It was on May 28, 1991 when the people of Ethiopia came out victorious in their decades-long struggle for democracy, which claimed many lives.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Gashow Debbabe, Consul-General of Ethiopia in Dubai, said the day also had a special meaning because it signified the beginning of development on market-based principles.
“As we look back at the past 14 years of Ethiopian history, much progress has been achieved in a manner that astonished others from all around the world. In terms of political rights and democracy, there is little to contest that the ideals of federalism have deepened and paved the way for decentralisation and empowerment of nations and nationalities,” he said.
He said fighting international terrorism, boosting trade and investment cooperation and engaging the Ethiopian diaspora in the economic sector were part of the core activities over the past few years and had started bearing fruits.
Debbabe said it was the determination of expanding the economic horizon which led to the Ethiopian government deciding to strengthen its official representation in the Gulf, mainly in the UAE.
As Ethiopia’s decision to open a Consulate-General in the UAE materialised in the latter part of 2004, compatriots from all walks of life rejoiced, he added.
“Currently, as we are celebrating our first National Day in the UAE with our nationals, we reaffirm our commitment towards strengthening and deepening economic partnership between Ethiopia and the UAE,” he said.
Tesfaye Desalegne, Deputy Consul-General, said the existence of multi-party system, freedom of expression, mushrooming of private media and three nation wide elections including the one taking place presently had remarkably boosted democratic values in the country. Nation-wide development programmes in the areas of education, health, road, telecommunication and power generation had been executed on a massive scale, he added.
The country’s new international airport and various others in different parts of Ethiopia had made air transportation far more efficient than what existed a few years ago, he said.He pointed out that the country’s 70 million population makes it an attractive export market mainly of technological products. Despite recurring drought in certain parts of Ethiopia and the colossal challenge of poverty eradication, the country’s economy had registered a growth rate of about six per cent. A determined market-oriented policy, economic liberalisation, privatisation and progressive economic policies, created a strong foundation for a high growth rate, he added.
Shashi Tharoor's World of Words is a weekly column in which the politician, diplomat, writer and wordsmith par excellence dissects words and language
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