As Trump signs executive order on lobbying, government in Ethiopia hired lobby firm in the US

borkena,Ethiopian News
February 14,2017

SGR LCC - Lobbying
SGR LCC – Lobbying. Source : screenshot of SGR Lobbying website

Donald Trump has singed quite a number of executive orders in a number of policy areas. One of them is on matters relating to lobbying. The presidential order banned employees of executive branch not to involve in lobbying for five years after the termination of their employment.

And the regime in Ethiopia seem to have issues that it want to pursue with Donald Trump administration that could not,perhaps, bear fruit without Lobbying. It already hired a U.S based firm, S.G.R LLC lobbyingat a cost of US $1.8 million a year.

The firm describes itself as “bipartisan pro-business firm” that will,among other things, “access all of Washington’s pressure points.” Regime in Ethiopia tasked it to lobby the Trump administration so as to obtain results from policy makers that would align with its the interest. [adToAppearHere]

According to Memorandum of Understanding signed between S.G.R and TPLF led government in Ethiopia,apparently it is the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington that signed the agreement on behalf of the government in Ethiopia, the lobby firm is “to promote a better understanding of Ethiopia’s political, social and economic environment. SGR will work to strengthen U.S.- Ethiopia business outreach and grow foreign direct investment in Ethiopia,” as cited by Ethiopian Satellite Television, US based Ethiopian Community Television network. An estimated half million Ethiopians live in the United States – which is significant in terms of votes.

How does the lobby firm form a favorable clouds of thought in the White House to effect what the regime in Ethiopia wants ? It “Drive a narrative to decision makers from Capitol Hill to the White House and with the media that influences them.”

Regime in Ethiopia has a record of egregious human right abuses. Since, just to cite a recent example, a little over a year, the regime reportedly killed more than one thousand civilians following anti-government protest across the country. A state of emergency is declared in October 2016 which is still in effect. In its report this year, Freedom House rated Ethiopia as “not free.” Human Rights Organizations have issued numerous reports condemning killings in Ethiopia. The State Department itself issued statements in 2016 condemning killings and human rights abuse.

Economically, the country is running into a crisis like situation with severe famine in the South Eastern parts of Ethiopia. The government called on the world to help save lives. United Nations secretary, Antonio Guterres, called upon the world to help save the lives of millions of Ethiopians who are facing a famine.

Corruption is at unprecedented level to the extent of crippling the way the government is functioning and it has admitted about it. Despite all that, “double digit economic growth” narrative was dominating mainstream media outlets in the west.

It remains to be seen as to what kind of narrative S.G.R LLC will produce to influence favorable policy in The White House towards Ethiopia.

Written by Dimetros Birku. Can be reached on twitter : @dimetros
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