Paramedics in demonstrating emergency care drill at a training
For a country which pursues rapid industrialization and construction process, the expansion of quality emergency care services cannot be a matter of choice. It rather is an issue of ensuring occupational safety standards as well.
In view of this, Ethiopian Society of Emergency Medicine Professionals (ESEP) held a conference recently. And the research papers presented during the event widely touch up on ways and means of boosting the service provision.
Almost all paper presenters stressed the need for the preparation of a well organized and efficient emergency response system in every health intuitions.
Dr. Aklilu Azazh is president of ESEP. He makes clear that the country’s emergency response efforts are still at progeny. “We have only a decade old experience in the sub-sector.”
But thanks to the public private partnership (PPP), a considerable amount of improvements have been made over the decade, he indicates. “Most health professionals did not have formal training on critical health care and trauma situations. These days, most of them can properly and efficiently respond to any kind of emergency situation.”
The government has also attached due priority to emergency response efforts by availing the required financial resource, equipment and trainings, he hints.
However, he did not eschew from mentioning the fact that many people are still dying from improper handling of causalities at the scene of accidents. This is owing to scarcity of skilled personnel, Dr. Aklilu notes.
Having understood this gap, the Society has offered pre-hospital care trainings to to 1,753 health professionals who have been drawn from 94 state and referral hospitals.
The Society’s training also targets potential institutions that handle emergency situations. Thus, personnel from higher education institutions, hotels and emergency ambulance and fire units have taken part in the trainings.
In addition, the Society has left its imprints on the sector through involving in several policy drafting tasks.
As emergencies may unfold anytime and anywhere, private and public institutions can contribute more by forging strong partnership to efficiently address the situations, he suggests.
“On top of this, we have plans to scale up our best practices to State health institutions and health professionals.”
Chief of Academic Affairs with Addis Ababa Burn Emergency Medicine and Trauma Hospital of St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, Dr. Ayalew Zewde, also builds on the issue under discussion.
He says: “Despite the well furnished and equipped emergency rooms and skilled practitioners of our hospital, the efficiency of our works largely depends on the way victims are evacuated from the scene of causalities.”
Pre-hospital care services will help save the lives of victims. Therefore, the proper handling of victims and their safe evacuation from the scenes will reduce further health complications, he adds.
Emergency care has already been integrated to the national health and education systems, he revels. This will help meet the human capital demand both in the short and long-term.
It also contributes to the quality care service delivery as students at early levels will be familiar with the issue.
“Our hospital has been offering training to various other health institutions aiming at enhancing the quality of the service.”
Dr. Hiwot Engida works as Emergency Care Medicine Director with Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital. She says the Hospital is a center of excellence in emergency health care services.
She commends on the progresses made so far in enhancing the quality of the care service. But, the service has to expand more than any time before to make the service more accessible.
“Lack of human capital and modern facility is among the challenges we are facing,” she says.
She also hopes that a new complex under construction on the premise of Hospital will have modern emergency rooms.
Hiwot also hails the growing public private partnership which is helping fill gaps relating to equipment and quality service provision. “Tebita Ambulance is one of the private firms that have been contributing its share in maintaining a cutting edge in the emergency care technological advancement.”
Health emergencies are extremely growing, being one of the major public health problems, in both developed and developing countries, points out Dr. Daniel Gebremicheal, State Minister’s Office Director with the Ministry of Health.
Injuries due to accidents and violence are major public health problems, killing more than 250, 000 people in the EU -27 each year and disabling many more.
Although injuries are known to be preventable, still it continues to be a widespread health threats, he adds. “In Ethiopia, despite government’s efforts to reduce causalities, it constitutes around half of all surgical emergencies.”
In response to it, the government has developed national health care quality strategy to arrest the rate of death and injuries from causalities. He also casts hope in that AaBET efforts will bring concrete changes.
Pre-hospital care reduces risk of death by 25 percent for injured patients. This service begins from promoting the emergency call center to the community and includes the coordination of various stakeholders, he stresses.
More than anything else, there should be a proper dispatch of ambulances in all places, he indicates. “Currently, ambulance dispatch in 2012/13 stood at 334,758. Last year, it hit over 2.1 million,” he discloses.
With a view to reducing material mortality, each district of the nation has been provided with ambulance. This experience needs to get expanded to access paramedical services in all places in the county.
Above all, transport and tourism service providers, educational intuitions, religious institutions… have to assign focal persons and need to receive adequate trainings on first aids.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME
Ethiopia is dubbed as the water tower of Africa due its immense surface and ground water resources. The longest river in the world, the Nile River, starts flowing from the Ethiopian highlands. Not only this, rivers such as Awash, Wabi Shebele Genale-Dawa, Baro and Tekeze are among the major rivers which flow all the year round almost in full volumes.
The irrigation practices of Ethiopia are, however, diametrically opposite to the water resources of the country.
It was from the 1950s onwards that modern mechanized irrigation schemes were introduced at the Rift Valley basin for the productions of commercial crops. The government, donors and NGOs have been developing the irrigation system in Ethiopia during those times.
But the practise was not significant compared to the potential irrigable land area as well as the growing number population of the country.
More than anything else, for a country endowed with various rivers, the irrigation practice had not been proportionate.
Due to this, the agriculture sector, which is the mainstay of the national economy, still relies on seasonal and uncertain rainfall predominantly.
In view of this, it is paradoxical for the country and its people to depend mainly on rain-fed agriculture.
Many reasons can be mentioned for the under-utilization of the water resources. The grand one can be past governments’ lack of commitment. Of course, this not to mention other daunting constraints which includes finance knowledge and technology.
Owing to the natural resource utilization policy of the government, the country is doing its best to introduce smallholder farmers with irrigation. So far, small-scale irrigation schemes are being expanded throughout the length and breadth of the country.
According to Green Development in Ethiopia (2016/17) which the Government Communication Affairs office issued, there is about 5.3 million hectares of irrigable land in Ethiopia.
For instance, during the first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-I)— that stretched from 2010/11 to 2014/15— it was planned to develop 15.3 percent of the irrigable land from only 2.4 percent in the preceding years, it states.
Thus, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, State Governments, Sugar Corporation and Private Investors separately planned to prepare designs and develop 746,334 hectare of land with irrigation.
Surpassing the plan, the stated parties have prepared designs that help the development of over eight hundred thousand hectares of land.
The government has also planned to construct 658,340 hectare of irrigation structures during the GTP-I. And 283,408 hectares (43%) have been achieved, the same source shows.
In addition, 6,570 hectare of land was planned to be rehabilitated using irrigation. Due to the efforts of all stakeholders, twenty thousand hectare (307%) has been achieved.
In a nutshell, the irrigation development which stood at 2.4 percent (127,243 hectares) in 2009/10 was pushed to eight percent in 2014/15 (410,650 hectares).
As the GTP- II master plan and other relevant documents show, the country’s surface water can develop over three million hectares of land. This will help to develop a total of 179 medium and large-scale farms in various places, on one hand.
On the other hand, Ethiopia can develop 16 medium and large-scale irrigation schemes using groundwater. This in turn will irrigate over two million hectare of land.
Thus, by the end of GTP II, 73 medium and large irrigation lands will be developed using surface and groundwater.
To accomplish the plan, manual and motor pumps as well as traditional and modern methods of river diversion have been introduced in States like Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples and Tigray. In addition, household reservoirs and communal ponds have been constructed in most States.
These states have promoted their irrigation system to an encouraging level despite some limitations. Especially, in States like Tigray where their environment was highly deteriorated due to many reasons, irrigation schemes have been practiced wisely and properly. As a result, fruitful results have been registered.
The plans and implementations so far are self-evident truth in that Ethiopia would no longer depend on rain to maximize its agricultural outputs. Now, the government is committed more than any time ever. It has attached due priority to all kinds of irrigation schemes.
Indigenous knowledge systems and the introduction of promising household water harnessing and micro-irrigation technologies could be taken as additional mechanisms to expand the scheme.
Apart from alleviating rain dependency, the schemes could also help to rehabilitate degraded lands and to preclude soil erosion. The Journal of Environment and Earth Science 2015 indicates that about 1.9 billion metric tons of topsoil is lost annually which negatively affects water and land resources and agricultural productivity.
In fact, there are various challenges that hinder the development of irrigation. Salinity is one of the serious issues in some large-scale irrigation schemes. Furthermore, there are serious challenges which have been hindering the irrigation system for many years. Technical constraints and knowledge gaps have also been critical ones.
Furthermore, inadequate public awareness of irrigation water management, water saving irrigation technologies, in adequate knowledge on improved and diversified irrigation practices, shortage of basic technical knowledge on irrigation pumps and drip irrigation system as well as sprinkler irrigations, surface and spate irrigation methods, inadequate baseline data and information on the development of water resources and low productivity of existing irrigation schemes are among the challenges noticed in irrigation endeavors.
Having realized the water potential and other enabling conditions, the Ethiopian government is indefatigably focusing on utilizing every drop of water. It has been implementing internationally accredited policy that could sustain food security in the nation.
As part of the efforts, there are several tangible changes being witnessed in irrigation system in particular and agriculture sector in general. There is an incredible economic growth being registered both in rural and urban areas of the nation.
Ethiopian farmers who have been engaging in subsistence farming for centuries are now overwhelmingly changing their livelihood. They start to produce cash crops that can generate higher income for themselves and the country at large.
Many farmers are using irrigation schemes to burgeon production at their plot of land in an inconceivable way. If the current pace of growth continues, Ethiopia would declare itself as self-reliant middle income economy in the coming couple of years.
Thus, the Ethiopian government has been striving to develop irrigation programs which could alleviate rain dependency and boost production and productivity. Nowadays, there are many mechanized irrigation projects in the country which are equipped with modern machinery and materials.
Moreover, the irrigation based agricultural program aims at ensuring the national food security. It has also a mission of producing industrial raw materials that can be used to process value added export goods. This would have pivotal contribution in helping the nation to transform from agriculture-led economy to industry-led one by 2025.
All the resources—land, surface and underground water and suitable agro-climatic factor—are abundant. What is more, the government’s strong political commitment and its sound policies and strategies are key drivers to success the plans.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS
As it is true for Africa and the rest of the world, members of an ethnic group tend to reside in a certain enclave of their national territory. Despite the fact that people migrate from a location to another quite easily in the interconnected world of today, it is easy to locate a certain ethnic group in a country. This territorial confinement and shared location by ethnic groups is also expressed in their economic, social and political interests.
After the bloody scenes of World War II that saw millions perish on account of the racist views of the powerful, a national approach to administration that is based along ethnic lines has generally been renounced. A paper by Alem Habtu entitled: Eethnic federalism in Ethiopia: background, present conditions and future prospects states: “Following World War II and the start of decolonization, newly independent countries in Africa struggled to create viable nation-states combining different ethnic groupings within the territorial boundaries inherited from colonialism. For these countries, modernity entailed the transformation of disparate ethnic groups into a unitary nation-state with a common language and citizenship. France was the model nation-state par excellence. Such a nation-state came to be regarded as a badge of modernity, while “ethnicism” was associated with backwardness and repudiated by modernizing elites. Many African countries followed the nation-state model and attempted to create a unified nation out of disparate peoples.”
The paper goes on to explain that the belief that ethnic identity should be denied public expression in political institutions has been conventional wisdom in the continent ever since decolonization. As a result, it asserts, the 1960s witnessed the rise of state nationalism in Africa and state nationalists attempted to undermine ethnic nationalism, which they saw as an obstacle to modern state formation. The author identifies that replacing ethnic identity that had been held high by the people with national identity became the major challenge for African nations.
The importance people attach to ethnic identity has, however, not been extinguished in the continent over the years as numerous liberation movements and conflicts between various ethnic groups were recorded in the meantime. The nation state model has repeatedly been exposed as insufficient in administering multi-ethnic societies as demonstrated in Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Morocco and Ethiopia to name a few.
In the case of Ethiopia, as indicated in various history books, state formation was a long process of empire expansion that annexed neighboring societies into it. The same paper argues that three forms of ethnic social engineering have been attempted in Ethiopia over the 20th century.
The first social engineering, it contends, was designed by Emperor Menelik II (1889-1913) but significantly elaborated by Emperor Haile Selassie I (1930-36; 1941-74). The author argues that it attempted to create a unitary state on the basis of cultural assimilation, using Amharic as the sole language of instruction and public discourse and Abyssinian Orthodox Christian culture as the core culture of Ethiopian national identity. It goes on to say that cultural and structural inequalities typified imperial rule, with ethnic and regional discontent rising until the revolution of 1974 overthrew the monarchy. The paper asserts that the policy of assimilation into mainstream Amhara culture provoked some subordinated ethnic groups into initiating ethnic movements in various regions of the empire-state.
The second ethnic social engineering (1974-91), it contends, was the military government’s attempt to retain a unitary state and address the "national question" within the framework of Marxism-Leninism. To address the latter, the paper explains, it set up the Institute for the Study of Nationalities in 1983. Based on the Institute's recommendations, it goes on to say, the military regime created twenty-four administrative regions and five autonomous regions within the unitary form of state, but no devolution of authority was discernible. According to the paper, the regime initiated a mass National Literacy Campaign in 15 Ethiopian languages in 1979. At the same time as it was making these and related efforts (e.g., in legitimating ethnic folk music and dance) in the direction of cultural pluralism, analyzes the paper, the regime waged a military campaign against ethno-nationalist armed groups. In the last decade of its rule, ethnic based opposition organizations had intensified their assault on the military government and ethnic nationalism became a major factor in the demise of the centralizing military regime.
After the failure of the two attempts in 1974 and 1991, the third ethnic social engineering (1991-present) by the EPRDF government to maintain the Ethiopian state on the basis of ethnic federalism as well as cultural, language and political autonomy at regional and sub-regional levels has been underway.
The paper argues that the ideological antecedents of EPRDF’s ethnic federalism project can be traced to Marxist-Leninist ideology and its conception of “the national question.” The Ethiopian Student Movement (ESM) at home and abroad had introduced Marxism-Leninism to Ethiopia in the mid-1960s. The paper notes that "the national question" had soon after emerged as the burning question. While explaining the historical adoption of the doctrine, the paper states: “The ESM was initially divided on the “correct” resolution of the national question. In the end, the ESM attempted to legitimate ethno-nationalism within the ideological compass of Marxism-Leninism, marking a radical departure from the inherited pan-Ethiopianist ideology … The ESM saw its resolution within the framework of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of "the right of nations to self-determination, up to and including secession." By 1971, the ESM worldwide adopted this doctrine. When the ESM gave birth to Marxist-Leninist political parties, notably Mela Ityopia Socialist Niqinaqe (MEISON) in 1968 and Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (EPRP) in 1975, it also bequeathed them this doctrine. When the military junta adopted the Marxist-Leninist orientation of the ESM, it conspicuously rejected "the right of secession" doctrine … When EPRDF assumed power in 1991, this doctrine became the basis for constructing a new federal state structure.”
The current federal state structure recognizes the importance of ethnic identity and provides people with the chance to administer themselves while maintaining national unity through their willful consent. It gives ethnic groups the room to grow their culture and retain the respect they deserve in their relations with their fellow citizens. It also provides them with the opportunity to use their own languages in education.
Along with these rights granted to ethnic groups comes the responsibility to form an economic and political society. The economic integration of the nine states carved out along linguistic and ethnic lines has grown tremendously over the past couple of decades as the country has experienced an unprecedented level of economic growth and development. The relief from the state imposed measures to keep ethnic identity on the down low has also created a conducive environment for social groups to create a stronger political unity.
Considering the failure of the two previous social engineering attempts, the option of ethnic federalism that gives due attention to both ethnic identity and national unity is a viable alternative to administering multi-ethnic societies. African states need to take one good look at Ethiopia’s experiment and try their own versions of Federalism.
BY BEREKET GEBRU
The six decades and plus years of existence of trade chamber in Ethiopia has put its positive impacts on the business community as well as other State and City trade chambers and sectoral associations. However, the cumulative effects of these important trade networks in the creation of informed business community is not as conspicuous as it should be.
It goes without saying that Chambers and Sectoral Associations are the big wheels which put the business community in a fast motion or in line with the dictates of the time. However, members of the community—not mentioning those who are keen on contributing to the socio-economic development— are seen ardently engaged in businesses that could bring to them short-lived returns.
In a country with a large number of emerging youth population, businesses should not only target personal gains. Also, they have to create ample jobs for this segment of the society. And they have to promote knowledge and technology transfer, innovation, among others. For this to happen, the businesspersons have to invest their resources in areas that promise sustainable returns, not on areas that can make them reap a fast buck.
Put in another way, if a person opts for investment in the manufacturing sector, for instance, the monetary aspect of the benefit cannot be secured so quickly. The investment, by its nature, requires strong physical and emotional attachment to the entire activities of the business—meaning the investor/investors ought to work round the clock. It also demands clear vision. But, if it is a mere import and export business, the earnings are quick and may be lavish.
As it is rightly stated in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) document, domestic private investment has been highly concentrated mainly on the service sector. People tend to have more interest on the service sub-sectors such as real estate, renting machinery, or import and export sectors for various reasons. Due to this, local investors’ engagement in sectors that are pillars of the structural economic transformation, job creation and industrialization…is next to nothing. For instance, there is less concentration of local investors in manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
Of course, people have all the economic rights in choosing the kind of business they like to pursue. But, if the Chambers strategically work to modify the mindset of the business community, the incubation of individuals who prioritize long-term and labor intensive businesses can be very likely.
In fact, there are push and pull factors that urge the business community to tap advantages of sectors which help to maximize short-term profits. The quick profit could be a pull factor, on one hand. Sectors like agriculture and manufacturing require sophisticated managerial skills, advanced knowledge and they are capital intensive, on the other hand.
Thus, the State and City Chambers need to streamline their works to fill these gaps. Making rigorous researches to clearly capture other factors that discourage investors from engaging in long-term business is also fundamental.
The Chambers themselves need to install a well-functioning structure to meet the demands of the business community and attract as many members as possible. In addition, pertinent governmental bodies and the chambers themselves ought to emulate best experiences from each other .
More importantly, Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associaions— which have wealth of experiences— need to push further in supporting the State and city chambers as well as sectoral associations build their capacities.
In a nutshell, the strength of these decisive trade and business networks is so basic in creating informed business community. Without vibrant Chambers, it is tough to attain the structural economic transformation of the country. Informed and responsible domestic private investors are pillars in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The government and private sector can also properly feed on each other if all the components of the stated firms function healthily.
City Government of Addis Ababa, Occupational Competency Assessment and Certification Center has planned to offer Certificates of Competency (COC) test to enhance quality and standardization in all sectors.
Speaking at a panel discussion yesterday, Center’s Director Zerue Simur said that government and private enterprises, industries, financial institutions, small and medium scale enterprises and other pertinent bodies should meet the necessary quality assessment and confirmation standards.
“In this competitive world, you should be competent. You should produce quality products which could compete in the international market,’’ he insisted.
Zerue added that massive public mobilization activities have been underteken to create awareness on quality and standardization systems in the capital.
The government and private enterprises linkage need to be strengthened and new system, structure and organization should be introduced to realize strong relationship between the two sides, he emphasized.
Vice Director Gidey Hishe for his part said the center has emulate best certification standards from other countries and it will help step-up implementation efforts.
The panelists stressed that the government should strengthen its quality and competency assessment mechanisms to beef-up the overall economic performance of the country.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS
Some of the participants of the workshop
Ethiopia is on the right track in terms of commercializing Bt cotton production which helps promote the textile and garment industry, announced The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR).
Apart from familiarizing the technology, the necessary infrastructural development has been put in place to encourage investors.
Opening a two-day workshop, Adviser to the Deputy Director General of EIAR Dr. Adugna Wakjira yesterday said the nation is currently exerting efforts to transfer the agriculture-led economy to industry-led one via giving top priority to the textile and garment industry.
He also stated that employing modern technologies and using improved cotton varieties are a must to commercialize Bt cotton and speed up the industrialization process.
Speaking of Ethiopia’s advantages over such commercial activity, Dr Adugna cited the affordable workforce, huge global market acces, modern infrastructure and the conducive environment to grow cotton and the like.
Regarding challenges to the sector, he pointed out that lack of modern varieties of cotton aligned with quality. “To overcome the setbacks ,it is crucial to strengthen the capacity of all stakeholders by sharing relevant expertise, information and experiences.”
For his part, Head of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency West Africa Regional Office and Head of the African Biosaftey Network of Expertise (ABNE) Dr. Jeremy Tinga restated that availing improved cotton varieties would make Ethiopia to grow both its industry and economy.
“We are expecting Ethiopia to be exemplary in the area as it is a nation that has already done its assignment on Bio-safety, Bio-technology and related regulatory works that are prior to the implementation the commercialization.”
Moreover, he noted as the political will of the nation is also another aspect that is highly appreciated.
At the event, Agricultural Counselor and USAID Liaison to the African Union Michael G. Francom said the government of Ethiopia is leading the charge on Bio- safety technology and the US is also keen on supporting government's effort in this regard.
Prof. Karim M. Maredia from US Michigan State University said Bt Cotton is a new technology that Ethiopia has done field trials on it before and moving forward for its commercialization now. He added: “The implementation of the technology would enable Ethiopian farmers and the nation in general to benefit more from the technology.”
Ethiopia has great Bt cotton potential and the nation's textile industries are demanding more from it. He told The Ethiopian Herald the technology is instrumental to produce more cotton so that it will meet the cotton demands of both the local and export market.
Sudan, Burkina Faso, South Africa, India, Australia and United States have been sharing rich experiences in the field at the workshop themed: “Technology Commercialization and Product Stewardship Outreach Program for Cotton Stakeholders in Ethiopia.”
It was learnt that the country has planned to gain one billion USD export earnings from textile and garment industry by the end of the second Growth and Transformation Plan.
BY LULSEGED WORKU
Forging strong Public Private Partnership (PPP) is decisive to produce globally competitive art and overcome the daunting impacts of globalization, experts in the art industry indicate.
The efficient coordination of public and private bodies can enhance the quality of art and it needs to receive increased attention, notes Nebeyu Baye Theatrical Arts Assistant Professor with the Adddis Ababa University.
Regarding the film industry, he comments that most of the elements in the ‘Ethiopian films’ are far from reflecting the socio-economic and cultural values of the diverse peoples of the nation, he adds.
The language expression, the costume use, the setting and even plot-structure in most of the films do not capture the real picture of the society, he hints. “In this way, it can be difficult to nurture the youth of the nation with the age-long moral virtue that glues the society.”
For an art to be beautiful and useful, it should reflect the basic tenets of a society, he argues, adding that no matter what the form is art has to always serve the society. “It should reflect the social, cultural, economic and political values of a given society.”
Illustrating his point, Nebeyu says that in classical Greek theater had been the reflection of religious practices—as this was valued highly during the time. Likewise, Egyptian wall paintings depicted the socio-cultural values of that particular society.
“In this time and age, all kinds of art have to be streamlined with the needs of our community— it should be in line with the development ambition of the country.”
He adds that unless the PPP will further be strengthened and availed the required skills and finance to the art industry, the youth will be attracted to satellite TV channels and imported films.
This is an era where developing countries find it hard to contain cultural pollutions, he indicates, stressing that producing competent films or other art forms would help mitigate the impacts.
Artists, government and other stakeholders including higher educational institutions have the responsibility of devising the right mechanism and shaping the moral and culture of the youth of the nation, Nebeyu makes clear.
Ras Theater Manager, Biniam Haileselasse, for his part says that strong PPP would help increase investment in domestic art.
The artistic products, be it theater, film, music … has to trigger the youth of the nation for a change. The educational institution of the country, investors, and other pertinent bodies have to understand the role of art in the social transformation, he underscores.
Also, National Theater Music Director, Woseneyeleh Mebreku, adds that art plays unrivalled roles in the creation of responsible citizens. Thus, investment in this sector ought to increase more than ever before. “Incentive packages for art investors need to be very attractive.”
Trainings on technology use which enhances quality art products are also important mechanisms to meet the demands of the youth, he notes.
Most experts say that the role of art is vital to any society in building a morally responsible citizen. Particularly, in this era where communication equipment of various sorts is on a swift development, domestic values are highly prone to pollution.
This is due to the fact that artistic products of communities that properly use cutting-age technology may portray as the communities’ values are more important than others. Thus, private and public bodies have to forge strong partnership to produce quality and morally sound films, theatre, music and the like to depict the invaluableness of the societal values of the various nations, nationalities and people of Ethiopia.
BY LEULSEGED WORKU
• Indian President's visit signals growing bilateral ties
Ethiopia has successfully completed its entrusted mandate of presiding over the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as non-permanent member showing remarkable leadership in the subsequent sessions, says Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ministry Spokesperson Meles Alem told a regular press briefing that the country has demonstrated good leadership and determination during its month-long presidency of the council that dealt with wide ranges of global issues.
The spokesperson believed that the country has effectively echoed the concerns of the African continent and other developing countries.
Besides, playing a moderator role among member states, the country has clearly reflected its perspectives on what needs to be done to restore peace and stop the plight and ordeal of people in Somalia, South Sudan and Myanmar and other countries, the Spokesperson added.
The country has also effectively hosted the UNSC meeting which was held here in Addis Ababa. Its chairmanship of the international peacekeeping missions was also a success to the country.
Ethiopia's proposed peacekeeping missions’ reform were also unanimously approved where participating countries also agreed principally to bankroll finance for peacekeeping missions. This was a great accomplishment both for the country and those who showed unreserved support towards the selection of the country in joining UNSC as non-permanent member.
Member countries have also hailed Ethiopia for its leadership and active participation, Meles stated.
Meanwhile, Meles said that the ongoing state visit by the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to Ethiopia is a recognition and testimony to the growing bilateral ties between the two countries. The economic cooperation is gaining momentum with the number of Indian companies investing in Ethiopia reaching 574.
This is a first visit by an Indian president to Ethiopia in over 40 years and would open a new era of bilateral cooperation.
During his visit, President Kovind will meet his counterpart Dr. Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn. The joint Ethio-Indian commission will also be held shortly.
It was noted that collectively Indian companies have invested 10 billion USD in various projects creating 50,000 jobs so far.
BY DESTA GEBREHIOT
Despite improvements in the overall activities of Chambers in promoting the trade and investment goals of the country, the sub-sector is still facing various challenges, experts say.
Ethiopia’s century and plus years of experience in bringing the business community together for its own cause did not go smoothly over the years, says Shiferaw Shitahun, a researcher with Addis Ababa University College of Business and Economics.
“In my view, the past economic system [the command economy and mixed economy during Derg regime] critically hampered the thriving of the private business sector, while making the country to lag behind a fast moving world of business.
Incumbent rifts of Chambers in attracting trade and investment as well as linking its members to international experiences is, therefore, traceable to the past economic systems, he argues.
Africa Insurance Company Resource Management Deputy Managing Director Kassahun Begashaw for his part says the Chambers have also limitations in creating informed business community at all sectors.
It is common to see less informed persons engaging in business areas that fetch quick returns (or in businesses that draw easy monetary benefits). If this trend continues, then who will invest in schemes –such as manufacturing –that have delayed returns?
He continues saying that the business community needs to nourish labor intensive sectors, which also promote innovation, to lay the development of the country on a sturdy base.
For him, the business mentality of the community can only be cured with the strong and sustainable efforts of chambers.
He also identifies another debilitating factor. The chambers lack well-functioning structures that help them be efficient in all of their works, he says, adding that Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) has been doing better jobs in this regard. But, State chambers and sectoral associations are far behind it.
It is evident that the largest members of the business community have been stuffed in the capital. Thus, AACCSA is likely to build more experience than state chambers. The latter, therefore, need to get ample platforms to emulate best experiences of the former, he comments.
Getachew Regassa_is Secretary General with AACCSA. He says that a lot of tasks have been undertaken over the past years to help State Chambers emulate AACCSA’s experiences. But, he also admits as the platforms are not still adequate.
For him, constraints relating to human capital and other basic facilities are some of factors that widen the chasm among Chambers. The Chamber is also working jointly with the government and other pertinent bodies to address bottlenecks step by step, he adds.
Despite the challenges, ample success stories have been registered over the past decade. For instance, hundreds of thousands of people visit Addis Chamber International Trade Fair every year. And a number of members of the business community—both local and foreign ones— participate in the event.
“The fair allows local business community to draw international experiences.”
Besides, AACCSA hosts Agriculture and Food International Trade Fair, Tourism and Travel Fair and Manufacturing and Technology International Fair. These fairs attract a growing number of participants from across the globe, he says.
However, there is a tough challenge ahead pertaining to the unavailability of standard exhibition and convention center in the capital. “Of course, Addis-Africa International convention and exhibition center—which is under construction— will bring a good solution to it.”
AACCSA Trade and Investment Promotion Director Abraham Hailemariam builds on the points at issue.
The business community is busy of doing business as usual, he says. Thus, Addis Chamber has intensified efforts of equipping the community with knowledge and skills of doing business differently.
“Through offering various trainings, we are attempting the businesses to catch up with international standards,” he adds.
But, to sustainably overcome the challenges, the Chambers ought to extend structures that are in line with the interests of the business community.
Apart from creating informed members, the Chambers has also a responsibility in advocating for the expansion of business friendly environment. For this to come to success, the Chambers need to create strong linkages among their members and with other similar institutions.
By doing so, it is possible to boost their experience, promote innovation and attract local and foreign investment, he notes.
It goes without saying that if the Chambers are well managed, the business community can foster regional and international trade, cultural and humanitarian exchanges. In this regard, all stakeholders need to come together to strengthen the capability of Chambers both in representing the business community and delivering the required skills to their members, the commentators hint.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME