If Ethiopia wants to avoid complete economic collapse it must sue for peace immediately. Even if the Ethiopian government wins a unlikely military victory in the next few months it is heading for unavoidable economic downfall. Ethiopia’s debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio will reach a record setting 70%. The country imports about $14 billion of goods per year, while it exports just $3.4billion. Analysts from the the United Nations and Trading Economics see the economy sinking fast without a chance to recover.
Thus even before the Ethiopian Tigray conflict increasing debt was building each year. As was widely reported Ethiopia with only two months funding left in its overall government funding received an IMF(International Monetary Fund) loan of $408 million in August 2021. With a normal $2 billion a year budget that would cover a little over 4 months. Recent reports of what the government is spending on military costs alone in the Tigray conflict cast even further doubt on Ethiopia’s economic survival
As reported by Europe External Program in Africa in February 2021 an initial payment of $500 million was made by Ethiopian Prime Minister to Eritrea before the invasion of Tigray by Eritrea in November 2020. Then following the exit of the Ethiopian forces from Tigray following the resurgence of the Tigray Defense forces another $500 million was demanded for Eritrea to stay in Tigray. This was likely paid through covert visits of high ministers to Dubai who took significant deposits of Ethiopian gold reserves to pay off Esaias to keep him in the war.
This week it was announced that Ethiopia would now agree to continue to pay 13,600 birr per soldier from Eritrea to Esaias every month. Assuming that there are 50,000 are in Western Tigray this means 680,000,000 birr per month being paid. Meanwhile Ethiopia pays most of its soldiers about 5,160 birr per month. Why is the Ethiopian government paying so much to foreign fighters and so little to its own soldiers? Assuming there are 200,000 soldiers in the Ethiopian forces that means 1, 032,000 birr per month in soldier pay.
Today sources released data Abiy Ahmed gave Turkey $51.6 million in just August for weapons when he met with Turkish President. This increases by another 10% the overall debt burden of Ethiopia. Many business owners are flocking to other countries to exchange birr for dollars and deposit them in banks outside Ethiopia this week.
Jawar Mohammed predicted in October 2020 that Abiy Ahmed would build a personal authoritarian rule that polarized Ethiopian society leading to civil war that collapsed the state.
In late October 2020 Jawar Mohammed an Abiy Ahmed ally who was key to Ahmed coming to power wrote a prophetic prediction of a disaster the leadership of Abiy Ahmed could bring to Ethiopia. His work was published in the Addis Standard, the leading newspaper of Addis Ababa on October 28, 2020 but had been written some time before. Jawar Mohammed was in prison awaiting trial for terrorism and remains there still. A review of his predictions is chillingly accurate to the chaos and loss of life that has come to pass. Note that the members of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front expressed similar views having known Ahmed well during his time in the security services.
From 2014 through 2016 growing protests occurred in the Oromo Regional State of Ethiopia which constitutes in excess of 30% of the total 110 million Ethiopians. An Oromian, Jawar Mohammed ran a media company based in the United States emerged as a leader of the new movement. He lead a nonviolent but very massive uprising called the Qeerroo (young unemployed unmarried men) movement which spread to all of Oromia, Addis Ababa, and inspired similar actions in other regions.
As they gained momentum the leaders including Jawar Mohammed felt they had three options in changing from an authoritarian state under the coalition organized by the late TPLF leader Meles Zenawi. They felt an overt overthrow was too dangerous and a prolonged negotiated transplacement was too complicated and lengthy. Instead they decided a transformation through a transitional leader was the best way to join moderates throughout Ethiopia together.
Working with Lemma Megersa, the leader of the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization, a “soft coup” was done. In the course of this process Lemma suggested that his protégé , Abiy Ahmed be the new leader. However, Jawar Mohammed had his doubts because of Ahmed’s inexperience with politics and administration. He felt Abiy Ahmed demonstrated a simplistic view and extreme personal ambition which was concerning..
Despite his concerns Jawar Mohammed became an ally of Abiy Ahmed who initially welcomed the return of Oromia opposition groups with open arms. He felt could play three roles to Ahmed including advisor, providing constructive criticism, and working for stability. However soon a downward spiral began. As soon as he assumed power, Ahmed began to remove other reformers who had helped him. Suddenly they became terrorists. Jawar Mohammed sees the disunity of the reform movement as being complicit in allowing Abiy Ahmed to rapidly change from reformer to autocrat.