As the saying goes 'A Stitch In Time Saves Nine', prevention is by far the easiest and effective way that could pay country off when it comes to eradicating diseases particularly the incurable ones. The ugly face of non communicable diseases has already been looming on doorsteps of the developing countries.
The diseases have long been perceived as affecting the developed nations only but their impacts are now going beyond boundaries. With the growing risky factors ranging from an increased smoking habit and unhealthy diet, the silent killers are now posing threats to the least developed countries as well.
Already beset by other communicable diseases with fear of resurrection of HIV and AIDS, countries in the Horn of Africa face unprecedented challenges of noncommunicable diseases with the share of the mortality rate equating the contagious ones. But what is a worrisome is the countries seem to be negligent. “ Countries seem to be least prepared to contain the disease compared to the magnitude of the problem. We need to encourage health diet, tightening prohibition of alcohol and tobacco. NCDs are best at prevention not at treatment. For developing countries like Ethiopia, prevention should always be the priority. And as individual it all depends on whether you want a healthy diet and active life, otherwise the consequences would be severe, said Mathiwos Wondu YeEthiopia Cancer Society General Manager Wondu Bekele.
Countries should now prepare for a strong battle against the diseases once considered as 'a disease of the wealthy', as its burden is reported to have intensified over the past years. Ethiopia is no exception. With a share of the registered mortality rate reaching almost 40 percent, non communicable diseases are the next challenge for the country. The shocking death of Ethiopian football star Aseged Tesfay who died aged 41 would suffice to mention. His death was caused by heart attack, one of the non communicable diseases claiming the lives of millions.
For Ethiopia that successfully expanded primary health care facilities and came up with effective health extension workers, the best way is to integrate the non-communicable diseases with the existing health care system. “We have the best primary health system in Ethiopia. What we need is to integrate NCDs to the existing system. There is no need for reinventing the wheel. When you have very strong legislation and guideline that help you address the risk factors, you are more likely to avoid the threats earlier than later.” Wondu added.
Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI) Disease Burden Adviser Dr. Misgana Aweke said: “The country is working on developing guidelines and implementing national strategy. Yet, integrating non-communicable diseases with other communicable diseases is a key step forward to cope with the impacts of the disorder. There is not a one-fit solution. There should be multi-sectoral responses as there are shared risky factors that cause both the contagious and non contagious diseases.
Non communicable diseases patients are often boiling frogs, as they don't immediately see they are affected until it has consumed their lives. NCDs are the best at prevention even in the developed world as they are incurable and need lifetime treatments.
Fighting non-communicable disease lies mostly on eradicating the risk factors. Reducing the number of smokers, alcohol consumption, ensuring healthy diet are what nations should do at first. For example, in the 1950s more than 75 percent of US population were smokers, but these days that proportion has plummeted to 25 percent. As a result the impact of the diseases have declined through time.
Non Communicable Disease Consultant at WHO Dr. Fasil Shiferaw said that once the strategy is formulated and identification of risky behavioral factors are done, what is left is proper implementation. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases are also related with risk factors of tobacco and excessive use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Legislation to create smoking free cities should immediately come to effect. Integrated management is needed at health facilities.
Besides, the prevention efforts and early detection of the disease is what should come second. Promoting early detection of the disease and increasing the accessibility of testing at the nearby facilities is also crucial to mobilize resource and promote treatment services.
Amid the increasing burden of the diseases is shortage of resource. There is an estimation gap of fund in the world. There must also be strong public private partnership in providing health care services for all.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT
Last Sunday Addis Ababa University (AAU), the first and oldest of the thirty three Universities we have in Ethiopia, graduated 10,908 students for the 66th time in several fields of study. AAU has contributed many thousands of professionals and scholars, who have been playing crucial role in the socioeconomic and political progress of the country.
The establishment of the AAU was a turning point in the history of Ethiopian higher education. The university is a pride to its students and graduates alike. It’s not a strange phenomenon to observe or see someone bragging about studying in AAU which reminds me of a little story that a friend of mine told me recently.
It happened when the students of AAU made an educational trip (tour) to University of Gondar (UoG) which is also one of the prominent colleges throughout the Nation and well known for its contribution in the fields of medical science. That’s where I graduated from some ten years ago.
According to A friend, those students of AAU had the chance to see all the modern educational facilities and infrastructures in different campuses of GU during their visit. Some of the campuses are newly established and it is very likely for them to house the latest educational facilities. So, the students have been impressed by the modern structures with advanced technological access. But the joke was made while they saw one of the newly built and digitized libraries. It was the biggest and fully equipped. So, observing the digitized library one of the students from the visiting crew said “This library is very nice, especially with the great number of computers and digitized books in it. But there is one thing that makes the students of AAU different from the students of GU.”
Then one of the students of GU who has voluntarily been guiding the guests eagerly asked “What is it?”
“Well you may need all these books, but we don’t”
“Oh yes? Why is that?”
“That’s because, all the scholars who wrote those books are still lecturers in our University.”
Well, that’s supposed to be a joke though it caused a dispute between the AAU visiting crew and the students of GU which fortunately didn’t go physical, according to this friend. The best thing being a college student is that one could have his/her own fair way of responding to other’s verbal insult. This friend didn’t tell me what the GU student’s response was but I’m sure he would have made his own joke.
To me, the idea of studying in college is not to have a scholar walking around the class rooms but to utilize their wisdom weather it comes in words of mouth or through a written document. One thing that I could understand, from the point that the AU student said about his lecturers as the authors of the books or other educational documents, is that the University has been following strict principles in boosting the efficiency of its scholars. I remember that it has applied a ‘publish or perish’ principle some months ago, which could be considered as an indicator.
The above story also reminds me of my time in college when we enrolled and graduated not knowing what a digitized library looked like. Back in those days; forget about having thousands of digitized books with computers connected to the internet but borrowing manual books on a shelf through catalogue system was a painful process as one has to wait in long line until his/her turn comes. If we needed to borrow a book, it has to be only for two weeks. That’s because the number of books, research documents or journals in the libraries did not fit with the number of students at the time.
But they would have been good enough if some students hadn’t borrowed the books just to be seen with them in their hands while walking around the campus and never trying to read. Of course such people had their own reasons why they walked around carrying books. One reason is that the girls admire boys with the books in their hands; so it would be easier to socialize with them. Yes, back in our time, girls weather in or outside college used to like boys with books in their hands. They may have thought that that person would be smart. But if someone already makes it to college, doesn’t it prove that he is smart?
Somehow, it was a good choice that they preferred boys with books. That is because these days, I have seen girls that put their eyes on or socialize with boys who only have expensive smart phones or tablets. And I can’t blame them because one can download hundreds or thousands of books in his smart phone. But he could also download something else ‘dirty’.
The other reason why some boys walked around with books was to be a topic of discussion, thinking they would be assumed as some of those who read too much and are full of knowledge, in the eyes of the other guys who spent most of their days playing pool or watching movies in the TV hall.
However, people like ‘Spider man’, who was a fresh man student when I made a third year, didn’t want any of those two reasons to have walked around with books in their hands. The girls and everyone in the campus had known Spider man for something else which entitled him with this nick name. He was one of the guys who went crazy for the loose freedom of college life.
One night he went to his room, which was on the fourth floor and got drunk with his friend. For some reason they wanted a lighter or match but there was not one in the room. Then they realized that they would find one in another friend’s room down on the third floor. But the door was locked. So, they returned to their room and that was when Spider man decided to jump down by the window and land in to the room on third floor. He did it. But instead of landing on the third floor, he regrettably ended up on the ground. He got the nick name Spider man when he returned from hospital.
I think pain had given him a very important lesson about the consequences of taking his freedom too far in college. And that’s when he started to walk around with books in his hands hoping that the college society would call him a changed person.
Of course, college life is not only about academic performance or graduating with flying colors but also learning from its life experiences and shaping one’s own ethics. If one used such lessons and changed the direction of his/her life from self destructive to a constructive way, he/she will obviously be effective in his/her future career and well acknowledged by the public while serving the Nation. I believe this quality is expected from all college students and graduates of this and all the coming years.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Ethiopia has sustained to be the leader in its livestock resources in Africa which proves the availability of a huge potential for the country's leather industry. The country possesses one of the world's largest livestock populations with a 57,829,953 cattle population that puts the country first in Africa and sixth in the world. The nation is also third in Africa and tenth in the world with 28,892,380 sheep population in addition to 29,704,958 goat population which makes the nation 3rd in Africa and 8th in the world. The hides and skin supplied to the tanneries have reached 1.4 million cow hides, 6.7 million goat skins and 13.2 million sheep skins. Accordingly, says Leather Industries Development Institute (LIDI) Corporate Communication Director Berhanu Serjabo, in relation to the leather sub-sector, the abundance of livestock in Ethiopia represents a natural strength, speaking to The Ethiopian Herald.
Sheep and goat skin represent the bulk of Ethiopian leather production. The country is known in the international leather market for its superior qualities of sheep skin, acknowledged as being the best in the world. The Ethiopian sheep skin are sought for high class and high value glove leather and the goat skin are equally acknowledged to be the finest for suede making for garments and footwear, according to Berhanu.
In fact, the international leather market has coined special names for these two varieties of skin after two local places - Selallie and Bati. The sheep skin are referred to as Selallie Genuine and the goat skin Bati Genuine which are offered at premium prices over all others. The sheepskin in particular has a reputation for its fibre strength and other qualities attractive to the international market which is best suitable for dress gloving and shoe upper. Bati Genuine are mainly used for shoe upper and leather goods. Cow hides are mainly used for shoe uppers.
This puts Ethiopia at the centre of the booming leather industry as a key supplier of hides and raw materials to the growing industry of leather and leather products. Despite its significance as a livestock producer, the off-take rate is of a lesser amount (13.87 per cent cow hides, 27.34 per cent goat skins and 40.29 per cent sheep skins) and the country has not utilized its rich livestock resource.
Leather manufacturing is one of the oldest industries globally and particularly in Ethiopia which has remained and sprung forward as an economically important sector in terms of engaging citizens intensively and in export business. The Ethiopian leather industry is relatively an older industry with more than 90 years of involvement in processing leather and producing leather products. The first two tanneries were established and vertically linked to two shoe factories: ASCO Tannery & ASCO Shoe Factory (the present Addis Ababa Tannery and Tikur Abbay Shoe Factory) and Darmar Tannery & Shoe Factory (the present Awash Tannery and Anbessa Shoe Factory), pursuant to reports from LIDI.
Technologically, the industry has gone steps forward since processing in pits to paddle and drums, from letting wastes to water bodies to treating effluent in a plant, recycling and reuse of wastes and so on.
There are 32 tanneries nationwide converting hides and skin to different types of finished leather. This sector is relatively at its mature stage and has successfully moved to the production and export of higher value-added and fully processed finished leather. There is a possibility of producing up to 500 million square feet of finished leather per year.
Footwear Industry is at an infant stage of development in the country only with two factories before 1991 but at present it has reached 24 medium and large scale footwear manufacturers. The production capacity of shoe factories including production of Small and Micro enterprises rose to 15 million pairs per year. Therefore, the shoe industry is an emerging and promising industry in the country.
Besides, there are 23 garments and goods factories and three glove factories producing leather gloves, garments, bags and different kinds of leather products. This industry, particularly glove production is an emerging segment and appears to be more promising.
Despite the huge and diversified livestock population available for the leather sector; the industry has not developed as it is expected. Yet, it is showing a great progress on the phase of producing highly value added products.
According to the Second Growth and Transformation Plan of the leather industry sub-sector, it has been believed that the sub-sector industries at the end of the GTP-II could earn 800 million USD, considering that the leather manufacturing industries could enhance their productivity and compete to sell their products in the global market by exerting their full capacity.
Unfortunately, said Berhanu, the export performance till now is found to be low due to limited managerial capacity in the sub-sector to compete in the global market, lack of application of better technology, absence of product diversification, confined market destination other than China, Hong Kong, India, Italy and others and inability to seek for wider choices for the sub-sector still exists that hinder the sub-sector from moving a step forward. “It is because of these facts that the export performance of this fiscal year has become lower,” he added.
Leather Industry Development Institute is working hard for a steady growth of the leather and leather products sector through human resource development, transformation of technologies, benchmarking, conducting research, and quality assurance, promoting investment and marketing insists Berhanu.
The government has planned to fully utilize its livestock resources through value addition and thereby create more jobs for its citizens and boost exports. Official statistics from the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority show that of the total leather products export, still about 73 per cent is earned from finished leather, which has the potential to be converted into other value added products such as shoes, bags, gloves or garment.
In recent years however, the country’s leather industry has attracted several foreign companies that have set up factories to create value added products. In this way, the local industry has already created jobs for millions of Ethiopians and increased export earnings of leather products including gloves and garments.
In 2013 for example, earnings stood at 132 million USD from 76 million USD in 2008. Out of this figure, around 30 million USD came from shoe exports. While Ethiopia has been exporting its leather to Europe and Asia for decades, where it is transformed into fashionable items, recent investments in Ethiopia-based factories by foreign companies are helping to change this trend, and create jobs for tens of thousands of Ethiopians. This, in return, is expected to boost the local consumption of Ethiopian leather products, which will be even more profitable to the industry.
Ethiopia has taken a number of initiatives to create an investor friendly environment and attract investors. The government has created conducive policy environment for investment through deploying customs duty exemption on imported capital goods, construction materials, and spare parts worth up to 15 percent of the value of imported capital goods, income tax exemption that may go from two to five years.
In addition Berhanu said, improved service delivery through shortening period of licensing, and renewal of permits; exemption of imported inputs for export purposes from indirect taxes; access to long-term credit with low interest rate to avoid problems of working capital for exporters; allotment of finance for loan for those engaged in export activities; provision of access to infrastructure for those engaged in export, creating linkages with foreign investors in marketing and production; and improved transport and transit services to support investment, are the major incentives provided by the government to boost the industry.
Besides, Leather Industry Development Institute has established strong industries and universities linkage to alleviate gap of trained and skilled human power in the sector for the investment. Currently there are three universities that offer first degree program in leather technology, footwear and leather goods technologies with the support of Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI). LIDI also offers training on leather manufacturing technology, footwear manufacturing technology, leather garment and leather goods manufacturing technologies at its premises from level I to level IV. Other 39 Technical and Vocational Colleges are also offering training on footwear and leather goods manufacturing technologies at various levels.
As the nation has entered a transition from agricultural led economy to manufacturing led industries, the country has given due attention to expand the manufacturing industries leather and leather products as well through industrial parks and cluster development.
In order to bring structural transformation in the industry and lead the country to middle class economy, it is significant to increase the number of local manufacturers in the sector and create cluster based and one shop service industries. Accordingly, it has been planned to establish cluster based industries in textile, leather, agro-processing, chemical, metal, etc… in all regions and zones of the country.
Currently, the government is processing all the preliminary activities to construct Leather City at Modjo. Meanwhile, two foreign companies: Huajian International Shoe City and George Shoe are constructing their own Industrial Parks.
Leather is one of the important commodities that bring considerable export earnings to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. It is construed that the trade of manufacture and export of leather footwear, leather goods and leather garments is one of the promising sectors for the economic and social growth of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has come up with GTP II that has accelerated the country’s economy to mount up rapidly to the level of countries with middle income earnings. The overall GTP II has laid a policy that has a potential to create structural transition on the Nation’s economy.
The first GTP had brought fast development to the leather sub- sector industry and paved the way to the sub sector to be competitive in the global market by developing its capacity in transforming technology, creating trained man power, bench marking and adding value to the leather sector products.
However, the country has not utilized these resources as required. Further, even though African countries often rank leather high in importance as an export commodity, leather and leather products generally account for less than four percent of total exports. This is largely due to the fact that the leather industry in most African countries remains an unorganized sector.
However, things are now changing rapidly as more and more countries around the world are looking to source their requirements for leather and leather products from African countries.
With regard to this, Berhanu said that, India, for instance, is now looking to import leather from East Africa. Faced with the threat declining leather exports, the Indian Council for Leather Exports (CLE) recently sent a team of Indian exporters to Ethiopia and Kenya to identify future prospects of joint ventures with tanneries in these African countries.
Others such as Huajian of China and George Shoes of Taiwan have already positioned their factories in the country and are manufacturing and exporting to brands such as Guess, Calvin Klein and so on, he added. “These factories are still on expansion in different cities of the country,” said Berhanu.
A recent study conducted with a focus on the industry recommended a handful of viable solutions to reinforce this high potential sector. According to the study, improving traditional animal husbandry practices, improving sanitary conditions, educating hides and skins handlers to avoiding quality deterioration are all set to increase productivity in the leather sub-sector.
A study on the influence of animal treatment on the quality of the skin has proven that progress can be made and have an important influence on the whole leather chain. The ministry of Agriculture also started a programme to inform farmers across the country of the importance of a better treatment of animals. As for the industry itself, it is evolving.
Although the added value is greater for other products and industries, the industry remains a micro-niche market. In a way, the finished leather goods industry in Ethiopia may be described as an industry based rather on recycling than on the exploitation of the natural resources of the country as it bases on wastes of the meat industry. The comparative advantage itself can be discussed, as the Ethiopian case shows that the presence of a natural resource does not necessarily imply the existence of a competitive advantage. Here, the downstream business of leather transformation has to adapt itself to the poor quality of the major part of the skins due to the upstream processing. The development of a leather transformation industry with a real penetration on international market would thus need a deep transformation of the whole chain, recent efforts by the government and investors remaining encouraging.
BY HOMA MULISA
The manufacturing industry, particularly the textile sector, in Ethiopia is laying a significant foundation to industrial development. It has been attracting celebrated and well known top international firms. Efforts are also exerted by the government to create an enabling environment in the country so as to maximize influx of investors to home who could invest on the sector. The government of Ethiopia believes that textile would benefit a large number of people and paves the path for nation to join middle income status in 2025.
Historical documents indicated that textile is one of the most preferable gateway for industrial development. It was one of the catalysts of the industrial revolution in both Germany and United Kingdom. Cognizant of that the Ethiopian government has been building industrial parks at different cities of the country. These emerging industrial parks are believed to enhance the textile investment and productivity of the country.
One of the industrial parks inaugurated so far is the Kombolcha Industrial Park. This park has got keen interests of leading textile companies as it was elaborated during the inauguration ceremony on 8th of July 2017.
There are various well distinguished International companies that have participating in the Kombolcha Industrial Park. Some of them are Carvico S.p.A, an Italian company globally known for its knit fabrics used in swimwear and sportswear; Trybus, a US-company engaged in the production of men’s suits and Pungkook Corporation, a South Korean company engaged in the manufacturing of bags.
“The site for the construction of the park was selected for its proximity to the port of Djibouti which opens easy access to export, availability of infrastructure and the hospitality of the people to investors,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said while addressing the participants of the inauguration ceremony.
These parks that have built in the country are believed to go operational, stimulate the economy, creates jobs and bring about structural change in the agrarian economy of the country.
It is known that there are about 194 medium and high level textile and apparel manufacturers gone operational so far throughout the country. Besides, the textile sector has created job opportunities to nearly 90,000 citizens. This is a significant sector in easing the problems of the youth who have been attending their education in that field. Above all, the textile sector secured hard currency revenue of 81 million USD in this fiscal year's past eleven months.
According to evidences displayed during the inauguration, the actual construction works on the Kombolcha Industrial Park took only about nine months. The textile industries in the country will be not only the driving forces to the Ethiopian Industrial Revolution but also revolutionized regional economy in the coming few years.
On top of the industry's innate behaviour of marketability that would suffice to ensure speedy growth, electric power abundance and a growing human and material capital are seen as advantages to reinforce textile industry in Ethiopia.
The industry is witnessing rapid growth, as a number of domestic and multinational firms are being engaged in productions of textile, garments and apparel for domestic and global markets. The sector would facilitate technology transfer and capacity development through training, and experience sharing. It is also considered as a springboard to boost the manufacturing sector and export trade.
One of the crucial issues in developing the textile sector is penetrating into the insanely competitive global market. This really requires the availability of strong domestic and international manufacturers. Therefore, the country needs to strengthen what it has already started to successfully make its way to the international market.
In fact, it is crucial to attract multinational companies. The coming of companies that have established their profile in the global market is so vital as the move marked a special status for the country creating wonder among the business community.
As these companies who have already beginning their production in the industrial parks will provide training to their newly recruited staff at different levels inside the country and abroad, a huge deal of knowledge and experience could be drawn from the operation that eventually guarantees an accumulated know-how for the intended industrial development.
The contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy has been lagging behind in the past years as a result it barely creating job opportunities contrary to its potential. The sector will rehabilitate well and become one of the significant sectors in the country in accommodating a large number of job opportunities following the full swipe of the industrial parks.
It is a crucial time for Ethiopia to lay the grounds to transform its agrarian economy to industrial economy which is the ultimate ingredient of development. Previously, the country had been devoting on maximizing agricultural productivity. In doing so, the government has exerted a tremendous effort to utilize the available resources of the country mainly land and human labour.
Having designed the appropriate policies and strategies, the government and people of Ethiopia, in the last twenty six years, have managed to lay bases for the industrial sector through developing the agricultural sector and integrating it with the industry.
One of the crucial steps taken by the government, in this regard, is the integration of agricultural sector with that of the industrial sectors. The construction of the Sugar development projects is one of the important integrating factors of the two sectors.
Previously, different agro-industries were developed that lead to the current industrial parks' development. While developing those industries, efforts were made to integrate the productivity of the agricultural sector with the development of those industries.
Considering the previous developments as inputs for further economic development, the Ethiopian government has been building industrial parks that could facilitate its intention to transform the agrarian economy into the industrial economy.
While implementing this Ethiopia has given a serious attention to the textile sector because it is so important in transforming the manufacturing sector. Now the industrial parks are emerging. These will maximize the influx of investment to the country. As the same time, these parks could also create a large number of job opportunities to Ethiopians apart from the roles they would play in technology transfer.
BY TESFAYE LEMMA
Quality leadership is always a fundamental aspect that every nation around the globe needs in addressing economic and socio-political demands of the people. In developing democratic systems, the questions of good governance are always there because of the infancy of the system and leadership capacity limitations among others.
True, it is only recently that Ethiopia joined the path to building a democratic society, when it adopted a multinational federal democratic constitution two decades ago. Since then, the system has been showing encouraging progress. Particularly the decentralized federal system has enabled citizens to practice self administration and to access public services in their own localities without any need to travel long distance to reach their immediate administrative unit. This is a big achievement in improving good governance.
However, the rapid economic development of the country has given rise to public demand in several governance aspects. As a result, the shortcomings that occurred in properly delivering public service had created grievances. The protests that occurred as a culmination of the grievances in some parts of the country last year were hijacked by groups who used the legitimate demands of the public as a disguise to stir violence and disorder. Cognizant of this fact, the government has come up with a deep reform initiative, particularly among its leadership and the civil service to rapidly respond to the public’s demand.
It is an undeniable fact that there have been already several challenges in addressing the socio-economic as well as governance related problems of the public which required special and immediate actions from the government.
As a step forward, the serious measures taken by the government to reshuffle its leadership structure through the deep reform has given a glimmer of hope for the public. Building the leadership capacity of its senior officials through training is among the significant steps taken.
On Tuesday, over four hundred higher official from all states who have taken the second round leadership training for two months graduated from Meles Zenawi Leadership Academy.
The training can be said to have come at a very special moment as it further widens the knowledge and reaffirm the stance of government officials on the ongoing process of building democratic system in the country. It will surely help them stand stronger in the face of the challenges facing the system. Most of all it is an ideal juncture where they can renew their commitment to responsibly discharge the duties vested on them by the public.
Prime Minister Halemariam Dessalegn said on the occasion that the officials have gained enough knowledge from the training and reiterated that they are expected to apply the knowledge to address peoples’ grievances related to development, democracy and good governance.
Leadership training is a starting point for practical actions towards answering developmental and good governance demands of the public. According to President of the academy Tewodros Hagos the training would play a significant role in further deepening the ongoing reform and renaissance of the country.
Leadership capacity and commitment of senior government officials is crucial in ensuring the sustainability of the nation’s progress in its multifaceted development. Therefore, up on returning to their respective offices, the trained officials need to work with utmost conviction that the problems that they identified during the deep reform would continue to be challenges that they need to tackle with utmost diligence and commitment. They also need to show maximum effort through their leadership role for the respect of principles and values of the ongoing democratic system should never be degraded in their leadership role. This means respecting the federal democratic principles and serving with more energetic commitment must be the base line which the officials stand on.
Most importantly the officials must play their decisive role in a dynamic and creative manner as good governance problems always change and update themselves with time. So they have to always be alert and proactive in understanding strange situations. Along with building the capacity of its officials, the government also needs to consider strict and deterrent actions against all elements that still remain causes of good governance problems.
Metals and Engineering Corporation's Engine Factory based in Tigray State plans to increase volume of multipurpose light engine production in what it said would ease farmers’ livelihood with increased agricultural productivity.
The engine factory which went operational two years back is currently producing a variety of light and medium engines.
The factory is planning to replace its imported spare parts with locally produced ones shortly. Currently, it produces over 100 multipurpose small engines per day that could be installed on tractors, pumpers, generators and the likes.
“We like to see the manual agricultural equipments replaced with technological ones. Meeting the domestic demands of light engines is what we prioritize this time.” said, Factory General Manager Girmay Birhane.
As development partner, the factory is planning to avail the highly-sought engines for the farmers at reasonable prices and this would in return help promote the agro-industry sector.
Concerning market opportunities, the factory has got into deal with sister factories that use engine for their production and assembly of products.
Other than manufacturing engines, the plant also repairs old engines. Having already created over 200 jobs, the factory is expected to employ over 1500 workers upon full capacity.
The factory has a state-of -the-art facilitates. Hence, it would be contributing to the manufacturing sector and others that use manufacturing products.
The plant is currently producing over 100 light and 25 media engines per day. The engine plant expected to supply 20,000 different types of engines locally and internationally at full capacity.
BY DESTA GEBREHWIOT
St Amanuel Specialized Mental Hospital will hold awareness raising campaign on its mental health care services in the eastern part of the country next year.
Last year the hospital together with volunteers has campaigned in eleven towns in the north. The campaign was a success as hundreds of people with mental health problem living in the streets, were rehabilitated and reunited with their families, Dr. Dawit Asefa, General Manager of the Hospital told The Ethiopian Herald.
The campaign in the east would be extended and would engage the Ministries of Health and Labor and Social Affairs.
Dawit also stressed that the health sector is exerting maximum effort to enhance access to modern mental health care services. “The effort to establish Ethiopian Mental Health Institution in the newly built Kotebe General Hospital is an indicator of the vision to improve access to mental health care.”
In addition to the effects of khat and alcohol addiction as well as economic problem, the modern life style which promotes individualism at the expense of collectivism, is exposing people to mental health problems, according to him.
“However, the society could withstand these trend using different socio-cultural institutions such as Edir, Tswa Mahiber and Ekub (traditional community based self support and saving institutions) which bring people together to discuss and find solutions for their social problems. These institutions are keys in the effort to tackling mental health problems.”
Thus, the hospital has planned to expand its awareness creation programs into these institutions by involving the media and artists.
Even though mental health care service is improving from time to time in Ethiopia, ninety per cent of its people living with mental illness do not have access to mental health care due to low level of awareness by their families and the communities they live in, said Dr Dawit
The Kotebe General Hospital that has started pilot service months ago would be inaugurated next month.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
The East African Power Pool (EAPP) seeks to ensure increased power supply, reduced production cost and efficient transmission and exchange in its bid to ultimately establish a modernized electricity market in East Africa.
Through designing and continuously updating a master plan for regional power integration, EAPP provides frameworks for its member states in their quest to advancing power production and trade, Zelalem Gebrehiwot, Technical Director at EAPP told The Ethiopian Herald.
The master plan, according to Zelalem, also helps members in drafting their national plans of power generation and export as well as transmission lines installation.
EAPP conducted a study to support the robust Ethio-Kenya Interconnector which is now under construction. It has also been engaged in the development of market rules and procedures as well as studies on regional regulation and procedures, according to him.
“With the completion of the ongoing power infrastructure projects and those in the pipeline, EAPP is evolving to be Africa’s biggest power pool in terms of connectivity, installed capacity, and geographic coverage” claimed Zelalem.
Currently, EAPP is mainly contributing to the completion of the Ethiopia-Kenya-Tanzania interconnection, besides the Tanzania-Zambia interconnection. This would herald the realization of the North-South Power Corridor, and the interconnection of the South African Power Pool (SAPP) with EAPP.
Moreover, added Zelalem, EAPP works on similar platforms such as the Eastern Africa Transmission Planning Partnership, EAPP Interconnection Code Compliance Programme, Development of a Wheeling Agreement and Tariff for the Ethiopia-Kenya-Tanzania Transaction which are currently underway.
“Ethiopia could earn a staggering one billion USD per annum from power trade in the near future with its increasing production and bilateral agreements the country signed for electricity export.”
The East African region represents 39 per cent of African population and is endowed with renewable energy resources; whereas more than 200 million people in the region are without access to electricity, accounting for around 80 per cent of its population.
The EAPP incorporates eleven member states that majorly embrace COMESA countries.
BY HOMA MULISA
The number of civic societies working in human and democratic rights reported to have declined while opposing views appear for the reasons of the downturn.
The ratification of Charities and Associations Proclamation that came into effect in 2009 is what some members of the associations attribute as a reason behind the decline. Though the government argues their number plummeted because they have been closed down for violating the proclamation and due to the failure to play an active role in the society.
According to Human Rights Council the proclamation prohibits receiving foreign fund and triggers financial constraints on the association. This could be a major attributable factor for making civil societies fragile.
The proclamation restricts foreign fund to stand at 10 per cent only out of the total budget. As a result, the council which had been reporting and documenting human rights violations across the nation is now only active in some areas, says Council Deputy Chairperson Amha Mekonnen.
Though the proclamation allows associations to generate income to subsidize their budget from the service they offer, it proves infeasible to those working in the area of human and democratic rights.
“The major setback is that the proclamation has came into force at the time when the public did not developed habit of financing such associations, that’s why it hurts them badly,” he notes. “Sometimes we are not even allowed to organize fund raising programmes.”
On the other hand, he noted, some government officials refuse to provide the necessary information as the council seeks to investigate claims of violation.
While the government shows initiation to build democracy through deep renewal, a lot remain to be done in terms of permitting such associations to get the needed financial support and access to genuine information, as to him.
He also sees a promising prospect. “I think it is good that the government is trying to renew itself, and I hope that this would ease the problem that we face,” Amha envisions.
He calls on the government to offer the associations the needed support and create conducive environment so that they would be able to back the democratic process.
According to some studies, the number of civic societies has dropped to 3,185 in 2017 from 4,700 that were in 2005.
Ethiopian Lawyers Association General Secretary Yoseph Aemiro stated it is the responsibility of every citizen to empower civic associations working in the area of human rights protection.
His association provided free judicial services and training to members and other volunteer legal experts until the proclamation took effect. “The proclamation poses a big challenge to the associations that are struggling to help improve human rights situation in the country,” Yoseph stresses.
The proclamation forces the associations to allocate 70 and 30 per cent of their budget for projects and internal administration respectively. “This would undermine the right and independence of the association” he adds
Therefore amending the proclamation’s articles that deals with budget allocation and financial sources might help revive the associations.
On the other hand, lack of commitment from the side of the associations is by itself a challenge. Ethiopian Teachers Association General Secretary Tilahun Tarekegn says some associations are not robust and do not stand firm to their causes. Had they done so, they would have been able to solicit finance from the public.
Reacting to the concerns of the associations, Ethiopian Charities and Associations Agency Communication Director Mesfin Tadesse says the proclamation was endorsed to protect the associations from the influence vested interests of foreign organizations and promote their local base and capacity. This year alone 27 civic societies working on development and democratic rights have their license revoked.
Restricting their budget allocation and financial support is also essential for the associations to give priority to advocating the public’s demand, he stresses, admitting that some amendments could be needed if researches would confirm the concerns the associations have been raising.
“The right to form associations is the right of citizens though they must be organized, led and funded by Ethiopians. That is why the government enacted the proclamation.”
Some associations are doing well in advocating the public demand while others are failing to do so, as to him.
Currently, 110 non-governmental organizations are active in development and human and democratic rights.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
Ethiopia remains the undisputed origin of mankind as paleontologists raise doubts on the credibility of the techniques used to dating the fossil discovery in Morocco reported by the Nature Journal as the oldest Homosapiens yet unearthed.
The experts challenge the idea that the fossil uncovered in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, dates back to 300,000 years, almost 100,000 years older than previously discovered fossils of Homosapiens, due to thermoluminescence dating technique applied by the scientists.
Thermoluminescence is less accurate and less reliable unlike the commonly used carbon dating technique, says Dr. Yonas Beyene who is a paleontologist and researcher.
New discoveries should go through the proper and credible dating method. Those uncovered in North Africa face revision of dates unlike fossils found along the East African valleys. “It is premature to conclude that the Morocco's discovery is similar to those unearthed in the eastern part of the Continent, particularly Ethiopia. The technique relatively lacks credibility and accuracy than the techniques used to date East African discoveries,” says Dr. Yonas.
Unless other dating techniques were put in place, the discovery would be nothing less than mere hypothesis, says Researchers and physical anthropologist Dr. Birhane Asefa.
“Science is not about competition. It is about piecing data together and drawing conclusion” says Dr. Birhane. “The Morocco's fossil was first discovered in 1960's, there is nothing new about it but what is new in the journal's information is its date. Nevertheless, the date is disputed for it has used the less credible dating technique which is the last alternative from the available.”
“It requires other studies and dating techniques to date the discovery. Even if the report happens to be true, it would never challenge or discredit Ethiopia's reputation as the cradle of human species.” he adds.
“There is no way the new information would rewrite history to disclaim Ethiopia’s place as the origin of mankind. It does not and would not have any impact on Ethiopia's long held fame as being the centre of mankind.” states, Dr. Birhane
Because of its credible and continuous discoveries, Ethiopia's status of being the origin of mankind could not be challenged. In fact countries should not get into competition. Every scientific discovery adds value to the studies of evolution, adds Dr. Birhane.
Everything that is published does not necessary implies that it is accurate and credible. Ethiopia is still unchallenged in being the origin of mankind because of its nature of completeness and uninterrupted discoveries, corroborated Dr. Yonas. However, he says the study of human evolution covers various geographical areas, and it is important that fossils are discovered. It is when discoveries are pieced together that give clue to the scientists in the field.
There is nothing quite like Ethiopia when it comes to providing complete and continuous proof of evolutionary process with fossil discoveries. The country still keeps its unique place for being home to the oldest fossils. That is why there have been attempts to open human origin museum in the country, says Getu Asefa UNESCO Cultural Programme Officer.
Ethiopia is home to the oldest remains on human beings ranging from Lucy to the recently discovered Selam. Particularly, the lower Awash and Omo valleys are the epicenter of the cradle of mankind. The UNESCO registered paleontological sites are also thought to have undiscovered remnants of beings.
“It is an established fact that Ethiopia is the origin mankind proven not by only archaeologists but also anthropologists. There has not been credible fact whether other countries have found oldest fossils as Ethiopia did,” explains Minister of Culture and Tourism Dr. Hirut Woldemariam
It is not only about what have been found, but also about promoting the heritages and protecting the places where the remains were uncovered. In fact, there must adequate protection of paleontological sites, adds Dr, Hirut
“Ethiopia's paleontological sites tell us about our ancestors, the ecology of the past, and how human beings have changed so much over the years” Getu asserts. “Human remains extracted from the sites ranging from Lucy to the recently- discovered Selam surely gives one a peek to the origin and development of mankind.”
However, despite its heritages, doubts remain whether the country has done enough to promote and protect these sites. Their spectacular landscapes can also attract tourists in addition to their potential for archaeological studies and pale tourism, hence adequate preservation the sites are critical, Getu concludes.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT