Skip to content

The scramble for land in Ethiopia

(Ginbot 7 Editorial) — The World Bank, the IMF and the Ethiopian regime annual development reports have highlighted on Ethiopia’s higher GDP growth rate over the past 10 years, yet the UN development index and other indices [Misery Index] that measure the well-being of people have declined both absolutely and relative to many other African countries. The paradox of acute poverty and declining well-being of Ethiopians is found in various parts of the country and is pervasive across demographic groups. Today, to millions of Ethiopians, the heralded GDP growth and the empty promise of joining middle income nations has turned sour as a growing famine once again is engulfing Ethiopia.

In the last 18 years, bilateral and unilateral aid sources have written off about half of Ethiopia’s foreign debt and have pumped more than 30 billion dollars to induce economic development in Ethiopia. In its effort to appease donor nations and keep the flow of foreign aid, the deceitful regime in Addis Ababa has displayed its aspiration to agricultural modernization that focuses on food security and rural development. In spite of the multi billion dollar aid packages and development rhetoric from Ethiopia’s ruling minority regime, rural life in Ethiopia hasn’t changed from what it was at the turn of the last century [˜ 85% of Ethiopians live in rural areas].

Since 1991, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have constantly urged the TPLF regime to liberalize the financial sector and change the country’s land tenure policy. In fact, most of the aid packages from these two international organizations were ear-marked towards the goal of economic liberalization and establishment of a free market economy. However, after 18 years of love affairs between the IMF and Zenawi’s regime, Ethiopia is one of the few countries in Africa that has not made progressive changes in its basic land policy while enjoying multi billion dollar aid packages in the name of liberalization.

The TPLF land policy has discouraged farmers from making long term investment on the land that they don’t own, and the resultant problems generated from the regime’s land policy have made it impossible for Ethiopian farmers to make use of productive agricultural technologies. Moreover, policies of ethnic federalism have limited the ability of farmers to access land in other regions.

Many research and scholarly studies show that land insecurity reduces the incentive to invest on land and limits the ability to transfer land. Moreover, empirical studies have also indicated that Ethiopia’s land policy is the single most important constraint to the nation’s agricultural development.

Over the last 18 years, many national and international organizations including Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) have repeatedly warned the ruling regime in Ethiopia, that land tenure along with the issue of governance were the most urgent areas requiring institutional transformation in Ethiopia. However, Zenawi and his ruling party have ignored advices, recommendations and warnings and made Ethiopia a nation of poverty in the middle of plenty.

The TPLF regime, the very regime that boasts to have dismantled communism in Ethiopia, has deliberately kept the communist land policy of its predecessor. To make things worse, the regime has eliminated the possibility of flexible application of policy by enshrining land policy in the constitution.

Today, to cover up its failed economic polices, Zenawi’s regime has adopted yet another perilous land policy that may have far reaching adverse consequences in the future food security of Ethiopia. A regime that has been parsimonious over the years to its own citizens has recently set aside over three million hectare of fertile land for foreign investors and governments that outsource farming to Ethiopia.

Ginbot 7 is extremely troubled by the scale and pace of the land grab in Ethiopia and has expressed its discontent to Ethiopians and to the international community. Ginbot 7 strongly opposes these secretive land deals that are being struck without the input of the Ethiopian people by an illegitimate regime. We believe that, instead of selling the nation’s fertile land and begging for food aid, the TPLF regime has to change its communist land policy and empower local farmers who have the potential to produce marketable surplus.

Ginbot 7 wants to send an unequivocal message to the land grabbers that any land deal that has not been agreed to by the Ethiopian people will not be honored by future elected governments.

10 thoughts on “The scramble for land in Ethiopia

  1. It is very troubling in deed. What legal venues are available to stop this illegal deal. What if weyane signs a 99 year lease of fertile land to an other country? Would it be possible to void the contract in a legal way, because it was signed by an unelected and illegal government? One recent example is: the Zimbabwe government took away the fertile land from the few whites who claim to have owned it and gave it to the peasants. That’s why Mugabe faced the wrath of the powerful western nations, because according to them he broke the law by taking away the land from the few whites who legally owned it.

  2. I think George has a good point. May be, we need a lawyer to enlighten us. But, I believe, anything the scum of the earth signs in the name of Ethiopia is fait accompli.

  3. I understand the concern, but who cares about what the westerns think. If Ethiopians are united and work for a common goal, Ethiopians don’t need foreigners to help them devolve their beloved nation. The westerners are there to hold Ethiopia from becoming a self-sufficient nation. However, the Ethiopian intellectuals ought to do more and go farther to prevent this land grabbing opportunity in Ethiopia.

  4. We have realized that western leaders have a short-sight to what happened to the world. They forget all the evil things they did and brought.
    These lands scrambling by terrorist regime will push all Ethiopians to open the road for another deel of terrorism.
    But, I doubt and I’m sure that we have the forces to stop all TPLF’s savagery methods to destroy our nation called “Ethiopia”
    We must be united to overcome present cursing to have internal enemies like “Woyane” ad THM’s type of disgrace.

  5. Hi all,

    It is tragedy to see our land is sold/leased for the highest bidder. The children of Ethiopia are commodity sold/adapt to the highest bider(usually westerners).

    Remember Luis Farakan wants for reperation a land not Money.
    Ethiopian pride have gone below zero. The #one free country is now a modern day slavery country.

    Dear Ethiopian brothers lets get rid the paracites from our God given Land and
    not by ciber but by united force along with our Eritrean, Ogaden, OLF brothers.

    God Bless Ethiopia

  6. Why are the eyes of the Arab-Muslim world fixed on the Ethiopian land, on the Ethiopian girls and boys, and on the Ethiopian gold? Why doesn’t the Arab-Muslim world look somewhere else for girls, boys, land, and gold?

    I think the Arab Muslims are looking for quality, not for quantity: Ethiopia is rich in fertile land; except the Tigre area, most of the Ethiopian lands produce double crops every year, and the Ethiopian girls are the prettiest ones in the whole world. Their magnetic eyes lure the Arab-Muslim boys and almost all men of the Western and Eastern world.

    As Ethiopia is a special gift to the Ethiopian Christians, Ethiopian girls are special gifts from God to the Ethiopian Christian boys. I don’t understand why the Arab Muslims have a crush on the Ethiopian boys while there are millions of Arab-Muslim boys, and at times looking for Ethiopian Christian girls.

    Like its coffee, Ethiopian gold is more preferred for its purity to the Arabian gold.

    Not only do the Arab Muslims want anything Ethiopian, they also want the Ethiopian Christians to accept Islam and to practice Sharia and to become violent as Muhammad was. So far, the Arab Muslims have succeeded in taking the Ethiopian land, the Ethiopian gold, and the Ethiopian girls and adding them to their harems; however, they have failed to convert a single Christian, and when they have terribly failed in converting an Ethiopian Christian to Islam, they turned to buying the Ethiopian fertile lands so that they could be closer to the public and induce some of the Christians to become Muslims by offering them a substantial amount of money.

    Arab Muslims are by far the trickiest and the silliest people in this planet earth, and how can we defend our land, our gold, our girls and our boys from these predatory Arab Muslims – the hyenas of the Arabian Desert? The hole Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi) and his wife Jezebel opened for these foreign animals is now getting bigger and bigger every day, and through this hole, the Arab Muslims can easily smuggle the Ethiopian gold, but not the Ethiopian land, because Ethiopia is too big to go through this man-made hole; however, the productions they get from the purchased land of Ethiopia can go through this hole without any problem.

  7. let me correct the title, It should be: The Scramble for Ethiopia! To say the scramble for land in ethiopa seems it is just the land not the country or the people. They are scrambling the land and the people, that is ethiopia.

  8. The fact that the government let go 100,000,000 hectares of land equivalent to to 55 Gasha Meret to foreign companies is going to make the unemployed or the parttime farmer a fulltime strong farmer.It is survival of the fitest for farmers .

  9. Dear Kefale ,that is what they have been saying.The propaganda machine justify this new colonial conquest by stating that the actions taken are convenient for both parties , because the rich countries provide technology, capital, business and knowledge. They hide that the problem of hunger is chronic and, no doubt, no one has ever made any contribution to stop famine . There are also for years big talks on free trades , specially by poor countries’ leaders , the need for competitions and to root out the inefficient producers. They are principles that can’t be considered valid in the economies of developed countries that use to subsidize their farmers ruining those of the poorest countries. What a shame.

Leave a Reply