ADDIS ABABA – Overcoming various natural and human made challenges, Ethiopian courageous and staunch patriots have made the motherland to enjoy ever lasting independence. They as well have become an icon of Africans' victory against white supremacy defeating the fascist Italians.
During 1936-1941, Ethiopian patriots [our forefathers and foremothers] repeated the colorful victory of Adwa (1896) through day and night confrontations residing in caves, forest and mountains of Ethiopia.
Due to aforesaid successive victories over the colonizers , Ethiopia has remained to be a hallmark of African independence and patriotism. Not only this, but also the country is home to Africa’s second largest population who said no to colonialism and European countries regency [guardian] on African countries.
Patriot Dagnachew Temesgen is now working for the Ethiopian Patriots Association . In his exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, he underscored that The Patriots' Victory Day is a national pride and history worth telling to the current generation and posterity .
“During the Ethio-Italian wars , Ethiopian patriots believed that the occupying of mother Ethiopia by fascist Italians as an attempt to control the whole Africa,” he said.
After long preparations of 40 years,the fascists came to Ethiopia in the northern direction with its modern infantry , sea and air forces.
However ,Ethiopian patriots were barefooted , used traditional armaments and had poor logistics supply ,but they become victorious , he said.
During that time, the patriots hailed from all parts of the country become united and marched together to the battlefields combating the fascists irrespective of race, sex, age as well as professional and religious backgrounds.
As to him, Ethiopia's ancient patriots gained victory over the fascists mainly because of their warm feeling of patriotism and unity against external forces.
Asked about the values that enabled Ethiopian patriots to gain victory over whites Patriot Daganchew said that apart from being God fearing society ,unanimous feeling against odd culture, unconditional love to the motherland and mutual respect have made the impossible to be possible .
He also indicated that this generation has more responsibilities in upholding the patriots' values. “Above all, respecting and hallowing the victory of patriots for breathing freedom, glamorizing with own culture as well as walking in confident and ethically should be given due attention.”
Next, contributing own part in the country’s development endeavors is the other assignment of the youth, according to him.
“The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), other mega projects and succeeding infrastructural expansions are the real hopes of future Ethiopia,” he noted.
For his part, Patriot Besufekad Alemayehu said that the history of Ethiopia’s patriots is a source of pride to all black Africans. Thus, as the victory is the victory of all Africans, African countries need to mark the day at the continental level in a colorful manner , he added.
For him, patriots scarified their lives at various battles for the sake of one , strong and united Ethiopia.
“Now a days, this generation needs practical participation in nation building to succeed Ethiopia’s leading role in Africa’s pacification and modernization,” he underlined.
Moreover, patriotism, ethicalness and industriousness are the main responsibilities of this generation, he emphasized.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
ADDIS ABABA- The splendid gardens flowers and busy activities of the florists in an entrance to the city capture newcomers ' strong interest . This magnificent scene involves a number of youths and stretches about three km into the city.
Apart from the attractive several international and standardized hotels, when someone sets his/her foot on the city's soil ,he/she will also be stunned by the city's building boom and cleanness.
This city is Bishoftu located in Oromia State, about 47 km from Addis Ababa to the East. The city is well known for its lakes and resorts with spectacular nature. That is why the city is among the country's tourist destinations preferred by tourists both from abroad and locals. Moreover, Its proximity to Addis has also given additional advantage for Addis Ababa residents to pass their weekend and special days there.
According to the City's Culture and Tourism Bureau , there are about eight lakes that most of them are Crater Lakes with artificial ones that are in accompany with nearly 70 standardized hotels, resorts and lodges including the five star hotels . Such tourism infrastructure offer tourists to partake widely in outdoor pursuits like water sports, boat recreation and many other endeavors.
Bishoftu City Administration Bureau of Culture and Tourism Acting Director who is also Senior Expert in Tourism Extension Bekele Tefera, said as a result of the aforementioned and other tourism potentials of the city, hundred thousands of tourists visit the city annually.
He noted that during the last nine months, 248,238 tourists ,of which 51,000 of them are foreigners , visited the city and close to 200 million Birr revenue had been earned.
“Bishoftu's vision is to be among the top tourist destinations of Africa and for that hosting a number of investors will tap tourism opportunities in the city.”
Bekele said due to the every increasing number of tourists to the city, the existing hotels and resorts are not capable enough in serving the tourists. “Fore instance,only for the annual celebration of ‘Irrecha’ about four to six million people come to Bishoftu and spend three days there on average .”
He, therefore, said the city has been making ready vast suitable areas for building more hotels and resorts on the top of dismantling the bureaucratic red tape for investors.
Taking the opportunity, Bekele also called on the pertinent body to open the palace of king Haile Selassie I to the public and tourists as it has so many historical memories. The palace is situated at the Hora lake .
While visiting the city and reporting, this journalist came across to Lake Chleleka which currently is at risk of drying up. There has been a large irrigation project using the waters of the lake for decades. Moreover, herds of cattle are also grazing swampy areas of the lake with no prevention. The major parts of the lake have been also filled by sediment deposit.
The Acting Director said it is beyond the city's capacity, it requires huge budget and expertise research to restore and recover the lake . “ We,thus, urged the State Culture and tourism Bureau to take urgent action to restore the lake .
BY YOSEF KETEMA
ADDIS ABABA – United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that its health centers are increasing in number and assisting country’s effort to improve health.
Inaugurating Lemi Health Center last week, USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed said that the health centers that has been constructed by the organization has reached 22 and supporting peoples in remote areas to get access to healthcare within a short period and time.
Over the past several decades, USAID has worked together with Ethiopia to construct various health infrastructures and other projects to improve the quality of life for people across the country, she said.
The construction of Lemi health center took two years at a cost of 27 million Birr which is totally covered by the USAID, it was learnt.
The center would serve more than 25,000 people to get important health services including immunizations for children, safer child births, HIV care and treatment services among others, she told.
The Ministry of Health helped the organization to expedite the process of providing electricity to newly constructed health centers which is important element for the functionality of the institutions, she stated.
Amhara State North Shewa Zone Administrator Girma Yeshitla for his part noted that, USAID has been playing important role in supporting the Ethiopia’s effort to improve health through expanding infrastructures across the country.
As to him, the newly inaugurated Lemi health center would help residents to get treatment in short distance. He said that the state government and stakeholders would work to install the needed medical apparatus to the center until the end of this June.
Over the past decade, the number of country’s health centers has increased from 520 to 3,400. The expansion of the health institutions and the exerted effort to improve health helped the country to successfully reduce maternal deaths by one and half and child deaths by two thirds, Leslie said.
The number of HIV infections has also declined. As one of the focused countries under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. government has worked together with Ethiopia to decrease the number of new infections and AIDS-related deaths by at least 50 percent since 2005, she noted.
With the completion of the Lemi Health Centre, the organization have already built 22 health centers in Ethiopia, 10 pharmaceutical storage warehouses, and a national blood bank and have an additional 10 existing health facilities under the PEPFAR initiative.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Red Cross Society announced that it has been mobilizing resources to support drought victim areas.
The society has been supporting those who are suffering from El-Nino induced drought providing food and non-food assistance, Society Resource Development and Mobilization Sector Deputy Secretary General Wendawek Abeze told The Ethiopian Herald.
As to him, the society has been supplying nutrition mainly to under-five year children and pregnant mothers. It is also working on providing pure water and water purifying chemicals to the people at large.
This year, the society has planned to support more than one million victims collecting 9 million USD, he noted.
“We have already collected some 3.3 million USD from our partners including Red Cross Societies of Canada, Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Denmark, and the International Red Cross and Red Moon (Crescent?) Federation.”
The society would strongly mobilize resources to gain the rest six million USD, he expressed.
Almost 40 percent of the fund would be spent on nutrition supply, said Wendawek adding, the remaining finance would serve to provide water, sanitary and other materials support.
National Disaster Risk Management Commission Commissioner Mitiku Kassa for his part said that the national risk management program has been executing its tasks based on the schedule.
The government has been supplying assistance spending 500 million Birr and 400,000 metric tons nutrition has been distributing to drought victim areas, he said
The commission in collaboration with stakeholders is striving to reduce the impact of climate change through mobilizing the public for agricultural productivity, health care and environmental protection activities, he noted.
Currently, about 7.8 million citizens need food and non-food assistance and the number may vary after this June as per the climate condition of the drought hit areas, he stated.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
ADDIS ABABA-- Amhara State Health Bureau announced that efforts are underway to ease the burden of trachoma in coordination with education and development partners.
State Health Bureau Focal Expert of Trachoma Melakmu Beyene told The Ethiopian Herald that 43, 908 trachoma patients had received of surgery through clinical and outreach services in last nine months.
Moreover,the Bureau has been applying Surgery, Antibiotics Facial Cleanliness Environmental Improvement (SAFE) strategy to control trachoma, he noted.
“Apart from the surgery efforts, the Bureau has been conducting antibiotic distribution, facial cleanness and participating communities in environmental improvement approaches with main focus where the trachoma burden is high.”
As to him, the bureau is determined to control trachoma working with pertinent stakeholders like Carter Center and Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA).
“ To ease the burden over 21,000, with good leadership commitment in consolidating efforts of cluster hospital in augmenting participation, we could make the goal reality in shorter years to come.
According to him, in bid to address the challenges the bureau also strengthening ties and partnership with State Education Bureau that develop school trachoma program that helped to inculcated it in the curriculum.
The bureau has trained 357 integrated eye care workers in the 152 Woredas as well as working with health extension workers and communities to ease open defecation that could taken as game changer in ensuring implementation of the full SAFE strategy in each household and education and health facilities among others.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME
The 77th of Ethiopia Victory Day celebrated in high zeal Saturday . May 5 is colorfully marked every year to commemorate our gallant forefathers' victory against the invading fascist Italian army and pass down their noble deeds to the posterity as well. What makes this year's victory day special is that the peoples of Ethiopia are exerting their utmost efforts in the realization of Ethiopia's Renaissance and they have also begun to see the light at the end of tunnel these-days.
In deed, our forefathers sacrified their precious lives to defend and keep the sovereignty of this great nation for the coming generations. Hence,The day shoulders a lot of responsibilities for the young Ethiopians since they are the ones who play a pivotal role in making their beloved nation as one of the middle income countries in the shortest period of time.
It is true that our gallant forefathers enabled to defeat the Italian army which had a superiority of using modern armaments without any external help. By the same token, the present generation is constructing the Grand Ethiopian Dam which is the first ever hydro-power dam in the entire Africa by its own financial and human resources.
In fact, this dam would not only play a tremendous role in the fight against poverty when it is completed but also strengthen Ethiopia 's role in securing and promoting peace in the most volatile region of Horn Africa since it makes most of Ethiopia's neighboring countries beneficiary.
It is obvious that the heroic deeds of our forefathers at the battle of Adwa has made Ethiopia to be a pride of Africa and one of the great nations of the world as well. However, forty years later of this battle, the fascist Italian army invaded Ethiopia in retaliation of its embarrassing defeat at Adwa. At that time ,Ethiopian patriots fought day and night against the illegal occupation of Ethiopia by Italy for five years and defeated the invading army of fascist Italy 77 years back . They proudly hoisted their national flag once again on this particular day as well.
Like their forefathers ,Ethiopian army forces have defeated a number of external aggression on several occasions and made their motherland indomitable as well. On the top of this, they are now playing their due roles keeping peace in various parts of Africa as peace keeping forces. Moreover, they have gained international acceptance in their efforts of restoring peace and security in the Horn of Africa.
Apart from keeping the legacies of our forefathers in the fight against external aggression to the posterity, the present generation ,the federal and the regional states should exert their efforts in promoting our historical places as one of tourist attractions to the world.
Since the day makes fellow citizens to renew their promises to fight against poverty , they should accelerate the realization of Ethiopia's Renaissance through keeping the buying of bonds in a bid to put in place the mega projects of the nation.
In addition to this, it is up to all citizens and the government to make the lives of our patriots better by taking every necessary measures sooner than later since most of them are living on meager incomes.
Last but not least, the heroic deeds of our fathers could be used as great impetus in the nation 's efforts to eradicate poverty and realize the growth and Transformation Plan as well.
Also , starting next year , the schools across the country will begin to mark the Patriots' Victory Day in their premises . It is great news and need to be done in a well organized and colorful manner.
The Growth and Transformation Plans Ethiopia designed to push its economy into lower middle income status by 2025 bear in them a transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. In line with that goal, the country has been striving to draw in foreign investment to boost the manufacturing and industrial sectors.
Those efforts seem to bear fruit as Ethiopia has been ranked the seventh most attractive African country to investors by Africa Investment Index (AII) 2018. With a rapidly growing economy, a huge population of over hundred million, proximity to major international markets, conducive policy environment and a rapidly improving infrastructure, Ethiopia has increasingly become a favorable destination for FDI.
Numerous companies have relocated their manufacturing plants from countries such as Turkey, India and China to Ethiopia over the past decade. European and American companies are also increasingly flocking to the rising investment magnet in East Africa. Internationally recognized apparel, textile and shoe brands have also established manufacturing plants in Ethiopia.
With an 8.5% Percent rate of economic growth forecasted for the next year by the IMF, Ethiopia is expected to retake its position as the fastest growing economy in Africa. According to IMF figures, the country also had an average of 10 percent economic growth over the past dozen years. The sustained rapid economic growth complemented by strong performance in the coming years, gives Ethiopia a positive outlook going forward.
The challenge over the past three years has been the political unrest in different parts of the country. However, that also seems to have abated with the election of the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D.). The popularity he receives and the sense of unity he has galvanized among the people seem to have convinced the Ethiopian people that he deserves their co-operation and support. Therefore, the political stability that has been the whole mark of the past quarter of a century is assumed to have been reinstated.
Such suitable conditions are expected to bolster Ethiopia’s stature as an investment hub considerably over the foreseeable future. However, there are those who take this potential to unchartered territory through claims that it might be the new China. In a recent report by CNN entitled “Ethiopia is now Africa’s fastest growing economy,” Vijaya Ramachandran, an economist at the American think tank Center for Global Development (CGD), attributes Ethiopia’s growth to governmental effort to boost industrial production and manufacturing. A report released by Ramachandran and three other academics argues that “Ethiopia can follow in China's footsteps, and become a destination for low-wage manufacturing jobs.” _
The report by the group of economists categorizes African states into three in terms of their income levels. The first group consists of solidly middle-income countries. This group includes South Africa and Botswana, which are characterized by very high labor costs and capital intensive industries. The second group includes leading low and lower-middle lower-income African countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal - coastal, relatively stable, and with a strong business sector. These countries have relatively costly labor compared to countries like Bangladesh. “The third group consists of countries at the very low end of the income spectrum, so poor that there are almost no real comparators.” The report cites the DRC, Ethiopia and, to a lesser degree, Malawi, as countries that appear to fit the bill.
The report dismisses the prospects of the DRC and Malawi as investment hubs as implausible citing the “governance failings” in these countries. It goes on to assert that Ethiopia is the ideal country with all the traits to become the new China in Africa. The report states:
_Though landlocked, it (Ethiopia) has been moving towards easing logistics constraints through road and rail connections; it also has good air connections. It benefits from a stable administration that sees the manufacturing as a central part of its growth strategy. It also benefits from generally low costs. As measured by Purchasing-Power Parity, the general level of prices in Ethiopia is below the level in India and comparable to that of in Bangladesh. The firm surveys also suggest comparable levels of labor costs and a similar WEF Global Competitiveness ranking despite its far lower income level.
The report further cites a McKinsey Survey administered to Chief Procurement Officers of large apparel companies on which countries would become the top manufacturing destinations in the next five years. The result, it states, ranks Ethiopia as the seventh in the world and the first among African countries. With such lofty perceptions about the country by Chief Procurement Officers, the flow of FDI to Ethiopia should pick up even more momentum in the coming years.
The report also states that higher labor prices and the reputational problem of poor working conditions in Asian industrial locations are deriving investors away from the region to other destinations such as Africa. The rising wages of workers and the general cost companies incur in China are also forcing companies to relocate to alternative destinations. In other countries, it is restrictive labor and business laws that are raised as constraints for more foreign direct investment.
Ethiopia, on the other hand, offers lower labor wages and better working conditions than the countries with reputation for poor working conditions. The report states that some sources claim manufacturing working conditions in Ethiopia - though far from ideal - are better than in Bangladesh and Cambodia. In the International Trade Union Global Rights Index, goes on the report, Ethiopia fared better than Mexico and Malaysia. There have, however, been health and safety concerns in some instances. Although not vividly put, the report implies that there are no restrictive labor laws in Ethiopia, which is meant to show that companies have relatively bigger room to manipulate labor. These conditions need to be improved.
The report concludes that though it is hard to project what the future will bring, it is safe to determine that Ethiopia is better positioned to embark on a manufacturing-led take off than other African countries. It, therefore, has the potential to become the China of Africa.
BY EWNETU HAILE
The clock is ticking, for a busy nation where a huge number of youth rushing for a job, on developing public and private firms. In connection to this, the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have usually been perceived as the dynamic force for sustained economic growth and job creation in developing countries. We know that SMEs are playing multifaceted roles such as boosting competition, innovation, as well as development of human capital and creation of a financial system.
One point we could discuss here is that SMEs are the sole way out to the increasing urban population dynamics of nation. They are becoming important urban economic activities particularly in providing urban employment. In similar fashion, in cities and various parts of the states’ towns of Ethiopia, SMEs and the informal sector are the predominant income generating activities and thus, they have a significant contribution to local economic development and used as the basic means of survival.
Although the enormous importance of the SMEs sector to the national economy with regards to job creation and the alleviation of abject poverty, many of the SMEs are unable to realize their full potential due to the existence of different factors that inhibit their growth and performance. One of the leading factors contributing to the unimpressive growth and performance of the enterprises is limited access to finance.
To do away the challenges various approaches had been designed to offer Small and Medium Manufacturing Enterprises with lease financing-and a capital goods’ financing service - via the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE).
This writer has the opportunity to visit Tesfanesh Moges who is a resident of Arada Sub-city in Addis Ababa; she owns a private company called Yeroonsun Garment. She told the writer the challenges she had passed through in making her dream a reality through lease financing.
According to her, the economic benefits of leasing can be derived from the firm's choice of leasing relative to borrowing and acquiring the asset. The essence of leasing is reflected in the proposition that leasing provides customized financing with potentially unique cash flow and tax features. She says, “Lease financing is a game changer firms that could achieve their objectives of maximizing share holders by making successful investment decisions, which generate positive net cash flows.
“After a hectic journey of bureaucracy and procedures, I have imported a 1.2 million sewing machine from Japan that transformed my career and changed the way I should look at things. Access to business finance plays very important role for any business startup and growth. Finance is a good indicator of the health of the company overall, in my view lease financing is very important.”
Tesfanesh also added, “The amount of collateral that had been required has increased from the very beginning; it was once 20 per cent but it changed to 33 percent that was the major challenges that I faced. Today, I am planning for export and making preparations. I hired 15 human capitals but planned to increase to 78 in the year to come.”
She keeps saying that the garment is demanding huge finance; “But I am run out of capital to run the business. Since the finance journey is continuous and there may never be an arrival point. Businesses need to make sure there is the finance to back their growth plans.
“My PLC needs running cost finance because we would like to be able to access the right type of finance at the right time that allows businesses to invest, grow and create jobs. I hold that a good understanding of the options available is an essential starting point and enables businesses to select the type of finance that is right for their circumstances and plans. As the ticking, I had determined to face the challenges around me and let my dream come true through lease financing,” she added.
This writer has the opportunity to learn the performance of Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) where lease Financing services are being expanded as the form of hire–purchase transaction with a view to supporting SMEs in the country.
Development Bank Director, Advisor to the president Kifle Haile Eyesus told The Ethiopian Herald that the services go along with nation’s strategic pillars of supplying alternative finance modality. As to him, the DBE has approved hire- purchase agreement for 780 SMEs with the amount of over 5.7 billion Birr and disbursed over 1.47 billion Birr so far. “DBE also eyes to widen the provision of services in bid to creating stable macro economic environment pursuing aggressive and rapid industrialization and structural transformation,” he added.
“The Bank has received 1,623 lease financing applications of SMEs and approved 780 of them,” he said adding that since the establishments of the bank, around 132 projects have been executed using lease financing service. The Bank is offering the services to actualize nation structural transformation, more importantly aimed to easy the challenges access to finance for SMEs particularly the missing middle as well as import substitution, promote export promotion objectives of the country and support foreign exchange earnings.
The service is availed to respective SMEs in the form of capital goods financing under the ‘Hire- purchase’ modality. As to the requirements, Kifle indicated that the applicant should be registered with capital of 500,000 to 7.5 million as well own manufacturing premises either from their own or rental basis.
According to him, applicants should come up with a business plan or feasibility study for their projects. “Those SMEs that requested up to 10 million Birr should require to submit a business plan whereas whose requests above 10 million to 30 million should submit feasibility study. The DBE is conducting periodical amending lease financing policy, procedures or/ and guidelines which incorporate relevant issues to address the SMEs lease financing demand early,” he stated.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME
Modern irrigation to enhance production, productivity
Ethiopia has a potential of total arable land of more than 70 million hectare.
Experts indicate that Ethiopia’s climate is favorable for agriculture. In addition, this vast fertile land with untapped water resource makes the country proper for irrigation and agriculture.
The availability of adequate water supplies, arable land as well as government’s commitment to the sector and competitive human powers are among the great opportunities to widen small and large scale irrigation in the country.
Researches also indicate that the country has a potential of total arable land of more than 70 million hectares in which the nation is able to exploit only 12 million hectare of land. The population engaged in agriculture is estimated to be 80 million. Some years back, the country introduced ‘Water Master Plan’ to be adopted and implemented for cultivating a bumper irrigation projects throughout the country.
Currently, the construction of mega irrigation projects in different parts of the country is reaching completion. Enhancing agriculture seeks coordinated work on modernizing irrigation to promote production and productivity.
“With abundant water resource and actually referred as ‘the water tower of Africa’, the country has been facing continues drought in the past. Even if the country is home to longest and huge yearlong flowing rivers in every corners of the country, the nation has cultivated not more than 2.8 million hectares of land last Ethiopian fiscal year. And the following year’s, irrigation national plans irrigating 3.3 million hectares [with production volume of 469 million quintal] this fiscal year,” Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Smallholder Horticulture Development Director Dereje Yigezu said.
Currently, farmers nationwide are aware of the benefits of producing market oriented fruits and vegetables as well as export oriented cash crops, he adds.
According to him, the development of horticulture crops through irrigation is better than that of seed crops. “Ethiopia has been facing adverse challenges of climate change that manifested recurrent drought happening within a five-year period and has affected its crop production and productivity,” he added.
Dereje further said that farmers across the country also witness the tangible role of the sector improving their livelihood. He also said that expanding sustainable irrigation mechanisms requires determined moves of the sector’s practitioners assisted with competent researchers, agricultural extension workers and increased stakeholders’ participation.
Promoting modern and technolo-gically assisted irrigation farming practice should be done prioritizing a wide-range of irrigation to bring a paradigm shift in the sector in which it requires transforming and developing the pastoral states and rain shortage areas, he underlined.
Ministry Small-scale Irrigation Development Expansion Directorate Director Elias Awol told this reporter that the ministry is undertaking mechanized and small-scale irrigation development countrywide. The introduction of easily operational irrigation technologies is also showing a remarkable progress at the farmers’ field, according to him.
“The ministry is distributing drip irrigation, furrow-irrigation, environme-ntal co-friendly solar-powered pumping and other irrigation technologies solar-powered water pumps to the farmers countrywide. Solar-powered pumping technology is currently on pilot test in two states: Oromia and Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples States,” he added.
According to Elias, the solar-powered pumping technology showcases the country’s deep commitment to building climate resilient green economy.
Regarding furrow irrigation, Elias said, “It is not practiced properly in some parts of the country due to low awareness of leading the water lines flow from high to low and flow correctly.
“Directly or indirectly the nation is transforming from a rain-fed agricultural system to an irrigation reliable agricultural system following the determined demand of the farmers. The farmers have noticed a visible production and productivity increment while practicing irrigation,” he added.
He also emphasized the need to allocate huge budget to develop wide scheme irrigation infrastructure networks. “Compared to other countries, Ethiopia, though it is with greater water potential, has been gaining lower from irrigation agriculture. Researches in the area indicated that it is possible to irrigate more than 10.1 million hectares of land in the nation these days.”
BY TEWODROS KASSA
In green societies like Ethiopia, societal norms have deep-rooted roles in governing the general day to day life of the society. They also provide solutions for every problem. However, the social norms that revealed in the culture and tradition of the society may not be generalized as good for they may have some harmful practices.
Ethiopians, as societies have thousands years of history, have so many well established and glorified cultures and traditions. In spite of their language diversities and some cultural trait differences, they surprisingly have a number of similar and common values. This includes supporting each other and sharing economic burdens, celebrating together religious and cultural ceremonies and the like. In general, it could be said there is no place for loneliness and the life is managed to be easy through fellowship.
In the era of globalization which revealed itself in prevailing fast urbanization, among all things, the cultural changes and damages are the most observable ones. As many scholars agree globalization is defusing the culture of specific parts of the world at the cost of the others. This in turn dismantles long enduring traditions as the consequences are threatening both individual and societal lives.
Tewodros Mebratu is Civic and Ethical Education lecturer at Addis Ababa and Admas Universities. He said, “For example, when somebody is preparing wedding ceremony for his daughter or son, he shares everything with his neighbors and the community in several ways. The society has traditional systems to share burdens, provide free manpower and expertise services and the like. But now, this is being changed specially in urban areas.”
Tewodros added that the urban housing systems with high degree of urbanization have been supported by the social media; for instance both domestic and abroad films are encouraging individualistic life styles. He also explains the importance of traditional social institutions such as ‘Idir’, ‘Ikub’, and others which are platforms for the communities to meet each other and get opportunity to chat and to know each other. These days, these institutions are less practiced specially in the urban areas and their social importance is lost as a result.
Zegeye Tilahun, a resident in Addis Ababa, said that the city dwellers do not know their neighbors. As a result, they cannot establish proper social communications and do not share things in celebrating religious and social ceremonies. “If you first try to approach somebody, they do not usually respond in positive ways. And one of the beautiful traditions of drinking coffee together is being forgotten,” he added.
According to Tewodros, the absence of such social values are declining the commitment of the members of the society for the good works; thus, that is why we are seeing careless individuals for people’s health and safety rather than their own businesses.
In capitalism individualistic life, peoples became selfish and keeping one’s own benefit at any cost. Thus, criminal activities especially serious crimes are usually done around urban areas.
Federal Attorney Abel Abebe, “Norms are binding than law when it comes to create stable and secured society. In Ethiopia, social cultural norms play irreplaceable role in creating disciplined ethical individuals. Thus, social norms are recognized and protected by laws.”
He also said that it is believed that in the societies that are loyal to their culture and traditions, the individuals are less likely motivated to criminal activities. As of him, this is because the culture and traditions of the society themselves have mechanisms to protect individuals from crime activities and have methods to reconcile conflicts, punish criminals up to excluding them from the community, in order to diminish criminal minds.
Moreover, Abel added, “In the urban areas, social norms and traditions are less binding and peoples restrained from crimes only by self discipline and fear of law; but our cultural and traditional values and norms have been well established and successful for centuries by creating very stable, health and secured society even in the absence of strong governments to maintain justice.”
Our social values are serving as medicines to mental illnesses that are caused as a result of individualism. And they are best solutions in reducing economic problems of individuals in their daily lives. As globalization continues, fast urbanization is clearly threatening this stunning value that is very much necessary for human life.
Suggesting some possible solutions, Tewodros said that media ought to play their expected role to save these norms. At most, they are concentrated on very few parts of society’s life. The rural communities and the social norms seem to be ignored or forgotten by our media, movies etc. “Therefore,” he said, “they should give concern and work systematically to rebuild these norms.”
In general, the society has well cultivated cultural values that maintain the proper togetherness and harmony among the members of the communities. Unfortunately, the fast urbanization has been destroying these values in urban areas. Since the westerners export their cultures to worldwide particularly to urban areas, the western culture that encourages individualism is inevitably piercing the local cultures. Realizing this, even though it is impossible to totally avoid the influence of the western culture, the society should work very hard to cultivate and sustain the beauty and values of the local cultures as they have great roles in keeping healthy societies.
BY YOSEF KETEMA