Items filtered by date: Thursday, 12 July 2018

 

In Ethiopia’s education setup, females have been largely marginalized for long (since the inception of modern education to the last few decades). As a consequence of the patriarchal socio-cultural system, female students’ had no equal right to participate in schooling.
Education is a key priority area of the government’s development endeavors over the last two decades with the strong conviction that quality education and skill based training are the basics for achieving human development and critically linked to broad-based economic growth and democratic governance.
These days, more females in Ethiopia have access to better education than ever before. The enrollment rate and the number of fields of studies and disciplines in higher education institutions have significantly increased as compared to the previous years.
Promising results have also been registered in improving the quality of education through implementing General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP). Establishing a transparent, accountable and efficient system at every educational hierarchy is given due attention and as a result; encouraging achievements have been recorded over the years.
Participation of female student has been increasing from time to time. As different research outcomes depict, some factors are highly contributing for the aforesaid results. In the previous days, females’ education enrollment was very minimal due to early marriage, low awareness of the community towards female education, among others. Females themselves were not effectively fought for the respect their rights.
So far, the ministry of education is working aggressively to address the existing problems and to increase the involvement of female students in higher education. According to Elizabeth Gesesse, Gender Directorate Director at the Ministry, nowadays participation of females in higher education is showing great progress as compared to previous days. But, there remains a lot to be done and the society should encourage female students through providing them with financial and moral support.
She further noted that there are many factors contributing to gender disparity. “Our culture does not encourage women to participate in every social aspect. The same is true when we come to female education enrollment. Early marriage, low awareness of the society about the role of female education in improving social wellbeing, the presence of few women role models, girl’s expectation, extensive household chores, and religious indoctrination are some of the factors that contribute to low female school enrollment rate.”
The other point that should be raised here is political and institutional factors, including limitations in empowering women, policy implementation and other interventions.
Low quality of education and teaching learning process, poor school culture, and distance from home to school and teachers’ attitude towards female students are also mentioned as major factors in schools that contribute to low female school enrollment rate, especially in rural areas. What is more, females have domestic work burden than males. All these factors make female students not to be competitive with their male counterparts in schools, she underlined.
Harassment is also another factor that contributes to low female school enrollment. From home to the social environment, female students are forced to terminate their education.
The other hindrance is directly related to economic factors. Inability to cover school expenses, prospects of low economic return and parental investment behavior are some of the factors that should be mentioned here.
So, in every community, members have a burden to avoid such attitudinal, cultural, political and economic barriers and encourage females to go to schools, she stated.
The communities should develop sense of belonging to address females’ existing problems and enable them participate effectively in the education sector. Females also should withstand existing challenges to become equally competitive with males, she added.
The Ministry is also working aggressively to avoid the negative attitudes in various communities towards females’ school involvement through facilitating various platforms.
On the other hand, relatively, higher education female students’ participation is increasing when compare with the result attained with last year’s same period.
“There are critical issues that require extraordinary efforts to improve female students’ enrollment in higher education. The Ministry fully understands the scope of challenges confronting the education and training system and is working with greater zeal and commitment focusing on improving the learning outcome of female students, skill training and employ ability of the female students as well as quality and relevance of higher education,” she said.
She further said that by the year 2014/15, some 253,057 female students were enrolled in higher education institutions. The majority, i.e. 84.8 per cent, of these female students were enrolled in government institutions, whereas private institutions cover 15 per cent. The later may need greater enhancement.
The share of the regular program from the total undergraduate enrolment is 54 percent. Totally undergraduate female students in higher education were 34.14 percent. In 2015/16 totally 265,851 female students were graduated, she said.
Female student enrollment has shown dramatic change over the years and promising progress has been recorded in narrowing gender gap at schools. By and large, at this critical time, higher education female students’ enrolment hit 35 percent but this does not mean that it is sufficient, Elizabeth said.
As the saying goes, ‘One single hand can’t clamp,’ without the participation of females, it is unthinkable to ensure sustainable economic development. Thus, all stakeholders working in the area should support female students so as to enable them contribute their share to the ongoing development.

BY ESSEYE MENGSTE

Published in Society
Thursday, 12 July 2018 19:33

Voluntarism as a social norm

BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW

 

Over the past 14 years, voluntary activities to improve social welfare have been carried out by Addis Ababa Youth Association at city level. Recognizing the significance and positive outcomes of such voluntary actions, the initiative has also been adopted at federal level since 2014.
By now, it is possible to measure the impact of voluntarism both in kind and cash. For example, 50 billion birr worth voluntary activities have been carried out over the past five years at national level, so said Matias Aseffa, Youth Inclusion, Mobilization and Participation Director at the Ministry of Youth and Sport.
So far, as posterity, youths of Ethiopia have been participating in building democratic system, and ensuring good governance, among others. And this creates for them opportunities to strengthen their involvement in the country’s overall development endeavors and discuss the way forward and the challenges ahead. They also discharge national responsibility through engaging in voluntary activities, according to Matius.
Recalling that the number of youth volunteers did not exceed three million by the year 2010, he said that the number has now reached 12 million following the various mobilization activities carried out at national level. In general, since 2010, some 42 million youths have taken part in voluntary activities. The figure depicts that, the concept of voluntarism has been developing among the youth from time to time, Matius told The Ethiopian Herald.
As to him, over the past six years, the youth has been participating both in summer and winter season voluntary activities. The service provided in health, education, natural resource protection, poverty reduction, food security, urban and rural development, good governance and others are worth 50 billion birr and have brought about significant benefits to the society.
This year, such voluntary activities have also shown significant improvement. This summer, the number of youths willing to engage in voluntary humanitarian activities has climbed to 12.5 million.
So far, the incumbent has given special attention for the benefit and participation of the youth through devising Youth Policy and Ethiopian Youth Development Package. The policy clearly states that the government should facilitate conditions to enable the youth partake in volunteerism, which is a viable means to reduce poverty. The package also requires the youth to discharge their social responsibilities through volunteerism. Yet, there has not been a well organized voluntarism policy in the country.
Volunteerism has now been developing as a social norm among the youth. Besides helping others by providing social services to their respective community, volunteerism for the youth is a means of acquiring life skill training from the community. Donating blood, helping the destitute and tutoring students, participating in prevention of communicable diseases, protecting natural resource, among others, are the major areas of focus for volunteers, which also help them acquire life skills.
Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Ethiopia Country Director, Rahel Gebremariam said that voluntarism is a system where people provide social services by their own motivation and without any obligation for the benefit of the society.
Since its inception in 2006, VSO Ethiopia has been providing various services especially in education sector via participating local and international volunteers drawn from various countries.
Inclusive education for-instance is a method that has been widely applied in developing countries. Ethiopia is also a country that accepted this same policy, though some limitations have been observed in terms of applicability and producing skilled professionals who can provide educational assistance for persons with disability.
As to her, VSO volunteers have been contributing their share in filling manpower gaps. Besides the education sector, VSO Ethiopia has also been engaged in others sectors. It also supports the efforts of transferring knowledge and skill to various segment of the society.
Despite absence of well organized voluntarism policy in the country, the ministry, voluntary organizations such as VSO and the youth have been striving to improve voluntary action in the country.
“We do not have a policy and guiding principle on how to deploy, recruit and manage volunteers. We have done something good to come up with a national policy that addresses the problem. Thus, the draft policy document has prepared and various segments of the society have been deliberating on it,” she said.
These-days, many university students could not find a job right after graduation. In addition, even if they have the desire to serve their country voluntarily, the possible options are not clearly specified to contribute their share.
“In summer, we try to support the effort of the government. But it should not be a onetime agenda. It should be a social norm. We have to open the door for the youth and other segment of the society to highly engage in it,” Rahel added.
Besides the youth, it is also imperative to involve pensioners in voluntary activities as they have rich experience that can be shared with the upcoming generation through volun- tarism.
Still, the policy and system issues has to receive due attention. If someone has an interest to engage in voluntarism there is no clear cut guideline for where to go and take part in such activities. “We are working to make such a guideline available. In addition, devising a policy by itself is not enough. The most important thing is impleme- ntation,” she emphasized.
As the youth constitutes majority of the Ethiopian population, involving them in various voluntary activities is decisive to ensure sustainable development. True, if it is managed properly, besides contributing its share for the ongoing development, voluntarism distances the youth from any uncouth behavior. That is why, Premier Minister Abiy Ahmed called on the youth to utilize their knowledge, labor and skill to provide unreserved service to the community and discharge social responsibility through volunteerism.
Volunteerism is a process that requires willingness, passion and free labor and time of citizens. Thus, the effort has to be applied identifying core development agendas of the government. Further, voluntarism should not be a onetime agenda; rather, it has to be a social norm that is practiced year after year with greater commitment.

Published in Society

Ethiopia has launched its Diaspora policy in 2013 to enhance knowledge, boost the participation of Ethiopians in the development activities and assist technology transfer from the Diaspora of Ethiopians.
Ethiopia has an estimated three million diaspora. North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Nether- lands are countries that Ethiopians residing the most.
Education and Health are sectors highly hit by serious of brain drain. These sectors are the prime focus of the incumbent to foster the overall economic activities. Above all, the tertiary education and public structure of health are highly affected by brain drain as a result of which many professionals are preferring to go abroad seeking better job, education and livelihood.
Various studies indicate that there are significant numbers of educated Diasporas' with different knowledge and expertise. This untapped resource is believed to be able to contribute back to nations' development through transferring what they have.
Recently, health professionals have showing a tendency to work in collabo ration with the Ministry of Health in a bid to upgrade country’s health sector status through mobilizing resources.
About 300 health professionals lives in America and Europe have established a team to build specialized hospital that can deliver tertiary health services. The move is also aimed to advance service provision quality.
Upon completion, the hospital would be able to deliver foreign oriented health services which previously were given in overseas. And it can also create opport -unities for neighbor countries to utilize the service.
Professor Girma Tefera, team chairperson said that there are 38 health specialty members who developed their expertise in overseas. These profes- sionals can contribute their share via offering specialty training to health profession.
Education and excellence center of the hospital would also support the health system and modernize the status of health service provision. In collaboration with ministry of health continuous on the job training would be provided. More than 110 million US dollar has allocated to realize the planned projects.
Service provision quality constraints are clearly observed at university and specialized public hospitals. That would be the prime focus of the team in a bid to fill gaps through transferring knowledge and expertise of the diaspora to local medical professionals.
Accordingly, International Organi zation for Migration (IOM) intends to support Ethiopian qua- lified Diasporas to contribute share for the development of the key sectors by strengt hening the capacity of a limited number of strategic institutions targeting health and education sectors. Sustainable improv ements and positive change would be expected at the end of IOM project.
Here, the support of the government is vital for policy devel opment, to transfer knowledge and exp- ertise, and to provide capacity-building training to enhance the role of the Ethiopian Diasporas for national development.
Following this Dr.Amir Aman, minster at Ministry of Health has signed agreement with health professi onal team. Based on agreement corner stone has laid to build specialized hospital that would deliver services for cancer, cardiac and psychotherapy patients.

BY TSGEGAYE TILAHUN

Published in Development

Due to various reasons, the rate of rural-urban migration is increasing in Ethiopia. It has also been causing various social, economic and political problems and becoming yet another hurdle in the country’s endeavor of achieving sustainable economic development.
In fact, as indicated in a study on rural-urban migration in Oromia state, presented during the recent Oromia Cities Forum in Jimma town, the rapid rural urban migration has been greatly contributing to the rise of social, economic and political problems in Ethiopia.
Degefa Tolosa is assistant professor of national development studies at Addis Ababa University. As to him, migration is a situation where people change their residence permanently. And among the major types of migration, rural-urban migration is mostly common in Ethiopia.
In general, this migration trend is the result of push factors, (those that force individuals to move voluntarily, because the individuals risk something if they stay) and pull factors (those factors in the destination country that attract the individuals or groups to leave their home.)
Whatever the factors may be in Ethiopian case, the migrants would have significant amount of impact on their places of origin and destination and currently some 17 percent of Ethiopia’s 100 million population do not reside in their places of birth.
As to Dr. Degefa, the successes of the migrants depend on the social, economic and infrastructural situations of the places of destinations as these are the factors that determine whether job opportunities and social and economic services are available for the migrants or not.
But in developing countries like Ethiopia, cities are not in the position to handle such influxes. Thus, rural-urban migration is causing an immense pressure on cities while leaving the migrants in great trouble. While the people migrate to cities because of shortage of goods and services that are basic for living as well as lower level of income and poor capacity to withstand disaster in rural areas, the country’s urban centers face similar problems. Hence, it is inevitable that this kind of migration would result in social, political and economic problems in urban areas.
Obviously, in countries like Ethiopia, urban areas have not yet developed properly to manage the increasing rural-urban migration. Migrants are not certain of what is going to happen to them once they reach their urban destinations and most often than not they face so many new difficulties.
Besides, the arrival of migrants would also have severe effect on urban residents as it causes strain and increases the demand for social and economic services. In fact, the supply of basic social services in urban areas is low at the first place.
The negative impact of this migration trend would be reviewed from two perspectives in relation to places of origin and destination of the migration. The major problems that the places of origin face include separation from family and lose of productive labor force.
On the other hand, the first challen- ge on the places of destination is the rise in joblessness or unemployment. The second is that such an influx would put an immense amount of pressure on the delivery of social and economic services to residents and the new migrants. In general, the problems range from housing, health, education, and job opportunities that pressurize the lives of both residents and migrants.
Once the urban destination areas are incapable of providing these social and economic services, residents would tend to engage in illegal practices for living which will eventually create long term security challenges. Besides failing to get what they expected and putting themselves under huge psychological pressure, most migrants are exposed to a lot of risky activities including those which expose them to HIV AIDS.
According to the study, recently, some 1.6 million Ethiopians were displaced from their residence because of recent conflicts in different parts of the country. In addition, the urban population of the country is increasing at the rate of four percent annually. With this trend, both the urban population and urban areas are rapidly increasing and expanding respectively. Yet, in their current status, the urban areas are incapable of handling this influx and delivering the necessary social, economic and infrastructural services to their growing residents.
Hence, the country’s more than ever increasing rural-urban migration calls for timely social, economic and political solutions. Particularly, in order to prevent the will to migrate among the youth in search of jobs and better live, it is imperative to come up with policies and strategies that integrate the development of rural and urban areas. It is also vital to come up with political solutions for political causes of migration. Otherwise, the current pace of rural-urban migration would have immense consequences both urban and rural areas in terms of lose of productive labor force, shortage of social and economic services, lawlessness and severe political crisis.

BY ABIY HAILU 

Published in Development

Due to various reasons, the rate of rural-urban migration is increasing in Ethiopia. It has also been causing various social, economic and political problems and becoming yet another hurdle in the country’s endeavor of achieving sustainable economic development.
In fact, as indicated in a study on rural-urban migration in Oromia state, presented during the recent Oromia Cities Forum in Jimma town, the rapid rural urban migration has been greatly contributing to the rise of social, economic and political problems in Ethiopia.
Degefa Tolosa is assistant professor of national development studies at Addis Ababa University. As to him, migration is a situation where people change their residence permanently. And among the major types of migration, rural-urban migration is mostly common in Ethiopia.
In general, this migration trend is the result of push factors, (those that force individuals to move voluntarily, because the individuals risk something if they stay) and pull factors (those factors in the destination country that attract the individuals or groups to leave their home.)
Whatever the factors may be in Ethiopian case, the migrants would have significant amount of impact on their places of origin and destination and currently some 17 percent of Ethiopia’s 100 million population do not reside in their places of birth.
As to Dr. Degefa, the successes of the migrants depend on the social, economic and infrastructural situations of the places of destinations as these are the factors that determine whether job opportunities and social and economic services are available for the migrants or not.
But in developing countries like Ethiopia, cities are not in the position to handle such influxes. Thus, rural-urban migration is causing an immense pressure on cities while leaving the migrants in great trouble. While the people migrate to cities because of shortage of goods and services that are basic for living as well as lower level of income and poor capacity to withstand disaster in rural areas, the country’s urban centers face similar problems. Hence, it is inevitable that this kind of migration would result in social, political and economic problems in urban areas.
Obviously, in countries like Ethiopia, urban areas have not yet developed properly to manage the increasing rural-urban migration. Migrants are not certain of what is going to happen to them once they reach their urban destinations and most often than not they face so many new difficulties.
Besides, the arrival of migrants would also have severe effect on urban residents as it causes strain and increases the demand for social and economic services. In fact, the supply of basic social services in urban areas is low at the first place.
The negative impact of this migration trend would be reviewed from two perspectives in relation to places of origin and destination of the migration. The major problems that the places of origin face include separation from family and lose of productive labor force.
On the other hand, the first challen- ge on the places of destination is the rise in joblessness or unemployment. The second is that such an influx would put an immense amount of pressure on the delivery of social and economic services to residents and the new migrants. In general, the problems range from housing, health, education, and job opportunities that pressurize the lives of both residents and migrants.
Once the urban destination areas are incapable of providing these social and economic services, residents would tend to engage in illegal practices for living which will eventually create long term security challenges. Besides failing to get what they expected and putting themselves under huge psychological pressure, most migrants are exposed to a lot of risky activities including those which expose them to HIV AIDS.
According to the study, recently, some 1.6 million Ethiopians were displaced from their residence because of recent conflicts in different parts of the country. In addition, the urban population of the country is increasing at the rate of four percent annually. With this trend, both the urban population and urban areas are rapidly increasing and expanding respectively. Yet, in their current status, the urban areas are incapable of handling this influx and delivering the necessary social, economic and infrastructural services to their growing residents.
Hence, the country’s more than ever increasing rural-urban migration calls for timely social, economic and political solutions. Particularly, in order to prevent the will to migrate among the youth in search of jobs and better live, it is imperative to come up with policies and strategies that integrate the development of rural and urban areas. It is also vital to come up with political solutions for political causes of migration. Otherwise, the current pace of rural-urban migration would have immense consequences both urban and rural areas in terms of lose of productive labor force, shortage of social and economic services, lawlessness and severe political crisis.

BY ABIY HAILU 

Published in Development

Although a huge amount of online and newspaper reviews are being globally broadcasted on various aspects of global socio-economic and political issues, the airtime and columns devoted to the issues of culture and cultural diplomacy is unfortunately negligible.
Cultural diplomacy is not an entirely new concept that is created in the theoretical lexicon of international relations and global diplomacy. In practice, the concept is as old as the formation of formal diplomatic relations between countries.
Culture on the other hand encompasses the entire material and spiritual life of mankind. Material culture denotes the entire complex and variegated heritage of human civilization in terms of developing cultural commodities for human use. A spiritual culture shows the entire subjective human heritage expressed through various aspects of human intellectual, religious beliefs and creative arts of various kinds.
Diplomacy can be expressed as a formal method of conducting relations b
etween states through negotiations and various tools applied to streamline relations between sovereign states.
Cultural diplomacy on the other hand is unusually described as public diplomacy and soft power that includes the exchange of ideas, information, art, language and other aspects of culture
among nations and their peoples in order to foster mutual understanding.
The purpose of cultural diplomacy between countries is to develop an understanding of the nation's ideals and institutions in an effort to build broad support for economic and political goals. In essence "cultural diplomacy reveals the soul of a nation", this in turn creates influence. Though often overlooked, cultural diplomacy can and does play an important role in achieving national security efforts.
In short, cultural diplomacy is diplomacy of culture between various cultures around the world.
Cultural Diplomacy as stated earlier has existed as a practice for centuries. Whilst the term "cultural diplomacy" has only recently been established, evidence of its practice can be seen throughout history and has existed for centuries. Explorers, travelers, traders, teachers and artists can be all considered living examples of “informal ambassadors” or early “cultural diplomats”. Indeed, any person who interacts with different cultures, (currently or in the past), facilitates a form of cultural exchange, which can take place in fields such as art, sports, literature, music, science, business, economy and beyond.
In an increasingly globalized, interdependent world and with rapid proliferation of technology mankind has developed greater access to each other than ever before, cultural diplomacy is critical to fostering peace and stability throughout the world. Cultural diplomacy, when learned and applied at all levels, possesses the unique ability to influence the global pattern of thinking towards peace and mutual respect around the world through respect and recognition of Cultural diversity and heritage, global dialogue between cultures, justice, equality and interdependence, the protection of international human rights, global peace and stability.
Ethiopia has already formulated a national foreign policy and security strategy that is currently under review. Despite an extensive coverage on the national foreign policy and diplomacy issues, the document does not give due attention to the promotion of cultural diplomacy as a tool for promoting the national interest of the country. Although a lot of emphasis has been made on the issues and practical application of economic diplomacy, little has been done in the areas of cultural diplomacy.
In almost every diplomatic mission abroad, cultural attachés have been assigned with the purpose of promoting bilateral cultural relations. It is true that some level of cultural tours have been organized by various public and private cultural groups but the country has not been able to benefit from the cultural assets that the country has possessed for thousands of years.
Cultural diplomacy in Ethiopia should not be the sole task of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Apart from the traditional approach in diplomatic activities, cultural diplomacy can effectively be conducted through a wide range of tourism related packages of diplomatic undertakings. Of course participation on foreign expositions and bazaars and shows will help to promote cultural diplomacy but this is not the only means available to this country with huge amount of cultural resources.
Ethiopia has already established public diplomacy teams to effectively strengthen and streamline the nation’s diplomatic relations with neighboring countries. This experience, well tested with neighboring countries can be extended to other countries in the context of strengthening cultural diplomacy with the rest of the world. Individual models, artistic groups, sports and cultural groups, graphic artists, archaeologists can be play a more meaningful role in promoting cultural diplomacy in image building and promotion of investment opportunities for this country.
Institutes of higher learning, tour operators, chambers of commerce, civil society organizations and professional associations need to have a saying in a nationally coordinated cultural diplomacy initiatives from which Ethiopia can benefit.
When it comes to effectively utilizing cultural diplomacy, compared to many African countries, Ethiopia enjoys a comparative advantage over the rest of Africa. The ethnic mix, pre-historic and historic heritages of the country, ecological diversity and other tangible and intangible heritages registered at UNESCO are all at the disposal of our own cultural diplomatic initiatives.
For instance, the periodic annual international conferences in which world renowned Ethiopians deliver their original researches on the history and culture of this country need to be further strengthened with the support of the universities in the country. If researchers are encouraged to conduct extensive studies on the multi-faceted aspects of the sociology and anthropological diversity in Ethiopia, apart from Ethiopia, cultural diplomacy of the entire African region can be further promoted.
Ethiopia, without the slightest hint of doubt is the epicenter of Pan- Africansim and if cultural diplomacy is promoted by Ethiopia, African culture is undoubtedly promoted.
Starting from the early forties, prominent Ethiopian professionals like Dr. Melaku Bayan (medical doctor), Dr. Workneh (popularly known as Hakim Workneh), Kegene Geta Yoftyahey Negussie ( writer ), Maitre Artist Afework Tekele, Alefelege Selam, Gebre Kristos Desta, Eskunder Boghossian, Tesagay Geberemedhin have personally contributed to the development of culture and cultural diplomacy for this country.
Ethiopian traditional cuisine and the traditional food prepared by the peoples of Ethiopia are well known to few missionaries, visitors, teachers and tourists who had visited the country several times. However, local investors have done very little in introducing Ethiopian traditional food to the rest of the world by establishing traditional food hotels abroad. Indeed they could have been excellent promoters of cultural diplomacy.
Cultural diplomacy in the Ethiopian context is not only about culture. It could serve as a major tool to generate income for the development programs of the country but it has to be conducted through a coordinated and planned manner.
Cultural diplomacy is a potential tool to lure potential investors to Ethiopia. Investors do not come to Ethiopia only to collect finance. They would certainly be interested in the culture and history of this country. They could be interested in the traditional costumes and other artifacts for which the country is known worldwide.
Concerned government ministries and various institutions could mainstream cultural diplomacy as a tool for accomplishing their duties abroad and for networking with similar institutions at the international level.
All told, Ethiopia is not adequately using its tangible and intangible cultural resources for the development of the country. It is expedient to establish a national coordinating body composed of federal and regional sector offices to promote cultural diplomacy in Ethiopia to ensure the development of peace, democracy, economic and social development of the country.

Published in Editorial-View-Point

In a move that created huge public euphoria both at home and in Eritrea, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and Eritrean President Isias Afewrki reached agreement to end two decades of diplomatic and armed conflict, a move which many believe would have significant implications for the peace and stability of the turbulent Horn Africa.
As the saying goes, ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel,’ Fitsum Arega, Chief of Staff of Ethiopian Prime Minister Office recently announced through his tweet that Prime Minister Abiy after his discussion with President Isaias confirmed the normalization of Ethio-Eritrea relations. Accordingly, the historic agreement will also see the opening of embassies, development of ports and resumption of flights by the two countries’ flag carriers.
While the agreement heralds a new chapter for the sisterly peoples of the two countries who share a common culture, language, and history, it, without a doubt, would also have greater positive implications for the peace and stability of the Horn of Africa.
In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to claim that the peace agreement would completely change the peace and stability and economic integration situations of the Horn to the better.
True, besides negatively affecting the lives of Ethiopians and Eritreans, the two decades state of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has also been a major challenge in ensuring regional peace and stability.
First and for most, the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea has had a spillover effect in neighboring countries. For instance, Djibouti, which is a major regional partner of Ethiopia, has been engaged in a border dispute with Eritrea.
It is also possible to mention several cases to show that the conflict between the two countries has been a major challenge for the peace and stability of the Horn. To mention but a case, in the case of tumultuous Somalia, the two countries held opposing positions that challenged the regional effort of restoring stability in Somalia.
In a turbulent region like that of Horn Africa, it is not a blessing to have a polarized perspective regarding stability. The fact that the two countries reach peace agreement would enable them to have a common security stance. Sooner or later, Eritrea is expected to rejoin the regional block IGAD. This would help to come up with common security stance in the region that is advantageous to all.
That is why the African Union has said the normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea is a boost for peace and security in the Horn of Africa region and on the continent as a whole.
European Union has also issued a statement stating that “Breaking a twenty year old deadlock in bilateral relations, it raises unprecedented prospects for reconciliation and paves the way for enhanced regional cooperation and stability in the Horn of Africa.”
On the other hand, regional efforts to integrate economically have already started. And such a peace agreement would also further stimulate the regional economic integration ambition, which Ethiopia and its neighbors –, Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia –have been pursuing through infrastructural development such as railway installation, road construction, power connectivity and joint port development. The peace agreement is also a boost to this economic integration ambition.
In general, the peace agreement between the two countries will have a positive impact on the horn of Africa both in terms of security and economically. It will help realize sustainable peace and stability and foster regional economic integration.

Published in Editorial-View-Point

 

ADDIS ABABA--National planning commission has announced that it has finalizing preparatory ground work for the formulation of a fifteen year perspective development plan spanning the period 2015/16 to 2029/30.
In his opening statements on the commemoration of the 2018 World Population Day, Deputy Commissioner with the rank of State Minister, Getachew Adem said that population dynamics being a key cross-cutting factor in determining the future development trajectory of the country. A background study entitled, “demographics dynamics and priority population issues” is being finalized by the national planning commission in collaboration with the Ethiopian Science Academy.
Indicating that Ethiopia is going through a demographic transition, he said adding that the young age dependency ration of the country has declined from 88.4 per 100 in 1994 to 67.6 per 100 in 2017leading to the demographic dividend. However, demographic window of opportunity by itself is not sufficient condition to become the demographic dividend. Neither is the demographic dividend automatic as the opportunity is a one-time phenomena which could be washed away if we failed to make use of it, he stated.
State Minister Health Seharla Abdulahi for his part said that accelerating universal access to quality, comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health information, education and services, including family planning, is imperative. Improving the health of mothers and children particularly through access to sexual and reproductive health services have consistently remained among the top priorities.
Accordingly, the use of modern family planning methods among currently married women aged 15-49 has phenomenally increased in Ethiopia from 8 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2016 bringing down the fertility rate from 5.9 to 4.6 births per woman during the same period. Much of the credit for this result goes to our Health Extension Programme which brought family planning services to doorsteps.
Despite all the achievements and progresses made, however, there are still challenges. Currently, a little more than one in five women in the country still have unmet need for family planning, the figure being much higher among some section of the population such as the unmarried adolescents and youth. Moreover, the method mix is still skewed towards short acting family planning methods although the share of long acting methods has shown a remarkable increase over the past five years thanks to the tremendous work that was done.
The Government is keenly working to address these challenges and accelerate progress towards increasing access to family planning as stipulated in the Growth and Transformation Plan and the Health Sector Transformation Plan.
UNFPA Country Representative Bettina Maas said that her organization supports family planning in developing countries by ensuring a reliable supply of a full range of modern contraceptives, strengthening the national health system and promoting gender equality.

BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW

Published in National-News

 

ADDIS ABABA- Ministry of Health said it is allocating 80 percent of its health institutions budget to upgrading primary health care services and creating model health institutions in the next two years.
Dr. Amir Aman, Minister of Health told The Ethiopian Herald that there are many health institutions in the country that do not have adequate infrastructures such as water and electric power supply. Some 43 percent of the health institutions do not have full water, electricity and other health facilities.
To solve these challenges and improve the service delivery of existing health institutions, the ministry’s next two years focus is also on creating model institutions than establishing new health institutions.
Following the agreement reached with all state health bureau leaderships’ members, the ministry has decided to improve primary health care services and create model health institutions by allocating 80 percent health institutions’ budget. This would enable the health institutions to deliver complete health service for communities, he stated.
“With this, we have agreed to shift the focus on improving primary health service and creating model institutions to facilitate efficient service for citizens,” Dr. Amir said.
Fulfilling the existing health institutions with available infrastructures and facilities and making them ready to deliver complete health care services is the primary activity before constructing additional institution in the coming two years, he added.
On the other hand, 20 percent of the budget would be allocated for the construction of new health institutions at university and tertiary levels, he indicated.
As most health intuitions have not been delivering efficient health services for the community, the ministry will in the future focus on upgrading their capacity by meeting their laboratory, medical treatment tools, drugs and other facilities and equipments demand, he pointed out.
Besides, resolving the skill gaps is also among the major priorities of the next two years plan, he noted.
Currently, there are more than 16,000 health posts, 3700 health stations and 411 hospitals at national level.

BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN

Published in National-News

 

ADDIS ABABA- The Ethiopian Road Authority (ERA) and contractors have signed a 13.2 billion birr agreement earlier this week to upgrade various roads across the country from gravel to asphalt as part of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan.
The upgrading of the roads would be conducted on eight national road projects. Authority Communication Directorate Director Samson Wondimu said that the projects cover 749.37 km and are mainly implemented in Amhara, Somali, Oromia, SNNPs and Benisangul Gumuz states.
When completed, the construction of these projects would ease traffic flow at national level. It would also strengthen socioeconomic relationships between various communities within and among the states.
Indicating that the full project cost is covered by the Ethiopian government, he said the project is expected to create a significant amount of jobs for citizens.
The authority is working with a focus to enhance the number of local consultants and contractors and four of the contractors that are part of the agreement are local.

BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW

Published in National-News
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