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Ethiopia’s Development Encompassing Core Principles of Sustainable Development (Part I)

Part One

By Aschalew Yimer aschaleyimer@gmail.com
Tigrai Onlne - December 29, 2013

The Ethiopian Central Statistic Authority (CSA) recently projected that the smallholders’ crop production would show 10 percent increase in 2013-2014 Ethiopian fiscal year. CSA’s Director General Samia Zekaria told the media on Monday about 12 million hectares of land owned by smallholder farmers would yield about 254 million quintals of various crop yields – a 10% increase from last year. Samia said that the projection only encompasses smallholders, the main harvest season and the rain-fed agriculture without incorporating the yield that could be gained from commercial farms, the belg season and irrigation.

The announcement is one of the significant confirmations on the continuing remarkable economic development the country is making throughout the past years.  Over the past decade, after implementing a number of successful development strategies focusing on food security and modernizing the country’s agriculture and industrial sector, Ethiopia interestingly, is enjoying a decade of healthy growth. The nation is on the verge of closing the old chapter of poverty. Ethiopia has become one of the countries that have achieved fastest economic growth.

The ideal sustainable development model of Ethiopia

What makes Ethiopia’s remarkable achievements continuous is the country’s indigenous development strategy that is astoundingly an ideal sustainable development model that aims to meet the basic foundations of sustainable development advocated by sustainable development scholars and institutes for long. The current sustainable development initiatives of the country is geared to the satisfaction of needs of the citizens, beginning with the eradication of poverty; it is endogenous and self-reliant; and in harmony with the physical and cultural ecology.

Remarkable development meeting the interest of citizens

Ethiopia has experienced remarkable economic development over the past decade, with annual GDP growth rates reaching 11 percent. The country’s five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) clearly depicts the government’s determination and commitment to eradicate poverty from the country by incorporating a number of huge projects in its GTP, notably by properly using the country’s human and natural resources.

As Ethiopia’s robust economic growth owes a great deal to the strong performance of its agricultural sector, the CSA’s projection once again substantiates the economic growth acceleration of an average 10 percent throughout the past years that make the country one of the continent’s fastest growing economies to continue as well in the years to come.

Thanks to largely firm determination of the Ethiopian government and its comprehensive development plans as well as the improved agricultural output combined with heavy public investments in infrastructure large portion of the rural population that had been suffering from acute poverty and famine barely two decades ago, have now become the main actors in the transformation of the country. Tens of millions of smallholders are currently producing more than 95 percent of the agricultural output contributing nearly half of the national GDP and even larger proportions of employment and export earnings. It is plausible to note the infrastructure transformation the country has making notably road networks throughout the country have enabled the farming sector to boost its progress.

What is worth mentioning about the country’s economic development is that it was only just two decades ago the name Ethiopia that was synonymous with acute poverty and famine has altered into what experts hailed it as an "African lion." The transformation is also remarking the dynamism of the people to get rid of poverty and underdevelopment from the face of the country working in harmony with developmental state leadership of the country. 

Many individuals and families who had been eking out a living in dire hand-to-mouth subsistent farming couple of decades ago are currently well off. Recently, a study confirms that Ethiopia is creating millionaires at a faster rate than any other country on the continent. A considerable number of the millionaires are representing the smallholder farmers of the country. The number of millionaires that had been 1,300 in 2007 has grown to 2,700 in 2013, according to the study by New World Wealth.

The New World Wealth study found that the rise in millionaires has been closely tied to GDP growth, in which Ethiopia has also fared best over the past six years achieving 93%, followed by Egypt (81%) and Angola (61%). A senior analyst at the organization, Andrew Amoils, said that "the economic and wealth growth in Ethiopia over the last five or six years has been really strong. There has been a lot of privatization and certain sectors are growing well. "

The country’s five years Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) is considered to be successful in engaging more than four million people across the country to benefit from employment opportunities at the same time to contribute in the rapidly growing economy. The developmental state initiative of the government encompasses the whole population of the country that it has become an instrumental in creating equity among the citizens. 

The expansion of social service activities with regards to education, health and access to clean water across the country is benefiting millions of citizens to lead modest life. Ethiopia is acknowledged as being one of the few forefront developing countries that would achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of the 2015.  Ethiopia is also making positive political changes that lay the foundation to the respect of all fundamental human rights.

The intruders camouflaged in the name of advocating ‘rights’

The comprehensive development achievement of the country, however, was not gained smoothly. Throughout the past two decades, the country has been encountering persistent ideological warfare both from opposition groups and notable self-plus-West-appointed human rights and press freedom ‘advocators’ aimed at curtailing the country’s indigenous development strategy so as to enforce neo-liberal strategies. As Ethiopia is not seen as politically ‘liberal’ or aligned entirely with the West, the country is reported on through the reports of International Press Institute, Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch and other similar ‘watchdogs’ in the most negative, non-comparative and exaggerated terms throughout the past years that amounts to ‘blind’ propaganda.

For a country that had been in a very calamity situations just over two decades ago, the current historical transformations in all social, economic and political spheres should be acknowledged if there is genuine sympathy about the rights of human kind. Yet, such ill-ridden organs appendages are stubbornly blind to recognize the positive developmental gains Ethiopians are enjoying for their first time in their history. Paradoxically, they have made their persistent criticism against all aspects of social, economic and political spectrum for the past two decades.

Their ill-motive attempts are tantamount to waging war against Ethiopians innocently striving to curtail poverty and underdevelopment. These organizations have a Western-centric tinge to everything they do. Human rights, freedom of expression etc are the major tools of their fallacious that are serving as "ideational vectors of influence", trying to skillfully maneuver the realities by maintaining constant criticism against Ethiopia for achieving their own principled ends. They are adamant in dictating policy change through their self-appointed mandate enshrined with ideological missions through the name of press freedom and human rights.

Their more sophisticated forms of ideological warfare are strongly supported by the transnational media and the new media. Just few days ago CPJ ranked Ethiopia the second country in imprisoning journalists in the world. This criticism comes few weeks after IPI in similar fashion criticized the country for same.  This clearly depicts the network of these advocators of neoliberal organizations, having a firm grip on the globe resources, aggressive approach in dictating what Ethiopians should do in their own matters as if they are inferior humans.

As always Ethiopians are cognizant of their drives as they are trying to enforce change from outside. The Government Communications Affairs Office State Minister, Shimeles Kemal, clearly lamented CPJ’s stance as being blinded with ideological mission being part of the emissaries working at the hub of ‘rights’ advocates networks including Amnesty International to overthrow the government capitalizing on opportunity structures offered by "internationalism", acting as "ideational vectors of influence", and maintaining constant criticism.

It is obvious throughout the decades these neo-liberal advocators in the name of promoting ‘rights’, have been simply prescribing greater market liberalization, decreases in tariff barriers, and widespread deregulation of the market to combat extreme poverty in many developing countries, including Ethiopia. These ‘right’ groups are focusing on political and civil rights so as to promote the neo-liberal agenda that the reports of organizations has so far indisputably demonstrated their ideological bias solely aimed to name and shame as well as to discredit Ethiopia’s achievements aimed to tackle poverty through its successful indigenous development strategies.

Many such organizations as well as western economists have pointed to Africa's extensive government interference to explain why Africa remains unable to attract foreign investment and continues to become poorer. But this argument proves to be senseless by the remarkable economic achievements gained by a number of developmental state developing countries and notably Ethiopia. It is undisputable fact that without the prerequisites of proper health, basic education and vital infrastructure, private markets have left enormous areas of the world completely undeveloped; market reform policies are not the only things needed to bring wealth to Africa.

What these INGOs should learn is that they should be aware that despite their spending very large sums of money, as well as technical, logistical and strategic support, for such crooked intentions, history has shown that Ethiopian would never surrender its independence and would never cease to maximize its achievements gained through many years political and social struggle.

Harmonious with physical and cultural ecology

The leadership of the country delineates its own strategy to sustainable development taking into account the existing social, economic and political as well as historical realities of the country.  Having cognizant that the notion that development problem is a relative problem and that no one society can contend that it is ‘developed’ in every respect, the leadership of the country gives priority to human and cultural contexts in its developmental strategy. In this regard, the Ethiopian Constitution is a case in point that has culminated the domination of one or few nations over the others under the disguise of unity and replaced with a unity based on consent.

Ethiopia’s sustainable development strategy is based on the basic principle in fostering of respect for all cultures whose values are tolerant of others. It is emanated from the notion with a positive attitude to other people and a rejoicing in their culture. In this regard, the colorful celebration of the 8th Ethiopia’s Nations, Nationality and Peoples day at the Somali Regional town of Jigjiga where the past Ethiopian Regimes neglected and abused the inhabitants instead of empowering them clearly manifested the unison stride of Ethiopians toward development based on mutual interest and benefit.

The celebration attended by hundreds of millions of Ethiopians and foreigners was considered as a witness both for depicting the energetic leadership of the regional state as well as the determination of all Ethiopians to fulfill the promise of the country’s all inclusive Constitution. One local people noted his eagerness prior to the celebration saying, ‘I am so looking forward to this day and I cannot wait to watch on stage live dhaanto, (the Somali traditional dance) side by side with performances by Ethiopia’s other equally colorful nations and peoples. I really believe this upcoming event has the potential to mark the Somali people’s coming of age and Ethiopians of all nationalities would be very pleased with the outcome.’ His wish comes true.

The colorful celebration was attended by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh and observers of Rwanda and Kenya. Among key speakers were Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Speaker of the House of Federation, Kassa Tekleberhan, Head of Somali Regional Sate, Abdi Mohammed Umer and Mayor of Jijiga.

In his opening remark Head of Somali Regional State, Abdi Mohammed Umer declared the day as the re-birthday for the people of the Somali Regional State. He stated in the past the Ethiopian Somali people had suffered from chronic internal oppression and foreign aggression. He described they are now exercising the fruits of peace, development and good governance. He gave some data on progress of schools, health services and thanked Mr. Zenawi’s role and asked the federal government to do more in support of development.

On his part, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the developments in the Somali regional state of Ethiopia show the soundness of the principles of the national constitution. This was the day on which the constitution, which rescued the nation from disintegration, was endorsed, the Premier said adding that the Somali people and government have been striving over the past years to develop their region and the endeavors have now borne fruit in that the state has been changed from a backward region into an emerging one,

The state which was once known for nothing but instability has been transformed from a conflict zone into a peaceful one. Speaker of the House of Federation, Kassa Tekleberhan for his part said this was a day on which the national constitution that brought all Ethiopians to power was endorsed. He said Ethiopian Somalis were an active part of the struggle Ethiopian nations and nationalities made for both national and democratic unity. Kassa recalled that the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had a special respect and love for Ethiopian Somalis.

Ethiopia’s Development Encompassing Core Principles of Sustainable Development (Part II)

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