Greetings, Dr Belai, Tilahun, M.Haile and Afrik-it members,
First of all I would like to apologize for my delayed response to the
interesting postings on the African situation and particularly on the
I generally agree on the economic analysis presented by Dr Belai. But I have
been trying to hint at more fundamental problem that has to be dealt with in
order to have the
capacity to deal with developmental problems and their
attendant issues such as debt and brain drain.
I am sure you would all agree with me when I assert that the present
international economic order is based on the organization of the international
community on various units of nation-state. In most countries, especially in
the developed countries, the political, social, economic and ethnic forces are
aligned in such a way that their interests
are accomodated as much as possible. This enabled them to pursue development
by solidifying their peace and stability.
On the other hand, in most sub-saharan Africa, stagnation, civil wars, and the
generation of debt had been a way of life since the 60's. Yes, despots,
corrupt leaders and the flight of intellectuals may explain part of the
problem we face; but it will not explain why Africa did not solve these
problems by now. I believe that the artificiality of the African nation-state
has to do something to the continuing inability of Africa to address its
I am, of course, glad that Dr Belai has observed the modest success of the
Transitional period in Ethiopia. I also agree that.." we need to create a new
Ethiopian national character
of hard work, enterprise, tolerance and most of all pride in
ones identity without sacrificing common historical heritage that is our
source of uniqe community life."
The idea of "converting debt into business and investment" and Direct
Expartiate National Investment (DENI) is quite an exciting idea we should
consider with all seriousness. The fact that we have strongly depended on the
lenders' forgiveness may have paralized our ability to search for other
mechanisms to deal with the debt problem. I wish Dr Belai will elaborate how
this mechanism could be put in place and what percentage of the debt this will
I would like to know also if this mechanism has been used in Africa or Latin
America to date. But more importantly, Dr Belai had observed the peasant base
of the economy, yet the
proposed mechanism requires a well developed middle class for its
implementation. How can we reconcile this?
Menghestab's observation that "..with the right type of government ...any
country would prosper" is agreeable if one assumes that the country we refer
is a viable nation-state that is created and maintained with the consent of
the political , social, economic and ethnic forces encompassed in it.
Tilahun Jiffar' off cuff pronouncements reflect the current
marginalized opposition in Ethiopia. Neverthless his recognition that the
democratization drive in South Africa involves bringing ethnic and racial
equality in the South African society hammers my point home. As to the
existence of democracy in Ethiopia, I can only quote Dr Belai
".....conguradulte you for a good beginning".