Assistance to Ethiopia

In the Opinion page article "Ethiopia's Shift to Democracy Depends on US Aid," Feb. 3, the author urges US policymakers to give economic aid to Ethiopia.

The departure of the military dictatorship has created an opportunity for the new rulers and opposition forces to implement political and economic changes. But are the new rulers of Ethiopia heading in the right direction? Are they ready to share power with opposition forces, and to accept and respect the principles of the democratic process and its universal application in a multi-ethnic society? Did the much heralded economic-reforms policy of the new rulers include privatization and granting rights of

land ownership to millions of small farmers?

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The shift from a command economy to a market economy requires more than merely a "jump-start," as claimed by the new rulers of Ethiopia. The process of economic development is evolutionary, more complex than the desired political change.

Economic restructuring demands not only capital infusion but vision, innovation, and a credible reform policy and implementation program. In the absence of all the above factors, it would be a poor investment for the US to give aid to the new rulers of Ethiopia. Hailu Wendie, Cambridge, Mass.

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