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

Is U.S. Threatening Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, to Maintain TPLF Legitimacy at Peace Talks?

Lawrence Freeman interviewed by Hermela Aregawi, well known journalist and host of Eyes on Africa-eoanews.com , on October 27, 2022


October 29, 2022

In my most recent statement (see below) published by ENA on Oct 29, I discuss the intention of U.S. Envoy, Mike Hammer as a participant, not an observer, in the African Union led pace talks in South Africa. It appears that the U.S. is engaged in trying to pressure PM Abiy Ahmed to accept some legitimate role for the TPLF in Ethiopia’s future. The U.S. may also be trying to prevent the disarming of the TPLF, preserving their existence as an armed ethno-nationalist army. If this were to be accepted, the TPLF and other armed ethno-nationalist armies, could continually deploy to destabilize Ethiopia. Essentially, making Ethiopia ungovernable, thus denying Ethiopians the opportunity to build a prosperous nation

Watch interview below with Hermela on Day 3 (Oct 27) of Peace Talks in South Africa

Hermela and I had a wide ranging and provocative discussion on the Ethiopian peace talks in South Africa that included such topics as; oligarchism, geopolitics, democracy, creativity, ethnicity, Horn of Africa, the rules based order, the goals of the U.S. involvement in the peace talks, the future of Ethiopia, and more.

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

Ethiopia Must Exert Its National Sovereignty From U.S. Sanctions

February 21, 2022

Watch my video above.

Perhaps, it is fitting that on the U.S. holiday–“Presidents Day”–that I, as an American, should be demanding that my President, Joe Biden, stop threatening Ethiopia with more sanctions. Geopolitical doctrine requires U.S. control of the vitally important water way along the East Coast of Africa. U.S. geopolitics cannot allow strategy for the Horn of Africa to be decided by independent minded African leaders such as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Eritrea President, Isaias Afwerki. President Biden and the U.S. State Department under Antony Blinken will demand concessions from PM Abiy as they talk of resuming a cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Ethiopia. At the same time, they will allow the US Congress to threaten Ethiopia with more disgusting sanctions in HR6600, if Ethiopia does not make concessions. It is known as the “soft cop-hard cop” approach. Ethiopia should exercise its sovereignty and chart a path for the development of its nation. The operation of the first turbine of the GERD producing 375 megawatts of electricity, portends the right direction.

Review news coverage below

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

Freeman Interview: National Dialogue Should Be Conducted on the Highest Level With Citizens of Ethiopia Discussing the Future of Their Nation, Not Ethnicity

PLEASE WATCH this provocative and important analysis regarding Ethiopia

February 3, 2022

In this interview with Prime Media conducted on January 27, 2022, Lawrence Freeman evaluates the current situation in Ethiopia and offers substantive suggestions for the Ethiopian National Dialogue.

Freeman stressed the geopolitical intentions of the Anglo-American establishment to control the waterways off the Horn of Africa, which necessitates not allowing Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia to act independently. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed violated the geopolitical “rules of the game” by forming a new cooperation agreement with Eritrea and Somalia. Weakening the central government and demonizing PM Abiy while simultaneous elevating the status TPLF is required to make Ethiopia malleable to Anglo-American dictates for the region.

Freeman suggested that the National Dialogue address the inherent fallacies of ethnic federalism that equate membership in an ethnic group with citizenship of the Ethiopian nation-state. We are all human beings, the only species endowed with the power of creativity, which makes all people universally the same, not to be divided by blood lines or geography.  

Read my earlier post: Ethiopia’s Prosperity Party: A Revolutionary Necessity

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

Africa’s ‘poverty trap’ more dangerous than so-called debt trap

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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend the completion ceremony of the Chinese-built oil terminal at the port of Mombasa in Mombasa, Kenya, January 6, 2022. /Xinhua

Lawrence Freeman

CGTN, January 24, 2022

Editor’s note: Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst on Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In his visit to Kenya on January 6, 2022, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, emphasized China’s support for economic progress in Africa, and in particular, the Horn of Africa.

Wang was continuing China’s 32-year-old tradition of having their foreign minister begin each year with an overseas trip to Africa. In the first week of January, Wang met with officials in Eritrea, Kenya and Comoros. Both Eritrea and Kenya are located in East Africa, a region where Ethiopia, the second most populated nation in Africa, is engaged in a 14-month war to defeat an armed insurrection led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Kenya, an important ally of China, is a key nation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Maritime Silk Road.

Eliminating poverty

Wang, in his press conference, focused on the number one challenge facing Africa: poverty and the extremely low standard of living affecting the majority of its 1.4 billion people.

He polemically stated,”If there is any trap in Africa, it is the trap of poverty and the trap of backwardness,” which he counterposed to the so-called debt trap that he referred to as a “speech trap” created by the West. China speaks with authority, which has accomplished a modern day miracle in lifting over 750 million of its people out of extreme poverty and has pledged to help Africa do the same.

A woman fills up her water jerrycan in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, January 1, 2022. /VCG

China’s approach to the current challenges in the Horn of Africa is in stark contrast to that of the U.S. Instead of punishing Eastern African nations with sanctions and economic warfare, China is promoting peace and economic development. According to Wang, China will appoint a special envoy for the region, with the goal:

“To support the Horn of Africa in realizing lasting stability, peace and prosperity, China is willing to put forward the ‘Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa’ and support regional countries in addressing the triple challenges of security, development and governance.”

Emphasizing China’s infrastructure-led economic approach, Wang encouraged nations of the region to “accelerate regional revitalization to overcome development challenges,” adding that “the two principal axes, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, should be enlarged and enhanced with the aim of expanding to neighboring countries at an opportune moment.”

Wang announced that China would provide an additional 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Kenya which follows President Xi Jinping’s November pledge at the Forum on China Africa Cooperation conference in Dakar, to make 1 billion doses available to Africa.

China’s policy guided by development

The dominant feature of China’s relation to Africa is development, contrary to the Western geopolitical propaganda against China. The infrastructure-driven BRI has made physical improvements in African economies through the construction of railways, roads, power generation capacity, ports and airports. There is not a single Western nation that even remotely compares to China’s level of investment in Africa.

As every African leader knows well, if China were to cease offering loans for infrastructure, there would be no Western nation to address the continent’s huge deficit in the field, and African nations would suffer terribly.

The U.S. has failed to modernize its own rail network and is incapable of building advanced transportation corridors in other countries, while China had constructed around 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail by the end of 2021.

Unlike U.S. officials who travel to African nations, Chinese representatives do not attach political conditionalities or arrogantly dictate what domestic policies must be adopted by their host countries. Instead, China is thoughtful by responding to the most critical and urgent needs of African nations. That is the elimination of poverty, which necessitates massive investments in hard and soft infrastructure.

Africa-s-poverty-trap-more-dangerous-than-so-called-debt-trap

Read my earlier posts:

Chinese ‘Debt Trap” is a Myth-Biden Would be Wise Not to Continue Trump’s Attacks on China in Africa 

China-Africa Debt Trap Refuted Again. Belt and Road Building Infrastructure-Developing Africa

A Brief Response: Marshall Plan for Africa or “Debt Trap?”

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.

U.S. Diplomats Collaborate With TPLF to Plot Removal of PM Abiy From Governing Ethiopia

November 26, 2021

It is instructive to read Jeff Pearce’s article; Ethiopia: Western Diplomats Meet in Secret to Decide How to Help the TPLF , based on the secret zoom meeting with retired Western diplomats, including a former U.S. offical, and Berhane Gebre-Christos, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front-TPLF. Their secret discussion was on how to remove Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed from office . Watch the video of the zoom meeting above.

I have known for a long time that the certain Western forces have wanted to weaken Ethiopia’s duly elected Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. Now we have the proof. Open collaboration of Western diplomats with the TPLF, labelled a terrorist group by the Ethiopian government, to bring down Prime Minister Abiy. These used up diplomats want the TPLF to succeed in militarily defeating Ethiopia’s army and overthrowing the government, which was elected by over 40 million Ethiopians. This is regime change! This is a real scandal, given the stated position of neutrality by the U.S government. Shame on the Biden administration.

There are also TPLF sympathizers currently in the U.S. government, who are directing President Joe Biden to weaken the sovereign nation of Ethiopia.

As an American, with exceptional knowledge of Africa and Ethiopia, I will continue to fight to prevent President Biden from destroying the Horn of Africa, like his Democratic predecessor, President Obama, did to Libya and the Sahel, ten years ago.

Below are excerpts from Pearce’s article.

The West’s Horn of Africa experts have been meeting with a TPLF leader and TPLF/OLF supporters in secret, even as its governments claim to be impartial — TPLF’s Berhane Gebre-Christos speaks as TPLF member, proposed head of “transitional government.

Donald Yamamoto, recently the U.S. Ambassador to Somalia who just retired this year, to TPLF official Berhane Gebre-Christos:

“Abiy is not listening… Obasanjo has not been extraordinary helpful or very active, and so are there any other opportunities that you see?”

Vicki Huddleston, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs and US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, speaking to Berhane Gebre-Christos:

I couldn’t agree more that you know, Abiy should step down, there should be an all-inclusive transition government.”

Former ambassadors and current diplomats for the United States, Britain and EU had a Zoom meeting this past Sunday with an official for the TPLF in what amounts to a green light from the West for the terrorist group’s attempts to overthrow the democratically elected Ethiopian government. And there’s evidence to prove it: a phone-cam video of the two-hour meeting.

“I hope that you’ll have military success fairly soon, because it seems as if the situation is only becoming more drastic,” said Vicki Huddleston, who was Chargé d’Affairs ad interim in Ethiopia during years the TPLF were in power.

France’s retired diplomat and writer Stéphane Gompertz openly speculated on the potential for Abiy to be forced from power. “Even if Abiy sticks to his guns, which unfortunately he seems to be doing, you either hope that people around him either in government or in the military realize that this is going nowhere and might force him to, well, accept the cessation of hostilities or force him to step down?”

The Western powers — Britain, the EU and especially the United States — have been posturing for months that they have not taken sides in the conflict and are pushing negotiations only in the interests of peace. But the Zoom talk rips away the façade, revealing a chummy circle of foreign policy elite, both retired and still active who mostly know each other and are in sympathy with TPLF objectives. They include Donald Yamamoto, one of the U.S. government’s most senior Africa experts who just retired this year as the American ambassador to Somalia, and Spain’s diplomat Carmen de la Peña.

Read the complete article: Ethiopia: Western Diplomats Meet in Secret to Decide How to Help the TPLF

Read my earlier posts:

Will President Biden’s Sanctions vs Ethiopia Cause Suffering for Hundreds of Millions of Africans

Biden’s Sanctions Could Plague Ethiopia and Africa for Generations

 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.

Biden’s Economic Warfare Only Hurts Ethiopians–Who Benefits?

President Biden is losing patience with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and U.S. President Joe Biden (courtesy of Afrinotescom)

Lawrence Freeman, November 9, 2021

President Biden and his administration have launched a new round of economic and political warfare against the people of Ethiopia, on the one year anniversary of the conflict initiated by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Biden Uses Trade as A Weapon Against Ethiopia

On November 2, President Biden threatened, “I intend to  terminate the designation of Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali as beneficiary sub-Saharan African [SSA]countries under AGOA as of January 1, 2022.” AGOA-the African Growth and Opportunity Act established over twenty years ago, is designed to allow SSA nations easier access to American markets, in an effort to promote economic growth. Conservative estimates are that 200,000 workers in Ethiopia, mostly women, directly benefit from AGOA provisions plus another 800,000 employed indirectly. Thus, Biden would be pushing one million Ethiopians into poverty. In addition to the already existing sanctions, it is despicable that a sitting American President would stoop to the level of using trade agreements to impoverish an African nation. To punish the people (predominantly women) of a developing nation, an ally, by deepening their impoverishment is virtually unheard of in American foreign policy. Yet the “liberal Democratic” Biden administration intends to impose these hardships within two months, if the duly elected Prime Minister of Ethiopia , Abiy Ahmed, does not bow to the demands of the U.S.

Let us be clear. President Biden’s economic/trade warfare will only impact the government and people of Ethiopia, it will have no effect on the warring rebels. In effect, the revoking of AGOA, existing U.S. sanctions, and threatening additional sanctions only encourages the insurrectionists to continue waging war in anticipation that it will weaken the government of Prime Minister Abiy. Cui bono? In other words, who benefits from U.S. anti-Ethiopian measures.

On the same day, November 2, U.S. Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, amplified President Biden’s threat in his speech in Washington DC. In his speech, Feltman only refers to “the growing crisis in Ethiopia’s northern state of Tigray,” conspicuously omitting that the conflict erupted after TPLF militarily attacked the Federal government’s army base in Mekele, Tigray. He laments the famine-like conditions in Tigray, and criticizes the use of food as a weapon, but then proceeds to endorse the U.S. use of AGOA as a weapon. He concludes that Ethiopia has only “days, not weeks” to obey the instructions from Washington. Only in parentheses does Feltman meekly comment that the U.S. also “insists TPLF stop its military advance.” However, no punishment or threats have been issued by the U.S. against the insurrectionists commensurate with those leveled against the government of Prime Minister Abiy .

Feltman, like the rest of the Biden administration, exposes his  disingenuousness, when he says, “We do not want Ethiopia to lose its AGOA trade benefits or international economic assistance,” but President Biden announced that is exactly what he intends. If Ethiopia yields to U.S. intimidation, the alleged concerns about Ethiopia violating AGOA “statutory eligibility” will magically disappear, making clear that  the revocation of AGOA is being used as a bludgeon to force Ethiopia to submit.

Regime Change on the Agenda?

Foreign Affairs magazine published on November 5, an article with the inflammatory title: Can Ethiopia Survive? It should be understood that this is the magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the premiere think-tank of the Anglo American Establishment. Every U.S. President has been advised by the CFR, and often accept personnel they recommend for cabinet positions. Only select articles are published by the CFR, and this one has qualified in part because it articulates possible scenarios for Ethiopia’s future that include regime change.

The authors, in typical patronizing language, question Ethiopia’s existence as a sovereign nation, and assert that if Ethiopia is to survive, it will have to produce “a reason for its existence.” They also falsely claim that Ethiopia’s national elections were “neither free nor fair,” contrary to all official observers.

The article continues, proposing four possible outcomes of the current conflict, all of which will weaken the Ethiopian nation-state and endanger the Horn of Africa.

First, a victory over the Ethiopian army, (which they allege is collapsing) by the TPLF and Oromo Liberation Army. Secondly, a negotiated settlement, which would not endure. Thirdly, a prolonged military stalemate between the government of Ethiopia and the two rebel forces.

Fourthly, under the subhead: Abiy could join the growing list of recently deposed African leaders, the authors speculate that “Abiy [would be] removed from his position, likely by his own military officers.”

Suggesting a palace coup of the elected Prime Minister of the second largest nation in Africa, with over 110 million people, the only SSA nation never colonized, is extremely dangerous and should be frightening to all Africans.

The authors propose a transitional government, which again includes the removal of Prime Minister Abiy. It also calls for greater ethnic autonomy, a hardening of ethnic identities, rather than forging a unified Ethiopian identity. They write:

“The only solution is to pursue a negotiated settlement that secures at least some buy-in from the leaders of the TPLF and the OLA…At a minimum, its leaders would hope to press their current military advantage and demand reinstatement as the regional government, greater autonomy for the region…If the TPLF ends up joining forces with the OLF…their demands are also likely to include the removal of Abiy himself and the formation of a transitional government.” (Emphasis added)

I have warned since the outbreak of this conflict about the intent of regime change, which devotees of geo-politically diseased thinking, believe will eliminate the resistance to their designs on the region.

We are now entering the second decade since the same cast of characters currently advising President Biden, previously in the Obama administration, implemented regime change in Libya, assassinating President Kaddafi. Hundreds of thousands of Africans, if not millions, living in the Sahel have suffered as a result of this geo-political adventurism. Obama said he was sorry, and it was a mistake. That is not an acceptable excuse.

We cannot let President Biden follow in the deadly footsteps of his predecessor. Let our voices resonate throughout the U.S., Africa, and around the world: no regime change in 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 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.

Pres Biden Must End Destructive U.S. Policy Towards Ethiopia

Ethiopia has been the linchpin of stability and a leader of economic growth in East Africa

Lawrence Freeman, October 31, 2021

In the wake of the recent coup in Sudan, it is imperative that President Biden act to prevent any further deterioration of conditions in the Horn of Africa. Thus far, in the first ten months of the Biden administration, the United States has pursued a destructive policy towards Ethiopia, which threatens to cause more suffering and death. Now is the time, before it is too late, for the U.S. to reverse course by supporting the elected government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is attempting to preserve the integrity of Ethiopia.

Sudan is now in upheaval with the military wing of the ill-fated coalition seizing control of the transitional government. For those of us who know Sudan well, not only was this predictable, but one should expect more instability in this poor nation of forty-five million people. This demonstrates how fragile conditions are in this region of Africa. After twenty years of mis-guided policy the U.S. has lost much, if not all of its influence in Sudan. It is now in the process of turning its oldest and at one time, its strongest ally, Ethiopia, into a new enemy, contrary to the wishes of Ethiopians. For decades Ethiopia has been the cornerstone for security in an often unstable Horn of Africa. Is Biden willing to jettison this strategic relationship?

If the Biden administration had supported the Ethiopian government, instead of issuing sanctions and threatening more, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) instigated conflict would have withered months ago. Overt attacks by the U.S. government against Ethiopia, providing tacit support to the TPLF, not only encourages the TPLF to continue their efforts to overthrow the government in Addis, but encourages other rebel groups to do the same.

Those who are screaming the loudest to end this conflict by attempting to  bludgeon Prime Minister Abiy into accepting the demands of the insurrectionists, are in fact prolonging the war.

The deceptive and dangerous narrative propagated by Western nations and media, refuse to recognize the necessity of defending the lawful Ethiopian nation-state. Attempting to frame this almost one year old conflict in ethnic terms is specious and designed to undermine the fabric that holds the nation together. Let President Biden be warned: should he continue to listen to foolish advisors, who are parroting those “humanitarian-imperialists” calling for further intervention against the Ethiopian nation-state, than he will be remembered in infamy for the needless bloodshed he brought upon tens of millions of Africans.

Will President Biden discard the strongest ally of the U.S. in the Horn of Africa?

Truth Versus False Narrative

  • The conflict in Ethiopia is not between “two warring parties” or “ethnicities” as many ignorant Western governments and media have repeatedly regurgitated. The government, headed by Prime Minister Abiy, who was duly elected, is attempting, with no support from the U.S., to safeguard the lives of over 110 million Ethiopian citizens. The TPLF rebelled against the government by attacking the Ethiopian National Defense Force, the military arm of the Federal government. The TPLF  has declared its intention to march on Addis Ababa, the capital, to overthrow the government. That makes those leaders of the TPLF, not the Tigrayan people, an enemy of the state.
  • The people of Tigray, led by the TPLF, by adopting the 1995 Ethiopian Federal Constitution, willingly joined the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, thereby accepting the central government in Addis. To reject the Union, which they voluntarily entered, by holding separate elections and declaring war against the Federal government, is a violation of the law, and a threat to the entire nation.
  • Individual states are not equivalent in law or governance to the Federal government. This lesson was hard fought by the U.S. from the inception of the U.S. Constitution, through the 1800s with the movement of “nullifiers”, who renounced the power of the Federal government. This ultimately led to the Civil War, a war to save the Union, which lasted four years and cost the lives of approximately 750,000 Americans.
  • The pervasive inundation of a narrative by the West that intentionally obscures the life and death battle to prevent the Ethiopian nation from being torn apart, is itself contributing to the prolonged conflict and loss of life.

U.S. Targets Ethiopian Government

Neither the Biden administration or the U.S. Congress have shown any respect for the sovereignty of Ethiopia, nor deviated from the narrative that the conflict in Ethiopia is between warring parties and opposing belligerent ethnicities. The House Foreign Relations Committee has passed and sent to the full House of Representatives for a vote, House Resolution 445 (H. Res. 445), amended by Congresswoman Bass upon her return from Ethiopia in September. While this resolution has no legal force, it demonstrates the desire by thoughtless members of the U.S. Congress to continue to mis-characterize the conflict in Ethiopia. It reeks with Western arrogance and disdain for the rights of Ethiopia as a sovereign nation.

The resolution demands that the government cease hostilities and reconcile with the TPLF. This intentionally overlooks the fact that the conflict, which has and continues to cause massive suffering among the Ethiopian people, was instigated by the TPLF’s attack on the Ethiopian government’s military, posted in Mekelle, Tigray. Not only is the source of Ethiopia’s humanitarian crisis ignored, but the armed rebels responsible for the attack on a federal military installation are treated with equivalency to a lawful government of a sovereign nation.

U.S. sanctions, supported by the Congress, are intended to punish Ethiopia, exposing the underlying belief by U.S. officials, who beleive Ethiopia is responsible for this protracted conflict.

Conspicuously missing from this ten page document is even the slightest recognition of the June national election that democratically chose Abiy Ahmed as their leader. The peaceful election did happen, and almost forty million Ethiopians actually stood in line to vote. Yet the resolution contemptuously urges Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, and Samantha Power, Administrator of USAID to “promote democracy in Ethiopia.”

Stoking the flames of ethnic warfare, Western analysts have made deceitful comparisons of Ethiopia to the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia, where NATO and the U.S. forces militarily intervened, and to Rwanda prior to the 1994 genocide.

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.

U.S. congress ignores successful June 21, 2021 Ethiopian national elections

Can War Be Just?

War by its very nature is an abuse of human rights and a humanitarian disaster for humankind. Killing a fellow human being, terminating the life of one of the Creator’s children, is always a grave wrong, that must be avoided at all costs. Those living in conflict zones suffer greatly, as a result of shortages of food, medicine, and the basic necessities of life. As one American General put it: war is hell. Therefore, those responsible for initiating armed conflict should be held fully accountable for their heinous actions.

St. Augustine, the fourth century Christian theologian thought that war was always a sin, but a “just war” can be fought if its intention is to bring about peace. Augustine lived before the existence of the nation-state was realized, thus did not specifically address the nature of this present conflict.

We can say with the authority of reason and moral certitude that combat emanating from ethnicity is not a just war. Armed conflict between sisters and brothers, fighting each other for ethnic territorial control or political dominance can never be justified. However, how can we not contemplate that a war to stop the destruction of the nation-state, has justification?

Will President Biden’s Sanctions vs Ethiopia Cause Suffering for Hundreds of Millions of Africans

Will President Biden’s Sanctions on Ethiopia Cause Suffering for Hundreds of Millions of Africans

Lawrence Freeman, September 30, 2021

President Biden is pursuing a destructive and dangerous course of action for the African continent with his policy of undermining the Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The fact that he may have no comprehension of the consequences of his action is no excuse when you are the President of the United States. President Obama’s administration, which Biden served as Vice President, will be forever marred by the unwarranted and unnecessary overthrow of President Qaddafi a decade ago. Obama’s reckless regime change in Libya has brought hell upon the nations of the Sahel, which will continue to cause unspeakable hardships to Africans for generations. If President Biden is to avoid repeating the failure of the previous Democratic administration and avoid being indicted for unleashing a new nightmare of death and devastation across Africa, he must reverse course, and support the sovereignty of Ethiopia. This will require rejecting the counsel of those in his administration, who are fanatical followers of the wicked geo-political doctrine, especially war-hawk Samantha Power.

Biden’s Defective Executive Order

On September 17, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order authorizing the Departments of Treasury and State to impose additional sanctions on Ethiopia. In his executive order, President Biden falsely claims that the conflict in northern Ethiopia “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” Similar fraudulent formulations were used over the last twenty years as a pretext by the U.S., to justify regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Have we not learned anything from a generation of foreign policy fiascos that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings and the suffering of tens of millions? Not a single stable nation has emerged from this armed belligerent adventurism of the last two decades.

Contrary to President Biden’s executive order, the real interests of America do not lie in the current U.S. policy of weakening Prime Minister Abiy’s democratically elected government and giving tacit support to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). If a rebel group attacked, raided, and killed soldiers at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina, would there be any question regarding the appropriate response by the U.S. government.

Ignorance by U.S. politicians of the historically complex cloth that holds Ethiopian society and culture together is no excuse for the current mindless and perilous policy of sanctions.

In fact, the true interests of the U.S. are entrenched in its republican principles. The U.S. should be supporting nation-states abroad that are committed to improving the conditions of life of their citizens, as enshrined in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (Emphasis added)

Ethiopia, an emerging nation, is unique in Africa with its bold visionary policies for economic development to raise the standard of living for its more than 118 million people. The shameful and blatant failure by both the Biden and Trump presidencies to celebrate and endorse the progress of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)—a dam for development, indicates how far America has drifted from our republican principles. The generation of 6,200 megawatts of electricity to power the Ethiopian and neighboring economies of East Africa is precisely the development strategy that is required and should be emulated by other African nations.

The Perils of Weakening the Nation-State

Thus far, the sovereign nation-state is the most efficacious form of government created by humankind to apply the laws of the universe to society over successive future generations.

With the ongoing horrors of what has been done to the Sahel and North Africa, through the reckless regime change of Libya, in our minds, let us look anew at the impending dangers to Ethiopia and Africa today. And lets us be mindful that same cast of advisors that drove the policy to create the current failed state of Libya are presently holding leading positions in the Biden administration.

Only fools, knaves, and madmen would dare intervene into a legitimate nation-state.

Horn of Africa Endangered

If the U.S. and the West succeed in forcing Ethiopia to negotiate with the TPLF as equivalents, or try to force some type of coalition government, the consequences could be catastrophic for Africa. Ethiopia would then be held hostage to the demands of other rebel ethnic insurgents, and separatist gangs that want to see its demise. This would in effect lead to the dismemberment of the Ethiopian nation-state. Given Ethiopia’s rigid ethnic divisions, internal war would emerge with ethnic regions fighting each other, leading to tens of millions of Ethiopians migrating to seek safer refuge. There is no way this mass movement of people catalyzed by the collapse of the Ethiopian nation-state would not affect the stability of the region. The total population of Ethiopia and its bordering nations combined is 255 million Africans: Ethiopia-118.5 million, Kenya-55 million, Somalia-16 million, Sudan-45 million, South Sudan-11 million, Eritrea-3.6 million, Somaliland-5.7 million, Djibouti-1 million. Two orders of magnitude greater than the population of Tigray, which could be engulfed in war, chaos, and acute hunger, if the government of Prime Minister Abiy were to collapse. This level of volatility from mass migration would lead an increase in the spread of disease and violent extremism.

Thus, contrary to his stated aim, President Biden’s sanctions regime would in fact endanger the security of the U.S. by creating the potential for massive instability in the Horn of Africa where almost 20% of the continent’s inhabitants reside.

Is this what President Biden wishes to be his legacy in Africa? From the classical Greek dramatists we learn, “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” Let this ancient warning penetrate the foolishness of those formulating U.S. policy today. When evil appears as good, in the mind of our leaders, civilization is threatened.

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.

Promoting Economic Growth and Tranquility Should Replace Foreign Interventionism. The Case of Ethiopia 

Last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan

Promoting Economic Growth and Tranquility Should Replace Foreign Interventionism. The Case of Ethiopia 

Lawrence Freeman

September 2, 2021

As the United States was in the final days of evacuation from its twenty year old failed invasion of Afghanistan, the Washington Post called on President Joe Biden to impose more harsh penalties on the nation of Ethiopia. There are insights we can glean from the juxtaposition of these two events.

On August 27, the Washington Post editorial board called on President Joe Biden to issue additional sanctions against Ethiopia. The Post asserted that the government of Ethiopia is responsible for atrocities including civilian massacres, using rape as a weapon, and “causing the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade.” No proof was provided other than reports from Amnesty International and comments by Samantha Power, Chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Readers of the Post editorial are expected to have accepted all the allegations by the media against Ethiopia over the last ten months as true and factual. However, a leaked video conversation by United Nations representatives in August, revealed an admission of no real evidence-data-to support the media’s unsubstantiated claim that Ethiopia used rape as a weapon of war.  Also, recent reports from USAID officials, indicate that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have been stealing food intended to feed Ethiopians.  

The editorial continued, “If Eritrean officials deserve sanctions, the U.S. government must consider them for Ethiopian government officials, too.Conspicuously, while the Post asserts the alleged crimes of Ethiopia as genuine, they merely allude to “accusations” of atrocities by the TPLF. 

President Biden defends ending war in Afghanistan (courtesy of hindustaintimes.com)

Failed Foreign Interventions

Is President Biden foolish enough to allow Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Samantha Power, and others in his administration to lead the U.S. into another foreign disaster, after twenty years of failed interventions? This remains to be seen.

History often provides us with a real time juxtaposition of events that exposes an underlying reality, that might otherwise go unexamined by those who are habituated to regurgitating media induced popular opinion.

A week before the Washington Post publicly joined the liberal establishment’s campaign to weaken the government of Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed,in favor of separatist forces, Tony Blair defended the British-U.S. disastrous Afghanistan policy. Remember, Blair was British Prime Minister and Labor Party leader from 1997-2007.

In his wordy defense for geo-political motivated interventions, Blair castigated President Biden for pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. Blair arrogantly insisted that it is the responsibility of the West to military intervene around the world in the guise of promoting so called democratic values. He wrote on August 21, “If the West wants to shape the 21st century, it will take commitment…we in the West represent values and interests worth being proud of defending.”

Blair attempts to justify a generation of Western intervention that has produced nothing but death, destruction, and suffering around the world.

Abetted by Blair, President George W Bush launched the invasion into Afghanistan, under the pretext of chasing down the terrorists responsible for the “9/11” bombings in the U.S. Except that the  majority of those responsible were citizens of Saudi Arabia, the geo-political ally of the U.S. in the Gulf region. Less than two years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq, led by Blair’s lies, searching for the non-existent weapons of mass destruction. How many millions of men, women and children have lost their lives or suffered horrible conditions because of the ill-fated Western adventure to destroy Iraq, a then relatively stable nation in the region.

Former President Obama’s overthrow and elimination of President Muammar Gaddafi almost ten years ago, purportedly to protect the Libyan people, has led to untold suffering of millions of Africans across the Sahel. This reckless intervention by liberal Democrat Obama, transformed the nation of Libya into a failed state, and has led to an expansion of violent extremist movements throughout the nations of the Sahel; still ongoing today. Obama’s support for “regime change” against Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has done nothing but create more devastation in the Middle East. 

Now asked yourself; how many nations dedicated to the principles of American republicanism were nurtured into existence during this generation of U.S. and Western intervention?

Tony Blair and George Soros, leading liberal architects for regime change (courtesy of pagesix.com)

Blair and Soros Promulgate “R2P”

Blair, who chastises President Biden’s withdraw from Afghanistan,  epitomizes the “liberal Imperialist.” Under the guise of promoting democracy and so called western values around the world, Blair advocates “regime change” with complete disregard for national sovereignty.

In a 1999 Chicago presentation, Blair publicly advocated his infamous doctrine “responsibility to protect-R2P,” which became the core of  British and American foreign policy for the next twenty years.

In 2012, I wrote:

“… the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine advocates discarding over three centuries of the lawful recognition of the supremacy of the sovereign nation state, established by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended over a century and a half of religious warfare in Europe. Blair’s anti-nation state doctrine insists that the so-called international community has the right to use its more powerful militaries to eliminate governments under the amorphous notion of quote ‘humanitarian intervention.’”

Liberal Democrat George Soros creator of the Open Society, and super funder of liberal causes, supported and expanded Blair‘s new “R2P” doctrine. In his 2004 article in Foreign Policy Magazine, Soros wrote: 

“Sovereignty is anachronistic conception originating in bygone times… it became the cornerstone of international relations with the treaty Westphalia in 1648…The rulers of a sovereign state have responsibility to protect the state’s citizens. When they failed to do so the responsibility is transferred to the international community.”(emphasis added)

Who comprises this supercilious “international community” that decides to disregard the sovereignty of nations, and from whence did they acquire this entitlement?

Will Biden End Foreign Interventions?

President Biden’s August 31, address to the people of the United States, could portend the end of U.S. policy of mis-adventurism around the world, when he said: “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.” If so, Biden’s presidency will be a turning point in modern history. This moment provides President Biden with a unique opportunity to define a fresh foreign policy approach.

Second filling of GERD that will generate electricity-economic growth for Africa (courtesy of burkena.com)

Let President Biden demonstrate his commitment to this new outlook by reversing his administration’s involvement in undermining the elected government of Ethiopia. The U.S. should be supporting and strengthening PM Abiy in his efforts to secure the nation-state of Ethiopia against separatist-rebels trying to dismember the nation.  Sanctions will not help Ethiopia. It is not in America’s interest to have a weakened Ethiopia. Sanctions are not an effective method of conducting relations with a sovereign nation that has provided stability in the region and been an ally to the U.S. There is no justification for the U.S. to turn against Ethiopia, its erstwhile partner in the Horn of Africa.

Sanctions should be repealed immediately. This will require President Biden curtailing his Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s proclivities for interventionism and Samantha Power, a longtime supporter of “R2P” and George Soros.   

A new foreign strategy should not be predicated on intruding militarily  or applying political coercion to other nations under the pretext of imposing so called western democracy. Rather we should emulate one of our great U.S. presidents, John Quincy Adams, who said in his 1821 Fourth of July speech, “America goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

Instead of weakening nations through sanctions and the withholding funds for development, the U.S. should export republicanism. The U.S. was founded as republic with a government constitutionally mandated to provide for the “general welfare” of its citizens. All great U.S. presidents, regardless of party, understood that fostering economic growth, propelled by advancements in science and technology, was the proper means to ensure prosperity and tranquility.

Ethiopia, although still an emerging nation, has distinguished itself by launching bold initiatives to drive economic development, particularly in the area of infrastructure. Let the basis for a renewed alliance and friendship between Ethiopia and the U.S., be grounded on policies that promote economic progress for Ethiopia’s 110 million citizens.    

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