Many thanks and praises to our patriotic forefathers and foremothers, this generation is living proudly. Every year we commemorate the 1896 golden victory of Adwa where King Menilik II, his wife Empress Tayitu and other heroic fathers of this proud country made a remarkable history in uniting Ethiopians against the colonialism ambition of Italy.
But, the Ethiopian patriots had to bypass yet another barrier so that this generation walks freely and feels sense of pride in the country’s decorated history - forty years later; the Italian fascists came back again once again with a great appetite to subdue Ethiopians.
However, during the time (1936-1941), Ethiopian patriots, repeated the colorful victory of Adwa (1896) through day and night confrontations residing in caves, forest and mountains, and enduring various hardships including the fascists’ chemical attacks.
The return of Italian colonizers during the reign of Emperor Haile Silassie forced the Emperor to flee the country. Following the Emperor’s exile, the patriots became nervous but did not lose determination to continue their resistance.
True, the fight against the well equipped Italian invaders was never easy. However, Ethiopians have passionate love to and yearn for their flag and motherland. The patriots and citizens never afraid to lost their lives for the sake of freedom. Freedom required an enduring patience of patriots and all Ethiopians.
Woman’s role was also enormously significant. Ethiopians give a greater value to women. And in various confrontations of Ethiopia with external forces, women like Patriot Shewareged Gedilie and Patriot Sindu Gebiru played a key role in the remarkable achievements of freedom through fighting themselves and igniting the courage of men fighters.
Woman Patriot Shewareged Gedilie was born in North Shewa Zone, Debre Brehan city. She was one of the key figures when one talks about patriotism and women in Ethiopia. She contributed more in encouraging and supporting more patriots to join the resistance against Italy invasion. Her patriotism was manifested in spying and disseminating messages secretly to the patriots to counter the Italians plot. She was finally killed by Italians and became national heroine and martyr.
Patriot Dagnachew Temesgen currently works at the Ethiopian Ancient Patriots’ Association. “There was internal power struggle among Ethiopian patriots in different times. But, when it comes to external forces, Ethiopians always join hands to ensure their country’s freedom,” he said.
“Naturally, every Ethiopian is a patriot and do not want to be in the hand [guardian] of anyone. This is witnessed while you see every citizen irrespective of age, sex, race and religious backgrounds march forward to the battlefields,” he added.
According to him, during the five years struggle between Ethiopians and Italian invaders, the patriots’ resistance went as far as giving their neck for the sake of freedom and victory.
“This generation should learn a lot from the experiences of the patriots. They should learn the value of persistence, optimism and action,” he emphasized.
The Ethiopian Ancient Patriots’ Association is requesting the Ministry of Education to incorporate Ethiopia’s patriots’ experiences in various battlefields and historical achievements in its curriculum to educate the new generations about the virtues of patriotism.
For his part, member of the Association, Patriot Besufekad Alemayehu told The Ethiopian Herald that unlike the Ethiopian patriots, Italian invaders prepared for about forty years and came to Ethiopian in 1936 to avenge their forefathers’ defeat at the battle of Adwa.
Currently, patriots are also playing their part in nation building and cultivating national consensus, Patriot Besufekad said.
“This generation has the responsibility to repeat the patriotism of the old generation in nation building. Back then, Ethiopians who fought with traditional weapons such as swords, spears, and cudgels managed to resist fascism and external invasion. It is the responsibility of this generation to do the same in nation building and in becoming globally competitive in terms of economy, technology and diplomacy.
This generation has responsibility to demonstrate that Ethiopia is rich with patriots not only in the battlefield but also in the fields of technology. Currently, the country is registering promising economic growth and playing a tangible role in the region’s pacification which laid cornerstone to its future ascension, both patriots underlined.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
Media coverage to initiate change through visual arts
Ethiopia has a long tradition of visual art, which is a form of social consciousness depicting a wide range of culturally manifested human activities. The advent of Christianity in Ethiopia in the 4th century marks the beginning of a tradition of religious painting, which is the main area of visual arts. Despite the long tradition, it is difficult to say that visual arts have been properly applied to bring about social changes in Ethiopia.
Last week, in relation to its 20th founding anniversary, the English weekly Capital organized a panel discussion on visual arts and media coverage. On the occasion, it was noted that visual arts have huge potential to bring about social change in a country like Ethiopia.
Seyum Ayalew, Executive Officer at Ethiopian Visual Art Association on the occasion said that while the media’s role to increase the awareness of the community about art and visual arts is huge, Ethiopia’s media and also the government have given little attention to visual arts.
Hence, journalists and artists should work extensively to develop and integrate visual art into the lives of Ethiopians. Besides the purely artistic consumption, visual arts are powerful in bringing about change in the society and creating a sense of unity, he added.
After the industrial revolution, the impact of visual arts has shown tremendous progress in other parts of the world. Similarly, western societies have also contributed greatly to the development of visual arts. However, this is not the case in Ethiopia till this day because of low level of awareness about the potential of visual arts in bringing about change, he added.
As to him, there is much work to be done in addressing deficiencies in the media in terms of its appreciation of the vitality and importance of the visual arts to Ethiopia’s cultural life, Seyum said.
Tigist Yilma, Managing Editor of Capital told The Ethiopian Herald the Media should give due attention to introduce and strength the linkage between visual arts and community.
The media has responsibility to connect the society with art by promoting and appreciating visual art products, she said adding, the government should also support the art sector.
Gossa Gebremeskel Oda, founder of Free Art Village on his part said that the media plays a key role by being a bridge between visual arts and the society to bring about the desired change. It would be impossible to reach out to a large number of people through visual arts without having media coverage.
Artists should also work aggre ssively to develop and improve the quality of their works so that their works instigate the desired change, he stressed.
As to Seyom on the other hand, there is also lack of platforms in Ethiopia to seriously discuss, criticize, and appraise visual art works, despite having a rich visual art history and heritage.
This frustrates the effort of those in the visual art who are trying to reach, develop and maintain audiences. Thus, it is especially apparent and urgent within the current circumstance, where the arts are often seen as a soft target for funding cuts and portrayed as an unessential luxury – that the visual arts receive due and proper mainstream media attention.
Participants suggested that there is also a need to make improvements in media structure, editorial policies, and forms of coverage, such as: publicity, news, or more in-depth analysis that crosses over into the current affairs agenda. It is also imperative to finding specific hooks and angles make the visual arts ‘newsworthy’.
BY ESSEYE MENGSTE
It was reported that in his recent visits to Djibouti and Sudan, Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reached agreements with the leaders of the two countries to jointly develop and administer ports in the two countries. As a landlocked country, such agreements are believed to have enormous benefits for Ethiopia in various aspects, particularly in terms of diversifying port and economic options.
According to Belete Belachew (PhD), researcher on Horn Africa, landlocked countries face various economic challenges but as their port alternatives increase, so does their chance of harnessing several [political and economic] benefits.
That is why, Ethiopia, which is solely dependent on Djibouti’s port for its imports and exports, has been exerting various efforts to diversify its port alternatives, he told the Ethiopian Press Agency.
Getachewe Zeru, Assistant Professor of Peace and Security, noting that the country has been using ports through rent; he said that it would be difficult to meet the ever growing import export trade and the demands of the public and foreign investors.
Hence, it is important to diversify port alternatives whenever the opportunity presents itself.
And developing and administering the ports in cooperation with these countries is very much strategic in that it will greatly benefit. It should be greatly encouraged as it takes the realities of the country into consideration.
He also noted that instead of renting ports, it is important to develop them together with neighboring countries. This also includes Somaliland’s and Kenya’s Berbera and Lamu Ports respectively. And the government has to give due emphasis to the issue.
Another researcher, Kahesaye Weledeyesuse for his part said “renting a port is dependency and expensive.
This prevents growth and would make it difficult to realize the desired economic progress.”
“Developing and administering ports in cooperation is a new thing for us,” he said. “Other countries sign rental agreements that extend up to 50 years or more. Many countries also reach permanent rental agreements to use ports jointly.”
For instance, he mentioned the case of Kenya and Uganda. As per their agreement, the two countries have been developing ports together.
[In such cooperation] the expenses to develop the ports would be covered from service charges, he further underscored.
There would be no query on the type of commodities being imported or exported. There is no need to have license as it is the case now. Such rights are the outcomes of joint port development and administration.
He also mentioned that it is not only landlocked countries that jointly develop and use ports. For instance, countries such as the US, Canada and the UK, use joint port development and administration so that their commercial and military ships move freely.
But Dr. Belete has one big concern. The idea of ‘joint port development and administration’ is a difficult one [to implement]. This is because the agreements were reached with sovereign countries and the agreements might bring about [undesirable] consequences.
But Kahesaye does not agree with Dr. Belete. Mentioning that the any agreement and accord signed or reached between two sovereign countries would be accepted by international law, he emphasized that they would not have [undesirable] consequences.
While the content of the agreement is decided by the two countries, each would have their own office and manpower at the port. Particularly, Ethiopia would have advantages in that its employees would not face difficulties and its imports would be transported quickly.
“While such details are included in the agreement, the duties and responsibilities of each country are also included,” he added.
Getachewe On his part added it would be difficult to meet the country’s growing demand for port using the port of Djibouti alone.
Thus, jointly developing and administrating other countries’ ports would have paramount importance.
“There is no permanent friend or enemy in political science and as situations change from time to time, it is important to take such factors [the changing reality] into consideration,” he opined. The work would also ensure mutual interests, he said adding but the sovereignty of the countries would not cause any problem.
As to Kahesaye, by developing and administrating the ports jointly, Ethiopia would benefit in terms of economic, security, social and regional linkage.
“As Ethiopia grows, so does our neighboring countries. As the growth would protect the interests of all, it is important to solve the challenges/obstacles at every stage and level.
As indicated in the second Growth and Transformation Plan, the country has planned to diversify its port options. By the end of the plan, using alternatives ports, the government planned to increase the Berbera and Port Sudan transit corridors’ share from 0 to 30 percent and from 2 to 10 percent respectively.
The searching for alternative ports is not a new idea, Kahesaye added. He recalled that following the independence of Eritrea and the deterioration of its relationship with Ethiopia, efforts were exerted to identify alternative ports.
There were also initiatives to develop and use Kenya’s Lamu port transit corridor with South Sudan. There were also initiatives to use Ports of Sudan, Berbera and Bosasos. But as they have not been successful, Ethiopia opted to fully turn its face to Djibouti.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been undertaking various activities to diversify ports by jointly developing and administering them.
Recent reports indicated that agreements were reached to develop portion of Djibouti’s port and Port Sudan. Prior, agreements have been reached to develop the Berbera port by owning 19 percent of the the share.
If the agreements to develop and administer ports are materialized it would greatly benefit Ethiopia and its regional partners by facilitating trade, and import and export, and hence shared economic growth. It would also attract international investors to the region.
BY ABIY HAILU
Ethiopia’s growth, human development progress
Ethiopia’s impressive record in terms of GDP growth, human development and effective policy responses to the recurrent droughts over the last decades have been praised by the international community.
Infrastructure has been expanding in terms of education, health and other social services in the country over the past decade following the astonishing economic growth. Thus, the growth has resulted in the improvement of the human development despite the fact that there are still millions living under poverty.
The level of composite results of education, life expectancy and per capita income or the so called ‘Human Development Index’ has also shown some sort of impro vements.
Poverty has fallen down to 22 percent during the reported period; life expectancy according to the latest WHO data published in 2015_ in_Ethiopia_is 64.8 years, 62.8 for male and 66.8 for females.
The International Monetary Fund said recently that growth is expected to remain high in 2017/18, at 8.5 percent, supported by continued recovery from droughts and export expansion as new manufacturing facilities and infrastructure are on the right track offsetting the potentially dampening impact of restrictive macroeconomic policies.
Surpassing Ghana, Ethiopia’s growth is expected to remain around 8 percent, supported by sustained expansion in exports and investment. The government’s policies envisaged under the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) are expected to underpin domestic private sector development and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The country is the leading FDI host in Africa following the expansion of industrial parks and the government’s commitment to transform the economic base from agriculture to industry, putting favorable rewards.
Citing the IMF report, Bloomberg reported that Ethiopia is expected to become the fastest growing African economy this year, taking the mantle from Ghana, which has held the position for most of the past decade.
Ethiopia’s economy is projected to expand by 8.5 percent in 2018, followed by Ivory Coast at 7.4 percent and Ghana at 6.3 percent, the report added.
The report filed by Bloomberg also stated that Ethiopia, whose GDP is almost double that of Ghana, has drawn investors including General Electric Co., and hundreds of Chinese companies.
The GTP II also envisages allocating significant resources to poverty alleviation and the social safety net, while efforts to strengthen financial inclusion are underway.
IMF added that the preconditions for an export expansion and transition to private sector-led growth including investments in trade-enhancing infrastructure are in place, and private direct investment is growing strongly.
However, to sustain this growth, it underlined that external imbalances and inadequate reserve buffers remain a key risk, and urged the authorities to maintain determined policy actions to control external borrowing.
IMF stressed the need to continue determined implementation of policies to reduce external imbalances. It also commended the restrictive public sector borrowing policy to contain external debt and imports while protecting pro-poor spending, the devaluation of the currency to regain competitiveness, and the tight monetary policy to rein in inflation.
Furthermore, it also noted that a more flexible exchange rate would help preserve competitiveness and foster export diversification, and recommended eliminating exchange restrictions.
The IMF urged the Ethiopian government to accelerate ongoing tax administration reforms while welcomed plans to improve the management and oversight of public enterprises, including undertaking audits for some large state-owned enterprises.
Welcomed the progress in strengthening the legal framework for private public partnership, IMF urged the government to ensure balance between private sector participation and minimizing fiscal risks. “Continued efforts to improve the business climate, promote financial inclusion, and improve governance will also be important.”
Lauded the efforts to strengthen the compilation and dissemination of economic statistics, it also urged the government to adopt international standards for budgetary, monetary and financial statistics and decisively address remaining data weaknesses in national accounts and public sector financial reporting.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
Following his visits to different parts of the country in a bid to restore stability and confidence among the public, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has shifted his attention to neighboring countries. In his first overseas trip, the Premier in succession went to Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya, three of Ethiopia’s most important Horn African neighbors.
In the aftermath of a series of incidents which resulted in sea change in Ethiopia, the visits are instrumental in building confidence, fostering ongoing regional economic integration and reaching strategic agreements with Ethiopia’s strategic partners in the mostly troubled Horn Africa.
As a new leader, his move should receive applaud for prioritizing immediate neighbors than anybody else.
Dr. Abiy met with the leaders of the three countries and discussed issues of mutual interest to the countries and the Horn of Africa region at large, including factors that are instrumental to regional economic integration such as railway, road, water and telecom, power, logistics and ports development and efficiency.
According to reports, Dr. Abiy reaffirmed the commitment of Ethiopia to Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti to elevate the relations between the two countries to_better_facilitate port flows_to Ethiopia’s ever growing economy.
The two leaders also signed an array of agreements including Ethiopia gaining a stake in the Porto of Djibouti as a shareholder and Djibouti to have access to Ethiopian government owned firms.
During the trip to Sudan, the Premier discussed various regional issues with President Omar al-Bashir. According to sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two countries have also agreed a deal that will allow them to take a stake of Port Sudan.
In his trip to Kenya, the Premier also discussed with President Uhuru Kenyatta various issues to deepen Ethio-Kenya relations and strengthen integration, regional peace and security as well as multilateral cooperation.
True, as it occupies a strategic position_in an unstable part of Africa, Ethiopia’s role in the region is central. It is among the largest contributors to UN and AU peacekeeping missions in the region/world, notably in Abyei (bordering Sudan and South Sudan), Darfur, South Sudan and Somalia.
Historically, besides deploying peacekeeping forces, Ethiopia has been more consistently playing a constructive role in stabilizing the volatile Horn.
Not only that, Ethiopia also hosts almost 850,000_refugees, mostly from South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea.
The country’s foreign policy firmly underlines the aspiration to get rid of poverty, the primary objective of country, could not be achieved without the positive contribution of its neighboring countries.
The main reason is that Ethiopia cannot develop or remain at peace if neighboring countries are not peace or do not benefit from its development. Hence, Ethiopia has been executing a foreign policy which safeguards mutual interest and togetherness.
That is why the country has been consolidating its relationship with all its neighbors except Eritrea, whose government works day and night to disturb Ethiopia’s and the region’s development by creating in instability and chaos. Still, the Premier has extended an olive branch to Eritrea, which was unfortunately not welcomed by the Asmara regime.
In general, Dr. Abiy has reaffirmed, to Ethiopia’s brotherly neighbors, his government’s readiness to sustain the country’s long held regional tradition i.e playing a constructive role in the Horn of Africa. The trips, the consensus and the agreements are reaffirmation that Ethiopia needs its neighbors more than ever and want to grow together.
“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” This was taken from the two lines from William Henry Davies sonnet entitled “Leisure”
Indeed, for all Ethiopians, this is not the time for leisure. There is more to be done and more to be desired. In fact, not only cabinet ministers but every Ethiopian and citizen of Ethiopian origin worthy of the name needs to watch out for the “redline” marked by the Prime Minister.
Ethiopia is not engaged in socio-economic development only for itself. This is a country that is already sharing its resources and manpower with the rest of Africa in the spirit of pan-Africanism. Ethiopia’s efforts in the UNSC, AU, IGAD, WHO and other international organizations gives both the government and the peoples of Ethiopia a unique opportunity to serve to work without ceasing towards the development of this country and the rest of Africa. That is why the nation will not have time to stand and stare but move ahead for the brighter future for its citizens and Africa at large.
Ethiopia cannot stand and stare because we have millions of unemployed youth who now constitute close to 70 percent of the population. Millions of youths in this country are asking coins for snacks from their mothers even at 35. This shows the extent of the deep rooted unemployment rate which is about 17.5 percent for urban centers of the country (CSA 2018).
No wonder we witness thousands of youths making a pass time in the cafés, street corners and on the door steps of nearby shops. Unemployment among the youth has far reaching repercussions especially among young women who would be forced to resort to all kinds of activities that they think would help them to finance their livelihood.
Practice has demonstrated that anything can go on in the minds of unemployed youth. They could get involved into committing organized crimes or get addicted to drugs and all kinds of stimulants.
The government is already organizing employment opportunities both at the federal and state level in the urban centers of the country. Some of the projects are already showing promising results but more is to be desired and there is no time to waste as the issue of youth unemployment is highly critical.
Addressing the resurgence of HIV and AIDS particularly among the youth in higher institutes of learning is another top urgent task both for the government and all concerned stakeholders.
The devaluation of the Birr presupposed promotion of the country’s export sector which needs urgent response by focusing on value added agricultural export products. This is important and urgent because lack of foreign currency is already threatening various economic sectors like construction and provision of critical commodities like medicaments.
Contraband and all forms of illicit trade are seriously affecting the mining sector particularly gold and other rare metals and precious stones. Tax evasion and all forms of corruption are preventing the government from getting the revenue required for financing the country’s mega projects.
In terms of social services and provision of basic commodities like sugar, oil and wheat for the public is a critical issue that the government is striving to address but misappropriation, embezzlement of public fund are some of the factors that need not only the attention of the sectors but also the user public itself.
Violence against women and girls is going on daily basis in Ethiopia. Despite a lot of resolutions on conferences and public meetings, girls in schools and women in all walks of life are still suffering from harassments and physical violence against them
Although the government is making efforts to solve the problems in power outage, shortage of potable water, particularly in the urban centers as well as hurdles in the telecom sector, as these services are directly related to the performances of various manufacturing industries and large scale investments in the industrial parks.
Ethiopia has registered remarkable achievements in the health sector both by regional and global standards but diseases like malaria, upper respiratory tract infections, all types of cancer and diseases affecting kidney, diabetes are still observed has major health hazards that need the attention of all institutions in the health delivery sector.
The country lacks rehabilitation centers for drug addicts and enough reformatories for juvenile delinquency.
In spite of the fact that the Ministry of Education has done a lot in promoting quality education and establishment of the TVET centers throughout the country, recent reports indicate that more than 800,000 students who have completed grade ten and were unable to join preparatory schools are roaming around due to lack of enough TEVT centers in the country. It is quite evident that building more TVET centers have become an urgent issue for the ministry.
Quality education is of critical importance and the government is busy with projects related to revision of curriculums at all stages of elementary and secondary education. Preparation of text books which match with the needs of every student highly crtical is undertaking.
Due to lack of confidence on the caliber of new graduates from the public universities, various companies are actually reluctant to hire these graduates as they question their capacity to manage their activities in the companies.
While the major powers in the world are concentrating on their unity and national interest, Ethiopians are still grappling with problems of narrow nationalism and chauvinism. This totally alarming incident has even appeared in soccer games in the country which is alarmingly plagued with sentiments that are incompatible with peaceful soccer competitions.
A mindset that is always geared in the context of ‘us and them’ is not only dangerous for the unity of the country but could ultimately lead to divisive racist tendencies. Ethnic differences in outlook are something that is culturally and mentally created in the mind due to a specific social orientation that is disruptive, counterproductive and reclusive.
Caring for public property and infrastructural facilities is one of the grey areas that need the attention of all citizens. Tampering with road signs, telephone cables and damaging infrastructural installations on railway lines, ring roads and highways and express highways have become so request that citizens are not considering these installations as the properties of the entire Ethiopians here and abroad. The public should not remain indifferent when various facilities constructed by public fund are being destroyed by hooligans and care free persons.
Negative attitude towards public property that we have inherited from the feudal system is still lingering with us and this can be addressed through a change of attitude on every aspect of social life in this country.
All the above mentioned challenges cannot be adequately resolved only by the efforts of the government. Civil society organizations, professional associations and the entire public should be given enough space to be involved in the process of solving these multi-faceted problems.
Over the next 7 years, the Ethiopian government and the peoples of Ethiopia are expected to diligently strive to meet the national target of becoming a mid level developed country. This target cannot be met only by the government who is engaged in multi-faceted development programs on behalf of the peoples of Ethiopia. All Ethiopians are therefore duty bound to accomplish their part in ascertaining this national target with “no time to stand and stare”.
BY SOLOMON DIBABA
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has paid visits to neighboring countries of Djibouti, Sudan, and Kenya that resulted in several key bilateral agreements to ensure mutual benefits of the signatories and foster regional economic integration.
Following the visits, Ethiopia has secured stakes to develop the ports in Djibouti and Sudan. In addition, Ethiopia has agreed with the three countries to ensure infrastructural interconnections that would further speed up the pace of regional integration in Horn Africa.
Sudan and Kenya have also agreed on the release of detained Ethiopians in their respective countries.
The Premier’s visit is a good gesture that Ethiopia has firm stance to create positive relations with neighboring countries, Temesgen Tessema, Law Lecturer at Wollo University tells The Ethiopian Herald.
Peace and security would not be maintained through internal endeavors alone. Thus, the visits to neighboring countries will have positive impact to ensure sustainable peace and security internally and regionally, he adds.
Prioritizing immediate neighbors is what mature leaders do. The agreements reached with the three countries are also indicative of this fact, he says.
According to him, successful foreign diplomacy is among the basic factors that determine a country’s success in protecting its citizens’ interests. In this regard, the agreement to secure the release of Ethiopians detained for a long period of time in neighboring countries is great success.
The Premier has made important development, diplomatic and economic relations with neighboring countries in a short period of time which would lay cornerstone for sustainable economic development and mutual benefit, he stresses.
For instance, Ethiopia’s effort to connect with neighboring countries in telecommunication, electricity and other infrastructures will catalyze further regional economic integration. As countries integrated economically, it would further give room to form political alliance, he underscores.
As to him, apart from its economic benefit, the agreement to establish huge East African market area in Moyale town along the Ethio-Kenyan border is an encouraging and clever move.
The bilateral agreement to jointly develop the border areas which were unstable for a long period of time would bring sustainable peace to both sides, he opines.
Developing ports bilaterally has a great role for economic integration and ensures ownership. It also helps to reduce foreign currency expenditures and also allows reasonable and shared utilization of other development projects, he says.
In the same talk, the agreement to have access to Ethiopian state owned firms, for instance with Djibouti, would help to avert the criticism on Ethiopian government that it monopolizes giant service delivery companies such as electric power and telecom, Temesgen suggests.
Dagim Woldemariam, Political Science scholar says that the Premier’s visits and resulting agreements reached with neighboring countries are indications of the government’s strong standpoint.
And it is designed to build positive image in the eyes of internal and external communities, he adds.
Through the visits, Dr. Abiy has tried to avert regional obstacles that may come about in the future in his leadership. All the three countries share borders with Ethiopia. This conveys strong message about the extent of Ethiopia’s determination to ensure shared growth among and with its immediate neighbors, he states.
As to him, the agreements reached with Djibouti and Sudan to develop ports bilaterally have positive impact for all countries. They can develop their economy and increase mutual benefits without negatively affecting each another, he adds.
Dagim agrees with Temsgen that developing ports in neighboring countries and having agreements on various issues could further facilitate security and political cooperation with bordering countries.
The diplomatic agreement helps countries not only to develop mutually, but it also allows them to construct various infrastructural projects, he further adds.
Previously, Ethiopia has been charged with higher payment for the use of ports. This was affecting the economy. But the agreement to develop jointly would have positive impacts not only on Ethiopia but also the other signatories, Dagim points out.
Former opposition MP Girma Seifu for his part says that if properly managed, the agreements inked with the neighboring countries will help to boost trade and halt contraband.
“The relations that Ethiopia have with its neighboring countries are determining factors to grow together. Thus, to ensure development and prosperity, Ethiopia needs to create friendly relationships with its neighbors that any other country.”
Nothing to mention that the visits and agreements will create mutual understanding to ensure peace and development, he says.
BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN
Being among the fastest growing airlines, Ethiopian Airlines has become one of the continent’s leading carriers. As a result, it has in the past few years bought stakes in various African airlines. Speaking to The Ethiopian Herald about the strategic reason behind this move, Henok Tafesse, Deputy CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group says the move aims at increasing Africa’s air-connectivity option, and intensifying Inter-Africa trade, investment and tourism whilst giving a competitive edge to the Ethiopian.
In terms of air-connectivity, Henok says, the demand for it in the continent is huge given its vast landmass. He also talks about having a national carrier that facilitates effective air connectivity within Africa, which is important to the company, considering that today it has close to 60 African destinations.
In addition to the flight destinations, the Airline has commercial cooperation and strategic partnership with many African carriers such as Togo (8 years now), and Malawian Airlines. “These are the African airlines that Ethiopian manages and that has share in.”
The other element mentioned by Henok is Africa's aviation market, which is currently skewed in favor to non-African airlines, given that various African carriers are struggling with bankruptcy while some of them are even being liquidated.
Even taking into account the big African airlines together, the Deputy says, the market share is still very low. “So in order to change this, and given that the countries need air-connectivity, and also considering Africa's agenda of continental integration, we should create the condition for us to be able to avail from it [cash in on it]”, he notes.
For him, as an African airline, creating synergy between African carriers increases Africa's air-connectivity, and intensifies inter-Africa trade and investment. “This is the agenda of AU, and it is also the agenda for us.”
Moreover, the establishment of multiple hubs in Africa is part of an overarching strategy of Ethiopian Airlines under its Vision 2025, which also targets becoming the leading aviation group in Africa, improving passenger and cargo transport, increasing airport services, and expanding its aviation academy.
“As a huge landmass, Africa has 5 sub-regions, so we need to have an operating hub in each of these sub-regions, meaning establishing regional Airlines,” Henok opines.
According to the Deputy, all this makes Ethiopian Airline more competitive in the aviation industry. “This makes us more competitive because we can be able to create a mechanism where we will be able to find passengers not only from the main markets, but also from the secondary markets as well,” he points out before adding, “and this is part our strategy.”
Further explaining, he argues that such setup of regional hubs helps give Ethiopian competitive edge, because the partner carriers can help the airline create a passenger transit system, which is “critical for us.”
Going forward, Henok reveals, “we have plans to do similar things in Mozambique, Zambia and Guinea, Chad and many other places. There are ongoing projects that will be finalized very soon.”
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
ADDIS ABABA- Ethio-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Committee said it has been undertaking various activities to strengthen the two countries’ economic cooperation.
Committee Chairman, Hassan Sirman, met with President Dr. Mulatu Teshome on Tuesday at the National Palace to discuss the role of parliamentarians in fostering the two countries’ multifaceted relations.
The parliamentarians are ready to perform their respective roles to strengthen the bilateral development cooperations said Sirman adding “I explained to the President that we have come to support and advice on issues related to the economic cooperation.”
During the discussion with the President, parliamentarians of the two countries shared views on how to further strengthen the ever growing Ethio-Turkey relationships.
National Palace Communications Office Head, Ashber Getnet said that the members of the Turkish Parliament Friendship Committee came to Ethiopia to discuss economic ties and strengthen bilateral ties.
During the discussion, he said, President Dr. Mulatu also reaffirmed that the Ethiopian government’s commitment in supporting the committee’s initiatives.
Besides President Mulatu, the Turkish Committee members have also had discussions with Minister of Construction and Government Communication Affairs Head Minster.
The Ethio-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Committee was established in 2015. The two countries’ trade exchange has hit over 440 million USD by the year 2017, according to the report by the Amharic daily Addis Zemen.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
ADDIS ABABA – The Chinese owned Di Yuan Ceramics Plc. which is located at Eastern Industry Zone in the Dukem town of Oromia state started the export of ceramic products to the international market on Tuesday.
The Plc. exported 4,000 square meters of ceramics fields to Somaliland, reported FBC.
Di Yuan Ceramics Plc. Sales Manager William Wieng said that the company has been promoting and creating market chains for its products in several neighboring countries.
Consequently, Somaliland, Kenya, Djibouti and Sudan have shown interest to buy the products; he said adding the export to Somaliland is the first of for his company and the country.
In addition, the company has received orders from the above mentioned four East African countries for the supply of ceramics worth for 1 million USD, said the Sales Manager.
He further added that the export of ceramic products to Kenya, Djibouti and Sudan will also be commenced soon.
"The government has made great strides in supporting foreign investors," he underlined.
The company is engaged in producing floor and wall ceramic products.
Di Yuan Ceramics Plc. was established in March 2016 with total capital of 50 million US dollars from _China Rongguang group and Hong Kong Huazheng Enterprise Limited, the two big shareholders.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
The government has been making various efforts and preparing regulations to modernize the country’s public procurement system. Accordingly, it is set to introduce an Electronic Government Procurement (EGP) system which is believed to end in transparency and efficiency and close door on corruption, said stakeholders.
Various studies indicate that public procurement constitutes 60-70 percent of the public expenditure in Ethiopia. Policies and procedures are put in place to increase the effectiveness of the procurement process.
The implementation of EGP system increases operational efficiency, transparency, competition among bidders and enables institutions to become effective through computerization of manual processes, Tsegaye Abebe, Procurement Coordinator and Training Advisor with Public Procurement and Property Administration Agency told The Ethiopian Herald.
One of the significant benefits of electronic procurement is that by avoiding private dealings in public procurement processes, it reduces opportunities that invite corruption, he added.
“By creating access for buyers and bidders regardless of distance, the system eliminates time barriers. It also simplifies taxation processes.”
The World Bank allocates the budget for EGP system. Feasibility study and process of changing manual system to electronic have been completed. Pilot test of it would be implemented next year, he pointed out.
As the system develops high quality procurement institutions, it would help to reduce customer complaints on procurement processes, he added.
Dr. Abiot Bayu, E-Government directorate director at Information and Technology Ministry, said the use of online technology for government procurement aims to improve transparency and build trust by reducing face-to-face interactions.
Effective electronic procurement helps to get rid of repeated procurement procedures, he said.
According to him, every year, the majority of the country’s expenditure is spent on government procurement. The new system would control all procurement processes.
Performing bidding in electronics system clearly creates wide access for bidders, gives immediate explanation and response for requests and questions, enables to know participants and guarantee for transparent evaluation process, but when we use the newspaper based procurement and bid, access is limited, he added.
“Paper based procurement processes gives opportunities to hide information. However, in electronics procurement system, information is open and similar for all participants. And the evaluation criteria could not be changed in electronic system. All information and activities are recorded electronically.”
On the other hand, procurement reform is a difficult process. Changing the manual system to electronic system is a complicated task. In addition, low quality infrastructure facilities such as poor internet connection, technical issues, and low level of awareness among users including professionals would make the implementation difficult, he further explained.
Readiness of suppliers and bidders to utilize the system, supply of manpower, quality of internet access, would be challenges during the transition period from manual to electronic system, he added.
Desta Abera, Policy Investigation and Future Planning Director at Ministry of Science and Technology said the Ministry is developing the procurement software which would modernize the procurement and bidding processes throughout the country, he noted.
While preparation to implement the project has been finalized, the system would be fully implemented in a short period of time once manpower and material inputs are fulfilled, it was learnt.
BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN