Since WWR II many countries have developed and attained richness. Most Asian nations and some Latin American countries have become middle income societies. While the World is doing better the African continent is becoming worse off. According to a statistical report there are; 10 million more hungry Africans, 70 million more unemployed persons than there were 20 years ago. There are 240 million human beings in Africa without the necessities of life, and this is when the region, according to reports from various western institutions, is richer and democratic than ever. There is extraordinary national wealth and richness, and yet incredible poverty. Citizens are marginalized and factionalized in various ways; fractured political constituencies, and exploitation of ethnic conflicts. The high level of inequality which is the highest in the world has brought chaos and political instability. This inequality has not just come from heavens; they are the works of African leaders and their Western partners.
Growing part of the population suffering from the serious inequities of the society, would secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of life’s blessings; but, if they had democratic power they would do more than sign. Madison
Eritrea is different in the sense that the 30 year war for independence has enabled it to gain experience in leadership, unity, hard work, resilience and sacrifice. Eritrea’s economic policy is based on Social justice and equal distribution of development in all six regions of the country. That is based on the Golden Principle of Political and Economic independence and self-reliance free from dependency. In 1991, Eritrea was bankrupt, with an inefficient agriculture sector, terrible roads and an economy that was non-existence. The Eritrean government started building a holistic development program; economic emancipation. Based on the Cardinal principle of Social Justice; meaning that those who have been on the underside of history must see that there is a qualitative difference between repression and freedom. And for an Eritrean, freedom translates into having a supply of clean water, having electricity; being able to live in a decent home and having a good job; to be able to send children to school and have accessible health care. One such example is expanding education to all as a national priority to develop human capital. Educational reform in-conjunction with socioeconomic reforms and equalization of opportunities for the nation’s population are imperative. Wealth creation is to benefit more than just a few cosmopolitan elites. It also is developing domestic industries to control Eritrea’s own wealth. The nation has figured it out and the policies put in place are working to that end. “Philosophy of Self reliance” which calls for increasing production for domestic needs and reducing inequality is what Eritrea has. The basic principle being that the people of Eritrea should be the prime beneficiary of the country’s resources.
In Eritrea economic differences within the population are minimal. Wealth is widely spread, land ownership is equitable with legally defensible property rights. Home ownership is widely spread if one states that 95% of the population in rural areas owns its own home; it might not be far-flung from the truth. The integrating extralegal land use into the formal property system giving squatters legal title is an example of the Government’s commitment to social justice. Eritrea is well ahead in health, education, infrastructure and women’s rights. Village development programs are impressive. Income has increased, clean water and electrification has transformed villages. Life expectancy and adult literacy rates have increased significantly. Infant mortality rate is low. Villages are egalitarian and self-governing with planned agricultural diversification and agricultural research whereby a farmer could seek help for pests control or seeds that have high yields. Water reservoirs are in place drip irrigation systems are commonly used. Private farm cooperatives have flourished. 95% of villages have interconnected roads to transport farmer’s goods to the urban areas. There is no taxation on the villagers, no property tax, and no income tax. Social safety net programs are in place. The government provides broad national benefits for unemployment, sickness, and disability, nationalized health care, and universally free public education. Pro-labor legislation is in place lifetime job security “cradle to grave” are ways of Social redistribution and equitable share of national wealth.
Building a few high rise apartments, fast internet services and shopping malls with skyscrapers is not what Eritreans call economic development. Eritrea is not a country where foreign colonial powers using their local puppets run the country for their selfish gain. Eritrea is a country that is built on shared values where all its citizens benefit equally.
The Eritrean people and leadership are humble, honest, and hardworking. Westerners minimize the achievements that the country has achieved with little resources knowing full well that Eritrea is working towards economic emancipation. In face of all challenges Eritrea is methodically marching to economic prosperity. What is striking about Eritrea is that old, young, male and female are actively engaged; this is popular self determination. Eritrea as a nation has set its priorities: it is using its national wealth for economic emancipation, navigating a pragmatic path towards substantial and perceptible improvement in attaining to become a middle income country before long.
While I agree egalitarianism is commendable, we do need to find a balance between that and industrial development. At the moment, we haven’t shown to be taking any steps toward that goal; opening up to diaspora and foreign investors, building power plants, factories, or fisheries. At the end of the day, people – especially those young people educated within our school system – need jobs. The migration and brain-drain challenge should be a top priority and deserves an apt response system.
We also need to be competitive within our region or else we risk being blown away by our neighbours. We have seen how the Eritrean produce market was dominated by Ethiopian produce the moment the borders open. We need to develop our industries to be more competitive within the international market. Eritrea used to be the business center of the Horn – we need to bring that spirit back. Frankly, it has been quite disappointing to see the government hasn’t taken this opportunity of peace to make economic alliances with China and others.
I agree that we must intensify industrial development! The root cause remains that Western power openly or behind the curtain has sanctioned Eritrea politically, economically, diplomatically and militarily for the past 22 years and there is no sign that these villains will ease the pressure on Eritrea, not even at a time of HoA change. once and for all because of the sacrifices that Eritrea paid and influenced / influenced the region to be independent of the West, and cease to be instruments of these selfish forces.
however, we must find away of doing our industrial development one way or another