The political Marketplace of Money, war and the business of Power” will end and replaced by the Marketplace of individual liberty, peace and the business of Democracy only when access to information is possible to force willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… embrace reality on behalf of the people than fairytale on behalf of their enablers.
January 12, 2020
The Chinese proverb say, ‘a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step’. Disappointingly, it doesn’t mean much for willfully Ignorant contemporary economists, politicians, journalists, investors… to take a single step in the right direction to the mitigate the systemic problem facing the people of Ethiopia and the region — starting from embracing the reality on the ground and telling the truth about the ethnic clans and cliques’ captured apartheid developmental state undergoing ‘reform under new Prime Minster.
As pathetic as the ruling member Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) party and its surrogates that instigated ethnic apartheid rule and their empty propaganda against the modest reform the new PM initiated that gave them the opportunity to own their crimes against the people of Ethiopia may be, ‘The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa: Money, war and the business Power (2015) authored by Alex De Waal nailed how the Horn of African regimes in general operate with far more consequences to come for the people if the PM reforms doesn’t address what drives the ruling elites and their willfully ignorant ‘professional’ cheerleaders and enablers head-on.
De Waal’s book review summarized the reality as; “…drawing on thirty-year career in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, including experience as a participant in high-level peace talks, Alex de Waal provides a unique and compelling account of how these countries’ leaders run their government, conduct their business, fight their wars and, occasionally, make peace. De Wall shows leaders operate on business model, securing funds for their political budget which they use to rent the provisional allegiances of army officers, militia commanders, triable chiefs and party officials at the going rate. This political marketplace is eroding the institutions of government and reversing state building and it is fueled in large part by oil export, aid funds and western military assistant for counter-terrorism and peace keeping”.
When you take the ‘dollar financed nonsensical ethnic apartheid developmental state’ of Ethiopia with giant population and self-subsistence economy that surpass the combined populations of all the Horn of African nations, one would think, the single logical first step in the right direction for any reform to take would be to dismantle the ‘political marketplace’ of money, war, and business of power and replace it with a marketplace of individual liberty, peace and the business of democracy that would build viable, transparent and accountable institutions in the public interest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, thanks for the willfully Ignorant and donor-dependent economists, politicians, journalists, investors… conflating reality with fairytales to sustain the status qua that served them well for almost three decades.
Granted most of the world is run by perception than reality primarily due to elaborate propaganda infrastructure built to sustain the status qua, any willfully ignorant professional can pass as expert in governance, democracy, development, economy, investment, peace, security … to pivot the reality as it was designed. Thus, as fate would have it their behavior is ‘elastic’ as economist like to refer it marinating in what psychologists refer as “argument from ignorance” … more so ‘argument from willful ignorance’ better contextualized by Peter Block, the author of ‘The Structure of Belongings’ as;
“Invitation is not only a step in bringing people together, it is also a fundamental way of being in a community. It manifests the willingness to live in collaborative way. This means that a future can be created without having to force or sell it or barter it. When we believe that barter or subtle coercion is necessary, we are operating out of a context of scarcity and self-interest, the core currency of the economist.”
Thus, without the context of the reality, there are no professional economists, politicians, journalists, investors… but useful instruments of power ‘to force or sell or barter’ public liberty, rights and resources. Nor, there is an economy, politics, journalism, investment… to speak of but a ‘political marketplace’ of money, war and the business of power’ to distribute the pillage among the willing elites at the going rate as De Waal stipulated.
Development Rule101: You shall not participate in Political Marketplace of Money, war and the business of Power or simply put state-sponsored COURRAPTION. That basic rule that would have made a world of difference for the people ruled by fairytales shouldn’t require a PhD in any field to figure out.
Unfortunately, as repetitive as it may sound to tell the political, social and economic reality of Ethiopia for the ruling elites and their willfully ignorant ‘professional’ cheerleaders again-and-again, too many aid-dependent and willful ignorant homegrown economists, politicians, journalists, investors… in nations with too little economy, rights, information and opportunities … better articulated by a Ghanaian born Grant Management expert Benjamin Kofi Quansah as; “the more Africa depends on aid the less opportunity it creates for its people” speaks volume why and how ‘The Real Politics of Money, war and the business of Power’ is sustained as long as it did on behalf of shadowy interest groups posed as private sectors to extract public resources.
But, beyond ‘the real politics of money, war and the business of power’ that persisted for decades, the groundbreaking economic development book authored by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson in 2012 titled Why Nations Fail: The Origin of Power, Prosperity and Poverty that must be read by all willfully ignorant elites that strive in failed states as well as every student of development and citizen alike that ultimately pay for it summed up the universality of the ‘Politics of Money, war and the business of Power’ that brought state-sponsored mismanagement, nepotism and corruption thus, the political, social and economic crises — underdevelopment, poverty, war, misery, migration … and, the one-and-only remedy to end it all in one short paragraph as;
“Whether it is North Korea, Sierra Leone or Zimbabwe, well show that poor countries are poor for the same reason that Egypt is poor. Countries such as Great Britain and Unites States became rich because their citizens overthrew the elites who controlled power and created a society where political rights were much more broadly distributed, where the government was accountable and responsive to citizens, and where the greatest mass of people could take advantage of economic opportunities.”
Speaking of the sorry state of Egypt under tyranny since independence, a recent Al Jazeera documentary titled Egypt’s lost power that exposes the network of corruption and racketeering in the energy sector alone reviles; the universality of “the political marketplace of Money, war and the business of Power in every poor and aid-dependent nation that cannot get rid of the corrupt ruling elites and their willfully ignorant pseudo professional cheerleaders that cover for them.
Thus, the next logical ‘journalistic’ inquiry — who, what, when, who, where, why and how the ruling elites’ control and sustain power comes in handy if only the willfully ignorant journalists stop being lapdogs for the power to be as oppose watchdog journalists in public interest like their counterparts in democratic nations. Unfortunately, lapdog journalist outnumbers watchdog journalist, the reality is buried underground for as long as one remembers.
In recent article titled; “The Dollar Curse: Financing the Nonsensical Ethnic Apartheid Developmental State explain most of the problem of Ethiopia”, we presented Janine R. Weddle’s paper published in April of 2003 titled Clans, cliques and Captured State: Rethinking ‘transition’ in central and Eastern Europe that eluded the Ethiopian intelligentsia in understanding what author refers as “the partially appropriated state and the clan-state” they live under. Accordingly, she observed; “the two models fall along a continuum – from substantial appropriation of the state and use of politics by private actors in a sweeping appropriation and a near wholesale intertwining of state resources and politics.”
When the ruling ethnic clans and cliques posed as ‘private actors’ capture state agencies, nongovernmental organizations and business enterprises of Ethiopia wasn’t enough, the willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… parroting their fairytales to sustain the status qua that benefit them astonishing.
For instance, take two high-profile ethnic clans-and-cliques captured research institutions in apartheid Ethiopia. The first is the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) affiliated with The London School of Economics based International Growth Center that claims to be “a semi-autonomies thinktank established in Aug of 1999 to engage in development research” and led by Dr Newai Gebre-Ab, the Former Senior Economic Adviser for the late PM Melse Zenawi. Unfortunately, Gebre-Ab’s missing association with TPLF on his International Growth Center profile alone tells a story; EDRI is not what it claims to be but a front masquerading as independent thinktank.
The second is the Ethiopian Economic Association that claims to be “professionals’ association established in 1991” to “engage in economic research” led by Dr. Atnafu G/Meskel of College of Business and Economics at A.A. University. What the Association’s website provide to the public speaks volume, it is anything but association of professional economists. Dr. Atnafu G/Meskel nonexistence public profile other than what is provided by A.A. University itself ethnic clans and cliques captured institution also tells a story; EEA is association of willingfully ignorant economists doing the bidding of its sponsors not to mention making a mockery of the profession of economics.
Regardless, there are many flaws to unpack from just two institutions among many governmental, nongovernmental and private institutions, it would be disservice to claim one write up can do justice to explain the systemic problem ethnic apartheid developmental regime captured institutions pose to the public interest but to highlight the underpinning institutional complicity, nepotism and corruption that come with it at the expenses of the rights and liberties and the economic opportunity of the people of Ethiopia.
From the outset, one thing identical about both institutions like many that set the nation’s public policy agenda is their funds come exclusively from bilateral and multilateral organization and corporate foundations. As the result, not only they subverted their respective institutional integrity along the personal and professional integrity of their members but, they are playing hide-and-seek not to disclose information about themselves and whose behalf they do research, once again making mockery of institutional transparency and accountability along the way.
Moreover, the relatively staggering numbers of economists engaged in ‘research’ produced nothing more than the little they provide on their respective official website to the public in the English language. It speaks volume, public information is a domain of willfully ignorant economists run institutions to “force or barter or sell’ it like any other commodity at the going rate.
Take for instance the 17th International Conference on Ethiopian Economy held in July 18, 2019 co-organized by the Ethiopian Economic Association and the International Food Police Research Institute (IFPRI) — a Washington D.C. based NGO with no information on the proceedings and the outcome of the conference nor the background of the participant provided on the respective official websites of the organizers to the public. It is typical example of the hide-and-seek policy of state captured political, social and economic institutions and their partners and sponsors in what they do behind the seen.
Thus, EEA website provided only the featured guests as “Dr Eyob Tekalgn Tolina, State Minster and The Minister of Finance & Economic Development as the guest of honor who gave the opening remark and Dr Abebe Aemero Selase, International Monitory Fund (IMF) Africa Director making presidential address following the opening remark”.
Apparently, according to the organizers, the two ‘honored guests’ speeches or the proceeding of the International Conference on Ethiopian Economy nor who participated weren’t important enough for the people of Ethiopia to know.
Here it worth to note, IFPRI is a member of the Center for Global Innovative Agriculture Research (CGIAR) www.cgiar.org. – “a Global partnership that unite international organizations engaged in research for food-secured future”, according to its website. Among CGIAR’s 15 member organizations is IFPRI that opened an office in Addis Ababa at undisclosed year and location on its own official website but has a dedicated website for its Ethiopian Strategic Support Program (www.essp.ifpri.info) with a joint twitter account IFPRI-ESSP@IFPRI_ESSP that was set up in September of 2018. IFPRI also claims to “collaborate” with Ethiopian government’s Policy Studies Institute (www.psi.gov.et) as well as the Ethiopian Economic Association and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute all funded by donors led by the World Bank.
With 100s of ‘research analysts’, ‘fellows’ and ‘coordinators’ around the world, among them was the Former IFPRI researcher Dr Eleni Gebremedhin that ended up to be the Founder and CEO of the donors-funded Ethiopian Commodity Exchange. Three years later, the former food policy research fellow of IFPRI conveniently established Eleni LLC, a Nairobi, Kenya based foreign private equity fund management firm with the support of the World Bank and Morgen Staley Investment and a decade later founded Blue Moon Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia based ‘agribusiness investment fund’ with the help of donors led by the European Investment Bank.
Eleni L.L.C’s investment portfolio includes, the infamous Irish singer Bono led private equity investors 8 Miles Equity Fund that initially acquired Awash Winery from the infamous Ethiopian Privatization Agency. The Agency, according to the London based All Africa Media sourcing the government run English language Ethiopian Herald “transferred 377 public enterprises to private holding”.
Bono, known better for fundraising scheme to help the African poor through his Washington. D.C. based NGO One Campaign that claim to be “a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty” brought abroad Dr Eleni Gebremedhin as Advisory Board member and the Former USAID Director General Gayle Smith as President while advocating private equity investment including his own will help “end extreme poverty”.
It is not clear how an Irish national Bono implicated by the leaked Paradise Paper of 2016 for engaging in offshore equity investment in several developing countries while simultaneously raising fund to help the African poor for over four decades and with his relatively new US based NGO One Campaign remained a mystery and, says more about the complicity of donors on conflict of interest, nepotism and corruption.
Ironically, the same Bono led One Campaign according to BBC News advocates Corruption impoverishes and kills Millions. Again, the half-baked BBC report sourcing the “anti-poverty organization One” claims, “an estimated $ 1 tn (£600bn) a year is being taken out of poor countries and millions of lives are lost because of corruption” without doing further investigation; Bono & Associates’ venture in poor nations in the name of private investment led development and fund raising for the same poor to “end extreme poverty” is main source of corruption.
The BBC report also claims, One’s recommendation as a solution in fighting corruption is not for the African nations’ governments he invest under but “urging G-20 leaders meeting in Australia in November to take various measures to tackle the problem including making information public about who owns companies and trusts to prevent them being used to launder money and conceal the identity of criminals”.
Regardless of whether the willfully ignorant BBC journalists on Bono & Associates’ or local and international Medias’ journalist on EEA and IFPRI co-organizer International Conference on Ethiopian Economy and the ‘honored guest speakers’ State Minster and Federal Minster of Finance & Economic Development Dr Eyob Tekalgn Tolina and the IMF’s African Director Dr Abebe Aemero Selase conflict of interest; distracting from the mother of all corruption is no accident but a preemptive strike to control the narrative.
After all, for Bono and Associates or State Minster and Minster of Finance Dr Eyob Tekalgn Tolina and Associates that represents a New York based and Cayman Island registered venture capital firm Schulz Private Equity Fund that opened its Ethiopian office in 2008 like many, manmade poverty is an investment opportunity with lucrative return.
Dr Tolina was also the Minster of the Federal Planning and Development Commission of Ethiopia despite the only experience he provided on his LinkedIn Profile (as of Oct 2019) was “Manager of the Ethiopian Public Private Consultative Forum for the World Bank Group from March 2013-Present”. Since October 19 his LinkedIn Profile was revised to reflect a better picture of what he did for the last two decades. Moreover, he claims to be a graduate of Mekelle University, BA in Economics (1996-2000) and Gorge Washington University — Elliott School of International Affairs in MIPP (2009 -2010) and a PhD fellow at ‘University of Maryland in Public Policy (Political Economy) 2011 – Present’.
Therefore, it is not clear whether Dr Eyob Tekalgn Tolina is speaking on behalf of the undisclosed ethnic apartheid state he supposedly represents, the Ethiopian Federal Government, the World Bank Consultative Group or SGI Frontier Capital, “a Venture Capital & Private Equity investors’ (formerly known as Schulz Private Equity Fund registered in Singapore) when he attended the July 18, 2019 International Conference on Ethiopian Economy and holds Media interviews ever since as a government official in the new PM Abiy Ahmed Administration.
At the meantime, Dr Aemero Selase’s missing professional career that span three decades starting in 1991 as a Senior Economic Adviser for the late Chairman of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) turn the President of Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) Melse Zenawi until 1995 before he joined IMF as Africa Deputy Director and later Director ever since tells a story of who the African Director may be.
But, what is not clear, how a graduate of one of the most prestigious London School of Economics trained economist that worked for the Economist Magazine’s Economic Intelligence Unit described as “the world leader in global business intelligence” ended up as a Senior Economic Advisor for the late Chairman of the ruling member party TPLF and President of TGE not only speaks volume about the willful ignorance of contemporary economists to the reality of the Ethiopia in general but the very violation of economics profession itself.
Regardless, IMF through its Press Office provided the transcript of its African Director’s July 18, 2019 address at the International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy missing on both co-organizers’ websites titled “Contextualizing Ethiopia’s Recent Economic Performance” — despites his declaimer at beginning of his presentation stating; “Let me start with two caveats. First, these are my views and not those of the IMF nor its Executive Board. Second, it has been some 25 years since I lived here. And here I am, in front of this assembly of our countries celebrated economists to tell you what you likely know very well already.”
It is not clear why the IMF African Director failed to disclose he didn’t just “lived here” i.e. Addis Ababa but he was a Senior Economic Adviser for the late PM Melse Zenawi. Nor, why his personal perspective of ‘contextualizing Ethiopian economic performance’ completely ignored the context of clans and cliques’ captured ‘developmental’ state led by the ruling ethnic member party TPLF he advised since 1991 and the nepotism and corruption that came with it.
At the same time, no one knows why the IMF Press Office want the world to know the personal perspective of its African Director as oppose its official policy.
Regardless, what stood out in the IMF’s African Director willfully ignorant perspective on the Ethiopian economy with the accompanying data and graphs to justify it was his opening and concluding remarks as well as his recommendations for the new PM Abiy Ahmed’s economic reform effort as;
“Known Knowns. As I have been reading and learning more about Ethiopia’s economy and preparing this address, there seems to be two important points on which there is broad agreement:
- Over the last 25 years, Ethiopia has made incredibly important development progress, underpinned by rapid economic growth.
- Of late however significant macroeconomic have emerged.
My aim today is threefold:
- To put this progress into an international perspective. This comparative perspective is in many ways what the IMF is good at.
- To concede the factors that have contributed to this success;
- Finally, I will turn my thought on how the challenge that have emerged might be addressed.”
“It is not for lack of appreciation on the development progress that has been made. Some 30 years after the cold war, Ethiopia and much the rest of sub-Saharan Africa are much changed. It goes without saying that poverty remains unbearably high, the fruits of strong growth in some countries have accrued disproportionately to the better off, far too many people are still impacted by conflicts. But there has been much progress and transformation. And, I am not talking about skin-deep changes such as shiny new buildings or better skyline, but fundamental progress that has shifted the opportunity set of a generation.”
“first, there is an urgent need to increase government revenue” and “second, there is a strong need to boost export growth by creating room for higher levels of domestic and foreign private investment”
Unfortunately, a day earlier (July 17, 2019) the IMF’s African Director Dr. Selase with the newly appointed Director General of the Ethiopian Investment Commission Abebe Abebayehu co-organized a workshop in Addis Ababa titled G20 Compact with Africa Peer Learning on Private-sector-Led Diversification and Growth. On his official capacity as the IMF’s African Director Dr. Selase’s remark once again provided not by the co-organizer — Ethiopian Investment Commission led by Abebe Abebayehu but by the same IMF Media Relation Office. He said;
My dear Co-host Commissioner Abebe Albabayhu,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you this morning [in my hometown] to this workshop on Diversification and Growth jointly organized by Ethiopian Investment Commission and the International Monitory Fund.
It is good to see that we have brought together diverse set of stakeholders interested in making Africa succeed—government officials from compact with African countries, private sector representatives, civil society, academics and bilateral and multilateral development partners.
We also have the honor to have among us H.E. Getahun Mekuria, Minster of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia and Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Minster and special Advisor to Prime Minster of Ethiopia, who kindly accepted to participate in this workshop.
And went on;
“our host country Ethiopia provides an interesting example, given its ambitious reform agenda to boost private sector-led growth through attracting foreign direct investment, increase export diversification and promoting greater integration with regional and global economy.”
What stood out in his presentation again is the absence of raising state-sponsored corruption nor national economy integration before “promoting greater integration with regional and global economy”.
Even more mesmerizing, in May 2018, a month before the new PM Abiy Ahmed came to power (April of 2018), the IMF African Director Amero Slease appeared at Wilson Center’s Africa Program Forum representing IMF on Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa titled Domestic Revenue Mobilization and Private Investment.
What stood out in his Wilson Center presentation was bundling Africa as one economic unit broken into regions as oppose individual sovereign nations under siege by aid-and-debt dependent regimes with willfully ignorant professional apologists looking the other way. By doing so, the IMF African Director failed to mention the reality of any single nation particularly the ethnic apartheid developmental state of Ethiopia under the late PM Melse Zenawi he advised in the early 90s that set the economic motion of developmental state under ethnic clans and cliques captured state that brought the present economic crises before he moved on to be an IMF official advising African regimes and the one-fit-all solution of ‘regional and global economic integration’ and ‘domestic revenue mobilization and private investment’ of the IMF policy under his leadership that conveniently end up to be his personal perspective on the Ethiopian economic performance a day after he declared it was the IMF policy.
Apparently, in December 4, 2018 (eight month earlier), the official IMF Press Office’s “Country Focused News” titled “Ethiopian Remarkable Progress Over More than a Decade” stated;
“Ethiopia has built on its strong track record of development over more than a decade. Growth slowed in 2017/18 but remained high while current account deficit continues to narrow, the IMF says in its recent report. The sub-Saharan country is embarking on its next phase of economic reforms and powered by the private sector”.
What boggle the mind beyond conveniently redefining the private sector, growth, development, economic reform… to the predetermined outcome was, where in the real world a multilateral organization Press Office put out news of itself and a personal perspective of its African Director on its own official website as impartial third-party — making mockery of conflicts of interest and institutional transparency is what Africans are subjected, thanks to the complicity of the willfully ignorant African Director and many donors-sponsored homegrown economists, politicians, journalists, investors… singing the tune along.
Therefore, the context of ‘Conceptualizing Ethiopian Economic Performance’ of the IMF African Director’s personal perspective that happen to be the official policy of the IMF should remind readers a research paper in December of 2018 authored by little known management professor at Indonesia University by a name Dr. Kanti Pertiwi titled Contextualizing Corruption: A cross-Disciplinary Approach studying Corruption in Organization”. What stood out in the paper beside what the author referred as “taking a rationalist perspective studying corruption in organization” was the origin and the period the number of corruption studies spiked as;
“Anti-corruption arguably entered the sense of international development in the late 1990s in what Naim (1997) called the ‘corruption eruption’. There was an overwhelming interest, locally and globally at that time for eradication of corruption. This call was led by international development agencies, particularly The World Bank (Koechlin 2013).
… a quick research on Web of Science portal reveals that there was a significant increase in the number of studies on corruption, starting with 1125 articles in year 2000 but increasing to 18, 604 academic articles published by end of 2017.”
Thus, “corruption eruption” in the last decade proven to be nothing more than academic exercises to control the narratives on corruption to desired ends of the donor as oppose institutional transparency for democratization and economic development of poor nations.
In that regard, the 1998 World Bank Group – African Region Poverty Reduction and Social Development Unit Anti-Corruption Report on Ethiopia reviled; negotiation between high level WB official and the ruling member Party Tigray People Liberation Front Chairman and PM of Ethiopia Melse Zenawi created the government run and donor-financed Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (FEACC) led by the handpicked Commissioner Ali Suleman that end up what the World Bank consider ‘anti-corruption measure’ in Ethiopia.
Two things that stood out in the 1998 World Bank Anti-Corruption Report, in the “Background” section where high level WB officials negotiating with PM Zenawi led TPLF party that operate 100s of ethnic clans captured private enterprises that overwhelm the economy (essentially empowering ‘the fox to guard the henhouse’) and the report section “II. Corruption: A Global Concern and Problem Areas” implying; corruption is not caused by the ruling party of Ethiopia but ‘a global concern and problem areas’ that requires yet more studies to understand.
Fourteen years later (2012), The World Bank came up with yet another 400-pages report in collaboration with the same Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission titled Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia that examine a dozen sectors focusing on the symptom of corruption as oppose the cause — making a mockery of fighting corruption along the way.
Bit, the report also reviles;
“Ethiopia has a particularly large number of international donors: 10 multilateral institutions, 22 bilateral organizations and 50 international NGOs”
In spite of the presence of all ‘development agencies and their professional experts, corruption fighting is not a priority for none and, three decades later the nation still relies on three commodities export and foreign aid – defying the very meaning of development itself.
The IMF under its African Director is even more brazen. Not a word of corruption let alone fighting the ruling party led state-sponsored corruption is in any of his speeches and writings as the source of the problem facing Ethiopians that requires reform when he recommends; ‘revenue mobilization and private investment’ as a solution.
Finally, since the IMF African Director dictates the economic reform agenda as his ‘personal perspective’ and IMF policy depending his audience, the latest IMF COUNTRY FOCUS – Six Things to Know about Ethiopia’s New Program reviles; IMF’s policy is presented as “Homegrown Economic Reform Plan” as
- “Program Ownership: The authorities have developed their very own ambitious Homegrown Economic Reform Plan tailored to the country’s needs and preferences. They have engaged in wide-ranging outreach to discuss the economy’s future with key stakeholders and have taken important initial steps to implement reforms.
- Program details: The IMF approved the Ethiopian authorities’ request for an almost US$ 3 billion loan under its Extended Credit Facility and Extended Fund Facility to back the Homegrown Economic Reform Plan. As well as helping to address the foreign exchange shortage, the program will also aim to reduce debt vulnerabilities. Other key objectives include reforming the financial sector and boosting revenue mobilization which will be supported by the provision of technical assistance and training.
- Aims of the program: The program builds on the authorities’ actions by ensuring public sector borrowing is in line with lower debt levels and stronger oversight of state-owned enterprises. Monetary policy will aim to bring inflation into single digits. Exchange rate reform will address foreign exchange shortages and increase exchange rate flexibility and, combined with structural reform, will further improve export competitiveness. Revenue reforms and efforts to increase the efficiency of public investment will ensure that infrastructure and social spending needs are met while maintaining sustainable debt levels.
- Protecting social spending and reducing poverty: Fiscal policy is designed to create the space for more spending to tackle poverty. Expenditures on the rural and urban poor will be increased to ensure that sufficient resources are dedicated to support the Productive Safety Net Program, one of the largest and most successful social safety net programs in Africa.
- From public to private sector-led growth:The government’s investment in infrastructure and education has laid a good foundation for the transition to private sector-led growth. To generate returns from past investments, reforms are needed. These include resolving the foreign exchange shortage, improving the business environment that will boost investment and accelerate the economy’s transformation.
- Creating a vibrant financial sector:The program is also aimed at building on recent financial sector reforms by improving access to credit by the private sector—this has been identified as a key obstacle to private investment. Financial sector development needs to be accompanied by stronger supervision and financial safety nets to ensure that the financial sector remains stable.”
Though all ‘six things to know’ only reviled; the World Bank Group sponsored willfully ignorant economists with access to insider information defining economic reform, what stood out among the six is the transition “From public to private sector-led growth” with no information available to the public – redefining and defying the very meaning of ‘private sector-led growth’ and ‘homegrown Economic Reform Plan’ — the price of ‘the cart before the horse’ reform policy.
Therefore, it is not clear whether IMF and its African Director believes Ethiopians are stupide to understand economics or simply have no power to do anything about it arm-twisting the PM. But one thing that is clear; many willfully ignorant professionals are not accountable to the people of Ethiopia but their sponsors to look the other way. That by the very definition is crime against humanity on economic front as it is on political front.
Incidentally, Transparency International (IT) in 12 April 2019 report titled The Trillion Dollar Question: The IMF and Anti-Corruption One Year On reviles; splitting words on the symptoms of corruption or silence remained the preferred methods multilateral organizations like IMF chose to engage African regimes than tackling the cause – clans and cliques captured state-sponsored nepotism and corruption.
No wonder why the workshop co-organized by the IMF’s African Director Aemero Selase and the Ethiopian Investment Commission Director General Abebe Abebayehu that invited the Minster of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria, and State Minster and special Advisor to Prime Minster Dr. Arkebe Oqubay as guest of honor, nor the International Conference on Ethiopian Economy co-organized by the EEA under Dr. Atnafu G/Meskel and IFPRI under Director General Shenggen Fan a day later that invited the Minister of Finance Dr Tolina and the IMF African Director Dr Aemero Selase as guest of honor speakers all skipped to mention a word about corruption altogether; not to mention the mother-of-all corruption — clans and cliques captured state and private institutions despite over 18, 000 corruption studies led by the World Bank was conducted failed to figure out that would explains why the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission of Ethiopia sponsored by the WB remained dormant.
Professor Said Hasson of Murray University known for his anticorruption research on Ethiopia for decades including his July 2013 paper titled “Aid Predation and State Capture: The Role Developmental Aid is fueling Corruption and Undermining Governance in his January 2019 paper titled Corruption, state capture, and the effectiveness of anticorruption agency in post-communist Ethiopia” nailed the problem in one paragraph than all WB Group led donors financed institutions and their willfully ignorant economists failed to address as;
“we show that the war against corruption collapsed mainly because of mischaracterization of the nature of corruption in the country and how FEACC was established – a conventional anticorruption agency for nonconventional problem of corruption”.
The Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission of Ethiopia (FEACC), the principle government agency led by the Former long-time Commissioner Ali Suliman (picture left) followed by the current Commissioner Ayeligne Mulualem (pictured right) that supposedly fight corruption in the nation since its inception in 2001 proven to be symbolic agency to cover up the systemic corruption.
For starter, its latest news on the official website was in November 2011 — arresting individuals for allegedly accepting bribe and its latest publication was on International Anti-corruption Day celebration in the same year of 2011.
But, the commission’s official Facebook page alike its website is active. Its September 2, 2019 news titled “EAAACA hold executive meeting” it reviled, the Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (FEACC) of Ethiopia Commissioner Ayeligne Mulualem that replaced the Former longtime Commissioner Ali Suleiman is the current President of East Africa Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA).
The Irony Commissioner Mulualem of the Ethic and Anticorruption Commission of Ethiopia and President of the East AFRICA Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities left his Nation’s page blank on the official website of the eight member nations’ of East Africa anticorruption authorities website says more about fighting corruption is not the objective but covering it up on behalf of the sponsors.
Moreover, it is not clear how a Former Head of Amhara Regional Health Bureau ended up to be a Commissioner of the anticorruption agency of Ethiopia and leave the President of East Africa Anti-Corruption Authority.
The nonexistence background Ayeligne Mulualem on both high-profile national and regional anticorruption agencies is a prime example; willfully ignorant politician covering up the reality of clan and cliques captured state-sponsored corruption.
When that wasn’t enough, A little-known San Francisco based online Media E-Zega run by undisclosed individuals in its Aug 2019 News report by unnamed ‘stuff reporter’ claimed, the “the Commission has been made inactive after its mandate and responsibility were taken over by the attorney general office and federal police offices, a senior official said”. It is not clear why E-Zega would not identify the ‘senior official’ that reviled the information the report relied on nor its ‘staff reporter’ that wrote the report and, why the editors’ responsible for E-Zega’s content identity is hidden from the public. E-Zega is typical example of make-believe Media with willfully ignorant journalist pivoting the political, social and economic reality of Ethiopia on behalf of nefarious interest groups in the diaspora.
Unfortunately, like many public agencies, the new Investment Commissioner Abebe Ababayhu (since Dec 2018) isn’t forthcoming with the workshop he co-organized with the IMF African Director either. The proceeding of the workshop he as the Ethiopian government official co-organized with the IMF African Director is nowhere to be found on the official investment agency’s website he oversees.
Apparently, a mysterious TPLF operatives in diaspora and the Founder and CEO of a technology firm ModernETH based in New York Manny Amare (pictured left) that run the Ethiopian the nation’s Investment Commission website since TPLF came to power in 1991 appeared to be still in charge of what is put out for the public. Manny Amare real name Amanuel Amare firm that opened its office in Addis Ababa in 2008 to run key public agencies’ websites on sight is a classic case of clans-and-cliques captured public institutions by private actors controlling the narratives and depriving information to the people of Ethiopia and, remained unchallenged by the new Commissioner under the reformist PM as well as the willfully ignorant journalists of make-believe Medias at home and in the diaspora that look the other way.
The new Investment Commission General Director Abebe Ababayhu’s LinkedIn Profile reviles he was a Senior Legal Adviser in the Office of the Prime Minster for one month while he was a Deputy Commissioner of the Investment Commission since Jan 2016 under Fesum Arega, the Former Commissioner turn a Press Secretory for the new PM Abiy Ahmed and the current Ethiopian Ambassador to US.
Prior to that, Ababayhu’s experience includes, working for USAID WTO Accession Project and the World Bank Group since 2008, according to his profile.
Incidentally, like the investment commission, the official website Ethiopian Embassy in the US under the Former Investment Commissioner and the current Ambassador Fesume Arega not only doesn’t provide information on who-is-who responsible but is run by the same individuals as it was before.
The saddest thing in the whole exercise of futility is the willfully ignorant ‘journalists looking elsewhere away in what our wise people like refer as “ከብት ባልዋለበት ኩበት ለቀማ” than exposing the reality nepotism and corruption that undermine the nation in the last three decades and the new reform effort to address it.
Had the so-called journalists of make-believe Media did their professional duty as oppose engage in diversion and cover up; they would uncover the reality of every big-and-small public agency and private institution that matter to the people of Ethiopia is captured by TPLF operatives mostly from the diaspora. Manny Amare happened to be entrusted to control the investment and trade narratives in the last three decades posed as a private actor starting with the first Commissioner Abdi Woldemechael, a low-profile TPLF operative in UK appointed in 1991 followed by Taddse Haile and Fusume Arega.
The privately invite Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum established in 2008 run by two-brother team Yohannes Assefa in New York and Henock Assefa in Addis Ababa that publish The Ethiopian American Magazine is the latest front Manny Amare uses to control investment and trade narratives of Ethiopia. After 27-years behind the seen Manny Amare (Amanuel Amare) appearance as speaker at and his firm Modern ETH as sponsor of the 12th annual Diaspora Business Forum in July 2018 is a tell-tell sign; clandestine TPLF operatives are out in the open and remained to be a force to be reckoned with undermining economic reform as much if not more than the ongoing political reform on behalf of TPLF oligarchs willfully ignorant journalists choose to ignore altogether.
Here it worth to note, besides ModernETH led by Manny Amare of New York; Fairfax African Fund led by the infamous Former investment advisor of the ruling party Zemedeneh Negatu of McClain, Virginia, PRECISE led by the Forum’s Co-Founder Henoke Assefa of Brooklyn, NY and World Remit led by the Founder Ismail Ahmed of London, UK happened to be the sponsors of the 2018 Diaspora Business Forum. Once again, the willfully ignorant journalists of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Service (Ebs) established in 2008 and run by TPLF operatives in Maryland and Tadias Magazine in New York established in 2003 happen to be the only Medias in the Diaspora that entertain the Forum’s propaganda of the last decade.
The legendary 17th century mathematician, logician, physicist and theologian Blaise Pascal said it best; “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us from miseries and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries”.
In that regard, TPLF operatives’ self-inflected miseries of the last four decades as many other contemporary political forces are consoled by elaborate distraction from facing the reality of what they do to the people of Ethiopia.
Therefore, weather the 17th International Conference on Ethiopian Economy organized jointly by EEA and IFPRI or the workshop jointly co-organized by IMF and EIC nor the 12th annual Diaspora Business Forum organized by two TPLF operatives brother team and publisher of The Ethiopian American Magazine and investors in Ethiopia should remind the public how willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… make up stuff to distract Ethiopians from ethnic clans and cliques captured apartheid state conflating fairytale with reality to the desire end of their sponsors.
Take for instance a snapshot of the reality of the ‘Ethiopian Economic Performance’ in the context of export commodities of the last decades under clan captured ethnic apartheid developmental state all willfully ignorant economist, politicians, journalists and investors ignored for almost three decades.
The top exports of Ethiopia since the Former Senior Economic Adviser for the ruling party of Ethiopia and the current IMF Africa Director Dr Aemero Selase advising African regimes what to do or not for almost three decades to end up recommending — ‘domestic revenue mobilization and private investment’ is the way to go in the new PM Abiy Ahmed economic reform effort, nothing much changed except massive national debt under his watch in just 10 years alone — leaving Ethiopians to hold the empty bag of debt worth several decades of income to pay.
As it stands now, the Ethiopian national per capita debt rose from $129 in 2008 to a whopping $449 in 2018, according to Country Economy. Thus, Ethiopia’s public debt of $10.344 billion in 2008 gone up to $48.991 billons in the last 10 years alone. The report claims, “this amount means that the debt in 2018 reached 61.04% of Ethiopian GDP.”
Some estimate the total national debt in the $60 billion range.
At the meantime, the Organization for Economic Corporation (OEC) claims, “Ethiopia exported $2.2 billion and imported $8 billion in 2017 year period resulting in negative balance of $5.8 billion. The top exports of Ethiopia according OEC consists, coffee ($712M) followed by oily seeds ($348M), Gold ($242M)”.
The WTO (World Trade Organization) Merchandise Trade claims, Ethiopian export/import data for 2017’ also reviles a ‘total merchandise export of $3.17 Billion and import of $16.289 Billion — a trade deficit of over $13 billion.
Notwithstanding public data is held hostage by the ruling elites led by TPLF operatives, it is not clear why such large disparity in export trade data reporting is possible. But, according to Global Financial’ December 2011 Report “illicit capital flows as a result of corruption, kickbacks and bribery while the remainder items from trade mispricing” are the top reasons pointed out. The report went on to say, “in 2008 Ethiopia received US $885 million in official development assistance but, this was swamped by massive illicit outflow. The scope of Ethiopia’s capital flight is so sever that our conservative US $3.26 billion estimate greatly exceeds the US $ 2 billion value of Ethiopian’s total export in 2009.”
Incidentally, according to the October 2019 Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCCRP) titled TI Report Expose the UK as a Money Laundering Haven — showing the willful ignorance of mainstream Media journalists and the complicity of the donor community on money laundering and corruption in their own turf is no accident.
No one really knows what happened decade later with billions of additional foreign assistance and borrowings that reached critical stage.
At the meantime, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Foreign Agricultural Service’s 5/29/19 USDA GAIN Report Number: ET1904, claims, “Coffee is the most important foreign currency earner for Ethiopia. In addition to ensuring the volume and quality of coffee exports, exporters must properly manage the contracts.”
The report also reviles, coffee is priority of the government to earn foreign exchange.
The same report also claims, “Ethiopia exports coffee to over 60 countries. Based on the coffee export data in 2017/18, the principal export markets for Ethiopian coffee were: Germany (22 %), Saudi Arabia (16 %), United States of America (11%), Belgium (7 %), Sudan (6 %) and Italy (5 %)”. It also states;
“While most exporters assist the economy by supplying quality coffee to the international market, the government is also taking strict actions against those who fail to comply with their contracts. In March of 2019 alone 81 coffee exporters have been banned from trading with the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) because they defaulted on their contracts. Ethiopia has more than 400 coffee exporters, 395 coffee farmers who directly export coffee, and over 30 import-export companies who export coffee and use the foreign currency to import other materials like vehicles and construction inputs.”
With Germany leading importer of 22% of Ethiopian’s # 1 foreign exchange earing commodity of coffee, followed by China with the second commodity of oily seed followed by Switzerland with gold, it shouldn’t require economists, politician, journalists… from the IMF, EEA and IFPRI, EDRI nor the Donors to figure out; for almost three decades the performance of the Ethiopian economy is a repeat of the old colonial extractive economic regimes’ that created banana republics across Africa and, who may be responsible in the concerned government agencies colluding with ‘private actors’ in systemic nepotism and corruption at home and in export destination nations says more about willfully ignorant journalists that failed to uncover.
Interestingly, the whole ethnic clans and cliques captured state-led systemic institutional corruption in coffee export business appeared to start in December of 2007 when the “First Germen Coffee Importer signed up for Ethiopia’s Coffee Initiative” according to the Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire sourcing WIPO — a UN Agency of Global Forum for Intellectual Property. The agreement was signed by the then Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office Director General Getachew Mengistie (pictured left) and the Head Councilor of the Business Affair Sector of the Ethiopian Embassy in Berlin Tsehaye Woldegebrile (with no public profile). A year later (2008) Mengistie left the agency and became an ‘intellectual property consultant and attorney based in Addis Ababa’ and authored a book titled ‘Intellectual Property as a Policy Tool for Development’ that apparently qualified him to be an African Scholar at the prestigious Yale University in the US.
At the same time, the donors financed Ethiopian Commodity Exchange was established in 2008 by nonother than the infamous Former IFPRI economist turn the Founder and CEO of the Exchange Dr Eleni Gebremedhin (pictured left) that went on rampage under PM Melse’s directives to force all coffee and oily seeds trades in the nation to be sold on the Exchange floor with the exception of “30 import-export companies who export coffee and use the foreign currency to import other materials like vehicles and construction inputs” to the benefit of clans and cliques captured private sectors led by Guna Trading House Plc — the #1 agriculture commodity exporter in the nation including, coffee and oily seed — the very meaning of state-sponsored institutional corruption at its best.
Ironically, Guna openly pride on its state-sponsored corruption in its own official website as “one of the corporate entity of Endowment Fund for Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) engaged in exporting agriculture products, importing industrial input, distributing sister companies product and business representation/commission agency activities with an average of 100 million USD annual turnover” that somehow eluded the donor community, research institutions, Media establishments, anticorruption agencies … and yes, willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… that conveniently redefined private sector and corruption for the benefit of clan and cliques captured ‘private sector’ and ‘private investment’ led development – defying the very meaning of private and institutional transparency on behalf of their sponsors not to mention the profession of economic itself in the making of a Banana Republic.
As a result, Germany that imports raw coffee from Ethiopia and 11 other coffee growing African countries not only became a major re-exporter of raw and processed coffee — surpassing all exported commodities of Ethiopia combined as well as all the 12 African coffee producing countries’ export combined just by importing and re-exporting coffee alone without growing a single coffee plant.
Interestingly, in September 6, 2019 the Ethiopian Investment Commission sourcing the government run Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported, EU funded 15-million-Euros coffee project launched and, quoted the Agriculture State Minster Sani Redi (pictured left) claiming; “the aim of the project is to help increase the price of Ethiopian coffee in international market and strengthen the economy”.
Ironically, the full ENA report continentally left out reviles, EU “representative Dominique Davoux (pictured center) said on his part coffee production in Ethiopia will create jobs for many citizens”.
At the meantime, the infamous Addis Fortune report titled EU Seeds €10m to Support Coffee Production quoting (PhD), director-general of Ethiopian Coffee, Tea Development & Marketing Authority (pictures right) said “the project plans to increase the income of smallholder coffee farmers and actors in the coffee value chain, in turn increasing the benefit the country gets from the export of coffee.”
No one knows how much money EU supposedly provided, to whom and what string was attached to it and who may be the real beneficiary of the project willfully ignorant journalist failed to uncover or get their story straight.
Paradoxically, according Japan Times Jan 2019 article quoting Aaron Davis, the Head of coffee research at British Royal Botanical Garden Kew Center reported, “around 15 million Ethiopians are involved in coffee production, and annual exports have an estimated value of $1 billion”.
Apparently 15 million Ethiopians that are involved to produce a commodity with ‘an estimated value of $ 1 billion’ can “help increase price” and “create jobs for many citizens” by EU $15-million-Euros or €10m ‘to increase the income of smallholder coffee farmers and actors in the coffee value chain’ and will “conserve the environment to retain the uniqueness of Ethiopian shade-grown coffee” is how willfully ignorant and donor-dependent economists, politicians, journalists, Investors… justify their livelihood.
At the meantime, BMZ — the Germen Development Ministry cooperation with Ethiopia “pledging a total of 215.6 million euros to Ethiopia for the period 2018 to 2019. This include funding under transitional development assistance from the special ‘One WORLD-No Hunger’ initiative on displacement.” Accordingly, “since 2017, development cooperation has focused on three priority areas:
- Vocational education
- Agriculture and food security
- Conservation and sustainable use of natural resources (biodiversity)”
It gets worse. A DW documentary titled “How Europe’s Agriculture Policy Hurts Africa reviled, Germany produced staple food products like grain and grain flower are sold cheaper in African markets than locally produced grain flowers and food products, thanks once again for donor-sponsored willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalist, investors… in a make-believe institutions like the Ethiopian Economic Association and Ethiopian Development Research Institute doing ‘researches’ over-and-over again to the predetermined outcome of their sponsors and to the benefit of make-believe ‘private investors’ in extractive investment ventures.
Therefore, whether the IMF’s official policy or its African Director Amero Selase’s personal perspective on “Ethiopian Remarkable Progress Over More than a Decade” or ‘economic growth and transformation and domestic revenue mobilization and private sector investment’ reform nor Public-Private Partnerships under ethnic clans and cliques’ captured state with “substantial appropriation of the state and use of politics by private actors in a sweeping appropriation and a near wholesale intertwining of state resources and politics” as articulated by Janine R. Weddle; state sponsored corruption is real and a menace to the people of Ethiopia and the nation. Unfortunately, it will remain so as we witness the expansion of resource extractive investment in real-time sponsored by nonother than the same ‘development partners’, thanks again to the ingenuity of willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors that defy the reality of economic development and redefined ‘private sector’ to justify the systemic institutional corruption that benefit them well. After all, isn’t that what our wise people refer as የአባትህ ቤት ሲዘረፍ አብረህ ዝረፍ?
When the Prime Minster Office held its first official economic reform forum for a public discussion last summer hosted by Art TV (African Renascence Television) with willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… led by Dr Brook Taye representing the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development as a Senior Economic Advisor while simultaneously manages A & A Capital Inc of Miami Beach, Florida and Bruck Fikru of VOI Café Ltd, a coffee procurement agent for Volcafe Specialty Coffee Corp of Irvington, New York representing the private sector, who but willfully ignorant journalists to blame for failing to uncover as the usual when the ‘foxes guard the henhouse’ undermining economic reform within the PM Office.
The infamous Addis Fortune that prides itself as the “largest independent English language business Media in Ethiopia” led by the current Chief Editor Fasika Taddese reported $10 Billion Economic Package reform announced by the PM Office by asking the same willfully ignorant economists, politicians, investors…, including Dr Eyob Tekalign Tolina, ‘State Minster’ and Minster of Finance & Economic Development and Manager of Ethiopian Public Private Consultative Forum of the World Bank Group while representing foreign equity fund investors and, the infamous Former EY East Africa Managing Partner and Investment
Adviser for the ruling party Zemdenhe Negatu turn Global Chairman of Fairfax African Private Equity Fund investor based in US parroting what is good for their ‘private investment’ is good for the people of Ethiopia. That alone should be enough to say; the largest established Media outfits in Ethiopia are in the business feeding the public fairytales and remained the main obstacle for reform as they were designed while the smallest Media outlets are struggling to put out the reality of the Ethiopian economy.
Regardless, what stood out in the Addis Fortune’s substandard report was the absence of addressing the elaborate nepotism and corruption of clans and cliques captured public and private institutions led by the ruling member TPLF party operatives pose as private actors.
At the meantime, world renowned Financial Times of London in June 4, 2019 article titled “Ethiopia Look to young technocrats to lead ambitious reform drive reviles, the driving force behind PM Abiy’s economic reform includes “Eyob Tolina at Finance Ministry (pictured left), Abebe Abebayehu at the Investment Commission (pictured Center) and Mamo Mihretu in the Prime Minster Office” (pictured right) all present or former employees of donors led by World Bank and USAID.
But, what Tom Wilson of the Financial Time report failed to do was basic background investigation to discover; ‘the young technocrats’ he labeled as “new generation with international experience appointed to turn around tightly controlled, state-led economy” not only their international experience comes working for donors led by the World Bank but for foreign private equity investment funds.
Even more fascinating about ‘half-baked’ FT’s report was using Cepheus Capital, a London based private equity investment fund established in 2016 and led by expats as a source — “arguing that, as it was under Melese, the government would still prioritize growth and was likely to continue to take an interventionist approach related to land, industry and finance”.
It is obviously clear why Tom Wilson of FT failed to identify the principle of Cepheus Capital investors with the help of European Investment Bank as foreign private equity investment in Ethiopia is Kassaye (Kassahun) Kebede. The mysterious private fund manager/investor from New York to Ethiopia over a decade is purportedly a close associate with the late TPLF Chairman and PM of Ethiopia Melese Zenawi and inner circle. He is also the Founder and CEO of a New York based Panton Capital Management established in 2004 and the Founder and CEO of a Cayman Island based Panton Private Wealth Management established in 2009 with nearly a billion dollar private capital of unknown individuals under his management, according to U.S. Security and Exchange Commission way before he established Cepheus Capital with his partner Berhane Demisse (pictures right) in 2016.
At the meantime, the private wealth investment and management guru Kassaye Kebede is not limited to private investment fund of undisclosed individuals to invest in Ethiopia. With his new partner he setup a London based venture Cepheus Capital to tap in on EU’s donors’ fund via European Investment Bank. When that wasn’t enough, the famous New York Billionaire Gorge Soros’ Open Society Foundation in October 2019 Press Release in unprecedented move announced Soros Economic Development Fund Joins Ethiopian Investment Fund. It reads;
“New York – The Open Societies Foundations are investing $10 million in the Cepheus Capital Growth Fund focused on supporting business development in Ethiopia, as part of its border commitment to support Ethiopia’s democratic and economic development.”
How a Foundation that pride itself supporting free media in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union nations ended up joining Cepheus Capital Growth Fund established in 2016 by Kassaye Kebede shows more; the Open Society is as Close Society as its critics claimed.
What was even more fascinating, the claim; “The Soros Economic Development Fund’s investment is principally aimed at creating quality jobs particularly for young people and women in Ethiopia, including in less developed regions, in support of the government’s effort to reduce the country’s poverty rate.”
No one knows how the Soros’ Open Society Foundations’ partnerships with little vented expats run Cepheus Capital Growth Fund is going to “create quality jobs” for anyone.
Apparently, according to the same Press Release, “in December 2018, Patrick Gaspard, President of Open Society Foundations met Ethiopian’s prime minster Abiy Ahmed and offered the Foundations’ support for the government’s democratization objectives, particularly in the area of justice sector reform and strengthening institutions.”
Again, no one knows how “justice sector reform and strengthening institutions” turned out to be investing $10 million on Cepheus Capital Growth Fund established by two expats with unknown track record.
Kassaye is also one of the 21 members Advisory Council on privatization on state assets as well as 15 members’ Advisory Council of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund based in Washington, D.C. set up by PM Abiy Ahmed.
Therefore, it is clear why all relevant information about the principle persons of Cepheus Capital that was missing in Financial Times report of Tom Wilson is no accident.
Likewise, the willfully ignorant Bloomberg News journalist Nizar Manek in October 17, 2019 report titled “Ethiopia May Use Privatization Funds to repay State Lenders” by not identifying the lenders and inquiring the terms of the loan nor asking independent economists the implication but two government official’.
Five days later (October 22, 2019) the same Manek Bloomberg News reported Ethiopia Probs Possible Theft of Funds for Sugar claiming — “Sugar Corp. debt amounts to about 70 billion birr ($2.37 billion), according to Brook Taye, senior adviser to the finance ministry” – the same government official that also manages a Miami Beach, Florida based private venture A & A Capital Inc, ‘a Venture Capital & Private Equity Firm’ established in April of 2016 and operate in Ethiopia led by the President/CEO by a name Adem Adem, according to his LinkedIn profile.
No one knows how Bloomberg News assigned an Egyptian national Nizar Manek as Ethiopian correspondent based in Addis Ababa in the first place. But, if his several years of reporting on Ethiopia is any indication, he not only doesn’t follow basic journalistic inquiry but willfully ignore the reality of how an ethnic clans and cliques captured state operates ever since he became Ethiopian correspondent based in Addis Ababa for Bloomberg News a decade ago.
Meanwhile, dozens of willfully ignorant freelance journalists for foreign Medias have been putting out pure propaganda to prop up the apartheid regime of Ethiopia for over a decade. The most notable of them all are freelance journalist James Jeffrey, an ex-British military man turn business journalist in US, UK and Ethiopia and Neil Ford, that claims to be “a freelance journalists, consultant and analyst specializing in African affairs and energy sector” – redefining the profession of journalism itself.
In article titled James Jeffrey: Freelance journalist or Freelance Mercenary? …we identify African Business Magazine based in UK is where James Jeffery and Neil Ford’s substandard reporting are most welcomed. The fact African Business Magazine is based in UK alone speaks volume; it is not about Africa business the Magazine is interested but something else altogether.
But, ever since the Ethiopian revolution against the ruling regime Woyane began in 2015, James Jeffery appears to abandon business reporting freelancing in the politics of terrorism outside his declared experience. His latest article of December 4, 2019 titled “Fears Saudi-exported Extremism is Spreading throughout Africa’ freelancing for The American Conservative Magazine said it all.
Accordioning to Jeffery’s article; not the self-proclaimed representative of ethnic Tigray ruling member party TPLF warlords the source of ethnic and religious extremism in Ethiopia, but the symptom led by the infamous US national and self-proclaimed ethnic Oromo representative Jawar Mohammed. Unfortunately, it is all about undermining the new PM Abiy reform effort to unite Ethiopians that rattled the usual suspects that seek Jeffery’s service.
Even the famous Economist Magazine was not immune putting out fairytale reporting by its undisclosed willfully ignorant journalist[s] either. In its Nov 2, 2019 article titled “The Clash of Nationalism — Ethnic violence threatens to tear Ethiopia apart” claiming, a US national and a self-declared Oromo ethnic clan activist turn politician and Media personality Jawar Mohammod is the cause should remind the public; mainstream Medias’ focus on the symptom than the cause of ‘ethnic violence’ is not by accident but by design.
Thus, according to The Economist’s article;
“underlining the unrest are two trends. The first is intra-Oromo power struggle embodied in rivalry between Jawar and Abiy. Jawar, who says he may run in the next year’s election, has loudly criticized the Prime Minister’s plan to form a national party to replace Ethiopia’s ruling multiethnic coalition. The second cause is competition between Oromo and Amhara. Since 1995, when the current constitution established nine ethnically based regions, politics has been a battle ground between rival nationalism. For much of the past three decades the Tigrayans, who are about 6% of the population, run the show.”
That is what the most celebrated publication in the world with no correspondent on the ground but one African correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa and another African Editor in London responsible for covering the entire African continent (according to its own Media Directory) came up with explaining the current politics of Ethiopia.
Unfortunately, what was missing in the ‘half-baked’ report of the Economist was the cause of ethnic nationalism is nonother than the London based (the home of The Economist) Tigray People Liberation Front led by its late Chairman turn President of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) until 1995 and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi until his death due to his undisclosed illness in 2012 that with the help of European governments led by UK that singlehandedly established ethnic apartheid rule the Magazine refer as “multiethnic coalition” and “the current constitution” that set the stage for ethnic apartheid party-sponsored ethnic violence and corruption that came with it way before TPLF became the ruling “multiethnic coalition” member party of Ethiopia.
Why the Economist ignored the source of ‘ethnic violence’ and zeroed in on the symptom — ‘incitement of violence’ led by Jawar Mohammod that grew up under ethnic apartheid Ethiopia says more about the willfully ignorant unnamed journalist[s] of The Economist Magazine that conveniently redefined apartheid than ‘the clash of nationalism’ in Ethiopia.
Sadly, even the esteemed journalist[s] at The Economist with all the resources at their disposal didn’t even do basic background investigation on who is behind the US national Jawar Mohammod that shuttles back-and-forth from his US base to cause havoc advocating to sustain ethnic apartheid rule in his birth country of Ethiopia from his adapted country of America that abolished apartheid half a century ago.
For starter, unless The Economist wittingly advocate to sustain ethnic apartheid rule in Ethiopia, there is no explanation how a publication of that caliber elevates a cult like ethnic clan politician and Media operator like a US national Jawar Mohammod without the context of who may be behind him — reminiscent of those that attempted and failed to sustain the old apartheid South Africa.
Even more disheartening is the willfully ignorant homegrown US journalists Tsion Girma of Voice of America (VOA) Amharic recent interview with Jawar Mohammod. Like the Economist, focusing on the symptom (Jawar) to cover up for the cause (TPLF warlords) that outsourced ethnic violence, she has proven the dedication of willfully ignorant journalists to sustain the status qua, unfortunately on the expenses of US taxpayers. Had she asked the same exact question to TPLF warlords decades ago, ‘Jawarism’ that piggybacks on decades of TPLF warlords’ ethnic violence wouldn’t be a blimp in Ethiopian politics. It is a classic example of projection or what our people like to refer as አህያውን ፈርቶ ዳውላውን.
Willfully ignorant journalists that pivots the reality should remind readers a book titled “selling Apartheid: South African Global Propaganda war’ authored by Ron Nixon. In his Aug 2016 article titled ‘how South African racist government waged propaganda war in UK against ending apartheid rule led by Mandela and the role shadowy lobbyist and willfully ignorant journalists play that resembles what TPLF and surrogates led lobbying and propaganda outfits did and continue to do to undermine the new PM Abiy reform effort from ending the last apartheid rule standing in the world is astonishing.
Ironically, the display of willfully ignorant economist, politicians, investors… backed by willfully ignorant journalists’ pivoting the reality of ethnic clans and cliques captured public and private institutions to the desired end is what Peter Block in his book titled ‘The Structure of Belonging referred as “the core currency of economists” that operates out of “the context of scarcity and self-interest” — not to mention their complicity on state-sponsored violence, nepotism and corruption that benefit them and their enablers.
The dilemma of homegrown and foreign journalists ‘to be, or not to be’ watchdog journalists on behalf the people VS. lapdog journalists on behalf of the power to be is real and more concerning for the reform effort than any single public or private institutions that pivots the reality and, will remain so for the foreseeable future to come until enough watchdog journalists stand up to say enough of lapdog journalism across the board and expose them for what they really are.
Two decades of Marxism followed by three decades of ethnic apartheid rule that casted a shadow on the democratization and economic liberalization of Ethiopia notwithstanding, reforming ethnic clans and cliques captured state sponsored by massive foreign aid-and-debt created aid-dependent and willfully ignorant political, social, economic elites that drive the policy agenda is not an easy task for anyone let alone for a new PM within surrounded by willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… and their sponsors that diligently work to sustain the status qua to secure their petty interest over the larger public interest visible for a necked eye. That is why they kept dodging the raw reality that shows the incompatibility of their petty interest over the larger public interest or what our wise people like to frame as ‘ሌባ ለአመሉ ዳቦ ይልሳ’.
Regardless, the first prudent step of any reform in the right direction on long journey of democratization and economic liberalization to take would be to acknowledging the existence of “the political Marketplace of Money, War and the Business of Power” of ethnic clans and cliques captured apartheid state and “the use of politics by private actors in a sweeping appropriation and a near wholesale intertwining of state resources and politics” led by the ruling member party TPLF and taking the appropriate actions to end apartheid rule and nepotism and corruption that naturally come with it by cleaning up all public and private institutions.
The question of where to start and for whose benefit (beside to the benefit of the people of Ethiopia) is yet to be agreed by one-and-all elites, especially by the ruling elites led by TPLF operatives that feel entitled to do business as the usual.
For starter, in the words of the General Secretory of Reporters Without Boarders Christophe Deloire; “none of the issues which humanity is facing will be solved without access to information”.
Therefore, the ‘cart before the horse’ reform, no matter how it is presented can only go as far as the financiers and the willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors…wanted it to go without changing the underline cause of the problem – lack of access to information’ thus, the absence of institutional transparency and accountability at all level that would singlehandedly end nepotism and corruption of the ruling elites and free the people of Ethiopia from diversion propaganda for the people to make prudent political, social and economic decisions for their future.
In that regard, no one articulated the present development reform dilemma of Ethiopia better than Dr Tsegaye Tegenu. In a December 2019 article titled Homegrown Economic Reform and Regional Development in Ethiopia he once again reiterated; “there is no reference to the importance of regional development neither in the objective nor in the outlined pillars of the reform program. This is not surprising in a country were mainstream economic assumptions is often used to shape development policy. Mainstream economics is either space neutral or space blind. The structural and sectoral policy of Ethiopia, both in current and past government, focus on specific instruments (such as infrastructure investment) and ignore the geographical concrete patterns in which these instruments are deployed” – reinforcing; lack of access to information in clan and cliques captured public and private institutions to end state-sponsored nepotism and corruption that came with it remained.
Therefore, in clans-and-cliques captured state where information is a ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction’, in the word of the Former World Bank Director and the Founder of Transparency International (TI) Peter Eigen; “corruption is the biggest cause of poverty in the world, of violence, of impoverishment and hopelessness in many societies”.
Thus, any economist, politician, journalist, investor… or their sponsors that don’t understand the cost of what economist call ‘information asymmetry’ on society and the nepotism and corruption that follows should be removed from making any public policy decision.
The ‘reformist’ Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed is juggling between the rights and liberties and the economic opportunities of the people of Ethiopia Verses the interest of ethnic clans-and-cliques & partners backed by willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… sponsored by nonother than the donors.
The Prime Minster would be advised to take to heart the advice of seasoned economists, politicians, journalists and anticorruption crusaders to end information asymmetry thus end state sponsored nepotism and corruption that cause poverty, violence, impoverishment and hopelessness and yes underdevelopment his new Prosperity Party want to address.
In recent press briefing on the formation of Prosperity Party of Ethiopia, PM Abiy took the second boldest step in the right direction (after decriminalization of political decent and free speech) since he came to power to end the last antiquated ethnic apartheid regime remaining in the world on the ash of ‘the political Marketplace of Money, War and the Business of Power of the ruling EPDRF elites.
The reaction to PM’s latest bold move is a tell-tell sign; who is behind sustaining TPLF instigated ethnic apartheid rule and why.
But, a formation of a national ‘Prosperity Party’ that embraced ‘truth and knowledge’ as a guiding principle won’t be possible until willfully ignorant economist, politicians, journalists, investors… that infested public institutions, including the Office of the Prime Minster are forced to tell the truth about themselves and respect the knowledge of their profession to end nepotism and corruption.
As they say, ‘charity began at home’. Therefore, full disclosure of all willfully ignorant ‘technocrat’ in every public agency and private institution starting from The Office of Prime Minster is the ultimate reform that is needed where ‘truth and knowledge’ can be practiced by professionals to serve the people of Ethiopia. After all, beyond theory, practicing ‘truth and knowledge’ base reform requires access to information to figure out who-is-who violating the rights and liberty and the economic opportunity of the people in a nation under the mercy of donors for almost three decades.
For instant, the fact TPLF’s principle ethnic warlord turn oligarch and one of the mastermind of ethnic apartheid rule in Ethiopia Dr Arkebe Oqubay posed as State Minster and Special Economic Advisor in the Prime Minster Office along his entourages would help in the reform efforts says, there is a long way to go to end the ethnic clans and cliques’ ‘political Marketplace of Money, War and the Business of Power and the nepotism and corruption that came with it’.
The 2018 UK-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Forum hosted by the London based Developing Market Associates where Dr Arkebe Oqubay Forum representing the Ethiopian government showing up with shadowy TPLF operatives posed as investors is a good illustration of nepotism and party sponsored corruption is alive and well at present as it was in the 2015 UK-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Forum led by the infamous TPLF oligarch turn Health and Foreign Minister and WHO General Secretory Dr Tedros Adhanom.
After all, the ruling party sponsored oligarchs posed as government officials promoting trade and investment is the very definition of state sponsored nepotism and corruption that eluded willfully ignorant journalists and concerned national and international organizations’ officials, including the anticorruption and investment commission officials.
Given PM Abiy became a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his effort to bring about peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea and reconciliation between self-appointed representative of the people of Ethiopia fighting for power and privilege, it remain to be seen if he is as bold or capable enough to go further to end ethnic clans and cliques’ impunity in what his Nobel Prize Lauriat counterpart Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala for her human right activism underlined; “without strong watchdog institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built”. After all, isn’t that the foundation TPLF led Ethiopia brought to the people that continue to cost lives, livelihoods, rights and liberties and economic opportunities in blood and treasure?
Ultimately, in the eyes of the people of Ethiopia; dismantling ethnic apartheid and ‘the foundation up on which the system of corruption is built’ will make-or-break PM Abiy’s legacy. That implies, TPLF led clans-and-cliques affiliated parasitic enterprises and oligarchs that dominate the political, social and economic landscape of Ethiopia must be dismantled with no question asked.
The recent death and distraction led by Jawar Mohammed, a self-proclaimed ethnic Oromo representative, self-proclaimed independent Media CEO for home audience and ‘peaceful’ movement activist and political analysts for international audience is the unfortunate outcome of a typical diaspora elite in an ethnic apartheid ‘political marketplace of money, war and the business of Power’ that consumed a new generation of Ethiopian elites at home and abroad as it was instigated by the usual enablers of the self-proclaimed ethnic Tigray representative turn PM of Ethiopia at home and African stateman abroad Melse Zenawi, just because willfully ignorant economist, politicians, journalists, investors… looked the other way to the rebirth of ethnic apartheid rule in Ethiopia about the same time it was buried for good in South Africa.
In the words of Rayan Hanley, the author of ‘Content Warfare’;
“Typical is a murder of thought. The defiler of ideas, the jailer of genius. Typical is the synapse you’ve already burned into genius brain of yours, and, typical leads right to the lizard brain.
The lizard brain wants us all to be the same. A heard of cattle. Middle management. The lizard brain tells us to avoid trouble. “Don’t rock the boat”, says the lizard brain. And we listen.
Like many willfully ignorant politicians of Ethiopia, Jawar Mohammod’s lizard brain like his late mentor Melse Zenawi believe one thing; ‘we are all herd of cattle’ in the ethnic ‘political marketplace of money, war, and business of power’ waiting for instruction from our self-appointed shepherds on behalf of their sponsors to commit corruption and crime against humanity.
Afterall, the simple rule, ‘if it is not right – don’t do it. If it is not true – don’t say it’ seems lost in the willfully ignorant minds of the elites just because their petty interest outweighs the rights and liberties and the economic opportunities of millions of their compatriots.
Whether the reality-free economist turn IMF African Director Aemero Selase or an ethnic warlord turn politician and Media personality at home and political analyst and human right activists and scholar abroad Jawar Mohammed or the willfully ignorant unnamed journalist of Economist Magazine that came up with half-baked report, like many of their homegrown or foreign peers in every profession, their ‘moral crowdedness and intellectual corruption’ visible for necked eye must be challenged primarily by their silent peers and professional journalists that live up to their vocation.
Prime Minster Abiy should be aware, no nation overcame violation of the people’s rights and liberties nor underdevelopment and poverty ‘without access to information’ and “without strong watchdog institutions” that would dismantle “the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built” despite 10s of thousands of donors-sponsored ‘research’ conducted by willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… to nowhere. After all, the PM’s reform primary responsibility is not appeasing those that withhold information for the obvious reason but to empower the people of Ethiopia with access to information.
Opposition politicians would also be better off if they stop playing cat-and-mouse game to milk the ethnic ‘political marketplace of money, war and the business of power’ for political expediency and focus on their willfully ignorant counterparts in every public and private institutions that withhold information to do their enables bidding. Dismantling ‘the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built’ requires and demands access to information and strong watchdog institutions. After all, their primary responsibility should be to free every institution that matters to the public from party affiliated operatives and subordinates on behalf of the people.
More importantly, the people of Ethiopia in general and the youth in particular will continue to subordinate their rights and liberty and the integrity of the nation for self-appointed ethnic clan leaders and their willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… if they don’t challenge the ethnic apartheid state and “the very foundation upon which the systems of corruption was built” in what the legendary American public intellectual Noam Chomsky referred as “the moral crowdedness and intellectual corruption are the natural concomitants of unchallenged privilege”.
PM Abiy made many profound statements recently challenging ‘the moral crowdedness and intellectual corruption of the political elites including, ‘no longer political power by the blood as oppose by the ballot of the people of Ethiopia’ in line with his new Prosperity Party slogan of ‘truth of knowledge’. What he came short was, the one-and-only weapon the people should have to make their ballot count is access to information as oppose those that ruled or aspire to rule spilling their blood with ‘donated’ guns.
The very concept of Medmer demands; full disclosure of who-is-who depriving the people of Ethiopia access to information posed as government and nongovernmental official and private actor that continue to undermine the reform effort. To free the people of Ethiopia from centuries of crimes of “taxation without representation” that kept the nation a Banana Republic must be accountable and removed.
“The political Marketplace of Money, war and the business of Power” will end and replaced by the Marketplace of individual liberty, peace and the business of Democracy only when access to information is possible to force willfully ignorant economists, politicians, journalists, investors… embrace reality on behalf of the people than fairytale on behalf of their enablers.
Only that “Truth and Knowledge” practiced would free the people. Anything else is hogwash.