In Ethiopia elementary and secondary educational institutions welcome their students who return after two months of break on September. The end of September and the beginning of October is also the season when most of Ethiopian higher educational institutions commence their academic calendar and students leave their homes to their respective campuses. This happens immediately following Ethiopian New Year celebration. All the institutions start their calendar year with new vision and aspirations. Students also plan to attend their classes attentively and achieve good grades than the previous years.
It is a special moment for fresh students. Especially those who join universities leave their sweet homes and their families for the first time and prepare to face new experiences. Therefore, they might miss their families and friends. They might also face difficulties to manage their lives and to familiarize themselves with the new atmosphere.
When students join universities, first and for most they become curious to know how life looks like in the new environment. Because of their enthusiasm to know everything, most tend to discover and explore new things. In elementary and secondary schools, students lead their lives with the support of parents and teachers. But campus life requires their full efforts and responsibilities to become successful because they are on their own. Here, the most important thing is time and financial management. That is what really matters.
The most challenging reality for these teenagers is peer pressure. Sometimes they might agree to do something they don’t like so as to get the acceptance of others. Due to this, they might fail to achieve what they come about for, their main goal, and their education. And the situation is too difficult particularly for fresh students. Hence, they have to be informed to be strict in managing their time efficiently for study and entertainment. They also have to be wise in managing the money their families send properly.
On the other hand, ability to accustom oneself quickly with the new environment also matters for to achieve success academically and socially. Mostly, some senior students would use this opportunity to exploit, deceive and make fun out of the new comers. One might take such situations as funny. But for some, who come from remote areas, this might cause psychological trauma and hence academic failure.
Therefore, the students need to keep themselves away from such offensive students. They also need to receive psychological guidance from their universities if they face such difficulties. It is also advisable to share their problems with their friends. In the other way, participating in various ‘get-together’ parties would enable them to observe the surrounding atmosphere and introduce themselves with their classmates. Such occasions would create familiarity with each other to lead a healthy and successful campus life.
University enrollment in Ethiopia in the last ten years has shown remarkable growth. In 2008 E.C, significant number of students were admitted for various undergraduate programs. Some 778,766 students have been enrolled in universities across the country. In 2008 E.C. the total undergraduate enrollment in regular, evening, summer and distance programs was 778,766, of which 265,851 are females. The majority, 85 percent of these students are enrolled in government institutions, whereas private institutions intake the remaining15 percent.
This year, 137,137 new entrant students got admission to join public universities, the information from National Educational Assessment and Examinations Agency (NEAE) indicated. Out of the total number, 94,195 students are male and the remaining 42,941 are female. The new entrant students would follow their courses in 18 fields of study within 54 public universities in regular programs.
According to NEAE admission point, among the students who took national exam in regular basis, male and female natural science students who scored 354 and 340 respectively are eligible to join universities. Similarly, 330 and 320 is the entry point to those male and female social science exam takers respectively. In other way, those male and female students who scored 360 and 355 point and took the exams privately in both natural and social science courses are also eligible to join universities. On the other hand, students who are from emerging and pastoralist states and the handicapped are beneficiaries of affirmative action and the entrance point is lowered for them.
Beside the increasing number of new entrants, the number of universities is also increasing through time and this helps the country to accommodate the increasing number of intake ratio. This year, the new 11 universities would enroll a total of 16,500 students. Each university would have an enrolling capacity of 7,500 students when become fully operational, Ministry of Education Eleven Universities Construction Project Office Finance and Human Resource Administration Deputy General Director Takele Gebrekidan notes.
The expansion of the universities is believed to improve access to education in remote areas. On the other hand, the construction of the universities is simultaneously creating jobs for the surrounding community in long and short term basis. Currently, 20,000 jobs have been created up on the ongoing construction of the eleven universities, Takele says.
The growing numbers of universities have continue to play a core role in supplying trained manpower to the key other sectors. Nearly, 150,000 students have graduated from the 33 universities and this number would increase considerably following the opening of the new universities.
As to him the universities would help the nearby society with problem solving researches and community based services. The new universities that are being constructed at a cost of 2.4 billion birr include Raya, Mekdela Amba, Debark, Enjibara, Werabe, Bonga, Jinka, Selale, Dembi Dolo, Oda Bultum and Kebri Dehar. Lately, Borena University has been added to the list and its construction would embark on this year expected to be functional in 2011 EC.
To sum up, the access to higher education has been improving through time. But quality of education is still under question. Solving this problem is about solving the country’s various problems through providing skilled manpower. And this effort begins from the entry to the graduation day. Welcoming students with comfortable atmosphere and supporting them to choose their preferred fields of study is vital to have successful students who would develop the country with their respective professions. Furthermore, the continual follow up on the theoretical and practical courses would help the students to be graduated from the universities equipped with the needed knowledge and skills that their motherland need utmost.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
Back in the days, not only dreaming of being a writer or an author but also if one spoke of some contents from a book he/she read would make him/her one of the most admired and stylish members of the literate society of whatever age. Being a writer and a critical reader used to be a privilege. The way of knowing people’s perspective about the past and the future is reading the wisdom of wise people who seriously observe the ways of peoples’ life styles.
These days things seem to have changed in a way that poses threat to the intellectual wellbeing of the young generation. That must shake the entire scholar’s society but the reality seems to be the reverse. I only see few scholars trying to promote initiatives that encourage reading.
When we are living in a time of technological boom and we can get access to every knowledge simply with a single tap on our smartphones, many young people incline to limit their interests only on entertainments, even worse on the bad ones and ignore the value of books or reading.
Everyone is indulging in the so called social media which false stories and bad rumours are taking over. Of course, there are constructive media outlets that tips the youth with significant information on the social media but they are outnumbered by the destructive ones.
People are spending too much time chatting and posting pictures on social media and never seem to find an hour for reading. Everywhere, I go people are chatting. I don’t see what they are doing closely but I know when they are chatting when they smile or crinkle their faces without noticing people would watch. I wonder how they communicate and where they get new ideas to discuss without reading. The day today life bases of course could bring new issues to discuss but that only be about who did what, I did this and that and then too many lolls and emojis after each full stop. Isn’t that a boring staff to do all the time? I’m just asking?
How can we chat a lot if there are no books in it? Of course, there could be too many Tv shows and famous people to talk about. But true knowledge is always abundantly found on books and the time gives us an opportunity of having digitized books. But we seem to be ignoring what’s important and grabbing the harmful products of technology. And we are forgetting ourselves.
This reminds me a story of a famous Ethiopian writer. An older brother was telling his little brother the story of Axum, which was ones was the greatest civilization and empire in the world. He told the little brother about the great rock hewn obelisks of Axum and asked him what he thinks of them. The little brother, who has no idea about the precious historical value that the obelisks have, would simply say “I think the obelisks being built from single structure of rock indicates that there had been a shortage of stone at that time.”
It couldn’t be the little boy’s mistake to have misunderstood his own historical wealth and undermine it. It could rather be the fault of the community he grew up in.
In this case, I believe religious institutes need to discharge their responsibility given to participate in building schools and shaping the ethics of children from the start. Religious institutes are the places where we can find our roots of early civilization. They are given the mandate to build schools but only few seem to have built. Most of them seem to have engaged in business activities like building multi storey houses and stores and renting them for companies or individuals. This is not really religious.
Somehow, nobody else has to tell an educated young generation of this era that it is necessary to grab a book. Our great grand fathers were not educated when they grabbed a goat skin and mad books to pass the wisdoms they learned from life and nature to generations.
Reading could be the answer to most of those who are wasting their time searching the meaning of life while they are breathing it or those who couldn’t find themselves while they are not lost. The only loss is not having interest to reading.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
The two millennia-old friendships between Ethiopia and India is probably one of the oldest ties in history, as Axumite traders in the 1st century AD traded with Indians through the ancient port of Adulis. However, fully fledged bilateral ties were launched in the mid 20th century. The two countries enjoyed a longstanding friendship in multiple areas of cooperation, especially in trade and education.
Ethiopia was the first African country to open its Embassy in India, New Delhi in early 1950s, while the rest of the continent is under European colony. The early connections of trade between the two countries were then followed by cooperation on Education, as Ethiopia was in desperate need of expanding literacy. Consequently, the cooperation keeps on getting stronger as India embarked on sending scores of teachers to Ethiopia, who were decent enough to serve in the country's remotest suburbs.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, is one of the serving Heads of States that paid a visit to Ethiopia in the age long historic ties of the two ancient states. In his latest visit last week, the President vividly underscored the importance of friendship between the two countries.
“The choice of Ethiopia as the focus country of my first visit is a reflection of not just the importance we in India give to your country [Ethiopia] and its leadership role in world institutions, but to our time-tested friendship – one going back 2,000 years to the days when our countries, our civilizations I should say, first traded together,” said President Kovind.
This is none other than a great testimony of the importance India attached to the bilateral relations of the countries which existed for centuries. It is quite an evidence that, the President chose Africa and Ethiopia for his first ever official state visit, due to the high prominence India has given to Indo-Africa and Ethio-India relations.
As diplomatic relations took a formal path, a handful of bilateral agreements were signed between the two. Knowledge and capacity building became the major corner of friendship, and that's why President Kovind, who addressed the Addis Ababa University community as part of the official state visit, said cooperation in education has been the fulcrum of Indian engagement with Ethiopia.
The president, who concluded his three day official state visit with a lecture at the oldest university in Ethiopia said, “When Ethiopia embarked on its efforts to expand its education sector, Indian teachers were invited here to teach in elementary and secondary schools.
“Those early pioneers traveled to the remotest parts of the country, instilled values and ideals in young minds and dedicated entire lifetimes to the noble calling of teaching.”
Today, 2000 Indian faculty members are contributing to teaching and to academic research in Ethiopian universities. Indian academics comprise the largest and among the most valued expatriate teaching communities in Ethiopian universities.
There exists a shining example of cooperation between two emerging economies, said President Kovind, highlighting the importance of the African Scholarship Program that welcomes hundreds of fully funded students to India every year.
Professor Admasu Tsegaye, President of AAU and other high ranking government officials commended India's effort for Ethiopia's education saying that contributed to the success of Ethiopia's Education System.
Ethiopia and India have traveled the Indian Ocean and traded in a variety of goods for years, said President Kovind, adding that the most important cargo they have carried across this majestic ocean is the cargo of knowledge.
“That knowledge has been cradled by education. And in turn that knowledge has sculpted the principles and values that our countries share. The Ethiopia-India partnership has truly been a meeting of minds,” underscores the President.
Though, partnership on education was the glue that secured the attachment of India to Ethiopia for more than half a century, cooperation has taken a new trajectory in recent years with an all rounded engagement in trade, investment and tourism.
These days, economic and commercial relations are the most important plank of Ethio-India bilateral ties. Ethiopia exports pulses, semi-precious stones, gym-stone, unfinished leather, leather products, cotton, oil seeds and spices.
Whereas major imports are semi-finished iron and steel products, drugs and pharmaceuticals, machinery and instruments, metal, plastic and linoleum products, paper and paper products, yarns and textiles, chemicals, transport equipments, electrical materials etc, indicates reports from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade.
There are multiple Indian investments, according to Ethiopian Investment Commission, in the field of agriculture (cotton, horticulture, floriculture, bio-fuel, soya bean, edible oil crops, dairy farm,), Manufacturing (garment and textile, leather and leather products, pharmaceuticals, metal, paper and printing), mining, consultancy etc.
“Today's bilateral meeting and joint business dialogue is an evidence of heightened relationships between the government of India and Ethiopia in the areas of economic, financial, technical cooperation, human resource development and institutional capacity building, says President Dr. Mulatu Teshome in a joint address to the Indian business community in Ethiopia with President Kovind of India.
“It is my firm belief that this political and business dialogue will take further prominence, elevating the Ethio-India existing social, economic and political relations to upper most levels through fostering strategic economic alliances and builds a platform with high level and great influence in order to enhance the existing economic cooperation between the two countries”, added Dr. Mulatu.
The bilateral and business dialogue was a clear demonstration of the two countries symbiotic resolve to promote and strengthen the involvement of the private sectors and formation of solid business partnerships in the two countries' development endeavors.
The fact that both countries have governments that well understand the need for broad-based, pro-poor growth as well as far reaching structural transformations of their two economies which largely contributed to the mutually beneficial partnership that both Ethiopia and India have managed to build over the years, echoed both Heads of States in agreement.
Indian investors are operating here with a staggering sum of more than 10 billion birr and have created employment opportunities for more than 50,000 Ethiopian citizens so far. Yet, the government is ensuring that it will continue to encourage and support investment that tally to Ethiopia's development priorities.
Dr. Mebratu Meles, Ethiopian State Minister of Industry, who also studied his PhD in India briefly lectured the Indian business community in Ethiopia at the same event. In his lecture, the Minister stressed the conducive business atmosphere in Ethiopia for Indian businessmen, particularly in agro-processing.
India is a leading country globally in producing agricultural commodities. Food processing is the mainstay of Indian industrial revolution that gave them a massive experience in that regard which is also helpful to Ethiopia, said Dr. Mebratu. “Therefore, I hope my Indian fellows would consider to massively engage in Agro-Industrial Parks which my government is enormously developing at the moment, in addition to textile, apparel as well as pharmaceutical industrial parks.
Moreover, the Ethiopian government encourages Private Industrial Parks and would offer lands and other incentives to those who would like to take part. As this is a common trend in India too, Indian investors would hopefully exploit this enormous opportunity. Besides, these conducive investment opportunities in the country, Ethiopia also offers its free trade benefits to western markets that wound boost investors competitiveness in the international business arena, as delivered by the State Minister.
India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia. Indian investment has made a mark in textile and garments, engineering, plastics, water management, consultancy, ICT, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
Indian investments in Ethiopia have had a significant presence in manufacturing and value addition to local resources. They have created jobs in this country, and they have contributed to the prosperity of Ethiopian families, as noted in the dialogue.
According to President Kovind, Ethiopia has been the largest recipient of Indian concessional lines of credit in Africa with over one billion US dollars committed to an array of projects, particularly in power transmission and sugar productions.
“I am happy to learn that the Finchaa sugar project has been completed and handed over to the Ethiopian side. Two other projects in the sugar sector have also gone into production, and are expected to be handed over shortly”, said the President. “It is a matter of pride for us that Indian investment is lauded.”
There are also more similarities the two countries share in the contemporary world. Both Ethiopia and India have young populations, which, if properly managed is a great resource. Hence, both countries believe that, to unleash their potential, they need to educate their millenials and give them the skills needed to become productive in an increasingly complex world. “After all, the building of a 21st century economy requires the building of human capital – and equipping it for 21st century economic realities” noted President Kovind.
Along with a similar demographic profile, Ethiopia and India face similar challenges related to the health and well-being of their populations. India has been a source of affordable pharmaceuticals, generic medicines and specialised healthcare for the people of Africa, including Ethiopia. Accordingly, The President assured that, education and health care will remain focus areas of India's engagement with Ethiopia.
“As Ethiopia’s long-standing partner, India remains optimistic about and invested in your growth story. We look forward to building on our numerous synergies and complementarities in sectors ranging from light manufacturing to food processing, clean and renewable energy to health care.”
The countries also look forward to a long standing relationship in terms of capacity building of both people and institutions. Science and technology is similarly sought as a core cooperation agenda.
Regarding this the President promised to pursue the newly established partnership in innovation and technology. “With our space programs to inspire us, the sky is the limit for India and Ethiopia literally.”
In the meantime the President also delivered a strong message to Indian businessmen residing here, on the need to foster an economic model that contributes to local communities, rather than extracts from them. This is fundamental, stressed Mr. Kovind, for the future of Africa, for the future of India, for the shared future of both countries, and for the future of the young people.
Tourism is considered as another important corner of this strong friendship amid millions of travelers leaving India every year. To exploit this potential, Ethiopian Airlines presently operates flights from New Delhi and Mumbai while more cities are in the pipeline.
Moreover, a remarkable number of Indian restaurants are operating in Addis Ababa, which has the potential to harness the flow of Indian tourists to Ethiopia with its all forms of tourism, be it historical, wild life, religious and anthropological attractions.
Bottomline, the visit marked a call up on both Ethiopia and India to work together to push for reform and strive together for a more equitable and contemporary global economic architecture as an ancient business partners for a sustainable, mutual benefit that can be desired for emulation by many.
BY HOMA MULISA
Yared Teka is a tour operator diligently working even on holidays and weekends. He understands that Meskel is one of the celebrations that attract tourists from all over the world. He said his company had shuttled hundreds of tourists to Gonder and Addis Ababa for the celebration this year. He imagines this year’s celebration has marked the revival of Ethiopian tourism industry after the year long state of emergency was lifted on August 2017.
He is telling tourists that Meskel celebration is one of the major tourist attractions of Ethiopia registered by UNESCO. Recently, millions of followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church had celebrated it on September 26, 2017. Meskel festivities mark the end of the three-month long rainy season and the return of summer to Ethiopia; no rain is expected to occur after that.
He witnessed that tourists who had once taken part in the celebrations often find it riveting that urge to come again and again; the sheer ecstasy and surprise that the festival offers. Many indeed return repeatedly, some for numerous times. They fall in love with this festival which offers unique chants and different dramatic scenes. It has been drawing thousands of visitors from all over the world and is observed with calmness and serenity without any worries over security.
Yared said business is reviving slowly. Last year had been challenging and he was paying salary of employees and office rent despite significant drop in the amount of income and business taking a tumble. The number of visitors had plunged to record low last year and it had affected the tourism business negatively.
Currently, the tourism industry is booming in Ethiopia. His company has started to fully cover its loss and profitably run its business. This in turn has enabled to warm up activities and motivate employees. He said business is good as usual and he is busy answering lots of phone calls from around the world. Numerous foreigners interested to visit Ethiopia are calling him and he is busy giving information.
Yared said his company is transporting tourists to their preferred sites and helping them enjoy their visit. According to him, his company has made readily available everything needed to facilitate smooth run of tour operation activities including deploying knowledgeable tour guides, promoters, stand by drivers and supplying camping facilities.
He said the business atmosphere is smoothely getting back to normal. Currently, he can understand (from burgeoning calls and voluminous bookings for hotels) that business is thriving again. He also understands the fact that tourism business is reviving in northern Ethiopia. Currently, tour operations to Lalibela, Fasil, Ras Dashen and Aksum are booming through time. Iindustry players are predicting that there will be good start with the onset of the October- January high season, giving better hope to the fledgling Ethiopian tourism sector.
Following the revival, he said, several customers from many European countries (with whom his company had a business link) have started to call and resume business. Currently, many visitors from Germany, France, Italy, UK and Israel have made hotel reservations for the coming October, November and January (including Bahir Dar, Gondar, Debark, Axum, Hawzen, Mekele and Lalibela towns).
Yared believes, his company will work busily to satisfy the demand of tourists in the coming months. Hence, preparation is well underway more than ever including recruiting capable human power needed to provide excellent services and stockpiling essential items.
Despite this very fact, he said, many foreigners have informed him that tourism business in Ethiopia is not sufficiently supported by IT and Internet services. They complained that they could not find list of places and available prices when they surf the internet from where they are; they could not choose places to be visited and compare affordable prices. They are also complaining of the very fact that hotels do not publish their list of services and prices on websites.
Moreover, he said, some tourists are disgruntled by exorbitant cost of services that do not match their quality, even by African standards. Some tourists told him that the services of hotels and lodges in Ethiopia are at preliminary stage. However, they are forced to shell out every penny for the service that does not mach it. In addition, the price of souvenirs and cultural items is very much costly compared to other countries who work to promote their tourism services at lower prices.
Similarly, following the inflow of tourists, construction of three to five star hotels is booming in Ethiopia. However, the quality of service and the qualification of personnel trained to be employed in the tourism industry is not sufficient enough to satisfy the taste of sybaritic visitors; quality of service and knowledge of personnel do not match the need of visitors that need high-end hotels and lavishing entertainments.
Hence, he is of the opinion that immoral and illegal act of greedy hoteliers, operators and service providers who require exaggerated prices for services they do not provide should be rectified soon for it may hinder inflow of tourists and tarnish the good image of Ethiopia known for its hospitality.
Ethiopia has managed to earn more than 3.4 billion USD from tourism receipts in the fiscal year that ended on last July, a huge leap from last year's revenues that were entangled with many challenges. In this regard, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism earlier stated that the said revenue exceeded the earnings in the previous year by half a billion. Similarly, a decade ago tourism had contributed as meager as one percent to Ethiopia's gross domestic product (GDP). The contribution has now grown to more than four percent; relatively better than the previous years and it is hopeful to burgeon.
Cognizant of the success being registered in the tourism sector, Ethiopia has formulated executable plans to become among the top five tourist destinations in Africa by 2022. To this end, nation has aimed to triple the number of foreign visitors to more than 2.5 million by 2020.
Nation believes that hammering out the aforementioned challenges are essential to further flourish the tourism market. Hence, it is investing in the development of information infrastructure used to guide visitors throughout the country; to help visitors find their way easily (earlier it has been said that preparation of new appliance is well under way, which will enable visitors to get information quickly and easily on their phones).
In line with this, the tourism policy clearly stated that IT-based system would be instituted eyeing at enhancing tourist influx in to Ethiopia and burgeoning tourist revenue. Particularly, the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) which is currently being implemented internationally would be adopted as quickly as possible; to collect, analyze, and organize timely data and information for the consumption of tourists and individuals engaged in the tourism sector.
Similarly, the revival of the tourism sector is expected to be fully realized when the capabilities of employees deployed in the sector are enhanced through short and medium term trainings; rigorous system of professional certification will also be introduced in order to help employees render quality-oriented service (using high professional caliber).
As part of the solution, the main stakeholders engaged in the industry should act in cooperation which is of strategic importance to ensure synergistic results; and this is possible only when each stakeholder fully understands its responsibilities and discharges its role.
In this regard, the duty for the government to revive the sector includes creating conducive environment, constructing infrastructures and upgrading their status. Particularly, the effort of the government should be involving private investors in the sector and successively building the implementation capacity of development actors at each level. Similarly, investors and other stakeholders should focus on overhauling the sector by constructing facilities used to provide quality services; participating as vanguards in the construction of hotels and other infrastructure used to develop the sector.
Over all, nation understands the very fact that investment in the country’s infrastructure is definitely necessary to be a winning actor in the tourism industry. And it will sedulously work to build more infrastructures and realize robust tourism services across the country.
Yared believes business will continue to burgeon with time. However, revival of tourism at the national level needs the concerted effort of all actors. His company is trying hard to cope with problems and render best services. However, he is interested to see main stakeholders of the sector act in unison. The spirit of cooperation and partnership is of strategic value to ensure synergistic results and this is possible only when each stakeholder works in a team spirit.
BY FEKADU W.
So many historical documents and heritages have been stolen from Ethiopia during the times of external invasion and missionary expeditions in different periods of time.
During the invasion of the British Empire and Italy at the reigns of Emperor Tewodros and Emperor Haile Selassie respectively; and the expeditions made by different Europeans like James Bruce were few events that the Ethiopian codices were stolen and taken to Europe.
Including the original copy of the Book of Job thousands of books and historical documents which accommodate different historical facts, Ethiopian philosophies, medical prescriptions, horological and space studies, etc. were stolen from this country and taken to Europe and other parts of the world.
The stolen codices could be more than that because this information is gathered only from the books that are found in the national libraries and museums of countries like Britain, France, Italy and Germany.
Even though these heritages were taken illegally, they are still remaining in those European libraries and museums with catalogs and name of collections by the honor and names of those who stolen them.
A catalog 'Fondo Conti Rosini’, provided with a special archive for Ethiopian Brana books in the Italian National Library for instance, is one significant example. The catalog is named in the memory of the invasive Italian civil worker in Eritrea Carlo Konti Rosini (1889-1903,), the man who illegally taken several Ethiopian codices to Italy. Similarly, several books in the French National Library (BNF) are placed with catalogs named after the individuals who took them from Ethiopia to France.
While it is a concrete fact that the books were taken illegally, returning them back to their origin seems to be a difficult task. The Council for Heritage Restitution has been making several efforts for the return of cultural and historical heritages and some were successful. The restitution of the Axum Obelisk which was looted by the Fascist Italy can be mentioned as one of the greater success of the Council.
However, the effort seems to be a little beat abated. In the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP- II) years, it was stated to repatriate some about twenty illegally taken nations heritages from different countries. But the result is still zero. This is an indicator that the Council has some shortcomings and the diplomacy to achieve such tasks is weak.
Even worse the reality that hundreds of codices that have been looted by three local individuals and restituted by the Federal police recently are indicators that the nation is still loose in protecting its heritages.
Of course, the Ethiopian Heritage Protection Authority is providing trainings for concerned bodies in different structures towards protecting heritages; but the heritages are still looted illegally.
Though not in a significant increase, the crime is still ongoing and different maneuvers are implemented.
The issue is not a simple agenda that should be left only for the Council or the Heritage Protection Authority or other governmental structures. It is a responsibility that relies on the public, different scholars and even countries that the heritages are currently kept. They have the responsibility to agree to return country's heritages for they are only the footprints of our ancient civilization. They are our cultural, religious and socioeconomic identities and if there is a place they have to be kept, it should be in their own land of origin, not in libraries and museums and fancy houses of the people that they do not belong to.
The Association for the Return of the Mekdala Ethiopian Treasures Initiative that have been started by Professor Richard Pankhurst should be revived and efforts need to continue without pull backs.
Ethiopian National Cultural Center proposed design of the new building which is going to be constructed at a cost of seven million Birr sought to solve problems related to shortage of rooms and spaces for its services.
The building would lie on 34,500 square meters and incorporates museums, libraries, multipurpose hall, exhibition centre, theatre hall, artifact and music training rooms, shops and various offices among others, Centre Director General Dr. Elfinesh Haile tells The Ethiopian Herald.
She believes that the new building would enable the centre to archive and display the cultural heritages of Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (NNPs).
“It is very supportive to promote various cultures and attract tourists probably helping the centre to generate income through exhibiting and visitations,” notes Dr. Elfinesh
It was also learnt that the design need to be reformed in a way it could incorporate some form of the country’s traditional architectural heritages, and open spaces for traditional sports.
Accepting the feedbacks, the Director General responds to participants that the design depicts the symbol of the nine states and cultural artifacts of various NNPs.
The first design of the building was displayed on Tuesday to various stakeholders and essential feedbacks were forwarded, it was noted.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
The recent speculations floating on social media and some unreliable news sources claiming that the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is halted signals a desperate attempt to portray a bleak image on the indisputable progress of the dam, says Office.
Ethiopia is solely directed at finalizing the construction and it does not intend to respond to every recurrent rumors and baseless reports,
Tagel Kenubih, Deputy Director General at the Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the GERD tells The Ethiopian Herald.
The construction of the dam is being carried out in line with the schedule reaching over 60 percent completion currently notes Tagel. Some media outlets have information vacuum that they resort on rumors and unreliable information sources, he adds, “ Had they have been able to set their feet on the construction site, they would not have speculated.
“Every one can openly pay visit to the dam and observe the progress. In fact let alone visiting the site, the entire Ethiopian people have been sustaining financial contribution to the dam. The government and the people remain as robust as they have been to finance and complete the dam.”
So far 10.5 billion Birr is secured from the public, he further note adding that in the last year, the public has contributed financial assistance worth 1.2 billion Birr and is expected to contribute 1.5 billion birr this year.
Meanwhile, some Egyptian media outlets have been reporting that the dam may compromise the water share and supply of Egypt, which Ethiopia strongly and repeatedly disagrees.
Contrary to what some Egyptian media was propagating, Trans-boundary Resource Affairs Acting Director Zerihun Abebe indicated that GERD will have multiple benefits to the downstream countries, up on presenting a paper on the very sense of the Dam, recently.
Ethiopia repeatedly assured for long its readiness to work with other Nile riparian countries on fair utilization of the river, he underscored.
“For long, Ethiopia firmly believed in common benefits and negotiations and will continue to do so. That is why international panel of experts was formed that have been conducting various technical studies where they indicated that dam does not affect the downstream countries.”
GERD could be used as an opportunity for bringing sense of cooperation and the tripartite national committee has continued to work on the studies, noted Zerihun.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT
• Wheat rust severity gets below one per cent
Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resource revealed that a great amount of yield is expected by 2018 based on the current trajectory. It was indicated that integrated effects have been exerted on protecting the crop from diseases and insects with effective pesticide management and distribution.
According to Plant Protection Director Zebdiyos Salato, the Ministry has also been implementing a monitoring, forecasting and early warning strategy. The strategy is being already implemented in sixty Woredas of the Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and peoples and Tigray States after
agriculture extension workers were trained, the Director also noted.
“We share early warning and forecasting information with farmers and agriculture extension workers via SMS and email. As soon as they see the sign of wheat rust they text us messages and the Ministry would take the necessary measures”.
He said the reports coming from seventeen research centers throughout the country indicated that the severity rate of wheat rust incidence has reached below one per cent based on its current trajectory. As a result, there is no significant impact at the current status of agriculture products, Zebdiyos underscored.
Furthermore, the Director indicated that the wheat rust incidence was detected in all the sixty Woredas aforementioned states, but it was successfully put under control through the various proactive measures taken by the Ministry, agriculture extension workers and the farmers. Even though pesticide is the least option used to control wheat rust, there is enough chemical pesticides imported by different stakeholders and distributed to the states.
According to him, monocropping has been the major culprit for the incidence. Raising awareness has been one of the major tasks undertaken over the past year to encourage farmers to farm their land with variety crops. Control measures have been also taken using trap nursery methods.
Zebdiyos said there is a technique command post - which is led by the State Minister - that assess every Friday the progress made in preventing the pest, and gives guidelines on next steps.
Ethiopia utilizes 1.6 million hectares of wheat production per annum.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
At different times, Ethiopia has lost numerous ancient cultural heritages and treasures because of looting and plundering. Though there have been initiatives now and then to facilitate the return of these stolen heritages, the outcomes have not been pleasing.
In various western museums, it is common to find ancient Ethiopian manuscripts, religious objects and instruments, archeological remains and the likes that represent nation’s long aged history.
On the other hand, the looting and smuggling of these precious cultural heritages are still prevalent inside the country. On Tuesday, the Federal Police has confiscated 100 codices [manuscripts] from three individuals and given the custody to the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritages (ARCCH).
Abera Anjulo is a Cultural Heritage Inspection and Standardization Senior Expert at ARCCH. He tells The Ethiopian Herald that mostly moveable heritages in religious institutions are vulnerable to illegal trafficking.
The most notable incidents that led to the looting of the cultural heritages are the 1868 British expedition to and the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Since then, the looting of heritages has been intensified, he adds.
Following the seizure of Maqdala during the 1968 expedition, Emperor Tewodros II committed suicide and the British troops seized whatever treasures they could found. The nearby church of Madhane Alam, (the Saviour of the World), was also sorrowfully looted.
Hailemelekote Agizewe, Senior Heritage Conservator at the Authority says the Emperor had collected most of Ethiopian heritages in a library. “The heritages looted during the expedition include crowns, manuscripts, processional crosses, ecclesiastical objects and Tabots (replica of the Arch of the Covenant), national archives and the likes,” he says.
The British took the looted heritages to the port with 15 elephants and almost 200 mules and carried them home. And the sad thing according to Hailemelekote was that, “while transporting the treasures, the British troops dropped portion of them in to the flood around Eritrea in order to reduce the burden and carry on through the heavy rain.”
Tewodros’s successor, Emperor Yohannes IV, who was saddened by the loss of the treasures, requested Queen Victoria through a letter for the return of two items, a manuscript and an icon.
“Today, international agreements and conventions the country signed make it difficult to request the return of treasures looted prior 1950’s,” says Abera.
But there is legal loophole for the Maqdala treasures to return home as it differs to other restitution cases. This is because; it is acknowledged that the treasures were simply stolen.
He also states that the effort to return the heritages should not be left to the authority alone as it also requires diplomatic engagements.
Most notably, Association for the Return of the Maqdala Ethiopian Treasures (AFROMET), established by the initiative of Richard Pankhurst has been campaigning and lobbying for the return of the heritages since 1999.
The British Government also returned some of the looted items, one of Tewodros’ two crowns in 1924, the royal cap and seal in 1965. Ethiopia also succeeded in its struggle to return the Axum Obelisk, which was stolen during the time of Italian invasion.
Ethiopian treasures were also stolen at different times. “For instance, in the 17th century, James Bruce stole the most mysterious biblical Book of Enoch. Besides, those who came for diplomatic mission, religious affairs and trade have also smuggled out Ethiopian treasures at different times,” Halemelekote adds.
While the government is striving to develop the country’s tourism sector as means to diversify the basis of the economy, the return of its antiquities is crucial. These treasures will attract the stream of tourists. “The second GTP, we are working to facilitate the return of 20 heritages to Ethiopia though none have materialized so far” says Abera.
In fact according to the 2004 report of the UK’s newspaper, The Independent, the Maqdala collections that are scattered in the UK alone are believed to be worth three billion USD.
In addition, the manuscripts hold very valuable knowledge that these days; Ethiopian scholars are obliged to make payments to access Geeze manuscripts found in Germany.
While some hesitate to return the heritages by claiming they could not be properly preserved in Ethiopia, the nation’s history shows that despite the long history of war, every Ethiopian took personal responsibility for the safety of cultural and historical heritages.
The other factor that necessitates the return of the heritages to Ethiopia is the fact that, for instance the Tabots are religious objects that are meaningless outside a church.
In addition, the heritages are central for the youth to feel a sense of pride in their country and hence it is important to catalogue and register Ethiopian heritages both home and abroad.
“We have prepared a national scientific heritages registration manual format,” Abera says adding “we are also preparing national data base for cultural heritages”.
ARCCH was established by proclamation number 1992/209. According to the proclamation, individuals who engage in illegal smuggling of cultural heritages will face six to 20 years jail sentence. However, because of lack of awareness about the value of heritages, the proclamation has not been properly enforced. Hence, it is vital to improve the awareness of those in the judiciary about the national value of heritages,” Abera emphasizes.
BY ABIY HAILU