BETWEEN PROTESTS AND FOREIGN INVESTMENT: ETHIOPIA WILL BE THE NEW STARTING POINT OF THE MIGRANTS?
By Rosy D’Elia (30 March 2016)
“The question Oromo in Ethiopia is much more ancient and complex Master Plan”, as well Tsedale Lemma , director of the magazine Addis Standard that deals with political and socio-economic issues, said the protests that have turned the spotlight on Ethiopia. Because of the Master Plan, approved in 2014, the government confiscated and sold to foreign investors land belonging to the Oromo peasants, an ethnic group that makes up about 32 percent of the population and is traditionally engaged in agriculture. The news came to Rome with migrants who have made a stop at the facility operated by the Red Cross in via del Frantoio. It is not a coincidence that in the last period the number of Ethiopian immigrants, as noted by the operators, has grown considerably.
The government’s plan was suspended in January but after months away protests do not stop, “the way in which the plan was announced, and as has been suspended has no legal foundation. After a long history of marginalization, protests continue for at least three reasons: self-determination, a just allocation of resources and economic benefits, the recognition of the identity and the Oromo language “.
And if stubborn is the protest, the harder the repression: ” Human rights, rule of law and freedom of the press have never reached encouraging levels in Ethiopia, recent anti-terrorism measures and new media laws have legitimized repression. Unfortunately, we go from bad to worse , “says Tsedale Lemma.
But the troubles for the Master Plan are just the tip of the iceberg of an extremely controversial situation. The International Monetary Fund ranking Ethiopia among the five fastest growing economies in the world, and at the same time the lack of food, caused by the drought, threat of death as many as 10 million people. While the country is tempting to investors around the world, who have a look too long to notice the hungry, the protests and repression, Ethiopians continue to pay the bills.
“What happened in the last four months has marked a dramatic change from the way the ruling party considers the business: there has been a decisive break with the people. People in Oromia are no longer willing to accept their status quo . In spite of what the propaganda says, we know on our skin that life as we knew it, the largest region of the country, has been completely transformed. I will not give a catastrophic prediction, but no country in the world has survived a situation like one we are living without a meltdown , “says the director.
“Wealth is concentrated in the hands of an elite linked all’EPRDF, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Party who is in government. The galloping GDP growth rarely results in an actual development on a human level. Over the years the country has always been considered among the poorest in the Human Development Index of the United Nations “, he comments. “The finance and infrastructure projects, whether dams, roads, railways and skyscrapers, are regarded as indicators of a growing economy”. To Addis Ababa , in fact, it was recently opened the first metro in sub-Saharan Africa and the construction of the dam Gerd should lead Ethiopia to assume a strategic role in the relationship with the other countries of the Nile. Who cares if hunger continues to be a matter of life and death.
Tsedale Lemma admits that the connections and infrastructure in the country have improved. “But there is adisturbing silence of the government on the drought that is threatening millions of Ethiopians and on which there has been no official announcement. Indeed when government officials, and the prime minister himself, appeal to investors not mention the problem but keep repeating the mantra of economic growth “.
Difficult to determine whether the real Ethiopia is that of Gerd dam and investors or that of the Oromo, someone stubborn to complain and someone else resigned to leave the country, but Tsedale Lemma says: “Hundreds of thousands of young people every year embark on dangerous journeys to escape economic marginalization, lack of freedom and the inability to choose. there are several signs that could indicate that there is a number of Ethiopian migrants even higher than that of the Eritreans. But I can not say for sure or support it with data.They are considered internal factors, such as the extension of the population of the two countries or the fact that impersonate Eritrean makes the easiest route to Europe, because Eritrea is considered a country much more repressive. It must also point out that thousands of Ethiopians seeking the move to South Africa as well as in Europe. ”
He concludes: “If the country will become the next production car of refugees, just depends on how you will experience the meltdown, which is imminent.”