Foreign Policy published on 8 July 2015 a commentary titled "Obama Should Stay Away from Ethiopia" by Jeffrey Smith and Mohammed Ademo. Highly critical of President Obama's upcoming visit to Ethiopia, the analysis contains a combination of legitimate criticism and blatant errors.
The piece says that the United States provides nearly half of Ethiopia's national budget. The U.S. does not provide budgetary support to Ethiopia. Most of the assistance goes to designated programs such as combating HIV/AIDS, much of which would not be funded were it not for international assistance. It is simply inaccurate to call this budgetary support. While the EPRDF election victories were embarrassingly lopsided in 2010 and 2015, the EPRDF did not win 99.6 percent of the vote in 2010. It won 99.6 percent of the seats in Parliament because of the flawed electoral policy of first past the post rather than proportional representation. The commentary cites the "facade of economic growth" in Ethiopia. The facts as verified by the World Bank and IMF are pretty clear. While the GDP growth rate over the last ten years is not as high as the low double digits as claimed by Ethiopia, there is agreement that it has been in the high single digits. That is not shabby.
Smith and Ademo raise a valid question as to why Ethiopia and not Nigeria for a Presidential visit. I suspect Boko Haram had something to do with the choice, assuming there was a discussion of going to Nigeria. I am surprised, however, to find such an unbalanced commentary in a publication as distinguished as Foreign Policy. There is plenty to criticize in Ethiopia but there is also room for praise. At a minimum, a commentary in Foreign Policy should get the facts right.