Many experts have outlined, through various vocabularies, the importance of strategic planning, and its value in efficiently utilizing resources at hand, especially at an organization level. Simply put, strategic planning is a management tool that serves the purpose of helping an organization do a better job with the resources at hand, and accounting for external factors.
However, while the issue of strategic planning has mostly been viewed in an organizational light, there is an element of national priority to it. After all, planning, more specifically, strategic planning is a multifaceted and cross-cutting undertaking and it plays an important role in shaping country's (especially developing countries) development goals and priorities. It is a tool that is important to shape and accelerate development goals of a nation.
Planning is about coming up with well-researched and well-reasoned plans that prioritize and synchronize activities, which makes it important given the scarce resource at the disposal of developing countries.
So, considering this dimension, and the fact that strategic planning, as a concept, deals with optimally utilizing resources at the disposal of developing countries, it is vital the implications it has not only on the country's organizations, but also on the country’s national planning as well.
In the highly competitive globalized world we live in, and especially considering the limited resources that exists to fend off national challenges, and bring about sustainable development, governments at developing countries must come up and design efficient and effective plans.
Dereje Tekle, an Expert and Lecturer at International Leadership Institute, says that generally speaking, “we, as a country are far from developing strategic development through participation; there is no participation at all.” He adds that some companies do it, and some do not. “We are far from implementing it. We are far even from organizing strategic plan.”
Explaining if it has anything to do with the organizational behavior of the country, he mentions that the organizational culture of the country is far from being able to attach or relate or correlate people to come together and think about organizational missions.
He says that many organizations have the consistent, problematic tendency to unwittingly sacrifice long-term plans in order to get immediate results. Strategic planning (and the ability to think in a strategic manner) is often expected only from executives and senior managers, and only in relation to setting annual budgets for tactical operations.
However, today’s business environment requires that every member of the organization not only add tactical value but be strategically relevant in order for the organization to create economic value. Each person must develop his own strategic thinking and be willing to take his performance to the next level.
According to Dereje, the first cause for inappropriate application of strategic plan come from absence of employees participation in producing the strategic document. Appropriate implementation of SP is ensured when participation of the employees in formulating the strategic document of their own sections is possible, he says.
The second problem is some strategic plans are organized emotionally without considering the capacity of the implementing organization. Before formulating the plan any organization should know where it is now. “One organization I contacted with had a plan to attain certain vision by 2020 written in a dynamic language; but when I asked them where they are now and how they came about (calculate) to that vision, they had no idea.” That is why I believe before proceeding the implementation, any organization should know its capacity and ensure whether it secures the necessary resources.
Another thing Dereje point out for lack of application of strategic planning in Ethiopia is lack of appropriate monitoring and evaluation scheme. “Monitoring and evaluation ensures the implementation of Strategic Planning and could disseminate the skill of monitoring and evaluation for employees so as to check and control their own sections.”
He adds that although evaluation is a continuous assessment done from the beginning of the formulation of a plan, many organizations in Ethiopia tend to do it very sporadically sometimes done by ministerial offices or by adhoc committees.
Furthermore, he said another problem that consumes the time and resource of the strategic move is the unchecked and sudden instructions coming from the upper authorities as first priority. In other words, when a sudden problems appear, the upper authorities mostly chose to 'put out fire' first even if that measure means undermining the already in place strategic plan of the institution.
He indicates that all activities of the organization shall be incorporated in the Strategic Planning and when unusual orders appear they must not overrun the formal track of the plan. “The management should protect the normal implementation of the Strategic Plan for the achievement of the desired objectives.”
All in all, considering that strategic thinking focuses on the ability of individuals and teams to contribute and add distinctive value to the corporate strategy, he concludes that strategic thinking shall be designed to sustain helpful skills long-term to produce positive, bottom-line results.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
“Democracy is not an easy journey; it takes time and effort. [Thus,] the people should not resort to violence as it is not a solution” said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his first official visit to Ethiopia.
Tillerson made the remark in relation to the violence in some parts of Ethiopia where the legitimate questions of the public were hijacked by anti-peace elements and the following State of Emergence declared by the government with the objective of ‘protecting the constitutional order and peace and security.'
True, besides the saddening human and material loss, such unrest would result in catastrophic consequences by causing prolonged conflict, instability and anarchy, as it has been witnessed in Somalia, South Sudan Syria and Libya.
What would make the inability to contain such incidents regrettable is the fact that Ethiopia, a sleeping giant for long, has just woken up to astonish the world with rapid economic growth. That is why the burden of lengthy unrest would have far reaching consequences by destructing what the country has already built and achieved to get rid of poverty and underdevelopment.
Since recent times, the unrest in some parts of the country has resulted in dire calamity, disturbed the day-to-day activities of the public and created tensions. Main roads that connect different regions of the country have been blocked with stone piles and citizens have been forced to quit their daily business and stay at home.
Sadly, industries which have become sources of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people were destroyed and their properties were vandalized by unlawful protesters. Vehicles, including public transportations service were burnt, causing enormous loss of hard-earned currency. Worest of all, civilians were targeted for their ethnic background.
However, in a number of cases, these actions cannot be justified as a quest for peace, democracy and development. There is no way that one ensures democracy and development by instigating ethnic violence and destroying factories. Any party that wants to see a prosperous Ethiopia would by no means involve in activities that aim at hampering peace, stability, the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment and sustainable development.
It is clear that over the past few years Ethiopia has witnessed unprecedented growth and progress in all social, economic and political frontiers. The rapid infrastructure expansion, improved access to education and health, and successful poverty reduction are the outcomes of relative stability and successive economic growth. And these success stories have been praised by the international community. Unluckily, the unrest has put under threat all the achievements that are set to bring about overall transformation.
In fact, diversity and the resulting differences in perspectives make conflicts a normal aspect of society. What matters here is how conflicts are settled, managed, resolved or transformed.
Hence, to manage such things, the culture of democracy and dialogue should be nurtured. And everybody has to understand that a well developed culture of democracy cannot be achieved within a day as it is a process. What all citizens, including politicians, who really love their country should do to avert the situation and should come to the table to find peaceful, sustainable and inclusive solutions for the problems. Once they start discussion and dialogue, they would be able to close the door on anti-peace elements that try to hijack the legitimate demands of the public for their evil agendas.
ADDIS ABABA - Addis Ababa City Administration Construction Office presented the city's construction sector amended guideline for discussion in the presence of pertinent stakeholders on Monday.
Engineer Yonas Haile, Office Chairman told The Ethiopian Herald that the amended guideline will help create transparent working environment within the construction sector.
The Office has encountered many challenges, he said, mentioning rent seeking attitudes and activities, lack of qualified experts, and absence of modernized technological equipment. “And in order to alleviate such problems, we should create a suitable atmosphere for contractors in every aspect.”
To make the construction industry competitive and succeed in achieving the goals set in the GTP II, root out rent seeking activities and sculpt a non transparent system is critical, he added.
Bereket Meles, Manager of FAB Construction, stated that the improved principles on construction sector are beneficial for those who are engaged in small enterprise to achieve their objectives. Given that the sector is monopolized by large contractors, micro level enterprises were not involved and able to compete. The amendment of the principle is very important. “But it should be executed accordingly.”
Corporate Infrastructure Monitoring Expert with the Office, Tamrat GebreMeskel also said access to infrastructure is greatly expanded in the city, but there are some issues related to the city's ongoing road projects and other institutions' interference on the construction sector. He pointed out that the purpose of the amended principle is to alleviate such problems, and work together with other infrastructural institutions.
Regarding to the professional code of ethics, Afework Nigussie, Manager of Civil Engineers Corporation, indicated that its main purpose ought to prioritize serving the community and also maximizing societal security, encourage professional persistence. However, setting law on professional code of ethics alone is not enough, as efforts need to be exerted to work on attitudinal change of experts as well, Engineer Yonas noted.
BY SEID MEHAMMED
ADDIS ABABA – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) revealed that Japanese companies have keen interest to invest in the pharmaceutical sector in Ethiopia in close partnership with Ethiopian companies.
This was stated at business to business talk held yesterday with Japanese delegation led by Ambassador Shin- Ichi and ROHOTO, manufacturer and marketer of pharmaceutical products companies.
According to Araya Gebregziabher, Business Promotion Directorate Director to MoFA , Japan's number one eye care company has finalized its preparation to commence production of eye and skin care products in collaboration with Ministry of Health and other local business ventures.
“Using Ethiopia's free trade opportunity, the companies has planed to export products to neighbor countries like Kenya, Tanzania and south Africa by creating business venture ties with local companies.” He said
Suna Yan, Deputy General Manager to Global Business Development, Japan on her part said that the main aim of the Company for investing in Ethiopia is to contribute its share in reducing the causes of blindness and skin care situations in Ethiopia through producing quality eye drops and skin care products.
“In Ethiopia, there is conducive business opportunity in the pharmaceutical sector. We also believe that we have the ability and resource to contribute in alleviating blindness in the country,” she said
The delegation will visit Kilinto Industrial Park to share experience in technology transformation and further, The Ethiopian Herald learnt.
Established in 1899, RHOTO Eye Drops Company is also awarded Guinness World Record 2016 Certificate for its eye care products.
BY FASICA BERHANE
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
While Ethiopia is zooming on Public Private Partnership (PPP) to fill its infrastructure gap by enacting a comprehensive PPP Proclamation, many are seeing it as a springboard to fully harness the potential of PPP in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is pursuing an ambitious transformational change involving huge public investment to address infrastructural deficit and public services delivery gaps. While the government is committing significant budget resources to infrastructure needs and social services, like most developing countries, it nonetheless faces significant budget constraints. And PPPs have emerged as one of the ways to overcome these constraints.
Pointing out how PPP enables cooperation to best meet clearly defined public needs through the appropriate allocation of resources, risks and rewards and long-term contractual cooperation, Dr. Costantinos Berhuetesfa, Public Policy Expert, says PPP in Ethiopia is in its infancy mainly due to its recent introduction, newness of the concept, and emphasis on public sector performance in economic development.
In almost all of the country’s developmental strategy, the contribution of the private sector is considered as a key policy instrument for the achievement of the national plan of the country, he adds. “The Growth and Transformation Plan of the country has also considered the private sector participation as one of the developmental strategy.”
The developmental strategies and national plan of the country has mentioned clearly PPP as one of the instrument in some selected infrastructure development strategies of the country, he continued, however, private sector participation and engagement has been vague in the policy documents for long years.
To address this, and to put in place a legal and institutional framework to foster the establishment of PPPs in Ethiopia, the government has nowenacted a PPP Proclamation.
Also, to fully harness the potential of PPP, the Proclamation has setup a PPP administration board with seven cabinet ministers and two members representing the private sector. The members of the board hail from ministries that mainly oversee infrastructural development, with Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) as chairman of the board. A PPP Unit (Director-General) has been created within MoFED.
Abebe Tadesse, PPP Project Coordinator at MoFED, believes that the proclamation will play a role in not only improving infrastructure and enhancing public service delivery by involving the private sector, but also the fact that PPP will play a role in amassing finance.
He says “close collaboration between the private and public sector is needed to deal with the huge amount of investment needed for the infrastructures and public service.” He explains that the trend in the world right now, which shows declining government borrowing, and also given that (public) debt brings microeconomic instability, it is important to draw in finance and knowledge/skill from the private sector to undertake public infrastructures and deliver public services.
Moreover, Financing for Development, or more precisely, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, emphasizes PPP as one financing modality and instrument for resource mobilization. “For instance if we are talking about the Growth and Transformation Plan of the country, it will take 500 USD to undertake it, which is a hefty sum. So, probing into various financial options and resource mobilization mechanism like PPP is vital, and the government is expecting it to fill some financing gaps.”
And to that regard, he claims that although it is hard to articulate for now, it will definitely help reduce financial gap and play a supporting role.
While there are almost no sectors off-limit to PPP venture, except for the mining sector, the policy recommend starting with sectors like energy, transport, and then widen the scope to include sectors like education, health, and others once enough experience has been gained. “So far there are no projects done as part of PPP, but the 500 MW Corbetti geothermal project is one, and other solar and wind projects are in the pipeline.”
Abebe also stated that the PPP Proclamation gives confidence to the private sector as it makes the government more predictable. He added that not only that but it also shows the commitment of the government, and this will help develop its reputation/credibility. “Already we are seeing many financiers and members of the private sector having interest in entering into PPP, especially in the energy, transport and other sectors.”
According to him, there is a plan in the policy to strengthen the local private companies and the local PPP market. As PPP tend to focus on big (infrastructural) projects that demonstrate value for money, and also as the projects involve foreign currency and technological component, he opined, “we do not expect for local companies to afford them (the technology and experience)”. So, the plan is to involve them as sub-contractor by establishing consortium with foreign companies, where they can gain the experience and know how, and through time develop the local PPP market.
For Abebe, the success factor for PPP in Ethiopia will depend on its implementation capacity. As PPP is new, and requires complex negotiation with multibillion dollar companies, it demands same kind of capacity on the side of the government. And that capacity is not there for now.
“So, these things might affect the performance. Nevertheless, many projects will enter into PPP in the next 3, 4 years.”
Ethiopia has good prospects for the development of PPPs in the infrastructure sector particularly roads, railways, energy, telecommunications and transport to mention a few.
Kwame A. Asubonteng, a Consultant in Capacity Building and Public Private Partnership Planning and Implementation, who undertook a study under the title ‘The Potential for Public Private Partnership In Ethiopia’, identified some potential PPPs. “Toll road and road maintenance, agro-processing, low-income urban housing, small-scale irrigation farming and pre-paid metering, and in the service delivery sector, potential PPPs include parks and recreational facilities, ICT centers, solid waste management and recycling, exhibition centers and unified billing.”
The Study also recommended, among other things, the need on creating awareness citing ample evidences. “In view of this, there is the need to use the Public Private Dialogue (PPD) forum to sensitize policy and decision makers about the PPP investment concept and its applications to help build consensus on the potential projects identified in this study report.”
In its quest to promote commercialization, the government of Ethiopia has been striving to build market oriented agriculture and strengthen the agro-processing sector in hope of producing and exporting value added products; and making the country an ideal place and a player in global commodity value chains.
The Ethiopian case is a clear testimony on how far a committed, developmental state by clearly articulated and contextualized development road map and strategy to set a country on sustained development path. The government’s central economic strategy guiding the integrated and comprehensive policies aimed at achieving poverty reduction and broad based economic growth is the Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI).
However, the growth and development targets Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) has enabled the country to maintain or exceed an average GDP growth rate of 11 percent and achieve the MDGs targets.
The GTP puts strong emphasis on the development of agro-industry sector, which is based on the comparative advantage that the country has in the agriculture sector. Agro-processing could contribute to achieving the proper balance between agriculture and industry to expedite the much anticipated economic transformation.
Presently, the major Ethiopian export produces include; coffee, livestock products, oilseeds and pulses, fruits and vegetables, flowers, textiles, natural gum, spices and mineral products.
In addition to the current efforts underway to increase the supply and improve the quality of these export commodities, Ethiopia is highly encouraging investments in Agro-processing due to the firm believe that agro-processing is epicenter for the transformation of the Ethiopian economy, said President Dr. Mulatu Teshome at the Second International Agro-processing Industry exhibition.
The President further underlined that Ethiopia has tremendous potential for investment in the agro-processing sector. “Many of our agricultural products are exported without being processed, while it could have been processed before they are supplied to domestic and foreign markets.”
Though the government encourages the export of agricultural products, it has placed a priority on the export of processed products, which involves and stimulates the growth of the agro-processing sector. Through the development of agro-processing, Ethiopia’s agricultural sector can achieve swift and sustained long-term economic development, according to the President.
The rational for emphasizing the role of agro-industry lies on the high degree of interdependence with forward and backward activities, agro-industry can play a very important role in accelerating the economic development and achieving the goal of industrialization.
Agro-industry parks are built in an integrated manner to address constraints related to land access, infrastructure, trade logistics, customs regulations and skills.
In this regard, the Ethiopian government has strong commitment as demonstrated in the quick operationalization of the Bole Lemi, Eastern Industry Zone, and the state of the art Hawassa, Mekelle, Kombolcha Industrial Parks and those underway, earning the country international acclaim.
At large, the government is committed to transform the economy from agriculture to industry led and support private investors through providing platforms to meet and explore business prospects and enhance partnership opportunities in a nutshell, according to the Minister of Industry Ahmed Abtew.
The forums and platforms that government has been organizing in collaboration with its development partners are believed to have greater role in advancing trade and investment in the agro-processing sector, the Minister added.
The state owned wholesaler, the Merchandise Wholesales & Import Trade Enterprise /MEWIT/ is expected to solve the limitations witnessed in the input side in order to meet the intended level, Yonas adds.
Yahia Sayed Omar Spices Import-Export Company has maintained a good reputation on supplying Ethiopia's agricultural products such as pulses, oil seeds, and natural gum produce to the international market.
The export destinations of these products includes India, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Turkey, UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Japan Singapore, USA, Israel and South Africa among others, Owner and President of the Organization Yahia Sayed Omer told the Ethiopian Herald.
Yahia says that the agro-industry sector in Ethiopia is very much lucrative and untapped. It can generate large number of hard currency to the country and ample employment opportunities to the youth, he added.
The Company is looking forward to enter the agro-processing with a view to ensure that the export of Ethiopian raw commodities should be replaced with high quality processed and semi-processed produces.
The idea of organizing agro-industrial investment forum came about as the government started to take intensive intervention to promote agricultural commercialization by building strong agro-processing sector, the Minister further stated.
The government of Ethiopia and its partners have strong desire to expand the richest sector into continental level and the government will do its level best to make this objective a reality.
Linking potential investors with global value chain
The government of Ethiopia has demonstrated a strong commitment to the agriculture and rural development sectors through allocating more than 10 percent of its total budget. It is also working to increase agricultural production, and productivity thereby enhance sector's economic performance and successfully realize national agricultural policy.
As the result of the collaborative efforts between the government and partners in the past five years and since the Agricultural Development Program project has been launched in 2011, it is enabled to reach over 1.2 million people, create more than 6,000 jobs and generate 181 million USD from farm gate sales, according to sources.
The industry sector is expected to take over the leading role of the Ethiopian economic sector by 2025. To facilitate the transformation process, hence, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) has been undertaking several activities to modernize the agriculture sector and ensure the industrialization process.
With this same purpose last February, the ATA and Ministry of Trade (MoT) had facilitated Ethiopia’s participation in two prominent international trade shows for food and agriculture products, according to ATA.
The Biofach 2018 Exhibition for Organic Foods and Drinks, held in Nuremberg, Germany from 14-18 February 2018 and nearly 2,950 exhibitors took part and 50,000 visitors dropped in, was the exhibition that Ethiopia presented its organic produces and exchange views with visitors and exhibitors.
Meanwhile, Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food and beverages trade show held in Dubai, UAE from 18-22 February, and attracted over 5,000 food and beverage professionals from across the globe and 97,000 visitors, was also the other opportunity for Ethiopia.
These trade shows have created a tremendous opportunity for Ethiopia to showcase its exportable food products, acquainted with potential buyers from around the world with a view to familiarize the Ethiopian exporting commodities in the global value chain.
The major commercial commodities exhibited at the trade shows were pulses and oilseeds, spices, honey, coffee, teff, meat and live animals. Close to one hundred Ethiopian exporting companies, including two cooperative federations, have taken part in the two trade shows.
Simultaneously, bilateral discussions were also conducted between government officials, agencies and potential investors. A food counter serving bite-sized portions of classic Ethiopian dishes, catered by 'Gursha Restaurant' in Dubai, allowed visitors to sample the country’s cuisine, and in some instances, get their first taste of enjera made of teff. The live traditional coffee ceremony was also one of the Ethiopian pavilion’s main attractions.
Moreover, to exhibiting samples of Ethiopian commodities at dedicated booths (accompanied by informative materials on specific commodities and general investment opportunities) one-to-one discussions were held between exporters and buyers in the Ethiopian pavilion.
State Minister of Trade, Ayana Zewdie said on the occasion that "We are increasingly looking to create the exposure Ethiopia needs globally, and such trade shows offer the perfect opportunity. Last year, Ethiopia's sales at Gulfood far exceeded our projected amounts, and we plan to build on this in future years."
In order to ensure the smooth execution of both trade shows, a multi-sectoral technical committee composed of staff from ATA and MoT and other key institutions undertook major marketing and logistical activities. These included booth selection, design, and exhibitor scheduling; identifying and liaising with participants; producing a website and promotional materials; coordinating the activities of the various parties; and briefing participants on how to maximize their effectiveness at the trade shows. Ethiopia’s engagement at the trade shows was financed in large part by the ATA and MoT. Other developmental institutions, such as USAID, also contributed funds to the endeavor.
The ATA's Senior Director of Agribusiness & Markets, Mirafe Gebriel Marcos for his part said that Ethiopian commodities are in high demand because of their quality and many of the produces are organic. “In addition to diversifying our export markets, taking part in these trade shows helps Ethiopia to attract potential investors to engage in agro-processing and value addition."
The involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ethiopian Consulates in Frankfurt and Dubai and the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds, and Spices Producers and Exporters Association (EPOSPEA), was pivotal in the success of both trade shows.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
ADDIS ABABA — The AU's objective of 'Silence of the Gun' by 2020 is achievable if the heads of state and governments summit is going to assess and predict ahead and come up with the greater commitments, hopes the Secretary of the AU Peace and Security Council Dr. Admore Mupoki Kambudzi.
The African Union in 2013, has adopted the objective of “Silencing of the Guns by 2020”, in order to substantially contribute to achieving the goals of the AU initiative on the “African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) 2016-2020” a strategic document for realizing a conflict-free Africa.
The reality shows that the Horn of Africa’s political situation has increasingly hosted opposing interests with the escalation of conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan.
Burundi, DRC, Central African Republic, and the Sahel Region; the increasing presence of terrorists in the North and West, illicit migration and trafficking including human and weapons are still continent's unsolved challenges.
“In 2013, the AU adopt the Solemn Declaration of ending war and in November 2016 and come up with the objective of ‘Silencing of the Guns’ by 2020.
The AU peace and security council identified platforms to make sure that elections are held peacefully, fighting corruption, trafficking of human and drugs, illegal migration and the reducing displacement of people.”
Africa does not manufacture weapons, however, the guns coming illegally to Africa are in the hands of traffickers, terrorists and other private actors. Therefore, he said that through working on how to stop the illegal route which the arms are entering to Africa, it is possible to achieve the silencing of the guns and create peaceful and stable Africa.
The APSA 2016-2020 details the AU aims in early warning and preventive diplomacy, crisis management, intervention and mediation, post-conflict reconstruction and peace building, strategic security issues as well as transnational organized crime and cyber crime, coordination and partnerships.
The Council is supported by other structures such as the Commission, the African Standby Force, the Panel of Wise, the Peace Fund, the Continental Early Warning System, says Dr. Kambudzi adding that the Peace Fund which is supposed to be supportive to the African peace process and the African Standby Force are the two areas that Africa does not made much progress.
In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald Monday, Dr. Kambudzi said that now four regions ready for full revitalization of the peace efforts.
The peace and stability challenges of Africa are now on the ground while it has the best and well designed blueprint that is the APSA, he said and went on to add that Southern Africa is relatively enjoying peace and security whereas the Central African region is suffering from the problems that AU has not yet reach in solutions.
“In West Africa, there are problems in Guinea Busau, this country moves from crisis to crisis of political nature since its independent. Terrorism is another problem caused by Boko Haram in Nigeria and surrounding countries. The conflict in Mali and nearby region in the lower Sahara desert is harboring traffickers and drug smugglers across the Sahel Region.”
“In Northern Africa, the situation in Libya since it was bombarded by foreign powers the country has difficulties and almost a collapsed state.”
AU has to solve the lots of conflicts, displacement, refugees and destruction of infrastructure The situation in the Horn of Africa in South Sudan, Somalia which are in conflict since 1991, the border disputes between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
The peace culture in Southern African region should be replicated throughout the Continent, he underscores.
“Instead of destroying our society and infrastructures, we should focus on our intelligence, wisdom and all our resources only to development,” says the Secretary.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
Women empowerment and having more women in leadership position is the area that calls for attention by all nations in the world. Having ample empowered women leaders at all levels demands empowering and supporting them to succeed in all walks of their life even from their early school ages.
This demands respecting the various declarations, legal frameworks and policies designed to protect their rights. In almost all countries of the world equality, justice, freedom and dignity of women is well recognized through various international laws such as the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. According to the Declaration all human persons have equal rights to enjoy all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights. And women should be empowered to the extent that they can bestow their level best to their world.
Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals of development and would improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities.
In this regard, the private sector is a key partner in efforts to advance gender equality and empower women. Current researches demonstrate that gender diversity helps businesses perform better signals that self-interest and common interest can come together. Yet, ensuring the inclusion of women’s talents, skills and energies ranging from executive offices to the factory floor and the supply chain requires intentional actions and deliberate policies.
The women’s empowerment principles offer practical guidance to business and the private sector on all possible ways of empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The principles are designed to support companies in reviewing existing policies and practices—or establishing new ones—to realize women’s empowerment.
The principles in brief include among others establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality, treat all women and men fairly at work, ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers, promote education, training and professional development for them.
Around the world millions of girls are not in school. Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. In the developing world, 1 in 7 girls is married before the age of 15 with some child brides as young as 8 or 9. Each year more than 287,000 women, 99 percent of them in developing countries, die from pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications.
While women make up more than 40 percent of the agriculture labor force only 3 to 20 percent are landholders. In Africa, women-owned enterprises make up as little as 10 percent of all businesses. Despite representing half of the global population, women comprise less than 20 percent of the world's legislators, as USAID latest report stated.
According to the latest information from the African Union, the participation of women in all activities and accessibilities to use land is increasing in the Continent rapidly. But much still remains to be done by member states of the AU on benefiting the maximum potential of women that could add up value to the existing economic progresses witnessed in many nations in Africa.
Moreover, investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment can unlock human potential on a transformational scale.
More than half a billion women have joined the world’s work force over the past 30 years, and they make up 40 percent of the agriculture labor force. According to the World Bank, countries with greater gender equality are more prosperous and competitive than the ones with little consideration for high women engagement in development activities.
However, an extra year of secondary school for girls can increase their future earnings by 10-20 percent. Girls with secondary schooling are up to 6 times less likely to marry as children than those with little or no education. And countries that invest in girls’ education have lower maternal and infant deaths, lower rates of HIV and AIDS and related health complications with even better child nutrition than their counterparts.
When women participate in civil society and politics, governments are more open, democratic and responsive to citizens. When women are at the negotiating table, peace agreements are more inclusive and durable. And simply by empowering women farmers with the same access to land, new technologies and capital as men, it is likely to increase crop yields and helping nations to feed a growing population.
However, in the Ethiopian context women in senior leadership position are at its lowest level.
Dr. Abeba Beyene, a Lecturer at Addis Ababa University School of Commerce and a scholar in the field, believed that gender equality and women’s empowerment is not a part of development but it is core development agenda. Women should be given support in schools and workplaces with good care.
Especially women who have children at home should be highly supported with the principle of family work balance through all possible means of easing their life. They should be empowered well even from their early ages, she said.
Many women detach from their job and responsibility due to child bearing. This has many effects both on the possible contribution that they could add up to nation’s development and their own economy. The Scholar further suggested that this could be solved with balancing family and work jobs and creating day care place in and around their work place. “This is due to the fact that the children are children of the nation that will replace the existing generation. Hence empowering women encompass all this and many other points.”
Progress cannot be delivered in a vacuum. For societies to thrive, women and girls must have access to education, healthcare, and technology. They must have control of resources, lands, and markets. And they must have equal rights and equal opportunities as breadwinners, peace-builders and leaders. “That’s why we have gender programs in almost all countries in the world even if with varying degrees.”
Recent documents from the African Union highlighted that Africa has shown considerable progress in increasing the share and participation of women at the national parliaments but less progress in increasing the share of women in non-agricultural employment. The economic and political empowerment of women cannot however be decoupled from inequalities in access to primary education. Empowering women through education, delivering them with high level health care, improving their economical capacity as well as implementing affirmative actions are the things that should be put into practice to realize the most empowered women that will take part in the overall economic development of the country and benefit from the output.
That probably is the reason why the African Union has announced that Members States of the union are showing their highest level of commitment to take the issue of women, gender and development to the highest level possible to as part of realizing the big picture of the continent’s Agenda: Agenda 2063. This turns the attention of many countries in Africa to the demographic dividend giving emphasis to the role of the rapidly growing younger generation in the continent especially on young women to the overall development of the nation.
According to the information from Women, Gender and Development Directorate in the AU, member states having seen a range of issues in detail related to engaging and empowering women in science and technology, decision making, education, economic empowerment of women and to the realization of their full participation as well as their benefit in the growing younger demographic dividend of the continent.
It was also noted that by the Directorate that women make up 50 percent of the continents total population; and there needs to be much work done towards their easy access to overall resources, education and other engagements in the political, social and economic spheres.
The other progress is that many member states of the African Union (AU) have introduced law to protect child marriage. But weak partnership of the civil society and challenges related to protecting the needs, voices and safety of women in a war zone areas in the continent were among the many bottlenecks that needs to be redressed in the times to come, this same document further noted that strong efforts done by member states towards free movement of persons and goods (Trans boundary trade) and the role of women in the process and the AU is working with various partners to deal with women, Gender and development issues.
Mano River Union General Secretary Dr. Saran Daraba Kaba in an exclusive interview told The Ethiopian Herald the issue of harnessing the demographic dividend gives much emphasis to women especially young women to play their role to overall development engagements is taken as the biggest agenda by all the member states of the Union.
She further noted that the demographic dividend gives emphasis to African younger generation’s contribution in general. And many of the African youthful categories are young women.
Various challenges of millions of African women are now declining and African governments are giving much focus to this timely Agenda of women, she noted
Empowering girls and women is a means to build sustainable socio-economic development powerful nationally. Hence, empowering women and putting more women on senior leadership positions is something crucial to have successful development and prosperous future we aspire to see.
Today, world leaders, experts and scholars are underlying the importance of empowering women and the need for critical endeavor. Thus, it is good to conclude the topic with the powerful sayings of global notable figures on the need to empower women.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
ADDIS ABABA - Experts claim that Ethiopia is aiming to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a time-frame that takes into account the concern of the downstream countries, and the various hydrological and climate variables.
Berhanu Belachew, Dean of Geography Department and Lecturer at Kotebe Metropolitan University, said that a simulation model is prepared which bids to fill the Dam in a sensible timetable without causing significant harm on the two countries in the lower course of the Nile River. “We are working according to this simulation model and study, which outlines the possibility of filling the Dam between 3 to 5 years in a responsible manner.”
Explaining this further, Berhanu said the climate and amount of rainfall over the River's Basin varies, and also because the volume of the River's water is not constant during the rainy (Kiremt) and dry season (Bega), it is hard to put a definite time-frame. In light of this,and dry season (Bega), it is hard to put a definite time-frame. In light of this, amount of water used to fill the Dam will vary in accordance to the amount of seasonal rainfall and volume of the River's water, which is why it is said that the Dam filling will take between three to five years time depending on these factors, he noted. In relation to this, he said, a model that forecast monthly flow of the River has been prepared.
Regarding the International Panel of Experts, which is commissioned to report whether if the filling and reservoir of the Dam will affect the downstream countries, Berhanu indicated that Ethiopia has committed itself for the conduct of the studies with the aim of building trust and confidence, “but we are sure that they will reach to same kind of conclusion as we did in our own study.”
In addition, Berhanu mentioned the positive role the Dam is expected to play in terms of green climate, pointing out how the electric power that will be generated from the Dam will help ease the use of traditional firewood, and how also the reservoir will bring positive impact on the area's climate.
Tefera Beyene, Consultant to Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, for his part said that the filling model of the Dam is not only designed not to cause significant harm to lower riparian countries, but it also takes into account the hydro and geographical factors into account. He adds that the reservoir's filling strategy emanates from the policy of Ethiopia that views at cooperation in allowing for utilization of shared resources equitably views utilizing common resource jointly. The filling of GERD should not be seen as huge issue that does not have any solution, he concluded.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES