Assault on Rural Poverty: The Case of Ethiopia
In Assault on Rural Poverty, Haileleul Getahun analyzes the various causes of rural poverty and constraints impeding increased agricultural productivity during the last four decades in Ethiopia, under three different regimes. Getahun examines the feudalistic system under Emperor Haile Selassie, the command economic system of the military junta led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, and the current capitalist system of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia led by Meles Zenawi. Getahun discusses the lessons drawn from Ethiopian experience during these three regimes, as well as from other African and Asian countries. These provide the basis for recommending a small farmer-led agricultural and rural development strategy that, if implemented, would alleviate rural poverty in Ethiopia. The author maintains that the keys for successful development are the provision of institutional savings and credit for small-scale farmers and small business owners; the deep involvement of the community in project planning, implementation, evaluation and sharing of the benefits; and the use of development support communication for motivation, information dissemination, and training. Getahun argues strongly that ethnic politics in Ethiopia are destructive to Ethiopian society and militates against sustainable development. Rather, the path to peace and sustainable development requires that ethnic politics be scrapped and replaced by a genuinely democratic and widely acceptable system of governance.