverty in West Africa increasing, Food insecurity is affecting millions of people.  (Courtesy of UNICEF/Vincent Treameau)

Without Development, Democracy Cannot Exist

For Africans to participate in democracy they musts be allowed to apply their creative minds to determine their future, the future of their nation. This is not possible if hunger and poverty remain pervasive throughout the continent. Over 500 million Africans live in extreme poverty-less than $2 per day. Over 600 million Africans do not have access to an electric grid, and millions more only have access for a portion of the day.

If a parents’ primary concern is searching for food to feed their family or hustling each day to subsist in the informal economy, there is no time to think. Under conditions dominated by survival, focused on the here and now, one is not in the state of mind to seriously ponder the nation’s future. If there is not sufficient room in a dwelling to raise a family, then both adults and children do not have the space and quiet time to read and educate themselves. If one does not have access to electricity 24 hours a day, how can one read when there is no sun light? How many schools and libraries exist for education of children and adults? Do the majority of Africans have the time, space, and comfortable lifestyle to meet with friends and neighbors to examine the issues facing their nation today and tomorrow?

Fulfilling these basic pressing human needs are categorically essential, for the realization of democracy. They are not optional. For decades, the U.S. has lectured Africans about democracy but with its anti-development agenda, has shown no interest in actually creating the conditions for it to thrive. Secretary Blinken’s and President Biden’s promotion of democracy to counter their perceived enemies will fail to achieve its goal. More importantly, it will fail the people of Africa. Democracy in the truest sense will not exist unless, and until, there is a full-throttled state-led mobilization of all resources to create an economic transformation across the African continent. If this is not advocated by the U.S. government, its like-minded “pro-democracy” institutions, NGOs, think-tanks, and institutes, then they must cease their endless preaching, or be exposed as frauds. Then all they are left with is “a sounding of brass or a clanging cymbal.”  

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.

Ethno-nationalism Threatens The Very Existence of The Ethiopian Nation-State

July 4, 2022

On Saturday-July 2, I was pleased to participate in a zoom conference sponsored by the American Ethiopian Political Affairs Committee (AEPAC) on the effects of ethno-nationalism in Ethiopia. In a brief presentation, I discussed the need to eliminate ethno-nationalism for the preservation of the Ethiopian nation-state. My analysis and recommendations are unique, provocative, and challenging.

I suggest Ethiopian leaders and thoughtful citizens review my remarks printed below, which can serve as a foundation for Ethiopian policy, moving forward.

Read my presentation below:

Let me start by thanking the American Ethiopian political affairs committee for allowing me to make this presentation today.

I will begin with some challenging conceptions that people may consider irrelevant to our discussion today, but for me these are principles that are very relevant to the aims of this conference. For sake of brevity, I have organized my presentation into four crucial topics, followed by recommendations.

  1. What Makes Us Human?

Human beings are the only species endowed with the unique quality of the creative imagination, in shorthand creativity, or what  Plato called “hypothesizing the higher hypothesis.” With this exceptional quality of creative thought, intrinsic only to humankind, we human beings are capable of discovering the scientific and cultural principles of the universe that we ourselves live in. It is by applying these discovered  principles that we transform the universe. Humankind has progressively altered the physical universe, making it more propitious for the growth of the human race, both qualitatively and quantitatively. This is not conjecture, but the truth. How did the human species, that once populated the African continent with thousands of “hunters and gatherers” come to transform our planet with eight billion people? Through our innate powers of discovery.

This quality of creative mentation is fundamental to what we call human nature, and it is universal. It is the prevailing quality that defines each one of us as a human being.

There are of course differences among us in language culture and geography. However, we human beings are identical in our potential for creative thought; in our potential to make contributions in  discovering the Creators laws embedded in our physical universe.

Thus, we are as human beings far more similar than we are different. Our likeness is universal, our differences insignificant.

  1. The Importance of The Nation Sate

Human beings willfully begotten the Nation State. From centuries of dialogue and discussion, we made the conception of the Nation State a reality and codified it in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. Humankind established the Nation State as human law, because it was understood to be a necessary institution for the continued existence of civilization. Without the existence of the Nation State, society would not continue to progress.

The Nation State is the means for people to self-govern, to deliberate for their future. Nation States provides the continuity of the citizen’s contributions over generations, from the past to the future. The Nation State has the responsibility to protect and nurture the powers of human creative thought for the benefit of all its people. The Nation State therefore must be sovereign from internal and external assaults on its existence.

The Nation State must be inviolable. It may still be an imperfect institution, but it is the most advanced institution we human beings have invented, to advance our humanness, and protect the rights of our citizens. The nation state must be preserved and defended until we create a more perfect organization of society.

Ethno-Regional Federalism of the former ruling ERPDF coalition party failed.

  1. Ethno-Nationalism is Contrary to The Nation State

A sustainable Nation State transcends all local interests and transcends ethnicity.

Ethnicity can and should contribute to the beauty and enrichment of a civilization. Ethno-nationalism is entirely different. It functions as a cancer on society, which if allowed to exist, will undermine, and eventually destroy the Nation State. Ethno-nationalism usurps the power of the sovereign Nation State by insisting that as an ethnic group it should be treated as if it were a nation. Ethno-nationalism is inherently racist and discriminatory because it separates people of the same nation according to biological and geographical distinctions. Human beings are not defined by their blood-lines! It creates antagonistic ethnic based fiefdoms in false competition with each other for power. While the Nation State exists to provide for the general welfare of all its people, the followers of ethno-nationalism seek the aggrandizement of the interests of their ethnic group. Those supporting ethno-nationalism whether they know it or not, are advocating the destruction of their nation, in this case, Ethiopia.

In my study of African history, I have found that weakened Nation States contributed to the lack of economic development for that country. I was horrified and saddened when I first arrived in Nigeria in 1994, to view the reality of ethnic competition and its effects on the nation.

  1. Africa’s Future

The present 1.5 billion people living on the African continent should be organized into viable Nation States, which are not a mere collection of ethnicities. I was told when I was in Nigeria that the country had 250 different ethnicities in addition to the three dominant ethnic groupings. This reality is still affecting Nigeria today. There are a reported 3,000 different ethnicities across the African continent. We must work to establish on the African continent, Nation States that are politically and economically sovereign. The people of each nation should determine their future through deliberations, debate, and discussion of ideas. There can be no claims to ethnic superiority or a historical right to political control. As President Lincoln said when he was campaigning to lead the USA, the nation must protect equally the lives of all its men and women.

In a true Republic, the government has the obligation to develop the creative potential of each and every citizen, and each and every child born. Each citizen has the obligation and the right to use his or her creative potential to contribute to the peaceful and prosperous future of their nation for generations to come. These are the conditions of government and citizenship which we should work to foster throughout the many nations on the African continent. I do not believe that Africa will prosper as its population climbs to 2.5 billion people in the next 30 years, unless we create strong Nation States and educated citizens who act in the interests of their nation, not their ethnicity.

Ethnicity should be muted and removed from the political arena

V. Recommendations

I suggest we use the following recommendations, which are not prioritized, to formulate the best policy for Ethiopia, moving forward.

  1. We must amend the Ethiopian Constitution.

The Preamble of Ethiopia’s Constitution properly emphasizes the conception of a united nation with a common purpose and goal for all its people: “advancing our economic and social development,”… “common interest….and the emergence of a common outlook,” and “to live as one economic community.” Article 14 resonates with the US Constitution, stating: “Every person has the inviolable right to life, the security of person, and liberty.” The same principle is echoed in Article 43 of the Constitution: The Right to Development. “The basic aim of development activities shall be to enhance the capacity of citizens for development and to meet their basic needs.”

The weakness of the Constitution begins in Article 8: Sovereignty of the People, where sovereign powers are divided up between “Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia.” This is an obvious compromise to ethnicity. In truth; there is only one Ethiopian people and only one Ethiopian nation. The divisions in Ethiopian society are made explicit in Article 39: “Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right of secession……the right to a full measure of self-government…”

This separation of Ethiopians into multiple groups, outlined in the Constitution, is the seed for the conflicts gripping Ethiopia today. Ghana has outlawed the existence of parties which are based on ethnicity. Rwanda has taken a different approach for the same purpose.

  • A National Dialogue

I propose we conduct the national dialogue on the highest ideational plateau. We should have an inclusive, unfettered  discussion, which may be contentious at various points in time. The central theme of this national dialogue should be the conceptual difference between citizenship and ethno-nationalism. This disease of ethno-nationalism has plagued Ethiopia and many other African countries for years and  has to be addressed head on in the most straightforward manner. It is the only way that I can see that the citizens of Ethiopia can come to an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the nation of Ethiopia. This will be a challenging and lengthy process, but I see no way to avoid this path.

  • A National Mission to Unite the People

Prejudices from ethnic and religious difference will not evaporate over-night. We should create a platform with the most propitious conditions for the shedding of these  biases over time. To help accomplish this, I propose that we articulate a national mission for Ethiopia, which will also be regional in scope.

Let the nation of Ethiopia adopt the mission to eliminate poverty and hunger. Ethiopia should also commit to become the economic engine for the Horn of Africa, to help the other nations in the region end the economic suffering of their people. With this shared mission, for the benefit of all Ethiopian people, we can create a common self-interest, fostering the collaboration of each Ethiopian citizen with the rest of society. We know that under the proper environment, Ethiopians will desire the best conditions for their lives and those of their offspring. With this common interest for development of the nation for future generations in the forefront, each Ethiopian citizen can locate his or her self-interest in the interest of the other. Even though prejudices may still exist, Ethiopians can accept working together for the common interest of creating a prosperous future for their children and grandchildren. All human beings are born good and have the potential noble for actions.

No doubt, this approach will also be challenging, but it can be effective over time in eliminating the hostilities that have developed from a history of division and ethno-nationalism.

My dear friends, I hope my modest contribution will help lead us to a better Ethiopia in the months and years ahead.

Thank you very much for listening. I yield back the balance of my time.

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.

Prime Logue/Media Interviews Lawrence Freeman in Addis Ababa: “Without the Elimination of Poverty, There Will Be No Democracy in Africa”

May 10, 2021

On April 30th. I was interviewed in Addis Ababa by Prime Logue/Media for an hour. The interview is separated into four parts.

For those of you who do not have the time to view the entire interview, I would suggest you watch Part 4-16 minutes long. Here, I outline my development policy for Africa. In this, the 22nd century, the African continent will be the focus of strategic policy for the world. My policy starts from recognizing the uniquely human power of creative reason. The key question for policy makers should be how do we develop human beings. True democracy, cannot flourish unless and until poverty is eliminated. The nation state must be strengthened to provide for successive generations of its people. “The leadership of the U.S. does not understand, or want to understand, that the key to  supporting Africa is development.”   

Topics discussed in Part 1 include: Nigeria, refurbishing Lake Chad, Lalibela, Tigray, humanitarian assistance, Covid19 vaccinations in Africa.

Topics discussed in Part 2 include: poverty, developing Ethiopia, the nation-state, regime change in Libya, TPLF attack in Mekele, genocide, human rights.

Topics discussed in Part 3 include: US-Africa policy, flaws in Ethiopia Constitution, GERD, Egypt, Ethiopian identity, June 5 elections.

Topics discussed in Part 4 include. Slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, reason, agape, food, electricity, desperation, jobs, ICC,

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

Interview with Lawrence Freeman: Developing Africa Will Elevate the World to a Higher Economic-Political Platform

Watch the interview

April 10, 2021

Watch the above interview with Lawrence Freeman. It is a far reaching discussion that elaborates the importance of infrastructure led development polices for Africa. It highlights  the Transaqua inter-basin water transfer project that will not only reverse the shrinking Lake Cad, but will transform the entire Lake Chad Basin, improving the living conditions for millions of Africans. The conclusion of the interview discuses the significance of the African continent for global development over the next one to two generations. Essential, Africa is the new frontier on the planet earth.  Freeman proffered that if the United States would collaborate with China in leading an infrastructure driven economic transformation of Africa, hunger and poverty could be eliminated.  This would also shift political relations among nations away from the destructive doctrine of geo-politics to one of a common shared development of humankind.

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