No means at all for Africa to chase out poverty and sustainably improve the livelihoods of its citizens except education. For this noble transformation agenda, Africa’s youth need to be educated and skilled enough. The ambitious development plan of the continent and international commitment badly require competent human resources. Agenda 2063 of Africa and 2030 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were the grand plans that African leaders have then most important spaces in the fight against poverty through expanding quality and accessible education for their respective nations. In fact, the chanting ‘Africa rising’ is heard everywhere for the continent is displaying remarkable achievement in many fronts. Many attribute the success to the expansion and attention given to education. In this changing scenario, the role and contribution of private learning institutions for the achievements is quite substantial.
Boosting the role and contribution of Private Higher Learning Institutions (HLIs) centering quality service provision through public –private partnership (PPP) was the overwhelming impression for the 15th International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa hosted recently here under the theme: Ensuring Quality through Enhanced Public-Private Partnership.
The conference was organized by St. Mary’s University in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Addis Ababa University, African Union Commission, Association of African Universities, Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA).
The conference, which attracted university leaders, educators, policy makers, researchers and representatives of national, regional and international organizations from Ethiopia, Africa and the rest of the world, aims to bring fresh insights on how to strengthen quality and relevance in expanding higher education in Ethiopia through PPP initiatives.
Addressing the conference on behalf of African Union Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology, Dr. Batrice Nijena, Education Division Head appreciated the great role played by private universities in Africa in contributing to the expansion of access and improvement of the relevance of higher education in the continent.
Mentioning the indispensable role they play, the head said: “The private providers have continued to play an important role as they enroll 25 per cent of the university students in the continent. The place of education and training cannot be overstated.” The one and single factor, that will be both instrumental and catalytic in the realization of the integrated, peaceful, inclusively and sustainably prosperous Africa, he noted.
According to him, Africa with a growing youthful population in a world where the developed economies as branded with ageing population is enabling reality that can transform the continent and its institutions into the first choice for development –partnership and make Africa a producer and deliberate exporter of high level skills that will be sorely needed.
Unlike past times, most African countries have a vision of industrialization and building their knowledge and technological economies even as they also continue to attract foreign investors. Therefore, they need to increase the number of highly skilled young Africans and access to tertiary education including university education, he highlighted.
Most importantly, he stressed, private providers should supply relevant, highest quality and responsive tertiary education to the articulated development goals of the respective countries and the continent.
While addressing the conference Ethiopian Education State Minister Dr. Samuel Kifle expressed the commitment of the government in expanding and improving access to higher education in Ethiopia. The country has become not only one of the fastest growing economies but also the one that allocates the lion’s share of its national budget to education. Currently, there are over 28 million students in the country’s education system.
The first public higher learning institution in the country is about 70 years old. Private higher education was not known until two decades back. There were only two public universities 25 years ago with no private entities at all. Today, however, there are 35 public universities and is expected to reach 46 in two years’ time.
The number of private colleges, which run degree programmes, has now reached more than hundred. The pace at which both public and private higher learning institutions have expanded in the last twenty years has been impressive, according to Dr. Samuel. “By any measurement, the growth in this short period of time is tremendous.”
As to the state minister, the expansion of universities by way of reaching out to those states of the country that had little or no access to higher education is still ongoing project. Compared to the population size, the number of universities is still inadequate that the private service providers are encouraged to widen their presence in the sector. Thanks to the viable policy environment created in the country, competitive and strong PHLIs are contributing their share in expanding higher education.
However, unlike private service providers who adhere to government regulations, there are others who flout the law and give substandard services which in turn is adversely impacting the all-out-effort to ensure quality of education and producing competitive and productive work forces. It is worth mentioning that the ones that run their programme responsibly should be given the necessary support to enhance their teaching- learning and research undertakings.
In this regard, the government has created the opportunities for academic staff working in private HLIs to join public universities to pursue their studies in PhD programmes, according to the State Minister.
Along with expansion endeavors, there are several interventions aimed at ensuring quality of education. A case in point, the government has already networked 10 public universities to have shared online platform to access student and staff research outputs.
“As African nations we need to put a concerted effort towards enabling universities work on research-worthy projects that would support the development agenda of each country. Although the degree varies, no country is immune to poverty and youth unemployment.”
Noting the critical responsibility of HLIs, Dr. Samuel highlighted that it is up to the university to propose possible solutions to the plethora of problems afflicting the African continent. “Unless universities strive to fully make use of Intra-Africa knowledge and skill exchange and put in place a viable PPP, it is hardly possible by the government efforts alone to meet UN’s SDGs and AU’s agenda 2063.”
Obviously, in this competitive and globalized world, achieving development goals would be a mirage without producing well equipped with requisite knowledge and skills. Therefore, setting quality issue, as the conference themed, is the real timely concern and addressing it as critical matter is the heart of the fifth Education Sector Development Programme.
In his welcoming speech, Founder and President of St. Mary’s University Associate Prof. WondwosenTamirat noted that the past three decades have seen private higher education institutions become a permanent feature of Africa’s educational milieu.
He insisted private HLIs have proved to be strong allies to African governments in responding to differentiated demands for higher education and playing a positive role in terms complementing the public education system.
However, Associate Prof. Wondwosen argued, the future still requires further nurturing and growth of this sector as there is more role for private HLIs yet to play.
Highlighting the weight of PPP, he said providing higher education only through public means will be “too large and complex” for any government to meet adequately. Therefore, Africa cannot thus afford to undermine or severely restrict the growth of the private sector.
Associate Prof. Wondwosen is dissatisfied with limited scope, size and influence of African private HLIs though he is sanguine enough for their positive features and contributions. As he mentioned, the limitation is partly due to the significant bottlenecks they are currently facing due to limited assistance that would allow them to diversify their funding strategy and ensure their sustainability.
He substantiated his argument that the resource limitations usually result in inadequate infrastructure and facility that pose serious impediments to their operations and the quality of training private HLIs offer.
Deliberation were made on 22 research papers at the conference where representatives of public, private institutions, research institutions, schools, and the industry were present. Participants were from USA, Ghana, South Africa, Germany, Uganda, Zimbabwe, India, Kenya, and the Sudan.
It is important to note that with vibrant public-private partnership the challenges in HLIs would be addressed adequately. Conferences like this one are the merit of such partnership. Since it is also an avenue where problems could be addressed though researches it would enable HLIs to become more responsive to the current challenges of the respective countries and Africa as a whole.
BY HAILEGEBRIEL BINIYAM
Despite El Nino induced drought affected harvests and the prevalent global low commodity prices, the UN 2017 economic report indicated that Ethiopia has registered a real GDP growth in 2016. And also the nation has maintained its global rank as one of the top ten economic growth performers.
Indeed, the agriculture sector contribution to Ethiopia’s real GDP growth rate has still taken the lion’s share. Most importantly, comparing to other agricultural export commodities, the horticulture sector has recently become one the nation’s large foreign revenue earners .
In recent interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Ethiopian Horticulture Producers Exporters Associations (EHPEA) Director General Tewodros Zewudie has confirmed horticulture sector’s leap progress. Though the sector is a new economic venture ,it has shown a bounce progress within 12 years. Ethiopian flower has became popular in Europe, middle east, far east and currently in North America. The existing flower farms are expanding. There are a massive influx of New investors to the sector. Realizing investors’ interest and future expansion potential,the government has established new four horticulture investment clusters. Alagae, Hawassa, Arba Minch and Bahir Dar are the identified investment clusters.
Tewodros said when these clusters become operational, Ethiopia will be among global leading horticulture exporters. During the last 12 years, Ethiopia has become the second in Africa and globally registered immense progress in horticulture production. Thus, it is vital to the country to continue strengthening the performance rate.” If we expand the sector, it will have huge potential in creating thousands of jobs. The sector can employee about 30 citizens per hectare, he said.
The nation’s agro- ecology is conducive to produce flower all the year,the availability of enough man power, proximity to middle east and Europe and Ethiopian airlines cargo service and government ‘s various incentives have greatly contributed to boost the sector and enhanced its for-ex earning capacity. So far, the flower sector has created job opportunity to 183 thousand citizens and 80 percent of the employee are female. This indicated how far the sector plays vital role in women empowerment. The farm lies on 1,650 hectares of land .
However, though the production and export volume is increased,frequent power cuts, lack of internet connection , bureaucratic hurdles can be mentioned as the major constraints which need immediate remedial action.
The EHPEA code of practice was introduced in 2007 as voluntary sector imitative to guide , monitor and communicate the social and environmental Performance of flower cutting and export.
The bronze level certification of the code of practice sets a basic standard and addresses the key issues for legal compliance and consumers interests. In addition ,Silver level equates with the standard expected for compliance
Implementing of the code has many benefits including improvements of farm performance by promoting responsible, sustainable and ethical practice at farm level . It also promotes and protects the sector reputation in local and global markets. Currently, many of EHPEA members which are farms have been awarded bronze , silver and gold level certificates .
They also exercise integrated pest management including the use of biological controls which helps operators to work safely, to produce safe food and protect the environment from hazardous effect.
According to the recently published document, Ethio-Dutch Program for Horticulture Development (EDPHD) capacity building project that was designed to support sustainable development for three consecutive years (2014-2016) has enabled emerging farms and small farmer groups to engage in export.
Horticulture and Agricultural Investment Authority, Horticulture Sector Deputy Executive Officer, Dr. Adugna Debela said currently, nation’s flowers, vegetables and fruits export market have become more attractive. Last year, due to EI Nino and frost damage decreased horticulture export income. However, in 2009EC,it has shown an encouraging increment both in terms of destination expansion and income as well.
As it has been one of the prioritized sectors, the government has prepared state owned farm lands in Alage –shalo, Birr-Sheleko, and Qunzila. “We are aggressively working to succeed over 500 million USD by the end of GTP II. Hence, we have prepared and identified three thousand hectares of land for horticulture development.” The authority has started promotional activities. So far, some 20 Netherlands investors have applied for investment. “We are committed to increase horticulture yield than ever,” he said.
According to Dr. Adugna land supply was the major bottleneck to horticulture development. But currently as the government has given due emphasis to the sector, the authority has received about 10 thousand hectares of land. Moreover , three thousand hectares of land have been prepared for horticulture.
The nation’s investment policy provides incentives to investors such as vat free export up to eight years, 70 percent bank loan facility, training of human power.
Plus,the nation proximity to Europe , middle east, Ethiopian airlines international destination expansions, the availability of rail transport lines has greatly contributed for the speedy growth of the Ethiopian horticulture sector. “We encourage local investors though currently foreign investor are dominantly involved in the sector.” Over 75 percent of them are from Netherlands, he said.
Besides, investors are obliged to conduct their business according to sector’s code of practice such as input utilization and waste treatment . All investors in the sector are required to do their business in accordance with environmentally friendly manner.
Though the country has poetical agro- ecology to Horticulture production , it has not yet benefited at most .‘We are working closely with other stakeholders in a coordinated manner. We also are working jointly with task forces to solve power supply interruption and telecommunication related challenges.”
BY ALAZAR SHIFERAW
Having mixed and countless tourists attractions, Ethiopia has many to grace the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscription list but some argue though the resources truly deserves the recognition and generate revenues, heeding to conserve, develop and promote the outstanding heritages is quite lucrative.
According to UNESCO, Africa has 1010 inscribed heritages which constitute 42 percent of the world. Ethiopia’s offer to the world has reached 28 including eight tangible, three intangible and twelve manuscripts as well as five biospheres.
Besides, about five attractions are in the waiting list for UNESCO inscription on the prestigious list. Recently, at its 41st session held in Krakow, Poland, UNESCO has accepted Ethiopia’s amended draft document on the Lower Omo Valley World Heritage Site which is located in south-western Ethiopia and extends over an area of 165 square kilometers.
Culture and Tourism Ministry Public and International Relations Director Gezahegn Abate said undoubtedly Ethiopia is endowed with countless natural and cultural attractions.
He said leveraging for the recognition and registration of heritages by UNESCO is instrumental to securing fund for conservation and protection as well as promotion.
Gezahegn noted that efforts are underway not primarily to get registered by UNESCO rather to conserve, develop and promote the heritages with active public participation.
Despite the merits could be gained in registering heritages, there is a huge responsibility for the people and government of Ethiopia to conserve, develop and protect from any possible damage.
For instance, he cited the case of Semien Mountain National Park which recently striped off from danger list after 21 years. Thanks to the federal and states governments as well as other development partners all the recommendations of UNESCO committee implemented successfully.
Tourism professional Dr. Ayalew Sisay for his part said taking the lead in registered heritages from Africa it is not as such a big deal for Ethiopia compared to the immense tourism potential it has. Blessed with mixed of attractions and cultural values, many more attractions for sure could be a grace for UNESCO prestigious list.
Besides, registering heritages on UNESCO list would help attract many more tourists and place the country to attract sizable international tourists.
He said it would be easy to solicit funds for the conservation, protection and development of tourist attractions.
Sharing the Gezahegn’s stance, once the heritages get registered there would be much responsibility of the government to conserve, protect and manage the attractions.
The people and government is entitled to take care of the resource and the values so that there would not be much more freedom to undertake any activities that would be danger to the heritages because the international community has the stake.
Rather, to increase the tourist flow and the revenue from the sector Dr. Ayalew said : “ The promotional works need to be done in a way to reach out different potential tourists countries.”
Ethiopian Tourism Organization Public Relations Officer Getnet Yigzaw comparing other countries’ demand for UNESCO to register their attractions, Ethiopia has many more attractions and cultural events that deserve recognition.
However, Getnet argued that efforts should not to register more attractions on the UNESCO list rather due attention for the effective implementation of sustainable tourism development program is beneficial.
He further argued that: “ For instance, we do have 24 parks and 25 long mountains in the country which could be potential attractions. First attention must be given to restoration, promotion and infrastructural development activities. For this, the implementation of sustainable tourism development is believed to enhance advanced tourism marketing to increase tourist inflow and generate considerable revenue, he added.
Of course, he said preparing documents and making efforts to get registered very strategically selected attractions is commendable.
In the just ended Ethiopian fiscal year, the country has secured over 3.3 billion USD from 886.897 tourists, according to Ministry. All the interviewees highlighted the need for intensifying promotional activities through varied media and missions abroad along with the development of tourists’ infrastructure in areas of destinations and heritages sites.
They argued that Ethiopia should strengthen efforts to protect its heritage sites and discharge its responsibility in caring for world heritage sites by working in partnership with partners including UNESCO and WTO among others.
They called for sound cooperation of actors in raising the awareness of the public that tourism is a key in promoting country’s image and identity and redefining itself as driving force for the transformation agenda.
Popularizing the national brand, Land of Origins with all possible means and opportunities to realize the targets set to attract six million tourists, earn two billion USD and increase sector GDP contribution to five percent at the end of the second GTP.
BY HAILEGEBRIEL BINIYAM
Manufacturing Facilitation and Transformation Sector Deputy Director Dejene Gebremariam
No matter what a given country policy is, industrial development is the only means of prosperity for developing countries like Ethiopia. That is why for over two decades the incumbent has been paying particular attention to expand Micro and Small Scale Enterprises across the country.
In truth, huge number of micro and small scale enterprises have been growing to medium sized businesses over time. The same is also true that there are many thousands small enterprises that have not shown any progress at all for last several years.
According to Federal Small and Medium Manufacturing Industry Development Agency, Manufacturing Facilitation and Transformation Sector Deputy Director Dejene Gebremariam, there are 82,313 registered small and medium manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) nationwide, but, the whereabouts and the current status of these enterprises are not well-known.
“Therefore, in the first place, the agency needs to have the detailed profiles of such enterprises with a view to providing the desire technical and financial assistance to the manufacturers in the future .”
Regarding the irreplaceable roles of SMEs in the national import substitution efforts, he said they have been at forefront of the activities in replacing the imported goods by local one apart from exporting goods and boosting the foreign trade.
Hence, when the cluster industrial development projects put into effect in each zone of the country, successful SMEs will be the privileged one to enter and work at such modern cluster centers. Dejene added.
Citing attitudinal problems among the experts ,senior officers and manufacturers towards the move as one of the major challenges in expanding SMEs, he said some experts and state officials do not understand the real motive of the program. “ They totally forget the basic object of SMEs which is to ensure economic transformation in the country by 2025. This is because they have been evicting medium sized manufacturing business owners form the sheds instead of supporting them to flourish as high tech manufacturing.”
As to manufacturers, the deputy director noted that switching to service business,some of them cease the manufacturing business as the sector does not bring quick economic returns.
As part of encouraging local small and medium sized manufacturers, the government has already mandated the development bank to offer 100 percent financing loans to purchase machines without collateral, he indicated.
According to Dejene, the agency is now working around the clock focusing on skill development in 21 selected vocational-technical schools across the country.
The agency deputy public relations officer Ashenafi Meles also said SMEs have pivotal role in accelerating the economic transformation and ensuring sustainable and inclusive development in the country.
He reiterated that the social and economic benefits of SMEs in creating tremendous job opportunities for youth and women as well as in having high tech and industrial society.
For him, the nation is in a certain stage of industrial transformation than ever before. Therefore, he said, adding this transformation must be supported by providing well qualified and certified vocational workers.
Ashenafi underscored that Technological transformation is about how to develop a know how on certain machine or factory . And so the existing and in the pipeline SMEs and industries need to bear in mind that the industrial transformation could be sustainable and accelerated when their central focus is on knowledge and technology transformation, he added.
According to World Bank report ,Several challenges need to be addressed in order for Ethiopia to accelerate its structural transformation and significantly expand light manufacturing, which is vital for sustaining economic growth and development. _“Ethiopia’s skills gap and constraints related to access to land, infrastructure, trade logistics, and customs regulations in private investment have hindered the acceleration to structural transformation, unlike in East Asia, where foreign direct investment was able to capitalize on a large pool of trainable labor, enabling investors to improve productivity while benefitting from low production costs,” said Michael Geiger, Senior Country Economist. _
The report also provided the following policy recommendations which could contribute to the development of the manufacturing in Ethiopia:Increasing productivity through skills development. Improving access to finance for firms especially for SMEs ,Addressing binding constraints including access to land and electricity , improving tax administration and simplifying the tax system. Improving trade logistics, customs procedures and trade regulations, to promote export and FDI. Simplifying business entry regulations and processes to promote a dynamic and thriving business sector. And also using a strategic and phased approach to develop Industrial Parks based on best international practices._
All in all, the country needs to speed its industrialization to reduce poverty ,ensure fair wealth distribution and realize lower middle-income status by 2025 and those pointed out constraints related to the slow down of the transformation into an industrialized economy by international organizations need to be addressed properly with out wasting a fraction of the second.
BY BEYENE D.
For several years, the use of biotechnology in bringing agricultural transformation in Ethiopia has been the subject of much debate among scholars.
For some of them, it is not the right time to apply biotechnology here as there are good enough indigenous knowledge and conventional agricultural researches to bring a bumper harvest, others say the country's agricultural transformation will be ensured via adopting biotechnology together with the conventional researches.
Many agree entirely that extensive subsistence agriculture predominates in Ethiopia due to ineffective input utilization and techniques, soil infertility, the prevalence of pests and, among others.
Plus, the current climate change and global warming have been affecting the sector critically.
Taking into account the aforementioned challenges, some segment of international community has been calling for the effective utilization of modern agricultural technologies, particularly bio-technology on several occasions.
“The rising food demand due to population growth, land scarcity, low productivity, pest and herbs are the major push factors for adopting agricultural technology. Hence it is vital to adopt bio-technology side by side with the conventional research methods,” says Dr. Tilye Feysa, the Head of the Biotechnology Department at Addis Ababa University Faculty of Science.
Ethiopia aspires to transform its agriculture which comprises both livestock and crop production. Hence, modern and up-to-date scientific research outputs should be utilized, the university is doing its level best to do so, he says.
Regassa Feyessa is working for a private agriculture research company. He says : “Currently, we are not in forceful situation to turn to biotechnology to improve productivity or to mitigate the sector problem.”
According to him, farmers have indigenous knowledge to sort out and preserve crops which have the capacity to resist drought and pest. “Whenever severe situation occurs they could withstand through their local knowledge to come up with solutions.”
In light of the safety of biodiversity, the new biotechnology needs to be verified before it is adopted, but, farmers have been contributing a lot to protect bio-diversity making use their own experience, he argues.
However, Dr. Tilye holds firm views that the application of biotechnology goes in line with the preservation of biodiversity and governed by bio safety laws apart from helping to keep biodiversity through banking the genes of seeds in the laboratory and scientific research work.
He also did not deny the value of conventional hybrid system of crops but when the conventional one fails to bring solutions biotechnology including developing transgenic plants can be taken as a best way out.
Similarly, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research Biotechnology Department Director Dr Endale Gebre says :.“Existing rich genetic resources and diverse environment provided unique opportunity for application of biotechnology because the nation is the center of origin. Teff, coffee and Enset are indigenous plants and the availability of crops such as Du rem wheat, organ, lentils, Sorghum, Millet, Chickpeas and Soya bean testify the diverse aspect of the crops. ”
According to him, biotechnology helps to speed up research process, to develop biodiversity in a coordinated manner. It as well help to raise food crop productivity , hybrid crops which have a capacity to resist drought, pest and herbs, support plants nitrogen absorbing capacity from soil, harvest animals forage and prepare bio fertilizer, he adds.
Biotechnology and its application is governed by the internationally agreed convention which greatly considers the protection of biodiversity. “ Ethiopia after having ratified the bio-safety law by issuing proclamation number 98/1989 and signing the Catagena protocol on 24 may 2000 , the council representatives ratified the protocol by the proclamation number 363/2001.
“The protocol again improved and ratified by the proclamation number 896/2007,” says Lawyer Belete Geda who works for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
He further said that there were various driving factors for improving the previous proclamation and among others the law was very restrictive which inhibits creativity and did not reflect the positive aspect of biotechnology .But the new one is relaxed and enables scientific researchers to do their work in a better environment.
Currently biotechnology serves as a tool in 17 research centers both at federal and state level and among others analyzing and synthesizing plant and animals genes, selecting and improving genes, tissue culturing, speedy reproductive system and microbial fermentation are undergoing and to date many research outcomes are reaching farmers and cattle raisers.
BY ABEBE WOLDE GIORGIS
The government frequently made vivid that Ethiopia not only has been registering a double-digit growth, but also undergoing a democratization process anchored in a federal system that guaranteed the respect for the rights of nations, nationalities and peoples in the country.
In doing so, there are efforts to enhance fair benefits among the people. Although Ethiopia was under dire poverty some two decades ago, the efforts exerted to pull it out of the quagmire of poverty have brought hope through better economic performances from year to year.
That has been happening through the concerted efforts made to first invest in the agricultural sector where the country has ample resources of farming land and a large number of manpower and then integrated with the industrial sector which is believed to be the ultimate goal of any country for development.
The transition from agriculture to an industry led economy has now on its way to become a reality as it corresponds to the facts on the ground. This is becoming a reality because of the full and adequate public participation either directly or through representatives.
The encouraging results are due to fact that the public has empowered to exercise the decisive say vested in it by the constitution, its sense of belongingness with the deepening of the government’s credibility.
The other positive side of raising public participation is the free political participations and the far sighted development agendas of the government. Besides, this strong collaboration between the government and the people has become tangible due to the passing of decisions by the government to benefit the people and realize sustainable economic growth, an enduring peace and thriving democracy.
Consequently the public raised faith in the government as the decisions are participatory in any majority government agendas. That is why the country has managed not only to develop its economy, but also to ensure its peace and security in the volatile Horn region. Now that the public is involved at every stage of the decision making processes of the government that enhanced the relationship between the two and that relation is based on the principle that the public is the master and the government is its servant.
Citizens are perennially leading a better life and existence find it easier to accept the assertion that Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. They are liable to view the growth as benefitting all of them at various levels.
The country’s development efforts are focused on both material and human aspect that the government and the people it rules are bound to be at better understanding and cooperation in all aspects. It is possible to take public participation in contributing to the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and other development projects.
Although some extremist groups have attempted to create cracks that could bring terrible effects among the people and the government, the empowering public have been fighting against such mess and ascertain their peace. That is what we witness from the past few years. The attempts persistently made by anti-peace elements and extremist groups have foiled with full participation of the Ethiopian people and government.
It is a real witness indicating how the government and the people listen to each other. How they could cooperate to build the new Ethiopia where all nations, nationalities and peoples enjoy equal benefits and rights in the country’s wealth.
It has been ascertained time and again over the past twenty six years that Ethiopia’s federal system is anchored in the will of the people. The regional states of the country have for some time now been able to self-administer, use their own language and develop their culture as they see fit.
The constitution affirms that the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia are strongly committed, in full and free exercise of their right to self-determination, to building a political community founded on the rule of law and capable of ensuring a lasting peace, guaranteeing a democratic order, and advancing their economic and social development. Despite what some anti-Ethiopian unity have been propagating these ideals have been faithfully implemented since the constitution’s enactment.
The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front has been viewing inward_ with the deep renewal exercise in which it is supposed to evaluate critically its performance over the past two decades so as to enhance what is good and avoid what is retarding with hones inward looking of its shortcomings.
Public participation could be manifested through the organizing forums where people of all segments or their elect representatives work in collaboration with the government to ensure public benefit in all aspects.
Capacitating the public to have a stake in the affairs of the nation contributed a lot to the growth of the country particularly in the past ten years where the first and the Second Growth and Transformation plans have executed. As the foundation of Ethiopian democratic order and economic development is the public it is ceratin that what has already planed will be a reality and the country will certainly meet its vision of becoming one of the middle income countries in the coming few years. If there is solidarity and public ownership, there is nothing that could be out of the hands of the people.
Due to the strong public participation it won’t be difficult for Ethiopia to provide_ safe and secure environment at home, continental and global level.
With the strong participation of the people, the country will certainly execute its second Growth and Transformation Plan effectively that could lead it to a middle income economy. With the strong participation of the people, Ethiopia will remain united and strong.
It would be possible to scale up even to take the development to greater heights if the strong participation of people has maintained._ The strong bond existing between the people and government of Ethiopia rendered their differences irrelevant. Consequently, frequent attempts by parochial groups attempted to aggravate ethnic conflicts have failed. Even in the future, such attempts won’t function as the Ethiopian people have learnt a lot from the past twenty five years’ experience that they could be benefited if they work together to realize the Renaissance of the country.
BY TESFAYE LEMMA
Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) said it is striving to maintain a fully operational integrated stand by force ready to respond to emerging crises through improving capacity, training and conducting exercises.
Addressing Extra Policy Organs Meeting here yesterday EASF Director General Dr. Abdulillahi Omar Bouh said the ESAF are now planning the Field Training Exercise (FTX) 2017 in pursuit of the standby force mandate to enhance peace and security in the eastern Africa region.
The director said the field training exercise is designed to practice ESAF secretariat, structures and the pledged forces in the context of peace support operations (PSO) the six AU scenarios.
According to him, it is an opportunity for the pledged forces to train together and cultivate a common understanding on issues of peace and security in the region. The FTX is expected to enhance the inter-operability of forces, he added.
Dr. Abdulillahi underlined that the ultimate exercise will equip ESAF with the capacity to function as a robust force in line with the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) strategic objective.
The director general expressed gratitude for the government of Ethiopia for hosting this extra-ordinary policy organs meeting and the warm hospitality accorded to the participants.
ESAF has so far received a total of 2.5 million US dollars towards funding of the FTX, he said and adding this is against an established budget estimate of 5.3 million US dollars.
However, he said he is hopeful that the concerted efforts of the member states, the secretariat and the international partners will see ESAF realize success in FTX 2017.
The director general stressed that ESAF seeks guidance on administrative and financial issues. Therefore, the counsel on these issues is necessary for the smooth implementation of regulations and procedures, he added.
Ministry of Defence External Relations Cluster Office head Major General, Desta Abiche for his part said looking at what Africa has gone through especially the past security experiences handled by foreign troops, it is better for the continent to have its own security force that understands better the culture and nature of African problems.
He said the standby force aimed at creating a robust institutional mechanism of peace and security in Eastern Africa that has a capability to respond quickly to the call for intervention in case of a security threat at any time.
Major General Desta highlighted that building the strong organization with common understanding and interest would help the standby force to ensure peace and stability in the region.
BY KASSAHUN CHANIE
Agriculture plays a dominant role in the economy and it is a means of earning a living for the majority of the population yet, both the crop and livestock sub sectors have been characterized by inefficiency.
As part of achieving agricultural transformation and realizing the middle income status by 2025, the nation is expected to do lot in-terms of practicing modern agriculture for better performance.
According to the 1999 Central Statistics Authority, Ethiopian population has been projected to reach 140 million in eight years. This by itself will increase food demand. But it is understood, the sector is challenged by low productivity, ecological fragility and less application of technological knowledge. To improve the sector, various measures have been taken via utilizing better technology for many years.
Many decades ago, research centres and educational institutions were established and tried their level best conducting various researches in the conventional ways and some positive outcomes have been gained, but much work is remained ahead for more better result and such endeavour requires employing huge investment in new technologies such as biotechnology.
In the outset the existing genetic resources such as over 700 specious of plants in which 12 per cent of is indigenous,1000 forest specious and rich microbiology diversity created good opportunity to do scientific researches which help to process and produce bio products such as food, animal feed stock, industrial inputs and create job opportunities for thousands. To boost the technology application the government prepared the national agricultural biotechnology policies which support the expansion of science technology, patent laws to intellectual property rights, industrial design and originality, promulgating bio-safety law which is amended by 2015, national policy on biodiversity conservation, import and export of biotechnology products and seed regulation ratified in 2013.
According to scientists, this new technology has various importance in revolutionizing agriculture. It helps to speed up research process, to develop biodiversity in a coordinated manner, to raise food crop productivity, to hybrid crops which have a capacity to resist drought, pest and herbs, to support plants nitrogen absorbing capacity from soil, to harvest animals forage and to prepare bio fertilizer. In fact as mentioned above agriculture is a backbone of the economy and the two digit growth witnessed in the past decade and a half is attributed to this sector particularly the small scale farm but had the sector been supported by intensive knowledge and technology it would have been surpassed by many folds. The government aspired to develop industry led economy by the year 2025 to realize this, agriculture sector in addition to supply food to local market, it must supply raw materials to the burgeoning manufacturing industries. The importation of agriculture products to utilize as an input to the industries is not feasible to the country struggling to accumulate foreign currency reserve which can be used for the importation of capital goods.
And to substitute the importation of agricultural products by the local one developing modern biotechnology based agriculture is vital. Ethiopia is a number one country in Africa in terms of livestock population. But, due to the traditional way of animal farming, the contribution of the sector to the nation's GDP is much less than the expected.
According to studies per capita meat and milk consumption as compared to the Sub Saharan African countries, it is much less than the average. The number of hybrid animals that are capable of yielding high milk and meat is rare. This situation also has its own drawbacks on the sector productivity. In this regard, intervening through technology needs to be fostered. There is also a gap between the demand and supply of forage and water. To fill the gap expanding forage farms which utilize new technology is vital. The sector is dominated by cattle export rather than meat and milk products and this clearly indicates how the sector is still at its primordial level. However, the use of technology is forwarded as a way out.
There are also challenges which need remedial action in this end. The human resources which hamper extensive engagement, lack of sufficient biotech infrastructure, fragmented efforts among institutions and weak linkage with global research institutions. Hence, the sector future bright depends on continuous multifaceted efforts by all stakeholders to transform the agriculture.
Chinese outgoing ambassador to Ethiopia Ambassador La Yifan takes leave of President Dr. Mulatu Teshome yesterday.
During their discussion, President Dr. Mulatu lauded the efforts of the ambassador to deepen Ethio- China relations during his tenure. He urged the ambassador to work in furthering the relation between the two countries.
After the discussion the outgoing ambassador told the press that Ethiopia has become the second largest textile foreign direct investment recipient next to Vietnam because of huge infrastructure development success in the past years.
The ambassador commended the government’s vital measure to prioritize infrastructure development.
“It is a wise decision of the government to allocate a large slice of the new fiscal year’s budget for transport sector development, showing it is going to continue investing more on infrastructure. This would further improve the investment climate,” he noted.
He also underscored that over the past 20 years with continued effort of the people and government of Ethiopia together with the Chinese workers have built one of the best infrastructure. Because of this, many investors have come from different countries to Ethiopia for its expanded infrastructure development.
Over the past two years and half he was so privileged and honored to the serve the ambassador to this great country Ethiopia, he said.
“I have witnessed tremendous progress made in this country. Government officials and Ethiopia’s people is hard working people. I also witness the rising international standing of Ethiopia in the international arena. I am so pleased to know that Ethiopia as the largest number of votes of support as the non-permanent member of the Security Council,” he reviewed his stay in Ethiopia.
The ambassador further acclaimed that the nation is now serving together with China, Russia, United States, and Great Britain to safeguard peace and stability of the world in which case he was proud of strengthening the bilateral relations between China and Ethiopia.
The recently agreement signed between Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and China’s President to elevate the relations to a level of comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, which is the highest level of relation among china’s partners, he indicated.
China is the single largest trading partner with Ethiopia. Only the previous fiscal year the trade volume between the two stood at 3.6 billion USD, according to the ambassador.
BY SINTAYEHU TAMIRAT
Ethiopia for its afforestation and carbon emission reduction since 2013 has secured 218 million USD, disclosed the National REDD+ program under the auspices of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Program Director Dr Yitebitu Moges told The Ethiopian Herald that some 118 million USD has been secured from the World Bank while the balance from the Norwegian Government through bilateral agreement.
The director said Ethiopia will emit 130 and 90 million tons of carbon from forest clearance and agriculture respectively in 12 years time. Currently, 50 and 40 percent of emission come from forest and agriculture while the remaining from transport, industry and livestock, he added.
He further said that though the ongoing renewable energy sources development like hydro power, wind, solar and geothermal have significant contribution to emission reduction, currently, the government does have plan to soliciting fund for climate finance from these sectors. “ They will be considered in the future.”
According to Dr. Yitebitu, though critical efforts are under way to reduce emission through maintaining forests, clearance of vegetation cover and land degradation. The ongoing efforts in protecting forests and afforestation need to be enhanced in order to realize the aspiration of CRGE.
Railways Corporation Business Development Department Director Shewangizaw Kifle for his part said that the emission reduction potential of the first three routes of the National Railway Development Plan and the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit Project are the two ambitious undertakings that aim to make available clean transport.
The projects are key pillars of the transport chapter of Ethiopia’s CRGE, the widely acclaimed policy framework to consolidate greenhouse gas emissions of the country. The emission reduction potential of the first three routes of the National Railway Development amounts to annual emission reductions of 5.3 million tons CO 2 per year.
Assuming start of operation in 2015, the total cut of emissions by 2030 would be 54 million ton of carbon. Besides, the carbon neutral Addis Ababa Light Rail Transport would also reduce 1.8 million ton of carbon.
The director said currently, trucks are the major land transport in Ethiopia, which serves more than 90 percent of the rural countryside and almost all of urbanized motor transport.
Passenger transport on the other hand depends currently on poorly maintained and inefficient buses and minibus taxis, which are the major source of air pollution in Addis Ababa and other major towns, according to him.
Though Ethiopia's contribution to carbon emission is insignificant, it is suffering from the burden of climate change and global warming, he said.
Ethiopia has been implementing green development through the framework of CRGE taking into account the lessons from other countries experience aspiring to reach lower middle income status by 2025. To realize the goal, climate abatement work is being carried out by various sectors to secure climate finance.
BY ABEBE WOLDE GIORGIS