It seems hard to hear that the world’s populous continent is facing lack of efficient manpower. These days, Africa’s growing economy is facing shortfalls due to the disparity between job requirements and labor employability.
Recently, the first annual conference of the continent on human capital themed: “Employability and Skills Development: Building Systems at National and Enterprise levels” was held here in Addis where various stakeholders participated and plenty of papers that identify the cause and solutions for the low human capital of the continent presented.
According to Dr. Gemechu Waktola, i-Capital Africa Institute Founder and CEO who participated in the conference, knowledge economy is mainly the result of efficient human capital than technology and finance.
Africa has a young population and emerging economies. Though the continent has averagely young and growing population, the skill and employability of the human capital is still low. That’s why Africa is still obliged to employ foreign professionals in various work fields by allocating huge amount of money.
The papers indicated that the major factors behind Africa’s low level of human capital are poor quality education system and lack of on-job-trainings among others. Presenting a paper, Khoshi Matshitse Executive, Group Human Capital AECI Limited said most of the African countries lag behind in producing skilled and qualified manpower despite the effort in expanding access to education.
According to the study, new graduates have more chances to join the education, engineering, IT, telecommunication, and banking and commerce industries. However, there remains narrow opportunity for a new entry to the extractive industries, logistics, chemical and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and agribusiness due to their low skill for the requirement that the job needed.
On the other hand, mining, agriculture, trade and manufacturing are still the major sectors that help African economies witness growth in GDP. Here, internships, apparentships and graduating programs are key initiatives to the sphere accomplishment. In 2015, Africa shared 3.1 percent of the world GDP. However, 70 percent of Africa’s youngest population is still under poverty paid about 2 dollars per day, which make Africans the lowest percapita income generators.
Establishing a well developed education policy is believed to be a major scheme to address the problem. “We need a systematic revision in our education policy. But a methodical research is needed to identify the failure of the policy to produce efficient manpower”, Dr. Gemechu notes.
There should also be initiation of behavioral change among the employees. Trainings that are given either during education or after employment should be offered up on the need and interest of the trainers.
Applauding Ethiopia’s 27 per cent annual budget allocation to expand educational institutions, Khoshi suggests a lot remains to be done to produce efficient labor force to the country’s growing economy. “Ethiopia and other African nations must extensively work on drawing sound Human Resource Development (HRD) and education policies, providing employees with short and long term theoretical and practical trainings and drawing best experiences.”
As to her, a well developed HRD policy is significant to address the problem through short and long term plan. The Ethiopian HRD policy is set to give on-job and off-job trainings, coaching and mentoring. Here, 70 percent of trainings are practically delivered by certified Training of Trainers (TOT) trainer in accredited institutes, according to Dr Abera Demsis, Associate Consultant at Ethiopian Management Institute.
The policy seeks to address succession management issues through capacity building as provided for in various schemes of service and career progression guidelines for all employees and appropriate performance appraisal system to identify suitable competencies.
“We have a general HRD policy and strategy need based HRD development design, implementation and evaluation. The education policy and strategy gives priority to natural sciences and technology. It is started from lower level grades, focus given to research culture and technology utilization.”
A proper plan is done on career progression and replacement charts to identify leadership successors and professional progression career path, knowledge management policy and strategy. Indigenous knowledge is preserved as well as Ethiopian born foreign nationals are involved in knowledge and technology transfer.
Ethiopia was also described as having similar status and challenges with regard to HRD which the State Minister of Education Dr. Samuel Kifle indicated the nation’s attempt to ensure quality education through technological advancement and bluing the capacity of teachers and others involved in the sector. As to him, the country has been working to address access to education and in the past two decades the country universities increased to 33 and efforts are underway to reach this number to 44 in 2021. “It is not only the tertiary education is getting stepped up. The primary and secondary education also has shown significant change in terms of facilities. Currently, the country reached about 85, 31 and 8 percent enrollment in primary, secondary and tertiary levels respectively.”
However the current problem is about poor quality of education and the ministry is taking various measures to solve the problem by stressing on quality teaching, management and research. The deliverology system which has been implemented recently is also believed as one of the mechanisms in this sphere.
It is not only Ethiopia that has faced poor quality of education and working to improve it. Whatever the level differs, other African countries are also somehow in similar difficulties and challenging by increasing number of unemployment due to low employability skill.
Another study conducted by Dr. Paschal Anosike, entitled Establishing national education strategies for youth employability and skill development: benefits and challenges, indicates that youth unemployment rate is increasing through time mainly due to lack of skill.
In all the six countries surveyed, youth unemployment rate is higher than the average national unemployment rate, indicating that the youth suffer most from unemployment in the countries. The two countries with the highest levels of youth literacy, South Africa 99 percent and Botswana 98 percent have the highest levels of youth unemployment, at 51.3 and 36 percent respectively. The figure for Kenya is especially striking, with youth contributes 78 percent of overall national unemployment. This indicates, ongoing focus on capacity building should be in lined with necessary attention on opportunity creation, such as youth entrepreneurship and enterprise development.
MacTay Consulting Chairman Tayo Rotimi believed that Africans need be integrated to curb their common problem of low human capital which is one of the major challenges to the economic growth of the continent. As human capital is the base to every sectoral development, countries should closely work on it to provide skilled and efficient manpower. It is also important to accustom the skilled employees with the technology so as to create a shortcut for empowerment as well as to modernize occupational operation.
It is not only lack of skill that challenges the continent; the increasing number of unemployment rate is also another gap that needs a strict measure. Mentioning Nigeria’s last year’s 14.6 percent unemployment rate, Rotimi says while the country has 60 percent of young population, the unemployment is a clear challenge and waste of human capital. He put his faith on the current initiatives by the state government to curb the problem through giving training on entrepreneurship and making the youth prepared for job.
“As Africa is a wealthy continent in natural resources and home to rapid growing economies, the population ought to be educated in order to tapping this economic asset for a visible and fairly distributed all-round development.” Therefore, he recommends improving the quality of education and modernizing occupational operations should be the prime responsibilities of African states.
Today, the increasing number of unemployment rate exposed the continent to left hundred thousands of its youngest population through migration. It is estimated that by 2020, 15 million African immigrants will arrive in the Europe forced by absence of jobs, poor governance and low quality of education among others. Therefore, improving quality of education and tapping the knowledge and skill of citizens through employing them in various work fields should be the prime agenda of African states to realize the ultimate development goal that they are endeavouring for.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
About a month ago, we celebrated our New Year indoor festivity Enquttattash. Then came, one of the most magnificent Ethiopian outdoor festivals Demera, which is also one of the world’s intangible cultural heritages to be registered by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is a day that Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrate in commemoration of the finding of the True Cross.
Again on the 1st of October, we colorfully celebrated another outdoor festivity of Irreecha, which also is on its way to be registered as one of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. 'Irreecha is a thanks giving day celebrated by the Oromo people as they gather from every corner of the country at Lake Hora Arsedi in Bishoftu town of Oromia state.
Welcoming the New Year with such colorful festivities respectively brings a new spirit for the lives of millions, enables to find new purpose in life and strengthens the peoples’ unity. And we still have numbers of upcoming festivals that would add more joy, purposes in our lives and more value to our harmonious unity in diversity.
But further than their cultural and religious values for Ethiopians, these festivities are significant sources of income to the country by attracting large number of tourists from around the world. It’s obvious that tourism is the major income generating sector for some countries that appropriately and innovatively utilized their potential, though they possess fewer heritages and tourist attractions compared to countries like Ethiopia.
Of course, tourism is an emerging sector in Ethiopia and has shown a significant progress over the past decade. Several tasks have been done by the government, individuals involved in the tourism business, scholars and researchers to improve the sector. In this regard, the nation is one of the leading countries in Africa with twelve natural and historical world heritages registered by UNESCO.
According to Demirew Dagne Director of Study and Research Directorate at Heritage Studies and Protection Authority, efforts have been made to have additional cultural heritages registered by UNESCO. He also says raising awareness of the public about the significance of heritages and how heritages can be protected and safely transferred from one generation to another is also a priority task, though the progress has not been satisfactory.
Of course, creating sense of ownership for the public towards its cultural or natural, tangible or intangible heritages and its wealth of tourism sites is a major responsibility for those governmental and private institutions involved in the sector. Awareness raising has to be the first significant step.
For instance, the outdoor festivities we have celebrated this month could be the opportunities to aware the public, particularly the young population to protect and keep the originality and values of these intangible heritages intact and make them more attractive for tourists from around.
In addition, it is the month when International Tourism Day is celebrated. This year, it was celebrated with the theme “Tourism for Sustainable Development” for the 38th time internationally and 30th time here Nationally on 27th of September.
As I observed, it seemed that most people were excited and gathered at the Meskel Demera festivity, having no idea that it was also World Tourism Day. That day I had the chance to approach Yitayal Ashebir and his friends who are young residents in Addis Ababa around Megenagna and asked them if they know about tourism day. They just simply replied similar answers that they have no clue about it. Then I asked them how many Ethiopian heritages were registered by UNESCO. Though they were able to list down some of the heritages, they have limited knowledge about how and why they are registered and where they are found.
To me the day has not been promoted in a way that magnifies its significance. I believe that Tourism Day could be one of the days that we can celebrate together with Meskel by organizing extra-large occasions and schooling the young generation or population about the diversified natural or historical, tangible or intangible beauties of its nation.
I believe, the day has to be celebrated colorfully. Because Ethiopia has the most magnificent tourism potential that is still untapped. The industry requires much more promotion and hence embracing the tourism day with large entertaining but educative festivities could be the best tool to engage the youth and create sense of ownership to protect its own heritages.
Finally, there are many undiscovered heritages and tourism sites hidden in many parts of the country which I have the chance to witness. But if its people knows only their sentimental and less of their tourism value, they would remain as precious treasures that the nation and the world has lost in the pitch cages of darkness or glowing treasures buried in the ashes of ignorance.
The less awareness shadow is the result of ignoring and giving up what’s ours because of external influences. Well, the dark part is falling deep into what is given to us as best by others and never waking up while all our belongingness is left behind unnoticed.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Just dawn in Addis Ababa, thousands of blue-collar workers board public transportation on their way to their daily activities either in commercial buildings projects or real estate construction sites. One can see that the expansion of construction has opened a window of ample opportunities for daily laborers mainly hailing from the rural parts of Ethiopia.
These days, Ethiopia particularly its capital, Addis Ababa is studded with construction. Slum villages are being replaced with new and modern concrete real estates and condos fueled by the billions of dollars pumped by public and private investments. Nothing is missing on the country's menu when it comes to infrastructural development projects. From the condominium projects to the flagship Grand Renaissance Dam, massive construction is underway throughout the country.
As the nation continues to come up with several development projects, construction is gaining more power and momentum. In fact, the expansion of construction is not limited to the capital city. Roads, universities, dams, industrial parks and other infrastructures are under construction across the country.
It is not just only the government-initiated projects powering the construction boom, the engagement of private investment is also propelling the sector towards upward growth. While the government is splashing billions of dollars to construct affordable housing projects, the private sector is also equally investing heavily on the sector in real estate developments.
Construction accounts 10 percent of the country's GDP. The sector is enjoying a double digit growth every year powered by the growing infrastructural investment. The growth is poised to see continuous growth. Surely, with policies and strategies prioritizing infrastructural developments in place, construction is going through autumn life re-branding the country's overall status.
The wealth creating sector has incubated local contractors, consultants and small and micro enterprises. The sector is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the growing number of cement and chemical factories. The rising number of middle and upper classes, puts more demand for better house and infrastructure creating unsaturated market for both local and global contractors. As a labour-intensive sector, it also absorbing many more people through the micro and small scale enterprises.
The opportunities in the construction sector are growing, so are the challenges. The issue of project performance, shortage of raw material, quality, and financial limitations derail the sector's growth.
Loose application of proper building regulations and poor utilization of construction technologies along with constraints in the capacity and performance of local contractors and consultants, are equally posing serious obstacles.
Uncontrolled growth, unstable construction material costs along with high insurance cost are the main challenges posing threat to the growth of local contractors, said, Eng. Samuel Sahlemariam who conducted a study on the challenges of Ethiopian construction, adding that contractors are struggling with inflation of construction materials and hard currency shortage not to forget under capitalization and bad cash flow. Encouraging import substitution items, proper training especially for project mangers and all actors of the industry in addition to putting in place strict sector regulation are potential remedies, recommends Eng. Samuel.
Eng. Tsedeke Yihune, Owner of FlintStone Homes, in his study entitled “Technology Transfer Through Capital Intensive Construction”, indicated that by far the worst danger to the survival and healthy growth of the industry is poor productivity and the dominant rent seeking behavior that curtails innovative competition.
Corruption is commonly exhibited in the sector during project bidding, budget allocation and reimbursement. This could result in unhealthy business transaction and may derail the sector's growth and contractors, said Eng. Tsedeke.
Construction is among the top consumers of raw materials. In fact the supply of cement which is the very basic ingredient for construction is no longer a problem. Many cement factories have been set up in the country in the last few years availing sufficient cement supply in varieties.
But there has been shortage of imported raw materials, like reinforcement bars. Many workers spend time waiting for materials and equipment. On the other hand, for various reasons, construction waste has become a serious problem leading to raise in project costs. Construction materials waste is dearly costing the sector, leading to extended project delays, extra costs and mismanagement as the sector continues to dramatically grow.
The sector which is expanding dramatically over the years has remained exposed to waste during design, operation, construction and administration. Delay in construction material supply, lack of trained manpower, poor coordination among the different actors in the sector are mostly the factors leading to huge waste, says Eng. Abera Bekele who conducted research on construction waste. For instance, the 40/60 housing project faces 10 percent of waste in physical materials, Eng. Abera adds.
“As a nation we need to find a tool that lead to proper and effective project execution. A better project management mechanism that can save money and time. But the easiest way of doing that is to adopt best experiences.”
Albeit global phenomena, construction waste is considered to pose serious problems to countries with no effective construction project management tools. While signaling high level of construction activity, waste has always been a problem, notes Eng. Abera, who is also President of Ethiopian Construction Contractors Association.
Lack of proper designs, material specifications, detailed activities and procedures to be followed during construction or renovations are mainly attributable to poor construction qualities, says Tsegay Moshe Material Study, Supply and Capacity Building Director at the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing Project, after stating the acuteness of the burden of construction materials waste in the country.
Companies that address these challenges head-on and re-imagine their business processes will be poised for significant growth. Businesses that fail to take the challenges seriously, however, will face an uphill battle for viability, said Tsedeke.
Even as the economy and urban areas expand, the demand for construction could go bigger. And if the above challenges are addressed step by step, with proper strategies and polices in place Ethiopia could paint a rosy future for the sector. According to sources even the sector is projected that the country's construction sector outgrew neighboring countries in the region.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT
As opposed to the melting pot concept and policy of its next door, The United States of America, Canada has championed herself with the concept of Multi-Culturalism. The idea and practice of multiculturalism deals with respecting and tolerating not only the language, religion and the overall culture of the over two hundred thousand immigrants who make Canada their homes every year, but also to the original people themselves as well. In a country where the aboriginal people of Canada, the English and the French lived for many years and in a country where the English and French languages are the national languages, many immigrants live in Canada speaking their own languages and practicing their respective customs, tradition and religion.
The government of Canada not only promotes Multi-Culturalism but also Multi-Culturalism is its government’s policy. As a result, variety of associations such as the Ethiopian Association, the Greek Association, the Italian, Russian etc. are active in promoting their culture and heritage in Canada. Most importantly, these many associations are by and large funded by the Federal as well as Provincial Governments of Canada for promoting their culture and heritage. That is why Canada is known to the world as a country of immigrants who come from different corners of the globe and that include Ethiopia.
In our era of globalization, nations are getting closer and closer for shared experience and for shared prosperity. Nations are also caring more and more for each other as they have realized that they all live in the same world and thus have to look after each other. The African commission led by the former British PM Tony Blair and where the late PM of Ethiopia was a member is a good example of global cooperation for shared prosperity.
The African commission’s objective is among others to help poor African countries to get rid of their debts by 100 percents. By way of globalization, there is closeness for cooperation. However, one should also note that there also exist conflicts and even wars. When that happens, there are mechanisms; some civilized and others uncivilized ways of resolving those conflicts and/ or mis-understandings that may exist from within or from outside the nations. What is important here is the adoption of a norm that is civilized and cultured in order to resolve conflicts that arise due to variety of reasons.
Whereas types of party ramblings happen even in countries with many years experience in democratization and good governance like Canada, the mechanisms they take to avert disputes and/or clashes are based on maximum prudence and ‘sageness’ or wisdom and never on violence. When mis-understandings happen in countries with ample experience in democratization and good governance like Canada, the issue of tolerance takes precedence to anything else and the adherence to the rule of law prevails and takes the upper hand.
The people of Canada as multicultural society possess one important thing which is common to all despite their different backgrounds. That is to learn to be tolerant and to learn to respect the law of the land at any time and to abide by it. This mentality widely adopted in Canada by immigrants who make Canada their homes is a symbol of civilization that is automatically imposed on the Canadian society despite their original backgrounds.
This norm and value is also reflected by the different political parties that compete for the variety of Municipal, Provincial and Federal seats of the country. When elections are held in Canada, candidates are expected to perform with high ethical and professional standard. First and foremost, they must be of Canadian citizen and they must be free of any criminal record. Also, Canadian citizens are expected to use their rights to vote for the candidates they think will do the best job for them and their country.
Finally the electoral board will have full authority and full responsibility to conduct and monitor elections from the beginning to the end and will make decisions on the election results. Once elections are done, citizens go back to work to do the business of the nation and that is all. The rest is left for the electoral board to look at grievances, discrepancies and so on if there are any and everything is done in accordance with the law of the land.
Finally when the electoral board decides who the winners and the losers are, the public as well as candidates accept the decision with grace, shake hands and move forward to do the business of the nation. If any candidate is not satisfied with the result of the election be it municipal, provincial or federal, then he or she follows the legal channel of appeal to resolve the disputed case. This is the way things are done in one of the most democratic nations of the world, Canada and that is why Canadians are regarded as one of the most tolerant people on earth.
We Ethiopians have rich culture and tradition of generosity and kindness, however if we are honest with ourselves, we do not have a good reputation and enough experience for tolerance. In fact, we tend to be quite opinionated with stringency and rigidity. We simply lack tolerance and that is one thing most often reflected with political parties as well and that is what opposition parties in Ethiopia must learn from the Canadian political experience. Instead of resolving misunderstandings through a civilized dialogue, few opposition parties in Ethiopia often opt for demonstration, provocation, economic destabilization even before the final verdict is declared by the electoral board.
Opposition parties in Ethiopia are a recent phenomenon. Prior to this current government, there was no opposition party, there was no single independent newspaper, people had no right to express themselves let alone write their opinions on variety of independent newspapers, there was no respect for human rights in the country and virtually there was none whatsoever to protect the public.
It was after the demise of the military dictatorship that the Ethiopian people started to see and experience the light of freedom and started to exercise their citizenship and democratic rights. Elections in Ethiopia demonstrated just that. Millions went to the ballot boxes to exercise their citizenship rights and casted their votes in an unprecedented way. Considering the lack of experience of political parties and biased independent newspapers that provoke the public at large with false and un-journalistic propaganda, it is most likely that newly established parties are likely to make several and even grave mistakes. However, thanks to globalization and the advent of technology that if they are sincere, they all can quite quickly learn from the experiences of other countries’ loyal opposition parties and from other countries’ standard and ethical newspapers such as those in Canada. It is still not too late to do so for the sake of the country.
So what are the lessons that few opposition parties could learn from the experience of those countries like Canada? First, all parties and more so the opposition parties must learn to be tolerant and patient because that is one sign of political maturity. Further, they must learn to follow rules and regulations, the constitution and all other legal and institutional framework of the country in dealing with disputes or conflicts. They must at all time refrain from advocating violence and use of force. Instead, they must adopt civilized values, norms, and ethics and opt for dialogue at any time in order to pass their messages across with an objective of putting the national interest first. Sometimes, they must learn how to agree to disagree. This is not a sign of weakness. Tolerance and forgiveness are in fact a sign of strength, self-confidence and a measurement of a civilized society.
Whereas the people of Ethiopia have had a long history of democratic processes based on cultural and traditional means and ways, they did not unfortunately posses much experience in the universally acknowledged and accepted western democracy and its processes. During the previous military government of Ethiopia, the notion of democracy and human rights was unheard of. There was no free expression, no independent newspapers, no political parties, none what so ever. It was only during the current Ethiopian government that people started to exercise their constitutional rights.
At present, there are many independent newspapers and many political parties in Ethiopia. However, considering the infancy of the Ethiopian political parties most particularly the opposition parties, it is most likely that they are bound to make mistakes rather quite often.
Although the Ethiopian people went to cast their votes in millions and showed unmatched decency that the whole world admired and approved, lack of democratic experience and most importantly, lack of tolerance on the part of some opposition parties marked unfortunate incidences. Such an unfortunate incidence could be avoided, had the few opposition parties were tolerant. Again, it is not too late to learn from mistakes. All parties should put the interest of the people and the country first, not solely a party’s interest.
BY YOHANNES GEBRESELLASIE (PH.D)
Ethiopian Airlines, headquartered at Bole International Airport, has always been the pride of Ethiopia and symbol of pan-Africanism, being the official airline for the African Union Commission (AUC). The national flag carrier is Africa’s fastest-growing and most-profitable airline. Its success stories can also be used as a model to be emulated by other private and state owned companies and corporations.
The Star Alliance member is among the seven high flying airline companies in Africa, according to a research conducted by Jovago. For five consecutive years, Ethiopia Airlines has remained the most profitable carrier in the continent. Its development also indicates that it would continue to lead in the continent and remain one of the best in the world.
Being one of the oldest in Africa, Ethiopian was established on December 21, 1945 and started operation on April 8, 1946. From its establishment, it was destined to become one of the most successful airlines in the continent.
It has always been one of the first airlines in the continent to try to apply new things. It was among the first to establish its own maintenance infrastructure and commence comprehensive training of pilots, engineers, and cabin crew. It has also school of marketing and finance.
In addition to ticket sales, Ethiopian generates revenues by providing aircraft maintenance to foreign airlines, and specialist training for both Ethiopian and foreign trainees. It provides management and technical assistance to other airlines.
Being a state owned company, Ethiopian Airlines possess unique attributes that distinguish it from other airlines in the continent. Though state ownership of such gigantic companies is criticized as causing inefficiency, the success of Ethiopian is a model for other state owned companies to strive to emulate same level of success. Although Ethiopia Airlines is a national carrier owned 100 percent by government of Ethiopia, it is fully autonomous.
In other parts of Africa and beyond, interferences contributed to the extinction of many airlines established during or before the independence of most African states. These airlines were not professionally run like Ethiopian.
Even when the country was under political turmoil, its unique management style and tradition always enabled the airline to withstand any challenges and remain successful and globally competitive.
The airline was featured by The Economist as an example of excellence in late 1987 and economist Paul B. Henze recognised it in 2000 as being “one of the most reliable and profitable airlines in the Third World.” It has also received several recognitions and awareds for being among the best in the world.
Ethiopian is a celebrated its 70th anniversary in December 2015. As at July 2017, the airline has 92 aircraft but in its 2025 projection it plans to generate $10 billion revenue, operate 120 international destinations and 26 domestic detonations, deliver 140 aircraft, airlift 22 million passengers and haul 820, 000 tons of cargo.
The difference really between the African airlines contemporaneous of Ethiopia Airlines that had gone under and the later is that of patriotism, grit determination, enviable vision and the spirit of the workforce that is unencumbered by greed, reported thisdaylive.com in the article ‘Why Ethiopian is successful’. The due attention the Ethiopian government has given to the company is also another factor that makes Ethiopian successful.
The company has had excellent CEOs with amazing commitment who contributed a lot in making it a success story. For instance the current CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam started working for the airline in 1985 as an officer in the Cargo Traffic Handling Department and eventually worked his way up.
True, Ethiopian is not only making Ethiopia proud. Undoubtedly, it is also making Africa, as a continent proud.
The Bureau has plans to build different types of modern sport centers in every residential neighborhood, educational institutes and work places.
Some 44 centers that could host two to three types of sports as well as football stadiums have been under construction over the past fiscal year in several residential areas.
So far the construction of more than half of the centers have been accomplished, Bureau Youth and Sports Centers Development and Management Director tells The Ethiopian Herald.
On the other hand, 54 centers have been renovated to deliver better service, he says adding, ten mini courts have also been built for children in condominium residential sites with the support from the Embassy of Netherlands during the same year.
He further notes that Government has allocated 250 million Birr budget for capital projects to build and renovate sport centers in the city over the past few years.
Birhanu also indicates that the public contribution in developing sport centers has been crucial. ‘’There are sport centers that have been built by the community members’ full contribution.’’
This year, the Bureau has planned and sites are already selected to build 40 additional sport centers at residential houses and condominium sites.
However, ‘‘in order to build the sport centers, the construction of the houses has to be completed first. We cannot build a sport center in a site where housings are not ready and where residents have not moved in,’’ says Birhanu.
On the other hand, in collaboration with the Bureau of Construction, efforts are underway to improve access to gymnasiums in work places, particularly in public sectors to promote indoor sports. For instance, ‘’all the new buildings of the sub city offices are designed to have such facilities,’’ he stressed.
In current reality, the number of available sport centers is low compared to the youth population. Some sporting fields are still serving the youth with their old and uncomfortable status.
The Bel-Air football field, near Kebena could be one of such places where the youth are still suffering from dust, mud and pieces of rocks while playing football on a ground that has no grass at all.
In this case, Birhanu said such areas are included in the current year’s plan and building a mini stadium on the Bel-Air football field was one of the priority tasks in developing sport centers.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
With the construction sector poised to sustain its sharp growth, so do the challenges of the already-rising number of local contractors in becoming competitive in the billion dollar market and wealth-creating sector, revealed Challenges of the Ethiopian Construction Contractors study.
Despite the rapid growth of the construction market, many companies are finding it difficult to be profitable, competent and sustainable, says Eng. Samuel Sahlemariam, who conducted the study.
The economy is witnessing growth , so is the construction sector. This in turn led to the incubation of local contractors. “Large numbers of contractors have seen dramatic growth in their business, but the existence of some contractors is short-lived and came under various challenges,” notes Eng. Samuel.
According to Eng. Samuel in some ways the sector's growth has been uncontrolled. This may result in unfair competition among contractors and illegal business transaction., Eng Samuel states adding that the contractors are struggling with inflation of construction materials and hard currency shortage not to forget under capitalization, bad cash flow.
Promoting locally manufactured materials that can substitute import along with improving efficiency of project mangers and all actors in executing construction projects as well as putting in place strict sector's regulation should be dealt with , adds Eng. Samuel.
Eng. Tsedeke Yihune Flintstones Homes owner who also studied 'Technology Transfer Through Capital Intensive Construction' indicates that poor productivity and the dominant rent seeking behavior that curtails innovates competition and risks the healthy growth of the industry.
Just like other sectors, the construction industry is grappled with the corrupt dealings during project bidding, budget allocation and reimbursement a problem that may derail the sectors' growth and benefits of local contractors, says Eng. Tsedeke.
According to Eng. Tsedeke success has bred a huge human capital that want to use its skills with the state-of-the- art tools and equipment and earn high income. Hence, fixings minimum wage for unskilled workers, equipping workers with the required knowledge, opening up better access to foreign credit and currency could bring huge returns towards sustained development of the industry and contractors.
Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources says expansion of modern infrastructure is the next major target to boost Ethiopia’s horticulture sector and its contribution to the economy.
Agriculture Extension Director of the Ministry, Wondale Habtamu tells The Ethiopian Herald that the Ministry has prepared a ten-year strategy that would make horticulture among the leading contributors to the economy.
The new strategy aims to boosting the sector with the adoption and expansion of modern technologies and infrastructures.
He also notes that maximum effort would be exerted to expand agro-industry parks, enhance postharvest management system and increase export destinations.
According to Horticulture and Agricultural Investment Authority Deputy Chief Executive Officer Addugna Debela, currently several countries are showing interests to import Ethiopian horticulture products.
Hence, there is a need to invest more to modernize the existing infrastructure.
There has been progress in improving and expanding existing infrastructure available for the booming sector.
“Bole International Airport was the only airport in the country for export flights. But currently we have access to international export flights at Bahir Dar Hawassa and Mekele airports. Ethiopian Airlines’ international flights destinations are increasing time after time,” he says.
He also adds that stores with refrigerators were also built in Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, Mekele and Bole International Airport. This has eased post-harvest problems and export delays.
The strategy has also given priority to improving small and medium farmers’ access to agro-processing materials and building agroindustry parks.
The horticulture sector has created over 266,000 jobs and more than two million hectares of land has been utilized through irrigation. Ethiopia has over eleven million hectares of potential land to be used for horticulture, according to Wondale.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Indian diplomats and business delegate led by President Ram Nath Kovind arrived here yesterday for a three day official state visit.
President Dr. Mulatu Teshome welcomed the delegate at Bole International Airport.
President Kovind is also expected to meet and confer with his Ethiopian high government officials on the political, economic and social affairs of the two countries.
India is a strategic development partner of Ethiopia and bilateral ties between the two countries have been increasing through time.
Bilateral trade currently amounts to one billion USD and India is at present among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia with 4.8 billion USD in investments, 540 Indian companies having a presence here.
Most of Indian investment in Ethiopia are in agriculture, engineering and textiles.
Kovind’s trip is the first by an Indian President in almost five decades. It comes at the invitation of President Dr. Mulatu Teshome.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
Parliamentarians are hardly professional experts, but elected public representatives. Hence, experts and stakeholders underscore the fundamentality of academics to close the gap observed in discharging their duty of law making, supervision and representations.
Unlike any other skilled professionals, parliamentarians are responsible for complex and comprehensive tasks of reviewing and formulating strategies and legislation that are entangled with diverse social, political and economic issues.
Law or policy making requires expertise understanding of the matters under consideration in order to pass informed decisions that are set to affect millions.
Since parliaments are essential to a vibrant democracy, the rule of law, human rights, inclusive politics, economic prosperity and social justice, they need to be well organized, resourced and empowered to effectively fulfill their mandate.
Co-producing is seen as the most effective way of accessing professional help from the academic circle, says Dr. Katharine Dommett, who lectures at the University of Sheffield, responding to The Ethiopian Herald through email. “Therefore, researchers should work alongside parliamentary staff as well as parliamentarians to design and execute research,” she adds.
“It is important because, in these instances, the parliamentarians can influence the research process based on the need of their constituency and the need of their parliament while at the same time academicians would be able to influence parliamentarians in accordance to their expert knowledge on given matters,” notes Dommett.
There exists a central principle, well endorsed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union that says only parliaments can take the major responsibility for their own development. However, at the same time, it is also argued that academic institutions should also get themselves approachable to policy makers.
Pursuant to this notion, Dommett believes that academicians should exploit a number of strategies to maximize their chances of exerting influences in policy making and legislation. For instance, she says, academics should tailor their research findings in a way they meet parliamentary needs.
Moreover it is very important to cultivate their good will among the larger public and build trust with parliamentarians.
“They can enhance the likely impact of their work by building sound relationships with parliamentary staff. The value of being known as a reliable academic figure and a trusted information source is significant and highly correlate with parliamentary impact,” she adds.
Plainly speaking, it is given that MPs are in need of professional assistance for their work, says Dr. Dommett adding, “academics need to work hard to create links with the staff of parliaments to let them know about their researches.”
They also have to know more on how to engage best in the works of the parliamentarians by following up committee and parliamentary activities that need research evidences, so that they can submit their findings as evidences to help them make informed decisions, as to her.
Experts in different fields provide support to Parliamentarians in the FDRE House of Peoples' Representatives, says Tekle Tesema, Culture, Tourism and Mass Media Affairs Standing Committee Deputy Chairperson.
“The professional supports provided here are intended to facilitate the works of the Standing Committees through informed operations. Whether it is the responsibility of legislation or overseeing, the House, Committees and MPs should be provided with professional reinforcement to pass informed decisions.”
Therefore, adds Tekle, it is quite possible to say professionals are enablers of the House. “In any country's parliament, there are professionals engaged in research and development to provide expertise support to parliamentarians.”
As parliamentarians are political leaders, they are more of well acquainted with major policy and legal issues but may or may not have detailed information on a diverse issues raised and discussed in Standing Committees and regular House assemblies, says Tekle.
Hence, as per to the experience of countries with strong democracies, parliaments should have their own entity that is engaged in conducting research and development as well as providing professional support to the MPs, reiterates Tekle.
Moreover, according to Tekle, the parliament also works with universities and research institutions. There are also attempts to create linkages to non-governmental organizations that extend professional support to democratic institutions.
“Basically, the House has an entity that is engaged in research and development. However, the problem is that it does not have adequate capacity to fully respond to the needs and demands of the parliamentarians here,” notes Tekle.
“There is a need for research and expertise supports in parliamentary diplomacy, legislation, cultural affairs, engineering, languages, sociology and the like. These experts will provide the House with detailed analysis on different matters,” he further adds.
“The issue of research and professional support is a serious matter that is a concern to the government and hence should receive due attention. Therefore, as the parliament is the one that is primarily responsible to strength it, we need to work towards creating productive linkages with the academic world,” stresses Tekle.
Similarly, Webshet Mulat, a legal expert, says parliamentarians should be equipped with enough office space and budget to hire experts and researchers that would assist them in their decision making in both their legislation and overseeing duties.
“Countries with developed democracies usually allot a big chunk of their budget to research and development. As the parliament is expected to hold the government accountable, sufficient expertise support should be availed,” notes Wubshet.
The main purpose of parliamentary support is to assist parliaments to perform their basic legislative, oversight and representative roles with full capacity; where as, well-structured and resourceful parliaments are essential to a vibrant democracy.
BY HOMA MULISA