In his recent o…

In his recent opinion piece, Kristof writes, “Ethiopia’s dictator, Meles Zenawi, is doing an excellent job of raising health and living standards, but he also presides over a security service that kills and rapes with impunity — and imprisons journalists who report on abuses. Last week, a sham trial in Ethiopia found one such brave journalist, Eskinder Nega, guilty of terrorism.”

Has there been any noticeable progress though as he writes? It would have been OK to most if the Chinese model is at work here, i.e. leave us along, leave the governance to us and we will deliver you unbelievable growth, to the tune of lifting ten and hundreds of millions dirt poor to middle class status. Is that really what is going on in Ethiopia today? 

I have seen impressive infrastructore improvements, in terms of roads and the likes. At the same time though, Electricity isn’t reliably available. A shopkeeper whose his very existance is dependent upon a days or two worth of cash flow, and when that gets interrupted by frequent power outages, that is a huge step back. 

Back 20 – 30 years or so ago, growing up in Addis during Mengistu’s rule, I don’t recall be inconvienced as many are now in these frequence power interruptions. They say the current administration is hard at work, not only to meet the local demand, but also sell excess capacity to neighboring countries, Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti. 

Coming back to Kristop’s point though, are we at that point where the economic progress is to such extent that lives are being changed, despite the administrations’ disposition dealing with its opponents by getting physical? 


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