Rows of people in suits, many looking at blackberries or laptops, in the UN Conference Centre

Addis: A Good First Step, but a Terrible Last Word, for 2015

The Financing for Development Conference in July 2015 in Addis Ababa was never going to solve all the world’s development problems. The policy framework is pretty good, but will only be important if government, companies and organisations now take specific actions. Read the full post »

Fifty years since the death of Sylvia Pankhurst, Ethiopians pay tribute

There was a memorial service this morning for Sylvia Pankhurst at the Holy Trinity cathedral (or Haile Selassie cathedral) in Addis Ababa, presided over by the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The Pankhurst name is familiar in Britain because … Go to to read the rest

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Aid works even if it does not cause development

daughterMy article on OpenDemocracy today discusses whether aid works.

Some supporters of aid have made what seem to me to be extravagant claims that aid should aim to bring about economic and social transformation of developing countries, so accelerating economic … Go to to read the rest

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Great Ethiopian Run 2009

At the start of the Great Ethiopian Run Thirty four thousand runners gathered today in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, for Africa’s biggest road race, the Great Ethiopian Run.

Koreni Jelila and Tilahun Regassa won the women’s and men’s races respectively, both with new course records.… Go to to read the rest

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Do ‘they’ know it’s New Year’s Day?

Here in Ethiopia, 2001 is drawing to a close.  Tomorrow is the first day of 2002 in the Ethiopian calendar.

It is a time of renewal and celebration here – perhaps more than in European cultures (something like a cross … Go to to read the rest

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What to bring to Africa

Scarlett Lion has this list.  Her main advice is to keep it to a minimum.

Here is our list, intended for visitors to Ethiopia.

So apparently zip off safari shorts/trousers make you look stupid. I guess I don’t … Go to to read the rest

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Google Maps Discovers Africa

Google Maps now has detailed moaps for 27 more African countries. Read the full post »

Six people you will meet in every expat bar

BraveNewTraveler describes the six characters you’ll meet at every expat bar.

It’s never hard to find your way there – all you need to do is follow the American music which is old enough to feel stale without being old

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Seen while running

Our Sunday runs start on Entoto, the mountain to the edge of Addis Ababa.  We start and finish at an altitude of about  3,000m.  Here are some things we’ve seen on our runs in the last two weeks:

  • a leopard,
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The Addis Ababa market

Andrew Mueller in this weekend’s FT writes about the Merkato, Addis Ababa’s market district

To wander (and flinch, and wince, and boggle, and marvel) within its limits is to acquire the quickest and most bracing imaginable appreciation of Africa’s industry,

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Ethiopia’s new civil society law

International reaction to the new Ethiopian Civil Society Law is hysterical. It isn't a great law, but nor is it unreasonable for the Ethiopian Government to want to limit international funding in its politics. Read the full post »

Internet disruption continues in Ethiopia

Spare a thought for those of us trying to use the internet in Ethiopia.

It isn’t great at the best of times.  When it went down during the rainy season I rang technical support and was told that “the firewall … Go to to read the rest

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Entoto today

Tom (second from the left) visiting from the UK ran for the first time at altitude (his usual run is along the waterfront in Ayr).

More photos here.

Here’s the elevation graph:

Running Entoto 07-12-2008, Elevation - DistanceGo to to read the rest

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Paved with good intentions

In a very thought-provoking post, Alanna Shaikh lists four ways that an NGO can unintentionally do harm to the community it’s trying to serve.

1) You can waste the time and effort of a community by initiating projects which have

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Budget support and corruption

Why it makes sense to give aid to governments in countries that suffer from corruption. Read the full post »

De-escalating the paperwork in development

Alanna Shaikk writes about the good and bad of working in international development.  Here is a big part of the bad:

… You’re a bureaucrat. An awful lot of every expat’s job involves paperwork. Most people picture international work as

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The Daily Mail, to which donkeys are more important than Africans

So help me I’ve read some rubbish in the Daily Mail over the years – and I know it to be a potent brew of prejudice and lies.  But this article must rank in the top-ten for stupidity.

The headline … Go to to read the rest

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World Food Day – Worry about incomes, not food production

Today is World Food Day. There are 967 million people living below the hunger line.

In one of DFID’s splendid new blogs, Howard Taylor, Head of DFID Ethiopia , emphasizes the need for greater agricultural production:

In the long-term, development

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Sunday morning on Entoto

Running down again

We ran ten miles this morning at the top of Entoto with a great group of runners.  The Entoto national park is a beautiful place to run, with views across Addis Ababa.

As the elevation chart below shows (full Go to to read the rest

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