Famished I and crew members were when we arrived at Sodo Gurage at nine in the morning for we kicked off travel from Addis Ababa before sunup in a blood curdling cold. Even after alighting from the vehicle we had no time to order Kocho (Gurage’s’ traditional food) in the hotel because we had to join the Program for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME) meeting very soon.
In the meeting room, it took me not long to forget my hunger as I started to listen to touching and sometimes shocking stories flooding from participants in the meeting room.
Dr Abebaw Fekadu is the Principal Investigator of PRIME-Ethiopia Part of an international study launched by Addis Ababa University in Collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health. He had to cut short his presentation of six months’ performance report majorly focusing on the treatment of psychosis, depression and epilepsy. To back his LCD presentation with instances borrowed from practical experience, he resorted to the story tellers who had taken seats at every corner. Wagaye Diro a woman in her 40’s knew a violent woman living in a shanty plastic shelter by the street behind her home, in Bui town. She says, she was always scared to pass by this woman.
“I never pass by her shelter unless I had money or food at hand to throw to her. She had a strange clothing; she often wore layers of T-shirts, coats, and dresses one on top of the other” Wagaye said.
The woman had lived there for 8 years with no sign of improvement. But, some days when Wagaye walked to church, by the woman with mental sickness, the woman didn’t show up. She checked her for the next fifteen days, the woman was not coming out from the plastic shelter.
“I wondered what had happened to her. I dreaded getting close to her shelter. She was asleep. I read from her face that she was ill. A bit courageous, drawing close, I asked her whether she had become ill. ‘Yes’, she said. When I asked her, “Shall we go to a clinic?” She said, ‘Ok’. I was caught by surprise when I saw the violent women that turned weak and peaceful all of a sudden. While she was walking behind me, people thought that the woman was intent to capture and hit me” said, Wagaye.
At the health center Wagaye learnt that treatment was being given for people with mental disorders at the health center supported by the PRIME project. Wagaye was assigned a supporter for the woman, while the project continued to treat the sick woman.
“I washed her well. She came out to be a very slim woman when I changed her clothes. People took her for somebody else because they knew her enveloped by lots of clothes and that had made her look very fat” Wagaye said.
She had a twelve-year-old child who at the age of ten was taken to a protestant benefactor. The day Wagaye changed the woman’s cloth, the boy arrived at his mother’s shelter with a portion of his meal to give to his mother. But he couldn’t recognize his mother in the new dressing.
“Where is Mimi!” he shouted on the top of his voice assuming that she had run away from the plastic shelter”, Wagaye said, tears breaking loose from her eyes.
In not longer than three months, the woman gained her consciousness back as she took treatment in the health project. Excluding those treated for less severe illness, such as depression and alcohol-use disorder, PRIME has supported treatment for more than five hundred people with psychosis and nearly 700 with epilepsy over the last five years and support patients who do not recover fully with medication alone to recover. The CBR workers travel through remote rural villages crossing hills and rivers to treat psychotic patients tied down hand to foot with chains as well as those suffering from epilepsy and depression.
Zenabua Deres is a door-to-door community rehabilitation worker. She says heading to remote areas is very demanding especially in the absence of transport but once a person needing their help is identified, she and her colleagues continue traveling to those places to create awareness, provide treatment and monitor the recurrence of mental disorder.
The noticeable achievement of the PRIME project would not have been possible without the support of compassionate people in the community, who willingly invite people with psychotics to their homes, provide them food and bring them for mental health care.
Masresha Adenew is gifted in approaching people with mental disorder and taking them to mental health care. He says, a psychotic person who is violent to others peacefully comes and talks to him.
“Two weeks back friends showed me a girl with mental illness that had went out to the street. She was a very attractive girl. It was eight days since she ate food. She had declined to eat Injera” Masresha said his finger pressed to his mouth.
“Come to me, I said, and she came close. Do you want to eat food, I repeated? She said, “I will”. I gave her Shuro (Enjira with sauce). She asked me to sit by her until she was done. She ate well, Thanks to God,” he said.
He paid the cafe owner money enough to cover meal for eight days ‘and told the girl to come and eat there any time she needed.
On the morrow, early in the evening, a shocking thing occurred. Four gangsters carried the girl to a nearby bush jungle to rape her. The residents of surrounding and the community police who heard her shout for help arrived in time and rescued her.
Masresh understood that she was in trouble when he saw her face beaten and her arms scratched. This is a showcase that has to teach the Sodo district the need to protect people with mental disorder living on the street. Protection of people with mental illness living on streets in an urgent priority for the Sodo district and more broadly for the whole country.
Masresha had helped one another psychotic patient whose name is Shanko. Shanko had for several years run naked on the streets of Sodo and takes his treatment regularly.
“He walks to the care center and receives medication alone” Mesresha said. But the next worry to mentally recovered patients like Shanko and others is home.
Deputy Administrator of the Woreda and head of the district Health Office Feleke Asfaw confirmed the full commitment of the Woreda and the health office. Ato Feleke also promised that people who need people who need treatment for serious mental illness will be prioritized for receiving certificate to receive care for free and will also prioritized for housing.
According to Dr Abebaw, in six months from now, the PRIME will conclude its implementation in Sodo.
The project has made accessible for the whole of the district, 180,000 in total and is attempting to scale up care to enable access to mental health care for 1.2 million people of Gurage Zone. The Commitment of the local government and the community has ensured exception success of PRIME project.
For the past one year, the district health facilities are purchasing medication and care coordinated through the health office. But sill the next big question remains whether the service will be sustained.
Although PRIME project will be ending in six months, the team that is working in prime will continue supporting the district and other zones through ongoing projects.
Many of those of who took part in the projects’ performance report meeting and health care providers, patients and families of patients attest that the key to their change was the awareness the project created in them regarding the nature and treatability of mental illness.
“I had spent many nights my leg tied to my mentally ill sister who opted to escape to in midnight. When things got worse on my sister, I had decided to stay away from home not to see my sister dying before my eyes. But the awareness created on me through this project has enabled me do the right thing. This is why, I can see my sister alive today”
This young man's sister was seriously ill and tied up against a tree on the main street of the village after the family has exhausted all available sources of care including a visit to Butajira hospital and Amanuel. She was naked, agitated and hostile and was covered in dust when one of the community advisory board members, a commander in chief of the police, saw her and advised the family to take her to the nearby health center. She recovered completely after treatment and was back to school, then grade 3. Now she in grade 6.
One more additional job to the general health care provider
Dr Abebaw, Principal investigator of project says to bring a significant change in mental health care provision, the service should be integrated with other health care provision in the country. In other words, a general health care provider should provide mental health care, which is not the case in almost all parts of the country.
“We have demonstrated the possibility of doing so. We have skilled up practitioners, we have demonstrated that the community could participate in supporting patients as well as in using the services. We also have done it in a way that could be replicated in other Gurage Zones and all other districts of the Gurage zones” Dr Abebaw said.
He says, a system has been laid down to train all new comers in the health care provision. Medication is being provided to centers more regularly than was the case a year before.
A critical look shows, in severity, mental disorder is even worse than HIV AIDS or any other disease in the world. The government of Ethiopia is paying more attention for the care of people with mental disorder. It has a mental health strategy for the first time and various pilot programs have been carried out.
“The cause of mental disorders is multifactorial. However, whether the illness is caused by the stress life, loses, use of substances, head injury, birth trauma or due to broader factors we know little about at present, more attention has to be given by the government and the public.
The achievements of PRIME-supported mental health care in Sodo, has to convey the message that mental health can be provided to people in as long as the community and policy maker is actively engaged.
By Abera Wendoson
Electric had the full domination on Thursday and Sunday Addis Coca Cola cycling race series that took place in two different places.
The 6-km race up the hill to Entoto Saint Marry Church from Sidist Kilo Memorial Monument, Electric’s trio, Birhanu Belayneh, Abebe Beyene and Surafel Yehualashet, made a sweeping victory taking all the top three places, in the order of that. This race brought together 20 cyclists.
Same day, in men’s mountain bike 6km race from Sidist Kilo up the hill to Entoto, Yubuel Zewde of Electric came out first leaving behind Sintayehu Belete of Youth Academy and Tamirat Kumsa of Garad to take the second and third places, respectively. This race drew 26 cyclists.
The event organizers, the Addis Ababa Cycling Federation, (AACF), said that this was indeed a very gruelling cycling race.
The Sunday race that took place at the Kara-Wossen Grocery brought together 110 cyclists, six less than last week.
In the main 54km course race that drew 23 cyclists Abebe Beyene of Electric emerged winner. Haile Awol of Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) stood second while Daniel Teklay of the African Refugee side won the third place.
In the men’s 51-km mountain bike race that brought together 29 cyclists Shemsedin Redwan came out first. Regassa Gemi of Garad and Yehualashet Keni of Youth Academy managed to settle second and third, in that order.
In the women’s 24-km mountain bike race once again the private cyclist Yordanos Bulbula outpaced all others to take title for the fourth time in a row. Her overwhelming domination of the event is becoming evident.
Kidist Oumer of Youth Academy and Iskedar Abay of Yeka Sub-city took the second and third places, in the order of that. Both Kidist and Iskedar now appear to be the traditional second and third. This race attracted only 10 female cyclists.
In the youth 9-km race Tamirat Tibebe of Yeka Sub-city came out first while Abiy Abera of Arada Sub-city finished second. Abduljelil Tiraz of Kolfe Sub-city won the third place. This race pulled 36 young talents, three plus than that of last week.
For the fourth time in a row Tigabu Kebede, Mihretu Fetene and Abiy Birhanu, occupied from one up to three places, respectively, in the 9km veteran cyclist race. The Sunday race brought together 12 veteran cyclists.
The Sunday race was one of the series of events that took place in this Ethiopian season under the name of Addis Coca Cola cycling club race.
This cycling competition is sponsored by Coca Cola East Africa Bottling Share Company. The sponsorship deal was set for the coming one year with the possibility of extension.
Under this sponsorship deal the AACF will get 500, 000 birr from Coca Cola East Africa Bottling S. C for one year.
The sole factor for Coca Cola East Africa Bottling Share Company to sponsor cycling race is to help promote the sports at the national level.
The Ethiopian Ground Tennis Federation has forwarded and identified that ground tennis is challenged by shortage of experts in the sport discipline, facility scarcity and limited number of tournaments.
The Federation has conducted its 12th General Assembly last weekend and consulted on ways of improving the sport in the nation.
Participants from all the nine states and the two city administrations stated that little focus have so far been given by the regional states and stakeholders in developing sport facilities.
They said adding that shortage of experts in the area is challenging in the effort to facilitating and organize training and games. It was also suggested that the national federation should extend support to fill this gaps in a continuous manner.
It has also been suggested during the discussion by the participants that the federation should include senior sports persons in various tournaments and annual championships organized by the federation.
Director of the Federation, Azeb Wolde-Selassie said on her part that there is scarcity in the number of experts in the sport discipline but the federation will work to solve this problem sustainably.
She further noted that regional ground tennis Federations should work closely with their respective Youth and Sport Bureaus to developing sport facilities which are crucial to advancing the sport across the nation. She added “The Federation will extend support to the regional and cities Administration Federations through expertise assistance.”
Azeb further added the Federation will organize additional youth tournaments with the limited budget it has to solve shortage of competitions in the discipline.
Meanwhile, the Federation also disclosed that it is unable to host tournaments for seniors as it has limited capacity to organize games on that regard.
The Director added that youths are taking ground tennis training in seven states and the two city administrations.
Recently Ethiopia has completed first in the East African Junior Ground Tennis Championship held before two months regardless of the local limited capacity. Some eight nations have taken part in the championship that Ethiopia won recently.
The championship was a recognized tournament by the International Tennis Federation and it was held in Nairobi, Kenya.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
Coffee after collecting the full three points with win at Adama
City rivals Coffee kept their pursuit of the Ethiopian Premier League title going with a 4-0 win over Mekelakeya on Sunday as the third placed Dedebit conceded a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the league leaders Saint George on Saturday at the Addis Ababa Stadium.
Victory saw fourth-placed Coffee move to within seven points of leaders St. George. The heavily defeated Mekelakeya stand 10th on 21 points.
Defending champions Saint George maintained the Ethiopian Premier League leadership on 35 points from 17 games with a 3-2 win over city rivals Dedebit on Saturday. It was a very thrilling and exciting game. Dedebit managed to reduce the 3-0 gap to 3-2 at the end but they were not able to share a point.
Losers Dedebit went one down to take the third place on 28 points from equal 17 games.
By contrast Sidama Coffee went one ladder up to take the second place on 31 points from 17 games with a 1-0 win over Adama City who are now 5th in the table on 27 points. The record tells that Adama City continued their down ward move.
The 6th placed Fasil City continued dropping points for the second time in a row when they conceded a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the home side Wolayita Dicha who stand 9th on 21 points. Fasil take the 6th place on 26 points.
Woldiya City and Arba Minch City finished level at 1-1. As a result Arba Minch City occupy the 7th place on 23 points while Woldiya are 8th on 21.
Hawassa City made the life span of Commercial Bank difficult with a 4-0 wide margin win. Commercial Bank went one worse to take the 15th place on 17 points while Hawassa are now 11th on 20 points. This is the worst result Banks ever earned in the Premier League this season.
Electric improved their position to the 12th place with a 3-1 win over Dire Dawa City. Electric have now 19 points from 17 games while the 14th-placed Dire Dawa have 16 points. This is a good upsurge for Electric.
The bottom side Addis Ababa City are far from recovery as they conceded a 1-0 away defeat at the hands of Jima Ababuna who stand 13th on 17 points. The Addis side remained the bottom side on 10 points.
Getaneh Kebede of Dedebit is the leading scorer with 12 goals while St. George’s Adane Girma and Saladin Seid have nine goals each. Fitsum Gebre-Mariam of Electric stands third with eight goals.
Haile Gebre -Selassie waves as he approaches the finish line at the end of the Morrisons Great Manchester Run in May 2015, just a few minutes before he announced his retirement
Ethiopian legendary athlete and chief of the country’s athletics governing body, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF), Haile Gebre -Selassie strongly suggested that athletes who fail drug test must face jail term.
“It is necessary to take strong legal action to stamp out doping in the country. Those who failed a test for meldonium should be sent to prison,” Ethiopian distance running great said.
Currently Girmay Birhanu is under police investigation for breaching an anti-doping law after he failed a test last year. According to Haile, Girmay could serve three years prison term.
In his view this can’t be considered as a harsh measure. “This is necessary to protect our clean athletes from the scandalous ones,” he noted.
Ethiopia, one of five countries the IAAF says is in “critical care” over its drug-testing systems. The world anti-doping governing body, WADA, warned the Ethiopians to take care from taking performance enhancing drugs a few months ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
When a new athletics federation body was formed under the Presidency of Haile Gebre -Selassie in November 2016, his administration has adopted a “zero tolerance” approach towards doping.
He then said: “Our stand is no excuse towards someone who has cheated. As of today, any athlete who failed drug test will be hit by a life time ban.”
The EAF decision doesn’t stop there. “It is not only the athletes who should go to jail. Any one who makes an attempt to supply the drugs, or any one involved in drug business and if some one is caught in the middle in transferring the drug from one place to another, one will pay the price for this wrong doing. This is another key point,” Haile said.
The move means Ethiopian athletes who fail tests and are subject to a four-year ban from December 28 onwards will no longer be able to represent the country in any competition.
A month after the new leadership was elected, the EAF announced that it would carry out tests on up to 200 athletes. The life ban was announced in December 2016.
The punishment is much stricter than the one currently imposed by the International Olympic Committee whose rules stipulate that athletes caught doping can face four-year bans but after serving it they are eligible to compete in any international event, including the Olympics.
The new EAF leadership aim is to convince the sport's world governing body that Ethiopia is serious in tackling doping and for it to be removed from the list of countries identified by IAAF president Sebastian Coe as in need of “critical care”.
Kenya, Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus are other nations in that category.
Russia, meanwhile, has been banned from all athletics following the discovery of a state-sponsored doping regime and revelations of corruption.
For years Ethiopia has dominated distance running along with neighbouring Kenya, but it had its credibility questioned last year when six of its athletes came under investigation for doping.
But some of the athletes under investigation are foreign based. The 30-year-old Birhanu was one of five Ethiopian athletes who failed tests in 2016, three of whom are now living in the United States.
Haile didn’t give details when Birhanu's case is expected to go to court. His case may be influenced by what the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said about meldonium, according to Haile.
The drug was added to WADA's list of banned substances in January 2016, with athletes around the world being informed of the decision in late 2016.
Yet WADA has since announced that the presence of less than one microgram of meldonium in samples from tests conducted on athletes before March 1, 2016, was acceptable.
In such a carbon constrained world of today, the development of renewable energy sources like that of electric power is remarkably compelling. Recent studies indicate that 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for the 70 per cent of the population lack access to electricity. Half of all businesses in this part of the continent say that the lack of reliable electricity is a major constraint. Power outages cost African countries an estimated 1-2 percent of their GDP every year.
In the other end, the expansion of industry in these nations including Ethiopia enforces an exhaustive search for all available sources of energy, which will be carried out with a very little harm to the environment. Besides, the nation shall secure a dependable supply of energy that drives the growing economy and relieves poverty. In a sense that energy is indispensable to nation's economic development, the country is very likely to craft its energy policy in a manner it will be driven by a strategy that could make every possible reduction in carbon emissions to the environment.
In the early 1990s, Ethiopia used to generate electric power a tally of not more than 380 megawatts (MW). However, in the last five years, an array of activities has been undertaken in relation to power generation from all sources available in the country, reveals Misiker Negash, External Relations Director at the Ethiopian Electric Power Utility, speaking to The Ethiopian Herald. Accordingly, from hydro-electric sources currently being the major source of power, the country generates a total of 3,404 MW of which, 73 MW from Tis Abay, 184 MW from Gibe I, 300 MW from Tekeze, 420 MW from Gilgel Gibe II, 460 MW from Tana Beles, 97MW from Fincha Amerti Nesse, 1,870 MW from Gilgel Gibe III.
Likewise, from other sources, 51 MW from Adama I wind farm, 120 MW from Ashegoda wind farm, 153 MW from Adama II wind farm is being generated. Moreover, there is a geo-thermal power generation plant with a capacity of 8 MW. In general, the country is generating a total of 4260 MW at the moment from all sources combined.
Studies conducted in different times indicate that the country possesses water and other natural resources that can enable it to generate electric power up to 60,000 MW. Similarly the country is blessed with capacities of power generation in wind farms, geothermal and solar sources. These projects of power generation in general due to their environment friendly nature shall contribute to green development strategy the country pursues.
According to Misikir, Ethiopia strongly advocates the development of renewable energy and environment friendly power generation projects in Africa and the world. Hence, the country has been campaigning on minimizing carbon emission to mitigate the grave impacts it poses to the ecology of the planet and global climate.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), when operational with its full power generation potential, is expected to produce more than 6450 MW which makes it the biggest hydro-electric power dam in Africa and the eighth biggest in the world. At the moment 58 percent of the works in the project has been completed. Besides, Genale-Dawa III project, which currently has reached 83 percent, is expected to generate 254 MW up on completion. Moreover, the power generating plant project being installed at Repi, Addis Ababa in the aim of generating electric power from waste has reached 88 percent and is expected to generate 50 MW up on its completion, reveals Misikir.
The country relentlessly endeavors to attain a total of 17,000 MW by the end of Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) from all sources in the country.
As the country’s economy is rising like never before, the demand for electric power has tremendously increased. Consequently, more than 40 percent of the power generated is set to be used for industrial purposes, while the rest intended for the consumption of service enterprises as well as households.
Addressing questions concerning electric power export, Miskir said that it is planned to use every bit of the power generated for domestic consumption where as it is also planned to sell surplus power to neighboring countries. The country is now exporting about 60MW to Djibouti. In addition, it is also agreed with Sudan to export a power ranging from 50-100 MW and now a portion of the deal is being exported. However, this is undertaken in a manner it does not affect the domestic power demand, he added.
The issue of power export is not just about earning foreign currency, but about regional integration by which we ensure sustainable economic growth through interdependence. Yet, the export is expected to highly minimize the foreign currency shortage the country is experiencing at the moment. The income will also be available for reinvestment to add momentum in our development efforts, according to Misikir.
The power export is pivotal to strengthening regional integration in addition to the foreign currency our country earns. The region is being integrated in power, railways, and highways which ensure peace and stability in the region, resulting in a feasible atmosphere for sustainable growth and prosperity.
Misikir also commented on the development of transmissions, sub-station infrastructure, claiming that the effort has leaped ahead in the last fifteen years with installation of 19,000 meters of high voltage transmission lines. Hence, the electric power access in the country has reached more than 56 percent from 8 percent in early 1990’s.
According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), energy related environmental challenges like resource depletion, waste and emissions demand the exploration of alternative road-maps toward sustainability for the electric power industry. Hence, in the view of that, Ethiopia not only follows but also advocates green development strategy across the globe, the development of renewable energy promotes a carbon free economy in Africa as we aspire to become a power house of the continent.
BY HOMA MULISA
The Horn of Africa is the most volatile region of the world where all colours of terrorists operate. As a result, the people of the region have been exposed to acute poverty and untold sufferings.
With full determination, Ethiopia has been discharging decisive part in stabilizing the unstable region of the Horn of Africa in many ways; in addition to its deploying peacekeeping missions. More importantly, the country has formed full-bodied Foreign, Security National Policy and Strategy which is principally betrothed in extending and amplifying the root of democracy, economic and social developments internally to apparently bury the acute deep entrenched poverty. The fundamental end of the policy is to see a stable country where all citizens live fairly and equally. Suffice to it; the policy intends to make the people of Ethiopia live cordially with their neighbours based on mutual coexistence.
The foreign policy firmly believes that the main enemy of the country is poverty where all Ethiopians are required to join hands to get rid of it. It also more importantly thinks that the policy could not be realized without the positive involvement of the neighbouring countries in particular and the international community in general. For this reason, it leans to invite all countries friendly knowing that incorporated support has a chief role to the successful accomplishment of the policy. To be precise, Ethiopia’s foreign policy and strategy considers no country as an enemy or threat. Hence, the new Ethiopia is engaged in healing the past scars. It also firmly believes that Ethiopia cannot develop or remain at peace if the neighbouring countries remain in crisis. Thus, it is give-and-take policy.
Guided by this perspective, the country has been treating all nations around fairly and friendly. The integrated development activities which Ethiopia initiated fifteen years ago with Djibouti have begun producing fruits. The trade relation, people to people ties, investment and cooperation in peace and security of the region have significant consequences beyond the two regions in pacifying Somalia and containing Al-shabaab from destabilizing the region. It also created cemented trust and increased the well being of the two people and can be cited as roadmap in the process of economic integration of the region.
Ethiopia is said to have offered fresh drinking water and farming land to Djibouti where the later lacks seriously all of them thus, saving the Djiboutian people from suffering lack of wheat and water which the two are basic needs to the survival of Djiboutian. The bilateral cooperation did not stop here but stretched into electrification trade where Ethiopia exports power to Djibouti and the later rents its ports. These well cemented all rounded relations have unquestionably produced sustainable trust not only among the two governments but also among the two people. This cooperation also in turn created trusted cooperation in peace and security sector aiming at keeping the workable relation remain intact. The relation the two countries have developed has a devastating outcome against the terrorists groups in Somalia and in pacifying Somalia too. It also served as practical example and modelling move to the remaining countries where Kenya followed the same road.
Ethiopia and Kenya have developed healthy working all-rounded relations for the last years. Their relations have been practically seen when the bordering areas remain peaceful corridor which was vulnerable and insecure earlier. There was fear that the border clash among the pastoralist people of the two countries would develop into war if not handled well. It is expected that the two nations responsibly managed to solve it in civility for the benefit of their peoples. Following that, massive road construction is under way to connect the ports of Kenya with Ethiopia capital Addis Ababa to deepen relations from economic integration perspectives. Rail way constructions are also in the pipeline to connect the two sisterly countries. Ethiopia is also finalizing its power transformer to export power which would solve serious power shortage of Kenya and reduce air pollution since Kenya uses oil produced power. Ethiopia will also use Kenya’s ports to kindle and widen its ever growing diversified economies.
The terrorists in Somalia are labelled as a threat of the two’s development and peace and stability, thus both must beat the terrorist with all their efforts. The two governments are intact in doing their best in pacifying the region too. Certainly, this would bring mutual benefit for the two governments through sustainable peace and development. Owing to their combined efforts, the neighbouring nations, ultimately, have brought tangible impact in recovering the volatile region from its agonies.
Similarly, the road construction by Sudan and Ethiopia is serving the two peoples efficiently. Railroad construction is also on the line side by side with the air transportation. There is mutual agreement that Ethiopia will use Sudanese ports for export and import goods. The trade and investment relations are increasing from time to time. Security cooperation is growing. The mistrust developed among the two countries by the past regimes has gone away. Now, they are replaced by mutual benefit and trust which in turn has cemented the friendship and ties of the two brotherly people. Sudanese see Ethiopia as their second home. For instance, tourists coming from Sudan are increasing. The same is true for Ethiopians regarding Sudanese. The peace and security, development and people to people relations among the four stated next door countries have great role in reducing the tension in the region. If it continued this way sooner or later, the horn of Africa will be a save heaven where its people live in cooperation and friendship.
Obviously, the only headache is the Eritrean regime which has been committing itself against peace and development in the region. It has inferred much pain and destruction to the people of the region. It openly refused cooperating in the peace and development process under way in the region but stood firmly against it. It has successfully isolated its own people both from the region and international community. It mistrusts other people in the region. Eritrean president Isaias Afeworki is following this strategy for two reasons. He knows well that he cannot live in peaceful and democratic region, thus going against peace is the best tactic which prolongs his power hunger. Second, if he opens the door and allows Eritreans see what is going on out of Eritrea, he knows that they will demand the same to be practised in Eritrea which he never put into practice. As a result, misleading its own people that they are better off by isolating them was the best strategy which he has won. Generally, the leaders in Asmara have done so much damage first to Eritrea and to the region at large.
The newly joined independent state of South Sudan which the international community welcomed warmly has been quickly indulged into devastating civil war. Thus, nothing is expected from it but it will remain the burden of the region for the next sizeable time. On my way, I would like to warn the IGAD, AU, UN, EU that if the deteriorating situation in South Sudan is not handled wisely, another precarious Somalia is in the making where all the terrorist groups being financed, armed and trained by Eritrean leadership take it as save heaven base. Later, it will cost us much to recover it if we leave it this way. Very quick and committed engagement of pertinent actors is urgent.
Somalia is recovering from its 25 years horror now. I hope Somalia will join to the Ethiopia initiated regional all rounded economic integration which could play vigorous role in making the people of the region live peacefully and amicably.
Generally speaking, the Ethiopian Foreign and Security Policy and Strategy intended first to pacify Ethiopia and the region is bearing fruits. It has been producing sustainable peace and mutual trust among the whole region. The peace keeping mission Ethiopia has deployed in Liberia, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan, Sudan and Somalia are also the backbone of the policy contained in the white document. The peace missions assigned in the stated countries have brought not only peace but also good people to people relations. This is consistent with United Nations Security Council which is mandated to build peaceful coexistence worldwide. Ethiopia is committed to continue doing so; however, it needs regional and international support to make realize peaceful region.
Most importantly the IGAD should design meaningful policies and strategies towards the region. It also must follow properly its implementations. The AU, UN, EU and other concerned institutions should join hands to Ethiopia’s constructive efforts so that we can see peaceful, prosperous and harmonized region. If the elites of the region follow the same path, there is no question that we cannot see a region integrated economically and socially where all people enjoy fairly.
BY ZERAY HAILEMARIAM
Lately, the Ethiopian Investment Commission announced that the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has increased by 35 per cent on average over the last six months as compared to same period of last year.
This increment which is valued to be more than 1.2 billion dollars is due to conducive investment environment the government has maintained in these months. As to the commission, this amount highly exceeds the record gained during the beginning of the first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I).
In fact, this reality has been reported by some international outlets. For instance, The Gulf Today was quoted as saying, “Ethiopia is rapidly attracting huge FDI from global investors.”
The nation has won the international reputation for registering double digit growth for the last twelve years in a row. This has to be attributed to the stable political climate, peace, expanding infrastructure, incentive packages for investors with viable policies and clear strategies most importantly, committed leadership.
It is a hard fact that investors would invest their resource if they make sure that there is sustainable peace together with the necessary infrastructure. This, for sure, has boosted their confidence to invest in Ethiopia.
Some media outlets reported that the recent unrest in different parts of the country affected the FDI flow to the country. To the contrary, the FDI flow in the country is significantly rising. It is within this time the US delegation led by Senator James Inhofe has discussed with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn ways to furthering the relations with the new US administration, particularly in trade and investment.
The giant and reputable companies from Europe, America and Asia are coming and settling themselves in industrial parks over the last six months. Recently, one of the Chinese textile companies situated in the Hawassa Industrial Park has began exporting its products. This is a manifestation of the efforts in developing industrial parks for the industrialization move.
Parallel to this, the rise in the flow of FDI has necessitated the expansion of multi-million dollar industrial parks in other parts of the country. Hence, recently, the government has begun the construction of the third of the four integrated agro-industrial park in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State with 2.6 billion Birr.
To attain the aspirations of the second GTP, the country has set to develop these Integrated Agro-Industry Parks to successfully garner the FDI planned to secure in the second GTP.
Installing various service infrastructures like banking, insurance, telecom and postal services in the industrial parks is attracting potential investors who were tired of getting these services from different public offices.
It is worth mentioning here that Ethiopia being the second populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa, its adequate and cheap labour force is a point of attraction for investors .
The availability of adequate power is the real concern of investors. To this end, Ethiopia is working aggressively to generate power for its dynamic economic growth. This is one of the reasons that make the incumbent responsive to the demand of the potential investors.
Fortunately, Ethiopia is a nation endowed with abundant renewable energy resources from hydroelectric, wind, solar and geothermal sources. Understanding this blessing, the government is developing the resources with all its efforts. Tangible results have also been registered in this regard. Still, strenuous efforts are under way to boost the energy production from the current less than 5,000 MW to over 17,000 MW by 2020.
With the ongoing power generation projects and ones to be launched in the coming years would not only satisfy the local demand but also address the needs of neighbouring countries thereby becoming a regional power hub in East Africa.
In last word, what the government and people of Ethiopia have been doing to ensure peace and stability in the country has won the recognition of the potential investors across the globe.
Since the industrial parks are there with relevant service utilities with efficient service delivery, the nation continues to be the hot destination of FDI. It is a job for every one especially, the EIC, the missions abroad, the business community and Ethiopian diaspora to seize every opportunity to promote the blessings Ethiopia has. If the nation has considerable FDI, the pace of development would be advanced thereby realizing the noble vision to become a middle income economy.
AAU president Prof. Admasu Tsegaye and Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics service Enterprise acting Chief Executive Officer Mesfin Tefera at the signing event.
Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Service Enterprise and Addis Ababa University(AAU) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in bid to bridge human power rifts in the shipping and logistics sector Friday.
Speaking at the occasion, AAU president Prof. Admasu Tsegaye said through the MoU, AAU would offer special training on logistic management aimed at addressing the challenges to this end.
According to Admasu, AAU will resume Masters program in logistic management in order to meet Enterprise's demand for skilled human power. “The university will also assist the Enterprise in terms of capability building and identifying market.”
Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Service Enterprise Acting Chief Executive Officer Mesfin Tefera for his part noted that the the MoU has four objectives: training the management staff and higher leadership, commencing Babogaya Maritime and Logistics Academy, offering training on shipping and logistics and dealing with challenges of research and development approaches.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME
A recent conducted study underlined the need for tapping the touristic potentials in the historic sites of Adwa.
Ethiopian Tourism Destinations Development Director Chernet Tilahun recently said : “ My study clearly stated that Adwa is the most suitable area for eco-tourism apart from being the global heritage site for the Pan- African struggle.
According to him, Adwa's battlefield needs to be excavated, the historical realities related to the battle of Adwa ought to be documented well. “In addition to this, the landscape needs to be conserved.”
Adwa Town Communication Office Head Tsadkan Gebremariam for her part noted that the city administration is working to make the historic site of Adwa as one of the attractive touristic destinations in the state.
She said “ We are putting in place the necessary tourism infrastructures including hotels, road and the like.”.
It is to be recalled that during the 121st Adwa victory celebration, Minister of Culture and Tourism became a patron of tourism infrastructure in the historic town.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH