Feature Article
The Relationship Between Angola and Ethiopia Is Historic: Ambassador Bembe
Nov 23, 2023 1341
Addis Ababa,November 23/2023(ENA)-Angola’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Miguel César Domingos Bembe has spoken exclusively to ENA on the bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the Ethiopia and Angola on related issues. Excerpts follow: ENA: Ambassador, thank you for your time for this interview. First, I would like to say congratulations on the 48th anniversary of Angola’s independence. Ambassador Bembe: Thank you very much. I would also say thank you for the opportunity ENA has granted me to address various issues inherent to bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the Angola and Ethiopia. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate ENA on its 80 plus years of existence, always at the service of Ethiopia, in the hard work of producing and distributing stories in texts, audio and video news on national, regional and international issues. To say a few words about Angola’s independence, I would like to remind that this achievement took place in a complex and challenging national and international context, influenced by the division dynamics of the Cold War. When proclaiming Angola’s independence to Africa and the world on 11th of November 1975, the first President of the Republic, Dr António Agostinho Neto, made a commitment to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and well- being of the Angolan people and a determination to contribute to the liberation of the oppressed peoples of the continent and the world. After nearly three decades of internal conflict, Angola finally achieved lasting peace on 4th of April 2002. Now Angola celebrates 48 years of independence, the country stands as an example of conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa, which resulted in the designation of President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço as African Union Champion for Peace and Reconciliation in Africa, in May 2022, in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea. Our recent past has taught us to prioritize dialogue and political consultation in the framework of an ever more dynamic democracy that respects and values differences of opinion and advocates reinforcement of the country’s current environment of peace, security and stability. As part of the celebrations of the 48th anniversary of Angola’s independence, I would like to highlight the inauguration, on November 10, 2023, of the new International Airport Dr António Agostinho Neto (AIAAN). It covers an area of one 1,324) hectares, with a capacity for 15 million passengers and a cargo volume of 130,000) tons per year. The airport will be fully operational in three phases, the first of which will be cargo services, which began on the 11th of this month; the second, domestic flights, which will begin in February 2024 and the third international flights is scheduled for June 2024. ENA: What do you think should be done to strengthen the existing relations between the two countries for the benefit of their peoples? Ambassador Bembe: Indeed, the relationship between Angola and Ethiopia is one of history and friendship, inspired by the defence of multilateralism in the resolution of global problems and Pan-Africanism as the basis for the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, entitled “The Africa we want.” Both countries share common values, based on the principles of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights, the prevention, management and peaceful resolution of conflicts, the regional security and stability, the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change, the promotion of growth and inclusive sustainable development and the acceleration of the process of continental integration, including inter and intra-African trade. I recall that diplomatic relations between Angola and Ethiopia were established in 1977 and remain aligned with the interests of the respective governments. It is pertinent to expand and diversify these relations beyond diplomatic cooperation, with the aim of matching the current economic development and strategic influence of both countries. We also need to capitalize on the opportunities of its geopolitical location (Angola, at the crossroads between the southern and central regions of the African continent, and Ethiopia, at the crossroads between Africa, the Middle East and Asia). To this end, I would like to emphasize the need to consolidate the bilateral legal basis by concluding legal instruments, among others, general agreement on cooperation in the economic, technical, scientific and cultural fields, as well as political consultation. I believe that it is very important to revise the legal instruments, specifically in the fields of air services which have been in effect since 1977 and trade instruments since 1981. I also believe that we should be looking at new areas of cooperation with comparative advantages, namely in the agricultural sector, in the agro-processing and pharmaceutical industries, in the development of industrial parks, as well as in the oil pipeline industry. As I mentioned earlier, both countries signed the Bilateral Air Services Agreement in May 1977, which was supplemented by a Memorandum of Understanding in September 1998 to allow their airlines to operate daily passenger and cargo services between the two capitals. In January 1981, the two countries signed a Trade Agreement on the Exchange of Products and Goods, under which Ethiopia began exporting meat, oilseeds and wine to Angola. For its part, Angolan exports to the Ethiopian market included oil products, crude oil, aluminum foil, marble, flour and fish oil, among other products. The two countries also set up a joint commission between their ministries of foreign and trade to monitor the implementation of the agreement. The parties recognized the need to establish cooperation bases that are more in line with their current political, economic and social development and that offer reciprocal advantages. ENA: What are the key areas in which the two countries can work together in the future? Ambassador Bembe: I think I have made it clear that the relations of cooperation between Angola and Ethiopia have great potential for strengthening and diversifying, especially in the economic and investment fields. The leaderships of both countries are strongly committed in promoting this potential, particularly in the fields of aviation, oil and gas, mining, telecommunications, coffee, tourism, health, culture, sport and financial services. ENA: In recent times, the economic potential of Ethiopia and Angola has emerged as a force capable of increasing bilateral cooperation. What should be done to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries? Ambassador Bembe: In fact, in recent decades, the economic development potential of both countries has been emerging as a driving force behind more comprehensive bilateral cooperation. To increase this cooperation, we are also planning to hold an Economic Forum to encourage the establishment of a structured and dynamic relationship between companies, chambers of commerce and sectoral associations in both countries to foster cooperation in the private sector. On the other hand, I think it is important to have political consultations at higher level to assess cooperation and prepare the conditions for a multi-sectoral ministerial meeting, during which legal instruments already initialed could be signed; the revision of the Air Services Agreement, providing the legal framework for a possible program of aeronautical training or maintenance and repair of Angolan aircraft. I would like to take this opportunity to reinforce relevant information already shared, that our diplomatic mission is preparing an interactive Economic and Business Forum on investment opportunities in Angola, scheduled for the 27th of this month of November, with the aim of attracting investment in various areas of activity. With this event, we will be taking an important step towards strengthening economic cooperation between our countries. ENA: What is the international and regional cooperation of the two countries like for mutual benefit and in African issues? Ambassador Bembe: In the multilateral context, our relations are also very strong and should be continually reinforced. I emphasize cooperation in the field of peace and security, particularly in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and beyond, an area in which Ethiopia has a great deal of experience. In this context, in 2020, Angola approved a law authorising the deployment of military and paramilitary contingents outside the country as part of humanitarian aid and peace support operations. The threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism in Africa are security challenges that require the two states to take concerted action within the framework of existing national and continental mechanisms. This is a good opportunity, as Angola will be a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC-AU) for the 2024-2025 biennium and will preside over the destinies of the continental organization in 2025. ENA: What is your opinion on the participation of the two countries in speeding up the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)? Ambassador Bembe: With regard to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it is essential to align the national political agenda of each state with the goals pursued by this flagship project of the African Union, a common market of around 1.3 billion people. Angola, as a state party, ratified and deposited the required legal instruments in November 2020, thus contributing to the entry into force of the Agreement in January 2021. The Angolan Government, led by President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, is working to improve the business environment in the country and on the continent, boosting industry and encouraging an increase in national production, through several strategic plans. In this context, Angola seeks to domesticate or appropriate international commitments under the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Ethiopia, thanks to its great agro-industrial potential, should take a leading role in the operationalization of the AfCFTA, expanding inter and intra-African trade, while at the same time promoting support for other African states through the sharing of knowhow, thereby boosting the growth of the food production and processing industry on the African continent.  
Highlights of Prime Minister Abiy's Response to the House of Peoples’ Representatives
Nov 15, 2023 1514
BY STAFF WRITER In his response to the queries raised by the members of the House of Peoples' Representatives (HPR) during its 4th regular session held yesterday, Prime Minister Abiy dwelt upon, among others, major challenges facing the country, achievements made in the macroeconomic sphere and Ethiopia’s legitimate and genuine quest for sea outlets based on win-win approach. MPs raised issues pertaining to peace and stability in the country, agricultural development, inaugurated and ongoing national development projects, diplomatic issues, matters related to accession of ports, civil service reforms, education and public health. On local Issues Currently, the major reasons for the challenges facing Ethiopia emanate from emotionally charged sentiments and conspiracy-oriented narrations, the premier remarked. Prime Minister Abiy noted that by pulling our ideas together like the tributary rivers of the Nile, the narrative to be built should be in a manner conducive to peace, development and prosperity of mankind. He pointed out that coming out of extremist ideas and accommodate a balanced thought is what Ethiopia is expecting and needs from every citizen at this particular moment. Recalling the situation in Amhara region, the premier said the state of emergency declared on Amhara region has brought about relative peace and order. The intention of the illegal armed groups to dismantle the regional government has been thwarted, the premier said. By virtue of a millennial history, socio-cultural and economic interaction, the people of Ethiopia were and are multi-national. A country cannot be built by a single narration, the premier underlined, adding that it is necessary to work together for a common cause by listening and respecting each other. To this end, the government focuses on critical and inclusive agendas of national significance and would never resort to fomenting divisive views. The country is seeking a grand narrative which is built for decades to replace polarized views with multi-national unity. On National Dialogue Everyone should support the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission for the benefits of citizens and the country, Prime Minister Abiy underscored. As there are difference of opinions and disagreements among various opinion leaders and segments of society on some fundamental national issues, it is necessary to alleviate and resolve the differences and disagreements through a broad based inclusive public dialogue and reach national consensus. We have to help the commission which has been working with great diligence in every way we can, the premier said. On Macroeconomic Achievements Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated that Ethiopia has doubled its GDP over the past five years from around 84 billion USD to about 164 billion USD by following multi-sectoral economic approach. Stabilizing the macroeconomy was one of the targets of the Homegrown Economic Reform Agenda Amid many man-made and natural challenges in Ethiopia and in other parts of the world including conflicts, COVID-19, pressure of fluctuation of the international trade system, the nation has managed to double its GDP for the first time in history, the prime minister affirmed. He recalled that Ethiopia’s GDP was about 84 billion USD by the time he came to power, adding that the country’s GDP has now reached about 164 billion USD. The per capita income has also reached 1549 USD from 882 USD five years ago which registers double growth. Ethiopia is one of the few countries in Africa and around the world that are registering fast economic growth. The industry sector registered 6.9 percent growth last Ethiopian budget year following the growth of the electric sector, recording the highest growth by more than 12 percent. The construction and manufacturing sectors also registered 7.1 percent and 7 percent respectively during the stated period. Manufacturing is one of the critical sectors for the nation, Prime Minister Abiy stressed and added total production capacity of factories were around 47 percent, but now it reaches 55 percent increasing by 8 percent due to the activities launched by Ethiopia Tamirt Movement. On Ethiopia’s Legitimate Right for Sea Outlets Ethiopia will continue raising the issue of getting access to sea and alternative port through win-win approach, the premier underscored. With a population of about 47 million and low economic growth 30 years ago, Ethiopia had two ports, he recalled The premier thanked the government and people of Djibouti for contributing to the growth and development of Ethiopia by allowing the country to use their port over the past years, adding "we have no concern and fear from Djibouti government and people, but we need the neighboring countries, including Djibouti, to understand our concern." According to him, it is important to find an alternative port as Ethiopia's economy and population are growing at a high rate. “Ethiopia didn't ask an inappropriate question that is out of the law. Ethiopia has no desire to fire a shot at neighboring countries. But, we are saying let us discuss this in terms of the law and business.” Ethiopia believes that the issue of port should be resolved immediately and without delay, Prime Minister Abiy said. Neighboring countries and governments of other countries should understand that we have submitted a request to get access to sea by sharing Ethiopian Airlines, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam or other organizations, and that we are committed to common development. As Ethiopia needs peace, prosperity, and development, it is ready to discuss about the issue of port with all friends who believe in this agenda.  
Ethiopia's Natural Quest For Sea Outlet Offers Dividend For All
Oct 28, 2023 2876
BY BEREKET SISAY Ethiopia has made bold assertion about its natural and legitimate right to sea outlet. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recently made presentation to Ethiopia’s members of parliament about the importance of access to the sea. The underlying principles of his presentation, were among others, while pursuing for the common destiny of the peoples who have consisted in any of the country, for instance, in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Eritrea, the peoples deserve utilizing resources in the region for mutual benefits as they have common heritage, language and culture. It is against this backdrop that Ethiopia has offered for equitable and fair utilization of resources, in this case, sea outlets, and the issue must put on table for peaceful dialogue and discussion. Let alone in 21st century where mutual cooperation, shared vision and mutual benefits, multilateralism and give and take are much articulated in the global stage, these notions were among the core guiding principles for the United Nations, African Union and other regional and international blocks. Even if we follow the currents trends among nations in the region, there are collaborations, despite variations in magnitude. If wisdom prevails, countries in the region will intensify their endeavors and explore all avenues for common prosperity. Given historical, geographical, cultural and inter-dependence nature of the neighboring peoples, negotiations and give and take principles are in their best interest. For its growing population and economy, Ethiopia's lack of access sea outlets for its foreign trade is a major obstacle to the country's attempts to boost its exports and reap the benefits as desired. Needles to mention, the lack of direct access to the coast diminishes the country's export performance as it discourages business entities due to operational cost of freight in the logistics network. In support of this argument, studies have shown that landlocked developing countries continue to face structural challenges in accessing global markets. As a result, landlocked countries often lag behind their maritime neighbors in terms of overall development and foreign trade due to their distance from the coast. The UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States report shows that lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from global markets, additional border crossings, cumbersome transit procedures, inefficient logistics systems, weak institutions and poor infrastructure cause LLDCs to incur significantly higher transport and other trade transaction costs than coastal countries. These high costs have an enormous trade-restricting effect, which has a direct negative impact on economic growth and puts LLDCs at a disadvantage in realizing their full potential in support of their sustainable development efforts. Moreover, dependence on another country's port is not a sustainable and viable option for a nation, as it is based on principles agreed between countries, as opposed to having its own natural direct access. Thus, it is possible to conclude that lack of access to sea routes and exposure to high transportation and transit costs puts Ethiopia at significant economic disadvantage position and for this it is not surprising that Ethiopia is now reconsidering options to gain access to the Red Sea. Moreover, gaining access to the sea would have a huge positive impact on Ethiopia's economy, giving a new impetus to the country's overall development. Sea outlets will further stimulate the economy, of course with dividends to all. This is because the sea outlet will enable Ethiopia to reconnect to one of the world's most important trade routes - the Red Sea, which, according to the European University Institute, now carries around 80% of the world's trade by sea, as well as more than 12% of the world's seaborne cargo and 40% of Asia's trade with Europe. Given Ethiopia's geo-strategic location, the lack of direct access to the Red Sea is an obstacle to the country's future. So, Ethiopia's call for access to the Red Sea can be achieved through peaceful diplomatic engagement with neighboring countries. More importantly, neighboring countries should first deem Ethiopia’s request as a legitimate concern as part of a regional agenda for shared economic prosperity. What's more, Ethiopia's willingness to offer part of its national assets, such as taking a share from Ethiopia Airlines, Ethio-telecom, including the Great Renaissance Dam, attest that Ethiopia is calling for a genuine partnership and win-win cooperation. This is not solely for Ethiopia but a dividend for all who are engaged. This is the explicit call that the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made to countries in the region. There are countries that have gained access to the sea after long diplomatic efforts. For example, it was sincere diplomatic negotiations that led to Poland's gaining of access to see, and it's no different for Ethiopia to seek direct access to the Red Sea through mutually beneficial and peaceful diplomatic means. Therefore, neighboring countries must be open for dialogue as sea outlet for Ethiopia is imperative both for its current as well as future economic goals and dividend for all. Ethiopia's request for sea access is not a matter of competing interests between neighboring countries, but of mutually agreed benefits that will further regional economic integration in the context of shared development agenda. It must be noted that the Horn of Africa, which has long been characterized as a hotspot of insecurity and fragility, can easily transform the region into one of sustainable peace and development as long as the countries of the region are inclined towards such a mutually beneficial agenda, and this is incumbent on all the countries of the region.  
ENDF: National Pride of the Ethiopian People 
Oct 26, 2023 2283
BY SOLOMON DIBABA The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) is marking its 116th Army Day with various events that depict the heroic feats it has accomplished for over a century. Over the course of its glorious history, the ENDF has defended not only the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country but also demonstrated an exemplary anti-colonial struggle that set an example for the decolonization of Africa and all countries and peoples who were languishing under the yoke of the imperialist colonial forces. The recent history of the country shows that the defense force has repulsed scores of external aggressions and forces that threatened the statehood of the country. This article outlines some of the most unique features of the Ethiopian defense force both at national and international level. First, the ENDF is a national force of peace which has been engaged in international peace keeping missions under the auspices of UNSC over the last several decades and to date. Suffice it to mention the heroic internationalist stance of the ENDF in Korea, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, and Somalia. In these missions, apart from keeping peace, the Ethiopian missions were actively engaged in supporting communities in the countries by providing livelihood inputs, including supply of relief food and water, construction of schools, clinics and other infrastructure facilities. The ENDF has now become a center of science and technology specializing on the promotion of the defense capabilities of the nation. Apart from the above mentioned contributions, ENDF has become a pan Africanist force that rendering trainings and organizing the defense forces of several African countries in various areas of the defenses sector. Among other things, the ENDF has been contributing to the mitigation of natural and man mad calamities which were cause by the effects of climate change in Ethiopia. The defense force contributed to provision of relief food and water supplies to areas affected by drought in the country. The ENDF has now become an important center of higher education and learning in various areas of military and non-military capacity building programs. This has helped the defense force to effectively carry out mega projects in the country. Moreover, one of the most important contributions of ENDF is related to the promotion of import substitution in which machineries and other technical goods, heavy duty trucks are now produced in ENDF technological enterprises. It must also be noted that ENDF has pioneered in the struggle against terrorists that plagued the Horn of Africa. The army foiled repeated intrusions of Al-Shabaab and ISIS terrorists in almost all cases by its own efforts. As a bulwark of peace and development, the peace and sovereignty of Ethiopia has been maintained despite the challenges. Above all, the ENDF is the guardian of the constitution and rule of law in the country. It will continue to be the sole defender of peace, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.  
Sea Outlet for Ethiopia Is not Luxury 
Oct 21, 2023 1303
BY SOLOMON DIBABA The international law of the sea establishes principles and mechanisms so that landlocked countries can have access the sea and integrate into the global maritime system. In this regard, Ethiopia’s resolve to have access to sea in the neighboring countries based on mutual benefits and respect is legitimate. To this end, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed emphasized the importance of discussions on sea ports with leaders of neighboring countries. Discussion among leaders of the region will further consolidate socioeconomic cooperation and durable peace in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia’s accession to ports is an important component of its socio-economic, diplomatic, political, historical and socio-cultural development. First, Ethiopia’s strategic and geostrategic location and proximity to the Red Sea, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean, Middle East, Persian Gulf and Far East countries. Ethiopia is at close proximity with major important ports the region. On the other hand, a significant portion of the global fossil fuel trade is being transacted through the Red Sea which makes access to ports on the Red Sea highly critical for Ethiopia. Second, access to ports has a critical bearing on the national security of Ethiopia. Given the power rivalry on the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia cannot be indifferent to any level of threats to the national security, peace, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ensuring national security as an important diplomatic, political and economic center linking to the Horn and the rest of Africa, the issue of access to ports to Ethiopia peacefully and through negotiations, “ is not a matter of luxury but a question of survival” according to a recent presentation Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed delivered to members of the parliament (MPs). Third, having access to ports would enable Ethiopia to share its own natural resources with Africa and the rest of the world thus contributing to the global economic development in the context of BRICS, Belts and Roads Initiative, Agenda 2063, AfCfTA and African economic integration. And fourth, access to ports will further promote Ethiopia’s cultural and historical relations with coastal countries. Fifth, Ethiopia has now reestablished its national naval force, with accessing ports in partnership with Red Sea littoral states, where the nation can contribute to the protection of safety of commercial ships by combating sea piracy and sea terrorism. Sixth, unfettered access to the Red Sea will enable Ethiopia to export its processed and semi-processed agricultural products, minerals etc. and import manufactured goods, IT products and other commodities. Seventh, Ethiopia will further enhance her political assertiveness among countries in the world and Africa in particular to advocate for pan Africanism through which African countries can use their own resources for development and build their national economies. So, the issue of ports is a matter of concern for the nation—i.e. the entire citizenry here and overseas. This writer would like to conclude this article with quotes from Prime Minister Abiy’s presentation: “Ethiopia is endowed with population, resources and skilled manpower. There are some remaining things that should be addressed through time. However, this matter prevents Ethiopia from acquiring its place and position in Africa. We need access to the sea. We need the Red Sea. We need Indian Ocean. However, it is important to explore options. Is our option one and only one? It is important to explore alternatives by inquiring the type of options as it will enable us to comprehend the matter better.”      
Ethiopia Is Committed To Consolidating Lasting Peace
Oct 14, 2023 2787
By Staff Writer Following the Pretoria Peace Agreement, Ethiopia has made relentless efforts to restore basic services and administrative units in the Northern part of the country. Public services were restored and key infrastructure repaired, with resumption of economic recovery in banking, trade, agriculture and other services. The peace agreement has produced tangible results. Inhabitants of major cities in Tigray are now breathing air of peace after the agreement. Accordingly, the people have expressed their happiness, relief and hope for lasting peace. The peace deal creates new opportunities for national rebuilding and reconciliation. Despite such developments, recently, the UN Undersecretary General and Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide released an irresponsible and reckless statement on the situation in Ethiopia. The special advisor heavily relied on the report of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) to make an inflammatory statement against Ethiopia. The dividend of the peace agreement to Ethiopia has been enormous. Suffice to say, Ethiopia's diplomacy has come out of international pressure, with growing foreign direct investment (FDI). The peace Agreement Stimulates Economic Growth The Pretoria Agreement has helped the country to focus its on economic development. In her recent speech President Sahle-Work Zewde delivered at the joint session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of Federation, Ethiopia registered 7.5 percent economic growth over the last concluded fiscal year of 2015. This economic boom is registered despite the various challenges facing the country. The economic growth is largely a result of peace returning to the country. As a result, agriculture, services, manufacturing, foreign investment, finance, among others, registered growth and expansion. The economic boom has also enabled the opening of 160 closed factories through the 'Let Ethiopia Produce' initiative. The country also commenced exporting wheat for the first time in history. As a results of steps taken by the government, the agriculture sector cultivated more than 22 million hectares of land and crucial monetary and fiscal measures taken to alleviate the challenges of the cost of living. Overall, the country is experiencing strong economic growth despite challenges facing us. One can say that the economic development is the direct result of the peace dividend. The success of the agreement has also helped the country to boost its diplomatic engagement as several high level delegations from around the word visited Ethiopia and met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other senior government officials. The peace agreement enabled Ethiopia to elevate its diplomatic ties with many countries to a higher level. Steps Taken for Lasting Peace in Ethiopia With a view to consolidating the peace process, the government has taken a lot of steps including establishment of the National Dialogue Commission and Transitional Justice mechanisms. Establishment of National Dialogue Commission The Ethiopian government established the National Dialogue Commission in 2021 to facilitate a national dialogue process aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation in the country.The commission has a broad mandate to facilitate a dialogue process that will address the root causes of conflict in Ethiopia and develop recommendations for building a more peaceful and inclusive society. It has engaged extensively with a wide range of stakeholders, including the government, political parties, civil society groups, and religious leaders and representative of the society in different parts of the country. The establishment of the consultation was a significant step forward in Ethiopia's efforts to promote peace and reconciliation. The dialogue process is essential for Ethiopia to address the root causes of recurrent conflict and build a more peaceful and inclusive state formation. Transitional justice Transitional justice has helped many African and Latin American countries address rights violations, ensure accountability, and strengthen institutions for stability and democracy. It is an important conflict resolution tool for divided, post-conflict societies like Ethiopia with a history of political violence. Ethiopia now seeks transitional justice for sustainable peace, reconciliation and justice. It is finalizing a transitional justice policy document through extensive consultations. Transitional justice is seen as the best way for Ethiopia to confront its unsettled past and break the cycle of violence. The policy aims to heal past wrongs and help overcome inherited challenges. The goal is to build consensus on the root causes and usher in a new positive political culture. With implementation of the policy, there is hope that Ethiopia's history of cyclic violence will end, cementing state building endeavors peacefully which all Ethiopians aspire. The Ethiopian Government has been reiterating commitment to consolidate peace in the country. This is not without internal and external challenges. The government is making relentless efforts to address extreme views among political elites and reach consensus on major issues of the country and consolidate lasting peace by implementing several initiatives. The peace process in Ethiopia needs to be supported, not tarnished!  
Irreechaa: For Peace and Reconciliation
Oct 2, 2023 2527
By Girma Mirgisa Reba Ethiopia is endowed with beautiful diversity and richness of cultures, which are celebrated at different times in the country. In particular, September is a month of festivals, holidays and celebrations around the country, among which, are Meskel festival and Irreechaa festival, thanksgiving of the Oromo people. It also represents the start of Ethiopian New Year , symbolizing a stimulating time of change, thanksgiving and renewal, with the celebration of a series of cultural and religious festivals throughout the month. It is also a season when the landscape is dressed with the golden color of Ethiopian daisies, locally known as Adey Abeba flower. Ethiopian New Year signifies a time of renewal, as the rainy season subsides leaving behind lush fields blooming with yellow daisies which adorns homes of many Ethiopians throughout September, and representing the spirit of peace, hope, harmony and love which come along the New Year. Meskel, a UNESCO-inscribed intangible cultural heritage, is also celebrated by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on Meskerem 27 and commemoration of the unearthing of the True Cross of Jesus. The Yo Yo Gifata of the Wolaita, Yo Masqalaa of the Gamo, Ya Hode of the Hadiya, Meskel of the Gurage, Hashu Masqala of the Kembata Tembaro, Gofa Gaze Masqalaa, and Mashqare-Kaficho, among others, adorn the month of September in southern part of the country by festivities and joy. It is also a time of attracting more tourists. Similarly, the week-long Irreechaa cultural festival is observed by the Oromo people at the beginning of spring as a time of peace, reconciliation, unity and thanksgiving and forgiveness. Irreechaa is ‘Thanksgiving Day’ for the Oromo people after the end of the rainy season. It is celebrated for all things that Waqaa ‘God’ has done for people like bringing rain, peace, health, fertility, abundance, and for the beautiful weather they have cherished. In the course of Irreechaa festivals, thanks will be given for the achievements of last year and chanting for the hope and productivity of the future. The Oromo people consider the winter; rainy season that lasts from June to September as the time of difficulty because the rainy season causes much muddy and the surroundings covered with heavy cloud. The heavy rains are also accompanied by thunder and cold weather. The weather conditions make life inconvenient for human movements. The heavy rains may cause rivers to over floods and family relationships to fall into difficulty. Therefore, the Irreechaa festival is all about rekindling about family connections, hope and joy. Friends and relatives who missed each other and the beautiful nature for a long time due to the rainy seasons long for getting together for the blessings and festival of Irreechaa by the Oromo people. It is also a season where sowed crops will blossom, get ripe and bear fruits.   Irreechaa is celebrated in different localities across Oromia and worldwide where Oromos are living. In particular, the Irreechaa festivity which is taking place at Hora Finfinne and Hora Arsadi in Bishoftu town, is a unique thanksgiving festival which brings together millions of people from all corners of Oromia and the country. Irreechaa is a time for the Oromo people to celebrate their culture and traditions. People during the festival wear colorful traditional attires as well as sing and dance. It is one of the best festivities of Ethiopia where cultural singing and dancing are common. This grand festival attracts a large number of the Oromo people and people from all parts of the country regardless of age, religion, political affiliations and sex to come together and celebrate the festival with extraordinary love, chanting and unity. It is a time to honor nature and give thanks for the blessings of brotherhood. The concept of peace and reconciliation are an important and integral part of the daily activities of the Oromo people. The Oromo preach peace and reconciliation and offer blessings during thanksgiving ceremonies of Irreechaa. The worldview of the Oromo is to forge unity, peace and social relations with other people. Peace is achieved when mankind is at peace with God, nature and all creations. According to the sayings of the Oromo“Peace is a gift from God; and peace is better than wealth.” This shows how much the Oromo people value peace. The Oromo people love and respect their Creator, take care of nature, have a good relationship with God, and take the view that a person who does not have a good relationship with God will not have peace with man and other creatures either. So, Irreechaa celebration is a manifestation where the whole walks of life practice chanting about peace and reconciliation. And all who participate in the chanting pray for the peace of the Earth, the country, children, elders, wish best for the present life and next generation as well as for livestock and all living things. Thanksgiving Day is where the Oromo people proclaim peace and reconciliation to all without revenge but with pure heart. Forgiveness is central to the Ireechaa festival. Ireechaa is believed to be of great importance to those people who are able to give forgiveness for their intentional or unintentional grievances with other people. The day of the festival is believed to be a day of peace, happiness, reconciliation, forgiveness and prosperity. Accordingly, before anyone celebrates Irreechaa, be they individuals or groups, resolving conflicts between them, reconciling, forgiving each other, establishing peace and reconciling with God are the preconditions to be observed. That is why the saying of the Oromo has it: “Yoo namni walitti araarame, Waaqnis namaaf araarama” which means “If a man is reconciled to a man, God is reconciled to man.” In Irreechaa celebration where Oromo people celebrated this grand festival along with other nations and nationalities of this country. Since recently, not only Oromo people, but also different nations and nationalities in the country are celebrating the event together with their Oromo brothers and sisters. This in turn has been consolidating linkage among the nations and nationalities thereby strengthening the love, unity and harmony among Ethiopians. Such a festival serves as a significant forum to further exchange cultural values among the Ethiopian nations and nationalities.   Since the Gada System has been registered as one of the Intangible International Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, Irreechaa festival is also embraced by the international community at large as part and parcel of an ancient tradition of the Gada system. So, a lot is required from all stakeholders to promote this festival and exploit its tourism potential. It is also important to promote the significance of this grand festival at international level and get registered by UNESCO. The festival should also be celebrated in accordance with its values and assets and pass on to the next generation.
The Commemoration of Meskel
Sep 26, 2023 1856
BY SOLOMON DIBABA The Ethiopian New Year comes up with various religious and cultural celebrations which are marked indoors among families and outdoors with the entire public in mammoth paraphernalia. Meskel, the holiday celebrated in commemoration of the unearthing of the True Cross is celebrated with the building of Demera bonfire. This year Meskel is celebrated in Ethiopia even when two more tangible Ethiopian heritages, the Bale Mountain National Park and Gedeo Natural landscape have been inscribed as world tangible heritages. Ethiopia has registered 15 tangible and intangible world heritages becoming the top country in Africa in registering the heritages. Meskel, meaning the cross in Amharic is an annual religious national holiday among the faithful of Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It takes place on the 27th of September. In addition to its religious values, Meskel coincides with the end of the main rainy season (June to September) and the onset of Ethiopian spring in which fields and meadows in the country are carpeted with mesmerizing Ethiopian daisies, locally known as Adey Abeba, with their captivating yellow colors which majestically carpet the Ethiopian fields. The daisies prevail September until a few weeks of October and then disappear and reappears same period the following year. The commemoration of Meskel started with Demera, a ceremonial burning of a large bonfire. It is a special event that is conducted on the Eve of Meskel to recall the smoke that led Empress Helena to the site of the True Cross. In the afternoon of September 27, dozens of Sunday school students and members of the clergy and move through Meskel Square chanting spiritual songs that last for hours. Hundreds of thousands of people from diverse communities also flock to the square in Addis Ababa as colorfully dressed priests chant hymns and prayers and perform their unique rhythmic dance in front of the pyre. At the climax, the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church lights the bonfire. According to the teaching of the church, the True Cross, was thrown in a ditch or well, and then covered with pile of dirt and earth for many years until Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, guided by revelation identified the place where the cross of Jesus had been buried. Accordingly, Empress Helena was told to build a bonfire, light it and discover the cross that had been buried. She ordered the people of Jerusalem to bring wood and make a huge bonfire. After adding frankincense, the bonfire was set ablaze. Then, the smoke raised high up to the sky and then bended to the ground, spotting exactly where the True Cross had been buried. As darkness begins to set in, the Demera is set ablaze, declaring joyful jubilation and ululation. The following day is the official day of the commemoration of the finding of the True Cross, Ethiopians attend liturgy and a feast and celebrate with family and friends. Many take the ash from the Demera and apply it on their foreheads with a shape of a cross. It is also an occasion when many urbanites, for example, the Gurage people pay a visit to their families in rural villages to mark the holiday together. The Demera festival of the Meskel holiday, dates back to 1600 years. It has been registered as world intangible heritage by UNESCO since December 2013, as the first intangible Ethiopian heritage. During the festival, a special species of birds known as ‘YeMeskel Wof -Meskel’s Bird’ also appears. Generally, the word 'YeMeskel Wof' is used to call the four bird species, namely the northern red bishops, indigo-birds, whydah and widow birds, and yet it has more than ten species under it. These birds are also enjoyed by bird watchers during Meskel. These birds are endemic to Ethiopia, and do not migrate from one place to another as other birds do. September is their reproduction season and the color of their feathers gets changed in order to attract opposite sexes. Due to this change, it looks that they are new birds that appear only at this time of the year. Meskel is a major tourist season in Ethiopia. Thousands of tourists from many countries converge in Ethiopia to enjoy the festival. Tourists particularly enjoy Meskel celebration in Addis Ababa. The True Cross is said to have been brought to Ethiopia and is kept at Amba Gishen, which itself has a shape of cross.  
Quality Legal Education for Promotion of Justice in Ethiopia
Sep 24, 2023 1672
BY SOLOMON DIBABA The Addis Ababa University School Law commemorated its Alumnae Convention and 60th Anniversary of its founding in the presence of government higher officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court and various institutions on the 23rd of September 2023. Established on 23rd September 1963, Addis Ababa University school of Law is the oldest law school in Ethiopia, pioneering in legal education in both undergraduate and graduate levels. The Law School was established with a mission to produce competent, ethical and responsible profession who can actively contribute towards the prevalence of the rule of law, equality, human rights, democracy, social justice, tolerance and development. The basis for the establishment of the Faculty of Law was laid down by the momentous decision to codify the laws of Ethiopia gave rise to the need of trained lawyers who could understand, interpret, and apply them.   Speaking on the convocation of the former Haile Selassie I University in 1961, the late Emperor Haile Selassie said, “We would ask for the immediate founding of a Faculty of law where our own students may be trained to enter the legal profession. Our empire has need, its government and its commerce for well-educated lawyers and particularly for those who have been trained in their own university, in their own codes and customs.”   The author of this article recalls that the completion of the codification of the laws of the country from 1951-1952 and the consequent issuance of the 1954 Revised Constitution backed up the establishment of such a school for training qualified legal experts. The writer notes that for 40 years out of 60 Addis Ababa University Faculty of Law was the only higher institute for training legal professionals in the country.   Over the last several decades the Law School was engaged in its flagship publication, Journal of Ethiopian Law. Nonetheless, the School was also publishing thematic research publications including Ethiopian Constitutional and Public Law, Ethiopian Civil and Commercial Law series and international law research papers on major contemporary local and global policy and legal issues are debated on regular annual conferences.   As part of its legal social services, the School is running 6 legal aid centers to provide general free legal services to local community members. Out of the 6 one center is reportedly dedicated to providing free legal services for refugees and asylum seekers.   Addis Ababa University School of Law Library established in 1964 boasts one of the finest collections of over 30,000 periodicals, reference books, over 10,000 e-books on law journals and dissertations. To date, the School of Law has graduated more than 6000 highly skilled legal professions who are currently serving in various government institutions.   Over the last several years the author recalls that members of the Law School have been participating in the legal reform programs the government undertaken. The professionals and scholars of the Law School are also networking with Justice and Legal Systems Institute. As stated by several speakers on the occasion, the author is of the opinion that the administrative autonomy granted to the Addis Ababa University could be exploited by the School of Law to further promote the prevalence of quality and practical legal education in the university.   The celebration of the 60th anniversary of the School of Law is of significant importance at a time when Addis Ababa University granted its autonomy very recently. The autonomy status is also crucial in accelerating the growth and development of the school in its aspiration to become a preeminent center of excellence for legal education and scholarship in the changing global, regional and national order, he noted.   The Addis Ababa University Law School can also serve as a unique center for the improvement of legal education in other public universities across the country by establishing projects that are geared towards building the capacity of the legal schools in these universities.   The Law School can assist in developing some kind of public legal education program in cooperation with CSOs and professional associations in the country. This is important because a huge gap is being observed in public adherence to the rule of law, conception of their constitutional rights and obligations as citizens.   The Law School provides lectures and seminars in English and new students are on several occasions challenged by their inability to comprehend legal concepts in their proper context. The author holds the opinion that legalistic English needs to be taught as a full course particularly for under graduate students who may also need extensive tutorial classes. This could be supplemented with practical knowledge with orientations on the practical legal technical application of the laws of the country at the various levels of courts of law.   The author would also like to stress on the growing significance of conducting researches on important legal issues pertaining to the protection of the environment, natural resources of the country, cyber-attacks, computer crimes and other crimes related to the modernization of the socio-economic development of the country.    
Ituu Tribe of Ethiopia: Culture and Social Values
Sep 14, 2023 2393
BY BIZUAYEHU BOGALE The Ituu tribe in Ethiopia is a pastoralist community in West Hararge Zone of Oromia with tantalizing culture and social values. Let me take you for an imaginary trek to the Ituu tribe which is one of the tribes in Western Harergie Zone of Oromia region with the most exotic cultures and social values. The Ituu are predominately pastoralists who roam from place to place in search of better pasture and water for their cattle. They are akin to the Kereyu tribes of Oromia region who live in the Upper Awash Valley of the Great Rift Valley which bisects the Eastern and southern part of Ethiopia. The fact that the Ituu live in the adjacent neighboring areas of Gumbi Bordede and Anchar districts sharing common border around Awash River have made them one of the stronger tribes in the area. Nowadays, Ituu whose livelihood is dependent on livestock rearing are mostly settled in Anchar,Gumbi Bordede and Oda bultum districts of West Hararge Zone at the Eastern flank of Ethiopia. Ituu households who own caravans of camels, cattle and goats are well respected and revered by the members the community and are regarded as local officials. As part of protecting the rights of poor pastoralists with few herds of cattle, and to ensure that they do not feel inferior or demoralized in the face of horde of livestock from well to do families, their cattle are made to graze together with those owned by rich families. In the seasons of food stress, they spend bad days together by lending each other cows for milk with their calves. On the other hand, Ituu are known for their massive gofere (long curly hair soaked in butter). Their traditional dresses also make them unique. They dress like hunters, a turban underneath, a white cotton "gabi" on top and fasten traditional short swords with sharp edges known locally as giles on their waists. During the wedding, the groom gives cattle as dowry. After marriage ceremony; parents, brothers, uncles and other kith and kin of the groom give him cattle as gifts. On her wedding day, the bride gets a thin stick called Sinke as a special gift from her family. It symbolizes that “the bride has become worthy and respected woman who can manage her home". When we come to their food habit, a porridge made of barley is a special dish for the guest of honor and camel milk is served with porridge for drinking.
Some of Major Successes in Ending Ethiopian Year
Sep 12, 2023 4393
By Henok Tadele Haile As Ethiopians enter 2016 on September 12th, the ending year marked pivotal moments of progress for the country. After a difficult previous year, major successes were achieved in the year 2015, including wheat self-sufficiency, the Pretoria peace agreement, revived diplomacy, BRICS membership, and the successful completion of the fourth filling GERD. Wheat Self-Sufficiency For decades, Ethiopia imported millions of quintals of wheat costing millions of dollars annually. According to Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia used to import 17 million quintals of wheat every year, earmarking more than 700 million USD to meet its citizens' basic bread consumption. Thanks to the Prime Minister's Wheat Initiative, this chapter has been closed. The initiative helped the country achieve record harvests this year, exceeding domestic needs. Currently, wheat production has been showing a surplus of 32 million quintal from the country's domestic consumption. As a result of this achievement, the nation has become wheat exporter, shifting from being wheat recipient through its relentless efforts of wheat production. Over 108 million quintals were produced during the main rainy season, with 45 million more expected through irrigation. This bumper crop marks the largest wheat harvest since the initiative began, expanding production into new areas and boosting yields. Historic Peace Agreement The Pretoria peace deal between the Ethiopian government and TPLF concluded over two years of conflict by restoring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. By ending divisions, the agreement presented opportunities to rebuild the economy and investor confidence. Renewed stability can attract foreign capital as Ethiopia re-emerges as a promising investment destination. Through the peace agreement, Ethiopia has demonstrated its capability of resolving conflict peacefully. The African Union played a historic role in soliciting and coordinating a viable solution for the conflict after laboring for almost a year to design a permanent agreement that was duly agreed and accepted not only by the signatories but also by all international peace loving countries and global institutions. The Pretoria peace deal has also been described by many as “a Model for Africa,” and a clear indication that the continent's principle of solving its own problems is yielding results. The deal sparked a revival of Ethiopia's global diplomatic standing after strained relations during the conflict. High-level delegations of various countries from across the globe visited Ethiopia to reaffirm support. Alongside political reconciliation, Ethiopia pursued economic diplomacy to attract investment and aid for national rebuilding. The signing of the peace agreement has demonstrated Ethiopia’s irreversible stand for peace in the country and the Horn of Africa, where some influential political figures in Africa have started urging Ethiopia to step up its usual positive role for the cause of Africa both in the sub-region and in the entire continent. Investment activities have also been greatly stimulating. Invest Ethiopia 2023 International Investment Forum held from April 26 to 28 here in Addis Ababa was a big achievement in this regard. The forum has attracted more than 2 billion USD in FDI for 2023. Ethiopia has now become a major investment destination in Africa primarily because of the comparative advantage the country is providing. This includes, among other things, lucrative investment climate, growing economy, excellent climate and fertile soil, young and trainable labor force, access to global markets, improved economic infrastructure, competitive incentive package and government commitment. BRICS Membership In a milestone for prominence, Ethiopia was welcomed as the newest BRICS member at the bloc's Johannesburg summit. BRICS endorsed Ethiopia's strategic location, large population, and infrastructure vision as credentials worthy of membership. The announcement of 2023 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg to embrace Ethiopia as its member was phenomenal to the country. Ethiopia was warmly welcomed into the steadily expanding bloc, (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). This monumental event signals a coming of age for Africa's second most populous nation on the global stage. Ethiopia's BRICS membership heralds a new era brimming with potential. BRICS membership signifies growing recognition of Ethiopia's immense economic and political potential. With over 120 million people and massive growth in recent years, Ethiopia offers a strategic gateway between Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hailed this "victory achieved through many struggles," thanking BRICS countries for their staunch support. He underscored how the bloc will empower South-South cooperation and reformed multilateralism. Abiy also articulated Ethiopia's strengths, from its young, dynamic workforce to intensive infrastructure development enhancing regional connectivity. For Ethiopia, joining BRICS can catalyze technology transfers, market access, and financing for impactful projects. While challenges remain, the prime minister stressed that in an interdependent world, collectivity is essential to solve shared problems. By leveraging its new BRICS membership, Ethiopia is poised to deliver prosperity for its people and assume a leadership role on the global stage. This opportunity can bring vast investment, trade, and financing if reforms are undertaken. Ethiopia's addition cements its position as a rising African power. Successful Filling of GERD Prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed announced at the end of this year successful filling of fourth and final round of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD). “There were a lot of challenges. We had been dragged backwards. We had encountered internal challenges and external pressures. We have overcome all these and able to arrive at this stage. However, we have not yet completed climbing the uphill though we have just arrived at the tip of the hill,” the premiers said. The successful completion of filling of GERD is a monumental achievement demonstrating sovereignty and unity. This powerful symbol of self-reliance will double electricity generation capacity and make Ethiopia a major regional exporter. As there were extensive diplomatic campaigns in this regard, it is a big diplomatic victory for the country to complete the water filling according to plan. The successful completion of filling is also being described as vital instrument to ensuring shared benefit not only for Ethiopia but for the Horn of Africa and riparian countries. The dam has great significance for regional integration too. Even if the dam is being built by Ethiopians internal capacity and in their sovereign territory, the benefit of the dam is beyond the nation. In addition, the dam has huge benefits in protecting for the lower riparian countries from sediment, floods and ensuring sufficient water flow. Despite challenges, its success highlights Ethiopia's determination to drive development. The project rallied citizens to donate funds and labor toward a historic national accomplishment. Green Legacy Initiative Ethiopia has been carrying out green legacy initiative with a view to fighting the challenges of climate change and ensures food self-sufficiency. Accordingly, the nation had planted over 25 billion seedlings over the past four years as part of the initiative, surpassing its goal of 20 billion. Ethiopia's Green Legacy Initiative has been an environmental success. During the second round of the initiative which was launched this rainy season, the nation planned to plant 25 billion seedlings from 2023 to 2026. Ethiopians have made another history at the national level by planting more than 566 million saplings in 12 hours during this rainy season. Millions have been participating across the country to restore land, improve soil, reduce erosion, and mitigate climate change through the initiative. Ethiopia's green diplomacy work is also gaining international recognition. As a model for mobilizing the public to address sustainability, it has inspired other nations while creating green jobs. With care in planning, it can continue offering economic and environmental benefits. In summary, the ending year saw Ethiopia make great strides through peace building, food security, diplomacy, development projects and ecological initiatives. With unity and prudent governance, Ethiopia can fulfill its immense promises.      
Nation Building: Endeavours of Successive Generations
Sep 10, 2023 1310
BY STAFF WRITER Every generation of Ethiopia has contributed to the history and socio-economic development as well as sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. As the nation marks the day of generations on the fifth of Pagumen today, the current generation needs to cherish the historical contributions made by all previous generations of Ethiopians and keep the stamina, commitments, valor and determination that need to be replicated by the forthcoming generations. In his inaugural address on the second phase of Friendship Park on October 2022 last year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed remarked: “strong generation is the foundation for strong nation; a nation built with a strong generation can overcome challenges, maintain unity and ensure the national sovereignty of its country.” Ethiopian demographic structure shows that the current generation of youth comprises some 70 per cent of the population. It is to be recalled from history that out of the entire peasant army that fought in the Battle of Adwa, the youth constituted a significant number proportion. Meaningful national development ensues only when change and continuity of national transformation is carried out by successive generations. To this effect, the incumbent generation should leave footprints to posterity. Ideally, generation needs to draw best practices from the previous generation and builds upon them at best. Both success and challenge of the past generation serve as a foundation for today’s generation in its quest for building prosperous nation. Unlike the previous generation in Ethiopia, the generation of the 21st century is provided with a number of opportunities particularly in the areas of ICT and advancement of science and technology.This would mean that the current generation needs to discharge its responsibilities by ascertaining the development of country through research and development, exploiting its tangible and intangible heritages for nation building endeavors. The young Ethiopian generation of the 1960s to 1970s fought for changes in the autocratic political order and paid huge sacrifices in flesh and blood. Sons and daughters of Ethiopia also fell while defending the unity and territorial integrity of the country. Since the 2018 change of leadership, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed charted out a reform program that was inclusive and change oriented. In Ethiopia a new era is in the making. Efforts are being made to put in place a system where Ethiopian elites will table their political agenda with a view to resolving the major backlogs of Ethiopia. To this effect, the National Dialogue Commission has been expending relentless efforts to conduct major debates and discussions national issues with representatives drawn from across Ethiopia. The culture of political wrangling among political elites in Ethiopia is much to be desired. Today’s generation must attach paramount importance to peaceful means of resolving differences. This view has been expounded by the reform program which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spearheaded Ethiopia in 2019 in his discussion of the fundamentals of the Generation Medemer book. The premier argues: “The essence of Medemer is not class struggle but collective cooperation and collaboration that is transmitted inter-generationally. Change does not come through the barrel of the gun. Change comes through dialogue, discourse, discussion and debate. Change comes by changing hearts and minds.” The present generation of youth is expected to uphold the unity and development of the country by providing services that are of crucial importance for nation building and the battle against poverty. This is important because much of the future of this country would depend upon the selfless contributions of the youth. As they strive to fulfill their duties, the youth in Ethiopia need to draw best practices, wisdom from senior citizens and their parents and above all, they should acquire proper knowledge and digest and filter it through local contexts. The youth should also pay special attention to developing their careers by acquiring vocational skills and academic knowledge to perform their national duties responsibly. As we are observing generation day, it is opportune moment for Ethiopian youth to give attention for the clarion call which senior citizens are putting forward. In all fields of areas, there were noted Ethiopians in athletics, literature, science, arts and many more. They have left us valuable footprints that we all should follow suit. Ethiopia is a mosaic of culture, ethnic identities, languages and the likes. Ethiopians have coexisted for centuries. They have fought together to defend their motherland. This generation should be mindful of ill intention of some forces to the extent of disbanding the ancient peaceful coexistence and social cohesion of Ethiopians. The youth of the current generation should relate with youths across the world and particularly African youth for the common cause of their destiny. To this effect, youths must give utmost priority to education. The youth must set goals, exerting maximum efforts, dedication to achieve success. It is fitting here to quote Prime Minister Abiy what he said during first General Assembly of Organization of Educational Cooperation (OEC): “By investing in education, we equip our youth with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate an ever-changing world.” All the more, this generation must be able to engage in constructive dialogue with a view to living in harmony and peace in this country and beyond. Happy and Prosperous New Year.  
Virtues of Volunteerism 
Sep 8, 2023 1358
By Staff Writer Volunteerism is not a new concept in Ethiopia. It has always been rooted in the country's culture as Ethiopians have a long tradition of helping others in need, especially in times of hardship. In rural areas, it is common for people to volunteer their time and labor to help their neighbors. This might include cultivating their farmlands, building their houses, or providing other essential necessities. Ethiopians also believe in sharing the burden of others, and they often come together to support those who are struggling. Volunteerism is also common in urban areas of Ethiopia. People volunteer at religious organizations, schools, hospitals, and other community organizations. They donate their time, labor, and money to help those in need. For Ethiopian culture volunteerism is a way for people to give back to their community and help those who are less fortunate. It is also a way to build relationships and strengthen the bonds of community. In the international stage, volunteerism is becoming a global phenomenon. Ethiopia too is riding the train of volunteerism. Hence, in the past five years, volunteerism has become a major development agenda in the country. The government has been at the forefront of promoting volunteerism by mobilizing the public to participate in various social and economic development activities. People across the nation are now more motivated than ever to help the needy and others by donating their time, knowledge, and wealth. The renovation of old houses, provision of food and other essential items for the needy by voluntary organizations and individual groups have become a common practice in all parts of Ethiopia. Ethiopians from all corners of the country have been stepping up their efforts to help others who need assistance. Voluntary community organizations that render essential support to needy people in the urban settings have also been flourishing. Mekedonia, an organization that provides shelter, food clothes, hygiene facilities, medical, educational and others for the elderly and mentally disabled is one example in this regard. Most of the activities in this organization are undertaken by volunteers. This organization has vastly expanded its services across the country with the support of individuals, government institutions and the public at large. several other similar voluntary organizations have also been expanding in Ethiopia giving hope for thousands of citizens. Therefore, this great social capital has a foundation in our communities and has now become a vital instrument in all spheres of nation-building efforts to bring impact on economic and social developments as things are emerging in a new form and practice following drastic socio-economic transformation across the globe. Since taking office in 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made the notion of volunteerism a central component of his reform agenda. That is to tap the potential of voluntarism through frequent outreach and his platform as Prime Minister, he continues to promote volunteerism and encourage youth involvement in shaping the country. He also launched a nationwide youth volunteer program to provide various development services to communities across the country. The program that involves university students and high school graduates intends to promote national unity and integration, foster peaceful coexistence and social cohesion by integrating the diversified communities. Various other development initiatives have also been introduced by the premier to engaging the general public. ‘Dine for Sheger’ project, which mobilized funds for city projects to improve Addis Ababa’s tourism potential, is one of the first initiatives. Following the success registered in this project, Prime Minister Abiy announced ‘Dine for Ethiopia’ tourist destination development initiatives to mobilize 3 billion Birr to construct three tourist destination projects in Gorgora, Wonchi and Koysha. The public and business community participated voluntarily in the realization of these projects, and the nation was able to raise over 4 billion Birr. The construction of these three giant projects is now nearing completion. The other very encouraging issue to be raised in connection with the culture of voluntarism in Ethiopia is the implementation of the Green Legacy Initiative. The initiative, launched in 2019 to plant 20 billion seedlings in four years, has ended planting over 25 billion forests including fruit seedlings. Over 26 million people have taken part in the planting activities as volunteers. Implementing the initiative has so far been successful and received international applause as it engaged millions of Ethiopians in the campaign through the act of voluntarism. The initiative, which is important to ensure sustainable development by combating climate change and reducing deforestation, would not have been successful without the massive participation of people from all walks of life. The massive participation of the public in implementing the green legacy initiative has also contributed to raise awareness about the importance of forestry in tackling poverty and improving the lives of people in the country. Members of the international community have also considered it as exemplary; as it shows the fact that individuals and communities have the power to bring drastic positive changes for nation building and the betterment of citizens. The voluntary support of Ethiopians for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is also the other success witnessed in Ethiopia. The construction of GERD, a massive hydroelectric dam in Africa, is underway by Ethiopians without international financial support, as is common in projects of such size. Upon completion, it is expected to change the existing predicaments in terms of power shortages in the country and the region at large. Thanks to the massive public mobilization carried out in Ethiopia to solicit financial and other vital support, the construction of the dam is now nearing completion. The massive public support witnessed by Ethiopians for GERD is also another demonstration of the power of volunteerism to bring about changes in nation-building activities. In conclusion, voluntarism in Ethiopia holds the uppermost importance in the development of the country for it has brought significant positive economic and social impacts. The emerging culture of voluntarism in the country has been witnessing the fact that collective action can make a difference in addressing national challenges. Hence, engaging communities in all aspects of the development endeavors should be further enhanced through mechanisms like voluntarism. Community engagement is crucial to speeding up development, particularly in a country like Ethiopia, where millions still live in poverty. The pertinent government institutions should take important moves with a view to adequately tapping the power of voluntarism for national development, co-existence, peace, and stability. Voluntarism helps to pave ways for sustainable development as it creates a conducive environment to increase public participation in all government development endeavors, fighting corruption by ensuring accountability and transparency, which are prerequisites for sustainable development.    
A New Dawn: Ethiopia’s Historic Entry into BRICS
Aug 30, 2023 5844
By Henok Tadele The announcement of 2023 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg to embrace Ethiopia as its member last week was phenomenal to the country. Ethiopia was warmly welcomed into the steadily expanding bloc, (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). This monumental event signals a coming of age for Africa's second most populous nation on the global stage. Ethiopia's BRICS membership heralds a new era brimming with potential. BRICS membership signifies growing recognition of Ethiopia's immense economic and political potential. With over 120 million people and massive growth in recent years, Ethiopia offers a strategic gateway between Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hailed this "victory achieved through many struggles," thanking BRICS countries for their staunch support. He underscored how the bloc will empower South-South cooperation and reformed multilateralism. Abiy also articulated Ethiopia's strengths, from its young, dynamic workforce to intensive infrastructure development enhancing regional connectivity. For Ethiopia, joining BRICS can catalyze technology transfers, market access, and financing for impactful projects. While challenges remain, the prime minister stressed that in an interdependent world, collectivity is essential to solve shared problems. By leveraging its new BRICS membership, Ethiopia is poised to deliver prosperity for its people and assume a leadership role on the global stage. Ethiopia is poised to reap major rewards from its new membership in the BRICS bloc of emerging economies, analysts say. Economists predict BRICS membership will open Ethiopia to more foreign investment and trade opportunities with some of the world's fastest growing markets. Ethiopia's ambitious infrastructure investments enhance connections with other BRICS economies. Scholars highlighted the opportunities. "BRICS membership showcases Ethiopia's diplomatic capital and economic potential," said researcher Blen Mamo. Access to the BRICS nations will significantly accelerate Ethiopia's GDP growth, she adds. However, Blen warns Ethiopia must "ensure it gets maximum economic benefit through sustainable trade and investment." Professor Brook Hailu of Addis Ababa University underlined how BRICS can "diversify economic opportunities and foster Ethiopia's development." But he cautioned that expectations must be managed given the country's challenges. With the announcement of Ethiopia to join into BRICS, Ethiopia choice is sound given its track record to the cause of Africa. As a rising economy with regional prominence, Ethiopia is a country of promising future. First and foremost is its sheer demographic weight. "With over 120 million people, Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous nation and provides BRICS with access to an enormous marketplace," says analyst Brook Hailu. Ethiopia's economy has also outperformed most African peers, growing at over 10% annually for the past decades. "Ethiopia can offer lessons on spurring rapid development across the continent," he noted. Geopolitically, Ethiopia occupies a strategic position in the Horn of Africa near vital Red Sea trading routes. "Its geography gives BRICS a gateway to project influence in Africa and the Middle East," said Brook. As a strong traditional advocate for Africa, Ethiopia's membership to BRICS will give it fresh impetus to promote Africa's cause. Ethiopia’s Tourism Minister, Nasise Challi told ENA that as an ancestral home of humanity, Ethiopia provides cultural roots that run deep. "It brings to BRICS an ancient yet vibrant civilization with unique traditions," Ethiopia burnishes BRICS credentials as a champion of the Global South, providing strategic connectivity, economic dynamism and diplomatic heft. The fanfare that greeted Ethiopia's admission into BRICS is now giving way to a sober assessment of what this milestone truly means for the country. BRICS membership undoubtedly offers to Ethiopia major opportunities on the global stage. Further, Ethiopia gains privileged access to the massive markets and investors from BRICS nations. This could significantly boost trade and investment, while financing from the New Development Bank would be alternative source of loans to leverage its growing economy and large infrastructure projects. On the other hand, Ethiopia also needs to carry out its homework at home. Reform activities which have been embarked on service rendering institutions should be intensified to ensure services are rendered timely and meet international standards. The country also needs to intensify the ongoing infrastructure development activities by leaps and bounds. However, experts caution that joining BRICS will not unleash overnight prosperity, for the return mainly depends on the extent to which the country seizes the opportunities BRICS offers. To this effect, utmost effort is required from every citizen to translate BRICS opportunities into tangible national development.    
Hurrah For Ethiopian Athletes
Aug 29, 2023 1866
BY STAFF WRITER The Ethiopian athletics squad which participated at the 19th World Athletics Championships and registered impressive results was accorded a warm welcome upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. A mammoth reception ceremony that was organized at Bole International Airport to welcome the athletes was wonderful indeed. Government officials and members of the sports community and residents of Addis Ababa and families of the athletes accorded a heartwarming welcome to the Ethiopian athletes delegation upon their arrival. The reception was a heroic recognition to renown Ethiopian athletes traditionally known as the Green Flood of Ethiopia for their extraordinary performance on tracks and fields who honored their beloved country once again at the 19th World Athletics Championships, in Budapest, Hungary, from 19 to 27th August, 2023.   Ethiopia won a gold medal in women’s marathon by Amane Bariso and Gudaf Tsegay in 10,000 meters as well as 4 four silver and 3 bronze medals by the other athletes. Ethiopia's athletics squad consisting of 19 women and 16 men fiercely contested in different fields, for instance, in the 800m 1,500m, 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m, 10,000m, and in grueling marathon. The nation boasts as one of the highest track records on the world athletics scene, with their names etched in nearly every championship since the starting gun first went off. The fact that the athletes snatched medals at the 19th World Athletics Championship is a lot both to the individuals and the country. The unity, integrity, tenacity and incredible team work among all the athletes was remarkable, signaling what united Ethiopia can miraculously achieve in solidarity and mutual love for their country. The individual and collective responsibility they demonstrated in discharging at the global tournament was exemplary for all athletes and is indeed a continuation of the team spirit their senior predecessors had exhibited and known for on track for many decades. Ethiopian athletes are known for their team spirit and tactics. The team spirit the athletes demonstrated at Budapest certainly sets an example for all sectors and actors in the socio-economic spheres. Such a spirit of unity and team work needs to be replicated in all spheres of public life including in ensuring durable peace, mutual respect and working towards the common goal of prosperity.   Such global tournaments add greater leverage and elevate the image of the country among members of the international community. It must be reckoned that the role the athletes played ignites inspirations within fellow Ethiopians that Ethiopia can register impressive results not only in sports but also in other spheres despite challenges. Athletics tournaments of such level do not only promote Ethiopia but also the African continent which is a major sources of world class athletes. The 19th World Athletics Championship has clearly indicated the level on which the global athletics competition has grown and Ethiopian athletics squad has made greater achievements. Of course, the athletics squad and the entire delegation can draw a lot of lessons that could help them become more effective in subsequent tournaments by rectifying errors that were made in the competition. The remarkable feat specially registered by our young women athletes and the team spirit they demonstrated at the tournament shows the extent to which women can excel not only in sports but also in other fields of socio-economic developments the country aims to register. The duty of developing and further elevating the Ethiopian Athletics must not be left only to the Athletics Federation but to all stakeholders, and the private sector and the entire public. Of course, the Athletics Federation must reinvigorate the performance of Ethiopian athletics. Given the strength and tenacity of Ethiopian young athletes, the federation should not be complacent with the victories registered in this tournament, but tirelessly endeavor for more gains in more fields. To this end, sustaining the track victories, for instance, the 5000mts and 10,000mts for both women and men which Ethiopian has championed must be the prime duty of the federation. In this regard, the federation must convene appropriate forums with veteran and young athletes, the private sector, stakeholders, sports fans and the public to pave the way for yet another round of shining victories of Ethiopian athletics.  
Amhara Region Returning to Normalcy
Aug 19, 2023 2282
By A Staff Writer The State of Emergency Command Post has been carrying out law enforcement activities to restore peace in Amhara region of Ethiopia. Accordingly, the command post said that most areas of the region have now been returning to normalcy. Farmers have restarted farming activities. Roads which have been blocked by the criminal group have also been opened, enabling the transportation of agricultural inputs such as fertilize to various parts of the region. Activities have also been carried out to strengthen service provisions by reinforcing the peace created in cities and towns of the Amhara regional state. This has been made possible by the measures the National Defense Force (NDF) is taking to maintain peace and safety of the public in the region. According to Bahir Dar City Deputy Mayor, Dires Sahlu, service providers resumed delivering normal services. The city service-providing institutions, including transport and commercial activities have fully resumed work. According to him, consultation was also held with inhabitants drawn from all sub-cities of Bahir Dar with a view to strengthening the peace created by the state of emergency. The security situation in Amhara region ensued following the widespread unrest fomented by illegal armed groups. And this endangered the peace and safety of the public, disrupting all social and economic activities of the region. And this prompted the Amhara Regional State to request the federal government for intervention to enforce law and order noting the destabilization was causing large scale of humanitarian, social and economic losses which cannot be controlled through regular law enforcement. As a result, the Council of Ministers in its 23rd regular session unanimously passed decision to declare a state of emergency in the Amhara region. Regional State governments of Ethiopia and City Administrations expressed concern that the security situation in the region was an attempt to dismantle the country.They reaffirmed their support to the federal government's effort to maintain peace and security as well as strengthen national unity among Ethiopians. As the federal government is duty bound to uphold constitutional order in the country, members of the parliament(MPs) were summoned by the House of Peoples' Representatives (HPR) for extraordinary meeting. The HPR convened its 1st extraordinary session to examine and vote for the state of emergency in Amhara region. Accordingly, the House held in-depth discussion on the draft proclamation of the state of emergency passed by the Council of Ministers and approved it, with 12 abstained and 16 against. In a bid to let peace prevail in the region, the command post has started work, the police and all law enforcement authorities have started to discharge their duties. According to the State of Emergency Command Post, most areas of the Amhara Region have been returning to normalcy following the measures taken by the military operations. The desire of the public for the restoration of socio-economic services is immense in that the inhabitants of the region have been increasingly welcoming the National Defense Force by providing food and encouragement, the Command Post said. The operation has produced encouraging results in all areas of the region. As a result, public, private and community services are now returning to normalcy. Farmers are returning to agricultural activities. And things have improved much. Following such developments, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen told heads of diplomatic missions and various international organizations based in Addis Ababa that the peace consolidation effort in the country is on track. He also indicated that transitional justice and national dialogue processes will be carried out. The briefing session on current developments in Ethiopia was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia together with the Ministry of Justice. During the occasion, Demeke underscored that the declaration of the state of emergency was necessitated by the need to restore law and order in the affected areas. The Minister of Justice and a member of the National State of Emergency Command Post, Gedion Timothewos, also briefed the participants on the transitional justice policy options and the public consultations on the national dialogue. He also gave an in-depth overview of the security situation in Amhara Region, the rationale behind the declaration of the state of emergency and reiterated the painstaking efforts of the government to restore law and order, to protect civilians, bring about a peaceful solution through dialogue to pave the way for a return to normalcy. According to him, looting and vandalism had occurred due to the security problem in the city, especially in public service institutions. Head of the Amhara Agricultural Bureau, Hailemariam Kefyalw told the Ethiopian News Agency about the agricultural activities following the implementation of the state of emeregency in the region. According to him, the success of the law enforcement operation will play a great role in stabilizing the food market as more than 4.4 million hectares of land have been covered with seeds in the region. He added that agricultural activities have been reinstated and agricultural inputs are being provided and full development activities restored. As a result, the farmers in the region have started farming activities in cooperation with the leadership and experts. Some 5.29 million quintals of fertilizer have been purchased for the region, out of which some 4.2 million quintals have already been distributed. Since the declaration of the state of emergency, soil fertilizer which was being transported by 370 vehicles have also arrived in the region, he elaborated.  
A Memorable Account of Journalist on Trip to Moscow
Aug 7, 2023 3828
By Ayele Yaregal The writer of this article has paid a visit to Moscow along with other young journalists from across the world. A visitor to Moscow, the capital city of the Russian Republic will immediately notice the captivating beauty of Moscow River which bisects the city adding more beauty to the unique architectural designs and buildings which depict the history and cultural heritages of Russia. The River, decorated with numerous boats that daily sail the river with thousands of tourists on overlooking a gigantic modern stadium, gives a spectacular beauty to the city. The indigenous trees on the bank of the river provide astonishing natural green scenery with a tantalizing landscape. Cable ferries over the sky connect both sides of the river making it easy for tourists and casual visitors to enjoy their stay in Moscow. The hillsides of Moscow provide an excellent spot from which one can see everything below blended in a mix of beauty on the horizon. A Glimpse of Moscow If we look at the historical background of Moscow, we could easily notice that the city has undergone huge changes since the early 20th century when it became the capital city of Russia replacing St. Petersburg. Majestically located at the center of the city, Kremlin Palace accompanied with St. Basil's Cathedral Churches with their unique and stunning architecture are real wonders of the Russian history and culture. Kremlin Palace is a place where the political leaders of the country pass important decisions on national and global diplomatic relations. From the period of the rule of the monarchy of the Russian czars up to the era of communist rule, Russia has experienced huge changes over time. According to Lydia, our tour guide, Moscow was founded in 1147. Its name is derived from ‘Moskva’ (Moskva River), before it holds the present name of ‘Moscow’. The tour guide said that the word Kremlin means ‘fortress inside a city’. Kremlin made Moscow to sustain theological, political and cultural legacy of the great Roman Empire. That is why in different historical books Kremlin is referred as ‘third Rome’ next to Roman and Constantinople. The Seven Sisters, also called seven skyscrapers, are impressive architectural looks of Moscow. Those buildings were designed and built during the reign of Joseph Stalin. From 1947 to 1953, the buildings, traditionally known as the seven sisters were the tallest building in Europe and are described among the great legacies of the Soviet Union era. Those skyscrapers are not just buildings but they are the historical venues of different institutions. Therefore, the seven sister comprise the main buildings of Moscow State University, Hotel Ukraina (Now Raddison Blue), Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Apartments, the Kudrinskaya Square Building, the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Red Gates Administrative Building. Moscow State University is one of the prestigious universities across the globe. With its remarkable architectural setting, the university was the first Russian University that was founded in 1755. Since then, it has become hub of Russian research and education center graduating highly skilled professionals every year. The Luzhniki Olympic Complex is located near of Moscow River. This stadium was one of the main stadiums in the city that hosted the 21st FIFA world cup. One of the biggest mosques in Europe with minarets of 72 meters is also located close to the Olympic Stadium in the center of Moscow. The historical and magnificent bridges over Moscow River, monuments like statue of Peter the Great, wide-ranging green parks like Gorky, buildings are bizarre hotspots of the city. Russia had been ruled by Emperors, commonly known as czars, for centuries before socialism and communism system emerged in the beginning of 20th century. Moscow had once fallen under the prominent emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France according to our tour guide. The Tsar of all Russia since 1686 and first emperor of Russia from 1721-1725 was Peter I (Peter the Great), recognized with his effort of Russian modernization. In fact Moscow becomes the capital of all Russia after the revolution in early 20th century. Now a days Moscow along with remarkable and analogous buildings and all impressive digital infrastructure become one of the best global smart cities. Moscow, also known as the center of Russian culture in course of history, is home of global billionaires, and prestigious artists, scientists and public figures. In 2022 Moscow was awarded by UN publication as the top spot among large cities for quality of life and infrastructure. The population of Mosco is estimated at over 13 million that made it 8th populous cities across the world. Thanks to ‘InteRussia Program 2023’ I get in person at Moscow and my dream came true. Even though I was among young journalists from ten African countries for this program, I was feeling more familiar with the city because I came from the origin of Abraham Hannibal, Ethiopia, who was the grandfather of Russian legendary writer Alexander S. Pushkin. What prompted me to think of Russia? Historically, Ethiopian kings had aspired to create connection with Russian czars for many years. For instance the Ethiopian (Abyssinian) emperor Twodros II (1818-1868), named his ever first large artillery ‘Sevastopol’ that he tried to use during British expedition in Abyssinia led by Robert Napier. This name was taken from the Russia, Crimean town, Sevastopol, the site of a battle during the Crimean War. Emperor Yohannes 4th (1872-1889), the successor of Twodros II, was also largely inspired by the similarity of religion between the two countries. The historical facts mentioned that the relationship between Russia and Ethiopia in terms cultural and spiritual perspective dated back to four centuries. However, official diplomatic mission was started during Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia and Tsar Nikolas II of Russia in the late nineteen century. At the end of 19th century research expeditions of V.F. Mashkov (1889–1892), full members of the Russian Geographical Society A.V. Eliseev and N.S. Leontiev (1893), geographer and ethnographer A.K. Bulatovich (1896-1898), and others, contributed to the strengthening of Russian-Ethiopian ties. According to a study by Russian science academy the first religious missions were sent to Ethiopia, and contacts between the two churches established in the 1880s. An Embassy of the Russian Empire in Addis Ababa was opened in 1897. Thus, in 1895 Ethiopian envoy, first envoy from black Africa, headed by Fitawurari Damtew Ketema, father of Ras Desta, was sent to the city of Russia Saint Petersburg, Winter Palace of czsars. The mission stayed in Russia for a whole month with very solemn reception. Following the visit of this delegation, Russian donated weapons and ammunition for the battle of Adwa in February 1896. In February 1898, a Russian delegation headed by Pyotr Mikhailovich Vlasov was sent to Ethiopia and emperor Menelik welcomed the delegation warmly. In February 1902, the State Council decided to establish a permanent diplomatic mission in Ethiopia with an envoy in the position of resident minister. The first appointed State Councilor Konstantin Nikolaevich Lishin (General) arrived in Addis Ababa on March 28, 1903 and then he had made very fruitful diplomatic ties until he died in 1906 and buried in Addis Ababa. Definitely Moscow is a miracle city where nature, history and folks or narratives has merged. If paradise exist on the plane such types of scenery has to be part of it. Perhaps, there might be several lovely cities across a world. However, existence of such a naturally endowed and historically gifted cities might be very rare, except this place. Moscow as the center of Russian culture contained of different museums, academic and political institutions and theaters. Wherever I traveled in the city, I witnessed that Moscow combines the best of old and modern architecture. The long avenues and majestic squares, leafy boulevards, parks and gardens, new luxury housing, bridges, the sandstone ridges of Moscow River, and the unique cultural and historical heritages are some of the beauties of this city.   ‘State Tretyakov Gallery’ is the foremost depositary of Russian fine arts which is a well-known tourist destination. This gallery deposited 180, 000 Russian works of painting, sculpture and graphics created between the 11th to 20th centuries. According to our tour guide Olga, the gallery house aged about 150 year which was owned by a merchant family Pavel M. Tretyakov as a private art works collection. But the owner transferred the gallery to the government. The gallery consists of Russian art collections of successive generations.    
Human Capital Investment is A Priority for Africa
Jul 30, 2023 3214
Bereket Sisay (ENA) The Human Capital Heads of State Summit, held July 25-26 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania under the theme “Accelerating Africa’s Economic Growth: Boosting Youth Productivity by Improving Learning and Skills.” The summit, attended by more than 2,000 delegates from 44 African countries, including eight heads of state and government, vice presidents, prime ministers and ministers, concluded with major recommendations for fully harnessing the continent's human capital. Expanding access to education and increasing the involvement of international and regional financial institutions were suggested as essential to harness human resources. Greater synergy between government and private institutions was also recommended, along with the expansion of training facilities for the efficient management and use of natural resources. Since 2000, Africa has experienced sustained economic growth which has contributed significantly to improving the quality of life of its people. In particular, much progress has been made in transforming the agricultural sector - on which much of the population depends, developing manufacturing centers and industries, and modernizing the tourism sector as a major economic driver. Africa has achieved this by changing its development trajectory and reorienting itself towards mobilizing domestic resources, increasing development financing and attracting foreign direct investment. However, Africa continues to lag behind on key development indicators, as the progress made over the past two decades has not kept pace with the continent's growing population and needs. As a result, many African citizens remain trapped in poverty, and related problems continue to plague the continent in a vicious cycle. World Bank data shows that the poverty rate in Sub-Saharan Africa has not fallen fast enough to keep up with population growth in the region and close to 433 million Africans are estimated to live in extreme poverty in 2018 rising from 284 million in 1990. In addition, poverty and other compounding structural problems have forced the continent to fall short of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Rising food and energy prices caused by the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, coupled with the adverse effects of climate change, have hampered African efforts to achieve these goals. It also projected that at least 492 million people will remain in extreme poverty by 2030 if the necessary measures to accelerate progress towards the SDGs are not taken. These challenges seem baffling, given the continent's wealth of natural and human resources, which have the potential of transforming not only Africa, but the world. Africa is endowed with a variety of untapped natural resources such as arable land, water, minerals, oil and gas, which are important variables for sustainable development. In addition, Africa's population is young and growing rapidly: more than half of Africa's total population is under the age of 20, and according to the latest UN projections, this population size will double by 2050, with half of this population under the age of 25. However, this burgeoning young population holds both risk and opportunity for the continent. While human capital promises to be the key driver of Africa's growth, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that rein in demographic pressures is an important measure to achieve balanced growth. Therefore, investing in and leveraging human capital is the only option in Africa to better avert the potential risks that come along with unregulated population growth. African governments need to build robust economies that can effectively absorb the current and coming labor force to continuously contribute to steady economic growth with productivity. Recent data from the World Bank shows that the current labor markets in Africa disfavors the young population, with youth accounting for 60% of the total unemployed population. Therefore, this reality needs to be reversed and young population should be mainstreamed in the labor market and be the catalyst for development and growth rather than a contributing factor to economic downturn. For this to happen, Africa in general and countries in particular need to invest in human capital, from the education sector to the labor market, in order to effectively harness the demographic dividend. High-quality education, with a focus on science, mathematics and engineering, must be further expanded to solve current problems and to fully exploit natural resources to transform people's lives. It is crucial to invest in practical knowledge and skills in order to have an innovative solution to better transform internal development capacity into a reality of tangible growth. Since human development is a capital-intensive project in itself, capital investment is crucial, and this calls for concerned bodies; governments and financial institutions to channel funds into the entire spectrum of human capital development. Such bold measures will inevitably push Africa's growth agenda to include youth as an important factor in economic development, with potential spillover effects on various sectors. In addition, Africa has long been on the margins of international economic globalization as a result of its internal low level of economic performance. This is obviously due to the inability of the continent to make full use of its human and natural resources to bring about a major transformation in the economic sector. Therefore, prioritizing human development and shifting towards full exploitation of natural resources is the only option for Africa. This will bring about significant economic development while paving the way for Africa to play an important role in global socio-economic development, thereby creating a better world.    
Africa Countries Should Walk the Talk on Continental Integration
Jul 23, 2023 2670
Bereket Sisay The 5th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms, held in Nairobi from 13 to 16 July, adopted a resolution aimed at accelerating the continent's integration, both politically and economically. In particular, due emphasis was placed on advancing the implementation of the African Union's long-awaited flagship project - the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - which is crucial to achieving continental economic integration. With the entry into force of the AfCFTA in 2019, implementation has begun and member states have also commenced trade under the new AfCFTA initiatives. However, the implementation of the trade bloc has lagged behind, despite high expectations, due to the pandemic that rocked the entire continent, as well as the lack of agreement among African countries on the rules of engagement for some product lines and delays in ratification among member states. Nevertheless, a handful of countries that have met the legal criteria necessary to join the platform have already begun trading with each other on a wide range of goods, from agricultural products to manufactured goods. So far, countries such as Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Mauritius, Tanzania and Tunisia have started trade under the African Free Trade Area. As part of this move, Cameroon and Tunisia started trading with each other just on Monday. This indicates that the implementation of the Free Trade Area is well on its way, but the pace needs to be accelerated to achieve Agenda 2063 Goal 1: A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. The AfCFTA could boost intra-African trade by around 33% and reduce the continent's trade deficit by 51%, according to official AU data, which shows that intra-African trade is currently low at just 14.4% of total African exports. Yet, a slew of challenges still on the way for full implementation of the initiative that need to be addressed as quickly as possible. Particularly, creating conducive environment for facilitating intra-Africa trade such as expanding infrastructural development and furthering other equally compelling facilities is a primary task. Africa has a huge bottleneck in terms of having critical infrastructure that ease business doing and potentially improve people’s lives. Deficiencies in transport connectivity infrastructure, particularly, cross-border road connectivity led to low level of trade among Africa countries. Therefore, African countries should increase investment in road infrastructure to develop intra-African trade facilities, including technological infrastructure. Air connectivity also needs to be improved as this mode of transportation is very fast and can handle large amounts of cargo at a time. In addition, the technological capacity of African member countries needs to be developed, starting with the expansion of Internet services, which could potentially facilitate e-commerce activities on the continent. To facilitate business and trade exchange in Africa, there are many infrastructure facilities that need to be put in order and therefore countries should mobilize their resources for infrastructure projects as it is capital intensive. In 2022, the African Development Bank report shows that Africa's infrastructure investment gap is estimated at more than $100 billion per year, affecting the living conditions of Africans and the continent's global competitiveness. Without the necessary infrastructure, Africa's free trade agreements will never be successful. In line with this, African countries need to remove all tariff-related barriers that can be an obstacle to realizing this grand agenda of trade connectivity. Non-tariff barriers such as lack of commitment to implement mutually agreed trade facilitation measures and lack of coordination and harmonization of trade activities are also hindering the integration process and these challenges need to be addressed as soon as possible. The political will of Member States to pursue and conclude the ongoing trade negotiations is of paramount importance in this regard. One of the major problems that has greatly affected the African business environment is the quality of products and this has forced African citizens to depend on import markets from other continents for so long. Moreover, there is a lack of production output from the manufacturing sectors as well as most of the traded items on the continent are agricultural products. Therefore, along with a gradual shift towards industrial products and meeting the large market demands of African citizens through bulky manufacturing outputs, quality products need to be given due emphasis. Quality problem is an elephant in the house issue for Africa business and can't be hash up this challenge by various reason, the only solution is to act on it in unison. In addition, African countries need to abolish visa requirements for African citizens to create a free movement of people that would potentially increase connectivity. The ideal of free movement of people, which began with the creation of the OAU and has evolved over time as a major agenda on the continent, but concrete progress has been registered on this frontier. Until the people of Africa can freely interact with each other and start being treated as people of the same continent, the integration activities can't go through a smooth process. Some countries have started to issue visas on arrival, while others allow African citizens to inter into their country without having a visa. This is an important step towards achieving integration and needs to be further strengthened in the future. In a nutshell, the African Free Trade Area has great potential to create new market opportunities for African small and medium enterprises, which will directly contribute to the creation of employment opportunities that would potentially improve people's lives. Thus, its implementation has now begun at infancy stages and need to be fast-tracked as the continent's other goals depend on it and the success over free trade will serve as a spring board to further push other successful story on the continent. Therefore, member countries should be fully committed politically and needs to push forward the implementation of the initiative as quickly as possible, otherwise delaying the implementation of the AfCFTA is a recipe for failure once again for the future of the continent. African countries has many times vowed for the African noble cause of integration and now is the time to walk the talk and realize this nobel agenda of the continent.        
Ethiopian News Agency
2023