Wealth inequality exists everywhere. It is not unfamiliar to experience millions of people with tremendous financial distress within a stone throw from the homes of millionaires and billionaires. More saddening, there are also others who live on the streets and under bridges within a few steps from these billionaires’ homes.
The good thing is some rich people get involved in various charity works to make a big difference in the lives of the poor, the marginalized, and the community at large in an effort to create a more humane world for all. Here in Ethiopia as well, we have well to do folks that are hugely involved in making their communities better.
Dawit Gebre-egziabiher, one such an individual Ethiopian business tycoon, owner and CEO of National Airways, a leading private Ethiopian carrier, is engaged in various investments and is fulfilling his social responsibilities by taking part in various charity works.
He said that being able to accumulate quite big amount of money is valueless unless invested to address societal problems. For him, it is a mere big amount of money. It is not uncommon to usually hear people expressing wishes that they would construct churches, mosques, hospitals, schools if they had this or that amount of money, and that is a good thing. The difference lies on what people really did once they got the money they wished for.
“People should not be managed with their money, rather they should be able to manage it. The money you make is meaningless if it is not used for something good that gives you mental satisfaction,” he stressed. He added: “It is with this mindset that I want to take part in various societal activities: to fulfill my moral obligation in social responsibilities”.
Dawit told The Ethiopian Herald that he is adopting more than 50 orphans. He has built schools and churches among many other things. He takes part in the promotion of culture, history and language in various ways. He has also a project established to support the youths in various forms so as to upgrade their talents
The other noteworthy point which this reporter thinks could be exemplary for others is related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) bond. He has bought a bond worth of 1.1 million USD. “I felt that I had to do my citizenry duty, especially taking into account the situation we, as a nation, had faced during the launching of that flagship mega project into account. As for the information I have, that is the biggest amount of bond at an individual level so far”.
In the meantime, Dawit said that he also has another big project aimed at promoting the good deeds of Emperor Yohannes to Ethiopia and Ethiopians.
He believes that former Ethiopian leaders should be given due respect and dignity for they had tried to do for their country and people within the context of their own respective eras. It is inevitable for anyone to commit mistakes as it is unthinkable for anyone to be perfect in this imperfect world. “This is true for all the emperors such as Teodros, Yohannes, Menelik II, Haileselassie and other subsequent leaders of the Dergue and EPRDF that have led this country - they all have their own strong and weak sides.”
The investor believes that Emperor Yohannes is one of the emperors whose whole story is not widely known. Now, it is time to shade light on his full story to the next generation, and the international community. As learnt from the interview with him, the project encompasses the establishment of a monument that honors Emperor Yohannes and his exemplary deeds. Regarding the overall features of the project, the business tycoon gave a clue that it would perhaps include a statue of the Emperor, library and ICT rooms among other related facilities.
The other project Dawit has mentioned is the commemoration of the Victory of the Battle of Adwa. According to him, the current projects that are being carried out at Adwa Town and its surrounding by the government were initially his own projects. “It is a project that I came up with seven years ago, and it is one of the reasons why I have been sponsoring all travelers who have been going from Addis Ababa to Adwa every year on foot to remember the Victory of the Battle of Adwa”.
He has been covering all the expenses of those travelers for the last five successive years. “The number of travelers has increased from time to time. For instance, the number of youths who made the travel last year, had reached 25. I have covered all their expenses and it is not small investment as one may think,” Dawit highlighted.
Dawit also indicated that he is the one behind the Adwa Pan-African University Project. The only thing that is changed now is the name of the project; otherwise, as to him, the project was his at first. “But I do not care about that for what I need is its realization irrespective of who is behind the curtain”
With regard to creating jobs, as the founder of 'Raya Brewery Company', Dawit not only made it a very successful investment, but he has also managed to create large number of job opportunities to the local community.
The other noteworthy deed of Dawit is his aspiration to normalize the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In this regard, he has not only been covering all the necessary expenses of the bottom-up approach to normalize the relations between the sisterly people of Ethiopia and Eritrea, he has also pledged to keep sponsoring the initiative until it's realized.
Regarding to his current activities, Dawit uttered that he has been and is still taking part in various investment activities. He is engaged in a gold mining site in Tigray, and is constructing two international resorts in Addis Ababa and Djibouti, while his private carrier company has bought three airplanes. “Simply put, while we are working round the clock, we are sharing what we obtain with our community on the other hand,”.
BY SHUSHAY ADANE