Foreign aid doing more harm than good in Ethiopia

In an article posted on The New York Review of Books today, William Easterly and Laura Freschi question why Western nations finance the brutal repression in Ethiopia with an annual donation of over $3 billion to the corrupt junta [read below]. It is good to see that Western scholars and writers are finally taking the World Bank and other poverty mongers to task. However, ultimately it is up to the people of Ethiopia to get organized and overthrow the apartheid junta. Woyanne is not as powerful as it currently appears. A well-coordinated nation-wide economic boycott campaign can bring it down in less than a month. A simple act of cash withdrawal from banks by a large number of people would cripple the financial system and bankrupt the regime. — Elias Kifle

Why Are We Supporting Repression in Ethiopia?

By William Easterly and Laura Freschi

Foreign aid observers have often worried that Western aid to Africa is propping up autocratic regimes. Yet seldom has such a direct link from aid to political repression been demonstrated as in “Development without Freedom,” an extensively documented new report on Ethiopia by Human Rights Watch. Based on interviews with 200 people in 53 villages and cities throughout the country, the report concludes that the Ethiopian government, headed by prime minister Meles Zenawi, uses aid as a political weapon to discriminate against non-party members and punish dissenters, sending the population the draconian message that “survival depends on political loyalty to the state and the ruling party.”