According to Addis Ababa City Youth and Sport Bureau, there are more than 1.4 million youths in the city. To prepare the youth for development, the city administration is working to establish adequate capacity building institutions and entertainment centers that could assist to cultivate ethical, capable and patriotic citizens.
Even though, developing the personality of the youth lies on the responsibility of the family, youth centered institutions are also necessary to shape their personalities and grow their skills.
Cognizant of the fact, the Addis Ababa City Administration builds 106 youth centers in every Wereda in the capital. According to City’s Youth and Sport Bureau, as the youth centers are not enough comparing with the number of the youth in the city, the administration is now expanding the number of youth centers.
In this regard, youths spoke to The Ethiopian Herald commented that not only their number, but also the service and facility of the centers requires more attention from the city government.
Natnael Gemechu, a youth in Addis Ketema Subcity Woreda 6, said that he only uses library service in the youth center. According to Natnael, there is inadequate shower, outdoor sports, play stations and internet services in his Wereda youth center. In addition, there is shortage of books in the library, so that he could not able to use the center attractively for that matter.
Natnael said that due to the infrastructural problems and insufficient services in the youth center, the number of youths that benefit from the centers is very limited. He said that the centers should include all services required for the youth especially providing outdoor sports and allotting enough books in the library to enable the youth benefited from it.
Yared Tamirat, youth from Nefas Selk Lafto Subcity Woreda 02, on his part said that the youth centers should improve their services matching with the demands of the youth. The youth centers are well constructed but still the services they provide is not enough, even if their services are improving from time to time. The youth center is providing gym service, tennis table, pool, indoor and outdoor sports, cultural and modern art trainings, library and other youth based trainings. But, the centers should improve the services they provide in the required quality and quantity to attract the youth, Yared stated.
The centers can shape the youths in a way they become well-mannered and equipped with more experience, and enable them practice their natural gifts; but there is shortage of inputs, services and quality problems, he said. Since youth is the backbone of the country, it needs modern institutions for practice in addition to recreations, but there are no diversified services in the centers, he added. Science café were built in the center but still it is not started service, he added.
Haregua Alemu, Purchasing Officer in Kirkos Subcity Woreda 8 Youth Center in her side stated that well-constructed youth center is available in her woreda including a modern science café with full facility.
As to her, even though the science café was inaugurated in November by the Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, it is still closed and out of service. Not only the café but also some part of the building is closed. For this reason, the youths frequently ask officials to provide service from the science café, but the problem is beyond the capacity of the youth center administration, which demands solution from the bureau and from Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), she added.
Mengistu Ashagrie, Addis Ababa City Administration Youth and Sport Bureau Youth Capacity Building and Utilization Director said that efforts are underway to modernize the facility and service of youth centers. He said that youth centers were built with the aim of cultivating the personality of the youth and as major refreshment centers for the youth, establishing a platform for peer learning and other social services, according to recent data collected from the 106 centers.
He said that all 106 youth centers are providing full service and the bureau ranked the service of the centers in to model, middle and low service providers based on the assessment held by the bureau. He added that the bureau is working to modernize and to improve the services and facility both in quality and quantity of all youth centers in the city.
According to Mengistu based on the collected data from the centers; shortage of guideline books, maintenance problems, material shortage, quality problems in their service are among the problems of the youth centers. He added that the bureau classifies the findings to solve in short, middle and long-term.
Mengistu said that since the time is in the age of science and technology, the bureau collaborating with the Ministry to build science café in five youth centers, but still now the science café did not start service and it becomes source of complains. The agreement with MoST was to finalize the science cafés within three months signed in June 2017, still now the science cafes have not started operation. He added that the bureau is working with MoST to start the service and to fulfill the necessary materials.
The bureau, together with other stakeholders, focused on the creation of awareness raising activities in every administration levels in order to improve the standards of the youth centers, and make them more beneficial for youths, he added.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
Ethiopia has started implementing the Kaizen philosophy some five years back in some selected pilot companies and organizations. The selected companies are more of manufacturing and some service sector. And the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute was taking the leadership in implementing the programmes beginning at a pilot level. Now the institute hopes to achieve improved production both in quantity and quality in all public and private enterprises and companies on a continuous basis.
In a Joint Consultative Forum between the government and industry sector held recently at Hilton Hotel, Director General of the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute Mokonnen Yaie said that the implementation of Kaizen in Ethiopia has been registering remarkable achievements in manufacturing industries and other construction development programs.
The productivity of the industries that implemented Kaizen has jumped from 10 per cent to 37 per cent over the past few years. Over 400 institutions have succeeded in implementing Kaizen philosophy, which are mainly focused on areas of import substituting in manufacturing industries.
In Japan, the word kaizen has a meaning of "continual change". Companies operating in Kaizen’s philosophy are not only successful in Japan, but in other countries too. Enhancing the quantity and quality of production, these companies have been able to overcome the global market problems and maintain the satisfaction of their customers. Nowadays, one of the world's largest companies is Toyota, which is one of Japan's biggest carmakers.
With the launch of Japan's Toyota Company, the Kaizen philosophy is usually applauded for its world-renowned technology that contributes not only for the prosperity of many companies, but also for the growth of many countries. Some of the processes which will be implemented with the Kaizen philosophy are identifying the necessary and unnecessary materials, and then organizing valuable items from the invaluable. The process of cleaning, handling, and escaping among others are also included.
Implementation of such world-renowned philosophy in Ethiopia was started in recent years. It is five years ago since the Kaizen Institute has been established in Ethiopia. It has brought about real change in various factories at the pilot phase. It has been able to save 2.5 billion Birr by efficiently utilizing the resources and human capital that would be wasted in these years.
As of July 2017, 38 factories effectively implemented the Kaizen philosophy, as to the Ministry of Industry. However, the implementation of these factories was less persistent, but it is convincing that they have brought qualitative improvement in the quality and quantity of their productions. These factories are engaged in export market, and import substitutions, the Ministry highlighted.
Director of Kaisen Transition and Development in Food and Beverage Industry under the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute Asrat Gudisa said that, about 38 factories have been selected and implemented the Kaizen Philosophy in the past few years. Of such selected industries, meat, milk, chemicals, iron, cement and textile factories are involved.
According to the Director, these factories have been able to make a better and tangible change in their implementation. As a result, production losses have decreased, productivity has increased, wastage of raw materials is reduced, organized and well-functioning environment have been created, and inspirational works have been improved.
In the factory, it has been able to save about 13 million Birr in six months by selling unnecessary items and reusing various equipment. For instance, remarkable changes have been observed in Addis Garment and Adama Fabrics from textile sector, and in Shola Milk and Luna Export Abattoir from meat and dairy sector as well, the director noted.
Some of the problems faced during the implementation of the project were lack of support from senior officials, poor attitude towards Kaizen considering it as additional work, and delaying the process for the disposal of non-functional assets.
On the other hand, Derba Cement and the National Minerals Enterprise had quitted the implementation due to the shortage of hard foreign currency, Asnake said. "The major objective of the philosophy is not to save money, but to develop a culture of sustainable and continuing advancement in institutions," he said adding, “the institutions need to work together to create favorable conditions for a better, more favorable working environment.”
According to Asnake, the Kaisen philosophy is always to eliminate wastages, reducing costs, increasing motivation, maintaining customer demand, and improving quality in a continuous manner. For example, when things are lost in the work place, a lot of time may be spent to find out from different documents.
Based on the Kaizen philosophy, when the goods are organized in their kind, it is obviously facilitating the speed of workflow. When waste is eliminated, costs will be reduced, more production will be attained, as well as time and resources can be saved. It is important to expand the company evaluation system and provide recognition for those which effectively demonstrate their best practices.
There are some people who say that kiizen is practically no longer being practiced in a sustainable way. What do you think about this issue? As Ato Asnawt said, "If there are institutions that make up a movement, I think this is based on a misunderstanding of the philosophy. Continuous change can never be fashionable. To be successful in this world, to compete, to progress to success. If this is not possible, it is not possible to compete in the international market. And leaving impoverished will be hard. So, if there are peoples who see it as a fashion, then it is their problem, not philosophy," he replied.
While the government is still providing much support to local industry, they could not become competitive in the international market. The reason is that they have not implemented a better implementation system, Ashenak said. Therefore, the institutions will be given attention to coaching, counseling and inspiring them so that they can continue to see their problems and continue to improve.
Toyota Motor Company, which starts implementing the Kaizen philosophy, is now a global huge company. The director pointed out that the company that received at this stage is due to its employees and leaders have developed the system as a sustainable culture. Adopting this concept, the Ethiopian factories need to work on the Toyota Way to become a competitive and giant company, Asnake suggested.
It is not always possible to say that all institutions, which are implementing the Kaizen philosophy, has brought about a change. However, although the implementation is still very early, it is possible to save time and increase productivity by simply setting up a conducive working environment. "It is a quality issue that confined us not to compete in the international market. Institutions who act as a fashion could not bring sustainable change. Rather, the institutions that have undertaken the implementation have come up with a real change,” Asrat stated.
“Kaisen is a philosophical think-tank, not only for industries but also for all enterprises, as the continual change was not only for industry but for all institutions.”
Generally, Kaizen is a management philosophy having its own systems, methods, procedures and problem solving tools. And workers at any place and time having objectives of improving work place organization, environment is its concerns in order to increase productivity, improve quality, reduce cost, increase profit with the ultimate objective of satisfying customers. It is an instruments intended to elevate customer’s satisfaction at a higher level.
In sum, the implementation of the Kaizen philosophy at institutional level is essential to provide customer service and sustainable profit, and it is important to work hand in glove with other pertinent stakeholders. Though the overall achievement of institutions will put the nation in the position of prosperity, senior officials need to work for sustainable change.
BY ZELALEM GIRMA
The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea had left many painful vestiges over the people of the countries. But Ethiopia which was forced to enter in to the war can be said to have suffered more from the war and the subsequent no war no peace situation.
It was forced to deploy its forces along the border and spent unnecessarily to prevent the possible offensive of the Eritrean regime which initiated the war with its war mongering behavior. The areas along the border were also kept devoid of any development endeavor during the last 20 years.
Ethiopia has also shouldered burden of a hundred and thousand Eritrean refugees who flee their country embittered by the repressive regime. Despite having its own shortcomings Ethiopia was forced to do the home work of the Eritrean regime by showing love and care to its citizens under its (Ethiopia’s) asylum.
Valuing the ages old intimate and strong people to people relations of the two countries, Ethiopia has been showing special treatment to the Eritrean refugees, for instance by allowing them to attend higher education regardless of the economic impact on its meager economy.
More over Ethiopia was also a victim of various insurgency attacks by individuals and groups who are trained and armed by the Eritrean regime.
The Eritrean regime was launching all these problems against Ethiopia with the pretext of the prevailing no war no peace situation that it claims is the result of Ethiopia’s insistence not to implement the terms of the Algiers agreement.
However, Ethiopia had repeatedly expressed its readiness to comply with the provision of the Algiers agreement based on dialogue with the Eritrea was met with repeated rejection and rigidity from the other side.
But due to its unreserved commitment to peace and development Ethiopia has recently changed its stance and announced readiness to fully implement the Algiers agreement without any precondition as requested by the Eritrean government.
Yet, the Eritrean government that used to request the implementation of the agreement before any dialogue has ignored Ethiopia’s call. Of course, it may be too early to conclude about the possible response of the Eritrean government. But it seems more of shock of surprise to the regime which was benefitting from the deadlock created by Ethiopia’s refusal to unconditionally apply the terms of the Algiers agreement.
This makes Ethiopia’s desire for peace and unreserved efforts to achieve it an unfortunate one. After foiling and fending off Eritrea’s efforts of destabilizing Ethiopia and the region during the last 2 decades, it will now have hard time to convince or sooth the regime to accept the offer that it has been longing for.
Therefore, Ethiopia should continue with its relentless efforts of ensuring peace and peace and stability in the region. Whatever the Eritrean regime attempts to hamper the long sought peace process, the result will only boomerang on itself as Ethiopia is going to achieve better global acceptance for its efforts towards peace.
The call by the new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, for peace with the Government of Eritrea is an opportunity not to be missed. Eritreans must support the move, while campaigning_for a peace that puts the welfare of the people centre stage. An Eritrean woman, on returning from a visit to Eritrea, said: In Asmara after the Ethiopian PM’s call,_peace has become a daily talk._ People have become extremely hopeful._ ” The problem is, will the regime in Asmara listen? If the people are allowed, they would have come onto the streets in their thousands in support of the peace proposal.
In Eritrea, where there is no freedom of expression and assembly, it is impossible to take to the streets to put pressure on the government to reciprocate the Ethiopian PM’s initiative. But Eritreans in Diaspora, living in democratic countries, can do it.
The Problem is people in Diaspora think that peace can only be achieved by the two governments only. They think they have no role.
I have written articles before supporting peace initiatives with Ethiopia. Some of the comments I received were: “you are wasting your time, the two government are not willing to go for peace. They have underlying motives.” Some say: “Former PM Meles Zenawi said he accepted ‘in principle’ the decision of the boundary commission that gave Badme to Eritrea, but he wanted to hold talk before he vacates Badme and all the occupied areas. He was concerned that it might play into the hands of his opponents in Ethiopia as a weakness for giving up Badme. Isaias refused to talk, he found a perfect excuse (a scapegoat) to keep the youth hostage under the programme of indefinite national service/forced labour. Thus Badme has become greater than the life of the Eritrean people.
Instead of lobbying the international community to persuade Ethiopia to vacate Badme, the Eritrean regime had chosen to arm and train the Ethiopian opposing groups,__ perpetuating tension and hostility. On the part of the Eritrean Government, Isn’t it better to agree to talk and put its case clearly that the Ethiopian regime must vacate Badme – and listen to other issues the Ethiopians want to talk – to be accepted or rejected? Do Eritreans and the International community realize that Badme has become more than the life of Eritreans and Ethiopians living in the border areas._ The consequence is that 16 years of no-war/no peace is driving 5000 Eritreans a month to exile and destroying the fabric__ the Eritrean Society._ Most of refugee are young people, the most productive members of the society.
It is frightening situation for Eritreans while Ethiopia economic growth is the fastest in Africa.
It is beyond doubt that Isaias Afeworki is comfortable with the status quo of No-war/No-peace. It has helped him to consolidate his power. But the unfortunate side effect has condemned the people of Eritrea to a slow death. For the regime the people of Eritrea are disposable. _Their life does not matter. There is also complicity of EU governments – who are giving aid to the regime to stop the flow of refugees to Europe as they keep a blind eye to the repression in Eritrea._
In this situation a strong and persistent movement for peace by the Diaspora is the only way forward.
The need of advocacy for peace by stake-holders (other than governments) was highlighted by Citizens for Peace in Eritrea (CPE) during its “Peace Building Conference”. This took place in Keren on 15th_and16th_of February 2001 and in Asmara on 17th_February of that year._ Below is the “clarification of the objectives”._I Quote from its Summary of Proceedings.
“CPE believes that a sustainable and just peace cannot be achieved by efforts of governments alone. Many other actors and stakeholders-civil society organisations, national and international humanitarians and human rights groups, and individuals – need to play an active role in the promotion of peace and reconciliation. This requires that Eritreans and Ethiopians undertake internal peace-fostering activities as well as dialogue with each other.
The conference was envisioned as a first step in such a process.”
To this end, representatives from various Internally Displaced Persons camps, international guests from abroad, such as a speaker from South Africa’s “Peace and Reconciliation Committee”, members of the diplomatic community and international organisations represented in Eritrea, and a wide range of individuals attended the conference.
The next move was to meet with Ethiopian civil societies in a third country to assess the possibility of launching a joint conference.
Kjetil Tronvoll arranged a meeting in Oslo-Norway between Citizens for Peace in Eritrea and an Ethiopian NGO based in Addis Ababa (ERSHO). Prof Asmarom Legesse and I represented Citizens for Peace and Dr Getachew Kibret represented ERSHO. We had a constructive discussion, but came to the conclusion that neither governments would allow a serious peace process to develop between the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. So we agreed to put aside the plan for the time being, and instead concentrate on helping displaced people in both countries.
Tragically, the situation inside Eritrea during 2001 deteriorated rapidly. Following a demand to release Kessette, the imprisoned chairman of Asmara University Students Union-the students were rounded up and were taken to WIA, a place on the Red Sea coast. It had a temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius. Two students died of sunstroke. Citizens for Peace in Eritrea (CPE) condemned the Eritrean Government for violating the human right of the Asmara University students- issued in the private daily paper in Tigrinya language. PFDJ authorities were shocked. CPE had ‘committed suicide. Eventually the regime closed the University,_ _the only university in Eritrea.
The situation in Eritrea deteriorated still further with the arrest of the members of the Government (known as G-15) and the editors of the private newspapers on 18 September 2001. Thus freedom of expression was brought to an abrupt end and the rule of law was trampled. These events have gone down in the annals of history as Eritrea’s Black September.
Not only the people of Eritrea, even Ethiopians in the border area of Tigray are crying for a solution, their life was affected as well.
Now, at last, there is a moment of hope: Ethiopia’s new_PM, Dr Abiy Ahmed, appears to be a phenomenal leader. He opened a door of_opportunity to end hostility between Ethiopia and Eritrea._
He is sorting out internal political problems of Ethiopia._He is known to be humble in his engagement with different section of the population in Ethiopia. Most importantly, he has become a crusader for peace and reconciliation in the Horn and beyond. In Ethiopia he released political prisoners. His engagement with Sudan and Djibouti is significant. On his visit to Saudi Arabia, the suspicion that Saudi would help Eritrea against Ethiopia is untenable.
He signed a number of agreements that will facilitate Saudi investments in Ethiopia, thus cementing their friendship. His engagement with Egypt has been positive; the two countries’ wrangling about the millennium dam has been settled. And he made clear to the Saudi Prince that he had accepted the ruling of the boundary commission that gave the town of Badme to Eritrea._
As I was finishing writing this article, I read the news_that:_“The_Saudi crown prince tried to call Isaias Afeworki to persuade him to talk to PM Abiy Ahmed._ The call was not returned.”
This is disturbing.
The No-war/No-peace scenario has helped Isaias to consolidate his one man rule. He is comfortable with that. But this time, would he disappoint his mentor, Saudi Crown Prince, in order to maintain the status quo? Or show diplomacy to agree to talks and to make peace with Ethiopia? He is becoming undiplomatic._Diplomacy is the key to conflict resolution._It is a tool in the hands of leaders to make the best use of it.
On the other hand, Isaias’s refusal to talk represents the most formidable challenge to the people of Eritrea, it is a mistake of historic proportion.
Now the Diaspora has the opportunity to initiate a powerful peace movement. They_can tell the international community -through demonstrations, marches and other forms of political activities -that the people want peace with Ethiopia. And, for that matter, peace with Sudan and Djibouti as well._This is a rare opportunity: The justice seekers in Diaspora cannot allow to slip this moment in time. But how do the Diaspora do it taking the reality of fragmentation?
BY PETROS TESFAGIORGIS
HAWASSA: - Continuous awareness raising activities are required to combat the invasion of outlandish culture and to transmit cultural values of the country to the next generation, experts and officials.
Desalegn Birara, Ethnographic heritages expert with the Ethiopian Authority for Research and conservation of Cultural Heritages told The Ethiopian Herald that harmful tradition and outlandish culture have a negative effect to the society. Desalegn said that harmful traditions can easily be eliminated through sensitizing the society.
For Desalegn the main problem is peoples, especially youth’s perception of outlandish cultures as signs of modernity. “Currently exotic cultures are invading our culture due to the minimal investment on our cultural values” he stated.
Yihun Kiflemariam, an expert with Ethiopian National Cultural Center on his part said that outlandish culture has social, political, cultural and psychological effects. To minimize its expansion, sensitizing Ethiopian cultural values is the solution and the responsibility lies on family and institutions, he added.
Desalegn restated that we changed the traditional games like Gebeta, traditional board game, Gena, traditional hockey, swimming, horse riding, wrestling, ‘tale, and ‘enkasilantia’ by football, basketball and so on. Capitalizing these cultural values is strategically resisting the influence of foreign culture but mostly we are focusing on foreign cultures, he said.
“The problem is not due to the evilness of the foreign culture, but the weakness of capitalizing our cultural values as currently, practicing ‘enkasilantia’, ‘teret teret’ tale and ‘enkokilish (riddle)’, is too rare, which they teach sympathy, sense of nationalism, heroism and tolerance”, Desalegn stated. This influences the youth to adapt and easily accept foreign cultures and it needs attitudinal change to develop our cultural values, he restated.
Government, family and the local media should take the responsibility to aware and to shape the youth generation, and there should be competitive children channels’ on our media focusing on local recreations, he added.
Ethiopian National Cultural Center mainly focuses on researching, developing and promoting cultures and cultural values of the country, Yihun stated. Institutions alone could not bring change as the base for attitudinal change of youth is on the hand of family, he added.
Both Desalegn and Yihun argue that in globalized world inter mingling of cultures is not a problem, but the problem is choosing the important one.
In a recent workshop on harmful outlandish cultures Bezunesh Meseret, Cultural Sector State Minister of Culture and Tourism said that although Ethiopia is home to many cultural assets, the new generation has not valued them properly.
Cultures like work ethics, reading and punctuality are necessary to accept, but we have to be careful in accepting every foreign culture, Bezunesh added.
She stated that the youth should play vital role in preventing exotic cultures and promoting indigenous ones. The youth must also combat the harmful traditions of the society by creating awareness and by forming local tour clubs, the youth have to develop the culture of discovering the country, she added.
The state minister indicated that the Ministry will take the necessary actions to control the expansion of exotic cultures. She added that the Ministry is working to promote Ethiopian culture and to eradicate harmful traditions collaborating with stakeholders.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
ADDIS ABABA: - Agreements have been signed for the construction of nine road projects covered 749 kilometers across the country with a total cost of 13.3 Billion birr, according to the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA).
Briefing journalists during the contract signing ceremony, ERA Director General Araya Girmay said that the cost for the construction of these nine projects will be covered by the government. Up on the completion, the projects will contribute a lot in creating employment opportunity, thereby to assist the growth of the economy and improve people’s livelihood, the Director said.
According to Araya, about 7,910 kilometer asphalt roads have been constructed over the last three years, which accounts 2,700 kilometers every year.
The authority has been so far undertaking the construction of several road projects to meet the target plan set in the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) period that focused on ensuring the accessibility of road infrastructure in the country, Araya said.
Since the launch of GTP-II, the construction of 89 road projects has been completed, whereas the progress of 215 road projects, which covered 15,771.9 kilometers in all parts of the country, is still under construction. He said adding that, the construction of 107 projects with a total length of 6,048 kilometers have been already stared including the current signed projects.
According to the Director, the authority is currently conducting feasibility study for the construction and maintenance of over 180 road projects.
The Authority calls for all contractors, who signed the agreements, to finalize their projects timely and in good quality. On the other hand, the construction companies assured that they will work responsibly based on the agreements they made with the authority, The Ethiopian Herald learned.
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
As Eritrean government prolongs silence over Ethiopia’s call for peace, speculations are coming that Eritrean government would not respond to Ethiopia’s readiness to accept Algiers agreement and proceed with the process of ensuring peace between the two countries.
Eritrean government has not yet responded to Ethiopia’s expression of readiness to unconditionally implement the Algiers agreement, which Eritrea repeatedly posed as a requisite to resume dialogue.
A bloody border war between the two countries ended 18 years ago with Algiers agreement and subsequent ruling of international court and border demarcation. The Ethiopian and Eritrean Border Commission’s attempt to demarcate borders on the ground was stalled as Ethiopia insisted on having dialogue before the actual demarcation while Eritrea insisted for the demarcation to be finalized before any dialogue.
Scores of attempts during the last 18 years to mediate between the two countries failed due to Eritrea’s insistence to the implementation of the border commission’s demarcation prior to any engagement.
Eritrea’s last reaction to Ethiopia’s call for peace was when PM Abiy Ahmed made a call up on his inaugural as a new PM of the nation early April this year during which it announced that there would be no dialogue before the unconditional implementation of the Algiers agreement.
As part of Ethiopia’s desire to ensure peace, the ruling party has announced Tuesday that it will unconditionally implement the Algiers agreement exactly fitting in to the repeated request of the Eritrean government. So far the appeal has not received any response from the Eritrean side.
Some people are speculating that there is a likelihood that Eritrea would not either respond positively or come up with other lame excuses to fail the peace deal.
Marcos Hailemariam (not his real name), an Eritrean refugee living in Addis Ababa told The Ethiopian Herald that , there is a big likelihood that the Eritrean regime would choose to keep silent for long for many reasons.
“First of all the no war no peace situation is one of the pretexts the regime used to extend its life span as a dictatorial regime. If the tension between the nations is solved the people would raise various questions against the dictatorial regime.” He explained.
Marcos further indicated that the regime would also attempt to take the occasion as an opportune moment to increase its bargaining power and impose other preconditions which are inclined only to its own benefit.
As per the demarcation of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Border commission, which was established in line with the Algiers agreement, Ethiopia has lost most of the disputed lands that it claimed including the main contested land, Badme.
Though it has to cede the land to Eritrea as per the final and binding decision of the International Court, Ethiopia has kept the contested land for the last 16 years since the court’s ruling. And has also refused actual demarcation on the ground reasoning out that there should be dialogue how to demarcate which Eritrea refused.
Concerning the possible consequences if the Eritrean government accepts Ethiopia’s call sooner or later and engages in dialogue, both countries would benefit a lot from the resultant peace and harmony as the no war no peace situation has left them in a lot of crisis, says Yemane Zeray , Assistant Professor of Political Science at Mekelle University.
The tension along the border areas has frustrated any development activity along the border area for fear of confrontation.
But the no war no peace situation was a blessing in disguise for the Eritrean government which wants to rule the country without constitution. The regime has managed to use the stalemate as a pretext to recruit youth in to indefinite national service and exploit their labor. It has also managed to use it as a pretext to externalize all problems that emanate from its rule.
“Accepting Ethiopia’s initiative for peace is like losing a big excuse to perpetuate the tyrannical rule” says Marcos.
“The Eritrean Government is ruling the country without a constitution. The constitution formulated 20 years ago is not yet implemented as the regime used the war with Ethiopia as an Excuse.” Says Yemane.
“When the war ended, it started to use the stalemate as a pretext for not implementing the constitution.” He added.
Therefore the likelihood of the Eritrean government to proceed with
the efforts of ensuring peace between the two countries is very low, according to Yemane. “Analysis of the regimes behavior shows that it will rather choose to prolong the stalemate so as to stay on power.”
He further added if the Eritrean government delays cooperation or totally rejects the peace deal; Ethiopia will have a better moral prevalence at international level.
Though Ethiopia dared to break the two decades long stalemate for the sake of peace and people to people relations, it is unfortunately facing another challenge of convincing the Eritrean side to live up to its word. Hence, according to Yemane the Ethiopian government should be always ready to reduce external vulnerability if the stalemate continues and, if by any chance the Eritrean government comes to a dialogue, to maintain the countries international interests.
BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM
. 600 Indian companies engaged in forefront investment sectors
. Trade volume between Ethiopia and India reached about 1.13 billion USDs
Harnessing their long-standing bilateral and commercial relations that can be traced back over 2000 years, the economic and business ties between Ethiopia and India have currently grown significantly, especially in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture and infrastructure projects, according to Ambassador of India to Ethiopia, Djibouti, and African Union.
In an exclusive interview held with The Ethiopian Herald, Ambassador Anurag Srivastava said the economic relations between Ethiopia and India have flourished since the time of the Axumite Empire, in which their trade relations started in the exchange of silk, spices, gold and ivory.
“In modern times, Indian traders have the unique trade destinations being amongst the first foreign direct investors in Ethiopia. In early 20th century, Indians mainly from Gujarat move to Ethiopia and established their businesses here. Since then, Indian businesses are among the foremost foreign investors in Ethiopia,” Ambassador Srivastava noted.
Till today, India is among the top three economic partners of Ethiopia. Currently, the total value of Indian investment here, which is licensed, is about four billion US Dollars.
At this time, there are 600 Indian companies registered and engaged in various key sectors such as engineering, plastic, chemicals, textile and garment. Of which, 55 per cent of Indian investment is in the manufacturing sector, whereas about 20 per cent are in the agriculture sector, the Ambassador disclosed.
According to him, Indian investments in this country have been largely connected and aligned with the priority of the Ethiopian government, as planned in the second growth and transformation plan, which is focused on light manufacturing sector.
Generally, Indian investors are perceived here as a very enterprising, resourceful, resilient to challenges, and have seen ups and downs and they bond very well with the local people, he commented.
More of that, “Ethiopia is a land of economic opportunity, in which it is the second largest in terms of population in this continent, has a large domestic market, is also a gateway for Africa, and a hub for civil aviation.”
Besides Ethiopia has key place in the region, the country offers many comparative advantages for investors, the government has investors-friendly policies, it offers political stability, has cheap labour force and market access to US and Europe. The cost of electricity and its low labour cost are also the reasons that investors come to Ethiopia to invest, he added.
“Our trade volume is currently about 1.13 billion USDs, which is mainly dominated by Indian export items. We are trying to address balance of trade issue as well as increase Ethiopian exports to India, too. This is to ensure the trade relations become more sustainable” Ambassador Srivastava.
Asked if there are some challenges for investors, the Ambassador said that as any emerging and developing market, Ethiopia has certain challenges; however, investors have come in here cognizant of these challenges. Some of the challenges are largely in the area of the banking sector, customs regulations and in terms of foreign exchange shortages.
“Having discussion with the government as well as between experts and group of investors at business forums, we have been able to find solution in addressing issues of investors.”
With regard to development cooperation, Ambassador Srivastava said the development cooperation between the two countries is in the spirit of south-south cooperation.
Such collaboration has been going on for the last half century, particularly in capacity building, which has been important for elevating our bilateral relations.
Since it was launched in 1969, the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) has been very successful in providing training for 400 Ethiopians every year.
Under the ITEC programme so far Embassy of India, Addis Ababa has sent about 2338 Ethiopian students to India for training in the area of agriculture, healthcare, information technology, and communications sectors among others. 211 Ethiopian candidates have attended the trainings in 2014/15, 208 candidates took the training in 2015/16, 266 in 2016/17 and 365 in 2017/18 fiscal years.
In addition, some 458 Ethiopians have been awarded scholarship under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) between 2014 and 2018. And 115 Ethiopian nationals have attended the IAFS-III Scholarships programmes, the Ambassador noted.
The Ambassador said that those who have been benefiting from these programmes are occupying important positions in their home country.
The capacity building cooperation that the Indian government offers for individuals and institutions in Ethiopia has given immense contribution for the development of this country, he indicated.
Besides these economic and development cooperations, Indian companies are engaged in the construction of some manufacturing projects in Ethiopia, particularly in sugar sector such as Fincha, Wonji Shoa and Tendaho. The construction of Fincha Sugar Factory has already completed and handed over to the Ethiopian government, whereas Wonji Shoa and Tendaho are under production, the Ambassador added.
The two countries have been sharing the same contexts and challenges and there is a lot to share in terms of our development expertise, with the government and various agencies, the Ambassador said.
Regarding the similarities between the two countries, the Ambassador said that both Ethiopia and Inida have ethnic and culturally diverse population; in this background, their major challenge is managing development in democratic context.
Moreover, the two countries have also large rural population, who have to be provided with adequate healthcare, education, and livelihoods.
Thirdly, the demographics in both countries show that they have young populations. In India, 50 per cent of the population is less than 25 years of age, which is perhaps similar to Ethiopia.
Consequently, as the young peoples have their own hopes and aspirations, they have to be connected to the larger development paradigm. Sharing expertise and experience, this is the area where both learn from each other and can benefit a lot, he further noted.
The Indian government is also establishing Center of Excellence in Addis Ababa and Adama Science and Technology Universities, and creating experience-sharing platform for the leather and textile sectors counterpart institutions.
For the future, the ambassador said: “We plan to elevate our diplomatic relations much higher level; we would like to realize the potential of our partnership and we have already walked in that direction in the last one year.”
“In the second joint committee meeting held between our Foreign Ministers in New Delhi last month, some important decisions were taken to further enhance our bilateral relationship.” “We have signed three important agreements with the government of Ethiopia in the last one year, in the area of cooperation in information communication, diplomatic services institutes on both sides and an agreements on trade.”
Ambassador Srivastava concluded that both countries share many complementarities and synergies, particularly in economic and commercial sectors. For instance, Ethiopia has a large arable land while India is looking to enhance food security by sourcing food grains, oil seeds and pulses. The two countries can work together to harness such complementarities and synergies, he stated.
BY ZELALEM GIRMA
The recent EPDRF Central Committee’s decision on privatizing and semi-privatizing State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and mega projects, has been considered by different scholars as a crucial reform in the country’s stride towards structural economic transformation.
But taking in to consideration the existing reality in the country, some economists argue that the realization of this decision would depend on the existence of strong domestic private sectors in the country at present.
Dr. Berhanu Denu, economist tells The Ethiopian Herald the presence or absence of efficient private sectors would have its own impact on achieving the targeted goals, particularly in terms of transforming the economy, increasing service delivery, forex earning and creating jobs.
Meanwhile, Berhanu, also an Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University (AAU), doubts if there are domestic sectors with efficient capacity to handle the high technology intensive enterprises like telecom, airlines, commercial bank etc. as well as mega projects that are operational and under construction.
He also argues that even if there has been significant GDP growth, the privatization of several sectors, like farms and mining sites, over the past two decades did not bring a trickledown effect on the public’s wellbeing. As a result, “transferring such huge enterprises and projects that have been the nation’s major economic gears and assets of the public, to the private investors is a task that should consider well disciplined and organized public-private partnership. This could include the existence of private investors free from parochial or only profit centered
business ideas,” he notes. Dr. Samuel Tefera Associate Dean of the College of Social Science Research and Technology Transfer at AAU, on the other hand utters that privatization would bring efficient marketing and production system. But this would happen when new and state of the arts technologies are introduced in the privatized or semi privatized companies. And this requires, bringing efficient private companies to the sectors. However, the major challenges that the reform would face based on Samuels view is the occurrence of sector fragmentation. The private investors may concentrate on a single profitable sector in a big institution. This would cause the downfall of the big organization which was run together while under the state ownership. “If we take the Ethiopian Airlines Group, it comprises of different sectors like the airline, civil aviation etc. But profit may not increase in all the sectors at the same time. Therefore, if the private companies who involve in this sector only see the profit and not the big institutional structure, interest conflicts may occur and affect the business,” he underscores. Mesenbet Shenkute, Management Consultant at a private company, for her part argues that large development companies have been under the ownership of the State due to the misconception that private investors focus only on profit. “The capacity of local private companies to handle big developmental companies was also under question mark for years. But there has been improved performances if we see the experiences of formerly privatized sectors,” she says. According to her, the privatization or semi-privatization of these companies would not only improve service delivery but also increase capital and resolves the foreign exchange problem that the country has been facing. Speaking of the current capacity of domestic private companies, Mesenbet says many strong companies are emerging and would play in value addition of the services of the abovementioned sectors. “Even if the domestic investors couldn’t have generated the knowledge and technological access, they can afford to buy and transfer it to the local youth. That way we can build our leadership and skilled human capacity,” she stresses. Meanwhile, Dr. Tilaye Kasahun, Business consultant and Associate Professor at St. Mary’s University, for his part says, EPDRF’s decision was a transformational step. It would bring certain change on the national economy at macrolevel. However, several evaluations must be undertaken while selecting private sectors to secure share in these mega companies, he adds. “If these companies have to continue with their profitable pace, both the government and the private investors should work on principles that go beyond self-interest,” emphasizes Tilaye.
business ideas,” he notes. Dr. Samuel Tefera Associate Dean of the College of Social Science Research and Technology Transfer at AAU, on the other hand utters that privatization would bring efficient marketing and production system. But this would happen when new and state of the arts technologies are introduced in the privatized or semi privatized companies. And this requires, bringing efficient private companies to the sectors.
However, the major challenges that the reform would face based on Samuels view is the occurrence of sector fragmentation. The private investors may concentrate on a single profitable sector in a big institution. This would cause the downfall of the big organization which was run together while under the state ownership. “If we take the Ethiopian Airlines Group, it comprises of different sectors like the airline, civil aviation etc. But profit may not increase in all the sectors at the same time. Therefore, if the private companies who involve in this sector only see the profit and not the big institutional structure, interest conflicts may occur and affect the business,” he underscores. Mesenbet Shenkute, Management Consultant at a private company, for her part argues that large development companies have been under the ownership of the State due to the misconception that private investors focus only on profit.
“The capacity of local private companies to handle big developmental companies was also under question mark for years. But there has been improved performances if we see the experiences of formerly privatized sectors,” she says. According to her, the privatization or semi-privatization of these companies would not only improve service delivery but also increase capital and resolves the foreign exchange problem that the country has been facing. Speaking of the current capacity of domestic private companies, Mesenbet says many strong companies are emerging and would play in value addition of the services of the abovementioned sectors. “Even if the domestic investors couldn’t have generated the knowledge and technological access, they can afford to buy and transfer it to the local youth. That way we can build our leadership and skilled human capacity,” she stresses.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tilaye Kasahun, Business consultant and Associate Professor at St. Mary’s University, for his part says, EPDRF’s decision was a transformational step. It would bring certain change on the national economy at macrolevel. However, several evaluations must be undertaken while selecting private sectors to secure share in these mega companies, he adds. “If these companies have to continue with their profitable pace, both the government and the private investors should work on principles that go beyond self-interest,” emphasizes Tilaye.
BY HENOK TIBEBU