Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 06 June 2018

Many audiences admire her eloquence when hearing her voice in radio, and she has sizable readers to the pieces she has written in various magazines and newspapers. Even though she is a veteran journalist, Kidist Kefleyohannes has also a significant involvement in different artistic and advertisement programs.   
Kidist began her carrier as radio journalist and was among the forerunner professionals in the establishment of Radio Fana, one of the leading broadcasters in the country. Furthermore, she was employed in the formerly popular 'Efoyeta' magazine, and was the first female editor of the sport column.
Crediting for introducing female footballers and the female football team, Kidist stated that she has never associated challenges she has encountered in workplaces with being a woman.
Kidist told the 'Addis Zemen' Daily News Paper that she has witnessed the wider prevalence of the stereotypical attitude towards the role and behavior of women in newsrooms, which for her largely affects the day to day activities of female journalists, and harms their moral.
She recalled: “It was back when I was working in one of the Media house; a foreign firm offered a free scholarship opportunity for the female professionals working in the Media organization, and we thought one of the females with much experience in hosting women programs will get the chance. Contrary to our expectation, the chance was given to a male individual who doesn’t have any relations with the profession, and there was no one that opposed the decision.’’
According to her, female journalists' reluctancy and unwillingness to express their views on issues that affect their day-to-day activities and job seriously hampers their carrier, and contribute to their low presence in media leadership. She called on fellow sisters to build their confidence, and their ability to convince others rather than to remain passive and docile figures, who accept wrong instructions without questions and objections.
A Communication and Media professional by trade, Bethlehem Negash has a Master of Arts Degree in Politics and Mass Media from University of Liverpool. She stayed in Amhara Mass Media Agency for seven years as news coordinator and radio news editor before leaving for the privately-owned newspaper 'Reporter', where she reached the position of news editor. Obtaining a scholarship from Zambian government, she had the opportunity to work for the country’s two renowned newspapers.  
Sharing Kidists’ view when it comes to encountering challenges in newsrooms, Bethlehem said that women’s lack of confidence is the major factor for the repetition of these occurrences.
According to her, most media tend to shun giving opportunity to female journalists to cover stories that are believed to have strong issue. “Since the issues are considered time taking and need research, the officials opt to give the assignment for male professionals, and the females themselves tend to choose to take assignments they think they can get done without much hassle,’’ she added.  
Furthermore, Bethlehem stated that most female journalists opt to cover issues related with arts, entertainment, social, women and health rather than that of politics, economy and current affairs. According to her, this trend seriously hampers female journalists' experience and exposure to the aforementioned topics.
She pointed out that the challenges female journalists have been encountering are not limited in the newsrooms, as they are exposed to various physical and sexual abuses.

Genet Gebere, works in Capacity Building Department of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority. Recently she conducted a postgraduate research paper concerning the gender gap witnessed in Ethiopia media outlets, and examined the practices of Ethiopian Press Agency and Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority in the basis of international principles.
She has executed study on whether these institutions are aware of the principles and difference witnessed in male and female professionals. According to her findings, both institutions have shortcomings in mainstreaming gender issues.  
She said “Considering the case of Addis Zemen newspaper, women do not have a fully-fledged column and their issues share societal affairs with the column only getting published once a week.  
Stressing the need of not leaving the issue of gender mainstreaming to a particular government entity alone, Genet called on other partners to effectively implement the international pro-women conventions the country has ratified at various times.   
The stakeholders highlight that ensuring women’s active participation in the media needs to be the government’s priority while multiple efforts is needed to enhance women’s participation in media decision making positions.
Above all, media institutions and journalists should refrain from stereotypical attitudes, and should walk in the path that would enable the country to get competent female journalist that takes the profession one step ahead, they comment.


Published in Society
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 17:18

Federalism: The best option for Ethiopia

Ethiopia has experienced different systems of government in its long history. Almost all the previous regimes that ruled the country did not have the will to decentralize and devolve power. As a result, the home of more than 80 nations, nationalities and peoples was mismanaged by feudalism and military dictatorship. The diverse ethnic groups had not been treated equally for several centuries.
More than any other time, the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia faced the toughest oppression during the seventeen years of military dictatorship under the 'Dergue'. However, after the overthrow of the regime in 1991 by the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a federal system of administration was established in the country. As a result, Ethiopia’s nation, nationality and people started to get equal opportun ities in all streams.
Even though the Federal Democratic system that is setup in Ethiopia has been showing an amazing progress in all aspects, there are still home works to be carried out in order to bypass the challenges, and keep the momentum of this fruitful development.
Senior federalism experts advise Ethiopia to give utmost priority to strengthening national unity in order to fully unleash the positive outcomes of the federal system.
According to them, Federalism has facilitated development and fostered democracy in the country by giving full recognition to self-administration. Gedion Mezmur Lecturer at the Ethiopian Civil Service University said that federalism is the best option for Ethiopia as it bestows self-administration for all nations, nationalities and peoples of the country.
He noted that the wide varieties of demands of citizens were delivered upon within a short span of time since federal system reduces bureaucracy compared to centrist system. “This system affords citizens proximity to the administration.” In addition, it strengthens political participation of citizens in public affairs at all three levels of the government through their representatives.
Gedion pointed out that since Ethiopia is home to multiple nations and nationalities; such administrative system allows them to develop their culture by means of constitutionally guaranteed rights. “They can develop their language and culture without any restriction”, he opined.
He further explained that even though the current Ethiopian federal system has been showing an amazing progress in all aspects, there are some works to be done in order to further exploit the benefits. The system faces challenges resulting from lack of awareness and experience, low level of understanding on the fundamental principles of federalism both at federal and local level, and inability to implement government policy.
Similarly, stemming from unfamiliarity to the working of unity in diversity, the national consensus of the country was undermined. Concerning the culture of co-existence, he stressed that Ethiopian nation, nationalities and peoples have no problem to live together. But, activities that can further strengthen national unity need additional impetus. As to him, the cause of the challenges to the system stem from the fact that the efforts done by the government and different social institutions to ensure unity in diversity throughout the country are not enough.
According to him, the regional autonomy subsection bestows unrestricted rights to all ethnic groups: every nation, nationality and people shall have the unrestricted right to self- determination up to secession. “This denotes a great freedom, and also provides best opportunity for Ethiopian citizens.”
Tariku Tadesse, a Federalism Expert and Chief of Women’s and Children Affairs Department in Gullale Sub-city Administration Office, said that there was a partial self-administrating system based on geographical location that was in use during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, even though there was no formal federal constitution backing it up.
“We can say that the imperial system laid the foundation for the current system of government. Because, at that time there was a power distribution between local nobilities and central government, although, there was no formal and legal division of powers among different structures of government.
Tariku argued that federal system is the best option for multinational countries like Ethiopia, as it allows self-rule and the right to self-determination.  He mentioned that the current federal system of the country faces challenges that come from unintentional consequences. By its nature, he said, federalism does not cause ethnic conflict, but if it is not handled well, it can cause disintegration and lead to ethnic political conflict.


Published in Society

Zelalem Birhan received his Bachelor of Arts in economics from Addis Ababa University in 1992. He also received his graduate degrees in Diplomacy and International Law and Business Administration from Coventry University in England and Southern Queen University of Australia respectively.  He then served in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) as an expert.  Currently, he is Business Diplomacy Directorate General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).  Here follows the exclusive interview the Amharic Daily Addis Zemen held with Zelalem Birhan regarding Ethiopia’s business diplomacy and its outcomes.
Question - Would you please elaborate the major activities that have been carried out in the business and diplomacy streams?
Zelalem – Based on the principles of the country’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Strategy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sees business diplomacy as one of its key tasks. That is why it has been striving to conduct effective business diplomacy in collaboration with stakeholder institutions.
For instance, with the primary goal of attracting potential investors into the country, it promotes nation’s investment potential, invites investors to pay business trips to the country, and makes easy the exchange of information between and among foreign and local institutions through the country’s diplomatic missions.   
Furthermore, it promotes the country’s investment friendly strategy and policy to foreign investors and works in collaboration with pertinent bodies to overcome challenges that investors may encounter while doing business in the country. The other major task of the Ministry is conducting market research, promoting export, facilitating technological transformation and creating market linkage.
Promotion of the country’s tourist sites is the other responsibility bestowed upon the MoFA. In this regard, Ethiopian diplomatic missions have been exerting tremendous efforts to prop up and excite tourists through foreign travel agents.     
What are the tangible activities undertaken in the past three years in the sector?
Various activities have been carried out in the past three years. Foreign companies have been invited into the country and conducted business to business dialogues with concerned bodies.  In the past two years, over 200 anchor international companies have visited the country to do businesses.  In general, within the past three years, 3,100 (small and medium) firms have visited the country. In the same way, within the stated time, 175 trade fairs have been organized nationally and internationally. Accordingly, for instance, in 2016 alone, it was managed to create 4,431 local and international firms have created trade linkages.  
Similarly, the number of travel agents recruited by Ethiopian missions abroad has exceeded 140. These agents have included Ethiopia’s tourist sites in their packages and are promoting them through their websites, pamphlets, and promotional materials.     
Many times, it has been witnessed that the agreements signed with various countries or companies failed to be materialized. What is the reason behind?
To tell the truth, though there is disparity between the number of visitors and investors, the investment in flow is increasing from time to time.  To give straight answer to the question why all visitors who came do not invest in the country, the answer is clear – [and that is why] we are still striving to make our service delivery efficient.
There are challenges associated with infrastructure and provision of land. In this regard, we need to deal with bureaucracies and other hindrances. However, as I mentioned before, in all ways, the inflow of investment is increasing significantly.  It is undeniable fact that Ethiopia is ranked among the top investment destinations in Africa. Let alone small and medium foreign firms, even global anchor companies are investing throughout the country.
Would you please mention the anchor global firms that have invested in Ethiopia?
So many worlds’ biggest firms have invested in Ethiopia.  Particularly, Major global anchor manufacturing companies have taken part in the Hawassa Industrial Park.  To mention, companies like Germany’s automotive, Belgium’s sanitary product manufact urers, Indians’ and Turkish textile factories, Morocco fertilizer companies are few among the others.  Moreover, identifying nation’s renewable energy resources, companies from Europe and United States have shown keen interest to invest in the country.
The construction of industrial parks across the country has created favorable opportunity for investors and is attracting leading manufacturers across the globe in to the country.  Industrial parks have enabled the country to respond to infrastructural challenges.  
Which are the leading countries in investing Ethiopia?
China is the leading country in making investments in Ethiopia followed by Turkey and India. Sudan has also plenty of investments.  There are also investors from England, Germany, and United States of America.  
Did the unrest in some parts of the country in the past two years have impacts on Ethiopia’s investment activities?
 It is not possible to say no. Investors when they want to commence business in foreign lands; the main issue they take into account is stability. ‘Is the country safe to invest?’ is the first question they ask. So far, the investment flow has been encouraging. Though the problem occurred in some parts of the country, it could have its own impact.
What are the major focus areas in the future?  
It is imperative to strengthen the country’s business diplomacy at institutional level. Through building our human capacity and conducting various activities, our effort is to significantly expand trade, tourism and investment. The Ministry has been conducting various studies in this regard. To this effect, we will further strengthen our economic diplomacy activities to accelerate the growth of the country’s economy. Particularly, due attention have been given to attracting potential investors, promoting tourism and exporting local products, and facilitating technological transformation.


Published in Development

Livestock play important roles in farming systems in developing countries, as it can be a source of food, draught power, bio-fertilizer and fuel, cash income and wealth accumulation. Despite its enormous livestock wealth, the country has not yet tapped it well.   nbv
As various documents indicates, Ethiopia has over 52.1 m. cattle, 24.2 mln. sheep, 22.6 mln. Goats, 987 thousand camels, 44.9 mln. poultry and nearly 5 mln. Beehives, which makes the nation home to one of the largest livestock population in Africa.
Livestock sector contributes to 12-16 percent of the country's GDP and about 16 percent of foreign earning. And IGAD’s recent study shows that livestock contribution to the national economy was over 350 percent of what was estimated in 2008/09, taking into consideration animal transport, traction power, fertilizer, dung and so on.
Even if this is the case, the sector is challenged by various internal and external factors such as genetic limitation for production, inadequate and poor quality of feed resources, prohibitive price of crossbred heifers and poultry, lack of poultry parent stock, and prevalent animal diseases, according to studies from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Moreover, there are institutional constraints as well, like poor linkage between research, extension and technology users, inadequate extension and training service, unreliable market and unavailability of credit. In addition to these socio-economic constraints, there are also common bottlenecks seen in terms of less availability of adequate land, shrinkage and degradation of rangelands, recurrent drought and conflict.
Issues in relation to export and local market is also a huge challenge facing the sector. Various efforts done so far to link meat exporters with livestock producers is limited, and the issue still remains a challenge for investors engaged in the sector.
According to Dr. Bishaw Benti, an Investor involved in Livestock Processing and Export sector, livestock market is the biggest problem in the country as many of the animals in the bordering parts of Ethiopia are traded in an illegal way, which is challenging to those engaged in the sector and in the legal market routes.
As someone who owns a company involved in agro-processing sector, Excel Agro-Industry PLC., he said Ethiopia is losing a lot by exporting live animals. “We are working to export processed animals in the near future, if contraband marketing of live animals is controlled by the government.”
Dr. Bishaw further noted that his company was formed with the objectives of fattening and exporting beef to Middle East countries, and gradually turn into a huge player in the meat marketing business by constructing modern and world standard slaughter houses that would be used to process value added products.
For the last five years, he said, he had been engaged in fattening and exporting cattle to the af oremen tioned countries and to Northern Africa, especially to Egypt. Curr ently, he is under preparation for the construction of a modern and world standard slaughter house.
“This forthcoming slaughter house is hoped to be the first of its kind in Ethiopia, and is expected to foster the meat marketing sector by processing and exporting meat and meat products to European markets with European brand meat and meat products.”
Dr. Bishaw further noted that his company is working with various companies from Hungary and China to work under joint venture to build a big processing company. The government is often heard saying that livestock processing should be given focus by establishing world standard and competitive meat processing factories that would highly process milk and meat products. The aim of this is to empower exporting firms that would fulfill commitments and satisfy clients requirements to tap the opportunities in the sector.
Even if it is not yet tapped to the level expected, the sector has amazing potential that need to be overlooked both by the government and the private sector. One among these opportunities is the conducive government market policy, which is a pillar for inter and intra-regional market related relationship.
In addition to this, the grace period given by the government through is another opportunity for the investor to peacefully operate its duties without external intervention, Dr. Bishaw highlighted.
Even if much is needed to be done in the area, the international market routes, such as cargo airlines, international sea-routes and roads, which connect Ethiopia with the neighboring countries and beyond, provides a key opportunity for fast moving meat and meat products to any desired destinations.
Besides, the country has a long history for its peaceful environment and being the seat of international organizations such as European Commission (EU), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU) and others known Agencies.
Hence, it is now time to tap and manage this potential more than singing about the potential of the country. And this needs concerted efforts from the regional and federal governments, agricultural bureaus and research organizations at various levels, higher learning institutions, private sector and NGOs.


Published in Development

First and for most I am writing this open letter to congratulate Dr. Abyi Ahmed, the Chairman of EPRDF  and Prime Minister of Ethiopia    for your promising efforts  you  have done so far to strengthen EPRDF and the State so that Ethiopia can be led by democratic principles. Hence, I would like to contribute my personal suggestions on how to realize the fruits of the reforms identified recently following the party’s deep renewal of the front.
I have precisely and clearly listed down the vital points I believe your government and party should take into accounts while making Ethiopia democratic and united strong state and EPRDF democratic and strongly responsible political Front as well.
Historically and traditionally, Ethiopians give due attention whenever EPRDF seats for meeting expecting it would bring significant solutions for any political problems the country faces. This was not by coincidence but from the belief that the party had abilities to bring healing solutions in the last two decades. However, in the last 5 years people have tired and given up hope on the very party which was more trusted better. The reason why people gave up hope on the most trusted party was that EPRDF has been conducting meetings for no vain for the last 5 years. However in its 30 years existence EPRDF has made a meeting unmatched in history following its election of the young and bright chairman, Dr. Abyi Ahmed.
EPRDF has come up with concluding remarks confessing every crime it has committed. The confession indicated clearly that the front has restored its past culture and we sensed it is back to its original doings more or less._ It__ was able to change its chairman and some executive members who were responsible for any kind of failure it faced. To put it shortly, the failed strategic leadership is changed now by capable and legitimate one capable of healing the wounds of the people and restoring the hope of the frustrated young generation.
What makes the EPRDF meeting unique is that the very responsible leadership for the stated failure is avoided and replaced by more confident and capable leadership who won legitimacy by the public. This is, therefore, historically unmatched, profoundly and fundamentally transformational meeting. What is remaining is to be able to deliver most of the promised policies to maintain the public trust. _
We do expect highly the Chairman and its Party to implement the following reforms.
Accordingly, EPRDF is expected to implement directions of reforms to words to real revolutionary democracy, party discipline, democratic culture, picking able members, put the promotion of social fairness, justice and improvement of people’s lives as the starting point and ultimate goal. It is also expected to further emancipate the mind of new generation, continue to release and develop the productive forces, release and strengthen vigor of the society, get rid of defects in the various systems and mechanisms, and strive to open up broader prospects for social democracy with Ethiopian characteristics. Equally, promoting more efficient, equal and sustainable economic development supported by innovation, deepening political system reforms that features the organic unity of upholding the leadership of the party, the people being the masters of the country and governing the country according to the rule of law are the other concerns that the party has to take serious moves. Likewise, it should build and develop people’ democracy with wider_ more adequately institutionalized and sound participation in a systemic ways by adapting due standards and procedures.
_Stepping up efforts to form a scientific and effective social management systems so that our society is full of vigor but also harmonious and orderly through providing fair income distribution system, promoting common prosperity, access to basic public services supported by innovations. EPRDF should deepen the reform of party building system by centering on enhancing the parts capacity to govern in a scientific and democratic ways and in accordance with the rule of law and party procedures.
We should restore and maintain the party advanced nature of purity, public legitimacy, thus providing strong political support for implementing reforms and opening up revolutionary democratic modernization. The success of the reforms and opening up will provide us with profoundly rich experiences for realizing the reform comprehensively. Let us be realistic and pragmatic, base ourselves on reality in everything we do, summarize successful experiences, learn useful experiences from other international and local parties and boldly promote innovations both in theory and practice. Let us put people first, respect the peoples central position in the country, give full reign to their creativity, promote well rounded development of the person.
Improve scientific decisions making at all level consensus from all sides and reform joint force for reform in social, political, media, cultural, and education areas. Scientifically standardized and effective in operation are to be formed standardized and effective in operation are to be formed to ensure that party & government institutions in all areas become more nature and complete.
EPRDF should make overall development for comprehensively deepening reforms stressing that it is important to uphold and implement the basic economic and political systems, accelerate the transformation of government functions, deepen, speed up the improvement of a modern_ market system, work hard to create urban and rural development, strengthening mechanisms for conducting checks and oversight over the exercise of power, create innovation in the cultural sector, social undertakings, social governance, improve_ party and government leadership over the reform. Transform government function, deepen the reform of the administrative system, exercise government administration in an innovative way, increase public trust in the government and improve its competence and build a law based and service oriented government.
Make rural development agriculture and industry benefit each other so that the overwhelming majority of farmers can participate in the modernization process on an equal basis and share the fruits of their bitter-sweet-struggle. People should be in the center to oversee the exercise of power and that power is exercised in a transport manner._ Build systems that combat and prevent corruption, promote political integrity and see to it that officials are honest and capable, the government is clean, political integrity is upheld, Ethiopian unity is maintained, making sure that all fruits of development are shared by all people fairly and effectively.

Zeray Hailemariam

Published in Editorial-View-Point

Ethiopia is integrating green economy agenda in all its cross-sectoral issues, and national and regional plans, which is allowing the country to take a better seat to harness the benefits and reduce the risks in a forward-looking and comprehensive manner.
By designing an overarching green economy strategy – Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) – and by encouraging climate smart investments, Ethiopia has showed that green economy is not a mere novelty idea, but a crucial part of its development strategy.
Of course there are some concerns raised in some quarters stating that it would take huge amount of investment to transition to low carbon economy for a developing country; money these countries do not simply have  laying around. They reckon that such transition will not be an easy process for developing countries as they lack the needed technology.
However, developing countries can benefit from a shift to a green economy as economic growth and emission growth has one-to-one relation, and can also provide the possibility to generate more socio-economic advantages.
In this regard, the government of Ethiopia is targeting to harness the comparative advantage green economy brings in a double-prong manner – fostering sustainable development through agricultural productivity, and promoting energy-efficient technologies.  
New environment-friendly technologies, or climate smart technologies, that emerge as a result of transitioning to green economy will help developing countries like Ethiopia achieve economic efficiency by increasing agricultural productivity, reducing economic costs, and preserving long term sustainability of natural assets.
As an agrarian economy that is largely dependent on the performance of the agriculture sector, Ethiopia benefits from transitioning to a low carbon green economy hugely, which is not lost on the government.
Through its green economy strategy, the government is working (to a success) to cultivate sustainable economic growth by improving the productivity of the agricultural sector, and by creating a competitive advantage out of sustainable use of natural resources and higher productivity growth.  
And major results have been achieved in this regard. According to various reports and data, there have been headways made in improving agricultural practices like mechanizing farmlands, developing small and large irrigation, streamlining climate smart technologies, and in improving land and seed use - all culminating in increase agricultural productivity and reduction in emission. In addition to this, significant amount of lands have been rehabilitated through various reforestation programs.
Obviously, all this trickles down to increasing economic development and creating jobs.
Green economy is greatly linked with clean energy use. In this context, Ethiopia’s CRGE strategy targets “electricity generation from renewable sources of energy for domestic use and regional markets”. It aims at not only expand electricity coverage from renewable sources of energy, but also to transition it into a modern and energy-efficient technology that will help power the green economy.
In this regard, Ethiopia has covered a lot of ground in moving up the energy ladder. With a meager five percent access to electricity, and with most (rural) households using biomass fuel for cooking, Ethiopia has been at the bottom of the “energy ladder” despite its enormous (renewable) energy potential.
To this end, the country has started work to exploit its potential in hydro-power, geothermal, solar and wind whilst introducing modern energy saving technologies like clean stoves to households. In addition, Ethiopia is tapping into its energy potential to provide clean and renewable energy to the industrial and transportation sector, and to its industrial zones as well. Another aspect of this is that the country plans to export power to neighboring countries to generate foreign currency, and assist them in reducing their emission.
All in all, Ethiopia see green economy as a viable and practical development initiative that interlinks with its overall national development vision, and not as some novelty to be used to bring prestige and applaud from the international community. The government has carried out the agenda with greater commitment, and need to continue in this manner so as to maintain the momentum and be in the position to harness the advantages.   

Published in Editorial-View-Point
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 17:06

Recruiting talents in festivity

Shimels Alemu, 23, is an enthusiastic amateur artist from Nekemt. He has been working as Choreographer and Dancer for  Nekemt City Cultural Musical Group. Striving to participate and win the Six Artistic Works Commemoration Festivity cultural musical groups competition, his group has been getting ready for the past two months. However, days before the competition, Shimels got an injury in his leg but he used to perform on the stage struggling with the pain.
He appeared on the stage performing musical theater three times  by dancing  traditional and modern music. But, his relentless efforts  paid him  off last Sunday when the festivity  was concluded ._ Together with his group mates, Shimels won the gold cup and 20,000 Birr that was awarded  by the National Cultural Center in collaboration with Oromia State Culture and Tourism Bureau to the winners.
Participating in such festivity would help to evaluate the performance of each group and to promote typical ritual performance, he said.
The festivity was intended to participate various cultural musical groups   via performing  specific artistic work  said Dr. Elfinesh Haile Director General of the National Cultural Center.
It is also significant to the development of art through recruiting talented artists to get support for their effort to become notable art men. The center would organize extra programs to realize the sphere development and utilize it for national growth, she stated.
Art has a key value to promote culture, peace and unity, believed Admasu Wakgari, the Head of Oromia State Culture and Tourism Bureau. He noted that his bureau would exert extra efforts through organizing various competitions and , commemoration programs as well as  recognizing role players  in  realizing the sector growth.
Today Shimels witnessed how someone possibly can bear the fruit of success that would come after a strong training and faith. He also planned to be the member of great musical band and foresees the future of his musical group within the same eye.
At the end  of  the week-long festivity, cultural groups from Bishoftu and Guji respectively ranked second and third and_ took 15,000 and 10,000 Birr and medals out of the 14 cultural musical groups. The festivity also witnessed the recognition certificate and 50, 000 Birr prize of the famous Oromifa singer Tsegaye Dendena.


Published in National-News


ADDIS ABABA-  Ethiopia has maintained its an open-door policy for refugees that are flocking into its borders, and provides humanitarian access and protection to those seeking asylum on its territory.  
Kisut Gebre-Egziabher, Assistant Information officer at UNHCR, said that Ethiopia has a long history of hosting refugees, dating back to the seventh century A.D, and currently the country hosts more than 900,000 refugees in line with its tradition of generous hospitality and international commitments.
The Information Officer told The Ethiopian Herald that a national Refugee Proclamation was enacted in 2004 based on the international and regional refugee conventions to which Ethiopia is a party, and it has enabled the country to provide refugee protection within the framework of these international and national refugee laws.
In the meantime, Kisut continues, as one of the 193 UN Member States that adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the country has pledged to undertake a number of policy measures to transform the lives of refugees. This includes the expansion of its 'Out of Camp' Policy; issuing work permits and other vital documents to refugees; and allowing them to engage in gainful employment, including in its industrial parks, he furthered.
As for Kisut, Ethiopia seeks to promote refugees’ self-reliance through the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Nine Significant Pledges it has made in September 2016. This improved and sustainable response combines wider support to host communities, and furthering peaceful coexistence and inclusion of refugees into national development plans through the pledges.
As its known, people are continuing to flock into Ethiopia and seek asylum; and  the overall numbers has kept growing as a result despite the fluctuations in the rate of arrival.
For instance, Ethiopia hosted a total of 843,171 refugees at the end of April 2017 and that figure has grown to 915,073 in April 2018, representing an increase of almost 72,000 people, Kisut indicated.
On the other hand, a total of 24,775 newly arrived refuges were registered during the first quarter of 2018,  against 49,231 who arrived during the same period in 2017.
“If you compare the two figures, you will see that the numbers that arrived during the first quarter of 2018 are significantly less. But it should be noted that Ethiopia continues to receive a significant number of refugees every month,” he noted. He opined that the fluctuations have to do with how the conflict evolves, with high intensity of the conflict generating high number of refugees and vice versa.
According to him, most of the new arrivals that the Government of Ethiopia and UNHCR register every month originate from South Sudan. “South Sudanese refugees make up a little over 48% of the total refugees in Ethiopia. If we put the largest refugee groups in Ethiopia in descending order, it will be South Sudanese (440,147), Somalis (225,720), Eritreans (167,843) and Sudanese (43,630),” he said.
Conflict, general insecurity and persecution are known to be among the major reasons that drives refugees out of their countries, Kisut added.
With regards to the finance required to support such large size of refugees, the Officer mentioned the governments of  the US, the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Canada, and the Republic of Korea as some of the top donors to the Ethiopia refugee program thus far. However, Kisut asserted that the Ethiopian refugee program remains significantly underfunded despite the continuing support from these and other donors, with only 16% of its financial requirements met to date.


Published in National-News

Addis Ababa-_The Ethio-Swedish longstanding diplomatic and political relations have become increasingly commercial and the potential for increased trade and investment is enormous, the country’s Ambassador to Ethiopia said. __
In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Ambassador Torbjörn Pettersson said that big Swedish brands like H&M, Ericsson, ABB, Volvo, Scania and others have shown growing presence in Ethiopia’s market and many more are in the pipeline.
He added that Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth and the massive changes witnessed in infrastructure are the major factors that encourage Swedish companies to eye the country’s market. According to Pettersson, his government admires Ethiopia’s environmental- friendly double-digit economic growth, and the Embassy is playing a role in enhancing the involvement of Swedish investors in priority sectors.
Commending Ethiopia’s role in creating strong economic cooperation among East African countries, the Ambassador stated that his country wants to extend its support for the success of the projects.
He said: “Ethiopia’s efforts being exerted in enhancing economic integration through the construction of infrastructures, such as roads, railways and cross-border trade corridors, as well as power transmission lines in the region are exemplary.”
Stating the importance of increased regional integration in Africa to silence the guns and reduce poverty, the Ambassador noted that Ethiopia’s commendable engagement is pivotal in ensuring peace and stability in the East African region.
_“Ethiopia has not only waged war on poverty and improving the living standard of its citizens but also working to create effective trading system and enhancing economic integration with neighboring countries,” Pettersson added.
The Ambassador also appreciated the role Ethiopia has been playing to restore peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and fight terrorism in the region and beyond. _
_He pointed out that the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia and efforts to bring peace to South Sudan manifests the efforts of Ethiopia and Sweden in regional stability._  
_According to the Ambassador, the two countries have strong cooperation in global issues, including climate change; and close partnership in the UNSC is an example of joint efforts to promote multilateralism and address universal challenges.
Pettersson stated that his country has welcomed Ethiopia’s political reform and strongly believes that the reforms announced by Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed are necessary for Ethiopia to strengthen social cohesion, build real stability and the democratic development longed for by the Ethiopian people. _
_He said: “Sweden stays ready to support efforts to widen political space, reinforce the role of women in all parts of the society, increase media freedom and brace the rule of law. We welcome the steps taken in this direction and see a new beginning in our bilateral partnership.”
_The Swedish government will continue developing its relations with Ethiopia in areas such as education and research, aviation, telecom munication, healthcare, private sector development, among others, the Ambassador stated.
The historical ties between Ethiopia and Sweden date back to the regime of Emperor Haile Selassie.


Published in National-News

ADDIS ABABA- The active engagement of stakeholders in the South Sudanese peace process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is crucial in bringing peace and stability to the country, according to official.
IGAD Peace and Security Director, Ambassador Tewolde Gebremeskel told The Ethiopian Herald that the regional block will continue to provide leadership for the mediation process by facilitating negotiations among the South Sudanese warring parties.
Ambassador Tewolde stated that partners have been contributing to the peace endeavor owned by IGAD which aspires to provide African solution for African problems.
He said: “Partners have been playing pivotal role in providing political, diplomatic and financial support, and enhancing ownership of the final agreements by the conflicting parties.”
The Comprehensive Peace Agr eement for Sudan and the conclusion of the protracted peace process in Somalia are concrete examples of the success of such partnerships for peace, the Director underlined.  
Ambassador Tewolde noted that while IGAD has been quick to take the initiative to engage combatant parties to stop the conflict and begin negotiations to resolve the dispute, the full and consistent support of the African Union and the international community is highly desirable.
Stressing IGAD’s readiness to provide unequivocal and solid support to end the four-year long conflict, he said the bottleneck is now the power sharing arrangement among the top leadership.
According to him, lack of commitment on the part of the warring parties to adhere to the agreements is the reason South Sudan stays in conflict.
The Director, however, stated that the mediation has achieved substantive progress in addressing some of the critical issues in the peace process, despite the sporadic conflict. IGAD will do its best to make the warring parties come to terms and end the conflict so that the people of South Sudan can access humanitarian assistance.
Ambassador Tewolde pointed out that IGAD Council of Ministers believes that the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement by the warring parties will bring sustainable peace and stability to South Sudan.
As IGAD Chair Ethiopia pushes for the respect of the signed agreements, he said, adding that the agreement reached by the Council of Ministers last week is to approach the issue internationally and use every effort to achieve a breakthrough.
Ambassador Tewolde noted that the current conflict in South Sudan can destabilize the East African region and pave the way for terrorists who want to fish in the troubled water.
Peace and Security Studies Assistant Professor at the Ethiopian Civil Service University, Dr. Getachew Zeru said IGAD’s partnership with various stakeholders in the South Sudanese peace process is crucial to influence the warring parties to respect the signed agreements.
The Assistant Professor called on the regional bloc to enhance its capacity to impose economic sanctions, embargo and other punitive measures on individuals and groups that breach the peace accord.
Dr. Getachew pointed out: “IGAD is expected to convince its member states to have common stand on South Sudan’s peace and influence the African Union to prioritize South Sudan’s conflict and play meaningful role in the peace process.”
He stated that as a chair of IGAD, Ethiopia needs to hold state-to state dialogues with countriesthat have significant economic and political interest in South Sudan, including Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, China and the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States).
The scholar also noted that the country also needs to capitalize its UNSC non-permanent seat to make steady efforts to bring South Sudan’s case among the five veto-wielding countries to press the warring parties execute the agreements.
Thousands of South Sudanese were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013.and other punitive measures on individuals and groups that breach the peace accord.
Dr. Getachew pointed out: “IGAD is expected to convince its member states to have common stand on South Sudan’s peace and influence the African Union to prioritize South Sudan’s conflict and play meaningful role in the peace process.”
He stated that as a chair of IGAD, Ethiopia needs to hold state-to state dialogues with countriesthat have significant economic and political interest in South Sudan, including Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, China and the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States).
The scholar also noted that the country also needs to capitalize its UNSC non-permanent seat to make steady efforts to bring South Sudan’s case among the five veto-wielding countries to press the warring parties execute the agreements.
Thousands of South Sudanese were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013.



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