Over the past regimes, the Ethiopian people did not benefit from health services due to the undemocratic governance system, internal conflict, poverty and backwardness among others.
During the Derg regime, there were only 72 hospitals, 153 health centres, 2,229 health clinics. The number of medical doctors did not exceed 1,200. There were also only 3,575 nurses, 24 health officers, 389 health supervisors, 377 pharmacists, and 9,945 health assistants.
Right after the fall of the Derg, the transitional government, which was led by the EPRDF, started to reconstruct health institutions and had given special emphasis to make provision of health services accessible for all, through regenerating and setting up health centres nationwide and increasing the number of medical professionals considerably. The Ministry of Health had been making an effort to prevent and control communicable diseases like relapsing fever and typhus. Conducting a research and collecting information in relation to transmission of various types of diseases are also the core objective of the Ministry.
According to the unpublished report of the Ministry, prior to 1974, only some 93 health centres and 679 clinics were established. In general, there were 84 hospitals with a maximum of 9,167 beds. With regard to health professionals, the number of medical doctors did not exceed 375, and the number of the nurses were not greater than 934. And the number of health officers did not surpass 376. Community nurses were limited to 286 and health supervisors did not exceed 270. The health service provision was also restricted in major towns and states. Due to this, poor segment of the society did not have the chance to get health services.
This figure includes the former Ethiopia's State - Eritrea. Though the Derg had agreed at international summit to expand health services for all, due to the problem of the system, no better success was registered. Due to this, the health service coverage was not exceeding above 35 per cent, and community health problem was not addressed well.
When the Derg regime was overthrown in 1991, some health institutions were destroyed and health service provision was getting weakened. In the transformation period, the government had begun rehabilitating and strengthening health institutions and the services they rendered. Parallel to this, a health policy that resolves community health problem in an accelerated fashion was introduced.
The core elements of the policy are democratization and decentralization of the healthcare system, development of the preventive, pro-motive and curative components of healthcare, assurance of accessibility of healthcare for all segments of the population and the promotion of private sector and NGOs participation in the health sector.
Besides, the policy gives focus on providing health promotion and disease prevention, curative and rehabilitative services, public health emergency preparedness and response to enable the population produce its own health.
Based on the policy, the government has prepared a 20-year Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP). It has been revisited with a deviation of five year. The plan aims at ensuring community ownership and empowerment through effective social mobilization, enhanced and sustained awareness creation, and creating conducive environment and supporting community organizations.
The plan serves as a primary vehicle for prevention, health promotion, behavioural change, communication and basic curative care through effective implementation of the 16 packages. So far, the plan was evaluated in a way to develop the health sector capacity and has improved the working systems and organizational structure in a sustainable manner.
As mentioned earlier the health policy has been focusing on disease prevention. Concurrently, the government has given special emphasis to the expansion of health facilities. Through intertwining both preventive and curative tasks, it is possible to implement basic health service structures thereby ensuring effective and decentralized health system.
With the efforts made to improve health service accessibility in 1996, health extension programme has been contributing the lion's share for the betterment of basic health services. The government has deployed nearly 40,000 health extension workers both in urban and rural areas. They are playing important role to meet the vision of increasing productive and healthy citizens.
In 1991, there were only 153 health stations but now the number has escalated to 3,547. This time, it is possible to hit the set target to provide health service for 25,000 people in a given station. At least one health post is constructed in every kebele. The vision of having one health centre for 25,000 people has already been achieved.
Nowadays, the number of total health posts has reached over 16,447. In 1983, there were only 72 hospitals nationwide. By now the figure is extended to 411 hospitals, excluding hospitals that are built by private and non-governmental institutions.
In addition, the expansion and capacity upgrading tasks have been carried out in the existing hospitals. Based on this, the national health service coverage reaches form 38 per cent which was in 1983, to 100 per cent.
Nationally, there has been an effort to hit a vision of creating health access to 100,000 people within a primary hospital; create health access to 1.5 million people within a given general hospital and facilitate health access to five million people in given referral hospital. Besides expanding health institutions, it is also possible to establish a system that ensures public ownership and participation within health institutions.
On the other hand, conditions are facilitated to attract investors to the sector to make nation a hub of medical tourists, in addition to the modern hospitals which have been constructed by the government,
These days, over 40,000 private health institutions are now providing health service in various health hierarchies. Of the 1,500 private health institutions found in the capital, 32 are hospitals.
The health policy has given prior attention for health sector manpower development. Presently, there are about 180,000 health professionals. Of which over 40,000 health extension workers, 46,000 nurses, (1 to 2,109 ratio) and all results in the area indicate that it is above the standard set by World Health Organization. Moreover, there are over 6,000 health officers, 8,500 midwives and there are over 5,540 medical doctors.
In 1991, professionals who were working in the health sector were not exceeding 40,000. But now the number exceeds to 180,000. This shows commitment of the incumbent to further bring dramatic change on health coverage, the report said.
In 1991, there were only three health training institutions and universities, but now, the number has been escalating to 33. Presently, health institutions' intake capacity has reached to 23,000 professionals per annum. Of which some 3,100 are studying doctoral programme. Before 10 years, the number of medical doctors who graduated and engaged into the health service was not exceeding 150. This year alone, over 1,257 medical doctors have graduated.
Medicine and medical equipment supplies have also been showing a great progress. In 2016 for instance, the Ministry bought 12 million USD worth medicine and distributed. With the aim of easing medicinal distribution problem, over 23 stores are built.
Addressing problems raised in relation to governance, and to respond inquires raised by the community, good governance strategy has been prepared and every effort has been taken in to account to implement it at all levels. It is also possible to build health sector development army that linked the Ministry office to the society found at the grass root level in a bid to implement and attain the target set in the sector.
In general, by the joint effort of the incumbent, public and stakeholders, multifaceted tasks have been under way and better results have been recorded. The death caused by HIV and AIDS has shown a 90 per cent decline. The death caused by malaria also declined by over 60 per cent. The death caused by tuberculosis has also declined and the rate of treatment has also reached to over 80 per cent.
Ethiopia has achieved the Millennium Development Goals - 4 by reducing under five child mortality rate ahead of three years. Two decades ago, in 1991, of 100,000 mothers who went to give birth in hospitals, 1200 had lost their lives. Similarly, of 1000 children, 200 were died. These days, the death rate of mothers reached below 412. Of 1000 children, 29 are dying.
National health coverage also reached to 100 per cent. The health sector has been contributing a lot in improving life expectancy of citizens on average from 45-64 years.
For the upcoming 20 years, the Ministry of Health has been implementing Health Sector Development Programme and Growth and Transformation Plan II. Priority is given to ensure equity and quality of health service to the community.
Justifying that the Ministry would give special emphasis in ensuring quality and equity of production in the next GTP, Ministry of Health Public Relation and Communication Directorate Director Ahmed Emanno told to The Ethiopian Herald, “While we improve access to health service, there is always a trade off between quality and quantity. So, in the second GTP period, the focus is improving quality of health care starting from the community level, the health post up to tertiary hospitals. So, we will have key performance indicators that would show weather the service we are providing to the public is with acceptable quality limit that meets the standards,” he added.
BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW
The article aims to probe into the economic value the Intellectual Property (IP) law brings to the country. For lack of a better alternative, econometrics here is used as a designated word to describe the economic side of intellectual property laws, and in this article's case, Ethiopia's IP law.
Intellectual Property Right is tool-set of laws that regulates the legal use of copyright, patents, industrial designs and trademarks in a given country. In today's era of globalization, intellectual property rights are gaining greater traction due to challenges that arise from increased globalized competition for trade & investment, and new developments in science and technology.
More than anything, the fact that violation of IP laws can deprive producers, innovators, artists the fruits of their labor/creativity, and thereby halt more rapid financial growth and development, makes it an important issue. Due to this, countries are forced to pay more attention to IP laws and their enforcement within their borders.
Furthermore, many studies have explored the degree with which strong IP laws have role in attracting foreign investment and in encouraging local innovation to the point that many now believe strong IP laws have a role in that, as one variable, and thereby an indirect role in facilitating economic development. Monetarily speaking, intellectual property rights have outpaced global economic growth in recent years to generate an estimated $180 billion in revenue a year, according to a 2011 United Nations report.
As a developing nation that see investment (both local and foreign) as one big jigsaw for developing its economy, intellectual property law can help in giving Ethiopia a competitive edge in attracting higher levels of foreign investment. In other words, Ethiopia's continuance as a top destination of investment and ambition of becoming a hub of innovation can be fostered with the strength of its intellectual property rights, making it an integral factor in the country's aspiration of entering middle income status.
Not only this. Taking a glance through recent years' trend, we can see a marked lift off in the inflow of foreign investment making its way into Ethiopia, whereby small, medium and large scale businesses as well as large conglomerate that ranges from big pharmaceuticals to big utility companies are seeking increased channels for doing business here. This rise in investment and commerce necessitates that the investments and the attendant intellectual property rights are thoroughly protected under the law.
“We shouldn't rest on our laurels”
For Dereje Tsegaw, Director of Patent Directorate with Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office, the rise of FDI influx can only mean that the laws are good enough to play a positive role in this hike, despite the fact that there are still a lot of works needed to be done.
He further made the point that there are many aspects tied to attracting foreign investment, including the tax and justice system, but as one variable, the country's IP laws have indirectly contributed in this looking how the flow of investors is growing, and the number of foreign investor applicants is raising. “This doesn’t mean that we should rest on our laurels, there is room for improvement and must continue working on that.”
Regarding investors' attitude towards to Ethiopia's IP laws, the Director claims that although it is not on the level they want it to be, there is a good system. “Huge brands have come to our country and registered”, he adds. Not only that. According to Dereje, Ethiopia has advantage in this regard because not only the country is not on list of countries 'with no IP laws', but some regional countries have only recently enacted IP laws.
Enforcement of IP laws is an integral part of a developing country’s economic development strategy, and according to him, works will be done in terms of raising the awareness of the public and making the office of intellectual property accessible throughout the country in order to further improve the enforcement of the law.
There are several reasons why a country would wish to enforce IP laws. One of the reason has to do with the fact that having a strong intellectual property rights is not only about being able to attract FDI, but also about attracting higher levels of foreign direct investment and high-end investment as well.
And this in turn not only creates jobs and generates capital, but also allows developing countries to secure greater inward of technology transfer or knowledge from the investor.
Noticeably, technology transfer is one topic that is given weight by the government in its bidding to industrialize the country. The FDRE Science, technology and innovation policy aims at primarily focusing on devising a system of learning, adapting and utilizing as well as disposing of imported technologies in order to meet national demand and support the development needs in priority areas like the manufacturing and service providing enterprises.
The government has also strategized on making FDI a getaway and support for technology transfer. In another words, further strengthening the IP law, and having the capability to enforce it effectively becomes important in facilitating the country's plan of technology adoption & transfer, and thereby expediting government's industrialization plan.
'Room for improvement'
The government recognizes the pivotal role Intellectual Property Laws play in bringing socioeconomic growth. Due to this, it has shown strong commitment and political will to further strengthen the IP laws and their enforcement. In the past few days, Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office has held discussions with all the relevant stakeholders on a new national intellectual property policy and strategy draft. This effort also aims in tapping into [the economic side of] the law and making it a primary input in the effort to hasten the country's rapid and sustainable development and economic growth. In shorter version, it aims to make the law more economy-oriented.
According to Ermias Yemaneberhan, Director of Trademark Development and Protection Department with Ethiopia Intellectual Property Office, the draft policy and strategy document will offer holistic overhaul of doing things when it comes to protecting intellectual property, be it in patent, trademark or copyright. Ethiopia, of course, has many laws and procedures in regards with Intellectual Property, but this would be the first time the country will have a policy and strategy document on the subject, and it is expected to further elevate the enforcement of the IP laws in the country.
The world is moving from an economy that is based on resources to a one based on knowledge, which makes innovation vital. As per recent data, four in every ten dollars generated in the US economy relates to IP intensive industries.
“And Ethiopia is no different to this phenomenon, as the country is also moving towards that same direction,” says Ermias. He said that as part of this effort, one of the things the government is doing among other things, is giving attention to national sectoral policies, given how the issue of intellectual property is cross-sectoral.
Ermias further went on to explain that intellectual property is earmarked at various sectoral and national policies, be it on the 'science, technology and innovation policy', agriculture policy, cultural policy, as tool for development and innovation. However, there is nothing that integrates or create cooperation between these policies. So, the policy document will help in integrating intellectual property on the existing sector policies and on the new ones that will be enacted, whilst helping upgrading the capacity of Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office that would oversee this.
The other thing is such document will also be helpful in creating capable trade system that is competent in ushering fair competition, encouraging local innovation, and in sculpting branding concept that would make local products and services competitive in the international market.
“For instance, Ethiopia is very rich in terms of traditional medicine. Hence, this policy will help in facilitating the way where such riches make their way into the market by utilizing local technology and innovation.” Also, the policy aims to revise the Patent law in a bid to secure conservation and fair utilization of the country's (crop) genetic resources and better protect societal values.
The policy also aims at promoting technological innovation and transferring and disseminating technology within key development sector that are prioritized at national level and serve as key development tool. This is key in terms of stimulating the small and medium businesses (the country's second largest employer next to the agriculture sector) to invest in innovation, which will allow them and the country in general to reap potential benefits and upsides that comes from it.
In general, with an overarching policy and strategy document, and a solid understanding of the current environment, Ethiopia can gain even more from the economic aspect of intellectual property. Given that intellectual property is crucial to the innovation, competitiveness and sustained growth of a country, the government should continue with its commitment to further strengthen and refine (monetize) the IP legal framework to the dynamics and demands of the current environment.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
The healthy relations between China and Africa dates back to many years and has blossomed since then. China has always stood on the side of Africans both in times of good and bad - which certifies its commitment towards the continent.
Most African states were supported by China in the struggle for their independence. After independence, when many newly independent Africans faced tough problems in the process of state building and bringing economic development, China again showed its strong solidarity for Africans.
The stance China has showed towards Africa has never changed irrespective of its leaders change. Particularly, in the past 50 years, China has deeply engaged in constructing vast infrastructures, issuing agriculture and financial loans and giving support which are said to have been critical to Africans. Just because of Chinese engagement in Africa, the western power that used to treat Africa just as an aid recipient has begun to treat the continent as a political and economic partner.
Hence, the Chinese entrance into Africa has not only brought economic stimulation but also political independence. It is not far from truth when world research centres estimated that China’s involvement in Africa has critically changed the continent's course for the better. It has helped Africa claim its rightful place in the global economic and political domain.
Africa is registering 5 to 6 per cent annual economic growth of which 30 per cent out of it is Chinese share. China-Africa trade approached 300 billion USD in 2015, where China has emerged as Africa's largest trading partner since 2000. During his visit to the African Union in 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced that China expects to achieve 400 billion USD in trade volumes with Africa and raise its direct investment in the continent to 100 billion USD by 2020. China’s investments will be mainly in infrastructure development and will be channeled through various Chinese lending agencies, including the newly established BRICS Bank.
Such a sustained injection of investment capital from China is bound to create opportunities in all sectors. From Africa’s perspective, Chinese investment – especially in basic infrastructure – is more than welcomed. It is estimated that Africa suffers from a 900 billion USD infrastructure deficit. And obviously, without potable water, all-weather roads, adequate power and reliable communication, African economies cannot thrive.
China and Africa are doing all-rounded business that is based on mutual benefit and a win-win situation for all involved. And, this does not need deep research; anyone can see it on the ground.
I know the west are not happy with China’s entry to Africa. They usually depict China as new colonizer in Africa through their influential Media. However, they have failed to convince Africans. If doing business is labeled as colonization, then China is colonizing themselves since the volume of investment is much higher in their own backyard than in Africa.
By the virtue of the fact we happen to be poor sons and daughters of this naturally rich continent, one thing has been a mystery for all people around the world. How can a man be poor in a place abundantly rich?
In the last decades, however, it seems we are achieving some imperative milestones of political stability and economic growth. This is of course not to say that there are no challenging bottlenecks here and there in the continent. To be specific, the achievements gained in the past years are better than the remaining manageable challenges. Yet, all what we have been doing to achieve them and our aspirations remain unsynchronized.
We could learn from the rapid economic development of the East Asian economies, specifically China, that are surprising the whole world. China has managed to become the second largest economy in the world and is even projected to overtake the US as the number one largest economy in the world. To some of us, this development is not surprising because the stable rise of China in the global politico-economy has hinged on what is documented as the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”.
The three Chinese generation leaderships have been consistent in implementing these five core principles effectively and bringing all-round changes. Interestingly, the various Pan-African institutions established on the continent after decades upon decades, have consistently failed to meet even half of its set objectives. China - a country with over 1.3 billion people - has been able to institutionalize these principles to go well with the guiding principles to modernize their economy, which facilitated their presence in the global economy.
What has gone wrong in Africa? The main driving forces for Chinese politico-economy have been scrutinized very closely by so many scholars for decades. However, few of them are tried or applied into Africa's case.
The 'Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence' are: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each others' internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. This is a five in one principle that has been put into operation locally and globally. Evidently, China has never invaded or interfered in the affairs of weak or mighty countries in history. They are principles institutionalized properly and that have helped bring stability and economic miracle.
These five principles, which are introduced into the Chinese system as a new paradigm, have become the guideline in China’s international relations and diplomacy. It is a paradigm that has enabled China to become even more relevant in the global political economy. It has helped China to establish enviable relations with over 160 countries across the world without much difficulty. A case in point to be learned by Pan-African institutions when it comes to strengthening the tie between the 54 fragmented countries across the continent.
The economic and political structure, concepts and soft ideologies that have contributed to the rise of China could be lessons Africa could learn from. The Pan-African dream of achieving a fully developed Africa can be realized by taking practical lesson from China.
The Chinese leaders executed a 'political stability first' strategy, which has led to economic miracles. This is the very thing Africa can learn from China. It is highly unlikely for a country to achieve anything without having political stability.
Africa seek peace and security, political stability and economic development. These have always been our target, yet we have consistently missed out on these targets. Yet under the first principle, China adheres to culture of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of member countries in Asia. They have consistently pursued a neighbourhood policy of building amity and friendship, whilst being firm in their resolve to uphold China’s territorial sovereignty.
These principles are again the guiding principles of China with Africa, which I think, are bearing fruitful results. This is reflected in what is referred to as strengthened exchange and cooperation in various social fields and support for African countries to enhance capacity building and cooperation to achieve sustainable development. These values are also some of the things that we should learn from China to help us Africans achieve our aspirations.
BY ZERAY HAILEMARIAM
We are in an age where the economic benefits intellectual property laws, like patent, copyrights, bring to the table have increased and become vital to a country's economic progress.
Patent can yield advantages in the market potential for new inventions; it can serve to get financial backing for small and medium companies, while at macro level, it can spur economic growth by either attracting foreign direct investment or incentivising export standard quality products, whilst also helping in nurturing industrial growth.
The world is moving towards knowledge based society, making innovation and thereby patent important facet in the global economic dynamics. And this makes patent protection (through a legal framework) an essential requirement for innovation, which in turn is fundamental to economic growth.
In Ethiopia, in parallel to the constitution's protecting citizens' right to own both tangible and intangible property, a proclamation concerning inventions, minor inventions and industrial designs has been enacted since 1995 in a bid to protect originality and creativity. And according to this act, an invention is patentable if it is new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable. This patent regime aims at encouraging local innovation, transferring and adopting foreign technology and building up national technological capability.
The proclamation explains that the country's multidimensional demand for harmonious scientific and technological progress to be used for the benefit of the public can be achieved when there exists an appropriate legal framework protection.
Patent protection since its emergency has passed through different stage of development given that countries designed their patent system based on their particular development state and needs at various times in correspondence to their economic level. In other words, countries designing their patent system to achieve particular set of objectives meant that the patent system came out contrasting between various countries. And this has ignited unresolved debate if whether developing countries should have a strong patent protection or not.
One side argues that a stronger patent system will allow developing countries to attract foreign investment, while the other side argue that developing countries should not setup a strong patent protection until they develop, because of poor innovative capacity and unavailability of affordable products. They also cite the fact that today's developed countries used a weaker patent regime to bridge the gap between them and other already developed countries.
But the point stands that national patent system should be shaped by taking into account the socio-economic realities and needs of that particular country - and Ethiopia's patent regime is designed by the government with that in mind.
While Ethiopia is not member of some international patent conventions, but most of the main features of its patent law are, however, similar to that of other member countries.
And recently, as part of the effort to enact a national intellectual property right policy and strategy, it was disclosed that there is a plan to revise the patent law after 22 years of its working to refine it and make it in sync to the times. Also, groundwork are already being finished in order to sign the Madrid and Marrakesh agreements.
While the law has the suitable condition in terms of technology transfer, it has some gaps in other aspects. For instance, the criteria for patent right is strict. Then, we have the capital aspect. Most of the time, men of innovation tend to not have the necessary or the needed capital to turn their invention or vision into reality, and this side of things will take the appropriate addressing. What's more, it didn't give much attendance to the part of the population that need attention, like women, youth and children. So, these things should be further polished through revision and will be so in the revised version.
Most importantly, the age of increasing globalization is forcing countries to update their intellectual property stance to become competitive in the global realm, and Ethiopia so should follow suit. And it must consider the innovative capacity and the current needs and interest of the country.
Federal HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Office (FHAPCO) said all stakeholders, particularly the Media and public relation practitioners and institutions should play their utmost role to support the ongoing efforts to end the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2030.
During his remark at advocacy workshop organized by FHAPCO yesterday, Government Communication Affairs Office State Minister Zadig Abraha said the media has an irreplaceable role to create healthy and productive citizens to support the ongoing development of the nation.
The State Minister indicated that there have been gaps in local media and communication institutions in advocating HIV and AIDS and called them on to give more consideration to the issue.
Zadig further noted the health threat is also aggravated by advocacy, media and communication gaps.
The State Minister highlighted that globally over 39 million people have lost their lives due to HIV/AIDS since 1981. ‘‘At this moment there are 36.9 million people living with HIV and AIDS,” he added.
Moreover, he said more than 16 million children lost their parents due to this pandemic and over 2 million new infections have been reported. According to Zadig close to 1.2 million people die of the disease every year.
Zadig also said surveys estimate that currently close to 718,500 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. He added that the impact of the disease differs across various parts of the country.
Hence, the State Minister urged media and pubic relation practitioners to consider HIV/AIDS as not only a health issue but also a multi-sectoral issue that needs multi-sectoral response.
FHAPCO Director- General, Shallo Daba on his part said HIV and AIDS’s threat is a hidden epidemic that should be tabled to aware the public, saying: “Even if the impact has been reduced from 2.4 percent to 1.2 percent at the moment, there should be a joint effort to work to achieve the USAID’s vision of ending HIV/AIDS spread from the world by 2030.”
The Director-General noted that HAPCO is working through a strategy called 'three 90's' to achieve that vision.
He further elaborated the strategy is aimed at enabling 90 percent of people living with HIV and AIDS identify their status and to get access to proper treatment and weaken the capacity of the virus.
While presenting a paper entitled 'HIV/AIDS leadership and public agenda document' , HAPCO Multi-Sectoral Response Director Kifle Mitiku said “Making HIV and AIDS a topical agenda is crucial to sustain the ongoing development of the nation.’’
The Director further stated: “It is difficult to think of sustainable development without giving focus to productive citizens. Hence, all stakeholders should be active on the advocacy programs.”
Kifle added that females are more vulnerable to the epidemic than male with an infection rate of over 60 percent. He said and adding “According to an estimate on 27,000 new infections reported during the current Ethiopian budget year, 16,000 were females.”
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
Exhibitors who participate in the first ICT EXPO said digitalization is crucial for Ethiopia to realize its development targets.
The participants told The Ethiopian Herald that it is difficult to think of a nation without proper digital development as the world is now interconnected through digital developments in all streams.
Teferi Solomon is one of the Exhibitors from SNAP Trading and Industry Plc. who was displaying his new assembled personal notebook computers, tablets to the visitors.
“Any country out of modern digital technology system will not move further. Ethiopia has started utilizing various technologies which indeed need to go further strengthened,” he stated.
The activity that we are working at the moment focuses on knowledge transfer which hopefully develop more to entirely producing technological products at home instead of importing raw materials, he added.
He said that we are introducing new products to the local market and deliver to customers with reasonable price. This significantly save the hard currency that the country spends for importation.
Jone Liao is the other Chinese Exhibitor. He is a Product Solution Manger of ZTE Smart Education Solution. According to him, digital technology is essential for promoting and expanding education through deploying various technologies which promotes efficient and quality education.
He said, “As education is instrumental for nations' development, deploying innovative digital technologies would add up to develop inclusive and quality education in Ethiopia.”
Jone highlighted that his company has already undertaken a school project with the Ministry of Education in 120 Secondary schools across the nation through building efficient digital technologies that could aid the instructional process.
He said, “We are also planning to upgrade these technologies and reach all places across the nation through regional education networks.”
Investing more on education and supporting the sector using latest digital technologies are more relevant for the development of the nation, he stated.
CIMAC-Ethiopia Sales and Contract Management Senior Manger Getachew Gebreyohannes on his part said that the government of Ethiopia is giving due emphasis to digitalization and at the moment notable progress is at hand in various streams.
As the nation is moving towards middle income economic status by 2025, digital technologies would create possibilities and support the farsighted development vision of the country, he expressed his anticipation.
“We are supplying software for public and private organizations which enables them to efficiently plan their resources and services so as to make them more profitable, he added.
It is crucial to transform businesses for a better tomorrow through digitalization. He said adding “The software enables organizations to manage all of their planning processes to be under a single code system in an integrated manner,”
All the experts underlined that almost all sectors including finance, agriculture, education and service sectors need a closer technological support.
It was learned that digitalization can help the nation in all aspects of a country’s socioeconomic transformation process such as the areas of finance, Health, Agriculture and Education.
According to the information from Ministry of Communication and Information Technology(MCIT) Ethiopia is ready for a new digital age. Currently the nation is taking practical steps to realize digitalization in almost all streams so as to expedite its socioeconomic development.
As the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) demands rapid technological development, Ethiopia's ICT landscape is rapidly evolving. As part of this Plan, the
Science and technology sector is expected to transform nation's economy taking advantage of over 14 billion USD investments in various development sectors including agriculture, fiance, education and health sub-sectors.
As the Ethiopia Country Commercial Guide recent report indicates, the nation has developed a list of over 200 electronic services needed for development in the coming few years.
To this effect, it has already built an "IT Park" in a place customary known as 'Bole Lemi' located approximately 18 miles outside of Addis Ababa to attract ICT service companies, particularly those involved in outsourcing.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
Efforts are underway to secure finance to the construction of new hydro-power projects across the country, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity disclosed.
Ministry Public Relations and Communications Assistant Director Aster Tekle told The Ethiopian Herald that the government has been executing various tasks to generate finance for new hydro-power projects which are part of the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II ).
The construction of GERD and Genale Dawa dams is expected to be completed within the coming two years, Herald learnt.
She said: ''We have installed the national grid to the power produced from Gilgel Gibe-III hydro-power dam. In GTP-II, Genale Dawa, which has the potential capacity to produce 250 mega watt, is nearly to be completed. The GERD is also expected to be completed in this period.''
The Country has already finalized its feasibility studies for new hydro power dams. According to Aster, a study has conducted in Koysha hydropower dam on the Omo River in South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State,
The dams would be built in parallel with the over half completed Ethiopian Renascence Dam, she added.
Commending the rapid construction activities of both dams, Aster said GERD has become the symbol of national pride for the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' of Ethiopia apart from its expected benefits for the national economy.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
The Ministry of Transport said that it has improved its transportation system over the last nine months though residents of growing cities like Addis Ababa are still facing intense transportation problems.
Nowadays, it is a common trend to see a long line of people waiting for transport services especially during peak hours in cities.
Although the government is attempting to solve the problem through increasing the number of alternative transportation modes including the public service buses for government employees, city buses, metro-taxis and light rails, the problem remains to be challenging.
Daniel Tesfaye is a metro-taxi driver. He has almost a 10 years experience in this sector. He believes the government is doing its level best to resolve the over witnessed transport problem through the supply of transport infrastructure and various modes of transport. However, it could not able to keep up with the ever increasing mobility and meet residents' transport needs.
As to him, people's movement in rush hours is too high. This is one of the indicators of economic flow and growth of the nation. This economic uplift, hence, should be assisted by efficient transport system.
He said “Following the fast economic growth, expansion of cities and migration of rural people to cities, relatively transport becomes demanding. Thus, residents of the capital are still facing transport challenges.”
Concentration of most of the transportation services in some areas, the ongoing migration of rural people to cities as well as mentality of transport service providers are major causes to aggravate of the problem, Daniel said.
“To end this and manage the problem effectively, the government and stakeholders should exert more efforts,” he recommended.
Ministry of Transportation Communication Affairs Director Demisew Benti told The Ethiopian Herald the Ministry is working towards making transportation service available for all in 2025 by all means including land, air and water transportation with a reasonable price.
Over the last nine months alone some 69, 932 vehicles were imported to the nation which increased the number of automobiles in the nation to 780,000 in total. Among these 13,843 are rendering transport service in the capital.
In the past nine months, over 400 million passengers have traveled across the nation. Demesew said, adding that about 190 routes are also opened throughout the country.
The nation has now linked with neighboring countries by road transportation, in addition to air, and the Ethio - Djibouti electrified rail way transport, which has started its test service on last October, he stated.
Over 6.3 million residents of Addis Ababa have also benefited from the highly progressing light train transport service in the stated time.
Addis Ababa light-rail system is a significant achievement in the transport sector. Of the two rail lines, the east-west line will extend 17.35 kilometers, stretching from Ayat Village to Torhailoch, and passing through Megenagna, Leghar and Mexico Square and other lines in that direction. The north-south line, which is 16.9 kilometers in length, passes through Menelik II Square, Merkato, Lideta, Legehar, Meskel Square, Gotera and Kaliti, he stated.
The free transport service program designed to solve public employees' transport demand has eased the transportation problem of the public servant in Addis Ababa, he said. “The program has been benefiting over 13 million public employees.”
These and other efforts are though made to improve the condition, the city is still confronting transport problems. Demisew stressed “Transportation problem will not be solved by increasing the number of vehicles and other transportation facilities. But concurrently sufficient work should be done on service providers to develop their sentiment to serve the public as there are restriction on this regard.”
Amsale Ankella was waiting for public transport service from Mexico to 'Shiro Meda'. She said, “Before employees' service transport became operational, I used to take three taxis with a lot of hustle and additional costs.”
“The transport service apart from enabling employees arrive at workplaces on time, it could save the employees' time and money. It also added values in solving customers' grievances in the service sector which was raised in earlier times as a cause to lack of good governance,” she added.
All the respondents agreed that transport providers' mindset, concentration of economic activities in the capital and over flow of people in search of better jobs contributed a lot to the problem, which need to be studied well to bring solutions to the current transportation problems.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
Ambassador Ghazi Abdullah Almahri
United Arab Emirates (UAE) said it has keen interest to strengthen its investment ties with Ethiopia.
In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Ambassador Ghazi Abdullah Almahri stated that UAE attaches due emphasis to make more investments in Ethiopia.
The Ambassador noted that the economic ties between the two countries boomed after UAE opened its Embassy in Addis Ababa in 2010. Since that time, Emirati investors have shown a growing interest to involve in Ethiopia’s wider investment opportunities.
He said: “We have Julphar Gulf Pharmaceutical Industry, Maaza Mango Bottling and Al-Ghurair Group’s Aluminum Factory all set up in joint venture with local firms. Recently a UAE company has established a ceramic manufacturing factory in Ethiopia and more investments are in the pipeline.’’
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also opened its Africa’s first International Branch Office in Addis Ababa in 2013, he added.
The investment relation between the two countries has not yet reached at its desired level compared with the huge economic potential and geographic proximity.
‘’We are looking forward to expand our investment ties with Ethiopia and my government is fully committed to support more UAE-based companies come and do business here,’’ he noted.
Ambassador Ghazi expressed his belief that the Agreement for Promotion and Protection of Investment that was signed in last December while Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn paid a visit to Abu Dhabi, would encourage more Emirati investors to invest in Ethiopia.
UAE’s Embassy in Ethiopia has also been working relentlessly to promote the economic relations between the two countries, he said, adding that UAE has plans to develop its investment relation with Ethiopia in priority areas such as agriculture and agro-processing, renewable energy, hospitality, mining and industry among others.
Both countries need to work closely to encourage more investment flow and Ethiopia is expected to facilitate conditions to attract new Emirati investors, the Ambassador stressed.
Among Gulf countries, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the second largest investment partner of Ethiopia next to Saudi Arabia.
Concerning the two countries trade ties, Ethiopia exports live animals and agricultural items to UAE while it imports petroleum, chemicals, machineries, vehicles and other consumer and industrial products.
BY BILAL DERSO
Along with efforts to safe return of citizens from Saudi Arabia, the government has been working steadily to enable them leading better lives at home, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) said.
Ministry Public Relations Directorate Director Girma Sheleme told The Ethiopian Herald that a National Saudi Returnees Committee, headed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is established to mobilize the participation of various stakeholders in the reuniting process.
The state governments and city councils have schemed to help repatriates change their livelihoods through engaging them at work at home, the Director added.
The government is committed to help repatriates work and succeed in their homeland through providing trainings relevant to the areas of their preferences and engagement, Girma stated.
He said: “Preparation is underway to offer trainings for the returnees in various vocational fields including textile, leather and construction. They would also receive loan and plots of land at state and national levels.’’
The returnees would also be beneficiaries from Youth’s Revolving Fund and production sites that state governments and city councils have availed to youth.
“Returnees, those who come with some capital, would be organized in small and medium scale enterprises and the government would facilitate them market linkages,’’ Girma added.
Furthermore, the state governments and city councils work closely with micro finance institutions to enable returnees get access for loans.
It was stated that loan and production sites are being provided in cooperation with federal and state’s micro and small scale enterprise agencies and other concerned bodies.
Concurrently, the government has also been facilitating employment and free scholarship to the returnees in both public and private institutions, the Director indicated.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Transport has arranged a free transportation services in all states to support government's efforts in reuniting the returnees to their respective families.
In view of this efforts, recently Ethiopian Athletics Federation, Ethiopian Olympic Committee and Ministry of Youth and Sport Affairs pledged 5 million Birr for the returnees.
Similarly, private companies have played a pivotal role in supporting government’s rehabilitation efforts. Ethiopian born Saudi business tycoon’s Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi’s conglomerate MIDROC Technology Group and its Sister Companies take the lead in pledging 10 million Birr for the returnees and promised to provide 100 jobs for them.
Furthermore, MIDROC vows to provide higher education scholarship for 100 returnees and additional 100 scholarships for the young ones who are in the levels from kindergarten to grade eight.
Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association President Solomon Afework said consolidated tasks have been executed by business companies to follow the suit of MIDROC in supporting the rehabilitation efforts.
The President noted that committee was established to mobilize the participation of the business community.
Solomon indicated that the committee is working closely with government and other stakeholders to persuade the private sector make a meaningful contribution in the rehabilitation by pledging both financial and non-financial supports.
He said: “The business community doesn’t expect the government to solve the problem by its own. Hence, we are ready to offer the necessary support. As a potential stakeholder, we also committed to the situation not pose a challenge in the country’s economic plans.”
Commending MIDROC’s support, the President urged the private sector to provide more jobs for the returnees.
Kibur Gena from the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on his part said the committee gives due attention to identify returnees who are in need of immediate support including financial assistance, food, shelter and transport as well.
Kibur, also member of the private sector committee, noted that the council has plan to facilitate conditions for returnees rejoin with their respective families and access to jobs in Addis Ababa as well as support their efforts to legally return and work in Saudi Arabia.
Warit Mulu Tela PLC Managing Director, Tehetna Mulu Shewa said on her part her company has pledged to offer trainings for 30 returnees..
Tehetna, who is also a member of the committee, added that her company plans to recruit some of the returnees and arrange employment opportunities in other local firms.
Stressing the need to seek a long term solution, the Managing Director called on the private sector to provide returnees proper trainings and jobs to support them being economically self-independent.
BY BILAL DERSO