Response to Human Rights Watch Report of 19th October 2010
The allegations contained in the latest HRW report on Ethiopia, entitled "Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia”, constitute a repetition of previous fabrications that were examined by Ethiopia’s development partners and were found to be baseless.
The Ethiopian government has fully demonstrated its commitment to efficient and effective utilisation of finance and other resources provided by its development partners. The Government’s track record clearly shows that it has the ability to live up to its responsibilities in this regard.
The country has been able to achieve double digit growth in the past seven years partly as a result of its effective working partnership with the international community and of the confidence it has won from its development partners. It has demonstrated that it has the capacity to fully mobilise and effectively utilise both its own domestic resources and the support that comes from international financial institutions and bilateral development partners. The IMF, the World Bank and the UN system have repeatedly confirmed the realisation of the cardinal principles of value for money in Ethiopia. They have also repeatedly confirmed that Ethiopia’s development policy is clearly pro-poor and that there is fairness and justice in the distribution process.
Those who wish to be made aware of the reality on the ground in Ethiopia, should note that the Ethiopian Government and its development partners have put in place an effective consultation mechanism whereby the Government and its partners discuss exhaustively the implementation of development progress on a regular basis. The Ethiopian Government and the Development Assistance Group (DAG) - which includes representatives from the World Bank, the IMF, the EU and other partners – meet regularly to review progress and achievements as well as any problems that may arise in the implementation process, and provide timely solutions.
In fact, the resident UN system coordinator and the World Bank representative have already responded to the allegations made in the current report when they were first aired by HRW in May this year.
The Ethiopian Government states the above facts in order to put the record straight and to inform the public in our development partner countries of how we are effectively and efficiently using aid resources.
However, we would like to seize this opportunity to call once again on HRW to live up to its responsibility of informing the public about the objective reality, rather than giving sustenance to unsubstantiated and damaging allegations based on hearsay.
The whole development process should be judged on its full merits and the authors of the report should not engage in making sweeping generalisations. If they were honest, they would have to take into account the widely acclaimed progress made by Ethiopia towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and its exceptional success with regard to sustainable development in general.
Our previous efforts to engage with HRW have been met with contempt. The organisation seems bent on undermining the democratic process in Ethiopia.
Aid is not wasted in Ethiopia and is distributed effectively to all who require it. Income distribution is graced with fairness and justice. Our development partners have made clear their satisfaction with the value for money that Ethiopia delivers.
Development progress has made a huge impact on poverty in the past two decades and will continue to do so, as reports emanating from international and regional financial institutions confirm. Periodical consultation ensures there is no room for wastage of resources.
It is not too late for HRW to mend its relations with the people and government of Ethiopia, to accept that the whole development process belongs to the people of Ethiopia who are the best judges of its effectiveness, to abandon its policy of making unsubstantiated allegations and engage constructively with the target of its misguided reporting.