Ethiopia‘s resettlement programme operates on a voluntary basis. The prime objectives are to help farmers increase their yields and provide them with social services, which can be better delivered in a community setting. The programme has brought schools, healthcare, clean water and roads to hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians, as confirmed by the International Development Group operating in Ethiopia. Minor problems were encountered during the early stages of the implementation process, but these were squarely addressed.
Your piece (Britain is supporting a dictatorship, 7 July) harks back to the Ethiopia of 30 years ago, yet totally dismisses the manifest achievements made over the last 20 years or so. Ethiopia has become food self-sufficient at national level and its pro-poor development strategy has brought strong economic growth and millions of jobs. Ethiopia is one of few developing countries that will achieve most, if not all, of the millennium development goals. The resettlement programme has played its part. Donors, UN organisations and civil society confirm that the programme has improved livelihoods and that human rights have been respected in the course of the programme’s implementation.
Ethiopia remains one of the few developing countries that fully satisfies the value-for-money principle which underlies all British government development programme funding. Advocacy groups, such as Human Rights Watch, continuously engage in fault-finding missions. We appeal to the Guardian not to be part of a campaign to tarnish the image of a country that is engaged in a protracted but ultimately successful struggle to eradicate poverty.
Ambassador of Ethiopia
• How is it that David Smith made no mention of the villagisation policy during the appalling regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam? In 1991, after Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe, I saw people remove the poles and thatch of their houses from the “villagised villages” back to the land they had worked before the wretched upheaval. Julius Nyerere tried something similar in 1970s Tanzaniawith (I believe) Israeli advisers to copy the kibbutz model. It did not succeed because the people did not want it.
Robin Le Mare