The dazzling beauty of Addis Ababa (“New Flower” in Amharic) could be enjoyed standing atop mount Entoto. Currently, the city is striding in at a fabulous pace to categorize itself as one of the beautiful and hospitable metropolitan cities of Africa. Home for more than 4 million inhabitants, the Ethiopian capital is on fastest ever construction boom. The young demographic base, temperate climate, friendly people, hot springs and many other man made and natural gifts of Addis have created ample opportunities for tourists and foreign dignitaries to live happily.
Addis has passed through many ups and downs. Overcoming all tribulations, now the city has become the main financial center of Ethiopia and the diplomatic hub of Africa. Continental and International organizations have opened their headquarters in Addis. Nowadays the capital hosts the African Union (AU), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry (FASC) and Horn of Africa Press Institute (HAPI) and other organizations.
It is possible to claim that Addis is the nervecenter of Ethiopia. Its strategic location especially its closeness to the port of Djibouti is another crucial factor to be selected capital and business center of the nation. When Emperor Menelik II had chosen Addis (‘Finfine’ in Affan Oromo) to be his capital in 1886, it was not an inhabitable area full of jungles with various wild animals. But the wife of Menelik Empress Taytu Bitul was impressed with the beauty of the area. She built a house for herself near the ‘Filwoha’ hot mineral springs, where she and the Showan Royal Court liked to take hot spring baths. Other nobility and their staff started to settle there and the emperor expanded his wife’s home to be a National Palace, which still remains the seat of the Ethiopian government. The name of the spot changed to Addis Ababa and it became Ethiopia’s capital officially following Menelik II coronation as Emperor of Ethiopia.
During the five year Italian occupation Addis had been subjected to lots of hardships. It had been the target of Italian colonialist’s aerial bombardment. What was so shocking at that time was more than 30,000 of its citizens had been brutally massacred in a single day by the direct authorization of the then Governor General of Showa Rodolfo Graziani. The inhuman catastrophe was committed soon after the assassination attempt on Graziani. The bloody and indiscriminate reprisal upon the rebellious country, is still remembered by Ethiopians as ‘Yekatit 12’.It was a war crime which did not get international attention. The occupying troops had contributed some memorable architectural designs that could be crucial for the development of the city. Areas like Piasasa, Merkato and Kazanchis were constructed in the center of Addis to showcase the Italian architectural legacy.
Menelik II’s successor Emperor Haileslassie I had played a very crucial role in building Addis to be an African capital. After the returning from exile from the UK, Haileslassie was the outspoken African leader in the Pan-African movement. He was campaigning and supporting African countries to gain their independence. Being an uncolonized African nation, Ethiopia was the symbol of resistance, victory and independence in the continent. This colorful prominence of Ethiopia has helped many Africans and black people around the world to stand for their rights and independence. In the meantime, the Ethiopian emperor had held discussion with then Free States in a way of creating one African organization which would concern continental and global issues. Thus, all member states have established the African Union Organization (AOU) in 1963 in Addis Ababa. OAU later renamed as the African Union (AU) has been the dominant political organization in the continent since its establishment.
Addis had experienced stagnant development during the socialist oriented military junta known as the Derg. The political ideology of the regime was not compatible with over all socio-economic status of the nation. Private investment was so highly discouraged that almost all businesses and economic activities were controlled and undertaken by the regime. The residents were not allowed to own more than 500,000 Birr capital, which was very important for developing industries and expanding infrastructure at that time. Not only that, they were in a destitute way of life, living under the declared curfews and state of emergencies. Because of this the development of Addis had been widely hampered.
After the Derg regime was overthrown in 1991, the future fate of Addis made a turn for the better—a bright direction. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has designed and put in place feasible policies and strategies that could modernize cities and towns of the country. Taking the ample opportunity created by the government, the city is blooming in a very astonishing manner. Over the last few decades Addis has been striving on remarkable construction advancement. Nowadays, small villages are changing into modernized towns and cities. The government and the private sector are striving to expand basic infrastructural facilities like roads, electricity, piped water, and hospitals to fulfill the needs of dwellers. Numerous standardized hotels, restaurants, theater houses, museums, malls, condominiums and apartments have been constructed. The city has also pioneered to introduce the first light trail in Sub Saharan Africa.
Addis has many amazing star hotels that could satisfy the interest of local and international tourists. International hotels have been providing decent service to business people and diplomatic delegates. The government and private developers are planning to build other hotels to enhance the hospitality and tourism sector.
Moreover, the Addis Ababa Administration Construction Bureau has planned to introduce new architectural designs to increase the city’s aesthetic value and to make the construction environment friendly. The city’s Construction Bureau Head Yonas Ayalew told the Ethiopian Herald that private construction firms and pertinent government bodies should come up with the necessary architectural design to modernize the city.
The Head highlighted that new architectural designs are expected to feature the capital’s culture, history and living standard of its residents as well as its diplomatic prominence.
‘‘Addis Ababa is not only the capital and commercial center of Ethiopia; it is also the diplomatic capital of Africa. Thus, construction need to be undertaken in line with the capital’s masterplan and architectural design guideline,’’ he said.
The ultimate goal of the new design is to make Addis Ababa the diplomatic hub more safe, hospitable and healthy. To attain this noble end, inputs were taken from respective private sectors and higher learning institutions, according to Yonas.
Addis Ababa Technology Institute Director General Isayas Gebreyohanes for his part said design documents were operational for 22 years without any amendment and this scenario has been causing negative effects on Addis' modernization efforts. After 22 years, our institutes and other concerning bodies have already drafted new design codes he said, adding ‘‘these design codes will solve the limitations that we face day in day out’’
In addition, the Addis Ababa City Planning Project has unveiled the 10th master plan of Addis recently which gives due focus on the socio-economic aspects of the city. Land Use & City Structure Team Leader, Tamrat Eshetu said that the 290 billion Birr worth masterplan will upgrade the 10 districts to 13 so as to speed up the development of the capital. Besides, to accelerate the services sector of the city, two international standard hospitals, in Bole Arabsa and Meri Loqe, five star and above hotels and two stadiums, in Gerji and Lebu, will be constructed. The hotels will be located in areas like Old Airport, Sar Bet, Mexico and Kazanchis. In addition, one hotel will be built around Entoto during the second five years of the plan. Generally, Addis, in the course of 131 years , has shown an incredible blooming prospect which would convince its regional and continental diplomatic prominence. When the new master plan comes into effect, the city would have a chance of transforming itself to higher level, to be more vibrant and shining jewel of Africa.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS
Coming to Ethiopia is always exciting coupled with an experience filled with so much adventure and sights to explore and nothing compares with the outdoor adventure when you visit the country during the street festivals. If you are heading to Ethiopia you are in great luck as you will witness the country's patriotic outdoor celebration known as Adwa the legacy of the country inherited over a century ago.
This magnificent celebration is right on your door steps. The battle of Adwa victory celebrated on 2nd of March with so much of fun activities. The famous victory history goes back to 1896 where Ethiopia during the imperial administration gained victory with the then administration of Italy. The victory was considered as a freedom history not only for Ethiopia but also to Africa. Historically the victory made Ethiopia an inspiration of hope, freedom and liberation for Africa and the Caribbean while those continents were under colonial rule . History also has it that following that history the colours of Ethiopia’s flag have been adopted by many African countries after their independence while schools across Africa taught about the Battle of Adwa as African pride.
The best thing about coming to Ethiopia is, there is an amazing diversity of landscapes, celebrations, wildlife and geology to explore and enjoy. Dive into this massive celebrations that takes you deep into the culture and adventurous activities. The festivity starts early in the morning at 4:00 AM throughout the country marking the 121st anniversary of the battle in commemoration of the visitor and the soldiers who has died in the battle. It starts with several gun salute to commemorate the day. There is a big celebration at the capital city Addis Ababa and Adwa where the battle took place.
The outdoor celebration is attended by high ranking government officials and former soldiers who re-enact the battle day with their medal of honour and uniform they wore during the battle. The public and tourists also attend the event to enjoy the re-enactment of the battle on the streets of Addis Ababa at the place famously known as Arada Giorgis. The soldiers aged over a 100 years of age present poems they used during the battles. The way they dressed and their long sparkling white hair and beard style is an attraction by itself. It’s also stunning to see their strength and charms that will never go out of time.
Truly there is so much to see and celebrate in Adawa.While in Adwa there are places for a must visit is the temple of Yeha which is located 30 Km from Adwa town near Axum. Yeha portrays one of Ethiopia’s ancient civilizations that dates back to the 5th century BC. It is a place of sophisticated archeological collection and a magnificent temple. It is famously known due to its sanctuary known as “Temple of the Moon”, Ethiopia's oldest standing architecture. The amazing structure is believed to have been built at the time of the Da’mat Kingdom more than 2,500 years ago. Located at the top of a rocky mountain it remained to be the landmark of the region for several years, hosting visitors from all over the world. Yeha has so many undiscovered ancient wealth awaiting discovery. It’s a place of treasure hunt and royal portrait similar to the globally famed obelisk Aksum.
Axum depicts a chain of transcontinental cultural exchanges traced back to the millennium B.C. The massive obelisks estimated to have been handmade around the 4th century stunning the world with the strength and existence in the modern era. It’s visibly located approximately 30 miles from Yeha. The gigantic Axum monuments made from a single piece of granite of smooth gray stone stand as high as 82 feet. The obelisks resemble buildings with intricately carved cross-shaped windows, and rows of long ends dividing each story with a sample door in the bottom of the monuments. The 108 feet long Axum obelisk lies shattered across the ground allowing a close up view of the magnificent artistic masterpiece. If this obelisk would have been still standing it would have been the tallest obelisk in the world. Get ready for the best time of your life in Adwa and the surrounding destinations while being part of the colorful patriotic festival.
Is the sole mission of business enterprises, public or private, small or gigantic to find ways of bagging lucrative profits out of their business dealings at the expense of everything else? This is a question raised by many. In the meantime Ambassador of Sweden to Ethiopia, Jan Sadek after welcoming guests to a conference recently channeled here on the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), raised a similar question to the audience.
“Do companies have a responsibility for their economic, environmental, and social impact on society? Sweden believes so. Swedish companies have a long history of active CSR work and the nation is viewed as a pioneer within the field. Events like the one we are hosting here today are crucial to enhance knowledge about, as well cooperation on, CSR work” said Ambassador Jan on his opening speech.
The notion of Corporate Social Responsibility is generally perceived as a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders.
CSR is becoming more mainstreamed as forward-thinking companies embed sustainability into the core of their business operations to create shared value for business and society. It is argued that "Sustainability isn't just important for people and the planet, but also is vital for business success".
As Ethiopia is a nation with a rapidly growing economy and widely spreading private and public enterprises competing for profits, the issue of ethical business operation and social responsibility come in to question. Hence the conference organized by the alumni network from the Swedish Institute Management Program of 2015 in collaboration with the Swedish Institute and the Embassy of Sweden aims at kindling a firsthand knowledge regarding ethical and effective CSR – Ethiopian perspective.
Undertaking socially responsible initiatives is not necessarily an act of charity but a truly win-win situation, where ethical and responsible corporations are very likely to maintain good will of their products and services and establish a sustainable business. Not only will the companies appeal to socially conscious consumers and employees, but they will also make a real difference in the world. Accordingly, one should keep in mind that in CSR, transparency and honesty about what one's business enterprise is doing are paramount to earning the public's trust.
Up on his presentation on the conference, Murad Issa, who conducted his MA research on CSR explains what a company’s CSR strategy constitutes: actions to ensure the company operates honorably and ethically, actions to protect and sustain the environment, actions to enhance employee well-being and make the company a great place to work, actions to promote workforce diversity, and actions to support philanthropy, participate in community service and better the quality of life worldwide, bottom-line attaining excellence in economic, social and environmental dimension.
He also gave details in his presentations a review of a survey on the Ethiopian company trends in relation to CSR. Accordingly, it is found that there is 100 percent positive attitude in implementing CSR, where as 40 percent of companies are positive on periodical disclosure of information. It is interesting that, 80 percent believe in fair wages & security of employment in principle, yet in cross validation 69 percent of employees not happy with companies’ policies. 71 percent of customers thought they were manipulated by business corporations 75 percent of general public not pleased with CSR from Ethiopian companies.
Nevertheless, integration of CSR strategies in profit-driven corporations is guaranteed to reward investors and entrepreneurs with increased reputation and buyer patronage, reduced risk of reputation-damaging incidents, lower turnover costs and enhanced employee recruiting and workforce retention, increased opportunities for revenue enhancement, support for the long-term interests of owner/shareholder which of course are manifestations of sustainable business practices, as explained by Murad.
Emerging entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, who are said to be good models in incorporating CSR strategies in their businesses, appeared on the conference to share their experiences. Social entrepreneurs like Kibret Abebe of Tebita Ambulance, Yasser Bagersh of Our Father's Kitchen passionately preached on how they were and are well paid back by giving away. Yasser confirms that, business owners like that of himself need to dedicate themselves in helping out the society, not necessarily in a form of charity, but in an ethical and responsible manner and the payments for that are far more than mere profit.
The ambassador further notified that, there are many aspects within CSR that need to be addressed. The work with human rights is a prioritized aspect for the Swedish Government. All Swedish companies are expected to respect human rights in all their operations and that they act to prevent human rights abuses. The Government encourages the private sector to follow the OECD’s guidelines for multinational companies, to apply the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
He further added that, gender equality is another important aspect of CSR work. Companies should offer equal opportunities for women and men to rise to leadership positions; make it possible to combine work and family, and encourage shared participation in childcare.
There are several Swedish companies setting good examples with CSR work. The clothing company H&M, which is also active in Ethiopia, is at the forefront in integrating a sustainable approach to business. It has an eco-clothing line called Conscious Collection. It also works actively with its suppliers to promote labor rights and reduce environmental impacts, insists Ambassador Jan.
In general, it is true that decisions made behind closed doors about social responsibility are very tricky since people will never know where donations are really going unless companies engage employees and consumers in giving back.
In its nature, CSR is a topic which extends across several policy areas like corruption, ethics, environment, gender and labor issues where the government is supposed to act on it. Hence, the government need to take research based actions in enforcing CSR strategies in Ethiopia, since it has a pivotal role in ensuring sustainable economic growth while concurrently mitigating social and environmental impacts of business both in the country and around the world.
BY HOMA MULISA
Ethiopia possesses many majestic mountains. They all have magnificent look and panorama that attract not only tourists and the like, but indeed the native people Ethiopians as well. There is one mountain that breezes history day and night: a history of freedom, liberty, independence and sovereignty, courage, unity in diversity, love and sacrifice for the motherland, perseverance, commitment, strength, vigour and tenacity. That mountain is called The Adwa Soloda Mountain. You can’t help but be attracted by its breathtaking scenery and majestic views from every corner. Its grace feels your heart and soul with a sense of pride, courage and strength. That was the feeling myself and my friends used to have when we climb Mount Soloda and wrote our names at the top of it.
As a child, I grew up there and it was customary for me and my friends to climb the mountain almost regularly on weekends to write our names at the top of the mountain using stones. This was done to show off and to boast to others who do not dare to try to climb the mountain. We also felt as if we climbed the Mount Everest because Soloda Mountain was our Mount Everest. We talked about our usual adventures to many people for many years without knowing the historical significance of that mountain not only to Ethiopians and Africans but indeed to the Black race as well. When I got to high school, my history teacher taught me about the mountain I usually climb and my pride has been much more reinforced and felt that I was truly not only at the top of Mount Soloda but indeed at the top of the world. Then after I left my country and went to Canada, I met few African school friends and few of them were enrolled in African Studies departments. On one of our discussion I recall one friend from Uganda who is currently teaching history in one of US's universities raised a very important question about the battle of Adwa and its significance to African independence from colonialism and to the birth of Pan-Africanism. One question that surprised us all was when he asked us if the battle of Adwa is a compulsory subject and main question in the history department: a requirement to pass the school leaving examination. I knew it was not in Ethiopia although it may be one of those questions to be selected as a choice by students taking the history exam. Then the Ugandan student to our surprise told us that if you do not know your history and especially the history of courage, heroism and a history of pride not only to Ethiopia and Africa but indeed to the black Race and if that subject is not a compulsory subject then what is? He did not stop there. He further added that that subject is a compulsory subject in Uganda and if you did not correctly answer that subject, you do not pass that exam. Well! How many of us know our history? Most importantly, how many of us try to learn about our history? I leave that question to you fellow brothers and sisters the way my Ugandan friend challenged me and my fellow friends in Canada.
When Fascist Italy wanted to conquer, enslave and colonize our nation, they chose to fight our ancestors at the battle of Adwa. They wanted to show case their superiority in arms and armaments, their professional army tactics and strategies and they wanted to shamefully defeat our ancestors in short period of time using their very qualified army generals and they wanted to tell the world that they defeated the Ethiopians and that Ethiopia will be under Italy once and for all. For that, they deployed their best soldiers equipped with best arms and armaments ready to finish the job in a very short period of time. To the enemy’s surprise, the giant and majestic Mount Soloda was there looking at them from every angle and waiting for them to come and confront Ethiopians. The enemy had no clue about the magic of Mount Soloda just like the way we were when we were kids. They did not know that Mount Soloda and Enda Mariam Shewito were parts and parcels of the battle of Adwa. The enemy did not know that our Gallant ancestors had something better than sophisticated weapons. They did not know that our ancestors were equipped with stronger weapon than the enemy’s sophisticated arms and armaments. Our ancestors were equipped with courage, stamina and determination and above all, unity even against all odds, love of and sacrifice for a nation. Those weapons that our ancestors had become a winning formula not identified by the enemy and that winning formula became a symbol and a sign of Ethiopianess for generations and will continue to be so forever.
Our ancestors confronted the enemy with eternal weapon and gave the enemy a lesson that they and their generation will not forget: lesson of defeat, a lesson of disgrace, a lesson of shame and humiliation once and for all. On the other hand, those lessons our ancestors gave the enemy later on became a lesson of freedom, liberty, courage and strength to our African brothers and sisters and indeed to all Black Race. That is the magic of the battle of Adwa and the magic of the graceful Mount Soloda and Enda Mariam Shewito where the battle took place. That magic helped our African brothers and sisters to stand up for their rights, to say enough is enough to colonialism and slavery. They said that they can defeat the European colonizers like Ethiopia and be free like Ethiopia. They got the courage and strength to do so taking the lesson from the battle of Adwa. In fact, the victory of Adwa transcended the will and determination for liberation, freedom and emancipation to the rest of African nations that were under colonial rule. As a result, they stood against their colonialists, fought and were able to get rid of them. They learned from the victory of Adwa that if united and join their hands and stand up against colonialism, then they too can defeat the enemy and secure their freedom. That is the lesson they got from the victory of the battle of Adwa: A lesson of courage and moral strength.
Now that the victory of the battle of Adwa exemplifies freedom, courage and strength to all Black Race, something has to be done to preserve the history and pass those noble entities, values, lessons and norms to the next generation so that the next generation can learn, secure and be proud of its history. However, being proud of ancestors’ history may not be enough although securing and defending that legacy is the responsibility of the young generation. The young generation can also make their own history without taking arms and armaments. We live in the 21st century and 21st century needs 21st century thinking.
The history of Adwa is not solely history of the people of Ethiopia; it is history of the people of Africa and indeed it is the history of the black race across the globe. Therefore, this golden history of the battle of Adwa must be protected, safeguarded and passed to generations after generations to come. For that, a concrete and practical entity has to be established and not simply commemorating the event with simple theatrical, artistic and musical or dramatic performances and theoretical workshops and conferences with no concrete and practical results or outcomes. Every year, more often than not hollow promises are echoed from every angle but there has not yet been any solid entity to advance this golden history to the current or the next generation. Therefore, it is now the right time, in fact, it is long overdue to do the right thing and doing the right thing is among others, to build THE PAN-AFRICAN UNIVERSITY within the place it deserves to be and there is no place on earth than Adwa where it should be, it is there where it belongs; therefore, it is time to build it there. The Pan Africanism can be said to have its origins in the struggles of the African people against enslavement and colonialism. Pan-Africanist ideals emerged in the late nineteen century in response to European colonization and exploitation. “Pan Africanism is an ideology and movement that encourages the solidarity of Africans world wise. It is based on a belief that unity is vital to economic, social and political progress and aims to “unify and uplift” people of African descent”. Historically, pan Africanism has often taken the shape of a political or cultural movement. In its narrowest political manifestation, pan Africanists envision a unified African nation where all people of the African Diaspora can live. The PAN AFRICAN UNIVERSITY that will be built in Adwa can, among others be equipped with a museum and with up to date library system filled with historical archives coded and updated by modern scientific information technology arrangements in order to preserve the history and to educate people within a healthy environment equipped with modern technology. It can also serve as a teaching and research centre of excellence to serve and educate people from all corners with regard to the concept and practice of Pan-Africanism and the role of the Ethiopian people in the battle of Adwa in that regard. Further, the university can be a catalyst for creating educational and professional linkages between and among Governmental, Non-Governmental, and World Class University and Institution Centres of Excellence for Advanced Learning and Research, for Knowledge Exchange and Knowledge Transfer Purposes through Visiting and Guest Teaching Scholars from across the globe and for conducting International Standard and Result Oriented Workshops, Conferences and the like. Further, the university can also create linkages between and among Governmental and non-governmental institutions such as the UN, the AU, the ECA, EU, IGAD, COMESSA etc. for mutual support. Further, the university can create a firm contact with the Africans in the Diaspora especially those with high level academic and professional background in the field of Pan-Africanism and other similar background in general and the Ethiopian Diaspora in particular in order to support and reinforce variety of educational and professional activities of the Pan-African university. It is apparent therefore, that Ethiopians in the Diaspora in general and those with specific educational background and professional as well as entrepreneurial skills in particular contribute to the development of the Pan-African university to be built in Adwa. Their business and development potential and areas of specialization can definitely be an asset to help build and develop the University within their country of origin. Further, their contribution in turn can have potent influence on social cohesion and economic integration of Africa. In addition, Ethiopians in the Diaspora can be extremely vital to the development of the university provided that they are committed to use their knowledge, skill and expertise in helping their country of origin. For that to happen, it is imperative that a collaborative effort is made between the government and Ethiopians in the Diaspora in order to create a conducive and enabling environment for their participation and collaboration within the establishment of the Pan-African University. The government must therefore act like a facilitator to encourage the establishment of world standard educational and training institution such as the building of Pan-African University in Ethiopia. Diaspora Ethiopians must show their collaboration, dedication and commitment to help their country of origin together putting their political differences aside. They should put the interest of their country and their people first and foremost. This will make them proud of contributing to development endeavours in their country of origin. One way of doing so is among others by focusing on the education sector and the building of the Pan-African University is part and parcel of it. Why on education? The answer is simple and clear; education is the most important investment for the nation. The Diaspora difference can have a significant outcome in that regard; Ethiopians in the Diaspora can also be an important factor in Ethiopia’s relations with other countries and in building the good image of this country. They can also be good will ambassadors of the University. Ethiopian Diaspora can nurture the relationships of accountability embodying practices of obligation, respect, responsibility and affinity that underpin their connection to the developmental endeavour of the University thereby bringing about a rapid and positive change in their country of origin. Diaspora Ethiopians must show more collaboration, dedication and commitment to help build this unique university within their country of origin. This is a historic moment to demonstrate their commitment. Therefore, a mechanism should be developed in order to increase the interaction between the Diaspora and the envisaged university; THE PAN AFRICAN UNIVERSITY.
The university can also create linkages with the business community at home and abroad based on mutual benefits. Therefore, the university must clearly identify the role of Governmental, Non-Governmental, the Educational and Professional Institutions and the role of the Public at large both here at home and in the Diaspora in order to make the envisaged Pan-African University a centre of Excellence. For that, fresh initiatives are required at many levels.
Now that we know the importance of creating, building and establishing the envisaged Pan-African University in a place where it truly belongs, the Mount Soloda is watching us from every corner with hope and jubilation. Mount Soloda was fed-up with numerous wishful promises and proposals with no concrete and tangible outcomes time and time again; however, it is now envisaging real hope and is starting to feel good this time around for the first time. As a result, It is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Mount Soloda is hoping to see new, elegant and world class Pan-African University at its backyard for the first time to make the history of the battle of Adwa Live for generations to come. For that to happen, all stakeholders must join hands to put in place this noble and significant project.
BY DR. YOHANNES GEBRESILASSIE
Nearly six years ago, Ethiopians from all walks of life made firm decision to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with their own resources. Amazingly, every fellow citizen living inside the country and abroad had purchased bond worth over two billion birr within six months of the launching of this mega project. Indeed, bond purchasing and pledges of financial support to GERD have been continuing and 12 billion birr has so far been collected. Efforts are under way to mobilize public resource for the Dam.
As part of this effort, recently, a 'bond week' campaign aimed at raising funds for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was launched across the country by the National Council for Coordination of Public Participation for the Construction of the GERD. In fact, apart from contributing to the construction of the dam, the bond purchase has enabled the pubic to develop the culture of saving. Moreover, the campaign is to facilitate favourable condition for Ethiopians to strengthen GERD supports.
During the campaign, all banks in the country would sell GERD bonds for a week, and the Office has established 71 bond sale centres at every sub-city.
Apparently, such bond week would make the general public to renew their commitment towards GERD with patriotic zeal.
In addition to purchasing bonds to realize the set goals regarding GERD, the active participation of the public made over the last five years has proved the unity and unwavering commitment of the general public towards the completion of the flagship project.
It is obvious that the nation is busy at implementing a number of mega projects all over the country. Thus, it needs a huge amount capital investment to undertake and finalize such projects as per their slated time frame. One way of strengthening our financial capacity is to develop saving culture in the country. Undoubtedly, purchasing bonds support the construction of the Dam and develop saving culture throughout the nation.
The National Council should further step up its efforts in applying new and attractive lotteries as well as tombola drawing activities in the coming years with a view to get the desired financial gain in this regard.
As GERD has become an ever lasting symbol of unity in diversity in Ethiopia, every fellow citizen should actively take part in this national endeavour through sending purchasing bonds and making a series of visits to the construction site of the GERD in a bid to tap workers and soldiers there at the back ever than before. It is so blessing to see dedicated and hard working fellow citizens being active round the clock enthusiastically under harsh climate.
This year 6th anniversary of commencement of GERD will be marked with great heighten patriotic zeal as preparations for the water filling phase are well under way signalling the encouraging efforts toward the completion of the project.
Besides, GERD will soon generate power making use of the two electric generator turbines out the of the total 16 as the substation and transmission line works that would carry the generated power have been completed, and the line is connected to the national grid system as well.
For sure, the major task ahead will be the filling phase, and activities in this regard will be going with increased commitment, plus, it will boost the can -do -spirit of the public at large.
The special bond sale, which is under way for the second time as part of the 6th anniversary of the GERD, would facilitate favourable condition for Ethiopians to strengthen GERD support.
Undoubtedly, the bond week would enable citizens and friends of Ethiopia to maintain the elevated spirit to complete the construction of the Dam. No recede for the Dam. Ethiopians are writing their own shining victory over poverty not only for the country but also for Africans as their forefathers did at Adwa.
Kenyan media outlets have it well covered recently that Ethiopia is about to overtake Kenya and become the leading economy in East Africa.
Building on decade-long double-digit growth catalyzed by enormous government spending on infrastructure, the size of the Ethiopian economy, in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measurements, will reach 69.2 billion USD according to projections the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made for 2016. In 2015, its GDP stood at 61.6 billion USD.
Kenya's GDP, on the other hand, is expected to rise to 69.1 billion USD in 2016, up from 63.4 billion USD in 2015.
If the projections turn out to be true, Ethiopia, hailed by pundits as an "African lion", will surpass Kenya. Though the possible win would be by a small margin, Kenyans have echoed that Ethiopia is surely becoming a new superpower in the region.
It is not hard to understand why the possibility of Ethiopia coming at the forefront has caused a stir among Kenyans.
Back in 2000, Kenya had a 70 per cent lead over Ethiopia. Kenya's GDP then stood at 14 billion USD while Ethiopia's output was somewhere around 8 billion USD.
Following the vigorous economic progress the government of Ethiopia has been able to spin over the years, however, the country has managed to catch up with Kenya and close the gap.
Booming foreign direct investment
An important contributing factor behind Ethiopia's quick ascension both the IMF and the African Development Bank (AfDB) suggest is the robust foreign direct investment (FDI), complementary to the government's huge investment.
According to the Ethiopian Investment Commission, China leads the foreign investment pack followed by Turkey and [many more foreign countries].
David Shinn, former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, who actively follows events about the relations of China and Ethiopia, wrote on his blog that in 2014 China's investment in Ethiopia reached a cumulative one billion USD.
The diplomat went on to point out that the trade and investment relations the two countries have established over the course of the years registered a booming growth.
For instance, Shinn said "in 2000, China-Ethiopia trade was only 88 million USD. Since 2006, China has been Ethiopia's largest trading partner. Trade exceeded 2 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, although the trade balance heavily favours China. One of China's six special economic zones in Africa has been established in Ethiopia."
The diplomat also noted that Chinese companies are building most of the roads in Ethiopia. For example, the first phase of the Ethio-Djibouti railway project, the telecommunications infrastructure, and the light rail system in Addis Ababa. By 2014, the cumulative value of Chinese contracted projects exceeded 22 billion USD, Shinn said.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) Wednesday launched national book of 2015/16 budget year.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Government Communication Affairs Office Minister, Dr. Negeri Lencho said since 2006, the book has been entertaining social, economic, political, cultural, tourism, justice and sports related issues of the nation.
The Minister stated that the annual book would provide valuable information for citizens, researchers, scholars, NGOs, policy makers, foreign investors and tourists.
He added that the book has included infrastructural development, investment opportunities, peace and security, international market possibilities, investment policies and strategies.
"It will be crucial document to every one who want to know about our country’s current affairs. Knowing its importance, we have been working to improve its publishing quality and contents," he asserted.
Including basic facts and figures of regional states, the 640 page edition is better than the previous editions, according to him.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS
The Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources underscored the need for improving agri-technology to meet the goal of 594 million quintals crop production by end of GTP II.
Speaking at annual Agriculture and Mechanization Day Wednesday, Minister Dr. Iyasu Abreha highlighted that the sector is playing the role of ensuring food security and catapulting the country's effort to industrialize its economy and join middle income countries.
He also stressed the need for upgrading agri-technology to maintain the growth momentum.
Market oriented agricultural activity, agricultural product consumption and agricultural value addition would not guarantee sustainability unless backed by improved technology, he said.
Technological use provides quality product both to local consumers and international market, he added.
Indicating sector's record growth for the last 15 consecutive years, the minister said 270 million qunitals of increase was registered this harvest year. "Our land for cultivation has risen from two million hectares in 2001 to 13 million hectare in 2015/16.”
State Minister Tesfaye Mengiste for his part noted that production and productivity have enabled the country to cope up the impact El-Nino induced drought.
Furthermore, he said that despite the upward trajectory of the sector, there is still a long road ahead in terms of transforming the sector.
Tesfaye added that there is still a need for more work on the agriculture and mechanization sector using improved agricultural mechanism and technology in order to maintain the growth of the sector.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded Water supply development project which benefit 91, 000 people at Kibet Town in SNNP state inaugurated Tuesday.
Speaking the multidimensional benefits of the water supply system, Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia Shinichi Saida said this water supply system is a token of friendship between the two countries. "This project is tangible in improving access to a safe water supply, sanitation and good hygiene in rural areas," he added.
The project would inevitably promote dwellers to engage in their social and economic activities, he said. In its press release sent to the newsroom, the agency announced that the project was implemented based upon the exchange of notes signed between the Japanese and Ethiopian governments on 19 March 2015. The total funding extended for this project was around 11 million USD.
JICA has been assisting in water supply system construction and maintenance through its technical cooperation and grant assistance schemes.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
Oromia set to initiate a state wide economic revolution to fundamentally overhaul its economy through research based public-private partnership investment strategy aiming at ensuring economic justice among Oromo people.
State Communication Bureau Head Addisu Arega said the initiative would encourage domestic investment which in turn benefits the youth and farmers together with Foreign Direct Investment.
According to Addisu, the initiated economic revolution, in a bid to produce fundamental structural transformation in the state's economy targets establishing ago-processing industries, expanding mechanized agricultural practices as well as exhaustively developing the mining sector.
It was learned that, the initiative will focus on industrialization efforts that will help add values on natural resources and agricultural products of the state before injecting them to national and international markets.
Accordingly, the state has identified Oda Integrated Transport, Kegna Beverage, Ambo-Gnemer Manufacturing, Agro-industry and Mining, and Oromia Construction to be projects in the first phase of the initiative, that will engage over a million farmers and youths of the region as shareholders. Hence, a secretariat that executes the public-private partnership investment is set up in addition to the 25 member of State Council formulated to lead the implementation of the initiative.
BY HOMA MULISA