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

Freeman Tells Xinhua: U.S. Officials Lie About China’s Belt & Road Initiative-BRI In Africa

Chen Mingjian, Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, speaks at an international symposium to mark the 10th anniversary of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug 25, 2023.(PHOTO / XINHUA)

(BRF2023) Interview: BRI greatly contributes to Africa’s infrastructure development, says U.S. expert

Source: Xinhua, Editor: huaxia

October 24, 2023   

Staff members work on the fiberglass production line of Jushi Egypt in Suez, Egypt, June 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)

Speaking of the groundless accusations and malicious attacks by some U.S. politicians on the Belt and Road Initiative, Freeman, an American expert on Africa, said claims that China conducts the so-called “debt trap diplomacy” have been repeatedly proven false by Western experts.

by Xinhua writers Deng Xianlai and Xu Yuan

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Lawrence Freeman, an American expert on Africa, said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made important contributions to improving global political and economic relations since its inception a decade ago, especially on the African continent.

He believes that the severe shortage of electricity is the most intractable infrastructure problem facing Africa, which not only exacerbates poverty, but also “kills” Africans.

“This is not a metaphor,” Freeman said, because without electricity, industrial and agricultural production and basic infrastructure such as hospitals would be impossible. China is actively working with many African countries to address this issue, he added.

Belt and Road projects in Africa cover energy, ports, airports, roads, railways, schools and other aspects, Freeman said, and it is a proven fact that China’s involvement in Africa’s infrastructure construction and economic and social development “is right now irreplaceable.”

As an expert on Africa, Freeman has advised many governments in sub-Saharan Africa on economic development policies and has witnessed several Belt and Road projects on the continent.

“One economic minister in Africa once told me: ‘If you take China out of Africa, there is no substitute that would step in,'” he said.

For years, Freeman has been vehemently advocating for the African Union’s visionary Integrated High Speed Train Network, which is a flagship project of the AU’s “Africa 2063 Agenda” adopted in 2015 and, when finished, would connect African capitals and commercial centers. As such, Freeman is particularly impressed by the several high-standard railways China helped build on the African continent.

This photo taken on Aug. 21, 2023 shows the Karuma dam at Karuma Hydropower Plant in Kiryandongo, Uganda. (Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua)

In 2016, Freeman attended the ceremony marking the inauguration of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti electrified railway — an early harvest project of China-Africa production capacity cooperation — in Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. And his decades-long dream of taking a train in Africa was realized on a Chinese-built railroad in Nigeria.

“Of the 30 years I’ve been traveling to Africa, I finally got a ride on a railroad in 2021,” Freeman said, adding it was on the railway linking Abuja — the Nigerian capital — and Kaduna, a northern metropolis and a major transportation hub in the country.

“I’ve driven that route on a poorly paved road,” Freeman recalled. With the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna railway, “I could sit back on a train … It was comfortable, it was smooth … I enjoyed every second of it because I’ve been waiting for decades to take a train in Africa.”

Speaking of the groundless accusations and malicious attacks by some U.S. politicians on the Belt and Road Initiative, Freeman said claims that China conducts the so-called “debt trap diplomacy” have been repeatedly proven false by Western experts.

“China is not intervening into domestic affairs (of countries along the Belt and Road),” he said. “China lends money with no conditionality.”

“Yet we have ignorant people in the U.S. government, in the State Department, in the Congress who repeat this” (false rhetoric) about China’s Africa policy, Freeman said.

Some U.S. diplomats and members of Congress have repeatedly discredited China’s Africa policy, throwing out “unfounded or ignorant attacks on China” despite “having access to knowing better” what the reality is, he noted.

“They’re repeating something that is known to be untrue. So that is no longer ignorance. That’s deliberate disinformation,” Freeman said.■

Read Chinese translation

Read my earlier post: “Win-Win Cooperation” Is Our Goal for China-U.S. Relations

Also read: “BRI provides solid platform for global cooperation” chinadailyhk.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

The Racist-Malthusian Roots of the Oligarchy’s Anti-Growth Policy VS Developing Nations

Discussion between Lawrence Freeman and Rasheed Muhammad on October 2, 2023

October 14, 2023

Watch my one hour dialogue above for a no-holds barred provocative conversation. We discussed the underlying causes for the social-political-moral-economic collapse of the ”rules-based order,” which is threatening the world today.

Western leaders are incompetent, to be diplomatic, and dangerous to be frank. The essence of their geopolitical ideology that drives U.S. and Western policy, is the false view that our planet and we human beings are unchanging. This leads the foolish followers of this perverted ideology to view political relations between nations in terms of winners and losers in a “zero-sum” mentality.

However, as we discuss in the interview above, at the inner core of this belief structure is a Malthusian conviction that there are too many people in the world. Thus, population reduction, eliminating human beings, is at the root of their creed. Their anti-economic growth policy towards the developing sector, now referred to as the Global South, is an extension of their racist and imperialist view, that people of color should be eliminated first. Under the (popular) deception of protecting our planet, this arrogant Caucasian pollical-financial elite, demands that the Global South not be allowed to develop their own abundant natural resources to produce electricity. The absence of electrical power, and other categories of vital infrastructure on the African continent, kills Africans every day. This absolute refusal to allow, and assist nations to develop their economies, nakedly exposes their view, that the “lower class” of poor people living in less developed nations are expendable.

The Western dominated “rules based order” refuses to understand that economic development is the most fundamental human right. Rather, they are predisposed to “regime-change” against any leader who resists their diktats. Tragically, the U.S. has lost the vision of developing Africa since the death of President John Kennedy.  All honest and informed Africa experts know there is no meaningful US-Africa policy, except to counter China. Despite many visits by Biden administration officials to Africa, there is no concrete commitment to real economic development.  

Another important portion of our discussion centered on education. The failure of U.S. elected officials,  from both parties, to sound the alarm about the crisis of public education in the U.S., should be considered an impeachable offense. Children should be taught how to read from first to third grade, and from fourth grade on, they read to learn. The majority of children in the U.S. have not mastered basic reading skills by the time they enter fourth grade. This is the equivalent of a five-alarm fire and no leader in the U.S. has pulled the handle in the fire alarm box. U.S. failure to adequately address the education of our youth, forbodes ill for the U.S. twenty years from now, when these children are grown-up, and expected to lead our country. And yet, local, and federal governments consistently ignore the glaring needs of teachers and their students.  

The important subject of our dialogue that bears directly on a nation’s political-economic future goes beyond the common notion of education. Creativity, the potential of creative mentation, which is innate in every child, is the antidote to the warped geopolitical “zero-sum game” mind-set. Human beings, uniquely endowed with the power to hypothesize and discover the principles (not rules) that govern our physical universe, and create the conditions for the development of our planet. Nothing is fixed or static, potential growth is omnipresent. There is no “zero-sum.” With the intervention of humankind, our universe develops and expands. All nations have the same common shared goals for their citizens: satisfying their material needs and nurturing their creative imagination. Once this distinctive quality of human beings is understood, the entire edifice supporting the dogmas of Malthusianism and the “rules based order” crumbles.

Enjoy watching our dialogue in the YouTube above.  

Read my earlier posts:

Creativity Is The True Source of Economic Wealth

Ethiopian National Social Protection Conference: “The Source of Wealth is the Human Mind”

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.

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.

Ethiopian National Social Protection Conference: “The Source of Wealth is the Human Mind”

Dr. Ergogie, Minister of Women and Social Affairs, standing fourth from right, in front of the conference hall.

June 8, 2023

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women and Social Affairs (MoWSA) organized a two day conference, May 23-24, held in the Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall, at the African Union Commission, Addis Ababa. The theme of the deliberations was, Social Protection for Nation Building in Ethiopia. As part of Ethiopia’s effort to reduce poverty, and expand economic growth, additional social protection programs are necessary to provide for the vulnerable portions of the population.

The several hundred attendees were welcomed by H.E. Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye, the highly qualified Minister of MoWSA. The conference was key noted by H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The conference concluded with a Call Of Action with five central objectives, of which I highlight the first, the third and the fifth.

          1. Policy Framework and coordination

1.1  Revise the social protection policy and strategy to ensure alignment with the national Ten Years Development Plan, relevance for meeting the current needs of the most vulnerable, and ambition to progressively build a universal social protection system.

1.2  Establish a Social Protection Council to guide, coordinate and oversee the implementation of the social protection policy, strategy, and programming.

3. Coverage and inclusion

3.1  Progressively expand coverage of social protection, ensuring the inclusion and protection of those most in need, including informal workers, people with disabilities, internally displaced people, and refugees.

3.2  Enhance nutrition, protection, and gender sensitivity within social protection programming, and ensure greater access to social services, including community-based health insurance.

5. Jobs and economic inclusion

5.1  Ensure a more inclusive economy and labor market, by increasing access to decent jobs, incomes, and entrepreneurship opportunities for volunteer groups.

5.2  Adopt a government led harmonized framework for the delivery and design of economic inclusion/self-employment/graduation programs for better impact at scale.

Below is an edited version of my remarks, delivered in the afternoon plenary session on May 23, 2023.

Lawrence Freeman addressing the conference on May 23, in the Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall, African Union Commission

“Human Creativity is the Source of Wealth and Why Social Protection is Necessary”

I am honored to be here today.

The Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, under the leadership of Dr. Ergogie, is addressing a critically important topic. As a physical economist, I will add my unique view of the issue that is being discussed in this two day conference.

Why is it important to care, protect, and develop each citizen of the nation, especially the youth? It is more than just a moral and cultural imperative: it is essential for economic growth. And economic growth is fundamental to the peace, prosperity, and stability of a nation. Poverty and hunger are the enemies of peace and democracy.

Contrary to what you may have heard; free trade, supply and demand,  the invisible hand of the marketplace, are not the cause of economic growth. The source of all wealth is the individual, more precisely the  human mind. The mind is the creator of wealth, through its power to  discover new scientific principles embedded in the universe.

Only human beings-every human-is born with the innate potential of creativity. It is from that power of the human mind that new technologies and inventions are introduced into the economic process. Through the introduction of more advanced technologies, we increase the productive powers of labor to produce more wealth with equal or less effort.

Thus, the elected government is responsible, nay obligated, to protect and care for all of its citizens. Governments must provide for the material necessities of life AND nurture the creative power of the individual. Government must make an extra effort to provide for those most in need, especially our children, because these creative minds must be developed to become productive members of our society and economy. They are the future.

The most vulnerable are no less precious as potential contributors to the production of wealth for their nation. Therefore, it is not an option, but a necessity to care and develop each child, and each citizen.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood that every member of society is important, and he initiated innovative programs to provide care for people of the U.S. “from the cradle to the grave.” The cornerstone of this became the Social Security system of the United States.

Economic growth is indispensable to build a nation. This requires the contribution from all of its citizens. I recognize that economic development is a human right. Unfortunately, the United Nations does not. However, the African Union does recognize “social protection and an adequate standard of living” is a human right. Also, the African Charter, article 22, stipulates that economic development, is in fact, a human right.

Lawrence Freeman, giving Dr. Egogie, a new book on the Grand Ethiopian Renassiance Dam, “How It Happened” by Dr. Dereje Tessema,

From my standpoint, not only is economic development a human right, but electricity is a human right, because without power, economies cannot prosper, and the people of that society will have a diminished standard of living. There will be no growth, no progress for society, without electricity, and without vital infrastructure.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, which I visited in December of 2022, will produce 5,150 megawatts of power when completed. The functioning of the GERD will advance the nation, improve the lives of the citizens of Ethiopia, and will help drive economic development in the East Africa region. The GERD will contribute to peace and stability throughout the Horn of Africa and the Nile Basin.

Now let me return to where I started in my presentation. The GERD is a creative act of humankind, a human intervention into the physical environment (physical universe) to capture-create the power of electricity from a river that has been flowing for five million years. Thus, as I emphasized at the beginning of my remarks, the construction of the GERD proves that human creativity is the source of wealth for society.

Thank you very much.

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

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

May 12, 2023

Watch the 60 minute video above. On April 13, 2023, Dr. Brook Hailu, of Nahoo tv, interviewed me on the weekly broadcast, Voice of The Diaspora . We had an extensive discussion on the GERD, Ethiopia, Africa, geopolitics, and human crieatvitiy in economics. With the creation, and self financing of the GERD, Ethiopia is breaking through the mentality that African nations will always be poor and underdeveloped.

Watch the 20 mimute video below. Lawrence Freeman, was the lead presenter in the book launch of a new book on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, at . Georgetown University, Washington DC, on April 29, 2023

Read my earlier posts:

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

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

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. 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

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

Lawrence Freeman, delivering the opening presentation at the launch of a new book on the GERD, written by Dereje Tessema.

May 7, 2023

Below are my remarks at the book launch at Georgetown University, Washington, DC on April 29, 2023

We discussed the contribution by author Dereje Tessema, in his new I unique book: How This Happened:  Demystifying The Nile, History and Events Leading to the Realization of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) (amazon.com/HOW-this-HAPPENED-Demystifying-Realization)

In my brief presentation (see below), as the lead presenter, I reviwed the history of the battle in the Nile Basin of colonialism versus economic development, and the positive role of the United States in identifying the GERD, sixty years ago.

Greetings!

It is an honor to be here with all these distinguished panelists and for me to speak on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam–The GERD. Here we are, discussing this new fascinating book on the GERD, 12 years after the first brick was laid by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on April  11,  2011.

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the GERD and get a tour by the deputy project manager in December of 2022 on my last visit to Ethiopia.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under constrcution

It was a magnificent sight. You have this huge scientific engineering marvel–a great infrastructure project built between two mountains over the Blue Nile-the Abbay River. The water has been flowing through this area into the White Nile from lake Tana for approximately 5 million years. And The Ethiopians, to their credit, realized that they can make this lazy river do some actual work. They understood that the Abby could be exploited for the benefit of humankind by making this unproductive river produce electricity for Africa. Electricity, in my view, as a physical economist, is the most vital category of hard infrastructure that Africa is lacking. Africans suffer every day from a gross deficiency in electricity. The Ethiopians by 2025, when all 11 turbines are projected to be functioning, will add 5,150 megawatts of electricity to their grid. This will be the biggest new injection of electricity on the African continent.

For me it was exceptionally exciting to visit the GERD. Because it confirmed to me: that humankind, through the exercise of our uniquely human creative imagination, intervenes upon the physical universe, to  improve the conditions of life for us human beings. This understanding of human creativity is the underpinning of my philosophy about the universe and the foundation of my economic thinking.

The Ethiopian people and successive Ethiopian governments should be congratulated for self-funding and constructing the GERD. It does not just benefit Ethiopia, but the GERD enhances the entire Nile Basin, including Egypt and Sudan.

One of the most interesting features in this book, among many, is the several hundred year history of the White and Blue Nile River Basins. The key issue which I believe characterizes this 300 year conflict is: the right to utilize the resource of the Blue Nile for the development of the Ethiopian nation and its people. This history is relevant to the efforts today, by some, to prevent the dam from reaching its full productivity; though I am convinced the anti-GERD campaign will not be successful.

Colonial Mentality Over the Nile

As part of their imperialist policy, the British were obsessed with the Nile River Basin, as part of their plans to control indirectly or directly the entire eastern spine of Africa from Egypt to South Africa. Through their control of Egypt, nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, first through Pasha Muhammad Ali and then later his nephew, Khedive Ismail, and finally the outright conquering of Egypt militarily at the end of the 1800s, the British believed that they owned the Nile. Though several battles were waged by the Egyptians against Ethiopia, the Egyptians like the Italians years later at Adwa, were unable to militarily defeat and conquer Ethiopia. The British in their attempt to be the overlord of the entire Nile River Basin, were intent not to allow Ethiopia to develop its own productive capabilities, which most definitely would involve utilizing the water from Lake Tana.

The author, Dereje Tessema, presenting his conception and motivation for wrting his book: How This Happened:  Demystifying The Nile, History and Events Leading to the Realization of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) .

There were over two dozen treaties and official diplomatic exchanges from 1891 to 2015 concerning the Nile that affected Ethiopia. I will highlight only a few.

As early as the 1891 protocol between the United Kingdom and Italy, Britain made very clear that it would recognize Italy’s control of the northern part of Ethiopia, which is now Eritrea, in return, the Italian government would agree not to obstruct the flow of water from the Atbara River that is one of the three main tributaries, that supply 85% of the water into the White Nile. In 1899 the British with the Egyptians created the Anglo Egyptian Condominium ,which effectively allowed the British through Egypt to govern Sudan. This was another step in the process of the British attempt to have control over the entire Nile River system. It is interesting to note that it was also in 1899 that the British began the construction  of the Aswan Low Dam that was completed in 1902. This of course was replaced several decades later by the larger High Aswan Dam.

In the 1902 Anglo Ethiopia Treaty to delineate the borders between Sudan and Ethiopia, the British  included a demand that Emperor Menelik II, could not obstruct the flow of any water into the Nile by building anything across the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, or the Sobat River. The British intended never to allow Ethiopia to utilize the Blue Nile for the benefit of its people. The British did not want an independent, developing nation disrupting their plans for the Nile Basin. Rather, they envisioned, utilizing Lake Tana to as a large rain fed storage area, releasing water during the dry season for the  agriculture-irrigation schemes in the downstream nations of Egypt and Sudan.

In the 1920s, prior to Mussolini’s invasion in 1935, Britain made clear to the Italians that it would be happy to have Lake Tana controlled-protected from Ethiopia’s utilization by a nation friendly to Britain.

The 1929 Water Agreement between the British, Egypt and Sudan, codified Egypt’s so called natural and historical rights to the Nile. The agreement allocated 48 billion cubic meters of Nile water to Egypt and 4  billion to Sudan–less than 1% of the total 52bcm. The agreement also gave Egypt the right to prevent construction of any project on the Nile that would reduce the flow of the Nile water to Egypt. Ethiopia was not part of this agreement and was not in attendance even though it was an independent sovereign nation that provided the majority of Nile water joining the White Nile under the Khartoum- Omdurman bridge.

Ethiopian Ambassador, Seleshi Bekele, speaking at the book launch. To his right, is retired US Ambassador, David Shinn.

The 1959 Water Agreement between the Republics of Sudan and Egypt increased the water allocations for both countries. Egypt would now receive 55.5 billion cubic meters of water, and Sudan would receive 18.5 bcm. The agreement also allowed Egypt to construct the Aswan High Dam and for Sudan to construct the Rosaries dam, on the Blue Nile, which I visited many years ago. This new water agreement also stipulated again that no other construction could be built on the Nile, implicitly the Blue Nile as well. Essentially this agreement gave Egypt and Sudan veto power against the right of Ethiopia to erect its own dam on its own sovereign territory. Again, Ethiopia was not a participant to this agreement. To my knowledge, Ethiopia has not been a party to any official water agreement with Sudan and Egypt regarding the rights to develop the Blue Nile Basin, even during the negotiations in the Trump administration.

Potential of Blue Nile Basin  

Two years before the 1959 Egypt-Sudan Water agreement, Ethiopia officially severed itself  from the colonial mentality regarding the Nile, by informing Egypt, on September 23, 1957, that Ethiopia will utilize it water resources for irrigation and hydropower. Quoting the diplomatic note (Part I, Chapter 3, page 50):

 Ethiopia has the right and obligation to exploit its water resources for the benefit of its present and future generations of its citizens and must, therefore reassert and reserve now and for the future, the right to take all the measures in respect of its water resources.

Reflecting the better period of United States, when our foreign policy reflected our commitment for development in Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, signed an agreement with the Ethiopian government to investigate the land and water resources of the Blue Nile River Basin. The project began in 1958, was completed in 1963, and its findings were published in 1964. The report was seven volumes and referred to as the Nile Report. Quoting Dereje (page 54 of the same chapter of his book):

The author signing his new book at the conclusion of the event.

The purpose of this program was to:  a) investigate the land and water resources of the Blue Nile River Basin; b) assist in the establishment of an appropriate administrative and engineering organization within the Imperial Ethiopian Government; and c) train Ethiopian personnel in the various disciplines as appropriate.

The other major study of the Blue Nile Basin, was The Abbay River Basin Integrated Development Master Plan, initiated in 1994 and completed in 1998. Dereje documents that in the twentieth century there have been more than 18 feasibility studies of the Nile and Blue Nile River Basin, investigating potential projects for irrigation and hydropower.

The 1957-1964 Nile Report examined the potential of 32 irrigation and energy projects in the Blue Nile River Basin, which are listed in this book on pages 259-260. Four potential dam sites were proposed that could provide sufficient electrical power to satisfy domestic consumption and export to other nations in East Africa. The study identified four potential hydropower projects described on pages 262-266. One of the four hydro-power sites, that the Nile Report called the Border Dam, is today, known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The author celebrating with his family.

In Conclusion

As we are assembled here today discussing the contribution of this new treatise on the GERD by Dereje , we should remember what Emperor Haile Selassie  said in the 1960s, when he was unable to secure funding for the various irrigation and hydropower projects identified in the 1957-1964 Nile Report. (Quoting from Part V, Chapter 17, page 334): Emperor Selassie said:

 We don’t have the capacity to build a dam on the Abbay at this time. Friendly countries will not support this endeavor for fear of antagonizing Egypt. However, the future generations will build it using its own resources. Keep the study safe.

We are less than two years away from celebrating the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with GERD DAY, my proposal for a new national Ethiopian holiday.

Read my ealier post:

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

Join Me Saturday-Definitive Book on Ethiopia’s GERD, and the Blue & White Nile River Basins

  Topic:   Book Launch and Panel Discussion-How this Happened: Demystifying the Nile-History and Events Leading to the Realization of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam      
Date:    Saturday, April 29, 2023
Time:    2:00-5:00 PM EST
Venue:  In person – Georgetown University, Intercultural Center (ICC), DC
(Public parking is available at the Southwest Garage. Use 3611 Canal Road as the address for GPS direction to the parking garage. Sign posts will be available to direct guests to the Center)
Virtual: Zoom Link (Registration Required)              https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HjSqlMAsQBK72cadz3XCNw  
Abstract   Competition over limited resources, including freshwater management and use, was and continues to be a source of conflict. Unresolved, these issues could affect political relations between riparian states and may exacerbate existing tensions, increase regional instability, and provoke social unrest. The 2018 research by the European Joint Research Center shows that the Nile is the second riskiest basin next to the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin in terms of hydro political issues arising. Eleven riparian states with a total population of over 530 million (2022 UN population report) share the river marking the Nile as the second densely populated basin, next to the Ganges River basin. 
In his latest book How this Happened: Demystifying the Nile – History and Events Leading to the Realization of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) (Gashe Publishing 2023), Dereje Tessema, a research fellow at the Nile House and adjunct facility at Georgetown University, discusses events that started thousands of years ago, culminating in the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). In this six part book he documented the geo- and hydro-politics, diplomacy, international water law, treaties, and agreements. He also provided an overview of the science of the Nile River, the relationship of riparian countries to the river, the project management aspect of the dam, and finally, a recount of his trips from the two sources to the mouth of the Nile River.This panel discussion is designed to give the book launch event participants the opportunity to hear from experts, policy makers, and scholar-practitioners on these five domains. 
     
Event Schedule and Speaker’s Bios
Register to Attend Virtual                

Read my earlier posts below:

New Treatise on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Linking the History of the White & Blue Nile River Basins

U.S. Should Make the Right Decision: Support Economic Reconstruction of Ethiopia & GERD Completion

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