Lawrence Freeman: Why The “Rules-Based International Order” Has Failed and Will Always Fail: The Case of Africa

Please watch my one hour fifteen minute presentation in the video above. (May 5). It will be of benefit to you and your nation.

June 5, 2024

This is a strategic presentation that you will not hear from anyone else. It contains epistemological concepts that are necessary for one to understand, if one wants to become a competent strategic thinker. With a grounding in these rudimentary but essential ideas  that I discussed, we are equipped to help Africa realize its potential in becoming an economic giant within the first half of this century.

After discussing some of the dynamics in Africa today, I delved into the main subject, which is poorly understood, even by most of my friends and colleagues. However, absorbing and spreading this knowledge may determine the future existence of the human race.

Only when we understand why the so called rules-based international order must fail, can we dedicate ourselves with new vigor to create a superior paradigm that will portend a better future for humans living today and our progeny.

At the core of the deficiency in the thinking process of the Western elites-the political financial oligarchy, is their failure to understand the unique characteristic of what makes us human. Endowed by the Creator, we humans, and we alone of all species, and unlike all machines, and all computer programs, possess the power of creative mentation. In other words, the mental power to hypothesize, as brilliantly and beautifully elaborated by Plato in his dialogues and by Socrates. With this power, which exists in all human beings as a potential to be developed, there are no limits to the expansion of the human race and the transformation of our physical universe. Thus, people and nations are not fixed. All societies and cultures, if they are human, embody a civilization of creative transformers. All people of all nations share this exclusive common feature, which universally binds us together in our quest for a better shared future.

Those in power in the West, their schools, colleges, institutions, and values, not only fail to understand this fundamental principle of human existence, but actually deploy to suppress it.

Our global society should be organized on these principles of human  creative enhancement, not a fixed set of rules established by the bankrupt Western invention of a so called rules-based international order .

I hope you learn from, and enjoy my presentation in the video above.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

South Africa Led the World in Small Nuclear Reactors: Africa Needs Nuclear Energy Today!

May 30, 2024

Watch this video from africanagenda.net.

Read my earlier posts:

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

South Africa: A Leader on the Continent for Nuclear Energy

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation” Nuclear Energy Can Be A Solution To The Continent’s Dearth of Electricity

Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

African Nations Desperately Need Energy for Economic Growth

Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

In the Next Decade, Nuclear Power for Africa Is A Necessity, Not An Option

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

African Leaders Speak Out for Physical Economic Growth at World Bank Forum

Watch Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni’s at the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) summit, April 29 in Nairobi, Kenya

May 22, 2024

African leaders are displaying signs of resistance to simply taking orders from the Western controlled international financial system and their so called rules-based order. Their opposition to the diktats from the  political-financial oligarchy has been demonstrated on two crucial fronts: energy and manufacturing.

Increasingly, African leaders are resisting demands from “developed” nations, whose populations have already 100% access to electricity, that less developed nations can only use so called renewables. The “advanced sector” threatens nations whose populations are literally dying from the lack of electricity, that they will not receive funds for investment in fossil fuel production. In other words, they insist African nations endowed with vast hydrocarbon natural resources should be prevented from utilizing these resources to produce electricity, which is necessary to improve the lives of their people. Under the cover of their duplicitous concern for the environment, the West is willing to have millions of Africans die with their deceitful cries to “save the planet.“ The two-faced nature of the rules-based order and their financial intuitions is demonstrated by their lack of support for major hydro-power projects in Africa. The United States and Europe have not supported the Grand Renaissance Dam (Ethiopia-5,150 MW), the Grand Inga (Democratic Republic of the Congo-40-50,000 MW), of the multination water project, Transaqua.

South African Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe

Read the courageous analysis by South African Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe: South Africa Energy Minister Rejects Western Dictates & Hypocrisy Against Africa’s Use of Energy Resources

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, Tanzanian President, and Samia Suluhu Hassan, speaking at the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) summit (April 29th, Nairobi, Kenya) spoke for the necessity to fund manufacturing and infrastructure in Africa. (See below) It is imperative to end the Wests’ singular focus on extractive industries to loot Africa’s valuable resources. Numerous African leaders are correctly demanding that none of their critical minerals should leave their nations in its raw form. Instead, they insist these minerals must be transformed into products for trade and consumption by a growing indigenous manufacturing sector.

Read the remarks by Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of International relations,  at the Ministerial meeting of the Bi-National Commission of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, last year. South African Minister Pandor Articulates Principles of Development for Africa

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Grace Naledi Pandor

Edited excerpts below from the address by Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, to the International Development Association (IDA) summit April 29 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Borrowing for what? capacity building. Imagine! Seminars, they call you in a hotel, you eat chapati, mandazi, they say that is capacity building…it should be on the ground not just in seminars. So, if you are serious, I need to hear about the low cost funding for manufacturing, not for stories…for manufacturing,” he remarked.

The crisis Africa is in today is because of philosophical, ideological, strategic economic mistakes, which we have been talking about since the 1960s.

Our populations are increasing, but our economies are stunted. The IDA should tell us why they are funding the modern slavery of Africans, and we should address issues like why Africa is producing what it does not consume and consuming what it does not produce. ,The crisis Africa is in today is because of philosophical, ideological, strategic economic mistakes, which we have been talking about since the 1960s.

I was very happy the president of the World Bank talking about prosperity instead of profiteering, his own words. The problem has been the World Bank people and other groups talking of sustainable development. I have seen that those words sustainable development.

I’m not going to be 80 years old I’ve never seen sustainable pregnancy that the woman is pregnant this year the pregnancy continues the next year three years four years. It never happens in life pregnancy develops sustainably. The baby is growing bigger and bigger but at some stage one static growth must be transformed into qualitative change, the pregnancy must become a baby. I would even ask you to change those words in your documents. Africa does not need sustainable; you could call the sustainable under development. Africa needed this social economic transformation. The pregnancy must become a baby, the baby must grow and grow, and become a teenager. The teenager must grow. That is what happens in life. You cannot have quantitative growth and think you are doing anything.

So, if you are serious, I need to hear about the low- cost funding for manufacturing, not for stories … for manufacturing. The main reason why there is no growth is because the growth factors are not funded, they are not even under understood; those who want to help Africa should fund our transport systems, electricity, raw material processing, and import substitution.

Our populations are increasing, but our economies are stunted. The IDA should tell us why they are funding the modern slavery of Africans, and we should address issues like why Africa is producing what it does not consume and consuming what it does not produce.

I banned the export of minerals from Uganda. No export of minerals from Uganda if it is not processed here. You wait until I go away you can steal the minerals but not now. I ban this export of unprocessed minerals. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Muscat, Oman on June 14, 2022. (courtesy of theeastafrican.co.ke)

Museveni was seconded by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan,  who has fought for infrastructure development in her own nation. She said:

Considering the challenges related to present projected debt levels, we strongly believe that IDA should focus more on providing concessional loans such as 50-year credit loans. These facilities will provide more fiscal space for African countries to address competing development needs. (Emphasis added)

She is correct in identifying the need for long-term ,low interest loans to maximize investment in infrastructure and manufacturing. Infrastructure Progress in Tanzania

Watch Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni’s 30 minute speech at the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) summit, April 29 in Nairobi, Kenya

Courtesy of PD Lawton: africanagenda.net/musevenis-aptly-describes-sustainable-development-and-says-fund-the-railways-instead

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

High Speed Railway Network Will Spur Economic Growth on the African Continent

April 3, 2024

My colleague, PD Lawton, creator of the website, africanagenda.net, in her article below, provides an comprehensive and important overview of the progress for transcontinental high speed railroads in Africa. Infrastructure, especially in rail and energy, are the lifeblood for economic progress in Africa. Only with massive investment in hard infrastructure, will African nations be able to achieve economic growth, peace, stability, and the elimination of poverty and hunger. Without expansion of rail lines across the continent and abundant energy, they will not! Without an increase in railway lines, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is mere empty talk, and will not succeed!

Watch the YouTube interview: Unveiling Africa’s Railway Future

Read my earlier posts:

The African Integrated High Speed Rail Network-(AIHSRN) Will Revolutionize Africa’s Economies

Africa Continental Free Trade Area Must Have An Integrated High Speed Rail Network

Shortly, I will be publishing from lawrencefreeman.substack.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

Stop Foolish Talk of War in the Horn of Africa-Promote Economic Growth Instead

March 16, 2024 

If Ethiopia is going to have access to a port, then there must be long term agreement, Lawrence Freeman explains why

With around 120 million people, Ethiopia is said to be the most populous land locked country in the world. Since the separation of Eritrea with a declaration of independence in 1991, Ethiopia has been using the Port of Djibouti for about 95 % of its import export trade.

But with the rapid growth of its economy its import export trade has also grown exponentially calling for the increase of the number of ports, upgrading of the capacity of the ports as well as securing its right to access sea outlet.

“If Ethiopia is going to make investments, which they have to do in infrastructure to make the port profitable and efficient, then they need to have a long term lease agreement.” Says Lawrence Freeman, an American political economic analyst for Africa (www.lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com ).

In his brief stay with The Ethiopian Herald, Freeman has reflected his insight about how vital for Ethiopia is having a sea access with a guarantee of long term agreement, the need to access multiple ports to accommodate its rapidly growing economy and respond to the needs of its large population, as well as the benefits other countries of the region can secure from the Ethiopia – Somaliland Port access deal and the role of the regional countries. Enjoy reading!

It has been two months since Ethiopia and Somaliland signed the MoU for a port access. How do you see the progress of the agreement and what has been unfolding around the issue so far?

There appears to still be concern by Somalia about this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). which I haven’t seen the actual complete agreement. There was also a report in the news that in the meeting that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had with the president of Kenya, as a softening of the Prime Minister’s position.

However, much of the discussion is just poorly informed, and not helpful to the Horn of Africa to any of the nations in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia. The problem is the countries are reacting in a less than informed manner. If they understood physical economic growth, they would understand that Ethiopia needs multiple port access for its growing economy, number one. Number two, Ethiopia is the largest economy in East Africa and has great deal of potential for growth. Number three, this will benefit all the countries in the region because they will benefit from the expansion of trade and commerce. Number four, if Ethiopia is going to have access to a port, then they need to have long term agreement. It can’t be a one year two year; we’ll do it when we want. It can’t be capricious. If Ethiopia is going to make investments, which they have to do in infrastructure to make the poor profitable and efficient, then they need to have a long term lease agreement. Otherwise, they will not make the investments; nobody would. And number five, the reactions of many of the countries and leaders in the region represent a legacy of the colonial mentality of who owned what going back many, many years, or decades. And they represent what I would say ignorance in physical economics and are dominated by old grudges, rage and anger, all of which is inappropriate at this time. If you want to see Africa grow, if you want to see the region grow, if you want to see all the nations of the Horn of Africa develop and grow, then it’s ABCs. Very easy for me to see the purpose of having long term access to multiple ports. The argument for an access long term access to port is valid. And we should put aside all his other commentary and focus on what will help improve the lives of Africans living in that region.

How do you think could diplomatic approach help reach consensus among the countries that signed the MoU and others?

Well, the fact of the matter is, if the Somali government was more thoughtful, the eloquent solution would be simply. Say we consider Somaliland part of Somalia, if Somalia government is, is looking to the future, they would say okay, Somaliland is part of Somalia, and therefore we accept the agreement, because it’s an agreement between Ethiopia and land considered part of Somalia. So we will benefit, Somalia, and will benefit our neighbors. That would be the most thoughtful, eloquent solution in Somalia to say ‘we agree that this will be helpful to all our people.’ Now that that eloquent solution is not being pursued by Somalia, and Somalia, has made all kinds of threatening statements, which are really, in my view, kind of silly to think that Somalia is going to go to war with Ethiopia. It is silly, but it also dangerous. And Ethiopia has been defending Somalia with its treasure and blood with troops in Somalia, going back to the early 2006, and they’re still there. So the idea that you would be able to mobiliser a war against Ethiopia, it’s just silly, but dangerous. Then you have other countries coming in, and aligning themselves, for and against Ethiopia for and against the Somalia. This is also dangerous. They should keep their nose out of the Horn of Africa, they should study physical economics, they should listen and understand that this is beneficial to all the nations. Now I don’t know where the MOU stands two months, over two months after it was initially signed, but my advice is, we should go ahead with it. And this will help all of the nations and all of the people in the nations. We have to get away from anger, and historical rage, and historical pettiness and look to the future. What kind of economy are we going to have? What kind of economic growth are we going to have in the Horn of Africa and eastern Africa? That depends on the economy of Ethiopia.

What do you think can leaders of the region including Ethiopia,  Somaliland  and Somalia can do to reach a win win solution?

I think that the leaders of sovereign nations should be able to sit down and discuss calmly, without anger. Without ancient rhetoric, they should sit down and discuss how we can benefit all the people of our nation. Now, I don’t know where the memorandum of understanding is at this point, because of it’s been a long time–it’s been 10 weeks since it was signed. But I would think this pursuit is a viable alternative to Ethiopia having access to this waterway, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean … etc. And , there could be other ports that could be pursued. The main thing, from my standpoint as a physical economist is Ethiopia should have a modern port. And, without a long term agreement, they’re not going to make the investment in a modern board, nobody would. And Somalia should not call this annexing their land. It’s not annexing any part of Somalia. They’re making an agreement. It’s not annexation. Now, I believe, personally, that there outside forces that are manipulating the situation, because there were forces that don’t want to see a strong, independent sovereign Ethiopia. And these outside forces are trying to weaken Ethiopia, just like they did in the war with Northern Ethiopia.

What kind of role do you think Ethiopia would play in the peace and security of the red sea region if it sets up naval force?

Actually, in Ethiopia, he’s also getting, I believe, several, maybe 12 miles of area, of land along the water way. That’s good. Because the whole  Red Sea area is insecure, as we’ve seen with these recent attacks. If you have another Navy, that helps you provide more security. So it’s not a bad thing is a good thing. And I believe, it is manipulated by geopolitical forces, who don’t want to see peace, who don’t want to see prosperity in the Horn of Africa. But a port in a navy military base, could help the situation in the Red Sea, I don’t see it as a negative, it could be a positive.

Many countries from diverse corners of the world show interest in the red sea region. As a result they my show concern on the new development like Ethiopia and Somaliland MoU. But is there any way they can also contribute in settling the issue smoothly?

I think you see some countries trying to help the situation. The visit of the Prime Minister [Abiy Ahmed] to Kenya probably was a positive diplomatic trip, and it may improve the situation. I think it’s reasonable for countries in that region, have discussions with Ethiopia, have discussions with Somalia, and other countries in the Horn of Africa. That’s how problems should be solved. They should be solved by African nations, Sub Saharan African nations involved in that region, who keep care about the future standard of living of their citizens. And among them, there should be discussion. I’m sure there are many private discussions going on among people in the African Union, and IGAD and other platforms for African nations. And that should be going on and they should be the ones to resolve this. There is absolutely no reason for conflict, none zero. And anybody who’s talking about that is being foolish, and also hurting the wrong people by even promoting a discussion of war. This can be resolved by leaders of nations calmly talking among themselves.

Prior to the signing of the MoU between Ethiopia and Somaliland many countries from different corners of the world have come all the way to Somaliland and leased the port there. Why do you think does it cause so much uproar when Somaliland signed similar agreement with Ethiopia?

That gives you a clue as to the fact that somebody wants conflict, because as you pointed out, other countries think the UAE and the international port company have had agreements in Somaliland. So as you pointed out, this is not the first time and therefore, why now, it you get this stupid talk about war. So that’s a clue. That tells me that somebody wants conflict, that somebody doesn’t want good negotiations between Ethiopia and Somalia. Some geopolitical force, doesn’t want Ethiopia to become a dominant growing economic power in East Africa. These are clues to people like me, who understand the way the world operates. And since the beginning of the Prime Minister’s taking the position as prime minister in 2018, there have been one after another attacks on Ethiopia that are trying to prevent Ethiopia from fully developing, and other people who forces who are also using the internal situation Ethiopia, where you have this ethnic nationalism, which is an attack on the nation state, and its attack on Ethiopian citizenship, and that ethnic nationalism is also being supported by outside forces. So I have seen Ethiopia being a victim of many different operations over the last six years now, it’s quite possible that the government could handle this situation better. If I were advising them, I would tell them things to do that could help. But their pursuit of economic growth for their country is right. And it’s to the benefit of all the nations in the region. In fact, implicitly it’s a benefit for the entire continent of Africa.

What do you think would be the way forward the MoU signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland?

I think the best way to handle it is to handle it through private, nonpublic discussions with the leaders of the countries in the region. I mean, you could have a conference. And you could have a conference that discusses economic growth for all the countries of the Horn of Africa, and the importance of development, and present information on how the country would grow with another port, with advanced Infrastructure Transportation to that port. We certainly can reduce the cost of what Ethiopia is paying to Djibouti now, which is a billion and a half dollars. Not Birr, but dollars or other hard currencies. Ethiopia is using up a large a portion of his foreign exchange to maintain operations in Djibouti. And I think there’s a lot of people meddling in. And I would have the leaders of the region meet on their own and discuss from a thoughtful standpoint, from my standpoint, what are the potentials for economic growth, and reason for the necessity of Ethiopia having a port.

Thank you very much

by Zekarias Woldemariam, The Ethiopian Herald

Read my earlier posts:

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

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

“Ethiopian Seaport is Win-Win for East African Nations”: Physical Economic Analyst Freeman

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

On “Talk Africa” Freeman Discuses Geopolitical Attack on South Africa and Value of AGOA

Watch the discussion on Talk Africa from February 22, 2024

February 27, 2024

Talk Africa above, I discuss that the geopolitical faction in the United States is targeting South Africa because it will not submit to being controlled by the so called international rules-based order. South Africa is a important nation in Africa, a member the BRICS, and a leader in the Global South. It maintains close economic relations with China and has strong political ties with Russia. Sadly the U.S. executive branch, and the Congress, focus on countering China and Russia, but lack a consistent positive US-Africa policy,

Talk Africa below, I discuss that AGOA is insufficient to meet the needs of Africa. It is not transformative, and does not address the massive poverty and infrastructure deficits that hold back the economic development of African nations. There is only one valid measure for true economic progress: the increase in the per capita material standard of living of Africans.

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

Infrastructure Essential for Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Economic Integration

February 5, 2024

Image: courtesy of tanzaniainvest.com

The two articles combined, (see below) by PD Lawton, (africanagenda.net), provide a clear conception of how Africa will increase its economic integration through the expansion of regional railway systems. Massive expansion Infrastructure, such as rail, road, water, and especially electricity, is the only way Africa will realize the goals of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The interview with the Director General of Tanzania Railway Corporation, (watch below) is an exciting overview of Tanzania’s commitment to regional economic growth by investing in new railroads, such as the Central Corridor Tanzania SGR.

At the Durban launch President Ramaphosa spoke of the days of Africa being the raw materials market for the global North were over. It is time for the world to meet Made in Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa officiated the launch of South Africa’s first shipment under the preferential trading agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 31 January 2024 at the Port of Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal. The shipment to Ghana includes refrigerators [1] home appliances and mining equipment.

This is an historic event for the entire continent as it marks the practical realization of the AfCFTA Agreement which was inaugurated on the 1 January 2021.

AfCFTA is expected to increase the size of Africa’s economy to $29 trillion by 2050.

Read President Ramaphosa’s remarks below.

Read below the detailed outline of the phases for construction of the Central Corridor Tanzania SGR

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

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

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

January 16, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

Interview with Ethiopian News Agency, January 2, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read my earlier posts:

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

Economic Development Can Bring Peace to the Horn of Africa

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

GERD Talks Must Shift To Higher Level: Developing the Nile Basin

Lawrence Freeman being interviewed by the Ethiopian Herald on Dec 23, 2023 about the 4th round of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

December 27, 2023

The colonial mentality has to give way to the mandate for development –

BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM, THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD

“I didn’t expect that these discussions would lead to anything because you have to change the topic of the discussion” says Laurence Freeman, American Political Economic Analyst for Africa (www.lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com), asked about the outcome of the 4th round of the latest series of tripartite talks on the first filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The negotiation which took place from 17-19 December 2023 in Cairo, Egypt was held to deal on the final rules and regulations for the filling and operation of the dam. Unfortunately, the talks ended up with no deal concluded following which Ethiopia and Egypt issued statements expressing their stance during the negotiations and why they blame the other side for the failure to reach agreement.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia says that Egypt’s efforts to maintain it historical rights based on the colonial period agreements were the impediments to reach agreement. “During these four rounds, Ethiopia endeavored and keenly engaged with the two lower riparian countries to address the major issues of difference and reach an amicable agreement. Egypt, in contrast, maintained colonial era mentality and erected roadblocks against efforts toward convergence.” The statement read.

Freeman on his part argues that the topic of dialogue among the riparian countries, i.e. Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt should not be to maintain historical rights, but to plan future cooperation on how to use the water together. “It should not be how do we guarantee so much water which the Ethiopians can’t do. But how do we proceed on a development program that would advance the standard of living of all the people living in and now basic. If there’s going to be another round of discussion that should be the main topic.”

Here is the detail of the brief interview with Lawrence Freeman on the latest development around the GERD talks. Enjoy reading!

Could you tell me your reflection on the 4th round of GERD dam talks which took place recently in Cairo?

When Prime Minister Abiy was in Egypt in July, he suggested to President El Sisi, that they continue the discussion was another round of talks on the implications of the GERD, which just occurred last week was the fourth round of these talks, which, from what I read in the media, nothing really happened that changed the position of either country. And I didn’t really expect that it would. I think that both countries now have made very clear what their positions are. Ethiopia claiming the right of sovereignty over its river systems and energy production. And I don’t think much is going to change from that. 

And I don’t think there’s anything Egypt is going to do that’s going to change it. And the Egyptians have maintained that they must have so much water guaranteed for them every year, which is impossible for Ethiopia to do. I don’t think anything more is going to happen. Hopefully, there is no political or other escalation in this disagreement.

(Curtesy of researcgate.net)

After the conclusion of the talks with no deal Ethiopia and Egypt are trading blames for failing to reach agreement. How do you see the stance of the two sides in this regard?

I think the Egyptians are motivated by a type of ideology, rather than an understanding of the implications of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the GERD is a dam for producing hydropower for development. I mean, electricity is ready to be exported to Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan. And we should look at the potential of this increase injection of 5150 megawatts as a potential to develop nations in the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Well, now basically, the Egyptians do not want to have I believe in Ethiopia as a major economic competitor or see Ethiopia as a major economic competitor, which is a false way of looking at the potential rather than countries uniting together for economic development. I think Egypt was caught up in trying to suppress economic progress in Ethiopia.

And of course, the Egyptians claim that the historical rights now and they don’t have historical rights, nobody has historical rights. Plus the fact that the dam is on the Blue Nile, not on the White Nile, so there’s no real argument there. I think the Egyptians want a guaranteed amount of water that will flow to the Aswan dam and that cannot be delivered and the Ethiopians would be remiss and wrong in my view if they guaranteed it, because they can’t. But there can be joint collaboration and Egyptians for the moment are rejecting it.

This tripartite talk on GERD has failed after progressing for four rounds starting from August 2023. Do you think it is being influenced by internal and external factors, or Egypt is intentionally changing its stance every time?

I don’t think the Egyptians have changed their stance at all; this has been their policy going back to 2015. I think the Egyptians have to accept the fact that this, as we say, is a fait accompli. This has occurred, the dam is at proximately 41 billion cubic meters of water filled. I think it’ll go up to 47 or so around there. 

And then that’s the level of which we’ll be operating on. Each year, it will go down to that level as it’s filled up to 74 billion cubic meters from the rain. And this will produce electricity, which can be used for the development of the nations of the Nile Basin; the Egyptians have a different view. But it’s not going to happen; it is not going to work. There’s no way of Egypt, challenging a dam for energy development. And it’s already been built. So it can’t be unbuilt. So I don’t really understand all the political motivations for Egypt. 

Except what I said earlier, I think they want to maintain the dominant position and retard Ethiopia’s economic development  potential. I didn’t expect that these discussions would lead to anything because you have to change the topic of the discussion. It should not be how do we guarantee so much water which the Ethiopians can do? But how do we proceed on a development programme that would advance the standard of living of all the people living in and now basic, if there’s going to be another round of discussion that should be the main topic.

Egypt has insisted on safeguarding its interest which is a vestige of colonial period agreements. Do you see any possibility of coming to terms with a negotiated deal where one of the sides is insisting on colonial era agreement?1

Well, if you look at the reality of this of the situation, one is Sudan, only gains from the GERD and I think the Sudanese before the crisis that began several years ago, and I believe even now, they’ve made statements to the effect that they’re not suffering at all from reduction of the flow of the Nile through the country in Khartoum. I don’t think Sudan is part of this at all at this point. I think that they were early on, I think they were pressured by the Egyptians. 

The problem that the Egyptians have and people who support their position is that the water that flows into the White Nile, I mean, 80% of it comes from three rivers in Ethiopia, the largest Blue Nile but then you also have two other rivers that contribute to the White Nile. And the power plant; The hydroelectric power plant is on an Ethiopian soil and Ethiopian rivers I visited myself I also visited Blue Nile falls, I’m very familiar with it. And fact of the matter is there is more potential. A designated site is three mores sites for dams that have been revealed in a survey done many years ago, that could be also hydroelectric dam.

So there’s a potential in the Blue Nile Basin for more power beyond the 5150 megawatts that the GERD is producing. It would be in Egypt interest to let’s discuss this type of potential for the future. The problem is colonial rights. The Egyptians believe that the British gave them control of the Nile. Because in the history, the British controlled Egypt and Sudan under the 1899 agreement, the Anglo Egyptian condominium, and they think that they have this right. No, they don’t have a right to other people’s waters, especially since the headwaters for both the White Nile and the Blue Nile do not originate in Egypt. 

Now, Egypt built the Aswan Dam, which was their right to provide electricity for their population. But they can’t demand that other countries cannot build on the Blue Nile, what is that lead into the white Nile and that’s the problem is you had a colonial agreement in 19, it was 1929 with British and the Egyptians and the Sudanese that’s, that stipulated no blockage of the water could be no blockage of the water was permitted to the white nile. 

Now, Ethiopia wasn’t at that discussion, even though it was an independent country in 1959. If the Sudan and Egypt became independent, they had another water agreement. And this water agreement, we affirmed the 1929 agreement. And again, Ethiopia was not at that discussion. So the Egyptians really don’t have any legitimate basis, despite claiming colonial rights that have given to them by the British Queen. 

They don’t really have any historical basis for telling Ethiopia what to do. And in fact, the British and other Neo colonial powers never wanted Ethiopia to develop this dam. They wanted to use Lake Tana as a giant water tank to feed their agriculture in Sudan and Egypt. So they’ve always been opposed to this. I mean, this goes back 300 years to the present. 

They’ve been opposed to the development of the Blue Nile Basin, they’ve been opposed to electricity and that position cannot stand up to the needs of providing electricity, employment, agricultural development, for not only Ethiopian people, but from the neighboring nations, which the good will provide. So the colonial mentality has to give way to the mandate for development.

Blue Nile Basin has potential for more hydro-electric dams for development of the Nile Basin (Courtesy sierrarios.org)

How do you think could the two sides break the stalemate and strike a deal in the future?

As I said earlier, we have to change the subject. The topic of providing a guaranteed amount of water to the Aswan Dam each year is a dead issue. That cannot happen. It’s over. The dam has been built as only a small amount. More has to be collected in the first phase up to I think 49 billion cubic metres. 

We have to leave that subject and we have to go to a higher plan; we have to go to a different thinking; a different manifold no longer discussing water guarantee to the Aswan Dam, but discussing how do we use the GERD and potentially other developments of more dams in the Blue Nile Basin for the benefit of all of the downstream nations in the Nile basin. This requires a higher level of thinking. It requires a level of thinking where your concern is the future development of all the people. 

Those who are living in the Blue Nile, basically, that’s several 100 million people over I think, 10 countries? How do we get together and improve the standard of living of our people? How do we end poverty? How do we use this energy, which is a potential 5150 megawatts, and more energy potential. 

So we have to stop thinking about my country’s historical right. And the same thing comes up in discussions in the Horn of Africa. We have to get beyond that. And think about what is the benefit for the futures of our people in the next one to two generations, like we have to expand our thinking, improve our thinking, to this level, and get away from this is mine. This is yours. You can’t take mine. This petty, geopolitical mentality is really stupidity. And I and the leaders of African nations on many different fronts have to learn to rise above this and think about the future. What is going to help their people in the future? And how do we work with other nations? Not how do we demonize other nations. That’s what’s discussion has got to be. 

The Ethiopian should be actually promoting this discussion. Go beyond where they’ve been at this point, and actually promote a conference have let’s have a conference in Addis Ababa, on the future development of the Nile basin, and which then we can discuss how to cooperate with each other for the benefit of our people.

Thank you very much for your collaboration!

Read my earlier posts:

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

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

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

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

“Ethiopian Seaport is Win-Win for East African Nations”: Physical Economic Analyst Freeman

November 19, 2023

In my interview above with OBN (11/6/2023), I discuss the importance of understanding the concept of physical economy to competently analyze the future of the Horn of Africa. Sadly, the vast majority of Africans, like Americans, do not chose to look into the future. It is only by knowing what physical economic inputs are necessary to sustain an expanding population 20-40 years into the future that one can determine the best policies of their nation in the present. Claims of “my nation first” or “my ethnicity first,” express a short sighted mentality that is detrimental to the interests of the nations of the region. Full economic integration of the Horn of Africa, driven by investments in infrastructure, is the most reliable path to achieving peace, stability, and economic growth, and avoiding conflict.

Read my comments in the Ethiopian Herald: Why Ethiopia CDjian No Longer Ignore Interests On the Red Sea – allAfrica.com

Read my earlier posts:

Ethiopia Access to Seaports Benefits All People of East Africa

Economic Development Can Bring Peace to the Horn of Africa

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