By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Onlne - May 24, 2014
No doubt, Ginbot 20 will be remembered as the single most important occurrence in the history of Ethiopia. It was on this momentous day that the country was saved from a protracted bloody civil war and imminent fragmentation. The Liberia and Somalia scenarios that were predicted by the remnants of the Dergue and their Diaspora devotees desolately failed to materialise. The EPRDF, under the leadership of the late Premier, not only succeeded in preventing the country from oblivion, but it also successfully managed to establish a new nation that serves the interests of the multitude of nations, nationalities and people’s.
Since Ginbot 20, 1983, Ethiopia has clocked an extensive mileage; it is beyond the realm of belief that in a short space of time the socio-economic status of the country that was synonymous with civil strife, draught, famine and recurrent hunger, has been utterly altered.
Ethiopia has now become the top destination for multi-national investors and heads of states from various parts of the world. They have quite rightly identified a successful, peaceful and stable African nation, and are flocking in their droves to explore investment opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing industries, infrastructure, education, hospitality, IT, renewable energy and mining, to name but a few.
To entice foreign direct investment, the EPRDF government has devoted huge sums of money on strategic sectors such as infrastructure, transport and hydro-power energy needed to meet the demands of the growing industries. For this purpose, a number of dams have been constructed over the past few years, and a new 6000 MW generating Renaissance Dam, expected to cost £2.9 bn, will commence supplying energy in the not too distant future. Egypt and its lackeys have been futilely endeavouring to sabotage this grand project but to no avail.
Five-thousand kilometres of railway lines that will link various parts of the country to the port of Djibouti is in the making and is envisaged to go operational in the coming few years. The 781km Addis Ababa-Djibouti line alone which is anticipated to haul 24.9 million tonnes of goods by 2025 is being constructed with an outlay of £2.2bn. The railroad that was built in 1917 is certain to be obsolete and hopefully this will bring a deafening silence among some vocal quarters.
Energy generated from the Renaissance Dam and others will be used to run the freight trains that travel at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The Addis Light Rail transport scheme which is consuming $ 500m is also designed to utilise renewable environmentally-friendly power produced by the various dams that are scattered in different parts of the country. Once the railway lines are completed, there is bound to be less need for pollutant lorries that clog the roads all the way to the port of Djibouti. Inevitably, this would lead to a massive reduction in fossil fuel imports, and what is saved from this, could be used for developmental purposes. In 2013 alone, 1,091,823 metric tonnes of petroleum was imported from Sudan for six months consumption at a cost of $1.12billion.
Rail transport is bound to greatly boost the economic development further as it provides speedy movement and improve export and import activities. Quick arrival of imported goods helps shop shelves stocked resulting in huge reduction in inflation. Shifting exportable items fast via rail reduces cost and time, making Ethiopia competitive in the global economy. Smooth and unfettered movement of freights is a certainty due to the existence of strong diplomatic and economic relations with Djibouti which imports Ethiopian electricity that it requires to develop its industries.
Currently, Djibouti is reliant on oil-fired power stations and the unit cost of production is three to four times higher than it is paying now for the electricity it is importing from its neighbour. The need for the ports of the former Ethiopian province is surely dwindling with the passage of time, but they might be used as alternatives once the self-appointed dictator is removed from the scene.
Ginbot 20 has secured a special place in the annals of history. No other occasion that took place in Ethiopia comes close to this unique day. Thousands have perished to make this period a reality but their sacrifices have not been in vain. An uninterrupted intensification of the economy is taking place with no hint of lassitude. Of course, our arch enemies such Egypt, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Article 19, International Rivers and minority Diaspora extremists have been conspiring to thwart the colossal progress of the last twenty years, with nothing to show for their futile efforts.
The EPRDF government and all patriotic Ethiopians in the Diaspora must robustly and proactively challenge these formidable opponents to ensure the continuity of peace and stability that is reigning in the country at this moment in time. Tranquillity is absolutely essential as it pulls foreign direct investment needed to propel the development of the nation into a much higher terrain.