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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March 2005, 09:59 GMT
Commission for Africa: Yared Mussie
BBC News website asked Africans living on the continent for their thoughts on the UK-led Commission for Africa's final report.

Godwin Emejuobi:
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Kasozi Lubega:
Kampala, Uganda

Ousman Njie:
Cairo, Egypt

Samantha Smit:
Lusaka, Zambia
Iqbal Jhazbhay:
Pretoria, South Africa

Yared Mussie:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Trevor Simumba:
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Amboka Wameyo:
Arusha, Tanzania

Yared Mussie

The Commission for Africa is ambitious but looking at past efforts to help Africa, I think most Africans are doubtful.

Yared Mussie (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Name: Yared Mussie
Age: 24
Lives: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Occupation: Freelance journalist while waiting for funding to start HIV/Aids NGO called Hello
Born: Florida, USA (Parents were students at University of Florida)
Religion: Ethiopian Orthodox Christian
Ethnic group: Amhara
In 10 words or less: People person who loves movies, camping and reading historical fiction

Much has been said and it all looks good on paper but we are still waiting. I am still waiting.

The biggest thing they can do to show it is not just words is to lift the trade barriers facing Africa and remove subsidies.

If they can do at least that it will be a tremendous achievement.

A lot of people are critical of my Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as one of the commissioners.

He is a controversial figure but he has made a lot of changes.

When I lived in the United States I used to campaign against the Ethiopian government but now that I have returned and see how things are done and how society works, I understand why Mr Zenawi does what he does.

Society is backwards here but he has done a lot to improve it.

There is still a lot to be done but he has helped so far.

I still believe that political stability is the key in paving the way to economic stability and the Commission must continue pressurising African governments to attain this.

Human rights must be adhered to.

Political stability is the key in paving the way to economic stability

Monitors must also be provided to oversee elections and ensure that they are conducted freely and fairly.

The press should have the freedom to report what they want without government control.

We lack independent media.

In the past few years journalists have been imprisoned and abused for speaking out against the government.

The Ethiopian government is known to be controlling in this way.

Free press is needed but I do not think that it alone will bring democracy.

Things are moving in the right direction but more needs to be done.

Pressure must be kept on African governments to change.

African voices: See where our panel live

I worry that the Commission will be lenient towards Mr Zenawi because of his close relationship with Mr Blair.

However I believe that Mr Blair means well.

Africa has hope in Prime Minister Tony Blair and so I want him to succeed in the forthcoming UK elections.

I want him to help Africa. He has his heart in the right place and is a man of action.

He is the right man to lead the Commission and I worry that without him as prime minister their intentions will fall by the wayside.

I hope that the Commission is followed through.

It is such a big thing for Africa and will help our relationship with the West.

Your comments:

Well said Yared. I admire your courage and candour. As you know our community, especially the Diaspora, is more intolerant towards the Ethiopian government's stance on freedom of expression. So, if you get some garbage as a result of your free and brave views, say no to hate politics and keep on hoping for a better tomorrow.
Girmachew Asseffa, San Francisco, USA

Yared, unless you're hiding the truth, I can't understand that you can't see the suffering of the Ethiopian people under Meles Zenawi. Please get out of Addis and see how people are living their daily life!
Guutamaa, Saint Paul, Minnesota

I really appreciate your courage to move back to your country from the States. This is by itself a lesson for many Ethiopians who reside abroad. Regarding your article I have the same view with you. Judging someone by his past history gets us nowhere. Hence, we should appreciate our PM's recent foreign success. Things have really been changing. Nothing can be done overnight.
Mesfin Woldekidan, Minneapolis, MN

I have a respect for both opinions here; especially I should appreciate Yared's diplomatic explanations and insights, even if I have differences. But one view forwarded by a fellow brother, Mesfin (above), on the reputation of Mr Meles saying, "Judging someone by his past history gets us nowhere" took my attention. Just a question; if we are not able to judge someone by what he did in the past (as near, for Mr Meles, as 10-15 years), then how can we know him.

It seems you are saying so far he did some what bad, and let us see what he may do next; it may be good because he says so. As funny as such...! Come on, turn to the truth or we will keep being departed in the deep. I also could not see the PM's foreign success. Friendship with Tony Blaire is only meant for the advantage of the latter. It is a shame for Ethiopia. I think their personal friendship is historical. Anyway, if you block your eyes to see back, I doubt you can see far in front of you. That is specially the current problem in Ethiopian politics, blind-folded by ethnicity.

Yared, do you think the Ethiopian people are backward in its strict sense? If so, that means you may also the same mentality as your leaders. That people you called backward, is only for its poor roads, and facilities, poor agriculture and management resulting from backward administration attributed to the current regime which couldn't make any difference than blacken some of the peoples values and prides.
Dioscoros, Mekele, Ethiopia

Great to read your comments Yared. I would also add that the African governments' trade, economic, and taxation policies should be revisited if any lasting impact is to come. Some internal policies, such as the import taxes imposed on commodities much needed by the African countries, are damaging to the African economic systems themselves.
Betty, Saint Paul, MN

Of the 400 pages report submitted by the commission I tried to read some. It is really interesting but you said it correctly: "Much has been said and it all looks good on paper." To make it practical, developed countries should accept what the Commission suggested for African people with their full heart.
Ababu Yimam, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

With due respect to your personal views, and whether you like Meles or not, don't twist the reality in Ethiopia. Please don't call my people backwards.
Muluneh Yohannes, Ethiopian in the USA

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