While good things are happening in the country in the economic sphere, some parts of the nation have seen unrest mainly attributable to bad governance. Yet, whatever the case might be, the legitimate questions behind the public’s grievances should not go as far as causing the human casualties occurred during the unrests. In fact, there comes no solution with no peace.
As home to youth, there is a growing demand for more economic equality and development. True, in addition to this, natural phenomenon, the malpractices witnessed here and there have also stoked fuel to the public grievances. While the people continue to put more pressure on the government to reform itself and respond to their demands, the party on the other hand is taking various measures.
However, the government’s corrective measures to meet the public’s demands only come to bear fruit when peace is maintained. And again, it will require the contribution of everyone to ensure peace and stability as the value extends above one individual's well being. For different ideas and perspectives to be entertained, peace must be upheld. On the other hand, absence of peace knocks the door of everyone.
As the country continue to make attempts to bring change and respond to the peoples’ demands, the value of peace has become precious than ever. Peace has national value because it is in everyone's interest. In fact, it is a lot easier to understand the essence of peace as a country that had been languishing in pain due to frequent civil war and conflicts. Peace is in fact less defined in theory but more valued in practice.
In this regard, it is not only the government or the military that should safeguard the peace of the country. It is rather the responsibly of every section of society. Particularly religious fathers that occupy special place in the hearts of the society should play a central role in the quest to ensure lasting peace and stability.
Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia General Secretary, Megabi Zerihun Degu says religious fathers should preach about narrowing down differences, thus contributing to the development of mutual respect and tolerance. Peace is not something that one should bargain on. The government should also intensify the narratives of living together and working together to a common good. For that to happen, the government and religious institutions have been holding series of discussions.
According to Zerihun, though there are different sources of violence and public complaints, important steps have been observed since recently in relation to the government's corrective measures. He is hopeful that the government will continue to respond to the public's demands step by step.
Megabi Zerihun also says it the right time to put differences aside and preach about the restoration of peace and stability. While ensuring peace, the government and other political parties should find the way to work closely to find solutions to the pressing issues the youth mostly has been asking. Educating the youth, developing sense of patriotism, treating every citizen equally and achieving economic growth are the priorities that should be given in this regard.
On the other hand, the government should do its level best and take appropriate measures to find political solution for political questions. Every citizen should come to round table and reflect their perspectives as what should be done for the good of the country.
The public must be rational and peaceful on its quest and demand to ensure democracy and good governance and any movement that involves hostility should be repudiated in whatever condition. Causes of the grievances should only be addressed through peaceful means, says Megabi Zerihun.
Eng. Getahun, Coordinator at Public Consultative Forum of Ethiopia on Peace, Development and Democracy says the government has to give immediate response to the public's complaints. The government is aware of its shortcomings; hence it needs to act swiftly more than ever. It has not been able to fully meet its promises to address malpractices and other challenges in which both the government and the public admit are the major source of the problem.
Creating jobs for the youth, equal wealth distribution, and national dialogue have proposed by the forum as part of the solutions. Though these matters have been dealt with, the delay in the implementation is also leading to public grievances. According to him, political parties, government, scholars, elderly and other section of society should make vibrant participation to address the challenges of the country.
With the participation of the people, the country has been able to register positive changes in terms of economic and social development, but much remains to be done to promote broad-based wealth distribution and ensure fairness and justice. In this regard, it is the responsibility of everyone to make it happen in short time possible. Promoting good governance, ensuring justice and fairness, widening political and media freedom were among the remedies which the nation should do to maintain its peace and stability and sustain development.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT
These days, when I walk in the streets of Addis Ababa, all I see is traditional coffee shops on every porch of every business building. This is also the case in other major towns and even in the country side. Back in the days, all the foreigners that I have known used to order the strong coffee that are poured out of the noisy machines imported from abroad. Now, the foreigners do not drink their old strong coffee in Addis’ five-star hotels anymore. They only go for our traditional coffee which we call ‘Yejebena Buna’.
Once, my friend and his foreigner friend went to a hotel. My friend ordered ice-cream and the foreigner went for the spicy Ethiopian food called “Doro Wat”, which is made from chicken meat. Imagine, a young African man ordering an ice-cream! In fact, it’s not like my friend likes ice-cream nor was he trying to show the foreigner that he respected his culture. Rather, he thought he was being modern.
The foreigner wasn’t trying to show that he respected our culture too. Rather he knew the Doro Wat was delicious. There is no need for both to show respect to each other’s cultures. They wouldn’t have been together at the hotel, had that not been the case! I mean if they did not respect each other.
Anyways, the foreigner asked my friend why he needed ice-cream at that time (it seems there are specific times to order ice-cream and my friend seemed to miss that!). My friend had to lie. He told his friend that he wanted it to soothe the pain he felt around his teeth. Though it seemed the foreigner thought that was reasonable, on the other hand, my friend felt ashamed for imitating a foreign culture without a reason.
So, what was my very point? Yeah, it was coffee. I do not think there is any other country in the world whose coffee production and coffee making is inextricably linked to its culture than Ethiopia.
This natural gift of the people has also been the major economic engine for the country for many years. That’s why we call it the ‘green gold’. It is a green gold because we have our green organic coffee jungles mainly in Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and peoples states.
We could also call it the black gold because it comes out black when it is roasted and boiled. It doesn’t matter by what name we call it. All that matters is how the coffee farmers and the nation benefits from this abundant product. Of course, coffee is still among the highest export commodities in the country and is generating the largest foreign exchange.
Even though Ethiopia is well known for being the origin of coffee Arabica, the privilege of having the brand has been in different hands for a very long time. In addition, the majority of Ethiopia’s exports also meet the criteria to be labeled as specialty coffee.
Meanwhile, I was recently attending a trade expo when I found a person that has a vision to make the unique Ethiopian coffee tradition a tourist attraction. Though I was astonished by his innovative idea, I doubted the practicability. Then I asked him ‘how could coffee tourism be possible in Ethiopia?’ Now I know that to ask so was unprofessional. That’s because I know how Ethiopian coffee ceremonies greatly excites the foreigners I have met before.
The person I met is Dagmawi Eyasu and he is a Research and Production Development Manager at Ya-Coffee Roasters Company. He said tourism in Ethiopia has been growing significantly and now is the time to promote our coffee and the coffee making ceremony as yet another tourism potential of the country. “Coffee has even more value than an export commodity.” He stressed.
Dagmawi has a project that aims at promoting and developing a coffee tourism. This project would be implemented in twenty cities and towns across the country, and out of which 16 have an enormous investment potential. In addition, this cities and towns must have biosphere sites with five jungles around each of them, noted Dagmawi.
“Ethiopia has more than five million farmers who produce coffee. Each and every step of the production is unique. We also have a coffee ceremony tradition, only one of its kinds. The roasting, the grinding and making procedures are so unique that they have power to impress us, let alone tourists,” he added.
His project is a new project that provides tourists with the chance to witness all these processes of coffee production within a single trip. “We can build a successful tourism brand using our unique coffee tradition. There are other countries that are well known for their own wine or bear. So, they have created a wine tourism. And we can do that through our unique organic coffee and unique ceremony of making it.”
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Ethiopia was among the leading states in exporting mining products in the world of ancient times. It was also gold and other gifts that Queen Sheba had taken in her visit to King Solomon 3000 years ago. Since then, the country has been extracting various mines and providing it to the international market. However, as a country that began mining in the primal times, the mining industry in Ethiopia has not seen the expected growth due to various factors, but mainly with shortage of capital and knowledge. It is clearly seen that due to these constraints, the country is still working with artisans, few local and more foreign mining companies.
Even though the sector has registered certain improvements in terms of FDI inflow increment, the foreign exchange earnings has shown a slight decline in the past few years due to the above mentioned factors. In addition, price devaluation, weak market competition and illegal trade have been playing roles for the decline. In 2012/13 fiscal years, the country has earned some 650 million USD from the sector. Then followed the decline. However, the Ministry is still working to encourage the sector through facilitating loans and other incentives.
The recent endorsement of the Mining Operations Proclamation No. 678/2010, which came into effect in 2010, is expected to play significant role to uplift the sector with revised mining laws by broadening the range of mining licenses available. The Proclamation confirms the requirement for environmental impact assessments and regulates health and safety matters. New legislative incentives have also been introduced. These include lower royalty payment levels, exemption from customs duty and taxes on mining equipment, guarantees in respect of the right to sell minerals locally or abroad and the availability of dispute resolution procedures, such as arbitration.
Aimed at realizing accountable and transparent operation in the sector, the country has applied the Extractive Industries Transparent Initiative (EITI) on March 2014 and published its first report on March 2015 reporting the 2013/14 period payments made by extractive companies and revenues. The report indicated that 1,413 million Birr was collected from extractive industries and contributed 0.71 percent of total national GDP during the fiscal years of 2014/15. And 3,544 jobs were created by the sector.
Among the wide variety of mineral resources that are available in Ethiopia, gold production is considered to have huge potential. According to the information from the Ministry, investors from China, India, Germany, Australia, Sweden and South Korea are showing interest to become key stakeholders in upcoming mining projects. Mining companies are actively exploring for further gold reserves and base metals, such as silver, copper, cobalt and zinc. Additional explorations have confirmed the presence of deposits of platinum, tantalite, soda ash and phosphate rock. Petroleum and other metallic, industrial and chemical minerals have also been identified.
The collection of these endeavors encourages the sector in the country. Currently, there are about 124 mining companies in the country exploring various types of mines. The ministry is also promoting the investment opportunities available in the country through the mining sector. The country’s mining experts are increasing in the sphere and the number of local mining companies reached 36.
Today the Nation is striving to export its natural gas that was discovered in 1980s. The natural gas is estimated about six billion cubic feet. This includes petroleum, naphtha, kerosene and benzene among others. The ministry recently is working to stretch a pipeline from the area where the gas was found in Somali State to Djibouti. The project would be operated by a Chinese company called Poly GCL.
The Company would develop the natural gas and operate the construction of the pipeline beginning this fiscal year. Through all the efforts underway, the Nation would start natural gas export by 2020, said Bacha Faji, Public Relations Director at the Ministry of Mines. By exporting the natural gas, the country plans to earn about one billion USD per annum. The resource is also expected to satisfy local demand with fair price, according to him.
He also noted that the country is still exploring additional mineral resources in Abay gorge, Tekeze and Baro basins and Ogaden areas by five licensed international mining companies. Ethiopia has many of the essential elements required to be a successful mining nation. It is unquestionably resource rich, with a vast breadth of undeveloped minerals and resources, including significant gold and tantalum deposits.
Exploring the ways of excavating and utilizing the abundant mining resources would help the country to penetrate the international market at large. Producing standard products should be one of the issues to be dealt with in this sector. On the other hand, the engagement of experienced foreign companies would help to enhance the endeavor to export finished products and to advance the sector with knowledge and technological transformation. If the nation achieves its plan in the sector by realizing the development of mining, it would get back to the status where it was, once again in the history of mining export.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
Nobody in the world would contest the importance of technological innovations. The world is already highly tied down with technology that it is now believed that nobody can live outside and independent of technological outputs like the internet, wireless telephone lines, cell phones, computers and countless ramifications of hardware and software technologies at the disposal of mankind.
The history of technology unquestionably surpasses the written history of mankind and that of human civilization. Technology started with the first stone implements used by the Homo Sapiens. Today technology has made our planet a small village the residents of which are easily interacting instantly. However, technology has already attained the power to positively and negatively affect human behavior and cultural values
Although at a slower pace, Ethiopia is now exposed to modern technologies of all kinds. Although totally disconnected with modern technologies, Ethiopia’s timeless technological heritages, of ancient times show the extent to which technology has played a major role in partially shaping the history of this country from the obelisks and steles of Axum to Sevastopol and to the construction of GERD.
More than 60 million Ethiopians are carrying cell phones, tablets and all kinds of computer gadgets in their pockets and bags receiving and disseminating information and data around the world and here in Ethiopia. TV sets with satellite dishes have already become common household items even in the remotest part of the country.
In Ethiopia and the rest of the world, financial transactions are being processed through online computer programs that use ultramodern networking technologies. Online TV programs that present news and billions of information are already influencing the daily life of 100 million Ethiopians including children in preschools.
Modern computer and internet technologies have created an online global society communicating with no restrictions whatsoever. In Ethiopia in much the same scale as in the rest of the world, modern technological outputs have helped the society to engage in swift contacts saving their time, energy and to a certain extent their financial resources.
However, in Ethiopia, technological progress has seriously affected the physical-social cohesion and interaction between families and their kith and kin, friends and acquaintances in the sense of their face to face encounter and physical and emotional relationship. Even high Tec innovations like Skype, video chat and all other forms cannot compare with the traditional physical and personal meeting over a drink cup of traditional coffee ceremony.
Young people in Ethiopia are traditionally used to meeting each other on various occasions and exchange their views and emotions. These traditional values are now replaced by chats and discussions on facebook, WhatsApp loaded on cell phones. These brief exchanges of information has made them victims of online conspiracy and attempts to balkanize their own country capitalizing on the legitimate quest of the youth for change.
Most young persons in the country seem to be addicted to various programs on the internet on their cellphones and cannot do anything including basic addition and division, subtraction and multiplication heavily depending for numeracy on calculators on their cellphones.
In fact the use of the internet with thousands of programs is developing some kind of technological sub-culture in Ethiopia affecting the daily language we use. You can always hear the youth requesting for instance for a ‘missed call’ or ‘page it out’ or ‘see you online’ etc.
Technology has introduced a number of sub-cultures in Ethiopia including for instance Valentine ’s Day, father’s day, mother’s day, water day and a number of celebration of ‘Days’. These are all western and alien days that are incompatible with the cultures of nations, nationalities and peoples of this country.
Due to the technological progress worldwide, youth in Ethiopia are trapped into a consumer xenophobia and cultural neo-colonialism under the guise of modernity and civilization thus despising or underrating goods of the same quality that are locally manufactured. This trend has also affected the capability of professionals in the country who are biased against commodities manufactured locally by indigenous entrepreneurs.
Blind subjugation to views, ideas and ideologies that do not tally with the normal public life has led some Ethiopian youth to copy views, ideas and philosophical beliefs under a smoke screen of the universality of knowledge, wisdom and world outlook.
Our scholars and leaders are always busy trying to benchmark on western academic, technological, administrative and development programs. This is basically fair and fine as long as it adds value to the development needs of the country but it requires the knowledge and wisdom on the pros and cons of western technological innovations. We need to prepare our own scales, checklists and standards and quality levels before we opt for any type of technology we adopt. The experts and scholars in this country have all the capacity and knowledge to at least make decisions on the choice of the right technology and we need to tap them.
One area of concern is access to appropriate technologies that are employed in different sectors of the Ethiopian economy. Over the last forty years, the Ethiopian ministry engaged in the development of agriculture or the now and then have been reporting and talking about the introduction of appropriate technologies to the Ethiopian farmers.
Indeed there where attempts to introduce these technologies to a number of model farmers but Ethiopia has a long way to travel before each farmer becomes the custodian of farmland based appropriate technologies and off farm technological innovations.
The proliferation of cultural neo-colonialism is functionally interrelated with the employment of technologies that fit into what some scholars call technological imperialism.
It might appear to be easy to talk or write about how technology affects our traditional cultural values and our cherished cultural heritages. Some of the challenges from technological developments are inevitable while some could be accepted at face value. But we need to solicit solutions for some of the negative trends.
Families and schools need to work together to collectively find out solutions for children who spend their whole evening in front of a TV set watching programs that are incompatible with their age. Excessive use of game software can easily detract children from focusing on their regular lessons.
Social and traditional cultural organizations need to come up with programs that can help the youth to blend their appreciation for technology with due respect and fondness for their cultural values and norms.
Technology undoubtedly makes life much easier but it could also be a trap; which is sometimes permanent. Inappropriate use of technological innovations can endanger social bonds and human intimacy that is highly cherished in Ethiopia. Persons involved in creative arts can use various means and ways in which the youth can appreciate the technological and cultural values that are locally and globally accepted.
Ethiopian sociologists and experts in social psychology can conduct extensive researches on the impact of the development of technology on the cultural values in Ethiopia and can come up with comprehensive and multi-faceted solutions in which the entire social fabric in the country can participate.
BY SOLOMON DIBABA
Ethiopia has been exerting maximum effort to industrialize and diversify its economy by building several state-of-the-art industrial parks. Parallel to the efforts of expanding its industries is the challenging task of building image and global reputation so that its products penetrate into the international market. For this, the country has to step up endeavors to promote its nation branding.
Certainly, as corporations do with their brands, it has become the order of the day that countries also compete with each other through nation branding, which has a multifaceted impact on their social, economic and political reputation and success.
That is why since the dawn of the Ethiopian Millennium, Ethiopia has been comprehensively engaged in rebuilding its image which was tarnished by past famines and civil war.
Beyond achieving food self-sufficiency, the country is striving to achieve its long term plan of industrialization. The government sees industrial parks development as an engine of rapid industrialization that nurture manufacturing industries, accelerate economic transformation, as well as promote and attract both domestic and foreign investors.
For the industrialization ambition to be successful, it is important that Ethiopian companies penetrate into to the international market. For this to happen, national branding plays a key role.
Hence, in the long run, apart from competition through cost in terms of capital and labor, the country has to set up the foundation to compete through brands. It has also to attract major international companies with brands to invest in Ethiopia.
National branding is another way of building the image of the country of origin and contributing to national reputation. ‘Made in’ brands have become more important than ever in a competitive world. This is because, as several alternatives are presented, brands make it easy for consumers to make choices as they tend to rely on heuristics.
According to research from Futurebrand, whose annual Country Brand Index (CBI) ranks countries on the strength and power of their nation’s brand, the country in which a brand is based, designed and manufactured all rank higher than traditional drivers of choice like price, availability and style.
Ethiopia has several potential in various sectors to create and promote its nation branding. To mention but a few, the textile and apparel industry, the national flag carrier Ethiopian, as well as its specialty coffee Arabica and untapped tourism potential are assets at hand to build a strong brand.
Currently, global apparel giants like PVH, H&M, Vanity Fair, Zara, among others, are taking part in Ethiopia's textile and apparel business, hence contributing to the effort of nation branding.
Moreover, Ethiopian Airlines have been expanding rapidly and become one of the global airlines with many destinations. In the tourism sector, Ethiopia has unveiled new tourism brand "Land of Origins."
Ethiopia is the origin of coffee Arabica. Some of the world’s finest coffees, such as Harrar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffee, originate in Ethiopia. Since recently, Starbucks has started to print ‘Arabica coffee from Ethiopia’ on its products and it is an improvement.
As the country has potential in various fields, it is timely that it builds a collective nation branding. Researches also show a country’s reputation is stronger when it excels in multiple categories.
Side by side with what has been undertaken on the ground, the promotion and national branding efforts have to be expanded. Due emphasis has to be given for innovation and intellectual property rights. It is also important to attract more companies to Ethiopia with international brands. Besides, it is also vital to promote the positive images of the country through art and the beauty of culture and nature to build a very successful brand to create a country of origin effect.
ADDIS ABABA- Ethiopia is among the leading countries in terms of urbanization with an annual growth of 5.3 percent, which the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing attributes to the rapid economic growth of the past decade.
Tiumezghy Berhe, Urban Good Governance and Capacity Building Head at the Ministry told The Ethiopian Herald that the economic growth is the main factor for the fastest urbanization in the history of the nation.
“The country is transforming its economy from agriculture to industry led, which necessitated the migration of surplus labor from the agriculture sector to urban areas. Each year, about one million people migrate to urban areas. This is changing rural towns into cities and expanding the already existing cities,” the Head added.
Tiumezghy also noted that Industrial Parks, built in all direction of the nation, would further intensify the rate of urbanization.
Explaining the how, the head extends: “Mostly Industrial Parks are built within near distance from capital cities of states. Hence, they would attract the surrounding communities to the cities by creating thousands of jobs.”
According to Central Statistics Agency, the current urbanization status of the country is among the lowest with, only 18-23 percent of its almost 100 million people living in urban areas.
This figure is even less than the sub-saharan average.
It was also learnt that with this growth rate, the urban residents throughout the country would reach 30 percent by 2028.
BY MISAEL LEMMA
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian Human Right Commission finalized preparation of what it says a thorough study on the major sources of public grievances in the country and credible reports of the conflicts that occurred in Oromia and Somali states.
Human Right Commission Information Communication Director Demissew Benti told The Ethiopian Herald that the study and reports will be presented to the House of Peoples’ Representatives which is in its annual recess.
According to him, many experts have been involved in the preparation of the study to identify the main sources of the public’s complaints that led to the unrest. The findings of the study will also be submitted to policy makers and appropriate organs.
Meanwhile, Demissew stated that it has been a while since the Commission finalized its investigation on the Oromo-Somali conflict which he said are well done and assessed.
According to him, the reports of the Commission are prepared in line with the actual events and appear to be credible.
“Our affiliation is to the people and the truth. For that matter, the Commission fields experts with the professional competency,” he said adding, the Commission will also present it to the HPR.
On the other hand, he said the Commission is providing training on the human rights of the people adding that these days the people are well aware of their democratic and human rights that they are
pushing the government to address their grievances.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT
ADDIS ABABA - While different views have been entertained for and against the intended outcome of the State of Emergency (SoE), Investment Commission said the SoE would boost the confidence of investors by giving extra protection to their investment.
Sehul Tiruesaw, Investment Advisor at the Commission told The Ethiopian Herald recently that investments are more protected under the SoE than without it at this time.
“To give people more confidence the Investment Commission and our consul offices located throughout the world have been always giving briefings to the investors,” he noted.
In addition, there is the Multilateral Guarantee, which ensures that investors are not going to lose their investment even if political instabilities occur in the country. It is a system that would reduce their risks, added Sehul.
Mithun Alwani, Commercial Manager at G. Doulatram and Sons Ltd., a company that supplies machinery for plastic producers, said the current situations are bit tough, especially in terms of foreign currency availability.
“However, the government is doing its best to encourage companies in terms of export. That is something that we are also doing to encourage our customers overseas,” he stressed.
On the other hand, Sehul indicated that the FDI inflow in the industrial sectors is increasing from time to time. In fact, the Bole Lemi, Hawassa, Mekele, and Kombolcha industrial parks have been fully occupied companies, most of them are foreign investors.
He also noted that, several sectors that have key components are identified in order to attract more FDI. As a result the next best thing in the sector would be the pharmaceutical sector.
Kilitnto Industrial Park, which would specialize in pharmaceutical sector and mainly manufacture generic drugs, is under construction. “This would substitute imported drugs. We have a big push in identifying countries that have the potential to invest in the sector. And the responses are so far so good,” noted Sehul.
He noted that local companies and the government have been putting lots of efforts to promote Ethiopia as a major investment destination.
The country has been getting a lot of coverage by different international media that these have given investors the impression that Ethiopia is a very good place for investment.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
ADDIS ABABA -- President Dr. Mulatu Teshome yesterday received credentials of Ambassadors
of New Zealand, Republic of Korea (RoK), Portugal, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nepal at the National Palace.
After the receiving ceremony, Ambassador of New Zealand to Ethiopia Mark Raphael Ramsden told the media New Zealand is advanced in agriculture particularly, in diary and animal production adding that during his stay, he will strive to strengthen the economic cooperation in these sectors between the two countries.
Ambassador of RoK Lim Hoon-Min for his part said that Ethiopia and South Korea has long standing diplomatic relations based on brotherhood with the unforgettable sacrifices of the Ethiopian soldiers during the Korean War being the major element.
“I will put efforts to boost cooperation in investment and knowledge and technology transfer,” he added.
Mentioning the more than 500 years of bilateral relations, Portuguese Ambassador Helena Maria Rodrigues Fernandes Malcata stated, “we must look forward to reinforce the relation on the political sphere as well as in the areas of trade and investment.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Meles Alem said that the Ambassadors of these six countries have discussed various agendas to boost their cooperation with Ethiopia.
New Zealand had been on the side of Ethiopia during the fascist Italian aggression; he recalled adding; now it has advanced agriculture from which Ethiopia could take a lesson from.
Similarly, Ethiopia and RoK have relations based on strong brotherhood, he said, adding the relation between Ethiopia and Portugal relations dates back to the 16th and 17th century.
Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nepal aspire to increase their ties with Ethiopia and use this opportunity as a gate way to Africa, the spokesman said.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER