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Ethiopia is among the top 10 African countries in terms of being a source of illicit financial flows (IFFs), most of which makes ways to the developed world. #Africa February 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia.
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 OIllicit financial outflows from Africa Ethiopia makes among top 10

 With Nigeria leading the pack of top loser counties in Africa, Ethiopia alone lost a cumulative of USD 16.5 billion between 1970 and 2008. But, since 2010, Ethiopia more likely lost USD 10 billion which could have shortened significantly the 13 years journey that the country have taken to achieve MDG4 (reduce child mortality by two thirds ) to nine years. In addition to that, the panel found out that failing to curtail illicit financial flows cost the country some six percent of its GDP annually.

Ethiopia: Panel Names One of Ethiopia Top Sources for Illicit Financial Flow

By Berhanu Fekade,  All Africa


A high level panel delegated by the African Union (AU) and chaired by Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa, has found Ethiopia to be among the top African nations in terms of being a source of illicit financial flows (IFFs), most of which makes ways to the developed world.

The panel was tasked to find out how prone Africa is for a systematic financial theft which mostly is orchestrated by giant multinational companies operating in the continent. The panel’s report dubbed “track it, stop it and get it” found that in five decades alone, the continent is estimated to have lost one trillion dollars; and currently nations including Ethiopia are losing some 60 billion dollars due to illicit financial flows across the board. With Nigeria leading the pack of top loser counties in Africa, Ethiopia alone lost a cumulative of USD 16.5 billion between 1970 and 2008. But, since 2010, Ethiopia more likely lost USD 10 billion which could have shortened significantly the 13 years journey that the country have taken to achieve MDG4 (reduce child mortality by two thirds ) to nine years. In addition to that, the panel found out that failing to curtail illicit financial flows cost the country some six percent of its GDP annually.

This figure puts the country among the top ten losers; rather creditors via illicit financial flows. Next to Nigeria, countries like Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Angola, Algeria, Cote d’Ivorie, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the top ten countries which are still losing out billions of dollars in form of “illegally earned, transferred or used” money as it (illicit financial flow) is defined by the panel. Names of the top illicit finance receiving nations include the US, China, India, Spain, France, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Mexico, and the like.

During the summit of heads of state and government which was concluded late last week, the panel appeared before the leaders to present its report on the findings of the three-year-long study that the panel has conducted. In its 15 main findings, the report made it loud and clear that the amount of money leaving Africa via IFFs is muscling up over the years. In 2010, the sums of dollars that flew out of the continent are estimated to be 60 billion dollars. Hence, the report went on to indicate that time has come to prompt the continent to the fact that illicit financial flows are political issues. According to Mbeki, the leaders have decided to adopt the report during the 24th ordinary summit.

The report basically made three classifications regarding the way illicit finances are flowing: via commercial activities, falsification of prices (trade mispricing), quantities and qualities of traded goods. Transfer pricing, profit shifting, tax evasion and the tax incentives which lack cost benefit analysis are some of the systemic commercial thefts the high level panel reported upon. Arms and drugs smuggling, human trafficking, poaching, oil and mineral theft are the criminal activities facilitated by illicit financial flows, the panel argued. Corruption and nontransparent deals are also the impeding factors to curtail the flight of finance from Africa. However, some studies allude to the fact that it is corruption which is extremely bleeding the continent really bad. These studies indicate that, up to 150 billion dollars annually is lost due to corrupt systems along the board in the continent.

To make matters worse, the continent faces huge gaps to finance infrastructural requirements as well as human development issues. The illicit flights alone largely exceed the official development assistants many African nations receive, Mbeki noted.


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Food Insecurity: Biofuels Are Not a Green Alternative to Fossil Fuels February 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in African Poor, Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Biofuels, Development Studies, Energy Economics.
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OBiofuela are not green



Biofuels Are Not a Green Alternative to Fossil Fuels

by Andrew Streer* and Craig Hanson**

Powering cars with corn and burning wood to make electricity might seem like a way to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and help solve the climate crisis. But although some forms of bioenergy can play a helpful role, dedicating land specifically for generating bioenergy is unwise. It uses land needed for food production and carbon storage, it requires large areas to generate just a small amount of fuel, and it won’t typically cut greenhouse gas emissions.

First, dedicating areas to bioenergy production increases competition for land.

Roughly three-quarters of the world’s vegetated land is already being used to meet people’s need for food and forest products, and that demand is expected to rise by 70 percent or more by 2050. Much of the rest contains natural ecosystems that keep climate-warming carbon out of the atmosphere, protect freshwater supplies, and preserve biodiversity.

Because land and the plants growing on it are already generating these benefits, diverting land—even degraded, under-utilised areas—to bioenergy means sacrificing much-needed food, timber, and carbon storage.

Second, bioenergy production is an inefficient use of land.

While photosynthesis may do a great job of converting the sun’s rays into food, it is an inefficient way to turn solar radiation into non-food energy that people can use. Thus, it takes a lot of land (and water) to yield a small amount of fuel from plants. In a new working paper, WRI calculates that providing just 10 percent of the world’s liquid transportation fuel in the year 2050 would require nearly 30 percent of all the energy in a year’s worth of crops the world produces today.

The push for bioenergy extends beyond transportation fuels to the harvest of trees and other sources of biomass for electricity and heat generation. Some research suggests that bioenergy could meet 20 percent of the world’s total annual energy demand by 2050. Yet doing so would require an amount of plants equal to all the world’s current crop harvests, plant residues, timber, and grass consumed by livestock–a true non-starter.

Third, bioenergy that makes dedicated use of land does not generally cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Burning biomass, whether directly as wood or in the form of ethanol or biodiesel, emits carbon dioxide just like burning fossil fuels. In fact, burning biomass directly emits a bit more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels for the same amount of generated energy. But most calculations claiming that bioenergy reduces greenhouse gas emissions relative to burning fossil fuels do not include the carbon dioxide released when biomass is burned. They exclude it based on the assumption that this release of carbon dioxide is matched and implicitly offset by the carbon dioxide absorbed by the plants growing the biomass.

Yet if those plants were going to grow anyway, simply diverting them to bioenergy does not remove any additional carbon from the atmosphere and therefore does not offset the emissions from burning that biomass. Furthermore, when natural forests are felled to generate bioenergy or to replace the farm fields that were diverted to growing biofuels, greenhouse gas emissions go up.

That said, some forms of bioenergy do not increase competition with food or land, and using them instead of fossil fuels could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One example is biomass grown in excess of what would have grown without the demand for bioenergy, such as winter cover crops for energy. Others include timber processing wastes, urban waste wood, landfill methane, and modest amounts of agriculture residues.

Using so-called second-generation technologies to convert material such as crop residues into bioenergy has a role to play and avoids competition for land. A challenge will be to do this at scale, since most of these residues are already used for animal feed or needed for soil fertility, and others are expensive to harvest.

There are good alternatives to bioenergy made from dedicated land. For example, solar photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight directly into energy that people can use, much like bioenergy, but with greater efficiency and less water use. On three-quarters of the world’s land, solar PV systems today can generate more than 100 times the usable energy per hectare as bioenergy. Because electric motors can be two to three times more efficient than internal combustion engines, solar PV can result in 200 to 300 times as much usable energy per hectare for vehicle transport compared to bioenergy.

One of the great challenges of our generation is how the world can sustainably feed a population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. Using crops or land for biofuels competes with food production, making this goal even more difficult.

The world’s land is a finite resource. As Earth becomes more crowded, fertile land and the plants it supports become ever more valuable for food, timber and carbon storage—things for which we don’t have an alternative source.

*Dr Steer is president of the WRI. **Hanson is the WRI’s global director of food, forest and water programmes


This blog post was originally published in The Guardian on January 29, 2015.



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WRI’s Searchinger says land and crops should not be used for bioenergy production, biofuels not curbing climate change.




#Africa is NOT rising – Part III February 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Corruption in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, Uncategorized.
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“For African farmers, what some are calling rising has been a sinking.
The sabotage of African economies by Africans is on the rise, be it through deficit theft, corruption or wars that never seem to end, our capacity to destroy our treasures and manpower is growing faster than our capacity to build them.
This definitely does not constitute rising, because:

  • You cannot rise when you do not have electricity to power your industries.
    You cannot rise without technology or industries, not in the century, not ever.
    You cannot rise with poor or not transport infrastructure.
    You cannot rise when the majority of your people are sleeping on empty stomachs, raising malnourished children whose survival in the world is made uncertain by stunted development of their brains and bodies.
    You cannot be rising if your share of profits from agricultural production is declining.
    You cannot rise if you are busy wrecking your own economy through corruption, theft and other forms of sabotage
    And you definitely cannot be rising if the environment and biodiversity that sustains life is dying in your hands.

So, what am I saying? I am not saying that Africa cannot rise, on the contrary, I am saying that Africa CAN rise but only if we work extra hard, understand the world we live in and take charge of our destiny.

I love the final quote from Mr. Annan “We should not mistake hope for achievement”. Given the situation in Africa at the moment, I am scared to think the some leaders if not all are complacent with where we are. To me, this is leadership WITHOUT vision. There are so many issue plaguing our continent right now ASIDE from diseases. The greatest illnesses that kill us are birthed from we, ourselves. Power hunger, greed, selfishness, hate, over zealous self ambition, a disgusting lack of humility and intense vanity.

Even though might be what we see at the moment, I see an Africa that is free from the above. An Africa that is led by people wanting to make a difference in the world and not in the depth of their pockets. The situation now is NOT what is will always be. However, for that to happen, WE, the fourth generation MUST stand up in belief for our Africa, pull up our socks and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. What do you think?

No great nation was made by Wimps – You can quote me on that!”

Africa is not rising, survey shows. Research suggests that the boom benefits only a narrow elite while leaving the poor and unemployed behind.



5064Here is me picking up from where I left off with my Africa is NOT rising article which is a featured presentation from Mr. AlI Mfuruki from Tanzania. The presentation was done at a Tedx event late last year. This is in fact part 3 of a 3 series post dedicated to his presentation (Simply because his assessment of the “Africa rising” media propaganda was so relevant and accurate for anyone wanting to build the continent). In case you have not had the chance to go through the first 2 posts, here you go: Africa is NOT rising – Part I & Africa is NOT rising – Part II

This is the final post in this series. Mind you; Only once you had read the first 2 posts, will you be able to get the full gist of his presentation. Please go on and click the links above then come…

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Land Grabs in #Africa: Farmers and local communities in north-eastern Nigeria are losing their livelihoods February 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Land Grabs in Africa.
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Global alliance deal evicts Nigerian farmers

This is Africa, investigative top story


January 28, 2015 — Farmers and local communities in north-eastern Nigeria are losing their livelihoods, as American prisons tycoon turns their land into a profit-making venture under the guise of US and UK aid

Farmers in the Taraba area affected by Dominion Farms' takeover of the lands they've worked for generations

Farmers in the Taraba area affected by Dominion Farms’ takeover of the lands they’ve worked for generations

Small-scale farmers are being forced to leave the lands their families have farmed for generations so that an American corporation can set up a huge agribusiness plantation in north-eastern Nigeria, supported by the Nigerian, American and British governments.

Dominion Farms is run by evangelical Christian Calvin Burgess from Oklahoma in the United States. In the US his business Dominion Properties develops and leases properties to government bodies from the Drugs Enforcement Agency to US Border Patrol, and has also developed more high-security prison facilities than any other privately owned company in the US.

It’s clear that he personally regards his farm enterprises in Africa as missions – as it says on his own company website: “Mr Burgess is active in the organization and operation of faith-based missions focused on the citizens of poor and developing nations, including his personal investment in Dominion Farms Ltd.”

However Dominion Farms already has a questionable track record in Kenya, where it took over the Yala River area and was said to have displaced local farmers, as well as releasing chemicals and pollutants into local land and water.

In Nigeria, farmers in the state of Taraba are being ejected from lands they have traditionally used all their lives to make way for Dominion Farms to establish a 30,000 hectare rice plantation. The lands Dominion Farms is using are in fact part of a public irrigation scheme that thousands of families rely on for their food needs and wider livelihoods. People living locally were not only not informed about the Dominion Farms project but also had no opportunity to feed in to the process. Although the company has already started to occupy the land, local inhabitants have still heard nothing about any plans for compensation or resettlement.

The lands are part of an irrigation scheme that families rely on for their food needs

The lands are part of an irrigation scheme that families rely on for their food needs

The Dominion Farms project forms part of the US- and UK-backed New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa and the Nigerian government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda, both of which pay lip service to food security and farmers’ livelihoods but which in practice seem to have the opposite effect.

‘Food security’ is often used as a way to justify large tracts of land being subjected to agricultural industrialisation, as well as moves to single monolithic crops. In fact, many local farmers’ groups and cooperatives – in Nigeria, Kenya and other countries subject to New Alliance incursions such as Ghana – point out that the idea of food security is an illusion as it is dependent on outside forces, often with hidden agendas. In fact, ‘food sovereignty’ is a much more useful aim, where local farmers can pool knowledge of indigenous crops and crop mixing techniques that allow them to be self sustaining and beyond.

Local farmer Mallam Danladi K Jallo said: “Our land is very rich and good. We produce a lot of different crops here like rice, beans, guinea corn, cassava, soya beans, millet, yam as well as fish farming and the rearing of animals like goats, sheep and cattle. But since Dominion Farms people arrived with their machine and some of their working equipment we were asked to stop our farm work and even leave our lands as the land is completely given to the Dominion Farms project.”

Rebecca Sule, one of the affected woman farmers from the local community, said: “The only story we hear is that our land is taken away and will be given out. We were not involved at any level. For the sake of the future and our children, we are requesting governmental authorities to ask Dominion Farms to stay away from our land.”

“We are requesting authorities to ask Dominion Farms to stay away from our land.”

“We are requesting authorities to ask Dominion Farms to stay away from our land.”

Raymond Enoch, who is one of the authors of a new report on Dominion Farms in Nigeria and director of the Center for Environmental Education and Development in Nigeria, said: “The local people are united in their opposition to the Dominion Farms project. They want their lands back so that they can continue to produce food for their families and the people of Nigeria.”

Heidi Chow, food sovereignty campaigner from Global Justice Now, which has been challenging the UK Government on its role in these events, said: “Aid money should be spent supporting communities to develop sustainable agriculture rather than supporting initiatives which are enabling companies to evict those communities. Initiatives like the New Alliance seem to be more about providing opportunities for agribusiness to carve up the resources of African countries rather than trying to address poverty or hunger.”

An area of the land that farmers have been evicted from

Today’s report was produced by two Nigerian NGOs, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and Center for Environmental Education and Development, with the support of Global Justice Now and GRAIN. It is based on field investigations and interviews conducted with local farmers, community leaders and government officials.

Farmers, in the already volatile and insecure northern part of Nigeria, have been really left in limbo when it comes to their future livelihoods. Also affected are the pastoralists who have historically roamed across these lands with cattle. Readers in Nigeria, the US and the UK can contact their respective governments to tell them what they think about what is happening – while this has grave implications for the people affected, it is also a part of a huge US and UK-led agribusiness strategy that affects all countries that have signed up to the New Alliance (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania).

In the meantime, another Taraba farmer, Mallam Ismaila Gebi, is putting himself and his family on the line: “We had all the intention of writing to the state government. We were ready for peaceful demonstrations, dialogue and even to cry out to the whole world just to hear our voices, the voices of poor innocent farmers. But if none of the above mentioned strategies did not work out then we can mobilise against Dominion Farms for our land, the land of our forefathers, with our families and remain there until they answer us.”





LSE Expert view on Africa: What were the collateral damages of the West’s counter-terrorism operations in Africa? – Awol Allo February 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption in Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model.
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Counter-terrorism operations have had a corrosive effect on local struggles for human rights and democracy in Africa. The extraordinary powers given to intelligence agencies and the police within liberal democracies enabled authoritarian governments to redefine the internal friend-enemy dynamics and situate local political conflicts within the framework of the global war on terror. The forms of knowledge and systems of truth generated by the discourse of the war on terror supplied authoritarian governments with new conceptual constellations and explanatory schemas within which to rationalise and justify their oppressive politics. In the decade since 9/11, governments that stop at nothing to secure and consolidate their power turned to the discourse of terrorism to silence opposition politicians, journalists, activists and various forms of dissenting voices under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Just as the war against communism at the height of the cold war provided authoritarian governments such as Apartheid South Africa with juridico-political instruments used to justify their violence, the war on terror has become one of the key instruments at the disposal of authoritarian governments used to harass and eliminate legitimate political adversaries from the democratic public sphere.

Awol Allo, is LSE Fellow in Human Rights at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and Department of Sociology. For more commentary on African politics and policy, read the Africa at LSE blog:http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/