Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. condemned the approved plan to stop US Foreign Aid to Ethiopia and called on Congress to Intervene

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder & President
William D. Dickerson, Chairman


Thursday, September 3, 2020

News reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to stop $100 million in U.S. foreign aid to Ethiopia, because of the country’s ongoing dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD), finally confirmed what we all knew from the beginning, that the U.S. has never been an impartial mediator in this conflict and instead fully supportive of Egypt.

With this action, the Trump administration, under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (not the State Department), has fulfilled the request made last year by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, in essence, urging President Trump to assist them. This is unfortunate and unjust, and the U.S. Congress must intervene, investigate and fully restore aid to Ethiopia.

Cross boundary water-sharing agreements are thorny issues that are not easily sorted out. It takes good faith and cooperation from all sides to eek out a win-win solution. The conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan has been exacerbated by external interventions, especially the U.S. government.

This is a conflict mainly between two founding members of the African Union (AU), Ethiopia and Egypt. The AU has a Peace and Security Council that serves as “the standing decision-making organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts and is the key pillar of the African Peace and Security Architecture that is the framework for promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.” This U.S. action is aimed at undermining the ongoing negotiations under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and the current AU Chairperson.

To top it off, in a tweet a few months ago, the World Bank President David R. Malpass let it be known that he has spoken “with Ethiopian PM @AbiyAhmedAli on recent @WorldBank financing approvals important to unifying Ethiopia and its neighbor’s ability to sustain constructive dialogue + cooperation on water sharing.” To my knowledge, no statement was issued to tie the World Bank’s financial support to Egypt with its cooperation (or lack thereof) on water sharing with Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is a reliable and very stable democratic ally of the U.S. on many vital fronts and should be treated with respect and dignity.

History will judge the U.S. government and the World Bank’s unjust intervention to deny 110 million Ethiopians an “equitable and reasonable” share of the Nile River for their development needs. This is nothing short of condemning a black African nation and her population to abject and perpetual poverty. No one should condemn Egypt to suffer unduly, considering that 97 percent of its population depends on the Nile River. Justice requires treating both nations and their over 200 million people fairly with justice the result on both sides.

Looking at the World Bank data on electric power consumption (kilowatt per capita) shows how much Ethiopia needs the GERD. In 2014, the most recent year for which World Bank data is available, the average for the world per capita electric power consumption is 3133 kilowatts. The figure for Egypt is 1683. For Ethiopia it is a mere 69 (sixty-nine). A former World Bank Deputy Global Manager, Yonas Biru, wondered how Ethiopia could survive with next to nothing-electric power, in a recent article in Addis Fortune.

His answer was as revealing as it is saddening. “The nation rides on the shoulders and backs of women. From cradle to grave, women carry Ethiopia on their back, literally. Girls are condemned to fetching water from miles away rather than going to school. Their mothers travel just as far and spend just as much time collecting firewood.”

The GERD, Biru said, signifies “the emancipation of Ethiopian women. The interventions by Egypt, the Arab League, the World Bank and the U.S. to delay and scale back the GERD is a setback for women. It is a revocation of the emancipation of Ethiopian girls and women.”

Ethiopia, one of the poorest black African nations, is standing alone against the mighty forces of the U.S. and the World Bank. Befitting of its history, Ethiopia remains unflinching with its indomitable sovereignty and unwavering spirit with its trust in what its people call “Ethiopia’s God.”

The World Bank’s professed dream is “A World Free of Poverty.” It behooves me to ask if Ethiopia, too, is in the Bank’s dream. The World Bank board of directors need to explain to over 50 million girls and women in Ethiopia why the World Bank stands against their economic emancipation.

 Media contacts:

James Gomez


[email protected]


Alanna Ford

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  1. African Americans have always stood by Ethiopia during our hours of need. Unfortunately we have not always paid them back kindly. The usual pontificators in the Diaspora who still think it’s fashionable to use the N word in reference to Blacks have stood on the side of the likes of Trump and right-wing bigots against the countries first and only African American president and against the interest of Black communities even this historic time of the BLM movement. Shame. SAD.

  2. There are too enduring images of Jesse Jackson the world will always remember that captured his life long quest on the right side of history: His uncontrollable tears pouring down his face the night Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 and his famous photo standing with Rev Martin Luther King on the balcony of the Lorraine motel in Memphis on 3 April 3 1968, a day before King was assassinated. Explaining his tears in 2008 Jackson said he was taking precisely thinking of Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders who did not live long enough to see that day. Standing with more than 200,000 Obama supporters in Grant Park the Rev. Jesse Jackson cried as learned that Barack Obama would become America’s first African-American president.The veteran civil rights leader, who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, explained his tears in an interview with National Public Radio (as transcribed by the Tribune‘s Mark Silva):

    “Well, on the one hand, I saw President Barack Obama standing there looking so majestic. And I knew that people in the villages of Kenya and Haiti, and mansions and palaces in Europe and China, were all watching this young African-American male assume the leadership to take our nation out of a pit to a higher place.

    “And then, I thought of who was not there,’’ Jackson said on NPR News’ Tell Me More. “As mentioned, Medgar Evers, the husband of Sister Myrlie. …So the martyrs and murdered whose blood made last night possible. I could not help think that this was their night.

    “And if I had one wish: if Medgar, or if Dr. King could have just been there for a second in time, would have made my heart rejoice. And so it was kind of duo-fold – his ascension into leadership and the price that was paid to get him there.”

    Respect Rev!

  3. If you have been watching the president lately you can notice that he is upbeat on the trail. Through his analysts and adviser it is too obvious to him that there a huge section of potential that feels uncomfortable and even threatened. That is what he is cajoling with. Unless something damaging debacle emerges between now and November he has this large section in his pocket. It is going to be tough both the president and his rival Biden. It is going to very interesting. Very, very interesting.

  4. Dear Rev Jessy Jackson,

    Many thanks for standing for the justice against what US and WB are doing to poor Ethiopians, whose crime is just to use their water to generate electric power.

    History will judge what US is doing!

  5. Though I’m so saddened by the policies of Trump and his gangs I have never lost hope in America because she has been endowed with great men like the Rev Jesse Jackson.

    Indeed, we have a dream, and the global emancipation of the Black race is taking great strides and is unstoppable!

  6. Well, you should have seen it coming. Sad to say there are some willfully ignorant people in our community:

    “Trump has done more meaningful, practical things in Africa than Obama ! I believe Trump has done a hellva a job in U.S. Africa policy.” (YEAH, LIKE Halting Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, good job Trump) – — Alemayehu G. Mariam, January 5, 2018

    “President Trump has delivered well beyond my expectations. Of course, I do not claim in any way, shape or form, is a response to my letter requesting targeted sanctions. But I have good reason to believe that I was heard in the Administration. That is all I ever wanted. An opportunity to be heard. An opportunity to speak truth to power and be heard. President Trump’s Executive Order personally signifies to me that I have been heard. — — Alemayehu G. Mariam, January 5, 2018

    “Do I regret calling Trump an Obama clone on Africa? Well, let me answer it this way. I can’t eat my words. So, I have to eat vegan-style crow and humble pie. Let me tell ya, they don’t taste so good either! — Alemayehu G. Mariam, January 5, 2018

    “Should the U.S. give into the threat that if the U.S. stops giving money to Africa, Africans will get their aid from China giving China controlling influence? This is the biggest lie perpetrated on American taxpayers. The fact of the matter is that “The bulk of Chinese financing in Africa falls under the category of development finance, but not aid. The billions of dollars that China commits to Africa are repayable, long-term loans.” Why should American taxpayers continue to bankroll Africans who do not have the simple decency to say, “Thank You”? — Alemayehu G. Mariam, May 7, 2017

    “It is ironic that those who are criticizing Trump on Africa today seemed to have taken a vow of silence when Barack Obama befriended and wined and dined the most ruthless African dictators and overlooked their deplorable human rights and corruption records in the name of counter-terrorism cooperation.” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, January 5, 2018

    President Trump deserves full credit for promoting human rights and aid accountability in Ethiopia and Africa in general. — Alemayehu G. Mariam, January 5, 2018

    “To Trump’s detractors on human rights in Africa, all I have to say is this: Obama talked a good talk on being on the right side of history on human rights for eight long years. Trump walked on the right side of history in less than twelve months. Action speaks louder than words. Trump’s one executive order on human rights is worth tens of thousands of pontificating words from Obama jabbering about the “right side of history. Could the Trump administration have done more to improve human rights in Africa in its first year? — Alemayehu G. Mariam, January 5, 2018

    “I believe in fundamental fairness. “I calls ’em like I sees ’em.” And I likes what I sees in what the Trump administration has done promoting human rights, aid and corruption accountability and good governance in Africa.” — Alemayehu G. Mariam, January 5, 2018

    “To those who do not like the facts, they have the option of pounding the table and screaming at the top of their lungs that Trump is the “most anti-human rights president ever” for Africa and invent their own fake facts. Or they can deal with the facts as they are! — Alemayehu G. Mariam, May 7, 2017

    Peace out everybody till next time!

  7. Rev Jessy Jackson, once again has proved high on the moral ground. We are in glimmer of hope and started on to see light at the end of the tunnel. Holding back aid money may be ones right. Besides let in women in captivity and denying own priceless candle and forcing the poor to live in the darkness is outrageous as in a darkness light values as one of the necessities.

  8. Ethiopia will rise regardless of these white supremacist world bank associates and its presidents efforts to holding her back.
    Ethiopias only trust is in God and her true allies like China and Russia. To hell with fake friends and neighbours. GERD will be finneshed and many major projects will be designed to bring Ethiopia out of the grip of poverty and her oppressors.
    May God bless and protect Ethiopia for ever as well as her true friends and allies.
    Ethiopia will rise regardless!

  9. I used to be the stupid Abesha who watched Fox News. I read clickbait articles on Barack Obama by Al Mariam and I echoed these slanted talking points when I wrote about him on Ethiopian blogs and social media. Then, I became a full-fledged, unapologetic, red-hat wearing Trumper. Influenced by the Obama haters in the Diaspora when the 2016 general election came and it was between Trump and Clinton, my choice was easy. I did not even think to research any of Clinton’s accomplishments as First Lady, Senator, or Secretary of State — like most haters, I just focused on her friendship to Obama Yet, unlike with Clinton, I looked only at Trump’s accomplishments, ignored his failures and defended or even celebrated his bad behavior. Consequently, I put all my eggs in one basket into helping elect him.I now recognize I was wrong, very wrong. I was unknowingly a tool and part of a white nationalist plot to undermine the first black president. I am a banda. I acknowledge there is deep rooted racism in America that Fox never talks about. I was on the wrong side of history. I understand why the football players kneel during the anthem, and I support it because it’s their free speech. I am beginning to understand the main values of liberalism, human rights, acceptance and equality for all. And the more I learn, the more these values are sinking into my heart. For the first time in my life, I will be looking to vote blue this election cycle, and I will continue to fight for what’s right… now that I finally know what right is. Fuck Trump and big thank you for Rev. Jesse L. Jackson for standing by Ethiopia even if we were not always there for you. Thank you gain!!

  10. In Wake of the Trump U.S.-Ethiopia Nile Dam Fiasco, there are a tiny but vocal ex-Trump supporters in the Diaspora looking for an escape route on social media. It’s almost tempting to say fuck you what took you so long stupid? You wanted him, cheered for him, you fueled him, and now you have regrets? But unlike them we can take the higher-ground and be open to reconciliation. Yes, reconciliation, but that does not mean advocating mercy for the jerks in the Diaspora who gave thumbs up for a lawless president for 3½ years. Far too much damage has been done to our social fabric to absolve those who mock Trump in private but massage him in public. They have willfully contaminated the political climate and it falls on them to clean their own house. But for we the people, the majority, we can reluctantly welcome them back to the fold for anyone can be wrong, even profoundly and flamboyantly wrong, and there is no way forward without finding a way to leave what’s past behind. Yes, reconciliation would be easier if they said, “Gee, I was so blind about him, I can’t believe I fell for his gaslighting, I’d do anything to undo my vote but I’ll work to my last breath to help defeat him this time.” But that’s a lot to expect from Ethiopians of certain age and, besides, that is not how people convert. Maybe alone, in the dark of night, they reckon with their judgments and quietly whisper to themselves, “How could I be so stupid?” But by daylight, they face the fear of being cast out of their tribe or abandoned by all sides. You can brand them with a scarlet T and scorn them forever as they tried to do with Obama supporters, or you can recognize that flaunting your righteousness is not just shallow, it is also shortsighted. But they go low, we go high so how we judge them to, is different from how they treat each other. Trump succeeded by salting our wounds; it took the worst president in history to bring out the worst in us, with the help of a media ecosystem that profits from political poison. As it is, too many politicians love to make us hate each other, and too many of us find comfort and company in our shared derision. But if we can close the gap, maybe we can talk.

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