Week in the Horn (3.30.2012)
· Deputy PM and Foreign Minister briefs Executive Board Members of UN institutions The 5th Joint Meeting of AU and ECA Finance Ministers
Baseless accusations don’t affect Ethiopia’s proper use of aid
The Deputy Prime Minister in Finland
NEPAD’s 10th year Anniversary
Sympathizing with the wrong doer
President Isaias’ El Dorado and the CIA
News and Views:
Ethiopia hosts the 10th African Digital Conference Preparations to host the World Economic Forum in Addis Ababa well underway Kenya discovers its first oil deposits, in Turkana Somali Peace Process Signatories Meet in Galkayo Former Somali President, Abdullahi Yusuf, dies Bill Gates praises Ethiopia’s progress
Deputy PM and Foreign Minister briefs Executive Board Members of UN institutions
A delegation representing members of the Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS,UNICEF, WFP and UN-Women met with H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, on the 24 of March 2012.
During the meeting, Hailemariam spoke extensively about Ethiopia’s foreign policy in general, its participation in UN peace keeping operations in the sub-region, the progress made in ensuring good governance in Ethiopia and the cooperation with UN development partners. Furthermore, in response to questions from the audience, he also addressed issues ranging from best practices, regional integration, civil society, green economy and sustainable development.
In his briefing, he underlined the importance Ethiopia attaches to poverty reduction and said that the fight against poverty was the ‘Alpha and Omega’ of the country’s policy and strategy on national security. He further explained that the root causes behind national security challenges prevailing in Africa were of economic nature and that there was a close relationship between poverty and national security problems. He went on to say that since Ethiopia identified poverty as the prime enemy of the people, the need for accelerated economic and social development has been a matter of top national priority embedded in the country’s development strategy. Since the implementation of this strategy requires substantial amounts of foreign capital and technology, economic diplomacy has been placed at the center of the country’s foreign policy and used as an instrument to facilitate international trade and foreign direct investment. He said that the double-digit growth rates Ethiopia has scored in the past eight years was a clear indication of the success of the policy the country has been pursuing.
With regard to peace and security in the sub-region, he highlighted Ethiopia’s efforts to bring peace and security in Somalia, the Sudan and South Sudan. In relation to Somalia, he requested the United Nations development partners to undertake rehabilitation projects in that country in order to alleviate the sufferings of the people and enable them have access to basic social services. He also stressed the need for the international community to remain engaged in the effort to resolve the current dispute and bring lasting peace between the Sudan and South Sudan.
Regarding Eritrea, he explained that Ethiopia has been making tireless efforts to resolve the border dispute through dialogue. He also pointed out the unrelenting destabilization activities of the Eritrean government, the latest manifestation of which was the recent killing and kidnapping of innocent tourists in the Afar region of Ethiopia, that was carried out by Eritrean backed terrorists. He informed the delegation that the proportionate and measured action that Ethiopia took on March 15, 2012, to dismantle three terrorist camps inside Eritrea was a response to make the Eritrean regime understand that it must desist from training, arming and sending terrorists across the border into Ethiopia with the intention of destabilizing the country.
On the issue of democracy and good governance, he stressed that the people of Ethiopia, who are multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious, live together in unity and the existence of democratic institutions and the full participation of the people in the governance of the country was needed to sustain it. He said that democracy for Ethiopia was not an option but a necessity and assured the delegation of Ethiopia’s commitment to good governance and democracy.
Concerning Ethiopia’s cooperation with UN Institutions, he expressed appreciation for the United Nations Country Team for ensuring that the United Nations Development Assistance (UNDA) Action Plan for 2012-2015 has been fully aligned with Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan for the same period.
With regard to international trade, he pointed out that Ethiopia had started an accession process with the WTO. He added that Ethiopia had already submitted its document.
He said that the most important best practice Ethiopia can point to, is the participatory process it follows in its development endeavor. Examples of this include: Water and soil conservation management programs that have been successfully implemented in the past five years with the active participation of millions of people in the rural areas of the country; the country’s Health Care Extension System that has been described as the best in Africa, mainly because it focuses on women; ad promotion of micro and small enterprizes.
As for regional integration, he informed his audience that the Ethiopian government was of the view that infrastructure development is key to regional integration. To this effect, Ethiopia has embarked upon an extensive infrastructure program aimed at linking the region. He mentioned the already completed road link and power interconnection between Ethiopia and Sudan as an example. He also talked about the planned road link and power interconnection between Ethiopia and Kenya.
With regard civil societies, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister clarified his government’s understanding of what civil society organizations are supposed to be. He said that they should be organizations that represent the interests of their members and that their activities should center around that. He mentioned the example of teachers’ associations, women’s associations, etc. From this point of view, he said that more than 20 million people were organized in various associations of such nature.
Addressing a question as to Ethiopia’s commitment to green economy, he informed the delegation that Ethiopia was working towards reaching a goal to become a hydrocarbon free economy by 2025. He added that the country was already implementing projects geared towards the production of clean and green energy by tapping into hydro, wind and bio-fuel resources. He said that in the not too distant future, Ethiopia would become a major producer of sugar and as a result, a major producer of ethanol as well, thus adding to its clean energy production potential. He went on to say that the huge aforestation campaign currently taking place throughout the country will also greatly enhance the development of Ethiopia’s green economy.
In relation to South-South coopeation he said that Ethiopia was working closely with the Group of 77 and the ‘BRICS’ group of countries with a view to boosting South-South cooperation. In this regard, he said that the main focus was towards achieving food self-sufficiency. He informed his audience that the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has produced a study on how to achieve food self sufficiency in Africa. The document has been presented to the UN and is waiting for the latter’s decision.
Finally , the leader of the delegation, the Ambassador of Norway at the United Nations, made his concluding remarks in which he thanked the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for his extensive briefing which covered many important issues in response to which The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister wished the delegation a good visit to Ethiopia
The Executive Board Members are drawn from 20 countries representing various regions and they are in Ethiopia for a joint field visit from 22-31 March 2012. The objective of the field visit in to enable them to get a firsthand experience and assess the extent to which United Nations institutions are contributing towards Ethiopia’s efforts towards achieving sustainable development goals.
The 5th Joint Meeting of AU and ECA Finance Ministers The 5th Joint Annual Meeting of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development was held in March 26th-27th under the theme: “Unleashing Africa’s Potential as a Pole of Global Growth.”
The meeting whose keynote speech was delivered by Prime Minister Meles was preceded by four days of discussions among the committee of experts which opened on Thursday last week, when the AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Maxwell Mkwezalamba urged the meeting to come up with ideas on how best to position Africa in the existing global environment, marred as it was by low growth rates, high rates of unemployment and a near collapse of the economic systems. Mr. Mkwezalamba expressed confidence that the meeting would provide clear guidance and set priorities to position the continent for robust growth. He observed that many African countries came through the financial and economic crisis better than many other countries and the performance of many developed countries demonstrated that new sources of growth were required to address existing imbalances. The State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ahmed Shide, said the impact of the current Euro zone crisis on Africa has yet to be properly analyzed – some African countries were being affected by a downturn in their trade flows as well as the drying up of finance, and in some cases, weak demand in Europe might cause the price of commodities to fall. Africa also needed infrastructural improvement as there were still gaps across the continent. The UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Abdoulie Janneh, stressed the need to have a clear vision of where Africa should be headed and said the continent must rise to meet its domestic, regional and global challenge. One particular area deserving attention was unemployment, especially of youth, he noted, and creation of jobs would depend ultimately on increasing productive activities.
In his keynote address at the opening of the ministerial meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Meles said to take advantage of the window of opportunity now opening for Africa, Africa must first build effective and pro-development states, massively invest in infrastructure, adequately train its people, promote manufacturing investment and technological capacity building and encourage growth and investment on agriculture. While it was fashionable now to characterize Africa as a potential pole of growth because of its enormous natural resources, its demographic advantages and improved macro-economic management, in fact these factors had always been present. And until recently the demographic advantages, for example, were considered as a source of instability and violence because of the massive unemployment among youth. The Prime Minister said that reforms in economic and political governance carried out more than three decades ago generated de-industrialization, enfeeblement of the African state and an associated malaise rather than growth and transformation.
However, the emerging economies, in particular the phenomenal growth of China and India, had dramatically transformed the demand for Africa’s mineral and agricultural resource. The search for new frontiers of investment opportunities by the emerging countries and the need for advanced countries to reduce domestic demand and to reform were other major reasons to encourage Africa to become the next growth pole. Indeed, overall, the Prime Minister added, “the current global environment thus creates a unique opportunity for us to use our demographic and natural resources’ advantage to attract investments and catch this new wave of industrial relocation.” At the same time “we have to liberate our minds from the neo-liberal ideological shackles that have hindered progress”. This has devastated Africa’s economies over the past decades. It needs to be discarded before the continent can do the things that it needs to do to transform its economies. African governments should now make massive investments in infrastructure mostly through public investments, build primary, secondary and tertiary level education and technical and vocational training and train their people. Where possible, the private sector should fill the gaps.
In his address, Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of African Union Commission, also noted that Africa had the potential to become a driving force in the world economy. He underscored the need to create an enabling economic environment to unleash its potential and eradicate poverty. He emphasized that Africa was on a rising economic trajectory because of the efforts of African countries to improve macroeconomic growth.
Baseless accusations don’t affect Ethiopia’s proper use of aid
Recently, it has been quite common for reports from international organizations to detail the way Ethiopia since 1991 has embarked on its ambitious transition to a democratic state under the leadership of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The country has held four multi-party elections and established a decentralized system of governance. Aiming to become a middle-income country by 2025, it has organized a succession of medium term plans based on the Millennium Development Goals. The first of these was the Sustainable Development Program for the Reduction of Poverty (SDPRP), and the second the Program for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP) with poverty reduction as a central policy concern. The successful administration of these programs provided bold steps towards accelerated growth with emphasis on commercialization of agriculture and private sector development as well as scaling up of pro-poor investments and the promotion of good governance and democracy to achieve the MDGs. The share of total spending on poverty-related sectors from 42% in 2002/03 to over 64% by the