Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Exemplars from Ethiopia

So many Ethiopian scholars men and women exist; more notably, so many Ethiopian scholars of art, poetry, literature, social sciences exist, under the shadow of the medical doctors, engineers, and computer scientists (whom are a wonderful asset too). But it is important to bring to light the underrepresented intellectuals who have given so much to the progress of Ethiopians world-wide.

Dr. Eshetu Chole (1945-1998) was an economist and a poet. He received his BA in Economics at Addis Ababa University (1966); then obtained his MA from the University of Illinois (1968); and completed his PhD in economics from Syracuse University (1973). A member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Ethiopian Studies, Dr. Eshetu dedicated his expertise to the sustenance of Ethiopian studies. You can read more about his personal life by clicking on the title of this post. Now, here is one of my favorite poems of the late Dr. Eshetu.


Is life infinity
Its depth unsurpassed
By talk-glib talk, gossip, proud talk
And other human trash.

Silence is beauty,
For truth is silent
And, truth, they say, is beauty.

Silence is peace-
Peace absolute
Peace consuming

Silence is joy
Undiluted by the cheapness of our lives.

A tear is silent
A smile is silent
And love too is silent

And death is silent
Oh! If only life were
As pure as silence.

Death is the fate of the flesh
Life forever is given through the spirit and love.
The love of all of those,
All of us left behind can give any man eternal life
Through remembrance of his work,
By remembrance of his spirit.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Projects Approved and Active by the World Bank in 2006 for Ethiopia

Project Name: Lending amount (in millions $US): Approval Date

Accelerated Electricity Access (Rural) Expansion: 133.4: 22-JUN-2006
Ethiopia - Financial Sector Capacity Building Project: 15: 22-JUN-2006
Rural Capacity Building Project: 54: 22-JUN-2006
Protection of Basic Services: 215: 25-MAY-2006

The total funding activated in 2006 for the government of Ethiopia: 504 million US$
We should be looking out for better electricity access throughout Ethiopia, increase in capacity of private sector and banking institutions; improved road structures; agricultural productivity; and better educational, health, etc services.

Click on title to see other all active projects funded by the World Bank

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Today the World Bank Provides US$175 Million Grant to Combat Food Insecurity in Ethiopia

Why would you give a country that is at war money? Shouldn't all aid to that government be frozen since it is an unstable government? However, the Governments of the the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, and the European Union are funding a 175 million dollar project. This project and money will be managed by the government of Ethiopia and a World Bank team.

News Release No. 2007/200/AFR
Media Contacts In Washington: Timothy T. Carrington(202) 473 8133 - Email: In Addis Ababa : Gelila Woodeneh (251- 011) 662 7700 - Email:

World Bank Provides US$175 Million Grant to Combat Food Insecurity in Ethiopia

WASHINGTON, January 9, 2007 - The World Bank Group board today approved a US$175 million grant to help vulnerable populations in Ethiopia lower their risks of serious food shortage and famine.

The grant finances the second phase of an existing operation, the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), which is reaching over 7 million of the poorest Ethiopians through public works and direct grants. The targeted beneficiaries of the program are chronically food insecure households which are unable to secure sufficient food for their families year after year. The grant will provide continuing funding for the program , while supporting improvements in the program governance and efficiency.

The PSNP was initiated in 2005, after the Coalition for the War against
Hunger-- comprising the Government of Ethiopia, its development partners, and key NGOs-- pushed for more sustainable alternatives to the annual provision of large amounts of humanitarian food aid to prevent starvation. The program initially reached about 5 million chronically food-insecure people, then was scaled up in 2006 to reach 7.23 million people. The PSNP supports a large-scale public works initiative which pays wages to food insecure but able-bodied citizens. For those physically unable to work, the program provides direct grants.

Ethiopias vulnerability to famine has worsened over the past two decades. When needed, food aid saves lives. However, the Government of Ethiopia and its international partners have wanted to avoid a situation where a segment of the population remains chronically dependent on international food aid. Indeed, by 2005, food insecurity, and widespread dependency on humanitarian aid for survival, had become a pressing national security risk. The PSNP was devised as a sustainable solution.

To boost the productivity of small scale agriculture in targeted areas, the PSNP jobs program has supported a massive effort of environmental restoration. Some of the tangible results: more than 250,000 kilometers of terraces; 20,000 ponds and 2,000 springs; 17 million newly planted trees and the construction and maintenance of 10,000 kilometers of rural roads. By replacing food aid with jobs and cash payments, the program helps stimulate rural economies while also addressing some of the underlying causes of food insecurity. The added benefit of improving public infrastructure and maintaining community assets through public works will also bring long term improvement to rural livelihoods.

The first phase of the Productive Safety Net Program has dramatically lowered dependence on emergency food aid; instead, were supporting targeted populations through predictable transfers for productive investments, which represent a first real opportunity to bring about lasting change by addressing some of the root causes of food insecurity, said Ishac Diwan, Country Director for Ethiopia. In the next phase the Government will continue the jobs program and direct grants, while strengthening program governance. The program also introduces a contingency fund to be triggered without delay in the event of a drought.

The Safety Net Program is being supported by many donors and NGOs. The second phase is co-financed by the Governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, and the United States, as well as by the European Union. The World Food Program also supports the program.

In recent years, Ethiopia has posted a comparatively strong growth performance, while increasing the portion of the national budget dedicated to poverty-reduction spending. Though starting from a low base, the country has begun to show progress toward achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals including strong gains in increasing school enrolment and lowering malnutrition. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2005, the level of poverty fell from 44.2 percent of the population, to 38.7 percent.

Click on blog title to go to article and project description.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Somalia-Ethiopia Relations: Then, Now, and in the Future

Shaky relationship: Somali region of Ethiopia wanted to separate and join its culturally, religiously, physically, linguistically similar neighbor Somalia; and Ethiopia crushed the separatists movement.

1977 - Somalia invades Ethiopia's Ogaden region.
1978 - Somali forces defeated with massive help from the Soviet Union and Cuba.
1988 - Ethiopia and Somalia sign a peace treaty.

BAD relationship: Holy War between Ethiopia and Somalia. Ethiopia does not want crazy terrorists as neighbors - Ethiopia didn't mind having pirates and poor people as neighbors, but terrorists are unacceptable...not because America says so. Ethiopia is totally independent of the US...totally.
2001 April - Somali warlords, backed by Ethiopia, announce their intention to form a national government within six months, in direct opposition to the country's transitional administration.
2004 August - New transitional parliament inaugurated at ceremony in Kenya. In October the body elects Abdullahi Yusuf as president.
2006 February - Transitional parliament meets in Somalia - in the central town of Baidoa - for the first time since it was formed in Kenya in 2004.
2006 March and May - Scores of people are killed and hundreds are injured during fierce fighting between rival militias in Mogadishu. It is the worst violence in almost a decade.
2006 June-July - Militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts take control of Mogadishu and other parts of the south after defeating clan warlords. A political stand-off emerges between the Islamic Courts and the transitional government based in Baidoa.
2006 September - Ethiopia denies that its troops have crossed into Somalia to support the transitional government in Baidoa.
2006 October - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urges Eritrea to pull back the troops it has moved into the buffer zone on the Ethiopian border. The UN says the incursion is a major ceasefire violation.
War of words between Ethiopia and Islamists controlling much of Somalia. Prime Minister Meles says Ethiopia was "technically" at war with the Islamists because they had declared holy war on his country.
2006 November - A UN report says several countries - including Ethiopia - have been violating a 1992 arms embargo on Somalia by supplying arms to the interim government there. Ethiopia's arch enemy Eritrea is accused of supplying the rival Islamist administration.

Worse relationship: "But here the Ethiopians are hated more. You see - this is Somalia not Ethiopia. You do not have a right to come to another country and destroy civilians and say you are doing it to protect your own country." ~Somali peace activist.
Ethiopia is no longer trusted by Somalia and Somalians. There will be a longer war - one the Ethiopian army will not be able to "crush" as Meles proudly claims. Within the next 10 years, there will be a longer sporadic more painful war - one similar to the one the US is facing with Iraq.