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IRIN: Securitising Africa’s borders is bad for migrants, democracy, and development July 6, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Legitimised by a language of sovereignty, greater border controls are part of an emerging containment era in which Africans’ movements – not only towards Europe but even across the continent – are becoming pathologised and criminalised. There are continental variations. Some countries and sub-regions are less committed to control than others, but so-called containment development is undeniably on the rise. In this new developmental mode, success is measured primarily by the ability to keep people at home. 

Critics of this approach focus heavily and justifiably on the migrants condemned to camps and detention centres, and the growing numbers who die before reaching their destination. Others note the extraordinary growth in a range of unsavoury professions: smuggling, kidnapping, and trafficking. Although often tinged with an alarmism driven by moral outrage or professional interest, these stories of exploited people and extinguished lives need to be told.

Yet focusing exclusively on the migrant victims of new containment technologies and practices, risks overlooking their implications for the continent’s governance and all Africans’ human rights. At the very least, the kind of bilateral arrangements various African countries are signing with the EU will scupper African Union plans to promote easier and safer movement within the continent. They will similarly curtail free movement policy proposals circulating within sub-regional economic communities.

In place of multilateralism, we are likely to get stronger militaries and more authoritarian leaders. Indeed, directing aid and weapons to existing leadership in the region will almost certainly erode democracy and heighten insecurity and instability.

The EU’s new migration-linked development aid emphasises the need to create local opportunities so people need never move. The results are likely to be increased investment in rural areas. While not in itself a bad thing, such spending will be distorted by the desire to fix people in place. African leaders may care little about migration towards Europe, but under these new agreements they risk losing aid money if they fail to control populations within their borders. And ongoing urbanisation can also present a political challenge to their power. Maintaining people in situ – not only within their countries but within “primordial” rural communities – helps maintain systems of ethnic patronage and prevents unruly urbanites from protesting at the presidential gates.

Securitised border management of the kind South Africa is mooting is a gateway to the kind of containment strategies the EU is promoting.  Within this new paradigm, millions will be detained in facilities across Africa or condemned to die along land and water borders. Smuggling, trafficking, and corruption will blossom in place of trade that could increase prosperity. Overseeing this will be politicians empowered by military aid windfalls and a global community without the moral authority to condemn their human rights abuses.

The vast majority of Africans who have no European fantasies will live in decreasingly democratic countries. The African Union and regional campaigns promoting development through accountable institutions and freer movement will also likely lead nowhere. The results – heightened inequality within and between countries, along with increased poverty and likelihood of conflict – will create precisely the pressures to migrate that Europe hopes to contain. – IRIN News

Loren B. Landau

Professor at the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Caroline Kihato

Associate professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg


South Africa’s National Assembly recently passed a bill to set up a new border management agency. The Border Management Authority will fall under Home Affairs, a government department long distinguished by its lack of respect for immigrant and refugee rights. But there are other, deeper causes for concern.

Whereas previously, police and customs officers were under strict (if not always effective) civilian oversight, this new agency will be able to circumvent constitutional constraints. Broader changes to immigration and asylum policies are also in the works, such as a “risk-based” vetting system that could be used to justify barring most people from entering the country overland. Bolstering these efforts are plans to detain asylum seekers at processing centres dotted along the border.

South Africa’s new border management strategy has equivalents across the continent that likely do little to prevent smuggling and human trafficking or to stop terrorism – the justifications often used for such securitisation. Instead, they help reinforce authoritarian leadership and undermine regional governance initiatives. In the longer term, they are likely to impact development.

Free movement – within countries or to neighbouring areas – is central to people finding work and surviving in these precarious times. Constraints on such movement, whatever the source, are fundamentally anti-poor and anti-freedom. They treat migrants as suspected criminals, rather than as people legitimately seeking protection or employment. Many of these policies are being implemented with aid from the European Union and strong domestic support. Countries like Eritrea already maintain a repressive “exit visa” system while Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Niger, and Sudan are all planning enhanced border management strategies, including bio-metric tracking and militarisation.

Containment era

Militarising the margins has become an integral plank in the continent’s new approach to “migration management”. Following the Valletta Summit in late 2015, the EU created a trust fund that is funnelling billions of euros of development aid through bilateral arrangements with African states, including those with appalling human rights records, such as Sudan and Eritrea. Legitimised by a language of sovereignty, greater border controls are part of an emerging containment era in which Africans’ movements – not only towards Europe but even across the continent – are becoming pathologised and criminalised. There are continental variations. Some countries and sub-regions are less committed to control than others, but so-called containment development is undeniably on the rise. In this new developmental mode, success is measured primarily by the ability to keep people at home.

Critics of this approach focus heavily and justifiably on the migrants condemned to camps and detention centres, and the growing numbers who die before reaching their destination. Others note the extraordinary growth in a range of unsavoury professions: smuggling, kidnapping, and trafficking. Although often tinged with an alarmism driven by moral outrage or professional interest, these stories of exploited people and extinguished lives need to be told.

Yet focusing exclusively on the migrant victims of new containment technologies and practices, risks overlooking their implications for the continent’s governance and all Africans’ human rights. At the very least, the kind of bilateral arrangements various African countries are signing with the EU will scupper African Union plans to promote easier and safer movement within the continent. They will similarly curtail free movement policy proposals circulating within sub-regional economic communities.

While the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), already has a working protocol, it has been compromised by fears of terrorism and EU-funded programmes to deter migration through the region. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC), proposals modelled on the ECOWAS framework are now less likely to move forward. This domesticates politics in ways that weaken the regional governance mechanisms needed to address collective development concerns and negotiate more favourable global trade positions. In place of multilateralism, we are likely to get stronger militaries and more authoritarian leaders. Indeed, directing aid and weapons to existing leadership in the region will almost certainly erode democracy and heighten insecurity and instability.

Growth industry

What is perhaps most worrying is how emergent border management approaches are likely to extend and proliferate beyond borders. Efforts promoted by the EU, with complicity from many African leaders, effectively seek to limit movement and freedom across and within countries. Europe fears that any movement – typically towards cities – will beget further moves, some of which will be towards the European motherland.

The EU’s new migration-linked development aid emphasises the need to create local opportunities so people need never move. The results are likely to be increased investment in rural areas. While not in itself a bad thing, such spending will be distorted by the desire to fix people in place. African leaders may care little about migration towards Europe, but under these new agreements they risk losing aid money if they fail to control populations within their borders. And ongoing urbanisation can also present a political challenge to their power. Maintaining people in situ – not only within their countries but within “primordial” rural communities – helps maintain systems of ethnic patronage and prevents unruly urbanites from protesting at the presidential gates.

Securitised border management of the kind South Africa is mooting is a gateway to the kind of containment strategies the EU is promoting.  Within this new paradigm, millions will be detained in facilities across Africa or condemned to die along land and water borders. Smuggling, trafficking, and corruption will blossom in place of trade that could increase prosperity. Overseeing this will be politicians empowered by military aid windfalls and a global community without the moral authority to condemn their human rights abuses.

The vast majority of Africans who have no European fantasies will live in decreasingly democratic countries. The African Union and regional campaigns promoting development through accountable institutions and freer movement will also likely lead nowhere. The results – heightened inequality within and between countries, along with increased poverty and likelihood of conflict – will create precisely the pressures to migrate that Europe hopes to contain.

(TOP PHOTO: South African soldiers apprehend irregular migrants from Zimbabwe. Guy Oliver/IRIN)

ll-ck/ks/ag


 

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Tyranny of Experts, illustrated August 17, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

An Africanist Perspective

More on this here, here, and here.

H/T Khadija Mohamud.

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AS: THE ASCENDANCE OF “DEVELOPMENT FETISHISM” July 10, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooAddis Standard

 

THE ASCENDANCE OF “DEVELOPMENT FETISHISM”


In its literal definition, the term development is generally understood to mean an intentionally conceived course of action that aims to realize the full potential of a given population. Though previously the notion of planned development was largely confined to communist countries, it now seems to have drawn some attention across the board.

Probably, the reason why the word has attracted attentions outside the communist block was partly due to the phenomenal success registered with US Marshal Plan and “Reverse Course” program to rehabilitate the war-torn Europe and Japan respectively in the aftermath of World War II.

Later on, several attempts have been made to replicate the success of the aforementioned planned development interventions in most developing countries after they won their political independence. Nevertheless, unlike the European and Japanese case, an all-out success with planned development in many of the developing countries, with the exception of a handful of Asian and Latin American countries, had remained until very recently quite a distant dream.

To the contrary, the net outcome of long years of planned development interventions in many of these countries for the most part ended in creating unbridgeable income gap between the rich and the poor, pervasive poverty, environmental degradation, chronic political dictatorship, civil wars, insecurity and instability.

The ever changing economic models and strategies which these countries have opted to on various occasions such as economic growth approach, centrally planned socialist economy, growth and transformation plan, structural-adjustment program, poverty alleviation program, participatory development and all that could well be symptomatic of the crisis of planned development in the past decades.

Of course, in speaking the adoption of a development model, it is worth noticing that there may be several internal and external factors that directly or indirectly impact the choice made by a given country. The competing major international ideological orientations, the fashionable development discourses, the leverage and influence of hegemonic powers, the influence of global financial and economic institutions, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic relationships between and among countries and the political and ideological orientations of the powers that be are to mention but a few.

Be that as it may, in this article I would like to argue about Ethiopia’s adoption of the ‘developmental state’ ideology that can largely be attributed to the incumbent’s political interest to mend legitimacy crisis and carry on with its repressive rule. And for this to happen it has apparently resorted to different political strategies as briefly discussed below.

Mystifying development

One of the biggest lessons learned from the failure of the first ever attempted ‘economic growth’ model that sought only to enhance the national economic wealth of the nation – GDP – was that a true and sustainable development must give due attention to all-round development which includes, among others, the economic, social, moral, intellectual and spiritual needs and demands of the larger population.

Subsequently, this has led to the new concept of an inclusive, participatory and human-centered development that has found wide currency since the 1980s. Such concepts of development also compel the need to make citizens active and conscious actors in a development process that ultimately determines their destiny.

Contrary to this, what is now transpiring in Ethiopia largely looks a full-blown psychological campaign to instill false-consciousness among the people by elevating the notion of development to a mystique and idol stature. The intention behind this clearly lies in making people unconscious and unquestioning actors who would readily submit to everything that comes in the name of development.

Consider the unrelenting media propaganda which scarcely misses mentioning development in the course of the day. Now, each and every government initiation comes wrapped with the tag of development. While a view or an action that aligns with the government would soon receive the honorific title of ‘developmental’, in contrast, any dissenting view or action would quickly be admonished as ‘anti-development’. In short, observing how the term development is used today in Ethiopia, probably one gets the impression that it might have acquired a new meaning which approximates something ‘sacred’.

Just imagine for a moment what a message of a sticker commonly put on the door of a soon-to-be-demolished shop that reads, “Sealed for Development Purpose” implicitly implies. In this connection, it is also worth to recall the occasion some years back when the top religious leaders had appeared on the public media to ‘consecrate’ the “Great Renaissance Dam” whereby they pronounced any non-consenting gesture towards the construction of the dam to be viewed as a kind of blasphemy that deserves some sort of admonition.

When people attempt to make the things that they themselves have created an object of worship, in the Marxist economic discourse, it is often said to be a form of fetishism. Thus, the unrelenting effort that the Ethiopian government has been waging supposedly to mystify and idolize the notion of development could be none other than “development fetishism”.

Development as a pretext

One major reason for instilling the attitude of “development fetishism” among the people seems to lie in the government’s ambition of attaching itself with a rather eye-catching infrastructural and building construction activities now underway in the country irrespective of its effect on the living realities of the ordinary mass and thereby portray itself as an indispensable actor without which Ethiopia’s development would be impossible to think of.

In this regard, it’s worth looking back at the circumstances that led the government to proclaim the status of ‘developmental state’ some few years back. Apparently, the government switched to the idea of ‘developmental state’ following the infamous 2005 election when it lost its credibility with the larger public. Furthermore, it was followed by the time when it kept itself busy with issuing some draconian laws. From this it follows that the declaration of ‘developmental state’ was but a tacit act of openly installing an authoritarian system.

After all, the notion of ‘developmental state’ is often associated either with those Asian countries with a communist political system or naked authoritarian regimes that have clung to power for so long, except Japan.

Evidently, all the messages and actions that now emanate from the ruling party in connection with the upcoming election also well signify how the ruling part is determined to use development as an excuse to cling to power indefinitely without any serious contender. Ironically, all this is not only against the unrelenting rhetoric of democracy and freedom but also in flagrant contradiction to the spirit of the constitution that itself has given birth to.

Fought for the sake of development or justice?

While proclaiming the status of developmental state which is in many ways repressive, the present day rulers seem to have forgotten why in the first place they had fought a bitter war against the former repressive regime, the Dergue. Surely, it was not so much for the sake of primarily economic development as it was for social justice.

As a matter of fact, development – especially that of material and physical – is just one among many other important duties and functions that a just government is required to carry out. This is not to say, however, for poor countries like ours the issue of development is not an imperative one. Yet, to promote development at the expense of justice, the rule of law, freedom and democratic rights, which in fact are crucial for sustainable development, presumably by virtue of being a ‘developmental state’ is very much unbecoming of such a sort of government.
Above all, the essence of a truly democratic government lies in its commitment to advance the freedom and democratic right as well as the welfare and security of its citizens. Indeed, the prime difference between authoritarian and democratic government rests on the fact that in the latter such great questions as development that evidently bears great stake in the life of people are to be decided not by whims and illusions of an individual or a group of tyrannical rulers but by well-informed, rational needs and demands of the larger citizens. Certainly, no thoughtful and rational government would attempt to reduce citizens to be blind worshipers of an idol that is created for political purpose. As the eminent classical sociologist Emile Durkheim had put it, “A healthy political system requires good faith and the avoidance of force and fraud. It requires, in a word, justice.”


The ascendance of “Development Fetishism”

FP: UN Sustainable Development Goals: No wonder the SDGs went all vague and utopian September 29, 2015

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???????????Dounle digit Ethiopia

If there is something to salvage from the SDG debacle, perhaps it is the idealistic advocacy for “universal respect for human rights and human dignity,” not as a 2030 “target,” but just as an increasing recognition of poor people’s rights for self-determination. Similar language was there in the MDGs but ignored. Such advocacy is needed to accept and respect the mainly homegrown rise of the rest. Such advocacy is needed because there are still many aid programs that violate the rights of the poor (such as involuntary resettlement) or aid that supports others who callously violate the rights of the poor (such as autocratic allies of the United States in the war on terror). Such advocacy is needed, not only because the West itself is now far too prone to xenophobic insults of poor people over fears of migration. For this generation of young idealists in rich countries, development should still be a cause worth fighting for. The many humanitarian programs that have been doing good things should continue, even if they are not quite the transformational things that the MDGs promised. But the decline and fall of the pretensions of foreign aid only tell us to not put our hopes in U.N. bureaucrats or Western experts. We can put our hopes instead in the poor people we support as dignified agents of their own destiny.- WILLIAM EASTERLY

The SDGs Should Stand for Senseless, Dreamy, Garbled

The SDGs Should Stand for Senseless, Dreamy, Garbled

Nothing better reflects the decline and fall of hopes for Western foreign aid than the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, just launched at a summit this past weekend. TheSDG manifesto is called the “[draft] outcome document of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.” This not-quite-soaring rhetoric continues for 35 pages of 17 SDGs buried among phrases like: “Thematic reviews of progress,” “Implement the 10-Year Framework of Programmes,” and “Accelerated Modalities of Action.” The 17 goals in turn have 169 targets, a list that has both too many items and too little content for each one, such as target 12.8: “By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.”

As for foreign aid, it is barely mentioned. Has anybody else noticed the SDG emperor has a shortage of clothes? Well, the Economist called the SDGs “worse than useless.” Another commentator described them as “a high-school wish list on how to save the world,” which seems unfair to high schoolers. Even Pope Francis warned in his address to the SDG summit this past Friday against the risk to just “rest content” with a “bureaucratic exercise of drawing up long lists of good proposals.” It is a sad result for the much-hyped SDGs. Yet hope remains: The “rise of the rest” — the economic growth of low- and middle-income countries — is causing increased respect for the poor, who are mostly achieving their own homegrown development, a welcome move away from the condescension of the old aid effort.

To be fair, the SDGs sometimes do break through with welcome idealism that is ahead of the curve: “We will cooperate internationally to ensure safe … migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants … of refugees and of displaced persons.” Other inspirational rhetoric is available: “We envisage a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity…. We resolve to build a better future for … the millions who have been denied the chance to lead decent, dignified and rewarding lives.” The SDGs might have worked, and I hope could possibly still work, as just idealistic rhetoric that will motivate more people in the rich and free countries to care about the world’s poor and shackled.

But the Sustainable Development Goals are not presented that way — they really are goals and targets. They want to be like their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), announced in 2000 with targets for 2015 — but they are not. The MDGs were so appealing because they were so precise and measurable. In just one paragraph in the 2000 U.N. Millennium Declaration, the U.N. announced goals to cut in half the proportion of the world’s population that was in extreme poverty, to cut in half the proportion who suffer from hunger, to cut in half the proportion without access to safe drinking water, to achieve universal primary schooling, to reduce the maternal mortality rate by three-quarters, and to reduce under-five child mortality by two-thirds — all by the year 2015. As a later U.N. document in 2005 made clear, the MDGs held everyone accountable for actually meeting these “quantified and time-bound” targets.

In the SDGs, it is hard to imagine what the time-bound and quantified target is for harmony with nature.

Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs are so encyclopedic that everything is top priority, which means nothing is a priority: “Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development.” “Recognize and value … domestic work … and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household.” It’s unclear how the U.N. is going to get more women to play soccer and more men to do the dishes.

Beyond the unactionable, unquantifiable targets for the SDGs, there are also the unattainable ones: “ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions,” “universal health coverage,” “ending all … preventable deaths [related to newborn, child, and maternal mortality] before 2030,” “[end] all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere,” and “achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men.” Again, these could have been great as ideals — I share such ideals with great enthusiasm. But the SDGs are not put forth as ideals but as “targets” for the year 2030. The rejoinder to a utopian target should be: Wow, if something that great is possible, why wait until 2030? Why didn’t it happen already?

It’s a mark of how the SDGs don’t take seriously their own utopian promises that they keep repeating them over and over again for different sub-groups.

It’s a mark of how the SDGs don’t take seriously their own utopian promises that they keep repeating them over and over again for different sub-groups. After promising full employment of everyone, the SDGs also ask more modestly for full employment of “young people,” having already mentioned even more modestly they are “promoting youth employment.” They don’t seem to get how following a big promise with a much smaller one weakens the big promise’s credibility. You have already won $1 million dollars — plus a free toaster.As if the promises were not already weakened enough by being either unmeasurable or unattainable, there are still a lot of ways to opt out. The commitments “will be voluntary and country-led,” they can be modified upon demand for “different national realities, capacities and levels of development,” and they will defer to each nation’s “policy space and priorities.”

Part of the problem is the use of that word “sustainable” — the U.N. never defines it. “Sustainable” might have something to do with climate change, but the SDGs tell us that climate change will be negotiated in a different U.N. summit in Paris beginning in late November. “Sustainable” is so overused in so many different contexts that it means very little — we might as well call them the “Some-such Development Goals.”

The best chance the SDGs have at saying something with real meaning is the promise, by 2030, to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.” This is one of the few endings promised by the SDGs that could actually be possible, mostly because it is such an extreme definition of extreme poverty and the trend on this poverty has already been sloping downward for decades.

Unfortunately, the one and only official international custodian of the global poverty line, the World Bank, chose just this moment to increase the confusion on where the global poverty line should be. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced last week that the poverty line is not really $1.25; instead, it is about $1.90 — which might add a hundred million or so poor to the global rolls (not yet determined). Princeton University’s Angus Deaton, one of the world’s leading poverty experts, suggested this confusion is because “[you’ve] got a line that no one knows where to put it,” all based on “underlying data that is bad,” creating a “statistical problem from hell.” So the headline goal of the SDGs turns out to be almost as unmeasurable as the others.

What about foreign aid? President Barack Obama endorsed the SDGs in a speech to the U.N. summit on Sunday, but if there is to be any new U.S. aid for the SDGs, he forgot to mention it. While a price tag for SDGs of $3 trillion is mentioned (with no explanation) in U.N. discussions, there is no talks in the document itself of foreign aid increasing to pay for these targets. The rich countries are “to implement fully their official development assistance commitments” (see target 17.2) — in other words, to keep previous foreign aid promises already broken. A surge in foreign aid had been at the heart of the MDGs, but the SDGs just change the subject as fast as possible — the next target (see target 17.3) is to “mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources.” Nothing better exemplifies the decline and fall of the millennium goals’ transformational hopes for foreign aid than this no-show for the SDGs.

So the SDGs are to monitor the attainment of goals that cannot be monitored or attained, financed by unidentified financing.

How did it wind up like this? Part of the challenge of the SDGs was following a MDG program based on meeting precise targets in 2015, which was a great success. Well, except for meeting precise targets in 2015. As the SDG manifesto notes in a buried paragraph: “[Some] of the Millennium Development Goals remain off-track, in particular those related to maternal, newborn and child health and to reproductive health. We recommit ourselves to the full realization of all the Millennium Development Goals, including the off-track Millennium Development Goals.” No wonder the SDGs went all vague and utopian.

There is something deeper at work here — that there is today a much less confident West compared to the MDGs heyday. The rise of the rest is so much more evident now than in 2000. Per capita GDP growth in low- and middle-income countries since 2000 has been rising much faster than in the West, even in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa now has twice as many cell-phone subscribers as the United States, after remarkable growth that had nothing to do with Western development aid. Remittances from the diaspora and foreign direct investment are together twice as large for Africa as foreign aid. There are so many other long-term trends in these developing countries that are positive — from poverty to health, education to sanitation, and democratization to technology. Yes, the MDG campaign itself and foreign aid commitments do deserve some credit — even if the goals were not met. But the aid was too small to significantly explain these large accomplishments — and these trends began long before the MDGs and will continue long after 2015.

The MDGs gave far too much attention to middle-aged white male experts in the West debating what should be done for the rest of the world (including this author, but far more prominently Bono, Jeffrey Sachs, and Bill Gates). Thank goodness this patronizing direction from the West is no longer seen as so acceptable. People in low- and middle-income countries must now be recognized as equals, the authors of their own development. The surprisingly savvy Pope got this: He called upon leaders at the SDG summit to recognize “these real men and women” in poverty “to be dignified agents of their own destiny.”

If there is something to salvage from the SDG debacle, perhaps it is the idealistic advocacy for “universal respect for human rights and human dignity,” not as a 2030 “target,” but just as an increasing recognition of poor people’s rights for self-determination. Similar language was there in the MDGs but ignored. Such advocacy is needed to accept and respect the mainly homegrown rise of the rest. Such advocacy is needed because there are still many aid programs that violate the rights of the poor (such as involuntary resettlement) or aid that supports others who callously violate the rights of the poor (such as autocratic allies of the United States in the war on terror). Such advocacy is needed, not only because the West itself is now far too prone to xenophobic insults of poor people over fears of migration.

For this generation of young idealists in rich countries, development should still be a cause worth fighting for. The many humanitarian programs that have been doing good things should continue, even if they are not quite the transformational things that the MDGs promised. But the decline and fall of the pretensions of foreign aid only tell us to not put our hopes in U.N. bureaucrats or Western experts. We can put our hopes instead in the poor people we support as dignified agents of their own destiny.

Africa: Obama’s Visit To Ethiopia Sparks Controversy, Concerns Nigeria Was Snubbed July 2, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Corruption in Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model.
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President of the United States Barack Obama

Activists and some media organizations have expressed concern that President of the United States, Barack Obama, will visit Ethiopia but not Nigeria during his Africa trip next month. Many have pointed out that Nigeria just experienced an historic democratic transfer of power while Ethiopia has a deplorable human rights record.

In addition to the recent democratic transfer of power Nigeria plays a crucial role in African security and is the US’s largest trading partner on the continent. The US also announced a 5 million dollar commitment to Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.

According to Nii Akuetteh, an independent Africa analyst, who spoke with SaharaReporters, people should not see President Obama’s decision as “a huge slap in the face to Nigeria.”

Mr. Akuetteh said that “planning a presidential trip abroad is extremely cumbersome” and “one month is too short notice to prep a major trip like this.” He also said that “many in Washington DC would not admit it but they are happy that [former President] Jonathan is no longer in power” and that Obama would not have planned for a trip to Nigeria if he was in power.

President Obama plans to visit Kenya, the country of his father’s birth, for a global entrepreneurship summit before flying to Ethiopia. It should also be noted that Kenya has an abysmal human rights record, with police death squads and ethnic discrimination against Somali communities routine.

Mr. Akuetteh stated that “as an activist I am not happy when the United States supports dictators or that President Obama is visiting the Ethiopian regime” however “my reading of the trip is that President Obama is going to meet with African Union leaders, which happens to be located in Addis Ababa.”

The White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said something similar that Obama “will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit by strengthening ties with our African partners and highlighting America’s longstanding commitment to investing in Africa.”

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, will visit President Obama in mid-July during his first official visit as President to the United States. It is expected that President Obama and President Buhari will discuss security, terrorism, and trade between the two countries.

http://saharareporters.com/2015/07/01/obama%E2%80%99s-visit-ethiopia-sparks-controversy-concerns-nigeria-was-snubbed

Protests, State Violence, and the Manufacture of Dissent in Ethiopia May 6, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, America, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinne is Oromia's land, Finfinnee, Finfinnee is the Capital City of Oromia, Finfinnee n Kan Oromoo ti, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Hetosa, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Meroetic Oromo, No to land grabs in Oromia, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromia wide Oromo Universtiy students Protested Addis Ababa Expansion Master Plan, Oromian Voices, Oromiyaa, Oromo Culture, Oromo Diaspora, Oromo Protests, Oromo Protests in Ambo, Oromo students protests, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromo University students and their national demands, Oromummaa, Say no to the expansions of Addis Ababa, State of Oromia, Stop evicting Oromo people from Cities, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
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Two things happened simultaneously on May 1st, both involving the U.S. State Department and its relation to Ethiopia. Thing one was the State Department’s news program, Voice of America, broadcasting its brief account of Ethiopian security forces firing upon student demonstrations the previous day (April 30) at three universities resulting in 17 dead and many wounded. Thing two was the Secretary of State John Kerry in Ethiopia giving a speech full of praise for Ethiopia’s rapid economic development as well as the U.S.-Ethiopia partnership in addressing the violence against civilians in neighboring Sudan and Somalia. Apparently, Kerry was unaware that the day before, just a two-hour’s drive down the road from where he was speaking, America’s supposed partner, the Ethiopian government, had committed acts of violence against its citizens. In fact, thousands of individuals at universities and in cities across the Oromia region of Ethiopia had been protesting for days, and as the journalist Mohammed Ademo’s article for Think Africa pointed out on Tuesday (August 29), what they were protesting was precisely the consequences of the rapid economic development and foreign direct investment that Kerry praised in his speech – the eviction and displacement of tenant farmers and poor people due to the expansion of the capital city Addis Ababa into the Oromia region.

We might observe a contradiction here within the same State Department. While the State Department’s news program laments an event and clearly points to the root cause, the State Department’s secretary appears ignorant of the event and also strangely unable to discern the causes of ethnic unrest across Africa. An Al Jazeera op-ed responding to Kerry’s speech suggests that the United States fails to see the contradiction in its policy that talks about democracy and human rights but in practice emphasizes security for foreign direct investment (as per the State Department’s own report on such investment in Ethiopia published shortly before Kerry’s visit.) Noticeably, two contradictory ideas are coming out of the State Department simultaneously. What do we make of that contradiction?

Before I answer that question, I might add on to this strange state of affairs by pointing out that Kerry did criticize the Ethiopian government for using repressive tactics against its journalists — the famous Zone 9 bloggers — but what strikes me is that at the very moment that Kerry criticizes the state of journalism in Ethiopia, the mainstream American news outlets such as CNN, National Public Radio, and the NY Times have for a long time neglected to give any serious coverage of the issues within Ethiopia and in fact did not report on the student demonstrations. The only American media mention of the recent student demonstrations and deaths is a very brief Associated Press article that appeared the day after Kerry’s speech (May 2) and that article embarrassingly gets its facts wrong about what happened and why. Such poor journalism is increasingly perceived to be the norm of America’s once celebrated media whose many factual inaccuracies and lack of any genuine will to truth arguably contributed to the Iraq War back in 2003. Curiously, the only news organization in America that did its job (the VOA) is the news organization intended to serve communities outside of America. Moreover, the VOA is part of the very same “department” that Kerry heads. The quality of mainstream American media coverage might seem excusable if it weren’t for the fact that BBC covered these tragic events in Ethiopia reasonably well, first on its radio program immediately after the massacre (May 1st) and then more comprehensively on its website the following day.

Theory Teacher's Blog

Two things happened simultaneously on May 1st, both involving the U.S. State Department and its relation to Ethiopia. Thing one was the State Department’s news program, Voice of America, broadcasting its brief account of Ethiopian security forces firing upon student demonstrations the previous day (April 30) at three universities resulting in 17 dead and many wounded. Thing two was the Secretary of State John Kerry in Ethiopia giving a speech full of praise for Ethiopia’s rapid economic development as well as the U.S.-Ethiopia partnership in addressing the violence against civilians in neighboring Sudan and Somalia. Apparently, Kerry was unaware that the day before, just a two-hour’s drive down the road from where he was speaking, America’s supposed partner, the Ethiopian government, had committed acts of violence against its citizens. In fact, thousands of individuals at universities and in cities across the Oromia region of Ethiopia had been protesting for days, and as the journalist…

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