Monday, October 19, 2015

The Ethiopian "Miracle"

The World Bank just anointed Ethiopia with the title of the world’s fastest growing economy and not just for 2015, but for 2016 and 2017 as well yet it needs half a billion dollars in emergency food aid to keep millions of its people from starving.

This year the rains failed in southern Ethiopia and some 25% of a country of 90 million people are facing acute food shortages in the coming months. This climate disaster, brought on mainly by western industries damage to the environment, has left the Ethiopian government quietly begging the international community for a preliminary food aid package worth $500 million, desperately needed to start feeding over 7 million people.

Ethiopia is expecting a total net export income of $3 billion this year, depending much on the price of coffee, for the sacred brew and cut flowers make up most of Ethiopian export income. $3 billion dollars a year is all that Ethiopia actually creates, and this to run a country of 90 million? Ethiopia’s “wealth” is almost entirely in the form of foreign aid/investments, something that can disappear even faster than it arrived.

Ethiopia expelled both the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) from an entire region/nation, the Ogaden. And this during the worst climate disaster droughts in history. 

A good representation of what life is like for most Ethiopians can be found in the film “Lamb” making the rounds of the international film festivals. Living in a one room hut, no electricity, carrying drinking water on donkeys for long distances, few schools, fewer medical clinics and now at the mercy of climate disaster and famine. Yet this is the fastest growing economy in the world for years to come, one of Africa's success stories.

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