Key positions


BERLIN/ESCHBORN/ADDIS ABEBA ( - "Hundreds of German specialists" are to assume "key positions in industry and administration" of Ethiopia in the next three years. This was confirmed to by a leading collaborator of the German state owned "Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit" (Association for technical cooperation", GTZ). About 500 German specialists will be stationed in Ethiopia. This African project, planned by GTZ, surpasses the normal extent of development cooperation and allows the control of large sectors of the Ethiopian national economy. The project is accompanied by massive German influence on the neighboring Southern Sudan and Kenya. It is part of Berlin's attempt to reorganize Eastern Africa to meet German interests.

Ethiopia, one of the focal countries of German development aid, has asked Germany to support the accomplishment of a "large-scale economic project", Dr. Claus Bätke, a regional GTZ manager, explained in talks with The "development of the private sector" should create the "environment" for German investors; the privatization of the Ethiopian national economy should advanced. Existing industrial norms and standards have to be adapted to German needs and the Ethiopian university and professional education should be restructured to correspond to German standards.

Division of labor

The sending of German specialists from various German development agencies is being organized. This takes place under the guidance of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ). The "Deutsche Entwicklungsdienst" (DED) and the "Centrum für Internationale Migration und Entwicklung" (CIM) will provide specialists in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency and private consulting firms. The "Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau" (KfW) will finance the German participation in the project, presently at 80 million euros. Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world has to pay the largest part, 100 to 150 million euros. The GTZ is responsible for the technical guidance of the unusually large group of German specialists.

Four steps to victory

Ethiopia's economic subordination to German guidance is supposed to follow four coordinated steps: Academics, working in the field of industry, commerce, agriculture and in the justice system, will be instructed in accordance with German standards in the framework of a "university reform" program. German standards will also be applied to professional training. Implementing German quality standards and industrial norms will, in the long run, make Ethiopia dependent on the German market. At the same time German specialists should find private firms for privatizing the state's national holdings.


For the realization of this project, Ethiopia's election returns last weekend pose a problem for the German side. In the GTZ regional manager's opinion, as expressed to, because of "insufficient previous observation," it is difficult to judge the economic intentions of the opposition, who, in some areas won "landslide victories." To be feared is that the present mayor of the Ethiopian capital could be voted out of office. He had been an "important partner" and was able to effectuate a "gigantic housing program" with the aid of GTZ. The housing program is based on competition against the local construction industry at dumping conditions. "We bid construction costs, that were up to 50% under the norm," declared Ruth Erlbeck, GTZ collaborator and manager of the project: And Ralph Trosse, the technical adviser of the project added: "Who ever wants to move in, has to become a proprietor and pay about 30% of the construction costs in advance." 1)

Inconvinient election returns

In the meantime, the government of Addis Ababa, which is closely collaborating with German authorities, has declared itself to be the winner of the elections and is banning demonstrations for a period of one month. Berlin, who in the past months has not missed a chance to protest against election victories of regimes it disapproves in other countries, remains silent.


Increasing its influence in Ethiopia is part of Germany's attempts to restructure Eastern Africa to correspond to its economic and political interests. The support of South Sudanese secessionists is an element of this foreign policy program, as is the construction of the Juba-Mombassa oil transport railway, for delivery of raw materials to the Kenyan harbor of Mombassa for export to Europe. This railway connection is a central aspect in an infrastructure network extending up to Ethiopia and aimed at the economic acquisition of the bordering states. It is complemented by massive deployment of German personnel in Ethiopia's "key positions."