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  • Ethiopian Airlines Presents Formal Proposal to Help Establish New National Carrier for 4 African Countries

    Ethiopian Airlines is in talks with the governments of Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda with a view to assisting them in establishing new national carriers. The Star Alliance carrier's chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam says it has submitted formal proposals to all four countries and that some of these “are at an advanced stage”.

    Gebramariam says the discussions are heavily influenced by the strategy being adopted by each government such as “what type of airline they want, what type of routes, and what type of co-operation, joint venture, equity [they want]”.

    He adds: “So in our case we are open to all kinds of cooperation because we really want them to develop their national airlines." Ghana, Uganda and Zambia do not currently have state-owned airlines, while Zimbabwe is served by Air Zimbabwe which began operations in 2013.

    Ethiopian Airlines already has strategic stakes in Malawian Airlines and Togo's ASKY.

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  • Economic Freedom Could Bring a Solution for the Crises in Ethiopia

    The Heritage Foundation has taken its message of economic freedom to Africa. Today’s stop is Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia—source of the Blue Nile river and one of the oldest countries in the world that traces its history back to Biblical times 1,000 years before Christ. Remember the Queen of Sheba, in the time of King Solomon? She was from Axum, in Ethiopia.
    Ethiopia is also the second most populous country in Africa, with 95 million people.

    The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom reports that economic expansion has averaged about 10 percent over the past five years, facilitated by improved infrastructure and more effective mining and farming techniques.

    Unfortunately, that economic growth has not been enjoyed evenly by all of the roughly 80 ethnic groups in the country.
    As the BBC reports, Ethiopia has had civil unrest for the last year “in the Oromia region which has been unprecedented in its longevity and geographical spread.” The Oromo people account for one-third of Ethiopia’s population. As the BBC notes, however, the issues go far deeper than ethnicity: “frustrations over land ownership, corruption, political, and economic marginalization.”

    That is consistent with the findings in the Heritage index, which reports that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies in the Tigray ethnic group claimed all 547 seats in the May 2015 parliamentary elections. Today, little remains of democracy in Ethiopia after the passage of laws that repress political opposition, tighten control of civil society, and suppress independent media.

    The mastermind behind the rise of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front was the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a staunch ally of the United States in the war on terror but also an authoritarian African strongman who rose to power in the early 1990s and ruled until his early death in 2012 at the age of 57.

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  • Press Release: The Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week

    The Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week with the support of Vogue Talents, is pleased to announce its fifth annual international fashion show to be held at Millennium Hall on the evening of Thursday, October 6, 2016.

    HAFW is once again working with prominent international Designers, Stylists, Hair and Makeup Artists as well as Models from all across the African continent to promote African Fashion on an international stage.

    For a second time, The Hub is working in tandem with several Italian organizations which will be represented on the ground by teams brought in with the considerable support of the Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa, which will host a networking event among the different stakeholders at the Embassy compound, and Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

    Sara Maino Senior Editor Vogue Italia, Head of Vogue Talents (for the second time in Addis Ababa for HAFW)  Simonetta Gianfelici Fashion Consultant and Talent Scout; Serena Tibaldi Fashion Journalist for “Repubblica”; and Ingrid Tamborin Model Scouter for Brave Modelling Management in Milan will attend all HAFW 2016 events.  During her stay, Sara Maino, together with her colleagues, will direct a talk show for the industries’ stakeholders on “Becoming the next Vogue Talent” at the Millennium hall.

    HAFW 2016 will also provide a platform for ten emerging designers from all across Ethiopia to present their work on the main stage.  The Hub extended invitations to the up and coming designers that would be able to put their work forward on an international stage with the help of stylists and international fashion editors

    Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry of which Africa only has a minute share. The Hub of Africa seeks to remedy this and has worked conscientiously towards this growth.  Since 2010 its events are one of the most important platforms in developing the African fashion industry for designers, models and all stakeholders. 

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  • Interview: Irreecha is One of the Oromo’s Ancient Ceremonial Events Taking Place Twice a Year

    Last year, during the last week of October, Addis Standard witnessed the gathering of, by state radio and television account, about 4 million Oromos to celebrate Irreecha. Shortly after the celebrations, Addis Standard conducted the following interview with Alemayehu Diro (please see short Bio of our interviewee at the end of the interview), about the relevance of Irreecha for the Oromo nation and Ethiopia at large.

    Addis Standard – If you can please start by telling us about the historical background of Irreecha (Thanksgiving) within the Oromo nation?

    Alemayehu Diro- Irreecha is one of the ancient ceremonial events taking place twice a year ever since the existence of Oromo as a nation. The Irreecha festiv­ity celebrated in Birraa (in September and October) is the cultural expression of Gal­ata (thankfulness) to Waaqaa (equivalent to the English word God) for providing life necessities to human beings and other living things. This is because the Oromo believe Waaqaa is the sole creator of everything and source of all life. It is also regarded as pure, omnipresent, infinite, incomprehensible and intolerant to injus­tice, crime, sin and all falsehood. It can do and undo anything.

    Irreecha constitutes one of the several re­ligious and cultural practices defining the hallmark of the entire Oromo life. It has promoted and enhanced understanding and unity among the Oromo. It has helped build their common values and shared visions, and consolidated peace (Nagaa Oromo), tolerance and resilience. Dur­ing Irreecha festivity, the Oromo pray to Waaqaa for peace and stability to prevail; prosperity and abundance to exist; law and social order to be maintained; and the environment to be protected. The Oromo also pray to the supreme Waaqaa for de­liverance in times of difficulties and chal­lenges.

    This cultural and religious practice of the Oro­mo was systematically outlawed for more than a century following the fall of the Oromo nation under the tyrant and brutal rules of Minilk II and subsequent Regimes. Despite several odds and difficult circum­stances, however, Irreecha has begun to revive in the last two decades. The festivity has registered impressive development from year to year in terms of the number of people attending the occasion and cultural shows being demonstrated. In particular, the Irreecha festivity taking place at Hora Harsadii in Bishoftu has uniquely become Oromo-wide religious and cultural event drawing millions of people from all cor­ners of Oromia and beyond.

    AS – How do you describe the main differ­ences between Irreecha and other tradi­tional or religious festivities celebrated by Ethiopians, such as Meskel, Christmas (Gena), or Easter (Fasika)?

    AD – All religious and cultural festivities prac­ticed by different people have some de­gree of similarities and differences. All such festivities describe worldviews of the respective people practicing them. By a worldview I mean a system of values, attitudes, and beliefs, which provide peo­ple with different mechanisms to understand the world around them. Irreecha, Meskel, Gena and other similar rituals are cere­monies that celebrate or commemorate specific events that have deep religious and cultural significance. Rituals serve to reinforce important religious and cultural beliefs through meaningful activities that bring comfort and unity of the respective followers. I think in this general sense we may talk of similarities of various religious and cultural festivities. However, since our value systems, attitudes and beliefs are different, their reli­gious and cultural ceremonies and practic­es remain different.

    In this regard, Irreecha is different from other festivities such as Meskel and Gena in that it provides the Oromo with mechanisms to understand their worldview. For example, it provides the Oromo in a unique and particular way a system of morality that establishes right from wrong, good and appropriate from bad or inappropriate behavior. The Oromo have complete sense of ownership, full control and leadership over Irreecha as an institu­tion. Some Oromo may attend and ac­company Meskel and Gena festivities but do not have shared objectives and decision-making powers on the institutions. Irree­cha is celebrated in the manner that the Oromo would like it to be. It is an inven­tion of the Oromo whereas Meskel and Gena are not.

    AS – The Oromos’ participation in many spheres that define Ethiopia’s socio-political and socio-cultural landscape has been largely marked by absenteeism, particularly pri­or to the 1991 regime change in Ethiopia. And yet Irreecha has been one of the few festivities that the Oromos were able to preserve. Why do you think was that?

    AD – I do not think the Oromo preferred ab­senteeism to participation. As the sub­ject people, the Oromo were denied the rights and opportunities to be part and parcel of mainstream socio-cultural and political economy of Ethiopia for over a century. Successive Ethiopian Re­gimes have forcefully destroyed the Oromo Gadaa system, robbed of the Oromo land and natural resources, denied them official use of their language (Afaan Oro­mo), prevented them from exercising and developing their culture, and systemati­cally pushed them away from participat­ing in key economic matters. They were officially denied to be called Oromo and were given a derogatory name called Galla. Ethiopia’s successive regimes were nasty and hateful to anything Oromo. In short, the Oromo were reduced to slavery for over a century. Irreecha happens to be one of the Oromos’ religious and cultural rituals abandoned by these ruling regimes.

    But despite the cruelty and enmity, the Oromo paid heavy sacrifices to preserve their language, cul­ture and religious values. At present, at least in theory, the Oromo have repossessed their land and natural resources thanks to the 1974 revolution that led to state ownership of land proc­lamation. Afaan Oromo is the national working language in Oromia. Gadaa, the Oromo traditional democratic system of governance, is reviving. The traditional support systems such as Buusaa Gonofaa are also coming to existence. Irreecha is just one of the major cultural rituals the Oromo were able to preserve overcoming several odds and difficulties. It constitutes one of the vivid cultural renaissances the Oromo have been experiencing since the last few years.

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  • Honest Ethiopian Hostess Roza Shiferaw Returns U.S. $ 10,000 to Passenger

    Ethiopian Airlines made headlines last year with their first all-female operated flight which took off on November 19. Now they’re making news again. They posted a message to one of their staff on their Facebook page:‘Meet Jr. Cabin Crew Roza Shiferaw, a living testament of our commitment to the highest standards of ethics and integrity…. She returned USD 10, 000 to a passenger on ET 672.

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  • Press Release: U.S. Departments of State and Commerce Gives Benjamin Joy Award to U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa

    The first-ever joint award given by the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce was presented today to the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H. Rivkin and Department of Commerce Global Markets Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Arun Kumar presented the Benjamin Joy award to the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa State-Commerce-Team at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

    The Benjamin Joy Award was created to highlight and promote interagency collaboration and honor commercial diplomacy excellence. The winning team, led by former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia M. Haslach, includes Deputy Chief of Mission Peter H. Vrooman, Senior Foreign Commercial Service Officer Tanya Cole, Trade and Investment Promotion Officer Gaia Self, Commercial Specialist Tewodros Tefera, and Advocacy Center Regional Manager Nnaji Campbell. Embassy Addis Ababa’s leadership and innovation advanced U.S. business interests in Ethiopia and created a model for U.S. missions to support fair competition and increase U.S. exports in Africa.

    The winner was selected from 43 nominations from posts around the world. The award’s namesake, Benjamin Joy, was an early exemplar of U.S. commercial and economic diplomacy, appointed in 1792 by President George Washington as the first American Consul and Commercial Agent to India. Today, there are more than 200 diplomatic outposts helping to strengthen America’s economic reach and positive economic impact.

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