The world has been welcoming and letting go off many outstanding thinkers of different eras. Independent thinkers of ancient times, with their philosophical analysis on different universal fields of studies, have laid foundations to the current civilizations and knowledge.
However, the philosophical wisdoms of many ancient African thinkers have been left behind, unrecognized or not given the right credits by the global and even their own societies of ancient and present generations.
Zär´a Ya´aqob was one of the pioneer independent thinkers of Ethiopia in the seventeenth century. Borne to a poor farming family in 1599 near Aksum town of Tigray State , he as a youth received traditional education in poetry and scriptures. He also studied psalms and other scriptures which led him to his own investigations on God’s nature, aspects of religion and the ethics being practiced.
This would have brought him to his conscious observations of the universal concepts that he dealt with regarding God, religion and religious issues while he chose to live in solitude during the two years he spent meditating and praying for revelation in a cave near the Tekeze River.
Brendan Ritchie on his “BRIEF INTRODUCTION WITH BIBLIOGRAPHY of ETHIOPIAN PHILOSOPHY”, said Zär´a Ya´aqob wrote his short (roughly twenty-page) treatise, which was simultaneously the first autobiography and the first philosophical work in Ethiopian history.
He also said Zär´a Ya´aqob’s treatise wouldn’t give any thing new to the world but philosophically speaking, the work is inherently interesting, and deserves a place in the history of philosophy.
If the work deserves a place in the history of philosophy why would not Ritchie think Zär´a Ya´aqob’s treatise wouldn’t give anything new? It is clear to understand but difficult to illustrate.
There have been some people who would let not only themselves but also others to deny the facts that there were Africans with great wisdoms and philosophies which made great contributions to the world. Some would find it hard that there were knowledges of philosophy that had emerged before the thoughts of their own philosophers.
Disproving such thoughts, Mathias Victorien Ntep on the other hand wrote, “The Ethiopian philosopher founder of "Hatataism", the philosopher Yacob confuted in the 17th century in Africa the false rumors and slander oftentimes bandied about by some scholars, that blacks and/or people of color are essentially irrational beings, who more often than not only know how to use their brawns, how to dance, to run, to play, to sing, how to pursue witchcraft, but who can´t operate their brains and who cannot think hard. He noted, “These scholars have never fathomed out that each human, irrespective of his skin color, does have a rational as well as an irrational dimension.
He also stated that Yacob lived in the 17th century in Abyssinia – in contemporary Ethiopia. He propounded the school of thought we decently dub today “Hatataism”, deriving from his method “Hatata”, denoting thorough inquiry, analysis and investigation based on human reason alone.
Zär´a Ya´aqob and his philosophy seemed to be covered by the shadows of studies of some misinformed groups. However, speaking of this ancient Ethiopian thinker’s contribution to the world of philosophy, Claude Sumner also wrote: “*…+ MODERN PHILOSOPHY, in the sense of a personal rationalistic critical investigation, BEGAN IN ETHIOPIA with Zär´a Ya´aqob at the same time as in England and in France.” We´ll just add, Modern Philosophy and the Enlightenment reached their peak with Zera Yacob, of Ethiopia in Africa.”
In addition, Tassew Asfaw on his research on the “Contribution of Native Ethiopian Philosophers Zär´a Ya´aqob and Wolde Hiwot (student of Zär´a Ya´aqob) to Ethiopian Philosophy” explained that these philosophers have made crucial contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, Ethics, Aesthetics, and logic as well as to gender issues.
He indicated that, Zär´a Ya´aqob and Wolde Hiwot also contributed their own philosophical inquiry to ethics and aesthetics. Almost all ethical principles are included in the works of these philosophers. They agreed on the necessity of altruism, which is the belief that everyone ought as much as possible to seek the good of others, to explain their guiding principles of good personality.
Mentioning that some scholars of the west has been criticizing African philosophers never raised women’s affairs Tassew argued that, Zär´a Ya´aqob in his philosophy also tried to fight traditional thoughts that underestimate women’s capability and the view that they are considered to be the servant of men. He believed that marriage was an important order of God and it should be embraced in a way that is respectful to women as they are created with intelligence.
The treatise, even if is a small philosophical document many scholars have been analyzing erected broad details of philosophical concepts in different issues. But in order to learn the wisdoms of our ancient thinkers, we ma not need to refer to other external scholars’ recognitions or justifications. We have many thoughts to learn from our traditional education.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Two new and incredible architectural works are currently under construction in Ethiopia: the new rock-hewn churches so called ‘Second Lalibela’ and the Grand Ethiopian renaissance Dam.
What do these new projects mean for Ethiopia? What do they tell the world about Ethiopia and what they thought to the youth?
Ethiopia is a historic country and among the ancient civilizations of our planet. It is also origin of mankind, as it is home to early human ancestors like the 3.5-million-year-old fossil, Lucy. Ethiopia is home of history, both manmade and natural. It has so many historical places, monuments, rock-hewn churches, walls and architectural outcomes. The Lalibela rock-hewn churches, the Axum obelisks, Tiya stone monuments, the Harar wall and so on are among the manmade artistic works of Ethiopian hands which are now heritages of the world, UNESCO registered. Ethiopia is the only African Country with its own alphabet and non-colonized one.
But, through time, Ethiopia’s ancient civilization went on declining as some scholars called it ‘the dark age of Ethiopia’. The miracle hands of Ethiopia take weapons and the sharp minds focus on civil wars since the 15th to the end of 20th century. These five centuries were Dark Age for Ethiopia, where war, drought and famine were the demonstrations of Ethiopia.
After all the ups and downs, Ethiopia and Ethiopians stand against poverty and keep waking upward in all directions, political, social, economic and architectural sectors. Ethiopians are busy restoring the ancient civilization. The artisan hands back to their ancestors’ creativity works during the past two decades. So many achievements are being registered in all sectors. The impossibility faith has been broken. Those hands began building incredible projects and architects.
Currently, four rock-hewn Churches have been crafted from a single rock so called “second Lalibela”, replica of the 11th Century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, by a monk Abba Gebremeskel Tesema in Amhara Regional state, Gashena town of Northern Wollo Zone. Abba Gebremeskel used only traditional tools to craft and erect the rock-hewn churches since 2011. He also told to Amhara Mass Media Agency to continue building new churches.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the biggest power generating dam in Africa, also is an amazing effort of this generation under construction in Guba, Benishangul/Gumuz regional state.
The GERD with 6,450 mw power generating capacity, which costs more than 4 billion USD, is also under construction by Ethiopians without any loan or external fund. The GERD has a total water storage capacity of 74 billion cubic meters. This dam is on building by the capacity of the Ethiopian peoples.
Those new projects were unthinkable and seem impossible until recent years, but it happens now. So, can we say this generation is repeating ancestors’ history or another new golden era begins? Experts on the sector stated their opinions.
Expressing regret over local media failure to report the amazing architectural works of the “second Lalibela” rock-hewn churches on the spot Amhara State Culture and Tourism Bureau Head, Dr. Hirut Kasaw said that the Ethiopian hands which built Lalibela centuries ago have now repeated their deeds with the ‘Second Lalibela’.
“Ethiopians are naturally gifted, that gift is art” Dr. Hirut added. According to Dr.Hirut GERD and the “Second Lalibela” implies the motto “we were great and we will be” by work not by words. By practice rather than speech.
Fanta Beyene, Public and International Relations Head at Ethiopian Authority for research and Conservation of cultural Heritages, states that “the GERD is not only electric generating project but also a wonderful heritage of this generation, the ‘‘second Lalibela’’, even though it will evaluate by experts regarding its heritage in the future, the work is amazing and miraculous.”
These two projects which seem impossible and unthinkable by this generation show us that the Ethiopian hands that built Lalibela churches and Axum monuments are still alive. It is not only during the past but dignitaries are currently alive who can make Ethiopia great and powerful, he added.
Some people argue that the rock hen churches of Lalibela were not built by Ethiopians, even though they haven’t any convincing idea. But now the “Second Lalibela” is a living testimony for Ethiopia’s claims that Lalibela was built only by Ethiopian architects of that time, Dr. Hirut also share Fenta’s idea regarding Lalibela thoughts.
Hailu Abreham, Public Relation and Media Communication Director with the National Coordination Office for the Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (NCCOGERD), looked back on the long history and ancient civilization of Ethiopia, which through time descended. But, now Ethiopians stand together to eliminate the longstanding poverty and famine and currently are busy building the biggest mega project in Africa, the GERD.
“Now Ethiopians are running fast to conquer poverty. These two projects are signs and indicators that broken the impossible faith. Those are symbols that this generation can do anything on his resource and capability. They are indicators that Ethiopia is on the era of ascension and Ethiopian hands are skillful.” Hailu said.
Dr. Hirut stipulates “when we live in peace, we can do more miracles.” Fenta on his part concludes that it is impossible to compare generation with generation, every generation put his own finger print in history and these two new architects of this generation show that Ethiopian hands are artistic, skillful and can do even more.”
And Hailu conclude his idea “this generation is on fighting poverty even more than his ancestors’. By respecting and protecting ancestors’ heritages and history, the youth should be active building peace and should learn lessons from these incredible deeds.”
The “second Lalibela” was inaugurated on 24 January 2018 while the GERD, construction of which commenced on April 2, 2011, has currently reached 64% of the total progress.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
As Ethiopia kept on aspiring to sustain its fast-economic growth and increase productivity in several sectors, mainly agriculture, remaining competitive in the global market is a major issue of concern that the Nation is dealing with. In this case, maintaining a reliable National Quality System has been one of the sectors that due attention is given and the Nation is exerting level best efforts to determine, control, and guarantee that the goods and services are safe, compatible, and fit for local consumption or export.
Countries rely on their national quality system to remain competitive in the global economy, says Araya Fisseha, Director General of Ethiopian National Accreditation Office (ENAO) who spoke on a recent symposium entitled “Importance of Quality and Standards for Trade Competitiveness” at a Symposium which was held recently said that.
He also noted that the key question for developing countries is how to exploit their comparative advantage and Overcome their weaknesses to become gainers, rather than losers. in the emerging commercial and regulatory context.
Thus, quality and standards could be important concepts to consider as that are inherently linked. A standard is a technical document designed to be used as a rule, requirement, guideline or definition while quality is the degree to which the innate characteristics of a product, process, or person fulfill stated and unstated customer requirements and expectations and it complies with stated norms, regulations, and laws; or both, indicated Araya.
These explanations indisputably would lead to the status of current national quality and standards systems of the country and the government’s efforts towards the topic. Meanwhile, many agree that quality is the best concept to enhance competitiveness in international markets and standards would be the major tool that are expected to pave the way. But both need integrated efforts. There are also quality inspection, certification and training issues.
As a result, the government of Ethiopia has established a national quality system with mandated structures or sectors that are expected to function with the core values of credibility, supportiveness, accountability, transparency, partnership and participatory and continual improvement. Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise, Standards Agency and other institutions are organized and mandated to bring solutions for quality related issues and boost competitiveness in global export markets.
However, Araya indicated that due to lack of awareness and functional quality infrastructure that can help products be tested and certified through conformity assessment procedures as well as complaint with the requirements from developed market /consumers/ etc., there have been export trade inconveniences and border rejections of agricultural export goods of Spices, coffee, pulse and oilseeds.
Teke Brihane, Marketing and Corporate Communication Director at the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise (ECAE) on the other hand, told The Ethiopian Herald that quality and standards services have been improved from time to time, mentioning that the enterprise has maintained advanced global standard technologies for the services.
He noted that ECAE is currently providing quality testing service, on products of food, chemical, mechanical, textile, electric and radiation, based on the ISO/IC17025 laboratory management system. The Enterprise is also giving accredited inspection service on pulses, cereals and oil seeds.
According to him, the enterprise has been putting efforts to improve its service and built six laboratories that are equipped with the world’s latest technological outcomes. As a result, the demand driven service of the Enterprise has been improved and is increasing.
He also noted that even though there are still more home works expected to do in upscaling the capacity of the sector with integrated efforts of the enterprise and other institutions, export products, weather agricultural, food or other types, that went through the conformity assessment services of the Enterprise, have never experienced border rejections from importing countries.
Yisma Jiru Communications Affairs Director at Ethiopian Standards Agency (ESA) for his part told The Ethiopian Herald that over 12,000 goods and services have been given standards so far. In terms of inspection, Yisma noted that there are authorities, ministries and agencies who are given the mandate based on the scientific nature of the sector.
Somehow, not only exporting companies but also all Etiopian citizens are touched by standards one way or another. The Agency is mainly engaged in standards development, promotion and awareness or training initiatives and has been implementing an open and inclusive process.
Yisma Said that the service has been improving from time to time but capacity limitation, awareness gaps in terms of standards have been major challenges. Therefore, “We have prepared seven strategies in order to tackle the existing challenges. For instance, companies or manufacturers are obliged to print our standards mark on their products while selling and we are working in collaboration with the Government Purchasing Agency,”
The Agency is also expanding global trends between local producers on issues that would secure the Nation’s trade competency in international markets.
However, it is obvious that most of Ethiopian export commodities are from the agricultural sector and Araya indicated that when farming practices are compliance with standards-related requirements in targeted export markets, there would be a higher likelihood of integrating into international supply chains and attracting foreign direct investment. It would also improve productivity, quality, yield, and revenues from agricultural produce and exports.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
Relevant stakeholders should do their best to use the available opportunities in the media to work together more than ever to ensure sustainable peace and stability. Alongside optimizing their individual efforts and commitments they have to see new approaches to further extend the ongoing efforts of peace, development and justice among others.
After more than two years of sporadic unrest in parts of the country, the talk of peace has reigned in all parts of the nation: the media, individuals etc. The prevalence of peace as an agenda in the minds of all is one big success. On top of that people especially those in the conflict-ridden regions of the country have practically witnessed the agony of conflict and the real value of peace.
It is undeniable people naturally enjoy peace and detest war, conflict or chaos. But as a matter of political, social or economic incidence people may plunge in to conflict. Even though they still don’t want it they may be forced to face it mainly because of the ill causes of some members of the community.
Hence People need support so that they can conquer anti peace forces and let their interests outshine. All relevant stakeholders also need to contribute their share to enable people to seek all the peaceful means to pursue their quests with out resorting to violent means.
Government, religious institutions and other civic societies have been doing their best in empowering people to choose peaceful alternatives to violent ones. Yet they have to further bolster their endeavor to make sure that factors that push societies to conflict are addressed sustainably.
As one of the stakeholders, the role of the media should further be upheld as it is of significant and indispensable importance to ensuring peace.
As witnessed both in our country as well as other parts of the world the media can play both constructive or destructive roles in the peace and stability of a nation. If they are properly handled to carry out their role of promoting peace, they can contribute duly to the well being of the society as well as the nation.
Currently various media in the world are practicing a field called peace journalism. It aims to enhance the role of the media and journalists in promoting peace. It is a novel practice in the media of the country. Therefore, the field should be given due attention and mainstreamed in the media so as to bring about remarkable progress in peoples’ attitude towards sustaining the values of peace despite any pressure against it.
The media can play unique and special roles in that they can bring together all the relevant stakeholders and allow smooth flow of information and knowledge among them. They can create unanimity and consensus among the public, government and civil society in the value of peace and fending off any threat.
Hence by upholding the practice of peace journalism in the media in the country, stakeholders should come together to work hand in hand to realize an unbeatable peaceful situation in the country.
Congratulations to us all as citizens!
The deadlock is now broken; and broken in a delightful way. Fingers crossed, we won’t witness the day-to-day death and maiming of citizens of the last three years. One thing, we have now a leader, apparently of great consequence. However rugged the process may have been internally, the public showing of the party and parliament in the nomination of Dr Abiy for the premier position is full of civility. The new PM is received with applauses and cheers. Who would have thought so?
I am trying to rein in emotion. All the same, I say it is a special day of civility. And, Haile Mariam, immediate past PM, has gone with a dignity of a statesman. First, his resignation was done in a composed and responsible manner. Then, for 45 days, he carried out official duties with no sign of a leaving PM. And, today, he has had his charm around while handing over the baton of power. So, fabulous.
The scene of the appointment of the new PM is moving – unprecedented for the country._ The PM appointee, a young man of early to mid-forties, made a calibrated and principled speech. Honestly, never have we witnessed such a unifying moment as this one on the parliament floor. Just for once, the parliament has been gripped with electrifying turn of event. And, for citizens, it is a big sigh of relief from three years of uninterrupted unrest and uncertainty. For our children, it is a lasting lesson of civility._
To start with the mundane, untypical of Ethiopian politicians, Dr Abiy’s speech had a personal streak to it. He praised his late mother and wife. There is an observation to make here – a personal story of fortitude and love embellishing a political sermon. This is a fresh example of EPRDF’s long traditions getting a jolt, only to be surpassed in its freshness by the manner of Abiy’s ascendency to power.
Dr Abiy covered many salient issues of the nation; and with the right tone. He dwelt on the meaning of democracy and its innateness for us all, irrespective of where we hail from. By implication, he did away with ‘democracy is a luxury for Ethiopia’ kind of sophistry we often are subject to. To put it briefly, what stands out in the acceptance speech is the heralding of hope, and a hope that radiates more so in full coming as it does when hopelessness has taken the grip for long.
He has scaled the concept of ‘Ethiopian Patriotism’ to a new height. It is a clean break from the transactional definition of the country by the EPRDF ites. _For almost three decades, the bulk of the narrative was one of nations and nationalities, effectively precluding the grand concept of ‘Ethiopia’. Ethiopia, in EPRDF’s political treatise, is reduced to a convenient alliance of nations and nationalities, as agreed upon through the constitution of 1994. Not as if Ethiopia has trudged through a couple of thousands of history, but as an oversized concept of grandeur. The EPRDF in fact goes to the extent of espousing the idea that Ethiopia was re-born in 1991 and lifted out of the edge of an abyss. Abiy so rightly described Ethiopia in the context of sacrifices in blood. For that, he mentioned great places of martyrdom, Metema and Karamara among others. Once again, diverging from the mainstream party predilection of painting Ethiopia as a preferred unity of purpose, he couched it in a language of abstraction of romantic love and glory.
He also dealt a mighty blow to hatred, division and prejudice. He did not need to use the twin over-used political clichés of the EPRDF, narrow-mindedness and chauvinism, to wage an assault on these human disorders. We should be happy to hear what we for so long were longing to hear, a speech cleansed from ideology-infested murky terms of the last 43 years. This is a departure of and in itself. It presages that the government, under the new PM, is in for an inclusive and least alienating political path. That is what we lacked for so many years and something that sidelined so many in the country. _
Let us not get it wrong. It is not as if one should stand against the significance of the right of nations and nationalities. These are realities to fully acknowledge and in fact to celebrate. However, the celebration of the right of nations and nationalities should never come at the expense of individual freedom and patriotism on a large scale. Actually, I go beyond contemporary thinking and stipulate that there is a better way of promoting the values and cultures of communities than what the EPRDF takes pride of. One could put forth the challenge of why we should think cultural values of the Wolaita community belong only to the Wolaitas. They must be cultivated in such a way that all others in the country would willingly embrace them as Ethiopian values. Are not we richer as a country by so doing? Cannot we think of a system that caters better to the aspirations of our communities than the dogmatic point view of the EPRDF to treat communities as ‘stand-alone’? Why should the language of the Tigray people be confined in geography and application to the territory of the region of Tigray, when it could well be embraced by the rest of the nation? Is not_Kitfo_now a national dish graduating from the narrow confines of the Gurage community?
Equally striking is the fact that Dr Abiy, as a point of departure, referred to the political opposition as partners in nation building and not as detractors which many in the political mainstream tended to depict as. In referring to them in palatable Amharic term, he showed a human face of a statesman in the making.
Finally, EPRDF is known for squandering opportunities for unity. Its coming to power in 1991 was a tremendous feat producing a sense of awe in the populace. The early hefty opposition to the forces of the EPRDF fast diminished with a fresh sense of better future. The EPRDF did not build on this auspicious beginning, preferring to bow to ideology of division and name calling._
It threw to the wind the opportunity provided to it coming with the winning of war with Eritrea. Unfortunately, victory was soon followed by a wide fissure in the dominant party, the TPLF; chipping away at the significance of victory for building of unity. It also squandered the opportunity provided by the nationwide grieving over the death of Meles Zenawi; with a tedious hymn of ‘Meles’s legacy’.
It is apparent that Dr Abiy has come to power with a sense of independence- nothing of the sort of legacy that Haile Mariam was ‘suffering’ from. He is also ages separated from the generation imbued with marxism, lending to them a bend for a ferocious struggle. I seriously think that he will put his own mark on the political ground. It looks likely he will broaden his personal space of leadership, not yielding to the overwhelming political tradition of collective leadership of the EPRDF.
Ultimately, however, it is about walking the talk. That is the test of Dr Abiy as a leader._
Long live Ethiopia ! Long live Unity
BY TESHOME BEYENE BERHE
As an end product of animal production, hides and skins are an important and valuable resource for a country. In the developing world, they are almost never exploited to anything like their full potential. Hides and skins are often thought of as intrinsically unclean and end up being discarded or wasted because of ignorance or misinformation. Others are processed improperly which greatly reduces their potential value.
Moreover, hides and skins are a renewable resource with national and international significance. More particularly, production and marketing of hides and skins provide opportunities to support and sustain livelihoods especially in rural areas in Ethiopia.
In order to operate successful ventures, however, there must be a suitable business structure and the hides and skins must be treated as commercial assets. As a resource, hides and skins are the raw materials for various types of businesses – such as collecting, processing and distributing – which provide many service jobs in countries where livestock are produced.
To take advantage of this in a successful way, farmers, merchants, butchers, entrepreneurs, and traders working in rural communities need to take full advantage of their local knowledge, including sources and supplies of hides and skins.
According to the Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI), the leather sector has strategic importance for the economic and industrial development of the country, and its contribution in the country’s export earnings have currently shown substantial progress over the past two decades.
LIDI Director-General Wondu Legesse recently told The Ethiopian Herald that the availability of large livestock resources and its unique natural qualities exemplifies the huge leather potential of the country. Recognizing the benefits, the country has transformed the semi-processed leather exports into value-added outcomes.
In fact, the leather raw materials in Ethiopia are mainly derived from local areas of the country. Despite the production potential of hides and skins, the leather industry are still constrained by the poor quality of raw materials, lack of an efficient market structure, a weak extension service, competition from local/rural tanning industries and a lack of price incentive for production of good quality raw material.
Tanneries state that only 10 to 15 per cent of harvested skins qualify for top grades, with the rest downgraded and rejected mainly due to deterioration of skin quality owing to skin diseases and various defects.
At present leather is used in various applications. According to Behailu Amde, from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Export Abattoirs Inspection and Certification Directorate, skin of cattle, camels, horses and buffaloes are called hide and that of sheep and goat is known as skin.
Hides and skins, raw materials for the tanning industry, are renewable and easily perishable resources and their production is dependent on the rearing, management and disposal of the livestock population. The availability of skins through slaughtering or death of livestock has particular importance to the leather industry.
Globally, significant amount of sheep and lamb skins originate predominantly in China, New Zealand, Australia, the Near East and the EU. In these countries, approximately 6.0 million tonnes of raw hides on a wet salted basis were processed to yield about 522,600 tonnes of heavy leather and about 12,759 million square feet of light leather, including split leather.
In comparison, Europe produced about 71,700 tonnes of heavy leather and about 2,473 million square feet of light leather. For goat and sheep worldwide 646,800 tonnes of raw skins on a dry basis were converted into almost 4,716 million square feet of sheep and goat leather.
As sources indicate, the country has about 2.5 percent of the world livestock population with about 57.83 million cattle; 28.04 million sheep and 28.61 million heads of goat. Every year, the nation produces 5 million tons of hides, 8.1 million tons of sheepskins and 7.5 million tons of goat skins.
This makes the country as one of the richest countries in livestock resources. Its potential for production of hide and skins was estimated at 4.42 million cattle hides, 9.5 million sheep skins and 7.91 million goat skins in 2016/17.
These untapped resources have been bringing multifaceted benefits in terms of creating jobs, boosting export and overall economic growth, in the past decades. The government has been striving to develop the leather sector, and attracting local and foreign investors from across the world and facilitating conducive environment to export high-end leather products rather than semi-processed outputs.
According to Leather Industry Development Institute, the revenue generated from leather and leather products export increased from 67 million USD to 115.4 million USD between 2004/05 and 2016/17 fiscal years. This indicates significant achievement has been registered in the export volume and diversified commodities.
In the first half of the Ethiopian budget year, the country has earned a total of 69.6 million USD from exports of various high end leather products. The amount, compared with the same period of the previous year, surpassed by 20 percent.
Thus, investing in the sector does not only benefit the country but it also generates high returns to investors. The sector is also enjoying significant international comparative advantages.
Producing well known sheepskins in terms of quality, thickness, flexibility, strength and compact structure is significant for the production of high quality leather garments, gloves and other leather goods. Ethiopian small ruminant skins, especially sheep skins traditionally have a very good reputation for quality in the world leather market due to their fine grain and compact structure.
Regarding Ethiopia’s market supply of hides and skins, Behailu states that the marketing of hide and skins starts at the producer or consumer level and passes through a chain of middlemen until it reaches the tanneries. The collectors of raw hide and skin are available in almost all towns of Ethiopia.
They collect the hide and skins from both through rural agents or through farmer’s carriage to market and urban areas through intermediary collectors or themselves. Many of them are indeed long age experience starting from the time of Armens, with the majority of them starting the business in the 1960s.
The major producers of hides and skins are individual householders residing in the different Kebeles across Ethiopia. About 90 to 95 per cent of the hide and skin production is derived from urban as well as rural backyard slaughters, while the remaining 5 to 10 per cent is produced from major urban slaughterhouses and export abattoirs.
The great majority of sheep and goats and most of the cattle are slaughtered informally in homesteads for consumption by the owner or in a small community where no formal slaughtering facilities exist. Generally, these informal slaughtering activities are largely beyond the reach of government considerations.
Considering the development potential and economic importance of hides and skins, in the last two to three decades the government has launched different development programs aimed at increasing the supply and improving the quality of the raw material.
Although the leather industry are still constrained by the poor quality of raw materials, lack of an efficient market structure, a weak extension service, competition from local tanning industries and a lack of price incentive for production of good quality raw material.
In fact, the leather industry sector is one of the growing economic sectors in Ethiopia. However, the sector is constrained by different factors like external parasites, inappropriate management of animals, faults during slaughtering and improper handling of skin before reaching to the tannery, the sector is losing large amount of money due to decline in quality and fall in export price.
Currently 26 tanneries in Ethiopia produce all forms of hides and skins and finished leather for the domestic and export markets. These tanneries have an average daily soaking capacity of 111,640 pieces of sheep skin, 58,320 pieces of goat skin and 10,754 hide. The annual capacity reaches an estimated at 67 million skins which accounts 33 million sheep and 16 million goat, and 3 million hides.
This indicates that most of Ethiopia’s tanneries have good skin processing capacity, while some tanneries run with low capabilities. In general, Ethiopian hide and skin have good reputations in the international leather market for their unique natural substances.
This low supply and high demand of hides and skins creates shortages that often result in a lack of competitiveness among domestic suppliers and produces hides and skins of mediocre quality.
Lower quality hides and skins negatively impacts not only tanneries, but also Ethiopian footwear and other leather goods producers who sell their product domestically and abroad. To help ease the shortage of hides and skins, some tanneries have begun to import semi-processed hides.
According to sources, though most of skin producers fall under fierce competition, the Gojam skin is the best quality skin ranking from 1 to 3 levels. Indeed, major causes of lower grade of hide and skin quality is occurred during slaughtering, poor storage and transportation stages. Apart from these, the causes of defects on raw hide and skin can be considered as pre-slaughter defect and post-slaughter causes.
Therefore, as the time is a holiday season, many live animals (sheep, goats, oxen and hens) would be brought to abattoirs for legal slaughtering, whereas a large amount of animals are also taken to illegal slaughtering at home or around residential areas.
Apart from damaging the leather quality, illegal slaughtering will make the country lose the possible revenue to be obtained from foreign exchanges. Thus, it is necessary to take measures on illegal slaughtering and urge people to take their animals to abattoirs in order to minimize the damage of hides and skins thereby increasing the the export earnings.
BY ZELALEM GIRMA
ADAMA - The local media have to report based on peace journalism, media ethics to encourage development of shared identity, national consensus and to positively influence the government and the public, scholars and government officials said.
The role of the media in peace journalism so far was very limited, they said adding that the practice should not be limited only during time of conflict.
Dr. Getachew Dinku, Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University School of Journalism and Communication, said that media have responsibility to the society even more than a government, and need to exercise their work ethically and responsibly.
Media should always work without any bias, he said adding that if at all they take side, they have to show allegiance for the interest of the people who always need peace.
Tamrat Dejene, Media Development and Diversity Director General with Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO), says on his part until recent years professional experts on the media field were too rare, but currently their number is increasing and the local media is on reforming itself.
According to Tamrat although conflict by its nature needs special intervention from government and needs sensitivity in reporting to build mutual trust between all sides, which otherwise would result in bad consequences specially in a developing society.
He further indicated that during the past two years of unrests in some parts of the country, there were problems of reporting even though they were easily corrected.
Ethiopian media have special mission and responsibility as it follows developmental and democratic direction, he said. The media should report sensitive issues based on the principles of peace journalism and with social responsibility to play its role on addressing the problems by harming no one, he said.
Dr. Getachew stated that media have a power to restore and promote peace. “For me ‘peace journalism is good journalism’ as it promotes journalism to create peace by facing problems on the right angle and can break cycle of atrocity by avoiding the ‘we and them’ mentality”. Peace journalism is an emerging discipline and the practice in the Ethiopian media so far is very low. Peace journalism does not only report during conflict time but in development, economy, politics and any reporting where it promotes standing with the society, he advised the media to practice it well since it is less sensational and more contextual.
According to him the recent unrests in some parts of the country were multidimensional and beyond the media which need government interventions to address, yet the media have not played enough of its own role in solving the conflicts.
Dr. Getachew said that though the problems required government intervention since they were economic, good governance problems, social justice questions and fair distribution of resources; yet, there were chances for the media to put positive pressure, but not properly did that to report the unrests responsibly.
Dr. Getchew argues that the media were either silent to report the problem or highly subjective. He further noted that the media have not adequately discharged their social responsibility to create national consensus and encouraging shared identity.
According to Dr. Getachew the failure of the mainstream media to report the reality from the grass root ethically and responsibly have exposed them to be outperformed by the social media which in most cases fabricate more fake news. For him to challenge the fake news of the social media, the mainstream media should engage in disseminating reliable, fresh and truthful information by accessing all corners of the country.
To defend the challenge of social media, the mainstream media have to spread balanced and real information from the real source and government officials must give necessary information to all media, Tamrat said. FDRE government communication affairs office is also working for the access of information by building the capacity of public relation officials and by minimize the controversy of regulations, he added.
According to Tamrat handling data properly and involving public relation officials on decision making are the main problems for public relation officials to release information to the media, hence government give attention for that and now government communication affairs office with FDRE Ombudsman are working cooperatively to promulgate implementation proclamation which is at a draft level currently.
Expressing contentment on the peaceful transition of power to the new Prime Minister, Dr. Getachew indicated that, the media should constantly remind, question and challenge for the elected premier to live up to his promises to the public.
He further noted that the people should not expect an over night change from the prime minister and the media should refrain from putting unfair pressure against the new government head other than periodically reminding the roles that it should play.
The newly elected premier promised interesting things to Ethiopia and Ethiopians economically, socially and politically, so the media should put influence positively for the implementation, since the issues are not matters of a week.
The media also need freedom, more space and protection from the new prime minister, the access to information act should be applied properly to make the media strong, newly elected premier should also aware and put influence on the government officials to give information to the media.
The premier should also give freedom to the media in order to reflecting diversified opinions on the public and private media as Ethiopia recognizes diversity, it should practice diversified views and ideas on the media, he added. In response of that, the media have also work with social responsibility, accountability and based on media ethics, Dr. Getachew stated.
Tamrat restated that the media, as the people and government sound, on the newly elected premier’s inspired and promise speech to the people, by research it deeply and gathering additional inputs, it should announce to the people and inform the people to fulfill its duty. For the implementation of the new Prime minister plan, the media have to fulfill its duty by making bridges between the government and the public, he added.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
ADDIS ABABA- The reports of some international media to remind others about the harmful effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the lower riparians is untimely and irrelevant, according to a ministerial adviser.
Ethiopia requires no permission from any side to utilize its resources but undertakes the construction with sense of mutual benefit, just as the project progressed so far through mutual understanding it will continue until the end.
Border and Cross-Border Rivers Affairs Advisor to the Minister, Tefera Beyene told the Ethiopian Herald that the construction of Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has no impact over downstream countries, but it enables them to expand and develop agricultural activities, reduces the risk of water flood and ensures honesty in fair utilization of the resource.
Ethiopia is working to use and utilize the water fairly to benefit its citizens without affecting downstream countries and the construction close to be a reality, he added.
He indicated that the construction of GERD expands the current amount to triple the power. It has a capacity to generate 16 thousand Gigawatts per hour, he added.
At the beginning GERD project is designed and planned highly to bring social and economic growth in the country. The project has various advantages for the nation; the main one is to generate electric power, he added.
The agricultural industries and also service sectors will be highly encouraged to grow due to the energy supply of GERD. High amount of job opportunities will be created, he mentioned.
He indicated that the GERD a huge project which brings a great transformation and growth in overall Ethiopian economy and producing 6,450 Mega Watts of electric power is a great achievement for Ethiopia.
According to him low, medium and higher manufacturing industries expand and service delivery sector will develop in a short period of time. Development of this sector brings great social and economical changes for nation. It enables Ethiopia to develop or rise in the previous tower of growth, he added.
GERD has multipurpose roles, one is it serves as tourist destination which is sung, written and told by supporters and against bodies or parties in local; and abroad, he added.
“More than 86 percent of the water is from Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a sovereignty or autonomous right, responsibility and obligation to use and utilize the water for its citizens respecting the benefits of downstream countries.”
He noted that constructing has various advantages enabling downstream countries to expand agriculture, preventing them from the risk of flood and it ensures the honesty.
Construction of the dam helps downstream countries save water which would have been lost due to flood and evaporation, he noted.
According to the Adviser, Egypt loses more than 40 billion cubic meters of water annually through flood. In the future this water couldn’t flow out of the river. It serves for triple country’s benefit after completion of the dam.
Tefera stressed that the construction of GERD extends the life of water institutions and reduces the repairing expense of downstream countries.
However, countries protest ongoing activity as their need not to change the real situation, the great thing with them is the loss of trust when controlling water. This is not right. Ethiopia needs to utilize the water based on justice and reason. To apply this situation, we ratified legal framework previously. We have made agreements with all Nile sharing countries to utilize water fairly. We want all water sharing countries to use the resource fairly.
He emphasized that Ethiopia never allow superiority benefit of one country and we are working all countries to utilize it fairly and legally.
He noted that the dam has so many advantages for both countries Egypt and Sudan. It protects highly affecting flood and enables to develop irrigation agriculture. It ensures peace and security in the region.
He said GERD, in addition to being designed in a way that ensures the benefits of the lower riparian countries, has opened opportunity for the countries to work closely.
He told that negotiation, discussion, and communication with three countries is continued. In fact, all countries need to secure its national interest, but the effect should not affect other country’s interest or advantage. As communication and negotiations continued one day the agreement will be reached getting the recognition of policy and decision makers of the countries as the issue concern of science and experiments.
He noted that the great thing in the construction of the great Ethiopian renaissance dam is the issue which cannot reverse back in developing it. The measurement and fulfillment of water would be seen in the future not to harm any riparian country to benefit all countries fairly.
The negotiation process is not completed, tripartite discussion and communications are continued, and one day when all countries reached an agreement it would get solution.
BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN
• Ranks the fourth best Enterprise in Africa
ADDISABABA- Ethiopian Postal Service Enterprise said it has generated over half a billion Birr over the past ten years from its improving service.
Zeyen Gedelu Communications Chief Officer at the Enterprise told The Ethiopian Herald that the sector has been expanding its services and increased its branches from 147 to 1000. The Enterprise also upscaled the range of its service with advanced technologies and new services on EMS, letter, philatelic, Agency services, money order, road fund fee.
She noted that, the Enterprise is working in collaboration with governmental organizations like Ethio-Telecom, Airlines, the Revenue Authority and health centers throughout the country. In addition Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, national and private banks are also beneficiary from its postal service.
According to Zeyen, the postal service of the Enterprise has shown improvements from time to time that it has been able to rank the fourth best Enterprise in Africa on the evaluation made in Switzerland. The evaluation was undertaken based on General Monitory System and the Enterprise was awarded the ''B'' Certificate and sliver as well.
In order to improve the employees serving capacity different trainings are being facilitated in different levels and the enterprise has also plans to open a post bank in the future, noted Zeyen.
BY MESERET BEHAILU