Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oil exploration in Ethiopia: "Encouraging results" | East & Horn Africa

Photo©Reuters
PHOTO©REUTERS
Tullow Oil, a United Kingdom-based firm that has been conducting successful oil explorations in Kenya and Uganda says it is hopeful it will discover oil in Ethiopia.

The firm signed an agreement with the Ethiopian government to commence three explorations this year.
Tullow started the first exploration last month and is expecting "encouraging results."
Drilling works on the first well began on January 14 at the Sabissa 1 site in southern Ethiopia's Omo valley. The 2600 meter-deep hole is in its final stages, according to Tullow.
The company announced that the drilling began after an extensive 18 month seismic study, which covered around 18,000 kilometers.
Ethiopia's oil reserves are estimated at around 2.7 billion barrels, according to a report released by the firm.
The Horn of Africa country has not produced oil in commercial quantities since its first oil seep was reported in 1860, although by the 1920s prolific seeps of oil in the Red Sea coast were widely known.
Industry sources say Tullow Oil will announce its findings by mid-March.
Tullow's partner, Canada-based Africa Oil Corporation (AOC) has explorations in Ogaden basin in Ethiopia, as well as in Kenya and Puntland.
Last week AOC was given a warning by rebels of the Ogaden Liberation Front to quit explorations in the region.
But the firm has been defiant after it signed a new agreement with the government.
The agreement, signed between Ethiopian mines Minister Sinknesh Ejjigu and AOC vice-president for business development James R. Phillips, allows AOC to commence petroleum explorations in southern Omo on 42,000sq kilometers and in Ogaden on 50,000sq kilometers.
Oil exploration in Ethiopia began after the first exploration in 1915, and early reports refer to oil seeps in the Ogaden basin, where oil exploration dates back to the 1940s.
After having been granted an oil exploration license covering all of Ethiopia in July 1945, Sinclair Petroleum relinquished the concession in December 1956.
Preliminary work on the regional geology and detailed discussions with AGIP geologists focused on the Ogaden region and field survey began in that area.
 

Read the original article on Theafricareport.com : Oil exploration in Ethiopia: "Encouraging results" | East & Horn Africa 
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Ethiopia: Canadian firm inks oil exploration accord amid rebel threat - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

February 24, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - Despite a warnings from a rebel group earlier this week, Canadian oil and gas company Africa Oil Corporation (AOC), said on Sunday that it has signed a petroleum exploration and production agreement with Ethiopia.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which is blamed for the killing of 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese oil workers in an attack at a Chinese-run oil venture in 2007, on Monday accused the Canadian company of conspiring with the government to exploit oil resources in the Ogaden region.
The group warned the company to refrain from oil exploration activitiesin the country’s eastern region or face consequences.
The Ethiopian government immediately dismissed the warning as a desperate propaganda ploy by the few remnant leaders of the group.
State mines minister Sinknesh Ejjig and AOC vice-president of business development, James R. Phillips, signed the agreement on Thursday few days after the rebel threat.
The fuel exploration agreement covers 42,000 and 50,000 square kilometres on the East African nation’s Rift Valley Block of South Omo and Ogaden regions respectively.
“The Company would execute its activities as per the law of the country and based on international experiences” said Ejjigu.
Noting his company’s vast experience in petroleum extraction and development activities in many African countries, Phillips said the project will not only bring economic benefits to Ethiopia but eventually contribute towards development to the entire region and the continent at large.
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The ministry of mines said AOC, in collaboration with two London-based oil companies - Tullow Oil plc and New Age Ethiopian Ltd, is “undertaking encouraging activities in petroleum exploration and development”.
Since 2005, a growing number of foreign oil companies have shown interest in engaging in exploration efforts in Ethiopia despite repeated threats by the ONLF rebel group

Thursday, February 21, 2013

የኢህአዴግ የመከላከያ ስራዊት - አስጨናቂ ድረስ (ከጉለሌ) Part 1


                      የኢህአዴግ የመከላከያ ስራዊት                                 የካቲት 12ቀን2005ዓ.ም.

ከ21ዓመታት የወያኔ አገዛዝና የመከላከያ ስራዊት ቀን እንዲከብር ከታወጀ ከ17ዓመታት በሁዋላ ለመጀመሪያ ግዜ ባሳለፍነው ሳምንት ለስባት ቀናት ተከብሯል፣ በባድመ አካባቢም የጦር ልምምድ መደረጉን የኢትዮጵያ ቴሌቪዥን አሳይቷል፣በመዝጊያው ዕለትም ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትርና የኢህአዴግ ስራዊት ጠቅላይ አዛዥ ሃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ፣ የኢህአዴግ  ስራዊት መከላከያ ሚኒስትር ሲራጅ ፍርጌሳ፣ የኢህአዴግ ስራዊት ኤታ ማዦር ሹም ጄኔራል ሳሞራ የኑስ በተገኙበት አንድ ለናቱ በሆነው በአዲስ አበባ ስታዲየም አክብረዋል፣ የሚገርመው ግን እውን እነዚህ ስዎች እንደመጠሪያቸው ባለስልጣኖች ሆነው ነው ንግግር ያደረጉት?፣ ሟቹ መለስ ዜናዊ የቤት አሽከር ይመስል ጠፍንጎ ይዞ በፈልገው አይነት ቀረፁዋቸዋል ያለሱ ጌታ፣ያለሱ አዋቂ፣ያለሱ ምሁር የለም ብለው ያምናሉ፣ ለዚህም ነው ከፈጣሪ በላይ እሱን ማምለክ የጀመሩትና ያለሃፍረት ባደባባይ የሚለፍፉት፣(ከጄኔራል ሳሞራ ይልቅ በዉትድርና ሙያም ሆነ በትምህርት የተሻሉ መኮንኖች አሉ)፣ በችሎታ ማነስ፣በራስ አለመተማመን፣የተስጣቸው ቦታ ከሚያስቡት በላይ መሆኑና፣በሌሎችም ምክንያት መመሪያ ጠብቀው ከመፈፀም ውጪ ሃሳብ እንኹዋን ማቅረብ አይችሉም ድፍረቱም ወኔውም የላቸውም። መለስ ዜናዊ ከሞተ በሁዋላ ሳሞራ  አጋጣሚዉን ተጠቅሞ ጄኔራል ሞላን ከአየር ሃይል ሊያነሳ ሞከረ የተፈጠረውን ቅፅበታዊ ሁኔታ ተመልክተናል፣ታጋይ ሳሞራ ምንም ማድረግ ካልቻለ ሌሎቹ ትላንት ከአናሳ ብሄረስብ በኮታ የተመደቡት ምን ማድረግ ይችላሉ? ችግሩ አሁን መመሪያ ስጪው የለም፣ግራ ተጋብተዋል፣ይህ በመከላከያ ብቻ ሳይሆን በሌሎችም ሚኒስቴር መስሪያ ቤቶች የተከስተ ችግር ነው።
የኢህአዴግ ስራዊት ምን ይመስላል?
አቶ ሃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትርነት ስራቸዉን ባለፉት ስድስት ወራት እንዴት እንደተወጡት ፀሃይ የሞቀውና ብዙ የተባለለት በመሆኑ አልደግመውም፣ አሁን ደግሞ የኢህአዴግ ስራዊት ጠቅላይ አዛዥ ተብለዋል፣  ከስሞኑም የአፍሪካ የወቅቱ ፕሬዚደንት የሚል ሹመት ተቀብለዋል፣ የባለራዕዩ መሪያቸውን በሹመት ብዛት በለጡ፣ የነገውን መከራ አላስተዋሉም! ታምራት ላይኔን የረሱት ይመስላል አሁን ሁለቱም እምንትና ስልጣን ተቀያይርዋል፣በመሰርቱ እንኩዋንስ ሃይለማርያም ሳሞራም ስራዊቱን ማዘዝ አይችሉም።
አቶ ሲራጅ ፍርጌሳ የመከላከያ ሚኒስትር ከተባሉ ረጅም ዓመታትን አስቆጥረዋል፣ታዲያ በሃላፊነታቸው ምንም ጉዳይ መወስን አይችሉም፣ በጀት ከማዘጋጀት ውጪ፣ለስም ካልሆነ በቀር በመከላከያ ኖሩ አልኖሩ ምንም ለውጥ አያመጡም።
ጄኔራል ሳሞራ የኑስ የስራዊቱ ኤታ ማዦር ሹም የሚለው ማዕረግ ከሙሉ ጄኔራል ማዕረግ ጋር ተስጥቷቸው በቦታው ላይ ከተቀመጡ ከአስራ ሁለት ዓመታት በላይ አስቆጥረዋል፣ ምን ዓይነት የጦር ትምህርት አላቸው የአካደሚክስ  ዕውቀታቸውስ የት ነው ያለው? ኦፕን ዩኒቨርሲቲ በተልኮ እንደሌሎቹ ሞክረው አልቻሉም፣ከሽፍትነት እንደመጡ በቀጥታ /ጄኔራል ቀጥሎ /ጄኔራል፣አሁን ደግሞ ዘለው ሙሉ ጄኔራል፣ሲስጣቸው በዝምታ ከመቀበል ውጪ ይከብደኛል/ያሳፍርኛል አላሉም፣ ማለትም አይችሉም፣ዝም ብሎ መቀበል ብቻ አለቃቸው የነበሩት ስይ አብርሃና ታጋይ ሃየሎም አርአያ ጄኔራል አልተባሉም፣ሃየሎም ከቀብር መለስ የአሟሟቱን ምስጢር ለመሽፋፈን ጄኔራል ተብሏል፣የአሟሟቱ ምስጢር ተደብቁአል፣ታዲያ መለስ ዜናዊ የሚስጣቸውን መመሪያ ከመፈፀም ውጪ በስልጣናቸው ምን ስሩ? ምንስ ሊስሩ ይችላሉ? የራሳቸውን የግል የጥበቃ አባላትን እንኩዋን መምረጥና መመደብ አይችሉም፣ ከፊታቸው እንደ አርአያ/ሞዴል የሚያዩት የተማረ የጦር መሪ የላቸውም፣ ራሳቸውን በወታደራዊ ወይም በቀለም ትምህርት አላበለፀጉም፣መለስ ዜናዊ የሚላቸዉን በሙሉ ትክክል ነው ብለዉ ያለማወላወል ከመፈፀም ውጪ አስተያየት የመስጠት/የመቃወም አቅሙ የላቸውም፣በራስ የመተማመን ብቃቱም ችሎታዉም ስለሌለ እሳቸውም ለስም የተቀመጡ ጉዳይ ፈጻሚ ናቸው፣ሆኖም ባለፈው ዓመት በጤና መታወክ ምክንያት መልቀቂያ አቅርበው እንደነበር ይታወቃል  ዉሳኔ ሳያገኙ ግን መለስ ዜናዊ ዓረፉ።
አራቱ ዋና የኢህአዴግ ድርጅቶች(ህወሃት፣ብአዴን፣ኦህዴድ፣ደህዴን)የራሳቸው ጦር ሲኖራቸው የብሄረስብ ተዋጽኦ በሚል ሽፋን ከሌሎች ክልሎች የስው ሃይል በዝቅተኛ ደረጃ ይጨምራሉ፣ ወደ ከፍተኛው እርከን ግን አይታስብም፣ሲጀመር የትምህርት ደረጃቸው ዝቅተኛ ነው፣  በእርግጥ የጄኔራሎች ማዕረግ በኮታ ይስጣል ተማረ አልተማረ፣የእነዚህ አራት ድርጅቶች ስራዊት አቓም ምን ይመስላል?ተጠሪነታቸውስ ለማን ነው? የዕዝ ቀጠናቸውስ? በተባበሩት መንግስታት ሚሲዮን ሲላኩ ተዋፅኦው እንዴት ነው? ሶማሊያ የሚላከውስ ተዋፆኦ ምን ይመስላል? ይህ ሁሉ ተደማምሮ ስራዊቱን ለያይቶታል፣    
ከብዙ ዓመታት ቆይታ በሁዋላ አሁን በከፍተኛ ወጪ ለሰባት ተከታታይ ቀናት የመከላከያ ቀን ማክበር ለምን አስፈለገ? ሻቢያ በወታደራዊም በኤኮኖሚም አቅሙ ከደከመ ዓመታት ተቆጠሩ፣ እንክዋንስ ወረራ መፈፀም ራሱንም መጠበቅ የማይችልበት ደረጃ ላይ ይገኛል፣ ሻቢያ ከአስራ ሁለት ዓመት በፊት በቀላሉ ተሸንፏል፣ ያ ጦርነት በዚያ ሁኔታ መጠናቀቁ መለስ ዜናዊም ሆነ ሌሎቹ ፈፅሞ አልጠበቁትም፣ በወቅቱ የያዙትን ይዘው መደራደር ሲቻል በመቶ ሺዎች የሚቆጠሩ ወጣቶችን አስጨርስው ስራዊቱን ከኤርትራ መሬት ማስወጣት ስህተት ነበር፣የፈሪ ዱላ ሆነና ነገሩ ደካማዉንና የተኮላሸዉን ሻቢያን ግን አስራ ሁለት ዓመታት ሙሉ ኦነግን ጨምሮ እንዳወገዘ የሃስት ድራማ በመስራት/በመወንጀል መቃብር ቀድሞ ወረደ፣ ለምንድነው ባድመ ላይ ሻቢያ ችግር እንዲፈጥር ቅስቀሳ የሚደረገው? ለምንስ ነው በኤርትራ ድንበር ያላቁዋረጠ ትንኮሳ ወያኔ የሚያደርገው?ለምንስ ነው በአገር ውስጥ ራሱ ችግር ፈጥሮ በሻቢያ ወይም በሌሎች የሚያሳበው? ይህን ተራ ፖለቲካ ለምን ያራምዳል? ማንንስ ያታልላል?ኢህአዴግ መንገዳገድ ከጀመረ ከዓመት በላይ ሆኖታል፣ ገደል አፋፍ ላይ ቆሞ ግፉኝ ይላል፣ ባለፈው ዓመት በተባበሩት መንግስታት ግዳጅ ላይ በሱዳን አቢየ ግዛት በፈንጂ ከሃይ በላይ ወታደሮች ሲገደሉ በዉጭ ዜናዎች ሲዘገብ ባገር ዉስጥ ዜናው አልተስራጨም፣በሶማሊያ የኢትዮጵያ ስራዊት ገብቶ ምን ያህል ጉዳት እንደደረስበት ጠያቂም ገላጭም የለም፣በተገባው ቃል መሰረት ባጭር ግዜ (በስድስት ወር) ይወጣል ተብሎ ሁለተኛ ዓመቱን ይዟል፣ ማስወጣትም አልተቻለም፣ ቢዝነሱ ቀጥሏል ስራዊቱም ያልቃል ማን ይጩኽለት ጠያቂ ህዝብ/ፓርላማ የለም፣
አጥፍቶ መጥፋትን ግቡ ያደረገው ወያኔ ጠብ ያለሽ በዳቦ እያለ ይገኛል ቶሎ እርምጃ ካልተወስደ አደጋው የከፋ ሊሆን ይችላል፣ባለፈው ዓመት በአፋር ክልል በአውሮፓውያን ቱሪስቶች ላይ የተፈፀመው አስቃቂ ግድያ ወንጀሉን ራሱ ወያኔ ለመፈፀሙ ኤዲት ያልተደረገዉ የመጀመሪያዉ የኢቲቬ ዜና ለተመለከተ በቂ ነው፣ከመለስ ዜናዊ አንደበትና ከኢቴቪ ዕለታዊ ዜና የማይጠፉት ሻቢያና ኦነግ ጦርነት አልገጥም አሉ፣ አልሽባብ/አልቃይዳ ኢትዮጵያ የሉም፣ወያኔ ተደራጅቻለሁ እያለ ነው፣ መለስ ዜናዊ የፈራቸው የሙስሊሙ ሶስት ጥያቄዎች በተለያየ ግዜ በፓርላማ አድበስብሶ ከማለፍ ውጪ ቀጥተኛ መልስ አልስጠም፣ ችግሩ እየገፋ መጣ፣ ውሳኔ መስጠት ያልተለማመዱት የወያኔ ባለስልጣኖች እንዴት ዉሳኔ ይስጡ? የራሳቸውን የድርጅት ስራ ማስተካከል ባልቻሉበት ሁኔታ ይህን አደገኛ ጥያቄ በቀላሉ ማተናገድ ከባድ ሆኗል፣ በሃይል ለመጨፍለቅ የማይሞከር ነው፣ከውስጥም ከውጪም የሚያመጣው መዘዝ ስለሚከብድ፣ በመሆኑም ፈራ ተባ እያሉ አንዳንዴም በመኮርኮም ግዜ ማግኘት ብቸኛው አማራጭ ሆኗል፣ ይህ ችግር ሊሰፋና ሌላውን የህብረተስብ ክፍል እየጨመረ ሊሄድ ስለሚችል የመከላከያ ስራዊት ቀን ማዘጋጀትና ወታደራዊ ትርዒት ማሳየት የተሸናፊ መንግስታት ባህሪ በመሆኑ ጭንቅ የወለደው የመከላከያ ቀን/ሳምንት ማለት ይቻላል።  
በሰራዊቱ ዉስጥ መተማመን መጥፋት፣
ባለፈው ወር በቡሬ ግንባር አፋር ክልል ድንበር ጥበቃ ላይ የነበረው ጦር እርስ በርስ መታኮሱን፣ ከአርባ በላይ መኮንኖችና ወታደሮች መሞታቸው፣ከስማኒያ በላይ መቁሰላቸው ተነግሯል፣ በመከላከያም ከዋና መስሪያ ቤት እስከ ድንበር ባሉ የጦር ክፍሎች ድርስ በግምገማ ስበብ በርካታዎች ላይ የተለያየ እርምጃ ተወስዷል፣ ይህም ስራዊቱን እርስ በርስ እንዳይተማመን አድርጎታል፣ ለከፍተኛና  መስመራዊ መኮንኖች የሚስጠው የማዕረግ ዕድገት በስራዊቱ ዉስጥ መነጋገሪያ ሆኗል፣ በተባበሩት መንግስታት ሚሲዮን ግዳጃቸውን ፈጽመው ሲመለሱ የሚከፈላቸው ገንዘብ ትክክል ባለመሆኑ በየግዜው ከግዳጅ መልስ አቤቱታ ይቀርባል ተገቢ መልስ የሚስጥ የለም፣ እንዲያዉም ማስፈራራትና ብሎም ነጥሎ ለማጥፋት ወደ ተለያዩ የጦር ክፍሎች መበታተን ይደረጋል፣ ይህም በተደጋጋሚ ውዝግብ ፈጥሯል፣ደብዛቸው የጠፋ የሰራዊቱ አባላት አሉ፣አብዛኛው የስራዊቱ አባላት በስባት ዓመት አገልግሎት ይስናበታሉ፣በመሆኑም ለስራዊቱ የሚስጡ ጥቅማጥቅሞችን እንደ የቤት መስሪያ ቦታ ኮንዶሚኒየም ቤት አያገኙም፣ ይህና ሌሎችም ችግሮች ተደማምረው ስራዊቱን ክፉኛ ለያይቶታል፣እንኩዋንስ ዘንቦብሽ እንዲያዉም ጤዛ ነሽ እንዲሉ ከቅርብ ግዜ ወዲህ ደግሞ በተለያየ መንገድ ስራዊቱን የሚለቁ ቁጥራቸው እየጨመረ ሄዷል ጄኔራል መኮንኖች ጭምር፣
ታዲያ የመከላከያ ስራዊት አዛዥ ማን ነው? እስካሁን አዛዡ መለስ ነበር አሁን የለም፣ ይህ የዕዝ ክፍተት የሚታየው በከፍተኛው ዕርከን ደረጃ በመሆኑ የከፋ ያደርገዋል፣ በቅርቡ ጠቅላይ ኤታ ማዦር ሹሙ የስጠውን የአየር ሃይል አዛዥ ከሃላፊነት ማንሳት አለመቻሉ የዚሁ ነፀብራቅ ነው በየትም ዓለም አንድ አዝዥ የስጠው ትዕዛዝ ካልተፈፀመ ወዲያዉኑ ስራዉን ይለቃል። በደርግም ግዜ ተመሳሳይ ችግር ተከስቶ ነበር ጄ/ መርዕድና ጄ/ ገ/ክርስቶስ ቡሊ ወዲያዉኑ ማዕረጋቸዉን ተገፈው ተስናብተዋል፣ አሁን ግን መደበኛ ጦርና አዛዥም ስለሌለ ማን በማን ላይ እርምጃ ይውስድ፣ ይህ አሳዛኝና አሳፍሪ የስነስርዓት ጉድለት ያዉም በከፍተኛ አመራር ደረጃ ይቅርታ የሌለው ነው፣ ስለዚህ ከፍ ብየ እንደጠቀስኩት ሁሉም ሹመትና ቢሮ ተስጣቸው እንጂ ምንም አይነት ስልጣን የላቸውም። ታዲያ በስሞኑ ያከበሩት ቀን ለመተዋወቅና እኔ ነኝ አዛዥህ ለማለት ይሆን ይህስ ተቀባይነት ይኖረዋል?፣ ስራዊቱ በጥቅም፣ በማዕረግ ዕድግት፣በግዳጅ አስጣጥ፣ከፍቶታል፣ከህዝቡ የተፈጠረ በመሆኑ ከራሱ ብሶት ጋር ተዳምሮ ምሬቱን መግለፅ ጀምሯል፣ የህዝቡም ችግር እየከፋ ሄዷል የሙስሊሙን ችግር ደፍሮ ለመፍታት እጁን የሚያስገባ ጠፋ፣ ያለ መለስ የማይንቀሳቀሱ ኢህአዴጋዉያን ሊደማመጡ አይችሉም አሁን ሁሉም የራሱ ጌታ ወደመሆኑ እየሄደ ይመስላል፣የሚስድባቸዉና የሚቆጣቸውም የለም ታዲያ በዚህ ቀውጢ ስዓት ማን አመራር ይስጥ? ህዝብን መፍራት ተጀመረ? ወይስ ሃይል በማሳየት የራስን ህዝብ ማስፈራራት?ተስፋ መቁረጥ በደርግ መውደቂያ ስዓትም ተከስቷል፣ ሹመትና ሽልማት ድግስና ግብዣ አብዝቶ ነበር የጨነቀው እርጉዝ ያገባል እንዲሉ፣ ስራዊቱን በዚህ ደልሎ መያዝ የዘገየ ነው፣ የተከማቸ ችግር ስላለው ካሁን በሁዋላ በመከላከያ ቀን ምክንያት ህብረትን መመለስ ህዝብንም ማስፈራራት አይቻልም
አስጨናቂ ድረስ  (ከጉለሌ)
baschenaki@gmail.com 

Ethiopia assmbeled the first military drone aircraft built by Israeli Blue Bird Aero Systems



February 14, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – An Ethiopian military source has assembled with the help of BlueBird Aero Systems the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone which could be used for multiple purposes.
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A US military drone (Source: CIA)
After undergoing testing, the locally assembled drones, have demonstrated their capability of performing a number of militarily and civilian applications, according to the source.
The drones are equipped with onboard sensors, cameras and GPS to carry out cost-effective monitoring activities even across difficult landscapes like the highlands of Ethiopia.

The drones have already made test flights performing a geophysical survey of Ethiopia’s controversial grand renaissance dam, a massive hydro-power plant project the country is constructing on the Blue Nile River near to the Sudanese border.

In 2011 Ethiopia signed an agreement with Israeli manufacturer BlueBird Aero Systems to purchase drones.


Ethiopia’s Economy Benefits from Returning Diaspora | PRI's The World


Tadios Getaco Belete owns a luxury spa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tadios Getaco Belete owns a luxury spa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo: Anders Kelto)
At a salon in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, customer Erica Kanesa relaxes in a leather chair.
“I’m just doing manicure and pedicure,” she says, leaning her head back while a beautician works on her nails.
Spa businesses in Ethiopia are thriving because the country’s middle class is expanding, and also because of the efforts of one man.
Tadios Getaco Belete was born in Ethiopia, but – like many – he fled in the 1970s when an oppressive communist government took over. He settled in the United States and eventually opened a successful salon in an upscale part of Boston.
After a new Ethiopian government took power, Tadios decided to move home. He says the decision was partly sentimental, but it also made good business sense.
“Anyone with a good smell of business can feel and sense [that] there is an opportunity here,” Tadios says. So he decided to do something that no one in Ethiopia had yet done – open a luxury spa.
“I was the first one, and everyone was laughing at me, ‘You’ll not get any customers,’” he says. “But, surprisingly enough, we had an amazing turnout. Now we have about 89 spas.”
Today, his company employs more than 1,500 people.
“Foreign” Investment – by Ethiopians
African countries often talk about the importance of foreign investment, but Ethiopia is benefiting from a different kind of investment – money brought home from abroad by Ethiopia’s returning diaspora.
You can see the imprint of this investment in the names of businesses, says Ethiopian economist Bisrat Teshome. “For example, the Amsterdam Café – the person is coming from Amsterdam,” he says. He provides other examples: “New York Café, Oslo Café, and Le Parisien.” (And there is Tadios Getaco Belete’s salon company. It’s called Boston Day Spa.)
Bisrat says Ethiopians returning from these places have contributed more than a billion dollars to the economy and have opened more than 2,000 companies.
Ethiopia's rapidly urbanizing capital city of Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia’s rapidly urbanizing capital city of Addis Ababa. (Photo: Reuters)
In some cases, these returning Ethiopians have also changed the local work ethic.
Mekonnen Kidanemariam, an Ethiopian businessman who lived in Canada for much of his life before opening the Addis Regency Hotel in Addis Ababa, says his employees used to avoid hard work. But once they saw him putting in long hours, their attitudes changed.
“When I see their motivation level, from where they were to where they are, it’s very encouraging,” Mekonnen says.
His employees have helped make his hotel very successful. Other hotels are flourishing, too.
But economist Bisrat Teshome says what Ethiopia really needs is for returning businesspeople to put their expertise and money into manufacturing.
“If that money was pumped into the industry sector, then it creates more jobs,” he says.
Bisrat says for the same investment it takes to open a high-end spa, a person could open a factory that would create 10 times as many jobs. He says a factory would also boost trade and create more long-term prosperity for Ethiopia.
Bisrat hopes more returning businesspeople will start turning to things like textiles and leather, not massages and manicures.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ethiopia's Remote Omo Valley -The Last Frontier: Forbes


The road to the Mursi heartland is long and best tackled one obstacle at a time. Just to call it a road is a stretch, really. Steve Turner, our guide from Kenya-based Origins Safaris, estimates it has been five or six years since the last vehicle drove this way. Far beyond any game preserve or luxury camp comforts, we are on our way to visit the “vanishing” tribes of Ethiopia’s Omo River Valley, one of Africa’s–and the world’s–last great undiscovered places.
The end of the road in Ethiopia's Omo Valley. Photograph by Michael Lorentz
The itinerary evolves as we go along. Our tag-team pair of Land Cruisers galumphs down the scrubby track at a hiker’s pace, and every hundred yards or so the vehicles stop short, the doors swing open, and out come the drivers and guides to stare blankly at whatever gully, tree or torrent is blocking our way. It’s hot–84 degrees and rising at 10 a.m.–and the tsetse flies are on to us.
Judging from the overgrown ravine, or donga, between where we are and where we need to be, I suspect Turner is being conservative on the six-year time frame. “Let’s give it a go,” he says, and the forward Land Cruiser creeps into the hole, instantly getting stuck. Turner gazes down at the scene with his hands on his hips. “Right,” he says. “We need to start digging.”
Turner warned me this would not be an easy trip. Even in our age of global everything, the 15 ethnic groups inhabiting the hills and banks along the Omo are so cut off that they have no written languages or calendars (an Omo “clock” is a string with knots tied to indicate the number of sunsets before a gathering or ceremony). Intrepid foreigners first contacted tribes like the Mursi, famous for their dramatic clay lip plates, in the 1930s but even now Turner’s is the only company touring the Omo River itself.
When I first e-mailed Turner asking for details on the expedition, he wrote: “Having been to Africa before, you’re already oriented, but do remember that you probably have never been anywhere quite as remote and inhospitable as the Omo River. If you are inconvenienced by spartan accommodations, intense human contact or are apprehensive in unfamiliar situations, then I’m sorry but this expedition is not for you.” When I informed him that, actually, this would be my first trip to Africa, he replied, “Prepare to be uncomfortable.”
In many ways I was pleasantly surprised. In addition to Turner, we had the expertise of a second guide, Michael Lorentz (Turner is his on-the-ground operator). Lorentz’s Cape Town safari company, Passage to Africa, is highly regarded among a well-traveled crowd for putting together unusual tours. The company declines to release the names of its guests, but claims a customer list of primary players from Wall Street, billionaire Silicon Valley founders and Hollywood A-listers. Typically Lorentz flies to his clients’ homes months in advance to blue-sky each detail: private helicopters, teams of porters, the works. These aren’t adrenaline-thirsty backpackers but “travelers’ travelers,” who understand that the greatest luxury today is returning with the most unique experience.
Members of the Hamaar tribe use red-ochre clay and animal fat to pleat and color their hair. Photograph by Michael Lorentz.
This experience is certainly a whopper. Already several days into a ten-day trip, our small traveling party has been pushing from dawn until evening’s first mosquito bite, observing ancient customs, rites and everyday activities. Some are beautiful, many are absolutely harrowing. Our first day buzzing upriver in the Omo’s only motorized boat, we encountered a group of exuberant young Karo tribesmen on the banks, adorning themselves with white body paint and clay headpieces. Our charismatic translator and tribal ambassador, Lale Biwa, explained that 42 boys were about to join the ranks of the Karo elders. Turner remembered he had a stash of ceremonial ostrich feathers and presented them as a gift, which got the boys leaping and whooping euphorically. A few minutes later, skinny old men wielding long green sticks (and AK-47s; they’re ubiquitous in the Omo) began lashing hard at the boys, chasing them uphill to the nearby village of Dus. There they joined a few hundred others and danced jubilantly into the night. The next day, as a goat was sacrificed in honor of our arrival, we were told we were the first outsiders to witness such an event. Given the realities on the ground, we may not be many years before the last.
Next summer the massive Gilgel Gibe III Dam is scheduled to begin operations several hundred miles upriver. The controversial project will more than double electrical output in Ethiopia,  where less than two percent of the rural population has access to the grid. But it may displace as many as 200,000 indigenous people who rely on the Omo’s natural flood cycles, and whose land may now go dry. Most locals we meet are unaware these changes are coming.
That the end is near in a region once inhabited by some of our earliest ancestors (Australopithecuswalked these very river banksis only one reason to visit the Omo now. It is also a place that challenges the traveler – at least this traveler – like nowhere else. “You always need someone with a Plan B,” as Lorentz says. There is the day boating up the Omo, for example, with crocodiles splashing everywhere in the cocoa-brown water, when our outboard motor goes dead. Two things pop into your head: there is no rescue boat anywhere nearby, and this is definitely not a Disney ride. “Don’t give over to phantom fears,” Lorentz says discreetly, sensing my anxiety. “If we need to, we’ll drift downriver steering with an umbrella as a paddle.”
From the moment our chartered Cessna landed at a ragged airstrip near the Kenya-Ethiopia border, practically everything we’ve seen has tested my First World sensibilities. How does a Westerner respond to a Dassanech ceremony celebrating female circumcision? Or to learning that a child’s good or bad fortune is determined at birth by reading the intestines of a goat or cow? Or to a practice known as mingi, which holds that children considered “polluted” (even a chipped tooth can do it) must be abandoned or killed to prevent further bad luck. As the sun sets on these ancient and bewildering practices, it is difficult enough for visitors simply to behold what is.
And so we take photographs. In a perverse way, it’s why we are here. My fellow travelers, each of whom paid $16,000 for the trip, include an executive from a Silicon Valley tech firm and the wife of a Starbucks cofounder. But here we are just paparazzi. At a bull-jumping ceremony that is part of the Hamar tribe’s marriage rite, I take more than a hundred photos of a boy running naked across the backs of cattle as his female cousins are ritualistically whipped to spur him on. Another morning, Lale asks a Nyagatom woman to remove her Western-style top so we can photograph her artful scars. At sunset one night in Dus, Turner arranges a dozen Karo tribespeople on a ledge over the Omo so we can shoot their exotic silhouettes.
Dassanech warriors celebrate a right of passage. Photograph by Michael Lorentz
It is as awkward as it sounds. Think Vogue as edited by Joseph Conrad, and made even odder by the fact that we must pay for photos. Adults get 5 birr, around 25 cents, and children get 2–around 10 cents, though disputes do arise. Figuring I was showing respect in a Nyagatom village by photographing the fiercest-looking elder first–his ritual chest scars signified he had killed an enemy–I found myself instead calling for Lale’s help to negotiate my way out. After that encounter, I stopped taking photos almost entirelyAncient Rites
When we finally get the Land Cruiser out of the hole on the way to the Mursi (after the only towrope within miles snaps like crepe paper), we Plan B an alternate route the next day. Wake up is 4:30 a.m. at our surprisingly comfortable tent camp (private bucket showers, European linens, a talented chef) for what turns out to be an 11-hour travel day.
Visiting the tribe is just as much of a rush as the journey. The women of the Mursi pierce their lower lips as teenagers and insert clay or wooden lip plates up to seven inches wide to attract a spouse. One elderly woman wears a headdress of dried corncobs. A young man has a ritual scar in the shape of a crown. Seeing these remarkable adornments up close is shocking, awe-inspiring and more than a little sad. Like so much else in the Omo Valley right now, it forces you to face up to the otherness of traditions that are ancient, unsettling and extreme. And to contemplate what it may mean to lose them.
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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.