by Amanuel Biedemariam

06 Nov 2017 – Over the years, particularly from 1991 until present, one of the key players that helped shape the political dynamics of the region is Mohammad al-Amoudi. Sheik Al-Amoudi appeared on the seen in 1991 when Eritrea achieved independence and handed Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) the key to Minelik Palace.

Al Amoudi’s first choice was Asmara Eritrea. He came with millions, if not billions of dollars and offered to invest in many areas. Eritrea rejected his offers instantly. The leaders of Eritrea astutely picked upon what his investments meant long-term and kicked him out of Eritrea. They knew these investments are ploy with the aim of taking control of the nation.

He then went to Ethiopia and became the 2nd most important figure after Meles Zenawi. The TPLF did not hesitate to embrace Al Amoudi. They did not care how much he invested if he invested; did not care what his motives were and its long-term implications. They did not set boundaries and regulations to govern his activities. They simply handed him key to the nation. They gave him key to all of Ethiopia’s resources including mining, allowed him to build and establish businesses everywhere. They gave him free reign to hire and create alliances in the nation.

In short, Al Amoudi was the destination (Sheraton Hotel Addis) and the man with connections to the international system. He became the top employer in vast array of fields. After the government, Al Amoudi was the second biggest employer. He had established effective system in all areas. If one is to look at the variety of businesses Midroc Ethiopia conducts, it is limitless.

In the west, none of these activities can be allowed because they run to anti-trust and monopoly laws violations. Al Amoudi was running a country with-in a country. He owned communication facilities, established educational programs with curriculums that reflect his needs and values. He run farms, animal husbandry, he run construction companies, consulting firms and banking infrastructures. He run medical institutions and the list is endless. Al Amoudi controlled communication, employment, banking and vast resources with money and influence.

But why did TPLF allow him to have this much access and control? And that is because a) they did not have much of a choice because they were clueless to the international seen and, b) they were confident, if they have the arms he had nowhere to go. So, they gave him free reign so that they can exploit him. It was marriage made in heaven.

During the Eritrea Ethiopia war 1998-2000, Al Amoudi was key player. During the war, the TPLF had no idea how to do PR, how to Lobby, how to exert influence in Washington DC. Al Amoudi understood the legal, political, PR needs of the regime and assisted them significantly. He funded, directed and pressed all the Anti Eritrea campaigns and bullied Ethiopians that opposed the regime and his ways, with frivolous lawsuits.

Al Amoudi knew and controlled all personalities that shape Ethiopia, culturally, musically, politically, socially, legally and economically. He controlled the people financially. He controlled musicians, soccer players, members of the royal family and actors. He controlled business people and opinion makers all over the world. There are people that get payed to sit loyal without doing any work, to be cheerleaders.

His influence is remarkable. His people are loyal and will not do anything to antagonize him or the regime. If one has close relation to his circles they are guaranteed success. There are many Ethiopians that oppose the regime but will not dare utter a word for fear of alienation.

Therefore, the news of his arrest is a huge deal. It is significant event in the history of the region and Ethiopia. This is an event that will quicken the demise of the TPLF as he was a significant player and ardent supporter. Al Amoudi has openly bragged that he is Weyane. But, what is the impact of his arrest and its repercussions?

It is the biggest disruption that the TPLF has ever seen. It is disruption that will destroy the banking system. The vast sums of money he controlled worked as engine to many sectors of the country’s economy and way of life. It is certain all his money was controlled by him and the TPLF cannot and will not have access to it. As a result, shortage of hard currency will worsen.

Secondly, Al Amoudi has vast array of services and hundreds of thousands of employees that work for him. Agriculture, and Agro-processing group, educating and training group, plastic/ product group, building, construction, metal work, mining, transportation, retail, management, health system groups to mention some. These are institutions with extensive spin-off effect in the economies of the regions they operate. These are institution that directly affect the way the country operates.

The arrest of Al Amoudi is therefore certain to disrupt the flow of these institutions immediately because the controller of the money is Al Amoudi. Disruption of money-flow will undoubtedly be immediate, and it will impact payroll and operations. That means Midroc-Ethiopia, Al Amoudi conglomerate in Ethiopia will disintegrate. In other words, the people that work for him will soon find themselves unemployed.

Al Amoudi was devoted Weyane. He made it clear with his actions, money and verbally for years that he is number one supporter of the regime. Therefore, indirectly, the people that worked for him supported Weyane. At the current climate in Ethiopia working with Weyane could be detrimental.

Conclusion

Mohamed Al Amoudi is not a businessman. His arrest shows he was much bigger than that. He was a major player at a national and international level. He was agent of gulf states that wanted to assert control by other means. He was a perfect agent at that. He spoke Ethiopian language, he claimed to share the heritage by birth and he had access to unlimited money tied to the monarchy. He was the extension of their reign and did a great job until the recent events. The GCC conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar placed him at odds with the Saudi’s because at this juncture Qatar is heavily invested in Ethiopia.

This is also an indication that the reign of terror by the minority Tigrayan regime can come to abrupt halt and send the country on downward uncontrollable spiral. Hence it is incumbent on all stake holders to understand the magnitude and reach-out to his supporters. What can the employees of Al Amoudi do? I think the first thing is to side with the people. It is time for redemption.

Source: Eritrean Press

Ethiopia: A British Professor’s Thoughts and Experience

By Dr Frank Ashall (pictured): Professor in Ethiopia (2012-2017)

Double-digit growth? Quadruple-digit propaganda!

05 Nov 2017 – You will see in the news, and officials of the oppressive Ethiopian government will smile persuasively, but deceptively, when they tell you that Ethiopia is thriving with a “double-digit” economic growth.

Yet many experts and scholars- and indeed most poor and oppressed citizens there- will explain to you why this claim to double-digit growth is really triple-digit nonsense and quadruple-digit propaganda.

In fact, of 103 developing countries studied, Ethiopia ranks 101 out of 103 countries. It is the third poorest nation on Earth. Only two countries are poorer, by MPI score, than Ethiopia.
The global MPI is an index based on three “dimensions” of poverty: health, education and living standards, and on ten indications within these, including child mortality, access to nutrition, sanitation, quality drinking water, electricity, and more.
Poverty is about the quality of people’s lives, their access to education, their health, their access to quality food, and more- it’s about how they struggle to survive on a daily basis. It’s even- in my opinion- about how much freedom they have.
The Global MPI score is a scholarly index that takes some of these factors into account, and doesn’t just use GDP-based criteria as the main indicator.

And Ethiopia is doing very poorly. The MPI data for Ethiopia (http://www.dataforall.org/dashboard/ophi/index.php) indicate that:
• 87 % of Ethiopians are MPI-poor
• 71 % of Ethiopians live in severe poverty
• 58 % of Ethiopians are destitute

Even if you look at other methods of assessment of poverty, Ethiopia ranks as one of the poorest countries on the planet, despite what the regime wants you to think. The 2016 Human Development Report of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), for example, ranks Ethiopia 174 out of 188 countries, using Human Development Index scores.

After 26 years of appallingly oppressive rule by the current regime, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest nations on the face of the Earth. The government of Ethiopia, by the way, is dominated by members the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a group that was once classified as a terrorist organization and can be found in the Global Terrorism Database.

Having lived in Ethiopia for four years, I can, as an eye witness, vouch for the control, fear and intimidation that the regime brings to its citizens, and for the atrocities it continues to inflict upon its own people.

I lived and worked as a professor for four years in Ethiopia and the poverty made me weep with sadness on almost a daily basis. The government presents a rosy image of an “Ethiopian Renaissance,” supporting it with its falsified “double-digit growth,” but it is largely propaganda, and few people can speak out there because they are silenced by fear, oppression and proclamations that stifle free speech and human rights.
In Addis Ababa alone, estimates are that as many as 100,000 children, possibly even more, live on the streets. Add to that the homeless adults and families in Addis and elsewhere, and the number is not known, but it is staggering!

And we haven’t added yet the huge number of people who live on the edge, at risk of losing their basic security at a moment’s notice. When I lived in Ethiopia, I met many people who earned barely enough money to pay their rent and buy basic food, and I saw how precarious their lives were. Loss of a job, a serious illness or accident, loss of a working spouse, for example, can put someone on the streets at a moment’s notice.
In the countryside, as we speak, severe drought has put millions of poor Ethiopians at risk for famine. As of May, 2017, eight million Ethiopians (and rising) are in need of emergency food aid.

The Ethiopian government, over the past year, has begged for, and received, foreign aid to help its millions at risk for famine. Meanwhile, during last year’s drought, when over 15 million Ethiopians were at risk for famine, the Ethiopian government made a $510 million dollar deal with Japan Tobacco International that will expand tobacco farms, increase cigarette production, and increase smoking rates among its citizens.

And what is happening to the other billions of dollars that the government should have available to help its poor and hungry? As a professor in a university in Ethiopia for four years, I was shocked at the degree of control of the university by government party-loyalists and the mismanagement, incompetence and corruption that I witnessed. I will write more about this experience on another post, but a recent report by the Ethiopian government itself, states that in federal institutions during the past year, “illegitimate transactions” worth 20 billion birr (US$ 1,000,000,000) were made.

“The Auditor General, in its latest report, revealed illegitimate transactions close to 20 billion Br in 158 federal institutions during the past fiscal year – over twice that of the gap seen in 2014/15. This was announced when the Auditor General presented its report of government institutions to the Parliament on May 30, 2017.”

That “stolen” $1,000,000,000 could do so many, many wonderful things for the poor Ethiopians who really need and deserve it!
You can read my own personal experience with corruption and mismanagement at Addis Ababa University, where $200,000 EVERY DAY is lost in “illegitimate transactions.” And when you look at 158 academic institutions, mainly universities, in Ethiopia, over $2.5 million dollars DAILY ($1 billion yearly) goes missing from “illegitimate transactions!”

The extent of the corruption and mismanagement is surely enough to make any good person weep uncontrollably!

But we’re not finished yet with statistics that forewarn us of impending calamity for the oppressed people of Ethiopia. The Global Peace Index 2017 listed Ethiopia as the country with the greatest decline in peace worldwide, out of 163 countries studied.

In the 2017 Fragile States Index, Ethiopia ranked the 15th most “fragile” country, out of 178, based on 12 indicators of social, political and economic criteria that contribute to a nation’s risk of instability, out of 178 countries.
Ethiopia was the country with the worst decline in Fragility Index in the past year. (Fragile State Index 2017)

After 26 years of ethnic targeting, ethic favouritism, genocide and state oppression by their government, largely ignored by the outside world, too many Ethiopians are sick and tired of a deceitful regime that utterly controls them and keeps them gagged, poor and helpless.
Source: https://drfrankashall.wordpress.com/…/the-richest-people-i…/

 

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