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28 July 2017 14:50 (South Africa)

Ethiopian opposition at a loss over US help to govt-held company

Ethiopia's main opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue, is angry that the US African Growth and Opportunity Act has helped a textile plant, with ties to the country’s ruling party, win a multimillion-dollar contract from a US firm. The Act enables African manufacturers to take advantage of preferential tariff treatment by linking them with American buyers. The programme started in 2000, and allows about 6,500 products from Africa to enter the US free of duties or quotas. Worse, the up to $30 million-a-year contract was brokered by the US Agency for International Development, between a Mississippi-based firm and Almeda Textile, part of a group of companies founded and controlled by members of Ethiopia’s ruling party. The Forum for Democratic Dialogue says the US government is using public money to support a dictatorial government. The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front in April had 35 people arrested on suspicion of involvement in a plot to overthrow the government. Read more: Bloomberg, VOA

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