I have good manners,
I show others respect and;
I will always help those who need me,
It is not because I am old fashioned,
It is because I was raised properly.
I am proud of being old school!' says a quotation which is hanged on one of the private schools wall that I read a few months ago.
It is right. Schools, next to parents, have been considered as the most influential institutions to shape generation's etiquette- build socially acceptable code of conduct and correct behavior, discipline, and moral. However, nowadays, this seems to be a my
th and a far cry from the reality. Following the ever changing life style, globalization and advancement of technology among others, it seems that schools are put in jeopardy to successfully realize this societal goal. As a result, etiquette has become a thing of the past and perceived as an old fashioned custom that no longer matters in the contemporary society. Do not get me wrong, while etiquette is declining and disappearing from day to day, socially unacceptable behaviors are becoming more and more prevalent.
The reasons for this societal failure, according to Kahsay Gebregziabher, Deputy Editor-In-Chief of 'Zena Bete Christian Magazine' with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, including families, the new technologies, media, and educational institutions have contributed a lot.
“Etiquette is a sum of varied societal values, principles, norms or rules that governs and represents what is desirable and acceptable. It is also a base to create ordeal, ethical, considerate and caring society. Through creating and ensuring order, we can lay a foundation for socially acceptable and predictable behaviors which is one ways of creating ordeal society.”
While talking about the lack of manners in today's society, Kahsay said lack of manners in today's people is expressed in relative terms. When it is compared with old days, no doubt, there is a declining in manners and courtesy in this generation.
When it is compared with other countries, the nation is in a better position than other countries. And getting to the point, whatever the situation is, it is clearly noticed that these days, etiquette is declining from day-to-day alarmingly.
According to Kahsay, communities' etiquette has started to decline in the Military Government while the Derg Regime introduced the Communist ideology and changed the political, economic, and social nature of the Ethiopian state. Since that time, it is worsening in a manner almost hard to keep it up.
Kahsay said “Civilization does not erode manners. For this saying Korea is a good example. Even if the country is one of the highly advanced nations, civilization does not erode its peoples' manners. Manners and the code of etiquette for Japanese are of great importance that they are strictly governed by.”
As to him, parents, media, Ministry of Education, educational institutions and the community have incalculable roles in creating well mannered citizens. Parents, as they are the first mentors and socialization agents, should spent more time in educating their young ones about morality and ethical standards of conduct.
Likewise, incorporating moral education within the existing curriculum is an issue that the Ministry of Education should accept as the best approach.
However, this does not mean that schools have to preach religions within their classrooms. Rather, it means to teach the basic human values that are common and ground for all regions, such as love, peace, forgiveness, truth, integrity, honesty, sincerity, altruism and the like principles. Doing so, further than building well mannered citizens causes no harm to any nation nationalities
Media also have greater role in this regard. Before they disseminate their programs, they should evaluate the impacts of the programs on youth. These all provide the opportunity to restore the best possible manner that the country has developed for centuries and pass them down to posterity, Kahsay underscored.
“We are a nation of diversified cultures and languages. We have a longstanding culture of hospitality, good manners, and behavior that are demonstrated through being courteous, genuine, considerate and kind to others. These make us unique around the globe. However, this is declining gradually and unless some measure are taken, sooner or later, the cost on the society will be devastating, much worse than wronged feelings,” Kahsay warned.
Civil and Ethical Education Director General with The Ministry of Education Legesse Negash also agreed with Kahsay's idea said nation's etiquette is declining from day to day. Youth are highly prone to be influenced and develop undesirable behaviors. Including globalization, the rapidly changing environment, media and peers pressure are corrupting easily y
Remembering that during the Emperor and Derg Regimes moral and political educations had been given to students respectively, Legesse said the incumbent government with the intention of creating well educated, skillful, and innovative generation, it has developed a new Education and Training Policy in 1994. Concurrently, giving considerable attention to the Civics and Ethical education, it has incorporated it in the curriculum.
The purpose of the education, as he elaborated, focuses on creating responsible and active participant generation in the development of democratic governance within the nation and inculcating etiquette that are of Ethiopian values. In this regard, multifaceted activities are carried out
As Legesse stated in Civic and Ethical education students learn about the Ethiopian Constitution: its core values and principles, This apart from raising their awareness towards Nation Nationalities of Peoples', it has enabled them to value diversity, exercise their democratic rights and responsibilities in the society and play active role in democratic life.
As a result, although it is not at the desired level, it is enabled to create generation who knows its rights and responsibilities, respect the values of diversity, democracy and human rights, he said.
While talking about the outcome of the education in inculcating etiquette within the new generation Legesse said, the Ministry in collaboration with various stakeholders including FDRE Policy Study and Research Center, Awareness creation on Federalism of the Federation Council. Walta Information Center, in different times has conducted various assessments to evaluate the outcome of the education
“The findings of the assessments, however, outlined that the Civics and Ethical Education has its own gaps in shaping the younger generation and creating good and ethical behaviors on them,” he stated.
According to the Director General, factors that range from content to teachers recruitment process, non-involvement of stakeholders (religious leaders), as well as the way it is delivered because it mainly focused on Civics rather than delivering both Civics and Ethics in parallel), have limited the effectiveness of the education. “Thus, the Ministry realizing the gaps and taking into consideration other countries' ethics education experiences, it has finalized preparation revise/release nation's Civics and Ethics Education curriculum, And the revised program when implemented will definitely bring about the desired objective” Legesse remarked.
“Creating generations who are ethical and equipped with good manners is not
a responsibility that is left merely for the government. The Ministry though takes the lion's share, parents, religious and educational institutions, judiciary bodies, media and the community have indispensable roles.”
Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority Communication Affairs Directorate Director Gebregiorgis Abreha on his part said that to any form of media, let it be governmental, private or community, audiences are their primary targets. As they are the primary source of information, they have to be careful what to transmit to whom: the content of the message transferred need to take into consideration the political, cultural, and social value of audiences. By doing so, media teach, inform and entertain the society thereby shape people's attitude, beliefs and etiquette.
The media institutions existed within the country, however, it can be due to lack of knowledge or giving less attention to the issue, their contribution in creating strong civil generation is minimal, he further said.
The Authority, in the just ended fiscal year, conducted inspection in various g
overnmental and private media institution to asses their roles in shaping the behavior and good manners of the young generation, inculcating the principles of constitution and constitutional knowledge, and building up the awareness of youth towards federal system.
However, the Director further said, the findings have shown as there is a gap in that regard. To close the gap, hence, the Authority further than taking measures, has conducted effective discussions and awareness creation forums with pertinent media personnel and reached at consensus
While talking the negative influences of media on eroding youths' good manners Gebregiorgis said medias' negative impacts in this regard reflected in two ways. The first one is while they are capable enough to perform their societal responsibilities but fail to do so and the second is due to lack of knowledge, capacity or any other related cases fail to act accordingly. The undesirable consequences of both cases are immense and profound.
The other negative impact of media is caused by not identifying the target audiences. These all have the potential to generate negative effects on the new generation, he underscored.
The Authority to end this is working with concerned bodies. It has pr
ovided awareness creation trainings for media people and also taken the necessary measures on those institutions which violated the media ethics.
“We all aspire to see a well developed country whose peace and security is sustained. One of the ways to achieve this is, building good mannered generation. Hence, we have to work together to building best-behaved generation.” the Director stressed.
It is clear, when a society lacks manners, the core values and beliefs would be violated and lead to undesirable consequences. Shaping generation, as it is expressed repeatedly is not the responsibility of one party. Rather, it requires concerted efforts of all. So, we should act today and get a solution before things get more complicated.
BY ELIZABETH MENGISTU
State Minister Professor Afework Kassu
In this modern age almost all nations in the world have a rising interest to develop and bring up competitive position in all global economic spheres. Ethiopia having an immense potential to become a lower middle income country in few years time, it is giving attention to investing in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), side by side with its focus among other sectors.
The world is now witnessing an innovation driven growth that is supported by science and technology. It is almost difficult to think of development without science and technology. These streams are no longer the privileges of only developed nations. Contrary to the fact that only developed nations have tapped these areas of potential, some developing countries have practically achieved significant economic growth through the creation and deployment of their science, technology and innovation arsenal. And those countries in the world that have tapped these potentials have improved the lives of their citizens whereas those who do not use them well are unlikely and incapable even to meet basic needs of their citizens.
Ethiopia gives much emphasis to science and technology fields as the nation is aspiring to structurally transform its economy from agriculture-led to an industry-led one. As we all know, industrial transformation demands sufficient focus to science, technology and innovation streams. In this regard, the education policy of the country gives priority to science and technology. And this is mainly why the education system of the country gives priority to these particular disciplines. As far as the proportion of higher learning institutions go and their student intake and resource mobilization is concerned, 70 percent of all the instructional process is geared towards science, technology and innovation whereas 30 percent goes to social science fields.
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Ethiopia gives much focus to four major areas in science and technology sector to reap the potential benefits of the area.
The major areas of focus that is under implementation at the moment by the Ministry and its stakeholders are research, building science and technology culture, development of science and technology media transmissions and strong infrastructure, and institutional development.
Opening a three days long workshop held this week with the aim of building the leadership capacity of women leaders working at the Ministry of Science and Technology, State Minister Professor Afework Kassu said that all stakeholders should work towards achieving the biggest global and national targets of science, technology and innovation spheres.
Mentioning the fact that the Ministry is working towards building the capacity of women leaders in the sector, the State Minister explained that as there are over 50 million women living in the country, actively engaging them and elevating their contribution on science, technology and innovation is essential to tap sector's potential.
Unfortunately, as reports and State Minister's presentation indicate even if there are a large number of women population in the country, there are only fewer researchers in the field. And this calls for strengthened effort to reverse the situation.
The science and technology stream should develop in line with the current global trends and national demands. It has to evolve in a manner to meet the real thoughts and current dynamics of the world. After all, a country that has not achieved a fruitful science, technology and innovation objectives will not be able to transform its economy in an aspired and fruitful manner.
The sector has already established various institutions, infrastructures in its different sub-sectors that are crucial in, supporting, supervising and monitoring various endeavors. The State Minister added; “We are working towards
establishing a better data management system since data is highly crucial for the dynamic development of the stream.”
Moreover, he explained that working using a standard which considers not only nation's development goals but the development benefits of neighboring countries as well is crucial. “We have to see the big picture,” the State Minster stressed.
Professor Afework highlights that every work we do on the sector should be complementary and supportive to the bigger pictures of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the national second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) targets.
In a related topic, Director of Change Management and Good Governance at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Siber Andualem told The Ethiopian Herald that the government is giving considerable priority to the implementation of science, technology and innovation as these are very instrumental to nation's development.
The Director explains that the Ministry is supporting the sector by facilitating and conducting research, awarding grants, and recognizing individuals, organizations and research findings in the areas of innovation.
According to Siber, the sector is an engine for development and improving national competitiveness, in addition to its role of providing global public goods. Technological change, particularly in developing countries, is not only about innovation, but it is also about adopting existing products and processes to achieve higher levels of productivity that will be applicable to local contexts.
Siber further elaborates: “In this process, the ability of local firms and enterprises to access technological know-how is fundamental in building their capacity and providing products and services.” He adds that these are essential to improve the living standards of the public, promote growth and competitiveness.
The low level of understanding and the poor culture towards the benefits of science, technology and innovation are challenges to the sector to the point of hindering its rapid development. Even if there are many young and enthusiastic human resources, they lack experience. Moreover, the gap in ICT infrastructure in the country is also the other bottleneck that is challenging in the ongoing effort made to strengthen science, technology and innovation in the country.
According to Siber, science, technology and innovation needs to be made more participatory and inclusive so that there is public engagement in the scientific endeavor from the full spectrum of social actors, including women, young people and indigenous communities. And the Ministry is working on areas such as gender mainstreaming, data gathering, standard based performance and quality closely with its different stakeholders like science and technology universities, accountable institutions, the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology, the Ethiopian Biomass Technology and the Ethiopian Science Academy and many more stakeholders.
Professionals and concerned bodies are often heard saying that science, technology and Engineering are areas of development that are crucial to harness Ethiopia’s Development.
Mark Gelfand, a scholar and invested a lot in the area through various programs said Ethiopia once was a great nation and Ethiopians should work together to revive nation's glory. The coming new generations should be motivated by the exciting fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
These fields could go in perfect harmony with agricultural engineering, water tech, construction, health care innovation and delivery, and many other related fields that are decisive to the future destiny of its people.
He stressed; “The development and progresses Ethiopia has made so far is remarkable, and this should be highly accompanied by the advancement of science and technology.”
Ethiopia is envisioning to become a lower middle income country by 2025. And the role of science, technology and innovation in this regard is irreplaceable
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
To simply affirm, democracy and declare progress does not provide an alibi, but we must not lose sight of the fact that they constitute vital pillars of our civilization. When we talk about change and progress, we must speak honestly, because change is not something reserved for anyone who wants to put it into practice. In fact, our life is a continual change (and there is continual progress), whether we like it or loathe it! We are not asked whether we agree or not with the world that is changing around us at the speed of light. In reality, whether we like it or not, change and progress is an integral part of the life of a country and its people.
Often, there are a few people who criticize those who govern our country. This is usually because, in some way, they have been diverted from something that was part of their old habits and therefore they want to eschew change and hence deter our nation’s growth and progress. For some of these compatriots, the idea of progress out of the gloom of backwardness is something they instinctively reject as a concept of change. So, it is such that some people are often dissatisfied with what they get from life, even though they would like to improve things. But how can we make things better if we continue to demonize our institutions? In fact, if we are able to accept progress, we will gradually get a result, especially if we are willing to accept ethical change. One thing that I have always considered is that there are millions of people who think that change is a kind of cancellation of our history, which it is not. I believe that it is not necessary to throw down the whole house in order to rebuild it from scratch.
Democracy is change by mutual agreement. Change and progress of our personal habits, ideas, points of view, and anything else that is part of us is part of the change which we "decide" to alter (our habits, our ideas, our attitudes).
However, real change for the nation is change by mutual trust (i.e. democracy) which is an extraordinary opportunity for evolution, expansion and improvement of what we are (as a nation). So, change will nevertheless take place through good institutional change. This will correspond to improving our environment and creating a better future of our children. The change and progress of a country should not mean destroying the old to make room for a new but to expand into a new self to become better and different (able to welcome both old and new). By changing ourselves, we will help our nation to become stronger with a more united identity, that of a united Ethiopia.
That is why managing progress well (in the change phase) is one of the most important things that we can do for our country so that we do not give up the steering wheel. Let's take an example of a few days ago when I heard a pastor's sermon, in which he described respect for the Government by citing the role of the Commander of a ship who should not sail into the sea without knowing the destination. Hence, the leaders and the population need to know where their ship is going. As the Central authority must listen and understand the people in order to have their support to be able to reap the fruit of their decisions then if we want to be “in the right place in the future”. Hence, the Commander must start taking the right decisions in the right away to reach the goal of change and progress.
Our predecessors have said, "To be satisfied is to surrender”. We know that we have to accept change. It is very important to embrace the goals of progress and change so that we may reach our potential. However, we must understand that sometimes the obstacles to our dreams are ourselves. Not because we love to fail, but for the simple reason that we do not believe enough in what we are and that which we can become. This is a terrible wrong that we do to ourselves (and to our country). So we must trust in ourselves and those that lead our country! We repeat this word of “trust” every time we feel lost or worried. We must not worry (or feel lost) as we need to trust our Institutions. To have unity within our country and trust in our Institutions is a great reason never to give up as we can therefore evolve to pave the way for our dreams. Progress along with good change is very useful and will be durable.
The Government of Ethiopia, as everybody knows, has set a course of change and progress which includes large projects which are needed to improve the context of the evolution of our country. Then we will see and understand that poverty and underdevelopment are not the destiny of Ethiopia. Many times in tribal cultures knowledge is not transmitted through the written word or courses, but through words that pass down from father to son, grandfather to grandson. But we have to evolve and that is why it is necessary to believe with conviction in the Institutions that have to build a new world for the people of Ethiopia. It is up to the people of Ethiopia to make the destiny of our nation a strong destiny. Change is an essential part of our lives, it happens gradually, but with it comes improvement of Democracy and progress, promoting the well-being of a people that depends upon our government.
In conclusion, I believe the value of happiness is a fundamental requirement of human existence and this value has not lost its weight even in modern society. In order to maintain Democracy and Progress the Institutions of our democratic Government of Ethiopia have the duty of preserving our cultures and unity (and to maintain happiness within our nation) by ensuring that the changes that they deliver to the nation are good for all of the people of Ethiopia.
God Bless Ethiopia and the peoples of Ethiopia.
BY AKLILE BERHAN MAKONNEN HAILE SELASSIE
Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after completing the 2017 Article IV consultation discussion with the Ethiopian government, issued its report. According to the report, Ethiopia's economy has continued to register the most impressive growth.
Appreciating government's efforts in mitigating the social, economical and political impacts of the drought, the report said the interventions taken by the government were timely and effective.
It is true that Ethiopia has been registering rapid economic growth at an annual rate, between 8.7 and 11 percent, which makes the country one of the fastest growing economies, since the past decade and a half. This growth, applauded in every domain, is the result of the government's favorable policies and strategies in all development spectrum.
Indeed, there were times when the policies and strategies had been criticized by local, regional and international politicians, experts and development agencies. These strategies and policies for them were totally inviable, over ambitious and dubious to be translated to achievable goals.
The Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI) was one of the strategies criticized by various parties for ineffectiveness. The argument behind this strategy was that any country cannot realize growth without a significant degree of industrialization particularly with fragmented land and small scale farming.
However, for Ethiopia where agriculture is the backbone of its economy, owning large human resources but limited capital, ADLI is suitable and effective strategy to the country's realities on the ground.
Generally speaking, it is a strategy that is rooted in the assumption that emphasizes on optimally utilizing what an entity (be it an individual, company or a country) has in abundance, and compensate for what it lacks through it.
And again generally speaking, the strategy enables the maximum use of abundant resources, i.e labor, land, and creation of agricultural products, commercial farmers and industrial inputs, which all play their role in maintaining food security and facilitating future industrialization at the same time.
As a result, even if various parties criticized the strategy and predicted the worst outcome, the strategy has proved to be successful by demonstrating productivity, sustaining food security, facilitating a shift to higher-valued crops, and promoting a niche high-valued export crops. And, the country is able to register a double digit growth for consecutive years. Not only that, the strategy has paved the way to industrialization.
The growing manufacturing industries and industrial parks that are expanding throughout the country, as we speak, demonstrate that the country is in a right track to industrialization. And the industrialization is the kind that is based on utilization of domestic raw materials with labor-intensive technology. In this manner, the industrialization process avoids foreign fund-driven overheating and bubble.
It should also be noted that as a strategy, ADLI is a dynamic and shifting strategy that enables the country to adapt with the real time growth and developments of nation's economy.
Nowadays, the country's fate and history has changed for the better. The country, whose name was once associated with famine, has now elevated to new heights of development while reducing the level of poverty in its people.
The policies and strategies, which were once considered as unworkable and criticized widely, have now received appreciation, are taken as best experiences and models for the rest of the world.
Currently, as the IMF and World Bank reports indicate, the nation is now one of the fastest world economies that has already achieved food security. Even the country is in a position to shift from agrarian based economy to an industrial one, agriculture will still be in a leading position until the transition is full-fledged.
A year later its endorsement, the National Employment Policy and Strategy said to be envisioned to flourish democracy, good governance and social justice based on equity and participation of citizens, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs reveals.
Minister Abdulfetah Abdulahi notes that the growing demand for trained and skilled manpower in the country should be aligned with nation's socio-economic development.
The new policy and strategy has been crafted with a view of ensuring the harmonization of macroeconomic and sectoral policies so as to match the demand and supply of labor force in the nation.
Abdulfetah states adding “Creating favorable and decent employment possibility and enhancing productivity and competitiveness are essential to ensure social justice and employment opportunity for all.”
In a related topic Harari State Labor and Social Affairs Bureau Head Romedan Omer tells The Ethiopian Herald that the policy will fill the demand and supply of trained manpower gaps and thereby solve the improper handling of employees in any institution.
He further says: “the National Employment Policy and Strategy, hopefully, will reduce rural and urban unemployment challenges by curbing the rural-urban migration and improving the existing man power management system.”
It will also end up the maltreatment that fellow citizens are facing in overseas. However, for the effective implementation of the policy, an active engagement of pertinent bodies is crucial, he underlines.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Services Division, Citizen’s Follow-up and Support Directorate Coordinator Abdulbasit Keddir says that the employment policy and strategy will solve several social crises like illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling among others.
The illegal foreign routes which has been causing horrific consequences on fellows will be blocked as a legal and safest way is opened for travelers.
He further noteas that his Ministry has signed labor agreements with Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to this end.
“Countries like Saudi Arabia, which are parties to the labor agreements with Ethiopia, are insisting to realize the agreements effectively. However, there are some delays in the implementation of our employment policy,” he remarks, adding that pertinent organizations should enter to its implementation sooner.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is responsible for the proper implementation of the employment policy and strategy and evaluating its effectiveness. It also take measures in case of failures .
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
Dr. Eyasu Aberha
A 10-year National Horticulture Development and Marketing Strategy that aimed at enhancing the product and productivity of horticultural products for better commercialization was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
In an opening remark he made at the launching workshop yesterday, Minister Dr. Eyasu Aberha stated that the strategy is designed to the horticulture sector to play a meaningful role in reducing the country’s dependency on rain-fed agriculture and enhancing irrigation development.
The strategy is also essential for Ethiopia to utilize its enormous irrigation potential estimated to be 11 million hectares and could support the livelihoods of 44 million people according to Dr. Eyasu.
The Minister outlined government’s commitment in providing export incentives, customs duty exemption, income tax holidays and land in competitive lease price to attract more private investments in the sector.
He said: “Due to government’s rigorous effort, the private sectors' involvement in the horticulture industry has shown a sharp progress and they have been playing a meaningful role in job creation, technology and knowledge transfer as well as foreign currency earning.’’
Regarding the exploration of new export destination and consolidating outstanding market niches, the Minister noted that the government is doing its level best and as result country’s horticultural products are attracting international buyers.
“Many European and Middle East countries have shown a growing demand to import Ethiopia’s horticultural products and leads the incumbent to increase market-oriented products, enhance post-harvest storage and modernize the marketing system,’’
Furthermore, due consideration has also been given to improve input, technology, and extension services and maximize the benefits of all stakeholders in agriculture value chain, Dr. Eyasu said.
He further said a plan has already set to connect market-oriented horticultural products in the agro-industry parks to enhance the cluster horticultural development.
For his part, State Minister Tesfaye Mengiste said that the strategy aimed at employing new technologies to commercialize the horticulture sector and maximize the export revenue.
As to him, the strategy redefined irrigation as the driving force to boost country’s agricultural products thereby supplying to international markets sufficiently.
“Ethiopia set to develop 4.1 million hectares of land through irrigation and produce 62.8 million tons of fruits and vegetables, and roots by the end of the second Growth and Transformation Plan by small scale farmers and private investors.’’
The country secured 49.2 million USD from horticulture in 2015/16 fiscal year, he said, adding due attention has been given to increase export earnings.
Tesfaye said the government has been taking various measures to further consolidating role of agriculture in transforming the country’s economy mentioning the formulation of policies and strategies, implementation of packages, allocation of huge resources and establishment of agricultural education and research institutions.
The workshop attracted professionals and leaders from the Ministry, state bureaus, research institutions, private companies engaged in the horticulture sector and pertinent stakeholders.
BY BILAL DERSO
The Ethiopian Airlines, the standing out flag carrier amidst the turbulent industry, is bolstering the trade and investment relations between Ethiopia and destination countries spanning across the world.
In a written response to The Ethiopian Herald, the Airline notes that flights to and from its over100 destinations across five continents are proving successful in advancing the trade and investment ties beyond the travel service.
Ethiopian has availed seamless air connectivity options for potential investors, traders and tourists through its vast and ever-expanding global passenger and cargo networks, the Airline adds.
Having one of the largest and biggest Cargo and Logistic Center with one million tons annual uplift capacity, Ethiopian indicates that it has always been at the forefront in catalyzing the country’s import and export trade.
As part of the Ethiopian strategic roadmap, Vision 2025 centering on the expansion of infrastructure, it has been making massive investments to modernize and expand its cargo facilities at a total cost of 150 million USD.
“The new Cargo Terminal-II combined with our existing Terminal-I has given us a total tonnage capacity of around one million per annum which is the largest in the continent of Africa,’’ the airliner says.
Moreover, upon completion of the second phase, which adds 600, 000 tons annual uplift capacity, the cargo and logistics services would have one of the world’s largest cargo terminals with a capability equivalent to cargo terminals in Amsterdam Schiphol, Singapore Changi, or Hong Kong.
Ethiopian investment, which resulted massive cargo facilities along with six modern B777F and two B-757F fleets, would also create adequate air cargo transporting capacity for the fast growing export and import demand of the country and the African continent at large.
Concerning tourism, Ethiopian states that it has attached due attention to promote the country’s touristic resources.
As part of these efforts, the Airline has established a dedicated department, 'Ethiopian Holidays', that closely works with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in offering tourists’ attractive packages to Ethiopia.
“Ethiopian always showcases and promotes the tourism resources of the country to its destinations using its deep-rooted brand; the airliner has named its fleets after the notable legends, historical and tourist attraction places in the country so as to inspire travelers to come and see the place ascribed on the aircraft they board.’’
Furthermore, the airliner has introduced the E-Visa service for international visitors to Ethiopia where the service is processed and issued on a single web page where applicants apply, pay and secure their entry visas online.
Along with its extensive international routes, Ethiopian has well developed domestic network covering over 20 destinations within the country thereby enhancing accessibility of the major tourist sites.
“The national flag carrier in its flight all over the globe is heralding that Ethiopian as an airline and Ethiopia as a country are registering significant growth. By doing so, the airliner communicates the nation’s messages to investors and visitors who then flood to the country,’’ the airline notes.
Ethiopian is the largest African Airliner networked with more than 100 destinations across five continents and transporting over 8.76 million passengers a year.
BY BILAL DERSO
Experts involved in the tourism sector are expecting the national branding effort to make the country's tourism sector more competitive, and help Ethiopia better utilize its tourism potential and comparative advantage.
Nation branding may be relatively a new concept, but it is not a new thing for countries to manage their image. Nowadays countries hire public relations firms and apply brand management theory, just as any corporation would do.
Generally speaking, in the era of globalization, where the world is becoming a single market and there is huge competition to attract tourists and foreign investment, countries are looking at made nation branding as an important tool to stay competitive.
For developing countries like Ethiopia, sculpting a well thought out brand can help in terms of tourism competitiveness, and managing image. Many countries have been already doing such a great job in this regard – like the 'Malaysia truly Asia', ‘cool Britannia’ campaign.
Ethiopia has seen the potential advantages of nation brand application in elevating tourism competitiveness. To this end, the country has come up with its own national brand: “Ethiopia: Land of Origin” to better utilize its vast potential of unique natural, cultural and historical tourist attractions.
The tourism market is very dynamic and competitive, so there needs to be a recognizable identity and brand in order to penetrate the market, says Sisay Getachew, Director of Tourism Marketing at Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO). “There are 1.6 billion tourists flowing annually, and we have to think strategically in order to carve out our own market share.”
The government has taken the initiative to create and promote strong tourism, and to that end, along with the relevant stakeholders, it has come up with a brand they believe ticks the current consumer taste. This meant changing or re-branding the long time tourism brand of Ethiopia “13 Months of Sunshine”.
The dominant paradigm of the tourism industry in the past, the so-called 'Three Ss' – 'Sand, Sea, and Sun', has shifted to a more experiential tourism - a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country or a particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture.
In relation to this shift, the former brand '13 Months of Sunshine' needed to be changed with a new concept that is in-sync with the current consumer taste and trend, the Director explains.
Given how nation branding involves not only sculpting a national identity that is in-sync with the current trend, but also accounts for the perception of people outside the country, the process involves many stakeholders.
“A need assessment survey was given to all the relevant stakeholders involved in the tourism sector, along with researchers, tourists and of course the people; how they see Ethiopia, and what kind of branding they think will bring success,” says Gezahegn Abate, Public and International Relations Director with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
The outcome of the survey was an understanding on the image of Ethiopia as this place where many things originated, he adds. “Not having an identity or a brand that expresses its tourism wealth has stopped the country from utilizing its tourism potential more than anything else. And this brand has created a suitable environment to promote the country, and we have found positive feedback from the international market.”
In strictly business sense, brand accounts 40 to 60 percent value of individual companies, so, it is logical to assume that branding will bring benefits and opportunities to the sector.
“In terms of product, we have competitive advantage. Kenya has safaris; Egypt historical heritages, but we have what we call 'All Africa in one' or 'All in one' package. We have 21 national parks, one of the most organic cultures in the world, rich historical heritage, wildlife with several endemic animals and bird species, while also having a landscape ranging from sandy deserts to plateaus and mountains that are suitable for hiking,” Sisay opines. And marketing this by using a recognizable national brand will help in utilizing this competitive advantage.
Furthermore, Sisay notes that marketing should be backed by product development and diversification. Developing and diversifying new tourist destination could expand our tourism portfolio and further build our image.
Kiros Mehari is the CEO of Ethiopian Tour Operators Association, and he also shares this sentiment.
“There are many cultures and sites that are yet to be explored. For instance, we have an ethnic group 'Yem' situated in South western Ethiopia, who have deep knowledge on terracing (like the Konso people), and in keeping the balance of nature. There are many lakes, spring waters, caves in Gurage and Silte zones that have not been seen or touched”, muses Kiros. By making them accessible and developing the areas and turning them into tourist attraction sites, we can diversify our products, he adds.
Then the other important thing is to make sure there is development works being done in the sector to cope up with the changing dynamics.
Sisay believes that if the branding and positioning work is not backed with development works, it may backfire.
He continued to say that ETO does such development works in parallel with the branding work, where it facilitates and helps bring investors to invest in tourist destinations and develop them. “For instance a Nigerian investor is undertaking huge investment on Al-Nejashi area in Tigray; we helped in facilitating the process.”
All in all, following globalization and the increased competition to attract tourists, investors or markets, and given the fact that the government has recognized tourism as one of the top five strategic economic sectors in Ethiopia to facilitate socio-economic development, it is important for the country to give the sector a competitive edge by employing and executing a timely nation branding.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES