Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mengistu's regime: A Speck of Good

Ethiopia united

At the time of Ethiopia's revolution, in 1989, against the militant dictator Mengistu, the Ethiopian people united to get rid of a murderer. An entire generation of men was lost during Mengistu's regime; however, important to remember is that Mengistu was a socialist. Himself coming from an underrepresented tribe, he was determined to provide equal opportunity in education, work, health, and life. My father was educated under both Mengistu's regime and the prior regime of the "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah," Haile Selassie. He explained to me the evolution of education policy. Emperor Haile Selassie provided wonderful education and opportunities mainly to his own tribe – the amhara – of which my father was a part. So, when Mengistu took power by force, he was determined to educate every tribe in Ethiopia. There was a two year operation where high school and college students were dispersed throughout rural Ethiopia to be primary teachers. All of this is evidence that Mengistu did not divide Ethiopia ethnically; there was no ethnic or cultural strife. My mother would say to me “we did not know who was amhara or who was tigre or who was somali.”

World Bank, IMF, America’s agenda

However, the World Bank believes “significant political reforms following civil war [overthrow of Mengistu] including development of a new constitution and social order [cultural pluralism] in 1994 created the way for significant social progress.” Think about it, there was ethnic war in other parts of Africa; and the IMF and World Bank experts had, therefore, determined that each African country's problem was ethnicity. So, when Mengistu was overthrown by the current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Ethiopia's People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), IMF/America/World Bank advisors swooped in and gave billions of dollars of aid to the new government with the provision that, among other things (e.g.importing billions of goods), the government would have representation for each tribe and that their would be regional governments. And although this seems like a great solution to prevent ethnic war and genocide, such a problem did not exist in Ethiopia. Don't misunderstand my argument, Ethiopia did have ethnic groups, over 90 ethnic groups to be exact, and there were differences between each group. They were neither pure from government nor isolated from one another. After all, Ethiopia has existed as a nation for centuries. There existed ethnic conflict because of feudal system during the "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah," Emperor Haile Selassie's rule: the amhara's were privileged and the oromo's were traded as slaves and other systems pre-RasTeferi. However, without the IMF and World Bank's intervention, Mengistu and the Ethiopian people revolted against this injustice and fought for unity. Mengistu – despite his militant rule – fought for social equality. Meles and the new constitution did not bring a new progressive social order; they just adopted a western social order, or attempted to adopt a western social order.

The outcome of cultural pluralism is ethnic consciousness and ethnic tension. The negative outcomes of educational instruction in local languages, besides its high monetary cost as pointed out by the World Bank, is a firmer solidarity of ethnic groups, a language barrier between neighboring tribes, an isolation of ethnic groups from one another, a diversion of attention towards ethnic relationship and away from central government business, and a language barrier for rural students trying to enter national market conducted in Amharic language.

In America, political parties are divided by economic and political ideology, not by race and culture. Division by race and culture [ethnicity] is a lazy strategy exceptional only for poor African countries that need a "democratic" government fast.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Language Found SouthWest of Addis Ababa: Kistane

A language of Ethiopia

Population: 254,682 (1998 census).
Ethnic population: 363,867 (1998 census) including 4,000 Gogot.
Region: Gurage, Kambaata, Hadiyya Region, just southwest of Addis Ababa.
Alternate names: Soddo, Soddo Gurage, North Gurage
Dialects: Soddo (Aymallal, Aymellel, Kestane, Kistane), Dobi (Dobbi, Gogot, Goggot). Not intelligible with Silte or West Gurage. Dobi speakers' comprehension of Soddo is 76%, and Soddo speakers' comprehension of Dobi is 90%.
Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, n-Group
Language use: 60,538 second-language speakers. People along the roads have contact with Amharic; some men are partially bilingual. People in the interior are not generally bilingual (B. Denboba 1989).
Language development: Literacy rate in second language: 21.5%.
Comments: SOV. Christian.

Click on the blog title and find out about all 89 Ethiopian languages: 84 living languages; 5 dead language.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Seven Easy Steps to Becoming a Developed Nation!

I. Becoming a developed nation.

There are seven easy steps to becoming a developed nation.

Step 1: Multi-party and decentralized government. Ethiopia checked that off the list. except for the fact that regional governments have no political voice, parliament members have no political voice, and the people have no political voice. The only party in Ethiopia with a real political voice is the IMF.
Step 2: Open market economy and privatization. Check. except for the whole privatization thing...you can own property but the government still owns the land. So, check minus.
Step 3: Social equality. Girls and boys, poor (rural) and privileged (urban) get equal opportunity in everything. Check. those development bank programs are handling that. POOR quality opportunity for both male and female.
Step 4: Increase international business and trade across the border. check. Except for the fact that we import 5 times more than we export. so we are basically dependent on outside manufactured goods and our own industry is idle...we might actually be developing backwards...industry is only 8% of our economy. but at least we have good relations with China, India, Saudi, the USA, and the IMF (They love us)..so check minus
Step 5: Expand Education. check. do you know the enrollment rate has increased from 35% to 62% since this new government has been in power. CHECK PLUS. except for the fact that grade repetition has increased, exam scores are not improving, dropout rate has stayed constant. Student:teacher ratio has gone from 42:1 to 65:1 and it is exponentially increasing. student:textbook ratio is 2.5 students to 1 book. Quality of education is horrible. But, nevertheless, enrollment has increased. It doesn't matter that a diploma has no value, in terms of employment. The point is enrollment has increased. so check towards development.
Step 6: Internet/Technological Expansion. Check. Ethiopia's government has funded the building of so many IT training institutions. It's too bad Ethiopia has only 88 internet hosts (The number of internet hosts is one indicator of the extent of Internet connectivity)....Eritrea has 1,088....Djibout has 1540...Kenya has 13724...Rwanda has 1590...Uganda has 1365....hmmm at least we're better off than Somalia who has only 3...but they don't even have a nationally recognized government. So we are building more and more IT training institutions and people are paying tuition for these schools to get a technical diploma, but the government is not building any sort of technological infrastructure.....we have 88 internet hosts. I'll take that check back. F.
Step 7: Join the war against terror. CHECK PLUS PLUS. Ethiopia's intelligence office has found Al Qaeda!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What exactly is Ethiopia investing in?

Ethiopia's Chamber of Commerce says: (Source: http://addischamber.com/aboutethio/profdetail.asp?CID=26)

The EPRDF government has focused on reorienting the economy through market reforms, including structural adjustment program. As a result the state's direct role in economic activity has declined.

Major steps taken were:-

1.Tariffs have been cut
2.quota constraints relaxed
3.Licensing procedures simplified
4.Foreign exchange controls eased
5.Compulsory cooperative membership and grain delivery discontinued and privatization begun.

The government has also adopted Agriculture -Led Industrialization policy as a central plank of its development programme with a focus on small farms and labor intense industrialization increased agricultural activity will be achieved primarily through an extensive extension program.

The Full poverty Reduction Strategy paper (Full PRSP) prepared by the government in full participation with all Stakeholders provides a good opportunity to focus on alleviating poverty and fostering medium - to long-term development.

Investment is rising since reforms began in 1992. Saving, as in most developing countries is very low. Both savings and investment are improving in the aftermath of the Ethio-Eritrea war. Foreign direct investment is increasing Saudi Arabia being the major source (60%) of the FDI.

So, according to Ethiopia's government, Ethiopia is investing in the people, free market, farmers, small farms, industry, job opportunities, and infrastructure for long-term development.

But, according to Ethiopia's budget spending, Ethiopia is investing in military, small arms, and kissing America and the UKs butt so that they can give them more weapons and money for more weapons.

Ethiopia spends 295,900,000 USDollars (on record) on developing its military. Compared to all the countries of the world, Ethiopia is above average in terms of military spending. It has the fifth largest military force in sub-Sahara Africa. 296 millions US dollars.

Now in terms of railway and road (infrastructure) spending, it is surprisingly below average. Ethiopia has merely 681 km of railway - which it shares ownership with Djibouti.

Ethiopia has 33,856 km of roads of which only 4,367 km is paved roads. 29,489 km is unpaved roads! Afghanistan has more roads than Ethiopia. Namibia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Congo have more roads than Ethiopia.

Let's examine the technological infrastructure: Ethiopia has 88 Internet hosts. Out of 233 countries, Ethiopia ranks 192. Cape Verde - a 4 thousand sq km island off the coast of Senegal- has 234 Internet hosts. Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Djibouti, Rwanda have thousands more Internet hosts than Ethiopia. Christmas Island has 2368 Internet hosts for their 135 sq km island (smaller than Washington, DC) - Santa and his elfs are more connected to the world than Ethiopians.

Ethiopia has the capacity to do much. It has the land, natural resources, and human resources to accomplish lots. It has a greater responsibility than most countries to build its infrastructure and economy, because it has a greater population - that is growing at an above average rate (about 4%). In a decade Ethiopia will have one of the greatest populations in the world.

But instead Ethiopia is doing little for itself. In result, outside countries and resources are coming in trying to correct our problems in a careless manner - and they are not careless because they don't care but they are careless because it is not their own nation, so their capacity to care is much smaller than an Ethiopian national. Example: China built a highway - a highway sounds good, it is a road; however, the highway is misplaced and seems to be more of a burden than a positive development. People walk across the highway; cabs stop in the middle of the highway to drop off passengers; cows/goats/donkey travel the highway.

I pose the question again: when will Ethiopia invest in Ethiopia?

Friday, December 01, 2006

When will Ethiopia invest in Ethiopia?

Raw materials constitute 1.4% of Ethiopia's imports. Manufactured goods constitute 72.4% of the imports. Im going to take a dangerous step and suggest that Ethiopia needs to invest more on manufacturing its own goods. Maybe then we wouldn't have one of the greatest debts in the world. We have all of the resources and materials but instead we are importing all manufactured goods from China, India, America, etc. And at the same time we are exporting virtually nothing. The goods made at home by our own people are not being bought by any other countries; and moreover, the goods made at home are not being bought by our own people. So, our countries goods are devalued and local manufactures do not have enough profit to continue their work. How do we get out of all of the contracts and IMF/World Bank policies that encourage the ethiopian government to buy so many goods manufactured in other countries? How do we get Ethiopia to invest in Ethiopia?

Click on the title and go to IMF documents on Ethiopia.