nazret.com – The Economist has an interesting blog regarding the recently announced World Economic Conference on Africa to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Understandably the Ethiopian government is quite pleased to be selected to host this prestigious conference. It is also a boost for Ethiopia‘s image specially among the international business community. But the World Economic Forum should not hold the conference in Ethiopia unless all points of views are well represented in the conference.
During a press conference, a journalist from the Economist asked Ethiopian Foreign Minister Hailemariam Desalegn if opposition politicians, Human Rights Activist and journalists deemed critical of the regime would be invited to the conference, he reportedly replied, “If the World Economic Forum deems it necessary to invite opposition parties, there will be no hindrance from the government,” After a short pause, he went on to say, “You have to differentiate,” Mr Desalegn said, “between legally registered parties and those illegal parties in the armed struggle who present a threat to worldwide peace and security.” He even played the terrorism card suggesting that some of the regime’s opponents and rebel groups get money from al-Qaeda.
In 2009, the Economist Group cancelled a much publicized Conference that was scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, after the Ethiopian regime denied the organizers to present a paper that the authorities did not like. At the time, the Economist said in an email, “The decision was made today by the Ethiopian government after they had reviewed the Economist article we planned to include in the conference material. We have therefore decided to cancel the round table.”
It is now the World Economic Forum (WEF) that has to make the tough call whether to go ahead and hold the meeting. The World Economic Forum (WEF) should follow in the footsteps of the Economist Conferences and demand that all voices will be represented. As long as this conference will be open and transparent, it should be welcomed by all parties.
Have Your Say, what conditions would you demand for the conference to take place in Ethiopia?