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‘I was in an ambulance for the first time in my life…I saw my life passing…I knew in that moment I had to make a massive change…’ says Yene, or better known as Dr Yene Assegid, a renowned Leadership Trainer and Executive Coach. From her time of darkness and adversity comes her new book of hope and strength, ‘Shine’. Yene believes passionately that her book will inspire others to rise from adversity and build themselves up overcoming their challenges.
Despite her wealth of experience and expertise – with clientele ranging from private individuals and corporations toUN and governmental and non-governmental agencies such as UNDP, UNAIDS and GIZ, and MSF, among others – Yene remains humble ‘I have always wanted to support people in reaching their goals,’ she says. And it is in this spirit of frank openness that she spoke to Capital about her third book, ‘Shine’, and the inspiration behind it.
Capital: Tell us a about yourself, how did you come about to being a writer?
Yene Assegid: It’s not that I intended to be a writer but rather that writing allows me to somehow reflect and meditate – it allows me to focus. When I write, I find silence from all the distractions of life. Actually, I believe there is a writer in every single person, because story telling is part of being human.
Capital: You are also an established Executive Coach and Leadership Trainer, have you always wanted to do that?
Yene: I may not have explicitly thought that I wanted to be a Coach and a Trainer; but I have always wanted to support people in reaching their goals, in changing their circumstances and in making their dreams happen.
And I have always done that in different capacities, long before I took up coaching and training as a profession. I become inspired when I see someone achieving their goals and creating the reality they dreamed of. It is simply amazing, and it is a continual confirmation loop of what I have always known – that ‘whatever’ we wish for, we can create.
My field of work allows me to serve and help others achieve their highest potential. I love to witness such things. People come to me with their ideas and I work with them to develop that idea further and bring it to life in the real world. It is an incredible process, and of course being a Coach and Trainer means that I have to continuously work on myself as well, to make sure that I am at my best to serve.
Capital: Most people go into such a career inspired by profound lessons from facing difficult challenges. Would you say this is true for you?
Yene: Yes, absolutely. I have had and I keep having my share of challenges, at times life-threatening. I also know that challenges will always arise in the future, because that is life. The main point to remember is that the more we work through and overcome one challenge, the better prepared we are to overcome the next, whenever it comes. As we go through our life journey, our attitude, towards the challenges and difficulties we face in life,directly defines our capacity to overcome these very challenges.
We can learn to be less reactive and instead learn to respond in athought-out manner. As we deal with challenges, we have two choices. Either, we can let it break us and reduce us; or, we can let it build and expand us. In the first case, the experience could leave us hurt, closed-off, bitter and sour. In the second case, despite the hardship, we end-up growing from the experience; we become stronger, more resilient and more conscious.
We will surely carry virtual scars from the pain and ordeal; and, we will also end-up being softer, more tolerant, kinder and lighter about life. It’s all about the interpretation of our experience in the present moment, which without a doubt defines the kind of life we create.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that we should rejoice when we are in difficulty or that it’s easy to go through it. I am only saying that challenging situations will occur regardless of our choice to take it on or let it negatively affect us; so, why not make the best of it and take it on? Better days are ahead; sometimes just around the corner so we must consistently keep showing up and one day we will look back and see how far we have come.
I become inspired when I see someone achieving their goals and creating the reality they dreamed of
Capital: You have been in the profession of coaching and training around leadership for over 20 years now. How has your work influenced people and communities?
Yene: I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I have had to do the work I do, because it allows me to champion dreams. I have worked as a Coach and Trainer in such extremely diverse settings ranging from some of the most precarious red light districts to isolated and risky places run by communities of former child soldiers to places of wealth and comfort among large multi-nationals in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Such wide exposure has stretched my heart to a stage where my heart has become both amazingly strong and at the same time, incredibly raw and open. This polarity gives me the chance to bring this very profound stretch to the people I work with and the results we achieve are simply humbling.
I have witnessed some unbelievable transformations, and this is what keeps me in my work. When you show-up just as you are, you allow people to also show-up just as they are, without the labels, the titles, the tags, the expectations or the pretentions that would otherwise come along.
This intentional authenticity creates a clear space where possibilities for new realities arise. I feel that my work influences and encourages people to live life as co-creators of their journey rather than being passive bystanders.
Capital: Have you carried out or do you plan on carrying out inspirational talks in Ethiopia?
Yene: Organizing inspirational talks has been on my mind, especially being able to deliver such talks in schools and college campuses. I am looking for organizations to partner with to make that happen. I am hopeful and have faith that it will happen when the time is right. Until such time, my book is out there for people to read and to enjoy. Right now I am celebrating this and am grateful to have got to this point alive.
Capital: Tell us about your new book Shine. How was the process of writing it and what is it essentially about?
Yene: Shine is a result of a particularly challenging life situation I faced. While I was in the thick of it, when the bottom could not possibly get any darker, I felt that the difficulty I was facing is either an opportunity to transform my life or it’s the end of all. I knew I had two gifts in hand. First is the gift of having shared, witnessed and been part of the transformation of hundreds of peoples’ lives that I worked with professionally or encountered in my private life. Second, I had the gift of having lived through an extensive and wide range of possible human experiences.
I thought of bringing these two gifts together to explore what could be learned to source a massive transformation. I wanted to find a process that anyone could apply as an individual based on lessons learned from the collective I was part of. I wanted to create a road map that anyone can use to transform his or her life and reboot to a new reality.
Based on this, I started writing. My writing process is a time for me to zone-out and write from another dimension, where unrestricted thoughts can emerge without judgment. In this dimension, there is such openness that at times it puts me in a vulnerable space, but it is exactly this willingness to open-up and be still and steady in vulnerability that allows me to make space for the divine spirit within to emerge.
The process is really about being willing to stretch our boundaries – that is where learning happens. The more we are comfortable on the edge, the more we expand. Writing Shine has been a chance for me to not only reboot my own life; but also to truly reconnect with the Universe, the divine spirit; it is in me, as it is in you, as it is in every living being.
Capital: What inspired you to write this book?
Yene: I never intended to write a book this year. I already had my hands full so Shine was completely unexpected. I realize that sounds strange, but it’s the truth. I was not inspired per se – I had to write to reflect. 2015 was possibly the toughest year in my life in many ways. I see it as a year of intense fire from all direction.
It’s a year that marked a rite of passage for me. I was in an ambulance for the first time in my life. It was a very disturbing experience – scary actually. And a moment where I saw images of my life passing like a slideshow in my mind. As I lay on that stretcher, I remember feeling detached and observing the situation, just witnessing it from somewhere far. I knew at that moment that I had to make massive change, mainly in my perspective about the meaning of life.
Writing gives me peace of mind. It brings me soothing silence within. It’s like meditation or prayer. It takes all distractions away. So, coming back to your question of what inspired me – it’s the overwhelming pain I felt that prompted me to write. And in writing, I found the way out of crisis of the soul. At the end, I felt that what I had written might help others as well, and so came the idea of putting it down in the form of a book.
Capital: This is your third book, what kind of evolution have you gone through while writing these books?
Yene: When we look into the mirror each day, we see no change from yesterday. Yet when we look at pictures from a few months ago, it’s striking how much change we can see. It’s the physical change. At a deeper level, writing is like a mirror or picture for the soul. Each day we write, we might not see any difference from yesterday, but when we look at things we wrote some time ago, often there is a striking change in perspectives and opinions even if the core remains the same. My books offer me such a soul mirror and let me see how my perspective has shifted along the years.
Capital: Did you have a particular audience in mind?
Yene: Not really, I did not have an audience in mind at first. In retrospect though, I feel Shine can help many people – men, and women, young and old because we all go through crisis in life. It’s a book that can help shift mindsets so powerfully and help in taking charge of our circumstances so that we are in better position to make the kind of change we need to make to create the life we want.
Capital: You talk about partnering with the Universe in your book, what do you mean by that?
Yene: Well, for me the Universe is God and God is the Universe. It’s the all of life, now and forever. It has always been and always will be. The Universe is an expression of the divine power that is a living loving energy. It’s something anchored in our souls, in our hearts. When we understand that all things are one and that we are all inter-related, then we start witnessing the power of the Universe. It’s amazing. Believe me, it’s simply amazing because in the one-ness, our soul can rest.
Capital: Is this a religious book?
Yene: We get too caught-up in religion, unfortunately. We get so caught-up that we completely forget the spiritual dimension and rather get stuck on dogma. It’s sad. We are spiritual beings, all of us.
We can express our spirituality in so many ways: through worship and religious inclinations, as well as through art, through living, through simply being or through whatever resonates with us. Even the way we relate to one another is an expression of our spirituality. Shine is not a religious book. It’s a book about spirituality and the application of spirituality in our modern lives.
Capital: There are so many books on “how to change your life” out there, what makes yours different?
Yene: My book is different simply because all books are unique, even when it’s the same topic that is covered. And yes there are a lot of books out there on the subject. Some are great books and some are less so. Mine is a book that anyone can pick up and read and apply to their present lives to see immediate results. If there is one major difference with my book, it’s that it is both deeply spiritual and very practical. It opens a space of vulnerability, which is where we need to go if we are to engage transformation in our lives.
Capital: At one point you talk about the gift in falling. How can falling be a gift?
Yene: Because falling – and by that I mean going through setbacks and failure – is often associated with negative outcomes. Yet, falling is actually a gem in terms of learning. The best teacher is a challenge. When we fall flat on our face and we still choose to get up again; we get-up stronger.
Going through crisis and failure could potentially be a time we build core strength, if we choose to. It’s a time to earn the calluses reminding us of having walked the journey. I am not saying that it is easy and that it is not painful. It’s hard to fall. It’s unpleasant and painful. But this is what makes us, shapes us and molds us into our greatness.
It is the collection of all the times that we have fallen and got up that builds our capacity to tackle any challenge, to cherish every break we get and remain well ground and humble all the way. So, falling is a divine gift. Wouldn’t you agree?
Capital: Do you have any regrets in life?
Yene: Not really. Of course there are things that I wish I did or things I wish I didn’t do. But I can’t change that. The best way to deal with regrets is to learn the lessons and hope to become an even better person for it.
It’s not helpful to beat ourselves down with all the things that we could/should have done better or different. That cannot be changed, so it is best to take a deep breath; own-up what has been and keep moving forward. Make it an opportunity to change our ways in the present and for the future.
Capital: What’s in store after this book?
Yene: I have been meaning to write about leadership and wisdom. So, maybe that will be next.
Capital: What word of advice do you have for our readers?
Yene: I would say two things. First is to stay real and authentic; it will give you space to tap into your own unique strength. It will give you a chance to be the best version of yourself. Plus, it’s a lot easier to be real than to try to be what we are not. Being real is more sustainable and it will keep you healthier.
Second is to be kind to everyone – we never know how someone feels inside, or what someone is going through in life. A bit of kindness makes it so much more pleasant for everyone. It makes life easier even in times of hardship. It’s more fun and will keep you and everyone around you, happier.
Capital: Where can people get this book?
Yene: It’s available as an eBook at the moment on the following link:http://www.payhip.com/yene
Capital: Are you on any social media platform so people can keep up with what you are doing?
Yene: Yes, my Facebook page is called Yene Assegid and my Twitter handle is @yeneassegid. I would love to hear people’s reactions and comments, thoughts and insights they have gained after they have read the book.
Capital: Are you working on a new project now? What are your plans?
Yene: I would like to use the proceeds from Shine to create a platform where civil society and the private sector can come together to encourage, inspire and support communities in Africa to take charge of their circumstancesand systematically achieve their dreams.
The port of Djibouti is congested with over 20 vessels carrying mainly Ethiopian fertilizer, grains and general cargos, Capital learnt.
Earlier in 2016, being aware of the drought caused by Elnino, Djibouti Port officials were informing Ethiopian authorities of the necessity to anticipate and prepare sufficient truck fleet to uplift all expected bulk vessels, according to the port officials at Djibouti.
“At this moment, lack of sufficient trucks for transporting dry bulk cargo and disorganized arrival of vessels at the port are the main reasons behind the current situation at the Port of Djibouti SA (PDSA). Although Djibouti Port is equipped with specialized bulk Terminal which handles cargo with latest equipment such as sucking machines, bagging lines capable to dispatch 21,000MT a day,” said officials.
Several meetings had been held regularly between Ethiopian and Djiboutian officials to address the issue, with the port’s authority going as far as allowing cargo vessels to berth in areas set aside for navy operations. The Port Authority received a prioritization program which is vessels at the port carrying critical cargo such as wheat to feed drought affected populations and fertilizer.
Djibouti port officers told Capital that about 12 vessels at the anchorage are carrying grain for Ethiopia, while Ethiopian officials say that only a few of those are for emergency aid. Other bulk vessels being for commercial wheat.
Two weeks ago, a high level delegation from Ethiopia, led by Mekonnen Abera, Director General of Maritime Affairs Authority (MAA), which under Ministry of Transport, and with attendance of Mesfin Tefera, Deputy CEO of Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprises visited Djibouti and met with PDSA officials to discuss and come up with solutions for the issue.
Saad Omar Guelleh, General Manager of PDSA, told Capital that his office is working closely with Ethiopian offices based in Djibouti and Addis Ababa to address the current situation.
“We disclosed our concern to Ethiopian logistics offices, and ensured Ethiopian trucks focus on aid and fertilizer cargo, rather than other cargo,” Saad Omar Guelleh said.
Port officials also confirmed that Ethiopian demands have been met with the prioritization of critical cargo. “Even we have dedicated six berths for the bulk shipment of grain and fertilizer cargos (4 berths where ships can each perform more than 5,000mt per day),” port officials said.
Citing lack of harmonization of vessel arrivals at the port as another concern, Saad Omar Guelleh said, “The government should also direct private transport companies to focus on designated emergency cargo,” furthermore Saad Omar Guelleh confirms that PDSA prepared warehouses free of charges to support priority cargo.
At discussions held on March 13, between port officials and Ethiopian maritime delegates, port officials claimed that Ethiopian trucks are not working effectively to receive and deliver the grain and fertilizer cargo off vessels, sources in attendance told Capital.
Port officials also stated vessels’ arrival at the port needs to be better coordinated by the Ethiopian side. Disorganized arrival of vessels is considered as a major factor for vessel congestion. A port official told Capital, more than five vessels have arrived within a single day.
The mobilization of trucks in the private and public sectors has been put forward from the Djiboutian side as a possible solution to ease congestion.
“We have a lot of cargo at Djibouti. On six berths vessels are uplifted their cargo and additional up 17 vessels are on anchorage. Previously, we have been fleeted up 9,000tones per day, which is increased to 13,000, but it is not sufficient because we have more than one million tons of bulk and general cargo at the port,” Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD), Minister of Transport, told Capital.
Mekonnen told Capital that the Ethiopian government is working attentively to mobilize trucks and uplifting priority cargo, “Since recently discussions with port officials, there is significant progress in terms of operations at the port. We have already mobilized public and private trucks,” he told Capital.
Trucks assigned delivery of food aid and fertilizer cargo are now a fleet of 300 on average and will be expanded, according to the general manager of MAA. He added that the greater fleet can now transport up to 16,000 tons of cargo a day, up from the former maximum of 12,000 tons.
“The problem is the truck; we have totally 9,000 trucks that assigned to the port cargo, but we need up to 13,000 trucks to accelerate the fleet,” Workneh explained.
“To solve the trucks shortage we have now assigned trucks who engaged in side the country,” he added. According to the Minister, the ministry has also mobilized private companies such as MIDROC and Dangote, and military trucks.
“We have also on the process to add trucks from Sudan to engage on the fleet,” he said.
According to the maritime authority’s head, three fertilizer vessels left the berths by Wednesday March 23 and now only one fertilizer vessel waiting at the anchorage. There are a few aid cargo vessels among the twelve in the port, with most carrying Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise’s trade cargo.
Workneh said that currently up to 780 trucks uplifts cargo from the port per day. “We have targeted to increase the number of trucks to 1140 per day. The upcoming trucks from private companies and military in addition with the trucks from in Sudan will meet our target to increase the number of trucks,” he added.
The other issue is to increase the number of days of the trucks fleet to the port. Currently, the maximum fleet of trucks to Djibouti is three times a week, but the government has targeted to expand the number of fleet up to five times a week.
He accepted that there is lack of coordination in terms of vessels arrival. In the beginning of the year we have been designed how many vessels arrive at the port, but the current emergency issue forced as to go behind our plan,” Workneh said. He said that the general cargos like edible oil and others are also basic needs for the public that have to transport on time in the country.
“But we are strongly working to manage the current crisis,” he added.
The other agenda raised at the meeting between the two bodies was the transportation of aid cargo via the recently built diesel railway line, which will later be electrified. According to information obtained by Capital, 1,200 tons of grain is being transported by rail every three days, but the Ethiopian Railway Corporation should increase this effort, according to Djibouti’s port officials.
The Djiboutian sides have demanded uplifting capacity to reach 5,000mt per day per vessel, from the current 3,000mt contractual uplift rate from consignee and transport companies.
MAA’s general manager, however, has declined the proposal citing that such a rate is not practical given some of the berths’ small depth and width.
“It is a theoretical capacity, if it was practically designed capacity, we would have been glad to accept because we can solve our problem within a short period. But it is impossible,” he explained.
As the concerned authorities from both countries’ sides look to solve the problem, trade cargo vessels carrying with steel, coal and other commodities remain stranded at the anchorage, according to officials in Ethiopia.
“Both fertilizer and aid cargo are humanitarian,” says Mekonnen and he adds that despite the high costs to the country – this cargo will continue to be prioritized over general cargo.
eanwhile, the Ethiopian state owned transit operator has disclosed a temporarily block on transportation of all steel cargo to facilitate the emergency cargo’s delivery.
Both authorities agreed the urgent necessity to mobilize truck fleet to uplift all arrived and expected priority cargo. The Djiboutian authorities have shown willingness to support Ethiopian authorities in emergency efforts. Authorities have offered to facilitate warehouses at the port in order to improve vessels’ operations and mitigate the current situation’s effect on the Port of Djibouti’s image.
In celebration of its 70th anniversary, Ethiopian airlines has been carrying out facility visit sessions for government officials, prominent business persons, celebrities as well as the media, among others. The airline that has had seven decades of experience has won multiple awards for its services and is the biggest airline in Africa.
This week, Ethiopian opened its doors to visitors that were keen to see one of the airline’s prized facilities, the Flight Simulators, Cargo, MRO and its newly inaugurated Aviation Academy.
In line with its vision 2025 strategic road map, Ethiopian Airlines Group invested USD 100 million in breakthrough expansion and upgrading its Aviation Academy. The scale and scope of the expansion sealed the Academy’s position as the largest and the finest Aviation Academy in Africa with annual intake capacity of 4,000 students.
Since it started February 1964, Ethiopian has had given pilot training and graduated a total of 1062 students from 39 countries around the world until 2016. Out of the total number of graduates, 712 were Ethiopians. Similarly, during the same period, the airline has graduated 4167 students from 51 countries in maintenance service. Out of that total number, 3140 were Ethiopians. This statistics shows how much the airlines capacity has grown.
The new aviation academy has many class room buildings. The Technical block houses the Pilot Training School and the Aviation Maintenance Training School; while the Commercial and Leadership block accommodates the In-flight Services Training School, Commercial and Ground Services School and Leadership School.
We are thrilled to mark March 8 with an All Women Operated Flight, which reaffirms nonexistence of Gender specific profession, if equal opportunity for education is ensured for all
It also has separate Administration building, workshops, auditorium, students’ dormitory and large cafeteria. As an ATO (Authorized Training Organization), the B-777, B-787, B-737, B-767/757 and the Q-400 full flight simulators enables the academy to offer full type rating trainings for pilots.
“Education is the greatest equalizer in today’s global village. We are proud to be in a position to avail the latest and next generation aviation technology training machines and facilities where we can train the continent’s youth and prepare them for the 21st century African Aviation development. The Ethiopian Aviation Academy is positioning itself to be the catalyst leader in aviation training technology in supporting the African Union to realize its vision 2063,” Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian said back in February, 2016.
According to the airline, currently, the academy has the best aviation training technology like full range of fleet cabin emergency, evacuation and door trainers fitted with standard swimming pool for cabin crew ditching exercises and more than 20 pilot training aircraft, the finest expertise, dedicated and experienced instructors and the most suitable environment for students.
The airline is also continuously expanding in the development of most of its departments. The New Cargo Terminal, expected to be operational towards the end of 2016, will have an annual storage, for both dry and perishable goods, of 1.2 million tons with capacity to handle eight B747-800 freighters at any one time.
Currently, the airlines capacity is 300,000 tons. It is stated that the construction of just the first phase will cost around USD 150 million.
A four star hotel construction is also in the works by the airline. The hotel, to be built on 40,000sqm located in front of the Millennium Hall on Bole Road, is said to be operational in 24 months. Ethiopian serves around 6 million passages per year of which 50 percent are transit passengers making the construction of the hotel even more a necessary deed.
Ethiopian’s In-flight Catering Services is also under expansion; the current capacity is to provide 22,000 meals per day and once expanded, it will have the capacity to provide 80,000 meals per day.
The airline also promotes good causes such as celebrating International Women’s Day with an all women operated flight that was dispatched on the Addis Ababa-Kigali route. That specific flight was aimed at further strengthening Ethiopian corporate conviction of “Women Empowerment for a Sustainable Growth”.
“We are thrilled to mark March 8 with an All Women Operated Flight, which reaffirms nonexistence of Gender specific profession, if equal opportunity for education is ensured for all,” Tewolde had said. He also pointed out that to date, aviation is still a male-dominated industry and Ethiopian will strive to step up the balance and assure women that the sky is not the limit anymore.
Ethiopian has always been an environmentally conscience organisation. Since the 1990s, the airline has implemented a system where no chemical waste would be discharged into the environment. The airline always treats waste before it goes out into the environment and disposes chemicals in a careful environmental friendly manner.
Ethiopian holds the lion share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to 92 international destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as the Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.
In implementing its strategic 15 years plan called ‘Vision 2025’, Ethiopian aims to become the leading aviation in Africa with seven business centers. These includes: Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Service.
Once again, the prime minister made a wonderful speech to Ethiopians in Europe. The speech he delivered in Frankfurt made our hearts leap with joy. Moreover, the spirit of peace-loving people has been revived. Earlier, with the advent of the new government, I was full of confidence that the reform would bring about an end to our misery. But with the passage of time things seemed to have taken opposite directions. I should be frank to confess that I personally was on the brink of losing hope because of certain unexpected incidents happening in this poor country of ours. The incumbent government has openly given deaf ears (at least I feel so) to woes echoed on a daily basis by many innocent citizens. It has insignificantly been so patient that ill-wishers are taking advantages of this.
We have not forgotten the promise made by the PM that his government would not arrest any individuals before their cases are investigated. But to our dismay we have been witnessing the law being violated. Suffice it to mention the fact that young people numbering over one thousand were summarily arrested here in Addis Ababa and sent to prisons and military camps without due process of law. These and other similar occurrences caused me to lose hope. However, I don’t forget one important thing. What Dr. Abiy once said probably shows the problems he has been confronted with… “The challenges are abundant from within… challenges that are not talked over and listed out…” I can sense how he has been filled with fury.
Probably I am one of those who have no patience to wait and see until things come back to normal. I tell you that I need the government to take practical measures promptly against those who are pushing this country in to an abyss of misery. The government should also show in a tangible way that this country is owned by all Ethiopians irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity and gender. Then after, we definitely put trust in the reform. Of course, the marvelous speech made to Ethiopians residing in Europe can be regarded as a magic wand that reinvigorates our hope.
We all watched over television that Ethiopians numbering about 20,000 were completely swept off their feet by Dr. Abiy’s speech delivered at a stadium in Frankfurt. The premier said on the occasion that though the day looked dusky in Ethiopia, one should not be doubtful that the darkness would soon become a crack of dawn. I assumed this remarkable message was passed over not only to the diaspora community in Europe but also to all other Ethiopians who were likely giving up hope over the ongoing reform.
When the Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed took the podium, all Ethiopians gathered from various European countries burst out in appreciation and extended tumultuous welcome to him. Soon after, with the big sound fading away he said, “as you made us feel proud by becoming united, I say my prayer so that your unity won’t be taken away”. The premier gave salutation with smiling face to the gathering using different European and local languages. He then touched on the misery befallen Europeans because of the few leaders who were blinded by their personal benefits. He said that the destructions followed by World War II were initiated by those who claimed with fantasies that their race excelled that of others. “This is a scar resulting from the malicious war that has still been recollected with regret,” he said.
The words the premier was using on the occasion moved almost all Ethiopians to tears. “My country might probably fall asleep; but not dead. Ethiopia might become weak; but not got defeated. My dear mom may probably become skinny; but not got snapped.” There can hardly be any mentally stabled Ethiopian whose eyes won’t be brimmed with tears while listening to these words of the premier.
Dr. Abiy has given a big lesson to those narrow-minded Ethiopians who claimed the entire country to be their personal property. Those xenophobic Ethiopians who are residing in overseas countries being given first level citizenship by the respective nations should pay heed to this important message. They should take time to stop and think of the adverse effects of their maliciously brewed poisons being disseminated across the country. They should try to draw lessons (unless they have hidden agendas) from the people (of overseas countries) who gave them shelters. Dr. Abiy reminded the xenophobic Ethiopians that all human beings are equal and should be handled the way they (these xenophobic Ethiopians) are being treated by the country they are now residing. He further touched on the consequences of World War one and two.
“The outcomes of the two world wars were impoverishment, wretchedness, migration, epidemic and destruction. However, reviving from the wars in a very short period of time, the resilient Europeans have thus given shelter to millions, including you, that flowed from all over the world. They have been able to defeat the entire world by putting aside their fighting with one another. They achieved this not by chance. They worked for their countries in unison without losing hope but enduring the miseries.”
What did we gain from the prolonged civil wars waged by narrow nationalists and xenophobic individuals of this country? Nothing… but hatred, nepotism, theft, narrow nationalism… It is unfortunate that we did not draw the good experiences of the Europeans. Being led by croaked leaders, we made ourselves suitable for disparity and racism. We built fences of ethnicity around us. We plunged in to the deep black sea of hatred, nepotism, corruption and chaos.
“After the wars,” the PM said, “the Europeans took choice of unity rather than disparity; and cooperation rather than hindrance; because they realized the advantages… The European people hated war because they themselves fell victim to it. They bitterly fought against racism and dominance for they had realized the devastating consequences. As a nation we, Ethiopians, can draw a big lesson from this.”
The premier gave emphasis to the very fact that here after no one would be given any chance to do whatever s/he likes in this country. “Respected compatriots, one thing you should be certain of is that Ethiopia is not a private domain anyone can bake it like a pan cake; but it is an age-old country brought in to being by a great nation.”
The PM has also underscored the significance of unity and diligence to establish a long-lasting nation. “If we don’t lose hope and are not divided, but rather work hard without spending our times over useless issues, it will never be tough [for us] to make our country bigger… So long as we are united, there won’t be any door we cannot open; no river we cannot cross. It is a privilege to serve Ethiopia. If you stand by us, we drop out the minor agendas and proceed ahead by grasping the big items on the agenda,” the premier noted.
He further highlighted the following points. “It is to light the candle; not preaching the weight and darkness of the night that can be the solution… Say what you did to your country… speaking of somebody doing this and that against your country won’t drop anything for Ethiopia.”
The premier has thus revitalized our hope that this poor country would one day become a suitable home for its citizens. “Believe it or not, Ethiopia will soon become a comfortable country for its people.” We hope so, dear prime minister!
By Haile-Gebriel Endeshaw
The historical drama film entitled ‘Quragnaye’ which tells the story of a a wandering student named Gobeze who is chained and travels with the kidnapper of his sweetheart, to the royal town; will be inaugurated on Dec 23, 2018 at Vamdas Entertainment. The movie mainly revolves around the debate and defeat of his opponent at a beloved queen’s court in order to free his childhood love.
The story which traces its roots one hundred years ago to the Ankober and Debre-sina towns is also said to be the projection of the love and respect of Ethiopians. The story which took four years to write cost 4.5 million birr and took a year to produce.
Made by Synergy Habesha Films and Communications the movie will be celebrated with a film premier and red carpet event on the date of the launching.
Name: Estifanos Teferi
Education: Diploma in Drawing
Company name: Awakened Minds
Title: Founder and CEO
Founded in: 2016
What it does: Personal development training and consultancy
HQ: Bole around Sheger building
Number of employees: 4
Startup Capital: 50,000 birr
Current capital: Growing
Reason for starting the business: Most people don’t know their potential
Biggest perk of ownership: Mental Satisfaction
Biggest strength: Considering challenges as a stepping stone
Biggest challenge: Lack of support from friends and family
Plan: To build an international university
First career: Business
Most interested in meeting: Robert Toru Kiyosaki
Most admired person: My father
Stress reducer: Reading books
Favorite past-time: Working
Favorite book: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Favorite destination: Paris
Favorite automobile: None
Every now and then, while managing our business we run into a situation that a deadline is not met, that a mistake is made in production, the wrong items are ordered or delivered, a process is interrupted, or a machine breaks down. Name it, every now and then something goes wrong, and we jump into crisis mode to deal with the situation. Today, we know more than ever before while information is available all the time, for a great deal thanks to the internet and digital information management systems. But still we often don’t keep our promises and unnecessarily overlook things. Why is this so? While we can do so many more things, at the same time so many more things can go wrong. One way to deal with this is the use of checklists.
A checklist is a type of job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task.
Everyone knows why to-do checklists are useful: they help you get things done. But there are also particular benefits to routine checklists that have made them an effective tool for navigating complex systems. Here are 4 of them:
Checklists verify that the necessary minimum gets done. With increasing complexity comes the temptation to skip over the stupid simple stuff and instead focus on the “sexy” parts of one’s work and life. Because the stupid simple stuff is so stupid and simple, we often fool ourselves that it’s not important in the grand scheme of things. But as we’ve seen, it’s often our most basic tasks that can spell the difference between success and disaster. Checklists act as a check against our ego, and remind us to make sure the stupid, simple, but necessary stuff gets done.
Checklists free up mental RAM. People often bristle at using a checklist because it feels constraining. They want to be flexible and creative, and the checklist seems to take away their autonomy. Offloading the need to remember basic tasks frees up the brain to concentrate on the important stuff. This means we are left with more mental RAM to focus on handling unforeseen problems that may occur. Checklists don’t replace judgment, they enhance it.
Checklists instill discipline. Checklists continue to play a vital role in aviation. Every time pilots and co-pilots take off and land, they verbally go through a checklist. A lot of what they review is of course the stupid simple stuff, but it’s important stupid simple stuff. When you’re responsible for the lives of 120 passengers, you must have the discipline to make sure you do even the small things right. If there’s ever an incident in air, investigators will go back to see if the pilot and co-pilot went through the checklist. There’s no fudging with it. You either did it or you didn’t. Because checklists provide a binary yes/no answer, they instill discipline in the person that uses it. Research shows that giving someone a checklist for a task increases his or her chances of completing it. There’s something about having a checklist that spurs people to get stuff done. Perhaps it’s the dopamine rush that comes with checking something off, or the concreteness checklists provide, or a combination of the two.
Checklists save time. A common complaint about checklists is they take too much time to go through. But running through a checklist need not take very long, and research shows that doing so will actually save you time in the long run. Because checklists can prevent errors caused by skipping basic steps, you spend less time fixing mistakes and more time doing constructive work.
How then can we make an effective checklist? Simply making a list of the steps involved in a certain task does not make an effective checklist. Here are some tips from The Checklist Manifesto to help create a truly useful checklist:
Investigate your failures and look for “killer items.” Take a look at your work or even your personal life. Are you less productive at work than you’d like to be? Does the house always seem a disaster? Examine why you aren’t getting the results you want. Look for failure or friction points in the tasks you do routinely. These failure or friction points will serve as the basis for your checklist.
Focus only on the “stupid” essential stuff that’s frequently overlooked or skipped. You don’t need a checklist that lists every single step on how to complete a task. That renders a checklist useless. Instead, just focus on putting down the “stupid” but essential stuff that you frequently miss. Your checklist should have no more than 9 items on it. The shorter the better.
Decide if you need a “communication” checklist. Most checklists are likely procedural (they lay out things you need to do), but some tasks or projects are so complex that communicating with others becomes vital to managing all the moving pieces. In such a case, create a dedicated communication checklist and make sure it includes who needs to talk to whom, by when, and about what.
Decide if your checklist will be a “DO-CONFIRM” or “READ-DO” checklist. With DO-CONFIRM checklists, you do your job from memory and experience, but then at a certain point you stop to go through your list to verify you did everything. READ-DO checklists require you to read and perform a task on the checklist before you can move to the next task. If you need more flexibility, go with DO-CONFIRM; if you need more exactness go with READ-DO.
Test your checklist in the real world and refine as needed. If you’re still experiencing the same failures or if the checklist makes work cumbersome to the point that it becomes a stumbling block, then you need to refine your checklist.
Now, on the other hand, excessive dependence of checklists may hinder performance when dealing with a time-critical situation, for example a medical emergency or an in-flight emergency. Checklists should not be used as a replacement for common sense.
Using checklists is not something I have seen used often in Doing Business in Ethiopia. Yes, we are good crisis managers but why do we wait until a crisis occurs? So many crises can be prevented if routine checklists are followed in production processes, in maintenance schedules, in administration, in all that is important to manage our business effectively.
Ref.: Brett & Kate McKay | December 8, 2014 – “The Power of Checklists”
“…original, vibrant and sometimes audacious creative scene, ” TLMag’s Lara Chapman
This time of year thousands of art lovers head to leading and not so known art shows on 3 continents. ART X Lagos, acclaimed as “West Africa’s premier international art fair, designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the African continent and its Diaspora…” closed November 4th after welcoming over 15,000 visitors chomping at the bit to view the work of Africa’s emerging and established artists. Since 2016, ART X Lagos has evolved into a major social event in Lagos attracting artists, international collectors, curators, and critics. According to founder Ms. Tokini Peterside, ART X Lagos is an “exciting program of specially curated projects, talks and live events, to its broad audience of collectors, connoisseurs, cultural practitioners and art lovers…”,
Amongst the incredibly diverse display of talent, Ivorian Aboudia and Nigerian Angela Amami Isiuwe have held my attention. Aboudia gained international acclaim after his creative chronicles of the civil war in Abidjan, 2011. According to ART X Lagos, “…multi-layered, mixed-media paintings of Abidjan street scenes featuring child-like figures rendered in a style that draws from the aesthetics of graffiti and traditional African carvings… captures his subjects’ innocence as well as something much darker and chaotic. Aboudia says the laughter and tears of these children remain his driving force. He set up the equity-based Aboudia Foundation, promising an ambitious programme of activities geared towards the social reintegration of the foundation’s beneficiaries.”
Angela Amami Isiuwe, on the other hand, is a minimalist painter whose continuous homage to the quintessential female figure and form is realized in mostly watercolour, oil and acrylic paints. According to ART X Lagos, “Angela interprets her subjects in swift, essential, concise lines and forms that create three-dimensionality with balance and depth.”
Over in France, AKAA – Also Known As Africa, is said to be the only art fair in France exclusively for Contemporary Art and Design, which is African centered. From November 9-11th AKAA will set up in the Carreau du Temple, presenting “…original, vibrant and sometimes audacious creative scene, ” according to TLMag’s Lara Chapman. She goes on to say this young three-year old fair is evidence of the global interest in art and design that is related to Africa which is multi-faceted and diverse. Victoria Mann, founder of AKAA says, “ Our first and foremost criteria are that the artists or curatorial projects have a link to Africa. It could be through nationality, place of work, travel or through collaboration, dialogue or interest. We just want that link to Africa to be present. We are a fair that is very open to young galleries who don’t have the traditional format of a gallery, for example, internet galleries or galleries that don’t have a physical space.”
Across the water in Brooklyn, New York, ‘SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER’ at the Brooklyn Museum (BM) gives voice to 60 artists in this critical visual narrative on the reality of racism in America. “And no artists have responded to that history-that-won’t-go-away more powerfully than black artists have. (They) appear in this big, beautiful, passionate show of art that functioned as seismic detector, political persuader and defensive weapon,” says Ashley James, Assistant Curator BM. Also on board are the Tate Modern and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, amongst others with curators at the helm Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern who participated in Olabisi Silva’s Asiko Curatorial Initiative held in Addis Ababa in 2016.
For those who like to combine their art with sun and sea, the 17th Miami Art Basel is the place to be with all eyes hungry for the plethora of paintings, sculptures, installations and more all over Miami. But what also attracts the world to Basel are all the shows which take place in the surrounding area such as the Miami The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) 5th Annual GMCVB Art of Black Miami initiatives. After years of Basel catering to white artists and collectors alike, Art of Black was a response to the need to showcase the arts, culture and diversity in Miami and the Beaches. I curated a pop up group show for the Art of Black called Tizita in 2015 with works from Desta Hagos, Merid Tafesse, Daniel Taye, Birhan Tonge, Ermias Mazengia and Mathias Lulu. According to GMCVB President & CEO, William D. Talbert, III, “Art of Black Miami is a marketing platform and destination driver that showcases the diversity of the visual arts locally, nationally and internationally, celebrating the black diaspora. The GMCVB is committed to the Art of Black Miami marketing platform because it promotes the creative influences of the African Diaspora, Caribbean influences, Latin Americans and global artists who contribute to the fabric of Miami’s diverse artistic community.” Finally, As Addis Ababa gears up for Addis Foto Fest in December, we can also be counted amongst the cities attracting local and international tourists alike for the love of art.
Dr. Desta Meghoo is a Jamaican born
Creative Consultant, Curator and
cultural promoter based in Ethiopia
since 2005. She also serves as Liaison to
the AU for the Ghana based, Diaspora
Almost all major narratives that are currently dictating the organization and various pursuits of the human collectives are based on extremely flawed and dangerous conceptions. The spheres of politics, economics, culture, science & technology, etc. all depend on these short sighted and destructive principles for their operational blueprints. These dominant paradigms are construed as if they were benign necessities that are neither harmful to social harmony nor detrimental to the planet’s ecosystem! Expectedly, trying to deconstruct these farcical narratives can trigger untold aggression from global establishments, whether they operate at the local or global level. In this regard, the role of the ‘deep state’ is paramount! To recall; we have defined the ‘deep state’ as the military-intelligence-industrial-banking-media-complex of the core states of the world system!
The current global economic model is constructed and maintained, primarily to serve the interests of the 1%. The old justification of the system, which was to ‘pacify the struggle for existence’, has been passé for decades! Unnecessary services/overproduction in all sectors of economic activities are causing damage to the ecosystem and have failed to bring much desired happiness to the consuming sheeple (human mass). Granted, there are still plenty of sheeple that still don’t have the basics on our planet, but the way to go about furnishing the essentials to them, (with what they need, not what they want) must be changed, per force. The fact is; the ‘limit to growth’ is upon us and we cannot pretend as if nothing has changed since the start of industrialization. Moreover, the entrenched polarization the world system has created, both within and between countries, is not a sustainable model to pursue, even from narrow point of view of geopolitics. Alternative systems of collective existence must be swiftly initiated if humanity desires a bit more time on the blue planet!
Why is such an obvious destructive system still pervades life? Amongst other things, the system has honed very effective tools to numb incipient alternatives. A worldwide indoctrination network, pointedly leveraging the various organs of orientations, is one of the major weapons of the system. Educational institutions, the media, the globalized entertainment systems (including spectator sports), occupations, etc., all play decisive roles in the project of zombifying the world’s sheeple. Otherwise, how on earth can people accept the irrational notion of ‘infinite growth on a finite planet’? It is the cumulative result of powerful indoctrination as well as the subtle economic serfdom bestowed on the sheeple that has solidified the prevailing collective economic consciousness, which is based on insanity, literally speaking! What is even worse is the fact that this distorted economic narrative forms the foundation of all other institutional superstructures. Electoral democracies, even interpersonal relationships like love, are increasingly dependent on derived values, from the logic of un-tempered accumulation, facilitated by the prevailing unholy ideology of neoliberalism.
‘Neo-liberalism: A form of free market fundamentalism that has been the dominant global economic ideology for the last 30 years in which profit and ‘efficiency’ are the central goals of society. It is a framework focused on reducing the role of the state and taxation, while promoting privatization, deregulation and corporate trade deals. This has led to soaring inequality, whereby just 8 people have the same wealth as half the world’s population and an environmental crisis in the form of unprecedented species loss and dangerous climate change.’ (FOE)
These days even the sciences are tainted. Interaction between the sheeple and the scientific community seems to be vacuous. The intention of neoliberalism seems to be the baffling of the sheeple so that critical collective consciousness is frustrated, derailed and stunted. Overwhelming the sheeple is always easy; after all, who is Joe Doe to question the status quo that gave us the Internet, mobile phone, air travel, etc., etc. Baffling has emerged as another of the dominant narratives of the world system. Frankly speaking, more tech and more big science have become instruments, not only to dumb down human cognition, but also in confine the sheeple within the narrow scope of establishment dogmas. In addition, entrenched interests/status quo encourages the absolutely fantastic. Ridiculous ideas as interstellar travel, (in not so distant future) or resource importation from outer space or dematerialized transportation to roam the galaxies, etc., etc. are all used to build fictitious narratives to sustain confidence on the reigning system. Once criticality is eliminated from social discourse, anything can go, and this is what we are witnessing amongst the gullible all over the world. Science fiction and reality are intentionally mixed, compliment of sophisticated indoctrination that spares literally no one, save the critically/scientifically inclined!
The ruling psychopaths/sociopaths of our world system do not really care whether life support systems here on our planet collapse or not, so long as accumulation is unimpeded. For these sickos money is more important than life. The wealth of experience that can be savored from simple living originating from the appreciation of creation is reprehensible to the greedy parasites! “Our current economic system relies on growth and rising consumption for stability, even though that growth is exacerbating inequality, and outstripping the rate at which our environment can regenerate or absorb pollutants. Production and accumulation are treated as goals in themselves rather than as a means to an end: Life, then, is placed at the service of artifacts, rather than artifacts at the service of life” Friends of the Earth. Good Day!
Ermias Ayele relates the village where he was born, “Jan-Meda”, with his decision to have a career in sports and leisure management. He recalled the first time he had a desire to organize the Great Ethiopian Run as a volunteer in 2004. Ermias discusses the challenges and prospects of organizing the largest run in Africa for the past 13 years through various leadership posts, with Capital’s Haimanot Ahsenafi. Among all the challenges he has faced, he feels working with some government policies have been the most difficult obstacles to overcome and could push back the Great Ethiopian Run.
Capital: Take us back to your entry in the great run? How did you decide to join the event management when you were an engineer for Ethiopian Airlines?
Ermias Ayele: I was assistant event organizer in 2004 for the Great Ethiopian Run and I remember I enjoyed every bit of the event. And the next year, as I was working for Ethiopian Airlines, I had free tickets to travel and I was thinking to go to Europe. It was at this time that the Great Ethiopian Run offered me the opportunity to travel with Haile Gebreselassie to Manchester city. I covered my tickets and the Great Ethiopian Run facilitated my accommodation in Manchester for me to observe the British Marathon. Haile won that race and the event seemed perfect so I really enjoyed the moment and learned from that. After I came back and while I was working on a part time basis the Great Run offered me a full time job as a marketing manager and I took the opportunity, with the promise of the company to facilitate my training. So I got the chance to study for my Master’s Degree in the field of sport and leisure management in the UK. The village that I was born and raised contributed to my desire to work in sports for a living I guess. Jan-Meda is a place where many city residents come to play games. I also remember I somehow transformed the Ethiopian Airline staff football club.
Capital: How did your education in the United Kingdom help you to be a professional in your post as Executive Manager?
Ermiyas: It was an experience that changed my capacity. I had the chance to work with the Great North Run, which co-founded the Great Run in Ethiopia, in various events while I was studying in England. But mostly, the post I have worked in Scotland after graduation transformed my view to the area. The summer time in Europe and the day was so long and various festivals and events were going on. Ultra Race is one of my favorite ones in which participants from all over the world come to run for 24 hours without stopping.
Capital: How would you compare the change and development of the Great Ethiopian Run between when you joined and now?
Ermiyas: We are now on the global map for the race. Our team of staff is more than double and we organize about 10 races in year in the country for several causes. The number of participants is also a significant change and we are not covering the demand as we have declined request of more than ten thousand runners this year. Participants from overseas are also our achievement which hit a high in 2005 as it became 700 and we were able to generate USD two million the same year, according to a professional study conducted by England based evaluators.
Capital: Why have the number of runners from oversees declined after 2015 and what are the milestone achievements you think the Great Run made in terms of the mass sport culture, economy and athletics?
Ermiyas: I remember one parking boy telling our Dub Dub magazine, which is published every other month, that it is at the day of the Great Ethiopian Run that he will make the highest money from the entire year. The economic contribution we make from our different races is huge. The hotels, bars and many outfit stores get a significant customer boost during these times. Also every year we generate foreign exchange from our customers. This year we are expecting participants from 26 countries. Ireland has been the highest origin country of participants for many years as the Orbit Group, the eye medial team, is our loyal participant in addition to the British ones. Participants from China have a significant share year after year not only with our event but also globally taking over the superiority of sport travel from the US. Also the Great Run was successful in creating the opportunity for athletes not only in Ethiopia but also for Africa. We have invited 500 professional athletes and many are from Africa. We used to invite from Kenya previously but this year athletes from Eritrea, Uganda and Botswana are expected to participate. Also the experiences of Tsegaye Kebede and Netsanet Gudeta are among the athletes which made their global career after they won the Great Run.
Capital: You have announced that you changed the traditional route of the Great Ethiopian Run this year to begin and end in the 6killo area because of the African Union emergency meeting. How did that affect your plan? Did you think that the incident could have been managed another way?
Ermiyas: It is a reasonable decision for our government to worry about the safety of our African brothers’. But we have fixed the event, which is on the global race calendar, a year in advance. Many tourists have booked their flight ticket, hotel and everything with us. Also international media companies including CNN and Super Sport prioritized the event and if we cancel we will lose our global recognition. We hope the government can use the coincidence in a good way as many media outlets come to cover the summit we can sell the largest run in Africa. People are already registering for next year’s event. Harmonizing such kind of global events representing the nation on the global stage and our AU duty is mandatory for a better future. So we decided to change the course which is going to be a little bit challenging in comparison with the prior course. I hope people will enjoy the challenge.
Capital: You imported T-shirts from a US Company for the first time, why did you change your principle to use local products this year?
Ermias: We compromised quality for long time to support local producers but now we can’t continue this way. Especially size matters were the sources of complaint from our customers. We used the material which makes sweat evaporate this year. It cost us a lot of extra money to bring it but we absorbed it. The company also gave us a promotion price so that its product could be promoted in Africa. So we hope our customers will feel the comfort.
Capital: The cause you choose for this year is “Empower girls they are the next generation”. How did you choose that for this year as it fits the latest movement of the government?
Ermias: We picked the motto a year before now and we championed another one last year “100 reasons to empower girls”. We work in collaboration with Plan International to empower females in many other practices. We are happy now the government joined the path boldly.
Capital: Where do you see the great Ethiopian run and yourself after 10 years?
Ermias: The Nile Marathon Project is a good symbol for that. It is a line which we are in talks with Belayneh Kende who is constructing a big hotel in Bahir Dar near Lake Tana. The architect has brought the idea of constructing a way to connect the lake with the Nile Fall. The city Administration and the region heads have heard our proposal with the hotel proposal. The line which is not more than 30 kilometers is designable to be a marathon route. The track is also utilizable for other purposes throughout the year that tourists and the residents can walk to the fall or use a bicycle. So we are not limited in Addis Ababa, rather we have presence throughout the nation and we are planning to add two other annual events in the coming five years. The case of the CBE run was among the successful events in which we managed to have four runs in different cities of the nation. We also participated in organizing events for social purposes like for the Millennium Development Goals, the March Run for females and many more.
I led the company for eight years and the run has become the greatest in the continent. We are planning to partner with other African countries. So within three or two years I want to transfer my duty to the youth.
Ethiopia’s former opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa returned to her home after eight years of exile in the US. She was arrested twice and spent several years in prison.
The Ethiopian government initiated her return as her skills are needed for the ongoing reform in the country.
Birtukan has expressed an interest in the area of building democratic institutions relevant for democratizing Ethiopia.
In what has become a major operation, a special task force has begun arresting higher officials of the National Defense Force, former security and intelligence directors and police officers since the middle of last week. The task force which is being led by the Attorney General’s Office has reportedly placed over 40 people in custody.
Those being incarcerated are suspected of human rights violations, according to sources in the Defense Force. One of those is the former director of Attorney General’s Office, who previously prosecuted people under anti-terrorism law.
The suspects from the intelligence office include Dr. Hashim Kassim and Yared Zerihun. Hashim was serving in the Legal Affairs Directorate of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
Yared Zerihun who resigned from his appointment as the director general of the federal police commission was among those detained. Yared was among the few who were appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during the cabinet reshuffle on April 19.
Before serving as police commissioner in April, Yared was a deputy director in the NISS.
Leaders of the Addis Ababa Police Force are also on the wanted list, sources revealed.
Reta Tesfaye who was leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the rank of Deputy Commissioner was also said to be among those who are suspected. He was replaced by Tekola Ayfokiru, during the first reshuffling measures of Abiy Ahmed.
The ongoing investigation which consists of many cases is said to involve major corruption, violation of human rights and terrorism.
Berhanu Tsegaye, Attorney General of FDRE declined to comment about the matter.
In a related development Ayisha Mohammed (Eng.) Minister of Defense told Capital that the change in the National Defense Forces is due to the change in the criteria and the diversification, but not because of the arrests. The diversification was said to be made based on gender and education.
For claims of violations of human rights over the high post commanders in the NDF Ayisha stated that her knowledge is limited to the current efforts of the force for improvement or its values.
“We will conduct various intervention to raise the understanding of the military on the humanitarian core values” she added.
The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) is evaluating the amended directive FXD/47/2017 which addresses external loans and supplier’s credit, Capital learned.
The directive amended the 2002 ‘external loan and supplier’s credit directive no. REF/05/2002’ which allowed foreign investors to access foreign commodity credit with a guarantee from local commercial banks. The law was applied as of October 2017. It has been criticized by local investors engaged in import substitution and heavy industries. The financial leaders and experts have also expressed their concern that it may pressure them to settle the credit as opposed to allocating foreign currency on a letter of credit basis. At the same time banks expressed anxiety that they would be unable to collect their money from manufacturers who received large loans. In the past two years the hard currency shortage has forced manufacturers to shrink their production or stop it altogether.
Experts are arguing that the directive goes against the investment proclamation.
Legal experts argued that the 769/2012 investment proclamation erroneously mentioned on the central bank directive FXD/47/2017 as ‘679/2012’ on its part one article 2/4 stated that investor means a domestic or a foreign investor that invested in Ethiopia.
“The proclamation indicated that it has not divided local and foreign investors in relation to acquiring external loans,” a business consultant said, “but they claim the central bank directive went against it.”
“This is an apartheid law that only benefits foreigners at the cost of local investors,” one of the legal experts explained.
This was one of the top issues in discussions held at the central bank last week between leaders of the central bank and financial firms.
Bankers said that the suppliers’ credit scheme not only affects local investors but the financial institutions themselves because there is a risk their clients may default.
“When the banks secure hard currency they focus on settling the credit rather than approving the LC for other clients who are not included in the supplier’s credit scheme, which is also another effect on local investors,” bankers told Capital, “this system has also forced the local producers to be excluded from the market and suffer from bankruptcy due to several expenses including overhead cost and salary for employees that are difficult to avoid”.
“The suppliers credit issue was mentioned in the meeting and we have also asked about the legality of the directive when comparing it with the investment proclamation,” one of the participants at the meeting told Capital.
However sources who attended the meeting told Capital that any response regarding the supplier’s credit was not given by the governor.
Meanwhile sources said that the central bank is looking at the directive to see what to revise. Sources said that the governor ordered experts to revise it, however Capital was unable to confirm it from Yinager Dessie (PhD).
Investors that Capital talked to said that they are not against facilitating credit for FDI’s since it is one of the ways to attract new investors. “We are claiming that the law should consider the reality,” an investor who asked to be anonymous said.
They said that if they partly or fully sold their factories to foreigners the factory may be allowed to import input via the supplier’s credit scheme. “We are asking this, why did the government force local investors out from the manufacturing sector using these kinds of tactics. However, at the same time the government pushed the local business community to get involved in the manufacturing business as opposed to focusing on importing finished goods and wholesale trading,” they claimed.
According to manufacturers, currently several businesses like heavy industries in the chemical, metal and some food and beverage and garment companies owned by local investors are up for sale because they are unable to run their usual operation and at the same time the bank loans have to be paid.
When local investors, who have thousands of employees, layoff their workers, it will also affect the social structure, according to experts.