Archive for July, 2013

Bush, the author?

Professor Haddis at a seminar.

” To ask for Democracy without limits is a call for anarchy”.

Unrestrained and unregulated capitalism results in economic anarchy.


Breaking News

Former president George W. Bush –

” The Author”.

According to news reports from Calgary, former U.S. president Bush is planning to write a book. This by itself should be the number one astonishing news of the year. But Bush being Bush is quoted as saying ” so when the history of this administration is written at least there’s an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened”.

Is this a Freudian slip or is English his second language?

I don’t front
what you see is what you get
and I don’t give a hoot
if you like it or not.
I cry a lot
not as an emotional outburst
but ’cause I have a human heart.
Killings, starvation
death everywhere
leading to total debilitation.
Unmet needs
unresolved differences
unending social conflicts
parade of tragedies.
Human relations
marred by disputes
armed insurgencies
based on mis-perceptions
and no solutions.
So! why shouldn’t I cry?
when the world is silly
the play is tragedy
no protection from tyranny
a total horror story.
by  Mekonen Haddis

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Ethiopia’s Investment Prospects  

Precise Consult International’s piece on Ethiopia’s Investment Prospects, published on the African Review of Economics and Finance

Ethiopia is in the midst of a sustained growth surge that is becoming increasingly broad-based, building on major improvements in educational attainment, improved health outcomes, and infrastructure capacity in terms of access to power, transportation and telecommunications. The Government’s Growth and Transformation Plan sets ambitious targets for further improvements in these areas, together with significant reforms aiming to improve trade logistics, by rolling-out the authorized economic operator program across export-oriented industry parks and improving the main export corridor to Djibouti. This industrialization push coincides with global trends that provide Ethiopia an opportunity to integrate its economy into the modern “Made in the World” production system, including by attracting labor-intensive production, which is leaving China and other East Asian economies due to their rising wage rates.

This paper reviews the overall economic management and performance indicators and provides a horizontal overview of the investment framework. It then summarizes the investment prospects in several major sectors of the economy, in light of Ethiopia’s emerging capacities and global developments: agriculture, mining, oil & gas, economic infrastructure, manufacturing, and selected services, including health and tourism.

[ Please follow the link below to find the full report]


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E-waste in Ghana.

Ghana which has been viewed as one of Africa’s most stable democracies, has recently been getting bad press as the dumping ground for electronics waste. According to Greenpeace, “The latest place where we have discovered high tech toxic trash causing horrendous pollution in Ghana. Our analysis of samples taken from two electronic waste (e-waste) scrap yards in Ghana has revealed severe contamination with hazardous chemicals.”

There is an international treaty that was designed to make the transfer of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries illegal. This treaty, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal was also intended  to ensure environmentally sound management of toxic wastes. In spite of the lofty goals of the convention, corrupt traders whose only motive is profit by any means, even if it means death to the young boys who breath the toxic fumes in Agbogbloshie market in Accra, Ghana. By the way, the United States has not ratified the Basel convention. For a seemingly environmentally conscious president like Barak Obama, it should be a priority to ratify the convention. Can the U.S. ratify the Basel convention? Yes, it can.

Realizing that Obama’s trip to Ghana was more symbolic than substantive, it is understandable that there was not enough time ( less than 24 hours) for President John Atta mills to have raised all the issues of concern to Ghana. Yet, during the bilateral meeting and breakfast with President Obama, was e-waste dumping in Ghana by western nations including the U.S. discussed as an issue? If not, the leadership in Ghana has lost a historical opportunity to show the leader of the most powerful country on earth, how the west is again committing a crime on Africa. Had President Obama seen the e-waste dump in Accra, Ghana, I am sure he would have been emotionally affected as he was during his visit to Cape Coast Castle.

Dumping of toxic waste within the environs of Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Accra, has attracted international concern, as it should. The challenge is for the leadership in Ghana to be able to respond to this environmental menace.

In his speech in Ghana, President Obama said, “Africa’s future is up to Africans,” he also said, “Development depends upon good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long,” “That is the change that can unlock Africa’s potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.” Very true.

In order for Africans to “unlock Africa’s potential”, the U.S. and other Western nations would have to stop being part of all interferences that actually hinder the progress of Africa.

Professor Mekonen Haddis

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