Birknesh Amede, an elderly woman in her seventies, is a resident in Desse town of Amhara State. She used to lead a happy life with her husband and son who was a driver for a private company. But days wouldn’t always bring the same joy and days of sorrow have come to Birknesh when her husband passed away. Despite her husband’s loss, her house was never empty for her son used to support her by providing every necessity.
“Even though my husband died my son took a very good care of me and I have celebrated holidays with my neighbors without lacking any thing for festivities,” said Birknesh.
However, another day of sorrow would come and have taken everything she has left. “Few years after the death of my husband, my one and only son also passed away from a car accident. That is the time I have lost everything,” she told The Ethiopian Herald. Then, life for this elderly lonely woman, with no one to support, became unbearable. Poverty put all its heavy weight on her shoulder. Leave alone celebrating holidays with neighbors as in the good old days, affording daily meal and coffee was very difficult.
Helping the needy is an integral part of the culture of many Ethiopian societies. It is both deeply inculcated in the norms as well as religious orders of the society. Hence people donate the needy mainly food especially during holidays and social occasions.
But such philanthropic activities of the people were not institutionalized and formalized. As a result both those who opt to donate and those in need were not able to adequately benefit.
Ager Gizat is the name of the neighborhood that Birknish resides. Some forty elders, who have experienced similar losses like her, live in this neighborhood. Such times of hardship for such poor elderly people needed the eyes of wholehearted generous fellow citizens.
Fikru Tsige is Deputy Chair Person of Ager Gizat Development Association which is based in Desse town. Though he currently resides in Addis he was born and raised in this town particularly the above-mentioned neighborhood. He said when he and his friends went to Desse to celebrate Epiphany seven years ago, they have observed that Birkinesh and other elders were in a situation they have never expected.
“We saw these people suffering a lot in a way that we wouldn’t imagine and we were badly sad. Even though they were our biological parents, they have raised as their own children with an ethics. They have been friends of our fathers and mothers and they watched over us when our biological parents were not at home. Most of them have lost their family by different causes like accidents and HIV AIDS and they were left helpless,” he said.
Observing the situation that the elders are going through and the bad feeling, Fikru and his friends came back to Addis with an initiative of establishing the Association. They started to connect with people and raise funds aiming to support the elders under the development vision of their Association which was established by eight founding members.
Thus, they were able to attract 122 inspired permanent members that are contributing monthly finance. As a result, the Association started to support forty-two elderly people of the neighborhood, who have no supporters or permanent source of income, including Birknesh four years ago, according to Fikru.
“They have been providing us with food, clothing including blankets. They also come with holiday gifts and celebrate the festivities with us. Now we realize that we have children who look after us even though they are not borne to us,” noted Birknesh.
Meanwhile, providing food and clothing for these poor elders and celebrating festivities is not enough to sustain their lives. There is a homework left for the Association and that would be maintaining a system that brings a long-lasting means of income for the people.
Fikru said that his Association has began implementing a project that would enable the elders to generate their own income. “Having seen our effort the town administration has provided us with a 520 square Meters of land for the construction of bakery houses, showers and other facilities that the elders would employ youths and generate incomes,” he added.
Mekasha Demisse Chief Executive Officer of Hottie Sub City of Desse town said that the town administration has been working on creating jobs for unemployed youth and supporting children without families. “When local associations like Ager Gizat come and show initiatives to support the elderly and children without families, we encourage them and support their effort by providing the necessary access,” he added.
Though it is excruciating to see elders and children on the streets of various towns in Ethiopia, it is also exiting that various indigenous humanitarian associations are flourishing with ambitions of rehabilitating the destitute compatriots.
The activities of such local philanthropic or humanitarian organizations are inspirational for promoting the philanthropic activities of the society. Though the government has a responsibility to rehabilitate citizens at risk, the problem is wide spread that it goes beyond its capacity. Hence, people especially the well to do need to step in stretching helping hands.
Associations like Mekedonia, a humanitarian center for the elderly and mentally disabled have been putting an interesting effort with the support of the public and government. More effort is also expected to enhance the humanitarian activities of similar local humanitarian organizations so as to durably address such social problems.
BY HENOK TIBEBU
According to historians, one of the motives of fascist Italians to invade Ethiopia during the Second World War was to avenge Ethiopians who caused their shameful defeat during the battle of Adwa in 1896. They were well armed organized and determined enough to win the war by hook or crook.
On the Ethiopian side the unreserved efforts of national defense met a formidable challenge from the invading army which was ready to use any force including the internationally forbidden chemical weapons. Hence the fascist forces were able to disperse the Ethiopian forces with the might of chemical weapons.
Though the Ethiopian forces were forced to scatter as a national defense, they resorted to waging guerilla warfare from wherever they are to fend of the invading forces. Though the patriots fought with strong spirit and shared goal, they had no other means of communication and information exchange as they were not properly organized and as they did not own modern means of communication like radio.
In the course of their resistance against fascist aggressors, the patriots came up with an idea of forming an alliance that brings together the patriots. The alliance aimed to help the patriots know each other as well as exchange support, says Lij Ermias Tessema Djote, historian at Ethiopian Patriots Association.
“For instance, patriots in Shoa gathered in a place called Ankelafi and allied themselves to fight against the fascist. As per the customs of the time the patriots took an oath by putting their arms on the ground and jumping over it committing themselves not to fall victim to the false information of the fascist.” Lij Ermias indicated.
This took place in 1937, two years after the occupation of fascist forces. It also laid the foundation for the formation of Ethiopian Patriots Association.
Following the victory over fascists and restitution of the Emperor’s government to power, the government had ordered registration of patriots throughout the country. According to historical documents there were about 1.2 million patriots during the fascist occupation while the total population was estimated at 25 million. This number has not included those who refused to be registered as they were disgruntled by the Emperor for various reasons including the Emperors treatment of quislings.
According to Lij Ermias the association is undertaking activities to enumerate the exact figure of patriots currently existing in various parts of the country. But according to the available data, those who have gone very old and others who have become bed ridden is estimated at more than 48,000.
Concerning the rewards the patriots obtained for their sacrifice, Lij Ermias recalled that they have faced maltreatments during the Emperors regime.
After the fascist forces were defeated and evicted, the then Emperor Hailesellassie gave some position to quislings who collaborated with the fascist forces (called bandas) presuming that they have acquired knowledge from the Italians, Lij Ermia indicated. But patriots who risked their lives and wellbeing while fighting for the sovereignty of the nation were under estimated and were not duly rewarded except the plots of land and employment opportunities.
This has discouraged the next generation forcing them to think that regardless of the sacrifice they pay they will end up rejected and unrewarded. The derg regime, which overthrew the Emperors regime also harassed the patriots by snatching their lands and confiscating their associations buildings.
This has derailed the youth from valuing their cultural and historical assets towards choosing foreign culture which they watch in cinema or media. Now that the government has returned the associations property patriots are seeing a glimpse of hope. Payment and budget has also increased.
Quoting available sources, Lij Ermias explained that Patriotism is a self-initiated commitment to defend ones nation, people, generation or identity from a mighty occupational force. Unlike military force, which needs proper training, organization, armament, patriots discharge their commitment with what they already have.
Though Ethiopian patriots emerged as a result of the aggression against their nation, their valuable sacrifice and commitment is so dear that it should not remain an occasional mission that happens in response to war or such incidents. Lij Ermias also agree with the idea. “Patriotism is not something limited to war and conflict. It is rather about some one’s internal motive to confront an aggressor , whether man made or natural like paying sacrifice to rehabilitate a drought hit place. A person has to endure the scorching sun, the hardship and the struggle in order to do this. It can also apply to thwarting disease breakout.”
When we look at the history of Ethiopian patriots they have made a big difference as they fought a modern and well-armed enemy with backward armament and barefoot. Now the thriving patriots are doing their best to share the heroic deeds not only with the youth of the nation but with that of other countries.
Lij Ermias added that it is a must to build a bridge between generations to sensitize sense of patriotism to the new generation. To effectively implement the goal to teach the history a social security institution should be established by government focusing on social and cultural history of the country. At the same time the generation should value the feats of patriots, history and culture of the country by researching it from the real sources. He further called for all to use the historic documents, books, patriots profiles and other necessary information in Ethiopian Patriots Association which is always open.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
For years, many people used to consider possessing a car as a luxury, and was a symbol of high class status. Currently, however owing car especially in a mega city like Addis Ababa is not only an option, but becoming almost a necessity to facilitate businesses and ease everyday activities like travelling to work or delivering goods to consumers.
Likewise, the rapid industrialization and modernization sweeping at this time through many Ethiopian cities and towns have resulted in an increased demand for capital goods such as machinery, lubricants, spare parts, ball bearings and other automotive mechanical goods and accessories.
The market for automobile spare parts, in particular, has been an attractive sector for global exporters, as Ethiopia has witnessed a remarkable increase in imports by 30 per cent.
Ethiopia's automotive market is dominated by second-hand imported vehicles while the main drivers of new commercial vehicle sales are the construction, agri-business and retail sectors. This emphasizes the high return on investment available for global exporters and manufacturers from the industry, with automobile spare parts being a particularly attractive market.
According to the Ethiopian Transport Authority, the country has just 831,265 registered vehicles by the end of 2016/17 fiscal year. Most of these are imported, having more likelihood of causing pollution, and cost a lot of money to import spare parts.
Of these, 524,444 cars, which accounts for 63 percent of the registered vehicles are found in Addis Ababa city. Oromia State leads the track by registering 102,333 vehicles. Amhara follows by registering 67,299 vehicles. There are also 28,322 registered vehicles in Tigray, 17,243 in Dire-Dawa and 13,294 in Somali. The other states registered from 5000 to 6000 vehicles as well.
To increase the number of cars in the country, some foreign and domestic companies are running car assembly lines in this country. The companies usually imports spare parts, and assemble over a dozen cars per day.
Producing cars locally allows companies to avoid paying import tax that applies to foreign vehicles, and offer consumers a cheaper product. Currently, assembled vehicles are highly available in the country, with an equivalent price of used imports, which could be a strong competitive advantage. These companies are also benefiting from the country’s cheap work force, and create employment opportunities for several local employees.
Chinese manufacturers such as Lifan and Geely are also basing operations in Ethiopia that indicates the new business looks set to grow. As Ethiopia's vehicles’ manufacturing capacity expands, a lot of traffic jams are usually observed in the capital, due to insufficient road infrastructure development.
Indeed, we can see that most of the roads in Ethiopian cities were owned by Toyota and many other Japanese auto brands. But now, anyone can see various types of vehicles in Ethiopia, with the economy mainly fuelled by agricultural resources.
Public Relations and Communica-tions Director with the Authority Yigzaw Dagnew told The Ethiopian Herald that the number of cars has been increasing two fold over the last two consecutive years. This could happen due to the economy of the country; the purchasing capacity of the people is also increasing.
According to the Wikipedia sources, Ethiopia’s car import grows by 14 per cent; in that, the country imported nearly 120,000 vehicles last fiscal year. The number might be higher as there might be cars that are not registered within the national database.
According to Yigzaw, the number of cars in Ethiopia in 2015/16 fiscal year was 710,000; it has now reached 831,265. Improving transport services in the country was among the priority tasks to meet public demand through increasing the number of motor vehicles from 572,000 in 2014/15 to 920,000 by 2020. Thus, the country will surely meet over the target of 2020 by increasing a few number of registered vehicles in the next two consecutive years.
In fact, the total number of travellers in vehicles has been growing over years from around 302 million in 2015/16 to 420 million in the 2016/17. This can surely be materialized due to the development of additional transport routes, and the expansion of bus transport services.
Apart from promoting the increasing number of vehicles, the authority intensively supervised vehicles in order to ban old and technically unfit cars. In addition, the Authority also advised a study to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation to ban import of old vehicles.
In relation to this, Ethiopia will as usual host international automotive exhibition ‘AUTOEXPO Africa’ to be held at The Millennium Hall, Addis Ababa, from 15 - 17 November, 2018.
The exhibition has been chosen by global manufacturers and exporters as the precise platform to enter the market of the millennium Africa. After dominating the market in Kenya and Tanzania, the event now ventures into Ethiopia to promote and show where the automotive industry reaches by now.
The event promises to be the leading trade exhibition in the region for automobile, truck and bus parts, equipment, components, accessories and tools, showcasing the latest developments in the automotive industry, with prominent industry experts, stakeholders and decision makers in attendance. Moreover, it can also be considered as an ideal gathering to source new products, create networks and share best experiences.
In this regard, it is important to look over some African countries and their ratio of vehicles to People, using the data from Wikipedia. For instance, Liberia is incredibly one of the poorest countries in Africa, but has the highest car to people ratios in the continent. There is a vehicle for every 3.9 Liberians. Even though poor infrastructure and less than 1000 km of paved roads, Liberians buy cars with its rubber-powered economy.
Nigeria is also one of the highest car buyers in Africa, with an average of 70,000 vehicles sold there annually. With its oil-powered economy, there is one vehicle for every 12 citizens in Nigeria. However, poor and badly maintained road infrastructure has so far prevented Nigeria from fully exploiting her vehicle buying capacity.
South Africa has also the highest cars per capita in Africa. One in every five people in South Africa owns a vehicle. In 2012 alone, more than 250,000 units were sold in South Africa.
Egypt has maintained a leading position in buying car in Northern Africa. In 2012, sales topped more than 100,000 vehicles. There is a very high population and thus there is a vehicle for every 14 Egyptians.
In Morocco, there is a car for every 11 individuals. It is a major assembly hub for cars in Africa. To date, there are close to 2.8 million registered cars in the country and every year, more than 110,000 vehicles are imported.
In Tunisia, there is also a car for every seven Tunisians, owing to a relatively lower population. Annually, more than 100,000 vehicles are imported into the country. It is one of the leading car parts manufacturers on the continent.
In our neighboring Kenya, there is a very lucrative market for vehicles. Currently, the figures indicate that there is a vehicle for every 30 Kenyans. For its 40 million overflowing population, more than 10,000 vehicles are sold in Kenya annually.
On the other hand, when we look over the number of cars per 1,000 people, Liberia leads at the forefront in Africa, in which 250 Liberians have cars per 1,000 people, whereas South Africa and Tunisia follows by 200 and 142 individuals respectively own cars per one thousand peoples. Of all other African countries, Togo remains the last in people to vehicles ratio, in which every two Togolese own cars per one thousand people.
In Ethiopia, in average, 8 persons own cars per 1,000 people. But many people in Ethiopia asks why are cars unaffordable, even large foreign and state owned manufacturers have already started assembling imported spare parts.
According to sources, Ethiopia currently produces over 8,000 commercial and private vehicles a year for the local market, however it is below the country's potential. Currently, there are about 6 car assembly plants in Ethiopia, in which most of them are Chinese companies.
Civil Servant Melaku Haile says that he has worked for three decades in government offices, but he still can't afford to buy even the cheapest new vehicle. Rather, he is looking for a second-hand car which has given services for three decades. The reason for this is, because, car is no more a luxury goods in Addis Ababa.
On the other hand, the cost of importing cars from abroad is very expensive in this country. According to the Ethiopian Customs and Revenue Authority, both commercial and private vehicles imported into the country can be subjected to five different types of taxes. Hence, in order to encourage people to buy locally made cars, the government has to give incentives and tax exemptions to foreign car manufacturers. Since they are encouraged to setting up and assembling new vehicles in this country, the country will minimize spending more foreign currency that may be used for imported cars.
BY ZELALEM GIRMA
Not only Ethiopia but also the neighboring nations cannot wait for the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with the hope it would at least partly address their swiftly increasing energy demands. Particularly for Ethiopia, the realization of the dam would mean more than just clean energy. Because of its fast growing economy and multi-sectoral large-scale development schemes, Ethiopia’s power demand is growing at an average of 20% per annum.
Economists seem to be of the view that growth in energy production results in a parallel growth in GDP. This can in fact be evidenced by the global trend of industrialization as of the period of industrial revolution based on coal. So today, for a nation endeavoring to cause socio- economic transformation through industry led economy, securing reliable, sufficient power is a requisite. Or its vision of enjoying a middle class economy becomes a mere dream. The nation thus is undoubtedly in compelling need of clean renewable energy. Besides, for a nation that has no oil reserves, diamonds, etc, an ideal approach to development would be harnessing its natural resources. And water is one such a resource that the people and government of Ethiopia have been attempting to tap in their efforts to give the nation’s dream of energy revolution a success.
To this end, the determination and commitment of the government and the people was better revealed with the nation’s flagship project-GERD, among others. Apart from addressing the local energy demands, GERD, which is expected to see completion soon, would significantly argument Ethiopia’s power export trends being a potential source of capital to finance the other power projects the nation would undertake to grow its energy level to 40,000 MW by 2035.
Up on completion, the Ethiopian dam would have immense economic benefits for the nation. First, as scholars note, a unit of power increase will have equivalent economic growth. Thus, as GERD will supply the national power with at least 3225 MW or 60% of the total, provided that the nation reportedly has a plan to export part of the 6450MW, this amount would further accelerate the already fast-tracked economy at a rate of double digit for over a decade. There are outstanding instances that would aggregately make this scenario happen taking the present socio-economic context of Ethiopia into consideration.
According to World Economic Forum, energy is the “oxygen” of the economy and the life-blood of growth, particularly in the mass industrialization period that emerging economic giants are facing today as their per capita GDP moves between approximately USD 5,000 and USD 15,000. Likewise, the energy increase,particularly from GERD, would lead the available manufacturing firms to produce in full swing. It would also bring a good many mega manufacturing firms whose existence primarily requires the availability of huge electric power, particularly from the international marketinto the favorable industrialization environment of the nation.
This meaningful growth of industrialization in turn gives rise to rapid expansion of small and medium enterprises which can at least supply semi-finished goods or raw material the factories require. It would also provide a substantial number of jobs both in urban and rural areas, as cases in different countries show. Studies show in India the growth in electricity supply in India, Kenya and South Africa, for example, was responsible for the high level of employment in the countries between 1971 and 2006.
Moreover, it could partly address Ethiopia’s perennial import-export trade deficit since the manufacturing sector will broaden the export volume by varying the nation’s export commodity types.
Further, as the nation’s electrification coverage increases the rural area in particular can have new form of life style and new form of jobs including those in workshops of rural area small and micro enterprises. And since some agro processing industries are expected to be erected near their vicinities, these comminutes would enjoy economic gains from producing and selling surplus to the agro industries. It is also worth mentioning that through electrifying the rural parts, Ethiopian women and children in these areas avoid health care expenditure due to fire wood and charcoal induced illness.
The Ethiopian Dam, in addition to being ‘activation energy’ to the local economy in the above mentioned ways, can generate a good deal of currency. Scholarly estimates on power export potential have so far indicated that GERD can inject over USD 2 billion from the sale of as much as 40% (2580 MW) of the 6450 MW to neighboring nations at a lowerprice. To this regard, the government of Ethiopia announced that it would export power to Kenya, Sudan, Somali, Tanzania, Uganda, S.Sudan, Djibouti, and Egypt. And it has made several tasks to reach this scheme to the ground. For example, it signed agreements and memorandum of understanding with many of these nations, and constructed high-voltage power transmission lines.Recent reports indicate that Ethiopia is currently exporting to Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan.
Then, the estimated annual USD 2 billion can build another dam of similar size in less than three years, assuming currency rates and construction cost remain relatively similar. The Ethiopian dam can be deemed as an asset being built building another asset- an opportune to the nation’s rise as Africa’s power hub. This might also significantly backup Ethiopia’s scheme to maximize its energy to 40,000MW by 2035. This, in point of fact, is the continuance of the aftereffect of bitter lessons the nation and its people undergone while attempting to build such a dam on the Nile. Finance sources and creditors, including the IMF and WB, as well as the then development partners of Ethiopia, could provide neither grants nor loans only because Egypt would not approve any project in upstream country. Cognizant of this disgrace, the nation made a bolder move to build dams by its own.
It commenced with the 300MW Tekeze and the 420 MW Tana Beles hydropower plants. For Ethiopians, the two bear values far beyond their energy capacity. Tekeze was completed in 2009 at the cost of ETB 4 billion Birr, while Tana Beles was inaugurated few months later atETB 7.1 billion. It was this experience that led the government to dare the construction of Africa’s largest dam at its own finance and make it a source of capital to help build the upcoming mega dams in as much as two decades.
Put in nut shell, the currency generated can meaningfully lower the nation’s trade deficit and bring into existence other similar dams. It undoubtedly changes the nation’s image from drought affected country to African power hub.
The gains from fishery on the other hand will add to the economic contribution of GERD. Studies show that the dam can produce over 10,000 tons of fish a year. Besides, different nation’s experiences indicate such dams serve as tourism destinations. For example, the Three Gorges Dam of China has become one of the top industrial tourist sites in the nation bringing in revenue of nearly USD 3.5 billion in the first 6 months of 2015. And the figure has shown a steady increase since. By the same token the Ethiopian dam can also provide a substantial income from visitors. Even until March 2018, over 270,000 visitors from home and overseas including diplomats, media professionals, and Ethiopians in the diaspora have visited the construction site. This visitors figure indicates that more than millions people around the world will be visit when completed.
BY TADAEL EDOMIAS
Currently Ethiopia is found at a moment when it needs patriotic sentiment more than ever. So all of us need to cherish the true spirit of nationalism and commitment from them.
Ethiopians enjoy centuries old history of unity, civilization and beautiful culture among others. This has been a source of national pride for all citizens. Just as it was handed down from ancestors, the current generation also has a responsibility to hand down to the next generation.
Just like many of the challenges the country faced in various periods, the occupation of fascist forces during the second world war was also full of threat to the unity, sovereignty of the nation. It could have torn the nation apart, abused its historical, cultural heritages.
Indeed the fascist forces who were full of 40 years of grudges had perpetrated all the horrendous crimes that the world ever witnessed. Tens of thousands were brutally massacred in a broad day light here in the capital. The fascist had also attempted to destroy the history and culture of the country.
Thanks to the heroic struggle of the patriots, the dangerous acts of the fascist forces were thwarted before they disrupted the centuries old historical development of the nation.
When the patriots waged the guerilla warfare they did it only out of national feeling. There was no one to do agitations, to organized them as an army, train them and arm them. They did not have modern weapons and even a pair of shoe.
Their deeds are sources of pride not only for our country but also those who suffered aggression of fascist and expansionist forces. We still have to maintain the golden history of our ancestors not only because we have to pay back their favor by acknowledging their sacrifice but also because their motive and commitment is a crucial matter in prolonging the unity, strength and harmony of our country.
The secret for their victory despite having no sophisticated weapon as well as operating as guerilla to face a modern and armed enemy, was the national feeling that kept them together where ever they were. They were determined enough not to be divided in the face of a rival force which would benefit if they do.
People still need similar and strong sense of unity while maintaining their all rounded differences and diversity. Even though we do not face national security threat from an armed occupational force, people need to realize that they should maintain sense of patriotism always and everywhere.
After passing through two decades of development, peace and stability, our country has entered in to chaos which is a result of both internal and external factors. If the problem persisted, without any exaggeration it was likely to plunge the nation in to irrecoverable loss that would have been perpetrated by the fascist forces back in the days.
Solving the problems that emanate from both causes need the commitment of the public. The solution is also in the hands of the public. They can simply ignore agitations that flare up conflict and havoc and focus on issues that can maintain peace, stability and growth.
Hence people need to remain always patriotic towards maintaining the hard won peace and development. The government as well as patriots should also strive towards spreading the sense of patriotism among the public so that they can apply it in any circumstance.
ADDIS ABABA- Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency said the economic independence and food security of women has improved over the past nine months.
The agency on its nine months performance report of the current fiscal year stated that women have been engaged in environmental development activities and 75 per cent were economically beneficiaries.
According to Asefa Ferede Communication Head at the Agency, from the ten billion Birr revolving fund provided by the government in order to benefit 3.4 million job seekers, 1.5 billion was allocated for 18,000 enterprises throughout the country.
Asefa also noted that the Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) State, Diredawa, Harari, and Somali states have registered better performance in terms of allocating the revolving fund and job creation during the reported period.
On the other hand, the Agency has been creating awareness for some 1.9 million job seekers about the jobs that the they are inclined to be engaged in.
In addition to this, the agency facilitated market-oriented trainings, methods of savings and use of technology. Women are also provided with 42 percent of loan and 41 percent of market linkages while about 31 percent of them have gained shades and workshops, said Asefa.
The agency also stated that due to the integrated efforts made with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs more citizens are benefiting from jobs and have become economically independent.
Female graduates of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers and Universities have been among the largest beneficiaries of the job opportunities created over the past nine months, he noted.
BY MESERET BEHAILU
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) said efforts are being undertaken to develop domestic tourism by utilizing Government structures and pilgrimages.
Public Relation and Communication Director Getnet Yigzaw told The Ethiopian Herald that there are plenty of opportunities in Ethiopia to expand domestic tourism where religious followers arrange pilgrimage travels and several local tour clubs are available at different government offices.
Even though these opportunities are available, still the domestic tourism is too poor and the way of packaging the traditional way is too weak, Getnet restated. Therefore, the sector still needs modern facilities and integrated structures, noted Getenet.
According to him, investing on domestic tourism means maintaining tolerance between different religions and ethnic groups in the country. More than its economic value, domestic tourism plays a vital role in promoting national unity, patriotism and people to people relations in one country, he said.
On the other hand, “If there are no pilgrims, it is impossible to say domestic tourism is available”, Getnet said.
At international level, tourism leads world’s socio-economy transaction, next to oil, as it creates huge employment opportunity, helps to build politically rational society and provides net profit to the national economy.
Getnet said that Ethiopia’s tourism has constitutional base since it contributes to protect natural and cultural values of the people, the same to that constitution is enacted to protect and promote the values of the people, so investing on domestic tourism is investing on sensitizing the constitution which plays a vital role for national unity, people-to-people relations and to protect historical values. It is also a means to handle internal political system, he said.
There are more than 35,000 churches and monasteries, historic and ancient Mosques in Ethiopia. These institutions have thought tolerance between religions and religious followers where the three religions, Christianity, Judaism and Muslim live together harmoniously in Ethiopia, Getnet said.
Tourism is a way of transaction between the people, government, the investors on the sector and the tourist. Thus, it needs a joint effort of all stakeholders for the sector has to reach its highest level, Getnet restated.
Lack of law enforcement, capacity of the organization and unclear regulations are the main factors that have been challenging the effort to expand the domestic tourism, the director added.
On tourist destination infrastructural development, Getnet stated that ETO was established with 70-30 policy, 70 percent to invest on destination development and 30 percent market development, but to functionally exercise its responsibility there are law enforcement and budget factors.
According to him tourism destination infrastructural development needs adequate budget and support from the private investors engaged in the sector. However, the developmental task has been single handedly undertaken by the governmental finance. Currently ETO is investing on developing the front get facilities of Simien Mountain National Park and different facility expansions in Chefera Churchura, Sinkilie, Tiya, Melka Kontire and Gonder, Getnet said.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
ADDIS ABABA— Addis Ababa City Cleansing and Administration Agency (AACCAA) said 1.9 million residents of the City have taken part in cleaning rubbish off the streets over the past five months.
Yibrie Ismail, administrative manager at the Agency told The Ethiopian Herald that the city cleaning program was started by the initiative of the former FDRE Prime Minister Hailmariam Dessalegne. He also noted that it was decided that the cleaning task would take place on the last Saturday of every month.
He said that the Agency has been exerting effort to raise awareness of the public about waste management. “We also need to cultivate a new generation that is well aware of waste management and maintaining clean environment,” he said.
He also indicated that the number of volunteers or participants has been increasing from time to time and the role of women takes the lion’s share.
During the first round, there were only 199,000 volunteers who joined the City cleaning campaign.
Currently Lideta sub-cit (woreda 03),Reppi condominium , Gullele sub-city (woreda 09), and Arada sub-city (worda 7) are some examples of creating better environment with public waste management system.
However, the number of volunteer participants for the waste management campaigns is not good enough compared with the population size of the City, said Yibrie. This indicates that more awareness raising is mandatory, he added.
Deputy Manager of the Agency Masresha Asnake for his part said, the expansion of trade, rural-urban migration and poor sewerage system and chemical wastes released from industries around the City have been major causes of environmental pollution in Addis.
The next campaign is expected to take part today. The Deputy also told The Ethiopian Herald that 700,000 residents of the City had participated on the last campaign and many more are expected.
BY MESERET BEHAILU
ADDIS ABABA - With a growth rate of nine percent per annum expected in the global water market, water utilities will need to modernize and optimize their operation and maintenance activities. The Ethiopian Water Technology Institute is also working to increase access to improved water supply and sanitation services for residents across the country, according to Institute’s Corporate Communication Director.
The Director Wasihun Alemayehu told The Ethiopian Herald yesterday that in its national growth and transformation plans (GTP I and GTP II), the government formulated various strategies which are helpful for providing and increasing access of safe water supply and making modern sanitation service to all states.
To realize this goal, the Institute is now working to enhance skilled manpower through providing capacity building trainings and technology transfer on water sector, in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
According to the Director, JICA has supported the Ethiopian water sector for almost half a century through providing institutional and human capacity building trainings and workshops on water supply development, which contributes to accessing safe drinking water in this country.
Wasihun said water security is not limited to access to drinking water. It is also about sanitation, which people waste more water by flushing toilets than any other use. Technology can help people to access clean drinking water, and thereby to combat the threats of climate change at hand, he added.
According to the United Nations, about 780 million people live without access to clean drinking water. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in water scarcity, and the demand for irrigation will jump by 15 per cent.
Though it’s not more complex, technology can help to change the course of life more pleasant, and it’s already starting to.
According to sources, the coverage of sanitation in the country is low, and usually prevails transmitted diseases due to lack of sufficient sanitation facilities and poor handling of human waste.
Currently, the interest in water technology is growing amidst water shortage, and many startups are tackling water problems and reducing the impacts of climate change. Of these, Nanotechnology is the one for water purification, which is developed by the Indian Institute of Technology.
The Environmental Protection Agency also created water sense irrigation controllers that act as thermostats for irrigation systems, such as home sprinklers. In addition, desalination technology is becoming more efficient and important because of the growing water security issues.
Thus, using new and improved technologies, all stakeholders need to cooperate in the development of water utilities to increase accessing more usable water as well as reusing treated wastewater.
BY ZELALEM GIRMA
ADDIS ABABA- As enshrined in the constitution, the responsibility of protecting human rights is rightfully given to the national government and its respective institutions. If any ones fail to safeguard, the Federal and State legislative councils can interpret and check the security of persons and liberty in a manner conforming to the principles of international laws the country adopted, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
EHRC Commissioner Dr. Addisu Gebreigzabhier says fundamental rights and freedoms are the inherent rights naturally originated from the dignity of human beings; that is the reason why one third of the Ethiopian Constitution discussed about human rights.
Dr. Addisu says governments should invest without any requirements to protect human rights since it is naturally gifted and need protection. In this regard, the Commission is working to protect the rights of citizens and ensure the supremacy of the law, he added.
As to him, previously human rights were not protected and had no place in the constitution for several reasons; but, after the fall of the tyrant military regime in May 1991, the constitution has guaranteed their rights, and the government created institutions that embody ideals of popular sovereignty, political equality and pluralism.
In this case, the role of the Commission is to keep the government alert to the problems that may restrict people’s ability to enjoy their rights, and to help them find solutions to improve human rights protection and implementation, Dr. Addisu stated.
Currently, Ethiopia is safeguarding the rights of citizens and registering several achievements, despite some practical challenges and obstacles, he added.
Indeed, although human right is a joint work of national and international organizations to make the voices of the people heard by the governments, any human rights violations must be evaluated based on accurate data and appropriate investigative methodology acknowledged by the responsible organ, Dr. Addisu stressed.
To make this clear, Dr. Addisu said that as the national human rights institution is internationally recognized organization, there might not be any responsible organ other than itself to safeguard and respect the rights of citizens and evaluate violations in case they occur in the country.
Since the Commission is member of the UN Human Rights Council and established based on the constitution, it is officially accountable to the House of Peoples Representatives, and a responsible institution for the protection of human rights in Ethiopia, Dr. Addisu added.
Though a lot remains in this regard, the Constitution has adopted provisions of all international declarations of human rights, and has established democratic institutions like Human Rights Commission, Ombudsman, Justice Offices, Police commission, parliament and center for human rights, he noted.
But, there are still practical challenges identified by the Commission from the ground such as creating accessibility at all areas, addressing good governance problems, and strengthening the culture of national security, which need continuous awareness among the people, Dr. Addisu said.
Basically, anyone individually or in group can raise his/her voices for the protection of human rights, but the reports from various international organizations, particularly the International Court of Justice, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other governmental and non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia are far from the facts, in which they revised their reports 3 to 4 times for similar issues, Dr. Addisu stressed.
Indeed, the Government has a responsibility to protect the constitution and the country from any threat or danger; in this case, the government can take extra measures during crises, without violating human rights other than intervening for peace and stability.
The executive bodies must be accountable for the use of power during the unrest and must be charged for violating the rules, Dr. Addisu added.
In cooperation with other respective institutions, the Commission is now working aggressively in protecting human rights and evaluating violations. It also provides awareness raising trainings for people, and professional instructions for experts on fact-finding investigations and ways of reporting, Dr. Addisu stated.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY