|May 28th: the launch of the Ethiopian Renaissance:|
|Written by MOFA|
|Saturday, 02 June 2012 17:04|
May 28th: the launch of the Ethiopian Renaissance:
Twenty one years ago, EPRDF forces entered Addis Ababa, finally bringing to a victorious end sixteen years of civil war. It was a momentous day for the peoples of Ethiopia who had suffered for so long at the hands of a ruthless dictator and whose lives had been shattered by the misguided Marxist policies of the military regime. Ethiopia is a country in which more than eighty ethnic groups exist and twice as many dialects are spoken. The ‘National Question’ was among the first issues to be formulated by radical university students in their demands for socio-political change in Ethiopia. Growing civil unrest and a unified force of Ethiopian peoples, led by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) against the dictatorial communist regime finally led to its demise in 1991. The victory of the Ethiopian people over the Derg was not just a mere change of government; it was a victory which opened the way to democracy and good governance.
The struggles of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia for equality and justice; for respect for their human and political rights; and for good governance, development, peace and security finally bore fruit. To launch the final goal of the struggle and assure the country’s renaissance, a coalition of 27 political and liberation organizations under a transitional government embarked on the path of transforming Ethiopia from a centralized, military-controlled, Marxist dictatorship to a free and democratic federation between 1991 and 1995. In 1994 a new constitution was drafted, setting up a bicameral legislature and an independent judicial system and guaranteeing equal rights and freedom of expression to all Ethiopian citizens. The New Ethiopia was constituted on the basis of equality, mutual respect, common aims and interests of all the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia as well as of all religions and faiths in the country: unity in diversity. This is the reason why we celebrate the Anniversary of May 28th, the National Day of Ethiopia.
The building of the institutions of democracy, of good governance and of the rule of law is of courser a work in progress. It continually deepens and expands, gaining strength year by year. The Constitution provides for a regional system of government that comprising nine autonomous states, and each region also has its own Constitution, valid for that region alone. As the Federal Government, so the regional/state governments have executive, legislative, and judicial powers within their own regions.
The victory of May 28, and the subsequent activities at both federal and regional level, to move the country out of backwardness and conflict and into peace and stability have led the country down the path of democracy and development. The war being waged against poverty is yielding substantial results. For the first time in its history, Ethiopia is in a dynamic process of vigorous transformation. It is one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. Its GDP has been growing at an average rate of more than 11 percent for the last eight years. The success of its development is demonstrated by its capacity to bring about rapid and continuous development which has benefited people at all levels. By sustaining this growth rate, Ethiopia’s Gross National Income is expected to double over the next four years. Ethiopia is one of the few countries expecting to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The strategy of building a democratic system has played a significant role with good governance based on transparency, accountability, public participation, and the supremacy of the law, being the main reason for the country’s quantum leap in development.
The democratic constitution is the foundation for all the policies and strategies. Foreign Direct Investment, technology transfer, technical assistance and foreign trade have all shown significant increases. Image building activities have become productive. Ethiopia represents Africa in negotiating in international meetings on global climate change. The right direction of the country arising from the change of direction in May 28 has benefited Ethiopia’s development. It has also provided support for peace and security in the Horn of Africa with Ethiopia as a vanguard in combating terrorism and global threats. Its Growth and Transformation Plan is designed to keep the country moving up the development ladder and by focusing on mutual benefit, doing this together with others in the region.
The success story does not end there. It is also well reflected in foreign relations. Ethiopia enjoys good relations with almost all its neighbors as well as with the international community at large. It has expanded its bilateral, regional and international relations, and takes a prominent role in international peace keeping operations. The guiding principles of its foreign policy are focused on the principles of mutual respect and benefit, good neighbourliness, mutual growth and international peace and stability. These are winning the cooperation and support of its development partners. The current foreign policy strategy gives priority to tackling the challenges of underdevelopment and its ills. This is a fundamental departure from previous regimes and it has demonstrated its importance for the survival and transformation of the country. The principles of Economic Diplomacy that Ethiopia now pursues complement the national endeavors to lift the country out of poverty and contribute to the strengthening of its democratic institutions.
As State Minister Ambassador Berhane Gebrechristos told members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs May 28th offered “a new chapter [in which] Ethiopians are beginning to make the Ethiopian Renaissance a reality by demolishing the ignorance and poverty that resulted from a history of suppression and civil war.” Ethiopia can now be described as one of the fastest growing economies in the world as a result of the policies and strategies launched since then; and the double digit growth of the last eight years was a vivid illustration of this. Similarly, the Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy has helped Ethiopia play a major role in bringing peace and security to the Horn of Africa.
May 28 in fact has been a turning point for democracy and development in Ethiopia. The victory brought about a fundamental transformation in the political economy of the country. It has created a situation in which the private entrepreneur can become the motor of development by creating an exceptional and conducive environment and drying up various forms of rent-seeking. It allows the government to selectively and effectively interfere when market gaps occur and lets it play a leadership role in coordination and improving the capacity of development forces. Democracy and development require a democratic constitution. May 28th laid the foundations for democracy, peace and good governance and has allowed Ethiopians to hold their heads high and once again take pride in their identities.
|Last Updated on Friday, 15 June 2012 20:20|