Advertisements
jump to navigation

Business Insider:One of Africa’s most promising economies is facing a fundamental problem January 17, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Odaa OromooHanna doja. Oromo child, 1st grade student in Kombolcha, Horroo Guduruu, Oromia. Attacked  by Ethiopian regime fascist  forces on 31st December  2015#OromoProtests, Qabosoon itti fufa jedhu aayyoleen

 

 

The Addis plan is one instance in which these two objectives came into direct conflict. Protests over the plan, which Oromo viewed as a land grab undertaken by an oppressive and unrepresentative central government, broke out in late 2015. The government responded witha crackdown that killed 140 people, marking perhaps the deadliest outburst of political violence in the country since its civil war ended in 1991.

 

The Oromo protests are “engendering an intensified ethnic awareness that has also revitalized calls for genuine self-rule in the region,” Smith writes.

 

Karuturi had taken over land that the Ethiopian state had sold off as part of a controversial program in which the government leased 3.3 million acres of farmland to foreign investors after allegedly displacing some of that land’s original tenants.

It’s the kind of undertaking that would be substantially harder if Ethiopia were a multiparty democracy, rather than one of Africa’s most thoroughgoing dictatorships.

While Karuturi arguably stood to benefit from Ethiopia’s centralized single-party regime, it’s now learned the risk involved in pouring $100 million into an opaque authoritarian state.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/one-of-africas-most-promising-economies-is-facing-a-fundamental-problem-2016-1?r=US&IR=T

 



 

 

One of Africa’s most promising economies is facing a fundamental problem
Armin Rosen,  http://uk.businessinsider.com/  17 January 2017


 

Ethiopia, which has averaged double-digit GDP growth over the past decade and enjoys a close strategic relationship with the US, is one of Africa’s emerging economic and political powers and an example of a country that’s improved its economic fortunes without opening its political space.

A  January 11th Bloomberg News story hints at a huge problem the country might be facing moving forward.

According to Bloomberg, the Ethiopian government canceled a 2010 lease that Karuturi, an India-based agricultural company, had taken out on 100,000 acres of farmland.

Despite making an over $100 million investment in the country’s farming sector, Karuturi was accused of breaking its lease agreement in developing only 1,200 acres thus far. But the company claimed that it had received waivers from the Ethiopian government in the past, and said that it did not recognize the project’s cancellation.

According to Bloomberg, Karuturi had taken over land that the Ethiopian state had sold off as part of a controversial program in which the government leased 3.3 million acres of farmland to foreign investors after allegedly displacing some of that land’s original tenants.

It’s the kind of undertaking that would be substantially harder if Ethiopia were a multiparty democracy, rather than one of Africa’s most thoroughgoing dictatorships.

While Karuturi arguably stood to benefit from Ethiopia’s centralized single-party regime, it’s now learned the risk involved in pouring $100 million into an opaque authoritarian state.

And Ethiopia’s leaders, who want both economic prosperity and total political control, might soon find that these objectives aren’t nearly as mutually reinforcing as they’d hoped.

Oromo

Tiksa Negeri/ReutersWomen mourn during the funeral ceremony of Dinka Chala, a primary school teacher who family members said was shot dead by military forces during a recent demonstration, in Holonkomi town, in Oromiya region of Ethiopia on December 17, 2015.

Like Karuturi’s disappeared $100 million investment, the Addis Ababa expansion plan embodies the perils and contradictions of the Ethiopian regime’s long-term strategy of securing internal calm through economic growth and strong ties with foreign powers like the US and China.

As in past eras, the Ethiopian capital is being built up as a showpiece of the country’s modernity and development, and as a reflection of Ethiopia’s sense of its unique place in the world. Addis has one of Africa’s first light rails, a Chinese-built, 19.6-mile system that opened last year.

The city and the surrounding area are home to both of the country’s Chinese special economic zones, industrial parks where Chinese companies get tax breaks in exchange for operating in Ethiopia and hiring local employees. The Addis expansion plan would have incorporated neighboring areas into the capital district, enabling more holistic and centralized urban planning for a rapidly growing and economically vital capital city.

But the expansion plan also came at the expense of land in the Oromia Region — and it ended up exposing some of the deepest fractures in Ethiopian society.

The Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group but have been historically excluded from centers of power. Because Ethiopia lacks an ethnic majority (and perhaps because it has a 1,500-year history rife with conflict between the country’s centers of power and it geographic and social periphery), the country’s regions are supposed to receive a certain degree of autonomy under Ethiopia’s 1995 Constitution, which actually gives the regions a right to secede under certain circumstances.

In practice, the center still holds all of the power.

Screen Shot 2016 01 15 at 6.19.23 PM

Google MapsLocation of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

The current Ethiopian government, which is entirely run by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which is descended from the militia that overthrew the ruling communist state in 1991 after a protracted civil war, is among the most oppressive in Africa.

The EPRDF regime is dominated largely by elites from the Tigrayan and Amharic ethnic groups. But its rule depends on a baseline of inter-communal harmony — just as it depends on the appearance of progress and economic growth.

The Addis plan is one instance in which these two objectives came into direct conflict. Protests over the plan, which Oromo viewed as a land grab undertaken by an oppressive and unrepresentative central government, broke out in late 2015. The government responded witha crackdown that killed 140 people, marking perhaps the deadliest outburst of political violence in the country since its civil war ended in 1991.

Even if the plan has been suspended, the Addis Ababa expansion push is an extension of aggressive growth policies that are fundamental to the regime’s self-image and possibly its survival, policies enabled by strong arm tactics that a country might not accept accept.

But the protests showed that economic growth and authoritarianism can’t paper over a general sense of frustration.

As Jeffrey Smith, head of the RFK Center’s sub-Saharan Africa-related advocacy programs explained to Business Insider, the suspension of the plan will do little to reduce popular discontent towards the regime.

“If the government is trying to head off larger protests and discontent in the country, then it’s much too little and much too late,” Smith wrote in an email. “During the protests, an estimated 140 people were killed and thousands were injured, opposition leaders and journalists were jailed, and the constitution was shredded … there has been no accountability for the deaths of protesters and dissent continues to be criminalized and violently suppressed.”

ethiopia rail system

Tiksa Negeri/ReutersA worker works on the electrified light rail transit construction site in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, on December 16, 2014.As with Karuturi’s apparent ejection from the country, the contradictions of trying to build a robust economy without genuine political freedom or basic transparency are manifesting themselves. But with the Addis plan, the stakes are much higher for the regime.

The Oromo protests are “engendering an intensified ethnic awareness that has also revitalized calls for genuine self-rule in the region,” Smith writes.

That’s a huge threat to a government that’s itself came to power following an ethnically fractious civil war. “I think leaders in Addis Ababa has gotten much more than they bargained for,” says Smith.


 

http://uk.businessinsider.com/one-of-africas-most-promising-economies-is-facing-a-fundamental-problem-2016-1?r=US&IR=T

 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/one-africas-most-promising-economies-205434371.html?soc_src=mediacontentsharebuttons&soc_trk=tw

Advertisements

Oromia: Vice News: Deadly Protests in Ethiopia as Students Defend Farmers from Urban ‘Master Plan’ December 11, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

???????????vice news logo

Say no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo people#OromoProtests of 7 December 2015‪#‎OromoProtests‬ Global Solidarity, Switzerland, 11 December 2015

Deadly Protests in Ethiopia as Students Defend Farmers from Urban ‘Master Plan’

 By Kayla Ruble, news.vice.com, December 11, 2015

In the last two weeks, protests have spread to more than 50 towns as part of a larger and years-long movement against the Ethiopian government’s controversial development plan. It’s not the first protest against the so-called Master Plan; there was a similar uprising in April and May of 2014 after the development plan was approved. A crackdown by security forces left dozens dead and hundreds arrested.

By all accounts, according to Jawar Mohammed, the founder of Oromo Media Network, the recent movement is much bigger than its predecessor. The Minnesota-based Ethiopian said reports indicate farmers and other citizens have even begun to join in on the demonstrations over the last few days.

“This is the biggest protest by far that I have seen in the last 25 years,” Mohammed said.

In addition to being more widespread than previous demonstrations, this year’s protests have reportedly been better organized, according to American-based Ethiopian journalist Mohammed Ademo. While improved access to social media has played a role, Ademo said the size can also be attributed to a growing dissatisfaction among the public with what he called the “government’s top-down, non-participatory approach to development.”

“Gone are the days when the central government can displace Oromo farmers and forcibly implement any policy,” he said. “Continued crackdown on the protesters only ensures Oromos’ growing estrangement from the state.”

The estrangement has a strong economic component. The expansion of Addis Ababa, the headquarters of both the African Union and the international airline carrier Ethiopia Airways, is a symptom of both the wider urbanization in sub-Saharan African cities and the booming success of national economy.

Addis Ababa has seen growing foreign and economic investment in recent years, while at the same time becoming a regional business hub, Bill Moseley, a geography professor at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota, said.

“Ethiopia’s seen as this kind of up-and-coming country with a lot of investment that’s posturing to make Addis more of a global city, so I’m sure that’s feeding into this sort of push to expansion,” Moseley explained. “It’s these small farmers that lose out, but it’s rationalized in sort of these broader development goals.”

Generally, said Moseley, when governments pave the way for urban growth they often use this development as a way to justify land grabs. According to Moseley, this situation is not exclusive to Addis Ababa and Ethiopia, but one seen in other cities across sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.

For the Oromo, specifically, activists claim they have not benefited from the country’s growth and prosperity. The regional ethnic group, which counts Oromia as its homeland, makes up more than 80 percent of the state’s 27 million people. Nationally it represents upward of 35 percent.

Literacy rates are bleak and the group is underrepresented in government. According to Mohammed, nearly a dozen Oromo clans have been swallowed up in the city’s horizontal expansion as they are forced off their lands. In Ethiopia, the government owns all of the land, but the constitution does provide some protections for the public. Oromo activists say these rights have been ignored in the rush to expand.

“The capital city is in the middle of Oromia, but you don’t see any Oromo identity in it,” he said. “Every time [Addis Ababa] expands it just destroys them. They’re saying the development has to incorporate us…. You can’t just leave us stranded.”

The planned development has also hit home for the Oromo, who have a very close connection with their land, according to Human Rights Watch Horn of Africa researcher Felix Horne.

“They’re concerned if a large portion of land outside of Addis Ababa comes under control of the city administration that farmers will be displaced from the land,” he explained. “[That] they won’t receive compensation from their livelihoods. And they won’t have the ability to feed their families.”

The government has a history of cracking down on the Oromo people, who represent a majority of the population and a perceived threat to power to the minority-led coalition. Horne said that anytime Oromos expresses dissent or simply asks a question about land development policies, they can be subject to arbitrary detention and mistreatment.

Beyond discrimination and crackdown on the Oromo, freedom of press and other expression is heavily curtailed in the country as a whole. Horne said coverage of the recent protests has been almost non-existent.

“Ethiopia is often applauded internationally for its economic growth and development initiatives, but that’s only one part of the story,” he said. “Anyone who expresses any form of dissent in Ethiopia is in trouble.”

https://news.vice.com/article/deadly-protests-in-ethiopia-as-students-defend-farmers-from-urban-master-plan