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Submitted by Dr. Fekadu Bekele on
One should not be surprised if some economists from certain international organisations misread the economic situation in Ethiopia. We have been told that the present regime in Ethiopia is doing its best to reduce poverty. While the opposite is true, some staff members of the World Bank have been trying to make us believe that Ethiopia shows a remarkable economic growth under the present regime. If on one side the building of well decorated high scrapers, and on the other side slum buildings are equivalent to economic growth, economic theory, and hence economic policy must be rewritten. In 1993, the EPRDF regime had introduced the so-called Structural Adjustment Program(SAP) to bring Ethiopia in line of the market economic policy of the Washington Consensus. The main intention of the Structural Adjustment Program which has been going over the last 10 years before Ethiopia adopted the policy is not as such to bring genuine economic development from within, but to make the African economies more dependent on the global capitalist market. By neglecting the home market African governments should take every effort to make their economies more export oriented. They should not mobilize internal resources to build a science and technology driven economic structure. With the Experts from foreign countries, African countries will experience better results, and hence the people in the various African countries will see a bright future. This was what we were told. As many studies prove that many Sub-Saharan African countries are far away from a coherent market economic structure. They become more dependent on few exportable raw materials. The market economic reforms in many African countries had widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The case in Ethiopia is not different. The Structural Adjustment Program has benefited some who have good relations with the government. The government by using its power could control the vital resources of the country. Through the privatization agency, few could become rich within 5 years where as the majority of the people are thrown into abject poverty. The new economic and political elite could not become innovative, and is not in a position to create job opportunities for those people who are coming from the rural areas. Instead of concentrating on investments whose multiplier effects are greater, the new economic elite invests its money on economic activities which can not create true wealth for the country as a whole. Addis Abeba and the surrounding areas are the places where chaotic economic activities are taking place. Under these circumstances, it is not possible to reduce poverty. As economic history teaches us, no country can be successful if it applies such kind of a market economic policy that benefits few. Genuine economic policy must be consciously applied, and must have the power to mobilize all the available resources. The aim of a genuine economic policy is not as such to reduce poverty, but to develop a coherent economic structure through which poverty can be alleviated. The economic policy of the IMF and the World Bank puts every thing on its head, and from that it tries to draw economic policies which ultimately fail. The main agenda of the IMF and the World Bank is not to help those backward economies like that of Ethiopia, but to create confusion. Now we have ample evidences which unmask the true mission of these two sister organisations, and all neo-liberal economists. If I come to the assertion of Mr. Shanta, he has completely misread the situation on the ground. The Ethiopian people know better what poverty is, and how they are suffering under the present economic regime which is prevailing in Ethiopia. Statistical manipulations do not tell us any thing. The situation on the ground is clear evidence that the country is not on the right path. Mr. Shanta should live with those ordinary people for a couple of days if he wants to understand what poverty is. If one reads the economic situation of Ethiopia by sitting in five Star Hotel like Sheraton, one come to a completely different conclusion. Thank you very much Fekadu