The Oasis Reporters
June 4, 2019
In our travel series, we are in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Come with us for the food and the people. But first, a background story:
Historians will easily tell you about the only Country in Africa that was never colonized. And that would be Ethiopia in the horn of Africa. They could add that it’s soldiers once fought and defeated a European country, Italy during it’s foray to take the country as a colonial prize.
Interest in the country grew for us at The Oasis Reporters when Ethiopia made another first, by choosing a female as President, knowing it to be a patriarchal nation, once ruled by imperial emperors.
Ethiopian lawmakers took a giant stride when they unanimously elected the country’s first female president, days after approving one of the world’s few “gender-balanced” Cabinets.
“Congratulations, Madam President! Women do make a difference. We are proud of you!” the female president of the United Nations General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, said in a Twitter post.
“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” the chief of staff for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Twitter.
Sahle-Work called Ethiopia’s recent transfer of power to the reformist prime minister “exemplary” and said she will focus on bringing together all sides to achieve peace in a country with multiple ethnic-based conflicts in recent months.
The previous week before that epoch making decision, Ethiopian lawmakers had approved a Cabinet with women making up a record 50 percent of ministers, including the country’s first female defense minister. A woman also leads the new Ministry of Peace, will oversee the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service and the Federal Police Commission.
The Horn of Africa power joined a handful of countries, mostly European, where women make up 50 percent or more of ministerial positions, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union and U.N. Women.
Likely inspired, Rwanda two days later announced its own Cabinet with 50 percent women. The country has received international recognition for female representation in government.
Then when we considered Nigeria’s wobbly and failed attempts to run an airline or revive the already moribund loss making Nigeria Airways which has been liquidated and the fact that Ethiopia Airlines made a profit of $175 million in 2015, our minds were made up to look closely at that second most populous country in Africa, that has faced one crisis after another, from Secession wars, (Eritrea being allowed to become independent etc), to dictatorships (remember Mengistu Haile Mariam), it had had famines, with women and children looking like skeletons, worse than it happened during the Nigeria Biafra war.
The world watched in absolute shock, horror and tears, as the Kenyan born international photojournalist, Mohamed “Mo” Amin MBE (29 August 1943 – 23 November 1996) brought photos along with Michael Buerk’s reporting of the 1984 Ethiopian famine that drew international attention to the crisis and eventually helped start the charity wave that resulted in Live Aid concerts.
Amin died in November 1996 when his flight, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked and crashed into the ocean near Grande Comore.
Apart from the Ethiopian famine, he contributed exclusive photos of the fall of Mengistu Haile Mariam.
But currently, Ethiopia is among the top tercile countries, according to the World Bank, and modest growth is expected.
As the world changes, the role of traditional business as we know it also changes, and the need to adapt to these changes too.
Of the top five fastest growing economies in Africa in 2018, Ethiopia and Rwanda which occupied the first and second spot are landlocked. They are growing at 8.5% and 7.8%. Another good performer, Uganda growing at 5.9% is also landlocked. But with all its access to the sea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Somalia, Djibouti, Congo and DRC are still at the bottom of the rung.
Ethiopia boldly let Eritrea go, which was it’s only access to the sea.
Ethiopia is very good in sports, especially long distance races. In July 2018,
Jamel Yima became the first Gold medalist in the senior athletics championship that took place in Asaba, Delta state.
He took the Gold in the 10,000 meters race beating other contestants in an event that was keenly contested by other countries like Uganda and Kenya who are also world beaters in this event.
Running the 20 rounds was not much of a task for Yima who comfortably led the pack to the admiration of the crowded fans inside the Stephen Keshi stadium during the opening ceremony.
His country man from Ethiopia, Anduamlak Belhu picked Silver while Uganda’s Dorichich Chimati picked the Bronze medal in the event.
The Oasis Reporters had a loose invitation to visit Ethiopia recently. But as it clashed with an important event for us here in Nigeria, which coincided with a conference, a very close fan of The Oasis Reporters, was attending at Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. We therefore asked Mrs. Isioma Abolo Chukwuma to capture the sights, sounds and cuisine of Ethiopia for the exclusive rights of your internet newspaper.
She told us how orderly and neat BOLE international airport was, all the way to her hotel, Radisson Blu that is just a stone throw to the African Union Headquarters, built and donated by the Chinese government.
The traffic in Addis Ababa cannot compare with what Nigerians have in Warri, Owerri or Kano. But then, life is beautiful there.
Ethiopian women seem to have the physique of average slim Nigerian ladies, especially grains consuming parts of Nigeria. Makes them look tall, elegant, slim, athletic and very pretty. Few look buxomy and robust in beauty like many Nigerian ladies who can easily take your breath away, based on the videos we analyzed in our office.
They are gracious people, just like Queen Sheba of Ethiopia in the Bible. So many monuments are named after the great Emperor Haile Selassie.