Watch Prof. Alex De Waal talk about the case of current Ethiopia during the launch of his new book Money, War and the Business of Power in the Horn of Africa on Jan.28, 2016 at the USIP.
Alex says responding to a questioner from 1:20:00 minutes:
The political governance is I think in a very interesting moment by which the highly centralized rent allocation that was undertaken by the late PM Meles Zenawi is breaking down. And Meles was very explicit that he was not interested in eliminating rent but in allocating rent. Now his successors, therefore, have huge amount of resources in their hands to allocate. And given that none of them has that same centralized command over everything that goes on in investment development policy, the system is becoming more like of cartel of different power centers, each of which is allocating resources. This is likely to lead to a sharp increase in corruption. It does not mean that the developmental project is going to be derailed but it will take on a different character and the extent to which in that transition the voices of the people can be heard so that there can be a democratic debate is going to be really challenging because one of the things that happens when you centralize power in a single party with no opposition is that party rocks from the middle. That always happens and this is a challenge of Ethiopia how to prevent that rock at the center given that the EPRDF is politically dominant otherwise it will be in a trouble.”
The inquirer forwarded a follow up question but Alex’s actions revealed that he didn’t want to say much on EPRDF’s Ethiopia, he has the most cordial and smooth relationship with, especially the late Meles. [Google]