Reform shoulders a big responsibility of building a Democratic Developmental State.
“The ongoing reform at Arba Minch University will look thoroughly into the overall academic performance and civic activities of the university in the last 15 years. It as well will help the institution achieve its missions,” university's President Dr. Damtew Derza said.
Dr. Damtew recently told The Ethiopian Herald that the week long deep reform session would evaluate weather the fields of study in the university are being offered in line with national development demands or not. “ It is also expected to propose revisions on both new and old disciplines .”
He added that the reform would look into work performance of the graduates in depth.
According to the president, the reform would be fruitful so long as the discussions focus on challenges of offering quality education and ways of becoming center of excellence.
Moreover, it needs to give particular attention to the university community development and research apart from the teachers, Dr. Damtew added.
Regarding the expected outcomes of the reform, he said aside from shouldering a big responsibility of building a Democratic Developmental State, it makes the university community to be change agent in the ongoing national development efforts.
Over 4,000 instructors and staff members are taking part in the deep reform in four campuses.
BY SINTAYEHU TAMIRAT
• Cement Forum underway
Ethiopia and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which would enhance the cement industry.
The 2017 Ethio-China Cement Forum (ECCF) themed: 'Partnership in Excellence' was opened here yesterday.
Speaking at the occasion, Industry State Minister Dr. Alemu Sime emphasized that the forum is vital to draw the Chinese vast experience in the sector.
He further said that there is a high potential for the cement industry, and the national capacity is also growing steadily. “The national installed capacity has reached about 13 million tons and the annual consumption grows by over 10 %.”
The Ethiopian Cement Association would also organize similar forums as solutions to potential problems until excellence is achieved in the Ethiopian cement sector, he said.
Chinese Cement Association Director Chen Fei also said that the forum is a kick off in the Ethio- China cement industries information exchange and cooperation.
The MoU is fundamental to promote sustained partnership in the sector, she added.
Ethiopian Cement Association Chairman and Derba Cement Factory CEO Haile Assgdie for his part asserted that the forum is helpful in that it plays a significant role in stabilizing country's cement market.
The MoU is also considered to tackle challenges of skilled human power in the sector, he said.
According to him, currently there are 17 companies operating in cement production in the country.
Science and Technology State Minister Prof. Afework Kassu said the forum is relevant and timely because the cement industry has been given due attention in GTP II in line with the booming construction sector. The forum will be a great opportunity both in terms of understanding the merits of partnership and in establishing viable networks of interaction and public-private partnership, he added.
The forum will continue and provide a five-day training to the sector practitioners in the country.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
In its statement issued following the two-day ordinary session held from March 6-7, 2017, the Council urged the public to play active role in the realization of GTP II goals.
Noting that commendable results were gained in the reform process and half year performance of the second year of GTP II, the Council underlined the need for fighting chauvinism and parochialism tendencies to sustain the gains.
Regarding the second year performance of GTP II, the Council evaluated macroeconomic, social and good governance issues as well as women and youth participation.
The Council said due attention need to be given to increase production and productivity in rural areas and enhance industrial developments in urban centers during the second half of the current fiscal year.
Special consideration is also crucial to withstand the current drought before it causes serious harm on human and animal lives, the council stated.
Noting that the agricultural produces are expected to show a 12% increase in the current meher season, the Council stressed the need to utilize irrigation for better performance. The Council further stated that the public has made commendable natural conservation activities in the stated period.
Job creation for the youth and prompt response for public demands were among the issues the Council deliberated, according to the release issued by the Office of the EPRDF Council.
BY BILAL DERSO
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn awarded gold medal, money and tractor to woman who made huge saving over the last three- month campaign promoting women's culture of saving.
Addressing women in connection with the International Day of Women yesterday, the premier said Ethiopia's women have demonstrated their equality through education, leadership and in all other sectors.
He said the saving campaign would further strengthen efforts to ensure women's economic independence.“ Young women are agents of development and we also have to recognize the elderly women participation in a bid to bring about an all- round social and economic benefits.”
On the occasion, Woman and Children Affairs Minister Demitu Hambisa indicated the awardees were selected for their outstanding saving through purchasing GERD bonds.
Over 2,000 representatives drawn from various states took part in the event.
BY FASICA BERHANE
Professor Andrew Decort is a scholar from Chicago. He is now a volunteer and a permanent resident in Ethiopia. While Professor Andrew Decort was delivering a lecture, The Ethiopian Herald had conducted an exclusive interview with him about his scholarly opinions and his mission and life in Ethiopia with a deep focus on ethics and society. A nice reading.
Herald: Please tell us first about yourself and how you came to Ethiopia?
ProfessorAndrew:- I first came to Ethiopia twelve years ago in 2004 as a college student studying European Philosophy and Ancient Civilization. I was very active in serving my local community at that time through mentoring children after their school programmes, and supporting their families. The social activities I engage in gave me a passion for people and service, justice. When I was in college this passion was highly espoused and one of my mentors suggested to me to come to Ethiopia during summer as a social welfare volunteer so that I could serve children, women, language centres, photography programs and other aid programs for long days. That was a profound experience about Ethiopia. I saw a beautiful contradiction about Ethiopia at that time. I believe Ethiopia is a place of extraordinary beauty, agony and pain. I traveled to the historical place of Lalibella, I was very much interested in ancient languages and ancient architecture. And I was extremely impressed by Lalibella, the architecture and the religious rituals. I am very impressed. That interest then grabbed my attention. Thus I got back to my college and graduated with Awards in 2005. But my interest of serving the public has initiated me to come back brought me back to Ethiopia.
Herald: What happened after you came here in Ethiopia?
Professor Andrew:-I have tried to work on street children and HIV positive people on ways of creating employment and job to reintegrate themselves with the society. I have learnt a lot about Ethiopian culture and came to work with organizations that work on education and social service. I try to speak Amharic but I have never studied Amharic. I love people regardless of their economic status and I try to listen and pick up words and then use the words to communicate with people. But I have a long way to learn Amharic. I wanted to know the Fidel (Ethiopian table of letters of Amharic).
Herald: I have been told that you are married to an Ethiopian woman, please tell me about that?
Professor Andrew:-I believe that when we live intentionally, everything in our life is sacred and everything has deep value. And I met my wife as a stranger. We did not plan to meet. I was not looking for a girlfriend. She was not looking for a boyfriend. I had been working as editor in an organization which writes reports on the five most violent countries in Africa and many writers were coming to my office. I was at Kaldis Café shop when I met my wife’s sister. And I thought I knew her in/around office. I said Hello to her but she could not recognize me. It was a funny and wired incident to make that mistake. I said sorry and you look familiar to me and with that I have met my wife through that experience. It was this way that I met my wife. We have been dating for three years before we got married. Our relationship is an experience of translation and transformation literally, linguistically, culturally and geographically. When you fall in love deeply, you will find a common understanding with another person who is different from you. She is the best person in my life.
Herald: What is your area of specialization, in University of Chicago?
Professor Andrew:-I held my Ph.D. in Ethics from the University of Chicago. As you may know the University of Chicago is a strict university that requires you to specialize in different disciplines rather than one discipline. So my specialization is on the history of Ethics from Philosophical, religious and political perspectives. But I have also specialized in Ethiopian studies. When I was working on my Ph.D., I thought for a long time how I could be responsible with the education I received and finally I decided to come to Ethiopia. So I established an organization which has three major visions. One is sharing presence. As you know human beings are relational creatures. Something beautiful happens when we recognize the preciousness of other people. When we are together we need to listen, care for others without considering their limitations. This vision is just to share presence to people through caring, listening and sharing stories and experiences. The second vision of my organization's vision is to promote education. I believe in education. And the foundation of education is thinking critically, dialoguing openly that would take us towards ethical life. I am a teacher, a mentor and I run academic programs to sustain true knowledge that is visionary in helping people. I write online, on Facebook and in other occasions. And my book will see the printer's ink in the United States this year. The third vision of my organization is to bring neighbours' love for the person in need or suffering. I believe that one of the calamities in Ethiopia today is the failure to recognize the core values that are in people around us. People are not problems rather they are incredible resources in the society. This is to promote that people are not just neighbours living next door. But people are like us, speaking the same language. We need to collaborate, learn, encourage and share and strengthen their incredible talents among each other for the vulnerable parts of the society. I hope I am sharing presence, strengthening education and promoting neighbourhood love in Ethiopia. I think these are the qualities of good people that should be infused into a responsible society. What is meant to be human is to be responsible in a society.
Herald: Tell us about an Ethical society?
Professor Andrew:- I think an Ethical society is a society where children, boys, girls, youths and adults are trained to have a sense of responsibility for others. Responsibility means building capability which enables one to respond to people’s concerns. I am not alone; I am not truly alive for my benefit and survival. Lives are interrelated and destinies are intertwined. So I think an Ethical society is a society that trains its members to remember that they are responsible for one another. This thinking also includes thinking beyond family or any kind of border in humanity. I am an American but I am responsible for the diverse people of Ethiopia. I am a man but I am responsible for women. I am a middle aged person but I am responsible for children and the elderly as well. We need to play our role in the society and we need to contribute to the society to enrich the common good. So again I would say that ethical society is the society that trains its people with the vision of responsibility to the commitment of the common good to promote one another’s well-being instead of being competitors and combatants in the journey of life. This is being built through trust, open communication, cooperation, synergy, sustainable partnership, excellence and sense of passion in improving society. An Ethical society is a society that respects people at all levels. It gives due attention to low income generating people as very important contributors to the life that we share. It is a society that gives value to people's understanding of the crucial value of each vocation and roles in contributing to this common good. “We all are serving one another rather than serving ourselves.”
Herald: What is the easiest way to build or restore an Ethical society?
Professor Andrew:- I think it gets worse before it gets better. To build an Ethical society (ethical citizens) gets worse before it gets better. It gets more painful before it gets more pleasing. It gets harder before it gets easier because we had ingrained habits of dishonesty. This dishonesty leads to secrecy. And secrecy is part of suspicion. And when you combine dishonesty with suspicion, you get a society in which it is harder to work together. So in order to return this pattern, we need heroes, moral exemplars who practice a kind of honesty. None of us are perfect. Even our best leaders are not. We need to confess our past mistakes even if there are consequences of confessing. But the reality is that no one wants to be embarrassed, lose respect and status by doing this. But what is needed to build an ethical society in a nation is sacrificial leadership, honest communication, acknowledging our failures, extending forgiveness for humble mistakes, serving justice for grave mistakes, celebrating one another’s victories. Until we celebrate others victories we cannot live in a healthy manner within the society. So we need to learn to celebrate others’ successes when they grow, when their lives are improved rejoicing genuinely when others get ahead of us even on the matter that we wanted to.
Herald:- What do you think is the most notable ethical issue in Ethiopia today?
Professor Andrew:-When we study ancient civilization of Axum, when we see the inscriptions of Kings like Ezana and others, we find that there is a deep history of seeing leadership as power and privilege rather than responsibility and service. In my opinion as a scholar who studied Ethiopian history and Ethics, leaders must understand leadership as the burden of serving others which must begin from listening to others, understanding what their needs and desires are, being open to their feedback and criticism, being accountable which needs humility and courage as well as partnership. Leaders should be those types of self-forgetful people who are willing to collaborate with those who have different ideas seeing things from a different angle. I would argue that the most Ethical issue facing Ethiopia today is how leadership is understood. That is, is it a privilege or a responsibility? And the other Ethical issue is how Women are viewed. Many think that this issue has been resolved now. That women and men are viewed and treated equal in Ethiopia. I do not fully believe that personally. There are things that need to be done to have women voices be heard equally in leadership, election and decision making. We have a long way to go organizing the brilliance and the capability and the insight of our daughters, sisters and friends in society as fully.We need to give general regard for others too. We are all surrounded by people around us. We need to give regard for others. Empathy towards others is an Ethical issue that should be taken in to account. Failure to dialogue and listening to people with differing view is the other Ethical issue in Ethiopia today. When we dialogue we don’t have to do it in a ‘War with words manner’ but rather to reach into a meeting of minds. And I think Ethiopia is a diverse country and it is one of the younger generation nation in the world. There is an extra ordinary diversity in Ethiopia. And if we dialogue in a civilized manner, Ethiopia’s diversity is an extraordinary wealth and beauty and the people are the true wealth of the nation. We can explore this through dialogue which is the most important sign of maturity. The tensions between the past and the future as well as the reconciliation between individuals and the community are the Ethical issues, resources and tensions to Ethiopia’s future.
Herald:- Professor Thank you for your precious time and scholarly comments on behalf of Herald readers?
Professor Andrew:- It is my pleasure.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
Africa’s energy revolution, one of the biggest overlooked stories of our time, is poised to change the lives of millions of Africans.
Why has it been overlooked? Coverage of Africa has tended to focus on disasters, coups and terrorism – or on swings in the price of oil and metals. These events have happened. But they do not define Africa. What defines modern Africa is the steady, remarkable progress it has been making for the past 15 years.
Today, on Africa Day, let’s celebrate that progress – and the entrepreneurial spirit that is not only applying the latest technology to African contexts, but also generating new ideas and new techniques that can benefit the world.
The best-known example is Africa’s “leapfrogging” directly to mobile phones, bypassing landline connections and using mobiles to move money, consult farm prices and much more. The number of mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people soared from 18 in 2006 to 71 in 2014.
A less well-known example is Africa’s embrace of renewable energy to leapfrog older power generation technologies, while also reducing the need to extend the national energy grid to remote villages.
From an African perspective, renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power, have two powerful advantages: speed and decentralisation. They can be rolled out much more quickly than fossil fuel-fired power plants, and they can operate both on-grid and off-grid.
Small-scale renewable energy is starting to deliver the social and economic advantages of electrification to rural communities, helping improve public health, enabling access to education, and opening up economic possibilities to a continent of entrepreneurs.
Renewable energy systems will soon be able to cater to the most intensive and heavy demands of industry and other productive sectors. Kenya, for example, is a leading global producer of geothermal power. Its Olkaria plant is the biggest single-turbine geothermal facility in the world. In Ethiopia, the 1,870 MW Gibe III hydroelectric project has begun generation, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is expected to generate 6,000 MW at full capacity when it is completed in 2017.
The most stunning example of Africa’s embrace of renewable energy is the Ouarzazate complex in Morocco, which will be the world’s biggest solar facility.
Swift action on energy is vital, because Africa’s energy gap is huge, and bridging it is urgent. Two-thirds of Africans – 621 million people – live without access to electricity. Cut off from the grid, the world’s poorest people pay the world’s highest power prices. A woman in a rural village in northern Nigeria spends 60 to 80 times more per unit of energy than a resident of London or New York. This is a huge market failure.
The lack of modern energy also means that almost four in five Africans rely for cooking on wood, charcoal or other solid organic fuels._ As a result, 600,000 people in the region die each year from household air pollution.
Luckily, momentum is building across the continent and the world to support African countries reach the global goal of universal access to electricity by 2030 — an effort that will require US$55 billion a year.
The African Development Bank (AfDB), a major player on the continent, has made energy access one of its top priorities, and has launched an initiative called the New Deal for Energy in Africa. Many European governments, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, are on board too.
This week the AfBD is holding its Annual Meetings in Lusaka, Zambia. The Africa Progress Panel, The Elders, The B Team, and the AfDB, have co-organized a High Level Side Event which takes place today at 16:30 (GMT +2). The side event, which is entitled Africa’s Energy: What’s the New Deal?, will focus on how Africa can achieve universal access to power by 2025. Kofi Annan, the Chair of the APP and “Champion” of the New Deal, will be providing the opening remarks.
The Paris Agreement, reached at the global climate talks last December, has added to the momentum by underscoring the need for governments around the world to address the twin challenge of decarbonising energy systems while delivering energy for all.
Major emitting countries should put in place a credible carbon pricing and taxation system, instead of spending billions on fossil-fuel subsidies.
Across the African continent, energy entrepreneurs are vividly showing Africa’s potential to leapfrog to a low carbon economy. An enabling environment must now be created to allow this growing pool of energy investors with innovative business models to thrive and reach new consumers.
Africa’s leaders must also rise to the challenge. They need to move more decisively to tackle vested interests and break up webs of political patronage in Africa’s energy utilities. They should also end subsidies to wasteful utilities, vehicle fuel and kerosene. These funds should be spent instead on productive energy investment, social protection and targeted electricity connectivity for the poor.
As a global community, we have the technology, finance and ingenuity to embark on a low-carbon transition that brings the benefits of modern energy to even the remotest village. There is no time to waste — let’s start now.
BY CAROLINE KENDE ROBB
Ethiopia has made a history, shifting the gear of its economy to industry and tourism; the two sectors are untapped. The country’s huge potential for tourism comes from its ancient historical remains, culture, and stunning natural sights which continue to attract big investments from the world’s acclaimed brands. Ethiopia had the milestone on the tourism sector, signing a major deal with AccorHotels group to open over 500 rooms in Addis Ababa; the biggest diplomatic base of the continent.
The tourism industry has been moving forward to fully use its potential, with the country formulating strategies and policies to increase the number of visitors and develop world class infrastructure. The stronger growth of the industry is underpinned by an improving infrastructure; with the coming of globally famed chain hotels including Ramada Addis Hotel, Radisson Blu, Sheraton Addis, Marriott Executive Apartments, Golden Tulip, Hilton, and Best Western International. The number is yet to improve with the coming of Accor Group Hotels, Inter Continental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwide, AU Grand Hotel, Pullmann, Crowne Plaza, and Wyndham Hotel Group. Hightinging on these investments, the industry is expected to show massive growth particularly in regards to hotel investments.
The past few weeks have brought great news for Ethiopian tourism industry, inking a major agreement to bring Europe’s famed hotel group AccorHotels under its soil. Accor has major investments in the continent in 13 countries erecting 88 new hotels with over 12,000 rooms. It’s the leading hotelier by number of rooms in Africa opening its doors in over 20 African countries. It has created more than 10,000 job opportunities from its 94 hotels. Accor Group’s three Hotels will be opened in the coming five years to take its fair share of the growing Ethiopian tourism. This agreement is part of AccorHotels determined expansion plan in the continent. The group has signed a Management Agreement for a portfolio of 50 hotels in Angola and with Ibis Styles Luanda Talatona. This plan is adapted to the individual deals and locations and for all brands from luxury to economic segments. With an existing network of 89 hotels and a significant pipeline of several new hotels, AccorHotels has proved itself to be the next big thing in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian tourism has shown remarkable progress to prove itself important for investors and visitors. The contribution of the industry to Ethiopia’s GDP is forecast to rise by 5 per cent by 2026 to ETB 85 billion (USD 3.7 billion). This largely reflects the economic activity generated by industry stakeholders such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services, restaurant, and leisure industries. In terms of job creation, it is expected to increase to 6.6 per cent generating 2,422,000 jobs by 2026. Although the country is not satisfied with the number of visitors hosting less than a million visitors on yearly basis, it is striving to increase the number of tourists to one million and the revenue to well over ETB 675 billion (USD 29.8 billion) between 2017 and 2026.
The untapped market opportunity coupled with the promising economic growth have enticed European investors including the European Investment Bank (EIB) which funds major state and private sector projects, africaJUICE, and Jumia Travel. Having chain hotels by itself is an attraction because hotels are part of a country’s infrastructural development to host both the white and blue collars. Most travellers not only want to sightsee but also want to experience hotel room suites which are surrounded by lavish facilities and services as part of the added benefits of travel.
As many in the industry agree, the coming of AccorHotels in Ethiopia's territory is great news for the country which is ambitiously up stretched to boost its tourism industry.
BY EDEN SAHLE
More than a century ago, when expedition by the European superpowers to the rest of the world was but normal, and that the former acted as if they bore the responsibility of “civilizing” the later, the Italians waged war to teach the Ethiopians a lesson on obedience. Yet, on the contrary, they bitterly learned a lesson that was also useful to other colonial powers. That's why the Battle of Adwa is more than a battlefield narrative.
The Italian army led by General Oreste Baratieri, Governor of Eritrea, marched the strongest colonial expeditionary force that Africa had ever seen by late February 1896, to settle around Mount Entichio in Tigray. The 20,000 men composed of Italians and other auxiliaries, as they had done in previous battles in the continent, waited for Ethiopians to attack their fortified positions first. When such an attack did not occur, Baratieri ordered what he hoped would be a sudden and devastating attack on the Ethiopians assembled near Adwa. The possibility of defeat for the Italians was out of anybody’s mind, as they had a modern European army of such size. The Italians were dying for the attack to end before it began, as this presumably decisive victory over apparently undermined natives would win a vast new empire for them.
Awaiting the Italians was a massive Ethiopian army of 73,000 to 100,000 strong men, who came from almost every region of the country. They were commanded by an all star team of warriors amassed by Emperor Menilek II. As they come to realize the sneaky wait hasn’t worked, the Italian troops made an advance towards Ethiopian positions on March 1st, and the combined forces of Ethiopia were ready for a fight. The Ethiopians surrounded the Italian units, and in fierce combat, closed with and destroyed many of the enemy, as many call it, in the bloodiest of all colonial battles. Peasant troops fought ruthlessly and bravely. A large number of Ethiopian women, following the example of Empress Taytu, were on the battlefield. They served well as a water brigade for the fighting men, paramedics, and guards of prisoners. At the end of the day, the Italians had suffered the greatest single disaster in European colonial history.
Besides the history made that gallops for centuries, this enormous victory against a seemingly intimidating side was phenomenal to Ethiopians as it secured the sovereignty of their country and the freedom of the people for generations to come. Moreover, the victory has sent message to colonizers, that a defeat to an African army full of Black warriors, led by Black riflemen is an actual reality. However, this is not the whole story of the victory.
As a historic miracle of the century, the Battle of Adwa represented the first time since the beginning of European colonial expansion that a Black people had defeated a civilized and well equipped European nation, which actually stunned the whole world. Yet, the victory at the battle of Adwa was complete when the news was immediately heard and resounded all over Europe and the United States, Black communities were received with a sense of pride and delight. It seemed like every Black person, dispersed all over the world as slave or layman was treated like heroes of the battle of Adwa.
Moreover, internationally, Ethiopia supplied the most meaningful resistance to the extensive movement of colonial domination in Africa. Ironic as it may seems, European nations made haste to make treaties with Menelik's government, as they were stunned by Italy's defeat.
Indeed, that same year became the year foreigners migrate to Ethiopia in flocks. Cross border traders flocked in, leading elevated economic activities. European governments set up consulates throughout the country in record numbers, and aided foreign merchants and investors in seeking concessions and royalties. A major benefit in Ethiopia’s favor at that time was the introduction of European medical practices, all these instances bringing Ethiopia to the world as a whole.
All privileges to Ethiopia and to Ethiopians being apparent, there were also many valid reasons which gave importance to the Adwa victory in many parts of the world such as the black communities in Caribbean and the US. For instance, although blacks in the US were technically liberated by law way before the Adwa incident in Africa, social and even legal racism existed throughout those reformation periods and extended to this historical time and beyond up to the 20th century. Hence, the sudden flashing news of the Adwa victory gives those oppressed Blacks in these parts of the world a reason to once again stand for each other in a way some writers call it pan-black solidarity.
The unexpected victory at Adwa spurred the birth of Pan-African solidarity in mostly colonized Africa and wherever African’s reside. African nations, considering Ethiopia as a symbol of independence, struggled for their independence.
Pan-African conferences were called in America and England during the early 1900s. Ethiopia grew in esteem among the global community upon her admittance to the League of Nations in 1923. This also let down any future movement by Europeans to colonize the nation, and shattered the centuries old negative myths about Africans.
The victory at Adwa helped produce a new phase of Pan-African movement. It planted the seed of unity and cooperation of Blacks, not only in Africa but also throughout the world. It helped to break the chain of colonialism in a united way, resulting in the ultimate upset to the colonialist powers and in the contrary, kindling resistance leverage among the oppressed many. The African-American resistance proponent, Frederick Douglass, summed up the forces unleashed by the victory at Adwa with his famous quote: “It’s better to die free, than live as a slave.”
In today’s Ethiopia, another important incident is initiating Ethiopian unity, the same way the battle of Adwa did more than a century ago. Only this time, it is not a battlefield; rather it is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), that is making an “Ethiopian dream” come true. The project which was first announced six years ago apparently has warmed the heart of all Ethiopians, as it has been dreamt by Ethiopians for a very long time. Hence, the people of Ethiopia immediately demonstrated their dedication for the realization of the project, contributing to the project with whatever they can.
GERD is not only about Ethiopians, but it is also about Africans as it is a showcase of African’s capability of taking care of their own business and prospering without the need of hand from the western world. Ethiopia once again is in action to show the whole world what this presumably weak country can do when its people put their shoulders to the wheel. The people of Ethiopia learning from their forefathers’ heroism at the historic Battle of Adwa should gear up to make their own version of history by supporting the construction of GERD to the end as they have been doing for the last six consecutive years.
BY HOMA MULISA
The majority of Ethiopians are religious people. The most known traditional and indigenous beliefs such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism are now expanding in the country at a larger pace. History tells us that Ethiopia had received Christianity before any European country did; and it had also received Islam before it spread to the Middle East. Judaism which also took root here came from the Middle East.
The reality on the ground shows that believers of these religions particularly Christianity and Islam have lived peacefully in this country for the last 1400 years. Those which recently entered into the country were also symbols for our co-existence. As tolerance and peaceful co-existence are values for our nation, they have to be strengthened more than ever before.
According to the 2007 census, the number of Christians comprised 63 per cent of the population, whereas Islam and other indigenous beliefs embraced 34 and 3 per cent of the population respectively. In fact, this fact indicates that religion had played significant role for building peace and co-existence. It as well was crucial to accelerate growth and development in the nation.
On the contrary, others who have hidden interests are seen promoting religion for their own rent-seeking interest, to seize government power, and thereby to establish religious state in a roundabout way.
Both Christian and Islamic sacred books promote peaceful co-existence in all of its form. Such sacred books have a wide-ranging teachings about co-existence, in which religious institutions use and consider them as sources and guidance. They both preach that pessimism, misconception, hasty generalizations, extremism, and terrorism are among the obstacles for peace and co-existence.
Religious institutions have great role in cultivating ethical citizens, building national development and strengthening peace-building efforts.
Therefore, in the efforts to strengthen our peace-building activities, institutions need to first reach mutual consensus to fight against hidden agendas of terrorists and extremists.
People live in a world dominated by various religious beliefs and practices. Despite such religious diversity, the people lived together focusing on their ethnic identity and without making difference among them.
Both Christianity and Islam preach tolerance and peaceful coexistence. For instance, Islam underlines the need for respecting human rights and teaches followers to conform to religious diversity and avoid racism. On the other hand, Christianity preaches love as a foundation of religion to have peaceful co-existence with followers of other religions.
Thus, the primary responsibility expected from this new generation is to strengthen such peaceful co-existence values and to resolve disputes through peaceful and democratic ways. Peaceful coexistence depends on the ability to welcome faith-based conversations that emphasizes tolerance.
Fellow believers have to live together in a peaceful manner respecting the thoughts of other religious followers. The religious institutions need to teach their followers how to strengthen culture of tolerance and peaceful co -existence.
As most of civil servants and the public at large are believed to have membership in various religious institution, the government is currently working aggressively to pass down such epoch-making assets to the posterity through promoting peaceful co-existence of various religions. Hence, if such religious institutions mobilize their respective faithful for peace and co-existence, the country will realize its renaissance journey.
Indeed, the need for peaceful co-existence among citizens is to address public concerns such as living by sharing happiness, sorrow, and challenges together.
Though the government has huge responsibility in ensuring peace by looking things in a farsighted way, the public should also discharge its responsibilities. Moreover, as the nation is working to end poverty and registering growth and development, it is significant to understand that religious disputes might disrupt the journey in all spheres.
Thus, all religious institutions should advocate brotherhood, tolerance, ethics, sympathy and respect to one another in order to reap the fruits from peace and stability. Upholding peace values, tolerance and culture of peaceful coexistence, it is possible to sustain the ongoing development and economic growth.
Such institutions should also provide strong emphasis on avoiding actions which are threatening the prevailing peace and development activities.
In this regard, the institutions must regularly organize various conferences to hold through discussion with the public on ways of strengthening the values of peace and culture of tolerance and fighting terrorism and extremism.
It is also crucial to deepen the awareness of the society and embrace them in all government’s undertakings of draining out extremism and fanaticism as well as averting havoc in the country.
Apart from advocating peace and co-existence, inter-religious dialogue would promote mutual understanding and experiences, clearing misunderstandings, and cooperating for the common good of the society.
It is through co-existence that humans create conducive living environment, strengthen security, establish unison, and cultivate new generation.