Sidama People, that hail from the Kushitic ethnic group, inhabit the north east of South Nation, Nationalities and People State marked for unique natural, economic, political and cultural settings. Amongst the Age Grade system, Luwa is an ancient administrative and cultural practice of the Sidama people. It is believed to date back to the 9th century. It is indispensable to interrogate the Luwa system of the Sidama as it is an epicenter of sundry Sidama social, political and economic lives.
Mainly dealing with defense, Luwa system excludes women from participation. More over, the patriarchal power of the Sidama is reinforced and consolidated by the Luwa System. Even if the Sidama women were excluded from political and other privileges, they have managed to find some ways to maintain their respected social status.
In this article, this writer presents the precis of , The Yakka Punishment, a very interesting story of Sidama women's system of resisting the well-established patriarchal system. The precis is extracted from Article written by Ambaye Ogato Anata with the title of “Navigating and Defying Patriarchy” in 2016.
Paradoxically, the very institution – Luwa – that promotes males to a higher status, and in effect institutionalize male supremacy, also promotes the status of certain women. When a man passes through the different initiations in his Luwa set and by doing so consolidates his status.His wife experiences a similar increase in her status. As such she is accorded respect as the wife of a respected elder (cimeessa). She is second in the rank of importance to a Qarichcho (‘first lady’), who is the wife of a clan leader or Luwa leader (Gadana).
While primacy and seniority therefore are always granted to the wife of a clan leader or the Luwa leader (Gadana), the wife of a Cimeessa always retains the respect that comes with the promotion of her husband to Cimeessa. In that role, her blessings are sought after from the outset and highly regarded in the case of planning feasts (Safa). Her blessing is also sought in the inauguration of a newly constructed house. Cattle will be slaughtered by a Cimeessa as a sign of happiness. The practice is also believed to chase away ‘evil spirits’ and give thanks to the Creator (Magano).
When a woman becomes a Qarichcho ( wife of Gadana) through her husband’s position as a clan leader or Luwa leader, she gains the ‘right’ to organize other women. As a Qarichcho she gathers women together to pray for fertility and rain in times of drought. More significantly, a Qarichcho can initiate a rally to protest against a man who has humiliated or harshly abused his wife or women. This does not mean that a Qarichcho simply interferes in the internal affairs of a household; rather, she is at the forefront of exposing intolerable abuses against women in male-dominated Sidama society. This act of protest is called Yakka.
There are three major areas of abuse that prompt a yakka. One action that can trigger a yakka punishment is insulting a woman by referring to her sexual organ, whether the insult is delivered by a husband or any other man. This sort of insult is perceived as a total denigration of the woman as a mother. As such it is regarded intolerable. The Yakka punishment that attends the offense aims at creating embarrassment on the man.
The Sidama people have respect for women in their roles as mothers. An elder woman is respected and given due respect as a Randicho, who commands fear for her power to call down curses. If a Randicho call down curses on someone, there is a frightening fear that that bad luck will haunt the person and make his/her life miserable. Moreover, a Randicho is highly esteemed for her role in conflict resolution, as she is the one responsible for wrapping up the last reconciliatory phase by sprinkling water.
Another action that may invoke Yakka involves the domestic relationship between a man and a woman (i.e., a husband and wife). A Sidama woman generally takes rest quite late after making sure every household chore is in order. She also wakes up early in the morning to make sure that food is prepared for her husband and the family. She shoulders the burden of milking and many other domestic chores. If the husband, who spends most of his time on the farm looking after his cattle, or in a Songo (council of elders) meeting, were to come home and wish to go to bed early, his wife may be late to join him in bed because she has a lot to do before retiring. Should the husband lose control of himself because she is not in bed with him, and starts to insult her with demeaning words,which she finds unbearable to her, or even try to beat her, she can then seek Yakka punishment.
A third action that can invoke Yakka, which is often mentioned, is the insulting or beating of a woman while she works in the backyard in what is sometimes referred to as the ‘false banana’ (Ensete ventricosum) farm. Among the Sidama, women assume the sole responsibility for preparing food from Ensete ventricosum. Thus the backyard is considered to be their private area (space). If a man insults her or beats her in that area, she can enact a Yakka punishment.
Whenever a woman is abused in any of the above situations, she opts to go to a Qarichcho. These offenses are considered to be offenses against all women, and the Qarichcho will utter ‘aliwelo masange Oso’ (which literally means, ‘a woman is unnecessarily abused and disgraced’) and start to shout. When she shouts she usually holds her breasts, signifying that she who gives birth has been unfairly abused. Women from different groups will hear the persistent shouting of the Qarichcho and come out to express solidarity with her. Led by the Qarichcho, they add to the volume of her shouting so that all women folks could come out from the neighborhood and join them. At this point, the insult or abuse by the man is no longer considered offense done against that particular wife or woman alone, but rather is considered as an insult or abuse against all women.
During such a rally a husband cannot force his wife to stay at home. The women rise to a state of defiance against any authority that attempts to stop them. Once, all of the women have assembled, they march to the house of the man who humiliated the woman. Upon their arrival, they demolish everything in their path, including the hut itself. If they manage to capture the culprit, they strip off his clothes, beat him, and make him carry ‘Mocaa’ (a juicy fluid that comes from the preparation of ensete ventricosum) through the village. When a man carries Mocaa in Sidama, it is a sign of humiliation and disrespect.
In other words, such situations would empower women to take the upper hand in punishing and taking the matter in their own hands. In the face of such dramatic actions by the women, elders try to calm the rage by calling a meeting among themselves and taking matters into their own hands. Although women cannot directly participate, their cause and concern will be seriously discussed in the Songo (council of elders) meetings and the offender will be punished.
A last issue with regard to the status of women in Sidama society concerns a woman’s burial ceremony. As mentioned above, the promotion of a husband through one of the rituals of Luwa elevates wife’s status accordingly. For a wife whose husband has gone through the Luwa rituals, upon her death there is an elaborate mourning ceremony and her grave is fenced in a distinctive way. This level of mourning and style of grave demonstrates how the Sidama adapt funeral rites to accord with a woman’s social worth and status.
Generally, we can observe how Luwa institution that grants high status to a man also elevates the status of his wife or women with regard to certain activities. Although, the status of women in Sidama society is subservient to the status of men, women have recourse to the Yakka punishment against men who denigrate or abuse them to an extent that is considered intolerable in Sidama society.
This writer hopes this article inspires researchers to investigate and write on unreached indigenous culture Ethiopians Nations, Nationalities and Peoples have regarding women in particular and system of administration in general. The writer also recommends women activists and others to scout for such literature,dig deep and make them enjoy limelight.
(Source: This article is found in American Journal of Sociological Research 2016, 6(3): 61-65
DOI: 10.5923/j.sociology.20160603.01 and belongs to Ambaye Ogato Anata. The writer of this article just shortened the story to esteemed readers so as to offer a window to a new culture.)
ORGANIZED BY: HANNA ZERIHUN
Today’s guest is Solomon Tibebe. He is a clinical nurse by profession. He had served in ALERT Hospital for forty solid years. The clinical nurse was in the habit of providing expert advice related to leprosy for people living with the disease. He is considered by many as ambassador for leprosy elimination. All his patients love him with all their hearts. Above and beyond, nothing makes him happier than helping his patients from time to time. He offered a range of trainings with regard to the disease without charge. He successfully had served in various capacities in the hospital. All the time, he gives priority to his patients for he feels affection to his profession. He is so committed to his work. He teaches his patients about leprosy repeatedly. In concert with people affected by leprosy, he is the founder of Self-Care groups in ALERT Hospital. More to the point, he had been patrolling in various rural areas of the country with the purpose of teaching people about the inside out of leprosy.
With his healing hands, he had taken care of patients, examined, taught and other related aspects in the hospital. He had taken various courses related to leprosy or Hansen’s disease. He had got himself involved in awareness raising campaigns on the subject of leprosy quite a lot of times. He was also constantly sencitizing people living with leprosy with the dos and don’ts of the disease. Aside from teaching them over and over again, he was advising them to go to health centers. He happily helped people living with leprosy and washed patients’ wound time and again. To cut a long story short, he had played a major role in changing the lives of quite a lot of people living with leprosy.
The Ethiopian Herald had a short stay with Solomon Tibebe with a view to familiarizing his professional life with readers. He had touched upon a number of issues revolving around leprosy, which is commonly known as Hansen’s disease.
What is all about leprosy?
To begin with, leprosy is commonly known as Hansen’s disease. It is an unhurried but potentially demoralizing one. The disease is named after Armauer Hansen, the Norwegian doctor who first became aware of the bacteria that causes the disease. The disease for the most part affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, the eyes and all that. Leprosy is curable with no trouble. Treatment in the early stages can put a stop to disability. More often than not, its transmission is high at some stage in close and recurrent contacts with infected persons . Leprosy/ Hansen’s disease is one of the oldest diseases that affect millions of people around the globe. It is caused by mycobacterium leprous and spread by means of droplets from nose to mouth. Early treatment averts most disabilities. Unless one goes to see a doctor at the right time, it can cause progressive and undeviating harm to the skin, limbs, eyes and what have you.
By the same token, leprosy is a public health problem that forcefully has an effect on the entire aspects of life of victims as a result of the stigma or erroneous conception of people towards the disease. Some people accept as true that leprosy is a hereditary disease. They as well think that leprosy cannot be cured for the reason that the disease is a curse from God. By the way, the disease can have an effect on the nose and the eyes too. Early symptoms of leprosy consist of light patches on the skin. In reality, when nerves on our arm are upset, part of our hands grows to be numb. More to the point, small muscles grow to be paralyzed making possible the curling of the fingers and thumb. At this moment in time, Hansen's disease/ leprosy remains a public health predicament in various parts of the world. The disease still causes earth-shattering apprehension and stigma, which can hamper control strategies of this curable disease.
What are the major causes of leprosy?
Well, the correct mechanism of transmission of leprosy/Hansen's disease is not well known that much. Above all, the diagnosis of the disease is clinical. As I have tried to mention so far, the cause of the ailment is Mycobacterium leprae, an obligate intracellular bacillus. It is a chronic infection. Mostly, it attacks the peripheral nerves, the skin and other parts of the body. With respect to the disease, the most widely held belief is that leprosy was transmitted by physical contact with infected individual. Besides, some people accept as true that the possibility of transmission of the disease is by respiratory ground. The foremost warning sign of leprosy incorporate muscle limitation, lack of feeling in the hands, arms, feet, and legs, among others.
When was the treatment of leprosy started in Ethiopia?
The ALERT hospital embarked on giving service more than a few decades ago. It has been rendering successful service to this point. People who come from various corner of the country have been getting self help from the hospital. The good thing is, people on familiar terms with the disease do not bat their eyes to go to various health centers in a little while. Right from the start, ALERT Hospital has unreservedly been providing leprosy training for medical students apart from engaging itself in several medical services delivery and improving its internal infrastructure. It as well is saving the lives of several people time and again. The commitment of employees is still there. They all are ready to help patients. The working environment of the hospital is really very interesting. It is indescribable.
A lot of well-known medical doctors who had played a major role in the history of the hospital had retired while some of them departed this life as a consequence of natural causes. Without any exaggeration, ALERT Hospital would not have reached where it is today not propped up by the concerted efforts of all. In the same way, the hospital is giving due weight and attention to HIV and AIDS patients. For the first time, antiretrovirals: HIV and AIDS Drugs have been started in this historic hospital. It still is saving the lives of several people over and over again. Most HIV and AIDS patients want to take antiretrovirals: HIV and AIDS Drugs from our hospital. The hospital has engaged itself in various programs.
How is the awareness level of the people?
Though the desired goal has not been achieved yet, a lot of awareness activities have been carried out in this regard. A lot remains to bridge gaps concerning the diseases. As far as I am concerned, we cannot say that we have controlled the disease. We observe new cases every so often. The awareness level of people makes patients with leprosy detach themselves from the community. All the time, they live under the feet of fear. They cannot find a person who could convince them that the disease can easily be cured.
Sadly, most people associate the cause of leprosy with the curse of God, evil spirit and other related aspects. From time to time, people living with leprosy distance themselves from the general public. Furthermore, they belittle themselves time and again. The other thing is because of fear of stigma, they do not want their secret to be revealed. People living with leprosy are on familiar terms with the level of people’s understanding towards the disease. They do not consider the fact that all people are one and the same. Nobody knows the fact that the disease could be cured easily.
How does leprosy spread?
Well, Hansen’s disease spreads through contact with the mucus of an infected person. This mostly takes place when the infected person sneezes or coughs. In fact, the disease is not extremely infectious. More often than not, repeated contact with an untreated person may lead to leprosy. If truth be told, the bacteria make a replica at a snail's pace. The symptom may not come into sight for quite a lot of years. If people with Hansen’s disease are treated or get the treatment at the appointed hour as it should be, they will be exposed to disability or physical impairment.
Normally, leprosy is spread through droplets from the nose to mouth. If proper care is not taken, the disease could be transmitted from an infectious person to a healthy one. The causes of the disease are attached to myths, superstitions and false conceptions of people about the disease. Mostly, the disease is considered to have natural as well as super natural cause. People with leprosy could not transmit the germ for the reason that merely a certain proportion of patients could transmit the disease. At this point in time, leprosy control has been notably improving though new cases are observed.
What is your take on the social exclusion people towards people living with leprosy?
To the best of my knowledge, a lot remains to be done with a view to changing the attitude of people towards the disease. If truth be told, it is easier said than done to change the attitude of the people towards the disease. Most people with the disease are not respected. They are outcast. If people had known the fact that the disease could be cured without difficulty, they would not have acted that way. We have made an effort to change the attitude of the people yet. It is difficult to change
At the present time, people living with Hansen’s disease are being outcast. Wretchedly, they distance themselves from the general public. To the best of my knowledge, the problem is the outcome of lack of normative integration, low degree of social participation, material deprivation, and insufficient access to social rights. Usually, people living with leprosy are marginalized and stigmatized as people accept as true that the cause of leprosy is a curse. To the surprise of many, whatever their education background may be, most people have the same feelings, ideas and thoughts about the disease. Some people think that the disease is hereditary. Most people with Hansen’s disease still face predicament. Much has not been done to get to the bottom of the problem in this regard. Sadly, most people believe that the disease is infectious and hereditary.
Leprosy is considered as hereditary and a curse of God. In the past, marriage with leprosy affected people was not allowed. Furthermore, a lot had been written pertaining to the disease over and over again. For the love of distancing themselves from the community, people living with leprosy resort to traditional medicine. They do not want to see a doctor considering the misconception of people towards the disease.
What will happen if infected people with leprosy do not see a doctor almost immediately?
If people living with leprosy go to a nearby hospital, it is possible to arrest the disease as it is a curable one. The sooner the better. Unless people living with leprosy go to see a doctor, they will end up losing many things in life. A case in point, late diagnosis and treatment can lead patients to serious complications such as hair loss, mutilation, muscle limitation, undeviating nerve break in the arms as well as legs. Furthermore, delayed diagnosis may end up causing incapability to bring into play the hands and feet, unmitigated nasal clogging, nosebleeds and what not.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Without a shadow of doubt, all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia possess their own common values and assets, which have been winning the hearts and minds of most people. They as well possess their own unique manifestation of cultural values. Among all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia, the people of Gurage possess their own distinctive features.
The Gurages traditionally inhabit a fertile, semi-mountainous area in southwest Ethiopia, about 155 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa. They lead a sedentary life anchored in agriculture. More often than not, the people of Gurage are known for their traditional foods and drinks, religious holidays’ celebrations and what have you.
In reality, most people in and out of Ethiopia are on familiar terms with the different tangible and intangible heritages of the people of Gurage. In their research works, researchers have cited the abundant resources of the area. Most of the resources have got their own unique features.
As the people of Gurage depend on agriculture, they have been carrying out various activities over and over again. At this moment in time, some cultures of the people of Gurage have grown to be the culture of the entire Ethiopia. Just to mention a few, Equb and Edir have been playing a major role in the midst of the community. To cut a long story short, the people of Gurage possess a lot of tangible and intangible cultural resources.
Recently, a discussion forum had been staged in Wolkite town in collaboration with the Gurage Zone administration and Gurage Devel opment and Culture Association. The discussion was held with the intention of revealing and sustaining the great diversity of the interactions between the community and their environment, preserving and promoting the living traditional cultures associated with Jefoure, protecting and reviving those cultural Jefoure landscapes, which have been damaged, planting selected horticultural crops on each side of the Jefoure to improve the food and nutrition security and increase hous- ehold income of the rural com munities without encroaching much on the communal land resource.
Gurage people settlement pattern is so unique that it makes the landscape beautiful. The word Jefoure is defined in various ways as it serves different purposes. To begin with, one of the definitions of Jefoure is a cultural road engineering, a pecuilar art of the people of Gurage. To be quite honest, it is not possible to find the exact time when Jefoure was introduced in Gurage. All the time, it has been helping people economically and socially.
Most rural communities in the Guraghe zone, notably in Sebatbet Guraghe, have a unique land use system, popularly known as Jefoure. Jefoure is cultural design via which houses and trees flank roads left and right. Jefoure could be an open space between lines of villages. It could serve as a public gathering place for different occasions like holidays and grazing. It serves like a map or a compass to go to different places or sites, among others. Some say Jefoure is a stretch of land of varying lengths and widths depending on the locality.
Recent trend shows that the Jefoure landscape is on the verge of disappe- arance. It as well is changing its peculiar features for quite a lot of reasons: the ever increasing road networks in every locality associated with urbanization, overgrazing, expanding agricultural land, cutting down of the endemic old-age trees and so forth. This being the case, the Gurage Zone administration and the Gurage Development and Culture Association have taken the initiative with aview to protecting and preser- ving the originality of Jefoure, apart from maintaining its unique charac- teristics of the Guraghe community.
On the occasion, Tesfaye Goyte, Guraghe Development & Cultural Association Director said, “Because of shortage of agricultural land and other related reasons, the people of Gurage have been dwelling in the left, right and center of the country. They all accept as true that hard work changes the lives of anyone in a little while. However, some of them have been distancing themselves from their own language and cultures. They are throwing away their own cultures as buckling under the influence of other cultures. The influence is not that easy. Some of our heritages have been eroded. Unless we place much emphasis on our culture, they may get out of our hands.
“Currently, mother’s day, girls’ day or week, and cultural sports commonly known as Zore Keyo and Wanzen are on the verge of extermination. They really play a great role in generating huge income and thus we should be able to give due weight and attention to the culture under discussion. As Jefoure plays a major role in generating income, we should place much emphasis on the culture,” he added.
Guraghe people settlement pattern is so unique that it makes the landscapes of the area eye-catching. Most rural communities in the Guraghe zone for the most part the Sebatbet Guraghe have a unique land use system, which is commonly known as Jefoure. It is an open space between lines of villages which serve as a public gathering place, mourning area, square for bonfire, wedding places, playground for kids, among others.
Furthermore, without road signs and traffic symbols Jefoure helps people take a trip wherever they would like to go. As a general rule, junc- tures/joints which are made using bamboo, grass and dry false banana ropes or creeper (without using metal and woodwork products) last for a long time. At the present time, with no trouble people from all walks of life can identify the fact that the hut belongs to the Gurage ethnic group.
Similarly, road networks (Jefoure) has been giving multifaceted purposes for the entire people of Gurage. Above and beyond, they serve as a stepping stone for other infrastructure develo- pment, which has been carried out across the country. That is why Jefoure is used as manifestation of road engineering and establishment of villages in the midst of the people of Gurage. People have been securing a lot of benefits out of Jefoure at this point in time. Sadly, most of the significant benefit of the people of Gurage has been serving the people plentifully.
Jefoure makes obvious the collective values as well as social cohesion of the community. Furt- hermore, it gives evidence to the social growth and the inventive and religious liveliness of the community. It associates the minds of the comm- unities with powerful beliefs, artistic and traditional customs that embody an exceptional spiritual relationship of the people with nature. The other thing is, Jefoure guarantees and sustains the community to land use system biological diversity.
While we are on the subject, Jefoure is exclusively communal. The number of households in the perimeter of a Jefoure is dependent on its size. There are a lot of distinguishing chara cteristics of the Jefoure. Just to mention a few, they are based on long-standing traditional practices and the right of using Jefoure resources with the exception of economic trees is communal. In the case of planted trees, economic, preemptive right is acco rded to a household whose land lies adjacent to the tree’s specific location.
Similarly, direct and indirect revenues accruing to assets located in a Jefoure land area are free from government tax regulation. Utilization of Jefoure for private production is neither widely practiced nor encou- raged and sanctioned by the communal laws. The laws still govern rural communities though they are increas ingly being destabilized.
The Jefoure land has multiple uses although modernization has under- mined several of the uses at the present time. The most common ones, while not an exhaustive list, comprise forum to transact traditional court functions. Also for holding leadership meetings, public gathering—although a declining trend of this use is evident- and public celebrations, forum to carryout activities connected to mourning and other similar aspects. Likewise, Jefoure provides aesthetic value to villages; public outlet/road for people and transport-animals moving to markets and social events, playground for some traditional sports and children, communal grazing, comm- unity drinking water point, among others.
Among the unique assets and values of the people of Gurage, Jefoure is given due weight and attention time and again. The economic and social benefits of Jefoure are very huge. Hence, it has been used by most people in the area over and over again. Jefoure is an outstanding example of traditional human settlement and land use, which is representative of a culture or human interaction with the environment when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
Through road networking art, the people of Gurage possesses a number of social and economic affairs. Jefoure has been passing down from generation to generation. Nowadays, because of the flourishing of modern roads for construction and other related services, the traditional and natural asset of the people of Gurage has been missing the intended target. To put it briefly, a threat has been posed on Jefoure at this point. A remedial solution must be sought before it is too late as Jefoure is losing its target.
Concerned bodies should do something to bring to an end the problem within the shortest time possible.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Sources from Ethiopian Investment Commission indicates that the government is doing its level best to attract FDI. Several standard industrial parks have already been constructed and others are being constructed all over the country. So far, industrial parks that are put in place by the government (Bole Lemi-I and Hawasa Industry Park) have already started operation with full potential.
Combolcha and Mekele Industrial parks have started operation partially. Industrial parks in Adama and Dire Dawa are almost in their final stages. Other industrial parks (Jimma, Debre Birhan, Bahir Dar, Bolle Lemm II, Kilinto, Adama II) and two other private industrial parks (CCCC/Arerti and CCECC/Dire Dawa) are in the pipeline.
According to the economist Zemedeneh Negatu, ten years ago FDI flow to the nation was only one hundred million USD. However, now, this figure has grow.
He indicated that the FDI flow to the country has shot
up to four billion USD. Due to its economic performance and transformation, the country was labeled the fifth African nation that managed to attract largest FDI. This is an indication of government`s commitment towards investment. The various incentives provided to investors have played significant role in this regard.
He noted that the industrial parks that are built (and being built) all over the country have played a key role. Presence of several industrial parks in the country has eased the way for investors to start business in Ethiopia. It has enabled them to directly engage in the production process within the shortest period.
Government`s commitment in areas of infrastructural development is the other aspect that is facilitating FDI flow. Seeing the role of infrastructures to the overall economic development of the nation, the government has been investing millions of dollars to expand infrastructures. This initiative has attracted several investors to come to Ethiopia and invest their capital in various sectors. As to Zemedeneh, due to this and other factors the economic growth of the country lies between 8.5-10 percent.
Dr. Zemedeneh also claims that, while promoting investment opportunities a great focus should be placed on those countries that give immediate responses to invest in the country. This will further speed up the economic transformation and FDI flow.
The more investors are satisfied with their business at home the more the nation will benefit from them. In this regard, having standard IPs have a vital role. For instance, when the Hawasa Industrial Park starts its operation with full capacity, it will attract hundreds of millions of dollars to the country. It will provide job opportunities for more than 60,000 individuals. This individuals will in turn support their families. This means they will support their country directly or indirectly.
The various proclamation and regulations that the government passed revolving around the area of investment has also a significant role in encouraging investors. Whenever a given investor come to the country she or he needs security and assurance for the capital s/he spends. In this respect the political stability of the country, together with proclamations and policies, has played a key role.
Seconding Zemedeneh`s view, the economist, Tekei Alemu (PhD) said that the various polices and investment regulations have important role in attracting FDI. As to him, it is obvious that those investors who will come to Ethiopia will not only be drawn by the attractive policies of the government. The profit they will get out of the business is their major focus area.
Furthermore, he said that, while promoting investment opportunity the issue of peace and stability should be the other major concern of the government. He also said, preparing the industrial parks to suit the interest of investors and avoiding bureaucratic procedures should be the prime agenda of the government.
Kebur Gena (PhD) also agree with the view of the two scholars. According to him, the effort of the government to attract investors from all over the world has contributed a great share for the increase in FDI. He said, starting from 2014, the FDI flow has doubled.
This increase is the product of the investment policy of the government and the various infrastructural expansion projects all over the country. This is specially true for power supply which is the main concern of every investor. Kebur Gena also said, though the strides of the sector is encouraging, there is much to be done in the areas of accessing foreign currency and ensuring smooth functioning system.
The nation is working hard to catapult its economy from agriculture-based into industry -based economy. In this regard, Ethiopia expects more form FDI. Knowledge transfer, job opportunity, capital, market and foreign currency are needed. For this reason, promoting country's potential all over the world and easing all the grounds for investors by avoiding unnecessary bureaucratic procedures are still the assignment of the government.
BY LEULSEGED WORKU
Espousing women's cause for full development
“Dear Ethiopian women, under a difficult situation you built Ethiopia, made history and created generations to let us live today. You paid a lot of cost to have a better country. Your struggle was about justice. Your deed is respectful and we pay honor to it,” said prime minister Abiy Ahmed when he was sworn in.
He also added that even if the government is working a lot to change the lot of women and portrayed success stories, there is still a lot to be desired to ensure women's benefit. There is a need to make them play a pivotal role towards the nation's multifaceted development.
Years back, equality of women was unthinkable as there was no system that accommodates women's equality in the true sense of the word. When it comes to political, social and economic engagements, members of the fair sex were wrongly perceived unfit. As such, they were not allowed to inherit or own farming lands as their male counter parts.
But, in present day Ethiopia, women are basking under focal attention. A number of years have elapsed since women's participation on different aspects has taken a turn for the better, as to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs(MoWCA).
After 1991, the constitution, on article 35, clearly set women's profitability. It also stressed affirmative action to fill gaps prevalent in the former systems. The gaps had clearly made females to lag behind male counterparts.
On the political arena, the constitution gave a better chance to women to join force so as to emerge strong. It as well allowed them to highly participate in elections. Utilizing the favorable situation ,women are actively participating in the nation's political movement.
Both at federal and states counsels, their number is increasing. And in higher governmental offices they are assuming posts to effectively discharge roles. For example , during the 2007 federal and states election , about 38.8 percent of House of Peoples Representative's seats were won by women. And 40.4 percent states counsel seats were occupied by them.
Workenesh W/kidan, Women Federation President, told to the Ethiopian Press Agency that the exercise of encouraging competent women climb up the management ladder is started. Yet,observably, their participation rate is far behind. The number of women managers within Addis Ababa City, Sub City and Wereda administrations is low.
Allowing women to partake in administrative affair is helping the society. To this effect, setting aside administrative posts for them is necessary, according to Werikinesh.
On the other hand, more female leaders are taking the scenes. On zonal levels better things are being observed. Strengthening these best practices, it is advantageous to better harness
woman's compassionate,cognitive and effective administrative capacity. Leveling the administrative terrain to see the right gender mix is necessary.
Recently, the government has reshuffled officials in its executive arms. As part of this move, it has come up with all together 22 women ministers and state ministers. Now, the government is practically building women's political capacity by placing focal attention on gender parity as to Melaku Bayu, senior communication officer within MoWCA.
Years back, economically women had been highly dependent on male. But now they are being organized in cooperative and small and medium enterprises, they are highly using saving opportunities.
The government is facilitating things on agro-processing and other big companies. And it is facilitating them opportunities to get loan and other services, the Ministry said.
“To benefit women economically, it is better to make them self supportive. Therefore, if a woman is strong economically it will be simple for her to participate in political and other social affairs,” said the president.
In rural part of the country, in an unprecedented manner in history ,women have managed to equally get farming lands. Efforts are also underway to make them engaged in small and medium enterprises as per their volition.
Regarding social benefits, specially in education and health, nation's women are becoming beneficiaries than ever before. More than 40,000 health extension workers are deployed in every nook and crannies of the country to protect women from delivery related deaths. The workforce also strives to arrest child death.
Awareness creation works and training on different social economic and related issues are given. This will continue in a strengthened manner. As to Melaku, a number of packages are being implemented in urban and rural areas to let them free from outmoded mentalities and gender bias. The incumbent as well supports them to see to self hygiene and environmental sanitation. Moreover it helps them to have enough knowledge on pregnancy and post-birth precaution as well as to be safeguard themselves from HIV/ AIDS and other social problems.
The percentage difference between earlier years and now is a clear indicator for the ensuing of better days. Following sensitization and monitoring works,circumcision, abduction and early marriage have highly decreased.
The country has vowed to eliminate female circumcision and early marriage by 2025. Achievement presupposes conviction. The Ministry also noted it is highly working to ensure positive change.
“..... The government espouses the cause of women not for the sake of their advantages but also for the sake of all citizens. The government believes that it is not possible to have a full picture of the country, which is oblivious to the significant half of itself. So we will place due emphasis on women to work better than before,” the primer said on the occasion. And now, the public expects more and more changes pertaining to women's participation.
BY GENET FEKADE
Over a score and half a decade back a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was not there. A 500 thousand Birr capital ceiling was set on citizens. If any one dared to surpass the upper limit s/he would be frowned up on labeled a capitalist or a bourgeois.
As it was a command economy the regime was pursuing it had barred all ways for the thriving of indigenous entrepreneurs. It had confiscated the wealth and properties of potential entrepreneurs dubbing them bourgeois or retrogressive elements. Indigenous entrepreneurs and the regime were mutually exclusive.
Those few enterprises that were striving to beef up their muscles during the reign of Emperor Haileselassie were stripped of their wealth and properties. Subject to a push factor, they were forced to leave their beloved country empty handed.
But the free market economy the country managed to embrace after May 1991 and the fertile ground it brought into play for investment have allowed the burgeoning of the private sector.
Engaged in hotel, health, education, trade,industry,agriculture and service sectors as well as Real State Development and outlaying money,entrepreneurs are doing their due in the nation building task. The sector is well buttressing the swift economic growth the country is portraying in a row. It is stamping own seal on the push forward.
It is not only Ethiopians that are actors in this investment activity. In drves, foreign investors too are coming to the country to get on the ball. In generating foreign currency and creating job opportunities they are playing their due role. Here, it suffices to mention 2.2 Billion USD direct investment registered in the first half of the just departing fiscal year.
The performance proves a hit above 100 per cent. It has also exhibited a 22 per cent increase as compared to the performance same period last year. The fact the to dos that rocked some parts of the country during the past 2 years did not that much shake the investment activity demonstrates that the investment venture is laid on a firm bedrock.
The historic watershed, May 28, is usher of a breath of fresh air that heralded the resurrection of FDI and the coming back of entrepreneurs into the scene. This bright historic spot has allowed a cherished corner in the hearts of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs that opted flee their country and also new ones have portrayed interest to come back to their homeland. But, at this juncture, it is appropriate to mention that it is after unstinting diplomatic efforts exerted and incentives given such outcomes were made possible. As a result the country has turned out to be FDI hub.
But this does not mean the road was not rocky. Entrepreneurs were hamstrung by administrative logjams and bottlenecks related to infrastructural facilities and land. It is withstanding such challenges the investment sector has managed to cut an elegant posture climbing up ladder of success. The government has been striving to troubleshoot improprieties and address blockades related to infrastructural facilities. The gigantic industrial parks born into life testify the case in point.
Parallel to the aforementioned task,the country is striving to generate huge electric power. Towards the dissemination of the power, it is putting in place transmission lines. Obviously, this developmental thrust is believed to sustainably curb the power shortage that could cripple the sector. Following works done to let foreign entrepreneurs come with equipment and start operation right away, getting into the industrial parks, positioned at different corners of the country, various companies, the world-renowned inclusive, are exporting yields.
But this should not be a source of complacence. There is a lot to be desired. Needless to mention ,as it is FDI the country is drawing, it is experiencing a cut-throat competition. Including big nations there is no stone competitors leave unturned.
Towards stepping up aforementioned FDI and the longevity of investors' stay here, as much as possible and as much as appropriate, making things comfy for them is necessary.
As sources indicate, Ethiopia's effort to diversify FDI is limited seen in light of the opportunities the global marker offers. All these indicate the need to press ahead with the push.
The bottom line is FDI whose resurrection is ensured on May 28 must be allowed to further flourish.
Ethiopia’s relations with world organizations counts decades and in fact it is one of the very first countries in the world to join or be a founding member of these organizations. History remembers how the late Emperor Haileselassie counted on the power and influence of the world body, then the League of Nations, and joined it considering it a guarantee for the common security and sovereignty of nations, particularly the smaller ones. History also recalls how he was betrayed by it as it failed to do anything effective to protect Ethiopia from Fascist invasion in 1936. The fervent appeal that the emperor made at the headquarters of the League of Nations in Geneva is still remembered as one of the historical chapters of both the organizations’ frailties as well as how the world needed something stronger that could restrain the instincts of aggression or expansion of certain arrogant and fascist regimes. In fact, as he predicted then, there was soon to be other aggressions by the Fascist and Nazi regimes of the 1930s which eventually triggered the devastating Second World War and the world plunged into a deep crisis.
Fortunately, Ethiopia got liberated after five years of efforts both in the home front thanks to its brave patriots’ persistent resistance while in the diplomatic front the exiled emperor exerted all the efforts in his capacity to bring to the attention of the world the case of Ethiopia.
When things settled and guns stopped roaring, the world needed to contemplate on what to do next and the idea of the United Nations Organisation was born. Ethiopia soon became one of the founding members. This body that was intended to do away with the errors of the past and be vigilant that never again would there be a ground for any nation to use war as an instrument of foreign policy.
Subsequently, when the world appeared to be immersed in an ideological battle that was then promptly named the ‘cold war’, divided into the Capitalist West led by USA and the Socialist East led by Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR, Ethiopia opted to take the neutral stand in what was called the ‘Non Allied Movement’ spearheaded largely by leaders such as Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abel Nasser of Egypt and of course Haileselassie.
Ethiopia’s active participation among the world community has since been vigorous and exemplary also because it was the only African country that had always remained free of colonial expansion and as such had some leverage wherever it presented itself in the diplomatic sphere.
When the UN was then to be an active participant of the world’s peace efforts both in terms of peace making as well as peace keeping, Ethiopia was among the front runners. In fact, in the early fifties when there was the Korean War, the UN asked Ethiopia to contribute troops to fight along with UN forces and Ethiopia responded positively. Then when the Congo Crisis emerged in the 1960s, again Ethiopia contributed troops to the UN mission. After these two historical efforts by the Ethiopian people and government, the contribution of Ethiopia for world has always been applauded by the UN and other international bodies and the international community has written the name of Ethiopia in golden words.
With the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in Addis Ababa back in 1963, Ethiopia was again among the most active participants of the process along with its leaders and diplomats helping settle the various diversities among the continent’s countries with varying orientations, be it political, cultural or religious. African countries had come from years of colonial dominion and their culture had been some how undermined being replaced to a certain extent by the influence of the alien culture. Portuguese, French, German and English were the imported languages. It was not easy at all to contain the differences of influence and ideology and bring together all of them to one table and agree on what to do to assert Africans’ interest.
Indeed, Africa needed a body of its own that could promote its interests and speak on its behalf. Then there were also countries that were not yet liberated such as the Portuguese colonies and the then Union of South Africa which was under the grip of apartheid. Here Ethiopia’s contribution for the liberation of these lands was notable. Ethiopia’s diplomatic role was vigorous. It presented the venue for the negotiations and even supported the liberation armies. Most remarkably Nelson Mandela was trained in Ethiopia. Eventually, Ethiopia also presented its capital city to be the seat of the African Union.
Ethiopia’s role in the United Nations endeavours has continued to expand and grow and its troops have been among the most preferred both for their discipline as well as their preparation and courage when there have been moments of combat to keep peace. Its leaders’ contribution in brokering mediation and peace has also been consistent and reliable along the years. Wherever there were crisis on the continent, Ethiopia was often asked to be part of the mediation team and it has performed successfully.
Besides, in the past two or so decades Ethiopia’s troops to UN or AU efforts have been decisive in many instances and its contribution to peace efforts has been notable in places such as Liberia, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia. Wherever they went Ethiopian troops have proved to be neutral, reliable and disciplined. In a world full of scandals of various sorts, Ethiopian peacekeepers have never been involved in such infamy. On the contrary, they were lauded and awarded medals of merit.
In terms of numbers as well Ethiopia’s contingent for peace keeping efforts has always been among the largest along with India and Canada. Ethiopian troops are preferred because of their integrity, courage and discipline and this has been a source of pride for all Ethiopians.
When the other day the United Nations celebrated the seventieth anniversary of the formation of the peacekeepers organisation, Ethiopia was mentioned among the top members of the body and the ceremony held in New York at the headquarters of the organization was very significant. This year Ethiopia being a member of the Security Council of the world body, it has an extra motive of pride and delight.
During the past three decades after the fall of the military junta in 1991, it is evident that Ethiopia has made progress towards not only the alleviation of poverty of its people but also its efforts to advance the causes of democracy. Particularly in the past few months, with a new leadership team at the apex of government, the momentum has reached a new peak and the coming years seem even more promising.
People say the country is in transition and as it tries to come out of the deep holes of poverty and reliance on foreign aid, its contribution to the peace efforts of international bodies such as the UN, the AU, NEPAD and IGAD and the like has however been very significant. Even the leadership of the World Health Organization given to an Ethiopian has its own significance because Ethiopia has demonstrated along the years to be a reliable partner in the world scene.
Given its strategic position along the Red Sea route and very near to the Middle East and of course the core of Africa, Ethiopia’s role cannot be undermined in regional as well as continental power politics. The role its leaders have played beginning with Emperor Haileselassie and then Colonel Mengistu to Meles Zenawi, Hailemariam Dessalegn and now Dr Abiy Ahmed is welcome and appreciated. All these leaders were committed to the cause of African Unity and in one way or another have contributed to the liberation of Africa from foreign dominion. It is in our memory how the late Meles Zenawi was an active campaigner of Africa’s campaign to claim legitimate compensation for the damages the advanced nations caused through what is called climate change: a direct result of the reckless carbon emission to the environment causing havoc in the atmosphere during their drive towards industrialization. The Paris Climate Agreement is one of the results of such efforts. Ethiopia is now cited among the nations that have made tremendous advancement towards developing a clean energy.
The campaign to make the world better and safer is an ongoing process in which every country in the world should take part and some of the huge economies of the world should be prompted to bear their due share of responsibilities and not avoid them. Ethiopia in the meantime will continue to be among the forefront of countries that contribute its fair share in peace making as well as peace keeping under the auspices of well recognized international bodies. It also takes active part in combating international terrorism as well as human trafficking besides of course giving a hand in hosting thousands of refugees who flee war zones and persecutions from places such as neighbouring Eritrea, Somalia and the Sudan.
Hence the role of Ethiopia in international diplomatic circles will continue to flourish even with the new government of Dr Abiy as he gave it priority in his agenda by visiting the neighbouring countries and then the Arab World.
BY FITSUM GETACHEW
ADDIS ABABA- “ The different economic polices the government brought into play are helping the country to change gear into a better direction,”so remarked an American economist, Tyler Cowen.
The economist, who is a professor of Economics at Geore Mason University, was recently here in Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian Herald and other journalists had a moment of togetherness with this scholar to hear his view about Ethiopian economy.
According to Cown , Ethiopia is experiencing a political transformation.
The fact that over the last decades the economy of the country had been growing at 10- 8.5 percent is a good indication of the economic transformation the nation is going through.
He also said country's human capital is one of the assets that helped the nation to grow fast. According to him,the diversification of products and the hunt for market should be given much attention to grow more.
Responding to the question “Did America lose foothold because of growing Chinese market ,the Professor said that Africa is a big place.
Asked to what extent privatization has helped the economic development of a country the professor said, in the long run, all successful economies are private but that does not imply any specific pace for privatization. Sometimes slower is better.
According to him, “There are some economies such as Poland that have done very well by embracing privatization quickly. That is great for them. China has privatized more slowly or in some cases not at all. Observably, through time they will privatize more. I think there is a sentiment in China that a state's capacity need be maintained not to quickly privatized. ”
Professor Tyler Cowen is a professor of Economics at Geore Mason University and also Director of the Mercatus Center. He received his Ph.D in economics from Harvard University in 1987. His book “The Great Stagnation: How America Ate the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and will (Eventually) Feel Better” was New York Times best-seller.
BY LEULSEGED WORKU
ADDIS ABABA- Wildlife trafficking is one of the global challenges. It is thought to be the third most profitable illicit commerce in the world, after drugs and weapons. Illegal hunting and trafficking are serious challenges to the wildlife.
Ethiopian Wild Life Conservation Development Authority, Wildlife and Products Trafficking Prevention Director, Daneil Paulos told The Ethiopian Herald that elephants, lions, tigers and rhinoceros are targets of illegal hunting and trafficking. He also said, the demand for lions' bone for traditional medicine is exacerbating illegal lion hunting.
Formerly it was Tiger's bone that had been used for traditional medicinal purpose in Asian countries. However now, with the decrease in number of tiger and strict measure on illegal hunting of tigers , the focus of hunters is diverted to lions. The turn of events is creating pressure on lions. He also said, even cubs are victims of illegal trafficking.
To redress the tragic scenario, the Authority is working on awareness creation. According to Daniel, military personnel, legal bodies, federal police and other concerned bodies are part and parcel of this awareness creation program.
The other measure, which is being taken by the Authority, is the enforcement of international conventions and national laws.
He also said, the Authority is also strengthening its cooperation with neighboring countries and international community that stood against all forms of illegal hunting and wildlife trafficking. As part of this cooperation the Authority has finalized its preparation to receive four sniffer dogs that will help the country control wildlife trafficking. This international organization has agreed to give the Authority four sniffer dogs with all necessary facilities, he said.
“The use of sniffer dogs has proved effective in controlling wildlife trafficking. This will fill our gaps,” Daniel said.
Ivory trade and others are still the problem for the wild life. As a means to protect this pressure, the Authority is also working closely with the society and concerned bodies.
Lately, the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Environment Office for East Africa had organizing a telephonic conference with media personnel at the U.S Embassy in Addis Ababa. The Ethiopia Herald had a chance to attended the conference.
According to Richard Glenn, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in Washington D.C., wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar organized crime activity, and obviously a critical conservation issue. It pushes many of the iconic and some not-so-iconic species to the brink of extinction. It restricts economic development, it threatens security and stability, and certainly undermines the rule of law.
“For this reason, we certainly strive to help partner nations in Africa, Southeast Asia, and in the Americas.” There is a call for improving their enforcement, their investigative skills, their prosecution and legislative capacities.
BY LEULSEGED WORKU
ADDIS ABABA—Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) announced that it will step up efforts to connect the nations through modern railway infrastructure.
Public Relations Directorate Director with the Corporation, Dereje Tefera told The Ethiopian Herald that Ethiopia has been aggressively striving to construct 5,000 km modern railway network which is capable to link all corners of the country.
‘‘Ethiopia has achieved tremendous infrastructural development over the last two decades. The 656 km Ethio-Djibouti railway and the 34 km Addis Ababa light rail are among the railway projects being completed successfully. However, more tasks are remaining to be undertaken to leapfrog the railway coverage to higher level,’’ he said.
Dereje added that 391 km long rail line from Awash to Weldiya/Hara Gebeya and 216km rail line from Weldiya/Hara Gebeya-Mekelle are currently under construction by Turkish company Yapi Merkezi and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) respectively.
Ethiopia has invested 3.4 billion USD for Ethiopia-Djibouti railway and 475 million USD for Addis Ababa light railway, according to him.
‘‘ Since its inauguration in January 2018, the Ethio-Djibouti railway which stretches from Sebeta, Oromia State to Negad in Djibouti via Mieso-Dewale-Ali Sabieh is facilitating the trade activities of the country. The rail line has a capacity of transporting 3,500 tons of goods in one trip.’’
Besides, it will provide transport service for 3,000 passengers per day, he noted.
Meanwhile, the Corporation has asked Addis Ababa City Administration to allocate 1.5 billion Birr subsidy for Addis Ababa light rail.
Dereje stated that taking the living standard of the city dwellers into consideration; the corporation is providing service with meager fee and as a result it could not afford expenses for electricity, spare parts and other administration works.
‘‘Our corporation spends 1.5 billion Birr for its 1,600 employees as salary. In addition to this, it covers other expenses. Having understood this, the city administration should allocate budget. Unless it would be difficult undertake activities properly,’’ he pointed out.
The Director indicated that Addis Ababa light railway is providing transport service for 140,000 people per day and the corporation has huge plan to scale up it.
The corporation has planned to construct and complete other rail lines and experience, knowledge and technology transfer has been gained so far, it was learnt.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS