Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

From the Birthplace of Java

Having pummeled the Islamic Courts into essential oblivion, Ethiopia turns it's sights on a new foe... Starbucks!

ADDIS ABABA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Africa's top coffee growers backed Ethiopia on Thursday in its trademark row with Starbucks (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile , Research), saying securing the protection rights for various crops and plants could lift millions from poverty.

Ethiopia and the British charity Oxfam have accused the U.S.-based coffee shop giant of blocking Ethiopia's attempts to trademark its beans, denying farmers there potential income of more than $90 million.

"We are dealing with the issue of improving the lives of millions of people," Sindiso Ngwenya, deputy secretary-general of the 20-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, told Reuters at a major coffee meeting in Addis Ababa[...]

Starbucks officials have said they are concerned with some specific provisions that Ethiopia was seeking, but that they are willing to discuss the matter.

To appease critics, the company also listed six new incentives to boost east Africa's coffee industry.

It said it would double coffee purchases from the region, support education projects, increase credit to farmers by $1 million on top of $9 million already advanced and expand the range of local products that it imports[...]

(emphasis is mine)

No word yet on whether US gunships are mobilizing off the coast of Washington state. :)

Ah, the ties that bind our economic unities. I'll slap down a slight hit on my hegemony hypothesis (as yet incomplete) here: Imagine countries dependent not on foreign federal aid, but foreign corporate aid...