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Posts Tagged ‘Development’

Rich Men In London Still Deciding Africa’s Future

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 9, 2017

Some £600 million in UK aid money courtesy of the taxpayer is helping big business increase its profits in Africa via the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. In return for receiving aid money and corporate investment, African countries have to change their laws, making it easier for corporations to acquire farmland, control seed supplies and export produce. Director of the Global Justice Now Nick Dearden said:

Director of the Global Justice Now Nick Dearden said:

It’s scandalous that UK aid money is being used to carve up Africa in the interests of big business. This is the exact opposite of what is needed, which is support to small-scale farmers and fairer distribution of land and resources to give African countries more control over their food systems. Africa can produce enough food to feed its people. The problem is that our food system is geared to the luxury tastes of the richest, not the needs of ordinary people. Here the British government is using aid money to make the problem even worse.”

Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria, Benin, Malawi and Senegal are all involved in the New Alliance.

In a January 2015 piece in The Guardian, Dearden continued by saying that development was once regarded as a process of breaking with colonial exploitation and transferring power over resources from the ‘first’ to the ‘third world’, involving a revolutionary struggle over the world’s resources. However, the current paradigm is based on the assumption that developing countries need to adopt neo-liberal policies and that public money in the guise of aid should facilitate this. The notion of ‘development’ has become hijacked by rich corporations and the concept of poverty depoliticised and separated from structurally embedded power relations.

To see this in action, we need look no further to a conference held on Monday 23 March in London, organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This secretive, invitation-only meeting with aid donors and big seed companies discussed a strategy to make it easier for these companies to sell patented seeds in Africa and thus increase corporate control of seeds.

Farmers have for generations been saving and exchanging seeds among themselves. This has allowed them a certain degree of independence and has enabled them to innovate, maintain biodiversity, adapt seeds to climatic conditions and fend off plant disease. Big seed companies with help from the Gates Foundation, the US government and other aid donors are now discussing ways to increase their market penetration of commercial seeds by displacing farmers own seed systems.

Corporate sold hybrid seeds often produce higher yields when first planted, but the second generation seeds produce low yields and unpredictable crop traits, making them unsuitable for saving and storing. As Heidi Chow from Global Justice Now rightly says, instead of saving seeds from their own crops, farmers who use hybrid seeds become completely dependent on the seed, fertiliser and pesticide companies, which can (and has) in turn result in an agrarian crisis centred on debt, environmental damage and health problems.

The London conference aimed to share findings of a report by Monitor Deloitte on developing the commercial seed sector in sub-Saharan Africa. The report recommends that in countries where farmers are using their own seed saving networks NGOs and aid donors should encourage governments to introduce intellectual property rights for seed breeders and help to persuade farmers to buy commercial, patented seeds rather than relying on their own traditional varieties. The report also suggests that governments should remove regulations so that the seed sector is opened up to the global market.

The guest list comprised corporations, development agencies and aid donors, including Syngenta, the World Bank and the Gates Foundation. It speaks volumes that not one farmer organisation was invited. Farmers have been imbued with the spirit of entrepreneurship for thousands of years. They have been “scientists, innovators, natural resource stewards, seed savers and hybridisation experts” who have increasingly been reduced to becoming recipients of technical fixes and consumers of poisonous products of a growing agricultural inputs industry. So who better than to discuss issues concerning agriculture?

But the whole point of such a conference is that the West regards African agriculture as a ‘business opportunity’, albeit wrapped up in warm-sounding notions of ‘feeding Africa’ or ‘lifting millions out of poverty’. The West’s legacy in Africa (and elsewhere) has been to plunge millions into poverty. Enforcing structural reforms to benefit big agribusiness and its unsustainable toxic GMO/petrochemical inputs represents a continuation of the neo-colonialist plundering of Africa. The US has for many decades been using agriculture as a key part of foreign policy to secure global hegemony.

Phil Bereano, food sovereignty campaigner with AGRA Watch and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington says:

This is an extension of what the Gates Foundation has been doing for several years – working with the US government and agribusiness giants like Monsanto to corporatize Africa’s genetic riches for the benefit of outsiders. Don’t Bill and Melinda realize that such colonialism is no longer in fashion? It’s time to support African farmers’ self-determination.”

Bereano also shows how Western corporations only intend to cherry-pick the most profitable aspects of the food production chain, while leaving the public sector in Africa to pick up the tab for the non-profitable aspects that allow profitability further along the chain.

Giant agritech corporations with their patented seeds and associated chemical inputs are ensuring a shift away from diversified agriculture that guarantees balanced local food production, the protection of people’s livelihoods and agricultural sustainability. African agriculture is being placed in the hands of big agritech for private profit under the pretext of helping the poor. The Gates Foundation has substantial shares in Monsanto. With Monsanto’s active backingfrom the US State Department and the Gates Foundation’s links with USAID, African farmers face a formidable force.

Report after report suggests that support for conventional agriculture, agroecology and local economies is required, especially in the Global South. Instead, Western governments are supporting powerful corporations with taxpayers money whose thrust via the WTO, World Bank and IMF has been to encourage strings-attached loans, monocrop cultivation for export using corporate seeds, the restructuring of economies, the opening of economies to the vagaries of land and commodity speculation and a system of globalised trade rigged in favour of the West.

In this vision for Africa, those farmers who are regarded as having any role to play in all of this are viewed only as passive consumers of corporate seeds and agendas. The future of Africa is once again being decided by rich men in London.

Source

Ethiopia: Not a Fair Price for Coffee Farmers in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia: One of The Greenest Countries

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 20, 2014

SemienTerarra6According to the newest edition of the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI), Ethiopia is viewed as having significant opportunities for improved green country branding

The report, released on Monday, compares how 60 different countries and 70 cities perform in the green economy.

In the country comparisons, Sweden and Germany took top honors for country performance and perception, respectively. Ethiopia had the 37th-highest perception rank and was number 26 in performance. GGEI survey respondents ranked the nation among the top markets for green investments.

The results from the 2014 Global Green Economy Index reveal a wide range of insights relevant to policy makers in the governments being measured, as well as international organizations, civil society and private actors interacting with them. This new edition of the GGEI confirms what had already been established in previous editions: Germany and a block of Nordic countries continue to dominate this Global Green Economy Index, both in terms of performance and perceptions of that performance by expert practitioners.

Beyond these impressive results, some compelling findings emerge through this latest edition, in part due to the greater diversity of countries covered and an updated methodology and data structure providing greater sector focus and integration of environment & natural capital. Covered for the first time, Costa Rica records an impressive result, ranking 3rd behind Sweden and Norway on performance and in the top 15 for perceptions overall, a notable accomplishment for such a small country. Other Latin American countries – including Colombia, Peru and Chile – also perform well in their first time being covered on the GGEI, although this performance is not yet recognized in a meaningful way through the perception survey.

These new results also reveal some vivid examples of countries where performance clearly exceeds perceptions of it, signaling significant opportunities for improved green country branding and strategic communications. Five European countries – Austria, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal and Spain – clearly fall in this category.

A similar observation emerges for a variety of other countries – most notably the African states of Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda and Zambia – all covered for the first time on this year’s GGEI. In these cases, global audiences simply aren’t registering the green merits of these states or country competitors are overshadowing them with a more strategic approach to communications and information exchange.

A red flag from this year’s GGEI results is that few of the fastest growing economies in the world rank very well in the GGEI performance measure or on the perception survey, reinforcing the importance of mainstreaming the green economy concept further so it can be better integrated to policy formulation in these markets. While doing quite well in terms of perception, China ranks near the bottom of the performance measure, driven by its poor performance on Efficiency Sectors and Environment & Natural Capital. But this problem extends beyond China: rapidly growing countries in Africa (Ghana), the Gulf (Qatar, United Arab Emirates), and Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam) rank poorly on the GGEI performance measure.

These overall findings only tell part of the story, and the following pages present a brief snapshot of the results for the 60 nations covered on the GGEI as they play out on the four main dimensions: Leadership & Climate Change, Efficiency Sectors, Markets & Investment and Environment & Natural Capital. Our goal is to become the leading benchmark for countries to track their performance in the green economy over time and how experts assess it. The following pages serve as an entry point for deeper engagement with the GGEI data and associated consulting services to address more country or firm-specific challenges.

Ethiopia’s overall performance on the GGEI exceeds how experts perceive it, suggesting an opportunity for more targeted communications from leadership there. Ethiopia tops the performance rankings on the Leadership & Climate Change dimension, driven by the relatively low carbon intensity of its economy and national efforts to promote green measures through its Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy. Given its high GDP growth rate at the moment, Ethiopia should work on its performance in the Markets & Investment dimension and better articulate to investors the green investment opportunities there. It will also be critical to ensure that its carbon intensity remains low as development proceeds in efficiency sectors like buildings.

PERCEPTION-RANK

The full report can be viewed here

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President Obama: ‘Planet Will Boil Over’ If Young Africans Are Allowed Cars, Air-Conditioning, Big Houses

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 15, 2013

AfroGlobeMy Note: I heard exactly the same 15 years ago when a European leader told an African leader in a televised Live debate. The African leader then reacted, “We also want to develop our countries and live the same way as you do there in Europe”. Well, if Western leaders are honest and they really mean good towards the people of Africa, they would have at least supported development projects in a country like Ethiopia that has already found the best way of producing energy by constructing dams on its God-given rivers. They do have the right not to support us, if they don’t want to, but, at least they should refrain from harming us by obstructing our development. I will believe President Obama, if populations across the ‘rich’ nations transform themselves into model citizens by willing to abstain from their fat cars or environmentally notorious way of life.

A blogger rightly put it this way:

Now I’m going to get back into Air Force One and create more pollution than 10,000 cars driving for 5 years. This is okay of course because I’m the King of America…you little people must suffer and ride bikes to work.’

President Barack Obama said at a town hall event in Johannesburg, South Africa two weeks ago that unless we find new way of producing energy “the planet will boil over” if people in Africa are allowed to attain air conditioning, automobiles and big houses.

Ultimately, if you think about all the youth that everybody has mentioned here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over — unless we find new ways of producing energy.”

The president gave short shrift to these more traditional health concerns during his visit to the continent.  Instead, Obama implied several times that the U.S. would only encourage growth in Africa should it be grounded in “clean energy strategies” and not in “corrupting” energy economies that gave rise to unprecedented levels of health and prosperity among Western nations. Speaking on the future of U.S. aid to Africa, the president said that it was his goal “to see if we can leapfrog some of the polluting practices of America or Europe, and go straight to the clean energy strategies that will allow you to advance economic growth, but not corrupt the planet.”

Continue reading…

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Addis Ababa: Shanghai of Africa?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on March 31, 2013

Addis Ababa, at 8,000 plus feet above sea level, is the third highest capital in the world, but because it sits in a bowl, at times of thermal inversion it will be a city increasingly hard to see from the hills, just as Mexico City and Los Angeles are on some days now. The pollution of progress will wash over the city, and what one will see will be the peaks of buildings that have yet to be built. Addis Ababa will be a very different city than even the hub of activity and perceived chaos it is today, a mix of old and new, just as Shanghai was thirty years ago.

There are several similarities to China of 1987 in the Ethiopia of 2013, though it seems difficult for Americans to comprehend. The standard of living for the people is rising and there is slowly, cautiously, a creeping openness in public discussions. By American standards, political control is too heavy-handed, but one must realize what the country’s recent past has meant. China had the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath into the early 80s, and Ethiopia had its own horrific oppression in the 70s and 80s. Both countries took a giant leap backwards before beginning to come out of the abyss.

It is difficult to have perspective if you haven’t ever been through these type of experiences. We can look at how our own Civil War affected our nation and see some of those wounds still affecting us more than 150 years later.

In ten years, Ethiopia may be the most changed nation on the continent. Its investment in building a national power grid is greater than any other nation in Africa. This alone presents major opportunities for American power companies large and small. China, and to a lesser extent Japan, are building its road and rail infrastructure. The Ethiopian Government is investing $5 billion in the light railroad project between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, as Djibouti serves as the major port for landlocked Ethiopia. Of its total annual budget, Ethiopia is allotting ten percent to infrastructure development, the highest such percentage in Africa. A $1.2 billion dollar power line to Kenya is also in planning.

Ethiopia is challenged by a population of 90 million people, and as a country with one of the highest population growth rates in the world, there will be a younger and growing population, a potential reservoir of discontent without jobs. This was not so different from Shanghai and the surrounding area in the 1980s.

Telecom and IT investors such as Samsung are also entering Ethiopia, and as noted in a previous blog, dialogue and debate will slowly open up in the country, just as it did in Shanghai and throughout China in the 1990s. Ethiopia, just as China, will see that they have no choice but to ease communication restrictions if they want even more investors and a supportive nation.

Not all changes will be improvements, of course. Pollution will likely increase significantly, and global warming may be accelerated because of all that we call progress. We can only hope that greater investment in clean energy and a careful examination of our transportation schemes worldwide will also be considered carefully. The great cities of the future, of which Addis Ababa could easily become one, depend on forward thinking. These are also great opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs.

Source

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Parasite Gulf States Abuse Mother Nature Worst

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 22, 2012

The three tiny Gulf states – Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – hold among the not so prestigious top places in a recent listing of the world’s nations’ Ecological Footprints.

According to the 2012 edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report, if everyone lived like an average resident of Qatar, more than six Earths would be required to regenerate humanity’s annual demand on nature.

We are living as if we have an extra planet at our disposal. We are using 50 per cent more resources that the Earth can sustainably produce and unless we change course, that number will grow fast – by 2030 even two planets will not be enough,” said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International.

Unsurprisingly, the massive Ecological Footprints of Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE are the result of very large carbon footprints.

The report also notes that the residents of these countries are very dependent on the resources of other nations to meet their needs, which is highly likely to have strong geopolitical implications as resources become more strained in the future.

Using ever more nature, while having less is a dangerous strategy, yet most countries continue to pursue this path. Until countries begin tracking and managing their biocapacity deficits, they not only put the planet at risk, but more importantly, themselves,” said Mathis Wackernagel, President of Global Footprint Network.

NATURE-ABUSER states ranked higher:

Rank

Countries

Amount

1

United Arab Emirates

15.99

1

Qatar

15.99

2

United States

12.22

3

Kuwait

10.31

4

Denmark

9.88

5

New Zealand

9.54

6

Ireland

9.43

7

Australia

8.49

8

Finland

8.45

9

Canada

7.66

10

Sweden

7.53

11

France

7.27

12

Estonia

7.12

13

Switzerland

6.63

14

Germany

6.31

15

Czech Republic

6.3

16

United Kingdom

6.29

17

Saudi Arabia

6.15

18

Norway

6.13

19

Iceland

6.02

20

Japan

5.94

21

Belgium

5.88

22

Netherlands

5.75

23

Korea, South

5.6

24

Greece

5.58

25

Italy

5.51

26

Spain

5.5

27

Austria

5.45

28

Slovenia

5.4

28

Poland

5.4

28

Israel

5.4

31

Russia

5.36

32

Belarus

5.27

33

Hungary

5.01

34

Portugal

4.99

35

Uruguay

4.91

36

Lithuania

4.76

36

Ukraine

4.76

38

Kazakhstan

4.45

39

Libya

4.36

40

Mongolia

4.3

41

South Africa

4.04

42

Slovakia

3.94

43

Bulgaria

3.81

44

Argentina

3.79

45

Latvia

3.74

46

Malaysia

3.68

47

Turkmenistan

3.62

48

Romania

3.49

49

Oman

3.39

49

Chile

3.39

51

Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

3.24

52

Lebanon

3.19

53

Venezuela

2.88

54

Paraguay

2.84

55

Costa Rica

2.77

56

Turkey

2.73

57

Thailand

2.7

58

Mexico

2.69

59

Jamaica

2.68

60

Uzbekistan

2.65

61

Brazil

2.6

62

Syria

2.56

63

Iran

2.47

63

Moldova

2.47

65

Trinidad and Tobago

2.43

66

Croatia

2.35

66

Panama

2.35

68

Tunisia

2.27

69

Ecuador

2.26

70

Azerbaijan

2.18

71

Cuba

2.1

72

Gabon

2.06

73

Korea, North

1.92

74

Colombia

1.9

75

Kyrgyzstan

1.87

76

Albania

1.86

77

China

1.84

78

Algeria

1.79

79

Iraq

1.73

80

Jordan

1.71

81

Egypt

1.7

82

Botswana

1.68

83

Morocco

1.56

84

El Salvador

1.55

85

Indonesia

1.48

86

Zimbabwe

1.45

87

Honduras

1.43

88

Philippines

1.42

89

Papua New Guinea

1.4

89

Guatemala

1.4

91

Dominica

1.37

92

Peru

1.33

93

Nigeria

1.31

94

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1.29

94

Bolivia

1.29

96

Nicaragua

1.26

97

Mauritania

1.22

98

Zambia

1.21

99

Liberia

1.16

99

Armenia

1.16

101

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

1.15

101

Kenya

1.15

103

Sudan

1.14

104

Ghana

1.12

104

Central African Republic

1.12

106

Pakistan

1.09

107

Burma

1.07

108

Senegal

1.06

108

India

1.06

110

Tanzania

1.02

111

Nepal

1.01

112

Gambia, The

0.99

113

Somalia

0.97

113

Niger

0.97

113

Benin

0.97

116

Cote d’Ivoire

0.95

116

Sri Lanka

0.95

116

Vietnam

0.95

119

Madagascar

0.93

120

Laos

0.91

121

Tajikistan

0.9

121

Rwanda

0.9

121

Burkina Faso

0.9

124

Cameroon

0.89

125

Uganda

0.88

126

Malawi

0.87

127

Mali

0.86

128

Ethiopia

0.85

128

Guinea

0.85

130

Cambodia

0.83

131

Angola

0.82

131

Togo

0.82

133

Guinea-Bissau

0.8

134

Bhutan

0.79

135

Haiti

0.78

136

Mozambique

0.76

137

Burundi

0.75

137

Chad

0.75

139

Sierra Leone

0.73

140

Namibia

0.66

SOURCE: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

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Africa Ain’t Poor

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 24, 2009


RichAfrica

What Africa needs is a new model of economics and development.

Despite all the setbacks and its history, Africa has the potential and power to shape its own destiny.

Africans should first believe in Africa. The person who preserved their talent was chastised, the one who invested their talents was rewarded.

All those preserved natural resources are God’s special bounty on earth for Africa and Africans. The challenge has always been to use them and to invest properly in the future. So far, we have been widespread plunder of the present and future generation, but, Africans have visions for a better life, and non-Africans should not look for wanting to bring a Saviour

In fact, there are many things to be positive about, including the development of microfinance institutions, the growth of the Internet and mobile phone, its wealth of human and natural resources, and biodiversity. Africa is not only what has gone wrong, as the international media often tries to depict. The ‘BBC’ had its own contribution to this particular conspiracy. Lately, the BBC is engaged in the “idle Africa Bashing” by broadcasting a very superficially and ignorantly researched documentary series, under the title, “Why is Africa poor?”

Bringing Solar Power to Africa’s Poor

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