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Sovereignty and poverty- IMF and World Bank in Ethiopia

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05/30/08

  12:02:03 pm, by admin, 1657 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Sovereignty and poverty- IMF and World Bank in Ethiopia

Sovereignty and poverty- IMF and World Bank in Ethiopia

By Yilma bekele

Published on May 30, 2008

There is a line attributed to Queen Victoria of Gt. Britain, she is quoted to have said “we are not amused’ when one of her court jesters made a feeble joke. That is what I felt when I read the Ethiopian Prime Minster’s remark in Japan during an international symposium on ‘Africa’s development’ organized by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) If you ask me that by itself is an oxymoron, placing Africa and development in one sentence requires a stretch of imagination.

JICA press release reads “Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia said Africa had 'lost two decades of economic growth' by following a policy imposed by developed nations of following a simplistic policy that 'the only thing that mattered was to get the price right' of the continent's commodities and other products…that orthodoxy is a failure and it must be scrapped," he said. A heavy investment in basic infrastructure and technology had been ignored during this same period and this must be urgently rectified, he insisted.’

Stupid me, I always thought we were a sovereign nation charting our own way. It is news to me that others were ‘imposing’ their needs regarding commodities and cheap prices. So these African dignitaries were using this podium organized by some ‘Non Profit Japanese Organization’ funded by Toyota, Sony, Mitsubishi and others to air their grievances regarding their condition.

In a way it is good to know. It is becoming obvious that we are not in charge regarding our economy. What we got here is a symbiotic relationship. The bad kind. In nature biologists have three classifications for symbiotic relationship. The first is ‘mutualism’ where both benefit. The second is ‘commensalism’ where there is no benefit or harm to either, and ‘parasitism’ where an organism is fed sheltered while contributing nothing.

Our leaders are protesting this ‘parasitic’ relationship they have forged with the industrialized world. What exactly are they crying about? Do they want to be left alone and they were disturbed? Are they demanding free money & loans with no strings? How is this policy imposed anyway?

The two ring leaders in this unequal relationship are the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) They are the ‘Trojan horse’ used to control the financial sector of the host country.

Both organizations were established in December of 1945.The agreement that created these two organizations was signed under the auspices of the UN and is commonly referred to as the ‘Breton Woods Conference’ named for the location in New Hampshire. Decision-making: operates on principle: "one dollar one vote", so G7 (Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy and Canada) hold 57 per cent of voting power.
Their focus and has changed depending on the need of the period.
• 1968-1981 poverty alleviation
• 1980’s debt management and structural adjustment
• 2000 to now Millennium Development Goals.
We have no quarrel with the aims and goals. The problem is with their practice. Their track record is nothing to write home about. Since the 1970 they have managed to create havoc in the lives of poor people around the world. They have shown a tendency to be associated with dictators, military governments and corrupt democracies. They have successfully used the weakness and greed of these corrupt leaders to aid multi national banks and big corporations to control the economy of most developing nations.

Our country is no exception. We are poor. We have no known precious mineral or oil. Our economy is subsistence level. Our countries whole financial system assets are smaller than a small regional bank in the US. On the other hand we have a large population. We have a strategic location. We are known to be confident people. Properly managed we are a force to be reckoned with. Both the WB and the IMF have been involved in Ethiopia since the Emperors time. The two banks in collaboration with private banks loaned the Derg in the name of Ethiopia over US $9 billion dollars. We have no idea how much we owe today. Even the Ethiopian Parliament is not privy to this information. His Honorable Ato Bulcha Demeksa was quoted asking for such information, politely of course.

They are also cheerleaders of our non-elected government. In fact there was a report by the IMF mission team to Ethiopia this last week. It was a very rosy report lauding the government of achieving impressive ‘growth of the economy, structural reforms and favorable agricultural conditions.’ It is a very important vote of confidence that the regime will be waving like a flag for the next few months. How did such an organization staffed by highly educated and respected economists arrive at this conclusion?

The Ethiopia we know of is in the middle of one of its recurring famines with over 12 million people needing immediate help. Even by the governments own report the inflation rate is around 28%. The unemployment is in high double digits. The budget is still on life support needing donor injection to stay alive. The country is fast becoming a nation of ‘remitance ‘ recipients from family and friends working abroad.

Here is an example of two of their ‘projects’ in Ethiopia. The World Bank financed the projects. Since the Ethiopian Government ‘placed rural development as the fulcrum for faster and more equitable economic growth’ the projects ‘aimed to strengthen institutions, prioritize the development of competitive markets, including private sector participation’.

SSDP (seed systems development project) and NFSP (national fertilizer sector project) were approved in 1995 and closed down in 2002. SSDP was allocated $22 million while NFSP started with $164 million capital. The aim of SSDP was to ‘decentralize and strengthen the government seed producing agency the Ethiopian Seed Enterprise and promote seed production by private firms, and informal seed production by farmers’. NFSP’s aim was to ‘create competitive fertilizer market with private sector participation.’

According to WB mandated Project Performance and Assessment Report both failed miserably. The Ethiopian government was able to use the good will of the bank to strengthen its grip on the economy and control of the rural population. When the dust settled down the Ethiopian Seed Enterprise was the sole monopoly of seed production left standing. By the time the project was discontinued the private sector left the market and the government was the monopoly fertilizer supplier in the country. Close to $125 million was used to finance fertilizer imports through a government-monopolized market.

Why our government is complaining is difficult to comprehend. Granted the WB and IMF are have become experts at ‘central planning’ and ‘managed development’ from afar. The international bankers and the local elite are the two beneficiaries of WB and IMF generosity. The citizen is left carrying the empty bag. The loot is long gone. Shouldn’t it be the Ethiopian people complaining? Aren’t we the ones left with debt to international bankers while the ruling elite has squandered the money usually investing it in the West? The WB and IMF encourage the behavior that creates the problem.

African leaders are expert in the art of ‘blaming others’ for their failed policies. Famine is due to the absence of rain never about the wrong and failed policy of land ownership and obscure economic policies. Under development is blamed on developed counties ‘imposed’ economic policy not about corruption, crony capitalism and dictatorship. Civil war and across border wars is blamed on outsiders not on the ruling elites need that ‘creates’ contradictions as a survival strategy.

If on the other hand countries like Ethiopia relied on unleashing the creative potential of their people they would not be kowtowing to developed countries and their banker friends. It is impossible to invest heavily in weapons, support a large standing army, a robust security system and declare war on ones neighbors and show economic progress. There will be no money left for education, health and local investment.

When it comes to Ethiopia the TPLF minority government has been in power for seventeen long years. That is a long time. The only thing they can truly show for it is:
• Three famines in all corners of the country
• War with a neighbor that claimed thousands of lives.
• Invasion of a neighbor still going full blast with no end in sight.
• Three failed ‘elections’ that does not even meet the minimum standard.
• Government monopoly of land, telecommunications, media, and other important assets that have managed to lock us in a cycle of poverty and backwardness.
• Incremental give away of our territory behind our back.
• Condemning our young generation into ‘drug’ culture for the boys and prostitution and other forms of degradation for the young girls.

Thus, as the Queen said ‘we are not amused’ by this talk of ‘denial’ of the reason why we are poor and non-sovereign. We (the regime) invited the ferengis and the bankers. No one shoved ‘structural adjustment’ and other cute programs on us. Our government needs the ferenjis to stay in power. The ferenjis need our government to keep us in this perpetual state of backwardness and poverty. Poor people are never a threat to no one. As you can see this is a ‘parasitic’ relationship of the highest order. We will be fine if both these entities leave us alone. But that is not going to happen. We have to find the weakest link in this chain and break it to be free. The ferenjis are too powerful. The minority government is a better target. Well don’t just sit there and complain. Do something!

The following documents were used in the preparation of this article.
1. Ethiopia Seed System Development project - http://go.worldbank.org/6J8GYTBB60
2. The IMF formula generating poverty- (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2465/is_6_30/ai_65653644)
3. Still waiting- the World Bank fails to alleviate poverty- (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2465/is_6_30/ai_65653639)
4. The real cause of famine in Ethiopia – (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2465/is_6_30/ai_65653645)

8 comments

Comment from: Tamrat Tamrat [Visitor]
Tamrat Tamrat

Dear Yilma bekele, there is a big difference between these leaders and you. While you are dying hard trying your biology-101 feets to economics or trying to redicule these modern leaders of Africa, they run up and down to make Africa a better place to live in. Your time of redculing africa is over. Now china needs us, india needs us, and japan and many. Japan need us if we developed and buy cars than to kill each other buing weapon from usa or france. India needs us if we develop our agriculture than we kill each other buing clash from russuia. China needs us that we famrm animals than we kill each other smuggling weapons from some lunetic arab countries or iran. it wont be long before you get ashamed of what you wrote now. Go africa, go Ethiopia.

05/30/08 @ 13:14
Comment from: Akaki Zeraf [Visitor]
Akaki Zeraf

Dear Yilma,

What you have stated has a lot of truth. The sad fact however, is the old adage: Kebero siyayut yamir sizut yadenager. You are correct in saying, “Our country is no exception. We are poor. We have no known precious mineral or oil. Our economy is subsistence level. Our countries whole financial system assets are smaller than a small regional bank in the US. On the other hand we have a large population.” So, what is your solution? I am sure you would not do anything better than what those in government have done. Ethiopia and most developing Third World countries are between a rock and a hard place. And there are no easy solutions. Simplistic solutions only keep the exploitation going for as long as possible with no end in sight.

Thank you for bringing the important issues of our country to the fore front.

05/30/08 @ 13:58
Comment from: Aba Lafa [Visitor]
Aba Lafa

The Extent of world poverty, the human suffering and premature death due to the World Bank BUREAUCRATS officials
The TPLF gangster pay much less attention to the interests of the poor. I think the writer Ato Yilma bekele By under lining the Factual Background about widespread of absolute poverty in Ethiopia.We all should pay attention to Economic Justice.
Peace out….

05/30/08 @ 15:24
Comment from: Tamrat Tamrat [Visitor]
Tamrat Tamrat

Dear Akaki Zeraf!
‘Our countries whole financial system assets are smaller than a small regional bank in the US’ said you.

I have some silly question for you:

1) do you know how much it costs to feed 75 million ppl if we use $1 dollar a day for 365 days?

2)Do you know only Ethiopian (ari lines) earned revenu 6 billion bir?

3) Do you know more than billion dollars invested by ethiopians and forigners only this year?

4)Do you know more than billon dollars worth of agricultural products exported?

5) Do you know only in Addis on this budget year 45 billion birr worth of residence are under construction?

These are few i mentioned (but i can go on like schools, hospitals, roads, hotels, turism, military, shiping lines, minings, etc) just to redicule you that you call one small regional bank in USA has at least more than 100 billion dollar.

But my point is not that. My point is lets work. Lets have belife in our ppl. It doesnt matter how we get the money. Wheather we get it by oil or selling millions of chickens or millions of tones of coffe. Does it matter? lets produce what others needs most.

Lets hop it is possible.

05/30/08 @ 15:27
Comment from: KOKEB [Visitor]
KOKEB

AKAKI-ZERAF & TAMRAT TAMRAT
TPLF-SHABIA retarded clans.
please shut the F** up! DONKORO-LEBAS! don’t act like you understood YILMA’S posting??

Here we go again, the TPLF high school drop out TEGRE maggots,appease WEYANE’S obsession and practied by the crude material parasites who clamors for looted hadouts in the name of PAID-LEBA-CADRE and pockets what they
are not earned legaly but, kissing the stinky A** of malsprirtual parasite ADWA-MIDGET primate/ministe who drives his satanic claws like a fence receiving stolen goods from the power to dispose of that which he has not earned and from the mystic view of himself as the embodied voice of the strife people. We very much knows that All these TPLF creatures are evil bitc**s has gain something ilegaly by spreading terror and meaningless argument.

DEATH TO TPLF and SHABIA!

05/30/08 @ 16:22
Comment from: abeshaw [Visitor]
abeshaw

It is clear to see for anybody willing to look at the evidence that the West and its institutions like the WB & IMF have never cared about Africa or Africans for that matter. All they are interested is in making sure that we are always under their control and we stay in perpetual poverty and therefore dependent on their in kind aid.

That however does not let Meles Zenawi off the hook afterall he rode on their back to gain control of the country and still depends on them to cling onto power. So called leaders like Meles Zenawi however have serious flaws which they cannot blame on the west for afterall IMF & WB did not subscribe ethnic politics or the masacre of the Anuaks and Ogadenis.

If our country is to succeed we all need to sacrifice begining with our leaders (I mean all African leaders) that means if your country is poor don’t buy a presidential jet, Members of Parliaments should not wish to be paid on the same level as British MPs or ridde in the latest Mercedes S class since their countries are not on the same level. Lets all cut back on all the extravagant spending like maintaining a huge army and instead use the money for food sovereignty operations and most of all respect human rights and create a fostering environment so that our educated citizens can come back and use their knowledge to develop their country without the fear of persecution.

Most of our country’s problems like agricultural production can be solved if the right environment is created and we tap into the immense intelectual resource of our educated citizens, Afterall there are numerous Ethiopians serving as faculty members in the Agriculture departments of Universities in the US and other western countries teaching students how to increase food production. The same goes for economists, buisness, medical professionals… the only problem is that the regime we have in Ethiopia is too paranoid to let the country achieve its dreams. Wake up Meles & Co. It is never too late to change your policies and to win back the people and let us develop our country.

05/30/08 @ 18:52
Comment from: Sewasew [Visitor]
Sewasew

The most important issues raised by Yilma have been the incapability of the Third World leaders to change the degree of their dependence on the the Devoloped nations. That is true, but the amazing part is the lack of genuine zeal on the part of the so-called new leaders of Africa to ameliorate the lota of their people and their unending search for explanations or unwillingness to accept their failure. I think the solution is in our hands; the people of Ethiopia need a leader who listens their voices, not the kind of dictator who knows little and talks too much on intricate subjects without restrain or shame. I appreciate Yilma’s insightful piece and would like to thank you for that.

05/31/08 @ 12:13
Comment from: david [Visitor]
david

Dear yilma, When did you come from the moon? You wrote a lot, but there is nothing in it.
You just don’t understand things. It is one thing to keep your sovereignty, but it is another to seek the ‘dollar’.
Endante yale sew new ager yemiatefaw.

05/31/08 @ 12:21

rebtel

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