While the Ethiopian government’s repeated calls for dialogue failed to get positive response from the regime in Asmara, concerned citizens of the two countries have recently initiated a new movement under the name ‘Peace Song for Ethio-Eritrea’ and they hope to normalize the situation.
Following the end of Ethio-Eritrean war almost two decades ago, the contact between the peoples of the two countries who share common culture, language and history, was restricted. This is despite the repeated calls by the government of Ethiopia for dialogue.
Mentioning Eritreans across the globe want to have a legally recognized and independent committee that represents Eritreans in Ethiopia, Isaac Yosief, Acting Chairperson of the Eritrean Committee tells The Ethiopian Herald that because of the new movement, the awareness and attitude of the people on both sides is growing and changing for the better.
The Acting Chairperson also states that considerable progress have been registered in this regard following the efforts exerted so far, though a lot remains to be done.
Abraham Gebrelibanos, an Ethiopian Committee member and owner of Celebrity Events that organizes the movement says there were three pillars which are preconditions to determine the survival, sustainability and success or failure of such movements.
He advises that the Committee should include scholars and knowledgeable individuals from both sides. It also needs to look for neutral parties that can sponsor and cover the movement’s expenses.
Abraham further elaborates that such a movement has to be granted permission from the country it operates in. “So that the movement becomes successful in this regard as it would make it easy to reach agreements to cover its financial needs.”
He also notes that two successful discussion forums, where scholars, opposition parties and other influential figures from both sides took part, have been organized so far.
The discussion on peace where over 500 Eritreans took part and various issues raised freely is the other success story, as Abraham further indicates.
According to Isaac and Abraham, the government of Ethiopia has given them permission to organize such meetings, discussions, and forums.
“The major thing that the peoples of the respective countries could teach us within the movement over the last five months is an indicator of their desire for peace. In other words, the movement has already become a public project,” Isaac notes.
The Committee has called on all pertinent and concerned organs like Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies of Ethiopia to seriously consider the movement which is heading towards getting legal permission, Isaac underlines.
The Eritrean committee is acting under the permission of Celebrity Events for it is not yet granted the green light from the concerned ministry and other institutions, Isaac points out.
“If the Eritrean Committee had been given the necessary legal permission, it could have been able to mobilize all Eritreans across the globe through various mechanisms.” he reiterates.
However, says Isaac, the destructive role few forces from both sides in hindering the project should not be, at the same time, underestimated. The people of the respective countries should be aware of such forces and need to be part of the constructive movement.
Having expressed their hopes that the Ethiopian government would consider their case as the status quo of the country is now getting back to normalcy, they also expressed the Committee’s hope that there is another promising move that the outlook of almost all Eritreans is now being totally changed.
“Previously, Eritreans used to see such movements with suspicious eyes. But, these days, they are showing interest as they have understood the project’s ultimate objectives, ” Isaac highlighted.
It was also learnt from the Committee that there is no such a movement in Eritrea.
“We did not take the case to Eritrea thus far for we have to, first finalize everything here in Ethiopia before we move to Eritrea,” they underline.
The Committee requested the Ethiopian government to create conducive environment that enables Eritreans obtain visa, along with other preconditions, to let them enter Ethiopia for purposes related to the movement.
They also called on ARRA to do all its best to facilitate the process by taking Eritrean cases to the concerned government organs on their behalf.
Haileselassie Gebremariam, Legal Services and Refugee Status Determination Unit Leader at ARRA, says that no case with such request has been brought to ARRA before.
The Ethiopian Herald has made repeated efforts to incorporate Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ say on the issue through telephone, but failed to do so.
The Committee members also heightened that there are destructive attitudes reflected by few individuals against the movement particularly connecting it with the crisis in Ethiopia in the recent times.
“But the dream of the movement is to see sovereign Eritrea and Ethiopia which are strategic partners politically, economically, socially through adopting a win-win approach.”
Hence, misconceptions on the movement should be corrected. “The same is true that the two governments should know that this is not to make one party beneficiary and the other one benefactor,” they stress.
It is recalled that Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed has called on the Eritrean government to resume dialogue for peace during his acceptance speech at Parliament.
BY SHUSHAY ADANE
ADDIS ABABA— Ministry of Mines, Natural Gas and Petroleum disclosed that the recently discovered natural gas in the Ogaden basin of Ethio- Somali State would enable the country to secure one billion USD in the first year of operation.
The Chinese firm Poly-GCL discovered 7-8 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas in Ogaden fields and the volume and quality of the gas asserted to be economically feasible, Minister Motuma Mekassa told The Ethiopian Herald.
The Minster noted that gas processing is a very expensive business to carry out locally and agreement was reached with the Chinese company to install a pipeline and transport the gas to Djibouti.
Motuma further stated that the firm would also build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in the Port of Djibouti to process the natural gas and export it to China.
He said: “We are expecting a one billion USD revenue from gas export in the first year of operation and anticipating the figure would rise in the subsequent years due to the huge reserve.’’
The Minister indicated that there is an ongoing negotiation between Poly-GCL and Djibouti’s government in the construction of the pipeline and liquefied gas plant and the government of Ethiopia is persuading the two parties to reach the final deal.
Motuma, however, said the discovered natural gas is not fully meant to export, and it would provide sufficient supply to domestic consumption. He pointed out that the Morocco-based OCP Company, which plans to establish factory in Dire-Dawa, aims to use the gas. The gas discovery is a great phenomenon which is expected to make a meaningful contribution in sustaining country’s rapid economic growth in years to come, the Minister stated.
“Ethiopia has witnessed non-oil driven economic growth over the past decade and plus years and the discovered gas is essential in diversifying the economy and enlarging natural resources contribution to the Gross Domestic Product,’’ he explained.
According to the World Bank report, Ethiopia set a target to increase the current a 1.5 percent share of natural resources to the GDP to 10 percent by2025.
Apart from POLY-GCL, four foreign firms engaged in gas exploration in the Ogaden basin and a company known as New Age recently discovered 1.2 to 1.4 TCF of natural gas reserve in the area.
Ethiopia’s natural gas prospect is not limited in Ogaden region and extensive exploration activities are carried out by local and foreign companies in the Rift Valley areas, Gambela, Afar and Amhara states, the Minister noted.
In Ethiopia, a U.S. company Tenneco pioneered the discovery of gas in 1972 in Ogaden basin and the Soviet Petroleum Exploration and Expedition made exploration activities during the reign of the Marxist government.
BY BILAL DERSO
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) said that Ethiopia has gained success in attracting sizable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the past decade and plus years.
The priority given to expand infrastructural facilities and the extensive investment promotion activities have enabled the country to lure significant investments, EIC Commissioner Fistum Arega told The Ethiopian Herald.
The Commissioner noted that last year Ethiopia received a ‘Star Reformer Award’ from the World Bank Group for the outstanding performance it has witnessed in formulating and executing a viable FDI policy.
Similarly, the country won the ‘2017 United Nations Award’ for remarkable performance in targeted promotion, facilitation and execution of sustainable investment projects.
According to Fistum, expansion of infrastructural facilities and most importantly, the ongoing industrial parks development play key role in the success Ethiopia has gained in attracting FDI.
The Commissioner said that the past unrest in parts of the country has not caused serious impact on FDI flow and substantial investment projects becoming operational during the State of Emergency.
Fistum said: “Per the decision made by Office of the Prime Minister, the government would give compensation and offer a tax exemption privileges for those whose properties were damaged and looted recently.’’
EIC is working closely with pertinent stakeholders to render the support that is needed to enable the factories start operation and to fully protect the properties, he added.
Fistum noted that the Commission is partnering with Investment Board to improve retention policy that would ease conditions for investors access foreign currency and encourage export-based companies.
Investors need to strive to secure additional foreign currency by increasing volume of exports and enable the country save foreign currency by substituting imported materials by local products, the Commissioner noted.
Flow of FDI in Ethiopia has witnessed a five-fold increment from 814 million USD in the 2007/8 fiscal year to 4.2 billion USD in the past budget year, it was learnt.
BY BETELHEM BEDLU
ADDIS ABABA- Flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has significantly surpassed the plan set for the first half of the second Growth and Transformation Plan period, Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) disclosed.
EIC Public Relations Director Mekonnen Hailu told The Ethiopian Herald that the performance in attracting FDI in the past two and half fiscal years exceeded the national plan by over 2.52 billion USD.
The Director revealed that foreign investments worth 9.67 billion USD have been operational in the first half of GTP II, excelling the planned 7.15 billion USD.
2015/16 was a high performing year for the EIC in that foreign companies with aggregate capital of 3.27 billion USD became operational, way outpacing the Commission’s plan of 1.7 billion USD. By the same token, additional one billion USD was obtained on top of the 3.2 billion USD FDI plan set for the past fiscal year.
Mekonnen noted that Ethiopia has also witnessed substantial investment in the first half of the current fiscal year and projects with aggregate capital of 2.2 billion USD becoming operational. The performance has excelled that of last year same period by 22 percent.
He said: “During the first half of GTP II, foreign companies primarily involved in the manufacturing sector, particularly, in labor intensive projects such as textile, leather and pharmaceuticals followed by agriculture,”
Looking at the trend, Asian countries had the lion's share in Ethiopia’s investment undertakings, but now the situation is changed, and US and European investments have become nearly equivalent with their Asian counterparts. Currently, China, India and Netherlands are the top foreign investors in Ethiopia.
According to the Director, government’s huge engagement to promote country’s wider investment opportunities among potential stakeholders, and the various policy amendments have been playing a pivotal role in luring FDI.
He said: “The government has been undertaking massive infrastructural development, and the aggressive establishments and expansions of industrial parks have also created favorable conditions for foreign companies in the priority manufacturing sector.’’
The current administration has also been paying due attention to attract foreign companies by providing export incentives, customs duty exemption, income tax holidays, and offering land in competitive lease price for those engage in the key sectors.
Mekonnen also noted that preferential trade agreements like African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Everything but Arms (EBA) and others have enabled Ethiopia to access North American and European markets, thereby encouraging foreign companies to seize country’s untapped investment opportunities.
Furthermore, the Commission is closely working with pertinent stakeholders, including Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to lure anchor companies to Ethiopia’s economy.
The ample attention the government attaches to foreign investment and the growing presence of flagship companies in Ethiopia’s market coupled with country’s rising status as place of investment are expected to sustain the huge influx of FDI in years to come, the Director predicated.
BY BILAL DERSO
ADDIS ABABA- The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) said it has been executing praiseworthy activities in providing humanitarian and emergency supports throughout the country.
While briefing journalists yesterday, ERCS Board President Dr. Ahmed Reja said that the Association has carried out successful activates in benefiting over one million people during January 2017 to March 2018.
Dr. Ahmed noted that the Association has been providing supplementary food and non-food items, focusing on particularly children under five years, and lactating and pregnant women in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, Ethiopian Somali and SNNPR states.The Society has reportedly mobilized resources worth 7.57 million USD in the first quarter of 2018 to provide humanitarian assistance.
Furthermore, additional 223,635 peoples in the Afar, Oromia, Gambela and SNNPR states are benefiting from distribution of shelter and non-food items.
Meanwhile over 479,000 people in the Oromia, Ethiopian Somali and SNNPR states benefited from Wash Intervention Programs and Emergency Health Service provided to over 72,000 people in the states.
It was indicated that a total 326,755 USD was disbursed to support over 95,000 beneficiaries in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
Dr. Ahmed noted that the Society is engaged in various income generation activities to supplement the construction of its future headquarters and equip its services with modern ambulances and medicines, among others.
ERCS is also effectively utilized government subsidies and the support it has gained from fellow international humanitarian organizations, he added.
The President further pointed out that the future 30-storey headquarters is expected to play a meaningful role in enabling the Society to self-funded humanitarian activities and enhancing its operational capabilities.
Association Secretary General Frehiwot Worku said on her part that ERCS has been playing a pivotal role in providing humanitarian support and sheltering thousands of people displaced from their home in East Hararghe Zone of Oromia State.
BY TAMERU REGASA
Ethiopians last week came to know their long awaited Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, who is elected in peaceful and democratic manner.
They have built up optimistic expectations on their new Premier to bring real change and transformation in all economic, social and political aspects.
Their optimism is greatly relied on the belief that he would sustain peace and security, ensure the protection of democratic rights, widen up the political space, stamp out corruption, and create national consensus, among others. And, hence, he addresses the major sources of the public’s grievances that led to unrest in some parts of the country.
These are of course among the priority areas included in the Prime Minister’s acceptance speech, as his cabinet’s focus of attention. That is why he boldly asserted that these issues are of paramount importance to nation's renaissance.
Apparently, these lofty tasks and aspiration cannot be translated into reality by the sole efforts of the premier and his cabinet. Rather, they would be realized by the concerted efforts of all Ethiopians including Diasporas, scholars, political parties and the likes, who are eager to see a strong and united country where long lasting peace and security and inclusive development are maintained.
As it is understood, since the past two years, street protests and unrests have been observed in some parts of the country. Consequently, the incidences brought about undesirable consequences, greatly harming the country’s economic development. Any Ethiopian, with a real sense of mind, would never allow these hazards to continue. In essence of this, hence, this moment is a critical time for all of us.
In this regard, we all should stand together by the side of the new Prime Minister and make concrete efforts in order to prevent further crises.
Most importantly, we have to understand that we Ethiopians have a long lasting tradition of resolving conflicts by ourselves. We also firmly believe that no external body can do that for us.
Thus, we have to join hands and work together for this same end –to build a country that we all aspire to see while at the same time accommodating and accepting our diversity and differences.
When we stand together, our differences will be minimal and infinitesimal and we would be strong. To the contrary, when we divide, our differences mound as high as mountain and we fall apart. There is no need to rationalize as this is what our history tells us time and again.
Hence, we should work together to restore nation’s past glory putting aside our differences and division, and joining hands. For the past two decades, we have been toiling to get rid of poverty and backwardness. And we have witnessed a tremendous achievement, i.e successive economic growth. We have lifted millions out of poverty, improved access to health and education both in rural and urban areas, and reduced maternal mortality. We also have gone beyond and promoted regional economic integration with our neighbors in the Horn. We can mention a lot of case stories that demonstrate the fact that we are in the right track and started to enjoy the fruits of our toil. Why should we ruin it then?
Such a bold, courageous and wise move among all will irrefutably put our country where we aspire to reach. And hence, we should carry on with our ambitious pursuits through supporting the aspirations of the Premier in unison.
Ever since the declaration of the Athenian democracy around the fifth century BC, the term has always been used in global lexicon in some way or the other. Regrettably enough, the word has continued to be used and abused since then. In class societies, democracy was used as a window dressing to appease those who are at the lower echelon of the socio-economic ladder. Wars, civil strife and colonial aggressions were perpetrated by those who paused to own the last word on democracy. Although democracy is a natural human attribute and is not dished out at the whims and desires of governments, the world has remained economically polarized thanks to those countries that claim to be the originators of democracy.
In his recent inaugural speech at the House of Peoples Representatives, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that:
“We Ethiopians need and also deserve democracy. Democracy is not for us an alien idea. When it was foreign to many peoples and countries, we lived under and governed by our democratic Gadaa system becoming an example on to the world. Today, for us building democracy is an existential matter—than it is to any other country.”
The word democracy and its different usages is mentioned 16 times in the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s ( EFDRE) constitution and this was not a matter of semantics but indicates to what extent the word is repeatedly used to provided additional expression to the full rights of citizens mentioned in the federal constitution. For all Ethiopians therefore, “democracy is not a matter of choice but of survival” as the former prime minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegene had put it.
Where ever it is applied, democracy is recognized in the context of the rule of law. This was specifically stressed in the prime minister’s speech.
“… the democracy that we yearn for cannot become a reality. In democratic governance, the supremacy of the law needs to be established. One wisdom that we need not forget while trying to ensure the supremacy of the law is that our people are not looking simply for the presence of laws but also the realization of justice.”
It is very difficult to build a democratic order in this country without addressing poverty and providing the necessary economic basis for a democratic order.
Democracy cannot be achieved in an economically polarized society. The premier had this to say:
“It is impossible for a people and a country that is busy taking away a wealth that was created yesterday from another and settling scores to move forward. In situation where there is a bigger pie where everyone can work and become prosperous, Ethiopia will not become one in which one thinks, let alone be obliged, to steal from another. Rather, let us busy ourselves with utilizing the unique opportunities presented to us by the circumstances, coordinating our national capacity, and overcoming our scarcity and shortage mindset.”
Democracy has therefore a lot to do with equity in every aspect of social life. On the other hand, anarchism and taking the law into ones hand is totally incompatible with the quest for democracy. While the philosophical and super structural context of democracy is vested in the human rights of mankind and the economic bases. destroying what is already available without building on what is already secured.
On the other hand democracy, the rule of law and the separation of powers have a clear dialectical linkage. The separation of powers in the Ethiopian context has two dimensions. First it is the separation of power between the three branches of the state including the legislature, the judiciary and the executive body of the government as indicated in the current Ethiopian constitution. However, equally important is the separation of the functions of the government and the ruling party.
Although the constitution provides that the part that won elections would take up the responsibility of forming a government, the scope of responsibility of a government and the ruling party differ in the level and type of accountability.
The demarcation of state and party functions is in effect one of the pillars of democracy. This is particularly important in a multi-party system like that of Ethiopia.
Democracy is the expression of the will of the electorate and that party that wins the election and it plays a leading and guiding role while executing the daily duties of the government in the realm of the bureaucratic nomenclature of government structure.
Party programs, rules and regulations including party discipline differ from that of the government. Government in an ideal democracy is meritocratic but when party leaders swing like a pendulum between their government and party roles, they need to skillfully shift their responsblties depending on the immediate roles they are required to play.
The democracy that could prevail in Ethiopia needs to take into account the multi-faceted needs of the public which also includes the needs, values, interests and attitude of the public.
Democracy as stated earlier presumes accountability. Democracy is not a system that provides everything and immediately on a clean plate. It requires active participation of all and rectification of any tendency that is against public interests.
The establishment of a new political order in Ethiopia presupposes putting in place an inclusive political system that has enough space for the parties, government bodies, civil society organizations, professional associations, trade unions, religious affiliated organizations with specific missions. This would help to not only widen public participation in the affairs of the political system but would also help to promote a new political culture that is based on strong unity within a difference.
Democracy in Ethiopia needs to grow in a process and the nation needs to avoid any copy paste style from neo-liberalism or other forms of protectionist nationalism. Democracy in Ethiopia needs to blend the history, cultural diversity, multiple world outlooks and ideologies of different social groups depending on their validity and relevance towards the advancement of a new democratic system in the country.
Democracy, among other things hinges on transparency in all public and private services. This would help to create a spirit of understanding between the government and the public and would also help to boost public trust and confidence on the government.
Strengthening the democratic public institutes like Human Right Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, Constitutional Inquiry Commission is of greater benefit for the promotion of democracy in the country.
It is difficult to openly conclude that the academia is fully participating in the development of democracy in Ethiopia. It is true that a number of public universities have already started to provide free legal services for poor persons who cannot litigate at the courts of law. Full participation of the academia needs to be encouraged so that democracy would be implemented in a wider scope.
The Ethiopian people are demanding for democracy but the peoples of this country need to do their part in promoting democracy because it cannot be fully provided without their direct participation.
Once again although the peoples of Ethiopia crave for democracy, they will not be able to achieve it over night. The struggle against the abusers of public fund, contraband, narrow and chauvinistic nationalism, undesirable internal clandestine networking should further get continue strengthened.
BY SOLOMON DIBABA
Broadly speaking, the mining sector could divide into three main sub sectors such as metals and precious minerals mining, coal mining and industrial minerals mining. Mining is being considered as vital for functioning of the society, and it has a considerable value to the domestic economy.
In Ethiopia’s economy, which largely dominated by agriculture, the mining sector contributed about two percent of the Gross Domestic Product in the 2016/17 fiscal year and gold has remained the major commodity in comprising 47 million USD of the total 58 million USD revenue.
Ethiopia put in place a policy framework envisions the mineral sector to be the ‘backbone’ of the industry by 2020-2023, with an increase in the contribution to the GDP from the current two percent to ten percent and a ten-fold upsurge in foreign currency earnings.
Ethiopia is endowed with huge mineral resources and it has a 2,000-year artisanal history which primarily engaged in gold exploration in the alluvial deposits of the south, west and north of the country. Alluvial gold has been mined for over half a century in the mine called Adola in Guji Zone of Oromia State and the country has a considerable gem potential in the North Wollo Zone of Amhara State which enlarges its foreign currency earnings from opal export.
Information obtained from Ministry of Mines, Natural Gas and Petroleum indicated that currently Ethiopia has one operating gold mine, the Lege Dembi Gold Mine in Guji Zone of Oromia State and owned by Midroc Gold Mine Plc. Lege Dembi has an average production capacity of 4.5 tons of gold per year and it is among the largest in Africa in terms of value production. The Company has continued its underground operation in the Lege Dembi Gold Belt and now it possessed the Sakaro gold deposit. Nearby Lege Dembi, there is the state-owned Adola Mine which has been mined over half a century and the Kenticha Mine is expanding its production capacity and comprising the lion’s share in Ethiopia’s tantalum production.
Mines, Natural Gas and Petroleum Minister Motuma Mekassa stated that Ethiopia has witnessed substantial success in the industrial mining sub sector and attract big local and foreign cement factories including Derba MIDROC and Dangote which significantly contributed in backing the blossoming construction industry apart from enhancing the linkage between the mineral sector and the rest of the economy. Commendable results have also gained in potash sub-sector and the French-based Allana Potash Company is working to reach its annual production to one million metric ton which is expected to boost the mining sector’s relation with agriculture through fertilizer provision.
Challenges and prospects of the mining sector
Despite the mining sector’s enormous potential for national economy and results it has brought in generating foreign currency and creating sizable jobs, its performance has been largely remained unsatisfactory due to contraband trade and illegal smuggling of precious metals. Furthermore, domestic companies’ participation in the large-scale mining projects is low due to financial constraints they have faced in the capital-intensive exploration phase.
According to World Bank’s study, lack of mining technical and vocational education centers, low productivity and land use conflicts are among the major factors artisanal and small-scale mining have been encountered. The study further noted that the linkage between the mining sector and Ethiopian economy is not reached at a desirable level partly due to the small size of the mining industry.
In this respect, the government and other stakeholders’ steady effort is essential to address the sector’s shortcomings and enhance the contribution of mining industry to the GDP.
The Minister stated that various policy amendments have been taking place to create a conducive environment for foreign companies and provide them with various incentives including custom fee importation of capital goods. Furthermore, the amount of money large-scale companies is expected to pay after operation (royalty fee) is five percent, among the lowest in African standards.
Concrete efforts have been made to build domestic investors capacity in the view to enhance their participation in the large-scale mining investments and the government has used its five percent ownership in mines to promote industrial policy objectives and supplement tax revenue.
According to Motuma, the government and other pertinent stakeholders’ huge engagement to promote Ethiopia’s mining potentials has brought about commendable results in encouraging companies with the desired capital and technology to taking part in country’s investment opportunities.
Moreover, laudable activities have been made by micro and small-scale enterprises to provide a substantial employment for youth, especially for those leave nearby the mining sites.
Ministry’s Public Relations and Communication Director Bacha Fuji said that Ethiopia does have the geological potential for the discovery of new and sizeable mineral deposits and promising areas are identified in the north, west and south of the country and they are geographically extensive compared to many African countries.
Exploration activities in these areas have increased over the last couple of years while they are still at a relatively modest level. The potash occurrences in the Danakil Depression in Afar State are sizeable and could support large scale production, as evident from Allana Potash’s Project, Bacha indicated.
Despite the stated successes, large scale mining projects in Ethiopia is not expanded at a desirable level and the industry is largely dominated by artisanal activities with the significant exceptions in gold and cement.
Ethiopia’s mining policy clearly stipulates the industry’s development is driven by private sector’s investment and recent attempts to privatize state-owned mines lends support to this intention. Experts in the field recommended that the government needs to consider ways to successfully coexisting its activities with the private sector.
The experts suggested that exploration investments should be supplemented by geological researches and a modern and well-functioning mining registry system is essential to attract large scale mining companies to Ethiopia. The government also needs to put a clear policy direction and formulate associated laws and regulations regarding conditions exploration and mining licenses should be granted.
They also called on companies to plan and implement projects that contribute to country’s sustainable development and the government to enhance the capacity of local professionals to seize jobs and opportunities that modern exploration and mining projects would offer.
Above all, integrated efforts of all actors in the industry is crucial to enhance mining’s contribution to the GDP and foster its relations with agriculture and manufacturing sectors in the bid to accelerate Ethiopia’s move to become a middle-income economy, the experts underscored.
BY BILAL DERSO
In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important in transforming nations’ social, economic and political platforms.
To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, engaging students and assisting them to develop their capabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is critical.
It is with this assumption that the government has given prime attention to science disciplines in its curriculum and investing more on this regard.
In line with this and as part of this activity, hence, activities are being done in Addis and in other parts of the nation by the collaborative acts of various stakeholders in the field. Among these, the Science Shared Campus that is found in Addis Ababa is the one.
Kotebe Metropolitan University Science Shared Campus Vice Principal Tibebu Belayneh recalled that the Campus, which was established three years ago by the joint partnership and support of Addis Ababa Education Bureau, Kotebe Metropolitan University and the unreserved support of Mark Gelfand Family Charitable Trust and other donor development organizations.
The Campus began teaching some 90 high performing students in science subjects drawn from schools in Yeka Sub-city. But now, over 282 high performing students drawn from all the 10 sub-cities are attending their education in the Campus, the Vice Principal said.
He further explained that Science Shared Campus is one of the STEM program components which are established with the aim of sharing science experiences to the society by taking into account the practices of developed nations like Himda’s experience in Israel.
Tibebu said that the Campus is established to fill the gaps in the instructional process for talented students on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as these areas were highly neglected in the past. And the establishment of the Campus, according to him, is a response to addressing such a gap in the area. “This activity is part of the social responsibility of the university to give service to the society on science.
Lamrot Shimeles a grade nine student at the Campus said on her part that the education it is offered by the Center at the moment is different from their previous studies. Particularly, as they are studying with top science scoring students from across Addis Ababa have enabled them share experiences and skills.
She also said that the Campus has different laboratories for subjects like Chemistry, Physics and Biology to practically see the theoretical studies they acquire in their classrooms.
She added “We desire to see such a practice realized in other schools and parts of the nation. And the government, the public and all stakes and development partners should work hand in glove to realize such a progress across the nation.”
Mentioning the various science sector transformations that the nation is going through Minister of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (MoST) Dr. Engineer Getahun Mekuria said that stakeholders at all levels need to be part of the science transformation that the nation is envisioning to realize in all areas of development.
He also said that the Ministry is keen to work closely with various stakes that are pertinent supporters of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as this is their mandate to do so.
The Minister also highlighted that there are 93 professional associations and 23 Stakeholders working in close partnership with the Ministry to realize science renaissance and transformation in the nation.
According to the information from the Ministry various grass root level works are being taken in addition to the various high level science and technology advancements that it is carried out to support various sectors with new developments. Part of this grass root level work is the work done at Burayu Gifted and Talented High school which is under construction and similar with other STEM synergy centers.
MoSt and stakes are also preparing curriculum to offer special training to talented and gifted students.
Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology, Educations Bureaus, Kotebe Science Shared Campus and active partners like Mark Gelfand Charitable trust and the public at large are highly engaging in transforming the STEM’s stream to help the nation achieve best in the area.
For this to happen and successfully deliver STEM content and skills for students, a lot of diverse conditions need to be in place These conditions include quality teachers, experiential learning, informal and extracurricular activities, viable social environments that promote STEM resources and materials, including scholarships and funding. All are important, but teacher quality stands at first.
Therefore, the government and the public at large are expected to work together jointly to cope up with the dynamic technological and highly scientific development in the world.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN