By Tsehaye Debalkew, Washington D.C., July 03, 2012
It is noteworthy to elucidate on the achievements registered to-date by Ethiopia which has irreversibly anchored on the path to progress and transformation. The salient path to development, democracy, justice, good governance, the respect of human rights, the alienable right to expression, assembly, association, the indelible right of choice and voting, and the unparalleled and unique right of equality of nations and nationalities are abundantly enshrined on the highest legal document of the land, the modern times Magna Carta i.e. the Ethiopian Constitution.
These legal altruisms have been put into the test of time through objectively verifiable practice where they have been deeply entrenched unmistakably defining the present system in Ethiopia as irresistible and on the forward march.
The fending off of undesirable views that I believe are unhelpful to the democratization process in Ethiopia are of critical importance in today's Ethiopia. I believe misinformation by extreme elements of the Ethiopian Diaspora and unfounded allegations from some quarters who blindly echo such orchestrated campaigns of mayhem are futile attempts at creating a wrong perception about Ethiopia' progress on all fronts.
Suffice it to state the glaring and incontestable truth that Ethiopia is located in a very rough neighborhood and the challenges emanating from the sub-region to its security, stability and the building of democracy are very enormous.
To demonstrate a few telling facts it is legitimate and appropriate to surmise that Ethiopia in recent times has become an important contributor to the UN and African Union Peace keeping missions in our continent. Until 2011 Ethiopia was the 7th top troop contributing country to the UN peace keeping mission in the world and the1st top troop contributor in Africa.
With the return of Ethiopian troops from Liberia, Burundi, and Rwanda, Ethiopia stands as the 13th top UN troop contributing country in the world. It’s to be noted that, since the 1990’s Ethiopia has made important troop contributions to several UN peacekeeping missions: Rwanda (1994), Burundi (2003), Liberia (2005) and currently Darfur and Abyei regions of the Sudan and greater Somalia.
To gauge that it stands tall as concerns its principled contribution to African peace , stability and security including the global war against terrorism in the Horn region, Ethiopia has provided about 1772 troops to the UN/African Union hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
Needless to stress the accepted and widely hailed role of Ethiopia as bequeathing its historic role as the defender of the UN Charter right from its inception by diligently partaking in the UN sponsored Korean and Congolese engagements in the early years of the world body.
Ethiopia has also provided five combat helicopters serving the entire mission area, very critically needed weaponry for the UNAMID mission that any other UN member country was not ready to supply. Ethiopia is also playing a very crucial role in the ongoing effort for the total implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) reached between South Sudan and the Sudan after the flaring up of conflicts between the two sisterly countries recently.
The democratization process in Ethiopia cannot be expected to be faultless but there is no ambiguity as to the fact that Ethiopia had made great strides in nurturing democracy and the country is unleashing the correct stewardship in the right direction for the total transformation of its modus operandi.
Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans should take great pride on the achievements made by our people and the Ethiopian government over the past 21 years and on the anchor role Ethiopia has come to play in ensuring peace, security and stability in the horn of Africa and indeed in the wider African continent.
As a result of sound and pro-poor economic and social policies the government has pursued, Ethiopia has been able to register impressive progress on many fronts. The economy annually grew by over 10 percent consecutively in the last ten years, making our country, the fourth fastest growing non oil economy in the world.
On the social sector, education and health services have been expanded. Just to mention but a few examples in education: elementary school coverage has reached over 97 percent in 2010 from just a miniscule 19 percent in 1991. Girls’ school enrollment reached about 86 percent during the same period.
In 1991 the country had only two universities while private universities and training institutions were unknown because of the then obtaining command economic policy of the military regime. Now there are 33 government universities that are evenly distributed throughout the country, while over 100 faith based and private universities, colleges and vocational training institutions are operating throughout the country.
Equally significant headways have been made in the health sector. Only recently Ethiopia has graduated a substantial number of medical doctors to be voluntarily dispatched to the rural areas. It is pertinent to reminisce at this juncture Ethiopia was hailed at an international Forum held in Washington D.C. only a few weeks back for the impressive steps she has taken by curbing child mortality rate and for the sure path it is following to hit the Millennium Development Goals prior to the set target of 2015.
According to current projection, Ethiopia will position itself to be one of the few developing countries that will meet the UN Millennium Development Goals of universal education and health care ahead of the globally slotted 2015 time table.
The impressive and fast development gains it is registering by simultaneously undertaking expansive projects in the construction of huge railway infrastructure, urban housing, building of paved highways, gigantic hydro-power energy including Africa's only power house, the already startling Grand Renaissance Dam of 6000 MW are already transforming the image and true face of Ethiopia.
These strides are making headways by elevating the fate of its people from the quagmire of grinding poverty and backwardness by ensuring amenable jobs for the citizenry at large and enlisting the nation in the ranks of those registering fast economic growth globally trailing only India and China. According to economic forecast ventured by the renowned British Magazine, the Economist and the IMF, Ethiopia is identified as one of the ten promising nations set to make impressive economic growth uninterruptedly in the next five years.
In line with such astute predictions the Global Economic Prospects' study and the emergingeconomies.org indicate that the progressive economic miracle being observed in Ethiopia is not borne out, unlike in some countries, by innate natural resources but only by the correct economic policies of the regime and the ingenuity and hard work of its nationals veered by hope and commitment to see a better tomorrow.
In conclusion it is perhaps appropriate to debunk the erroneous belief being orchestrated by the nefarious and notorious few elements of the extreme Diaspora who in vain are attempting to hoodwink the larger and unsuspecting critical masses of the Diaspora Ethiopians who have unmatched patriotism and love of the motherland.
Gone are the days of the provision of hatred and heaps of lies to misrepresent Ethiopia in the eyes of the Diaspora and America as one can concur that the partnership and friendship between Ethiopia and the US is deep, very dependable and crucial both to our countries and the larger region. Hence this mutually beneficial partnership will be preserved and further enhanced, come what may and the ultimate fragmentation and demise of the few is only a matter of time. A leaf and a straw of truth is more powerful than a heap and tones of flagrant lies and wild and baseless accusations.