Category Archives: Ethiopian experiences

Donors refusing to face the reality?

The Donors’ report produced in response to allegations of aid in Ethiopia being allocated according to political affiliation rather than need was published in early August, peak holiday time for many. As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that there has been very little reaction to it.

Today sees the first mention of the report on the internet. Bloomberg reports that Merera Gudina, the Chairman of the opposition Oromo People’s Congress, is “not enthusiastic” about the report and “fed up of complaining to donors when they are consciously refusing to know and/or knowing the truth but they are refusing to face the reality.”

I am not in a position to state authoritatively what the reality is. However, a casual observer of development and politics in Ethiopia would quickly conclude that the perspectives and priorities of donors and the Ethiopian opposition in relation to that reality are somewhat different.

The former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, called the report a “careful, thorough and rather bureaucratic response” to “highly charged allegations.”

Full Bloomberg report is here. Donors’ report is here.

Departure Day

Today is a sad day for me. I am very much looking forward to getting back to Amanda and to Brighton, but leaving Ethiopia is hard. I’ve had a great time. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve got to know some wonderful people, including friends and colleagues at the Embassy. I’m pleased with the work that I’ve done on accountabilities and aid, on social accountability, on peace and development, on gender and politics, on public sector capacity building, and on public financial management. Some of it might make a difference. But leaving is hard.

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What can and should an “outsider” say?

In the aftermath of the election in Ethiopia – elections that resulted in a landslide victory for the ruling EPRDF party – outsiders such as the UK Government or Human Rights Watch are being told, on the one hand, by the EPRDF, to keep their uninformed opinions to themselves, and, on the other, by the opposition parties, and no doubt by citizens in the developed world, to say what they think about the elections/electoral process.

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Elections, accountabilities and home

My time in Addis is coming to an end. My replacement – Ahmed – has already started. Employing me was always only a temporary measure, which makes sense. I’ve had a great time. I’ve learned a lot and have been able to make a useful contribution to things (and I wasn’t 100% sure that I would), but Ahmed probably had a better understanding of Ethiopian politics and governance at the age of 12 than I do now, and that might be doing him a dis-service! There is a place for outsiders to share their perspectives and experience in relation to governance in developing countries (for me, for a while at least, that place is going to be the UK), but you can’t beat local knowledge.

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A day out of Addis – Bishoftu and the crater lakes

I’ve had a busy week, what with being dressed up as a Tigrayan shepherd, seeing a leopard, and making some good progress on various things that I am working on (I am actually working, it’s just that I’ve decided that it’s best not to go on about that on this blog – suffice to say, major steps have been taken in ensuring that Ethiopia continues its democratising journey and that UK aid is spent effectively. Ahem). So, today I had planned a day out of Addis, to Bishoftu and the Crater Lakes.

Gari - Horse Drawn taxi, Debre Zeit/Bishoftu

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