What is the effect of continuing war for the average Ethiopian? Since November 2020 the measures of national success and prosperity for Ethiopia have progressively deteriorated. The Ethiopian government can lie claiming economic growth rates of 10% but the increasingly uphill struggle of working Ethiopians to put food on the table and provide a better future for their children tells the truth.
Ethiopia’s Human Development Index which is a measure of the chance of each new generation to improve societal measures of success is only 0.485, one of the lowest in world. Almost half the population is illiterate. While the average salary of a middle class worker in Ethiopia is 8,900 birr a month ($178) many workers make just a little over 2,000 birr ($40). Meanwhile the value of the Ethiopian birr has plummeted and the consumer price index has increased by more than 40% the past year making food, fuel, and other necessities unaffordable to a great portion of the public.
Addis Standard reported that a confederation of Ethiopian trade unions is pleading with the Ethiopian government to address soaring inflation and the lack of income for thousands of factory workers as a result of sanctions including the cancellation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Ethiopian government bonds are rated as worst then junk and investment interest by foreign entities has waned severely. With a government debt now approaching $70 billion and so far no takers on refinancing the country is facing financial collapse.
There is no doubt that the call to start the war and persist in conflict is greatly fueled by diaspora from the United States and Europe as studies have shown who were refugees from the downfall of the previous monarchy or Derg supporters in the 1990s. Within the exile synods of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and previous functionaries of the Derg a vision of reclamation developed. Additionally regional Amhara political leaders who imagined a chance to return to restart Amhara dominance which characterized the reign of Menelik II. These protagonists hoped for a quick victory in cooperation with Eritrea providing additional military capacity that would happen fast enough that the world would take little notice. Yet no one seemed to have done an assessment on what would be the benefit for the average Ethiopian. The old Tigray Peoples Liberation Front and its coalition partner, The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, had been deposed from power and the Tigray had retreated to their regional state.
Most of the Western democracies who previously were eager to support a progressive state they saw in Ethiopia with aid and investment but now they see a sinister authoritarian state. Unlawful detention, extrajudicial killing, seizing of property without due process, press incarceration and censorship, ethnic discrimination, and finally flagrant disregard for the Ethiopian Constitution project a despotic regime not a democracy. While Abiy Ahmed supporters vociferously support the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the suppression of human rights in China, and strict Islamic terrorist state of Iran they also fabricate lies about charities from these same Western democracies who in previous times saved the lives of hundreds of thousands in need. Taking the name of Jesus to justify genocide reminds the West of the fascism that tore the world apart a generation ago.