Ethiopia’s significance

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 11:01:49 +0000


WE welcome to Zambia Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, a gallant son of Africa who has put Ethiopia back on the world map as a leading exponent of African unity and renaissance and a shining example of an African economy that has experienced strong and broad-based growth over the past decade.

With Prime Minister Desalegn in charge, Addis Ababa has again become the epicentre and theatre of dreams for the African continent with far-reaching decisions coming out of recent heads of State and government summits, including the historic one where African countries have been asked to leave the International Criminal Court whose mandate is now seen as being focused on embarrassing African leaders.

More importantly Ethiopia, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, has steadily over the past decade emerged from the Western perception of being one of the world’s poorest nations, to the envy of being an African economic Tiger, averaging a staggering 10.8 percent growth. This is compared to the regional average of 5.4 percent.

The significance therefore of the State visit to Zambia of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn cannot be over-emphasized. The formation of the Zambia-Ethiopia Joint Permanent Commission aimed at forging and accelerating economic and bilateral co-operation between the two countries is historic by any standards.

Yesterday the two countries signed a range of important agreements in the fields of communication, information and media, water resource management, irrigation and energy. They include one between chambers of commerce of Ethiopia and Zambia.

This followed bilateral talks held at State House between President Edgar Lungu and Prime Minister Desalegn which opened the door for massive trade potential among nationals and business organizations of the two countries.

As President Lungu put it, Ethiopia and Zambia have over the years enjoyed cordial relations anchored on common values, liberty, peace, prosperity and the general well-being of the two peoples. Yesterday’s agreements will therefore cement this cooperation and open new avenues of heightened commercial activity among citizens of the two states.

Like Zambia, Ethiopia has invested significantly in infrastructure development which accounts for the country’s enormous economic growth, triggering a huge private consumption, reducing poverty levels in both urban and rural areas. The World Bank says while 53.3 percent of Ethiopians lived in extreme poverty in 2000, by 2011 this figure was reduced to 33.5 percent.

Amid increasing foreign direct investment and local initiatives, Ethiopia aspires to be a middle-income country by 2025 on the threshold of the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan which runs from 2015 to 2020.

Despite the enormous challenges, Ethiopia has proved to be resilient as it refuses to capitulate to natural calamities such as drought and is now on the way to becoming one of the few countries achieving the Millennium Development Goals, with remarkable progress in key human development indicators: primary school enrolment has quadrupled, child mortality has been cut in half and the number of people accessing clean water has more than doubled.

No doubt Ethiopia is a country Zambia can emulate and learn a lot from. We hope and trust that the glossary of agreements signed in Lusaka yesterday will help the two countries forge a new partnership for the mutual benefit of their peoples.

In communication, for example, Zambia could learn how to establish and run a successful national airline. Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most respected and long-standing world carriers that has baffled industry experts for its efficiency and business acumen yet it is 100 percent manned by Ethiopian pilots, crews and management.

It is this type of cooperation African countries must encourage among themselves. This is why President Lungu invited Prime Minister Desalegn: to forge a new partnership between two resource-rich African brothers hungry for growth and development.


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