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Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of African Union and Ethiopia: the mother of humanity!
Wishing you a blessed season of festivities and European New Year!
It is becoming an integrated world day by day with all the challenges and opportunities it offers!
Good will as well as evil is being integrated across the world, and always! leaving us with a hard choice! To integrate or not to integrate with the rest of the world.
A lot can be said about both sides of the argument. The Shabia terrorists chose to integrate only with evil whereas their neighbors in Ethiopia to integrate with good will and good governance. The results are showing with the recent verdict of the UN Security Council.
What is the role of sovereignty? If the sovereignty does not bring food, shelter, business enterprises or more ideally, the pursuit of happiness, what ever happiness is for each individual and community.
After watching 2012 with my teen daughter over the weekend, I was more convinced that we are more integrated than we think, as the planet is one land mass covered by a huge water body that is threatened from time to time by the molten metals at the core of the earth, which send all the toxic gases, waves and volcanoes and these natural forces like the people who live on them do not have artificial boundaries.
We are all interconnected. The secret is how do we share the resources of the earth at our disposal? The progressives tell us then can distribute it to us evenly so long as we keep them in office and give them the sole right to do so. The conservatives tell us it is individual freedom that matters, and Greed can be a great force for wealth creation, which will trickle down to the poor eventually.
The attached story is a telling reminder of what can happen when you lease land to outsiders without consulting the local population. Remember: We lost Djibouti to the French and now the Americans after the loony Junta forgot to read the 99 year lease and supported by the loony communists did not even bargain the so called independence in 1977.
Then comes another loony group which claimed the whole Red Sea coast is an Arabian Sea and Penninsula and look what we have got. A real living hell and prison of all the population with no recourse to justice!
Now, Gambella is on its way. Can some one share with us the lease documents for 84 years and what it means and whether, India can eventually claim it as its new nations and nationalities of Indo-Gambela?
It is interesting that the world is investing in China for manufacturing, in India for services and Africa for food.
That is exactly what European Industrial Revolutionaries told us, when they thought Africa will be a great place for investment to fuel their upcoming industries.
Remember what transpired, some 600 years of slavery and we just got our first African American President. The pain, degradation and dispossession still continues in the Ghetto culture that emanated. Our own children in Chicago and around the US are victims of this great dehumanizing culture. We are still 3/5 humans in the US Constitution, even though Ardi has prov en without doubt that we are all Ethiopians and Africans.
Let us integrate, but in fairness, in justice and always with Good Governance of Stake holder's transparency and accountability.
Ethiopia has to lead as she has done at the Tekezie Hydro Electric Plant and Global Ecological Summit by demanding good governance in the investment protocol that the BRICs are rushing for.
May we empower every citizen to share in the decision making of its communities in the year 2010! The May 2010 elections should be about such issues of Soverignty where each individual is the Sovereign King and Queen of his neighborhood.
with regards and seeking your alternative perspectives
December 30, 2009
Ethiopian Farms Lure Investor Funds as Workers Live in Poverty
Until last year, people in the Ethiopian settlement of Elliah earned a living by farming their land and fishing. Now, they are employees.
Dozens of women and children pack dirt into bags for palm seedlings along the banks of the Baro River, seedlings whose oil will be exported to India and China. They work for Bangalore- basedKaruturi Global Ltd., which is leasing 300,000 hectares (741,000 acres) of local land, an area larger than Luxembourg.
The jobs pay less than the World Bank’s $1.25-per-day poverty threshold, even as the project has the potential to enrich international investors with annual earnings that the company expects to exceed $100 million by 2013.
“My business is the third wave of outsourcing,” Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, the 44-year-old managing director of Karuturi Global, said at the company’s dusty office in the western town of Gambella. “Everyone is investing in China for manufacturing; everyone is investing in India for services. Everybody needs to invest in Africa for food.”
Companies and governments are buying or leasing African land after cereals prices almost tripled in the three years ended April 2008. Ghana, Madagascar, Mali and Ethiopia alone have approved 1.4 million hectares of land allocations to foreign investors since 2004, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development in London.
Emergent Asset Management Ltd.’s African Agricultural Land Fund opened last year. On Nov. 23, Moscow-based Pharos Financial Advisors Ltd. and Dubai-based Miro Asset Management Ltd.announced the creation of a $350 million private equity fund to invest in agriculture in developing countries.
“African agricultural land is cheap relative to similar land elsewhere; it is probably the last frontier,” saidPaul Christie, marketing director at Emergent Asset Management in London. The hedge fund manager has farm holdings in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“I am amazed it has taken this long for people to realize the opportunities of investing in African agriculture,” Christie said.
Monsoon Capital of Bethesda, Maryland, and Boston-based Sandstone Capital are among the shareholders of Karuturi Global, Karuturi said. The company is also the world’s largest producer of roses, with flower farms in India, Kenya and Ethiopia.
One advantage to starting a plantation 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the border with war-torn Southern Sudan and a four- day drive to the nearest port: The land is free. Under the agreement with Ethiopia’s government, Karuturi pays no rent for the land for the first six years. After that, it will pay 15 birr (U.S. $1.18) per hectare per year for the next 84 years.
Land of similar quality in Malaysia and Indonesia would cost about $350 per hectare per year, and tracts of that size aren’t available in Karuturi Global’s native India, Karuturi said.
Labor costs of less than $50 a month per worker and duty- free treaties with China and India also attracted Karuturi Global, he said. The $100 million projected annual profit will come from the export of food crops, including corn, rice and palm oil, he said. The company also is plowing land on a 10,900- hectare spread near the central Ethiopian town of Bako.
The project will give the government revenue from corporate income taxes and from future leases, as well as from job creation, said Omod Obang Olom, president of Ethiopia’s Gambella region and an ally of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling party.
“This strategy will build up capitalism,” he said in an interview in Gambella. “The message I want to convey is there is room for any investor. We have very fertile land, there is good labor here, we can support them.” The government plans to allot 3 million hectares, or about 4 percent of its arable land, to foreign investors over the next three years.
Workers in Elliah say they weren’t consulted on the deal to lease land around the village, and that not much of the money is trickling down.
At a Karuturi site 20 kilometers from Elliah, more than a dozen tractors clear newly burned savannah for a corn crop to be planted in June. Omeud Obank, 50, guards the site 24 hours a day, six days a week. The job helps support his family of 10 on a salary of 600 birr per month, more than the 450 birr he earned monthly as a soldier in the Ethiopian army.
Obank said it isn’t enough to adequately feed and clothe his family.
“These Indians do not have any humanity,” he said, speaking of his employers. “Just because we are poor it doesn’t make us less human.”
Obang Moe, a 13-year-old who earns 10 birr per day working part-time in a nursery with 105,000 palm seedlings, calls her work “a tough job.” While the cash income supplements her family’s income from their corn plot, she said that many days they still only have enough food for one meal.
The fact that the project is based on a wage level below the World Bank’s poverty limit is “quite remarkable,” said Lorenzo Cotula, a researcher with the London-based IIED.
Large-scale export-oriented plantations may keep farmers from accessing productive resources in countries such as Ethiopia, where 13.7 million people depend on foreign food aid, according to a June report by Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food. It called for ensuring that revenue from land contracts be “sufficient to procure food in volumes equivalent to those which are produced for exports.”
Karuturi said his company pays its workers at least Ethiopia’s minimum wage of 8 birr, and abides by Ethiopia’s labor and environmental laws.
“We have to be very, very cognizant of the fact that we are dealing with people who are easily exploitable,” he said, adding that the company will create up to 20,000 jobs and has plans to build a hospital, a cinema, a school and a day-care center in the settlement. “We’re going to have a very healthy township that we will build. We are creating jobs where there were none.”
The project may help cover part of the $44 billion a year that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says must be invested in agriculture in poor nations to halve the number of the world’s hungry people by 2015.
“We keep saying the big problem is, you need investment in African agriculture; well here are a load of guys who for whatever reason want to invest,” David Hallam, deputy director of the FAO’s trade and markets division, said in an interview in Rome. “So the question is, is it possible to sort of steer it toward forms of investment that are going to be beneficial?”
Buntin Buli, a 21-year-old supervisor at the nursery who earns 600 birr a month, said he hopes Karuturi will use some of its earnings to improve working conditions and provide housing and food. “Otherwise we would have been better off working on our own lands,” he said. “This is a society that has been very primitive. We want development.”
December 30, 2009
Somali man 'tried to take bomb onto plane'
A Somali man is in custody in Mogadishu, suspected of trying to take explosives onto a plane in November, officials have revealed.
He had chemicals, liquid and a syringe - materials similar to those used by the Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a plane on Christmas Day.
The Daallo Airlines plane was due to fly to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai. The airport is in one of the few areas controlled by the Somali government.
Much of the country is in the hands of radical Islamist groups, accused of links to al-Qaeda. 'Red-handed'
But this is the first time that an attempt to blow up a commercial flight in Somalia has been reported.
"We don't know whether he's linked with al-Qaeda or other foreign organisations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed," police spokesman Abdulahi Hassan Barise told the Associated Press news agency.
Despite the lack of law and order in Somalia, there are daily flights to neighbouring countries such as Djibouti and Kenya. The African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia works with the government on security in the Mogadishu airport.
US officials have learned about the Somali case and are investigating any possible links with the attempted attack in Detroit, AP reports.
Somalia has not had an effective national government for almost 20 years.
December 30, 2009
Complete document, with figures: http://www.fews.net/docs/Publications/ET_12_2009_%20OL%20Alert_final.pdf
ETHIOPIA Food Security Alert December 30, 2009
Food security projected to deteriorate further in 2010
Poor performance of the June to September rains has resulted in below‐normal harvests inmeher‐cropping areas as well as poor water availability and pasture regeneration in northern pastoral zones.
This, combined with two consecutive poor belg cropping seasons (March‐May), high staple food prices, poor livestock production, and reduced agricultural wages, is expected to drive elevated food insecurity over the coming six months (Figures 1 and 2).
This follows high levels of food insecurity in 2009. Areas of particular concern are eastern marginal cropping areas in Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia, pastoral areas of Afar and northern and southeastern Somali region, Gambella region, and most low‐lying areas of southern and central SNNPR.
In most areas of the country, food insecurity during the first half of 2010 is projected to be significantly worse than during the same period in 2009 (Figures 3 and 4).
However, improved food aid distribution and trade flows, along with recent rainfall, will benefit pastoral populations in southern and eastern Somali region. Food security in eastern marginal cropping areas will likely deteriorate even further between July and September 2010. Overall, humanitarian assistance needs are expected to be very high.
Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
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