USA Should End All Sanctions on Ethiopia, Restore Status of AGOA: American Analyst

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Addis Ababa December 15/2022 /ENA/ The western countries, mainly the U.S., should end all sanctions immediately and restore status of Ethiopia to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the American political-economic analyst Freeman told ENA.

The political-economic analyst, Lawrence Freeman, said support from global partners should help Ethiopia to accelerate its rehabilitation endeavors in the war-affected areas.  

According to him, Ethiopia really needs assistance from its friends for the private sector to start the rebuilding and expansion process for more infrastructures.

In order to achieve these efforts, the American analyst called on western countries, especially his country the United States, to end all sanctions immediately for Ethiopia’s reconstruction project.

Most importantly, Ethiopia’s eligibility to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) should be reinstated by the U.S President Joe Biden as the suspension is harming ordinary Ethiopians and putting companies out of business, he stated.

“Now the western countries, especially my country (the) United States, should end all sanctions immediately. It would be more appropriate for President Joe Biden to do it while the African-US summit is underway. We should immediately restore Ethiopia to the status of a member of the AGOA. It should be reversed immediately.”

Recall that the Government of Ethiopia has been urging the U.S government to reconsider its decision to suspend Ethiopia from the AGOA in November 2021.

The decision is now irrelevant as the country has continued to take measures aimed at restoring peace and stability.

Freeman, who appreciated Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his leadership for coming a long way despite difficulties, urged the Biden administration to consolidate the century-old ties between Ethiopia and the U.S.

“I support his (Prime Minister Abiy’s) courage in going in a dicey environment. Now if the Biden administration wants to repair relation with Ethiopia, which they should, then they will end sanctions which have been holding up development funds from the IMF and World Bank,” the American analyst said.

Speaking about the African Union (AU)-led peace agreement reached between the federal government and the TPLF in Pretoria, South Africa, the analyst said African solution to an African challenge is heralded during this peace agreement to end the conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia.

He noted that the peace agreement signed on November 2nd 2022, almost two years after the war began, is very important for several reasons. First, it was the settlement of a war inside Ethiopia that was very harmful to people; and the fact that it could be settled peacefully itself is an accomplishment.

Freeman described the deal as an accomplishment done by Africans, the African Union, IGAD, the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, vice president of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka without dictation.   

Now, all friends of Ethiopia should move to the next phase as this peace agreement, which is always fragile on paper, can be undermined.

The United States in particular, and other governments and financial institutions as well, should extend support for the construction of northern Ethiopia as part of a nationwide program for economic growth, the American analyst pointed out.

Freeman also urged the Ethiopian government to move rapidly for a reconstruction effort in the northern part of the country, the area affected by the war.

This will solidify the peace agreement by employing millions of young people.

“My suggestion to the government is that we move rapidly for a reconstruction effort in northern Ethiopia, the area affected by the war. As part of a national inclusive economic mobilization of the entire country of Ethiopia, this would also affect the Horn of Africa.”  

Moreover, the reconstruction effort will build trust in the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, he said, adding that it is also a vital step to durable peace.   

Above everything, however, the only way to achieve lasting peace is by unifying the people of Ethiopia through a shared common mission, one that is committed to improving the standard of living of all Ethiopians, regardless of ethnicity and geography, the analyst underscored.

The analyst further suggested that the Government of Ethiopia emulate the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt by initiating a full mobilization to not only reconstruct northern Ethiopia, but also expand the growth of the entire Ethiopian economy.

“If you take an identical situation, one of my heroes is President Franklin Roosevelt who came into office in March 1933. The United States was in full-scale depression. The world was in depression….. Roosevelt established and created public credits used to put people to work and to build 40 dams in the Tennessee Valley Authority. He established cores for the young people (from) where they employ them in construction and infrastructure works.”

Freeman stressed that it is this type of action that Ethiopia needs.