How a little-known Wall Street sovereign fund manager ended up as a CEO of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency to give development and transparency a whole different meaning.
By Teshome Debalke
The Center for Strategic & International Study (CSIS) recent conference in Washington DC titled Building a Big Tent for Agricultural Transformation in Ethiopia organized specially for Khalid Bomba, CEO of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency is a tale-tale sign; modern African economic hitmen/women particularly from the diaspora are out in the open to substitute nonsense for fact to redefine economic development and checks-and-balance to preempt any meaningful reform towards accountable governance.
The whole PR stent of global finance ‘without borders’ to socialize the risks on the people and privatize the rewards for equity investors in the name of development is better descried by Joh n Perkins, the former economic hitman and the author of the Confession of an Economic hitman (2004) and the New Confession of the Economic hitman (2016). He retreated;
“I thought about the core tools we EHMs used in my day: false economics that included distorted financial analyses, inflated projections, and rigged accounting books; secrecy, deception, threats, bribes, and extortion; false promises that we never intended to honor; and enslavement through debt and fear. These same tools are used today. Now, as then, many elements are present in each “hit,” although that likely is evident only to someone willing to delve deeply into the story behind the story. Now, as then, the glue that holds all of this together is the belief that any means are justified to achieve the desired ends.”
In the era where nothing seems to stand on the way of global finances’ maximizing profit, corrupt depots that mismanaged their nations’ resources no longer risky investment but partners in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) ‘win-win’ scheme. Thus, watching modern economic hitmen of Africa tag along to do what they know best shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with 101 development finance.
In her August 19, 2016 article titled ‘A powerful and corrupt elite is robbing Africa of its riches’ the Executive Director of Oxfam International Winnie Byanyima showed the dark side of global finances’ collusion with African economic hitmen you find in many staged conferences organized by the usual suspects. She wrote;
“This is wrong. We must examine the root causes and do something to weed them out. As the Panama Papers show, so much of the tax avoidance or criminal movement of finance on the continent is made possible by a system propped up by a number of banks, law firms and other outfits based outside of Africa, working in collusion with African economic and political elites. It is a system designed in the Global North that helps Africa’s few wealthy and powerful elites to cheat the rest of us.”
More alarming is what the renowned Physicist and environmental activist Dr Van Dan Shiva of India in an interview reviled on what she refers as the “Poison Cartel” — multinational finance, data, seed, pharma and chemical industries’ ambition to control the world resources led by the world renowned data guru Bill Gates turned philanthropist ‘working in collusion with African economic and political elites’ in the name of curing diseases and transforming the economies of poor nations.
Bill Gates with multiple conflicts of interest against his own Foundation’s stated mission brought the ruling party of Ethiopia infamous Former Health and Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus in the WHO top position to help the sick and the Former Morgen Stanley sovereign fund manager Khalid Bambo as CEO of Agriculture Transformation Agency of Ethiopia to feed the hungry along a Former senior policy adviser for Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle, Washington Haddis Taddese as PR man of the Gates Foundation African HQ in Ethiopia.
Ironically, the CSIS’s conference that featured CEO Bomba was also sponsored by “the generous contribution of the Bill & Malinda Foundation” — giving a whole different meaning for checks-and-balances of power and conflicts of interests in governance and development in Africa; not to mention insult the intelligence and underestimation the people of Ethiopia and the world at large in public. Understand
When they say ‘what you can’t say owns you. What you hide controls you’ they weren’t joking. Bomba and his cheerleading panelists along CSIS’ fellows suspending every rule of governance and development with PR stunt rapped with big jargons’ presentation out of global consultancies’ templet appears to be the new and improved PR campaign to preempt meaningful reform.
Among the panelists presented as an ‘independent consultant’ was an Ethiopian national by a name Dr Getachew Diriba. The Former Program Manager for CARE International and a World Food Program (WFP) employee in different capacity turn ‘independent consultant’ and author to validate Bomba’s PR stunt gave a whole different meaning for independent and author speaks volumes.
But, his one-and-only book conveniently titled “overcoming Agricultural and Food Crises in Ethiopia (2018), according to the Norwegian Minster of Foreign Affairs was published with the ‘support of the Norwegian Government and its Ambassador to Ethiopia opening speech in the launching ceremony on 16 May 2018. The synopsis of the book better reflect weather it is a scholarly research or an advertisement booklet. It reads;
“Ethiopia agriculture is an open museum of Neolithic invention; it is left out of the industrial and agriculture revolution for far too long. It is unsustainable to continue to expect to feed 100 + million Ethiopians with obsolete system of production. The origins of the discontent being displayed in many parts of the country since 2015 can be traced back to the lack of agriculture technology, land fragmentation, inadequate property rights, and absence of rural industrialization. The combination of the obsolete system in one hand, with a growing young population, sustained decline of agriculture land per capita, unstructured urbanization and absence of industrialization on the other, presents grim prospect for contemporary Ethiopia state builders”
Unfortunately, peddling for his new found love for consultancy, the author not only missed the forest for the tree to the causes of the problem but, reviled who pays his fees to validate the new global finances’ development narrative – confirming; ‘whoever pays the piper calls the tune’.
Likewise, Kimberly Flower, the Former USAID employee in Ethiopia turn a ‘Director of Humanitarian Agenda at CSIS’s Global Food Security Project’ in Washington, DC cheerleading Bomba as the saver of Ethiopia should remind observers; her Former USAID boss Gayle Smith turn President of One Campaign, a Washington, DC based nonprofit run by the infamous Irish singer Bono that raises fund to help poor Africans and invest in ‘development’ in Africa with his London based 8 Miles private equity fund Chained by his fellow Irish singer Bob Geldof and managed by nonother than Eleni LLC Founded and managed by Dr Eleni Gebremedhin that seats on the Board of Directors of One Campaign at the same time – redefining the meaning of transparency in governance for Africa and reviling; ‘the apples do not fall far from their trees’ when it come to the poverty industry of Africa.
At the meantime, Sara Boettger, ‘Senior Adviser for Agriculture Transformation’ at McKinsey & Company, a global management consultant’s enthusiasm for Bambo who claims ATA is working with the world-renowned management consulting firms including, McKinsey & Company further confirms; the staged CSIS’ conference was not to inform but to misinform the public from the naked reality.
It is interesting time to observe, how staged conferences for bunch of clowns with empty titles and words making something out of nothing in broad light passes under the radar unchallenged by the world Media, concerned civic organizations and the authorities in the ‘Free World’. If anything, it is not a good sign to bring about accountability and transparency on behalf of the long-suffering people sooner than later.
But, noting even come close to the infamous Bill Gates’ impunity to bring abroad ruling parties of poor nations with multilateral, bilateral, and nonprofit and for-profit enterprises under one mission of maximizing profit of global finance in the name of helping the poor and development with his righthand men Khalid Bomba that pride to be expert in sovereign fund management along Haddis Tadesse that pride as policy adviser and PR expert before both joined the Gates Foundation. Subsequently, Bomba became CEO of Gates Foundation funded Ethiopian Government Agency ATA and Haddis became the PR man for the Foundation in Addis Ababa where the African Union HQ is based.
It all started with one unfaithful meeting between the late ‘beggar’ PM Melse Zenawi and corporate philanthropist Bill Gates instigated by nonother than Dr. Eleni GebreMedhin, the Founder and CEO of the infamous Ethiopian Commodity Exchange in 2008 funded partly by the Gates Foundation through UNDP. The onetime celebrated “Market Maker” that set the stage for the ruling member party TPLF capture of the private sector in the agriculture sector turn foreign private equity fund manager at Eleni LLC based in Kenya with initial investment of Morgen Stanley and the IFC and the Founder and CEO of a new venture capital firm Blue Moon Ethiopia based in Addis Ababa with the help of European Investment Bank.