The World Bank sponsoring terrorist group, TPLF, in Ethiopia

(Ethiopian American Civic Advocacy)
Donors’ pronouncement a half year ago: The Ethiopian government is violating it’s people’s rights, so we will cut aid, and will no longer give money directly to the government.
Paul Wolfowitz, traveled to Ethiopia a few days ago. It was disheartening to hear what the World Bank president, who so much wants to be seen as a president who takes bad governance seriously, had to say. His statements, "World Bank resumes aid to Ethiopia", to be found at guarded to the point of being empty even by diplomatic standards, contrast sharply with donor language just six months ago. These were the very words and promises made then by senior officials of Ethiopia’s largest donors (including the World Bank):
"We've been hearing from Dedesa camp about atrocities taking place. It's extremely worrying. We have not witnessed anything like this in Ethiopia before.”
“We have seen a deterioration of governance - rule of law, free press and human rights. This is very detrimental to development efforts. [… Recent events] jeopardizes growth in a number of ways. They affect the investment climate. If governance deteriorates, growth not only falls but also stops being pro-poor.
In a democratizing country, key actors including Parliament, the opposition, civil society and the poor themselves require free access to information and a commitment to allow them a major voice in the development process. Without this, their essential contributions are not heard, and the pro-poor outcomes we all look for are severely curtailed. We are concerned that recent events, including the apparent closing down of space for civil society and limiting access to the media, have considerably reduced the scope for such interaction and, as such, threatens the effectiveness of some of our development assistance.
The government committed what I think were serious human rights abuses last year - killing and arresting people, and detention of the opposition just after the recent elections - bad in themselves, but also a breach of trust in our relationship.
(Emphasis ours.)
Last year, as the donor community became a reluctant onlooker to the government’s atrocities in Ethiopia’s remote rural areas and streets of Addis Abeba alike, its language was unambiguous. The statements above indicated in no uncertain terms that a) the government committed grave human rights abuses, b) aid to the government is only effective when there is decent economic and political governance, and c) the donors would curtail the amount of aid and stop giving money directly to the government until acceptable standards of governance were restored again. In the own words of the World Bank’s Ishac Diwan: “We can rely to some extent on external checks and balances, for example independent audits. But eventually, what is needed to enforce accountability is a free society, a free press and transparency of information.”
6 months later: They approved a loan that is Ethiopia’s 4th-largest ever, and this loan will be given directly to the regional governments.
Six months later of having no free society, no free press but scores of journalists tried for attempted genocide, and no transparency of information but blocked websites and a muzzled press, the very same organizations under the leadership of the very same people that made above public statements, rescinded on their word to Ethiopia and to their own taxpayers. The tap of money flowing directly to the government was re-opened and has just begun flowing. Under a large-scale project with the appealing sounding name “Protection of Basic Services”, the World Bank, Britain’s donor agency DfID , and other donors are supporting the budgets of regional governments. Upon approving the project, the World Bank launched a media campaign to diffuse any appearance that the PBS is just another form of budget support. They did this by emphasizing that the resources are not going to the federal government – as if regional governments’ budgets were somehow not governments’ budgets – and by suggesting that the use of this money would be monitored – not mentioning that the monitor is the government itself. (For more details, please see our correspondence with Ishac Diwan on the PBS: Letter to Diwan, His response, Our reply to his response).
The extent to which donor agencies reneged on their own principles and acted contrary to their own understanding of when aid can help the poor is truly bewildering. It calls into severe question the commitment of the Donor Assistance Group (DAG) to improving the welfare of Ethiopia’s poor. After openly acknowledging that there has been a breach of trust between them and the government, that aid is not effective in reducing poverty when repression and instability reigns, and after stating expressly that the donors will discontinue budget support and cut aid, one sees exactly opposite: The donors extended money in the form of thinly veiled budget support, and this money was hardly a cut in aid; it constitutes the 4th largest loan Ethiopia has ever seen from the World Bank in the country’s history.
Donors, especially the multilateral ones such as the World Bank, frequently make assertions of being apolitical and only concerned with poor countries’ growth and development. But the past record in Western countries of using aid as a foreign policy tool (combined with the anti-islamist image the current regime is nurturing, being surrounded by countries that worry the West) is deeply distressing from the perspective that improving the lot of the tens of millions of poor in Ethiopia may be sacrificed for expedient, short-lived, and elusive quick wins in the war against islamist terrorism – with the help of not only national security dollars, but also supposed anti-poverty dollars.
The PBS is not uniformly embraced within Western country governments. In the US government, several Congresspersons are alarmed at the action taken by the World Bank to support the government in such a direct way. One is House representative Dana Rohrbacher, who is also Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee. Recently he wrote a sharply worded letter to Paul Wolfowitz, highly critical of the PBS in light of political corruption and violation of Ethiopians’ property rights by the regime.
In fact, the PBS is quite controversial even within the organizations that are contributing money to this multi-donor loan. Many within the World Bank are quite opposed to it and believe that it is not much different from standard budget support. (Even some government supporters in Ethiopia, who are happy to see the PBS approved, point out that it is budget support by another name). However, those like Mr. Ishac Diwan who have a significant professional stake in this loan being extended to the government, have managed to push the project past dissenting voices and ensure approval of the loan by the World Bank’s board. Unfortunately, incentive structures for promotion and recognition in the Bank, as in many other donor organizations, do not reinforce, but rather work against, motivations of staff to focus on reducing poverty. We are thus concerned that decisions to continue giving loans to governments, whether or not they repress the poor in their country, are in part driven by the need to keep lending money at any cost. This is an outcome of the sad fact that career advancement in donor organizations does not solely depend on whether tangible results on poverty and growth have been achieved, but on how much money gets disbursed. To the detriment of the poor, ‘aid dependency’ goes both ways, and that has contributed to the abysmal failure of 60 years of foreign aid.
Now, in 2006/07, donors may be considering extending the largest loan Ethiopia has ever seen – this time straight to the federal government, no strings attached!
Now, it looks like even the rather thin veil of the PBS may come off. The government recently disclosed the broad parameters of its 2006/07 fiscal year budget. In this, it budgeted for about $420 million in direct federal budget support, in addition to over $1 billion in aid that does not flow directly into government coffers but is earmarked for specific development projects. Just taking the federal budget support amount of $420 alone, if even most of the money for this would come from the World Bank as opposed to other donors – not an unlikely scenario given the typical institutional composition of budget support aid – then this would be the largest loan ever given to any Ethiopian government by the World Bank! While this is only the government’s budget and thus indicates what revenue sources the government plans to access (and thus is not in itself a document that binds international donors to any particular amount and modality of aid provision) it is to be highly expected that the government consults carefully with the DAG before publicizing any aid volumes and modalities in its budget. Thus, the donor organizations represented by the DAG are not only well aware that the government made provision of federal budget support of unprecedented volume in its most recent budget, but must have also sent strong enough signals to the government that an undisguised, unchecked blank cheque may be forthcoming in the near future.
To put the magnitude of this financial infusion by the donors, which the government could then spend as it wished, into perspective: Tremendous attention on the part of pro-democracy activists in the Ethiopian communities abroad has gone toward ensuring passage of the historic bill sponsored by Chris Smith, the HR 5680 (formerly HR 4423). Indeed, this bill, if it becomes law, has the potential to herald a new chapter in US policy toward Ethiopia. However, the size of the appropriation by HR 5680 for promoting freedom and human rights, $20 million, is less than one-twentieth, or 5%, of the budgeted federal blank check (budget support) given by the donors to the government of Meles Zenawi! The HR 5680 resource allocations would also constitute a mere 10% of the current quasi-blank cheque, the “Protection of Basic Services” loan recently approved.
Why it is up to us to speak up, hold donors accountable to their own mandate, and make sure they don’t go back to signing blank cheques to an unaccountable government
EACA believes that if aid agencies actually had had to answer to the poor who are supposedly donors’ ultimate clients, the never-ending influx of billions and billions of dollars into impoverished countries like Ethiopia may have actually contributed to improving the welfare of those who live on this side of survival. Donor accountability to the poor is rather tenuous and indirect even in the best case scenario of democratic and free developing countries. In countries like Ethiopia, on the other extreme, in which political rulers rule through force rather than through legitimacy, and in which fragility of power base averts government’s attention away from the business of development and focuses it on the business of keeping the grip on political control, the poor lack even the most indirect of means to make donor countries accountable for delivering on their mandate of eliminating the scourge of poverty. In countries like Ethiopia, the poor dare not themselves speak up to express criticism about how aid money is spent in their communities. They cannot dream of voting their political representatives out of power if the latter abuse or pocket donor resources. They cannot harbor any hope for NGOs and poverty advocacy groups in Ethiopia to look out for them when aid is handed out. Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie of ActionAid, on trial in government courts for treason and attempted genocide, are only two of many examples of what may await development workers who advocate on behalf of the poor. Most NGOs in Ethiopia are therefore intimidated into submission to the government’s will, or else are too much a part of the machinery of the aid industry themselves, relying on the steady inflow of donor money for their livelihoods, to be willing to speak up when aid is channeled in an unproductive and anti-poor way.
Aid agencies are thus operating in a country in which no one can seriously challenge their untenable support to a repressive government and be free of reprisal. It is therefore up to us to speak up – us Ethiopians and Ethiopian-Americans living in freedom and dedicated to one day seeing Ethiopia prosper and mass human suffering, be it due to economic deprivation or political repression, stop.
Please contact the responsible aid agencies now!
Until such day comes when those living in destitution in our country, the vast majority of Ethiopia, have the political voice and freedom to call on the government and donors to serve their needs without fear of being ill-treated, please speak up on behalf of the voiceless.
Please contact the responsible officials in the donor organizations now (see contact information below), and let them know:
1. It would be unacceptable, irresponsible, and a violation of their own publicly stated commitments to provide federal budget support – a blank cheque to the government with no strings attached – in this time of disastrous governance. The ruling regime now appears to be counting on such support. Ask the donors whether they have made such promises to the regime.
2. The so-called “Protection of Basic Services”, the 4th-largest loan the World Bank has ever extended to Ethiopia, is a thinly disguised form of budget support – channeling money to the regional governments’ coffers instead of the federal government. Ask that this huge loan to the government be discontinued. Donor agencies, if they are serious about bringing about development, should insist first on improvements in governance before doling out aid, not give money first and hope that the government will then stop being repressive.
3. We reject donors’ premise that governance is improving. Just because people are too terrified to go out into the streets to demonstrate, and just because therefore gunfire against innocent people is no longer being heard from the windows of the donors’ offices in Addis, that does not mean that governance has improved. Good governance is not reflected in the quiet streets of repression. Ask donors to call for the release of the political prisoners of the CUD leadership, the press and anti-poverty workers. Ask them to urge for the institution of a free press, freedom of assembly, and independent judicial system.
4. As Ethiopians, many of us have seen how cold-war politics has ravaged our country, led to the starvation of over one million of our fellow countrymen, by propping up one of Africa’s cruelest tyrants because he was seen as an important ally by the Soviet Union. We are distressed that the new Cold War, this time against Islamic terrorism, will be fought on the backs of Ethiopia’s people – once again. Tell donors not to prop up another dictator pretending that it is for the sake of the poor.
EACA would be interested to learn what feedback you receive when you contact the donors with your concerns. Please also feel free to contact us if you are involved in activities related to foreign aid in Ethiopia and would like to co-ordinate with EACA. Email us at eacadvocacy@gmail.com . Below find donors’ contact information.

PEOPLE TO CONTACT AT THE WORLD BANK:
1. Country Director
Ishac Diwan
Tel: +251-11-517 6000 or +251-11-662 77 00
Fax: +251-11-662 7717
idiwan@worldbank.org
(oversees World Bank activities in Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti; responsible for large loans such as the PBS and any future budget support)

2. Vice President, Africa Region
Gobind Nankani
Tel: (202) 458 2858
Fax: (202) 477 0380
gnankani@worldbank.org
annla@worldbank.org (VP’s executive secretary)
(oversees World Bank activities in Africa, also involved in Bank strategy for Ethiopia including questions of budget support)

3. Lead Economist
Trina Haque
Tel: (202) 458-5775
Fax: (202) 473-8107
thaque@worldbank.org
(responsible for the PBS loan)

4. Country Program Coordinator
Jill Armstrong
Tel: (202) 473-8471
Fax: (202) 473-5453
jarmstrong@worldbank.org
(oversees Bank programs in Ethiopia)

RESPONSIBLE PERSONS IN OTHER DONOR AGENCIES:
United Kingdom - Department for International Development (DfID)

1. Head of Country Office
Paul Ackroyd
Tel: +251-11-661 2354 Ext. 2377
Fax: +251-11-662 2432
p-ackroyd@dfid.gov.uk

2. Deputy Director, Africa Division
Dave Fish
Tel: +44-1355-84 3391 or +44-1355-84 3442
Fax: +44-1355 84 3442
dave-fish@dfid.gov.uk
Main Switchboard phone number: +44-207-023 0000

3. Secretary of State for International Development
Mr. Hilary Benn
Tel: +44-20-7023 0419
Fax: +44-20-7023 0634
privatesecretary@dfid.gov.uk
Main Switchboard phone number: +44-207-023 0000

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
1. Head of Program Support Unit
Pierre Fortin
Tel: +251-11-371 5600
Fax: +251-11-371 5744
pierre.fortin@cida-ecco.org
2. Head of Aid
Marc-Andre Fredette
Tel: +251-11-371 3022
marc-andre.fredette@international.gc.ca
3. Manager of the Ethiopia program for the Africa Middle East Branch
Janet Durno
Tel: +1-819-997 7824
Fax: +1-819-953 9453
janet_durno@acdi-cida.gc.ca
Main switchboard phone number: 1-(800)-230 6349

European Commission
1. Head of Delegation to Ethiopia
Tim Clarke
Tel: +251-11-661 2511
Fax: +251-11-661 2877
timothy.clarke@ec.europa.eu
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111
2. Member of the Cabinet (oversees EC programs in Ethiopia)
Hervé Delphin
Tel: +32-2-295 1820
Fax: +32-2-292 1485
herve.delphin@ec.europa.eu
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111
3. Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
Louis Michel
Tel: +32-2-295 9600 or +32-2-295 2718
Fax: +32-2-292 1485
louis.michel@ec.europa.eu
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111

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