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By William Lloyd George guardian.co.uk
An independent panel has called for an investigation into a World Bank-funded project in Ethiopia following accusations from refugees that the bank is funding a programme that forced people off their land.
In a report, seen by the Guardian, the inspection panel – the World Bank’s independent accountability mechanism – calls for an investigation into complaints made by refugees from the Anuak indigenous group from Gambella, eastern Ethiopia, in relation to the bank’s policies and procedures.
The refugees claim the Protection of Basic Services (PBS) programme funded by the bank and the UK Department for International Development (DfID), is contributing directly to the Ethiopian government’s “villagisation” programme, introduced in 2010. The programme seeks to move people to new villages, but residents say this is done with little consultation or compensation, and that these sites lack adequate facilities.
In a letter sent to the panel in September, the refugees say some people have been forcibly relocated from their land, which is now being leased to foreign investors.
“These mass evictions have been carried out under the pretext of providing better services and improving the livelihoods of the communities,” says the letter. “However, once they moved to the new sites, they found not only infertile land, but also no schools, clinics, wells or other basic services.”
It says the government forced them to abandon their crops just before harvest, and they were not given any food assistance during the move. “Those farmers who refused to implement the programme … have been targeted with arrest, beating, torture and killing,” the letter says.
The refugees say they “have all been severely harmed by the World Bank-financed [project], which is contributing directly to the Ethiopian government’s villagisation programme in Gambella region”.
The letter says Ethiopian government workers, whose salaries are paid for through the PBS programme, have been forced to implement villagisation.
DfID has been criticised for failing to address abuse allegations in the South Omo region of Ethiopia, where residents told DfID and USAid officials of their experiences.
DfID is also embroiled in a legal action over its links to the villagisation programme. An Ethiopian farmer claims he was forcibly evicted from his farm. His lawyers, Leigh Day & Co, say DfID money is linked to these abuses through PBS funding in Gambella. DfID has said it is responding to the legal concerns and reviewing the allegations of rights abuses in Ethiopia.
In its report, the panel says that although the World Bank management denies links between villagisation and the PBS programme, the two are attempting to achieve the same things. “[Villagisation] is a programme that aims at fundamentally restructuring settlement patterns, service infrastructure and livelihoods, including farming systems, in the Gambella region, and as such constitutes a significant context in which PBS operates. In this sense from a development perspective, the two programmes depend on each other, and may mutually influence the results of the other,” says the panel report.
The panel says there are “conflicting assertions and differing views” on links between PBS and villagisation, the complaints by the refugees and the bank’s adherence to its policies and procedures, which could adequately be addressed through an investigation.
In a response to the refugees’ letter, the World Bank denied all links between the PBS and villagisation. It said it had not encountered any evidence of human rights abuses. It did admit the new sites “were not desirable”, but said the Ethiopian government had asked for assistance to improve them.
According to David Pred, founder of Inclusive Development International who helped the Anuak file their complaint, the PBS is funding the majority of government departments responsible for implementing the villagisation programme. “It provides both the means and the justification for villagisation,” said Pred.
The World Bank has been supporting the PBS programme since May 2006 with a commitment of more than $2bn. The bank’s board was scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the panel’s report, but the meeting was postponed.
Human Rights Watch says many of the communities affected by villagisation have not been properly consulted about resettlement. It has interviewed several refugees from the region who reported that government officials have responded with violence and arbitrary detention when people have not agreed to relocate.
“The World Bank’s president and board need to let the inspection panel do its job and answer the critical questions that have been raised by Ethiopians affected by this project,” said Jessica Evans, senior international financial institutions advocate at Human Rights Watch. “If the World Bank doesn’t support this investigation, its Ethiopia programme will continue to be shadowed by controversy.”
The chairman of the UK parliament’s international development committee, Sir Malcolm Bruce, said the allegations against villagisation are unsubstantiated. Bruce, who visited Ethiopia last week, said the UK programme “is delivering a very good result”.
Source: Global Development
By Lauren Everitt
While government leaders, NGOs and corporations devise strategies to churn out more food for future generations, Eleni Gabre-Madhin is taking a different approach. Concerned by a 2002 famine in her home country of Ethiopia that followed bumper crops in 2000 and 2001, the Stanford-educated economist decided it was time to go beyond food production and take a hard look at distribution.
The result? Africa’s first commodity exchange. As the founder and outgoing CEO of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), Gabre-Madhin established a reliable interface for buyers and sellers to meet – an idea that has inspired other African countries to follow suit. Gabre-Madhin won the Yara award at the African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha, Tanzania, for her role in transforming Ethiopia’s commodity market.
What prompted your decision to found Africa’s first commodity exchange in Ethiopia? I had been doing research on grain markets and other agriculture markets in Africa for many years and, as it happened, I did my PhD on grain markets in Ethiopia. One of the things I kept seeing over and over, which I’d seen in other parts of Africa, was just how difficult it was for buyers to find sellers and sellers to find buyers, and how difficult it was to enforce the contract.
You’d see that a seller, such as a farmer, for example, who sold grain to a trader wouldn’t get paid for weeks, sometimes months. There were cases in the coffee market in Ethiopia where people had committed suicide because they had outstanding loans and their buyers hadn’t paid them. So there were all sorts of cases of contract default.
Then from the buyers’ perspective you’d hear that they’d have to inspect the grain or coffee visually to check if it was really the quality they’d been told it was. They would have to reweigh it and rebag it to see if it was the actual quantity and quality that they were contracting.
So these are all the problems in the supply chain that make us poor and make us food insecure. If people can’t get grain where it’s produced really efficiently to where it’s needed, then you have markets that are segmented. You have pockets of surplus where prices collapse and places in other parts of the county where prices shoot up because there’s a deficit and there’s no grain coming in.
That’s exactly what happened in 1984 in the big famine that claimed a million lives in Ethiopia. There was obviously a shortage in the north and yet Ethiopia had to go to the world and beg for food aid, but there was a grain surplus in the fertile parts of western Ethiopia.
When I found out about this, I said: “It can’t just be about producing more – sure, producing more is important but we’ve got to figure out how to distribute it. We’ve got to figure out how to make an efficient market work for everybody – for the farmers, for the buyers, because otherwise we’re always going to be in this cycle.”
The same thing happened in 2002, when there were consecutive bumper harvests in 2000 and 2001, and Ethiopia was doing really well. Then six months later prices collapsed almost to zero, and farmers could not sell the grain. Six months later, in mid-2002, Ethiopia went to the world for emergency food aid for 14 million people at risk of starvation.
I was so shocked. By that time I had my PhD and I knew this was what I wanted to work on. I had the idea of a commodity exchange – I’d written about it in my dissertation. I did my PhD at Stanford, which is really specialised on commodity markets.
What other sorts of dialogues are ongoing about distribution? Now, there is more interest in markets and issues around distribution. In the Ethiopian debate about food security and famine, people would always say, “More seeds, more fertiliser, more irrigation – these are the things we have to do.” And yes, we have to do all that, but then here you are – you get a bumper harvest and six months later people are still going to starve.
Every crisis leads to an opportunity so that crisis led me to tell the government: “We have 40 or 50 PhDs in economics working on production issues, and four of us have written PhDs on market issues, and that’s how skewed our development policy is – we’re always talking about production and we have to have a more balanced perspective on how we’re going to prevent hunger in Ethiopia, and we have to think about the marketing side.” That somehow resonated, and the government decided to start up a whole initiative on markets. That’s how I got invited to start the project on the commodity exchange and subsequently left the project and then started the exchange.
Has the idea of a commodity exchange gained traction elsewhere on the continent? Around Africa, our exchange in Ethiopia has gained a lot of visibility: 18 countries have come to visit it. There has been a huge amount of interest. Many countries are writing it into their policies – that they want to have a commodity exchange. Organisations like the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, New Partnership for Africa’s Development, UN Development Programme, the World Bank – all these organisations are now sort of saying, we have to take this seriously, and help countries think through initiatives like the Ethiopia commodity exchange.
As the outgoing CEO of the exchange, what will you do next? I’ve seen this enormous demand, and that’s going to be my next chapter – to sponsor that demand, which in a sense has been created by the initiative in Ethiopia. I feel this is the natural next step for me.
And how will you do that? I’m setting up a company that will carry out precisely this kind of project for different countries, bringing in knowledge, technology and management experience. At this point, there are about six countries, I would say, that are moving quite aggressively on getting commodity exchanges set up in Africa, and that’s really exciting.
You have talked about a disconnect between buyers and sellers – how does a commodity exchange address that and hold both parties accountable? Basically, it’s a membership-based system. We have members of the exchange that buy a membership seat, just like Charles Schwab and Merrill Lynch are seat holders on the New York stock exchange or Cargill is a member on the Chicago board of trade.
When you buy a membership seat, you use that seat to trade either on behalf of yourself or clients, who you may sign up. We have members of the exchange who trade on behalf of farmers, who themselves are farmers, and members who are buyers, such as industrial processors, flour millers, exporters, roasters, etc.
The members follow the rules of the exchange in the sense that they will bring a commodity to our warehouse, get it graded, certified, weighed and essentially stored in a warehouse that we are operating. This means we have a guarantee that we know what the quality is, we know what the quantity is and we know it will be delivered at sale.
On the buying side, we have a clearing house that takes the buyer’s funds into a pre-trade cash account that is used for exchange trading purposes. The exchange has no involvement besides providing the platform for the buyer and seller to physically or virtually meet, and once they’ve agreed on the terms of the price and what the quantity is, then our clearing house will take the funds from the buyer from that pre-trade cash account and transfer it to the seller the next day. Also the next day, we will take the warehouse receipt from the seller and transfer the ownership to the buyer. So the exchange is the third-party guarantor of the transaction, and that’s the key point.
Having a guarantor for the transaction means you don’t need relatives or special connections. You don’t have to beg people to pay you or chase after them. You don’t have to check if the quality is really grade one. The exchange is guaranteeing the quality, quantity, payment and delivery. That’s a very big value-add proposition to the market – that if you trade through the exchange, you will receive payment the next morning.
That means we are a “T+1″ clearing and settlement system; the day of trade being “T”. T+1 means that tomorrow morning you’re paid. Even stock exchanges that have been around for 20 years are still taking two or three days after trade to effect payment. We’re settling the next day. This is a financial revolution in Ethiopia – that somebody who sold is guaranteed payment the next day, especially when you imagine how many people have committed suicide or spend a large part of their time trying to get paid.
This is a very big change in our market – that people can go to market saying, “I’m going to sell at whatever price I want, and I will get paid.” Same thing for the buyers: “I will get my delivery, I will get my commodity when I want it, not months later.”
There are exporters who used to default on their export contracts because the supplier had not yet met their contract. Or processors, like millers, who would get a delivery but it would be full of sand or stones. They’d put it in their machines, and their machines would break down. All these problems are not going away because of our system.
The smallholder farmer was the theme of the African Green Revolution Forum. Are they able to access the commodity exchange easily? In our exchange, 12% of the members are farmer co-operatives that are representing 2.4 million small farmers in Ethiopia. That’s a massive number in just four short years and relative to the amount of investment. Millions and millions are being spent on linking farmers to markets, and here with less than $10m we’ve accessed 2.4 million farmers in four years.
More importantly, even if they don’t trade directly through the exchange, because of the transparency around the pricing, all the farmers in the country are now using the ECX price as the reference price. There are 15 million coffee farmers in Ethiopia, for example, and they are referencing their local market sales off the ECX price. This basically means that the margin between the local price and the ECX price has narrowed almost by half. So if a trader knows what the central market price is, but the farmer doesn’t know, the trader will try to bring it down. Even if the prices are going up, the trader is buying at the lowest possible price to get a big margin – that margin has shrunk down to half of what it used to be because of the transparency of the system and because everybody’s using the same system.
We’re getting 1.2m calls a month for market prices off the market data server, of which 70% come from rural areas. When the Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete, came to ECX in May, he asked a trader who was part of our meeting, how do you negotiate with the farmers? How do you set prices with the farmers? And she looked at him and said: “Mr President, even if I wanted to cheat farmers I can’t, because they know the prices before I do.”
Source: The Guardian
By Graham Peebles
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 8, 2012
Graham Peebles argues that the death of Ethiopia’s dictatorial prime minister, Meles Zenawi, provides a golden opportunity for the country to embark on the long delayed journey to reunite its fragmented communities, restore human dignity and establish democracy and human rights.
The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, announced on 22 August after his mysterious two-month disappearance, presents a tremendous opportunity to Ethiopia. Let a new day dawn for the people, one filled with hope and fundamental change, where human rights and justice are respected, where freedom is encouraged and cultivated in all areas and where fear is banished to the past.
Meles rose to power as a revolutionary to overthrow a dictatorship. Ironically he too fell under the spell of power, and the freedom fighter became the dictator, the greatest obstacle to freedom and liberty. He had been in power since 1991, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led a coalition of armed opposition groups in overturning the rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Control and repression
Notwithstanding the repeated accolades and platitudes expressed by heads of state upon his passing, let us be clear: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi presided over an undemocratic regime that repressed the people, tolerated no political dissent and, as Human Rights Watch states in its report, “One Hundred Ways of Putting on Pressure”, “since the controversial 2005 elections, Ethiopia has seen a sharp deterioration in civil and political rights, with mounting restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly”.
In fact, under Meles’s leadership the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government has trampled on the human rights of the Ethiopian people, centralized power, falsely imprisoned in large numbers members of opposition parties and journalists, and responded with brutal force to demonstrations after the 2005 unfair elections, when the security forces murdered over 200 innocent people on the streets of Addis Ababa. Not to mention the killing of hundreds of people in Gambella, the persecution of the people of Oromia, along with human rights violations in Afar and the Ogaden.
The media are party/state controlled, as is the sole telecommunications company and the judiciary, all of which is contrary to federal law enshrined in the constitution. In addition, as Rashid Abdi of Kenya’s Daily Nation says, Meles “orchestrated a discreet purge of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front … and the administration, demoting, sidelining or reassigning key potential rivals and opponents”. And, as the Inter Press Service (IPS) succinctly put it, he “ruled with an increasingly authoritarian fist for more than two decades”. Let us hope such times will now be consigned to the murky past.
Unity – the way forward
If responded to with intelligence and love, patience and tolerance, the political space created by Meles’s departure could be a beginning in which firm and lasting steps towards an open, just and free civil society may be taken, broad ethnic participation encouraged and divisions set aside. It could signal the start of a peaceful social revolution in which the perennial values of democracy are fostered, enabling the people to step out from the repressive shadow of the late prime minister and his EPRDF dictatorship and unite as one people, diverse yet unified, synthesizing the many and enriching the country. Such is the opportunity.
The keynote for the time ahead in Ethiopia should be unity, unity in diversity. There are many ethnic and tribal groups in Ethiopia, some 77 according to the US State Department, “with their own distinct language. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members”. The people of Oromo make up the single largest group and, along with Amhara and Tigreans, account for around 70 per cent of the country’s 85 million population. A further division exists along religious lines, with roughly 50 per cent Orthodox Christian – living mainly in the highlands – and 50 per cent Muslim, inhabiting the lowland regions.
Historically, these two groups and government have co-existed peacefully. However as the International Crisis Group (ICG) states in its report, “Ethiopia after Meles”, “tensions are mounting between the government and the large Muslim community. Muslim committees have protested perceived interference in religious affairs”. The authorities sought to link their demonstrations to Islamic extremism and terrorism, and Meles exacerbated matters by accusing the protestors of “peddling ideologies of intolerance” – this from a man who effectively outlawed all political dissent and banned freedom of expression. Christian Orthodox priests have also protested political interference and expressed their support for their Muslim brothers.
Such religious discord needs a sensitive response, not cliché name calling. Predictably, the “T” word – terrorism – has been wheeled out by a government that has sought to impose ideological control in every area of Ethiopian society, including the church. Let such repressive practices be buried along with Meles and let the current EPRDF government learn what is perhaps the greatest lesson of responsible government: to listen to the people who they are in office to serve.
Designed to divide
Amharic is the official language and, until recently, was used in primary school instruction. It has been replaced in many areas by local languages, such as Oromifa and Tigrinya, reinforcing ethnic divisions. The highly centralized EPRDF has employed divide-and-rule tactics to weaken political opposition and fuel separation along ethnic lines, disempowering the community, and engendering competition for land, natural resources and government funds. Fragmented ethnic groups competing for resources and bickering among themselves have little time or energy to protest against government policy and make easy prey for a regime seeking total control.
Division spawns conflict and, as the ICG found, “Exclusion and disfranchisement have provided fertile ground for ethnic and religious radicalization, already evident in some lowland regions, where the ruling party exploits resources without local consent.” The massive land sales is one issue alluded to here; displacing thousand of indigenous people, forcing subsistence farmers and pastoralists off the land, destroying large areas of forest and wildlife habitat which, for a few dollars, are turned over to international corporations who cultivate crops for their home market.
Democracy is participation, and the opportunity before Ethiopia now is to create an environment in which participation is encouraged and the people have a voice, and where unity is seen as the means and the goal, one where the Oromo people, those in the Ogaden, Amhara, Tigray and the other ethnic groups are fully included and the development of community groups is facilitated.
The opposition and Diaspora
Under the Meles regime not only have the main ethnic groups been divided and disempowered, but the diaspora opposition too has been weak and ineffective. Fractured and despondent activists and opposition members of the various bodies need to unite at this time of uncertainty and opportunity and work collectively to establish a dialogue with the EPRDF government. A national dialogue is needed in which opposition groups inside and outside the country and the people – for too long silenced – are allowed to participate and indeed be listened too. Such a move would set a new and inclusive tone and engender hope that the ruling EPRDF recognizes the mood of the country.
The diaspora’s role is crucial in any movement towards democracy in Ethiopia. Consensus among the various factions is essential and the ideas of opposition – the preoccupation of the past – which serve only to strengthen division and thus play into the hands of the EPRDF, must be left behind. Constructive and creative contributions should be encouraged, bearing in mind the underlying principle of unity to soften government resistance to change and cultivate trust. As the ICG puts it,
Opposition forces may now be able to agree on a basic platform calling for an all-inclusive transitional process leading to free and fair elections in a couple of years. Such an arrangement should include all political forces, armed and unarmed, that endorse a non-violent process to achieve an inclusive, democratically-elected regime.
The federal constitution, written by the TPLF, full as it is of articles of decency and acceptability but disregarded by the government, is vague and ambiguous regarding the process of transition and succession in the event of the prime minister’s death. According to an Al-Jazeera report, “The Ethiopian parliament has been recalled from recess to swear-in Zenawi’s successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, the deputy prime minister, who will most likely lead Ethiopia until 2015, when the current term of the ruling party comes to an end.” This is by no means certain, and Desagelen is reportedly unsure about accepting the mantle of prime minister.
A provisional cross-party government is called for, one with broad support that would initiate reforms, repeal the unjust Anti-Terrorist Proclamation and other repressive legislation, free the media, especially television and radio, and begin to build a vibrant, active civil society. Such progressive steps would establish the foundations of a strong democratic platform that could be developed up to and after the 2015 elections.
Responsible support and development
The development much championed in Ethiopia, where the partisan distribution of aid, including emergency food relief, is an open secret, is at variance with equality, justice, human rights and freedom of expression. As Al Jazeera put it, “Zenawi has been praised for bringing development and economic growth to one of Africa’s poorest nations but his critics say that came at the cost of respect for democracy and human rights”.
To put Ethiopia’s much trumpeted economic growth in perspective, let us note that the average per capita income in the country equates to just 3 US dollars a day, food staples have quadrupled in price in the last four years – largely as a consequence of the extensive land sales – and, according to Bloomberg Business, Ethiopia’s “annual inflation rate climbed to 34.7 per cent in May as food prices surged“. In addition, the gap is increasing between the majority who are poor and the small number of wealthy Ethiopians, who are primarily members of the ruling party. As IPS reports “development has yet to reach the vast majority of the country’s population. Instead, much of this wealth – and political power – has been retained by the ruling party and, particularly, by the tiny Tigrayan minority community to which Meles belonged.” These party members have followed the trend of other dictatorships and invested their accrued wealth overseas.
Development and democracy are closely related – not some Western idea of democracy, but a living social movement of participation and inclusion, evolving out of the actions and creativity of the people themselves.
Ethiopia is the recipient of over three billion dollars a year in development aid, second only to Indonesia. The USA, Britain and the European Union, along with the World Bank, are the main donors. In exchange for what amounts to over a third of Ethiopia’s annual budget, the West has a strategically placed ally in the Horn of Africa which will act when asked to and function as a military outpost for the USA, which uses it as a base to launch drone attacks.
Those supporting development within Ethiopia share the opportunity and responsibility for change within the country. Mediation between the various ethnic groups and political parties, encouraging openness and facilitating discussion is an obvious role that could and indeed should be undertaken. International donors have a duty to the Ethiopian people to play a major part in the transition towards democracy and must insist in the observation of human rights, trampled on under Meles’s rule. As the ICG points out, Ethiopia’s principal allies, the US, UK and EU, should andeavour to play a significant role in preparing for and shaping the transition. Not only must development aid “lift people out of poverty”, it must release them from repression and fear and not be employed to strengthen such regressive conditions as it has been in Ethiopia.
In order to realize the opportunity before Ethiopia, certain basic steps showing a renewed adherence to international and federal law need to be taken immediately by the EPRDF:
- All so-called political prisoners must be released;
- The internationally condemned Anti Terrorist Proclamation repealed; and
- Freedom of the media, assembly and dissent allowed.
These are fundamental requirements in moving Ethiopia forward and establishing an atmosphere of hope that will encourage political and civil participation and safeguard against the potential radicalization of opposition groups.
International donors need to recognize their collusion in a range of human rights abuses that have taken place under Meles and ensure these demands are acted on, linking development assistance to their swift implementation. As Human Rights Watch says, “Ethiopia’s international partners should call on the government to support fundamental rights and freedoms in the country and a prompt rollback of repressive laws. Ethiopia’s government should commit to respect for human rights and core rights reforms in the coming days and weeks.”
Denied good governance for many years, the people of Ethiopia have suffered much, too much and for too long. Let the current space afforded by the passing of Meles be filled with their united voices, articulating their grievances, expressing their hopes and concerns and, with the responsible support of international friends and partners, demand fundamental change, freedom and social justice.
Addis Ababa, May 17 — A second Indian company, Esimo Flower & Agro Industries Plc, is investing $100 million in Ethiopia to produce flowers, fruits, and vegetables for the European, Russian and Middle Eastern markets.
The company has acquired a 71-hectare farm in Debre Brehan, northeast of capital Addis Ababa. It will start planting flowers in July and has constructed a pack house, where harvested flowers are to be processed for export in 2012, according to Sanjaye Bangali, owner and general manager of Esimo.
Debre Berhan Mayor Getaneh Zeke also confirmed this. Esimo is set to become the second flower farm in Debre Brehan after ASK Flowers and Greens Plc, run by another Indian, Shahab Khan.
Producing flowers is a high-risk but high-profit business and Bengali thinks his company has a good opportunity to succeed within a few years.
“We are planning to buy a seedling for 0.52 dollars and sell the flowers with prices ranging between 0.71 dollars and 1.1 dollars, depending on the stem of the plant,” he said.
Bangali foresees growing roses that are bred locally and are similar to Ecuadorian and Colombian breeds after setting up its drip irrigation system.
Ethiopia has a stable year-round temperature and strong sun, and the region is acknowledged as one of the best growing areas, according to an expert from the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers & Exporters Association (EHPEA).
The EHPEA earned $178.3 million dollars in 2010/11, making flowers the third-largest export earner in the economy following coffee and khat.
The firm plans to grow 75,000 rose plants on one hectare, which would enable a harvest of 80,000 to 90,000 stems in the first phase of production, covering 15 hectares. In the second phase, the plan is to increase its harvest to 90,000 or 100,000, according to Bangali.
Source Daily News
Afewerk Tekle, 80, died from severe stomach ulcer complications after receiving treatment at a private hospital in Addis Ababa.
The artist’s death has received wide media coverage in the Horn of Africa country, with a national committee being set up to arrange funeral arrangements.
Tekle was born on October 22, 1932 in the historic city of Ankober in Shoa Province.
Sent to England in 1947 to become a mining engineer, Afewerk’s artistic talent was soon discovered and he was accepted at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London and later went to the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of London, the famous “Slade”.
While studying in England he made several artistic pilgrimages to continental Europe.
On the completion of his studies he returned to Addis Ababa where he held a one-man exhibition at the Municipality Hall in 1954. It was the first significant art exhibition of post-war Ethiopia.
Soon after his exhibition he left Ethiopia for a study tour in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece. In addition to these countries, he carried out various studies in England.
He also made a special study of the Ethiopian illustrated manuscripts in the British Library, the Bibliothẻque Nationale in Paris and the Vatican Library, thereby gaining a deeper knowledge of his own artistic heritage.
After two years of this extensive study, Afewerk, by now a well–equipped artist, returned with full confidence to his native land, to tackle the task ahead.
On his arrival in Ethiopia, Afewerk opened his studio in the National Library of Ethiopia.
Soon afterwards he was given his first challenging commission by the Ethiopian government: The decoration of St. George’s Cathedral, one of the capital’s two most important religious edifices, where he worked on murals and mosaics for three and a half years.
He also designed his own house, studio and gallery, known as “Villa Alpha”. He was architecturally inspired by his own cultural heritage, especially by ancient Aksum, the mediaeval castles of Gondar and the old walled city of Harrar.
His paintings included titles such as “Backbones of African Civilisation”, “African Movement”, “African Atmosphere” and “African Unity”, and for Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada, “Africa’s Heritage” which are now in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Ethiopia.
After many studies he produced over 10 designs for an African Unity emblem and flag.
Source: The Africa Report
The UN special rapporteur on slavery has urged the Lebanese government to carry out a full investigation into the death of an Ethiopian domestic worker.
Alem Dechasa, 33, killed herself on 14 March, a few days after she was filmed being beaten by men and dragged into a car in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
Gulnara Shahinian said the “cruel” images reminded her of the many migrant workers she met in Lebanon last year.
She urged the country to uncover the truth about such rights violations.
Last month, eight civil society groups called on the Lebanese authorities to reform restrictive visa regulations and adopt a labour law on domestic work to address high levels of abuse and deaths among migrant workers.
On 8 March, the Lebanese television network LBCI released a video filmed on 24 February by an anonymous bystander in which a man physically abuses Ms Alem outside the Ethiopian consulate in Beirut.
As she tries to resist, he and another man drag her into a car.
LBCI later identified the man beating her as the brother of the head of the recruiting agency that brought her to Lebanon.
He alleged that his brother’s agency had been trying to return her to Ethiopia because she had mental health problems.
Police later found Ms Alem and took her to a detention centre.
Following a request by the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, they transferred her to the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital two days later, but did not arrest those alleged to have carried out the beatings.
Ms Dechasa killed herself at the hospital on the morning of 14 March.
After the beating video was circulated, the labour and justice ministries began investigations, but their outcomes have not been made public.
On Tuesday, Ms Shahinian issued a statement strongly urging the Lebanese authorities to investigate the circumstances leading to Ms Alem’s death and make public their findings.
“There are a number of reports circulating about the human rights violations Alem Dechasa experienced as a migrant domestic worker in Lebanon and the facts surrounding her death,” she said.
“States are under an obligation to ensure the realisation of the right to truth about violations in order to end impunity and promote and protect human rights and provide redress to victims and their families.”
By William Davison
Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) — Ethiopia plans to offer more bonds to finance Africa’s biggest power plant after selling 7 billion birr ($408 million) of debt domestically over the past six months, Communications Minister Bereket Simon said.
The sale will contribute to the 80 billion birr needed to finish the 5,250-megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River, Bereket said in an interview on Sept. 27. The country isn’t aising funds from foreigners in a bid to demonstrate its economic resurgence, he said. Ethiopia, source of the main tributary of the Nile River, started building the hydropower plant in April as it seeks to become a regional electricity exporter amid shortages in countries including Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. The Horn of Africa nation, which relies on commodities such as coffee for most of its foreign currency, is also diversifying an economy that the African Development Bank says may double in size by 2020. “Building a dam on the Nile has been the dream of every Ethiopian,” said Bereket, who heads a so-called public mobilization council to raise funds for the project. “For millennia, we have been looking at the Nile as if it has been a curse that took our fertile soil and benefited others while Ethiopia was impoverished.”
Egypt depends on the flow of the Nile for all of its water and historically opposed infrastructure projects by upstream nations during former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule, according to Ethiopia’s government. Since Mubarak was deposed in February, Egyptian and Ethiopian officials have met twice and relations are improving, Bereket said, without elaborating. Read more about this news:
By Jesse Stay
- You can syndicate your blog. Through Facebook Notes, you can import one RSS-syndicated site, and items fed via RSS will appear on Facebook, to all your friends via the News Feed. This can also be done for each Facebook Page you create, in the same manner as your regular Facebook account. For information, see my blog poston the subject.
- You can post images and set your status via your cell phone. Just add the “Mobile” app, and soon you will be able to add photos you take with your cell phone’s camera, by simply sending it to email@example.com and registering your phone with Facebook. You can also receive and send statuses directly to Facebook via SMS. SMS features are supported by almost all carriers but T-Mobile, and even with T-Mobile you can still send photos and check Facebook through your cell phone’s web browser.
- You can post “Polls,” or “Surveys” to different demographics. Click on the “Business” link in the footer of your Facebook account, then click on “Facebook Polls,” and you’ll soon have access to create your own polls, of which you can target towards certain age groups, interests, and other demographics, and track the results. You can even set a budget of how much you want to spend for the entire Poll. Polls are $.25 a response. You can also create a Poll by clicking on this link.
- You can track available demographics directly in Facebook. Similar to Polls, you can use Facebook Insights to find out how many people are within a certain demographic on Facebook. To get there, click on “Business” in the footer, then “Facebook Insights.” Click the “Get Started” button, and then act as though you are creating a Page or trying to advertise another link. Under the audience tab, you can click around on the various form options, and it will tell you how many people are within that demographic.
- You can track your friends’ statuses via RSS. On your main page after you login to Facebook, click on “see all” next to “Status Updates.” On the right-hand side you’ll notice a “Subscribe” link – click on that to add your friends’ status updates to your RSS Reader and keep in touch with everything they are doing, very similar to Twitter!
- You can post Flash and HTML directly in your brand’s Facebook Page. Facebook Pages (that’s with a capital “P”) are a way you can create a “Profile” for your business. Facebook gives a few more options for Facebook Pages however, one of those being you can add Flash and HTML direct to a Page, similar to the way you would do for a MySpace Page. This Flash or HTML can replace the main image on your Page, giving you one more venue to broadcast your brand to your Fans. You can learn more details about this in my post here.
- The largest demographic on Facebook is the 25 and older group. Believe it or not, per Facebook’s own statistics, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is those ages twenty-five and older. Facebook is quickly becoming not just place for friends to meet friends, but for business users, baby-boomers, and even the elderly like Guy!
- Through a Facebook Page, you can track the traffic of a brand’s Profile. Once you create a Facebook Page, be sure to visit your Page Manager on the left after logging into Facebook. There, you can track valuable statistics about your Page: number of visits, Male-to-Female ratio, Page Views, and more. If you aren’t getting what you want out of your Facebook Profile you may want to consider creating a Facebook Page.
- You can tag anyone in a posted note, video, or photo. Often the first instinct on videos, photos, and especially notes in Facebook is to tag only the people in the subject uploaded. There is nothing I am aware of in Facebook’s Terms of Service stating it is illegal to tag people that aren’t in the photo, video, or note. I personally like to use this for my blog posts, tagging those of my friends I would like to get attention from. See how to do this here.
- Give others an easy-to-remember link to your Facebook Profile. Through http://socialtoo.com by registering at SocialToo.com and following the instructions to link it to Facebook, you can have yourusername.socialtoo.com automatically redirect to your Facebook Profile. This can be an excellent way to tell your friends how to find you on Facebook.
20 Facebook Tips/Tricks You Might Not Know Learn more here: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/20-facebook-tipstricks-you-might-not-know/