TPLF: Forty-One years and still delivering the goods
By Berhane Kahsay
Ethiopian News, Tigrai Online, February 18, 2016
Eternal glory to all the patriotic Tigrians who gave their lives for their beloved Ethiopia!
Forty-one years have lapsed since the TPLF was created in Dedebit, Western Tigray, on 18 February 1975. In 1991, it liberated Ethiopia with its partners and formed a transitional government that was dissolved in 1995 after the adoption of a new constitution.
TPLF inherited a broken and disharmonious nation that went through decades of mismanagement and protracted bloody civil war. The social, economic and political makeover of the country since the liberation movement assumed power in the early 90’s beggars’ belief. In a short span of time, the Horn nation that was entirely dependent on foreign hand-outs for its survival became the fastest growing economy in the world consistently registering double-digit growth since the TPLF led administration came into being.
World Bank (WB) report released last year pointed-out that poverty in Ethiopia has been slushed from 44% in 2000 to 33 % in 2011, and subsequently the rate has been falling by 4% annually. Increased agricultural production which currently stands at 270 million quintals but expected to grow to 406 million in the next few years has made it possible for poverty to be reduced substantially. And if Ethiopia is able to maintain the high economic achievements of the last decades, international financial institutions predict that it could attain the middle income status by 2025.
The second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II 2015-2020) released recently has set out detailed strategies that would push the growth rate to a higher level by altering the engine of the economy from agriculture to industry. During the life of GTP II, the country is envisaged to earn USD 16 billion from export revenues and 25% of it will be derived from the manufacturing sector. To meet the current and future energy demands of this sector, six major hydro-energy dams which include Gilgel Gibe I( $331 million), Tekeze( $365 million) Beles( $500 million), Gilgel Gibe II( 370 million Euro), Gilgel Gibe III(1.77 billion Euro) and Gilgel Gibe IV( $1.99 billion) have been constructed and became operational since 2004. And the largest them all, GERD, is expected to be commissioned generating 6000 megawatts in the not too distant future.
To shift import and export commodities in the short possible time and reduce costs, huge amount of money has been invested on the construction railway lines linking the capital and other parts of the country to the port of Djibouti. The 660 km Addis-Djibouti electrified rail line expected to come into use this year costing $ 3 billion will replace the Ethio-Djibouti railway that opened in 1901. Other lines under construction with an outlay of billions of dollars include Mekelle to Weldiya/Hara Gebeya( 260 km), Weldiya/Hara Gebeya to Awash on the Addis to Djibouti line( 389 km) to name but a few. Upon completion of all the lines, the trains will carry 750,000 passengers and 8.5 million tonnes of freight annually according to the Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC). At present 1,500 trucks a day leave Djibouti port for Addis and the projection is 8,000 a day by 2020. ERC states that it can take up-to two to three weeks for the trucks to reach the capital provided no road congestion and break down along the way. But once the new railway is fully operational, the journey time will be no more than five hours says Engineer Getachew Betru CEO of ERC.
Ethiopian Airlines (EAL) which was an inefficient and loss making enterprise has turned out to be one of the best carriers in the world since the arrival of the TPLF/EPRDF. EAL, which is a member of the elite Star Alliance, holds 40% stake in Togo-based Asky Airlines and 49 % in Air Malawi. It also has a code share agreement with the national carrier of Rwanda. Recently it announced a profit of $170 million for the 2014/2015 fiscal year while other African competitors such as Kenya and South African Airways incurred huge loses.
The flag carrier is not only massively involved in generating billions of hard currency for the country but it is also involved in transporting perishable export goods such as flower and fruits. By 2025, it is expected to increase its fleet of planes to 140 generating $10 billion as well as increasing the volume of passengers and exportable items. To increase the capacity of the airport, four more runways are under construction with an out lay of $ 4 billion making it possible to handle 120 million passengers a year. The extremists incessant calls to boycott of EAL has had minimal effect as the Ethiopian people have no intention of hurting a national carrier that has been making enormous contributions to the socio-economic development of the country.
Ethiopia is forging ahead in all spheres thanks to the sacrifices of the brave and benevolent Tigrians. They endured tremendous hardship for 17 years and this has made it possible for the Horn nation to be placed on a global pedestal. Market day massacre of 2,500 people in Hawzen on 22 June 1988 has definitely not been in vain.
Eternal glory to all the patriotic Tigrians who gave their lives for their beloved country!