Human beings have come a very long way facing natural and man made problems that have been affecting their physical and mental health. These problems on the other hand have been contributing to mankind's knowledge about medication because they are the reasons for humans to restlessly search, research and work hard to finding numerous medicines for numerous types of diseases.
Traditional medications have been the major medical solutions in Ethiopia for many hundreds of years. For the fact that majority of its population lived with lack of modern healthcare service in the vast rural areas, it has been dominantly using these solutions even until recent few decades.
It is obvious that the knowledge of traditional medications of not only Ethiopians but also many other societies around the globe has been the major roots and sources for many medical findings in the modern health system. And plants have been playing the greatest role in both the traditional and modern healthcare systems in terms of producing medicines. Mesfin Fekade who was director of Hadis Alemayehu Centre of Cultural Studies in Debre Markos University in his research paper published in January 2014, stated (referring botanists) that from estimated 750,000 of flowering plant species around the globe nearly 50,000 are used for medical science.
He also indicated that there are approximately 7000 plant species in Ethiopia and 4000 are flowering. Among the average plant species 800 are used to producing traditional medicines and they have a great healing potential.
Though Mesfin, referring the report of the Ethiopian Animal Welfare Society, stated in his paper that Ethiopia is still the leading country where 90 per cent of its population uses traditional medicines followed by India, Uganda and Tanzania, I strongly believe that majority of us have almost neglected the traditional medications following the expansion of urbanization and modern healthcare services. I can say that these traditional medications are used in some remote and rural societies even when there is access to modern healthcare. This is for some awareness based or traditional beliefs.
In spite of some dangerous side effects caused by unbalanced doze or mix of items in the traditional medicines, the herbal medicines are mostly effective that generations survived many types of diseases before the modern health system. Isn't that why Europeans and others have been collecting so many of our ancient codices that have lists of medical prescriptions (medicines) for so many diseases.
Because of our bad interpretations about people who are involved in traditional health care service we seem to have given up our original knowledge. This always makes me question myself that “Is it a curse or faith to us, Africans, to watching our original knowledge vanish or being taken by others and to hopelessly swallow whatever(good or bad) comes back from them in return?”
Quoting Messing (1976:13), Mesfin indicated that more than their contribution in reflecting the knowledge and philosophy of one's society, traditional medicines play greater role in areas where modern health care system is not extended.
For my parts, these knowledge has more significance and values in terms of enhancing the nation's health system. For instance if we integrate (combine) both the traditional and modern medications through researches, we could find new and more effective medicines. Not only to cure diseases but we can also get efficient results that could possibly enable us prevent the outbreak of fatal diseases before they occur. We can even sell these improved results of our own original knowledge and wisdom to the international community. Most of all they could contribute to reducing the cost that the nation pays to purchase medicines from foreign companies.
So what should be done?
Even though it is everyone's responsibility to protect and prevent every plant species from extinction, it is essential to do a great task of identifying and multiplying those which are important for medical purposes. People who are engaged in traditional medical services are expected to work together with the scientific health professionals and researchers. They also have to share with or transfer their knowledge for young students and scholars. (In this case the decreasing number of people with traditional medication knowledge is a critical issue). The government, research institutes and higher educational institutions should play role in readying plantation lands and other available resources for all tasks that are suitable to enhance all the goals of our health sector. Our forefathers used to dig the roots and cut the leaves of plants to make medicines. And sometimes it is necessary for us to go back to our roots and learn our original wisdom.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Historians and researchers note that Adwa is a showcase of Ethiopians unity and a beacon light to Africans to stand up and fight for their right against colonialism and assure independence. And some other historians indicate that the Adwa campaign was the greatest military campaign of the 19th century, for it was being campaigned for longer period of time. To organize the military campaign it took five months, from September 1895 until the victory in March 1896.
A century and two decades back on March 01/1896 Ethiopians demonstrated an impressive unity and wrote a colourful history, about which citizens down the line feel proud of. March 01/1896 does not only highlight about being victorious but it further shows the cohesive bond of Ethiopians despite their diversity. The then forefathers magnificent bravery was attached with safeguarding the motherland from foreign invaders.
Responding to call of the then King Menellik II, who was leading the country during the time, citizens flocked to the front drawn from all corners of the country. The king transmitted an official message to Ethiopians to follow him in his march to the battle of Adwa, where the war between Ethiopia and Italy was to take place.
This was his message to the public “Infidel, if you fail to follow me to the battleground Saint Mary is my witness I will never relent from a punitive measure that awaits you upon my return.”
This year Ethiopians commemorated the victory day with different memorial observances. Countrywide, specially in Addis Ababa and Adwa, the public had accentuated the day with different events. Emphasis was given to passing down of forefathers' aura of invincibility to the present generation to uphold and maintain effectiveness in the country's renaissance journey.
Recently, the Addis Ababa University jointly with Ministry of Culture and Tourism had organized a panel discussion themed 'The battle and victory of Adwa: A symbol of African Resistance to Global Injustice and Colonialism.' On the panel discussion South African former President Thabo Mbeki was the speaker. Higher governmental officials, scholars, researchers, educators, historians as well as students were in attendance at the panel.
In his opening remark, Addis Ababa University Director of Office of the External Relations, Partnerships and Communications Zenebe Beyene (Ph.D.) emphasized that the victory of Adwa is beyond a remarkable historical event.
“Adwa serves as a historical root for the new generation. We Africans have some strong roots, and I think, Adwa tops the list.”
Africa's history without allusion to the victory of Adwa is incomplete. It is the triumph of Africans over colonialism, the victory of all blacks against racism and discrimination and more importantly it is the victory of all mankind over injustice and unfairness.
Dr. Zenebe underlines that the battle of Adwa is a powerful reminder for all of us about many unfinished businesses ahead of us. The struggle for political independence is over but the struggle for emancipation of thought is not.
Living Legend of South African's freedom fighter against apartheid and former President Thabo Mbeki said that the great victory of Ethiopia in 1896 at the Battle of Adwa was indeed both an Ethiopian and an African victory.
Mbeki noted for many Africans the two names Africa and Ethiopia were seen as synonymous.
Transmitting a message what the victory of Adwa brings to Africa and Africans, the former president said the victory at Adwa confirmed to all Africans that their continuing resistance and liberation struggles, despite their defeat during the colonial wars, would sooner or later bring the purposes of the Treaty of Berlin to naught.
The battle of Adwa has also depicted the greater contribution of women battalions during the battle and mirrored gender equality, illustrated the role played by Empress Taytu and others before and during the battle.
He mentioned lessons that all Africans should learn from the battle of Adwa. One of these lessons is the critical importance of national unity behind a progressive vision as a fundamental condition for the realization of our strategic goals. Given the fact that these strategic goals also relate to our Continent as a whole, this surely means that we must mobilize all our countries to act together in unity to achieve these strategic goals.
The second lesson we must draw from the victory at Adwa is the absolute imperative we face properly to carry out the necessary preparations to enable us to achieve the strategic victories we seek. I am certain that in this regard we are familiar with the diplomatic, political, logistic and military preparations which were essential to secure the victory at Adwa.
He emphasized that the third lesson that must be drawn from Adwa is that since it is only through struggle that we Africans will achieve our strategic goals, we must therefore be ready to make the necessary sacrifices as we strive to overcome the resistance of those who will oppose us.
The fourth lesson we must draw from the victory at Adwa is the need for us to develop the necessary principled, courageous and determined leadership which must stand at the helm of the African masses as they engage in sustained struggle to achieve the strategic victories our countries and Continent need.
He concluded his speech asserting that it is indeed important that both Ethiopia and the whole of our Continent should continuously celebrate the historic victory at Adwa as this serves to give inspiration to all of us to pursue our progressive strategic goals and confident of success.
He suggested that the victorious pursuit of those progressive strategic goals requires that first we break them down into specific and concrete tasks, and second, that we use the vitally important lessons handed down to us by the victory at Adwa successfully to accomplish those tasks.
He wrapped up saying “Will the historic victory at Adwa, 121 years ago, continue practically to serve as the source of inspiration it was from the very beginning, for the all-round emancipation of the peoples of Africa, and therefore the renaissance of Africa!.” This might also be the view of Ethiopians as well as Africans.
Adwa continues being living testimony to Africans courageousness, unity, strength, as well as hope and place of demonstrating Pan-African glorification.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
Soon after Menilik II declared war, Ethiopian patriots from the four corners of the country, had trekked for three months to write a new history at the battleground of Adowa against a colonial power. One hundred twenty one years later, a group of youngsters had also flocked to this historical place of a showdown, this time not just to fight but to pay tribute to the hero and heroins of Ethiopian patriots.
Filled with their forefathers' determination and love of their country, eight youngsters made a 46 day-long travel to Adwa on foot. Abeba Bekele from Addis Ababa was part of the group
Before the beginning of the voyage, Abeba used to know little about Adwa. Throughout the journey, all group members were discussing what they know about the battlefield and reading books written on the battle by various authors.
Besides, they were also taking a snapshot of places that are directly or indirectly related to the war. From Agolela, the birth place of emperor Menllik and Fitawrari Gebeyehu, the major role players in the victory of Adwa, to Eyesus Church at Makalle, and what have you.
This journey not just afforded Abeba a glimpse to the history but also acquainted her with the nifty-gritty of this historic triumph.
After tiresome but astonishing travel, the group was finally met with cheering crowds at Adwa, a place where a major battle had taken place. The group graced the 121 celebration of the Adwa victory.
Invited to address the crowd this year's journey coordinator Yared Shumete noted that his group had passed through various up and downs to culminate their travel with success. However, inspired by the patience and gallant feat of their forefathers, they had reached their final destination after a 46-day trek.
Ethiopia has maintained its sovereignty through the determination of people organized under its strong and sagacious leaders. For him Emperor Menelik II and Empress Taitu played a leading role in the victory of Adwa as commanders and warriors.
Reflecting his emotion another traveler, Yared Eshetul said for him, the victory of Adwa is the emblem of liberty which is hanged on the mountain of world history to preach about equality.
What makes the victory the most astonishing is it took place between a well trained and disciplined European power and and ill-equipped but determined Ethiopian soldiers. No one had expected the triumph to go to Ethiopians. He admires the Ethiopian warlords such as Likemekuas Abate Buayalew, Basha Awalom an Balcha Abanefso, among others. These individuals were gear changers in the war via their undercover spay role and defense of the Italian artillery with their old weapons.
“ Traveling 46 days on foot is the least we can do to commemorate this glimmering historical victory.” The travel was very influential in drawing mass followers. It also adds-up to the government's effort to celebrate the victory nationwide colorfully. According to Yared the participation of the government in the celebration of the victory would help to promote the day across the country and it would help again to solidify Ethiopian unity as the previous times.
Another traveler, Dawit Zebhere was nicknamed as Gebregiorgis on the journey named after the great Ethiopian son who drove the Italian out of their fortress during the war.
He noted that the journey was not that much tiresome as the expected. In fact traveling through mountainous road under a scorching sun of the day proved hard. “In any case, the warm welcome that we had received at every destination was very interesting.” Since the victory is the triumph of all blacks, therefore, it behooves each of us to get inspired for warm celebration of the day beyond national level. This year's Adowa celebration which took place at Adwa was very impressive. And it was observed by numerous peoples, society lions and higher government officials.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
Ethiopian women are becoming part of internationally famous women across the world be it in athletics, business, entrepreneurship or entertainment. From our super fast record breaking machine athletes like the Diababa sisters to our internationally recognized entrepreneurs, who put their name on Forbes magazine, like Bethelehem Telahun to superstars who make it to Hollywood like Ruth Negga Ethiopian women prove exemplary that there is no limit for success.
Yet there are many more outshining women who create impact inside and outside of their country.
Bethlehem Tilahun is the pioneering and enterprising creator of the Sole Rebels, Africa's fastest growing footwear company. She has received a slew of honors and accolades for her business acumen. The honor is also ascribable to shifting the discourse on African way from poverty alleviation by external actors. Her way highlights the entrepreneurial spirit, social capitol, and vast economic potential of the continent, and Ethiopia in particular.
Betelehem founded sole Rebels to provide ecologically and economically sustainable jobs for her local community. The company began out of a workshop on a plot of land owned by her grandmother around Zenebework area here in Addis.
Sole Rebels has since flourished, growing to over one hundred employees, with distribution to over thirty countries worldwide, selling to market kingmakers Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters and Amazon. Franchised and company-owned stores are slated to open in Austria, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the UK. She wanted to create well-paid jobs which could create sustained prosperity by utilizing the artisan talents and natural resources of Ethiopia, first and foremost. The selection of footwear as the ideal product for the company came later. She found herself particularly inspired by the Seleate or Barabasso, the traditional recycled tire sole shoe crafted in Ethiopia. Footwear became the locus around which she chose to build the company.
With every business venture, Bethlehem seeks to challenge the traditional narrative about Africa and in particular, Ethiopia, "countering that Africa and Africans don't know how to create their way to prosperity.” She believes Ethiopians must wrest control of their own narrative from the "people and elites with a vested interest in positioning Ethiopia as 'needing help' and specifically needing the 'help' they happen to be offering," as she explained in an interview with The Next Woman.
The global success of companies like Sole Rebels helps to dispel these old narratives and allows for Ethiopians to shape their own international image. In 2011 she was chosen by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.
In 2012 she was included on Forbes '100 Most Powerful' and profiled as a “Woman to Watch.” In 2012 she was named by Business Insider as one of "Africa's Top 5 Female Entrepreneurs."In 2012 she was chosen as NYC Venture Fellow by Mayor Bloomberg. In 2012 she was chosen as one of Arise Magazine's "100 Dynamic Women," who are shaping modern Africa. In 2013 she was listed as #62 in Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business 2013."In 2013 she was a Counselor at that year's One Young World Summit. In 2013 she was listed as one of Madame Figaro's "15 Most Powerful African Women."In 2013 Bethlehem was chosen to join the advisory board of the Green Industry Platform, convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the UN Environment Programme. In 2013 she was also chosen by readers of The Guardian as one of "Africa's Top Women Achievers."In 2014 she was named as one of CNN's "12 Female Entrepreneurs Who Changed the Way We Do Business."
After more than a decade of building Sole Rebels into a global footwear and leather goods brand that combines traditional Ethiopian craftsmanship and materials with fresh new designs while also paying top dollar throughout the supply chain, Bethelehem has launched an equally ambitious coffee venture called Garden of coffee recently.
The first branded roastery cafe in the Bole area of Addis Ababa, occupying approximately 10,000 square feet, became a server of something of an immerse shrine to Ethiopian coffee culture and craft. She described the facility as far more than merely a new retail store front. Her company’s goal is to completely redefine the seed-to-cup coffee journey by promoting what she calls “Origin Trade.”
At the launching event Bethlehem said that the Addis Roastery Café, customers have the ability to choose coffees roasted to order on site and on demand by skilled workers using the traditional Ethiopian pan-roasting method. Consumers choose between three bag sizes, for which roasters in the shop adjust their pan sizes 250-gram, 500 gram and 1-kilo-capacity to suit each individual's order. A wide selection of green coffees from a range of prominent Ethiopian coffee regions is available, and customers can try sample roasts before specifying one of the six predefined roast levels.
“We believe that our business model and our methodologies are the ultimate interplay between tradition and technology,” she said. “We deploy technology to allow our artisan roasters to hand roast while precisely measuring heat, barometric pressure, humidity, allowing them to adjust for natural acidity and specific characteristics of the beans. We meticulously monitor the temperature of the roasting beans and the ambient environment to ensure consistency in every coffee we deliver.”
Each packaged bag from Garden of Coffee, meanwhile, includes a map showing where the coffee was grown, processing method, coffee varietal, roast level, roast date, the name of the coffee roaster, and, for to-order roasts, the name of the recipient.
All these elements, Bethlehem said, are designed to promote a more exciting, hands-on and authentic Ethiopian coffee experience that she believes will resonate with consumers across the globe.
“Garden of Coffee is about allowing coffee lovers to live coffee,” she said.“In Ethiopia, we don’t just grow coffee. We live coffee each and every day. It’s embedded in the DNA of our daily life. Coffee personifies Ethiopia and we in turn personify it. We want to showcase and share that magic with people everywhere on the planet.”
Ganzabe Dibaba is among Ethiopian golden athletes. She is the sister of three-times Olympic champion Tirunesh Diababa and Olympic silver medalist Ejegayehu Dibaba.
She first joined the Ethiopian athletics squad after winning the 5,000 m at the Ethiopian Athletics Championships, she was included in the Ethiopian squad for the 2009 IAAF world athletics championships. In Berlin she replaced Tirunesh on Ethiopia's 5,000m team, who withdrew due to injury. Genzebe ran an excellent heat, finishing fourth and qualifying for the final where, in her first major senior championship race, she finished in eighth position. She also won the 5000m gold at the 2009 African junior athletics championships.
She is the current world record holder for the 1500 m (both indoor and outdoor), the indoor 2000m, the indoor 3000m, the indoor 5,000 m, the indoor mile, and the indoor two mile.
With numbers of records, Genzebe is now one of only three athletes in history to break three world records in three different events within 15 days, joining Jesse Owens, who set three world records and tied another within 1 hour, and Usain Bolt. She stands alone as the only one to do this feat in three different cities and meets, and in all individual events under federation of athletics.
On 17 July 2015 in Monaco, Genzebe broke the 1500m world record, which had previously been considered near-unbreakable, in a time of 3:50:07.
She was named the female IAAF World Athlete of the Year for 2015.
In February 2016, Genzebe competed in Stockholm’s Globen Galan meeting. She ran the indoor mile in 4 minutes and 13.31 seconds, breaking Doina Melinte's 26-year-old world record of 4:17.14 which had been set in 1990.
Receiving her world Athlete of the year on last year Genzebe said that “It feels so good to be the World Athlete of the Year.
“After being a finalist and narrowly missing out on this award one year ago, I am very proud to be recognized by the fans and experts of our sport. I had a great season and truly enjoyed competing around the world, from Monaco where I managed to establish a world record, to Beijing where I finally captured my first world outdoor title. I would like to pay tribute to Dafne Schippers and Anita Wlodarczyk who have been incredible all year round. Maybe your time will come next year! Thank you to all the people who voted for me and supported me. My family, my sisters, my coaches, my partners, my agents and all the people from Ethiopia! My focus in 2016 will be the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland and as preparation for that I will try to break the world indoor mile record in Stockholm on 17 February. ”
Ruth Negga is another outstanding Oscar nominee Ethiopian-Irish actress the media is talking about lately for her portrayal of Mildred Loving in the movie Loving (2016).
Ruth was born in 1982 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, to an Irish mother, Norra, and an Ethiopian father, Dr. Negga. Her parents met while her mother was working as a nurse in Ethiopia. Ruth Negga lived in the country until she was four. She is an only child, but has a large family on her mother's side. Her father died in a car accident when she was seven. Raised in Limerick Ireland, she has lived in London since 2006.
Ruth studied at the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College, Dublin graduating with a BA in Acting Studies.
She made her screen debut in the Irish film Capital Letters (2004), playing the lead role of Taiwo. She went on to play the lead role of Mary in Isolation the following year. Prior to this she had been working mostly in theatre.
Ruth's theatre work includes roles in Duck, Titus Andronicus and Lay Me Down Softly. As of 2007 she began working with the Irish theatrical group Pan Pan Theatre. In 2010, she played Ophelia in the National Theatre's production.Ruth Negga has also provided voice acting in the video game Dark Souls II playing Shanalotte, otherwise known as "the Emerald Herald"
On her interview with Vogue Magazine Ruth said that “ I become very territoral about my identity because its been hijacked by so many people with thier own projections. I am always careful to say I am Irish Ethiopian because I feel Ethiopian and I look Ethiopian and I am Ethiopian. But there are 81 languages in Ethiopia and I dont know any of them.
Growing up in both Engalnd and Ireland she admints “I didn't have that many balck people in my life so I had to sort of search them” and regarding the balck experience she identifies with writings of Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and James baldwin.
Ruth was Nominated for an Academy Award For Best Actress, Golden Globe Award For Best In A Motion Picture Drama, Independent Sprit Award For Best Female Lead and Critics Choice Movie Award For Best Actress as well as the BAFTA Rising Star Award.
BY FASICA BERHANE
It has been late since Ethiopia turned its face to industrial shift with a prime focus on intensifying the manufacturing sector mainly through diversifying industrial parks as stipulates in the vision 2025.
However, over 80 per cent of its population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture as their source of livelihood. Although the share of agriculture in the national economy has gone down considerably in recent years, it still contributes above 40 per cent of the national GDP, sources indicated.
Though the sector is still subsistence, efforts to change this reality have, however, picked up pace with the rapid economic development over the last fifteen years and the achievements of the first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I).
GTP II, the incumbent successor, also aspires to push the transformation from an agriculture led to an industry led economy much further. Despite the overwhelming section of society still engaged in the sector, a recent study indicates that the economy is already in transition. A study entitled "Ethiopia - an agrarian economy in transition," argues that there is a "slow but unmistakable structural change."
The study revealed that the role of agriculture, which jointly led the growth momentum with the service sector once declined during the first phase of the GTP; while the industrial sector that had a declining contribution to the growth has reversed its momentum and doubled its contribution to growth during the reported period.
Researches demonstrated that in addition to the more cultivated highland parts, the nation has huge and untouched agricultural potential in the lowland parts of Afar, Gambella, Benshangul-Gumuz, lowland parts of Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State. The inhabitants of these ecologies are pastoralist and semipastoralist.
Even though the nation has vast agro-ecology conducive to boost agricultural productivity, it is still importing millions of quintals of wheat. And the mode of production remained predominantly traditional, rain dependent and is practiced by small scale farmers.
According to sources, the total expense for importing wheat hits over a billion USD every year during the last six or so consecutive years. This amount is as equal as the potential net profit to be secured by exporting power generated from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam after completion.
Desta Gebre is a Researcher and Center Director at the Melka-Worer Agricultural Research Center under the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. He recently told journalists that the nation has unexploited potential as the center demonstrate, the lowland areas can gear significant agricultural outputs which can replace the import of wheat.
“We have defeated the prior perception that tells as wheat cannot totally be produced in tropical and semitropical areas characterized with warm weather conditions.”
The country is importing up to ten million quintals of wheat at the cost of around a billion USD every year. But for Desta, this is a shame for the nation with a vast agro-ecology, technology and knowledge. He said that this amount can be saved only from one time harvesting at 350,000,000 hectares of land alongside the Awash drainage. The amount that is investing to import wheat is simply a wastage resulted from less policy priority to agricultural mechanization.
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) Director General Dr. Fantahun Mengistu said that the Institute has been working to produce high yield and disease persistent varieties, translating and distributing of these best varieties to farmers.
According to him, the institute is also working to replace food imports, boost the supply of inputs to the growing Agro-industry sector and expand agricultural commercialization.
The Director General underlined that the nation can feed its population and save the billions of dollars spent with production of wheat and secure hard currency reserve through modernizing the sector.
Institute Crop Sector Director Dr. Eshetu Derso on his part said that the end of research could be to benefit farmers and to transform the sector. The research undertaking in the lowlands must be directed to benefit the youth, women and the nature of pastoral community at large, he says.
Farming and Natural Resources Minister Dr. Iyasu Abraha said that agricultural transformation will go inline with the move towards manufacturing. The government is endeavoring to create commercialized agrarian society. Hence, we cannot say that the sector has less policy focus, he added.
“Vision 2025 includes transformation of the agricultural sector to technology empowered harvesting. However, the agricultural extension programme has to be changed to agricultural commercialization clustering. Through this way, it is possible to feed the integrated industrial parks. Industrialization without transforming agriculture is not achievable,” he underlined.
The Minister further noted that the sector needs to move from rain feed mode of production to large scale irrigation if the nation has to ensure food self sufficiency and mass production of export items up to the standard.
According to him, the government is committed to transform the sector; it has recruited over 60,000 agricultural development agents. Planting the research centers in different ecological areas also the other manifestation, he noted.
“Realizing the considerable contribution of agriculture to the total budget of the national GDP, the government has drafted vibrant strategies in a bid to transform the sector. What we need at present is to translate the research findings from shelf masters to demand driven research. Research must meet the farmers demand.” As to Dr. Iyasu, these researches are the beginnings, they are the quest of the time and must reach farmers.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
It is beyond any doubt that Africa’s economic integration would lay the cornerstone for its bright future. The experiences of other continents show that economic integration is one of the main reasons behind their success. In this regard, several attempts have been made to integrate the African continent through various regional economic institutions.
Africa’s economies are still under the influence of the west, particularly of their former colonizers. Hence, regional integration is one of the best solutions to set free the continent's economies. Most of African railways and roads were constructed by the European colonizers and regional economic linkage among African economies is still weak. What is more, due to several other reasons, African countries are also prone to civil and boarder conflicts.
To achieve successful economic integration, infrastructural expansion and the setting up of strong bilateral and multilateral relationships play an indispensable role. Besides maintaining peace and stability, consolidating common markets is particularly relevant for the 54 African countries, many of which are small economies with small populations.
East and Horn of African countries are not different. It is crystal clear that the Horn of Africa is one of the most unstable regions in the world. The region faces terrorist attacks, poverty, civil war, drought, hunger, chaos and others similar causalities. For decades, Ethiopia had also been facing these challenges. Though the country did not experience colonialism, it was under the system of Autocratic and dictatorial leadership which is the major causes for conflict, civil war and poverty. However, after several sacrifice, this system is replaced by a democratic system and the government of the people.
Following the shift in political system, the economic structure of the country has also been shifting and the country that had been once remembered for its civil war, conflict, war and drought has became symbol of rapid economic growth. It has become a model African country that successfully reversed its disgraceful past. This does not mean that all the paths to achieving significant economic growth have been smooth. The past two decades have seen several ups and downs. However, thanks to the commitment of its people and government, visible changes have been registered and the nation has become an investment hub. Efficiently utilizing its limited resources, the nation has registered a remarkable economic growth which has become a model for other African countries. The various mega projects that are being carried out in the country are becoming a stimulant to other countries.
Despite all the attempts of anti-peace elements to jeopardize the peace and stability of the nation, Ethiopia has kept its rapid economic growth momentum intact and is moving forward to the future. These sustainable peace and security was not achieved overnight, rather it took more than two decades of hard work.
Ethiopia, mindful of the importance of regional peace and stability in the Horn, stood guard against instability and conflict. Using its geographical location and strong commitment to peace, the country has been striving to bring about sustainable peace in the region. As part of this vision, Ethiopia is always ready to send its peacekeeping forces to any African country whose peace and security is threatened by violence and conflict. There was no time Ethiopia refused to engage in peacekeeping activities, not only in Africa but also around the globe. Its anti terrorism commitment is also exemplary.
The peaceful bilateral relationship Ethiopia established with its neighbors and other African countries have also played its own role for Ethiopia’s success story. The country has been continuously working to form strong relationship with African countries with the spirit of pan-Africanism. The recent visit of Liberian and South Sudan Presidents to Ethiopia, and prime minister Hailemariam`s visit to Uganda and Malawi demonstrates Ethiopia’s growth tie with it brotherly and sisterly African countries.
Besides showing their strong commitment to work Ethiopia, Liberian and South Sudan presidents have appreciated Ethiopia`s growing role in the region during their stay in Ethiopia. As it was mentioned by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia wants to share from Ethiopia’s rich experience in creating conducive environment for investors. The president has also appreciated Ethiopia’s efforts in attracting local and domestic investors by establishing industrial parks across the country.
According to her, the investment incentives provided by the government to attract investors to the industrial parks are strong. The training given to investors to develop their leadership skill in doing business is also appreciated by the president.
The President expressed her desire to closely work with Ethiopia. “Liberia is a country embarking on developing industrial parks; therefore, it wants to share from Ethiopia’s experience in the sector,” she said.
According to Sirleaf, Liberia is one of the top rubber producers in Africa and want to work with Ethiopia to supply the product to Ethiopia’s shoe industries. The president assured that the two countries will work together to enhance trade and investment that would strengthen trade integration among African countries. On the other hand, Liberia is keen to utilize Ethiopia’s livestock resource and their products, according to the president.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia and South Sudan have also signed agreements aimed at further ameliorating their fraternity. At the signing of the agreement, prime minster Hialemaraim Dessalegn underlined Ethiopia and South Sudan are looking at possible ways of enhancing their connectivity.
The first Ethiopia-Malawi Joint Cooperation Commission meeting which was held at Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi is another demonstration of Ethiopia`s commitment towards working with its African brothers.
As it was mentioned by Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister, Francis Kasaila, Ethiopia is Malawi’s main partner in the Horn of Africa. The basis of Ethiopia’s fast economic growth, which has won worldwide recognition, is the proper implementation of its policy designed to ensure development, the minister noted.
As part of its vision to create regional integration, Ethiopia has also become a model in East African country. This is clearly witnessed when the first fully electrified cross-border, Ethio-Djibouti railway was officially inaugurated only recently. This electrified railway that links Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, to the Red Sea port of Djibouti, stretches more than 750km (466 miles).
The recent economic progress of the country has witnessed that Ethiopia is becoming one of the major players in the African continent. If it sustains its rapid economic progress, the nation can further play a key role in the region.
BY LEULSEGED WORKU
Information Communication and Technology (ICT) is instrumental in ensuring socioeconomic transformation. ICT could refine the Public Service delivery at an affordable cost, efficiency and harmoniouslycross the nation.
Certainly, via innovative use of ICT, citizens could transform the way institutions should engage with governmental organizations through new digital channels, while achieving better efficiency through sharing across the wider public service.
The fact that, connectivity—whether via the Internet or mobile phones—is increasingly bringing market information, financial services, health services—to remote areas, and is helping to change people’s lives in unprecedented ways.
ICT, in particular high-speed internet, is changing the way companies do business, transforming public service delivery and democratizing innovation. With 10 percent increase in high speed Internet connections, economic growth increases by 1.3 percent. ICT provides economic opportunities to both urban and rural populations. One common contribution is that it increases productivity and makes the market work more efficiently, although the magnitude of the impact on economic growth is likely to be different.
The fact that virtually all new mobile customers in the coming years will be in developing countries, and more specifically in rural areas, means that the ICT platform is reaching citizens with low levels of income and literacy.
The Ethiopian Government has pursued the development of ICT weighing what it could bring back as one of its strategic priorities. This ICT policy is a demonstration of its commitment to the development of ICT as an industry .
Frankly, the policy stems from the recognition by the Government of ICT as the key driver and facilitator for transforming Ethiopia’s predominantly subsistence-agriculture -based economy into an information- and knowledge-based economy and society, effectively integrated into the global economy.
In this regard, one major move had been recorded of late just cornerstone laid for the building of a 480-million Birr worth software development center construction at ICT Park.
Communication and Information Technology Minister Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael “The ICT park is in good progress as a number of local companies have already registered to take office space in the park within the first three month alone. Many of them have gone operational while about four companies have started exporting.”
The minister also added that they are working on a strategic plan to build the capacity of the local companies, whilst the 24 companies in the park themselves have already setup an association, which is helping them in creating links. “We are also looking in bringing foreign companies with some foreign companies and venture companies already showing interest.”
The whole sector should come with binding strategy in a bid to augment national digital divide. Sectors across the board should make sure to come up with binding approaches that could benefit the nation.
As the nation is becoming one of the leading destination for investment and engaged on fast track development efforts should be tuned with the demand on the ground.
The human development area should also support the sector to attract more youths to join the discipline.
ICT planning and implementation should be closely linked to a country’s overall economic development and poverty reduction strategy. Prioritizing among various demands is never an easy task, nor is it one-model-fits-all. Having said that, we would like to encourage a comprehensive assessment of key pillars of the ICT sector to avoid projects or programs that promote e-government without proper infrastructure in place, expand broadband without developing applications and content, or that develop IT industries without a pool of skilled labor.
Finally, the position of all stakes towards achieving sustainable and inclusive growth by 2030, Ethiopia needs to invest in a strong network of economic infrastructure designed to support the country's medium- and long-term objectives. Achieving this vision is possible if there is targeted development of transport, energy, water resources, and ICT networks.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu held discussions Friday with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on bilateral and regional issues of concern.
During the meeting Dr. Workneh delivered Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn’s message to the President.
The parties exchanged views on enhancing the two countries bilateral cooperation and ensuring peace and stability in the region.
They reached agreement to support South Sudanese peace process and to work closely with the newly-formed Somalia’s government.
Consensuses was also reached between the two countries to work together for the successful completion of IGAD’s Special Summit on Somali Refugees set to be held in Nairobi by the end of this month, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
BY BILAL DERSO
Addis Ababa University Institute of Architecture, Building and Construction Development (EiABC) graduated over 200 students for 6th round yesterday.
Speaking at the ceremony guest of honor and former Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) Director General Dr. Eleni Gebremedhin told the graduates to leave some of their comfort zones and find the magic of success through the challenging professional endeavors.
It was indicated that the graduates are expected to foster the development of environmental friendly cities and towns throughout the country.
EiABC Scientific Director Joachim Dieter for his part said the graduates are ready to build the country and be part of the community development.
According to him, higher education, science and technology play crucial role in economic growth and social welfare in Ethiopia. “You are graduating on most challenging times. Ethiopia has experienced population growth, urbanization and industrial development. In the next twenty years, you will develop Ethiopia and are supposed to take part in designing new settlements, infrastructures, tunnels, high ways, industrial parks and new towns at large. In this case, we are talking about 9,000 towns to be developed all over Ethiopia.”
Minase Terefe one of the graduates with high grades told The Ethiopian Herald that this is the real time for an architect to translate architectural knowledge into reality for the nation is in an era of transformation.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Just a month ago, the Amharic daily Addis Zemen published a news story, which carried public complaints on claims of possible environmental pollution due to 'liquid waste' released from Heineken Breweries Share Company's largest beer plant located at Kilinto.
Public residing around the plant claimed the said bad smell exuding from the liquid waste affected both the environs and their cattle, according to the news.
The local administration refuted the claim saying the problem has eased over time, during a field visit the company organized fortnights later. The event brought together media professionals, environmental authority and local administration representatives where they witnessed firsthand the water treatment plant constructed at a cost of 176 million Birr.
At the event, Company General Manager Anteneh Mitiku said that the company allocated huge sum to the proper disposal of solid and water waste as it boosted production.
He further added that the brewery aims to install sustainable waste treatment system in line with international standards while the company saves 3.5 million Birr every year from biogas that uses the company’s waste.
The Ethiopian Herald approached the manger to respond to complaints. He said there have been wrong assumptions related to factory's waste disposals among the public. The company attaches due priority to safety first, he said, noting that even the liquid waste has no any harm as the production process avoids any toxic chemicals.
The liquid waste can even be used for agricultural activities and the company will look forward to working with any interested group that has intentions of utilizing such byproduct, according to him.
The liquid waste goes through different examination and verification process before disposal said Antneh, adding that the treatment plant operates round the clock and is equipped with the required facility despite high costs. Other than creating jobs, the company has also bought different equipment worth 800,000 Birr for nearby Edirs (Communal association) found in the locality.
Addis Ababa Environmental Protection Authority Environmental Awareness and Pollution Team Coordinator Lemesa Gudeta noted that the company is discharging its waste properly in line with the regulations stipulated by the authority.
According to Lemesa, the water treatment plant does not only meet national standards but also keeps international principles as far as waste discharging process is concerned. “The liquid waste is not something hazardous and does not bring any impact on the environment.”
Woreda Administration Chief Hailu Getu for his part confirmed that the administration was pushing Heineken to construct water treatment plant and held discussion with the company to make sure that its liquid waste does not harm the local community. Taking immediate measure, the company built modern and standard water treatment plant.
Industry Ministry Food , Beverage,and Pharmaceutical Development Institute representative Aklilu Kefyalew also said that the waste treatment plant fits to its production size. What is remaining is to make use of the waste for developmental activities. To do so, the company should closely work with the nearby community and find ways of collaboration, he added.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT