Just days after reports emerged that the Biden administration had backtracked on a preferential trade deal that had previously been made by the Trump administration, now the country has been hit in yet another blow from the Americans.
This second financial action against the country is set to raise eyebrows as to whether it’s simply a case of coincidence, or if it marks a change in US State policy against the country.
Safaricom’s plans to expand to Ethiopia have been complicated by a US State financier threatening to recall its loans following escalation of armed conflict in the horn of Africa nation.
The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) says that the acts of violence against civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray region could affect the release of $500 million loan (Sh53.97 billion) to a consortium led by Safaricom.
The financing had earlier been thrown into doubt over US economic sanctions against Ethiopia related to the conflict in the northern Tigray region, which has killed thousands of people and displaced many more.
But Safaricom last month disclosed that the US State development financier was granted approval to make select investments in Ethiopia, including funding the group made up of, among others, the UK’s Vodafone and South Africa’s Vodacom Group.
This comes just days after Biden failed to renew a trade treaty that reduced the trade barriers between Kenya and US by cutting out Congress from the parties that have to ratify any trade agreement thus reducing bureaucracy.
The war pits Tigrayan forces against the Ethiopian military and its allies from Amhara and the neighbouring nation of Eritrea.
Donors suspended some budget support to the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as reports of mass killings of civilians and gang rapes mounted, raising concerns over war crimes.
The Joe Biden administration has issued economic sanctions against Ethiopia to try to pressure it to end the violence in Tigray.