Ethiopia in its more than 3,000 years history has fought many battles with foreign colonizers. Most of those bloody wars were completed by the victory of Ethiopians. It has defeated several foreign invaders such as Ottoman Turkey, Egyptians, Italians and others in various battle fields, most of them undertaken in the present day Northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. Our gallant forefathers have subdued colonizers and invaders in battle fronts of Dogali, Kufit, Sahati, Gundet and Gurae to their knees.
But the most applauded victory ever recorded against European colonizers took place in the northern part of Ethiopia, Tigray state, in the battle of Adwa on 2 March 1896. In that battle, Ethiopians from different corner of the country, ethnic and religious background flocked to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their beloved nation. Men and women have paid immense sacrifice to defeat the Italian modern army in daylight. Due to their indomitable patriotism, Ethiopians became the only black people who entitled their independence. Many Ethiopian heroes and heroines who fought in the battle of Adwa have written their name in history colorfully. Among them, the then King of kings of Ethiopia, Emperor Menelik, his wife Empress Taitu Betul, Ras Alula Abenega, Abajifar and other patriots could be named.
As military strategists recommend, intelligence is highly crucial in battle fields. Because it helps you to understand in what capacity and situation your enemy is. Thus, the Ethiopian army which defeated the Italian colonial army had invaluable information about the European colonizers. In spying the enemy, Bashay Awalom Haregot has played very crucial role. But who is Bashay Awalom? What was his role?
Awalom was born in northern part of Ethiopia, Tigray state, in a town known as Enticho. According to the book published on his biography and works entitled Bashay Awalom and the History of Ethiopia, Awalom was born from poor family. He was wise and courageous starting from his childhood time. His cautious personality has helped him to be very important person in the battle of Adwa. He was spy and double agent who made glorious history to his country.
When Emperor Menelik had planned to confront the invading army in Adwa, Awalom was recommended to the king, by Ras Alula to spy the enemy camp. Being fluent Italian speaker, Awalom got the King’s trust to take the huge responsibility. Thus, he started his task that he observed the enemies overall situation. He gained trust of General Baratirie that he able to gather invaluable information which was very important for the Ethiopians. He was insider in the invaders’ camp that he regularly used to report what he was happening there to Emperor Menelik, Ras Alula and other Ethiopian officials.
His first task was convincing Ras Sebhat and Dejach Hagos Teferi to escape from the Italian camp. The operation was accomplished successfully. Another very important task Awalom accomplished was that he deceived the Italians that Menelik had run out of provisions and already started heading to Addis Ababa. General Baraterie believed Bashay Awalom and waged his assault on Sunday 2 March 1896 early in the morning.
During the bloody war, Bashay Awalom gave the invaders’ wrong directions in the mountainous Adwa battle fronts. On the other hand, Bashay informed Menelik about the ammunition, number of army and provisions of the Italians. Hence, the Ethiopians have prepared to face their bitter foe properly and wisely.
In the eve of 1 march, General Baratieri saw on his binoculars Menelik’s tent being pulled down from its camp. This confirmed what Awalom had told him. Then he ordered his army to hunt the Ethiopian army from the back, which his disastrous mistake. What Baratieri did not know was that the Ethiopians were stationed in his backyard to encircle him. He finally realized that he was fully encircled by the Ethiopian and he understood that he had no way to escape. Finally, Baratierie and other Italians were killed with their thousands of soldiers and the battle was completed by victorious Ethiopians. General Albertoni and thousands of his troops were surrendered. The battle lasts for only one day.
The colorful victory was disseminated all over the world and the Ethiopians were considered as symbol of resistance. In this historic victory, the role of Bashay Awalom was extremely massive that every generation would remember forever. He will be remembered equally with Emperor Menelik, Ras Alula, Emperess Taytu and other gallant forefathers who brought that remarkable victory.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS
A statue was erected to Menelik II in 1930 at Menelik square in Addis Ababa. It was designed and made by German Architect Curtin Specingler and unveiled in 1931.
The message on the statue reads: “It is not greatness to hail from a prominent family, greatness (triumph) is to contribute something valuable to the motherland.”
The message is clearly written to portray the victory of blacks over white opressors—it shows that the color of skin does not make one race superior and another inferior.
Aba Dagnew was Menelik’s horse’s name. And it stands on its two legs and face to the north—to signify the direction of the battle field.
The place Menelik II Square, formerly Adawa square, was dedicated to erect the statue owing to its location as downtown of the city during the time, Addis Ababa City Administration Culture and Tourism Bureau Intangible Heritages Senior Expert Memhir Mekibib Gebremariam indicates.
Generally, Menelik II statue and Adwa Bridge, around Megenagna, are among the known memorials of the victory of Adwa in Addis Ababa.
Memhir Mekibib underlines the fact that Addis ought to see more memorials to inherit the sprites to posterity and demonstrate the history to visitors.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
With the unwavering support of the public, the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has now seen over 64 percent completions. The construction also paves the way for cooperation among the Nile Riparian States.
Such project and cooperation in the Nile Basin was long perceived impossible. And contemporary Ethiopians have once again pioneered in self-financing huge projects and drawing the riparian countries to a single table for their common cause. Past Ethiopian generation hand down the spirit of unity and territorial integrity to the current ones, while setting the examples to the people of Africa and the entire black community as it is possible to unshackle themselves from all forms of oppression.
In addition to the acute financial problem, any development using the waters of Nile had been deemed the source of confrontation. But, that sentiment has been utterly overturned. History is now in the making at Guba town in Benishangul Gumuz State.
At any given time, 10,000-15,000 workers and engineers, both local and expatriate, are being involved in the construction activities at GERD site—coping up the beating temperature.
The National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of GERD (Council) has been organizing a range of platforms to allow citizens put their lasting imprints on the Dam. Also, it paves the way for both Ethiopians, Ethiopian origin of foreign nationals and expatriate nationals to witness the Dam’s progress first hand.
“Apart from making financial contributions to the project, more than 260,000 people visited the project since its launching; Council’s Communication Directorate Director Hailu Abraham told The Ethiopian Herald.
Over 400 local and international media institutions as well as journalists had set their feet on the site, he said, adding that over 200 local investors will also witness the progress first hand in the coming days.
The time has now ticked at seven years since the commencement of the project.
“Various musical, art, sports [running and football] contests, bond selling week and other spectacular events are on the way to be held in connection to the 7th year GERD anniversary,” he revealed.
Among the events include GERD Great Run, he pointed out. “Over 500,000 runners are expected to participate in the event.”
So far, the active involvement of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, both at home and abroad, have made significant contribution to the project, he indicated. “GERD Trophy and GERD Diaspora Bond are the predominant ways of public mobilization.”
He indicated that more than 1.6 billion Birr was collected through GERD trophy during its tour in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and peoples’ state.
Currently, the GERD Trophy is in Ethio-Somali state. Another symbol, GERD Torch, is in Tigray state rallying the people to boost their financial contribution.
The Council will facilitate more GERD visit programs to promote public's’ participation. To him, the Council has understood as people’s involvement increases when they visit the Dam’s site.
It is not only the physical progress of the Dam which is awe-inspiring to visitor, the youths’ determination in a beating tropical climate leave enduring memory on them.
In addition to this, the public is supporting the Dam’s construction in kind.
The Diaspora community as well has hand in the Dam’s construction. “Over 40 million Birr have been collected from the Diaspora community,” Hailu said.
The Dam’s construction is not the only task of Ethiopians. Side by side the construction, the people as a whole and farmers in particular have intensified environmental protection works.
Transplanting seedlings in the Abbay basin, among other places, during rainy season and ensuring the seedlings’ survival and terracing works during the dry season have become common tasks among the people.
The efforts will eventually tackle sedimentation both at GERD and at other downstream country’s dams.
The tasks carried out in this regard could be estimated to worth in millions of USD as to the information of the Council.
More than 10.3 billion Birr has been generated from the public through various public mobilization mechanisms.
When coming to full operation, GERD will interconnect the Horn of Africa and beyond through power. This is not a mere claim, Ethiopia’s hydro-power has been benefiting Djibouti, and Sudan while a high tension power transmission cable’s construction is under way to supply Kenya with hydro-power.
To the astonishment of anyone, the project becomes a centerpiece of cooperation in the Nile Basin. Unlike previous confrontations, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have joined hands and made encouraging move that sets the way for mutual benefits.
The technical ministerial level discussions, Nile Basin Leaders deliberations, among others, could be cited here.
Since GERD inception, the cooperation has garnered new mementum. The hard negotiated River Nile Cooperative Framework of Agreement has been ratiffied by seven signatories. The parliaments of three of the signatories –Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania—have already passed the document.
But, unless three more countries follow suit and deposit the ratifying instrument with the African Union, the Framework cannot come to effect. It goes without saying that establishing a legal framework and common institution is useful to all riparian countries.
As friends and co-riparian countries, and having negotiated for over ten years, the signatory countries can encourage one another to move forward on the ratification of CFA instrument. Indeed they can update one another on the progress of ratification in their respective countries.
Most riparian countries have committed themselves in signing the CFA to benefit the 400 million people living in the basin system through nullifying the old-fashioned water allocation system which was based on principle of absolute territorial integrity, where downstream countries discouraged any upstream developmental feats which use the waters of the Nile.
This commitment materializes when Burundi, Kenya and Uganda complete the ratification procedure by effecting the agreed political commitment.
The document was negotiated and agreed upon to establish trust, promote greater cooperation and enhance sustainable use of the Nile waters within each country as well as among the countries in such a way that the utilization of the water resources is in keeping with the principles and procedures provided in the agreement.
In using the waters, basin states are required: to consider the social and economic needs of parties (CFA, Art.4 (2)b), and the population dependent on the water resources in each basin state— as well as effects of uses or use of the water resources in one Basin State on other Basin state (CFA, Art.4 (2)d).
Besides, Article 4(4) has it that the determination of reasonable and equitable use would be considered together (by signatory parties), while parties would observe the rules and regulations the Commission sets.
As Non-cooperation harms downstream countries more than it does to upper ones, it is high time for Egyptians to expediate cooperation than ever before.
Ethiopia and Ethiopians are on the right track of development. And this development is a matter of survival. Hence, the move would not, by any means, be backpedaled. This move is, of course, witout posing significant harm to the basin states, but with intentions to bring about significant benefits to them—as has been scientifically proven.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
Whenever “Yekatit 23” comes, that is Corresponding to March 2nd, there is a feeling of pride and dignity among Ethiopians as we celebrate the famous victory. This year it is the 122nd anniversary that we are marking and its significance and implications on the subsequent history of our country and people cannot be overstated. We need to study so many aspects of that famous chapter of our modern history and so many revelations still await us. The French say even after so many books have been written on Napoleone Bonaparte, (d 1821) they are still studying the life and times of this famous leader!
Adwa was a threshold in the long history of our country, and in a way it was a watershed even in the history of the struggle of peoples for dignity and sovereignty. Not many facets of the battle were researched well yet, and there are so many dark details.
The issue that I want to raise here is ‘how much does the current generation of youths know about ‘Adwa’, the historical premises, the background, the preparation, the battle and the aftermath. We also need to know the various repercussions of the battle, at the local level, at the regional level, as well as at the international level, above all in the context of the fight for self-determination. We need to study it from various perspectives.
Those were the years of attempt by colonialists to conquer the African beaches and try and amass resources. Those were the years of expansion by Europe. Those were the years of power struggle in Europe among the various countries. Ethiopia was a country that had a long history of internal battles but at the same time it also had its share of resistance struggles against foreign aggression. Egyptians, Sudanese, Ottoman Turks, Portuguese and various other forces tried to influence if not subdue and dominate Ethiopia. It was the days of the aftermath of the efforts of kings Tewodros and then Yohannes who were engaged in consolidating their power and creating a modern day country. Instabilities abounded as internal security issues were rife while the exposure to alien aggression was real.
In fact the previous two rulers of the country, Tewodros and Yohannes both found their death trying to come to terms with the safety and security of their land and peoples. They were martyrs. Menelik had the huge heredity of conserving the sovereignty and dignity of the people and territory of the country. He had to face internal problems and issues while at the same time he had to deal with the external threats. He had his advisors both from the local chiefs as well as his foreign friends. He was a rather enlightened and open king who unlike many of his predecessors was ready to adopt more modern inventions and lead his people by example.
When he was trying to open up his country to positive foreign influence, he had to confront the expansionist schemes of Italy. In his anxiety to foster good relations with many European powers, he left his doors open for negotiations and pacts, but one of those fixed with Italy was bound to be the ‘seed of contention’ and eventually the immediate cause of conflict. The interpretation of the famous Treaty of Wuchale, as it was to be known in history, was the cause. Article 17 states Ethiopia’s relations with foreign countries will be determined by Italy. But this was not a true reflection of the Amharic version which was presented to the Emperor. Ethiopia’s sovereignty of choice is intact whether to consult or not with any power. The Italian version was made to imply Ethiopia as a ‘protectorate’ of Italy.
Ethiopians have always valued as priority number one their sovereignty, their independence and their freedom. They never bargained nor compromised over these values. They were ready to live for these values as were equally ready to die for them. The long history of Ethiopia is testimony to this fact. The dictums and proverbs of the land all witness to this particular trait. ‘No compromise on one’s wife, no compromise on one’s country!’
Menelik understood that dragging the country to war against the Italians would present an enormous challenge. He tried to use all his diplomatic channels and skills to avoid catastrophe. But the late comers to ‘the scramble for Africa’, the self proclaimed European power of Italy wanted by all means to imitate what other European powers such as England and France had done. The pretext of the interpretation of the Treaty of Wuchale was for them good enough for expansion.
Italy however did not calculate that Ethiopia was not a ‘soft target’ for any one and it did not anticipate what was to follow. Hence, it mounted a military campaign planning to expand its governorate from the northern shores of the Red Sea to the internal plateau. Already, they had their stronghold in Somalia and Eritrea and they thought they would have easy conquest in Ethiopia. It never dawned on them that they could face a set back. Menelik gave them the time to reflect and make changes in their foreign policy, but they considered it an insult, and insisted with their adventure.
Hence, Menelik had no choice but to tell the truth to his people and alert them. He declared the preparation for the war. It was a huge effort, unprecedented in the history of the country; and the way the emperor and his entourage handled the entire preparation was later to result a masterpiece. For a country with the level of Ethiopia, to meticulously prepare for war and then wage it against a highly superior, better trained and mechanized army at a place very distant from his capital city, was a big deal. It was later to be recorded as an immortal victory shining for generations to come.
On the other hand, the kind of defeat Italy had to succumb to was never to be forgotten. It heralded the victory of a black people over whites. It was the pride and inspiration of the downtrodden people of the world, a victory for all those who resisted any form of domination of a people over others.
Indeed, Adwa changed perspectives, Adwa changed mentalities. History was never to be the same as in the pre-Adwa days. Menelik had changed the history of the world, the history of Ethiopia and the history of the people of African origin. What was considered inconceivable in pre-Adwa days was refuted. That is why Adwa is considered as ‘the pride of Africa’, the pride of the black people of the world.
The fact that this historical episode is one that belongs to Africa has given birth to the idea of a University to be built at Adwa bearing the name of the battle. There it would carry out all sorts of researches that has to do with the battle and other related issues and as a continental university with exceptional academic staff, it would help better appreciate the story by all Africans.
As part and parcel of inter-generational relay of patriotism, contemporary Ethiopians have secured victories over poverty and backwardness over the last two decades. Yet, they have intensified all-out offensives to make sure the enemies would not resurge.
Past generations of Ethiopians crashed colonialism on the heels. Their united maneuvering performed at the mountains of Adwa back on March 1, 1896, and the ensuing victory of Ethiopians had emboldened the entire black people’s fight against the yoke of all forms of oppression.
The opressor’s propaganda as the “whitemen’s burden” in civilizing and Christianizing non-whites, as its moral, religious and intellectual justification as well as forging commercial ties with Africans for political, constitutional and administrative reasons had huge psychological impact on Africans—weakening any attempt of rebellion at its early stages.
The oppressed, who were forced to accept its cultural inferiority, had no option than subjugating to whitemen’s “superior culture”. This does not mean they did not do anything at all to unshackle the yoke. Samory Toure in West Africa resisted the French colonialists until he was eventually captured in the late 19th Century; the Maji Maji revolt in early 20th Century against German colonial rule in German East Africa are few cases in point in this regard. But, it was Ethiopians, under the strong leadership of Atse Menelik II, that successfully overcome colonial power which armed itself to the teeth.
In the same vein, contemporary Ethiopians’ accomplishment on the cut-throat war against poverty and backwardness is also on a par to past generation’s victory—the latter had inherited freedom, and the former has been working round the clock to hand down prosperity to posterity.
The gains are so conspicuous to anyone. Millions of youths have created jobs to themselves and to others due to the sound economic policies. More than a quarter of the society has also been enrolled in schools. Health care services are made accessible to both rural and urban communities. What is more, Ethiopia has become anchor investors’ prime destinations due to the adequacy of infrastructural facilities, among others.
Present generation’s achievements has also made Ethiopia to play a lead-goose role in Africa in the socio-economic development sphere
These achievements have also benefited neighbouring countries and beyond. The continued efforts in energy development front helped Sudan and Djibouti to import 759.52 GWh and 492.05 GWh respectively only in 2016/17. More countries will as well take such opportunity when the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), with installed generation capacity of 6450 MW, comes to completion.
The economic boom in Ethiopia has also connected major markets in the Horn of Africa. The 3.4 billion USD Ethio-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway, the concrete asphalt roads already open to traffic and those under construction to the southern, eastern and western Ethiopian neighbors as well as the over 100 flights of Ethiopian to the five continents, connecting Africa to the rest of the world, are just to mention but a few.
Moreover, Ethiopia has also been reliable international peace partner. Its troops make up the largest contingent in the history of peacekeeping.
Emulating the best from its history, Ethiopia would further ignite the ongoing socio-economic development.
History’s purpose is to take lessons from the past, make sense of our world and know what to value and what to avoid, as many could agree. The grand values of Ethiopians of that generation-unity, patriotism and endurance-should further be studied and owned. Of course, the people have been proving their dedication on the construction of GERD. Ethiopians from all walks of life have been contributing in cash and in kind to the construction of GERD as their forefathers and mothers in sync fought and defeat the aggressor.
The Victory of Adwa is yet little studied. Further studies should be conducted by research institutions, universities and the like to take as many lessons as possible out of it. The victory has embraced lots of knowledge about Ethiopians that should be deciphered by empirical studies, and employed to sustain the gains made so far.
To this end, the Adwa University of Pan-Africanism and Yisma Nigus Research Institute would play a game-changing role in generating emperical knowledge on the overall lessons that should be taken.
ADWA- A three-year Adwa mountains and victory tourism project was launched here in Adwa town in a bid to promote the historic victory and develop touristic site of the town.
The 250 million Birr project initiated by Tigray Tourism and Culture Bureau is also part of the ongoing seven components of the state’s tourism project.
The project will have various tourism products under the capacity building and development promotion and conservation, burial sites and battle ground conservation, project coordinator Teklebrhan Legesse said.
News innovative tourism products including trekking, mountain climbing, Amphitheater, and hot air balloon, cable car will be parts of the projects.
Currently the town, which is home to various historical and cultural heritages, is hosting little number of tourists, he said, adding that the new project, up on completion, will help the town to host increased number of visitors from around the world.
Resource mobilization is also required both from the community and government for the successful implementation of the project.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT
Art in all its forms has a power to reflect people's identity and value systems. Art is not only restricted to promote cultural values. It also portrays political system and level of tolerance among a society.
In times where the Aksumite and Gondarine civilizations had been at their peaks, art was one of the tools used to show Ethiopia's might to the world.
What is more, the political system of a given time could be deciphered by analyzing the art products of a society.
Abebaw Ayalew is a historian and lecturer at Addis Ababa Universty, Ale School of Fine arts and Design (Ale). To him, Ethiopian artistic works are not only the reflection of our identity and source of tourist attraction, they had also been an instrument for political ideologies.
Every nation has its own culture and symbol that reflects its socio-political values. Ethiopia is not different from this. And this has been reflected through artistic works. The visual art is a good example in this regard.
“During the imperial times, the elite had a great value for art. In the 1950s and 60s, painting was at its height in Ethiopia. For this reason, visual art had been entertained in different forms and styles. In the times where Derg took control of the political office, the situation was reversed. Censorship and the then socialism principles had forced artists to focus on the political ideology rather than artistic values.”
Painters who have specialized in abstract painting style caught the attention of politicians, and their works had been interpreted in different forms. The then system had forced almost all artists to focus on socialism and its ideology. This had forced most artists to give up their passion or to leave their country, he argues.
Abebaw says that currently there is a relative liberalism in visual art. But the problem is, most paintings are more of focused on the western painting style instead of the traditional one. They are also market-led. “They paint, having in mind to sell the products, to foreign communities, diplomats or artists.”
Ethiopian traditional paintings, architectural works and others are magnificent and unique by their nature, he says recommending as the trend should be reversed.
Eyayu Genet, visual artist and lecturer at Bahirdar University, believes that all forms of arts have power to reflect one's identity and the value system of the country.
In this regard, visual arts has a power to reflect one's national feeling in the form of nationalism. If we properly use it, art can be an instrument to promote peace and tolerance. However, if artistic view is blurred [and market-oriented], it could also be source of conflict for it will be interpreted into different forms, he indicates.
According to Eyayu, nationalism can be reflected in artistic works. Visual art is one way. If a particular artist is engaged in artistic works that appreciate a certain groups at the expense of others, it may have an adverse effect on the peace and tolerance of that country.
Once, there was a trend to reflect one's nationalism in the form of physical features of a particular place instead of focusing the people as a whole.
For instance, during Derg regime, there were several artists who reflected their nationalistic view in their works.
Associate Professor Berhanu Ashagre at Ale also agrees with the principle that visual art can be used as instrument to reflect one's identity and political ideology for a particular system.
In most developed countries art comes first before their political, economic or social values. This is because of the reason that art has a power to direct their soico-political and economic life.
He believes that if it is properly used, it gives the opportunity to improve people's lives. There are several talented Ethiopian artists with a power to draw paintings that further promote peace and tolerance.
It as well will be used to constructively critique the socio-economic and political development , he notes, concluding as pertinent stakeholders need to work hand-in-glove to mushroom the fine arts field of study and make it contribute its share to the country.
BY LEULSEGED WORKU
ADDIS ABABA - Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Meles Alem said that Ethiopia becomes preferable foreign investors’ destinations.
In his weekly briefing, Spokesperson Meles emphasized that the entrance of new anchor investors is ascribable to the country’s successful economic diplomacy in the fiscal year. “72 anchor investors from abroad held pre-investment tour in the country and are on pre-investment implementation,” he added.
Agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, automotive industry, electric power generation, pharmaceuticals, mining, construction, service sectors, among others, are the leading sectors that the investors are joining, according to him.
Anchor investors are those with a registered capital ranging from 500 million to one billion USD, he said.
It is assured that a total of 158 overseas anchor investors are licensed and joined investment in the country within the past six months in which 99 are Asian and Indonesian, 23 European, 12 Middle East, 13 African and 12 US, he noted.
Accordingly, the business-to-business (B2B) forums, trade fairs, tourism exhibition and promotions as well as tourist familiarization trip and engineering and infrastructural technology exchange has played the dominant role in the country’s success in investment.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
The national celebration of 122nd Adwa Victory being held today ought to serve to renew commitment in keeping the ongoing economic growth momentum and the regional economic integration endeavors, comment experts.
As forefathers and foremothers pioneered black peoples’ defiance against oppression, present generation’s economic gains has been contributing hugely in expediting the attainment of regional and continental economic integration in Africa, they agree. Initiatives like Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), Cross Boarder Railways Linkages like Ethio-Djibouti and other modes of transportation are decisive in Africa’s economic integration, says Global Chairman of Fairfax Africa Fund and economic analyst Zemedeneh Nigatu.
He cited two practical and realistic approaches that indicate Ethiopia’s dedication in enhancing the Africa’s economic integration. “The first is its prominent airlines’ wings stretched across the world and the second is energy export.”
“Ethiopian is the best example of how you can achieve success across Africa by integrating [opening up] the aviation sector,” he adds.
It provides very affordable and quality airlines services to millions of Africa almost in all countries.
Besides, Ethiopia is currently exporting electricity to several neighboring countries, he points out, and adding that it has also plans to export electricity to North Africa, South Africa and the Middle East in the future.
Ethiopia can produce electricity at natural cost [natural reliably] than other countries could do that. Therefore, it can help contribute more to the economic activities [growth] of the broader African countries, according to him.
“These are the kind of examples we should look for to promote the idea of Africa’s economic integration and demonstrate very clearly the viability and the reason of African integration,” he says.
Again from the economic integration’s perspective, the aviation sector and mutual electrification are the best portrayals of the benefit of economic integration, he emphasizes.
Beyond the economic integration, Ethiopia’s contribution is meaningful as it facilitates dialogues among African countries’ leaders, he underlines, mentioning the biggest pan-African conferences it has been hosting successfully.
But, he did not shy away from mentioning that Africa’s economic integration at the moment is very low. “If you look inter-African trade it is less than 15%, while it is more than 60 percent in the EU.
This calls for the need for increasing intra-African trade; that means modernizing cross-boarder communication and investment infrastructural facilities, devising sound policies, putting in place innovative ways like SAATM, among others, are vital.
Africa one of the biggest market in the world needs to trade each other because the rest of the world is getting stronger due to integration, he notes.
For his part, Addis Ababa University (AAU) Professor of Public Policy, Dr. Constantinos Bruhtesfa, emphasizes that Ethiopia is among the leading country struggling for the realization of African's vision of integration.
The road infrastructures extended to major markets in the Horn region, the power interconnections and the Ethio-Djibouti Raily way and the air line’s networks are just to mention few, he adds.
He further goes to say that when the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) comes to operation, it will bring a paradigm shift not only to Ethiopia's power utility but also increases the country's capacity of exporting power to neighboring countries and beyond.
Ethiopia always stands firm for inclusive growth and regional economic integration, he stresses.
Currently, Ethiopia exports power to Sudan and Djibouti while it is on the way to export power to Kenya, Tanzania and other East African countries, he reiterates.
“But, transport interconnections and power exportation are not enough to realize economic integration. At this time and age of globalization, industrial products are highly attributable towards strengthening integration”
He is also confident in that the industrial parks in Ethiopia will be potential catalysts to regional and continental integration in this regard.
In addition to the energy, and transportation infrastructure Ethiopia has established in the region, the current move in modernizing the private sector and attracting more foreign direct investment flexes the industrial muscle and ushers the country in the export of industrial goods as well, he hints.
BY TEWODROS KASSA