Bill Gates vows to defeat hunger & diseases in Ethiopia: Could entrenched political interests allow him? – PART IV 2 MAY BY KEFFYALEW GEBREMEDHIN

May 6th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

The strong foreign interests of the last five years in Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) agriculture, especially the huge financial flows into commercial agriculture, are evidence of the high promises the region’s agriculture holds for the future—not only for Africa but perhaps also beyond.

SSA’s agro-ecological diversity, its enormous possibilities and untapped resources have become irresistible attractions to the non-African world in measures unseen before since the end of the colonial era.

Especially since the 2008 food prices crisis the interests and imaginations of many nations, including that of high dreamer individuals, have found expressions in one form or another in Africa’s agriculture — food production or biofuels or agri-businesses, or activities related to livestock.

Putting this persevering attraction intelligibly and from carefully examined personal perspective, Karuturi Global’s Chairman Ramakrishna Karuturi recently told The Telegraph, “Roses have been the bread and butter for the company but agriculture is the future.”

If we take this investor as one example, Karuturi’s potentials have become enormous. He found his footing in Ethiopia, coming with small funds in his kitty and high hopes as his compass. Today, he is the largest land-renting Indian nearly for free anywhere in the world. Karuturi leases farmlands in name but literally owns now 100,000 ha, or 4 percent of the troubled Gambela in western Ethiopia, which ahs been cleared of its humble occupants. By the terms of his agreement, he is liable to pay $1.15 per yr/ha for 50 years, when his tax holidays are over.

The interesting thing is that, Article 8.1 of this agreement he has signed with the Meles Zenawi regime states, “This land lease Agreement shall be renewed on the same terms and conditions”, i.e., $1.15 per yr/per hectare—after 50 years. Bear also in mind that Mr. Karuturi now controls 10 percent of the global production and trade from Ethiopia, this one by the political and economic capital city.

This is not the whole story of how the government has been mismanaging Ethiopia’s natural resources. Karuturi is also the holder of another deal on 200,000 hectares, 8 percent of Gambela. He has signed lease agreement for 99 years under the same terms — renewable for $1.15 per yr/ha. He is free to start work on it anytime, if his means allow him.

Consequently, now perched on assets he calls “green gold”, donning the title Ethiopia recently proffered on him as its Honorary Consul in India, Karuturi asserted, “I want to be among the top four or five integrated agri-product companies in the world. And I will implement this vision out of Africa.” Unfortunately, for a man that now controls that many virgin farmlands, it rather appears as indicator of the depth of the insightless politics that has exposed the country to unmitigated risks and loses.

Such negligence on the part of governments of the region has made Africa ‘the jewel in the crown’ of every aspiring mogul from outside Africa— worst of all speculator investors.

Therefore, in the light of the above, without far reaching mental, attitudinal and systemic transformations and a higher degree of accountability, SSA should not expect to see progress nor presume it could manage to grasp that hopeful future resident in its agriculture. Certainly, this path of commercial agriculture is not in Africa’s interests! Down this route there is nothing optimistic about SSA’s agricultural development!

Science and technology as the new inlet into African agriculture

Another new vista into Africa’s agriculture has opened. African governments are being coaxed, to move agriculture into science and technology, as are enticed African citizens at the popular levels. This is presented to SSA as the Holy Grail that can ensure Africa’s future through its agriculture. They say this now is the path to a development that can eradicate hunger, poverty and diseases.

There are a number of groups working in this area, not all of them crooks nor entirely selfless.

The efforts by Bill Gates fall into this latter category. As I made it clear in the last series of articles under this title, the way I see it, I am hesitant to think that he is working for monetary gains. He certainly is working to ensure that capitalism gets firm footing in developing countries, a vision predicated on the thinking and belief that the world could be made a better and safer place, to a reasonable degree, by reducing poverty and hunger and, if possible, no diseases.

I salute him for the courage of his conviction. Nevertheless, the Gates Foundation has not been beyond criticisms for its lack of transparency. Also Mr. Gates stands accused of pushiness, in trying to get everyone lining up for his science and technology. The extent of his impatience toward those that resist his push or scrutinize him has been discussed almost everywhere and all the time.

In response, on January 24, 2012 he explained he protested the resistance to new technology in his hometown paper The Seattle Times, where he said this is “again hurting the people who had nothing to do with climate change happening”.

Too bad for him, his views in general have not swayed his critics, even if he likened the efforts underway to the agricultural revolution of the 1970s. On February 27,2012, The Seattle Times ventilated a widely-held view that dismissed Gates’ solution for world hunger as source “of concern to those of us involved in promoting sustainable, equitable and effective agricultural policies in Africa.” This response came to the paper with a South Africa dateline, representing the views of a number of grassroots organizations.

It is unfortunate that today ordinary citizens could not even take cover behind these. While acknowledging the selfless desire of grassroots movements to help and all the rallying behind a cause offer no means to prevent the ugly reality of hunger, poverty and deaths in Africa.

We also hear today fiery ‘sermons’ from people such as Dr. Webster Tarpley. They are only good at giving everyday folks goose pimples with their conspiracy theories. Of all of them, he is the most articulate and persistent of them, with a bent on the intellectual side and generous gifts for details. He has forcefully arrayed his forces against Bill Gates and the philanthropy machine.

A couple of times, he has managed to compel most of us to repeatedly ask, whether the billionaire is sworn to conspiratorially work against the southern hemisphere. Fortunately, it is easy to see that for Dr. Tarpley there is nothing sacrosanct. Day and night, he preaches for people to be watchful of the coming damnation and destruction if not by this or by that, including GMOs. He also speaks on behalf the southern ‘hemispherites’, urging them to be alert about the measures underway by Bill Gates and the crew of scientists he has assembled against fertility.

More transparency from Gates Foundation and seed companies needed

I touched the various aspects of the issues, above, just to show the extent of the pulls in every direction. Surely, some are serious and others attention seeking, a few of them not unreasonable. It is ignoring these that have encouraged and strengthened misgivings about Bill Gates and his efforts.

The adverse effect of this is that society is now embroiled partly with its spillover onto the philanthropic mission the Gates have embarked upon to turn things around in countries such as Ethiopia, whose people are in constant sufferings from both want and fear.

Unfortunately, getting a good feel or sense of whether this Bill Gates intervention is the real thing—like penicillin—or a scheme for the few to get richer is rendered difficult by the lack of sufficient transparency.

Bill Gates insists, “Most of the seed research paid for by his foundation involves conventional plant breeding. In those cases, DNA research allows scientists to pinpoint which genes are responsible for desirable traits. He compares the work to changes in modern libraries.”

Nonetheless, Raffaella Delle Donne claim remains unaddressed. In Seeking diversity, resilience and farmer control: putting the rights seeds in small farmers’ hands is vital, which appeared on AGRA (the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) webpage on June 19, 2009, she says, “AGRA falls under the Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program, whose senior programme officer is Dr. Robert Horsch – an employee of biotech giant Monsanto for 25 years and part of a team that developed Roundup Ready GM crops.”

In explaining that the NPR quotes farmers in the United States saying, “Roundup Ready is a line of gene-modified seeds that inoculate plants against a herbicide, Roundup, also made by Monsanto, that kills just about everything else.”

Good as it sounds, the catches of using its seeds are: (a) farmers are contractually prohibited from saving seeds and planting them the following year. If they violate that, they face lawsuits since they are not owners of the seeds technology; (b) the cost of seeds shoots up, event up to 50 percent from the previous year in the US, and (c) seed company could stay in business only offering seeds with Roundup Ready in it, “doing what Monsanto tells them to do.” Those that refused went bankrupt and closed shop.

When Addis Fortune’s Tamrat G. Giorgis took Sylvia Mathews for a ride on a grueling interview in Addis Abeba In July 2011, she said, “The intellectual property for all the works that MONSANTO does on drought-resistant gene is free. The company is losing money on this effort. We keep our investments and the work of the Foundation separate. It is what we choose to do, as we believe, the Foundation should focus on the issues we are discussing here.”

Ms. Mathews is President of the Global Development Program, and the turbocharger behind the Gates Foundation. The other important thing she underlined is the existence of choice for countries. To the question by Addis Fortune, “I am sure you are aware of these criticisms”, her response was unambiguous:

Yes, we are aware, but we always want to hear more. I think some of the criticisms stemmed from issues with the initial green revolution. Whereas the initial green revolution saved millions of lives, it had some problems related to sustainability defined by environmental concerns. There is also a valid criticism on how the water table has been exhausted in India. We are working on all of those issues. We are probably the largest single and private donor for organic farming.

We believe there are a range of solutions for the smallholder farmer that need to be examined and we are investing in a variety of them.

A second area that we, as an institution, receive criticism for is on the agricultural front; namely, on our engagement with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). We believe that there are suitable solutions that farmers need; and when we engage in breeding, we do everything from conventional breeding to what is called marker-assisted breeding, which gives us the ability to understand what things a plant has to offer.

And then, we do transgenic, which is the part that I think many people have a problem with, but we believe it is a part of the solution. We believe it needs to be safe; that countries need to make their own decisions; and that these countries need the regulatory capability to make those decisions. We have funded Michigan State University, along with NePAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), to provide grants and technical assistance here in the continent of Africa for those countries, which seek regulatory assistance, so that their scientists have the capability and equipment to conduct testing.

There is a third, which has to do with the question of how hybrid seeds relate to corporations and companies that sell it. But, again, we believe that choice is up to the farmer.

On the other hand, on 25 May 2011 addressing AGRA gathering Bill Gates told the audience:

What’s going on right now in Africa and South Asia is not a collection of anecdotes about improvements to a few people’s lives. This is the early stage of sweeping change for farming families in the poorest parts of the world. It’s an historic chance to help people and countries move from dependency to self-sufficiency – and fulfill the highest promise of foreign aid. In the past we’ve invested aid in Brazil and India and South Korea, and they are all now dynamic actors in the global economy – some even joining us in giving aid to others. This is our hope for the countries of Africa and South Asia as well.

If that is the case, it would be wiser to look into the experiences of the three countries he touched upon—Brazil, India and South Korea. Perhaps there would be something to learn from their experiences.


Brazil has been open to GMO for a long time, with prohibition officially ending in 2005. However, after years of experiences, for various reasons the number of Brazilians wanting to return to GMO-free food production is reported to have increased overtime.

In an article entitled Biggest Brazil soy state loses taste for GMO seed, Reuters in March 2009 reported that farmers in Mato Grosso, the country’s top soy state, are shunning once-heralded, genetically modified soy varieties in favor of conventional seeds after the hi-tech type showed poor yields.

A soy and corn grower Jeferson Bif says, “We’re seeing less and less planting of GMO soy around here. It doesn’t give consistent performance.”

Reuters also observes that another reason for Mato Grosso’s ongoing shift away from GMO-soy is that trading houses and meat processors, conscious that some consumers strive to avoid GMO foods, prefer conventional soy and will pay a premium for it.

Moreover, Alexsander Gheno, agronomist at APAgri consultancy tells Reuters, “Companies have been focusing their research on GMO soy more than on conventional ones. So in 10 years we could have 100 percent of the area planted with GMO soy not because this was farmers’ choice exactly but because development of new conventional varieties is getting scarce.”

Nonetheless, this is not to suggest that there are not those that speak favorably about GMOs and Brazil becoming a GMO country, as the technology improves.

From the preceding, the lesson to be drawn from Brazil for Ethiopia’s benefit is that things are not moving along a single lane. In a country that is technologically advanced, the region of Mato Grosso is disappointed with GMO, because the production expected was not worth the problems it entailed to producers and other businesses.


South Korea bought its first GMO corn food for the first time in February 2008. It imported, according to Reuters, 50,000 tons of U.S. genetically-altered corn in May for manufacturing starch and sweeteners.

In July 2008, Seoul imported from South Africa again 1.2 million tones of corn for food, partly as a response to the rising prices of food.

This importation has created differences between the government and the public. South Koreans oppose it because they believe that the import is a result of pressures and trade deals with Washington. A Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) accused the government as having “spontaneously destroyed the system aimed at protecting Koreans”.

In April 2012, the South Korean government purchased 25,000 tonnes of non-genetically modified soybeans from Archer Daniels Midland company for arrival in 2013, according to Reuters.


India’s is the best example of GMO laws, practices and expectations about the future in two respects. Firstly, they have the appropriate laws the objective of which is protection and improvement of the environment. The Indian law has four aspects:

Category I comprises routine recombinant DNA experiments conducted inside a laboratory;

Category II consists of both laboratory and greenhouse experiments involving transgenes that combat biotic stresses through resistance to herbicides and pesticides;

Categories III and IV comprise experiments and field trials where the escape of transgenic traits into the open environment could cause significant alterations in the ecosystem.
The second important aspect of the law is that through the biosafety regulations, they established a three-tier regulatory structure at the central level in New Delhi comprising focusing on: (a) The Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST); (b) The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF); and (c) The Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) under DBT/MoST.

In effect, the law in India has hardly opened the door wide-open nor did it totally close it on the future of science. The only complaint civil society organizations have against it is about weak liability regime

There are options how Ethiopia should approach this thing. I am also encouraged by the choice that Bill Gates and Sylvia Mathews spoke of, although we live at a time when citizens do not have faith in their governments either to tell them the truth or protect them or their environment. In the circumstances, the only option is to hold Bill Gates to be true to his promises that counties have choices, as citizens continue to scrutinize everything.

The most serious mistake would be to close the door on all sciences and innovations. Especially smallholder farmers in the case of Ethiopia have no other alternatives than benefitting from improved seeds and the appropriate types of fertilizers, suitable to the country’s soil types.

In the meantime, I see wisdom in the editorial in the 28 April 2011 issue of To my mind, it has rightly framed the issue of GMOs and how countries and citizens tailor their choices. It stated:

Yet by focusing on biosafety, the political debate on GM crops may overlook the broader — and more significant — issue of how such crops will be used in practice. This includes the extent to which they will meet the needs of poor farmers, who are responsible for a large proportion of Africa’s agricultural output.

The big challenge ahead for those engaged in the GM debate in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa is not how to promote (or block) the technology, or even demonstrate its safety, although this is clearly important.

Rather, it is to find ways to ensure that GM crops benefit the rural poor, not just the shareholders of multinational corporations who are increasingly looking at African agriculture as a profitable investment.

The options before our country would be discussed in the next installment.

(To be continued)

  1. aha!
    | #1

    The discussion was going on in the right direction in the this discussion forum, now in this article it is going in all direction in a bizzare fashion. Which ever way look at it, the only way the philontropy of Billi Gates will have an impact on curbing hunger and diseases affecting the labor force on the arable lands of Ethiopia is by passing the ministrial council and regional administrators and putting the money under the Extension Department, Soil Conservation Service and the Ethiopian Research Organization or deposit the money in the name of small farm holdings to implement the Agricultural Transormation Projects under the guidance of the above mentioned institutions, using locally introduced varieties/seeds with little or no fertilisers under a companion cropping system of which there is a project pproposal submitted to Ethiopian Agriculture Organization together with the Assistance from international organisation like CSIRO, from Australia, and Soil Conservation Service from USA with Bill Gates donations funded through UNDP to transform the Ethiopian Agriculture and the health aspect of farmers in an ecosystem management approach of the arable lands of Ethiopia in order increase production of crops and livestock, conserve soil and water, avoid floods from the water catchment basins through afforstation, though a good cropping, tillage and soil conservation practices. Such was the focus maintained in the past discussion forum, which is now gone, along with blurred comments by Ethiopian Experts as quoted by the author.

  2. aha!
    | #2

    Furthermore, one can not talk about land acquisitions of land by foreign corporations and Bill Gates Foundation in the same page as global capitalism, unless one tries to link GMO seeds from Monsanto and fertilizer exports from Norway as the Global Capitalism of demand created for these commodities by Bill Gates donations.

  3. koster
    | #3

    Hunger and war is great business for fascist Meles and if one really cares for Ethiopia and Ethiopians one has to say no to Tigrean fascists. The fascist Tigreans and hodam collaborators are even now overfeeding. The problem is not food but tyrany promoted by the USA/UK government.

  4. Dawi
    | #4

    KEFFYALEW says:

    [[...The interesting thing is that, Article 8.1 of this agreement he has signed with the Meles Zenawi regime states, “This land lease Agreement shall be renewed on the same terms and conditions”, i.e., $1.15 per yr/per hectare—after 50 years. Bear also in mind that Mr. Karuturi now controls 10 percent of the global production and trade from Ethiopia, this one by the political and economic capital city....]]

    Tax breaks & incentives are standard in the competitive business of FDI.

    You overlooked or is being selective quoting the Agreement between the two.

    I am not a lawyer but, the lease has a driver that can adjust the price rate. In other words the rate logically goes up when the investor makes money.

    Article 2.2.4 says: The Lessor reserves the right to revise the lease payment rate as need may arise.

    Above all and why I think Karuturi is caught by the balls is when one reads Article 3.7 where it says if the Government wants the land back all it has to do is write a notice & in 6 mos Karuturi is out.

    In other words the 50 years is entirely dependent on the good will of the government.

    Article 3.7 Terminate the land lease agreement subject to at least 6 months prior written notice.

    Over all it is a great work by Keffyalew.

  5. Girum
    | #5

    You writer Kefyalew first you said nothing about GMO and its godfather Monsanto. Now you have started to talk about it and now you come to addressing this issue that we first warned in that Bill Gates is behind it. So you either are not well aware of about what you are writing and/or you are clandestine stooge agent of this program for such media disinformation and indoctrination. We pretty well know how our own Ethiopian intellectuals and politicians are becoming such a perfect stooge agent collaborators for our own demise as a nation by being bribed for the sake of cheap money. In the case of the current Ethiopia the main source of problem is opportunistic selfishness for the sake of money and what we call ethnicity comes next. This is what I happen to figure out recently. In today’s hey days era of Global Capitalism almost all of us has fallen to the traps of money. So the problem is rather mainly that we are selling off our nation and foreigners are buying up every thing they want in this nation. So who rules? Money and only money. Dear all Ethiopian intellectuals let’s be first honest with this issue of MONEY.Money for our life destruction or money for our life revival. How we use money? The choice is in front of us.

  6. aha!
    | #6

    Three blunders have been stipulated in this article with regards to GMO seeds without specifying the type of crops: barley, wheat, sorghum or maize and reinforcing the contentions presented by Ethiopian experts and the Government policy on regulating mechanisms once the seeds are introduced into the country to replace the indigeneous varieties by sighting several countries adopting GMO seeds. All the countries mentioned are not known for high gene pool with indigeneous food crops, and also why these countries and Ethiopia in particular did not come up with come up drought and frost resistant varieties in the last 40+ years, except for sorghum to cope with climate change through the traditional plant selection and cross breeding using the indidineous species.

    The second blunder in support of GMO seeds is it does not have a detrimental effect to the ecosystem, as if it is a fungus infestation, rather eventual displacement of the indigenous varieties with their gene pools from their habitats over time except for those residing in the Genetic Resources Laboratory. Few cases and countries have have been cited as evidence for that incidence.

    The third blunder is when you said, I paraphrase that we are doomed if we do not embrace/use GMO seeds and fertilizers, where both subject small farmers to global capitalism by multi-national corporations, without guarantee of crops for drought and frost resistance,&/or increase of yield of GMO seeds with fertilizers depending on the topography of the farmlands, to say the least about environmental impacts of fertilisers.

    Above all it lacks an insight into the genetic variations built into the indigineous varieties to respond to an increase production based on inputs by way cropping system with little or no fertilizer, terracing, and tillage practices under rainfed conditions through simple plant selection for drought and frost resistant strains, to counter climate change.

  7. ጉረኞች
    | #7

    In one of the discussions, somebody mentioned that Bill Gates foundation has not, as such, came with new idea that has not existed in Ethiopia before. Most of us including the author of the article seems to agree with that fact. The Gate’s foundation what most likely will do differently is to push the spread of the chosen varieties and the associated package more forcefully by using its funding ability. I bet the new varieties including the GMOs they are coming with will be no better than the earlier varieties produced within the country by various researchers. The Agricultural Research Institute have produced plenty of high yielding varieties in all sorts of crop types. I do not believe neither the author himself will believe that there is shortage of high yielding varieties in the country. If he does, he must have missed a lot of information about agricultural improvements in Ethiopia. The elephant in the room is why did the farmers refuse to adopt these high yielding varieties and produce more? In my opinion, it is largely due to lack of effective policy that will allow to empower the farmers as decision makers on their own piece of land. Of all past governments woyanes have proved to be the worst of all who has unequivocally controled the farmers on what to do on their farms and lead day to day lives. The Gate’s foundation will definitely not perform any better than the past attempts to spread the high yielding varieties and convince farmers to grow the new varieties. It is same-O same-O. The farmers have no confidence on the government or political system that there will be a secure flow of supply the necessary ingredient to help the new varieties grow on their farm. No reliable source of seed, fertilizers, pesticides,and what have you. Under these risky circumstances, farmers will choose the most secure and reliable source of seeds, that is their own seed albeit low they are getting low production out of it. When the tyrant and most despised person Meles is at the helm of the steering committee of Gate’s foundation, there is no guarantee resource will be distributed fairly. The reason why the Meles mafia took over this role when the most appropriate agencies like Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Institute, Other Seed agencies, or NGOs is to expropriate resources and make sure the lion share of these resources are not going anywhere, except to themselves. It is unfortunate that Kefayallew has not highlighted this issue well. His focus on technical issues are very minor and should not be a concern for us. There are plenty of capable professionals in Ethiopia to balance production and conservation of resources and let the farmers make the best out of seed distribution investment. I conclude, only in this case I might agree with Girum’s conspiracy speculation. There could be a little bit of promotional stunt for Gate’s foundation in this article. Why did Kefaylew think that this foundation work better than the past attempts? Just because the foundation states that the resources will go directly to farmers by bypassing government. Well, who is the midget dictator then?

  8. Laine
    | #8

    Let’s see what Bill Gates himself has to say, Here it is:

    Ethiopia: Exciting Innovations in Agriculture and Health, By Bill Gates

    I’ve made many trips to Africa, but my recent visit to Ethiopia was definitely one of the most exciting. With effective governance and coordinated support from our foundation and other donors, the advances I saw in health and agriculture may be the key to unleashing Ethiopia’s potential and that of other African countries.

    Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and has faced enormous challenges feeding its people and providing critical health services to mothers and their children. Yet, I returned from a recent visit excited about advances the country is making in agriculture and health.

    If these innovations—which are a top priority for our foundation—succeed, they can be replicated in other African countries that also face big challenges in health and agriculture.

    One factor in Ethiopia’s progress is Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his leadership team, who have played a key role in reinventing the country’s agricultural and health systems. Making changes to either would be a big challenge in any country, so it’s even more impressive in Ethiopia, which has the second largest population of any country in Africa but a limited economic infrastructure.

    Around 85 percent of the country’s population survives by growing crops on small plots of less than five acres. But frequent droughts and soils that have been depleted of nutrients often led to low crop yields and considerable food insecurity. More than half of the country’s population of 83 million is malnourished and more than 5 million households receive food aid each year.

    Our foundation has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture, the county’s new Agricultural Transformation Agency, and other partners to help farmers plant higher-yielding, drought-tolerant seeds, improve soil health and fertility, and get higher prices for their crops by selling to global markets.

    At the Melkassa Research Station, one of 13 government-run agricultural outposts, Dr. Markus Walsh, Sr. showed me a new, state-of-the-art technology called NIR spectroscopy that’s part of a digital revolution in agriculture. This portable device, which quickly and cheaply analyzes soil conditions, is a fantastic breakthrough that will help farmers everywhere. But it’s especially valuable in countries like Ethiopia, where farmers haven’t been able to afford laboratory tests but need to know how to amend soils to grow better crops. The spectroscopy is part of an even bigger agricultural digital information system that will provide a comprehensive and detailed map of soil properties across the country.

    I also met with a number of farmers to talk about new varieties of sorghum (a grain) and beans they are growing. Beans are very important because they provide protein and people need a combination of protein and grain to have a reasonable diet.

    Helping small farmers sell their crops in world markets is another important part of the work we’re supporting in Ethiopia. It’s currently a big challenge because poor farmers may not be growing the right crops for world markets and they often lack the roads, trucks, and other infrastructure necessary to enable exports. And getting foreign investors to help build this “value chain” can be difficult. But I visited one agricultural processing facility called ACOS, that is processing and shipping a variety of beans to European markets. It is jointly owned by an Italian company and Ethiopian investors and is a great example of private investment in developing countries.

    What Ethiopia is doing in health is really a model system because it reaches everyone in the country. I visited the Germana Gale Health Post, where I talked to several of the more than 30,000 health extension workers who have been trained in recent years to deliver basic health education, prevention, and treatment. Most of the health workers are women, and those I met were energetic and well-trained.

    These kinds of primary health services—giving vaccines, educating women about family health, and promoting hygiene and environmental sanitation—is the foundation for building good health systems in poor countries. Ethiopia’s health system also includes district health centers like the Dalocha Health Center I visited. There, they do a little bit of surgery and have more expertise and a wider variety of drugs. There are also primary hospitals that focus on higher level treatment and some emergency surgery, and general hospitals that deal with serious emergencies and high-risk and specialized care.

    Ethiopia still faces some big problems. But the people I met and what I saw re-energized me and increased my optimism that the big investments we and other donors are making in health and agriculture will pay off for the people of Ethiopia and can serve as model activities in other African countries. Improving agricultural productivity and the quality of life through better health services is the key to unleashing the potential of Ethiopia and other poor countries and getting them on the road to self-sufficiency.

    That should hurt to hear from the maestro such a glowing praise towards Meles and Co. Well, the stubborn facts have a way of —- you get the idea.

  9. ጉረኞች
    | #9

    What Gate’s speech reminds the reader is that how woyanes are master of deception and perfected the art of begging to get $$ in the name of Ethiopians from good heart gullible Western donors. Woyanes from top, the midget Meles, to the bottom, cadres are shameless layers. What I note is that the good old credible agricultural research center has lost so many Ethiopians scientists. In that research center, all research projects were run by Ethiopians and lead scientists were all Ethiopians. I cry to my country that is no longer the case. I’m personally ashamed when Gate’s cite a fernjee to show him NIR spectroscopy when many professional Ethiopians all over. It is the result of woyane chasing away Ethiopians, a huge brain drain. We should not see a single foreign experts in the compound of Melkasa, unless they come for training. For me, the speech tells how much the country went back ward. If he had known what Ethiopia lost, his remarks might be different. I can imagine how Meles painted Ethiopia to Gate.

  10. Dawi
    | #10

    [[..That should hurt to hear from the maestro such a glowing praise towards Meles and Co. Well, the stubborn facts have a way of —- you get the idea...]]

    Contrary to developing country, anyone could run a developed country and do well.

    The young man Jawar in an interview with ESAT radio said Meles won’t hesitate to destroy Tigrai to stay in power. This man criticized OLF for droping independence and joining G7 a while ago. So he has no credibility what so over when it comes to a United Ethiopia however, a lot of opposition feel same therefore, the man (Meles) must have given them that message clearly.

    I take such comments as a complement to the man that he stands & would do anything to implement his vision of a Developmental State of Ethiopia no matter…..

    As his vision of Developmental State won’t contradict Ethiopia’s Renaissance and as an economic development is a necessary pre-condition for Liberal Democracy why fight to stop him – is the billion dollar question??

    Leaders could make great countries, and leaders could break them. They all serve their countries one way or the other as long as they live but only few had a real vision about what they wanted to create and follow through.

  11. Dawi
    | #11

    There you have it!

    “Everything is for Ethiopia, but we will also export to South Sudan and Kenya,” Karuturi said.

    “When we are done by 2014 we will have a million tonnes of cereals, 100,000 tonnes of edible oil and 200,000 tonnes of sugar,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum gathering in Addis Ababa.

    Article 3.7 says: Terminate the land lease agreement subject to at least 6 months prior written notice.

    That is why I said Meles has caught Karuturi by the balls. He doesn’t have have a choice but do what he asks him to do.

    Same with Al Amoudi and EFFORT.

  12. aha!
    | #12

    The rebuttal by Laine is even more damning than the double digit growth report for Ethiopia for him to misqoute with out putting the exact phrases and sentences of his assessment of Ethiopias agriculture and health of the farm populations from his recent visit in parenthesis.It is a modification of what Kefyalew should have stipulated in his series of articles and what some of us were contending of needs to have been carried out in terms of Agricutural Transoformation Projects in stead of Agricultural Tranformation Agency controlled by the council and killil administrators instead of the Extension and Soil Consrvation Departments and the Ethiopian Agriculture Research Organization with the assistance from CSIRO, Australia and Soil Conservation Service from the United States on projects run and Bill Gates foundation funds disbursed through the UNDP to above mentioned institutions for it to have an impact and be complementary to FYGP government plan, but not not supplementary to the existing constitutional set up of ethic federalism, secessionism and totalrinism frame work of governance and/or administration, hindering individual freedom, capitalism and democracy over existing project proposals drafted to revitalise the arable and water catchment basins of Ethiopia with crop varieties developed locally for drought and frost resistance with little or no fertilizers coupled improving the health aspect of that labor force, not to mention improvement of the technology of the plow share, tillage and soil conservation practices.

  13. Dawi
    | #13

    ጉረኞች says:

    “..woyanes are master of deception and perfected the art of begging..’’

    C’mon man! Such Shabian phrases aren’t even used by them anymore.

    I know Meles is good but not as good as you guys portray him to be unless you are saying he is a great hypnotist? Meaning he puts others in hypnosis state without them knowing it. If he didn’t do that why would Bill Gates do such a complementary writeup/praise of Ethiopian leadership team? I don’t what to say to you and others who are obsessed with his being “master of deception”. Assuming he is one, how far one can travel with deception alone is a good question to ask.

    I know president Obama was accused of using hypnosis techniques during elections? Some who have studied hypnosis supposed to notice that Obama used conversational hypnosis techniques in his speech. :-)

    Maybe that is what they have in common with Obama and the reason he is invited to come to Camp Davis next week.

  14. Dashen
    | #14

    #9, don’t be full of yourself even though your given name justified it. I’ll take and value Bill Gates opinion any time of the day than your incoherent blubbering. Hate is not a value which will enable you to discuss such an important issue with your little knowledge. Mr. Gates has earned himself through his work for the good of all human-beings, the reputation of being a great states-man and philanthropist. For you to suggest him being fooled by Meles and take his reputation at risk in such a manner is disgusting. A man who saw the 0′s and 1′s of the digital age before anyone else in the planet can’t be fooled easily by the likes of Meles. What it’s is that he sees a country and a government, yes by extension a leader in Meles, which is capable of being a model for the rest of the world to emulate. Don’t go any further than the current Global Economy Forum taken place in Addis this week to find the legitimacy of his conclusions. Those things don’t happen by accident, dear friend. You need to wake up and acknowledge and cherish the enormous achievements Ethiopia is witnessing under the leadership of PM Meles. Let’s only hope he will have the resolve and the necessary strength to see this through – those are the stubborn facts Laine was talking about.

  15. ጉረኞች
    | #15

    Dawi & Dashen
    What is new with what I said? Every globally known reporters said it before. Even the donors are well aware of it. I’m sure you have not forgotten what Herman Cohen said recently to that effect. That is one of the reasons the midget dictator decided to spend Ethiopian resources to such propaganda, ስም ለማደስ:: It doesn’t look like it is working for him, not an inch of improvement. I clearly understand under what circumstances philanthropic organization are forced to work in Ethiopia. Although Gates attempt is bizarre, even what he claims makes him one of the fool person on earth. የታወቀ ሌባ መለስ ዜናዊን አለቃ አርጎ አስቀምጦ መንግስት በገንዘብ አመዳደብ ጣልቃ አይገባም ብሎ በአደባባይ ይናገራል:: ጉድ እኮ ነው:: Sometimes it is good if you remember what the former TPLFites testified in front of the public how woyanes have been diverting aid money including grains to enrich themselves and to woyane army, how they have been using it to control the poor farmers, etc. You forget, but we don’t forget and we’ll keep on bring it up at all opportunities.
    BTW, Dawi congratulations!! it looks like you got budgetary increase and managed to hire Dashen. What I remind you two guys is — one of the woyanes strategy to get highly needed $$ is to increase remittance. Woyane is exporting poor Ethiopian girls and women to savage arabian countries in doves just in the hope of collecting remittance. Your poor sisters are treated inhumanely and getting killed for no reason. At the same time, woyanes are chasing away Ethiopian experts, which the country spent deal to educate them, out of the country. The only expert left in Ethiopia is Meles Zenawi, he is the expert of everything including, according to Dawi, Developmental State theoretician (I can’t believe how I burst out in laughter when I read that). The intent of my message was, how painful it is to see agricultural experts Ethiopia produced in the past government replaced by foreign experts. I don’t expect Dashen to get it as he is clearly shown his thick head. Dashen, it looks like you are proud that some workshop took place in Ethiopia. What it looks new to you, or seems the first ever, many similar workshops have been taking place even during the dictator Dergue era. There is nothing to be proud of that. What Ethiopia needs is tangible change, food on the table to all families, not workshops. Under the midget dictator Meles poverty is rampant and 12 million people starve every year. Who want to emulate Ethiopia with this terrible record? My friend, if you are real, don’t bury your neck under the sand, because some one will jump on your exposed top!!! I assure you, you don’t like that!!

  16. Girum
    | #16


    For you to suggest him being fooled by Meles and take his reputation at risk in such a manner is disgusting. A man who saw the 0′s and 1′s of the digital age before anyone else in the planet can’t be fooled easily by the likes of Meles.
    How do you think a nuclear physicist or rocket scientist regarding the issue of agriculture when compared to an ‘illiterate’ Ethiopian farmer? How is your judgment and commonsense regarding this issue. The world pretty well knows that Bill Gates is not only a mere mega-rich person but also a knowledgeable IT veteran. But then so what? When it comes to our own internal issues we know by far better than him. Being a Mega-Rich person and a knowledgeable IT veteran does not automatically imply being an all knowing omniscient person with all righteousness in all aspects. So Please do not confuse things. Any genius person can be amply ‘cheated’ by any ordinary person any time any where.
    Like many others I personally respect and admire Bill Gates for his marvelous achievements in the realm of IT but when it comes to the subject matter that is a different issue we better not confuse things.
    What has got 0 and 1 to do with as such with agricultural knowledge? Agriculturalists, genetic engineering biologists and others similar related professionals (if they are honest and do not fall to the traps of money) better say a lot about GMO, MONSANTO and agriculture than that of Bill Gates.
    What professionals say is written as follows and if we are willing to know the truth then let’s read and face it. And finally how comes Bill Gates knows about Ethiopia better than an Ethiopian who lives the daily life of Ethiopia itself. We better not expect and worship others with big-money, beyond what is warranted, to solve all our deep-rooted and multifaceted problems we are entangled with. And hence we better get concerned and solve our problems first by our own means in our own knowledge and capacity. Let’s not have the usual confusion, illusion and fantasy that Money can automatically simply solve all sorts of problems any time any where. Any way read the following carefully and patiently if you want to know more about GMO MONSANTO and Bill Gates Foundation.

  17. በጎ አድራጊ ወይስ ኢንቨስተር
    | #17

    በጎ አድርጊ መሆንና ነጋዴ መሆን የተለየ ባህርያት ይጠይቃሉ ባይ ነኝ አንዱ ለጋስነት አንዱ ብልጣብልጥነት/ነጠቃኒነት ይጠይቃሉ ባለቤቱ ያቻውን ነኝ ቢለን ወይም ቢሆን አይገደኝም
    መለኪያ መቆጣጠርያው ዳኝነቱ በጠንካራ የሕዝብ ወገን በሆነ መንግስት ባወጣው መመሪያ ይሁን ባይ ነኝ

    እንካንስ ነጋዴ ሌላው ይቅርና በሃይማኖት መሪዎችና አካባቢ ያለውን ሞራል ማጣት ብንቃኝ

    ባለንበት ዘመን ወንዶች ልጆችን የደፈሩ ወንጀለኛ የካቶሊክ ቄሶችን ቤተክርትያኑ አመራር አሳልፎ አልሰጥ ብሎ መስማት የተለመደ ዜና ነው ስለዚህ ቅስናውም ቢሆን ወንጀልነት ባህርይ አላጠፋም የኛንም ኦርቶዶክስ ጳጳስ ሐውልት በአደባባይ ሲተከል ማየት
    የሰው ልጅ የሞራል ውድቀት ያልዳሰሰው ህብረተሰቡ ክፍል እንደሌለ ነው

    በጎ አድራጊ ነው ብሎ የሚለው
    ታክስ ተነስቶለት ረዳሁ የሚለው
    ቱሪናፋ እምቢልታ ምለፈፍለት ምነው?

    እንካንስ ነጋዴ ሊያተርፍ የወጣው
    ቄሱም ጳጳሱም ስራቸው ወንጀል ነው
    ወራሪውን ጦር ባርኮ ሲልከው
    በልማት ስም ነውኮ ሁሉም የማለው

    አደራችሁን ጻድቃን የሉም ሳይሆን
    በጎ አድራዲነትነ ክቢዝነስ ለዩልን

  18. Dawi
    | #18

    [[...Sometimes it is good if you remember what the former TPLFites testified in front of the public how woyanes have been diverting aid money including grains to enrich themselves and to woyane army, how they have been using it to control the poor farmers, etc. You forget, but we don’t forget and we’ll keep on bring it up at all opportunities...]]

    The diversion is one thing but to “enrich themselves” is another.

    None of the former Woyanes including Seye showed or even accused Meles “enriching” himself with any tangible evidence. If you are talking about “enriching” EFFORT or its like entities all former & present Woyanes are involved in the scheme.

    For that matter even outsiders who accuse Meles/Azeb including you don’t have any evidence except hearsay’s of some tabloid or what have you.

    If there is no tangible evidence of corruption, I don’t know why one would be surprised that many outside observers such as Prof. Messay, PM Gordon, Bill Gates, Obama or anybody else for that matter are convinced Meles has a bigger aspiration than a petty thief.

    For me it is very easy to see his larger aspiration.

    Even if any money is diverted by him I am convinced it has to be to fulfill his development state vision. And as his vision of Developmental State does not contradict Ethiopia’s Renaissance there is no reason for me wasting valuable time trying to stop him.

    As far as him being a “economic theoretician”, we all can laugh our a**** off but, we are talking about the few in the world who are not just “arm chairs”. That is why the “arm chairs” take their hat off for such individuals.

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