Ethiopia: Nation Ought to Focus On Budget Reallocation, Diplomatic Push to Finance GERD - Expert

ADDIS ABABA - International law scholar suggested the government to concentrate on budget reallocation and strengthening diplomatic relation to withstand financial shortage and actualize the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on time.

Approached by The Ethiopian Herald Assistant Professor of International Law at Hawassa University Anbesie Fura suggested that Ethiopia ought to reconsider its diplomatic approach and budgetallocation as long and short term solutions to cushion aid suspension like the Trump administration did recently to hinder the rapid completion of the GERD.Although the United Nations under Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ruled developed nations to donate about 0.7 percent of their GNI to least developed countries (LDCs)some of them hesitate to do so, Anbesie said criticizing the Trump administration.

Moreover, the organization under the Addis Agenda Brief issued in 2016 reaffirmed that it will encourage the developed countries to offer 0.2 percent of GNI to LDCs.However, some developed nations have been acting against this statement and prefer to do whatever they wish in their own way.

Therefore, they have been banning or offering grants to the developing world based on their interest, Anbesie observed.

He considered that the western bloc donors tend to influence the developing nations to ensure liberal economy and democracy or other issues as prerequisite while such request is either unacceptable or unsuitable to the LDCs."Now, we have no legal ground to get international donation from the developed world. In this regard, there is only morality and diplomatic tit-for-tats that inspire the nations support each other," he said.However, the LDCs have no choice so that they accept the agendas and exposed to serve the donor's interest at the expense of their national interest, as to Anbesie.Whatever the case, donors may withold aid temporarily or permanently. In such phenomenon, countries prefer to solve the problem through diplomatic negotiation and, or shifting their approach to otherpartners, he mentioned.

Ethiopia needs to do this in one hand to the release or to resist the suspension of US aid that caused by the unpredictable and wavering diplomatic approach of the Trump administration over the nation, hebelieved.

Anyways, the suspended 130 million is a small amount of money from the total of one Bln. USD that US has planned to support Ethiopia this fiscal year, he stated.However, Anbesie said, if the Trump administration continues to halt all aids to hinder Ethiopia's mega project completion, then Ethiopia needs follow other approaches to resist the impediment because, "GERD is a life and death project to Ethiopians that they took it as asymbol to continue as a nation by improving the economy."

For him, it is time to Ethiopia to evaluate its diplomatic approach and foreign policy to find better option and exit from such economic stiffening situations.However, the country needs to reallocate budget and reduce excessive expenditures to assist the rapid completion of the mega dam as a short term solution to resist the aid impediment. In addition, it is alsoimportant to push for diplomatic efforts to the release of the suspended fund through creating influence on the Trump administration using various means, he noted."We should look for all mechanisms to change the wrong approach of the Trump administration through igniting senators by integrated efforts of all Ethiopians living there."

The recent request of some members of congress to the release of the suspended aid is an encouraging move in this regard, it was learnt.Anbesie suggested strengthening iplomatic relations with other western partners and the eastern bloc to get increased assistance.On the other hand, Ethiopia ought to strengthen its diplomatic relation with the eastern bloc especially to China, and South Korea among others who have been exerting relentless effort to support thecountry without interfering in its internal affairs, he mentioned.

As a long term solution, the country needs to organize systems that enable it to rely on own economy to accomplish any mega projects and to resist economic sanctions, Anbesie suggested. To this end, the country ought to restructure its economy in way itcan fully rely on local production and import substitution, he recommended.Over the past two and half decades, Ethiopia has been mainly leaningon eastern bloc for foreign supports escaping from the western worldinfluence on local affairs at expense of funds. The country also triedto balance the cooperation with the two blocs for the pasts two years.

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