The funeral of the former national team, St. George, Insurance and Coffee FC player Assegd Tesfaye took place at Sahlitemihret Church yesterday, Monday, in the presence of thousands of football fans.
Asegd died at the age of 46 on Saturday after collapsing in the shower room. He was in the shower room along with his friends who returned from the regular weekly football match at Kebele 17 arena around Bole Medhanialem.
“This was a tragic sudden death. He played football as usual with us. He was composed and joyful all through to the end. Even when we went to the shower room after completing the football match he was quite normal. After taking shower, he collapsed instantly. We rushed to take him to hospital but to no avail. That was the end of him. Later on we learnt that the cause of his death was heart problem,” his close friend Samson Cheneke said right after his death on Saturday.
Those who saw him playing football in the 80s will remember him forever. He played football for a purpose. Playing football economically was his ideal. As one stadium goer puts it he played football with limited movement to get the target. Getting the net was his ulterior motive.
He brought new energy for the young footballers of his time. Calm, determined and in most cases sharp to carry out his mission. As a top striker he contributed his share to the promotion of the country’s football.
Asegd first joined St. George after he came from Dire Dawa to Addis Ababa. His second team in Addis was Insurance. In his playing time Insurance were indeed impressive. Then he transferred to Coffee Football Club where he played until he retired.
St.George take title two matches ahead Kenenisa closing in on the gap
of the conclusion of the Ethiopian Premier
League football club competition (Photo File)
The country’s athletics governing body, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF), has disclosed names of the Ethiopian men’s and women’s marathon representatives in the 16th edition of the World Championship that will be staged in London the coming August.
The federation in a statement said that Tirunesh Dibaba, Mare Dibaba and Shure Demissie will represent the country in the women’s event while the men’s representatives are Kenenisa Bekele, Tamirat Tola and Tsegaye Mekonen.
The Rio Olympics marathon bronze medallist Mare Dibaba is entitled to directly take part in the women’s marathon.
The federation is hopeful that these experienced Ethiopian athletes to do their level best to gain a better standing in this most gruelling marathon race in London.
For Kenenisa the first place in Berlin Marathon and the second place in the recently concluded London marathon helped him secure a place in the national squad.
Kenenisa is the fastest man among the London marathoners with a personal best of 2:03:03, set in Berlin this Ethiopian year.
When he was dropped from the Rio Olympics most veteran athletes disputed the selection as unfair and biased but the Federation at that time refused to reconsider the move.
The Rio Olympics poor marathon result proved that the reduction of Kenenisa was wrong. It seems the federation has made correction this time for his inclusion in the squad.
For the three-Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh this will be the first major participation in marathon.
Both Tirunesh and Kenenisa are double gold medallists in 2008 Beijing Olympics in 5,000 and 10,000 metres race.
Kenenisa was the second athlete to get double medals for Ethiopia. Miruts Yifter, Popularly known as gear changer, was the first Ethiopian to get double in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Tirunesh is the first Ethiopian female athlete to get double gold medals to this day.
Both Tirunesh and Kenenisa have something special in common: no other Ethiopian athlete collected three Olympic gold medals to this day except the two.
In this Ethiopian year Kenenisa made big progress in the international grand meets. His London marathon performance was greatly appreciated by the national coaches including the international media outlets. Everyone was caught by surprise when he closed in on the gap with the eventual winner Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru after getting a stitch in London.
In connection to this the reporter in London wrote, “The 21-year-old Wanjuri stayed with a lead pack of four until 21 miles before striking clear. He looked set for a comfortable victory until Kenenisa suddenly picked up and started carving through the field.
“As Wanjiru went through the tunnel at the Embankment, he had the shock of his life as he saw Kenenisa closing in on the gap. With two miles remaining, Kenenisa had narrowed the gap to eight seconds. Yet he (Kenenisa) could not produce a desperate last kick to overcome a rival 13 years his junior.”
In London he is expected to improve his finishing capacity to reign as a king of the world long distance race.
For Tirunesh the London marathon helped her secure a place in the national squad. In London Tirunesh was the runner-up clocking 2:17:56 in her second marathon appearance. Aselefech Mergia won the third place in 2:23:06 in London.
The 35-year old Mary Keitany of Kenya broke Paula Radcliffe's women's-only world record to win the London Marathon at a time of two hours 17 minutes and one second, the second-fastest time in history.
The good thing about the current selection is the runners will get sufficient time to focus on the London big event. This is an improvement compared to the messy selection process in the run up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The huge St. George fans returned home with jubilation on Sunday (Photo file)
Salhadin Seid’s second half lone goal helped Saint George to collect the full three points with a 1-0 win over DR Congo’s AS Vita on Sunday in their CAF Champions League Group C first leg that took place at the Addis Ababa Stadium.
“This was a good opportunity for us to be tough contenders in group C. The win gave us the second place on five points next to the group leaders, Tunisian side Esperance. We wanted the win on home ground and we got it,” St. George’s assistant coach Fasil Tekalign said at the end of the game.
On Saturday Esperance had a 2-1 win over the South African Mamelodi Sundowns to solidify their Group C leadership on seven points from equal three games. Mamelodi Sundowns are third on four points from three games. Without a point from three games DR Congo’s AS Vita are the bottom side in the group.
St. George dropped four points in their first and second CAF Champions League matches. In their opener against Sundowns St. George managed a goalless tie. This was considered to be the best result against the title holders.
But to the disappointment of their fans, St. George dropped another two points against the visiting Tunisian side Esperance finishing by the same goalless tie last week Tuesday.
In connection to this, assistant coach Fasil said that their performance against Esperance was not that good. “Dropping points on home ground is losing our advantage. That was what happened last time. We missed good opportunity that could push us take the top spot in the group,” Fasil said.
“Taking lesson from that, we played offensive football from the start. We had two clear scoring opportunities in the first half but they were wasted. In the second half we got the target. Despite the close margin, we managed to collect the full three points,” Fasil added.
The goal scorer Salhadin said that he was happy for sending his side in to the group’s second place. “If we succeed in advancing in to the quarter-finals stage it will be remarkable for us. That is what we aspire in this competition,” Salhadin said.
The stadium was full to capacity. St. George fans took the streets of Addis Ababa chanting and dancing starting from early morning. That could be said pre-match warming up.
Fasil admitted that the support given to them by the crowd was so encouraging more than it was before. “The support actually pushed us to gain such a sweet victory. The people were pushing the players to get the net and they did it,” he said.
Right after the match the joy with colourful song made the City a day of celebration. Opposite to what was observed last week Tuesday, the waving of mass flags, ear piercing ululations and other forms of celebrations inside and outside the stadium was observed after the home side emerged victorious.
Salhadin said that they were greeted with amazing victory songs and dances on the streets.
It is true that St. George are in tough Group C. Mamelodi Sundowns are CAF Champions League title holders.
The North African side Esperance are real force to be reckoned with. ST. George are the debutants.
Despite this fact St. George are now fighting as equal partners. Group winners and runners up after six matches advance to the quarter-finals of a competition offering a record $2.5 million first prize this season.
Ethiopia and China reiterated interest to strengthen public health cooperation recently as the 19th medical team donated medical equipment worth 500,000 Birr to Bishoftu hospital. It has also been providing medical service for five consecutive days.
People who received medical treatment from the team also appreciated the endeavor and allegiance of medical professionals to serving people without hesitation. They also told that the Chinese traditional medicine and the magical charm of acupuncture are deeply loved and praised.
A 6-year-old child lives with a nerve related illness in small town called Bishoftu,50 km south of the capital Addis Ababa. This writer mate the kid's father Philipos Ayalew, who has been taking care of his child when he was receiving medical treatment at China Medical Team Center.
Philipose remembers his son who happened to be beset by to various sort of diseases ever since his infant stage. However, the free curative medical service bestowed by medical team helped him a lot.
"My child could hardly walk due to the health problem that he had faced. The pain also kept him on crying and crying a lot. In vain I went to various hospitals," Philipos said.
Zerfeshiwal Kebede is another beneficiary from free medical service. She had been getting physiotherapy at Bishoftu hospital. She told The Ethiopian Herald that she had traveled close to 100km from her home town Wolega, south of the capital Addis Ababa, to get the treatment at the hospital.
The 60-year-old Amelework ... is also one of the patients who has been able to get the free service."My health condition has improved now, after the treatment I received here by the Chinese physicians," she said.
Along with the provision of free medical service, the medical team has also donated medical equipment and consumables to the hospital. According to the leader of team Zhang Xiao Yang the medical equipment will enable the hospital in its quest towards quality health care service.
The 19th Chinese medical team is based at Tirunesh-Beijing Hospital. The team drown from various professions and has 16 members.
Team leader and Chief Physician Yang said that the whole medical team has been in Ethiopia for nine month. “We are currently working at Tirunesh Bejing Hospital Akaki Kality- Addis Ababa. Since we came here we have been helping to do some new operations and we accomplished successful eye operation through microscope, which is the first one in that hospital. In the coming days, we are going to have the tel-medicine.”
According to Yang, the Chinese Government has dispatched medical teams to African countries since 1963. And a lot of big hospitals in China are responsible for sending specialists for African countries. Many of the volunteer doctors are proud to have the opportunity to serve people in African countries. Helping others is one of the Chinese culture. Help is what we have. Since we are here, the team is thinking about how to help this hospital, how to do new things and change the hospital and I am very satisfied by the performance of the team, " he said.
Appreciating the every growing developmental relations between the two nations, Urban Development and Housing Bureau Head with the rank of Deputy President of Oromia State Abiy Ahmed expressed his hope that the two countries could strengthen cooperation in various fields and bring more benefits to the people of both nations.
Liu Yu, Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, in a ceremony organized for equipment donation and free medical service held at Bishoftu Hospital yesterday and China Embassy in Ethiopia, Economic and Commercial counselor's Ms. Liu Yu said that China will help African countries, including Ethiopia, strengthen their public health service and control system through building up the African Center for Disease Control, which will be established in Ethiopia.
Recounting that China began to dispatch medical team since 1974, Ms. Liu Yu added that China will continue to send medical teams to Ethiopia in a bid to increase access to medical service. China also encourages more Chinese companies to invest in pharmaceutical industry to increase Ethiopia's success to medicine, and help improve its capacity for independent and sustainable development in the area of medical care and public health, she added.
On the occasion, the 19th Chinese Medical Team donated 23 medical equipment 10 worth over 500,000 birr to the Bishoftu General Hospital. Over the past five days, 15 Chinese doctors have been supplying a serious of medical services to resident of Bisoftu town. Diagnosis, surgery , health consultation and academic lectures were some of the tasks professionals engaged in.
Chinese volunteers have made positive contributions to Ethiopia's medical system development and to the longstanding friendship between the two countries. It was recounted that the first China Medical team, Mr. Meib Gengnian, devoted to the health service here , for which he won the great respect from the local people. His deeds are still being told at Jimma town of Ethiopia where he was buried.
By Girmachew Gashaw
Hurricanes and waterspouts. Bone-chilling rain and 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Jellyfish and fire coral stings. Broken toes, shoulders, knees and fingers. Entanglements in fishing gear and stranded boats. Cockroaches, mosquitoes and sandflies. Hundreds of SCUBA dives and thousands of hours underwater. And to end it all, mountains of very different kinds of data to integrate.
These are just a few of the challenges we ran up against on our four-year endeavor to ask the the not-so-simple question: “How do three human factors – overfishing, pollution and climate change – intersect to cause the decline of coral reefs?”
By looking at the microbial communities that live on corals, our research uncovered a crucial role that fishes play in protecting coral reefs. We also discovered that these fishes together with clean water may be a vital buffer against the coral disease and decline caused by climate change-induced warming ocean waters.
Coral reef decline and human impacts
You may have seen that the plight of the world’s coral reefs, pinnacles of marine biodiversity, has been in the news a lot lately. Many reefs around the world have seen gradual declines in corals over the past two to three decades.
The decline in corals has many culprits, but they can be classified as two major kinds, local and global stressors. Local stressors involve aspects of human activity that impact reefs on a small regional scale, while global stressors can impact reefs over the entire planet. Local stressors are things like overfishing, pollution and sedimentation from coastal development; they may kill corals all by themselves.
But these local factors never occur in a vacuum. It is likely these local human impacts combine with the ubiquitous ongoing global stressors such as warming oceans and ocean acidification that drive the huge bleaching events we are witnessing today. Yet although we know they occur simultaneously, scientists have rarely investigated the effects of these combined local and global stressors on coral reefs, outside of simplified and unrealistic lab-based experiments that are generally short in duration.
Also, most coral reef research has emphasized the effects of these human stressors on the conspicuous animals and plants that live on a coral reef. In our study, we chose to focus on the microscopic marine life and its role in coral health.
Over the last two decades, scientists have come to understand that all multicellular organisms have evolved with a variety of microorganisms. Much like the microbes that live on and in healthy humans, this “microbiome” of corals helps gather important nutrients and minerals and fight off infection from pathogens. Major changes in the microbiome, in humans, corals, or other organisms, are thought to be detrimental because they can switch a system from a healthy “stable” state to a diseased one.
Thus, we (a coral microbiologist and marine community ecologist) sought to combine the expertise and field work experience of our labs to test the effects of both local and global stressors on corals as well as their microbiomes.
Our reasoning was that by physically changing conditions on areas of reef over the long term, we could monitor what would occur naturally in the system across seasons, and also see how effects at one level of complexity (macroorganisms – that is, the corals) transcended down to another level of complexity (microorganisms).
Vital role of herbivorous fishes
We tackled these questions by running a three-year field experiment that mimicked overfishing (using fish-exclusion cages) and nutrient pollution (via the addition of common garden fertilizer) on a coral reef in the Florida Keys, U.S. To do this we had to build and maintain the experiment underwater for three years, which required continuous upkeep of our cages and resupply of the nutrients every few weeks. We closely monitored the health and growth of corals and seaweeds in our experiment four times a year and evaluated the microbiomes of about 80 corals monthly.
Using this experimental design, we wanted to examine how two of the most common stressors on reefs – overexploitation of important species like herbivorous fishes (i.e., fishes that eat seaweeds) and nutrient pollution – affect the microbes that live on corals and, ultimately, the health of corals.
Lots of previous work shows that herbivorous fishes, especially parrotfishes, are important for helping corals reproduce, grow and survive because they consume seaweeds that can outcompete, smother or even poison corals.
Our work reinforced that these herbivorous fishes protect reefs by preventing coral-seaweed competition. But we also showed that the loss of these fishes ultimately led to the subsequent disruption of the coral microbiome.
When we removed herbivorous fishes from reefs, coral-seaweed competition increased, which led to declines of some of the beneficial bacteria on corals, including bacteria that produce antibiotics to keep harmful pathogenic bacteria at bay.
Importantly, the presence of herbivorous fishes appeared to buffer some of the negative effects of ocean warming on corals. We knew this because thermal stress led to the disruption of coral microbiomes and coral death only after herbivorous fishes had already been removed. In other words, during the warmest summer and fall months of the year, 95 percent of corals in areas with abundant fishes survived and in fact grew. But if we removed fishes, almost 40 percent of corals succumbed to seaweed competition and thermal stress and died.
Nutrient pollution turns fishes into coral killers
Although parrotfishes are important herbivores that help keep reefs clean of seaweeds, many of them periodically supplement their diets by biting corals. In our experiment 100 percent of the corals survived these periodic bites just fine under low nutrient conditions, demonstrating that parrotfishes are an overwhelmingly positive force for helping corals persist on reefs.
One of the most surprising and perhaps worrisome elements uncovered by our study was how nutrient pollution – such as from agricultural runoff or sewage discharge – changed the impact of parrotfish bites on corals.
In the presence of nutrient pollution, 66 percent of corals died after being bitten by parrotfishes. These corals also showed an increase in pathogenic bacteria at the expense of beneficial bacteria following parrotfish bites, possibly leading to coral mortality. The parrotfish wounds likely allowed a space for colonization by new bacteria and then the excess nutrients allowed unregulated growth of these new pathogens.
It is important to note that the parrotfishes here are not the problem. The nutrient pollution is the problem as it changes the nature of a normally beneficial interaction between species on these reefs. This finding is especially concerning as it suggests that even on reefs where parrotfishes are protected from fishing, a common management practice to protect reefs, corals may still be in peril if pollution is not also kept in check.
What do we do to save reefs?
Our work suggests that managing reefs at the local level by protecting important fish species and minimizing pollution can help prevent coral death. Even during the most warmest periods of the year, when temperatures were most stressful, we saw little coral mortality in places where there were abundant fishes and low levels of nutrients.
Possibly, protecting fishes and minimizing pollution will help protect corals from pathogenic bacteria that kill corals during stressful thermal events. This is especially important in an era of global climate change where ocean temperatures are gradually rising. Our work suggests there is hope for the future of coral reefs.
There is little we can do about the impacts on coral reefs. These are global anomalies out of our control. But, abundant fishes and clean water may be key to helping coral reefs survive increasingly stressful normal ocean temperatures – at least in the near term. In the long term, to ensure the persistence of coral reefs, curbing carbon emissions and slowing down the rapidly changing climate is essential.
BY REBECCA VEGA
Ethiopia and China continued enjoying a flourishing historical bilateral relations that goes back to 1970, which now is hitting a raised prominent partnership bar. As Ethiopia seeks to replicate the experience of Asian countries like that of Taiwan, Malaysia, or China to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to accelerate the development of its manufacturing capacities, a win-win bilateral cooperation with such countries has high significance.
On the other hand, China has been working to export its development model, and to promote connectivity between Asia and the African continent. In this context, the Chinese government identified Special Economic Zones (SEZ) projects in 19 countries – including one in Ethiopia located in Dukem some 30 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa.
China by far has become the leading foreign direct investor in Ethiopia. In addition to the Eastern Industrial Zone (EIZ) in Dukem and their dominant presence in the Hawasa Industrial Park (HIP) in Hawassa, Chinese investors are engaged in privately-run Chinese firms and are also extremely active in all kinds of infrastructure development.
As Chinese investments in Ethiopia are concentrated in infrastructure and in the manufacturing sector, they have been playing a transformative role and give rise to a “win-win” outcome.
Meles Alem, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Spokesperson, told The Ethiopian Herald that a number of infrastructural projects in the areas of road construction, spinning factory, irrigation development, housing, garment, fertilizer factories, textile industry, technical and vocational education, railway links, sugar factories and electric power generation are supported by Chinese funds.
Meles further said that as a result of intensified bilateral relations between China and Ethiopia over the last two decades, the trade exchange between the two countries is now growing with a rate of 22.2 percent per year.
China has certainly played a useful role in Ethiopia by setting up industrial zones, financing infrastructure, and encouraging Chinese firms to move some manufacturing production to Africa. In doing so, it is contributing a great deal to the industrialization process.
Up on the recent visit of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to China, Ethiopia has become a member of Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which ensures an alternative funding source for Ethiopia pursuant to its infrastructural development projects. The bank was established in 2012 by China and other Asian countries.
According to Meles, it was possible to persuade Chinese mega companies to tune their investments to Ethiopia through face to face forums channeled for 17 Anchor Investors in Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, and Sichuan states of China.
Rather than manufacturing investments, Chinese investments in infrastructure may have proven to be more instrumental in transforming the country. The construction of new dams, for instance, has been instrumental in guaranteeing a stable supply of power and helping the country to realize its plan of becoming a major electricity exporter.
"In addition to those already in Ethiopia, last month Prime Minister Hailemariam sat down with officials from 17 big Chinese companies requesting their investment in Ethiopia," said Meles.
The prime minister who attended and spoke at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held from May 14-15 of this year in Beijing, visited several Chinese provinces and signed a 250-million-dollar loan agreement for an industrial park. The premier also formally signed Ethiopia's membership to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), making the Horn of Africa nation the 77th member.
Meles also said, “Chinese investors in Ethiopia have dispensed in a total of 624 projects with a total investment of nearly four billion US dollars, securing employment opportunities for 57,555 permanent and 53,669 temporary employees.”
Partnerships between the two countries is also strong in the field of development cooperation, according to the Spokesperson. This is highly beefed-up due to the ever growing Chinese economy, allowing the nation to increase in its capacity in providing loans. Accordingly, beyond the provision of aid, China is now capable of providing concessional and non-concessional loans which Ethiopia is also taking advantage of, Meles said.
It was recently reported that Chinese companies have invested around four billion USD during the last two decades in Ethiopia, employing 111,000 Ethiopians on permanent and temporary basis. Currently, China is Ethiopia's largest trading partner and the trade relation reaching 6.37 billion USD in 2015, while growing at an average 22.2 percent annually for the last several years.
The prospects look rather good, provided that other accompanying measures are put in place so as to improve the overall business environment, and importantly, to enhance the local labor force’s employing capacity.
BY HOMA MULISA
I wrote this piece just to add my voice to the discussion regarding the future of Ethiopian communities in North America and their engagement in national issues. I agree with many of my compatriots who share the idea that the time has come to seriously look at the issue and come up with solutions.
The first and fundamental issue, which will ultimately decide our communal fate, is finding a valuable, realistic, and fairly unified "mission" of the Ethiopian Diaspora as a whole. The lack of real sense in such a "mission" in almost all of our mainstream organizations is to a large degree, responsible for the virtual loss of the younger generation especially that of the community of young aspiring professionals. The same applies to recent immigrants from Ethiopia to whom the Diaspora offers little with which they can relate to or identify with.
It may seem utopian to presume that a sense of "mission" that is acceptable to the older generation and young professionals, recent immigrants and second-and third-generation Ethiopian North Americans, academicians as well as to the uneducated can ever be found. And yet, perhaps it is not as impossible as it seems.
We can learn a lesson or two from the Jewish communities in North America who, despite their overall linguistic assimilation, have been remarkably successful in running lively community centres, attracting young people to their ranks, and organizing highly effective local, national, and international campaigns and events.
A young Jewish professional once told me that he took an active part in the Jewish community life because he was proud to belong to a nation that had given the world the highest number of Nobel Prize laureates, the world's famous violinists, and the list went on. Would it not give a similar sense of pride to belong to an internationally prominent and historic nation that has the potential to unite Ethiopians from different generations, different ways of life and different political, cultural, business, religious organizations?
We may not yet boast of such achievements, but nothing stops us from striving to build and improve the image of our nation and our community and from making this, one of the cornerstones of our communal "mission." Not only that, but perhaps for the first time in our history, we have an opportunity to do this not for some semi-mythical "cause of our forefathers" (thank God, Ethiopia has always been free), but directly for us, our children, and our national and communal sense of pride.
During the Derg’s era, it was not the government but the Diaspora that represented Ethiopian interests in the world. Ethiopian academics, journalists, writers, philanthropists, community activists etc. all contributed to their country’s interest. And it is a paradox that now, when possibilities to continue this work are greater than ever, this same community is on the verge of losing its sense of place and mission.
More than ever, now we have better possibilities and resources to help the country get out of poverty and embark on development, to support our politicians in international arenas, or to help Ethiopian scholars, scientists, writers, and artists achieve international prominence. By doing so, we would not only help these particular individuals, but we would improve the image of all Ethiopians and make Ethiopian causes more prestigious and sought after in the world, just like our athletes. Now we have the best chance to support our claims, to promote the true image of our history and culture and to win back of the “historic glory” we have lost during the former military regime. Is it not an attractive idea to the old as well as to the young to be a part of a process to of bringing international recognition for Ethiopia and all of us more? Is it not an area which could also unify constructive forces from the Diaspora and Ethiopia?
To me this idea is so simple and straightforward that I cannot understand why so little, relatively speaking, is being done in this area, especially by the mainstream Ethiopian organizations [in the Diaspora].
Not only are such actions rare, but they tend to be poorly organized and ineffective. This brings me to my next point: the professionalism and efficiency of our organizations. In the context of a continually decreasing membership in our organizations, we have no choice but to be more professional and cost-effective. Otherwise, our organizations will simply not survive. Many organizations also have to win back the trust of our community as to their abilities to get things done.
Too many times in the past, funds raised from our community for the liberation of Ethiopia from Derg’s rule, aid, or other nebulously described projects were spent without producing any real effects. In some cases, they were spent on unrelated activities/projects. Also, too many times we have raised and continue to raise money for "hopeless" projects: to some activities that are no longer relevant and cannot support themselves. Ethiopian organizations must become ready to show results for every dollar they receive from their members and donors. There are, of course, other positive examples.
This brings me to my third point: interaction. Our new sense of mission, our priorities and more efficient work methods can be developed and improved through interaction and cooperation. In the process of an active dialogue, we need to develop new ideas and dispel old prejudices. In particular, people working in similar fields and sharing similar work ethics should get in touch and try to find areas of cooperation. The mission of uniting our efforts and resources in order to build a better image of Ethiopia and Ethiopians (ourselves!) in the world and supporting our best and brightest on an international level would not preclude or diminish the value of the work of the community activists working in fraternal organizations, parishes or credit unions. On the contrary, such grass roots organizations are the basis on which our community can build its national and international programmes. These programmes, in turn, by promoting the image of Ethiopians in education, politics, journalism, arts, etc., would bring back a sense of pride and accomplishment at the grass roots level for work that will produce real and lasting fruits.
BY YOHANNES GEBRESELLASIE (Ph.D.)
The construction sector is one of the sectors to which the government has given a special attention. Using the poverty reduction strategy as a means, the government has launched all-rounded activities. It is not out of the blue the government brought this strategy into play. It is in cognizance of the role the construction sector plays in speeding up the economy of the country together with its strong potential to create job opportunities for millions the government mobilized its resource towards this end. Fruitful results are being witnessed.
Ethiopia is a rapidly growing country that has been exhibiting a double-digit economic growth for a decade. The availability of untapped natural resources coupled with its being the second populous country in Africa further makes the nation advantageous. Among others, the construction sector is instrumental in catapulting the nation to higher levels of development.
Without the construction sector, the burgeoning of all the economic sub sectors such as modern agriculture and manufacturing are unthinkable. Infrastructural facilities that have been put in place for decades and a half namely, roads, schools, health centres and residential houses are part of the growth. At the same time they enable the tapping of the nation's human and material resources.
The construction sector is playing a signification role for the economy. For GTP I the sector's contribution to the GDP was high. And this is also showing a great improvement for the GTP II. Currently, the construction industry has tremendous impact on the Growth Domestic Production by creating value chains with other sub sectors such as cement industries and small-scale enterprises. Such enterprises are engaged in metal and wood work production utilized as an input for the building construction and stone crushing companies. As a result of the booming of the sector, metal, paint, aluminium and electrical cable industries have been established by local and foreign investors. From time to time, the constriction sector is showing progress. It is safe to claim the industry is booming in Ethiopia. Years ago, the country had been importing cement at huge costs for its developmental projects. In 2010/11 the country had imported 0.3 million tonnes cement spending millions of USD. However, owing to the growing numbers of cement factories, these days, the country has begun exporting products beyond meeting local consumption. The number of cement and chemical producing industries has been mounting by the year.
Despite its greater contribution to the national economy the sector has also several challenges. The issue of quality is one factor that is overcoming further improvement in the sector. The construction industry is one of the single largest sectors, which accommodate thousands of private companies and it is an indicator how the private sector can be a reinforcement force to the public sector. Yet, companies have their own inherent weaknesses. Among others, quality is the major one.
When we talk about quality in the construction sector, we are not talking about a single firm or company. We are talking about the whole economic growth of the country. In this regard, the issue of quality input for construction materials have a significant role.
A recent study by Ministry of Construction has indicated that most of the construction inputs that are produced locally have a quality problems. According to the Ministry, raw materials used for construction purpose still have a problem. What is more, gaps in skilled manpower, modern technology are challenges in the sector. For this reason, most consultants and contractors prefer to use imported inputs instead of local ones. This has an adverse effect on the economy of the country in general and the construction sector in particular.
However, if the construction sector is challenged by poor construction inputs other sectors might also be victims of the problem. In this regard, all stakeholders have a responsibility to focus on quality of local construction inputs.
As the capital city of Ethiopia, Africa and a home to a number of international organizations as well as diplomatic missions, Addis Ababa City has been intensifying efforts of carrying out various risk prevention activities related to flash flooding, landslide and other man-made disasters ahead of the upcoming rainy season.
Likewise, The Ethiopian Herald recently approached an expert and pertinent body to give insights into the prevention activities.
Kotebe Metropolitan University Urban Land Administration Lecturer Sinafikish Gezahegn pointed out excessive rainfall, absence of appropriate ditches and consistent climate change as triggers of the city's flash flooding.
Moreover, she said : “Landslide is the second threat which could face Addis. The phenomena of landslide alongside rivers may also cause break out of endemic disease.”
According to Sinafikish, the city administration needs to boost its early warning mechanisms in this end.
She also urged policy formulation to contain illegal settlements on unsafe areas and put in place proper infrastructure facilities.
In this regard, working with higher learning institutions would help in conducting researches to identify root causes, pointing out possible risk zones and forwarding recommendations, she noted.
Mentioning the city administration collaboration with international partners, Sinafikish said that working with global allies is crucial for sharing city planning experience.
It would also help to import technologies and secure loans as well as donation in the intervention strategy of urban disasters.
For his part, Addis Ababa City Fire and Emergency Prevention and Rescue Authority Communication Officer Adane Abrha said that the authority has already finalized to deploy 12,000 human resources, 32 fire trucks and 31 ambulances to the prevention tasks.
He added that the authority has so far offered pre-rescue prevention, rescue monitoring and per-hospital services to its staff.
The authority has been serving the public with one center and eight branches throughout the capital and on the way to add two more branches. In each branch, 6 pre-rescue professionals are designated to identify rescue exposed areas and coordinate awareness raising programs, he said.
According to him, Bahir Dar Uniersity is helping the authority effort in conducting research, providing trained professionals and offering training to firefighters with the support it gets from US Fire Department.
As to Adane, the rescue operations have been increased inline with the expansion of the city and growth of the population. Therefore the city administration has given the desired attention to rescue prevention activities.
Accordingly, five additional sub-branches will be opened throughout the city, he said, adding that 10 fire trucks and ambulances would be at the disposal this fiscal year.
Some of the shortcomings behind rescue prevention effort are lack of public awareness, negligence of institutions to install the needed rescue prevention equipment and slow connection of internet, Adane noted.
Despite some shortcomings, progress has been made towards raising the awareness of the people in-terms of using ambulance at right time of the disasters.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
Forest development efforts create 50,000 jobs for youth and women each year, said Oromia State Forest and Wild Life Enterprise.
Speaking at seedlings plantation program held yesterday, Enterprise Representative Batu Meskelu said: “As part of meeting the national Climate Resilient Green Economy, the state has placed special emphasis for forest development.”
Apart from its contribution to environmental protection, the forest development efforts are positively influencing the state's as well as the community's development, he added.
“Employing a participatory approach in our forest protection and development efforts, we could benefit the community at large, “ Batu said. With active participation of the community, the state has enclosed three national parks and the community has managed to generate new income as well, he said.
At the event, he called on Addis Ababa University (AAU) to enhance cooperation in terms of fund raising for rehabilitating Mount Wechecha.
Addis Ababa University Centre for Environmental Science Head Dr. Teshome Soromsa for his part said the seedlings transplantation program is part of the university's social responsibility. “We continue to do similar activities mobilizing the university community.”
The University transplanted 6,000 seedlings in connection with this year's World Environment Day themed: “Connecting People to Nature.”
The programme was organized by AAU Centre for Environmental Science.
BY SINTAYEHU TAMIRAT